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

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Liberal Papineau, QC

Mr. Chair, first off, on the issue of Parliament, it has been meeting four times a week over the past many weeks, and members of the opposition have been able to continue to ask questions on COVID-19 and a broad range of subjects. Moreover, every two weeks the finance department puts forward at the finance committee the full transparent measures that we've taken, so that parliamentarians can study them. We are continuing to work in this crisis.

At the same time—

June 16th, 2020 / 12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Ziad Aboultaif Conservative Edmonton Manning, AB

Answer the question.

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

I'm sorry?

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Liberal Papineau, QC

—in regard to Huawei technology there are strict rules for companies to follow and we assume they will all follow those.

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We'll pause for a second and stop the clock.

I want to remind the honourable members who are joining us virtually that heckling really does disrupt the whole session. Your face does come up and we do see who it is, so I just want to make sure that you're aware of that.

Now we'll go back to Mr. Scheer. We have a minute and 10 seconds left.

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Andrew Scheer Conservative Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Chair, the Prime Minister is bragging about accountability and transparency. Will he table an economic update before the House rises?

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Liberal Papineau, QC

Mr. Chair, throughout this unprecedented pandemic, we have been open and transparent about all of the measures we've put forward. We've updated the finance committee—

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We'll go back to Mr. Scheer.

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Andrew Scheer Conservative Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

That's a long way of saying no, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Chair, the Prime Minister has pursued a policy of appeasement in pursuit of a personal vanity product at the UN. In the process, he's cozied up to dictators and human rights violators. He's abandoned Israel and committed funding to UNRWA, an organization whose schools have been used as storage facilities for Hamas rockets against Israeli civilians, and whose facilities have served as breeding grounds for racism and anti-Semitism. He has apologized for the Iranian regime when it shot down a plane full of Canadian citizens, and he refuses to list the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist entity.

What's the point of having a seat at the table if you have to sell out Canadian principles to get there?

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

The Right Honourable Prime Minister.

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Liberal Papineau, QC

Mr. Chair, we see that the Conservatives have kept with the Harper approach to international diplomacy. The failed presence of Canada on the world stage was an embarrassment for many Canadians for many years. That's why, when we took office five years ago, we demonstrated the kind of leadership on values that Canadians expected. We will continue to work around the world to defend multilateralism.

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We have a point of order.

Ms. May.

12:30 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

This being a committee, we can have a point of order during what would have been question period. I am not sitting that far away from the Prime Minister, and I'm sorry, but Andrew Scheer used to be the Speaker of the House and should show better decorum.

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We have a point of order from Mr. Genuis.

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Chair, on the same point of order, it is disgusting for the leader of the Green Party to use decorum as an excuse to interrupt the Leader of the Opposition in the middle of critical lines of questioning. The leader of the Green Party knows the rules of the House and shouldn't be abusing them to advance a partisan agenda.

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We're getting into debate. I do want to point out that the time had run out. We're now moving on to the next line of questions.

On a point of order, Mr. Scheer.

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Andrew Scheer Conservative Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

I appreciate the honourable leader of the Green Party, Elizabeth May, for that reminder. When I was Speaker I always appreciated her help and advice about how to improve decorum in here. I just want to say to the member, and to all members, that the reason that I cannot control myself is that the Prime Minister used the word “embarrassment” in answering a foreign affairs question, and it just made me think of the India trip.

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

I believe we're getting into debate and arguments.

Mr. Blanchet, you have the floor.

12:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yves-François Blanchet Bloc Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Mr. Chair, while the Greens and the Conservatives are saying that they'll be waiting outside after the meeting, I will ask a question. The Prime Minister has extended the Canada emergency response benefit, and that's good news, but it's not enough.

Last week in the House, the government said it was urgent to fight fraud. For us, it was also urgent to adjust the CERB to the needs of the tourism, arts and agriculture sectors. Farmers are going to be seriously under-resourced.

So what happened to the urgency of reforming the CERB? Why is the government refusing to talk to the opposition parties?

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Liberal Papineau, QC

Mr. Chair, I am very pleased to hear the hon. member finally align himself with the positions of the Liberal Party. Unfortunately, the Bloc is a week late. It should have let us debate these concerns in the House last week.

12:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yves-François Blanchet Bloc Beloeil—Chambly, QC

It seems to me that the word “alignment” here is a fantasy. We have unequivocally proposed to extend the debate to reach an agreement, which brings me to my second question.

Last week, the issue of assistance to people with disabilities was also a pressing concern, and it's even more so a week later. The Bloc proposed to extend the discussions and split the government's bill in two to help people with disabilities.

Why is the government refusing this assistance to people with disabilities, when it could have been debated with the opposition in a civilized and proper way in a Parliament in which it has a minority?

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Liberal Papineau, QC

That was exactly what we wanted, but unanimous consent of the Chamber was required to debate this matter, and the Conservative Party of Canada voted against it.

Unfortunately, we are going to have to find a different way to help people with disabilities.

12:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yves-François Blanchet Bloc Beloeil—Chambly, QC

If the idea is so good and wonderful, why not start over and open the dialogue now? What's stopping the Prime Minister from being a rallying point and inviting us to take to each other and resolve the problem, rather than saying that he is going to pack up his toys and go home? The people with disabilities are the ones who will pay the price.

Where was the Prime Minister on October 21, 2019? He received a minority mandate from Quebeckers and Canadians. Why is he behaving like something between a prime minister with a majority and a monarch by divine right?

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Liberal Papineau, QC

I've heard the Conservative Party and the Bloc Québécois throw their accusations around.

They don't point out that the House of Commons did indeed give its consent to extend the mandate of the Special Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic until the end of June. Three parties agreed, which was the right thing to do in the context of this minority government.

We've been working with the other parties. However, as they did not get the results they wanted, they complained. Unfortunately, they too are part of a minority Parliament and must respect the voice of the majority of parliamentarians, just as we do.

12:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yves-François Blanchet Bloc Beloeil—Chambly, QC

I might have been tempted, but that's unlikely to happen because the Prime Minister isn't me, he's him. It's therefore up to him to bring people together, open a dialogue and recall Parliament. All we were asking for was the opportunity to talk for an hour or two.

However, suddenly he doesn't want to play anymore. It's not working anymore, and there's something a bit strange about that. In addition, the government wants to buy the right to interfere in provincial and Quebec jurisdictions for $14 billion. However, Quebec and a number of provinces are refusing to allow it to interfere in their jurisdictions and are asking that this money be paid to them unconditionally.

Is the Prime Minister trying to take advantage of the crisis or is he trying to create a constitutional crisis?