House of Commons Hansard #269 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was organizations.

Topics

Opposition Motion—Canada Summer Jobs ProgramBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley—Aldergrove, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal members have said that they thanked the faith-based groups, that there is significant misinformation, and that they are encouraging them to apply. Those who have applied have been turned down. They have called my office, and I am sure they have called his office, and all members' offices, saying that they could not sign the attestation. Some of them even amended the attestation, submitted, and resubmitted it. In each case, even though the Liberal members were encouraging them to apply and reapply, they were turned down. Why were they turned down? They could not agree with the Liberal philosophy that their core mandate must be a Liberal core mandate.

Liberal members say that people should apply, but that they must “bow the knee”. That is objectionable and that is why this year many people who would have applied or would have qualified are going to be disqualified.

Would the member agree that there are more people in Canada right now who are not going to have access to these jobs because of this new attestation requirement?

Opposition Motion—Canada Summer Jobs ProgramBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bryan May Liberal Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member opposite, my colleague on the human resources committee, for his question.

I was one of those members of Parliament who reached out to all of the organizations in my riding, not just faith-based organizations but all of them. I do this every year. We go through the entire application.

With what the member is proposing or suggesting, the only way an organization would have been approved last year and not approved this year is if they did not fill out the application. There is not a government program where one can pick and choose fields to apply to.

If the organizations filled it out, if they checked that box, then they are going to be considered, as every other organization. There is nothing in that attestation that says “beliefs”. In the conversations I have had in my riding, the organizations that I have talked to, that I have had the opportunity to speak with and to explain to, understand that. They have applied. They have checked the box, and I would be more than happy to make sure they have funding.

Opposition Motion—Canada Summer Jobs ProgramBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Cathay Wagantall Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, I would like to let Canadians know something today. If they are looking for diversity and inclusiveness, on this side of the floor, I am pro-life and many of my colleagues are pro-choice. As well, there are differing perspectives on marriage and LGBTQ.

We all work together. On this side of the floor, we are not hemmed in by a certain ideology of our leadership. I say to members on that side of the floor, “I know you are there, but you dare not speak.”

I have people in my riding who have come to me and said that they are representing their rural municipalities, and they need this funding. It is good funding. However, they are being told that they have to indicate that they agree with this attestation, yet for employers in the province of Saskatchewan, labour laws do not allow them to put boxes on their forms that say if they want the funding, they should tick off that they are indigenous, or tick off that they are LGBTQ. That is against the labour laws.

That just shows how convoluted this whole thing is, just to deal with an issue that the government will not come out and just deal with.

Opposition Motion—Canada Summer Jobs ProgramBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Bryan May Liberal Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure I heard a question there, but I will take the opportunity to talk about the fact that there is nothing in the attestation that talks about beliefs. It is not there. Show me where it says that this is an attack on beliefs in the attestation. It is simply not there.

When I was talking with organizations that were concerned about this. First, they had not read it, and second, they were going by false claims in the media. Once I showed them the attestation, do you know what they said? They said, “Oh, that's fine.”

Opposition Motion—Canada Summer Jobs ProgramBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Majid Jowhari Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, just for the purpose of clarification, could the hon. member describe the difference between belief and the purpose of the use, which I think is the core issue here.

Opposition Motion—Canada Summer Jobs ProgramBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Bryan May Liberal Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, again, there is nothing in the attestation that talks about belief. There is nothing in there that refers specifically to belief.

The support information that the department provided explains that. It shows exactly what the issue is, and what we are trying to achieve with this attestation. There is nothing in there that says anything about beliefs.

Again, this is spin in the media. It is spin by the opposition. The organizations that we have talked to love this program. They are going to apply for this program. Those that do not either do not understand the attestation, or it is a political move.

Opposition Motion—Canada Summer Jobs ProgramBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Just for the benefit of all hon. members, this does come up from time to time, and I mean this as no criticism of the hon. member for Cambridge's inquiry about the fact that there was not a question. In fact, members are free to pose a question in that period, but they can also make a comment as well. It is not just the hon. member for Cambridge. This does come up from time to time. This is just to let hon. members know that they are free to do either.

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Calgary Forest Lawn.

Opposition Motion—Canada Summer Jobs ProgramBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary Forest Lawn, AB

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my great colleague from Milton.

The last Liberal member of Parliament said that he loves this program, that he has worked longer on this program than he has been a member of Parliament, and that he has been out there promoting this program. May I remind him that it was the Conservatives who were the Government of Canada two years ago? As a matter of fact, we were the Government of Canada for 10 years. At the time when he was promoting this program, he had no problem with it, but today we are debating this issue in the House.

This program has been very well accepted right across this country. As a member of Parliament for 20 years, I have used this program to ensure its objectives, as has been mentioned in the House. What is the primary objective? It is jobs for children and helping organizations when they need extra workers. That is the primary reason.

There are multiple organizations in this country, as is guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Let us quote what the Prime Minister said, “a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian”. By the way, I said it before he did. We cannot choose which Canadian is right and which Canadian is wrong. This is the problem with the Canada summer jobs program.

For the first time in my riding, I have received letters that complain about what the government wants to do with this program. It is a very successful non-partisan program helping Canadian children and employers, and yet for the first time, under this government, we are now having a division on this great program.

Today, many Canadians are upset. As my colleague from Saskatchewan just said, she has received a lot of letters from people saying they have been denied. On the basis of what were they denied? They were denied on the basis of an idea that the Prime Minister had. It was his social agenda idea. Why is he imposing his social agenda on Canadians? All Canadians have the rights the charter gives them, faith-based or whatever. They are all entitled to Government of Canada programs, which should not be based upon the ideology of a leader or anyone. The government should enable every Canadian to access those programs. It is Canadians' right to access government programs.

Why are we changing this now? Everyone has said that this is a great program that has benefited everyone. We should not be debating this, but we are debating it here today because one person has a social agenda and wants this country to move in that direction. That is not going to happen, because Canadians are very concerned about their fundamental rights and whether this infringes upon them or not.

The fundamental point is that it is Canadians' right to access government programs. It is not the right of the government to choose winners and losers. Hon. members of Parliament, including me, have a history of how this program has worked so well for young people and for businesses.

Let me give an example from my riding. The Mustard Seed is a great organization that looks after homeless people. This is its mandate. However, under the current government, The Mustard Seed will not be able to apply. Is this not wrong? An organization is looking after 10,000 homeless, impoverished, and drug-addicted people, and the government would not give them money because of its social ideology. That is wrong.

Let me talk about another one, the New Canadian Friendship Centre in Calgary. It provides free classes and support for new Canadians, regardless of culture, faith, and gender. It does not discriminate. It is open to all newcomers. It does not matter what their faith or religion is, yet the government is discriminating against it. While the friendship centre is not discriminating against anybody, the government is discriminating against it by not approving its application on the basis that it does not meet the government's social agenda.

Let me remind the Liberals, when they talk about the Government of Canada, that this is not the Government of Canada but the Liberal government, because we were the Government of Canada two years ago, for 10 years, running this program. Let us be very clear. This is a Liberal agenda, not a Government of Canada agenda. The Liberals are pushing their own values onto people in Canada who may or may not agree, which should not matter.

These organizations are out there to provide services to all Canadians, as the last speaker said. He brought up the YMCA. I am very happy he talked about that. The YMCA is very good. So is The Mustard Seed society. So is the friendship centre. All of these organizations are there for the primary purpose of helping Canadians who need that service. The government has chosen to allow only those people who follow its social agenda to get Government of Canada money, which is fundamentally wrong. It is very interesting that the Liberals say they want to have them sign the Charter of Rights. The Charter of Rights also gives them the right to access this money. They are taking some organizations right away, and asking others to sign.

My colleague from Saskatchewan said that she has received multiple letters, as have many of my colleagues on this side, from people who used to get this money and are now being denied. Why are they being denied? Has their mandate to provide services to Canadians changed? No, it has not. The Liberals have changed the mandate of eligibility to meet their social agenda.

There is something fundamentally wrong with this system. It is fundamentally wrong that Canadians cannot access a Government of Canada program that should be open to everyone who can meet the criteria that were always there, without changing them, so that they can meet the objective of this program, which is providing services to Canadians. It is a bit much for the government to come here and for the Liberal members to stand up and talk about how great this program is, how nothing has happened, and try to defend it. When they try to defend it here, we can see that they are reading their points.

Let us talk about the basics. A program that has already been successful is now being changed. Now what do we have? We have a debate. Why did they bring this division? Was this division necessary for student summer jobs, for organizations that provide services? We do not need this division in politics here. The Liberal government, with its divisive politics, is sending the wrong message to all Canadians. On this side of the House, we will stand up and speak on what is right for all Canadians. We will not let the Liberal government get away with bringing its agenda into this.

Opposition Motion—Canada Summer Jobs ProgramBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the member really has a misunderstanding of the reality of the situation. It is not about values and beliefs. It is about activities. I can appreciate the concern the Conservatives have, based on some of the previous actions and comments from the leader of the official opposition, who is being held to account in many different ways with respect to what his beliefs are, for example in terms of a woman's right to choose. It is important for us to recognize how it is that the Conservative opposition is being motivated to say the types of things it is saying.

It is about the activities. I would question any and all members as to whether they have a problem with government dollars being used to hire students, for example, to go door to door handing out abortion leaflets. That is what it is about, the activities.

My question for the member is this. Why does he not encourage the wonderful groups that promote and hire for student camps, many of which the Conservatives seem to want to discourage from entering that process? Why not promote the student program? It is a good program.

Opposition Motion—Canada Summer Jobs ProgramBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary Forest Lawn, AB

Mr. Speaker, I love this member. He likes to ask questions. He somehow just keeps twisting everything to fit into his ideal world.

The member is talking about activities. Let me ask him, what is wrong with the activity of The Mustard Seed society? What is wrong with the activity of the New Canadian Friendship Centre, which is meeting newcomers?

I would also tell the member that when he was not in government but sitting on this side here, he had no problem with this program. Today, he has a problem. Where did he get this nonsense he is talking about that we are going out handing out brochures for the organizations? Did he not listen to the last member who spoke from our side? He was not sitting in his chair. She said that she is pro-life and others are pro-choice. I do not know what he is talking about here.

Opposition Motion—Canada Summer Jobs ProgramBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

There will be two and a half minutes remaining in the time for questions and comments with the hon. member for Calgary Forest Lawn when the House next gets back to debate on the question.

Prime Minister's Trip to IndiaStatements By Members

2 p.m.

GPQ (ex-Bloc)

Luc Thériault GPQ (ex-Bloc) Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and 19 of his colleagues spent a lovely break week in India complete with costumes, music, and dancing. It was quite the production. The Prime Minister certainly embarrassed us, but what is even more upsetting is that he undermined Quebec's potential economic development.

In the space of a week, the Prime Minister found a way to insult millions of Quebec sovereignists by comparing them to terrorists, as reported by the Punjabi government. Then he found a way to insult the Punjabi government by accusing it of lying. He also insulted the Indian government twice over, once by inviting a Sikh terrorist to join his delegation and again by accusing it of plotting to sneak said terrorist into the Canadian delegation. I hope everyone realizes what a mess he has made.

The Prime Minister sabotaged every aspect of our relationship with a country that is on track to become the world's fifth-largest economy. This is a diplomatic disaster that could cost Quebec businesses dearly.

Thirtieth Anniversary of Sumgait TragedyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Emmanuella Lambropoulos Liberal Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday marked the 30th anniversary of the Sumgait tragedy, which occurred in February 1988 in Azerbaijan. This was a time marked by serious acts of violence, riots, and widespread looting during which Armenian civilians were attacked and killed. This unprecedented violence shocked the entire world.

Thirty years later, Armenians are commemorating these tragic events in which many lost their lives. This anniversary reminds us of what a privilege it is to live in a country where diversity and inclusion make us strong and where various ethnic and religious communities can participate equally in our country's political life. This anniversary also reminds us that, as Canadians, we have a duty to condemn all acts of violence and to play an active role in promoting and preserving peace in Canada and around the world.

Home and Garden ShowsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Conservative Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Mr. Speaker, members may have noticed that there is a hint of spring in the air this week. In Dufferin—Caledon, that is a sign that our local home shows are right around the corner.

In both Caledon and Orangeville, our home shows offer local businesses the opportunity to showcase their products and services to constituents thinking about sprucing things up this spring.

In Orangeville, the 2018 Lions Home & Garden Show runs at the Orangeville Fairgrounds on April 6, April 7, and April 8. Over 200 booths will be showcasing everything to do with home improvement, lawn and garden, and more.

In Caledon, the Chamber of Commerce's Spring Home Show 2018 runs at the Albion Bolton Community Centre on April 20, April 21, and April 22. The show is a “shop local” experience, where constituents can find great deals on items related to their home and garden living.

I encourage all residents of Dufferin—Caledon to come check out the Orangeville and Caledon home shows in April.

Fraud Prevention MonthStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Michel Picard Liberal Montarville, QC

Mr. Speaker, March is Fraud Prevention Month. Throughout the month, there will be initiatives to make consumers aware of white collar crime and to remind Canadians that financial crime costs $5 billion a year.

My thoughts go out to the victims of fraud, identity theft, stock manipulation, corruption, counterfeiting, and other financial crimes. Over the past year, I have met some wonderful people who are working on the front lines to combat white collar crime.

I humbly thank my friends at the Competition Bureau, the Ontario Provincial Police, the Institute for Research on Public Policy, Revenue Canada, the Canadian Bar Association, and the RCMP for their work and collaboration.

I strongly urge all of my colleagues to join me in making Canadians aware of the need to be informed so that they can better detect, counter, and report fraud.

PharmacareStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians should not have to worry about draining their savings or remortgaging their home for the sake of their health. That is why the Canadian government should fight to protect and expand health care in Canada.

Unfortunately, the Liberals are letting us down on both counts. They failed to protect medicare when they held the provinces to Stephen Harper's miserly funding plan. When Saskatchewan violated the Canada Health Act by allowing private clinics to charge for insured services, they made a little noise for show and then looked the other way.

Recently the Liberals had a tepid announcement about pharmacare, but the finance minister is already backpedalling on the promise. Once again, conflict of interest concerns swirl around the finance minister, as Morneau Shepell does big business consulting on private benefit plans. That is why the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions have called for him to retract his statements and recuse himself from the work of the national advisory council on pharmacare.

For too long, those who would make their fortunes on the backs of sick Canadians have held up progress on a pharmacare plan. I urge the finance minister to take the advice of Canada's nurses, and for the government to get going on a real universal pharmacare plan.

Status of WomenStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, for over a century on International Women's Day, we have made pledges and given flowers. It is not enough. Internationally, we need leadership to fully implement the Women, Peace and Security agenda and to fight against gender inequality and gender-based violence. Canada's new national action plan is our response, and UN resolution 1325 our commitment.

Around the world, women and girls are strong survivors of horrific conflicts in which they are targeted. I call on all of us to stand with Yazidi, Rohingya, and Sudanese women. It is why I introduced Motion No. 163, calling for a women, peace, and security ambassador. Let us proactively institute programs that inspire participation of women in peacekeeping and for the prevention of conflict and gender-based violence.

In partnership with our strong Canadian feminist movement, budget 2018 committed $2 billion to advance gender equality and peace around the world. I call on all members to support Motion No. 163.

Canada Summer Jobs ProgramStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Bradley Trost Conservative Saskatoon—University, SK

Mr. Speaker, actions have consequences, something the Liberal government seems to have forgotten. Take, for example, the Liberal implementation of an ideological litmus test for the Canada summer jobs program. The requirement that applicants support the Liberal Party position on hot-button social issues actually hurts Canadian children.

“Which children?” one may ask. How about the children in 24 aboriginal reserves across western Canada whose 5-day clubs have been historically funded through the Canada summer jobs program? These children, some of whom come from difficult family situations, were able to benefit from a summer program that cared about their needs and brought a little joy to their lives for part of their summer. However, because the sponsoring organization, Child Evangelism Fellowship, does not subscribe to Liberal values it is ineligible to apply for funding.

Child Evangelism Fellowship cares about these children on these reserves. If the Liberal Party also cared about them, it would drop the silly, irrelevant, ideological litmus test for the Canada summer jobs program so more children could be helped by these clubs.

360°kidsStatements By Members

March 1st, 2018 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Majid Jowhari Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, this past Wednesday I had the privilege of announcing our government's support for 360°kids' every bike matters program. This $800,000 program brought our government's long-standing investment in 360°kids to $3 million.

Based in Richmond Hill, 360°kids addresses the needs of youth at risk from all angles, surrounding kids in crisis with much-needed care. Only by applying a holistic support system can we do our part to help those youth most at risk.

Tonight, for the fourth year in a row, I will participate in the 360°Experience, spending the night on the streets of York Region. This brief window into the reality facing our most vulnerable youth is an important perspective for any representative.

I look forward to seeing 360°kids flourish and continue its work with Richmond Hill's most vulnerable, supported by a government that understands opportunities for youth and investment in our future.

International Women's DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Terry Duguid Liberal Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, next week we will celebrate International Women's Day. It is an opportunity for all Canadians to celebrate women's contributions to our country and the progress we have made toward achieving gender equality.

This year's theme is #Myfeminism. It highlights the importance of our own actions to end gender bias, gender stereotypes, and all forms of gender-based violence. It reminds us we can each be inspirational role models, especially for young people, and be part of the solution to creating a diverse, respectful, inclusive society.

I invite all Canadians to join this conversation by using the #MyFeminism and describe what feminism means to them and share inspiring stories of how their friends, families, and communities are advancing equality.

I would also like to welcome the students from the University of Toronto's women in the House program, in particular my shadow, Enza Gurgis. I hope some of them will be in the House some day.

International Women's DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I remind the hon. member for Winnipeg South and other members that only the Speaker draws attention to people who are in the galleries.

The hon. member for Chatham-Kent—Leamington.

Chatham Hope HavenStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Dave Van Kesteren Conservative Chatham-Kent—Leamington, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week I had the pleasure of attending the grand opening of the Chatham Hope Haven shelter for homeless men. It is not just a safe place to sleep; it is where staff and volunteers are able to help homeless men re-enter society and change lives for the better.

After two years of renovations, the doors are open and overnight services are now available to homeless men in Chatham-Kent—Leamington.

The director of Hope Haven, Joe Simpson, took the time to thank the community and give special recognition to countless individuals who gave their time and money, including fundraising efforts by students from Indian Creek Road Public School, the Merlin legion, as well as monthly volunteer commitments from the Emmanuel Baptist Church youth group among other churches and organizations. Representatives of the Lions Club presented a cheque for $1,500 to the shelter.

All in all, the shelter is a reflection of our community's love and commitment to help those most in need, with a warm meal, a warm bed, and a warm smile in a sometimes cold world.

OpioidsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, a constituent of mine recently lost her nephew to a fentanyl overdose. It is not the first loss our country or my community has faced because of the opioid crisis. If we do not keep working to change historic and failed drug policies, it will not be the last.

In 2016, opioids killed almost 3,000 Canadians, and last year, over 4,000 Canadians. We need new solutions.

We need to treat drug abuse as a health issue, expand harm reduction and treatment options, and remove the criminal sanction for low-level possession to stop stigmatizing the very people we want to save.

I am proud that our government has expanded safe consumption sites and provided over $200 million in this year's budget to address the opioid crisis, including to improve access to treatment services, but we need to do more.

Portugal has proven that a public health approach can reduce problematic drug use, HIV transmission rates, drug-related deaths, and significantly increase the number of people who seek treatment.

We need to follow the evidence to save lives.

International Women's DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Julie Dabrusin Liberal Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am calling on all feminists as International Women's Day is on March 8.

We have made a lot of progress, but a lot of work remains to be done. This year's theme is #MyFeminism . It underscores the importance of our own actions in ending prejudice, stereotypes, and all forms of sexual violence.

I am inspired by the women around me who are doing so much for gender equity in business, in the arts, and in sports, “Yeah Olympians”.

This weekend, I was at ACTRA, Toronto's 75th anniversary awards. The president of the organization, Theresa Tova, brought everyone to their feet as allies against sexual harassment and in favour of gender equity. It was an inspiring moment.

The Award of Excellence winner, Jennifer Podemski, exemplified standing up and making change.

We can bring change together.

Happy International Women's Day.

Canada-India RelationsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary Forest Lawn, AB

Mr. Speaker, let me take a moment today to tell the House why India matters.

India is a vibrant democracy, projected to be the fifth largest economy in the world. By next year, it is projected to be the fastest growing economy in the world.

Canada is home to 1.2 million Indo Canadians, the fourth largest diaspora in the western world. This diaspora has immensely contributed to enriching Canada's socio-economic fabric.

Two prime minister visits and two governor general visits, of which I was part, cemented our solid relationship, based on trade, people-to-people ties, and, most important, on the world stage, shared values.

The recent tourist visit by the Prime Minister to India, highlighted by immature diplomacy and Liberal electoral interests, has crash-landed this important relationship. It looks like a repeat of the former Liberal government's Canada-India ties.

A strong relationship with our Commonwealth partner is in the best interests of Canada.