Evidence of meeting #20 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

1:25 p.m.

NDP

Lindsay Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

The government doesn't seem to understand that this is not universal child care.

During COVID-19, women have lost the majority of jobs, and they have taken on the majority of additional child care responsibilities. Canadian women want and need to return to work, but this government doesn't understand that without affordable child care, they simply cannot re-enter the workforce.

For 26 years, Liberal governments have been promising, but failing to deliver, a universal child care program. Parents are paying the price. How much longer do parents have to wait?

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

Ahmed Hussen Liberal York South—Weston, ON

Madam Chair, I want to thank the honourable member for the important question.

Since 2015, we have created 40,000 affordable, accessible, quality child care spaces across the country. We are on track to continue to invest $7.5 billion over 11 years to create additional child care spaces and support provinces and territories. We're constantly in touch with our counterparts to work to strengthen that sector. We are also keeping our promise and our commitment to create an additional 250,000 spaces.

We will be there for parents as they get back to work, and we will continue to reinforce the early learning and child care sector.

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

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

You have time for a very short question, Ms. Mathyssen.

1:25 p.m.

NDP

Lindsay Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Without universal child care, we are crippling our economy. We are not providing an affordable system, and this stops women from returning to work. Instead of helping parents return to work, the government is now bringing forward legislation that's penalizing them.

Why is the government looking to sentence mothers and fathers to jail time and large fines when they cannot find the child care that—

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

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

The honourable minister has time for a short answer.

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

Ahmed Hussen Liberal York South—Weston, ON

We are committed to the early learning and child care sector. We will move forward with the creation of an early learning and child care secretariat. We will continue to invest in this sector. We recognize its importance.

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

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

Now we will go to Mr. Angus.

June 10th, 2020 / 1:25 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Thank you, Madam Chair. It's an honour to be here, and I'm hoping that you and your family stay safe at this time.

COVID has shaken up Canada's middle class, so my question is for the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity.

This morning I spoke with a businesswoman. She runs her own business, a travel agency, but because of COVID she has been wiped out. She's on CERB, and it's ticking down. There's no work to go back to, so in four weeks she hits the economic wall.

Will the minister fight for an extension of CERB so this woman can stay in the middle class?

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

Carla Qualtrough Liberal Delta, BC

Madam Chair, we know how worried Canadians are as they see their final four-week period of the CERB approaching, and we're working very hard to ensure that the CERB continues to serve an important purpose as we move into economic recovery.

I'll note that when we created the CERB, there was a different purpose in mind. We were asking people to stay home. Now we're asking people to go back to work if it's safe for them to do so.

We're going to make sure that the wage subsidy and the CERB complement each other. In fact, the measures in today's legislation will help us to get the flexibility to be able to do just that.

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

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

We did give you a little more time.

We will go to Mr. Angus.

1:30 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Thank you for that.

What I've seen with their legislation today is that they're talking about jailing people. We need a Minister of Middle Class Prosperity in a time of middle-class disparity, and she has talked about middle-class criminality.

Let's talk about this again, about people going back to work. I spoke with a 51-year-old bartender. He's a professional; this is his job. There is no job to go back to.

Will the minister assure us that this man will be able to stay in the middle class because the CERB will still be there in July, yes or no?

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Mona Fortier Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Madam Chair, since the beginning of the crisis, we've been helping Canadians by putting programs in place.

We will continue to support families during the crisis, and afterwards as well.

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Angus, you have time for a very short comment or question.

1:30 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

The issue here is that when COVID hit, millions of Canadians were living in such precarious working conditions that they didn't even have enough money to pay their rent. That is a damning indictment.

In four weeks, those Canadians are going to hit the economic wall again. What I need to know from the minister, and what Canadians need to know, is whether she will commit, yes or no, that the CERB will be there for those who have no work to go back to.

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

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

The honourable minister may give a very short answer.

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Mona Fortier Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Madam Chair, since the beginning of the crisis, we have been helping families with a supplement to the Canada child benefit. We have put in place the Canada emergency response benefit.

We will continue to find ways to support Canadian families during this crisis.

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

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

We will go to Mr. Cooper.

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Thank you, Madam Chair.

It was all the way back on March 25 that the Minister of Finance stated that help for the energy sector was coming within hours, possibly days.

Well, as it turns out, it hasn't been hours. It hasn't been days. It hasn't even been weeks. Indeed, months later, help has yet to arrive. Seventy-seven days after the minister made that statement, not a single energy company has received financing under EDC, the BDC, or the LEEFF program.

As the energy sector faces an unprecedented liquidity crisis, how can this government possibly justify such a delay?

1:30 p.m.

St. John's South—Mount Pearl Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Seamus O'Regan LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Madam Chair, weeks ago we opened applications through the business credit availability program to support the small and medium-sized players that make up 85% of the jobs in our sector. We've also opened applications for measures that will be available to our larger players through our LEEFF program.

We will continue to work with industry. We will continue to support workers, and we will continue to do so to get through this unprecedented challenge.

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Madam Chair, on June 2, the vice-president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said, “The entire industry is frustrated with the delay that we are facing.”

The Saskatchewan Minister of Energy and Resources has spoken about a gaping hole that exists in terms of support for the energy sector. The gaping hole that I'm speaking of is the EDC and BDC programs that this government has failed to deliver upon. Indeed, it was on April 17 that those programs were announced, and 54 days later, not only has not a single energy company received financing, but guess what? They can't even apply, and the eligibility criteria have yet to be finalized after 54 days. If that is not failing to deliver for the energy sector, what is?

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Seamus O'Regan Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Madam Chair, the Business Council of Alberta has said that the LEEFF program is a positive development showing that the federal government recognizes the needs and value of Canada's large corporations. We agree. It is essential that we support our oil and gas sector as it suffers through two crises: the impacts of COVID and the effects of a global price war initiated by Russia and Saudi Arabia. That's why, weeks ago, we opened applications for liquidity measures to support the small and medium-sized players that make up 85% of the jobs in our sector. We also announced liquidity made available to our larger players through the LEEFF program. We will continue to work with industry to make sure these programs are effective.

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Madam Chair, contrary to the representations of the minister, neither the EDC program nor BDC programs are accepting applications. Just yesterday officials from both BDC and EDC were before the finance committee, where I posed precisely those questions to them.

We know, Madam Chair, that the application process isn't up and running and that eligibility criteria remain to be determined, but I guess this government has some good news for the energy sector after 77 days. Now energy sector companies can go on the BDC website and apply for email updates.

Is that the kind of help the Minister of Finance had in mind after 77 days: email updates instead of real relief for the energy sector?

1:35 p.m.

Liberal

Seamus O'Regan Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Madam Chair, the Alberta finance minister, Travis Toews, said in a LEEFF announcement that in combination with earlier measures for small and medium-sized companies, it represented an expression of confidence in our industries.

It is essential that we support our oil and gas sector as it suffers through these two crises—as I said, the impact of COVID, and then on top of that, the effect of a global price war.

We opened up applications for liquidity measures as the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers asked. Their top five asks were all liquidity.

We supported small and medium-sized players essential to the supply chain, who make up 85% of the jobs in that sector, and then we announced liquidity made available to our larger players through the LEEFF program. We will continue to work with industry and—

1:35 p.m.

Liberal

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

I now have to interrupt for a few moments to allow our technicians to change places.

With that done, Monsieur Martel, you may now go ahead..

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

Richard Martel Conservative Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Madam Chair, there has recently been positive progress in André Gauthier's case, and I'd like to take the opportunity to thank the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Deputy Prime Minister for their co-operation in this matter. However, Mr. Gauthier is currently on his own in the United Arab Emirates, without a passport, waiting to settle civil lawsuits.

What services does the minister intend to provide to help him, and when does he plan to repatriate André Gauthier to Canada?