House of Commons Hansard #2 of the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pandemic.

Topics

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

3:35 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague mentioned that her government was close to the people. Any government that is close to the people would know that the tragedy that occurred in our long-term care sector was devastating in communities across this country. Eighty per cent of the deaths in this country that were due to COVID occurred in long-term care centres, yet the throne speech released yesterday by her party made no commitment to binding national standards in long-term care, announced no federal funds that would be tied to enforcement and made no mention of home care, which is the preferred option for most seniors.

Would my hon. colleague agree with the New Democrats that we need binding national standards in this country, with federal funds for provinces and territories that agree to meet those standards, so that we can provide quality care to every senior in this country?

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Élisabeth Brière Liberal Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Vancouver Kingsway.

What happened at the long-term care facilities is indeed unacceptable and our government was there from the start to ensure that situations like that did not happen again, including through the safe restart agreement and a transfer, through that agreement, of $19 billion.

It should be noted that the agreement follows an agreement between all the provinces and all the territories, illustrating the great collaboration we had during the entire crisis and our willingness to maintain our top priority since the beginning of the crisis, namely, ensuring the health and safety of all Canadians.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

3:40 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have a question about pharmacare for the parliamentary secretary.

The throne speech said that pharmacare was a priority, but not an urgent one. I noticed that the throne speech only mentions some small steps towards creating universal pharmacare.

Pharmacare is urgent, though. What will the member say to make this a higher priority? They need to hurry up.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

Élisabeth Brière Liberal Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands for her very important question.

The government has been working towards this from the beginning. All along, our government's priority has been the health and safety of Canadians. We met our objectives through the programs that we implemented.

I heard my colleague's plea for swift action. We are doing crisis management. We did implement programs very quickly to address this crisis and to help people.

We are now going to set ourselves up for the best possible recovery.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon.

When we come together in this place, it should be to help the people of our Confederation. We meet to scrutinize each other's decisions, our policies, our actions and the use of money that the people we represent have earned.

In my time in office, I have watched the power of this place be willfully abdicated to men who seek their own enrichment, affirm their vanity or hide their incompetence and ignorance. I have watched them lean on those here with honeyed words, promises of riches or position or, if that fails, threats. I have watched many here lose the sense of gravity of the power bestowed upon us by the people we represent.

We must put our people first, all of them, regardless of political affiliation, ability to curry favour or religious belief. We must be radically compassionate, radically selfless and radically courageous. I have watched those we represent lose faith or, worse, lose an understanding of the power they hold, and that must end.

During this dramatically transitional time in the history of our nation, the choices each of us makes from this day forward will determine the power of this place, the unity of our country and the well-being of our people. In this place, courage has been lacking. Yesterday's Speech from the Throne was no different.

In the last several years, we have watched our country lose its economic footing. Earlier this year, protests shut down Canada's rail systems. I have watched the people I represent fall into despair as their primary industry came under attack. I have also watched thousands of Canadians lose their lives and millions more lose their jobs, their mental health, their homes and their families because of the collective failure of those on the government side of the House to have the courage to challenge power, to question the status quo and not to acquiesce to a man who has long ago lost the moral authority to govern.

This year, after the rail blockades, with the reports of a new infectious disease emerging in China, this man was comfortable telling Canadians that there was no person-to-person transmission in the spread of COVID-19. His MPs nodded and clapped. The result was Canadians losing their lives and their jobs. He had no compunction when telling Canadians that border control measures and masks did not work, and his MPs nodded and clapped. The result was Canadians losing their lives and their jobs. He sent critical supplies of personal protective equipment to China when we had a shortage. His MPs nodded and clapped. The result was Canadians losing their lives and their jobs.

He allowed for the shuttering of the federal early warning system for public health dangers. He failed to develop a process that would allow for the full but timely review of rapid and at-home tests for the novel coronavirus, and his MPs have not pressed this issue. The result has been Canadians losing their lives and their jobs. He has not been transparent about his plans for the procurement and distribution of a potential vaccine for the COVID-19 virus.

While he was doing this, he was awarding contracts to a charity run by two guys who gave his family members hundreds of thousands of dollars in celebrity appearance fees and who did a super woke video on MTV Cribs, which showcased their charity as a cultish mess of celebrity appropriation of African culture of the worst order. It is no doubt that this contributed to his inability to secure a seat on the UN Security Council, because the picture the international community now has of him is as a dilettantish practitioner of blackface.

When my colleagues were able to compel documents related to the scandal, even though he had shuttered Parliament, he went one step further and prorogued this place, that is, fully shut it down to prevent the rest of Parliament from questioning him. He also lost his finance minister under a cloud of scandal. That was five weeks ago.

During that time, Canada lost more lives, more jobs and wobbled listlessly, as the world around us changed and became more unstable. His fig leaf for this action was to provide a new vision for the country, a plan, but he did not deliver. His throne speech took no responsibility for the failures he made in preaching wrong information, and not just preaching it, but doubling down on it and dismissing any questioning of the information that he was providing as wrong thought.

The Prime Minister took no responsibility for that, and he has no plan and presented no plan to fix these systems that allowed Canadians to be told that there was no person-to-person transmission of the virus, that masks should not be worn and that border controls were racist. There were no plans to move hell and high water to get rapid testing technologies reviewed. There was no mention of the relief for the people in my riding who work in the energy sector.

The speech was panned by the AFN national chief last night. There was no action towards reconciliation. The Liberal Party has promised child care since 1997, and last night on national television his minister could not tell Canadians how many spots the government proposed to make, in what parts of the country, under what program, by when and how much it would cost. The same goes for lowering drug costs for Canadians or a plan for Canadians to have access to the pharmaceuticals they need. This was the theme of the entire speech: five weeks lost during a pandemic with an attempt to distract Canadians from scandal with a bunch of garbage, seemingly hastily written on the back of napkin, when a real plan was needed.

On the same day that this load of something was delivered, it was reported that there were 301 opioid-related deaths in Alberta between April and June. There was nothing in the Prime Minister's speech about how to save the lives of these people. There were 128 people in Alberta who died from COVID-19 during the same period. Be it COVID or the opioid crisis, the Prime Minister seems to be willing to ignore pandemics when it suits him.

For those who are saying that it is too early to question the government's response to the pandemic and economic collapse, which has been the argument on the other side today, I say this: For those who have lost their lives, who have lost their jobs and who have lost time as a result of this government's inaction, it is already too late. The government's inaction has cost them all of these things.

It is too late for Sarah Campbell. I cannot believe that the public safety minister said there was a compassionate program to deal with her when she went without her fiancé's companionship during her cancer treatments this year and they refused to look at her. The government refused to have a plan for people who are separated by border closures. The government has failed them. It is too late for my constituent Cheryl, who wrote to me at a loss to express her desperation, her loss of hope and her husband losing his job in the oil sector. It is too late for so many, and the Prime Minister has no plan and only scandal to offer them. However, there is hope.

I had lost a lot of hope after the last election. It was hard for me. The people I represent are not in a good spot. Many of them are fighting mental health issues from the loss of work, and they are struggling to make ends meet. They feel isolated and ignored by the people in charge of this nation. I have been trying everything I can do with the courage inside of me to fight for them, to get change that would allow them to see themselves in a prosperous, peaceful future Canada.

Enter the member of Parliament for Durham, the new leader of Canada's official opposition and the Conservative Party of Canada. In a few short weeks, even as he battled the coronavirus himself, as the new leader of our party he has given me a boost of hope that I needed, not just as a member of Parliament, but as a member of a community that is struggling, as a wife apart from her husband and as a powerful woman who will not back down to anyone. He has done something that is vitally important to me personally: publicly expressed firm support for the human rights of all Canadians, including a commitment to fighting discrimination faced by the LGBTQ community and to working to protect and enhance women's rights without apology or hesitation.

I have no confidence in the government, especially not in the current Prime Minister, but I do have confidence in that man, his team and in the millions of Canadians who have had enough and are about to stand up for change. In the coming weeks and months, we will see this team put forward an alterative plan, an alternative vision to this incompetence, this lack of courage and this lack of compassion.

As the shadow minister for health, I will be holding the government to account for its failures. There will be no quarter and there will be no apologies, but there will be hope. I ask every Canadian to stand with me to join our fight in building a new vision for Canada. Giddy up.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague said toward the end of her speech that she thought members on this side of the House were suggesting that it was too early to start questioning the government's response, but I would actually argue that I do not think it is too early at all. I think this is an extremely appropriate time to start looking at the response and how successful it has been.

The reality of the situation is that millions of Canadians have been receiving CERB. This has helped them in their time of need and, indeed, helped to sustain what we could of our economy, so that when we come out on the other side of this, we will be so much better prepared.

There have been 106,000 small businesses that have received support, with almost a million employees, through the wage subsidy program.

Does the member not see that despite the difficult times we are in, millions of Canadians have been assisted and have been helped with the plans the government rolled out over the last several months?

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have heard a lot of myopic, elitist and vacuous responses in my time in the House, but I think that one takes the cake. There is no Canadian who wants a continued handout.

Canadians want a response to the pandemic so that they can get their jobs back and their businesses back, so that Sarah Campbell can see her fiancé, and so that they can have Christmas dinners. They do not want to be dependent on the Prime Minister and his scandals. They do not want to keep spending billions of dollars. They want the dignity of work. They want their lives back. The government has failed.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

3:50 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Simard Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleague on her speech.

In the introduction to her speech, she spoke about national unity and that piqued my interest. I often feel that the Conservative Party believes that national unity is predicated on the financing of the oil and gas industry. National unity is often used as a catch-all by my Conservative colleagues. I never hear them talking about forestry and Quebec's sectors, such as the aluminum sector. Our economic sectors are not acknowledged.

I would like to know if my colleague believes that national unity can only be achieved by funding the oil and gas industry.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind my colleague that the energy sector funds a lot of things in his neck of the woods, so maybe he should be concerned with that and with the loss of jobs and the loss of revenue. Maybe he should have some compassion for the people who have provided this wealth and revenue instead of making it a political wedge in this place.

I am tired of this. If we are going to have a unified country, we have to stand up for every region of this country, be it Quebec or be it Calgary Nose Hill.

What we heard yesterday was a load of nothing to deflect from the fact that the Prime Minister needed to prorogue Parliament so we would not get the documents about his family's celebrity gigs with the charity he gave $900 million to. Come on. This has to stop, and we have to do better. It starts by rejecting what the government put forward yesterday.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

3:55 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I know the member for Calgary Nose Hill has a new critic portfolio, but on behalf of the industry committee, I want to take this opportunity to thank her for her work on industry with regard to protections against fraud.

I would like her comments about this. She and the committee did excellent work, but with prorogation we actually lost that work. This is costing Canadians, who are being taken advantage of by fraudulent activities during COVID-19.

What are my colleague's thoughts on the Liberal plan of connecting Canadians by 2030? The Speech from the Throne had a reference to speeding that up. I do not know what is meant “by 2030”, or whether it would be by 2029, but the fact of the matter is that broadband is still lacking in many parts of this country. I would like her comments on that.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, I did enjoy the collegial and productive relationship at the industry committee with the member. I certainly hope that my colleague from Edmonton Centre, who will be taking over that role, will have the same relationship. What the member did with the fraud report was so vital. It has been delayed for so long, and I hope the industry committee will bring that forward and the government will act on recommendations put forward by the committee.

Earlier today, the Speaker said that he expected members to be able to plug into the Internet. That is not going to happen if an MP is on reserve or in rural Canada. We cannot wait until 2030 to have a connected country. This should have been done years ago. Our party has called upon the government to do that within 18 months. The Liberals are losing time. They just lost five weeks, and there was no mention in the Speech from the Throne for this vital infrastructure.

I congratulate my colleague for his work. I ask those of us in this place to continue to work together on these issues.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Brad Vis Conservative Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon, BC

Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I want to wish the member for Durham and his wife, Rebecca, a quick recovery from COVID-19.

I would also like to wish Mr. Blanchet and his family a speedy recovery.

I want to make a couple of points about the throne speech. The Liberal government's throne speech repeated false, previously debunked claims that its programs have helped one million people to be housed. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development (Housing) is on record in the Toronto Star stating, “I mean, obviously we've double counted to rhetorical advantage”. This is irresponsible and the worst possible way to start a conversation addressing housing in Canada.

Second, the newly announced and light-on-detail rapid housing initiative throws $1 billion taxpayer dollars at a band-aid solution to provide 3,000 units between now and March. That breaks down to $333,000 per unit. With an already poor track record of getting infrastructure money out the door, how will this program be different? What will the quality of these units be?

Third, on the first-time homebuyers plan, the Liberals' only solution to address affordable home ownership is to take a share of a Canadian's mortgage. As a Conservative, I fundamentally disagree with this co-ownership model. The government should incentivize the use of RRSPs and other methods to help Canadians leverage their own funds to purchase a home, such as perhaps an increased basic personal tax exemption for young people seeking to enter the market.

Many communities across Canada are also part of the missing middle. They do not qualify for rural funding streams or urban focused initiatives and have once again been overlooked. Like many regions in Canada, my riding of Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon and the District of Mission fall into this category. My office is adjacent to Haven in the Hollow, a temporary shelter that serves a permanent clientele base suffering from severe addiction and mental health issues.

The Liberal government announced a plan to reduce chronic homelessness by 50% in 2017, which they have since doubled down on in promising a complete elimination, but there has been no actual progress. The Haven is expanding because Mission's homeless population has doubled, compounded largely by the ongoing fentanyl crisis facing British Columbia. While the expansion of Haven in the Hollow is necessary, the increased homeless population is challenging for the neighbouring small businesses that are attempting to get back on their feet and move on past COVID-19. In British Columbia, we have had four times the number of deaths from fentanyl overdoses than from COVID-19.

How does this all relate back to housing, and what can and should the federal government be doing about it? As a British Columbian and as a Canadian I believe in our duty to care for our vulnerable citizens. It is a duty that governments of all stripes have missed the mark on. However, simply caring for and addressing the symptoms of homelessness is unsustainable. Real action must be taken to address the underlying causes.

For instance, we know that money laundering from the illegal drug trade has artificially inflated housing costs. The primary method criminals use is even named “the Vancouver model”, for goodness' sake. Young people across British Columbia, even those making a good living with six figure salaries, can no longer afford homes in the communities they were raised in. They have lost hope of reaching home ownership. COVID-19 has only compounded these difficulties. Jobs have been lost. Hours have been cut, and parents have been forced to make impossible health decisions.

Our homes have always been much more than just a place to relax and COVID-19 has increased the multipurpose use of these spaces. Our homes are now places where we work, study, teach our children and try to manage our busy lives.

When our living spaces do not lend themselves to these activities, we despair and feel trapped.

As the government in waiting, the Conservatives will give priority to home ownership and ensure that Canadians have more choice and can hope to achieve their goals.

Why has the Liberal government not put in place the legislative, regulatory and enforcement measures necessary to stop the money laundering through the real estate market that Vancouver has become famous for? Canadians deserve to be on a level playing field, not competing for housing with the global elite who are looking to park their millions and use our tax advantage in a safe country. While I admit trying to solve the money laundering issue will not stop all of our housing challenges, it is an important start for many British Columbians who have lost hope.

In January 2019, the Canadian Revenue Agency provided an all-party briefing where it acknowledged that, while their risk-based auditing methods had been augmented, little had changed on the front end to prevent money laundering and tax avoidance, save for the requirement to sign an attestation declaring one's primary residence and citizenship. Criminals do not follow the law, and the CRA must revise its approach to relying on the honour system. As parliamentarians, we have the responsibility to ensure government policies and programs work for our primary clients, the taxpayers and citizens of Canada.

The federal government must reexamine its role, particularly with regard to shared jurisdictions, such as housing.

There needs to be a shift as well from an Ottawa-knows-best approach to a service delivery model. I have a real-world example.

Last week I spoke to the chair of the Mission Sustainable Housing Committee about the Liberals' recently touted $300 million housing supply challenge, which is incidently not yet open. She does not want another application process to maybe receive some funding to further study housing gaps; she needs money now to build housing for our community, actual brick and mortar housing. The committee knows what its needs are. The province has already partnered with municipalities like Mission to complete this work because this is provincial jurisdiction.

Most small towns and indigenous governments simply do not have the administrative resources necessary to apply and have a chance to get federal support. They are already stretched to the limit. The federal government is taking a condescending approach when it should be communicating proactively with small towns and helping them to meet their needs.

I have spoken to so many mayors who have never seen a dime of federal money for housing. If the federal government cannot do it, then it should simply get out of the way and provide funding to the provinces and territories already doing this work, and without attaching all of the strings.

As a case in point, an assisted living provider in my riding shared how they received support from B.C. Housing and was encouraged to apply to CMHC as well. When they did, the approved B.C. Housing project was rejected by CMHC because the criteria were different. Why are we not streamlining our approaches between two levels of government on such a fundamental issue?

Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that different levels of government, as well as members of different political parties, are able to work together for the betterment of Canadians. Admittedly, there is no simple solution to all of Canada's housing challenges, which COVID-19 has impacted and even exasperated. Let us collaborate. Let us address the systemic challenges to housing faced in Canada. Let us empower Canadians to improve their personal circumstances.

The Liberals said nothing to address the imminent financial challenges faced by those who have deferred their mortgages during COVID-19. I encourage the government to develop a plan as soon as possible to address this very real problem, which is top of mind for so many.

Second, the Liberals should also address the shortage of affordable rental housing in Canada to encourage job growth while increasing rental stock, as part of an economic recovery plan. I have heard from many in the business and development communities that government needs to incentivize purpose-built rentals. Why not consider eliminating GST on purpose-built rentals? Why not augment the existing CMHC financing programs, which seem to work pretty well?

Third, the Liberals could actually deliver the previously promised home energy retrofit program, a proven method of spurring economic growth and job creation in Canada.

In conclusion, my objective is to make sure the government is working for the people. Our systems are anachronistic and out of date, and Canadians deserve better services from us and our public service. While I await details on the throne speech and its commitments to improve outdated IT systems, I hope that a new approach to services embedded within these upgrades is both flexible and reflects the challenges people face in all regions of Canada.

Finally, I would like to recognize my colleague from Vancouver East for her important work. B.C. has been shortchanged by the federal government. From 2018 until February 2020, as it was reported, only 0.5% of $1.46 billion was allocated through the national housing co-investment fund, a fund that accounts for one-third of the entirety of the national housing strategy. Only two projects, provincially, were approved, and only 23 across Canada.

The B.C. Non-Profit Housing Association said that the program is “arduous and painstakingly slow” and takes “an inordinate amount of time”. The B.C. government called the process “frustrating”. On an application, there is over 200 questions, and it can take over a year to even hear back.

We have to do better for our municipalities. We need to do better for Canadians.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

4:05 p.m.

Spadina—Fort York Ontario

Liberal

Adam Vaughan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families

Mr. Speaker, when a member asks a bad question, they get a really bad answer. I have learned that in the House.

The question that was asked by the member for Vancouver East actually missed the mark. It was 26.8% of the funds sent to provinces and communities across the country that landed in B.C. We will have the corrected record for the member very shortly.

In terms of the reaching home program, which the member opposite complained about, I would remind him that he is part of a party that only spent $50 million per year on that program. This year alone, the government is spending $489 million. We have added six new communities to the designated community stream. That is a tenfold increase in direct supports to front-line homelessness services.

The party opposite, the NDP, wanted us to send that money to the provinces and have the provinces send it to the front lines. We delivered it straight to the front lines.

In terms of the new $1-billion announcement we made this week on direct 100% capital supports to acquire new supportive housing units, I would remind the hon. member opposite that former prime minister Stephen Harper said that housing was a provincial responsibility and told me as a reporter that I should stop asking questions, that it was not a federal issue, that I did not know what I was doing and that I should read the Constitution. He was wrong.

The member opposite raises the issue of supports for supportive housing and in particular that of harm reduction. Why has his party fought harm reduction every single chance it has had on the floor of the House of Commons? Why is his party missing in action on the opioid crisis?

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Brad Vis Conservative Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon, BC

Mr. Speaker, why the overbearingness from the member opposite? Why does he not apologize to British Columbia for not getting the money out the door, which the Liberals promised?

As for me and my work in my community, I am working with the homelessness sector. They are adjacent to my office. I am on the neighbourhood advisory council. This party is going to continue to stand up for Canadians to get a fair deal and to hold you guys accountable for not getting the money out the door that you said you were going to get out the door.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

As a reminder to the hon. member, we try not to use the “you” word in that kind of context. Members should direct their comments through the Chair.

I now invite the hon. member for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles to speak virtually.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

September 24th, 2020 / 4:10 p.m.

Bloc

Luc Desilets Bloc Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate our colleague for his decidedly energetic speech.

Now that we have heard the throne speech, I would like to hear what he has to say about the following. Many speeches are focused on areas of provincial jurisdiction, for example, long-term care, and the fact that the government wants to get involved with people who live at home, access to family doctors, universal health care, pharmacare, the daycare system and so on.

How does my colleague believe that we should get involved?

Perhaps we should be asking whether the federal government is looking to take on more responsibility.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The member appears not to be wearing a tie. Is he allowed to be recognized and to speak in this chamber virtually without a tie? I would like to have an explanation.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

As members will know, there certainly is a dress code for the chamber, to be present, and the Speaker has indicated to all hon. members that if they wish to participate in the proceedings by virtual connection, they are recommended to bring the appropriate dress to that occasion as well. I remind all hon. members.

The hon. member for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles asked his question.

I will invite an answer for the hon. member. In keeping with the fact that this is a new format, I will give time for all hon. members to get with the program that way.

We will now go to the hon. member for Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon for his response.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Brad Vis Conservative Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon, BC

Mr. Speaker, my grandmother is 92. She still lives at home thanks to British Columbia's health care system.

It is thanks to our great health care workers who provide the in-home care that keeps her there. I think the provinces do a relatively good job and understand the need to continue improving our in-home care. I believe our provinces should be the ones delivering that service model.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

4:10 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Earlier in the exchange, I heard the parliamentary secretary for social development mislead the House by indicating that I had called only for provinces to receive funding from the federal government, with respect to the national affordable housing program.

It is simply untrue, and the member continually—

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

I appreciate the hon. member's point of order. In fact, I think we are getting into an area of debate here.

We have expired the time, and I appreciate the patience of all hon. members when we are doing this in this hybrid format.

We will go to the hon. member for Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon, if he did have a response to the last intervention. It was framed as a point of order, but in light of the fact that it was in the realm of debate, I will see if he wants to take 30 seconds to respond. Then we will go to resuming debate.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

Brad Vis Conservative Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon, BC

Mr. Speaker, let me outline that the struggles of the people suffering from the opioid crisis in British Columbia are touching so many different families, and the mental health challenges that people are facing are real. The homeless population has doubled in Mission in the last number of years. Our community is struggling to find answers to the challenges we are facing, but it does not help when we do not have the ability to access the programs that our municipal staff and provincial representatives thought were available to them.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

I thank all members participating in this afternoon's meeting for their patience.

We will now resume debate. The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

4:15 p.m.

Oakville North—Burlington Ontario

Liberal

Pam Damoff LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services

Mr. Speaker, I am sharing my time with the member for Hochelaga.

I am speaking today from my riding. I would like to acknowledge that I am on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.

This is my first opportunity to speak in the House since the pandemic began and I want to start by thanking all of the front-line workers, who are truly heroes without capes in our communities.

We have been facing the greatest health crisis of our lifetime. Our government responded with a full slate of measures to support Canadians, such as the Canada emergency response benefit, which helped nine million Canadians, and the Canada emergency wage subsidy and the Canada emergency business account, which supported businesses in my riding and across the country.

I heard from my constituents, who thanked me for these programs. Companies like Hunter Amenities, which was uncertain about the future of the 38-year-old business when the demand from hotels for shampoo and soap dried up overnight. Its owners told me that our programs allowed them to pivot to making hand sanitizer and bring their employees back to work.

Since March, we have seen unprecedented co-operation between all levels of government. We have seen people reaching out to their neighbours and showing kindness to each other.

We continue to fight the pandemic. As numbers continue to rise and we enter the second wave, I know many Canadians are afraid. Their kids have just gone back to school and they are worried—

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan is rising on a point of order.