House of Commons Hansard #27 of the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was ndp.

Topics

Freedom of ExpressionStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Richard Martel Conservative Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, La Presse and Le Figaro both quoted the Prime Minister saying that freedom of expression is not without limits. I am not trying to mislead the House. History shows that, unfortunately, limits to freedom of expression lead down a slippery slope to other things, such as sanctions, control and censorship.

Our democracy is a product of the Enlightenment, and freedom of expression was at the core of this movement. The French, with philosophers like Voltaire, were among the pioneers.

When I hear the Prime Minister say that freedom of expression is not without limits, I cannot help but think of those, all around the world, who fought and risked their lives for this freedom. Lest we forget.

I urge my colleagues and all Canadians to vigorously defend their ideas, in the name of freedom of thought and freedom of expression. A society needs these freedoms if it is to move forward and have meaningful and democratic debates.

Airline IndustryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Stephanie Kusie Conservative Calgary Midnapore, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I asked the Prime Minister a question about the challenges facing the airline industry. Not only did he ignore my question, but he chose to mansplain the issue to me.

Since I was appointed shadow minister for transport, I have met with over 70 stakeholders and I continue to hear from countless affected workers that the government has not been there for them. They feel abandoned and hopeless. In the throne speech, the Liberals promised to help by addressing suspended regional air routes, but we have yet to see any significant progress.

It is my job to ask tough questions and hold the Prime Minister to account for his inaction. The Prime Minister has never liked being challenged by strong women. When we ask him tough questions in this House, it is not because we are difficult to work with, it is because we are advocating for real people with real problems.

In the future, I ask the Prime Minister to put aside his condescending partisanship and treat women in this House with the respect that they deserve.

OpioidsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, once again I rise in this House to confront the silence of this Parliament about the killers that are on our streets. Those killers are fentanyl, carfentanil, purple H, crystal meth and, of course, that demon pharmaceutical OxyContin that seeded this pandemic of heartbreak and addiction across this country.

The city of Timmins now has a death rate from opioids that, per capita, is five times higher than the city of Toronto. I talk to communities across this country that are dealing with overdoses on the main street, rising crime rates and overworked staff. They look to the federal government for help and it is not there. Parliament needs to get serious about this pandemic that is ripping the heart out of our communities.

We need support for harm reduction, supports for mental health and addiction services and a willingness to go hard after the fentanyl labs. How many deaths will it take before the government starts to act?

Veterans WeekStatements By Members

November 5th, 2020 / 2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Luc Desilets Bloc Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, today we mark the start of Veterans Week, which will culminate on Remembrance Day. This year's theme is the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. We must never forget that 150,000 Quebeckers served in that conflict.

Today, my thoughts turn especially to my uncle, Private George Desilets, who was killed in action during the Korean War. He was a 21-year-old man in the prime of life, a man who would never know the joys of being a father or a husband. He answered his nation's call and went to fight in lands he knew nothing about. This was the epitome of courage, the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and our democracy.

It is our duty to remember. On behalf of all Quebeckers, all those who live in our Quebec, and the Bloc Québécois, I thank all veterans, men and women alike, for their service. They deserve our homage and our respect.

Remembrance DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

John Nater Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, as we mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, we honour those who served and those who made the ultimate sacrifice and we reflect on “why”. Why did these young Canadians leave their homes, their families and their country to fight overseas?

They did so for a greater cause. They did so for people like David Kilberg, a young Polish man sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp where he survived by hiding between walls and among dead bodies. His mother, father, sister and brother were all murdered at Auschwitz.

When he was liberated, he found his way to Canada where he built a successful business and would later serve as the mayor of Listowel. Only in Canada could a young Jewish man, found emaciated between the walls of a Nazi death camp, go on to find such success in his adopted country.

On Remembrance Day and always, we remember.

Ferruccio “Fred“ FazzolariStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Fonseca Liberal Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour and privilege for me to pay tribute to Ferruccio “Fred” Fazzolari, owner of Fred's Bar and Grill. Fred tragically passed away with COVID this past week. He always strove to be the best he could be: family man, entrepreneur, brother, friend and champion to others.

Arriving in Canada in 1956 from Marina di Gioiosa Ionica, Italy, he was always an entrepreneur at heart and he saw opportunity and made the most of it. He wanted to see his name in lights, which is what led him to open the very successful Fred's Bar and Grill in Mississauga. Over the past 50 years, Fred's hard work, long hours, devotion and sacrifice were key to his success. He always went above and beyond to treat his customers, staff and our community like family.

Some of his best qualities were storytelling, engaging conversation and great sense of humour, which will forever be cherished by not only his family, but everyone he met. Fred leaves an amazing legacy behind. To his loving wife, Susanne and children, Richard, Lisa, Juliana and his six grandchildren, Fred has passed away, but he leaves our community and world a better place. My thanks to Fred.

COVID-19 Emergency ResponseOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Erin O'Toole ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Prime Minister repeated that there had been no funding or staffing changes to Canada's pandemic early warning system. However, officials at the Public Health Agency say that is not correct. Staff were redirected to other departments. The system went silent for 440 days without any alerts after having operated seven days a week for 20 years.

Why is the Prime Minister misleading Canadians on the decision to close Canada's early pandemic warning system?

COVID-19 Emergency ResponseOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Thunder Bay—Superior North Ontario

Liberal

Patty Hajdu LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, every step of the way, our response to the pandemic has been guided by science, evidence and public health advice. In fact, in early January when Dr. Tam first understood the risk that COVID-19 placed on Canada, she convened the group of other public health officials from across the country. What I understood is that scientists in the Public Health Agency of Canada did not feel we were using the global public health information network to its best purpose. I have ordered an external review and I will have more to say about that in days to come.

COVID-19 Emergency ResponseOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Erin O'Toole ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the minister said that every step of the way they were seeking advice from experts, but these public health professionals say the government was too slow to respond. The government waited weeks after news of a virus out of China before it asked the pandemic health care professionals for advice.

In the meantime, Canadians were given the wrong advice on the border, on human-to-human transmission and on mask usage, including by that minister. Can the government now admit that shutting down Canada's early pandemic warning system has left us playing catch-up on COVID-19?

COVID-19 Emergency ResponseOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Thunder Bay—Superior North Ontario

Liberal

Patty Hajdu LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, in fact, every step of the way we have responded to science and evolved our advice to Canadians as the science has evolved. As all members in this House know, COVID-19 is a new pathogen and so much about the pathogen is still to be discovered. As we have learned through research, science and the development of evidence across the country, we have revised our advice to Canadians because we know that Canadians understand that science does evolve and that we will provide them information as soon as it becomes available.

COVID-19 Emergency ResponseOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Erin O'Toole ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the minister said they evolved their advice throughout the pandemic. Their answers are evolving to tough questions, as well. The pandemic warning system was shut down by what health officials describe as shifting government priorities. That is political-speak for “it was a political decision”. Professionals dedicated to protecting Canadians from the pandemic were told to instead focus on vaping. The government has said that a review is going to be under way, but it has never said who is doing it. The minister has the chance to say that to the House today.

Who is examining the decision to close the pandemic warning system and will the investigation be made public?

COVID-19 Emergency ResponseOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Thunder Bay—Superior North Ontario

Liberal

Patty Hajdu LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite knows that as soon as I heard concerns from scientists within the Public Health Agency of Canada, I ordered an external review. That external review is being planned as we speak. This House will know as soon as I do the names of the people we will appoint to conduct that external review. Of course, Canadians will have full access to the information uncovered by that review.

HealthOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Erin O'Toole ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are worried. Day in, day out, the Liberal government keeps telling them that everything is fine and that the Minister of Health has the situation under control. Some control. The Public Health Agency of Canada has announced that it can only do one-third of the tests it promised.

Can the Minister of Health admit that she does not have the situation under control?

HealthOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Thunder Bay—Superior North Ontario

Liberal

Patty Hajdu LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, over 9.7 million Canadians have been tested for COVID-19 to date. That is with, in great part, the contribution by the federal government of $4.2 billion toward testing in provinces and territories so they can deliver on their responsibilities and health care systems. We are also supporting with direct lab assistance. Four federal labs are up and running to support provincial capacity, especially in case of a surge.

We will be there for Canadians on testing and all other aspects of responding to COVID—19.

HealthOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Erin O'Toole ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that is a lot of money, but no action.

The Prime Minister promised rapid testing, but it took months and pressure from the Conservatives for him to finally act. Now the Prime Minister has promised more tests, but he has only delivered 30% of them. This delay is making the second wave worse day after day.

Can the government admit that it is all talk and no action?

HealthOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Thunder Bay—Superior North Ontario

Liberal

Patty Hajdu LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, since October 21, over 2.4 million rapid tests have been delivered to provinces and territories: 890,000 to Ontario; 577,000 to Quebec; 345,000 to B.C.; and 303,000 to Alberta. We will continue to approve tests as they are proven safe and accurate. We will ensure the provinces and territories have access to the most current technology.

TerrorismOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Montarville, QC

Mr. Speaker, I hope the Prime Minister took advantage of his conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron to offer his condolences, albeit a few weeks late, for the attack on Samuel Paty and the attack in Lyon.

Members will recall that the National Assembly of Quebec and the Premier of Quebec strongly defended freedom of expression. The Prime Minister was the only one who tried to put this horrific tragedy into perspective and partly blamed the victim by saying, and I quote, “We must be aware of the impact of our words, of our actions”.

Did the Prime Minister use his call with the French President this morning as an opportunity to apologize for his unfortunate remarks?

TerrorismOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice—Champlain Québec

Liberal

François-Philippe Champagne LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it is really our colleague who should apologize for comments that seem to be presenting a different truth to Canadians.

The reality is that all of us in Canada and in the House were appalled by the attacks in France. We have said that we stand in solidarity with our French friends, and we do.

Today, the Prime Minister of Canada had a very good discussion with President Macron. Of course, we offered our condolences to the families of the victims. Let's not forget that Canada is one of the great defenders of freedom of expression around the world.

TerrorismOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Montarville, QC

Mr. Speaker, two weeks to the day after the savage attack on Samuel Paty, the Prime Minister had this to say about freedom of expression, and I quote: “I think there is always an extremely important, extremely sensitive debate to be had on possible exceptions”.

As we saw with his position on academic freedom, the Prime Minister supports a limited, naive and inoffensive form of free speech. When exactly does the Prime Minister intend to launch the great debate that he wholeheartedly called for last week on exceptions to freedom of expression?

TerrorismOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice—Champlain Québec

Liberal

François-Philippe Champagne LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it is important to remember that it was not 11 days. It was just one day.

That is exactly how long it took for Canada to react, to express its solidarity with the people of France. That is what I did the next day by expressing, on behalf of all Canadians, the horror that we felt towards the attacks and by stating that we would work together to fight terror and intolerance.

The Prime Minister of Canada made it clear that Canada will always be one of the great defenders of freedom of expression around the world.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jagmeet Singh NDP Burnaby South, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have spoken with workers in Quebec. They have told me about their challenges and the fact that they are struggling to make ends meet. Meanwhile, web giants are making record profits.

On one side, web giants are making record profits, and on the other, workers are struggling to make ends meet.

I am fighting for people. Why is the Prime Minister working for the web giants?

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Laurier—Sainte-Marie Québec

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

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

As recently as Tuesday, our government, the first in the country's history, decided to take on the web giants and have them contribute to the same degree as Canadian companies in the area of culture, audiovisual production and music.

The web giants will invest over $800 million more in Canadian culture each year.

FinanceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jagmeet Singh NDP Burnaby South, BC

Mr. Speaker, a couple of weeks ago, I spoke with Jennifer and Kane, Dominion grocery store workers who barely earn a minimum wage. They are front-line workers who are fighting for a living wage, all while the owner of Dominion grocers and others have increased their wealth, like Galen Weston who increased his wealth by $1.6 billion during the pandemic.

On one hand, we have billionaires making record profits. On the other hand, workers are struggling to get by. Why does the Liberal government want people like Kane and Jennifer to pay for the cost of the pandemic and not people like Galen Weston?

FinanceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Liberal

Sean Fraser LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance and to the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge that the front-line workers in retail and groceries have been heroes over the course of this pandemic. We will be there to support ordinary middle-class workers and do whatever it takes to be there for them.

We have not come lately to the debate around supporting middle-class Canadians. The very first thing we did when we came into office in 2015 was to raise taxes on the wealthiest 1% and cut them for the middle class. The NDP voted against that motion.

Over the course of this pandemic, we have extended record supports that have landed on the kitchen tables of nine million Canadian households.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

Richard Martel Conservative Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 2015, the Prime Minister said, “Canada is back”.

Note that Canada did not get a seat on the Security Council. The Prime Minister does not inspire confidence on the international stage. After showing poor judgment on the issue of freedom of expression, the Prime Minister now has to grovel before the President of France to clean up the mess.

Why does the Prime Minister have to call the President of France, and not the other way around, as we saw with the Premier of Quebec?