House of Commons Hansard #124 of the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pandemic.

Topics

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as a proud Quebecker, I look forward to celebrating the national holiday tomorrow.

I would like to wish a happy Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day to all francophones across the country who are celebrating tomorrow, especially since we all have high hopes for our Montreal Canadiens tomorrow night at the Bell Centre. We look forward to a great celebration for all of us.

Regarding the French language, we recognized in the Speech from the Throne and in our official languages bill that French must be protected across the country, including in Quebec, while protecting official language minorities across the country.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Christine Normandin Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, Bill 101 is what is able to protect French in Quebec. It is the only legislation that makes French the language of work throughout Quebec. The federal Official Languages Act does not protect French—it protects bilingualism. It makes French less of an imperative in Quebec.

However, last November, the Prime Minister said that “in order for Canada to be bilingual, Quebec must first and foremost be francophone. That is why we support Bill 101 in what it does for Quebec”.

My question for the Prime Minister is simple. What has changed since November? Why does he suddenly not support Bill 101 anymore?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, that is simply not true. We recognize how important it is to protect the French language in Quebec and for all francophone minority communities across the country if we want Canada to remain a bilingual country.

That is why we have brought forward an official languages reform that protects French and official language minorities across the country. That has always been our concern.

I commend the work that the Government of Quebec is doing to protect French. For our part, the Government of Canada must protect French, not just in Quebec, but across the country. That is what we are doing.

COVID-19 Emergency ResponseOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, when a significant Ebola outbreak happened in Africa, a Conservative government took decisive action and closed Canada's borders to keep us safe, in spite of protests from the Liberals. We did not send vital PPE away when we needed it, say that border measures do not work or have a WE Charity scandal.

When the Prime Minister said this morning that Canada would have reacted very differently if a Conservative government had been in charge during the pandemic, he was probably right. Instead of deflecting blame in this way, would the Prime Minister take a little accountability for some of the major policy errors that he has made over the last 18 months?

COVID-19 Emergency ResponseOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I have said from the beginning, in this unprecedented global crisis, in this unprecedented pandemic, we moved quickly and as best we possibly could to support Canadians. However, there were plenty of things we needed to learn from and plenty of things we could have done differently. Hopefully governments will learn and do things differently in the future.

Every step of the way, we were guided by one straightforward principle, which was that we would have Canadians' backs and that we would listen to science as we did it. That was the approach the Liberal Party took. The last Conservative government slashed science and cut supports for the most vulnerable Canadians. It would have been a very different pandemic had they been in power this time.

COVID-19 Emergency ResponseOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, he is right. We would not have let vaccine manufacturing capacity atrophy. We would not have raided vaccines from the COVAX fund. We would not have sent PPE abroad, putting our doctors and nurses at risk. We would not have given contracts to cronies while Canadians suffered.

Now, while our tourism and airline industries suffer, the Prime Minister is still pretending like everything is okay. He is subjecting Canadians to the unsafe quarantine hotel program, and he has not provided benchmarks for lifting federal COVID-19 restrictions. Why?

COVID-19 Emergency ResponseOral Questions

June 23rd, 2021 / 2:45 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry, but I am happy to inform the member of the opposition that in fact we have moved forward on easing restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers. This is an important step in reopening our economy safely and securely and in being able to start travelling again.

I think everyone is excited to see vaccination rates rise across the country. I hope the hon. member will join with me in encouraging everyone to get vaccinated, to get two doses of the vaccine, so that we can continue to progress, reopen and monitor carefully how we can keep Canadians safe through the tail end of this pandemic, while at the same time—

COVID-19 Emergency ResponseOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The hon. member for Calgary Nose Hill.

COVID-19 Emergency ResponseOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, to inform the Prime Minister, on behalf of the tourism industry, the airline industry, and families who are separated across borders, the hotel quarantine program, which is unsafe and unscientific, still remains.

Instead of staying at one of them, the Prime Minister went to his own special place. It is this sort of double standard and lack of accountability that is putting Canadian businesses at risk, and it is costing Canadians their mental health.

No, the Liberals have not provided benchmarks for lifting federal COVID-19 restrictions, and it is their responsibility to do so. They have recommendations from an expert panel. When will the Prime Minister

COVID-19 Emergency ResponseOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I know the member opposite looks forward to travelling again, perhaps to Oklahoma. The reality is that we have made steps, every step of the way, to both keep Canadians safe and ensure that we support our tourism industry and our travel industry, which have been so hard hit.

That is why there have been billions of dollars in support to small businesses, airlines and Canadians across the country who faced job losses because of this pandemic. We have had Canadians' backs and we will continue to, while at the same time progressing in a smart, thoughtful way to keep Canadians safe.

COVID-19 Emergency ResponseOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is easy for the Prime Minister to take personal shots at people. It is a lot harder for him to have empathy for Canadians who need jobs that are dependent on the tourism sector or for families who are separated across the border.

He kind of flaunted that lack of empathy when he was taking pictures with Stella McCartney. We need benchmarks for lifting COVID-19 restrictions, not snarky comments from the Prime Minister.

In the best interests of Canadians, when will he be providing benchmarks for lifting COVID-19 restrictions within federal jurisdictions including border measures?

COVID-19 Emergency ResponseOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it might be easier for people to believe the Conservatives when they talk about empathy if they had not spent much of the pandemic criticizing this government for having spent too much too quickly to support Canadians, and saying things like we should not have been supporting individual Canadians and we should have just been supporting businesses.

Every step of the way we have had Canadians' backs. We have kept people safe and we have ensured that the reopening goes as smoothly and as quickly as is safe. We will continue to monitor case numbers and vaccination levels in this country and the situation of variants of concern both here and around the world, and we will work closely with our partners as we move forward responsibly.

HousingOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Jagmeet Singh NDP Burnaby South, BC

Mr. Speaker, the housing crisis is hitting Canada hard. Right now, only one-third of Canadians can buy a house in Canada and 20% of the houses that are being bought here are purchased by real estate companies. Why is the Prime Minister not doing something about the housing crisis by taking the necessary measures to really help people?

HousingOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, since we took office in 2015, we have been addressing the issue of housing because the previous Conservative government refused to make any investments in that area.

The reality is that becoming a home owner is still out of reach for far too many people. We are moving forward and working with all levels of government to make housing more affordable. We are building new affordable housing units under programs such as the rapid housing initiative. We are expanding the first-time home buyer incentive, introducing Canada's first national tax on vacant residential properties owned by foreign non-residents and doing many other things as well.

PharmacareOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Jagmeet Singh NDP Burnaby South, BC

Mr. Speaker, under the Prime Minister, the housing prices have increased more in Canada than pretty much anywhere else in the world. He also failed when it came to pharmacare. He campaigned on pharmacare in 2019 and even included it in the throne speech. When New Democrats gave him an opportunity to actually vote on it, he voted against it, siding with large, wealthy big pharma companies.

The only people that benefited were big pharma, so can the Prime Minister explain to Canadians, who are desperate to afford their medication, why he keeps siding with big pharma and hurting people?

PharmacareOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again I have to remind the NDP that, on this side of the House, we side with the Constitution of Canada, which recognizes the provincial responsibility for delivering health care, but that did not stop us throughout this pandemic from being there with billions of dollars of supports for the provinces so they could give Canadians the health care support they needed.

Indeed, over the years, we have worked with the provinces to drive down the cost of drugs while at the same time moving forward on a rare disease high-cost drug strategy. We will continue to work with the provinces to make sure that nobody ever has to choose between medications and paying their rent—

PharmacareOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The hon. member for Whitby.

COVID-19 Emergency ResponseOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Ryan Turnbull Liberal Whitby, ON

Mr. Speaker, as we come to the end of this parliamentary session as well as out of the third wave, it is time to reflect on what we have accomplished this past session.

Despite the challenges, I am proud of this government and everything we did to protect Canadian families, jobs and businesses at the height of the pandemic. This government created historic programs to help Canada weather the storm, although we are not through it yet.

Could the Prime Minister please share with us how these programs have helped Canadians and what we are doing to ensure that we keep supporting businesses, the workers they employ, and the communities they serve?

COVID-19 Emergency ResponseOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, allow me to begin by thanking the member for Whitby for his extraordinary hard work on behalf of his community. Crucial programs like the emergency wage subsidy, the rent subsidy and lockdown support have helped to protect millions of jobs, and supported Canadian small and medium-sized businesses, so they can serve their communities and position Canada for a strong recovery.

Our plan to extend business supports and introduce the new Canada recovery hiring program will continue to help Canadian businesses, workers and families. We have always been there for Canadians and we will always be there for them throughout and beyond this pandemic.

EthicsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, six years ago when these Liberals formed government, the Prime Minister promised sunny ways and ethical governance. Instead, Canadians got cover-ups and the most corrupt government in our country's history. What is worse is that the Prime Minister is so arrogant that he thinks he can fool Canadians. His record speaks for itself, but let us give the Prime Minister a chance here.

Can he look Canadians straight in the eye and tell them he has been the Prime Minister of good, ethical governance?

EthicsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again the Conservatives continue to focus on partisan attacks, while we remain focused on Canadians. Today we are going to be voting on emergency supports for Canadians to help Canadian businesses and our economy recover. We know the Conservative Party opposes the budget and will be voting against those supports. Yesterday we saw over half of its caucus vote against a bill to ban the harmful practice of conversion therapy, and late last night we saw that party vote against historic legislation in the fight against climate change.

While the Conservative Party focuses on me, we are going to stay focused on what Canadians need, and that is the support of a strong, progressive government.

EthicsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, what Canadians need is an ethical Prime Minister, and they do not have one right now. He has been the Prime Minister of corruption and cover-ups twice found guilty of breaking ethics laws. He took illegal vacations to billionaire island. He interfered in the criminal prosecution of his friends at SNC-Lavalin and did everything he could to give money to his friends at the WE organization, all for his own political gain.

Under the government there have been two sets of rules: one for the Liberals and Liberal insiders; and one for the rest of Canadians. Will the Prime Minister admit that his corruption has failed Canadians and disgraced the office of Prime Minister?

EthicsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, it is unfortunate to see the Conservative Party spewing baseless misinformation and twisting the facts. The fact is that Canadians have had a really difficult year because of this pandemic, but this government and other orders of government have worked together to support them. I am proud of the work we have done with provinces right across the country, regardless of partisan allegiance, to deliver for Canadians.

We have stayed focused on supporting people through this pandemic, and are now focused on building back better. While Conservatives make personal attacks, we will stay focused on Canadians.

EthicsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I think Canadians could do with the Prime Minister spewing something. Facts would be a good place to start. Under the current Prime Minister, Ottawa has become a backdrop to his ethical breaches. Under the current Prime Minister, Ottawa has become an ATM for Liberal insiders. While Canadians are struggling and being left behind, the circle of insiders close to the Prime Minister line their pockets and are laughing all the way to the bank.

These Liberals will always help their friends to jump the queue and to get the inside track. When will the Prime Minister put the needs of Canadians first, instead of the needs of Liberal insiders?

EthicsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, very few Canadians actually listen much to the Conservative Party of Canada, but it is interesting to hear Conservatives themselves not listen to the Conservative Party of Canada, because it spends half its time explaining to Canadians how this government is spending far too much in supports for workers, small businesses and Canadians to recover this economy, and the rest of the time they are saying we are not doing nearly enough to support Canadians through this pandemic.

It is no wonder Canadians wonder what the Conservative Party stands for. They know what our government stands for and it is having Canadians' backs every step of the way. That is what we have done for this pandemic, and that is what we will do through this recovery.