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44th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 320

CONTENTS

Wednesday, May 29, 2024




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 151
No. 320
1st SESSION
44th PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Speaker: The Honourable Greg Fergus

    The House met at 2 p.m.

Prayer


(1400)

[Translation]

     It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem led by the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay.
    [Members sang the national anthem]

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Arthur Irving

    Mr. Speaker, earlier this month, our community, the Atlantic region and Canada lost an extraordinary business leader. Irving Oil chairman emeritus, Arthur L. Irving passed away on May 13 at the age of 93. Arthur Irving was one of Canada's greatest entrepreneurs. Under his leadership, Irving Oil's Saint John Refinery grew to become the largest in Canada. He led the expansion of the business in the northeastern United States and, recently, Ireland. Today, Irving Oil employs more than 4,000 people, including 2,500 in Saint John. The company has been named one of Canada's top 100 employers for eight consecutive years.
    Arthur Irving's legacy spans not only industry but also conservation and community. He served for 30 years on the board of directors of Ducks Unlimited and has provided transformational support, community health care and educational initiatives, as well as community infrastructure, throughout the region. His legacy is lasting in his commitment to making Atlantic Canada, Canada and our world a better place.

[Translation]

100th Anniversary of a Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis Business

    Mr. Speaker, Prevost, a flagship located in Sainte-Claire in the Bellechasse RCM, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. It all began when Eugène Prévost received an order for a wooden coach, a replica of which has been built for the 100th anniversary celebrations. Over the years, Mr. Prévost earned a reputation for his high-quality workmanship that will never fade. In fact, his reputation was such that, in 1943, the federal government placed an order with him for buses to transport soldiers and war factory workers.
    Today, Prevost employs over 1,000 workers who build buses for cities, for superstars and even for political parties to use during election campaigns. This company has stood the test of time, as has the community where it was founded, Sainte-Claire, which is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year.
    Congratulations to Eugène Prévost for his vision and congratulations to all of the artisans who make us so proud. I wish the president of Volvo Group Canada and Prevost, François Tremblay, and his team a happy 100th anniversary.

(1405)

[English]

Ottawa Race Weekend

     Mr. Speaker, as you are, I am an avid runner. It brings me great joy today to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.
     Last weekend, thousands of people participated in the 50th season of the race weekend, running through this magnificent, beautiful capital city of ours, running along both the Ottawa and Gatineau sides of the Ottawa River. This is not only a run, but also a weekend-long festival of fitness, really encouraging Canadians to be active. People of all abilities are able to take part, even young kids running one- or two-kilometre races, not to mention the thousands of people running the marathon. It also raises money for important charities. Just last year, over a million dollars was raised.
     I want to thank the staff and all the volunteers for making the race weekend such a success over the last 50 years.

[Translation]

Gisèle Fortin

    Mr. Speaker, today I would like to talk about an exceptional nine-year-old, the courageous Gisèle Fortin, who, for three years now, has devoted her Monday nights to mastering the art of karate. Gisèle faces a major challenge, because she has cerebral palsy that severely affects her legs.
    With the unwavering support of her parents, Audrey Lapointe and Daniel Fortin, and her karate instructor Jean-François Laforge, Gisèle has strengthened her legs and overcome the obstacles associated with her condition. In April, Gisèle participated in the Quebec Open, one of Quebec's biggest karate competitions, where she took second place in the physical challenge category.
    Having overcome obstacles and moments of doubt, Gisèle embodies the perseverance, discipline and determination of our people. To quote Xavier Dolan, Gisèle reminds us all that “anything is possible to anyone who dreams, dares, works and never gives up”.
    Congratulations to Gisèle. Quebec stands with her.

Support for Quebec Businesses

    Mr. Speaker, our government is investing in Quebec businesses through the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec. Let me share a few good examples. In Lévis—Lotbinière we provided $1 million so that J.L. Leclerc et Fils could improve productivity and transition to a green economy; in Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, we provided $1 million so that Plate 2000 Inc. could expand while reducing its environmental impact; in Mégantic—L'Érable, we provided $2 million to help Fruit d'Or increase production of its Quebec cranberries and blueberries; and in Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, we provided $1.5 million to Diffusion Saguenay for a new immersive show.
    Thanks to economic development agencies, we are supporting our businesses at a time when the Conservatives want to make cuts and bring back austerity. The Conservatives in Quebec should tell the businesses in their region that they want to cut financial support. We are going to make sure we create jobs and grow Quebec's economy.

[English]

Father's Day

    Mr. Speaker, many people talk about toxic masculinity, but fewer celebrate the type of masculinity that lifts our nation up. We should recognize men who, day in and day out, without selfish motivation, go to work to be independent and contribute financially to their families; men who do the emotional labour of lovingly disciplining their kids, spending time with them and loving them enough to give them a stable home, no matter what that looks like; men who are humble in their power, who overcome their weaknesses and who sacrifice their own desires to support others; men who defend others from harm; men who respect women; and men who teach their sons the importance of personal responsibility and earned respect.
    As we prepare to celebrate Father's Day, I thank my husband, Jeff, for gifting our children with the greatest gift they could have gotten: one hell of a dad and role model. To the rest of the men out there who fit this bill or who are trying hard to get there as they walk through the trials of life, we see them, we give gratitude to them, and we wish them happy Father's Day.

Lupus Awareness Month

    Mr. Speaker, May is Lupus Awareness Month, and I am honoured to raise awareness for the one in every 1,000 Canadians living with this chronic autoimmune disease. Lupus, sometimes called “the disease of a thousand faces”, is characterized by its diverse symptoms, which makes diagnosing it a complex and lengthy process.
    Lupus patients struggle with physical and psychological health impediments, impacting daily activities, employment and social relationships. Unforeseen costs, such as home modifications and medical transport, exacerbate financial stress. Access to health care is hindered by long waiting periods for specialists and medication costs. The disease's unpredictability further complicates matters. Often, disability policies do not recognize lupus, leaving patients vulnerable and unsupported.
    It is for this reason that we must ensure equitable access to health care, treatment and supports for all Canadians living with lupus.

(1410)

Sports-Related Concussions

     Mr. Speaker, millions of children worldwide suffer concussions every year while playing sports, increasing the likelihood of developing mental health problems and chronic traumatic encephalopathy. CTE is a debilitating disease that can cause sleep disorders, mental health issues and even dementia later in life.
    Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada's “Stop Hitting Kids in the Head” campaign aims to raise awareness and to reform youth sports to limit the number of head impacts suffered by children before the age of 14.

[Translation]

    They are in Ottawa today to raise awareness about these issues. We need to protect our children's future, not only so that they stay healthy, but also so that our future athletes are the best they can be.

[English]

     I want to thank four-time Grey Cup champion Tim Fleiszer for his leadership on this very important issue.

Housing

     Mr. Speaker, experts from almost every single industry and sector across this country have now had the time to read through the Liberal-NDP budget spending spree, and they are nearly unified in their condemnation, especially over housing.
    At the human resources committee this Monday, Conservatives directly asked industry experts how likely it is for the government to hit its housing targets. The response was, “Not a chance.” The Prime Minister's refusal to address the housing crisis has real-world consequences. One mother was recently quoted in the media, suggesting, “we're having to choose between paying a bill or getting food, and that can be really hard. It makes things really difficult.... And I just don't see any end in sight.”
    There is something the Prime Minister can do. He can allow his caucus a free vote on our common-sense Conservative housing plan to build homes, not bureaucracy. After nine years, the only question left is whether the Liberal-NDP government prioritizes practical public policy over partisan politics.

Markham—Unionville Olympic Athlete

    Mr. Speaker, it is with immense pride that I rise today to congratulate Markham's own Michelle Li on qualifying for the 2024 Olympic Games. Michelle Li is the most successful Canadian female badminton player ever, and her achievements have brought tremendous honour and pride to our community. Her journey from a local community centre to the world stage has been nothing short of inspirational; she is the first Canadian to win an individual gold medal in women's singles.
    As we celebrate Asian Heritage Month, it is particularly fitting to recognize Michelle Li, whose heritage and success bring immense pride to Markham and to Canada. Her story is a powerful reminder of the diverse contributions that Canadians of Asian descent make to our nation.
    I congratulate Michelle and wish her the best of luck in Paris. We are all cheering for her to make Canada proud.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, more Atlantic Canadians are hungry and homeless after nine years of the NDP-Liberal Prime Minister than ever before.
    Folks back home are spending way too much of their family income just to put food on the table. According to the Salvation Army insights report, an astounding 87% of Atlantic Canadians are facing food insecurity. That is up by 13% in just seven months. Last year, the Salvation Army food bank in Gander supplied a record 3,742 households. Based on the past four months, that number will be close to 5,000 for 2024.
    According to Salvation Army volunteers, there is a sharp increase in the number of seniors looking for assistance to put food on their tables. Sadly, many of them once donated to the food bank and are now unable to do so as they barely have enough money to feed themselves. One thing is certain, the NDP-Liberal government is out of touch, and Atlantic Canadians are out of food and money.

(1415)

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, it gets more and and more obvious just how out of touch the NDP-Liberal government is. After nine years of the Prime Minister's high spending and tax hikes, Canadians can barely afford necessities. That does not matter to the NDP-Liberals, who want to hike the carbon tax by 23%, and they want to keep on raising it, year after year.
    Only Conservatives understand that Canadians need a break. With summer approaching, people are trying to make plans to go out and see all the wonderful destinations we have to offer in southwest Saskatchewan, places like the Jean Louis Legare Regional Park in Willow Bunch, the Great Sand Hills in Leader or maybe Harvest Eatery in Shaunavon. That is why this summer we are calling for the removal of the carbon tax, the federal fuel tax and the GST on gasoline and diesel until Labour Day. An average of 35¢ a litre taken off gas prices would save Saskatchewan families up to $850 this summer.
    Even if the NDP-Liberals refuse to support this common-sense initiative, Canadians can be assured that after they vote in the carbon tax election, Conservatives will remove the carbon tax for good.

Women and Gender Equality

    Mr. Speaker, four women put their names forward to run for the Conservative nomination in my riding of Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill. None of those women made it onto yesterday's ballot, but two men did. Really? This example is not the exception. It demonstrates a lack of support for women and women's rights throughout the Conservative Party, and it is just the tip of the iceberg.
    Recently, we saw the chairperson on the Standing Committee on the Status of Women summarily removed by the Conservative leader. Was she too progressive or too strong? There are so many anti-choice caucus members, and one recently shouted that women who get abortions are needing redemption, forgiveness and God. It is truly appalling. As well, the Conservatives' leader refuses to answer questions or to make a commitment to proactively defend access to abortion, instead, pointing to a written statement. This is not good enough.
    Canadian women deserve a leader who does not just make hollow statements. We need and deserve a leader who proactively supports. Luckily, we have that leader and that party. I give thanks to our Prime Minister.

Women and Gender Equality

     Mr. Speaker, society as a whole benefits when women and gender-diverse people reach parity in roles such as elected officials, policy-making and international relations. We know that as policy-makers, women prioritize issues that benefit society, including health care and education. When women take on roles as political leaders, they shape politics and bring forward often ignored issues like ending gender-based violence and expanding reproductive health. When women hold political power, governments are less likely to go to war and more likely to uphold human rights.
    It is time for positive change. Women account for only 30% of those elected to Parliament. Today, I call on all members of the House to challenge existing colonial and patriarchal systems and to lift up women and gender-diverse individuals taking on vital roles in politics. When Parliament is representative of our communities, everyone benefits.

[Translation]

Sainte-Thérèse

    Mr. Speaker, Sainte-Thérèse, a city of art, culture and knowledge, is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year.
    Since it was founded in 1849, the village has distinguished itself through arts and culture, including its piano factory and the many festivals it hosts every year. It is also known for producing and disseminating knowledge, having created the newspaper La Voix des Mille-Îles in 1937 and converted the seminary in Sainte-Thérèse to the invaluable Collège Lionel-Groulx in 1967, among other things.
    Sainte-Thérèse is also home to many community organizations and small local businesses that are an integral part of its identity and vitality. I would like to salute all those who have contributed and continue to contribute to making Sainte-Thérèse a unique and exceptional city.

(1420)

[English]

Liberal Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, the race to replace the Prime Minister is on, and global jet-setter Mark “carbon tax” Carney is leading the field. While hard-working families struggle with the cost of living, Carney has been busy cozying up to Liberal Party elites in luxury rooms far away from the everyday struggles of hard-working Canadians. The finance committee has called Carney to testify so that he can come clean with Canadians. The ball is now in his court. Will he have the courage to testify, or will he keep campaigning behind closed doors?
    Canadians have a right to know how much he will increase the Prime Minister's carbon tax or why he could not name one cent of inflationary Liberal spending he would cut. Canadians need to know why Carney works for an investment firm that has $20 billion invested in the PRC. Is it because he can make bigger profits, thanks to Beijing's lack of environmental and labour standards?
    Carbon tax Carney attacks Canada's oil and gas sector when he needs to earn a vote, but his company invests billions in oil and gas projects in other countries when he needs to earn a buck. All this is to say that if the next Liberal leader wants to campaign for the job, the least he can do is come clean with Canadians, and show up and testify.

Canadian Steel Industry

    Mr. Speaker, it is steel day on the Hill, and I would like to welcome all those who have come to Ottawa today to support this very important industry. I was born and raised in this steel town, and that is why I am so proud that the government has consistently stood with steel workers in the steel industry. When I was first elected, Algoma Steel was in bankruptcy protection. Tenaris Tubes had a handful of people working there, and the blame was squarely laid at the former government's feet for inaction on cheap dumped steel. We turned things around. We introduced a new trade regime that has strengthened our steel industry, from 2016 on.
    In 2024, in this year's budget, we have also announced the border service's new market watch unit, to monitor unfair trade practices, to increase trade transparency and to help the Canadian steel industry remain one of the best.
    In 2018, when Donald Trump put 232 tariffs on, we stood strong. We will always have the steel industry workers' backs.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has had an epiphany. In an interview with The Chronicle Herald, a Halifax newspaper, he said that when people ask him for even more government money, he tells them that as soon as the government spends money, inflation rises by exactly the same amount.
    Why did I not think of that? Spending more money than we have causes inflation.
    Can these revelations coax him to admit that budgets do not balance themselves?
    Mr. Speaker, the challenge for the Conservative leader is that he failed to listen to the rest of the sentence or the interview, which explains why we decided to invest in services and support, like dental care, to help Canadians.
    Two million seniors have registered for dental care. Since May 1, over 100,000 have already received dental care, and over 10,000 dentists have signed up.
    The Conservative Party continues to oppose dental care and is still trying to discourage dentists from signing up. We are there to help Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, now I understand the logic.
    If the government spends money sending cheques directly to Canadians, that causes inflation, but if it sends money to the federal bureaucracy, that does not cause bureaucracy, unless it comes with broken promises and a lack of services. It is true what the Prime Minister said. Spending money that we do not have causes inflation.
    Will he acknowledge that it is time for a common-sense dollar-for-dollar plan to fix the budget and reduce inflation?

(1425)

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Party invoked inflation to oppose our dental care plan for seniors and our investments to pay for dental care for the most vulnerable, who may not have been to a dentist in years, or even decades.
    Is that inflation? No, it is help for Canadians who are struggling, who are having a hard time paying for groceries and who are worried about the cost of living. It is help that we are sending and that the Conservative Party is blocking at all costs. That is not being there for Canadians.

[English]

     Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has had a revelation. In an interview with Halifax's The Chronicle Herald, he told how he responded to people asking for him to spend even more government money. He said, “As soon as you do that, inflation goes up by exactly [the same] amount. Right.” Right. Why did I not think of that? My goodness, spending money we do not have actually causes inflation.
    In the middle of having epiphanies, has the Prime Minister also realized that budgets do not balance themselves?
     Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Party has been using that approach about concerns on inflation to stand against things like national food programs for kids or dental care for seniors. It has stood, objected and even campaigned against dental care for seniors over the past many months. We have delivered to over 100,000 seniors, of the two million who have already registered for dental care, the support that they had not gotten in years or even in decades. The Conservative leader stands against it with some made-up excuse around inflation, when delivering services delivers for Canadians.
     Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister calls his own words a “made-up excuse”. We cannot make this stuff up.
    The Prime Minister said that when people ask him to “send [them] more benefits or send [them] an extra thousand dollars a month”, he responds, “As soon as you do that, inflation goes up by exactly [the same] amount. Right.”
    Mr. Speaker, that is exactly why, over the past years, we have been focused on bringing down inflation by supporting Canadians, and it is working. For the past four months, inflation has been down in the Bank of Canada's target range, while we have continued to increase supports for Canadians; increase dental care for Canadians, which Conservatives have campaigned against; supports for seniors and supports for young people; and increased investments in child care, bringing child care fees down to $10 a day. These are the investments we are making that do not add to inflation, but add to the well-being of Canadians as they are making ends meet. That is what we stand for.
     Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister finally, for once, thought about monetary policy. He said, “As soon as you [spend more], inflation goes up by exactly the same amount. Right.” He is right for once. However, repeating the same costly promises that he has already broken does not change that fundamental monetary rule.
    Will the Prime Minister acknowledge that, yes, the economy is about numbers; that people pay their rent in numbers, their gas in numbers and their groceries in numbers; and that the numbers are too high?
    Mr. Speaker, let me put in perspective the fundamental difference between Conservatives and the Liberal government. The macroeconomic situation of Canada is one of the best in the G7, one of the best in the world, and the independent credit rating agencies continue to give us AAA scores.
    The federal government is doing well but Canadians need support, so we are choosing to deliver supports to Canadians with this solid fiscal position, supports such as dental care, a national food policy, national disability benefits and help for housing, which are investments and the kinds of supports for Canadians that the Leader of the Opposition has stood against every step of the way.

(1430)

[Translation]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, in order to put an end to the horrific violence that is devastating the Gaza Strip, can the government and the Prime Minister start by reiterating Canada's support for an immediate ceasefire and the free flow of medical, food and humanitarian aid throughout the Gaza Strip, but more importantly, support the Arab League in its call for the creation of an international peacekeeping force to be deployed to the occupied Palestinian territory until a functional Palestinian state is established?
    Mr. Speaker, we are deeply concerned about the violence in Gaza and the devastating actions of the Israeli army in Rafah.
    We continue to call for an immediate ceasefire, as we have been doing since December. We are calling for much more humanitarian aid to be delivered to the people of Gaza. We continue to work with our partners, allies and friends in the region to establish a process towards a two-state solution, with a secure and recognized Palestinian state.
    Yes, we are working towards that.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is not obliged to say yes or agree with me, but I would like to ask the question nonetheless.
    Would he agree, and does he recognize, that establishing either short-term or sustainable peace in the Gaza Strip requires both a ceasefire and the involvement of an international peacekeeping force to intervene between the Hamas terrorists and the Israeli army?
    Mr. Speaker, we have been working for months with our G7 allies and other democracies around the world. We are also working with partners in the region, such as the governments of Egypt, Jordan and other countries. We are all committed to trying to find a solution, a way of getting back on track towards a two-state solution, which both Netanyahu and Hamas have rejected. We need to find a two-state solution as quickly as possible and we are continuing to work towards that goal, because it is necessary.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the women and children killed in Rafah cannot be forgotten. We cannot look away.
    While the leader of the Conservative Party is a cheerleader for the brutal Netanyahu government, the Prime Minister is offering little more than thoughts and prayers. He could take action right now. He could impose a two-way arms embargo. He could sanction Netanyahu's war cabinet.
     Will the Prime Minister take concrete action today or will he keep on walking away?
    Mr. Speaker, we are horrified by the civilian deaths caused by the Israeli strikes in Rafah. We need to see an end to the violence and the humanitarian tragedy that is ongoing, which is why we are continuing to put pressure on the Israeli government to cease its military operations in Rafah. That is why we are calling for more humanitarian aid to get in. That is why we have been calling for a ceasefire since December, including in votes at the UN, and we will continue to.
    We need to see more humanitarian aid get in. We need to see hostages released. We need to see an end to the violence and a path toward a two-state solution once again.
    Mr. Speaker, what we need is a two-way arms embargo, now.

[Translation]

    Yesterday, the Prime Minister said he was horrified by Netanyahu's strikes on Rafah and yet, when asked what he planned to do, he walked away. Today he could impose an arms embargo and sanction Netanyahu's war cabinet.
    Will this Prime Minister finally take action to save lives or will he keep on walking away?
    Mr. Speaker, from day one we have been actively engaged in promoting and establishing peace and humanitarian aid. We are among the biggest UNRWA donor countries per capita in the world. We will continue to be there to help provide humanitarian care, medical aid, food and supplies.
    We will also do the necessary work to continue to establish a path to a two-state solution, despite efforts by the Netanyahu government to undermine any possible two-state solution.
    We will continue to be there and we will continue to seek peace.

(1435)

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, because of the incompetence of the Prime Minister and the Liberal mayor of Montreal, the wait time for a building permit has doubled and rents have tripled.
    In Ville-Marie, where the mayor is also in power, it takes 540 days to get a building permit. What is the Prime Minister doing? He is handing out another $95 million to build his bureaucracy.
    Why not impose financial penalties on municipal politicians who block housing starts?
    Mr. Speaker, instead of attacking elected officials, as the Conservative leader is doing, we choose to invest in reducing red tape and speeding up the process.
    That is what we are doing with our 179 housing accelerator agreements that we signed with municipalities across the country. This will deliver more housing more quickly. These are agreements that the Conservative leader plans to cancel.
    That is not going to help Canadians get more housing faster. We certainly did not see that when he was the minister responsible for housing.
    Mr. Speaker, when I was the minister responsible, the cost of housing was half of what it is today.
    The Prime Minister has not only doubled the cost of housing, he is spending money on growing the very bureaucracy that is blocking construction. I have a common-sense plan in Bill C‑356, which we will be voting on this afternoon. We are going to cut construction taxes, sell federal land and buildings to build housing, and offer big bonuses to municipalities that allow more and faster housing construction.
    Will he vote for more housing?
    Mr. Speaker, unlike the member opposite, we have a solid approach that involves working in partnership with the municipalities and provinces to invest and to build more homes in the most comprehensive and ambitious way that this country has ever seen. When he was the minister responsible for housing under the Harper government, he created six affordable housing units for Canadians. That is not going to help. According to the experts who analyze these plans, the plan he is now proposing is extremely weak.
    We have a concrete plan. He refuses to invest in helping Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, when I was minister, we built nearly 200,000 houses and apartments. The average rent was $973. That is half of what it is today.
    Meanwhile, he is working in partnership with municipal officials to double the cost of housing. My common-sense plan requires municipalities to allow 15% more construction per year. If they exceed that percentage, they will receive a bonus. If they do not, they will be penalized. Why not pay for performance?
    Will he vote for more bureaucracy or for more homes?
    Mr. Speaker, we are leading efforts to address the housing crisis with an ambitious and achievable plan.
    Let us talk about how housing experts have characterized his housing bill. They said it was an exceptionally weak response to the housing crisis and that it was full of loopholes. Perhaps that is why the Conservative leader has postponed the debate on his non-plan for several weeks.
    The reality is that he does not want to have that debate, because when he was housing minister he lost 800,000 apartments and built only six.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, when I was housing minister, we built almost 200,000 houses and apartments, with the average rent being $973 for a one-bedroom apartment, but the Prime Minister is not worth the cost of housing, which has doubled nine years after he and the NDP took power. What is he doing about it? He is giving half a billion dollars to the Mayor of Toronto, who has just jacked up homebuilding taxes by 20%.
    Why does the Prime Minister reward local government gatekeepers who block the homes that Canadians need?

(1440)

    Mr. Speaker, we are leading on the efforts to solve the housing crisis with a plan that is ambitious and concrete. Meanwhile, after having his housing bill panned by experts as being an “exceptionally weak response to the housing crisis, riddled with loopholes”, the Conservative leader has chosen to repeatedly delay debate in the House since October on his bill. That is is because he just does not care. When he was minister, he lost 800,000 affordable apartments and built only six affordable homes.
    Mr. Speaker, actually the number is closer to 200,000, but the Prime Minister has never been very good with numbers. The Prime Minister cites government-funded bureaucrats and Liberal academics to bolster his approach, which has doubled housing costs in just nine years, partly because he gives money to politicians and municipalities like Winnipeg, where they just blocked 2,000 homes right next to a government-funded transit station built for those homes.
    Why will the Prime Minister not accept my common-sense plan to give bonuses to those municipalities that permit more building and penalties to those that stand in the way?
     Mr. Speaker, we criticize, rightly, the Leader of the Opposition, who when he was housing minister built only six affordable homes for Canadians across the country. It is understandable, because he was part of a government that took the federal government out of the building of affordable housing. It chose that the federal government would have nothing to do with housing across the country. Those 10 years of non-involvement of the federal government left echoes.
     We have stepped up and invested in communities and invested in partnerships. We are getting the homes built. We are delivering for Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, housing costs have doubled since he became Prime Minister. They were half when I was housing minister. Housing costs have gone up 40% faster than wages, a bigger gap than in any other G7 country. Why is that? It is because the Prime Minister is building bureaucracy and not homes.
    Why will he not accept my common-sense plan to require municipalities to permit 15% more building, sell off 6,000 federal buildings to build homes and cut taxes so builders can build?
    Mr. Speaker, just like when he was housing minister, the Leader of the Opposition's solution is to do less to help Canadians, to invest less in supporting municipalities as they build housing, and to get out of the way and leave Canadians to fend for themselves. That is his political philosophy. It is a political philosophy; it is just not the one that supports Canadians. It is not the one that is delivering for Canadians as we step up with the most ambitious and achievable housing plan this country has ever seen.
    We will continue to be there to invest in housing accelerators. We will be there to continue to take the GST off purpose-built apartments. We will be there for Canadians.

[Translation]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, in mid-March, the NDP had a very balanced motion passed in support of Palestine and the Liberals effectively struck out the part recognizing Palestinian statehood.
    Today, as the Prime Minister himself says he supports a two-state solution, is he prepared to join the many countries that formally recognize the State of Palestine?
    Mr. Speaker, a credible path to lasting peace needs to be established very urgently. We oppose the efforts of the Netanyahu government to reject a two-state solution. At the same time, Hamas, a terrorist group, is currently controlling areas of Gaza, has not laid down its arms and has not released all the hostages.
    Canada is prepared to recognize the State of Palestine at a time that is most conducive to establishing lasting peace, and not necessarily at the final stage of the process for negotiating a two-state solution.

(1445)

    Mr. Speaker, neither wine nor vanilla yogourt are a solid foundation for international relations. Canada must plant its feet firmly on the ground and take a strong position.
    Is now not the best time to promote peace, starting with recognizing the Palestinian state?
    Mr. Speaker, for decades, Canada's position has been very clear, and it continues to be very clear. The only solution for peace in the Middle East is to have a secure and recognized Palestinian state alongside a secure and recognized Israeli state. This is the only way.
    For a long time, our position was that recognizing the Palestinian state should come at the end of this process. Today, we have taken an important step by acknowledging that it is not necessarily at the end of this process that we will recognize the Palestinian state.

[English]

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, “Not a chance” is what the president of the Residential Construction Council said when asked if the Prime Minister would keep his promise to build 3.9 million homes by 2031.
    Let us hear it from the Prime Minister. To reach that target, he would have to build 550,000 homes per year, so will the Prime Minister hit the target of 550,000 homes this year, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, Canada is facing a housing crisis and we need to take real action towards it, which is what we have done with the most ambitious and achievable plan that this country has ever seen. However, that is not to say we have not had housing crises before, and it is not to say that we have not solved housing crises before. At the end of World War II, there was a need for massive new housing, and Canada stepped up and got that housing built. Indeed, when the boomers came of age, there was a need for massive housing. We made investments, and the federal government helped build housing across the country for boomers. We are doing that now as we build housing for every generation.
    Mr. Speaker, that was a wonderful history lesson, except it did not answer the question.
     The Prime Minister promised he would lower housing costs in 2015; he doubled them. He promised he would double homebuilding; it actually went down and is still dropping. Now he is promising 3.9 million brand new homes by 2031. That means he would have to build 550,000 this year and every year.
    Once again, will the Prime Minister keep his promise to build 550,000 homes this year, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, the leader opposite speaks of 2015. We took office with a commitment to getting the federal government back in the business of building housing. We launched a national housing strategy in 2017, which put 2.5 million Canadians into new or refurbished homes, and we have continued to invest ever since. We are building homes on public lands. We are converting underused federal offices into homes. We are taxing vacant land to incentivize construction. We are building apartments, and bringing rents down with top-ups to the apartment construction loan program. We are scaling up modular housing. We are also launching Canada Builds to lead a team Canada effort to build more homes and more.
     Mr. Speaker, the question was not how quickly the Prime Minister could read off talking points written for him by his staff. The question was whether he is going to break yet another housing promise. Remember, he promised he would lower housing costs; he doubled them. He promised he would double the number of homes built; they went down.
    Now the Prime Minister is promising 3.9 million new homes by 2031. That means 550,000 new homes this and every year. Will he keep that promise, yes or no?
     Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition's criticism is that there are too many measures in our housing plan. Housing should be solved by a simple, one-size-fits-all solution according to the Leader of the Opposition. That is perhaps how he managed to build only six affordable homes when he was the minister of housing.
    We have a broad range of initiatives that are delivering on housing, like topping up the housing accelerator fund with $400 million and a new $6-billion Canada housing infrastructure fund to help communities build. We are leveraging transit funding to build more homes. We are launching a housing design catalogue. We are also incentivizing more skilled trade workers.

(1450)

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is announcing a catalogue. Come on, give him a round of applause. People cannot afford a home, they might end up in a tent and their rent has doubled, but they have a brand new catalogue.
     Will the Prime Minister build 550,000 new homes, yes or no?
     Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition mentioned the history lesson. Since he was the housing minister, he should know that the way we solved the housing crisis after World War II was by putting forward a catalogue of homes that builders could access to build extremely rapidly right across the country. Yes, that is one of the measures we are bringing back.
    The Leader of the Opposition's mockery of concrete initiatives that are going to deliver for Canadians is exactly what is wrong with his approach. He would rather mock and insult than roll up his sleeves and get solutions built for Canadians.

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, report after report has shown that women who serve in the Canadian Armed Forces are not safe, and consecutive governments have failed to act urgently. Shamefully, a new report has revealed that 5% of women have been sexually attacked at their military colleges in the last 12 months. Justice Arbour was clear that now is the time to end the toxic culture that exists within these colleges. Women deserve a safe place to train and learn.
    When will the Prime Minister act to protect the women who are the future generation of the Canadian Armed Forces?
     Mr. Speaker, we absolutely agree that the culture at the Royal Military College needs to change. That is why we took action. We appointed the Canadian Military Colleges Review Board last year to enable meaningful culture change at these institutions. No RMC cadet and no CAF member should ever be subject to harassment, discrimination or misconduct. The Minister of National Defence will not hesitate to implement the necessary changes to protect cadets and all officers.

[Translation]

Climate Change

    Mr. Speaker, last summer was brutal, what with all the wildfires, evacuations, heat waves and the smoke filling the air. In 20 years' time, however, we may look back on the summer of 2023 as the best of any that followed.
    The coming summer will be even hotter. There will be more days of sweltering temperatures, more heat waves and more heat domes. The climate crisis is real, and the suffering of children and seniors is real. Can the Prime Minister get it into his head that continuing to support the oil industry is sheer madness?
    Mr. Speaker, we will continue with this government's plan to fight climate change, which is the most ambitious plan that Canada has ever seen. The plan is working. Excluding the pandemic period, Canada's emissions have reached a 25-year low. We are the first federal government to be on track to meet its emissions reduction targets.
    This proves that we can reduce emissions, fight climate change, support Canadians and grow the economy at the same time. That is what we are going to continue to do to build a stronger, greener future for all Canadians.

[English]

Automotive Industry

     Mr. Speaker, thanks to the work of our government, Ontario is a leading manufacturing hub for the 21st century. Companies from across the world are choosing Ontario to build high-tech factories that are focused on delivering real climate action. The world knows that the economy of tomorrow needs to be built on sustainability because climate change is real. Evidently, the Conservative Party did not get the memo.
    Can the Prime Minister tell this House more about what the government is doing to make Ontario a global leader in electric vehicle production?

(1455)

    Mr. Speaker, the whole world is embracing an economy based on renewable energy and clean tech. The member for Vaughan—Woodbridge is right: Thanks to our bold investments, Ontario is now a global leader in EV production.
     We have the number one EV battery supply chain in the world, thanks to investments from companies like Honda, Stellantis and Volkswagen. These are thousands of good jobs and billions of dollars invested in Ontario that the Conservative Party is opposing for no good reason. Shame on the Conservatives.

[Translation]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, in a shocking article published in this morning's edition of La Presse, we read that children have to be escorted by the police whenever they leave their day care because of the homeless people in the area and the injection site next door. The day care director said, and I quote, “It is not right for kids to need a police escort when they go out for walks”.
    Why is the Prime Minister, with the support of the Bloc Québécois, putting our children in danger by allowing the use of drugs and by letting violent and repeat offenders out of jail and back on our streets?
    Mr. Speaker, nurses, hospital staff, patients and all Canadians should feel safe at work, in hospitals.
    Our government has invested billions of dollars in the health care system to ensure that Canadians have access to the best care possible.
    The difference between us and the Conservative Party is that, while they are trying to criminalize the most vulnerable members of our society who are battling drug addiction, we are rolling up our sleeves and working with all levels of government to resolve this crisis.
    Mr. Speaker, he did not hear the question, which was about day cares.
    It is true that because of decriminalization in British Columbia, nurses had to breathe in crack cocaine and methamphetamine. However, right now I am talking about Montreal, where the Prime Minister's policies mean that violent criminals are walking free and drugs are being used on the street next to a day care.
    I am going to ask the question again. Why will the Bloc and the Liberals not accept our common-sense plan to get rid of drugs and put criminals in jail?
    Mr. Speaker, what the Conservative leader is proposing is a throwback to the failed drug policies of the Harper years, which one of that government's top advisors even acknowledged was an appalling failure.
    We will continue to be there to keep everyone safe, including children in child care, while using an approach rooted in compassion and public health that keeps people safe.

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, I think many Canadians would like to go back to a time when kids did not need police officers at their day care centres.
    After nine years, the Liberal Bloc is not worth the cost. The Bloc Québécois voted in favour of $500 billion in inflationary, bureaucratic and, yes, centralizing spending. This has left 60% of consumers saying that they are under stress.
    When will the Liberal Bloc reverse its inflationary deficit and tax policies, which are hurting Quebeckers?
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative leader just explained that his approach is austerity, and that is what causes Canadians to suffer.
    We chose to invest in supporting Canadians. For example, we are helping seniors with a dental care program. Just since the beginning of May, this program has helped over 100,000 seniors across the country get dental care. This initiative helps reduce costs and provide care to vulnerable people.
    The Conservatives consistently voted against it. They even tried to block it across the country. That is shameful.

[English]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister likes to talk about austerity. I think that the Barnfield family of four in Calgary can tell him all about austerity, because that is what they are living right now because of his housing hell, his carbon taxes, and his inflation. They said, “we're having to choose between paying a bill or getting food, and that can be really hard. It makes things really difficult.... And I just don't see any end in sight.”
    Will the Prime Minister accept our common-sense plan to axe the tax, fix the budget and build the homes, so that the Barnfield family, and so many others, can eat, heat and house themselves?

(1500)

    Mr. Speaker, I disagree with the Leader of the Opposition, who wants to take away the Canada carbon rebate cheques that arrive four times a year in the bank accounts of families like the Barnfield family.
    Indeed, eight out of 10 Canadians, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, are better off with the Canada carbon rebate as we fight climate change with the price on pollution. Eight out of 10 Canadian families, from coast to coast, in the jurisdictions where the carbon price applies, are better off. That includes, most likely, the Barnfield family, and we will continue to be there for them.

[Translation]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, let us not misunderstand each other. I have the utmost respect for the State of Israel, but it is time for this to stop.
    In that spirit, is the Prime Minister prepared to support the International Court of Justice and potentially the International Criminal Court in enforcing international law and commit to arresting anyone on Canadian soil who is named in an arrest warrant? Is he prepared to apply Canada's sanctions regime to Israeli ministers who openly call for the commission of crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip?
    Mr. Speaker, Canada supports the independent work of the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice. We are here to support the process and to ensure that everyone is adhering to international law, including to the decisions of these two courts. We are here to support the multilateral process that we have put in place to ensure compliance with international law.
    We live under the rule of law and we always will.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is outlining a series of principles that seem very benevolent, yet he never seems to be willing to follow through by adopting and putting forward, in co-operation with like-minded countries and allies, a set of policies that will help force Israel to end the violence in Gaza.
    Will he stop spouting empty words and start taking action? We have just sent him 10 proposals for doing just that.
    Mr. Speaker, if we want to respect international law and the rule of law, we have to respect the work of the institutions created to support and defend them. Yes, we support these institutions, but no, we are not going to skip steps and take it upon ourselves to anticipate the outcome of these courts' decisions. On the contrary, we are going to wait and let them do their job. International law depends on it.

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, after nine years, the Liberal Bloc is not worth the cost. Not only did the Bloc Québécois members vote in favour of $500 billion in centralizing, bureaucratic and inflationary spending, but they also want to drastically increase the taxes on gasoline and diesel for Quebeckers in the regions, unlike the Conservatives, who want to cut taxes. More specifically, we are proposing to give Quebeckers a tax holiday, a break from taxes on gasoline and diesel.
    Will the Prime Minister accept my common-sense plan to reduce the cost of gas by 17¢ a litre this summer? 
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative leader has a problem. His message is not getting through in Quebec. Quebeckers do not want to hear his ideas about undoing the progress we have made in fighting climate change. That is something that Quebeckers understand very well.
    His solution is to attack the Bloc Québécois, attack members from Quebec and attack Quebeckers themselves as he tries to undo our climate progress. That will fail because the Conservative leader does not understand Quebeckers. In fact, he does not understand most Canadians, who know that climate change is real and that we need to—

(1505)

    The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Government Priorities

    Mr. Speaker, when the Conservatives were in power, the Bloc Québécois was nearly wiped out because we reduced the size of the federal government and allowed Quebeckers to be autonomous. They were truly masters of their own house. However, the Bloc Québécois is back because of the centralist policies of this Prime Minister. That is why these two parties are working in full collaboration.
    Will he finally agree to unite the country with a smaller federal government to create more space for Quebec and Quebeckers?
    Mr. Speaker, if he knew his history, he would know that the Bloc Québécois exists because of the Conservative Party. However, setting that aside, let me point out that we will always be there to defend Quebeckers. We will always be there to work—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order.
    I invite the members who are continuing to have discussions to do so behind the curtains. I will ask the Prime Minister to start again from the beginning.
    The right hon. Prime Minister.
    Mr. Speaker, after many months, we are finally seeing the Quebec Conservative caucus wake up, become indignant and speak up.
    The reality is that when it comes time to talk about the environment, Quebec Conservatives are silent. When it comes time to talk about women's rights, Quebec Conservatives are silent. We have seen shameful behaviour from members of the Quebec Conservative caucus, who refuse to stand up for Quebec values. Instead, they are attacking other members from Quebec. It is shameful. They should apologize to all Quebeckers.

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, he has gone off again. He is losing control. Why is he so angry? It is because he just learned that Quebeckers and Quebec Liberals are abandoning him. Why is that? It is because there is a common-sense Conservative team that is going to axe the tax, build the homes, fix the budget and stop the crime.
    The Prime Minister still has time to accept this common-sense plan and offer to cut costs so Quebeckers can have tax-free holidays.
    Mr. Speaker, it is true, sometimes I get carried away as a Quebecker when defending the values of my nation, my country, my values as a proud Quebecker and Canadian. I am here to defend the environment, to fight climate change, to protect values and women's rights. I will always be passionate about defending the fundamental rights of Canadians. That is what I am here to do.
    Unfortunately, the Conservative Party continues to suggest that Quebeckers turn back the clock, stop fighting climate change and backtrack on women's rights. This is not what Quebeckers or other Canadians—
    The hon. member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, this government knows that climate action is not just necessary for the future of the planet; it is also how Canada remains competitive. Last year, $2.4 trillion was invested in creating our net-zero economy.
    Can the Prime Minister highlight some of the measures the government is taking to attract clean investment to Canada?

(1510)

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin for his question. He is right, the world is moving toward a greener economy. Canada remains competitive by attracting billions of dollars in renewable energy and clean technologies. It is already working. Companies are building new plants and creating thousands of well-paying jobs in Quebec and across the country.
    The Conservative leader has no climate plan, so he has no economic plan. As he and the Conservative caucus try to bring Canada back to the Stone Age, we will remain focused on a stronger, greener and fairer economy for all generations.

[English]

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, we have a common-sense plan to axe the tax, build the homes, fix the budget and stop the crime. However, of course, the NDP is keeping the costly Prime Minister in office for another year and a half while people starve and are forced to live in tents. Those Canadians who have been able to hold on to their homes cannot afford a vacation, but maybe a staycation, so we are asking today that the Prime Minister vote for a motion we will introduce tomorrow, which will give Canadians a 35¢-a-litre gas tax break until Labour Day.
    Will the Prime Minister axe the taxes so Canadians can have a staycation?
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Party is proposing to eliminate the Canada carbon rebate. This is a rebate that arrives four times a year in the pockets of Canadian families and that, according to experts, economists and the Parliamentary Budget Officer, puts more money in the pockets of eight out of 10 Canadian families in the jurisdictions in which it applies. This is more money in people's pockets while we fight climate change with the most effective plan against climate change Canada has ever seen. This is what the Conservative leader continues to rally against: affordability and climate fighting.
    Mr. Speaker, of course the Prime Minister is doing neither. After nine years, the NDP-Liberal Prime Minister is not worth the cost, and neither is his carbon tax, which the Parliamentary Budget Officer finds costs more to 60% of Canadians than they get back in phony rebates. Going into the summer, the Prime Minister plans to hike taxes again. Canadians need a break now more than ever.
    Can he put aside his wacko ideology long enough to give Canadians a break by axing all the taxes on fuel for summer vacation?
    Mr. Speaker, it is not ideology to understand that fighting climate change and growing the economy while putting money in people's pockets is a good thing, because that is exactly what this government has done. Excluding the pandemic, our emissions are now the lowest they have been in 25 years because of our plan that prices pollution and puts more money back in the pockets of eight out of 10 Canadian families. The fact that he refuses to understand that one does not have a plan for the economy if one does not have a plan to fight climate change is yet another proof of the fact that his approach is not going to succeed for Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, he ranks 62nd out of 67 countries on fighting climate change. This is after he has brought in a 17¢-a-litre carbon tax, a tax that he wants to nearly quadruple up to 61¢ a litre if, God forbid, he is ever elected. We have two million people lined up at food banks. A quarter of Canadians are skipping meals because they cannot afford food. One in four adults is missing meals so they can feed their kids.
    For God's sake, why will he not give Canadians a summer vacation from all his taxes and accept our common-sense plan?
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative leader is not focused on affordability; he is focused on ending action on climate change. If he was so concerned about the price of gas, he would have a conversation with his friend, the Premier of Alberta, who just raised the gas tax by 13¢ a litre. Experts agree, including Premier Smith, that Canadians receive back more money from the Canada carbon rebate than they pay with the price on pollution. We are putting a price on pollution and putting more money back in the pockets of the middle class and people working hard to join it. That is joining the efforts we are doing on affordability, like dental care, support for child care and support for the middle class.

(1515)

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, our Atlantic accords bill would allow for the development of offshore wind projects. By investing in renewable energy, we are investing in a future for Atlantic Canadians that is green and prosperous, one where we fight climate change and create jobs. The Conservatives are getting in the way of Atlantic Canada by opposing Bill C-49.
    What is the government doing to ensure that Atlantic Canada can contribute to the green economy?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for St. John's East for her advocacy on behalf of all Atlantic Canadians. We are equipping Atlantic Canadians with the tools they need to thrive in the economy of tomorrow. Offshore wind alone is expected to bring $1 trillion of investment by 2040. There is no common sense in opposing good-paying, cutting-edge Atlantic Canadian jobs. This is yet another example of the Conservatives blocking middle-class jobs because of their backward ideology. While Conservative politicians pen angry op-eds against investing in the Atlantic, we will ensure Atlantic Canadians are not left behind.

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, here in northern Manitoba, we have seen the wildfire season start much earlier because of climate change. Frontline forest firefighters are giving it their all, but they cannot do it alone. The military has had to help with firefighting operations across the country in the past, but now military leadership is warning that their capacity to help Canadians evacuate will be limited, calling that help “wickedly wasteful”. Let us be clear. We are facing a climate emergency, so if these domestic operations are not a priority for our military, then what is?
    Can Canadians count on the government to call in the military when we need help?
     Mr. Speaker, I am certain the member opposite did not mean to disparage the extraordinary women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces who continue to step up and show up for Canadians, as they did all through last summer, as they will through this summer, where and when needed.
    We also recognize that wildfires are getting worse, that climate change is having more and more impact on floods, droughts and wildfires. We will continue to need to be there with the military, but also call on more resources from civil society and elsewhere to support in these times of emergency.

[Translation]

Canadian Heritage

    Mr. Speaker, we got some very bad news in my riding this year.
    For several years now, Victoriaville, the centre of 39 municipalities in my riding, has been hosting Canada Day celebrations. For some unknown reason, and despite the work of the heritage minister's office, no funding will be allocated to help organize Canada Day. Despite the fact that the municipality and business people are involved, there will be no Canada Day celebrations in my riding on July 1.
    What does the Prime Minister think about that?
    Mr. Speaker, I am troubled by this information. We will certainly follow up to see what we can do.
    Canadians from coast to coast to coast should be able to celebrate our Canada Day together, with all the community festivities that that entails.
    I am very grateful to the member for raising this concern. We will follow up with his office.
    That concludes question period for today.
    Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties, and if you seek it, I believe you will find unanimous consent for the following motion: That this House express its outrage at the Israeli strikes that left many displaced people in Rafah dead—
    Some hon. members: No.
    I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member, but I am already hearing that there is no unanimous consent.
    Mr. Speaker, for the benefit of all my colleagues, perhaps we should hear the motion before saying that we do not want to hear it?
    I would like to remind members that it is important to have agreement from all political parties before seeking the unanimous consent of the House to move a motion. It makes it easier to accept the motion and it makes more efficient use of the House's time.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

(1520)

[Translation]

Canada—Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic Accord Implementation Act

    It being 3:20 p.m., the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the amendment of the member for Tobique—Mactaquac to the motion at third reading of Bill C‑49.
    Call in the members.

(1530)

[English]

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

(Division No. 787)

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
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Ellis
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Ferreri
Findlay
Généreux
Genuis
Gladu
Godin
Goodridge
Gourde
Gray
Hallan
Hoback
Jivani
Kelly
Khanna
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Kusie
Lake
Lantsman
Lawrence
Lehoux
Leslie
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Liepert
Lloyd
Lobb
Maguire
Majumdar
Martel
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLean
Melillo
Moore
Morantz
Morrison
Motz
Muys
Nater
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
Vuong
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Williams
Williamson
Zimmer

Total: -- 116


NAYS

Members

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

Total: -- 205


PAIRED

Members

Bendayan
Drouin
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Fortin
Gallant
Joly
Plamondon
Thériault

Total: -- 8


    I declare the amendment defeated.
    The next question is on the main motion.

[Translation]

    If a member participating in person wishes that the motion be carried or carried on division, or if a member of a recognized party participating in person wishes to request a recorded division, I would invite them to rise and indicate it to the Chair.

(1535)

    Mr. Speaker, I request a recorded division.

(1545)

[English]

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

(Division No. 788)

YEAS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Ali
Anand
Anandasangaree
Angus
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Atwin
Bachrach
Badawey
Bains
Baker
Barron
Battiste
Beech
Bibeau
Bittle
Blair
Blaney
Blois
Boissonnault
Boulerice
Bradford
Brière
Cannings
Carr
Casey
Chagger
Chahal
Champagne
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Collins (Victoria)
Cormier
Coteau
Dabrusin
Damoff
Davies
Desjarlais
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Dong
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Dzerowicz
El-Khoury
Erskine-Smith
Fillmore
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Gaheer
Gainey
Garrison
Gazan
Gerretsen
Gould
Green
Guilbeault
Hajdu
Hanley
Hardie
Hepfner
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Idlout
Ien
Jaczek
Johns
Jones
Jowhari
Julian
Kayabaga
Kelloway
Khalid
Khera
Kusmierczyk
Kwan
Lalonde
Lambropoulos
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)
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
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
Rota
Sahota
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Singh
Sorbara
Sousa
St-Onge
Sudds
Tassi
Taylor Roy
Thompson
Trudeau
Turnbull
Valdez
Van Bynen
van Koeverden
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Virani
Weiler
Wilkinson
Yip
Zahid
Zarrillo
Zuberi

Total: -- 176


NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Allison
Arnold
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Bergeron
Berthold
Bérubé
Bezan
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Block
Bragdon
Brassard
Brock
Brunelle-Duceppe
Calkins
Caputo
Carrie
Chabot
Chambers
Champoux
Chong
Cooper
Dalton
Dancho
Davidson
Deltell
Desbiens
Desilets
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Ellis
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Ferreri
Findlay
Garon
Gaudreau
Généreux
Genuis
Gill
Gladu
Godin
Goodridge
Gourde
Gray
Hallan
Hoback
Jivani
Kelly
Khanna
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Kusie
Lake
Lantsman
Larouche
Lawrence
Lehoux
Lemire
Leslie
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Liepert
Lloyd
Lobb
Maguire
Majumdar
Martel
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLean
Melillo
Michaud
Moore
Morantz
Morrison
Motz
Muys
Nater
Normandin
Patzer
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Perkins
Perron
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
Therrien
Thomas
Tochor
Tolmie
Trudel
Uppal
Van Popta
Vecchio
Vidal
Vien
Vignola
Villemure
Vis
Vuong
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Williams
Williamson
Zimmer

Total: -- 144


PAIRED

Members

Bendayan
Drouin
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Fortin
Gallant
Joly
Plamondon
Thériault

Total: -- 8


    I declare the motion carried.

    (Bill read the third time and passed)


Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

[English]

Food and Drugs Act

     The House resumed from May 22 consideration of the motion that Bill C-368, An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act (natural health products), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
     The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-368 under Private Members' Business.

(1555)

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

(Division No. 789)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 171


NAYS

Members

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

Total: -- 146


PAIRED

Members

Bendayan
Drouin
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Fortin
Gallant
Joly
Plamondon
Thériault

Total: -- 8


    I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Health.

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

(1600)

Building Homes Not Bureaucracy Act

    The House resumed from May 27 consideration of the motion that Bill C-356, An Act respecting payments by Canada and requirements in respect of housing and to amend certain other Acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-356 under Private Members' Business.

(1610)

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

(Division No. 790)

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
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Ellis
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Ferreri
Findlay
Généreux
Genuis
Gladu
Godin
Goodridge
Gourde
Gray
Hallan
Hoback
Jeneroux
Jivani
Kelly
Khanna
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Kusie
Lake
Lantsman
Lawrence
Lehoux
Leslie
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Liepert
Lloyd
Lobb
Maguire
Majumdar
Martel
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLean
Melillo
Moore
Morantz
Morrison
Motz
Muys
Nater
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
Vuong
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Williams
Williamson
Zimmer

Total: -- 117


NAYS

Members

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

Total: -- 203


PAIRED

Members

Bendayan
Drouin
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Fortin
Gallant
Joly
Plamondon
Thériault

Total: -- 8


    I declare the motion defeated.

Business of the House

    Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions and I believe if you seek it you will find unanimous consent for the following motion.
     That, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House, during the debate on business of supply pursuant to Standing Order 81(4) later this day:
(a) the time provided for consideration of the Main Estimates in committee of the whole be extended beyond four hours, as needed, to include a minimum of 16 periods of 15 minutes each;
(b) members rising to speak during the debate may indicate to the Chair that they will be dividing their time with another member; and
(c) no quorum calls, dilatory motions or requests for unanimous consent shall be received by the Chair.
     All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.
    Hearing none, it is agreed.
    The House has heard the terms of motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.
    Hearing none, the motion is carried.

    (Motion agreed to)

    The Deputy Speaker: I wish to inform the House that, because of the deferred recorded divisions, Government Orders will be extended by 50 minutes.

Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Government Response to Petitions

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

Committees of the House

Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities 

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 23rd report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities in relation to Bill C-322, an act to develop a national framework to establish a school food program.
    The committee has studied the bill and, pursuant to Standing Order 97.1(1), requests a 30-day extension to consider it.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 97.1(3)(a), a motion to concur in the report is deemed moved, the question deemed put, and a recorded division deemed requested and deferred until Wednesday, June 5, 2024, at the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions.

(1615)

Petitions

Canada Post  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to present a petition on behalf of residents of Langdon, a community of 7,000 people.
    The petitioners note that they have been without a post office for a year and a half. Ninety per cent of residents surveyed said that they need a post office within the area. Currently, they have to drive 30 kilometres outside of their area to the nearest post office, which 90% say is much too far to drive to a post office.
    For a year and a half these residents have been without a post office, which is much too long. They need a post office; a year and a half is too long.

Taxation  

    Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to introduce today.
    The first petition notes that Canadians are facing a cost of living crisis, with three in four people reporting that inflation is affecting their ability to meet day-to-day expenses, such as housing, food, transportation and clothing. They note that the workers' share of GDP has been eroding in Canada by falling real wages and the growing gap between labour productivity and compensation.
    The petitioners call on this government to act immediately to close tax loopholes in offshore tax havens and implement an excess profits tax and use those revenues to address that cost of living crisis.

Remote Work  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition points out that remote work is a vital accommodation to help disabled individuals, especially those with mobility impairments, to stay in the workforce. The petitioners note that research shows that disabled individuals in the United States were 3.5% more likely to be employed than prepandemic, because of the increased availability of remote work. They point out that for people living with autism or ADHD, remote work makes it more likely they can participate and contribute their skills and talents.
    The petitioners call on the government to introduce legislation to give employees the right to access remote work if their positions reasonably allow that.

Justice  

     Mr. Speaker, I would like to table my very first petition as member of Parliament for Durham on behalf of my constituents and Canadians across the country who are concerned about rising rates of auto theft. This petition is signed by Canadians who are concerned about Liberal bail policies, Bill C-75 and Bill C-5, and their enabling of repeat offenders to continue committing crimes in our community.

Social Media  

     Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to table petition e-4769, signed by 1,014 petitioners and sponsored by Chris Alemany from Port Alberni, British Columbia in my riding.
    The petition calls on the Government of Canada to enact policy and budgetary resources to enable the Parliament of Canada to provide an open, trusted, federated social media presence for use by all members, senators, officers and other employees of Parliament as appropriate for communication to all Canadians.
     The petitioner cites that traditional social media spaces have become sources of considerable controversy, harassment, misinformation and strife; but that free, decentralized and federated alternatives are emerging. He cites that Parliament already provides a comprehensive suite of technical services such as email and web streaming to connect the people of Canada to their Parliament; that government, academic, corporate and individual entities around the world are creating their own social media presence using these same emerging technologies; and, last, that Parliament should control its own communications infrastructure to ensure that public servants within its walls can fulfill their mandates and reach every Canadian in an equitable and easy way because, as renowned Canadian media studies philosopher Marshall McLuhan said, “the medium is the message.”

Plant-Based Proteins  

    Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present today.
     The first petition is regarding the consumption of plant-based proteins. This petition asks the Government of Canada to declare a meatless Monday in order to address the over-consumption of meat, which is linked to various health issues, including heart disease and obesity; and also states that the meat industry is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation and other environmental problems. Over 1,000 people signed that petition.

(1620)

Climate Change  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition is regarding climate change. The petitioners request that the House of Commons ensure that a taxonomy of sustainable finance in Canada is adopted and that it exclude all fossil fuel-related projects, including CCUS for oil and gas; that it be aligned with the Paris Agreement; that it require eligible projects or companies to have a science-based and credible climate transition plan; and, that it be linked to other regulation, such as fund-naming and securities regulation.

Public Health  

     Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise to present a petition on behalf of folks who are concerned with the number of deaths across the country as a result of poisoned drugs, a crisis that is hitting my community particularly hard.
    Petitioners note that they call on the Government of Canada to, first of all, declare a public health emergency with respect to overdose deaths. They look to have the government reframe this away from a criminal justice issue to a public health one. They call for a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach to addressing this crisis and the root causes of poverty, addiction, housing and health care, among others; and, including in that multi-faceted approach the decriminalization of drugs. The petitioners go on to call for the government to specifically listen to and act on recommendations made not by politicians, but by social workers, frontline workers, nurses, doctors and those directly involved in the drug-using community.

Justice  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition in which the petitioners are calling for the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to be amended, so that convicted murderers, after serving their minimum sentence, would no longer be able to apply for parole year after year, as is presently the case; and, rather, that they would only be able to be considered for parole at the time of their automatic review. This is in recognition of the fact that the families of murder victims are traumatized by recurring parole hearings for convicted murderers whose likelihood of ever being released is close to nil.

Pakistan  

     Mr. Speaker, as always, it is an honour to be able to stand in this place to present petitions signed by so many Canadians.
    The first petition I would like to present today is signed by a number of constituents and Canadians who share the concern among Pakistani Canadians regarding political unrest and socio-economic turmoil in the country of Pakistan. There are concerns about the reports of politically motivated acts of violence and threats against opposition parties and their followers.
    There is grave concern, further, about the recent arrest of former Pakistani prime minister, Imran Khan, and the steps being taken by the Pakistani military and its agents to limit participation in general elections by the former prime minister and Pakistan's largest opposition party.
    The petitioners ask for the Government of Canada to take concrete steps to support democracy, support freedom and ensure that Canada does everything it can to support free and fair elections in the country of Pakistan.

Charitable Organizations  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition I am pleased to be able to present on behalf of so many Canadians calls attention to the fact that in the 2021 Liberal Party platform, the Liberals promised to subject charitable organizations to a values test.
    Petitioners highlight how this was done before, which targeted so many organizations that do good work in our communities and led to many organizations not being eligible for important funding.
    The petitioners call on the House of Commons to protect and preserve the application of charitable status on a politically and ideologically neutral basis, without discrimination on the basis of political or religious values and without the imposition of another “values test”. Further, the petitioners ask the House of Commons to affirm the right of Canadians to freedom of expression. That just sounds like common sense to me.

(1625)

Questions on the Order Paper

     Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 2532, 2533, 2536, 2540 and 2544.

[Text]

Question No. 2532—
Mr. Brad Redekopp:
    With regard to the government's response to Order Paper Question Q-2055, tabled in the House of Commons on January 29, 2024, and the table provided in Appendix A on pages 42-51, broken down by the criteria previously provided: (a) how many of those individuals are currently in Canada on valid permits; (b) how many of those individuals are currently in Canada but do not have valid permits or have expired permits; and (c) how many of those individuals are no longer in Canada?
Mr. Paul Chiang (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the information as requested is not systematically tracked at that level of detail. IRCC concluded that producing and validating a comprehensive response to this question would require a manual case-by-case comparison of information that is not possible in the time allotted. Additionally, as Canada does not have an exit control policy, there is no data available on the number of individuals currently in Canada who do not have a valid/expired permit or how many are no longer in Canada.
Question No. 2533—
Mr. Brad Redekopp:
    With regard to the government's response to Order Paper Question Q-2232, tabled in the House of Commons on March 18, 2024: (a) for the 410 individuals in the Canada Border Services Agency’s response to part (e)(i), what are the specific offences that have deemed them inadmissible pursuant to s. 36(1)(a) or s. 36(2)(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, for having been convicted in Canada of a Criminal Code offence; and (b) for the 236 individuals in the Canada Border Services Agency’s response to part (e)(ii), what are the specific (i) offences that have deemed them inadmissible pursuant to s. 36(1)(b) or s. 36(2)(b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, for having been convicted in their country of origin of an equivalent charge to a Criminal Code offence, (ii) countries of origin where the convictions occurred?
Ms. Jennifer O’Connell (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs (Cybersecurity), Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the CBSA undertook a 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. The CBSA concluded that the level of detail of the information requested is not systematically tracked in a format that permits bulk extraction. As a result, producing and validating a comprehensive response to this question would require a manual collection and reconciliation of information that is not possible in the time allotted.
Question No. 2536—
Mr. Mark Strahl:
    With regard to the government’s response to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) giving Canada a score of 64 out of 100 in a recent assessment: (a) what is the government’s explanation for the decrease in Canada’s score from 95 in 2005 to the latest score of 64; (b) on what date did Transport Canada receive the ICAO report; (c) what shortcomings were identified in the report; (d) what specific actions, if any, has the government taken to address each identified shortcoming; and (e) for each shortcoming in (c), by what date will each be brought up to standard?
Hon. Pablo Rodriguez (Minister of Transport, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada remains confident in the safety of Canada’s aviation system, and we take the audit results seriously. We welcome the opportunity to improve our system and increase our alignment with the International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, a United Nations specialized agency, hosted in Canada.
    The ICAO audit process, the aviation industry, and Canada’s regulatory and oversight landscape have evolved significantly since 2005, when Canada was last audited. Canada has a long history as a key international player with a robust regulatory regime.
    However, since Canada’s last audit 18 years ago, the global aviation system has evolved significantly, becoming more technologically complex and interconnected. Although Transport Canada actively participates in various international civil aviation safety fora, the audit has shown that Canada needs to do a better job at aligning and monitoring changes to international standards, especially given the maturity of Canada’s aviation safety regulatory regime.
    Additionally, it is imperative for Transport Canada to improve its efforts in ensuring that the unique characteristics of Canada’s domestic reality, i.e., large geography with many remote communities dependent on aviation for connectivity, are effectively accounted for when international standards are developed. By advocating for the inclusion of Canada's domestic reality in international standards, we can ensure that our aviation system continues to operate safely and efficiently, meeting the diverse needs of our nation while upholding global aviation standards.
    Transport Canada received the final ICAO report on December 14, 2023. While Canada's score witnessed a decline, it is important to note that ICAO has not identified any serious safety issues with Canada’s civil aviation system. The score is not a reflection of the safety of Canada’s aviation system, but rather Canada’s proficiency in conducting safety oversight of its regulated entities in alignment with ICAO’s standards and recommended practices, SARPs.
    Despite the decrease in score, Transport Canada’s safety systems and processes continue to be effective, but there remains a need for refinement to ensure closer alignment with these international standards. The shortcomings largely fall under one of the following areas: organizational design and designated responsibilities, regulatory and operational alignment with ICAO SARPs, training, and documentation gaps and processes.
    Government of Canada officials have worked closely with ICAO since its establishment in 1947, including through our responsibilities as the proud host state of ICAO. In continuing to foster this important partnership, Transport Canada officials have been diligently collaborating with ICAO to address audit report findings and corrective measures and ensure Canada's alignment to international aviation standards. Some measures have already been taken, including the creation of an ICAO compliance office, in February 2023, and a new civil aviation directive to inspectors and program manual related to ICAO compliance, in October 2023. Furthermore, TC is actively engaged in refining its internal policies and processes, clarifying regulatory ambiguities, and scrutinizing various surveillance procedures and checklists. This concerted effort aims to establish a consistent framework for oversight activities, effectively tackling findings that are pervasive across audit areas. Transport Canada is also committed to addressing regulatory changes aimed at harmonizing with international standards over the next five years. This will be accomplished through the well-established Canadian aviation regulation advisory council, CARAC, process, where the broader aviation safety stakeholder community is consulted. Additionally, Transport Canada recently undertook an internal realignment to enhance coordination and focus on international matters.
    Transport Canada officials have also been proactively engaged with both domestic stakeholders and international counterparts to ensure transparency and clarity with regard to the findings of the ICAO report. The objective is to reassure stakeholders that Canadian air carriers remain steadfast in their commitment to robust safety management systems and uphold high safety standards. This effort will continue in the months and years to come.
Question No. 2540—
Mr. Dan Albas:
    With regard to the First Home Savings Account (FHSA): (a) how many accounts are currently active; (b) what is the total cumulative amount held in all accounts; (c) what is the average and median account balance; (d) how many accounts have a balance of over (i) $1,000, (ii) $5,000, (iii) $10,000, (iv) $20,000, in them; and (e) what is the breakdown of the number of FHSA accounts by the owner's income bracket?
Hon. Marie-Claude Bibeau (Minister of National Revenue, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with respect to the above-noted question, what follows is the response from the CRA.
    The CRA receives all information about the first home savings account, FHSA, through T4FHSA slips filed by financial institutions. Only slips and returns that have been processed by the CRA are included in these statistics.
    It is important to note that the CRA considers each separate FHSA contract to be an “account.” Because an individual can have multiple FHSA contracts, the information has been provided per FHSA holder. All figures relating to an “FHSA holder” are based on all FHSA contracts for that individual.
    An active account is one where the account hasn’t been marked as closed or has been marked as closed but the financial institution reported a balance greater than zero.
    The following responses are based on the information returns filed and as processed by the CRA when the statistics were produced. While the information for this response was compiled in April 2024, please note that the date for which the most recent data is available for parts (a) to (e) is December 31, 2023.
    In response to part (a), as of December 31, 2023, there were 624,970 individuals with active FHSAs.
    In response to part (b), as of December 31, 2023, the year-end fair market value of all active FHSAs was $2.37 billion.
    In response to part (c), as of December 31, 2023, the average balance for all active FHSA holders was $3,792 and the median was $2,040.
    In response to part (d), as of December 31, 2023, there were (i) 66,120 active FHSA holders whose total balance, across all of their accounts, was from $1,001 to $5,000; (ii) 272,340 active FHSA holders whose total balance, across all of their accounts, was from $5,001 to $10,000; (iii) 920 active FHSA holders whose total balance, across all of their accounts, was from $10,001 to $20,000; and (iv) 50 active FHSA holders whose total balance, across all of their accounts, was $20,001 or more.
    In response to part (e), as of December 31, 2023, there were 194,220 active FHSA holders who had a taxable income of $53,359 or less; 154,400 active FHSA holders who had a taxable income from $53,360 to $106,717; 25,210 active FHSA holders who had a taxable income from $106,718 to $165,430; 5,250 active FHSA holders who had a taxable income from $165,431 to $235,675; and 2,290 active FHSA holders who had a taxable income of more than $235,675.
    This information represents cases where the CRA was able to match the T4FHSA slip with an assessed T1 income tax and benefit return. This matching exercise was performed on April 20, 2024, before the general deadline for filing 2023 tax returns.
Question No. 2544—
Mr. Colin Carrie:
    With regard to Health Canada’s (HC) approach when they suspect that a vaccine manufacturer has potentially adulterated their own product without appropriate disclosure to HC: (a) how does HC confirm that the potential adulteration exists; (b) does HC procure independent labs to assess the potential adulteration; (c) what measures are available to HC to ensure safety to Canadians and the environment in the event of a deception or adulteration of a therapeutic product under the Food and Drugs Act; (d) regarding the Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA vaccine, were any measures taken under the Food and Drugs Act or under any contract or other regulation with regard to the discovery in July 2023 of the SV40 enhancer/promoter sequences well after the full authorization of this vaccine; (e) if the answer to (d) is affirmative, what measures were taken; (f) if the answer to (d) is negative, why weren’t measures taken; and (g) if the answer to (d) is negative, are measures being planned?
Mr. Yasir Naqvi (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), Health Canada, HC, verifies that companies manufacturing vaccines destined for the Canadian market comply with Canada’s high safety and quality requirements, whether the drug is manufactured domestically or abroad. Within Canada, all drug manufacturers are inspected by Health Canada. For foreign manufacturing sites, Health Canada conducts inspections or assesses inspection results from trusted international regulatory partners.
    Health Canada is also committed to verifying signals and complaints regarding the safety, efficacy and quality of vaccines. When there is suspected non-compliance, the department takes steps to verify if non-compliance has occurred. Health Canada uses a variety of compliance and enforcement tools to monitor and verify that regulated parties comply with requirements, including on-site visits.
    In response to (b), should Health Canada have any concerns surrounding a product, we may request samples from any lot and conduct in-house testing through the lot release program. Health Canada can request products for testing through this program when a product is being reviewed by the department prior to market authorization or at any time during the post-market stage.
    The HC lot release program is fully independent of the manufacturer’s testing and is one means used for ensuring the quality of vaccines released onto the Canadian market. Test methods used by the lot release program are validated, laboratory staff are qualified and trained, the laboratories and methods are accredited by the International Organization for Standardization, ISO, and results are reviewed by experienced HC evaluators familiar with the vaccine and test methods. Health Canada does not use third party or contract labs for the lot release of vaccines. All vaccine lot release laboratories in Health Canada currently have sufficient staff required for conducting the required test methods.
    In response to (c), the primary objective of Health Canada’s compliance and enforcement approach is to manage the risks to Canadians using the most appropriate level of intervention based on the risk posed to the general public.
    When non-compliances are identified, we will take appropriate actions to protect the health and safety of Canadians. This can include requesting recalls, issuing risk communications to alert the public and/or suspending licences. Health Canada has the ability to order a product recall or require a product label change if serious health and safety risks are identified. The department takes compliance and enforcement actions in line with our compliance and enforcement policy, where actions are based on the specific facts of each case and appropriate for the situation.
    Where appropriate, the department may conduct investigations, make referrals to law enforcement, and refer cases to the Public Prosecution Services of Canada, PPSC, for potential prosecution. The courts have the sole discretion to impose penalties. While monetary fines and penalties can be levied by the courts under the Food and Drugs Act as a result of prosecutions, health product compliance programs do not have the ability to issue administrative monetary penalties in the event of contraventions.
    In response to (d), the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine is not considered adulterated. The SV40 promoter enhancer sequence was found to be a residual DNA fragment in the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. The fragment is inactive, has no functional role, and was measured to be consistently below the limit required by Health Canada and other international regulators. The Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine currently on the market is consistent with the product/process submitted to Health Canada for authorization. Therefore, no measures under the FDA were taken.
    In response to (e), see response to (d).

[English]

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns

    Mr. Speaker, if a revised response to Question No. 2495, originally tabled on May 22, and the government's responses to Questions Nos. 2526 to 2531, 2534, 2535, 2537 to 2539, 2541 to 2543 and 2545 could be made orders for return, these returns would be tabled in an electronic format immediately.
    Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Text]

Question No. 2495—
Mr. Maxime Blanchette-Joncas:
    With regard to federal spending in the electoral district of Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, broken down by fiscal year since 2018–19, inclusively: (a) what is the total amount for each fiscal year; (b) what is the detailed breakdown of the amounts in (a) by department, Crown corporation, agency or organization; and (c) what grants and contributions were made, broken down by funding source?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2526—
Ms. Kirsty Duncan:
    With regard to healthcare in Canada: (a) what is specifically included under universal health services; (b) has the scope of services included under universal health services changed since first implemented and, if so, (i) what are the changes, (ii) on what dates did these changes take place; (c) what are the specific services that are (i) funded publicly, (ii) not fully publicly funded; (d) what was the annual total health spending in Canada, broken down by year from 2010 to present; (e) what was the private total health spending in Canada since 2010 to present; (f) what, if any, publicly insured services are being offered for out-of-pocket pay, and, if relevant, what is the annual spending since 2010; (g) what was the annual per capita spending on health since 2010, and how does per capita spending compare to that of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries; (h) what was the private annual per capita spending on health since 2010; (i) what was the investment in homecare since 2010, and, for each investment, (i) how many more people were served, (ii) what was the average wait time from approval to service delivery, (iii) has the wait time from approval to service delivery changed; (j) what, if any, mechanisms have existed to hold provinces and territories accountable on how they spend the health transfer, and, if relevant, what is (i) the accountability mechanism, (ii) the date;
    (k) for each province and territory, what is the annual funding compared to the age-adjusted population growth since 2010; (l) for each province and territory, what is specifically included under universal health services; (m) for each province and territory, has the scope of services changed since universal health services were first implemented, and, if so, what are (i) the changes, (ii) the dates of the changes; (n) for each province and territory, what are the specific services that are (i) funded publicly, (ii) not fully publicly funded; (o) for each province and territory, what (i) is the percentage increase in healthcare service costs since the last health transfer, (ii) is the new negotiated health transfer, (iii) new services will the transfer buy for Canadians; (p) where does Canada rank with respect to amenable mortality among comparator countries, and (i) where have there been improvements, (ii) where specifically has there been a lack of improvement; (q) what does Canada spend on pharmaceuticals, and how does Canada rank among the OECD; (r) what are all of the pan-Canadian health benchmarks, and what is the target for each benchmark;
    (s) for each benchmark, what is the percentage of patients receiving care within each of the pan-Canadian benchmarks, broken down by province and territory; (t) what is the percentage of patients receiving care within the benchmarks for (i) cataract removal, (ii) hip fracture repair, (iii) hip replacement, (iv) knee replacement, broken down by province and territory; (u) how does Canada rank with respect to service wait times for comparator countries, specifically to (i) see a general practitioner, (ii) see a specialist, (iii) be treated in an emergency department, (iv) receive advanced diagnostics, (v) receive elected surgical care; (v) what is the average wait time to (i) see a general practitioner, (ii) see a specialist, (iii) be treated in an emergency department, (iv) receive advanced diagnostics, (v) receive elected surgical care, in each province and territory; (w) how many people left an emergency department in 2022-23 without ever having been seen, broken down by province and territory; (x) what is the health and social services sector vacancy rate in each province and territory; (y) what is the physician supply gap in each province and territory and how does Canada rank against comparator countries; (z) in each province and territory, (i) what is the vacancy rate for nurses, (ii) what discipline has the highest vacancy rate;
    (aa) broken down by province and territory, what percentage of Canadians lack a primary care provider; (bb) how does Canada rank on inequality in healthcare by income compared to other countries; (cc) what groups of Canadians have difficulty accessing primary care, and, for each group identified, how (i) is access to a general practitioner, (ii) is prescription use, (iii) is access to a specialist, (iv) are diagnostics, (v) is treatment, (vi) is morbidity, (vii) is mortality, impacted; (dd) in each province and territory, what percentage of cost is covered for prescription drugs outside (i) the hospital, (ii) homecare, (iii) non-physician mental health care; (ee) what percentage of income do Canadians in the lowest income quintile spend on their healthcare; (ff) what percentage of income do Canadians in the highest income quintile spend on their healthcare; (gg) broken down by province and territory, (i) how many more people were served with respect to long-term care since 2010 by each federal health transfer, (ii) what was the average wait time from approval to service delivery, (iii) has the wait time from approval to service delivery changed; (hh) broken down by province and territory, what percentage of hospital-bed days is designated to those awaiting long-term care; (ii) how does Canada rank with respect to comparator countries on (i) health outcome measures, (ii) patient-reported experience;
    (jj) what specific data is collected at the federal level on medical errors, including, but not limited to, (i) patient harm, (ii) a foreign body left in after a procedure, (iii) obstetric trauma, (iv) postoperative pulmonary embolism after a hip replacement, (v) postoperative pulmonary embolism after a knee replacement, and how does this data compare internationally; (kk) what specific data is collected at the provincial and territorial level on (i) medical errors, (ii) patient harm; (ll) how does Canada rank with respect to comparator countries on (i) dental coverage, (ii) non-physician mental health care, (iii) vision?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2527—
Ms. Kirsty Duncan:
    With regard to women’s health in Canada and clinical research funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR): (a) how much did the government invest in women’s health annually, from 2010 to present, and specifically, for the same time period, how much was invested in (i) aging, (ii) cardiovascular conditions, (iii) neurological conditions, and how did these investments compare to that of the United States; (b) how much did the CIHR invest in women’s health annually, from 2010 to present, and specifically, for the same time period, how much was invested in (i) aging, (ii) cardiovascular conditions, (iii) neurological conditions, and how did these investments compare to that of the National Institutes of Health (NIH); (c) broken down by all common female-specific conditions, including, but not limited to, endometriosis, fibroid tumours, pelvic inflammatory disease, and polycystic ovary syndrome, (i) what are the number of women impacted, (ii) what is the cost to the healthcare system, (iii) what are the effective diagnostics, if any, (iv) what are the effective treatments, if any, (v) is the condition under-researched, (vi) what is the annual investment since 2010, (vii) how does investment compare to that of the United States, (viii) what is the annual investment by CIHR since 2010, (ix) how does investment compare to that of the NIH;
    (d) what annual investment has the government made since 2010 in (i) fertility, (ii) pregnancy, (iii) maternal health, (iv) reducing maternal morbidity and mortality, (v) breastfeeding, and how does investment compare to that of the United States; (e) what annual investment has the CIHR made since 2010 in (i) fertility, (ii) pregnancy, (iii) maternal health, (iv) reducing maternal morbidity and mortality, (v) breastfeeding, and how does investment compare to that of the NIH; (f) broken down by all specific female cancers including, but not limited to, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, vaginal cancer, (i) what is the number of women impacted, (ii) what is the cost to the healthcare system, (iii) what are the effective diagnostics, if any, (iv) what are the effective treatments, if any, (v) what is the average cancer stage at diagnosis, (vi) what is the annual investment by the government since 2010, (vii) how does investment compare to that of the United States, (viii) what is the annual investment by the CIHR since 2010, (ix) how does the investment compare with that of the NIH; (g) broken down by all specific conditions that disproportionately affect women including, but not limited to, autoimmune diseases, chronic pain, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, and specific cancers, (i) what is the number of women affected, (ii) what is the cost to the health care system, (iii) what is the annual investment by the government since 2010, (iv) how does the investment compare to that of the United States, (v) what is the investment in research by the CIHR annually since 2010, (vi) how does the investment compare to that of the NIH; (h) what percentage of CIHR’s budget is invested in the gender and health institute, and how does this percentage compare to each of the remaining institutes;
    (i) does CIHR have a policy regarding the sex of animals used in pre-clinical research, and, if so, what are the details of the policy, including the date it came into effect; (j) does all CIHR-supported pre-clinical research require the use of female and male animals; (k) what percentage of CIHR’s pre-clinical research uses female animals, and how is that percentage measured; (l) what percentage of CIHR’s pre-clinical research reports on the sex of animal subjects, and how is it measured; (m) is it mandated that all CIHR-supported clinical research include women, and, if so, what (i) is the date of the mandate, (ii) is the policy, (iii) are the exceptions, (iv) are any requirements for analysis to include sex, gender, and intersectionality, (v) are any requirements for reporting on sex, gender, and intersectionality; (n) how specifically does CIHR track whether clinical research includes women, what are all questions on grant applications, and what questions and formulae are used to calculate the percentage of CIHR-supported clinical research involving women; (o) what percentage of CIHR-supported clinical research involves women; (p) what percentage of CIHR-funded research examines (i) sex, (ii) gender, (iii) intersectionality, and how are these measured; (q) what specific policies has CIHR put in place to ensure women of all ages and backgrounds are included in clinical research populations; (r) does CIHR provide support for research specifically focused on populations of women historically (i) under-represented, (ii) under-researched, (iii) under-reported, in clinical research, and, if so, what specific investment is made for each?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2528—
Mr. James Bezan:
    With regard to the Defence Policy Update and the statement that “The government is projecting our defence spending to GDP ratio to reach 1.76% in 2029-30”: (a) what is the projected defence budget broken down by fiscal year from 2023-24 to 2029-30; (b) how much of that is allocated from the Defence Policy Update as a dollar value; (c) what is the projected GDP, broken down by fiscal year from 2023-24 to 2029-30; and (d) what is the projected defence spending to GDP ratio broken down by fiscal year from 2023-24 to 2029-30?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2529—
Mr. Ben Lobb:
    With regard to government advertising during or connected to the Super Bowl, including the pre- and post-game broadcasts, on February 11, 2024: (a) what was the total amount spent on advertising; and (b) what is the breakdown of the spending by each advertisement, including a description of the contents, and by media outlet, along with when the advertisement ran (pre-game, during the game, etc.)?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2530—
Mr. Ben Lobb:
    With regard to government grant programs which are or have been administered by external parties or vendors since 2016: what are the details of all such programs, including, for each, the (i) name of the program, (ii) description or purpose of the program, (iii) amount of funding provided through the grants, (iv) number of grant recipients, (v) name of the external party or vendor that administered the program, (vi) amount paid to the external party or vendor for administering the program, (vii) reason the government outsourced the administration of the program?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2531—
Mr. Sameer Zuberi:
    With regard to the Housing Accelerator Fund: (a) what is the total amount of funding allocated in Ontario, broken down by each municipality; and (b) what is the breakdown of (a), by type of housing funded?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2534—
Mr. Brad Redekopp:
    With regard to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and the Settlement Program, the Resettlement Assistance Program, the Interim Housing Assistance Program, the International Migration Capacity Building Program, and the Francophone Immigration Support Program, for the fiscal years 2015-16 to 2023-24, broken down by program and by province and territory: (a) what organizations applied for grants, contributions or loans; (b) how much did they apply for on an annual basis; (c) how much did they receive on an annual basis; (d) how much of their funding did IRCC allocate to administrative costs on an annual basis; and (e) what were the actual administrative costs on an annual basis?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2535—
Mr. John Barlow:
    With regard to the government’s online estimators: (a) what were the costs associated with developing and implementing the AgriStability estimator, in total and broken down by type of expense; (b) what are the details of all contracts signed by the government related to (a), including, for each, the (i) date, (ii) vendor, (iii) value, (iv) description of goods or services; (c) what were the costs associated with developing and implementing the Canada Carbon Rebate estimator, in total and broken down by type of expense; and (d) what are the details of all contracts signed by the government related to (c), including, for each, the (i) date, (ii) vendor, (iii) value, (iv) description of goods or services?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2537—
Mrs. Karen Vecchio:
    With regard to the revocation of government security clearances between January 1, 2023, and April 11, 2024: (a) how many individuals have had their security clearances revoked for cause (and not as a result of retirement or resignation); (b) of the revocations in (a), how many were due to the individual spying or otherwise acting on behalf of a foreign government; and (c) what is the breakdown of (a) and (b) by department, agency, Crown corporation, or other government entity?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2538—
Mrs. Karen Vecchio:
    With regard to the revocation of government security clearances for ministerial exempt staff, including those from the Office of the Prime Minister, between January 1, 2016, and April 11, 2024: (a) how many individuals have had their security clearances revoked for cause (and not as a result of retirement or resignation); and (b) what is the breakdown of (a) by (i) year, (ii) minister whom they were working for at the time of revocation, (iii) reason for revocation?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2539—
Mr. Gerald Soroka:
    With regard to the Public Health Agency of Canada's procurement of ventilators from Canadian Emergency Ventilators Inc. in April 2020, and the subsequent sale of many of these ventilators as commodity code "9500 - Scrap metal" through the GC Surplus auction: (a) why were the ventilators classified and sold as scrap metal; (b) did the government offer these ventilators to the (i) provincial health authorities, (ii) National Emergency Strategic Stockpile, (iii) Department of National Defence, (iv) International Development section of Global Affairs Canada; (c) for each entity in (b) that received an offer, what reason was received by the government for the entity not accepting the ventilators; (d) for each entity in (b) that did not receive an offer, why did the government not offer the ventilators to them; (e) for the ventilators that have been disposed of to date, through either GC Surplus or other means, who was the recipient of the ventilators, what quantity did each recipient receive, and how much payment did the government receive; (f) have any of these ventilators ended up in private or for-profit health care entities, either in Canada or abroad, and, if so, what are the details; and (g) if the government does not know the answer to (f), why does the government not have that information?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2541—
Mr. Dan Albas:
    With regard to the granting of government security clearances between January 1, 2023, and April 1, 2024: (a) how many individuals (i) applied for, (ii) were denied (not as a result of retirement or resignation), security clearances; (b) of the denials in (a), how many were due to the individual spying or otherwise acting on behalf of a foreign government; and (c) what is the breakdown of (a) and (b) by department, agency, Crown corporation, or other government entity and level of clearance applied (secret or top secret)?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2542—
Mrs. Tracy Gray:
    With regard to the Canada Digital Adoption Program: (a) how many of the 29,532 businesses which applied to the Boost Your Business Technology Stream were successful and received funding; (b) what was the total amount of funding given to businesses through the Boost Your Business Technology Stream; (c) what is the breakdown of the $13 million provided in the contribution agreement with Magnet for project implementation and administrative costs; (d) what are the details of third-party contractors who received money from the $13 million, including, for each, (i) their name, (ii) the amount received, (iii) the goods or services provided; (e) what are the names of all third-party contractors who received funding through this project implementation and administrative cost stream; (f) what were the amounts paid to each third-party contractor who received funding through this project implementation and administrative cost stream; (g) what were the work descriptions of each third-party contractor who received funding through this project implementation and administrative cost stream; (h) what is the breakdown by school of the 1,954 students who were hired as of December 31, 2023, as E-commerce Advisors; (i) what is the breakdown of the advertising used to advertise these positions; (j) what were the work descriptions of these positions; (k) what is the breakdown by school of the 1,255 youth who were hired to support participating Canadian small and medium enterprises in the implementation of their digital adoption plans; (l) what is the breakdown of the advertising used to advertise these positions; (m) what were the work descriptions of these positions; (n) how many E-commerce Advisors and youths who were hired to support businesses with the implementation of their digital adoption plans were the same person; and (o) what is the breakdown by school of these individuals?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2543—
Mrs. Tracy Gray:
    With regard to travel expenses related to the Benefits Delivery Modernization Programme, since January 1, 2017: (a) what is the total number of travel expenses filed; (b) what is the total cost of travel expenses filed; (c) what is the cost of travel expenses filed by public servants; (d) what is the cost of travel expenses filed by third-party contractors; (e) what is the cost of flights expensed by public servants; (f) what is the cost of lodgings expensed by public servants; (g) what is the cost of per diems expensed by public servants; (h) what is the cost of flights expensed by third-party contractors; (i) what is the cost of lodgings expensed by third-party contractors; (j) what is the cost of per diems expensed by third-party contractors; and (k) what is the breakdown of (a) to (j) by month and by quarter?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 2545—
Ms. Kirsty Duncan:
    With regard to cancer in Canada: (a) what are the top 10 cancers annually since 2010, broken down by province and territory, and, for each cancer, what is the (i) morbidity rate, (ii) mortality rate, (iii) five-year net survival rate; (b) how do the rates in (a)(i), (a)(ii), (a)(iii) compare to the United States; (c) for the rates in (a)(i) and (a)(ii), what is the (i) number of people affected, (ii) cost to the health care system, (iii) total investment compared to the United States; (d) are there any types of cancer on the rise in Canada, and, if so, what are they, broken down by province and territory; (e) what percentage of new patients are offered a diagnostic molecular test in Canada; (f) what percentage of patients are offered a clinical trial in Canada; (g) what percentage of patients are enrolled in a clinical trial in Canada; (h) how many clinical trials have been initiated in Canada annually since 2010; (i) what cancer prevention programs, by cancer type, are funded by the government; (j) how much has the government invested since 2010 in the top 10 cancers, broken down by (i) cancer diagnosis, (ii) treatment, (iii) research, (iv) prevention, (v) federal transfers, and the specific amount, (vi) direct investment in cancer programs, and the specific amount, (vii) research funding, and how does the total investment compare to the United States;
    (k) how much has the government annually invested since 2010 in pediatric cancer, broken down by (i) diagnosis, (ii) treatment, (iii) research, (iv) prevention, (v) federal transfers, and the specific amount, (vi) direct investment in cancer programs, and the specific amount, (vii) research funding, and how does the total investment compare to the United States; (l) how much has the government invested since 2010 in rare cancer, broken down by (i) diagnosis, (ii) treatment, (iii) research, (iv) prevention, (v) federal transfers, and the specific amount, (vi) direct investment in cancer programs, and the specific amount, (vii) research funding, and how does the total investment compare to the United States; (m) does the Scientific Advisory Committee on Oncology Therapies still exist, and, if so, (i) what is its membership, (ii) when did it last meet, (iii) what was on the agenda of all meetings since 2019; (n) what is the average approval time for phased clinical trials for the top 10 cancers in Canada, broken down by (i) phase I clinical trials, (ii) phase II clinical trials, (iii) phase III clinical trials, (iv) phase IV clinical trials, and how do the approval times in (i), (ii), (iii) and (iv) compare to the United States; (o) what percentage of Canadian children undergoing cancer treatment have access to a clinical trial; (p) what is the average approval time for phased clinical trials for rare cancers in Canada, broken down by (i) phase I clinical trials, (ii) phase II clinical trials, (iii) phase III clinical trials, (iv) phase IV clinical trials, and how do the approval times in (i), (ii), (iii) and (iv) compare to the United States;
    (q) how many new cancer treatments has Health Canada (HC) approved since 2010 and what percentage have been precision treatments; (r) what are all cancer drugs approved in Canada, and the dates of approval since 2010, broken down by the (i) date the drug was approved in the United States, (ii) provinces and territories where the drug is available, (iii) provinces and territories covering the entire drug cost, (iv) provinces and territories requiring patient payment, (v) additional cost per treatment; (s) how many new cancer treatments has HC approved since 2010 for the top 10 cancers, what percentage have been precision treatments and how do the approval rates and times compare to those in the United States; (t) how many new pediatric cancer treatments has HC approved since 2010 and what percentage have been precision treatments; (u) how many new rare cancer treatments has HC approved since 2010 and what percentage have been precision treatments; (v) on what date was the special access program for drugs first put in place, (i) how many applications have been made for chemotherapy drugs since its creation, (ii) how many times have approvals been made for chemotherapy drugs since its creation, (iii) what is the average approval wait time for a chemotherapy drug, (iv) is there a process for re-application, and, if so, what is the average approval time for re-application of a chemotherapy drug;
    (w) what are the top 10 pediatric cancers since 2010 annually, broken down by province and territory, and, for each cancer, what is the (i) morbidity rate, (ii) mortality rate, (iii) five-year survival rate by stage, (iv) cost to the healthcare system; (x) for each rate in (w)(i) and (ii), what is the number of people affected; (y) what is the list of all rare cancers in Canada, how many people are affected by rare cancers, and what investments has the government made in their research; (z) what is the process for a clinician to access off-label chemotherapy options for a patient with a rare cancer, including (i) the average approval time, (ii) the re-approval process, and, if any, the average re-approval wait time, (iii) the approval success rate for application, (iv) if relevant, the approval success rate for re-application, (v) the approval success rate when a drug is already approved for use in another country; (aa) what is the average time to diagnosis for each of the (i) top 10 cancers, (ii) pediatric cancers, (iii) rare cancers, and what is the average cancer stage at diagnosis and the cost to the healthcare system, since 2010, broken down by province and territory; (bb) what was the average time to diagnosis for each of the (i) top 10 cancers, (ii) pediatric cancers, (iii) rare cancers, and what is the average cancer stage at diagnosis and the cost to the healthcare system, broken down by province and territory, and annually from 2019 to 2023;
    (cc) how many people had to seek diagnosis outside of Canada due to either wait time or lack of diagnostic technology or procedure, and what was the cost to the healthcare system, broken down by province and territory annually since 2010; (dd) how many people had to seek treatment outside of Canada due to either wait time or lack of treatment that was available elsewhere, and what was the cost to the healthcare system, broken down by province and territory annually since 2010; (ee) how many people could not get a recommended chemotherapy because (i) they did not have health insurance, (ii) their health coverage did not cover a chemotherapy drug, (iii) their insurance covered only part of the drug cost, broken down by province and territory; (ff) broken down by province and territory, how many times has the federal special access program been accessed since its inception, (i) how many approvals have been made since its inception, (ii) what is the average approval time, (iii) is there a process for re-application, and, if so, what is the average approval time for re-application; (gg) what has each government invested in cancer treatment since 2010, broken down by province and territory; and (hh) how much has the Canadian Institutes of Health Research invested annually in cancer research since 2010, and specifically what has been invested in (i) the top 10 cancers, (ii) pediatric cancers, (iii) rare cancers, and how does this annual total investment compare to the United States?
    (Return tabled)

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I would ask that all remaining questions be allowed to stand.
    Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Motions for Papers

    Mr. Speaker, I would ask that all notices of motions for the production of papers be allowed to stand.
    Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[Translation]

Countering Foreign Interference Act

    He said: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C‑70, which will enable the government to take other measures against the growing threat of foreign interference.
    The countering foreign interference act will strengthen the government's ability to detect and disrupt foreign interference and to better protect all Canadians against the threats posed by hostile states. As an open and free democracy, Canada has long been the target of hostile states that are seeking to obtain Canadian intelligence to defend or advance their own interests. Foreign interference is a deliberate attempt to undermine the fundamental values and freedoms that we cherish as Canadians and that are at the very core of our free and open society. By so doing, hostile states seek to promote their national interests to the detriment of our own.

[English]

    Today, foreign interference poses one of the most important threats to our Canadian way of life, our economic prosperity, our national security and our sovereignty. As stated by the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, “foreign interference threatens the fundamental values of our country” and our national security.
    Over the years, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service has observed and investigated multiple instances of foreign states targeting Canada and Canadian interests. We know that foreign states target our country using any means possible. This includes, of course, human intelligence operations, state-sponsored or foreign-influenced media and sophisticated cyber-attacks to name just a few. These hostile actors also engage in other activities, such as spreading misinformation and disinformation to undermine public confidence in public institutions, in mainstream media or in electoral processes. How do they accomplish this? They do so by cultivating witting or, in some cases, unwitting individuals to assist them. This not only helps to achieve their aims, but also enables foreign states to operate with plausible deniability on Canadian soil.
     We have also heard this recently at the public hearings of the Hogue commission, the Foreign Interference Commission, which was set up with the support of all recognized parties in the House. We heard from witnesses that some foreign state actors monitor, intimidate and harass diaspora communities in Canada. They attempt to silence dissidents and to promote narratives that are favourable to their own autocratic regimes. Members from diaspora communities testified that either they have directly experienced, or they know others who have experienced, the effects of foreign interference. This includes threats to them or to their families back home.

(1630)

[Translation]

    While traditional interference in human intelligence operations remains the greatest danger to Canada, interference through hostile cyber activities is of growing concern.
    Thanks to the work of the security and intelligence community, we know that an increasing number of states have built and deployed programs dedicated to online influence as part of their day-to-day operations. For example, the 2022 CSIS public report indicates that foreign states “exploit social media to influence their intended targets. For example, state actors leverage it as a means to spread disinformation, divide public opinion and generally interfere in healthy public debate and [public] discourse.”
    Some foreign states are using these malicious activities to try and delegitimize the concept of democracy and other values that may run counter to their own ideological views.
    These are fundamental values that we hold dear as Canadians and, of course, as parliamentarians.

[English]

    Through their various attempts to influence Canadian elections and opinions, these hostile states seek to bias our policy development and our decision-making. In so doing, they also seek to divide Canadians and to sow discord in Canadian society. As parliamentarians, we all know that we are vulnerable to these very attempts as well.
    As we have heard during many debates in the House on this topic, foreign interference is a non-partisan issue that is of deep concern to all parliamentarians. Indeed, foreign interference is a cross-cutting issue for all members of the House, not simply as parliamentarians, but as Canadians, and I want to thank the many colleagues in the House who have worked with me and who have talked to me about how we can collaborate, not only on this legislation, I hope, but on other issues as well that would strengthen our democracy and the ability of our security and intelligence agencies to protect Canadians.
    These activities threaten the integrity of our political systems, democratic processes and social cohesion. While the threat of foreign interference is not new, these activities have increased in recent years, and as we know, all too well, they continue to grow. The former national security and intelligence adviser to the Prime Minister, Jody Thomas, said, “We cannot paint an overly optimistic picture. Things change. Tools and methods change. Our adversaries adapt quickly and find innovative ways to interfere in our affairs”.
    With a quickly changing landscape, we must ensure that Canada is in a position to keep up with those who wish us harm, and we must ensure that we can hold accountable those individuals who threaten Canada, our national security or Canadian sovereignty.

[Translation]

    All the examples I have given today show that this is a matter of the utmost urgency.
    For all these reasons, I am pleased to rise to speak to Bill C‑70, an act respecting countering foreign interference for the first time. This new legislation will enable us to further strengthen Canada's tool kit against foreign interference. Combatting this threat while defending Canada's interests, values and principles is a top priority for our government and, I believe, for all parliamentarians. Transparency is a top priority in our government's approach to combatting foreign interference.

(1635)

[English]

     To further increase transparency, this legislation would create a foreign influence transparency registry. Through this registry, all individuals or entities who enter into an arrangement with a foreign principle and who undertake activities to influence a government or political process in Canada would be required to publicly register these activities. By registering, individuals and entities would be more transparent about their connections to foreign states, and this would obviously support Canada's national security objectives.
    The goal of a foreign registry would be to promote transparency from all people who advocate on behalf of a foreign government or entity as well as accountability from those who would seek to do so in a non-transparent or clandestine way. Under Bill C-70, the government proposes to have Canada's registry overseen by an independent foreign influence transparency commissioner. This commissioner would be responsible for independently administering and promoting compliance with the act.

[Translation]

    Foreign interference is a complex national security threat that requires a multi-faceted response.
    We recognize that the registry is just one more tool to help Canada adopt an approach to combat this interference. A foreign influence registry would build on our government's long-standing and ongoing efforts to protect our democratic institutions from this threat.

[English]

    CSIS continues to investigate threats and to advise the government on appropriate actions. Many members here today have benefited from briefings from CSIS officials, which continue to be held with different caucuses, both in this place and in the Senate. These briefings are delivered to all parties at the federal level, and we are working with provincial and municipal orders of government to ensure that the best practices and defensive postures can also be adopted by these legislators as well. The RCMP continues to play an important and effective role in investigating criminal offences related to foreign interference, including those targeting democratic institutions.
    To equip CSIS to combat emerging global threats and to keep pace with technological developments, further investments in intelligence capabilities and infrastructure are also being made. Budget 2024 proposes to provide $655 million over eight years, and $114 million ongoing, to CSIS to enhance its intelligence capabilities. The previous year's budget, budget 2023, also provided almost $50 million to the RCMP to protect Canadians from harassment and intimidation by foreign actors, to increase its investigative capacity and to co-operate more proactively with communities that are obviously at the risk of being targeted.
    I have a lot of confidence in the work that the RCMP and CSIS do with their partners across the country, but I think we can all do more to continue to support these brave women and men who serve our country in this important way. We have also made investments of $5.5 million to build capacity in civil society partners to prevent disinformation, to promote democratic resilience and to raise awareness about foreign interference.

[Translation]

    Bill C-70 is the result of consultations with Canadians. Obviously, that includes community organizations, diaspora communities, academics, the private sector, indigenous governments and provincial and territorial stakeholders.
    One of the key themes emerging from these consultations was that a registry is no panacea. It has to combine other initiatives that strengthen Canada's response to foreign interference.

[English]

    For example, targeted amendments to the CSIS Act would better equip the Government of Canada to build resilience and to counter modern threats that Canada and Canadians face. The CSIS Act was enacted in 1984 at a time when the prolific use and the expansion of technology may have meant someone had two fax machines: one for incoming faxes and one to send faxes. Today, digital technologies are part of every aspect of our lives and the critical infrastructure of our country. CSIS must be able to operate in a digital world that is constantly and rapidly changing.
    This legislation would also increase CSIS's ability to be more agile and effective in investigations by introducing tailored warrants for specific investigative techniques. It would also enhance CSIS's capacity to collect and to use datasets. Among other changes, it would enable a broader disclosure of CSIS information to key partners outside the Government of Canada. With the appropriate safeguards, this information would help our partners, provincial governments, universities and the private sector to build resilience to emerging national security threats.
    It is important to underscore that these legislative amendments would continue to respect Canadians' fundamental rights and freedoms, with strong review, oversight and transparency measures still in place and unchanged. Judicial oversight remains unchanged, including for all new authorities that we are asking Parliament to consider. These proposals have been developed while also considering the high expectation of privacy that the people of Canada properly have, including respecting all of their protections under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

(1640)

[Translation]

    The National Security and Intelligence Review Agency and the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians also play an important role in the activities of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. Some activities, like dataset collection and retention, are subject to review and approval by the intelligence commissioner as well.
    While Canada may be no stranger to foreign interference, Canadians can rest assured that our government is using every tool at its disposal at every opportunity to protect them.

[English]

    The government remains committed to enhancing a whole-of-society resilience against malicious foreign interference and hostile foreign state actors. We will do so through continued transparency and by upholding the confidence of Canadians in our democratic institutions.
    This is, I hope, a moment when the House and our colleagues in the other place can come together to work in a non-partisan, constructive way to reinforce the legislative instruments that the national security agency should have to properly protect the national security of Canadians and to detect, disrupt and defeat attempts at foreign interference.
    We think that the legislation would benefit from, obviously, the study in a committee of the House and in the other place. I have said to colleagues on both sides of the aisle here who have talked to me that we would work collaboratively with colleagues in terms of amendments that might strengthen the legislation. Canadians, I think, are expecting us to act in the national interest. It is certainly our intention to work in an collaborative way with all parties in the House and our colleagues in the other place to see whether we can take a significant step forward in terms of modernizing the legislative tool kit to counter foreign interference.
    We are moving forward with clear hindsight and a clear-eyed view of the road ahead. I look forward to the debate in the House and the discussion in committee. I look forward to working, obviously, with all those who are interested, in a constructive and positive way, so that we can reinforce national security institutions.
    I will conclude by saying that it has been, for me, as the public safety minister, an extraordinary privilege to see the remarkable work done by the women and men who currently serve in CSIS, who work for the RCMP, who work at the public safety department and who work at the border services agency. These are agencies that are focused on national security and the security of Canadians.
    They are doing very effective work to detect and disrupt foreign interference. They have worked with our government and will be happy to work with parliamentarians, of course, if there are ways that we can modernize and strengthen the legislative instruments that govern their important work. I think that today's discussion is an important start of that process.

(1645)

    Mr. Speaker, part 2 of the bill would amend the Criminal Code to broaden the scope of the sabotage offence to include essential infrastructure such as transportation, information and telecommunication technology, water and waste water, energy, utilities, health care, food supply, government operations and financial infrastructure.
     My simple question for the minister is this: Does the definition of essential infrastructure include, in his view, the construction of essential infrastructure?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for focusing on what we think is also an important element, strengthening the Criminal Code provisions, as he properly noted, around sabotage. We are obviously conscious of the fact that with respect to lawful and peaceful protests, there has to be an intent to harm as part of the criminal amendment we are suggesting.
    From my perspective, if the attempt in the particular amendment is to strengthen protections for critical infrastructure, the building of that critical infrastructure, which is always a source of concern for national security institutions, should also properly be protected. I would be happy to work with the committee, should this legislation make it to committee, to find the right way to define that in the appropriate context.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois is in favour of sending Bill C‑70 to committee.
    I heard the minister talk in his speech about the broad consultations with Canadians on this issue and his intention to work in a very inclusive manner with the opposition parties in the House. My colleague from Trois-Rivières introduced a similar bill to protect Quebec and Canada from foreign interference. There are two things that I feel are particularly important and should be included in Bill C‑70.
    One of them is that public office holders should not be allowed to work for a foreign government after they leave office, especially if their new job is to influence decision-makers on site. I wonder why that is not in the current bill.
    The other thing we feel is very important and would be very interesting to debate in committee is two-party registration. Foreign agents must disclose their contact with public office holders in Canada. Should Canadian public office holders not also have to disclose their contact and relationships with foreign agents in the course of their duties?
    I would like to hear the minister's opinion as to whether there are any amendments he would be open to supporting if the bill goes to committee.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Drummond, and I commend him and our Bloc Québécois colleagues for being open to working with the government to send the bill to committee so that we can look into exactly the kinds of issues that my colleague raised. Obviously, we took note of the bill introduced by our colleague from Trois-Rivières.
    It seems perfectly reasonable to me to find a way to ensure that public office holders abide by the requirements set out in the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and the Conflict of Interest Act after they leave office. We need to look at whether we can expand on that and cover working for foreign states.
    However, it is important to note that many current public office holders, as part of their official duties, have completely appropriate relationships with the diplomatic corps, those who are accredited to Canada and who represent foreign countries.
    I am no expert when it comes to finding the right balance so that foreign diplomats, who are accredited to serve their country in Canada, are able to do their work and so that government can have these types of international relationships, while increasing transparency when it comes to agents of foreign entities. I would be very open to examining this issue with our colleagues in committee at the right time. I am assuming and hoping that this bill will be sent to committee, where we can find the best way to resolve these completely appropriate issues raised by the member for Drummond.

(1650)

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to let the minister know that the NDP will be supporting the bill at second reading. In fact, the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security unanimously agreed to start a prestudy of the bill tomorrow morning because we do want to get important work under way.
    I want to note a couple of things. First, the amendments to the CSIS Act, especially with respect to the dataset regime, follow a fairly scathing National Security and Intelligence Review Agency report that had found that CSIS had repeatedly breached the statutory authorities given to it with respect to handling datasets. Therefore, again, it is good to see legislation bringing analog laws up to speed in a digital age.
    Second, I totally agree that foreign interference is very real. In fact, it has affected members of our caucus. That is publicly known and is something that we have to watch out for not only at the federal level but also at the provincial level and, indeed, at the municipal and indigenous levels.
    Creating a registry is one thing, but I can only surmise that in Canada, as elsewhere in the world, there are serious clandestine efforts under way to do this kind of interference. I know that the actors are not going to be paying attention to a registry. Under existing laws, what success has Canada had, both in terms of charges and convictions against actors who are going to completely ignore this type of registry? We want to make sure that we are being effective on the whole spectrum of dealing with the problem.
     Mr. Speaker, I salute the committee's decision to do a prestudy. We think that is very positive and will help our colleagues on the committee be able to judge what amendments are appropriate and how to deal with what is a series of complex legislative amendments.
    I certainly share the concern of our colleague from the NDP around the appropriate handling of the datasets to move a national security institution from an analog era to a digital era. That obviously comes with the required and appropriate safeguards that need to be increased. They need to be understood and applied by CSIS at all times. I am happy to work with the service and with colleagues in this place to make sure the understandable concern around the appropriate handling of the data, and the privacy rights of Canadians in particular, is respected.
    I am glad the member acknowledged that members of the House from all caucuses have themselves been targeted or affected by foreign interference, and it is a source of concern for every member of the House.
     I also note his question around clandestine work. It goes without saying that some people are prepared to take injurious actions against the national security of our country. Some of the briefings I have from CSIS officials give me perhaps a unique perspective, or a perspective that not many people can have, about the nature of the threat some of the hostile state actors present to the security of our country. Therefore, I take his comments around their desire to comply with a registry with the seriousness in which he made them. The committee may have reflections on how the penalties might be strengthened. We think they are significant and severe, but we, again, will work with parliamentarians in this regard.
    The member's comments around how we disrupt and ultimately prosecute some of the very hostile, threatening actors who may be operating in Canada today are ones every government has struggled with. The ability to take intelligence information and turn it into evidence in a criminal trial is something Five Eyes partners struggle with. I have had those conversations with our colleagues from the Five Eyes community.
    We are always looking at ways the RCMP, which would have the investigative authority in terms of criminal activity in Canada, is able to work with its partners. However, often the very intelligence information CSIS would get from partners comes with caveats; therefore, the ability to turn it into a criminal prosecution remains a challenge, but we are very much focused on what we can do in that regard as well.
     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 Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, Correctional Service of Canada; the hon. member for Spadina—Fort York, Diversity and Inclusion; the hon. member for Victoria, Oil and Gas Industry.

(1655)

    Mr. Speaker, I believe if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent for me to split my time with the member for St. Albert—Edmonton.
    Is it agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
     Mr. Speaker, Canadians expect their institutions to protect them from the malign threat activities of authoritarian states. Canadians expect the whole of the Government of Canada, including its intelligence agencies and law enforcement, to protect our elections and democratic institutions from the coercive, clandestine and corrupt foreign interference threat activities of authoritarian states. That is what Canadians expect, and that is why Canadians were so shocked when the extent of foreign interference in our democracy was revealed to Parliament and to the public.
    Justice Hogue, who was leading the foreign interference public inquiry, concluded in the inquiry's initial report that “interference occurred in the last two general elections” and became so serious that it “diminished the ability of some voters to cast an informed vote”. She also concluded that foreign interference had a negative impact on the broader electoral ecosystem in the 2019 and 2021 elections, and that it undermined public confidence in Canadian democracy.

[Translation]

    The government was slow to act on the advice from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and other national security bodies, who had identified these threatening activities years ago, before the two general elections that followed.

[English]

    The Prime Minister was first warned in 2018 by the director of CSIS of the existential threat from foreign interference threat activities of the People's Republic of China here in Canada. National security agencies advised the government to introduce a range of measures to counter these threats, including legislation. It took years for the government to introduce Bill C-70, an act respecting countering foreign interference, but finally it has been introduced. Let me outline our views on this bill.
    The bill is divided into four parts. Part 1 proposes amendments to the CSIS Act. These amendments are the most significant changes to the act in decades. As my hon. colleague, the minister, pointed out, the CSIS Act was introduced in 1984, just after disco but before the introduction of the Internet, social media, smart phones and many other technologies. The amendments would allow CSIS to obtain preservation and production orders as well as warrants to obtain information, records or documents through a single attempt. They would allow CSIS to better collect, retain and analyze data for intelligence purposes. They would allow CSIS to collect foreign intelligence for the first time and would allow CSIS to disclose classified information outside of the government, to provinces, municipalities, universities and companies.
    Part 2 would amend the Security of Information Act and the Criminal Code to create new foreign interference offences. The bill would create a new offence of up to life in prison for a person who commits any indictable offence under the Criminal Code or under any other act of Parliament at the direction of, for the benefit of or in association with a foreign entity. The bill would also create new offences for a person who engages in clandestine activities at the direction of, for the benefit of or in association with a foreign entity that is prejudicial to the safety or interests of Canada or to influence the exercise of a democratic right in Canada.

[Translation]

    The bill facilitates foreign interference proceedings by eliminating the need for the Crown to demonstrate that the purpose of the foreign interference is to harm Canadian interests if the person who committed the offence or the victim has a link to Canada.

[English]

     Finally, part 2 would amend the Criminal Code to broaden the offence of sabotage to include sabotage against essential infrastructure, which is defined as transportation, information and communication technology, water and waste water, energy and utilities, health care, food supply, government operations and financial infrastructure. Sabotage is defined as anyone who “interferes with access to essential infrastructure” or anyone who “causes an essential infrastructure to be lost, inoperable, unsafe or unfit for use” with the intent to “endanger the safety, security or defence of Canada” or the armed forces of an ally in Canada, or to cause “serious risk to the health or safety of the public”. As the minister pointed out earlier, the minister's view is that essential infrastructure includes the construction of essential infrastructure.

(1700)

    The sabotage offence provided for in the bill is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and for greater certainty, part 2 makes it clear that it exempts legal advocacy, protest or dissent that does not intend to cause harm.
    Part 3 would amend the Canada Evidence Act and would make consequential amendments to other acts to create a general scheme to deal with information related to foreign affairs, national defence or national security in Federal Court proceedings. It proposes amendments that would permit the appointment of a special counsel to protect the interests of non-governmental parties in those proceedings.
    The fourth and final part of the bill would establish the foreign influence transparency and accountability act, which creates a foreign influence registry and a new foreign influence transparency commissioner. Any person under the direction of or in association with a foreign state or foreign government, or any entity controlled by that state or government, and who communicates with a public office holder, who communicates or disseminates information to the public about political or governmental processes, or who distributes money or items of value, or provides a service or the use of a facility, must register.
    The bill would create an indictable offence of up to five years in prison and up to $5 million in administrative monetary penalties for failing to register, for providing false or misleading information to the commissioner or for obstructing the commissioner's work. These are tough penalties for failing to register, and they will have a deterring effect on those thinking about acting on behalf of a foreign state or a foreign-controlled entity in a corrupt, coercive and clandestine manner.
     For those who do act in such a manner and, as I expect, do not register, tools are available to law enforcement and other enforcement entities, such as the commissioner, to hold these individuals accountable for their activities, either through the new administrative monetary penalties of up to $5 million, which have a much lower threshold for use, or through a referral to the appropriate police of jurisdiction for criminal prosecution.
    The new foreign influence transparency commissioner would oversee a public registry containing information on individuals engaged in influence activities on behalf of a foreign principal. The act provides that the commissioner is to provide reports to the public safety minister and Parliament. The commissioner is appointed by Governor in Council, effectively by the Prime Minister, after consultations with the leaders of the House of Commons and Senate. However, ultimately the decision to appoint the commissioner is a decision of the Prime Minister's alone.
    In principle, we support Bill C-70. Now that it has finally been introduced, the government, the official opposition and other recognized parties in this House must work together to ensure that our democratic institutions and elections are protected from the threats of authoritarian states. Inaction and delay cannot continue. As Justice Hogue noted, the risk from the impacts of foreign interference will only increase as long as “sufficient protective measures to guard against it” are not taken.
    As our general election draws closer and as the life of this Parliament draws to an end, time is running out to strengthen the confidence Canadians have in our elections through legislation.

[Translation]

    That is why the Conservatives are proposing to work with the government and the other parties in the House to fast-track the adoption of Bill C‑70 in the House of Commons and in committee, leaving enough time to implement foreign interference protection measures before the election.

[English]

    Conservatives will work in good faith to ensure the rapid progress of Bill C-70 through the House while ensuring sufficient scrutiny of its provisions. We are willing to consider amendments to the bill, but we want it to pass.
    The government has often asked the official opposition to work with it, and this is an instance in which we will.

(1705)

    Mr. Speaker, it is nice, and I am encouraged to hear, that the official opposition sees the merit of this bill. As the government and the minister have stated on many occasions, foreign interference is something we should all be concerned about. We are far more effective if we can act as one in many different ways.
     I understand the member has not had the legislation for long, but does he have a sense of any amendments that he could see being made to the legislation or, on the whole, to the principles of the legislation, which he is quite prepared to see pass relatively quickly?
    Mr. Speaker, I note that part 4 of the bill provides for the creation of a commissioner. That commissioner would be situated within the machinery of government, within the Department of Public Safety Canada, and would be appointed at the advice of the Prime Minister. An amendment that would perhaps strengthen the independence of that office would be to appoint the commissioner after the Prime Minister has consulted with leaders of the recognized parties in the House of Commons and the Senate and after resolutions have been adopted by both the House and Senate. Perhaps that amendment would strengthen the independence of the office.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his heartfelt speech, considering that he was the victim of interference or threats. It was a very interesting speech.
    The bill will definitely be improved in committee. The Bloc Québécois had introduced a bill to improve the process. It included the principle of two-party registration. We also wanted the registry to include universities. Finally, it prohibited former public office holders from working on behalf of a foreign state for three years.
    Does the member think these are worthwhile measures that would strengthen democracy and the security of our elections?
    Mr. Speaker, there are measures in this bill that will give CSIS the power to disclose classified information to universities, municipalities and provinces to ensure that they have the information they need to protect their interests. We support this measure. We think it is very important to give our national security agencies the power to do that.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, Canadian history is replete with examples where Canadians of different origin have had their loyalties questioned because of nothing more than their nationality. This includes Italian Canadians, Hungarian Canadians and of course the infamous example of the internment of Japanese Canadians, who had their loyalties questioned simply because of where their heritage came from.
    As my hon. colleague pointed out, part 4 of this bill seeks to establish for the first time a registry of foreign influence. I know my hon. colleague is a strong proponent of free speech and making sure we have political freedom in this country. Does he think clause 113, which defines the criteria upon which the need to register is set forth, strikes the appropriate balance to make sure that we are truly catching those who are working at the behest of a foreign state or, for their own benefit, for a foreign state, as opposed to Canadians who are simply expressing their views that might or might not correspond with those of a different country?
    Mr. Speaker, my father came here in 1952 from Hong Kong as a Chinese immigrant, several years after the Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed. However, even though that legislation had been repealed, the sentiments that underpinned it still remained in Canada.
    We have to be acutely sensitive to diaspora communities. I note that this bill is agnostic when it comes to foreign states and foreign governments. It would require all persons to register, regardless of the foreign entity or foreign principle they are acting on behalf of, in association with or at the direction of. It is a fair bill that would ensure there is greater sunlight and transparency, which also makes it an important tool to ensure that diaspora communities are not unfairly targeted. When information is made public, bad actors are made known and everyone else is understood to be innocent.

(1710)

    Mr. Speaker, I believe if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent for the following motion, which would see the bill voted on at third reading by Wednesday, June 12, at end of day.
     That, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House, Bill C-70, an act respecting countering foreign interference, shall be disposed of as follows:
    (a) at the expiry of the time provided for government orders later today, the bill would be deemed adopted at second reading and referred to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security;
    (b) during the consideration of the bill by the committee: (1) the committee shall have the first priority for the use of House resources for committee meetings; (2) the committee shall meet for extended hours on Monday, June 3; Tuesday, June 4; Wednesday, June 5; and Thursday, June 6, to gather evidence from witnesses; (3) the Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs, the officials from the RCMP and CSIS, the national security and intelligence adviser to the Prime Minister, the officials from the Department of Public Safety and other expert witnesses deemed relevant by the committee be invited to appear; (4) all amendments be submitted to the clerk of the committee by 9 a.m. on Monday, June 10; (5) amendments filed by independent members shall be deemed to have been proposed during the clause-by-clause consideration of the bill; (6) the committee shall meet at 3.30 p.m. on Monday, June 10—
     I am hearing “no”.
    It sounded good until that point. I guess maybe the caucuses can go back and discuss that programming motion.
    On the same point of order, the hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby.
    Mr. Speaker, that was not what was agreed to, but I am sure we will be presenting something similar in the coming hours.
     Mr. Speaker, I just want to make it very clear that it was the NDP that said no to this very common-sense motion to get the legislation passed.
     Mr. Speaker, we had good-faith conversations on this motion. We agreed, up to a certain point. If the Conservatives want to reword it, they will find that the NDP is going to be quite co-operative on this matter. I would like to put that on the record.
    Mr. Speaker, we should probably take these discussions off-line so we can find out why the NDP members are opposed to having the bill passed by a certain date. That was the key part—
    I do not want to get too deeply into the discussion.
    The hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby.
     Mr. Speaker, when we have good-faith negotiations behind the scenes, we do not engage in partisan jabs such as that.
    That is right. Let us continue the discussions.
    In the meantime, let us go to the next speaker.
    The hon. member for St. Albert—Edmonton.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak to Bill C-70, an act respecting countering foreign interference. My colleague, the member for Wellington—Halton Hills, has done a good job outlining some of the key measures provided for in the bill, which I will not repeat. Needless to say, on the whole, the measures and safeguards provided in the bill, including establishing new foreign interference-specific offences, as well as a foreign influence registry, are welcomed and, frankly, long overdue.
    It is on that basis that Conservatives are committed to seeing the bill move through the legislative process expeditiously. It is disappointing to see that, in our efforts to do this, we were blocked by the NDP members, who seem to want to hold up the legislation. It is imperative that the bill move forward as quickly as possible; officials have indicated that it may take up to one year to fully implement the bill upon it receiving royal assent. We need to have these measures. We need to have these safeguards in place for the next election. Time is of the essence.
    While the bill is welcomed, I must ask why it has taken the government so long to introduce legislation to counter foreign interference. For years, the Prime Minister has been warned by CSIS and other agencies about the threat of foreign interference. The fact is that foreign interference is on the rise; it threatens our sovereignty, our democracy, and the safety and security of Canadians, particularly those in diaspora communities.
    The Prime Minister has repeatedly and very specifically been briefed about the most significant foreign interference state threat, namely, the Beijing-based Communist regime. As far back as 2017, the Prime Minister's national security and intelligence adviser briefed the Prime Minister that agents of Beijing were assisting Canadian candidates running for political offices. That was eight years ago; it has taken the government eight long years to finally come around to introducing legislation to counter that type of foreign interference.
    In the 2019 election, four top Liberals who were closely connected to the Prime Minister received a classified CSIS briefing, warning them that one of the Liberal candidates, now the member for Don Valley North, was assisted by Beijing in winning the Liberal nomination in Don Valley North. One of the top Liberals who was briefed, who had the requisite security clearance, informed the Prime Minister of the contents of that brief immediately, which was quite appropriate.
    What did the Prime Minister do with that information? Let us think about it.
    The Prime Minister is informed that there is CSIS intelligence that one of his candidates was being assisted by Beijing, presumably because Beijing viewed that individual as someone who would best advance Beijing's interests in Ottawa. Did the Prime Minister seek to inquire with CSIS to learn more about the situation and what intelligence it had? Did he ask any questions? No, the Prime Minister turned a blind eye, allowing that individual to stand as a candidate and to be elected to the House of Commons.
    In her first report, Madam Justice Hogue concluded that there was no evidence that the Prime Minister asked any questions or provided for any follow-up. Even worse than that is the conclusion that Madam Justice Hogue drew, which is that the Prime Minister decided against disallowing that candidate on the basis of direct electoral consequences.

(1715)

     In other words, the Prime Minister put his political interests and the interests of the Liberal Party ahead of countering Beijing's interference in our elections and in our democracy. I would submit that this is a damning indictment of the Prime Minister by Madam Justice Hogue.
    However, there is more. Following the 2019 election, the Prime Minister was repeatedly told by CSIS that Beijing interfered in the 2019 and 2021 elections. What did the Prime Minister do upon being briefed? Once again, the Prime Minister turned a blind eye, doing nothing. Worse than that, the Prime Minister sought to hide Beijing's interference, to cover it up. In contrast to the very advice that he had received from CSIS, that the policy of the Government of Canada to counter foreign interference ought to be based on sunlight and transparency and that the government should make foreign interference activities known to the public, the Prime Minister's policy was one of cover-up.
    The degree of interference in the 2019 and 2021 elections ought not be minimized, but the Prime Minister has repeatedly attempted to do so. Members need not take my word for it. They can take the words of Madam Justice Hogue in her first report from the foreign interference inquiry. She concluded unequivocally that there was interference in the last two federal elections and that such interference was serious insofar as it “diminished the ability of some voters to cast an informed vote”. Although foreign interference did not change the overall result of the election, Madam Justice Hogue noted that it may have impacted the results in certain ridings and that this interference had a negative impact on the “broader electoral ecosystem”.
    Those are very concerning findings. The fact is that the Prime Minister had been repeatedly briefed before the 2019 election, after the 2019 election and after the 2021 election but took no action and downplayed Beijing's interference after it was revealed, thanks to reports from The Globe and Mail and Global News. This demonstrates that the Prime Minister bears some level of responsibility for Beijing's attack on our democracy in the last two federal elections.
     That brings us back to the timing of the proposed bill: Why have the Liberals finally seen fit to introduce legislation to counter foreign interference now? There is only one reason. It is that the Prime Minister got caught turning a blind eye to Beijing's interference and attempting to cover it up. Had he not been caught, the legislation would never have seen the light of day. This is demonstrated by the fact that the bill was introduced on the first sitting day following the issuance of Madam Justice Hogue's report. The Liberals knew that the report was going to be incredibly damaging to the government, which it most certainly was, and this was their way of providing political cover for themselves.
     Therefore, while the bill is welcome, the government deserves absolutely no credit for having been dragged, kicking and screaming, to introduce it after the Prime Minister turned a blind eye to Beijing's interference in our elections. Under the Prime Minister's watch, foreign interference has increased, and it is part of the sad record of a failed Prime Minister.

(1720)

     Madam Speaker, it is interesting to contrast the member's speech with that of the previous speaker, in terms of the content and substance within.
    To the member across the way, I would say that international foreign interference is something that has been around for quite a while. It was around even when Stephen Harper was prime minister; I think that particular member worked for PMO or maybe one of those Conservative backbenches then. I am not 100% sure who it was, but he was affiliated. That particular prime minister did absolutely nothing. He just completely ignored the issue of foreign interference.
     We take foreign interference seriously. In fact, if I were allowed more time, I would be able to expand on many of the things that we have done in addressing this particular issue. We have a minister who has put in a great deal of effort working with professional civil servants and others to ensure that we have the legislation that we have here today. By the way, I believe the member across the way supports the principles of it and will see it go to committee. Does the member have any ideas in terms of potential amendments to the legislation?

(1725)

    Madam Speaker, we will look at the bill and we will scrutinize it, but on the whole, the measures are welcome. However, that does not take away the fact that the bill has come too late. It has come as a result of the government's dragging its feet for years. The best that can be said of the Prime Minister, in terms of how he and his government have responded to foreign interference, is that he has been asleep at the switch. However, it may be worse, because there is evidence that at times the Prime Minister has been complicit; he has gone along with Beijing's interference because it has benefited the Liberal Party, and that is really quite disgraceful.

[Translation]

    I would ask members to remain seated unless they have questions.
    Questions and comments. The hon. member for Sarnia—Lambton.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the bill has come very late in terms of implementing anything before the next election. What is the impact of what just happened here in the House, with the NDP's not being willing to advance the bill in a more speedy way?
    Madam Speaker, it really raises the question of whether the NDP is doing the dirty work of the government. It raises questions about whether the government is serious about actually moving the bill forward in time for the next election—
    The hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby is rising on a point of order.
    Madam Speaker, I think we see the problem with the Conservative caucus in understanding good-faith negotiations. One does not do what the member has just done.
    The hon. member knows that we are not going to enter into that debate.
    The hon. member for St. Albert—Edmonton can perhaps be more judicious.
    Madam Speaker, the NDP-Liberal government will be tested very shortly, and it has already in part failed the test, with what the NDP did moments ago. It has a choice. It can move the bill forward expeditiously. We support that. The bill does need to be passed. It does need to receive royal assent as soon as possible so the safeguards can be in place in the next election.
    Madam Speaker, I am just curious. This has been ongoing for a long time, the issue of foreign interference impacting our elections, impacting candidates, influencing elections and influencing candidates. How closely are the Americans monitoring what is going on in this country?
     Madam Speaker, I think our allies have increasingly become concerned that this country has been subjected to interference by the Beijing-based regime. In fact last week the U.S. Congress was scrutinizing the alarming national security breach at the Winnipeg lab, where agents of Beijing infiltrated our highest-security lab under the current government's watch. It was a massive national security failure that has drawn international concern.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, in a few words, I would like my colleague to explain why the interference commissioner should be independent.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, that is an interesting question. The commissioner would be housed, as presented in the bill, within the department of public safety. There may be merits to that from a resource standpoint, but it is something that does need to be further considered at the committee stage, in terms of how the commissioner should be established and whether, in fact, the commissioner should be housed within the department of public safety or be independent.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, in small doses, candour can have a certain charm. It says that someone does not mean any harm. However, naivety is always a flaw because it stems from lack of judgment.
    When it comes to foreign interference, the government has been very naive in recent years. This naivety is coupled with the government's standing flaw: pride. Pride prevents it from quickly admitting to and correcting its mistakes, and going so far as to hide what should be disclosed, even at the expense of the common good.
    I am also pleased that Bill C‑70 represents a change in direction. I will say right off the bat that the Bloc Québécois supports the principle of Bill C‑70, countering foreign interference act. With this bill, the government is telling us, or trying to tell us, that it has finally shaken its naivety. That is a good start.
    As always at the federal level, there is concern that efficiency is not the government's priority. These are things that can and should be corrected in committee and will not change the principle of the bill. As I was saying, the Bloc Québécois will vote in favour of Bill C‑70 at second reading. We hope it will be sent to committee quickly. Once we get to committee, we will have to be vigilant and careful, because this bill deals with fundamental issues
    In fact, there are three main reasons for moving this update of Canadian laws along. The first reason is the international situation. These are tense times. There is a new cold war—not entirely cold, but more complex, with more players. Russia and China are more aggressive. Influence campaigns, lobbying and disinformation campaigns are on the rise.
    We saw this five years ago with the case of the two Michaels. In December 2018, at Washington's request, Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of telecoms giant Huawei. Rather than go after the Americans, China preferred to go after its defenceless little brother, Canada. In retaliation, the Chinese government arrested two Canadian citizens in China and took trade measures against Canadian and Quebec farmers—

(1730)

    Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I am hearing voices from both sides of the House. I would like to take this opportunity to say that my Liberal colleagues' conversations on the other side are quite loud. It might be worth reminding them to keep their voices down when a colleague is making a speech.
    There is also something else that is causing a disruption. For some time now, there seems to be a speaker or earpiece that is broadcasting the interpretation in English. I do not know whether it is in the chamber or in the gallery.
    I believe it is indeed the listening devices. I will ask for someone to check whether any telephones are causing noise in the gallery. I hear it very distinctly here as well. I would also encourage members to keep their conversations low or, ideally, take them outside the House.
    The hon. government House leader on a point of order.

Business of the House

    Madam Speaker, I apologize to the hon. member, but since his speech was already interrupted, I would like to request that the ordinary hour of daily adjournment of the next sitting be 12 a.m., pursuant to order made Wednesday, February 28.
    Pursuant to order made on Wednesday, February 28, the request is deemed adopted.

Countering Foreign Interference Act

    The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C‑70, An Act respecting countering foreign interference, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Drummond. All those voices were rather distracting.
    As I was saying, the Chinese government arrested two Canadian citizens in China and took trade actions against Quebec and Canadian farmers, all to influence Canadian policy and force the government to give in. These dramatic actions, which were taken openly, constitute aggressive diplomacy. However, to be very clear, China also took more discreet measures and those are the types of measures that Bill C‑70 seeks to counter.
    Russia is saber rattling to mask its decline. China is in the final stages of its big project to transform an empire into a country. They are both projecting their power and need to weaken international resistance, hence the interference campaigns abroad, including in Canada. We need the necessary antibodies to prepare ourselves and to guard against that.
    The second reason, in addition to the international situation, is the national situation. I am going to share a secret: Do not tell anyone, but an election is coming. I do not know when, but it is coming. Sometimes the leader of the NDP does this funny dance before he grovels or goes into bravado mode. His rhetoric suggests that there will be an election any day now. However, that is not the case. The reality is that we do not know for sure, but it could happen at any time. I am just joking around with my NDP friends, of course.
    On election day, the politicians keep quiet and the citizens do the talking. For that to happen, in order for citizens to speak freely, they cannot be targeted by pressure or interference. That is what democratic expression is all about. That said, an election is the ideal time for interference. It can be tempting for a foreign actor to try to replace a hawk with a dove, for example. It is therefore essential that we develop tools for countering foreign interference before the election period, and time is running out.
    The third reason is the legislative situation. Canada does not currently have the antibodies to fight off the virus of foreign interference. There is no foreign agent registry, for example, and the various laws governing the operation of the intelligence agencies date back 40 years, before the digital age. Some of our members were not even born yet.
    Those laws do not make it possible to analyze the huge amount of information that can be gathered today and process it within a useful time frame. Those laws do a poor job of protecting secret operational intelligence. Those laws do not adequately protect people against threats or intimidation by foreign states. The rules of the justice system have not struck a balance that allows for prosecution, a fair trial and the protection of sensitive intelligence. All of this is what Bill C‑70 seeks to correct. That is why we support it in principle.
    In practical terms, Bill C‑70 amends four acts. Part 1 amends the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act, which governs the organization better known as CSIS. The amendments clarify data collection and analysis, provide for preservation and production orders, and authorize new search and seizure powers. David Vigneault, director of CSIS, has long been calling for the act's modernization. It was enacted in 1984, before the Internet existed, and has not been amended since. Technology has obviously evolved, and such a legislative change is long overdue. According to David Vigneault, too many authorizations are required, including the approval of the Minister of Public Safety, to analyze the data and decide whether to retain, process or archive them.
    In fact, here is the government's description of the Kafkaesque current process:
     The totality of this process could require up to five separate submissions for review by the Minister, Intelligence Commissioner, and/or the Court, resulting in a delay of up to six to nine months before CSIS can exploit the data, by which time its intelligence value may have diminished significantly. If CSIS cannot evaluate and apply to retain the dataset within the statutory time limit, it is required to destroy all the data.
    It could take six to nine months, but information can be sent instantaneously. Something is not right there. I would remind the House that the election period lasts five weeks. A six- to nine-month delay is not very helpful. That is not all. Currently, CSIS cannot share intelligence outside the federal government. Bill C‑70 would allow that, which is very good. Once the bill comes into force, the provinces, municipalities and territories will be able to receive certain information.

(1735)

    Imagine for a moment that Hydro‑Québec is the victim of foreign interference or espionage. CSIS could disclose certain information to Hydro‑Québec to help the publicly owned corporation protect its critical information. The same goes for warrants under the current CSIS legislation, which are not adapted to the digital age and can sometimes paralyze investigations.
    All these aspects of Bill C‑70 seem to be good ideas. We will have to look at it carefully in committee, because the devil is in the details.
    We know that total security would require total surveillance. I do not think that we want to go that far.
    The restrictions and silos that are paralyzing CSIS, and that this government wants to relax, are there for a reason. Much of this stems from the work of the McDonald commission that examined the RCMP's actions during the October crisis in Quebec. Members will recall the events of October 1970. We certainly remember. The federal government had imprisoned hundreds of people in Quebec, including politicians, intellectuals and artists, causing a true national trauma. In order for the federal government to regain Quebeckers' trust, the Mulroney government replaced the War Measures Act with the Emergencies Act, which had much stricter limits. It eliminated the RCMP's intelligence role with the creation of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, or CSIS. In doing so, it created a wall between intelligence and law enforcement, so as to limit abuses. Now these safeguards are preventing us from combatting foreign interference, and we are being asked to relax them. Okay, we understand that.
    I repeat, the Bloc Québécois will support Bill C‑70 in principle, but not at the cost of civil liberties. This is an absolutely fundamental issue that demands the utmost vigilance on the part of legislators. We are in favour of passing the bill quickly at second reading, but we would be remiss if we did not conduct a serious study in committee. This must not be rushed through.
    I would remind the House that the inefficiencies of the current legislation were designed to protect the people of Quebec from the excesses of the federal government. In light of the current rise in international tensions and the aggressiveness of certain countries, we must not diminish the protection our people enjoy from potential government abuses. Therefore, our work must be guided by a search for balance.
    Bill C‑70 also protects certain operational secrets. Again, this is a necessary safeguard against foreign states with hostile intentions. We should not weaken our democracy in the name of protecting it. We saw this happen with the Winnipeg lab incident and, 15 years ago, with the Afghan detainees.
    It is very difficult for Parliament to exercise the oversight that it must exercise when it requires access to classified information, not to mention frequent overclassification—as we saw with the Winnipeg lab—which makes sometimes innocuous information secret and hard to obtain. Even the Hogue commission, which was set up to shed light on foreign interference and help counter it, has complained that it did not have access to all the documents it requested because the Prime Minister's Office was reluctant to release them.
    Morever, Bill C-70 seeks to better equip the justice system to fight foreign interference, so this bill sets out new offences that cover a broader range of harmful acts. It sets out new procedures that we hope will make it possible to prosecute offences, grant a fair trial and protect intelligence that would be harmful if disclosed.
    Again, we are in favour of this in principle. However, these are fundamental issues of justice, and our work must be guided by a quest for balance. I repeat that a lot, because it is very important.
    Bill C‑70 will also eliminate the requirement to prove that a criminal act benefited a foreign state or harmed Canada. Simply put, intimidation by a foreign state could become punishable, even if it does not produce the desired result. We are talking about attempts here. That means it will be possible to charge people who intimidate Canadian citizens or their families. People who are originally from totalitarian countries are particularly vulnerable.
     Bill C‑70 also provides for consecutive sentences and even life imprisonment for certain offences. I understand the desire to impose harsher sentences, but listen to what the Canadian Civil Liberties Association had to say. It said, and I quote:
    The availability of life imprisonment for certain offences introduced under Bill C‑70 is disproportionate and excessive. For example, a person convicted of an indictable offence under the Criminal Code, even as minimal as theft under $5,000, could be sentenced to life in prison if they acted for the benefit of a foreign entity.

(1740)

    I could cite numerous other examples of measures that will need to be closely scrutinized before they are approved or allowed to come into force.
    I will end my speech by talking about the foreign agent registry. This registry should have been created a long time ago. The United States created theirs in 1930. Everyone agrees that a registry alone will not prevent foreign interference, but it is an essential tool to have in our tool box. The director of CSIS has said that a registry would be very useful. The European Union is currently working on a transparency register, and there are registries in other countries too. With a registry, it is easier to demonstrate that someone is working on behalf of a foreign state than to prove that the state interfered. Refusal to join the registry would become an offence in itself and it would be easier to punish than the crime of interference.
    I am therefore pleased that the government is moving forward with the registry. It will improve the identification of people trying to influence public policy and of persons acting on behalf of a foreign state. I have spent a lot of time studying this topic. In fact, I drafted a bill to create this registry and I was about to introduce it before Bill C‑70 was tabled. However, the registry put forward in Bill C‑70 has gaps that I would like to try to fill in committee.
    For example, although foreign agents are required to register, public office holders are not required to declare their interactions with foreign agents. The two-party registration of foreign agents and public office holders would allow for more thorough checks and enhance the registry's effectiveness. Furthermore, foreign agents have to report their contact with certain categories of people, but the list is too narrow to protect things like government-funded research activities, for example. In short, at committee stage, I intend to propose an expansion of the registry's scope to improve its effectiveness.
    As a final point, I would like to take a closer look at the very concept of interference. Let us imagine, for example, that a foreign state sent a bunch of people to fill the room during a nomination to influence the choice of candidate. The foreign state would not have intervened directly with the government to influence public policy, but it would have obviously intervened in public political life. Would that situation be covered by the registry? I doubt it.
    Another example is the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg. The Chinese agents working there had no desire to influence public policy. Rather, they wanted to monopolize the fruits of research paid for by Canadian taxpayers. Does Bill C-70 protect us from that? I doubt it.
    I will conclude with a bit of a broader reflection. Protecting our constituents against interference is a profoundly democratic act. People have the right to control their political life and their social, economic and cultural development. This expression of democracy, which must be exercised freely, without undue pressure or interference, is fundamental to peoples' right to decide for themselves and assert their inalienable right to self-determination.
    In committee, we will have disagreements on this or that clause of Bill C‑70, but I think that all the members of the House are united on the need to protect the inalienable right of the Canadian people to control their development without foreign interference. Under Bill C‑70, foreign states will be required to respect that right and stop interfering.
    As long as we are requiring respect from others, we need to be honest about being respectful ourselves. Twenty-nine years ago, my people, the people of Quebec, were called to democratically exercise their own right to self-determination in a referendum on independence. What happened? Canada, the federal government, spent more on its campaign than the Yes and No camps combined in Quebec. That is serious interference. I am pleased to see that everyone in the House is, I note, unanimous in agreeing that interference in a people's choice is not good. We are making progress. We are getting somewhere.
    I hope that the desire to protect Canadian democracy from foreign interference will engender the same respect for Quebec's democracy, because my people also need to be able to experience their democracy without interference.

(1745)

[English]

    Madam Speaker, they are encouraging words from the Conservatives, and now from the Bloc, in terms of just how important it is that, collectively, as a group of elected parliamentarians, we have a responsibility not only to bring forward the legislation but also, as much as possible, to work together so that we can all get behind the legislation. The timing of it is of great importance. I am sure the member would also acknowledge that. International foreign interference is happening. It is very real and tangible. We all know that.
    I would like to get the member's thoughts on a question I posed to the official opposition critic. Are there any amendments that he can think of, offhand, realizing we have not had the legislation for long, that he would like considered?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Winnipeg North for his question. He always asks good questions.
    Earlier, in my speech, I mentioned two-party registration, which I feel is a proven method. It has not been used for foreign agent registries, but it has for other registries. It allows for verification. If a foreign agent is not registered and the public office holder is registered, the discrepancy will be noticed. It would make the system more efficient. Two-party registration is a good thing from the word go.
    I have a few comments to make on the independence of the interference commissioner. I would like us to work on that a little. I understand the organizational efficiency requirements, but at the same time, it makes me a little uncomfortable.
    I think the scope of the legislation could be extended to universities that receive federal funding. In fact, I would like to be able to say that we can prevent what happened at the Winnipeg lab and that we can prevent the whole discussion we had to have about the Trudeau Foundation. I am not blaming anyone. I am only giving an example. However, I would like us to be able to avoid this sort of thing and, right now, I am not sure that the registry in its current form lends itself to this type of management.
    I think we will have to work together to at least settle those things in advance. People seem to be very willing to work together.

(1750)

[English]

    Madam Speaker, with respect to the foreign influence registry, there are many details left to be determined by way of regulation, including with respect to setting out exactly what the scope of the administrative penalties would be that the commissioner could issue, as well as with respect to the contents of what one must disclose upon registering.
    Does the member have concerns about the lack of some of those details being incorporated into the legislation and being left to regulation, or does he see it as a good thing?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, a number of things are missing from the bill.
    The first thing I will bring up has nothing to do with the individual, but rather the profile of the interference commissioner. Do we want a judge, like we do for the ethics commissioner? Do we want a legal expert? Do we want an ethicist? One never knows. What is the profile we are looking for? These things will be determined later, by regulation. I trust in that and I do not see any issue with it, but many details are still to be determined.
    Madam Speaker, as usual, I listened with great interest to my hon. colleague.
    Last year, the NDP moved a motion to establish the Hogue commission to counter foreign interference. Every party except one supported that motion. We participated in negotiations all summer. We negotiated in good faith and it led to the implementation of the Hogue commission, led by Justice Hogue. Most of these elements were established by consensus.
    I want to ask my colleague a question about the importance of all of the political parties working together. It is important that, rather than seeking partisan advantage, we really try to implement the best legislation possible, to implement the best tools to counter foreign interference. We must all work together, use the abilities of every member of the House and every recognized political party to create a bill that we can be proud of and that gives us all of the important tools without any shortcomings.
    Does my colleague agree with that?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his very relevant question.
    I do think we need to work together. Foreign interference is not a partisan issue, nor does it concern the colour of the government in power. It concerns greed, power and interference itself. Therefore, I think it is crucial that we work together. When we look at an issue like interference and sum up the activity, it becomes clear that there are more things that bring us together here than divide us.
    I would like us to focus on what brings us together so that we can develop the best possible tool to protect ourselves from foreign interference.

(1755)

    Madam Speaker, I commend my colleague from Trois-Rivières for his excellent speech. It is always a pleasure to listen to him. It is like a university lecture condensed into a speech, and we keep coming back for more. It is a nice change from some other speeches that tend to be more vague, with watered-down points.
    Canada's national security policy dates back to 2004. This policy does not even include the words “China” and “Russia”. The government wants to counter foreign interference while being manipulated. I think the government is going about it the wrong way, which demonstrates the need to update the national security policy specifically for the purpose of countering foreign interference.
    My colleague mentioned the issue of naivety, which clearly no longer applies to this government now that it has introduced Bill C‑70. However, there is the issue of transparency. When it was elected in 2015, the Liberal government promised to be transparent. With the Hogue commission, we are not seeing any transparency from the government of the day.
    I would like my colleague from Trois-Rivières to explain the importance and necessity of having a transparent government when it comes to releasing documents to ensure public confidence in democratic institutions in order to counter foreign interference.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his extremely relevant question. There can be no trust without transparency, and nothing is possible without trust. Let that be our starting point.
    In the past, whether it was Mr. Johnston, the special rapporteur, or the Hogue commission, it certainly took a lot of effort to get the government to co-operate. It really took a lot of force and a lot of energy, and the government fought the process tooth and nail. That was unfortunate. It did not inspire trust.
    As my colleague from New Westminster—Burnaby said, these matters require co-operation. There can be no hypocrisy. We have to pull in the same direction, because interference is oblivious to party colours and partisanship. Interference works against all of us here, regardless of our political stripe.
    This time, I hope and believe that the government will be a little less naive and more proactive, and that it will show the transparency we need to make fair decisions amid uncertainty.
    Madam Speaker, I serve with the member for Trois-Rivières on the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics. I can say that he is well respected and hard-working.
    I am concerned that this bill will not be passed before the next election. Does the member for Trois-Rivières agree with me, my Conservative colleagues and the members of all but one of the other parties that we need to pass this bill quickly, before the next election?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Barrie—Innisfil, with whom it is always a pleasure to work.
    I have to say that I was not aware of the details of how the motion was drafted. I have read it, but I was not involved in its creation. However, it is essential that this legislation come into force before the next election. That is why we are prepared to put a lot of energy into it and put other projects on hold in order to move forward and be there. Yes, the law must be implemented before the next election.
    Madam Speaker, I would first like to say that the NPD supports this bill at second reading. During my speech, I am going to propose a motion that all of the parties agreed on, in the hopes that everyone will act in good faith and adopt it. I will move this important motion about halfway through my speech.
    As people know, the NDP worked hard when we learned about the allegations of foreign interference. Our leader, the member for Burnaby South, was the first to raise this issue in February 2023. He asked the government to establish an independent public commission of inquiry into foreign interference. The NDP first moved that motion at the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs and it was adopted. The NDP then moved the motion in the House and it was again adopted. Unfortunately, the government chose instead to appoint a special rapporteur on foreign interference.
    Members will recall what happened next. On an opposition day, the NDP moved a motion that called on the government to remove the special rapporteur and establish an independent public commission of inquiry. This motion was adopted in Parliament by four of the five parties. It was supported by every party except for one. A few days later, the special rapporteur, who is an honest Canadian, worthy of his name and reputation, realized that most parliamentarians did not agree with the approach proposed by the government and so he stepped down. Then, all of the recognized parties in the House initiated discussions and negotiations in good faith. At the end of the summer of 2023, Justice Hogue was chosen to lead the the public inquiry into foreign interference.
    This shows that when we work in good faith we can make things happen. That is what we would like to see today. We would like to see all parties to work in good faith and adopt the motion we are presenting. This motion already has the support of all the parties. It should be said that it is a motion that will require a second motion in a few days.
    In principle, we would like the bill to pass second reading. I do not think that anyone is against the idea of then asking the parliamentary committee studying the bill to welcome all the necessary witnesses as early as next week in order to advance this bill. We all agree that this bill must be passed before the next election.
    All it would take to adopt this motion to allow the bill to be referred to a committee is the goodwill of all members. We will test that in a few minutes.

(1800)

[English]

     In a few minutes, I will be raising the motion that we have agreed to. It means the public safety committee would be called upon to hear witnesses next week, and it would have priority for resources, which is important. Following that testimony, we will look at the bill, which we all support in principle. Obviously, members want to hear from various witnesses, as they can make a difference, of course, to the amendments that may be needed for the bill. Then we can proceed with the second UC in the coming days.
    There is a really clear path, again with good faith. That is what the NDP hopes to see in a few minutes.
    We know about the bill. We know that there are four parts to it, and we believe that it needs—
    The hon. member for Barrie—Innisfil is rising on a point of order.
    Madam Speaker, I hate to intervene, but I believe the member is misleading the House at this point, because there is no agreement among the parties on the motion that he says he is going to propose. If the member is willing, I would like to propose the unanimous consent motion moved by the member for Wellington—Halton Hills, but I would caution him not to mislead the House.
    We have not heard the contents of the motion yet, but I understand what the hon. member is saying. I do not know whether the hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby can clarify the agreement—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès): Order. I am speaking.
     The hon. member can clarify whether there is an agreement on the motion that the hon. member wants to propose.
     Madam Speaker, I will move the motion, then, in the same way that the member for Wellington—Halton Hills did.
     What was agreed to, he read, and then he moved into parts that were not agreed to. I will read what he and other parties have already agreed to. We would then, from that moment on, move forward with the kind of committee resources that need to be allocated to treat the bill effectively.
    I will read the UC motion: That, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House—
    Some hon. members: No.

(1805)

    The hon. member does not have unanimous consent to move the motion.
    We will allow the hon. member to continue his speech.
    Madam Speaker, the Conservatives are saying no to the motion that they presented to us. That is unbelievable.
    The hon. House leader of the official opposition is rising on a point of order.
    Madam Speaker, the Conservatives proposed a unanimous consent motion to make sure the bill was passed with enough time for the various government departments to implement it. What the NDP is proposing is to not have an end date. We want the bill passed.
    Does the hon. member have unanimous consent to read the motion to the end?
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès): Order.
     The hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby would like to read the motion and move the motion.
    Madam Speaker, they cannot shut me down from reading the motion, but you do have the right to then ask whether or not members of the House agree to it.
    I am in the middle of my speech, so they cannot shout down the motion. I am going to read it for the record, and Conservatives will tell us then whether they agree to the motion that they drafted.
    The hon. member for Barrie—Innisfil is rising on a point of order.
     Madam Speaker, the point is that when the member started reading the motion, we had no indication of what that motion might be. We do not agree with whatever it is. He gave no indication of what motion he was proposing.
    We will let the hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby put on the record what the motion is, and then we can give unanimous consent or not.
     The hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby.
    Madam Speaker, this is the motion:
    That, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House, Bill C-70, an act respecting countering foreign interference, shall be disposed of as follows:
    (a) at the expiry of the time provided for government orders later today, the bill be deemed adopted at second reading and referred to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security;
    (b) during the consideration of the bill by the committee: (1) the committee shall have the first priority for the use of House resources for committee meetings; (2) the committee shall meet for extended hours on Monday, June 3; Tuesday, June 4; Wednesday, June 5; and Thursday, June 6, 2024, to gather evidence from witnesses; (3) the Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs, the officials from the RCMP and CSIS, the national security adviser to the Prime Minister, the officials from the Department of Public Safety and other expert witnesses deemed relevant by the committee be invited to appear; (4) all amendments be submitted to the clerk of the committee by 9 a.m. on Monday, June 10, 2024; and (5) amendments filed by independent members shall be deemed to have been proposed during the clause-by-clause consideration of the bill.
    This was drafted by the member for Wellington—Halton Hills. I hope it will receive unanimous consent.
     Does the hon. member have unanimous consent to present the motion?
    An hon. member: No.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès): The hon. member does not have unanimous consent.
     Madam Speaker, I am flabbergasted about the bad faith of the Conservatives in the House. They draft something, there is agreement, and then they simply refuse to pass the motion that was agreed to.
    I find it unbelievable that, when we are talking about something as important as foreign interference, Conservatives would play these partisan games. The member for Wellington—Halton Hills was very clear, in speaking to the media, that the Conservatives wanted to work with other parties to get the bill through the House.
    The motion I just read, which was drafted by the member for Wellington—Halton Hills, would allow us to do that. It would allow for the additional resources at committee next week. It would allow for the public safety committee to hear the witnesses that all parties wanted. It would allow for a deadline on amendments, which would mean the committee would finish with its witnesses on June 6, and then Monday, June 10, at 9 a.m. would be the deadline for amendments.
    The member for Wellington—Halton Hills drafted it. We agreed. The member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford agreed. We have other parties agreeing. Conservatives want to block what they drafted. I am flabbergasted. I have not seen this since the Harper regime, when there was bad faith constantly from the Conservative government. We could not negotiate. I would underscore—

(1810)

    The hon. member for Barrie—Innisfil is rising on a point of order.
    Madam Speaker, I am going to ask for unanimous consent to table the entirety of what the member for Wellington—Halton Hills proposed in his unanimous consent motion, and not half of it, which is what the member read. I propose to table that. I am seeking unanimous consent.
    An hon. member: No.
    The hon. member does not have unanimous consent.
     Madam Speaker, I have worked in labour negotiations, as have members of my party, such as the members for Vancouver Kingsway, Port Moody—Coquitlam, Courtenay—Alberni and Nanaimo—Ladysmith. We have all been involved in negotiations. It is not rocket science. One drafts something up, and what is agreed to is what is put forward. The member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford very clearly indicated what we agreed to, which would advance the bill. Now Conservatives are playing with it. Why are they playing with foreign interference? Why are they not negotiating in good faith?
    It is very simple. What was drafted at first had all of the elements the member for Wellington—Halton Hills wanted. I have just put forward all of the elements that we very clearly communicated that we agreed to. Now Conservatives are saying that they reject what was already agreed to by the other parties. It is Conservatives who are blocking the committee resources we need for next week. They are blocking us having a deadline for amendments.
     I do not understand this at all, in part because my background, like that of many of my colleagues in the NDP, is to negotiate in good faith, where what is agreed to is what we move on to. We do not agree to something and then present something different. I am stunned by what I can only see as bad faith from Conservatives on this. They told Canadians that they wanted to move forward with the other parties. We have given our consent to what I just presented, which gives ample room for further negotiations, and Conservatives say, no, they are not even going to do that.
    I have a few minutes left, Madam Speaker, and I want to flag to you that I will be presenting a second UC that would have second reading deemed adopted. That would mean, hopefully, that we would have good-faith negotiations from all parties to agree on the resources that would be needed for the committee next week. As was stated in the motion that was drafted by the member for Wellington—Halton Hills, on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, increased resources are necessary. That would require a resolution of the House. Again, it is not rocket science. We need to have a UC to move that through. We have the witnesses that all parties agreed to, including other expert witnesses deemed relevant by the committee, to be invited to appear. We have an amendment deadline of 9 a.m. on Monday, June 10. We also have that key provision that independent members need to have their amendments considered as well. Otherwise, as we have seen, it complicates the report stage of the bill. All of the elements are here, and Conservatives seem to be refusing it.
    As I have a few minutes left, I will try one more time, and I cannot be shouted down.
     The motion states:
    That, notwithstanding any Standing Order, special order, or usual practice of the House, Bill C-70, an act respecting countering foreign interference, shall be disposed of as follows:
     (a) at the expiry of the time provided for government orders later today, the bill would be deemed adopted at second reading and referred to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security;
     (b) during the consideration of the bill by the committee: (1) the committee shall have the first priority for the use of House resources for committee meetings; (2) the committee shall meet for—
    Some hon. members: No.

(1815)

     I have to advise the hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby that we have already heard a no.
     Madam Speaker, I do have the right to finish reading this, although I understand it has not been given unanimous consent.
     I am going to read the rest of it for the record because Canadians need to hear this:
     (b) during the consideration of the bill by the committee: (1) the committee shall have the first priority for the use of House resources for committee meetings; (2) the committee shall meet for extended hours on Monday, June 3; Tuesday, June 4; Wednesday, June 5; and Thursday, June 6, to gather evidence from witnesses; (3) the Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions, and Intergovernmental Affairs, the officials from the RCMP and CSIS, the national security and intelligence adviser to the Prime Minister, the officials from the Department of Public Safety and other expert witnesses deemed relevant by the committee be invited to appear; (4) all amendments be submitted to the clerk of the committee by 9 a.m. on Monday, June 10; (5) amendments filed by independent members shall be deemed to have been proposed during the clause-by-clause consideration of the bill.
    Conservatives drafted that motion, and Conservatives are now saying no. That is bad faith from any standpoint. They have obviously not been involved in labour negotiations or employer-employee negotiations before because, quite frankly, that would never pass muster. It is, quite frankly, profoundly disappointing that Conservatives are refusing to agree to what was proposed to us and what we agreed to.
    Madam Speaker, if you could signal when I have one minute left, I would appreciate that because I am going to read a second unanimous consent motion that this bill be deemed adopted at second reading and referred to the standing committee. At least that would permit negotiations for a second UC to provide the committee resources we will need.
    I am also profoundly disappointed. We did have good faith negotiations last summer, which resulted in the Hogue commission. There was no playing around. There was a sincere attempt by all recognized parties to work together. The result, I think, is something important. The Hogue commission has made a big difference already with the interim report that was issued by the justice. We will see a final report at the end of this year that will also chart a path.
     We have to take foreign interference seriously. As the member for Trois-Rivières has said very eloquently, we all have to work together on this. That means the kind of good-faith negotiations that allow us to work through the various stages, hear from the witnesses and improve the bill to resolve the legitimate concerns that people have. We all support the intent of the bill, the principle of the bill. We need to hear from witnesses, and we need to make sure, after hearing from witnesses, that we are able to move forward. That is why we proposed, twice, an amendment deadline of June 10 at 9 a.m., which would allow us to do just that.
    This is not something that should be played around with and not something that folks should be partisan about. This is something where all parties need to work in good faith together. That is why I am proposing a second motion for unanimous consent. I move:
     That, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House, at the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders later today, Bill C-70, An Act respecting countering foreign interference, be deemed read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee Public Safety and National Security.
     All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.
    It is agreed.
    The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.

    (Motion agreed to)

     Madam Speaker, we are going to have to come back to the House now that we have adopted this at second reading, as we do not have the committee resources in place. There will have to be negotiations behind the scenes. I hope that those negotiations will not be distorted by any one party in the House and that all parties will work together. Foreign interference is a threat. We all need to work together in the interests of Canada.

(1820)

[Translation]

    It being 6:20 p.m., pursuant to order made earlier today, Bill C-70, Countering Foreign Interference Act is deemed read a second time and referred to a committee.

[English]

     Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.

    (Motion agreed to, bill read the second time and referred to a committee)


Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

[English]

Foreign Hostage Takers Accountability Act

     Madam Speaker, let me begin tonight's discussion by saying that I appreciate the Conservative member of Parliament for Thornhill's interest in some very important international issues that are raised in this bill, Bill C-353.
    As the Minister of Foreign Affairs has repeatedly said, we find ourselves amidst an international security crisis. This is evident in the events unfolding around the world, which have direct impact on Canadians' day-to-day lives. Among other things, the brutal, illegal and unjustified invasion of Ukraine by Putin is wreaking havoc on global food and fuel prices. In the midst of that, the Conservatives have been equivocal.
    The conflict between Israel and Hamas is having devastating humanitarian impacts and is inflaming tensions at home. Again, the Conservatives have been equivocal. A race for resources critical to reducing carbon pollution and to addressing the existential threat of climate change are leading to coups and conflicts across the world, including in Africa. Again, the Conservatives have been worse than equivocal. Populism, autocratic regimes, political instability and extremist leaders are driving waves of irregular migration. The Conservatives have been have a blind eye toward that.
    We have been kept safe at home for generations due to a system of rules and institutions, the international rules-based order, following in the legacy of great leaders like Lester B. Pearson, Pierre Trudeau and Brian Mulroney, and that is why the Minister of Foreign Affairs has made our government's foreign policy priorities clear. We will stand up for our values every day, protecting Canadians and their interests while defending our sovereignty, and at the same time, we will be pragmatic and will engage with a broad and diverse set of other countries to address these challenges and to work toward a more stable and secure world.
     Turning to the proposal at hand, at first glance, the principles underpinning this bill, Bill C-353, seem commendable. A core responsibility of any government is to protect Canadians and to keep them safe, whether at home or abroad. Our objective in hostage situations is always to protect the lives of those who are in danger. Canada should be a leader in fighting for a world free of arbitrary detention as an instrument of political pressure or for leverage between states, yet once one gives this Conservative bill a careful read, concerns become very evident. However well-intentioned this proposal is, the bill has major problems. It would actually make it more dangerous for Canadians to live and to travel abroad. This bill would conflate arbitrary detention and hostage-taking. There are different approaches and different issues that are required for each of these situations.
    Bill C-353 would also fail to make the critical distinction between terrorists and criminal hostage-taking. The motivations, pressure points and risks, including of torture or death, vary greatly. Complex situations require sophisticated responses. Each case is unique and requires a response that is tailored to the situation so that we can maximize the likelihood that the victim will return home safely to be reunited with their family and loved ones. One size does not fit all, and that kind of mandate would simply hamper the work of the safety and security of Canadians abroad who may find themselves in trouble.
    For example, sanctioning criminal groups for hostage-taking would make ransom payments by families illegal, hindering families' abilities to resolve cases quickly and privately. This bill would also mandate the sharing of information with families or with Parliament, which could undermine efforts to resolve cases safely. Family dynamics can also be complex, particularly when privacy is concerned. We Canadians have the right to decide for ourselves when personal information is to be shared, particularly in situations of vulnerability. This bill, Bill C-353, would dismiss the rights of the victims who may or may not want sensitive and even traumatizing information shared with their loved ones or with others. Sharing details of the victims' circumstances, which often include distressing information, can lead to undue distress for families and loved ones. It also risks increasing the chance that they could make rash or emotionally motivated decisions that put their loved ones in greater danger.
    I have been involved in a number of these cases doing consular affairs. Our objective in hostage-taking cases is to protect the lives of the hostages, and putting details into the public domain can affect the safety of hostages. Public communications relating to hostages could potentially prolong the ordeal, further endangering their lives. As it is impossible to know what a hostage has told captors to protect themselves, the emergence of details to the contrary could heighten any danger that they are in. Furthermore, exposing government's efforts to negotiate release would allow the captors to gain critical information regarding negotiation tactics as well as oftentimes sensitive government operating procedures.

(1825)

    A third issue is that the bill, Bill C-353, is largely unnecessary. Many of its proposed provisions reflect legislation and policies that our government has already put in place. We already have the strictest and the most robust sanctions regime in the world, which allows for the application of sanctions in the event of growths in systematic human rights violations. For example, we have used these tools, updated as recently as last year, to sanction Hamas leaders involved in the horrific October 7 terrorist attack against Israel. Similarly, our Criminal Code already prohibits dealing with terrorists and authorizes the freezing of assets. Consular officials also already share information with victims' families. However, there is an appropriate and necessary discretion to tailor what, how much and when to share in these circumstances.
    A fourth concern that Bill C-353 raises is the various and diplomatic challenges it presents. The bill proposes the seizure of foreign government property in Canada, which is in direct conflict with international law and could expose Canada to legal action and even reprisals. What is more, expanding consular services to permanent residents, while perhaps laudable because we have human beings' lives at stake, other loosely defined eligible individuals would expose the Government of Canada to legal and diplomatic risks.
    We are a signatory to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, and we hold that clearly. It outlines our responsibilities as well as other countries' responsibilities, and we need to fall in line with the Vienna Convention. Under this convention, countries do not have obligations to share information about non-Canadians with us, and we do not want to risk that quid pro quo being a problem for Canadians.
    At best, we would be reliant on diplomatic goodwill. At worst, hostile states could perceive our efforts as interference, increasing the potential of harm faced by the Canadian victim or by any victim. This could even become an irritant with our allies in the event our interventions on behalf of one of their citizens who has Canadian permanent residency is at odds with their own attempts to resolve the situation. It is the responsibility of a government to maintain the protection of its citizens and to appeal for their well-being, and we respect that.
    Finally, we are concerned that the Conservative bill, Bill C-353, would propose giving cash and preferential immigration treatment to terrorist groups like Hamas. Let me unpack that for a minute. The bill would actually give an ability to support groups like Hamas to try to solicit information leading to the release of people they have in captivity. This is more than worrisome.
    The MP for Thornhill has said in the house recently that, “There is a reason that Canada has a long-standing policy of not negotiating with terrorists. It is that it rewards barbarism, and worse that it provides an incentive for that barbarism to continue and even escalate.” I could not agree more.
    Providing cash to terrorists and criminal organizations could flood our consular officials and security agencies with volumes of false and misleading information, and it is not in the best interests of Canadians. The bill's proposal that Canada offer cash and preferential immigration treatment to bad actors, such as gangs and terrorist organizations like Hamas, could provided an incentive to take Canadians hostage so that they could be leveraged as a source of revenue. Again, the bill, Bill C-353, actually increases the likelihood that Canadians could be kidnapped.
    In a global security crisis, we want to keep all Canadians safe. We have launched the arbitrary detention initiative. Country after country is signing on to that. We have modernized our consular operations bureau. We have appointed a senior official for hostage affairs. We will continue to do that work with 70 other countries and the European Union, which are part of it and which have endorsed Canada's declaration on arbitrary detention. It serves as a deterrent by raising the cost that such activity incurs.
    We have also taken steps to ensure better support to victims by engaging international experts and NGOs, to improve our communications with, and support for, victims and to increase post-detention care.

(1830)

    In closing, our government does not support this bill. This bill, Bill C-353, would send cash to Boko Haram, Hamas, other terrorist organizations and criminal organizations. We will continue to look at it. We will continue to operate in good faith. We want to keep Canadians safe.
     Madam Speaker, I am glad to be joining this debate with respect to Bill C-353, the foreign hostage takers accountability act.
     Again, it is always an honour and a privilege to rise in the House and speak not only on behalf of my constituents, but also on behalf of a lot of friends of mine from the Middle East: Kurds, Persians and a lot of Chaldeans and Arab-Iraqis and Turks, whom I know are dissidents who live in our country. Many of them had the experience of being imprisoned or detained unlawfully by a group and some of them, unfortunately, by terrorist organizations operating in the Rojava region of Syria. In one case I know of, it was a journalist who was unlawfully detained in her own country at the time. Now, thankfully, she is in Canada, and she is a Canadian citizen here, and an author. I always refer to her as the “Robert Fife of Turkey” because she was the one who broke the story that the Turkish government was allowing arms, money and weapons to flow to ISIS organizations. She was unlawfully detained. She eventually became a Canadian citizen, here in Canada.
     There are countless such examples, and if what we just heard from the parliamentary secretary were true, that all of this great work is happening and that it is functioning, then Huseyin Celil, who has been unlawfully detained in the PRC since 2006, would not be there; he would be safely in Canada as a Canadian citizen and would be allowed here with his family members and with his kids. Huseyin Celil has been in prison, like I said, since 2006. He was renditioned as a Canadian citizen out of Uzbekistan to the PRC and was falsely accused of a number of charges.
     I believe that the main benefit of Bill C-353, and I want to thank the member for Thornhill for having tabled such legislation, is that it would be a way to dissuade and to deter organizations. The bill would take what is policy, some regulations, some ideas and some behaviour, by what the parliamentary secretary said, and would put it into legislation and would make it functional and usable in law so that family members would know that this would actually happen.
     The bill, Bill C-353, is supported by a great number of organizations across the country. There are so many examples that we can point to of Canadians who have been unlawfully detained overseas or who have been imprisoned by terrorist organization, and what they are doing is just not working as well as it should. Therefore, to me, this is an improvement. It would not wipe out what the government has already started doing. In fact, much of that is referred to in the preamble of this private member's bill. It is a recognition that there are activities, and there are things going on, but we could do so much better. We could do more for Canadians, typically of dual citizenship.
     I will say that as a Canadian of dual citizenship, I deeply care about this. I happen to be from a country that today is a democratic republic and has all the rights afforded to all types of citizens, but that was not the case pre-1989. I was born in a country that was a communist country at the time, and there were no equal rights for people. There was martial law for six years. There is a reason that my family is here and that we were allowed to leave during that same martial law. In that case, there would have been unlawful detention of dual citizens as well.
     I want to focus on a few other Canadians because there is another recent case, as of 2021, of one young lady who disappeared in Tehran. Her name is Behnoush Bahraminia. She is a dual citizen of Canada and had been a Vancouver resident since 2013. She disappeared in Tehran on November 6, 2021. As a dual citizen of Canada and a young lady, her parents are still very worried as to her whereabouts. They have sufficient information, which they have shared in media reports in the past, that they believe she is being unlawfully detained by the Islamic regime in Tehran. We often refer to the IRGC as a terrorist organization. In fact, the House has twice now pronounced itself as labelling the IRGC as a terrorist organization. The government's position is that the Islamic regime is a state sponsor of terror. With the little bit of Farsi that I do know, Sepah-e Pasdaran should be listed as a terrorist organization. I just wanted to speak up on behalf of Behnoush.
    I also want to speak up on behalf of Zahra Kazemi. Very famously, she was murdered in Evin prison. She was a Canadian, a Montrealer no less. She was perhaps a professor or taught as an instructor at the same university I used to go to, Concordia University. She was murdered in Evin prison. The police chief at the time of her murder, who gave excuses on national television in Iran, now lives in Canada, unfortunately. I know it is quite a surprise, but he does.

(1835)

    In that particular case, again, it is an example of regimes overseas that feel there is no accountability. They are never held accountable for their actions. That is why a piece of legislation like this is necessary.
    The other one I wanted to mention, because the member for Thornhill mentioned it before as well, is the case of Saeed Malekpour, a Canadian permanent resident who, while visiting his ill father, was also arrested, again in Iran, and then was subject to the death penalty. In Farsi they call it hokm-e ‘edam, which is very commonly spoken about, because it is so common in Iran for political opponents of the regime, regardless of whether they are foreign nationals, dual citizens or citizens of the Islamic republic, to be subjected to the death penalty almost on the whims of these courts. These are, of course, not legitimate judges with deep legal educations. These are typically members of the IRGC, or these are kangaroo courts that really do not care about the rules.
    If the government labels the Islamic regime, the Islamic government of Tehran, as a terror organization, then rules like this would formalize how we treat them when they unlawfully detain or arrest our citizens. This is how we should treat this regime. This is not a friendly regime to us.
    I am focusing most of my commentary on Iran because I have so many people I have come to know all across the country. I want to speak on their behalf, whether they are Baloch, Kurdish from Rojhelat, Persians, Azerbaijanis or the Arabs in the very deep southwest corner in Khuzestan and other provinces, who are continuously persecuted by a regime that took over in 1979. Many governments have come to know them as state sponsors of terror. After all, this is the same regime that arms and trains Hamas. This is the same regime that arms, trains and protects Hezbollah in Syria. This is the same regime that arms, trains and helps the other Hezbollah, in Syria, among other organizations that they support on the ground. This is why so often in the news there are IRGC generals and officers who die in air strikes, whether from drones or from jets, because they are operating freely in Syria, whether in Rojava, nearer to Damascus or nearer to the Turkish-Syrian border.
    This is also the same regime that operates freely and has backed the Houthis in the civil war in Yemen. They have backed them perpetually. Now, the Houthis are attacking international shipping. This type of legislation targets regimes like the Islamic regime in Iran.
    I will also remind members that this is a regime that, for decades now, has been killing its political opponents, even in Europe. There are people like Qazi Muhammad, who was murdered in Iran, but there are many others whom they target, sometimes using diplomatic immunity for this type of purpose. Sometimes they use rendition as a tool to get back these people; and sometimes, as has happened now, they target Canadian permanent residents and Canadian citizens.
     There are many human rights activists who have come to Canada and found a safe place of refuge here, who continue to fight for human rights in Iran, who are the target of this regime. Most famously in North America, although she is not a Canadian citizen, I think of Masih Alinejad, who was targeted by the regime to be renditioned back to Iran to face hokm-e ‘edam, the death penalty.
    I do have a Yiddish proverb, because I am speaking of Iran, which had a historically large Jewish community. It is not Yiddish in source, though. It is this: I hope what I have spoken here is that my eyes have spoken what I have seen. It is very important to me that we reflect on this particular issue. There are many diaspora groups in Canada who self-censor, who worry. They are afraid that a regime like Iran's is not held responsible when it takes hostages and when it picks on families. People are sometimes terrified of travelling back to Iran to go to a funeral or to go to a marriage. Even though they may have come here as economic immigrants, become Canadian citizens and joined our family, they are worried what the Islamic regime would do to them in a hostage-taking exercise like that.
    It is a terrorist regime. It has terrorist organizations that are part of this large octopus of terrorism. Sometimes that image is seen in caricatures of the government. Legislation like Bill C-353, holding them accountable for hostage-taking, is absolutely necessary. It formalizes a lot of what the government has been doing and does a lot more.

(1840)

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I am grateful to my colleague. We work together on the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration and I enjoy working with him a lot.
    I prepared a short speech tonight. I hope people are ready. It is probably one of the best speeches I will ever give in the House.
    When it comes to international relations, it is hard to look away, especially considering all the headlines that Canada has been making in recent months, if not years, but sadly, not always for the right reasons.
    Since the Prime Minister presumptuously declared in 2015 that “Canada is back”, the country's image has been inconsistent at best, much to the consternation of the Bloc Québécois, I would add. Stuck as it is in the confines of a Canadian province, the Quebec nation is forced to endure the federal government's bungling.
    The Bloc Québécois would like to see Canada make better diplomatic decisions. One thing is certain. I have every reason to believe that a sovereign Quebec would do better than Canada when it comes to diplomacy. I would even venture to say that it would do much better. While Canada’s international relations serve its oil interests, Quebec could make a distinct commitment to responsible nations to truly fight climate change. Quebec could also be given full authority to make its immigration policies as generous as possible, taking into account its integration capacity, and obtain a seat at the United Nations.
    At the risk of repeating myself, the Bloc Québécois would like to see Canada make better diplomatic decisions. Canada's relationship with China has been on a roller coaster ride ever since Canada arrested Huawei's deputy chair and China arrested the two Michaels in retaliation. It took months of pressure from the Bloc Québécois and its parliamentarians to finally set up an independent public commission of inquiry into China's interference in the Canadian electoral process.
    With Bill C‑353, the Conservatives claim to want to protect Canadians being used by foreign states as hostages through baseless accusations. Obviously, not to name them, this refers to the situation of the two Michaels and the saga around the deputy chair of Huawei. In fact, this type of bill would never have prevented their arrest.
    Bill C‑353 was introduced by the Conservative member for Thornhill. According to my colleague, the bill “would strengthen Canada's ability to deter, minimize and resolve instances of hostage-taking by increasing governmental power to levy sanctions, by establishing a family liaison office and by providing incentives for foreign co-operation.”
    More specifically, the purpose of the bill is, first, “to enable the Government of Canada to take restrictive measures against foreign nationals, foreign states and foreign entities that engage in hostage taking or arbitrary detention in state-to-state relations of Canadian nationals”; second, “to ensure that families of such hostages and detained individuals receive timely information and assistance”; and third, “to encourage individuals to cooperate with the Government of Canada to secure the release of such hostages and detained individuals.”
    In general, the Bloc Québécois supports the principle of Bill C‑353, which is to seek ways to fight against arbitrary detentions. That is why the Bloc Québécois will vote in favour of Bill C‑353 at second reading so that it can be studied in committee.
    However, we believe that in its current form, Bill C‑353 is unworkable and could lead to abuses. It is therefore crucial that we study it and propose amendments, which is entirely understandable.
    Bill C‑353 attempts to provide a legislative solution to an extremely complex problem that requires thorough consideration. While many of the bill's provisions look good on paper, in reality many of them could have a negative effect. Bill C‑353 is too broad and lacks appropriate judicial oversight. It grants sweeping powers to the minister without any real judicial checks and balances to prevent potential abuses by the Canadian government.
    Despite a number of shortcomings that can and should be corrected, I must point out that Bill C‑353 relies on co-operation in trying to obtain information leading to the release of hostages. In my opinion, co-operation is critical in matters involving security and, above all, human lives.

(1845)

    I never miss an opportunity to stress the importance of collaboration in the House. If, at times, my colleagues from the other parties and I have a difference of opinion, I always prefer to seek common ground and collaborate as best I can instead of engaging in partisanship.
    In politics, there are issues where partisanship certainly has no place, including when it comes to human rights or, as we say in Quebec, international human rights, in addition to security issues for the families. That is all part of it.
    That is why the Bloc Québécois will support the bill at second reading. The Bloc will collaborate fully to improve the bill in committee for the good of hostages and arbitrarily detained individuals, and their families. To reiterate, we are referring the bill to committee because we support the bill in principle. We will vote and we think that it is a good idea to study the bill in committee. However, we must ensure that the study in committee goes well. We will need to make sure that there is no parliamentary obstruction to prevent the bill from going forward.
    I think I said it: If human life and human rights were at issue, it would be a bit crazy to see a committee obstruct parliamentary business and get nothing done. I really hope that all my colleagues in the House will look at this bill, with its pros and cons, and see that the principle is very pertinent and that, among other things, human life is the focal point of this bill, as I was saying.
    I am asking all my colleagues not only to support the principle of this bill, but also to ensure that, when it is studied at committee, we will work together, co-operate and, above all, avoid bickering over fundamental rights like human rights, the right to life and the right to security.
    My colleagues are surely exhausted after hearing everything I have just said. I will conclude by thanking the member for Thornhill for bringing this bill before the House.
    Madam Speaker, I caught the end of the brilliant speech given by my colleague from Lac-Saint-Jean.
    Like him, I support the principle of the bill before us, which was introduced by the member for Thornhill. We want to see it pass in principle, because I think it is well intentioned.
    This bill seeks to fix a number of the problems noted in the past in hostage-taking situations. In principle, we welcome the initiative of our colleague from Thornhill. However, when we look at the various provisions of the bill, as my colleague mentioned a moment ago, we see that there are problems with enforcement. In the end, this could turn out to be a bad idea masquerading as a good one.
    What matters to us is that the bill pass in principle so that it can be referred to committee and we can make the necessary amendments to try to improve it.
    What is the problem? The problem is that we are biting off more than we can chew, as the saying goes. This bill seeks to resolve all sorts of problems by using the same blanket approach. However, not every situation is the same, similar or comparable, so we need different ways of resolving them. In that sense, I think that we need to avoid taking a one-size-fits-all approach. We need to avoid saying that we have a miracle solution that will apply in all cases. Unfortunately, that is what we have with this bill: a formula or framework that would have us solve the problem by applying the same process to every situation.
    I am going to give a few examples to show that not all cases are the same, and that is why we need to be able to apply different measures to different cases.
    I am personally associated with the case of the imprisonment of a dual British and Canadian national, William Sampson, now deceased. Some years ago, he was falsely accused by Saudi Arabia of committing an attack, along with British nationals and a Belgian national. Although he was innocent of the crime, he confessed under torture. This began a legal saga that included mistreatment, among other things. The problem in this particular case was the need to avoid attracting public attention as much as possible. In Saudi Arabia, it is imperative to avoid causing the royal family to lose face. If the royal family decided to be magnanimous toward a westerner who, in the public's mind, was guilty of wrongdoing, the gesture could obviously backfire on the royal family. As we know, the Saudi Arabian regime hinges on a delicate balance between Wahhabi Islamists and the royal family.
    This is the kind of specific situation that we need to be able to take into account. We cannot say that we are going to apply same formula everywhere.
    Another high-profile case in recent years involved the arbitrary imprisonment of two Canadian citizens. They were known as the two Michaels, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig. Their case was different in that moving it forward required talking it about it as much as possible. At least that is what the members of the two families told us.

(1850)

    In the case of William Sampson, family members were telling us not to talk about it and to keep it as quiet as possible so that the secret negotiations could continue.
    There have been different cases of hostage-taking by terrorist groups. There was former ambassador Fowler, who was held hostage for some time. According to public reports, a ransom was paid and he was released.
    There is the more recent case of Édith Blais, who, along with her Italian spouse, was taken hostage. Again, there were negotiations involving the Italian government. It appears that, in that case, there may have been a desire to pay the ransom, but in the end the two were able to escape. She has recounted the whole saga in a book.
    The circumstances of each of those four cases were very different, and the government cannot necessarily apply the same formula across the board. The government must have some latitude. The odd thing about this bill is that it gives the government a lot of latitude in some cases, maybe too much latitude. Perhaps the judiciary should be more involved. In other cases, the government is not really given any latitude.
    For example, there is the idea that we should be open to paying a ransom. There is something extremely dangerous about that idea, because it would be like telling all the terrorist groups in the world that Canadians have a price. What is the price of a Canadian abroad? To what extent will the government be prepared to pay that price to get a hostage released? That said, we must also not get locked into a position where we say that we will never pay a ransom, because otherwise we will find ourselves in a situation where the lives of our fellow Canadians may be in danger.
    We therefore need to give the government some latitude. I think that there are a lot of good intentions in this bill, but it seems that the road to hell is paved with good intentions and, as our colleagues say, the devil is in the details. When we look at the details of this bill, we see that there are problems. However, we do not want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. We want an opportunity to study the bill and improve it so that we can do better than we are doing now.
    Our colleague from Thornhill put his finger on a problem. It is a fact that Canada's approach to hostage-taking and arbitrary imprisonment is not always the best or most effective, so we should be able to do better. However, I am not sure that the legislation that we have before us will necessarily enable us to respond appropriately to every situation.
    Like my colleague from Lac-Saint-Jean, I want to tell members of the House that the Bloc Québécois will vote in favour of the principle of this bill, so that we can examine it in committee and perhaps make amendments that could lead us to pass it at all the remaining stages.
    If the required changes are not made, the Bloc Québécois cannot rule out withdrawing its support for this bill. That would be unfortunate because, as my colleague pointed out, it is, objectively speaking, a positive bill that seeks to improve things. It aims to enable us to intervene more effectively to preserve the life, security and health of Canadians and Quebeckers who might be held hostage by terrorist groups or by foreign governments.
    That is what opens the door to the debate that I hope will allow us to improve this bill.

(1855)

[English]

     Madam Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to be here to talk to Bill C-353.
    There are a lot of moments in this place when I think about the specific challenge that we have as legislators. When we look at the human condition and what is happening in the world around us, we have to find a way to create legislation that will hopefully help and be supportive.
    I will be supporting this piece of legislation to get it to committee, but I do have some concerns about it. What we need to do, of course, is the important work in committee to make sure that those concerns are addressed. Hopefully, we can see folks work together to make this the best possible bill.
    This makes me think of my many years working with the newcomer community in the work that I did before being elected. I remember sitting with people who were facing the terror of having a loved one taken, not knowing what was happening to them and wondering every day whether that would be the day when they hear something that lets them know their loved one is safe. I think most of us cannot imagine what that reality would look like.
    I think about the responsibility that someone who becomes an elected member of Parliament has when those things happen. We often have to sit powerless with our constituents and watch things unfold knowing that we are doing everything we can, and we still do not know what the outcome will be.
    When I was reading through this particular bill, it really reminded me of a now dear friend from my riding. Her name is Jan. Hers is a completely different circumstance, but it resonates with me given the similarity.
    I remember her chasing me down in a change room. One of the fun things about being a politician that I do not think people always hear about is that when we become public figures, sometimes we have the most interesting conversations in the oddest places. Jan's granddaughter was stolen. She was in another country and they were trying everything they could to get her home. It was terrifying for that family, because they did not know if she was safe and she was very young. I remember, in that moment, thinking to myself that if I was a grandmother having this experience, I would also follow somebody into a change room to make a difference for my loved one.
    I really appreciate deeply the intention of this bill, but I have some clear questions about providing PR for informants and their dependents. I think we really need to address the issue of exploitation and how we can keep these people safe in those circumstances. It is so important that when people are in a vulnerable state, when they are afraid and when they are stressed by political interference, unlike anything most Canadians ever experience, we keep them as safe as possible.
    We need to be talking about sufficient supports for the families of victims. We need to make sure that when they are going through some of these vulnerable times, the supports are there. We may think they are there, but I can promise that a lot of the supports are not. People are left to wrestle with profound agony and pain, and the supports are not there to help them move forward.
    We have to look at some of these important things. Which incentive programs would the minister create? Should hostage-taking and arbitrary detention be put together? There are some questions that I definitely have as we go through this process, and I look forward to having meaningful conversations and making sure that we have experts. Again and again in this place, one of the things that I am really grateful for as an MP is that we do not have to be experts. We can have experts come in, walk us through these really challenging things and provide feedback that helps us make really good decisions.

(1900)

    It makes me think of the work that I do in my riding, because one of the things I have been provided with is expertise from my own riding on particular issues. I learn so much from constituents as they guide me with their expertise. In these particular issues that are very complex and far-reaching, we need to make sure that there are no unintended consequences. What we do not want to see, of course, is legislation put in place, some serious unintended consequences happening, and then our being behind the ball trying to get that dealt with.
     I think we are all very apprised of what is happening in Israel and in Palestine. There is a lot of agony and pain. It does remind me of my dear friend Mary, who fled Germany during the time of the Holocaust, how she survived and that so many of her family members did not. She told me that she did not believe in God anymore but that she still prayed for peace every day. When I look at the piece of legislation before us, I just think about her intention, what she did to help herself go through such a hard crisis, to lose so much.
    I think we all have to remember that when we cannot find solutions that are peaceful, the price is far too high. Part of this, of course, is knowing that there are people who have been taken hostage and that someone is waiting again and again for when they are released, to hear their name. I was reading some articles about some people who have had their loved ones taken in Gaza as hostages. Every time people are released, they are holding their breath, hoping that their loved one's name is on the list. When we look at these things, I think we have to remember that we must do all we can to create peace and that we must do all we can to find safety for all people, and that we should pray for peace unceasingly.
    I think the bill needs a bit of work. It needs a little bit of study. I think the experts will be very helpful. We know that there are some good recommendations from the New Democrats that date back to a foreign affairs study in 2018. The report was called “Strengthening the Canadian Consular Service Today and for the Future”. It sought to prove instances of hostage-taking that have not been fully incorporated in the bill. We might be able to look at some of those things and hear from the experts.
    Things like creating a mechanism to track the extent to which consular services meet service standards and meaningfully improving communications with families are absolutely key; we need to make sure that families are kept up to date as much as possible. This is the most terrifying period of their lives, most likely, and keeping them informed in a really practical way would make a big difference.
    As for the decriminalization of private payment of ransom, I think of the people whom I love the most, and if I had a dollar to pay for their lives, I think I would do it. We need to really bring this back to the humanity.
    I will be supporting the bill. New Democrats will be supporting the bill. We will hope to see some really good and strong work in committee to make it a stronger bill, to make sure that there are no unintended consequences that would have a poor impact on people who are facing these realities.
    I just want to send my love out to everyone who has ever had this experience or is living through it right now. We have to remember, in all of the work that we do, that humanity is at the core of it. It is hard sometimes, when we are divided, to find our common humanity. I think it is important that we remember how human, how vulnerable and how scared people are, and not silence people but bring together the places where we can be human.

(1905)

     Madam Speaker, I appreciate many of the comments made this evening. I listened very closely to the parliamentary secretary, and a couple of thoughts crossed my mind. Sometimes I think we might be putting the cart ahead of the horse. Members of the Bloc and the NDP say that if the bill goes to committee, they have lots of concerns about what is in the legislation. The parliamentary secretary talked about what we have in place already and how the proposed legislation, Bill C-353, could in fact cause a harmful outcomes for hostages.
    At the very least, what might have been nice would have been for a standing committee to look at the issue in its entirety and possibly come back to the House with recommendations as to how we might be able to give strength to the legislation and, ultimately, protect all the different interests that were highlighted by my colleague, the parliamentary secretary, who is responsible for public safety and deals with foreign affairs on so many occasions. He has done an outstanding job representing Canadians in many different types of situations.
    When I look at the private member's bill before us, those are the types of concerns I have. I do not believe that we should send the bill to committee, based on the arguments that were presented. We need to recognize that we stand up, first and foremost, for Canadian values. We need to protect Canadians and their interests and work with other like-minded countries. We all want a more stable and secure world; that is one of the reasons Canada is working with allied countries in order to deal with some of these very complicated issues. Our laws, through time, are modified and given strength, which reflect our values, what other allied countries are doing and the best practices taking place.
    There were a couple of things the parliamentary secretary referred to. One of them is how the bill would mandate the sharing of information. Information is so critically important and can be a deciding factor in many ways in the outcome of a hostage-taking situation. If there were certain legal mandates that compel information, that information could ultimately compromise a negotiation that is taking place. What we are really talking about is the lives of Canadians.
    At the end of the day, I do not have any interest in being involved in high-stakes negotiations and having to deal with individuals who have taken hostages. We see this virtually every day on the news lately with regard to Hamas and what is taking place in the Middle East. I hear that if this particular legislation were to pass in the manner it is proposed today, we would be providing incentives for people kidnap or hold people as hostages as a way to derive cash or be given some sort of preferential treatment to come to Canada. That goes against what possibly even the member wanted to be in the legislation.

(1910)

    That is the reason I would say the legislation, on that one aspect in itself, raises a lot of flags, and we should all be concerned. When one talks about providing incentives for someone to ultimately kidnap or about providing information or mandating its being released, when it could ultimately compromise someone's life, I have a difficult time with that.
    What I have not heard in any of the discussions and the debates I have listened to is anything that is very clear about how the legislation would help in a way that would not come back to hurt the victims and their families. There is a certain amount of discretion necessary in the releasing of information, as an example. We have to go out of our way to ensure that we are not providing any form of an incentive for people to be kidnapping Canadians or holding them as hostages.

(1915)

    Madam Speaker, all the comments over the course of the bill's presentation deserve more than five minutes, and I am glad that I will be able to do that at committee.
    It is unfortunate that the member for Don Valley West did not read the bill or simply did not understand it, because none of those arguments are actually in the bill. Therefore, I will not bother with that.
     I want to clarify that the bill was put forward not as a critique of the government or its existing policies but as a next step forward in the natural evolutionary development of laws that are necessary in the terrifying new reality of this world. This is something we are going to face, and the bill would sharpen existing mechanisms to meet the moment in our own country. In many cases, laws evolve from generalized existing provisions, which often fall short in contending with the evolution of the problem, to become more targeted. That is exactly what the bill would do.
     Sometimes, our laws have been a product of motions or other declaratory statements that, to be effective, eventually had to find their way into specific laws. As a case in point, prior to 2001, there was no crime related to terrorist activity in our Criminal Code. However, in 2001, Canada passed the ATA, which recognized a whole new series of provisions related to terrorism, which would become one of the greatest challenges in our lifetime. Similarly, international law had only developed its own specialized terrorism provisions over the last decades, which it did for the same reasons: Terrorism had evolved, and the existing frameworks needed to be specifically recalibrated to address the enormity of the threat.
     Oftentimes, when these newly targeted provisions are introduced, the question inevitably arises of whether they are really needed. The question came up here a couple of times. However, the House has often adopted a targeted approach to current problems as a first step in a long process of legislative development. In my opinion, it has done so correctly. This is actually what we do here. Therefore, whether we are dealing with terrorism, sexual assault, minority rights or drunk driving, our system has only benefited from more targeted legislation, which ensures that there is better prevention, deterrence and punishment.
     Bill C-353 is actually premised on new hostage-related initiatives that are currently being undertaken by our government in an effort to improve Canada's capacity for dealing with the ravages of hostage diplomacy. This has, frankly, upended international world order, specifically, in the last number of months. It was the current government that actually took the step in launching the declaration. The bill before us would strengthen that and sharpen those tools. It would give the senior official for hostage affairs, a lead in consular services who is now concerned with this, more tools in order to do her job, or maybe his job in the future.
    The bill would go a step further. It would legislate and impose consequences for perpetrators, create mechanisms for bringing our hostages home and provide better assistance for the families caught in these nightmare scenarios. There is certainly recognition, both by government and our allies that developed a robust legislative response to hostage-taking, that there is a new threat on the horizon, which needs to be addressed concretely.
    Some in this chamber have asked whether the legislation would have prevented the hostage taking of the two Michaels. I am not sure. No bill is a silver bullet that would cover the plethora of contingencies or different kinds of cases. I will say, as was correctly noted by the senior official who was appointed in the Department of Foreign Affairs, or Global Affairs Canada, Julie Sunday, that no two hostage cases are the same. However, undoubtedly, in a multitude of scenarios, Bill C-353 would provide better tools to respond to a wide swath of possibilities. Obviously, they would do so in concert with other tools available to the government.
    I look forward to seeing the bill go to the next stage at committee. I thank my colleagues in the Bloc and the NDP for actually reading it.