House of Commons Hansard #5 of the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was work.

Topics

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of O Canada led by the hon. member for Kitchener—Conestoga.

[Members sang the national anthem]

Closure of Brunswick SmelterStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Serge Cormier Liberal Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, I want to start by thanking the voters of Acadie—Bathurst for giving me the privilege of serving them for a second term.

I rise today, however, to share some very unfortunate news. The New Brunswick smelter in the village of Belledune in my riding has decided to close its doors. I am very disappointed in this decision, as the smelter is the largest employer in our region and this closure will result in the loss of 280 jobs and hundreds more indirect jobs. This will have a major impact on the economy of the region.

I am proud of the unprecedented investments our Liberal government has made in Acadie—Bathurst since 2015. We have shown that northern New Brunswick is an ideal home for big industry, but let us not forget that small businesses have always been some of our most important job creators. Their work is an essential contributor to the economic success of the region.

I want to reassure everyone who is affected by the closure of the smelter that they have my support and the support of the government. We are going to do everything in our power to help them.

Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—LévisStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, let me begin by expressing my heartfelt gratitude to the people of Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis for placing their trust in me for the fifth time in a row.

I would also like to thank our amazing team of volunteers, my family and my wonderful wife, Marie. My entire team and I are here to help the people in our riding. We are facing major challenges, but, unfortunately, the throne speech was silent on subjects such as the labour shortage, shipbuilding and high-speed Internet and cell service in the regions.

People say that election campaigns begin on election night, but in Quebec, in Canada and in my riding, Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, we are rolling up our sleeves and focusing on sustainable prosperity.

Newmarket—AuroraStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Tony Van Bynen Liberal Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise in the House for the first time as the member of Parliament for Newmarket—Aurora in the 43rd Parliament.

I would like to thank the good people of Newmarket—Aurora for electing me as their representative. I thank also all my volunteers, supporters and, most important, my family, especially Roxanne, my wife of 49 years.

I also wish to thank Kyle Peterson for his contribution as the former member and his dedication and commitment to our community.

I have heard very clearly that our community is concerned about climate change, affordable housing, infrastructure funding, health care and a need for a long-term fiscal plan, but not at the expense of creating a social deficit. These things will by my priorities during the upcoming term.

I look forward to working with my colleagues to make meaningful progress in the current term.

Jean PagéStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Kristina Michaud Bloc Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, some people have a much larger extended family than others in Quebec. By coming into our homes every Saturday during the hockey night broadcast, Jean Pagé became an unofficial member of many families back home.

On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I wish to extend my deepest condolences to his family and loved ones. The sportscaster with the unmistakable smile left his mark not only on the legendary Soirée du hockey, but also on Quebec television. His was also the inimitable voice of the Olympic Games. He was there to take us through all the triumphs of our athletes.

Mr. Pagé was part of the emotional moments that inspired countless young girls and boys, including my brother and me, to put on some ice skates and skate around on a lake, at a park and even in the biggest arenas in the world.

Generations of Quebeckers have not known the sports world without Jean Pagé in it. Today we thank him from the bottom of our hearts.

43rd ParliamentStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Fayçal El-Khoury Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, as we begin this 43rd Parliament, let me first congratulate all the cabinet ministers on their appointment, as well as all the returning members. Lastly, I want to welcome the newly elected members of Parliament.

I am looking forward to working hard with my colleagues in the chamber in order to proudly serve Canadians, as they deserve a better country. Do you know why, Mr. Speaker? Because the right hon. Prime Minister said, “better is always possible”.

I would also like to take this opportunity to extend warm greetings and best wishes to all Canadians, and especially the people of Laval—Les Îles. I wish everyone a happy holiday season, surrounded by family and friends, and all the best for a new year filled with good health, happiness, progress and prosperity.

Temporary Foreign Worker ProgramStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, I am making a heartfelt plea to the House on behalf of the businesses of Mégantic—L’Érable and Chaudière-Appalaches.

There is a shortage of workers in the region. Businesses are putting expansion projects on hold, and some even have to run fewer shifts because they do not have the workers they need.

Every day, my office gets calls from business owners who are at the end of their rope. Not only do they have to watch as their company's development potential erodes, but they also have to deal with the extremely challenging task of hiring temporary foreign workers. The process is long, complex and expensive for SMEs.

Businesses have no room for error. Foreign workers become numbers, and woe to those who forget to tick off a box or who miss the deadline by several days. The foreign workers will be sent back home and will have to begin the process all over again. These workers who come to Canada seeking a little bit of hope are human beings. They are people with families and dreams. They are people who are simply seeking to improve their lives by participating in our country's development.

It is high time the government simplified and humanized this program and its administration to breathe some new life into our regions.

Christmas GreetingsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Gagan Sikand Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is the most wonderful time of the year. This season is about bringing light to people around us. In my home riding of Mississauga—Streetsville, there is so much to recognize, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

As we remember the teachings of Jesus, and act in the spirit of giving, there are aspects of Streetsville that make the season so special. I know Christmas is near because downtown Streetsville is filled with cheer.

Whether people are gathering around the table, in a place of worship or under the tree, I want to wish everyone in Mississauga—Streetsville and across Canada a very merry Christmas.

Artistic CommunityStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Julie Dzerowicz Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was delighted to be a guest performer last Friday at the Pia Bouman ballet school's annual performance of The Nutcracker. Based in my riding of Davenport, the Pia Bouman school ensures that every child who wishes to create, learn or perform dance can do so. Thankfully, I did not fall off the stage, and it was such an honour to share the stage with so many talented performers.

Being a part of The Nutcracker reminded me of how art brings people together, gives life to our imaginary worlds and brings out the magic of the holiday season.

Davenport is so blessed with a thriving artistic community. From the just reopened Paradise Theatre to our wealth of visual artists, galleries, world-class museums, musicians, filmmakers and theatre and dance groups, we have so many opportunities to come together.

I encourage Canadians to take advantage of the many artistic offerings in our communities that allow us the opportunity to sing our favourite Christmas carols, hear our favourite stories, be with our friends and families, and share the warmth of the festive season.

I wish everyone a joyous Christmas and a wonderful holiday season.

Christmas GreetingsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to rise today for the first time in this 43rd Parliament.

I want to thank the constituents in Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek for placing their confidence in me to serve as their representative in Ottawa. With the fourth-highest voter turnout in Canada, they sent a strong message. I promise to work hard every day to ensure their voices are heard.

With the end of our session just days away and the Christmas season fast approaching, I want to take this opportunity to send Christmas greetings to my constituents, family and friends.

We have so much to be thankful for in Canada. As we celebrate Christmas, may the humility of Jesus' birth be a reminder of our duty to care for the most vulnerable among us.

To all members in this place and to all Canadians, may this season be filled with faith, hope and love, and the new year be filled with many blessings.

Have a safe and merry Christmas.

Mississauga—Erin MillsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Iqra Khalid Liberal Mississauga—Erin Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today in the House for the first time in this 43rd Parliament to welcome new and returning members. I also congratulate you, Mr. Speaker, on your election.

I thank my constituents in Mississauga—Erin Mills for placing their trust and confidence in me once again to be their strong voice in Ottawa. I thank my volunteers and my team for their hope and hard work.

Over the summer, I heard my constituents loud and clear about the issues that matter most to them, from climate change, pharmacare and affordable housing to seniors issues, fundamental human rights and women's empowerment. Many of these issues I focused on and will continue advocating for as we proceed in this new parliamentary session.

I look forward to working with all members in this House to push the needle towards progress.

Jean PagéStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Richard Martel Conservative Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honour one of the great sportscasters from back home. Jean Pagé passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family, knowing that he had lived a good life.

He is one of many sports broadcasters from the Saguenay region. When he was quite young, in fact just 18, he had the chance to shine at the microphone. He began by covering the 1972 Quebec Games at Lac Clair in Saint-David-de-Falardeau. His passion for sports led him to cover 12 Olympic Games, host 17 seasons of La Soirée du hockey on Radio-Canada and helm 110%, one of the most popular television shows in Quebec.

His love for the audience, which he was not afraid to show in a professional manner every time he was on air, earned “Monsieur 110” eight MétroStar awards and two Gemini awards. He was awarded the National Assembly medal in recognition of his contribution to Quebec.

My colleagues and I would like to extend our most sincere condolences to his wife Brigitte and his entire family.

Mr. Pagé, thank you for all the wonderful moments on television.

IranStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise to acknowledge the bravery and tenacity of Iranians as they stand up against one of the world's most oppressive regimes, the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Their protests began on November 15 and continue today, despite the regime's violent response, which has resulted in over 1,000 deaths, 4,000 injured and another 12,000 detained. This heartless regime is even demanding payment from families for the bullets that killed their loved ones before releasing their bodies.

Yesterday was international Human Rights Day. The Liberal government must do more than a pitiful five-sentence press release to condemn the human rights violations happening right now in Iran. Canada has the tools in place to take real action by finally sanctioning the Iranian officials responsible for these atrocities under our Conservative Sergei Magnitsky Law.

Conservatives will always support the people of Iran in the pursuit of freedom, democracy and human rights.

Student DebtStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Lindsay Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to thank my friends, supporters and volunteers, my family, my mom and dad and my partner, but I need to especially thank the people of London—Fanshawe for putting their trust in me to be their voice in the House. For the past year, I have listened to their concerns, their struggles, their hopes and dreams. It is my promise to fight for them and to continuously be their voice in this chamber.

Young people worked on my campaign, students like Jesse, Alyssa, Reenya and Nate, but they are being denied access to education. They are being forced to give up on their dreams because they cannot pay skyrocketing tuition. Young people are struggling under the weight of crushing student debt at the very time when they should be excited about planning their futures.

Instead of writing off billions in large corporate loans, the government could make accessing education a reality for Canadians. It is time to eliminate interest rates on students loans. It is time for the federal government to stop profiting from student debt.

Municipality of Saint-PhilippeStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Alain Therrien Bloc La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to pay tribute to the city of Saint-Philippe, which just wrapped up its 275th anniversary celebrations.

On Saturday, December 7, the people of Saint-Philippe joined together for a massive Christmas party, which was the culmination of a very successful year-long celebration.

I want to congratulate Saint-Philippe, its mayor, Johanne Beaulac, and the entire city council for giving people a chance to discover or rediscover this city's history and for creating unique opportunities for families to celebrate.

I also want to recognize Marie-Josée Roy, the director of the recreation department, who masterminded a full year of events for the public to enjoy.

Congratulations to everyone near and far who participated in this very special year. Happy 275th birthday to Saint-Philippe.

Employment in AlbertaStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, a strong Canada is a unified Canada. The concerns of every single province do and should matter. Right now, 20% of young men in the province of Alberta are unemployed. I am not just talking about stats, I am talking about faces. I am talking about real life stories.

Joshua, a 24-year-old IT graduate, is one of 33,000 young men in the province currently looking for work and finding nothing. Sean had to leave the province in order to find work and now makes $3 an hour less than a working wage. Tyler is 24 years old, drives three hours to work and barely makes enough money to support his two young girls. This is unacceptable.

Alberta once thrived. Young people would come from the east and go to the west, looking for adventure, work and a future, but not now. Now the unemployment rate has doubled in the last seven months, and the last time this happened was in 1983 under the last Trudeau.

This is a crisis, and it demands the attention of the current Prime Minister, and not tomorrow, not next week, but today.

VeteransStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Francesco Sorbara Liberal Vaughan—Woodbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, Take two minutes, would you mind? It’s a pittance of time
For the boys and the girls who went over
...
...may we never forget...
It’s a pittance of time

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Italian campaign. I had the honour to be a part of the delegation following the path of our 93,000 courageous Canadian soldiers who helped liberate Italy from Fascist occupation. Each row of crosses I saw in each of the war cemeteries visited and the appreciation expressed by the Italian citizens brought me immense feelings of pride and gratitude for our Canadian soldiers.

Nearly 6,000 Canadian soldiers paid the ultimate sacrifice during the Italian campaign for the value of freedom we hold so dear. As we travelled down these Italian roads with our 15 World War II veterans, we finished our song:

But two minutes I will bide. It’s a pittance of time
...
In peace may they rest,
may we never forget why they died.
It’s a pittance of time

Lest we forget.

International TradeOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan

Conservative

Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Canada has already capitulated repeatedly on NAFTA, and yesterday we learned that the Prime Minister wanted Canadians to give up even more.

Can the Prime Minister explain exactly what concessions he made on Canadian aluminum?

International TradeOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear. The new NAFTA, including the amendments we signed yesterday, is a win for aluminum workers.

We are very proud of our record of standing up for aluminum workers, and we will continue to stand up for them.

We are now ensuring that 70% of the aluminum used in North American automotive production will come from North America, and most of that will come from Quebec.

International TradeOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan

Conservative

Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday a senior Democrat said that Canada “conceded to just about every point that we asked for” on the new NAFTA deal, and that is after senior Republicans said last year that the Prime Minister gave very graciously. While Democrats and Republicans do not always agree on everything, they do seem to agree that the Prime Minister has failed Canadians when it comes to the new NAFTA negotiations.

Will the Prime Minister finally admit that what he came back with from Washington was a more weakened NAFTA than he had when he first went down there?

International TradeOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, allow me to take this moment to congratulate heartily the entire Canadian team for the great negotiation, and particularly our Deputy Prime Minister, the member for University—Rosedale.

We strengthened environmental protections, we strengthened the support for workers and we moved forward on strengthened intellectual property and automotive rules of origin. We have ensured that access to our most important trading partner is solid for years to come. That is the work the Canadian team did in achieving the new NAFTA.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan

Conservative

Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, when we are talking about being honest with Canadians, it is quite clear that the Prime Minister is attempting to bury the news that he still has absolutely no plan to balance the budget and that his high-tax, high-regulation policy is weakening the Canadian economy.

Will the Prime Minister commit to tabling a long-term economic and fiscal projection in Parliament this week, and will he take the steps needed to protect Canada's economy from the negative headwinds?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we made a very different choice than the Conservatives did. Instead of the cuts and austerity that the Conservatives put forward, we based our economic approach on investing in Canadians, on investing in their communities, on understanding that building a stronger future means giving everyone a real and fair chance to succeed. That is the choice we made as the Liberal Party. We got Canadians' support in 2015 and in 2019 to keep moving forward with a plan that invests in them for a brighter future for everyone.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan

Conservative

Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I am glad he said that they made the choices, because let us look at the results from their choices. Last month, 71,000 Canadians lost their jobs, 48% of Canadians are within $200 of not being able to pay their bills and foreign direct investment into Canada has fallen by 56%. While other countries are seeing greater growth than Canada, the current Prime Minister has created the conditions for a made-in-Canada recession.

Will the Prime Minister abandon this course of action?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to talk about what we have been able to do for Canadians. We watched Canadians create over a million new jobs over the past four years. Our policies that invested in Canadians and their families have actually lifted over 900,000 Canadians out of poverty, including 300,000 kids.

We recognize that there is more to do, and that is why we are going to keep investing in families, supporting Canadians, building for a brighter future every day through working with Canadians in communities right across the country.