House of Commons Hansard #122 of the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was farmers.

Topics

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Alain Therrien Bloc La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, EI was one of the greatest failures of the pandemic. The program is so ineffective that the federal government had to invent the Canada emergency response benefit to keep millions of families from ending up on the streets. Particularly hard hit were arts and culture workers, many of them self-employed.

Last week, the Government of Quebec wrote to the federal government, urging it to ensure that the employment insurance reform takes into account the unique status of artists and cultural workers.

Will the government work with Quebec to reform EI so that it provides decent coverage to self-employed workers, especially those in arts and culture?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Delta B.C.

Liberal

Carla Qualtrough LiberalMinister of Employment

Mr. Speaker, the answer is yes. We are keeping our promise to modernize the employment insurance program. We are making a historic investment in targeted consultations with Canadians, employers and stakeholders. The concerns the Government of Quebec raised in its letter dovetail with what we are trying to do, which is work with the provinces, stakeholders and experts. We will keep working to modernize EI so that all employees have access to it.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Alain Therrien Bloc La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am all for reopening, but we must not forget that the economic recovery will not help cultural sector workers this summer. They will not be able to sell out concert halls or tour festivals this summer. They were the first ones to be laid off and they will be among the last ones to return to work at the very end of the pandemic. They are falling through the cracks, and their situation is urgent.

Employment insurance has never been there for them and, today, despite the emergency measures, they will be cut off from the Canadian recovery benefit. This is an urgent matter.

Will the government help businesses in the cultural sector and their employees?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Delta B.C.

Liberal

Carla Qualtrough LiberalMinister of Employment

Mr. Speaker, since the beginning of this pandemic, that is exactly the kind of worker we have been trying to help, whether it be through the CERB or through the CRB.

Bill C-30 has measures in it that will extend the CRB, that will help out businesses and that will help out employers who want to retain their employees. What we can do, as a Parliament, for this country, is support Bill C-30, get money to workers and get money to business so that we can all get through this pandemic.

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

Mr. Speaker, as the number of indigenous children found in unmarked graves in Canada rises, the government is continuing to re-traumatize indigenous families.

A human rights tribunal found that the government discriminated against first nations kids, and instead of making it right, the government keeps fighting these kids in court. This is not a collaborative process. The government is taking indigenous kids to court.

Since the last time I asked the minister about this, the government has been in court for another week, so I will ask this again: When will the government stop fighting first nations kids in court?

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs Québec

Liberal

Marc Miller LiberalMinister of Indigenous Services

Mr. Speaker, it is important to be clear to all Canadians and Parliament that as part of this process, not a single child has had to testify.

There are competing class actions that require us to look at this process as a whole. We are currently in confidential discussions with parties, and those will remain confidential.

Let me be clear once again that every single first nation child who has been discriminated against by the broken child welfare system will be fairly, justly and equitably compensated.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Leah Gazan NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, this weekend, Black Lives Matter Toronto organized the first national gathering of Black and indigenous families affected by police violence. Families stood outside the Prime Minister's Office demanding action regarding Anthony Aust, Jamal Francique, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, Rodney Levi, Abdirahman Abdi, Eishia Husdon, Andrew Loku, Jermaine Carby, Chantelle Krupka and Chantel Moore.

When will the Prime Minister heed the calls from these families and end police state violence against the bodies of Black and indigenous people and people of colour?

Public SafetyOral Questions

June 21st, 2021 / 2:30 p.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalMinister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth

Mr. Speaker, we take these calls to action very seriously. We know that the pandemic has impacted all Canadians, and disproportionately certain segments.

We know that systemic racism exists within our institutions. That is why, in budget 2021, we see numerous measures to address a lot of this important work. It is important that we pass this legislation, and it is really unfortunate that political games are being played.

We recognize that every department and agency and every minister has a role to play. We take this work seriously. That is why we are working closely with the anti-racism secretariat. I look forward to working with the member.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Mr. Speaker, when asked why 97% of Liberal MP offices were paying Tom Pitfield, the childhood friend of the Prime Minister and fellow vacationer to billionaire island, the Liberal member for Scarborough—Guildwood said, “I haven't got a clue. I can't explain it. I vaguely recall once a year we write a cheque and it's always been explained that it is within the ethical guidelines, so we all kind of sign up for it and it goes into some oblivion.” Yikes.

Who in the government told these Liberal MPs to sign taxpayer dollars into oblivion?

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Honoré-Mercier Québec

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, as I explained earlier, our government believes strongly in the work that all members do for their constituents. It is extremely important work, and Canadians need to know that their MPs are advocating for them. They also need to know that MPs have the ability to keep up with all the files of the people they represent.

The technology we are discussing here is used for MPs to help manage their constituency casework. Canadians are being served well by their MPs through the system.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government House leader said that it is no big deal, so I guess we better take his word for it, just as those Liberal MPs should take the word of the Prime Minister and this cabinet, who have been found guilty of multiple ethical law breaches, that there are no ethical misdeeds happening here.

Tom Pitfield is a close friend of the Prime Minister. This is another Liberal insider getting ahead on the backs of hard-working Canadians.

Who in the government told these Liberal MPs to cut a cheque to the Prime Minister's friend Tom Pitfield?

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Honoré-Mercier Québec

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, that is a bit rich coming from that member, who tried to shut down Parliament not too long ago. The Conservatives have tried to change channels here, but what is happening at the moment is that we are trying to work for Canadians. We are trying to adopt bills that are extremely important, including the budget, which has elements that are extremely important to Canadians.

What are the Conservatives doing? They are blocking, filibustering and wasting the time of the House. It is time for them to stop their games and support this work for all Canadians.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Mr. Speaker, what is rich is hearing the government House leader, who sits on the side of the most corrupt government in this country's history, talk about shutdowns. The Liberals prorogued the House during a pandemic, filibustered dozens of hours across multiple committees and mismanaged the House agenda so badly that they find themselves unable to get what they deem to be key legislation passed at the end of the parliamentary session. He should be ashamed of this, just as he should be ashamed of how the Liberals are misappropriating taxpayer dollars to subsidize Liberal political operations.

The Liberal minister needs to tell us whether he was complicit. Was he the one who gave the order for 97% of the Liberal caucus to misappropriate taxpayer dollars?

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Honoré-Mercier Québec

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the member should be ashamed. He got up a couple of weeks ago on a Thursday morning around 10 a.m., when people go to work, and said the Conservatives had worked enough and they were going to stop and go back home. There is no way. We are here to work for Canadians.

The Conservatives want to talk about proroguing. They are the international champions of proroguing, and they had no reason in their case. They should stop blocking us and should work with us for the benefit of all Canadians.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that it pays to be a member of the Liberal Prime Minister's inner circle. Do my colleagues know Tom Pitfield, a very old friend of the Prime Minister's? Mr. Pitfield is also the owner of Data Sciences, a business that offers technical support for the Liberalist, the partisan scoring list of the Liberal Party.

We learned today that 97% of Liberal members, or 149 of them, used their constituency budgets to pay for Data Sciences' services. Who asked Liberal members to pay for the services of the Prime Minister's friend?

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Honoré-Mercier Québec

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, as I have already explained, the technology that has been raised here is used by MPs to help manage their constituency casework. That is all.

I find it a little odd that the Conservatives are trying to change the channel right now, because what is going on is shameful. They are blocking bills that are absolutely critical. Benefits for several programs will end in nine days if the budget does not pass, but what are the Conservatives doing? They keep blocking our work. It is time for them to stop doing that and start working with us for the benefit of all Canadians.

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, let me explain to the government House leader why this issue is so sensitive. Rather than tell the truth, two Liberal members said they did not know why they were paying Data Sciences with parliamentary resources. The Liberals are writing cheques to a friend of the Prime Minister without knowing why. That is what is really going on.

We only recently learned about these partisan payments to Data Sciences, but Mr. Pitfield has been in charge of the Liberals' digital operations since 2015, and he will likely take on the same role for the next election. Can the Prime Minister tell us how much money his good friend has received from parliamentary offices since 2015?

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Honoré-Mercier Québec

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, can my colleague tell me when the Conservatives will stop blocking the budget? Can he tell me when they will stop blocking Bill C‑10 so we can get the web giants to start contributing? When will they stop blocking Bill C‑12 so that we can continue working for the future of our children and grandchildren? When will they stop blocking Bill C‑6, on a process that harms our youth and the LGBTQ+ community?

When will they stop blocking these progressive bills, and when will the Bloc Québécois and the NDP stop supporting the Conservatives' antics and start helping us and all Canadians?

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals did not add Bill C‑6 to the agenda for four months, and they spent 183 hours filibustering in committee. The Leader of the Government is the one who is unable to manage the House. That is the reality.

The member for Malpeque told the Globe and Mail that the Liberal Party gathers partisan information from constituency offices. He said that MPS have to be careful in how they handle the system, to avoid misusing the information for partisan gain.

To sum up, the Prime Minister has a good friend who travelled with him to the Aga Khan's island and a close friend who runs the partisan Liberalist with money paid out of the public budgets of 149 MPs. He is asking Canadians to believe that no rules were broken. Who ordered the payments?

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Honoré-Mercier Québec

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, who on the other side is instructing members to block everything the government is doing? Who on the other side is instructing members to block funding for the wage subsidy, the rent relief and the assistance for people who lost their jobs? Who in the opposition is instructing members to block the bill that would help our cultural sector and our artists who are struggling right now? I would like to know who over there is giving these instructions.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Christine Normandin Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Thursday, I asked the Minister of Official Languages why she was opposed to the Charter of the French Language applying to all Quebeckers.

Her answer speaks volumes, and I want to quote her directly. “For the first time ever, the federal government is stepping up and protecting the French language.” That is a pretty big admission.

I have a suggestion for the minister. Why would the federal government not, for the first time in history, let Quebec choose its own language regime?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ahuntsic-Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Mélanie Joly LiberalMinister of Economic Development and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, my colleague can keep asking me questions, which I will always be pleased to answer because doing so gives me an opportunity to talk about the government's position.

Basically, we want to protect the French language. We are recognizing new rights: the right to work in French and to be served in French in federally regulated businesses.

My colleague should be happy about that. For years, for decades even, for 30 years to be exact, the Bloc Québécois has been demanding greater protection for French. That is what the Liberal government is doing. Let us celebrate that fact together and get to work.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Christine Normandin Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, what the government could do for the first time in history is respect the Charter of the French Language. For the first time in history, the government could recognize that Quebec should be in charge of deciding matters related to the French language in Quebec. For the first time in history, the federal government could fulfill its responsibilities and protect French by allowing Quebec to fulfill its responsibilities and protect French.

Will the Minister of Official Languages respect the will of Quebec for the first time in history?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ahuntsic-Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Mélanie Joly LiberalMinister of Economic Development and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, my colleague must be wondering what place the Bloc Québécois has in the House of Commons. The Bloc Québécois has been calling for greater protection for French for decades.

Our government keeps its promises and protects the French language. Obviously, the Bloc Québécois's objective is to always bicker with the federal government and find points of contention to advance its sovereignist agenda and defend the separatist cause.

However, that is not working, because Quebeckers want us to protect French within a united Canada where we care about their concerns and create opportunities for them.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Christine Normandin Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the minister would have us believe, it is not true that the bill she introduced does more to protect French in Quebec. It is full of grandfather clauses and exceptions. It does, however, contain some good things for francophone minority communities, which I applaud her for, because that was needed.

However, for Quebec, this bill is clearly not equivalent to Bill 101. The minister says that she really wants to protect French in Quebec. If that is true, can she justify why her party is the only one that is refusing to support our bill to subject federally regulated businesses to the Charter of the French Language?