House of Commons Hansard #3 of the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chair.

Topics

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, what the member is saying is not necessarily true. Does the throne speech make reference to the word “forest”? I do not believe so. Does it make reference to our industries and the importance of working hard for our industries? Yes, it does.

We have all sorts of industries. Relatively speaking, some have done better than others. Some have challenges that others might not have. When I think of forestry and industry as a whole, over the years we have had some very lively debates not only here on the floor of the House of Commons, but also within our caucus.

We have very progressive ministers. One is our Deputy Prime Minister, who is very much familiar with the issue and has a good history with respect to it, and who I believe will take the interests of that particular industry to heart and ensure, as many of my colleagues have, particularly those from B.C., the province of Quebec and others, that we continue to move forward on a very important issue that provides tens of thousands of jobs throughout the country.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

1:45 p.m.

Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask my colleague about the fight against tax havens.

The throne speech references this and mentions their illegal use. In my opinion, the main problem is the legal use of tax havens, especially by the banks on Bay Street.

Is it not time to make illegal that which is immoral?

The government said it is open to co-operating. Is that an avenue for collaboration?

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, as the member points out, there is a reference in the throne speech. I would remind the member across the way, as he was here in the last few years, that this government has invested close to a billion dollars in going after individuals who tried to avoid paying literally hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes to ensure that those individuals are paying their fair share. This is something the government is committed to doing and has made reference to it. I can appreciate that the member across the way raised the issue.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Before I give the hon. member for La Prairie the floor for his comments, I have to let him know that he will have about 10 minutes but that I will have to interrupt him at 2 p.m. He will get the rest of his time when we resume debate.

The hon. member for La Prairie.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Alain Therrien Bloc La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, this being my first formal speech in the House, I would like to take the opportunity to thank my campaign volunteers, who worked so hard to get one more Bloc Québécois MP in this place. I am so grateful to them.

I am also very pleased to thank the members of my hard-working election committee, without whom it would have been hard to win this election, because the Liberal candidate was a tough opponent, I have to say.

I also want to thank my friends, who have always been there for me and who nudged me into politics and political life in the first place. It feels so good to know I have their support, and I am grateful to them for that.

Obviously, I also want to thank my family, namely my wife, without whom nothing would be possible, and my children, who were willing to share their father with Quebec politics. I am very happy that they support what I am doing, and I really appreciate it.

Lastly, I want to thank the people of La Prairie for their trust, though I have no illusions that it was just about me. The reason people put their trust in me is that they trust the Bloc Québécois and my leader. They voted for Alain Therrien, for the leader and for the party. I will work hard to represent them.

When the people in my riding do great things, that is worth celebrating. I want to salute the two hockey teams in my region. Over the weekend, they put up an amazing showing at a tournament. Since hockey is a national sport, I could not let these achievements pass without a mention.

The Étoiles du Richelieu Atom BB team won the provincial tournament in Blainville with an overtime goal. This was tough for the people of Candiac. I want to congratulate these hard-working kids, who were masterfully led by coaches Nicolas Leclerc and Martin Tétrault. There are no words to describe the parents' joy as they watched these boys hoist the cup.

I also want to congratulate the Étoiles du St-Laurent Atom AA team for making it to the finals. The team's ranking cannot overshadow its exceptional talent, energy and journey.

To wrap up my tribute to these kids, I just want to say, “Go Étoiles!”

My father always told me that if I wanted to understand reality, politics or the economy, I had to know my history. It is from history that we are able to understand and even predict future events. I would say that the throne speech is no exception to my father's advice.

The creation of Canada dates back to 1867. We need to understand why and how Canada was created to understand how it works today. Canada was not created by a mass movement or a revolution. It was not created by people taking to the streets and saying that they wanted to come together as one nation. The reason Canada was created is simple. It was a matter of economics.

In 1840, our main trading partner was Great Britain, which decided in the early 1840s to start looking to Europe to do trade. In a way, Great Britain abandoned Canada.

Discouraged at not being able to export to what some of us here would consider the motherland, Canada decided to turn to the United States. In 1854, it signed a reciprocity treaty that made it possible for Montrealers and local producers from Canada, which had not yet become Canada, to export to the United States, achieve some economies of scale and make a lot of profit.

The reciprocity treaty they signed was in place from 1854 to 1864. This treaty would not be renewed because the American Civil War broke out and Great Britain made the regrettable decision to support the South. In retaliation, the Americans told their neighbours to the north that all trade between them was at an end.

Seized with panic, the Fathers of Confederation decided the most important thing was to protect the wealthy and provide a market where they could sell their goods. These people created that market artificially. That is what Canada is today. It was created to make rich people happy back in 1867. That was the Fathers of Confederation's only motivation.

The new Canadian federation needed a strong central government. I can already hear the NDP and Liberal Party members clapping. They are descended directly from those founding fathers. To establish a strong government and avoid a civil war like the one to the south, which was a bad experiment if ever there was one, it was decided that all of the powers would be given to the federal government and the provinces would get the crumbs. That is what these people did.

With regard to spending, the government held on to marine transportation, customs and borders, and rail transportation. The provinces were left with a pittance: health and education. It was a pittance at the time because the clergy took care of those things. The state was not yet secular. Maybe my colleagues will infer something from that.

To ensure a strong central government, customs and excise duties were given to the federal government. The provinces were given income tax revenues, which were not very significant at the time. It was almost nothing.

Those are the foundations of Canada, our country, or rather that of my colleagues opposite. How we operate is based on those foundations. The fundamental problem is that the Fathers of Confederation could not have foreseen what was to come.

In the 1960s, health and education became the primary expenses in Canada. It is what was most important at the time. Today, half of all of Quebec's spending goes to health. The federal government is not there. The same goes for education. What was thought to be negligible at first became extremely significant. The only reason the federal government can intervene is because during Confederation in 1867, the federal government put the Canadian provinces in a position where they had to beg. Their revenues were so weak that they depended on federal transfers. They were under the control of the federal government.

In 1954, following successive attacks by the federal government to control provincial income tax, the provinces finally caved. Only one province decided to take back control because it felt it was important for its people to have a financial tool to allow it to achieve its dreams and objectives. Only Maurice Duplessis, in 1954, said he wanted to keep that system. That is another reality.

What does this mean? The throne speech mentions health, but that is not the government's concern. Health expenditures are the responsibility of the provincial governments and of Quebec. When the government starts saying that it would like to have this and that, it is not their business. What is important is for it to give the provinces and Quebec the money they need to fund their services and serve the people, who keep saying that health is their absolute priority. The government must respond to this appropriately and not in the way it did in the throne speech. That is important.

According to the Thomson report tabled in 2014, maintaining health services for Canadians in light of inflation, aging and the increase in the population, as well as progress in health technologies, required a 5.6% annual increase. However, Harper and his gang started capping the increase at 3%. That is scandalous. The provinces are asking the government for an increase of at least 5.6%. That is what it needs to give them to maintain provincial health systems. That is why it is important to increase provincial transfers and to listen to Quebec and the provinces.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

2 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The hon. member will have 10 minutes to finish his speech when we resume debate.

HousingStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Green

Jenica Atwin Green Fredericton, NB

Mr. Speaker, in 2017, Prime Minister Trudeau's government signed an agreement—

HousingStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Order, please. I know there are a lot of new members in the House and we get carried away, but I want to remind the hon. members that when they refer to someone else in the House, they refer to he or she by riding or by title, not by proper name.

The hon. member for Fredericton.

HousingStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Green

Jenica Atwin Green Fredericton, NB

Mr. Speaker, I apologize.

In 2017, the government signed an agreement with the Province of New Brunswick to invest $299.9 million in housing for the homeless and housing security for New Brunswickers, which began on April 1 of this year. Unfortunately, the funding seems to be trickling into the province too slowly to help the people who are desperately in need of affordable and secure housing today.

According to a CBC story from last Wednesday, 500 New Brunswickers are currently homeless and 5,000 New Brunswickers' households are waiting for an affordable housing unit to become available.

I see that the supplementary estimates are increasing funding to the CMHC by $9 million. It is my hope that some of this funding will be spent to help those facing homelessness as we enter the coldest season of the year.

Guru NanakStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Randeep Sarai Liberal Surrey Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, this year, Sikhs across Canada and around the globe are celebrating the 550th gurpurab of Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh faith.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji walked over 25,000 kilometres across the globe to promote social equality, fight against discrimination and help the less fortunate. He delivered his message through action and verse, treated everyone as one and believed in the equality of all.

Since 1947, millions of Sikhs were unable to visit his final home in Kartarpur, only to stare at it from across the border. However, their prayers did not go unanswered. This year Pakistan and India agreed to build a corridor from the India side of Punjab to the Pakistan side of Punjab for pilgrims to visit Guru Nanak's final home in Kartarpur, Pakistan. This corridor has now become a symbol of global co-operation and peace.

Canada has the second-largest community of Sikhs in the world, and it is truly an honour for me to rise in the House to speak on this very special event.

North Okanagan—ShuswapStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Mel Arnold Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is truly an honour to be once again entrusted by the voters of the North Okanagan—Shuswap to be their voice in the 43rd Parliament.

Last week, the Leader of the Opposition stated:

None of the seats in this chamber belong to any of us, including the Prime Minister's seat. Instead, these seats all belong to the people who sent us here, and they sent us here to get to work. Canadians sent us here to make sure the country works for them.

We all share a duty to work for a Canada that works for all Canadians, and I pledge to assist every constituent equally, regardless of partisan orientation.

There are so many to thank for this honour, for it is their work and their support that made this possible: campaign teams, volunteers, staff, donors, friends, family and voters who stand with us as we strive to do our best to serve all Canadians. We take our seats for them. I am truly honoured to be here.

HolodomorStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Yvan Baker Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to commemorate the 86th anniversary of the Holodomor, the famine genocide in Ukraine in 1932-1933. Nineteen people per minute, 1,200 per hour and 28,000 per day were dying of famine at the height of the Holodomor. The world was silent and millions died as a result.

My grandmother Olena was a survivor of the Holodomor and she once told me that she hoped that the victims of the Holodomor would not only be remembered but that they would be honoured. Honouring them, she said, meant not just remembering them, but learning the mistakes of the Holodomor and taking steps to make sure a crime like this would never happen again.

Unfortunately, recently a University of Alberta lecturer, Dougal MacDonald, did just the opposite. He denied the existence of the Holodomor and he called it a “lie” and a “myth”. I join the calls of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, the Ukrainian Canadian Students' Union and thousands of Canadians who have called on the university to take significant and meaningful action against this genocide denial.

Let us do as my grandmother would have asked if she were here today. Let us remember the victims, let us commemorate the victims, let us honour them.

Vichna yim pamyat.

University of Montreal Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Saint-HyacintheStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, from this morning until December 12, the Université de Montréal Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Saint-Hyacinthe will be hosting a team of evaluators from the American Veterinary Medical Association as part of the process for renewing its accreditation.

This institution is the only French-language veterinary college in America. It is training 400 students for a Ph.D. in veterinary medicine and is renowned as a unique research centre and unparalleled medical complex. It makes all of Quebec proud.

The faculty lost its accreditation in 1999. It was clear that the faculty was underfunded compared with the other three veterinary colleges in the rest of Canada. My Bloc Québécois predecessor, Yvan Loubier, fought tirelessly against Ottawa's refusal to contribute its share to fund the necessary adjustments. By contrast, the great Bernard Landry's government wasted no time making significant investments.

Thanks to the Bloc's sustained efforts, the funding was granted, resulting in the faculty receiving full accreditation in 2012.

We are proud—

University of Montreal Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Saint-HyacintheStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The member for Châteauguay—Lacolle.

Propane ShortageStatements By Members

December 9th, 2019 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Brenda Shanahan Liberal Châteauguay—Lacolle, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would first like to thank the people of Châteauguay—Lacolle for renewing their trust in me. I would also like to thank my team of volunteers and my family, who supported me throughout the election campaign.

The propane shortage caused by the CN strike was a major blow for farmers, particularly grain farmers. People in my region and across Quebec were hard hit. I met with about a hundred of them, who had gathered outside my office on November 22 for a UPA Montérégie demonstration. I want to thank the leaders of that organization for explaining both the economic and human impacts of this situation, so that I could share that information with our government ministers.

We are relieved that the strike was over quickly and that the supply was restored.

I thank UPA Montérégie for this peaceful visit. I look forward to continuing to work together.

CannabisStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Conservative Niagara West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by saying how grateful I am to the constituents of Niagara West for putting their trust in me once again. They gave me their support and confidence, and I will work hard every day to ensure their interests are brought to Parliament.

Our beautiful community of Pelham, Lincoln West, Lincoln, Grimsby, Wainfleet and part of West St. Catharines offers terrific attractions by our warm, welcoming residents. There are, however, common challenges in my riding.

First is the odour and light pollution created and produced by cannabis greenhouses. Second are the issues presented by cannabis co-ops. I heard my constituents loud and clear prior to and during the campaign. They asked me to take further action on these two issues, and I will continue to do exactly that.

I will be exploring all avenues to tackle odour and light pollution created by cannabis greenhouses, as well as ways that we can address the issues of cannabis co-ops.

I want to again thank my constituents for sending me to Ottawa to represent them and I look forward to serving them in this new 43rd Parliament.

Chancellor of Dalhousie UniversityStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Kody Blois Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise to congratulate the former member for Kings—Hants, the Hon. Scott Brison, for being named Chancellor of Dalhousie University. The graduate of Hants West Rural High succeeds the former deputy prime minister, the Hon. Anne McLellan, who was a graduate of Hants North Rural High, in the role.

It is worth noting that Mr. Brison becomes the third resident of Kings—Hants to be named chancellor at Dalhousie, after Sir Graham Day of Hantsport served in the role during the 1990s.

Education and innovation play an important role of shaping a future Canada and ensuring we remain competitive in a global economy. Scott will be an asset for Dalhousie, and I have no doubt that Scott will serve the university, Nova Scotia and Canada well in the role moving forward.

I would ask all members of the House to join me in wishing him well.

Community of VernerStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Serré Liberal Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise in recognition of the community of Verner's 125th anniversary in 2020.

It is important to me to recognize my francophone heritage in Ontario. I would like to pay tribute to all the individuals who have played key roles in French-speaking Ontario and to our francophiles. There are those whose actions have had a detrimental effect on the growth and development of francophone communities outside Quebec.

I am proud of my Nickel Belt ancestors: my Aubin and Serré great-grandparents, who immigrated to Field and Sturgeon Falls in 1870, and my Racine and Éthier great-grandparents, who came to Verner and Cache Bay in 1880. I am proud of my grandmother, Victoire Aubin-Trudel, a descendant of the Mattawa/North Bay Algonquin First Nation.

Ontario's francophonie is deeply rooted and very much alive. I am grateful to the leaders, communities and volunteers for their dedication.

Congratulations to Verner on 125 years!

Natural ResourcesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Gerald Soroka Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, congratulations on your election.

As I rise in the House for the first time, I express my gratitude to the constituents of Yellowhead for placing their trust and confidence in me to be their representative in Ottawa.

To build unity across this country, we must support each other. I want to remind the Prime Minister that he said that we all needed to work together.

I recommend that we eliminate the use of foreign oil in Canada. The majority of countries we are importing from have low environmental standards and a record of violating human rights. Instead, we should rely solely on Canadian oil to fulfill our energy needs.

Also, we need to produce more direct consumer products from all our industries, particularly agricultural and forestry. If we want to build a strong economy, we need to start at home by supporting each other.

The time for words is long past. Now is the time for action.

Cape Breton—CansoStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mike Kelloway Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise for the very first time in this House to address this special place as the member of Parliament for Cape Breton—Canso.

First, I would like to thank the people of Cape Breton—Canso for putting their trust in me as their voice in Ottawa. I would also like to thank the extremely dedicated group of volunteers who helped me to get here. Of course, I would like to recognize the long-serving member before me who I know is very familiar to the House, Mr. Rodger Cuzner. I know that not only his poetry and sharp wit, but his collegiality as well, will be missed.

The past six months have been a truly remarkable experience, getting to know so many community members and leaders, knocking on thousands of doors, and making thousands and thousands of calls. I am inspired by the level of dedication and commitment I witnessed at every level within my riding.

I am ready to get to work with our Prime Minister and this government to take serious action on climate change, investing in infrastructure and jobs, implementing a universal pharmacare plan, advancing reconciliation for indigenous people and making life more affordable for Canadians. I am ready and I know everyone here is ready to move this country forward.

Simcoe—GreyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Terry Dowdall Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the people of Simcoe—Grey for putting their trust in me as their member of Parliament. It is an amazing honour. I also want to thank my wife, Colleen and my daughters, Lexi and Sarah. Their love and support have been so valuable throughout this whole time.

Simcoe—Grey is one of the largest and greatest ridings in the country. We are blessed with a diverse economy, from the Honda Canada manufacturing plant in Alliston to productive farms and orchards throughout. We are a year-round tourist destination, from skiing at Blue Mountain to Canada's longest freshwater beach at Wasaga Beach. We are also home to Canadian Forces Base Borden, the largest military training base in Canada. As such, one of my top priorities will be ensuring that current armed forces members get the right equipment and that they and all of our veterans get the treatment they rightly deserve.

Niagara FallsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Tony Baldinelli Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, what a tremendous honour it is for me to be standing in my place making my first remarks as the newly elected member of Parliament for the riding of Niagara Falls.

First, I congratulate you, Mr. Speaker, on your recent election. I look forward to working with you and all hon. members of the House as we work to serve the needs and interests of all Canadians across this great country.

On the day of my swearing in, I was honoured to have the Clerk of the House conduct my ceremony. His words of advice that day were to enjoy the moment and realize what an honour, privilege and responsibility it is to serve. They resonate with me still.

I would like to thank the good people of Fort Erie, Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake for sending me here to represent them. I stand here today humbled by their decision and for the trust they have placed in me. For a young man who always dreamed this day could one day be possible, I will never forget this moment and the tremendous responsibility they have now placed in me to represent them.

HousingStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, solving the national housing crisis is one of the most important issues that we face. I have long advocated for access to safe, secure, affordable housing as a basic human right.

In 1993, the federal Liberals cancelled the national social housing program. That one action caused Canada to lose more than half a million units of social and co-op housing that would otherwise have been built in communities all across the country. Having those units would have put Canada's housing affordability in a dramatically different position than where we are today. In east Vancouver, the situation is so severe that we have had a tent city in Oppenheimer Park for more than a year.

Solving the homelessness crisis is entirely possible. If people can go to the moon, surely we can actually get housing built. During the election, the NDP called for half a million units of affordable housing to be built and for those funds to flow now. I believe that the federal government must step up and do its part. We need to work with the cities, the province and non-profits to get the housing built. Together, we can end homelessness.

Employment InsuranceStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Louise Chabot Bloc Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by acknowledging the people of Thérèse-De Blainville and thanking them for putting their trust in me. I especially want to acknowledge Émilie Sansfaçon, who is here with us and who received two cancer diagnoses in the same year.

Two cancers is too much for anyone. Apparently, it is too much for the employment insurance system as well. Employment insurance sickness benefits max out at 15 weeks. If treatments last longer, then that is too bad for the sick person. If, for those like Émilie, cancer strikes twice, then they have to make do without EI assistance, even though they have contributed to it their entire adult life. Émilie had to remortgage her home and got into debt; she had to rely on her family for help because she cannot count on us.

When we face adversity, we can give up or we can fight. Émilie Sansfaçon chose to fight, as did Marie-Hélène Dubé, who has been fighting for 10 years. We can fix this problem once and for all. We just need to extend—

Employment InsuranceStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Order. The hon. member for Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon.