House of Commons Hansard #7 of the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pandemic.

Topics

The New Tanner NewspaperStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, another local newspaper is closing down. For 22 years, The New Tanner served as an important voice for Acton and the surrounding community. Since it was founded by Ted Tyler and Hartley Coles, The New Tanner has been the go-to source for local news, giving local residents a sense of place and community in a globalized world.

It is no secret that newspapers have been struggling for some time. Then the pandemic hit.

Local sports, after-school activities, Legion events and other local goings-on have all been cancelled, creating an impossible situation for the small papers that covered these events. Last month, The New Tanner decided to close.

What was started by Ted Tyler and Hartley Coles so many years ago touched the lives of tens of thousands of local residents over many decades. I thank The New Tanner for bringing the community together by telling our local stories over so many years.

Republic of CypressStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Annie Koutrakis Liberal Vimy, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to mark the 60th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Cypress. As this is my first statement as a member of Parliament since my election, I am honoured to stand in the House to celebrate this important day.

Canada and Cypress have enjoyed a long history of international co-operation. Our countries have maintained strong bilateral relationships through our membership and work in several multilateral organizations including la Francophonie, the World Trade Organization, UNESCO and the International Criminal Court.

One of the most important things about Canada's relationship with Cyprus is our country's ongoing participation in the United Nations peacekeeping force in Cyprus.

Since 1964, Canada has played an active role in keeping the peace and providing humanitarian aid in Cyprus. On the 60th anniversary of Cypriot independence, Canada joins Cyprus in celebrating our common democratic values and respect for human rights in both Canada and the rest of the world.

Cyprus is an important international partner for Canada, and we hope to maintain close ties with the Cypriot people in the—

Republic of CypressStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The hon. member for Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation.

National Seniors DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Lauzon Liberal Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is National Seniors Day. They need our help more than ever. They built this country and they deserve to have a safe and dignified retirement. The pandemic has impacted our seniors, who are facing more economic and social challenges. Together, we must do more and we can do more for our seniors.

That is why our government is introducing additional measures to help them. Not only will we increase the amount of old age security when a senior reaches the age of 75, but we will increase the survivor benefits of the Canada pension plan. We will introduce additional measures to help seniors stay in their homes longer and establish new guidance for long-term care. We will continue to provide the help seniors need and to support them during this pandemic

Happy National Seniors Day.

Latin American Heritage MonthStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Saroya Conservative Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate all Canadians on Latin American Heritage Month. We appreciate all the contributions of Canadians of Latin American descent who, for generations, have helped build our communities and made them stronger. Despite all the challenges and barriers, they have shown how hard work and determination always prevail. Their communities from coast to coast are essential to building a brighter future. I also want to acknowledge how Latin American communities came together during the lockdown to help the most vulnerable.

Lastly, I want to pay tribute to the sponsor of the bill in the Senate, our late Conservative senator, Tobias Enverga. Tobias was a vocal advocate for diversity and multiculturalism in Canada who dedicated his life to building bridges between communities.

On behalf of the Conservative Party and our leader, I wish everyone celebrating Latin American Heritage Month a joyful celebration.

Madawaska—RestigoucheStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

René Arseneault Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, as we go through this pandemic, I have to say how proud I am of the people of my riding, one of the most beautiful in the country, as you can imagine.

In the midst of the health crisis in the spring, before the second wave even arrived, officials all over Madawaska—Restigouche remained in constant communication with our offices. Provincial MNAs, mayors and municipal councillors, as well as representatives from non-profit organizations, the business community, and the sports and socio-cultural sectors, all showed us their support and contributed their ideas, suggestions and constructive opinions to help our government develop emergency measures to respond to the greatest nightmare of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact.

I would like to thank everyone in this beautiful and resilient riding, Madawaska—Restigouche, who helped me bring solutions to Ottawa that reflect our region. These solutions are helping our people, businesses and organizations get through this health crisis.

Everything is going to be okay, and thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Mid-Autumn FestivalStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, tonight Asian communities across Canada will celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival. Traditionally celebrated when the moon is roundest and brightest, this holiday is a great opportunity for families to reunite at a festival table and express gratitude to each other. While this year's celebrations will look different because of the ongoing pandemic, they will nevertheless be filled with joy and delicious traditional food, including moon-cakes.

Asian Canadians have contributed richly to the development and continuing vibrancy of this country and are a strong and growing voice in our politics. Asian Canadians were at the forefront of those calling for a stronger response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the early days, and for a principled foreign policy that seeks the expansion of democracy and human rights.

Many Asian Canadians have felt increasing pressure in 2020 as a result of racism, violence and increasing foreign-state-backed intimidation. The Conservatives will always stand with Canadians of Asian origin. We will never tolerate bigotry, hatred or intimidation in our communities.

On behalf of Canada's Conservatives, I would like to wish all members of Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Filipino, Malaysian, Taiwanese and Singaporean communities across Canada a happy Mid-Autumn Festival.

National Seniors DayStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rosemarie Falk Conservative Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, today, on National Seniors Day, we pay tribute to Canada's seniors. They have made profound contributions to our families, our workplaces, our communities and our country. Every day they continue to make a positive difference in all of our lives.

Younger generations have the privilege to build on the accomplishments and lessons learned from the generations before them. In fact, we owe Canada's seniors a lot and cannot take them for granted. We know this year has been particularly difficult for many of them. Never has it been more important for us to step up and better support our seniors, because when our seniors are honoured and supported, our society as a whole is stronger.

I invite my colleagues and all Canadians to join me in honouring seniors and their lives and wish all of Canada's seniors a happy National Seniors Day.

National Seniors DayStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Scott Duvall NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on National Seniors Day to honour and thank older adults across our country for the many contributions they have made and continue to make to our families, our communities and our country. However, if we truly want to honour our seniors we need to also protect them, and the recent pandemic has shown all of us that we have some serious work to do.

Too many of our seniors are on long waiting lists for affordable housing. Too many of our seniors are dependent on food banks on a weekly basis, and too many of our seniors are still rationing their medication. The list goes on.

Today, I am asking the government to finally implement what our NDP caucus, the National Association of Federal Retirees, numerous health care organizations and others have been calling for: a national seniors strategy. A national seniors strategy would boost seniors' financial security and improve their quality of life. Seniors deserve no less. This would show our seniors that they are important, valuable members of our society, every day, not just on National Seniors Day.

National Seniors DayStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, October 1 has been known as National Seniors Day since 1991.This day is an opportunity to acknowledge how much seniors contribute to society and our communities.

On this day, I want to remind members that seniors' finances have been made worse by the crisis, and with the arrival of the second wave and the return to self-isolation, we can no longer just say that it will all work out. A simple, inexpensive solution is to provide ongoing, long-term increases to their spending power.

Let us lift seniors out of poverty by increasing old age security by $110 a month, with an adjusted guaranteed income supplement starting at the age of 65, not 75, so that we do not create two classes of seniors. Let us pay our respects to the people who built Quebec. Let us recognize the invisible work that many of them still do. Let us honour them and, most importantly, let us remember everything we owe to them.

Anniversary of Cyprus IndependenceStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, today I rise in the House to congratulate Canadian Cypriots and Cypriots around the world on the 60th anniversary of Cyprus independence.

For 29 years, our Canadian Armed Forces contributed to the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus. Both of our countries are full members of the Commonwealth and La Francophonie, contributing to even closer co-operation and partnership between our nations.

I congratulate Canadian Cypriots and Cypriots around the world on the 60th anniversary of Cyprus independence. As a member of the Canadian Forces, I had the honour and privilege of taking part in Canada's peacekeeping operations in Cyprus in 1992. Twenty-eight Canadian heroes died in the line of duty on this Mediterranean island.

We will forever be grateful for their sacrifice and their service.

AphasiaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, the following is a typical opening to an aphasia program like the one I visited in Burlington led by Carly.

Checking in: this afternoon, I am a 10 because on Saturday I took part in the Halton-Peel Community Aphasia Programs' virtual Talk, Stroll and Roll to raise money to support this amazing program. Today is Thursday, October 1. Today's theme is aphasia awareness. Ninety-five per cent of Canadians do not know what aphasia is and the challenges faced by those living with it.

Aphasia is a language disorder that affects the ability to communicate. It is most often caused by strokes that occur in areas of the brain that control speech and language. Aphasia does not affect intelligence, but it makes speech jumbled, fragmented or hard to understand, which can be frustrating. Words that my friends with aphasia have used to describe themselves include outspoken, friendly, trustworthy and adventurous. I would describe them as resilient and courageous.

AphasiaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Before going any further, I would like to thank all members who made statements of 60 seconds or less.

I want to remind hon. members that statements by members are 60 seconds long, so if they could keep it to that, it would avoid their cutting off the tail end of a very important message to their ridings and to the rest of Canada. I thank all members for co-operating.

HealthOral Questions

October 1st, 2020 / 2:20 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Erin O'Toole ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Canada had the Global Public Health Intelligence Network, an organization that was supposed to detect pandemics throughout the world. It was a well-respected organization.

Unfortunately, several months before the pandemic struck, the Minister of Health shut the network down. After that serious error, the minister launched an investigation into herself.

Why is she making note of her own mistakes after failing the test?

HealthOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Dartmouth—Cole Harbour Nova Scotia

Liberal

Darren Fisher LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, public health intelligence is vital to identifying and monitoring outbreaks.

From the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, the global public health intelligence network has been an important source of public health intelligence for PHAC. We were very concerned over reports that GPHIN analysts were not able to proceed with their important work. We will be conducting an independent review of these changes to make sure that this vital tool continues to inform decisions to protect Canadians well into the future.

HealthOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is an independent review on their own mistake. The government turned off Canada's pandemic early warning system in 2019 without an explanation.

Today he describes it as vital. This system was vital. It was 20% of the world's pandemic intelligence information. It helped stop H1N1 and Ebola. The Liberals chose to ignore the warnings of our security experts and instead began to rely on open-source data from China.

The Liberal government put lives at risk when it shut down Canada's pandemic early warning system. Why?

HealthOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Dartmouth—Cole Harbour Nova Scotia

Liberal

Darren Fisher LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, again, we see this as a vital tool. It is very important that this tool is able to contribute intelligence to our country in the future. We will be conducting this independent review to make sure that this vital tool continues to inform decisions to protect Canadians.

HealthOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, another vital tool is rapid testing and this spring the absence of it has consequences being felt across the country.

Lab workers here in Ontario are feeling it. One told the Ottawa Citizen that everyone is working crazy numbers of hours to try to get all the tests they get in a day done, and it is just not possible.

Will the Prime Minister admit that his failure to approve rapid diagnostic testing is leading to the burnout of our front-line health care workers?

HealthOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Dartmouth—Cole Harbour Nova Scotia

Liberal

Darren Fisher LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we know that Canadians need access to better and faster testing no matter where they live. We have been working around the clock on the approval and procurement of new testing technologies.

As we heard yesterday, the Prime Minister, in the House, announced the approval of the Abbott ID NOW point-of-care test and an order for 7.9 million units of this. We will continue working with industry, provinces and territories, as we have since day one when COVID-19 hit our shores.

HealthOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Before we continue, I just want to remind hon. members that the way it works is that we ask a question and there is an answer. We cannot keep throwing questions at people to confuse things. I just want to make sure everyone has the rules down right.

HealthOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, they are working around the clock and getting nothing done.

In Calgary, the Foothills hospital has 300 workers who have had to quarantine because of COVID-19 exposure. No hospital can lose 300 front-line workers. If these workers had access to rapid tests, they would already be back at work, but the Prime Minister says they have to wait weeks.

If the next hospital is in B.C. or Manitoba, will the Liberal government, once again, blame the provinces for the Prime Minister's own failure?

HealthOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Dartmouth—Cole Harbour Nova Scotia

Liberal

Darren Fisher LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, from day one, we have been great partners with the provinces and territories, getting them the investments they need to come up with the ability to increase the capacity for rapid testing.

When I say that we have been working around the clock, we have been working around the clock. I want to take a moment to thank the public health officials in Canada, the bureaucrats, the public servants, who have truly been working around the clock for the betterment of Canadians. Health Canada works closely with companies applying for authorization in Canada so that we can provide multiple testing options for all Canadians.

HealthOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Erin O'Toole ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this government's slowness to act is completely unacceptable.

Quebeckers in the Outaouais region have to wait seven days to get the results of their COVID-19 tests, despite the purchase of new analysis equipment. Everything is ready, but Outaouais region medical centres are still waiting for Health Canada's approval to use one of the most commonly used pieces of equipment in the world.

Why is the government taking its time during a national crisis?

HealthOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Dartmouth—Cole Harbour Nova Scotia

Liberal

Darren Fisher LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House, we believe in science and evidence. I get the impression the member across the way, if he were in this position on this side of the House, would put an iron fist down on the Health Canada scientists, on the people who are working hard on evidence-based decisions, and make a political decision. We cannot have politics interfering with the outcomes we are looking for here.

HealthOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Alain Therrien Bloc La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are in the midst of a full-blown health crisis.

Now more than ever, people need good quality health care. Now more than ever, it is time to work with Quebec to help our health care providers and protect our seniors. Quebec needs an increase in health transfers to more effectively fight COVID-19, and it has been asking for those transfers.

What was the government's answer? It said that Canada is not Quebec's ATM and that Quebec needs to make do with its equalization payments. Nice collaboration there. I would be embarrassed if that were me.

Quebeckers need better health care and they are calling for health transfers from Ottawa.

What is Ottawa waiting for?