Evidence of meeting #2 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

Patty Hajdu Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Chair, I am so proud of Health Canada and the civil servants who have worked so hard to expedite approval of test kits for use in Canada. In fact, we've gone from an average of a six-month timeline for approval of test kits to a timeline of one to seven days. We are working diligently to make sure that all of the tests being sought for use in Canada receive the appropriate Health Canada authority.

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Chair, testing for COVID-19 antibodies shows how many people have already had the virus and recovered.

Why doesn't the government want Canadians to know if they've already had the virus?

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

Patty Hajdu Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Chair, I reject the premise of that question. In fact, we're so proud of our academics and scientists here in Canada who have come together to form a serological survey consortium, which is actually going to allow us to have a better understanding of the exposure of COVID-19 in Canada and of Canadians' relative immunity.

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Chair, other G7 countries are testing for COVID-19 antibodies. Why isn't Canada?

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

Patty Hajdu Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Chair, underlying that question may be an indication that the member doesn't understand the most recent science, which is that we don't understand a lot yet about the immunity of COVID-19. We know that people who have been exposed do have some antibodies, but what is unclear as of yet is what kind of immunity that gives them.

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Chair, Canadians want to get safely back to work. Why won't the government allow testing for COVID-19 antibodies so Canadians can get back to work safely? They're using the same tests that are being tested here in other countries and they're being allowed to go back to work in other countries.

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

Patty Hajdu Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Chair, I'm not sure what information the member is pulling from, but I will tell you right now that the question of how we protect people in the workforce is of paramount importance not just to the government, but to the workers, their families and the sectors that employ them. We only have to look at sectors in our own country that have been hard hit. There is no easy answer, but I will tell you that we're working diligently with all sectors to answer that very question.

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Chair, why won't the government waive its 18% tariff on masks until domestic production meets pre-COVID-19 price points?

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mary Ng Liberal Markham—Thornhill, ON

Mr. Chair, I want to thank the honourable member for that really important question.

Canada, along with other like-minded countries, has committed to making sure that our supply chains, particularly for medical equipment and supplies, remain open so that these important supplies get into the hands of our respective governments and people.

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Chair, how many pairs of surgical gloves will be produced daily in Canada as of May 1 of this year?

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Anand Liberal Oakville, ON

Mr. Chair, there are numerous items of PPE being produced in Canada at the current time: reagent, face shields, hand sanitizer, gowns and vents. We have complementary supply chains from international markets as well as domestic markets.

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Chair, are any surgical gloves in production in Canada right now?

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Anand Liberal Oakville, ON

Mr. Chair, as I said, we have complementary supply chains operating at the same time in order to keep Canadian health care workers safe.

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Chair, when does the government expect to have enough surgical gloves for professional health-related practitioners to get back to work?

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Anand Liberal Oakville, ON

Mr. Chair, I can confirm that we have ordered one billion nitrile gloves and we have received over 12 million pairs of such gloves for delivery to front-line health care workers.

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Chair, two government planes returned to Canada from China to get PPE. They returned to Canada empty, yet a telecoms company was able to get 1.5 million masks. Why is that?

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Anand Liberal Oakville, ON

Mr. Chair, I can confirm that we've had 16 flights return to Canada filled with cargo. There was one flight that returned without federal cargo, but the flight did have other cargo on board.

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We now go to Mr. Gourde.

April 29th, 2020 / 1:15 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lévis—Lotbinière, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Yesterday, we learned that in March, the Liberal government gave assurances to parliamentarians that the Canada–U.S.–Mexico Agreement wouldn't come into force until August 1, 2020. We now know that the agreement will come into force on July 1, 2020.

Does the Deputy Prime Minister deny that she gave assurances to parliamentarians about the effective date of the Canada–U.S.–Mexico Agreement?

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

The honourable Deputy Prime Minister has the floor.

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Mr. Chair, the new NAFTA is the result of three years of hard work for all Canadians.

We all came together as a country throughout the negotiations. The result is excellent for Canada, especially since today there are major issues around the global economy and protectionism. This is good news for our country.

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

Mr. Gourde has the floor.

1:15 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lévis—Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Chair, as the Deputy Prime Minister knows, the dairy industry will face significant financial losses if the agreement comes into force on July 1, 2020, rather than August 1, 2020.

Why has this government broken its commitment to August 1 as the effective date of the Canada–U.S.–Mexico Agreement?

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

The honourable Deputy Prime Minister has the floor.

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Mr. Chair, I would like to tell the honourable member and all members here that, in the context of a global economic crisis worse than the Great Depression, the conclusion of a free trade agreement with the United States is an excellent success for Canada.