Evidence of meeting #23 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

Noon

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

I call this meeting to order.

Welcome to the 23rd meeting of the House of Commons Special Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic.

A reminder to all members that in order to avoid issues with sound, members participating in person should not also be connected to the video conference.

For those of you who are joining via video conference, I will remind you that when speaking you should be on the same channel as the language you are speaking, and please use your headsets.

As usual, please direct your remarks through the chair.

As I understand, there are no ministerial announcements today.

We will now proceed to presenting petitions.

I remind members that any petition presented during a meeting of this special committee must have already been certified by the clerk of petitions.

For members participating in person, I ask that they please come and drop their signed certificates off at the table once the petition is presented.

I would ask members to be very brief and concise, and to summarize the exact content of the petition.

We will continue.

The first person presenting a petition today is Ms. May.

Noon

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I present two petitions this morning.

The residents of Saanich—Gulf Islands are calling on the government to simplify the process for protection of marine protected areas. It's a multi-layered communication process. The marine protected area first proposed in the 1970s for the southern Strait of Georgia, now called the Salish Sea, has been awaiting designation for so long that it was originally endorsed by Jacques Cousteau. That gives us a sense for why petitioners are calling for a simplified and more rapid process.

The second petition is from petitioners who are very concerned about our obligations under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and our commitments under the Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls to action. They specifically reference the RCMP violation of UNDRIP in its actions on Wet'suwet'en territory and ask the government to commit to actually living the principles embodied in UNDRIP.

Noon

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We will now go to Mr. Hardie.

Noon

Liberal

Ken Hardie Liberal Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I am presenting a petition on behalf of the one in a million Canadians who suffer severe and adverse effects from vaccinations. Guillain–Barre syndrome is very debilitating, and this petition seeks the setting up of a no-fault accident or compensation system to help offset the loss of work, the loss of wages and the loss of quality of life that many of these people suffer. I'm pleased to present this petition pursuant to Standing Order 36.

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

Mr. Trudel, you have the floor.

June 16th, 2020 / 12:05 p.m.

Bloc

Denis Trudel Bloc Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Chair, culture is the soul of a people. Over the past 20 years or so, culture, especially music, has never been as accessible as it is now. Paradoxically, creators' incomes have never been so low. The advent of digital technology has completely overturned the system for distributing the wealth generated by creators for the benefit of various Web stakeholders, many of whom are billionaires. This petition addresses these problems and proposes realistic solutions.

The first is to set a minimum royalty model for streaming platforms for artists. The second is to update the existing private copying system. The third is for Internet and cell phone providers who sell their services as direct access to culture to share their profits with artists. The fourth is that the GAFAMs have to pay taxes on their services.

Six thousand people have already signed the first version of this petition, launched last month by musician Jordan Officer and supported by singer Barbara Secours.

As an artist, I am proud to present this petition today because the issues it raises are fundamental to the survival of Quebec culture.

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We'll now continue with Mr. Genuis.

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

I have four petitions to present today. I will be as brief as you suggested, although I will observe that if some members are going on longer during petitions than they normally do, it might be because the government has taken away so many of the tools that opposition members normally have for raising important issues in the House.

The first petition deals with the issue of euthanasia and long-term care. The petitioners are concerned that instead of focusing on improving medically assisted life, something that we know is a major issue in light of recent revelations, the government has put so much time and legislative energy into efforts to continually further expand euthanasia in Canada and remove vital safeguards.

The second petition speaks to the ongoing conversations happening in Canada around systemic discrimination and systemic racism. I think we do need to reflect on systemic discrimination. This petition deals specifically with Bill 21 in Quebec and raises concerns. The reality of the way that bill applies is that people from certain backgrounds who wish to practise their faith are not able to fully participate in Canadian society if they are employed in the public service. This petition asks the government to provide a response on that issue, something it hasn't done in response to past petitions on this.

The third petition deals with the issue of firearms. The petitioners want to see the government take a strong response in dealing with illegal guns and gun smuggling. The petition notes that the vast majority of firearms-related crimes in Canada involves illegal guns. At the same time, the petitioners are concerned that the government has the wrong focus—that is, harassing law-abiding firearms owners—without putting in place substantial measures to deal with illegal guns. The petitioners want to see the reversal of the order in council from May 1 and strong measures to deal with illegal firearms.

The fourth and final petition deals with Bill S-204, a bill that would make it a criminal offence for a Canadian to go abroad and receive an organ from a person who has not consented to giving that organ. It would also create a mechanism by which someone could be deemed inadmissible to Canada if they were involved in organ harvesting and trafficking. The petitioners are supportive of Bill S-204 and of similar bills in previous parliaments and would like to see us pass that bill as soon as possible.

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

Presenting petitions, Mr. Lamoureux.

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

It is with pleasure that I table another petition by the residents of Winnipeg North. These residents have signed a petition asking the Government of Canada, and in fact all members of Parliament, to put a high priority on assisting our poorest seniors.

The increases to the GIS by $200, and $300 to the OAS, have been well received. They just want to highlight how important it is to support our seniors, in particular the poorest of our seniors.

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

For members present in the Chamber, a reminder that they are asked to bring their petitions to the table.

We'll now proceed to statements by members.

We'll go to Ms. Atwin for the first one.

12:05 p.m.

Green

Jenica Atwin Green Fredericton, NB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day, a day of acknowledgement and a day of celebration of the beautiful diversity of indigenous peoples across Turtle Island.

I wish to recognize the leadership of Chief Shelley Sabattis of the Welamukotuk First Nation in Oromocto, New Brunswick. Each year she and her council, volunteers and staff go above and beyond to show appreciation for their members and to demonstrate pride and culture while promoting well-being. We gather in an event where all are welcome to take part, from traditional hand drum-making with elders to moose meat and tacos.

This year we will celebrate a bit differently, but we will still stay connected, virtually and in spirit, to the vast network of indigenous peoples and allies. We need each other now more than ever. May we come together in song and stories and in solidarity. We will remember those who are not among us.

I hope all of Canada will join us in observing National Indigenous Peoples Day.

Mawiyapasuwok: let us come together. Nit liech.

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We'll now go to Mr. Beech.

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Terry Beech Liberal Burnaby North—Seymour, BC

Mr. Chair, COVID-19 is an unprecedented challenge for all communities across Canada, but as we do our part to flatten the curve, I often think about those who suit up every morning to serve on the front lines of our health care system. My mother is a home care worker and my sister is a nurse. Even before the crisis, they would often share the hardships they faced on a day-to-day basis. It's a tough job at the best of times. In a pandemic, these jobs are life-threatening.

I think we can all agree that these workers deserve more than our good wishes. They deserve a raise. That is why we have worked with the provinces to implement pandemic pay. In British Columbia more than 250,000 front-line workers are eligible for this program. That works out to a pay increase of about $4 an hour. It's a small show of our appreciation for their difficult and priceless contribution to our country.

Share this message and say thanks to our front-line workers, participate in the 7 p.m. cheer, and order a pizza for your local nurses. It's the least we can do.

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We'll now go on to Mr. Shipley.

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Doug Shipley Conservative Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

We've been living in difficult times. Slowly, we are getting back to some resemblance of normalcy, although unfortunately not soon enough for some of our great summer festivals. It will not be normal in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte this summer without the iconic Boots and Hearts weekend music festival, Kempenfest, Oro World's Fair, the Elmvale Fall Fair, or the Midhurst Autumnfest. Canada Day celebrations have been cancelled, but we can still celebrate the great nation we call home.

Because of the lack of Canada Day celebrations, I've created Happy Canada Day lawn signs that are available through my constituency office, free to all residents of Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte. I'm also hosting a drive-through party on Canada Day at the Royal Canadian Legion on St. Vincent Street in Barrie. All are welcome to attend. There will be cupcakes for all. Please drop by the legion between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and we can celebrate Canada Day safely together.

Thank you and have a great summer.

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

Now we'll go on to Ms. Young.

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Kate Young Liberal London West, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Among the countless ordinary Canadians who have stepped up to do extraordinary work during COVID-19, I wish to draw attention to our teachers. Teachers have always had a special place in my heart. My father was a teacher, and my daughter-in-law, Kelly Webb, is one now. I'm certain that my colleagues can all easily remember a teacher in their past who played an important role in helping them achieve their potential. I remember my grade 12 English teacher, Vince Weaver, at Westminster Secondary School in London. He made me realize that I could do so much more than I believed.

Across the country, as schools closed, teachers did not stop their work. Some took their classes online. Others found innovative ways to continue engaging with their students. This is not the school year anyone imagined, and what the next one will look like is unclear, but our teachers in London West and across Canada have shown that no matter what, they will be there to help our next generation shine.

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

Before proceeding to the next presenter, I just want to remind the honourable members in the chamber that I realize that the six-foot limit makes it harder to whisper to each other, but we're hearing a bit of rumble, so I just want you to try to whisper at your best.

Mr. Bergeron, you have the floor.

12:10 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Montarville, QC

Mr. Chair, on July 1st, we will be celebrating one of the most important events for the riding of Montarville: the 175th anniversary of the city of Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville. The theme “Proud of our traditions” will be the focus of this celebration for the people of Montarville. This is a good illustration of the rich history of this municipality nestled in the western foothills of Mont-Saint-Bruno.

The seigneury of Montarville was granted in 1710 to the illustrious former governor of Trois-Rivières, Pierre Boucher. The parish of Saint-Bruno, which took root there and in which a village grew, became a municipal corporation in 1845. To this day, it is one of the most prosperous localities, with a strong sense of belonging, a very dynamic community life and jealously preserved natural environments.

A whole program had been drawn up for the celebration, but the current health crisis has taken over some of the planned activities, which has in no way diminished the pride and festive spirit of the people of Montarville. On July 1st, we will have a good reason to be proud, in spite of everything.

Happy 175th anniversary to Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville.

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We'll now continue with Mr. Maloney.

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

James Maloney Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Chair, thank you for allowing me to take a moment to highlight an initiative that I started early on during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Heroes of Etobicoke—Lakeshore is an opportunity for citizens in my riding to recognize the contributions of those in their community who make life a bit easier. I'm pleased with the number of nominations I received that honour everyone from front-line workers to businesses that are innovating in these difficult times to volunteers who are finding new ways to reach out.

I think of Daniel Lauzon who set up Food for Now, a mobile service that helps take care of the homeless. I think of Toni Varone, who helped his business clients by forgiving their rents, or young Lucas, who wanted to thank his teachers. I've been moved and inspired by the countless stories of generosity, strength, resiliency, kindness, incredible character and creativity. I want to thank all the heroes, as well as the people who nominated them. Keep them coming.

Stay safe, everyone, and I wish you happy Canada Day early.

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We'll now move on to Ms. Wong.

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Alice Wong Conservative Richmond Centre, BC

Mr. Chair, it gives me great pleasure to thank a local Richmond-based charity, the Social Diversity for Children Foundation, SDC, for its hard work both in raising funds for the purchase of personal protective equipment and in distributing this PPE to long-term care facilities and individual seniors' homes in the lower mainland of B.C.

The COVID-19 relief fund is supported by a dozen other non-profits, businesses and community groups. Over the past two months, SDC has been to 32 seniors homes and senior-related organizations. In total, it has delivered masks to 7,000 care workers, staff and seniors. It is amazing to have witnessed how the younger generation have gotten involved in caring for the elderly at this very challenging time.

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We'll now go to Ms. Damoff.