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44th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 171

CONTENTS

Wednesday, March 22, 2023




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 151
No. 171
1st SESSION
44th PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    The House met at 1 p.m.

Prayer


[Private Members' Business]

  (1300)  

[English]

    It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem led by the hon. member for Peace River—Westlock.
    [Members sang the national anthem]
    Pursuant to order made on Friday, March 10, the House will now proceed to the consideration of Private Members' Business as listed on today's Order Paper.

Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

[English]

Criminal Code

    The House resumed from October 25, 2022, consideration of the motion that Bill C-283, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (addiction treatment in penitentiaries), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity to express some thoughts on Bill C-283 the last time it was up for debate, and I thought that maybe for the last couple of minutes I would talk about the impact of addictions on our communities.
    I recall sitting in opposition when we talked about safe injection sites, particularly given what was taking place in Vancouver, and the positive impact they were having. This government has been working with other governments to deal with drug-related issues in communities across the country. I want to emphasize that there is so much more that can be done through co-operation with the different stakeholders out there. What we have seen over the last number of years from this government is a high sense of co-operation when working with stakeholders and different levels of government to deal with the very difficult issue of drug addiction and the impact it is having on our communities.
    I would suggest that one of the best ways we can deal with crime is prevention. This is where things become very relevant. The more we turn to groups such as the Bear Clan Patrol in the north end of Winnipeg, the many professional agencies and services out there and community-minded individuals, the more likely we will have a positive outcome. I believe that by having a positive outcome, we prevent crimes from taking place in the first place.
    With those few words, I will conclude my remarks.

[Translation]

    Before we continue, since today is the final allotted day for the supply period ending March 26, the House will go through the usual procedures to consider and dispose of the supply bills. In view of recent practices, do hon. members agree that the bills be distributed now?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

  (1305)  

    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): Resuming debate. The hon. member for Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia.
    Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to speak to Bill C‑283. I have been my party's public safety critic for the past few years, and I have learned a great deal about the situation in federal penitentiaries. I have learned more about Correctional Service Canada and the work of the correctional investigator, who publishes highly relevant reports each year on the various issues in Canada's penitentiaries. I send him my regards, by the way.
    In fact, last summer, I joined the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety for a tour of the Port-Cartier penitentiary, a maximum-security facility located in the North Shore region, in a constituency adjacent to mine. We were able to see how things are done on the ground. We observed that addiction is a massive scourge in penitentiaries, both in Quebec and Canada.
    I am very pleased that the member for Kelowna—Lake Country contacted me a few months ago to tell me about the bill she is introducing to propose a solution. The bill would allow inmates to be sent to drug treatment facilities. It would also allow penitentiaries to be designated as drug treatment facilities. I will discuss this in more detail later.
     When the member for Kelowna—Lake Country introduced her bill, she said its purpose was to end the revolving door of the criminal justice system. Those are the words she used. People entering prison get released almost immediately without getting adequate treatment for mental health issues, substance abuse or other problems. Federal penitentiaries, unlike provincial prisons, are reserved for people serving sentences of two years or more, although inmates may serve a much shorter sentence. That said, the meaning of my colleague's words are clear.
    In a system that values rehabilitation, it is unacceptable for someone to be released from a penitentiary with the same problems they had when they entered. For there to be rehabilitation, a minimum effort must be made to try to improve or resolve offenders' problems.
    As I said, substance abuse is a very real problem. Let us use the current situation in Quebec penitentiaries as an example. In 2014, 58% of inmates in federal penitentiaries had a substance abuse problem. This data comes from the Correctional Service of Canada, the CSC. According to the CSC, drug addiction is a major problem in the prison system.
     According to experts, drug addiction is what drives most of the people who end up in prison to commit a crime in the first place, and that is what brings them back to prison, where drugs are very easy to get, despite what people might think. In 2021, Frédérick Lebeau, president of the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers for the Quebec region, said, “There's a major issue, a problem of delivery [of drugs and other prohibited items] inside the penitentiaries. It's too easy. It's got to get harder”.
    With the advent of drones, it is easier than ever to deliver drugs into prisons. By 2020, officers at Donnacona's 451-inmate maximum security penitentiary had detected 60 drones, but they estimated that was just the tip of the iceberg. To address this emerging issue, penitentiaries are working to implement new drone detection technology, but we must not kid ourselves. We know that drugs are still getting into prisons and will continue to do so, despite the efforts that are being made. This really is one of the biggest problems in the prison system in Quebec and Canada right now.
    That is why people are right in saying that incarceration does not solve drug abuse problems, quite the opposite. If we want my colleague's solution to work, then we need to ensure that it is more difficult, if not impossible, for the program participants and all inmates to access drugs in prison.

  (1310)  

    Recidivism rates among drug addicts is very high. When they get out of prison, many immediately try to obtain drugs and often turn to crime to pay for their purchases.
     There are many programs for addicts, such as the federal drug treatment court funding program. Drug treatment courts, known as DTCs, offer eligible offenders with a substance use disorder the opportunity to complete a court monitored drug treatment program as an alternative to incarceration. Provinces and territories are eligible for federal funding for the development and delivery of these drug treatment courts.
    It is important to note that offenders serving sentences in provincial prisons have usually committed less serious crimes—they are therefore sentenced to a maximum of two years less a day—and that alternative sentences may be more appropriate for these offenders than for inmates in federal penitentiaries.
    The DTC program has a few conditions, including that the inmate remain in the program for as long as it takes, usually 12 to 18 months, and that the inmate have no further criminal convictions.
    DTCs have existed in Quebec since 2012 and have been so successful that they served as a model for a pilot project to address recidivism among drug addicts in France. According to a study by CIRANO published in 2019, Quebec is an example to the world when it comes to rehabilitating its inmates. I have cited this report in the House before because Quebec truly is a role model.
    According to the study, Quebec's reintegration programs for inmates in Quebec-run prisons reduce the risk of recidivism and perform significantly better than elsewhere in the world. These reintegration programs, which are not only aimed at drug addicts, reduce the recidivism rate from 50% to 10% among participating inmates. Participation in the program is, of course, voluntary.
    In comparison with Quebec programs, it bears mentioning that federal penitentiaries are doing a poor job in facilitating the rehabilitation of inmates. In the Correctional Investigator of Canada's 2020 annual report, and this is something that comes up nearly every year in the correctional investigator's reports, federal inmates do not get training or learn skills that are job relevant and they do not have access to adequate care. In short, they are very ill-equipped to reintegrate civil society.
    It should also be noted that indigenous peoples are overrepresented in federal penitentiaries. They account for less than 5% of the Canadian population, but they account for over 32% of the prison population. Substance abuse and the lack of effective treatment programs partially explain this indigenous overrepresentation. That is where Bill C‑283 may make a difference and have a fairly positive impact.
    Let us take a closer look at the bill. It has three separate parts and would provide additional tools to help offenders overcome addiction. It adds the possibility for a convicted offender to ask the court to serve their sentence, or a part of it, in custody in a penitentiary designated as an addiction treatment facility if the following conditions are met: The offender was in trouble with the law because of their problematic substance use; the offender consents to participating in the program; the court is satisfied that the request has merit; the offender has not been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 14 years or more; and the offender has not been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 10 years or more for an offence that resulted in bodily harm, involved drug trafficking or involved the use of a weapon.
    The court would then make a recommendation to the Correctional Service of Canada that the inmate be placed in an addiction treatment facility if the inmate meets the criteria mentioned earlier.
    The bill would also amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. It would provide for the designation of addiction treatment facilities in the act. I was going to talk about that a little more, but I see that I have little time left.
    Therefore, I will say right now that the Bloc Québécois will vote in favour of the bill at second reading because it is a bill that would actually help rehabilitate inmates. I would remind members that federal penitentiaries have done a very poor job in the area of rehabilitation. I therefore commend my colleague and thank her for proposing this bill, which I hope will be a step in the right direction for offenders in Quebec and Canada.

  (1315)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I want to first thank the member for Kelowna—Lake Country for putting forward this bill.
    In my riding of Nanaimo—Ladysmith and across Canada, we are losing loved ones at an alarming rate as a result of the toxic substance crisis. Since 2016, more than 30,000 people have died: 30,000 preventable losses. We know the toxic substance crisis does not discriminate or follow political lines. The toxic substance crisis impacts us all in a multitude of ways.
    Canadians need all members of this House to unite and move forward with evidence-based solutions to begin addressing this crisis so no more lives are lost.
    According to recent reports by Island Health, illicit drug toxicity deaths are in the top two leading causes of death in all age categories, from under 19 up to the age range of 40 to 59. These are people who should have had long lives ahead of them but had them cut short because of toxic substances.
    In the last year alone, 80 people died of toxic substances in my riding of Nanaimo—Ladysmith, specifically in Nanaimo. These people were somebody's father, brother, daughter, friend or neighbour: 80 people gone and their loved ones left to mourn their tragic loss, all because of toxic substances. This is horrific and inexplicable.
    Fortunately, there are good people doing good work. Last month, community members and organizations in my riding of Nanaimo—Ladysmith, including the Nanaimo community action team, Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, Nanaimo Area Network of Drug Users, Nanaimo Brain Injury Society and Naut'sa mawt Community Wellness Network, all came together to continue the work that needs to be done to start saving lives. They brought together community members, including frontline workers, health care professionals, substance users and their families, and even central Vancouver Island's own medical health officer. At one point in this meeting, a speaker stood at the front of the room and asked all those in attendance to say the names of those they lost from the toxic substance crisis. It brought tears to my eyes as the names of loved ones echoed through the room, loved ones taken too soon because help was out of reach.
    I, too, shared the names of my loved ones lost, family and friends whose lives were tragically ripped away. This was a stark reminder of what we are talking about today: life-saving and long-overdue supports. It is essential that we take a moment to acknowledge that prevention is key to addressing the crisis.
    People are struggling. We have seen significant increases in substance use over the last few years as people struggled with isolation as a result of the pandemic. I saw this first-hand as a former frontline worker in mental health and addictions when COVID-19 first hit our country, with increased barriers in accessing supports and our loved ones separated.
    As our communities work to put back the pieces, the cost of living continues to increase. People are struggling to make ends meet. The basic necessities are no longer affordable, such as a place to call home, food on the table and heat to keep warm. Adding to this, health care has hit its breaking point. We see the impacts all around us. The severity and complexity of untreated mental illness being experienced by people in our communities are on the rise. The number of those using substances to get through their day is increasing. Crime in our neighbourhoods, as too many struggle to survive, is happening more and more often. This is all right in front of our eyes in the communities we care about.
    People in my riding of Nanaimo—Ladysmith are seeing this all unfold in front of us, and it is heartbreaking. People are reaching out to me, unsure of how they are going to afford their next meal. Others are reaching out fearing for their safety. When I was knocking on doors in downtown Nanaimo last week, resident after resident expressed that they were worried about the increasing number of people struggling around us, living on the streets or on the verge of being without a home.
    I made a promise that I would share these concerns and fight for better. Unfortunately, we are dealing with the aftermath of consecutive Liberal and Conservative governments' inaction that has left people behind. Housing is a basic human right. Why have the Liberals allowed loopholes that let housing be used as a stock market for the ultrarich?
    Access to head-to-toe care, including mental health supports, is a basic human right. Why have the Liberals followed in the Conservative footsteps by underfunding health care transfers to provinces and territories? Why has not a single dollar of the promised mental health transfers been received to date? This funding would make a huge difference in the lives of many, yet the promised funds still sit unused.
    We also know that access to an income that provides, at minimum, the basics that people need to get by is a human right. Why is this government not lifting those with disabilities, seniors left with limited fixed incomes, and families out of poverty with a guaranteed livable basic income?
    It is important that we look at the root of the problem before we can effectively address the symptoms. The symptoms are that we have people struggling with substance misuse, increasing mental illness, and increasing crime and incarceration rates. When considering this bill, at a time when so many are struggling, we need to focus on people's access to their basic human rights, if we truly want to put an end to the cycle of crime around us. The barriers in accessing treatment for substance misuse need to be removed, including for those in our penitentiaries. I fully agree that the lack of supports is part of the recidivism that we see in our criminal justice system. This is why everyone should have access to the supports they need that are right for them.
    When considering the bill in front of us today, we need to look at what is currently in place and working. Again, in my riding of Nanaimo—Ladysmith, Connective Nanaimo, formerly known as John Howard Society, is doing incredible work to provide restorative recovery supports to those in correctional facilities located in Nanaimo. Through the Guthrie program, those in corrections are offered in-house treatment, which is not only offered within the facility by those trained and qualified to do the work but also stretches into the community, ensuring that the supports continue on as they re-enter the community. Those interested are considered based on their willingness and motivation to do the work required, and the result is a lower incidence of recidivism of participants than their counterparts.
    My friend Harry, who is now five years sober and currently working toward his Red Seal ticket in trades, spoke to me last night about his experience as someone who has been in and out of corrections since the age of 16. According to Harry, his entire life trajectory changed when he was offered, and made the decision to participate in, the Guthrie program while in jail, at the age of 38. Harry entered this program knowing only a life of substance use, unable to read and write. While participating in the program, he was provided with, among others, peer recovery programming, counselling to begin addressing the deep-rooted symptoms of trauma, and regular tutoring to learn how to read and write.
     Harry said to me that if he had not participated in the Guthrie program, he would probably be in prison or dead. Instead, Harry is proudly sober, sharing his story and helping so many others as a result. Instead of continuing to cycle in and out of jail, Harry is contributing to and is a valued part of our community, showing others struggling with substance misuse that there are options available to them to live happy, healthy lives, if made available to them.
     Harry's success is the result of his willingness and strength to fully participate in the programming made available and accessible when he needed it. This programming is evidence-based, delivered by qualified professionals in the field and those with lived experience, and is made available based on need and fit.
    This bill, although with good intentions, includes components that are problematic. This bill excludes individuals who are convicted of certain offences, such as drug trafficking. With limited time, I will only say that I have yet to see evidence that would suggest that those who have been charged with trafficking substances would not be successful if willing and able to participate in a good-fit treatment program for substance misuse.
    This bill unfortunately assumes a one-size-fits-all program. Again, while the program that Harry attended was successful for him and so many others, we cannot disregard the importance of culturally appropriate, accessible programming that meets people where they are at. Harm reduction and trauma-informed supports save lives.

  (1320)  

    Moving forward with evidence-based solutions to this toxic substance crisis is vital and life-saving. Unfortunately, this bill, although I am sure well-intentioned, misses the mark. My hope, however, is that this important debate helps to apply the pressure needed to finally light the fire under the Liberals to do what is needed with the investment required to save lives.

  (1325)  

    Madam Speaker, from January 2016 to June 2022, over 32,000 Canadians died of opioid overdoses. We have thousands of people federally incarcerated in Canada, and about 70% of them deal with substance use issues. We have a very serious threat to public safety and to the health of Canadians on our hands.
    I know that all parties in this House want to see recidivism rates and addiction rates reduced, want to save lives and want to keep our communities safe. However, we have very different approaches for how we get that accomplished. I think the debate today has been very illuminating, and I appreciate the perspectives of all parties, but I do think the Conservative approach is a solid one and I applaud the members who brought it forward.
    As I mentioned, there are over 30,000 people who have died just of opioid overdoses in the last number of years. We have many people in federal penitentiaries who are addicted to drugs. In fact, since the pandemic, we have about 20 people a day who die of opioid overdoses. It is getting far worse. Looking back to 2016, there were about eight people a day. That was already terrible, but now, just a few years later, it is 20 people a day.
    I hear from my constituents all the time. I have visited communities across the country and tent cities. There is open, dangerous drug use on the streets, violent crime and petty crime, and deaths of loved ones from drug addiction. It is impacting every single neighbourhood in this country. It is a growing problem. We can see it with our own eyes. We see it when we look at the news every morning. There is headline after headline about theft, petty crime and violent, repeat offenders hurting innocent Canadians. I do believe these are all linked.
    If we look at crime rings and gangs, the purpose of these, more often than not, in the gang culture is to sell drugs and protect their drug territory from other gangs. We have this criminal network in Canada that is highly incentivized to push very dangerous drugs on people and get them highly addicted so the gangs can make money. Then they violently protect their drug turf using illegally smuggled firearms and 3D-printed firearms. We see this cycle of violence and addiction impacting the vulnerable people in this country.
    The direction of this has only gotten worse under the current government. Unfortunately, over 32,000 people have died of opioid overdoses alone in the last number of years. Of course, violent, repeat offenders are intimately tied to gangs, drug trafficking and taking advantage of vulnerable people with addictions. We have seen an increase in violent crime from those repeat, violent offenders, who are getting out on bail more easily than ever because of the regime brought forward by the Liberal government.
    Today, we have the opportunity to do something real about this and end the revolving door of inmates in and out of prison. This is a huge issue. Part of what is happening is that we have highly addicted individuals who commit crimes, go to prison and do not receive the treatment they need to recover.
    This bill is called the “ending the revolving door act”, and I think that is something we can all get on board with, if not for the benefit of compassion for those who are in our penitentiaries and addicted to substances, then for the taxpayer, because it costs a lot of money when an inmate is in and out of prison over and over again. It would also make our penitentiaries and the corrections staff who work in them safer. If we have individuals who are dealing with substance abuse, which can often manifest in violent ways, and if we can get them rehabilitated, it is even better for everyone.
    This bill has lofty and high goals that I very much support. It goes about it in a very smart way. In particular, the legislation would allow for a part of the federal penitentiary to be turned into a rehabilitation facility. Let us turn part of our existing penitentiary infrastructure into a rehab, given the high number of inmates addicted to substances. I think that is a great idea. Inmates are there anyway. Let us have an intensive option where, if they choose to, they can get some rehab and perhaps recover from their addictions. When they are released from the penitentiary, they have a much better opportunity and much better chance of living a fulsome, law-abiding life if they receive the care, support and compassion they need.
    Ultimately, the bill is designed very well, in the sense that it is the judge's discretion, which I think is important in this regard, and it is only for non-violent crimes. We are not talking about folks with life sentences. We are talking about low-level crimes for which people are committed to federal penitentiaries. That is important, especially as a start for this. Let us see how it goes. If it works really well, great, we can talk about different expansions, if that is what is needed. I think this is a great place to start, and it is the safest place to start this very innovative idea.

  (1330)  

    It is up to the judge and then ultimately it is up to the individual. People are given a choice and then they can choose if they want to go to the rehab part of the facility. They still have to serve the same amount of time, but it is in a part of the facility that is built for that rehab. That is really great if we are of the opinion and the philosophy that we want people who have substance use issues to access recovery and fully recover and live fulsome lives, which is certainly the Conservative Party's perspective. Addiction is a mental health issue, and we can help a lot more people if there is a lot more access to mental health and rehabilitation supports.
    To get right to the source, I have visited federal penitentiaries and they are very tough places to be. I recommend that every legislator in this place go to visit a federal penitentiary. The older penitentiaries, especially, are not places that were built for, or are conducive to, rehabilitation. It is a great idea that we could redesign those structures to support those who need extra compassion, mental health care and rehab supports. They are there anyway, so, if the judge decided it was safe, giving them some freedom to access rehabilitation and to get a real shot at recovering would be good for them and good for their loved ones, who want to see them survive. Ultimately, it is good for them when they are released from a federal penitentiary.
    I mentioned at the beginning that I think all parties have the ultimate goal of reducing recidivism, which is very high, costly to the taxpayer, and very harmful to the individual who is in and out of jail over and over again. I think everyone agrees that it is not great, so let us fix it.
    Everybody in the House talks repeatedly about addictions and how many people have died. What we do not have in common is how we all approach that. However, I think that the way the bill is structured, it offers an innovative solution to this that could be supported by all parties, if they want to give it a shot and say “why not?” This could be a real option to save lives and to support a reduction in recidivism rates.
    One thing that the Liberals have done, which would be their solution to the issues that I and others outlined today regarding this bill and the goal it is trying to solve, is something that I cannot get behind: the prison needle exchange program. I visited penitentiaries where corrections officers are being told that this is coming to them from the federal government. There have been test runs in some penitentiaries as well.
    The federal government is facilitating needle kits for federal inmates to inject drugs while in jail. They are not allowed to have drugs. The drugs are illegally smuggled into jails through criminal networks and then inmates inject them. The Liberal idea is to provide clean needle kits to reduce the spread of diseases, which is a good goal. However, in many cases, we are talking about providing the most dangerous people in Canada with, for all intents and purposes, tiny knives that they could put their own blood into, or a whole host of liquid substances, and they could use them to hurt themselves, corrections officers and other inmates.
    Corrections officers have spoken to me about their fears with respect to this, and inmates themselves are very concerned. In fact, a women's federal penitentiary in Alberta has written a very strong petition to the federal government pleading and demanding that it does not introduce those needles into their prisons. The women inmates themselves are saying they would not feel safe and they do not want them, yet it is coming. I am very concerned about that and about the safety of our corrections officers.
    I feel that this bill is designed in a way that is not supposed to be divisive. It is an innovative idea. I think we should all be able to get behind it. It is an approach that is safe and is focused on safety. It would turn part of a federal penitentiary into something very positive: a rehabilitation facility. I very much support that and the ultimate objective of reducing recidivism and improving recovery rates for inmates and the vulnerable populations there.
    I would like to thank the members for Kelowna—Lake Country and Kootenay—Columbia for their hard work on this bill. It is a Conservative bill. I am very proud of my colleagues.
    With my last 20 seconds, I would like to thank all of the corrections officers and parole officers in this country, who put their lives on the line to keep us safe and to do the hard work to help rehabilitate our inmates.
    To conclude, I would like to acknowledge the two Edmonton police officers who were recently killed on the job: Constable Travis Jordan, who was 35 years old; and Constable Brett Ryan, who was 30 years old. We have incredibly hard-working men and women in our justice system, and it is always tragic when we have deaths. I want to acknowledge that we are thinking about their families.

  (1335)  

    Madam Speaker, let me begin by acknowledging that we are gathered here on the traditional unceded lands of the Algonquin Anishinabe people.
    I am pleased to join in the debate today as we progress to the second reading of Bill C-283, regarding addiction treatment in penitentiaries. I thank the member for Kelowna—Lake Country for her advocacy on this important issue and for her hard work. As the member has noted, this bill aims to expand sentencing options to help address the root causes of criminal offending through treatment.
    Our government is committed to protecting the health and safety of all Canadians, including those who are incarcerated and struggling with substance abuse issues. As my colleagues would agree, these issues cannot be addressed in isolation. Substance use is a social and health issue that intersects clearly with systemic racism and inequities. That is what I would like to focus on today.
    The Minister of Public Safety's December 2021 mandate letter reaffirmed the requirement to continue to combat systemic racism and discrimination in the criminal justice system. This includes supporting work to address systemic racism and the overrepresentation of Black, indigenous and racialized Canadians within the criminal justice system.
    The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada introduced Bill C-5, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, last December. It received royal assent, and we are hopeful that it will make a significant impact in our criminal justice system in addressing these issues. Bill C-5 aims to restore judicial discretion to impose fit sentences and to address overincarceration rates among indigenous and Black persons, and members of marginalized communities who are overrepresented among those convicted of certain drug- and firearm-related offences. Harms related to substance use would be treated as a health and social use rather a criminal one.
    The Minister of Public Safety, in concert with the provincial and territorial colleagues, addressed many of these important matters head-on at recent meetings of ministers responsible for justice and public safety. Work is under way to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, across the country and within provincial and territorial jurisdictions. Excellent collaboration continues with the FPT working group on the development of the indigenous justice strategy and in addressing systemic discrimination and overrepresentation of indigenous persons within the criminal justice system.
    The ministers also affirmed, in light of the James Smith Cree Nation tragedy last year, the need to work with indigenous leaders to ensure their communities are safe and supported. The ministers agreed to collaborate on the development and implement of the Canada's Black justice strategy to address anti-Black racism and discrimination within Canada's policing and criminal justice system.
    Another key priority was the ongoing opioid crisis. Again, substance use is a public health issue that must be balanced with public safety. In practice, that means diverting individuals away from the criminal justice system at an early stage, through rehabilitative and treatment programs or increased use of conditional sentences.
    Our government is very much seized with the work to both build safer communities and help break the cycle of substance-related harms by addressing the root causes of criminality. On its surface, Bill C-283 appears to have the same goals. It proposes to offer offenders the possibility of serving all or part of their sentences in a designated addiction treatment facility.
     Let us examine some of the bill's unfortunate oversights and exceptions. Proposed section 743.11 would stipulate that those whose offences carry a maximum penalty of 14 years' imprisonment or life in prison, and those who have committed offences resulting in bodily harm, involving a weapon, or drug trafficking or production, would not be eligible to serve their sentences in a designated addiction treatment facility. This is a problem.
    With respect to overrepresentation, Bill C-283 runs counter to our goals. We know that indigenous and Black persons are overrepresented in federal penitentiaries. According to the data, over 68% of indigenous women in custody are serving a federal sentence of more than 10 years. Black offenders represent the largest proportion, 42%, of offenders convicted of importing or exporting drugs.

  (1340)  

    Overall, Black and indigenous persons tend to be subject to longer sentences, and I invite members opposite to look at the Auditor General's report on corrections, released late last year, which talked about systemic racism. It is, therefore, clear that Bill C-283 would exclude some of the most vulnerable and overrepresented members of the custody population, those who, in fact, may be most directly in need of treatment and rehabilitation.
    In addition, proposed paragraph 743.11(1)(a) of the bill would require the offender to show evidence of repeated good behaviour in order to indicate that substance use has contributed to their actions. Here is yet another barrier to accessing treatment for incarcerated people. Not everyone who needs support and services may have a history or a pattern of behaviour: for example, those who have only recently begun using opioids.
    This could also represent a prohibitively expensive burden for offenders who do not have the means to provide submissions established in their history or repeated behaviour. Bill C-283 would therefore not only make those individuals ineligible for treatment, through no fault of their own, but also create significant issues of inequity, with BIPOC and socio-economically disadvantaged offenders being denied services at a disproportionate rate.
    This bill flies in the face of the Minister of Public Safety's December 2021 mandate letter, which reaffirmed the need to continue to combat systemic racism and discrimination in the criminal justice system. It is also misaligned with Correctional Service Canada's commitment to addressing the overincarceration of indigenous peoples. Again, that is why our government introduced Bill C-5, to treat harms related to substance use as a health and social issue and not a criminal one. Ultimately, the measures in Bill C-5 will help address overincarceration rates among indigenous and racialized persons convicted of certain drug- and firearms-related offences. In contrast, Bill C-283 would undermine these goals.
    Despite its veneer of concern for the health and safety of offenders who use substances, this bill is not designed to help those who need it the most. I encourage all members to join me in voicing their concerns about this bill.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-283. This legislation would allow a federal inmate to be sent to an addiction treatment facility.
     Under this legislation, the courts must assess these cases and ensure that certain eligibility requirements are met, including the following: Problematic substance use has contributed to the offender's involvement in the criminal justice system; the offender consents to participating in the treatment program; the court is satisfied that the application has merit; the offender has not been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 14 years or more; the offender has not been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 10 years or more for an offence that resulted in bodily harm, involved drug trafficking or involved the use of a weapon.
    Bill C-283 also amends the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to provide for the designation of a penitentiary or any area within a penitentiary as an addiction treatment facility.
    The purpose of an addiction treatment facility is to provide inmates with access to treatment programs in relation to their problematic substance use as well as to other related services that respond to their specific needs.
    My Bloc Québécois colleagues and I will be voting in favour of Bill C-283 at second reading because we believe that it could help rehabilitate inmates struggling with addiction.
    Rehabilitation is one of the key pillars of our justice system, and it is our duty to do everything we can to enable as many people as possible to reach that goal. Rehabilitation is also a way to give a second chance to citizens who have made mistakes in the past.
    Experience has shown that shutting out an entire segment of the population from our society and our community indefinitely is not beneficial to anyone—not to them and not to us. On the contrary, it only replicates and reinforces the conditions that give rise to crime in the first place.
    One thing is clear: A healthy, prosperous, and compassionate democracy requires rehabilitation and inclusion. Unfortunately, right now, federal penitentiaries have a dismal record of rehabilitating inmates struggling with addiction.
    In Quebec, in 2014, 58% of prisoners in federal institutions were found to have a history of addiction. I will say it again: 58%. We are not talking about a marginal or minority phenomenon, but rather a widespread scourge that contributes to keeping inmates in a state of dependence, precariousness and vulnerability.
    Many experts have in fact established that addiction is the catalyst that drives many Canadians to commit a first offence or to be repeatedly incarcerated.
    One would think that imprisonment and the isolation that comes with it would help inmates struggling with addiction to go through proper withdrawal during their incarceration, but the reality is something else altogether.
    According to correctional workers, it is shocking how easy it is to get drugs in prison. Those seeking psychoactive substances can use an underground network to find whatever they need to feed their drug habits.
    Delivery of these substances and other prohibited items has become much more difficult to control since the advent of drones. Because they are small and make virtually no noise, they can deliver small items by air and are almost undetectable.
    New drone detection technologies are now being implemented. However, Frédérick Lebeau, president of the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers is under no illusions.

  (1345)  

    Drugs will continue to find their way into prisons one way or another. Knowing that, it would be unrealistic to think that jail time will solve an inmate's substance abuse problems. Quite the opposite. It is the federal government's responsibility to provide resources for supervision and control, but more importantly for coaching and assistance so that detention facilities can help inmates make lasting lifestyle changes.
    The federal government is already funding some initiatives in this respect, including the drug treatment court funding program, commonly referred to as DTCs, which offers offenders with addictions issues the opportunity to undergo drug treatment as an alternative to a prison sentence. Quebec, other provinces and the territories may receive funding under this program to implement DTCs.
    An important distinction must be made, however. Inmates serving sentences in provincial prisons have typically committed less serious offences, given that they were sentenced to a maximum of two years less a day. It is therefore easier to justify alternative sentences for them than for inmates in federal penitentiaries.
    Still, it cannot be denied that DTCs have had a very positive impact since they were implemented in 2012. Quebec's successful rollout got people talking, even across the Atlantic. France based its pilot project for countering recidivism among drug users directly on our DTCs.
    More broadly, DTCs are part of Quebec's wider rehabilitation strategy, which is delivering impressive results. By combining all of these rehabilitation programs, Quebec has reduced the recidivism rate from 50% to 10% among inmates who choose to participate. I am sure my colleagues will all agree that that is quite a feat.
    Hundreds of Quebeckers decided to accept the Quebec government's help so they could get their lives back on track and live free.
    That is why the Bloc Québécois will support Bill C‑238, introduced by my Conservative colleague from Kelowna—Lake Country. We think this bill should be studied in committee to ensure that it is effective and to determine what improvements need to be made so that it has a lasting, positive impact on those it affects.
    We believe in rehabilitation, we believe in inclusion, but above all, we believe in human justice.

  (1350)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I am proud to rise in the House to speak to the private member's bill of my colleague, the member for Kelowna—Lake Country, the end the revolving door act.
    This legislation proposes critical amendments to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and the Criminal Code of Canada that would expand access for substance use treatment in federal facilities across the country. I was really disappointed when hearing some of the speeches, particularly from members of the governing Liberal Party, stating that this is simply a veneer. I really think it highlights the fact that they do not truly understand the crippling impacts addiction has on our communities, in our neighbourhoods and across the country. Addiction is such a serious issue that affects individuals from all walks of life, and the harms and costs have only increased as years go by.
    One of the flashpoints of our addiction crisis across this country is in Canada's correctional facilities. The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction found that over 75% of individuals arriving at Canadian federal institutions have a serious substance use problem. Within that alarming statistic, there is an overrepresentation of indigenous offenders. The Correctional Service of Canada found that 94% of incarcerated indigenous women present a substance use disorder compared to 71% of non-indigenous female offenders, and the figures are 86% of indigenous males compared to 68% of non-indigenous male offenders.
    Given the interplay between addiction and criminal behaviour, intergenerational trauma and recidivism, it is urgent that we look at actually allowing these people to heal, to find a space for healing. Having recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration in a correctional facility is a very good step toward dealing with the root cause of this.
    Conservatives firmly believe that addiction is a health condition and that recovery is possible. It has been exceptionally clear that the Liberal-NDP approach to addiction has failed. It has flooded our streets with more drugs, leading to more addictions, which lead to more death, more despair and, unfortunately, more crime. The sad reality is that, without meaningful change to the government’s approach, people with severe mental health problems and addictions will continue re-entering our system without receiving the proper treatment.
    The solution from the government has been, as one of my colleagues pointed out, the needle exchange program, which has created all kinds of fears from a variety of correctional institutions. It has not solved the problem. People in correctional facilities are not supposed to be using drugs, yet the government is facilitating the use of illegal substances while they are in our correctional facilities, rather than offering them treatment options. This is putting the cart before the horse and losing the plot on what the issue is.
    It is so encouraging that we are finally seeing some evidence-based opioid agonist therapy being offered to some offenders in correctional facilities, but it is worth pointing out there are significant barriers within the system that create lengthy wait times, inconsistent procedures and difficulties obtaining entry that vary from facility to facility. We know, through evidence-based procedures, that opioid agonist therapies such as Suboxone, Sublocade and methadone can help someone find recovery, yet there are barriers in place in our correctional facilities to allowing people to access these forms of treatment. It is worth pointing out that they can do more when it comes to these kinds of things.

  (1355)  

    I wish I had more time to go through some of the statistics, facts and figures we have collected on how serious the addiction issue is in our criminal system, but if there is one thing I could leave every member of the House with, it is that we have an option right now. We have an ability to make a difference in people's lives. We have a captive audience and we can provide an option to people to be able to get the treatment and help they so desperately need and help them get their lives back, rather than keeping them in a revolving door.
    I would urge everyone to vote in favour of this wonderful bill.
    The hon. member for Kelowna—Lake Country has five minutes for her right of reply.

  (1400)  

    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak to my private member's bill, Bill C-283, the “end the revolving door” act, once again.
    I want to thank the member for Kootenay—Columbia for his initial work and research on this legislation during the previous Parliament, and my colleagues who have spoken to the bill. I also want to thank those who work in law enforcement and the criminal justice system. I hope we can move forward with this legislation to provide the Standing Committee on Public Safety the opportunity to study how this can improve our justice system and give people hope to recover from addiction.
    Kelowna—Lake Country residents, the people of British Columbia, and Canadians from coast to coast to coast have seen first-hand the devastating impact the addiction crisis has had on families, communities and the individuals themselves. Residents in my community want people to be held accountable for their actions, while at the same time to have compassion and get addiction and recovery help to those who need it.
    My “end the revolving door” act is an opportunity for parliamentarians of every political stripe to come together to move forward with a common sense approach to improving our justice system and helping those struggling with addiction. No one piece of legislation can serve as the panacea for those who are repeatedly re-entering the criminal justice system who have mental health and/or addiction challenges.
    This legislation offers an additional tool to help reduce recidivism, address our mental health and addiction crisis, and improve the public safety of our communities. Expanding the sentencing options available in our justice system and assisting those whose lives have been ravaged by addiction is the right thing to do. No one is served when repeat reoffenders are in a revolving door system where it is reported that more than 70% of those sentenced to federal penitentiaries have addiction issues.
     We must ensure that the effort of curative treatment is focused and provided for those who have found themselves incarcerated and who want help to turn their lives around. A dedicated addiction treatment facility operating inside an existing Correctional Service of Canada facility would help support this work. Many who work around the criminal justice system have told me that this would put a stop to the revolving door for many.
    I want to thank those who have supported this legislation, from the national level to my backyard, who think we should not waste one moment to move forward. The City of Kelowna mayor and council passed a motion unanimously supporting this legislation.
    Lissa Dawn Smith, president of Métis Nation British Columbia, said that Métis Nation BC strongly supports the implementation of more effective addiction and mental health services within the federal penitentiary system through Bill C-283. It knows that Métis people are over-represented in the correctional system and that Justice Canada needs more tools in its tool kit to address the root causes of incarceration.
     Tom Smithwick, founder of Freedom's Door, which is a vital organization dedicated to hope and healing for those suffering from addiction, including those recently released from incarceration, expressed how it makes sense to start a recovery process while incarcerated. He said, “The whole system would save money. The human need would be met. There totally is hope”.
    It is in that spirit that I hope Parliament moves to advance this common sense legislation to the Standing Committee of Public Safety for further study. I hope that we will not waste this crucial opportunity that we have as elected representatives to help reduce recidivism, give hope and healing to those struggling with addiction, and end the revolving door.
    Therefore, I move:
    That, notwithstanding any Standing Order, special order or usual practice of the House, if a recorded division is requested today in regard to the second reading of Bill C-283, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (addiction treatment in penitentiaries), it shall be deferred to the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions later today.

[Translation]

    All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.
    The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.

     (Motion agreed to)

    The question is on the motion.
    If a member of a recognized party present in the House wishes that the motion be carried or carried on division or wishes to request a recorded division, I would invite them to rise and indicate it to the Chair.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I request a recorded division.

[Translation]

    Pursuant to the order made earlier today, the recorded division stands deferred until later today at the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions.

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Canada-U.S. Relations

    Madam Speaker, on Friday we will welcome to Parliament U.S. President Joe Biden to strengthen the unbreakable bond between our two countries. Border communities like mine rely on that relationship more than any other. From 80% to 90% of what we manufacture and what we grow is exported to the Midwest and beyond.
    There are 1,600 Windsorites who cross the border every day to care for Americans, and they kept crossing every day during the worst of the pandemic. We cross the border to visit family, go shopping and attend concerts, so we welcome President Biden and the First Lady to Canada.
    We are celebrating the rise of a new auto industry in North America, a battery belt up and down the Mississippi River that connects new battery and electric vehicle plants in Windsor and St. Thomas to factories in Michigan and Georgia. We say to our American friends that we are in fact stronger when we work together to lift American and Canadian workers and families on both sides of the border.

Alberta's Film and Television Industry

    Madam Speaker, I am imploring my constituents to run and get out while they can. Southern Alberta has been infested. Foothills has been overrun by clickers, bloaters, raiders and runners, and they are spreading like a fungus, decimating communities such as Fort Macleod, High River, Nanton, Waterton and Kananaskis.
    The Last of Us is a global phenomenon that has toppled the Super Bowl, the Oscars and the Grammys, and more than 40 million people have watched the first episode. This has been an economic boom for Foothills because people from around the world are tuning in to see what is going to happen with Joel and Ellie in their harrowing adventures across Canada.
    This world phenomenon is also successful because of an incredible group of talented people, many of whom call Foothills home. Not only has this HBO series highlighted and showcased our iconic landscapes, but it has also highlighted our incredible talent. I want to take this opportunity to thank the wonderfully creative people in all of our communities for making Alberta's film and television industry such a massive success. I invite all members to tune in to what is going on in the Foothills, if they dare.

  (1405)  

World Tuberculosis Day

    Mr. Speaker, this Friday, March 24, marks World Tuberculosis Day.
    TB continues to infect people around the world and right here at home. In Canada, people affected by TB are mostly newcomers or indigenous peoples. Inuit communities are especially affected, with rates of tuberculosis over 280 times greater than non-indigenous peoples.
     Today I want to let Canadians from coast to coast to coast know that ending tuberculosis is possible, but we must continue the fight against this debilitating disease. We have the ability to end TB in indigenous communities, ensure the health of newcomers to Canada and save millions of lives around the world.
    I give a special shout-out to people such as those at Results Canada for doing grassroots work on this. I thank them. Their hard work does not go unnoticed. I would also like to invite all hon. members to a reception tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. to raise awareness on the domestic and global impacts of TB.

[Translation]

Quebec Social Workers' Week

    Mr. Speaker, this week, we celebrate the expertise of nearly 16,000 professionals, my fellow social workers.
    Social workers can be found in schools, in hospitals, in local community service centres, in shelters, at police stations, in prisons, at community organizations and right here in Parliament. Wherever they go, these agents of change are making things better. They care about every individual's aspirations.
    Whether they are working with children, seniors, people with disabilities, or those with different life trajectories, social workers do what they do best, without passing judgment: They take the time to focus on the human in front of them, help them out of their difficulties and empower them. Social workers everywhere are doing good in our world, improving our communities every day and fighting for greater social justice.
    I want to thank all these esteemed “SWs” and wish them a happy social workers' week.

Tragic Events in Quebec

    Mr. Speaker, over the past few weeks, Quebec has been hit by one incomprehensible tragedy after another: the day care tragedy in Laval, the truck attack in Amqui, the carnage in Rosemont, the fire in Old Montreal. Furthermore, just a few days ago, an 18-year-old man was shot and killed while walking down the street in Anjou. So many places and communities in Quebec have witnessed tragic events.
    I believe I speak for all of us in the House when I say to the grieving families, friends and loved ones that, while we cannot ease their pain, we share it, and our hearts go out to them.
    We do not have all the answers, but together we will get through this and find solutions.

[English]

Liberal Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of a Liberal government, groceries, gas and home heating are getting more and more expensive. If that were not bad enough, on April 1 taxes on gasoline are going up 14¢ a litre, while the escalator tax on wine, beer and spirits is also set to rise by 6.3%. That is no cruel April Fool's joke. In Niagara and across the country, these taxes will punish wineries, craft breweries, distilleries and anyone who enjoys consuming these wonderful Canadian-made products.
    There are serious consequences to the government spending the cupboards bare while leaving Canadians with the expensive bills to pay. What will happen to the much-vaunted federal tourism growth strategy, and what of the wine sector support program? Our tourism operators, grape growers and wineries deserve so much better from the government.
    It is time for the tired Liberals to step aside so a Conservative government can lead and create the changes needed such that Canadians can finally get ahead.

  (1410)  

Ramadan

    Mr. Speaker, this evening Muslims in my community of Mississauga—Erin Mills and across Canada will mark the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan. Many of our friends, family members and neighbours will gather at their local mosques to pray, hold Iftars, break their fast and emphasize Canadian and Muslim values such as charity and compassion. This is also a time to reinforce the cultural bonds of our communities that make our Canadian mosaic so great.
    As we recently marked the first United Nations International Day to Combat Islamophobia, let us reinforce our commitment to rejecting hate in all its forms in Canada and across the world. I wish all Muslims observing Ramadan a peaceful and blessed celebration with family and friends as we really begin this important journey together.
    Ramadan Mubarak.

Ramadan

    Mr. Speaker, every year Muslims across the world fast during the month of Ramadan. As we fast from dawn to sunset for the next month, we take the time to reflect on ourselves, our actions and our values. Ramadan is a time of patience, empathy and compassion, when we grow closer to our faith, families, friends and communities. We open our hearts and strive to give back to our communities through charity and volunteerism. We share these values as Muslims and Canadians who work every day to make our country a better place.
    It is a challenging time for many in Canada and around the world. In the spirit of Ramadan, I encourage everyone to reach out and connect with one another and to offer help and support to those in need.
    Ramadan Mubarak, Ramadan Kareem.

Ramadan

    Mr. Speaker, today marks the beginning of Ramadan, and tomorrow Muslims in Canada and around the world will fast for one month from sun-up to sundown. Fasting is a practice in many faith traditions, where we give up food or other pleasures in order to draw our attention to higher things. Giving up all food and drink from sun-up to sundown is a particularly intense fast, and I salute the temperance, fortitude and commitment of all those observing it.
    Muslim Canadians have contributed to our common national life in so many ways, and we honour their service and sacrifice.

[Translation]

    There is a strong Muslim community in every province and territory in Canada that deserves to have its rights respected by all levels of government.

[English]

    As Conservatives, we particularly recognize the contributions of Muslim Canadians to building our Conservative movement: MPs, senators, provincial elected officials, candidates, staff and volunteers continue to build and strengthen the connections between their faith community and our party.
    We know that religious freedom is always fragile. It can be threatened by discriminatory state policy and acts of violence. Virtually every country in the world, including Canada, has seen instances of violence targeting the Muslim community. However, the Muslim community is resilient; it is a strong, accepted and critical part of our Canadian family. We stand with Muslims today and always.
    Ramadan Kareem, Ramadan Mubarak.

Daljit Bains

    Mr. Speaker, I want to remember somebody special to me. Daljit Bains was a husband, father and strong pillar in the Surrey community. He helped anyone who came to his door. Whether someone was marginalized or in need of a job, he would help them with a meal and some work and even get them a job. If someone was a new immigrant, he would help them settle in. If someone was a visitor, he would lend them his home. He was a neighbour who checked in, kept the neighbourhood neat and tidy and helped others when they needed help in the garden.
    Daljit was an ideal citizen, a great Surreyite, my uncle and someone who will always remain in our hearts.

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years under the Prime Minister, the dream of home ownership has died. The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment has doubled since 2015. The average monthly mortgage payment has more than doubled, from $1,400 to over $3,200.
    Canadians are finding it impossible to save for a down payment or afford a mortgage. All of their hard-earned money is going to skyrocketing rent and groceries thanks to the Prime Minister's inflationary spending and taxes.
    Young people are doing everything we asked them to do: going to school, getting a job and working hard. However, they still cannot afford to own a home. They deserve better.
    Conservatives will bring homes Canadians can afford, cut taxes so that we can bring home more pay, sell unused federal buildings to convert to housing and remove the gatekeepers to build more homes. We know that the Liberals do not believe in the dream of home ownership, but Conservatives do.
    When it comes to home ownership, it is time for the Prime Minister to move out of his taxpayer-funded home so that Canadians can move into theirs.

  (1415)  

Carbon Tax

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of the Prime Minister, Canadians are struggling to pay rent, feed their families and heat their homes. Everything is more expensive. Instead of showing compassion for struggling Canadians, the Liberal government has decided to increase the carbon tax on April 1.
    Canadians who are already struggling because of the Liberal government's inflationary spending cannot afford to be punished every time they drive to work or heat their homes.
    The carbon tax is not an environmental plan. It is a costly tax plan that is damaging to Canadian families and small businesses. In my community, I have heard from residents whose home heating bills have doubled because of the Liberals' failed carbon tax. During these unprecedented times, the government should be focused on ways to put more money, not less, in Canadians' pockets.
    Only a Conservative government will bring home lower prices by ending inflationary carbon tax hikes and deficit spending that drive up inflation and harm Canadians.

[Translation]

Innovative Agri-Food Businesses

    Mr. Speaker, things are happening in the agri-food industry in Châteauguay—Lacolle, which will soon be called Châteauguay—Les Jardins‑de‑Napierville.
    Today, I want to talk about the success of two dynamic and innovative businesses. First, I want to talk about the Coallier family, who owns G.S.P.M Distribution in Napierville. Recently, the family showed us their vertical hydroponic farm system, which allows year-round market garden production. This clean technology, the only one in Canada, is highly promising for our food autonomy.
    I also want to talk about Signé Caméline from Saint-Édouard. A few weeks ago, this company, headed by Chantal Van Winden, won first prize in the Bocuse d'Or SIRHA Innovation Awards, one of the most prestigious culinary competitions in France. This was a first for a Canadian product that stood out for both its quality and its uniqueness.

[English]

Red Dress Alert

    Mr. Speaker, indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people continue to go missing and be murdered at alarming rates. That is why I join family, survivors and advocates in calling for the creation of a nationwide red dress alert program. A red dress alert would notify the public when an indigenous woman, girl or two-spirit person goes missing. This would significantly increase the likelihood that someone who goes missing will be found.
    We know this because of how successful early alert programs like Amber Alerts have been. In Ontario, more than 90% of Amber Alerts lead to the safe recovery of children.
    We are in the midst of an ongoing genocide of missing and murdered indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people, as the Prime Minister has acknowledged. We have a right to live in safety, with security and with dignity. If we should go missing, we deserve to be and must be found. That is why we must have a red dress alert system put in place immediately. A red dress alert will save lives.
    It is time for the government to treat this crisis with the urgency it deserves and put in place a red dress alert system now.

[Translation]

Montreal Alouettes

    Mr. Speaker, the Alouettes have finally found a new owner. Montreal's team has been purchased by none other than Pierre Karl Péladeau, making him the first francophone owner since Léo Dandurand, the man who founded the team in 1946.
     This well-known sovereignist said that buying the team was not a business transaction, but a matter of national pride. His words were deeply moving. I bet that some will even be converted. I am certain that this will be a great boon to our local talent. Our teams have already reaped many honours at the college and university level, and more and more players, coaches and managers from Quebec are joining the professional ranks.
    In Pierre Karl Péladeau, the Alouettes have found a terrific quarterback. I am even convinced that he will not hesitate to go out onto the field himself to finally bring the Grey Cup back to Quebec. After the highs of the 1970s and 2000s, we now feel that our Alouettes are ready to soar again.
    It looks like the third down is the charm for Montreal's football team.

  (1420)  

Development of National Defence Land

    Mr. Speaker, for the past seven years, the Wendake community, which I have the honour of representing here in the House of Commons, has been working on an exciting project for first nations and the entire Quebec City area.
    It involves developing the National Defence land in Sainte‑Foy, which is located near Laurier Québec and the hospital. This project will create over 1,000 housing units, such as social and health-related housing, as well as indigenous commercial spaces, public, commemorative and historic spaces, with the help of veterans, and spaces for other first nations.
    The Wendake project already has the support of the City of Quebec, veterans and Laval University. It is fair to say that everyone in Quebec City supports this project and wants to see it happen. All that it needs to go forward is the green light from the federal government.
    Let us be proud. Let us move forward with this project, which promotes reconciliation with first nations and furthers their economic self-reliance.

Community Literacy Week

    Mr. Speaker, community literacy week is coming up from April 3 to 7, and I want to acknowledge the remarkable work of Quebec organizations such as Le Vent dans les lettres in Gatineau, which is making literacy a community effort.
    Even today, many people in the Outaouais region are still vulnerable because they are illiterate. That is why, in addition to running school programs, the incredible team at Le Vent dans les lettres hosts community workshops on various civics-related topics.
    I recently had the pleasure of meeting the participants, and I want to commend them for their perseverance and their resilience. Community literacy week teaches us about the importance of making our communications more accessible and inclusive.
    Happy seventh community literacy week.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, eight years ago, the Prime Minister promised, and I quote, that he was going to “make it easier for Canadians to find an affordable place to call home”. On the day he made that promise, the average mortgage payment was $1,400.
    How much is it today?
    Mr. Speaker, we know that people across the country continue to face challenges in terms of finding affordable housing. That is why we launched the national housing strategy in 2017.
    Last week, I was in Guelph, Ontario, to announce $4 billion in investments for municipalities across the country so they can build more housing faster and make housing affordable for Canadians.
    We know it takes investment to meet Canadians' expectations, and that is exactly what we are doing.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the question was about what he promised in 2015: “We will make it easier for Canadians to find an affordable place to call home.” When he made that promise, the average monthly payment for a mortgage in Canada was a modest $1,400. What is it today?
    Mr. Speaker, of course, situations vary across the country, but we have stepped up with housing programs in big cities like Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. We have also stepped up in smaller municipalities and rural areas across the country that need supports in housing.
    Unlike the previous Conservative government, which did not feel the federal government had any role to play in housing, we stepped up in tangible, concrete ways to deliver more housing, to deliver rapid housing and to deliver programs that fight homelessness and programs that increase rental stocks. We will continue investing to support people, alongside our partners in the provinces and municipalities.

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, he wants to compare that with the Conservative record. I gave him a chance. I told him that when the Conservatives left office, the average monthly payment on a new house was $1,400. I asked him to tell us what it is today, and either he does not know or he is too afraid to admit that it has gone up to over $3,100. That is over a 100% increase.
    When the Prime Minister took office, a two-bedroom apartment in Canada's 10 biggest cities, on average, was $1,100. How much is it today?
    Mr. Speaker, over the past eight years, we have seen significant growth in the economy. We have seen more Canadians getting jobs than ever before. We have seen more Canadians lifted out of poverty than ever before because of the things we did, from the very first initiative, which was lowering taxes for the middle class and raising them on the wealthiest 1%, an initiative the Conservatives voted against, to delivering a Canada child benefit that puts more money in the pockets of families that need it. We also stopped sending child benefit cheques to millionaires.
    We have continued to move forward in supporting communities, supporting home builders and supporting homeowners and homebuyers. We will continue to be there for Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, he would have us believe that Canadians have never had it so good. Let us ask the nine in 10 young people who believe they will never own a home, or the 35-year-olds living in their parents' basements because they cannot afford the new doubling of the average down payment, mortgage payment or rental cost.
    Speaking of paycheques, when he took office, someone only needed 39% of the average paycheque to make monthly payments on the average house. That number has risen to 62%.
    By every objective measurement, things are more expensive and Canadians are taking home less. How did he spend so much to achieve so little?
    Mr. Speaker, across the country, we have seen record job growth. We have seen a record number of Canadians lifted out of poverty. We have seen investments to fight climate change that have put more money in people's pockets. We have continued to move forward in growing the economy.
    However, it is only the Conservative leader trying to say Canadians have never had it so good. We know Canadians are struggling, and that is why we continue to step up with investments in dental care and investments in low-income rental supports, two initiatives the Conservatives voted against. We will continue to be there to deliver for Canadians while we deliver a better future for everyone.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is trying to talk about everything but the housing questions I asked. It is easy to understand why. When he took office, housing was affordable, and now it is impossibly expensive. In fact, it is much more expensive than around the rest of the world. Vancouver is now the third most overpriced housing market, and Toronto the 10th worst, in the world. They are worse than Manhattan, Singapore, London and countless other places with more people, more money and less land. In fact, the average house price last year in the United States was almost half less than it is here in Canada.
     Why is housing so much more expensive here than elsewhere in the world?
    Mr. Speaker, we have continually invested in programs and supports for Canadians, and have seen millions of families entering new homes and getting the supports they need. There are millions of refurbishments, with millions in supports right across the country.
    It is interesting to contrast that with the Conservative record. In the last election campaign, the Conservative platform promise on housing was to give tax breaks to wealthy landlords. That was their approach on housing.
    We contrasted with significant investments in delivering for first-time homebuyers, delivering for people facing homelessness and delivering for Canadian families to access better housing.

[Translation]

Democratic Institutions

    Mr. Speaker, although no one knows just how many there are, many Chinese nationals who are under the Prime Minister's solemn responsibility and whom Canada let in, are being forced under threat to return to China. We can imagine what is waiting for them upon their return.
    Our main ally is coming to Ottawa tomorrow. Is that not just one more reason to establish that the Prime Minister cannot choose who will lead the inquiry or establish that the inquiry does not need to be public?

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, since the start, I have been very clear that it was not up to me to launch a public inquiry, because it may not be the best thing to do. That is why we decided to turn to an expert, someone who is absolutely unimpeachable, to make that determination and establish the best way forward.
     That is why the former governor general will determine whether there will be a public inquiry or not, and what the parameters of that public inquiry would be. In the meantime, he is encouraging and assuring that the various committees are doing their job to set the record straight and restore the confidence of Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, allow me to make a distinction between the Communist Chinese regime and the Chinese people, as well as the extraordinary Chinese culture, which dates back five millennia. Electoral interference, illegal financing, industrial espionage and the forced repatriation of Chinese Canadians: Enough is enough.
    Have we not come to the point where a self-serving appointment is not going to cut it?
    Mr. Speaker, I think that Canadians understand full well that for issues as serious as this one, what we need is not more partisanship, but less. That is why we chose an eminent Canadian who will be able to look into all these issues. He will ensure that we keep using our tools and approaches for ensuring the integrity of our electoral system and protecting our communities with origins in other countries.
    We are offering less partisanship, but the opposition parties want more.

[English]

Grocery Industry

    Mr. Speaker, we are seeing the cost of living continue to hit hard across the country. People are struggling with the cost of everything.
    We know that some numbers have come down with inflation, but, really, where it counts, like groceries, inflation is still over 10%. That means people go into a grocery store, pick up items, realize they cannot afford them and put them back. At the same time, corporate CEOs for these grocery stores are making record profits.
    When will the Prime Minister stop the excess profit being made by his CEO friends and stand up for Canadians so they can afford their groceries?
    Mr. Speaker, as inflation was hitting in the fall, we stepped up with support for 11 million Canadians through a GST rebate over six months. We moved forward on dental care supports so that over 200,000 kids could afford to go to the dentist. We moved forward with extra help for families that need help paying their rent.
    These are the kinds of things we will continue to do to help Canadians. Child care costs are down, cut in half to $10 a day for millions of families across this country. These are the kinds of things that have made a difference. We will continue to be there for Canadians, including with the budget coming out next week.

[Translation]

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, the cost of living is on the rise. It is getting harder and harder to make ends meet. Affordable housing is especially hard to come by. Since this Prime Minister was elected, rents have doubled because the rules established by the Conservatives and the Liberals favour the ultrarich.
    When is this Prime Minister going to stop favouring his rich friends and build more affordable housing for the average person?
    Mr. Speaker, over the past eight years, we have made historic investments in housing to give Canadians access to more affordable housing.
    In fact, that is why I was so pleased to be in Guelph, Ontario, last week to announce $4 billion in investments for municipalities across the country to build housing faster, particularly affordable housing.
    We know there is still a lot of work to do, but with our housing accelerator fund, our rapid housing initiative, our homelessness strategy and our affordability plan, we will continue to be there for Canadians.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I asked the Prime Minister why mortgage payments have doubled under his eight years, why rent payments have doubled under his eight years and why Canadian house prices are about 72% more expensive than their American counterparts, even though it has 10 times the population on even less land. He could not answer any of these question.
    The answer, according to Scotiabank, is that “Canada has the lowest number of housing units per 1,000 residents of any G7 country. The number of housing units per 1,000 Canadians has been falling since 2016”, right when the Prime Minister took office.
    Why has the Prime Minister continually given billions of dollars to municipal government gatekeepers but blocked the construction of Canadian homes?

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, this goes to the heart of the disagreement on housing between the Leader of the Opposition and I. I recognize, as this government recognizes, that we need to work with municipalities to help them change zoning laws, to help them accelerate their permitting processes and to create more opportunities to build affordable homes for Canadians across the country, whereas he sits back and attacks them and proposes absolutely nothing.
    We are stepping up with $4 billion to accelerate the supply of homes across this country. We will continue to invest and work with partners instead of picking fights with everyone and hoping that it all settles itself.
    Mr. Speaker, no, actually the disagreement is that under our government housing was affordable, but under this government it is eye-poppingly expensive. That is the disagreement.
    Let us just look at the facts. Canada has the fewest houses per capita of any country in the G7, even though we have the most land to build on. Why? We rank 64th in the OECD in the time it takes to get a building permit. Government red tape adds as much as $650,000 to each house in some cities, and the Prime Minister has made it worse by giving gatekeepers that block building more money. Why?
    Mr. Speaker, this goes to the heart of the announcement we made last week on the housing accelerator fund, which works directly with municipalities to accelerate the delivery and construction of affordable housing.
    What the member opposite would have us believe is that doing nothing to address the housing crisis would have somehow made it better. He criticizes us for the investment of billions of dollars in housing over the past years. Just think, if things are expensive now, how much worse it would have been had we had a Conservative government that continued to cross its arms and cut services to Canadians for the past eight years.
    Mr. Speaker, we do not have to imagine what prices would have been were I making the decisions, because when I was the housing minister, the average mortgage payment and the average rent payment were half of what they are now. We do not have to imagine that; it is called history.
    The Prime Minister's solution is to continue to spend billions of dollars. He spent $89 billion on housing affordability to double mortgage payments, double rental costs and double the needed down payment. How did he spend so much to achieve so little?
    Mr. Speaker, the next thing the member opposite is going to complain about is that housing prices are higher today than they were in my father's time as prime minister.
    We are going to continue to invest in Canadians and recognize that while we grow the economy, while we—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I am going to have to interrupt the right hon. Prime Minister. I am having a hard time hearing the answer and I am sure other people are too.
    The right hon. Prime Minister, please continue.
    Mr. Speaker, every step of the way, we have contributed to a growing economy, to lifting Canadians out of poverty and to putting more money in the pockets of the middle class and people working hard to join it. That is why we are continuing to invest in building houses and in working with municipalities and the provinces on fighting homelessness, creating affordable homes and creating more opportunities for all Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, when we look at his promise to make it easier for Canadians to get homes, since that time, the payments have actually doubled. We listen to him rattle off the billions he has spent to achieve that failure, and he kind of reminds me of that shady contractor who promises he will build a brand new home, but the cost just keeps going up and up, and the house never actually gets built. That is exactly where young people are today, stuck in their parents' basements, their dreams crushed because they cannot get themselves homes and start families.
     Instead of siding with the gatekeepers and sending billions of dollars more to those bureaucracies, why will he not get them out of the way to bring the homes Canadians can afford?
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative leader is actually arguing that fewer investments in Canadians, fewer investments alongside municipalities and provinces, and fewer programs to support Canadians would somehow have solved this problem. That is the problem with Conservatives. They think cuts can create growth. They think fewer investments in Canadians will get people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and succeed.
    We believe in investing in the middle class and people working hard to join it, and that is why Canadians are doing better than they were before.

  (1440)  

    In other words, Mr. Speaker, we should forgive him for failing because he fails expensively.
    What we propose is actually to incentivize home building. Why does the government not link the number of federal infrastructure dollars a big city gets to the number of houses that actually get completed? That would incentivize them to get the gatekeepers out of the way. We could bring in penalties for big-city bureaucrats who block construction and boost infrastructure dollars for those who get out of the way.
    Why will he not pay for results instead of paying for failure?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians well remember that when the hon. member was in government, the character of the relationships between provinces, municipalities and the federal government was fights all the time. There were conflicts and fights with cities, conflicts and fights with rural mayors, conflicts and fights with provinces, and cuts to services that Canadians relied on. The member is demonstrating that eight years of investments in Canadians in growth, in lifting Canadians out of poverty, in creating jobs and in fighting climate change just makes him want to go back to the good old days of Stephen Harper, with cuts and fights with everyone.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister says that Canadians should not worry about the fact that our young people are living in homeless shelters while they go to school or that they are condemned to tent cities or their parents' basements, because all the politicians are getting along and that is what is important. As long as we go along, get along and have wonderful meetings and conversations, he believes we should not worry about the poverty the gatekeeping policies are causing.
    Why will the Prime Minister not link federal infrastructure dollars for cities to the number of houses they allow to be built, fine those gatekeepers who block and give bonuses to those who build, so that we can have more affordable homes for our young people?
    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite wants to talk about poverty, so let us talk about poverty. The very first thing he did after we formed the government was to vote against a tax hike on the wealthiest so we could lower taxes for the middle class. He then voted against a Canada child benefit that has lifted hundreds of thousands of kids out of poverty. We created millions of jobs while lifting millions of Canadians out of poverty. Our focus on growing the middle class and supporting people working hard to join it has delivered, and is continuing to deliver, even as we stand with people going through difficult times right now. We cannot grow this economy through cuts, no matter how much he shouts that he—
    The hon. member for Beloeil—Chambly.

[Translation]

Democratic Institutions

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister says we should not be partisan. That is rich, coming from him.
    If that is how he feels, why do so many members in the House get the feeling that he is willing to do anything and everything to avoid an independent public inquiry? A public inquiry is urgently needed, and it should not be conducted by a family friend.
    Mr. Speaker, what Canadians expect is that issues as serious as foreign interference, particularly Chinese interference, will be dealt with in a serious and responsible manner. We know that is exactly what the former governor general is going to do. To question his commitment to Canadians and to Canada is unbecoming of the House.
    We know that he is a man who will deliver for Canadians and restore public trust, in spite of all the partisan attacks being levelled at him.
    Mr. Speaker, my point is that the work must be done for everyone in the House and for all of our constituents. I am not convinced that that is going to happen. All opposition parties in the House want an independent public inquiry.
    At a time when all eyes in the U.S. are about to be on Ottawa, which tolerates interference and looks like it has something to hide, who is being partisan here?

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, we established an independent process to address the real problem of Chinese interference.
    We did more than just appoint the special rapporteur. We also created a committee of parliamentarians that includes a Bloc Québécois member. These parliamentarians have the right security clearance to be able to delve into everything we are hearing, into all the work that our security agencies do. As they have always done, they will publish reports that all parliamentarians can access and read.
    The work is being done in an independent, non-partisan manner. The opposition parties are the only ones still trying to politicize this situation.

[English]

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has failed to make housing affordable, even after $89 billion, precious tax dollars, have been spent on that failure. I have suggested to him that we should link the number of dollars a big city gets to the number of houses it allows to be built, in order to incentivize more building. He does not like that idea. He does not like results.
    Here is another idea: We build transit stations with federal money. In the most successful transit and housing jurisdictions on earth, there are apartments next to those stations.
    Will the Prime Minister require that every federally funded transit station have high-density apartments so that our seniors and young people can live right next to the bus or train?
    Mr. Speaker, first I want to congratulate the Leader of the Opposition for actually talking about concrete ideas. For a long time, his only recommendation to help Canadians was to invest in Bitcoin, as that would help them avoid inflation. Now he is talking about credible opportunities to help Canadians.
    What is nice, though, is that the idea of density around transit hubs is something we are already moving forward on and have invested in over the past few years. We know how important that is, but I will remind the member opposite that, in order to invest in density around transit hubs, one has to invest in public transit, which his government never did and which we have continued to do to record levels.
    Mr. Speaker, the difference is that, like housing, we actually got it built. What I am proposing is not to dream about housing around transit, but to actually require every single federally funded transit station be pre-approved for high-density housing so our young people and our seniors can live right next to the bus and train.
    He does not like that idea, but how about this one? He has 37,000 buildings, many of them largely empty, big, ugly buildings. Why does he not sell off 15% of them so we can convert those into affordable housing for our young people?
    Mr. Speaker, part of question period and answer period needs to be taking “yes” for an answer. I said yes. Not only do we like the idea of density around public transit spaces, but we have been doing it for years. We have been putting it in our agreements with municipalities as we invest historic amounts in public transit.
    The former Conservative government refused to invest in any infrastructure larger than a doorknob or an economic action plan sign. We are continuing to invest in significant public transit, including with a permanent public transit fund, something the Conservatives have again campaigned against.
    We will continue to be there to invest in Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals' very first infrastructure project was to install a doorknob in the Prime Minister's Office when they took office.
    Speaking of housing—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. We want to hear the questions as much as we want to hear the answers, so I am going to ask everyone to take a deep breath and calm down.
    The hon. Leader of the Opposition.
    Mr. Speaker, I am sorry, but sometimes I even crack myself up here.
    The Prime Minister is presiding over a 37,000-building empire with these big, ugly, largely empty buildings. Why does he not sell off 15%, which is 6,000 buildings, so we can convert them into affordable housing for our young people so they can actually have a roof over their head and a place to call home?

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, once again, this is an idea we are already moving forward with, looking at federal properties and how we can convert them either through the rapid housing process or by working with municipalities to deliver more affordable housing.
    I am very pleased to see the member opposite moving off his recommendation on buying Bitcoin as a way of avoiding inflation, and actually putting forward concrete ideas. It is great to have a real debate over ideas. I wish he had paid attention to the ideas we have so he can maybe propose different ones or perhaps better ones.

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, the only ideas the Prime Minister has put forward on housing are to double the rent, double the mortgage costs and double the down payments on the backs of hard-working Canadians who are paying more tax than ever.
    On April 1, he wants to raise the cost of housing even more by increasing the cost of home heating, a monthly expense that goes with owning a home. This is at a time when seniors are already choosing, making the heartbreaking decision, between eating and heating. He wants to triple the carbon tax.
    Will he cancel his plan to raise taxes on our seniors, our workers and our farmers and get his hands out of their pockets?
    Mr. Speaker, as of April, the places across the country that have the carbon backstop in place will receive more money. We are delivering more money than what the price on pollution costs average families across this country, because we know that people want to see us both fighting climate change and preparing for the economy and challenges of the future while making things more affordable for Canadians. That is why our climate action incentive puts more money back into the pockets of people in his riding and people right across the country in backstop areas.
    We will continue to fight climate change and support affordability for Canadians.

Employment

    Mr. Speaker, President Biden's Inflation Reduction Act proposes a plan to create good jobs and protect the environment. Sadly, the Prime Minister has not shown the same leadership here in Canada. We need a plan that creates good jobs and good union jobs and also protects the environment. Sadly, if that plan is not here, we are going to lose jobs in Canada, and that is a serious threat.
     Will the Prime Minister make a commitment today that the budget will include a plan to respond to the IRA, and, in addition, that any investments that go to corporations are tied, with guaranteed strings attached, to creating jobs in communities?
    Mr. Speaker, allow me to say that, over the past eight years, it has been an honour and a pleasure to work so closely with organized labour across this country.
    We have been able to build opportunities for middle-class Canadians right across the country by standing up for unions, by ensuring that, first of all, we reverse the anti-union legislation the Conservatives had put forward under Stephen Harper, but more than that, that we build for a stronger future in partnership. We have invested in union training and better opportunities for apprenticeships. We have partnered with unions on infrastructure builds. We will continue to draw in investments from around the world, whether it is Volkswagen, Michelin, Dofasco, or any number of investments across the country—
    The hon. member for Burnaby South.

Veterans Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government is giving $560 million to a company owned by Loblaws to deliver services for veterans, but the services are not adequate. They are not meeting the needs of veterans. It is clear that the contract is not doing what is necessary to provide veterans with the dignity and respect they need.
    Will the government admit that this contract is botched and is failing veterans, and cancel it?
    Mr. Speaker, we are not going to do what the NDP suggests, which is what the Conservatives did many years ago and cut services to veterans. We saw what happened when the Conservative government shuttered nine veterans services offices so they could nickel and dime those who had served this country. The NDP proposes that we cut services to veterans. We are not going to do that. We are going to continue to be there to invest in supports for our veterans, as we have since the very beginning, with over $10 billion in fresh investments to support veterans.
    There is lots more to do, but we owe duty of care to our veterans. That is why we will continue to step up despite the requests of the opposition to cut services for veterans.

Automotive Industry

    Mr. Speaker, after a decade of neglect under the Harper Government, the Canadian auto sector is finally re-emerging as a global leader. When asked about the opposition leader's criticisms of the Volkswagen investment our government has attracted to Canada, the Ontario premier shrugged them off and characterized them as political comments. Even the Conservative premier of Ontario knows that this is a good outcome and that federal Liberals are bringing jobs home to Ontario.
     Can the Prime Minister please elaborate on what this means for Canada and Canadian workers?

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, we join the member for London West and all Canadians in celebrating the fact that Volkswagen chose St. Thomas, Ontario, for their first-ever battery factory in North America.
     This historic investment is a major vote of confidence in Canadian workers and in Canadians' battery ecosystem. It shows that our country is a green supplier of choice. That is why it was so puzzling to see the opposition leader criticize this announcement, even as members of his own caucus celebrated our landmark step forward for Canadian jobs and Canadian families.

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's carbon tax costs families more than they get back in rebates in every single province it applies in, according to his own Parliamentary Budget Officer. Now we learn from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business that “Despite collecting billions in carbon tax revenues, the federal government has returned less than 1% of the promised proceeds to small businesses”. This job-killing tax is driving up the costs on small local businesses that support communities right across the country.
    Will the Prime Minister tell us how much an average corner store owned by a ma and pa would get back in rebates for all the carbon tax they are going to pay on their heat?
    Mr. Speaker, it is increasingly clear that the Conservatives are struggling to continue with their anti-climate change arguments. They do not think that fighting climate change is a way of growing the economy.
    We are seeing investments come in from around the world. We are seeing Canadians understand that innovation and clean solutions are part and parcel of not just a stronger future for our economy in general but their jobs, their careers and their kids' careers.
    We are going to continue to show leadership around the world in drawing in green investments while we support small businesses with some of the lowest small business taxes in the world. These are things that we will continue to—
    The Leader of the Opposition.
    Mr. Speaker, from corner stores to car mechanics, they have to pay this carbon tax. I asked the Prime Minister how much they get back. He would not answer because, of course, the answer is zero. It is a gigantic tax grab. It is also a tax on food. When one taxes the farmers who make the food and the truckers who transport it, one taxes the people who eat it at the end of the supply chain.
    Carleton Mushroom Farms, just half an hour south of here, employs 100 people. Their carbon tax bill for the month of July was $9,000. Does the government they expect them to put that on customer's food bills?
    Mr. Speaker, I guess the Leader of the Opposition truly thinks that the third time is the charm. Twice already they have tried to campaign against putting a price on pollution. They have campaigned against having a plan to fight climate change and grow the economy. They have failed the first two times. Maybe this time they will get it right, and Canadians will realize that climate change is a scam, according to the Conservative members.
    The fact is Canadians know that fighting climate change and growing the economy, while supporting families and investing in small businesses, is the only path forward. The fact that they are continuing to stand against that is really a shame.

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, it is not a climate plan. It is a tax plan. He has not met a single emissions target since he became Prime Minister. All he has managed to do is suck more money out of the pockets of Canadians. It is enough to make a man drink, but he is taxing that too.
    I have in my hands a letter from Canadian breweries workers. These are union workers who say Canada is experiencing the highest cost-of-living increases in a generation. This is squeezing family budgets and making workers in the brewery sector nervous about their jobs. They are calling on the Prime Minister to cancel his planned tax increase on beer and spirits. Will he listen to these union workers and cancel the tax hike?
    Mr. Speaker, we have always recognized the important contributions that Canadian wine, beer and spirits producers make to the Canadian economy. It is why we cut taxes for small businesses and eliminated the excise duty on low-alcohol beer.
    We will continue to be there for small businesses right across the country, even as we promote extraordinary Canadian products like Canadian wine, beer and spirits.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, he is raising taxes on gasoline, heating, electricity, food, family income, on all sorts of things, and now he is raising taxes again, this time on beer and alcohol.
    The unions that represent the workers who produce these alcoholic beverages in Canada say that this will impact their jobs, their wages and the cost of living of all Canadians.
    Will he finally listen to the unionized workers and announce that he will cancel this tax hike for Canadians?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, we all recognize the important contribution that Canadian wine, beer and spirit producers make to the Canadian economy. That is why we lowered small business taxes and eliminated excise duty on low-alcohol beer.
    We will always be there for our small businesses, and we will always promote the excellent quality of Canadian wine, beer and spirits.

Diversity and Inclusion

    Mr. Speaker, once again, we need to talk about Amira Elghawaby, whom the Prime Minister appointed despite opposition from Quebeckers and who began her first tour this week as special representative on combatting Islamophobia.
    Right away on her first stop in Ontario, she began attacking Quebec's Bill 21 on secularism. In her own words, her job is to attack legislation like that. This is how she chose to use her first official appearance.
    I would ask the Prime Minister to clarify Ms. Elghawaby's mandate. Is it to build bridges between communities or is it to tour Canada to fight Quebec legislation?
    Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House, we will always stand up for minority rights.
    As a Quebecker, I know how important it is to defend our beautiful French language, to defend our minority cultures, to defend our official languages and, yes, to defend religious freedom in this country.
    That is why we are always going to be there to defend individual rights. That is why we oppose pre-emptive use of the notwithstanding clause, which suspends the fundamental rights of Canadians before they can even go to court to defend those rights.
    Mr. Speaker, this is exactly what the National Assembly feared when it unanimously criticized Ms. Elghawaby's appointment.
    She is not using her position to build bridges, to foster understanding between Muslim and non-Muslim communities, or to fight racism. Ms. Elghawaby is using her position to rally Canada against Quebec's Bill 21 and to feed assumptions that a secular state is a discriminatory one.
    Is she straying from her mandate, or was this exactly what the Prime Minister intended when he created the position?
    Mr. Speaker, it always amazes me that the Bloc Québécois seems to be willing to pick and choose which minorities it would like to defend.
    The reality is that defending minority voices, defending official languages, defending culture, defending everything in a minority situation—including freedom of conscience—is important in a free society.
    I hope his party does not continue to attack this idea of defending minority rights across the country.

[English]

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, it took the Harper government only three months to get the Americans to back down and pay back and stop collecting illegal tariffs on softwood. When the Prime Minister took office, the Americans smelled weakness and they slapped those tariffs right back on, and then what happened? He backed down.
    The Harper government got an exemption to buy America laws. Within months of the Prime Minister taking office, the Americans slapped it right back on again, and he backed down again. He is now even saying that he cannot protect our borders against illegal border crossing without the permission of the United States president.
    Will he announce resolutions to these problems tomorrow, or will he just back down again?
    Mr. Speaker, when Canadians faced one of the most significant threats to our jobs, growth and prosperity in the threat of cancellation of NAFTA, the recommendation from Mr. Harper and the Conservatives was, “Oh, we need to capitulate”.
    That is not what Canadians or what this government did. We stood strongly. We got them to lift tariffs on steel and aluminum. We renegotiated NAFTA in our favour. We continue to stand up for Canadians and Canadian workers right across the country.
    We will take no lessons in capitulation to the Americans from the Conservatives.

  (1505)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, we knew that the Prime Minister would back down, and that is exactly what he did.
    He signed an agreement that allowed the Americans to maintain illegal tariffs on our softwood lumber, hurting our forestry workers. He capitulated again on buy America, which gives an exemption to Mexico but not to Canada.
    He also said that we need the Americans' permission to protect our border. That is something that we never needed before.
    Will he finally stand up for Canada, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, we all remember when Canadians and Canadian workers faced the greatest threat to our economy that we had ever seen: President Trump was going to cancel NAFTA. We stood firm and pushed back against the Americans, even though Mr. Harper and the Conservatives were urging us to capitulate, to avoid upsetting Trump and to accept what he was offering.
    We stood up for Canadian workers, we revisited the tariffs on steel and aluminum, and we renegotiated NAFTA in our favour.
    Mr. Speaker, he is the one who accepted all of Mr. Trump's demands.
    Mr. Trump signed an agreement with the Mexicans. The Prime Minister accepted it as it was presented to him, without any changes, including tariffs on our forest products. When the Conservatives were in power, we were able to fix that problem in three months. He has had eight years to fix the problem, but so far, no luck.
    After eight years, will he finally be able to do what the Conservatives managed to do in three months?
    Mr. Speaker, I understand how badly the Conservatives need to take partisan shots, but they do not have the right to rewrite history.
    When we renegotiated NAFTA, we stood up for the Canadian cultural industry, Canadian workers, our dairy industry and supply management. We were there for Canadian workers, and we will continue to be there.
    While the Conservatives urged us to capitulate, we stood up for Canadians. That is what we will continue to do, but we will do it in partnership with the Americans.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, since 2021, the situation in Afghanistan has been very difficult, especially for women and girls, who face daily persecution. According to the United Nations, the number of Afghans who need humanitarian aid is unprecedented.
    Can the Prime Minister tell us about Canada's efforts to support the Afghan people?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Yukon for his excellent question and his hard work. We introduced Bill C‑41 to enable Canadian humanitarian organizations to provide vital aid to the Afghan people, while maintaining our strong anti-terrorism laws.
    This is in addition to the $156 million we have allocated to international organizations since August 2021. I hope that my colleagues across the way will support the quick passage of Bill C‑41 and support quick aid for the Afghan people.

International Trade

     Mr. Speaker, a former Conservative government obtained an exemption to the buy America policy under the Obama administration.
    The Americans slapped it right back on again when this Prime Minister took over. He then signed a deal that allowed the expansion of buy America from being just projects at the state level to projects at the federal level.
    The Mexicans got an exemption. Will the Prime Minister finally do what the Mexicans and Prime Minister Harper did and try to get an exemption from buy America tomorrow?
    Mr. Speaker, we saw the extent to which Americans wanted to create an electric vehicle industry in the U.S. by excluding Canada, but in our work with our American partners, we stressed just how integrated the auto manufacturing sector is on both sides of the border.
     We got a carve-in for electric vehicles and batteries in the U.S. inflation reduction act.
    We will continue to work hand in hand with our American partners to offer good jobs to Canadians, economic growth and productive competition around the world.

  (1510)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is hard to really fathom how badly the Prime Minister has capitulated on buy America.
    Let us get it straight: Harper got an exemption to buy America in the Obama era to protect our construction workers and their paycheques. This Prime Minister allowed Trump to slap buy America on, and then he signed a deal that would allow the expansion of buy America from being just at the state level to the federal level. Now, the Mexicans have an exemption from buy America, and we do not.
    This is a catastrophic failure for our construction workers as a result of the Prime Minister's weakness. Will he get a deal to end buy America for Canadians tomorrow?
    Mr. Speaker, the issue of protecting Canadian jobs and ensuring growth for the future is a deeply serious issue that must be taken seriously, which is why people really should not be just making stuff up as the Leader of the Opposition is.
    The fact of the matter is, we will continue to stand up for Canadian jobs and work closely with the Americans on making sure we are competitive with the world. This is the approach we have always taken with our partners to the south. We will continue to take this seriously, instead of looking for venal partisan advantage.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a fact that buy America remains in place today on Canada and that it has been expanded under the Prime Minister to include the federal government, something that was specifically exempted from the earlier NAFTA. However, Trump demanded it and the Prime Minister was in the habit of backing down to everything Trump demanded.
    We thought that when Trump was gone, the Prime Minister would have an easier time, but now Biden is pushing him around. Putting partisanship aside, I think we as Conservatives can all agree that we do not like any Prime Minister, including the Liberal Prime Minister, to be pushed around like this by an American president.
    Will he end it tomorrow?
    Mr. Speaker, we have consistently stood up for Canadians, whether it was Canadian auto workers and Canadian steelworkers, whether it was making sure we renegotiated NAFTA in strong ways, or whether we stood up for inclusion of Canadian electric vehicle production in the new IRA.
    We will continue to work constructively with our partners to the south. We will continue to defend Canadian interests. We will continue to grow our economies together at a time when the world needs North America to be working together as allies to project our success and our values to the world. That is what we will do while the Leader of the Opposition plays partisan games.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, my constituents in the Northwest Territories are very troubled by the recent news that millions of litres of oil sands tailings in northern Alberta were leaked without notifying communities at risk for nine months. It is unacceptable that neither Imperial Oil nor the Alberta regulator bothered to let northerners know about this potential threat to our water quality.
    Could the Prime Minister share what the Government of Canada is doing to address the concerns of my constituents on this matter?
    Mr. Speaker, as always, I thank the member for the Northwest Territories for his advocacy on behalf of his constituents in a very serious situation.
    We are deeply concerned about the health and well-being of the affected communities. Ministers have been in regular contact with the impacted communities, quickly providing supplies and conducting water testing.
    We need to understand why the company and the regulator were so slow to notify. We expect to see a clear remediation plan from the company so that communities can get the answers they deserve and so that this never happens again.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the Indian government has suspended cellphone service, Internet service and social media accounts, on top of blocking journalists from covering what is happening while a heavy military presence rolls into Punjab.
    Why has the Prime Minister remained silent on this? Will he accept and commit to the NDP demands to boycott the G20 events in Chandigarh and Kashmir, to ban BJP officials from entering Canada who have uttered death threats against Canadians, and to do everything possible to ensure the safety of Canadians abroad?
    Mr. Speaker, obviously Canada is monitoring the situation in Punjab closely. We are looking forward to a swift return to a more stable situation.

  (1515)  

Climate Change

    Mr. Speaker, the IPCC report of this week is sobering reading. It requires of all of us that we be prepared to do more, be braver and be bolder, because nothing less than our children's future is at stake. It is a ticking time bomb, as it has been described. The report finds that deep emissions reductions are required in the near term, before 2025 at the latest. For Canada, that means banning fracking. It means reversing Bay du Nord and cancelling the $30-billion boondoggle Trans Mountain pipeline now.
    Mr. Speaker, since 2015 we have taken concrete actions to address climate change. Our government has committed over $120 billion and introduced over 100 measures, including a price on pollution, to support environmental action and climate mitigation. As the Minister of Environment and Climate Change said this week, we will be looking very closely at that report.

Private Member's Business

[Private Member's Business]

[Translation]

Pandemic Day Act

     The House resumed from March 8 consideration of the motion that Bill S‑209, An Act respecting Pandemic Observance Day, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    It being 3:16 p.m., pursuant to order made on Thursday, June 23, 2022, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill S‑209, under Private Members' Business.

[English]

    Call in the members.

  (1530)  

    (The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 269)

YEAS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Ali
Anand
Anandasangaree
Angus
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Atwin
Badawey
Bains
Baker
Barron
Barsalou-Duval
Battiste
Beaulieu
Beech
Bendayan
Bennett
Bergeron
Bérubé
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Blaney
Blois
Boissonnault
Boulerice
Bradford
Brière
Brunelle-Duceppe
Cannings
Casey
Chabot
Chagger
Chahal
Champagne
Champoux
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Collins (Victoria)
Cormier
Coteau
Dabrusin
Damoff
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Desilets
Desjarlais
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Dong
Drouin
Dubourg
Dzerowicz
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Erskine-Smith
Fergus
Fillmore
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fortin
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Gaheer
Garrison
Gaudreau
Gazan
Gerretsen
Gould
Green
Guilbeault
Hajdu
Hanley
Hardie
Hepfner
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Idlout
Ien
Jaczek
Johns
Joly
Jowhari
Julian
Kayabaga
Kelloway
Khalid
Khera
Koutrakis
Kusmierczyk
Kwan
Lalonde
Lambropoulos
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Larouche
Lattanzio
Lauzon
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lemire
Lightbound
Long
Longfield
Louis (Kitchener—Conestoga)
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacDonald (Malpeque)
MacGregor
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maloney
Martinez Ferrada
Masse
Mathyssen
May (Cambridge)
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
McDonald (Avalon)
McGuinty
McKay
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod
McPherson
Mendès
Mendicino
Miao
Michaud
Miller
Morrice
Morrissey
Murray
Naqvi
Ng
Noormohamed
Normandin
O'Connell
Oliphant
O'Regan
Pauzé
Perron
Petitpas Taylor
Plamondon
Powlowski
Qualtrough
Rayes
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Sahota
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sarai
Savard-Tremblay
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Simard
Sinclair-Desgagné
Singh
Sorbara
Sousa
Ste-Marie
St-Onge
Sudds
Tassi
Taylor Roy
Thériault
Therrien
Thompson
Trudeau
Trudel
Turnbull
Valdez
Van Bynen
van Koeverden
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vignola
Villemure
Virani
Vuong
Weiler
Wilkinson
Yip
Zahid
Zarrillo
Zuberi

Total: -- 208


NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Allison
Arnold
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Berthold
Block
Bragdon
Brassard
Brock
Calkins
Caputo
Carrie
Chambers
Chong
Cooper
Dalton
Dancho
Davidson
Deltell
d'Entremont
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Ellis
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Ferreri
Findlay
Gallant
Généreux
Genuis
Gladu
Godin
Goodridge
Gourde
Gray
Hallan
Hoback
Jeneroux
Kelly
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Kusie
Lake
Lantsman
Lawrence
Lehoux
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Liepert
Lloyd
Lobb
Maguire
Martel
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLean
Melillo
Moore
Morantz
Morrison
Motz
Muys
Nater
O'Toole
Patzer
Paul-Hus
Perkins
Poilievre
Redekopp
Reid
Rempel Garner
Richards
Roberts
Rood
Ruff
Scheer
Schmale
Seeback
Shields
Shipley
Small
Soroka
Steinley
Stewart
Strahl
Stubbs
Thomas
Tochor
Tolmie
Uppal
Van Popta
Vecchio
Vidal
Vien
Viersen
Vis
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Williams
Williamson
Zimmer

Total: -- 114


PAIRED

Members

Bezan
Desbiens
Duguid
Lametti

Total: -- 4


    I declare the motion carried.

[Translation]

    Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Health.

    (Bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

[English]

Criminal Code

    The House resumed from March 9 consideration of the motion that Bill C-289, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (identity verification), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Pursuant to an order made on Thursday, June 23, 2022, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-289 under Private Members' Business.

  (1545)  

    (The House divided on the motion, which was negatived on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 270)

YEAS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Allison
Arnold
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Bergeron
Berthold
Bérubé
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Block
Bragdon
Brassard
Brock
Brunelle-Duceppe
Calkins
Caputo
Carrie
Chabot
Chambers
Champoux
Chong
Cooper
Dalton
Dancho
Davidson
DeBellefeuille
Deltell
d'Entremont
Desilets
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Ehsassi
Ellis
Epp
Erskine-Smith
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Ferreri
Findlay
Fortin
Gallant
Gaudreau
Généreux
Genuis
Gladu
Godin
Goodridge
Gourde
Gray
Hallan
Hoback
Jeneroux
Kelly
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Kusie
Lake
Lantsman
Larouche
Lawrence
Lehoux
Lemire
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Liepert
Lloyd
Lobb
Maguire
Martel
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLean
Melillo
Michaud
Moore
Morantz
Morrice
Morrison
Motz
Muys
Nater
Normandin
O'Toole
Patzer
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Perkins
Perron
Plamondon
Poilievre
Rayes
Redekopp
Reid
Rempel Garner
Richards
Roberts
Rood
Ruff
Savard-Tremblay
Scheer
Schmale
Seeback
Shields
Shipley
Simard
Sinclair-Desgagné
Small
Soroka
Steinley
Ste-Marie
Stewart
Strahl
Stubbs
Thériault
Therrien
Thomas
Tochor
Tolmie
Trudel
Uppal
Van Popta
Vecchio
Vidal
Vien
Viersen
Vignola
Villemure
Vis
Vuong
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Williams
Williamson
Zimmer

Total: -- 149


NAYS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Ali
Anand
Anandasangaree
Angus
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Atwin
Bachrach
Badawey
Bains
Baker
Barron
Battiste
Beech
Bendayan
Bennett
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blaney
Blois
Boissonnault
Bradford
Brière
Cannings
Casey
Chagger
Chahal
Champagne
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Collins (Victoria)
Cormier
Coteau
Dabrusin
Damoff
Davies
Desjarlais
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Dong
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Dzerowicz
El-Khoury
Fergus
Fillmore
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Gaheer
Garrison
Gazan
Gerretsen
Gould
Green
Guilbeault
Hajdu
Hanley
Hardie
Hepfner
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Idlout
Ien
Jaczek
Johns
Joly
Jowhari
Julian
Kayabaga
Kelloway
Khalid
Khera
Koutrakis
Kusmierczyk
Kwan
Lalonde
Lambropoulos
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lattanzio
Lauzon
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lightbound
Long
Longfield
Louis (Kitchener—Conestoga)
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacDonald (Malpeque)
MacGregor
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Martinez Ferrada
Masse
Mathyssen
May (Cambridge)
McDonald (Avalon)
McGuinty
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod
McPherson
Mendès
Mendicino
Miao
Miller
Morrissey
Murray
Naqvi
Ng
Noormohamed
O'Connell
Oliphant
O'Regan
Petitpas Taylor
Powlowski
Qualtrough
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Sahota
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Singh
Sorbara
Sousa
St-Onge
Sudds
Tassi
Taylor Roy
Thompson
Trudeau
Turnbull
Valdez
Van Bynen
van Koeverden
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Virani
Wilkinson
Yip
Zahid
Zarrillo
Zuberi

Total: -- 171


PAIRED

Members

Bezan
Desbiens
Duguid
Lametti

Total: -- 4


    I declare the motion defeated.

Criminal Code

    The House resumed from March 10 consideration of the motion that Bill S-224, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (trafficking in persons), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Pursuant to order made on Thursday, June 23, 2022, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill S-224 under Private Members' Business.

  (1555)  

    (The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 271)

YEAS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Aldag
Alghabra
Ali
Allison
Anand
Anandasangaree
Angus
Arnold
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Atwin
Bachrach
Badawey
Bains
Baker
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Barron
Barsalou-Duval
Battiste
Beaulieu
Beech
Bendayan
Bennett
Bergeron
Berthold
Bérubé
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Blaney
Block
Blois
Boissonnault
Bradford
Bragdon
Brassard
Brière
Brock
Brunelle-Duceppe
Calkins
Cannings
Caputo
Carrie
Casey
Chabot
Chagger
Chahal
Chambers
Champagne
Champoux
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Chong
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Collins (Victoria)
Cooper
Cormier
Coteau
Dabrusin
Dalton
Damoff
Dancho
Davidson
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Deltell
Desilets
Desjarlais
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Doherty
Dong
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Dzerowicz
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Epp
Erskine-Smith
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Fergus
Ferreri
Fillmore
Findlay
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fortin
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Gaheer
Gallant
Garrison
Gaudreau
Gazan
Généreux
Genuis
Gerretsen
Gladu
Godin
Goodridge
Gould
Gourde
Gray
Green
Guilbeault
Hajdu
Hallan
Hanley
Hardie
Hepfner
Hoback
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Idlout
Ien
Jaczek
Jeneroux
Johns
Joly
Jowhari
Julian
Kayabaga
Kelloway
Kelly
Khalid
Khera
Kitchen
Kmiec
Koutrakis
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Kusie
Kusmierczyk
Kwan
Lake
Lalonde
Lambropoulos
Lamoureux
Lantsman
Lapointe
Larouche
Lattanzio
Lauzon
Lawrence
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lehoux
Lemire
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Liepert
Lightbound
Lloyd
Lobb
Long
Longfield
Louis (Kitchener—Conestoga)
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacDonald (Malpeque)
MacGregor
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maguire
Maloney
Martel
Martinez Ferrada
Masse
Mathyssen
May (Cambridge)
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McDonald (Avalon)
McGuinty
McKay
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLean
McLeod
McPherson
Melillo
Mendès
Mendicino
Miao
Michaud
Miller
Moore
Morantz
Morrice
Morrison
Morrissey
Motz
Murray
Muys
Naqvi
Nater
Ng
Noormohamed
Normandin
O'Connell
Oliphant
O'Regan
O'Toole
Patzer
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Perkins
Perron
Petitpas Taylor
Plamondon
Poilievre
Powlowski
Qualtrough
Rayes
Redekopp
Reid
Rempel Garner
Richards
Roberts
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Rood
Ruff
Sahota
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sarai
Savard-Tremblay
Scarpaleggia
Scheer
Schiefke
Schmale
Seeback
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Shields
Shipley
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Simard
Sinclair-Desgagné
Singh
Small
Sorbara
Soroka
Sousa
Steinley
Ste-Marie
Stewart
St-Onge
Strahl
Stubbs
Sudds
Tassi
Taylor Roy
Thériault
Therrien
Thomas
Thompson
Tochor
Tolmie
Trudeau
Trudel
Turnbull
Uppal
Valdez
Van Bynen
van Koeverden
Van Popta
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vecchio
Vidal
Vien
Viersen
Vignola
Villemure
Virani
Vis
Vuong
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Weiler
Wilkinson
Williams
Williamson
Yip
Zahid
Zarrillo
Zimmer
Zuberi

Total: -- 322


NAYS

Nil

PAIRED

Members

Bezan
Desbiens
Duguid
Lametti

Total: -- 4


    I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

    (Bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

  (1600)  

Federal Framework on Housing for Individuals with Non-Visible Disabilities

    The House resumed from March 20 consideration of the motion.
    Pursuant to order made on Thursday, June 23, 2022, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on Motion No. 59 under Private Members' Business in the name of the member for London West.

  (1610)  

[Translation]

    (The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 272)

YEAS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Aldag
Alghabra
Ali
Allison
Anand
Anandasangaree
Angus
Arnold
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Atwin
Bachrach
Badawey
Bains
Baker
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Barron
Barsalou-Duval
Battiste
Beaulieu
Beech
Bendayan
Bennett
Bergeron
Berthold
Bérubé
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Blaney
Block
Blois
Boissonnault
Bradford
Bragdon
Brassard
Brière
Brock
Brunelle-Duceppe
Calkins
Cannings
Caputo
Carrie
Casey
Chabot
Chagger
Chahal
Chambers
Champagne
Champoux
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Chong
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Collins (Victoria)
Cooper
Cormier
Coteau
Dabrusin
Dalton
Dancho
Davidson
DeBellefeuille
Deltell
Desilets
Desjarlais
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Doherty
Dong
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Dzerowicz
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Epp
Erskine-Smith
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Fergus
Ferreri
Fillmore
Findlay
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fortin
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Gaheer
Gallant
Garrison
Gaudreau
Gazan
Généreux
Genuis
Gerretsen
Gladu
Godin
Goodridge
Gould
Gourde
Gray
Green
Guilbeault
Hajdu
Hallan
Hanley
Hardie
Hepfner
Hoback
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Idlout
Ien
Jaczek
Jeneroux
Johns
Joly
Jowhari
Julian
Kayabaga
Kelloway
Kelly
Khalid
Khera
Kitchen
Kmiec
Koutrakis
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Kusie
Kusmierczyk
Kwan
Lake
Lalonde
Lambropoulos
Lamoureux
Lantsman
Lapointe
Larouche
Lattanzio
Lauzon
Lawrence
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lehoux
Lemire
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Liepert
Lightbound
Lloyd
Lobb
Long
Longfield
Louis (Kitchener—Conestoga)
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacDonald (Malpeque)
MacGregor
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maguire
Maloney
Martel
Martinez Ferrada
Masse
Mathyssen
May (Cambridge)
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McDonald (Avalon)
McGuinty
McKay
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLean
McLeod
McPherson
Melillo
Mendès
Mendicino
Miao
Michaud
Miller
Moore
Morantz
Morrice
Morrison
Morrissey
Motz
Murray
Muys
Naqvi
Nater
Ng
Noormohamed
Normandin
O'Connell
Oliphant
O'Regan
O'Toole
Patzer
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Perkins
Perron
Petitpas Taylor
Plamondon
Poilievre
Powlowski
Qualtrough
Rayes
Redekopp
Reid
Rempel Garner
Richards
Roberts
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Rood
Ruff
Sahota
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sarai
Savard-Tremblay
Scarpaleggia
Scheer
Schiefke
Schmale
Seeback
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Shields
Shipley
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Simard
Sinclair-Desgagné
Singh
Small
Sorbara
Soroka
Sousa
Steinley
Ste-Marie
Stewart
St-Onge
Strahl
Stubbs
Sudds
Tassi
Taylor Roy
Thériault
Therrien
Thomas
Thompson
Tochor
Tolmie
Trudeau
Trudel
Turnbull
Uppal
Valdez
Van Bynen
van Koeverden
Van Popta
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vecchio
Vidal
Vien
Viersen
Vignola
Villemure
Virani
Vis
Vuong
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Weiler
Wilkinson
Williams
Williamson
Yip
Zahid
Zarrillo
Zimmer
Zuberi

Total: -- 320


NAYS

Nil

PAIRED

Members

Bezan
Desbiens
Duguid
Lametti

Total: -- 4


    I declare the motion carried.

[English]

Income Tax Act

    The House resumed from March 21 consideration of the motion that Bill C-241, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (deduction of travel expenses for tradespersons), be read the third time and passed.
    Pursuant to order made on Thursday, June 23, 2022, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at third reading stage of Bill C-241 under Private Members' Business.

  (1625)  

[Translation]

    (The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 273)

YEAS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Allison
Angus
Arnold
Ashton
Bachrach
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Barron
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Bergeron
Berthold
Bérubé
Bezan
Blaikie
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Blaney
Block
Bragdon
Brassard
Brock
Brunelle-Duceppe
Calkins
Cannings
Caputo
Carrie
Chabot
Chambers
Champoux
Chong
Collins (Victoria)
Cooper
Dalton
Dancho
Davidson
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Deltell
Desilets
Desjarlais
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Ellis
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Ferreri
Findlay
Fortin
Gallant
Garrison
Gaudreau
Gazan
Généreux
Genuis
Gladu
Godin
Goodridge
Gourde
Gray
Green
Hallan
Hoback
Hughes
Idlout
Jeneroux
Johns
Julian
Kelly
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Kusie
Kwan
Lake
Lantsman
Larouche
Lawrence
Lehoux
Lemire
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Liepert
Lloyd
Lobb
MacGregor
Maguire
Martel
Masse
Mathyssen
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLean
McPherson
Melillo
Michaud
Moore
Morantz
Morrice
Morrison
Motz
Muys
Nater
Normandin
O'Toole
Patzer
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Perkins
Perron
Plamondon
Poilievre
Rayes
Redekopp
Reid
Rempel Garner
Richards
Roberts
Romanado
Rood
Ruff
Savard-Tremblay
Scheer
Schmale
Seeback
Shields
Shipley
Simard
Sinclair-Desgagné
Singh
Small
Soroka
Steinley
Ste-Marie
Stewart
Strahl
Stubbs
Thériault
Therrien
Thomas
Tochor
Tolmie
Trudel
Uppal
Van Popta
Vecchio
Vidal
Vien
Viersen
Vignola
Villemure
Vis
Vuong
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Williams
Williamson
Zarrillo
Zimmer

Total: -- 172


NAYS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Ali
Anand
Anandasangaree
Arseneault
Arya
Atwin
Badawey
Bains
Baker
Battiste
Beech
Bendayan
Bennett
Bibeau
Bittle
Blair
Blois
Boissonnault
Bradford
Brière
Casey
Chagger
Chahal
Champagne
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Cormier
Coteau
Dabrusin
Damoff
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Dong
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Dzerowicz
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Erskine-Smith
Fergus
Fillmore
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Gaheer
Gerretsen
Gould
Guilbeault
Hajdu
Hanley
Hardie
Hepfner
Holland
Housefather
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Ien
Jaczek
Joly
Jowhari
Kayabaga
Kelloway
Khalid
Khera
Koutrakis
Kusmierczyk
Lalonde
Lambropoulos
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lattanzio
Lauzon
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lightbound
Long
Longfield
Louis (Kitchener—Conestoga)
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacDonald (Malpeque)
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maloney
Martinez Ferrada
May (Cambridge)
McDonald (Avalon)
McGuinty
McKay
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod
Mendès
Mendicino
Miao
Miller
Morrissey
Murray
Naqvi
Ng
Noormohamed
O'Connell
Oliphant
O'Regan
Petitpas Taylor
Powlowski
Qualtrough
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Sahota
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Sorbara
Sousa
St-Onge
Sudds
Tassi
Taylor Roy
Thompson
Trudeau
Turnbull
Valdez
Van Bynen
van Koeverden
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Virani
Weiler
Wilkinson
Yip
Zahid
Zuberi

Total: -- 152


PAIRED

Members

Desbiens
Duguid

Total: -- 2


    I declare the motion carried.

    (Bill read the third time and passed)

Criminal Code

    The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-283, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (addiction treatment in penitentiaries), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Pursuant to order made earlier today, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C‑283, under Private Members' Business.

  (1635)  

[English]

    (The House divided on the motion, which was negatived on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 274)

YEAS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Allison
Arnold
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Bergeron
Berthold
Bérubé
Bezan
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Block
Bragdon
Brassard
Brock
Brunelle-Duceppe
Calkins
Caputo
Carrie
Chabot
Chambers
Champoux
Chong
Cooper
Dalton
Dancho
Davidson
DeBellefeuille
Deltell
d'Entremont
Desilets
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Ellis
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Ferreri
Findlay
Fortin
Gallant
Gaudreau
Généreux
Genuis
Gladu
Godin
Goodridge
Gourde
Gray
Hallan
Hoback
Jeneroux
Kelly
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Kusie
Lake
Lantsman
Larouche
Lawrence
Lehoux
Lemire
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Liepert
Lloyd
Lobb
Martel
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLean
Melillo
Michaud
Moore
Morantz
Morrison
Motz
Muys
Nater
Normandin
O'Toole
Patzer
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Perkins
Perron
Plamondon
Poilievre
Rayes
Redekopp
Reid
Rempel Garner
Richards
Roberts
Rood
Ruff
Savard-Tremblay
Scheer
Schmale
Seeback
Shields
Shipley
Simard
Sinclair-Desgagné
Small
Soroka
Steinley
Ste-Marie
Stewart
Strahl
Stubbs
Thériault
Therrien
Thomas
Tochor
Tolmie
Trudel
Uppal
Van Popta
Vecchio
Vidal
Vien
Viersen
Vignola
Villemure
Vis
Vuong
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Williams
Williamson
Zimmer

Total: -- 146


NAYS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Ali
Anand
Anandasangaree
Angus
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Atwin
Bachrach
Badawey
Bains
Baker
Barron
Battiste
Beech
Bendayan
Bennett
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blaney
Blois
Boissonnault
Bradford
Brière
Cannings
Casey
Chagger
Chahal
Champagne
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Collins (Victoria)
Cormier
Coteau
Dabrusin
Damoff
Davies
Desjarlais
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Dong
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Dzerowicz
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Fergus
Fillmore
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Gaheer
Garrison
Gazan
Gerretsen
Gould
Green
Guilbeault
Hajdu
Hanley
Hardie
Hepfner
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Idlout
Ien
Jaczek
Johns
Joly
Jowhari
Julian
Kayabaga
Kelloway
Khalid
Khera
Koutrakis
Kusmierczyk
Kwan
Lalonde
Lambropoulos
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lattanzio
Lauzon
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lightbound
Long
Longfield
Louis (Kitchener—Conestoga)
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacDonald (Malpeque)
MacGregor
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maloney
Martinez Ferrada
Masse
Mathyssen
May (Cambridge)
McDonald (Avalon)
McGuinty
McKay
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod
McPherson
Mendès
Mendicino
Miao
Miller
Morrice
Morrissey
Murray
Naqvi
Ng
Noormohamed
O'Connell
Oliphant
O'Regan
Petitpas Taylor
Powlowski
Qualtrough
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Sahota
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Singh
Sorbara
Sousa
St-Onge
Sudds
Tassi
Taylor Roy
Thompson
Trudeau
Turnbull
Valdez
Van Bynen
van Koeverden
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Virani
Weiler
Wilkinson
Yip
Zahid
Zarrillo
Zuberi

Total: -- 177


PAIRED

Members

Desbiens
Duguid

Total: -- 2


    I declare the motion defeated.

  (1640)  

[Translation]

    The member for Laval—Les Îles on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, during the vote on Bill S‑224, I had a technical problem that lasted a few minutes and resulted in a voting error.
    I am requesting unanimous consent to allow me to change my vote to vote for the bill.
    Does the member have unanimous consent to change his vote?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[English]

    I wish to inform the House that because of the deferred recorded divisions, Government Orders will be extended by 80 minutes.

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Government Response to Petitions

     Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8)(a), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 11 petitions. These returns will be tabled in an electronic format.

[Translation]

Canada Business Corporations Act

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Is it too late to present a petition?
    We are not at Petitions yet.

[English]

Committees of the House

Health 

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 11th report of the Standing Committee on Health in relation to Bill S-203, an act respecting a federal framework on autism spectrum disorder.

[Translation]

    The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House without amendment.

[English]

    I would like to congratulate and thank the member for Edmonton—Wetaskiwin for a very compelling presentation to the committee and a long record of advocacy on this issue.

  (1645)  

[Translation]

Canadian Heritage  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, entitled “Strengthening the Status of the Artist in Canada”.

[English]

    Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to the report.
    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the Conservatives' supplementary report on the impact of the Status of the Artist Act on the working conditions of artists.
     Conservatives recognize the volatility of year-over-year income in the arts and culture industry, but we believe in a free and fair market and would stress that guaranteed basic income should not be considered as a means of earning or supplementing an income in Canada.
    Canadian artists are world-class. Assuming that the government-granted guaranteed income would assist artists in achieving success is a disservice to the talent, hard work and dedication of so many artists who are striving for and achieving success on their own merit. Canadian artists have, for decades, risen above to achieve worldwide success.
    We also recognize the rapidly evolving nature of the arts and culture industry in the online sphere and would encourage the government to allow digital creators to flourish, absent of government intrusion into their work. Should a review of the Status of the Artist Act occur, a focus on reducing regulatory and taxation burdens should be a priority.
    The Conservatives wish to thank all the witnesses, analysts, clerks and interpreters for their work during this study.

[Translation]

Environment and Sustainable Development  

     Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development on Bill S‑5, an act to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, to make related amendments to the Food and Drugs Act and to repeal the Perfluorooctane Sulfonate Virtual Elimination Act.

[English]

    The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House with amendments.

Veterans Affairs  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 10th report of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs, entitled “Main Estimates 2023-24: Votes 1 and 5 under Department of Veterans Affairs and Vote 1 under Veterans Review and Appeal Board”.

[Translation]

Justice and Human Rights  

     Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties, and I believe that you would find unanimous consent for the following motion:
    That, notwithstanding any standing order or usual practice of the House, the remainder of the debate pursuant to Standing Order 66 on motion No. 21 to concur in the first report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, be deemed to have taken place and the motion be deemed agreed to.
    All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.
    It is agreed.
    The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed will please say nay.

    (Motion agreed to)

[English]

Business of the House

    Mr. Speaker, if you seek it, I think you will find unanimous consent for the following.
     I move:
    That, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House, on the day the House begins debate on the motion for second reading of Bill C-41, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, no later than the ordinary hour of daily adjournment or when no member rises to speak during the debate, whichever is earlier, the motion be deemed adopted on division and the bill be read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

  (1650)  

    All those opposed to the hon. member's moving the motion will please say nay. It is agreed.
    The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.

    (Motion agreed to)

    Mr. Speaker, Conservatives share the desire to move forward discussion of this bill quickly. Therefore, I seek unanimous consent for the following motion: That, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House, in relation to the motion adopted earlier today regarding the second reading motion of Bill C-41 , an act to amend the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to other acts, Monday, March 27, be the day designated for the debate.
    All those opposed to the hon. member's moving the motion will please say nay.
    An hon. member: No.

Committees of the House

Procedure and House Affairs  

    Mr. Speaker, I move that the 25th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House on Wednesday, March 8, be concurred in.
    I would like to start by acknowledging that this is a debate that was supposed to be held yesterday, but the Conservatives unbelievably rescheduled the debate to today. They denied consent yesterday to have this debate on the public inquiry, so now we are holding the debate today. As we well know, because the Conservatives did that procedurally, it delays the discussion we are to have later on about the tax increase on beer, wine and spirits.
    For anybody who is tuning in to see that debate, because the Conservatives screwed up procedurally yesterday, we will have the debate later on about having the House call on the Liberal government to cancel its April 1 tax increase on beer, wine and spirits. The NDP will be voting yes on that, and there will be a round of speeches later on this evening, but because of the Conservatives screwing up yesterday and forcing the debate to today on the public inquiry, we are called upon now to have a debate on the 25th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. I want to read into the record of the House that report on the public inquiry.
    This was an NDP motion, and I would like to thank my colleague from North Island—Powell River for putting forward this motion. She does extraordinary work at procedure and House affairs. What she has put forward, what procedure and House affairs has adopted, and what we are now debating for the next three hours is:
    Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(a)(vi) and the motion adopted by the committee on Thursday, March 2, 2023, the committee has considered the matter of foreign election interference.
    Your committee calls on the Government of Canada to launch a national public inquiry into allegations of foreign interference in Canada’s democratic system, including but not limited to allegations of interference in general elections by foreign governments;
    That this inquiry be granted all the necessary powers to call witnesses from the government and from political parties;
    That this inquiry investigates abuse of diaspora groups by hostile foreign governments;
    That this inquiry have the power to order and review all documents it deems necessary for this work, including documents which are related to national security;
    That the individual heading this inquiry be selected by unanimous agreement by the House Leaders of the officially recognized parties in the House of Commons; and
    That this inquiry does not impede or stop the committee’s study on foreign election interference, including the production of documents and the calling of witnesses.
    Members will recall that yesterday, New Democrats, playing their role as the adults in the House of Commons, forced the government, which had not been taking the issue of foreign election interference seriously, in our opinion, to relent and allow Katie Telford and other witnesses to come before the procedure and House affairs committee. Subsequently, we put in place in procedure and House affairs a motion that would allow for this foreign election interference study to be continued.
    As I have said all along, the member for Burnaby South has been very clear, and NDP MPs have been very clear, that we believe that, given the size and scope of the allegations that have come forward, there is no doubt that we need a national public inquiry on the issue of foreign election interference.
    I am going to outline some of those individuals who have a broad understanding of this issue who have also called for a national public inquiry. There is no doubt that this is an important issue. I understand that Bloc members also support the idea of a national public inquiry. Unbelievably, though, as we know, and we saw this yesterday, Conservatives denied the debate that was scheduled on the national public inquiry. They forced that debate to today. I will be talking about some of the evidence around some of the allegations that include Russian interference a few moments from now, but the reality is that the Conservatives have steadfastly objected to the idea of investigating foreign interference related to the Russian government and state actors, which I find disturbing.
    There are the Chinese government and Chinese state actors, and I think all Canadians are concerned about why Conservatives would want to stop investigations into Russian government interference and Russian state actor interference. This concerns me because this should be an issue that rallies all members of Parliament. We should all be stepping up to ensure our elections are free of any taint of foreign interference, and that they are free and fair right across the country.

  (1655)  

    We have a proud tradition of free and fair elections. No one denies that the election results up until now have been election results that reflect, in a first-past-the-post system, what Canadians have voted for. We would prefer to see proportional representation. That would certainly change the representation in the House and make it more closely related to how Canadians have actually voted, but in a first-past-the-post system, which tends to disjoint the actual parliamentary representation, no one denies that our elections have been free and fair up until now.
    The allegations are concerning, and that is why it is important that all members of Parliament vote on this issue in the coming day or two. We believe, very strongly, that members of Parliament have to respond to concerns that Canadians have raised. As a result of that, we are putting forward this motion today.
    We would have preferred yesterday. The Conservatives stopped that from happening. They may say that it was inadvertent, that they just screwed up procedurally. I do not know. Whether it was inadvertent or purposeful, the reality is that they denied Canadians the right to hear the debate on a national public inquiry yesterday, which is so important. Fortunately, we are having that today.
    I wanted to talk a bit about some of the evidence that has come forward, the allegations that are concerning, which are so important to triggering a national public inquiry. The member for Burnaby South has been exceedingly strong on that issue, talking about the importance of putting that in place. The government did not want to act, and we saw, as well, the government being reluctant even to offer key witnesses up. The NDP has forced that issue, so those witnesses are now going to be available to the procedure and House affairs committee.
    We also believe, undeniably, that a national public inquiry is warranted. The rapporteur has now, again, because of NDP pressure, been given a date, a deadline, in the month of May, the third week of May, to submit that possible consideration of a national public inquiry.
    I think that members of Parliament, by endorsing the NDP committee report, the motion for a national public inquiry, will get us considerably closer to the point where the rapporteur will be obliged, I believe, to respond to the concerns that have been raised by so many Canadians by actually putting the national public inquiry in place.
     Who has said that a national public inquiry is warranted? The former director of CSIS Richard Fadden has said that a public inquiry is absolutely warranted. Jean-Pierre Kingsley, a former director of Elections Canada, has said that as well. This is very relevant, and I will come back to that in just a moment.
    Gerald Butts, the former chief of staff to the Prime Minister, has also stated that it is important to have a national public inquiry. Artur Wilczynski, the former head of the Communications Security Establishment, said as well that a national public inquiry is warranted.
    There is no doubt. We have a situation where we have to put this into place. These are elements that the NDP will continue to push.
    I wanted to, for the record, talk about some of the allegations that have come forward that are concerning. This should be covered by a national public inquiry. Members of Parliament will be asked to vote on this in the coming hours. It is important that they reflect what has been a broad concern for Canadians. Over 70% have said that a national public inquiry is warranted.
    This started the more recent discussions, of course, over the last few weeks, but I would suggest that the implication of the Russian government and Russian state actors in the convoy last year also raised broad concerns, and there have been concerns raised previously.

  (1700)  

    There was a series of articles in The Globe and Mail by Robert Fife and Steven Chase. Sam Cooper from Global News has also done work as a journalist to bring forward some of these facts and allegations. These journalists have provided this information. I want to quote from one of the stories that came out, published on February 17 by Robert Fife and Steven Chase, in which they said the following of documents that had come out that raise serious allegations about foreign election interference. The article reads:
    CSIS also explained how Chinese diplomats conduct foreign interference operations in support of political candidates and elected officials. Tactics include undeclared cash donations to political campaigns or having business owners hire international Chinese students and “assign them to volunteer in electoral campaigns on a full-time basis.”
    Sympathetic donors are also encouraged to provide campaign contributions to candidates favoured by China – donations for which they receive a tax credit from the federal government.
    Then, the CSIS report from Dec. 20, 2021 says, political campaigns quietly, and illegally, return part of the contribution – “the difference between the original donation and the government’s refund” – back to the donors.
    These allegations are profoundly disturbing because what they represent is criminal activity, contraventions of the Elections Act. The Elections Act we have put into place is far different than what exists in other countries. For example, in the U.S., washes of money, dark money, can come in to influence the electorate. In Canada, we have strict financing provisions that must be followed, and if they are not, as former Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro found out, people go to jail for trying to skirt election laws. As the Conservative government found out, and the Conservative Party under the Harper regime found out as well with the in-and-out scandal, there are significant penalties for trying to get around our election laws.
    The allegations contained within this article of having undeclared cash donations and of having business owners hire students to volunteer on a full-time basis, being in other words, paid students, and of ensuring that there is some kind of in and out where the money is provided to the campaign but is in some way reimbursed, are all illegal. These allegations contained in these reports show potentially serious violations of the Canada Elections Act.
    Penalties, as I mentioned earlier, can be sizable fines and even prison terms. For the government to not move on this, to essentially stonewall this issue is, in my mind, hugely irresponsible. When we have allegations that point to what could be serious violations, criminal activity, around our elections, we have to make sure, if these allegations prove to be right, that the criminal penalties apply and the proper investigations take place.
    This is the first concern we have, and it is why the NDP has been pushing in such a resolute way to ensure that we have a national public inquiry. It is because of the concerns that have been raised. These, being serious allegations, need to be treated seriously. This is the opportunity for all members of the House of Commons, on this NDP vote, to ensure they are doing everything to protect elections. Hopefully there will be a unanimous voice of all members of Parliament standing up to say to the government that it is time to put in place a public inquiry now. It has to be independent. It has to be transparent. It needs to happen now.
    This is the reason why New Democrats have pushed for the type of public inquiry that handles all forms of foreign interference. I will say the Conservatives were very reluctant to have the Russian state actors and Russian government examined as part of this. They wanted to carve it off and make it a very targeted public inquiry.

  (1705)  

    Fortunately, we were able to push them back on that. Ultimately, the report that will come is the broad public inquiry I mentioned earlier in the report. However, that broad and public inquiry has to include Russia for the following reasons.
    For the record, during the debates at the procedure and House affairs committee, I read a series of articles by Canada's National Observer that pointed to Russian state actor and Russian government involvement in the so-called convoy movement that hurt and harmed so many people, particularly in downtown Ottawa. Our memory is still fresh of the hundreds of businesses that were shut down, the hundreds of senior citizens who could no longer get their groceries delivered and the people with disabilities who were denied basic medications because of this unbelievable imposition and takeover of downtown Ottawa.
    Without belabouring the details, what is of most concern in this particular debate is the Russian involvement. There have been a number of studies that have come out and a series of articles from Canada's National Observer, which are very important.
    I want to read from a recent study that came out a few months ago, written by Caroline Orr Bueno and published in The Journal of Intelligence, Conflict and Warfare, volume 5, issue 3. It is an analysis of many of the sources that talk about the issue of the convoy and Russian involvement.
    I want to read a few excerpts for the record.
    It states, “Russia views homegrown protest movements like this”, referring to the convoy:
...as an opportunity to exacerbate social divides and sow discord as part of its asymmetric assault on western democracies.... [T]here is ample evidence of Russia’s involvement in far-right movements around the world.... From the National Front in France to the Northern League in Italy to the Alternative for Germany (AfD), Russia’s ruling political party—
    In this regime, which is a dictatorship, “has established formal and informal ties with ultranationalist movements across Europe”.
    Members will recall that three members of the Conservative caucus met with the Alternative for Germany. This is very germane to the issue of foreign interference. The study goes on to state, “Russian disinformation campaigns have been cited as a contributing factor in pandemic-related protests, extremist activity, and unrest”.
    I would profoundly disagree with saying that this kind of documentation is not something that should be taken seriously and that we should carve off Russian interference so that we just focus on one country. What is before the House is a comprehensive public inquiry, which includes not only the Chinese involvement, disturbing as it is, but also the involvement of Russia and other countries.
    I want to conclude with some quotes about the convoy.
    The study goes on to state:
    In addition to amplifying convoy-related coverage on television, Russian state media also produced a significant amount of online content related to the convoy movement.
    It also references that social media amplified that coverage by Canadian supporters of the convoy.
    We also have concerns that have come up recently about Iran issuing death threats against Canadians in a study that came out from the Indian government.
    A study came out this week by the British Columbia Sikhs Gurdwaras Council and the Ontario Gurdwaras Committee.
    One of the quotes from that study states:
...there is significant evidence on the record establishing that Indian officials and intelligence operatives have manufactured news, offered bribes to [news] media outlets for favourable news coverage, amplified targeted messages to disrupt public debate, interfered in electoral processes across the country, and attempted to manipulate Canadian policymakers on a number of occasions.

  (1710)  

[Translation]

    It is important that we have a transparent national public inquiry. The NDP is moving this motion today to seek the support of all members. This should not be a partisan issue, but something that we all look into, because our democracy is precious. People have given their lives for democracy.
    Looking to the future, it is important that we use all the tools at our disposal to prevent any foreign interference, whether from Russia, China or any other country. No foreign government or state actor should be able to influence our government in any way whatsoever. I hope that all members will support our motion.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I have said this a number of times: I do not think my position is that far off from that of the NDP. I am just concerned about the fact that the NDP thinks this needs to happen in a public inquiry.
    The member and I are both on the PROC committee, or he was on it for a few meetings, and we heard from experts that a public inquiry is not the best venue to do this. He said there were some allegations; fair enough. However, more importantly, we have professionals to look into those allegations. CSIS specifically said it takes information, and when necessary, refers it to the RCMP. The RCMP also said it has no active investigations going on. One does not have to be great at reading between the lines to figure out the reality there.
    Why does the member think it has to be a public inquiry? Why can we not use one of the other mechanisms that we already have to do this very important work?
    Mr. Speaker, I would differ with my colleague on the issue of active investigations because our questioning of officials seems to indicate a disconnect between allegations and investigations. My sense is that it is not completely clear that allegations that come forward are automatically investigated, for example, by the commissioner of elections, who has the ability and responsibility to enforce our electoral laws and ensure they are obeyed.
    We have a situation where there are holes. There are tools that could be used. A public inquiry would allow us to get answers for Canadians, which is why the NDP pushed strongly to have witnesses like Katie Telford and Jenni Byrne come before the procedure and House affairs committee. We pushed hard on that because we believe it is important to get answers to those questions.
    We also need to have the tools and recommendations to ensure that whenever the next election happens, whether this year, 2024 or 2025, the elections are free of any possibility of foreign interference, whether from China, Russia, Iran or India.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, there is something unusual going on here. We keep hearing that this is not a partisan issue. Every party is non-partisan here, as everyone knows. None of the parties are partisan.
    I find it rather strange that my NDP colleagues are bringing this up now. The Bloc Québécois quickly announced that it is in favour of a public inquiry. Why are they moving this motion this evening? I think that their main goal is not to embarrass the government, but rather to embarrass the Conservative Party on its opposition day.
    Our NDP colleague had the gall to say that he was doing this in a non-partisan way. I am not the Conservatives' biggest fan, but members of the House owe each other a modicum of respect. We usually respect the other opposition parties' opposition days.
    I do not see why the NDP is bringing this up today. Are they hoping to redeem themselves after yesterday, when they voted against our Conservative colleagues' motion calling for a public inquiry? I do not know. I am not saying that their intentions are bad, but that is the feeling I am getting. We will hear what they have to say about that.

  (1715)  

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague is asking the wrong person that question. As my colleague knows, and as all members know, we were supposed to debate this motion yesterday. The Conservatives and the Conservative House leader know that full well. We were supposed to debate it yesterday. The Conservatives screwed up procedurally. Since we did not debate the motion yesterday, it had to happen today.
    The Bloc Québécois should be asking the Conservatives that question, because they are the ones who screwed up the procedure for the whole week, and they know that full well.
    As for yesterday's motion, that motion was no longer particularly useful, since the NDP had succeeded in demanding that several witnesses appear before the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. Now the NDP wants to push for a public inquiry. In our opinion, this is a non-partisan issue that all members should look into.
    With respect to House procedure, my colleague from the Bloc should really be asking the Conservative Party that question.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as all of us should be aware, foreign interference in our elections is a growing concern.
    We have all heard repeatedly that it did not have a meaningful impact on the past two elections. However, we know moving forward that the lack of clarity for candidates, MPs and mayors, as we have heard from the previous mayor of Vancouver, is just a growing concern. It is something that the public is seized with. Canadians are concerned about our systems, and they want to have faith in their systems.
    Could the member talk a little about why we are seeing this partisan game between the Liberals and Conservatives? I think there needs to be a public inquiry. I think that national security needs to be recognized and honoured. Those two things could happen at the same time. Why do these two parties not seem to think it can?
    Mr. Speaker, that is an excellent question, and I would really like to thank the member for North Island—Powell River for her great work in protecting Canadian democracy. She shows that every day in her work at procedure and House affairs, and she has a national reputation as a result.
    The reason we are having this debate now is that we have had Liberals say that they do not want a public inquiry because this is not an issue of enough importance to warrant it. We profoundly disagree.
    Conservatives have said that they want a public inquiry, but it should not touch Russia. They do not want to go there. Again, that is profoundly disturbing.
    The NDP wants to have a public inquiry that touches on and examines all forms of foreign interference. We believe that is where Canadians are as well. We believe Canadians want this to be tackled in an effective way and that all the measures that some other countries have taken as well would be put into place. However, a public inquiry is warranted and needed, and we believe it is needed now.
    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to take the floor to agree with the important points being made here today by the hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby.
    The Greens are also calling for a public inquiry that is expanded rather than being limited to foreign interference from the People's Republic of China. As the member was just pointing out, there is abundant and very clear evidence of Russian interference, and I would also say, of U.S. right-wing Republican interference in our domestic affairs in recent times. We need to know what other countries have interfered in our elections over historical periods. This should include other countries' large companies, like fossil fuel industries headquartered in the United States, that interfere with our elections in a very specific way through misleading and inaccurate political advertising.
    Does the hon. member have any further thoughts on whether we expand it to look at the United States?

  (1720)  

    Mr. Speaker, that is why the NDP has proposed a comprehensive public inquiry into foreign interference.
    That could include U.S. sources as well. Certainly there seem to have been allegations of right-wing groups in the U.S. funding the convoy. Is that something that could have an impact on election campaigns? Not if we put measures into place to ensure that that does not influence our next election in any way.
    That is why we wanted to make sure that all tools are being used and that a public inquiry put into place examines all facets of foreign interference. I think this is something that Canadians want to see as well. They believe in our democratic system and the rights and responsibilities of members of Parliament. We need to take that democracy seriously and put into place measures to ensure that this democracy continues.
    Mr. Speaker, I did not realize that this was where the day would go, but I guess we have to be prepared for anything.
    I have to hand it to the NDP. They said that they wanted to bring forward their concurrence on this particular report, and they did that. The reality is, for those who do not really understand what is going on, that the Conservatives have an opposition supply day today. However, what has happened because of the fact that they sidelined the NDP yesterday, I guess, is that this is just payback for that. Nonetheless, it is a very important topic. I am glad that we have the opportunity to continue talking about this.
    I do not think that my position, personally, is too far from that of the member for New Westminster—Burnaby. However, I do take exception with his last comment that the Liberals said that they did not want a public inquiry. I actually was very clear about this.
    By the way, I will be sharing my time with the member for Winnipeg North.
    I was very clear about this at committee. I said in a speech at committee, at the beginning of this, when a public inquiry was first floated, that I actually thought a public inquiry kind of made the most sense. Why not broaden it and allow the public to have that insight?
    We heard from the experts who came forward that a public inquiry would not gather any more information than what could be provided at committee. A public inquiry of this nature, which is going to dive into some highly sensitive information and highly sensitive reports, needs to be treated with the classification specifications that surround it.
    It is not just in our own domestic interest to ensure that it occurs. It is also in the interest of the relationship that we have with our allies. We share secrets. We share information. They share information with us. If it becomes very apparent to our allies that we are unable to hold information safely, then they are not going to be interested in continuing to work with us. This is what we heard from the experts who came to committee and who talked about why a public inquiry was not the right route.
    At the beginning, I started off thinking that, yes, a public inquiry kind of makes the most sense. However, I was very easily persuaded by those experts coming forward to actually see this occur in a different way, in a way that allows for the classification of that information to remain intact. I find it unfortunate that the member for New Westminster—Burnaby would make that comment and say that Liberals are against it. No, Liberals listened to the advice of the experts, and we formed our opinion based on that.
    That is the only difference, in my opinion, between my position and that of the NDP. I agree with them. Why not look at all foreign interference? The Conservatives have been very hell-bent on ensuring that the only issue we look at is Chinese interference, but we know that interference comes from other foreign state actors.
    Foreign interference in elections is not a new concept. This has become more obvious and more real within the last 10 or 15 years, as people have been able to infiltrate through social media networks to get information out there in different ways and be sinister in ways that may have been a little more difficult in the past. What we have are real threats. I think that Canadians should be concerned, and they are rightfully concerned.
    For me, this does not come down to a matter of whether we study foreign interference. I am actually relieved to see so many people interested in this. The previous minister of public safety, in 2020, sent an actual copy of election preparedness and foreign interference to every single member in the House. He sent a physical copy of a report that he put together, specifically talking about China in that. Not a single member in the House stood up. No Conservatives stood up to say they wanted to talk about the report by the previous public safety minister.

  (1725)  

    In one sense, I am glad that we are having this conversation out in the open and in the public forum. It is important to do that and to get to the bottom of these issues, but it is also really important to study all interference, not just by China, and to do it in the context that respects the classification of the information. We heard from expert after expert, and I do not think there was a single individual who came before PROC, with expertise in understanding how to utilize this information, who said that a public forum would be the best place to have this discussion.
    Having said all of that, the government appointed a special expert to specifically look into this: former governor general David Johnston. He was tasked with looking into a number of things, one of which included the best way for Canadians to go forward with this issue to fully understand it. The Prime Minister said, when he announced this, that he will take whatever recommendations come forward from that independent expert.
    Of course, Conservatives, as they are heckling me right now, will say that Mr. Johnston is biased, that he is a family friend and so on. We are talking about David Johnston, who is 81 years old. Now they are laughing about it. We are talking about David Johnston, one of the most highly respected Canadians in this country, who is going to look into this issue. If they want to continue to heckle and run all over his incredible reputation, they can go right ahead, like the former speaker of the House, the member for Regina—Qu'Appelle
    Order.
    On a point of order, I have a quick question, Mr. Speaker. It has been a while since I occupied the Speaker's chair and oversaw the House administration. I know that the hon. member had a “check for context” label attached to his last week. Does Hansard do that when an hon. member misleads the House?
    We will have to go back and take that under advisement for the member.
    In the meantime, I am going to allow the hon. parliamentary secretary to continue his speech.
    Mr. Speaker, I have not been caught with any hashtags or tags associated with my YouTube accounts yet, but I would remind the former speaker that perhaps he should take some lessons from his predecessor, the Hon. Peter Milliken, who was able to sit in that chair much longer than he was.
    In any event, the point here and the important thing to consider is that we need to take the politics out of this issue. We saw Conservatives who came forward and spoke on video. I forget the name of the member's riding right now, but he sits on PROC with me. He said, on video, that a member of Parliament is an agent of Beijing. A sitting Conservative member of Parliament said that.
    An hon. member: Red Deer—Lacombe.
    Mr. Mark Gerretsen: It was the member for Red Deer—Lacombe who said that a member of this House is an agent—

  (1730)  

    Order. I do believe we are getting a little off topic here.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, this is all very erudite, but a member on the Conservative backbench was, I believe, threatening the member from Kingston with his phone. I do not think one can threaten people with their phone, but he was waving it around, at least as a prop or a possible weapon.
    I do not really think people were trying to read it. It is really hard to read at that kind of distance.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, nobody was threatening anybody with a phone. The member happened to have it in his hand. That is ridiculous. It is beneath the House for someone to suggest that.
    There we go. Everybody take a breath. Order.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member for Timmins—James Bay's pointing that out, but I can assure him that, despite the big game that they talk, there is no Conservative in here who actually threatens me, not successfully anyway.
    What I was getting at was that the member for Red Deer—Lacombe actually said that a member of Parliament is an agent of Beijing. He said that in a video, and now they want to laugh and to talk about who is playing politics. Who actually does that? I would like to hear one Conservative who gets up to ask me a question actually address that. I have asked the member for St. Albert—Edmonton, and I have asked multiple times in committee. Nobody will actually address it. The members took the member for Red Deer—Lacombe off the committee, and they did not let him continue to go to the committee, as a result of what he said. That is actually what happened.
    Let us get back to this concurrence motion. It is very important that we study this. We have to be careful about the venue in which we do it, and that is the only difference that I have from the NDP on this particular concurrence motion.
    Mr. Speaker, our hon. colleague is a good soldier. He goes on and on and quotes lots of things. I would like to quote something from the media that is breaking news, and perhaps he would like to check his phone. The breaking news right now is that a “Liberal MP...secretly advised Chinese diplomat in 2021 to delay freeing Two Michaels”. I would like to ask my hon. colleague for a comment on that.
    Mr. Speaker, I have been speaking for the last 15 minutes, not including interruptions, and I am unaware of the breaking news that this member is referencing. I look forward to looking into it.
    We see, once again, the exact same rhetoric that comes from Conservatives. We see the exact same thing the member for Red Deer—Lacombe was trying to do, when he was walking through an airport and was looking like the hero on his way back to Ottawa saying, “I'm on my way to Ottawa to fight for you and deal with the agents of Beijing.” Come on, that is not what this place is supposed to be about. The rhetoric that comes from Conservatives, including that last question, is intentionally trying to mislead Canadians, and I find it extremely unfortunate.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I did not understand the beginning of my colleague's speech, but I understood the end.
    This is not the first time that the Liberals and Conservatives accuse each other of partisanship, but I can tell my colleague that, in the Special Committee on the Canada–People's Republic of China Relationship this week, the Liberal members treated some witnesses appallingly.
    We were talking about Chinese police stations. Experts came to talk to us about that. There was also Safeguard Defenders, whose studies indicate that there are Chinese police stations in 100 countries around the world. It is believed that there are 233,000 people around the world who have been deported, questioned and brought back to China because of China's interference in other countries' affairs. This NGO has documented evidence. The Liberal members cast doubt on all of that.
    Why would Canada, which is average in almost every area, suddenly be better at fighting interference from a world power like China? It is absolutely unacceptable to think that.
    Partisanship always comes from both sides, and always from the same place.

  (1735)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we certainly did not dismiss the issue. As a matter of fact, the minister, on a number of occasions, said that he was dealing with it. I find it very interesting that the Bloc today is suddenly coming to the defence of the Conservatives. It is like blue and blue lite. Why do they not just get together?
    I realize Conservatives do not believe in climate change. They are nowhere near as progressive as Bloc members are on climate change, but maybe if the Bloc got together with the Conservatives it could impart some of that wisdom, as it relates to climate change, to the Conservatives. I think they would actually make a great party if they got together.
    Mr. Speaker, there are going to be a lot of questions regarding the mandate of this special rapporteur nobody asked for. When it comes to a public inquiry, we only need to look at what happened after the Emergencies Act. When the Liberal government refused to co-operate with the parliamentary committee, it took the Rouleau commission to get the answers Canadians deserved.
     We know this is a very serious issue. Does the hon. member agree that, should the special rapporteur come back and finally call for a public inquiry, he would finally allow that to happen, at that point at least, rather than continue the delays, the filibusters, and all the theatre and shenanigans that the hon. member is used to?
    Mr. Speaker, I really wish he had listened to my speech, because not only did I say I would accept it, but the Prime Minister also said he would accept it, when he announced this. We have already made it very clear that we will accept any recommendation that comes back from the expert who is looking into this on behalf of Canadians, a former governor general. We will implement what those recommendations are, including if it is a public inquiry.
    Mr. Speaker, I sat in PROC with the hon. member during this, and time and time again, we saw the Conservatives ignore the fact that it was actually under our government, in 2019, that NSICOP first tabled the report on foreign interference. Does the member agree that the Conservatives were asleep at the wheel and they are only waking up to this issue now?
    Mr. Speaker, when the Conservatives were in government, they did absolutely nothing, and we have done a number of things since then. We brought in NSICOP. We brought in a special panel that oversees elections. We brought in Bill C-76, which tightens up foreign interference and which they voted against.
    Mr. Speaker, I will continue on from where my colleague and friend just left off.
    I think it is important for us to recognize that from the government's perspective and, I would like to think, that of parliamentarians in general, there should be zero tolerance for international foreign interference in our elections. Ultimately, I would suggest this should be done in an apolitical fashion.
    The Conservatives, for a wide variety of reasons, fundraising being one of them, have chosen to politicize this issue. It is indeed very unfortunate, because they do a disservice to an issue that is very serious.
    Canadians are looking for responsible leadership. We see what the Prime Minister and the government have been able to accomplish over the last number of years in dealing with the issue, and we see a huge vacuum of leadership—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I want to remind hon. members that they do not have the floor and it is not their option to speak at this point.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Madam Speaker, what we have witnessed is a huge vacuum of leadership coming from the Conservative Party of Canada.
    Mr. Todd Doherty: As soon as you guys got into Parliament.
    I just mentioned to members, one of whom is sitting right beside me and I am sure heard me properly, that there is no option to speak when somebody else has the floor.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Madam Speaker, I am trying to make a fairly simple point here. If we take a look at actions on this issue, we see it is not new. Not only is it not new, but it affects many countries, not just Canada. We can talk about the U.S. We can talk about some countries over in Europe. There are other democracies where we have witnessed and seen international foreign interference in elections. That has been happening for years now.
    In fact, when Stephen Harper was the Prime Minister, we all know that a report went to him at that time. Ironically, the minister who was responsible for democratic reform is the current leader of the Conservative Party. It is safe to say that while he was the minister of democratic reform under Stephen Harper, they did absolutely nothing when they were made aware of the issue.
    We can fast-forward to the 2015 election, when there was a change in government. We saw a number of changes by the Prime Minister and parliamentarians back in 2015 that made substantive changes in a wide variety of ways. There were legislative changes that, for example, saw Canada complying with what our other Five Eyes countries were doing by implementing a parliamentary committee of the House, which also has participation from the Senate, with the security clearance to investigate this issue in every possible and imaginable way.
    As we have seen, our independent agencies, like Elections Canada and CSIS, and the top security adviser to the Prime Minister have given opinions in regard to the issue of the 2019 and 2021 elections. The conclusion has been very clear: Any interference has not affected the outcome of either one of those elections. The Conservative Party is aware of that, yet its members choose to continue to flaunt the issue and ratchet it up in the hopes that they can get Canadians even more upset with the issue. When I hear of issues such as foreign interference, I ask what they hope to achieve. They hope to achieve interference, cause problems and confusion, and cause the public to lose confidence. That is what these agents from abroad are hoping—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

  (1740)  

    Order. Again, I want to remind members that unless I have asked for questions and comments, there is no option for them to be speaking at the moment and mentioning people by their names. Members should wait for questions and comments, because there will be five minutes of questions and comments for the hon. member.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Madam Speaker, the point is that the Conservative Party of Canada, in co-operation with a few others, is ultimately doing what a lot of these perpetrators of foreign interference are trying to do, and that is to take away public confidence in our elections. The Conservatives have no problem with feeding into that, even though every member of this House knows full well that we have had independent, well-respected agencies and individuals come forward and be very clear that there has been no impact on the last two federal elections. They know that for a fact.
    We can look at what has been brought forward by the government just recently with the establishment of a special rapporteur in the name of David Johnston. David Johnston is a former governor general of Canada, someone appointed by former Prime minister Stephen Harper, a Conservative prime minister. He is an individual with impeccable credentials. He is a true Canadian in every imaginable way. He has the expertise and background to look at the situation, as other independent agencies and individuals have done, and come forward with recommendations.
    The Prime Minister himself has been very clear that if Mr. Johnston comes back and says a public inquiry is necessary, that will happen. One would think the Conservative opposition, in particular, would respect that. Instead, what they are doing is assassinating the character of an incredible Canadian, much as we have witnessed over the last number of years. The Conservatives have no hesitation in making personal attacks on the Prime Minister or anyone else in the government.
    I would just suggest and ask that the Conservatives be more open-minded to doing what is in the best interests of Canadians, step aside on some of the partisanship stuff they have put on the table and recognize that David Johnston is in fact a positive way for us to move forward in dealing with this very important issue.

  (1745)  

    Madam Speaker, during the debate in the House, we received some breaking news from Global News, and I think the member would want to get to the bottom of some of the allegations that continue to come out. We have heard that a Liberal MP advised Chinese officials that they should keep the two Michaels held hostage in China for longer, because if they were released it would benefit the Conservative Party. Those types of allegations continue to drip out day after day.
    Is not the best way to get to the bottom of this foreign interference once and for all to hold a full independent public inquiry as soon as possible?
    Madam Speaker, it is important that we recognize, first and foremost, that Canada is not the only country where election interference allegations have been levelled. It is also important to recognize that China is not the only player. The Conservative Party always seems to want to raise the issue of China, whether it is over the pandemic or whatever it might be. I find that most unfortunate.
    At the end of the day, we need to remain focused. What has been assigned to our special rapporteur is something the Conservatives should be a little more patient and respectful about. Let us see what comes from Mr. Johnston.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, there is a lot of talk this week about the special rapporteur. People keep saying that he is independent. I have my doubts about that.
    I would like to ask the member for Winnipeg North a question. If the rapporteur is independent, is he objective?
    I am asking him the difference between independence and objectivity.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I believe that if we take a look at what Mr. Johnston has done over the years as an individual, a great Canadian and someone who has contributed, he is virtually second to no other in the capacities and roles he has had in our society. At the end of the day, I believe in his integrity and look forward to ultimately seeing his report.
    I suspect the member will see a government that is very proactive in acting on the recommendations that are brought forward. However, whether one is a member of the Bloc or Conservative Party, trashing this individual and throwing him under the bus or sandbagging him is very much disrespectful and completely uncalled for.
    Madam Speaker, yesterday, the Conservatives blocked our efforts to have an inquiry into foreign interference in the election system. Today, we are calling on the government to do the right thing, because we have to restore public confidence in our institutions.
    We just heard very disturbing allegations that a sitting MP gave advice about the treatment of the two Michaels. These were two innocent Canadians held illegally by the Chinese government. To think that in any way they could be treated as political pawns for the advantage of either the Conservatives or Liberal Party is shocking. We need to get this to an inquiry that has the tools to draw witness testimony and that can do this in a transparent manner so that Canadians get answers. It would also stop the Conservative leader from his character assassination against people like David Johnston, who have served our country with integrity.
    I have no problem with Mr. Johnston. I have a problem with the lack of a full inquiry, and I am asking the Liberals to do the right thing and restore confidence among the Canadian people at this time given the shocking allegations we just heard.

  (1750)  

    Madam Speaker, if I was to take a hybrid approach to what NDP members are proposing, I would suggest that one thing I like about their suggestion is that this be broadened to go beyond any sort of foreign interference in elections by China, because there are a number of players. I would also suggest that we take into consideration that Canada is not alone in this as a democracy. There is a much bigger picture to look at.
    I have full trust and confidence in Mr. Johnston being able to do what is necessary to provide Canadians a great level of comfort through the recommendations he will be coming forth with. I believe that will be happening before the end of May.
    Madam Speaker, it is always an honour to rise in this place to represent the interests of the good people of Regina—Qu'Appelle and represent my caucus as the opposition House leader.
    We need to frame what is going on here because what we saw over the last few weeks was a despicable display at committee, a mockery of the parliamentary process. We found out that the Prime Minister has known for years about allegations of foreign interference from the Communist regime in Beijing, specifically helping the Liberal Party. Chinese representatives of that Communist regime here in Canada said they preferred a Liberal government, and there are reports coming from The Globe and Mail, citing CSIS reports and national security committee reports, indicating that there is a large “clandestine network” of funding of candidates that is coming from the Communist regime in Beijing. Conservatives have been trying to shine a light on this at committee. We have all seen the lengths that the Liberals have gone to.
    Today is what is called an opposition day. Today is the supply day when opposition parties are allowed to introduce a topic and have a debate on something. Normally the government gets to set the calendar. This is its right, as it brings forward legislation, but a certain number of days throughout the year are allocated to each opposition party. For today, the Conservatives put forward a motion to call on the government to abandon its plan to increase taxes on beer, wine and spirits. That is what we are supposed to be debating right now.
    On Monday, we had a fulsome debate on this whole issue of foreign interference, and I should point out that Conservatives, at the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, indicated to the NDP that we are totally fine with expanding the scope of the investigation. We believe that if there are allegations of foreign interference coming from any country, they should be investigated. We were willing to work with the New Democrats on that. We were hoping that they would vote in favour of our motion on Monday calling on the Prime Minister's chief of staff to testify at committee. The problem was that they did not let us know. They kept ragging the puck. It was a very simple question. It was the exact same motion that we had proposed at committee. Even the NDP House leader had indicated his support at committee.
    It kind of reminds me of something that happened a little while ago. I was in the chamber and I saw the NDP House leader get up and try to indicate that the NDP opposed certain amendments at committee when it was dealing with Bill C-21. Of course, Bill C-21 is the piece of legislation that would massively expand the power of the government to take away lawful firearms from Canadians. I am not trying to mix topics too much, but the reason I am talking about this is that Conservatives recognized instantly what was going on. We saw it at committee. We said it was going to make unlawful so many firearms that hunters and indigenous communities use every season for their long-held Canadian heritage and history of using firearms legally.
    What happened was that Conservatives at the committee saw that not only were these bad policy amendments, but they were also out of order, beyond the scope of the bill itself, so at the committee, almost immediately, we asked the chair to rule those amendments out of order. The chair said no. The Liberal chair said that the amendments were in order.
    Why do I bring this up? At committee, the Conservatives challenged the chair. We asked our colleagues in the Bloc and the NDP to please support us on this as the amendments were out of order. The NDP voted no. The NDP voted to keep those amendments in Bill C-21, yet the NDP House leader came to this chamber and asked the Speaker to do what his team actually voted against at committee. He tried to take credit, saying they were bad. It was only after their MPs heard from their constituents, who told them how terrible it was. This is exactly what we are facing here today.

  (1755)  

    We have tried to give the opportunity to the NDP members multiple times to hold this government to account and yet, time and time again, they are showing Canadians that they would rather prop up Liberal corruption and help keep the truth covered, instead of shining a light. It is very disappointing. It is very disappointing that we see the NDP here on an opposition day move this motion. They are trying to come up with this phony story.
    Conservatives want a public inquiry. We have called for it. We were trying to get this report back in the House; we could have dealt with this last week. They are the ones playing procedural games and we are not going to let them get away with it. We are going to highlight to Canadians the hypocrisy that the NDP has been showing.
    I just want to indicate that I am splitting my time with the hon. member for St. Albert—Edmonton.
    In closing, I want to make a couple of points about this. I hear from colleagues across the way who are throwing all kinds of baseless allegations that are just not backed up by facts. Conservatives have been calling for a public inquiry. The first time the Leader of the Opposition raised this issue in the House, the Prime Minister said that he did not know anything about it, so we started to press. We started to call for this. We started to call for a full, independent public inquiry. What did the government do? It appointed a special rapporteur.
    I understand. I understand the hon. government House leader and I am hoping to have a discussion with him in a few moments, but it is important to set the stage for it.
    I will wrap it up with this. It is impossible to restore the confidence that has been shaken by the Prime Minister's inaction on this file without a public inquiry, not a special rapporteur with close family ties to the Prime Minister, not someone on the Trudeau Foundation board. We support the call for a full public inquiry and we are just disappointed that it took so long to drag the NDP kicking and screaming to ensure that the Prime Minister's chief of staff testifies at committee.
    Madam Speaker, we heard the hon. member speak at length, in fact, trying to make his party a going concern in this conversation, when even in its own opposition day motion, which, by the way, turned out to be useless, its own leader did not even vote for it. Could the hon. member please tell all Canadians, with all the bluster the Conservatives have just had over the last week, why, if their opposition day was so important, their own leader did not even decide to show up and vote for it?
    Madam Speaker, if we just replay what happened on Monday, if the NDP had just indicated that it was going to support our motion right from the beginning, the Prime Minister would have realized it was inevitable and we could have addressed—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

  (1800)  

    Order. I just want to remind members again, and I am sure those members were already in the House a while ago when I mentioned this, that when somebody else has the floor, it is not an option for them to speak. If they have other questions and comments, they should wait until I ask for questions and comments.
    The hon. official opposition House leader.
    Madam Speaker, as I was saying, if the NPD members had not turned their phones on silent and stopped reading their emails as we were trying to work with them to get their support, and if they had said, “Yes, we are going to support your motion and we are going to tell our coalition partners that we are going to support your motion”, we could have had all of this taken care of on the weekend and we would have been happy to move a different motion on Monday. If anybody was wasting the House's time with that, it was the NDP, taking so long, getting dragged kicking and screaming to do the right thing.
    That is why that happened on Monday.
    Madam Speaker, just after watching that exchange there, I cannot be more struck by the difference in position in 2004, 2005 and 2006 with the NDP leader at that time with the sponsorship—
    There seems to be some cross-debate here and I would just ask members to please wait until it is time for questions and comments, and for the hon. member who is going to answer the question to maybe listen to the question, so that he will know what he is responding to.
    The hon. member for Edmonton—Wetaskiwin.
    Madam Speaker, I just want the hon. member to comment on the difference in the NDP approach right now versus the NDP approach back in 2004, 2005 and 2006, around the sponsorship scandal. Those two positions, those two approaches, around transparency and holding the government of the day to account could not be more different.
    Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague was very active in politics. I think he joined the House in 2006, but of course he would have been watching all that unfold in 2004.
     Finally, at the right time, the leader of the NDP at the time suddenly realized that he could not keep propping up a government that was under that kind of scandal and with that cloud hanging over it, which ultimately worked out for the NDP down the road. The NDP ended up having a bigger caucus in the 2011 election after standing on that principle. We have seen what has happened in the last few elections under the current NDP leader, when the caucus has diminished after every election.
    I think the two things go hand in hand, and I appreciate the hon. member's pointing that out.
    Madam Speaker, again the member will not answer the question.
    The question was this: If the Conservatives' opposition day motion was so important, to get Telford to the ethics committee, which I am on, by the way, and it was because of the NDP that we actually got Telford to PROC, not their useless motion, why can the member not stand up today and explain to all the Canadians who are watching this why the leader of the official opposition could not even be bothered to vote on their own motion?
    Madam Speaker, why did it take the leader of the NDP two weeks to decide that he was going to do the right thing and ensure that the Prime Minister's chief of staff testified?
    If the hon. member wants to talk about why this or that happened, why does it always take so much public pressure to get the NDP to do the right thing? That is what the Canadians who used to vote for the New Democrats want to know.
    I come from Saskatchewan, the home of the NDP. Since the New Democrats decided to sell out their core principles, as they used to be in favour of transparency and ethics, they have been shut out of Saskatchewan. Their caucus has diminished in every single election. If they want to continue to show Canadians that they are way more excited to be part of the club, that they can make deals with the government and move pieces around and feel like they are more relevant than they have ever been while they are selling out their core principles, they can fill their boots.
    Madam Speaker, I rise in support of the concurrence motion, which was strengthened considerably as a result of the Conservative amendment brought forward at the procedure and House affairs committee.
    In the face of the alarming revelations of Beijing's interference in two elections that took place under the Prime Minister's watch, Canadians deserve answers. This interference has been characterized by Global News and The Globe and Mail based upon their review of CSIS documents as a vast campaign of interference in the 2019 election and an orchestrated machine in the 2021 election to help the Liberals secure a minority government and to defeat certain Conservative candidates. Canadians deserve to know about the scale of Beijing's election interference and what is really at the heart of this scandal, namely: What did the Prime Minister know, when did he know it and what did he do or fail to do about Beijing's attack on our democracy?
    In order to get to the truth, two things need to happen. First, the procedure and House affairs committee, which is seized with a study on Beijing's election interference, must be able to do its work unimpeded. It must do its work without the obstruction that we have seen over the past several weeks, driven by the Liberals but often supported by the junior partner of the cover-up coalition, the NDP. It is important that an independent public inquiry be called. This is a position that Conservatives have consistently supported. Indeed, we strengthened the very weak NDP motion at the procedure and House affairs committee, which I will get into momentarily.
    On both of these questions, what is the NDP's track record? Well, it is a pretty pathetic one. At the direction of their boss, the Prime Minister, NDP members joined with Liberal MPs at the procedure and House affairs committee to block the testimony of Katie Telford. They worked with the Liberals not once, not twice, but three times to block Katie Telford from coming to the committee. She is a key witness for getting to the bottom of what the Prime Minister knows and what he failed to do about Beijing's election interference. Again, it is what one would expect of the junior partner of the cover-up coalition.
    Then NDP members, no doubt facing public pressure, suddenly flip-flopped and indicated that they were supporting my straightforward motion to have Katie Telford appear at the procedure and House affairs committee. One would think that if they were posturing their support that they would welcome the Conservative motion that was brought forward in the House. However, all of a sudden, they flip-flopped again and voted against that motion.
    Now, in fairness to NDP members, they did ultimately support my motion when the Liberals finally ended their filibustering. Still, it took weeks of pressure from the public and Conservatives before they finally did the right thing and supported bringing Telford to committee. However, it must also be noted that they voted against a much stronger motion that Conservatives put forward in the House, which was voted on yesterday. The NDP, the junior partner of the cover-up coalition, sided with the Liberals and voted against a motion that had considerably more teeth than the PROC motion does.

  (1805)  

    In addition to that, as the junior partner of the cover-up coalition, the NDP has worked with the Liberals to cover up the production of documents at the procedure and House affairs committee, not once but twice. They voted against a Conservative motion proposing that the independent parliamentary inquiry review relevant documents, having regard for national security and other considerations. This independent review would have been instead of giving the government; the PMO; and the Prime Minister, who has so much to answer for, a veto over what is produced to the committee. The NDP voted against that. They joined the Liberals in blocking the production of documents.
    The NDP talks a good game about a public inquiry, but the motion they put forward at the procedure and House affairs committee was considerably weak. It would have given the Prime Minister the unilateral power to appoint the commissioner of the inquiry. What Conservatives put forward as an amendment was to say no, that the Prime Minister should not have the only say. If there is to be a public inquiry, as we believe there should be, such an inquiry must be truly independent. Moreover, it must be perceived to be independent. Therefore, our amendment provided that all recognized parties in this House should agree upon the head of the public inquiry to ensure not only the independence of that inquiry but the perception of its independence.
    In that regard, Conservatives considerably strengthened the very concurrence motion that this House is debating today. By contrast, the NDP were prepared to let the Prime Minister have a do-over of Rosenberg. There, the Prime Minister appointed a Liberal crony, someone who was the president of the Trudeau Foundation for several years. Not only was he the president of the Trudeau Foundation, but he also actually facilitated a $200,000 donation from a Beijing political operative to the Trudeau Foundation. We said that should not happen again. That individual was appointed to review the 2021 election, completely undermining the credibility of the findings of Rosenberg's report.
    Again, there we have it: the NDP members playing games, talking out of both sides of their mouths, flip-flopping and putting forward weak motions at PROC. They say they want a public inquiry, but they were prepared to turn it over to the Prime Minister. What we have is a completely unserious NDP when it comes to getting to the bottom of foreign interference, specifically Beijing's election interference. The NDP has actually spent more time criticizing Conservatives, trying to hold us accountable, than they have the Liberal government. We know, based upon all the reports and the limited documents that have been produced to our committee, that the government has a lot to answer for given that the Liberal Party was a beneficiary or that, at least, Beijing's objective was to assist the Liberal Party.
    Why would it take weeks for the NDP to get around to doing what should have happened weeks ago, which is for Telford to come to committee? After all, she is the Prime Minister's top political advisor. She is arguably the second most powerful person in the government, outside of the Prime Minister, and she was intimately involved in both the Liberal Party's 2019 and 2021 election campaigns.
    I am glad the cover-up coalition's junior partner finally—

  (1810)  

    

  (1815)  

    The hon. member's time is up.
    Questions and comments, the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.
    Madam Speaker, professional, apolitical civil servants have very clearly indicated that there was no impact from any international interference, particularly citing China, on the outcome of either the 2019 or 2021 election. The Conservative Party knows that.
    We now have Mr. Johnston looking into the matter. He will be coming back with recommendations. He is an incredible Canadian with impeccable credentials.
    Will the Conservative Party support his conclusions?
    Madam Speaker, first of all, Conservatives have been very clear that Beijing's election interference did not impact the overall election result in 2019 or 2021, but Beijing's interference may have had an impact in some ridings. If it had an impact on any riding, that is alarming; it is a matter of national concern, and it needs to be addressed. However, the Prime Minister has been entirely unwilling to do this; instead, he is dodging, deflecting and covering up.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, there are so many unknowns in this story of foreign interference that the government's refusal to agree to an independent inquiry is absolutely unacceptable.
    Three weeks ago, in the Special Committee on the Canada–People's Republic of China Relationship, I asked an RCMP officer that question. We now know that Safeguard Defenders says that the Chinese police stations start out as Chinese community centres offering help to the poor, helping them find clothing and shelter. Over time, these community centres become Chinese intelligence centres. Safeguard Defenders has documented evidence. Two such centres, one in Brossard and one in Montreal, were recently identified.
    Three weeks ago, before the Journal de Montréal announced that these two centres were now Chinese police stations, the RCMP denied before the committee that there were Chinese police stations in Quebec. At the time, we knew that there were Chinese police stations in Toronto and Vancouver, but the RCMP denied it. The RCMP is like the government; at least we think so. It denied the facts and, three weeks later, we read the story in the newspaper. There is much we do not know.
    What do the government and intelligence services know, and what do they not know? Does the RCMP know, or does it not know? What are they investigating, and what are they not investigating? It is absolutely unacceptable that we not get to the bottom of this with a fully independent inquiry.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I completely agree with my hon. colleague.
    He highlights to what degree the Liberal government has turned a blind eye to Beijing's interference, not only in our elections but also in other aspects. These include interference in our sovereignty, such as by opening up at least seven illegal police stations under the Liberal government's watch. Chinese Canadian citizens are being intimidated and harassed.
    What has happened? What have the Liberals done? No charges have been laid. No diplomats have been expelled. The best that the foreign affairs minister could say is that one diplomat's visa was denied. That is it. That is not a government that takes Beijing's interference seriously.
    Madam Speaker, I am confused. We heard the hon. member go on at length about the NDP, railing about the NDP and how he is very frustrated.
    I can appreciate that. We were able to get done, at his committee, what he could not over weeks of work, which is to get Katie Telford there. The member should be thanking us. Instead, he stands up to deride us.
    I am going to ask him the same question I asked the Conservative House leader: If the Conservatives' motion was so important, why did the Leader of the Opposition not even have the courage or the courtesy to Canadians to come in and support their own bill?
    Madam Speaker, I would remind the hon. member that it was the NDP that worked with the Liberals three times to block Katie Telford from appearing before the committee. That is the NDP record. New Democrats cannot walk that back, and they cannot hide from that track record.
    It was only as a result of public pressure and Conservative pressure, and the fact that we finally put a motion before the House to have a vote, that the Liberals capitulated; finally, the NDP capitulated, too. I guess the cover-up coalition finally recognized they could not—

  (1820)  

    The member's time is up.
    The hon. member for Trois-Rivières.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I am very happy to stand here today in the House. I would like to say hello to the citizens of Trois‑Rivières.
    For weeks now, we have been talking about China's interference, and for weeks, most of us have agreed that we need an independent public inquiry. I think we all agree on that, with the exception of a few indomitable Gauls. Usually we are the indomitable Gauls.
    What is at stake here is the public interest. There is no room for partisanship; partisanship is for elections. We need to act in the public interest. I must admit that what I am seeing is that the government is more interested in praising the leak than acting in the public interest.
    Those who work in ethics always try to determine the right thing to do, so long as the intent is to do good. This is a serious question that requires introspection and a certain distance from the issue. It involves being willing to discuss the issue in question. In ethics, one tries to determine what should be done in the circumstances. Our anglophone friends talk about doing the right thing, whereas in French we talk about ce que nous devons faire pour bien faire. Whoever wants to do that needs guidelines.
    Right now, I am unaware of any laws respecting foreign interference, so we cannot say that we will enforce the law. However, we will have to do something, since the current legal vacuum needs to be filled. In order to determine what to do, we need to determine what happened.
    In the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, of which I am a member, we recently raised many questions concerning foreign interference. We are talking about foreign interference from China, but we could also be talking about Russia, Iraq or any number of other countries. I would especially like to mention a question I asked a few witnesses the other day. I asked them whether the current government was familiar with China, and the answer was a resounding “no”. I asked them whether the current government understood China, Russia or Iraq, and the answer was “no”. It is hard to stop a leak when we do not know that there is a leak. In this case, we need to start by recognizing that there is a leak.
    Half-heartedly, feeling threatened, the Prime Minister recognized that perhaps it might be time to act. The decision was then made to appoint someone who would bear the title of rapporteur. European legislation often refers to rapporteurs. A rapporteur examines a situation, drafts a short summary and provides that summary. Unlike what is currently being alleged, the rapporteur will not decide whether there will be a public inquiry or not. The rapporteur will simply report facts. The person to whom the rapporteur reports those facts will decide what will happen. The rapporteur is being called independent. I will not question Mr. Johnston's résumé, obviously, but I will clearly question his proximity to the Trudeau family, with the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation—
    Order. There is a lot of talking in the House. I would ask those who wish to talk to leave so that the hon. member can enjoy the respect he deserves during his speech and so that everyone can hear what the hon. member has to say.
    The hon. member from Trois‑Rivières.
    You read my mind, Madam Speaker.
    I was about to say that in order to stop a leak, you need to recognize that there is a leak. We talked about the special rapporteur. The government says that he is independent. Not every interest is a conflict of interest. However, when we look at the interests, we have to sometimes wonder whether there is not a confusion of interests. Perhaps it is not a conflict of interest, but a confusion of interests.
    There is a saying to the effect that justice must be done and that it must appear to be done. It is the same thing when we talk about a possible conflict of interest. We must appear to be above reproach. In this case, the very presence of Mr. Johnston raises a little something we call doubt and doubt causes mistrust.
    What do we need to do here? Are we creating more mistrust? That does not make sense. Supposedly, we want to do the opposite.
    If my colleagues are not interested in my speech, they can just tell me. Apparently, they are not interested.
    I was talking about doubt. I would like to ask a question if I can be heard over the din of the many discussions—

  (1825)  

    The hon. member for Jonquière on a point of order.
    Madam Speaker, I am having a hard time hearing my colleague. I would like to hear what he has to say.
    Could the members opposite quiet down a little?
    I had not noticed that it was worse than before. However, if people want to have conversations, they should do so in the lobby. As I said earlier, it is important that the hon. member who has the floor be able to deliver their speech and that others be able to ask their questions and make comments.
    The hon. member for Trois‑Rivières.
    Madam Speaker, my colleague is having trouble hearing, and I am having trouble thinking straight.
    I was saying that we have a rapporteur. We are told he is independent. There must be no conflict of interest or confusion of interests. There must be an absence of appearance as well. I was saying that the mere presence of Mr. Johnston creates doubt. Doubt breeds mistrust. Mistrust breeds defiance. We saw defiance on full display last winter. We do not like defiance. We do not want to get to that point.
    However, I have questions for the government about this. They will precede the ones that will be asked of me. Nevertheless, what does it mean to call someone independent?
    In Latin,“in” means “in relation to”, and the word “dependence” speaks of a choice. Someone who is independent is free to make their own choices. Is the rapporteur free to make his own choices? I do not know. I have not seen his mandate, but I am going to suggest four other things we should rely on.
    Can we say that the rapporteur is neutral? I would be surprised if he was, because he still has to be for justice, for the public interest. He is not neutral.
    Is he impartial? Impartiality is often confused with neutrality, but they are not the same thing. Impartiality means being able to decide fairly by taking a higher vantage point. An impartial person has a choice between A and B. He will make his choice, according to the principles that have been proposed to him. Is he impartial? That is my wish.
    However, the two concepts that pique my interest are objectivity and subjectivity. It will come as no surprise to learn that the word objectivity comes from the Latin objectum which means “something presented to the senses”. An objectum is an object that is presented to oneself. It is in front of us; we see it. That is objective in English. We often confuse it with subjectivity, the subjectum, which is the person holding the object that is not yet in front of us.
    Is the rapporteur looking at the object or holding the object? I hope a colleague will ask me that question. I would love to answer that one.
    There is objectivity and subjectivity. I, personally, am looking for objectivity, to be honest. I think we need objectivity; otherwise, doubts will continue to persist and we will head down the same path again.
    Now the thing to do, and I am sure everyone will agree, is to act responsibly, and I am referring to what the government should do, not the rapporteur. The word “responsible” is often mentioned, but rarely defined. I will continue with my definitions. The word “responsible” comes from two Latin words. The first, res, means “thing”, and the second, spondere, means “promise”. A responsible person is someone who can promise a thing. Is the government being responsible in this case? To answer that, there is a little test with three questions.
    Here are the three questions. Does the Prime Minister or the government have the choice of means? In my view, yes, they have the choice of means. There are many means available to the government. Next, is the government exercising that choice of means, or is it stuck with just one option? I think we have a problem here. The first question is whether there is a choice of means, the second is whether that choice is being exercised, and the third is whether there is a will to act.
    As far the will to act goes, I think that if the government were any more reluctant, it would be dead. It is extremely reluctant to act, and this reluctance is not healthy for democracy. It is not healthy because even if everything that is being said were true, doubts are keeping us from finding out or understanding the truth of the matter. We will certainly insist on having a public, independent and, I would add, objective inquiry.
    I am adding an extra layer of difficulty here, but if the government is so sure that it is right, and I will give it the opportunity to respond, it should agree to make an objective choice, which cannot be done with the presence of Mr. Johnston, regardless of his credentials. I am the first to acknowledge academic value, but the shadow cast by doubt leads us to believe that this will not work out.

  (1830)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, Mr. Johnston, in his career, whether it was as Governor General of Canada, in his role on national leadership debates, or many other things he has done in his lifetime of 80-plus years, has been impeccable with his credentials. What is being asked of him is something I, and I suspect a vast majority of Canadians, would see he is quite capable of doing in an apolitical fashion and acting on what is in the best interest of Canada.
    Based on the member's speech, is the Bloc's position going to be that, no matter what Mr. Johnston reports, it will see no validity to the report?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, of course not. If he calls for an independent inquiry, then we will agree. However, I will say one thing. I will answer his question directly.
    Imagine if, hypothetically speaking, the government appointed someone who has had an impeccable career in the field of, say, ethics, someone who has received accolades around the world, who received an honorary degree and is known for his publications. Imagine if it said that this person was independent, but that he had campaigned for the Bloc Québécois.
    Setting aside my academic and professional record, would anyone have a problem with me being named rapporteur?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, if there is one person in the House I would trust with that role, it would be the hon. member for Trois-Rivières, because he is a subject matter expert. He has literally written books on ethics. I have the privilege of serving with him on the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, so I am keen to hear his thoughts.
    We heard about whether there would be credibility, but I would like to set that aside and ask him to create a distinction between credibility and legitimacy in the eyes of the public as it relates to public interest and just how deeply concerning this file is, particularly given some of the reports that continue to come out. There are reports that came out today which are deeply concerning.
    Can he perhaps expand on how he might feel about the value of a public inquiry that is completely independent, that is given the purview to have access to all the important information rather than taking information in drips and drops as it is coming out in the press today?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague, who sits with me on the the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, as he mentioned. I have to say that he always considers the public interest, which is remarkable. I will therefore consider his question carefully.
    The question was whether credibility or legitimacy is at stake here. In terms of credibility, Mr. Johnston's reputation is impeccable. However, the relationship between Mr. Johnston and the other interests is not. It is somewhat obscure or murky.
    In a matter as important as foreign interference, where information is being revealed in dribs and drabs every day, there is nothing better than to be lily white. One has to be beyond reproach, and that has nothing to do with credibility. It is something else. Therefore, I hope that we will have an independent and impeccable inquiry.

  (1835)  

    Madam Speaker, my colleague talked about objectivity and subjectivity.
    People sometimes say that objectivity is just mass subjectivity. I would like my colleague to expand on that.
    Madam Speaker, I thought he was a friend.
    To some extent, subjectivity is how one views an object. At the same time, we know that there are 360 degrees, and I believe that views can vary somewhat.
    I am not convinced that subjectivity could be combined, nevertheless we must take inspiration from the fact that there are a number of viewpoints and we cannot neglect any of them. That is why we must be impeccable.
    Madam Speaker, I really liked my colleague's speech. It was inspiring as usual. It leads me to draw a parallel.
    In 2022, I had the opportunity to visit a city in the former East Germany. While I was there, one of the first things I went to see was the famous Stasi Museum. The Stasi is the secret police that existed when the Soviet Union controlled East Germany. At one point, there were as many as 95,000 Stasi agents and 175,000 informers in East Germany. They were everywhere. The strength lay in the fact that nobody knew who they were, and that is how they managed to impose their reign of terror. No one knew who the Stasi agents or informers were. Basically, their strength lay in secrecy.
    The government does not want to launch a public inquiry, which I think would bring secrets to light. That is pretty much what we are seeing with the Chinese regime right now. I am trying to understand why the government would want to maintain that secrecy when what would weaken a regime like that the most is greater transparency.
    Madam Speaker, in 2015, I heard someone say that light was the best disinfectant. It seems clear to me. We could apply that concept today.
    When I was young, there was a dictionary we used at school that was called Je doute, je cherche, je trouve, which literally translates to “I doubt, I seek, I find”. Right now I doubt. The government does not want to seek, so we may not find.
    What I would like right now is an independent public inquiry.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, early on in this, there was some discussion about how this information was being leaked and the sensitive nature of it, as it is about national security.
    However, given the recent revelations, or at least what is being reported on and alleged, and I have to make it clear it is an allegation at this point, could the hon. member share, with his subject matter expertise on ethics, the importance for institutions such as the federal government to have built-in, whistle-blowing protections for civil servants?
    Even sometimes in the highest, most sensitive breaches, should they come across thresholds that may breach criminality, whistle-blower protections would be an essential foundation or component of protecting our democracy.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question. It is an exceedingly difficult topic.
    Protecting whistle-blowers is something many people are concerned about, but they are not doing anything about it. We need to get to the heart of the matter.
    It is important to understand that, at CSIS, for example, a whistle-blower is a person who has reached the limit of what they can tolerate. CSIS members serve the government, and as someone who knows a few of them, I can say that they care very deeply about their country. When they reach that limit, the situation becomes intolerable. When they speak out, they are doing their duty. They are not criminals; they are heroes. We should come up with a system.
     It is hard to understand, but we really need to consider creating a proper system for protecting whistle-blowers. If not, what is going to happen? There will be more situations like this one.
    Today, more allegations have been made by Global News. I have only one word to describe them: devastating. To add insult to injury, at a certain point, I think an independent public inquiry becomes unavoidable. We need to think about what will happen in the wake of this, such as a system for protecting whistle-blowers.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, could the member provide his thoughts on other international players? It is not just China that is involved in doing this. Could he provide his thoughts on that matter?

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[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I think that foreign interference has become more common in recent years because of technological advancements, but the tried-and-true persuasion techniques have always worked.
    Earlier I mentioned Iran, China, obviously, Russia and other countries. The United Arab Emirates are now surveilling more countries than anyone else. They have the technology, and they are open about it. They are among the most prolific spies in the world in terms of the number of countries under surveillance. No one is worried about them.
     Whether they are spying on Canada, I have no idea. One thing is certain, though: Surveillance is becoming increasingly common, increasingly harmful, and increasingly intrusive.
    To be honest, I would look much further afield than just China.

[English]

    I am glad to rise on this important issue. Time and time again I have stood in the House to talk about the importance of standing up to strengthen our democracy and our democratic institutions, and to talk about foreign interference being a persistent and real threat. The problem we are seeing throughout this debate, and I have been a regular at the PROC committee these days, is that the Conservatives have tried to make the issue of foreign interference a partisan issue when it is in fact a Canadian issue. Every single Canadian in this country, regardless of who they vote for, should be able to know that their democratic institutions are strong and that they protect against foreign interference.
    However, we have seen that the Conservatives stood by for years. They closed their eyes and covered their ears to any sort of issue around foreign interference until they felt it could be in their political interest. It was not a surprise to me, but it should be shocking to Canadians, that when the Minister of Democratic Institutions asked the Leader of the Opposition why, when he was the minister of democratic institutions, he did nothing to protect and safeguard our institutions and elections, he said it was not in Conservative partisan interests to do so at the time. That should tell Canadians everything they need to know about how reckless Conservatives are when it comes to national security and foreign interference.
    They keep speaking about how it is a cover-up or there is something Liberals are trying to hide. Talk about an incompetent opposition. They are claiming a cover-up when a 2019 NSICOP report that was tabled in this very House raised the issue of foreign interference. Talk about hiding in plain sight. I guess Conservatives prefer not to read the reports that are tabled in the House.
    We have not only been busy working on addressing foreign interference but we have also taken additional steps. The mandate letter of the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities talks about strengthening our democratic institutions from foreign interference. However, the Conservatives once again pretend this is something we have never talked about, that we have never discussed and that we are not seized with, but there is documented evidence that we are the only government that has put forward the most concrete steps to strengthen our democratic institutions.
    That is not to say that more is not needed to be done. In fact, we supported the study at PROC to look at additional ways and measures, and things that we could be continuously doing. The fact remains that foreign interference is going to be pervasive, and it is going to constantly change, so any member in the House, or any Canadian, who thinks they have the answer and we will never need to look at this again, is wrong. This is something that Parliaments and governments around the world have to ensure they are constantly staying on top of so these pervasive threats do not take hold.
    I also find it interesting that the Conservatives proclaim they support our national security community, yet our national security community has said that Canadians, and Canadians alone, determine the outcome of our elections, but Conservatives continue to undermine that fact. The non-partisan national security community has stated it time and time again at committee, but Conservatives try to undermine that. They try to sow doubt in our non-partisan public service. We do not believe in that. We trust that these officials are seized with keeping Canadians safe. Our national security community wants to ensure that national security documents are handled with the care and protections that national security documents require.

  (1845)  

    The Conservatives would have us believe that they should just release all of this information because a few members on PROC feel like looking at it, instead of going to the appropriate location, which is NSICOP, where every member of that committee has national security clearance, where there is extreme care given to the documents that are provided and handled, and where an enormous amount of information is provided. The committee is extremely independent, it tables reports and is extremely professional. Might I add, the secretariat is above all.
    I actually served on this committee, so I can speak with extreme passion and knowledge to the fact that the NSICOP secretariat is a professional resource that parliamentarians now have. In fact, NSICOP's reports have been regarded around the world for the work it has done, and the Conservatives want to ignore that fact and undermine the work that has been done. It is a multi-party committee, with representation from all parties and the Senate, so I find it interesting that the Conservatives do not want to use this committee that, in fact, we ensured was created in the House, where parliamentarians could access these top secret security documents in a way that is responsible.
    I think every Canadian would want their parliamentarians to treat national security with the seriousness and responsibleness that national security deserves. It keeps not only us as Canadians safe but those who have stepped up to serve and protect our country. However, the Conservatives, once again, continue to be reckless with our national security community, and I think Canadians have seen through that time and time again.
    It is also no surprise to me, but it is interesting that members of PROC and my colleague, the member for Kingston and the Islands, mentioned the behaviour of one individual on that committee who was actually pulled off. I also find it interesting that the behaviour and conduct of several members of the Conservatives at that committee has been absolute chaos. It has been partisan and has resulted in nothing. There is so much turmoil, and I guess Conservatives just going in circles, that Conservatives are abandoning their PROC members and saying, “Ah, maybe we should take this to ethics” where maybe their members can get it through the finish line, I do not know. However, Conservatives themselves are infighting and cannot seem to even stay on track with what their objectives are, because their objectives are not to strengthen our democracy; their objectives are to simply throw partisan grenades, and it is not working.
    I think that if we want to have reasonable and serious debate about—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Madam Speaker, if the Conservatives had come to this debate with the seriousness that it deserves, not only would their leader and House leader have not abandoned their PROC committee members in trying to punt this to ethics, where they might have a different result, but Canadians would also have more faith. The fact is that this is nothing more than a Conservative partisan ploy, just like their leader confirmed on why he never did anything when he was the minister of democratic institutions—

  (1850)