House of Commons Hansard #27 of the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was impact.

Topics

Opposition Motion—Documents on Economic DownturnsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Toronto—Danforth Ontario

Liberal

Julie Dabrusin LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Madam Speaker, I am really happy that we are having this debate in the House today. It has been very interesting to hear everyone talking about the economy. It is very important to their communities.

In my community the issue of affordability and the issue of how to deal with child poverty are issues that come up frequently. We are tackling a lot of these issues today, and that is very helpful.

When I look at the wording of the motion, one thing that is disappointing is that it is very focused on getting information about the negatives. We do need to know the downturns, but if we are going to chart a path forward, we also have to know what we are doing right.

There is a glass that is half full or half empty. Somewhere in there is water in a glass. Let us look at it. Let us look at what is there and where we are going.

I would say that yes, recent events have meant that we are in unusual times. That is going to have to be taken into account when we are looking at the budget and when our government is creating its budget. Let us also look at where we have gone and where we are going.

Today, we are facing challenges that we could never have foreseen last fall. The world has changed a lot in the last couple of months but, despite all that has transpired, as we go into the budget process, we are in a good position. We are confident we can continue to plan to invest in Canadians and to keep Canadians working. That is something that I know everyone in this House cares about.

Our fundamentals are strong. We have heard about that from many members who spoke before me. Canada's economy is sound and growing at a solid pace. As has been pointed out as well, economic growth in Canada is expected to be one of the fastest growing among G7 countries.

What I would like to begin with is something I feel has the biggest impact in my community, across the city of Toronto and across our country, and that is the impact of the Canada child benefit on responding to child poverty. It has been tremendous. We do not actually talk about that enough.

When I talk with community members, they tell me they have seen the impact in their own lives. They have seen the impact of the ability to buy warm clothes for their children during the winter, their ability to buy healthy food and their ability to register their kids for programs.

This is something that really hits home for me because before I was elected I had a conversation that really stood out as far as a person expressing their needs is concerned. This conversation was with a woman who talked about wanting to register her daughter for soccer.

At the time we had a child fitness tax credit, but the problem was she did not have the money in hand to be able to pay for the registration or to pay for the soccer cleats. Therefore, she did not benefit from that tax credit and her child was not able to play soccer. It is really and truly a terrible thing that she was faced with that decision between healthy food and registering her child for soccer. She could not do it.

I sometimes hear from across the way reminders of the child fitness tax credit. Well, it did not help people in my community who are struggling to make ends meet, but the Canada child benefit has put money back into people's pockets. It has had a very true and important impact on child poverty for families across this country.

The Canada child benefit is non-taxable and it is indexed. That is what poverty activists were asking for. They were asking that it be indexed and they would respond to it. Now people like the person I was talking about are doing better because they have the money directly in their pockets. It is not just about activities. The Canada child benefit is directly impacting child poverty across our country.

Statistics Canada, in February 2019, put out a survey. It found that in 2017 there was an increase in the median after-tax income of Canadian families and unattached individuals of 3.3%. For the two prior years there had been no growth. Part of that was higher wages being paid by Canadian employers, but the other part that was having an impact was the Canada child benefit.

One of the most interesting things for me, because I am very interested in food policy, is the impact of the Canada child benefit on food insecurity in our country. Anecdotally, when I have spoken with people who work in our local food banks and food support programs, they have told me they have seen fewer families with children coming to the food banks. That is an amazing thing.

What was really important to me was to see that there has been a study done specifically on this issue. Valerie Tarasuk is from the University of Toronto and she is an expert in food security issues. She and Erika M. Brown of the University of California in Berkeley did a study called “Money speaks: Reductions in severe food insecurity follow the Canada Child Benefit”.

In their conclusion, they stated:

...we identified improvements to overall food security status among Canadian households with children across the income spectrum following the implementation of CCB. Decreases in the probability of experiencing severe food insecurity were significant and more pronounced with declining economic circumstance, suggesting that CCB, and more specifically, increases to the country's child benefits, disproportionately benefited vulnerable households.

As long as CCB benefits are indexed to inflation...we anticipate that these improvements will persist.

That is a tremendous thing. If members are interested in food security and these issues, this is very important.

In addition, Statistics Canada recently put out Canada's official poverty dashboard, which gives a snapshot of income security and poverty across our country. It shows that Canada's poverty rate dropped from 12.1% in 2015 to 8.7% in 2018.

Now, there is still more to do. I was talking about a glass being half empty or half full. There is still some air in there to fill it with more water. However, we have still seen a tremendous impact in our own communities. I certainly see it in mine. I see the need, the continuing need, but I see that there are tangible improvements. I want to continue to work on this with my Liberal colleagues and my colleagues across the way, because all of us are here to make sure our communities are strengthened. That is what we would all like to see.

I am so happy we are here today talking about the economy and the impacts in our communities. We need to keep having these discussions.

Opposition Motion—Documents on Economic DownturnsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The hon. parliamentary secretary will have two minutes remaining upon our return from question period, when we take this up again.

Cumberland—ColchesterStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Lenore Zann Liberal Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, in a province that once experienced the biggest explosion on Canadian soil, the Halifax explosion, residents of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, just recently were rocked by a 2.6 magnitude earthquake that shook homes and sounded like an explosion or a cannon being fired. Thankfully, there were no injuries.

The number one continuity safety issue for emergency preparedness is geographic separation and redundancy in communications. The recent earthquake is a prime example of why it is not wise to put all of our eggs in one basket, which is what the RCMP is proposing to do by moving the 911 call centre from Truro to Dartmouth. The rationale for this move seems less about safety and more about the fact that the RCMP moved into a headquarters that is too big for its needs.

I would urge the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to reconsider this action and protect the 100-kilometre geographic separation of these facilities for the safety and protection of all Nova Scotians.

Henri RichardStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Richard Martel Conservative Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, hockey legend Henri Richard, the immortal number 16, is no more.

He was a hockey original, a winner. He took home the Stanley Cup 11 times, a record that will probably never be matched or beaten. He was the kind of leader who leads by example, who makes sacrifices and who always takes care of his teammates.

His singular determination enabled him to fulfill his dream of playing alongside his big brother at age 19. Throughout his 20-year career, he was always driven by a hunger to win. He was a mentor and role model for more then one generation. He proved that by staying true to oneself and putting in the maximum effort, anything is possible.

The National Hockey League and the Montreal Canadiens have lost a great man. His memory will live on forever in the annals of Quebec and Canadian sports history.

My colleagues and I wish to offer our deepest condolences to his entire family.

Henri Richard, thank you for all the incredible hockey moments you gave to the families watching you on TV on a Saturday night.

Vaudreuil—SoulangesStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Schiefke Liberal Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, thanks to the hard work of Jay de la Durantaye, Brenda O'Farrell, Rob Dumas, Craig and Brent Nolan, Ken Bell and the entire team at the Soulanges Irish Society, our community of Vaudreuil—Soulanges becomes Irish for a day at the annual St. Patrick's Day parade in Hudson. This year, the parade will be led by Grand Marshall Mitch Melnick, renowned sports broadcaster, and will feature our Irishman of the year, Ken Doran, parade queen Emma Gauthier, princesses Chris Walsh and Robin Brodrick and reviewing officer Mitch Gallo.

As always, it is an event not to be missed, so on Saturday, March 21, at 1 p.m., come one, come all to Main Street, sporting bright green anything to celebrate rich Irish culture and heritage, and let us make the 11th annual Hudson St. Patrick's Day Parade one to remember.

Slainte. Cheers.

The EconomyStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Alain Therrien Bloc La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, after 29 days, the rail blockade in Kahnawake has finally been removed.

I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the extraordinary resilience of the people of La Prairie, Saint-Philippe, Saint-Mathieu, Candiac, Delson, Saint-Constant and Sainte-Catherine. Over 3,000 people were deprived of access to their means of transportation every day.

I would also like to commend the Régie intermunicipale de police Roussillon, under the direction of Marc Rodier, for its outstanding co-operation, as well as the mayors of my riding.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the great work accomplished by Exo, a company that provides commuter train services. Thanks to its creative emergency measures, the Exo team was able to provide daily bus transportation, despite the many challenges.

I hope that the Prime Minister will now recognize the true value of Exo's efforts and compensate the company for the additional $1.2 million it had to spend to keep services running during this unfortunate crisis for which he is primarily responsible.

Emancipation DayStatements by Members

March 9th, 2020 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Majid Jowhari Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today, as today marks the official tabling of my private member's motion, Motion No. 36, calling for the designation of August 1 as emancipation day in Canada.

This motion calls for the House to recognize the abolition of slavery that occurred within the British Empire on August 1, 1834, acknowledge the history of slavery in Canada and other Commonwealth countries prior to that point and recognize the significance that August 1 holds as a historic celebration of freedom among abolitionists and emancipated settlers in Canada.

I call upon all my colleagues in the House to vote in favour of designating August 1 of every year as emancipation day throughout our wonderful nation and to honour the important contributions of Canadians of African and Caribbean descent.

Leader of the Liberal Party of CanadaStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Mr. Speaker, our current Prime Minister has had a deep impact on Canada.

In the Prime Minister's Canada, if it earns, he taxes it. If it moves, he regulates it. If it fails, he buys it. If it is government, he grows it. If it is Albertan, he blocks it. If it protests, he funds it. If it blockades, he enables it. If it is addictive, he legalizes it. If it is criminal, he coddles it. If it is a victim, he ignores it. If it farms, he takes from it. If it follows the law, he punishes it. If it is guilty, he denies it. If it speaks truth, he removes it. If it offends, he prohibits it. If it is a veteran, he forgets it.

When the Prime Minister does not know what to do, which happens regularly, he either dithers or blames others. Just to be clear, that deep impact I was speaking of earlier is ruining our Canada.

Ontario TeachersStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Gary Anandasangaree Liberal Scarborough—Rouge Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to stand in solidarity with all teachers in Ontario.

Teachers shape the leaders of tomorrow. They fill our students with the confidence, courage and knowledge necessary to chase after their dreams, become their best selves and achieve their truest potential.

Teaching does not start and stop when the school bell rings. Our teachers spend their evenings and weekends going above and beyond to learn the unique needs of their students, make difficult subjects relatable and transform the classroom into a welcoming place for all. Our teachers further enrich our communities as coaches, mentors, therapists and friends. Some teachers even go on to become prime minister.

As teachers across the province raise their collective voice to protect class sizes, ensure students with special needs have access to quality learning opportunities and keep our children learning in the classroom, I want to let them know that we are in full support of their movement. We thank all our teachers as they continue to make our country a better place, one mind at a time.

International Women's DayStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, March 8 is International Women's Day, a time to celebrate the achievements of women in our communities and right across Canada. We recognize our grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters and advocates who have worked tirelessly to advance the rights of women.

Women continue to face discrimination, harassment, gender-based violence and a lack of opportunity and support. That is why our government has made advancing gender equality a top priority. We have provided new funding for women entrepreneurs, newcomer women and women in trades, and launched the first-ever national strategy to prevent and address gender violence.

Everyone has a role to play in achieving gender equality, so today and every day, let us celebrate women's contributions, stand up for women's rights and listen to women's voices. Together we can build a world where all women and girls are free to pursue their dreams and reach their full potential.

Commonwealth DayStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Kerry Diotte Conservative Edmonton Griesbach, AB

Mr. Speaker, today is Commonwealth Day. As many people might know, Edmonton has a strong connection to the Commonwealth. We once hosted a very successful Commonwealth Games in 1978. The legacy from that includes the city's first leg of its light rail transit line and the nearly 60,000-seat Commonwealth stadium, home of the legendary Edmonton Eskimos. That stadium is actually located in my riding of Edmonton Griesbach.

I am proud to be involved in the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. I am an elected executive member of the Canadian branch. I have built some strong relationships through my work and travel with that association.

Speaking of Commonwealth relationships, the most important one I have, of course, is with my amazing wife, Clare Denman, who just happens to be from England.

I look forward to seeing many parliamentary colleagues at an event tonight in West Block to celebrate Canada's membership in the Commonwealth. Today, let us wish all citizens of Commonwealth countries a very happy Commonwealth Day.

Commonwealth DayStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Order. I want to remind everyone that members are making statements and we want to make sure everyone can hear them because they are wonderful.

The hon. member for Avalon.

2020 Tim Hortons BrierStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Kenneth McDonald Liberal Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, it is a tale as old as time: Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador. It is usually a story of two friends. However, last night it was a battle of the rocks of the rings for the 2020 Tim Hortons Brier. Team Gushue, Olympic gold medallists, two-time world champions, three-time Brier winners and the pride of the Rock, took home the 2020 Brier in a nearly perfect seven to three win over Team Alberta. Mark Nichols, Brett Gallant, Geoff Walker and our boy Brad Gushue brought home the Brier cup to where it rightfully belongs, settling yet another rivalry once and for all.

As we watched from home, the crowd cheering and celebrating along with the team in Kingston, Ontario, last night, we could have sworn they were back home at Mile One stadium in St. John's with their hometown crowd. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are proud to be a part of Team Gushue and we are certainly proud to call them our own.

“Congratulations, hurry home and, as always, hurry, hurry hard.”

Cystic FibrosisStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

John Nater Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, no one should have to imagine what it would feel like to try to breathe while under water, but for Canadians living with cystic fibrosis, this is a daily reality. However, there is hope. Trikafta has been approved in the United States and is showing remarkable results for Americans living with cystic fibrosis, but it is not approved in Canada. It is not approved in Canada because of changes that the Liberal government made to the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board. Last week, I met with families who are living with cystic fibrosis. The words of one young woman really struck home. She said very simply, “I want to live. I want to see my son grow up.”

The Minister of Health needs to do the right thing. She needs to put down her talking points, set aside her partisanship and work with the manufacturer to get Trikafta approved in Canada. Canadians are counting on us. Let us not be the Parliament that fails to act.

International Women's DayStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jag Sahota Conservative Calgary Skyview, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we celebrated International Women's Day. I was honoured to attend an event celebrating Sikh women in Calgary. I want to thank the Sikh Society of Calgary for hosting such a wonderful event. It was important to pay homage and to celebrate women's contributions to our community and across the country.

I am pleased to be the deputy shadow minister for women and gender equality. We know we still have a long way to go to achieve true gender equality. The first step to achieving this begins in our homes. We can do this by encouraging and supporting the women and girls in our lives to succeed, to not let any obstacles that society may have created prevent them from achieving their full potential.

As we move forward, let us celebrate and remember all the strong women in our lives, our mothers, sisters and daughters, and support them in achieving their goals. Let us remember this momentum and carry it with us all year long because when women succeed, all Canadians benefit.

I wish everyone a happy International Women's Day today and every day

International Women's DayStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday was International Women's Day and while we celebrated gains that have been made, there is still much work left to do.

There is work to eradicate barriers to women's full economic, social and political participation in our society; work to enact pay equity legislation and affordable national universal child care programs, as well as affordable housing; work to address violence against women and reject all restrictions on women's reproductive rights; work to improve the lives of indigenous women and girls by enacting all the calls for justice; and work to address the specific challenges faced by women of colour, and members of the LGBTQI2S+ and the disability communities.

That is certainly a long list, but all women deserve to be valued and to enjoy equity, affordability, equality of opportunity and the freedom to live without fear.

We can never stop working towards that, and we never will.

Saint-Charles-sur-RichelieuStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Xavier Barsalou-Duval Bloc Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, on March 1, 1695, some 325 years ago, Governor Frontenac granted a fourth seigneury on the shores of the Richelieu River to a soldier by the name of François Hertel de la Fresnière in recognition of his years of loyal service.

The seigneury had several names over the years, including Saint-François-Le-Neuf, Saint-Louis and Debartzch, but, in the end, it took the name Saint-Charles-sur-Richelieu.

The ultimate patriotic village, it was the site of the infamous assembly of the six counties on October 23, 1837, where thousands of Patriote supporters gathered to hear from great figures of our history.

These days, Saint-Charles-sur-Richelieu is a beautiful village, a kind of paradise for families and a great place to live. It is primarily an agricultural municipality and it boasts a precious heritage legacy.

On this very special anniversary, I wish the 1,700 residents of Saint-Charles all the best for their celebrations.

AlbertaStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, Alberta has always been a leader on environmental innovation and stewardship. In Canada, Alberta has the most environmentally protected heritage sites. It is the first to have an environment minister for almost five decades. It has the largest connected green space since the 1970s, a commercial wind farm for nearly three decades and the largest approved solar farm.

Alberta leads North America with the first and only renewable LRT system for nearly a decade. It was the first to pass climate change laws, to report and set emissions reductions targets, and to levy heavy emitters almost 15 years ago. Globally, Alberta is the first to turn garbage into biofuels. It has the largest carbon capture project, and produces the most environmentally and socially responsible oil and gas in the world. That is just a snapshot.

Albertans are environmental trailblazers. All of that and so many other reasons are why a strong Alberta is a strong Canada.

International Women's DayStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Marie-France Lalonde Liberal Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, the entire month of March is Francophonie month. On March 2, I attended the launch of the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie in Orleans. This year's theme is, fittingly, “at the centre of a change”. It was a pleasure to talk about change in all its forms with students from Le Prélude and Mer Bleue schools.

Yesterday, March 8, was International Women's Day. I want to take this opportunity to thank all Canadian women for their passion and dedication, as well as their positive impact on our society.

I also had the privilege of celebrating International Women's Day locally, with the women of Orleans, on March 6. One hundred and fifty of them joined me for breakfast at OCCO Kitchen. Afterwards, there was a ceremony in which I recognized 46 exceptional women and girls by presenting them with the Prix Reconnaissance des femmes et jeunes filles leaders d'Orléans leadership award.

Congratulations to all these women and girls.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Leona Alleslev Conservative Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada is on the brink of a recession, but the government pretends that everything is fine. Canadian stocks are crashing, with the biggest drop since 1987. For every dollar Canadian households bring in, they have $1.75 in consumer debt. Unemployment is higher than in most G7 countries and 76% of Canadians are worried about losing their jobs.

If the government will not accept that there is a problem, how will it ever work to fix it? When will the government abandon its failed economic policies and change course?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

University—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the coronavirus is having a serious impact on the global economy and on the Canadian economy. Canada's strong fiscal position means we have the firepower to support our economy, and we will.

Measures we take will include, but not be limited to, supporting workers and parents who have to miss work in order to prevent the spread of the virus and supporting our excellent health care system. We are prepared to act and we are.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Leona Alleslev Conservative Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, our fiscal position is not strong and Canada's economy was grinding to a halt well before the coronavirus and the rail blockades.

The government's weak leadership and failed economic approach have created a crisis in confidence for companies wanting to invest and grow in Canada. Even Berkshire Hathaway, one of the most influential investment firms, is abandoning an energy project in Quebec because of the political instability created by the Prime Minister.

When will the government stop blaming everyone else and take responsibility for its role in the coming recession?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

University—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we are very aware of the GNL Québec project, and let me say very clearly our government believes in the natural resources sector and we are working hard to support workers in this sector and investment. Over 400 major resource projects are planned or under construction in Canada. This is up from the previous year, and it includes the largest private sector investment in Canadian history: LNG Canada, which is strongly supported by this government.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Leona Alleslev Conservative Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, our economy is in trouble, and it is getting worse in all our key sectors. Energy projects are being abandoned, mining investment is fleeing Canada, automotive plants are being closed and aerospace revenue is in decline, but the government's failure to provide stability and security has sent a clear message that Canada is closed for business.

What is the Prime Minister's plan to stop six years of eroding Canada's economic foundation?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

University—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite has cited some sectors that are indeed facing difficulties as a direct result of the impact of the coronavirus on the global economy and on the Canadian economy. Let me be very clear. As—