House of Commons Hansard #6 of the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pandemic.

Topics

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem led by the hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent.

[Members sang the national anthem]

Indigenous AffairsStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, today is Orange Shirt Day, when we honour and remember residential school survivors and bear witness to their healing journey. It is important to recognize the destructive harm of Canadian governments and policies that sought to destroy the cultures, languages and way of life of indigenous people.

True reconciliation requires action. Sockeye salmon are not just an iconic species on the west coast of Canada, they are also sustenance for coastal first nations and a key part of their culture and traditions. True reconciliation demands that we protect wild salmon, but this year salmon stocks have crashed to an all-time low.

Today is also the deadline to implement recommendation 19 of the Cohen Commission report. Despite overwhelming evidence that net-pen salmon farming poses a risk to migrating wild salmon, the government has not shut down these fish farms. It is time for the government to take action to protect wild salmon in B.C.

Inter-Parliamentary Task Force to Combat Online Anti-SemitismStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Housefather Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, Monday was Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. As the Jewish new year begins, there has been an alarming increase in anti-Semitic incidents across the globe, most of which originate online. We need to find better ways to combat online hate.

As such, we have launched the Inter-Parliamentary Task Force to Combat Online Anti-Semitism. The hon. member for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley and I have joined this bipartisan group of members of the national legislatures of Australia, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States to help confront anti-Semitism online.

The task force has the following goals: holding social media platforms accountable; adopting and publishing transparent policies related to hate speech; raising awareness about anti-Semitism on social media platforms; and underscoring that the fight against anti-Semitism and other forms of hate is a non-partisan consensus in Canada and other democratic countries.

As we move forward with our work, I look forward to collaborating with members of the House across party lines on this incredibly important issue.

2020 Pléiades Awards of ExcellenceStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, the pandemic will not stop the dynamic Lévis chamber of commerce from celebrating the outstanding achievements of its local businesses. Over 1,000 people participated in the 2020 Pléiades virtual awards gala, which was broadcast by Groupe Satir studios.

I want to commend the entire team at Sinox Concept on being awarded the Grande Distinction Desjardins. I also want to congratulate MTI Canada and Groupe d'Anjou. I tip my hat to École Marcelle-Mallet, Enviro Confort, Clean International, Newtec Électricité, Village Aventuria, Métal Bernard, Teknion Roy & Breton, Parikart, St-Joseph Design d'espaces, Sport Expert/Atmosphère Lévis and Mr. Bubble, winner of the Coup de coeur award, which is chosen by the public.

Finally, I want to say bravo to our talented dancer, choreographer and entrepreneur Nicolas Bégin, who was awarded the 2020 business personality of the year award thanks to the worldwide phenomenon Hit the Floor.

I would like to remind the House that our leaders and their businesses are at the heart of our collective wealth. We thank them for that.

Our Global Village Charitable FoundationStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Liberal Surrey—Newton, BC

Mr. Speaker, today I rise to recognize the amazing work of Our Global Village Charitable Foundation and the women of that volunteer organization, which has been serving Surrey for the past seven years. They stepped up once again to help the community when the COVID-19 pandemic engulfed the entire world.

Since April, dedicated volunteers have produced over 17,000 handmade masks for children and adults, which were provided to non-profits, workplaces deemed essential and the general public. At a time when we were experiencing a shortage of personal protective equipment, these amazing women answered the call and contributed to our efforts to flatten the curve.

I want to recognize the leadership of Meera Gill and thank her and her wonderful team for all their efforts.

Joyce EchaquanStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Yves-François Blanchet Bloc Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, Joyce Echaquan of Manawan has died in hospital, a victim of abuse and racism.

Let me be clear. If not for this racist behaviour, Joyce Echaquan might still be alive. The Bloc Québécois offers its humble but sincere condolences to her family, to the Manawan community and to the Atikamekw nation.

Ms. Echaquan went to the hospital for help. What she got there was abuse. This is not a jurisdictional issue. The disgust I am feeling has nothing to do with politics. My outrage stems from the despicable picture that this incident paints of many of us, for which we all deserve to hang our heads in shame.

There is a grim reality we must acknowledge. When that nurse was hurling abuse at a patient, within the walls of a public institution for which we are collectively responsible, what she was attacking was her patient's indigenous identity.

The time for reports, symbols and messages of dubious sincerity is over. We need to ask indigenous nations, as equals, how they want to be treated, how they want us to respect who they are. First, however, we demand justice for Joyce Echaquan.

Brossard—Saint-LambertStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have spent all year under the weight of a pandemic that has demanded a superhuman effort from each and every one of us.

Today I want to extend my thanks and appreciation to all the organizations and volunteers in Brossard—Saint-Lambert that have stepped up to help the people who have been hit hardest by the pandemic.

I want to single out Mission Nouvelle Génération, the Islamic Community Center, Maison Desaulniers, the Sikh community of the south shore, the Les Cuisines de l'Amitié mutual aid foundation, and the Maison internationale de la Rive-Sud. All of these organizations continued to offer in-person and remote services and resources. In spite of operational challenges and constantly rising demand, these organizations answered the call and adapted to the new reality.

Lastly, a huge thank you to all the Canadians taking the health and safety measures seriously.

Together, we will get through these trying times.

Small BusinessStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Pat Kelly Conservative Calgary Rocky Ridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, small businesses have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many were already struggling under the weight of a sluggish economy, new and higher taxes, and increasing costs, even before the pandemic. Now, some businesses have been forced to close their doors for good, while others that closed temporarily last spring have reopened with higher costs and fewer customers.

The owners, employees and customers of small businesses are our friends and neighbours. Their shops and restaurants, as well as their personal, professional and contractor services, are the lifeblood of our communities and the backbone of the national economy. Sadly, many small businesses have been forced to lay off employees, while the owners exhaust their life savings and plunge into debt amid uncertain futures.

Many small businesses have been left behind by the federal government. They have been left behind by programs that were poorly designed and that the government has failed to fix. Conservatives stand with our small businesses; it is time the government did too.

Community SupportStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Patrick Weiler Liberal West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, when the pandemic first reached our shores, the West Vancouver Seniors' Activity Centre, with the help of dedicated volunteers, made over 6,600 calls to check in on the most vulnerable in the community. This COVID-prompted outreach revealed that in this community, like many other affluent communities, poverty and food insecurity is lying just below the surface.

With generous support from our government's emergency community support fund and the West Vancouver Foundation, the West Vancouver Seniors' Activity Centre has responded by creating a program to deliver 850 meals each week to vulnerable seniors since April 2. Local youth have also gotten involved by creating colourful compassion cards to include with these meals, allowing this program to nourish both the body and spirit. This program has been a life-changing moment for many seniors, bringing some to tears with how the community cares for them, and this is just one example of the many important initiatives that our community foundations and charities are supporting and that non-profits are undertaking when it is needed more than ever.

I thank them for the work they do to build our community.

Peter DowlingStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Mr. Peter Dowling of Howe Island, Ontario, who recently passed away. Peter was a central figure in the National Farmers Union for nearly his entire life. His parents, John and Joyce, were founding members of the organization, and it was noted that Peter was “raised in the NFU”.

Peter was a tireless advocate for local foods, sustainable agriculture and small family farms. He was involved in many of the important agriculture policy battles of the day, including supporting supply management, advocating for farmers on free trade issues, opposing the introduction of rBGH hormone into our dairy system and leading the Save Our Prison Farms efforts, where he was among those who took cattle to Parliament Hill to protest the closure of prison farms in Kingston.

With his wife Dianne, he ran Doublejay Farms, now an organic farm, where he provided a ready ear for young farmers, offering advice and mentorship.

We offer our condolences to Dianne and the Dowling family.

Speech from the ThroneStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Mr. Speaker, the people in my riding are deeply concerned. They are concerned for their future. Will they be able to keep their businesses afloat or keep working? For those who are not, will they be able to find a job or continue to support their families? Will their children have a chance at a normal life, to live in a prosperous nation, or will they be burdened by the overwhelming debt of past generations?

The Prime Minister had an opportunity to address these concerns. Instead, the Speech from the Throne was full of recycled promises and no real plan. A future with the current government in power is looking bleaker every day. Every day I hear from constituents telling me they do not have confidence in the current Prime Minister.

I echo their concerns, and I echo their verdict. We have no confidence in the Prime Minister.

Sackville—Preston—ChezzetcookStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Mr. Speaker, this summer I travelled across my riding of Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook to visit local businesses and organizations to hear the stories of how they got through COVID–19.

At almost every stop I heard stories of how our community of Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook championed the “buy local” mentality and rallied around businesses to help them get through the pandemic. Businesses like Kaiser's Subs in Lower Sackville adjusted to curbside pickup and has been busy since. In the Eastern Passage, Jamie, the owner of Boondocks Restaurant, told me how impressed he was with our government's support programs for businesses. The extra 10,000 Canada summer jobs helped many organizations in my riding, like the local organization Hope for Wildlife in Lawrencetown or the Lakeside Recreation Society in Porters Lake.

These are just a few of the positive stories of our activities, business and local activities, and of the organizations in our riding.

Yanni GourdeStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lévis—Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup with the help of a player from Saint-Narcisse-de-Beaurivage in Lévis—Lotbinière. I am extremely proud to congratulate the very talented Yanni Gourde, a tenacious, hard-working and talented person we can all seek to emulate. He has shown us all that following our dreams and never giving up is the key to success.

Today, we can all see why Yanni Gourde's family, friends and steadfast admirers, who have supported him ever since his early days in Lotbinière, are so proud of him. His determination is an inspiration to the next generation of hockey players in my region and a sure sign that our society will always recognize excellence.

Yanni Gourde has just made history. Who knows what the future holds for him? I am sure his future is very bright. As always, he will be a beacon of pride, courage and passion. He is a superstar to people in our region and the nation he represents.

Go, Yanni, go!

Mortgage DeferralsStatements by Members

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Tracy Gray Conservative Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, nearly 800,000 Canadians have deferred their mortgages over the past six months. This week, the mortgage deferral window comes to a close, bringing many people close to the edge of a cliff.

Going back to March, with businesses shutting down and workers being laid off, many people deferred their mortgages due to a lot of uncertainty. Now, with concerns over the second wave of COVID-19 and businesses and workplaces potentially facing closures again, the government has done very little to tackle this uncertainty.

I am hearing from families in the Okanagan who are very concerned about making ends meet due to lost income. With mortgage payments coming due, this is causing extra stress to their families. I was disappointed to see that the Speech from the Throne did not even mention mortgage deferrals as an issue, which is affecting so many people. British Columbia has some of the highest costs for home ownership in the country, and this just adds to the financial impact on everyday families.

The government must give families and workers certainty and hope, and outline clear paths to relaunch our economy.

Access to Health ServicesStatements by Members

September 30th, 2020 / 2:20 p.m.

NDP

Laurel Collins NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, today, I want to acknowledge the important work of the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre. I have spoken before about how the clinic provides confidential, trans-inclusive and culturally sensitive clinical space. Recent survivors can access forensic exams, crisis support and options for reporting to police, but the clinic needs stable funding.

I also want to highlight one of the vital programs that the centre supports: the indigenous response network. It is made up of local first nations, friendship centres, indigenous sex workers and two-spirit folks. Indigenous people experience higher rates of gender-based violence, but they also experience higher rates of discrimination when accessing health care systems and the justice system. This network is so important in beginning the work of addressing the barriers that indigenous people face, beginning to address the trauma of gender-based violence and also the intergenerational trauma that so many indigenous people experience.

Also, today is Orange Shirt Day. I want to recognize the work of Eddy Charlie and Kristin Spray in Victoria and thank everyone across Canada wearing orange today to honour the survivors of residential schools.

Joyce EchaquanStatements by Members

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is with a heavy heart that I offer my condolences to the family of Joyce Echaquan and the entire Manawan Atikamekw community. My thoughts go out to her seven children, who just lost their mother when she was only 37 years old.

While my heart is full of sadness, the rest of me is seething with rage. Racist, degrading, hateful and unacceptable comments were the last thing Ms. Echaquan heard before passing away in shocking circumstances. A serious independent inquiry and clear answers are needed. The Viens commission stopped in Joliette and heard testimony that was equally troubling. The AFNQL just presented its action plan to address systemic racism. Hundreds of people gathered in my riding yesterday to show solidarity with the family, the Atikamekw people, first nations and white people. From one nation to another, Motetan mamo.

This has to change. Justice must be done, and the system must change. This can never happen again. When I think of Joyce Echaquan's seven children, my heart breaks. Ni kackeriten. Justice for Joyce.

Orange Shirt DayStatements by Members

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Vidal Conservative Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize national Orange Shirt Day.

In 2008, then prime minister Stephen Harper apologized on behalf of the Canadian government for the residential school system and created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, both important steps in the reconciliation relationship.

In 2013, Phyllis Webstad provided the inspiration for this day by recounting her impactful story as a six-year-old who had her brand new orange shirt taken away on her arrival at a residential school, never to be returned.

The importance of this day can be seen in Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River and across the rest of Canada, where students of all ages learn of the historic injustice of the residential school system. These discussions, questions and activities that students participate in will continue into the homes and around the supper tables of families across the nation, providing an opportunity for our younger generation to take a leadership role in reconciliation.

I hope all members will join me in recognizing that every child matters.

Orange Shirt DayStatements by Members

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Tony Van Bynen Liberal Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, today, September 30, is recognized as Orange Shirt Day. On this day we encourage all Canadians to wear orange to raise awareness of the legacy of residential schools and to honour the thousands of first nations, Inuit and Métis survivors.

As colleagues know, there is no relationship more important to us than the one with indigenous peoples. That is why our government introduced a bill to establish a national day for truth and reconciliation on September 30. I would like to highlight that the NDP has seconded the introduction of this bill and to recognize the work of Georgina Jolibois, former member of Parliament for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, on this file in the previous Parliament. This bill would implement the 80th call to action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's report.

Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and legacy of residential schools is vital on the path toward reconciliation.

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Erin O'Toole ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by thanking all colleagues and indeed thousands of Canadians for their warm wishes and prayers to my wife Rebecca and I as we recovered from COVID-19. I thank Canada.

The Prime Minister's record when it comes to reconciliation is the same as his record in general: all talk and no action; big announcements, zero follow through. Indigenous communities need the Prime Minister to roll up his sleeves and get down to work.

Could the Prime Minister advise the House why the government has not yet delivered its measurable goals called for in the 19th call to action as part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report?

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we will have many opportunities for questions and answers, but I too want to begin by wishing the Leader of the Opposition a welcome back to the House after his health scare. Seeing him in good health, seeing the leader of the Bloc Québécois back in the House as well, is a good thing. We all want good health for everyone.

I look forward to exchanging, particularly on the topic of reconciliation. There is an awful lot we need to do across party lines on that, whether it is passing UNDRIP legislation or concretely delivering for indigenous communities across the country. I am very encouraged to see the Conservatives lead off with a very important question.

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Erin O'Toole ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I will be very encouraged with an eventual answer.

The Prime Minister's record on reconciliation is the same as all other records. He is always all talk and no action. Indigenous communities need the Prime Minister to get down to work.

Why have there been no measures to address the health-related recommendations in the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada?

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I said, I am very pleased to see the Conservatives take an interest in reconciliation with indigenous peoples, an issue we have been working on for the past five years.

We have delivered on our commitment to end long-term drinking water advisories. We still have work to do. We are currently working on new schools and health care centres, as well as new treaties and agreements. We committed to introduce legislation on the health of indigenous peoples, and we hope to work with the Conservative Party on that.

HealthOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Erin O'Toole ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the United States has been approving rapid testing for months. The European Union has been approving them since spring. Our European trade agreement actually requires us to deem the processes for medical investigation to be equivalent to the EU. Germany, Italy and the U.K. have been having tests for months, while Canadians wait hours in line.

When are Canadians finally going to receive rapid testing?

HealthOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, from the very beginning of this crisis, we have worked with provinces and territories to enhance testing capacity. We have given more funds and resources to Health Canada to approve the new technologies coming on the market.

Indeed, yesterday the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and the Minister of Health announced the purchase of 7.9 million rapid point of care tests from Abbott rapid diagnostics, pending Health Canada approval.

This afternoon, Health Canada authorized that Abbott ID. We can now deploy to provinces and territories, with deliveries coming in the coming weeks.

HealthOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Erin O'Toole ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I guess where there is a will, there actually is a way.

CETA is Canadian law, and it has been for three years. We have recognized Italian, German and British health regulators as equivalent to Health Canada for three years, but thanks to the government, all these countries and their citizens get access to rapid testing and we do not.

The Prime Minister likes to say that Canada is back. Why is he sending Canadians to the back of the line by not adhering to the CETA provisions to accept European rapid testing?