House of Commons Hansard #29 of the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was agreement.

Topics

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The hon. member for North Island—Powell River will now lead us in our national anthem.

[Members sang the national anthem]

NowruzStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Majid Jowhari Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in this House once again to speak on the occasion of Nowruz.

On Thursday, March 19, at 11:50 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, those of Persian, Kurdish, Turkish, Azari, Baluch, Afghan and Pakistani descent in my community of Richmond Hill, and in the greater Toronto area, will ring in the new year with festivities, dinner and charity drives.

We face an uncertain time in Canada and the GTA as cases of COVID-19 are on the rise. However, I want to acknowledge the ongoing hard work of all levels of government and our health care providers in helping to maintain public safety. I thank all event organizers who put the safety of our community first and postponed, rescheduled or reformatted their celebrations.

To the 300 million people celebrating Nowruz in Canada and across the world, I say:

[Member spoke in Farsi]

Kinsmen TelemiracleStatements by Members

March 11th, 2020 / 2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Warren Steinley Conservative Regina—Lewvan, SK

Mr. Speaker, last weekend a great Saskatchewan tradition continued. For 44 years, Telemiracle has been rallying support from the great people of my province for those who need it most.

Telemiracle supports the Kinsmen Foundation, which offers additional medical assistance, equipment, travel accommodations and so much more to people with cognitive or mobility challenges. Its annual telethon is circled on every calendar in the province and boasts a loyal following of supporters and donors who tune in year after year to enjoy excellent local entertainment and to support a great cause.

Telemiracle embodies the Canadian spirit of giving, and its long-standing contribution to increasing the quality of life for all Saskatchewanians deserves to be celebrated. I would therefore like to offer my humble thanks on behalf of the good people of Regina—Lewvan to this year's Telemiracle team, who raised over $5.5 million. These funds will go to Saskatchewan individuals and families when they need it the most.

Once again, I thank all in Saskatchewan for answering the call to ring those phones.

Model United NationsStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Liberal Surrey—Newton, BC

Mr. Speaker, on February 29, I had the opportunity to participate in the first annual model United Nations at Tamanawis Secondary School.

Model UN provides youth a platform that magnifies leadership and teamwork. This event allowed delegates to nurture their skills in an active, comfortable and positive environment. Inspired by social studies department head Ms. Lindsay Hutchison, these secondary school students will be the voice to change the world, which will make Surrey—Newton and all of Canada a better place.

I urge all members to join me in thanking the Tamanawis delegates, sponsors and staff for all their hard work in organizing a successful student-led model United Nations.

Léone ForgetStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Marie-Hélène Gaudreau Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to talk about a volunteer in my riding who has given of herself her whole life, working behind the scenes, a woman of dignity.

Of course, I am talking about Léone Forget, who played an active role in providing much-needed services to Saint-Sauveur's most disadvantaged residents.

Ms. Forget was also the person who broke ground for Saint-Sauveur's community garden, which feeds people in need. The garden brought a lot of attention to the local food pantry, the Garde-Manger des Pays-d'en-haut, and brought her widespread recognition as well.

For 17 years, Ms. Forget worked very hard on the holiday charity drive, cared for vulnerable people on Rue Saint-Denis and provided invaluable assistance at the local soup kitchen, Soupe et compagnie. Right now, she is fighting for her life.

Madame Forget, on behalf of all the people in my riding, Laurentides—Labelle, thank you, and we wish you all the best.

National Engineering MonthStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Liberal Mississauga Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, March is National Engineering Month and, as a fellow engineer, I want to recognize the valuable work engineers do.

Engineers solve problems, identify opportunities and create jobs. They are successfully involved in all aspects of our society. Engineers are building the infrastructure of our country, enhancing cybersecurity, finding new methods to reduce pollution, inventing clean and advanced technology, and designing new modes of transportation.

As we transition into the new economy, engineers have a unique perspective that policy-makers can benefit from. On the occasion of International Women's Day, it is also important to note that Engineers Canada and engineering schools are working on recruiting more women, more indigenous and more LGBTQ engineers.

To all those considering joining the profession I say, “There is a place for you in engineering.” On behalf of our government, I want to thank engineers for their valuable contribution to our society.

Global Institute for Water SecurityStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Brad Redekopp Conservative Saskatoon West, SK

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Global Institute for Water Security of the University of Saskatchewan brought together 24 water scientists from 13 institutions from across Canada to meet with parliamentarians and talk about water science.

They were here to share information with decision-makers about scientific contributions to water security, new technology to monitor water and climate, solutions to water contamination, and equitable access to water.

As a member of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, as well as the member of Parliament for Saskatoon West, I was able to pass a motion to have the institute appear before our committee. Members learned of the institute's mandate to research ways to protect freshwater resources for sustainable food production; to mitigate the risk of water-related disasters, such as floods, droughts and fires; to predict and forecast extreme global change; and to bring solutions to indigenous communities that face water insecurity.

I want to thank Dr. Jay Famiglietti and his team for doing such a great job.

International Women's DayStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Élisabeth Brière Liberal Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, for International Women's Day—yes, I said “women”, plural—I would like to highlight the actions of a few women from Sherbrooke who, in the 1970s, helped provide women with the tools needed to shake up our patriarchal society. Laurette de Montigny founded the first shelter for abused women. Madeleine Lacombe established the first help centre for victims of sexual assault. Marie Gratton advocated for the rights of women in the Church. Suzanne Blache established the first employment centre for women. Lise Drouin-Paquette founded Femmes et politique municipale de l'Estrie. Lastly, Nicole Dorin helped found PEPINES in 1993.

I thank all the women who accept themselves as the persons they are to fulfill their potential, as well as those who are taking up the cause.

Status of WomenStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Sonia Sidhu Liberal Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, last weekend, in honouring International Women's Day, I attended many events and met so many community leaders in my riding. I met Marjorie Taylor, Ruby Dhillon, Parveen Rashid, Myrna Adams, Angela Johnson, Mary and Cristina Romano, and Irene Chu, as well as all the young girls, such as Avneet and Jaspreet, and many other amazing Bramptonians.

I also would like to recognize the organizations, such as Cancer Warrior, Brampton Professional Women, Pink Attitude, SOCH and so many others that empower women. Because of them, our community is stronger.

International Women's Day is an opportunity for all of us to celebrate the progress we have made and to renew our collective effort to knock down barriers facing women's advancement.

I want to recognize my wonderful female colleagues in Brampton, in caucus, in cabinet and across the aisle. These women, regardless of their political stripe, make a difference in our communities across Canada and around the world.

I thank my family, my twin daughters, Arisha and Amrit, and of course my mother. It is because of her that I am here.

Organisation internationale de la FrancophonieStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, March 20 marks the 50th anniversary of the Francophonie. Those who know me know that I am a strong advocate for the French fact. I am a proud Canadian, francophone, Quebecker and Conservative.

Today I acknowledge this notable and most important event. The forerunner of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie was established on March 20, 1970, under the name of Agence de coopération culturelle et technique. Canada is one of the founding countries. The OIF was founded on a shared common language, French, and is responsible for promoting and disseminating francophone cultures.

I remember that it was the Conservative Party of Canada that committed to ensuring that the federal funding allocated to the provinces for francophone communities would be spent as planned. That is another reason why I am proud to be a Conservative Party of Canada representative.

Let us continue to protect, develop, and promote our French language.

I invite francophones and francophiles to proudly celebrate the institution that is the OIF. I wish everyone a happy 50th anniversary.

Thomas WilsonStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Irek Kusmierczyk Liberal Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in the House with a heavy heart to pay tribute to the life and public service of a great Windsorite, Mr. Tom Wilson, who passed away this week.

Tom was a retired teacher who taught history and geography before entering municipal politics in 1985. He faithfully served the residents of Windsor for 21 years as a city councillor for ward 5. For many of us in the east end, he was known simply as the mayor of Forest Glade, where he supported youth athletics and organizations. He helped establish Forest Glade Optimist Park. He chaired the conservation authority and was an early champion of environmental sustainability.

Tom and I ran against each other in a municipal election. He quickly became a mentor, supporter and friend. Many times he would pick up the phone to provide insight and encouragement. More than anything, he wanted to see young people succeed.

All of us in Windsor are better for knowing Tom Wilson. “Rest well, Tom. Rest well, mayor of Forest Glade.”

Government PrioritiesStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Marty Morantz Conservative Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley, MB

Mr. Speaker, for the last four years the government has blown through its promise of a balanced budget. Liberals told Canadians the budget would balance itself while they threw huge parties and spent billions of dollars of taxpayer money. The party is over. The money is drying up.

The government's high taxes, wasteful spending and massive deficits have put Canada in an incredibly weak position, but now we are up against a global pandemic. Markets are tanking. Canadian energy is unable to get to market. Thousands of jobs are disappearing. Economic growth is screeching to a halt. Millions of Canadians are less than $200 away from insolvency at the end of the month.

The possibility of a made-in-Canada recession is becoming more and more real. The Prime Minister is missing in action. There is no captain at the helm of the ship. The Prime Minister has left Canada weak and vulnerable, while also leaving Canadians behind when they need strong leadership the most.

Peter SnelsonStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Blaine Calkins Conservative Red Deer—Lacombe, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute and express our sincerest condolences on the passing of Pete Snelson, a champion for freedom and liberty as well as a regional director for the Canadian Shooting Sports Association.

I had the honour of getting to know Pete through the CSSA, where I learned Pete was a veteran. He suffered from PTSD for over 30 years. He tirelessly fought for better treatment for our veterans, many of whom suffer from the mental anguish that all too often accompanies military service.

In his honour, the CSSA has created two scholarships that will be handed out to winners of the Peter Snelson Memorial Essay Contest. This is a fitting tribute to a man who dedicated his intelligence, creativity and energy to advance causes of liberty and freedom.

I want to extend our sincerest condolences to his mother, Mariette, his sister, Kathryn, and to members of the CSSA and all of his friends and family.

Pete will be dearly missed. May he rest in peace.

COVID-19Statements by Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Lindsay Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, today the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. This pandemic does not affect everyone equally. The most vulnerable people will ultimately be hit the hardest.

People without sick leave cannot afford to stay home from work. They lose their pay and maybe their jobs. A disproportionately high number of these people are women and come from marginalized groups. Many of them work in the service industry and the food service, as caregivers and front-line workers. It is in everyone's best interest that they stay home if they are sick, but they are also among the half of all Canadians who are $200 away from insolvency. A day's less pay could mean missing that month's rent or the ability to put food on the table.

Other countries are finding ways to help and take care of their people, but 45 days into this outbreak, the Liberals are still “exploring additional measures”. The Liberals need to spend less time talking about helping people and actually start helping people.

Simon ThibaultStatements by Members

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to pay tribute to one of my constituents, Simon Thibault, who is living with epilepsy.

Simon Thibault had his first seizure 30 years ago. Today, at 43, he is not going to let epilepsy hold him back. In partnership with Épilepsie Montérégie, he has launched, and will participate in, the Défi-Simon ride for epilepsy.

From July 4 to 10, Simon will cycle 1,200 kilometres to raise awareness and inform the public about epilepsy. Accompanied by his two sons, William and Raphaël, who will be cycling with him, and with the support of his wife Valérie and daughter Lily-Ann, he will visit epilepsy associations in Quebec City, Chicoutimi, Paspébiac and, of course, Granby.

This is an excellent way to give hope to those living with epilepsy. Above all, Simon wants to show everyone affected by epilepsy that this illness must not prevent them from overcoming prejudice and breaking down barriers.

Good luck, Simon.

Rare Disease DayStatements by Members

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Speaker, Rare Disease Day came and went on February 29, the rarest day of all. This year's theme is, “Rare is many worldwide. Rare is strong every day. Rare is proud everywhere.” Millions of Canadians, two-thirds of them children, are affected by one of over 7,000 rare diseases. Only one in three of these Canadians can access needed treatments.

The hardest experience as a father is to care for a loved one with an incurable condition. My three oldest kids suffer from the rare kidney disorder called Alport syndrome, which is incurable, genetic and degenerative. My youngest daughter passed away two years ago from Patau syndrome and no day goes by without me thinking of her.

I join patients across the country to call on the federal government to abandon the changes to the PMPRB, go back to patient stakeholders and work out a solution that makes access to treatments the first and most important value, instead of price controls that block access to medication.

I invite all members to join me to celebrate Rare Disease Day.

Terry FoxStatements by Members

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ron McKinnon Liberal Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Bank of Canada is looking for Canadians to put on the new five-dollar bill. There is no shortage of great Canadians to be recognized in this way, but in this bright firmament, no light shines brighter than Terry Fox. Terry Fox is a Port Coquitlam hometown hero and a national symbol of resilience.

Not only is Terry a hometown hero, but he is also a national hero.

Even 40 years after he dipped his foot into the Atlantic in St. John's and began his marathon of hope, he continues to inspire Canadians. Through his own battle and the fight that carries on in his name, countless lives have been saved. Many cancers, including the one that took Terry's own life, are now treatable thanks to his legacy and thanks to the way he chose to face this vicious illness. However, the work is not done.

He still has a vital role to play.

Let us give him a high-five.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan

Conservative

Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister likes to blame everyone else for his failures. I have no doubt that in the days ahead he is going to blame things like the coronavirus and the stock market crash for Canada's weak economic performance. The reality is that, long before those things happened, Canada's economy was already headed for trouble. The last quarter's result was a feeble 0.3%. Most economists are now slashing their projections for future growth.

The Prime Minister's strategy of choking our economy with red tape, raising taxes on small businesses and wasting billions on things like fridges for Loblaws clearly is not working. Will he change course?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as Canadians know, we have a very different approach on the economy from the Conservatives. We believe in investing in Canadians, investing in the middle class and investing in infrastructure. That is exactly what we have done over these past five years. What that actually has led to is not only have we seen Canadians create over a million jobs while having one of the healthiest balance sheets in the G7, but we have also lifted over a million Canadians out of poverty. Our approach of investing in Canadians and in their communities is working, and we are going to continue.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan

Conservative

Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the problem is the Liberals are not investing in Canadians; they are investing in Loblaws, they are investing in Mastercard. They are giving out billion-dollar bonuses to Bombardier that can get passed on to executive bonuses. They are right, they do make different choices, and the results speak for themselves. From 2010 to 2015, Canada's economy consistently outperformed the U.S. under the previous Conservative government. Now, under this Liberal government, Canadian growth is almost a full percentage point behind the U.S. Will the Prime Minister admit that his spending is getting Canada nowhere?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the very first thing we did when we took office was to cut taxes for the middle class and raise them on the wealthiest 1%. The Conservatives voted against that. Then we brought in a Canada child benefit that stopped sending child benefit cheques to millionaires who the Conservatives supported and instead we gave more money every month to nine out of 10 Canadian families tax-free. That measure has lifted hundreds of thousands of kids and over a million Canadians out of poverty. We kept investing in Canadians, in their communities, in the future we are building together and fighting climate change. That is the future Canadians expect.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan

Conservative

Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, under the previous Conservative government, when times were good we paid down the debt to give Canada the flexibility it needed to respond to the global economic recession. As a result, under the Conservative government, Canada was last into the recession and the first one out. The Prime Minister is taking a completely different approach. While times were good, he wasted money by throwing it around to his corporate friends. As a result, investment in Canada is down. Investors are fleeing Canada for other countries. Instead of choking our economy with red tape and new taxes, will the Prime Minister unleash the free market by lowering taxes on job creators and eliminating wasteful red tape?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Conservative governments under Stephen Harper added $150 billion to Canada's national debt. We focused instead on investing in Canadians. The Conservatives may feel that investing in a Canada child benefit is wasting money and that lifting a million people out of poverty does not count for much, but we know it makes a real difference in the lives of Canadians. That is why we are going to keep putting Canadians first, not the kind of petty politics the Conservatives do every single day.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan

Conservative

Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, providing support directly to parents is a Conservative principle that the Liberal Party fought against for years. The results speak for themselves. While the Conservatives were in power, investors were fighting to get their money into Canada. We now see major investors like Warren Buffett fleeing Canada because of the political instability the Prime Minister has caused. Under his watch, business investment in equipment has dropped by 20% and more than $150 billion has left our country's energy sector. Will the Prime Minister admit that giving handouts to Loblaws and Mastercard is not investing in Canadians?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, foreign direct investments actually increased 19% last year because of the initiatives we put forward.

The member opposite wants to talk about Berkshire Hathaway. He should probably look at the fact that Berkshire Hathaway just announced an investment of $200 million in a wind farm in Alberta. That is a good thing. We know that continuing to draw in global investment as we move our economy forward is absolutely important.