Evidence of meeting #21 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

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Chair, it's hard not to notice that the only funding that has actually flowed is that which is required for the end of the industry. It has been 78 days since the finance minister said help for the oil and gas sector was on the way in “hours”. Forty-four days ago the Minister of Natural Resources said basically the same thing as today, that the BDC loans for small oil and gas companies would be “rolled out as quickly as possible” but oil and gas reps say that not a single company, not one, has received the promised liquidity through BDC loan guarantees, through EDC or through the methane reduction fund.

Press releases aren't real action and the Liberals aren't helping workers if companies can't or won't get the support they need. What day will the BDC loans actually be open for applications?

Anybody...? This is classic. No one knows.

12:55 p.m.

Liberal

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

No, no. I was just waiting for the acknowledgement from the chair. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I wanted to say, first of all, this is not an end of industry. The inactive orphaned well program is helping thousands of workers in good jobs. This is work that had to occur at some point anyway. We thought it would be a good time to do it now. It helps the environment. It keeps people going as we get through the COVID and financial crisis, and weeks ago we opened applications for the BCAP, the business credit availability program, to support SMEs. They make up 85% of the jobs in their sector.

We've opened applications for measures that will be available to larger players through the LEEFF program. We will continue to work with industry to support workers, and continue to do so to get through this unprecedented challenge.

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Chair, of course, I also support the efforts for the recovery and remediation of orphaned and abandoned wells, because I brought forward a private member's bill that would unlock the private sector to do that, but in fact, as of today, the minister should know that BDC loans are not actually available to small and medium-sized oil and gas producers, and the LEEFF program is so predatory that so far no companies have either applied or will access it.

To help the economy recover, I imagine we would support the private sector. MP Poilievre and I called on the government to work with regulators to expedite assessments for $20 billion in oil and gas projects, but guess what. The Liberals recently chose to delay the Nova Gas expansion, even though it was recommended for approval to cabinet four months ago.

Why are the Liberals again delaying yet another pipeline expansion at the very worst time?

12:55 p.m.

Liberal

Mary Ng Liberal Markham—Thornhill, ON

Mr. Chair, I want to thank the honourable member for that very good question, and I want to share that BDC and EDC have been steadfast in working throughout this pandemic crisis to make sure that the range of lending products we have put out into the marketplace make their way to small and medium-sized businesses, particularly those that are so important throughout Alberta and in the energy sector.

I want to assure the member that BDC and EDC are working steadfastly to ensure that those loans absolutely get out to those small and medium-sized businesses. Nothing is more important to us than helping save those jobs and save those businesses during this very difficult time.

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Chair, the Liberals just keep saying the same thing over and over again, but it isn't actually doing anything in reality. It's like being in a twilight zone. The loans are not actually available for small oil and gas companies, and the Liberals should stop misleading Canadians and letting them down.

At the Hibernia oil platform in Newfoundland and Labrador, it sounds like workers may start getting laid off tomorrow. Some 260 people could lose their jobs. Again, where is the help the government has promised?

12:55 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Chair, I appreciate the honourable member's comment about what is happening here in Canada's offshore. As the honourable member knows, I am here in St. John's. I am fully aware of the challenges that the offshore here is going through. We are working with industry and we are working with the provinces on some unique solutions for the offshore that don't necessarily work for the onshore. There are unique challenges here. Capital is an issue and we intend to find solutions that will work effectively here on the ground.

1 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We'll now continue with Mr. Morantz.

1 p.m.

Conservative

Marty Morantz Conservative Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley, MB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Can the Deputy Prime Minister confirm that the 2.5 million Canadian taxpayers' dollars provided to the WHO and UNICEF for the COVID-19 response in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza is not being sent to organizations or implementing partners with ties to groups listed on Canada's terrorist entity list?

1 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

The honourable minister.

1 p.m.

Burlington Ontario

Liberal

Karina Gould LiberalMinister of International Development

Mr. Chair, let me be very clear that Canada is stepping up on the world stage when it comes to COVID-19, particularly in vulnerable contexts, which the West Bank and Gaza are. We have very strict rules in place when it comes to ensuring and tracing the money that we have.

1 p.m.

Conservative

Marty Morantz Conservative Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley, MB

Mr. Chair, in 2018, GAC provided $1 million to UNICEF for a project with the PFLP-tied NGO, the Union of Health Work Committees. It happened just last year that Canadian funds went to UNICEF, and this has happened in the past.

What oversight mechanisms is the minister referring to that are actually in place to ensure Canadian taxpayers' dollars are not being utilized by such organizations and are being used strictly for COVID-related humanitarian activities? What mechanisms?

1 p.m.

Liberal

Karina Gould Liberal Burlington, ON

Mr. Chair, I will reiterate that all of GAC's programming everywhere in the world is strictly monitored and strictly evaluated. We have very robust mechanisms in place, and I would be happy to have a further conversation with the member.

Additionally, we recognize that we need to support the poorest and the most vulnerable. That is why we provided additional funding to organizations in the West Bank and Gaza and around the world, because we recognize that until everyone everywhere is safe from COVID-19, nobody is safe.

1 p.m.

Conservative

Marty Morantz Conservative Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley, MB

I still don't have an answer, Mr. Chair, as to whether it's happened or not. It happened just last year, and I'd appreciate hearing what specifically the mechanisms are.

Will the Liberal government increase its transparency and publish information regarding organizations' implementing partners and activities receiving Canadian taxpayer dollars for the COVID-19 response in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza? Will they publish that information?

1 p.m.

Liberal

Karina Gould Liberal Burlington, ON

Mr. Chair, that information is available, which is why the member could quote that we have given money to the WHO and to UNICEF. All of GAC program funding is available on our website. If he has further questions, I will be happy to respond to those, but just as it is available to him, so too is it available to all Canadians.

1 p.m.

Conservative

Marty Morantz Conservative Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley, MB

That's simply incorrect, Mr. Chair. Although it is published that the WHO and UNICEF received these monies, the implementing organizations that those organizations provide funds to are not published. The minister should get her facts straight.

Budget 2018 indicated the government's commitment to enhancing transparency in Canada's international assistance programming. Budget 2019 allocated $788 million to international humanitarian assistance.

Can the minister confirm that the Government of Canada is not funding terrorist-related organizations as part of any COVID-19-related international humanitarian assistance?

June 11th, 2020 / 1 p.m.

Liberal

Karina Gould Liberal Burlington, ON

Mr. Chair, I think all members in this House would agree that Canadians play an important role when it comes to humanitarian affairs. For example, the director of the World Food Programme is predicting a doubling of people who are going into food crisis because of COVID-19. Whether it's providing humanitarian assistance through direct food assistance or ensuring that there are medical supplies and capacities, I firmly believe that Canadians think we should be providing this crucial support to the world's most needy and most vulnerable.

As I have said, Global Affairs Canada has strong enforcement and oversight mechanisms. I would be happy to have a further conversation with the member and enable him to speak directly to officials if he would like more details.

1 p.m.

Conservative

Marty Morantz Conservative Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley, MB

Mr. Chair, I look forward to receiving that information as to which implementing organizations are actually receiving Canadian taxpayer funds.

Turning to the CRA, I note in the supplementary estimates that there are zero new dollars requested for CRA. CRA has been a major implementer of the emergency programs. Does CRA have adequate resources to continue implementing the emergency programs or not?

1:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

The honourable minister.

1:05 p.m.

Gaspésie—Les-Îles-de-la-Madeleine Québec

Liberal

Diane Lebouthillier LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Chair, the Canada Revenue Agency's priority is to ensure that emergency response payments are transferred quickly and efficiently to eligible Canadians.

The agency has safeguards in place to ensure that payments are issued appropriately. As with all other benefits administered by the agency, we may undertake audit activities at future dates. If we find that payments were made in error—

1:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We will now continue with Mr. Perron.

1:05 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Perron Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Chair, I will be sharing my time with my colleague, the member for Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix.

Two months ago, to the day, the Bloc Québécois advised the government that it had to assume its responsibilities and manage the quarantine of temporary foreign workers. However, it chose to shirk its responsibilities by promising money, which no one has seen. In addition, the government is asking for a lot of paperwork to get this money.

Does the government realize that it is responsible for the outbreaks we are seeing all over the country?

1:05 p.m.

Compton—Stanstead Québec

Liberal

Marie-Claude Bibeau LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Chair, as we can guess, several ministers are very concerned about this issue, including the Minister of Health, the Minister of Employment, the Minister of Immigration and myself, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. I can assure my colleague that we are all working together, in partnership with local public health authorities, to find the best possible solutions.

We take the situation extremely seriously. Seeing sick workers affects us, and losing some is even more difficult.

1:05 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Perron Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Chair, with all due respect, we are a little tired of being told that the government is working hard. We want concrete answers. That takes leadership. The federal government has offloaded its responsibilities onto agricultural producers, who already have their hands full. Is it going to assume its responsibilities?

One VegPro International farm ended up with 18 cases. It had to incur significant costs, hire a nurse and take distancing measures. The people on the ground are assuming their responsibilities.

Will the government take responsibility and pay the bill?

1:05 p.m.

Liberal

Marie-Claude Bibeau Liberal Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Chair, we take this situation extremely seriously. We are talking about people's health and lives right now. That is why we very quickly put in place, right from the start, a $50-million program to help producers and employers receive foreign workers and to ensure that they had the means to quarantine them for 14 days.

I would like to take this opportunity to point out that those 14 days of isolation are going well. It is often afterwards, during interactions with the community, that there is a risk of—

1:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We'll go back to Mr. Perron.