House of Commons Hansard #408 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was communities.

Topics

Indigenous Languages ActGovernment Orders

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

Randy Boissonnault Liberal Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague also for her work on the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.

This project was co-created with indigenous national organizations and colleagues from all sides of the House.

Language is a bridge to culture. It is a portal into traditions. It is a portal into who we are. It is a fundamental characteristic of identity. Imagine living our entire lives using a second, third or fourth language. Imagine not knowing what our cultural, spiritual or linguistic traditions are because a government agent or a government agency has said that we or our grandparents are not allowed to speak that language.

It is fundamental that we work with indigenous communities so they can make the link back to their spiritual ancestors, to their land and speak the language of their ancestors. We can use this and work together on it as a key pillar of reconciliation with indigenous peoples.

Indigenous Languages ActGovernment Orders

1:15 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise once more to speak to Bill C-91, the indigenous languages act. I will share my time today with the member for Peace River—Westlock.

Indigenous languages across Canada are certainly diverse, unique and richly intertwined with our cultural mosaic, which makes our country such an amazing place to call home. The promotion of indigenous languages, and indigenous history and culture more broadly, is something we should all seek to promote as part of our national character.

As I mentioned during my speech at second reading of the bill, support for the promotion and teaching of indigenous languages has rapidly grown in my riding of Saskatoon—Grasswood and in particular in my city of Saskatoon.

During my nine and a half years as a school board trustee in the city of Saskatoon, the teaching of indigenous languages to new generations of young people was a priority that was taken very seriously by everyone around our board table. I was very proud to take part in the expansion of the indigenous language training program in the Saskatoon Board of Education, which gave more young people the opportunity to study indigenous languages and connect with the rich and vibrant cultures attached to those languages.

The teaching of indigenous languages enriches our education systems and it gives students a valuable and unique learning experience. As I have previously noted, instruction of indigenous languages is growing in my riding of Saskatoon—Grasswood and in our city of Saskatoon. The expansion of teaching of indigenous languages is certainly enriching the learning experience of more and more young people in our city.

Confederation Park Community School offers language instruction in Cree for about 280 students from pre-K, all the way up to grade 8. They are involved in this learning process. The students benefit from the Nehiyawiwin Cree language and culture program and are able to immerse themselves in the study of the indigenous language as part of their education background.

Additionally, Westmount Community School provides a Metis cultural program that includes Michif language instruction for students there, again from pre-K all the way up to grade 8.

Charles Red Hawk Elementary School offers Cree language instruction from pre-K all the way up to grade 4.

Mount Royal Collegiate, Princess Alexandra School and King George School provide Cree language instruction in our school system.

Saskatoon public schools offer instruction in three indigenous languages: Cree, Michif and Dakota. Furthermore, Dakota language and culture lessons are part of Chief Whitecap School and Charles Red Hawk School.

St. Frances Cree Bilingual School offers Cree education to over 440 students in pre-K to grade 5 and another 150 students in grades 6 to 8. This school has seen tremendous growth in our education system since the launch of its Cree language program, way back in 2009, when, by the way, there was only 133 students enrolled in the program. Look how it has grown since then.

The demand for education in indigenous languages has proved to be incredibly popular. Hundreds more students are now being taught indigenous languages in our schools as a result.

More and more people in Saskatoon are seeking the benefits of indigenous language education and, as a result, St. Frances Cree Bilingual School is now serving students in two different locations, on McPherson Avenue, where they have pre-K all the way up to grade 5, and at Bateman Crescent, where they have grades 6 to 8.

Instruction of indigenous languages is continuing to become available for even greater numbers of students who know the inherent value of indigenous languages for both their learning and for their communities.

At Oskayak High School in my neighbour riding, Cree language instruction is offered in grades 9 to 12, where approximately 70 students are taking Cree language instruction.

Moreover, the Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools division offers core Cree language instruction for some 348 students from pre-K all the way up to grade 8 at St. Mary's Wellness and Education Centre.

These statistics bear repeating, because they show just how important indigenous languages are within our current education system.

Young people and their families recognize that the promotion and the revitalization of indigenous languages is something that is incredibly valuable as a cornerstone of indigenous culture and a vital piece of Canada's multicultural mosaic.

We support Bill C-91. The legislation represents a pragmatic, reasonable and necessary approach toward strengthening and supporting indigenous languages across the country.

The bill responds to three of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 94 calls to action. The promotion and revitalization of indigenous languages is one step in the long path that we all must take toward reconciliation, as we move forward from a dark past.

A former Conservative government created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as part of the 2007 Indian residential school settlement agreement. We recognized the devastation and the terrible harm that was inflicted upon the indigenous peoples of this country. We recognized the profound intergenerational damage that the indigenous language and the cultures suffered as a result of the residential school system. From the dark past, we must grow together in the spirit of reconciliation. The Conservatives know that the preservation of indigenous language and culture is part of the way forward.

On another matter, last night I had the great privilege to see the screening of the movie The Grizzlies. This movie has been talked about in Canada for the last month since it was produced.

I was fortunate to have had the opportunity a couple of years ago to travel up north to Nunavut. However, for those Canadians who do not have opportunity, this movie will give them a snapshot of what life is like for those living in the north and the wonder of the northern landscape.

The movie explores the challenges faced by youth who live in the north. They are straddling the traditional way of life with the modern while dealing with the fallout of colonialism and residential schools. It is an uplifting film about a difficult and sometimes very tragic experience for indigenous communities up north.

Through this film, we experienced how facial expressions, for example, and gestures, traditional storytelling, music, singing and drumming were all vital to traditional language and culture. We are educated by witnessing traditional language and culture in the everyday lives of the characters and we can understand why language and culture are so critical and must be honoured and protected.

I hope each and every MP will take in The Grizzlies. It was shot in Nunavut. It is a story about suicides in Nunavut, which is the highest area of suicides in the country. Sport brought the community together.

However, more than ever, this movie depicts a number of things, such as song and singing. There was an instance where an older brother was singing to a younger brother in their language, putting him to sleep. It is a movie that all Canadians must see. It deals with not only the issue of suicide but language and culture.

A lot of us do not get the opportunity to go to Nunavut. This movie is one that all Canadians should see. It is very moving. I certainly would recommend it.

The movie talks about what we are talking about today: language and about culture. We often do not get a chance to talk about Nunavut in the House, because a lot of us do not have the opportunity to go up there. It is an emotional film. Many members from ITK were in the theatre last night. There was a lot of crying, but at the same time, it brought a great culture to our country, the music and the language.

I am happy to support Bill C-91.

Indigenous Languages ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the hon. member on his speech and interesting stories.

I was at the UN last week with the member and a number of my colleagues at the indigenous peoples forum. The national president for the Métis National Council, Clément Chartier, spoke there. He spoke about how we need to ensure that we save the indigenous languages of Canada. No other government has done more to advance the ideals of reconciliation, and this bill goes a long way. He was talking at a specific session related to indigenous languages.

I would like to hear the member's thoughts on the UN forum and what he heard while he was there as well.

Indigenous Languages ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Winnipeg Centre. He certainly was a guiding light for me at the forum in New York. It was the first time for me to be at the UN and listen to the issues. It was a very informative three days that I had in New York.

We talked to many people in our province. The Métis are starting to get organized. Glen McCallum, as president, and Mr. Chartier have done a lot of work with the Métis in the province of Saskatchewan. They have rich traditions, as the member knows. We often just deal with them once a year in Batoche and then forget about them, but what I heard in New York from the leaders, certainly from the Métis Nation of Saskatchewan and of Canada, as we have gone full circle, is that this bill would help them immensely.

I talked about what we are doing in some of our schools in Saskatchewan, and we fully endorse the bill. I thank the member for bringing up the question here this afternoon.

Indigenous Languages ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, at times it feels as though there are two parallel Conservative universes. The member who supports the bill talked about the importance of revitalizing indigenous languages and the profoundly negative consequences of residential schools. On that, I totally agree. However, from 2012 to 2015, Stephen Harper's Conservative government slashed $60 million from indigenous organizations.

To give a specific example, in the previous Parliament my community needed a document translated into Inuktitut to help maintain the health of Inuit women. I personally went to see the health minister at the time, Leona Aglukkaq, and she refused to help me. I am therefore having difficulty reconciling the two images.

I would like the member to explain to me how it is that the former Conservative government could do that, while the Conservatives now appear to think differently.

Indigenous Languages ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Mr. Speaker, we are also looking forward to having the former minister of health back in this House in October 2019. She is our nominated candidate for Nunavut, and we cannot wait to have her back on this side helping the Conservative vision in this country. She certainly has done a lot for the people of Nunavut and Canada on speech, on tradition and on indigenous languages. We cannot wait to have the former minister back again with us.

Let us not forget that, under our previous government in 2007, right here in the old place, Stephen Harper was the one who took the lead on truth and reconciliation. It started there in 2007, so Conservatives have been on board all along.

It is funny that the current government waited until February 5 of this year to table this bill. We are weeks away from adjourning here. Bill C-91 should have been brought to the House two and a half or maybe even three years earlier. The Liberals have done so much for the people that we are here now rushing Bill C-91 and Bill C-92 through the House, because they have done little or nothing in the last two and a half to three years.

Indigenous Languages ActGovernment Orders

May 2nd, 2019 / 1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Mr. Speaker, in Canada, the most dangerous words ever spoken are “We are the government and we are here to help.” That is the sentiment that I want to cover today. I do not see anything wrong with the bill, and I am happy to support it.

I want to talk about the underlying premise that the government is here to help. I do not think we should put the federal government in charge of a whole lot of things. In Canada, we have a bit of a crisis with the woodland caribou, which is on the species at risk list. The only places in Alberta where the caribou have gone extinct are Jasper and Banff. Those are two places in Alberta that are entirely the jurisdiction of the federal government. If we want something to be extinct, we should put the federal government in charge of it.

I am concerned when the federal government says not to worry, that it has this under control and it is going to save indigenous languages. This is a step in the right direction, but I am not necessarily convinced that it is the federal government that is going to save indigenous languages. I say that because, over the last number of years, the government has made it more and more difficult, particularly for first nations in northern Alberta, to make a living, to build community, to build families that can survive and to allow people to live in their traditional territory. We see a large influx of people moving to the cities, in great part due to the fact that the economy in northern Alberta is struggling.

In no small part is that due to the fact that the northern gateway pipeline has been cancelled. The member for Edmonton Centre said that it was because the Conservatives did not do this or that right. We definitely had our challenges with the Supreme Court, and every time the Supreme Court said we had not done something right, we went back and tried to correct it. However, we were pursuing getting pipelines built in this country, and in fact we built four major pipelines when we were in office. Those things brought prosperity to northern Alberta.

Chief Isaac Laboucan of the Woodland Cree First Nation has been on the record several times saying that we need to get pipelines built in this country in order for him to maintain his community, its culture and language, and its way of life across the board. It is when folks have jobs, when they are able to pay their bills, that their community is built and thriving. He showed me on Google Maps where his ancestral lands are. The foundation of his grandfather's house is still there today. The foundations of a small clump of houses can be seen on Google Maps, just north of where his people currently live, so they are very much connected to their history. He is a Cree speaker, and many people within his community speak Cree.

His inability to provide jobs for the people who live in his community means that they are moving away. It means that the number of people in his community is dwindling, and it means they are moving to Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatchewan or B.C. in order to find work.

In the past, the forestry industry was active around his community, and many of his people drove logging trucks, ran logging equipment or built roads for the logging industry. That allowed them to make a living right where they live. They also have an oil field service company. They are building roads for the oil patch. They are managing oil and gas wells in the area. They are looking at getting into the solar industry and putting up acres of solar panels.

They are very much involved in the economy, and that is what allows them to continue to flourish. That allows them to go out hunting. When they have money to put gas in their snowmobiles, that allows them to run their traplines. That allows them to start a family, to buy a home, to do all that needs to be done to build a community. In this place, we like to silo a lot of things and say that we are going to maintain culture, and then maintain language, and then maintain community. Those are artificial divisions. The reality is that for people who live in a community, culture, language and community are indivisible. They are three different ways of describing one thing, and that is our society or our culture.

I commend the government for brining forward an indigenous language commissioner. The member for Edmonton Centre was just here, saying that he had tears in his eyes because we were finally doing something to protect indigenous languages in this country. However, although this is a good first step and is notable, the federal government has not suddenly become the saviour of indigenous languages in this country. This is a step within a process.

It is interesting to me that the member is in favour of protecting indigenous languages with an indigenous language commissioner, yet he is happy to shut down pipelines, preventing folks in northern Alberta from making a living and maintaining their culture and way of life.

The fundamentals of maintaining a language are the same whether they relate to indigenous languages or other languages. In my constituency, about 7,000 to 10,000 people speak Cree, about 10,000 people speak German and about 6,000 to 7,000 speak French. All of these communities struggle to maintain their languages. There is no doubt about that.

However, they are vibrant communities, despite what Ms. Bombardier from Quebec says. These are the communities of Falher, McLennan and St. Isidore. These are French-speaking communities, and they are vibrant. Their economies are flourishing, and there is no threat to their French-speaking ways. The signs in these communities are still in French. There is no threat to this because they have the ability to create community and culture and to speak their language, since the economic underpinning of all of this is there.

That is why I say that it is not just indigenous languages that are struggling in Canada. Without the economic underpinning, people's culture, way of life and community are under threat, if people are unable to finance them and to survive under the economic situation in their particular area.

I mentioned the same thing at second reading, and it was interesting to me that there was not a lot of reflection on the fact that we have to get the economy right for our indigenous people in order for them to maintain their families, culture, language and communities. All of those things are immensely important.

Lastly, I would like to note that perhaps it is somewhat easier for the communities in my area to maintain their language because of the fact that they are more northern and remote communities, and they are not right next to major urban centres. When I say all this, there is some lack of understanding on my part as to an indigenous community that is completely surrounded by an urban centre. I do understand and acknowledge that this is something outside my realm. However, I do think that the fundamental thing, in order to maintain community, culture and language, is to get the economy right.

To get the economy right in northern Alberta, we need pipelines. We need pipelines so that we can get our product to market. We need pipelines so we can get our oil off the railway and our grain on the railway to get it out. We need pipelines so we can get oil off the railway and get our lumber to market on the railway. We need pipelines. We need pipelines. We need pipelines.

Indigenous Languages ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, it is somewhat of a historical day in terms of the legislation that we are debating. It is part of the calls for action in the reconciliation report. There is a great deal of interest in seeing this legislation ultimately pass through the House of Commons and get to the Senate. I would suggest that there are three or four recent substantive pieces of legislation that really have a significant sense of hope that is out there. This is one of those pieces of legislation. The foster care legislation is yet another example. When we reflect on that legislative package, in the hopes that not only does it pass here but that it also passes the Senate, it will provide hope for many Canadians in all regions, indigenous and non-indigenous people alike.

I appreciate the concerns in regard to the member wanting to route this back into a pipeline debate. However, I wonder why he would choose this particular issue to raise the issue of pipelines. Economic development is something that is very positive. It is encouraging. There is no question about the diversity of our economy, but we also have to take into consideration environmental concerns. Why would the member want to have that sort of a debate when we are trying to advance this very important issue today?

Indigenous Languages ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Mr. Speaker, that brings me to what I think is very cynical about the government bringing forward this bill at this particular time. We are in the last days of this Parliament. We have been here for three and a half years, and the very fact that now suddenly this is a major priority and we must push this through seems to be a little disingenuous. It seems to me that this is much more of an election piece, much more of a campaign piece than an actual, genuine concern about languages.

To go back to my original point, I do not think it is fair-minded of the government to be introducing this bill at this particular time.

Indigenous Languages ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

Martin Shields Conservative Bow River, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the speech given by my colleague. Just as a preface, since 2014, there is a new play called New Blood, which is a phenomenal high school student production that I wish could come to Ottawa. It has been in southern Alberta. I think it goes to the heart of what this indigenous languages piece is about.

Having been on the committee, there were many witnesses who talked about grassroots things they were working with on languages. Indigenous people had severe concerns and fears that the money would not get to the education level that it is needed. On the Siksika reserve, for example, they are doing immersion but they expressed concern that this money is being directed to major organizations. They are very concerned that the government money that would come from this would not do what it is intended.

What would my colleague's response be to the concern of indigenous people in the education system?

Indigenous Languages ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Mr. Speaker, I go back to the opening of my speech where I said that the most dangerous words in Canadian society are, “We are the government and we are here to help.” That is always the problem when the government gets involved. Getting the money to where it really will make an impact is always a challenge. That is why I am much more free market about it. It will allow people to make money so that they can support their communities, so that they can support their culture and so that they can support their language. If we get the fundamentals right, their languages will survive. As the French language in northern Alberta has survived and as the German language in northern Alberta has survived, so too the Cree language will survive in northern Alberta.

Indigenous Languages ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

Mel Arnold Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to speak to Bill C-91, an act respecting indigenous languages.

There are over 70 indigenous languages spoken in Canada. Over a quarter of a million first nations, Métis and Inuit speak their indigenous languages well enough to carry on a conversation. The most spoken languages are Cree, with almost 100,000 people speaking it; Inuktitut, with almost 40,000; Ojibwa, with almost 30,000; Ojibwa-Cree, with almost 16,000; and Dene, with 13,000. While these numbers are significant, there are languages that have been lost or are at risk of being lost unless something significant is done to retain the cultures and understanding of the languages of the indigenous peoples.

I am happy to say that in my riding of North Okanagan—Shuswap, something significant is being done to preserve the indigenous languages of the Secwepemc and Splatsin Okanagan nations. One example of this language restoration and preservation is the Shihiya School, which is operated by the Splatsin band near the border of the Shuswap and Okanagan territories. It offers preschool to grade 6. It basically follows the provincial curriculum, but it is also integrating the Splatsin language and culture into its programs.

Another example, one I have more experience with because I have had the opportunity to visit it, is the Chief Atahm School, which is an indigenous immersion school at the western end of the Shuswap Lake area. This school was established through the vision of parents and leaders of the Adams Lake Indian Band, the Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band and the Neskonlith Indian Band, which are all part of the Shuswap territory.

I have had the privilege of touring the Chief Atahm School, and have seen some of the work that has been taken up by the parents and elders of the area. The work being done is inspiring and amazing, and it is largely being done on a voluntary basis. The school has highly skilled educators working collaboratively with parents, former students, elders and technicians to put together the curriculum. The entire teaching process, page by page, image by image, illustration by illustration and story by story is being put together from scratch.

The people involved have learned how to do this, and from what I saw, they are doing an incredibly good job of it. There are elders who show up almost daily to help out. These are elders who are in their nineties, and are the few remaining people who can speak and understand the language fluently. They are working on computers side by side with technicians and illustrators. These elders could never have imagined the technology being used now to retain the language they learned, which was passed on generation after generation through stories, dance, drumming and through some incredible means. Now they are able to tell those stories and pass them on digitally, which is something they would have never imagined, as well as in written and illustrated form in booklets. These are truly amazing pieces.

The school also takes the students out to the fields and streams, which is an immense part of learning and understanding the language and the culture. When I was there, I asked if the languages were similar to Roman or French languages. They are not. The languages are based on experiences, places and geographical areas. They are often based on different times of the year. One word or sound in one language may not mean exactly the same thing in the language of a neighbouring band. It may be similar, but slightly different.

We learned that with the renaming of the Tsútswecw Provincial Park, formerly the Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park, on Shuswap Lake. Apparently, in one language “Shuswap” means a place of many waters but another neighbouring area thought it referred to a place of many fish. There are such subtle differences being discovered by the recording, digitization and restoration of this language into modern forms and it is really interesting to see how that is done.

When the school takes the students out to the fields and streams it is also teaching them to harvest off the land. The students are harvesting fish, plants and wildlife. In fact, a deer is brought onto the school grounds and the students are taught how to process all of the meat and the goods off the deer. A smokehouse was also built. The students learn what the language really means when they talk about preserving their food for their future and how that is preserving their culture.

The Chief Atahm School has indigenous and non-indigenous instructors. It has brought people in from the communities outside of the bands themselves to educate the students. As I said, I was very fortunate to be able to visit the school. I was first there last year. I went back again in March of this year.

The school is doing so well and is so well supported by the community that it will be undergoing a large structural expansion. It is going to expand its inner space and teaching area so that, hopefully, it can include higher grades and all of the age levels potentially right up to university level and beyond. It will all be done through an immersion process. Many of us have heard about French immersion, but this is indigenous immersion into the Shuswap language, which is truly an incredible component. I looked at the books the school has. The students are taught the sounds by the instructors, but the words are written with our English phonetic alphabet. Some of the pronunciations were a real challenge for me. It was interesting to learn how to place one's tongue and how one's voice rolls through one's throat. All of this is part of those subtle differences of all those different languages.

I look forward to Bill C-91 making some difference on the ground for students and people in general so they can retain languages like the Shuswap language elsewhere in the country. We are at risk of losing those languages, which will be even more challenging as those members age.

Indigenous Languages ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I am going to interrupt the hon. member for a moment. He has been giving a very good speech. I am trying to hear it, but the rumble in the room seems to be going up. I want to remind everyone that business is being taken care of. I am sure everybody will be very interested in what the hon. member for North Okanagan—Shuswap has to say and will focus on him so they hear what he has to say.

The hon. member for North Okanagan—Shuswap.

Indigenous Languages ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Mel Arnold Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, it really is interesting to see what takes place in this indigenous immersion school. The language is much more than written words on a page or spoken words in a story. The instructors actually take the students out into the field to experience the culture and the processes the languages describe.

We will be going into question period shortly. We have a few minutes left for questions and answers, so rather than make it awkward and stretch this over question period and into another day, I will wrap it up here, and I will take questions and comments until question period starts.

Indigenous Languages ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from North Okanagan—Shuswap for articulating an important example. What that leads us to reflect upon is that, yes, this legislation is important and, yes, it has had support at report stage. It was a unanimous vote in the House. However, it will be communities that drive the process.

I wonder if the member could talk a bit more about the importance of community-driven solutions and the different stages languages might be at with respect to their development.

Indigenous Languages ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Mel Arnold Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, the involvement of the community in the development of the curriculum and the illustrations of the books showed how important it was to include communities. This school was driven by the parents of the students. They wanted their children to learn their cultural languages. Involving those communities that way is incredible.

The bill begins to address that part of it, but there is a lot missing. The bill was brought in two years after it was promised. Then, at the last minute, over two dozen revisions were table dropped. It obviously was not well prepared, which is typical of the government, and there was a lack of consultation.

Indigenous Languages ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The hon. member is aware that he has eight minutes remaining. Following question period, there could be time for questions and comments, depending on the situation.

Conservative Party of CanadaStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Pauzé Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have long suspected, and now we know, that the oil companies are driving the Conservative agenda.

Last month, the Conservative Party leader met in private with senior executives from the dirty oil industry. Any chance they were meeting to develop the Conservatives' mystery plan to fight climate change?

Not at all; they met in secret to develop a strategy to win the election and run the energy east pipeline through our province, our farmland and our waterways. Quebeckers take on all the risk while Calgary's billionaires get to enjoy all the benefits.

The first step in getting the dirty oil pipeline is to get the money flowing. It just so happens that in the last quarter, the Conservatives raised $8 million in generous contributions.

The closer they get to the oil companies, the richer they become. That is how the Conservatives operate. They work for the oil companies and against Quebec. We all know Quebeckers deserve better.

Flooding in Laurentides—LabelleStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

David Graham Liberal Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, people across the country are dealing with the impact of climate change. As we know, thousands of people have been hit hard by the flooding in Quebec. For the past two weeks, the riding of Laurentides—Labelles has also been dealing with floods.

We absolutely have to address the issue of cellular communication in rural areas such as Amherst, which had to declare a state of emergency along with other municipalities. Just imagine the flood victims who were isolated, the emergency services that tried to reach them and the worried families, and let us quickly take action before an even more serious crisis occurs.

I also want to tell the people and thousands of volunteers in Montcalm, Piedmont, Ferme-Neuve, Kiamika, Lac-Saguay, Rivière-Rouge, Huberdeau, Val-David, Nominingue and every one of the 43 municipalities in my riding, which have practically all been affected, that the way they have come together and the strength of our communities is remarkable. They deserve our respect, gratitude and support.

Youth Appreciation DayStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, an event that is very close to my heart will be held next Saturday. It is the 15th youth appreciation day organized by Optimist Club of Ancienne-Lorette.

This event recognizes 70 primary school children for their outstanding efforts this year. I think it is wonderful to recognize those children who are making progress, improving, working hard and putting in a lot of effort.

I have been very fortunate to attend this event for the past four years. I am always moved to see how proud the children and their parents are.

I would like to thank the many volunteers from the Optimist Club of Ancienne-Lorette, the teachers and principals who support this great event, the parents who encourage their children's efforts and, above all, the 70 young winners.

CancerStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Iqra Khalid Liberal Mississauga—Erin Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize a courageous young boy in Mississauga—Erin Mills. Rayaan Lodhi not only endured a one-year battle with leukemia, he used his experience to create support systems for others fighting this cancer. His courage and strength inspires me and others around him to do more and give more to our community.

Twelve-year-old Rayaan Lodhi is an ambassador for SickKids hospital and has started an organization called C-Squad, which tries to bring normalcy to children's lives after the trauma of cancer through activities and supports.

As Rayaan raises awareness on the ground, our government supports his plight and others like him by investing $150 million to support cancer research through budget 2019. These investments matter to kids like Rayaan whose lives have been drastically impacted by this illness.

I thank Rayaan for his contagious bravery and strength and for spreading joy to those around him. He is my hero.

Yom HaShoahStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, today marks Yom HaShoah, the day we commemorate the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. We honour the more than six million Jewish children, women and men and so many others murdered by the Nazis, and those who survived.

The generation of Holocaust survivors is slowly leaving this world, and it is even more important now that we never forget what happened. They are warning us that history is repeating itself and now we must fight back against growing anti-Semitism, xenophobia and racism. Canada is not immune. B'nai Brith reports a record number of anti-Semitic incidents here in 2018 and a rise of anti-Semitism for the fifth consecutive year, fuelled by online hate.

It takes love and courage to move from hate to understanding, to stop being a bystander and to become an ally instead. It takes extraordinary courage and resilience to learn from past mistakes.

Let us uphold a stronger framework of human rights that will allow us all to say, “Never again”.

Motorcycle SafetyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude Poissant Liberal La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, with the nice weather at our doorstep you have surely noticed more motorcycles on our roads and that is good. As a motorcycle enthusiast myself, I am pleased to see that a growing number of motorcyclists are travelling the beautiful roads of Quebec and Canada.

However, when we talk about motorcycles, we also have to talk about safety. Every year since 2017, I encourage motorcyclists to seek out some of the motorcycle safety days organized throughout Quebec. Even though the motorcycle accident rate is on the decline, it is still important to hold these safety awareness days.

In 2017, 1,923 people died in motorcycle accidents, which is a 4.5% drop, but a 3% increase over the average from 2012 to 2016. It is important to be cautious now more than ever.

I urge new motorcyclists to be extra cautious on the roads. It is not just about their safety, but also that of everyone else who shares the road with them.

LillooetStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, I recently had the opportunity to visit the district of Lillooet in the riding of Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon. I thank candidate Brad Vis for joining me for the day.

Nestled in the lee of the rugged coastal mountains, the community offers exceptional opportunities for B.C.'s burgeoning wine industry and agricultural sectors. It is a diverse community with so much to offer.

I was especially pleased to visit the Lillooet Friendship Centre Society, which works to promote educational, cultural and social welfare advancement, while promoting self-reliance and independence. An aboriginal organization, it provides essential services, such as the Chillaxin Youth Centre programs, emergency shelters, mental wellness and addictions programs.

It is the volunteers and committed indigenous leaders at not-for-profits like the Lillooet Friendship Centre Society who provide excellent services toward a better future for those who need it the most.

The BudgetStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Randy Boissonnault Liberal Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, Edmontonians are caring, entrepreneurial and hard-working. Almost daily, I have people in my riding reaching out to me, stopping me at coffee shops and pausing to chat on their doorsteps about how budget 2019 is making their lives better: like Richard, who thanked me on his doorstep for the Canada training benefit, which will help him take new training courses that will see him advance in his company and provide a better future for his kids; or the young family that stopped to talk about the new first-time homebuyers program. It is excited to finally be able to afford a home closer to its work along the west LRT line, a priority we believe in and have funded.

Innovation is in our DNA. This budget will help our businesses scale and grow, thanks to more funding for western diversification.

When we add the $20 million for LGBTQ serving organizations, this budget is another example of how we are helping Edmontonians and Canadians coast to coast to coast.