House of Commons Hansard #6 of the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was need.

Topics

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

December 12th, 2019 / 1:25 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for the subamendment. It is particularly important for the people of Vancouver East on all of the issues he highlighted, whether it be on the climate emergency, housing, universal pharmacare, more affordability for people and so on.

One of the issues the member highlighted in his speech was the climate emergency. The government often says, and we saw it in the throne speech, that it is going to deal with this issue, yet this is the government that bought a pipeline and has not tackled the subsidies for the fossil fuel industry. We know, according to the IMF, that Canada is subsidizing the fossil fuel industry to the tune of $60 billion a year. We know the government is not tackling the tax loopholes for the wealthiest and the biggest corporations. If it did that, we could save some $10 billion per year.

Would the member advocate for the government to, once and for all, take the climate emergency seriously and, first and foremost, take action to reduce the subsidies for the fossil fuel industry?

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

1:25 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, not only will New Democrats advocate for it, but let us look at the amount of money that is put into the subsidies for oil and gas. Let us imagine a compelling alternative for transit to shift to a carbon-free economy. We only have to look to the NDP national transit strategy that would offer predictable and sustainable operational funding to public transit that would be expanded, not just east and west but also north and south.

We have heard quite compelling stories around missing and murdered indigenous women. We know that if we provide north and south connectivity among isolated communities through good, public, reliable and safe public transit, we can reduce those highways of tears. Not only is this a shift from subsidies, but we have the money that we could invest in a very ambitious nationalized transit strategy.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Madam Speaker, congratulations on your election to assist the Chair.

I want to start by thanking the constituents of Beaches—East York, everyone who supported me in the campaign and at the outset of my political career when nobody knew who I was. It is a humbling experience, being a candidate in politics, where hundreds of people come together all acting on behalf of me and my party and helping us, as individuals, come to this place. I sincerely thank the hundreds of people who have contributed in this past election, but also over the years. Of course, I also thank my family and especially my wife Amy.

I am not sure whether it is because of the last four years in this place, or in spite of the last four years in this place, but I continue to think, in my role as a parliamentarian, politics remains a pathway to making one of the most positive differences we can make in the lives of our neighbours and our fellow citizens. It remains a noble profession. We have an opportunity to display that to our fellow Canadians over the next two, three or maybe four years, as we seize the opportunity of this minority Parliament.

Minority parliaments hold the potential for greatness. Peter Russell is an academic and long-time political scientist who studied minority and majority parliaments around the world, including here at home. He has called minority parliaments here in Canada some of the most dynamic in our history.

Of course, the throne speech makes reference to Pearson. When we look to the Pearson years, we see co-operation that was able to deliver the Canada pension plan, Canada student loans, public health care and the flag. During those five years in Canadian history, Parliament accomplished more than most parliaments we have seen before, so this minority situation holds potential for greatness. It is up to us, and how we conduct ourselves in this place, whether we seize the opportunity or succumb to partisan politics.

One of the jobs in this place, as we hopefully seize the opportunity, is to work across the aisle. In the last Parliament, I had the good fortune to work across the aisle with Murray Rankin of the NDP on cannabis amnesty and with Fin Donnelly of the NDP on the shark fin trade. I had the opportunity to work across the aisle with current members in this House from the Conservatives and the NDP to tackle election interference, platform governance and privacy protections. I think if people watched our committee in the last Parliament, they would be hard pressed to determine who was the Liberal, who was the member from the NDP and who was the Conservative. That is how this place should operate, particularly at committee.

I hope we see more of those opportunities in this place going forward. I also worked really hard in the last Parliament to carve out some space, it is not always the easiest thing to do in this business, for principled independence. If I heard anything from my constituents in this last election, it is that they want me and the people in this place to work together as much as possible to accomplish big ideas for our country. They also want us to be less partisan and to carve out more of that principled independence and to carry that with us.

I want to echo the clear message in the throne speech and that Canadians sent us here with, which is to work together, and I hope we all take that very seriously going forward.

Canadians were also clear about the need to tackle climate change in a much more serious way. I had the good fortune in early June to introduce a bill to require the government to reduce emissions to net zero by 2050. I was incredibly happy to see that as a core commitment in our platform, and as a core and early commitment in the throne speech.

Our principal goal in this Parliament is to set Canada on a credible path to net zero while we ensure a just transition for affected workers and affected regions. That is our principal challenge in the coming years. We have come a long way over the last four years. In early 2016, Environment Canada told us that projected 2030 emissions were 850 megatonnes. After four years of policy-making that included methane rules to reduce methane emissions by 40%; phasing out coal-fired electricity; the price on pollution; massive investments in public transit, clean tech and energy efficiency; and the clean fuel standard, which, as an aside, all of us in this place need to keep an eye on because it is in the process of being watered down, that 850 megatonnes is now 592, a 25% reduction.

For the first time in my lifetime, we had a federal government that took climate change seriously and acted. It did not just set targets and blow past them, and that was the fault of the Conservatives and the Liberals I agree, but for the first time set targets and took action to meaningfully reduce emissions. Now our task is to build on that progress.

We have promised a number of important initiatives in our platform, such as expanding electric vehicle charging infrastructure and planting two billion trees. We promised to incentivize clean tech businesses in a serious way. There will be continued investments in public transit and more. However, none of those measures add up to where we need to be. Therefore, we will require more serious action to meet our international, our intergenerational and fundamentally our moral obligations in tackling climate change and doing our part. What does doing our part mean?

We have a 2030 target right now that is 512 megatonnes, and that will be a challenge. However, if we take science seriously, the IPCC tells us that the world has to reduce emissions to 45% below 2010 levels by 2030. How many in this place have that number in their head? What does that number mean? It is 380 megatonnes. Our current target is 512 megatonnes. The minimum we ought to be doing is our best to reach 380 megatonnes, 45% below 2010 levels by 2030, and that is not an easy task. If we are not sufficiently ambitious in our goals, we will not be forceful enough in our actions.

On the matter of co-operation and climate change, I fundamentally believe in the platform we put forward, strong action, but I also saw a promise from the NDP on an independent climate accountability office, and that is really important.

A Conservative creation, the Parliamentary Budget Office, holds the government to account on our behalf as parliamentarians. It helps us hold the government to account when finance tables a budget. When we turn those long-term goals into a five-year carbon budget to ensure we have short-term practical climate action so too do we need an independent mechanism to hold the government to account on its carbon budget process. Whether that is housed in a PBO, or housed in the environmental commissioner or whether we adopt a different and independent framework, that promise of independent climate accountability is an important one. There is an opportunity to work across the aisle.

When we look at the promise in our platform on a just transition act, now we can say that the Bloc Québécois came back and that party represents a good portion of Quebec. However, if I am more honest about regional differences, and I see Alberta and Saskatchewan, I know, as a member from Toronto, that the Conservative Party best represents Alberta and Saskatchewan in this place. If I think about co-operation and working across the aisle, as we develop that just transition act, we absolutely must be learning from, listening to and heeding the advice of our Conservative colleagues.

The throne speech also talked about strengthening the middle class. Obviously, those of us in this place and those across the country have heard the Prime Minister and this government mention the middle class once or twice over the years.

Increasing the basic personal amount is an important step. It will affect many Canadians. These are big numbers. Twenty million Canadians will have their taxes reduced. Hundreds of thousands of Canadians will be taken off the tax roll. When we increase the basic personal amount from just over $12,000 to $15,000, it will mean that people who really ought not to be paying any taxes at all will not be paying them.

It will cost $6 billion, and there is a challenge here. It is not paid for. It is deficit finance. It is obviously going to be implemented as it is our platform promise. If I am to be somewhat critical and fair, budgets continue to be sustainable and I will believe that as long as the PBO tells me that.

Value for money is a different proposition altogether. We do need to ensure that there is fairness in spending between generations. I do worry, from a fiscal sustainability standpoint, about a broad-based tax cut or even the increase to OAS when they are deficit financed. They should be properly paid for.

Another area of both optimism, because of the success and progress over the last four years, but also a point of some criticism, when we talk about those working hard to join the middle class or low income Canadians, those struggling with poverty, we have made incredible strides over the last four years. We introduced the national housing strategy, and housing benefits come online this year. Thousands of people no longer live in poverty, almost 900,000 people according to Statistics Canada numbers. That is incredible progress.

As chair of the anti-poverty caucus in the last Parliament, taken over from Senator Eggleton, who continues to do incredible advocacy on a basic income, I would be remiss if I did not note not only the incredible progress, but also a lack of similar ambition in this place going forward.

We brought hundreds of thousands of Canadians out of poverty by increasing the Canada child benefit and the GIS. Going forward, I do not see similar promises from any party that will lift that same significant number of Canadians out of poverty.

However, there is good news with respect to another area of potential collaboration. I will provide a bit of history.

When Ralph Goodale was the minister of finance, he introduced a measure of basic income support, like the OAS, the GIS and the Canada child benefit, for the working poor. It was not implemented. It was a good Liberal idea at the time. However, it became a good Conservative idea when finance minister Jim Flaherty introduced it in this place and made it a reality.

In the namesake of his riding, it was WITB, the working income tax benefit. In the last Parliament, we increased that significantly. While I am not sure how many people were paying attention to the member for Timmins—James Bay and the leadership, he was calling for it to be increased. Therefore, we had a Liberal finance minister, a Conservative finance minister and an NDP troublemaker all calling for the same measure to be increased.

When we look at the total numbers, we see over $50 billion a year for seniors in OAS and GIS and over $20 billion a year for children through the Canada child benefit. However, even after the increases in the last Parliament, we only see $2 billion a year for basic income support for the working poor, the people who are working multiple jobs, who are struggling to get by and who need it the most. That is where the action should be in this place, on poverty reduction, when it is an idea on which we have already agree.

The throne speech also talks about keeping Canadians safe. There are so many different ways we can talk about keeping Canadians safe. For those members who were not in this place in the last Parliament, a member of my local chapter of Young Liberals, Reese Fallon, was killed in the Danforth shooting. The hardest speech I have ever had to give was at her funeral. It was a great honour for our community and the family that the Prime Minister was so engaged that he was able to come to the funeral. However, we need action. In his platform, we saw action. The question then becomes this. How do we make that action as effective as possible? It is a reminder to all of us in this place that defaults matter. Therefore, if we are to give cities the power to set their own rules, there ought to be a baseline set of rules that cities can opt out of if we truly want that policy to be effective.

With respect to keeping Canadians safe, I am happy to say that, working across the aisle in the last Parliament on privacy issues, we saw a great deal of that work and those recommendations from our committee become promises in our platform. We are going to keep Canadians safe online. As my three year old grows up, he will live his entire life online and we need rules to reflect his reality.

Thousands of Canadians continue to die because of a contaminated drug supply and our opioid crisis. To reference Statistics Canada numbers, for the first time in the last 40 years, life expectancy has stalled, which is attributed to the opioid crisis. Thousands of people have died. If it were not from substance use, I guarantee there would be more committed governmental responses from the provinces. As a federal government, we took significant action over the last four years, but we do not see that collective action across parties and provinces to address this real public health crisis.

The throne speech rightly says that we have done much, but there is more to do. I hope we all agree in this place with this simple premise; that we should treat drug use as a health issue. Yes, we must tackle traffickers and producers, but the very people who need our help, the patients, should be treated as patients and not criminals. If we do that for alcohol and gambling, we ought to do it for all substances. That is how we save lives. If we start with the premise that we treat drug use as a public health issue, and we all agree on that, then let us work together on what that means in legislation.

My constituents have also called for a faster strategy to tackle rare diseases and they continue to call for a universal and national approach to pharmacare. I know that was referenced in the throne speech and in our platform, and there was a lot of good work done in the last Parliament.

I have a 13-year-old constituent, Helena Kirk, who was diagnosed with cancer at the age of three and went through 841 days of chemotherapy. She met with the Prime Minister, the science minister and the former health minister. In our platform was a $30-million commitment to pediatric cancer research, largely because of Helena's advocacy. I want to thank Helena for her hard work and let her know that we will do as much as we can to save the lives of her friends.

It is not only about keeping Canadians safe; it is about all living beings in Canadian society who think, feel and love. That includes animals and more. We made progress in the last Parliament on animal protections and we have to continue to build on that progress.

Importantly, the throne speech talked about moving forward on reconciliation.

I will first talk about the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal case. I have heard the minister that say money is no object. At the end of January, we have to deliver submissions to the tribunal that properly set out a path for just compensation, saying money is no object, what it will cost and that we have a fair path forward. Having already spoken to the minister, I will be looking very closely at our submissions. We need to ensure that those in our society who have suffered discrimination by the government receive due compensation.

We have seen incredible progress on clean water, an issue I hear a lot about from the constituents in my community. Over the last four years, over 60% of long-term boil water advisories on reserve were lifted. We injected $2 billion into the system. When the PBO said more money was needed, more money was provided. We remain on track to lift all advisories within the five-year commitment.

There is another specific project in Grassy Narrows that needs to be made a priority. I was very pleased to hear the minister say that money was no object and that the facility would be built with federal support. Again, I will be looking at that very closely.

Then there is the implementation of UNDRIP. I ran into Romeo Saganash when he was here the other day. We spoke briefly about our promise in our platform that his bill would be a floor. I hope to see the amendments, which were not adopted in the last Parliament, made to his bill. I hope his bill will be a floor. We have a historic opportunity to implement UNDRIP and provide rights to indigenous peoples, which they fundamentally deserve.

On a final note on reconciliation, which is urban indigenous communities, I did not see enough in our platform or in the throne speech. We need a much stronger commitment to urban indigenous communities. In Ontario alone, some of the estimates I have seen is that over 80% of indigenous people do not live on reserve. We need to ensure that indigenous services understands that and is able to deliver services properly to urban indigenous communities.

On Canada's place in the world, there have been great successes over the last four years. We saw greater fairness in our immigration and refugee system. Just to be clear, we brought in more refugees last year than any other country in the world. We are doing our part, which is the right thing to do. My riding has a very strong Bangladeshi community. Those in that community called on me to be vocal on the Rohingya refugee crisis. I and this government were, on the recommendations of Bob Rae. I am very proud of the government's efforts on that issue in the last Parliament.

We need to continue to take that leadership on the global stage on human rights. We need to continue to defend and support our multilateral institutions. We are best at fundamentally supporting institutions. Whether it is training judges, election commissioners, parliamentary processes, we need to double down on what we are best at. We are doing it in some countries, but clearly, when we see what is going on around the world, other countries could use some of that stable support and democratic decision-making from the Canadian Parliament and the Canadian people.

On global climate action, we saw great leadership in the last Parliament on phasing out coal, not only domestically but also abroad. We were global leaders in helping the rest of the world chart this path. We need to continue to do that work, but we cannot do that if we do not do the strong work at home to meet our emission reduction targets. We have to help lead our country and the world on this defining issue of our time.

I will close by reiterating that we have in this minority Parliament a real opportunity to work together on these big ideas and issues that can make such a difference in the lives of Canadians and citizens of the world. Let us seize that opportunity and not waste it.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my friend from Beaches—East York for his thoughtful remarks. I can attest that the three-year-old son he talked about is the apple of his eye and a very, very cute three-year-old. I am saying that on the record, in Hansard.

Some of the points the member raised on the growing need to have some sort of regulation of social media giants is a critical challenge that we will face in this Parliament. I think, in many ways, if we do not do that, we are going to see a continuation of the preference bubble approach to politics, because the secret algorithms and everything else almost encourage people to only listen to voices within their own tribe. The rhetoric that we see that is often influenced by foreign actors as well is limiting discourse.

I really like the fact that in the last Parliament a committee led by a Conservative member, my friend from Prince George, with this member and others, combined with other parliamentarians from other countries started tackling these issues. While there was not much in the throne speech on this, I wonder if the member can speak to that work. Is there an ability for some cross-partisan support to really get a handle on this for our children's future and also for the future of serious political discourse in Canada?

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Madam Speaker, I hope to be able to work closely with the member in this Parliament on any number of issues. He mentioned the good work of our colleague from Prince George. I would add the member for Timmins—James Bay and the member for Thornhill and, of course, many members from this side of the House as well.

The three of us, representing three different parties, were able to attend in London. As I mentioned in my remarks, one would be hard pressed to know which party we each represented. We were there on behalf of Canada working with our international partners from different parties as well. Similarly, when looking at the U.K. Parliament, one would be hard pressed to know who the Tory or Labour members were. That fundamentally is the approach that bears results.

Tackling tech and talking about GDPR-like rules became a growing consensus at our committee, cross-partisan. We also looked at algorithmic transparency, the ability to audit algorithms to understand what are the positive and negative impacts of these algorithms that are being employed that are affecting our lives and affecting society.

In fact, in the public sector if a department or agency wants to employ an algorithm that is going to have a potential adverse effect, some 80-odd questions have to be answered. They are in the four risk categories. Depending on the risk category, they take certain remedial efforts. A private sector company that has many more data points and is doing many more things has no obligation whatsoever. That obviously needs to change.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, the member opened up by talking about the early days. What a lot of people probably do not know is that the member for Beaches—East York and I both ran for city council in 2006, in the city of Kingston. We did not run against each other. We were running in neighbouring districts. If I remember correctly, he was actually a Queen's student at the time. Unfortunately, the people of Kingston did not select him. I do not think they were quite ready for him at the time. However, it is great to be sitting in this House with him now.

The member talked specifically about the strength that we can see and the collaboration that can happen in minority governments. Indeed, he did hit on some of the very important work that has been accomplished by a minority government, such as the creation of the CPP, health care and the creation of the flag. Those are all real things that can happen in a minority Parliament when parties choose to work together.

Would the member comment on what he sees are the main struggles to getting that collaboration to work and how we could possibly overcome that?

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the member for highlighting my previous inadequacies. I joke that in that election I learned everything not to do.

There is a lesson in politics about running as a student in Kingston where I did not have a real community around me. When I was successful was when I ran in Beaches—East York where I grew up, where my parents were teachers, and where I played baseball my whole life. That is my community. Fundamentally, one should not get into politics unless one is representing one's community.

One can achieve greatness as a representative, a city councillor in Kingston, or maybe as the mayor of Kingston and one could have been a bouncer before that. We all come from humble backgrounds in our own life.

On the question of co-operation, rules can help change things, but it depends on culture and that culture depends upon the way we conduct ourselves in this place and outside of this place. I think there are great opportunities. The challenge is, of course, that we want to win an election. Everyone wants to win an election. An election is always forever on the horizon in a minority Parliament. That is the fundamental challenge, how to set aside partisanship while knowing that an election is on the horizon. It comes down to us and how we conduct ourselves. We need to take an approach to put co-operation first and let us put Canadians first.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Jeremy Patzer Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the member opposite for acknowledging that Conservatives know best about the issues in Saskatchewan and Alberta. Hopefully we are going to be able to work together on these issues.

He seems to be a financially aware individual, so could the member explain why the Liberals continue to impose a carbon tax when Alberta and Saskatchewan are already utilizing technology and not taxation to lower emissions?

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Madam Speaker, I heard the same thing, that provinces could reduce carbon emissions without a price. When I look at the Auditor General's work in Ontario, actually it is not always the case that this happens.

If we truly are serious about taking the most market-based mechanism we can, relying upon the market not picking winners, that means a price on pollution. It allows different technologies to develop and we make sure the social costs and the negative externality, if we are talking economics and financial language, is internalized in the cost of the good at the point of purchase. That is what a price on pollution does. It is a conservative idea going back to Ronald Coase, who was not a liberal. That is fundamentally the best way to tackle climate change.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Madam Speaker, it is always good to hear the member's non-partisan views from the other side of the aisle.

He talked about the urgency of the climate crisis. Perhaps he could comment on the fact that we have a Trans Mountain pipeline that was supposed to make the government money, and in some Orwellian fashion it was going to use that money to do good things for the environment, yet we hear now from the Parliamentary Budget Officer that we are not making any profits at all. I am just wondering if he could comment on that and why we have to stand up to the oil and gas companies and stop subsidizing the fossil fuel industry and instead move to a low-carbon future.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Madam Speaker, of course I agree that we ought to subsidize the things that we want, which are cleaner technologies, and not subsidize the things we do not want, which are technologies that hurt the environment. However, I want to be clear that when the oil and gas sector or other industries can move the needle on reducing emissions, there are opportunities potentially to offer incentives for them to reduce emissions if they otherwise would not. Really what we should be looking at is the dollar cost for emissions reductions and where the efficiencies might be.

On the Trans Mountain pipeline specifically, I always understood that the bulk of the profits, to the extent we see them, occurs when the project is completed because that is when the capacity is able to increase and we will see more revenue generated in our economy and more tax revenue certainly.

Let me just note that the supply-side measures are incredibly hard to accomplish when there are not alternatives in the marketplace. Phasing out coal-fired electricity makes a good deal of sense because there are alternatives and we can see emissions reductions.

However, in taking a supply-side measure on oil and gas today in Canada, what is going to happen is we are going to see the same global demand. Global supply is more than sufficient to meet that global demand and we will have frittered away industry in Canada and made not a difference at all to tackle the overall picture of global climate change. Therefore, we have to be very careful about supply-side measures and blocking projects in Canada without considering the impacts around the world.

Harbour AirStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to give my warmest holiday wishes to my constituents in Nanaimo—Ladysmith and to all Canadians.

I also want to congratulate Greg McDougall and the innovative team at Harbour Air. On Tuesday morning, I watched with enormous pride as Harbour Air made history with a test flight of the world's first fully electric commercial aircraft.

Harbour Air is a regional airline that provides an important transportation link between coastal communities in southern B.C. It has been working in partnership with magniX to become the world's first fully electric airline by converting their seaplanes to e-planes. With the success of Tuesday's test flight, they moved closer to the goal and positioned a Canadian business as a global leader in zero emissions air travel.

This company has seen both the challenge and opportunity posed by climate change, and has stepped up for our children and grandchildren. I cannot wait to take my first trip on an e-plane.

I congratulate Harbour Air.

Singhs Doing ThingsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Liberal Surrey—Newton, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to thank the residents of Surrey—Newton for once again placing their trust in me. I am truly humbled by their support and will continue to remain highly accessible. More importantly, I will always put their voices ahead of all other considerations.

With that in mind, I would like to acknowledge the youth-led volunteer organization, Singhs Doing Things, on its fourth annual food and toy drive. This past Sunday, over 225 volunteers came together to support the Surrey Food Bank in its single largest collection effort of 2019. Over 60,000 pounds of food was collected through generous donations from the community.

I want to give a special thanks to the donors, organizers and volunteers of Singhs Doing Things for all their hard work in helping the less fortunate.

Don PennyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Maguire Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise to proudly pay tribute to a great Canadian business icon, Mr. Don Penny, upon his recent passing.

Don's legacy is acknowledged across the country as he was a founding partner of the accounting company, Meyers Norris Penny, now known as MNP. Becoming CEO in 1977, he was proud that the small accounting firm that started in Brandon, Manitoba, now has offices across Canada and employs more than 4,500 people.

In recognition of his business acumen and philanthropic spirit, he received our nation's highest honour, the Order of Canada. However, Don never forgot his roots. Whether he was in Brandon, Clear Lake or Bay Street, he was always the same kind and generous man helping everyone he knew.

I offer sincere condolences to his wife, Sandra, his son, Darren, his daughter, Leanne, his step-daughters, Rhonda and Karla, and his five grandchildren.

Canada, particularly western Manitoba, has lost a great leader, visionary and philanthropist in Mr. Don Penny. May he rest in eternal peace.

Holiday GreetingsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Emmanuella Lambropoulos Liberal Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to thank the people of Saint-Laurent from the bottom of my heart for entrusting me with a second mandate.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of my volunteers who donated their time and money to make it possible for me to return to this place to represent the community and the riding that I love so much once again.

With the holidays quickly approaching, I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very healthy and happy holiday season. Whether people are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanza, I hope this is a time of joy, peace, prosperity and a lot of quality time with family and loved ones.

I wish everyone happy holidays and a happy new year.

Medical Assistance in DyingStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Luc Thériault Bloc Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, I believe we would all prefer to face death serenely, peacefully and without suffering. Gloria Taylor, Kay Carter, Jean Truchon and Nicole Gladu sent a message: our death, like our life, belongs to us.

The autonomy bestowed on a person by law through the principle of self-determination and its corollary rule of free and informed consent is never questioned throughout a person's life, even in emergencies. Why then would things be any different for a person with an incurable or irreversible disease who is suffering intolerably? Why would it be any different for competent individuals who are neither depressed nor suicidal and who have expressed a desire to live fully until they reach the limit of what they can tolerate?

Let us make medical assistance in dying a non-partisan priority for this Parliament. The Bloc will collaborate. We must work together because it is our duty to succeed this time.

SeniorsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Yip Liberal Scarborough—Agincourt, ON

Mr. Speaker, from the neighbourhoods of Wishing Well, Bamburgh Circle, L'Amoreaux, Steeles and Glendower, I want to thank the people of Scarborough—Agincourt for the honour of representing them once again.

Shepherd Village is Toronto's largest not-for-profit seniors community and has been in my riding since 1961. It is an active community and just recently had their milestone birthday party celebration, celebrating residents turning 95 and up. One really has to be 95 years old or older to be part of this group.

I congratulate Olive Myhre, who will be celebrating her 108th birthday soon.

Seniors are important. That is why we look forward to providing an increase of 10% to their OAS for those 75 years and up, and a 25% increase to the Canada pension plan survivor benefits for widows and widowers.

Tobique—MactaquacStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Richard Bragdon Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, today I rise to thank the good people of Tobique—Mactaquac who elected me to be their voice here in Ottawa. I also want to thank my family, especially my beautiful wife Crystal and our three children, Vada, Walker and Mariah, for being there to support me.

During the campaign, my father's lunch bucket became a very important symbol to me. My father is 68 years old and still works at the pulp mill in Nackawic. It is because of people like my father and mother who work in our factories and wait on our tables, the farmers who grow our food, those who develop our natural resources and those who truck and ship our goods that I am here today. They are the ones who are so often overlooked, ignored and increasingly looked down upon.

On this side of the House, those who have been forgotten and feel disconnected from the decisions being made here will always have a voice. They will be heard. They will have their rights and livelihoods defended until we make it onto that side of the House and bring about the changes they are desperately longing for.

On this side of the House and in this seat, we will remember those who carry the buckets.

Gordon BeanStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to celebrate the life of an extraordinary human being, Gordon Bean, a tremendous public servant for 30 years and someone with whom I had the privilege to serve.

Gord left us far too soon, but not before teaching those whose lives he touched what it means to love, serve and be a friend.

Gord lit up every room he entered and was the friend that everyone only dreamed of having. He was the most selfless person I ever met. Even during his last two months, there was never a thought for himself, only worries about those whom he would leave behind. Gord lived his life to make life better for others, and he did.

To Gord's devoted life partner, Craig Richardson, Gord's father, siblings and their families, Shelley Dooher and her family, I thank them all for sharing him. Let us all take time to be kind and do something for a friend or a stranger to honour Gordon Bean.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Patrick Weiler Liberal West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, our communities play a key role in protecting the environment and fighting climate change.

I would like to commend the District of Squamish for taking a leadership role in the climate emergency by supporting the national and constitutional price on carbon that our government has introduced, through its participation as an intervenor in the Supreme Court of Canada.

It is with great pleasure that I was able to participate in the submission of the application to have Howe Sound recognized as a UNESCO biosphere reserve last week. First nations, governments, NGOs and citizens have come together to pursue a common goal of a healthy, thriving Howe Sound. I am grateful for the ongoing leadership of Ruth Simons and Joyce Williams, and I wish to congratulate the hard work of the community to date in restoring this important ecosystem.

I look forward to collaborating on these issues with my colleagues. I feel certain that by working together, we can do great things.

Barrie—InnisfilStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Mr. Speaker, the residents and businesses of Barrie—Innisfil have always come to the aid of families, seniors and the vulnerable in our community at Christmas. This year has been no different.

Once again, the South Simcoe Police Service has had another successful “stuff the command post" toy drive.

With food bank use increasing, Pastor Howard and Beulah Courtney of the lnnisfil Food Bank are doing whatever they can to help families have a magical Christmas dinner. Close to 5,000 pounds of food was recently delivered to the Barrie Food Bank by Barrie Ford, Barrie Chrysler and 400 Chrysler.

However, this year has been challenging for a couple of Christmas campaigns. Barrie and District Christmas Cheer, which helps 1,700 families, is a far cry from its $250,000 target. The annual Salvation Army kettle drive is also struggling to meet its fundraising goal this season. I know the residents of Barrie—lnnisfil will come through.

To everyone working to help those less fortunate, thank you for showing us what Christmas is about. My family wishes everyone a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.

Santa's Parade of LightsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marie-France Lalonde Liberal Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the residents of Orléans for giving me their trust on October 21.

I am honoured to represent them in the House of Commons.

On November 30, I had the pleasure of participating in this year's annual Santa's Parade of Lights for the first time as the member of Parliament for Orléans.

Santa's Parade of Lights in Orleans drew nearly 130,000 spectators all along St-Joseph Boulevard, which we are proud to call the heart of Orleans.

The parade, organized by the members of the Ottawa Professional Fire Fighters Association and led by Bob Rainboth and Ken Walton, raises money and toys for the firefighters' Help Santa toy fund.

I congratulate all participants and volunteers who helped make this year's parade such a huge success.

First All-Electric Commercial PlaneStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies, BC

Mr. Speaker, something historic happened this week in my home province of British Columbia. History was made when Harbour Air founder and CEO Greg McDougall completed the world's flight of an all-electric commercial plane. In the air for less than 10 minutes, Greg said after the flight that the retrofitted float plane "wanted to fly".

With the potential to fly about 160 kilometres before it needs to be recharged, the retrofitted de Havilland Beaver proves that commercial electric flight is possible, and we can proudly say that we did it first in B.C.

Congratulations to Greg and everyone at Harbour Air, and its partner magniX, for this milestone achievement. Congratulations, Greg.

Dauphin—Swan River—NeepawaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Mazier Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is a tremendous honour to rise in the House for the very first time to thank the very many people who got me here.

First, I thank the constituents of Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa for placing their trust in me. It is a privilege to take this seat to represent them, and I will never forget who I am working for.

I thank my family. I thank my kids, Hannah and Mike, and especially my wife Leigh, for their dedication and support.

As a farmer and an eternal optimist, I hope to achieve real results in this Parliament. I pledge to stand up for our farmers and the communities they support, to constantly advocate for the residents of my riding and to defend the rural way of life. It is what my constituents deserve.

TelecommunicationsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Heather McPherson NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is becoming more expensive for average Canadians to pay their bills. Costs are going up across the country, and in Alberta in particular, families are struggling. Car insurance rates have gotten more expensive, electricity bills are higher and just this week parents are learning that they will have to pay out of their own pockets for their kids to ride the school bus.

On top of all this, Canadians are still paying some of the highest fees for cellphones and Internet bills in the world because the government refuses to do what is right and put the needs of people ahead of the demands of the telecom industry.

No matter where people live in Canada, they should be able to stay connected without breaking the bank. Wishing, hoping and claiming that industries regulate themselves just will not work. Canadians need a price cap on their cellphone and Internet bills.