House of Commons Hansard #60 of the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was peoples.

Topics

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

3 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, science and evidence must always underpin the decisions taken by any government. That is something we knew and heard very clearly from Canadians when we took over from a Conservative government that used to put policy ahead of science every single time.

We base our decisions on science, and that is why we defer to the experts across the country in making recommendations on how to best preserve our fishers' livelihoods for the present and for decades to come. That is the work we will continue to do with indigenous fishers, commercial fishers and, indeed, with people from coast to coast to coast.

Public SafetyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Kristina Michaud Bloc Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has no courage whatsoever when it comes to assault weapons.

As usual, he has completely abdicated his responsibilities by creating a voluntary buyback program, since that is what it really is: a voluntary program based on a voluntary ban on assault weapons. The government is totally relying on the good faith of gun owners.

How can the Prime Minister claim that assault weapons are banned if he leaves up to 200,000 of them in our communities?

Public SafetyOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, let me make this perfectly clear. Since last spring, it has been illegal to use, sell, purchase, transfer or bequeath military-style assault weapons anywhere in Canada. That is something that we promised to do, and we delivered.

We are now bringing in measures to provide fair compensation to anyone who purchased these weapons legally but can no longer use them because they are now prohibited from doing so.

Public SafetyOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Kristina Michaud Bloc Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is not a ban. It is a suggestion.

People are still allowed to have assault rifles. The only thing that has changed is that now they are also allowed to sell those rifles to the government.

Again, we are not talking about hunting rifles or harassing hunters, we are talking about military-style rifles like the ones that were used in mass shootings such as the one at Polytechnique.

The Prime Minister promised the families and the survivors of Polytechnique that he would ban assault rifles. Does he realize that he is betraying them?

Public SafetyOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I would not want the hon. member to mislead the House or Canadians.

If I may, I will be very clear.

It is now illegal to use these military-style assault rifles anywhere in Canada, including in a person's basement or backyard. It is a legal and formal ban. It is done. These weapons are banned.

We are now giving those who bought these weapons when they were legal the opportunity to sell them back to the government because now they are absolutely useless.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals tried to throw more dust in our eyes this morning by announcing the imminent release not of the modernization of the two official languages, nor of the white paper that they proposed before the holidays, but of a document to protect the French language.

Meanwhile, our leader has been clear on the issue of the two official languages and protecting French across the country. He has even promised that when he becomes prime minister, he will introduce a bill in the first 100 days.

I have a simple question for the Prime Minister. I hope he will make an effort to answer it.

Can he tell us when we will see the bill to modernize the two official languages, as has been all organizations have been calling for for the past several months and years?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, for several years, we have been strengthening measures to protect both official languages across the country. We will continue to do so with the modernization of official languages.

I understand the Conservatives are suddenly trying to position themselves as defenders of the French language, so perhaps they could answer my question right now.

Will they undertake today to appoint only judges who can speak French to the Supreme Court, yes or no?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, all this Prime Minister is giving us is rhetoric.

In the past few months, the report on the Governor General was published in English only; WE Charity, a unilingual anglophone organization, was given a contract that cost taxpayers $1 billion; COVID Alert texts have been sent in English only in Quebec; and government workers are getting fed up because they do not feel respected when they want to speak French.

We do not want to hear any more of the Prime Minister's rhetoric. We have had enough. Practical suggestions have been made. We are waiting for the bill.

Can he give us a date rather than talking non-stop like he is doing?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think the question I asked the member opposite touched a nerve. Although the member may be trying to show that the Conservative Party is serious about wanting to protect French, he cannot demonstrate that he approves of something as basic as appointing bilingual judges to the Supreme Court of Canada, a promise we made as a government. The Conservatives cannot do that. Why do they not support bilingualism in Canada?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Erin O'Toole ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Brian Mulroney was the last prime minister to modernize the Official Languages Act.

After five years of talk and no action, the Liberal government has yet to make a move. When will the Prime Minister step up and modernize the Official Languages Act?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are moving forward with our proposed modernization of official languages as promised.

Over the past five years, we have shown linguistic minority communities across the country that we are there to stand up for them and to protect French and English across the country. We will continue to do so.

This is another opportunity for the Leader of the Opposition to demonstrate his commitment by pledging to appoint only bilingual judges to the Supreme Court. He is mum on this issue, unfortunately. He cannot really protect the French language. He just wants to play petty politics.

Women and Gender EqualityOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Sherry Romanado Liberal Longueuil—Charles-LeMoyne, QC

Mr. Speaker, earlier this week, I met with representatives of the Table de concertation des groupes de femmes de la Montérégie to discuss the enormous challenges faced by women and the organizations that have been providing services to them since the beginning of the pandemic.

Last week, the Minister for Women and Gender Equality announced a new way to support these vital organizations. Can the Prime Minister tell the House a bit about the feminist response and recovery fund?

Women and Gender EqualityOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Longueuil—Charles-LeMoyne for her question and her work.

In order for Canada to recover from this pandemic, Canadian women need to be working and safe. That is why we announced our $100-million feminist response and recovery fund to support regional and national efforts to end violence against women and girls and improve their economic status.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Chinese government is committing genocide against the Uighurs, violating an international treaty by threatening 300,000 Canadians living in Hong Kong, and committing other warlike acts in the Indo-Pacific region.

With that in mind, will the government take action? Will it at least refuse to send a representative to the opening of the Olympic Games in Beijing?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we will continue to stand firm and resolved as we defend our principles and interests abroad.

Our Olympic athletes build bridges between peoples and nations, and they deserve our support when they participate in international competitions. We will continue to work with the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic committees and all sports organizations to support Canadian athletes between now and the next games. We will continue to stand up for our values and principles when it comes to defending human rights.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, specifically on the issue of genocide, the Prime Minister's excuse is that he says there needs to be another on-the-ground investigation. However, if the Prime Minister could see a violent crime through his neighbour's window, I do not think he would just knock at the door and ask to be invited in to investigate. We already have satellite imagery, survivor testimony, numerous expert reports, recognition by the Biden administration, the unanimous statement of the all-party Subcommittee on International Human Rights, and the public support of numerous Liberal MPs.

The victims have spoken. The Prime Minister should believe them. Why is there continuing denial?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we will always advocate and stand up for human rights around the world. Canada is deeply concerned by reports of human rights violations in China against the Uighurs and other ethnic minorities.

In October, Canada, along with 39 other countries of the UN, expressed its grave concerns regarding the situation in Xinjiang. This is why we have repeatedly called for an international investigation in response to allegations of genocide.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Erin O'Toole ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Prime Minister said that the word genocide was a loaded term. Two secretaries of state knew that and they said it anyway. Irwin Cotler knew that and he said it anyway. Many Liberal MPs know that and say it anyway.

A 105-page report filed with the U.K. court describes in detail a campaign of enslavement, torture, rape, enforced sterilization and persecution. If that is not a genocide, what more evidence does the Prime Minister need?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I said, Canada is deeply concerned by reports of human rights violations in China against the Uighurs and other ethnic minorities. We have continued to work with the international community on pushing for better answers, on following up on these reports and on making determinations around the seriousness of these acts.

We recognize that we have many partners who have already identified this as a genocide. We will continue to work with them and others as we move forward in the right way for Canadians and, indeed, for people around the world.

HealthOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, our government has stepped up and has taken concrete action to help support and protect Canadians since the very beginning of this pandemic. Canadians are worried about the second wave and the new variants and want to see their loved ones vaccinated as soon as possible.

Could the Prime Minister provide an update to the House on our vaccination procurement efforts?

HealthOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, last week, I was happy to announce that we were now on track to receive 84 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna by the end of September, enough doses to ensure that every Canadian who wants to get vaccinated has the opportunity to do so.

This week, we are on schedule to receive our single largest Pfizer shipment to date. We promised a total of six million vaccines by the end of March. That is exactly what we will be delivering.

Government ProgramsOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Heather McPherson NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the workers at CESSCO, a company in Edmonton Strathcona, have been locked out by their employer since June. Instead of negotiating, that same employer was able to access federal dollars through the wage subsidy program to hire scab labour. Last week, those workers were locked out in -40 weather while scabs collected their paycheques, paid for by the government. I wrote to the Minister of Finance over a month ago and I have heard nothing back.

When will the Liberals fix the wage subsidy program to ensure workers are not the ones left out in the cold?

Government ProgramsOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, from the very beginning we knew that we needed to step up to be there for Canadians and that is exactly what we did. Within weeks we delivered the CERB and a few weeks later the wage subsidy program to support Canadians right across the country. We did that because all parties worked together to get this legislation through in exceptional circumstances and to be there for Canadians who needed it.

Since that moment, we have continued to refine and improve the system to make sure that no Canadians are falling through the cracks. We continue to know that there are many Canadians across the country who continue to need support. We will be there for them. As I said from the beginning, we will be there for Canadians as long as it takes, whatever it takes.

Interpretation Services in the House of CommonsPoints of OrderOral Questions

February 17th, 2021 / 3:15 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, following consultation with the parties, I believe you will find unanimous consent of the House for the following motion:

That, given that working conditions of interpreters have deteriorated since the beginning of the pandemic affecting their ability to provide quality service in both official languages, a service that is essential to the work of parliamentarians, the House express its concern for the health and safety of all its interpreters and urges Public Services and Procurement Canada and the House Administration to take a precautionary approach to setting levels of exposure to the potentially harmful audio delivered by video conferencing platforms like ZOOM.

Interpretation Services in the House of CommonsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.

I hear none. The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.

There being no dissenting voice, I declare the motion carried.

(Motion agreed to)