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

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

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

The honourable minister has 25 seconds.

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Yves Duclos Liberal Québec, QC

Madam Chair, I'll use my 25 seconds to again thank all public servants for the work that they do and to remind everyone that we are in a situation of urgency and a situation in which the transparency of our actions is important. I look forward to working with all members of the House to make sure that this work continues.

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

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

The hon. member for Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis.

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, QC

Thank you very much, Madam Chair.

Again, we're learning that the Liberals are abandoning Quebec's regions. The regional relief and recovery fund is a fund for the regions, yet they are taking $30 million out of that fund and sending it to Montreal.

How is it that the Liberals are putting our regions second?

June 8th, 2020 / 1:45 p.m.

Ahuntsic-Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Mélanie Joly LiberalMinister of Economic Development and Official Languages

Madam Chair, our regions are very important, which is why we've doubled the budget of all the economic development agencies in the country to support our regions.

At the same time, since the pandemic is currently hitting Montreal, we have to be where the need is.

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, QC

It isn't necessary to steal from Peter to pay Paul.

I have a question for the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

The show Oh Canada Eh? is a key event that takes place in Niagara Falls. How is it that, despite the minister's announcement of millions of dollars, the venue for this show has to shut down?

1:45 p.m.

Laurier—Sainte-Marie Québec

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Madam Chair, I thank my colleague for his question.

As you know, we've announced a $500 million emergency fund that is starting to be deployed. The second phase of this fund, a portal, will be online in the next few days. Organizations across the country will be able to register and apply.

We are in a historic situation, a crisis that we certainly haven't experienced in a hundred years. It may take some time before we can roll out our programs, but we are working hard to do so.

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, QC

For over two months now, artists, our cultural producers, have lacked resources. The minister announces funding, but the money doesn't materialize.

When will this money be available to support our artists, specifically in the context of the temporary aid measures coming to an end?

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault Liberal Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Madam Chair, I deeply disagree with my colleague. Our government has invested $2.5 billion to help the arts and culture sector and our artists. We've done a lot.

I'm aware that we need to do more, and we're working on that.

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, QC

Madam Chair, on May 26, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food announced that he wanted to create just 700 new positions to support our young people in agriculture, when it's 10,000 jobs we need in Quebec.

When will these positions be available for our farmers?

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Marie-Claude Bibeau Liberal Compton—Stanstead, QC

Madam Chair, the positions are available. Interested producers can make their request. They simply need to go to the Agriculture Canada website at agr.gc.ca.

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, QC

Madam Chair, apparently it can take close to 50 working days to make a decision. The summer will be over.

What is the minister waiting for to fill these positions, which are on a first come, first served basis, as is the case? Producers have been applying for several weeks now already. They need people.

What is the minister waiting for to send these young people where they're needed?

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Marie-Claude Bibeau Liberal Compton—Stanstead, QC

Madam Chair, I assure you: when it comes to the program, the maximum administrative time limit is 50 days. The files will be processed as quickly as possible.

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, QC

These jobs are needed now. These people are needed now.

My next question is for the Minister of Public Safety.

Does he acknowledge that his political and partisan classification of firearms is based on subjective and aesthetic criteria, without regard for public safety?

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Madam Chair, I thank the hon. member for his question. I have to say, I absolutely disagree with the question.

I know the Conservatives disagree with us that it's important to control firearms. It's a real political difference.

As a woman, especially, I feel that we have taken the right position.

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, QC

Actually, we agree with having an effective system. The Liberals are implementing ineffective measures that go after honest people.

Why aren't they following the advice of experts and police chiefs who say that we must fight criminal street gangs and illegal weapons, rather than attacking honest citizens?

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Madam Chair, I'm delighted the hon. member is quoting police chiefs because I also have some quotes from police chiefs.

Mark Saunders, the Toronto police chief, said on Friday, May 1, taking military assault-style rifles off the street contributes to public safety. He said, “I support any step that helps prevent the circulation of these weapons that endanger families and communities.”

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

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

We are now going to Mr. Morrison.

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Morrison Conservative Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Madam Chair, thank you.

In my riding of Kootenay—Columbia, there are several gunsmiths who are in possession of specialized guns worth in excess of $20,000. According to the minister, these collector guns are now illegal.

Does the minister plan to buy back these collectibles at a low price, or will the minister be buying them back at their full value with taxpayer dollars?

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Madam Chair, let me be very clear. What is illegal and was illegal from the date of the OIC was the sale of these assault-style weapons. I am proud of our government for taking that essential and indeed long-overdue step.

It is also the case that we have not made illegal previously legal conduct, and owners may continue to have these guns provided they are safely stored and are not being used.

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Morrison Conservative Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Madam Chair, when the minister invoked the order in council gun ban, what was the budget the government approved for the buyback?

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Madam Chair, let me point to what is essential about that action our government took. What is essential about that action is that as of the date of the OIC, we stopped additional weapons whose only purpose is to kill other people from coming into Canada.

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Morrison Conservative Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Madam Chair, as the list of prohibited guns is expanding daily, can the minister answer how many guns the government will potentially be buying back?

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Let me be extremely clear with the member opposite and the party opposite. We have a clear political difference of opinion here, and I do not shy away from underscoring that.

Our government believes military-style assault weapons have no place in—

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

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

We will go back to Mr. Morrison.