House of Commons Hansard #10 of the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pandemic.

Topics

The EconomyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

University—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, every day, Canada is working hard to get the economy going and to keep Canadians across the country healthy.

With regard to the economic recovery, I would like to quote TD Economics, which said that Canada is ahead of the United States in the race to recover the jobs that were lost because of the pandemic. Canada has recovered approximately two-thirds of the lost jobs, compared to 55% in the United States, so clearly we are doing our job.

JusticeOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, supporting women's rights is key to creating a better and more prosperous Canada for all Canadians. Sexual assault is a crime that more often affects women, and it is known that women are almost four times more likely to be sexually assaulted than men.

Could the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada please advise the House how Bill C-3 will ensure that sexual assault victims will have greater confidence in the criminal justice system?

JusticeOral Questions

3 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard—Verdun Québec

Liberal

David Lametti LiberalMinister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Don Valley East for her commitment to advancing women's rights. Our government is committed to addressing all issues of violence against women, including sexual violence. Bill C-3 will help ensure that newly appointed judges participate in continuing education in sexual assault law and social context, all while respecting the principle of judicial independence. Through this bill we will help enhance the confidence of survivors of sexual assault and the Canadian public more broadly in our criminal justice system. I look forward to working with all members of the House to get this bill through quickly.

InfrastructureOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Falk Conservative Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, three years, $35 billion and zero projects completed is the legacy of the Liberal Infrastructure Bank, and another funding reannouncement by the Prime Minister is just as useless. What my constituents need is access to reliable broadband, improved trade corridors and support for municipal infrastructure priorities.

When will the Liberal government scrap that useless Infrastructure Bank and deliver real results for Canadians?

InfrastructureOral Questions

3 p.m.

Ottawa Centre Ontario

Liberal

Catherine McKenna LiberalMinister of Infrastructure and Communities

Mr. Speaker, we are delivering real results for Canadians. We have delivered on thousands of infrastructure projects across the country, creating good jobs for Canadians, moving forward on tackling climate change and building a more inclusive Canada.

In terms of the Infrastructure Bank's announcement last week, let me give some of the positive feedback. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities says that this growth plan “sends positive signals to rural communities across the country. We especially welcome significant financing opportunities to improve high speed Internet service nationwide.” Clean Energy Canada says the plan will “help build a more competitive and resilient economy, creating jobs for Canadians while tackling climate change.” I could go on—

InfrastructureOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The hon. member for Battlefords—Lloydminster.

TelecommunicationsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Rosemarie Falk Conservative Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the digital divide between rural and urban Canada. Whether it is to work from home, to access government services or even to call Telehealth, the pandemic has only made Internet and cellular service more essential. However, my constituents living in rural Saskatchewan are being left behind. David, who lives in the Alcurve area just kilometres from Lloydminster, has no cell service.

The Liberals committed to connecting all Canadians. Why does David have to keep hearing promises but still has no cellular service?

TelecommunicationsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Peterborough—Kawartha Ontario

Liberal

Maryam Monsef LiberalMinister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development

Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak directly to David and others like him through you.

There are a million households that have access to high-speed Internet because of our government's investment. Over five years, we were able to deliver three times more connectivity to communities compared with the Conservatives' plan. We are not done yet. We have more work to do and we will connect every household to this essential service.

TelecommunicationsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Bernard Généreux Conservative Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, Cindy Asselin has three children. She lives in the sixth range of Sainte-Lucie-de-Beauregard in my riding. It is a lovely little village. Unfortunately, there is no high-speed Internet there and if the schools have to close again the school year could be compromised.

Following last week's warmed-over announcement regarding infrastructure, can the Prime Minister guarantee Ms. Asselin that high-speed Internet will be available in the sixth range of Sainte-Lucie-de-Beauregard in my riding? If so, when will that happen?

TelecommunicationsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Peterborough—Kawartha Ontario

Liberal

Maryam Monsef LiberalMinister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development

Mr. Speaker, it has been a particularly difficult time for parents who have kids in school. I want to let my colleague know that, as per our conversation, I am committed to working with him to connect his communities. The universal broadband fund will be opening soon.

Under our plan, the number of households in Quebec that have been connected in the last five years is five times greater than the number of households in Quebec that were connected under the Conservatives' plan. We have done that in half the time. We are not done yet and I look forward to his support.

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Iqra Khalid Liberal Mississauga—Erin Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, this year has been hard for many of my constituents who have been separated from their loved ones due to this pandemic and border closures. Can the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship please update the House on how our government plans to reunite them while also maintaining the safety of Canadians because of COVID-19?

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Marco Mendicino LiberalMinister of Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for her hard work.

One of the ways in which we are going to overcome this pandemic is by keeping families together. That is why I announced that my department would process 49,000 family sponsorship applications before the end of this year. It was why we announced last Friday that we would expand family reunification in consistency with our restrictions at the border, and why we announced yesterday that the parent and grandparent program would see 40,000 families approved this year and next. Our government will continue to reunite families while keeping Canadians healthy and safe.

Child CareOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Lindsay Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, women-led businesses are a key driver of our economy in London and across Canada, and women are more likely to own newer and smaller businesses. From a lack of universal child care, to failing small business supports like the commercial rent assistance program, for all their talk about feminism the Liberals are not actually getting anything done. The failed program is gone and Liberals are telling small business owners to wait longer. Women are tired of waiting for Liberals to keep their promises.

When will they deliver the help women who own small businesses need to keep their shops open?

Child CareOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

York South—Weston Ontario

Liberal

Ahmed Hussen LiberalMinister of Families

Mr. Speaker, we are committed to setting up a national system of early learning and child care that emphasizes quality and affordability for parents. We recognize the gap between men's and women's participation in the labour market. That is why child care has been a priority for our government. We have created over 40,000 spaces since 2015, we are on track to invest an additional $7.5 billion, and I want to remind the hon. member that the last time a Liberal government tried to set up a national, fully funded child care system, it was the NDP that joined the Conservative Party to sink it.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, from the fracking wellhead, through processing and transportation, to end consumption, fracking gas releases fugitive methane emissions every step of the way. Methane is 80 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas in the first 20 years after it is released. This means right now, during this short window, we have to avert catastrophic climate change. Real climate action cannot succeed while we allow fracking in this country.

Will the government ban fracking across Canada?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, we certainly agree that action needs to be taken in the very near term to address the catastrophic effects of climate change.

As the throne speech committed, we will be moving forward in the very near term with an enhanced climate plan that will enable Canada to exceed its 2030 targets. Certainly, methane is an important component of that. As the hon. member likely knows, we put in place regulations with respect to reducing methane emissions a couple of years ago, and those are moving forward. We certainly will need to look at other measures for methane emissions going forward.

Joyce EchaquanOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

There have been discussions among representatives of all the parties in the House, and I understand that there is unanimous consent to observe a moment of silence in memory of Joyce Echaquan.

Today we pause to mourn the tragic, senseless death of Joyce Echaquan.

Seven children have lost their mother.

May her family and friends take some comfort in the sorrow of all members, who wish to demonstrate their respect for Joyce Echaquan.

I now invite hon. members to rise.

[A moment of silence observed]

The House resumed consideration of the motion for an address to Her Excellency the Governor General in reply to her speech at the opening of the session.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Yvan Baker Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, just before question period, I was speaking about some of the elements of the throne speech that are particularly important and will be impactful to members of my community. I had spoken about how the throne speech proposes measures to protect Canadians and now I want to talk about how we are supporting Canadians through the pandemic.

We all know very well that countless people across Canada, and in my community of Etobicoke Centre, are suffering economically as a result of the pandemic. Many have lost their jobs and incomes have been impacted and declined. There are a number of measures that we have implemented and will be implementing through the throne speech going forward to address these challenges.

The first category is supporting workers and their families. That is why we created the CERB, so Canadians could continue to pay their bills. We are also transitioning to a redesigned EI program, one that allows people to qualify more easily, one that will allow self-employed workers to qualify. A number of other programs we are launching shortly will support Canadians who need help through this pandemic.

Through the throne speech, we are also taking measures to create jobs. There is a plan to create one million jobs and part of that is an extension of the wage subsidy to help those companies that continue to struggle to keep their workers or hire their workers back so those people continue to have incomes and jobs.

Supporting businesses is another important component of this is. To those businesses that employ folks in my riding and across Canada, an extension of the wage subsidy is a big component of that. Many businesses have taken advantage of the wage subsidy and of course we will continue to provide that through to next summer. We are also improving the business credit availability program because providing credit is one of the key mechanisms in which we support businesses trying to get through this difficult period.

I often hear from some of my constituents saying these are great programs, but what about their finances and fiscal sustainability of this plan. One of the things the throne speech speaks to is that very issue. Obviously, these are costly programs, but I believe it is true and many economists believe it is true, that we would be much worse off fiscally and economically if we had not taken the steps we are taking and if we do not take the steps proposed in the throne speech. It is incumbent upon those members across the aisle who continue to talk about fiscal sustainability, who continue to talk about our economy, if they are going to support that, to vote for—

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I am just going to interrupt the hon. member for a moment to remind other hon. members that there is someone speaking in the House. I appreciate members want to practise social distancing and that is why they are far apart and raising their voices a bit. I am sure they do not realize they are interrupting the hon. member who is speaking.

The hon. member for Etobicoke Centre.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

October 6th, 2020 / 3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Yvan Baker Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the throne speech, we also talk about continuing to fight climate change and put in place policy measures to do that. One element I am most excited about is our commitment to put in place legislation that sets legally binding targets to reach net zero by 2050. That is incredibly important for this generation and the next.

I also want to talk about seniors. There are a number of measures to support seniors in the throne speech. One is the commitment to increase the old age security once someone turns 75 and to boost the Canada pension plan survivor benefit to take action to allow seniors to stay in their homes longer.

I am most proud of the government's commitment to work with the provinces and territories to implement national standards for long-term care. In Etobicoke Centre, we are mourning the loss of 43 residents taken by COVID-19 at the Eatonville Care Centre. In May, we received a report from the Canadian Armed Forces that documented horrific conditions in a number of long-term care homes across Canada, across Ontario and Quebec, and one of those was the Eatonville Care Centre.

Four of my colleagues and I initially wrote to the Prime Minister and Minister of Health, and other colleagues have joined to support the call for national standards for long-term care. In the speech from the throne, the government has committed to that very thing.

I have been advocating for national standards because I believe this is a crisis that touches every province across Canada. National standards are the only way to ensure that the necessary resources are invested and reforms are made to make sure our seniors in long-term care get the care they deserve.

I started my remarks by talking about my constituent who called me and talked about how I had an opportunity as an elected official to make a difference for my constituents, particularly now in a moment of crisis. To me, that means protecting Canadians, supporting Canadians through this and building back our country even better in the years to come. To me, the Speech from the Throne articulates policies that will allow us to achieve those three goals. I hope opposition members support the Speech from the Throne so we can seize that opportunity together.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

3:15 p.m.

Bloc

Louise Chabot Bloc Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question relates to some of the member's comments on the throne speech.

He talked about numerous solutions introduced to transition from the CERB to a more flexible employment insurance system or to the three new economic recovery measures. He and I both know that these measures are temporary because they are only going to last a year.

Here is my question. Will the government commit here and now to completely overhauling our employment insurance system? It is Canadians' primary social safety net, and it failed during this crisis.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Yvan Baker Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government has committed to make changes to the EI system to adjust to the challenges that Canadians are facing to ensure that Canadians can pay their bills.

We have demonstrated our ability to be responsive to the needs of Canadians throughout this crisis, and I am confident that we will continue to do so. We see that already through some of the changes that have been proposed to the EI program and some of the other programs we have introduced to provide income support to Canadians who are struggling, They can count on this government to continue to be responsible and continue to support Canadians as they try to manage through this crisis and in the years beyond.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Scott Duvall NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend talked about seniors and what was in the throne speech, and how good the CPP survivorship pension would be. That is a good thing, but it does not cost the government a dime as that is not its money, it is the workers' and employers' money. I do not know why the Liberals want to take credit for that.

Also, people at 75 and over would be getting that raise. If a person at 68 years old is receiving the same amount of money on OAS and GIS as a person at 75, then can the member please explain to me why the person at 68 does not need that kind of bump up?

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Yvan Baker Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am glad that the member has asked about the income supports for seniors.

As the member may recall in the prior government, this government took steps, along with the provinces, to increase the amount of CPP pensions going forward; increase the contributions and therefore increase the amount that seniors would receive. This is meant to impact all of those who are collecting CPP, including those who are 68 that the member alluded to. In addition, in the throne speech, the government has committed to increase the old age security once a senior turns 75 and boost the survivor benefits.

We are helping everybody. We have taken steps already, and we are taking more steps to help those who are 75 and over. This demonstrates the government's commitment to provide the income support to seniors that they need.