Evidence of meeting #14 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

1:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

The honourable minister.

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ahmed Hussen Liberal York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Chair, we are committed to advancing on the issues that have been identified by Canadians with disabilities. We are continuing that engagement, and we will have more to say on that very soon.

1:20 p.m.

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

I think that answer is entirely inadequate. I have a lot of sympathy for people across the country who are living with disabilities and are getting impatient with the fact that alongside its initial commitment to seniors, for instance, the government made a commitment to helping people living with disabilities with the same kind of direct financial assistance, and it hasn't come.

Why has it taken so long for the government to get around to helping people who are in a crisis right now? I want to know the reason why this hasn't been announced yet.

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ahmed Hussen Liberal York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Chair, we have established the COVID-19 disability advisory group, comprising experts in disability inclusion. We're moving forward with the Canada emergency student benefit, which will provide $2,000 per month for eligible students with permanent disabilities. We are doubling the Canada student grants for students with disabilities in the coming academic year.

We have done a lot, but we will continue to do more, and we will have more to share on our continuing efforts to support persons with disabilities.

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

Go ahead, Mr. Blaikie. You have time for one short question.

1:25 p.m.

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Their commitment was not around an advisory commitment. Their commitment was for direct financial assistance to people living with disabilities who are facing additional costs because of the pandemic. They have committed twice and they have done nothing. When are they going to get around to it? Why should people living with disabilities have to wait any longer than they already have?

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

The honourable minister.

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

Ahmed Hussen Liberal York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Chair, that is precisely why we are listening closely to the COVID-19 disability advisory group to get expert advice. We will have more to share. There is more work to come, and there will be results to be announced very soon.

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

We'll now go to Mr. McLean, Calgary Centre.

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

Greg McLean Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

According to La Presse, federal cabinet ministers Steven Guilbeault , Catherine McKenna and Jonathan Wilkinson have been handed responsibility for crafting an economic recovery plan that aims to accelerate the green shift.

True to form, this cabal around the Prime Minister has declared “let's not let a good crisis go to waste”. Can the Prime Minister confirm that his ministers have been working with environmental lobby groups for further financial support to engineer Canada's economy post COVID?

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

The honourable Minister of Middle Class Prosperity.

1:25 p.m.

Ottawa—Vanier Ontario

Liberal

Mona Fortier LiberalMinister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance

Mr. Chair, our most urgent priority is COVID-19 and the health and safety of Canadians. As we support Canadians through this time, we will also ensure our long-term economic, environmental and physical well-being. Our government remains committed to building a stronger and more resilient economy to ensure a sustainable, prosperous future for our kids and grandkids. Just like science is guiding us in our response to COVID-19, science will continue to guide us toward reduced pollution and in fighting climate change.

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

Greg McLean Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

The task force for a resilient recovery was quoted as saying last week that they would have recommendations for government action available within eight weeks, notably eight weeks when Parliament is, by this government's design, absent.

Can the Prime Minister disclose to this committee how many meetings his 61 environmental activist advisers have had with the task force or its members?

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

Mona Fortier Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Chair, our most urgent priority with respect to COVID-19 is the health and safety of Canadians. While supporting Canadians during this period, we must also ensure our economic, environmental and physical well-being in the long term.

Our government remains committed to building a stronger, more resilient economy to ensure a sustainable future for our grandchildren and children.

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

Greg McLean Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

The task force is a who's who of academics and bureaucrats, but surprisingly, includes no one from the productive part of the Canadian economy. So much for pan-Canadian input.

The task force is reviewing work produced by Smart Prosperity, a government-funded institute whose membership overlaps with both the task force and the government's own Canadian Institute for Climate Choices. This is a bureaucratic environmental Ponzi scheme, with overlapping personnel and mandates. The only thing not overlapping is their funding.

How many organizations does this government need to fund to recycle work produced by other redundant government-funded entities?

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

Mona Fortier Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Chair, as we know, our priority right now is the health and safety of Canadians. Just as science guides us in our response to COVID-19, it will continue to guide us in reducing pollution and fighting climate change.

Our priority is to support Canadians during this period and we must also ensure our environmental, economic and physical well-being in the long term.

June 1st, 2020 / 1:25 p.m.

Conservative

Greg McLean Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

A notable member of the task force in question is one Gerald Butts. Perhaps it's just a coincidence, but can the Prime Minister confirm if this is the same Gerald Butts who was forced to resign as his principal secretary for his role in attempting to force Canada's then justice minister into breaking the law?

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

Mona Fortier Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Chair, since the beginning of this crisis, our priority has been to support Canadians and their health and safety. We will continue to do so, because it is important that we get through this crisis by supporting Canadians.

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

Greg McLean Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Chair, is this the same Gerald Butts who was paid $360,000 U.S. by an American-funded organization after he started working with the Prime Minister?

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Mona Fortier Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Once again, Mr. Chair, it is important to talk to Canadians right now to tell them that we are putting their health and safety first. We will continue to do so. We are going through a crisis right now and we will support Canadians.

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Greg McLean Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Chair, is this the same Gerald Butts who, in his role as the principal secretary in the office of Ontario's then premier, advanced policies that now saddle Ontarians with the highest energy costs in North America? Is this is the same Gerald Butts who weighed down Ontario with the world's highest subnational debt burden, all for the benefit of new green jobs that, notably, have never arrived?

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Mona Fortier Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Chair, as we know, for the past two and a half months, we have been supporting Canadians. We have put forward an economic program to help businesses, workers and Canadians across the country.

We will continue to make the health and safety of Canadians a priority.

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

We'll now go to the MP for West Nova, Mr. d'Entremont.

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Chris d'Entremont Conservative West Nova, NS

Yesterday, the Minister responsible for tourism, ACOA and official languages was happy to close our national Tourism Week by announcing investments of $70 million to offset financial losses in the tourism industry across Canada.

Where's the big clap?

1:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!