House of Commons Hansard #21 of the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was dialogue.

Topics

The EconomyOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, after 16 days of Liberal government inaction, Canadians are being held hostage. Our businesses and consumers have had to resort to rationing, as if it were wartime. Chemco, a company in Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, has run out of aircraft de-icing fluid to supply to the Quebec City, Mirabel and other airports.

What about public safety? Supermarket shelves are going empty. We need action now.

What does the member for Louis-Hébert think is the threshold for taking action and lifting the illegal blockades?

The EconomyOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, I share my colleague from Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier's concern.

The situation for the Canadian economy is deeply concerning. With goods not getting to market and passengers not getting to where they need to be, the impact on the Canadian economy, on Canadian society, is significant. We want the blockades to be removed as quickly as possible, but as the provincial premiers agreed yesterday, we need to give dialogue a chance, so we can find a peaceful resolution to this situation. However, dialogue has its limits, given the economic impact this problem is having on the Canadian economy. That being said, it would be counterproductive to publicly announce a deadline.

Temporary Foreign WorkersOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Christine Normandin Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is a serious labour shortage in Quebec. Businesses are turning down contracts because they do not have the staff to increase production. Farmers are sick with worry every year. They do not know if they will have workers in time for the harvest. That is supposedly the purpose of the temporary foreign worker program, but the process is so burdensome, slow and rigid that it does not work.

Will the government let Quebec oversee temporary foreign workers, as it has been calling for over the past 18 months?

Temporary Foreign WorkersOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Windsor—Tecumseh Ontario

Liberal

Irek Kusmierczyk LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment

Mr. Speaker, this government is committed to working with our provincial partners and our local partners on this issue.

We are aware that there is an increased volume of LMIA applications in Quebec. We understand the urgency of the labour shortage in Quebec and we are taking action to address it.

In 2019-20, we hired 34 new staff in Quebec, reallocated $1.7 million within ESDC to address the backlog and reviewed and streamlined processes.

I understand the importance of temporary workers in Quebec, and our department continues to work to address this backlog. We will continue to monitor the situation very closely.

Temporary Foreign WorkersOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Christine Normandin Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the impact assessment required by the government takes forever. It is a lengthy, burdensome and unnecessarily rigid process, and above all, it is very expensive. Spring is around the corner. Then comes summer and our agricultural producers will need workers in the field, as they do every year.

As a gesture of goodwill, the government could start by handing over the entire responsibility for the labour market impact assessment to Quebec. It could do so tomorrow. Is it open to that suggestion?

Temporary Foreign WorkersOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Windsor—Tecumseh Ontario

Liberal

Irek Kusmierczyk LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment

Mr. Speaker, again, we are aware of the increased volume of LMIA applications. We have invested $8.1 million to reduce the volume of applications, because we understand how important this program is to employers. This investment in itself has decreased the backlog by 1,400 applications.

We will continue to work to ensure that this program works for employers, for workers and for the Canadian economy. We are committed to working with our provincial partners to improve this program.

Rail TransportationOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Gerald Soroka Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's weakness is costing Canada's economy once again. People in Alberta and across the country have lost all faith in the government's willingness to end the illegal blockades.

The pressures facing families and communities are leaving some Canadians so frustrated they removed one of the blockades themselves. The Prime Minister's weak leadership is creating circumstances for dangerous vigilantism.

On what day will I be able to tell the businesses in my riding that they can finally resume the transportation of their products?

Rail TransportationOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, we recognize the hardships these blockades have placed on many Canadians across the country and on the economy. However, there is no simple solution to such a complex problem.

The premiers of the provinces and the Prime Minister had discussions yesterday. They agreed that we need to have dialogue, but that dialogue has its limits and that is why the blockades must come down. However, I would advise the member opposite to discourage any and all citizens who might be tempted to use vigilante justice. This is not the path forward. We have to trust law enforcement in this country to apply the law.

Rail TransportationOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Tamara Jansen Conservative Cloverdale—Langley City, BC

Mr. Speaker, last week, I visited Bimbo Canada's bakery in my riding. It produces an impressive 9,000 loaves of bread an hour at its plant. It is very proud of the fact that it uses only the highest quality Canadian prairie wheat flour for its products.

As Phil showed us around, he spoke about the rail blockades impeding shipments of that key ingredient to the bakeries across Canada. Without flour, production stops.

What does the Prime Minister plan to say to Canadians when the bread runs out: Let them eat cake?

Rail TransportationOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Liberal

Chris Bittle LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we do appreciate the concerns and hardships faced by small business owners, farmers and manufacturers across the country, but the path ahead is through dialogue. It is unfortunate—

Rail TransportationOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Rail TransportationOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Order. The shouts in unison are not helping the situation. I know that hon. members will want to hear the responses by parliamentary secretaries and ministers, so let us try and have some quiet and we will hear what they have to say.

The hon. parliamentary secretary.

Rail TransportationOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Chris Bittle Liberal St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is disappointing that members of the Conservative Party would laugh at a resolution to this through peaceful dialogue. The calls from the other side to make illegal orders to the RCMP or send in the army, or calls on future leaders of their party for vigilantism are unfortunate.

We want a lasting solution and that path is through peace and through dialogue.

Rail TransportationOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Martin Shields Conservative Bow River, AB

Mr. Speaker, we know the government is seized and needs WD-40, but radical activists who may have no connection to the Wet'suwet'en people are holding our country's economy hostage.

We have a right to freedom of speech and freedom to protest, which I strongly defend, but we do not have the right to shut down railways, ports, impede freedom of movement and block producers from getting their goods to market.

The situation has gone on far too long. Canadians are fed up with the inaction. Why will the Minister of Public Safety not direct action to enforce the law?

Rail TransportationOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, to answer directly the question from the member opposite, it is because we respect the independence of law enforcement in this country, a principle that has been recognized not only by the Supreme Court, but also by former prime minister Stephen Harper and by the former minister of public safety who sits right across the aisle.

To hear members laugh at such a serious matter is unbecoming of the Conservative Party. The path forward for a peaceful resolution of this conflict is through dialogue, but dialogue has its limits. We had discussions with the premiers of the provinces yesterday and we are working around the clock to put an end to this situation.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Francis Drouin Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, last June, the House of Commons adopted a motion to declare a climate emergency. We all have a role to play in the fight against climate change.

Can the Minister of Canadian Heritage inform the House of how he intends to advance this fight in his portfolio?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Laurier—Sainte-Marie Québec

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell for his question and for his commitment in this file.

As members know, environmental protection always has been and always will be a priority for me. I am pleased to be in this place among many people who care about the environment like I do.

As members also know, increased public awareness is essential for us to meet our targets. I am working with my colleagues on this issue.

I intend to advance the mandate that the Prime Minister gave me to work with national museums to help educate Canadians about climate change. I had the opportunity to see the work that the Canadian Museum of Nature and the Canada Science and Technology Museum have already begun doing to make the public more aware of climate change.

Government PrioritiesOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Richard Bragdon Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, 24,000 people in New Brunswick rely on the forestry sector for their livelihoods. The Prime Minister has already hurt the industry through poorly negotiated trade deals and his inaction on blockades is hurting them again. I am hearing from Forest NB that thousands of jobs and contracts are in jeopardy if this current disruption of rail and port services continues even one more week.

When will the Prime Minister move beyond the politics of endless dialogue, dither and delay, and take action so that I can tell the forestry workers of New Brunswick that the blockades are coming down?

Government PrioritiesOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Liberal

Chris Bittle LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we understand the impacts on the economy not only for the forestry sector but for sectors across the country. It is unfortunate, again, that the Conservatives will laugh when the topic of dialogue is mentioned, but a path forward for a lasting solution is through peaceful dialogue. It has its limits, but that is the path that we are taking. We place our trust in law enforcement to do their job, but we will do ours, and that is through negotiations.

Government PrioritiesOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Warren Steinley Conservative Regina—Lewvan, SK

Mr. Speaker, we have almost 100 ships waiting to be loaded, a backup of 20,000 grain cars costing farmers more than $300 million. Where is the agriculture minister? She is away in Washington at a forum on agriculture outlook. I can already tell the ag minister what that outlook for Canadian agriculture producers is. It is bleak.

Why is the minister dining with diplomats in Washington instead of being here, working with the incident response team, standing up for farmers and trying to resolve the crisis of the illegal blockades?

Government PrioritiesOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Liberal

Chris Bittle LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, we understand the impacts that have been felt across the country, including in our agriculture sector with our farmers who want to get their goods to market. We want a lasting solution to these blockades and that is through dialogue. That is our place. We trust law enforcement to do their job, but we will do ours, and that is through discussion.

Government PrioritiesOral Questions

February 21st, 2020 / 11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Marc Dalton Conservative Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canada has grounded to a halt because of a weak Prime Minister. The Liberals are kowtowing to a few radical protesters. They are paralyzed. They are legitimizing these illegal blockades that are costing us hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs. In Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge, commuters worry that the West Coast Express will be shut down again, stranding them.

When will the Liberals wake up, stop sleeping at the wheel and take the barricades down?

Government PrioritiesOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. Obviously, this is a very worrisome situation from the standpoint of the Canadian economy, and our government is working on it.

It is worth noting that there have been positive and encouraging new developments. Take, for example, the decision that the RCMP in British Columbia made yesterday to withdraw from Wet'suwet'en territory. We can also see that the provinces and the federal government are working together. The first ministers have agreed on an approach, and that is to give dialogue a chance, with the understanding that this cannot go on indefinitely because of the impact it is having on the Canadian economy, as the member so rightly pointed out.

JusticeOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Churence Rogers Liberal Bonavista—Burin—Trinity, NL

Mr. Speaker, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Red Deer, Saint John, Lethbridge, St. Albert, Fort McMurray and Vancouver are all planning to ban, or have banned, the harmful practice of conversion therapy. In 2019, our government committed to amending the Criminal Code to ban the practice of conversion therapy.

Can the Minister of Justice share with the House what action our government is taking to put an end to this harmful practice?

JusticeOral Questions

Noon

LaSalle—Émard—Verdun Québec

Liberal

David Lametti LiberalMinister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, conversion therapy is a cruel exercise that leads to lifelong trauma for victims. It is a harmful and degrading practice that has no place in Canada. I commend the municipalities that he mentioned, in particular those in Alberta, for showing leadership on this file. I hope the members opposite who represent those communities in this House will be with us as we move forward to ban this shameful practice.