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

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Warren Steinley Conservative Regina—Lewvan, SK

This is a very special time of year for many students in my Regina—Lewvan riding and across Canada.

To all who are graduating from high school, convocating at university, completing your trade certificate, celebrating the end of grade eight and, yes, even to our little kindergarten graduates, congratulations. These milestones are something to be celebrated. Even though most commencement ceremonies are not currently possible due to limitations on gatherings, this year's graduates need to be and should be recognized. They have been through a lot over the past three months.

I want to take this opportunity today to acknowledge both their accomplishments and their sacrifices. The class of 2020 is just one of many groups in this country that have put their own desires to the side so that we can follow through on our mission to end the spread of COVID-19.

The selflessness, maturity and leadership shown, especially by our grade 12 grads, have been nothing short of admirable.

Congratulations to all classes of 2020 graduates. We are very excited to see what the future holds for you all.

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We will go now to Mr. Erskine-Smith.

June 17th, 2020 / 12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Chair, widespread mask use will dramatically reduce the spread of COVID-19. I quote the CEO of our local Michael Garron Hospital, Sarah Downey, who said that they hope to put a mask on everyone in east Toronto.

We're lucky in the east end to have Michael Garron's team. They opened one of Ontario's first COVID assessment centres, they delivered a mobile assessment centre into Crescent Town to hunt the virus down, and they led a community campaign that put an army of people to work sewing thousands of cloth masks. It's a credit to Michael Garron's leadership and an even bigger credit to every person who has sewn a mask for the campaign.

My local constituency office is helping to distribute these masks, but I want to highlight the work of the Toronto Beaches Lions Club, which is in its 85th year, and particularly the work of Lion Nick Trainos, who has delivered thousands of masks himself.

We all have a role to play in tackling this health crisis. Whether we're in line at the grocery store or riding public transit, at any time when we're out in public and might be near someone else, we need to wear a mask. If you live in Beaches East York, we'll mail you a cloth mask for free through out website at beynate.ca.

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

Ms. Bérubé has the floor.

12:15 p.m.

Bloc

Sylvie Bérubé Bloc Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Today, I am pleased to be the voice of Édith Cloutier, director of the Val-d'Or Native Friendship Centre. Whether we are talking about Abitibi, Harricana, Kinojévis, Témiscamingue, Nottaway, Kipawa, Chicobi, the Collines Kékéko or the community of Obaska, the Anishinabe heritage is a source of pride for everyone. As it does every year, the Val-d'Or Native Friendship Centre celebrates National Indigenous Peoples Day.

The Friendship Centre is part of a vast indigenous movement in the cities. In Quebec, the movement is celebrating 50 years of friendship. There are 13 centres at the heart of a social transformation and of a bridge between peoples that open the door to the discovery of a cultural richness that is both so close and largely unknown.

Friendship centres have thousands of members of the first peoples who contribute to Canada's cities and invite people to share their knowledge and traditions. Friendship centres are motivated by the desire to bring people together around a social, cultural and community ideal, are encouraged by the quality of the ties forged and are determined to build a more just, inclusive and egalitarian society for all.

I wish everyone a happy National Aboriginal Day on June 21.

12:15 p.m.

Bloc

Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Chair, I don't know if I'm the only one to have had this problem, but Ms. Bérubé's video cut out a few times.

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

Did anyone else have this problem?

12:15 p.m.

A voice

It cut out a few times.

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We'll check it out.

We'll continue with Mr. Zuberi.

Can you hear me, Mr. Zuberi?

I understand he's having some camera issues, so we'll skip over and come back to him. We'll go to Mr. Falk.

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Falk Conservative Provencher, MB

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Last week I posed a question to the Liberal House leader, who tried his best not to answer any questions on behalf of the Prime Minister. I asked if the Prime Minister really believes that Parliament works best when elected officials hold government to account. Why did he shut down Parliament for months on end? The response was lots of words, but no answers.

During this time of COVID-19, Prime Minister Trudeau told Canadians to go home and stay home. I asked Minister Rodriguez if the Prime Minister really said that. It was a simple question. That question too was met with no answers.

Finally, I followed up with “Did the Prime Minister disregard not only provincial regulations but his own directives when he crossed provincial boundaries for his weekend trip to the Quebec cottage?” Again there were lots of words, but no answers.

Canadians are tired of all these nonsensical responses. Mr. Chairman, the non-answers that Canadians are receiving from Liberals expose the Prime Minister's blatant disregard for truth and transparency. It's no wonder that Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government won't let Parliament sit.

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We are now continuing with Mr. Robillard.

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Yves Robillard Liberal Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Chair, the exceptional circumstances we are currently experiencing are difficult for everyone. I would therefore like to take this opportunity to send a message of hope and encouragement to my constituents in Laval, and more specifically to all our seniors.

I want them to know that our government has been working tirelessly since the beginning of the crisis to ensure the financial security of all Canadians, especially our seniors.

In fact, just recently, our Prime Minister announced tax-free financial assistance of up to $500. This assistance will be paid to all seniors during the week of July 6. This is in addition to the many previous measures already announced to support seniors.

I'm asking seniors not to lose hope and to stay strong. We are here for them.

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

Mr. Zuberi, you have the floor.

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Sameer Zuberi Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Chairman, I'd like to recognize Ms. Terry Aitken, who recently retired as a program coordinator at Volunteer West Island, a non-profit organization that recruits, trains and refers volunteers to give back to the community. Over the past decade, Ms. Aitken has coordinated volunteers and programs to help prevent social isolation among seniors and help maintain their autonomy.

Thanks to Ms. Aitken, my office, as well as those of previous members of Parliament from Pierrefonds—Dollard, has been able to serve low-income households through an annual income tax return service. Our tax clinic lets people file taxes at no cost.

Barbara, a senior citizen, is one of those who accessed our service, and in Barbara's words, “I worked all my life as a single mom raising two children, but in retirement my income is modest. I'm really grateful to people like Terry, who give back.”

Despite offices being closed because of COVID-19, Ms. Aitken and my staff work to continue to maintain our tax clinic. On behalf of the constituents of Pierrefonds—Dollard, I want to extend my warmest congratulations to Ms. Aitken for her years of service, and to Barbara, who makes our work meaningful.

Thank you.

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

Mr. McKinnon is next.

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ron McKinnon Liberal Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Today I highlight local residents Carli Travers and Robert Burungi for their efforts spanning over a decade in creating and operating a school, Abetavu, in Uganda, funded by donations from fellow Canadians. Through Abetavu, they care for hundreds of vulnerable children and work to raise the larger community out of poverty. They also share their passions for helping others right here in Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam.

In the past year, however, while giving their time in free soccer clinics to our local kids, they were confronted with drive-by racial slurs. I celebrate Carli and Robert for their courage in facing down this offensive behaviour, and I appreciate the local leaders and the broader community who stepped up to denounce these hateful acts.

This is a daily reality for far too many Canadians, however. Racism and systemic discrimination continue to exist in our society. We must all step up as allies.

Thank you, Robert and Carli, for your commitment to the well-being of our community and that of our fellow humans.

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

Mr. Berthold has the floor.

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

I want to say a few words to all young Canadians.

We haven't forgotten about you. The pandemic has cost you dearly in experiences, relationships and friendships. Classes are being held at home, sports activities have been cancelled. There are no group get-togethers, no grad, no after-grad parties. I'll admit that celebrating coming of age in your parents' backyard is not the most cool.

While we old people talk about the pandemic, CERB, the deficit and economic recovery, you young people are developing your talents on TikTok and following influencers on Instagram and YouTube. Exchanging news on Snapchat is becoming the norm.

Do you remember the last time your parents told you to put down your cell phone and that you didn't have a life because you were always in front of your computer screen? That must have been in March, before the damn virus descended on us.

My grandparents' generation lived through World War II. My parents' generation experienced the post-war recovery. My generation didn't really have a hard time. You will be the young people of the COVID-19 pandemic. You are the future of this country. I have confidence in your ability to rise above these challenges. The future is technological, digital and global, and you are the best at it. With you, Canada will be in good hands.

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

Mr. Iacono has the floor.

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Angelo Iacono Liberal Alfred-Pellan, QC

During the pandemic, my riding of Alfred-Pellan has shown generosity, solidarity and citizen involvement.

I am thinking of our Meals on Wheels that worked miracles, supported by our generous donors, and of our companies, such as Pirate de Laval, Au Blanc d'oeuf, Pâtisserie St-Martin, Pâtisserie Vimont and Dek-kor Céramique, who offered meals and sweets to our essential workers.

There is also George Courey or LA Sport, who provided personal protective equipment to our guardian angels in the long-term care facilities. The list is long, and I can't name everyone, but I know you were there.

I would like to say thank you for your involvement. Thank you for making a difference.

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We will go to Mr. Albas.

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Mr. Chair, I never ever thought I would be doing a member's statement about my friend Neil Jamieson, in large part because Neil would have been the very first person to blast me for having the idea.

Neil was very candid that way. You see, Neil was not the type to seek credit or attention. He was one of those persons who, while successful in business, was even more successful quietly toiling away in the background. He had a real passion for youth sports, in particular his Penticton Vees, and he enjoyed racing cars at the local speedway.

Neil contributed to far more causes than I could possibly tell you about in this short period of time, but I will say this: There are many necessary ingredients needed to build a vibrant community, none of which come together by accident. They happen because behind the scenes, people like Neil Jamieson work hard, give back and build a stronger country for us all.

I am sad to say earlier this month we lost Neil to cancer. He was 60 years old, a father to Jackson, a husband to Michelle, and a community leader. Neil was a great friend to us all, and we will not forget him.

Rest in peace, Neil. Rest in peace.

12:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

Mr. Uppal is next.

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

Tim Uppal Conservative Edmonton Mill Woods, AB

Mr. Chair, the economic turmoil in Alberta did not start because of COVID-19 or the decline in oil prices. Since this government took office in 2015, hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost. Billions of dollars of investment have left the energy industry because of disastrous policies brought in by this Liberal government—policies like Bill C-69, the no-more-pipelines bill; Bill C-48, the tanker ban; and the job-killing carbon tax.

Alberta's energy industry creates thousands of jobs right across Canada and pays for much-needed infrastructure right across the country. Months ago, the Liberals promised support for the energy industry, but Albertans are still waiting.

Alberta's innovation and prosperity are necessary for Canada's economy to recover from this pandemic. It's time for this government to support the energy sector and let it prosper, not strangle it with over-regulation and half-hearted efforts of support.

Why don't the Liberals see that when Alberta prospers, all of Canada prospers?

12:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We will go to Ms. Qaqqaq.