House of Commons Hansard #4 of the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chinese.

Topics

Opposition Motion—Proposed special committee on Canada-China relationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Madam Speaker, I did not intervene when other members spoke so they should be quiet.

This committee has no powers, unless it is giving itself superpowers.

I thank the hon. member for bringing the issue up, but he cannot be so engrossed in his motion to not think outside the box.

Opposition Motion—Proposed special committee on Canada-China relationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

I want to remind members that the House is in session. I know there are people coming in and out for question period. I also want to remind members that when someone has to floor, to please respect that he or she has the right to have his or her voice heard. I would ask people to wait if they have questions and comments or anything else to add.

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Foothills.

Opposition Motion—Proposed special committee on Canada-China relationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak about this very important topic.

I would like to say from the beginning that I will be splitting my time with the member for Mégantic—L'Érable. It is great to have my colleague be able to speak on this issue. He knows it extremely well.

I would like to thank the constituents of Foothills for re-electing me. It is a great honour to have that trust and confidence from my constituents to re-elect me as their representative.

It is apropos that the first subject I am going to talk about as we begin this 43rd Parliament is the canola crisis that our constituents are facing with China, which I think this motion would address, and why it is so important that we support this motion for the special committee, which has the opportunity to discuss this critical issue in more depth and at length.

I will go back to when this issue first happened almost a year ago, when we highlighted the canola crisis with the previous Liberal government, which has now spilled over into this current one. We saw that nothing had been done to address it when the Liberals were in government in the 42nd Parliament.

I think the lack of discussion on this crisis in the throne speech highlights that nothing has changed. It is still not an issue or a priority for the current Liberal government. For it to not even discuss the canola crisis and the trade embargo with China within the throne speech was a very loud message to canola farmers across Canada that this is not a priority for the Liberal government. It has no intention of standing up for Canadian farmers or standing up to China to get back one of our most critical canola markets.

For the Liberal government not to understand the far-reaching impacts of this crisis within our agriculture sector I think is very short-sighted, but it also shows how out of touch the government has become.

To put this in perspective, China accounts for more than 40% of all our canola seed exports, more than 40% of the product that is grown here in Canada.

This has nothing to do with the quality of our canola seed, which is second to none in the world. The Conservatives understand that this is completely a political decision and that the ineptitude and bungling of the Liberal government has led to this problem with the Chinese government.

This is a $2.7-billion industry for Canadian canola producers that has now been completely neglected by the Prime Minister. There are 250,000 jobs, not only in western Canada but across this country, that are being impacted by this.

We went through this last year. At that time, we told the Liberal government that there were some things it could do to try to address it. It could file an official challenge to the WTO. It could withdraw the funding to the Asian infrastructure bank. At the very least, it could name an ambassador to China.

It took the government more than eight months to do one of those three. It finally named an ambassador to China. The government has now hinted about maybe bringing forth a challenge to the WTO on this trade issue, yet it has still given $250 million to the Asian infrastructure bank, which is building infrastructure, including pipelines, across China.

Meanwhile, we have more than 150,000 energy workers in Canada out of work and the Liberals are doing nothing to address that. Now we have 250,000 jobs at risk in the canola industry and once again, the Liberal government is turning a blind eye to that issue.

I want to take a moment to address one of the comments from my colleague across the way, which was that the Liberals have been there for canola farmers because they expanded the advance payments program.

Let us put that into perspective. This is exactly what the Liberals have done, which is what they do with just about any problem they have. They threw some money at it and hoped it would resolve the problem. What the government did to canola farmers was like extending the credit on their credit cards to something that most of them could not afford or access. Then, the government would not let them pay the debt once it came due. Let me be clear, the debt will come due.

Once the farmers have accessed the advance payments program, there is still interest on a portion of that which they have to pay back. They have gone through this harvest, which our producers across Canada have called the harvest from hell. Those of us in Alberta, Saskatchewan and western Canada have certainly felt that.

More than half of the canola crop in northern Alberta is still under snow, which has made it impossible to access. These canola producers have gone through all of the last year not being able to sell their product to one of their most important customers, and this year they have had a horrific harvest.

The canola producers have accessed the advance payments program but they cannot sell their crop, what crop they could get out. Half of it is still under the snow. They have no way of paying back the advance payment program the Liberals have said has been the band-aid solution to this entire problem. The government is ignoring the actual problem, which is getting access to China.

Reopening that market is a critical problem and it has not been addressed in the throne speech. We have given the government an opportunity here to establish a special committee that will investigate or discuss the issues that we have between ourselves and the Chinese government.

We tried to do this last year through the international trade and agriculture committees. At that time, some of the ministers refused to even be at those committees or to give their position. They said that the crisis with China was not important enough to have a high-level delegation.

I look forward to finishing this speech after question period.

Opposition Motion—Proposed special committee on Canada-China relationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

The hon. member will have four minutes to finish his speech and then five minutes for questions and comments after question period.

The Dalai LamaStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Arif Virani Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Madam Speaker, today is the 30th anniversary of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

As the member of Parliament for Parkdale-High Park, I take great pride in representing the largest Tibetan diaspora in North America.

The Dalai Lama is not just a leader for the people of Tibet; he is a leader for us all. Thanks to his efforts to promote non-violence and to defend religious freedom around the world, this Buddhist leader has become a champion for justice and human rights for millions of people throughout the world.

I was humbled to meet with the Dalai Lama in 2018 in India. What I will always recollect from that meeting is his wisdom, his kindness and most of all his dedication to the Tibetan people and his promotion of the Middle Way approach.

To our honorary Canadian citizen, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, I say a simple thanks [Member spoke in Tibetan] for all he has done, not just for the Tibetan people, but for the global community and promoting the cause of peace and pluralism internationally.

[Member spoke in Tibetan]

Ron CareyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Benzen Conservative Calgary Heritage, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday family and friends held a celebration of life for a Calgary businessman, philanthropist and my friend, Ron Carey. Last month Ron died in a collision during a vintage car rally in England.

Ron built his company, J&L Supply, into a successful drill bit service provider for the oil patch, but among his passions away from work was collecting vintage automobiles.

Ron's collection was exceeded only by his generosity when he donated dozens of antique vehicles and vintage gas pumps to the Heritage Park Historical Village. In fact, Heritage Park built the Gasoline Alley Museum to showcase his vast collection.

Ron himself had a hand in restoring many of these beautiful cars and they will persevere at the museum as a tribute to the generosity of a man who delighted in sharing his passion and the rewards of his success with his community.

Ron Carey, a great Albertan, will be sorely missed.

Community Food BankStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Soraya Martinez Ferrada Liberal Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, as a young immigrant girl who was welcomed by this country, I am deeply moved and I feel a profound sense of responsibility as I rise in this House for the first time.

I would like to begin by thanking the people of Hochelaga for their support and trust. As an MP, I know that we have set ambitious but achievable goals for ourselves, goals relating to transportation, social housing and food security.

Today I would like to congratulate Chic Resto Pop, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary. Chic Resto Pop is an organization that understands the importance of helping vulnerable populations meet their basic needs, such as food. Over the past 35 years, it has served more than 4 million meals.

Once again, I want to congratulate Chic Resto Pop.

Luc O'BomsawinStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bloc Bécancour—Nicolet—Saurel, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Abenaki Nation, along with the other indigenous nations of Quebec, are mourning the passing of Luc O'Bomsawin, a prominent figure in indigenous circles.

Luc passed away on December 4 at the age of 62 from an aggressive cancer, three weeks after being diagnosed.

Luc first served with the Canadian Armed Forces as a communications specialist and crew member of the 12e Régiment Blindé du Canada. He then joined the Aboriginal Police, serving in several Quebec communities, then worked as a correctional officer at the Donnacona Institution, and finally was a member of the Ports Canada Police and the Sûreté du Québec. He was also the founder of the Quebec Aboriginal Veterans Association.

The Abenakis of Odanak remember Luc as a decent, dedicated man who was very involved in his community and proud to showcase it.

On behalf of the Bloc Québécois and all members of the House, I offer our condolences to his family and the entire Abenaki Nation.

Public HealthStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Sonia Sidhu Liberal Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House today to thank the people of Brampton South, my family, all the volunteers, voters and supporters. Each and every one of them who helped me to get re-elected.

I would like to speak about an issue of great concern to Bramptonians.

Brampton needs its fair share of health services to keep up with the rapid growth of our city. As a health care professional for 18 years, I also know how important disease prevention is in taking pressure off our health care system.

On that note, I want to thank all of the organizations that joined me on November 30 to mark Diabetes Awareness Month, including Diabetes Canada, the YMCA, the JDRF, LMC Healthcare and the Healthy Communities Initiative.

Working together we can defeat diabetes, improve the health of Canadians and save our health care system billions of dollars.

Oro-MedonteStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Doug Shipley Conservative Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, ON

Mr. Speaker, standing up and speaking for the first time in Parliament should be an occasion filled with joy and happiness. Unfortunately, it is with heavy heart that I rise today to pay tribute to not one but two Oro-Medonte councillors who recently passed away.

Councillor Scott Macpherson passed away on November 6, 2019. Scott Macpherson was a retired Simcoe County School Board teacher and dedicated community volunteer. He was serving his second term on council.

Deputy Mayor Scott Jermey passed away on November 20, 2019. Scott Jermey was a dairy farmer and a local pillar in the farming community. He was also serving his second term on council.

Both were fine gentlemen who served their communities well. Their passing is a deep loss to the township of Oro-Medonte. They will be dearly missed by their families, friends and constituents. They will always be remembered for their positive legacies that they leave behind.

Alfred-PellanStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Angelo Iacono Liberal Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to congratulate you on being elected Speaker of the House. The fact that you are the first Speaker of Italian Canadian descent, like me, fills me with pride.

I would also like to say thank you 26,015 times to the constituents of Alfred-Pellan who have once more placed their trust in me. This solid and growing trust strengthens my sense of duty to move forward together, to fight climate change, to strengthen the middle class, to support the businesses and organizations in my riding, and to remain present and receptive.

As the holiday season is fast approaching, my son, Gabriel, my wife, Rana, and my team join me in wishing the residents of Laval and all my colleagues happy holidays and a happy new year.

I wish everyone a merry Christmas and a happy new year. Buon Natale e buon anno a tutti.

Kitchener CentreStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Raj Saini Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pride to rise today for the first time in Canada's 43rd Parliament.

I am deeply humbled to have earned the trust of the people of Kitchener Centre who sent me back to Ottawa as their representative. I want to thank everyone who helped me during the last campaign, including supporters and volunteers. I am here in this House to provide a strong voice for their issues, which I have engaged with both on and off the campaign trail. These include taking firmer action to address the climate crisis and working to make life more affordable for Canadians.

It is always exciting and a privilege to share in celebrations and events across the region that highlight our community's rich diversity. Over the coming months and years, I look forward to working with and listening to my constituents to make life better for them. Regardless of whether they are seniors, students, new Canadians, scientists, artists, athletes or parents, I am here for them.

I return to Ottawa with great optimism and look forward to advancing issues important to Kitchener Centre and to this great country.

Langley—AldergroveStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Tako Van Popta Conservative Langley—Aldergrove, BC

Mr. Speaker, as this is my first time rising in this House, I would like to thank the citizens of my riding, Langley—Aldergrove, for placing their confidence in me to be their voice in the nation's capital.

I also want to honour the memory of my immediate predecessor in this role, Mr. Mark Warawa.

As the new representative for this riding, I want to bring it to the attention of the House that the population of Langley—Aldergrove has been growing steadily over the last couple of decades, and with it road congestion and pollution. The people of my riding are looking for a greener and cleaner transportation option, namely the expansion of Metro Vancouver SkyTrain all the way to Langley.

Right now, funding is in place to build the first half of it, but another $1.6 billion is needed to finally bring this dream to a conclusion. We are looking to both sides of the House for support for this very great project.

Aga KhanStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, December 13 marks the 83rd birthday of His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan. His Highness is the spiritual leader of over 25 million Ismaili Muslims spread across the globe.

Over the past 62 years, His Highness, through the Aga Khan Development Network, has improved the quality of life of the most vulnerable populations. Through education and economic opportunities, he has helped empower women and girls and provide stability and prosperity to communities, irrespective of race, ethnicity or faith.

Canada is extremely fortunate to have the Aga Khan as a partner in the Global Centre for Pluralism, which is a beacon of dialogue and engagement with the world. In this age of conflict and nationalism, the ethos of pluralism, as demonstrated by the Aga Khan, is sorely needed.

Happy birthday, Your Highness.

Saskatoon—UniversityStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Corey Tochor Conservative Saskatoon—University, SK

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the good people of the Saskatoon—University riding for placing their trust in me.

I would also like to thank my wife Danielle and my two boys Jacob and James for their love and support over the campaign. It has been a wonderful ride and I am so grateful for their support.

I would also like to thank, in my office, Justin Ollerich, Helen Harvey and James Hawkes, who have worked tirelessly over the campaign and are now helping me out in my office here in Ottawa and back in Saskatoon. I am very grateful for their support. I am so grateful for the hundreds of volunteers and the people who donated to our campaign and made it the success that it was. I thank them from the bottom of my heart. I am indebted to them forever.

The people of Saskatoon—University are proud and hard-working. They are struggling because of the decisions of the government. The failure to build necessary national infrastructure projects such as pipelines is hurting them, with consequences that can be seen every day—

Saskatoon—UniversityStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

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

FirearmsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Blaine Calkins Conservative Red Deer—Lacombe, AB

Mr. Speaker, many of my constituents are farmers, hunters and sport shooters. They are licensed, law-abiding firearms owners who have invested in these tools as an integral part of their lives. They are also among the most heavily vetted people in the country. Every day, the name of each licensed firearms owner is checked against the police database to make sure they have not committed a crime, yet these are the same people whom the Liberal government is targeting with its forced confiscation of lawfully owned property.

The Liberals are not making life miserable for gangsters, smugglers and violent criminals but instead are blaming law-abiding Canadians who happen to own firearms as part of their way of life. This is outrageous. Only in Liberal lefty la-la land does the government focus on turning law-abiding citizens into criminals, instead of turning criminals into law-abiding citizens.

I encourage all Canadians to speak out against this unconscionable government overreach and encourage the Liberal government to focus on actual measures that will reduce crime. To law-abiding gun owners, the Conservatives will continue—

FirearmsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Order. The hon. member for Hamilton Centre.

Government PoliciesStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the finance minister announced that the Liberals are prioritizing tax giveaways to the wealthy instead of help for those who are most in need. They are handing over $6 billion and giving the biggest benefits to folks who are already making between $100,000 and $200,000 a year.

While we support the idea of giving a break to those who earned the least, if we target the Liberals' proposed changes to those making less than $90,000 a year, we can give free and full dental care immediately to those who need the help the most. It would save our health care system millions of dollars and help millions of Canadians in a very real way.

If the Liberals are just interested in staying in power, they can continue looking to the Conservatives and the Bloc. However, if they are actually wanting to get things done for Canadians and help them with the struggles that they face every day, then we are here—

Government PoliciesStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Order. The hon. member for Salaberry—Suroît.

Céline LefebvreStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Salaberry—Suroît, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to pay tribute to a remarkable woman, Céline Lefebvre.

Ms. Lefebvre is a cofounder of Liberté de choisir, an addiction prevention organization. She built a professional team entirely dedicated to raising awareness among young people about addiction to alcohol, drugs, energy drinks and the Internet.

Ms. Lefebvre created innovative programs that have inspired countless organizations in Quebec that work in addictions services. She has had such an impact on the lives of hundreds of people that the Association québécoise des centres d'intervention en dépendance created an award in her name this year and she is the very first recipient. This award acknowledges the work of community organizations that stand out for their dedication to addiction prevention.

Today I am proud to recognize the major contribution of this constituent of Salaberry—Suroît to Quebec society.

I extend my heartiest congratulations to Ms. Lefebvre.

Government PoliciesStatements By Members

December 10th, 2019 / 2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Pat Kelly Conservative Calgary Rocky Ridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, since the government took office, foreign investment has fallen by 56%, $100 billion has left the energy sector and investments in plants and equipment are down. Real wages have barely risen, nearly half of Canadians are within $200 of insolvency and a third of Canadians are broke at the end of each month. October had the highest number of personal bankruptcies in 10 years and per capita GDP is falling. The economy lost 71,000 jobs last month and we are falling behind our international peers. The cost of living is increasing and standards of living are stagnating. This is not middle-class prosperity.

Because the government broke its promise to balance the budget within its first term and created a structural deficit without delivering the infrastructure that it promised, it has squandered the fiscal capacity that it inherited during a time of economic growth. Canadians deserve better, and Canadians can count on Conservatives to fight for those working hard to join the middle class and those desperately struggling to remain in it.

Human Rights DayStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Gary Anandasangaree Liberal Scarborough—Rouge Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Human Rights Day, I want to recognize the courageous work of human rights defenders around the world. Far too often, they are lone voices on the front lines to protect and advance the dignity and rights of others.

In Sri Lanka, the University Grants Commission and the Jaffna University council have barred human rights lawyer and the head of the Department of Law, Kumaravadivel Guruparan, from practising law.

In South Africa, Ayanda Denge was brutally killed for her advocacy in support of sex workers.

In Haiti, Charlot Jeudy was killed for his work on LGBTI issues. He worked with an organization called Kouraj and was on Parliament Hill for the Pride flag-raising ceremony in 2016.

Human rights defenders are harassed and intimidated, and are under constant surveillance with the aim of undermining their work. This often leads to a chilling effect that curtails civil society activism as a whole. Today and every day, we honour the women and men who peacefully speak and act to uphold human rights here in Canada and around the world.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan

Conservative

Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, today is the one-year anniversary of the arbitrary detention of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig by the Chinese government. These men have endured torturous conditions and will now be facing a second Christmas away from home. I know I speak on behalf of all members of Parliament when I send along our best wishes and sympathies to the two Canadians being detained and their families.

Can the Prime Minister update the House as to the efforts that are being made to secure the release of these two Canadians?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Burlington Ontario

Liberal

Karina Gould LiberalMinister of International Development

Mr. Speaker, as the Leader of the Opposition mentioned, indeed today unfortunately marks one year since Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were arbitrarily detained in China. They are and will remain our absolute priority. We will continue to work tirelessly to secure their immediate release and to stand up for them as a government and as Canadians. We are grateful to the many countries around the world that have expressed support for Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor.