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44th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 217

CONTENTS

Tuesday, June 20, 2023




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 151
No. 217
1st SESSION
44th PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer



Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1000)  

[Translation]

Commissioner of Lobbying

    It is my duty to lay upon the table, pursuant to section 11 of the Lobbying Act, the report of the Commissioner of Lobbying for the fiscal year ended March 31.

[English]

    Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(h), this report is deemed to have been permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics.

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 13 petitions. These returns will be tabled in an electronic format.

Enhancing Transparency and Accountability in the Transportation System Act

Interparliamentary Delegations

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour of tabling nine reports from the very active Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group.
    As members know, parliamentary diplomacy is extraordinarily important, particularly with our largest ally. I want to commend all of the members who participated in this extraordinary work over the last year.
    The first report I will be tabling is a report on the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary congressional visit in Washington from May 23 to 26.
    The second report pertains to the congressional visit to Washington from February 6 to 9.
    The third report is on the congressional visit to Washington from September 12 to 15, 2022.
    The fourth report is the National Governors Association annual summer meeting in Portland, Maine, from July 13 to 15.
    The fifth report is on the Council of State Governments national conference in Hawaii from December 7 to 10, 2022, which was one of my favourites.
    The sixth report is on the annual legislative summit of the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver, Colorado, from August 1 to 3, 2022.
    The seventh report is on the 76th annual meeting of the Council of State Governments Southern Legislative Conference in Oklahoma, from July 9 to 13, 2022.
    The eighth report is on the 31st Pacific NorthWest Economic Region annual summit in Calgary from July 24 to 27, 2022.
    Finally, the ninth report is for the Council of State Governments Western Legislative Conference annual meeting in Boise, Idaho, from July 19 to 22, 2022.
    I thank members for their patience. As I said earlier, these reports represent extraordinary work by members in this House and the Senate as well. The U.S. is our most important ally, and parliamentary diplomacy is never more valuable than it has been in these exercises.

  (1005)  

[Translation]

Committees of the House

Environment and Sustainable Development 

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the ninth report of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, entitled “The Government of Canada's Planned Phase-Out of Fossil Fuel Subsidies and of Public Financing of the Fossil Fuel Sector”.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I have a dissenting opinion to present from the Conservative members of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development in response to the committee's report, “The Government of Canada’s Planned Phase-Out of Fossil Fuel Subsidies and of Public Financing of the Fossil Fuel Sector”.
    It is the Conservative members of this committee's belief that the report falls short in a number of critical areas, starting with the lack of a definition for what a fossil fuel subsidy is. Climate challenges must be addressed using concrete solutions, not ideological platitudes, and our dissenting opinion outlines some of our thoughts on the matter. However, I believe the summary of this report would be best summed up by a quote from somebody who is a bit ironic for a Conservative to quote on this matter, former Liberal insider and environment minister Catherine McKenna. She said as she was leaving office, “we eliminated all of the fossil fuel subsidies at the federal level”.
    It is an honour to table this dissenting opinion on behalf of members of the Conservative Party.

Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the ninth report of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, entitled “The State of Canada’s Access to Information System”.
    While I am on my feet, I want to thank the members who participated in this report and the witnesses. I also want to thank Nancy Vohl, the clerk, and the analysts, Sabrina Charland and Alexandra Savoie, for their work on this.
    I hope this report reflects the seriousness of the current state of the access to information system. The recommendations in this report are meant and designed to fix what is a broken system.

[Translation]

Canada Shipping Act, 2001

    He said: Mr. Speaker, I am introducing this bill today for workers and employers in the marine industry, a key industry in the Lower St. Lawrence and many other parts of Quebec and Canada that provides employment for many people and is a huge part of our daily lives.
    Today, the industry is facing a serious labour shortage. Vacant positions are not being filled, which weakens the whole supply chain. Given that just one missing crew member can bring an entire vessel's operations to a standstill, it is vital that we do everything in our power to ensure that we have new people to fill those positions in the marine industry and in our supply chains that depend on it. The government already held consultations in that regard in the spring.
    The bill that I am introducing today will be of real assistance to the government. It is a ready-made bill that proposes real action to solve a real and immediate problem that the government is already aware of. I therefore invite the government and all members of the House to set partisanship aside and accept the help that I am offering today so that we can work together, help, support and ensure the sustainability of our marine industry. Let us pass this bill quickly to save our marine industry and ensure that it has the labour force it needs.

     (Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

  (1010)  

[English]

Trans Canada Trail Day Act

    She said: Mr. Speaker, the Trans Canada Trail is the world's longest trail, stretching over 28,000 kilometres from coast to coast, and four out of five Canadians live within 30 minutes of it. The trail was officially connected on August 26, 2017, after 25 years of work by countless Canadians to make it a reality. In recognition of that, this bill would establish the 26th day of August as Trans Canada Trail day.
    While I am on my feet, I move:
    That the House do now proceed to orders of the day.
    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.
    Mr. Speaker, we request a recorded vote.
    Call in the members.

  (1055)  

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

(Division No. 389)

YEAS

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
Boulerice
Bradford
Brière
Cannings
Casey
Chagger
Chahal
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Cormier
Coteau
Dabrusin
Damoff
Desjarlais
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Dong
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Dzerowicz
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Erskine-Smith
Fergus
Fillmore
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Gaheer
Garrison
Gazan
Gerretsen
Gould
Green
Guilbeault
Hajdu
Hanley
Hardie
Hepfner
Holland
Housefather
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Idlout
Ien
Jaczek
Johns
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
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
Weiler
Wilkinson
Yip
Zahid
Zarrillo
Zuberi

Total: -- 173


NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Allison
Arnold
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
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
Desbiens
Desilets
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Ellis
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Ferreri
Findlay
Fortin
Gallant
Gaudreau
Généreux
Genuis
Gill
Gladu
Godin
Goodridge
Gourde
Gray
Hallan
Jeneroux
Kelly
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Kusie
Lake
Lantsman
Larouche
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
Morrison
Motz
Muys
Nater
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
Vis
Vuong
Wagantall
Warkentin
Webber
Williams
Zimmer

Total: -- 142


PAIRED

Members

Champagne
Garon
Hoback
Joly

Total: -- 4


    I declare the motion carried.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Online News Act

Bill C-18—Time Allocation Motion  

     That, in relation to Bill C-18, An Act respecting online communications platforms that make news content available to persons in Canada, not more than five further hours shall be allotted to the stage of consideration of Senate amendments to the bill; and
    That, at the expiry of the five hours provided for the consideration of the said stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.

[Translation]

     Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1, there will now be a 30-minute question period. I invite hon. members who wish to ask questions to rise in their places or use the “raise hand” function so that the Chair has some idea of the number of members who wish to participate in this question period.

[English]

    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Calgary Nose Hill.
    Madam Speaker, this bill deals with a very important topic, which is the sustainability of journalism in Canada. There have been many stakeholders from across the country who have expressed deep concerns, and I also note that, at various stages of the debate, there were many witnesses from different regions, different demographics, who participate in media in Canada who were not allowed to testify at committee.
    My concern is that, if the government is curtailing debate on this without a chance for every member to speak to the amendments that the government is suggesting it either will or will not support, the voices of regional Canadians who are engaged in the media will not have a chance to be adequately debated in the House.
    I am wondering, with the decline of local media in Canada, why the government is choosing to curtail debate on a bill that could, in fact, have some censorship provisions at this juncture.
    Madam Speaker, there is a reason why the bill is here in front of us, and that is because there is a huge power imbalance between the tech giants and local journalists. In the last 15 years, we have seen around 500 newsrooms close their doors: big and small; in cities and rural areas; English, French and different languages. That is hurting our democracy.
    This bill is absolutely essential. It is essential that we move forward. We had the chance to debate it here in the House. We debated it in committee for a long time. We went to the Senate. It was debated in the Senate. It was debated in committee at the Senate. It had the chance to go there. It is now time for us to pass the bill.

  (1100)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I really do not like that they are imposing time allocation. I think it is an insult to democracy and parliamentary privilege.
    That said, I do not agree with my Conservative colleague who said that people were not heard in committee when it studied Bill C‑18. I think everyone spoke to that bill. The committee heard as many people as possible and we had ample time to debate the bill.
    The bill was debated in the House and it was studied in the Senate. This week, the government is moving forward by imposing time allocation, and I find that deplorable. I would like to ask the minister if he believes that we could have dealt with Bill C‑18 in the House this week without resorting to time allocation. Or, on the contrary, does he believe that the Conservatives would have done everything possible to drag things out to ensure that the bill, which they oppose, does not pass?
    I deplore time allocation. Was it absolutely necessary to use it today? Could we have dealt with it this week in the normal course of debate?
    Madam Speaker, I will make an exception to the rule. I usually have kind words for my colleague. I still have very kind words for him, but the Bloc Québécois is being a little hypocritical. Bloc members never like time allocation, but they want to take credit when a bill is passed. They say that it is thanks to them that a bill is passed, and that they moved heaven and earth to do it. However, when it is time to vote for a bill to pass it, they hide. Let them show some backbone. Either they support it or they do not. It is one or the other.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, as my colleague from Drummond just mentioned, we had dozens and dozens of witnesses. Two of the key witnesses who came forward about Bill C-18 were from the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association and the Saskatchewan Weekly Newspapers Association. These newspapers, independent outlets right across Alberta and Saskatchewan, are the ones that cover cities and other places represented by half of the Conservative caucus, and they said Bill C-18 needs to be put in place, adopted as quickly as possible.
    We have Alberta community newspapers and Saskatchewan community newspapers saying the bill needs to be brought in, and we have Conservative MPs who represent those ridings fighting tooth and nail to block this bill completely, refusing to allow it through. To me, that seems to be hypocrisy and a clear contradiction of what Conservative MPs should be defending, which is their communities' interests.
    Why are the Conservatives blocking a bill that their community newspapers are calling for?
    Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague and his party for their incredible work on this bill. I thank the Bloc Québécois too, with the little exception here today. Its members did a good job too, because this bill is fundamental.
    The question is a very important one, but I have no answer for it because I do not know why the Conservatives are blocking such an important bill. This bill is good for big cities and small communities, and for papers and radio stations across the country. Why is it? It is because big tech is getting all the money, as 80% of all advertising revenue is going to two companies: Google and Facebook. The Conservatives seem to be comfortable with that. They are super happy. They stand up for the tech giants all the time, instead of standing up for small papers and small community radio stations. They do not have the guts to stand up for local journalism. We will stand up for them.
    Madam Speaker, here we go again. I have supported time allocation in the past. The budget implementation act, for example, took us months to get through, and it got to the point where I felt it was appropriate to say that we were hearing the same speeches over and over again and that we should move on. I also just finished supporting moving to orders of the day, because I also recognize we are at a time when there are a lot of partisan antics going on here.
    That being said, this is the fourth sitting day in a row when we are voting on limiting debate again. In this case, the Senate amendments came back last night. We heard one speech from the minister and one from the official opposition, and now we are being told to limit debate again. Does the minister recognize the implications this approach has for our democracy?

  (1105)  

    Madam Speaker, this bill is important for our democracy, because the media are disappearing. Almost 500 newsrooms have disappeared across the country: big ones and small ones; in cities and small communities; and in English, French and indigenous languages. So many have disappeared.
    That is why it is urgent to move forward. This bill has been studied in the House, in committee, in the Senate and in the Senate committee. It has come back here and it is time we move on, because too many newsrooms have closed their doors. We need a solid, independent, non-partisan news system in our country. We need the tech giants to contribute. That is why it is so important to pass this bill now.
    Madam Speaker, this is not about a power imbalance but the refusal of the legacy media to innovate. It is not up against links, as Facebook and Google do not advertise newspaper links; rather, it is up against Kijiji, Craigslist and, in Petawawa, even Jennifer Layman's Forward Thinking, where everyone in the valley goes to advertise or find a job.
    What this is really about is preventing news from getting to the wider population through the end result of not having news links on Facebook or Google. This means that Canadians do not get all the news that is going on.
    Why does the minister want to stifle the debate on the ability of Canadians to learn what is going on in their own country? What do the Liberals have to hide?
    Madam Speaker, history will remember the Conservatives as those who stood up for tech giants and forgot about all the media outlets in the different regions, including the regions they represent.
    Small media outlets from everywhere across the country, including in their ridings, have been coming to tell us that they are disappearing. Our bill will help those media outlets to survive and thrive, whether in English, French, indigenous languages or other languages. We need those small and big traditional media outlets because they are here to ask the tough questions. The Conservatives hate that. They do not want those media outlets to come here and ask the tough questions.
    Of course it is tough. Sometimes, it is not fun to answer the questions, but that is our job, and the Conservatives do not want to do it.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, let us cut to the chase. We are not talking about the bill itself here. I think that the Bloc Québécois, through my colleague from Drummond, has shown how hard it is fighting for passage of this bill and the good reasons why we must pass it.
    What we are talking about here is democracy and, for the last few weeks, the repeated use of closure motions and the repeated imposition of time limits on parliamentarians' debate. Limiting debate time is an attack on democracy. When I hear some members of the opposition rise to denounce it, I wonder why they unequivocally support each closure motion.
    We need to change our parliamentary rules to ensure that we have time to debate such important government bills, instead of seeing yet another closure motion being imposed at the last minute, which is anti-democratic.
    Madam Speaker, what I like about this is that the Bloc Québécois wants to have its cake and eat it too. On the one hand it is saying that this bill is very important, but on the other hand, it is saying that we must not move forward with it, that it is not voting with us on this motion, and that it is giving up on us and abandoning the people it wanted to support.
    The Bloc has done remarkable work. The member for Drummond has stood up the entire time. He was remarkable, as was the Bloc Québécois. However, now that it is time to move, there is a problem. It is one or the other. Either we end the debate and move forward with the bill, or we do not. The Bloc cannot have it both ways. It is hypocrisy pure and simple. Those members need to stand up and show some backbone.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, this debate is important to my riding. I met with Terry Farrell from the Comox Valley Record and Peter McCulley from PQB News. They talked about the sense of urgency right now, because they cannot compete with Google, Facebook and so on. PQB News had to lay off Scott Stanfield, one of the top local reporters in the Comox Valley, who has covered really important and critical stories. Now it is short-staffed and does not have the capacity to cover as much as it would like to make sure that the people in our communities are well-informed and not at a disadvantage.
    What we are seeing from Conservatives and finding out is that they are the gatekeepers for Google, Facebook and the big web giants.
    Scott Stanfield has lost his job, and we know there are going to be more if we do not make sure that local media outlets can produce good local media in our communities. Can the minister speak about the sense of urgency to get this legislation passed, so local media outlets get the proper financial supports?

  (1110)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague and the New Democrats for their overall work on this very important bill. I can say that they get it.
    His question points to why the bill is so important. It is not a silver lining for now; we need more, and we are doing more as a government. For example, we put in place a tax credit on labour. We put in place local journalism initiatives. We have the Canada periodical fund. These will support everything we are doing, and we are open to doing more.
    One thing we are not willing to do is to just stand down like the Conservatives and say that we are not going to do anything for our local media. That is totally unacceptable, and history will remember it.
    Madam Speaker, I wonder if the minister could reflect on how, when the leader of the Conservative Party had a press conference in regard to the budget bill, he said that he was going to speak and speak.
    His intentions were to prevent the bill from passing until the Prime Minister made changes to the budget. Now we have the Conservatives opposing this particular bill. They have already expressed an interest in terms of speaking and speaking in order to prevent the bill from passing.
    Would the minister not agree that, just as when the leader of the Conservative Party vowed to speak endlessly, without the time allocation, we would never have been able to pass the budget and we would not be able to pass Bill C-18? Would the minister provide his thoughts on that issue?
    Madam Speaker, this is a very important question. I want to thank my colleague for his work on this bill and the overall work of the government. He is a key member of the government team.
    Sometimes, it is necessary to use time allocation. With this official opposition, it may be used more, because they like to filibuster. The opposition likes to play with the tools it has to hurt our democracy.
    Bill C-11 is an amazing bill that is asking the streamers that we all love, such as Disney, Netflix and others, to contribute to Canadian culture, which is a good thing. Normally we would all agree on this. I know the NDP agrees. I know the Bloc agrees. The Conservatives are not too sure. That bill spent more time in the Senate than any other bill in the history of this country, because it was blocked by Conservative senators under the order of the leader of the Conservative Party. That is totally unacceptable.
    The Conservatives are trying to do the same thing on Bill C-18, with the budget and other bills. They are hurting our democracy.
    Madam Speaker, that is incredibly rich coming from a minister who used to decry any closure motions when he was in opposition.
    I want to point out that, from the time of Tommy Douglas to the time of Thomas Mulcair, over those 14 Parliaments, the NDP only supported closure 17 times. With today's vote, we are at over 40 times in the past two years that the NDP has supported its Liberal partners in shutting down democracy and debate in this Parliament.
    That is shameful behaviour. How can the NDP members stand over there and decry and heckle me now, while they are supporting one of the most unethical and most corrupt governments that we have seen in Canadian history?
    On the issue of the bill, I will just say this: The minister stands here and says he is supporting local media. The Liberal government has not supported our local community newspapers or stood up for the local content creators. By going forward with this bill, it is putting more power in the hands of Rogers, Bell and the CBC, rather than actually supporting those local content creators. They are demising our democracy in this country by shutting down freedom of the press through this bill, by cutting off the voices of those who want to be independent on the Internet. That is—

  (1115)  

    I just want to remind members not to be heckling or trying to yell out answers or questions while others have the floor.
    The hon. minister.
    Madam Speaker, the exact reason for this bill is to support the different media in our communities.
    As I have said, it is not the only thing the government is doing. We have put in place a tax credit on labour to help our newsrooms. This is money for our newsrooms. We also put in place the local journalist initiative for small outlets in different regions. We did this because they are absolutely essential. We have the Canada periodical fund.
    Those are three key programs, and this bill reinforces them. We have met with local small media outlets from across the country, from each of the ridings, from everywhere, and they want this bill. The bill also allows for collective bargaining. Small media outlets could get together, with 5, 10 or 100 of them, if they want, to negotiate as a group with the big tech giants, because, of course, there is a power imbalance there.
    This bill is extremely important for those small media outlets. If we look at what happened in Australia, because they have a similar bill in place, proportionally, the small media outlets got more than the big ones.
    Madam Speaker, I find this incredibly rich in the wrong sense of the word, this conversation going on about our small local news outlets and whatnot.
    This is absolutely not true. The Liberal government is never there for the smaller entities that represent our communities. They have asked for support, and they have gotten next to nothing. As a matter of fact, our local papers are required to even put how much funding they have received from Canadian Heritage on each one, which is minuscule compared to the billions of dollars the government has handed out to the big guys.
    I have trouble with the fact that we are shutting down debate on this issue. What I am hearing from the minister is not accurate, according to my riding.
    Madam Speaker, what is accurate is that this bill is there to support media across the country. As I said, around 500 media outlets have closed their doors. Big ones and small ones, in regions and in cities everywhere, have closed. It has a huge impact on our democracy that they are not there to tell their stories. In some regions, there is no more coverage, so the population does not know what the local MPs do in Ottawa. People do not know what the local provincial MLA goes and does in the capital. They do not know what the city councillor is doing in terms of making decisions. That is bad for our democracy. We have to be there.
    Contrary to what my colleague said, there are many programs in place. As I said, we have a tax credit on labour and local journalism initiatives, as well as the Canada periodical fund. There are many projects, and this would reinforce all those programs.
    Madam Speaker, there is some context that is important to remember here. We are using closure to protect Canadian jobs. We are using it to stop influence from web giants and international conglomerates that are impacting our democracy, our way of life and our ability to influence our communities. It is ironic that the Conservatives complain about that. They used closure against women's rights, a number of court cases in which the Supreme Court even ruled against them and a series of different negative things. This closure is meant to adjust and for us to have some independence from the international conglomerates that are influencing us right now. It is also to protect jobs, which is a much more progressive use of closure at this point in time.
    Madam Speaker, I agree.
    Madam Speaker, we are already seeing the ramifications of this piece of legislation. There are many small online news outlets that are already being blocked by Facebook. For example, there is Pipeline Online in Saskatchewan. Its users are already getting a message saying that, in response to Canadian government legislation, Facebook is restricting the sharing and viewing of news content from pages connected to news outlets in Canada. What does the minister have to say about that?
    Madam Speaker, the difference between us and them is that we are standing up for our independence. We are standing up for our sovereignty, and we are standing up for our democracy.
     Therefore, we do not accept the fact that some tech giants are threatening a government of a sovereign country. We do not accept that they are trying to intimidate Canadians or that they are trying to intimidate senators.
     However, for the Conservatives, it is perfectly normal. From day one, they have been supporting whatever the tech giants do. They even take their talking points and repeat them time and time again. We will always stand up for freedom and democracy in our country.

  (1120)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to come back to the minister's heated reaction. We know he is quite a passionate man and that this bill is important to him, but I believe he misunderstood the meaning of my question earlier. I really want to refocus my question on the concept of a closure motion.
     In its entire history, the Bloc Québécois has supported under 10 closure motions. When it did give its support, it was because it was truly crucial that the bill being considered at the time be freed up. In 2021, in regard to Bill C‑10, the Bloc Québécois even suggested publicly that closure be used and recommended that the Liberals impose a time allocation motion because the government had lost control of the agenda. Something needed to be done to move the bill forward.
    Right now, the government has not lost control with Bill C‑18. Everything is going pretty smoothly. We are in the final stage and there is no need to, say, free up something stuck somewhere due to filibustering. Earlier, I asked a question about the fact that we have two or three days left to debate Bill C‑18.
    Yes, I want to see it passed this week at all costs, but my question was whether the minister had given up hope of having the bill passed in the usual manner by the end of the week and that was why he was imposing the closure motion today.
    I would like to hear from the minister on this.
    Madam Speaker, the Bloc Québécois will be delighted to hear what I have to say.
    My colleague just said that he supported the concept of closure when the bill is essential. Bill C‑18 is certainly essential to our newsrooms across Quebec and Canada.
    The Bloc Québécois members ultimately lack that little bit of courage to say that it is important for them, even if it is no fun to limit debate. No one likes it, and no one got into politics to invoke closure. At the end of the day, they just do not have the courage to say that this step is necessary to get the bill.
    Right now, they want Bill C‑18, but they do not want to do anything to help the government pass the bill. They do not want to help. They could stand up today, vote with the government and the NDP, and show how important it is to pass it before the summer break. If they do not do that, then the Conservatives will block it all week.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, there is no respect for democracy in blocking every piece of legislation that the majority of members of Parliament want to adopt, and that is what Conservatives have done systematically. I remember the dismal decade of the Harper regime. The Conservatives imposed closure 150 times, and destroyed pensions, environmental protection, all kinds of awful things.
    We have a bill that is supported heavily by Alberta and Saskatchewan community newspapers. They have been saying for months that the bill needs to be brought in. How can members represent the communities of Grande Prairie, Red Deer, Lethbridge, Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, North Battleford, Medicine Hat and Swift Current by blocking bills for which those community newspapers are calling? It makes no sense at all.
    My question for the minister is simply this. Why are Conservatives blocking something that stands up for their communities and is good for their community newspapers?
    I want to remind hon. members, especially one in particular who mentioned that he was being heckled a while ago, and now he is doing the same thing to that exact member, not to heckle or try to answer questions and comments while someone else has the floor.
    The hon. minister.
    Madam Speaker, I would never heckle personally.
    However, the question from my colleague is extremely important. I really do not understand why the Conservatives from all those small communities are fighting this bill, which is there to help local media in their own communities. How can they do that? Why are they doing that? Only they can answer that.
    We can only look at the pattern of how often they only side with tech giants, repeating their points, to understand part of the question. They are not there to support local media. They absolutely do not care, which is a shame. Therefore, we will stand up for them.

  (1125)  

    Madam Speaker, we have just heard some comments about newspapers in Saskatchewan and Alberta, but not one of those are in my riding. I talked to those newspapers and asked what they wanted, and they told me. They are independent and do not belong to that group. They want the $60-some million back that would be given to the foreign nationals. They want that money for advertising, the 30%. They do not want that to be given to internationals.
    Also, when the minister said that we supported tech giants, he should go to committee and listen to my comments about big tech. It was the Liberals who agreed with me on big tech, while hammering away at it. You did not find me in the committee supporting big tech. We did not do it. I did not do it. The Liberals agreed with me on how I opposed the big tech. Therefore, when you keep saying that things like that, you should listen to the committee and my comments.
    I am sure the hon. member was not referencing me when he was saying “you”. I would ask the member to address his questions and comments through the Chair by using the correct words.
    The hon. minister.
    Madam. Speaker, I do listen to what is happening in the committee. It is very important for me, being the Minister of Canadian Heritage. I have a lot of respect for the work of the committee, and I have had the chance to go committee many times.
    However, there are many programs for local papers. As I said before, there is the tax credit on labour, local journalism initiatives, especially for small communities. There is the Canada periodical fund. We are open to work with the other parties to come up with other solutions. However, Bill C-18 is one of those solutions. It is there, it is ready, it has been studied in the House and in the Senate. It is time we move on.
    Madam Speaker, the minister has disingenuously stated that the bill is about helping local newspapers, when, in fact, the Parliamentary Budget Officer, who is a non-partisan figure of this place, has reported that with the bill, the tune of 75%, the funding would go toward CBC, Bell Media and Rogers. These are the three big broadcasters. I would ask the minister this. Does that sound like newspapers to him, because it sure does not to me?
    To the point from the hon. member who went before me, for our local newspapers in ridings like Lethbridge, where we have towns like Picture Butte, Coaldale or Coalhurst that are trying to make a go of it with one journalist, the bill would leave them out in the cold. There are hundreds, if not thousands, across the country that are in a similar boat. Does that sound like supporting local news to the minister?
    Madam Speaker, that is a bit rich coming from a person who quotes the tech giants all the time. She has been using their speaking points from day one. We are there to support media in all communities. Also, if the member looks at the example of Australia, the system we are basing ourselves on—
    Mrs. Rachael Thomas: Why do you not answer the question? Just answer the question.
    Order, please. I want to remind the hon. member for Lethbridge that she had an opportunity to ask a question. Whether she likes the response or not, she should not be heckling or trying to ask other questions.
    The hon. minister.
    That was very impolite, Madam Speaker.
    Mrs. Rachael Thomas: Just answer my question.
    If the hon. member for Lethbridge does not want to abide by the rules of the House, she can step into the lobby and air her views there.
    The hon. minister.
    Madam Speaker, when we look at the example of Australia, which has a bill similar to ours—
    Mrs. Rachael Thomas: Which failed.
    Again, the hon. member for Lethbridge is not respecting the rules of the House. If she continues, she will not be recognized for any questions or comments for the rest of the day.
    The hon. minister.
    Madam Speaker, as I was saying, in Australia, looking at its results at the end of the day, when all the deals were concluded, proportionally small media got more money than any of the big media. That is a big example—
     Mrs. Rachael Thomas: Oh, that is such a lie.
    The hon. member for Lethbridge will not be recognized for the rest of the day.
    Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Even in a heckle, the member for Lethbridge used a very unparliamentary word. I know you have already indicated that she would not be recognized, but I do believe she owes an apology for using the word “lie”.
    I would ask the hon. member for Lethbridge to rise and apologize, please.
    Madam Speaker, I said that the minister lied.
    I am asking the hon. member to apologize.

  (1130)  

    Madam Speaker, I will apologize for using that word. He misinformed the House.
    I would remind the hon. member that her apology was not quite what we were looking for. However, I do want to remind all members that there are rules of the House. Those rules include respecting the members who are speaking whether we like the answers or not. To challenge the Chair and not respect the rules of the Chair is not acceptable as well.
     I again want to reiterate that the hon. member will not be recognized for the rest of the day for questions and comments.

[Translation]

    It is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith the question necessary to dispose of the motion now before the House.
    The question is on the motion.

[English]

    Shall I dispense?
    Some hon. members: No.
    [Chair read text of motion to House]

[Translation]

    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): 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 would request a recorded vote, please.

  (1215)  

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

(Division No. 390)

YEAS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Ali
Anand
Anandasangaree
Angus
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Bachrach
Badawey
Bains
Baker
Barron
Battiste
Beech
Bendayan
Bennett
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blaney
Blois
Boissonnault
Boulerice
Bradford
Brière
Cannings
Casey
Chagger
Chahal
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Cormier
Coteau
Dabrusin
Damoff
Desjarlais
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Dong
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Dzerowicz
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Erskine-Smith
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
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
Morrissey
Murray
Naqvi
Ng
Noormohamed
O'Connell
Oliphant
O'Regan
Petitpas Taylor
Powlowski
Qualtrough
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Sahota
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
Weiler
Wilkinson
Yip
Zahid
Zarrillo

Total: -- 170


NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Allison
Arnold
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Berthold
Bérubé
Bezan
Blanchette-Joncas
Block
Bragdon
Brassard
Brock
Brunelle-Duceppe
Calkins
Caputo
Carrie
Chabot
Chambers
Champoux
Chong
Cooper
Dalton
Dancho
Davidson
DeBellefeuille
Deltell
Desbiens
Desilets
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Ellis
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Ferreri
Findlay
Fortin
Gallant
Gaudreau
Généreux
Genuis
Gill
Gladu
Godin
Goodridge
Gourde
Gray
Hallan
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
Webber
Williams
Zimmer

Total: -- 144


PAIRED

Members

Champagne
Garon
Hoback
Joly

Total: -- 4


    I declare the motion carried.

[Translation]

Bill C‑18 — Senate Amendments  

    The House resumed from June 19 consideration of the motion respecting Senate amendments to Bill C-18, An Act respecting online communications platforms that make news content available to persons in Canada, and of the amendment.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to pick up where we left off last night.
    I have to say I was a little disappointed. We had a great opportunity to debate Bill C‑18 last night, but we were cut off at about 6:30 p.m. in the middle of my speech. I had about 12 minutes to go. The classy thing to do would have been to let me finish my speech before interrupting the proceedings. Let us not talk about that right now. Let us talk about Bill C‑18 for the time we have left because, as everyone knows, the House just voted in favour of time allocation.
    During the debates on Bill C‑18, there was a lot of talk about money. Basically, people talked about the financial difficulties news outlets have been experiencing for decades, ever since the web giants came on the scene and helped themselves to the lion's share of advertising revenue. People have talked a lot about money, which is certainly important because that is the crux of the matter, obviously. That is what news outlets need in order to succeed and keep providing the essential service they provide: high-quality, independent, fact-checked, thorough information; essentially, news that meets recognized journalistic standards.
    Bill C‑18 will benefit the news sector. It will most likely help save many news businesses. That is the objective of the bill, and I think that it will largely achieve that objective. Today, I also wanted to talk about something else that Bill C‑18 will help preserve or even save, and that is journalism itself. We have heard all kinds of things about eligible news businesses and which businesses would benefit more than others from this bill and from the regulations and regulatory framework that will be put in place by Bill C‑18. However, we are forgetting to define and discuss journalism itself.
    With the advent of social media and digital platforms, it is true that we have seen the emergence of new types of news media, new types of businesses, new ways of disseminating information. However, we have also seen more news businesses engaging in what we might call advocacy journalism. In some cases, it could even be described as activist journalism, a form of journalism that involves embracing a cause and using the medium to provide news to the public in a way that is biased in favour of that cause. One example would be environmental journalism. We agree that the cause is worthy, but environmental journalists will always deliver the news with an activist slant. I have nothing against that, but is that journalism in the true sense of the word? No, not really, in the same way that a certain type of media outlet might have a political bent. I know some people will say that CBC/Radio-Canada has a pro-government, pro-Liberal bias.
    What is journalism, really? Journalism is a profession that demands a lot of meticulous work and a lot of passion. It has certain standards, certain rules that I would hazard to say are accepted around the world. Its first guiding principle is independence. What does independence mean for journalism and for journalists? It means the ability to work unfettered by the influence of a government, company, movement or cause. That is what journalistic independence means. The second guiding principle is handling the news in a meticulous way. That means having an almost obsessive passion for truth-seeking and fact-checking, while remaining objective.

  (1220)  

    The other guiding principle is respect for individuals and groups and respect in handling sources.
    These are the guiding principles of the journalism profession. I am not saying that advocacy journalism, activist journalism or opinion journalism are bad. However, they are not necessarily what we are trying to protect through Bill C‑18. That is why we included eligibility criteria in Bill C‑18. News outlets eligible under the regulatory framework proposed by Bill C‑18 will have to espouse a code of ethics. The code in question may not necessarily mirror the journalistic standards and practices of CBC/Radio-Canada or the ethics guide of the Quebec Press Council. However, the media outlet would need a code, even one scribbled on a piece of paper, that reflects its commitment to complying with the guiding principles of journalism.
    I think this should offer some comfort to people who think that Bill C‑18 will favour certain large media outlets that they believe show a bias for the government and could act as a conduit for the government's opinions.
    I do not think that what I am about to say will be a big surprise to members who did not participate in the debates on Bill C-18. My Conservative friends were not very supportive of this bill and they do not generally like what we call the mainstream media, the major news media outlets. I am talking about traditional media companies like CBC/Radio-Canada, Vidéotron, Bell Media and Québecor, of course. I am talking about these major companies that produce the news. The Conservatives find them biased because, in general, they take positions that are not relayed as the Conservatives would like, for all sorts of reasons. Generally, the populist spin gets filtered out in the mainstream media, which adopt journalistic standards and adhere to broad journalistic principles.
    I will now digress briefly, since we are talking about CBC/Radio-Canada. I know someone who has worked in the news service for a good part of his career and who received complaints from the public. On the French side, Quebec separatists have often accused Radio-Canada of being federalist and not reporting the news or doing so in a biased way when it comes to the separatist cause. Conversely, Quebec federalists find that Radio-Canada is a gang of separatists. This person I know told me that when it comes to the news, if he receives the same number of complaints from people who complain that they are being too federalist relative to those who complain that they are being too separatist, he feels that they did a good job, that they worked objectively and that they were “on the right track,” as my friend, the House leader of the Bloc Québécois and member for La Prairie might say. In short, it is all a matter of perception.
    However, there is something that is different about the mainstream media. I do not want to advocate for CBC/Radio-Canada, but in general, these major media companies are objective. Obviously we see biases from time to time, but not serious ones. These major media outlets must change course and correct the situation when they make a mistake, when they err, when they are, for example, partisan, or biased, or handle a news item badly. They all have mechanisms for receiving complaints, processing them and making retractions as needed. Knowing how to make retractions after recognizing that a mistake was made is also one of the major principles of journalism.
    I am talking about mainstream media, but I also spoke earlier about the new media, new forms of news media that we have seen emerge, media of all kinds. There is a lot of opinion news, as I said. I wondered whether these media had to be neglected. The answer is obviously no.

  (1225)  

    Changes are happening in the news sector. Everyone acknowledged that when we studied Bill C‑18. A lot has changed. The fact is that news companies need to adapt, transition to digital technologies and make sure they reach people where they are.
    Consumer habits have changed in recent years when it comes to the news. People get their news on social media. They go on Facebook, for example, or they search for a particular piece of news or subject using Google. These are now the ways we get our news. What is more, these outlets and general content companies sell huge amounts of advertising, since 80% of advertising is said to now be in the digital sector. I think it is normal that these outlets and these companies, which profit heavily from the news sector and the content generated by newsrooms, contribute to the content they are benefiting from. It is the least they can do.
    I am well aware of the fact that Bill C‑18 will not solve all the issues with the news sector, the media in general and culture, the latter being addressed more specifically in Bill C‑11. Bill C‑18 will not solve everything. There will still be problems and challenges. In my opinion, it is normal that governments come to the aid of a sector as fragile as the news sector. It is a fragile sector, but it is essential.
    Clearly, we will need more tools to help the media. That is obvious. The fund the Bloc Québécois is proposing would be a very effective tool, allowing us to collect royalties from the digital giants that are making outrageous profits and use them to support more fragile media, such as regional media. I think that would be a good solution.
    Once again, the Bloc Québécois is the party proposing solutions rather than simply opposing suggestions and obstructing Parliament. I would be very pleased to discuss this with my colleagues and to make a more detailed proposal to the government.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague. I very much enjoy working with him on the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.
    I enjoyed his description of journalists and what they do for our society. I wanted to ask him what he thinks will happen if we do not adopt Bill C‑18 and if we do not support our journalists. What will happen to our democracy?
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague. I too enjoy the work we do and our close collaboration at the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. Most of the time, our work has been constructive.
    There is a reason journalism and news are called the fourth estate. The news media has a duty and an important role to play in society. I said “important”, but I really mean “essential”.
    If Bill C-18 is not passed, more media outlets will shutter, continuing a more than decade-long trend. The news media are in trouble. Bill C‑18 is one of the tools we need to ensure their survival. If it is not passed, we could lose more media outlets, including regional media, which would be especially unfortunate.

  (1230)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I appreciate the member for Drummond. On the committee, we shared similar philosophies and asked lots of questions.
    The member has many small communities in his riding, as I do. We heard that of most of the money, maybe upwards of $350 million, 70% to 85% had already been negotiated to go to the big guys, like Bell, Rogers and CBC. What does the member think might be left for our small publishers, like the one-reporter papers? The Conservative motion to support those was voted against.
    What does the member think might be left for some of the small papers with one journalist, which I know he has in his riding?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Bow River because he is a staunch defender of small media outlets and the regional media, the local papers he talks about so passionately. He did a great job of defending them and representing them during the committee study.
    Originally, long before Bill C-18 was tabled, the Bloc Québécois's idea was that we should create a royalty fund financed by the web giants' profits. That is not what the industry wanted, so the Bloc got behind the idea of a bill based on what Australia did. That is what the industry and the whole community wanted.
    However, if there are smaller media outlets or outlets that are not eligible but are still essential to regional news coverage, then we should implement emergency measures to help them and support them financially. The fund I was talking about earlier could be added to a measure like Bill C‑18. It could target and clearly identify small media outlets, like the ones my colleague from Bow River was talking about, that will have a hard time of it because they cannot get ahead. Once the bill has been implemented, I think that there might be more of an appetite for that type of proposal.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague about the value of investigative reporting. The Fifth Estate, for example, and Marketplace are well known for their contributions to protecting public safety. I think back at the work that was done with the Toyota Prius situation, where public safety was very much influenced by the fact that the CBC broke that it was not coming forth. Our consumer laws are very much antiquated in Canada. I would like to give my colleague the opportunity to reflect on investigative reporting and its value in this debate.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I think that every form of journalism that respects the fundamental rules of integrity, independence, meticulousness and respect for people and sources is essential. In-depth reporting by investigative journalists striving to dig deeper into the stories is also essential, and we need to keep it alive as well.
    Madam Speaker, I was so eager to hear the end of my colleague's speech because he is proposing solutions. In the Bloc Québécois, we do not just pick fights. We propose solutions and stay positive.
    Now, we know that there is filibustering going on. We know that the official opposition does not support this bill. However, the committee heard from Mr. Sims, the father of the Australian bill. Yes, there were fears following that bill, but there are things that Bill C-18 fixes.
    Can my colleague tell us how this interview with Mr. Sims went and why Mr. Sims was unable to convince everyone?

  (1235)  

    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Repentigny for her question and her hard work.
    It is good to talk about Mr. Sims, because he gave us the Australian perspective. Australia is much further along in applying its code. Talking to Mr. Sims gave us a different perspective and insight into what our next steps would be. True, Australia has run into issues, but this did not diminish Mr. Sims' strong support for these regulations.
    I do not know why he was unable to convince those who were not already convinced. This is often how it goes. The parties have already made up their mind at the outset. The other side can make all the arguments they want, but it takes a modicum of good faith to accept them, and there may not have been any.
    Madam Speaker, it is very unfortunate that the Conservatives are trying to block this bill, because it would have benefits for community newspapers.
    I have great respect for the member for Drummond. As he well knows, the NDP moved amendments to ensure that small newspapers across the country could benefit from this bill.
    I know that my colleague knows the regions of Quebec well, as do I. I would like him to talk a bit about the impact that this bill will have on Côte-Nord, Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean, Gaspésie, Abitibi—Témiscamingue, Centre-du-Québec, Estrie, and all the other regions where community newspapers are struggling because the web giants are collecting all the advertising revenue.
    How will this bill have a positive impact on these regions?
    Madam Speaker, when a journalist loses their job in a region like Côte-Nord, it is not just serious, it is tragic. The news that comes from community media or other small regional media outlets, which are often newsrooms run on a shoestring budget, is vital.
    It is these news media outlets, which are often run by passionate people covering three or four jobs in the radio station or the small local newspaper, that transmit critical news to residents. If this service disappears because Google and Facebook act in bad faith and neglect these media outlets in negotiations or simply skip over them and ignore them under any pretext, such as a lack of money, something absolutely must be done. We need to be there to support them and help them survive.
    It is not the size of the media outlet that is important, or the number of journalists in the newsroom. As I was saying, they too must be saved because they are essential. Whether there are one of them or 12, they provide a service to the public that must be maintained at all costs.
    We have time for a very brief question from the parliamentary secretary.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I know the Bloc is against the time allocation but does the member really believe that, without time allocation, we would not be able to get this bill passed before the summer?
    Does he think that the Conservatives would stop—
    The hon. member for Drummond.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, it was very brave of you to ask my colleague from Winnipeg North to ask a very brief question, but he managed it, and I congratulate him. My answer will be brief.
    I do not know. We will never know, because of the time allocation motion adopted earlier. I would have liked to give democracy a chance over the next few days to extend the debate into Thursday or Friday. We could have done that, correct?

[English]

Privilege

Alleged Breach of Member's Right to Information  

[Privilege]
    Madam Speaker, it is not with pleasure but dismay that I rise to add to the question of privilege first raised last Thursday by the member for Calgary Nose Hill and discussed yesterday. I have now also received information from an access to information request, and it is my earliest opportunity to bring forward my concerns regarding a breach of my privilege. The package shows that the government deliberately held back information I sought from the Minister of Natural Resources through written Questions Nos. 984 and 1050, which were submitted on November 17, 2022, and November 30, 2022, respectively.
    We all know that normally, OPQs come back with information responding to questions, which is my right as a member of Parliament to know. Most importantly, it is my duty to get answers for my neighbours in Lakeland and other Canadians about the Liberal government's plans and promises.
    I filed these OPQs to ask about the status of LNG projects. They are very important to the communities where they are languishing and to our country's future. They were also about the costs that the federal government cites relative to environmental targets in Canada.
    The information from the ATIP reveals that staff from Natural Resources Canada deliberately attempted to deny me answers, and therefore all Canadians, by using vague language and redirecting to publicly available Government of Canada and external non-governmental sources. In fact, in both instances, the replies did not include a single specific figure that was explicitly requested.
    Privilege, in my view, is what enables me to work on behalf of the people of Lakeland who sent me here, and this breach of my privilege is not the first time the Liberal government has tried to avoid answering questions from members of Parliament. On February 2, the Speaker ruled on a point of order made by the member for Calgary Nose Hill at that time and said that providing the House with accurate information is “a fundamental [right] and it is a central accountability mechanism”, a concept with which I think all of us agree. Recently, on June 5, my colleague and neighbour from Battle River—Crowfoot raised similar concerns about the status of OPQs, and now we have this, in my case. Unfortunately, it is a pattern, really, of blocking the legitimate right of MPs to ask questions of the government on behalf of the Canadians we represent and to whom we must be accountable, which is really, in my view, the most important aspect of this debate.
    I have also learned that, in my case, I was specifically targeted in this disinformation campaign in the government's preparation of the response to Question No. 984. A departmental comment in the ATIP says that Natural Resources Canada and Environment Canada will only reference public sources and use “the same response in the inquiry of ministry.” In the response to Question No. 1050, the parliamentary affairs unit's notes state that the language used in response to this question was reused from a similar response, saying the “Minister's office confirmed approval of language, and the response was submitted to the Privy Council Office.”
    In this ATIP file, it is apparent that there are several records of discussions and meetings held to strategize about how to withhold information from opposition members of Parliament. Notably, in this case, it was from Conservative members of Parliament.
    Page 85 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice states:
...when it is alleged that a Member is in contempt for deliberately misleading the House: one, it must be proven that the statement was misleading; two, it must be established that the Member making the statement knew at the time that the statement was incorrect; and three, that in making the statement, the Member intended to mislead the House.
    It is certainly not my place to interpret or declare how that ought to be read, but I must say that insofar as the request for information was made to the minister, it seems his staff, acting either on his behalf or independently, is deliberately blocking or limiting the information in responses, so that part seems uncomfortably relevant to me.

  (1240)  

    Members have often raised concerns about inaccurate and omitted information in responses to Order Paper questions, but recently these responses are even worse, as highlighted by the ones I have received, and it is now clear why: Deliberately misleading members is apparently a priority topic of discussion among senior staff in the minister's office and the departments. These discussions clearly demonstrate a deliberate plan to present information better suited to the communication needs of the minister instead of a commitment to providing complete and accurate information to Parliament and therefore to all Canadians. Unfortunately, it is a fact that this seems to reflect a pattern overall, which is the opposite, of course, of openness, transparency and accountability, as the Information Commissioner has noted frequently over the past eight years and also recently.
    I find it very concerning that the specific conversation among staff on Friday, January 27, 2023, completely acknowledged that there was a “communications risk” for the use of “high-level limitation language that does not answer the written question from an MP.” In considering that risk to them, the deputy chief of staff to the Minister of Natural Resources said, “I'm expecting the Speaker to tut tut and then say it is not for him to judge the quality of a response”. Therefore, political staff are intentionally weighing the publicity and PR risk in providing the important information I am entitled to as a member of Parliament, importantly on behalf of the people I represent.
    What is interesting in the correspondence regarding this ATIP request is that it acknowledges that the ruling is clear and that previous rulings have said, “There are no provisions in the rules for the Speaker to review government responses to questions.” The Speaker has referenced this exact wording 13 times since the Liberals took power. However, what is now explicitly clear, as highlighted by the exchanges in this ATIP, is that senior political and departmental staff are using that ruling to withhold information. They are also presuming that they know how the Speaker will respond to and rule on insufficient answers to Order Paper questions from members of Parliament. I think it is quite serious that ministerial staff are using previous Speaker rulings as a shield from doing their job and fulfilling their responsibility to provide the accurate, complete and fulsome information requested by MPs for all Canadians.
    I want to close by making clear why this is so deeply concerning to me. As a member of Parliament, best representing my constituents is my absolute number one priority. It is my guiding light and the whole and only reason I am here. I trust that the Speaker will take under due consideration in deliberations what this kind of opaqueness and this deliberate attempt to withhold information really say about the ability of members of Parliament to do the core, fundamental, highest-priority, all-consuming duty and responsibility we have to do here on behalf of the people we represent.

  (1245)  

    I thank the hon. member for her words. They will be taking under due consideration.
    The hon. member for Saskatoon West is rising on the same question of privilege.
    Madam Speaker, I want to comment on the question of privilege raised by the member for Calgary Nose Hill on June 15 and again on June 19, as well as the subsequent interventions by my colleague from Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola on June 19 and the one we just heard from the member for Lakeland.
    On June 9, the answers to four Order Paper questions that I had previously submitted were tabled in this House: Question No. 1435, which was about a further breakdown of application processing times; Question No. 1436, which was about IRCC spending on settlement services; Question No. 1437, which was on other departments' spending on settlement services; and Question No. 1438, which was for the temporary resident to permanent resident program, with specific questions about the Whitehorse office. For everyone's information, I am going to review these in reverse order.
    In my opinion, Questions Nos. 1438 and 1437 were answered thoughtfully and thoroughly by the government. Questions Nos. 1436 and 1435 were not, which is why they are relevant to this question of privilege.
    Question No. 1436 came back with the following answer:
...Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, IRCC, undertook an extensive preliminary search in order to determine the amount of information that would fall within the scope of the question and the amount of time that would be required to prepare a comprehensive response. IRCC concluded that producing and validating a comprehensive response to this question would require a manual collection of information that is not possible in the time allotted and could lead to the disclosure of incomplete and misleading information.
    Question No. 1435, answered by the same department, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, and signed by the parliamentary secretary, suggested that I look up a website, as they did not want to actually provide the information in written form.
    Madam Speaker, I believe if you examine Questions Nos. 1437 and 1436, you will see that IRCC deliberately set out to avoid answering the questions. That is why they are relevant to this question of privilege. We should remember that I said that Question No. 1437 was answered thoughtfully and thoroughly by the government. The wording of Question No. 1436 is exactly the same as that in Question No. 1437, with the exception that Question No. 1436 applies to only one government department, IRCC, and Question No. 1437 applies to every other department within the Government of Canada.
    There are instructions in Question No. 1437 to every government department on how to answer the question, and to the credit of every department, with the exception of IRCC, they all answered the question. If every government department can run the same searches, collate the information, put it in a spreadsheet and answer Question No. 1437, then why can IRCC not answer the same question in Question No. 1436? Question No. 1436 already asks for information that the government breaks down in its estimates and the public accounts generally, but not to the degree that I was looking for. I asked the question on the assumption that if IRCC tracks this information for reporting to Parliament in the estimates and public accounts, then it should not have an issue breaking this information down further, especially as we are in the main estimates cycle.
    Madam Speaker, I believe that once you take a look at these two questions and answers side by side, you will see a clear case of obfuscation on behalf of IRCC to answer Question No. 1436. Therefore, Order Paper Question No. 1436 must be looked at as part of my colleague's question of privilege.
    I will quickly touch upon Order Paper Question No. 1435 and the answer that came back from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. I believe you must also take that into consideration during your deliberations on my colleague’s question of privilege.
    As you are more than capable of reading the answer for yourself, Madam Speaker, I will quote part of the answer:
...IRCC undertook an extensive preliminary search to determine the amount of information that would fall within the scope of the request to provide details of the tables provided in annex A in response to Order Paper question Q-1146 broken down by category and country of origin. The data elements identified for this response would be too large to provide and could lead to the disclosure of incomplete and misleading information.
    However, application processing times for selected categories are available by country at the IRCC Check Processing Times – Canada.ca website.
    You will note from this answer and my original question, Madam Speaker, that I was asking for further information from a previous Order Paper question that I had asked, Question No. 1146. If you were to look at the answer tabled for Question No. 1146 on March 20, 2023, you would see that IRCC made a concerted effort to actually answer this question in a thoughtful manner. Indeed, it was the thoroughness of this answer that prompted me to ask Question No. 1435, which simply read, “With regard to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and the government's response to Order Paper question Q-1146: what are the details of the tables provided in Annex A, broken down by category and country of origin?”

  (1250)  

    It is a department whose job it is to track people by country of origin and immigration stream; I simply asked the department to provide that information, based upon a search it had previously conducted for Question No. 1146. Indeed, according to IRCC's departmental plan 2022-2023, which has been tabled in the House and forms part of the estimates, the department has three core responsibilities, including no. 2: immigrant and refugee selection and integration. This question goes to the very heart of the department's core responsibilities. Therefore, the department officials' deliberate decision to, in Questions Nos. 1435 and 1436, withhold information that they had access to is relevant to the question of privilege raised by my colleague from Calgary Nose Hill.
     On June 22, we are coming to the end of the supply cycle, and, as members of Parliament, we will be asked to vote on tens of billions of dollars of money for the government to run various government departments. Written questions are one way that we, as MPs, are able to get information from the government in order to make informed decisions when we vote upon those estimates. I framed my Order Paper questions with the understanding that a) this information was available and within the scope of what Parliament was entitled to while examining the estimates; b) that the government would not intentionally block a member of Parliament from doing their job; and c) that there was still a modicum of respect left in the House of Commons, from the government to opposition MPs, to allow us to do our job and to hold the government to account.
    With the extra information I have provided, and with all due respect to you, Madam Speaker, I urge you to look at the pattern of disrespect that the government has shown to the opposition throughout the Order Paper question process and to rule in favour of my colleague's question of privilege.

  (1255)  

    That will be taken into consideration by the Speaker.
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby.

[Translation]

Online News Act

[Government Orders]
    The House resumed consideration of the motion respecting Senate amendments to Bill C‑18, An Act respecting online communications platforms that make news content available to persons in Canada, and of the amendment.
    Madam Speaker, I am happy to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-18. I hope that this will be the last debate in the House about this bill, because, as we all know, it is extremely important.
    For years, newspapers have been talking about the importance of passing a bill like this one. For months, the Conservatives have been trying to block the bill at every step. They wanted to block it in committee, they wanted to block it in the House. Now that the Senate has given its preliminary approval and we are at the last step, sending the bill to the Senate for final approval, the Conservatives want to block it again.
    I will talk about that later, because it is important to point out the differences between what the communities represented by Conservatives are calling for and what the Conservatives are giving them.
    The most important thing to realize is the devastating situation community media are facing across the country. We are talking about 450 local newspapers and community radio stations that have closed in the past decade, losses that have taken a heavy toll across Canada. Why?
    We know full well why. It is because the web giants have eaten up all the advertising money. We are talking about billions of dollars that have been taken away from our communities and sent outside the country, to web giants that pay little if any income tax, make no contribution to Canada, and simply want to funnel our money across our borders. It was important that the government took action.
    The NDP has been saying so for years. We should have taken the appropriate measures years ago. We would not have lost the 450 local newspapers and community radio and television stations that closed because of the legislative vacuum that enabled the web giants to do whatever they wanted. Finally, the government did something. I say “finally”, because it usually takes the Liberals time to act. The NDP and the Bloc Québécois, through my colleague from Drummond, really pushed for action.
    The bill is finally here, but the Conservatives, for reasons I do not understand, have systematically blocked it. Once again, I will say that there are two Bloc parties in the House. Of course, there is the Bloc Québécois, but there is also the “block everything” party, the Conservative Party, which blocks anything that could benefit all Canadians, which is unfortunate.
    That is just what the framework would do. I want to talk about what it could represent for French-language newspapers in Acadia and even in western Canada. We can see the benefits for all the regions of Quebec and northern Ontario and the benefits for French-language newspapers everywhere. For them, it will make a big difference.

[English]

    Let me tell the House about what a difference it makes in New Westminster—Burnaby. I mentioned earlier that a bit more than 450 news outlets have closed over a bit more than the past decade, because of the billions of dollars that have been siphoned out of this country, vacuumed out of the country by big technology companies that pay very little or no income tax and do very little to benefit the country. All they want to do is take money out. Bill C-18 would finally level the playing field so news outlets could actually negotiate. I will come back to the moment when the NDP achieved the transformation in Bill C-18 so that it really would do what it was intended to do.
    However, out of those 450 outlets, I want to talk about two that were in my riding, the Burnaby News Leader and the New Westminster News Leader, two of those outlets that simply had to close because big tech was taking all the money out of my riding.

  (1300)  

    The reason I am supporting Bill C-18, from a personal standpoint, is that I see those publications that remain, like the Burnaby Now and the Royal City Record, doing remarkable work every day, reporting on our communities, and I see new news outlets that are also looking to take advantage of Bill C-18 and to finally start to get the money that has been vacuumed out of the community. The Burnaby Beacon and the New West Anchor are terrific new publications that are really exciting our communities.
    The important thing is that, when we see the onslaught of hate provoked by foreign troll farms in the United States or the far-right troll farms we see out of Moscow's Internet Research Agency trying to pull apart our communities, what we need are good local journalists bringing our communities back together. That is the counter to the amount of devastating homophobia and transphobia, the anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, the racism and the misogyny we have seen across this country, deliberately fomented through the big tech giants that do not seem to want, in any way, to stop this flow of toxic hate.
    The antidote to this is local community journalists' telling us about each other, telling us about our neighbours and bringing our communities back. For the crisis we have of toxicity and hate, created by the far right in a deliberate way, the antidote is reinvesting in community journalism that brings people back together. Within the four publications I have just mentioned in the communities I represent proudly, New Westminster and Burnaby, those journalists and those publications every day do that work to bring people back, and this is essential. That is why we are so supportive of Bill C-18.
    Before I talk about what the NDP achieved, I want to come back to the issue of community representation and what it means when we see Conservative MPs trying to block this bill for months and months at every single step. I want to mention two of the most compelling witnesses we had before the Canadian heritage committee about Bill C-18, representatives from the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association and the Saskatchewan Weekly Newspapers Association. Both of them said, on behalf of publications from across Alberta and across Saskatchewan, that this bill is absolutely needed. They said there need to be some improvements, and I will come back to that in a moment, but that this bill is essential. They told us to get it passed.
    That was the message they sent to all of us, though it is fair to say it was to the New Democrats, because of our long roots in Saskatchewan and also because of the breakthroughs we have seen in Alberta. As members know, since the recent Alberta election, every single MLA in the city of Edmonton is now a New Democrat. There were no Conservatives elected at all, provincially, in Edmonton. Most of the MLAs now representing Calgary are from the NDP as well. There are a few Conservatives left, but not many. That new breakthrough in Edmonton and Calgary is important, so we take the issue of community representation very seriously. When the Alberta community newspapers and the Saskatchewan community newspapers speak out, we believe they need to be heeded.
     I think it is fair to say that even though the Bloc does not have any members in Alberta and Saskatchewan, they understood. The Liberals understood. The Conservatives represent those communities, and let us mention the communities we are talking about. In Alberta, Grande Prairie, Red Deer, Lethbridge, and Medicine Hat are all proud communities with important publications, and they are represented by Conservatives. What did Conservatives do? They said they are going to block this bill, that they do not care about community publications and that they are going to everything they can to block this bill, rather than work with the other parties to actually get it through. Let us talk about Saskatchewan. Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, North Battleford, and Swift Current, again, are communities that are currently represented by a Conservative MP who was trying to block the bill that the newspapers within the Saskatchewan Weekly Newspapers Association were trying to get passed.
    What did the NDP do? The NDP, more than any other party, brought forward amendments to improve the bill. We wanted the bill to work. The Conservatives have mentioned a PBO report. The PBO, of course, references the old bill. The Conservatives do not point that out, and for full disclosure, they really should say “the PBO report that was published prior to the NDP members' working, as they always do, as the worker bees in Parliament, to improve the bill to make the bill much better”. A PBO report today would show what we did, and what we did was allow for that input of community newspapers.

  (1305)  

    The reality is that now a community newspaper, a one-person, sole-proprietorship that has a half-time journalist, would be eligible for the program. Because of the NDP amendments, they are covered by the bill. The NDP worked hard to include those smaller publications from communities across Alberta and Saskatchewan. We followed what the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association and Saskatchewan Weekly Newspapers Association called for. When we put that into place, we made the bill better.
    The NDP had more amendments to the bill than all the other parties combined, and we are proud of that record. As worker bees, that is what we do. We take legislation, and we make it better. Members realize that the NDP are the workers bees of Parliament. We are here to get the job done and make things better. Bill C-18 is absolutely one of those examples.
    Members would think that the Conservative MPs who represent those communities would say, “Golly gee, you New Democrats have done amazing work again and have made the bill reflect my community's interest. I am going to vote for it.” However, they did not. On the contrary, they said, “No, we're still going to block because we do not really have a reason. We just like blocking stuff.”
     There are two Bloc parties in the House: the Bloc Québécois and the “block everything” party. The “block everything” is the Conservative Party, which just blocks legislation, whether it is dental care, child care or providing support to their community newspapers. Conservatives say that they are going to block everything. They do not know why. They just like to block stuff.
    I guess the voters will make their choice. We certainly saw in the Alberta election that Edmontonians and Calgarians were saying that they did not like the Conservatives anymore and elected New Democrats right across the board in Edmonton and Calgary.
    However, we made that difference and improved that legislation, which is really our job. Now, the important thing is to get it implemented.
    I also want to comment about how some of the web giants have been acting, such as Google and Meta, in trying to threaten this country and Parliament by saying, “Hey, we have taken these billions of dollars out of Canada for years. We have not put anything back, as we pay very little or no taxes, but we want the status quo to continue.” Members will recall that they did the same thing in Australia.
    They basically said to Australians that they were not going to respect their democracy or their democratically elected Parliament. They were going to monkey around with their algorithms to make sure they monkey-wrench the legislation. However, for members who may be attentive to all of these trends internationally, the Australians said that, no, they had to respect their democracy, and the Australians held firm. These big technology companies were forced to respond.
    For example, Country Press is a consortium of independent smaller publications from across rural Australia, which faced many of the same challenges that we have seen with the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association and the Saskatchewan Weekly Newspapers Association. It responded by calling on parliamentarians to adopt the legislation and improve it. In Australia, it was a similar sort of dynamic with money being siphoned out of Australia and small publications going under, but not as many as in Canada. We have lost 450, but they did lose a lot. However, Country Press came together and now, as testimony before the heritage committee showed, there is a very vibrant news sector in Australia with over 125 publications in rural Australia that are thriving because the Australians held firm.
    In Canada, unfortunately, we have seen the big tech giants, which seem to be accountable only to themselves. As I mentioned and will continue to mention, they pay very little or no income tax in this country. They take from the country, and they do not give back.

  (1310)  

    They are trying to pull the same trick. Like they did with Australia, they are trying to threaten the country and threaten Parliament. They are going to monkey around with their algorithms, but they will call them tests. These are the same companies that do not crack down on the toxic hate that often helps to contribute to their profits.
     Just as a short side note, the Stop Hate for Profit campaign has come out of the United States, and the NDP supports it. These big web giants are earning additional money from the so-called engagement that comes from the rampant and disgusting homophobia and transphobia, the appalling misogyny and racism, and the disgusting anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. It helps to foment their profits. Whether it is the Internet Research Agency in Moscow, run by Putin's regime, or the American far right troll farms in the United States, run by Republicans, all of them help to contribute to their profits.
    The Stop Hate for Profit campaign wants to crack down on that. It says that what they are doing is unbelievably toxic to democracy and to human rights. Big tech companies say that these algorithms are out of their control, and there is nothing they can do about it. Then this bill comes forward, and is voted on democratically by parliamentarians, and all of the sudden they are willing to change their algorithms. They are willing to intercede, push back, threaten Canadian parliamentarians and keep Canadians from their news sources, to cut them off and censor them by using those algorithms.
    There is censorship going on. They are being gatekeepers, yet Conservatives would never, ever say a word against big tech. Not a single Conservative MP has stood in the House to denounce these practices of gatekeeping and censorship when it comes to fomenting hate and lies. Not a single Conservative has done that.
    It is clear hypocrisy that they can all of a sudden adjust their algorithms, allowing them to all of a sudden cut off and censor, but they are not willing to do it to stop the hate, and they are willing to do it when they want to disrespect this Parliament. I think everyone can draw their own conclusions.
    The reality is that, as parliamentarians, we have stand up to these threats. They are threatening Parliament because we are asking them to give some of the money that they have taken out of the country back. They have taken between $8 billion to close to $10 billion, and 450 news outlets have closed as a result. One-third of the jobs in journalism across this country have been eliminated as a result, yet they are not willing to put back some of the money they have taken from us.
    I think it is fair to say that, when the average Canadian is asked, they want us to stand up against big tech. They want us to provide supports to our local journalism sector so that, as in the case of my community, the Burnaby Now, the New Westminster Record, the Burnaby Beacon and the New West Anchor can do that work, each and every day, that is so important to bring our community back together again.
    We have been hit by a lot of things in the last few years. We have been hit by COVID. We have been hit by the catastrophic impacts of climate change, including the heat dome that killed 600 people across the Lower Mainland at a time of intense heat. We are also subject to the hate and lies that come through the big tech companies that say they cannot control it.
    Now, as a Parliament, we have the ability to stand up to big tech to say, first, that we do not believe they cannot curb the hate and lies that are run on their platforms, and second, now they are going to contribute to legitimate journalism across the country. Whether we are talking about New Westminster—Burnaby, Alberta, Saskatchewan or anywhere else in this country, they are going to have to contribute so that our communities are better and our country is better. That is why we support Bill C-18.

  (1315)  

    Madam Speaker, my colleague is also on the Canadian heritage committee.
    I really love that he highlighted how well this legislation worked in Australia to support smaller news outlets and how the big tech companies fought back with intimidation tactics. We are even seeing similar intimidation tactics here in Canada from those same big tech giants. At our committee, we saw some of those intimidation tactics.
    However, we are hearing the Conservatives using those tactics as some sort of justification to not go forward with this legislation, saying, “Oh, Google blocked the news, so we better get rid of Bill C-18.”
    What does the member think of the tactic being used by the Conservatives?
    Madam Speaker, I think it is a repudiation of community representation.
    They have local newspapers in their communities, whether they are in Alberta or Saskatchewan, and that is where half of Conservative MPs come from, and the local community newspapers are saying that they really need this, that we need to start reinvesting. Rather than letting big tech continue to have its way and take money out of our communities, let us have some of that money put back. A Conservative MP who represents that community then says, no, they are not going to. They are not going to stand up against big tech. They are not going to stand up for their local newspapers. They are not going to stand up for their local community radio.
    I just do not understand how that person could run for office, say they represent the community and not heed the call from the publications in the community to support Bill C-18.
    They will have to live with the consequences of their actions.
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate my hon. colleague's work on the committee, but I remember that the Conservatives put forward an amendment to have one newspaper reporter. He lists many papers, and they are not the non-daily papers in my riding. I have many who are single, yet he voted against having a single reporter qualify for this.
    He takes great pride in talking about the worker bees and that we got it to one and a half but I am asking this: What about the ones in my riding? There are not any of the papers he has named in my riding. He has named papers in major cities, not in the small communities that I support.
    Why did he vote against our amendment to support the small weekly papers like in my riding?
    Madam Speaker, I have a lot of respect for that member and really enjoy working with him on the Canadian heritage committee. He is correct that the Conservatives did present that amendment. I thought the amendment the NDP presented was better. As he knows, any sole proprietorship that hires, even at a quarter time or half time, a journalist to go out there will qualify for the program. That includes the publications in his riding as well.
    The NDP amendment was better and, I think, more complete. We have worked together to get a much better bill in front of Parliament. It is going to be a bill that helps community publications right across this country.
    As I know, he approached the whole negotiation and the amendment process in good faith. Why is he voting against the bill now when the bill does so much for community newspapers, not only in his riding but also right across Alberta and Saskatchewan?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank and congratulate my colleague from New Westminster—Burnaby for his speech. We certainly did work hard on Bill C-11 and Bill C-18 at the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage with the other committee members. In general, we worked in a very constructive manner. I really appreciated that.
    In September, I had the privilege of attending Mondiacult, a world conference on culture, in Mexico City. While I was there, I met with representatives from African countries, who told me that they were keeping an eye on the work that we are doing here in the House of Commons to regulate the news sector and the cultural sector with respect to the web giants. They told us that they are watching us because they do not have the same weight as Canada in terms of negotiating deals and in taking measures. They told us to stay strong.
    Now we are seeing Google and Facebook threatening to remove or block access to Canadian news content. That is what Meta recently did. I would like to hear my colleague from New Westminster—Burnaby's opinion on this. How important is it to take a firm stance with the web giants, knowing that we are setting an example for other countries and other nations that will soon have to make their own laws?

  (1320)  

    Madam Speaker, I really appreciate the work of my colleague from Drummond.
    I will also note that French-speaking Africa is a place where the francophone population is growing incredibly quickly. There will be millions of new francophones in the coming years. That is why Africa and the media presence in Africa are so important. Just as Australia served as a model for Canada, it is only right that Canada should serve as a model for other countries, such as the African countries.
    Meta and Google siphoning off all the money is not just a problem in Canada or Australia. This is happening all over the world. Now the web giants need to pay their fair share. By passing Bill C-18, we will set an example for other countries.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I appreciate the clarion call the member for New Westminster—Burnaby has issued against the corporate gatekeeping that is present in places like Twitter, Facebook and Google. He talked about the misinformation, and we see that spill over into our politics. In the by-election in Portage—Lisgar, the biggest issue between the Conservatives and the PPC was the World Economic Forum. That is the height of intellectual debate in the Conservative movement right now in that riding because of misinformation.
    This is a time when we do have to invest in our local media. I am always amazed at the difference between the conversations I see on Twitter and the ones I hear in real life when I am back in my riding speaking to real people. I think of news organizations like the Cowichan Valley Citizen, the Chemainus Valley Courier, the Lake Cowichan Gazette, the Goldstream News Gazette and Island Social Trends and the struggles they are all experiencing in reporting local news.
    Could the member expand on how these local organizations are such a powerful antidote to that misinformation we see online?
    Madam Speaker, my colleague from Cowichan—Malahat—Langford is one of the best members of Parliament in the House. He works extremely hard in his community. The publications he has just outlined are some of the best community publications in the entire country. I am proud he represents that riding and those publications. They do terrific work.
    He cites the issue of the Conservatives and misinformation. Stephen Harper was on the right hand of the World Economic Forum. That is what Conservative ministers did for a decade. Now they are pretending that somehow they have no connection with the World Economic Forum. It is crazy. It is a conspiracy theory for Conservatives to deny their past. I hope they will come clean to the Canadian public some day.
    Madam Speaker, I want to read something for the member, because he has brought up a really interesting point about why Conservatives will not support this and why they seem uninterested in this bill.
     This is from page 155 of the 2021 Conservative platform, which states, “Canada's Conservatives will: Introduce a digital media royalty framework to ensure that Canadian media outlets are fairly compensated for the sharing of their content by platforms like Google and Facebook.” To me, this sounds exactly like what we are debating today.
     This is not the first time the Conservatives have, in a very aggressive manner, gone after legislation on which they literally ran. We know it was the same thing with the carbon tax. Now they are doing it on this issue.
     I wonder if the member from Burnaby can shed some light on this as to why the Conservatives would be so abjectly against something they ran on less than two years ago.
    Madam Speaker, he is referencing a platform that came from the member of Parliament for Durham as leader, and I have a lot of respect for him. He allowed us to unanimously support the ban on conversion therapy, which is extremely important.
    Now there is a new leader, and the new leader, the member for Carleton, seems to be competing with Maxime Bernier to see who can be further right, who can be further extremist and who can talk more against the World Economic Forum and conspiracy theories. The old Conservative Party seems to be dead and a new Conservative Party is unfortunately very—

  (1325)  

    Resuming debate, the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.
    Madam Speaker, I do plan to expand on that point shortly, but before I do that, I want to provide a bit of a different perspective on how important Bill C-18 is. It needs to be placed in the real world context to see how it would protect our national community news agencies and media. It is so very important.
    I often will go to a lot of events, as members on all sides of the House do. Often it is the community news people who are at those events, taking pictures, doing interviews and so forth. If it is a local basketball game or championship game at a local high school, it will be the local newspaper that highlights it.
    I go to many different types of ethnic events. Whether it be the Pilipino Express News Magazine, Filipino Journal, Punjabi Today or CKJS radio, these community-driven news agencies, newspapers, radio and media are reporting on the things taking place. There are pictures and everything else incorporated.
     While visiting constituents in their homes, I often see that they have a newspaper produced in the community. They will show me where their son or daughter's name is in that community newspaper or where a local community event is being profiled in the paper.
    It does not matter whether people are from urban or rural communities, whether they are from the east or the west or up north, these small news agencies play a critical role in our community development and society as a whole and, absolutely, 100% with respect to our democracy. One of the fundamental pillars to a healthy democracy is to have a healthy media. That is why the minister of heritage has often talked about the importance of supporting journalism, supporting those news media outlets.
    I believe the minister referenced the year 2008, a year when just under 500 media outlets of different sizes from different areas of the country completely disappeared. We should all be concerned about that. Local media is how we often find out about the birth of a child, or that someone has died or an announcement about a parade to be held in our community It is often how we will hear about grand openings and so many other things. Not to mention that elected officials will often take political accountability by providing writing or commenting through local media.
    I want people who are following the debate to understand just how important it is that we as a government are here to support our media. We are not the first government in the world to do so. We have heard about Australia and France. I believe that many countries around the world are following the debate on Bill C-18.
     I am disturbed by the Conservative Party's approach to this legislation. All of us should be. Is it working with the giant tech companies? Has it been intimidated by the giant tech companies?

  (1330)  

    The member for Kingston and the Islands raised a quote. I would like to reinforce that. For my Conservative colleagues across the way, I suggest they look at that election platform, the platform that they shared with millions of Canadians in the last federal election.
    Page 155 of the 2021 Conservative platform, which has a picture of the former leader on the front of it, says, “Canadian media is in crisis. The loss of digital advertising revenue to American tech giants like Google and Facebook is putting local newspapers out of business, costing Canadian jobs, and undermining our ability to tell local, Canadian stories.” I agree with that. In fact, if I did not tell people it was coming from the Conservative platform, I would feel very comfortable making that statement.
    I will continue to read from the Conservative platform. It says, “Canada’s Conservatives don’t believe that the solution is for the government to provide direct funding to hand-picked media outlets”, and I disagree with that as I see the value in CBC and I will provide further comment on that shortly, “something that undermines press freedom and trust in the media. Instead, we will secure a level playing field for Canadian media, ensuring that Canadians are paid fairly for the content they create while encouraging the creation of more Canadian media and culture.” I have some difficulty with some of the things in that statement, but the Conservatives raise the importance of the issue.
    It goes on to say, and this is the platform's bold statement, “Canada’s Conservatives will: Introduce a digital media royalty framework”, and that is what we are debating in Bill C-18, “to ensure that Canadian media outlets are fairly compensated for the sharing of their content by platforms like Google and Facebook.” If members were to review Hansard and the debate we have had on this, what are the two platforms we are talking about? Google and Facebook. This legislation is, in essence, taking what is in the Conservative platform.
    It goes on to say, “Adopt a made in Canada approach that incorporates the best practices of jurisdictions like Australia and France.” Members on this side of the House have said that. The legislation and establishment of the framework is based on what has come out of Australia and France. Our legislation goes even further. It would ensure there is a higher sense of accountability and transparency.
    Let us go back to the last federal election. In that election, Conservative candidates, 338 of them, had a platform document. Every one of them campaigned on that. The legislation we are debating, what we are proposing to do with this legislation, is fulfilling something they committed to doing. I would have thought the Conservative Party would have supported Bill C-18.
    Why are the Conservatives not supporting it? We listened to the critic. We listened to a few other Conservatives. We get the impression that they have been intimidated by giant tech companies like Facebook and Google. What is the other option? That they agree? What about the commitment they made to Canadians? This is in opposition to that.
     This is not the first time. They did the same thing on the price on pollution. They made a commitment and they broke that.

  (1335)  

     I would argue that this is not the same Conservative Party from the past. This is very much a Reform Party and maybe even further to the right than the Reform Party was. This is what Canadians need to be aware of.
     Why would the Conservatives not want to protect the national interest and give more strength to our democracy by supporting Bill C-18? They have gone out of their way to protect those giants. I would be disappointed if the government were to back down because Facebook says it is going to pull its news ads. I am not a computer tech person. I know there are all sorts of things people can do through the computer and maybe they have ways they can pull out the news ads; I am not 100% sure how that works. However, what I do know is that I am not going to be intimidated, whether by Google or Facebook. If Facebook operators believe that they do not need those stories in order to sustain the type of growth that they have experienced and wealth that has been generated because of journalism that has been utilized through their companies at no cost, I will stand by Canadians. I am going to stand by our democracy. I am going to stand by the jobs and the importance of that industry because I recognize its importance.
    The Conservatives have now said they are going to pull all stops out. They do not want this legislation to pass and they have been very clear on that.
    I had posed a question in regard to the budget implementation bill when the leader of the Conservative Party had a big press conference. In the press conference, he said he was going to speak and speak. He has unlimited time on the budget implementation bill. He was going to continue to speak until ultimately the Prime Minister backed away and changed the budget, even though hundreds of millions of dollars are flowing through the budget implementation bill in order to support Canadians. A few hours later, that kind of fell flat. Why was that? It was because not only did the Liberals see through the charade, but opposition parties outside of the Conservatives saw the charade and the propaganda stunt that the leader of the Conservative Party was trying to pull off.
    Just yesterday, with respect to Bill C-42, the corporations bill, the Conservative Party actually supported the legislation. Everyone supports the legislation. However, the Conservatives want to apply that very same principle in terms of what they want to apply to Bill C-18, and that is to prevent government legislation from passing. Therefore, the Conservatives continue to put up members to speak and if it were not for time allocation, again, that legislation would not have been able to pass.
    Now, the Conservatives are shocked or at least surprised that the government has brought in time allocation on Bill C-18. They should not be surprised. After all, they just need to look at their record; they try to frustrate the House of Commons, to deny Canadians the opportunity to have legislative measures that are going to protect their interests. We have consistently seen that from the Conservative Party. The Conservatives put their political party and their fundraising ahead of the interests of Canadians.
    Let us listen to the first question, when the Minister of Heritage was answering questions as to why time allocation was necessary. The first person up for the Conservative Party asked why the government was bringing in time allocation, saying that they should be allowed to have all of their members speak to the legislation.

  (1340)  

    They should do the math. If every member speaks, that means how many hours of debate? How many more hours are there before the summer recess? It is not a question of whether the Conservatives will allow the legislation to pass before the summer break, they want to kill the bill. They do not want the bill, period, end of story. That is their intention.
    That is why I posed a question to my Bloc friend. The essence of the question was whether the member believes that the Conservatives, had we not brought in time allocation, would have allowed this bill to pass before the summer recess. If the member from the Bloc were to be honest with the chamber, he would probably recognize that the Conservatives have no intention whatsoever to pass this legislation, definitely not before the summer break. If we did not have at least one opposition party supporting what we are doing, this legislation likely would not see the light of day in terms of its passing.
    I need to remind the Conservatives, as they like to remind us, about the last election and there being a minority government. In a minority government, we have to continue to be focused on Canadians, delivering legislative and budgetary measures and working with the opposition. Fortunately, most opposition parties have a more co-operative attitude and recognize that they too have a role to play in a minority government. It is not just the government's responsibility.
    The only party that has failed to recognize that fact is the Conservative Party of Canada. It continues to believe its only role is to prevent legislation from passing. Then it criticizes us for bringing in time allocation motions and trying to limit debate on important pieces of legislation or budget measures. It is hard to take Conservatives seriously on things of that nature when we see them delay time and time again, such as with concurrence in committee reports. One of my favourites is when a Conservative stands and moves a motion for another Conservative to speak. Then there is a vote, which causes the bells to ring. Instead of debating, they try to determine which Conservative member should filibuster or they decide we are done for the day and move a motion to adjourn, again causing further delay. These are the types—
    The hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands is rising on a point of order.
    Madam Speaker, I am very entertained by my hon. colleague's speech, but I was wondering when he might discuss Bill C-18.
    I am sure the hon. member will get there in the time he has remaining.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Madam Speaker, I always appreciate input from the leader of the Green Party. I am not sure if she was here for the beginning of my comments. The bottom line is that it is important for Canadians to realize the degree to which the government is working with some opposition parties in this House in order to pass important legislation.
    I indicated at the beginning of my remarks just how important our community media outlets are. With this legislation, we have the opportunity to ensure that Facebook, Google and the big giant tech companies are paying for what they are receiving and utilizing through media news outlets. We are attempting to ensure that we have healthier community news and a healthier democracy, as a direct result.
    I indicated earlier that I would talk about CBC. We have a government that is committed to supporting CBC and I would love, during questions and comments, to hear some Conservative members make the commitment to support CBC Radio and CBC Television. I will not hold my breath on that point, but it sure would be nice for them to support that, if not Bill C-18.

  (1345)  

    Madam Speaker, I worked for community newspapers for more than 20 years. I believe the member is misleading Canadians when he said that this is somehow going to be a salvation for community news, as the vast majority of papers will not see a dime of this money because 70% goes to Rogers, Bell and large tech companies. The small community papers in our rural ridings with one journalist do not even qualify for this program.
    I will tell the member this. The three things that really impacted community journalism and those community papers were the costs of using Canada Post and accessing the Internet; the CBC, which undercuts the advertising ability of small and medium outlets because they cannot compete with a subsidized giant like it; and the government withdrawing all of its advertising dollars from those small community papers that relied on those advertisements.
    If the member thinks community journalism and community papers are so important and the heartbeat of our communities, how much money is the government spending on community papers through federal advertising dollars?
    Madam Speaker, the federal government continues to support our community and news outlets in many different ways.
    I guess that can be reversed. The member said he is concerned about the community news media outlets, yet even though Conservatives made an election platform promise, they reneged on that commitment.
     At the end of the day, we have not only shown budgetary measures to support media outlets, but we have now also provided legislative outlets.
    As the NDP House leader has very clearly indicated, whether with respect to the Saskatchewan or Alberta community newspapers, the New Democrats support this legislation.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Winnipeg North for his speech. He talked a lot about the Conservative Party's position, but also about time allocation. I would like to talk about the Bloc Québécois's position.
    A royalty fund financed with the revenues from Facebook and Google is being planned. Will local weekly newspapers be able to access this royalty fund? Maybe not. That is why the Bloc Québécois is proposing that a royalty fund be created for local weeklies.
    A local weekly is extremely important for the life of the municipality. It reports on what is happening with the municipal council, in local businesses and in the local area. We are talking about everyday life in the municipality.
    I wonder if my colleague could comment on the Bloc Québécois proposal to create a special royalty fund for local weeklies and small municipalities.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, we went through quite an extensive process at the committee stage. I suspect the member will find that many of the concerns the Bloc had raised have already been addressed by the Minister of Canadian Heritage.
    I recognize that the members of the Bloc support the legislation, but I question to what degree they support the speedy passage of the bill. We want to see it pass before the summer break.
    Madam Speaker, I note that in his speech today the parliamentary secretary specifically talked about Conservatives now compared to those from back in the day and former Conservatives. He and I have spoken a lot about this in the House. However, what has been reported today are some comments from a former Conservative prime minister.
     The CBC reported the following:
    Former prime minister Brian Mulroney mounted a defence of one of his successors Monday, saying...the current Prime Minister has delivered on the “big ticket items” and history won't look kindly on Parliament Hill denizens who push “trash...rumours” and “gossip.”
    I wonder if the parliamentary secretary has any insight into who he thinks the former prime minister is talking about when he makes reference to those who are spreading trash rumours, given that he is speaking so glowingly about the Prime Minister and the work this government has done.

  (1350)  

    Madam Speaker, I think it is important to recognize that Brian Mulroney was a Progressive Conservative, as opposed to the current leader, who is kind of a Conservative-Reform-far-right leader. I would, first, start by saying that I do not think they are the same political entity.
    In regard to his comments, we have, as a government, carried out some wonderful things with the support of Canadians, whether it is securing health care funding for future generations, $200 billion to the establishment of the first-ever national housing program or the first-ever child care support program. These are national programs, not to mention the supports we have put in place for seniors going into the pandemic.
    No government in the history of this country has signed off on as many trade agreements throughout the world, ultimately supporting Canada's middle class and those aspiring to be a part of it.
    We want a government and an economy that is going to be there for all Canadians. That is what we have been striving for, while the Conservatives seem to be more focused on raising money than doing what is politically correct. That is why they are in opposition to this particular piece of legislation.
    Madam Speaker, the member lamented that we were opposing and stalling their legislation. There is good reason for that: It is horrible legislation. It seems that what this bill is actually going to accomplish is to really muzzle Canadians from speaking, from sharing links and other news media. This is basically a muzzling of Canadians.
    Does the parliamentary secretary not recognize that?
    Madam Speaker, I think the legislation that the member is referring to is Bill C-11; on that bill, the Conservatives said that we were trying to muzzle Canadians, that we were not going to let them upload their cat videos and things of that nature. It is about misinformation.
    Of course that was absolute hokum, misinformation. I suspect that the Conservative Party made a lot of money on Bill C-11, in terms of fundraising, by spreading misinformation. I do not know how long that particular piece of legislation was held up for. I think it was a record in terms of how long it was held up in the Senate.
    The bottom line is that this is good legislation. All they need to do is read their election platform to see what they told Canadians in the last federal election, recognize the true value of this legislation and support it. It is not too late. One can always flip-flop again and support this legislation.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Winnipeg North for his intervention—
    I am going to interrupt the hon. member.
    Order, please. Could members listen to the question being asked by the hon. member for Abitibi—Témiscamingue?
    Madam Speaker, I would like to talk about humility in the present context. I think this bill calls for that much-sought-after quality in our parliamentary debates. Humility is also about recognizing everyone's mistakes. In the present context, I think everyone agrees that the Bloc Québécois has contributed to and helped advance this legislative process.
    However, it is nearly June 23 and we are down to the last minute. The government controls the order of business. The bill was sent to the Senate in February. Why has this been left to the last minute like this? Why did we not work on it earlier? If it was so predictable, why was the bill not fast-tracked through the order of business in the Senate so that it could be sent back to the House sooner?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I think one has to look at it from the perspective of how the government has a finite number of hours in which we can actually have government business come before the House. Opposition members know that. That is one of the greatest tools that an opposition member has. I was in opposition for over 20 years. I understand the tool.
    At the end of the day, if one continues to bring up concurrence reports, to move motions that other members be able to speak and to bring up dilatory motions in order to prevent debate from taking place, it is destructive. I agree that it is not the Bloc that is doing it and that it is the Conservative Party; that is why I emphasize and focus attention on the Conservative Party's irresponsible behaviour so much of the time. It is a destructive force here on the floor of the House of Commons. I too enjoy a good debate.

  (1355)  

Points of Order

Order and Decorum in the House  

[Points of Order]
    Madam Speaker, I rise on a serious point of order with respect to the right of the member for Lethbridge to speak during the debate that is currently on in the House.
    At the end of the time provided to question the Minister of Canadian Heritage for his use of time allocation on Bill C-18, the online news act, there was a heated exchange between the minister and the member for Lethbridge. It is no secret that the member for Lethbridge is a fierce critic of the minister and has opposed his legislation every step of the way. She makes the point that Bill C-18 is the next step in the government's censorship of the Internet. The member has repeatedly argued that the minister is the one rewarding tech giants, as he will give them more power with Bill C-18. The minister accused the member for Lethbridge of using the talking points of tech giants in opposition to the bill. In response, the member for Lethbridge accused the minister of lying.
    We know that term is unparliamentary, and I accept the decision of the Assistant Deputy Speaker to call her to order. It should also be pointed out that, when one member makes a false claim about another member, it is not uncommon for disorder to follow. The member for Lethbridge did the right thing when she said clearly, “I will apologize for using that word.” She went on to say, “He misinformed the House.” This is a matter for debate, although for my part, I agree with her.
    The Chair took exception to that comment, informing the House that the member for Lethbridge would not be recognized for the remainder of the day. To be clear, the member did not accuse the minister of deliberately misinforming the House. She simply made the point that the minister was misinformed and brought that misinformation to the House. At most, this is a point of debate. It is not something that a member should be sanctioned for.
    The irony is not lost on me that the member is being censored during debate on what amounts to a censorship bill. In my view, this is a heavy-handed response from the Chair, given the poor behaviour of Liberal members in recent days. The Chair has accepted apologies for behaviour that is far more egregious without Liberal members attracting any sanction.
    We can take the member for Kingston and the Islands as an example. Last week, he gave me the middle finger when I called him out for denying a unanimous consent motion that called for Paul Bernardo to be put back in maximum security. That member gave the most insincere apology I can recall in the House. There was no sanction for him. In fact, later that day, he was given the floor in the debate.
    Therefore, I would expect that the apology from the member for Lethbridge would be accepted by the House and that the Chair would allow her to participate in the debate this afternoon. Further, the House would benefit from even-handed application of the rules that is not seen to benefit one party over another. I would like the Speaker to clarify how the rules should be applied, regardless of who is presiding over the debates.
    I was able to witness the whole process, in terms of what had taken place. There was no “heated exchange” between the two members; the minister was giving a response to a question, and he was constantly being heckled.
    The Speaker at the time gave not one or two, but several warnings. They were not warnings about unparliamentary language; they were because the member continued to heckle, and she was warned to stop heckling. The unparliamentary language was only one part of it. She was actually told that if she did not stop heckling, then she would not be recognized.
    It had nothing to do with the unparliamentary language. In fact, while the Speaker was making that ruling, I focused my attention on the member for Lethbridge, who did not stop talking. Reflecting on what took place, I do not think what the opposition whip has put on the record is fully accurate.

  (1400)  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on the same point of order.
    I just wanted to make a point that the New Democratic Party would like to reserve the right to come back to speak to this issue at a later date.
    Mr. Speaker, I will speak to this now. In fact, when the Speaker thought the member was heckling and asked her to stop, she did not continue to do so. She was speaking to a colleague. However, when we consider the outrageous interruptions that came from the member who just spoke and the member for Kingston and the Islands during our leader's four-hour speech recently, when they would not allow him to even get through what he had to say minute to minute, we are talking about the acceptance of an apology that was given when demanded. It was accepted that the language that was spoken had been unparliamentary, and the apology was given. It is not consistent ruling for the member for Lethbridge to be told she cannot participate in debates afterward.
    Not having been here in the chair when that was happening and not having witnessed it, I am hearing a he-said-she-said type of argument. I am going to need to go back, watch the video and consult with the table officers who were in the chamber to find out exactly what happened and how it evolved. I will come back at my soonest opportunity. Unfortunately, we do not have a lot of time left before the end of the year, and I am not sure how long it will take by the time we go through all the information, but I will be back as quickly as is humanly possible.
    In the meantime, I want to remind all sides to please not call each other names or disrespect each other. Question period is coming up. Because both sides are so concerned with what is going on in the House, I am going to expect both sides to be very respectful of decorum, not shout at each other and be very respectful of the process.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Climate Change

    Mr. Speaker, as we approach the recess for the summer months, I usually look forward to a time of peace and reflection and to enjoying good weather, but this summer will be different. Due to the baked-in increase in temperatures resulting from our addiction to fossil fuels and our failure to act, we are going to have a rough summer. To all of my colleagues and everyone in their constituencies, I hope that they are spared climate events that are terrifying.
    We know that the rest of the summer will continue hot and dry, which means more forest fires. In some places, it will be hot and wet. The Atlantic basin is hotter than it has ever been, which suggests that we are going to have a worse hurricane season. We are looking at climate threats of all kinds, and at this point we can only ask that we take care of each other, fortify our communities in resilience, and finally act to address the climate crisis.

Forced Labour and Child Labour

    Mr. Speaker, last month Bill S-211, the Fighting Against Forced Labour and Child Labour in Supply Chains Act, passed in the House and received royal assent. The bill is now law. It is designed to rid our supply chains of slave products.
    Simultaneously, in the town of Markham, Shein, a company notorious for selling products made by slaves and child labour at cheap prices, opened up a 170,000-square-foot distribution facility. Ordinary citizens have been protesting on the streets of Markham against having such a company in their community.
     It is intended that Bill S-211 will be fully operational by this time next year, and the executives of Shein will have to file a compliance transparency statement to the Government of Canada.
    The additional question is this: How did a company of such a notorious reputation get a building permit for a 170,000-square-foot facility in Markham? Does no one care, or is “cheapest product, any place, any time” the law of this land?

Military Helicopter Crash

    Mr. Speaker, as the member of Parliament of the riding that is home to Garrison Petawawa and the 450 Chinook Tactical Helicopter Squadron, it is my unfortunate duty to rise and acknowledge the training accident that occurred early this morning, involving four aircrew members of a CH-147 Chinook helicopter.
    The training exercise was taking place at Garrison Petawawa along the Ottawa River, with the helicopter crashing into the water. At the time I received this information, two flight crew members had been rescued and two are unaccounted for.
    As the representative of the close-knit military community at Garrison Petawawa, I know we all feel the effects whenever tragedy strikes any member of our military family. To the families of the 450 Chinook Helicopter Tactical Squadron and the families of the aircrew, the prayers and best wishes of the nation are with you at this time.

  (1405)  

Sickle Cell Disease

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday was National Sickle Cell Awareness Day.
    Sickle cell disease is a debilitating, inherited blood disease that causes those impacted to suffer from chronic pain, fatigue, social rejection and discrimination. Thousands of Canadians suffer from it, and support and treatment options have not improved for decades. Research and increasing awareness are critical.
     Last week I attended the Sickle Cell Parliamentary Breakfast, which was hosted by the African-Canadian Senate Group. There I heard first-hand what this community needs and how we can best support them. It was an incredibly moving experience.

[Translation]

    I thank the passionate supporters of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of Canada and the Sickle Cell Anemia Association of Quebec for their work in raising awareness and creating a national sickle cell patient registry in co-operation with the Ottawa Hospital. I encourage all of my colleagues to learn more about this disease and to support the efforts of groups working toward better treatment options.

François Picard, Lionel Bourdon and Hélène Bordeleau

    Mr. Speaker, I do not want to brag, but I sincerely think that my riding is home to the most incredible people in Quebec, people who are committed and involved in their community. Among them are three exceptional individuals whose work I want to recognize today because they are retiring.
    The first is François Picard, who is retiring on June 30 after 41 years of service in Quebec's weekly newspaper industry. I want to congratulate him.
    The second is Sergeant Lionel Bourdon, from the Longueuil police department, who retired just a few days ago after, believe it or not, 58 years of loyal service. He now holds the record for longest-serving police officer in Canada.
    The third is Hélène Bordeleau, from the Table Itinérance Rive-Sud, who has worked for community organizations that strengthen the social safety net for nearly 40 years.
    Today, before all of my colleagues here, I want to tell them how inspirational they are and how much their work has done to change the lives of the people of Longueuil—Saint-Hubert. I sincerely thank them.

[English]

Boleslaw Julius Fujarczuk

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honour the life of Boleslaw Julius Fujarczuk, who passed away June 6, in his 99th year, after a long and remarkable life.
    From proudly serving during the Second World War to earning notable commendations such as the Polonia Restituta Cross, the British Defence Medal and the British General Service Medal to becoming a successful businessman and prominent community leader, Boleslaw lived an extraordinary life.
    Although he was involved in many Polish organizations in Canada, his most notable involvement was in the founding of St. Maximilian Kolbe church and the John Paul II Polish Cultural Centre in my riding of Mississauga East—Cooksville.
    Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with his loved ones and the entire family at this trying time, in particular with his children Richard, Teresa and Theodore.
    On behalf of the people of Canada, I thank Boleslaw Julius Fujarczuk for his services. May he rest in peace.

Barrett Family

     Mr. Speaker, the saying goes that we cannot choose our family. The family that was chosen for me includes my grandad Francis and my late grandma Betty, who passed five months ago.
    Married for more than 71 years, they dedicated themselves to community and family. Grandma was a dedicated daily volunteer at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary parish in Vanier, and grandad was dedicated in his work with the RCMP and CSIS.
    An avid follower of politics and a proud Conservative, my grandad is my number one supporter and is counted among the family of members from all parties who are CPAC’s most loyal viewers. Today, he might have a better view than watching on CPAC, and I am so proud to have seen him and my dad Chris on Parliament Hill today.
    Who is his family? They are Betty, Greg, Chris, Anne, Audrey, Brian, Elizabeth, Matthew, Sulin, Allison, Kyle, Jeffrey, Vanessa, Neil, Kim, Daniel, Alexandra, Daniel, Aubrey, Luke, Ama, Michaela, James, Nathan, Santiago, Beatrice, Jack, Maggie, Bentley, Paisley and Keegan.
    We do not get to choose them, but I know he does not have to grin and...bear it...because it is a blessing to be counted as a part of this family.

  (1410)  

Visual & Performing Arts Newmarket

    Mr. Speaker, Newmarket—Aurora has once again been provided with an uplifting musical experience courtesy of Visual & Performing Arts Newmarket.
    Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the “Three for the Show” concert series has hosted some of the most celebrated and gifted classical and jazz music talent on the scene today.
    The concert and its 25 years of musical performances serve as a reminder of the essential cultural importance and historical significance of music in building whole communities.
    My gratitude goes out to the gifted performers and to VPAN for providing a platform to the brightest and most gifted in the performance arts industry today and the most promising young musicians of tomorrow.
    I thank VPAN and the Three for the Show committee of Erika Kerwin, Margaret Barkman, Judy Craig and Marcia Sinclair for their beautiful concert series.

[Translation]

Events in Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing

    Mr. Speaker, tomorrow is officially the first day of summer. There is no better place to spend those long summer days than Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing.
    Whether we are talking about festivals, powwows or fairs, people can attend events all over Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing.

[English]

     Next week, Elliot Lake will celebrate Uranium Heritage Days with special events and activities leading up to Canada Day. Hearst continues to celebrate its centennial with tons of activities during homecoming week.
    Do you love powwows? There is one almost every weekend, from Sheguiandah First Nation to Michipicoten First Nation.
    Do you love boating or camping? There is no shortage of lakes, including Lake Huron and Lake Superior.
     Winnie's Hometown Festival in White River is the perfect place to celebrate the world's most famous bear, and the Wiikwemkoong Annual Cultural Festival should not be missed.
    People will also find several agricultural fairs from Providence Bay to Bruce Mines. For music lovers, the Go North Music Festival, the Manitoulin Country Fest and Rockin' the Rock are a must.
    As you can see, Mr. Speaker, AMK is the place to be for fun in the sun, so come on over.

Carbon Tax

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are struggling with the cost of food, gas and housing expenses, but the Liberal government continues to tax Canadians, not once but twice, with a carbon tax.
    The Liberal government has racked up a record amount of national debt, doubling it in recent years. We all know about carbon tax 1, which puts 41¢ a litre on gas. It is evident carbon tax 1 will cost $1,500 per family after rebates. Now we have the sneaky carbon tax 2. The Liberals call it the fuel standard. Once again, Liberals leave families with nothing left in their pockets.
    Do the Liberals know how much this will cost Canadians? No, they do not. It is a clear choice for Canadians. Do they want a Liberal government that taxes Canadians and puts our nation into greater debt, or do they want Conservatives, who will balance the budget, reduce debt and axe the tax?

Student Achievements in Scarborough North

    Mr. Speaker, as the school year concludes, allow me to recognize the hard work and achievements of students in my riding of Scarborough North over the past year.
    Through the African-Canadian Christian Network, Black youth on the Umoja robotics team are being celebrated on the heels of their stellar performance at the provincials.
    At the Spelling Bee of Canada regional competition, school-aged children spelled their way to success, with first-place winners moving on to the national championship.
    Then there are extraordinary young leaders like Anastasia-Lina Hamici, graduating from École secondaire Étienne-Brûlé with a 95% average. Defying societal expectations, she is a young woman entering first-year engineering on a full scholarship, having founded a technical team and supported other girls passionate about STEM.
    Congratulations to Anastasia-Lina and the thousands of students in Scarborough North and across Canada who are graduating this month. I am wishing them every success on their journey ahead.

  (1415)  

Food Inflation

    Mr. Speaker, food bank usage in Canada has reached record highs. According to Second Harvest, a not-for-profit organization, food banks are expected to serve 60% more people per month this year in comparison to 2022.
    It is not only low-income people who are struggling. Many of those accessing the food banks are employed. Dalhousie University's “Canada Food Price Report 2023” stated that food inflation exceeded 10.3% in 2022. Unfortunately, halfway through 2023, it does not look any better, as the prices for fruits and vegetables are continuing to rise 7% with no end in sight. Consequently, it is harder for Canadians to meet their nutritional goals and properly nourish their families.
    Whether people are buying for their own table or donating to the food banks for the millions of Canadians who rely on them, it is getting more difficult to keep up to the cost of groceries. These Liberal policies have evidently made life harder for everyone, regardless of income. It is imperative that the government reverse the inflationary spending and give Canadian families a break.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, it is my favourite season of the year: rodeo season. Next week, I am off to the greatest show on dirt: the Williams Lake Stampede. After that, it is Billy Barker Days and the Quesnel Rodeo.
     There are only two things on everyone's mind back home, and those are the fast-paced, world-class rodeo action and what a disaster the current Liberal government has been.
    The Liberals' carbon tax and massive deficit spending have the Cariboo bucking like a bull rider in the Sunday finals. After eight years of this Prime Minister, the cost of everything has doubled: housing, doubled; mortgages, doubled; rent, doubled; down payments, doubled. When mortgage renewals hit in four years, it will be like we are riding bareback without rigging. After eight years, it is time to cowboy up, trash the Liberal government and get Canada back on track to their home, my home, our home. Let us bring it home. Yee-haw.

Animal Welfare

    Mr. Speaker, it is privilege for a member of Parliament to introduce a private member's bill and work with colleagues toward a common cause. I am honoured to soon have this opportunity. During the last federal election, the Liberal Party shared with Canadians our ideas and our visions, one of which I am now working to advance.
    Many Canadians have expressed concern about the export of horses for slaughter. Other countries have banned this practice, and I believe it is time for Canada to do the same. I proudly stand in this chamber to announce that when the House resumes for the fall session, I will introduce my private member's bill to ban the export of live horses for slaughter. This practice must stop.
    As a sitting member of the agriculture committee, I look forward to working with my fellow committee members as well as members of Parliament on both sides of this House. I also look forward to hearing from Canadians, stakeholders and advocates to advance this important piece of legislation. I ask my colleagues and Canadians to join me.

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, under the current Liberal government, the ultra-rich are getting richer and hard-working Canadians are falling further and further behind. The top CEOs are now making 243 times more than the average Canadian worker at their company. Loblaw CEO Galen Weston is paid $11.79 million a year in salary, which is 431 times more than the average income of an employee at that company.

[Translation]

    The Liberals and the Conservatives have repeatedly voted against making CEOs and big corporations pay their fair share. Instead of defending the rich, as the Liberals and Conservatives are doing, it is time we tipped the scales in favour of Canadians.

[English]

    Today, I introduced a plan to fight corporate greed and end outrageous pay for CEOs. New Democrats believe, we believe, that Ottawa should work for hard-working Canadians, not for wealthy CEOs.

[Translation]

Forest Fires

    Mr. Speaker, wildfires continue to threaten my riding of Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou. The last evacuees are returning home, but we are certainly not celebrating yet, because they may have to evacuate again if the current dry weather conditions continue.
    I want to thank all the firefighters who have come from abroad and from other provinces, as well as the military, for being there to help us fight these fires. I also want to thank everyone directly or indirectly involved in the evacuation and reintegration process.
    A big thank you to the mayors of the cities who took in evacuees, namely Chibougamau, La Sarre, Val-d'Or, Senneterre, Quebec City, Roberval and Chicoutimi. Many thanks to Chantiers Chibougamau and Barrette-Chapais, who dug trenches to stop the threatening fires.
    Finally, a special thank you to the mayors of the communities in my riding that were evacuated. They have acted quickly and with remarkable professionalism. The Bloc Québécois is with them in this critical situation. I thank them.

  (1420)  

[English]

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, either people gain control of their money or their money will control them. Thanks to the wasteful spending of the Prime Minister, Canadians' debt is controlling them with crippling interest rate highs. It is a broken promise, an empty promise that said the government would balance the budget or have Canadians' backs.
    However, since COVID-19, the Prime Minister has spent $205 billion of taxpayer money on debt, apart from on COVID-19 problems, like how he spent $27 million on bonuses for CMHC executives during the worst housing crisis in Canadian history, and $8.6 million to renovate his taxpayer-funded cottage at Harrington Lake. In addition, $210 million went to the corrupt and Communist Beijing-controlled Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
    Inflation makes Canadians' money worthless. It is theft and it is the direct result of a reckless government that spent $100 billion before COVID-19. A promise made is a debt unpaid, and empty promises by the government are leaving Canadians with empty wallets.

Breast Cancer Screening

    Mr. Speaker, in 2020, 5,100 Canadian women died from breast cancer, and 12% of women in Canada will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. They are our mothers, sisters and daughters. They are all among us. Breast cancer screening is important for women of every age. Screening guidelines must be up to standard and based on science, because we know that early detection saves lives.
    The government recently announced half a million dollars in funding for the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care to expedite the update of the breast cancer screening guidelines. This could not have been done without the voices of doctors, patient advocates and survivors like York Centre constituents Shira Farber and Adina Isenberg, broadcaster Kim MacDonald, and Ottawa advocate Julie Booker, who are among the many, many Canadian women from coast to coast.
    We will keep working together to empower women to protect their health and choose evidence-based preventative health tools for early detection. Together, we can and will continue to work towards a brighter, cancer-free future for all Canadian women.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

Democratic Institutions

    Mr. Speaker, we need to restore confidence in our democracy after it was shaken by Beijing's interference.
    That is why I have already spoken to the other opposition leaders and a minister in the Prime Minister's government about a public inquiry. The Conservative Party is prepared to share the names of non-partisan individuals acceptable to all members of Parliament as soon as the Prime Minister announces a public inquiry.
    Will he do it now?
    Mr. Speaker, as we have said all along, foreign interference should not be a partisan issue. That is why, in the coming days, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities will continue to consult experts, lawyers and the opposition parties to determine the next steps and the best person to lead this work.
    In the meantime, we will continue working to combat foreign interference in our democracy, as we have done since taking office. We hope that the opposition parties will treat this issue with the seriousness that it deserves and that Canadians expect.

  (1425)  

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, eight years of this Prime Minister's promises and actions have brought suffering to Canadians.
     In a letter to one of our MPs and the Journal de Montréal, Émilie Choquet said that rising interest rates will soon force her family to sell their home because monthly payments have increased from $2,300 to $3,700. She may lose her home because this government's inflationary policies are boosting interest rates.
    Will he reverse his policies so people can keep their homes?
    Mr. Speaker, our government implemented concrete measures to help families like Émilie's. The Conservative Party voted against those measures.
    For example, the dental benefit will help Émilie's kids and those of families like hers. There is also assistance for low-income renters and the grocery rebate. We are making these investments to help families get through this. Meanwhile, we are building a stronger economy with good jobs for years to come and investing in housing.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister claimed that the government would take on debt so Canadians would not have to, forgetting, of course, that it is Canadians who pay all of that debt through their taxes, and now they are paying it because they have the biggest household debt of any country in the G7. In fact, family debt in Canada is bigger than our entire economy, prompting our banking regulator, today, to force banks to take on more of a rainy day fund to face down future defaults that they expect will rise as a result of growing interest rates.
    The Prime Minister's inflationary policies are driving up interest rates on Canadian mortgage holders. Will he balance the budget to bring down inflation and interest rates so Canadians can keep their homes?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are struggling, and that is why we continue to step up with investments to help them out: with dental care, with support for low-income renters, with investments in housing and with investments in supporting families. At the same time as the Conservative Party is proposing cuts and austerity, we are continuing to invest.
     If the Leader of the Opposition really wants to come clean with Canadians, will he talk about whether he is going to cut child care for families, dental care for children or better health care services? These are the things he will be cutting.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister, after eight years, is imposing austerity on Canadians.
    I just told the story, in French, of a Quebec family that has seen its mortgage payments rise by 64%. The mother of that family is living austerity by having to cut back on her expenses and probably move into a tiny apartment as a result of the Prime Minister's inflationary spending. Even the finance minister admits that deficits drive inflation and that inflation drives higher interest rates for families just like this one.
    Will the Prime Minister reverse his deficits and balance the budget to bring down inflation and interest rates, so Canadians can keep their homes?
    Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition is proposing cuts in supports to Canadians at the same time as Canada actually has the lowest deficit in the G7, has the best debt-to-GDP ratio of the G7 and has preserved its AAA credit rating. That is so we can continue to be there to support Canadians with investments in them, in their families, in housing and in the kinds of supports that the Leader of the Opposition would cut.
    The Leader of the Opposition is just continuing his attacks to try to distract from the underwhelming election results he got last night.
    Mr. Speaker, what is overwhelming is the debt he has imposed on the backs of hard-working Canadians, Canadians who now face the loss of their homes as a result of his inflationary policies. After eight years, the cost of rent has doubled. After eight years, the cost of a mortgage payment has doubled. After eight years, the needed down payment for the average house has doubled. Now, because of the massive mortgages he told Canadians would be consequence-free, which they now hold and now pay higher interest rates on, many could lose their homes.
    Will he reverse these inflationary policies so Canadians can keep their homes?
    Mr. Speaker, see how quickly he pivoted away from the disastrous by-election results they got last night.
    The fact of the matter is that we are going to continue to stay focused on investing in Canadians, on putting forward a positive vision of this country that is resonating from—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

  (1430)  

    I am sorry; I am going to interrupt the Prime Minister.
    I want to remind the hon. members that, this morning, there was a dust-up over name-calling and shouting. After hearing a point of order, I really expected everything to be calm, and it started off that way. I feel silly standing up here asking members not to call each other names or to yell at each other.
    I will let the Prime Minister continue.
    Mr. Speaker, we are going to continue to put forward a positive vision for Canadians for the future, investing in great jobs, investing in fighting climate change and supporting families through the challenging times they are in right now. While the Conservative Party continues to promote cuts, division and anger, we are going to continue with a positive vision for the future.

[Translation]

Democratic Institutions

    Mr. Speaker, we were prepared to give the government the benefit of the doubt. Its plan to avoid an independent public inquiry on Chinese interference at all costs was hardly a resounding success. Its approach, which consisted of appointing a special rapporteur reporting exclusively to the Prime Minister, was an abysmal failure.
    Then, all of a sudden, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities showed some openness to a public inquiry, just as the House prepares to rise for the summer. Honestly, some people are starting to wonder whether the House and the media are being taken for a ride. When is the government going to launch the inquiry?
    Mr. Speaker, after the opposition parties turned this issue into a partisan free-for-all through personal attacks against the former governor general, we offered to work with them to create a process that everyone could agree on and that would not be spoiled by acrimonious partisan debates. That is why we are currently discussing positive proposals with the different parties to find a way for everyone to take this matter seriously, as we, the government, have done from the start.
    Mr. Speaker, the Bloc has taken the high road throughout this debate.
    It is a strategy as old as time: lip service to appease the opposition until the end of the session in the hopes that media attention will be elsewhere in the fall. Even worse, he could try to convince his good friends in the NDP to settle for a parliamentary committee over the summer instead of a full-fledged inquiry—a classic move.
    This needs an inquiry now, with a chair appointed now and voted on now by the House, not parliamentary “arguing”, not offloading responsibility. It is now that it is happening—
    The right hon. Prime Minister.
    Mr. Speaker, after the partisan excesses that the other parties have been responsible for in recent months, we are here to work together with them to show that we can all take the issue of foreign interference seriously. That is why we are working with them now to determine the next steps. We have always taken this issue seriously, and we will continue to do so, regardless of the partisan games the opposition parties play if they come back to this.

[English]

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, countless affordability societies warn of the repercussions when people have to spend more than 30% of their income on rent, but in Toronto, over 40% of people exceed that amount. Things are getting very, very difficult for Canadians. While corporate landlords are making massive profits, Canadians are struggling.
    When will the Prime Minister understand we are on the verge of a catastrophe?
    Mr. Speaker, we know Canadians are struggling with the cost of housing, whether it is a young family looking to buy their first home or a student struggling to pay the rent. That is why we have been taking action on many fronts. We are helping Canadians save up for their first home. We are investing in building and repairing more homes, including through supporting local governments to fast-track the creation of 100,000 new homes. We are providing support for low-income renters. We are also ensuring that houses are used as homes by curbing unfair practices that drive up prices, including with a foreign homebuyers ban and a federal anti-flipping rule.
    We will continue to support Canadians challenged with housing.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and the Liberal government are not responding with the urgency that Canadians need.

[Translation]

    July 1 is just around the corner. In Quebec, July 1 is not only Canada Day, it is also moving day.
    The Office municipal d'habitation de Montréal has been contacted by 314 families who are losing their housing. The city expects to be able to provide emergency housing to around 40 families.
    Does the Prime Minister realize how stressful this is for these families?

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, we continue to be there with programs and plans to address this housing crisis across the country.
    Our plan is to collaborate with the municipalities, including by investing $4 billion to speed up residential construction approvals, and by creating 100,000 new housing units. We are tying infrastructure investment to housing. We are helping Canadians save money to buy their first home. We are providing help to low-income renters, and we are converting surplus federal lands to affordable housing, among other things.
    We will continue that work.

[English]

Government Accountability

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Safety peddled fiction on his rifle hunting ban, he peddled fiction to a judge and he peddled fiction to the families of the victims of a murderer and serial rapist. It is either gross incompetence or a deliberate attempt by his own staff to protect the minister with plausible deniability. Both seem to be a pattern in the government. They do not read emails, they do not get briefed and they do not know anything.
    How many times can one minister peddle fiction in his or her portfolio until the Prime Minister fires somebody in the government? Maybe the direction is coming from the top.
    Mr. Speaker, what is reckless to public safety is when we have a Conservative Party of Canada that proposes to make AR-15-style firearms legal again. On this side of the House, we propose to ban them and buy them back to protect our communities. What is reckless is when one either introduces legislation that is unconstitutional or just filibusters. That is what is reckless to public safety.
    On this side of the House, we put forward legislation that is there to protect Canadians. We do it in a way that is constitutional. That is my focus, and that is the focus of this government.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, one would think that at this point the minister would stop peddling fiction.
    The minister knows that he can mandate that offenders like Bernardo be kept in maximum security, not the individual but a class of the most horrific offenders. The Liberals would know that they can step in and do something about the transfer, like the last Conservative government did in 2013. The minister actually discussed options with his own staff, but he did not do anything and he knew for three months. Now they are saying they have a brand new system in place that will tell them what is happening in their own ministries.
    They owe the families an explanation, but at the very least he owes this House a resignation.
    Mr. Speaker, it is preposterous to hear the Conservatives continue to stand up when their record is one of cuts. In their last year of government, in 2014-15, they cut $300 million from the Correctional Service of Canada. We put that money back and we continue to invest in that institution so we can protect Canadians. That is our focus: protecting Canadians.
    The Conservatives can go on with cuts. They can go on with filibustering. Canadians will see through all of that. On this side of the House, we will continue to focus on protecting Canadians.

Democratic Institutions

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are wondering why the Prime Minister has not done more to safeguard our democratic systems. We know that he was briefed on foreign interference six times in the last five years, we know that members in this very House have been intimidated by Beijing and we know that on two occasions this House has directed the Prime Minister to have a public inquiry on foreign interference.
    Will he commit to having a public inquiry on foreign interference today?
    Mr. Speaker, we have always taken the issue of foreign interference seriously. That is precisely why, since our government was elected, we put in place measures to strengthen our democratic institutions.
    We are continuing to work with opposition parties because Canadians expect all people in this place to put partisanship aside and put the values of protecting our democracy at the forefront. Members opposite can laugh, but we take foreign interference very seriously.
    Mr. Speaker, it is evident that they do not take it seriously. After eight years, the Prime Minister has yet to call a public inquiry into foreign interference. In fact, he continues to stand in the way and enjoy the status quo because it benefits the Liberals. After seven months, all he did was appoint a special rapporteur, one who had to resign as a result of a conflict of interest.
    After seven months, two votes in Parliament and no public inquiry, will he stand up today and support a public inquiry on foreign interference, yes or no?

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is really disappointing to see the Conservatives back to their partisan games when it comes to foreign interference. The Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs has been consulting with all parties in this place because we want to get to a place where Canadians can have trust in these institutions and where we can tone down the political rhetoric.
    I am very disappointed to see the Conservatives with their personal attacks instead of rolling up their sleeves and getting to work to ensure that all Canadians have trust in their democratic institutions. That is precisely what we are focused on, and we are not going to be distracted by partisan games.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, for weeks we have been asking for a public inquiry into foreign interference in the affairs of our country. The many stories that have been made public are worrisome. For example, members of the House and their families have been victims of an intimidation campaign. That is significant.
    No one can understand why the government continues to ignore the House's calls to get to the bottom of this matter. What is stopping the Prime Minister from backing down and ordering a public inquiry?
    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs is having positive discussions with the opposition about this matter.
    We will look for the best way to engage with Canadians in order to spark a constructive conversation about how we can build on our efforts to fight foreign interference. Enough with the game-playing and squabbling. That is what the Conservatives are focusing on. On this side, we will keep working to protect our democratic institutions.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, I do not think I am squabbling with anyone.
    There is another troubling matter I want to raise. Paul Bernardo got permission to leave his maximum-security prison and transfer to a more lenient one, despite the horrific crimes he committed. We know that the Minister of Public Safety has the power to stop this transfer. He can issue directives to this effect, and has done so in the past. However, he refuses to do it now. This is just one more item to add to his long list of bad decisions.
    Does the Prime Minister still have confidence in his Minister of Public Safety?
    Mr. Speaker, when I was informed on May 30 of Mr. Bernardo's transfer, I took action by contacting the board. Now a review is under way.
    I have also issued new instructions to the department to ensure that victims are informed before decisions like this one are made. We will continue to make the necessary investments to keep our communities safe.

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, for Quebeckers, July 1 is not a day to celebrate; it is a nightmare. July 1 is just a week and a half away and hundreds of people do not know where they are going to live because we are in the midst of a housing crisis. In five years, Quebec will be short 50,000 social housing units. According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer's 2021 findings, if we rely on funding from Ottawa, we will not have any more social housing units.
    The federal strategy is a failure that barely maintains the status quo. In other words, there will be no more housing units available in the future than there are today. When will this government truly address this housing crisis?
    Mr. Speaker, I take it personally when I hear the Bloc Québécois saying that July 1 is a nightmare. I take that as an attack and an insult against Canada. We live in a country is celebrated around the world, a country where people can live with dignity and where governments are there to support their society. It is a country where we stick together and help each other out, where we can be different, but equal, and live together in harmony.
    I know that the Bloc Québécois wants to get away from Canada. However, Canada will be there today and tomorrow, whether the Bloc likes it or not.
    Mr. Speaker, I invite the minister to come and walk the streets of Longueuil on July 1. He will see whether it is a nightmare or not.
    The Liberals' investments are barely enough to maintain the status quo. We have no new affordable housing. They say that everything is going well for families in greater Montreal, who the federal government is forcing to compete for the same housing that keeps getting more and more expensive, but let them come and tell that to the people of Rimouski, Granby and Drummond, where the vacancy rate is 0.4 %. Anyone who manages to find housing there should go buy a 6/49 lottery ticket.
    We are in an unprecedented housing crisis. When will the federal government make investments to adequately address this crisis—

  (1445)  

    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. I would like to tell him that I have toured a number of regions in Quebec and that I am very aware of the vacancy rates.
    That is why we have put in place a housing accelerator for municipalities, and they are very happy to have this fund. They can start sending in applications immediately.
    We will continue to increase the supply of affordable housing across the country, including in Quebec.
     Mr. Speaker, “low rental housing stock disproportionately impacted low-income renters.” This is not from the Bloc Québécois, but rather from CMHC's annual report.
    The federal corporation itself has found that the federal strategy is abandoning the less fortunate. We need 1% for housing. We are not talking about housing for the wealthiest 1%, but about 1% of federal revenues invested in housing, with Quebec's share transferred to build social and community housing.
    We are in a housing crisis, so it seems to me that 1% is not too much to ask.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind my colleague that housing is a provincial jurisdiction, and that we are very pleased to be able to work with the provinces and municipalities.
    Unlike a party on the other side of the House that insults municipalities, we want to work with all municipalities and stakeholders to build the housing that everyone needs.

[English]

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, from big cities to small towns, everyone is paying the price of Liberal inflationary deficits. After eight years of the Prime Minister's spending, Canadians are feeling the pain. The devastating reality is that those Liberal policies are the direct cause of Canadians' hardship, resulting in record food bank usage and housing becoming unaffordable for regular Canadians.
    The Liberals, propped up by the NDP, just poured another $60 billion of fuel on the inflationary fire. When will the Prime Minister end his inflationary spending so Canadians can keep their homes and afford the basics?
    Mr. Speaker, last night voters in Winnipeg, in Montreal and in historic numbers in Oxford showed up to vote against the reckless austerity, partisan populism and ugly American-style attacks of the Conservative Party. Thousands of Canadians looked at the Twitter attacks, the video stunts and the artful alliterations of the Conservative leader, saw them for what they were and opted to support a real plan to support Canadians, to invest in communities and to build an economy that works for everyone.
    Mr. Speaker, I believe two Conservatives were successful yesterday.
    Increasingly, from across the country, we are hearing from Canadians who are hurting. Mortgages have doubled, rents have doubled and Canadians are visiting food banks in record numbers. One has to ask what the cause of this pain is. Experts agree that the cause is the Liberal government's inflationary spending.
    My question for the minister is simple. Will he rein in the deficit spending that is causing inflation?
    Mr. Speaker, what the member opposite said is completely false. You are a fantastic referee, but let us bring in an international referee on the health of Canada's economy.
    A report today from the International Monetary Fund said that Canada has an enviable fiscal position, the best fiscal position in the G7. Members do not have to take it from us. They can take it from the IMF. That means we can invest in Canadians, grow the economy, stabilize health care and not take any lessons from the Conservative austerity caucus.
    Before we go to the next question, I just want to point out that we started off really well and things seem to be deteriorating. I just want to ask everyone to take a deep breath. It is almost like a rumble in the background. I also want to point out that, while it is nice to see both sides talking to each other, members should not shout across the floor.
    The hon. member for Battlefords—Lloydminster.

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years, Liberal-driven inflation is costing Canadians. The Prime Minister's massive deficit spending has caused record inflation and resulted in repeated interest rate hikes. Canada's housing market is now the most at risk of any developed country. The latest rate hike is devastating for the nearly half of all homeowners who are already struggling to keep up with their mortgage payments.
    Will the Prime Minister stop spending so that Canadians can keep a roof over their heads?

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, what the member seems to be talking about are things that we are doing for Canadians, like the Canada child benefit, the Canada workers benefit, the climate action initiative, dental care, rental and grocery rebates. One thing we know is that this government, since 2015, has had the backs of Canadians.
     When it comes to affordability, what speaks more than child care? We are glad that the NDP, Conservatives, Bloc Québécois and Greens all voted together to make life more affordable for Canadian families through child care and a publicly-managed, primarily not-for-profit, system that benefits our children, families and Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, even the Liberal finance minister has admitted that her government's deficit spending is fuelling inflation, but the Liberals just keep pouring fuel on the inflationary fire. After eight years, Canadians cannot afford it. The more that those Liberals spend, the more costs go up, and the more unaffordable it is for Canadians to feed and house their families.
    Canadians need the Liberals to finally show some restraint. When will the Prime Minister end his inflationary spending so that Canadians can finally feel some relief?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians remember how Conservatives handled things before 2015. Their cure-all for tough times and economic uncertainty was always cuts. The problem is that cuts hit the most vulnerable and needy the hardest.
    Members on this side of the House will always be there to help people in need with dental care, child care rebates and all the other measures we have introduced since taking office in 2015.

[English]

Families, Children and Social Development

    Mr. Speaker, a new study from the Breakfast Club of Canada shows that 84% of Canadians want a national school meal program implemented immediately. The Liberals promised to create the program two years ago, but they still have not delivered. Meanwhile, schools are cutting services that feed kids, because they cannot afford to pay for the program due to the rising cost of food.
    When will the Liberals keep their promise and implement a national school meal program?
    Mr. Speaker, we know that times are tough for Canadian families right now, and we know that we need to ensure that our most vulnerable, our children, are protected. That is why, since 2015, we have been working to reduce child poverty and support the families that need it the most. We have done it through the child Canada benefit, we have done it through other measures, including affordability in child care, and we will continue to work.
     We know that school food programs are important, and that is why we continue to work together across the aisle to ensure that we meet the needs of Canadian children.

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, Edmonton now has one of the fastest-growing monthly rent prices in the country, increasing nearly 16% over the last year. Young people cannot keep up, and Liberals are not doing anything. They will not protect young people from corporate landlords, who are handing out eviction notices to jack up the rent. They are not investing properly into building affordable units. They are leaving young people to fend for themselves, while corporate landlords keep getting richer.
    Will the Liberals invest in safe, affordable, community-based housing so that young people can actually afford to rent in Edmonton?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. Across the country, Canadians are having a hard time paying the rent or even just finding housing they can afford. We pledged not only to build more housing faster, but also to deal with renovictions through legislation.

Official Languages

    Mr. Speaker, the modernized Official Languages Act has just been read the third time and passed in the Senate. I consider this a major step forward towards the substantive equality of both of our official languages. Could the minister tell us how this legislation will enable us to support official language minority communities, promote our two official languages, and better protect French across the country?
    Mr. Speaker, here is some good news: The Senate has just confirmed that Bill C‑13 has received royal assent. I am extremely proud of the work we accomplished to modernize the Official Languages Act. This legislation will better equip us to slow the decline of French and more effectively protect our official language minority communities. It will also require the adoption of an immigration policy, strengthen the powers of the Commissioner of Official Languages, and provide official language minority communities with new tools to maintain their vitality.
    Today is a good day for official languages.

  (1455)  

[English]

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of the current government, Canadian farmers are literally paying for the Liberals' carbon tax failures. Canadian farmers will pay $150,000 a year in carbon taxes alone, but the Liberals have not hit a single emissions target.
     What is better than making farmers pay for one failed carbon tax? How about two? On July 1, the Liberals are introducing a second carbon tax that will increase the price of feed, fuel and fertilizer, which will also drive up the cost of food at the grocery store.
    With more than eight million Canadians already relying on a food bank every single month, my question for the government is this. How many farmers are going to go bankrupt and how many Canadians are going to go hungry paying for another failed carbon tax?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, once again, my colleague is twisting information. He is talking about a typical 5,000-acre farm. The average farm in Canada is 809 acres. He is presuming that farmers will not make any effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but they are always doing precisely that. They are the first to be affected by climate change. They are the first to want more information, to want to adopt good practices and acquire new technologies.
    We are there to help them with a $1.5‑billion investment.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is good to see that the minister is not denying that Canadian farmers are being punished with two carbon taxes. In fact, they are facing the highest inflation rates in 40 years. Nowhere is that more acute than with the price of food, which is already up 10%.
     However, rather than offering support for Canadians, the Liberals are doubling down with a second carbon tax. What will that do? We are seeing forecasts that food prices will go up another 34% over the next two years, adding another $5,000 to the annual food costs of Canadians.
    Again, when the government introduces a second carbon tax, how many farmers will go broke and how many Canadians will go hungry?
    Mr. Speaker, if the member from across would really like to talk about the clean fuel regulations, let us talk about that. It is kind of interesting, because Alberta itself has clean fuel regulations. What does that do? It actually incents cleaner fuels, but it also works to support emerging industries, like biofuels, which I think are quite popular in his part of the country as well.
    What we are doing is not just regulations. There are incentives and supports to make sure we have an all-encompassing program. It is not only going to reduce emissions, but it is also going to create new industries and new renewable fuels, which are so important for our future.

Agriculture and Agri-Food

    Mr. Speaker, it is official Liberal policy to make energy more expensive.
    It takes energy to manufacture fertilizer. It takes energy to ship fertilizer to the farmers. It takes energy to spread fertilizer. It takes energy to harvest crops. It takes energy to ship crops to processors. It takes energy to process crops into food. It takes energy to ship the food to stores.
    Why does the Prime Minister not understand that higher energy prices lead to higher food prices, forcing Canadians to go hungry?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, we have a clean technology program. We are talking about half a billion dollars' worth of investment in clean technology. One of the innovations that could be deployed across the country is the use of agricultural manure as a source of energy. There is tremendous potential in this area for our farmers.
    We will continue to support them in that regard.
    Mr. Speaker, the government does not have a plan for making food more affordable. The many carbon taxes and the fertilizer tariff have only increased the price of food from farm to table. In Canada, production costs keep increasing, and farmers have been completely abandoned by this government.
    That was evident in the last budget. Less than 1% of the budget was allocated to agriculture. The Liberals are ignoring a real economic driver.
    When will the government implement real measures to support farmers and make production more affordable?
    Mr. Speaker, I think that my colleague should show a little more humility and look at the history of the last Conservative government, which cut hundreds of millions of dollars in risk management programs and hundreds of millions of dollars in research and innovation programs.
    Our government is there, and we are investing. We increased funding for the sustainable Canadian agricultural partnership by half a billion dollars. We are investing $1.5 billion in clean technologies, new practices, and research and innovation to help the sector be more resilient.

  (1500)  

Forestry Industry

    Mr. Speaker, the forest fires are having a major impact on Quebec's forestry industry. It is too early to assess the losses, but it is already too late to guarantee that our producers will resume operations in time to save jobs. The Bloc Québécois has proposed solutions in partnership with the Association québécoise des entrepreneurs forestiers, which represents Quebec forestry companies.
    There needs to be compensation for the loss of equipment, including the cost of deductibles. We need to have programs like the ones we used during the pandemic to cover fixed costs and provide a wage subsidy to keep workers employed. Will the government work with us to bring in these solutions?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we know that the wildfires have had an impact right across the country, and are having an impact on residents but also on businesses in every part of the country. Through working with our provincial partners, the disaster financial assistance arrangements will be there to support those businesses and communities for eligible expenses. We also know that we have to invest in future resiliency in our provinces as well.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, obviously, the forestry producers are worried, as are the workers. The seasonal workers in the forestry sectors are all at a standstill with no prospect of returning to work. They are worried because all the hours they are losing today will not count toward the EI threshold at the end of the season. The government is being flexible in the short term, and we applaud that. Will the government extend the qualifying period to 104 weeks to prevent these missing hours from putting our workers in a precarious position in the fall?
    Mr. Speaker, as my colleague just said, we will all be there for all the provinces, including Quebec. We are of course working with workers' associations and with employers to ensure that the workers get the support they need during these difficult times. We are working with Service Canada to ensure that the workers have access to EI, and we will continue to do so.

[English]

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, as summer starts, the Liberals are going to rain on everyone's Canada Day parade.
     On July 1, Canadians will be forced to pay a second carbon tax. Combined with the first carbon tax, gas prices will go up eventually to 61¢ per litre. It does not stop there. They are going to raise both of the carbon taxes so that every Saskatchewan household has to pay another $3,000 per year.
    After eight years of the Liberal government, Canadians cannot afford another tax increase by the government. Will the Liberals listen to Canadians and cancel both of their failed carbon taxes before July 1?
    Mr. Speaker, again, if the member opposite wants to talk about clean fuel regulations, let us do that. I thought the party opposite was really interested in technological solutions to climate change.
     Let us talk about how clean fuel regulations help to drive clean technologies. That means better biofuels, developing through hydrogen, all of which support our economy of the future.
    It is very important that we take this step. It is not just one thing in isolation. It is the fact that we have a clean fuel fund that helps to support people. We have an all-encompassing framework that covers all sectors of our economy so that we can plan for a strong economy in the future.
    Mr. Speaker, the Nova Scotia forestry industry employs thousands. This is a traditional way of life and a major employer for rural communities. Atlantic Canadians have been affected by the carbon tax more than any other region in the country, and now the Liberals are implementing a second carbon tax.
     Farmers and fishers are exempt from the carbon tax but not foresters, and they demand equal treatment. Atlantic Canadian premiers have spoken out against the 61¢-a-litre carbon tax.
    Why is the Liberal government hell-bent on punishing Atlantic Canadians and the foresters with a $33-billion industry?
    Mr. Speaker, it is certainly important that parties around the House actually have a plan to address climate change, but we must do so in a manner that is affordable.
     The price on pollution is done in a manner where eight out of 10 Canadian families get more money back than they actually pay. It is an effective manner for addressing climate change.
     One of the political parties in the House, in the platform that it ran on in 2021, says, “We recognize that the most efficient way to reduce our emissions is to use pricing mechanisms.” That was the Conservative Party of Canada.

  (1505)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, for the eight years this government has been in power, it has been touting that it is working to reduce greenhouse gases. Now, its solution is to introduce a second carbon tax. It is also saying that it will not affect Quebeckers. That is not the truth.
    This second Liberal carbon tax will cost Quebeckers more than $430. This government must stop taxing Canadians and take concrete action to achieve environmental results. Will the Prime Minister cancel this second carbon tax, which takes effect on July 1?
    Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to say that when we took stock of our greenhouse gas emissions, we saw that they were starting to decrease, which means that the work we are doing is reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.
    In addition, if we want to talk about clean fuel, that is something that is going to help the economy as well, so we are doing two things at once. There are regulations, but there is also financial support for people who produce clean fuels. This is very important for our economy of the future.

[English]

Air Transportation

    Mr. Speaker, the last two years have put our transportation sector through a lot, from the COVID-19 pandemic to extreme weather to the Russian war on Ukraine.
    As we head into another busy summer travel season, could the Minister of Transport provide us with an update on what our government is doing to support Canadians and build a strong federal transportation sector?
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend is correct. The aviation sector around the world has experienced significant disruptions over the last couple of years, and Canadian workers and travellers have felt it here at home.
    We promised Canadians to take action on lessons learned. So far, we have strengthened passenger protection rights. We are working to modernize CATSA, and today I had the honour of tabling Bill C-52, which would enhance service standards for airports and airlines, and enhance transparency.
    This is great news for Canadians. I look forward to working with my colleagues on advancing this important legislation.

[Translation]

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, for eight years, the carbon tax has had an impact across the country, even in Quebec, despite what the minister and the Prime Minister are saying.
    As if that were not enough, the government will be imposing a second carbon tax as of July 1. Quebec families will be paying an average of $436 a year for this new measure they really do not need.
    Since we know that families are already stretched to the limit and struggling to get by, will this Prime Minister show some common sense and cancel this new tax?
    Mr. Speaker, I am so disappointed when I hear my Conservative colleagues from Quebec still talking about cancelling the carbon tax or pollution pricing, as they say. If there is one thing Quebeckers understand, especially those currently affected by the forest fires, it is the costs that climate change will generate across the province and the country. If there is one thing the Conservatives campaigned on in 2021, it is pollution pricing. So they are going back on their word as well.
    On this side of the House, we are going to continue to fight climate change.
    I would like to remind members that, when they read out a text, the light can vary depending on how they hold the document. This is just a little reminder to help them to read out their text.
    The hon. member for Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame.

[English]

Fisheries and Oceans

    Mr. Speaker, these Liberals have had eight years of blaming everyone and everything for their failures, and they have failed yet again.
    This time the Liberals have failed to release quotas for northern cod, east coast capelin, mackerel and southwestern Nova Scotia herring on time. Harvesters and processors cannot count on the fisheries minister to deliver the decisions that their livelihoods depend on.
    Will the Liberal government stop failing the fishing industry and announce these quotas immediately?
    Mr. Speaker, my goal is to grow Canada's fish and seafood sector, and to do it in a sustainable way so it is there for the long term and for the next generations.
    With respect to the stocks mentioned, decisions have not yet been made. When they are made, I will announce them for the member and for all the fish harvesters in eastern Canada.

  (1510)  

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the chair of the public safety committee.
    Just before question period, members of the committee were informed that the meeting had been cancelled for this afternoon. We were told that all parties had consented to this. None of the opposition parties have consented to this. I can only think that the reason the meeting has been cancelled on such short notice is to protect the Minister of Public Safety from a Conservative motion calling on him to appear to answer questions about the Bernardo transfer.
    Could the chair of the public safety committee tell the House why the Liberals are going this far to protect the Minister of Public Safety? Why did they cancel the meeting?
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please.
    Can I have the person who is going to answer the question please stand up?
    The hon. government House leader has the floor.
    Mr. Speaker, what we have seen, unfortunately, over the last three weeks is a party that is bent on obstructing everything at every turn, whether it is members pretending to have technical problems they do not have, members raising phony points of order or members screaming and yelling when others are trying to talk and have the floor.
    They know very well the decision in question was made independently by corrections, and what they are covering up is the ability of the House to do its work on behalf of Canadians. We will not be deterred. We will continue the business of this nation. We will adopt the legislation that is needed, and we will be there for Canadians.

[Translation]

News Media Industry

    Mr. Speaker, a free and independent press is vital to our democracy. Last week, we learned that 1,300 families were affected by Bell's layoffs, while the online platforms and web giants benefit from access to the Canadian market, but have no responsibility towards our artists, creators and local Canadian media. That is another example of why we need Bill C-11 and Bill C-18 to make the web giants pay their fair share to our local media.
    Can the Minister of Canadian Heritage tell the House how our government made a commitment to defend our democracy?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Châteauguay—Lacolle for her question and her absolutely great work.
    Bill C‑18 is crucial to save our newsrooms and make web giants pay their fair share. However, at every step of the process, Conservative politicians have filibustered to block passage of Bill C‑11 and Bill C‑18, because they would rather defend web giants than defend Canadians, jobs and our freedom of the press.
    On this side of the House, we will continue to stand up for our democracy. We did it in the past, we are doing it today, and we will continue to do it.

[English]

Grocery Industry

    Mr. Speaker, rising food prices are putting pressure on families. Edmonton's Food Bank has had to cut the amount of food in its hampers by 25% to meet demand, and 40,000 Albertan kids who get lunch at school will go without once the school rises for the summer. Grocery CEOs are making millions in surplus profits, and the government is doing nothing to help Canadians. While the Prime Minister and the leader of the official opposition have private chefs and fridges full of food, Canadian children are going hungry.
    When will the Prime Minister finally start tackling corporate greed and implement a windfall tax?
    Mr. Speaker, we understand that food insecurity has been on the rise, and we continue to make investments to support those facing hardships. We have made significant investments for Canadian families through targeted social programs and income supplements such as the CCB so families do not need to make difficult choices when it comes to food and other essential needs.
    We have made funding available to food banks and charities, and we will continue to trust the work against food insecurity, including delivering on our national school food policy program. The Prime Minister highlighted this priority in his mandate letters to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. We will continue to work for Canadians.

Small Business

    Mr. Speaker, the other day I got an email from the owner of Grizzly Jim's General Store in Topley, B.C. Like hundreds of thousands of other small business owners across this country, he accessed the Canada Emergency Business Account to keep his doors open during some of the most difficult times this country has seen. Revenues have still not fully recovered, and now small businesses are facing the added pressures of inflation and a tight labour market.
    There is a simple way the minister could help businesses such as Grizzly Jim's, and that is to extend the repayment period for the CEBA business loans by an additional year. Will the minister do this?

  (1515)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for his advocacy, and thank all members for their advocacy in the House for small businesses across the country.
    It was really heartening to see that almost a million small businesses got through the pandemic with the CEBA loan. We have, of course, been in touch with many of the businesses, some of which we know are still having a tough time throughout this period. I want to thank the Canadian small businesses for their resiliency, and we will continue to keep working on this very issue.
    The opposition whip is rising on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, I have received a notice that the chair of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security has unilaterally cancelled the committee's meeting this afternoon. The committee was scheduled to meet to begin a clause-by-clause study of Bill C-20, government legislation regarding a complaints process for the RCMP and the CBSA.
    Conservatives have given notice of a motion to call the Minister of Public Safety to appear on the Bernardo transfer travesty. I call on all party whips to manage the resources of the House in a way that reflects the priorities of the House.
    The hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona is rising on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, I am just rising to express concern about an issue coming out of question period. Not for the first time at committee, a chair has been asked a question in question period, and the government House leader has either answered himself or has been allowed to pick who asks.
    In this case, where committee chairs are asked a question, I think it is very important that either a committee chair or a committee vice-chair, when they show up, is allowed to be able to answer that question as a matter of priority. I think this is important to protect the independence of the committee. It should not be the government who chooses who answers on behalf of a committee that is properly independent from the government.
    The hon. member for Kingston and the Islands is rising on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, I was just going to add this: Although I would agree with the member that there are certain circumstances in which a chair would be asked a question, the content of the question is what is key here. It has to be about the schedule or the agenda of the committee. One cannot just ask about any issue they want.
    I would encourage you to consider—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    The Speaker: If I could have your attention, please. I have just consulted with the Table, and the rules are that if the chair of the committee stands, then that person gets to—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    The Speaker: One second. Let me apologize in earnest, please.
    I want to say that two people were up, and I recognized the House leader. Unfortunately, according to the rules, I should have recognized the chair of the committee. I apologize, and we will know for next time.
    The hon. member for Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner is rising on a point of order.

  (1520)  

    Mr. Speaker, I just want to point out two things. First, I would ask for unanimous consent for the chair of the public safety committee to actually answer the question that was posed to him.
    Second, I would also ask for unanimous consent to present the notice of meeting that was published by the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, speaking to the seven to nine witnesses whom we had scheduled for this afternoon at the meeting.
    All those opposed to the hon. member's moving the motion will please say nay.
    An hon. member: Nay.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Canada Business Corporations Act

     The House resumed from June 19 consideration of Bill C-42, An Act to amend the Canada Business Corporations Act and to make consequential and related amendments to other Acts, as reported (with amendments) from the committee, and of Motion No. 1.
    It being 3:20 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 report stage of Bill C-42.

[Translation]

    Call in the members.

  (1545)  

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

(Division No. 391)

YEAS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Allison
Arnold
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Berthold
Bezan
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
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
Zimmer

Total: -- 113


NAYS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Ali
Anandasangaree
Angus
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Atwin
Bachrach
Badawey
Bains
Baker
Barron
Barsalou-Duval
Battiste
Beaulieu
Beech
Bendayan
Bennett
Bérubé
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Blaney
Blois
Boissonnault
Boulerice
Bradford
Brière
Brunelle-Duceppe
Cannings
Casey
Chabot
Chagger
Chahal
Champoux
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Cormier
Coteau
Dabrusin
Damoff
DeBellefeuille
Desbiens
Desilets
Desjarlais
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Dong
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Dzerowicz
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Erskine-Smith
Fergus
Fillmore
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fortin
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Gaheer
Garrison
Gaudreau
Gazan
Gerretsen
Gill
Gould
Green
Guilbeault
Hajdu
Hanley
Hardie
Hepfner
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Idlout
Ien
Jaczek
Johns
Jowhari
Julian
Kayabaga
Kelloway
Khalid
Khera
Koutrakis
Kusmierczyk
Kwan
Lalonde
Lambropoulos
Lametti
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
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: -- 207


PAIRED

Members

Champagne
Garon
Hoback
Joly

Total: -- 4


    I declare Motion No. 1 lost.

  (1550)  

[English]

Hon. Dan Vandal (for the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry)  
     moved that the bill, as amended, be concurred in at report stage.

[Translation]

    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]

    Mr. Speaker, I request a recorded division.

  (1600)  

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

(Division No. 392)

YEAS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Aldag
Alghabra
Ali
Allison
Anandasangaree
Angus
Arnold
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Atwin
Bachrach
Badawey
Bains
Baker
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Barron
Barsalou-Duval
Battiste
Beaulieu
Beech
Bendayan
Bennett
Berthold
Bérubé
Bezan
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Blaney
Block
Blois
Boissonnault
Boulerice
Bradford
Bragdon
Brassard
Brière
Brock
Brunelle-Duceppe
Calkins
Cannings
Caputo
Carrie
Casey
Chabot
Chagger
Chahal
Chambers
Champoux
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Chong
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Cooper
Cormier
Coteau
Dabrusin
Dalton
Damoff
Dancho
Davidson
DeBellefeuille
Deltell
d'Entremont
Desbiens
Desilets
Desjarlais
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Doherty
Dong
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
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
Gill
Gladu
Godin
Goodridge
Gould
Gourde
Gray
Green
Guilbeault
Hajdu
Hallan
Hanley
Hardie
Hepfner
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Idlout
Ien
Jaczek
Jeneroux
Johns
Jowhari
Julian
Kayabaga
Kelloway
Kelly
Khalid
Khera
Kitchen
Kmiec
Koutrakis
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Kusie
Kusmierczyk
Kwan
Lake
Lalonde
Lambropoulos
Lametti
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
Redekopp
Reid
Rempel Garner
Richards
Roberts
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Rood
Ruff
Sahota
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
Yip
Zahid
Zarrillo
Zimmer
Zuberi

Total: -- 319


NAYS

Members

Rayes

Total: -- 1


PAIRED

Members

Champagne
Garon
Hoback
Joly

Total: -- 4


    I declare the motion carried.

Royal Assent

[Royal Assent]

[English]

     I have the honour to inform the House that a communication has been received as follows:
    Rideau Hall
    Ottawa
     June 19, 2023
    Mr. Speaker,
    I have the honour to inform you that the Right Honourable Mary May Simon, Governor General of Canada, signified royal assent by written declaration to the bills listed in the Schedule to this letter on the 19th day of June, 2023, at 11:47 a.m.
    Yours sincerely,
    Christine MacIntyre
    Deputy Secretary to the Governor General

Government Orders

  (1605)  

[English]

Privilege

Alleged Breach of Member's Right to Information—Speaker's Ruling  

[Speaker's Ruling]
    I am now ready to rule on the question of privilege raised on June 15, by the member for Calgary Nose Hill regarding the government’s answer to written Question No. 974.
    In raising the question of privilege, the member for Calgary Nose Hill argued that the government had deliberately provided an incomplete answer to her written Question No. 974. The member stated that she had received, through an access to information request, a copy of emails showing that public servants had prepared the answer while limiting it to generalities and openly stating among themselves that the answer did not need to address every aspect of the question. She further noted that the public servants had analyzed the risks of a potential Speaker’s ruling in determining what kind of response to provide. According to the member, this situation amounts to a breach of her rights and privileges to obtain complete information from the government.
    The members for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, Lakeland, and Saskatoon West also rose to echo the member’s statement, while noting that their own written questions had met the same fate.

[Translation]

     In response, the deputy government whip pointed out that the member had obtained an answer within the prescribed time frame. She said that the decision of February 2, 2023, showed that the Chair cannot review the content of answers to written questions. She added that Question No. 974 asked for secret information and that, on that basis, the government was within its rights to provide a response that appeared incomplete. In her view, the matter does not constitute a prima facie question of privilege.

[English]

    As for the member for Calgary Nose Hill, she acknowledged that the Chair had issued a ruling on the same written question on February 2, 2023. However, in her view, the new information obtained through her access to information request justified further action by the Chair. I agree with the hon. member on this point.

[Translation]

     On September 27, 2016, my predecessor rightly remarked, on page 5176 of the Debates:
    Access to information, accurate information, is one of the cornerstones of our parliamentary system. Members must be able to rely on it at all times. The integrity of many of our procedures, especially those relating to written questions, rests on the rightful expectation that ministers and the public servants who support them understand the value and utility of providing, not simply technically accurate, but also complete and transparent, answers in the written responses that they provide to members of the House.

[English]

    Ministers and their officials are expected to provide members with the most accurate answers possible to written questions, regardless of their name, reputation or political affiliation. Written questions and the responses to them are essential parts of the process of accountability. Consequently, they are central to our parliamentary system.

[Translation]

     However, in seeking a decision on this matter, the member for Calgary Nose Hill asked the Chair to rule not on the quality of the answer but on departments' internal processes for preparing responses to written questions.
    On April 3, 2014, one of my predecessors ruled that this was beyond the powers of the Chair. Allow me to quote from page 4208 of the Debates:
    Regardless of whether the department's internal processes on written questions have changed or not, it remains beyond the role of the Chair to undertake an investigation into any such matter or to render any judgment on it.

  (1610)  

[English]

    The Chair's powers therefore seem to be limited. In the case before us, I must conclude that there is no prima facie question of privilege.
    However, the Chair would like to note that it finds the remarks of public servants reported by the member very troubling. I am especially troubled by the comments from the public servants to the effect that the Chair could not intervene in case of a point of order and that this could justify an incomplete response.

[Translation]

    It is true that, based on many precedents, the Chair does not judge the quality of responses, and the reasons for that fact are understandable. However, my predecessors and I have repeatedly emphasized the importance of providing members with the information they need to do their work properly.

[English]

    There may be legitimate reasons not to provide certain information in answers to written questions. In the present case, the government invoked the confidentiality of international relations and trade negotiations. Still, the Chair has noticed that members are questioning more and more the quality of answers to their questions.
     There was a time when members complained about how long it took to receive a response, which led to the requirement of answers being provided within 45 days and the referral of late answers to committee. The time may have come for the House to consider how it wishes to deal with the issue of incomplete answers.
     In the meantime, the Chair encourages ministers to find the right words to inspire their officials to invest their time and energy in preparing high-quality responses rather than looking for reasons to avoid answering written questions.
    I thank the members for their attention.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. On a point of clarification, based on your ruling on this matter, would it be fair to characterize Kyle Harrietha's prediction in the ATIP that your ruling would “tut tut” the matter as correct?
    I would love to answer that, but Speaker's Rulings are not subject to debate. I am going to enforce that rule.

Online News Act

[Government Orders]
    The House resumed consideration of the motion in relation to the amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-18, An Act respecting online communications platforms that make news content available to persons in Canada, and of the amendment.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Provencher.
    As always, I recognize what a privilege it is to stand in the House of Commons and represent my community of Peterborough—Kawartha.
    Today, we are debating Bill C-18 amendments that have been brought back from the Senate. It is known as the online news act. In a nutshell, this bill proposes to make big tech like Google and Facebook or Meta, as it is now known, pay when they share links from smaller independent legacy media. This bill is deeply flawed and, quite frankly, it is an absolute disaster.
    I grew up just outside Peterborough, Ontario in a town called Douro. We had about three channels. As the youngest child, it was my job to be the human remote control. It was also my job to turn the dial for the aerial outside to make sure it was just right. Everyone at home who was a child of the eighties knows what I speak of. My favourite shows were the CHEX news, The Raccoons and The Beachcombers.
    When I was nine we moved to the township of Otonabee and we got a satellite dish. It was a huge deal. If someone pressed a button, the giant satellite dish out in the yard moved with a remote control with hundreds of channels.
    As technology has rapidly progressed, the customer has definitely taken more of a driver role. The customer says what they want, when they want and how they want it.
    There are so many more options and it has increased competition, which has made it harder and harder to capture the attention of the customer. Local news will always be relevant. Local news will always be a priority because we need to know what is happening in our community. We want to know.
    The landscape of how we consume media has drastically changed but our need to stay connected and informed has not. I worked at a local television station for 14 years and then I went on to start my own business in social media. I know the value of local media.
    I also know the competition has dramatically impacted our legacy media and not necessarily in a positive way. I worked for CHEX television at that time and we always dreamed of having a satellite truck so that we could go live. Imagine doing live hits. We were a small-town news media but with a big following because people wanted to stay connected. Then along came this little guy and we could go live with our phones like that.
    Bill C-18 is not going to help legacy media. It is going to hurt them. Bill C-18 is a subsidy program. It is not a support program and it will never work. It also opens a dangerous door for censorship and control. It is a terrible idea hidden behind a classic Liberal narrative of "We will protect you and we know what is best for you."
    This morning I spoke with Jeff Dueck, who is the sales manager from My Broadcasting Corporation in Peterborough, Ontario. He has major concerns with this bill. He shared many of his concerns with me, but the one that struck me the most is when he told me that they do not want subsidies but they want an equal playing field.
    Subsidies are the polar opposite to sustainability and they are a classic Liberal tactic. They create chaos and then offer a sliver of help and long-term dependence, rather than freedom and autonomy. Canadians have caught on and the trust is gone. Jeff went on to say this:
    The inability of our Government and the CRTC to listen to us and modernize outdated policies is slowly killing our industry, and in doing so, putting Canadians at risk of losing access to valuable sources for local news and information from trusted media outlets. When major players make major changes, it affects us all and stigmatizes us as a “passe“ business model amongst the businesses that we count on for advertising revenues - but that's still far from the reality.
     If people take anything from this, please listen to what I am about to say. The harsh reality of this bill is that despite its intention, it is actually going to do the exact opposite.

  (1615)  

    If I were at Google or Facebook and the government told Google or Facebook it had to pay to share the links of small legacy media, what motivation would I have to share it? I would have none, zip. I would not share it. That is what is going to happen. This methodology is literally the stick instead of the carrot.
    The truth is that one of the very best ways to get news to more people is to have a bigger platform to share it. That is the exact thing one would want. Once a bigger platform shares one's content, they are then able to tap into a whole new audience. Once they have that audience they have the opportunity to promote their subscription or merchandise. It is literally the best way to grow their business and brand online.
    Bill C-18 will destroy legacy media: it will no longer be seen because it will no longer be shared.
    Andrew Coyne, a columnist at The Globe and Mail, said it well when he said:
    The premise, that the problems of the newspaper industry can be traced to search and social-media platforms like Google or Facebook "stealing" their content, is utterly false. The platforms don't take our content. They link to it: a headline, sometimes a short snippet of text, nothing more. When users click on the links, they are taken to our sites, where they read our content. Much of the traffic on our sites, in fact, comes from social-media links, which is why we go to such lengths to encourage readers to post them - indeed, we post such links ourselves, hundreds of times a day.
     Has anyone even begun to ask how in the world this would work administratively? Who, and how are the links going to be tracked? Who is billing? Is it the legacy media's job to be their own watchdog and submit a claim? I am not sure who has worked in a newsroom in this room, but I can tell you, nobody has time for that. We do not need another government-run program with more bureaucracy to create more backlogs.
    This whole idea is bonkers. It is a distraction from the out-of-date and archaic mandates by the CRTC. The real problem here is there are a bunch of platforms that can play what they want. They have no rules and no restrictions. Then there are legacy media that are bound by the archaic shackles of the CRTC.
    How about we let radio stations play the music they want? That would be a great start. Of course they will continue to promote our talented and diverse Canadian artists. How about we trust them to listen to the customer instead of holding them hostage?
    Bill C-18 is a terrible bill. It will be the death of our legacy media. If members in this House want to support our journalists and artists then they need to vote this down. Seriously, if members do not believe me, they should pick up the phone and listen to the people on the front lines. They know this is a disaster.
    Jen Gerson is the co-founder of The Line, an independent journalist. She was a witness at the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage in September 2022. She said that this bill:
...is predicated on a lie. The bill adopts a very ancient complaint of newspaper publishers that aggregation-based news websites and social media networks are unduly profiting by “publishing” our content. However, we know this isn't true. In fact, the value proposition runs in exactly the opposite direction. We publishers are the ones who benefit when a user posts a link to our content on Facebook, Twitter and the like. This free distribution drives traffic to our websites, which we can then try to monetize through subscriptions and advertising.
    Legacy media does not need Liberal interference and control. They need the government to get out of the way, stop regulating how they do their jobs and let them do what they do best, which is to create content Canadians want to consume. If Canadians cannot see the content, what is the point in creating it? Let us make sure that legacy media's hard work pays off. Let us vote down Bill C-18.

  (1620)  

    Madam Speaker, I would like to answer the member opposite by saying that yes, I have worked in newsrooms. For more than 20 years I worked in newsrooms.
    I also sit on the heritage committee. I know that this legislation is possible because it is already working in a similar form in Australia, supporting small local news outlets in Australia.
    Bill C-18 creates a framework so that news organizations have the power to negotiate with big tech. There is no money coming from government. There is no money going to government. In what world could one call that a subsidy?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her journalism career. I know she has had a good one. I know she has worked in a newsroom and knows how hectic it is.
    Knowing what she does know, and back to my point of the administrative end of things, how in the world is that going to be done? Who is going to pay for it? Who is going to track it? Who is going to negotiate it? Who is going to cover the costs? Why in the world would someone not want their media shared on a bigger platform? It makes no sense.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague, with whom I am fortunate to serve on the Standing Committee on the Status of Women. We have some great discussions there.
    I too have worked in a newsroom and studied journalism. I am speaking on behalf of local media in my region, which want us to pass Bill C-18 because they want the web giants to pay their share. Whether it is La Voix de l'Est, the radio station M105, La Pensée de Bagot, Le Journal de Chambly, Granby Express or Le Val-Ouest, these local media, which contribute to the local economy and are part of our cultural community, are calling for it to pass.
    I am not hearing from anyone at those media outlets about the administrative problems that my colleague just mentioned. All they want is for Bill C‑18 to pass. They need it. They are asking for it.

  (1625)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague. She is wonderful to work with on the status of women committee. On the surface, if we just read the Coles Notes version, we would say we need help because they are drowning. The competitive market is destroying them. That is the reality. They have shackles on them.
    This bill is not going to do what they think it is going to do. It is going to last maybe five years. It is going to put a bandaid on a bullet wound. Media needs access and the freedom to create content and to be innovative. This bill, as much as it sounds honourable, will not. We have quote after quote saying that.
    Professor Dwayne Winseck of Carleton University said:
     The media's money troubles are long-standing and this latest proposal is a bandaid on a bullet wound.... I just think the whole thing is a real dog's breakfast.... This bill is being saddled with expectations and being sold as a rescue package — that, I think, [is] really disingenuous.
    Madam Speaker, my colleague mentioned that, in her view, the government should not interfere with this free market that rules our media world, yet the message I am hearing from community media, like the local newspaper in my community, is that it wants this. It is struggling in the face of these big tech giants that are not going to tell the local stories in Smithers, Burns Lake, Fraser Lake and Prince Rupert. They are just not going to do that. Community media wants to find a viable way to ensure it has the business case to deliver those stories to the people who need to hear them. People came to me, met with me and said they want precisely what is delivered by this bill.
    What would my colleague say to them if they came to her with that message?
    Madam Speaker, that is a great question. On the surface, I would sit down with them and tell them to read the bill. It is not going to give them what they think it will. They need help. Every small media company is literally drowning. If the government walks in and says it will give them money, they will say yes because they do not know how else they are going to keep their head afloat otherwise. The reality is they have to get innovative.
    I am going to tell a quick story. I worked in a newsroom and we launched a live talk show. I went to the news director at the time and said we needed to ensure we were cutting these stories for the Internet, so we were putting them into two-minute-and-30-second pieces to post online. The boss looked at me and said, “Michelle, we are in the business of TV, not the Internet. We are not doing that.” That is the limitation that boss had. He has been fired and he did not make it. They have to be innovative, but they have to be given the environment to—
    The hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby is rising on a point of order.

Points of Order

Order and Decorum in the House  

[Points of Order]
    Madam Speaker, I want to take a few minutes to intervene on the point of order that was raised by the whip of the official opposition just prior to question period.
    It is regarding the entirely appropriate decision that was made by the Speaker at the time, the Assistant Deputy Speaker, the member for Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, who has been a stellar Speaker in the chair, always maintaining, on behalf of all of us, order and respect for this institution. It is so important. It was clear to me that the official opposition whip was not present in the House and had no idea what went on.
    I want to cite a number of references to Bosc and Gagnon, and then I want to clearly lay out the facts because I hope you and the Speaker will rule in a forthright way. It is very important that the decision be upheld. It was the appropriate decision.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, as you well know, Bosc and Gagnon give the Chair the authority to preserve order and decorum: “As the arbiter of House proceedings, the Speaker's duty is to preserve order and decorum in the House and to decide any matters of procedure that may arise. This duty”—

  (1630)  

[English]

    I have to interrupt the hon. member, as the hon. member for Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner is rising on a point of order.
    Madam Speaker, the member has been a member for a long time, and he knows better than to identify whether a member was or was not in the House. He indicated previously that the whip of the—
    The hon. member is correct. We should not make mention of presences or absences in the House.
    The hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby can continue.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I was saying that it was obvious to me that she had not observed what had happened. I stand by my position on that. That was obvious from her presentation. I was not in the House when the opposition whip made her presentation, but I carefully read what she said in her speech, and it was obvious to me that she was not here to observe.
    Having said that, I will continue.
    In essence, the Chair has the duty to exercise his or her powers in order to maintain respect for Parliament: “This duty carries with it...authority extending to...the behaviour and attire of Members, the conduct of proceedings, the rules of debate and disruptions on the floor of the Chamber and in its galleries”. I will come back to that later.
    As we know, “Once the Speaker has ruled, the matter is no longer open to debate or discussion”. Furthermore, all of these “ways in which the Speaker may act to ensure that order and decorum are preserved” are given to the Chair by us, the members of the Parliament of Canada.
    Bosc and Gagnon say:
    The rules governing the conduct of debate empower the Speaker to call a Member to order if the Member persists in repeating an argument already made in the course of debate, or in addressing a subject which is not relevant to the question before the House. The Speaker may intervene directly to address an individual Member or the House in general, or the Speaker may respond to a point of order raised by another Member. The Speaker can call to order any Member whose conduct is disruptive to the order of the House.
    I will come back to this later, because it was definitely the case here.
    If the Speaker has found it necessary to intervene in order to call a Member to order, he or she may then choose to recognize another Member, thus declining to give the floor back to the offending Member. On occasion, a Member who is called to order by the Speaker may not immediately comply with the Speaker's instructions;—
    That is what happened in this case. Bosc and Gagnon go on to say:
—in such a case, the Speaker has given the Member time to reflect on his or her position, declining in the meantime to “see” the Member should the latter rise to be recognized. A warning at the time the Member is called to order that the Chair may elect to do this has sometimes been sufficient to secure compliance.
    It is therefore very clear, when we look at the procedural bible of Bosc and Gagnon, that all these powers to preserve order in the House do indeed fall to the Chair. That is the case in the ruling that was made this morning by the chair occupant, the member for Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing.
    I will give three examples, and then I will get back to the facts of what happened. Since I was in the House, I saw first-hand what happened.
    Here is the first example. First, in 1987, Speaker Fraser would not recognize Jim Fulton, the member for Skeena and a member of our caucus, for more than three weeks because he refused to withdraw his remarks. The member was only able to be recognized after agreeing to apologize.
    Here is the second example. On November 27, 2002, Speaker Milliken ruled on unparliamentary language used by Jim Pankiw, the then member for Saskatoon—Humboldt. The Speaker asked the member to apologize, which was not done. The member was not recognized for the day and offered a full apology the next day, which closed the matter.
    I am also aware of another case, which involved an NDP member from Dartmouth. That member was not recognized for a few weeks because she had introduced someone who was in the gallery. As we know, we are not supposed to do that. It took a few weeks. In this case as well, the hon. member apologized and things went back to normal.

  (1635)  

[English]

    Clearly what happened with the member of Parliament for Lethbridge was a complete refusal to heed what were clear directives, politely but firmly given, from the Chair. Looking at the blues from this morning, we can see that the Assistant Deputy Speaker repeatedly asked the member for Lethbridge to stop screaming and heckling in the House. This was done not one time, not two times and not three times, but four times. Each time the Assistant Deputy Speaker issued, very clearly, a warning that, if the member for Lethbridge continued to heckle, yell in the House and disrupt the proceedings, the member would not be recognized.
     As we can see from all the precedents and the clear directions from Bosc and Gagnon, that is an authority that we give to you, Madam Speaker, and to all of our terrific Speakers in the House of Commons, to maintain order and decorum. The member for Lethbridge violated that decorum repeatedly. She refused to heed very clear, politely but firmly worded warnings from the Chair, and the consequence is a consequence that has transpired in the past in the House. It is completely valid, within the rules of order and appropriate.
    I will say one final thing on this. I know the Assistant Deputy Speaker and the great work she does in the House of Commons. I also commend the work of our whip, the member for North Island—Powell River. If a member from the NDP had done what the member for Lethbridge did today, that member would have been called to order by our whip because our whip would not encourage this type of behaviour in the House of Commons. Therefore, I call upon the official opposition whip to take her responsibility seriously and call on the member for Lethbridge to apologize in the House for her behaviour, which was inappropriate and over the top, and for refusing to heed the repeated warnings of the Assistant Deputy Speaker, who was acting entirely appropriately.
    The hon. member's points will be taken into consideration.
    Madam Speaker, on that same point of order, I do really appreciate the work the Speakers do in the chair. I know they are doing a fantastic job.
    However, one of the greatest challenges we are seeing is that we need to ensure that this treatment goes from one party to the next and it is equal. We have had four of our own members sanctioned, while we have watched members across the aisle give the finger and say some very derogatory things. Therefore, when we are talking about this, we want to see equal treatment for all parties.

Online News Act

[Government Orders]
     The House resumed consideration of the motion respecting Senate amendments to Bill C-18, An Act respecting online communications platforms that make news content available to persons in Canada, and of the amendment.
    Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to have the opportunity again to address Bill C-18 in the House.
    I am pleased that the Senate has exercised its judgment as the place of sober second thought and sent this legislation back to the House for further work.
    Right off the top, I will say that there are three areas where all members of the House are in agreement. First, we all agree that there should be some mechanism whereby tech giants are taxed, and that we do so in a way that does not negatively affect Canadian consumers. Second, we all agree that there must be some mechanism in place to deal with online misinformation and disinformation. At every one of our offices, we deal with this issue on a daily basis. Third, we all agree that we must create a framework to regulate AI or artificial intelligence.
    We agree on these three principles. The issue, as is usually the case in the House, is how we go about doing that.
    How do we make tech giants pay their fair share? How do we regulate information online and, perhaps more pertinent to our conversation today, particularly in light of the events of the past three years, who determines what is misinformation? How do we differentiate between fact and opinion?
    In our postmodern world, or what some have called a post-truth world or a world where truth has become a relative or entirely subjective concept, how do we, as governments and media, differentiate and adjudicate between truly evidence-based information versus that which is driven by ideology and political expediency? Finally, how do we even begin to deal with the challenges posed by artificial intelligence?
    In the Bible, we have the story of Adam and Eve eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We have the story of the Tower of Babel, where people believed that by building a tower to heaven, by storming God’s dominion, they could themselves become God. We have heard the story of Pandora’s box, or jar if we want to be exact, and the story of Prometheus stealing fire from the gods.
    Almost every ancient civilization has some story of humanity receiving or taking knowledge from the gods, knowledge they were not ready for, that they were ill-equipped to handle and that ultimately leads to chaos.
    With the advent of the technological revolution and, in particular, artificial intelligence, humanity has come full circle to a truly frightening reality. It is good that we are beginning to address these important issues. It is good that we are at least largely agreed on what those issues are.
    Unfortunately, as is always the case with the government, the flaw is in the details. There is a reason that the Senate sent this back. It could have chosen to just approve it. It sent it back and that is because this legislation, like its sister legislation Bill C-11, is deeply flawed.
    Conservatives maintain that the government has misled Canadians about what the true objectives of Bill C-11 are. In short, it gives the government the ability to control what people see and post online. That is why Conservatives have committed to repealing it. I suspect that we will do likewise after Bill C-18 has been passed, and we are sitting on the other side of the House.
    Like Bill C-11, at first look, the legislation looks fine and prudent, but then one starts to dig a little deeper. The flaw is in the details. One of those first pesky details is the issue of accountability. The government says that tech giants need to be more transparent and accountable to Canadians, which is the pot speaking to the kettle.
    I agree. I am pretty sure my colleagues agree with this statement. Tech giants, like all multinational, plutocratic entities, do need to be held accountable. If they wish to operate within the jurisdiction of a country, those individual nation states must find a way to temper the unprecedented power, influence and wealth these entities have amassed.
    When it comes to transparency and accountability, the government has very limited credibility. How the government can have the audacity to tell anyone they need to be more accountable and transparent shows its utter lack of self-awareness and the level of narcissism we are dealing with here because there has never been a government that has been so secretive. This government has so actively shunned accountability.
    When, in the long line of scandals and failures of the Prime Minister and his ministers, has even one of them ever taken responsibility? I think the record clearly shows that the answer to that question is never. I could stand here and, one by one, list the scandals and failures of this government, but we would be here all night, and I know we have other work do get done here.

  (1640)  

    There is always an excuse, always someone else to blame. The government never takes responsibility. No minister has ever been held accountable. Actually, that is not quite true. We may remember that the Prime Minister did fire a minister. What did she do? Did she fail to execute the basic functions of government? Did she create chaos in her department? Did she misappropriate funds? Did she lie about a matter of national security? No, she did not. Her crime was that she tried to hold the Prime Minister accountable. She was the first indigenous woman to be minister of justice and attorney general, and the Prime Minister fired her because she refused to be party to his misdeeds or to capitulate to his unlawful demands.
    When it comes to accountability, the Liberals have no credibility. Therefore, how can Canadians trust the Liberal government to enforce the very thing that the government itself refuses to do? That same statement from the heritage minister’s office states, “Canadians need to have access to quality, fact-based news at the local and national levels, and that's why we introduced the Online News Act.” I agree with that sentiment. The problem is that it is really difficult to take the government at its word when it has spent the past seven and a half years subsidizing media outlets that are friendly to it, intentionally parrot government talking points as “facts” and brand everything else as “misinformation”.
    The Liberals gave legacy Liberal media $650 million and continue to fund the CBC to the tune of $1.24 billion per year. Why do they need to do this? First, it is to buy positive coverage, and they have gotten excellent bang for their buck. There is always a cost-benefit analysis, and the benefit seems to have been worth the cost of taxpayers' dollars. Second, they have done so because those friendly outlets are dying. They are trying to prop up a dying industry.
    With the exception of a brief renaissance during COVID, when flush with Liberal government dollars, the media spouted government talking points and spread fear and division among Canadians. They have ceased to be relevant. We can bemoan that fact all we want, but I would ask, as I believe my colleagues have adequately done, what members' primary source for their news and entertainment is? Chances are that it is something online. I think this is really at the heart of the issue. I would pose this question to the government: What is a better indicator of what people actually believe, what they say or what they do? I would argue that it is what they do.
    In the same way as the government’s track record, its behaviour has shown that it does not really believe in accountability. It also does not care about what the media prints or posts as long as it is favourable to the government. However, Canadian consumers have also spoken by their behaviour. If we were to ask a group of Canadians to define “Canadian content”, it would be difficult to get consensus. The platforms that Canadians subscribe to, the shows they watch and the content they consume would probably not be considered Canadian content by all Canadians.
    Maybe listening to Canadians rather than dictating to them what the government wants them to see as Canadian content would poise the government to better serve Canadians. If we were to ask a group of Canadians how important Canadian content in media is, I suspect about half would say it is important. If we were to ask that same group how much Canadian content they actually consume, what platforms they subscribe to and what shows they watch, the answer would most likely be pretty different.
    Perhaps, for once, rather than dictating to Canadians, the government that supposedly represents their interests ought to take the novel approach of listening to them. While it is listening, it should ask them what they think about the carbon tax, the cost of living, this so-called green and woke agenda, their media priorities and whether they feel safe on the streets. This is Conservatism 101. The market is the best indicator of what Canadian people want, because it is driven by Canadian people. Rather than accept this reality, the government that thinks it knows better than Canadians how to spend their money, consistently pushes back against the market to achieve its own ideological purposes.
    At the end of the day, the market determines the viability of a product, including media, so we need to address these issues. Conservatives agree with that, but the weaknesses of this legislation are secondary to the sad reality that the government lacks credibility. It is a serial offender, guilty of doing the very things it claims this legislation would address.

  (1645)  

    Only a new, Conservative government would be able to address these important issues, and we will address them head-on—
    We now have to go to questions and comments.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.
    Madam Speaker, I find myself standing on my feet in the House quite often, reciting the Conservative Party platform, which I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be doing. However, I will read to that member what he ran on in 2021.
    He was knocking on doors, and this is what he was selling to people: “Canada’s Conservatives will: Introduce a digital media royalty framework to ensure that Canadian media outlets are fairly compensated for the sharing of their content by platforms like Google and Facebook.” I am literally reading their party platform. This is what they ran on, and that is exactly what this bill is about.
    I understand that Conservatives are abandoning their platform en masse, because they have already done the same thing on pricing pollution. Would the member like to inform the House of any other Conservative platforms that they are so rigidly against, but that they ran on under two years ago.
    Madam Speaker, every time the member for Kingston and the Islands stands up after one of my speeches, I am just looking forward to the question. I know it is going to be a lob, so I am teeing this one up.
    Conservatives absolutely believe that tech giants need to pay their fair share. What we do not believe is that governments should be picking winners and losers. In this legislation, 75% of the winners will be made up of these three companies: the CBC, Rogers and Bell. That is not fair.

  (1650)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, my Conservative friends are very good at criticizing, but they offer very little by way of solutions to real problems. For all the years that we have been talking about fighting climate change, we have constantly criticized the government, and rightly so, because the Liberals are absolutely useless at fighting climate change. However, the Conservatives do not offer any meaningful solutions to real problems.
    The revenue sharing in Bill C‑18 is a real problem. In my riding, there is a weekly newspaper that had 10 journalists five years ago. Now there are only two left. How can they cover all the events? There are six federal ridings and there is simply no way they can cover all the regional news, which is extremely important.
    What solutions does my colleague have to offer for this problem that is real and widespread across Canada?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the member for the Bloc raises a very important issue. I think of the small periodicals in my riding. I think of the Southeast Journal, The Clipper, the Niverville Citizen and even The Carillon. These are not the media outlets that are going to benefit from this piece of legislation. The member asks, rightly, what our solutions are. We are going to come up with solutions, and we are going to announce them in our platform in the next general election. Canadians are going to be incredibly impressed, and we are going to implement those solutions as soon as we get elected.
    Madam Speaker, as much as I am tempted to ask my hon. colleague what those solutions are now, and I am sure Canadians probably want to know what they are now, I digress, because I am not quite certain. As the member is reluctant to give them today, I hope he may provide them to everyone here in writing.
    I want to make a quick differentiation about something that, for a long time, New Democrats have called for; this is the difference between the needs and the wants of Canadians. The member speaks directly to the market. As a matter of fact, we need to ensure that a market is well-balanced to ensure that the things Canadians actually need to obtain to live, such as food, water, homes and, in this case, good information, are actually available to them.
    The member did not speak directly to the concern that I think is important in this legislation, which is why I think we can probably agree that there needs to be a process ensuring that our small businesses, particularly news outlets in small rural communities, can actually get the information they are working for produced on to the websites people are seeing the news on. This is important for small communities, because people are doing the work. They are doing the journalism in their communities to talk about the good work happening, whether it is in Edson, Drayton Valley or Fishing Lake, so that when people go to the news, they can actually have access to it. Right now, these companies are saying that they will not, and they are benefiting to the tune of nearly $10 billion.
    Could the member speak to how important it is to balance those two?
    Madam Speaker, that question requires a comprehensive answer, but I will try to make it brief.
    The member raises a good point. How will these smaller platforms benefit from this legislation? It is going to be difficult, because embedded in this legislation is that the negotiations between these big tech giants and news media outlets are going to be done in secret. Therefore, the question remains of whether these small news generators in smaller communities will be able to afford to have the information they are producing clicked on or listed on the big media platforms. I think that the cost to these small media outlets is the big question this piece of legislation does not address.

[Translation]

    Order. It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Nunavut, Indigenous Affairs; the hon. member for Spadina—Fort York, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

[English]

    I go back to the question that I asked the member for Provencher a few moments ago. He answered it by saying that I like to set up lobs for him to hit out of the park. The only problem is that he inadvertently did that to me as well, in his response. That is because the next part of the Conservative platform, immediately after the part that I read, says, “It will: Adopt a made in Canada approach that incorporates the best practices of jurisdictions like Australia and France.”
    What the Conservatives ran on is quite literally what we have before us now, with the exception of the fact that the legislation that we have here is even more transparent. I am finding it more and more difficult every time I come here. I was saying earlier that I never imagined I would be reading the Conservative platform into the record in the House of Commons so much, but here I am. Conservatives