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42nd PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 182

CONTENTS

Monday, May 29, 2017




House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 148 
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NUMBER 182 
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1st SESSION 
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42nd PARLIAMENT 

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Monday, May 29, 2017

Speaker: The Honourable Geoff Regan

    The House met at 11 a.m.

Prayer



PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS

[Private Members' Business]

  (1105)  

[English]

Contribution of Ranchers and Farmers

    That, in the opinion of the House, the government should recognize that the ongoing contribution of ranchers and farmers as stewards of the land and conservationists is part of our history, proudly shared by all Canadians, and should consider establishing policies which would support and encourage the development of private farm and ranch land conservation and restoration projects.
    He said: Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour and privilege for me to rise today in the House of Commons to give the first speech on my Motion No. 108. I am looking forward to working with all my colleagues from across Canada, from every party present in the House, to pass what I believe is this important motion.
    Canada has a long and storied agricultural history. Because of technology advances in Canadian agricultural practice, this country has become one of the biggest food producers in the world. That is one of the reasons that Canada has always played a very important role in the world, and why we will play an even bigger role in the future. There is a need for healthy, affordable, nutritious food. Having access to such things, along with clean drinking water, assures that the human body can meet its very basic physiological needs. Canada is a major contributor to ensuring that the world is fed. With the world population expected to grow by billions in the coming decades, the issue of meeting the global demand for nutritious food is going to become an even more pressing concern. Canada's farmers will be playing a critical role to ensuring that we can rise up to this challenge and meet the demands of a hungry world.
    Canada's story would not be complete without talking about its agricultural history. Indigenous peoples have had a long history of agricultural practices in Canada. The first French settlers started agricultural practices in the Maritimes and in Quebec. With the British contribution, as their empire grew, so did their need for food. Wheat production ramped up in what was New France, and continued to grow after the British settled North America. Upper Canada had a significant wheat economy. Lower Canada even began to import wheat from Upper Canada. There was discussion of a wheat standard, which would link the amount of money printed to the wheat holdings of the colony. It was a novel and unique idea at the time. Early settlers were efficient and able to produce more than they needed for their own needs.
    The western part of Canada was populated in the late 19th century and early 20th century. It soon became a major producer of food. Palliser's Triangle, or the area of the Prairies in southeastern Alberta and southern Saskatchewan today, was named after the British captain, John Palliser. He explored the prairie region in the 1840s for the British government, and he was not impressed with the potential of the Prairies for settlement and agricultural practices. In fact, his report stated that no one should settle here. The Canadian government later built the railroad across the Prairies, and settlement expanded significantly. In one year alone after the turn of the century, 1.4 million immigrants arrived in Canada, and for decades many people homesteaded across the Prairies. If only Palliser could see what kind of society we have developed there now. The Prairies are often referred to as the breadbasket of Canada.
    Today, we have significant agricultural sectors in many parts of the country. Many farms in southwestern and eastern Ontario are some of the lushest farmland in Canada. There are many crops grown there, like soybeans and corn, and there are many other farms, like dairy and poultry. Quebec is similar, with dairy farms being prominent. The Atlantic provinces were also very active in agriculture, both then and today. For example, we know very well that P.E.I. potatoes are among the best in the world, and Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick are well known for their cranberry and blueberry farms. British Columbia has an incredible variety of agricultural sectors. It is well known for its fruit orchards, as is Nova Scotia. The wine industry of Ontario and British Columbia have now expanded to other provinces. The industry is now coast to coast.
    With all of this in mind, I am presenting this motion today to my colleagues here in the House, and to all Canadians. It is important to recognize that our Canadian ranch and farm families are among the most environmentally minded people in any sector of the Canadian economy. Farmers will always have the environment as their number one concern. Some of the best conservationists are ranchers. Their ranches form a major part of the backbone of the economy of much of Alberta. They are also a major part of the Bow River riding, the constituents I am so humbled to represent here in Ottawa.
    I would like to speak about some of the technology used by farmers in the area I represent. For example, one of the environmentally friendly technologies and practices used is called no-till agriculture. No-till agriculture means avoiding the old-fashioned way of disturbing the soil through annual tillage. This has numerous environmental benefits, and it can also greatly improve the sustainability of farming operations at limited cost to the farmer. Not only is it better for the soil, it saves the amount of water needed for farming, because soil that has been used through no-till farming has better water-retention qualities. This means less runoff and wasted water.

  (1110)  

    When it comes to wetlands on farm property, our Canadian farmers have been innovative and smart in dealing with the challenges of protecting these critical riparian habitats while at the same time continuing to farm their land. There is also the use of cover crops, which sole purpose is to enrich and rejuvenate the soil so that it can be used for years and years to come. These are just a couple of examples where our innovative Canadian farmers are leading the world in protecting our environment while ensuring that the Canadian agriculture and agrifood sector is sustainable, environmentally friendly, and economical.
    Another technological advance over the last number of decades has been with the use of chemicals by farmers. They have become safer and they are used less. This means that everyone, from the farmer to the business to the consumer, and throughout the supply chain, is benefiting from these new technologies. Our ranch families are expert conservationists. They survive and thrive by ensuring that the land they use on a regular basis for their livelihoods is sustainable and healthy so that it may be passed on to future generations. This means that they are good stewards of the land that they tend to. Often on these pastures and ranch areas, there are significant varieties of wildlife and vegetation. Ranchers and farmers understand the biospheres of their land base and the surrounding land base. These are some of the challenges that are faced, often on a daily basis by our ranchers, which they handle so well.
    One of the great tools that ranchers use in their land management plans is that of grazing. Grazing is an incredible conservation tool when used properly, and can ensure that grassland is environmentally sound and able to be used for generations to come. The Prairies were historically grazed by millions of migrating buffalo. The grasslands are kept as a healthy biosphere by the grazing animals of ranchers, as once was done by the free-ranging buffalo. These grazed grasslands provide habitat for native plants and animals.
     All of these scenarios speak to the heart of my motion. Farmers and ranchers are conservationists and environmentalists. No farmer or rancher wakes up in the morning dreaming of ways to wreck their land. They get up thinking of new ways that they can improve it. They do this because otherwise their land quality declines. It is in their best interest to consider how they can improve soil quality, improve the quality of the product they produce, and how they can do it while minimizing their impacts on the environment.
    When it comes to conservation, I would like to speak about my experience serving as a member of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. The committee does a lot of great work and has thus far produced two reports in Parliament. I am pleased to say that both of these reports were unanimous, meaning that they carry more weight with stakeholders and the government.
    The last report that it had the honour of releasing in March was the report on protected areas and conservation within Canada. One of the opportunities that this study afforded committee members was the opportunity to travel to many communities, including some in southern Alberta. We met on the land with a rancher and farmer. He was able to discuss with us the extensive conservation projects they are working on. The ranch we visited is just outside of Cochrane and is called the Quarter Circle X Ranch. The owners and operators are John and Tracey Buckley. They, as many ranchers and farmers, have made a firm commitment to sustainability in how they deliver their product to the marketplace. They are a testament to how ranchers operate in communities across Canada. An important fact to remember is that over 98% of Canadian farms are family owned and operated, even today. These small-business owners are often the backbone of the economy, in countless rural economies across the country.
    Canadians want access to affordable, nutritious food, and their preference will no doubt always be food that comes from Canadian farm operations. Ranchers play a major part in this work. They take care of the ever-important rangeland. Having healthy rangeland leads to a number of very positive outcomes and impacts on the natural environment. Our ranchers are able to manage the land, especially by the use of cattle, to ensure they are conserving this important land. One of the major benefits of having healthy ranchland is that they act as carbon sinks. I know there is some research that tells us Canada as a whole is a net carbon sink, and I hope we can capitalize and improve upon this research in the future.
    Ranchers and farmers play a big part in this piece. This is one of the reasons this motion recognizes that ranchers and farmers are environmentalists and conservationists. This motion supports the fact that we have to tap into this valuable resource in the future. We need to protect this incredibly valuable rangeland, which delivers so many net benefits to our environment and well-being.

  (1115)  

    One of the things that modern farmers realize is the growing consumer demand for information on where and how their food is grown, and whether it is grown or raised in the most sustainable manner possible. Thanks to many modern technological advances, Canadian farmers have ways to track this data. Many of the large food companies are following the lead of producers by being as transparent as possible with their clients.
    This motion is one that I believe will resonate with Canadians from coast to coast, as well as from different age groups, backgrounds, and demographic groups. I also hope it will foster an important discussion on the rural-urban divide in Canada, whether real or imagined. Canada is a large geographic expanse with many different regions and ecosystems, and a vast area that is used for ranching and farming activities.
    One of the issues of the past 150 years or so has been the rural exodus to cities. The vast majority of Canadians now live in urban areas as opposed to rural areas. I think this may lead to a certain divide in attitudes, ideals, and opinions. However, recognizing where our food comes from, who is growing it, or, in the case of live animals like cattle, raising it, we can help to show our friends and relatives in urban areas that our ranchers and farmers are sustainability focused and conservationists.
    One of the great advancements that helps Canadian ranchers and farmers practise efficient and sustainable practices on their land is the advent of sound plant science. There are some innovative companies across Canada that contribute to this technological wisdom. There is an excellent company in my constituency for example, called Stamp Seeds. It is an expert in seed management for the agricultural sector.
     A lot of this technology has had a major impact on how our farmers grow their product. It has led to a savings in water. The irrigation sector has become highly technologically advanced, which has created water savings, but has also created a tremendous environment for an incredibly varied biosphere.
    Advanced agricultural practices have decreased soil erosion. It has meant that we can grow more food on the same land. It means we can use less fuel in the agriculture and agrifood sector. The advent of safe nutritious foods with increased production has meant that Canada can produce food for a hungry world without having to sacrifice our important land base.
     When it comes to the conservation side of the equation, our ranchers and farmers are at the forefront of sustainability. In Canada, for example, we have a number of organizations that work with landowners to help them preserve important land. For our crucial wetlands, for instance, we have Ducks Unlimited, which is an organization that I am proud to support. Ducks Unlimited plays an important role in the preservation of wetlands. The Canadian wing of this international organization has projects throughout Canada. Ducks Unlimited is currently working with a number of organizations, both in industry and with ranchers and farmers across Canada, to create a plan to make Canada a world leader in sustainable agriculture.
     Organizations that are participating are Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Croplife Canada, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Fertilizer Canada, Grain Growers of Canada, Soil Conservation Council of Canada, and the World Wildlife Fund Canada. This is a broad range of organizations which have come together with the goal of increasing our agricultural output while ensuring we do not need to use more land as one of the main objectives.
     This is an excellent project, which will require a lot of know-how from our Canadian ranchers and farmers. They will be the ones doing all the work on the ground. Thanks to the support of the aforementioned organizations, it is my hope that this will become a reality. The study is being spearheaded by the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Crops.
     I believe that Motion No. 108 is a necessary display of support for our ranch and farm business industry, those who work in conservation every day. This motion is truly worthy of the support of dear hon. members, because I believe it is worded in a way that makes it universal. It applies to a variety of cereal crops and dairy businesses, to the woodlot stewards maintained as part of agricultural properties, to those who grow fruit and potatoes, and to those who work in wetland conservation and restoration within their agricultural operations.
     This is an important way for us as Parliamentarians to recognize the people in our agriculture sector who play an important daily role in the work of conservation. I thank hon. members for listening to me, and I hope they will support me in this important motion here today.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my Conservative Party colleague and friend for moving Motion No. 108. I would also like to congratulate him on his speech in the House of Commons today. I am always happy to talk to the House about agriculture and how important it is.
    Not long ago, we had an NDP private member's bill that would have made it easier to transfer family farms. We know that the average Canadian farmer is getting older and starting to think about retirement. The bill would have enabled farmers to transfer their farms to their children for $1. It would also have repaired a tax system injustice to facilitate the transfer of family farms. Unfortunately, the bill did not even make it to committee for detailed study.
    I would like my colleague to comment on the importance of introducing measures to facilitate family farm transfers. I would also like to know if he is disappointed that all but a few Liberals voted against this important initiative to facilitate the transfer of farm businesses.

  (1120)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the hon. colleague's question is one of the larger ones out there in the sense of transferability of properties from generation to generation. Many of our farm operations are generationally transferred, and we should do anything we can to help.
    These are generational farms and ranches. People have cared for the property for generations and feel like they have been stewards of the lands for generations. They believe it is not their land, that it belongs to the country and they are just temporary stewards, so anything we can do to help the process for these stewards and conservationists in this small business backbone of our agricultural industry should be done.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to commend my colleague for bringing this great motion forward. We never give enough recognition to farmers for what they do.
    When I think back to my days in agriculture, I remember when we would work the field three or four times, and it would be dry and dusty, and the wind would blow the dust over the doorsteps and it would be all over the place. Now I look at the fuel consumption of tractors and the number of passes over the fields and I see how much that has changed.
    Could the member give an example of what his area looked like in the 1960s and 1970s compared to what it looks like today?
    Mr. Speaker, in my riding we have the four largest irrigation districts in the country. The technology has moved from flood irrigation to sprinklers that used a lot of power and wasted a lot of water. Now the sprinkling systems have underground piping to convey the water. The efficiency in water usage has increased by a minimum of one-third in the same property to increase crop productivity.
     Farmers can use a computer at home to analyze their property's soil sampling and find that they need two inches on one part while on another piece they only need one-quarter of an inch because of the soil retention. The productivity change from the 1960s and 1970s when I was young and out there with a shovel in an irrigation ditch has come with the highly technical way that farms can use their lands. It is incredibly different. It is highly efficient and uses a lot less energy.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask how the provinces are seeing this issue in relation to the federal government. Farmers have some challenges in dealing with the provinces and with the federal government. How would Motion No. 108, which I will be speaking in support of shortly, cut through the provinces and the federal government in working with the farmers?
    Mr. Speaker, there are challenges in programs that are provincially supported and may be federally mandated, but if farmers are identified as conservationists and stewards of the land up front, in the sense that they are working together in the same process, it is easier to bring provincial departments of agriculture together with the federal government if they have a program they would like to implement. That co-operation, working with the agricultural sector provincially and federally, is a natural process. If we are all talking the same language and working together, it could be facilitated.

  (1125)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Bow River for raising the critical issue of the link between agriculture and the environment. As we know, producers deserve our full support in making their farms even greener than they already are.
    Farmers knows how important it is to maintain soil, water, and air quality in order to support their farms and their livelihoods from generation to generation. They also know that a clean environment and a strong economy go hand in hand. Our government knows this, and it also knows that farmers are excellent stewards of the land who take environmental conservation very seriously.
    I would like to outline some of the investments we are making to help farmers capitalize on opportunities for sustainable growth, while adapting to climate change.
    With the provinces and territories, the federal government is investing $350 million over five years to support scientific research and environmental initiatives in the agriculture sector. This funding will support education and increased awareness of environmental risks on farms, and help put in place environmentally beneficial management practices such as planting rows of trees to reduce soil erosion, using fencing to protect streams and wildlife habitats, and improving farm equipment to better target the application of fertilizers and pesticides.
    I want to point out that governments are working on the next agricultural policy framework, which includes programs that focus on environmental priorities on farms and are science-based in order to ensure the sustainable growth of the sector.
    For example, we must better protect water quality, soil health, biodiversity, and air quality while implementing measures to adapt to climate change. We intend to better support the adoption of precision agriculture technologies, tools, and innovative products in order to help the agricultural sector enhance its contribution to Canada's climate change commitments.
    The next agricultural policy framework will also support the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change with measures that enhance farmers' ability to store carbon in their lands.
    The government is also strengthening its commitments by investing another $27 million in its agricultural greenhouse gases program. This investment will support 20 new research projects to be carried out in partnership with Canadian universities and environmental groups.
    These projects will study a variety of issues, ranging from the greenhouse gas emissions associated with blueberry, potato, and feed crop farming in British Columbia to the planting of willows in river-irrigated areas in Atlantic Canada in order to sequester carbon.
    Overall, the renewed program seeks to help farmers reduce greenhouse gases and adapt to climate change in four main areas. These include a management and food strategy, carbon sequestering through land use and farming methods, agroforestry, and agricultural irrigation and drainage.
    This $27-million program supports research and development and raises awareness among farmers. For example, at the University of Alberta, a federal investment of $3.7 million will be used to carry out three projects that will focus on the environmental footprint created by the farming of various grain crops, livestock grazing systems, and shelterbelts.
    These projects will be led by scientists from the university with assistance from our scientists in Lethbridge. They will help farmers make their operations even greener than they already are.
    At Dalhousie University, we are investing over $1.7 million in a prospecting project on soil formation and evolution in order to determine the carbon and nitrogen content of the soil and assess each type of soil to determine its carbon storage potential.

  (1130)  

    We are also investing in excess of $1.1 million in a project run by the Fiducie de recherche sur la forêt des Cantons-de-l'Est, a forestry research trust in the Eastern Townships, to find ways to reduce on-farm greenhouse gas emissions.
    The agricultural greenhouse gases program is a nationwide program that will offer Canadian farmers practical and affordable solutions and help them continue to be leaders in sustainable agriculture.
    Our government is working to make our agricultural sector more profitable, sustainable, and green. In the 2017 budget, we allocated an additional $70 million to further support science and innovation that focuses on agricultural discovery. Research will focus on addressing emerging priorities, such as climate change and soil and water conservation.
    All of this is in addition to our government's many other positive initiatives, including budget 2017's $200-million investment in green technology and our $5.2-million investment in the agricultural youth green jobs initiative, which will attract young Canadians to green jobs in the agriculture and agrifood sector.
    This year, Canadians will celebrate our great nation's 150th birthday. We know that our world-class farmers are vital to feeding the global population and saving the planet. That is why our investments in the environment are essential.
    I grew up on my ancestors' farm in La Prairie. Like all Canadian farmers, we understand the importance of protecting the earth, air, and water and making sure they are in good shape when our children take over. I was a fourth generation farmer, and I was very proud when my son took over the farm.
    Once again, I thank the member for Bow River for raising the matter of how important farm-specific environmental programs are. We support this motion.
    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak in support of Motion No. 108. I want to congratulate my colleague from Bow River on his initiative in moving this motion. I am very proud to rise and talk about agriculture and agrifood.
     The motion before us today highlights the contribution farmers make to protecting our lands and the environment, and calls for measures to promote the conservation of agricultural land.
    The motion proposes two extremely important concepts, namely, environmental protection and the conservation of Canada's agricultural heritage. This is very timely given that we are celebrating Canada's 150th birthday this year. We will have the opportunity to talk about the history and evolution of agriculture, as well as the investments that have been made and the changes that have taken place over the years.
    The motion warrants special consideration because, despite how clear it is, it gives us the opportunity to raise several issues that are important to farmers and the future of agriculture in Canada. As agriculture and agrifood critic, I think it is important to talk about the extraordinary work done by Canada's agricultural producers when it comes to protecting our environment, improving our lands, and ensuring sustainable development. With that in mind, the government needs to continue to invest more to fight climate change, working closely and in partnership with farmers, providing them with the means to protect the environment and their lands using new technology.
    Recently, private member's Bill C-274 was introduced in the House of Commons. The government needs to put measures in place to encourage the transfer of family farms. This bill sought to put an end to an injustice and make it easier to transfer farms. Canada lost more than 8,000 family farms over the past 10 years. In my riding, the regional municipality of Maskinongé has lost 146 family farms since 1979. Over $50 billion in farm assets are set to change hands between 2016 and 2026. The government needs to be reminded that it missed a golden opportunity by failing to send Bill C-274 to committee for further study. The bill had the support of some 100 organizations across Canada. I would like to commend my colleague from Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques for his initiative.
     It is very important for family farms to be transferred to members of the same family, as doing so helps preserve agricultural land and ensure the survival of agriculture across Canada. As everyone knows, agricultural lands are not renewable, and we need to do everything that we can to protect them.
     The NDP is the only federal party to have consulted stakeholders from across the country when developing an agriculture strategy. This bill, this policy, supported the conservation of agricultural land and raised the very important issue of our food sovereignty. The government announced that it will be holding consultations about this policy, and I will be following this very closely.
    Our vision connects Canadians from farm to fork. That is why we need to assess the whole situation and bring an integrated approach to federal policy that connects agriculture, rural development—we must not forget access to high-speed Internet in the regions—health, and income security. Adopting a pan-Canadian food strategy such as the one proposed by the NDP will ensure that young people and new farmers can access the capital and land they need to work in the agriculture sector.

  (1135)  

    Furthermore, a food strategy recognizes that the federal government has a key role to play in working with the provinces and territories to protect critical watersheds that cross provincial boundaries, to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and to reduce food waste.
    Essentially, a food strategy aims to ensure that everyone eats well and can access healthy and affordable food. It is important to ensuring that our agricultural communities are sustainable for generations to come and that Canadian products find growing markets both at home and abroad. We must protect our agricultural heritage because this is about food sovereignty.
    I want to remind members about an issue that we debated at length in 2012. The previous Conservative Party eliminated the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration program in an omnibus bill. This was a really important program because it was responsible for rehabilitating lands affected by drought and erosion in the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.
     We know that the previous government dismantled the program without the benefit of an environmental impact study. After it was dismantled, the pastures were transferred to the provinces. However, the problem is that, in some cases, the provinces sold the lands to private investors, and in most cases, they continue to lease them to ranchers, but at higher rates and with fewer services, all while ignoring the need to protect the environmental integrity of the Prairies.
    This issue affects many stakeholders, including environmental groups, wilderness conservation groups, farmers, ranchers and young people who want to take up farming.
    This issue is very important to the Prairies, but especially Saskatchewan, where there are still many pastures left to be transferred. We know that the transfers of these community pastures and lands will soon be complete, in 2018.
    There is still time for the Liberal government to do something to save these prairie lands, and we are calling on it to do so.
    I also want to touch on our supply management system. I think that, at one point, my most common utterances in the House of Commons were “protecting our supply management system” and “diafiltered milk”. We are asking the government to take action because concrete action is vital to protecting our supply management system. We know that the government has fallen short at times in terms of border control and protection, and that has led to financial losses for dairy producers.
    Two weeks ago, the Auditor General of Canada told us that the Canada Border Services Agency should have assessed $168 million of customs duties on imports of quota-controlled goods. Producers suffered huge losses because the government fell down on border protection. Now our producers are paying the price and losing out on more revenue.
    The federal government must implement concrete measures that will really make a difference and protect our supply management system to safeguard our family farms and ensure their long-term survival. Just recently, the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food went to Washington. We met with a number of elected officials and explained to them why it is so important to protect our supply management system. Those were really important conversations.
    We import between 8% and 10% of what we consume. The Americans import 2%. That is why it is important to have these meetings, especially with the prospect of NAFTA renegotiations looming.
     Once again, I would like to congratulate the member for Bow River on moving today's Motion No. 108, which gives us an opportunity to talk about the importance of protecting agriculture in Canada.

  (1140)  

    We truly hope that the Liberal government will implement measures to facilitate the transfer of family farms and that it will invest more in the fight against climate change.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to support Motion No. 108. I am also very proud to represent the constituency of Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, a major farming and ranching constituency. In fact, my constituency produces the most canola in Canada of any constituency.
    Canada is a very large country; 10 million square kilometres. Within our 10 million square kilometres, there are just over 200,000 farms. They farm a very small part of Canada. They farm 680,000 square kilometres, or 6.8% of Canada's landmass. However, these 200,000 family farms, on 6.8% of the land area in Canada, provide a disproportionate contribution to Canadian society and the Canadian economy. They are also a repository of cultural and traditional ecological knowledge and values.
    This constituency also has a very strong stewardship ethic and is blanketed with organizations known as conservation districts, where local people have gotten together to develop and promote conservation programming.
    Right now, agriculture counts for about 8% of Canada's GDP and 12% of all employment. The food and beverage processing industry is the largest of all manufacturing industries in Canada. Overall, about 50% of Canada's agricultural production is exported, but in the west, where I come from, the number is 80%. Therefore, agriculture not only helps our Canadian economy, but it contributes very strongly to the balance of trade as well.
    It is very clear that the relatively small number of primary agricultural producers in Canada sets off an enormous chain reaction of jobs, growth and employment that ripples throughout the entire Canadian economy. Not only that, but Canadian farmers produce the world's highest quality food and deliver extremely affordable food to Canadians.
    In Canada, we spend about 10% of our disposable income on food. It is among the lowest in the entire world. The fact that low-income people can afford to eat well is one of the best social programs a country could ever have. In other words, we are all part of the culture of agriculture. Not only that, Canada's major cities are largely located within the agricultural regions of Canada, reflecting our country's settlement patterns.
    However, we tend to take agriculture for granted and we all expect this flow of high-quality, abundant, and low-cost food to continue indefinitely, which is a good thing. However, society is now placing new environmental demands on farmers and ranchers and they have responded, utilizing techniques that were described earlier, such as zero tillage, where crops are grown without disturbing the soil.
    I recall during the dry 1980s in Canada's Prairies when there were horrific dust storms in the spring. Much of the land was bare and high winds developed. These dust storms are no more, thanks to conservation farming techniques.
    I know modern agriculture has been criticized in some corners, but I am a strong proponent of high-tech modern agriculture as an environmental benefit to all of society. The fact that we can grow more food on less land means we can also reserve certain lands for conservation purposes.
    Let us look at ranchers like my colleague did. Ranchers have developed grazing techniques such as rest rotational grazing and remote watering that improve cattle weight gain, enhance water quality, and conserve biodiversity.
    Regarding cattle ranching, I vehemently disagree with those who criticize the environmental performance of the beef cattle industry. Quite frankly, if we care about the environment, we should eat beef.
    Well-managed grazing not only conserves and protects vital grasslands, but is critical to the survival of many endangered prairie birds. In fact, the Audubon Society, undoubtedly North America's most prestigious bird conservation organization, has launched the conservation ranching program. It works with ranchers to improve conservation outcomes. I will quote from one of its documents:
    To combat these negative impacts and to keep grass on the landscape throughout North America, Audubon has developed the Conservation Ranching Program. This program is a collaboration with local ranchers within the North American Grasslands, ensuring that grazing regimes produce healthy habitats for target grassland bird species....cattle are an essential management tool for the prairie which led to Audubon's decision to promote their presence on grasslands.
    Again, those of us who strongly support the cattle industry should speak loudly and proudly about the conservation benefits of the cattle industry.

  (1145)  

    The NAFTA Commission for Environmental Cooperation essentially said the same thing. The CEC is a commission of Canada, Mexico, and the United States created under NAFTA. It has released a series of reports underlining the importance of sustainable ranching and beef cattle trade to the grasslands and to the societies and economies of North America.
    The crux of the issue, when it comes to conservation programming on private land, is that there is a mix of property rights on private land. The soil is privately owned, but the wildlife belongs to the crown. These rights often come into conflict. Farmers and ranchers by necessity change the landscape to continue agricultural operations, but quite frankly, the public has a legitimate interest in the management and conservation of public resources, such as wildlife, on private land.
    The big question is how to manage the public interest while at the same time maintaining farm and ranch profitability. We can emphasize the enforcement approach or the incentive approach. Motion No. 108 talks about the incentive approach.
    In most cases, the enforcement approach, which is telling farmers and ranchers how they must run their operations, has been a dismal failure. I recall the actions under the pre-2012 Fisheries Act and the current Species at Risk Act.
    I am a member of the fisheries committee. In testimony before the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, when we were reviewing changes the government wants to make to the 2012 Fisheries Act, which our government brought in, there was testimony from Ron Bonnett, president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. On November 21, 2016, he said:
    The experience that many farmers had with the Fisheries Act, unfortunately, was not a positive one. It was characterized by lengthy bureaucratic applications for permitting and authorizations, and a focus on enforcement and compliance measures taken by officials coupled with a lack of guidance or outreach on the purpose of these measures or information on how to navigate through the process.
    Many farmers were then relieved when the changes that were made just a few years ago drastically improved the timeliness and cost of conducting regular maintenance and improvement activities to their farms as well as lifting the threat of being deemed out of compliance. That being said, I think we could find ourselves with an important opportunity to look at how protection can be enhanced in a way that works on the ground for those who earn their livelihood from productive natural resources.
    The Species at Risk Act is problematic as well. It has a very strong enforcement role. Currently, it is actually a disincentive to have an endangered species on one's farm.
    On the other hand, the incentive approach to dealing with conservation on private land has delivered real conservation outcomes. Again, from Mr. Bonnett's testimony:
    I'd like to take this opportunity to share just a few examples from my own farm of growing stewardship actions that have improved fish habitat outcomes. Through Growing Forward 2 and species at risk funding, we were able to access incentive programs that contributed to the improvement of fish habitat. More specifically, through the provincially delivered environmental farm plan and the Species at Risk Act, we put fencing in to keep our livestock sufficiently away from water courses, which has increased water quality and fish population.
    In order to provide fresh water for our cattle, we installed a solar powered off-stream watering system. This has led to the rehabilitation of the stream that runs through our pasture areas. These are just two examples from a single farm in northern Ontario that illustrate how stewardship approaches have improved fish habitat in agricultural landscapes through means other than a regulatory-based approach under the Fisheries Act.
    When the committee reviewed the Fisheries Act, it unanimously approved recommendations 8 and 9. Recommendation 8 stated:
    That Fisheries and Oceans Canada put sufficient protection provisions into the Fisheries Act that act as safeguards for farmers and agriculturalists, and municipalities.
    Recommendation 9 stated:
    That Fisheries and Oceans Canada work with the farm community and rural municipalities to provide incentives and expert advice to conserve and enhance fish habitat and populations and utilize the enforcement approach as a last resort.
    It was made clear to the fisheries committee by the farm community that the enforcement approach simply does not work and that the incentive approach is the one we must take.
    Under the Species at Risk Act, there is a really good program in place called the species at risk partnerships on agricultural lands program, or SARPAL. In Manitoba right now, the Manitoba Beef Producers are delivering the SARPAL program, which is as it should be, with the people who know what is going on on the land delivering actual programs.

  (1150)  

    However, Canada lags far behind the United States and Europe in terms of incentive-based agricultural programs. I hope Motion No. 108 will go a way toward changing that. I strongly urge all members to approve Motion. No. 108, which would not only improve the environment but also improve the lives of Canada's farm and ranch communities.
     Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Bow River for raising the issue of land conservation and restoration on our farms.
    As a member of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-food, and also having been born and raised on the Prairies, I know that Alberta farmers, and Canadian farmers, are responsible stewards of the land. Their goal is to leave the land in better shape for the next generation.
    Farmers and ranchers have always been innovators. They still lead innovation as it relates to productivity and sustainability.
    Last month we celebrated Earth Day. On the farm, every day is earth day. Across the country, Canadian farmers are taking action to safeguard their soil, air, and water resources. We know that our farmers are part of the climate change solution. Their sustainable practices have offset part of Canada's emissions by increasing the amount of carbon stored in agricultural soil. They continue to make great strides in reducing agriculture's environmental footprint through higher-yielding crops, more effective use of inputs, such as fertilizers, and the adoption of technologies that use water efficiently.
    They use practices like zero tillage, which keeps carbon in the soil and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Twenty-five years ago, zero tillage was basically unheard of on Canadian fields. Today, according to Statistics Canada, almost 60% of Canada's farmers leave the plough in the shed. Not disturbing the soil through tillage, and leaving plant material on the ground, reduces soil erosion, maintains moisture, and captures carbon in the soil.
    Farmers apply nitrogen fertilizers in more efficient ways that safeguard the environment and improve the bottom line. Over the past 20 years, wheat producers have reduced their fuel consumption per tonne of wheat harvested by 40%.
    Cattle producers have also reduced their environmental footprint. Over the past three decades, farmers have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 15% per kilo through innovative advancements in genetics and feeding. At the same time, they are increasing their production by over 30%. These numbers are unreal. If they were in manufacturing, they would be in every headline in every paper in the country. Canadian dairy farmers can now produce the same quantity of milk as they did 20 years ago with close to half the number of cows and with 20% less in greenhouse gas emissions.
    The Canadian agriculture sector has a solid track record in innovation and the adoption of new technologies that have reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Innovations in land management, feeding, breeding, and genetics mean that while Canadian agricultural productivity has increased, emissions have remained stabled. Producers are reducing their environmental footprint through new crop varieties and technologies that allow for higher yields on the same land base.
    Clearly, Canada's farmers are up to the challenge of harnessing innovation to find affordable and practical solutions to feeding the world sustainably.
    When it comes to programs to support environmental action on farms, our government supports Canadian farmers and will continue to do so. Through our solid investments in innovation and sustainable practices, we are making a real difference in the lives of farmers and farm families across the country. We understand that science and innovation are the keys to driving the sector forward sustainably while at the same time growing our exports and creating job opportunities in the agriculture sector.
    Budget 2017 committed to ongoing support for farmers through investments in research, innovation, and science infrastructure. The University of Guelph has been a proud recipient of many grants for research in these areas. That includes an investment of $200 million in support of clean technologies in the natural resources sectors, including agriculture. We are also proud to be investing $70 million in agricultural science and innovation, focusing on priority areas such as water and soil conservation.

  (1155)  

    I would like to take a moment to highlight our $27-million investment in the agricultural greenhouse gases program, which will help create technologies, practices, and processes to help the sector adjust to climate change and to improve soil and water conservation by developing new farming practices and methods.
    Environmental farm plans are another tremendous success story in our industry. Supported by federal, provincial, and territorial investments, farmers make individualized plans for environmental improvements on their farms. Environmental farm planning brings industry, the provinces, the territories, and the federal government together to take concrete action on the environment. They deliver practical solutions farmers can use to help the environment while boosting their bottom line.
    Over the past quarter-century, more than 70,000 Canadian farmers have developed environmental farm plans. They have invested untold hours and dollars in environmental improvements, supported by investments from the provinces, territories, and the federal government.
    Canada is showing global leadership on the environment. We reaffirmed our strong support for international action on the environment a year ago, when the Prime Minister signed the Paris climate agreement of COP 21.
    Our investments are supporting on-farm action on the environment. Through these investments, we are supporting science to help producers reduce their environmental footprint through higher-producing crops; the effective use of inputs, such as fertilizers; improvements in animal genetics and nutrition; and technologies that use water more efficiently.
    We are now looking ahead to the next agricultural policy framework that will replace Growing Forward 2 in 2018, something we have been discussing extensively at the agriculture committee. Governments agree that one of the priorities of the framework will be to help the sector capitalize on opportunities for sustainable growth while adapting to climate change.
    Farmers are faced with the challenge of increasing production to feed a growing population while protecting land and water resources. Our government is committed to ensuring that farmers have the tools and the support they need to grow, to innovate, and to improve on their excellent land conservation and stewardship record.
    It is great to see that the member for Bow River and other members of the House are as concentrated on this as the government. I thank the member for Bow River for initiating this discussion and for bringing forward the motion for us to discuss today.

  (1200)  

    Mr. Speaker, it truly is an honour to rise today in support of my colleague from Bow River and of Motion No. 108.
     Canadians, especially those in urban centres, do not understand the environmental impact our farmers and ranchers have on their communities. My riding of Foothills, which is in southwestern Alberta, is in the heart of cattle country. Alberta beef comes from my riding, for the most part, and I am proud of the efforts of our farmers.
    It is unfortunate that often our farmers and ranchers are overlooked for their environmental stewardship and the efforts they have made to ensure that their land is protected not only for themselves but for future generations. The member for Bow River talked about how important it is for farmers and ranchers to protect their land because it is part of the country, but they also want to protect their land because they know they are going to hopefully pass it on to future generations. I have several farms in my riding that have been in the same family for more than a century, and that is something we are extremely proud of.
    Those farms and ranches would not remain viable and successful businesses if farmers were not able to innovate, be efficient, and ensure that they were run as businesses. When it comes to running a farm as a business, every efficiency possible has to be found. A lot of that goes hand in hand with ensuring that they use every environmental technology and innovation that arises as technology changes.
    Let us look at zero tillage. A generation ago, farmers in my riding, I am sure, were tilling their fields on an annual basis, but now we would be hard pressed to find even one who would be doing that. That shows how they have changed their methods and their technology to ensure that they protect the land not only for themselves but for future generations.
    Many of the farmers and ranchers in my riding use wind turbines and solar power to heat their barns to ensure that the troughs remain thawed throughout the winter.
    These are some of the things our farmers and ranchers are doing each and every day to protect their land for future generations.
    The time provided for the consideration of private members' business has now expired and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the Order Paper.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

  (1205)  

[English]

Extension of Sitting Hours

    That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, commencing upon the adoption of this Order and concluding on Friday, June 23, 2017:
(a) on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, the ordinary hour of daily adjournment shall be 12:00 a.m., except that it shall be 10:00 p.m. on a day when a debate, pursuant to Standing Order 52 or 53.1, is to take place;
(b) subject to paragraph (e), when a recorded division is demanded in respect of a debatable motion, including any division arising as a consequence of the application of Standing Order 61(2) or Standing Order 78, but not including any division in relation to the Business of Supply or arising as a consequence of an order made pursuant to Standing Order 57, (i) before 2:00 p.m. on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, it shall stand deferred until the conclusion of oral questions at that day’s sitting, or (ii) after 2:00 p.m. on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, or at any time on a Friday, it shall stand deferred until the conclusion of oral questions at the next sitting day that is not a Friday;
(c) notwithstanding Standing Order 45(6) and paragraph (b) of this Order, no recorded division requested after 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 22, 2017, or at any time on Friday, June 23, 2017, shall be deferred, except for any recorded division which, under the Standing Orders, would be deferred to immediately before the time provided for Private Members’ Business on Wednesday, September 20, 2017;
(d) the time provided for Government Orders shall not be extended pursuant to Standing Order 45(7.1) or Standing Order 67.1(2);
(e) when a recorded division, which would have ordinarily been deemed deferred to immediately before the time provided for Private Members’ Business on a Wednesday governed by this Order, is demanded, the said division is deemed to have been deferred until the conclusion of oral questions on the same Wednesday;
(f) any recorded division which, at the time of the adoption of this Order, stands deferred to immediately before the time provided for Private Members’ Business on the Wednesday immediately following the adoption of this Order shall be deemed to stand deferred to the conclusion of oral questions on the same Wednesday;
(g) a recorded division demanded in respect of a motion to concur in a government bill at the report stage pursuant to Standing Order 76.1(9), where the bill has neither been amended nor debated at the report stage, shall be deferred in the manner prescribed by paragraph (b);
(h) for greater certainty, this Order shall not limit the application of Standing Order 45(7);
(i) no dilatory motion may be proposed after 6:30 p.m.;
(j) notwithstanding Standing Orders 81(16)(b) and (c) and 81 (18)(c), proceedings on any opposition motion shall conclude no later than 5:30 p.m. on the sitting day that is designated for that purpose, except on a Monday when they shall conclude at 6:30 p.m. or on a Friday when they shall conclude at 1:30 p.m.; and
(k) when debate on a motion for the concurrence in a report from a standing, standing joint or special committee is adjourned or interrupted, the debate shall again be considered on a day designated by the government, after consultation with the House Leaders of the other parties, but in any case not later than the twentieth sitting day after the interruption.
    She said: Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak to government Motion No. 14. For the benefit of members, the motion would extend the sitting of the House until we rise for the summer adjournment.
    We have much to accomplish in the coming weeks. Our government has an ambitious legislative agenda that we would like to advance in order to deliver on the commitments we made to Canadians in the last election. Let me reflect on our recent legislative achievements before I turn to the important work that lies before us over the next four weeks.
    In our last sitting week, the House and Senate were able to reach agreement on securing passage of Bill C-37, which would put in place important measures to fight the opioid crisis in Canada. I would like to thank members of the House for the thoughtful debate on this bill and for not playing politics with such an important piece of legislation. In particular, I would like to thank members of the New Democratic Party for co-operating with the government to advance this bill when it was in the House and for helping us dispense with amendments from the Senate. This was a high watermark for the House and I hope that we can take this professional and courteous approach forward. I would also like to thank senators for their important contributions to this bill.

  (1210)  

[Translation]

    I would also like to point out the passage of two crucial bills related to trade. The first, Bill C-30, would implement an historic trade agreement with the European Union. The second, Bill C-31, would implement a trade agreement with Ukraine, a country that is dear to many members.
    I am proud that our government continues to open the doors to trade and potential investment in Canada to grow our economy and help build a strong middle class.

[English]

    In looking forward to the next four sitting weeks, I would like to highlight a few priority bills that our government will seek to advance. I will start with Bill C-44, which would implement budget 2017. This bill is about creating good middle-class jobs today while preparing Canadians for the jobs of tomorrow.
    I will provide some examples of the initiatives that will contribute to building a strong middle class. The budget makes smart investments to help adult workers retain or upgrade their skills to adapt to changes in the new economy and to help young people get the skills and work experience they need to start their careers.

[Translation]

    The budget also provides for investments in the well-being of Canadians, with the emphasis on mental health, home care, and health care for indigenous peoples.
    Bill C-44 would provide financing to the provinces for home care and mental health care. It would also create leave for those who wish to care for a critically ill adult or child in their family. These initiatives help build stronger communities.

[English]

    I would also like to point to initiatives in the budget that deal with gender equality. The first-ever gender statement will serve as a basis for ongoing, open, and transparent discussions about the role gender plays in policy development. Our government has other initiatives that aim to strengthen gender equality. For example, Bill C-25 encourages federally regulated companies to promote gender parity on boards of directors and to publicly report on the gender balance on these boards.
    Another bill, which I will discuss in greater detail later in my remarks, is Bill C-24, a bill that would level the playing field to ensure a one-tier ministry. The bill has a simple premise. It recognizes that a minister is a minister, no matter what portfolio he or she holds.
    Our government has committed to legalizing and strictly regulating the production, distribution, sale, and possession of cannabis. I look forward to the debate on this important bill tomorrow. I will note that the bill would provide strong safeguards and deterrents to protect young people from enticements to use or access cannabis.
    The government has taken a responsible approach in seeking to legalize cannabis by ensuring that law enforcement agencies have approved methods to test the sobriety of drivers to guard against cannabis use while operating a motorized vehicle. This afternoon, the House will continue to debate this bill, which, I will happily note, has support from all opposition parties in the House. I hope that we can agree to send this bill to committee on Wednesday.
    Now I would like to return to our government's commitment to improving gender equality. Bill C-24, which stands in my name, seeks to formalize the equal status of the ministerial team. This bill is very straightforward in its nature. It is fundamentally about the equality of all ministers. We strongly believe that the Minister of Status of Women should be a full minister. We believe that the Minister of Science and the Minister of Democratic Institutions should be full ministers.
    I am disappointed that the Conservatives do not share this fundamental belief in equality. I think we should send this bill to committee for a detailed study of what the bill actually does.

  (1215)  

[Translation]

    I would like to draw members' attention to another piece of legislation, Bill C-23, regarding an agreement with the United States on the preclearance of persons and goods between our two countries.
    This bill is currently being studied by the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. The principle of the bill is simple. It is about ensuring a more efficient and secure border by expanding preclearance operations for all modes of transportation. This will increase the number of trips and the volume of trade, which will strengthen both of our economies.
    As members may know, preclearance operations currently take place at eight Canadian airports, and immigration pre-inspection is also conducted at multiple locations in British Columbia in the rail and marine modes.
    Once that bill comes back from committee, I hope that we can work together to send it to the other place.

[English]

    In our last sitting week, our government introduced comprehensive modernization of our transportation systems. A strong transportation system is fundamental to Canada's economic performance and competitiveness. Bill C-49 does just that. The bill would enhance the utility, efficiency, and fluidity of our rail system so that it works for all participants in the system. Freight rail is the backbone of the Canadian economy. It moves everything from grain and potash to oil and coal, to the cars we drive, the clothes we wear, and the food we eat.
    I would also like to draw to the attention of members provisions in Bill C-49 that would strengthen Canada's air passenger rights. While the precise details of the air passenger rights scheme will be set out in regulations, the objective is that rights should be clear, consistent, transparent, and fair for passengers and air carriers.
    Finally, our government committed to creating a national security and intelligence committee of parliamentarians. Bill C-22 seeks to accomplish two interrelated goals, ensuring that our security intelligence agencies are effective in keeping Canadians safe, while at the same time safeguarding our values, rights and freedoms, and the open, generous, inclusive nature of our country.
    I appreciate the work that was done in the House committee to improve the bill. The bill is currently before the Senate national security committee, and I look forward to appearing before that committee with my colleague, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.
    Sitting a few extra hours for four days per week will also give the House greater flexibility in dealing with unexpected events. While it is expected that the Senate will amend bills, it is not always clear which bills and the number of bills that could be amended by the Senate. As we have come to know, the consideration of Senate amendments in the House takes time. This is, in part, why we need to sit extra hours. I know that members work extremely hard balancing their House duties and other political duties. I expect that extending the hours will add to the already significant workload.
    I wish to thank members for their co-operation in these coming weeks. As I reflect upon my time as government House leader, there were examples where members of the House came together, despite their political differences, and advanced initiatives that touched directly upon the interests of all Canadians. I hope that over the four remaining sitting weeks before we head back to work in our ridings, we can have honest and frank deliberations on the government's priorities and work collaboratively to advance the agenda that Canadians sent us here to implement.
    In the previous Parliament, when the government decided to extend the sittings in June of 2014, Liberal members supported that motion. We knew then, as we know now, that our role as legislators is a privilege, and we discharge our parliamentary functions in support of our constituents.
    There will be initiatives that the government will bring forward over the coming weeks that will enjoy the support of all members, and there will be issues on which parties will not agree. Our comportment during this time will demonstrate to Canadians that we are all in this together, despite our differences, for the good of this great country. Let us not lose sight of that.
    I believe the motion before the House is reasonable. I hope opposition members can support sitting a few extra hours for four days a week for the next few weeks to consider important legislation for Canadians.

  (1220)  

    Mr. Speaker, unfortunately it is going to take more than extended hours to get the current government to keep its promises, since it has broken so many of them already.
    If the minister is seeking partisan co-operation, she did not really start on a strong note by completely misstating the opposition's position on Bill C-24. Bill C-24 is about the government wanting to pay its junior ministers more. It has nothing to do with gender equality. The minister claimed it is about gender equality. The Prime Minister happened to choose to appoint women to junior ministerial portfolios. That was a choice he made, not a choice anyone else made.
    I want to ask a really simple question for the minister about Bill C-24. Under that bill, are these junior ministers now empowered to bring a memorandum to cabinet? That is an important part of the powers of senior ministers. If we have real ministerial equality, then they would have that power. Would Bill C-24 empower junior ministers to bring memoranda to cabinet, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, this is fundamentally about equality. This government believes that the Minister of Science, the Minister of Democratic Institutions, and the Minister of Status of Women are full ministers.
    Mr. Garnett Genuis: Then answer the question.
    Hon. Bardish Chagger: The work they do is important work, and that is why we believe that all ministers should be treated like ministers. Let us co-operate.
    Mr. Daniel Blaikie: Is that a yes or a no? What is the answer to the question?
    Hon. Bardish Chagger: We know we can work better in this place, and that is why it is important that ministers be able to make important decisions. Let us advance this legislation. Let us let the committee do its important work so it can study the bill. We look forward to continuing to deliver to Canadians.
    The hon. colleagues are putting me in a difficult spot. We have asked the question and we will wait for the answer and respond accordingly.
    With that, questions and comments, the hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona.
    Mr. Speaker, if we thought we might take some liberties while you are in the chair, it is only because we know you are so capable and can handle it so well.
    I am going to resist the temptation to get into substantive debate on the bills that the House leader mentioned in her speech and instead ask about the motion.
    We know that the government has some legislation that it has not passed yet. It actually does not have very much legislation at all, but it wants to get the balance of the legislation passed before summer. Part of that is because of the government's ineptitude. It is because the Liberals refused to honour a long-standing parliamentary tradition of seeking all-party consensus before making changes to the Standing Orders. Their failure to honour that principle cost them a lot of time in the House, but that was their decision, not ours. They had another problem, interestingly, on a bill that had to do with preventing genetic discrimination, which was that they had over 40 members of their caucus vote against them. It created a bit of a disciplinary problem, because they can maybe kick one person out of their caucus, but they cannot kick over 40 out of their caucus.
    This motion is not just going to put increased strain on opposition members; it is also going to make the Liberal backbench pay for the ineptitude of cabinet, who, by refusing to acknowledge that simple principle of parliamentary tradition, wasted time in the House and did not get the Liberals' legislation through, and now they are asking their backbench to modify their schedules to spend more time away from their family when the government has professed a commitment to a family-friendly Parliament.
     Could the minister tell us if this is really the Liberals trying to kill two birds with one stone? Are they trying to get legislation through that earlier they could not, because they were refusing a long-standing parliamentary principle, and also trying to punish over 40 members of their caucus for not toeing the line on other bills? The seals are going to clap anyway, and the ones who are going to be really disappointed and frustrated are the 40 members who voted against that bill.
    Mr. Speaker, members of the Liberal caucus are my colleagues, just like members on the opposite benches are my colleagues, and no member in the House will refer to my colleagues as seals, first of all.
    Second, we are people. We are here to represent Canadians, and that is what we will do. Regardless of political stripe, we know that we represent Canadians to make tough decisions. We work in the House every single day. Let us sit a few more hours so that we can have meaningful debate.
    The member might be a stranger to having debate and might not be aware of what free votes look like. We committed to free votes. We made a commitment to Canadians about an open and transparent government in which members of Parliament could represent their constituents. This is something I have been looking forward to. We have not seen it in over a decade from the previous government.
    Obviously the member has forgotten when he was in the opposition benches, but we are okay with Canadians representing Canadians. We are okay with members of Parliament representing their constituents. If that means we cannot always vote together, that is okay, because we want diversity of thought and we want those perspectives to be represented. That is part of our democracy, and that is why Canada has one of the strongest democracies.
    Let us work a couple more hours for Canadians. That is what the motion is about. Let us get the agenda that Canadians sent us here to deliver on. Let us advance it for them so that they can have the opportunities they deserve and that we owe them.
    I am just saying we should work a little harder together and co-operate a little bit more. I know we can do it. As our Prime Minister said, better is always possible, and each of us has a responsibility to our constituents.

  (1225)  

    Mr. Speaker, the hon. House leader mentioned she would like to see certain bills moved from the House to committee. The two that I referred to were Bill C-24 and Bill C-46, which do deal with fundamental principles of gender equality and impaired driving.
    Could the member explain to the House why she feels it is important to get these bills to committee for study?
    Mr. Speaker, that is a fabulous question, and it is part of the work that we do in this place. It is important in the debates that we have in this chamber that members of Parliament be able to represent their constituents, to have the tough conversations that Canadians sent us here to have, but what is important about the committee process is that committees can hear from experts. They can bring in witnesses, hear from stakeholders, and scrutinize legislation in a way that is not possible in this place. That is why we are saying to send it to committee. Let us let the committee do the important work they do.
    Part of the commitment we made to Canadians was to empower committees to do that important work. That is why we increased resources to committees. Let us send this important legislation that affects everyday Canadians to committee to scrutinize the legislation. Then let us bring it back here to ensure that it is in its best form.
    Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House we say, “Bring it.”
    We are the party of hard-working Canadians. Canadians do not work nine to five. Many constituents work beyond normal hours, so we welcome this motion coming forth.
    However, as was said earlier, there are some questions about squandered time. Opposition supply days give us a voice to argue things that are important to all of Canada, but they will now be seen as half-days, half supply days. We will not get the full time to argue those comments and those issues that are important to the opposition.
    My question, then, is why do we get extended time to debate the issues the Liberals feel are important, but not so much the extended time to debate the issues that the opposition members and those who elected the opposition members feel are important?
    Mr. Speaker, I know that the previous government referred to itself as a Conservative government and felt that it represented only Conservatives. This government is the government of Canada. We represent all Canadians. That is why we are having the tough conversations we committed to.
    When it comes to the member's question, we appreciate opposition days because they bring important issues to this place, and the member will have the same number of hours that the member would normally have had for opposition days.
    Let us extend sitting hours so that we can advance important legislation that Canadians sent us here to debate, which is the mandate that Canadians gave this government, a mandate that every single member in this Parliament, in this House of Commons, knows is important to everyday middle-class Canadians. Let us talk about this important legislation, have meaningful debate, and work in the best interests of all Canadians. I know we can work better together. That is the underlying principle of this motion.
    When the previous Conservative government brought forward a very similar motion in 2014, Liberal members recognized the importance of working hard at that time. We work hard. Every member of Parliament and every Canadian works hard. This is not a competition about who works harder. Whether I am here in this place or in my riding where my constituents elected me, I work hard every single day, and I am confident that every single one of my colleagues does the same thing.

  (1230)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to rise today in my capacity as opposition House leader to speak to the Liberal government motion, Motion No. 14. The motion before us essentially proposes to do one thing, the end result of which is to extend the sitting hours in the House of Commons until midnight Monday to Thursday until the end of the parliamentary sittings in June.
    I would say on the face of it that with respect to working longer hours, the Conservatives absolutely support working as hard, as long, and as much as we need to. As one of my colleagues has already mentioned, we are the party of hard-working taxpayers. The people who support us in every election are the people who work shift work, in factories; who work on farms, planting, harvesting, building; who drive trucks, which haul the great things that we manufacture and grow here in Canada. We understand that there are Canadians who work long hours. For some, it is shift work, but for others it is working 12 to 16 hours a day, many times away from their families, and many times making huge sacrifices. We have men and women in the military who are away from their families for months at a time, and who make that sacrifice for Canadians because they have made a commitment to do a certain job.
    On this side of the House, as Conservatives, that is what we ascribe to, and it is why we believe we are representing our constituents so well. We have no problem being here. People talk about being family friendly. Sure, we would all love to be with our families every day. However, when we decided to run for this position, our families and those people who love and support us knew what the price would be.
    Therefore, I think that whatever an individual does, we have to take the costs into consideration and then go forward positively, without complaining about how hard we have to work or how we have to be away from our families. That can be difficult, but what an honour and privilege it is to work here every day. I think our families, on every side of the House, are proud of what we do. They have many opportunities that the families of those who are not working as members of Parliament do not get. Therefore, as much as I support doing things so that we can be together with our families, I believe that our job here is to represent Canadians and to work as hard and as long for them as need be.
    Our issue with Motion No. 14 is not about the extended hours, as we are okay to work and we will be here. In fact, I need to mention that it was this party that rose on a multitude of occasions over the last few months to ask for emergency debates to sit longer, to be able to talk about some important things, such as the jobs crisis in Alberta, or things going on in other parts of the country. I know there have been a number of issues that have been requested as topics for emergency debate, many of which were denied. However, it is not we, as Conservatives, who do not want to work late. We like to be here debating. That issue in and of itself is something we understand.
    The problem is that the Liberals have squandered an amazing opportunity that they had. They came into government with a majority, and with a House leader at that time who was working with the House leader at this time. It was a big opportunity that was squandered. I will talk about that in a few moments. Members will recall it as Motion No. 6. However, we pressed the reset button and a new House leader was put in place. This new House leader was supposed to be coming with a new tone and a mandate to respect Parliament and the work we do here. Unfortunately, the goodwill that we had been working together very well on was squandered when the Liberals decided to push ahead and change the Standings Orders unilaterally, and I will talk a little more about that. However, they have squandered an opportunity, which was the desire to work here to do things.
    We all understand that when legislation is put forward by the government, it believes it has a mandate to fulfill that. We are using all the tools available to argue against that legislation and to bring our perspective forward. However, as we have seen, day in and day out, week in and week out, the Liberals have the majority, so at the end of the day when a vote happens, we lose the vote, and they get their legislation through.

  (1235)  

    Even with that, they have blown and made a mess of a whole bunch of opportunities that we have had, and I will give an example. Our Conservative government under Stephen Harper had an aggressive legislative agenda, and we worked very hard to get it done. We recognize that as government there is an agenda and we have to work to get it done.
    The Liberals on the other hand, though, since they have come into government, seem to care more about the perks of being a government rather than getting things done through the passage of legislation. The Liberals have a lot of time for travel. The Prime Minister has lots of time to travel abroad. Many, many holidays are required, lots of photographs needed, lots of staged photographs needed, and then more staged photographs. It is actually a bit embarrassing to watch when we have so many—
    An hon. member: It's working well so far. It's got you where you are today.
    Can you stop the heckling, Mr. Speaker? He is heckling me.
    I believe there was heckling on both sides, but I would ask the whole House to maybe show some respect for people who are speaking.
    Mr. Speaker, as I was saying, it seems that the Liberals and the Prime Minister have a lot of time for staged selfies and office renovations. The minute that the Liberals were elected, there were millions of dollars spent on office renovations. I think one television set was $15,000. That was one television set for a very important minister, I am sure, who really needed a very expensive television. The Minister of Infrastructure spent $800,000 on massive renovations to his office. The Minister of Status of Women spent another million dollars.
    There were Snapchat filters, more photo ops, and a lot of work trying to get Fridays off. That was another big priority for the Liberals. Instead of working on legislation and getting things passed, the Liberals had and continue to have other priorities. That seems to be the perks and fun of being in government, as opposed to the hard work of debating and getting legislation through.
    To highlight this, one only needs to compare our Conservative government record against the current Liberal record. Our 2006 Conservative minority government, compared to the current Liberal record with a majority government, in the same amount of time, managed to pass more than twice as many bills. Lest anyone say it was because we used time allocation, the Liberals have used time allocation on virtually every single one of the bills that they did manage to get passed.
    The fact is, we were more serious about governing. Members of Parliament sit here day after day and see only one member get up to ask questions. There are other members who participate in actually giving a speech, but when it comes to questions and answers, we do not see the Liberal members on the other side getting up and asking questions. I guess they are busy doing other work. The Liberals do not seem to understand what it means to be in government. When we were in government, the entire team was up asking questions, debating, and listening. That was our job. We could not just come in here and ponder other things going on in our lives. We asked questions, and we certainly did not let one member dominate day in and day out.
    Therefore, I challenge my Liberal colleagues on the other side. It is time that they start standing up and asking questions and not letting the member for Winnipeg North take all of their glory and, more importantly, abdicating their jobs to him. They are good at what they do. They need to stand up and participate. They need to stand up before the member for Winnipeg North. We need to hear questions from everyone on that side of the House. That is not in my notes. That is just a bit of free advice for the members opposite.
    I am very proud that we managed to pass twice as many bills in the same amount of time, and in a minority Parliament no less. It is a striking difference, and it speaks volumes about how little the Liberal government is focused on results.
    It is also interesting that last year the Liberals did not extend the hours at the end of the session. One can only guess that perhaps it was because they were not getting as much media coverage and some pressure in regard to the lack of legislation they have passed.
    While we are more than ready, willing, and able to work extended hours, we do have some concerns with Motion No. 14. Therefore, I want to take a few minutes to talk about those concerns.
    The motion would primarily extend the sitting hours, but it is interesting to see what is not included in the motion. Opposition days remain exactly the same. The government wants to have more time to debate its legislation. It feels it needs more time, and it wants to give us more time. I understand that. We are willing to be here and to do that. However, if that logic holds true, then the opposition also needs that extended time to counter and debate and talk about issues that the opposition has to talk about. It is only logical that if the government needs a certain amount of time and needs extended time, then the one day we have set aside for opposition day, we should also have, in relative terms, that same extension. That is not asking for anything unreasonable. That is a very reasonable and logical request.
    Supply motions are categorized as government business and play an important role in our system of government. That is important to note. It is actually part of government business; it is part of how Parliament works.

  (1240)  

    We do not believe that opposition motions should be exempt from extended debates, making for opposition half-days, about which my hon. colleague talked. The opposition should not be punished for the government's mismanagement of its own agenda.
     O'Brien and Bosc, at page 850, states:
    The setting aside of a specified number of sitting days on which the opposition chooses the subject of debate derives from the tradition which holds that Parliament does not grant supply until the opposition has had an opportunity to demonstrate why it should be refused.
    It stands to reason that if the time allotted to the government is extended, then the time allotted to the opposition to perform its important role to scrutinize the government should also be extended.
     There are 128 sitting days in this calendar year. Just 22 of those days are allotted to the opposition, and there are two oppositions. That leaves 106 days to the government. The length of these sitting days is the same for both government and the opposition.
     Motion No. 14 distorts this balance and is keeping with the government's agenda, unfortunately, of proposing changes to the rules that offer less, and less, and less time for the opposition to do its job and scrutinize the government. If the government feels it needs more time to consider its agenda, then obviously the opposition needs more time to scrutinize what the government is doing.
    The hon. House leader for the government just spoke moments ago and said that Canadians elected the government to do something, that Canadians elected the Liberal government.
    Well, Canadians elected each one of us on this side of the House as well. Canadians elected us to do a job. Although the Liberals may want an audience and not an opposition, Canadians have asked us to be the opposition. We take that job seriously, and we will do that job. It really bares the motives behind the Liberals cutting off all the tools we have, even with extending sitting days, not allowing us to have our extended opposition days. That is a big problem with the motion, and one that we seriously ask the government to reconsider; that it would allow us an opposition day to go to until midnight as well. It only makes sense.
    Another issue we have some problems with stems from the government's previously stated threat to systemically use closure to shut down all debates from now until the end of June, when the House adjourns for the summer.
    The threat of shutting down debate on all government business is particularly egregious, given that this would presumably include shutting down debate on any debates regarding changes to the Standing Orders, which the government House leader has previously stated she intends on doing by passing a motion to implement changes to the Standing Orders before we adjourn in June. We have a problem with this. Let me explain why.
    The government continues to offer up the threat of making changes to the Standing Orders and it does with the threat that it is going to do it unilaterally. These changes are tailored to benefit only one side of the parliamentary equation.
    Someone once said that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. If the government House leader does indeed proceed with her threat to propose a unilateral motion changing the Standing Orders, she will be repeating the mistake her government made just a month or two ago at the procedure and House affairs committee.
    For everyone's benefit, let me briefly review how all of this started and how all of this bad faith and all of this poison entered the House just a few months ago.
    The Liberal House leader published proposals that would undermine the opposition, but she published them in a so-called discussion paper. Within hours of the discussion paper coming out, the Liberal member of the Standing Committee of Procedure and House Affairs submitted a closure motion, proposing an end to all discussion on the discussion paper. We have heard over and over again that it was a discussion paper, that we were supposed to have a conversation, that we were supposed to have a dialogue, that it would open and transparent, mom and apple pie. Except it was none of that because no discussion would be happening at that committee. Now we are hearing from the House leader that there will be no discussion happening in the House of Commons.

  (1245)  

    Let us remember exactly what the Liberals want to change. We know they want Fridays off and we know it is a big deal to them. They do not want to be working Fridays. They do not realize that Canadians work five days a week, and many times it is more than five days a week.
    Then, and I think this all boils down to the Prime Minister, he only wants to be here to answer questions for 45 minutes, one day a week. Last Wednesday, nothing was answered. The Wednesday before that, nothing was actually answered again. We we asked the same question 19 times, and it was a very simple question. How many times has the Prime Minister met with the Ethics Commissioner? As members know, the Prime Minister is under investigation by the Ethics Commission for his ethical lapses and for breaking the rules around travelling in private aircraft.
    The Prime Minister was supposedly here for 45 minutes to answer questions. We asked him a really simple question. He could have said that he would not answer that, that he thought it should be private between him and the Ethics Commissioner. That is one option. We might not have liked it, but it would have been an answer. He could have said that he had met with her once. If that was true, that would have been wonderful. He could have said that he had met with her three times. If that was true, that would have been refreshing. He could have said that he had not met with her, but he planned to.
    There were a lot of options. The Prime Minister had 19 times to formulate an answer, but he did not answer. The fact that he only wants to be here 45 minutes, one day a week, to give us that kind of a performance, to slap Canadians in the face by not answering a very simple question is something we absolutely cannot accept on this side of the House. However, it is key to the reforms and the changes the Liberals want to ram through.
    The Liberals also want to ram through changes on omnibus bills and proroguing. Again, it is so ironic. We just saw time allocation on an omnibus bill that they just rammed through. We cannot make it up. It is hilarious, but it is actually very sad to see. It is so disingenuous.
    When this first happened and the government House leader said the government was going to ram these changes through, there was filibustering at the committee. We were intent on not letting that happen. When that happened, we sat down and wrote a letter. When I say “we”, it was the House leader of the NDP, as well as Conservatives. Together, we sat down and offered a better way. We wanted to offer a solution. We are still open to a solution and finding ways to fix this.
    I want to talk a little about some great examples of the way Standing Orders rules can be changed so everybody agrees. I want to quickly explain why it is so important that everybody agrees.
     When we change the Standing Orders, we change the way we operate here. However, it does not just affect us now, it will affect all governments and all oppositions. Therefore, when we come together on these changes through consensus, that means each side has to explain that the change it is proposing is not just for its own benefit. Each side needs to make the argument. For example, as an opposition member, I need to make the argument to my colleagues in government that the change I have proposed is not just to benefit our party but it is to benefit all of Parliament and all democracy.
     Just like when the government wants to make changes or feels it needs to make changes, it needs to make the argument to all of us that it is a rational thing to do and that in the in the future all of those changes are for the greater good. That is why a consensus had been primarily reached in the past and really why we wanted to reach a consensus.
    I want to go through some really good examples from both Liberals and Conservatives, with some great input from NDP members, who in the past have talked about this type of thing.
     On May 31, 1982, the Lefebvre committee was created. The committee recommended several changes in the Standing Orders on a trial basis, such as the automatic referral of departmental and crown corporations annual reports to committees and the requirement for a government response to these reports within 120 days. The prime minister at the time was Pierre Elliott Trudeau, and the reforms were adopted unanimously.

  (1250)  

    Prime Minister Brian Mulroney's government created the McGrath committee on December 5, 1984. The principal goal of that committee was to find ways to give private members a meaningful role in the development of public policy and in doing so, to restore the House of Commons to its rightful place in the Canadian political process. The committee went on to table three reports, all of which were adopted unanimously.
     McGrath and Lefebvre proposed ideas that enhanced private members' business, strengthened the powers of committees, and enfranchised members.
    Is everybody okay over there?
    I would like everybody to know it was the light bulb that went out. We will have to maybe turn up the cameras a bit so we can get better pictures, but we will be fine. Everything is good.
    Mr. Speaker, the committee went on to table three reports, all unanimously. McGrath and Lefebvre proposed ideas that enhanced private members' business, strengthened the powers of committees, and enfranchised members with the selection of our Speaker by secret ballot, to name just a few.
    The Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections recommended in a report tabled on December 6, 1990, important amendments that transformed private members' business. These rule changes were again adopted unanimously.
    Under Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, and this was the specific one that we recommended, a Special Committee on the Modernization and Improvement of the Procedures of the House of Commons was created and chaired by then Deputy Speaker Bob Kilger. One of the rules of the committee was “That the committee shall not adopt any report without the unanimous agreement of all the Members of the committee”. This unanimity requirement did not deter the special committee. It tabled six reports to the House and the House adopted five of them. The committee made significant changes, such as allowing all items on the order of precedence of private members' business to be votable.
    The Stephen Harper government also followed the tradition of the unanimity approach, bringing in reforms to improve private members' business and broadcasting rules for committees.
    I would be remiss if I did not point out that not 100% of all changes were unanimous. Some required a vote. However, since the very beginning of Parliament these incidents were rare, and whenever more broad-based changes to the Standing Orders were adopted, the time-honoured practice of this place was to do so through unanimous consent.
    That being said, there exists a very small and exclusive club, if one wants to be a part of it, of forgotten House leaders who rammed through changes, such as the closure motion in 1913, time allocation in 1969, and Standing Order 56(1) in 1991. I am at a loss to understand why the government House leader would rather join this group than be associated with the likes of McGrath, Lefebvre, and Bob Kilger, but I suppose that would not be inconsistent with her government's track record.
    Members will recall that we had an electoral reform issue, the efforts of another minister, who turned that reform exercise into a fiasco that led to a full retreat and the firing of that minister from her post. Then there was Motion No. 6. The minister who gave us that doozy has disappeared from that job as well.
    Let me take a few minutes just to remind the House of what Motion No. 6 was. Simply put, Motion No. 6 proposed to legislate by exhaustion. It offered unstructured, open-ended debate, potentially sitting 24 hours around the clock all summer long. The motion targeted the opposition and would have hamstrung its ability to hold the government to account. Essentially, it violated one of the fundamental principles of Parliament, a principle described in Beauchesne's, sixth edition, citation 3, “More tentative are such traditional features as respect for the rights of the minority, which precludes a Government from using to excess the extensive powers that it has to limit debate or to proceed in what the public and the Opposition might interpret as unorthodox ways.” That is what Motion No. 6 was and we know what the outcome was of that.
    I want to speak briefly about another change that has not been talked about extensively in the House, but it is one of the changes to the Standing Orders that the Liberals are trying to ram through. It is an idea that has been proposed by the President of the Treasury Board in regard to the estimates.
    Page 12 of the document says, “For parliamentary committees, the proposed approach trades off the longer period of time now available to study an incomplete Main Estimates...for a shorter time to study a complete Main Estimates”. That all sounds good. It sounds like there is going to be shorter time to study complete, thorough, and accurate estimates rather than having a longer time but with inaccurate estimates. The President of the Treasury Board should know that the House will always insist on full and accurate information and will never attach any such conditions to that right.
    In its role in the supply process, Parliament would be foolish to voluntarily clawback two months of its ability to hold a ministry to account in exchange for flawed, unenforceable promises. Even though the paper says it would be accurate information, there is nothing incumbent on the government to provide that accurate information, which is why it is so important that the opposition has as much time as possible to look at those estimates and to scrutinize them.

  (1255)  

    Let me explain this by first putting forward this historical context. On page 114 of Josef Redlich's The Procedure of the House of Commons: A Study of its History and Present Form, it says:
    The whole law of finance, and consequently the whole British constitution, is grounded upon one fundamental principle, laid down at the very outset of English parliamentary history and secured by three hundred years of mingled conflict with the Crown and peaceful growth. All taxes and public burdens imposed upon the nation for purposes of state, whatsoever their nature, must be granted by the representatives of the citizens and taxpayers, i.e., by Parliament.
    Pages 404 and 405 of the fourth edition of Bourinot's Parliamentary Procedure and Practice, published in 1916, state:
     The cardinal principle, which underlies all parliamentary rules and constitutional provisions with respect to money grants and public taxes is this—when burthens are to be imposed on the people, every opportunity must be given for free and frequent discussion...[and] whenever the government finds it necessary to incur a public expenditure...there should be full consideration of the matter in committee and in the house, so that no member may be forced to come to a hasty decision, but that every one may have abundant opportunities afforded him of stating his reasons for supporting or opposing the proposed grant....
    With respect to delaying the main estimates, I will quote from the parliamentary budget officer's most recent report, “Considerations for Parliament in Reforming the Business of Supply”. It states, “With respect to delaying the main estimates, the Government indicates that the core impediment in aligning the budget and estimates arises from the Government’s own sclerotic internal administrative processes, rather than parliamentary timelines.”
    It says right there that it is about administrative processes, not parliamentary timelines. The report goes on to state:
    PBO notes that the Government’s Supplementary Estimates B, tabled on 3 November, contained 51 measures that were originally proposed almost seven months earlier in Budget 2016.
    This example shows that it is unlikely that delaying the release of the main estimates by eight weeks would provide full alignment with the budget.
    That was in the PBO's report.
    This is a lot of “inside Ottawa” and really diving deep into the estimates. However, the bottom line is that Parliament needs to be able to look at the government's estimates and should not have its time shortened. The President of the Treasury Board cannot ask us to trust that the government's estimates will be more accurate and that we will have a third of the time to study them. That is wrong. It is one of the issues that has not been talked about a lot, but is creating a lot of problems. As former PBO Kevin Page said, “This legislation creates the facade of independence…but on the other hand it completely takes it away.”
    The other change the Liberals want to make and have done it in the omnibus bill, which is indicative of what they do, is to take away the power of the parliamentary budget officer. The former PBO stated:
    The Government asserts that Parliament does not play a meaningful role in financial scrutiny. PBO disagrees with this view....
    We note that notwithstanding the Government's performance information of admittedly poor quality, and their inability to reconcile the Government's spending proposals, parliamentarians have performed a commendable job of asking pertinent questions in standing committee hearings, Question Period and Committee of the Whole.
    We know that even the parliamentary budget officer would disagree with those changes and has questions on them. We know the Liberals are currently trying to make changes to the ability of the PBO in Bill C-44, and on that he said:
    The proposed amendments impose significant restrictions on the way the PBO can set its work plan and access information. Those restrictions will undermine PBO’s functional independence and its effectiveness in supporting parliamentarians to scrutinize government spending and hold the government to account.
    In her remarks to you, Mr. Speaker, after your election to the office of Speaker, the then leader of the opposition and member for Sturgeon River—Parkland, the former interim Conservative leader, talked of the interrupted history of the office of Speaker, which began in 1376 when Sir Peter de la Mare presided over what is known as the “Good Parliament”. She pointed out that the title of “Good Parliament” was not due to the performance of the administration of the day but a reflection on the efforts of the members of that parliament to keep the government in check.

  (1300)  

    There was a significant principle developing in that parliament, a principle that should apply to this and to all parliaments. In Philip Laundy's book on the office of the Speaker, published in 1984, he had this to say about the Good Parliament:
     Parliament was greatly concerned at the abuses in the administration which were threatening the welfare of the realm—
    That sounds familiar.
—and encouraged by the support of the Black Prince it set itself to the task of correcting them.
    Which is what the opposition wants to do. He continued:
     After lengthy debates...the Lords and Commons again assembled in the Painted Chamber before John of Gaunt to give answer to the financial demands which had been made of them. Speaking on behalf of the Commons Sir Peter de la Mare boldly refused to grant supplies until the nation's grievances were redressed.
    That was over 600 years ago, but it is still one of the cornerstones of our proud parliamentary democracy. We have made improvements in our approach over the years, but diminishing principles of accountability is the farthest thing from modernizing the procedures of the House. The Liberals keep saying they want to modernize the House, but all they want to do is take away the time-honoured and proven ways that we can hold governments to account. One day very soon, when we are back in government, the opposition is going to want us to be held to account, and the Liberals need to think about this.
    During the remarks addressed in the Speaker's election, the member for Sturgeon River—Parkland referenced the “Bad Parliament”, but she did not get into the details of why that parliament's style was bad. We were at that point beginning the era of sunny ways, and who were we to spoil the mood? We were hoping it would be sunny ways.
    As members know, as soon as that slogan was out of the box, it collapsed under the weight of dark clouds of arrogance and entitlement, and now serves to give a modern context to the story of the Bad Parliament that sat in England between January 27 and March 2, 1377. The Bad Parliament undid the work done by the Good Parliament, which brought in measures to reduce corruption in the royal council. The Bad Parliament approved reversals of the Good Parliament's impeachment of a number of royal courtiers. It also introduced a new form of royal taxation.
    That sounds familiar too, does it not?
    In addition, the Bad Parliament was forced to accede to the fact that the King could renege on political promises. Unfortunately, that does sound away too familiar to what is playing out in this Parliament.
    I have one more parliament to reference. An even earlier parliament to the Good and Bad Parliaments was the “Mad Parliament” that met in Oxford on June 11, 1258. In Philip Laundy's book at page 11, he suggested that the Mad Parliament set itself against the tyranny of the court and owes its derogatory designation to those whose abuses it sought to check. If the government uses its majority to force through the changes proposed by the government House leader, the official opposition will be fighting its own form of tyranny. I assure members that the language used to describe the 42nd Parliament will be much stronger than just “mad”.
    On a more positive note, though, I would like to reference a few distinguished parliamentarians, coming from all sides of the political spectrum. The Right Hon. John Diefenbaker, in an address to the Empire Club in 1949, had this to say, “If Parliament is to be preserved as a living institution His Majesty's Loyal Opposition must fearlessly perform its functions.... The reading of history proves that freedom always dies when criticism ends.”
    In an address to the Canadian Club of Ottawa, January 27, 1959, Lester B. Pearson said:
     In national politics during the years when I was in the government, I watched the Opposition perform their duty vigorously and industriously, with courage and determination. They rightly insisted on their right to oppose, attack and criticize, to engage in that cut and thrust of debate, so often and so strongly recommended by those concerned with the vigour and health of Parliament and the health of democracy.
    In an address on March 21, 1957, New Democrat Stanley Knowles said:
     The opposition has only the rules for its protection, hence the authorities on parliamentary procedure emphasize the greater importance to the opposition of the only protection it has, the protection of the rules. Only by according such rights to the opposition is it possible to achieve anything even approaching equality of strength between the two sides....

  (1305)  

    Finally, I would like to make reference to a more recent elder statesman, and I use the word in a very positive way. A respected senior member of this House, the hon. Liberal member for Malpeque, said on April 11, 2017:
    However, this place is called the House of Commons for a reason. It is not the House of cabinet or the House of PMO. Protecting the rights of members in this place, whether it is the opposition members in terms of the stance they are taking, is also protecting the rights of the other members here who are not members of cabinet or the government. We talk about government as if this whole side is the government. The government is the executive branch. We do need to protect these rights.
    I think those are very wise words, and we would like the government, the backbenchers to think about that in terms of this motion. We are fine sitting later hours. We know it will be long days for all of us, but let us do it. As my hon. colleague says, let us do the good work that Canadians have asked us to do.
    However, we ask two things: allow us to have fuller opposition days, just like the Liberals are having full government days, and do not shut down the debate on the Standing Orders.
    Mr. Speaker, I believe there have been consultations. I hope you will find unanimous consent of the House to propose an amendment. The amendment would restrict the use of closure on any motion proposing to change the Standing Orders during the period outlined in Motion No. 14, and would propose to treat opposition motions on allotted days the same as other government business.
    Therefore, I seek the consent of the House to amend Motion No. 14 accordingly. I move that Motion No. 14 be amended by deleting all the words in paragraph (j) and substituting the following: “A motion pursuant to Standing Order 57 shall not be admissible for any motion dealing with amendments to the Standing Orders or changes to the practices of the House.”
    Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.

  (1310)  

    Mr. Speaker, we will go to plan B.
    I move:
    That the motion be amended
(a) by adding to paragraph (b) the following: “and if a recorded division is demanded in respect of a motion moved pursuant to Standing Order 57 in relation to any motion dealing with amendments to the Standing Orders or changes to the practices of the House, it shall stand deferred to December 5, 2017 at the conclusion of Oral Questions; ”; and
(b) by deleting all the words in paragraph “(j)”.
    The motion is in order.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Spadina—Fort York.
    Putting aside the sheer foolishness of having the opposition decide which Liberal should or should not talk at any given point, let me just assure the members opposite that one Liberal could take on 99. It does not matter which one of us it is. One can deal with it.
    It is sheer audacity to call the budget bill an omnibus bill. Our bill is 400 pages long. There was never a budget bill passed by the Conservatives that was less than 600 pages. It is sheer audacity to refer to an omnibus bill. I await a budget presented one clause at a time. I do not think it will ever happen in my lifetime.
    Then putting aside the sheer nonsense about the Prime Minister, when asked the same question, giving the same answer—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. I believe the hon. member for Portage—Lisgar asked for people to be quiet, and she got what she asked for. I would imagine that we owe the same respect to the questions she is getting as well.
    Mr. Speaker, then there is the sheer nonsense of asking the Prime Minister to provide a different answer to the same question. The same question will get the same answer. That is unlike the former prime minister, Mr. Harper, who when asked about the Wright and Duffy scandal changed the answer every time the question was asked. Every time the question was changed, the answer was different, even without the involvement of the party.
    Let me also talk about the absolute sheer lunacy of a party that says it does not want to work on Fridays, knowing that we work in our constituencies on Fridays. That is a party that tries to adjourn the debate in every single term. I do not think there has been a bill in this Parliament that has not had at least two motions of adjournment whereby the Tories try to skip off work and go home early. That is what the motion of adjournment is all about.
    Then they complain that we move closure, when they tried to adjourn three times. What is adjournment? Adjournment is the opposition's method for closure.
    Putting aside that sheer lunacy, there is the waste of time of having the House decide which one of the members opposite gets to speak. The number of votes we have had deciding whether Tory A or Tory B should speak has wasted hours of time. If they had a leader who was anything more than a sheer rookie, perhaps they would end up in a situation where they could choose their own speakers.
    Since we are going to extend speaking hours and sitting hours through the month of June, can we have an agreement from the opposite side that members will not try to adjourn three, four, five, and six times a day and will actually pledge to show up and work and debate the issues of the day? Otherwise, will they adjourn at every opportunity to get home early for summer vacation because they are members of the party that does not seem to want to work?
    Mr. Speaker, first of all, I welcome all members. It is wonderful to see the backbenchers. At this point in a Parliament, we should know every single one of the members by name. We should know which one has a topic he or she thinks is important. We should know which one can expound passionately. We should know the ones who are a little calmer. However, we do not know anything about any of them, because the only one who gets to speak is the parliamentary secretary for the House leader, so it is very nice to see the member for Vaughan stand. We know his style and we would love to see the style and the gifts of some of the other Liberal members, including the ones who are sitting on this side. We want to see their gifts and their speaking ability. It is a wonderful opportunity to hone those abilities.
    I encourage them to keep standing up and not let one guy hog the show over there, because he has done it enough.
    To answer the other part of the question, we will continue to move to adjourn debate on some of the terrible bills that the government is bringing forward. If the Liberals think that what they saw us doing when they were trying to ram through the changes at the committee was bad, let them wait until they try to bring it to the House of Commons.
    They are laughing, and that is good. We have to do everything that we can. They have taken away most of our tools already. We are going to keep using every tool available so that the Prime Minister has to show up and tell Canadians how many times he has met with the Ethics Commissioner.

  (1315)  

    Before we go on to the next question, I want to remind hon. members to refer to other members in the House by their riding and not by their name.
    The hon. member for Victoria.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the opposition House leader for making this so interesting. Who would have thought that a procedural motion replete with references to history and so forth could be so passionate at this time of day?
    However, here we are, about to start on a path of four weeks when we will be sitting four days a week until midnight. A while ago, the House leaders all were new, all three of us, and we ended up working together in a positive spirit.
    Then something happened. The government thought it could unilaterally change the rules of democracy and started to treat this place as if it were simply an inconvenience rather than the cornerstone of our democracy.
    I would like to ask the opposition House leader for her views on how we came into this mess. Was it the fact that the discussion paper was put forward as if it were just a discussion paper, but then unilaterally moved through the House as if the opposition was simply a rubber stamp? Is it because of the mismanagement of that file that we ended up in this uncharacteristic situation of having four weeks of sitting four days a week until midnight? Is that how this happened, and can we get back to a more collegial spirit?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for noticing the passion and excitement in that speech.
    As a party, we have just finished an exciting and amazing weekend electing our new leader. This is a culmination of a leadership race whereby our party has raised almost $10 million to the Liberals' barely $2 million. Our party has 260,000 paid memberships. We have just elected a new leader, a young man who has five children, drives a minivan, and is completely different from the current Prime Minister. He understands the needs of middle-class Canadians because he is a middle-class Canadian. I am pretty excited to be here today looking forward to our new leader's first showing here at question period as our leader.
    As to what my honourable colleague from the NDP talked about, he is right that there really had been goodwill. We had been working well together. We had been having good debates, but votes would happen and the government was able to move its legislation through.
    However, when we say to somebody that they are to do what we want and we have a gun to their head, that does not make for good conversation. That is what has happened with the Liberals. They are forcing changes through, and it is always for their benefit. It is always to make life easier for them. It is always to make life easier for the Prime Minister, easier so that members of Parliament might not have to be here on a Friday.
    Frankly, when the House is not sitting and we are in our ridings, I understand that, absolutely. However, when we are here, we should be open for business five days a week. When the House is sitting, we need to be here five days a week. We know the Liberals really have an aversion to that, but we are not going to stop fighting this idea.
    We would like to get back to a place where we can keep working together and keep doing the work of the House, but the Liberals do need to make some changes if that is going to happen.

  (1320)  

    Mr. Speaker, it might have been the first time for my honourable colleague from Spadina—Fort York to stand in the House to speak. On his maiden speech, I would like to congratulate him on that.
    I have a couple questions for the hon. House leader of the official opposition.
    With these extended hours, does she believe that we will finally see the Prime Minister more in the House? As well, will we finally have the answer to the question of how many times the Prime Minister has met with the Ethics Commissioner?
    Mr. Speaker, I do not hold out hope that we will get any answers.
    As we will recall, the Prime Minister said he was going to start being here to answer all questions on a Wednesday. I hesitate to refer to the presence or absence of anybody in the House and I will not do that, but I will say that last Wednesday there was not one question answered by the Prime Minister, and in the week before that, we had that silly charade when he would not answer a typical and very easy question.
    I would even be happy with the following. If the Prime Minister is not here every day debating but wants to get out and meet with Canadians, when is he going to head up north and meet with some northen Canadians?
    I know maybe it is not a fancy place to go and it is not Europe or Italy or Broadway shows, but when is he going to go to some rural communities in Canada? When is he going to head up to northwestern Ontario or the Arctic? When is he going to talk about our north and first nations that do not just want to be a park, but want to be creating jobs and opportunities?
    If the Prime Minister is going to be getting out and meeting the people, let him go where the Canadian people are, not in New York and not meeting with billionaires in the U.S. or on a private island. Let him get back home and get some work done for Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona.
    The motion before us goes beyond the traditional use of Standing Order 27 to extend sitting hours in the final days of the session. At one level, I can see why the government felt that the traditional period of late sitting was insufficient. I understand the government's desire to enliven the glacial pace of its legislative agenda. After all, believe it or not, in its first 18 months, the government has passed fewer bills than one per month. That is the slowest rate of any government in decades. Today there are still more bills awaiting second reading than have received royal assent. All told, 30 government bills are at various stages of study and debate in the House. Therefore, I can understand the government's desire to get its legislative engine, sputtering as it is, into gear.
    However, the motion before us is not without serious drawbacks, and those deserve careful consideration in the House. Broadly speaking, what the motion accomplishes is clear. It streamlines the passage of the government's agenda by limiting the tools and rights of both opposition and backbench government members. It forces members of Parliament who want to engage in debates on behalf of their communities to be in the House until midnight each night, with no consideration for family life, despite the government's pledge to make the House more family friendly. Also, while it does not repeat some of the very worst proposals in previous government motions to similar effect, it does affirm a pattern of behaviour such that the government treats Parliament as an inconvenience rather than the very keystone of our democracy. That is a pattern set by the previous Harper government. It is a pattern the government opposed when in opposition and now seeks to simply perpetuate when in power.
    The tools and rights of opposition members of Parliament, and indeed backbench government members, are not luxuries to be tossed aside in the name of expediency. Without them, Parliament cannot do the job Canadians expect of us.
    Our scrutiny of legislation should not fluctuate with the seasons. We should not give cursory examination to an issue of importance to Canadians merely because it falls in the final weeks of a particular session. There are 30 government bills at various stages of study and debate in the House today, and each proposes meaningful changes for Canadians. These changes all deserve the consideration and refinement our legislative machinery was designed for and that Canadians expect us to provide.
    When similar changes to the rules were proposed by the Conservative government under Prime Minister Harper in 2014, New Democrats moved to find a middle ground: retaining the powers of opposition MPs while allowing more time for the consideration of government bills. Sadly, this compromise was opposed at the time by both the Liberals and the Conservatives.
    I find it disappointing that, once again, a new government is going down an old road of tolerating Parliamentary accountability when it is convenient and casting it aside the moment it becomes inconvenient. That is not how our Parliament should function. We owe it to Canadians to not lightly accept any measure that infringes on the ability of Parliament to scrutinize the government's agenda and hold it accountable to Canadians. That is our job.
    As the hon. government House leader said in her remarks, we have had moments of collaboration and co-operation in the House, and that is what I urge the government to remember today, because the imposition of the motion is not about parliamentarians coming together. It is about strengthening the power of cabinet at the expense of opposition members. Let there be no doubt about that. Once again, it is about the government turning its back on genuine negotiation with the other parties when the going gets tough and instead relying on heavy-handed and unilateral action to push through its agenda.

  (1325)  

    If the government had not rejected co-operation and resorted to strong-arm tactics, first with Motion No. 6 and later with the Standing Orders debacle, perhaps it would not require such extraordinary measures now.
    Last, of course, it is disappointing for members of all parties who have young children and families to care for at home to be expected to work night shifts four days a week just to do the job Canadians sent us here to do. It is especially disappointing when the government committed, at least in its early days, to making this chamber more modern and more family friendly as a workplace.
    Members of all parties work hard, and they want to. However, it is disappointing to see the government resorting to last-minute rule changes that make life harder for those members and easier for cabinet members.
    In conclusion, it is important for Canadians to understand what these types of motions by the government are all about. Despite what the speech writers for cabinet ministers might say, this is not about whether parliamentarians roll up their sleeves and work for a few more hours each day. Members on all sides of this House already work hard each and every day.
    What this is about is tilting the balance of power away from the opposition parties and toward the government. It is about making work easier for cabinet ministers and harder for opposition members. The reason such extraordinary measures are necessary, the reason the government needs twice as many extended hours as previous governments have, is that it has consistently chosen to reject co-operation and has relied on heavy-handed, unilateral action.
    The debacle surrounding the discussion paper is an illustration of that reality. So far, that strategy has failed. It has resulted in the government passing its agenda at the slowest rate of any new government in modern history, barely a bill a month, as I said.
    I urge the government to consider that record and to return to the pledges it once made to this House to be more family friendly, more co-operative, and more collaborative. Do members remember those pledges? I can promise all members on the government benches that if they want to restore that spirit of co-operation, they will always find willing partners in the New Democratic Party.

  (1330)  

    Mr. Speaker, I will go to the last point the member made regarding co-operation in the House and the length of time it takes to pass bills. It should be observed that with now 338 members in the House, there are 10% more members with the opportunity to speak and participate and have their voices heard in the House, which lends naturally to crowding out the time available in the House for debate.
    One of the opportunities to correct this problem put forward by the government was to investigate programming. Programming of the debate schedule in the House would allow for more efficient functioning of this place. It would allow members to be heard in an appropriate, timely, and efficient fashion, and it would allow us to engage in business and hear more bills. These were the types of things that were proposed to address the very issue the member brought forward.
    If the member is interested in co-operating in all aspects with the government to see bills passed in an appropriate fashion, will the member commit to co-operating with us to bring programming into the House so that our business can be done more effectively and efficiently?
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's comments about the fact that there are more MPs and government backbenchers. There is no doubt about it. What there is doubt about is when they stand up. One rarely sees them in action. Although the arithmetic is correct, the reality has proven true, because so many of them never stand in this place anyway. It is hard to believe that it is a critical reality.
    In terms of investigating programming, as the member talked about, that was part of the unilateral discussion paper, which I think the government has chosen not to proceed with. At least, that was the last draft. Who knows where the government is on that now? It fell by the wayside with the Friday sittings being dropped and so forth. I thought that was part of the initiative the government did not want to proceed with.
    I grant that in England and other parliamentary systems, that kind of programming can be valuable, but it cannot simply be dropped on Parliament without the benefit of discussion and collaboration among members of Parliament, something the former Liberal government thought was valuable but that this government seems to think is merely an inconvenience.
     Mr. Speaker, one aspect of the issue my hon. colleague did not have an opportunity to speak to in his speech but that was mentioned by the government House leader is that the new arrangement of the Senate has also caused delay in the passage of bills. Of course, that did not happen spontaneously. It was a reform dreamt up by the Prime Minister.
    I wonder if my colleague would like to offer some remarks as to the new arrangement in the Senate and the consequences for this place.
     Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Elmwood—Transcona for pointing that out. The fact is that we have a Senate that actually is sending bills back now. The problem with that is that it will propose amendments, as we saw with a couple of initiatives lately that were passed in this House and studied by committee, and those amendments were explicitly rejected by the elected members of this place, only to come back, and then we have to say, “No, we really meant it, Senate. We really wanted it to be that way. Please don't throw stuff back at us that we have already rejected.”
    The government is having an awfully hard time managing the Senate. In its speeches, it blames the opposition for stopping this legislative machine the government wants to put forward, blaming us for motions and obstruction and so forth and never reminding Canadians that the Senate reforms it brought forward have allowed the government to delay the work of this place by sending back amendments we have already rejected. We have seen that a couple of times so far. I suspect we will see it again.
     Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the member from the NDP about the hypocrisy of the government when it comes to the fact that it is claiming that we need to sit long hours, which I am very willing to do. However, at committee, when we try to bring amendments, it does not listen to what we are saying anyway. How can more hours of debate that is not being listened to be meaningful in any way?
    Would the member comment?
     Mr. Speaker, I thought it was something that only the Conservatives did, serving on committees and having it entirely rejected. Any good ideas must come from the government side, be they at committee or be they private member's bills. If they are not from the red side of the chamber, they are just not counted. I really do not understand how that change is going to make any difference.

  (1335)  

    Mr. Speaker, I will begin my contribution to this debate by reiterating what we have heard from a few members. I do not think the issue is that members mind sitting longer to accomplish important work. We were sent here to do that work. If there are things that need to get passed and we feel they are of value to Canadians, we are willing to do the work to get it passed. The issue is that sitting longer does come with real consequences both in terms of costs to the House by not just having MPs here, but all the staff that make debate in this place possible and that support this work. Having them come in to work overtime has a real cost. There is a productivity cost that may be incurred for some of us who stay up past midnight and then get up for eight o'clock meetings that will not get pushed back. That is fine, and it can be a reasonable choice to make. Sometimes we just have to get things done, which means staying later. Putting in some overtime is not a problem. However, the question is why we are in a situation that we have to do that.
     It is important to understand how we got here. I do not think anyone would disagree with the claim that this is not ideally how one would run things around here. To ask MPs, or staff on the Hill, on relatively short notice, to stay until midnight, and then be back again every morning is not the ideal way to run the House of Commons. That is why it is exceptional and not usually done. I have not heard anyone today suggest it should.
    Part of how we got here is simply. The government has been inept for a number of months. That ineptitude manifested itself when the government brought what it called a discussion paper to change the Standing Orders. It then, at the procedure and House affairs committee, where that would properly be dealt with before coming to this place, decided to move to close down that conversation. The opposition parties rightly reacted for a number of reasons. One was that it did not seem to be a good faith discussion when the government had said it wanted to have that and then moved to close it down. Therefore, it did not feel like the government was acting in good faith on that. However, the opposition members also rightly objected because all they were asking for, in order to embark on that conversation in good faith, was that the government would agree in advance to seek all-party agreement before moving ahead with changes to the Standing Orders. This was not some cockamamie scheme that the opposition parties of this Parliament came up with. It is a long-standing parliamentary tradition, which has worked to bring in significant parliamentary reform.
    I grew up hearing stories of the McGrath committee at the dinner table. My father sat on that committee. It brought forth changes for the Speaker to be elected by secret ballot. That was a huge change. It also made private members' business votable, not in the way it is currently. It was the beginning of ensuring that at least some private members' business would be voted on.
     These were just some of the substantial reforms that were made in the House via all-party agreement. Therefore, the idea that somehow we would never get all-party agreement, and it was just a pipe dream, is completely false. There are ample examples of that. The hon. official opposition House leader has outlined a number more, in fact, some dating back to the 14th century in Britain. Certainly, there are a number of cases where we have seen good reform come out of all-party work.
    Therefore, the opposition said it did not think it acceptable for a government to unilaterally change the rules of this place. This place is meant to serve Canadians, not the government, and the interests of the government are not always the same as the interests of Canadians. Not wanting to depart too much from debate on the motion, the creation of the infrastructure bank is a good example of where the interests of the government do not align with the interests of Canadians. However, I will not get into that.
    The filibuster that happened and some the time that was spent in the House, and there was a lot, was spent rightly. People were standing up to a government that thought Parliament was here to simply do whatever it wanted. We have seen that in Winnipeg with the call for an inquiry into the building of the new police headquarters. Because that project got out of hand and went way over budget, there are questions about whether the CAO of the city and the former mayor were involved or accepting money. Those questions are out there, and people are asking for an investigation. What people are rightly asking is whose hand was on the wheel, who was overseeing this and if it was not the job of backbenchers and opposition politicians to provide appropriate scrutiny.

  (1340)  

    That is what these tools of Parliament allow us to do. Standing up for those tools is part of that job. The “just trust us” attitude of the government is not sufficient. The government is not only saying “just trust us, we are doing a good job”, but it is talking about changing the rules of Parliament so we have no choice but to just trust it.
    If the proposals in the discussion paper did not do that automatically, that was certainly the thrust and direction of them. The Liberals' way of doing it would set the principle and the precedent that a majority government could unilaterally change the rules of the House.
    It is not our job to just trust the government. It is not our job to just help the government get legislation through the House. It is the government's job to get legislation through the House. By refusing to honour a long-standing parliamentary tradition of seeking all-party consensus, the government was at the root of the delay that happened in the House. As a result, it could not get its legislative agenda through. It is not even a very big legislative agenda, and that speaks to the magnitude of the Liberals failure as a government to work collaboratively with opposition parties.
    As my colleague rightly pointed out, that was something the Liberals committed to doing. They made it a cornerstone of what they wanted to do. They said they wanted to work collaboratively and take the work of committees seriously.
    How is the government taking the work of committees seriously when it presents a discussion paper on changes to the Standing Orders then moves to shut down the debate? How was it a sign of respect for the work of committees when the special committee on electoral reform came out with a proposal on how to advance the government's own election commitment? Even in the face of challenge and even though we said that we on this side of the House disagreed substantially on how we should or should not change our electoral system but nevertheless here was a path forward that we we could at least agree on, a general outline of what the process would look like, the government threw it back.
    When we hear the government House leader today say that the government wants committees to do their great work and it wants more debate in the House, as if somehow we are to believe that this is really the motivation of the government, it is a challenge. It is a challenge on this side to take the Liberals at their word on those things because of what happened at PROC, because of what happened with Motion No. 6, because of what happened on democratic reform, and now with what is happening with this motion.
    The government, essentially after botching its job, which is to guide legislation through the House and to work with other parties to do that, is now asking its backbench to make up for the mistakes, instead of looking at its cabinet, asking what has gone wrong, why has it been unable to advance its legislation through the House and what is that saying about the quality of the government's leadership.
    These are questions the Liberals should be asking instead of asking all of us to put in extra time at the last minute to help them get through an agenda that they say is going to be positive for Canadians. That is fine. I do not believe that for a minute. Getting Bill C-44 through the House is not an important priority.
    I would love to see the committee get to work on the infrastructure bank. When we proposed to separate that from the omnibus bill, the Liberals said no. They then had the audacity to stand here and say that they valued the work of parliamentarians and committees. Why not let a committee study that? The government House leader even went so far as to say that the government had the power to call witnesses and do an in-depth study. That was our point about the infrastructure bank, and the Liberals shut it down. For the Liberals to ask us to take their word that this is being done in good faith is a little much.
    There are other aspects of this that would be useful to get into, but we are pushing up against the clock, not the least of which is the reforms that the Prime Minister has made within the Senate.
     We have a chamber full of unelected people who are accountable to no one and it is sending bills like Bill C-4 back to the House. This is after two-thirds of Canadians voted for parties that said they wanted to see the anti-labour legislation of the last Parliament repealed. People who are accountable to no one have sent the bill back and have refused to pass it.
    That has to get done. It should have been done a long time ago. It speaks volumes to the ineptitude of the Liberal Party that it has not already been done. It is a straight up repeal. It was a matter of getting it through the House and then getting it through the Senate. The Liberals failed to do that in a timely way. It is just an indication of how broken the Liberals are as a government that they cannot get such a fundamental piece of legislation passed. Granted it does not enjoy consensus because there is one party in th House that does not support legislation, but every other party in the House does, even the unofficial parties.

  (1345)  

    Four out of the five parties that won seats in the last election support the legislation, and the government still cannot get it passed. It does not even do anything new. It just restores labour law to what it was in 2012.
    I will defer to questions and answers.
    Mr. Speaker, I enjoy my colleague's speeches because he always tells it like it is.
    It appears that the government, which is supposed to be in charge of the legislative agenda, has really squandered the time it has spent by doing these dictatorial moves, like trying to ram changes through committee. The fact that the government cannot even get its own budget bill passed with a majority is just symptomatic of that. Would the member agree?
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are really hooked on the horn of a dilemma. This is their meagre attempt at some sort of solution.
    On the one hand, if we take the Liberals at their word about wanting to work collaboratively with other parties, getting things through Parliament, improving the Senate and making it better, and having better legislation, then they are just inept and are terrible managers. They have not managed to do that. If we take the Liberals at their word, that is what they are doing, they have done a terrible job of it. It is not working, and that is too bad.
    However, on the other hand, maybe there is another reason why the Liberals have not gotten that through. Maybe we do not take them at their word when they say they want to treat Parliament with respect but actually treat Parliament like it is an inconvenience, and there is a lot of evidence in their behaviour for that point of view, and that maybe the proper way is to just ram things through. Well, frankly, they are still inept. The Liberals have been doing a lot of ramming and a lot of jamming. PROC was all about that. They were going to shut down the conversation and were not willing to agree to have all-party consensus. They are not even able to make the tough-handed approach work.
    If the Liberals are serious about taking a collaborative approach, they are failing on that score. They have clearly tried the heavy-handed approach, and they are failing on that score. What management strategy are the Liberals competent enough to use to actually get their agenda through? The answer seems to be that there is not one.
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague's speech was colourful. The ramming and jamming and the like certainly got my attention. I also loved what he had to say about the unelected, unaccountable, and often under investigation senators and their role in this drama, which the government seems to be in denial about.
    I would like to go to a much more specific aspect of what the motion would do. As members know, we have opposition days available to the Conservative Party and the New Democratic Party. One of the things the government is trying to do is to jam legislation through up until midnight, but not allowing those opposition days available to the opposition to be available for a full day.
    Could the member comment on that proposed change?
    Mr. Speaker, again, this speaks to the different ways of thinking about Parliament.
    If opposition days were just a day for the opposition to get the whining off their chest, have their little whine time in the House, and then we would move on and get back to doing what the Liberals get to do because they have a majority of the seats, even though they got less than 40% of the vote in the House, then we would not see any value in extending the opposition days. The thought might be that the opposition members just want time to whine about whatever and they got to whine, so let us move on.
    That seems to be the attitude of the government in this motion. However, if the rationale for the supply days, or opposition days as they are more commonly known, was that the opposition deserved to have a certain proportion of the time to address concerns that may be embarrassing to the government or that the government did not want to spend time on, then we would adopt it. As members would imagine, I do not support the former interpretation. However, it is quite reasonable to also extend the time for those opposition days. This time is for that. It is the time for the opposition to bring forward those issues that the government does not want to discuss.
    For the benefit of the House, the opposition day motion we had was to separate out the infrastructure bank, or the government's privatization scheme, from the omnibus budget bill. It was also an NDP opposition day motion that created the special committee for democratic reform. As I said, it came up with a proactive proposal to help the government meet its election commitments, that it then reneged on.
    That is productive work. The idea of the supply days is that a certain proportion of the House time is dedicated to that work. Part of the problem is that this motion undercuts that fair proportion of established time. We heard earlier from members who were concerned that this was really about the government, not the Liberal backbenchers but the cabinet, infringing on the time that Parliament had to conduct business that was not necessarily what the government would have us be talk about. That is sad for the government, but it is important for our work.

  (1350)  

    Before we go on to the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader, I want to remind him that he will have 20 minutes, and he will resume once we return to the debate.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciated the comments from speakers this morning and afternoon in regard to the government motion. To begin, it was not that long ago, a couple of years, that I sat in the opposition benches, not far from the member who just spoke. At that time, then Prime Minister Stephen Harper recognized the need to bring in the almost identical motion that we are debating today. I can recall standing up in my place and even saying that this was a good thing. At times, the government needs to be able to extend the hours of sitting in order to achieve more debate on very serious issues facing Canadians.
    I, like my colleagues, am not scared to work overtime, if that is what they want to call it. Many of us work well into the evening every night of the week anyway. It is important that we recognize right from the get-go, and everyone in the House should recognize it, that there is a time when the House needs to extend its hours. Conservative governments have recognized it. Even when I was in opposition, I recognized that.
    I suggest that my colleagues across the way read the motion and compare it to the motion that Prime Minister Stephen Harper brought in. If they can find a difference, I ask them to please tell me where those differences are.
    Stephen Harper was right back then. That is why we supported—
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!
    Mr. Kevin Lamoureux: Yes, Mr. Speaker, they should applaud. He was not right that often.
    That is one of the reasons I voted for what he was attempting to do.
    Fast forward to today. Members and Canadians know that our Prime Minister has a very aggressive legislative and budgetary agenda. I will provide some comment on that. We are at a stage, getting closer and closer to that two-year mark as legislation has been proceeding along, where we have to recognize there is a need for the House to have extended hours. That is nothing new. That should not be a news flash for anyone sitting in the chamber. I have been a parliamentarian for 25 years, whether here in Ottawa or in the Manitoba legislature, and we have quite often had extended hours of sitting to encourage more debate. In fact, in the last 10 years in Ottawa, we have seen it six or seven times. What we are debating today is nothing new. It is something that is important.
    The member for Elmwood—Transcona said something that really tweaked. There were a lot of things said, and I want to pick up on a couple of points that I heard today. One of them was that a proportion of time should be allocated towards opposition days. I should remind the New Democrats, before they get too cozy with the Conservatives on that particular issue, that the Conservative government House leader brought it up. I should let the member know, because he was not here when Stephen Harper was the prime minister, that Stephen Harper had opposition days on Wednesdays and Fridays. Wednesdays and Fridays are short days, as all members know, so where is this argument about proportion of time? Is the memory of Conservatives that short that they have forgotten it?
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

  (1355)  

    Order, please. I want to remind hon. members that someone is speaking, and shouting across is not parliamentary procedure. I want to especially remind those who are sitting close to the Chair that I can hear them. I do not want to name them so that the people back home would be ashamed of them or wonder why they are screaming in the House.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Mr. Speaker, the point is that within the motion, again, there is no difference. We did not see Stephen Harper say, “Oh, gee whiz, we're going to have opposition days going to midnight too.” That did not happen. This should be no surprise. If there is a surprise, the surprise is that with this government, we have not put opposition days on Wednesdays and Fridays, unlike the former prime minister. That is a good thing, I would argue. That is the reason why I advise my New Democratic friends that they should think it through before they jump onside with the Conservatives. The spin by the Conservatives on this will not go very far, I am afraid.
    However, it is not alone. I have heard a great deal of talk about the Standing Orders. In fact, they raised the issue of Fridays once again. I can assure the residents of Winnipeg North that Liberal members of Parliament, and I would like to think all members of Parliament, work seven days a week. I know that I do. The issue is whether I am working in Ottawa or working in Winnipeg.
    Having said that, the idea of the particular proposal that was a part of the discussion paper was not that we want Fridays off, it was that we only work half Fridays in Ottawa. Why not work more of a full day by starting at 8 o'clock or 9 o'clock in the morning on a Tuesday or Thursday? Most Canadians do that. The hours we make up by doing that would then allow us to maybe do some things in the riding. For example, June is going to be a busy month. There are going to be all sorts of graduation ceremonies. I know that I am very proud of all of my graduates in Winnipeg North. I suspect that there is a huge demand for us to be in our constituencies.
    At the end of the day, no one on this side of the House is suggesting that we want more time off. In fact, if people were to judge us based on what we have been able to do to date, they would see there is only one party that has persistently pushed to have this chamber working in a much more productive fashion. I do not know how many motions we have had for adjournment being proposed by the opposition and how many times we have had to vote that down so we would be able to continue.
     Members want to talk about the need for debate. We debated a matter of privilege for seven days. I did not hear any opposition members say, “Well, because it's seven days and it's going to be on government business days, gee whiz, why don't we give the government some of our opposition days in order to compensate?” No.
    Now, fast forward to where are we today, and we have an aggressive agenda. We are going to need that time. Canadians want us to work hard, and this government is prepared to work hard in order to deliver.
    The hon. member will have 12 minutes and 30 seconds when this item comes up again.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[English]

International Day for Biosphere Reserves

    Mr. Speaker, today is UNESCO's biosphere reserves day. Canada has 18 unique biospheres, in which more than two million people live. Biosphere reserves exist to preserve and uphold natural ecosystems which contribute to the needs and healthy living of a growing human population.
    Hamilton, my beloved city, is a part of the Niagara Escarpment, which has the highest level of biodiversity among Canada's 18 biospheres. The Bruce Trail, which is Canada's longest footpath, runs through the escarpment. I love walking through that trail and taking in the beautiful nature that surrounds me. I can close my eyes now and see it. Oh, how beautiful it is. I cannot think of a better way to celebrate UNESCO's biosphere reserves day than by noting that our government has made the environment a fundamental consideration in our policy and infrastructure investments.
    Happy biosphere reserves day to one and all.

  (1400)  

Skin Cancer Screening

    Mr. Speaker, Kathy Barnard is one of the longest-living survivors of melanoma in North America. Her journey with the disease began in 2003, when she was first diagnosed with stage four melanoma. Cancer could not keep Kathy down. In 2006, while still battling melanoma, Kathy and her family started the Save Your Skin Foundation, a national not-for-profit advocacy group that is dedicated to leading the fight against skin cancer. They provide national education, advocacy, and awareness to elevate the patient's voice within Canada. They provide compassionate care and support to those affected by the disease by directing patients to reliable sources of information and helping them access the medical and financial support they need to navigate the journey.
    I thank Kathy Bernard, her husband Scotty, and her family for their tireless work in raising awareness of melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. Through their efforts, we are closer to realizing a Canada where skin cancer is prevented, survived, and cured.

[Translation]

GBA+ Awareness Week

    Mr. Speaker, this week the government is marking Gender-based Analysis Plus Awareness Week. This year's theme is “Inclusion. Innovation. For the next 150.”

[English]

    As Canada works to position itself as world leader in innovation, it needs to harness the talents of all Canadians. Using GBA+ is one way to ensure inclusive growth and an economy that works for everyone. As parliamentarians, we are in a unique position to put GBA+ into action in our work and position Canada for a prosperous future.

[Translation]

    During GBA+ Awareness Week, let us do our part to achieve equality.

[English]

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, more than a year ago, a man named Mark Farrant called my office. Mark was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after serving as a jury foreman in the trial of young man accused of a gruesome murder.
    Mark discovered that when ordinary Canadians suffer as a result of jury duty, there are no supports available. There are programs for court workers and others, but nothing for jurors. Since then, Mark's tireless advocacy has garnered national attention, built a network of former jurors across Canada, and succeeded in establishing a free counselling service in Ontario. This week, he is on Parliament Hill to call on the government to ensure that when Canadians do their public duty and serve on a jury, their government has their backs and provides the supports they may need, no matter where they live
    I want to thank Mark Farrant and other jurors who have stepped forward for their service to our justice system, their courage in speaking out, and for bringing to the attention of this House a problem that we can and must solve now for all Canadians.

[Translation]

Kidney Association

    Mr. Speaker, with us today in the gallery are members of the Association générale des insuffisants rénaux, or AGIR, which is located in my riding of Bourassa.
    Founded in 1979, AGIR is a non-profit organization that brings together people with kidney disease, people on dialysis, and those who have had a kidney transplant, as well as health care professionals and those who are sympathetic to the cause.
    The association's mission is to bring together people who are suffering from kidney disease, and to help its members and facilitate their social integration by organizing monthly meetings and all sorts of social and cultural activities and events.
    I congratulate Ms. Chouinard and Ms. Martin. I am so glad that the members of AGIR accepted my invitation to visit Parliament. I extend a warm welcome to them and hope they have a wonderful day.

[English]

Tourism Week

    Mr. Speaker, Canada's tourism sector is an important contributor to our country's economy. It is a $90-billion-a-year industry that employs more than 1.7 million Canadians in every region and is important to every community across the country.

[Translation]

    Every year at this time, we celebrate Tourism Week in Canada. The purpose of this grassroots initiative is to promote the many benefits that tourism brings to the Canadian economy and to explore opportunities for the industry.

  (1405)  

[English]

    We are blessed to live in such a beautiful country that has so much to offer, from the mountains to our oceans to the Northern Lights. We have great food and wine, aboriginal tourism, vibrant cities, and every outdoor activity one can imagine.
    As we celebrate tourism, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the operators and workers across this country in the hospitality industry who make, with all of their hard work, Canada such a great place and welcoming place to vacation. People from all over the world come here to visit and are treated to first-class experiences that they will remember for a lifetime.

[Translation]

    Happy Tourism Week.

[English]

Halifax Public Gardens

    Mr. Speaker, I was fortunate to grow up only steps from the iconic wrought iron gates of the Victorian public gardens in Halifax. Now what Haligonians have known for 150 years, since the gardens first opened in 1867, has been made official: the Halifax Public Gardens have been named one of the top 10 North American gardens worth travelling for.
    The Garden Tourism Award is given jointly by the Canadian Garden Council and the American Public Gardens Association to recognize amazing gardens on this continent. With the gardens' lush flowers, shrubs, unique tree specimens, statues, fountains, footbridges, idyllic pond, and, indeed, the community pride that the public gardens evoke, this recognition is well deserved. In Halifax, a team of gardeners and arborists has watered, weeded, pruned, and poured love into our beautiful gardens for years to make them what they are today in Canada 150.
    I want to congratulate The Friends of the Public Gardens in particular for their ongoing dedication to the preservation and protection of this special Halifax treasure.

Paramedics

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday marked the beginning of National Paramedic Services Week, and it gives me great pleasure to rise and pay tribute to our country's paramedics. These dedicated men and women serve on the front line of health care delivery and public safety across Canada and are proud members of our first responder community.
    There are an estimated 40,000 paramedics across this country. They serve in our municipalities, remote communities, and the Canadian Armed Forces. They are there in our moment of greatest need. Whether it is at the front line of Canada's opioid epidemic, at the scene of a motor vehicle accident, delivering community para-medicine in rural and remote areas or in a time of crisis, these men and women save the lives of countless Canadians each and every day. We cannot forget the daily challenges of their profession and are reminded of this when discussing paramedic wellness and the high rates of PTSD suffered by first responders.
    They are everyday heroes, and it is an honour for us to host them in the House of Commons today. Please join me in welcoming them.

Perseverance in West Kelowna

    Mr. Speaker, I want to talk about two of my great West Kelowna constituents: Peter Klein and Anja Dumas. Peter is known originally for creating what is called “the Canada cake”, which is a four-foot by six-foot cake with 40 pounds of fresh strawberries placed to look like the Canadian flag for Canada Day.
    One day, Anja approached Peter to learn how the cake was assembled, and she learned very quickly. She became very good at it and eventually took over for Peter. Her baking was greatly appreciated by everyone around, and she even received praise from Premier Christy Clark.
    Unfortunately, Anja was recently involved in a tragic accident and lost the majority of her right arm, but she is a fighter and has said she looks forward to receiving a prosthetic and to continue making the Canada cake for years to come. I am personally inspired by Anja's optimism in the face of adversity and her dedication to her community of West Kelowna. She represents the best of us.
    I am immensely proud to know her and I ask all members to help celebrate Anja's continued perseverance on this big challenge.

Events in Nipissing—Timiskaming

    Mr. Speaker, nothing says summer like a road trip.

[Translation]

    Travelling east or west along the Trans-Canada Highway leads to Nipissing—Timiskaming. Standing among the great pines in Temagami, a person immediately understands where the Group of Seven got its inspiration.

[English]

    Celebrate the culture, food, and history of the Teme-Augama Anishnabai, or “Deep Water by the Shore People”, during the annual powwow on Bear Island July 8 and 9. Travel along the routes of the voyageurs, who, in turn, were following the path of the Huron and Ojibway, during the Mattawa River Canoe Race July 29, or rock along to tunes from headline acts to homegrown talent during Summer in the Park, North Bay's annual homage to music and fun, August 4 through 6.

[Translation]

    The summer really is too short. It lasts only 79 days. Let us make the most of it and see where the open road takes us. Everyone is welcome in Nipissing—Timiskaming.

  (1410)  

[English]

Ramadan

    Mr. Speaker, Ramadan is a blessed and revered month for Muslims all over the world. The word sawm, or fasting, is one of the five major pillars of Islam.
    Fasting is not just abstaining from eating and drinking from dusk to dawn. It teaches a person the principles of compassion and it indoctrinates patience and selflessness, as through fasting we feel the pains of deprivation but endure them patiently. It creates in a person the real spirit of social belonging, unity, and brotherhood, of equality before God as well as before the law.
    We break our fast each night after sundown with an iftar dinner, and I look forward to sharing many iftars with the community and with my parliamentary family as we work hard on the people's business in the days and weeks ahead.
    To all Canadian Muslims, I wish them Ramadan kareem and Ramadan mubarak.

Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, to coin a phrase, diversity is our strength. At our Conservative leadership convention this weekend, I was struck by the diversity in our party—ethnic and religious diversity, yes, but also the intellectual diversity of people with different opinions having respectful discussions.
     Unlike the Liberal Party, we embrace diversity of opinion. Our leadership race was remarkably successful, featuring real debate, good ideas from almost all the candidates, and the largest number of people participating in a party leadership in Canadian history.
    We have chosen a leader with firm convictions and vision, rooted in real-world experience. We know he did not grow up rich because his father was a journalist. Our leader will unite a diverse Conservative family to make life more affordable for families. We will stand up for freedom of speech, for freedom of of conscience, and for free votes for members of Parliament. He may not look as good in a boxing ring, but our leader will always be on our side.

Egypt

    Mr. Speaker, once again Coptic Christians in Egypt have become victims of another gruesome terrorist attack. Last Friday, a bus filled with innocent pilgrims was attacked. A group of terrorists killed 28 men, women, and children and injured another 23.
    The Prime Minister issued a statement condemning this heinous act and offered condolences to those affected. I spoke with Father Angelos Saad to express my sympathies and affirm our government's support. Those responsible must be brought to justice.
    The Prime Minister affirmed Canada's commitment to combatting extremism and terrorism at the recent G7 summit.
    Minority groups have been targeted too frequently in the Middle East. We stand firm as a voice that promotes human rights and speaks out against persecution of minorities. As someone who was born in the region, I dream of the day when minorities, including Christians, are treated as equal citizens in the Middle East.

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, the Kinder Morgan pipeline is a bad deal for British Columbia. It is being rammed through our beautiful province by the Liberal Prime Minister, who broke his election promise not to approve this pipeline. The Prime Minister knows Kinder Morgan is slated to be pushed through up to 15 first nation reserves without consent. His natural resources minister even said he would use the army to push this through if necessary.
    Section 78 of the National Energy Board Act states that “No company shall take possession of or occupy lands in an Indian reserve without the consent of the Governor in Council.” This means the Prime Minister will personally approve expropriating first nation lands on reserve without consent.
     I am warning the Prime Minister not to expropriate land from first nation reserves. I am warning the Prime Minister not to use the army to enforce expropriation orders. If he does, there will be hell to pay in British Columbia. Instead, the Prime Minister should reverse this betrayal and reject the Kinder Morgan pipeline.

Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, it is with sheer delight that I rise today to pay tribute to my friend and colleague, the new leader of the Conservative Party.

  (1415)  

    During the leadership campaign, Canadians embraced his infectious personality, his incredible work ethic, and his positive message about the benefits of Conservative policies. He offers Canadians impeccable character, integrity, and especially authenticity. I am proud to say our leader is someone hard-working Canadian families can relate to, because he is one of them.
    In fact, someone in the media asked me the other day whether there was enough room in Stornoway for our new leader's family, with five kids. With our new leader at the helm and a united, energized, battle-tested caucus, the stay at Stornoway will be short, and there is lots of room at 24 Sussex.
    In 2019, with sheer excitement, Canadians will elect a strong, united, Conservative government.
    I think perhaps on behalf of the fraternity of presiding officers, I too can offer my congratulations to the new leader of the official opposition.

Terrorist Attack in Manchester

    Mr. Speaker, it was with great sadness that I learned of the tragedy in the United Kingdom last week. On the heels of an attack on the Parliament of the United Kingdom in March, this new terrorist attack in Manchester specifically targeted the young, the defenceless, the innocent.
    Canada stands firmly with the United Kingdom and the British people during these difficult times, and we will continue to fight against terrorism and violence in all its forms.
    As chair of the Canada-United Kingdom Inter-Parliamentary Association and on behalf of our members in this House, I extend my deepest condolences to our colleagues in the United Kingdom and to those they represent.
    I think I speak for all of us in this House when I say that our thoughts and our prayers are with the families and friends of all those affected by this heinous terrorist attack.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, I remember that when I was younger, families like mine suffered through the disastrous policies of the 1970s. It took this Prime Minister less than two years to lead Canada down that same path with irresponsible spending, higher debt, and a heavier tax burden. Since the Prime Minister is so much older than I, he must remember that time well.
    Can the Prime Minister explain why his policies are hurting young people and everyone the government says it is helping?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by welcoming the new leader of the official opposition. I am sure that all members of the House hope he will play a very important role as a member of the official opposition.
    Our program is one that will really help Canadians by creating vigorous growth. The past quarter was our best in six years. The unemployment rate is lower than it was 10 years ago. We need to stay the course.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, if the Prime Minister does not think that there is something wrong, that shows just how out of touch he is. His misguided economic policies are hitting people hard right now. He is hiking payroll taxes, making it harder for young people and new entrants into the workforce to find jobs. He has made it harder to save for retirement. He is nickel-and-diming Canadians on everything from textbooks to bus passes.
    Why can the Prime Minister not understand that this high-tax, high-spending agenda hurts the very people he claims to help?

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, now in English, I would like to welcome the member as the new leader of the official opposition. I know I speak for people in the House in saying that we look forward to working with him in the years to come.
    It is important that the member started out with a question on economics. We know that the program that we have put in place is really making an important difference for Canadians. We have seen 250,000 net new full-time jobs in Canada. We know that our level of economic growth in the last quarter has been the best in six years. Our program is working. It is helping Canadians, and we look forward to continuing it.
    Mr. Speaker, it is hard to exaggerate just how out of touch the Prime Minister is with the lives of Canadian families. He thinks he helped the middle class by buying Broadway tickets for Wall Street big shots. He thinks he helped the middle class by hiking taxes on kids' sports, on their music lessons, and on public transit.
    Can the Prime Minister explain exactly how higher taxes will improve the lives of hard-working Canadians, and how hard it will be for future generations to pay back the borrowing that the Liberals are racking up?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to be clear that the very first thing we did was to lower taxes for middle-class Canadians. What we know for sure is that the average family is paying $540 less in taxes and for the average individual, $330 less in taxes. That, together with other issues like the Canada child benefit, which is helping nine out of 10 families, is helping Canadians to succeed with our policies.

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, last week the Prime Minister once again reduced Canada's commitment to the fight against ISIS. For no apparent reason, Canada's contribution of surveillance aircraft was quietly cut in half. Even though he was at NATO bragging about Canada's commitments, the truth is that the Liberals are happy to let others do the heavy lifting when it comes to fighting radical terrorism.
    Can the Prime Minister name even one NATO ally who asked us to cut our contribution to the war against ISIS?
    Mr. Speaker, we are very proud of the work and of the commitments that we have made by increasing the ground forces, which has a direct impact on the ground. The intelligence contributions that we have made and the role 2 hospital that we have put in place are having a direct impact on the ground. I can assure members that when I was at the counter-Daesh meeting, that is exactly what we talked about. We will always continue to revamp our commitments to make sure that we are going to be a viable and credible partner in this coalition.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, on this Prime Minister's watch, Canada is not back on the world stage, but rather it is absent.
    Canada has world-class surveillance aircraft, and our allies really need them. The attack in Manchester proves that radical-led terrorism poses a real threat to Canada and our allies.
    Can the minister name a single one of our allies that has welcomed our decision to abandon the fight against ISIS?

[English]

     Mr. Speaker, as I stated, we increased our contribution to the fight against Daesh within Iraq, and certainly our trainers are doubling the intelligence. We review our missions every single year to make sure that we remain a credible partner. That is exactly what we are doing. We are making sure that we take the time to consult with our allies to make sure we have the right resources in place. That is exactly what we did when we put in the role 2 hospital. This is one of the reasons we are actually having an impact on the ground today.

Infrastructure

     Mr. Speaker, evidence is mounting that the Liberals' privatization bank was hastily put together and aims to help corporations, not Canadians. The Liberals promised transparency and accountability. They promised to do politics differently. Here is their chance to prove it.
    Will the Liberals come clean and admit that their infrastructure bank will mean user fees and tolls on hard-working Canadians?
     Mr. Speaker, we consulted municipalities, provinces, and territories before the creation and introduction of the legislation for the creation of the infrastructure bank. What we heard from our partners is that despite the historic investment we are making in infrastructure, there will still remain an infrastructure deficit. We want to mobilize private capital to ensure that when municipalities need infrastructure, they have the infrastructure to grow the economy, create jobs for the middle class, and provide opportunities for those who work hard each and every day to be part of the middle class.

  (1425)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, we learn something new every day about the infrastructure privatization bank.
    We already knew that Canadians would to have to pay user fees, but now we have also learned that the bank will not be free from political interference. Who is saying so? François Beaudoin, the former president of the Business Development Bank of Canada. He would know, since he was the victim of Shawinigate, under the former Liberal prime minister.
    On top of fleecing taxpayers, is this bank meant to be a cash cow for friends of the Liberals?

[English]

     Mr. Speaker, for the last couple of weeks, the member of the opposition and his party have been criticizing us that the bank is too close to private capital. Today, he is saying that it will be too close to government. We have struck the right balance. We believe that the bank will be at arm's length but accountable to Parliament. It will be able to make a decision on its own, ensuring at the same time that the projects it puts forward are in the public interest and are best for Canadians.

[Translation]

Veterans Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, investors will invest in the infrastructure bank because they are going to make a profit, and taxpayers will have to foot the bill.
    In the last campaign, the Prime Minister promised to restore the lifetime pension for wounded veterans and to increase disability payments. It should come as no surprise that this government now appears to be backpedalling and is breaking yet another promise.
    Could this government keep even just a few of its promises, show a little respect, and restore the pensions for injured veterans?

[English]

     Mr. Speaker, our government acknowledges the significant contributions that veterans and the Canadian Armed Forces have made and continue to make in protecting Canadians' peace and security at home and around the world. We will deliver on what we committed to support the mental health, financial security, and the well-being of veterans and their families. We remain committed to a pension-for-life option. In budget 2017, we have outlined that we will announce further details later this year.
     Mr. Speaker, veterans deserve respect, financial security, and fair treatment, but the minister breaking his promise of a full pension leaves veterans vulnerable, frustrated, and betrayed. The minister refuses to listen. Rumblings of discontent are even coming from the minister's own consultation groups. The present government called for real change for veterans, but so far veterans have been shortchanged.
    Will the minister keep his promise to fulfill the sacred obligation owed to our veterans, or will he explain his betrayal to the veterans of this country?
    Mr. Speaker, budget 2016 was about investing in the financial security of veterans, with over $5 billion of new money for benefits.
    Budget 2017 was about supporting the health and well-being of our veterans. We remain committed to a pension-for-life option. In budget 2017, we outlined that we will announce further details later this year.

Aerospace Industry

    Mr. Speaker, after Boeing filed complaints against Bombardier following the billions of dollars it received in subsidies, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said it could cancel the purchase from Boeing of 18 Super Hornets.
    Can the minister tell us what is important, Canada's air defence capability or the financial interests of Bombardier?
    Mr. Speaker, let me tell the House what is the most important thing for me every single day, and that is jobs for hard-working middle-class Canadians.
    The aerospace industries in Canada and the United States are highly integrated and support good, middle-class jobs on both sides of the border. We strongly disagree with the U.S. Department of Commerce's decision. Our government will defend the interests of the Canadian aerospace industry and our aerospace workers. I will always stand up for Canada.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, after forcing Canadian taxpayers to give Bombardier $372 million in subsidies, the government is about to jeopardize our trade relations with the U.S.
    Knowing that NAFTA negotiations will begin soon, in September, can the minister today tell us once and for all, here in the House, the extent to which she is willing to compromise Canada's trade interests to defend the interests of a single company?

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to make one small correction: the NAFTA negotiations will begin in August, not September.
    The aerospace industries in Canada and the U.S. are highly integrated and provide good jobs to middle-class workers on both sides of the border.
    Our government will vigorously defend the interests of Canadian workers, including aerospace workers. We will always defend Canada's economic interests.

[English]

Infrastructure

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals' latest boondoggle, the $35-billion infrastructure bank, is under attack again, this time by someone who knows the backrooms of the Liberals really well. François Beaudoin, the former head of the BDC, who testified at the Gomery inquiry about Liberal corruption, has said that the bank is easily open to political interference. What a surprise. Considering the track record of the Liberal Party and its elite friends, this is a scandal waiting to happen.
    When will the Liberals focus on what we need to do for Canadians instead of their backroom elite friends?
    Mr. Speaker, last week was a very good week for Canadian municipalities. We announced 750 projects, more projects in one week than the previous government did in four years combined. That is delivering for Canadians. We put forward a very ambitious agenda to build and rebuild Canadian communities. That is exactly what we are doing.
    We are investing billions of dollars in community infrastructure, to grow our economy and enable our municipalities to deliver on the expected—
    The hon. member for Simcoe—Grey.
    Mr. Speaker, Mr. Beaudoin testified at the Gomery inquiry that he was pressured to hire a Liberal staffer who wanted to have “dry cleaning” methods for hiding expenses. Now he says that the $35-billion infrastructure bank is wide open to political interference. This is Gomery 2.0.
    Why will the Liberals not protect Canadian taxpayers? Why are they not looking out for the money of Canadians as opposed to their friends, the Liberal elites?
    Mr. Speaker, I can assure the hon. member and the House that we are structuring the Canada infrastructure bank to function in a way that it will be accountable to Parliament. It will report to Parliament on an annual basis, at the same time making sure it is a crown corporation, arm's length from the day-to-day intervention of the government, making decisions that are in the best interest of Canadians, and building infrastructure that Canadian communities need, the infrastructure that has been denied by the previous government's underinvestment for a decade.

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, some things have changed since the last time I rose in the House, but one thing that has not changed is the Liberal government's steady withdrawal of Canada's fight against ISIS. In the last few days, we have learned that we are withdrawing our Aurora surveillance aircraft.
    My question is for the minister, who is now known as a military planner. Who is the architect of this withdrawal from the fight against ISIS? Is it you, Minister, or is it the Prime Minister?
    Order. The member knows very well he that is to direct his questions to the Chair. He is saying that he is out of practice.
    The hon. Minister of National Defence.
    Mr. Speaker, as I stated, we are very proud of our revamped mission in Iraq. We have tripled our trainers and doubled our intelligence.
    In regard to the Aurora aircraft, in May, one of the two Aurora aircraft that were put into Operation Impact returned to Canada to ensure that the RCAF can continue to deliver on its full range of missions for Canada.
    When it comes to fighting Daesh, it happens on the ground. Our troops are training the Iraqi security forces so the fight can be taken directly to Daesh, and that is exactly what is happening on the ground.

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, in military planning terms, that response would be called a delay tactic.
    First the Liberals withdrew our CF-18s; now they are withdrawing our CP-140 surveillance aircraft, the same week that NATO is stepping up its efforts to fight ISIS. Why are the Liberals running from Canada's fight against ISIS?
    Mr. Speaker, we have increased our commitments to Iraq. We have always been working with our coalition partners in making sure we have the right adjustments, just as we did with the role 2 hospitals before the commencement of the operation in Mosul.
    Today we announced our extension and also the revamped mission for Operation Artemis, our counterterrorism fight in the Indian Ocean, within that area.
    We will always be a credible partner with our coalition, making sure we have the right assets for our coalition partners to have the impact on the ground.

[Translation]

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, over a year ago, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal found the government guilty of discrimination against first nations children.
    The Liberals said that they had taken note of the ruling and promised to take action. However, last week, the tribunal was forced to issue a third non-compliance order against this government.
    The government keeps telling us that it is investing, but the tribunal has confirmed that this is not the case. I repeat: the tribunal has confirmed that this is not the case. Why?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, our government is implementing Jordan's principle, as the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has indicated. In fact, to that end, we have taken steps so that now there are 5,000 children, 5,000 cases that have been identified, where kids are getting the care they need who were not getting it a year and a half ago. We are determined to make sure that all children, first nations children, Inuit children, get the care they need, and we will continue to implement this principle.
    Mr. Speaker, what about the other 60,000 kids across Canada?
    Four hundred and eighty-nine days ago, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ordered the federal government to end discrimination in funding for first nations kids. On Friday, the tribunal confirmed what we already knew, that the failure to live up to Jordan's principle contributes to the suicides that are plaguing aboriginal youth. Countless other kids are at risk because of the Liberals' refusal to match their words with actions. When will the government wake up to the kids and help them?
    Mr. Speaker, in fact, our government is determined to take action, and we have taken action. We have put new funding into first nations and Inuit health. We have invested in the order of $828 million of new funding for the first nations and Inuit health branch. We are making sure that people get access to the mental health resources they need. We are implementing Jordan's principle. We are determined to find which kids are not getting the care they need and making sure that they get that care.
    We will continue to do this work and make sure that justice is done.

[Translation]

Government Appointments

    Mr. Speaker, what is the best way to get appointed to an independent office by the Liberal government? It is easy. Just ask the Liberal cronies.
    When esteemed Acadian jurist Michel Doucet asked about his chances of getting the position of Commissioner of Official Languages, a Liberal MP told him to forget about it, that everyone knew that Ms. Meilleur was the one who would be getting the job.
    I have a simple question: were the cards stacked in favour of a good Liberal donor even before the process began?
    Mr. Speaker, our two official languages are a priority for our government.
     After a long, open, merit-based process, which included 72 candidates, a selection committee, multiple rounds of interviews, and psychometric tests, Ms. Meilleur stood out as the best candidate because of her expertise, skill, and impartiality.
    For over 30 years, Ms. Meilleur has fought for francophones' rights and French-language services, for example to protect the Montfort Hospital, and I am convinced that she will be able to carry out her duties in a non-partisan way. She is the best candidate.
    Mr. Speaker, preserving and promoting our two official languages is vital to our country.
    Like Graham Fraser before him, Acadian legal expert Michel Doucet wanted to be selected for his skills, not his political allegiances. “This job is too important to be sullied by political manoeuvring," he said. He was right.
    Can the Minister of Canadian Heritage assure us that the procedure to appoint the commissioner complied with the Official Languages Act, or will there have to be an investigation?

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, as I have said a number of times in the House, our two official languages are a priority.
    Following a lengthy, open, merit-based process involving 72 candidates, a selection committee, interviews, and psychometric testing, I can assure my colleague that we are confident Mrs. Meilleur is the best candidate.
    Moreover, when I shared the news with the two main opposition party critics, they both told me they believed she had the necessary knowledge and experience to serve in that capacity. Naturally, I am hoping the House will vote in favour—
    Order.
    The hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, a Liberal MP told Michel Doucet, a candidate for Commissioner of Official Languages, that,

[Translation]

    “if he did not talk to certain Liberal Party of Canada higher-ups, he would not get the job.”

[English]

    The Commissioner of Official Languages is an agent of Parliament, not a partisan employee of the Liberal Party of Canada.
    In the last election, the Prime Minister promised to clean up the partisan swamp. He promised to do things differently. Is this his idea of cleaning things up?
    Mr. Speaker, two official languages are a priority for our government. That is why after a rigorous, open, and merit-based process, which included 72 candidates, a selection committee, multiple rounds of interviews, and psychometric tests, Mrs. Meilleur clearly emerged as the most qualified candidate.
    I personally had the opportunity to ask my two colleagues from both opposition parties, and they both said that Mrs. Meilleur had the expertise and the experience. Also, the leaders of the opposition and the Senate were—
    The hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills.
    Mr. Speaker, when Mr. Harper proposed Graham Fraser for the position, his credentials were above any partisan approach, but the present Prime Minister proposed a candidate who does not pass the partisan smell test, and he failed to legally consult the opposition.
    This past January, the Prime Minister refused to answer an anglophone in English. So much for the respect for this institution of Parliament, so much for the respect for Canada's two official languages.
    When will the Prime Minister withdraw this nomination?
    Mr. Speaker, of course our two official languages are extremely important to our government, but, more than that, the vitality of the linguistic communities of the country is also extremely important.
    That is why we took this approach very seriously. We did a rigorous, open, and merit-based process, which of course included many interviews, psychometric testing, and we are convinced that Mrs. Meilleur is the best-suited candidate. She has expertise. She has the experience. She has been involved her entire life in the protection of linguistic minorities, and that is why we are confident with her candidacy.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, at least 42 gay men from Chechnya have had to flee for their lives and are now hiding in dangerous situations elsewhere in Russia.
    Given the ongoing campaign to wipe out the gay community in Chechnya—and that is what is going on—the lives of these 42 men are still at risk from reprisals from Chechnyan officials, Russian officials, and sometimes even their own families.
    Will the government take immediate action in this emergency situation and grant these 42 temporary visas, and then work with NGOs to help these men find a path to safety in Canada?
    The whole world is watching.
    Mr. Speaker, I absolutely share the view of the hon. member that what is happening to the gay men of Chechnya is deplorable, and we have spoken out clearly about that.
    I am very personally engaged in this matter and have been personally working with Russian NGOs. This is a very delicate situation and people's lives are in the balance, but we are very engaged.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, this is about more than just rhetoric. This is about taking action.
    During the election campaign, the Prime Minister said that he would not hesitate to criticize President Putin, but his criticism of the pogrom happening in Chechnya right now against gay men has been rather muted, to say the least.
    Where is the Liberal leader who was going to stand up to Putin and his human rights abuses? Will the government at least take action and grant emergency visas to the 42 gay men who have fled Chechnya because they fear for their lives?

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.
    This is a very personal matter to me. We deplore the recent reports of human rights violations against gay and bisexual men in Chechnya. We are actively working to find ways to help these individuals. I have engaged directly with Russian NGOs. This is a very delicate situation, so we cannot disclose everything we are doing, but we are very engaged.

[English]

Employment

    Mr. Speaker, global economies are focusing increasingly on new markets and innovative industries, and now is the time to invest in Canadians.
    In many sectors, we have both the talent and the economic capacity to lead, to take full advantage of changing global priorities, to create the jobs of the future now and to build the foundation for the next generation Canadian economy.
    Can the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development explain what steps this government is taking to invest in Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Nepean for his work in developing an innovation and skills plan. A key part of that plan is a supercluster initiative. This is about helping Canadian companies grow and succeed in Canada, and globally as well. This is about creating good-quality, resilient jobs by promoting collaboration between industry, academia, and civil society.
     We want to make sure that we provide good economic innovation and industrial benefits. In three words, this plan is about jobs, jobs, jobs.

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, big city Liberals think that imposing a carbon tax on Canadians will mean that more Canadians take their bikes to work, but in Saskatchewan it is difficult to take bikes to work, especially when the weather is -30°.
    The Canadian Taxpayers Federation calculated that if the Liberals have their way, their carbon tax of over $300 per tonne will cost over 90¢ per litre more.
    Why are the Liberals determined to make it impossible for Saskatchewan families to make ends meet?
    Mr. Speaker, we are working with the provinces to support the middle class and to make the planet cleaner for our children and grandchildren. Through the pan-Canadian framework on climate change and clean growth, we are encouraging cleaner ways to do business and foster innovation. This is how we grow the economy and create jobs for the future.
    Under the previous government, Canada did nothing to address the issue of climate change and had a decade of incredibly slow growth. We are working together with the provinces, territories, indigenous peoples, business people, communities, and all Canadians to build a more sustainable, cleaner, and more prosperous economy and to support the creation of good middle-class jobs now and for the future.
    Mr. Speaker, farmers, like all businesses, under the Liberals are facing higher taxes and more expenses. Their competitors in the United States and Australia will have a massive advantage because they will not be paying a carbon tax.
     The Prime Minister's promise of returning farmers' carbon taxes to the provinces rings hollow because farmers, like all Canadians, need to pay for their goods to be moved by trains and trucks, whether it is grain or fertilizer.
    Why are the Liberals making it harder for all Canadian businesses to survive with the imposition of a carbon tax?
    Mr. Speaker, addressing climate change is one of the critical issues of our time. It is something we must do for our children and our grandchildren. This government is committed to creating a more innovative economy that reduces emissions while creating good middle-class jobs.
    Pricing pollution is a market-based, efficient way to reduce emissions at the lowest possible cost and stimulate innovation. This government has been actively working with the provinces and territories under the pan-Canadian framework regarding the pricing of carbon pollution to ensure flexibility exists for provinces to customize their systems to the unique circumstances of their province. This is an important economic and environmental measure, and we intend to continue forward.

Labour

    Mr. Speaker, farmers, resource workers, transportation workers, and small businesses are all reliant upon a stable and dependable transportation system. CN Rail has received notice of a strike. While the parties do remain at the table and continue to negotiate, people are concerned about the effect that a work stoppage is going to have on their jobs.
    I want to know from the Minister of Transport if he actually has a plan in order to protect the jobs of these workers in the event of a work stoppage.

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, our government firmly believes in the process of collective bargaining. I have spoken to both of the parties and they are working diligently to come to agreement. We stand by them with the mediators that Canada so proudly provides.
    Mr. Speaker, as my colleague says, that is not a plan.
    Here is the deal. In five days, mines will close. In five days, grain will back up in elevators. In five days, auto plants will run out of auto parts. In five days, retailers like Canadian Tire and Walmart will choose to leave Prince Rupert and Halifax.
    Does the Minister of Transport have a plan to make sure our transportation continues?
    Mr. Speaker, as I said, our government believes in the collective bargaining process. Both parties are at the table, working around the clock to come to an agreement. We firmly believe in this process. We have mediators working with them and we support them all the way.

Canadian Coast Guard

    Mr. Speaker, as B.C. begins its busy boating season, the Liberal government is shutting down the Coast Guard's only emergency dive team specialized in search and rescue. The last time the Liberals cut this dive team, 15 years ago, it led to deaths on our coasts.
    Have the Liberals learned nothing from their past mistakes? Why are they killing this emergency service that keeps our coast safe? Will the Prime Minister reconsider his terrible decision?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to tell the House that we have significantly increased the funding for the Canadian Coast Guard for search and rescue services across the country, including in British Columbia. There are are four new lifeboat stations being set up in British Columbia right now. There is a 15% increase in the front-line personnel on the water.
    The waters of British Columbia and every coastline across the country will be safer than they have ever been before. My colleagues from British Columbia understand this. Our government is investing in these services and will continue to do so.

Employment Insurance

    Mr. Speaker, two months ago, a young boy named Dash discovered his father's body at their home. Dash had already lost his mother to breast cancer several months ago.
    His Aunt Willow welcomed Dash into her home and applied for parental benefits so she could care for him as he struggled with this traumatic loss, but she was told that permanent legal guardians were not eligible for the same parental support as adoptive parents.
    What will the government do for Willow and Dash and will it amend the EI Act so families like them can get the support they need?
    Mr. Speaker, all members of the House are very saddened by the difficult times in which many Canadian families are living, such as the circumstance just described. The role of the EI parental benefits, maternity benefits, and other special benefits is exactly to support those families in the difficult times in which they live.
     I invite my colleague to make sure that all the information that is relevant to this case is known by my department.

Government Accountability

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister likes to talk about being accountable and transparent, but every chance he gets, he uses his power to run away from accountability in this place. Whether he is stripping the powers of the PBO or changing the rules arbitrarily so he only has to be here one day a week, he treats Parliament like it is a nuisance.
    When he is here answering one day a week, will he at least answer our questions and not give us this rinse and repeat and repeat times 19 that we had to deal with last week?
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to rise in the House and to recognize that the member does hear some of the stuff we say, that she recognizes that we can modernize this place and have some of those important conversations we have been encouraging.
     When it comes to the parliamentary budget officer, the constructive feedback we shared was heard. That is the importance of legislation actually making it to committee so committees can do the important work and hear from experts and stakeholders. We can improve legislation so we are serving the best interests of Canadians. That is exactly what we have done.

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, no one believes that the Prime Minister is being accountable. Even the media is not buying it. The Globe and Mail wrote, “we have the ...Liberals, whose new rules threaten to make a government less accountable, not more.” Only the Prime Minister would believe that showing up one day a week to work makes someone more accountable.
    Is the Prime Minister's lack of accountability genetic, or is it something that maybe he has learned from Kathleen Wynne?
    Mr. Speaker, this government is committed to working hard on behalf of all Canadians. We are committed to having constructive and meaningful conversations to ensure we are serving in their best interests.
    When it comes to a Prime Minister's question period, the member is mistaken once again. The Prime Minister's question period would be in addition to the other days that he is present. Moreover, we see that this government is doing government very differently. We are a more open and transparent government, just like we committed to be. When questions are posed to this government, ministers who are present always answer; otherwise, parliamentary secretaries do.
    We will continue to respond to the very real challenges they are facing.

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice's father, the esteemed Chief Bill Wilson, called out the Prime Minister for the failed missing and murdered inquiry. He actually called it a farce and urged the Prime Minister to fire the commissioners and start all over. He wrote, “8 months, $6 Million and nothing has been done except pay salary and expenses.”
    Victims and families are threatening to boycott. Will the minister stand and tell us what she will do today to fix this mess?
    Mr. Speaker, we are committed to ending this ongoing national tragedy. As family member Bernie Williams has said, families have fought too long and hard for this much needed inquiry to abandon it and them now.
    The commission has publicly acknowledged the need for increased communication, and the families must be at the centre of the inquiry. The commission is committed to find culturally sensitive and trauma-informed ways to ensure this. I am pleased the hearings will begin in Whitehorse this week.

Tourism Industry

    Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister's special adviser on LGBTQ issues, I know that Canada has an incredible reputation as one of the most LGBTQ-friendly countries in the world. Cities like Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Halifax, and of course Edmonton are internationally recognized LGBTQ destinations. Our community contributes over $4 billion annually to tourism in Canada.

[Translation]

    Can the Minister of Small Business and Tourism inform the House of our government's plans to strengthen our brand as a destination for LGBTQ2 tourism?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Edmonton Centre for his question, and I wish everyone a happy Tourism Week in Canada.

[English]

    The value of global LGBTQ2 tourism spending is $202 billion annually. As part of Canada's new tourism vision, we are partnering with Travel Gay Canada to provide training for LGBTQ2 tourism businesses.
     Canada's welcoming spirit will help attract more tourists to incredible pride celebrations across the country, creating more customers for small businesses and more jobs in the tourism industry.

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, we learned last week the heartbreaking news that 500-plus Brockville and area residents would be losing their jobs when the Procter & Gamble plant shuts down and moves to West Virginia.
     The Liberals' preoccupation with raising taxes, adding a carbon tax, and increasing payroll taxes has forced these jobs out of Canada, and many more will follow.
     When will the Liberals abandon their high-tax scheme and start to help struggling Canadians? What specifically will they do to help the hard-working people in my riding?
    Mr. Speaker, we have introduced two budgets that deal with the anxieties and challenges faced by many of these communities. That is why growth is up. That is why exports are up. That is why manufacturing is up. That is why job numbers are up. If we look at the last eight months, 250,000 good-quality resilient jobs have been created. Our unemployment level has gone from 7.1% to 6.5%.
     We will continue to work hard for middle-class Canadians, help these communities, and make sure these investments are made in Canada to create good-quality jobs.

  (1500)  

[Translation]

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

    Mr. Speaker, the CRTC pulled the rug out from under the feet of everyone in the country by cutting funding for Canadian and French-language content, with disastrous consequences.
    Three days later, three original series were cancelled in Quebec. It is wrong, but it is legal because the CRTC is allowing it to happen. Even the Quebec minister of culture has asked the CRTC to go back to the drawing board.
    This weekend, I wrote a letter to the Minister of Canadian Heritage to remind her that the government can step in and refer a decision back to the CRTC in exceptional cases such as this one, which is threatening our entire cultural industry.
    In this exceptional circumstance, can we count on the minister to refer these ill-advised decisions back to the CRTC? Can independent producers, the artisans of our culture, count on her?
    Mr. Speaker, our government believes in the importance of arts and culture. That is why we invested $1.9 billion in that area in budget 2016. That is the largest investment in arts and culture in 30 years, and we are the only country in the G7 that has invested so much.
    I am currently looking at the impact that the CRTC decision will have, and I invite artists and industry creators to make their views known.

International Development

    Mr. Speaker, there is a serious food crisis in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen. At present, more than 20 million people are at risk of starvation as a result of severe drought and ongoing conflicts.
    Today, our government made an important announcement in that regard. Could the minister explain to the House how Canada plans to increase its contribution and further help the most vulnerable populations, who are the victims of this terrible crisis?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Davenport for her question.
    Today, we launched the famine relief fund to help 20 million people facing starvation in South Sudan, Nigeria, Yemen, and Somalia. The government will match every eligible donation made to registered Canadian organizations between March 17 and June 20.

[English]

    I encourage all Canadians to give to the famine relief matching fund. Information is available on Canada.ca or by following #zerofamine.

Persons with Disabilities

    Mr. Speaker, with 24 hours until the Canadian autism partnership vote, the Liberals have still not signalled their support. They talk about research, but researchers themselves want to see their work actually used to benefit families. They talk about transfers to provinces, while some Canadian families mortgage their homes to fund evidence-based early intervention or adult programs.
     The experts, the incredible self-advocates, and Canadian families have worked tirelessly for years to get to this point. Can they count on their Minister of Health to stand up for them and support this motion tomorrow?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, we recognize that autism spectrum disorder has a significant impact on individuals and families.
    Federal investments in research, improved data, monitoring, skills, and training support those already diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
    The minister is currently touring Canada to develop a first piece of legislation on accessibility. I can assure the House that autism will be included in this new legislation.

Marijuana

    Mr. Speaker, we know that legalizing marijuana has less to do with health and public safety than it does with money. We also know who is going to cash in: friends of the Liberal Party.
    Considering how many boards of directors in the medical cannabis industry feature an erstwhile Liberal minister, an ex-senator, or a former Liberal Party director, the industry is obviously counting on the government to make money.
    Does the government's move to legalize marijuana have anything to do with setting its pals up with golden parachutes?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the member is referring to the fact that there are a number of licensed producers across the country. There are now 44 of them producing cannabis for medical purposes. There is a regulatory arm's-length process that is undertaken in order to determine whether someone qualifies to be a licensed producer, and I am pleased that the process is working well.
    The process is not working that well, Mr. Speaker.

[Translation]

    The recreational marijuana industry is still embryonic, but already it reeks of cronyism and patronage.
    When industry players turn up at cocktail fundraisers a year before the bill is introduced and hire former ministers, senators, and party directors, we can be forgiven for thinking they might have certain expectations.
    Will the government let Quebec and the provinces select their own authorized producers so they can take what is really starting to look, and not for the first time, like a conflict of interest and nip it in the bud?

  (1505)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as I said, we are proud of the fact that in Canada we have a regulatory process that is approved through Health Canada for the process of having licensed producers. There are now 44 licensed producers in the country. The vast majority of them, 30 in fact, were approved by the previous minister of health, who is a member of the benches opposite, so I suppose that one could also ask that member whether she also feels that it was a good arm's-length process.

[Translation]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, on August 11, 2014, the Prime Minister said the following regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: “It is only through negotiation...that we will arrive at the two-state solution that so many believe is key to ending hostilities in the region.”
    That is all well and good, but first Canada needs to recognize Palestine as a free and independent state.
    Will the government recognize Palestine as an independent state?
    Mr. Speaker, Canada has a long-standing commitment to a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace, and to a two-state negotiated solution. This includes Israel's right to exist in peace and free from terrorism within secure borders, as well as the creation of a sovereign, viable Palestinian state.
    Canada calls on all parties to refrain from taking any unilateral action that would undermine the outcome of direct negotiations and jeopardize the prospect of a two-state solution.
    That concludes question period for today.
    The hon. member for Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Canadian Heritage told the House that she consulted us and that we supported her choice, but that is not true. She did call me, and I told her very clearly that Ms. Meilleur was not the right person because she is too closely connected to the Liberals.
    I would ask the Minister of Canadian Heritage to apologize.
    This is perhaps a matter of debate, but I see the hon. Minister of Canadian Heritage rising. The hon. minister.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to correct my colleague. I never said that she approved of the choice. I said that she recognized her expertise and her experience. During our conversation, she specifically said that Ms. Meilleur was qualified, and that she had the skills and a history of defending minority rights—
    I thank the honourable member and the honourable minister, but this is a matter of debate.

[English]

Points of Order

Oral Questions 

[Point of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, I hope you will not mind a brief commentary before my point of order, which will relate to Standing Orders 16 and 18, to congratulate the member for Regina—Qu'Appelle on becoming the Leader of the Opposition.
    I do recall his time as Speaker, and I hope he will too as he helps this place restore respect for the rules regarding heckling. Goodness knows, the member for Regina—Qu'Appelle, the new Leader of the Opposition, knows those rules inside and out. However, I hate to mention that in today's question period, the noise was all coming—not all, not entirely, but primarily—from the Conservative benches. I hope he will turn his attention to that.
    I thank the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands for her point of order. I look to all members to assist the Chair in improving the decorum and lowering the noise in this place and remembering that we take our turns, one at a time.

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Cannabis Act

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, a legislative backgrounder, including a charter statement, for Bill C-45, an act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other acts.

  (1510)  

Government Response to Petitions

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's responses to 35 petitions.

[Translation]

Interparliamentary Delegations

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, five reports of the Canadian Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. The first concerns the bilateral visit to Delhi, Bombay, and Ahmedabad, India, from September 10 to 18, 2016.

[English]

    The second concerns the 65th Westminster Seminar on Practice and Procedure, held in London, United Kingdom, from November 21 to 25, 2016.
    The third concerns the 62nd Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference, held in London, United Kingdom, from December 11 to 17, 2016.
    The fourth concerns the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Working Group meeting, held in Steyning, West Sussex, United Kingdom, from February 24 to 27, 2017.
    The fifth concerns the International Parliamentary Conference on National Security and Cybersecurity Day, held in London, United Kingdom, from March 27 to 31, 2017.
    We have been very busy.

Committees of the House

Government Operations and Estimates  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates regarding the study of the main estimates 2017-18.

[Translation]

Industry, Science and Technology   

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology entitled “Main Estimates 2017-18”.

[English]

Indigenous and Northern Affairs  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the sixth report of the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs, entitled “Default Prevention and Management 2017”.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
    Mr. Speaker, I would also like to note that the Conservatives attached a dissenting report. We are very concerned that the committee did not look at the issue of generating wealth as an important part of avoiding third party management. It did not actually look at the issue of transparency and the importance of community members understanding what is happening in their own communities. We also thought it was flawed in terms of the cost-sharing recommendations.

Canadian Jewish Heritage Month

     He said: Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour to give first reading to Bill S-232, an act respecting Canadian Jewish heritage month. I want to thank my hon. colleagues, the members for Thornhill and Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, for their support.
    This bill would recognize and designate the month of May each year as Canadian Jewish heritage month. By designating the month of May as Canadian Jewish heritage month, this bill would recognize the important contributions Jewish Canadians have made to Canada's social, economic, political, and cultural fabric. Canada is home to the fourth-largest Jewish population in the world, and Canadian Jewish heritage month would provide an opportunity to remember, celebrate, and educate future generations about the inspirational role Jewish Canadians have played, and continue to play, in communities across the country.

     (Motion deemed adopted, bill read the first time)

  (1515)  

Petitions

Carbon Tax  

    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to present a petition signed by many people in my constituency about a carbon tax. Surprise, surprise, they are against it. Constituents recognize in my riding the negative impact this will have on the energy sector and jobs in all parts of this country, but particularly in Alberta, which is already facing a jobs crisis. This petition notes that this tax will not help the environment. More effective measures to help the environment would involve exporting Canadian technology to less environmentally friendly jurisdictions, not sending jobs to less environmentally friendly jurisdictions.
    This petition protests the tax on everything that the government is trying to impose on provinces, and I heartily agree with my constituents in opposing this imposition by the government on our economy.

[Translation]

Water Quality   

    Mr. Speaker, I am presenting another petition about Lake Champlain signed by people in my riding from the Saint-Armand and Bedford regions. Cyanobacteria tend to proliferate in hot summer weather.
    The International Joint Commission, which is the result of a Canada-U.S. agreement and dates back to 1909, provides for co-operation between Canada and the United States. In the 2016 budget, the government allocated $7.5 million to the commission, but the mandate letter indicates that this money is to be used for flood relief.
    The petitioners are calling on the government to allow the $7.5 million that was allocated for flood relief to also be used to study Lake Champlain's water quality. We think that the mandate letter should be revised to make water quality part of the International Joint Commission's mandate. I also want to thank the member for Saint-Jean for his support.

[English]

The Environment  

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday I had the pleasure of welcoming people marching from Victoria to Burnaby, protesting the Kinder Morgan pipeline, in the “Walk 4 the Salish Sea!” march. The petition is signed by many people across British Columbia who are opposed to the Kinder Morgan pipeline, and I urge the government to pay attention to what they are saying.

[Translation]

In Thérèse-De Blainville Road Work  

    Mr. Speaker, today, I am presenting a petition signed by over 7,000 people from Thérèse-De Blainville and the Lower Laurentians region regarding the completion of Highway 19 and the dedicated transit lanes on Highway 15. This is about more than just infrastructure. It is about quality of life, economic development, and sustainable development in the Montreal region.
    The petitioners are calling on the Government of Canada to intervene with the appropriate authorities to ensure the completion of these urgent and long-awaited projects.
    The petition was spearheaded by the Thérèse-De Blainville chamber of commerce and industry. As the sponsor of the petition, I humbly submit that the 7,000 signatures represent more than just names scribbled on bits of paper. These are 7,000 people who are involved in their community and who are taking action to make it a better place.
    I would like to thank all of the stakeholders from near and far who supported the petition regarding these projects, which have unanimous support. This has been going on for far too long.

[English]

Contraception  

    Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from Canadians in support of free prescription birth control. Among sexually active heterosexual Canadians, only 15% use contraception, with withdrawal remaining the third most-used contraceptive method in Canada.
    Twenty-four per cent of Canadians do not have access to subsidized drug plans, meaning they have to pay for contraception medications out of their own pockets. It has been shown that subsidized contraception has had a cost benefit to society in jurisdictions like the U.S. and Great Britain. It not only reduces costs but helps in terms of preventing unintended pregnancies.
    Therefore, the petitioners call on the Government of Canada to support my Motion No. 65, which would compel the federal government to work with the provinces to cover the full cost of prescribed contraceptives.

  (1520)  

Genetically Modified Food  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to present two petitions today. The first is from petitioners who are asking the House to take action so that Canadian consumers know the contents of the products they buy, particularly those that contain genetically modified organisms. This is a question of consumers' right to know and choose products they want in their homes and that they want to feed their families.

Falun Gong  

    Mr. Speaker, the second set of petitions is from constituents and relates to the ongoing human rights abuses in the People's Republic of China against practitioners of Falun Dafa and Falun Gong. Petitioners urge the House of Commons assembled and the Government of Canada to press the People's Republic of China to respect the rights of belief, worship, free speech, and basic human rights.

Justice  

    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to present e-petition 760, which calls upon Parliament to pass Magnitsky-style legislation. Petitioners mention Bill S-226, which is currently in the House at second reading, as well as Bill C-267, which is my version of the Magnitsky act. Both bills are known as the justice for victims of corrupt foreign officials act, or the Sergei Magnitsky law. As we know, the legislation is getting wide support.
    In particular, the 646 petitioners who signed the petition are drawing attention to the corrupt officials in the Communist government of Vietnam and the systematic and brutal human rights violations to political dissidents. Petitioners want us, as parliamentarians, to ensure we pass this important legislation so we can hold to account corrupt foreign officials and those committing atrocities against their own citizens.

Questions on the Order Paper

    Mr. Speaker, first, if I may, I will provide some feedback to the chair. I just tabled a revised response to Question No. 954, which responds to the point of order raised by the member for Carleton, respecting the government's response to this question. I would like to state that the original response contained inaccurate information due to an administrative error in producing the response. I thank members for their understanding.
    Having said that, the following questions will be answered today: a revised response to Question No. 954, originally tabled on May 18, 2017; Questions Nos. 958 to 960; Questions Nos 966 to 971; Questions Nos. 973 to 976; Question No. 980; Question No. 982; and Question No. 985.

[Text]

Question No. 954--
Mr. MacKenzie (Oxford):
     With regard to page 11 of the Guide for Parliamentary Secretaries published by the Privy Council Office in December 2015, where it states that Parliamentary Secretaries are “prohibited from accepting sponsored travel”: (a) does the government consider the trips taken by Parliamentary Secretary Khera and Parliamentary Secretary Virani, which are listed in the 2016 sponsored travel report by the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, to be a violation of the guide; (b) if the answer to (a) is affirmative, what corrective measures were taken to reconcile the violation; and (c) if the answer to (a) is negative, why does the government not consider these trips to be a violation?
Mr. Peter Schiefke (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Youth), Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to trips taken by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage (Multiculturalism), their sponsored travel was pre-approved by the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.
    Furthermore, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage (Multiculturalism) made the proper and appropriate public declarations to the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner upon their return, in accordance with the rules that govern the practice of sponsored travel.
    Sponsored travel is not unusual for ministers and parliamentary secretaries.
    For example, Kerry-Lynne Findlay, the former parliamentary secretary to the minister of justice, travelled to Taiwan, a trip that was sponsored by the Chinese International Economic Cooperation Association.
Question No. 958--
Ms. Brigitte Sansoucy:
     With regard to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and energy efficiency programs, for the years 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017: (a) what programs are in place; (b) what are the eligibility criteria for each of these programs; (c) what tools do the government and the CMHC use to promote these programs to the public (i) at the national level, (ii) at the provincial level; (d) how many people use these programs (i) at the national level, (ii) by province, (iii) in the riding of Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot; and (e) how much has been spent to advertise these programs (i) at the national level, (ii) in each province?
Mr. Adam Vaughan (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development (Housing and Urban Affairs), Lib.):
     Mr. Speaker, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, CMHC, considers energy efficiency an important issue. Many of the housing programs available to Canadians include a consideration or component for energy efficiency.
    In regard to stand-alone programs, in response to part (a), CMHC green home program was introduced in 2004 and is intended to encourage consumers to purchase energy-efficient housing or make energy-saving renovations which can generate significant reductions in energy costs for homeowners and have a positive environmental impact. CMHC green home offers a premium refund to CMHC mortgage loan insurance borrowers who either buy, build, or renovate for energy efficiency using CMHC-insured financing.
    For the years 2014, 2015, and up to June 22, 2016, borrowers could benefit from a 10% refund on their mortgage insurance premium, and a refund of sales tax where applicable, when using CMHC-insured financing to purchase a new or existing energy-efficient home or to undertake energy efficient renovations to an existing home.
    Enhancements to the program were made in June 2016. Effective June 22, 2016, the base premium refund increased from 10% to 15% of the total premium paid and a two-level premium refund structure exists, allowing for as much as 25% of the total premium paid to be refunded, depending on the level of energy efficiency achieved.
    In response to part (b), under the CMHC green home program, most new homes built under a CMHC eligible energy-efficient building standard automatically qualify for a premium refund. For all other homes, eligibility is assessed using Natural Resources Canada’s EnerGuide rating system.
    Information on how to apply for a partial premium refund and eligibility requirements is available on CMHC’s website www.cmhc.ca/greenhome.
    In response to part (c), CMHC's modernized green home program was launched in 2016 and was actively promoted through various channels including mortgage professionals, industry associations, media outlets, and CMHC's redesigned web content. CMHC's green home program continues to be promoted through various social media outlets including LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
    In response to part (d), the number of refunds issued under CMHC green home, at a national level, during the requested years is as follows: 752 in 2014, 476 in 2015, 443 in 2016, and 153 in 2017. These numbers are not available by province or territory nor specifically for the riding of Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot.
    In response to part (e), CMHC did not spend any specific advertising funds prior to 2016. In 2016, CMHC spent $20,940 to advertise the CMHC green home program at a national level.
Question No. 959--
Mr. David Sweet:
     With regard to the call for proposals for government funding under the Natural Resources Canada’s Energy Innovation Program allocated for Clean Energy Innovation that closed October 31, 2016: (a) what criteria were used to select approved projects; (b) what projects received funding, broken down by the (i) name of the recipient, (ii) type of project, (iii) date on which the funding was received, (iv) amount received; (c) what projects have been selected to receive funding in the future, broken down by the (i) name of the recipient, (ii) type of project, (iii) date on which the funding was received, (iv) amount received; and (d) for each project identified in (b) and (c), was a press release issued to announce it and, if so, what is the (i) date, (ii) headline, (iii) file number of the press release?
Hon. Jim Carr (Minister of Natural Resources, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, in response to paragraph (a), the criteria used to select approved projects are outlined in section 6 of the “Energy Innovation Program, Clean Energy Innovation Component: Request for Project Proposals, Applicants’ Guide”, which is made available to all applicants.
    With respect to paragraphs (b), (c), and (d), as of April 4, 2017, NRCan had not yet formally announced any of the selected projects for the clean energy innovation program. However, 100% of the $25.1 million in funding available for this program has been allocated to projects selected through the call for proposals process. The current number of projects expected to be supported by the clean energy innovation program is approximately 27, although this figure could change slightly in the future. All applicants have been notified, and NRCan has started conducting post-selection due diligence and negotiating contribution agreements with applicants. It is expected that the majority of the 27 contribution agreements will be signed by June 30, 2017. Once contribution agreements are signed, NRCan will announce the projects. NRCan will also disclose the contribution amounts through the formal, quarterly proactive disclosure process. This information will be available on NRCan’s website.
Question No. 960--
Mr. Kevin Sorenson:
     With regard to the announced 372.5 million dollars in repayable loans provided by the government to Bombardier: (a) was the government told during its negotiations with Bombardier that the financial assistance provided by the government would be used for bonuses to executives; (b) did the terms of the financial assistance include any guarantees that the loans would not go towards executive bonuses; and (c) if the answer to (b) is affirmative, what are the details of such guarantees?
Hon. Navdeep Bains (Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, in response to part (a), the Government of Canada is committed to the long-term viability and success of the Canadian aerospace sector. The repayable contribution by the government to Bombardier is focused on research and development. This contribution will support creation of high-quality jobs and development of leading-edge technology in Canada. It will ensure the long-term competitiveness of Bombardier as a key aerospace firm for Canada.
     In response to part (b), the strategic aerospace and defence initiative and C Series are claims-based programs where recipients make claims against eligible costs associated with research and development required in the performance of the project by the recipient. As negotiated in each individual contribution agreement, the costs must be reasonably and properly incurred and/or allocated to the project with eligible costs mainly supporting labour, materials, overhead, equipment, and contractors. Costs not related to the completion of the project are ineligible.
     In response to part (c), specific terms of the contribution agreements are deemed third party commercially confidential information and protected under paragraph 20(1)(b) of the Access to Information Act.
Question No. 966--
Mr. Guy Lauzon:
     With regard to page 24 of the Liberal election platform where it said “We will ensure that Access to Information applies to the Prime Minister’s and Ministers’ Offices”: (a) does the government plan on keeping this election promise; and (b) in what year does the government plan on introducing legislation which would make such changes?
Mr. Peter Schiefke (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Youth), Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, our government continues to raise the bar on openness and transparency because government information ultimately belongs to the people we serve, and it should be open by default.
    Major reforms to the Access to Information Act have not been done in more than three decades since it was enacted and we are taking on this challenge in a two-phase approach.
    Changes to the act have to be carefully crafted to balance our fundamental values of openness with other principles, including independence of the judiciary, the effectiveness and neutrality of the public service, the protection of Canadians’ personal information, and national security.
    We are working on fixing an Access to Information Act that is stale-dated after decades of neglect and, furthermore, we will legislate a requirement that the act be reviewed every five years so it never again becomes stale.
    Through the ministerial directive issued last spring by the President of the Treasury Board, we moved to enshrine the principle of “open by default”, eliminated all fees apart from the $5 application fee, and directed departments to release information in user-friendly formats whenever possible.
    Furthermore, we will undertake the first full and now-mandatory review of the Act beginning no later than 2018.
Question No. 967--
Mr. Tom Lukiwski:
     With regard to the possible extradition of individuals between the Government of Canada and the Government of China: (a) what are the details of any communication between the governments on the subject including (i) the date, (ii) the form (in person, telephone, email, etc.), (iii) the titles of individuals involved in the communication, (iv)the location, (v) any relevant file numbers; and (b) what are the details of any briefing notes on the subject including the (i) title, (ii) date, (iii) sender, (iv) recipient, (v) subject matter, (vi) file number?
Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to discussions between the Government of Canada and the Government of China, please read the following joint communiqué found online at: http://pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2016/09/13/1st-canada-china-high-level-national-security-and-rule-law-dialogue
Question No. 968--
Mr. Tom Lukiwski:
     With regard to interaction between the government and the Bradford Exchange: (a) when was the government made aware that the company was planning on producing a talking doll bearing the image of the Prime Minister; (b) did the government authorize the company to produce the doll; (c) if the answer to (b) is affirmative, who provided the authorization; (d) did the government provide any input regarding the phrases which the doll says; (e) if the answer to (d) is affirmative, what are the details including (i) who provided the input, (ii) when was the input provided; and (f) what are the details of any briefing notes or memos related to the production of the talking dolls including the (i) sender, (ii) recipient, (iii) date, (iv) title and subject matter, (v) file number?
Mr. Peter Schiefke (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Youth), Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the government had no interaction with The Bradford Exchange and did not authorize the production of the doll.
Question No. 969--
Mr. Gordon Brown:
     With regard to the “Sober Second Thinking: How the Senate Deliberates and Decides” discussion paper, circulated by the Government Representative in the Senate, and dated March 31, 2017: (a) does this paper represent the policy of the Government of Canada; (b) was its preparation, writing, editing and publication coordinated with the Government House Leader’s March 10, 2017, discussion paper entitled “Modernization of the Standing Orders of the House of Commons”; (c) was its preparation, writing, editing and publication coordinated in any other manner with the Government House Leader; (d) did the Privy Council Office, or any other department, assist in the preparation, writing, editing and publishing of it; (e) if the answer to (d) is affirmative, with respect to the employees involved, what are their (i) titles, (ii) occupational groups, (iii) levels; (f) if the answer to (d) is affirmative, (i) were any parliamentarians or political parties consulted in the course of their work, (ii) were any staff of the Senate consulted in the course of their work, (iii) were any academics, experts, or any other outside advisors consulted in the course of their work; (g) if the answer to any of (f)(i), (ii) or (iii) is affirmative, what are the names of the persons or organizations consulted, and when were they consulted; (h) were any contractors, paid by the Government of Canada, involved in the preparation, writing, editing and publishing of the paper; and (i) if the answer to (h) is affirmative, with respect to the contractors involved, (i) what are their titles, (ii) what services were contracted, (iii) what is the value of the services contracted, (iv) what amount were they paid for their services, (v) what are the related file numbers?
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to discussion paper entitled “Sober Second Thinking: How the Senate Deliberates and Decides”, the paper was prepared exclusively by the Office of the Government Representative in the Senate and published on the Senate website.
    Our government believes that a more independent and less partisan Senate will rebuild Canadians' trust in this parliamentary institution.
    It is up to the Senate itself to determine how to best adapt its internal rules and practices to function effectively.
    Our government will continue to work productively with the Senate to move forward on our legislative agenda.
Question No. 970--
Mr. Pierre Poilievre:
     With regard to the services related to issuing debt and selling of government bonds, since April 1, 2016: (a) what amount has the Government spent on services related to issuing debt and/or selling government bonds; (b) for each service in (a), what is the (i) name of the person or firm, (ii) service period, (iii) amount of the contract, (iv) reason that person or firm was chosen to provide the service?
Hon. Ginette Petitpas Taylor (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, Government of Canada marketable debt, which includes treasury bills and marketable bonds, is distributed by the Bank of Canada, as the government’s fiscal agent through competitive auctions to government securities distributors, a group of banks and investment dealers in the domestic market. No commissions or fees are paid to government securities distributors.
    The Bank of Canada, as the government’s fiscal agent, is also responsible for overseeing and administering the retail debt program, which includes the issuance of Canada savings bonds and Canada premium bonds. Fees are paid to financial institutions in proportion to the amount of bonds outstanding that they have distributed. Any Canadian financial institution can distribute retail debt products, subject to signing the sales agent agreements. Financial institutions are engaged to distribute Canada savings bonds and Canada premium bonds as they are seen as an effective distribution channel for retail savings products. In 2015-16, the government paid an aggregate amount of $3.9 million in fees to a number of financial institutions on an outstanding retail debt stock of about $5.5 billion. The government announced in budget 2017 that it is winding down the retail debt program, so these fees will stop. The Bank of Canada directly pays these fees to financial institutions and is refunded by the Department of Finance. Accordingly, the department does not have the list of financial institutions nor the breakdown of fees paid per financial institution.
    The Government of Canada holds foreign currency reserve assets to provide foreign currency liquidity to the government and to promote orderly conditions for the Canadian dollar in the foreign exchange markets, if required. Foreign currency debt is issued to fund foreign reserve assets in a manner that mitigates the impacts of movements in interest rates and foreign exchange rates. The government pays fees to financial institutions selling Canada bills, i.e., short term debt issued in U.S. dollars. Financial institutions are selected based on their ability to efficiently distribute a debt offering to a diverse investor base located around the world and play an active role in secondary market making. The Canada bills program contracts have no service periods. In the 2016 calendar year, the Department of Finance paid an aggregate amount of $2.2 million U.S. in fees to RBC, CIBC, and Goldman Sachs in proportion to the amount of Canada bills they distributed, with a total issuance of $18.6 billion U.S. Disaggregated information per financial institutions is confidential.
    These fees, for retail debt and foreign currency debt, are included in the $10.6 million under “Servicing costs and costs of issuing new borrowings” in the Public Accounts of Canada, volume III, section 7.6. Unfortunately, this information is not yet available for the period starting April 1, 2016.
Question No. 971--
Mr.Kelly McCauley:
     With regard to funding for the implementation and administration of various measures to crack down on tax evasion, combat tax avoidance and enhance tax collections in Budget 2016 for the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and referenced in Supplementary Estimates (B) 2016-2017: (a) how many full time equivalents (FTEs) were created from this additional funding; (b) what percentage of all FTEs within CRA are dedicated to tax evasion and what was the percentage before the additional funding for tax evasion; (c) of these FTEs, how many employees are targeted toward offshore tax cheats; (d) of the new hires at CRA responsible for going after tax evasion, what is the breakdown by area of focus; and (e) how many new FTEs have been dedicated to address the back-log of low-complexity, medium complexity and high complexity assessment objections?
Hon. Diane Lebouthillier (Minister of National Revenue, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with respect to the above noted question, here is the response from the Canada Revenue Agency, CRA. Regarding part (a), on the basis of the funding received in budget 2016, the CRA created a total of 654 FTEs across its collections, verification, and compliance programs in 2016-17 to implement, administer, and support the various measures to crack down on tax evasion, combat tax avoidance, and enhance tax collection. Of this amount, 171 new FTEs were specifically provisioned for our compliance programs to crack down on tax evasion and tax avoidance. When fully implemented in 2020-21, this will represent an additional 375 permanent FTEs.
    Regarding part (b), the additional provision of 171 FTEs in 2016-17 raised the percentage of FTEs dedicated to addressing tax evasion and tax avoidance to approximately 6% or 2,255 FTEs of the total CRA base of 37,878 FTEs. Prior to the additional funding, 5.5% or 2,084 FTEs of the total CRA base was dedicated to these measures.
    Regarding part (c), of the 2,255 FTEs dedicated to addressing tax evasion and tax avoidance, 383 are dedicated to offshore non-compliance. The CRA also has 447 FTEs dedicated to conduct international compliance interventions, including transfer pricing. In addition, these positions are indirectly supported by other compliance and enforcement staff who make referrals and leads to the offshore compliance auditors in the course of conducting their domestic activities.
    Regarding part (d), the areas of focus for the various measures to crack down on tax evasion and combat tax avoidance include high net-worth individuals, aggressive GST-HST planning and refund integrity, tax scheme promoters, aggressive tax planning specialists, legal support for criminal investigations, large business audits, offshore non-compliance, and international auditors that focus primarily on transfer pricing verification to ensure appropriate attribution of profits between Canada and other jurisdictions.
    Regarding part (e), the CRA is focused on service and improving the objection process by providing people and businesses with greater certainty about their tax obligations earlier in the process.
    In response to the Auditor General 2016 fall report on income tax objections, the CRA committed to an action plan that addresses each of the Auditor General’s eight recommendations. For example, the agency updated its website in November 2016 to provide taxpayers with more information about the objection process, definition of complexity level, and current time frames for assigning low and medium complexity objections. In addition, the CRA is currently piloting a new triage process for objections, so that taxpayers are contacted earlier in the process and files are complete when assigned to an officer.
    Moreover, a separate budget 2016 initiative under the section entitled “Improving Client services at the Canada Revenue Agency” increased capacity to resolve existing taxpayer objections and ensure that taxpayers are provided with certainty of their tax obligations as soon as possible. For this specific client service measure, the CRA did receive funding for an additional 71 FTEs, all of whom were hired in 2016-17.
    Funding received in budget 2016 for the implementation and administration of various tax measures to crack down on tax evasion, combat tax avoidance, and enhance tax collections included provisions to ensure that taxpayers who choose to avail themselves of their recourse rights receive timely responses. Funding to address potential impacts to the objections workload will be made available in subsequent years, after the reassessments have been issued.
Question No. 973--
Mr. Robert Kitchen:
     With regard to videos which appear on the Environment and Climate Change Minister’s Twitter Account between March 23, 2017, and April 6, 2017: (a) what is the total cost associated with the production and distribution of the videos, broken down by individual video; (b) what is the itemized detailed breakdown of the costs; and (c) what are the details of any contracts related to the videos including (i) vendor, (ii) amount, (iii) description of good or service, (iv) file number, (v) date and duration of contract?
Hon. Catherine McKenna (Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, Environment and Climate Change Canada has one video from World Meteorological Day 2017, which appeared on the Environment and Climate Change minister’s Twitter account between March 23, 2017, and April 6, 2017.
    The video was produced with internal resources and Getty Images at a total cost of $68.20. Since March 6, 2017, Getty Images has a one-year contract for 2,500 videos or 5,000 photos.
    The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has no expenditure recorded between March 23, 2017, and April 6, 2017, in relation to (a), (b) and (c) of Question No. 973.
    In addition, Parks Canada has no expenditure recorded between March 23, 2017, and April 6, 2017, in relation to (a), (b) and (c).
Question No. 974--
Mr. Robert Kitchen:
    With regard to greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs): how many GHGs does the current Prime Minister's motorcade emit every (i) minute, (ii) hour, for which it is running?
Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.):
     Mr. Speaker, the RCMP’s information management system does not capture the requested information.
Question No. 975--
Mr. Kelly McCauley:
     With regard to the government’s claim that the February 7, 2017 Bombardier bail-out will result in 1300 new jobs: (a) what were the calculations used to come to that conclusion; (b) what evidence was given to come to that conclusion; (c) what branch within Bombardier will these jobs be in; (d) how many of these jobs are full-time; and (e) how many of these jobs are part-time?
Hon. Navdeep Bains (Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the Government of Canada is committed to the long-term viability and success of the Canadian aerospace sector. On February 7, 2017, the Government of Canada announced a $372.5-million repayable contribution to Bombardier for research and development for the new Global 7000 business jet and ongoing activities related to the development of the company’s C Series aircraft. Bombardier has indicated that employment related to the production of the Global 7000 business jet will go from approximately 1,700 jobs to approximately 3,000 jobs as a result of the strategic aerospace and defence initiative, SADI, contribution.
    With regard to parts (b), (c), (d), and (e), Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada conducted the required due diligence for projects under SADI. Specific information related to the due diligence and analysis is considered commercially confidential and protected under paragraph 20(1)(b) of the Access to information Act.
Question No. 976--
Mr. Kelly McCauley:
     With regard to the Phoenix Pay System and Public Services and Procurement Canada since June, 2016: (a) how much has been spent on researching other payment delivery systems; (b) how many meetings have been held on other payment delivery systems; and (c) for the meetings in (b), what are (i) the names and titles of the staff members that have been present at those meetings, (ii) the dates of the meetings?
Mr. Steven MacKinnon (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the ongoing public service pay problems are completely unacceptable. Resolving these problems remains our priority. Our government is committed to ensuring that all employees are paid what they have earned.
    Prior to awarding a contract for a new pay system, research was conducted by PSPC and with the industry throughout 2008-2009 to seek feedback and test market capability. This included two requests for information and a series of one-on-one meetings with the industry. No further research of other pay systems has taken place since June 2016.
    Following an open, fair, and transparent bidding process, PSPC awarded a contract to IBM Canada Limited in June 2011 to design and implement the new pay solution for the Government of Canada.
    Since the implementation of Phoenix, PSPC’s priority has been and still is to help each and every employee experiencing a problem with his or her pay and to ensure they receive what they have earned.
    In this regard, PSPC is making progress toward achieving steady state and continues to look at options to increase pay processing efficiencies by implementing technical enhancements, increasing capacity, and improving work processes and procedures.
Question No. 980--
Mr. Todd Doherty:
     With regard to the protest at the offices of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in St. John’s on April 7, 2016: (a) what was the amount of damage to government property caused by the protesters; (b) what are the titles of the government officials who met with the protestors; (c) did the government sign an agreement with the protesters; (d) if the answer to (c) is affirmative, what are the contents of the agreement; (e) did the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans approve (i) the meeting, (ii) the agreement; and (f) were there any Ministerial Exempt Staff in attendance at the meeting and, if so, what are their titles?
Mr. Terry Beech (Parliamentary Secretary for Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, it would be inappropriate to comment on this incident, as it is currently under investigation by the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary. Fisheries and Oceans Canada is co-operating fully with this investigation.
Question No. 982--
Mr. Mark Warawa:
     With regard to the statement by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change in the House of Commons on April 10, 2017, that “Every dollar that comes from putting a price on carbon pollution to the federal government goes directly back to the provinces”: (a) does the government consider this statement to be accurate; (b) if the answer in (a) is affirmative, then how is the government disposing of the extra Goods and Services Tax collected as a result of collecting GST on the price of carbon; (c) when did the program to send the extra revenue collected from the GST back to the provinces begin; and (d) how much has been paid out to the provinces, broken down by province, as a result of such a program?
Hon. Ginette Petitpas Taylor (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, Lib.):
     Mr. Speaker, pricing carbon pollution is a central component of the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change that was announced by Canada’s first ministers in December 2016. The pan-Canadian approach to pricing carbon pollution will expand the application of carbon pricing, which is already in place in Canada’s four largest provinces, to the rest of Canada by 2018. Recognizing that each province and territory has unique circumstances, the pan-Canadian approach allows provinces and territories flexibility to choose between a direct price on carbon pollution and a cap and trade system. As part of the pan Canadian framework, the Government of Canada will introduce a backstop carbon pollution pricing system that will apply in provinces and territories that do not have a carbon pricing system in place that meets the federal carbon pricing benchmark by 2018.
    The pan-Canadian framework includes the commitment that revenues from pricing carbon pollution will remain with the province or territory of origin, each of which will decide how best to use the revenue. These revenues do not include those in respect of the GST charged on products or services that may have embedded carbon pricing costs in them. Revenues generated by the federal backstop will be returned to the jurisdiction in which the backstop revenues originated.
    The Government is making investments to address climate change and support a healthy environment, through the Pan-Canadian Framework and other measures. Budget 2016 provided almost $2.9 billion over five years to address climate change and air pollution. This included $2 billion to establish the Low Carbon Economy Fund to support provincial and territorial actions that materially reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Budget 2017 proposes a number of new and renewed actions to reduce emissions, help Canada adapt and build resilience to climate change and support clean technologies. To further advance Canada’s efforts to build a clean economy, Budget 2017 lays out the Government’s plan to invest $21.9 billion in green infrastructure. This includes programs and projects that will meet the goals outlined in the Pan-Canadian Framework.
Question No. 985--
Mr. Bob Saroya:
     With regard to Access to Information requests submitted to the Privy Council Office: (a) between April 1, 2016, and April 1, 2017, excluding instances where no records exist, how many Access to Information requests were completed and; (b) of the completed requests, how many resulted in documents being (i) completely redacted or not disclosed, (ii) partially redacted, (iii) completed disclosed without redaction?
Mr. Peter Schiefke (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Youth), Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), 827 access to information requests were completed during this period.
    With regard to (b)(i), of the completed requests, of those that were completely redacted or not disclosed, 53 documents were exempted and 16 were excluded. With regard to (b)(ii), 495 were partially redacted. With regard to (b)(iii), 30 were disclosed without redaction.
    The final numbers will be posted in the PCO’s annual report. It will be released in June 2017.

[English]

Questions Passed as Orders for Return

    Mr. Speaker, furthermore, if the government's responses to Questions Nos. 961 to 965, 972, 977 to 979, 981, 983, and 984 could be made orders for return, they would be tabled immediately.
    The Speaker: Is that agreed?
    Some hon members: Agreed.

[Text]

Question No. 961--
Mr. Bob Saroya:
     With regard to the choice of July 1, 2018, as the target date for the legalization of marijuana in Canada: (a) why was that specific date chosen; and (b) does the government have any plans in place to ensure that the Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill on July 1, 2018, are not impacted as a result of the legalization of marijuana and, if so, what are the details of any such plan?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 962--
Mr. Matthew Dubé:
     With regard to the high-risk immigration-related detention by Canada Border Services Agency in provincial jails: (a) how many high-risk immigration-related detainees are currently detained in each province; (b) of the total number of detainees in (a), (i) what is the gender ratio, (ii) how many are under 21 years old, (iii) how many are over 65 years old; (c) how many high-risk immigration-related detentions have been prolonged, since October 2015, in the past (i) six months, (ii) one year, (iii) one year and six months; (d) what has the government done with respect to outsourcing of housing for high-risk immigration detainees to provincial jails, since 2000, and related to (i) annual cost, (ii) cost by provinces; and (e) what is the percentage premium, on top of the per-capita costs associated with housing those detainees, paid to each province?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 963--
Mr. Charlie Angus:
     With regard to the FEDNOR, for each fiscal year from 2009-10 to 2017-18: (a) what is the organization’s total approved budget; (b) with respect to the budget in (a), how much was actually spent; (c) with respect to the budget in (a), how much lapsed funding was eligible to be carried over to future years; (d) how much was allocated to the Northern Ontario Development Program; (e) how much was actually spent on the Northern Ontario Development Program; (f) how much was allocated to the Community Futures Program; (g) how much was actually spent on the Community Futures Program; and (h) what were the Full Time Equivalent staffing levels of the organization?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 964--
Mr. Charlie Angus:
     With regard to the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement (IRSSA) and the Independent Assessment Process (IAP): (a) following Justice Perrell’s ruling in January 2014 requiring the government to disclose additional documentation that includes police investigations, transcripts of criminal proceedings, and transcripts of civil proceedings (i) what is the number and full list of Narratives that were modified, (ii) what is the number and full list of person of interest reports that were modified, (iii) what is the number of IAP claims, broken down by school, that had been adjudicated under the previous unmodified narratives and person of interest reports, (iv) what is the number of cases, broken down by school, that were re-adjudicated since the narratives and person of interest reports were modified, (v) what steps were taken by federal officials, for each IRS where the narrative and POI reports changed, to determine if individual IAP claims had been denied that might otherwise be supported on this new evidence, (vi) what is the number of survivors or his/her claimant counsel who were contacted or notified of the modifications to the narratives or person of interest reports; (b) regarding civil actions related to Indian Residential Schools predating the IRSSA (i) what is the number of civil cases the government is aware of, (ii) what is the number of civil cases the government was involved in, (iii) what is the number of civil cases the government has court transcripts or documentation of, (iv) what is the number of civil cases that were settled, (v) what is the number of civil cases the government has placed any kind of privilege over the documents (civil pleadings and transcripts of examinations for discovery) related to the case, (vi) what is the number of civil cases the government has not provided the documentation (civil pleadings and transcripts of examinations for discovery) to the IAP or to the NTCR (vii) what is the full list of reasons the government has failed to provide this documentation, (viii) were there any terms under which any plaintiff in those civil actions were not allowed to provide his/her civil pleading and/or the transcript of his/her examination for discovery to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, (ix) if the settlement agreement was signed before the IRSSA, what steps have been taken by federal officials to permit each plaintiff to file his/her civil pleadings and transcripts of examinations for discovery with the NCTR, (x) if no steps have been taken, what steps are currently being taken, (xi) if steps are not being taken, is direction from the court being sought by the Attorney General, (xii) which federal officials have possession of the transcripts of examinations for discovery, (xiii) what is going to be done with those transcripts when the IRSSA is completed if directions have not been sought from the Court, (xiv) will the Government fund the plaintiff lawyers to communicate with each plaintiff or his/her Estate on this question of the transcripts being filed with the NCTR, (xv) are the Churches in any way constraining the Attorney General of Canada from ensuring that the stories of IRS survivors who were plaintiffs in civil actions, are allowed to be filed with the NCTR; (c) regarding conversation, consultations, or discussions between defendants in the IRSSA such as the government and any church (i) have any conversations, consultations, or discussions occurred over any individual cases in the IAP, (ii) if they occur how common are they, (iii) if they occur what are the matters that are discussed, (iv) if they occur, does this happen when allegations are raised about any current or previous members of either defendant during the IAP hearings; (d) regarding documentation of the IAP (i) what is the number of IAP decisions that have been redacted, (ii) what is the number of IAP transcripts that have been created, (iii) what is the number of IAP transcripts that have been redacted to remove the names of alleged perpetrators; and (e) regarding the IRSSA database (i) what is the number of school narratives in this database, (ii) what is the number of school narratives in this database that have been redacted to remove personal information?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 965--
Mr. Alistair MacGregor:
     With regard to crime statistics of possession of marijuana since October 20, 2015: (a) how many adults over the age of 25 were (i) arrested, (ii) charged, (iii) convicted for possession of marijuana, and (b) how many youth under the age of 25 were (i) arrested, (ii) charged, (iii) convicted for possession of marijuana?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 972--
Mr. Dan Albas:
     With regard to counterfeit goods discovered by the Canada Border Services Agency, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or other relevant government entity, since December, 2015: (a) what is the value of the goods discovered, broken down by month; and (b) what is the breakdown of goods by (i) type, (ii) brand, (iii) country of origin, (iv) location or port of entry where the goods were discovered?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 977--
Mr. David Anderson:
     With regard to materials prepared for ministers since December 6, 2016: for every briefing document, memorendum or docket prepared, what is the (i) date, (ii) title or subject matter, (iii) department's internal tracking number, (iv) recipient?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 978--
Mr. Charlie Angus:
     With regard to Indigenous Affairs and First Nations Inuit Health Branch: (a) with respect to First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and Assembly of First Nations v. Attorney General of Canada (representing the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada), Canadian Human Rights Tribunal File No. T134017008, what are the total legal costs incurred by the government in this matter since January 25, 2016; (b) with respect to Budget 2017, (i) how much of the 50 million dollars announced for the ASETS program is new funding, how much of it is reallocations, and where are the reallocations coming from, (ii) how much of the money to reduce employment barriers for First Nations youth is from unspent funding in this program area, (iii) how much of the money·allocated to Indigenous tourism is new money or just a reallocation from the broader spending on attracting international tourists, (iv) what percentage of the back-log of post-secondary students will be addressed by the additional funding in PSSP · and how many students will still remain on the backlog, (v) what are the details of the 4 billion dollar investment for infrastructure, broken down by year for the last ten years, and by program type, (vi) what is the number of homes that will be built with the 300 million dollars for Northern housing housing broken down by year, as well as by new homes, lots, and renovations, (vii) what are the details of the funding for each individual area, broken down by year, by chronic and infectious diseases, by maternal and child health, by primary care, by mental wellness, by home and palliative care, by non-insured health benefits, and by drug strategy; (c) if the department cannot provide the information requested in (b)(v), (i) is it because there is currently no identified plan for these investments and where they will flow, (ii) then how was this investment figure calculated; and (d) with respect to the FNIB program, what is the rriost current rate of denials for each level of appeals, broken down by type?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 979--
Mr. Dave MacKenzie:
     With regard to the ongoing renovations at 24 Sussex Drive: (a) what is the current status of the renovations; (b) what is the expected completion date; (c) what are the expected costs between 2016 and the completion date; and (d) what are the details of any contracts issued since January 1, 2016, related to the renovations including the (i) vendor name, (ii) date, (iii) amount, (iv) description of goods or services provided, (v) file number?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 981--
Mr. Kennedy Stewart:
     With regard to the Canada Summer Jobs Program in 2016 and 2017: (a) how many jobs were approved in each riding in Canada for each of the aforementioned years, and (b) how much money was awarded to each riding in Canada to support the jobs in (a), for each of the aforementioned years?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 983--
Mr. Dave Van Kesteren:
     With regard to amounts paid by the government to the Aga Khan in relation to the trip taken to the Bahamas by the Prime Minister in December 2016 and January 2017: (a) what was the total amount paid out to the Aga Khan in (i) per diems, (ii) other payments; (b) how many employees per diems were paid to the Aga Khan; (c) did the Aga Khan submit invoices to the government in relation to the trip; and (d) if the answer in (c) is affirmative, what are the details, including the (i) date of invoice, (ii) amount of invoice, (iii) amount paid by the government, (iv) date of payment, (v) description of goods or service provided?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 984--
Mr. Dean Allison:
     With regard to the Prime Ministerial delegation to Vimy, France, in April 2017: (a) who were the members of the delegation; and (b) how were the delegation members chosen?
    (Return tabled)

[English]

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

[Translation]

Points of Order

Commissioner of Official Languages—Speaker's Ruling  

[Speaker's Ruling]
     I am now prepared to rule on the point of order raised on May 17, 2017, by the hon. member for Victoria concerning the consultations conducted in the nomination process for the next Commissioner of Official Languages.
    I would like to thank the member for Victoria for having raised this matter, as well as the House leader of the official opposition and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons for their interventions.

[English]

     In raising the matter, the member for Victoria explained that when appointing a Commissioner of Official Languages, two statutory requirements must be satisfied. Both he and the House leader of the official opposition cited section 49 of the Official Languages Act, which stipulates that “The Governor in Council shall, by commission under the Great Seal, appoint a Commissioner of Official Languages for Canada after consultation with the leader of every recognized party in the Senate and House of Commons and approval of the appointment by resolution of the Senate and House of Commons.”
     Having acknowledged that the leader of the New Democratic Party did in fact receive a letter announcing the nomination and inviting a reply, the member argued that, nonetheless, Canadian courts have made it clear that the term “consultation”, when provided for in a statute, connotes more than mere notification. Having received no offer of further discussion from the government after the letter, he argued that this statutory precondition requiring consultation had not been met.

[Translation]

    For his part, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons contended that the requirement for consultation had indeed been met when the Prime Minister sent the letter on May 8, 2017, to the leaders of both recognized parties in the House, informing them of the nomination and requesting their views on the appointment. Confirming that both leaders had replied, he argued that the government was required only to consult, not abide by the recommendations of the opposition leaders.

[English]

    Essentially, the Chair is being asked to judge if the actions taken by the government satisfy the requirement for consultation pursuant to the Official Languages Act. To do so would require the Chair to determine what constitutes “consultations” pursuant to that act. Past rulings set the parameters of the role of the Chair vis-à-vis consultations as they pertain to proceedings in the House. For instance, when asked to rule on the consultations required for the use of time allocation pursuant to Standing Order 78(3), Deputy Speaker Comartin explained on March 6, 2014, at page 3598 of the Debates that:
     The nature of the consultation, the quality of the consultation, and the quantity of the consultation is not something that the Chair will involve himself in. That has been the tradition of this House for many years. What the Chair would have to do, in effect, is conduct an extensive investigative inquiry into the nature of the consultation. That is not our role, nor do the rules require it.

[Translation]

    My predecessor added on June 12, 2014, at page 6717 of the Debates:
    Therefore, it remains a steadfast practice that it is not the role of the Speaker to determine whether consultations have taken place or not.

[English]

    The fact that, in this instance, the requirement for consultation is embedded in statute, rather than a rule of the House, does little to change the role of the Speaker in this respect. In fact, it adds an additional element in terms of the role of the Speaker: that of interpreting laws. On that front, there is a rich body of jurisprudence to confirm that the Speaker cannot adjudicate on the legality of matters, which, of course, would include whether or not specific provisions of a statute, such as the need for consultations, have been respected.

[Translation]

     Faced with a situation regarding the statutory requirement for consultations on appointments made pursuant to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act, Speaker Fraser stated on December 7, 1989, at page 6586 of the Debates:
    It is rather a question of law, and consequently I cannot offer my opinion as to the merits of the case…. The Chair is not in a position to decide upon questions of law. This is a matter best left to the courts.

[English]

    Therefore, in this matter, the Chair cannot pass judgment as to the adequacy of the consultations, nor the fulfillment of the legal requirements. Instead, the role of the Chair is strictly limited to determining procedural admissibility of the motion for the nomination of the official languages commissioner, which was put on notice on May 17.
    As Speaker, I am satisfied that the procedural requirements have been met. The motion is in order and the process prescribed in Standing Order 111.1 can follow its course.
    I thank all hon. members for their attention.

Employment Insurance Act—Speaker's Ruling  

     Before proceeding to the orders of the day, I wish to draw the House's attention to Bill C-243, an act respecting the development of a national maternity assistance program strategy and amending the Employment Insurance Act, maternity benefits, standing in the name of the member for Kingston and the Islands.

[Translation]

    The Chair would like to remind members of a ruling made on December 6, 2016. In that ruling, I stated that the bill as it then stood needed to be accompanied by a royal recommendation.

[English]

    On May 3, 2017, the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons With Disabilities reported the bill with amendments. The Chair has carefully examined these amendments and confirms that the bill, as amended, no longer requires a royal recommendation. Consequently, debate may proceed and, when appropriate, all necessary questions to dispose of the bill will be put.

[Translation]

    I thank hon. members for their attention.

  (1540)  

Privilege

Canada Infrastructure Bank—Speaker's Ruling  

[Speaker's Ruling]
    I am now prepared to rule on the question of privilege raised on May 10, 2017, by the hon. member for Victoria concerning the government’s advertisement of job opportunities at the proposed Canada infrastructure bank.
    I would like to thank the member for Victoria for having raised this matter, as well as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Government House Leader , the member for Perth—Wellington, and the member for South Surrey—White Rock for their interventions.

[English]

    In presenting his case, the member for Victoria explained that the government had publicly launched the selection process for various positions at the proposed new Canada infrastructure bank before the bill creating the bank and its governance structure, Bill C-44, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures, had been passed by Parliament and received royal assent. In fact, he noted that the bill had passed only second reading in the House. Arguing that all new activities and the appropriation of associated funds require the authorization of Parliament before being acted upon, he considered the actions taken by the government to recruit for these positions to be a contempt of the House and a grave attack against the authority of Parliament.
    In response, the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader agreed that the Canada infrastructure bank being proposed by Bill C-44 could not be established nor any associated funds spent until such time as the bill has been passed by Parliament. However, he added that the member for Victoria was making an assumption that the government was seeking to proceed prematurely, when, in fact, the government was simply proceeding with planning for the potential establishment of the bank. As proof of this, he cited the news release posted on Infrastructure Canada’s website which stated that the selection processes in question were subject to parliamentary approval.

[Translation]

     As the charge being made by the member for Victoria is one of contempt, it is important to understand what constitutes contempt and, in doing so, what distinguishes contempt from privilege. House of Commons Procedure and Practice, second edition, at page 82, defines contempt as:
…other affronts against the dignity and authority of Parliament which may not fall within one of the specifically defined privileges.
    It continues, and I quote:
    Thus, the House also claims the right to punish, as a contempt, any action which, though not a breach of a specific privilege, tends to obstruct or impede the House in the performance of its functions; obstructs or impedes any Member or officer of the House in the discharge of their duties; or is an offence against the authority or dignity of the House, such as disobedience of its legitimate commands or libels upon itself, its Members, or its officers.

[English]

    I might add, as many of my predecessors have, that it is possible to categorize the privileges of both the House and the individual privileges of members which are limited, whereas contempt cannot be catalogued and defined categorically.
    It is within that framework that the Chair must now determine if, in advertising prospective positions at the proposed Canada infrastructure bank in advance of Parliament having authorized its creation and funding, the government committed an offence against the authority or dignity of the House. Did it, to quote the member for Victoria, discount “the need of this House to pass legislation before it rolls out appointments for this institution.”? It is a serious question, one complicated, in some sense, by the need for the Chair to carefully measure precedents against the inability to either enumerate or categorize cases of contempt.

[Translation]

    The Chair therefore examined thoroughly the evidence presented, including the news release on Infrastructure Canada's website, as well as the proposed selection processes in question on the Privy Council Office's website. In particular, as Speaker, I was looking for any suggestion that parliamentary approval was being publicized as either unnecessary or irrelevant, or in fact already obtained. Otherwise put, I was looking for any indication of an offence against or disrespect of the authority or dignity of the House and its members.

[English]

    Madam Speaker Sauvé specified on October 17, 1980, at page 3781 of the Debates, that in order for advertisements to constitute contempt of the House, “there would have to be some evidence that they represent a publication of false, perverted, partial or injurious reports of the proceedings of the House of Commons or misrepresentations of members.”
    The Chair’s review also looked for such evidence. In doing so, the Chair found that, in the news release on the Infrastructure Canada website, the words “subject to parliamentary approval” were clearly there, as the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader had indicated. In addition, the Chair notes that there is no reference to a starting date of employment. Thus, there were not any specific details found indicating that any position at the Canada infrastructure bank would be filled in advance of the enactment of the enabling legislation.

[Translation]

     The Chair must also take into consideration the assertion of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons that the advertisement was but a preparatory measure for a proposed initiative, in addition to his clear acknowledgement of the role of Parliament. In keeping with established practice, the Chair must take the member at his word.

[English]

    However, as noted by the member for South Surrey—White Rock, the relevant job postings found on the appointments-nominations.gc.ca website maintained by the Privy Council Office lacked any reference to parliamentary approval. On this point, the Chair notes, with some disquiet, that this was changed after this matter was raised in the House. The advertised positions are now listed as “anticipatory”, and a disclaimer has been added in each case. It reads, “An appointment to the position will only be made once the legislation to create the Canada Infrastructure Bank has been approved by Parliament and receives Royal Assent.”

[Translation]

    The member for Victoria has noted that Bill C-44 has passed second reading only: this leaves the House and its members still able to determine its outcome. As Speaker Fraser indicated in his ruling of October 10, 1989, at pages 4459 and 4460 of the Debates in a case with some similarity to the present one:
    In order for an obstruction to take place, there would have had to be some action which prevented the House or Members from attending to their duties, or which cast such serious reflections on a Member that he or she was not able to fulfill his or her responsibilities.

[English]

    The Chair has carefully considered that ruling, which had to do with a misrepresentation of Parliament’s role in government communications respecting the proposed goods and services tax in newspaper advertisements, because of its relevance to the current circumstance. It is interesting to note that in it, Speaker Fraser, in reference to the clarity of advertisements, reminded the public service that the role of Parliament needs to be acknowledged and respected.

[Translation]

    Members are aware, however, that in the end Speaker Fraser did not arrive at a finding of prima facie contempt. The honourable member for Perth—Wellington may be right: had he been confronted again with such a case, Speaker Fraser may have ruled differently as he indicated he would. We will never know, as Speaker Fraser was not again seized of a matter of that kind.

[English]

    Thus today I must assess the facts of this case on their own merits. In applying the strict procedural confines of contempt, the Chair must conclude that the question raised does not constitute a prima facie contempt of the House, and thus there is no prima facie case of privilege as there is no evidence to suggest that the House was obstructed in its legislative authority nor that members were obstructed in the fulfillment of their parliamentary duties.
    I thank all hon. members for their attention.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Criminal Code

    The House resumed from May 19 consideration of the motion that Bill C-46, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (offences relating to conveyances) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Red Deer—Mountain View has 17 and a half minutes remaining in his speech.
    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to be able to resume the remarks I started on May 19 on this very important discussion relating to Bill C-46, an act to amend the Criminal Code, offences relating to conveyances, and to make consequential amendments to other acts.
    I had closed by thanking our amazing interim leader, the member for Sturgeon River—Parkland, for her service to our Conservative Party and indeed to our country, for her commitment to those who are disadvantaged in the world, and for standing up for those Canadians whose voices had been so long ignored. Many of those voices came from families whose loved ones had been taken from them because of the actions of impaired drivers.
    This legislation before us today speaks to some of the issues that we, as Conservatives, have been championing for years. We know that dangerous driving and impaired driving injures or kills thousands of Canadians every year, and that all Canadians recognize that these actions are unacceptable at all times and in all circumstances.
    As the Liberals prepare to roll out their new legislation on marijuana and its associated government-sponsored distribution and sales, it is even more important that law enforcement officers become better equipped to detect instances of alcohol- and drug-impaired driving, and that laws relating to the proof of blood alcohol concentration and drug-impaired indicators be clean and concise.
    Bill C-46, in its preamble, states:
it is important to deter persons from consuming alcohol or drugs after driving in circumstances where they have a reasonable expectation that they would be required to provide a sample of breath or blood;
    This provision and the bill's potential remedies need much clarification, as specific metrics of time-lapse, observable consumption, and proof that a person would be planning to continue driving would need both legal and scientific scrutiny.
    As Conservatives, we have always worked hard to deter the commission of offences relating to the operation of conveyances, particularly dangerous driving and impaired driving. Along with our provincial partners, we have made laws that have promoted the safe operation of motor vehicles. Proposed changes to weaken consequences for such behaviour, such as reducing the current waiting times for offenders before which they may drive using ignition interlock devices, although an effective tool in itself to preventing recidivism, will minimize the seriousness of the offence and will be counter-effective.
    Part 1 of the bill amends the portion of the Criminal Code that deals with offences and procedures related to drug-impaired driving. The three main amendments contain new criminal offences for driving with a blood drug concentration that is higher than the permitted concentration, address the authorization of the Governor in Council to arbitrarily establish its rate of permitting concentration, and gives authorization to peace officers to demand that a driver provide a sample of bodily substance for analysis by drug-screening equipment.
    Part 1 brings up some interesting points, because determining at what point one is drug impaired is important. Giving the government authority to establish the concentration in law seems reasonable, and determining a procedure for peace officers to obtain evidence for conviction is a critical part of law enforcement.
    Proposed subsection 254(2) of the act, before paragraph (a), is replaced by the following, the topic being “Testing for presence of alcohol or a drug”.
     It states:
    (2) If a peace officer has reasonable grounds to suspect that a person has alcohol or a drug in their body and that the person has, within the preceding three hours, operated a motor vehicle or vessel, operated or assisted in the operation of an aircraft or railway equipment or had the care or control of a motor vehicle, a vessel, an aircraft or railway equipment, the peace officer may, by demand, require...[compliance]
    Many of these provisions are part of standard workplace rules, and as such are expected to be adhered to.
     How would peace officers make such determinations with the general public? No logs are required, no travel plans are prepared, so what evidence-seeking process would they use to assure conviction with this three-hour window that would not be challenged when cases come to court?

  (1545)  

    The other part of this discussion has to do with the definition of drug impairment. When one reads a prescription bottle, there are many drugs taken by people where it states specifically, “Not to be taken when handling heavy equipment. Do not drive. May cause drowsiness.” Drivers who are on such medication when stopped by police would unlikely know that a drug sample reading would be calculated.
     One can calculate, based on the weight of a person, the time since the last drink or the amount consumed what a blood alcohol reading should be. One also expects that marijuana consumption readings would depend on product concentration and no doubt other factors. How will these tests differentiate the potential impairment of any one or any combination of prescription drugs, marijuana or alcohol? These are questions on part 1 that need to have answers when the legislation is studied at committee.
    Part 2 would repeal provisions of the Criminal Code and would replace them with provisions in a new part of the Criminal Code.
    First, it would all repeal and replace all transportation offences with what has been described as a more modern and simplified structure.
    Second, it would authorize mandatory alcohol screening at the roadsides where police would have, according to this legislation, already made a lawful stop under provincial or common law.
    The third part would be to propose increasing certain minimum fines and certain minimum penalties or maximum penalties. These particularly relate to penalties for injury or death due to impaired driving. Having stiffer penalties is something of which I have personally been in favour. I have delivered many petitions in the House on this matter. Of course, I, like many others, have had many heart-wrenching discussions with constituents, friends and families over the years with this situation.
    The fourth part is to create a process to facilitate investigation and proof of blood-alcohol concentration. These processes I hope will be expanded to have logical blood-drug concentrations as I had mentioned before.
    The fifth part is to attempt through law to eliminate and restrict offences that encourage risk-taking behaviour and to clarify crown disclosure requirements.
    Finally, as I alluded to earlier and had expressed my reservations, is the removal of the current waiting period before which the offender may drive when using an ignition interlock device.
    The contradiction I see here is that on one hand, it is being said that a severe penalty will be enforced, one such penalty, the time period between when an offence occurs when the privilege of driving with an ignition interlock device is granted, has been reduced to zero for first time offenders. The first time caught does not mean the first time offending. This deterrent should remain, in my opinion.
    One of the provision of the bill relating to investigative matters, section 320.27(2), speaks of mandatory alcohol screening. It says that if the peace officer has in his or her possession an approved screening device, the peace officer may take the breath sample. Section 320.28(1a), the provision relating to blood samples and how they can be used to determine blood alcohol concentration is discussed.
    As we move along in the legislation, we see where samples of other bodily substances, such as saliva or urine, can be demanded in order to determine drug concentration that could ascertain the presence in the person's body of one or more of the drugs set out in subsection 5, which I will get to in a moment, which relates back to one of my earlier points about what drugs are what, and how would the general public know about the effects of any particular drugs.
    These are the drugs listed in section 5.
     First, is a depressant. The depressants are a broad class of drugs, intended to lower neurotransmission levels and decreasing stimulation in various areas of the brain. They are contrasted by stimulants, which intend to energize the body. Xanax is a commonly abused example.
    The second is an inhalant. Inhalants are various household and industrial chemicals whose vapours are breathed in so as to intoxicate the user in ways not originally intended by the manufacturer. Examples include shoe polish, glues and things of that nature.

  (1550)  

    The third is a dissociative anaesthetic. Dissociative anaesthetics are hallucinogens that cause one to feel removed or dissociated from the world around them. When abused, they cause people to enter dream like states or trances.
    The fourth, and again critical in the situations we speak of, is cannabis, which is a tall plant commonly abused as a drug in various forms. Its primary effect is a state of relaxation produced in users, but it can also lead to schizophrenic effects resulting from brain networks being “disorchestrated”, according to researchers at Bristol University in the U.K.
    Fifth is a stimulant. Stimulants are a broad class of drugs intended to invigorate the body, increasing activity and energy. They are contrasted by depressants which are intended to slow the body down. Cocaine is one of the most famous examples of a stimulant.
    Sixth is a hallucinogen. Drugs under this class are intended to produce hallucinations and other changes in emotion and consciousness. Psychedelics and dissociatives are the most common forms of hallucinogens. LSD is the most common abused hallucinogenic.
    Finally, is a narcotic analgesic. Narcotic analgesics, commonly referred to as opiates, are drugs that affect the opioid system which controls pain, reward, and addictive behaviours. Their most common use is for pain relief.
    Are our police forces prepared for this type of roadside analysis? I know that my local police officers, as well as our municipalities and provincial regulators, have a concern about the downloading of the costs associated with enforcement of marijuana legislation. The vagueness of some of the provisions in the bill causes further concern for them as well.
    Will the enforcement regulation be accompanied with funding? Will training and equipment be provided for officers? Who will cover the costs when officers are off learning about these new procedures? Will issues like mandatory alcohol screening withstand a charter challenge as it is a very invasive practice of the state on an individual without reason?
    To this, I remind the government, as I had mentioned in my earlier discussion on this matter, all governments depend on their departmental legal teams to ensure that legislation is charter compliant. The same lawyers who our government depended on to ensure charter compliance are advising the current Liberal government. I leave that for the members opposite to ponder.
    If one thinks that does not happen with regularity, I also would remind everyone that less than two weeks ago the Alberta Court of Appeal struck down a portion of its provincial impaired driving laws as it pertained to the immediate suspension of a driver's licence by ruling in favour of a constitutional challenge to strike down the law.
    Our courts exist to grant justice to those who have been wronged. Delays and charter challenges will only benefit the perpetrators and career criminals, while the victims are dragged through a long and painful process.
    As I close my remarks today, I continue to stand for those whose lives have been affected by the actions of impaired drivers. I remember the countless loved ones torn away from their families because of irresponsible people getting behind the wheel when they were clearly impaired. As Conservatives, we will remain steadfast in our commitment to families that have been unfortunately affected by impaired driving.
     I remember being part of a discussion with MADD Canada. I and the Hon. Peter MacKay had opportunities to meet with various individuals. We talked about the devastation that this type of activity had on families. A good friend of mine is Darren Keeler. His son Colton was killed by a drunk driver. I know it was devastating to him and his family.
     Brad and Krista Howe are the parents of five children who were killed by an impaired driver in 2010 in my riding. I know Krista's mother, Sandra Green, had so much to do with our office and with the justice department, trying to ensure we were there to help strengthen laws.
    I also want to take this time to speak about those who encourage underage drug use in our schools and our communities. As a former teacher, I know and have seen first-hand the devastation of drug dependency on our young people.

  (1555)  

    It has always been a concern of mine as we see fantastic young people get caught up in situations and see how their lives are affected by those who troll and try to push them into activities that unfortunately in so many ways devastate them. It is important we all consider this. Certainly the Liberal government must go hard after drug pushers who prey on our children.
    I am well aware that drug-impaired driving is also a serious concern for Canadians. With the Liberal government's normalization of marijuana, this issue will rear its ugly head time and time again. At a time when marijuana will soon be accessible to a wider clientele, the bill cannot afford to be vague or poorly drafted. It is up to us as parliamentarians to do right by the people we represent.
    As Conservatives, we take pride in our record and our common-sense smart on crime agenda. We are also proud of our record on helping those with addiction problems. We cannot abandon our most vulnerable. We need to give them hope, but not enable them with their addictions.
     I am confident that after the exciting events of this past weekend, with Her Majesty's loyal leader of the opposition now at the helm, Canadians can be assured that the Conservatives will continue to work hard to protect their families and their loved ones.
    Madam Speaker, I am very pleased with the member's remarks and analysis of Bill C-46 and his indication that he supports the bill going forward to committee. I would like some clarification on some of the concerns he expressed.
     In 2009, the justice committee submitted a report to the government of the day strongly recommending the implementation of what at the time was random breath testing. In this bill it is referred to in a slightly different way as mandatory breath testing. It was the unanimous recommendation of that committee.
    I wonder if the member opposite could recall why that recommendation was not acted on for now these eight years that have passed, when it was clearly a measure that demonstrably saved lives. In other jurisdictions such as Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand and other jurisdictions, where this measure has been implemented, there has been as much as a 48% reduction in impaired deaths. Now that our government has brought forward the legislation, for which I am very grateful for the support of the member opposite, I wonder why this was not acted on previously.

  (1600)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his service to the community and for bringing up the question of alcohol roadside testing. I cannot recall exactly where the legislation was and at what stages it had been dealt with. However, I mentioned what had taken place in Alberta with respect to charter rights. Where the discussions come from and things that people talk about, it has kept us from perhaps doing some of the things that have needed to be done for too long. There are still concerns when people say that we can demand, for any reason, a check stop. The way in which people have interpreted it, it seems as though it might be going too far. That is the reason why I brought up charter rights and potential charter challenges. We all have to be concerned about those.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her speech. Caution is definitely needed here. It seems to me that this government is obsessed with this promise to legalize cannabis. This is having a domino effect on health and safety.
    For some time now, officials have been having a hard time assessing the potential dangers and problems associated with drug-impaired driving. It is much more complicated than measuring blood alcohol concentration, with a legal limit of 0.08%.
    The framework here is very flimsy, as though it were made of papier mâché. I remember something a librarian told me when I was little. I was told not to return books to the shelf just anywhere, but rather to leave them on the table, because books returned to the wrong shelf can never be found again.
    The Liberals are improvising when it comes to important safety standards and they are going to create a nice little framework. I would like to hear my colleague's thoughts on that. The Liberals have introduced a botched bill and are telling us to simply trust them, as usual, because they are royalty and they know better.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, that is a major concern that I have as well.
    Just a few minutes ago, Bill C-45 was tabled in the House, which is the companion legislation to this legislation, or the other way around, however we wish to interpret it. It is a bit of a smokescreen to talk about some things that need to be done and issues that are important, because Liberals will tell us to look at what they have done, and now they have marijuana legislation. We start asking ourselves questions, especially on the point of conveyance, which is what this bill is all about: people driving around while having potentially used drugs.
    When it comes to someone smoking, is it going to be allowed in a vehicle, and if it is allowed in a vehicle, will people under the age of 18 be affected by it? There have already been discussions, and we were told that perhaps we will talk again about edible oils and drugs that can be put in brownies and everything else that people hear about. These are being presented to children and families. Believe me, no matter what Liberals say, children smoke pot with their parents. This is the way it works. To suggest that all of a sudden we should not worry because it will be a legal product that will solve that problem is, I think, very naive.

  (1605)  

    Madam Speaker, the member for Red Deer—Mountain View gave a very thoughtful speech.
    One of the consequences of the government moving forward with the legalization of marijuana is that more drug-impaired people are going to be on the road. It is all very well to pass legislation, but it is quite another thing to talk about implementation and enforcement. We have seen no plan from the government when it comes to implementation and enforcement. I was wondering if the hon. member could comment on that and the real concern that exists about more injuries, more deaths, and more carnage on the roads as a result of the legalization of marijuana.
    Madam Speaker, the normalization of any type of intoxicant makes it difficult. Alcohol was in that same position. It has been normalized, and we see the carnage associated with it. We would be adding one more, potentially one that ties in with alcohol consumption, because there is already the situation of people who consume alcohol also smoking pot when they drive. These issues already exist, but I do not think a lot has been thought about in that regard.
    Of course, we then have to look at how to download all of this onto the provinces. Provinces have different ages, and people drive across provincial boundaries and cross borders and go into the States. There is a lot that has to be thought about in this regard.
    Madam Speaker, among its young people, Canada has the highest rates of cannabis use in the world. As a former teacher, I know that the member opposite would be well aware that the student drug usage studies indicate that close to 35% of young teenagers in high school are using this drug occasionally or frequently. This has been the situation for decades on our highways. What has been missing, what has been absent in the law and in the tools available to law enforcement has been the legislation, the technology, the training, and the resources necessary to deal with this situation.
    As the government, we have made a commitment to law enforcement and we have met very extensively with law enforcement agencies. They have had legislation since 2009 that authorized drug recognition experts, but no funding was ever made available by the government of the day to support that. We have made a commitment to make sure that they have the technology, the training, the legislation, and the resources to do the job.
    As this has been a problem for decades, I would ask the member opposite why he would be concerned that taking action now is not appropriate.
     Madam Speaker, I know people quote those types of statistics, but the reality is that I have a lot more faith in young people. If we look at the types of things that have happened with smoking, we see that the amount of smoking in schools has been reduced, and the same type of thing is happening with drugs.
    When we are affected, it becomes much more serious. There are other things that are tied into it, and we end up in a lifestyle that is very difficult. I do not have the time to go through it, but a May 9 article from CBC Kitchener-Waterloo talked about the fact that drug use by high school children is actually less than it has been in the past, so we have been doing some of the right things.
    Madam Speaker, I look forward to the opportunity today to be able to speak to this bill. I want to acknowledge the great job that my colleague just did on this, particularly in mentioning at the end that drug usage by Canadian teens is actually decreasing.
    My colleague across the way, the parliamentary secretary, talked about the fact that because 35% of the students across this country can access marijuana, the solution obviously is to give access to 100%, to find the other 65% and see if we cannot give them that same access. We do not think that is the proper solution.
    What we are here to do today is to take a look at one bill and a second piece of legislation as well that is involved with it, which I do not think either Canadians or the Liberals are ready to handle. We have heard words this afternoon from one of my colleagues about how this seems to be done pell-mell, and my other colleague talked about how this looks like a bit of a smokescreen. That describes what we are seeing here, both in Bill C-45, which is the cannabis legalization bill, and in Bill C-46, the impaired driving bill. Both of these bills are tied together, and Canadians need to be paying attention, because that tie is much tighter than most Canadians would first realize.
    I want to talk first about legalization and the current government's fixation on it through Bill C-45, and then talk about Bill C-46 and what the Liberals see as some solutions to problems that they would create by bringing in Bill C-45.
    Bill C-45 is entitled “An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other acts”. Its summary talks about the objectives being “to prevent young persons from accessing cannabis”—which is a bit of a surprise, given the direction that this legislation goes—“to protect public health and public safety by establishing strict product safety and product quality requirements and to deter criminal activity”. It talks about the act having the power to establish cannabis as a legalized product, basically, and then to try to deal with criminal prohibition, such as the unlawful sale or distribution of it. In addition, it would “[enable] the Minister to authorize the possession, production, distribution, sale, importation and exportation of cannabis”—so the Liberals want to be the drug czars over this product—and then it would “[authorize] persons to possess, sell or distribute cannabis if they are authorized”, and there are a number of other things that the bill would prohibit and provide.
    It is a fairly ambitious bill in terms of legalizing cannabis, giving the government authority over cannabis so that it is going to be able to manage cannabis across this country well. I guess we will see whether that happens.
    Out of the approval and legalization of cannabis then comes a major concern, which is the operation of motor vehicles while under the influence of cannabis or, as Bill C-46 includes, a number of other drugs. To respond to that challenge that would come out of Bill C-45, the Liberals have recently introduced Bill C-46, which deals directly with offences and procedures that are related to impaired driving, both for alcohol and for cannabis and a number of other drugs.
    Bill C-46 is a fairly lengthy bill. It is 78 pages long. It proposes to introduce a new impaired driving regime that would be considerably more complicated than the present laws. It includes new and higher mandatory fines. It includes changes in how and where testing can be done. It changes the timelines on testing, and it sets maximum penalties for impaired driving crimes. It also introduces a new element of mandatory alcohol screening at the roadside, which is expected to become a civil rights concern or issue in this country.
    Clearly, our party supports measures that protect Canadians from impaired drivers. I doubt that there is a person in this House who has not been impacted by the stupid and tragic results that come from impaired driving and the incredible human cost that is paid for that. Mandatory fines, maximum penalties, and those kinds of things do send a strong message that Canadians will not tolerate impaired driving, but I am very concerned that the Liberals want to rush these two drug bills through Parliament by July 2018. The Liberals do not seem to be prepared to deal with the consequences of what would come from passing these two bills. I believe this hurried timeline is unrealistic. It puts the health and safety of Canadians at risk.
     I want to talk today about this legislation and about some of the other concerns around it. Likely the bills will pass on second reading and go to committee, so I am going to raise a number of questions that need to be asked at committee in order for any responsible legislator to continue to support either bill.

  (1610)  

    The first question is why the government moved forward with this legislation when there is clearly no consensus on this issue. This afternoon we have heard different statistics back and forth across the House and some very different results. There is no agreement among Canadians on this issue. Polls show an almost schizophrenic understanding of it. One of the latest ones actually demonstrates that a strong majority apparently believe that this will not prevent drug use. Half see this as a gateway drug. A majority believe that this will not lessen crime and that the drunken or impaired driving enforcement will not be effective. Half think the proposed limit for possession and plants is too high. A strong majority believe that the age limit needs to be raised, and two-thirds agree that the health risks are not understood, yet we are told that a majority of Canadians support the legislation. Past surveys have similar confusing statistics and results.
    This is all at a time when we are told that teen education drug prevention programs are working and teen usage is declining. The Liberals then come forward with a bill to make cannabis legal in this country. There is a clear conclusion that Canadians are conflicted about this issue.
    Another question that has not been answered by the government is what the actual impact on people is, especially young people. We have seen some unexpected results from a couple of states in the United States that have legalized cannabis. What work has the government done on this issue, especially when its own task force identified this as probably one of the most important issues the government will face if it comes forward with this legislation?
    Medical evidence indicates that marijuana impacts brain development up to age 25, and we believe it affects brain function after that. The government seems to think that age 18 is okay. The public disagrees. All polls show that. How is the government going to address seriously the issue of young people being exposed to this drug prior to when they should be?
    Another question is how allowing possession and growing plants at one's home would achieve the goal, as the legislation says, of preventing young people from accessing cannabis. With increased public awareness, and as people were allowed to grow it at home, what would the impact on young people be? As my colleague mentioned earlier, would people be allowed to smoke this in a vehicle, and if they were, how would that impact children or people in the car with them? The same thing would apply at home.
    There are questions about the overall health impact and the impact on the public, especially with respect to the use of vehicles.
    The task force report indicates that research shows that youth, in particular, underestimate the risks of cannabis use, and so do others. I would ask if the government has done any homework on overall health impacts. It certainly seems that it has not done that and cannot answer that question.
    There are other ongoing questions on the role of medical marijuana and what many people see as the present abuse of it as well. How has it become so simple to access this program, and how does it give us any assurance that future legislation will deal with the real issues around marijuana and other drugs mentioned in the legislation?
    Questions arise also about the perception of a very small group of people who are being chosen by the government and stand to become extremely wealthy through this issue.
    What about the public education component that was so important to the task force? Officials in both Washington and Colorado have stressed the importance of starting education campaigns as early as possible before legalization The Liberal government's task force recommended extensive marijuana impaired-driving education awareness campaigns before the drug's legalization. Where is that campaign? We have seen nothing of it.
    On the issue of driving and education, the Canadian Automobile Association has said that the government needs to launch a public education campaign and provide greater funding to law enforcement authorities to get ready for the new regime. CAA vice-president Jeff Walker said, “It’s clear from the report that work needs to start immediately in these areas, and that the actual legalization should not be rushed.”
    Where do we see this education campaign, and since we do not, what will be the cost of it when we do? There are other costs involved as well. We will talk about those a little later. When it comes to the testing being proposed, there is going to be a massive increase in costs to do the testing. I am wondering if the government has any answers as to how that is going to be paid for. Are the Liberals going to stick the provinces with the bill? Is the federal government going to make the commitment necessary to do this in a fashion that will work?

  (1615)  

    Driver safety is an issue, a big issue, and it brings us to Bill C-46. Two states have introduced recreational marijuana sales, and both have seen significant increases in the proportion of fatal accidents involving drivers who tested positive for the drug. That is in a report in The Globe and Mail. I am concerned that the Liberal government is not taking the proper steps to develop effective education campaigns or to put in place adequate roadside capacity to deter Canadians from driving impaired.
    The reality is that impaired driving remains one of the most frequent criminal offences and is among the leading criminal causes of death in Canada. The expectation, probably the reality, from the United States, is that it is only going to increase. Anne McLellan, chair of the task force, said the best solution is to give researchers additional time to not only do the educational campaign but to develop proper detection tools. It is clear that the government needs to ensure that Canadians understand the risks of impaired driving before moving forward with this legislation.
    As I mentioned, all of this costs money for education and new legal regimes, especially with the increased participation of the medical profession. What will be the cost to the court system with the increased traffic that will be going through the courts? The government has not been quick to fill vacancies in the court to speed up processing through our court system. Will police have the resources and training required to face the increased threat of impaired driving associated with the legalization of marijuana, and what will be the cost to Canadian taxpayers for this radical change in policy? Canadians do not have answers to any of those questions right now. Testing for impairment is a huge issue. It is probably the major concern of Canadians on this issue.
    Part 1 of Bill C-46 would amend the provisions of the Criminal Code that deal with offences and procedures related to drug-impaired driving. Among other things, it would enact new criminal offences for driving with a blood concentration equal to or higher than the permitted concentration. It would authorize the Governor in Council to establish blood drug concentrations and would authorize police to demand that a driver provide a sample of a bodily substance for analysis.
    Part 2 would repeal the provisions of the Criminal Code and would repeal and replace transportation offences with a different structure. It would authorize mandatory alcohol screening at the roadside and would increase certain minimum fines and certain maximum penalties. It would do a few other things, such as facilitate investigation and proof of blood alcohol concentration. It would take out some of the defences that encourage risk-taking behaviour and would permit earlier enrolment in the provincial ignition interlock program.
    The problem is that the Liberals have brought forward some good initiatives, but this is not actually primarily about alcohol impairment. In many ways, it is being used, as my colleague said earlier, as a smokescreen or a mask to allow the government to divert attention from its inability to test drug impairment. The problem is that as it begins to do that, it will be moving aggressively to restrict the civil liberties of Canadians.
    There is no clear way to measure drug impairment. There is no way to measure marijuana, in particular. There are no reliable roadside drug screening devices available to police officers. That is why we see in the legislation that police officers will be allowed to do a breath test, and if that is not good enough to be considered an offence, it has to lead to further testing. It is a very big concern.
    My colleague from Mégantic—L'Érable talked in his speech about the fact that screening devices are really not that effective. The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Addiction is concerned about that. It said:
Although the accuracy of oral fluid screening devices has been improving, they are not perfect. Some drivers who have used drugs will test negative and there remains a small probability that some drug-free drivers will test positive. When a driver who has used drugs is missed by the screening procedure, it has implications for road safety;
    Is the technology there to meet the goals of the Liberal policies? Conservatives are not sure about that.
    I should mention that this is not just about alcohol and cannabis. There are a number of other drugs covered as well, which will make the testing regime even more complicated. This is a big challenge. It is not just about alcohol or cannabis but is also about six other types of drugs. It is interesting that the legislation, while complicated, does not seem to be able to deal with these issues.
    Marijuana can be tested through breath, saliva, blood, urine, or hair. Officers can detain suspects on the basis of smelling marijuana or noticing physical signs of impairment, at which point they can ask offenders to provide saliva samples. That is fine, except that it is most likely to be used at DUI checkpoints. It is faster and less invasive than a blood test, but there are all kinds of problems, such as that edibles, injections, pills, etc., may not produce results as reliably.

  (1620)  

    The presence of vapours may not correspond to actual impairment, as very small doses still register, and strong doses that were inhaled longer ago do not register. Blood testing generally registers the presence of THC for up to 12 hours, depending on the dosage, but again, there are problems. It is invasive. There is the question of the civil rights of Canadians. It requires more specialized equipment and sterilization, and test results may not correspond, again, to actual impairment.
    Urine and hair tests register marijuana use over a much longer period of time, which poses similar problems, in addition to other privacy issues. There are a lot of issues. They can provide false positives, so even if we prove that a person has used marijuana, we cannot actually easily prove that the person was impaired at the time of the search.
    My colleague mentioned earlier the time of testing. There are provisions in the bill for testing two hours after someone has been drinking or taking drugs. Police would have to prove that someone was behind the wheel. I can see a pile of complications from doing that as well.
    The government's response to this challenge was to introduce a new section of the Criminal Code that would remove the need for an officer to have reasonable grounds to demand a breath sample. There is a provision in Bill C-46, and the minister talked about this, for mandatory alcohol screening. This part of the legislation would face a court challenge probably immediately, I would say. It is an invasive practice of the state on an individual, and it would specifically be done without reasonable grounds. There are a lot of questions around that section. Proposed subsection 320.27(2) reads:
If a peace officer has in his or her possession an approved screening device, the peace officer may, in the course of the lawful exercise of powers under an Act of Parliament or an Act of a provincial legislature or arising at common law, by demand, require the person who is operating a motor vehicle to immediately provide the samples of breath that, in the peace officer’s opinion, are necessary to enable a proper analysis to be made by means of that device...
    It does not mention that the government has said that this is only to happen at a lawful stop, but there is nothing in here about it having to be a lawful stop. We have asked the government for more information to confirm that. It has not done that. Canadians need to be concerned about this, in my opinion. Is it done at a lawful stop? Is it done at an officer's discretion? The one thing that is clear is that it has taken out reasonable grounds, reasonable suspicion, as something that has to be in place before the testing can be done. Reasonable grounds are mentioned all over the rest of the bill, but I would argue that this section would basically render that useless.
    The government has indicated that this will be used only as part of a lawful stop, but as I mentioned, when we asked about that, the Liberals were not able to clarify that. The minister talked about how she has her legal opinion that this will fit within the charter rights. It is pretty clear, from listening and looking up anything the defence lawyers and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association have said that this will be challenged very quickly. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has been a proponent of medical marijuana. It opposes invasive searches.
     When we go online, there are people such as Sean May, an attorney specializing in DUIs, who has said that these cases are often difficult to prosecute due to problems with evidence, false positives, and other factors.
    Another defence lawyer questioned that data and called giving police unfettered power to demand a breath test dangerous. He said, “It allows for police abuse. Now, police for whatever reason they want, can make you do a breathalyzer. If you talk back to them or they feel you're disrespecting them, they have the power to do that. I don't know there is a lot of solid research linking impairment to the level of drugs in a person's system.” Unlike the breathalyzer, an officer must have a reasonable suspicion the driver has consumed drugs before asking for a sample.
    A number of lawyers have come forward and said that this is not charter-proof. This will be challenged immediately. The U.S. based National Institute on Drug Abuse has suggested that there is no adequate way to measure THC levels or determine just how drugged a person is in a roadside test, so we will face all kinds of problems with that.
    Just to wrap up, there are many questions about the bill. The main concerns focus primarily on the removal of reasonable grounds, the reasonable suspicion provisions, which have protected Canadians for decades. The minister claims to have a charter opinion on the issue, but it is certain to end up in court. It should be worrying Canadians. This entire framework is colossally complicated.
    There are a ton of questions that remain unanswered, not just on Bill C-46 but also on Bill C-45. The government has not answered questions on education costs, health impacts, and a number of other issues, and especially on law enforcement, including the important issue of impaired driving.

  (1625)  

    Madam Speaker, I have a couple of questions, if I may. First, I want to point out to the member opposite that in Bill C-46, proposed subsection 320.27(2) says that “the peace officer may, in the course of the lawful exercise of powers under an Act of Parliament or an Act of a provincial legislature or arising at common law....” That is the definition of a lawful arrest. That may be of some use to the member.
     I want to reference a statement made by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police on behalf of its traffic committee, in which it said,
    The government has put forward strong legislation not only focused on impairment by drugs, but also addressing on-going issues related to alcohol impairment. Steps that have been introduced to reform the entire impaired driving scheme are seen as much needed and very positive.
    It goes on to say, “The CACP has called for such changes in the past”—and, as I have already mentioned, several years went by with no action—“specifically in support of modernizing the driving provisions of the criminal code, supporting mandatory alcohol screening and eliminating common' loophole' defenses.”
    The people who are tasked with keeping our roadways safe and enforcing these laws have been asking for these changes for very many years now. They have come out very strongly in saying that this is exactly what they have asked for and are in support of. I wonder if that allays some of the members concerns.

  (1630)  

     Madam Speaker, again, there are number of issues that have been raised here this afternoon, such as cost. Who is going to pay for those costs? Is the government going to dump the costs back on the municipal police forces who have said they think there need to be some changes here?
    I guess the real issue is, first, around whether people's civil liberties are being impacted and, second, around the fact that there are no reliable roadside screening devices that we are able to put in place presently. We talked about this in the last Parliament. I think that is one of the reasons that some of the changes were not made in the past. Those devices did not exist. They are still not readily available for police officers to use. I think that might answer the member opposite's question.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to ask the member about the lack of roadside tests for marijuana impairment. When I talk with RCMP members across my riding about marijuana, that is the one thing they are concerned about. They want to have the ability to test people for marijuana impairment. MADD Canada has now endorsed the idea of per se limits for marijuana. I think there are 11 states in the United States that have zero tolerance per se limits for marijuana.
    I wonder if the member would comment in more detail on whether we should have per se limits and whether they should be based on science with respect to impairment?
     Madam Speaker, that is a good question. Again, it shows the lack of preparation that the government has had in putting this bill forward. When it comes to alcohol, they have specifically laid out those limits in the bill, and laid out the process.
     If we are going to use the timing method where the police come two hours later, they will be able to measure how much the alcohol has lessened in someone's bloodstream. However, when it comes to the drugs, all the government says is that it will set the regulations later. It is a pretty clear indication that these guys have not done their work. They are talking about six different drugs, so I guess they are going to have to put in place six different frameworks to deal with those drugs. I do not know how the police are going to be able to handle that at the roadside, but the government is certainly dumping a big job on their heads.
     Madam Speaker, with respect to Bill C-226, which deals with random Breathalyzer tests, my understanding is that the member voted against that particular bill. I would be interested in hearing his explanation as to why he chose to vote that way.
    We have organizations such as the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police saying that the legislation is in general very good. It is action that they have been calling for, something which the Conservatives sat on and did nothing about. Why would it not be a good thing to be responding to some of the needs that our professional organizations, such as the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, are calling upon the government to do?
     Madam Speaker, when it comes to the terms of limits or whatever, I think we need to take a look at that balance of dealing directly with an issue that has so many negative consequences across Canada. As I mentioned earlier in my speech, there is not one of us who has not suffered from the pain and agony of someone who has been involved in impaired driving situations and accidents. However, on the other hand, we also have the obligation in this country to acknowledge the charter. The Liberals should be the last ones who are refusing to do that. In this case, I believe we need to take the charter into account. That is another question that should be asked.
     The minister said that she has no opinion from her Department of Justice. She perhaps should have gone further than that to get a solid opinion. We know that this is going to end up in court. Everyone has known that, right from the minute it was introduced. People are going to try to hold the government to account on this issue. The government should have done more homework on it. It is just one more place where, in my opinion, it did not do its homework before it introduced these two pieces of legislation. I still think that in many ways Bill C-46 is meant to be a cover for the government bringing in a badly prepared Bill C-45 that would legalize cannabis.