Evidence of meeting #15 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 indigenous.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Housefather Liberal Mount Royal, QC

It is with great sadness that I rise today to pay tribute to Tristan Roy, after his tragic passing exactly two weeks ago.

Born in Saint-Fabien-sur-Mer, Tristan became a pillar of the Mont Royal community in 1997 when he bought the old Mont Royal newspaper. When the city's oldest newspaper, the TMR Weekly Post ceased operations, Tristan registered the name and renamed his newspaper the TMR Poste de Mont-Royal.

He created a truly bilingual newspaper, ensuring that TMR residents could receive their news in both French and English. His editorials and views on local issues carried enormous weight. I join Mayor Philippe Roy and the members of the town council in offering our sincere condolences to Tristan's wife, Anne-Marie, his daughter, Ariël, and his son, Lancelot.

We all considered Tristan to be a friend, an example of what a good journalist and editor should be and could be. He will be sorely missed.

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

The hon. member for Beauce, Mr. Lehoux, has the floor.

June 2nd, 2020 / 12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Richard Lehoux Conservative Beauce, QC

Mr. Chair, if you didn't already know, people from Beauce are proud. There is Marie-Philip Poulin of Beauceville, who was named the best female hockey player in the world earlier this year, or Antony Auclair of Notre-Dame-des-Pins. Antony Auclair said, in a CBC article, that Beauce had prepared him for his arrival in the NFL. There is also Guillaume Couture, from Sainte-Marie, who made his mother very proud, and everyone from Beauce indirectly, on the program Les Chefs again last night.

It is this same pride that I see throughout the region, with companies like Revtech Systèmes, in Saint-Joseph-de-Beauce, or PuriHaze, in Sainte-Marie, which have invented robots to decontaminate spaces. There are also local purchasing initiatives such as the #onlaici campaign by the Nouvelle-Beauce chamber of commerce and industry or Achetons beauceron, by the Saint-Georges chamber of commerce.

Today I have but two words for my constituents: thank you. I thank them for continuing to encourage local businesses that greatly need it. I thank them for being loyal to their habits and to rolling up their sleeves to help their neighbours. I thank them for being proud and being residents of Beauce.

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

We'll go now to the member for Don Valley East, Ms. Ratansi.

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Chair, our government has shown leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring that Canadians remain safe and get the financial assistance they need.

Eight million Canadians are receiving the Canada emergency response benefit. The Canada emergency business account and the Canada emergency wage subsidy ensure that the economy is ready to start up post-pandemic. Seniors received top-ups to the OAS and GIS, and families, the child care benefit. All of these measures are helping thousands of seniors and low-income families in my riding of Don Valley East. The feedback from my regular virtual town halls has also helped to fine-tune many of the programs.

Many Canadians have shown generosity during this crisis. I want to particularly thank Saravanaa Bhavan and Happy Pops for donating food and frozen treats to our superhero front-line workers at local hospitals.

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

We'll now go to the honourable member for Vaughan—Woodbridge, Mr. Sorbara.

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

Francesco Sorbara Liberal Vaughan—Woodbridge, ON

Mr. Chair, even though this year's festivities for Italian Heritage Month will be done differently, the same spirit and vitality exists throughout virtual events happening across the country. Virtual events have seen Italian Canadians, through their generosity, raise over $1 million to help Italy during COVID-19.

Today, June 2, Italian citizens celebrate the founding of the modern day Italian Republic.

[Member spoke in Italian]

The Italian Canadian story remains one of passion, an adopted homeland filled with hard work, sacrifice and optimism.

Generations of Italian Canadians have contributed much to shaping the inclusive and generous Canada that we know today.

Our diversity is our strength, and I'm proud to be Italian Canadian.

Let's all join together in proudly celebrating Italian Heritage Month.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

We'll now go to the honourable member for Calgary Skyview, Ms. Sahota.

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Jag Sahota Conservative Calgary Skyview, AB

Mr. Chair, as communities begin to ease restrictions, I remain mystified that, according to this government, Parliament is not an essential service. If it were up to the Prime Minister, he would not have to answer to anyone. That is not how democracy works.

We in the opposition have been long calling for the return of Parliament, which would be possible while still maintaining public health guidelines. Canadians deserve to be represented in the House of Commons by the elected member of Parliament. While the work we do in our constituencies is incredibly important, it is equally important to bring those voices back to Ottawa to debate, to question and to hold the government to account. This is fundamental to the role of an elected representative.

The role of the opposition is crucial now more than ever when billions of dollars are being spent with little oversight. Our role as members of Parliament is to uphold our democracy and to be present. This is the greatest pandemic in our lifetime. Now is not the time to hide behind a podium. If this government were doing the best job for Canadians, they would not need to hide.

Thank you.

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

We'll now go to the honourable member for Brampton East, Mr. Sidhu.

12:55 p.m.

Liberal

Maninder Sidhu Liberal Brampton East, ON

Mr. Chair, I would like to take a moment to highlight displays of generosity in my riding of Brampton East. This is just a small sample of the many individuals and organizations that have stepped up across Canada.

Khalsa Aid has been providing food supplies with the help of Sperenza Banquet Hall, which has graciously provided the space to run a province-wide campaign out of Brampton East. Care4Cause has sent hundreds of prepared meals on a weekly basis to Good Shepherd Ministries to lessen their load. Navraj Brar at Pharmasave has offered free care packages to health care workers and hand sanitizer to the Peel Regional Police. Aujla Salon and Spa has partnered with GlobalMedic to help deliver over 10,000 pounds of food to local food banks.

I would also like to point out the heroic efforts of our truck drivers, taxi drivers, grocery store clerks, nurses, doctors, paramedics and countless other front-line heroes. We see you and we are immensely grateful for the bravery you display each and every day.

Thank you to everyone in Brampton East who has stepped up for their neighbour in their time of need. You are setting a great example of the kind of progress we can make as Canadians when we come together and support each other. I am truly honoured to represent you in Ottawa.

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

We'll now go to the honourable member for Wellington—Halton Hills, Mr. Chong.

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Chair, the House of Commons is shut down.

Let's be clear. This is not the House of Commons. It's a committee where only statements, petitions and questions are allowed. There is no power to introduce motions, to test confidence or to vote.

The government came to office promising greater democracy but they broke their promise on electoral reform. They tried to give the PMO the control over this House in motion 6, and yesterday's report confirms that they rigged the leaders debate in their favour in the last election. Now they've shuttered Parliament.

Parliament sat through two world wars, the October crisis and previous pandemics and it survived the test, but not now. The people's representatives need to sit. People need their representation. Parliament and this House of Commons with its full powers needs to reopen and it needs to reopen now.

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

The honourable member for Regina—Qu'Appelle.

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

Andrew Scheer Conservative Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Chair, these past few months have been tremendously difficult for so many Canadians: sickness, losing loved ones, job losses, economic hardships, loneliness and isolation. The pandemic has taken its toll on so many.

It is in these times of suffering and adversity that we have seen Canadians coming together to support each other and that brings us hope. Mosques, churches, synagogues and gurdwaras have all answered the call to help their communities. Whether it's providing meals to the hungry, clothing for the cold, or technology for those who need it most, these actions are true reflections of the kindness and generosity that Canadians are known for.

While there are too many groups to mention them all, I want to thank Vikas Sharma and Care4Cause out of Brampton for the meals that they have been providing their community in that area and across the GTA. This group and thousands of others like it across the country are working tirelessly to ease the suffering of others and help those in need.

Thank you, and God bless all the volunteers.

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

Now we will go to the honourable member for Winnipeg Centre.

Ms. Gazan, go ahead.

12:55 p.m.

NDP

Leah Gazan NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Chair, I rise today in honour of National Indigenous History Month to speak truth about a history of racism in Canada that was built on the wrongful dispossession of lands from indigenous people and controlled through the use of police-state violence that has resulted in a loss of life, freedom, respect and dignity. Even today we continue to observe this reality in my very own city where we witnessed the killing of three indigenous youth by police in a span of 10 days this past April.

This is not a coincidence. We have statistics. We have research, and we have stories of loved ones lost. We know it, and we see it in our lives every day.

We need to address police violence throughout this country. Canadians are rising from coast to coast demanding this of all of us and sending a clear message that we must address systemic racism in all of its forms to ensure justice for all. There will never be reconciliation in the absence of justice.

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

The hon. member for Beauport—Limoilou, Mrs. Vignola, has the floor.

12:55 p.m.

Bloc

Julie Vignola Bloc Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Chair, Canada Post is literally not delivering the goods. But the postal service is an essential service, and even more so today because everything is done online, even local shopping. The current crisis partly explains the congestion, but it is mainly due to the fact that Canada Post forgot to join the 21st century. It has been left behind where others have made millions of dollars. Its platform isn't effective. It's now delivering more parcels, but it's losing money.

There's a statement to make here, right now. In the immediate term, Canada Post must deal with the delays, and to do so, it needs the help of the Government of Canada. Canada Post needs to hire staff. If a collective agreement had finally been signed, it would make it easier to hire staff. We have been waiting for two and a half years.

A premium for essential workers might also be appropriate. As I said, the postal service is an essential service, and it's time to give it the importance this status imposes.

1 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

We will now go to the honourable member for Calgary Centre.

Mr. McLean, go ahead.

1 p.m.

Conservative

Greg McLean Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Chair, the prospects in Canada's oil fields are bleak in the near term. Capital spending forecasts and drilling activities sank to a 49-year low. This is a result of the temporary collapse in demand for our most valuable commodity and the one that contributes the most to our GDP, our balance of trade, and whose taxes support the social programs Canadians enjoy, $108 billion in GDP, $8 billion per year in government revenues, $77 billion in trade surplus. It is a rude blow to hard-working professionals who soldier past negligent government policies that have left a stain on another generation of western Canadians.

We're talking about an industry here that directly employs over 200,000, including 11,000 indigenous Canadians. We're talking about an industry that contributes 75% of Canada's investment in clean technology. However, Canada's resource industry will still be resilient. Bad policy cannot permanently erase the work, the hope and the pride of forward thinkers and doers, and their efforts to continue building a great country.

Thank you.

1 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

We will now go to the honourable member for Winnipeg South.

Mr. Duguid, go ahead.

1 p.m.

Liberal

Terry Duguid Liberal Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Chair, today I want to give a special thank you to the health care workers at Victoria General Hospital, who are serving patients in our community here in Winnipeg South. Every day, doctors, nurses and staff work selflessly to take care of those in our community who need it most. Whether it's by keeping seniors connected with their families by using iPads or making sure that patients go home with a special care package, staff at the Vic are doing extraordinary work to make this difficult time just a little bit easier.

I would also like to give a big shout-out to our wonderful small businesses in Winnipeg South that continue to show their appreciation by preparing meals for the hard-working staff at the Vic.

Folks in our community continue to show what it means to be exemplary Canadians, and it is a great honour to represent them.

1 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

This concludes the period for statements by members. We will now proceed to the questioning of ministers.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

1 p.m.

Conservative

Andrew Scheer Conservative Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Chair, the staff of long-term care facilities for seniors are showing exceptional courage and dedication. François Legault asked that the military personnel currently helping in facilities in Quebec stay until the fall. The Prime Minister said no.

I'd like to hear the Prime Minister tell us why they can't stay.