House of Commons Hansard #37 of the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was questions.

Topics

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Salaberry—Suroît, QC

Mr. Speaker, what is cynical is that the Conservatives abolished public funding for political parties. When the Bloc introduced a bill to re-establish the funding, the Liberals voted against it. They voted against democratic and transparent funding for parties based on votes received. Today, both millionaire parties are blatantly helping themselves to taxpayers' money.

We should consider the merit of public funding for political parties. In the meantime, will the Prime Minister ask his party to repay the money?

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Markham—Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Mary Ng LiberalMinister of Small Business

Mr. Speaker, during this difficult period of COVID-19, I think all of us have something to be very proud of, which is that we have all worked together. We have banded together as Canadians to help support our businesses, organizations and, most importantly, Canadians and Canadian workers so that they do not have to think about where they are going to get their next meal or how they are going to pay for the roofs over their heads.

During this difficult period, we are going to continue to support Canadians and workers, and that is what the wage subsidy is doing for Canadians.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, more than two months ago, the finance minister promised the energy sector a very important thing. That is, he said that help was on the way, that it would be there within hours, possibly days. Well, it is two months later, and there is still no help. Loans were promised, but those are not able to be accessed. Businesses are shutting down, jobs are being lost and workers are unable to provide for their families. We are talking about death by delay for one of Canada's key industries.

My question is very simple. Where is the help?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Marc Garneau LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the oil sector and its workers continue to be affected by COVID-19 and the global surge in oil supply. We have taken action to create jobs through the remediation of orphaned and abandoned wells, a program that has seen tens of thousands of applications in Alberta and Saskatchewan. We are supporting the sector as well with a 75% wage subsidy to keep Canadians working. We have also provided access through the BCAP and LEEFF programs, which provide loans to the oil sector. We are doing everything to help the oil and gas sector.

Small EnterprisesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Tracy Gray Conservative Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, the commercial rent assistance program is letting down small business. Chris, in my riding of Kelowna, has a small women's clothing store, and she has just been handed an eviction notice. Chris says she has been paying her rent consistently for the last 10 years and has paid her portion under this program. Her Vancouver landlord does not want to participate in the rent assistance program.

The Liberals have put all of the onus on the land owners and left the tenants at their mercy. How are the Liberals going to fix this flawed program so that small business owners like Chris are not forced to close?

Small EnterprisesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Markham—Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Mary Ng LiberalMinister of Small Business

Mr. Speaker, that business and every small business across the country is at the very heart of the programs and the support that we have put out to help them. The application today has gone up so that landlords can apply to this. We urge landlords to apply to this and work with their small business tenants so that the small businesses can get the 75% rent relief. We know how important this expense is. That is why we have a program that we worked with provinces and territories to design, so that our small businesses can weather this difficult time.

Small EnterprisesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

James Cumming Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, weeks after they were first announced, the Liberals' small business relief programs still need effective changes. The CEBA loans can only be accessed with a business chequing account. The wage subsidy excludes consultants and contractors, punishes owner-operators and discourages revenue growth. The commercial rent relief program, opened today, further strains landlord relations through its design. These programs need changes, and they need to be changed fast.

When will the government listen to distressed small business owners and improve its flawed programs?

Small EnterprisesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Markham—Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Mary Ng LiberalMinister of Small Business

Mr. Speaker, right from the very beginning, members will see, and I think the hon. member agrees, that we have put programs out to support our small businesses, and we have adapted by listening to them. This is why over 630,000 small businesses have seen a loan of $40,000, and thousands more will be helped. The Canada emergency wage subsidy is helping them keep their employees with the 75% assistance. The emergency rent program is also going to help them with that important operating cost. With measure after measure, we are completely focused on helping Canada's small businesses get through this difficult time.

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the SARS outbreak triggered preparations for a new global threat: pandemic influenza. The Public Health Agency was established to provide a focal point for federal leadership in public health emergencies and there was a national emergency strategic stockpiling of pandemic response supplies, including personal protective equipment.

On top of the two million N95 masks that were sent to landfills in Regina, how many other pieces of personal protective equipment were thrown out when the Liberal government shut down and consolidated three of Canada's 11 emergency warehouses?

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Thunder Bay—Superior North Ontario

Liberal

Patty Hajdu LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, we have been working together with the provinces and territories to make sure we can keep Canadians, including those on the front lines, safe from contracting COVID-19. That includes working with them to ensure we can supplement their own stockpiles of PPE and medical equipment. We have been able to so far fulfill all requests from provinces and territories, and the national emergency stockpile is still meeting its 24-hour delivery target. As we have said before, we will review the national emergency stockpile, but right now our response is making sure Canadians have the equipment they need.

PrivacyOral Questions

May 25th, 2020 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, Palantir is a surveillance giant that is notorious in the United States for its work with the CIA and for deporting migrants. Now it has been cutting itself in on the business of tracing and tracking COVID patients. Palantir's head honcho in Canada is David MacNaughton, the Prime Minister's personal friend. He has been bragging about all his meetings with top Liberals, but he is not even registered to lobby.

The Prime Minister gave our medical supply chain to Amazon. Is he going to give the private medical information of Canadian citizens to a company with such a dubious human rights record as Palantir?

PrivacyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Oakville Ontario

Liberal

Anita Anand LiberalMinister of Public Services and Procurement

Mr. Speaker, we have put in place a number of relationships with suppliers, domestic and international, to make sure Canada has the personal protective equipment it needs. In addition, we are working with the domestic industry to make sure we have contact tracing and other assistance ready to ensure we are protecting Canadians and to make sure we will be able to identify the virus as it spreads.

COVID-19 Emergency ResponseOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Patricia Lattanzio Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

Mr. Speaker, many marginalized communities exist beyond the reach of government and established charitable programs. These communities often create their own networks of non-profits, as well as community responses. This is the case for many black and African Canadian organizations in my riding of Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel and across the country. Can the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development provide information as to how these organizations are being supported during this pandemic?

COVID-19 Emergency ResponseOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

York South—Weston Ontario

Liberal

Ahmed Hussen LiberalMinister of Families

Mr. Speaker, let me begin by wishing you and all Canadians from coast to coast to coast a very happy Africa Day.

Charities have always been there for Canadians in times of need, and we will be there for them. That is why we are investing $350 million in an emergency community support fund that includes those serving black-led and black-serving non-profit organizations. We are also moving forward on our $25 million black community initiative to help build capacity and invest in infrastructure to better serve black Canadian community organizations.

Women and Gender EqualityOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have been facing unique challenges during this pandemic. We know that rates of domestic violence and sexual assault have increased. Women have lost their jobs in multiple sectors, especially in the tourism and hospitality sectors, and many of these women work part time. At a time when we need it most, money has been cut from human trafficking by the current government.

The government is failing on all fronts. When will the government fix these gaps to ensure Canadian women are protected from the fallout of this crisis and make its programs work for all women?

Women and Gender EqualityOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Markham—Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Mary Ng LiberalMinister of Small Business

Mr. Speaker, we know that women are disproportionately affected during COVID-19, which is why we have invested $50 million to support women's shelters and sexual assault centres. For the women entrepreneurs across the country who are wearing so many hats right now during COVID-19, we are also helping to support the ecosystems supporting those women-led businesses and entrepreneurs so they can access the programs and be supported during this difficult time, and the work continues.

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

David Sweet Conservative Flamborough—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, because of the Prime Minister's flawed policies, wives, husbands and children of Canadians are being denied entry to Canada and are turned back at the border. These families have been separated for two months now while the Liberals refuse to fix their mistake. What is worse, the Liberal member for Spadina—Fort York is telling people to contact their MP to try to find a way to get an exemption. Here is a better idea. Why do they not change the directive and fix the problem?

Bad Liberal policy is causing undue hardship. When will these mothers, fathers and children finally be reunited with their families?

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Scarborough Southwest Ontario

Liberal

Bill Blair LiberalMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, as I am sure everyone in this House is aware, in response to the COVID crisis we have taken a number of extraordinary measures as to the border. While Canadian citizens and permanent residents are at all times admissible and are required to quarantine upon entry, foreign nationals are subject to additional travel restrictions.

For individuals to be eligible to travel to Canada, their travel must be considered essential, consistent with the emergency order. It is not our intention, ever, to separate families. Each situation is decided on a case-by-case basis, based on the information made available to our border services officers.

We are working very closely with our provincial and territorial partners on the concern raised by the member opposite.

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, in January, instead of saving PPE for our health care workers, the health minister decided to ship it off to communist China. This just added to Beijing's growing stockpile. Now the Liberals are desperately trying to procure millions of masks. Where from? China. When they actually get a shipment, they are defective and cannot be used.

Can the minister guarantee that her lack in ensuring the availability of N95 masks in no way contributed to the 29-plus cases in our armed forces personnel who are supporting our seniors in their homes?

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Oakville Ontario

Liberal

Anita Anand LiberalMinister of Public Services and Procurement

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is slightly misguided in terms of her understanding of our PPE acquisitions. We have multiple supply chains operating domestically and internationally. We have published our numbers on our website.

We are planning for the short term and the long term, making sure we leave no stone unturned to provide Canadians and Canadian front-line health care workers with the PPE they need to get Canada through this pandemic and beyond.

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the 1,700-plus troops who have put themselves in harm's way on the COVID-19 front lines and who keep working in our long-term care facilities. We have to make sure that they have enough training and high-quality PPE not only to care for our loved ones during this pandemic, but also to protect themselves. This is hazardous work. At least 29 members of the Canadian Armed Forces have become infected with COVID-19.

Will the government guarantee danger pay for each and every one of our troops who are serving in Operation Laser?

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Scarborough Southwest Ontario

Liberal

Bill Blair LiberalMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I want to join the member in thanking our Canadian Armed Forces for the extraordinary work they are doing in both Quebec and Ontario. They are saving Canadian lives. We have also made extraordinary efforts to ensure that they have access to the personal protective equipment and the training they need to be safe while doing their job, but, as the member indicated, a number of them have fallen ill from this illness.

We have had discussions with the general responsible and he assures us that every effort is being made to acknowledge, recognize and support the members who are doing that work, and that their pay reflects that.

TransportationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, when a business sells a service but later cannot provide that service, the customer gets a refund. Air Canada and the other airlines need to understand that. It is even enshrined in Quebec law. More than 25,000 people have signed a petition calling on the airlines to refund cancelled tickets. The petitioners are angry, and rightly so. Others continue to join the group. Air Canada has already received $800 million from the government, and now it wants more money from taxpayers to save its own skin.

Will the government send a clear message that the airline will not get any more assistance until it offers refunds to its customers?

TransportationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Marc Garneau LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I certainly understand the frustration felt by people who would have preferred a refund. The situation is far from ideal. At the same time, it is important to understand that if all the airlines had to provide immediate refunds for all the cancelled flights, this would have a devastating impact at a time when the industry has lost 90% of its income. That is why the Canadian Transportation Agency proposed a solution involving a credit that is good for up to two years.

When this pandemic is over, we want to still have a viable airline industry that can resume operations.

TransportationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, it is funny; last week, when I asked the minister of Transport a question about the Canadian Transportation Agency, he did not want to comment on a decision the agency had made. Maybe he does not know this, or maybe he does, but I want to remind him that in Europe and the United States, airlines are refunding passengers.

Take, for example, Air Canada, which is not on the brink of bankruptcy. It has $6 billion in its accounts, and $2.6 billion of that belongs to its passengers. It has enough money to tough it out for a year—not to mention that the government is allowing the airline to take advantage of the wage subsidy and has offered it $800 million through EDC.

Will he finally make the airlines refund their customers?