House of Commons Hansard #38 of the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pandemic.

Topics

SeniorsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Scarborough Southwest Ontario

Liberal

Bill Blair LiberalMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, I would just simply like to correct the misapprehension of the member opposite. As he has been told, this information came to the government last Thursday. It was conveyed to me the following day and we took action to notify the province.

The information that was gathered, important information by the Canadian Armed Forces, was shared with the government last Thursday, and we took immediate action to take the steps necessary to begin to remediate the appalling conditions they reported there.

FinanceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, we all understand that a crisis creates deficits. We also understand that a deficit is a bill that we pass on to our children.

The President of the Treasury Board is front and centre in all of the government's financial decisions. He is the one who sees the money come in and go out. A month ago, the Parliamentary Budget Officer calculated Canada's deficit at $252 billion.

Can the President of the Treasury Board give Canadians some idea where the deficit stands today, since he is front and centre in those decisions?

FinanceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Morneau LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we know that this is a crisis and that it is very important to invest in Canadian families and businesses in Canada to make sure we have a plan to see us through this crisis. We will continue with our investment-oriented approach because that is how we will have an economy once the crisis is over.

FinanceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is unacceptable. How is it that the Minister of Finance and the President of the Treasury Board are unable to determine how big Canada’s deficit is today, when the Parliamentary Budget Officer knew. If the Parliamentary Budget Officer knows, then those in the government must know.

Why are they hiding the facts from Canadians?

Also, a week ago, the government said that it was going to provide emergency business account loan relief. A week later, there is still nothing. Why is that?

FinanceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Morneau LiberalMinister of Finance

Those are two separate questions, Mr. Speaker.

We will take a look at what is happening in the economy once our situation stabilizes. Right now the economy is very fluid. Every day, we will be transparent about our investments.

As for our programs, we have looked at how we can improve them. The emergency loan is an example of how we are expanding our approach to ensure that more businesses have the opportunity to qualify.

COVID-19 Emergency ResponseOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, a relative of one of my constituents is a student who is renting out a room in her home to a foreign student. The student recently informed her that he has found a way to collect the CERB and go back to his home country overseas, and that he would not be paying her rent any longer. He gets to leave Canada, he gets to collect the CERB and she gets shafted. We are hearing more and more stories like this.

Why are the Liberals turning a blind eye to individuals who seem to be purposely trying to scam the system?

COVID-19 Emergency ResponseOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Québec Québec

Liberal

Jean-Yves Duclos LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for raising that question.

Our plan has been very clear from the start. The plan is to quickly and efficiently get help to Canadians, especially students, who are really struggling to get through this crisis.

We need all Canadians and all students on board so we can start the economic recovery soon. We also know that there are mechanisms that the Canada Revenue Agency can use to ensure that aid is being distributed to Canadians with all due diligence. We are counting on its employees to do their job.

COVID-19 Emergency ResponseOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, according to a memo obtained by the National Post, foreign nationals are not required to show any proof of status before getting CERB payments. Temporary foreign workers do not need to show a work permit and international students do not need to show enrolment or a student visa. There are virtually no safeguards in place.

Does the minister not realize that by failing to prevent fraud he is actually encouraging it?

COVID-19 Emergency ResponseOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Québec Québec

Liberal

Jean-Yves Duclos LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I have two exceedingly clear messages.

Because of the very difficult situation that many Canadians are experiencing, the Canadian government made the obvious choice to make support available quickly and efficiently.

However, from the start, we made it clear to all Canadians that we would be doing our due diligence and that the Canada Revenue Agency would eventually be applying mechanisms to ensure not only that Canadians could get the help they need, but that it would be delivered with the necessary integrity.

COVID-19 Emergency ResponseOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Christine Normandin Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to reiterate that the emergency wage subsidy is for businesses and SMEs that are worried they will have to choose between going bankrupt or laying off their employees. It is not for multi-millionaire political parties.

On May 15, the finance minister announced that the emergency wage subsidy would be extended by three months until the end of August. My question is simple. Did he know at that time that his own party would benefit from the subsidy?

COVID-19 Emergency ResponseOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Morneau LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we decided that the emergency wage subsidy is very important for every industry and every situation across the country. Our approach is to protect employees. If a business experiences a drop in revenue of 30% or more, it will have access to the emergency wage subsidy. The purpose of the subsidy is to protect employees, and we think it is a good approach.

ImmigrationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Christine Normandin Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the migrant workers who are taking care of seniors in our long-term care facilities have proven that they are extraordinary. That is why we are asking that the government exceptionally give their applications priority and fast-track them.

We moved a motion yesterday to ask the government to take action, but the Conservatives refused to support it. We are moving another today in the hopes that all parties will have as much heart as these people who are risking their lives to save the lives of those who built Quebec.

Will the government give their applications priority and fast-track them?

ImmigrationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Scarborough Southwest Ontario

Liberal

Bill Blair LiberalMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, we are always very proud that Canada has been a welcoming society. We continue to open our doors to newcomers. Our immigration system continues to be based on compassion, efficiency and economic opportunity, while protecting the health and safety and security of Canadians.

I want to assure the member that all eligible asylum claimants will receive a full and fair hearing on the individual merits of their claim, and while waiting for their claim to be heard, asylum claimants are allowed to work, study and receive basic health care coverage.

We are grateful for the work that they are doing in helping to serve vulnerable Canadians, and we will listen carefully to the motions of the member opposite.

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals refuse to tell us what happened to the national strategic stockpile before this crisis. On Friday, the chief medical officer was asked if she ever advised the Liberals that the emergency stockpile was underfunded, but the health minister prevented Dr. Tam from answering the question. She claimed it was cabinet confidence.

When will the Liberals come clean about their decision to reduce Canada's strategic stockpile?

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Thunder Bay—Superior North Ontario

Liberal

Patty Hajdu LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank Dr. Tam and, in fact, the entire agency for being so transparent with Canadians all along. As the member opposite knows, we have been there talking to Canadians about the strengths and weaknesses of the National Emergency Strategic Stockpile. We have learned a lot over the last several months about how to create an effective network of stockpiling across the country, and I look forward to continuing to get regular updates from Dr. Tam at her daily press conferences.

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, we still really do not have an answer and, of course, she did muzzle the chief public health officer. In February, we know that the government shipped 16 tonnes of protective equipment, including face shields and masks, to China. We also know it closed warehouses and put a bunch of equipment into the dump. It is now in a global race to try to get as many face masks as possible, and we also know that many of the masks coming into this country from China are unsafe for our health care workers to use.

It is time for the health minister to apologize to the health care workers across the country who have had to scramble to get decent protective equipment.

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Thunder Bay—Superior North Ontario

Liberal

Patty Hajdu LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I would first like to thank the health care workers across the country for the enormous work that they are doing on behalf of all of us. As the member opposite knows, our government has been working hard to protect them, as well. I would like to thank the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and her team for putting together such a comprehensive procurement approach that makes sure we can fulfill all of the requests from provinces and territories to the National Emergency Strategic Stockpile. Of course, we are working with provinces and territories to ensure that we have the appropriate equipment going forward.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

May 26th, 2020 / 2:40 p.m.

Conservative

David Sweet Conservative Flamborough—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister refused to condemn the odious attacks by China on the free people of Hong Kong. Worse yet, the Liberals voted against recommencing the Canada-China committee to address the threat to Hong Kong's democracy by the CCP. Liberals claim to be defenders of freedom, but they stand by while a communist regime drags lawmakers out of a legislative council, locks up those who fight for democracy and is hell-bent on exerting authoritarian rule over Hongkongers.

Enough is enough. When will the Liberals stand up for human rights and democracy, and against the dictators in China?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Marc Garneau LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we are deeply concerned about proposals for introducing legislation related to national security in Hong Kong. With hundreds of thousands of Canadians living in Hong Kong, we have a vested interest in its stability and prosperity, the foundations of which are Hong Kong's relative autonomy and basic freedoms.

Canada continues to support Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and its one country, two systems framework. We continue to encourage all parties to engage in peaceful and meaningful dialogue to address the legitimate concerns expressed by the Hong Kong population.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the Liberals are so deeply concerned, why are they opposed to a group of Canadian parliamentarians looking into human rights in Hong Kong at the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations?

Freedom of expression is important, especially during a pandemic. In 2019, the Liberals boasted that they would defend freedom of expression. They are manoeuvring for a seat on the UN Security Council. Parliament can study this issue to defend freedom of expression.

Why are the Liberals not standing up to China to defend Canadians' rights and democracy?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Honoré-Mercier Québec

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I disagree completely with what my colleague said.

There are currently eight committees that meet on a regular basis. For example, the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food met five times and heard from 32 witnesses. In total, there have been 74 committee meetings and we heard from 580 witnesses. Furthermore, 23 ministers have appeared. This was all done during a pandemic, with all the difficulties it has caused. We managed it, we ensured that committees can sit.

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Lindsay Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, Danielle lives in my riding and supports herself on just $1,000 a month. Because of her health condition, she is especially vulnerable to COVID-19 and struggles to protect herself. She has to buy medicine out of pocket, pay for the delivery of goods and must avoid public transit, her only means of transportation. Danielle told us there are so many little things that have added up, she cannot afford her basic needs. Danielle does not need more empty promises. Danielle needs action from the government.

When will it finally deliver the support that people living with disabilities need?

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Québec Québec

Liberal

Jean-Yves Duclos LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, we have put in place measures that are supportive of vulnerable people, such as people in her riding. We know how difficult it is to go through this crisis. That is why we acted quickly, efficiently and with rapid support through the increase in the GST tax credit, the Canada emergency response benefit and in seniors' benefits. We are going to do that because we need to keep looking after Canadians.

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Scott Duvall NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, thousands of laid-off Canadian workers are being denied supplementary unemployment benefits they had negotiated with their employers, and the government has failed to explain why.

Families need these benefits to pay their bills. These are not handouts. These are benefits negotiated by workers as an insurance policy when laid off, and paid for by the employer. Now the government is stopping workers from collecting this taxable insurance. Unions and employers are asking the government to fix the loophole that denies workers this much-needed income.

Why is the government denying workers their supplementary benefits, and when will it fix this problem?

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Québec Québec

Liberal

Jean-Yves Duclos LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, once more, this is a very important opportunity to say how difficult the circumstances are that Canadians are going through. We are mindful of them, which is why we have acted quickly on the Canada emergency response benefit, CERB. With 8.2 million Canadians having received at least one payment of CERB, we know that this is helping many Canadians. However, we know that there is more to do, and we will continue to do more for Canadians.