Evidence of meeting #24 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 24th meeting of the Special Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic.

As a reminder to all members, in order to avoid audio issues, members participating in person should not also be connected to the video conference.

For those joining via video conference, I would like to remind you that when speaking, you should be on the same channel as the language you are speaking.

As usual, please direct your remarks through the chair, and I emphasize “as usual”, please.

We don't have any ministerial announcements today. We will proceed to tabling of documents.

The hon. Minister of National Revenue has the floor.

Noon

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

Liberal

Diane Lebouthillier LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Chair, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I have the honour to table in both official languages the 2019-2020 annual report of the Office of the Taxpayers' Ombudsman, entitled “Transformation through Disruption”.

Noon

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We will now proceed to presenting petitions.

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

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

I remind all members to be as concise as possible, especially today as we have a large number of petitions with only 15 minutes to get through them, and we don't want to cut anyone off.

We'll start off with Ms. Fry.

Noon

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I present a petition that has been signed by 4,147 persons. It reads:

We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the House of Commons in Parliament assembled to use our tax dollars to foster a more pluralistic Canadian news media by providing subsidies only to Canadian-owned publications, as a free and diverse press is essential to a healthy democracy.

The petition references five separate reports that have been made, one by a royal commission and the others by Senate and House of Commons parliamentary committees.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Noon

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We'll now go on to Mr. Genuis.

Noon

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I have two petitions to present today. The first is with respect to Bill S-204, a bill in the Senate that would make it a criminal offence for a person to go abroad and receive an organ without consent from the donor. Petitioners are supportive of that bill and hope we will be able to get it passed in this Parliament.

The second petition deals with the issue of firearms in Canada. Petitioners highlight the fact that virtually all gun crime, including the recent terrible shooting in Nova Scotia, involves illegal firearms used by those who are not eligible to possess them. Petitioners call on the government therefore to take strong action on the issue of illegal firearms, and at the same time not to be targeting law-abiding citizens with additional red tape and confiscations that are not at all addressed to the real problems of gun crime that we face.

Petitioners also ask that the government ensure that future changes to firearms policy be made through Parliament, through the people's elected representatives, and not by the government acting unilaterally outside of Parliament, this in order to ensure proper oversight and accountability.

Noon

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We'll go now to Ms. May.

Noon

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I rise to present two petitions today. The first deals with the issue of oil tankers on the west coast of Canada. Petitioners call on the government to establish a permanent ban on the entire west coast to protect British Columbia's fishery and tourism and coastal communities.

The second petition, which is somewhat dated, obviously, urges the Government of Canada not to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline, which is described as a pipeline that is old and likely to leak, as it just did.

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

Mr. Boulerice has the floor.

12:05 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I am presenting two petitions. The first, which has been signed by over 1,000 people, points out that artists, artisans and technicians are at the heart of our cultural industry. These jobs, which are already precarious, have been hard hit by the current pandemic-related crisis. They expect to receive financial support. Pilot projects on guaranteed income, particularly in Finland, show all the benefits this can bring. These people are therefore asking that a guaranteed minimum income be granted to people in the cultural field and, subsequently, if possible, to all Quebeckers and Canadians.

My second petition has been signed by over 2,800 people. It is recognized that many refugee protection claimants registered and worked during the crisis in our health care system, particularly in long-term care facilities, and that they also performed other essential tasks. These 2,800 people are asking that the status of these asylum seekers be regularized. These people are asking that at least permanent resident status be granted to these claimants in recognition of all the work they have done here in caring for our seniors and patients, among others. Their goal is for these claimants to be able to continue their lives in Quebec and Canada.

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We'll now go to Mr. Erskine-Smith.

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Thanks, Mr. Chair.

Through e-petition 2410, thousands of Canadians have drawn attention to the cruelty of the transport of horses for slaughter and human consumption.

The petitioners draw attention to videos that show the cruelty to these beautiful and intelligent creatures being transported in crates that are not designed for their size for 10 to 13 hours, with no access to food and water, in violation of our laws and in violation of the rules of the International Air Transport Association. They call on the government to halt air shipments of horses exported for human consumption, due to the ongoing violation of Canadian and IATA regs.

Thanks are owed to Shelley Grainger, Jann Arden and all the Canadians who supported this petition.

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We'll go to Mr. Vis.

June 17th, 2020 / 12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Brad Vis Conservative Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon, BC

Mr. Chair, constituents in my riding of Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon call on the federal government to address the infrastructure deficit constricting traffic on the Trans-Canada Highway in the Lower Mainland.

They highlight the impacts of this very real strain on commuters and our economy. In fact, on my way to the airport to get here, despite COVID-19 reducing traffic volumes, I still hit a bottleneck at the the Mount Lehman interchange. Petitioners call on the government to commit to the expansion of the Trans-Canada Highway through Abbotsford and beyond.

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We'll now go to Ms. Wagantall.

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Cathay Wagantall Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Thank you, Chair.

I am presenting three petitions today and have been asked by those who have signed these to make it clear that their expectation was that they would be presented to the House of Parliament, not to a committee, and through the Speaker of the House, not a chair.

In that regard, I am very disappointed that our private members' bills are being impacted by the hijacking of our Parliament.

They've indicated that sex-selection abortion is legal, as Canada has no legal restrictions on abortion. Sex-selective abortion is antithetical to our commitment to equality between men and women. A 2019 DART & maru/Blue poll conducted for the National Post showed that 84% of Canadians believe it should be illegal to have an abortion if the family does not want the child to be a certain sex.

International organizations, including the World Health Organization, United Nations Women and the United Nations Children Fund have identified unequal sex ratios at birth as a growing problem internationally; however, Canada's health care professionals have also recognized sex selection as a problem here in Canada.

Therefore we, the undersigned citizens of Canada, call upon the House of Commons to pass a criminal code prohibition of sex-selection abortion.

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We are continuing with Mr. Bergeron.

12:05 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Montarville, QC

Mr. Chair, I have the pleasure of presenting a petition signed by 928 citizens from the south shore of Montreal.

Considering the various nuisances resulting, day and night, from the operations of the Saint-Hubert airport for the surrounding populations, the signatories ask the Government of Canada to take the concrete actions deemed necessary so that the flight zone, corridors and air ingress and egress are limited above residential neighbourhoods for all types of aircraft.

They are asking that the Saint-Hubert airport regulate all its activities in order to ensure health and safety: curfew, schedule, frequency, altitude and flights, and noise abatement measures.

They are asking that the airport authority be subject to full impact studies and public hearings for any changes that could have an impact on the quality of life, health and safety of citizens.

They are asking for an independent, accountable committee made up of representatives of the cities concerned, non-partisan citizens and invited experts to be set up to manage the nuisance arising from airport activities.

Finally, they are asking that the airport be returned to the jurisdiction of the greater Longueuil community, and that it assume management control by appointing a majority of members to the board of directors.

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We'll now go on to Mr. Manly.

12:10 p.m.

Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

It's a pleasure and an honour today to present a petition for the constituents of Nanaimo—Ladysmith. This one is in relation to the southern and northern resident killer whales, which have been declared a threatened and endangered species under Canada's Species at Risk Act.

The petitioners are asking Parliament to strengthen the killer whale recovery plan, which is required under the Species at Risk Act and administered by Parks Canada, by legally requiring a reduction in underwater noise from commercial, recreational, and transport vessels; limiting the amount of tanker and freighter traffic in the Salish Sea east and south of Vancouver Island; placing a moratorium on chinook, herring, sport, commercial and native fisheries until stocks rebuild; and legally requiring electronic chip identifiers in, and mandatory recovery of, lost fishing gear drifting in the ocean.

Thank you.

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We'll now go on to Mr. Johns.

12:10 p.m.

NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Chair, it's an honour to table a petition, e-petition 2342, which was supported by 5,878 petitioners.

They cite that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has announced that the Pacific herring population dropped by nearly a third between 2016 and 2019. The unexpected drop in the herring population has resulted in unexpected overfishing of existing stock.

Pacific herring is the basis of the food web that supports salmon, killer and humpback whales, cod, halibut, sea birds, and the independent species on the Pacific coast.

They cite that first nations have constitutionally protected rights to herring, which are an important food source and an integral part of first nations culture.

They call upon the government to suspend the 2020 fishery, which has passed; to fairly compensate fishers for any economic losses—so they're looking to the future—and to ensure that decisions are made with full participation of first nations and local communities, which hasn't happened, Mr. Chair.

Thank you.

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

Seeing no further petitions, we will now proceed to statements by members.

We'll start with Mr. Lamoureux.

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day. Think about the many wonderful contributions to who we are today as a nation from first nations, Inuit and the Métis nation. They all have their own distinct heritage, language and cultural practices, Mr. Chair.

Canada's diversity is, in fact, our strength. In co-operation with indigenous organizations, the Government of Canada chose June 21 back in 1996, working with many different stakeholders.

On June 21, join me and others from all over Canada in recognizing the many contributions that first nations, Inuit and the Métis nation have made to the very fabric of our society. Truth and reconciliation are important to me, as I know they are for all members of this House, and I believe June 21 helps us all have a better understanding of what truth and reconciliation are all about. I would ask all Canadians to participate in activities on June 21.

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

Mr. Steinley is next.