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

Topics

Business of the HouseOpening of Parliament

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Business of the HouseOpening of Parliament

4:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Business of the HouseOpening of Parliament

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

(Motion agreed to)

The House proceeded to the consideration of the speech delivered by Her Excellency the Governor General at the opening of the session.

Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

Lyne Bessette Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I must admit that I am a little bit nervous.

I would like to begin my speech by taking a moment to congratulate the Speaker on his election. It is very clear that he will be a fair and impartial Speaker who will be respected by parliamentarians and Canadians.

I am honoured to be here in the House of Commons today to represent the people of Brome—Missisquoi. I would like to thank them for putting their trust in me and electing me as their MP. I am really grateful to them and I will work hard to properly represent all Canadians while I am in office.

When I made the decision to go into politics, I had three objectives: to help others, to listen to people and to try to make a difference. I want to bring everything I learned in sports to the public sector so that I can be even closer to the people. I believe that the government has the same approach in that it wants to build on its achievements and on what it has learned in order to become closer to Canadians and better meet their needs.

Over the past four years, the Liberal government has made real progress by taking action to invest in the middle class, grow an economy that works for everyone and protect the environment. However, there is still much to do. In October, Canadians made the choice to move forward and focus on the progress that has been made, while reminding parliamentarians of the importance of working together, putting the community first and finding common ground.

As Her Excellency the Governor General said, Canadians have given us a mandate to govern the country, but we cannot fulfill that mandate unless we work together. Our government is committed to working with the other parties in the House, as well as with provincial and municipal governments, to deliver the best possible results for Canadians.

Canadians want a government that focuses on the issues that matter to them, like strengthening the middle class and helping those most in need, fighting against climate change and protecting the health and safety of Canadians.

In this throne speech, our government committed to taking meaningful action on the defining challenge of the time: climate change. The government will set a target to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. I realize that this is an ambitious target, but it is necessary if we want to protect our environment and maintain Canada's economic growth.

Speaking of the environment, the government will take action to preserve Canada's natural legacy. My constituents in Brome—Missisquoi will surely be happy to hear this, since the two transboundary lakes in our beautiful riding, Lake Memphremagog and Lake Champlain, supply drinking water to our communities. Thanks to our government's commitment to making our communities greener, cleaning the air and using nature-based solutions to fight climate change, we can proudly look forward to a greener future for our communities.

Speaking of communities, we cannot forget that our constituents face different social and economic challenges. Our government is committing to quickly cut taxes for Canadians, which will give more money to middle-class families and those who need it most.

The solutions to the problems and challenges of the future will have to be found by the future leaders of Canada. Therefore, our government will give more support to students, be they new graduates struggling with loan repayment, or be they heading back to school to learn new skills. That is why our government is committed to being there for Canadian students.

However, before they become students, they are children who need services and their parents' presence. That is why our government has pledged to give families more time and money to help raise the Canadians of tomorrow. To that end, our government is committed to making child care services more accessible and affordable.

The government cares about our seniors and Canadian workers. The government will foster their well-being in two ways: by increasing pensions and the federal minimum wage.

The government has also announced that it will continue to invest in affordable housing and will make it easier for people to buy a first home, which will help Canadians have a roof over their heads.

Finally, our government will lighten the financial burden on households by cutting the cost of cell and wireless services by 25%.

The well-being of Canadians is not just about income, work-life balance or access to housing. It is also about access to the care they need when they need it. That is why our government is going to work together with the provinces and territories to improve health care for Canadians by making it easier to get a family doctor or by bringing in workplace mental health standards.

As stated in the Speech from the Throne, often Canadians who fall sick suffer twice: once from becoming ill, and again from financial hardship caused by the cost of their medications. That is why our government is committed to taking steps to introduce and implement a national pharmacare program.

Since the beginning of my speech I have been talking about members of the Canadian community, but who are they exactly?

They are young people, seniors, workers, students and parents. They are also innovators, farmers, artists and entrepreneurs. They are our families and neighbours. In order for everyone to thrive and for Canada to thrive with them, our government needs an economic agenda aimed at building a modern economy for Canada.

How do we build a modern economy? By maintaining a flourishing, integrated North American economy. By reviewing the rules around the new digital environment to ensure fairness for all. By eliminating domestic and international trade barriers, investing in infrastructure and facilitating the creation and growth of start-ups and small businesses. And by implementing a financial plan for keeping our economy strong and growing. That is exactly what our government pledged to do in this throne speech.

The Canadian community also includes indigenous peoples, who all too often face challenges that are more specific than I have covered in my speech. However, as Her Excellency the Governor General noted, it is indigenous genius that allowed our country to thrive and grow. The knowledge held by indigenous peoples, along with their sense of community, should continue to guide our actions.

If we are to continue relying on the knowledge of indigenous peoples, we must continue and step up the reconciliation efforts undertaken in the previous Parliament. This is why our government has made reconciliation with indigenous peoples one of its core priorities and will continue work to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls' calls for justice.

I am particularly proud of our commitment to develop and introduce legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the first year of the new mandate.

Indigenous peoples have been living in poor conditions for too long.

That is why our government is committed to continuing the work of eliminating all long-term drinking water advisories on reserve by 2021 and ensuring safe drinking water in first nations communities. That is also why the government will work with indigenous communities to close the infrastructure gap by 2030 and will introduce legislation to ensure that indigenous peoples have access to high-quality, culturally relevant health care and mental health services.

Our government will continue to work with indigenous peoples to develop and adopt these measures, as well as measures to ensure that the government is living up to the spirit and intent of treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements made with indigenous peoples.

As I mentioned earlier, Canadians want a government that will keep them safe. Accordingly, the government is committed to taking greater steps to address gender-based violence in Canada, whether it is by working with partners to implement a national action plan or building on the gender-based violence strategy.

Gun crime is a terrible reality in Canada. That is why the government will ban military-style assault rifles and enable municipalities and communities to ban handguns if they wish.

Right from the beginning of my speech, I have been talking about “community” in both the local and the national sense. We must remember that we live in an increasingly interconnected world. That means Canada has a role to play in the global community. Canadians are generous and deeply compassionate. They believe it is important to share, and they care about the environment.

As the Governor General said, Canadians expect their leaders to stand up for their values and interests here at home and around the world. That is why I applaud our government's announcement about building partnerships with countries that share our values and our vision so the whole world can benefit from Canada's expertise in areas like environmental protection, fighting climate change, and promoting human rights and democracy.

I personally believe that the government's interest in marginalized populations, those most in need, can also apply internationally. I think the government shares my point of view, since it just committed to contributing resources to international development, including investments in education and gender equality, while helping the poorest and most vulnerable people live better lives.

On a more personal note, I have faith in our regions, our youth, our creators and our entrepreneurs. The people around us must remain our top priority and serve as our inspiration in our day-to-day work. I have worked hard in recent years to get where I am today. I have been determined and have pushed my limits my entire life, but always with the support of those around me. As a member of Parliament, I intend to make rapid progress, with the same strength and determination I have shown in the past. That is why I have faith in our government. I believe it is the best way for me to move my constituency and my country forward.

If there is one thing I learned from my experience as an athlete, it is that it is much easier to make progress as a team than to go it alone. More often than not, the accomplishments are that much sweeter. I am very excited to work with members from both sides of the House to improve life for Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

I move, seconded by the hon. member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country that the following address be presented to Her Excellency, the Governor General of Canada:

To Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Chancellor and Principal Companion of the Order of Canada, Chancellor and Commander of the Order of Military Merit, Chancellor and Commander of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada.

May it please Your Excellency:

We, Her Majesty's most loyal and dutiful subjects, the House of Commons of Canada in Parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Excellency for the gracious Speech which Your Excellency has addressed to both Houses of Parliament.

Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

5 p.m.

Conservative

Richard Lehoux Conservative Beauce, QC

Mr. Speaker, allow me to thank all the voters in the riding of Beauce, which I am very proud to represent. It is a hotbed of entrepreneurship. Small and medium-sized businesses are a key pillar of our economy, especially in the regions. SMEs provide jobs for hundreds of thousands of people and create wealth across the country.

Sadly, this government has launched a direct attack on them by claiming they are being used to pay less tax. That is an insult, given that we know these are often family businesses that are struggling to stay afloat. Indeed, one of the things that these roughly 200,000 SMEs want is for the government to cut the red tape that is keeping them from succeeding.

Will the government finally understand this and help Canadian SMEs, instead of insulting them and standing in their way?

Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

5 p.m.

Liberal

Lyne Bessette Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.

As I said in my speech, the government's goal is really to work as a team. I think that we will examine all concerns as a team and that we will be able to come up with a solution.

Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

5 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to see that the fight against climate change is one of the government's priorities. Back home in the Lower St. Lawrence and the Gaspé, like everywhere else, we are already feeling the worst effects of climate change. The rate of shoreline erosion in Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia is increasing and farmers' crops are being affected by the unpredictable climate. It is clear that the government is trying to please everyone by attempting to combine the economic growth of certain polluting industries with the fight against climate change. Obviously, those are two battles that cannot be waged simultaneously. We need to invest in areas other than the Trans Mountains of this world.

How does the government plan to meet its ambitious climate targets if it continues to invest in projects that are harmful to our environment?

Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

5 p.m.

Liberal

Lyne Bessette Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.

I certainly understand her view because I come from a riding where there are many lakes, rivers and other bodies of water. We have the same problems and that is a question that I too will be asking the government. I think that we will be able to find solutions together.

Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

5 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate you on your preferment and congratulate my friend, the hon. member, on her speech.

I can appreciate the member's exuberance, although I do not share it. Canadians need action and they need it right now. We have heard these words before.

I have some questions. Will the government act now on reconciliation and stop dragging indigenous kids to court? Will the government act now on climate change and not wait until 2050? Will the government act now on affordable housing, including social housing? Will the government act on a pharmacare system that is truly national, public and comprehensive?

Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

Lyne Bessette Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government is ready to put in the effort needed for the environment. We know there is a lot to do, but we are ready. We definitely want to work together to try to achieve the goals we have put on paper, and we want them to be real.

Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Raquel Dancho Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, with my first-ever question in the House of Commons, I would like to thank the people of Kildonan—St. Paul. They elected me on a mandate to fight for everyday Canadians, and that is exactly what I plan to do.

As we know, there are troubling economic times on the horizon, and we heard today that the government's only plan is to spend more taxpayers' dollars. Yet, while reckless government spending is at a record high, it has done nothing to help people get ahead.

Nearly half of all Canadians are only $200 away from not being able to pay their bills. Meanwhile, the Liberal government is only making life more expensive and jeopardizing the futures of everyday Canadians and young Canadians. While extra costs might not matter to millionaires like the Prime Minister and many of his colleagues, we know that Canadians cannot afford for life to get more expensive. That is the reality.

Can the member opposite tell us why the Liberal agenda is so out of touch with the financial challenges facing Canadian families?

Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Before we go to the answer, I want to remind hon. members that taking personal slights at people does not really help things. I would point that out and hopefully that will work.

The hon. member for Brome—Missisquoi.

Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

December 5th, 2019 / 5:05 p.m.

Liberal

Lyne Bessette Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government has been doing a lot of work to try to reduce taxes and income tax for middle-class families, and we will keep going in that direction.

Hopefully, we can all work together to make everybody happy, which is almost impossible, but we will try to reach equality and unity.

Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

5:05 p.m.

Bloc

Simon-Pierre Savard-Tremblay Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a moment to express my gratitude to the people of Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot for placing their trust in me on October 21. They sent me here to do a job, and I will do everything in my power to do it well.

They say that good health is life's greatest treasure, and the throne speech includes some great health-related intentions. We are happy about that because many of our constituents have shared their concerns about health care with us. The thing is, the government has to walk the talk, and those good intentions need to turn into solutions.

One way to do that is to respect Quebec's jurisdiction by increasing federal transfers to the provinces, which bear the brunt of rising health costs.

At Monday's Council of the Federation meeting, the Government of Quebec and Canadian provincial governments agreed to call for increased health transfers.

Will the government commit to doing as they ask?

Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

Lyne Bessette Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question.

It is hard for me to answer it; however, having been an Olympic athlete for so many years, I can say that health is important to me and has a very big impact on my life. I can assure the hon. member that when it comes to health, the government will do what it takes to try to help the provinces ensure that Canadians are healthy and able to fully enjoy their wonderful country.

Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Before resuming debate, I want to remind everyone to keep an eye on the Speaker while giving a speech. I have a clock here that tells how much time we have left. Normally, if it is a 20-minute speech, I will give you a five-minute signal, then three and then one. If it is a 10-minute speech, I will go with three and then one, so it gives you an idea of where it is at. I know some of you are new and this is something that takes a while to catch up with, but I thought I would make it easier. It helps us all stay on time and makes life a little more pleasant for all of us.

Resuming debate, the hon. member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country.

Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I would like to offer you my congratulations on being elected today. You play a central role in the work that we all do here, and I wish you well.

[Member spoke in indigenous languages]

[English]

It is an honour to rise in this chamber today and to second the motion of my esteemed colleague, the member for Brome—Missisquoi, regarding the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne.

Canadians have delivered to the government an ambitious mandate to improve their lives, strengthen this country and bolster Canada's place in the world. Today's Speech from the Throne provides our government with a road map on how to get there. Over the next few minutes, I will speak with pride to this House about some of the details of how we plan to navigate through this road map.

First, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the people of West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country. They have given me the privilege to serve them in the House of Commons as their member of Parliament. I want to thank my constituents for placing their trust in me. I am grateful to my constituents from all corners of our large and diverse riding. I would like to recognize the thriving communities in Pemberton, up the Sunshine Coast and on Bowen Island. Every day I take my seat in this chamber, I will never forget why I am here: to serve the people in my constituency and to help build a better Canada.

Before going further, I would also like to give special thanks to my family, especially my partner Nicole, who have supported me in this endeavour, often doing the hard work behind the scenes, which is often a thankless job.

Indeed, I believe the Speech from the Throne has provided us all with a reminder of the responsibilities that have been entrusted to us. Millions of Canadians cast their votes in the election this October, and they have sent us all a very clear message. Canadians want their politicians to put the public interest first. They want us to work together on the things that matter to them, to their families and to their communities. They have elected a minority government with an important agenda: to fight climate change; to strengthen the middle class and help create good, well-paying jobs; to make life more affordable for Canadians; to continue firmly on the path of reconciliation with indigenous peoples; to keep our citizens safe on our streets with less gun violence; to strengthen our health care system and modernize it for the 21st century; to provide more affordable housing; to provide investments in infrastructure, public transit, science and innovation; and to secure Canada's place in the world. These are just some of the important challenges that lie ahead of us. They are challenges not just for the government, but for all parliamentarians. It is that simple. We all have a mandate to find common ground in this Parliament.

The government is ready to work hard to make historic progress in all these areas. I am confident that, with goodwill, my colleagues from all sides of the House can work together to make the changes that Canadians want. Indeed, I know we can come together as parliamentarians. I have seen it in my work before being elected to this House. As an environmental and natural resource management lawyer, I have seen first-hand what can happen when people collaborate. I have supported governments around the world to improve the management of aquatic ecosystems, as well as the governance of natural resource sectors, on behalf of the United Nations and other international development agencies. I have represented first nations, municipalities, small businesses and non-profits on environmental and corporate legal matters.

It is not unusual for people to come to the table with very different interests, but it is also not unrealistic for them to walk away with a shared agenda and common goals. It happens in communities throughout the country. It can happen here in the House of Commons. That spirit of co-operation can also happen as leaders throughout our country work together to find solutions to our shared challenges.

As someone who was born and raised in West Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast, I am proud that the Speech from the Throne has spoken clearly about the importance of all of our country's regions and their local needs. This government knows that the economic concerns being felt by Canadians in our regions are real. It is listening to Canadians in those regions.

On this, Canadians can be sure that the government will work with provinces, territories, municipalities, indigenous groups, stakeholders, industries and Canadians to find solutions.

There is no greater challenge facing this country, and indeed this world, than fighting climate change. The science on this growing threat to our planet is clear. It is undeniable. Already we are seeing the affects: devastating floods and forest fires, coastal erosion and pollution of our oceans.

The changes to the world we know now will only grow worse, spiralling faster and faster in the coming years and decades. We are leaving a world to our children and our grandchildren that could be much different than the world in which we have grown up. We recognize this threat. We must act. We must do our best to fight this threat.

I believe strongly in this government's pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change. I am committed to building upon this groundbreaking plan to ensure that Canadian businesses will seize upon the immense economic opportunities that are involved in the transition to the clean economy of the 21st century.

Over the past four years, our government has provided national leadership to take action on climate change. In October's election, a clear majority of Canadians voted in favour of ambitious climate action.

The Speech from the Throne has made it clear that this government will deliver. We will set a target to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Our goal will be ambitious but necessary as we protect the environment while we grow the economy. We have already taken the lead in ensuring that there is a price on pollution throughout the country. We will continue working with our partners to reduce emissions in the years ahead.

There are many other important measures that this government will take. We will help make energy-efficient homes more affordable. We will make it easier for Canadians to buy zero-emission vehicles. Whistler is already leading the way in this in changing our transportation habits. Last month, I attended the electric vehicle sustainability summit in Whistler, B.C. to talk about how governments and companies could work together to achieve our zero-emission targets.

We will work toward making clean and affordable power available in all our communities. We will work with companies in the transition to the clean technology future. An example of this is Huron Clean Energy in Squamish, which is facing the climate crisis head on. It is just one example of the companies providing the technology and the solutions we need in our transition to the low-carbon economy. Their leadership in the field of carbon capture is turning our home riding into a hub for clean technology.

Over the last four years, our country has experienced strong growth, but too many Canadians have difficulty keeping up with the rising cost of living. Our government is determined to take action to make life more affordable for Canadians. The Speech from the Throne has identified some of the areas where we will be taking action on behalf of our citizens.

We will cut taxes for all Canadians except the wealthiest. This will provide more money in the pockets of hard-working Canadians who need it the most.

We will continue to take action with significant investments in affordable housing. Too many Canadians are unable to buy their first home. We will also introduce measures to make it easier for more people to purchase their homes.

This government will take action to ease the concerns faced by workers, families and seniors. We will assist parents with the time and money they need to raise their children. We will support students as they bear the costs of higher education and skills training. We will increase the federal minimum wage. We will reduce cellphone bills by 25%. We will strengthen pensions for our seniors.

As we take these measures, we will press ahead with an economic agenda that benefits all Canadians in the years ahead.

Our government is committed to moving ahead with the new NAFTA with the United States and Mexico. We will continue to make significant investments in infrastructure throughout the country. We will work to tear down the trade barriers now faced by businesses and farmers when they look to achieve success both internationally and domestically.

As we are doing all this, our government will stay focused on growing the economy with a fiscal plan that is responsible.

The Speech from the Throne has placed a great emphasis on another key pillar of this government's agenda. Four years ago we promised to put Canada on a path toward reconciliation with indigenous peoples. For far too long our country neglected to take the actions necessary to give indigenous peoples a real shot at success. We said that must change, and we took the first steps on that road to reconciliation.

It is a long road, but we have seen real progress in just four years. Eighty-seven long-term drinking water advisories have been eliminated. There is greater equity in funding for first nations education. Parliament has passed legislation to protect indigenous languages and affirm indigenous jurisdiction over child and family services. The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls held important hearings and delivered its report. However, this is just a beginning. The work toward reconciliation has not ended.

This government is committed to doing more and I will mention some examples. We will work toward eliminating all long-term drinking water advisories on reserve by 2021. We will codevelop and introduce legislation to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the first year of our mandate. We will codevelop legislation so that indigenous peoples have access to culturally relevant and high-quality mental health care and quality health care services. We will ensure that indigenous peoples who grew up and were harmed under a child welfare system that has been discriminatory will be compensated in a fair and timely manner. As well, we will live up to the spirit and intent of treaties, agreements and other arrangements with indigenous peoples.

One of any government's top responsibilities is to provide a place for its citizens where they can feel safe and where their quality of life is good. In recent years, Canadians have increasingly seen stories in the media about deaths in their communities as a result of gun violence. Each of these violent episodes has been a tragedy. Too many Canadians have been killed. Too many relatives have grieved the loss of a loved one. Our government has pledged to act.

We will crack down on the gun crime that is haunting too many of our communities. We will ban military-style assault rifles and take steps to introduce a buyback program for the weapons. We will work toward giving municipalities that want to ban handguns the ability to do so.

In each of our communities and, indeed, within our own families, there is often no issue more important as the ability to access high-quality health care. For many decades now, Canadians have recognized that a publicly funded universal health care system, medicare, is what makes us strong as a country.

As we head into 2020, more than half a century after the birth of medicare, it is important that we all work together as Canadians to strengthen and to modernize it. The Speech from the Throne has laid out an ambitious but achievable agenda to make that happen. Our government will be working with the provinces and territories to strengthen the health care system so that Canadians get the service they deserve.

Too many Canadians cannot get access to primary care family doctors and to mental health care. We will work with provinces, territories and health professionals to change that.

The scourge of opioid and substance abuse has also cost too many lives and shattered too many families. We need to do more to help people struggling with their addictions.

Finally, it is time to bring medicare into the 21st century. Modern-day medicine means physicians are increasingly able to treat their patients through medication, and yet too many patients who fall ill are unable to afford the costly prescriptions they are prescribed and they become even more sick. This is just not fair.

As the Speech from the Throne says, pharmacare has become the key missing piece of universal health care in this country. Our government will take steps to introduce and implement a national pharmacare program so that Canadians have the drug coverage they need. I look forward to all members of this House working together to achieve this historic objective.

As we look toward improving the lives of Canadians, we must never forget that we have a responsibility to also promote our core values on the international stage. Those values include the promotion of democracy, protection of human rights and respect for international law. Our government will work in the tradition of being a coalition builder globally in these areas. We will stand up for the rules-based international order and we will renew our commitment to NATO and to United Nations peacekeeping missions. Canada's voice will be heard at the United Nations, particularly in the Security Council.

We will not forget that Canadians are a compassionate people. We will provide targeted funds for international development, including for education and gender equality.

I would like to conclude by returning to where I began my remarks. Canadians have sent us here to work constructively on their behalf. As the Speech from the Throne reminds us, our role in this democratic process is a privilege and a responsibility. Indeed, we have been reminded that we are here to serve everyone, regardless of gender, faith, language, custom or skin colour. We are here to make a better Canada. I believe the Speech from the Throne has provided us all with a road map of how to travel that route, and I would encourage members to join together and work in collaboration as we move forward.

Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

5:25 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Kram Conservative Regina—Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour and a privilege to rise here today in the House of Commons to represent the interests of Regina—Wascana. Canada is more divided than ever before. Deep cracks are showing in our confederation. Under the Liberals, our economy has been bleeding jobs, particularly in the natural resources sector. The Prime Minister has overseen the cancellation of more than $100 billion in investment in energy projects, largely because of concerns over the no more pipelines bill, Bill C-69, and the tanker ban bill, Bill C-48.

A spokesperson for the Montreal Economic Institute said recently, “People are giving up on Canada as a safe place to invest in natural resources.... It's seen as a very hostile environment now”.

People in my riding and my province of Saskatchewan are concerned that no one in the Liberal government is listening. There is absolutely nothing concrete in today's throne speech to address these very real concerns. Can the member opposite please tell the House what the government will do to repair the damage that it has done to the resource sector and to national unity?

Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

5:30 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, over the last four years, we have brought in a new way of assessing industrial projects through the Impact Assessment Act. This is a piece of legislation that went through a long period of consultation and negotiation, and we now have an ability to assess projects in a way that is going to assess the impacts but also do it in a time-bound manner.

We need to have certainty in these types of projects so we can ensure that we hear the voices, that we can properly assess the projects, and that good projects can actually get built. That is what we accomplished through this new legislation. This is what is going to serve us well going forward, so we actually have those projects built.

In addition to that, this government has heard loud and clear the concerns of different regions of the country. For that reason, we have focused on having different members of our caucus be the eyes and ears within western Canada and Quebec. That is going to be a major focus going forward.

Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

5:30 p.m.

Bloc

Sébastien Lemire Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by thanking the people of Abitibi—Témiscamingue for putting their trust in me.

As a member from an agricultural region, I was pleased, and relieved even, that the government committed to fully compensating supply-managed farmers in today's throne speech. I wish to commend the affirmation that some dairy farmers will receive their first cheques before the end of this month, especially since the Bloc Québécois worked so hard to resolve this issue. Having worked closely with the Fédération régionale de l'UPA d'Abitibi-Témiscamingue, I know that what our farmers want, even more than compensation, is for there to be no more breaches in supply management in our trade agreements.

Will the government commit to putting a stop to such breaches in supply management in all trade agreements going forward?

Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

5:30 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, this government is committed to working hard on behalf of farmers, supply management, dairy farmers and producers. That is why, when we negotiated the new NAFTA, we included ways of compensating the supply-managed farmers for the increase in people who will be accessing our markets.

In going forward, we will be focused on working with all Canadians to strengthen the industries we currently have and support the development of new industries. For that reason, we will be focused on creating the conditions to move forward in the future and benefit from the clean energy economy of the 21st century.

Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

5:30 p.m.

NDP

Heather McPherson NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to stand in the House for the first time and represent the constituents of Edmonton Strathcona, who were kind enough to trust me to represent them.

Students in Alberta are really suffering. The cost of university and college is skyrocketing and young people are unable to pay for their education. They are graduating with crippling debt of over $27,000, and worse than that, the federal government has been profiting off of the backs of our kids. The government has given away billions to the most profitable corporations by forgiving their loans while keeping students on the hook. Why was there nothing in this throne speech to help Canada's young people, who are struggling with student debt?

Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

5:35 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the concerns of all Canadians, especially students, are top of mind for this government. For that reason, in our platform we committed that students not have to pay back their loans until they make $35,000. This will make a very big difference for people. They will not be charged interest on their loans until they are in a position to repay them. It is really important that we create the conditions for success for young people as they move into their new careers.

Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

5:35 p.m.

Conservative

Nelly Shin Conservative Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will begin by congratulating my fellow MPs in this room for their hard-earned election wins, as well as the Speaker for his election today.

I am proud to stand here today to speak on behalf of the great people of Port Moody—Coquitlam. I want to take this opportunity to thank them with all my heart for putting their trust in me to represent them here in the House of Commons.

My desire as a member of Parliament is to improve the quality of the lives of my constituents and to help them prosper. Home ownership is a basic aspect of individual security and flourishing. The residents in my riding are worried about the cost of living, and buying a home is often out of reach for young people and families, even those with substantial savings.

The throne speech did not address the concerns raised by many in my riding about the mortgage stress test. The housing plan the government put forward will do nothing to help the hard-working Canadians in my community who dream of buying a home.

Will the member opposite tell the House when the government will put forward a real plan that will address and resolve the reality that people are living through in my riding?