House of Commons Hansard #213 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was drug.

Topics

Air TransportationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Baylis Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, everyone in Montreal, including my constituents in Pierrefonds—Dollard, heard about the serious problem of wait times at Pierre Elliott Trudeau airport in Montreal in the summer of 2016.

Airports are key drivers of local economies. It is crucial that they operate efficiently.

Can the Minister of Transport infrom Canadians, and Montrealers in particular, of the improvements that have been made at Pierre Elliott Trudeau airport in Montreal?

Air TransportationOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Marc Garneau LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Pierrefonds—Dollard for his question.

We all share his desire to make the passenger experience as pleasant as possible. That is why we worked with the Minister of Public Safety and officials at Pierre Elliott Trudeau airport to fix the problem, by adding automated kiosks and more customs officers.

I am proud to report that last summer, during Montreal's 375th anniversary celebrations, we reduced the wait time to 10 minutes. That a good example—

Air TransportationOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order. The hon. member for Red Deer—Lacombe.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Blaine Calkins Conservative Red Deer—Lacombe, AB

Mr. Speaker, with the Liberals killing energy east, British Columbia's Trans Mountain pipeline is quickly becoming Canada's only option for getting our energy to new markets, but the B.C. NDP government is doing everything in its power to stop this project, including court action. Unfortunately, the NDP has several allies in the Liberal government including the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries.

Approving this project is one thing; getting it built is another. When will the Prime Minister do his job and tell Premier Horgan to back off and ensure that Trans Mountain gets built?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Jim Carr LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, it is important to remind the member and members of the House why we approved the Trans Mountain expansion. We approved it because of 15,440 jobs, mostly in British Columbia and Alberta. We approved it because of the billion dollars of investment. We approved it because we are not comfortable sending 99% of our oil and gas exports to one country, the United States. We have expanded markets, we have created jobs, and there will be billions of dollars in investments. It was a good decision then, and it is a good decision today.

TaxationOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Xavier Barsalou-Duval Bloc Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is unacceptable that a farmer from Lac-Saint-Jean who wants to sell his farm to his daughter at a discount is considered a cheat. It is unacceptable that a foreign investor pays half as much tax, or no tax at all on his investments. It is unacceptable that the government is attacking SMEs and refusing to do anything about tax havens.

Will the government go back to the drawing board and ensure that its reform targets the real cheats, those who take advantage of the system?

TaxationOral Questions

October 5th, 2017 / 3:05 p.m.

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

Liberal

Diane Lebouthillier LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, our government is firmly committed to combatting tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. Our historic $1-billion investment over the past two years is proof positive. It is unprecedented.

Our measures are bearing fruit, since we are on track to recovering $25 billion offshore. What is more, 627 cases were handed over to criminal investigations, 268 search warrants were issued, and there have been 78 convictions. The net is tightening and we will continue—

TaxationOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order. The hon. member for Joliette.

International TradeOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the cleanest and best quality aluminum in the world is produced in Lac-Saint-Jean. There is nothing like it anywhere else.

We are talking about 7,000 direct and 30,000 indirect jobs in Lac-Saint-Jean. The people of Lac-Saint-Jean have a lot to be proud of. However, once again, the Liberals' spinelessness towards Donald Trump threatens the future of aluminum in Lac-Saint-Jean.

Can the minister make a solemn commitment to protect the aluminum industry, especially in negotiations with the Americans?

International TradeOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

University—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, yes, I can make a solemn commitment to defend the interests of the steel sector and all sectors of our national economy. Our government will always stand up for aluminum and steel workers. Our government is proud of our aluminum sector and its workers. We will always defend our economic interests and Canadian values.

International TradeOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Now I believe the hon. opposition House leader has the usual Thursday question.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by asking the House leader if she could tell us what the business is for the rest of this week and when we return after the Thanksgiving constituency week.

Given that we have been very co-operative over the last two and a half to three weeks and have seen a lot of government legislation move through that period, I am hoping that she will be respectful of some of the bills that we really would like to have ample time to discuss. Bill C-48 was basically shut down after one member spoke to it, which was disappointing. I am hoping that, moving forward, we will be able to press the reset button and that we will be allowed to speak on issues that are important to us.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

Mr. Speaker, this afternoon, we will continue the debate we began this morning on the NDP opposition motion.

Tomorrow, we will begin debate on Bill C-57 on sustainable development.

Next week, members will be working in their ridings. When we return, we will resume consideration of Bill C-55 on the protection of oceans.

On Wednesday, we will resume debate on Bill C-57. Lastly, Tuesday and Thursday of that week shall be allotted days.

Since we will be in our constituencies next week, I wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving with friends, family, and loved ones.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Let me extend my wishes to all members and all Canadians for a happy Thanksgiving as well.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

Opposition Motion—PharmacareBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

There are five minutes remaining for questions and comments following the speech of the hon. member for Essex.

Questions and comments, the hon. member for Laurentides—Labelle.

Opposition Motion—PharmacareBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

David Graham Liberal Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, this spring, at the procedure and House affairs committee, there was a fairly large blow-up when a bill arrived in our lap that apparently was related to a study that was under way at that time. I am sure the member from Hamilton remembers that quite well.

The member for Vancouver Kingsway, whose name this motion stands under, has brought forward this motion on the pharmacare program, which in its own right is not a bad thing. However, there is a study under way at the health committee, which has seen 89 witnesses over 20 meetings, to study this very issue. It has not finished that study. It is ongoing.

Therefore, I wonder if the New Democrats have respect for the process here after the biggest part of the blow-up came from that side on that bill, or if they are not really interested in the study actually considering it and just want the credit for the results.

Opposition Motion—PharmacareBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, this question is quite surprising because of course the NDP has respect for the process of this House. We have a deep respect for that and certainly for our member for Vancouver Kingsway, who has brought this forward.

As the member opposite should know, calling a meeting in one year's time will certainly not prohibit the committee from doing its very good work in the meantime. There is absolutely nothing in this motion that references detaining or derailing the work of the committee. We know that good work will continue, and again we hope it will bring to light more of the evidence on why it is so incredibly important that we have a pharmacare program.

This particular motion today really is asking for a meeting within one year. I am sure the member opposite will agree with me that we can have a fulsome study at the health committee and have a meeting with the provinces within one year. Those things will go hand in hand quite well.

Opposition Motion—PharmacareBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I think my colleague had a good question there that deserves a better answer than what we received. We need to recognize that the motion that the NDP has before us today is based on the parliamentary budget officer's report. That report was requested by the health committee. It is sitting and talking about the pharmacare program. It asked the parliamentary budget officer to submit a report. That report has not even been presented to the health committee. The health committee has done a lot of fantastic work on this issue. However, we now have a member of the New Democratic Party taking the report and saying, “We want this report; we want this”. Why would the New Democrats not take the ideas that are coming out of the standing committee, and allow it to continue to do the fine work it is doing? Ultimately, I believe all MPs inside this House want to see good work done on the whole pharmacare issue.

Opposition Motion—PharmacareBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, these things are not exclusive. I hope the member opposite did not say that he thought the minister had not read yet the report from the PBO. I certainly hope that is not the case.

To be honest, it is not just the New Democrats who are calling for action. We are joined by many people, including the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, the Canadian Doctors for Medicare, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Canadian Health Coalition, the Council of Canadians, the Canadian Labour Congress, CUPE, and Unifor.

Today, Hassan Yussuff, the president of the Canadian Labour Congress, said that he hopes that all parties will support this motion in the House today.

There are many organizations, and certainly 91% of Canadians, who understand that one meeting within a year is something important to ask for, because we have seen no action from the Liberals on pharmacare since 1993.

Opposition Motion—PharmacareBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, when I was door-knocking in my riding, one of the most heartfelt stories I heard was from a senior who said that she had to make a choice between medicine or food, and that she chose to eat but was living in pain.

Could the member for Essex talk about why it is urgent that we move forward with and make a commitment to a universal pharmacare plan? Moreover, knowing that the PBO report states that if we implement one, it would save Canadians $4.2 billion, how important is it for us to get those tax savings to ensure that my constituent will not suffer another day?

Opposition Motion—PharmacareBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, during my speech I referred to one of my constituents with a similar story. This is heartbreaking for Canadians, and it cannot continue. In 2015, an Angus Reid Institute report stated that millions of Canadians feel the pressure of prescription drug costs, and that more than one in five Canadians has said that in the past 12 months they or someone in their household has not taken their medication as prescribed because of the cost. It is time for action.

Opposition Motion—PharmacareBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Scarborough Southwest Ontario

Liberal

Bill Blair LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by informing you that I will be splitting my time this afternoon with the member for Thérèse-De Blainville.

It is a great pleasure to rise today to discuss the motion tabled by the member for Vancouver Kingsway related to pharmacare. Specifically, I would like to speak about the research that is being supported by the federal government through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, or CIHR, related to pharmaceuticals.

Our government recognizes that the price of drugs affects the life of all Canadians, and ensuring equitable access to necessary medicines is a priority for our government. More precisely, working with the provinces and territories to improve access to necessary prescription medications is one of our top priorities. This will include joining with the provincial and territorial governments to negotiate common drug prices, reducing the costs that Canadian governments pay for these drugs, making them more affordable for Canadians, and exploring the need for a national formulary. That is why, through CIHR, our government is investing approximately $1 billion in research initiatives that will generate new knowledge and evidence and lead to better and more affordable treatments for Canadians.

I would like to discuss some important initiatives supported by these investments that will lead to more affordable treatments and better health outcomes for Canadians.

Clinical trials are the cornerstone of evidence-based practice and ensure timely access to new drugs and treatment for Canadians. For this reason, CIHR recently announced it will be investing $11.7 million annually in an initiative that will focus on the development and implementation of innovative methods in clinical research, the innovative clinical trials initiative. This specific initiative is part of the larger strategy for patient-oriented research by a national coalition of federal, provincial, and territorial partners dedicated to the integration of research into care. The innovative clinical trials initiative will contribute to increasing Canadian competitiveness in innovative clinical trial research and provide a stimulus for research to adopt new methodologies to conduct clinical trials. It will also encourage collaboration with various stakeholders, including patients, decision-makers, and key stakeholders.

Innovative clinical trials use alternative designs to traditional trials methodologies. These new methods can reduce the cost of conducting trials, thereby reducing the amount of time needed to answer research questions, and they increase the relevance of research findings for patients, health care providers, and policy-makers. The direct outcome of these new methods is improved effectiveness of the trials while keeping the same high safety and effectiveness standards for the drugs. This will lower the cost of drug development, ensuring that new, affordable, and effective drugs are available for Canadians.

A priority for the federal government is to improve access to necessary prescription medications. It is important to note that as more people gain access to prescription medication, evidence-based information is required on the safety and effectiveness of the pharmaceuticals. That is why the federal government, through CIHR and Health Canada, created the Drug Safety and Effectiveness Network, to give Canadian decision-makers the evidence they need on post-market drug safety and effectiveness. Launched in 2009, the Drug Safety and Effectiveness Network receives $10 million per year in ongoing funding from the Government of Canada to support its activities, and represents a national network of over 150 researchers. CIHR's investment in the network is making a real-world difference. Since its inception, the Drug Safety and Effectiveness Network has funded over 125 research and capacity-building projects to help those setting policy and delivering health care make informed decisions.

To facilitate this knowledge-translation process, the network developed a collaborative agreement with the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health, also known as CADTH, an independent organization to disseminate its study results to provincial and territorial authorities. This collaboration creates the capacity to respond in a timely manner to the drug safety and effectiveness queries of decision-makers, and ensures that the most effective drugs are accessible to Canadians.

The federal government recognizes the importance of evidence-based policies, which is why, through CIHR, it has supported the research of Dr. Steve Morgan at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Morgan is an expert in pharmaceutical policy and his research focuses on examining the balance between providing equitable access to medicines and responsible health care spending. From 2009 to 2014, the federal government invested almost one and a half million dollars to support Dr. Morgan and other policy researchers who formed a pharmaceutical policy research collaboration. In 2015 this research collaboration released a report to help foster evidence-informed conversations on the future of prescription drug coverage in Canada.

To conclude, I would like to reiterate that ensuring equitable access to necessary medicines is a priority of our government. We are confident that investments in health research, and in particular the highlighted initiatives I have spoken of, will lead to better and more affordable drugs for all Canadians.

Outcomes from these initiatives will contribute to our government's commitment to grow our economy and to strengthen the middle class and those working hard to join it. Our government will continue to work with the provinces and territories to advance pan-Canadian collaboration on health innovation.

I would also like to take this opportunity to wish members of the House a happy Thanksgiving.

Opposition Motion—PharmacareBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I want to compliment the parliamentary secretary for the fine work he is doing on this and other files. We are following very closely the cannabis file, on which he has done outstanding work.

Could my colleague provide some further thoughts on how important it is, when the standing committee gets the opportunity to review the parliamentary budget officer's report, that the committee be in a better position to provide advice to all members of the House?

Opposition Motion—PharmacareBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bill Blair Liberal Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for to opportunity to speak a little about the outstanding work being done by our health committee.

For the past several weeks, I have had the opportunity to work with our health committee as it has heard important testimony on another bill coming before the House. I have witnessed the commitment of committee members from all parties to improve health outcomes for all Canadians and their commitment to look at a national pharmacare program, a commitment that began well over a year ago. They have listened tirelessly to evidence and testimony. What they have sought is evidence-based policy and expertise.

As part of their evidence gathering, they asked the parliamentary budget officer for a costing estimate. That is an important part of the discussion, but it is only a small portion of the important work being undertaken by the health committee to gather all of the evidence needed to assist the government and this Parliament in making the right decisions for Canadians.