Madam Speaker, this is my first opportunity to speak in the virtual Parliament, and I have to say I am disappointed that I am speaking to this motion. Like my colleagues across the way and in my own party, I have been meeting with constituents daily, hearing that their businesses are struggling, that they do not know if they are going to make their mortgage payments or pay rent or put food on their tables. I am hearing from people at local charities that things are tough, that donations are not coming in anymore and they are trying to find a way to make that up. I hear that affordable housing is not getting better in our riding or in Niagara. Despite the fact that people are struggling, housing prices are still going up but we are not seeing the jobs associated with that. I hear that the opioid crisis continues to rage on. I am worried.
The previous member, the hon. member for Battle River—Crowfoot, pounded his hands on the desk, saying that we need to help Canadians and we need to deal with the issues. However, he made one point that I was concerned about. I am worried it reflects the views of his party, because I believe I heard another member say in this debate that the Liberals will stand up and say that there is an emergency.
It is truly unfortunate that the Conservatives do not believe that there is an emergency. This motion reflects the lack of seriousness they feel for the crisis that Canadians are facing. It is a crisis that has seen 9,000 Canadians die. It has affected members of the House. It has affected the leader of the Conservative Party and the leader of the Bloc Québécois, and other politicians across the way are in confinement. I know colleagues, and their families and their friends, have suffered through this illness. We all know someone who has been affected or has lost a loved one. We have seen the army go into long-term care facilities in this country because of this devastating crisis. To make the allegation in this place that we are only saying that there is a crisis, and that we are inventing this as some reason to ram legislation through, is unconscionable.
Canadians expect us to work together. Canadians have a lot to be proud of. They have seen the Prime Minister working with Conservative, Liberal and NDP premiers, as well as with the premier of Quebec, in this crisis. We are not always going to agree and we should not always agree. That is not what this place is about. This is a place for debate. As the hon. member for Malpeque stated, there are good ideas on all sides, but let us debate that.
I have been hearing from members of the Conservative Party that we need to be debating issues like unemployment. We need to be getting people back to work, looking after their businesses and helping out.
What have the Conservatives deemed the priority issue for today when the government is bringing forward legislation to help Canadians? It is this motion. I think my constituents would be embarrassed that this is the priority. This is what we are debating and not how we can help them, how we can bring relief to them and continue to ensure they are able to pay the rent and put food on their tables.
I know the Leader of the Opposition tweeted that the Liberals were going to cancel CERB. However, it is being replaced and that is what we are talking about today. At least we should be, but the Conservatives wish to discuss a former Liberal member of Parliament and ethics violations. That is their priority, even though committees will meet again and there will be plenty of opportunity for the ethics committee to deal with this if it deems this to be its priority.
I saw another hon. member bring up this fact. If we are talking about former members of Parliament, I have not heard the Conservatives bring up Rob Anders and what we have learned today about tax evasion. He was a member who for years railed against the CRA and the work it was doing. We do not see that level of priority.
We see a lack of seriousness. They see an opportunity to play some political games to delay this debate. I do not know what the end goal is. It is truly unfortunate.
My constituents, our constituents, the people of Canada, want us working toward solutions. Do they want the opposition to hold the government to account? They absolutely do. However, bringing forward a motion on a former member of Parliament to delay debate on a serious discussion about bringing immediate relief to Canadians should shock their consciences. It should shock the conscience of members of the Conservative Party that they are picking up where they left off during the pandemic.
I keep coming back to this because it really impacted me when the hon. member for Battle River—Crowfoot suggested that there was no crisis. The motion shows that. The motion shows the lack of seriousness among the federal Conservatives. We see in Ontario and across the country that provincial Conservatives and their governments understand that there is a crisis and that there is a need for assistance. There is a time to put these types of partisan games aside, and this is that moment. However, here we are.
We really do need to get back to this crisis. It is true that this is the greatest crisis we have faced as a nation since the Second World War. The economy has been dramatically impacted. Over 9,000 Canadians have died. We are in the midst of a second wave of this pandemic. I want to be there in the House, but I am home because of agreements between the parties. It is too dangerous for us to all gather together.
There is a crisis. Parliament has not seen anything like this. In their lifetimes, Canadians have not seen anything like this. They want us to be debating help for them, not some Conservative talking points that take cheap political shots to try to get something, though I do not know what it is. I am at a loss.
Members of the Liberal Party are anxious to debate the legislation that has been proposed to help Canadians. As another member mentioned, there are changes that need to be made. I will give credit. l have mentioned a few times that the member for Battle River—Crowfoot said there are opportunities for changes to be made. He mentioned the Canada emergency wage subsidy and how it was changed. We heard from businesses and the opposition, and changes needed to be made. This is the place to do that and debate those ideas.
There will be time for partisan fights. There will be a time for committees to meet. They will be ramping up again. However, what Canadians want to hear from their elected representatives is how we are going to help them, how we are going to get a vaccine, how we are going to get businesses through this and how they are going to pay their rent. However, what we are stuck debating again is a former member of Parliament.
I am at a loss, and I hope the Conservatives are not playing on the cynicism of Canadians and that Canadians will not be paying too much attention to this. The Conservatives can post a few angry rage videos on Facebook that show they have stood up, but they have not stood up for Canadians.