House of Commons Hansard #96 of the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.


Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

1:30 p.m.


Dave Epp Conservative Chatham-Kent—Leamington, ON

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to put some thoughts on the record with respect to Bill C-30. I want to thank my colleague from Foothills for splitting his time with me.

In my riding of Chatham-Kent—Leamington, or CKL for short, agriculture, agri-food and agri-food processing is a bedrock element of our local economy, just like for the previous speaker.

I want to begin my comments here. Before proceeding, I would also note that as a father of four daughters, my desire is that they face no glass ceilings in their careers. I want to congratulate the finance minister on being the first female finance minister to deliver a budget. My youngest daughter Kiana just completed her masters in economics, and so maybe, one day, she, too, will deliver a budget, hopefully one based on solid economics rather than election politics.

Back to agriculture, the Canadian agriculture and agri-food system is a key driver of our economy and generates $143 billion, accounts for 7.4% of our GDP, and provides for one in eight jobs, at least in 2018, and more than that this year.

This budget does include some provisions for up $100 million for rebates from the carbon tax for on-farm natural gas and propane use. At the agriculture and agri-food committee, we are presently finishing a review of Bill C-206, sponsored by my colleague, the MP for Northumberland—Peterborough South, which proposes an exemption from the carbon tax for on-farm propane and natural gas.

No doubt the existence of this private member's bill influenced the government's decision to include this measure. We discussed, and continue to discuss, at committee the utility of a rebate versus an exemption system. Farmers in my riding and indeed farmers all across Canada can thank Conservatives for this initiative appearing in the budget. Nevertheless, it is good to see that this issue is acknowledged, and that is a positive.

I also want to acknowledge monies targeted to agriculture in the form of incentives as part of programming to address climate initiatives. Practically speaking, though, the costs alone of fossil fuels, of nitrogen fertilizers is enough to encourage their judicious use. Despite that, innovation and environmental responsibility have always been hallmarks of our ag sector.

As the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food has acknowledged, present viable, scalable technologies that reduce agriculture's greenhouse gas emissions are presently lacking. Given that, incentives to encourage development and innovation are far better tools than punitive taxes, as many witnesses at the committee have testified.

However, if there is one measure that has the potential to move the needle in the adoption of technology in the ag sector, it is the expansion of high-speed broadband to rural and remote areas. The further adoption of precision agriculture, a key technology to build on ag's strong track record of environmental responsibility, is so often hindered by the lack of high-speed Internet access, and the previous speaker echoed these comments.

While the $1 billion amount announced for the universal broadband fund pales in comparison to other funding promises, it is the increased use of this technology that does have the potential to lower ag greenhouse gas emissions.

Given all the attention that the deficit of connectivity in rural and remote areas has attracted over the years, all of the promises, all of the election pledges, even before COVID-19, should have led to the ag sector, and indeed all rural Canadians, using world-class broadband infrastructure by now.

To quote a recent Western Producer editorial, “They didn't and we don't.” The parallels between promises of increased high-speed access and national child care programs are eerily similar, often announced and seldom delivered.

Specifically, I want to point out the situation in my riding of Pelee Island. While the most southerly inhabited point in Canada, it can be considered as remote as, if not more remote than, many parts of our north. There is no reliable 911 service. As it currently stands, Pelee Island has no broadband Internet available to the public. Internet speed on the island is either dial-up or slow cellular hubs for existing businesses, residents and visitors with huge costs associated for small amounts of data. Stormy weather disrupts this service. Pelee Island is the very definition of remote, with only boat and air access in summer, in good weather, and only air access in winter, again, in good weather.

My riding lies in southwestern Ontario, a region serviced by the Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology, or SWIFT for short. Ten per cent of Canada's underserved broadband area resides in southwestern Ontario.

Therefore, under the government's previous connect to innovate, CTI, program, SWIFT's share of funding should have amounted to $58.5 million, yet the amount received was zero, not a penny. Similar to the structure of the previous CTI program, the government has chosen to administer the present universal broadband fund with no pro rata share provisions for under-serviced areas. This budget contains spending measures of $509 billion, over half a trillion dollars, but Canadians were looking for a budget with a plan for growth, for investment in infrastructure and a budget with a debt management plan to recover from the huge impacts of COVID.

I recently surveyed my constituents on a host of issues. Specifically on the statement that small businesses are the key to economic rebound in Canada, and 87% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed. Only 13% agreed or strongly agreed that multinational corporations were the key to our economic recovery. My constituents and all Canadians were looking not for a government-led spending plan, but a budget investing in infrastructure and creating the climate for a business-led recovery. The small businesses that I relate to in Chatham and Leamington, Blenheim, Ridgetown and many other towns in Chatham-Kent—Leamington need the confidence that their government will manage the country's finances well, so that the climate into which they invest is stable and predictable.

While this budget talks about some small investments in infrastructure and necessary measures to support small businesses affected by government, what this budget does not contain is a plan to pay for all of the election promises. There are no tax reforms, no financial guardrails anchored to fixed thresholds, no targets and no path to balance. These are the kinds of measures that give small business the confidence to invest and lead our recovery, and that is this budget's greatest failure.

Is this the spending legacy that we want to leave to our children and grandchildren? Last June I had the pleasure of announcing in the House the birth of my first grandchild. I also stated at the time that it was estimated that her share of the federal interest-bearing debt would be over $39,300 at fiscal year end. I was wrong. According to the budget just tabled, her share of the debt as of March 31 is over $43,300 and the budget predicts that her share of the debt five years from now will grow to over $50,700.

Here is what really scares me. Today's budget has assumed an average interest rate-carrying cost on our present debt of 1.2%. Yes, today's interest rates are low, but these budget assumptions assume that the average carrying cost will only rise to 1.9% five years from now. This assumption is inconsistent with how the government is funding its annual deficits. The government is printing money to finance its spending and every time in the past when governments have done this, the economy experiences inflation. In fact, we already are.

Asset inflation is here, as anyone who is trying to buy a house or a two-by-four already knows, and the Consumer Price Index is sure to follow. What follows inflation? It is higher interest rates as the government tries to rein in inflation and prop up its currency, so I have very little faith that interest rates will average 1.9% on the government debt five years from now.

Who does this hurt? People who have assets with low debt like this scenario, but for those working for a paycheque, their wages seldom keep up to rising costs. Everyday Canadians do not want this inflationary future, so this budget, with so much unfocused inflationary spending, cannot be supported. We will hear the usual refrains from government members that we Conservatives want to have our cake and eat it, too. Conservatives have supported and will continue to support measures to support Canadians and small business, but not the reckless, uncontrolled spending without a plan for our grandchildren.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Yukon Yukon


Larry Bagnell LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency)

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for acknowledging the first woman finance minister in history presenting this amazing budget.

Earlier in the debate, it was said that within four days we provided huge liquidity to help small businesses and provide mortgage relief for people who needed it and I would ask if he agrees with that. I am glad he supported infrastructure because record amounts are flowing across the country and economists say that is the best way to inspire the economy.

The member made a point about the debt. I wonder what items he would not spend money on to reduce the debt that he talked about.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

1:40 p.m.


Dave Epp Conservative Chatham-Kent—Leamington, ON

Madam Speaker, with respect to debt, there are hard choices that have to be made. I am not averse to debt, but this budget does not contain a plan that inspires confidence to invest among our small and medium-sized business owners. What kinds of carrying costs are they going to be facing in the future on the basis of the unfocused spending? There are, by some counts, 270 measures of spending in this budget.

The member acknowledged my support for infrastructure spending. I agree with that. Let us take broadband, for instance, with $1 billion spread over several years. One billion dollars for something so necessary, in a $500 billion budget, is 0.2%. I am a numbers guy, and that helps me bring perspective to this. There are many, many spending measures and they are not prioritized properly.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

1:40 p.m.


Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for sharing some interesting information about his riding. One of the greatest things in this chamber is that we get to hear about the vast diversity in our country. I learned a lot about his riding, so I thank him for that.

The best expression of where we are fiscally in this country is that we are experiencing a K-shaped recovery. Obviously, many sectors have really been hit hard, but some sectors have made massive profits. In fact, some of the richest Canadians have made about $78 billion during this last year, so my question for my hon. colleague is on the revenue side.

Eventually someone is going to have to pay the freight. Does the member agree with the NDP that it is time we bring in some fair taxation measures so that we tax wealth, go after tax havens and close tax loopholes to get a fairer balance, or does he think that working Canadians are the ones who should have to pay for this spending?

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

1:45 p.m.


Dave Epp Conservative Chatham-Kent—Leamington, ON

Madam Speaker, in principle, going after tax loopholes and tax havens are efforts that I would support.

The member mentioned the diversity in income and the diversity in how this pandemic has affected different sectors of our economy. That is what I referred to in my speech. I have great fears about inflation coming. Those members of our society who have assets and who have low debt will profit. They will continue to do well in this scenario where costs and asset returns outstrip wages. It is the members of our society who are working for wages, trying to buy their first houses and trying to get into this economy that I have the greatest fears for when inflation inevitably follows uncontrolled spending.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

1:45 p.m.


Julie Vignola Bloc Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Madam Speaker, the Parliamentary Budget Officer published a report stating that Canada's debt-to-GDP ratio will be 49.2% at best, if I remember correctly.

What impact might this have on our finances in the event of a future crisis? Does my colleague think that we have the necessary flexibility if we have to confront another crisis?

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

1:45 p.m.


Dave Epp Conservative Chatham-Kent—Leamington, ON

Madam Speaker, I will not answer with my own words, but I can reference the report yesterday from Yves Giroux, in which he cites that very concern: With this spending, we are not positioned to take on another crisis. As the previous speaker pointed out, our debt servicing costs top $40 billion. That is almost 10% now of the highest budget in history, which was just announced. That is what is in our future unless we bring some balance and a plan for our financial outlook to this country.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Vaughan—Woodbridge Ontario


Francesco Sorbara LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue

Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my good friend and colleague, the member of Parliament for Davenport.

It is a pleasure to speak on Bill C-30, an act to implement certain provisions of budget 2021. As I stated during the budget debate, we as a government will continue to have the backs of Canadian workers and businesses as we continue the fight against COVID-19, but we will also take the next steps to position our economy for ongoing recovery and economic growth.

Simply, our ongoing focus is to strengthen Canada's middle class and help those who are working hard to join it. That has been our goal since Canadians, in the fall of 2015, entrusted us with moving Canada forward. As we fast forward to today, that is what we are laser focused on doing as a government. Strengthening a growing middle class, for me, equals a more inclusive and fair society.

It is a pleasure to represent the entrepreneurial and hard-working residents of Vaughan—Woodbridge. I wish to take a moment to encourage all residents who are eligible to receive a vaccine, to please make an appointment as soon as possible. My riding is home to a number of hot spots, and we need to ensure that all of our families and friends are safe and that life can get back to normal quickly. That can only occur through vaccinations.

I describe the budget as ambitious in attempting to answer the challenges we face not only today, but also tomorrow. Bill C-30 begins to implement this ambitious blueprint to build a resilient and more inclusive Canada.

In 2015, we promised Canadians that we would reduce taxes for millions of middle-class Canadians and raise them for the top 1%, and that is exactly what we did. In 2019, we again promised Canadians we would reduce their taxes by raising the amount of income they could earn without paying federal taxes. Bill C-30 implements that promise.

Bill C-30 will raise the basic personal exemption amount from $12,298 to $13,220 for the 2020 taxation year and, once fully implemented, to $15,000 for the 2023 taxation period. This tax reduction means that hard-working Canadians, including those in my riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge, will see savings at the onset of $2.9 billion. Once fully implemented, it will result in $5.6 billion in lower taxes for 2023-2024 and thereafter.

It is estimated that hard-working individuals will save just under $300 per year, while middle-class Canadian families, on average, will save $600 per year. That is $600 for middle-class families to spend on groceries, kids' after-school sports or arts programs, or to put away as savings for their kids' education.

The increase is estimated to result in an additional 700,000 Canadians, including seniors and young people starting their careers, who will pay no federal tax at all. Just as important is that approximately 40,000 more Canadians will be lifted out of poverty by this measure. That is real progress and that is smart policy. That is how to build a stronger middle class and help those working hard to join the middle class.

Millions of hard-working Canadians will benefit from this tax reduction and hundreds of thousands will be lifted from the tax rolls. It is great to see that the implementation of the basic personal exemption increase will be done. It is an idea that I have long championed and one I put forth in the 2019 platform.

Bill C-30 will extend the current support programs through to September, and will continue to assist Canadian workers and businesses that remain impacted by COVID-19. The CEWS and the Canada emergency rent subsidy are programs that I know literally hundreds of businesses in my riding have used, and continue to use during this difficult third wave of the pandemic. Budget 2021 provides certainty and clarity to Canadian businesses on both of these key support programs. The city of Vaughan is home to over 12,000 small and medium-sized businesses and they know that our government continues to have their backs during COVID-19.

Our goal must not only be to recover the jobs lost because of the pandemic, but to once again create good, middle-class jobs for Canadians. Bill C-30 spurs job creation with a new Canada recovery hiring program that incentivizes the hiring of new workers as we emerge from the pandemic. To build a fairer and more inclusive economy that works for all Canadians, we need to ensure that our tax system is fair and inherently progressive, and that loopholes, unfair tax evasions and tax advantages are prudently closed.

In Bill C-30, our government will move forward to implement measures that will limit the benefit of employee stock option deductions for employees of large and well-established corporations. Stock options are valuable and important incentives for newly funded firms, such as tech firms or start-ups, to pay their employees as they grow the business while cash flow, or as it should be referred to free cash flow, is very low. I know how important entrepreneurs are, and how they create jobs and take on risk, and they should be rewarded. However, for well-established firms the tax advantages offered by stock options should be limited. I advocated for this differential treatment of stock options. It is a large measure for tax fairness, which I am very glad to see in Bill C-30.

In line with our allies such as France, Italy and the United Kingdom, we will move forward with the implementation of a digital tax. Bill C-30 proposes implementing a digital services tax, at a rate of 3%, on revenue from digital services that rely on data and content contributions from Canadian users. The measure would apply to large businesses with gross revenues of 750 million euros or more. It would come into effect by January 1, 2022, and is anticipated to raise approximately $3.4 billion.

We will continue to provide tools and resources to the CRA as it combats tax evasion to ensure everyone pays their fair share.

Our government continues to strengthen the disability tax credit and related programs used by Canadians with special abilities. Bill C-30 proposes to remove the time limit for a registered disability savings plan to remain registered after the cessation of a beneficiary's eligibility for the disability tax credit, and to modify rent and bond repayment obligations. This again fulfills a promise of our government to the disability community. As noted in budget 2021, an expansion of the disability tax credit would take place to provide further support and expansion to the number of disabled Canadians eligible for the DTC.

Bill C-30 implements our budget promise with a major expansion to the Canada workers benefit of nearly $9 billion over six years and $1.7 billion annually. Approximately one million additional hard-working Canadians will benefit, and 100,000 are estimated to be lifted out of poverty with a strengthened CWB. We have a moral obligation to ensure that work allows individuals to live in dignity. We know how important the dignity of work is, but we need to ensure that individuals who are working hard are not falling behind. I have long favoured the Canada workers benefit as an effective income support measure. Along with prior enhancements to the program, namely in budget 2018, approximately three million Canadians will now benefit from this program. The CWB's effectiveness was strengthened with automatic enrolment for the non-refundable credit via the Canada Revenue Agency, which ensures all Canadians who are entitled to the credit will receive it.

In conjunction with the CWB increase, it is great to see that the minimum wage for federally regulated workers will be set at $15 per hour and adjusted upward annually on the basis of the consumer price index in Canada.

Bill C-30 implements a number of measures for seniors and students, both of whom we know have been impacted by COVID‑19 in different ways. For students, Bill C-30 amends the Canada Student Loans Act and also the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act. These amendments will provide students with approximately $3 billion in relief. In addition, no students will have to begin repaying their loans until they earn $40,000 per year. Combined, these measures will support an additional 121,000 students.

I wish to end by discussing our seniors, including my parents Rocco and Vincenza. These people built our country. They sacrificed, worked hard and built the strong foundations we now rely on. We know that our seniors, including my parents, helped build our country and sacrificed so much. Their fiscal prudence, work ethic and ingenuity continue to inspire me today.

We will fulfill our promise to raise old age security by 10% for seniors 75 years of age and older effective June 2022. This measure will benefit 3.3 million seniors, and is a $12 billion investment in our seniors over the next five years.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

1:55 p.m.


Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to ask the parliamentary secretary a question that directly relates to his area of responsibility.

This pandemic is global in scope, yet the budget missed an opportunity to reform onerous direction and control regulations. Direction and control regulations are unnecessary red tape that reduce the resources our critical international development organizations can bring to the front lines to help the world's most vulnerable.

I asked the Minister of International Development about reforms to direction and control. She said it was not her primary responsibility. Because this would involve changes to Canada Revenue regulations, I would like to hear clearly from the parliamentary secretary why reforms to direction and control were not included in this budget. Does the government see the need for reform of direction and control regulations? What is the government's view on the Senate bill from independent Senator Omidvar, Bill S-222,which proposes one way of reforming those direction and control regulations?

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

1:55 p.m.


Francesco Sorbara Liberal Vaughan—Woodbridge, ON

Madam Speaker, obviously any changes to the Income Tax Act in relation to what the hon. member is asking this afternoon flow through the Department of Finance. I encourage the hon. member to raise his concerns directly with the Department of Finance, on the CRA side, which is the implementation side. I would love to learn about this further. I somewhat understand the issue the hon. member is raising, and we can take it off-line to discuss it further.

Bob HartleyStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Francis Drouin Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Madam Speaker, last week, a Franco-Ontarian from Hawkesbury and a proud ambassador of hockey made international headlines.

Last week, Bob Hartley, coach of the Avangard hockey team, won the Gagarin Cup, which is presented to the winner of Russia's Kontinental Hockey League.

Bob Hartley has had a career that our region can be proud of, and it all started with a great local team, the Hawkesbury Hawks.

After taking home the President's Cup in 1993 with the Laval Titan, the American Hockey League's Calder Cup with the Hershey Bears, and the Stanley Cup in 2001 with the Colorado Avalanche, he went on to win the Jack Adams Award in 2014 with the Calgary Flames. Last week, he added the Gagarin Cup to his list of achievements.

Congratulations, Bob. We are all proud of you.

Skin Cancer Awareness MonthStatements By Members

2 p.m.


James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

Madam Speaker, May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and with summer just around the corner, the Save Your Skin Foundation is focusing on increasing awareness and promoting treatment for skin cancer. My wife Kelly is a melanoma skin cancer survivor. While she was fortunate enough to beat it, many others have lost their battle to the stealthy disease, and many others continue fighting.

It was estimated that in 2020 approximately 8,000 Canadians would be diagnosed with melanoma and 1,300 would die from it. Sadly, these numbers rise every year. Skin cancer is caused by overexposure to UV radiation, with the sun and artificial tanning beds being the main culprits. In the past, I tabled a private member's bill that prohibited youth under 18 from using tanning beds and strengthened warning labels on artificial tanning equipment as carcinogenic. This was enacted by our previous Conservative government.

The good news is that prevention is easy. This summer, I encourage all Canadians to enjoy the great outdoors and be skin safe: Wear sun screen, cover up, seek shade, avoid tanning beds and, of course, have lots and lots of fun.

Freedom KitchenStatements By Members

May 6th, 2021 / 2 p.m.


Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Madam Speaker, today I rise in the house to congratulate Freedom Kitchen on its grand opening. This soup kitchen, located in Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia, officially opened its permanent building, located next to Knox United Church, on April 19.

Since the start of its pilot project in October 2019, the volunteers at Freedom Kitchen have served over 20,000 meals to the community, many of which were served during the pandemic. Now, with a permanent building, this tireless community organization can build capacity, provide shelter and even help more people in Lower Sackville and surrounding areas. The volunteers at Freedom Kitchen, like volunteers across Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, have shown the strength and selflessness of our community by stepping up during difficult times and donating their own time to help others.

I invite all members of the House to join me in congratulating the amazing volunteers at Freedom Kitchen on its grand opening.

Quebec CultureStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Martin Champoux Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Quebec Liberal Party moved a motion in the Quebec National Assembly to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Quebec's Department of Cultural Affairs.

On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I want to join the Quebec nation's legislature in paying tribute to the men and women who stood up for and promoted our culture.

From Georges‑Émile Lapalme to Nathalie Roy, Clément Richard to Maka Kotto, Liza Frulla to Louise Beaudoin, and all the rest, all of these ministers were strong supporters of a bold, vibrant and living culture.

I would like to remind members that in order for Quebec culture to continue to flourish and to be seen and heard both here and around the world, it is high time that Quebec repatriated its historical share of all the federal powers and funding for culture, so it can take control of the cultural development of the Quebec nation.

Long live Quebec culture.

Allen KingStatements By Members

2 p.m.


John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Mr. Speaker, when the phone would ring, I would answer and be greeted with, “John, what do you want to help with?” It could be anything from a fundraising dinner to a charity gala to a political event. I never knew what it was going to be when Mr. Allen King gave me a call, but I never said no. No one ever said no to Mr. King.

However, he also gave as good as he got. A political nerd, Mr. King always jumped at the chance to help me with any of my campaigns. He was also the first person everyone called when they needed help with a fundraising event, for a local charity or a project, especially if it had to do with health care or education.

Last week the community of Okotoks lost a special person, a champion, an incredible leader, a respected businessman, a mentor and a dear friend. My heart goes out to the entire community, his friends and, most importantly, his family and his boys. Mr. King will be greatly missed, especially by the ladies. Okotokans will know what I mean when I say “over and out”.

Mental Health WeekStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Angelo Iacono Liberal Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, the pandemic is still affecting people's mental health in a big way. It is burdening young people, workers and seniors. No one is immune. Mental Health Week runs until May 9, and this year's theme is “Get Real”.

Getting real means naming our emotions, even the ones we do not like. Getting real means recognizing our feelings. Getting real means accepting that we are human after all.

Organizations in my riding of Alfred‑Pellan are doing an amazing job of supporting those who need help. ALPABEM, the Centre d'écoute de Laval and La Ressource ATP are always there to help people in our community.

Our mental health is important. Our loved ones' mental health is important. Let us take the time to get real about mental health.

Founder of FruiticanaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Randeep Sarai Liberal Surrey Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to recognize an outstanding member of the Surrey community for his generosity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tony Singh, the founder and president or Fruiticana, recently donated 23,000 pounds of food in two 10-tonne trucks to the Surrey Food Bank, and last fall donated $100,000 to the Surrey Hospitals Foundation to support the Children’s Health Centre at the Surrey Memorial Hospital. Tony Singh, his family and Fruiticana have stepped up whenever called upon, whether it was to welcome Syrian refugees to Surrey, support local charities or help B.C. cancer patients during the pandemic.

We have seen so many incredible acts of generosity from across the country in the form of donations and volunteering during these challenging times. We thank Tony for his generosity and support to our community.

National Nursing WeekStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Gudie Hutchings Liberal Long Range Mountains, NL

Mr. Speaker, it is something we have always known, but the past year has really brought it into the spotlight: Health care professionals in this country are incredible, strong and brave people who keep our families and communities safe.

Next week is National Nursing Week, a chance for us all to thank the amazing nurses in our towns who provide truly compassionate care. There is a good chance the first person we see if we have an issue is a nurse.

Just a few days ago, a second team of health care heroes from Newfoundland and Labrador voluntarily headed to Ontario to help its overstressed health care system fight back against the third wave of COVID-19. That team of seven people included two registered nurses from my riding of Long Range Mountains, Rory and Alice. I thank Rory and Alice and every nurse across the country, who help keep us all safe.

If anyone sees a nurse or knows a nurse, please thank them for the work they do. If people truly want to show their appreciation and help make a nurse's difficult job a little easier, they should put up their arms and get their COVID-19 vaccine when it is their turn to do so.

AlbertaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Speaker, Premier Ralph Klein used to say that Alberta is a place where a person can make a million dollars or lose a million dollars. Albertans are team players. We have contributed to the success of Canada through equalization, transfers and the boom that was our energy sector. However, the Liberal government continues to abuse Albertans and pass legislation that alienates prairie Canadians and costs us jobs and our livelihoods. In 2018, the Liberals kicked us while we were down by extending an old equalization formula designed for a booming resource economy even though royalty revenues were structurally anemic.

Albertans are frustrated. They have a right to be. That is why I tabled the equalization and transfers fairness act as a first step in getting Albertans a fair deal in Confederation. Studies show that the future of equalization is the fiscal convergence of our fiscal capacity. We are all getting poorer thanks to bad Liberal policies.

Let us secure the future of Albertans, vote yes on my bill, Bill C-263, and get a fair deal for Albertans in Confederation.

Love Over Covid InitiativeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, love is more contagious than COVID. Today I am honoured to stand and recognize a leader in my community, Ken Foster, the founder of the Love Over COVID initiative.

After seeing other community members helping those in need, whether by delivering groceries for seniors or simply checking in on neighbours, Ken was inspired to bring positivity and spread love. Love Over COVID sells tote bags and graphic T-shirts with its slogan “Love is more contagious than COVID”. The simple idea is that we can stay six feet apart and build bridges between the small distances that separate us. The best part about this initiative is that after each purchase, Ken chooses a local food bank in the city the purchase was ordered from and donates all the proceeds to it.

I encourage everyone to visit to purchase a T-shirt and wear one forward to their friends and family. I am proud to have such a caring individual in my riding of Kingston and the Islands. I thank Ken for all of his efforts in promoting Love Over COVID.

Government AccountabilityStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Gary Vidal Conservative Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, after losing their majority and finishing second in popular vote in the last election, one would think the Liberals would have sought to govern for all Canadians.

Instead, the Prime Minister is using a pandemic as an opportunity to bypass Parliament. Let us not forget move one was the Liberals proposing legislation that would give themselves power to tax and spend with no parliamentary oversight for 21 months. Although that blatant attempt at a power grab failed, the disregard for responsible government has continued. They had no budget for 25 months, proroguing Parliament to avoid the WE scandal investigation, shutting down committees and continuous filibustering to impede evidence of corruption from becoming public. Finally, they introduced Bill C-10 that would allow them to police what Canadians post on their social media accounts.

It is time for a responsible, ethical government. The Conservative Party is ready, willing and able.

Mental HealthStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Robert Gordon Kitchen Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, this week is mental health week and the government’s failure to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to the provinces is having deep and lasting impacts on the mental health of Canadians, especially those living in rural areas.

I have heard countless stories from my constituents about the many families that have been split apart for well over a year due to COVID, with no promise of reunification happening any time soon.

Those who live near the U.S. border are watching their American neighbours quickly get vaccinated, and they are keenly aware that it is the government's inability to deliver vaccines that is keeping them from their loved ones.

Seniors are some of the hardest hit, and with lockdowns severely limiting the number of people they can interact with, feelings of depression, anxiety and loneliness have sadly become the status quo for many.

With the inconsistent messaging and vaccine shortages, the Prime Minister's third wave continues to ravage our population's physical and mental health.

The Conservatives know that securing our mental health is key to a pandemic recovery, and we will work tirelessly to clean up the mess left by the government.

Sport FishingStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, last summer, Canadians headed outdoors with enthusiasm. Proof can be seen in increased sales for domestic fishing licences. This was in addition to growth in the angling through outreach from entities like the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters or the Ontario Women Anglers, which increase and celebrate diversity in sport fishing.

As in previous years, these fishers were essential to local economies. With the U.S. border still closed, many family businesses are counting on domestic demand this summer.

Restrictions have been relaxed, so I encourage fishers to consider visiting my riding, Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, which offers new fishing adventures around every corner.

From tiny streams to the productive bays of the Great Lakes, Huron and Superior, the region has no end of opportunity for anglers of all abilities and is ready to host them at exclusive American plan lodges, housekeeping cabins, campgrounds and much more.

Whether it is for the trip of a lifetime or a weekend getaway, once people give this part of Ontario a try, they will be hooked.

Régis LabeaumeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Julie Vignola Bloc Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, an earthquake struck Quebec City yesterday, and it was felt throughout our nation. Régis Labeaume will be stepping down as mayor of Quebec City after 14 years in office. Mayor Labeaume is, first and foremost, an ambitious visionary, bursting with ideas for his city.

The rest of Quebec first noticed him because of his fiery personality. We later came to see him as a pioneer, who foresaw the new role that cities would take in Quebec politics, and who was determined to make the only French‑speaking capital city in North America shine.

He was with us as we went through difficult times, like the massacre at the mosque, and he is with us as we enter an era of great pride, with our culture more vibrant than ever. Business is booming, and Quebec City has earned a place among North America's major cities, without losing its unique character.

Régis needs to spend time with his family, who were generous enough to share him with us. After taking such great care of our city and our capital, he deserves to focus on himself.

On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I would like to thank you for everything, Régis, and I hope your term ends on a high note.

The EconomyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Marty Morantz Conservative Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley, MB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are looking ahead to rounding the corner on COVID-19, and our country is at a crossroads. Our country’s future is at stake and Canadians must choose which path to recovery they can trust.

Our Conservative recovery plan will secure our future to help those who have struggled the most through this pandemic get back to work with a stable, good-paying job. Our plan will take immediate action to help the hardest hit sectors, helping those who have suffered the most, including women and young Canadians. We will enact a comprehensive jobs plan to get Canadians back to work across the country and recover the one million jobs lost during the pandemic. We will work to support small businesses and provide incentives to invest in, rebuild and start new businesses.

I believe it is time for a new path forward, one of security and certainty. That is exactly what Conservatives can and will deliver.