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42nd PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 131

CONTENTS

Wednesday, February 1, 2017




House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 148 
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NUMBER 131 
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1st SESSION 
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42nd PARLIAMENT 

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Speaker: The Honourable Geoff Regan

    The House met at 2 p.m.

Prayer


[Statements by Members ]

  (1405)  

[English]

    It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem, led by the hon. member for Edmonton Centre.
    [Members sang the national anthem]

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Northern Economic Development

    Mr. Speaker, this past December, the Prime Minister announced that Canadian Arctic waters were indefinitely off limits to future offshore oil and gas licensing. Although this decision is undoubtedly beneficial to the northern environment, it must be balanced with the needs of Nunavummiut. Implementing offshore oil and gas could generate new-found economic opportunities for Nunavut, creating jobs and own-source revenues that could be used toward improving the third world living conditions that currently exist in our territory.
    Engaging in real consultations with Nunavut on issues such as this regarding territorial self-sustainability is part of the devolution process that Nunavummiut want and expect from the government.
     As a result of this lack of consultation, the Government of Canada has taken away a potential source of revenue for Nunavut. This issue will need to be addressed and seriously considered during devolution talks.

Canada 150

    Mr. Speaker, a new year has begun, and 2017 promises to be an exciting one for all Canadians. This year marks the 150th anniversary of Confederation, and it will be full of significant moments and events to celebrate our past, present, and future.
    An important anniversary like this one is a defining moment in our history, and we will be honouring it with pride and enthusiasm in communities across the country.

[Translation]

    Canada 150 is a unique opportunity to reflect on what defines us and create an optimistic vision for the future of our country. It is also an opportunity to pursue reconciliation with indigenous peoples. Many projects and activities are planned for 2017. Canadians are welcome to participate in everything from major nationwide projects to smaller community projects. Together, let us make the most of everything this extraordinary year has to offer.

[English]

Employment in Alberta

    Mr. Speaker, it was great to be able to spend time in my riding over the constituency break. I hosted four round table meetings and a Christmas open house. I visited businesses and met with constituents one on one.
    The number one concern of my constituents remains the economy. Alberta is facing very high unemployment. We have lost jobs in the energy sector but also in other sectors.
    It was an honour to welcome my friend, the MP for Edmonton Riverbend, to my riding for a joint round table on how to create jobs in Alberta. He and the member for Calgary Nose Hill are chairing the Alberta jobs task force, a Conservative initiative to generate constructive ideas to help the government respond. This was our best attended round table yet.
    January saw the introduction of a provincial carbon tax in Alberta. My riding in January is a cold place, and people rightly saw the injustice of a tax on home heating fuel and a tax on families who need to use a car because they cannot walk their kids to the grocery store.
    Be assured that now back in Ottawa, I will do everything I can to get the government to finally listen to the people of our community.

Shooting in Quebec City

    Mr. Speaker, in this lunar new year of the rooster, I had hoped to bring upbeat greetings on behalf of my riding. Instead, I bring a message of solidarity, love, and support from Edmonton Centre to the people of Quebec City and to all Canadians of the Muslim faith.
    In the same city where the first mosque in Canada, the Al Rashid Mosque, was constructed in 1938, our community, our province, and our country have been built with the wisdom, dignity, and humanity that our Muslim brothers and sisters have brought to our land.

[Translation]

    Tragic events like the unspeakable loss of life in Quebec City gives our community pause. By expressing our values of inclusion and tolerance and celebrating the strength of our diversity, we share the best of what it means to be Canadian.

[English]

    As a member of Parliament, I will continue to defend and promote our Canadian values of diversity, tolerance, and inclusion on behalf of and alongside all residents of Edmonton Centre.

Black History Month

    Mr. Speaker, on this first day of Black History Month, I stand before the House as a proud representative of a treasured area that was a destination on one of the southwestern Ontario routes of the Underground Railroad and that has been home to many pioneers, past and present, of civil rights and human rights in Canada.
    This is a poignant time to recognize those who worked to build a more just society. I salute people like Glen Cook and Ken Turner, who preserve and honour the burial sites of our country's earliest black settlers, and like Elise Harding-Davis, local historian and author, and Irene Moore Davis, president of the Essex County Black Historical Research Society, who both work to preserve, promote, and educate the public about our rich African-Canadian heritage.
    We are grateful for such valued individuals like these who advance our society by increasing our understanding and appreciation of the significant contributions made to our country by Canadians of African descent.

  (1410)  

Sikh Youth Federation

    Mr. Speaker, it is great to be back. The holiday season is always a time of joy for Canadians as they get an opportunity to reconnect with their families.
    The Sikh Youth Federation did something really special over these holidays. On December 27, 200 high school students spread warmth and hope by participating in the Downtown Seva Initiative. The group donated over 300 care packages to the homeless, including food and warm clothing. These students used their break from school to spread hope and warmth to the less fortunate and spread the message of seva, selfless service, all across the city of Toronto.
     I am incredibly proud of these young Canadians. They are truly leading today and will be prepared to lead tomorrow. Join me in congratulating the Sikh Youth Federation.

Liberal Party of Canada

    

'Twas two nights before Christmas
Not a soul in the House
When the finance report came in like a mouse
The debt was hung out 'til 2055
Though none on fixed income could hope to survive.

    

The children's tax credits were all at an end
While the Liberal entitlements continued to spend
And the oil and gas industry, under duress
Were dealt a new carbon tax for added stress.

    

When out on an island arose violations
Of all ethics rules that were here in our nation
Away to the commissioner we flew like a flash
To protest the access of government for cash
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But our Prime Minister with a cross-country ear
With a talking point message so scripted and quick
I knew it was making all Canadians sick
He was looking all rock star from his head to his toes
Like the billionaire Chinese had donated his clothes
His eyes how they twinkled, his answers off topic
His knowledge of average Canucks microscopic
And I thought that he said to Canadians everywhere
Higher taxes for you, and I really don't care.

[Translation]

Saint Valentine's Festival

    Mr. Speaker, we need to support the hard work and creativity of our rural municipalities. They are often very creative and come up with plans for diverse events that encourage cultural exchanges.
    In my riding of Saint-Jean, one such community has made its mark by creating the Saint Valentine's Festival. One of the activities planned is a special postmark service. I have sent my colleagues an email explaining how they can profess their love to their partner. Canada Post has created a special postmark for all mail that leaves the municipality of Saint-Valentin.
    Anyone who wants to show their romantic side to their sweetheart can send a special message from the love capital of Canada. Initiatives like these are possible thanks to the dedication of many volunteers who are working hard to create a united and inclusive Canada.

[English]

Marie Hendricken

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to Marie Hendricken, who recently passed away.
    Marie was, first and foremost, a lifelong partner with her husband J.P.—for the family, on the farm, and in the farm movement.
    Marie was an activist. As a farm activist, she fought for the rights of farmers and organized marketing with the National Farmers Union. She served in many roles, including as women's vice-president for Canada. Internationally, she worked to establish projects with Farmers Helping Farmers, focusing on helping women in Kenya and elsewhere.
    Marie was a social activist with The Cooper Institute, organizing for progressive social, economic, and cultural change.
    She was a community builder at home and abroad and in her church. Marie was also a feminist in the true sense, fighting for matrimonial property rights and women's rights generally.
    In 1983, she stated, “We should never give up the struggle”, and she never did.
    Solidarity forever, Marie.

  (1415)  

[Translation]

Festivities in Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier

    Mr. Speaker, this year marks the 150th anniversary of Canada, a great big beautiful country built by rural Canadians, among others.
    In 2017, there will also be celebrations in Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier. The town of Pont-Rouge will be celebrating its 150th anniversary. This summer, we will have the privilege of welcoming the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Musical Ride.
    The town of Saint Raymond is celebrating its 175th anniversary. On Saturday, February 11, I will be participating in Fort Blizzard with the mayor, Daniel Dion.
    The former municipality of Les Écureuils, which merged with the town of Donnacona, is celebrating its 275th anniversary. Broomball was invented in Les Écureuils and a broomball tournament is being held this month.
    We are also celebrating the 375th anniversary of the historic village of Neuville. This town was once the breadbasket of New France, thanks to its fertile lands, and it is still known today for its famous corn. I joined the Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec for the launch of the festivities.
    The most beautiful riding, Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, invites you to come celebrate all year long.
    Welcome.

[English]

Black History Month

    Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure for me to stand today in recognition of Black History Month. It is a time to reflect and to celebrate their contribution to our culture, to our institutions, and to our society.

[Translation]

    I was delighted for Nova Scotia with the Senate appointment of Wanda Bernard, PhD, from East Preston, and the selection of Viola Desmond as the first Canadian woman to appear on the $10 bill.

[English]

    As we reflect on these two exceptional women who have contributed, and all those who have contributed to human rights and social justice, we must remember that we must continue to move forward and push forward.

Youth Homelessness

    Mr. Speaker, youth homelessness and mental health is a major issue across Canada, but particularly in my home town of Brampton.
    Homeless youth have no place to go. Mental health services are lacking and hard to access. Brampton's community partners need our assistance today and tomorrow. This is why, on January 13, I hosted a round table on this issue with key stakeholders across Brampton to initiate dialogue on what the federal government can do to help solve this issue. Small steps have been taken with the opening of Brampton's first temporary youth shelter, but there is much work still to be done.
    I encourage all members to become champions in their communities, because this issue affects our most vulnerable youth.

Oil and Gas Industry

    Mr. Speaker, Canada's energy is the most environmentally and socially responsible oil and gas in the world. The oil sands give jobs and prosperity to every region in Canada, but the Prime Minister wants to “phase them out”.
     Here is what the oil sands mean for Canada: $4 trillion for the economy, $490 billion in transfer payments, and 905,000 direct, indirect, and induced jobs over the next 20 years. Every one job in the oil sands creates 2.5 jobs across Canada. More than 3,400 businesses, 145 in the Maritimes, over 300 each in Quebec and B.C., and over 1,500 in Ontario. The Prime Minister suggest the oil sands pit the environment against the economy, but he is wrong, and the world-class technology that unlocked the oil sands will drive future energy technologies.
    The world will keep needing oil and gas for generations, and the world needs more Canada. The Prime Minister should champion Canadian jobs and Canadian energy.

[Translation]

Black History Month

    Mr. Speaker, today marks the beginning of Black History Month, which gives Canadians the opportunity to reflect on past and present contributions of black Canadians.

[English]

    During a recent trip to Ghana, I saw first-hand the harsh realities of the transatlantic slave trade, the legacy that has impacted the black community for centuries. To ensure these atrocities never happen again, everyone must understand this history and make definitive efforts to ensure that racism and oppression are eliminated. Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that I stand today as six of our brothers were murdered in Quebec because of intolerance and hate.

  (1420)  

[Translation]

    Black History Month makes us think about how we can build a more just society and to re-engage in the fight for equality.

[English]

Status of Women

    Mr. Speaker, despite the Prime Minister's feminist words at the United Nations, he has failed to act, and the United Nations is calling him on it. The UN Committee to End Discrimination Against Women told Canada to get to work on pay equity, legal aid, abortion access, child care, and indigenous women's safety. It is a big list, and this is a big deal.
    The government says it cares about the UN and it cares about women's rights, yet the UN says the government is failing to act. This morning, hundreds of women's labour and justice organizations called on the Prime Minister to heed the UN demand, and step up for women's equality.
    Last month, thousands of women marched for women's rights. New Democrats stand with them. We want the government to get to work, uphold human rights, and make equality a reality for all women.

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, as the Minister of Finance said yesterday that the middle class had not had a raise in a generation, I thought I would look at his chart on middle-class incomes, which is the first one in his very first budget. It showed that he was almost right. In fact, the loss of middle-class income between 1976 and 1983 was so massive that it actually took 30 years to recover all of that lost wealth. Of course, it was the result of the policies of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, who increased debt, taxes, nationalization, and government all around. Does it sound familiar?
    This is not the whole story though. The Harper era, according to this Liberal chart, saw the largest increase in middle-class incomes in the last 40 years, with an increase of $5,000 for 11% after inflation, and record low poverty rates.
    It is important for the minister to study this chart to learn the mistakes of the previous Trudeau government so as not to repeat them.

[Translation]

Shooting in Quebec City

    Mr. Speaker, Sunday evening, a young man callously murdered six men from my region in a cowardly manner.
     Khaled Belkacemi, Azzedine Soufiane, Aboubaker Thabti, Abdelkrim Hassane, Mamadou Tanou Barry, and Ibrahima Barry were husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons. They were good, honest men.
    Today, I want to offer my sympathy and prayers to the families and to Quebec City's Muslim community as a whole. I grew up with them and they helped me thrive in Sainte-Ursule and Saint-Benoît, as part of the Caravelles, at Rochebelle and throughout my life.
    Today, I also want to ask their forgiveness, forgiveness for watching while, over the past few years, they were ostracized and stigmatized, while fear, mistrust, and hatred took root in the hearts of my fellow human beings. I did my best to do something about it, but I ask their forgiveness for not doing enough. Words have consequences, but so does silence.
    Never again. Sainte-Foy is and always will be your home.
    Now, I sincerely hope that you will find in your hearts the strength to do what so many people have refused to do and to see the good that still manages to shine through the darkness that is threatening to overtake our society.
    Assalaam alaykum.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

  (1425)  

[English]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said a lot of things to get elected, and now young Canadians are realizing that he does not have their backs. His decisions have made it harder for them to buy a first-time home and are creating a lot of anxiety over finding their first jobs, but, worst of all, the money his government is borrowing means that a Canadian who turns 18 today will not see the budget balanced until he or she is 56 years old. That means an entire working life of higher taxes.
    Why is the Prime Minister making the youth of our country pay for his bad decisions?
    Mr. Speaker, with our Canada child benefit, we are lifting hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty across this country, reducing child poverty by 40%. For post-secondary education, we are guaranteeing they do not have to pay back any student debts until they are making $25,000 a year, and we are increasing by 50% Canada student grants for low-income and middle-income families. We are also investing in infrastructure, in research, in innovation, and in post-secondary institutions to ensure that we have good jobs for these young people now and into the future.
    This is what building a strong country looks like and we will stay focused on that.

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, millions of Canadian workers will be forced to pay the Liberals' new tax on health and dental benefits. Many will lose their coverage and find themselves paying out of pocket for important expenses like life-saving medicines, mental health counselling, and their children's braces. It is not fair that the Prime Minister racks up billions of dollars in spending on his priorities and now Canadians have to pay for it with a $1,000 new tax on their health and dental benefits.
    Why would the Prime Minister even consider doing this?
    Mr. Speaker, we got elected on a commitment to invest in the middle class, to support the middle class and those working hard to join it. The very first thing we did was lower taxes on the middle class and raise them on the wealthiest 1%. We are committed to protecting the middle class from increased taxes and that is why we will not be raising the taxes the member opposite proposes we will do.
    Mr. Speaker, that is good news for the middle class then, but what the middle class is struggling with—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. I know that members want to applaud the Leader of the Opposition, but we have to hear her question first.
    The hon. Leader of the Opposition.
    Mr. Speaker, what the middle class is worried about is being consistently overtaxed by the Prime Minister's spending. We now have a situation where young people looking to their future, people turning 18 today, will see higher taxes until they are 56 years old.
    Why would the Prime Minister continue down this path of massive deficits and massive debt, and burden the next generation?
    We made a commitment, Mr. Speaker, to invest in young people, to invest in our future. That is why historic investments in infrastructure, whether it be public transit, whether it be green infrastructure, whether it be social infrastructure like housing and child care, these are things that are going to make our country better and stronger and create more opportunities for young people in the future.
    To add to the list of things that we are doing to help young people, the transforming, the strengthening of the Canada pension plan is going to leave young people better off down the line so they have money to retire, something the members opposite have always been against.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, we know that this reckless spending will not stop. When we oppose a budget, it is because we are looking at the big picture. The government is forcing deficits on future generations. It talked about a $10 billion deficit during the campaign, but it will be higher. We heard him answer in English, but we are going to ask him the question in French. It will be interesting.
    We believe that, to cover these costs, the government will bring in a new tax on health and dental benefits. He just said something in English, but I would like to hear it again in French.
    Will there be a new tax on health and dental benefits?
    Mr. Speaker, as all members of the House know very well, we made a commitment to support the middle class and those working hard to join it. We have lowered taxes on the middle class and raised them on the wealthiest 1%. It was never our intention to raise taxes, as the member opposite suggested.

  (1430)  

Softwood Lumber

    Mr. Speaker, more topics have been discussed and there has been more heated debate with the provinces in the one year that this government has been in office than there were in 10 years under the previous government.
    Today, ministers from Quebec are asking the government to get its ducks in a row and start doing its job on the softwood lumber issue.
    Will the government be able to work with the provinces as promised? More importantly, will it be able to sign a softwood lumber deal for our 300,000 forestry workers?
    Mr. Speaker, since taking office, we, on this side of the House, have met with the provincial governments on numerous occasions to talk about many different issues. We strengthened the Canada pension plan and we created a pan-Canadian framework on climate change. We signed landmark agreements with the provinces and we are working closely with them on the softwood lumber issue in order to resolve this situation with the Americans.

[English]

Democratic Reform

     Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has abandoned his commitment. He has betrayed Canadians. A political party promises something in order to get elected and to appear progressive, but then, once elected, it shamelessly breaks that promise.
    I would call that a massive political deception. What does the Prime Minister call it?
    Mr. Speaker, over the past year, we consulted with hundreds of thousands of Canadians to hear their views on transforming our electoral system.
    It is very clear. As people in this House know, I have long preferred a preferential ballot. The members opposite wanted a proportional representation. The official opposition wanted a referendum. There is no consensus.
    There is no clear path forward. It would be irresponsible for us to do something that harms Canada's stability when, in fact, what we need is to move forward on growth for the middle class and support.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister obviously never read the report. The MyDemocracy.ca charade did not even ask Canadians if they wanted to change the voting system. However, do members know that at almost every single one of the Prime Minister's town halls, someone asked him about democratic reform?
    As the Prime Minister now fabricates evidence to claim Canadians did not want what he got elected on, what expression from Canadians would have been sufficient to get the Prime Minister to respect his own promise?
    Mr. Speaker, it is very clear. There is no consensus among Canadians on how, or even whether, to reform our electoral system, and to change the mode of the election system.
    That is why we are going to focus on strengthening our resistance and resilience to cyber-attacks from foreign intervenors, why we are going to be continuing to repeal the unfair provisions in the so-called fair elections act, and why we are moving forward with greater transparency and accountability on the strong rules we already have on federal fundraising.
    We are moving forward in a way that will focus on the things that matter to Canadians. That is what Canadians elected us to do.
    Cyber-attacks? What about attacks on truth, Mr. Speaker?

[Translation]

    The Prime Minister is always bemoaning the fact that cynicism is the biggest problem in politics today. Promising democratic reform to get elected and then breaking that promise once in office is crass cynicism.
    Is he not ashamed of himself?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians know very well that I have been wanting to reform our electoral system for a long time. The reality is that there is no consensus and no clear path forward. It would be irresponsible to hold a referendum without a clear question.
    The reality is that we are going to improve our democratic system in a number of different ways, but it will not be by changing the voting system. I am not going to do something that is wrong for Canadians just to tick off a box on an electoral platform.
    Mr. Speaker, when 90% of people are in favour of a more proportional system, I think we can begin to call that a consensus.

  (1435)  

[English]

    The Prime Minister made this promise hundreds of times during the election. He wrote it in his party's platform. He put it in his very first throne speech. The government promised it 1,813 times since it got elected. That is the real number.
    How can Canadians trust anything the Prime Minister has to say after he has so blatantly and intentionally betrayed his own word?
    To the contrary, Mr. Speaker. We spent a year listening to Canadians, talking with them, hearing from a broad range of youth, seeing the firmly-held views that a number of people feel on that, and understanding that there is no clear path forward. There is no consensus. A referendum would be a bad idea. Moving forward on a divisive policy would be a bad idea.
    The fact of the matter is that I am not going to do something that is wrong for Canadians just to tick off a box on an electoral platform. That is not the kind of prime minister I will be.

Canada-U.S. Relations

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister was clearly not prepared for the new U.S. administration, nor was he prepared for how new policies in the United States would affect our economy.
    Now that our largest trading partner is committed to lower taxes and fewer regulations, the Liberal government needs to show Canadians that it is able to adapt to the new U.S. reality.
    When will the Liberals acknowledge that their tax and spend policy is making Canada sorely uncompetitive, and putting Canadian jobs at huge risk of heading to the United States?
    Mr. Speaker, we came into office with a plan to focus on growing the economy for middle-class Canadians, for people who are feeling truly anxious about the prospects for themselves and their children.
    We have moved forward on that plan by reducing taxes, and by making investments in the long-term future of our country.
     We are going to maintain our plan to grow our economy. We are going to continue to engage with our partners in the United States to make sure that we have a strong and effective relationship with the Americans as we move forward on executing our plan for Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals seem to have their collective heads in the sand. In order for Canada to remain competitive with the United States, we need lower taxes across the board, and a regulatory process aligned with our neighbours. By refusing to deal with this new reality, and instead adding more taxes to families and businesses, the Liberals are costing Canadian jobs.
    Can the Minister of Finance tell us if there is any element of his fiscal policy that he is willing to change in order to respond to the new reality in the U.S. policy?
    Mr. Speaker, we want to be clear. We know that engaging with our neighbours to the south is critically important for our economy. We will do that while protecting the interests of Canadians.
    We will focus on how we can grow our own economy, so that Canadians can have good jobs. We will focus on making sure that middle-class Canadians have tax rates that are lower than they were during the term of the previous government, so that they can have enough money to pay for the needs of their children.
    We are focused on an economy that will be strong for Canada, and will deal with global situations as they arise.

[Translation]

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, on December 5, I rose for the first time in the House to ask the Liberal government to not move forward with the Liberal tax on health and dental benefits. It took about a dozen questions, which he never answered, for him to finally see the light.
    Other problems remain. When we left office, we left the house in order and a surplus of about $2.9 billion, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, who we should respect. However, if nothing changes, the Minister of Finance is talking about balancing the budget in 2055.
    What is the government's serious plan to avoid this disaster?
    Mr. Speaker, the facts are very important.
    After 10 years, we started out with a very low growth rate. We started out with more debt because of the previous government. That is the truth.
    We are now making investments in our future in order to improve our economic growth. We have cut taxes for the middle class. That is our program for improving our situation and the future of our country.
    Mr. Speaker, the truth is that we left the house in order with a $2.9-billion surplus. The truth is that the current government did away with quite a few tax credits that helped families directly, such as the tax credits for sports, the arts, textbooks, and post-secondary education.
    With the new budget just weeks away, can the Minister of Finance tell us whether he is done with taking tax credits away from Canadian families?

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, once again, facts really matter. The situation is clear.
    We introduced the Canada child benefit to make sure that 9 out of 10 Canadian families with children have more money in their pockets, an average of $2,300 after taxes. That is the truth. A family with less money or a single woman with a child who earns $30,000 per year will get, on average, $6,400 more. Canadian families really are better off with our government.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, last month, a disabled grandmother told the Prime Minister, as she broke into tears, that she did not know how she was going to continue to pay her hydro bill, which was over $1,000 a month. A new carbon tax now will make it more expensive for her to heat her home.
    Yesterday, the Minister of Finance confirmed that he did not know what the middle class was. His budget says that the median income, though, is $50,000 a year in Canada. The Liberal Party promised it would not raise taxes on the middle class or those working to join it.
    Can the Liberals confirm today that no one earning less than $50,000 a year will be asked to pay the Liberal carbon tax?
    Mr. Speaker, we are pleased to talk about the situation of middle-class Canadians and those families who are struggling to get into the middle class because we know that we have helped them in many ways since we have come into office by lowering their taxes: an individual, out of those nine million, has saved $330 on average; a family has saved $540 on average.
    More importantly, we have helped them in other ways. We have helped students, as the Prime Minister mentioned, to have a better situation. When they have debt, students can wait until they have $25,000 to pay it off. We have helped seniors by increasing the guaranteed income supplement.
    We know Canadians are better off today than they—
    The hon. member for Carleton.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal green energy act in Ontario has transferred $170 billion over 26 years from middle and working class people to the wealthiest 1%. It is probably the biggest wealth transfer in the history of this country.
    We now have a carbon tax that will similarly land heaviest on the shoulders of those with the least. We also know that money will trickle down to well-connected Liberal so-called green insiders. It is not fair to tax people with these extra burdens who earn less than $50,000 a year.
    Can the finance minister do the right thing today and confirm that he will not impose his carbon tax on those earning less than the median income?
    Mr. Speaker, unlike the party opposite, we understand that the environment and the economy go together. Canadians expect us to take action to reduce emissions but also to grow our economy.
    I am very proud with the climate plan that we were able to achieve with the provinces, the territories, and indigenous peoples with respect to putting a price on pollution, which Canadians support. It is up to the provinces to determine which way to do it, and what to do with the revenues. They can return the revenues through a revenue neutral price on carbon.
    We are going to continue working with the provinces to grow our economy and reduce emissions.

[Translation]

Democratic Reform

    Mr. Speaker, words matter. A person's word matters.
    This is a betrayal. The Prime Minister has finally killed off what remained of our hopes for democratic renewal. The Prime Minister made a promise, a promise echoed by his candidates, his throne speech, his mandate letters, and the parliamentary committee. Now, he thumbs his nose at the hundreds of thousands of people who really believed him.
    They lied to us. They lied to the people.
    What is the Prime Minister's word worth?
    The hon. member knows that unparliamentary words are not allowed. I would ask him to withdraw that word immediately.
    Mr. Speaker, if they did not lie, they laughed in our faces.
    We will not be hearing from that member for a while.
    The hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley.

  (1445)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, how sad it was to watch the minister, who admitted that the Liberals had won a false majority. Yet, she was the very one the Liberals sent out to break the very promise that would fix the problem.
     The Prime Minister promised to be different. He promised to bring more people into the democratic process. He promised to make every vote count, and he promised millions of Canadians that 2015 would be the last election under the outdated and unfair voting system.
    Will any Liberal from Vancouver, Edmonton, or Winnipeg find the integrity to stand up to this blatant betrayal of Canadians that the Prime Minister has made?
    Mr. Speaker, our electoral system is the foundation of our democracy. We respect the views of Canadians, and consulted extensively with them on this important issue. We listened to Canadians, and Canadians are proud of our democracy.
    We have always been clear. Major reforms to the electoral system should not be made if they lack the broad support of Canadians. As my mandate letter states, a clear preference for a new electoral system, let alone a consensus, has not emerged. Changing the electoral system is not in my mandate.

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, section 12 of the Conflict of Interest Act states that no minister shall accept travel on private aircraft except in exceptional circumstances. The Prime Minister's trip was not a last-minute travel deal on Expedia.ca. There is plenty of planning involved when any minister travels. A significant number of people in the Prime Minister's Office and the Privy Council Office would have been briefed on the travel plans.
    Was the Prime Minister ever advised by anyone in the PMO or PCO that travelling by private helicopter would break section 12 of the act?
    Mr. Speaker, as has been previously stated, the Prime Minister was on a personal family vacation with a long-standing friend, who he has known for a long time. As has also been stated time and time again, the Prime Minister will answer any questions that the commissioner will have.
    Mr. Speaker, if the Prime Minister truly believed that his new year's getaway did not present ethical problems, he would not have tried so hard to hide it.
     No one believes the Prime Minister was not advised his actions would lead to a clear breach of the ethics law. The act is clear, as clear as the Prime Minister's decision was to ignore it. Is it not true that the Prime Minister kept this a secret because he knew the Ethics Commissioner would have told him it violated the act? Why does the Prime Minister think he is above the law?
    Mr. Speaker, perhaps the member should be reminded that the Prime Minister was on a family vacation with a long-standing friend, who he has known for a long time. As the member should also know, and as has been stated time and time again, the Prime Minister will answer any questions that the commissioner will have.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians have never been so badly served as they are by this Prime Minister, who thinks he is totally above the law.
    He is undermining Canadians' confidence in our democracy, and we are all outraged by the investigations into ethical issues, because the common thread in them all is that the Liberal Party of Canada put its own interests first.
    When will the Prime Minister finally admit his lapse in judgment in using the Aga Khan's helicopter, and get to work for the benefit of all Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, our government is working for all Canadians, and as we have already indicated, the Prime Minister was on a family vacation with a long-time friend. As we have also said repeatedly, the Prime Minister will answer any questions the commissioner might have.
    Mr. Speaker, since the start of the new year, whenever the Prime Minister has talked about his Christmas vacation, he says whatever he can to try to justify his lapse in judgment.
    However, despite his verbal somersaults, he knows very well that he violated section 12 of the Conflict of Interest Act by travelling on a private helicopter during his Christmas vacation. Where I come from, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like duck, it must be a duck.
    Instead of hiding behind the Ethics Commissioner, will the Prime Minister finally admit that he broke the law?
    Mr. Speaker, as we have said repeatedly, the Prime Minister will answer any questions the commissioner might have.

  (1450)  

[English]

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals said last year that LGBT refugees would be a priority among Syrian refugees as among the most at risk. Then they did exactly nothing. Now Trump's ban has placed LGBT refugees from seven Muslim majority countries at extreme risk. In all seven, being gay means living in fear of being put to death.
    I want to ask the minister the same question which he ignored in last night's emergency debate. Will the minister take swift and specific action to facilitate asylum in Canada for LGBT citizens of the seven countries who are now excluded from the United States and who risk death if sent home?
    Mr. Speaker, Canada can be proud of its tradition of being an open society that welcomes refugees. We have tripled the number of privately sponsored refugees. We have engaged with our American counterparts to make sure that the implications of the executive order are closely monitored. We continue to inform Canadians as we get updated daily.
     We will continue to be a country that opens its hearts and its doors to those fleeing war and persecution.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, safe third countries can be designated under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act in an effort to share responsibility for refugee claims. However, only countries that respect human rights and provide a high degree of protection to asylum seekers can be designated as safe third countries.
    Does the Prime Minister honestly believe that this applies to the United States with its anti-Muslim decree currently in effect?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, Canada's refugee system is recognized as being one of the most compassionate and generous systems in the world. The safe third country agreement with the United States enables both countries to better handle asylum claims made within both countries. Asylum seekers in Canada have access to a fair hearing at the Immigration and Refugee Board, and all cases are assessed based on their merits.

Regional Economic Development

    Mr. Speaker, Atlantic Canada faces a number of unique challenges in growing our economy and getting businesses to innovate and export. It needs a targeted approach from all levels of governments to address these issues.
     I understand the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development was recently in the Atlantic region promoting an Atlantic-specific approach. Could he please update the House on this initiative?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for South Shore—St. Margarets for her hard work. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the 32 outstanding MPs from Atlantic Canada for their leadership. It is because of their leadership we launched the Atlantic growth strategy last summer.
    Just last week in Nova Scotia, we announced progress on the immigration pilot project, which will increase levels by 50%. I would like to thank the Minister of Immigration for his leadership. We also targeted high-growth firms, which will create jobs for small businesses. We also put forward an agreement to double the trade and investment strategy by $20 million.
    We are delivering for Atlantic Canada. We are growing the economy. We are creating good quality jobs.

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, we know the Prime Minister thinks the rules do not apply to people like him.
    One of the Prime Minister's vacation guests was Tom Pitfield, president of Liberal think tank Canada 2020. Tom also happens to be married to the president of the Liberal Party of Canada, who coincidentally was also on the same vacation. The problem is that Canada 2020 receives taxpayer dollars from the Liberal Prime Minister.
    Why do the Prime Minister's friends at Canada 2020 get privileged access to him and also taxpayer money?
    Mr. Speaker, our government values science and unlike the previous government we will not politicize research. The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council aims—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please. Members are excited today. It is a Wednesday. We need to hear both the questions and the answers. We need to try to remain calm. It is not easy to do but we can do it. I have great confidence.
    The hon. Minister of Science has 19 seconds.
    Mr. Speaker, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council aims to connect research with Canadians and therefore supports conferences and initiatives that promote the social sciences. The organization is an arm's-length body and has the authority to issue contracts of up to $25,000. As this contract falls below that threshold, the decision was made entirely by the organization.

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is not surprising the Liberal government has so many ethical problems, it does not even recognize an ethics question when it gets one.
    Canada 2020 received $15,000 of taxpayer money from the Liberal government, the same Canada 2020 that hosted exclusive events in Washington when the Prime Minister was there, the same Canada 2020 whose president is married to the Liberal Party president, and the same Canada 2020 that boasted on Twitter earlier this week about new offices opening in the parliamentary precinct.
     There is a pattern developing here. The conflict of interest is self-evident. Will the Prime Minister commit today that no more taxpayer money will be given to Liberal think tank Canada 2020?
    Mr. Speaker, our government believes in the importance of independent, non-partisan scientific advice. Unlike the previous government, we will not politicize scientific research.
    As I have mentioned, the organization is an arm's-length independent body and has the ability to issue contracts up to $25,000. As this contract falls below that threshold, the decision was made entirely by the organization.

Ministerial Expenses

    Mr. Speaker, while Canadians are struggling to make ends meet, the Liberals are inventing new ways to waste taxpayer money.
    Canadians were astounded when the Minister of Infrastructure spent $835,000 redoing his offices, but they were flabbergasted that the former Minister of Status of Women spent $1.1 million to furnish a new office.
    Having visited her previous office, which was perfectly adequate, I want to know why hard-earned taxpayer dollars were wasted on this unnecessary extravagance?
    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to serve as the Minister of Status of Women with a government that has put gender equality at the heart of its priorities, and with a Prime Minister who is a feminist in words and in actions.
    Previous to the Prime Minister's leadership, there was no full ministry of status of women. The staff needed a place to work. I am so proud that the public service as well as the ministerial team are on the same floor. This was a responsible use of dollars, and we will continue to deliver on behalf of all Canadians.
    I hope the new minister does not want to redecorate, Mr. Speaker. We could buy four condos in Ottawa for the same price the minster spent furnishing her new office.
     While seniors cannot pay their hydro bills and veterans go homeless, the Liberals keep wasting Canadian money. Will the Prime Minister put a stop to this entitled, ridiculous, lavish spending and start focusing on the needs of real Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, after 10 years of neglect by the previous government, we are finally making progress to ensure that people of all genders have equal opportunity to thrive.
     The decision to have both ministerial staff and the public service on the same level was important. It is important to reduce silos across all sectors, including our own. We will continue to deliver positive results on behalf of all Canadians.

[Translation]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, a week ago today, New Brunswick was hammered by an ice storm.
    Nearly 13,000 homes remain without electricity or heat in the month of February. Warming centres and shelters in Miscou, Shippagan, and Lamèque are still overflowing.
    On Monday, I asked the Minister of National Defence why it took three days after the request from the Province before the troops arrived. No response.
    My question is for the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. The federal government responded swiftly to the fires in Fort McMurray and the floods in Calgary and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. Why the radio silence for New Brunswick?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, just as soon as we were contacted by the Government of New Brunswick, the Government of Canada acted promptly on each and every request.

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, Marcia Brown Martel was taken from her indigenous birth parents, declared dead, and handed over to be adopted by non-indigenous parents.
    The removal of children to eliminate their race is an act of genocide. Over 20,000 survivors of the Sixties Scoop are now seeking justice.
     The minister has declared that her government will be “adversaries no more”. Well, if so, when will her government stop fighting them in court and make reparations for these despicable historic wrongs?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to say that we are adversaries no more and that negotiation rather than litigation is our government's preferred route to settle these differences and right historical wrongs. This is why our government today is launching negotiations toward a national resolution to the Sixties Scoop litigation. Several parties have already expressed interest in these discussions, and I hope all parties will participate.
    The Sixties Scoop is a dark and painful chapter in our history. Resolving these cases is an important step in our journey of reconciliation with indigenous peoples.

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, Constable David Wynn was shot and killed in the line of duty by a career criminal out on bail, because his criminal record was never presented at the bail hearing. Now there is a bill before the House that would close the bail loophole that cost Constable Wynn his life.
     The Prime Minister's cabinet would obviously have discussed it. Therefore, it was disturbing when the Prime Minister said at a town hall that he did not know anything about this bill.
    Now that he has had time to catch up with his work, will he instruct his caucus to support Wynn's law?
    Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to extend my deepest sympathy to the family of Constable David Wynn and especially to his widow, Shelly MacInnis-Wynn.
    We are committed to ensuring an effective and efficient bail system. The Minister of Justice will continue to collaborate with the provinces and territories and consult stakeholders that use these important Criminal Code provisions every day.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like the Prime Minister to translate that back for me.
    This is a very simple change in the Criminal Code. This career criminal was out on bail, because his criminal record was never presented at the bail hearing. It is very simple. It is a small loophole that can be closed if this bill is passed.
    I appreciate the Prime Minister's words. They mean a lot to the family, I am sure, but what would mean even more is if he passes this bill. Will he say yes or no? Will he instruct his caucus to pass this bill?
    Mr. Speaker, I would echo the words of the Prime Minister extending our deepest sympathies to the family of Constable Wynn.
    We are committed to conducting a comprehensive review of the criminal justice system, including bail reform. That is why I continue to engage with my counterparts in the provinces and territories to ensure that we are meeting the needs of the justice system, ensuring we keep public safety top of our mind. Certainly, we agree with the objective of this legislation in terms of ensuring that information is made available to make necessary decisions.
    Mr. Speaker, I have another question for the Prime Minister.
    One of his Liberal members, the member for Beaches—East York, thinks that the Prime Minister is not going far enough when it comes to legalizing marijuana. He wants the Prime Minister to “decriminalize all drugs”.
    There is a good reason that all drugs are not legal, and that is because they ruin the lives of our loved ones. Will the Prime Minister unequivocally denounce the comments that his Liberal colleague made and immediately commit to Canadian families that he will not put our youth at risk in legalizing tough, hard drugs like heroin and cocaine?
    Mr. Speaker, the government is committed to evidence-based policy, unlike the previous government. That is why we support safe consumption sites and want to do everything we can to protect Canadians from the ongoing opioid crisis.
    We have committed to legalizing marijuana, but we are not planning on legalizing anything else at this time.

[Translation]

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, the minister was in Laval on January 16 for a major joint announcement with the Province of Quebec about a $400-million investment in social housing.
    Would the minister tell the House how this investment in social housing will help vulnerable people across Quebec, including children living in poverty, seniors, and victims of domestic violence, while stimulating the economy?

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member for Alfred-Pellan on his excellent question and on the important work he is doing on behalf of his constituents.
    Our government is proud to have signed an agreement allocating nearly $300 million more for affordable housing in Quebec. Quebec will be able to spend that money on its own priority projects to support vulnerable families in its communities.
    We are very excited to continue working hard for the middle class and those working very hard to join it.

[English]

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, it is a new year and a new minister, but employees of the Vegreville immigration case processing centre are still reeling. In response to my Order Paper question, the department said that closing the centre involved extensive consultation with another government department, but of course, not with the employees, the town, or local businesses. In fact, there was zero consultation with anyone who will actually be impacted.
    Will the new minister do what his predecessor refused to do, reverse this heartless decision and save these rural jobs?
    Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to let the member opposite know that I spoke to the mayor of Vegreville a few weeks ago. That is an example of outreach. That is an example of me letting the mayor tell me the concerns of the community.
     We are aware of the impacts on staff and families of this relocation. I want to assure the member opposite that all current employees in the Vegreville case processing centre will have their jobs in the new location.

Status of Women

    Mr. Speaker, front-line workers are decrying the lack of action from the Liberal government to end violence against women. They are calling the government's progress to date a massive disappointment.
    There needs to be an immediate increase in funding for shelter operations. No woman or child should ever be turned away when fleeing domestic violence. When will the Liberals create a national action plan to end violence against women as promised to the United Nations?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for her commitment to this work. As a fellow Trent University alumna, I am looking forward to working on this file together.
    I am happy to say that our government is fully committed to addressing gender-based violence so that women and girls can live free of violence. That is why we are developing a strategy to address this. Our government is engaged with experts, academics, civil society, and with those with lived experiences.
    Our investments in shelters and transitional housing will allow women to live safe and free from violence. Unlike the previous government, we are working to create the conditions to ensure that Canada is a place—

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin.

Employment

    Mr. Speaker, last summer 148 young people in my riding of Marc-Aurèle-Fortin took advantage of the Canada summer jobs program.
    Could the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour tell the House about the details of the program for 2017?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Marc-Aurèle-Fortin for his question.
    I am pleased to inform the House that employers have until Friday to submit their hiring requests for student employment this summer. This is an excellent opportunity to provide dynamic and enthusiastic students with valuable work experience, and to help grow our economy.

[English]

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, I was recently approached in relation to the inadequate level of mental health support for soldiers at Garrison Petawawa. The Liberals have let the number of mental health providers drop so low that the soldiers at Garrison Petawawa are forced into group sessions instead of one-on-one therapy.
    What is it going to take for the Prime Minister to restore the levels of mental health support for the soldiers and the people who serve in the Canadian Armed Forces so that they once again have patient-centred treatment?
    Mr. Speaker, the care and welfare and especially the mental health of our troops are extremely important given what we ask them to do. We are looking at all of the aspects of lessons from the past and what is happening now. As part of the defence policy review that we undertook last year, this is a very big component. I can assure the member that we are moving forward. Resources have been put in place now, and into the future, we will definitely be making sure that all of our troops have the mental health resources for them.

  (1510)  

Democratic Reform

    Mr. Speaker, “Within 18 months of forming government, we will introduce legislation to enact electoral reform”. That is from the Liberal platform. It is very clear, and it was repeated with clarity in the Speech from the Throne, and the mandate to us as members of the special committee said we were replacing first past the post.
    If it was an essential precondition to follow on this promise that there be some sort of nationally proven majority, that there be some consensus discerned through vague surveys, why was that never mentioned in any promise or any mandate?
    Mr. Speaker, anything a prime minister or a government must do must be in the interests of Canada and of all Canadians, particularly when it comes to transforming our electoral system. I understand the passion and intensity with which the member opposite believes in this, and many Canadians mirror that passion and intensity, but there is no consensus. There is no sense of how best to do this and, quite frankly, a divisive referendum at this time, an augmentation of extremist voices in the House, is not what is in the best interests of Canada.

[Translation]

Points of Order

Oral Questions 

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, I got carried away because of my passion and frustration, and I used some unparliamentary language. I apologize and would like to officially withdraw my remarks.
    I thank the hon. member.

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1515)  

[English]

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to table, in both official languages, the charter statement on Bill C-28, an act to amend the Criminal Code (victim surcharge).

Interparliamentary Delegations

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association respecting the participation of the Canadian parliamentary delegation at the spring meeting of the standing committee and visit of the bureau, Paris, France, and Cairo, Egypt, April 1 to 5, 2016.

Committees of the House

International Trade  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Committee on International Trade in relation to Bill C-31, An Act to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and Ukraine (without amendment).

[Translation]

Conflict of Interest Act

    He said: Mr. Speaker, I am extremely pleased to rise briefly in the House today to provide an outline of this bill to amend the Conflict of Interest Act.
     Posted on the Prime Minister's website is document of which the Liberal Party is quite proud, entitled “Open and Transparent Government”. The document includes rules of conduct for ministerial fundraising and that of the Prime Minister.
    Unfortunately, the two main principles behind those rules, namely to not give preferential treatment to political donors and to prohibit the appearance of conflict of interest, do not have the force of law. They do not appear in the Conflict of Interest Act.
    As New Democrats, we are going to help the government respect its own rules by amending the Conflict of Interest Act, to ensure that the Liberals' ethical principles have the force of law.

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

[English]

Petitions

Small Business  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition signed by campers who stayed at Mohawk Bay Park in Deseronto, Ontario, located on the Long Reach of the Bay of Quinte in the riding of Hastings—Lennox and Addington.
     The petitioners call on the government to ensure that campgrounds with fewer than five full-time year-round employees will continue to be recognized and taxed as small businesses.

  (1520)  

Community Television  

    Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the signatories in my riding of Northumberland—Peterborough South, I am pleased to present a petition requesting the enabling of a network of community-operated media centres to facilitate access to community television in small communities.

150th Anniversary of Confederation  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition from visitors and staff members of the Carman House Museum in Iroquois, Ontario. The museum is located in a cottage along the St. Lawrence River and dates back to 1815.
    Restored to its original appearance, the Carman House Museum portrays the typical life of the original Loyalist owners, a family who relocated to the region after the American Revolution. The museum recognizes Loyalists and their contribution to the development of eastern Ontario, especially in the years leading up to Confederation. The volunteers there have helped to revitalize the past.
    I have heard from hundreds of Canadians across the country with concerns similar to this petition regarding the neglect of history in the celebration of the 150th anniversary, in particular the lack of Confederation or history as themes.
    The petitioners are calling on the government to include Confederation as a theme of the 150th anniversary of Confederation, something the government has neglected to do.

[Translation]

Automotive Industry  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to acknowledge the important work of the workers at the Unifor union, which contributes enormously to our economy. I have a petition here today signed by hundreds of people from Windsor to Ottawa, Ontario, and some from other provinces. These people are concerned by the lack of safety regulations in Canada.

[English]

    These petitioners, hundreds of them from southern Ontario associated with the Unifor union that contributes enormously to our economy, are calling upon the House of Commons to implement the national comprehensive regulatory framework that creates minimum standards for safety equipment, vehicle specifications, employee training, and crew sizes in the armoured car and secure logistics industry.

Organ Donation  

    Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today to present a petition in support of my own private member's bill, Bill C-316.
    Petitioners are calling on this House to improve the organ donation system in Canada by making the process to register as an organ donor easier. This would be done by adding a simple question to the annual tax return.
    I would also like to specifically thank Ms. Casey Amatto from Calgary for collecting all these signatures and showing she cares about the 4,600 Canadians awaiting an organ transplant.

The Environment  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to present two copies of the same petition from members of my community throughout southern Vancouver Island as well as throughout the Lower Mainland. These petitioners cite the risks to the British Columbia coastline of tanker spills, particularly containing bitumen mixed with diluents, a substance that cannot be cleaned up.
    The petitioners call on the House to establish a permanent ban on crude oil tankers on the west coast, not just the north coast but the entire coast.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns

    Mr. Speaker, if a supplementary response to Question No. 602, originally tabled on January 30, 2017, could be made into an order for return, that return would be tabled immediately.
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Text]

Question No. 602--
Mr. Matthew Dubé:
     With regard to the collection and retention of metadata or associated data by CSIS: (a) on what dates were the present or former Ministers of Public Safety informed of (i) the existence of the Operational Data Analysis Centre, (ii) the retention of metadata or associated data pertaining to third-parties or individuals who were deemed not to pose a threat, (iii) the possibility this practice could be deemed unlawful; (b) how was the information communicated for each instance in (a); (c) on what dates were the present or former Ministers of Justice informed of (i) the existence of the Operational Data Analysis Centre, (ii) the retention of metadata or associated data pertaining to third-parties or individuals who were deemed not to pose a threat, (iii) the possibility this practice could be deemed unlawful, (iv) the fact that the Federal Court had not been properly informed of this practice; (d) how was the information communicated for each instance in (c); and (e) what is the total number of Canadians whose metadata has been stored by CSIS in each year since 2006?
    (Return tabled)

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I ask that the remaining questions then be allowed to stand.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota): Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The hon. member for Calgary Shepard is rising on a point of order.

Points of Order

[Business of the House]
    Mr. Speaker, I am rising on a point of order regarding a written question, in accordance with Standing Order 39 and Order Paper Question No. 510 that was on the Order Paper regarding the visit of the Chinese Premier and his stay at the Westin Hotel in Ottawa and, more specifically, the artificial wall outside the Premier's hotel that was constructed during his visit.
    According to O'Brien and Bosc on page 519, it says, “written questions are lengthy, often containing two or more subsections, and seek detailed or technical information from one or more government departments or agencies”.
    Furthermore, on page 520, it says:
    Given that the purpose of a written question is to seek and receive a precise, detailed answer, it is incumbent on a Member submitting a question for the Notice Paper “to ensure that it is formulated carefully enough to elicit the precise information sought”.
    I believe I had done this with Order Paper Question No. 510.
    Since Confederation, members have had the right to submit these questions to the government or to a specific ministry for a response within 45 days. Now, I have received a partial response to some of my questions, and I want to explain very clearly on this point of order.
    I submitted a 10-part question to the Order Paper on September 27, 2016. I received an itemized response from the Global Affairs, International Development and la Francophonie, and International Trade ministries in November to only three parts of my question that were itemized on the answer. These were sections e, i, and j, and they were satisfactory in my view. I do not contest the quality of the answer I have received thus far. I have waited this long, expecting a supplementary tabling this past Monday and Tuesday to provide answers to subsections a, b, c, d, f, g, and h. That supplementary answer has not been forthcoming, and therefore I am rising on this point of order today.
    I am not asking you, Mr. Speaker, to review the quality or accuracy of the response. I am asking you to address the lack of a response to parts of my Order Paper question duly submitted at the time and found to be in proper form by the clerk.
    Given that information on the construction of the wall outside of the Westin Hotel exists, it must be provided to the people of Canada. That is why I asked for the government to do so through this very specific use of the Order Paper question, to which the government is bound by parliamentary tradition as old as our country to respond to. The government has not responded to the whole of my question, and therefore it falls to you, Mr. Speaker, as the presiding officer of this House, to ensure that Standing Orders are upheld and that the questions be fully answered and the government be held to account for its seemingly preferential treatment of foreign Chinese officials.

  (1525)  

    I believe there is a point of order. Commenting on that, the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.
    Mr. Speaker, we will reserve and come back to the House to provide our perspective on the matter.

Motions for Papers

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

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Government Orders]

[English]

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act

Bill C-37—Time Allocation Motion  

    Mr. Speaker, an agreement has been reached between a majority of the representatives of the recognized parties under the provisions of Standing Order 78(2) with respect to the second reading stage of Bill C-37, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related amendments to other Acts.
    Therefore, I move:
    That, in relation to Bill C-37, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related amendments to other Acts, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration of the second reading stage of the said bill; and
    That, fifteen minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration of the second reading stage of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the stage of the bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.
     The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota): All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota): All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota): In my opinion the yeas have it.
    And five or more members having risen:
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota): Call in the members.

  (1610)  

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

(Division No. 184)

YEAS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Alleslev
Amos
Anandasangaree
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Ayoub
Badawey
Bagnell
Bains
Baylis
Beech
Bennett
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blaney (North Island—Powell River)
Boissonnault
Bossio
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Bratina
Breton
Brison
Brosseau
Caesar-Chavannes
Caron
Casey (Cumberland—Colchester)
Casey (Charlottetown)
Chagger
Champagne
Chan
Chen
Choquette
Christopherson
Cullen
Cuzner
Dabrusin
Damoff
Davies
DeCourcey
Dhillon
Di Iorio
Donnelly
Drouin
Dubé
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona)
Dusseault
Duvall
Dzerowicz
Easter
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Erskine-Smith
Eyking
Eyolfson
Fergus
Fillmore
Finnigan
Fisher
Fonseca
Fragiskatos
Fraser (West Nova)
Fraser (Central Nova)
Freeland
Fuhr
Garneau
Garrison
Gerretsen
Goldsmith-Jones
Goodale
Gould
Graham
Grewal
Hajdu
Hardcastle
Hardie
Harvey
Hehr
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Johns
Jolibois
Joly
Jones
Jordan
Jowhari
Julian
Kang
Khalid
Khera
Kwan
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lauzon (Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation)
Laverdière
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lefebvre
Lemieux
Leslie
Levitt
Lightbound
Lockhart
Long
Longfield
Ludwig
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacGregor
Malcolmson
Maloney
Masse (Windsor West)
Massé (Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia)
Mathyssen
May (Cambridge)
McCrimmon
McDonald
McGuinty
McKay
McKenna
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod (Northwest Territories)
Mendès
Mendicino
Mihychuk
Miller (Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs)
Monsef
Moore
Morneau
Morrissey
Mulcair
Murray
Nantel
Nassif
Nault
O'Connell
Oliphant
Oliver
O'Regan
Paradis
Peterson
Petitpas Taylor
Philpott
Picard
Poissant
Quach
Qualtrough
Ramsey
Rankin
Ratansi
Rioux
Robillard
Rodriguez
Romanado
Rudd
Ruimy
Rusnak
Saganash
Sahota
Saini
Sajjan
Samson
Sangha
Sansoucy
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schulte
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon)
Sikand
Simms
Sohi
Sorbara
Spengemann
Stetski
Tabbara
Tan
Tassi
Tootoo
Trudel
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vaughan
Virani
Weir
Whalen
Wilson-Raybould
Wrzesnewskyj
Young
Zahid

Total: -- 206

NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Albas
Allison
Anderson
Arnold
Barlow
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Bergen
Bernier
Berthold
Bezan
Block
Boucher
Boudrias
Brassard
Brown
Calkins
Carrie
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Cooper
Deltell
Diotte
Dreeshen
Eglinski
Gallant
Généreux
Genuis
Gladu
Gourde
Harder
Hoback
Jeneroux
Kelly
Kent
Kitchen
Kmiec
Lake
Lauzon (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Lebel
Liepert
Lobb
Lukiwski
MacKenzie
Maguire
Marcil
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McColeman
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
Miller (Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound)
Motz
Nater
Nicholson
Nuttall
Obhrai
O'Toole
Pauzé
Poilievre
Rayes
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Ritz
Saroya
Scheer
Schmale
Shields
Shipley
Stanton
Ste-Marie
Stubbs
Sweet
Thériault
Tilson
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vecchio
Viersen
Warkentin
Watts
Waugh
Webber
Wong
Yurdiga

Total: -- 86

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.
    Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that NDP members, who claim to care about this issue, would co-operate in this fashion.
    I propose to them another option. My House leader has circulated a motion to all parties, and I hope you will find unanimous consent for the proposal.
    The motion separates out the supervised injection sites section of the bill. It also adopts at all stages the remaining parts of the bill. We are also willing to allow the supervised injection sites section of the bill to go to committee today, without the need for time allocation. I know the members across would like that.
    Therefore, I ask for unanimous consent of the House for the following motion. I move that Bill C-37, an act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related amendments to other acts be divided into two bills: Bill C-37(A), an act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related amendments to other acts (supervised consumption sites), and Bill C-37(B), an act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related amendments to other acts; that Bill C-37(A) be composed of clause 26(6), new section 31(1.1); clause 26(7), revised section 31(8); clause 40(6), revised section 55(1)n; clause 40(14); clause 40(15); clause 41, and clause 42; that Bill C-37(B) be composed of all the remaining parts of Bill C-37; that the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel be authorized to make any technical changes or corrections as may be necessary; that the House order the printing of bills C-37(A) and C-37(B); and that Bill C-37(A) be placed on the Order Paper for consideration of the House at second reading and referral to the Standing Committee on Health; and Bill C-37(B) be deemed to have been read a second time and referred to committee of the whole, deemed considered in committee of the whole, deemed reported without amendment, deemed concurred at report stage, and deemed read a third time and passed.
    If we can get together and unanimously make these changes, we can start saving lives today, instead of having to go through procedural shenanigans. It would make a real difference to Canadians. I think we would all like to co-operate on that.

  (1615)  

    Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota): I am afraid consent does not exist.

[Translation]

Second reading  

    The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-37, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related amendments to other Acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the excellent member for Vancouver East.
    I thank the House for allowing me to speak today on Bill C-37, an act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related amendments to other acts. Before I get into the substance of Bill C-37, I would like to remind the House of some of the events that occurred before it was introduced.
    In 2011, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the federal government must grant Vancouver's safe injection site, Insite, and other such sites section 56 exemptions under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act in order to uphold the fundamental right of all people to life and security. The Supreme Court added that safe injection sites will “decrease the risk of death and disease, and there is little or no evidence that [they] will have a negative impact on public safety”.
    In response to this decision by Canada's highest court, the then Conservative government finally tabled Bill C-2 in 2015. With the thinly veiled intent of not allowing new supervised injection sites to open, the government put in place 26 conditions for obtaining a legal exemption, making it virtually impossible to open new centres.
    As if that were not enough, the bill also gave discretionary power to the minister responsible to refuse to grant the legal exemption even if the 26 conditions were met. I always maintained that it would not be possible to obtain an exemption given the number of requirements already imposed by the law. However, this discretionary power proves that the Conservatives were not going to allow, under any circumstances, new centres to open.
     I sat on the committee and heard witnesses, with supporting evidence, describe the benefits of injection sites, including harm reduction and public health, and tell us that public safety would not be jeopardized.
    By refusing to consider clear and compelling evidence that supervised injection sites save the lives of many very vulnerable people, the Conservatives and their ideological approach only continued to marginalize and criminalize people suffering from addiction. This unfortunately also resulted in overdoses and deaths that could have been prevented.
    A serious opioid crisis is plaguing the country, particularly the west coast, as my colleague, the member for Vancouver Kingsway, our health critic, has repeatedly stated here in the House.
    In 2016, in British Columbia alone, opioid overdoses took the lives of 914 people, 80% more than in 2015. In April, the situation prompted B.C. public health authorities to declare a state of emergency for the first time in the province's history.
    Although we do not have statistics for the number of overdose-related deaths in Canada, it is estimated to have been over 2,000 across the country in 2015. It is easy to imagine the death toll in 2016 being much higher because of the rapid spread of extremely powerful opioids across the country.
    Overdoses and drug-related deaths are on the rise in every part of the country, and the crisis is expected to hit Ontario and Quebec this year. The opioid crisis in Canada is now officially out of control.
    One of the main reasons the crisis is mounting is that fentanyl is cheap and easy to transport, and just a small amount can be used to make thousands of doses. Because this drug is so cheap, and because too few resources are invested in raising awareness and prevention, young and inexperienced users are overdosing. In many cases, they do not even know that there is fentanyl in the drug they are using.
     In February 2016, when the crisis was emerging, the New Democratic Party called for the repeal of Bill C-2 to make it easier for organizations to get legal exemptions to open supervised consumption sites.
    Last fall, the NDP got the Standing Committee on Health to study the opioid overdose crisis. In its report, the committee made 38 recommendations to the federal government.

  (1620)  

     We were also the first to request that a national public health emergency be declared in order to give the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada the authority to take extraordinary measures in order to coordinate a response to the opioid crisis, including the creation of injection sites on an emergency basis. Last December, after Bill C-37 was introduced, we also tried to have the bill fast-tracked in order to resolve the crisis as quickly as possible.
    The Liberals say they support supervised injection sites, and yet their government has not approved a single new facility since coming to power. In fact, the Minister of Health initially argued that legislative changes to Bill C-2 were not even necessary, even though the real problem was with the bill itself, with its 26 separate requirements acting as effective barriers to any new sites, as had been pointed out by stakeholders and the NDP.
    Faced with the growing crisis across the country and mounting pressure from stakeholders and the NDP, the Minister of Health finally gave in and, on December 12, 2016, introduced Bill C-37, which we are debating here today. Specifically, the bills seeks to simplify the process for applying for a legal exemption so that communities dealing with the opioid crisis can actually open supervised injection sites.
    In the preamble, the bill states:
    
    Whereas harm reduction is an important component of a comprehensive, compassionate and evidence-based drug policy that complements prevention, treatment and enforcement measures;
    It is in the context of harm prevention that the City of Montreal and the public health authority officially submitted their application for legal exemption in May 2015 for three fixed services in three neighbourhoods and one mobile service. They are still awaiting. It is not surprising. Not a single supervised consumption site has opened in Canada since Bill C-2 was passed.
    We are not the only ones calling for the government to move forward with implementing injection services. In summer 2015, the mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre, who wanted to get moving on this by the fall, said the following to The Montreal Gazette.

[English]

    “What are we waiting for? People are dying”.

[Translation]

    One year later, in July 2016, Sterling Downey, municipal councillor and Project Montréal critic, asked the mayor a question:

[English]

    “How do you go into the media and announce over a year ago that you're going to open these sites and back off and go radio silent?”

[Translation]

    Then, concerned organizations also tired of waiting. Jean-François Mary, executive director of the Association québécoise pour la promotion de la santé des personnes utilisatrices de drogues, had this to say to the Montreal Gazette.
    The organizations that are supposed to host the sites don’t even dare set opening dates anymore. We’re stuck in a grey area where, every year for the last three years, we’re told they’ll be open in the spring. But it doesn’t happen.”
    We need to move forward quickly. Many groups, such as Anonyme and Dopamine in Montreal, have been waiting for too long to establish services that have been proven to save lives.
    In the meantime, in Montreal alone, 70 people on average die every year as a result of drug overdoses. As I have already said, the crisis in western Canada will be coming to Quebec this year. Even without this crisis, and if only for the sake of harm reduction and public health, the services provided by supervised injection sites are vital.
    In Montreal, 68% of injection drug users have hepatitis C. Opening these centres could do much to decrease the incidence of disease related to the use of syringes. Speaking of syringes, Hochelaga, the riding I represent, is the second largest area in Montreal after the downtown area, which has the largest number of injection drug users. A supervised injection site could help get needles out of parks where our children play.
    I will support this bill in the hope that it will come into effect quickly.

  (1625)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, first, I want to express my appreciation that the New Democrats have recognized the importance of getting this bill through. It is something that will make a profound, positive difference.
    As we have seen, different levels of government and many different stakeholders are coming together to advance the issue. That is really what it is about. It goes beyond the legislation.
    What Canada needs most at this point is to recognize that we are in a national crisis. Would the member not agree that when we talk about the opioid crisis, one of the things we need to do is recognize that there are many players who need to get involved? If we are successful, we will minimize the harms and the tragic deaths that are occurring every day in Canada. That means working with our provincial counterparts, municipal counterparts, first responders, and the many other stakeholders that can make a difference.
    It is time for us in Ottawa to continue to show strong leadership on this file. Where we can advance, let us move forward. Would the member agree?

  (1630)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, in my riding, we have been working for years with the authorities, including the mayor of Montreal, the chief public health officer, and the police.
    Everyone agrees that safe injection sites are necessary. There is going to be one in my riding. We have known for a long time that everyone has to work on this, and everyone agrees.
    What is more, we have been calling on the minister for at least a year to finally introduce a bill that would allow for the creation of safe injection sites. We are anxious for that to happen. That is why we are asking that this bill be passed as quickly as possible.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, last night I was here and I listened to the NDP rage for hours against the Liberal government. Today we came into question period and we heard that their whole electoral reform position has been betrayed by the government.
    The New Democrats had the opportunity about a half-hour or an hour ago to start saving lives today. They chose to stand against that. We could have taken huge steps today, right now, to deal with this ongoing opioid crisis, and New Democrats have chosen not to support that.
    For years and years we have heard them talking about time allocation and raging against it. Today we find the New Democrats in bed with the Liberals.
    Can the member tell us why New Democrats are now supporting the Liberals in their ongoing attempt to limit debate on bills in this House, including on Bill C-37?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to say that the rules of Parliament are not what is important in my riding. What is important is the lives of people who are dying.
    We have been saying for months that this bill needs to be passed as quickly as possible, and this is one way of achieving that goal.
    I understood from the proposal that the Conservatives made earlier that they want to remove safe injection sites from this bill.
    I just gave a 10-minute speech about how important these safe injection sites are. I have no intention of getting them removed from the bill because this bill is about to be sent to committee. It will be fully debated there, and safe injection sites will remain part of this bill.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, how important does the member believe it is to ensure that not only those affected by this directly but their family and friends around them can benefit from greater intervention right now and from supports in the future?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, addiction is an illness. The Supreme Court recognized that.
    People with drug addictions have families who are suffering just as much as they are. These situations are very difficult to deal with. A bill that will help people overcome that problem is exactly what we want, and we have been waiting for this bill for a long time. It will help addicts and their families. 

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that the opioid crisis unfolding right now in our communities, big and small, right across Canada, is nothing short of a national emergency. The suffering and damage this crisis is causing, not just in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, the epicentre of the crisis, but in Vancouver East and cities across British Columbia and Canada, is absolutely devastating.
    I am very grateful for the Herculean efforts of first responders, front-line workers, medical practitioners, family members, advocates, and activists who have and are continuing to work tirelessly to save lives in the midst of this terrible crisis.
    People are dying in our communities. Both the city of Vancouver's chief medical health officer, Dr. Patricia Daly, and the provincial health officer, Dr. Perry Kendall, have declared this crisis a medical health emergency. In fact, this is the first time in the history of British Columbia that a health emergency has been declared.
    It was noted by Dr. David Juurlink, head of clinical pharmacology and toxicology at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, that the number of overdose deaths across Canada has vastly outpaced the toll during the 2003 SARS crisis that gripped this country and was declared an emergency by the Ontario government. He stated, “Forty-four people died of SARS. We lose 70 people a week to opioids in Canada”.
    Still, the federal Minister of Health has refused to declare this a national health emergency.
    From the beginning of 2016 to October 2016, 338 Albertans died from an apparent drug overdose related to opioids. Fentanyl was involved in 193 of them. Two Ontarians die from opioid overdoses a day. An average of 79 people die of drug overdoses every year in Montreal. If this is not a national health emergency, I do not know what is.
    Today I am here once again urging the government to do what is right and what is necessary: declare a national public health emergency. Let us remember as we debate Bill C-37 that people in communities across the country are still dying.
    Bill C-37 came on the heels of an announcement by the B.C. government, which was no longer willing to wait for federal approval and decided that it would take “the extraordinary measure” of signing a ministerial order making the provincial operation of temporary overdose prevention sites legal.
    For those who want to put up roadblocks to harm reduction initiatives, including supervised injection facilities, I say this. It has been more than a decade since Insite, the first supervised injection facility in North America, was established. There has not been one single overdose death in that facility. Insite has saved countless lives. It has reduced the spread of diseases. The evidence is clear, and it is irrefutable.
    Van East led the way, and I am so proud of the progressive forces and the movement in a community that cares so deeply that it took this issue and drove it until we had the first supervised injection facility in North America.
    I still recall vividly the imagery of 1,000 crosses planted at Oppenheimer Park in our community, what we call the killing fields. Each one of those crosses bears a name, the name of a person who somebody loved in our community, a daughter, a son, an aunt, an uncle, somebody's child. I still recall how family and friends came together and mourned those preventable deaths. It was a call to action, and we drove the issue and eventually Insite was established.
    It is sad to me that despite this irrefutable evidence-based outcome, there are still those who want to block this critical health measure.

  (1635)  

    The former government took every step possible to undermine the work of Insite. Even after the Supreme Court of Canada's 9-0 decision that ordered the government to exempt Insite from prosecution, stating clearly that the government cannot close Insite because of its ideology, the Harper government passed Bill C-2, the ill-named Respect for Communities Act, which introduced near insurmountable barriers to opening new supervised injection sites in Canada. The roadblocks have been widely condemned and no doubt have contributed to preventable deaths.
    After more than a year of foot-dragging, thousands of overdoses, and hundreds of needless deaths, the Liberal government today is finally bringing in measures to address the ideological relic of the years past.
    While I support Bill C-37, to be clear, I would much rather that the bill was about repealing Bill C-2. Nonetheless, this is a move in the right direction. It is a step forward, so I am here to support it.
    Bill C-37 has to get through the House, then it has to be sent to committee, then has to go to the Senate. It will be some time before the bill passes. I want to applaud my colleague, the member for Vancouver Kingsway, the NDP's critic for health. His proposal to try to get the bill through all stages as quickly as possible, sadly was rejected.
    Many concerned citizens and organizers are so frustrated by the glaring absence of substantive action on this that they have felt compelled to act unilaterally with pop-up supervised injection sites. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. This is a testament to those individuals' courage and dedication to saving lives in our community.
    Let me take a moment to thank them and acknowledge the numerous volunteers and activists; the leadership shown by Ann Livingston and her peers at VANDU; Sarah Blyth, the former Vancouver Park Board chair; and many others for their incredible dedication and caring. Were it not for their efforts, I can say with confidence that many more people would have died.
    In going forward, as we wait for Bill C-37 to become law, what action can be taken to save lives? Let me start with a shout-out to all the tireless first responders for their incredible efforts.
     I heard first-hand from firefighters about their experiences in this crisis, particularly from those men and women at Fire Hall No. 2, with the incredible overload of calls that came into that hall and the stresses firefighters had to face each and every day as they had to witness death. Imagine that as their work every single day.
    It is not limited to Fire Hall No. 2 in my riding. In fact, all the other fire halls in my community across East Van have had an increase in calls with respect to overdose challenges and issues. I heard from firefighters who told me that during their shifts, sometimes they would have two, three, four, or more calls to go out and try to save lives. That is what they are faced with. Imagine the stress.
    The BC Coalition of Nursing Associations hosted an emergency forum on the nursing response to the opioid crisis. Like so many, they are devastated by this medical health emergency, and they themselves are suffering from stress, trauma, and exhaustion. All first responders, nurses, health care workers at emergency rooms, and front-line workers with NGOs are overextended, and they deserve our support.
    While the Minister of Health said that the Liberals would take action and provide support to first responders, we are still waiting. Let us get on with it.
     I want to say that we need to do much more. We need to move to a longer-term resolution. Real effort needs to be made to provide addiction treatment. For some, traditional treatment works; for others, not so much. We need to move forward with providing treatment that deals with the addiction, including opioid prescriptions and opioid substitutes. The goal of stabilizing people and getting them away from the illegal market saves lives.
    We also need to look at the issues around the social determinants of health. We need safe, secure, affordable housing. We need to address poverty. We need to look at the issue of breaking that cycle. We need to address aboriginal child apprehension.
    We need a comprehensive approach so that we can move forward once and for all and save lives.

  (1640)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have had the opportunity to live in Vancouver in the past and to work in the Chinatown legal clinic, which I believe is part of the hon. member's riding.
    I want to get her perspective on what the bill would mean for her riding and why it ultimately would be critical in saving lives. I am quite familiar with the substantive problem of drug abuse in that area.
    I also want to ask a supplementary question with respect to her continuing call for a state of emergency from the Minister of Health and why that declaration would actually bring any additional powers to the chief public health officer.
    Mr. Speaker, to answer the last question first, a declaration from the federal government of a public health emergency would allow for federal funding and co-ordination to be made available across the country. As well, the creation of what we call pop-up sites, these temporary safe injection sites, on an emergency basis would be facilitated.
    Right now in our communities these pop-up sites have occurred, and they have been proven to save lives. This needs to be multiplied across the country. We can model actual best practices on how we can save lives. If the federal government declared a public health emergency, it would actually allow for that to take place.
    On the question of others in Vancouver East, particularly those in Chinatown, and their thoughts around harm reduction, there has been a number of different perspectives, and some of course are very concerned about it. We have to educate people not to use fear to trumpet division. First and foremost, we have to put this forward. If we cannot prevent the death of people, they will never detox, will they? This and harm reduction are all about that.

  (1645)  

    Mr. Speaker, everyone in the House wants to do the right thing and recognizes that we have a real issue, especially my colleagues from British Columbia who are really at the coal face of this issue.
    We just had a motion that would actually facilitate the vast majority of the bill going right through the system and up to the Senate. We do have some legitimate debate that can happen around community consultations. Perhaps what was in Bill C-2, the Respect for Communities Act, has now been completely gutted.
    I know that communities can provide much wisdom. We thought having a methodical process around how communities engaged about a safe consumption was worthy of more debate.
    How can the member justify taking the vast majority of the bill, on which we all agree is very important, and delay it? To be quite frank, this will perhaps create a number of weeks of additional delay.
    Mr. Speaker, the people who created delays in ensuring that harm reduction initiatives were happening in our community and the supervised injection facilities were available as a provision of health measures in communities across the country were from the previous government. Even though the Supreme Court of Canada said “no” to the former government's approach, we still are fighting that fight.
    The evidence of Insite is overwhelming. It saves lives. It prevents the spread of diseases. It actually reduces chaos in our community. What more do we need to demonstrate that it is an effective health measure?
    We need to move forward with it. To suggest that somehow we can move this forward without including a supervised injection facility is simply not acceptable. We know it has proven to save lives. If we truly want to do that, then let us get on with it.

[Translation]

    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 Nanaimo—Ladysmith, Transportation; the hon. member for Calgary Nose Hill, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship; and the hon. member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, Indigenous Affairs.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak in support of Bill C-37, an act that would better equip both health and law enforcement officials to reduce the harms associated with problematic substance use in Canada.
    One of the many important amendments proposed in the bill is to streamline the application process for communities seeking to establish supervised consumption sites. Supervised consumption sites are controlled hygienic settings where people can bring previously obtained drugs to use under the supervision of health care professionals and gain access to or information regarding other health and social services, including treatment. In other words, supervised consumption sites are a harm reduction measure and have been proven to be effective for communities where they are needed.
    Our government, since the beginning of its mandate, has been very clear in its support for harm reduction measures. These measures have been proven to reduce the negative health and social impacts associated with problematic substance abuse.
    Addiction is a complex issue. I also want to be clear with my fellow members in the House that addiction is a health issue and not a criminal one. Not every individual will respond positively to the same treatment and not every individual is even willing or able to enter treatment on any given day. Evidence demonstrates that individuals who are outside of treatment are at increased risk of major health and social harms, including overdose and death. This is why we must be pragmatic in our response and must let evidence guide us to effective solutions. Now, more than ever, as our country grapples with an ever-increasing opioid crisis, it is essential that evidence-based harm reduction measures be part of the government's comprehensive drug policy.
    On December 12, the Minister of Health announced the new Canadian drugs and substances strategy, which restores harm reduction as a key pillar alongside prevention, treatment, and enforcement. Officially including harm reduction in Canada's new drug strategy was the first step. Putting that commitment into action to save lives is the next step.
    The evidence available on the effectiveness of properly establishing and maintaining supervised consumption sites is indisputable. These sites save lives without having a negative impact on the surrounding community. Let me be clear. This commitment will save lives, including in my community.
    Surrey and, more broadly, British Columbia face a health crisis. I take solace in how neighbourhoods, communities, cities, the province, and now the federal government have stepped up to respond. I often hear stories in my riding of how this drug has devastated lives and families, but for every one story I hear, I hear three more about how folks have stepped up and responded, whether it is local soup kitchens or the newly created Surrey RCMP Outreach Team, which, in the last two weeks, responded to over 55 overdoses. It is heartening to see how Canadians have come together to respond to this crisis, and this new drug strategy is the next step.
    I should have mentioned earlier, Mr. Speaker, that I will be sharing my time with the member of Parliament for Victoria.
    This legislation is widely viewed by public health experts as a barrier to establishing new supervised consumption sites in communities where they are wanted and needed to help prevent the spread of disease and countless overdose deaths. It is time for these barriers to be removed and I am proud that Bill C-37 proposes to do just that.
    Bill C-37 would support the establishment of supervised consumption sites by assuring communities that their voices would be heard and that each application would be subject to a comprehensive review, while, at the same time, starting from a position that would recognize and acknowledge the compelling evidence that supervised consumption sites work.
     In 2011, the Supreme Court of Canada considered this same evidence and concluded that where a "site will decrease the risk of death and disease, and there is little or no evidence that it will have a negative impact on public safety, the Minister should generally grant an exemption."

  (1650)  

    To guide the making of future decisions, the Supreme Court set out five factors that must be considered. These include: evidence, if any, on the impact of such a facility on crime rates; the local conditions indicating a need for such a site; the regulatory structure in place the support the facility; the resources available to support its maintenance; and expression of community support or opposition.
    Bill C-37 respects the decision rendered by the highest court in Canada by proposing to replace the 26-point criteria currently in legislation with these five factors.
    Reducing the number of criteria applicants would have to address would relieve the administrative burden on communities seeking to establish a supervised consumption site, but it would do so without compromising the health and safety of those operating the site, its clients, or the surrounding community.
    To help applicants through the supervised consumption site application process, our government would post an application form and simplified guidance document online. The application would indicate the type of information that would support the five Supreme Court criteria and would reduce unnecessary burden on applicants.
    With respect to other stakeholders, such as the municipal government and local police, their views would continue to be considered through the requirement for broad community consultation, thus removing the need to attain formal letters from these stakeholders.
    The proposed amendments will also simply the information required to support an application. For example, applicants will no longer be required to submit evidence that supervised consumption sites are effective and have public health benefits. The evidence in this regard is clear. Instead, applicants will need to demonstrate the need for the site and the public health benefits of the proposed site for their local community.
    Further, with respect to renewals, existing supervised consumption sites would not longer require application. Instead, a renewal would simply be requested by informing Health Canada of any changes to the information that was submitted as part of a site's last application. This proposal will ensure that the existing sites can focus on serving the needs of their community rather than filling out onerous application forms.
    Beyond the criteria, the Respect for Communities Act also includes specific principles that the minister must consider when evaluating an application.
    Bill C-37 proposes to remove these principles so that decisions on applications can be based on evidence. It will also increase transparency around the decision made on applications for supervised consumption sites.
    If passed, the bill will require decisions on applications to be made public including, if applicable, the reasons for refusing an application.
    Our government is committed to making objective, transparent, and evidence-based decisions on any future application to establish supervised consumption sites, and we are committed to making those decisions within a reasonable time frame.
    I can assure the House that the review process would continue to be comprehensive, but it would no longer present unnecessary barriers.
     These proposed changes will introduce flexibility into the application process so it can be adapted and updated over time to reflect new science and allow communities to respond more quickly to emerging health issues.
    I hope all members of the House will support this important legislation so we can better support communities in their effort to address this serious public health issue.

  (1655)  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Before we have a vote on shutting down debate on this very important bill, which I know will save lives, I want to give my parliamentary colleagues in the Liberal government, the NDP, and all members in this place another opportunity to reconsider their refusal to pass critical portions of the bill that can start saving lives today. I know my colleagues and all parties want to save lives. I know the Minister of Health, who is a physician, wants to do the right thing.
     Therefore, I will repeat my earlier proposal and seek consent to adopt a motion that separates out the supervised injection site section of the bill. This proposal would also adopt, at all stages, the remaining parts of the bill. We are also willing to allow the supervised injection section of the bill to go to committee today.
    I therefore ask for the unanimous consent of the House for the following motion: That Bill C-37, an act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related amendments to other acts be divided into two bills: Bill C-37(A), an act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related amendments to other acts (supervised consumption sites) and Bill C-37(B), an act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related amendments to other acts; that Bill C-37(A) be composed of clause 26(6), new section 31(1.1); clause 26(7), revised section 31(8); clause 40(6), revised section 55(1)n; clause 40(14); clause 40(15); clause 41, and clause 42; that Bill C-37(B) be composed of all the remaining parts of Bill C-37; that the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel be authorized to make any technical changes or corrections as may be necessary; that the House order the printing of bills C-37(A) and C-37(B); and that Bill C-37(A) be placed on the Order Paper for consideration of the House at second reading and referral to the Standing Committee on Health; and Bill C-37(B) be deemed to have been read a second time and referred to committee of the whole, deemed considered in committee of the whole, deemed reported without amendment, deemed concurred at report stage, and deemed read a third time and passed.
    If we did this, we would be able to expedite the entire procedure of moving this forward. Now that my colleagues have had time to reconsider, I think we can get unanimous consent for this.

  (1700)  

    Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    Mr. Speaker, to contribute to this debate, I want to ask my colleague this. What I have just proposed in my amendment would mean exactly what he talked about in his speech. What the government is proposing is that we shut down debate and this whole bill will go to committee, and that will take time. What I am proposing is that we can work immediately on passing the parts of the bill that there is no conflict on and immediately send the supervised injection part of it to committees.
     Therefore, if he really wants to start saving lives right away, this is the best way to do it. We are willing. We are very sincere. I do not understand why my colleagues on the Liberal side do not want to move this forward immediately. Could he explain to the House why he voted against this?
    Mr. Speaker, I voted against this because the member is dissecting a bill and having only one part of it sent to committee. We are asking for the whole part to be sent to committee.
    We'll pass the rest of it. We'll pass it right now.
    Mr. Speaker, the whole part is essential, and that is the best way to deal with this bill.
    Before I go to the next round of questions and comments, I want to remind hon. members that the way it works is a member asks a question and waits for an answer, not screaming or shouting across the floor while the answer is coming because one cannot really hear what the other is answering to the question. That just seems logical to me. I thought I would bring that up.
    Mr. Speaker, I was one of the individuals who said no because a great deal of effort and consultations has taken place with many different stakeholders, including provinces, municipalities, first responders, and many others, who recognized the value of this entire legislation. The member tried a second time to divide the bill. If he really wants to contribute to resolving this problem, he needs to recognize and recommend to his caucus that we pass the bill in its entirety. There will no doubt be an opportunity to vote on it. I hope the Conservative Party, collectively, will support the bill going to committee and somehow even allowing it to pass through committee and third reading.
     The NDP has recognized the importance of the legislation. The Government of Canada has done its homework in presenting this entire bill. Would the member not agree with me that if the Conservatives recognize this as a crisis situation, as the NDP has, they would see the value in keeping the bill intact and passing it in a timely fashion?
    Mr. Speaker, I could not agree more with my colleague, the member for Winnipeg North. Had members of the opposite side been very sincere in their approach to have safe injection sites or substance sites, they would not have made it so onerous in the past.
    Perhaps we would have been on the front line today in dealing with substance abuse. We would have had more of these centres opened up. We would have had first responders with better resources. Instead, we are, in 2017, working on something that should have been done in 2011. It should have been easier back then, so that we could have dealt with this last year in a much more effective manner.
    Therefore, if the intent of those members is to actually work with the Supreme Court decision, work with first responders, and work with those who are affected by the devastating affects of this illicit drug, then they would not have done that, and they would expedite the smooth and safe passage of this bill through committee and on to second reading.

  (1705)  

    Mr. Speaker, the bill says that the minister has the final say on the injection site location and approval. If there is a conflict between the local municipality and the minister,whose authority will be followed?
    Mr. Speaker, the onus is going to be on evidence, and the evidence will speak volumes. This decision should not be political. No Nimbyism should exist here, which is why an evidence-based decision shall be made.
    If there is a conflict, that is where the minister would have to use her judicial authority to make such a decision. However, it should be entirely based on evidence, and the evidence will be based on the Supreme Court decision of 2011.
    Mr. Speaker, let me begin by saying a few words about how this affects the people of Victoria who sent me here to speak on their behalf. Where I come from this is not an academic debate; it is a crisis across our community.
    In the first 11 months of last year, my community lost 60 people to overdoses. I personally know families who have lost loved ones. None of us remain unaffected. We have been robbed of far too many people who might still be our friends, our neighbours, and coworkers today if we had the services to prevent overdoses and provide the treatment that is so desperately needed in our community. Still, people in Victoria and across British Columbia have taken what action they can in the absence of leadership from their federal government.
    Last April, British Columbia declared the first public health emergency in our history. In December, the provincial health minister authorized temporary overdose prevention sites. There are now three such sites in my city of Victoria.
    On January 4, thanks to the hard work of so many in our community, the Vancouver Island Health Authority submitted an application for the first full service safe consumption site in Victoria, and there will be more. That application is now before the Minister of Health, and I hope that she will do everything in her power as I will do everything in mine to see that this life-saving community initiative is approved without further delay.
    The hard work of those who are fighting to save lives on the streets of Victoria has not been in vain. Because of their efforts, we have three small overdose prevention sites in place. In its first month, one such site reported an overdose nearly every day. But because the right services were available, not a single life was lost. That is the difference these services make in the real world. That is why we called for this legislation a year ago. That is why we will not allow it to be delayed any further.
    To understand the scale and urgency of this crisis, we need to look beyond our own communities. My home province, British Columbia, lost 914 citizens to illicit drug overdoses just last year. That is not only the deadliest year on record for us, it is on par with the highest overdose rates among the American states. Last year, Ontario lost two citizens a day. That many lives are now lost each and every day in the city of Vancouver alone.
    Some 2,000 Canadians died of this in 2015. We know that many more died in 2016 as powerful opioids like fentanyl spread across the country. I know it can be hard to give meaning to numbers like that unless we know some of the victims by name.
    Consider what my colleague from Vancouver Kingsway, our NDP health critic, reminded us of yesterday. In 2003, we lost 44 Canadians during the SARS crisis. During the opioid crisis, we are now losing that many fellow citizens every week. If 40 or 50 Canadians were dying of an infectious disease every week, this House surely would not stand idly by. So let me address something head-on.
    There are some in this place who think there is nothing we can do to stop the crisis, who think that addiction represents a moral failure, that it has always existed on the margins of society, and all that has changed is that the drugs just get stronger.
    For too long, that outdated view guided government policy, and refused to bend to evidence from doctors, courts, and front-line workers. So let us be clear. What we are facing today is unlike anything Canada has ever experienced before.
    This is not just about Downtown Eastside Vancouver. It is about suburban kids experimenting with recreational drugs that turn out to be laced with opiates 100 times stronger than heroin, and then they die. It is about athletes and office workers becoming dependent on prescription painkillers, folks who have never struggled before with addiction, but now have nowhere to turn but the street.

  (1710)  

    It is about firefighters and paramedics who have to wear masks to stop inhaling drugs so powerful that a dose no bigger than a grain of salt can be deadly. Opioid use disorder is a disease and it should be treated as such. One of those firefighters is Chris Coleman. He came from Vancouver to testify before the House health committee. He said this:
    It takes a toll...to work extremely hard but to feel that you are having little or no impact on a problem that is growing exponentially, like a tidal wave, on the streets of your city.
...our brothers and sisters who work in the Downtown Eastside are in trouble. They feel abandoned and they feel hopeless.
    It has taken the government far too long to act, but now we have a bill before us that can begin to help. By passing this bill we can lift the barriers, some of them at least, that prevent communities from establishing life-saving safe consumption sites. We can send a signal to provinces, like British Columbia, that the federal government will step up and do its part. We can show people like Chris Coleman, and the thousands of firefighters and paramedics, police officers, and front-line workers like him, that they are not abandoned, that their work does matter, that we do care, and that their community has their back.
    We have to be realistic. This bill alone will not solve the opioid crisis. We are here because government after government has failed to invest in detox, treatment, education, and prevention. The government has failed to put in place that foundation of services that would save lives and connect drug users to the support they need to stabilize and begin the long journey out of addiction.
    Hundreds of Canadians are now dying in the gaps that governments have let grow year after year. For more than a year, we have been calling for a bill to repeal the Conservatives' Bill C-2 and lift the barriers that the previous government erected to make it harder for communities to open life-saving safe consumption sites. When I spoke to that bill, I called it the “24 ways to say 'no' act”.
    It has taken far too long to get here. I regret that the government took so long to come around to our point of view and accept that legislative action repealing Bill C-2, or replacing it, was necessary. Thankfully, here we are.
    Bill C-37 would save lives. We must pass it as soon as possible. For that reason, the NDP moved in December to fast-track the bill right to the Senate. It was blocked. I want to make sure that does not happen again and that we get this done.
    I will continue to urge the minister to declare a public health emergency and allow emergency overdose prevention sites to operate legally across the country. I will continue to call on the government to use the powers it already has and expedite applications from cities like Montreal, Victoria, and Toronto, that have been gathering dust as Health Canada sits around and looks at them for months at a time. I will continue to ask why the government continues to ignore the recommendations from major cities, medical authorities, and even Parliament's own health committee, on other steps to turn the tide on this crisis.
    In conclusion, passing this bill is not sufficient, but it is necessary. Therefore, on behalf of a Canadian community at ground zero in this crisis, I urge all members to support this life-saving bill and pass it now before more Canadians are lost to this preventable crisis.

  (1715)  

[Translation]

    It being 5:15 p.m., pursuant to order made earlier today, it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the second reading stage of the bill now before the House.

[English]

     The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota): All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota): All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota): In my opinion the yeas have it.
    And five or more members having risen:
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota): Call in the members.

  (1755)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 185)

YEAS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Alleslev
Amos
Anandasangaree
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Ayoub
Badawey
Bagnell
Bains
Barsalou-Duval
Baylis
Beaulieu
Beech
Bennett
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blaney (North Island—Powell River)
Boissonnault
Bossio
Boudrias
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Bratina
Breton
Brison
Brosseau
Caesar-Chavannes
Caron
Casey (Cumberland—Colchester)
Casey (Charlottetown)
Chagger
Champagne
Chan
Chen
Choquette
Christopherson
Cuzner
Dabrusin
Damoff
Davies
DeCourcey
Dhillon
Di Iorio
Donnelly
Drouin
Dubé
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona)
Dusseault
Duvall
Dzerowicz
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Erskine-Smith
Eyking
Eyolfson
Fergus
Fillmore
Finnigan
Fisher
Fonseca
Foote
Fragiskatos
Fraser (West Nova)
Fraser (Central Nova)
Freeland
Fuhr
Garneau
Garrison
Gerretsen
Goldsmith-Jones
Goodale
Gould
Graham
Grewal
Hajdu
Hardcastle
Hardie
Harvey
Hehr
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Johns
Jolibois
Joly
Jones
Jordan
Jowhari
Julian
Kang
Khalid
Khera
Kwan
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lauzon (Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation)
Laverdière
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lefebvre
Lemieux
Leslie
Levitt
Lightbound
Lockhart
Long
Longfield
Ludwig
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacGregor
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Malcolmson
Maloney
Marcil
Masse (Windsor West)
Massé (Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia)
Mathyssen
May (Cambridge)
McCrimmon
McDonald
McGuinty
McKay
McKenna
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod (Northwest Territories)
Mendès
Mendicino
Mihychuk
Miller (Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs)
Monsef
Moore
Morneau
Morrissey
Mulcair
Murray
Nantel
Nassif
Nault
O'Connell
Oliphant
Oliver
O'Regan
Paradis
Pauzé
Peterson
Petitpas Taylor
Philpott
Picard
Poissant
Quach
Qualtrough
Ramsey
Rankin
Ratansi
Rioux
Robillard
Rodriguez
Romanado
Rudd
Ruimy
Rusnak
Saganash
Sahota
Saini
Sajjan
Samson
Sangha
Sansoucy
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schulte
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon)
Sikand
Simms
Sohi
Sorbara
Spengemann
Ste-Marie
Stetski
Stewart
Tabbara
Tan
Tassi
Thériault
Tootoo
Trudeau
Trudel
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vaughan
Virani
Weir
Whalen
Wilkinson
Wilson-Raybould
Wrzesnewskyj
Young
Zahid

Total: -- 216

NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Albas
Allison
Ambrose
Barlow
Bergen
Bernier
Berthold
Bezan
Boucher
Brassard
Brown
Calkins
Carrie
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Cooper
Deltell
Diotte
Dreeshen
Eglinski
Finley
Généreux
Genuis
Gladu
Gourde
Harder
Hoback
Jeneroux
Kelly
Kent
Kitchen
Kmiec
Lake
Lauzon (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Lebel
Liepert
Lobb
Lukiwski
MacKenzie
Maguire
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McColeman
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
Miller (Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound)
Motz
Nater
Nicholson
Nuttall
O'Toole
Paul-Hus
Poilievre
Rayes
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Ritz
Saroya
Scheer
Schmale
Shields
Shipley
Stanton
Stubbs
Sweet
Tilson
Trost
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vecchio
Viersen
Warkentin
Waugh
Wong
Yurdiga

Total: -- 76

PAIRED

Nil

    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)


PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS

[Private Members' Business]

[English]

Gender Equality Week Act

    The House resumed from January 30 consideration of the motion that Bill C-309, An Act to establish Gender Equality Week, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Pursuant to order made on Tuesday, January 31 the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-309.

  (1805)  

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

(Division No. 186)

YEAS

Members

Aboultaif
Albas
Aldag
Alghabra
Alleslev
Allison
Ambrose
Amos
Anandasangaree
Arnold
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Ayoub
Badawey
Bagnell
Bains
Barlow
Barsalou-Duval
Baylis
Beaulieu
Beech
Bennett
Bergen
Bernier
Berthold
Bezan
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blaney (North Island—Powell River)
Boissonnault
Bossio
Boucher
Boudrias
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brassard
Bratina
Breton
Brison
Brosseau
Brown
Caesar-Chavannes
Calkins
Caron
Carrie
Casey (Cumberland—Colchester)
Casey (Charlottetown)
Chagger
Champagne
Chan
Chen
Chong
Choquette
Christopherson
Clarke
Clement
Cooper
Cuzner
Dabrusin
Damoff
Davies
DeCourcey
Deltell
Dhillon
Di Iorio
Diotte
Donnelly
Dreeshen
Drouin
Dubé
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona)
Dusseault
Duvall
Dzerowicz
Eglinski
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Erskine-Smith
Eyking
Eyolfson
Fergus
Fillmore
Finley
Finnigan
Fisher
Fonseca
Foote
Fragiskatos
Fraser (West Nova)
Fraser (Central Nova)
Freeland
Fuhr
Garneau
Garrison
Généreux
Genuis
Gerretsen
Gladu
Goldsmith-Jones
Goodale
Gould
Gourde
Graham
Grewal
Hajdu
Hardcastle
Harder
Hardie
Hehr
Hoback
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Jeneroux
Johns
Jolibois
Joly
Jones
Jordan
Jowhari
Julian
Kang
Kelly
Kent
Khalid
Khera
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kwan
Lake
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lauzon (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Lauzon (Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation)
Laverdière
Lebel
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lefebvre
Lemieux
Leslie
Levitt
Liepert
Lightbound
Lobb
Lockhart
Long
Longfield
Ludwig
Lukiwski
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacGregor
MacKenzie
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maguire
Malcolmson
Maloney
Marcil
Masse (Windsor West)
Massé (Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia)
Mathyssen
May (Cambridge)
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McColeman
McCrimmon
McDonald
McGuinty
McKay
McKenna
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
McLeod (Northwest Territories)
Mendès
Mendicino
Mihychuk
Miller (Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs)
Monsef
Moore
Morneau
Morrissey
Motz
Mulcair
Murray
Nantel
Nassif
Nater
Nault
Nicholson
Nuttall
O'Connell
Oliphant
Oliver
O'Regan
O'Toole
Paradis
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Peterson
Petitpas Taylor
Philpott
Picard
Poilievre
Poissant
Quach
Qualtrough
Ramsey
Rankin
Ratansi
Rayes
Reid
Rempel
Rioux
Ritz
Robillard
Rodriguez
Romanado
Rudd
Ruimy
Rusnak
Saganash
Sahota
Saini
Sajjan
Samson
Sangha
Sansoucy
Sarai
Saroya
Scarpaleggia
Schmale
Schulte
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Shields
Sidhu (Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon)
Sikand
Simms
Sohi
Sorbara
Spengemann
Stanton
Ste-Marie
Stetski
Stewart
Sweet
Tabbara
Tan
Tassi
Thériault
Tilson
Tootoo
Trudeau
Trudel
Van Loan
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vaughan
Vecchio
Viersen
Virani
Warkentin
Watts
Waugh
Webber
Weir
Whalen
Wilkinson
Wilson-Raybould
Wong
Wrzesnewskyj
Young
Yurdiga
Zahid

Total: -- 287

NAYS

Members

Trost

Total: -- 1

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on the Status of Women.

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


ADJOURNMENT PROCEEDINGS

[Adjournment Proceedings]
    A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

  (1810)  

[English]

Transportation  

    Madam Speaker, when I last rose in the House to address the issue of abandoned vessels, we were clear about what the problem was.
    For maybe 15 years now coastal communities have been describing a myriad of bureaucracy that has made it impossible for them to identify which federal department, oceans being under federal jurisdiction, would deal with an abandoned vessel creating a navigation problem, or an oil spill, or visual harm to their community. People would phone Nav Canada and be told to phone Coast Guard. Coast Guard would tell them to phone Environment. Environment would tell them to phone the province if the vessel was washed up on the land.
     It was a mess. It was embarrassing. I know a local community organization which for 10 years tried to find a federal or a provincial partner that would work with it to remove these abandoned vessels. Whether they are old commercial fishing vessels, whether they are worn-out fibreglass vessels, and whether it is because we are having more and more storms or more and more bankruptcies, more of these vessels are showing up on our shorelines.
    Coastal communities have been very patient and very persistent on this matter. I want to give a special shout-out to leaders in my own riding of Nanaimo—Ladysmith, particularly Stz'uminus Chief John Elliott, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and former mayor Rob Hutchins, who are very strong leaders. Together we got a significant vessel removed with the help of the former minister of fisheries and oceans, the member for Nunavut. We are very grateful for that, and it was a big win for our community.
    However, we are looking for permanent solutions so that communities do not have to work as hard as Ladysmith did to have this four-year-old problem resolved. This problem was from a vessel towed into the harbour by Transport Canada. This did not originate in Ladysmith.
    I will mention the solutions that I have been proposing, both in my role as local government and now as member of Parliament. One is to make Coast Guard one-stop shopping so people do not get the runaround. Coast Guard can negotiate with its various other member departments regarding who will take ultimate responsibility, but it is one-stop shopping. There should be more resources for Coast Guard obviously, because it is already doing this work off the side of its desks. Other things would be fibreglass recycling, innovation and research, and investment, because we need to find a market for this product. There should be an amnesty on abandoned boats, a kind of “bring in your boat” program, so that we can partner with local governments and try to get ahead of the problem. Vessel registration needs to be fixed. We should look at taking the load off taxpayers, who right now are paying 90% of the cost. We need to find solutions to take that cost off the backs of the taxpayers.
    The national oceans protection plan was announced by the government back in the fall, and I was glad to see that leadership as the Conservatives certainly did not do it. However, we still do not know what that would include. One of the pieces that is a bit of a worry is the indication that, like the Conservatives, the Liberals think a solution to abandoned vessels is to criminalize the problem. We cannot penalize people we cannot find, and in any case, there are already remedies to take a person who has abandoned their vessel to court.
    I am looking for the government's assurance that the national oceans protection plan was not just PR to soften the blow of a Kinder Morgan oil tanker approval that we sure did not want on our coast. That was all downside for us. There was no upside.
    Please let me know when this legislation will be tabled, when we will finally have solutions for coastal communities to solve the impossible problem of abandoned vessels.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith for her question, and for her advocacy for her community. I wish to assure the House that this government takes the issue of abandoned, derelict, and wrecked vessels very seriously.
    While most vessel owners do properly dispose of their property, the few that do not, we agree, pose risks to safe navigation, the marine environment, public health, safety, and local economies. That is one of the reasons we supported the member's Motion Nr. 40 back in October, which called for meaningful steps in this area. We agree.
    This is also the reasoning behind the announcement on November 7 about the $1.5 billion for the oceans protection plan. It is what she is asking for. It is a comprehensive strategy to address abandoned, derelict, and wrecked vessels, that focuses both on prevention and removal, and includes a robust polluter-pay approach for future vessel clean-up.
    One only has to look at the dedicated efforts to manage the threats posed by the Kathryn Spirit in Beauharnois, Quebec or the Viki Lyne II in Ladysmith Harbour to see how imperative it is that we hold vessel owners to account. These kinds of situations cannot continue, and we are working hard to prevent them, and manage these complex situations.
    During consultations last summer, partners and stakeholders across the country repeatedly told federal officials that the current suite of legislation, policies, and programs are not effective in addressing the problem. They also called for clear federal leadership.
    This government has listened to Canadians, and will put into place new legislation that puts the responsibility and liability on vessel owners to properly remove and dispose of their vessels. This will include a new prohibition on the act of abandoning a vessel. We will create measures to improve owner identification, so that vessel owners can be held accountable.
    Addressing this issue requires concerted effort from various levels of government. Our government will work with provincial, territorial, and local governments, and indigenous groups to support the clean-up of smaller, high priority vessels posing risks to coastal communities, and develop plans to address large commercial problem vessels according to the risk they pose.
    Provinces, territories, and local governments must be involved, given their shared responsibility for managing the environment, and their lead roles in waste and land management, as well as in protecting the rights of private property owners. They have the sight lines locally. They know what is happening locally to support monitoring and enforcement activities.
    The strategy also calls for targeted education, outreach, and research activities to help inform vessel owners of their responsibilities for proper vessel disposal, and to develop enhanced disposal options.
    In addition, we will signal our intent to accede to the 2007 Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, which will provide added protection going forward for Canadian taxpayers by increasing vessel owner responsibility and liability for cleaning-up hazardous wrecks in Canadian waters.
    Our approach is modelled on the success of other jurisdictions that are actually ahead of Canada on this issue. Our government is intent on getting the solutions right. We believe the comprehensive approach laid out in the oceans protection plan will get us there.

  (1815)  

    Madam Speaker, I am still eager to hear when this legislation is going to be tabled. So far, it is only New Democrats who have ever brought legislation to the House. I would love to know if the member intends to support my Bill C-219.
    We hope to have it debated this spring. Will the government legislation beat me to it? I would love to know that there is a comprehensive solution out there. However, we need to legislate a solution, so details, please.
    Coastal people have been very patient, but I am hearing that with another boating and tourist season advancing, with jobs and the shellfish industry at risk, even the smallest spill from an abandoned vessel would put jobs, the ecology, and community at stake.
    Frankly, I am feeling optimistic, yet fed up. We need to know when you are going to table this legislation, so we can give that assurance to coastal communities.
    I want to remind the member not to use the word you, because it is addressing the member opposite, and the member should be addressing the Chair.
    The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport.
    Madam Speaker, this was mandated by the Prime Minister for the Minister of Transport, and we are taking those significant steps to improve marine safety coast to coast to coast.
    The oceans protection plan is worth $1.5 billion. The details will be coming. The more specific measures will be announced as part of a comprehensive plan. But comprehensive plans are not made overnight. They take time. They consulted with communities. They consulted with the provinces. They want to get this right. That new legislation is expected soon. It will do everything that I mentioned earlier. We need to work with the different levels of government to support these cleanup efforts.
    We do know the risks that are posed by these derelict and wrecked vessels to Canadians and to our environment. We are taking a responsible and comprehensive approach to addressing that. By working together with our partners and stakeholders, we will stand a better chance of actually being successful and making this happen. We are committed to improving marine safety and—

  (1820)  

    Unfortunately, the time is up.
    The hon. member for Calgary Nose Hill.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship  

    Madam Speaker, this evening in the House of Commons, I would like to raise the issue of the Yazidi genocide.
    The Yazidi people are a highly persecuted ethnic and religious minority primarily based in Iraq. They are some of the most persecuted people in the world. In the last two years, they have suffered extreme atrocities at the hands of extremists within the religious majority in the area. That is ISIS. The Yazidi people have suffered rape and mutilation. Their people are in mass graves in the area, and their women have been taken as sexual slaves.
    In October, after many, many months and much pushing, the House unanimously adopted a motion to prioritize Yazidi victims of genocide to come to Canada as refugees.
    For people who are listening, Canada has two main ways for refugees to come into the country. First, privately sponsored refugees are those who come through the generosity of Canadians who have raised funds to sponsor refugees. The second is through government-assisted refugees. That is where the United Nations refers cases to Canada and then the government pays for the sponsorship of the refugees. The sad reality is that exactly zero out of tens of thousands of refugees who have been referred to Canada by the United Nations have come from this group of people. That is shameful.
    I've had United Nations officials in my office. I have asked them why there are no cases being referred to Canada. They actually told me that because of the time constraint the government placed on them last year for the refugee initiative, it was easier just to pick out of the religious majority in these camps. That is shameful, because these people cannot actually get to refugee camps in most cases. They are internally displaced and they cannot get to refugee camps, because they are persecuted the whole way there. Then when they get to the refugee camps, in order to make these United Nations lists, oftentimes there are great delays. We have heard allegations of discrimination against these people by UN processing agents. The reality is that they are not making the lists. They are not being referred to Canada. That is an issue the government needs to look at.
    The reality is there are non-governmental organizations on the ground that have been working very hard and which are highly reputable. The government could use them in order to bring those refugees to Canada. That is completely within the government's jurisdiction. It should be doing that, but what have the Liberals done to date? They have not talked to any of those non-governmental organizations and they are not working to bring those people here.
    We are now in February, almost four months after the motion passed. None of the non-governmental organizations have heard any word about how many Yazidi refugees are going to be processed or how they are going to come here.
    This weekend the Prime Minister sent out a fairly asinine tweet saying that we are open and welcoming refugees. Where are the Yazidis? Why, when I stand in this House of Commons, can the government not tell me how many Yazidis will come to Canada in the next couple of weeks? My gut says it is because it is lip service. The Liberals do not have a plan. They are not going to meet the terms of this deadline.
    My question tonight is very simple. How many Yazidis will the government bring to Canada before the motion's deadline?
    Madam Speaker, let me first explain that it is me that the member is saddled with this evening as my colleague, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, is in Acadie, Bathurst with his people attending to—
    I would remind the hon. member not to tell the House who is here and who is not.
    You would think a fellow would catch that after 17 years, Madam Speaker, but my apologies.
     The member for Calgary Nose Hill knows the respect I hold for her and her passion on this issue.
    Canadians have joined with people all across the world to deplore the murderous actions of Daesh. Canada has been a key contributor in the international efforts to address the crisis and resettle those who have been displaced from their homes. Since November 4, 2015, we have welcomed almost 40,000 Syrian refugees. Also, the Government of Canada has fulfilled its 2009 commitment to resettle 23,000 Iraqi refugees by 2015.
     I am pleased that all parties are co-operating to help the vulnerable Yazidi population, as evidenced by the unanimous support to bring Yazidis to Canada within 120 days.
    We are committed to meeting this 120 day time limit, but it is equally important to take the necessary time to do this right and to ensure that we have in place such things as settlement supports, welcoming communities, interpreters, and plans to meet the psychological and social needs of those we are welcoming.
    That is why, as the former minister said in his response to this question, we have been working very actively on a two-part strategy.
    We will bring individuals who are residing outside of Iraq, in Turkey and Lebanon, and while this work is being done, we will concurrently explore options for those residing in Iraq.
    While we recognize the need for protection for victims of Daesh, Canadians realize the region's continued instability presents challenges in identifying and interviewing them, not to mention getting them out of Iraq, while ensuring the safety of our immigration officers and members of vulnerable groups.
    The internationally agreed upon approach to resettlement is to focus on refugees, in other words, those persons who have been forced to flee their country.
    Canada's resettlement program is designed to provide protection for refugees who are outside their country of origin. Individuals who have had to flee their home but remain within their home country are known as internally displaced people.
    The safety of individuals, staff, and partners is a top priority when developing operational plans. It takes considerable resources to process difficult-to-access populations.
    That said, the Government of Canada is looking at ways to respond to the challenges in northern Iraq. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada officials recently completed a third visit to the region. They interviewed a large number of Syrian refugees, as well as some internally displaced persons, and met with key partners to gather as much information as possible on the situation on the ground.
    Canada has a long, proud, and well-respected tradition of helping to protect persons in need. While we want to continue to be a world leader in this area, there is no quick fix.
    We are continuing to explore options and to work with our partners in the region to respond to these challenges to determine how best to extend protection to these vulnerable populations in northern Iraq.

  (1825)  

    Madam Speaker, in the campaign in 2015, the Prime Minister used the words that it was just a matter of “political will” for resettling 25,000 refugees in four months. Yet, when it comes to the most vulnerable population, those who are facing genocide, persecuted ethnic and religious minorities in the region, the new talking point is that they do not have enough time, that the Liberals need more time.
    Why does the government refuse to prioritize genocide victims? This is two sets of criteria for two different religions. That is crazy and it is shameful. The House will hold the government to account for it.
    Once again, very simply, for the love of everything that is holy, how many Yazidis will the government bring to Canada by the end of this month?
    Madam Speaker, again, we have made the commitment to bring the Yazidis here within 120 days. I do not think the member for Calgary Nose Hill would want to put our officials in danger or would want to jeopardize the safety of any Canadians who are working hard to try to resolve this issue.
    We recognize that operating in the region is complex. It is dangerous, and it poses risks, so it is imperative that we consider the next steps very carefully. That is why the department has made a third visit to the region. Officials have interviewed a large number of Syrian refugees as well as some internally displaced persons. They have met with key partners to gather more information. That is the prudent thing to do.
    We will continue to explore our options and to work with our partners in the region to respond to these challenges and determine how best to extend protection to these vulnerable populations, including the Yazidis.

  (1830)  

Indigenous Affairs 

    Madam Speaker, I am standing to follow up on a question I asked in October, but I think I need to set the stage first in terms of what the actual issue is.
    Residents of the city of Kamloops or the city of Kelowna can go online and see what the mayor makes and see the audited reports of the city. Residents of British Columbia or Alberta can do the same thing. That can be done, indeed, across Canada.
    Our constituents can go online and see the audited financial statements of the Government of Canada, and they can look at their individual MPs and see how much they make and how much they spend on items such as travel.
    Shareholders can actually go online and see a company's information. Companies are responsible for reporting audited statements and have pretty good, robust information available to shareholders.
    There was a glaring omission in the transparency rules, and that was that first nations communities did not have the same obligations. When we were the government, we thought that the community members, the band members, deserved the same kind of transparency that all other Canadians expect. That is that the band posts, in a public way, audited financial statements, salaries, and expenses. Again, it is basic transparency.
    I want to note that this is not about any part of the government saying that it wants to target specific groups. When this information is posted, they are held accountable. This was truly to allow community band members to hold their councils to account and to have the ability, because I think it is also important, to compare, perhaps, what their chief is making with what some others are making.
    We found that we had a very good compliance rate. The measures came in in 2014, and by 2015, we had a compliance rate of over 92%. That is a very solid rate of bands, chiefs, and councils posting their statements and expenses and reporting to their band members.
    What was very good about this is that it put aside some of the notions many people had about misuses of the money. Where there were misuses, it became very apparent, because the band members could actually hold their councils to account.
    What this minister did was say that it did not matter. Some of the chiefs did not like it, so the government was going to get rid of transparency and not enforce the compliance measures.
     It is absolutely appalling that the minister would take such an anti-democratic position and put first nations grassroots communities at such a disadvantage by not providing the transparency that all other Canadians enjoy and expect.
    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to be here on traditional Algonquin territory. I am also pleased to speak in the House and respond to the question by the member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo.
    I want to assure all members of the House that we take allegations of this kind seriously. What the minister did, and did cautiously, was to open a process of dialogue with indigenous people and first nations to look at what real accountability and transparency should be between first nations governments and the Government of Canada.
    Our government did not buy-in to the tactics of the former administration, which was a top-down approach of dealing with indigenous people and indigenous governments. We have chosen to take a different path and in doing so, we are also ensuring full accountability and transparency for first nations and all Canadians across the country.
    INAC acted quickly, and this is just one example, in 2015 to initiate a forensic audit at the request of the chief and council of the Shuswap Indian band to investigate the possible misappropriation of funds in its community. Further audit work was completed in 2016. Following the disclosure of additional financial transactions, a summary of the findings of both audits was provided to the community in July, 2016. That is openness and transparency and that is the Government of Canada acting with first nations band councils when there are issues and problems that have to be confronted.
    At that point, the department then turned over the results of the audit to the Kelowna detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The department has been in regular contact with the chief and with the RCMP during its investigation.
    I want to be clear that members of the Shuswap nation and all Canadians can count on the Government of Canada's support for their communities. That is our job and we take that responsibility seriously.
    We also understand and realize that accountability and transparency is important and therefore it is a priority. We also know we can only achieve this by working in full partnership with first nations leadership and organizations.
     Before and after the election, first nations from coast to coast to coast were clear that top-down solutions did not work and they had never worked. We therefore remain committed to establishing a new fiscal relationship with first nations. That is why our government is engaging with their leadership and with communities to determine a way forward that is based on a renewed relationship and one that advances reconciliation and not top-down dictation. This means engaging first nation leadership face to face, but it also means that we are consulting on how to best support mutual transparency and accountability between first nations governments and the Government of Canada.
    I would encourage and I ask all members in the House to support that process and to visit our website so they can learn more about those consultations and how they can participate in them.
    I also want to assure the member, and all members, that the contribution agreements between our government and first nations are strong. We want to ensure that all funds are used as—

  (1835)  

    The hon. member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo.
    Madam Speaker, the government is very good with the word consultation but it does not follow through.
    Over a year ago, the minister determined she would not enforce the compliance measures in the act. What has happened in that time? She has said that it is important, the government cares about it, and that it will work on it. It has been over a year.
    What has happened with the compliance rate? It has dropped and it continues to drop every year. The last I heard is that this year so far only a bit more than 80% of the bands are reporting. They have stopped reporting to their people.
    My mailbox is full. My phone rings constantly. Every day I get calls from band members who ask me for help. They want to have access to basic information and they feel they should not have to go to the minister if their chiefs and councils will not provide it. They feel it should be easily accessible.
    The Liberal government needs to get on this right now.
    Madam Speaker, I want to assure the member that we are very engaged with first nations in this country. We are engaged with them on a path forward on accountability and transparency. In the meantime, the member can be assured that all contribution agreements between our government and first nations contain strong reporting provisions to ensure that funds are used as intended.
    As I have stated before, we take all allegations of wrongdoing seriously and investigate where necessary, as we have already done in cases that are ongoing. We know that transparency and accountability are critical. However, we want to make sure that we get it right and that we do it in partnership with first nations, not by dictating to them.
    Very soon, the member will be assured that the process we have engaged in will be effective and will work for the greater good of all involved.

  (1840)  

[Translation]

    The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, this House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).
    (The House adjourned at 6:40 p.m.)
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