Evidence of meeting #3 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 farmers.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

Mr. Arnold.

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Mel Arnold Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Chair, Canada's seniors, especially those on basic incomes, are being hard hit by the COVID-19 crisis as they face new rising costs and scarcity of services. Seniors require adequate caregiver supports, physical safety and freedom to access their savings to reinforce their financial security.

Why has the government failed to recognize the increasing challenges that seniors are facing? Will the government support Canada's senior citizens?

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

The hon. minister in 30 seconds or less, please.

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

Bernadette Jordan Liberal South Shore—St. Margarets, NS

Mr. Chair, I want to assure my hon. colleague that the government has been focused on seniors during this challenging time. We have provided a GST credit supplement of $400 for single seniors and $600 for couples, for low- and modest-income seniors. We have also ensured that the Canada emergency response benefit is there for seniors who have lost income due to COVID-19. We've made them eligible.

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We'll go back to Mr. Arnold.

Mr. Arnold, you have a minute—hopefully a 30-second question and a 30-second answer.

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Mel Arnold Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

On April 23, my colleagues and I called on the government to create a program that would match students seeking employment with employers in Canada's essential food supply chains. What has the government done to match students and other Canadians seeking employment with employers in the agriculture and agri-food sectors, including those in the fish and seafood sector?

May 5th, 2020 / 12:45 p.m.

Delta B.C.

Liberal

Carla Qualtrough LiberalMinister of Employment

Mr. Chair, we're doing all we can to make sure, using our existing employment programs, that we create opportunities for students to work and get work experience this summer. We know that this is going to be really tough, especially in areas like agriculture, so we have dedicated streams for agriculture sector employers to access students with help from the government, and a number of different initiatives including Canada summer jobs, which I'm really excited to see the results of in the coming days.

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

Now we'll go on to the next question from Ms. Harder.

Ms. Rempel, do you have a point of order?

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

With my colleague, Mr. Arnold, it's the second time that I note you've threatened to cut off a Conservative microphone. I'm just wondering, given that this isn't the House of Commons and it's structured as a committee, what standing order would give you the right to cut off a member of Parliament using a mute button. It seems a little dictatorial, and I was just wondering whether you could clarify that, based on the Standing Orders.

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

I don't think I threatened to use mute, but thank you for bringing that up. I am trying to keep the rules where the questions and the answers are equal, so that there are no interruptions on either side. That's how we're going to continue. I didn't use the mute. I did it verbally and I think that's a little more civil way of doing it. I hope you approve. I'm not asking you to comment on that.

We'll go over to Ms. Harder. Thank you.

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

But, on the point of order, Mr. Chair, you actually, to me, last week, and to Mr. Arnold, did suggest that you were going to use the mute button.

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

I believe that if we take everything out and go over it.... Bring the papers with the actual verbiage on it where I threatened, and we'll go over it, but I don't think this is the venue to do that.

If you want to bring forward a point of order, I'm all in favour of it.

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Well, I am bringing forward a point of order. I've asked you to clarify—

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

Very good. We'll look into it and get back to you.

Thank you.

We'll go on to Ms. Harder.

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Canadians have outrightly expressed outrage and disappointment with the government's initiative to put a gun ban in place. Does the minister stand by his comment that these changes would have prevented the tragedy in Nova Scotia?

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

The honourable minister in 15 seconds or less, please.

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

Bill Blair Liberal Scarborough Southwest, ON

We have heard from health professionals, women's rights organizations, victims groups and the police and our unions. They're all very supportive of the government's measure to ban weapons that have no place in a civil society and were designed to kill people.

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

It's interesting that the minister is misleading Canadians in that comment because the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police has actually said that a gun ban will do nothing of the sort, that it actually will not protect Canadians.

So I'd be curious. How many criminals will see guns seized because of the changes that have been implemented by the Liberal government?

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

Bill Blair Liberal Scarborough Southwest, ON

Yes, let's actually quote what the police have said.

The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police said that they “support a prohibition on all military-designed assault rifles.” The chief in Toronto said that taking those [Inaudible—Editor] assault rifles “off the streets contributes to public safety”, and the Canadian Association of Police Chiefs has declared that “military assault rifles” are produced for the “sole purpose of killing people in large numbers” and they urged successive governments to enact legislation to ban all military assault rifles.

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

The answer to that question is zero. Absolutely no criminals will see their guns seized based on the Liberals' legislation that's coming forward because it actually goes after those who legally own and use their firearms.

Can the Prime Minister please tell us why he decided to go after law-abiding citizens instead of actually going after criminals who have gotten their firearms in an illegal manner and then used them to commit crimes?

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

The honourable minister in 25 seconds or less, please.

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

Bill Blair Liberal Scarborough Southwest, ON

Yes, to be very clear, the order in council actually is targeted at weapons, weapons that were designed for military use, and in their design and in their intent, to kill people, they've actually been used in this country, at École Polytechnique; in Moncton; at a Quebec City mosque; in Fredericton; at Mayerthorpe and most recently in Nova Scotia.

These are weapons that really have no place.... They are being used and have been used in Canada and around the world to commit mass murder, and in the interest of public safety and at the urging—

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We'll go on to Ms. Harder.

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Thank you.

Now I understand the Prime Minister has his food prepared for him at 24 Sussex Drive and then it's delivered to him at the cottage where he lives. Contrary to his privileged understanding, food actually originates with farmers. Now, they're in a crisis right now, which means that regular Canadians are actually at risk of not having food available for them at the grocery stores where they purchase theirs.

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture requested $2.6 billion to help them out. Today, the government announced one-tenth of this amount.

Why doesn't the Prime Minister care about the women and the men who work incredibly hard to keep Canada fed?

12:50 p.m.

University—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Chair, let me assure the hon. member that our government cares very, very much about the women and men who work so hard to feed our country. Let me just say I am grateful to all the farmers, like my dad, who are out in their fields right now getting ready for seeding. We, as Canadians, are lucky to be citizens of an agricultural superpower, and our government believes in supporting our farmers and ranchers.