Evidence of meeting #18 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

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marie-Claude Bibeau Liberal Compton—Stanstead, QC

We are supporting our farmers through different programs. The provincial governments also do support through different programs. You can see some of this support through buying insurance in other provinces.

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

Mr. Shields, we have 34 seconds left.

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Martin Shields Conservative Bow River, AB

Thank you, I appreciate it.

We've talked about AgriStability a number of times. We've talked about the shortcomings in it. There are very few people who buy into it. The agricultural sector's just over 30%. Why are just 30%-plus buying into this program?

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marie-Claude Bibeau Liberal Compton—Stanstead, QC

I have to remind my colleague that when they were in the government, they cut $400 million from these programs, and these programs are cost-shared with the provinces, so it's not always easy to get the provinces back and to find an agreement, but we're working hard on that.

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We'll now continue with Mr. Therrien.

Mr. Therrien.

1:10 p.m.

Bloc

Alain Therrien Bloc La Prairie, QC

Mr. Chair, I'd like to inform you that I'll be sharing my time with the hon. member for Joliette.

Last week, the government offered the provinces transfers worth $14 billion to help them overcome the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and to prepare for recovery.

The provinces immediately responded that it was nowhere near enough, but also that the money was being paid for areas under provincial jurisdiction. The federal government did not deny that the areas were indeed under provincial jurisdiction. However, it played armchair quarterback by imposing conditions on these transfers.

It's the provinces and Quebec that are on the front lines. It's the provinces and Quebec that know their needs. It's the provinces and Quebec that set their priorities. Why would the federal government not simply give this money to the provinces and trust them?

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Madam Chair, I thank my colleague for his important question.

We agree that the $14 billion—I'd like to stress that amount—that the Prime Minister talked about last Friday is money. This money that the Prime Minister offered to the provinces is very important because the federal government understands the importance of economic recovery. We understand the importance of having a healthy and successful economic recovery. We also understand, of course, the importance of close co-operation with all the provinces, including Quebec.

1:15 p.m.

Bloc

Alain Therrien Bloc La Prairie, QC

This is fair proof of predatory federalism. The $14 billion is the money of Quebec and Canadian taxpayers.

In the federal government, you think you're being nice because you're giving $14 billion with strings attached to be sure it's going to be well spent. Yet, we're talking about areas under the jurisdiction of the provinces and Quebec, which you know nothing about.

Don't try to start thinking about what the provinces should do with the money, since you don't know anything about it and these aren't areas within your expertise. Instead, trust the provinces and Quebec, instead of acting like predators with the money of Quebec taxpayers.

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Acting Chair (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès (Brossard—Saint-Lambert, Lib.)) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

There isn't really time for a response, unless it's very brief.

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Madam Chair, I don't think offering $14 billion is being predatory. I think offering $14 billion is co-operation, and we're proud of that.

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Acting Chair (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

Mr. Ste-Marie, you have the floor.

1:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Madam Chair, it's the way it's being done that's the problem.

We'll stop sitting in two weeks. Will the government provide an economic update by then?

June 8th, 2020 / 1:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Morneau LiberalMinister of Finance

Madam Chair, being transparent with Canadians is very important.

When the situation is more stable, we'll have an opportunity to explain our economic situation.

1:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Madam Chair, I have to say that if the minister had said yes, it would have started the week off really well.

The economy is starting to recover. We're slowly moving towards a recovery. At the very least, we need to know the state of the situation, which includes a picture of the economic situation and all the government's emergency measures, and whether or not it intends to extend them over the summer. It also needs to tell us how it plans to do it. As the minister said, the government needs to be transparent.

Why isn't the government giving us an update?

I don't understand it. Is the government scared? Is it hiding something from us?

I'd like him to explain this to me.

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Madam Chair, I'd like to thank the hon. member for his very important question.

We want to have a transparent approach and more information for Canadians.

Soon, when the situation is more stable, we will have an opportunity to explain our economic situation.

1:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Does “soon” mean “within the next two weeks”?

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Madam Chair, as I said, we're in the process of looking at the stability of the economy. Of course, it's important to be transparent about our situation.

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Acting Chair (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

Mr. Ste-Marie, you have 30 seconds left, 15 if you want an answer.

1:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Thank you, Madam Chair.

We've been making this request for more than a month. It's been a month since the Parliamentary Budget Officer urged the government to quickly submit an economic update. It would be good if it were to happen within the next two weeks.

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Madam Chair, I understand the question.

Of course, we're transparent every day about our investments. I fully agree, it is always necessary to be transparent about our economic situation. We are waiting until the situation is stable enough to give precise explanations.

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Acting Chair (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

The hon. member for Pierrefonds—Dollard, Mr. Zuberi, has the floor.

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

Sameer Zuberi Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Madam Chair, I will be sharing my time with the member for Thunder Bay—Rainy River.

Over the last two weeks, from Halifax to Vancouver, Calgary to Whitehorse, Canadians have been seized with the Black Lives Matter movement. Yesterday evening, in my own riding of Pierrefonds—Dollard, Kemba Mitchell and the West Island Black Community Association organized a virtual town hall attended by 500 people. Earlier in the day, I took a knee at a Montreal vigil organized by Denburk Reid for the Montreal Community Cares Foundation. On social media, grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, uncles, parents and young people are all saying that we must do much more to confront anti-black racism and systemic discrimination. Films like 13th that explain the link between racial inequality and over-incarceration are trending online. Everyone is asking how we can move beyond allyship to concrete action. Studies show that black Canadians and indigenous peoples aren't any more likely to commit a crime than the general population. However, over-policing and over incarceration of these communities is well documented.

Deputy Prime Minister, in the spirit of moving us forward, can the government inform the House what measures are being taken by the government to address over-incarceration of indigenous and black Canadians while working to collect and publicly report on race-based data?

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Acting Chair (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

The honourable Deputy Prime Minister.

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Madam Chair, let me start by thanking the member for Pierrefonds—Dollard for his tireless advocacy on these important issues.

We know that indigenous peoples and black Canadians are overrepresented in our criminal justice system, and that needs to change. We are making important investments to support the reintegration of indigenous offenders into their communities and advancing restorative justice approaches while strengthening agreements for healing lodges, which incorporate indigenous values, traditions and beliefs. We are also providing black Canadian offenders with services aimed at supporting their reintegration, including support for career building and mentorship, engaging community members to provide training and funding community organizations.

Furthermore, we will invest an additional $11 million to ensure that all enforcement and security agencies have access to bias-free training we will and implement mandatory training on unconscious bias for all judges in Canada. We know that better, more precise and more consistent tracking, collection and measurement of data are needed and that we have a lot more work to do.

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Acting Chair (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

Next is the member for Thunder Bay—Rainy River.