Skip to main content

House Publications

The Debates are the report—transcribed, edited, and corrected—of what is said in the House. The Journals are the official record of the decisions and other transactions of the House. The Order Paper and Notice Paper contains the listing of all items that may be brought forward on a particular sitting day, and notices for upcoming items.

For an advanced search, use Publication Search tool.

42nd PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 190

CONTENTS

Thursday, June 8, 2017




House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 148 
l
NUMBER 190 
l
1st SESSION 
l
42nd PARLIAMENT 

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Speaker: The Honourable Geoff Regan

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayers



ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1005)  

[Translation]

Information Commissioner

    I have the honour, pursuant to Section 38 of the Access to Information Act, to lay upon the table the report of the Information Commissioner for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017. Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(h), this document is deemed to have been permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics.

[English]

Commissioner of Official Languages

    I have the honour, pursuant to section 66 of the Official Languages Act, to lay upon the table the annual report of the interim Commissioner of Official Languages covering the period from April 1, 2016, to March 31, 2017.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(f), this report is deemed permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Official Languages.

[Translation]

Commissioner of Lobbying

    I have the honour to lay upon the table, pursuant to section 11 of the Lobbying Act, the annual report of the Commissioner of Lobbying for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2017. Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(h), this document is deemed to have been permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics.

[English]

Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner

    Pursuant to paragraph 90(1)(b) of the Parliament of Canada Act, it is my duty to present to the House the annual report of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner in relation to the Conflict of Interest Act for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(h), this document is deemed to have been permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics.

Interparliamentary Delegations

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the report of the Canada–Africa Parliamentary Association respecting its participation at the bilateral mission in the Republic of Zimbabwe and the Republic of Botswana in Harare, Zimbabwe, and Gaborone, Botswana, from March 26 to 31, 2017.

Committees of the House

Public Accounts 

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the following two reports of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts: the 29th report, entitled “Report 7, Operating and Maintenance Support for Military Equipment—National Defence, of the Fall 2016 Reports of the Auditor General of Canada”, and also the 30th report of the committee, entitled “Report 5, Canadian Armed Forces Recruitment and Retention—National Defence, of the Fall 2016 Reports of the Auditor General of Canada”.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to each of these two reports.

[Translation]

Public Safety and National Security  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 11th report of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security concerning Bill S-233, an act to amend the Customs Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (presentation and reporting requirements).

[English]

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

[Translation]

Business of Supply

     Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties, and if you were to seek it, I think you would find that there is consent to adopt the following motion:
    That, at the conclusion of today's debate on the opposition motion in the name of the member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie, all questions necessary to dispose of the motion be deemed put and a recorded division deemed requested and deferred until Monday, June 12, 2017, at the expiry of the time provided for oral questions.
    Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Speaker: The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    (Motion agreed to)

[English]

Petitions

Eating Disorders  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to table petitions from individuals across the country who share our growing concern for the millions of Canadians affected by eating disorders, some as young as seven years old.
    Despite people with eating disorders having the highest mortality rate of all people with mental illnesses, people with these treatable conditions are left to suffer with unreliable and insufficient care. These disorders are identifiable if one knows what to watch for and the importance of early treatment. Teaching people to watch for these indicators could save a loved one's life.
    Eating disorders are misunderstood, inadequately treated, and underfunded, which is why these signatories are calling on Parliament to pass Motion No. 117. The petitioners are asking the government to work with territories and provinces to create a nationwide network dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, support, and research of all eating disorders.
    The petitioners call on the government to commit to a pan-Canadian strategy against eating disorders.

  (1010)  

Palliative Care  

    Mr. Speaker, I have a petition that I would like to share with members that deals with the issue of hospice palliative care, which is an approach that improves the quality of life for patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness.
    The petitioners call upon the national government to play a strong leadership role in dealing with this particularly important issue and to look for ways in which we can expand upon it.

Nuclear Disarmament  

    Mr. Speaker, on this important day when the House will be considering an NDP motion on nuclear disarmament, I am pleased to present a petition from my constituents in Victoria.
     The petitioners call the attention of the House to Canada's recent opposition to a UN resolution to begin negotiating a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons. These constituents call on Parliament to take a position independent of NATO and the United States, and support a treaty to prohibit the development, production, transfer, stationing, and use of nuclear weapons.
    They call on us to set as our goal the elimination of these weapons and to support a framework to achieve that end.

Questions on the Order Paper

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

Government Orders

[Business of Supply]

[Translation]

Business of Supply

Opposition motion—Nuclear Disarmament  

    That the House:
a) recognize the catastrophic humanitarian consequences thatwould result from any use of nuclear weapons, and recognize those consequences transcend national borders and pose grave implications for human survival, the environment, socioeconomic development, the global economy, food security, and for the health of future generations;
(b) reaffirm the need to make every effort to ensure that nuclear weapons are never used again, under any circumstances;
(c) recall the unanimous vote in both Houses of Parliament in 2010 that called on Canada to participate in negotiations for a nuclear weapons convention;
(d) reaffirm its support for the 2008 five-point proposal on nuclear disarmament of the former Secretary-General of the United Nations;
(e) express disappointment in Canada’s vote against, and absence from, initial rounds of negotiations for a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons; and
(f) call upon the government to support the Draft Convention on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, released on May 22, 2017, and to commit to attend, in good faith, future meetings of the United Nations conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination.
    She said: Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Edmonton Strathcona, who, I would like to point out, has been doing excellent work on this file. It is an honour for me to share my time with her.
    I am truly honoured to rise in the House today to move this motion and talk about the very timely issue of nuclear disarmament.
    As the Secretary-General of the United Nations has reminded us, nuclear weapons continue to pose a serious threat to humanity and our planet. Right now, there are approximately 170,000 nuclear weapons in the world, and just one of them could cause unthinkable damage. This problem is not going away. Countries are modernizing their weapons, the new American president wants to increase the strength of his country's nuclear arsenal, and then there are countries like North Korea. That is a major concern.
    It is likely because of that concern that the House unanimously adopted the following motion in 2010:
    That the House of Commons:
(a) recognize the danger posed by the proliferation of nuclear materials and technology to peace and security;
(b) endorse the statement, signed by 500 members, officers and companions of the Order of Canada, underlining the importance of addressing the challenge of more intense nuclear proliferation and the progress of and opportunity for nuclear disarmament;
    I will shorten it a little, since I do not have much time.
(c) endorse the 2008 five-point plan for nuclear disarmament of Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations...
(d) support the initiatives for nuclear disarmament of President Obama of the United States of America; and
(e) ...encourage the Government of Canada to deploy a major world-wide Canadian diplomatic initiative in support of preventing nuclear proliferation and increasing the rate of nuclear disarmament.
    Canada did not follow through on this major diplomatic initiative. That said, a major diplomatic initiative is being undertaken at the United Nations right now, and Canada is opposing this motion, which was supported by many members across the aisle and adopted by unanimous consent. Not only did Canada fail to take the initiative and support this, but it is actually fighting it, which I find completely unacceptable.
    I would really like to know what has changed, exactly, for my colleagues across the way who supported this motion in 2010. Is the current U.S. government pressuring them to not take part in this effort? That would be terrible.
    Let me read another text that states:
    WHEREAS there are still at least 17,000 nuclear weapons [I cannot remember what number I gave earlier] in the world, whose very existence constitutes an unprecedented threat to the continuation of life on Earth as we know it;
    WHEREAS nuclear weapons are the only weapons of mass destruction not yet banned by international agreement;
    WHEREAS as a member of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons...Canada has an international treaty obligation “to pursue negotiations” for the total elimination of nuclear weapons...;
    WHEREAS the International Court of Justice ruled on July 8, 1996: i) that this [non-proliferation treaty] commitment is a legal obligation under international law, and ii) that it is generally illegal to use nuclear weapons, or even threaten to use them;
BE IT RESOLVED that [in the House, I guess] the Liberal Party of Canada urge the Government of Canada to:
comply more fully both with its international treaty obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and with the International Court of Justice ruling of July 8, 1996, by playing a pro-active role in achieving a nuclear-weapon-free world;
emulate the Ottawa Process (which led to the banning of land mines) by convening an international conference to commence negotiations for a Nuclear Weapons Convention that would ban nuclear weapons—akin to the Biological Weapons Convention...and the Chemical Weapons Convention.

  (1015)  

     The motion I just read was adopted by the Liberal Party of Canada last year. Not only are some of the members opposite turning their backs on what they supported in 2010, but they are turning the backs on their own party and supporters. This is quite unacceptable. I have raised this issue in the House several times, and each time I was told that Canada is working on a convention on fissile materials.
     I am not opposed to working on such a convention, but I am not sure that this has anything to do with what I am talking about. It is a bit like if I said that this month I was going to breathe so I will not really have any time to eat. We can do both. What is stopping us from doing both?
     Two days ago, in her foreign policy speech, the minister told us about the importance of multilateral systems and major international instruments. Here we have a multilateral process involving over 130 countries, and an international instrument, ratified by Canada, calling on all parties to take part in these kinds of negotiations, but Canada is missing in action.
     Throughout her speech, the minister talked about all of Canada’s great accomplishments. Interestingly, she failed to mention one thing: the anti-personnel mine ban convention, signed in Ottawa. Setsuko Thurlow, a Hiroshima survivor, was here yesterday and showed us books on this convention written in Japanese. It made Canada famous.
     I do not know why the minister refused to mention the anti-personnel mine ban convention, but I sometimes get the impression that she is afraid of drawing parallels with the nuclear disarmament negotiations. The situation is quite similar. It is not easy; some countries do not want to participate, but leadership means taking the initiative. While certain countries did not want to participate in the anti-personnel mine ban convention, it created a catalyst, moral suasion and a movement. It is a great achievement for Canada.
     With the negotiations under way, we are truly witnessing a historic moment. There is never an ideal time for such a convention, but if we do not start, we will not reach the finish line. Right now there is a momentum that we need to capitalize on. In what little time I have left, I will quote in English the letter signed by 100 members of the Order of Canada, including former ambassadors, a former minister of foreign affairs and former ambassadors for disarmament, calling on the Government of Canada:

  (1020)  

[English]

    It states:
     Lead an urgent call to end provocative rhetoric and sabre rattling over North Korea in favour of a return to sustained engagement and negotiations in pursuit of a denuclearized Korean peninsula.
    Urge the US and Russia to publicly reaffirm and act on their “unequivocal undertaking,” as agreed at the 2010 NPT Review Conference, “to accomplish, in accordance with the principle of irreversibility, the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals.”

[Translation]

     Unfortunately, I will not have the time—
    Order. The member will have a chance to elaborate further during questions and comments.
     Questions and comments.
     The hon. member for Beloeil—Chambly.
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate my colleague’s comments, and I congratulate her on her motion, which she moved the same week that we were treated to a grand speech in the House of Commons about the role the government claims to want to play on the international stage.
     As we have seen all too often in matters of foreign affairs, and I dare say my colleague knows this better than I, this government is all talk and very little action, and that applies to nuclear disarmament too.
    Yesterday, the Prime Minister said there was no need to participate in this process, which he called “useless”, because we are already participating in another process, which is why I would now like my colleague to tell us why there is indeed a need to participate in this one.
    Why is it so important for us to engage in this process if we really want to be able to say that Canada is back?

  (1025)  

    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question. This is so disappointing.
     President Obama was in Montreal a few days ago. We all remember his legendary words, “We can do it.” In contrast, this government is saying, “We cannot do it.” Words are not enough. What we need is action.
     Individuals are awarded the Order of Canada because they have the courage of their convictions, because they have risen to challenges that are not always easy, and because of their extraordinary accomplishments. Over 100 members of the Order of Canada wrote to the Prime Minister to ask him to:

[English]

     Respect and support multilateral efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons by ending Canada's boycott of the current UN General Assembly negotiations of a treaty to ban all nuclear weapons and by joining the next session of talks (scheduled for June 15 to July 7).
    Madam Speaker, I wonder if my colleague could elaborate. We know that North Korea has clearly stated that it will not disarm. We know that Iran is working with North Korea. We have seen what is going on with Russia. What strategy would the member have for dealing with those countries that have specifically said they will not, if all the other countries are going to look at disarmament?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, based on my experience in foreign affairs, there is never one simple solution to any problem. We must negotiate directly with North Korea and continue to impose sanctions, if necessary.
    It is interesting because, initially, North Korea would not take a position on this proposal to negotiate a nuclear weapons disarmament convention, while Canada opposed it. North Korea was a better state player than Canada, in a sense, which is a little worrisome.
    Tools like this convention can lay the groundwork for working with other countries, whether they are member countries or not. In fact, NATO has issued a document listing the positive repercussions that such a convention would have on non-signatory countries.
    We saw this in the case of landmines. Some countries that were major producers and users of landmines, particularly our neighbours to the south, did not sign the convention, but it nevertheless affected them directly and helped reduce the number of landmines in the world. This is really in the same spirit. That is why it is so disappointing that Canada is not at least at the table.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it is my honour to share this time with the former diplomat, and my dear colleague, the member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie.
    Yesterday we were honoured to have two very special guests on the Hill, as the member mentioned, who have been tireless advocates for action on one of two global crises the UN Secretary-General has called for action on. One guest, Setsuko Thurlow, a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing, has dedicated her life to ensuring that no other community experiences that catastrophe to humanity.
    The first crisis, climate change, the Canadian government is beginning to tackle. The second, the nuclear threat, it is not, yet both crises pose equally significant threats to humanity, both to our environment and to life.
     Nations are deeply concerned about the catastrophic humanitarian consequences posed by nuclear weapons. The threat, like climate change, transcends national borders. It has grave implications for human survival, the environment, the global economy, food security, and the health of future generations.
    Since my election in 2008, l have become engaged through the Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, a global association of elected officials and civil leaders advocating for nuclear disarmament. A few months back I attended the UN negotiations for a convention on nuclear disarmament. This convention is being premised on the principles and rules of humanitarian law and is considered directly consistent with the binding terms of the non-proliferation treaty.
    Despite voting for the motion calling for Canadian engagement in these negotiations, Canada not only continues to boycott this global initiative but is counted among the few nations that last year voted against even commencing the negotiations. Why is this troubling? Canada is a party to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. That multilateral treaty compels our country, along with the other signatories, to negotiate and complete a convention on a nuclear ban.
    Nuclear weapons are the only weapons of mass destruction, as my colleague mentioned, not yet prohibited. Canada played a key role in global actions to ban chemical and biological weapons and landmines, yet our government is boycotting actions to ban nuclear weapons. Do the Liberals not share the global concern that the nine states possessing 15,000 nuclear weapons are determined to modernize or make it easier to deploy those weapons, not dismantle them? What is puzzling is that we have a Prime Minister and a government that claim to the world that they are back at the UN and are committed to a multilateral approach to addressing global crises. They seem to find that of value on climate change. Why not on the threat of nuclear war?
    Last March, a majority of nations gathered in New York at the UN to draft a convention on the prohibition of nuclear weapons. I went to New York to observe first-hand these negotiations. What I heard in the speeches by state delegates, including, for example, the Netherlands and Ireland, was profound concern about the threat posed by nuclear weapons and a determination to stand together to call for their prohibition. It is anticipated that a final version of this convention will be completed this July.
     In the wake of the government's decision to boycott, I travelled to hear first-hand and was inspired by the sense of commitment among these nations to pursue a common end to nuclear weapons. The very purpose of the UN, as pointed out by UN Secretary-General Guterres, is to prevent war and human suffering. We are reminded in a book by the former ambassador for disarmament, Douglas Roche, that the UN charter begins by saying that the purpose of the organization is “to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace”.
     Former UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon issued a five-point proposal for nuclear disarmament, including a call to ratify and enter into force a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty. In 2010, this call, as my colleague mentioned, was unanimously endorsed by this place on a motion by the NDP. It called for Canadian engagement in these negotiations on a global convention and for kick-starting a Canadian diplomatic initiative to prevent nuclear proliferation. As my colleague has also pointed out, many have expressed support for this convention, including the lnter-Parliamentary Union, hundreds of Order of Canada appointees, and many former Canadian diplomats.
     It is noteworthy that the Liberal Party, at its recent convention, adopted a resolution calling on the government to convene a conference to commence negotiations. That action is already happening, absent the government. What excuse has the government given for refusing to participate in the negotiations? Liberals argue that they are engaged in discussions on a fissile material ban to put a stop to the production of new fissile materials that could be used to make nuclear weapons.

  (1030)  

    However, unlike the open and transparent process at the General Assembly to negotiate a convention, that process is behind closed doors and requires consensus. There is little likelihood that those opposed, for example, Pakistan, China, Russian, Iran, Israel, Egypt, will agree, and to date have not. These nations, I am advised, have huge supplies of fissile material, regardless of any ban eventually negotiated for no new production.
    It is not too late for Canada to come forward and join world nations in pursuit of this humanitarian action. Negotiations recommence this month in New York. For the sake of our children, for the sake of the planet, we implore the government to step forward to join the efforts of nations threatened by nuclear weapons, not those determined to retain and potentially deploy them.

  (1035)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank both of my NDP colleagues for their excellent remarks, which deserve serious thought.
    Something that was said earlier really stuck with me. As we have heard, and the facts are there, on a very important motion, Canada voted against the nuclear disarmament initiative and North Korea abstained, meaning that North Korea's position was better than Canada's.
    I have a very straightforward question. Do the NDP members believe that North Korea is a serious, credible country? When it takes a neutral position, should we believe it, yes or no?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, indeed, my understanding is that Korea is not at the negotiations at the UN, but that has not stopped the majority of nations around the world from agreeing to get together. They hold in common the equal threat by those who hold nuclear weapons and, from time to time, threaten to use them. We simply look to the situation in Ukraine. Even NATO nations are leery to step forward because of the threat of nuclear weapons that could be deployed by Russia.
    This is not a reason not to step forward. The reason to step forward is that the government when in opposition voted to proceed and help commence these negotiations. It did nothing, the previous government did nothing even though it voted for that, and the negotiations are already proceeding. Therefore, is it not better to stand with the nations that are trying to move forward on delivering their commitments, their obligations under the non-proliferation treaty, rather than standing back and doing nothing?
    Madam Speaker, in 2016, Canada rallied 159 other countries to support the fissile material cut-off treaty. This is a concrete step toward our engagement and support of nuclear disarmament. The NDP is calling for us to immediately join this ban treaty and work with countries without nuclear weapons. What we have done works with both sets of countries, with and without nuclear weapons.
    Could the member clarify that or talk to whether she thinks the way in which Canada is going, by taking these concrete steps, is a valuable step toward a world of nuclear disarmament?
    Madam Speaker, I spoke to that in my speech. There is nothing stopping Canada from being involved in all the measures to which it has committed. In fact, it is compelled to do so under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. The Liberals voted for it at their own convention and they voted for it in a motion in the House in 2010. There is nothing stopping Canada from being engaged in the process of non-expansion of fissile materials and at the UN. The Liberals claim to be back at the UN, but they are not. They talk a big line. They have gone nowhere on the fissile materials and are unlikely to because there has to be consensus. The very nations that hold these nuclear weapons and want to expand fissile materials are blocking that.
    We should continue on that, but at the same time the Liberals can easily be at the UN helping to negotiate this treaty to ban nuclear weapons.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I am amazed that so many Order of Canada recipients have written to the Prime Minister to ask him to stop boycotting the negotiations. Those are their words.
    Does my colleague not find that striking? Order of Canada recipients are people who have worked hard, shown great courage, and overcome challenges, even when it was not easy. Is it not interesting to see the contrast between all of those Order of Canada recipients and the government, which thinks that this may not work and will not be at the negotiating table?

  (1040)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, people do not receive the Orders of Canada, and they should not, unless they have done incredible work in our country on matters that are very difficult to achieve. These are the very people who have stepped forward, as well as our former diplomats, who know how important it is to participate.
    What is so troubling is that the government likes to brag that it is brave, that it is taking on the challenge of addressing climate change, and that it is joining nations around the world. However, it is cowering in the face of this nuclear threat. We would like to see the government give equal attention to the two crises facing our planet.
    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have this opportunity to discuss our government's position and actions on nuclear disarmament. This is a vitally important issue that affects both Canada and the world. It also comes at a critical juncture for the international community, where our diverging views about the path forward.
    Before going any further, I had the great privilege of meeting Mrs. Setsuko Thurlow, a Hiroshima survivor and wonderful Canadian who has dedicated her entire life toward bettering the world and ridding it of nuclear weapons systems.
     In that context, let me assure the Canadians that advancing nuclear disarmament in a meaningful way remains a priority for the Government of Canada. Canada strongly supports concrete efforts toward nuclear disarmament. That is why we are taking meaningful steps to achieve nuclear disarmament, which in turn means doing the hard work in real and meaningful results. Members will note that I have used the term “meaningful” three times in two sentences.
    We absolutely recognize the great consequences of even an accidental nuclear detonation, which could have catastrophic human impacts that transcends borders, harms the environment, the global economy, and even the health of future generations. Nuclear disarmament should be the goal of every country and of every government. It is certainly Canada's goal. That is why our government is fully committed to pursuing pragmatic initiatives that will lead to a world without nuclear weapons. We owe it our children and to future generations.
     Let me remind the House that Canada gave up its nuclear weapons capability, which, in essence, acts as a role model for the rest of the world.
    In 2016, for the first time ever, Canada rallied 159 states to support and pass a resolution calling for the fissile material cut-off treaty. With the support of nuclear and non-nuclear countries, Canada is chairing this high-level group to help phase out nuclear weapons, a meaningful contribution.
    Recognizing the important work that has been done on the path towards nuclear disarmament, it is more important than ever that we make these pragmatic approaches to this very complex international issue as clear as possible. During the late 1980s and 1990s, the world witnessed a dramatic, almost 80%, reduction to the numbers of nuclear weapons, those primarily held by the United States and the former Soviet Union. A number of countries abandoned their nuclear weapon development programs and joined the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, NPT. The NPT is now almost universal, with only four countries remaining outside of its obligations, which aim at achieving a world free of nuclear weapons.
    The 1990s also saw the signing of the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty, CTBT, which prohibits the testing of nuclear weapons. Although still not yet in force, it is being partially implemented. Obviously there are some exceptions. Countries around the world, including those that have not ratified, have already built 116 monitoring stations to quickly identify a nuclear detonation anywhere in the world. While the treaty may not yet be in force, it has effectively established, in essence, a taboo on such testing. Only one country in this century, North Korea, has dared to break this taboo and faced global condemnation.
    In terms of international security, the world does not become a safer place, unfortunately. Crises in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and I could go on for quite some time, continue to undermine regional and global stability. Irresponsible and reckless acts by North Korea, in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions and its own international obligations, leaves the global community struggling to contain its behaviour and to assure their populations of their continued security. This is why Canada is taking meaningful steps that will deliver tangible results for all.

  (1045)  

[Translation]

    Many countries, including Canada, believe that this uncertain environment is not conducive to expediting disarmament. Historically, non-proliferation efforts and disarmament, or arms reduction, only occurred when the main stakeholders participated in the discussion. That was true in the case of the negotiations regarding landmines and cluster munitions, to give just two examples.
    Significant progress requires a good dialogue and trust between the governments involved in the negotiations. Unfortunately, since that is currently not the case, we need to focus on measures that rebuild that trust and make it possible to open a dialogue.
    Other countries believe that the current context warrants a more radical approach to total nuclear disarmament, but such an approach has very little chance of success in the near future. I am thinking of the initiative to negotiate an agreement to ban nuclear weapons. While we obviously appreciate the good intentions behind that initiative, unfortunately, it is not the right approach. We believe that the current negotiations are premature and ineffective, and that they could create divisions and complicate the path to nuclear disarmament.

[English]

    Let me explain this further.
     First, we believe the negotiations are premature because, in the current security climate, countries with nuclear weapons regard them as essential for their security. That is their point of view, and they are the ones that possess the nuclear weapons. It is unrealistic to expect countries to disarm when they face very real threats, including from nuclear weapon proliferators like North Korea. Only when these countries have the confidence in their security, without the need for nuclear deterrence, will they be ready to reduce and ultimately eliminate their nuclear weapon stockpiles. This is a pragmatic and realistic approach.
    Second, we expect that the draft convention will be ineffective. Without the participation of states possessing nuclear weapons, it is certain that not a single nuclear weapon will be eliminated through this process. In this context, these negotiations will provide nothing else than a declaratory ban, as the countries participating in them are already prohibited from possessing these nuclear weapons through their obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. In other words, any additional prohibitions that apply only to states party to the ban will not help to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.
    Further, we are concerned that the treaty does not include credible provisions for monitoring and verification. Countries that are expected to give up their reliance on nuclear weapons will want to be assured that others are not able to cheat. We have already seen, in the very recent past, a nation that has cheated repeatedly. Unfortunately, the current discussions do not encompass such verification measures. As well, much technical work remains to be done in order for disarmament verification to be credible and effective, and Canada is currently actively engaged in advancing some of this work.
    Finally, the proposed treaty is likely to be very divisive. Without any meaningful disarmament or verification measures, it will stigmatize nuclear weapons, with the aim of establishing customary international law prohibiting their use. In order to prevent this, countries with nuclear arms will become persistent objectors.
    We all abhor nuclear weapons and their potential to be used. However, if it is going to create a divisive wedge, then it should be thought through extraordinarily carefully. Quite frankly, this is already creating an adversarial dynamic. Instead of striving to seek common ground on mutually agreed objectives, like happened between the former Soviet Union and the United States 20 years ago, this process will only reinforce the differences between nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states, making further progress on nuclear disarmament even more difficult because there will be no continuation of the dialogue.
    These concerns are not new. Indeed, Canada participated extensively and constructively in the process leading up to the current ban treaty negotiations. This included active involvement in the three conferences on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and the United Nations open-ended working group on nuclear disarmament. Throughout these processes, Canada worked to shape the dialogue and arrive at recommendations that addressed the security interests and disarmament objectives of all countries. We even hosted our mission in Geneva, a framework forum round table, to facilitate the work of the open-ended working group, with great results. Unfortunately, despite considerable efforts by Canada and others, the working group could not come to a consensus on its final report, and instead established the basis for the United Nations resolution of last fall, which authorized the current negotiations.
    It is a long and complicated tale, but the bottom line is that the concerns raised by Canada and many of our like-minded partners were not addressed in the recommendations of the final report from the open-ended working group. We could not therefore support the UN resolution establishing these negotiations. Moreover, as we expect their outcome to be a merely declaratory document targeting important elements of our collective security obligations under NATO, we cannot participate in these negotiations in good faith.

  (1050)  

    Canada's approach recognizes that despite a problematic international security environment, there is great opportunity to pursue effective nuclear disarmament efforts over the longer term. The current ban treaty negotiations pit nuclear weapon states against non-nuclear weapon states, forcing both sides to entrench their positions. Leadership on nuclear disarmament demands the opposite, bringing actors together to realize concrete progress where it is possible and not merely driving groups of them apart. This is where Canada has its focus, as do our allies, 41 of which did not participate in the ban treaty negotiations.
    What marks real, tangible action? In contrast to ban treaty proponents as suggested by the members opposite, Canada and her allies maintain that nuclear disarmament can only realistically be achieved through an approach that takes into account the views and security interests of all states. Our position is that the most effective approach is a step-by-step process, which includes the universalization of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, a fully enforced comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty, a negotiated fissile material cut-off treaty, and only as the ultimate step, a credible and enforceable convention or ban on nuclear weapons. We must act in a systematic, logical, progressive fashion to tackle this complex and hideously dangerous issue.

[Translation]

    In keeping with the 2010 motion adopted unanimously in both Houses of Parliament here in Canada, encouraging the Government of Canada to deploy a major worldwide Canadian diplomatic initiative in support of nuclear disarmament, I am proud to say that is precisely what Canada is doing.
    As the Minister of Foreign Affairs said a few days ago, in December 2016, Canada rallied 159 states, including those with nuclear weapons, to adopt a United Nations resolution calling for a fissile material cut-off treaty. Banning the production of fissile materials for nuclear explosives is almost universally recognized as the logical next step.
    This resolution establishes for the first time an expert preparatory group, which will develop aspects of an eventual treaty. This group will enjoy input from open-ended, informal consultative meetings with all UN member states. Canada is chairing this process. Under our leadership, the success of the process will be a major step toward nuclear disarmament. The vast majority of countries with nuclear weapons are participating in the preparatory group, which is key to its success.

[English]

    In addition to our work in this regard, Canada is supporting work on the technical issues that will need to be addressed in order to establish a credible nuclear weapons disarmament regime. This includes engagement with the international partnership for nuclear disarmament verification, which aims to develop measures for the verification of nuclear disarmament, of which I spoke earlier.
    Verification systems and methods are crucial to managing risks and mitigating threats related to weapons of mass destruction, and these, especially for nuclear weapons, are essential for providing assurance that all parties are in compliance with their obligations under the regime. Doubts and mistrust can and have stalled non-proliferation, arms control, and disarmament talks in the past. Transparency and confidence provided by independent verification can be a true motivator, as seen by the 116 stations of which I have spoken.

  (1055)  

    Understandably, the global skills and knowledge base for nuclear disarmament verification is limited, resulting in significant capacity gaps. Through, however, a cross-regional partnership of over two dozen countries, including the United States, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, France, and the People's Republic of China, countries are now working collaboratively to develop in detail the measures required to address the technical challenges related to the monitoring of nuclear disarmament and to ensure that disarmament commitments are being faithfully implemented. This is progress.
    In addition to providing a nuclear disarmament policy and technical expertise, Canada is finalizing a project, through its weapons of mass destruction threat reduction program, that contributes to the Nuclear Threat Initiative, an organization that is hosting and facilitating a variety of meetings. This financial contribution will help the important work being undertaken through this initiative. Through this financial contribution, we will help the international partnership for nuclear disarmament verification continue its critical work.
    We also support Norway's initiative to create a group of government experts on nuclear disarmament verification, one of the most challenging obstacles to nuclear disarmament. Concerted and inclusive action is necessary if we are to make genuine progress.
    To conclude, let me reiterate that Canada is firmly committed to achieving a world free of nuclear weapons. There is no doubt about it. However, rather than symbolic gestures, which can and will be divisive, Canada is staying focused on the pragmatic and on what will actually achieve concrete results toward global nuclear disarmament, emphasizing efforts that have broad support.
    Canada and our allies are supporting practical efforts that will require time and effort, of course, but the outcomes are much more likely to be meaningful, enduring, and effective. Canada's determined leadership on nuclear disarmament initiatives, including on several panels, and on technical issues, such as verification, will achieve the results that will best serve all countries.
    Once again, let me be clear. We strongly support concrete efforts toward nuclear disarmament. We welcome them, but we are taking meaningful steps to achieve this, and that means doing the hard technical work to deliver real and lasting results. The work we are currently doing will have a positive impact toward nuclear disarmament worldwide, and it is something to be proud of.
    Madam Speaker, the hon. member listed all the mythologies that are being presented by Russia, the United States, and now Canada, against participating in the required negotiations for this convention. Canada signed on to the non-proliferation treaty, and one of its obligations under it is in fact to participate in these negotiations, which the hon. member failed to mention.
    There is absolutely nothing preventing Canada from stepping forward, like most of the nations of the world, in participating in all of these initiatives, which are required under the non-proliferation treaty. It is interesting that the argument is being made that it is premature for nations to sit down and negotiate a convention to ban nuclear weapons. When precisely is a perfect time? Should it be the same thing as on climate change, because the United States has now pulled out? No, it should not. Canada has said “we are there” even stronger.
    The arguments are so specious. I find it an incredible slight to the many nations, including Ireland and the Netherlands, which is a NATO country, who are participating there and speaking from their hearts and doing the hard work to protect the nations that are at risk from a nuclear war.
    I wonder if the member could say which camp the Liberals are in. Are they in the camp that believes the only path to security is to have nuclear weapons, or are they in the camp of the majority of nations in the world that are saying the continuance of having nuclear weapons and moving to modernization for easier deployment of them is not the way to go?
    Madam Speaker, in the main, Canada absolutely believes in the principle of nuclear disarmament. As a former soldier, and one who is trained in the NATO systems, and who many years ago took a nuclear fire planning course to employ tactical weapons systems in conjunction with our American allies, I am fully aware of the potential tragic impact that such weapon systems, if ever utilized, would bring not only to local battlefield circumstances but indeed the world.
    Having said that, Canada's approach is pragmatic, realistic, and is going to be effective in conjunction with our friends and allies. It is illogical to expect friends and allies who do possess nuclear weapons, and on whose shoulders the whole idea of deterrence has rested for many decades, to actually be able to co-operate meaningfully with those who are just interested in making statements. That is why our efforts, which involve providing technical skills, scarce resources, and money to those technical aspects involved in establishing the frameworks for future dialogue are so important.
    Nuclear disarmament is an excellent ideal, but unfortunately, tragically, because of international security conditions and rogue states, such as North Korea, it is not possible over the short term.

  (1100)  

    Madam Speaker, I have a great respect for the hon. member, the work that he did, and his knowledge.
    However, when I look at the motion, I do not expect him to answer all of these questions, but in terms of (a) to (e), I would assume that you would agree with those things.
    I would remind the member to address the questions to the Chair.
    Madam Speaker, when I look at those first parts of the motion, they are very agreeable. The problem is probably the fourth part of the motion.
     In light of the fact, and I know the hon. member would agree with this, that the most horrific thing we have done as human beings is to produce a bomb and a weapon of such total destruction, is this not in the best interests of all of us? I understand the member, and I have listened to his argument that the government believes that this would be an exercise that would be futile. However, is it not in our best interest to do everything possible to rid us of this scourge and plague that has come upon us as mankind? I wonder if the hon. member could answer that.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to remind the House that Canada is one of the very few nations in the world that gave up its nuclear weapons capability. It was the Bomarc system, of which I think most are well familiar. This was groundbreaking. It represented the will, the desire, and indeed the need of Canadians to take a firm stand, all of which was highly admirable.
    However, in that context, as members of NATO, we have relied on and stood on the shoulders of others who have nuclear weapons deterrent capabilities, which, for good or bad, I think mainly good, prevented an outbreak of nuclear war until now. Where the nuclear doomsday clock stands in terms of its hands moving toward midnight is a matter of scientific opinion. However, the point is that it obviously has not crossed that threshold of midnight.
    In that sense, although it has been a hideous expense, and of course we are well aware of the two tragic utilizations of nuclear weapons under wartime conditions, specifically in Japan, and the horrific casualties that ensued, we have brought peace and stability under a very fractious world system. Unfortunately, right now, international security circumstances are such that those nation-states that do have nuclear weapon systems are probably not going to be convinced in any way, shape, or form by motions through this government to disarm. Instead, we have chosen to put skills, expertise, personnel, and money into those technical aspects.
    Madam Speaker, I would like my colleague to elaborate on the importance of this responsible approach of engaging countries without nuclear weapons, particularly in the context of the fissile material cut-off treaty, and accountability.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for the great question and the chance to lay out the pragmatic approach to which she referred that Canada has taken to achieve worldwide nuclear disarmament in co-operation with our friends and allies, both those who have nuclear weapon systems and those who do not.
    Our government believes that in order to convince nuclear powers to get rid of their weapons we must take this step-by-step approach. We are leading on a UN resolution that is doing just that, bringing nuclear powers to the table and working gradually toward disarmament. Not only do we lead through the UN system to make sure we advance toward this goal, we are also taking concrete actions. For example, Global Affairs has a program with respect to the mass destruction non-proliferation treaty with a view to prevent weapons of mass destruction from falling into the hands of terrorists. This program is called, not surprisingly, the weapons of mass destruction threat reduction program, and receives funding of $73 million per year.
     We also support Norway's initiative to create a group of government experts on nuclear disarmament verification, something that is needed. These stations, which I referred to earlier with respect to monitoring, need support, sustenance, networking, and cannot be stand-alone. Without this weapons verification system ability to track explosives, very few of the nuclear states will disarm.
    As well, in 2016, for the first time ever, Canada rallied 159 states to support and pass the resolution that my hon. colleague referred to, the fissile material cut-off treaty. With the support of nuclear and non-nuclear countries, this was a first and we chaired it.

  (1105)  

[Translation]

    We have time for a brief question.
    The hon. member for Salaberry—Suroît.
    Madam Speaker, I have a question for the member opposite.
     Does he not feel it is time to live up to his word and show some leadership? In 2010 a motion passed unanimously, including the Liberals, calling on Parliament to join negotiations for a nuclear weapons convention. As well, in 2016, Liberal delegates voted in favour of a resolution for Canada and a nuclear-weapon-free world, which included the following:
    WHEREAS as a member of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)(1970), Canada has an international treaty obligation “to pursue negotiations”…
    Despite all this and the fact that Canada signed the treaty and that delegates asked the Liberal Party to oppose nuclear weapons and take part in negotiation, Canada is still standing in the way of negotiations.
     Does the member not feel this somewhat contradicts the position of his own party and its supporters?
    Madam Speaker, of course, we support nuclear disarmament agreements.
    What my hon. friend is proposing is to negotiate a nuclear weapons ban without those countries that have nuclear weapons participating. That would be pointless. This is not something that would result in real change.
     Of course, our goal is nuclear disarmament and we are doing what it takes to achieve it. This means working hard to get tangible results. In this respect, I am very proud of Canada’s approach.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman.
    I would like to begin by taking members and folks viewing us across the country in the safety and security of their homes back to a moment in history: 16 minutes past eight o'clock in the morning of August 6, 1945. That was the instant when an atomic bomb, three metres in length, weighing barely 4,000 kilograms, containing less than 64 kilograms of uranium-235, and dangling from a descending parachute, exploded over Hiroshima, Japan. In that instant, some 80,000 people died in the blazing blast under a rising mushroom cloud of fire and smoke. The co-pilot of the American B-29 bomber, looking back, said to his fellow crewmen, “My God, what have we done?” What the Americans did that terrible day, and with a larger plutonium bomb three days later over Nagasaki, Japan, effectively ended the Second World War and far greater casualties, with Japan's surrender the next week.
    We know that, since 1945, although there have been a number of close calls, nuclear weapons have not again been used in conflict. In the early years of the Cold War came the concept of mutual assured destruction, developed as a defence policy during the Kennedy administration. MAD essentially involves the United States stockpiling a huge nuclear arsenal, which in the event of a Soviet attack would have provided the U.S. with enough nuclear firepower to survive a first wave of nuclear strikes and to strike back at Russia and its Warsaw Pact partners. The resulting enduring theory of nuclear deterrence to this day meant that it would be unthinkable for either side to launch a first strike because it would inevitably lead to its own destruction.
    Toward the end of the Cold War, 1987 to be exact, Margaret Thatcher said:
    A world without nuclear weapons may be a dream but you cannot base a sure defence on dreams. Without far greater trust and confidence between East and West than exists at present, a world without nuclear weapons would be less stable and more dangerous for all of us.
     Prime Minister Thatcher then offered a quote by Winston Churchill, and again this goes back to the period just after the Second World War when Churchill said, “Be careful above all...not to let go of the atomic weapon until you are sure and more than sure that other means of preserving peace are in your hands.”
     Today, almost three decades after the Cold War ended, and despite the voluntary decommissioning of thousands of nuclear weapons, there are still more than 10,000 nuclear weapons of all sorts, bombs and warheads, worldwide. Eight countries have successfully detonated nuclear weapons: the United States, Russia, Britain, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Israel. We know Iran is close to achieving nuclear capability. Five NATO member countries share nuclear weapons: Germany, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey. The nuclear non-proliferation treaty, ratified by Canada decades ago, aims at “sharing the benefits of peaceful nuclear technology and the pursuit of nuclear disarmament and the ultimate elimination of nuclear arsenals”. However, North Korea left the treaty; Israel, India, and Pakistan have never joined; Iran did join decades ago but, surprise, was found to be in non-compliance and brags today about its dark nuclear intentions.
    In the past decade, our previous Conservative government worked multilaterally to improve international nuclear security and to address the threat posed by nuclear terrorism. We worked with our international partners to prevent the acquisition of fissionable materials by any individuals, entities, or countries that might threaten Canadian national security, which brings me to the NDP motion before us. Conservatives do not disagree with paragraph (a) of the motion; we have no doubt of the catastrophic humanitarian consequences that would result from the use of atomic weapons.

  (1110)  

    At the same time, we in the official opposition agree with our democratic allies that possess nuclear weapons as a vital defence deterrent, the United States, Britain, France, and Israel; and our NATO partners that share them, Germany, Belgium, Italy, and the Netherlands, like Canada; which do not possess nuclear warheads. These countries all disagree with the talks to ban nuclear weapons, talks aimed at achieving total nuclear disarmament, which have absolutely no chance of success.
    Russia and China, both nuclear powers, both veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council, are not part of the democracies boycotting group, but they too see no reason to participate in the nuclear weapons ban talks. The Russian foreign minister has said that the 120 countries that are participating in the talks are trying to coerce nuclear powers into abandoning nuclear weapons, and he said it is absolutely clear that the time has not come. As well, President Obama during his presidency held essentially the same opposition to participation in the nuclear ban talks. That is because the world today is arguably in a much more dangerous place than it was during the Cold War and MAD. It is not because of the several hundred Russian and American weapons that are still on what is called hard alert, ready for launching within minutes of a perceived attack, but because of the nuclear weapons in the hands of a belligerent North Korea, because of the nuclear weapons still in development in Iran and that regime's continuing commitment to one day make a nuclear strike on Israel, and because of nuclear weapons at the ready today in Pakistan and in India, not to mention the fissionable material salvaged from Soviet era weapons believed to be accessible to international terror organizations.
    While we Conservatives share with the NDP and peace-loving people around the world the dream of a nuclear weapons free world, while we agree that there are a couple of elements in the 2008 UN Secretary-General's five-point proposal that are still today worth pursuing—such as the call for the establishment of a central Asian and African nuclear weapons free zone treaty, the proposal for greater accountability and transparency by nuclear weapon states in documenting the size of their arsenals and weapons stocks, and continued efforts against other weapons of mass destruction—we in the official opposition do not believe that there is any benefit to participating in a marathon, wishful-thinking talkathon. There are more meaningful ways to work for greater peace and stability, fundamental human rights, and opportunities for those in the developing world and undemocratic states.
    While we recognize the idealism of the NDP motion, we do not believe that the current precarious state of the world justifies Canada's engagement in these specific UN disarmament talks to ban nuclear weapons.

  (1115)  

    Madam Speaker, I appreciated the comments by the member and remind him that he was probably also in the House, perhaps still a journalist, when his party voted for our motion, for which there was unanimous support, to move toward negotiating this very treaty.
    There are already 17,000 nuclear weapons in the world, as the member has pointed out. It is very clear that the fissile material ban treaty has very little opportunity of success. The member has repeated what the Liberals are saying, which is “That is a waste of time, they are just sitting around talking, and we should do credible actions like negotiate fissbans”. However, what they are not telling this place is that the very ones who hold the nuclear weapons are refusing to sign on and are very unlikely to sign on to the fissban treaty. So much for concrete action.
    Surely the member does not believe that a sound reason to refuse to participate in the ban negotiations is that Russia feels threatened by these nations who are in fact threatened themselves by the fact that these nuclear weapons continue to proliferate.
    Madam Speaker, as I say, we recognize the idealism of the NDP motion. With regard to the first part of her question and the symbolic unanimous consent on December 7, 2010, I was in Parliament. I was not in the House. I have voiced my concerns and reluctance to support unanimous motions at any time, except in the most exceptional circumstances, and this was another one. It was a unanimous motion put by Bill Siksay, a former NDP colleague, after question period, at 3:45 in the afternoon, when the House had fewer members than it has at this moment. It was a symbolic motion. It was a motion that supported the dream we all share of a world one day free of nuclear weapons, but it is unrealistic to expect today.
    Not to trivialize this matter, but the reason our democratic allies are refusing to lay down all their nuclear weapons today, the reason our historic adversary, Russia, will not lay down its, is the unpredictability of the new nuclear states and the nuclear rogue states. It comes down to the rather trite saying, “You don't bring a knife to a gunfight.”
    For the foreseeable future, we have to contend with a—
    I have to allow time for another question.
    Madam Speaker, the horrors of war are very well documented. Being a member of the Canadian Forces and having participated in parades with war vets, I get a very clear vision of many of the horrors that took place during WWII.
    There is a role for government to play. Last fall Canada played a leadership role with 159 other countries in bringing forward a UN resolution that brings nuclear powers to the table to work pragmatically toward disarmament through a fissile material cut-off treaty. I wonder if the member would provide his thoughts on that.

  (1120)  

    Madam Speaker, as I said during my remarks, we recognize the government's action to contain fissionable materials and to work for further decommissioning the still huge arsenals that exist in Russia and the United States. We recognize that many of the former Soviet republics, such as Ukraine, Belarus, and others, voluntarily relinquished their nuclear weapons, laid them down. Our previous Conservative government worked to achieve those same ends.
    These talks will continue, I regret to say, for years, I believe, but there is no reason to not continue with meaningful talks with our nuclear-possessing democratic allies, and the others, in the enduring hope of one day having a nuclear-free world.
    Resuming debate. The hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman.
    Madam Speaker, it is indeed a--
    Madam Speaker, in the last round of questions, you did not come back to the Conservatives. We heard from the hon. member for Edmonton Strathcona in her speech this morning. After two other speeches, she had lengthy questions, which prohibited others from standing and asking questions.
    When the Liberal member gave his speech, you made the full circle and took a Liberal question. When we came back to the Conservative member, we had the NDP again stand and give a mini-speech, which prevented the Conservatives from asking their own member a question.
    Just for further and future--
    I just want to remind the member for Battle River—Crowfoot that when the Liberals did their round, there was 10 minutes for questions and comments. These have been 10 minutes, with five minutes for questions and comments.
    When it is five minutes for questions and comments, we generally have time for only two questions. Because it is an NDP motion, the NDP get first crack at the questions when it is anyone else, except them, making the speech.
    I have a clock. I try to be extremely fair. The member will also remember that there was a statement made by the Speaker in the House that basically indicated that when it is that party that is delivering the speech, the opportunity will be afforded to the other members to ask the questions first, in all fairness.
    The hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman.
    Madam Speaker, I rise today to join with my colleagues, the Conservatives, especially the foreign affairs critic, the member for Thornhill, who clearly articulated why this motion is unrealistic.
     I know that New Democrats have a utopian view of the world. They would like to get to a peace-loving and homogeneous situation where everyone gets along. It is very unlikely that we will ever get to that state. We know that there are many bad players out there today. We have worked for a long time to try to reduce nuclear weapons, but an all-out ban, which the conference in the motion the NDP has brought forward is calling for, is unattainable.
    The Conservative government worked hard over its 10 years to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in the possession of foreign governments and other international actors. It worked to prevent not just nuclear weapons but chemical weapons and biological weapons because of the traumatic effect they have on the lives of the innocent.
    There have not been nuclear weapons on Canadian soil since 1984, and that goes back to the work done by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and the Conservative government of the day to make sure that nuclear weapons were no longer stored on Canadian soil. Since then, government after government, Conservative and Liberal, have signed treaties and international agreements at the UN and with a number of organizations, including NATO, the G8, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the Conference on Disarmament, to reduce the number of nuclear weapons available in the world.
    We definitely need to work on stopping proliferation, but that is not happening. We need to work at reduction. That worked for a while between Russia and the United States, but now we are seeing the number of nuclear weapons increase.
    Of course, we all want their eventual elimination, but this is not Shangri-La. We have to continue to drive ahead to try to reduce nuclear proliferation and to make sure that fissionable materials are not there for rogue states and terrorist organizations to get their hands on to produce nuclear warheads. The reality is that we cannot do it through an all-out ban. That is why the agreement the NDP is asking the government to support is unrealistic. Our NATO allies, western democracies, and the major UN nations that possess nuclear warheads are not participating in these talks. What is the purpose of it, then?
    I am a member of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, an organization that represents more than 800 parliamentarians from 80 countries. It is something I am proud to belong to. However, it is about stopping proliferation, and that is not happening.
    As I mentioned, the threat environment is still there. Not only is North Korea continuing to test its ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads but Iran still desires to produce its own nuclear warheads, and of course, aim them at the state of Israel, the United States, and other western allies. We know that the Iranian regime has the ability to ramp up its nuclear production, nuclear testing, and ballistic missile development in a very short period of time. The P5+1 agreement that was signed, which released all the cash held in escrow by the international community against the Iranian regime, did not take away Iran's ability to produce nuclear warheads. All it did was pause it, and Iran mothballed 85% to 95% of its production capacity. It can very quickly ramp up its testing, development, and ultimately, the use of a nuclear warhead.

  (1125)  

    I also have to point out what is happening in terrorist organizations. All we have to do is look not just at the proliferation of nuclear warheads but the proliferation of cruise missiles. In the conflict we see today in Yemen, the Houthi rebels are fighting the Yemen government that is supported by Saudi Arabia. They came into possession of cruise missiles. We are talking ballistic cruise missiles that have the capability of carrying nuclear warheads. They fired a cruise missile at a U.S. destroyer, not once but twice, and the U.S. navy was able to take out the truck from which they launched it.
    People need to realize that we need the ability to defend ourselves. When our major partners, the United States, France, Great Britain, and Israel, possess these nuclear warheads and the ability to shoot them down, then we have to be aligned with them. As was pointed out by the member for Thornhill, other members of NATO also hold the same position.
    We also have to look at the threat environment because of President Vladimir Putin from Russia. The Russian state continues to rattle its nuclear sabre. Putin has been bragging about having the most nuclear warheads in the world. He has also said that he wants to move nuclear warheads into areas where he wants to protect the Russian population. In 2016, he said, “We need to strengthen the strategic nuclear forces”. He wants to put them in Crimea. He wants to put them in the Baltic states in the Russian oblast of Kaliningrad, which is nestled right in there with Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia. We are putting our troops into Latvia as part of our NATO mission. He said that he would do it, that he had talked with colleagues and told them that it was their historic territory, that Russian people lived there, they were in danger, and they could not leave them. He is going to put in nuclear warheads to do that.
    That is one of the most telling factors of why we need to have deterrence measures, not just by putting troops in Latvia, not just by providing air policing, not just by having more NATO members spend more money on national defence and our collective security. It means that some members of the NATO alliance need their own nuclear weapons so it does not become a one-sided fight.
     If the western democracy and NATO allies took away all of our nuclear weapons, as the member for Thornhill said, “You don't take a knife to a gun fight”, it is more like what we would call surrender. We need like power and the ability to defend and deter, first and foremost. That is what nuclear weapons were used for in the Cold War and in the recent past.
    There was success under the Reagan administration to reduce the number of nuclear weapons. Ukraine of course gave up all of its nuclear warheads. Unfortunately, Russia today, under Vladimir Putin and his oligarchs and his kleptocrats, continues to move forward with investments in developing more nuclear warheads.
    As has already been pointed out, nuclear powers like the United States, France, the U.K., South Korea, Turkey, Russia, China, and almost 40 other countries have boycotted the negotiations for such a treaty because it is naive and it is unattainable. It is also at a time when North Korea continues to try to launch its own ballistic missiles with the capability of carrying nuclear material.
    Ballistic missile defence has matured. The technology is great. It is effective to deal with North Korea, or Iran, or a non-state actor firing up a ballistic missile. However, it cannot deal with a bombardment of nuclear weapons from China or Russia. For anyone who thinks there is a shield out there that can protect North America from incoming nuclear weapons from Russia or China, I am sorry to say that it is not possible. There are not enough interceptors in the U.S. arsenal or in the arsenals any of our allies to shoot down that many warheads. It becomes a situation where we need the deterrents and our own potential of threat by our allies to possess these nuclear warheads.
    I will close with this quote from the U.S. ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, who said this about these talks:
    We would love to have a ban on nuclear weapons, but in this day and time we can't honestly say we can protect our people by allowing bad actors to have them and those of us that are good trying to keep peace and safety not to have them.
     It is just about balance. We need to continue to have that to reduce the risk.

  (1130)  

    

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his intervention.
     I have a question for my colleague regarding his highly pessimistic arguments about a nuclear-weapons-free world. It is strange to be insulted as being too idealistic and wanting an ideal world. My question is about agreements similar to the one on chemical weapons, which are regulated by several international agreements.
    In the case of chemical weapons, my colleague supports preventing their proliferation and use. There are consequences for countries that use them, such as Syria.
     When it comes to nuclear weapons, why would it not be possible to sign similar agreements in order to prevent their use? Can he tell me why agreements work in one case but not the other?

  (1135)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, biological, nuclear and chemical weapons have similar effects. They are all weapons of mass destruction.
    Main states within the UN Security Council already have agreed to reduce, eliminate, and ban chemical and biological weapons. Our problem has been with the minor state actors, like Bashar al-Assad and Syria and how he has used chemical weapons. Even the Russians denounce it whenever that has occurred, although they often try to deflect and blame other people for using those chemical weapons.
    When the main world powers are in agreement, things become a lot easier. We do not have that with nuclear weapons. We have a situation where China and Russia, in particular, continue to build up their arsenals, not reduce them. There needs to be a balance there.
    The nuclear option must be the last resort in any national defence talks, and only be used when all else fails. I pray that never, ever happens. As Canadians, as a government, whether it is Conservative or Liberal, we will have to do what we have always done in the past, which is use diplomatic means to assist world powers in the de-escalation of conflict and work with our allies and partners on the non-proliferation of nuclear arms to ensure they are effective, safe, and responsibly used.
    Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for highlighting the importance of engaging with our partners and allies that possess nuclear weapons. That is the only way to work toward nuclear disarmament. Could the member please explain what consequences could take place from failing to engage our partners and our allies?
    Madam Speaker, the treaty that the NDP wants Canada to sign on to is absent of our allies, is absent of powers that possess nuclear warheads. There can be no discussion or dialogue when they are not at the table.
    We can do a lot of things, such as the Sergei Magnitsky law. That can be brought in and there can be sanctions. There is global isolation on those state players and individuals that are responsible for the proliferation of nuclear warheads. There is the opportunity to continue to work through the G7, to work through NATO, and OSCE, as organizations that bring more pressure upon those nations that refuse to participate.
    Through economic sanctions, through travel bans, through active engagement with our allies, we can ensure that countries that refuse to be responsible partners on the world stage are isolated, countries like the Russian Federation, Iran, and North Korea that continually try to upset the balance of power, trying to redraw international boundaries, and sponsor terrorism in other parts of the world. We have to be more engaged from a principled point of view, which is to isolate them on a global level, sanction them when needed, and ensure they act and behave responsibly.
    Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today on our NDP opposition motion and to stress the enormous opportunities being lost for Canada to play a role. It is the role that the Prime Minister alluded to when he termed “Canada is back”.
    On the idea that Canada stands on principle for human rights and human security issues, whether it be development, nuclear armament, disarmament, environmental protection, and the advancement of human rights, Canada has never attempted to impose a solution. The crux of the argument today is this. The way to impose solutions is not a hard stance approach. It is to work creatively and publicly to bridge conflicting positions so solutions emerge collectively. In the international community, that is of the utmost importance. People who are elected and placed in the highest of these positions have a role and responsibility to fulfill those kinds of responsibilities. That is why they get paid the big bucks.
    The exertion of ideas strengthens the notion that together we can create what has been called a middle power. The idea that we can work and build on the elements of soft power versus hard power needs to be finessed. It is being dismissed over time because might is right.
    I will take the rest of my time today to talk about how we restore a human rather than a mechanistic response to the instruments of mass murder. Nuclear weapons are just that.
     The idea of nuclear weapons or human rights is a values debate. I hear this idea being brought up today. It is being turned into a very simplistic debate about might versus right. One member even quipped in his speech “you don't bring a knife to a gunfight”. This indicates to me that I need to spend more time talking about the crux of the matter and the importance of engaging in treaty obligations, being active participants, not sitting on the sidelines. That way, we play a key role in the future. By saying we do not want to have to sit and pay attention and do some of the nuancing and finessing required to be active members of this exclusive club, which is now emerging, because it is too much trouble, and we will just dismiss it as Shangri-La, is concerning. It would be funny if it were not so poignantly disastrous. We need to think about what really happens with nuclear weapons.
    We are having a values debate that civil society has already had and is being very persistent about. There is a way that we can be aggressive with this insistence for placing human rights first. How can all of us reconcile our moral and spiritual values for human rights, knowing that the horrible consequences of such weapons are at the very crux of whether we are active participants in our treaty obligations? That means sitting and participating in discussions.
    We need a reminder every so often of exactly what a nuclear weapon does. Earlier a member quipped “the NDP are idealistic” and “you don't bring a knife to a gunfight”. This is alarming.

  (1140)  

     There is a clear and utter lack of comprehension about what we are talking about. To suggest that we should not trouble ourselves with partaking in international treaty obligations because there is no Shangri-La, as one member stated, is naive. That is actually unattainable.
    I am going to segue into another aspect of my speech, and at this time, it is appropriate for me to stress again that I will be splitting my time with the member for Sherbrooke.
    To equate this issue with bringing a knife to a gunfight, to me, suggests that there is a need in this place for an unvarnished understanding of nuclear destruction, nuclear famine, nuclear winter, and nuclear mass murder. Unless nuclear weapons are abolished, these are the realities we are talking about.
    Rather than using finesse, rather than developing our relationships and building bridges, rather than tapping into diplomacy and the art of consensus, rather than understanding and using our soft power, and there is a lot of talent for soft power here in this place so we know we have the capability to use it, to suggest that, instead of doing that, we would not partake in discussions because somebody else has a nuclear weapon that they might use is such a false logic that it is very saddening for humanity.
    It was Carl Sagan who first coined the term “nuclear winter” decades ago. This was when people were starting to describe the unvarnished descriptions of the devastation and destruction of a nuclear weapon. We have to thank astounding and exemplary advocates like Setsuko Thurlow, who was here yesterday, a Hiroshima survivor. People talk about the incredible waves of heat and that people drop instantly like flies and then some of them writhe like worms that are still alive. These are actual descriptions. I am paraphrasing the actual wording of people who have given testimony on nuclear destruction.
    However, a lot of people do not realize that the term “nuclear famine” talks about the aftermath because it is not just in that moment. Nuclear famine refers to the starvation that would ensue after a nuclear explosion. Even a limited nuclear war in one region, for example, would result in millions of deaths, firestorms with soot rising up into the troposphere, cooling temperatures, and a significant decline in food production.
    Now we would have a famine. We would have mass migration, civil conflict, and war, not only because of resources that are being destroyed but because what resources are left are being competed for.
    A “nuclear ozone hole” describes another consequence of nuclear war. Soot from burning cities in a nuclear war would severely damage the Earth's protective ozone layer. Large losses of stratospheric ozone would permit more ultraviolet radiation to reach us, with severe consequences, such as skin cancers, crop damage, and destruction of marine phytoplankton. The effects would persist for years.
    My point is that the ripple effect of nuclear destruction has only been talked about in very distant terms. We need to bring the humanity back. If we do not do that, we will never have a meaningful debate in this place about what it would take and what the substance would be of our role in a treaty obligation, instead of dismissing it and saying, “Oh, somebody else has this weapon, so we're not going to be bothered.” That is what it boils down to for me.
    Let us understand this so that from now on, as we debate today, we can actually be talking about what the crux of developing our soft power would be, how we can finesse our talents as diplomats here, how we can—

  (1145)  

    Unfortunately, the member's time is up. Perhaps she could continue during the questions and comments period.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Calgary Rocky Ridge.
    Madam Speaker, while the member did spend a fair bit of her speech responding to the member for Thornhill, I will ask a question that I would like her to think about, or give us her thoughts and comments on, with respect to government policy.
    We on the Conservative side, and I hope all of us, are deeply concerned with the issue of nuclear proliferation: the proliferation of delivery systems, the proliferation of fissile material, and the proliferation of the capacity to build a bomb. I would like the member's comments on that. I would like to know what she thinks of the current government's response so far to this threat, particularly with regimes such as North Korea and Iran, which have expressed their intention to acquire nuclear weapons for use against other people in the world.

  (1150)  

    Madam Speaker, I was collectively responding to some of the comments that were made. However, these are attitudes that I knew had to be addressed from the beginning.
    The question is also a good example of why that needs to be addressed, because we are skirting the issue. Of course that has to be addressed. Of course we have to be active and play an active role in that. I applaud that. However, we have to go one step further because we are out of the loop. We are not optimizing the work that we could be doing with respect to innovation, and becoming the vanguard leaders we could be. We cannot do these things if we are not in the loop and part of all of these other progressive discussions that are happening to advance this. We have to have this holistic approach.
    This is what has been happening. It is being split and categorized because it is so incredibly difficult. I get that. What we are saying is to let us work together and take it one step further. We cannot skirt the issue and have a debate on one aspect of it, in one room, and not include the other people in the discussion. It is an isolating factor. I think we could be optimizing the initiatives that are boldly taking place that I do applaud.
    Madam Speaker, the Government of Canada has been active and proactive. Canada has led 159 countries in bringing forward a UN resolution that brings nuclear powers to the table to work pragmatically toward disarmament through a fissile material cut-off treaty. That is being proactive and taking a tangible action and moving forward. We are very much concerned about it, and we are seeing actions taken by this government.
    What time frame does the member across the way believe we are in with respect to a nuclear-free world? When does she believe that will take place?
    Madam Speaker, that is the kind of question that can only be answered with true and full-on participation. If we want tangible results, if we think we are being active as a government, then we have to be able to go all out and participate in all of these different aspects.
     The talking points presented through that question are why, in our opposition day motion, we have included section (e), which states, “express disappointment in Canada’s vote against, and absence from, initial rounds of negotiations for a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons”.
    That being said, expressing that disappointment means that we see that there is a hopefulness and that we need to optimize the opportunities that are taking place right now. This is something that can be done. It is feasible. It is not Shangri-La. The importance of our having a full and expansive participation does not negate the work that is being done, but we have to see some tangible results when we are doing this all together. Ultimately, I can give you a timeline once we are actively participating in those talks. Therefore, support—
    I want to remind the member that she is to address her comments to the Chair and not to individual members.
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Sherbrooke.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today in the House to speak to the important issue of nuclear disarmament and the nuclear issue in general. This issue is important to all members no matter what they have said about it. There seems to be consensus for a world free of nuclear weapons. However, there seems to be a divergence of opinions among Conservatives and Liberals on how to achieve that.
    This is a fine example of how we can work constructively as members in the House. I was elected to do constructive work.
    I am pleased to take part in this debate and support the motion moved by my colleague from Laurier—Sainte-Marie. The hon. member for Edmonton Strathcona and my colleague worked hard to move this motion today. I thank them because this is a good example of constructive work by the opposition; we are proposing something instead of always opposing things. This is a good example of the good work that the NDP does to advance ideas and propose tangible measures, in this case on the nuclear issue.
     In my opinion, this is one of the most important issues for humanity. This is about the survival of our species and that of every other species on earth. This is a sensitive topic for me given all the many victims nuclear weapons have claimed around the world in the past—a not so distant past, at that. One victim would have been too many, but tens of thousands of people were affected and continue to be affected. The fallout from these weapons can still be felt years, generations after they were deployed.
     I cannot begin to fathom why states and governments continue to fund nuclear weapon development, on top of defending the notion that this is a question of self-defence and, as such, countries should be able to keep stockpiling these weapons and fighting fire with fire. Amassing even more nuclear weapons is not really the way we want to go.
     The current narrative seems to almost encourage nuclear proliferation. Countries produce nuclear weapons in the hopes of protecting themselves, fearing one will be used against them. That does not make sense to me. Continuing in that direction is much too dangerous. I am not an expert on the topic, but I assume that states with these weapons have adequate means of protecting them.
     There is nonetheless a risk that these weapons could fall into the wrong hands. Some could decide to use them in the near future. Knowing that those weapons could fall into the hands of very ill-intentioned people is a major concern for our country, for the entire world, and for me.
     Clearly, one has to be of ill intent to use nuclear weapons. There is no way to use such weapons for good, but some might use them anyway. These weapons falling into the wrong hands would certainly put humanity in jeopardy. The danger is real, as we have seen other types of weapons fall into the hands of terrorist groups. That is why the possibility of nuclear weapons falling into such hands is so worrisome.

  (1155)  

     I am also very surprised today to see the Liberals using the same argument the Conservatives used regarding international agreements to fight climate change. They claimed that these agreements would be of little to no value without the participation of major powers like China and the United States. That was the argument used by the Conservatives on climate change. That was also the reason we withdrew from the Kyoto protocol. They claimed it would be ineffective without the major players.
     Today, the Liberals are using the same argument. They say some people like to sit around the table to discuss important topics and dream, but that, in the end, it changes nothing. If we had had the same attitude about climate change, we would never have had an agreement like the Kyoto protocol, much less the Paris accord.
     We will never make any progress by constantly saying that we will wait for someone else to start the work before joining in. That is a very disappointing attitude from the Liberals. They wait for others to do the work and for the biggest players to sit at the table and, in the meantime, they leave the real power in the hands of the other powers.
     As a country, we can work constructively on negotiations. That is why we propose that Canada return to the table to do constructive work that will finally show results. That is what we did with climate change, and we are all happy that this worked and led to the Paris accord.
     We must have the same vision and work together, as we did on climate change. We were able to bring almost all powers to the table, and that actually gave results.
     I would also like to point out that there are other types of treaties, such as those on chemical weapons. The Conservatives and Liberals say that an agreement on nuclear disarmament would never work, while the chemical weapons treaty shows that the work was quite effective. We can therefore draw on the work done in that negotiating forum to ban the use of chemical weapons and punish those who use them.
     I humbly propose that the House examine this issue and draw inspiration from what has been done on that file. We were able to bring the major powers to the table and they agreed to ban chemical weapons. That is certainly something that the members can draw on.
     The Minister of Foreign affairs said that Canada wanted to engage anew in multilateral and international forums, naming almost all of them, and go against the approach of the Conservatives, who primarily favoured bilateral relations. Well, today, she has the opportunity to engage in multilateral negotiations on nuclear disarmament.

  (1200)  

    Now we are told that it is not necessary and that it will not work, when two days ago the Minister announced that she wanted to engage anew in multilateral forums. There is therefore a contradiction. I hope that the Liberals will act on that new engagement by the Minister and support this motion to engage in negotiations.
     I would be pleased to answer questions from my colleagues.

  (1205)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, our government is strongly supporting concrete efforts toward nuclear disarmament. We are taking meaningful steps toward achieving it .
    In 2016, for the first time ever, Canada rallied 159 states to support and pass a resolution calling for the fissile material cut-off treaty. With the support of the nuclear and non-nuclear countries, Canada is chairing this high-level group to help phase out nuclear weapons. That is real action that will have a positive impact towards nuclear disarmament.
    We need all our allies and all our partners at the table to make this happen. The immediate ban is an empty process that excludes essential players and may actually set back nuclear disarmament. Would the hon. member not agree?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am very disappointed to hear once again what I have just denounced in my speech. The government uses the same arguments as the Conservatives on the issue of climate change. They say that, if the essential players are not there, it serves no purpose. If the United States and China are not part of the agreement, it will achieve nothing.
     Well something was finally achieved, because people had the courage to do it and to go all the way in the case of agreements such as Kyoto and Paris. It is also because leaders, like Canada, played an important role.
     In this case, Canada could again become a leader on the nuclear weapons file, tackling another important problem for humanity. We currently see that the Liberal government has decided to throw in the towel and leave it to others. Once again, they reiterate what the Conservatives said: leave it to others, it does not concern us, and we wash our hands of it.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Sherbrooke, who has a great interest in this topic. He documented his speech very well and I am proud that our party is raising this topic before the House. Indeed, we can obviously agree on one thing: there is frustration with the previous Conservative government. Canada has always had a reputation of being a progressive actor that strived for healthy agreement between the major countries. That leads me to ask my colleague a question.
     How can we explain that this government has decided to adopt this incredibly short-sighted approach? It withdraws from such discussions, which are necessary and progressive, with partners who are equally short-sighted. Is it just a terrible error in managing priorities or is it simply very dangerous doublespeak?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. It is hard for me to explain what the Liberals are saying today. In this case, they have simply decided to drop the ball. However, the Liberal Party should have been a leader in these discussions.
     It must also be remembered that the members of the Liberal Party themselves supported the same type of request that we are making today, to engage anew in negotiations. It is really too bad to see the government MPs decide to reject their members, their volunteers, and the people who help them during election campaigns. Those people adopted a resolution at the 2016 Liberal Party convention. Today, the Liberal MPs decided to turn their backs on their members and their opinions. I find that totally unacceptable.
     I am very surprised to see the Liberal Party reject all of their members in that way, members who had supported a motion similar to ours. Some will be very disappointed, particularly those who sponsored such a resolution at the Liberal convention.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, in 1962, for 13 days, the world was at the brink. I was very young at the time. I was unaware of developments. Therefore, I, like many children, was spared the angst that no doubt others who were more aware of the situation, parents and other adults, were experiencing. Fortunately, a terrible Armageddon was avoided, but tensions around nuclear weapons continued throughout the Cold War. During the 1980s, for example, children, and I believe my own wife, in fact, when she was in high school, protested against nuclear weapons. Films like The Day After impacted individual and collective psyches as well.
    Today we are in a very different situation, but there are nuclear tensions with rogue states like Iran and North Korea. Therefore, the permanent goal, if we are ever to have global peace of mind, is the elimination of nuclear weapons. However, it is a daunting task, which to many may seem unattainable. It is a daunting task because the nuclear powers also happen to be the permanent members of the Security Council, for example. When we think of the U.S., Russia, Britain, France, and China, they are all among the first nuclear powers, and they are the permanent members of that international decision-making body.
    The challenge, however daunting it may be in the short term, does not deter activists and proponents of disarmament, like Judith Quinn, one of my constituents, Judith Berlyn, another Montrealer, or the late Joan Hadrill, who was a constituent of mine. Many years ago, she created a very small organization called WIND, West Islanders for Nuclear Disarmament. Joan Hadrill's favourite maxim was drawn from Margaret Mead, the cultural anthropologist: “Never doubt that a small group of...committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Joan Hadrill had that printed on her business card.
    Earlier this week, we heard a visionary foreign policy speech from the Minister of Foreign Affairs. She emphasized the importance of international law for maintaining a stable and peaceful international order. She also mentioned that, as a middle power, Canada's greatest influence is not through economic or military might, but through the pursuit and application of legal instruments which provide small powers a measure of equal protection with larger ones, even superpowers.
    Nowhere is the pursuit of legal international instruments perhaps more crucial than in the area of nuclear arms control. As a middle power with a strong humanitarian tradition and track record, Canada is well placed to be a moral voice and practical advocate for a world that is free of nuclear weapons, and to work for that goal through international legal arrangements. Let us not forget the role we played in bringing the land mines treaty to fruition. It is also true that as a principled and ambitious middle power, we can contribute to the attainment of meaningful international objectives, including in the area of peace and security. We can do that if we act wisely and strategically, among other things to maintain credibility with the actors whom we wish to influence toward a good and noble end. Indeed, this is how we are acting on the nuclear weapons front.
     We are acting concretely to advance the disarmament agenda. In 2016, Canada rallied 159 states to support and pass a resolution calling for the establishment of a fissile material cut-off treaty expert preparatory group, which is an essential step towards a ban treaty.

  (1210)  

    We have also rallied the support of 166 states to pass a resolution creating a group of government experts to carry out an in-depth analysis of treaty aspects. This is important groundwork. We also supported Norway's initiative to create a group of government experts on nuclear disarmament verification. Verification, as we all know, is one of the most challenging obstacles to disarmament. All of these things that we have done in the international sphere in attempting to eliminate nuclear weapons in the long term are crucial steps. They are building blocks. We could say that Canada is helping to engineer and build the foundation of a nuclear weapons ban treaty.
    There are a number of benefits to a fissile material cut-off treaty. I will read four very briefly. First, restricting the quantity of fissile material available for use in new nuclear weapons programs or for existing ones would be a significant tool for combatting horizontal proliferation, which means the spreading of nuclear weapons technology between countries, and vertical proliferation, which means the advancement of existing nuclear weapons technology in an already-nuclear state.
    The second benefit of such a treaty would be limiting the pool of available fissile material, to reduce the risk that terrorist groups or other non-state actors could acquire these materials, thereby enhancing global nuclear security and preventing nuclear terrorism. Third, the fissile material cut-off treaty would also advance nuclear disarmament by providing greater transparency regarding the fissile material stockpiles of states possessing nuclear weapons. A future multilateral nuclear disarmament agreement will require a baseline of fissile materials by which nuclear disarmament efforts can be measured. By establishing this necessary baseline, the fissile material cut-off treaty would be the critical foundation of future multilateral nuclear disarmament agreements.
    Finally, the FMCT would promote non-discrimination in non-proliferation and disarmament. In particular, and this is very important, a prohibition on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons could apply equally to the five non-proliferation treaty nuclear weapon states, the 185 non-proliferation treaty non-nuclear weapon states, as well as the four states that remain outside the NPT framework. Those are the benefits, the concrete tangible benefits, of a fissile material cut-off treaty.
    If we wish to maintain influence in the international community, we must work with allies and Security Council members like the U.K. and France, who at this point are not part of current negotiations toward a nuclear weapons ban. Perhaps Canada can slowly lead these nations in that direction over time. Could we do more? The Prime Minister has repeatedly said that better is always possible. I encourage Canadians like Judith Quinn and Judith Berlyn, inspired no doubt by the example of the late Joan Hadrill, to continue to advocate and push the government to work toward a nuclear weapons convention that would ban nuclear weapons.
    At the end of the day, in a democracy, true to Margaret Mead's maxim, persistent public attention and pressure on any given issue is the only way to move that issue forward. It is important that committed and concerned Canadian citizens continue to draw public attention to the need for progress on nuclear disarmament and continue to remind our government of its duty to work toward this vital objective. We must keep this issue alive in the newspapers and in communities across the country. I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that the nuclear disarmament debate, unfortunately, is not front and centre in the media these days, but that should not stop Canadians, especially committed Canadians, from taking part in assiduous efforts to keep the issue burning.

  (1215)  

    Meanwhile, our government must pursue a focused, step-by-step, realistic, concrete strategy within international institutions to create the building blocks and the foundation that are necessary if we are, in the long run, to achieve a nuclear weapons ban treaty.
    Mr. Speaker, no less than the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Ms. Nakamitsu, has just expressed this concern for exactly the position the Liberals and the Conservatives are taking.
    She is concerned with the resurgent drift back to Cold War era positions, including the rhetoric about the utility of nuclear weapons, and is concerned about arguments to shelve discussions on nuclear disarmament until the climate improves. She says it lacks credibility. She is saying that it is not a vague hope or aspiration but a concrete contribution to a safer, more secure world, to come forward and participate in these negotiations.
    No one on this side of the House, in my party, is disrespecting the actions taken by the government on the other aspects of the nuclear proliferation treaty. What we are saying is that the government is refusing to come to the table on this piece that it actually voted to move forward on, and its members support, which the United Nations is asking them to come forward and support.

  (1220)  

    Mr. Speaker, it has been a while since the hon. member and I have had a chance to work together on a committee, but we did very good work at the environment committee a number of years ago. We produced some good reports on some important energy and environmental issues.
    No one is suggesting that discussions should not go on toward a nuclear weapons ban treaty, and I do not think the reason Canada is not participating in those discussions at that level in that forum is a financial one. We can always afford to send somebody to be part of those negotiations.
    Canada is taking a strategic approach here, which is that as a middle power we want to build relationships and credibility, especially with those nuclear powers that are we are going to need to bring into a nuclear weapons ban treaty in the future.
    There is some merit, in terms of building credibility and building Canada's image as a credible and effective middle power, to having a focused approach, which at the moment should be on the fissile materials cut-off treaty. We gain a lot of credibility by focusing our energies and our efforts and working with the nuclear powers in that context.
    Obviously the ultimate goal is to have a nuclear weapons-free world. We want to be part of that process. The step-by-step approach has merit in and of itself.
    Mr. Speaker, I did not hear any mention of Iran in the member's speech. One of the best ways to stop nuclear proliferation, to make sure that we march one day to disarmament, is prevention.
    I am not in agreement with the government's position on how it is dealing with Iran right now. However, in the government's conversations with the Iranian regime, one of the most tyrannical regimes there is, with regard to human rights and exportation of terror, is it pressuring the Iranian regime to stop its nuclear program, to make sure Iran is not added to the list of countries that have nuclear capability and can harm others?
    Mr. Speaker, the Iranian regime is a problem, of course, in many regards. The world has been seized of the danger of that regime acquiring nuclear weapons.
     I am not privy to the diplomatic discussions that go on between Canada and Iran. I do not think it was particularly constructive to pull our consular officials out of Iran. We saw that the previous U.S. administration worked very hard to have a constructive dialogue with the aim of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
    At the end of the day, dialogue must always be a part of any strategy for dealing with any kind of danger. I am sure the government, the foreign affairs minister, and our consular officials, being as professional and as wise as they are, understand that.

  (1225)  

    Mr. Speaker, I wonder if my colleague could comment on Global Affairs' move toward dealing with weapons of mass destruction. There was the funding for the threat reduction program of $73 million. There are different ways the government tries to ensure that we have a more peaceful world going forward. One of those ways is through Global Affairs and the whole issue of weapons of mass destruction.
    Perhaps he could provide some of his thoughts in regard to how important it is that we look at it in a broader view of other types of weapons, and that there are budgetary measures there to ensure Canada continues to play a leadership role. That would be the core of the question, the importance of Canada's leadership role in these important matters.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member brings up a good point. While the focus today is on nuclear weapons, there are other weapons of mass destruction that are actually causing havoc today in certain conflict zones. There are weapons like chemical weapons, which to our horror, have been used in the Syrian conflict.
    A global strategic approach to the nuclear weapons issue would have as a corollary a need to focus on all weapons of mass destruction, and therefore, we can bring all of those issues into our diplomatic dialogue with nations around the world, especially those that have these weapons and might be tempted to use them.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his comments and the sincerity with which he spoke. We have a lot in common about our wanting governments to move forward and get to a time in the world, which I have not lived in, where the threat of nuclear war is absent.
    I was disappointed yesterday when the Prime Minister referred to the talks at the UN, of folks around the table, around a treaty to ban nuclear weapons, as sort of useless. That term is not helpful. There are more than 120 countries around the table. We are asking the government to be there to play a leadership role.
    I would ask my hon. colleague to encourage and advocate that we acknowledge that every single effort any country makes that moves us forward on a ban is important, and that he continue to advocate within his party so that Canada could be at that table providing leadership.
    Mr. Speaker, what I think the Prime Minister was trying to say is that, if we want to make a tangible short-term contribution to advancing this issue, there is a lot of merit in focusing on the fissile material cut-off treaty at the United Nations level. Obviously, in diplomatic circles there is constant and ongoing discussion about all issues, and whether we are part of the more than 100 nations that are discussing a nuclear weapons ban, or whether we are not, I am certain that our officials and NGOs are very present at the international level in discussions of all kinds around a nuclear weapons ban.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith.
    I would like to dedicate my remarks today to the late Dr. John Bury and his wife Betsy Bury, both local constituents of mine who have been working for peace for the past 60 years. Their efforts, a lifetime of dedication to peace and particularly nuclear disarmament, were recognized and honoured in our city when the couple were awarded the 2014 Joanna Miller Peace Prize.
    The Joanna Miller Peace Prize in Saskatoon was established in 2013 to honour the late Joanna Miller for her years of activism, for peace, both within the Saskatoon community and globally as well. She was the president of UNICEF Canada, an active member of Project Ploughshares, and of particular note, because of the conversation we are having today, a special adviser on disarmament to the Canadian delegation to the United Nations.
    Both John and Betsy were veterans of World War II. Because of this shared experience, they realized we must work for peaceful resolutions to world conflicts. They were longtime active members of the Saskatoon branch of Veterans against Nuclear Arms.
    Betsy no longer has John by her side. John died at the age of 92 this past Christmas. The Saskatoon community will miss John and his thoughtful, well-researched letters to the editor in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. I know Betsy and many others in my community will continue to work for peace and disarmament in his honour. Therefore, it is a privilege for me to rise today to have an opportunity to speak to the opposition day motion and of course support it wholeheartedly.
    I am sure my colleagues in this House have noticed that all around us, frantic preparations are under way for the big Canada Day party that will be held on Parliament Hill in a couple of weeks. As Canadians celebrate our nationhood and the country we call home, it behooves us to also reflect on our role on the world stage, past, present and future. It is a matter of immense pride to Canadians that we have worked for peace, an end to apartheid, and disarmament, no matter the party in power.
    It is true that Canada has lost some stature over the last decade or so. With the election of the Liberals in 2015, we heard the claims that Canada was back. Sadly, it does sound like another piece of empty rhetoric. Canada cannot be back if we continue to boycott the talks for a nuclear ban treaty.
    In the much-anticipated “reveal” of Canada's new foreign policy direction, the Minister of Foreign Affairs stood in the House and trumpeted that Canada would chart its own course, no longer in lock-step with the United States, and in defiance of President Trump's wishes if it went against the best interests of Canada.
    The Minister mentioned the United Nations last after mentioning nine other multilateral forums the Liberals would support. There was absolutely nothing about the threat of nuclear weapons in her entire speech. Is this really how the government intends to win on the UN Security Council?
    If Canada is to get a seat on the UN Security Council, we need a campaign that is bold, global and pertinent. Leading a global effort on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament should be a cornerstone of that campaign. Instead, there has been a deafening silence and a refusal to attend negotiations for a nuclear ban treaty.
    The need to act on nuclear disarmament is clear. Nuclear weapons threaten our collective existence, especially in the hands of non-state actors, such as Daesh, also known as ISIS or ISIL, and belligerent countries, such as North Korea. The financial cost to build, maintain and refurbish nuclear weapons is totally unsustainable. The proliferation of nuclear weapons also raises the risk of false alarms that could lead to inadvertent use.

  (1230)  

    In the late 1980s and 1990s, incredible global progress was made in the reduction of nuclear weapons, leading to a period of peace and prosperity, then the momentum was lost in the early 2000s following 9/11.
    In 2007, there was a resurgence of optimism with a surprisingly idealistic op-ed by George Shultz, William Perry, Henry A. Kissinger, and Sam Nunn. Titled “A World Free of Nuclear Weapons”, this bipartisan offering pleaded with the world to get serious about nuclear disarmament. This was followed in April 2009, by President Obama's historic speech in Prague that echoed President Reagan's vision, and then UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon's five-point plan on the subject in August of that same year. Sadly, since that time we have seen very little, if any, progress.
    The world needs leadership and action on nuclear disarmament and Canada more than any other country is well positioned to move things forward. It is important to remember the political and historical capital we have to make a significant impact on nuclear disarmament. As a country that has never developed nuclear weapon, we have some credibility. As a G7 nation and a member of NATO, the Commonwealth, and the Francophonie, we have global connectivity. We have some of the best experts in diplomacy, science, and verification of nuclear weapons. No other country can make these claims.
    In the face of this challenge are we ready to put forward serious ideas that will allow Canada to take its place at the UN Security Council and contribute to a more stable world? I hope and think the answer must be yes.
    Yesterday, I was honoured to listen to a survivor of Hiroshima, Setsuko Thurlow, speak and advocate for a world without nuclear weapons. We all know the powerful and destructive impact these weapons have. Every high school student studies the end of the Second World War, and every August, we remember the victims and events that led to the use of these devastating weapons.
    We live in a world where nuclear arsenals are multiplying. Ninety-five per cent of nuclear weapons are held between the United States and Russia. Furthermore, other nations strive to obtain these weapons as a measure of strength. Nine nations, including our allies, hold over, as has been mentioned but it is worth mentioning again, 15,000 nuclear warheads. A single one can kill millions of people and destroy the surrounding environment for decades.
    We lived through the fear that permeated the Cold War and now live in fear of non-state actors acquiring these weapons. Unregulated, uncontrolled, and unmonitored nuclear development leaves Canadians, leaves our world, vulnerable.
    In 2010, Parliament unanimously passed a motion to seek a way to negotiate an end to nuclear weapons. The majority of countries in the world are really fed up with the foot dragging on disarmament and they are orchestrating an end run around the nine nuclear states. The UN negotiations are a long-sought breakthrough for the disarmament community and the countries that feel held hostage by weapons they do not possess.
    Former parliamentarian Douglas Roche, like many in the Canadian disarmament community, said that there was only one thing wrong with the UN talks, “Canada isn’t taking part. “I see this exercise in very positive terms, and it’s shocking that Canada is not going to participate.”
    The two greatest security threats in our world today are cyberwarfare and terrorism. The proliferation of nuclear weapons makes it all the more likely that somewhere, eventually, a country's system will be without the cyber-defence measures needed to protect it from attack. All the more likely is that a nuclear weapon will be lost or stolen and end up in hands that would choose to use it.
    I am looking for the government to lead again in the world community towards peace and nuclear disarmament. If ever there were a time and a place for Canadian leadership, it is now, at the UN, at the table, negotiating a ban on nuclear weapons.
    I implore all Canadians, the majority of whom believe in a ban, to contact their MPs and talk to the government so we can once again take a seat at that important table.

  (1235)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for mentioning Setsuko Thurlow. I first heard her in New York and she inspired me to bring her here so those on the Hill could also hear her words. She was a survivor of Hiroshima and told the story of her young nephew who was reduced to a cinder. It reminded everyone, who gave her a standing ovation to her, and all nations of the world of the sad incident in Aleppo. I think it will wake up more people if they hear Setsuko.
    I wonder if the member could speak to the fact that the UN representative in disarmament is speaking out and chastising nations that are saying that it is just a specious, non-concrete action to come together to negotiate the convention. She has said that negotiating a convention is the best path. She says, “Disarmament breeds security. It is not a vague hope or aspiration but must be a concrete contribution to a safer and more secure world.”
    Does the member agree with the position of the UN official?

  (1240)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for sharing those very timely remarks on the value of being at the table to work toward concrete actions around the ban on nuclear weapons.
    We heard some Conservative colleagues talk about us being idealistic. On the other hand, I also heard another one of my Conservative colleagues say that they were praying that an accident never happened. I would agree. We are also praying that nothing like that happens.
     However, there is nothing more concrete than to look back over the years and say that nothing mattered or that all of those talks were not important. If people always came to the table and said that not everyone was here or that it would take a long time, that is now how we have moved forward, particularly in the area around peace and disarmament. It is important, as my colleague mentioned, to be at the table, to lead the way, and not to fall into that false logic of if they are not there, we are not there. Canadians expect our government to lead.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for her very informative speech on the issue of nuclear disarmament, which is extremely crucial right now.
    We know that there are over 17,000 nuclear weapons around the world and that they cause humanitarian, environmental and public health devastation. We cannot allow their proliferation, especially since Canada signed the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty, which came into force in 1970.
    How is it that the Liberals are now using the same arguments as the Conservatives, that we cannot get involved because the major countries are not there? I think the member just said it. This is not a valid reason. The United States withdrew from the Paris agreement, but Canada has shown leadership and said it will continue to press forward.
    Why are the Liberals unable to stand up on this issue, when last year their own delegates voted for a resolution calling on Canada to take a stand, show leadership, and join nuclear disarmament negotiations?
     We should remember that in 2010, the House unanimously voted in favour of such action. How does the member see this lack of leadership from the Liberals?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for bringing up a point that many of us are making. Many of us in the House today are wondering what is going on. We can lead, remain a part of the Paris agreement because it is important, and we know why we are there. This is equally, if not on par with that. We cannot say that we will not be there because others are not. We can lead, and must lead, in both places if we are to find a world that is safe and a better environment for all.

  (1245)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to stand to speak to Canada's role in peace and security and restoring our reputation on the world stage. I thank my New Democrat colleagues who initiated this debate and everyone who is participating in it today.
    Where we must start is that human rights are not optional. If the government wants to show that Canada is a leader in human rights, then it needs to ensure that we are indeed walking the talk.
    Canada was once a leader on nuclear disarmament issues. I honour the shoulders we stand on. When I was a young woman in Toronto, I was especially inspired by the work of Dr. Rosalie Bertell and Ursula Franklin, women with amazing minds who worked very hard to push Canada to take the important action we needed to on the world stage. However, the international community is now negotiating a nuclear weapons ban convention, and Canada is boycotting the process. It is a shameful position. With this, Canada has effectively removed itself from nuclear disarmament diplomacy.
     We do not understand how Canada can “be back”, in the words of the Prime Minister, on the international scene when we are turning our backs on the most important international negotiations in years. Arguably, with the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has pledged to increase the nuclear arsenal in the U.S., and the troubling actions taken by North Korea, the threat of nuclear war is so present on the international stage right now that it is even more important that the international community work together at this time.
    The world is watching Canada. This motion today gives the government an opportunity to reaffirm Parliament's support for nuclear disarmament. We certainly hope cabinet will follow, in line with the motion, to re-support Parliament in that initiative.
    On the waterfront of Nanaimo, one of the communities I represent, there is an annual honouring of the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing on August 6. Members of the Women's International League for Peace & Freedom, a long-standing activist organization across the country, with particularly strong roots in my riding of Nanaimo—Ladysmith, were talking about the UN vote that was coming up at that time on nuclear disarmament. They shared my optimism that given the campaign commitments the Liberal Party had made on peace, security, and restoring Canada's international reputation on the world stage, our Prime Minister was going to direct Canada to vote in favour of negotiations to end the nuclear weapons trade. We were all stunned when Canada voted against negotiations for a global treaty banning nuclear weapons. It was seriously a shock to all of us.
     These negotiations have been called for by former UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon. Sixty-eight countries voted in favour of the motion, so Canada was completely outside the international consensus. The vote was called the most significant contribution to nuclear disarmament in two decades by one of the UN member countries, and Canada was not on board.
    That vote by the Canadian Liberal government also flew in the face of a 2010 resolution of this House encouraging the Canadian government to join those negotiations. I will talk more about that in a few minutes. I want to say what a sad point it was that government did not follow through. Now that is has the power, why would it not carry through with that commitment? It would have made us all proud on the international stage.
     We want to move forward in a more positive way, and there is even more United Nations consensus that Canada could move on theoretically.
    Canada's responsibility in this area is particularly strong. At a session that two of my New Democrat colleagues hosted yesterday on the Hill, I was reminded of Canada's special responsibility with respect to nuclear weapons. The bombs that fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were made from uranium that was mined in Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories. It was refined in Port Hope. As well, Canada has sold CANDU reactors around the world, which have a unique design capability that makes them particularly susceptible to nuclear weapons uses. They are of course not designed for that. It is a design flaw and an unintended consequence. This is how Pakistan and India got the bomb. It was by using Canadian power-producing technology.

  (1250)  

    Our responsibility is deep. We are reminded by the CCNR, the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, in the summary of a book written in the eighties, that:
    Through its dealings with other countries, Canada has played a major role in fostering the proliferation of nuclear weapons [around] the world. This brief history concerns itself with Canada's involvement as a supplier of nuclear reactors and uranium, leading to both “vertical proliferation”—the ever-accelerating competition for bigger, better, faster and smarter bombs among existing nuclear powers—and “horizontal proliferation”: a more insidious process whereby dozens of national and subnational groups are slowly but surely acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.
    CCNR has been raising the alarm on this for decades, and the danger is greater for us right now.
    It is powerful to be reminded of the human toll when a nuclear bomb falls on a community. Yesterday we heard the testimony of Setsuko Thurlow, a Canadian citizen but a Japanese schoolgirl, age 13, when the bomb fell at Hiroshima. She said that there were mostly children, women, and elderly people who were vaporized, incinerated, contaminated, and crushed in the wake of the bomb at Hiroshima, again, that Canada was complicit in.
    She described her four-year-old nephew transformed into blackened, melted flesh. She said the family was relieved when he died. It is an appalling image she has carried her whole life. She said they made a vow to their loved ones at that time that his death would not be in vain, that all the deaths in her community would not be in vain.
    Now, as a Canadian citizen, she says she is deeply disturbed by the absence of the Canadian government at the negotiations. She said she felt betrayed by Japan, of course, but also by her adopted country of Canada.
    We have a responsibility to honour Canada's complicity in this and also the opportunity we have to enter the negotiations and make ourselves proud again on the international stage.
    As New Democrats, we have been asking the new Canadian government to participate fully in the nuclear weapons ban multiple times since September. It has consistently hidden behind the excuse that it is working on the fissile material cut-off treaty, which is important and related but is not a nuclear weapons ban. That is what we are holding out for, and this is what we have the opportunity for on the world stage right now.
    We had a unanimous vote of the House in 2010 committing Parliament to take this action. We had a very powerful vote by the Liberal Party at its last convention just a short time ago. It campaigned on this issue also.
    The Liberal government has made multiple promises that are not being upheld. At a time when Canada is proclaiming its commitment to peace and security, its commitment to the United Nations, we see, on this side of the House, that Canada is not honouring its commitments to the United Nations. It is not too late, though. I urge the Liberal side to vote in favour of this motion to move forward in good faith, to have the country move forward, and for us to do the right thing collectively.
    Please let us make Canada proud on the world stage again.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a mischaracterization to suggest that anyone in the House is not completely opposed to the use of nuclear weapons. It is simplistic logic to say that because we do not support a full ban treaty, which none of the countries that have nuclear weapons are participating in the dialogue on, we somehow are not against nuclear weapons. We all want a world that is free of nuclear weapons, and that is why Canada has been leading the world. The fissile material cut-off treaty is something Canada is chairing. Canada is leading the world. We led 159 other countries to support this. That is going to prevent the availability of the explosive material in nuclear weapons.
    We are focused on non-proliferation. We are working with our allies. None of our key allies are part of this discussion. We need to be realistic and look at what will accomplish the goal. What will accomplish the goal is a step-by-step approach and the leadership Canada and this government are taking.
    Would the hon. member please comment on the steps the government is taking in the world on non-proliferation and the fissile material cut-off treaty?

  (1255)  

    Mr. Speaker, with all the talent in the House, including my friend, who I know has been involved in United Nations work for a lifetime, I know the government can walk and chew gum at the same time. These are both important, but they do not replace each other, and that is why the United Nations is taking both tracks. Canada's presence at one table but not the other is inconsistent with positions of this Parliament and with resolutions passed by the Liberal Party itself.
    In relation to the argument that there is no point in Canada joining in negotiations without the participation of all nuclear states, Canada itself is not a state that has nuclear weapons, but that has not prevented it from being involved in other processes. All international negotiations worth their salt are difficult and have to bring members in. The Ottawa treaty on land mines took political will. The creation of the International Criminal Court had people outside and inside the process. Nevertheless, it prevailed. Work on the Kimberley Process took political will, and not all states participated in those negotiations, but we got results. Canada was proud to be a participant in all those processes. Canada, in every case, adopted an ambitious approach and took the lead on the international stage.
     The process my colleague describes is one element, but it is not a nuclear weapons ban. That is the negotiation happening right now, and Canada, to our embarrassment, is outside that process.

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Sherbrooke has time for a very quick question.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech.
     I will be brief. I would like his opinion on the Liberals’ double-talk. On one hand, the Minister of Foreign Affairs delivered a wonderful speech saying that Canada is re-engaging on the world stage, in multinational forums such as the United Nations and so forth. On the other hand, a few days later, we hear that the forum on nuclear disarmament is not important and that Canada will not get involved in negotiations.
     Could my colleague try to reconcile these two views, that of re-engagement announced by the minister and of disengagement from negotiations?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is not too late for Canada to take this step. The negotiations start again in another couple of weeks. Canada would be lauded the world over. We were reminded yesterday that a great number of Canadian NGOs, in the absence of the Canadian government, have been participating in the negotiations. The statement by the International Committee of the Red Cross supports Canada being involved. Mining Watch, Project Ploughshares, and a lot of experts in Canada have been fighting this fight for a long time. Were Canada to step back into it and take full responsibility, it would be well supported and lauded on both sides of the House.

  (1300)  

    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the very hon. member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell.
    It is an honour to rise in this venerable House to speak on a topic of great importance, not only to the residents of my riding of Davenport, but to Canada, and indeed the world. Before I give my prepared speech, I want to say that on the surface, by the government not supporting this NDP motion, it seems that the government is saying we do not support nuclear disarmament, that this is not an issue of great importance to the government. Nothing could be further from the truth.
    The federal government, which I am proud to be a part of, is strongly supportive of taking concrete action toward nuclear disarmament. We are taking a leadership role and meaningful steps toward achieving a world that is free of nuclear weapons. The bottom line of why we are not supporting the motion is that we think the current discussions on this convention are premature. I will give more context over the course of the next nine minutes about why we are on the current path we are on today, and why engaging this draft convention is not the right step at this moment.
    In 2008, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon outlined his signature five-point plan addressing the topic of security in a world that is free of nuclear weapons. I am going to outline those five points in his proposal, because we are largely following it. We believe it is the right step-by-step approach toward a nuclear arms free world.
    The first point he outlined is that all parties to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, especially the nuclear weapons states, should fulfill their obligation to enter into negotiations on effective measures leading to nuclear disarmament. He suggested the negotiation of a comprehensive nuclear weapons convention. He circulated and updated a document called the “Model Nuclear Weapons Convention” to UN member states earlier that year. This model convention was 80 pages long, with 20 articles, and five separate indexes. It was quite extensive, and it outlined the use, possession, development, testing, deployment, and transfer of nuclear weapons. Most importantly perhaps, it would mandate the internationally verifiable dismantlement of nuclear arsenals.
    In contrast, the draft convention on the prohibition of nuclear weapons, which is currently what we are talking about, and currently under negotiation at the United Nations, is a mere eight pages long. Unlike the comprehensive convention that I just mentioned, the proposed convention concentrates primarily on legal prohibitions. It contains no provisions to eliminate even a single nuclear weapon, or any verification measures. Moreover, as mentioned, no nuclear weapon states are participating in these negotiations, because they do not take into account the current international security context of Russian military expansionism, or North America's testing of nuclear devices and ballistic missiles, designed to threaten the whole Asia-Pacific region, including North America. Sadly, this convention is premature and will be ineffective in advancing tangible nuclear disarmament.
     Let me be clear: Canada strongly favours the negotiation of a nuclear weapons convention or ban, but as the final step in a progressive step-by-step approach to nuclear disarmament. We believe that there needs to be three other steps first: the universalization of a nuclear non-proliferation treaty, entry into force of the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty, and the negotiation of a fissile material cut-off treaty. We believe these are mutually enforcing steps and mutually enforcing instruments. This approach aims to halt the spread of nuclear weapons and nuclear explosive testing, reduce existing nuclear weapons and fissile material stockpiles, and build the trust and confidence to verifiably and irreversibly eliminate nuclear weapons.
    This is why Canada, last year, led a very successful UN General Assembly resolution to establish a high-level expert participatory group, to clear the path for the eventual negotiation of a fissile material cut-off treaty, or FMCT, to ban the production of the explosive materials used in nuclear weapons. By pursuing the important technical work of a FMCT in the 25-member UN preparatory group that we chair, Canada hopes to be able to present the conference on disarmament with draft treaty provisions that will enable this body to commence negotiations on this important agreement.

  (1305)  

    The Secretary-General also identified the need for more investment by governments in disarmament verification research and development. I am pleased to let Canadians know that the Government of Canada has actively responded to this call by providing expert input to the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification.
    Officials and experts from Global Affairs Canada, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, and the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories are making important contributions to addressing the technical challenges of nuclear disarmament verification. This important work is aimed at building global nuclear disarmament verification capabilities. It is essential for the successful implementation of a comprehensive nuclear weapons convention and is a key element of our pragmatic step-by-step approach to disarmament.
    I am also pleased to announce that Canada, through Global Affairs weapons of mass destruction threat reduction program, has just provided a financial contribution to help support the work of the international partnership over the next year. Not only are we saying that we are getting engaged, not only are we actively involved in it, but we are actually funding this commitment.
     The second point of the Secretary-General's five-point proposal was his call for the nuclear weapons states to assure non-nuclear weapons states that they will not be the subject of the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.
    These assurances are also known as negative security assurances, NSAs. Canada has been a proponent of such guarantees. We are the leading participant in the 12-member non-proliferation and disarmament initiative, NPDI. We have worked closely with our partners to develop ideas in the form of papers, and to promote these assurances in the international arena, most recently in the 2017 preparatory committee for the 2020 nuclear non-proliferation treaty review conference meeting in Vienna in May.
     The third point in the Secretary-General's plan is a very important one. It calls for existing nuclear arrangements and agreements, like the comprehensive nuclear test-ban treaty, CTBT, which prohibits the testing of nuclear weapons, for instance, nuclear weapons free zones, and strengthened safeguards, which need to be accepted by states and brought into force.
    In support of this approach, the former minister of foreign affairs joined the ministerial meeting of the friends of the comprehensive nuclear test-ban treaty at the UN General Assembly in pointedly calling for the remaining eight states to ratify the agreement immediately to bring it into force.
     For our part, we have passed legislation to implement the CTBT when it enters into force, and we have completed the installation of 16 monitoring stations as part of this agreement.
    The fourth point that the Secretary-General made is on his call for nuclear powers to expand the amount of information they publish about the size of their arsenals, stocks of fissile materials, and specific disarmament achievements. Members will be pleased to hear that Canada has taken a leading role in promoting greater transparency by the nuclear weapon states in their reporting of their nuclear weapons stocks. Within the non-proliferation and disarmament initiative, Canada has developed a standard reporting form, which we are asking nuclear weapon states to use for their regular reports on the implementation of their nuclear disarmament obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
    We firmly believe that reporting is an effective instrument for increasing transparency on nuclear disarmament activities and for greater accountability. More needs to be done, of course, and Canada and our partners in the NDPI are committed to working with the nuclear powers to improve their reporting through concerted follow-up efforts.
     The Secretary-General's final point is that in addition to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament efforts, complementary measures are also needed. Such measures include the elimination of other types of weapons of mass destruction, for example, chemical and biological weapons. New efforts need to be undertaken to prevent weapons of mass destruction terrorism; limit conventional arms; and ban new types of weapons, including missiles and space weapons.
     Canada is a leader in pursuing these types of efforts. The government is making good on its commitment to accede to the Arms Trade Treaty, and investing $13 million to allow Canada to implement the treaty and further strengthen its export control regime.
     Canada is firmly committed to achieving a nuclear weapons free world. In conformity with the UN Secretary-General's five-point plan, we are pursuing a pragmatic step-by-step approach aimed at building the necessary confidence and trust needed for nuclear weapons to no longer be considered necessary for security.
     I am proud to be able to say today that Canada is continuing its long tradition of leadership on disarmament issues, including strongly supporting this five-point plan.

  (1310)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to see so many people participating in what I consider a very important debate.
    We are glad that the Liberal members are noticing the five-point plan by former head of the UN, Ban Ki-moon. That was the plan that was endorsed by the Liberals and all those in the House. What they are failing to notice is what the current head of the UN and the majority of people in the world are saying, which is that they are no longer confident in the step-by-step approach. They want action on all of the commitments under the non-proliferation treaty, which Canada is signatory to. One of those obligations is to participate in negotiations for a ban treaty. Indeed it is great that the Liberal government is participating in an array of activities, and we commend them for that. However, the Liberals are not giving any credible argument for why they are refusing to participate in this action that they claim to support: multilateral treaty negotiation at the UN.
    I wonder if the member could speak to why they absolutely refuse to speak to the essence of our motion today. That is, not only their failure to participate, but to boycott negotiations among the majority of nations in the world, which were endorsed by over 100 recipients of the Order of Canada and almost every one of the former diplomats who have been appointed to speak on disarmament for our country.
    Mr. Speaker, as our Right Hon. Prime Minister said the other day in question period, all Canadians strongly support concrete actions toward nuclear disarmament. We believe that the step-by-step approach where we are engaging with those states with nuclear arms is the best way forward for us to move toward a world that is free of nuclear arms. We are taking action. We are taking leadership. We are putting the proper amount of financing behind each of our actions. We feel that this is the best approach in order to move forward as expeditiously as possible. We are taking meaningful steps to achieve nuclear action. As we mentioned, we are doing the hard work of leading and rallying 159 different states to support and pass a resolution calling for the fissile material cut-off treaty. We led that late last year.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend for highlighting the importance of engaging our nuclear and non-nuclear partners toward nuclear disarmament. Can the member please elaborate to this House what consequences can take place if we do not engage our partners and allies in this discussion towards nuclear disarmament?
    Mr. Speaker, this is an issue that, as soon as I heard it was coming up for debate in this venerable House, I wanted to make sure I was a part of it. I personally am very passionate about nuclear disarmament. I feel very proud when I read about the former UN Secretary-General's five-point plan and about Canadian leadership in each of the areas of the plan. That is not only our leadership, but steps we have taken, both in terms of our departments and of moving the game plan forward. It is important to make sure that we are engaging states who have nuclear arms to be a part of the conversation. We want to make sure that there is transparency, accountability, and proper funding. I know we are moving as quickly as possible. It is a thoughtful plan, a great plan, and I am very proud of our government for the leadership we are taking on this.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to nuclear non-proliferation and the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty.
    Since the advent of nuclear weapons, the international community has had various practical, multilateral instruments to try to stop their proliferation and help to eventually eliminate them. Global non-proliferation and disarmament regimes were designed to be the foundation for the careful management of nuclear weapons in the interests of international security.
    The cornerstone of these regimes is the nuclear non-proliferation treaty or NPT. This treaty plays a fundamental role in guiding international mobilization on the most dangerous weapons in the world. The NPT outlines a three-part bargain: the nuclear weapon states commit to work toward nuclear disarmament; non-nuclear weapon states undertake not to acquire or try to acquire such weapons; and all state parties can continue to enjoy the benefits of peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
    Canada maintains that these three key commitments are mutually reinforcing. The progress that has been made in nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation, and peaceful uses of energy support the NTP overall and help to create a dynamic in which the treaty's laudable goals can be achieved.
    Canada continues to support concrete, practical efforts in favour of nuclear disarmament. As set out in article VI of the NPT, nuclear weapon states should continue to take concrete measures to reduce the number of strategic and non-strategic weapons and to reduce their reliance on them in their security doctrines.
    We note that progress has been made in that regard in recent history. At the end of the Cold War, significant steps were taken to reduce the world's nuclear arsenal, particularly in the United States and Russia. The United Kingdom and France took additional unilateral reduction measures. The global number of nuclear weapons dropped from 80,000 at the height of the Cold War to about 16,000 today. This is not insignificant. We will continue to further reduce the number of nuclear weapons through bilateral, plurilateral, or multilateral measures. Canada remains engaged in various international forums to encourage and support additional progress in that regard, particularly through the NPT review cycle.
    While we remain firmly committed to working towards building a world free of nuclear weapons, we recognize that disarmament cannot happen in a vacuum and that it must take the strategic context into account as well as the practical issues associated with that commitment.
    It is crucial to ensure that states with nuclear weapons participate in international processes to reduce the number of nuclear weapons or eliminate them entirely. We must also maintain the mutual trust among the parties involved as they move in the direction of reducing and eventually eliminating weapons stockpiles, a process that includes nuclear disarmament verification. Canada is steadfastly committed to the goal of nuclear disarmament.
    The second pillar of the NPT makes a vital contribution to the international safety framework by limiting the number of nuclear-weapon states and strengthening our ability to detect inappropriate activity on the part of non-nuclear-weapon states. Thanks to its impressive system of safeguards, the International Atomic Energy Agency, dubbed the “nuclear watchdog”, conducts a number of activities, such as on-site inspections, to ensure that states comply with their non-proliferation obligations. Canada applauds and actively supports the IAEA's efforts to keep its safeguards up to date and enhance their efficiency and effectiveness.
    Here is a practical example of international nuclear non-proliferation action: Canada also supports the joint comprehensive plan of action, the JCPOA, an international agreement signed by Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—plus Germany in July 2015.

  (1315)  

     The JCPOA represents an important diplomatic achievement that helped in re-establishing the integrity of the global non-proliferation regime. As part of the JCPOA, Iran agreed to significantly curb its nuclear program and to comply with comprehensive international inspections. Canada continues to have serious doubts regarding Iran’s long-term nuclear ambitions given its history regarding nuclear proliferation and ballistic missile programs.
     We join with our allies in supporting efforts to contain Iran’s nuclear program. Canada firmly supports the mandate given the International Atomic Energy Agency to conduct inspections. Furthermore, since 2015, Canada has made voluntary contributions totalling $10 million through Global Affairs Canada’s weapons of mass destruction threat reduction program.
     A complementary element to non-proliferation is the right of all states signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty to use nuclear energy in a peaceful manner. States that fully comply with their non-proliferation obligations can legally have access to specific applications of nuclear energy so as to promote sustainable socio-economic development. These include activities pertaining to human health, agriculture and food safety, water and the environment, energy, radiation technology, and security and safety. Canada is a world leader in nuclear energy and we will continue to expand our network of nuclear partners for mutual and beneficial co-operation.
     We have made major voluntary contributions as part of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Peaceful Uses Initiative, which supports the agency’s activities to achieve sustainable development and mitigation of climate change objectives.
     The NPT remains the cornerstone of the non-proliferation and disarmament regime as well as the central element at the basis of Canada’s global commitment on these important issues. Through our commitment to the relevant multilateral fora, we will continue to strengthen each of these three pillars.
     Whereas the efforts made internationally to curb the proliferation of nuclear weapons remain essential, we must work to eliminate nuclear tests forever through the signing of a legally binding treaty. Since being adopted in 1996, the comprehensive nuclear-test-ban treaty, or CTBT, has helped strengthen the de facto international standard on nuclear testing. Among other things, this treaty has helped put in place a solid verification system that makes it possible to gather evidence of nuclear tests conducted anywhere in the world.
     In fact, the international monitoring system has made it possible to detect each of the nuclear tests conducted to date by North Korea. The CTBT still needs to be ratified by eight countries to come into effect. Canada continues to play an active role in efforts to get other countries to ratify the treaty so that it can come into effect and be universally enforced. During a visit to New York in September 2016, the former minister of foreign affairs implored the eight countries in question to ratify the treaty so that it can come into force.
    Regarding direct aid, Canada continues to promote concrete programs in support of the CTBT organization's activities, including by providing airborne radiation detectors, on top of other financial contributions.
    In February 2017, field testing in cold weather was carried out in Ottawa, Canada. This test also involved the use of the detector mentioned above. Canada is also working to construct, test and certify a radionuclide monitoring station as a contributing national facility to strengthen the capacity of the international monitoring system to verify compliance with the treaty.
    Recognizing that nuclear weapons are a clear and real danger, the international community developed a set of practical measures that help to stop proliferation, limit nuclear testing and work toward the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons. Canada actively supports multilateral institutions established in support of achieving these goals.

  (1320)  

    We will continue to work with our foreign partners to achieve these laudable goals.

  (1325)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to put a question to my colleague across the way. It is important to go back to our motion today to understand what it is we are discussing. We are discussing the fact that Canada has boycotted ongoing United Nations negotiations toward a nuclear ban treaty. It is important to keep in mind that, as the member is aware, as a party to the non-proliferation treaty, one of our binding obligations is to participate in those exact negotiations.
    We have not said anything against action on all the other obligations under that treaty, far from it. However, what is puzzling is the continued discussion about Canada bringing forward the motion on the fissile material. At the very meeting where Canada tabled yet another version of this measure with a new name, that was when it voted to oppose proceeding with the very negotiations that it is obligated to participate in under the non-proliferation treaty.
    It is important to know that in fact there has not been progress on the fissile treaty, because the very same countries that they say make it purposeless to be at the negotiation with the UN are opposing the fissile ban. That includes Pakistan, China, Russia, Iran, Egypt, and Israel.
    I would like to hear the member speak to the very purpose of the motion, which is a response to Canada's refusal to participate in its obligation to participate in these ongoing negotiations at the UN.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. I would understand that if Canada were alone in its position, but Canada’s position is the same as that of the United Kingdom, Germany and France, as well as Norway. Many of our multilateral partners have adopted the same position as Canada.
    I believe we are taking the right multilateral approach with our G7 partners, and with Norway. I think that this is the correct approach in this file.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for highlighting how our government is taking concrete action to achieve nuclear disarmament, such as rallying 159 states to support and pass a resolution calling for a fissile material cut-off treaty, ensuring a high-level group to help phase out nuclear weapons.
    Would the member not agree that an immediate ban is an empty process that excludes essential players and may actually set back nuclear disarmament?
    Mr. Speaker, I have to say I agree with my colleague. What is the point of negotiating nuclear disarmament if the players are not at the table?
    We are working with our allies on this and working with communities in the multilateral countries that actually have nuclear weapons so that we can create concrete action on these issues. I thank her for her important question. It highlights what Canada is all about. We are not about just talking at a table without the players. We want to make sure that when we propose concrete actions to disarm nuclear weapons, those who own them are actually at the table.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech.
    Obviously, this is a fascinating subject for everyone, and no one is against virtue, that goes without saying. However, last week, the minister announced that Canada would sit on eight additional committees. I would like to know if the same logic, to follow our allies, applies here and why Canada cannot be the leader that it has already been in this area?
    Mr. Speaker, Canada will always be a leader in the world. This has been the case for climate change. The Minister of Environment has done a good job working alongside with other partner countries around the world, to sign the Paris agreement. I am glad that all members of Parliament, except one, voted in favour of it.
    Canada will always adopt a multilateral approach when it comes to international issues.

  (1330)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Victoria.
    I am pleased and proud to rise today to speak in favour of this motion calling on Canada to support the draft convention on the prohibition of nuclear weapons. Some of the things I will say at the beginning of my remarks are well known.
    There are more than 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world, and about 95% of those are owned by the United States and Russia, but there is good reason to believe that the U.K., China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Israel also possess nuclear weapons.
    It is important to note the second thing that most people who are tuned into this topic are aware of, that nuclear weapons are the only weapons of mass destruction that are not explicitly prohibited by an international treaty. That is why I am both shocked and appalled, although that phrase may sound trite, by the attitude of the government on this question.
    More than 120 countries are participating in the negotiations. Yesterday I sat here during question period and I heard the Prime Minister call the negotiations “sort of useless”. His reason for calling these talks “sort of useless” was that the states that possessed nuclear weapons are not participating.
    How will we make any progress on this issue if we do not apply pressure from the rest of the world on those countries that hold nuclear weapons? How will we get any of them to understand the necessity of renouncing not only the possible use but the possession of nuclear weapons?
    There are really only two threats right now to the existence of humanity on this planet. One of those threats is global warming, and we have participated and the government claims leadership. Canada has participated in all of the international conventions to attack this main threat to humanity's existence.
    We have not said that we will no longer participate in the Paris agreement because some leader of a country close to us does not believe that we should participate. That would be the same logic the Prime Minister used for not participating in the draft convention talks for the prohibition of nuclear weapons. It makes no sense to me. It is also a cavalier attitude that treats this issue as trivial. I would submit that this is anything but trivial, because it is the second threat to the existence of humanity on this planet.
    Thinking back to Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the use of nuclear weapons at that time, these were very small weapons in comparison to what exists today. We found out later that they were the only nuclear weapons in existence at that time There were no great stockpiles and, if they had not worked, there were not lots more to try to use.
    Today, 15,000 nuclear weapons exist and there is no guarantee, with the proliferation that has already taken place, with the number of countries that already have access to this technology, that we are going to be able to control this. There is no guarantee that we will be able to stop these weapons from falling into the hands of groups at a sub-state level, groups that we might want to label as terrorist groups. Who knows who might get access to these weapons because of the broad distribution of the technology at this point?
    It is incumbent on us to take every action we can to make sure that nuclear weapons are destroyed and no longer available for use by anyone on this planet. It is like firefighting. We train firefighters. We get them to work as hard as they can on fire prevention as well as putting out fires. Firefighters do not just go to fires and turn on the hose. They work every day to try to educate the public and to identify threats. In this case, it would be far too late if we waited until nuclear weapons were used to then say it was tragedy and we should have done something.
    This is like fire prevention. This is like disease prevention. I cannot understand not just the Prime Minister but other members on the other side whom I've heard saying just recently that this is a waste of time. One of the things we are short of is time. We are short of time on climate change. We are short of time in banning nuclear weapons. We need to make the best use if whatever efforts we can to make sure these weapons are destroyed.
    New Democrats have long held this position. It is not something new for us. Canada previously held this position, and Canada previously has been a leader in trying to work against the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Canada is part of the international treaties to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

  (1335)  

    It makes no sense to me that the government is not participating in these talks, and not just participating, but we should be leading the talks. We should be applying the pressure on those of our allies who have nuclear weapons, and we should be offering whatever support they need to make that decision. Is there some way, through this convention, that we can offer greater security to those who feel so threatened that they feel they need nuclear weapons? Let us have Canada stand up diplomatically and try to solve those problems, to provide the leadership on those problems so that countries no longer feel so threatened that they have to possess these weapons of mass destruction. Again, it is not just participating; it is being a leader. lt is putting forward the ideas through this treaty and through surrounding actions that will get us to a place where we no longer face this threat.
    Yesterday, I had the privilege of standing with Hiroshima survivor Setsuko Thurlow, a Canadian citizen who, as a child growing up in Japan, was severely injured and lost many family members and friends as a result of that nuclear explosion. I am very proud of her and the campaign that she carries on. She received a standing ovation at the United Nations. I would challenge the Prime Minister to tell Setsuko Thurlow that her campaign is useless. I would challenge him to do that.
    However, the government would not even meet with her. Liberals would not even show up when she was here to hear what she had to say. With her was Cesar Jaramillo, the executive director of Project Ploughshares, which has worked tirelessly against all kinds of weapons, but in particular against nuclear weapons. I challenge the Prime Minister to tell Cesar Jaramillo that the work he does for Project Ploughshares is useless work. It is beyond belief that we have a prime minister who was so cavalier about this issue in question period yesterday. It is beyond belief after the speech that the Minister of Foreign Affairs gave in the House saying that, given the instability of the world, it was incumbent on Canada to step up and take a leadership role and that, because the United States is withdrawing from its responsibilities, it is going to be a more dangerous world. A day after that the Prime Minister stood and said here is something we are not going to lead on; we are not going to lead on trying to get rid of nuclear weapons.
    A day after that we had the new defence strategy released. I am a somewhat naive member of Parliament sometimes. Having heard the Minister of Foreign Affairs say we are are going to step up to take a leadership role, I actually expected to see that in our defence strategy. Instead, the defence strategy has not one new dollar for the Canadian military in this fiscal year, but promises for increased funding that are 10 and 20 years down the road.
    The crises we face of international insecurity are now, not 10 years or 20 years down the road. Do not get me wrong. I have no complaint about a government that is going to plan for our future needs and equipment and that is going to cost those out properly. The problem I have is the gap between those promises and the reality we face every day in the Canadian military. We are about to take on a NATO mission in Latvia, which I and my party fully support. It is important to send a message to both Putin and Trump that the Baltics are NATO members and an attack on one is an attack on all. That is a very important mission for us.
    We have also promised to take on a peacekeeping mission in Africa, another mission that I very much look forward to hearing about even though we are about six months late. How is the Canadian military going to take a leadership role in both those missions when its budget increase this year was less than the rate of inflation? We are asking it to take on new duties, which I am very proud of, with fewer resources than it had last year.
    I am a bit confused about the government's real attitude to international affairs. What does it expect Canada to accomplish if we are going to leave the obvious avenues for leadership vacant? I call on all members of the House to think very seriously about the implications of Canada continuing to be absent from these negotiations that would lead to a treaty that would make nuclear weapons illegal and that would lead to a much safer and secure world. Yes, the task is hard, but Canada did not shrink from this when it came to the Ottawa treaty to ban landmines. We did not shrink from this when we advocated for the International Criminal Court. Why are we shrinking from that responsibility to lead at this point? I have no answer to that question, and I would like the government to explain to me why it is not taking that leadership role.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to pick up on the analogy that the member used about a fire. Our government is trying to reduce the matches, accelerant, and lighters, so people will not be able to sell them. That is what is going to stop the fire, not talking to others who do not have matches while not engaging with people who have the capability of starting a fire. We want to prevent it. This is why we have led the world on the fissile material cut-off treaty. We led 159 countries. We are taking leadership and making sure that the very materials that can cause the explosives in nuclear weapons will not be used and there is no proliferation. What we are trying to do is realistic and will reduce nuclear weapons. Simply talking to those without nuclear weapons and saying there will be a ban is not going to get rid of one single nuclear weapon.
    Would the hon. member please comment on the fact that what we are trying to do will have impact?

  (1340)  

    Mr. Speaker, I do not want to give a flippant response—although it is very tempting to say “How's that going, eh?” when it comes to the fissile treaty—because I believe that is a good thing for us to be doing. I would love to see progress on that treaty, but is the member honestly saying that we can only do one treaty at a time and we have no resources to pursue anything else while we are making very little progress on that treaty?
    Using a view of history, I would dispute that it is useless, as the government continues to say, to hold talks to ban weapons when the nuclear powers are not there. We will absolutely be able to do this if we bring the pressure of the entire world to bear on those seven countries and, as I said, if we provide additional leadership in trying to cool off the conflicts that make those countries so fearful that they have to possess nuclear weapons. It is not a question of doing one or the other or saying that, because we are doing one thing, we cannot do any of the rest.
    Mr. Speaker, I certainly enjoy working with my colleague on human rights issues. There are cases when we agree, but I do not think this is one of them, unfortunately. In principle, Conservatives would reject the idea of unilateral disarmament. We certainly favour the idea of seeking disarmament on a multilateral basis, but when certain nations that are more likely to respect international law unilaterally disarm, that potentially puts them at risk relative to other nations.
    I will read a quote from Margaret Thatcher and ask him to reflect on it. I am sure he is a big fan, by the way, as she was a strong female prime minister. She said:
    A world without nuclear weapons may be a dream but you cannot base a sure defence on dreams. Without far greater trust and confidence between East and West than exists at present, a world without nuclear weapons would be less stable and more dangerous for all of us.
     She said this in 1987. Is she not right that we create greater risks for ourselves through unilateral disarmament if we then give a strategic and military advantage to countries that do not share our values and do not have any regard for international law?
    Mr. Speaker, I enjoy working with the hon. member, but he should know me well enough not to cite Margaret Thatcher to a gay man or expect me to agree with her on almost anything. I will say that she was absolutely wrong on most things, and I would include her quote on this as one of the things on which she was wrong.
    When the member asks what the point is, he is sounding an awful lot like the Liberals, and it is one of the things I am getting used to in the chamber, these two parties sounding very much alike, even though one claims to have brought change. In response to his question, that is not the way diplomacy works. I would say that, even if I am naive and even if New Democrats are well meaning in their attitude to other countries, if the result of the negotiations was that one country gave up nuclear weapons, we would be one step closer to a safer world.
    Mr. Speaker, it is always such a pleasure to follow my colleague from Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke. His eloquent speech is inspirational to me.
    I would like to read another inspirational quote, from the high representative for disarmament for the United States. She said, on June 2, “Disarmament breeds security. It is not a vague hope or aspiration but must be a concrete contribution to a safer and more secure world.” She concluded that this ban treaty is a “core component” of mechanisms under the United Nations for “our collective security.”
    She is so right, and that is why it is so deeply disappointing for me as a Canadian to stand in this place and observe the Liberals walking away from the leadership role that this country has played in the past.
    Here is an anecdote. When I was a much younger high-school student, a gentleman came to my high school. It was probably the proudest moment of my life to that point. That gentleman was Lester B. Pearson. I was head of the student council, and he came and talked about peacekeeping. He won the Nobel Prize for peacekeeping. How proud I was that day of a Liberal prime minister leading the world to create a safer place for children in that audience and for our children today.
    I think of Mr. Axworthy and the Ottawa treaty. He is another Liberal who stepped up and showed leadership when it was claimed it would make no difference, just another silly United Nations paper exercise. Now the Liberals brag about that, and justifiably.
    Here we are today, talking about why Canada should walk away from over 100 other countries in the United Nations who are trying to create a safer world for the next generation. Here we have the top five—I could not find 10—list of why the Liberals think this is a joke and should not be proceeded with.
    I want to go there, but first I want to tell members about what happened yesterday in a very emotional meeting that was organized where Ms. Setsuko Thurlow, a survivor of Hiroshima, came to speak to parliamentarians. I must say I was moved by what she had to say. She was a young girl when they dropped that bomb in Hiroshima and watched her nephew melt away before her very eyes in 4,000-degree heat. Canada is her adopted country. She is a social worker now in Toronto.
    What was the most concerning to me as a Canadian is that she said she has been “betrayed” by her adopted country, Canada, for failing to be part of this historic United Nations meeting that's considering the legal ban on nuclear weapons. Ms. Thurlow reminded me—and I confess I did not know this, but I looked it up and she is absolutely right—that the bomb that was dropped on her family and her neighbours in Hiroshima was fuelled by uranium from Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories and refined in Port Hope, Ontario, so Canada has been part of this story, sadly, from the get-go.
    Nothing in the mandate letters of the former minister of foreign affairs or the current minister even talks about nuclear disarmament, even though we know we are leading the way with weapons of mass destruction. Be they biological or chemical weapons or the landmines treaty, Canada is right there. However, when it comes to nuclear weapons, what happened to Canada? What happened to that leadership I talked about before?
    My colleague from Laurier—Sainte-Marie, the critic for the NDP on foreign affairs, stood in this place, how many times, to ask about the government's participation in the UN talks that are soon to be under way? She stood seven times and seven times got a non-answer, which is no answer whatsoever.
    Therefore, it might be helpful if I could, in the interest of time, go to the top five Liberal reasons for doing nothing.
    Number one is the fissile material cut-off treaty, and it is an important thing. What did someone just say? If we do not have the matches, we are going to prevent the fire, so that is a good thing. Yes, it is sort of like saying that gun control efforts should be abandoned because they undermine progress on bullet control. I suppose that is the logic that the Liberals use.

  (1345)  

    I am entirely in favour of the fissile material cut-off treaty. Who would not be? Good for Canada for stepping up, in that context, and trying to prohibit the further production of weapons-grade uranium and plutonium. That has to be a good step. However, that does not mean we cannot do other things with the over 120 countries on this planet that want to make progress on this. If we are talking about a straw man argument, that would be one: hiding behind the fig leaf of justifiable work on the fissile material cut-off treaty. That is argument number one.
    Argument number two is that our position must be consistent with our NATO allies. Members heard it here first today. Multilateralism only seems to be what our NATO allies want and what Mr. Trump wants. I thought Canada wanted to be leading the world at the UN Security Council. Maybe I missed that, but it seems shocking—

  (1350)  

    I want to remind hon. members that debate is going on. It is nice to hear everyone getting along, but it makes it very difficult to hear the compelling argument that the hon. member for Victoria is making.
    The hon. member for Victoria.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that.
    The second argument that I guess the Liberals are putting up is that our position has to be consistent with our NATO allies.
     What about The Netherlands? That is one of our NATO allies. It is going to the conference. It is not cowed by Mr. Trump. It is not getting a phone call, saying, “Please don't do what other NATO allies are doing.” It is not afraid to show the leadership that Mr. Pearson and Mr. Axworthy showed. It is stepping up. Good for The Netherlands for showing that courage, because standing up for peace usually does require some element of courage.
    Argument number three is that there is no point going ahead without all nuclear weapon states on board. That is my favourite.
    The minister has suggested there is no point in negotiations unless we have all nuclear weapon states on board. That is ridiculous. Past international agreements, from landmines to conflict diamonds, to the International Criminal Court, were challenged as complex and not necessary, but again, there was leadership and others came along. As Canadians on the world stage, we were proud of the work that our representatives did in those contexts. Not this time, though, now we are embarrassed.
    Argument number four of the top five is that there is no point, given the global security environment. Therefore, the only time we step up for peace is when we are singing Kumbaya all together. How silly is this argument? We know the world is challenged. There is Crimea, North Korea, Syria. It is as if somehow that is an excuse, given the current security environment, to not take a more bold approach to nuclear disarmament. That is never going to be the case. We are never going to make progress if we can say that.
    The fifth and last argument is that a ban would be ineffective anyway.
    How do we know? The landmines one was not. The landmines treaty was effective. We managed to make progress on a number of environmental fronts, from the Montreal ozone-depleting convention, to other areas. Nobody thought that would work, and it worked. That lack of courage, lack of boldness by our government, again, in the context of such great leaders in the past who I mentioned before, both of whom were Liberal, is shocking.
    We could make progress. If it is true that nuclear weapons conventions would be ineffective, which is what people are saying, then why are weapon states opposed to them? There is a contradiction here. If it is ineffective, then why are they opposed? Why do they not say it is another paper UN exercise? Is there a logic gap? I certainly think there is.
    In conclusion, John F. Kennedy, one of my heroes, said the following of similar challenges in a very different time, “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.”
    That is what our motion today calls on Canada to do: to return to the table, to participate in good faith, as, by the way, article VI of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, which we signed, requires us to do. Let us do what we said we would do. Let us stand up on the world stage again. Let us not be cowed by what a president says or what seems to be correct at the moment. Let us show the leadership Canada used to be famous for.
    Mr. Speaker, I stand here as a proud Liberal, in the traditions of Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau, and their efforts and their successes, in one obvious case, the success of winning a Nobel Peace Prize on the international front. Therefore, I do not think we will take any lessons from any party in this chamber with respect to multilateralism and peacemaking around the world.
    What separates us from the New Democrats here today is their tendency to think that if we do not do things exactly as they propose, then we are not doing anything. We know that Canada is leading 159 countries in bringing forward a UN resolution with respect to the fissile material cut-off treaty. We are also spending well-nigh $73 million a year toward reducing the threat of weapons of mass destruction. Therefore, I would ask my hon. friend this. Do we always have to do it the NDP way in order for its members to congratulate us?

  (1355)  

    Mr. Speaker, I was so pleased to hear the reference to Mr. Pearson, and then to Mr. Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the gentleman who went to Washington and Moscow to seek a halt to nuclear weapons. This is not the NDP way; this is the old Liberal way.
    Second, to suggest that this is somehow about the NDP, when there are 120 countries in the world that are begging us to come and show leadership at the end of June in the United Nations, seems a little flip.
    Mr. Speaker, I have a simple question for my colleague. Does he think it would be considered progress if we lived in a world where the United States, Great Britain, or France no longer had nuclear weapons but Russia, China, and North Korea continued to have nuclear weapons? Would he regard that as an improvement to the situation we have right now?
    Mr. Speaker, the answer is no.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I listened to the interesting response my colleague gave to the question from the Liberal side, which seems to be suggesting that this is somehow an NDP tactic. I appreciated his references to the elder Trudeau's policies and to the 130 countries that are asking Canada to contribute to this effort.
    I wonder if my colleague did not also find it strange that following the 2011 Liberal Party convention, that party supported a resolution that said exactly what we are now proposing.
    Does my colleague not think that they are betraying their own supporters, in a way, by refusing to support a motion that says the same thing as something approved at the last Liberal convention?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Laurier—Sainte-Marie, who has consistently shown such enormous leadership on this file.
    It is one of those things that, if I were a Liberal militant, I would find somewhat sad. Liberals go to a convention and express themselves, in such numbers, in favour of this apparently NDP initiative, only to find out that when they come back to Ottawa their members of Parliament stand up and take the exact opposite position. Actually, as I have seen that before, maybe it is not such a surprise.
    However, I am not making light of this, and I do not intend to leave it on a light note. We are talking about weapons of mass destruction. We are talking about one of the two challenges facing humanity today: global climate change and disarmament requirements to restrict the expansion of the already enormous stockpile of nuclear weapons around the world. Why can Canada not be part of this, rather than watching from the sidelines and hiding behind the U.S. president, because that is what is going on?

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[Translation]

Canada Border Services Agency

    Mr. Speaker, in early 2015, the Canada Border Services Agency carried out a $16-million project to modernize the Morses Line border crossing in Saint-Armand in my riding.
    The project was completed in late April 2015, and ever since then, one of my constituents, Nelly Auger, has been living out a real nightmare. That crossing was automated, which meant the construction of a new building that skirts her property, as well as the installation of LED lights that shine into her bedroom. No one would deny this is an invasion of her privacy.
    In an email exchange between the CBSA and Nelly Auger, they agreed that a fence needed to be installed. The email is dated July 2015. This is 2017, and the matter is still not resolved. The cost of the fence is $2,611, although it was a $16-million project.
    I want to know why this has not been resolved. Nelly Auger is also asking to be compensated for her home's loss in value.

  (1400)  

[English]

Breakfast on the Farm

    Mr. Speaker, I am especially looking forward to Breakfast on the Farm in the North Okanagan—Shuswap this weekend. Agricultural producers from the area will be hosting Breakfast on the Farm. Now in its third year, this annual event is open to the public and free of charge, drawing over 1,000 people annually.
    On Friday, the Serene Lea Farms, home of the Stobbe family in Mara, will host over 300 students from schools in the region. On Saturday, there is a free pancake breakfast for everyone, and a tour of a dairy and blueberry farm to experience how our food is produced. Local agricultural equipment providers will also be showcasing the latest equipment for working in the fields and in the barns.
    If people enjoy breakfast each day, then thank a farmer. If people happen to be in the North Okanagan—Shuswap this Saturday, they can thank them in person at Breakfast on the Farm.

[Translation]

Summer Celebrations in Gatineau

    Mr. Speaker, entertainment will abound this summer in Gatineau for Canada 150.
     Starting June 30, Jacques Cartier Park will be presenting the spectacular achievements of MosaïCanada, true masterpieces depicting our country’s 150 years of history and culture.
     From July 7 to 9, Lac Beauchamp Park will host the Wonders of Sand, a festival of epic proportions for the entire family.
    Then, the Cirque du Soleil will set up its big top in Gatineau, where it will hold its show Volta, which is sure to amaze young and old alike all through the month of August.
    From August 31 to September 4, La Baie Park will once again be the site of Gatineau’s colourful Hot Air Balloon Festival.
     Of course, our city's spirit and vitality will shine through in the block parties that will light up our various neighbourhoods all summer long.
     I invite all of my colleagues on both sides of the House to enjoy the summer months in Gatineau.

[English]

World Oceans Day

    Mr. Speaker, today is World Oceans Day, an international day to celebrate our oceans and encourage conservation by addressing climate change, pollution, microplastics, overfishing, and habitat destruction.
    As we celebrate Canada's 150th birthday, we can take pride knowing it was Canadians who first proposed World Oceans Day at Rio's earth summit in 1992. However, Canada must do more to protect our oceans by lowering emissions, adding marine protected areas, encouraging sustainable fisheries, transitioning salmon aquaculture to safe closed containment, protecting killer whale habitat and other marine ecosystems, and removing abandoned vessels from our waters.
     I encourage all members of the House to support World Oceans Day. We must come together today to protect our oceans for tomorrow.
    I would like to acknowledge that today is our first World Oceans Day without one of its greatest champions, Rob Stewart. We miss him, but he will not be forgotten.

Tall Ships in Hastings—Lennox and Addington

    Mr. Speaker, grab your tricorn hat. I have spotted a great event on the horizon in Hastings—Lennox and Addington. Eleven tall ships from around the world are dropping anchor in Bath this July 7th to 9th at the historic Fairfield-Gutzeit House.
    This hearty celebration of Canada's 150th birthday is sure to bring thousands of visitors for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get an up close and personal view. There will be live music and kids' activities, and spectators will have a chance to tour the tall ships. There will even be historic naval demonstrations, including a naval battle out on the water on Saturday evening.
    I am also very proud to say that Ben Bell, a sea cadet on my youth council, will also be taking part in the entire tall ship journey this summer.
    I invite my honourable colleagues on the port side and the starboard side to go full steam ahead. All aboard for the tall ships in Bath.

Dominion of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, 150 years ago, our forefathers wrestled with the question, “How will we describe this vast new Canada of ours?”
     The term “Kingdom of Canada” was suggested, but that did not quite fit. Then, during one of his daily Bible readings, Sir Samuel Tilley, one of the Fathers of Confederation, was struck by Psalm 72:8: “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea.”
    God's hand has indeed been over the Dominion of Canada ever since. On July 1, we will celebrate Canada's 150th birthday. As we look back over the years, we are reminded that together we have come through times of war, times of peace, times of hardship, and times of prosperity.
    Through it all, what has made Canada truly great are the values that the Fathers of Confederation exemplified: hard work, self-sacrifice, and integrity. This strong foundation has made Canada a land of stability and opportunity for all Canadians. This Canada Day, let us resolve to make Canada an even greater place for all of us who call it home.

  (1405)  

Portuguese Day in Cambridge

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to celebrate the Portuguese Day festivities in Cambridge.
    They started last weekend with the Portuguese Holy Spirit Festival, and many came out to support the over 10,000 Portuguese community members in my riding. The festivities continue this weekend with the Portuguese parade and flag raising. Portuguese traditions, including their dancing, food, music, and art, are woven deeply into the cultural fabric of Cambridge. I encourage everyone to come out this weekend and enjoy the best that Portugal and Cambridge have to offer.
    This year we also take a moment to remember and honour long-time organizer Marina Cunha, who was taken far too soon this past year. I want to thank all the organizers and the entire Portuguese community for hosting this amazing festival.
    Obrigado.

Immigration in Atlantic Canada

    Mr. Speaker, on November 2, 2016, I was proud to see every member of this House united and voting in favour of my Motion No. 39 to study the issue of immigration in Atlantic Canada. There was a mutual recognition of Atlantic Canada's important contribution to our country.
     Sadly, it seems that the opposition's goodwill towards Atlantic Canada has since disappeared. Let me be clear: Atlantic Canadians are hard-working, unassuming people. Our region has known tough economic times, but we are working hard to find solutions. Immigration is definitely part of the solution, and the committee's study will be one more tool to help our region grow economically.
     I am saddened to see members of the opposition filibuster this important study and show such disrespect for Atlantic Canada. The fact that the Conservatives and NDP are playing political games with the economic well-being of Atlantic Canada is nothing short of shameful.
     I ask my colleagues opposite to end the political games, and let us all work together to support Atlantic Canada.

Alberta Great Kids Award Winner

    Mr. Speaker, in my riding of Yellowhead, grade 9 student Taija Dryden, from H.W. Pickup School, was selected along with 15 other children for the 2017 Alberta Great Kids Award, which is given to children and youth who connect to their communities and play useful roles within them.
     Taija has juvenile dermatomyositis, a disease with no cure that causes a rash, fatigue, extreme pain, and weakness. Taija served as a mentor for her friends, family, and community, and volunteered within her school.
    She has spent many days and months in and out of hospitals, but instead of complaining, she uses her time there to help other kids who are sick. Taija is a true example of strength, hope, and determination.
    Congratulations, Taija, on being selected.

  (1410)  

World Oceans Day

    Mr. Speaker, World Oceans Day celebrates the fact that Canada is an ocean-rich country. We have the world's longest coastline, and our oceans generate the oxygen we breathe, provide food, and regulate our climate.
     This morning, our Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard announced the new St. Anns Bank marine protected area, east of Cape Breton, protecting over 100 species. It is an important habitat for several commercial fish stocks.
     Earlier this year, our government designated the 9,000-year-old glass sponge reefs in B.C.'s Hecate Strait as a marine protected area, and we have identified a new 140,000-square-kilometre area of interest in the offshore Pacific bioregion, the biggest to date. We are on target to protect 5% of Canada's oceans by year's end.
     As well, there is a new $75-million coastal restoration fund to restore and rebuild important habitat for the fish stocks that are so important to our coastal communities. It all adds up to a great toast to the health of Canada's oceans on this important day.

Terrorist Attack in Tehran

    Mr. Speaker, everyone in this House was shocked and saddened to hear of the brutal terrorist attack in Tehran yesterday. The 12 dead and dozens injured were peace-loving mothers, wives, and sisters and innocent fathers, brothers, and sons. Today we remember them, as we do all victims of senseless hatred.
     I would like to thank our Minister of Foreign Affairs for her categorical condemnation of this latest atrocity.
     The attack in Tehran follows on the recent heels of similarly barbaric and heart-wrenching attacks in London, Kabul, and Baghdad. Canada will always stand with the innocent victims of terrorist attacks whenever and wherever this evil scourge rears its ugly head.

[Translation]

Summer Party

    Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I invite the constituents of Beauport—Limoilou to my second annual summer party on July 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the magnificent Domaine de Maizerets park.
     There will be treats for people young and old, like hotdogs, corn on the cob, chips and other goodies, that will be served between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., compliments of our generous local sponsors.
     In case of bad weather, there is the cabin at the Domaine de Maizerets, as well as a tent on location, so the party will go on rain or shine.
     There will be events throughout the day, including music in a variety of styles and games for the young and young at heart. If there is one party everyone should attend this summer, it is this one.
    I would add that last year the party drew close to 2,000 guests, so with the help of Mother Nature, we are expecting 3,000 this time around.
     Thank you very much, and I hope to see a big turnout at the Beauport—Limoilou summer party.

[English]

Status of Women

    Mr. Speaker, as one of 92 women in this place, I want to highlight the work our government is doing to promote gender equality and especially women's empowerment. In each action we take, gender-based analysis is a key part of the plan.
     I want to commend our feminist Prime Minister and our cabinet for the work they are doing on this topic.
     The Minister of Finance published the first-ever gender statement in budget 2017. The Minister of Status of Women is working hard for women's empowerment. The Minister of National Defence included gender-based analysis in the new defence policy, and the Minister of Justice announced changes to our legal system to further protect women. The list goes on.
     With the leadership of this government and national organizations like Equal Voice, we are on the right track toward gender equality. As a mother of two daughters, I am very proud of the difference we are making for the next generation of Canadian women.

[Translation]

No. 1 Saint-Hyacinthe Cadet Corps

    Mr. Speaker, I want to pay tribute to the No. 1 Saint-Hyacinthe Cadet Corps, the first and oldest in Canada, which is celebrating its 185th anniversary.
    This organization is very active and well-rooted in the past and the present. It represents nothing less than Canada's history. Many well-known individuals were cadets under this banner. The 20th and 21st premiers of Quebec, Daniel Johnson Sr. and Jean-Jacques Bertrand, were members of No. 1 Saint-Hyacinthe Cadet Corps.
    This historic organization is the pride of my region. I thank all the volunteers who instill a sense of respect, discipline, and service in our young people. By focusing on leadership, physical fitness, and civics, this program helps young people become engaged and involved in their community. The motto of No. 1 Saint-Hyacinthe Cadet Corps is love, honour, and glory.
    I thank No. 1 Saint-Hyacinthe Cadet Corps.

[English]

Community Leader

    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to recognize one of Red Deer—Mountain View's outstanding community leaders, a lifelong friend and neighbour, Gloria Beck.
    Last week, Gloria was named Red Deer Citizen of the Year at the Rotary Club's annual gala.
     As the owner of Parkland Nurseries & Garden Centre, Gloria has enriched our lives with not only the beauty of nature, but also as a shining example of how one cares for the less fortunate. She has touched the lives of so many of her fellow Albertans through her work with numerous local charities like Habitat for Humanity, the women's shelter, local food banks, and the Canadian Cancer Society. She has also been a great supporter of Red Deer College and has been an outstanding director on the Olds College board, as noted by outgoing Olds College president Tom Thompson.
     Gloria was also the first female president of the downtown Rotary Club, as well as the first female president of the International Garden Centre Association.
    On behalf of all Albertans, I salute Gloria Beck. She makes us all proud.

  (1415)  

Terrorist Attack in Tehran

    Mr. Speaker, Canada strongly condemns the recent terrorist attacks in Tehran, including those committed at the Iranian Parliament. We grieve the deaths and injuries sustained by many civilians and deplore the targeting of innocent lranians. Our thoughts and sympathies at this time are with the people of Iran.
    The timing of these attacks, carried out during the holy month of Ramadan, is an offence to the spirit of this sacred period.
     I join Iranian Canadians in my riding of Richmond Hill and all Canadians in condemning this attack. Canada remains unwavering in the global fight against terrorism and the hatred on which it is based.
    [Member spoke in Farsi]

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[English]

Foreign Investment

    Mr. Speaker, earlier this week, the Minister of Foreign Affairs gave a major speech on Canada's foreign policy, but she failed to mention Canada's foreign policy with respect to China. Now we know why.
     The minister of industry was quietly approving a Chinese takeover deal of Vancouver-based Norsat International, a company that builds satellite receivers for NATO.
    Why is the Prime Minister so eager to sell our military technology to Beijing?
    Mr. Speaker, we take the protection of national security very seriously. We never have and never will compromise on national security.
     All investments reviewed under the Investment Canada Act are screened by Canada's national security agencies. The national security community conducted a rigorous review and confirmed that security procedures and safeguards were in place that were in keeping with our high standards. We always have and always will protect our national security.
    Mr. Speaker, it gets worse. Normally any deal involving this type of satellite technology would be subject to a formal, national security review. However, in a very troubling development, the industry minister decided that a national security review was not necessary for this Chinese takeover.
     Canadian national security interests are at stake here. Why did the Prime Minister allow this sale to China to go ahead without the comprehensive security review that it needed?
    Mr. Speaker, the process was followed under the Investment Canada Act. As I stated before, we never have and never will compromise our national security.
     When it comes to our economic agenda and our overall Investment Canada Act regime, we are being very clear that in order to grow the economy and create jobs, we must be open to investments, open to trade, open to people. This is good for Canada and it is good for our economy. We will always defend the middle class and those working hard to join it.
    Mr. Speaker, this is shocking. Hytera Communications has previously been accused of large-scale theft of intellectual property and the U.K. raised major red flags when Hytera tried to acquire a similar British company. Richard Fadden, the former head of CSIS, said that he would have recommended a full-fledged national security review of this deal.
     Why is the Prime Minister allowing his fascination with China and his overwhelming desire to appease it to cloud his judgment on the national security of our country?
    Mr. Speaker, under the Investment Canada Act, all transactions are subject to a national security review. Therefore, we followed the process. It was a rigorous process.
     We have been very clear that when it comes to the economy, when it comes to growth and jobs, we are open to investment, trade, and people. We always have and always will ensure that we never, ever compromise our national security.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I think that the government does not realize what an enormous mistake it just made.
    We learned about something quite serious in this morning's Globe and Mail. Norsat in Vancouver, a manufacturer of high tech components for NATO satellites, has just been sold to Chinese interests, and unfortunately the national security protocol was not followed properly or carefully.
    Is this the Prime Minister's way of thanking his Chinese friends who paid top dollar to meet with him privately a year ago?

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, I disagree with my friend and colleague.

[English]

    We have been very clear that the process was followed under the Investment Canada Act. We have always followed the law. We have made sure that we listen to our national security agencies and the experts and the advice they give us. Based on that advice and the feedback, we make decisions accordingly. We never have and never will compromise on national security.
     We have also been very clear that we are open to investment to ensure we grow our economy and create good quality jobs for the middle class.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, Norsat does not make shoes. It makes high-tech components that it sells to the U. S. Department of Defense and other NATO countries. This very valuable, very sensitive information is now in the hands of Chinese investors. The worst part is that this deal was not even subject to a national security review.
    Why did the government drop the ball on this?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, again, I want to take this opportunity to correct the record. The member opposite is saying that this transaction was not subject to a national security review. That is not the case.
     All transactions under the Investment Canada Act are subject to a national security review. We have followed the process. We have done our due diligence. We have consulted the national security agencies. We will ensure that we never have and never will compromise our national security. At the same time, we are committed to growing our economy by ensuring we are open to investment, trade, and people.
    Mr. Speaker, this is an important issue for all Canadians and for our security.
     I know the minister, and I know him to be an honourable gentleman, so I want to give him a chance to correct something he has just said.
     In his first answers, he was particularly prudent. In his first of five answers he talked about a screening. However, he knows, and we all know, that a screening is not a national security review. He then said, “procedures were followed”, which can mean anything and nothing. At the very end, the minister started saying that there was a national security review, which had a definition.
     I would like him to clarify that. Was there or was there not a full national security—
    The hon. Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.
    Mr. Speaker, under the Investment Canada Act, all transactions are subject to a national security review and to ensure that the process has been followed. Under this transaction, and all transactions, we followed the law. We made sure we did our homework, and we did our due diligence.
     Any feedback we receive from the national security agencies is taken seriously and taken into account before we make a decision. We always have and always will ensure that we never, ever compromise our national security.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I expect the minister would have no problem sharing the national security agencies' verdicts on this deal.
     In March, the Prime Minister overturned a decision that Stephen Harper made and allowed China to take over the high-tech company we are talking about. Barely three months later, he is at it again. He is refusing to subject this takeover to a national security review even though Canada uses the company's technology for its own military purposes.
    My question to the Liberals is this: Why are you selling our military secrets to China?
    I would remind the member for Outremont to direct his comments to the Chair.
    The hon. Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the specific case raised by the member opposite, again, was with regard to O-Net. Let us be clear. We did not overturn a cabinet order. The previous government managed the process so poorly that it ended up in court. We made sure we did a rigorous process. We examined all the facts by our national security agencies and the law was followed.
     We always have and we always will ensure that we never, ever compromise our national security.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, I asked yesterday about the UN nuclear disarmament negotiations that included over 120 countries. The Prime Minister said, “There can be all sorts of people talking about nuclear disarmament, but if they do not actually have nuclear arms, it is sort of useless...”
    The 1997 Ottawa treaty on land mines was initiated by Canada under a Liberal government and signed by over 100 countries that did not use land mines. Could the government now explain how that treaty was also “useless”?

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, when it comes to nuclear disarmament, our goal has been very clear. We are taking great steps to achieve it. That means doing hard work to deliver something tangible.
     As mentioned by the Prime Minister yesterday, in 2016, for the first time ever, Canada rallied 159 states to support a resolution calling for the fissile material cut-off treaty. This is a concrete step toward a phasing-out of nuclear weapons and, crucially, including both nuclear and non-nuclear countries. This is real action that matters to Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, in 2016, in August in fact, the Liberals voted for the first time in our history against nuclear disarmament.
     In the words of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, “Political leaders will decide whether or not a nuclear war actually takes place, yet politicians act as if peace is too complicated for them.”

[Translation]

    Those words are all the more meaningful as the Liberals and Conservatives attack the NDP's motion on nuclear disarmament.
    Do the Liberals not understand that what the current Prime Minister is saying is a direct insult to over 120 countries?

[English]

    Mr Speaker, let me be clear. We strongly support efforts toward nuclear disarmament. However, what the member opposite is proposing is a negotiation of a nuclear weapon ban treaty without the participation of states that possess nuclear weapons. This is posturing, not practical diplomacy that can make a real difference.
     Our position is consistent with our allies, Germany and Norway just to name a few. We are driving real action by working with nuclear and non-nuclear countries to achieve our ultimate goal, which is nuclear disarmament.

Infrastructure

    Mr. Speaker, the minister has stated that the infrastructure bank will shield taxpayers from risk, but let us be clear: Taxpayers are funding the bank, taxpayers will be paying the profits to private investors through user fees and tolls, and the minister is guaranteeing loans using taxpayer dollars. All of this additional risk is on the backs of taxpayers.
    Will the minister admit that the only people being shielded from risk are the private investors?
    Mr. Speaker, as I have often stated in the House, the bank is designed to shift the risk to the private sector, with appropriate investments that the private sector will make in any given project.
    We will make sure that the experts who will be running the bank ensure that the public interest is always protected and that public dollars are always protected.
    Our goal is to make sure we are building the infrastructure that our communities need to grow our economy and create jobs for the middle class.
    Mr. Speaker, P3 Canada has been leveraging private sector dollars for infrastructure since 2009. Six billion dollars has been leveraged from an initial investment of $1.3 billion. A $35-billion investment into P3Canada would leverage $170 billion, all without guaranteeing private sector loans with taxpayer dollars. An internal report from KPMG recommended using P3 Canada's existing structure for the bank.
    Will the minister reverse this decision for the bank and invest in P3 Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, P3s will continue to play a dominant role in building infrastructure, and we support that. We are allowing municipalities to make their own decisions. We do not impose a certain procurement model on our partners. It is their decision.
    As well, the PPP Canada organization has supported the creation of the Canada infrastructure bank, because it sees that both complement each other to build the infrastructure that is required by Canadian communities.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, what do the former parliamentary budget officer, the former president of the Business Development Bank, the Quebec National Assembly, KPMG's internal report, and all members on this side of the House have in common? They have all spoken out against the infrastructure bank.
    Will the Prime Minister and the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities finally make the right decision and remove the infrastructure bank from Bill C-44?

  (1430)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, very reputable Canadian pension funds, such as the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, teachers, OMERS, Caisse de dépôt, the Alberta Investment Management Corporation, invest in international infrastructure. They invest in infrastructure in other countries.
    We want to create conditions so that our own pension funds that manage money on behalf of Canadians can invest in our own country to build the needed infrastructure and create jobs for Canadians. What is wrong with that?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it is really unfortunate to see how stubborn the government and the minister are being about this. Even though everyone is warning them not to do it, they are headed for disaster. Who is going to pay for this? Who is going to contribute the $35 billion? It is going to come directly out of taxpayers' pockets.
    Will the Prime Minister finally listen to the parliamentarians on this side of the House or will the Senate once again have to give the government a reality check?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, during the process to create the Canada infrastructure bank, we consulted extensively with municipalities, provinces, stakeholders, and investors.
    We all understand that in order to mobilize private capital, in order to build the infrastructure, we need to create a governance structure, an arm's-length crown corporation, accountable to the government through Parliament to the people of Canada. We want to undertake projects that will serve the public interest and the public good.
    Mr. Speaker, the member says that the infrastructure bank will be arm's length, but that arm will be long enough to reach into the pockets of taxpayers. In fact, it will be long enough to reach into their pockets for projects that are already financed by the private sector. Former Liberal minister, Sergio Marchi, now lobbying for power companies, wants loan guarantees from taxpayers to build projects that are already built by the private sector.
    Will the government admit that this is not about increasing private involvement, but rather putting private profit on the backs of public risk?
    Mr. Speaker, we have put forward a very ambitious, bold plan to build Canadian community infrastructure, tripling the investment compared to the previous government's meagre commitment to building infrastructure.
    We understand that if we mobilize private capital, we can undertake projects that would never get built. That is the vision we have, and that is exactly what we want to do by mobilizing our pension funds to invest in our own country.

Access to Information

    Mr. Speaker, last year, an employee of Shared Services Canada received an access to information request for all documents containing the words “Liberal Party”. The employee released 12 documents and deleted 398. It is an offence under section 67 of the Access to Information Act to destroy documents that have been requested under the act.
    The matter has been referred to the Attorney General. I wonder if the Attorney General will recuse herself, given that it is a Liberal Party matter, and let the director of public prosecutions decide whether to prosecute the matter.
    Mr. Speaker, our government expects our employees to meet the highest level of ethical behaviour and decision-making. Shared Services Canada took this situation very seriously, immediately launched an investigation of the situation, and notified the Information Commissioner. Of course, as is normal, the matter has been referred to the Attorney General of Canada.

[Translation]

Government Appointments

    Mr. Speaker, after the debacle with Madeleine Meilleur's appointment, I hope that the government understands that there cannot be any partisanship in the appointment of officers of Parliament.
    The position of official languages commissioner is a vital one because the person who holds that position ensures respect for both official languages and the law. The commissioner works for Parliament, not for the Prime Minister.
    Does the government commit today to follow the process established in the Official Languages Act and truly consult the opposition leaders?
    Mr. Speaker, we promised Canadians a new, open, rigorous, and merit-based process, and that is what we gave them.
    Madam Meilleur proved that she was qualified for the job at every step of the process. She dedicated a major part of her career to defending the interests of official languages communities. We hope that she will continue to play a leadership role on this important file. More information will be available in the next few days.

  (1435)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, after all the repetitious nonsense, can the Liberals now acknowledge that appointing a partisan commissioner, without real consultation, will result in unnecessary scandal and is a waste of Parliament's time?
    After the embarrassing withdrawal of Madam Meilleur's nomination, will the Liberals work with us to make sure this never happens again? Will the Liberals do the right thing and commit today to a new process that ensures meaningful consultation before any officer of the House is nominated, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, our government promised Canadians a rigorous, open, and merit-based process for public appointments, and we are keeping that commitment. At no point in this process were Madame Meilleur's qualifications questioned. She has been a fierce advocate of the official languages communities. We hope that she continues her advocacy on this important file. More information will be available in the days to come.
    Mr. Speaker, how did that work out for them?
    The Liberals tried to put a Liberal donor in a position that would have allowed them to not have any real oversight. The process was a train wreck, and responsibility for it lies directly with the Prime Minister, Gerald Butts, Katie Telford, and the heritage minister. We can bet that had this appointment occurred, the dominoes would have fallen quickly to fill the other vacant non-partisan positions with Liberal insiders.
    Could the Prime Minister tell us if his backroom political operatives are making new deals to fill the vacant parliamentary officer positions?
    Mr. Speaker, as I have shared with all members, as well as Canadians, we have put into place a new, open, transparent, merit-based appointment process where we look at gender parity and Canada's two official languages. We are looking for highly qualified candidates. Any open positions are available online so that Canadians can apply. This is a new process that we have committed to Canadians. We will continue to deliver on our commitments.
    Mr. Speaker, during the election, the Prime Minister promised that oversight watchdogs would be accountable only to Parliament, not the government of the day. Like many things the Prime Minister has promised, those promises are proving to be worthless.
    Playing political games with these appointments calls into question the legitimacy of Liberal motives. For example, the Ethics Commissioner's term is up in 30 days and there is no word on her replacement. That makes one wonder whether the Prime Minister wants the investigation into his questionable ethics to go away with Mrs. Dawson's retirement. Can the Liberals give us a reason why they have not moved to fill this position?
    Mr. Speaker, we will always appreciate the work that officers of Parliament do. That is why we have committed to always working with them. If there is any information required with respect to the cases, we will be more than willing to provide it. The Prime Minister has said that. I have said that.
    When it comes to the appointment process, we have introduced a new, open, transparent, merit-based appointment process. I encourage all Canadians to apply for the open positions that are all posted online.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, given the problems with the process for appointing an official languages commissioner, Canadians have the right to know what criteria will be used to appoint future officers of Parliament. Will there be a non-partisan process, as Canadians have the right to expect, or will being a Liberal Party donor be the one and only criterion in the process for appointing the next Ethics Commissioner?
     Mr. Speaker, we put in place a new, open, transparent, and merit-based appointment process. Our aim is to identify high-quality candidates who will help to achieve gender parity and truly reflect Canada's diversity.
    Canadians can continue to apply for positions, which are advertised online.

[English]

Foreign Investment

    Mr. Speaker, I am going to give the Minister of Innovation one more chance on this one, because I am very troubled about how there were two answers being given in the House today.
    Despite the fact that Norsat actually sells technology to Nav Canada, which is in charge of our air traffic, the minister said to The Globe and Mail that it was decided in the security screening analysis that an in-depth security review by CSIS and the Department of National Defence was not necessary. Will he tell us once and for all in this House if he is relying on a flimsy screening analysis? Why did he not allow for a full in-depth review?

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am relying on the same process that was followed by the previous government, and by that member. I will always follow the law. Under the Investment Canada Act, the process is very clear. All transactions are subject to a national security review. We made sure that we followed the process. We did our due diligence. We did our homework. We heard very loud and clear the feedback given by national security agencies before we made any decision. We have never and we never will compromise our national security.

Fisheries and Oceans

    Mr. Speaker, today is World Oceans Day, a day to acknowledge our important relationship with our oceans. In B.C., understanding salmon is a direct link to understanding our oceans. However, just two weeks ago, the government announced that it will end the popular salmon in the classroom education program. Over one million students have gone through this powerful program since it began. For the sake of our oceans, and our salmon, will the minister reverse this terrible decision to cut the salmon in the classroom education program?
    Mr. Speaker, I am glad, on World Oceans Day, to tell members of the House that I had the privilege earlier today of announcing the creation of Canada's newest marine protected area, St. Anns Bank, off the east coast of Cape Breton, in the province of Nova Scotia.
    With respect to the question about salmonid enhancement, this is a very valuable program. It is a program for which I share the member's view. It has done a great deal to protect the iconic species of Pacific salmon. We will always be there to support the important work done by those volunteers and others who have done such a great job.
    Mr. Speaker, this year World Oceans Day is focused on stopping marine debris. However, Liberal and Conservative governments have failed to clean up abandoned vessels littering our coasts. These vessels are a major source of oil spills and pollution, and they threaten jobs in aquaculture, commercial fishing, and tourism.
    The recent Liberal announcement is a drop in the bucket. Of the thousands of abandoned vessels littering Canada's three coasts, exactly how many will $1 million clean up each year? Can the minister give us a number?
    Mr. Speaker, we are extremely proud of the fact that we announced the oceans protection plan last November, an unprecedented $1.5-billion plan to improve marine safety. A component of that is cleaning up abandoned and derelict vessels.
    Recently I announced an abandoned vessels program for small vessels. I want to assure my colleague that this is only the beginning. This is an ongoing program, and there will be more to come in the months ahead.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, this House unanimously passed a motion from my colleague, the member for Fundy Royal, to study Atlantic immigration and the retention of newcomers.
    For 10 years, the Harper Conservatives ignored and insulted Atlantic Canada, and after yesterday, it looks like the NDP has sided with the Conservatives. On this side of the House, all 183 of us proudly support Atlantic Canada and our colleague from Fundy Royal.
    Can the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship please update this House on what our government is doing to support prosperity and economic growth in my region of Atlantic Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my 32 colleagues from Atlantic Canada for their strong leadership and advocacy.

[Translation]

    Immigration is an engine for economic growth.

[English]

    That is why our government launched the Atlantic immigration pilot program as part of the Atlantic growth strategy. This program will attract and retain skilled newcomers through an innovative partnership with employers, provincial governments, and settlement agencies.
    Regardless of whether people are from Toronto, Vancouver, or Calgary, the success and vitality of Atlantic Canada is essential for all Canadians.

  (1445)  

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of National Defence presented Canadians with a book of empty promises. In two years the Liberals have failed to deliver a single piece of military equipment, and they do not plan on buying anything for our troops until after the next election.
    The Prime Minister already believes that our troops are appropriately provisioned. The Minister of National Defence cannot explain where the money is going to come from. When the Minister of Finance was asked about this yesterday, he said, “Go ask the defence minister.” I will.
    Where is the money going to come from?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the minister on having led the most extensive defence consultation in 20 years, and above all, for zealously overseeing the new defence policy.
    Thanks to this new policy, big changes are on the way over the next few years. The Canadian Armed Forces will be properly funded. The budget will be increased by more than 70% over the next 10 years, for a total increase of $32.7 billion.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Minister for accepting most of the Conservative Party's recommendations for the new defence policy.
    Unfortunately, we see a little problem with the Liberal accounting architecture. Page 11 of the policy promises that the cost presentation is transparent and fully funded. Someone should tell the Minister of Finance, because he did not know that yesterday.
    Can the Minister of Finance or the Minister of National Defence assure the House that the defence budget is indeed confirmed and tell us exactly where that money will come from?
    Mr. Speaker, our policy has been the subject of rigorous costing, and its funding is realistic and affordable. Our costing was supported by external experts, and our methodology underwent additional review by five external accounting firms.
    The funding needed to support this policy was budgeted and will come from the Minister of Finance's fiscal framework.

[English]

Softwood Lumber

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals' dithering on the softwood file just keeps getting worse. We learned this week that Obama's visit, expected to result in the signing of the softwood lumber agreement, cost Canadians $4.8 million, with nothing to show for it, while hundreds of thousands of good-paying Canadian jobs are being lost and are at risk. Now we find out that lumber remanufacturers are paying twice as much as regular mills.
    Why is the Prime Minister refusing to protect the softwood lumber industry, specifically our remanufacturers?
    Mr. Speaker, Canada's forest industry sustains hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs across our country. Our government will continue to fight vigorously to defend the interests of Canadian workers and companies in the face of actions taken by the U.S. that are completely without merit. We are taking decisive and immediate action to help Canadians who are affected by these unfair and punitive damages. We are making investments to diversify forest products and markets for our producers, supporting workers, and providing financial products and services on commercial terms.
     We stand firmly behind the Canadian forest industry and are supporting its long-term health and prosperity.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, when it comes to softwood lumber, we do not want just any agreement, as they say, we want an agreement that will benefit our industry. How is it that as soon as the U.S. announced its surtax the Government of Quebec was able to announce an assistance program for the entire industry the very same day, but it took Ottawa six weeks to come up with a financial assistance program? What is more, this government has been negotiating an agreement for 20 months with nothing to show for it.
    How can the thousands of Canadian workers trust this Liberal government? It has been 20 months.
    I agree, Mr. Speaker, the previous Conservative government allowed the agreement to lapse. The Department of Trade's taxable countervailing duties are punitive and unfair. We will go before the courts and we will win, as we have every time. This will be the fifth time.
    The Prime Minister spoke with the President at the G7 summit and on many other occasions. We want a good agreement, not just any agreement. That takes time, but we will come out on top.

[English]

Fisheries and Oceans

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday I asked the Prime Minister if he would support the marine debris cleanup currently under way on Vancouver Island. He responded that the oceans protection plan would help protect our coast. Nice words, but that is all they are. There is no mention of marine debris in the government's oceans protection plan and no money for cleaning it up. As we see more and more cargo traffic off our coast, and the level of plastic in the oceans continue to rise, why do the Liberals have no plan to clean up marine debris?

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am very proud of the fact that our oceans protection plan goes way beyond anything that has ever been done in this country. I recognize that the issue that has been brought up by the member is an issue that is occurring more and more. It is certainly something we can look at, but I am very proud of the fact that we have made an unprecedented commitment to marine safety on the three coasts of our country. This is a new first for Canada.

[Translation]

Dairy Industry

    Mr. Speaker, with less than a month to go before the comprehensive economic and trade agreement, or CETA, comes into force, we still have no clue how the transition plan or the tariff quotas will work.
    The Liberals promised to fully compensate the dairy industry for losses incurred as a result of CETA, but the amounts announced fall far short, so much so that the Quebec government says it is prepared to delay CETA’s implementation as long as there is no real compensation for the dairy industry.
     When will the government act, stand up and compensate the dairy industry for losses caused by CETA?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my hon. colleague's question and concern.
    Our government fully supports the supply management system and will continue to support the supply management system. We have consulted the dairy farmers and processors across this country for a number of months and have come up with a program of $350 million: $250 million so our dairy farmers can innovate, and $100 million so our processors can innovate and be on the cutting edge.
    This government has and will continue to make sure that our supply management system continues to thrive in this country.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, for the past week the Liberals have refused to answer straightforward questions about whether they plan to cancel a publicly accessible registry for high-risk sex offenders. What do the Liberals have to hide? Should Canadians take the Liberals' non-answer as a yes, that indeed they plan to cancel this tool for parents to keep their kids safe from high-risk sex offender, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, public safety and the safety of children are always a priority, and I am sure that is true for all members of this House.
    The national sex offender registry was created and funded in 2004 by former public safety minister Anne McLellan. It is a tool, a very effective tool, for ensuring that high-risk offenders are identified. When a potentially dangerous offender is about to be released, the correctional service alerts the police. If there is a danger, the police alert the public. Police and communities working constructively together is how best to make sure our children—
    The hon. member for Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis.
    That sounds like a no, Mr. Speaker.

[Translation]

     Speaking about marijuana, yesterday the Prime Minister said, “...until the law is changed, the law remains the law.” Implementing a public registry of high-risk sex offenders is the law, as well.
     If the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness shares the opinion of his Prime Minister, what is he waiting for to enforce the law and implement the new registry? If money is the issue, what is the holdup? We already have a $30-billion deficit; our children's protection is certainly worth more than that.

[English]

     Mr. Speaker, the law is the national sex offender registry, created in 2004 by former minister McLellan, and it works very effectively.
    In 2015, the Harper government passed legislation to create another database, but it was never actually set up, and it was never funded by the previous government.

Taxation

     Mr. Speaker, there they go again, protecting the criminals.
    When the Prime Minister introduced his mandatory “Ottawa knows best” carbon tax, he promised Canadians it would be federally revenue neutral. That is not true. Research from the Library of Parliament clearly shows that the Prime Minister will take millions of dollars out of Alberta and British Columbia by charging GST on the carbon tax.
    Will the Prime Minister stop increasing taxes on Canadians, start to keep his promises, and immediately eliminate this unfair tax on a tax?
     Mr. Speaker, I was very proud the other day when all members of Parliament but one voted in favour of the Paris agreement. We are showing that Canada is committed to serious climate action. We understand that as part of any serious plan, we need to have a price on pollution.
    I would ask the party opposite if it supports putting a price on pollution, fostering the innovation we need to create good jobs and grow our economy.

  (1455)  

Employment

     Mr. Speaker, this month, young Canadians in my riding of Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley and across the country will be graduating from high school and getting ready to start the next phase of their education. Demand for skilled tradespeople is growing in our country. A job in the skilled trades is a promising career.
    Would the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour please update this House on actions our government has taken to help youth enter the skilled trades?
    Mr. Speaker, our government recognizes that an education in the skilled trades leads to good-paying jobs in our country. Earlier this year, I attended the regional Skills Canada competition event in my hometown of Thunder Bay, and just last week I was in Winnipeg for the national competition, where over 500 youth from across Canada competed in 40 events.
    Investment in the union training and innovation program, indigenous job training, and the expansion of the student loans and grants program will help young Canadians pursue their studies in the skilled trades.

[Translation]

Rail Transportation

    Mr. Speaker, in April, the Minister of Transport announced 131 new rail safety projects and handed out over $20 million in grants.
     Unfortunately, the only rail safety project submitted by the community of Lac-Mégantic was rejected out of hand by Transport Canada. The project would have trained first responders in case of a disaster, drawing on the experience gained from the tragedy of July 6, 2013. The minister had a unique opportunity, in his own department, to put words into action.
    Why did the minister fail the people of Lac-Mégantic?
    Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, we applaud the work of the Institut en culture de sécurité industrielle Mégantic. The project is being examined with great interest. It is important to train first responders in the event of a disaster. The institute in Lac-Mégantic has submitted interesting proposals, which we are currently reviewing.
    My colleague mentioned the 131 grade crossing projects. This $55-million initiative should be applauded.

[English]

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the 2017-18 Parks Canada departmental plan says it will address the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report's call to action no. 79 by expanding the presentation and commemoration of indigenous histories and cultures in Parks Canada's heritage places, but a recent Parks Canada RFP for exhibit writing does not require a focus on indigenous history or require working with or even consulting with indigenous groups.
    Will the minister withdraw the RFP and ensure that all future Parks Canada RFPs meet the spirit of the reconciliation report?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member opposite for his advocacy on behalf of parks but also with respect to indigenous peoples. There is no more important relationship than our relationship with indigenous peoples. We take very seriously our duty to accommodate and consult in accordance with our constitutional and international obligations. I will look into this matter and I commit to get back to the member as soon as possible.

[Translation]

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, the government is working to support the middle class by diversifying trade and updating existing agreements.
    The Table de concertation de Laval en condition féminine works to promote gender equality. This week, the minister and his Chilean counterpart signed a modernized agreement that includes a chapter on trade and gender equality.
    Can the parliamentary secretary tell the House why this chapter in the modernized Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement is so important?
    Mr. Speaker, Canada has just marked another milestone. We are very proud of this new chapter on gender equality in the Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement. This is a first for a G20 country.
     The new chapter acknowledges the importance of applying gender perspective to trade issues to ensure that economic growth benefits everyone and of encouraging women's participation in the market.
    That is what progressive trade means to our government.

[English]

Veterans Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, over the last nine months, the veterans affairs committee has heard gut-wrenching, heartbreaking testimony from many of our veterans who are suffering from the side effects of mefloquine. They have implored the government for medical help. Now that the surgeon general has finally shared his report on mefloquine, it affirms the testimony of these veterans by finally relegating mefloquine as a drug of last resort for our troops.
    What remediation and assistance is the government going to provide to those who were required to take mefloquine and are now suffering the consequences?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, Veterans Affairs works hard each and every day to provide veterans and their families with the care and support they need when and where they need it. Regardless of whether veterans need help from any time they have served our country, whether abroad or here at home in service of any kind, Veterans Affairs is there to answer the phone, to support, and to help them. We encourage those who need help to come forward and we will be there to assist them through any process they wish to go through with us.

[Translation]

Official Languages

    Mr. Speaker, the minister has made some interesting announcements on his defence policy, such as the one on increasing the number of women and promoting diversity. However, the minister failed to say anything about French as a language of work in the forces.
    For a francophone in the navy the language of work is English. In the special forces it is English. In the national training courses it is always English.
    When will the minister of defence and his department start respecting francophones and give them the necessary units so that they can serve their country in French?
    Mr. Speaker, I am quite surprised by the member's statement because in the riding of Saint-Jean we announced that bilingual military training would be reinstated at the military college.
    The funding for implementing this policy has already been allocated and the announcement is already bearing fruit. There are more than 70 new candidates in the college courses because they know that there will be bilingual university training at the Royal Military College Saint-Jean.
    Mr. Speaker, it is great that we are talking about training, but I am talking about working and operational units. From my experience in my career, Ottawa is tone deaf when it comes to French in the forces.

[English]

    “If you don't understand, ask a friend.”

[Translation]

    That is something we have heard often. French deserves to have a place and must be respected. The government puts out a defence policy every 10 years and it gets updated, but there has still not been any progress. There is not a single word about French in it.
    When will the government take responsibility and give the air, land, and sea branches of the armed forces the number of French units they need?
    Mr. Speaker, it is vital for the armed forces and for the Government of Canada to have bilingual troops. That was obvious with all the flooding in Quebec. All the troops that were on the ground but one were francophones from Quebec, and I can say that this was very reassuring for all Quebeckers.

[English]

Points of Order

Oral Questions  

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, according to the Standing Orders, a member of the House cannot intentionally mislead Parliament. Sometimes it is an honest mistake and that is why I wanted to give the minister of industry a chance to correct himself.
    In a press release from Norsat on June 2, it said, “the Minister responsible for the Investment Canada Act...has served notice that there will be no order for review of the transaction under subsection 25.3(1) of the Act.”
    There is a difference between a screening and a systematic, real national security review that has to be ordered by the minister. He knows that because he is the one who chose not to order a national security review.
    I would ask you, Mr. Speaker, to look at the answers that we had from the minister, which contradict the facts, and make sure that our rights as parliamentarians to get true answers in the House are respected.
    Mr. Speaker, further to the point of order raised by my hon. colleague, I would also like to point out that the letter that was actually sent to Norsat said as follows, “there will be no order for review of the transaction under subsection 25.3(1)”, which governs national security reviews.
     Further, it is important that we get some evidence from the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness since this decision is taken only in consultation with him.

  (1505)  

[Translation]

    I thank the hon. member for Outremont for raising that question.

[English]

    I thank the hon. member for Milton for her intervention. I will consider the matter and come back to the House if necessary.

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Government Orders]

[Translation]

Cannabis Act

    The House resumed from June 7 consideration of the motion that Bill C-45, an act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the amendment.
    It being 3:05 p.m., pursuant to order made May 30, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the amendment of the member for Niagara Falls to the motion for second reading of Bill C-45.
    Call in the members.

  (1510)  

[English]

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

(Division No. 311)

YEAS

Members

Aboultaif
Albas
Albrecht
Anderson
Arnold
Barlow
Benzen
Bergen
Berthold
Bezan
Blaney (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis)
Block
Boucher
Brassard
Brown
Calkins
Carrie
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Cooper
Deltell
Doherty
Dreeshen
Eglinski
Falk
Finley
Gallant
Généreux
Genuis
Godin
Gourde
Harder
Kelly
Kent
Kmiec
Lake
Lauzon (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Liepert
Lobb
Lukiwski
MacKenzie
Maguire
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
Miller (Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound)
Motz
Nicholson
Paul-Hus
Poilievre
Raitt
Rayes
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Saroya
Schmale
Shields
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Stubbs
Sweet
Tilson
Trost
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Viersen
Wagantall
Warawa
Warkentin
Watts
Waugh
Webber
Wong
Yurdiga
Zimmer

Total: -- 77

NAYS

Members

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

Total: -- 199

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the amendment defeated.

[Translation]

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

  (1520)  

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

(Division No. 312)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 200

NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Albas
Albrecht
Anderson
Arnold
Barlow
Benzen
Bergen
Berthold
Bezan
Blaney (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis)
Block
Boucher
Brassard
Brown
Calkins
Carrie
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Cooper
Deltell
Doherty
Dreeshen
Eglinski
Falk
Finley
Gallant
Généreux
Genuis
Godin
Gourde
Harder
Kelly
Kent
Kmiec
Lake
Lauzon (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Liepert
Lobb
Lukiwski
MacKenzie
Maguire
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
Miller (Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound)
Motz
Nicholson
Paul-Hus
Poilievre
Raitt
Rayes
Rempel
Richards
Saroya
Schmale
Shields
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Stubbs
Sweet
Tilson
Trost
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Viersen
Wagantall
Warawa
Warkentin
Watts
Waugh
Webber
Wong
Yurdiga
Zimmer

Total: -- 76

PAIRED

Nil

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

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

[English]

Business of the House

[Business of the House]
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the government House leader if she could please tell us what business the House will be doing this week and next week. I recognize the days are long and a lot of different bills are crammed into each day. I know a lot is going on.
     With that in mind, I want to remind her, and I believe I speak on behalf of the NDP as well, that we would be interested in working together with the government if the Liberals are looking at making any changes to the Standing Orders. If that were to come forward before we rise, I know it would be good for all of us if we could work together on that.

  (1525)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, this afternoon, we will continue the debate we began this morning on the NDP opposition day motion.
    This evening, we will return to Bill C-24, an act to amend the Salaries Act and to make a consequential amendment to the Financial Administration Act. Following that, we will begin second reading of Bill C-50 on political financing.
    Tomorrow will be dedicated to debating Bill C-44 on the budget.

[English]

    As for next week, our hope is to make progress on a number of bills, including Bill C-6 concerning citizenship; Bill C-50 respecting political financing; Bill C-49, transportation modernization; and Bill S-3, amendments to the Indian Act.
     Finally, next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday shall be allotted days.
    As the member very well knows, I always look forward to working with all members. I look forward to continuing our conversation.

Privilege

Alleged Premature Disclosure of Contents of Bill C-49—Speaker's Ruling  

[Speaker's Ruling]
    I am now prepared to rule on the question of privilege raised on May 17, by the hon. member for Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek concerning the alleged premature disclosure of the contents of Bill C-49, an act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and other acts respecting transportation and to make related and consequential amendments to other acts.

[Translation]

     I would like to thank the hon. member for Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek for having raised this matter, as well as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and the hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona for their submissions.

[English]

    In raising this question of privilege, the member for Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek explained that the media had made public specific details contained in Bill C-49 before it was introduced in the House. By drawing comparisons between what was revealed in several news reports from Monday, May 15 and the contents of the bill which was introduced in the House on Tuesday, May 16, she alleged that the required confidentiality before the unveiling of the legislation in the House was simply not respected and members' privileges were breached as a result.
     The member stated her belief that this was not due to a simple accidental leak but, rather, was the result of a systemic advance briefing of the media.

[Translation]

     For his part, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Government House Leader contended that at no time had the government prematurely divulged any details of Bill C-49; rather, it had simply held extensive consultations on the review of the Canada Transportation Act, as is the government’s prerogative. He added that the minister and his staff were clearly aware of the need for confidentiality, declining to comment on any specifics of the bill when asked by the media.

[English]

    The right of the House to first access to legislation is one of our oldest conventions. It does and must, however, coexist with the need of governments to consult widely, with the public and stakeholders alike, on issues and policies in the preparation of legislation. Speaker Parent explained on February 21, 2000, at page 3767 of Debates:
     Although the members of the House should always be the first ones to examine legislation after it has been introduced and read the first time, this rule must be balanced against the need for the government to consult both experts and the public when developing its legislative proposals.

[Translation]

    When ruling on a similar matter on November 1, 2006, Speaker Milliken concluded that the government had not divulged confidential information on the bill, nor the bill itself, but rather had engaged in consultations prior to finalizing the legislation in question. At the same time, he explained at page 4540 of the House of Commons Debates:
    The key procedural point...is that once a bill has been placed on notice, it must remain confidential until introduced in the House.
    In acknowledging this important nuance, he made room for both consultation and confidentiality, but also saw the distinction between the two.

  (1530)  

[English]

    In the case before us, the Chair is asked to determine if the level of detail reported upon by various media outlets in advance of the tabling in the House of Bill C-49 constitutes sufficient proof of a leak of the contents of this bill, and thus constitutes a prima facie breach of the member's privileges. In examining the bill, and noting the obvious similarities to the information cited in the media, the Chair can appreciate the seriousness of the matter raised.

[Translation]

    When ruling on a similar question of privilege on April 19, 2016, I found a prima facie case of privilege in relation to the premature disclosure of Bill C-14, an act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other acts (medical assistance in dying). In that particular case, the government had acknowledged the premature disclosure of the bill while assuring the House that this had not been authorized and would not happen again. In other words, the facts were undisputed.

[English]

    That is not the case with the situation before us. The parliamentary secretary has assured the House that the government did not share the bill before it was introduced in the House but conceded that extensive consultations were conducted. Nor is the Chair confronted with a situation where a formal briefing session was provided to the media but not to members.
    Finally, it is a long established practice to take members at their word, and the Chair, in view of this particular set of circumstances, is prepared to accept the explanation of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.
    In the absence of evidence that members have been prevented from conducting their parliamentary functions due to the premature release of the bill itself, I cannot find that a prima facie case of privilege exists in this case.

Privilege

Statements by Members  

[Privilege]
    Mr. Speaker, [Member spoke in Cree]
    [English]
    I rise on a point of privilege of prima facie.
    [Member spoke in Cree and provided the following translation:]
    I am proud to be here.
    [English]
    On May 4, 2017, I rose in the House of Commons to speak on important issues of violence being committed against indigenous women. In order to make a larger impact, it was felt that it would be appropriate to speak in nehiyo, or the Cree language. Even though I had provided documentation to the translation and interpretative services 48 hours prior to my speaking on May 4, 2017, they were unable to provide a time-appropriate translation during members' statements under Standing Order 31.
    It is my belief that my parliamentary privileges have been violated because I could not be understood by my fellow parliamentarians and Canadians viewing the proceedings, thus negating the debate and point that I wished to make. I was effectively silenced, and even though I had the floor and had been duly recognized, my speech was not translated, rendering me silent and thus violating the parliamentary privileges of all MPs present in this chamber. Imagine for an instance if a French Canadian spoke in the House but no translation and interpretative services were provided.
    It is is my belief that parliamentarians have a constitutionally protected right to use indigenous languages in Parliament. Subsection 35(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982 states:
    The existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed.
    Do language rights fall within these provisions?
    Professor Karen Drake has written about indigenous language rights in Canada as pre-existing the Canadian state, and these rights have not been extinguished and are still present.
    Others, like David Leitch and Lorena Fontaine, have been working towards launching a constitutional challenge, arguing that under subsection 35(1), the federal government has not only a negative obligation not to stifle aboriginal languages but a positive obligation to provide the resources necessary to revitalize those languages.
    The latter claim is perhaps the most challenging, while the former is more straightforward. Though the test for establishing an aboriginal right under subsection 35(1) has ballooned into a labyrinth of steps, sub-steps, and sub-sub-steps, the core of the test has remained relatively consistent since the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Van der Peet:
...in order to be an aboriginal right an activity must be an element of a practice, custom or tradition integral to the distinctive culture of the aboriginal group claiming the right.
    Many, including me, argue that indigenous languages easily meet this test. As Leitch puts it, “there is no more distinguishing feature of most cultures than their languages.”
    Other arguments also focus on the inherent connection between language and culture, as illustrated by the way in which indigenous languages structure indigenous knowledge.
    An additional nuance can be added to this argument. The Supreme Court of Canada's jurisprudence recognizes that the practices, customs, and traditions protected by subsection 35(1) include the laws of aboriginal peoples.
    At least some aboriginal languages reflect aboriginal laws. As Doris Pratt and Harry Bone explain:
    Our languages are sacred gifts, given to us by the Creator. They carry our way of life, our views of the world, our history, our laws and they bind us to each other.
    Thus, at least some aboriginal languages are integral to their respective cultures, not merely insofar as to reflect those cultures, but also insofar as they reflect the laws that are included within the practices, customs, and traditions protected by subsection 35(1).
    The analysis thus far may support a negative right to be free from government laws prohibiting aboriginal peoples from speaking aboriginal languages, pursuant to subsection 35(1) and subsection 52(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982.
    However, the real issue is whether aboriginal peoples have the right to use their own languages at public expense; in other words, whether governments have a positive obligation to provide aboriginal peoples with government services in aboriginal languages.
    Commentators have answered this question in the affirmative by appealing to the Supreme Court's jurisprudence on Canada's official languages.
    According to the majority in R. v. Beaulac, 1999:
     Language rights are not negative rights, or passive rights; they can only be enjoyed if the means are provided.
    Additional arguments in support of a positive language right can be deduced from the section 35 jurisprudence itself. The Supreme Court has emphasized that the purpose of section 35 is to promote reconciliation between aboriginal peoples and non-aboriginal peoples in Canada. Section 35 should be applied and interpreted in the light of this purpose.

  (1535)  

    After spending six years gathering 6,750 statements from residential school survivors and others, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada concluded that reconciliation requires the preservation and revitalization of aboriginal languages, and it issued numerous calls to action on the topic, one of which states:
    The federal government has a responsibility to provide sufficient funds for Aboriginal-language revitalization and preservation.
     Language figures prominently in the commission's analysis because the very purpose of the residential school system was the destruction of indigenous cultures and language for the sake of assimilating indigenous peoples into a non-indigenous culture. Children were prohibited from speaking in indigenous languages both inside and outside the classroom. As Leitch notes, no other cultural group in Canada has been subject to a state-sponsored attempt to eradicate its language. Thus, the case for a positive obligation on governments in this context is compelling. The federal government took active steps to destroy aboriginal languages, and so reconciliation requires that it take active steps to revitalize these languages.
    Parliament is to be the representative of the people of Canada and to uphold the highest principles. Today, the Government of Canada has stated it supports the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, UNDRIP, without reservation. Article 13 of UNDRIP states, “Indigenous peoples have the right to revitalize...and transmit to future generations their...languages”, and “[s]tates shall take effective measures to ensure this right is protected...”.
    In December of 2016, the Prime Minister stated he was ready to introduce an aboriginal languages act. While there are no laws or rules specifically protecting or governing the use of indigenous languages here in Parliament, it is my belief that, since aboriginal rights are pre-existing, they should be considered a right. While that has not been exercised or supported, it is nonetheless still existing. Cree, because it is my indigenous language, nehiyo, should be considered an official language in the House of Commons. Standing Order 1 states:
    In all cases not provided for hereinafter, or by other Order of the House, procedural questions shall be decided by the Speaker or Chair of Committees of the Whole, whose decisions shall be based on the usages, forms, customs and precedents of the House of Commons of Canada and on parliamentary tradition in Canada and other jurisdictions, so far as they may be applicable to the House.
    The use of indigenous languages like Cree is not foreign to Canada. The parliamentary tradition has multiple examples, and I would like to enumerate a few other examples of the use of indigenous languages in legislatures in Canada. For instance, in the most recent example, the Senate of Canada provides interpretation and translation services in Inuktitut for Inuit senators. This has been under the visionary leadership of the Hon. Charlie Watt and the Hon. Serge Joyal.
    In addition, there are multiple other examples, such as the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories, where indigenous languages have the opportunity for interpretation services. In Manitoba, the hon. James McKay was on the Assiniboia council under President Louis Riel, where Michif, Cree, French, English, and Gaelic languages were used. This legislative assembly was integral to the entry of the Red River, modern-day Manitoba, into Confederation. An example of the openness of the time is the Hon. James McKay. He was an indigenous Métis man of Scottish origin, from a Cree nehiyo mother, and spoke many different languages, including Cree, in official proceedings of the assemblies where he sat.
    In an official history prepared by the Manitoba legislature, it is recorded that indigenous languages were used in official proceedings. James McKay was a member of the Legislative Council of Manitoba, the Manitoba upper chamber, and served as its speaker until 1874. He was then elected to the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba. McKay is known to be very proud of his indigenous heritage and used indigenous languages frequently. He was also a member of the North-West Council. In the second session of the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia, from April 26 to May 9, when discussing the hay privilege, James McKay addressed the assembly in the Cree neyiho language.
    I hope these usages, customs, forms, and precedents can be considered as you, Mr. Speaker, craft a just and equitable response to my question of privilege concerning the translation, interpretation, and use of Canada's original languages in the people's chamber, the House of Commons. I am looking for not only the right to use my indigenous language of nehiyo Cree in the proceedings of this House, but that Parliament provide minimal resources so I may participate fully with other members of the chamber in all activities of the House of Commons, and that all other members of the House may participate and interact fully with me in the chamber.
    Tapwe akwa khitwam.

  (1540)  

    I thank the hon. member for Winnipeg Centre for raising his question of privilege, and I will come back to the House with a ruling in due course.

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion--Nuclear Disarmament  

    The House resumed consideration of the motion.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Fredericton.
    I want to read the very first part of the motion the NDP has put forward:
    That the House:
(a) recognize the catastrophic humanitarian consequences that would result from any use of nuclear weapons, and recognize those consequences transcend national borders and pose grave implications for human survival, the environment, socioeconomic development, the global economy, food security, and for the health of future generations;
    Let there be no doubt of the consequences, and we have seen this take place. It was not that long ago, during World War II, when communities such as Nagasaki, Japan, experienced it first-hand, and the horrific results of what had taken place. Weapons of mass destruction have always been a very real and tangible concern.
    I had the opportunity to serve in the Canadian Forces for just over three years, and we would participate in parades. This would be in the early or mid-1980s, and we would have a good number of veterans in the parades who had participated and were engaged in World War II. I recall that as we would go to the Legion afterward or as we were concluding the march, there would be many comments and stories about the horrors of war. Let there be no doubt about how horrific it was.
    There is no glory in being on that field, being shot at, having bombs dropped out of the skies, and the devastation that follows. I do not think there is anyone in a society who values life who sees war as a positive thing. We would like to be living in a society where war is nonexistent, but unfortunately that is not the reality of today. Unfortunately, there are countries at war. There are different sectors at war for a multitude of different reasons.
     At the end of the day, we as legislators in the House of Commons in Canada have a role to play. W must demonstrate strong leadership on that world stage, something of which we should all be very proud. As a country of 36 million people, Canada carries a great deal of weight at the international level. We do have a considerable amount of influence.
    This is a government that is not scared to use that influence to be connected with the superpowers, or those countries that do have access to nuclear weaponry. From what I understand, there are nine countries that were listed off earlier: North Korea, Pakistan, Israel, India, China, France, United Kingdom, Russia, and the United States. There are thousands of weapons of a nuclear nature out there that would cause devastation if in fact they were ever used.
     When I think of the nuclear weapons and the potential devastation that could be caused, I like to believe that it is a deterrent that does keep the world safe. I would like to think that there will be a point in time when they will not be necessary. It concerns me at times when we hear from some people who would say, “We can get rid of them, we just need those good countries to disarm.” If all the so-called good countries were to disarm, it would be wrong to give an impression that we would have a safer world. Nothing could be further from the truth. At the end of the day, we need to have that balance.

  (1545)  

    I was not quite born yet when we had the Cuban missile crisis back in 1962, but I have seen the videos and documentaries. This is a very serious issue. Presidents of the U.S. and other world leaders, and countries like Canada, have been put into positions where we need to contribute our capable and able minds to address this issue. We all hope and pray, and give thought to what we can do to prevent it from happening.
    I look at what we have been able to accomplish in a relatively short time span. One of the things that is most encouraging is with regard to the fissile material cut-off treaty. That is definitely noteworthy, and members need to be aware of it. It was Canada that led the initiative that would ban the production of fissile material that provides nuclear weapons with their explosive power. While the FMCT negotiations have stalled for almost 20 years, last fall Canada led with a resolution at the UN, with co-sponsors Germany and Netherlands, that created a high level FMCT expert preparatory group aimed at elaborating the elements of a future treaty. Our resolution was supported by 159 countries. This was a historic development. Canada is chairing the process, and most states possessing nuclear weapons will participate.
     This is where we see a significant difference. With what the NDP is proposing, not one nuclear state is getting engaged with it. Here, under this process, the Government of Canada is working with two other nations, pushing and getting others onside. It is something that is tangible. It is happening, and it brings people, in particular some of those who have nuclear arsenals, to the table. That is very encouraging and positive.
    I started off by saying, as a nation of 36 million people, and the population of the world at six billion-plus and growing rapidly, we carry a great deal of influence. That was demonstrated last fall.
    There are other things we have done as government. I made reference to the importance of weapons of mass destruction. Global Affairs works to prevent weapons of mass destruction, and has a proclamation to prevent WMD terrorism through the weapons of mass destruction threat reduction program. Not only is it words, there is a commitment of $73 million this year. This is tangible and taking place. Our government not only talks about the issue, but we are walking, and in fact leading in many ways.
    This is an issue that has been debated in the chamber in the past. It has been debated within our own party. It has been debated and discussed among many of our constituents. We all care about future peace throughout the world. We all like to believe we are taking strides toward it. There will be significant issues in the years ahead that we will need to overcome.

  (1550)  

    What is important is that we continue, as the Minister of Foreign Affairs says, to look at our partners in the world, co-operate and work with our partners, recognizing that Canada does have a role as a middle power, and we can have a significant impact, something that has been clearly demonstrated by this government in the last year alone.
    Mr. Speaker, the member across the way mentioned programs to reduce the spread of weapons of mass destruction. Would he not consider nuclear warheads as the very definition of a weapon of mass destruction?

  (1555)  

    Mr. Speaker, that virtually goes without saying. When we look at the couple of incidents, and the impact on the world that took place during World War II, it was complete devastation. Communities were literally destroyed. People are living today as a direct result of all sorts of issues, whether it is psychological or physical. It has killed so many.
    Weapons of mass destruction are not just nuclear. We need to recognize that, because as much as we want to diminish the number of nuclear arsenals out there, let us not just focus on that. There are other areas where weapons are used for mass destruction, and Canada, much like it does on the nuclear side, can play a leadership role on other instruments of war that cause mass destruction.
    I am very proud, for example, of what Lloyd Axworthy and Jean Chrétien, the former Prime Minister, did on the land mine treaty. These are initiatives that really make a difference.
    In many ways the NDP will dream about things. They will say, “This is what we want”, but the reality is that we cannot necessarily have things the way we might ideally want to see them overnight. It takes time. It means working with the many different world partners. As I say, it was not easy, but Canada led 159 nations, bringing that group together to assist in dealing with issues related to nuclear weaponry.
    Mr. Speaker, I completely support the supply day motion. I first raised this issue in the House on October 25, 2016, that these negotiations were to begin, and that Canada should play a leadership role. I raised it again on February 22, 2017. I am very concerned that Canada is not there.
    I was one of 900 recipients of the Order of Canada who have asked that Canada play a leadership role in these negotiations, so I put it to the hon. member. He is absolutely right that Canada played a lead role in the effort to get rid of land mines, and we undertook those negotiations knowing that both countries that used land mines the most were not at the table.
    The United States and Russia were not at the table. They plan to modernize their nuclear weapons regime. I was a watcher during the Cuban missile crisis. I remember it. We do not want our children to have nuclear nightmares. We must negotiate at the UN for nuclear disarmament. I hope the Liberals will reconsider.
    Mr. Speaker, the most important thing I can do in response to the member is to assure the leader we have a government that is, in fact, progressing and moving forward on the issue, as I have indicated. Canada led 159 countries in bringing forward a UN resolution that brings nuclear powers to the table to work pragmatically toward disarmament through a fissile material cut-off treaty. The fissile material is the explosive stuff. That is what causes the reactions. This is Canada playing a leadership role on the important file where we have nuclear power states at the table with us. We can all be proud of that fact.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to focus on the importance of Canada's role in multilateral institutions, but I will begin by being clear. Nuclear disarmament is our goal, and we are taking important steps to achieve it. It is this government's view that we want a world free of nuclear weapons for our children and grandchildren.
    In 2016, for the first time ever, under our government, Canada rallied 159 states, including states with nuclear weapons, which all supported and passed a resolution calling for a fissile material cut-off treaty, a substantive step toward global disarmament. This is a concrete step toward the phasing-out of nuclear weapons, and crucially it included both nuclear and non-nuclear countries.

[Translation]

    The world is evolving at an incredible pace and rapid innovation has become a global imperative.
     Global interconnectedness and interdependence mean that no country can face the world’s challenges or contribute to the promotion of international opportunities alone. Given that climate change knows no borders, and neither do pandemics, cashflows, the movements of migrants and refugees, terrorism or organized crime, the countries of the world need to come together to manage their joint responsibilities and take the necessary collective action to work toward a more peaceful world that is more prosperous and sustainable.
     Multilateral institutions, both at the international and regional levels, are the forums that will allow us to come together to determine the immediate actions to be taken and to pave the way to the future.
     Canada is proud of its history and its contributions to multilateralism, as can be seen in our involvement in multilateral organizations such as the United Nations, the G7, the G20, the Francophonie and the Commonwealth, NATO, the Organization of American States, APEC, the WTO, the Arctic Council and international financial institutions. Evolving global dynamics foster a growing interest in leadership that is based on the values espoused by Canada.
     At the recent G7 meetings in Italy, the Prime Minister reaffirmed Canada’s national and international commitments and urged member states to work toward a consensus on climate change, rules-based multilateral trade and the benefits of a properly managed immigration system.
     Next year, Charlevoix, Quebec will play host to the world's most influential political leaders, so they can discuss world issues that matter most to Canadians. Drawing inspiration from Italy's presidency in 2017, Canada will use the event as a platform to promote our priorities, which are to build a solid middle class, advance the cause of gender equality, fight climate change and promote diversity and inclusion.
    Each multilateral forum gives Canada the chance to make its presence felt in the world. Ahead of our G7 presidency and thanks to our campaign to get a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for the 2021-2022 mandate, we have a unique opportunity to highlight Canada's value proposition, which is to be a fair, inclusive, innovative and dynamic unifying force within multilateral institutions and defend fundamental principles. We have a lot to offer and a lot on which to draw.

  (1600)  

    When we think of international co-operation, the United Nations immediately comes to mind. Whether it is a question of establishing global health standards, maintaining peace and security, stabilizing financial markets, enforcing aviation rules, standing up for human rights, sharing reliable meteorological and climate data, helping refugees, regulating the use of outer space for peaceful purposes, taking action to address climate change or increase agricultural capabilities, the United Nations has a significant impact on the lives of ordinary people around the world every single day.
    Canada is proud to be a long-time supporter of the United Nations, and this includes being one of its founding members in 1945 and one of its major financial contributors. With its 193 member states, the United Nations is the most inclusive and legitimate forum for establishing global standards, intervening on global issues, and promoting global action.
    The key sustainable development goals of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development illustrate how the United Nations can convince the entire world to work together towards a common goal.
    Canada’s increased commitment to international human rights has not gone unnoticed. The promotion and protection of human rights is an integral part of Canada’s constructive engagement in the world. We see human rights as universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated. There is a growing need for Canadian leadership on issues such as respect for diversity and the rights of girls and women.
    Moreover, Canada works with other countries to establish new multilateral coalitions that are looking to adopt innovative approaches on emerging issues. For example, Canada is one of the founding members of the Freedom Online Coalition, a multilateral coalition of 30 governments whose objective is to increase awareness on human rights online and Internet freedom, as well as establishing standards in this respect.
    Canada is also a member of the Community of Democracies, another multilateral coalition of 30 countries dedicated to strengthening democratic institutions and associated standards. In addition, Canada will co-chair the Equal Rights Coalition, a new international forum that advocates for the fundamental rights of LGBTQ2 people.

  (1605)  

[English]

    Clearly, there are growing opportunities for Canadian leadership at multilateral tables. To take advantage of them, we need to continue to demonstrate innovative, dynamic, and timely thought leadership.
    Our view is that the next step toward a world free of nuclear weapons is the negotiation of a fissile material cut-off treaty. This is an initiative led by Canada that would ban the production of fissile material. Last fall, Canada led a historic UN resolution, with co-sponsors Germany and Netherlands, that created a high-level FMCT expert preparatory group aimed at elaborating elements of a future treaty. This was supported by 159 countries in the UN General Assembly.
    To close, ultimately Canada believes that we are one people sharing one planet and that our collective peace and prosperity can only be achieved through diverse and meaningful partnerships. When it comes to a ban on nuclear weapons and all other matters, we look toward our multilateral allies to help us in this effort. In building a better world, we know that multilateralism recognizes that we are stronger when we stand together.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I listened to my colleague with interest. When it comes to the Liberal government, there is a lot of talk, but little action. My colleague speaks about a rules-based multilateral system. I have two questions for him.
    First of all, is my colleague aware that article VI of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, of which Canada is part, requires that Canada participate in good faith negotiations on nuclear disarmament? It would follow, then, that Canada is in breach of a convention it has ratified.
    There has been a lot of rhetoric about international co-operation, and the government claims to very proud of Canada's initiative. However, while 130 other countries are ready to work on the convention, yesterday, the Prime Minister stated that what they were doing was useless. Maybe he said that because this is not a Canadian initiative?
    Does my colleague believe that these 130 countries will want to do the government any favours when the time comes to vote for a seat on the UN Security Council?

  (1610)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my honourable NDP counterpart. Like me, she strongly supports Canada’s leadership within multilateral institutions.
    The fissile material cut-off treaty is one example of our leadership within multilateral organizations; Canada brought together all 159 states to support and adopt the resolution establishing the treaty.
    This is a concrete example of Canada assuming a leadership role as arbiter of peace; indeed, Canada never stops actively pursuing leadership roles on the international stage.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, no debate takes place outside of a context, and I want to paint a picture of the context in which this debate does take place.
    As an example, the Russians are refurbishing their nuclear capabilities with both bombers and missiles, and we are not even able to get them to co-operate on Syria. Similarly, China at the present time is not a particular nuclear threat, but it cannot seem to get its client state, North Korea, to back off on literally threatening the world with nuclear weapons. That is the context in which this debate takes place.
    I would be interested in the hon. member's comments on, effectively, the requirement to keep up mutually assured destruction, MAD, while these negotiations take place so that we can, as a community of nations, get ourselves out of this very dangerous situation.