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42nd PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 072

CONTENTS

Tuesday, June 14, 2016




House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 148 
l
NUMBER 072 
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1st SESSION 
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42nd PARLIAMENT 

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Speaker: The Honourable Geoff Regan

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer



ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1005)  

[Translation]

Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner

    Pursuant to paragraph 90(1)(a) 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 Code for members of the House of Commons for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2016.

[English]

    Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(a), this document is deemed to have been permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House affairs.

[Translation]

Committees of the House

Citizenship and Immigration 

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration entitled “Supplementary Estimates (A) 2016-17”.

[English]

Modernizing Access to Product Information Act

     She said: Mr. Speaker, this private member's bill would modernize the Food and Drugs Act so that regulations may be made with respect to the addition of smart phone code providing prescribed mandatory information and supplementary product information to the label of all foods, drugs, cosmetics, devices, and therapeutic products.
    It is my hope that the use of smart phone code will provide consumers with an easy way to read information more readily and assist them in their daily lives.

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

[Translation]

Food and Drugs Act

    He said: Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to give first reading of my private member's bill. The purpose of my bill is straightforward. It would make labelling of genetically modified foods mandatory in Canada.

[English]

    To do that, I propose to amend the Food and Drugs Act to prevent any person from selling any food that is genetically modified, unless its label contains the information prescribed by regulations.

[Translation]

    I hope to have the support of a majority of the members in the House because, as has been shown many times, there is tremendous support for this among Canadians.

[English]

    I look forward to further debate in this House.

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

Canada Labour Code

    She said: Mr. Speaker, I am honoured today to introduce a bill that was tabled in the previous Parliament by my colleague the member for Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, and I thank my colleague from Jonquière for seconding the bill.
    This bill would require employers to report information about all accidents, occupational disease, and other hazardous occurrences known by the employer to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour. The minister would be required to maintain a registry containing all of that information, and to make that information available to employees—past, present, and potential—for examination.
    Today, I would like to pay tribute to the courageous advocacy of people like the late Howard Willems, who was exposed to asbestos as part of his job as a food inspector in Saskatchewan for the Canadian government. Thanks to Howard, the Saskatchewan government established a mandatory asbestos registry so that workers would know the danger, protect themselves, and be able to come home safe.
    This bill would help inform and protect workers so that many more can come home safe at the end of their work day. I hope my colleagues on all sides of the House will support these important measures for workers all across Canada.

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

  (1010)  

Department of Health Act

     He said: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to introduce an important bill to Parliament. It is legislation that would establish a universal pharmacare program for Canadians.
    I would like to thank the hon. member for Windsor West for seconding this bill.
    This bill is a result of the vision of two bright high school students from my riding of Vancouver Kingsway: Judy Gong from Gladstone Secondary and Mabel Huang from Windermere Secondary.
    Judy and Mabel are this year's winners of my annual Create Your Canada contest, held in high schools across Vancouver Kingsway. Judy and Mabel proposed to build on Tommy Douglas' dream of one day delivering to Canadians universal prescription drug coverage, the second stage of public health care.
    I hope that all parliamentarians will help realize their aspiration and idealism to make Canada a healthier and better place for everyone.

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

Petitions

Palliative Care  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to rise in the House today to present a petition from my constituents about palliative care.
    The petitioners request the House of Commons and Parliament to specifically identify hospice palliative care as a defined medical service covered under the Canada Health Act, so that provincial and territorial governments will be entitled to funds under the Canada health transfer system to be used to provide accessible and available hospice palliative care for all residents of Canada in their respective provinces and territories.

Arva Flour Mill  

    Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a privilege to present this particular petition regarding the Arva Flour Mill, located in Middlesex County in the Municipality of Middlesex Centre.
    The mill, which is family owned, has operated a milling operation for 197 years, and it has done that without a single accident. However, the future of the Arva Flour Mill has been put into question following a Canada Labour Code inspection, resulting in certain compliance orders, which the mill cannot afford to meet, nor logistically meet.
    The petitioners understand the significance of workplace safety. Therefore, they call upon the government to recognize the Arva Flour Mill as an important historical and tourism destination; and second, that as the oldest operating flour mill in Canada, it would get an exemption from the Canada Labour Code.

Waterton Lakes National Park  

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today with a petition signed by more than 1,000 Albertans regarding the proposed location of the new visitor centre in Waterton Lakes National Park.
    The petitioners support a new visitor centre in Waterton Lakes National Park, but they disagree with the proposed location and are looking for additional consultation from the Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

[Translation]

Energy East Pipeline   

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to stand today to present an electronic petition signed by 16,822 people.
     The petition calls on the House to respect the wishes of Quebeckers and the National Assembly of Quebec, refrain from turning Quebec into an oil sands superhighway, respect Quebec's environmental jurisdiction, and put an end to TransCanada's energy east pipeline. Quebeckers should decide what happens within Quebec’s borders.
    This is an informed environmental choice. It is a choice for society to make.
    More signatures on paper will be arriving in the coming days. Over 25,000 Quebeckers will have expressed their opposition to the project in four months.

  (1015)  

[English]

Killer Whales  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present two petitions to the House. The first petition is an e-petition, which is allowed in our new process.
     Hundreds of people have signed this petition. They are concerned about the fate of the southern resident killer whale population of the Salish Sea. These animals are extremely endangered. They face pollution and they face being struck by vessels. There is still the threat to the availability of their major food, the Chinook salmon; and they are harassed by vessels.
    The petitioners call upon the House of Commons to call for the urgent protection of the southern resident killer whale population, particularly by ensuring that the physical distance between the boats that watch them and the whales themselves is at least 200 metres and not the current 100 metres.

Falun Gong  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition contains hundreds of signatures of people in Toronto and other communities within Ontario, primarily, and it calls for the protection of practitioners of falun dafa and falun gong.
    The petitioners call on the Government of Canada to make it clear to the People's Republic of China that it is unacceptable to harass and to imprison these individuals. The most horrific of all charges is organ transplantation from this population of peaceful practitioners of falun dafa and falun gong.

Palliative Care  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present two petitions to the House of Commons today, the first of which comes from constituents in Sheet Harbour and elsewhere along the eastern shore. It is identical in content to that presented by my colleague from Burlington earlier this morning.
    The petitioners call upon the House of Commons to specifically identify hospice palliative care as a defined medical service covered under the Canada Health Act so that provincial and territorial governments will be entitled to funds under the Canada health transfer system to be used to provide accessible and available hospice palliative care for all residents of Canada in their respective provinces and territories.

Poverty  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition is from the very engaged communities of Pictou and River John.
    The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to work with the provinces and territories to develop an anti-poverty strategy based on human rights, reducing homelessness, and providing the basic needs for Canadians.
    The cost of dealing with homelessness and poverty is far less than the social and economic cost of having poverty in our communities.

Palliative Care  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition to the House this morning signed by a group of my constituents from a local church in Winnipeg North.
    Many Canadians appreciate our health care system. The petitioners call upon the House of Commons to identify hospice palliative care as a defined medical service covered under the Canada Health Act so that provincial and territorial governments will be entitled to funds under the Canada Health Act.
    It is with pleasure that I table this petition today.

Questions on the Order Paper

     Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 143 and 183.

[Text]

Question No. 143--
Mr. Scott Reid:
     With regard to electoral reform for the period between October 19, 2015, and April 22, 2016: (a) what individuals and organizations were consulted by, or provided submissions to, the office of the Minister of Democratic Institutions, broken down by date, including, (i) the name of the individual, (ii) the organization represented by the individual, (iii) the organization consulted, if the names of the individuals being consulted are not known or available, (iv) the location or method of the consultation, (v) the specific subject matter of the consultation; (b) with respect to the eight principles to guide electoral reform, (i) what process was used to establish the principles, (ii) what instructions were given by the Minister of Democratic Institutions regarding the process in (b)(i), (iii) what instructions were given by any other minister for the process in (b)(i), (iv) what individuals and organizations were consulted to inform the principles in (b)(i), if different than information provided in (a), (v) what are the details of any research undertaken to contribute to the principles, (vi) what submissions were received, if any, by the office of the Minister of Democratic Institutions from sources outside the government, including the identity of the source of the submission, the date the submission was received, and the title or topic of the submission; (c) have any Memorandums to Cabinet (MC) or any Ministerial Recommendations (MR) been signed by the Minister of Democratic Institutions; (d) if (c) is answered in the affirmative, (i) what was the date each MC or MR was signed, (ii) what was the topic of each MC or MR; (e) what were the itemized total expenses incurred for public opinion research, broken down by contract, including for each, (i) the date ordered, (ii) the date delivered, (iii) the vendor; (f) what were the itemized total expenses incurred by the office of the Minister of Democratic Institutions for consultations, broken down by type, including, (i) the date of the expense, (ii) the person who incurred the expense, (iii) the purpose for the expense; (g) what were the itemized total expenses incurred by the office of the Minister of Democratic Institutions for travel related to consultations, broken down by type, including, (i) the date of the expense, (ii) the person who incurred the expense, (iii) the purpose for the expense; (h) what were the itemized total expenses incurred by the Privy Council Office, excluding those incurred by the office of the Minister, for consultations, broken down by type, including, (i) the date of the expense, (ii) the person who incurred the expense, (iii) the purpose for the expense; and (i) what were the itemized total expenses incurred by the Privy Council Office, excluding those incurred by the office of the Minister, for travel related to consultations, broken down by type, including, (i) the date of the expense, (ii) the person who incurred the expense, (iii) the purpose for the expense?
Mr. Mark Holland (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Democratic Institutions, Lib.):
     Mr. Speaker, with regard to part a) of the question, the Privy Council Office does not hold information regarding a formal consultation process on electoral reform between October 19, 2015, and April 22, 2016, although various meetings and discussions took place on the topic. On May 11, 2016, the Minister of Democratic Institutions announced that the government had given notice of a motion to establish a special all-party committee on electoral reform which would be directed to conduct a national engagement process that includes a comprehensive and inclusive consultation with Canadians through written submissions and online engagement tools.
    With regard to part b) of the question, on April 14, 2016, the Minister of Democratic Institutions presented a keynote address at a conference, the theme of which was “Electoral Reform Principles”. The Minister of Democratic Institutions’ remarks canvassed a number of principles to be drawn from electoral reform experiences in other jurisdictions, including Canada and abroad, which was later reported as an announcement of eight principles for electoral reform. As mentioned above, the proposed all-party committee would be directed to conduct a national engagement process that includes a comprehensive and inclusive consultation with Canadians through written submissions and online engagement tools and to consider five principles in conducting its work.
    With regard to parts c) and d) of the question, in processing parliamentary returns, the government applies the Privacy Act and the principles set out in the Access to Information Act, and this information has been withheld on the grounds that it constitutes cabinet confidences.
     With regard to parts e) through i) of the question, PCO did not incur any costs related to public opinion research or consultations on electoral reform from October 19, 2015, to April 22, 2016.
Question No. 183--
Hon. Michelle Rempel:
     With regard to the government's refugee initiative: (a) what is the total number of private sponsor groups who applied to sponsor a Syrian refugee family or individual from October 21, 2015, to February 29, 2016, broken down by outcome (i) approved, (ii) refused, (iii) withdrawn; (b) what is the total number of approved applications which have not yet met the stage of transporting the sponsored family or individual to Canada; (c) of the applications identified in (b), what is the anticipated timeline for arrival of these families; and (d) what is the total limit or cap imposed on the number of private sponsorship of Syrian refugees within the original 25,000 goal?
Hon. John McCallum (Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, insofar as Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, IRCC, is concerned, regarding part (a) of the question, 254 groups made sponsorship applications between October 21, 2015, and February 29, 2016, for 10,559 persons where: (i) the total number of persons whose applications were approved was 10,494; (ii) the total number of persons whose applications were refused was five; and (iii) the total number of persons whose applications were withdrawn was 60.
    In response to part (b) of the question, 812 persons have been approved but have not had a notice of arrival transmission indicating pending travel in the next 10 days.
    Regarding part (c), once the visa has been issued, the International Organization for Migration is responsible for arranging travel to Canada. Most applicants are contacted within three months of visa issuance to make travel plans. Applicants may choose to delay further if they have personal affairs to handle, for example, arranging the care of a relative, or if they are waiting for other family members with applications still in process who seek to travel at the same time.
     In response to part (d), no total limit or cap was imposed on the number of applications that could be submitted to privately sponsor Syrian refugees within the original 25,000 goal. Applications were processed for both government-supported and privately sponsored Syrian refugees as they were received. Individuals were resettled to Canada once their applications were approved and they were prepared to travel to Canada.

[English]

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns

    Mr. Speaker, if Question Nos. 119 to 122, 124, 125, 128, 132 to 137, 139, 141, 142, 145, 147 to 149, 152 to 157, 159 to 162, 164 to 169, 171, 172, 176, 178, 179, 181, 182, and 184 could be made orders for return, these returns would be tabled immediately.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota ): Is it agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Text]

Question No. 119--
Mr. Charlie Angus:
     With respect to the government’s investments in broadband from 2010-2011 to 2016-2017: (a) what amount was budgeted to be spent by the Connecting Canadians Program; (b) what amount was actually spent by the Connecting Canadians Program and how much of this money has been, or is being, re-profiled moving forward; (c) which projects were funded by the Connecting Canadians Program; (d) what contribution agreements have been signed for previously announced Connecting Canadians projects; (e) which projects were denied for approval by the Connecting Canadians program; (f) which projects are currently waiting to be approved by the Connecting Canadians Program and for how long have these projects been waiting; (g) what amount was budgeted to be spent on broadband by FedNor and how much of this money has been, or is being, re-profiled moving forward; (h) what amount was actually spent by FedNor on broadband; (i) which broadband projects were funded by FedNor; (j) what contribution agreements have been signed for previously announced FedNor broadband projects; (k) which broadband projects were denied for approval by FedNor; and (l) which broadband projects are currently waiting to be approved by FedNor and for how long have these projects been waiting?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 120--
Mr. Colin Carrie:
     With regard to government costing, assessments, or analysis prepared by the Department of Finance or other departments or agencies of the Liberal Party of Canada’s election platform, and prior to the 2015 federal election: (a) what were the details of these assessments; and (b) which policy positions proposed in that platform were assessed?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 121--
Mr. Charlie Angus:
     With respect to budgets at the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Canada (INAC) from 2010-2011 to 2016-2017: (a) what amount was budgeted to each INAC regional office and program area, broken down by (i) program area, (ii) fiscal year; (b) how much of those amounts identified in (a) were spent; (c) what amount of the total budgeted funds were returned to Treasury Board as unspent; (d) what incentives do regional and headquarter offices have to lower their spending below budgeted amounts; (e) how many INAC personnel received financial bonuses for their work, broken down by fiscal year; (f) what were the amounts of each bonus identified in (e); and (g) what was the total amount spent by INAC on bonuses in each province and territory, broken down by fiscal year?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 122--
Mr. Ron Liepert:
     With regard to departmental spending, for the period of November 3, 2015, to April 22, 2016, what were the total costs of rentals and purchases of individual staging, lighting and audio equipment, and production and assorted technical costs for all government announcements and public events?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 124--
Mr. Ron Liepert:
     With regard to grants, contributions, and funding applications to departments for the period of November 3, 2015, to April 22, 2016: (a) what applications were approved by departmental officials, but were (i) rejected by the Minister, or (ii) approved on terms other than those initially recommended by departmental officials; (b) for each case in (a)(ii), what are the details of how the approved applications differed from (i) what the applicant sought, and (ii) what the department recommended?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 125--
Mr. Ron Liepert:
     With regard to Ministerial and Governor in Council appointments for the period of November 3, 2015, to April 22, 2016, what the details of all such appointments, including for each the (i) name of the person appointed, (ii) title of the appointment, (iii) organization they were appointed to, (iv) duties of the position, (v) authority for the appointment, (vi) salary and per diems associated with the position, (i) and the name of any sponsoring Minister or Member of Parliament?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 128--
Mr. Colin Carrie:
     With respect to any department or agency, from November 3, 2015, to April 22, 2016: (a) what are the details relating to any advertising campaigns done with (i) Facebook, (ii) Twitter, (iii) Google, (iv) Yahoo, (v) Huffington Post, (vi) YouTube, (vii) Bing; (b) for each campaign identified in (a), (i) how long did the advertising run, (ii) what was the total cost of the advertising, (iii) how many people were reached by the advertising, (iv) what did the advertising consist of, (v) what was the purpose of the advertising, (vi) what were the keywords, demographics, and other targeting items included in the ad, where applicable, (vii) who was the desired target audience of the advertising, (viii) was a third party advertising agency used to purchase the ads and, if so, what is the name of that agency?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 132--
Mr. Harold Albrecht:
     With regard to consultations undertaken by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Prime Minister, and any members of their staff with respect to the Office of Religious Freedoms, for the period of November 3, 2015, to April 22, 2016: what are the details of these consultations, including (i) the persons consulted, (ii) any persons representing or employed by the government present or involved, (iii) the position presented by the party consulted?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 133--
Mr. James Bezan:
     With regard to each one of Canada’s CF-18 Hornets, as of April 22, 2016: (a) what are the aircraft numbers; (b) at which Canadian Forces Bases are they currently based; (c) what are their current ages; (d) what is the total number of airframe hours each of them have logged; (e) what are each of their approximate expected airframe hours at retirement; and (f) in what year are they expected to be retired?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 134--
Hon. Peter Van Loan:
     With regard to briefings provided to the Liberal caucus or Liberal Members of Parliament by each department, agency or Crown Corporation since November 3, 2015: what are the details of these briefings, broken down by (i) topic, (ii) reason, (iii) individuals who were in attendance?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 135--
Hon. Peter Van Loan:
     With regard to Ministers' office budgets since November 3, 2015: (a) how many expense claims were submitted by the Minister or his or her exempt staff, but returned or amended by the relevant financial officer, or amended by a Minister or his or her exempt staff after being initially submitted; (b) what was each claim for and for what amount; (c) what was the reason for each expense claim being returned or amended; and (d) what was the nature of each amendment?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 136--
Hon. Peter Van Loan:
     With regard to Ministers' office budgets since November 3, 2015: (a) how many expense claims were submitted by the Minister or his or her exempt staff but rejected by the relevant financial officer; (b) what was each rejected claim for and what was its amount; and (c) what was the reason for each expense claim rejection?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 137--
Hon. Peter Van Loan:
     With regard to each department, agency or Crown Corporation since November 3, 2015: (a) how many requests have been made by the media to have departmental employees (excluding ministerial exempt staff) speak with or provide information to members of the media; (b) how many of these requests were declined and for what reasons; and (c) who gave the order to decline each request?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 139--
Mr. Bob Zimmer:
     With regard to removal orders for the period of November 4, 2015, to April 22, 2016, broken down by country: (a) what are the number of issued (i) departure orders, (ii) exclusions orders, (iii) deportation orders; (b) for each category of orders under (a), what is the total number of people who were issued removal orders, broken down by country to which they were to be removed; and (c) for each category of orders in (a), how many of these orders were successfully executed?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 141--
Mr. Bob Zimmer:
     With regard to government institutions subject to Access to Information requests, and as of April 22, 2016: (a) what is the budget for processing these requests, broken down by institution; (b) for each institution in (a), how many employees process these requests, broken down by full-time and part-time employees; and (c) for each institution in (a), what is the breakdown of employees and funds allocated to each (i) division, (ii) directorate, (iii) office, (iv) secretariat, (v) other organization that processes these requests?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 142--
Mr. Bob Zimmer:
     With regard to materials prepared for Deputy Heads of departments, Senior Associate Deputy Ministers, Associate Deputy Ministers, Assistant Deputy Ministers, or the equivalent of these positions at any Agency, Board or Crown Corporation, for the period of November 4, 2015, to April 22, 2016: for every briefing document prepared, what is (i) the date, (ii) the title and subject matter, (iii) the department’s internal tracking number?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 145--
Mr. Martin Shields:
    With regard to the representation of First Nation, Métis, Inuit or Aboriginal Canadians employed by Correctional Service Canada (CSC), as of April 22, 2016, broken down by province and territory: (a) what was the number of CSC employees; (b) how many CSC employees were First Nation, Métis, Inuit or Aboriginal Canadians; (c) what percentage of CSC employees were First Nation, Métis, Inuit or Aboriginal Canadians; (d) what was the number of management-level CSC employees; (e) how many management-level CSC employees were First Nation, Métis, Inuit or Aboriginal Canadians; and (f) what percentage of management-level CSC employees were First Nation, Métis, Inuit or Aboriginal Canadians?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 147--
Mr. Martin Shields:
     With regard to each Minister’s office, including costs paid out of the Minister’s office budget or other government funds, from November 3, 2015, to April 22, 2016: what was the total cost spent on (i) wine, spirits, beer and other alcohol, (ii) bottled water, (iii) soft drinks, (iv) potato chips, nuts and other snacks. (v) coffee, cream, non-dairy creamer, sugar and related supplies, (vi) food, other than food included above?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 148--
Hon. Candice Bergen:
     With regard to the transitional environmental review process for natural resources infrastructure projects: (a) of the five principles of this process, what is their order of importance, arranged from most important to least important; (b) how will ministerial representatives appointed to projects be selected; (c) for all those identified in (b), to whom will ministerial representatives report; and (d) what criteria will be used in selecting temporary members for the National Energy Board?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 149--
Mr. Chris Warkentin:
     With regard to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, as of April 22, 2016, what is: (a) the number of all positions authorized through Labour Market Opinions, broken down by region and National Occupation Code; and (b) the number of all temporary foreign workers, broken down by region and National Occupation Code, employed by (i) any government department, (ii) any government agency, (iii) any Crown Corporation?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 152--
Mr. Dan Albas:
     With regard to government travel, for the period of November 3, 2015, to April 22, 2016: (a) which ministers have used rented limousines while on official business, within Canada or elsewhere; and (b) for each use identified in (a), what was (i) the date of the rental, (ii) the location of the rental, (iii) the nature of the official business, (iv) the cost of the rental?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 153--
Mr. Dan Albas:
    With regard to each department or agency, as of April 22, 2016: (a) how many employees are serving in positions that are below their substantive level; (b) how many employees are serving in positions that are above their substantive level; and (c) what are the additional salary costs to the department or agency if positions have been over-filled?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 154--
Hon. Candice Bergen:
     With regard to every decision made by the Treasury Board to reprofile money from one departmental program or activity to another, for the period of November 3, 2015, to April 22, 2016: (a) which department made the application; (b) on what date was the decision made; (c) which program or activity was the money reprofiled from; and (d) to which program or activity was the money reprofiled?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 155--
Hon. Candice Bergen:
     With regard to the licensing or sale of trademarks, official marks, copyrights, patents, industrial designs, integrated circuit topographies, or plant breeders’ rights: (a) how much revenue has each department, agency, or Crown Corporation received for each fiscal year since 2006-2007 inclusively; (b) how much has each department, agency, or Crown Corporation spent on enforcement; (c) how many notices has each department, agency, or Crown Corporation issued or transmitted to third parties in respect of alleged infringements; (d) how many actions has each department, agency, or crown corporation commenced against third parties in respect of alleged infringements; and (e) what is the current status of each action identified in (d)?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 156--
Hon. Candice Bergen:
     With regard to content removal requests issued to an internet search engine, aggregator, web hosting service, or other internet service provider, for the period of November 3, 2015, to April 22, 2016: (a) how many such requests have been government-issued; and (b) what is the (i) date of each request, (ii) originating department, agency, or other government body, (iii) recipient of the request, (iv) detailed reason for the request, (v) outcome or disposition of the request?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 157--
Mr. Bob Saroya:
     With regard to all gifts and benefits with a value of over $200 accepted, directly or indirectly, by the Prime Minister, all Cabinet Ministers, and their families, since November 3, 2015: (a) broken down by first and last name of the recipient, in chronological order, what are all gifts or benefits that were not forfeited to Her Majesty, and, for each such gift or benefit, (i) what was the date of receipt, (ii) what was the content, (iii) what was the monetary value; (b) broken down by first and last name of the recipient, in chronological order, what are all gifts and benefits forfeited to Her Majesty, and, for each such gift or benefit, (i) what was the date of receipt, (ii) what was the date of forfeiture, (iii) what is its current location, (iv) what was the content, (v) what was the monetary value; and (c) what is the policy for recipients regarding which gifts are kept and which are forfeited?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 159--
Mr. Bob Saroya:
     With regard to spending related to the preparation, presentation, and promotion of the Budget 2016, how much was spent in the following areas, broken down by cost, date, location and description of expense, (i) travel, (ii) accommodation, (iii) office supplies, (iv) promotional materials, (v) miscellaneous expenses?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 160--
Mr. David Anderson:
     With regard to ministerial offices outside of the National Capital Region: (a) what is the rationale for operating these offices; (b) what criteria are used to determine the location of the offices; (c) what branches or programs are operated out of the offices; (d) where is each office, broken down by region and province; (e) what is the address and location of each office; (f) what is the number of exempt staff in each office; and (g) what is the number of full-time and temporary departmental staff in each office?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 161--
Mr. David Anderson:
     With regard to government travel, from November 4, 2015, to April 22, 2016: how many visits to First Nation reserves have each of the following cabinet members made, broken down by reserve, (i) the Prime Minister, (ii) the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, (iii) the Minister of Justice, (iv) the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, (v) the Minister of Finance, (vi) the Minister of Canadian Heritage, (vii) the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, (viii) the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, (ix) the Minister of Natural Resources, (x) the Minister of Health?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 162--
Mr. David Anderson:
     With regard to any government body obligated to respond to requests under the Access to Information Act, from November 4, 2015, to April 22, 2016: (a) how many Access to Information requests have been received; and (b) of those requests in (a), how many (i) were completed within 40 days, (ii) were extended for 40 days, (iii) were extended for 60 days, (iv) were extended for 90 days, (v) were extended for more than 90 days, (vi) missed the deadline to provide the requested information?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 164--
Mr. Arnold Viersen:
     With regard to the mandate letters to the Minister of Health, the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs and the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, as it pertains to the renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples and the consultations on euthanasia and assisted suicide: (a) what measures were taken to consult with First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities in Canada on euthanasia and assisted suicide; (b) how many of the 634 First Nations communities were directly consulted; (c) for each consultation in (b), (i) what individuals were consulted, (ii) what were the dates, (iii) what was the location; (d) what analysis has the government completed into the impact of legalizing assisted suicide on First Nation, Metis and Inuit communities; (e) what are the details of any reports that have been completed, broken down by date; (f) what information, including all the details of documents and correspondence, has the Minister of Justice, her staff, or the Department of Justice Canada shared with, or received from, First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities; (g) what information, including all the details of documents and correspondence, has been exchanged between the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Health or their ministerial offices, and between the Department of Justice Canada and Health Canada; and (h) what information, including the details of all documents and correspondence, has been exchanged between the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs or their ministerial offices, and between the Department of Justice Canada and Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 165--
Mr. Arnold Viersen:
     With regard to ministerial revenue, broken down by department, for the period of November 4, 2015, to April 22, 2016, what are: (a) all sources of ministerial revenue and the amount the department received from each source; and (b) each individual exchange that resulted in the government receiving more than $100 000, including, (i) the specific good or service provided by the government, (ii) the exact amount for which the good or service was sold?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 166--
Mr. Arnold Viersen:
     With regard to promotional items, for each department, agency and Crown Corporation: (a) from November 4, 2015, to April 22, 2016, (i) what is the total amount spent on promotional items, (ii) what types of promotional items were purchased, (iii) what is the total amount spent on each type of promotional item, (iv) what is the total volume purchased of each type of promotional item; and (b) what is the current inventory level of each type of promotional item?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 167--
Mr. Garnett Genuis:
     With regard to the government’s efforts to resettle 25 000 Syrian refugees by the end of February 2016: (a) what are the details of this resettlement; (b) what financial transfers had to be made by the Government of Canada to foreign governments or organizations in order to facilitate or enable the resettlement of the refugees, and for each transfer, (i) to which foreign governments or organizations, (ii) what were the amounts, (iii) what were the specific, itemized purposes of the amounts, (iv) to what extent can it be demonstrated that these transfers have to be made, contingent on timelines set by the Government of Canada, (v) from which departmental budget; (c) were any taxes, fees, or other charges per head levied against the Government of Canada by any foreign government for resettlements; (d) what proposals or requests were made by foreign governments for financial or monetary transfers, subsidies, or payments by the Government of Canada; (e) what conditions were placed on planned resettlement of said refugees by the local governments in whose jurisdictions the refugees were resettled; (f) how many members of Public Service personnel were involved in the resettling of the refugees, and what overtime, salaries, per diems, flight costs and hotel costs were associated with meeting government timelines; (g) what organizations were involved in the resettling of the refugees, and how much was spent by the government of Canada on the contracting of said organizations; (h) for each organization identified in (g), (i) how much was spent by any organizations or governments, including the Government of Canada, on flying refugees to Canada and what airlines were used, (ii) what alternative airlines or flights were considered to minimize costs to the Government of Canada, (iii) how much in management, consulting, or administrative fees were paid to the organizations, (iv) what other contractual details were agreed upon with the organizations, (v) what other flight, airline, airport, landing, entry or exit-related charges or fees were paid for by the Government of Canada; (i) what costs were associated with any use of the Canadian Armed Forces in the resettling or receiving of refugees; (j) what efforts were made between various departments to find sufficient funds or financial resources to enable the meeting of the government timeline, in particular, (i) from which departments were funds sought, (ii) which departments provided funds, (iii) how much was sought from and provided by each department; and (k) what other costs did the Government of Canada incur in said resettlement?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 168--
Mr. Garnett Genuis:
     With regard to the rental or charter of private aircraft for the use of ministers and parliamentary secretaries, for the period from November 4, 2015, to April 22, 2016: (a) what was the cost of each rental or charter; (b) what are the details of the passenger manifest for each flight; (c) what was the purpose of the trip; (d) what was the itinerary for each trip; and (e) was a press release issued regarding the trip and, if so, what is the (i) date, (ii) headline, (iii) file number of the press release?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 169--
Mr. Garnett Genuis:
     With regard to the federal executive vehicle fleet, as of April 22, 2016: (a) what is the total number of vehicles in the fleet; (b) what has been the total cost of (i) procuring vehicles for the fleet, (ii) the fleet as a whole; (c) what is the estimated total annual cost of salaries for drivers, including ministerial exempt staff and federal public servants whose primary responsibility consists of driving vehicles in the fleet; (d) what are the models, years and manufacturers of each vehicle in the fleet; and (e) what are the names and positions of each authorized user of a vehicle in the fleet?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 171--
Mr. Robert Sopuck:
     With regard to government expenditures on media monitoring: for every contract entered into or in force, on or since November 4, 2015, what search terms were required to be monitored?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 172--
Mr. Robert Sopuck:
     With regard to the use of government-issued credit cards by Ministerial exempt staff, for each Minister since November 4, 2015: (a) how many employees have been provided with a credit card; (b) how many Ministerial exempt staff failed to pay the amount owing within the required time frame; (c) for each case identified in (b), (i) what is the name of the Ministerial exempt staff member, (ii) what was the amount owing; (d) how many Ministerial exempt staff used government-issued credit cards for non-governmental business; (e) for each case identified in (d), (i) what is the name of the Ministerial exempt staff member, (ii) what specific transactions were made and for what amounts; (f) how much has the government had to pay to cover the delinquent accounts of Ministerial exempt staff; and (g) of the amount in (f) how much has the government recovered from the relevant Ministerial exempt staff members?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 176--
Mr. Charlie Angus:
     With regard to government spending on indigenous affairs: (a) does the government have figures for departmental spending without the 2% cap on annual increases in funding for on-reserve programs and services since the cap was put in place, and if so, what is this amount of this spending, keeping pace with inflation and population growth, broken down by year and by (i) total, (ii) program; (b) based on calculations in (a), does the government have figures for the total amount of departmental spending for all previous years put together without the 2% cap, keeping pace with inflation and population growth for those years, broken down by (i) total, (ii) program; (c) what is the rate of growth in Health Canada’s spending on Indigenous peoples for each of the past five years, broken down by (i) First Nations on reserve, (ii) First Nations off reserve, (iii) Inuit by province; (d) what is the required financial investment for the government to fully implement Jordan’s Principle; and (e) as it relates to the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (i) when were the criteria for orthodontics created and what process is in place to update them to ensure they are in keeping with clinical standards, (ii) how do current orthodontic policies account for child development, (iii) what is the most current rate of denials for each level of appeals, broken down by type, such as orthodontics, (iv) does the same individual review appeal decisions from an earlier level of appeal, (v) how much has the government spent rejecting or approving these cases, broken down by case, (vi) how many personnel received financial bonuses for their work in the appeal process, (vii) what were the amounts of each of these bonuses, (viii) what was the total amount spent on these bonuses, (ix) what are the criteria for these bonuses, (x) what processes does Health Canada have in place to ensure its orthodontic pre-approval and appeal processes are accessible to persons speaking Indigenous languages, persons with disabilities and persons with low English or French literacy levels?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 178--
Mr. Pierre-Luc Dusseault:
     With regard to gifts, hospitality rewards and benefits that must be declared by employees and managers with the Canada Revenue Agency since January 1, 2010: (a) how many statements have been filed with delegated managers; (b) what was the content of each of the statements in (a); (c) how many unauthorized gifts have been disclosed to delegated managers; and (d) what was the content of each of the disclosures in (c)?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 179--
Mr. Todd Doherty:
     With regard to housing provided by the Canadian Forces Housing Agency (CFHA), as of April 22, 2016: (a) for each location where housing is provided, how many units were assessed by the CFHA to be in (i) good condition, (ii) fair condition, (iii) poor condition; (b) for each location where housing is provided, (i) was there a wait list for housing, (ii) how long was the wait list, (iii) what types of housing were waitlisted, (iv) what was the average age of the housing units in the CFHA's portfolio; (c) for each location where housing is provided, how many complaints were made regarding housing quality and what were the issues raised; (d) how many housing units have warning labels or seals because of the potential presence of asbestos in vermiculite insulation; (e) how many units have warning labels for ungrounded electrical outlets; and (f) how many units have water lines that must be kept running from November to April to prevent freezing?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 181--
Mr. Todd Doherty:
     With regard to funding for First Nations, Inuit and Métis, for each department and program in the last five years, up to April 22, 2016, how much was spent on: (a) operating costs, broken down by (i) salaries and benefits for government employees, (ii) salaries and fees for consultants hired by the government, (iii) other enumerated costs; and (b) transfers to First Nations, Inuit and Métis, broken down by (i) payments made to First Nations, Inuit and Métis organizations, (ii) payments made to First Nations bands on-reserve, (iii) other enumerated transfer payments?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 182--
Mr. Todd Doherty:
     With regard to funding for First Nations students as of April 22, 2016: what is the average per student funding provided by the government for First Nations students attending band-operated schools through the contribution agreements for those schools, not including (i) capital costs, (ii) money provided for First Nations students residing on reserve, but who attended provincial schools, (iii) funding provided through proposal-driven programs that are supplementary to the elementary and secondary education program, (iv) funding provided under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, the Northeastern Quebec Agreement, the Mi'kmaw Kina'matnewey Education Agreement and the British Columbia First Nations Education Authority?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 184--
Hon. Pierre Poilievre:
     With regard to the 60 acres of Central Experimental Farm land that was assigned to the National Capital Commission in November 2014: (a) within the last 10 years, (i) what specifically has this portion of the farm been used for, (ii) what species of plants have been grown there, (iii) what experiments have been conducted there, (iv) what significant or successful research has come specifically as a result of this 60 acres of land; (b) has the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food conducted any studies in order to ascertain what the impact of this loss of land will be, in general, and on experimental research capabilities; (c) what has the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food done to date to mitigate the impact of losing this land; and (d) what does the Department plan to do in the future to mitigate the impact of losing this land?
    (Return tabled)

[English]

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

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Business of Supply]

  (1020)  

[English]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Internal Trade  

    Since today is the final allotted day for the supply period ending June 23, 2016, the House will go through the usual procedures to consider and dispose of the supply bills. In view of recent practices, do hon. members agree that the bills be distributed now?
    Some hon members: Agreed.
    That the House: (a) recognize that it is a constitutional right for Canadians to trade with Canadians; (b) re-affirm that the Fathers of Confederation expressed this constitutional right in Section 121 of the Constitution Act, 1867 which reads: "All Articles of the Growth, Produce, or Manufacture of any one of the Provinces shall, from and after the Union, be admitted free into each of the other Provinces”; (c) recognize that the recent Comeau decision in New Brunswick creates a unique opportunity to seek constitutional clarity on Section 121 from the Supreme Court of Canada; and that therefore, the House call on the government to refer the Comeau decision and its evidence to the Supreme Court for constitutional clarification of Section 121.
     He said: Mr. Speaker, it is certainly an honour to kick off our opposition day motion on a subject that is near and dear to me, which is the subject of interprovincial trade in this great country.
    Let me first take a moment to provide some background on the subject and why this is an important debate for Canadians. First, let me take members back to 1867 and our Canadian Constitution. In our Canadian Constitution, section 121 states:
    All Articles of the Growth, Produce, or Manufacture of any one of the Provinces shall, from and after the Union, be admitted free into each of the other Provinces.
    To the credit of our country's founders, they not only had the foresight to understand the critical importance of internal trade to our Canadian economy, but even put it, in plain language, I might add, directly into our Constitution.
    Unfortunately, over the years since 1867, many provinces, through regulatory regimes, and in some cases outright protectionism, have created barriers that hinder internal trade. In fact, it is easier for winemakers in Nova Scotia or British Columbia to sell their wine to Asia than to sell it to Ontario. This is in spite of the fact, as I often pointed out during the debate on my wine bill in the last Parliament, Bill C-311, that seven out of every 10 bottles of wine consumed in Canada are made outside of Canada. Yet provinces like Ontario refuse to get on board and support the free trade of Canadian wine.
    Over time our federal predecessors realized that internal trade barriers were limiting our economic prosperity in terms of both jobs and gross domestic product growth. That is why, in 1995, which was in the era of Prime Minister Chrétien, Canada's first ministers, working with the federal government, signed the first agreement on internal trade. The stated purpose of this new agreement on internal trade was, “to foster improved interprovincial trade by addressing obstacles to the free movement of persons, goods, services and investments within Canada”.
    It was a historic, groundbreaking agreement for that time, and I will rightly credit the Liberals for the agreement occurring under their watch. I should take a step back to say that it was the Canada-U.S. agreement on free trade that caused these concerns to arise in the first place.
    For the history buffs out there, of which I am one, some of the provincial premiers of the era who supported this agreement were Ralph Klein, Mike Harcourt, Gary Filmon, Frank McKenna, Clyde Wells, Jacques Parizeau, Roy Romano, and, as that was an election year in Ontario, both Bob Rae and Mike Harris.
    These are prominent names, and these premiers represented the entire political spectrum, from the New Democratic Party to the Progressive Conservatives of the day.
    From my work on internal trade, starting with Bill C-311 in 2011, I can say that internal trade is a very different subject for Canadians than international trade. While international trade deals are often divided between left and right on the political spectrum, when it comes to internal trade, it really comes down to right and wrong. From my experience, Canadians are hugely supportive of increased internal trade and think it is wrong that many Canadian producers can more easily access the markets of other countries than the markets of other Canadian provinces.
    Let me provide an example of this that does not involve Canadian wine.
    For the province of Saskatchewan, canola oil has become a significant driver of the export economy. Canola oil, which basically is a vegetable-based oil that has become an alternative for dairy products, has become known as Saskatchewan's other oil boom. Canola is considered to be the most profitable legal cash crop in our country and is part of a $15 billion a year industry in Canada. There is only one problem. In Quebec, the government decided to place restrictions on the sale of certain types of canola-oil-based products, things as common as margarine, for example.

  (1025)  

    The Quebec government of the time imposed trade barriers that were considered by many to be protectionist, given that over 40% of Canada's dairy industry is supplied by Quebec producers. Ultimately, this is where the Agreement on Internal Trade comes in. Saskatchewan challenged Quebec through the Agreement on Internal Trade process back in 2013, and in 2015, after two years of very expensive legal proceedings in Saskatchewan, it finally won the case.
    I think most would agree that in today's fast-moving economy, two years in regulatory limbo is a long time. Critics of the Agreement on Internal Trade frequently reference this process as far too slow moving and extremely expensive.
    Here is the good news. Everyone, including all of the provinces that first signed on to the original Agreement on Internal Trade, also agree that this now 20-year-old agreement needs to be replaced. In fact, at the Council of the Federation conference in Prince Edward Island in August 2014, the premiers not only announced that they would conclude a new agreement on internal trade but announced a deadline of March 2016 to do so.
    Why did they do so? They did so because Canada's premiers recognized that internal trade is valued at $366 billion a year. That is roughly 20% of Canada's gross domestic product. These are huge numbers, and the best part is that eliminating interprovincial trade barriers would not add tons of new debt, nor would it increase the deficit budgets of governments. In fact, it is probably the most cost-effective way to increase jobs and help grow our Canadian economy. This is a point we all in this place can agree on.
    What happened? We have to look to the deadline month of March 2016, the month when Canadian premiers, working with the federal government, should have been concluding an agreement on internal trade to see what happened.
    We know that in March 2016, the new agreement on internal trade was derailed. We know that the Prime Minister summoned the premiers to a conference in Vancouver that month. We also know that this Vancouver meeting was not about internal trade but rather was the Prime Minister's attempt to force a national carbon pricing strategy on the premiers. That effort failed. Instead of a national agreement on a carbon pricing strategy, the only agreement we witnessed was an agreement to disagree and talk again at a future summit down the road.
    Where does that leave a new agreement on internal trade? Frankly, here in this place, we do not know. We have been told that we will see something possibly in July, but already details are leaking out that a new agreement on internal trade will have all kinds of exemptions, alcohol, again, being one of them. No doubt, in today's debate, the government will use a potential new agreement on internal trade as a reason to oppose this motion, and that is not good enough to give our Canadian economy the kick-start it needs.
    Fortunately, there is another way. First, let us recognize why we have so many internal trade barriers to begin with. The reality is that in many cases, over time, various interest groups have effectively lobbied successive governments of all political stripes. The purpose of this lobbying was to enact regulatory red tape that would stifle competition, limit market access, and in some cases, create monopolies. In other situations, provincial governments have directly intervened in certain industries, largely for self-serving political considerations. I know that this is a shocking revelation.
    Instead of it being a political debate, which is often influenced by lobbyists, what if this were strictly a legal question? What is the constitutional right of Canadian producers to access Canadians in other provincial markets? Ultimately, I contend that this is the question we should be asking, and that is why debating this motion today is so important for this place and for our national economy.
    If we can convince the government to elevate the Comeau ruling to the Supreme Court for clarification, we will be creating an opportunity to grow our economy and create jobs through increased internal trade, because it would be a constitutional right instead of a political backroom deal. If we think about it, that is what we are debating today.

  (1030)  

    What is the Comeau decision for those who may be unfamiliar? In New Brunswick, a local resident, Mr. Gerard Comeau was charged for personally importing beer and some spirits across a provincial border from Quebec. Fortunately, a New Brunswick judge, after hearing evidence regarding the original intent of section 121, the free trade provision of our constitution that I mentioned earlier, found Mr. Comeau was not guilty. Sadly, the Province of New Brunswick has decided to file an appeal.
    It is for that reason we created the “free the beer” campaign. We had some fun with our “free the beer” campaign, which has been widely supported by Canadians, but let us not lose sight of what “free the beer” really means. It means asking the Liberal government to elevate the Comeau case to the Supreme Court for constitutional clarification, and to do that now, rather than waiting on further delays.
    This not only has the potential to free the beer and other forms of alcohol for Canadians, but more importantly, it would open up our internal economy for all Canadian producers of a whole host of different products. This obviously includes farmers and other agricultural producers.
    Imagine if buying Canadian truly meant buying from all Canadian producers in all provinces, something that in many cases we cannot do now. I submit that needs to change.
     I would like to share a few quotes from the chief executive officer of Moosehead Breweries Limited. Moosehead, as some will know, is Canada's oldest independent brewery and is located in New Brunswick. When asked by the CBC on how elevating the Comeau decision to the Supreme Court would benefit the industry, the Moosehead CEO was crystal clear in response. He said:
    “The sooner there's some kind of decision, the better for everyone involved,”....
    He said Moosehead can compete in an open market if both tax and non-tax barriers to trade are eliminated by all provinces.
    “We sell beer in all 50 states in the United States with pretty open borders and hopefully we'll get to that point in Canada soon.”
    I like that last part, “hopefully we'll get to that point in Canada soon”. I hope so, as well.
    How soon? Today, our Liberal government could vote yes on the motion. If it does, it would send a message that the Liberal government is committed to eliminating trade barriers and wants to help grow our Canadian economy. If the House supports the motion, members will be sending a message that growing our economy through increased internal trade is something they support.
    I know the Liberal government, in particular our Minister of Finance, loves to use the talking point “grow the economy”. In fact, I found over 100 references to “grow the economy” from the finance minister alone. The motion would present an opportunity for the Liberal government to do exactly that, grow the economy through increased internal trade.
     The best part is that there is little to no cost to taxpayers to remove interprovincial trade barriers, meaning the Liberals' second favourite talking point, “adding debt”, or what the Minister of Finance refers to as “investing”, is not required here. How about that? It is a debt-free way to help grow our Canadian economy. What do folks think about that?
    Earlier today, the Standing Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce from the other place issued a report on the very subject of interprovincial trade. In fact, it is called “Tear Down These Walls: Dismantling Canada's Internal Trade Barriers”.
    Among other findings, this report concluded that internal trade barriers reduce Canada's gross domestic product by between $50 billion and $130 billion annually. Let us think about that for a moment. That is why among other recommendations this report also supports that the federal government pursue, through the Governor in Council, a reference of section 121 of the Constitution Act, 1867, to the Supreme Court of Canada.
     The only question that remains is timing. When do we take action? Do we continue to wait for a new agreement on internal trade, as we have been anticipating, or do we recognize that the Comeau decision has created a unique opportunity to do so now. I think most would agree we need to take action now.

  (1035)  

    Canada could be a stronger country economically and it could be more prosperous, if we can truly harmonize our regulations to eliminate interprovincial trade barriers. Again, let us not forget that this need not be a political battle. This could well be a constitutional right for Canadians if only we dare ask.
    With Canada soon celebrating our 150th birthday, the anniversary of Confederation, I can think of few better ways to celebrate from an economic perspective than strengthening our internal economy to create more access for Canadian producers.
    Before I close, I would like to add a few points. Sometimes in this place motions are done for political or ideological reasons. Some motions are even crafted to appeal directly to certain interest groups or demographics. In this case, I believe that every member of this chamber has producers in their home ridings, be they farmers, small business owners, manufacturers, whoever. All of these people can benefit through supporting the motion before us.
    In my view, anything we can do to help increase the accessibility of the Canadian marketplace to Canadian producers is not only helping to grow our Canadian economy, but it is also helping to grow a stronger, more united country. The Fathers of Confederation did not intend Canada to only be a political union. They intended and put it in section 121 that it is meant to be an economic union as well, yet for some reason, there are those who fear competition and increased consumer choice between provinces.
     Internal trade barriers not only harm our Canadian economy, but they also stifle innovation and often give competitors outside our borders market access advantage because of our collective inaction. While we all support the notion of Canadians buying from Canadians, let us not forget that we must first remove the barriers so that Canadian-produced goods, products, and services can reach our local marketplace.
    I ask all members of the House to support buying Canadian by supporting this motion to ensure we can remove barriers that stand in the way of Canadian producers. It is an opportunity that is before us. Let us grasp it together.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments of the member and his efforts here today to deal with an important issue and have it discussed here in the chamber. It is important to his framework to explain or give reference to why the previous Conservative government did not act on this issue and why the strategy of a government not acting on it versus appealing to the Supreme Court seems to be the appropriate decision at this particular point in time.

  (1040)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is a very good question and if he had asked that question a year ago, I would have said that an agreement on internal trade was the only way forward. However, the Comeau case and the evidence that was brought forward and was established as evidence indicates that we do not need to manage trade in Canada. In fact, it is the constitutional right of every Canadian to be able to trade with other Canadians. As I said, “All Articles of the Growth, Produce, or Manufacture...shall, from and after the Union, be admitted free into each of the other Provinces.”
    Having the constitutional issue settled at the Supreme Court will give us a road map that will allow us to be able to tackle these trade barriers at the same time, whether it be at the federal level or the provincial level. This is a great way for us as parliamentarians to come together and say again that we agree with the Fathers of Confederation that Canada should not just be united as a political union, but united as an economic one.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola for a very thoughtful and useful supply day motion to focus our attention on the perverse reality that our interprovincial trade barriers hurt this country's economy.
    I was grateful in the 41st Parliament for the chance to work with the member in support of Free My Grapes. We can get rid of antiquated federal laws against the trade in wine between provinces, but until provinces are ready to reduce their own barriers, we are still hurting our own economy through a failure to work together in interprovincial trade. In the leaders' debate in the last election, I put this question to our former prime minister, who had promised in his Speech from the Throne some years ago to tackle interprovincial trade barriers, yet had not done so.
    I commend the member. I am very likely to vote for the motion. I need to read the Comeau decision. I confess I have not read it. However, I ask this question to the member. Since the matter is already before the courts and the Government of New Brunswick is appealing, does the member believe that the court will be prepared to the take the question immediately to the Supreme Court level, or do we have to wait while this works its way through the courts?
    Mr. Speaker, in the last Parliament I appreciated the member's support for my Bill C-311. However, it also should be stated that the previous government had worked on the AIT, the agreement on internal trade, to add more classes to interprovincial mobility of labour. As well, in addition to wine, the government later adopted beer and spirits to have the same treatment as per my bill.
    In regard to the member's question, we have left this to be very open. Again, if the case can be referred directly to the Supreme Court, we are very supportive of that. That is, if a reference can be made drawing upon the evidence of the Comeau case because Judge LeBlanc said that the evidence he had heard about section 121 was actually new evidence supplied. That is the reason we are suggesting this new evidence would allow the Supreme Court to revisit an issue that it issued a result for in the Gold Seal case in 1921. That narrowed the application of section 121. This is the new evidence showing that particular application is incorrect, and again, gives us the unique opportunity today to free up our economy by freeing the beer.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his motion. His supply day motion is floated on the isolated pools of alcohol across our country, and the point has resonated with “free the beer” and with his private member's bill a year ago on interprovincial barriers to wine producers in different regions of the country.
    However, the consequences of the motion would go far beyond wine and beer. I wonder if my colleague could speak to the benefits and consequences of returning to the original intent of our constitutional framers with regard to people, goods, services, and investment across the country.

  (1045)  

    Mr. Speaker, what we are talking about is a legal question, not a political one. We all have views on different policies and politics, but this question needs to be settled by the Supreme Court. I know that the minister opposite wants to see an agreement on internal trade, but even if we have a good deal, good or bad, that comes forward, what would end up happening is that the constitutionality of it would be questioned.
    The Comeau decision raises questions around the importation of intoxicating liquors and how that is structured, and a number of constitutional scholars have said that it may touch upon a number of different legislative statutes, both here federally as well as right across this country. Therefore, getting the clarity from the Supreme Court is getting the horse in front of the cart, rather than the other way around.
    I would hope that members here would agree with me that any agreement on internal trade would be welcomed. However, if there are constitutional issues, we should have that settled first so that Canadian producers know what the rules are and they can expand and grow with certainty.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his presentation on trade and commerce within Canada. As past president of the Guelph Chamber of Commerce I am always interested in trade, especially trade among ourselves.
    I wonder about the timing of the motion, with the Province of New Brunswick appealing this at the Supreme Court and the Senate weighing in. I wonder whether our constitutional and legal challenge is a more effective way than working together with the provinces to try to balance section 91.2 of the Constitution Act, where federal jurisdiction over trade and commerce exists and 92.13, where provincial jurisdiction over property exists that impacts our internal trade.
    The question is whether now is the best time to make a constitutional and legal challenge versus working on commercial co-operation.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for his question. I appreciate his work. I also did a lot of work with chambers of commerce in British Columbia. It is a great movement.
    If we go ahead with the new agreement on internal trade without seeking constitutional clarity, what happens if that deal is unconstitutional? Let us get that clarity now. Let us make sure that we get a road map from the Supreme Court, very similar to the road map that was supplied to the last Parliament in regard to Senate reform. It labelled what is constitutional and what is the capacity of the federal as well as the provincial governments.
    We can seek that same clarity now. We can start that process now, and rather than wasting time and money in lawyers all the way up to the Supreme Court, we can elevate that case now. We can see this evidence heard and get that road map, which would give Canadian producers and government alike the certainty to know our path forward. I hope the Supreme Court sees that evidence and finds the same evidence that Judge LeBlanc did in New Brunswick.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to applaud the passion of the member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola. He speaks with a great deal of conviction. I am really glad to see he is bringing forward this very important debate to the House.

[Translation]

    I thank the hon. opposition members for both raising this important issue and drawing attention to the work the government is doing to encourage growth, exports, and employment for the middle class.

[English]

    The motion relates to a priority of all Canadians. I applaud this debate because it speaks to an issue. No matter which political background one represents, no matter where one lives in the country, it really speaks to all of us. It is about strengthening internal trade across Canada.
    The hon. member moved that Canada refer a provincial court decision to the Supreme Court for constitutional clarification about the legal framework for allowing the movement of goods across provincial borders.
    What the government is proposing instead and what we have been working on since the last election is a comprehensive and collaborative approach to growing our economy and spurring innovation within Canada. We believe that co-operation with all governments is the key to a stronger Canadian economy. That is part of the change that Canadians voted for in the last election.
    In fact, just yesterday, I had a very successful meeting with my provincial and territorial counterparts on the need to work more closely together to strengthen innovation for a stronger Canadian economy. It is important to note that this is first time in 12 years such a meeting took place in my portfolio. Just imagine, it is 12 years since we have had a federal-provincial-territorial meeting to talk about innovation and economic development.
    We have fundamentally taken the cue from the Prime Minister, who has changed the culture and the tone, and has clearly indicated the importance of coordination and collaboration. This is so important because we have only one taxpayer, and what that taxpayer wants is for us to work together to find solutions to better improve quality of life and create jobs.
    Internal trade, of course, including trade in wine, beer, and spirits, is an important part of Canada's economy, accounting for more than 20% of our GDP, so internal trade is absolutely significant for economic success going forward. It represents close to $400 billion of our economy. It is also important to note that 40% of the exports from the provinces remain within Canada, so it is an excellent opportunity for provinces to be able to provide opportunities for jobs and helping companies scale up across the country.
    A more open internal economy is a key to the domestic growth of Canadian companies and provides a launching pad for even greater success abroad. That is why the scale-up part is so important. If we provide the opportunity for companies in Canada to be able to transport their goods and services in a manner, from coast to coast to coast that reduces and eliminates barriers, it enables them to grow here so they can become competitive when they go abroad.
    Trade barriers make our market smaller, when in fact we want to do this and we want to encourage our companies to grow.
    The member opposite mentioned the cost of internal trade. I have heard different numbers. I have heard $3 billion. I have heard up to $49 billion. The member today mentioned over $100 billion, but the bottom line is, there is a cost, and I do agree with that. There is a cost to businesses that ultimately gets transferred to the consumer, and that is a problem.
    That is why our government is actively engaged in a comprehensive negotiation with the provinces and territories to renew and modernize the agreement on internal trade, commonly referred to as AIT, in support of a stronger, more innovative economy.
    It is not simply about reducing barriers. It is not simply about harmonizing regulations. It is also about creating an environment to drive innovation.

  (1050)  

    I would like to offer an update on our efforts to strengthen internal trade in close collaboration with the provinces and territories. However, let me point out, as the member opposite mentioned, that strengthening trade within Canada is a long-standing objective.
    The original AIT was signed in 1994 under the leadership of Prime Minister Chrétien in partnership with the country's provincial and territorial leaders, and it came into force the following year. The AIT has considerable scope, covering not only the movement of goods, but also trade in certain services and investments, as well as the mobility of workers across Canada, which was part of the discussion earlier as well.
    It contains rules that ensure equal treatment for all Canadian persons, goods, services, and investment; that prohibit measures restricting the movement of persons, goods, services, or investments across provincial or territorial boundaries; that ensure government policies and practices do not create obstacles to trade; and that require transparency in government practices.
    While the original AIT was an important and necessary initiative, today trade within Canada is not always free and open, and that is why we are having this debate. There are outright barriers and obstacles that are more often subtle, which is something we need to be mindful of, such as a difference in regulations and standards to provide that mentality of protectionism.
    This is why we need to work collaboratively with our provincial and territorial partners, both on the obvious barriers that are being discussed today, and also on the subtle rules that impede trade. It is why it is so important that we sit down face to face and have these discussions in a much more comprehensive and meaningful way to be able to engage on all the issues around internal trade.
    There have been some partial updates since the original AIT came into force. For example, labour mobility for regulated occupations has been improved, and monetary penalties have been introduced to ensure compliance with dispute resolution panels. Therefore, there has been some progress made.
    However, since then, a strong consensus has emerged on the need to comprehensively renew AIT, and this has been discussed for quite some time. Therefore, from the moment that I was sworn in, I have been working hard to build relationships with many of my provincial and territorial counterparts. One of the first things I did was get on the phone to call my provincial and territorial counterparts and engage with them on the importance of growing the economy and looking at the agreement on internal trade to help drive that agenda. My officials, as well, have been working hard with their counterparts to identify and reduce barriers wherever possible.
    Again, this is a two-pronged approach: one, at a political level where I am engaging with my counterparts; and, two, the extensive negotiations and discussions we have at the official level. We have been giving this issue the attention it deserves, and rightly so.

  (1055)  

[Translation]

    I agree with my provincial and territorial counterparts: the agreement on internal trade is an important starting point, but it is outdated. It is 20 years old and needs a major overhaul.

[English]

    In particular, it is out of step with Canada's international trade agreements. As the member opposite mentioned, the North American Free Trade Agreement helped kick-start the negotiation of the original AIT in the early 1990s. I remember the debate and discussion. It was very clear that if we were going to do trade with the United States, then we had better get our house in order. It was absolutely important that we created opportunities not just abroad but domestically as well. That narrative, the political reality at that time, really helped kick-start the thinking around the AIT.
    Today, the negotiated Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement sets an even higher ambition that should be considered in our negotiation for a renewed domestic trade framework. This is an important reality. The context has changed, and the times have changed. The federal government worked closely with our provincial and territorial partners to negotiate CETA, and that ambition continues to be part of our discussions as we modernize our domestic trade rules.
     We must recognize that we have set a new standard on international trade with these modern trade agreements. Therefore, we have a target internally in Canada to be able to, at minimum, match those modern internal trade agreements to provide equal opportunity for companies within Canada versus those companies from other jurisdictions.
    An effective new agreement would also increase transparency and would adopt a structure that would be more consistent with our international approach. That is the absolute key part of this discussion. We want to ensure we set ourselves up for success that is consistent with our international obligations as well. It would include a transparent and systematic approach to working together to align regulations, not only now but in the future.
    As our economy continues to evolve, as we deal with new issues, we are putting in process a framework to deal with potential barriers and regulations going forward, as well as how to deal with that. Therefore, not only will we have an ambitious target to ensure we meet national modernized agreements, but we will have a process that prevents any kind of additional challenges and problems going forward.
    It would also open up procurement opportunities to suppliers across the country, consistent with the standards negotiated under CETA. This is important. Imagine a scenario where a European company has greater access to Canadian procurement than a Canadian company. That is why there is a sense of urgency to act on this. That is why it is a priority for this government. That is why I have been negotiating so extensively with my provincial and territorial counterparts.
    The reason this government is so committed to the successful conclusion of these negotiations is the underlying economic importance of internal trade in Canada. We have been dealing with slow growth over the last decade. It is absolutely essential to deal with the economic challenges we will face in the future and to open up our markets.
    According to Statistics Canada, which I have mentioned before and is important to note, $400 billion, or 40% of the economy, is directly and indirectly connected to internal trade. This trade represents more than one-fifth the value of Canada's GDP and is diversified across all sectors. This is not only particular to one region or one sector; this has implications across the country, from coast to coast to coast.
    For businesses, it facilitates the growth of Canadian firms, encourages efficiency, and increases the incentive to improve productivity or make investments in new processes or products. In turn, this provides a platform for Canadian companies to scale their operations to compete and expand in both Canadian and international markets. Again, we are really good at starting up companies, one of the best jurisdictions in the world, with 70,000 new companies. However, we have a fundamental challenge of scaling up. That is why this agreement on internal trade would allow us the opportunity to help companies scale up as well.
    No doubt there is a benefit for consumers. It would lower costs and increase choice for goods and services. It would also make it easier for Canadian workers, which is very important as well, to take advantage of job opportunities across the country. As we harmonize regulations and reduce and eliminate barriers, it benefits consumers and creates more jobs, very consistent with our economic agenda, which was so well articulated by the Minister of Finance when he presented the budget in March.
    Simply put, free and open internal trade is an essential component of Canada's economy and impacts the well-being of all Canadians.
    The need for AIT renewal is absolutely clear. As I have indicated to my provincial and territorial counterparts, it will be undertaken by our government on a collaborative basis. We are not going to pit one region against the other or work against them. We are going to work together with a common objective and goal to deal with this issue head on.
    This government is committed to a different approach in working with our provincial and territorial partners and we will continue to make true on that commitment. Canadians expect nothing less from us. We have received a mandate to do exactly that, which is work in an open, transparent, and collaborative manner to achieve meaningful results.
    I am pleased to say that with every jurisdiction at the table taking part in these discussions, and we have had numerous of them, face to face, all of us together, bilaterally as well, there has been very clear consensus and recognition that having a strong internal Canadian market makes Canadian businesses more productive. All parties agreed that it would give Canada an advantage as our companies sought to sell goods and services in international markets and attract foreign investment.

  (1100)  

    While we have already made some good progress on this ambitious new agreement, and we have really moved the yardstick forward, I expect that when we are done, we will have a much more open market for our goods and services and investment in Canada. We will have more open government procurement, enhanced opportunities for Canadian businesses, and ensure taxpayers are getting the best value for their money. We will be ready to work together to address the regulatory differences across our country that create additional costs for businesses and consumers.
    These are the clear outcomes and goals on which we are working. This is a major effort for all Canadian governments. We are taking the time to do it together, and that is the key part. We do not want any region or jurisdiction left out of the agreement. We want to ensure that everyone understands that we need to work together on this and we need to do it right. It is important that we ensure we get the right outcome.
    This is an important and welcome change on how things were done. Obviously, under the previous government, this was not the case. As I said, this is not a partisan issue, but frankly, the previous approach did not work. The Conservatives talked a good game on internal trade. They talked about it in their budget. They talked about it in the Speech from the Throne. They made many declarations. However, unfortunately, they were unable to man a comprehensive agreement on internal trade.
    On this side of the House, we want to work with our provincial and territorial partners to reach an agreement the right way. The approach proposed by the member opposite in this motion is unfortunately slightly misguided. It only threatens to undermine the work we are doing with the provincial and territorial partners at the negotiation table.
    Imagine this scenario. I am at the table working with my counterparts and then we launch this through the courts. What kind of signal does that send? We are working in good faith.
     As most members are aware, the government has taken some tangible steps to address barriers to interprovincial trade of alcohol. In recent years, for example, the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act has been amended to remove restrictions on individuals bringing wine, beer, and spirits for personal consumption from one province to another. A number of provinces have put in place a framework to allow consumers to take advantage of this federal liberalization.
     In particular, certain provinces have introduced policies aligned for direct-to-consumer shipping of wine. These measures allow wineries from inside and outside the provinces to sell products to consumers without going through their respective liquor authorities.
    Manitoba, for example, allows for direct-to-consumer shipping of wine without imposing any specific restrictions. British Columbia allows direct-to-consumer shipping of 100% Canadian VQA wine. Nova Scotia similarly allows for direct-to-consumer shipping 100% of Canadian VQA wine. On a bilateral basis, Saskatchewan and British Columbia have also entered into a memorandum of understanding, allowing for direct-to-consumer shipping of Canadian wine and craft spirits between the two jurisdictions.
    It will take more efforts such as these on the part of provinces and territories to take full advantage of these federal liberalizations. We look forward to other provinces and territories following suit.
    AIT renewal is a key part of our plan and position to ensure that Canada is not only growing, but is a leader when it comes to innovation. It offers an opportunity for governments to show our commitment to support our innovative Canadian firms and help them expand and prosper.
    This is part of our overall objective of growing the economy and creating jobs, and this is a commitment that we made in the budget. We outlined significant commitments to research, science, clusters, and incubators. This process on agreement on internal trade is part of our overall holistic strategy to grow the economy.
    It is also an invitation for us to all work together in support of a strong, more prosperous national economy. We cannot afford to miss this opportunity. I remain committed to working with my colleagues across Canada to build a stronger, more innovative economy.

  (1105)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister opposite for his service to our country. Does the minister believe Canadians have a constitutional right to trade with other Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, again, when we talk about this issue, the member has to understand that we have two different approaches to dealing with the same outcomes. He wants to do it through a legal framework. We want to work with our provincial and territorial counterparts to put forward a comprehensive agreement on internal trade. As I said in my remarks, this benefits businesses and consumers. It is good for companies in Canada to be able to scale up. It provides a framework for us to continue to also negotiate better international trade agreements and to allow our economy to grow in the future as well.
    That is the fundamental difference here today. We need to work with our provincial and territorial counterparts rather than pursue this matter in the courts.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the minister a quick question about the ongoing negotiations, and I applaud those. What does the Comeau decision mean to those negotiations? Would the minister not agree that it would be good to clear that decision up before proceeding with the negotiations?

  (1110)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Comeau decision is a very important development. When I work with my provincial and territorial counterparts, I talk about that, as well as a whole range of other issues. The bottom line is we are using that and other discussion points to clearly demonstrate our commitment to reduce barriers and harmonize regulations.
    If we have a much a broader discussion overall when it comes to internal trade, that is the approach we need to have. I am very confident, as I work with my provincial and territorial counterparts, that we will be able to address this and many other issues.
     We all understand the economic urgency is there. We are dealing with slow growth. We have challenges in our economy. People in different parts of the country cannot find employment.
    As a government, we have a responsibility to grow the economy and help the middle class. We fundamentally believe that this approach on an agreement on internal trade, dealing with not only alcohol and beverages but a whole range of issues, will create opportunities for Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
    Mr. Speaker, would the minister talk a bit more about what the federal government, in its partnerships with provincial governments, can do to help start-up companies that are ready to scale. It seems to me that access to a national market will be helpful to start-up companies as they look for expanded markets and more customers to grow.
     What specific things can the federal and provincial governments do together to help solve this scalability gap that seems to be plaguing our start-up companies?
    Mr. Speaker, the fundamental issue that we are dealing with when it comes to small businesses is their inability to really scale up and grow. They have had that challenge for quite some time.
    The government does have a role to play. It can create an environment for them to grow and succeed. One tool the government has in its toolbox is procurement. If we allow small companies, in particular, the ability to procure, to get their ideas, services, and goods validated by different levels of government, it puts them in a very strong position to grow and get more customers, because they have been validated by a Canadian government. It also strengthens their position to go abroad.
    For example, I am a Canadian company and I have this really cool idea, and there is growth potential in my company. I go to markets abroad. They tell me that I have a great idea, a great solution, but they want to know if I have engaged my local authorities, my local government and are they supportive. If the answer is yes, that seal of approval will go a long way to helping those companies genuinely scale up, become more export-oriented and grow.
    That is one example we are dealing with when it comes to the agreement on internal trade. That is one example I believe fundamentally helps companies grow in Canada. It is part of an innovation agenda going forward, which I will talk about later on today.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the work my hon. colleague is doing to put together a framework for interprovincial trade across the country.
    My question is this. You are putting all of this work and funding into developing this framework, but the AIT may be unconstitutional when it is all said and done. Would it not make a lot of sense to find some clarity on this issue now before you put all this effort, time, and money into the AIT framework?
    Order, please. I just want to remind the hon. members to speak through the Chair and not directly across the floor, not that it was done in an impolite manner.
    The hon. minister.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from the member opposite because he understands the urgency that exists to move forward with an agreement on internal trade. The issue really is this. How quickly can we act to create an environment where we can ultimately harmonize our regulations and reduce barriers to provide opportunities for our companies to grow and ultimately benefit our consumers?
    I believe that the approach our government is taking, by working in collaboration with our provincial and territorial counterparts and working in a comprehensive manner, is the right approach and is a timely approach. I am confident that, if we pursue this agenda, it will benefit the economy in a more timely manner because it is urgent and it is needed. We want to grow the economy and create jobs and help the middle class, and that is why, in my view, this approach is the better course of action.

  (1115)  

    Mr. Speaker, at the end of the day in this discussion, this debate, what is necessary is the trust required to go ahead with the general Liberal approach. The minister is claiming that his negotiating strength with the provinces, trying to get them as a collective to work together, would be compromised to some degree versus that of going to the Supreme Court and getting an opinion on a piece of legislation that is more encompassing than this one particular matter. However, in my opinion, that would also give us and Parliament some worthwhile information.
    The difficulty I am having with the government's position on this “trust me” file is that, my private member's bill, Bill C-221, with respect to single event sports betting, has all of the provinces in agreement that it allows the provinces to choose what they want to do and does not force them to do anything. Multiple ministers and provinces have asked for this. However, it requires one line in the Criminal Code to be eliminated. The Liberal government is opposed to that choice of the provinces, yet we are supposed to believe that, in this case, its path is true and clean, versus the action we can take here with this motion, which would merely give us information for the future should negotiations fail and not be comprehensive, and which might also lead toward the courts anyway.
    Therefore, I ask the minister this with respect to that contradiction. When the provinces specifically write, lobby, and ask for something to be a choice for them versus that of getting an opinion, how can they have it both ways?
    Mr. Speaker, I know the member opposite is very passionate about his private member's bill, and I believe there will be an opportunity to debate that bill extensively. We have discussed that bill in private as well. I know he means well and that he is concerned about his local region and the overall economy. However, fundamentally, this is what the discussion has been about today. It is not a matter of trust. Rather, it is about action.
     We as a government have taken significant action to demonstrate that we have the ability to work with our provincial and territorial counterparts, not only with respect to an agreement on internal trade but on the climate change file and other matters as well. That is the kind of framework we want to have in this federation to move items forward. I am confident that the members opposite will be able to determine how comprehensive the agreement on internal trade is and where we can improve it.
    More importantly, it is not simply about having a comprehensive agreement, but it is about also about putting in place a process to make sure we prevent any type of additional barriers for companies that has an impact on consumers and on our productivity or competitiveness.
    Therefore, I fundamentally believe that this approach is the right approach for the long term.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to share my time with my esteemed colleague from Windsor West.
    We are debating the opposition motion moved by the member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, whose efforts are very similar to his work on behalf of the wine industry. This time, the motion pertains to beer in light of the case involving a New Brunswick man who was arrested for purchasing alcohol in Quebec and bringing it into New Brunswick. Obviously, this ruling caused a bit of an uproar in Quebec.
    I would like to pick up on a comment made by the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, for whom I have a great deal of respect. However, he added to the confusion on this issue when he said that the government has taken action.
    That is not what the government is demonstrating at this time, either on this issue or many others. The member referred to the agreement on internal trade and the issue of the environment and climate change. I think he is confusing consultation with action.
    In many cases, the government's current consultations are merely a stalling tactic to avoid taking action.
    In this case, the minister is trying to reassure us by saying that negotiations are underway and that the government is facilitating negotiations between the provinces regarding the agreement on internal trade and the elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers in Canada.
    Obviously, there are non-tariff barriers in this case. These legislative barriers imposed by the provinces are inconsistent with the intent of section 121 of the Constitution, which, I would like to remind members, is included in the motion.
    That section says:
    121. All Articles of the Growth, Produce, or Manufacture of any one of the Provinces shall, from and after the Union, be admitted free into each of the other Provinces.
    I agree with my Conservative colleagues when they say that this decision and the Government of New Brunswick's efforts to appeal this decision are inconsistent with the intent of this constitutional provision.
    However, I think it is unfortunate that they are calling for an opinion application or a Supreme Court reference because I think this matter should be dealt with by the government.
    Right now, the government is trying to reassure us by saying that consultations have taken place, that it is working with the provinces, and that it wants to eliminate these barriers. The problem is that we have no idea what kind of efforts are being made or what type of negotiations are being conducted. As my colleague from Windsor West mentioned, we have to trust the government.
    I would like to remind the House that, during the previous Parliament, the industry minister at the time, James Moore, spoke about this a lot. He said that it was a priority of the Conservative government at the time. However, it is clear that, although a few first steps were taken in the previous Parliament, we did not see much in the way of results.
    A private member's bill was passed to eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers for wine and the shipment of wine. This serves as a reminder to the House that there are two steps: first, legislation needs to be passed and, second, that legislation needs to be implemented. Legislators, including members of the House, often forget about the second step. When we enact new legislation, we need resources and a strategy in order to implement it.
    That is why I will vote in favour of this motion. I support the spirit of the motion, and we agree on the Conservatives' interpretation of this section of the Constitution.
    We do not necessarily agree that referring the matter to the Supreme Court is the way forward. The way forward would be for this government to take real action. It must prioritize the agreement on internal trade, which could help solve this impasse.
    We took action on internal trade. We voted in favour of a bill introduced by the industry minister at the time, which shows that internal trade is important to us and that we agree on this issue.
    That said, we must always be cautious with these types of issues, as we should be with international trade.

  (1120)  

    We can support the principle of the free movement of goods and services within Canada, just as we support the principle of international trade. However, we can oppose details in trade agreements and we can disagree with how provisions are implemented.
    I want to be very clear: on this side of the House, we support the principle of internal trade and the main provisions of the agreement on internal trade. However, we must ensure that the agreement on internal trade does not become an excuse for us to do the bare minimum and weaken our regulations, workplace health and safety provisions, or standards for labour and for the quality of goods and services. In general, we support what has been proposed.
    As members know, there are two ridings in Quebec that border New Brunswick. There is mine, which borders the western edge of New Brunswick. Edmundston is just an hour and a half from Rimouski. Then, there is Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia. There are two main roads on which New Brunswickers and Quebeckers can travel freely. There are no border crossings because we have an economic union.
    In that case, what is the justification for provisions that prevent people from buying goods such as beer, wine, or other things in Quebec and bringing them back to New Brunswick? The opposite situation would be just as odd. Why prevent Quebeckers from going to New Brunswick and bringing certain types of goods back to Quebec when there is no customs provision, and rightly so?
    I wonder why there are any provisions. During the last Parliament, my colleague from British Columbia raised a similar question about wine. Often these are economic issues.
    According to the New Brunswick Liquor Corporation, lifting this ban would be economically unfavourable. When we discussed the issue of wine during the last Parliament, the Société des alcools du Québec was against this provision for similar reasons.
    We have to be careful and ensure that the standards remain the same. When we talk about standards, we are also talking about import standards. During the last Parliament, one of the legitimate objections raised by the Société des alcools was the following: since British Columbia and Alberta had import conditions that are different from Quebec's, it would be easy to go through Alberta to flood the Quebec market with wine products and wine from outside Canada. Quebec has different import provisions.
    That is the type of question that needs to be answered to satisfy the provinces. It is not that complicated to do so. If we want wine from British Columbia, beer from Quebec, or alcohol from Ontario to cross the border, we can use the internal trade agreement to limit these provisions to Canadian products and not to the import of foreign products. If products are currently being imported under lesser or different standards, then the agreement on internal trade could be beneficial.
    In summary, I support the motion, but I do not believe that we need a Supreme Court reference to resolve this issue. The federal government must make this issue a priority. We also need much more transparency in the negotiations. At present, the government is asking us to take it at its word that it is taking action on the agreement on internal trade, even though we see absolutely nothing happening.

  (1125)  

    I urge the government to be much more proactive and transparent about the negotiations that are under way. Meanwhile, we will support the motion in principle. Therefore, I will be voting for the motion.
    Mr. Speaker, I always enjoy listening to my colleague from Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques. He puts his economics background to good use and it serves us well.
    It is quite interesting that the NDP supports our motion. We are very pleased about that. That is proof that the right and the left can agree when they are guided by common sense.
    The member mentioned earlier that the provincial authorities are saying that this could be quite profitable for them. The Société des alcools and the New Brunswick Liquor Corporation have already said this. Although we are talking about alcohol, we realize that this is a real cash cow for the provincial governments.
     Earlier, my colleague, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, mentioned that he was in discussions with his provincial partners. We also know that in two weeks the finance ministers will meet in Vancouver to talk about pension funds.
    Does the member agree that it would be a great thing if the provincial and federal finance ministers put the issue of alcohol and the interprovincial tariff-free trade of alcohol on the agenda?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent for his question. I too have a great deal of respect for his work and what he has to say.
    In response to his question, the issue of pension funds, particularly the Canada pension plan and by extension the Quebec pension plan, is complex. Our parties' positions on that do in fact run contrary to one another, because we would like pension funds to increase. We do not consider it merely a question of taxes, but more as an investment in our future and our security.
    Therefore, regarding that question alone, we want to see it addressed and resolved. The Minister of Finance already had the opportunity to put some pressure on the provinces during the first round of negotiations, which took place in December, I think. It was agreed that both sides would study the issue for a year, even though it has already been under review for 10 years.
    This issue needs to be addressed if there is time or if the opportunity arises, either during this finance ministers' meeting or during another possible meeting of the provincial ministers responsible for industry and trade, for example. This would actually improve on the transparency that is missing here. The government says that it is meeting with the provinces and that negotiations and discussions are taking place on the agreement on internal trade, but we have yet to see any results. There is no news about that. Calling a federal-provincial meeting on this issue, perhaps not with the finance ministers but with the provincial and territorial trade ministers, could help move this file forward in a positive way.

  (1130)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I must say that I am somewhat disappointed that the New Democrats' approach seems to endorse the Conservatives' attitude that what is best is to advance it to the Supreme Court. I am talking about the Comeau decision.
    We are trying to build stronger, healthier relationships with the provinces, working in collaboration with the provinces. We did not see this type of effort in the previous administration. In fact, the previous administration did not even have first ministers meetings, with the prime minister sitting down with the provinces to promote better internal trade and to deal with the issues Canadians want us to deal with.
    I understand that the New Democrats support taking the issue to the Supreme Court as opposed to working with the provinces. Am I then to believe that the NDP would not support the first ministers, including the Prime Minister, getting together to deal with issues of internal trade?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it might be nice if members listened to the speeches before asking questions. In my speech, I specifically said that I am not keen on calling for a referral. My support and my vote in favour of this motion are based on the principle in section 121, the free trade principle.
    The member says that unlike the Conservatives, the Liberals are taking action on this file, but we see no evidence of that. We have to take his word for it. That is what I said in my speech.
     If the Liberal government is really interested in going in that direction, my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent came up with an interesting proposal. He suggested holding a meeting of federal and provincial ministers responsible for trade to discuss the agreement on internal trade. All we have now are closed-door meetings, and the government is trying to convince us that it is doing something. The previous government also tried to convince us that it was doing something. At least a bill was discussed, debated, and passed in committee. We have seen nothing at all from the Liberals. It is nice that they want us to trust them and take their word for it, but we would like some evidence that something is happening on this file.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for a great intervention on the issue, because a lot of what we do now with regard to the motion will be in the interest of moving interprovincial trade forward. Therefore, we have to ask if the motion actually accomplishes that goal. I will get to that a little later.
    Many Canadians are very much in favour of regular trade among Canadians. We have witnessed a wonderful phenomenon now taking place with small business development in our country that is key to neighbourhoods and communities. I see that type of energy and robust innovation being applied beyond communities and provinces to other provinces.
    Locally, we have a new cycling manufacturing industry that is now branching out in Canada and to other places across North America, and even internationally.
    The Windsor—Essex region has also grown from having some of the earliest wineries in Canada. A number of them, including Colio, Pelee Island, and others, have led us to be one of the greater wine regions in Canada. I believe that at last count there were 19 wineries in the Windsor—Essex region, predominantly in the Essex—Chatham area. It has become a tourism attraction and a good opportunity for the horticultural industry. It is also a flag bearer for Canadian content, which is being pushed beyond our region and beyond our country.
    We see these things happening. That is one of the reasons I have tabled a private member's bill on lowering the taxation of beer produced by microbreweries to allow them to create and develop their businesses, because often they are small ventures. I proposed a tiering system in the bill, but I will not get into the details. What is important to note about the craft brewing industry is that it has rehabilitated old neighbourhood buildings or facilities that were underutilized. Brewers have often revitalized historic landmarks, which has led to greater community development. I think many members have witnessed this in their communities.
    I know that a lot of younger people have gotten on the ground floor with these innovations and exports.
    The member has a record of having pushed for a number of issues related to this, and successfully so. The mass production and distribution of spirits, wines, and beers beyond local markets is a relatively new phenomenon. Over the last 100 to 200 years, we saw more mass production and distribution than ever before, especially in the last 50 to 60 years. The key elements of trade along these corridors were there for many decades. Now we see a bit of a rejuvenation.
    Does the motion today lead to an improvement in the convoluted situation with regard to interprovincial trade? It focuses on wine at the moment, but at the same time, it will get us an opinion on other types of trade that could happen within our country.
    As we move to more online purchasing as consumers, we have barriers that are artificial.

  (1135)  

    Just yesterday, the New Democrats celebrated with the government and the Conservatives the passing of the Marrakesh Treaty on barriers to persons with disabilities in accessing larger print and alternative-to-print books. We are one of the leading nations in this effort. It is very much a non-partisan effort and is one step in the process. It was basically the system that created the barriers we are tearing down now.
    This is similar. We created these barriers in the past that are not relevant to our economic well-being and success in the future.
    We have seen numerous efforts on the government side and even by opposition members on various political sides to try to move provincial trade to the forefront and get this addressed. We are back to why the member has put this motion forward. Is it the best vehicle for this? Perhaps not, but at the end of the day, when I look at the motion and the intent of the member, I have to say that this would actually be a net benefit for Parliament and for Canadians.
    I want to read the reasons in the motion, because there are some key elements that need to be explained. It might even help the minister in trade discussions. As my colleague mentioned, many of these discussions have been held without any type of accountability, because they were held behind closed doors. We are simply supposed to trust that. That is something we cannot do. I think we would not be following through on our parliamentary responsibility as opposition members.
    The member talked about the constitutional right of Canadians to trade with Canadians. That is an interesting discussion, because basically, the provincial divide trumps, not Donald Trump, thank goodness, the rights of Canadians. I do not think that is right. I have often said, when I have argued against some of the U.S. notions of Canadians from abroad being threats, that a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian. Whether people have immigrated as children or just recently, they have been vetted through our process and they are now equal among us. The same thing is true with that suggestion.
    The Constitution Act is interesting, because it says, “All Articles of the Growth, Produce, or Manufacture of any one of the Provinces shall, from and after the Union, be admitted free into each of the other Provinces”.
    I am not a lawyer. I know, though, that the words “shall” and “will” are interpretative words in law that become quite complicated. In fact, I got a motion passed, in agreement with the Conservative government at that time, because we had a substitution in that very debate of “shall” and “will”. In fact, it was a very special occasion that required Parliament to briefly resume, and then we adjourned Parliament for the summer. It was on the International Bridges and Tunnels Act. My former colleague, Joe Comartin, who is a lawyer, played a pivotal role in that, and the differentiation between “shall” and “will” and the interpretation of “strength of law” was in that.
    We also have the recent court case on the constitutional clarification of section 121. It could be applied to other types of trade than we are talking about right now.
    My job here is to advance Canadians and to make sure that the government is held to account. It does not have to be done in a hostile way. I understand the government's interpretation. I use the example of my private member's bill, Bill C-221, the single event sports betting bill. Unlike the minister saying that it is a regional thing, this is actually a Canada-wide thing that gives provinces a choice.
    For that reason, I will support this motion, because it advances the cause of domestic trade for Canadians.

  (1140)  

    Mr. Speaker, my question for the member is with respect to the whole idea of government incentives, programs, and procurement. Does the member have any thoughts with regard to how these should be taken into consideration during this particular debate? Does he have a personal opinion on these issues that he would like to share with us?
    Mr. Speaker, with respect to programs and incentives, we could look at the wine industry. Some studies have been done with regard to whether wine is high in pesticides. Some studies have shown that some international wines that come into Canada contain metal. The LCBO has successfully tested and screened for this. Perhaps there could be some type of motivation. Canada's best advantage is its food supply and other types of goods and services. Quality and security will become increasingly important as marketable skills.
    With respect to food and wine, Canada's high standards are an asset. Perhaps a federal program or support of some kind to ensure that would be wonderful for us, especially with respect to our exports both domestically and internationally.

  (1145)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government put forward a budget earlier this year that outlined its plan to grow the middle class. The Liberals spoke of this being of high importance to them.
     Should this trade agreement be granted through the court, could my colleague tell me how that would go about growing the middle class and expanding that part of our society? How would it be good for young families and growing families in Canadian society?
    Mr. Speaker, obviously one of the benefits is that it would support a lot of different local and regional commerce that could then expand into other regions where there is support.
     A lot of Canadians can identify with different areas of the country and the wine or other exports that come from those areas. They develop an affiliation for a certain area in the country through trade, travel, tourism, and so forth.
    That helps, because at the end of the day when we look at all of the work that is being done here, the vast majority of it is seen through the lens of proper rights, accountability, and most importantly, value-added work. All one needs to do is take a tour of a winery or a brewery and see the value-added work. People use their education and resources to achieve those goals. That will help in general.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour for me to speak to this debate. I want to inform you right away that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte. It is a long constituency name, but he is just one MP.
    The motion moved by my colleague today essentially refers to free trade, to Canadians' freedom of choice, to the fact that we are in favour of international free trade, and we should have the same principle of free trade between the provinces and allow Canadian taxpayers to get more for their money. We must respect their choices and decisions when it comes to consumer products.
    Let us go over the events. In October 2012, a man from Tracadie, New Brunswick, did some shopping not far from home in Quebec. He bought 14 cases of beer and three bottles of alcohol and then had to cross the border. When he was returning home to New Brunswick, he was arrested because New Brunswick citizens are not allowed to buy alcohol in Quebec. He took the case to court, and a few months ago, Justice Ronald LeBlanc sided with him in an historic ruling. This was the first time the court had to rule on such a situation. Justice LeBlanc based his arguments on an historic fact. The Canadian Constitution of 1867, specifically section 121, says, “All Articles of the Growth, Produce, or Manufacture of any one of the Provinces shall, from and after the Union, be admitted free into each of the other Provinces.”
    In other words, what that meant was that goods produced in a province could be bought by citizens of another province without committing an offence. That rightly speaks to the very essence of the foundation of our country 150 years ago. We should remember that our country was not created by a central state that established provinces, but by provinces that came together to create a central state. The intent was to pool the efforts, qualities, production, citizens, in short everything that was good about our country, under one state and not have a state that created provinces. This philosophy should drive this debate, and also inspire us when, next year, we have the privilege of celebrating our country's 150th anniversary.
    What we learn from this situation is that we must live according to the principles we believe in. We are a country that believes in free trade. We are a country that benefits from trade with countries around the world. I am proud to remind members that our government, under the leadership of the right hon. member for Calgary Heritage signed free trade agreements with 46 foreign countries. That is proof that we are in favour of free trade around the world. We must allow free trade among our provinces and respect consumers' choices.
    That is why we believe this debate is a matter of fairness. Free trade is good for taxpayers and good for the Canadian economy. This may surprise a lot of people, but there are still tariff barriers between the provinces that do not allow for the flow of transportation, trade, and workers, even though these should all be allowed, pursuant to section 121 of the Canadian Constitution. According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, tariff barriers cost the Canadian economy $15 billion. That is a lot of money. One cannot support international free trade and at the same time not support free trade within the country.
    This also has an impact on the GDP. In a recent study, the Conference Board of Canada said that we could increase Canada's GDP by $4.8 billion by eliminating the many tariff barriers between the provinces. That is money we cannot do without.
    As for the regional impact of tariff barriers, once again, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business has said that tariff barriers cost the Atlantic provinces an estimated $1 billion, and God knows that these provinces could use an economic boost.

  (1150)  

    When we look at Canada's economic landscape from 1981 to 2014, we see that international trade grew by 6%, which is very good. However, trade between the provinces grew by only 4%. That shows that tariff barriers between the provinces are hindering economic development.
    It is therefore clear that the provinces need to come to an agreement to open the market and eliminate tariff barriers, which, as the statistics have shown, are seriously undermining our economy. A more open approach would bring Canada greater economic prosperity.
    We are proposing that the Supreme Court rule on this issue. If we allow matters to take their course, since of course we need to respect the legal framework, there will be an appeal that is either won or dismissed and this matter will end up before the Supreme Court.
    Let us take this matter to the Supreme Court immediately to find out what it thinks, and then act in accordance with its ruling. As Justice Leblanc said in his decision, we believe that section 121, which is central to the founding of Canada, allows for the elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers in certain sectors in Canada.
    The finance ministers are going to meet in Vancouver in 10 days to talk about pension plans in Canada, among other things. We believe that, although the issue raised today has a lot to do with trade and economic development, it basically falls under the responsibility of the finance ministers.
    There is no denying that alcohol is a cash cow for the provinces. It generates economic spinoffs and taxes. That is the real issue to consider. No one is opposed to the principle of tariff barriers. However, when it comes time to put a value on them and allow Quebeckers to buy liquor in Ontario, that means less taxes for Quebec.
    That is why people are a bit reluctant and we understand that. It is a legitimate reaction. However, we cannot be in favour of global free trade and against interprovincial free trade. We need to be logical and consistent.
    Since the finance ministers, including the current Minister of Finance, are meeting in Vancouver in 10 days, we think it would be a great idea for them to address this issue. The provincial ministers and the federal minister should look at ways of removing these barriers, allowing a better transfer of products, and boosting economic growth. Of course all the provinces are looking out for themselves, but they should take a hard look at the facts, especially since a court ruling contradicts their own interpretation of the matter.
    There was the case of Gérard Comeau from Tracadie. However, since I am from Quebec City, I should remind hon. members that in Quebec City, there is a particularly active radio station that organizes trips sometimes. People leave from Quebec City by bus to travel here to Ottawa. They go to the LCBOs, where they drink merrily and do some shopping. Then, that becomes the talk on the radio for a week.
    It is not exactly legal, but the police are not waiting for them at the exit either. When they get to Hawkesbury, there are no police waiting for them, since that would cause an uproar. However, this illustrates that Canadians, and particularly the people from Quebec City whom I was talking about, have an appetite for eliminating trade barriers.
    People want to get their money's worth. They want to buy the goods they want in their home province without being labelled as criminals for buying them in another province too. We are Canadian from coast to coast, and we are very proud of that. We should fully acknowledge that reality and that pride in the way we trade and purchase goods.
    That is why I will vote in favour of this motion, of course. I am very pleased that the NDP is supporting it too. We heard from the minister earlier. We are disappointed in his noncommittal attitude. Still, it is never too late to do the right thing. We hope that the House of Commons will unanimously support our motion to allow the free trade of goods, including alcohol, Canada-wide.

  (1155)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, for many years the member served in the Quebec legislature, and I am sure he can appreciate just how important it is that Ottawa, our national government, works in consultation with provinces. In fact, not to do so would be highly irresponsible.
     One of the things we have seen with this new administration, since it was elected in October, is that there has been a great deal of effort from the Prime Minister's Office and all the different ministers to have an outreach to our provincial, territorial, and indigenous counterparts to say that we want to work collectively at changing the systems. Internal trade is part of those systems.
    I am wondering if the member, with his years of experience at the provincial level in Quebec, can comment on how important it is that Ottawa work in co-operation with the provinces to get rid of some of the barriers to trade that are in place today?
    Mr. Speaker, I really appreciate my hon. colleague's presence here in the House. We agree with that. I said that a few minutes ago. I talked about the meeting we will have with the finance ministers of each province and the federal minister to talk about this issue, so I do agree with him. This is why, during 10 years, the Conservative government always respected the provincial powers. In every decision it made, it was always respectful to the provinces.
    The hon. colleague talked about the new way of doing things. I must remind him that, just a few weeks ago, a very important minister in Quebec sent a letter to the government saying it was not respectful of the power of the provinces about the Senate. Who wrote the letter? It was Jean-Marc Fournier, former adviser to the leader of the Liberal Party.

  (1200)  

    Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary does have a point with regard to there being greater interest in engaging provincial allies; but at the same time, I do not understand why this is a detriment to the minister when he goes to negotiate, because it is a motion in the House of Commons. The member's former leader, the former prime minister who still is here today, noted when he was in opposition that motions should be lived up to and acted upon because the spirit is of the House. It became quite a debating point when motions were seen as more relevant.
    We have seen motions on climate change and on everything from housing to Ed Broadbent's motion to end child poverty and one of the motions that I co-sponsored with regard a seniors' charter of rights. They never were enacted, so the House has not lived up to those things. I would ask the member to expand his argument because I do not think this is hostile to the minister when he goes to negotiate. I think it is complementary, because it can show the provinces that all of Parliament is serious about this issue of wanting to reduce interprovincial barriers.
    Mr. Speaker, I agree with my colleague, but the point is that we have a court decision today, which was not the case a year ago. As my colleague said, we do not have the same speech today because there is a new decision of the court in New Brunswick. Judge Ronald LeBlanc was clear that this was based on the Constitution. With this new element, we shall proceed in respect of that decision.
    This is why our motion today called the shot to the Supreme Court to be sure that at the end of the day we will know exactly what the Supreme Court will have to say about the constitutional rules and especially the fact that, in 1867 when this country was born, it was a very important element in our Constitution to have free trade between provinces. Let me remind members that our country was not created by a federal state that created provinces, but for provinces who came together to create this great country of Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, it is certainly an honour to stand today and speak to the opposition day motion tabled by the member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola regarding the creation of free trade between provinces across Canada.
    I believe we are at a historic crossroads for the Canadian economy, one that can either tear down barriers and create new business and economic unions in Canada, or one that will forever destine our country to hamper economic growth in Canada by making it easier for Canadian companies to transact and partner with foreign entities than it is to partner with fellow Canadian companies.
    Obviously this debate is being spurred on and highlighted by the recent decision in New Brunswick, known as the Comeau decision. Mr. Comeau was prosecuted for seeking to move purchased goods from one province to another. This single decision has propelled the case for economic growth in Canada by reducing provincial trade barriers and tightening the economic union that stands as the foundation of our federation.
    The interprovincial relationship that exists today is costing the Canadian economy upwards of $15 billion annually, and as many as 78,000 jobs would be created in British Columbia and Alberta, without even including the rest of the country, if these trade barriers were torn down.
    Today there are many regulatory issues that exist between provincial borders, which act as barriers to expansion, barriers for business to create jobs, deliver goods, and use Canadian products that have been imagined in Canada, patented in Canada, made in Canada, but oftentimes not sold barrier free in Canada due to these trade barriers that exist.
    These barriers need to be torn down in favour of uniformity across Canada to spur economic growth. Whether it is the Canadian Federation of Independent Business or the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the only uniformity that exists on the subject is that non-profit business organizations know how detrimental trade barriers are to our economy.
    As we look back over the last few weeks with the Comeau decision behind us, we see there are so many areas that require internal Canadian co-operation, not just to create jobs or help Canadian businesses compete, but to build a stronger environment for Canadians to buy goods and services.
    Perhaps one of the largest barriers that exists today is in the financial services industry, or banking industry. This is an industry that has a very large impact on the lives of Canadians with regard to the investment of savings by Canadians in this country and the professional regulations that govern those providing investment advice.
    In this day and age, where there is a free flow of people throughout the country, and a free flow of personal financial resources throughout the country, why is there a difference in the professional designations, resources, and processes that are needed to provide that investment advice?
    The Canadian banking industry is recognized as one of the strongest and most robust in the world, yet it is somewhat hampered by provincial borders that dictate differing regulations and rules. What is worse is that, every day that the inequity and non-uniform regulatory structure lives on, there are more and more barriers created that hurt the finances of everyday Canadians.
    As we stand on the growing wave of the fourth industrial revolution and the emergence over the last few years of the new economy or sharing economy, our world is literally changing daily. This change is transpiring in many ways, throughout many sectors, and each of them has massive consequences for Canadians.
    Not only are these innovations affecting Canadians, but because of the differing regulatory regimes in different provincial jurisdictions, Canadians are affected by them differently across the country. It is, therefore, very difficult for this Parliament to react appropriately to the innovations that are occurring, as each conversation with each provincial government is different.
    In the case of the banking industry or financial services industry, the world is being turned upside down. Daily, new websites are being launched to match investors with possible investment opportunities. The opportunities are endless.
    Startup businesses that have always lacked access to capital are suddenly finding vehicles to fund their businesses through the emergence of equity crowdfunding sites. Businesses like those that are members of Startup Canada depend on the emergence of this new, innovative, investor-business relationship.
    Industries that have traditionally had very difficult times securing capital to expand or proceed with projects that create jobs for hard-working Canadians suddenly have new avenues to solicit funding to make these projects a reality.

  (1205)  

    Industries like mining are finally able to find resources that are not dependent on financial service providers that choose when to turn on and off the taps. When another capital crunch occurs, resulting in many businesses not having access to the investment needed to maintain their position or grow their business, suddenly they have an opportunity to succeed rather than just being told no by five big banks and having to give up. The ramifications of this technological advancement on our society are yet unmeasured and will become clearer over the coming years. However, one thing that does stand clear today is that freedom to choose investment products, with increased competition, will dramatically increase value for Canadian consumers and for Canadian citizens.
    The problem is that there is not a uniform pan-Canadian approach to these technologies. Provincial securities commissions have developed an independent thinking on the amount an individual can invest. Yes, provincial regulators have developed a maximum that each individual can invest in a business as well as how much each of us can invest in total for any given year. Not only is the amount that an individual invests regulated, but so is the amount that a business can raise through equity crowdfunding. They regulate the amount of money a business can raise to fund the creation of new jobs for hard-working Canadian.
    What is worse than the inhibition of investment in Canadian business and Canadian jobs by Canadian citizens is that the standards are not uniform. In Ontario, the standards are different from those in Quebec and those in western Canada. Not only do these barriers inhibit the expansion of business and creation of jobs, but they create a business environment that is not stable and steady across this country.
    I have spoken to financial services, and indeed there are many other areas that have similar issues with regard to an unsteady investment environment. When a stable business environment does not exist, this becomes not just a barrier to trade but a barrier to external investment in our country. It becomes a barrier to expanding our economy internationally because the provision of products and provision of services are not uniformly accepted within our provincial jurisdictions. The security regulators today stand as a barrier to interprovincial trade, and we must continue to call on these barriers to be struck down and uniform regulations adopted to allow freer interprovincial trade.
    I have reflected on the ramifications of this decision in our society. I have spoken at length on the inhibiting of business to expand and be successful. However, what we must remember is that, while it is business organizations, media outlets, think tanks, and others who are loudly calling for the reduction and elimination of trade barriers, it is average Canadians who would be the victors of progress in this area. Canadians would reap the benefits through more jobs, through more investment, through increased competition, through stronger provincial government ties, through increased buying power, and certainly through a stronger Canadian identity.
    This must not be lost in this debate. It is Canadian citizens who are losing through the existence of interprovincial trade barriers, and Canadian citizens who would reap the incredible benefits if the current Liberal government chose to liberate our economy from undue, unfounded, and unfair trade barriers.
    We joke about freeing the beer or freeing the wine or freeing this product or that one. What we are talking about is freeing Canadians from undue red tape and regulations. How can we tackle the new financial and digital products of the future if we cannot even see agricultural products, like beer, wine, or spirits, move freely across provincial boundaries without people taking their pound of flesh? That only increases barriers to growth and stifles innovation. That is why I am supporting this motion today. If we can free the beer, we are one step closer to a more effective and efficient economy.

  (1210)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his speech in support of freer trade across provinces. I enjoy working with him on the industry committee. He brings great passion for start-ups and introduces some things around new technologies to our discussions at that committee and here this morning.
    I want to ask this for the hon. member. With this motion on the floor, how does he see that progressing the complex relationships that are developing? Might those relationships be better addressed by having province-to-province and province-to-federal government discussions, rather than trying to legislate an agreement?
    Mr. Speaker, my party is proposing that we continue to go down that road. When we were in government, we moved heavily on this and worked very hard on it. We hope the current government continues along that line. We have to work with our provincial counterparts and, in some jurisdictions, even municipal counterparts.
    However, at the same time, leadership needs to be provided to ensure Canadians get the best value for their dollar when they purchase goods. We want to ensure consumers have the best services at the best prices.
    Mr. Speaker, I think it is fair to ask how this could affect negotiations. I believe the government's position right now is more of a knee-jerk reaction versus a strengthened position, an expression that we in Parliament are interested in increasing trade among all provinces. That is leadership. I do not think it is hostile to pin the minister down during these negotiations. I want to emphasize that, because it is complementary.
    The member talked a lot about some of the digital aspects in the movement of currency, whereas his previous colleague spoke about a bus crossing a border, picking up alcohol, going back across the border, getting checked, and having the same oversight. That shows the very important nature of why we need to get our heads around this. There are different formats of trade and there needs to be accountability for that trade.

  (1215)  

    Mr. Speaker, I was trying to portray the fact that the ramifications of interprovincial trade barriers were growing every day, because our economy was changing and growing and there were many new aspects that we had not seen in many years. Therefore, the longer we wait to take action, the longer we wait to work with the provinces to come up with harmonization or uniform regulations, the deeper we go into issues we have to somehow come back from.
    It is imperative for us to we start now and to move quickly. Obviously, the member who moved the motion today believes that as well and has moved very quickly on it.
    Mr. Speaker, we were talking about liquor moving from province to province. The black market in our country is enormous. What I mean by black market is that people leave my province of Saskatchewan with their pick-up trucks and go to Alberta. Even though the beer is produced in Saskatoon, it is cheaper in the next province. People can drive over with their trucks, fill them up, go back to their province, and as long as they do not get checked, they have made great savings. It is happening every weekend.
    The former government did such a great job with opening trade with other countries, so why not with other jurisdictions like the provinces? This is long overdue.
    Mr. Speaker, the former government had a very successful record, not just in the last 10 years but the last 30 years, in free trade with jurisdictions outside of Canada. It is important that we start to move this relationship forward internally. We do not want an unfair trade relationship between a company in Canada trying to partner with another company in Canada versus partnering outside of Canada with companies around the world. It just would not make a lot of sense and, we need to deal with that quickly.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to talk about another important issue, one about which I believe Canadians in all regions of our country would be concerned, and that is the issue of trade. Whether internal trade or external trade, it delivers the type of lifestyle we have known over the years and have come to expect going forward.
    I want to begin my comments by talking about this whole change in attitude, which I believe has been significant. We need to realize that this is about Canada's middle class. It is about the creation of jobs. It is about consumers wanting more choice and seeing costs going down where they can. It is about allowing businesses to expand, thereby creating jobs. It is about mobility. We want employees to feel they have choices as to whether they want to live in my home province of Manitoba, or in Nova Scotia, or in British Columbia, or anywhere in between or up north.
    This is a very important debate. I disagree with the motion and will vote against it . However, this is not to underplay the importance of this debate. Our Prime Minister and the ministers of this government have been fairly clear from the outset. This goes back to shortly after the election when the cabinet was put in place and instructions were given by the Prime Minister. We are entering a new era, one in which we recognize the valuable contributions that others have to play in making good, sound government policy.
     I say that specifically with reference to the need for consultation and working with the different stakeholders. The greatest way to achieve interprovincial trade and take down barriers is by working with the different stakeholders, including our provinces, territories and our indigenous people, businesses, labour groups and others that have a vested interest in this very important issue.
    I believe in my soul that trade is absolutely critical. A number of Conservatives have talked about external trade. We even had one member reference to 43 agreements in the last number of years under the Conservative Party. That is a bit misleading in the sense that one of those agreements included 28 countries, and that agreement was kind of going off the track. However, we were able to get it back on track when our minister went to Europe to build that consensus. Who knows what will ultimately happen with the trans-Pacific partnership. However, our government has made a commitment to work and consult, and we will do that and see what happens on that front.
     The point is that external trade is of critical importance to all of us. We have a very progressive and proactive government that has the capability to do so much more on the international scene. I look forward to where we might go in the years ahead.
    However, when we talk about internal trade, I will go back to the instructions that were given by the Prime Minister's Office with respect to working with our provincial, territorial and indigenous counterparts to make a difference.
     Let us look at the Conservative motion.

  (1220)  

    The Conservatives seem to want to focus their attention strictly on the court ruling on Comeau, about the purchasing of considerable amounts of alcoholic beverages. It is something I personally do not necessarily partake in. I am told I already talk too much, and if I engaged in that, I might not stop talking for some time. However, this incident is about a consumer who purchased alcohol in one province and brought it back to his province, and it ended up in court. I understand the purchase was for personal consumption. The case is now being appealed. Based on that appeal, the Conservative Party has brought forward this motion.
    I will not read the entire motion, but I will focus on what the Conservatives are asking us to do, which is to take the issue to the Supreme Court of Canada for an interpretation. They are basing this on part (b) of their motion, which states:
(b) re-affirm that the Fathers of Confederation expressed this constitutional right in Section 121 of the Constitution Act, 1867 which reads: “All Articles of the Growth, Produce, or Manufacture of any one of the Provinces shall, from and after the Union, be admitted free into each of the other Provinces”;
    If we look at the Constitution Act of 1867, section 91(2) both supports and takes away from the argument that the sponsor of the motion has put forward. The Constitution Act of 1867, under section 91(2), gives the federal government jurisdiction over the regulation of trade and commerce, which includes the power to legislate with respect to interprovincial trade and commerce.
    However, we need to also look at section 92(13), which gives the province jurisdiction over property and civil rights, and regulations which often impact intra-provincial and interprovincial trade, and other areas that are not exclusively assigned by the Constitution to one level of government.
    It is the issue of the division of power that has to be taken into consideration. It has historically been seen to require a collaborative approach to government in addressing many aspects of interprovincial trade and commerce. In fact, the Council of the Federation had announced its intention to comprehensively renew the Agreement on Internal Trade, with an initial focus on government procurement, goods, services, investments, technical barriers to trade, and regulatory co-operation.
    These are all very important aspects of the Constitution, even going beyond the Constitution, that we have to take into consideration when we talk about public policy. This is why I had indicated this earlier in my question for the New Democrats. When we look at what is being requested of us through this motion, I do not believe it is appropriate for us, at least at this point in time, to make reference to the issue going to the Supreme Court of Canada. In fact, the Council of the Federation, the premiers, territories, and others have expressed intentions to do what they can to modernize it.
    I appreciate modernizing the Agreement on Internal Trade. I appreciate the fact that the member across the way did provide us a bit of a historical perspective. He made reference to the Constitution, but he also made reference to a very significant event, which was the 1995 Agreement on Internal Trade. This is what we have been talking about so far today.

  (1225)  

    I was elected to the Manitoba legislature in the 1980s and went through the 1990s. I was very much a part of the discussion on the free trade agreement. I can appreciate why we had this push for an internal trade agreement, which really might have started toward the late 1980s, because whether it was through technology or the issue of trade at the time, there was a heightened sense of public awareness through the media. I can recall the debate that went on. It was something to the effect of how it was that we could have freer trade with America but have more trade barriers within our own country. People were generally concerned about it.
    I remember the news stories a few years earlier about a local bus manufacturing company, New Flyer Industries, which is still here today. It was not able to compete in another provincial jurisdiction, yet most of its contracts were actually going to the United States. I do not think that point, along with many others, was lost when we were having the whole trade debate during the late 1980s and early 1990s. For the common person, including me, it was hard to understand why we did not see a more proactive and progressive approach in trying to deal with those interprovincial trade barriers.
    They are still there today. The former Conservative speaker seemed to give the impression that in fact those barriers are growing. I do not know if I concur with that. I would like to think that is not the case. I suggest the member should examine this, whether through a standing committee or by writing to the ministers and highlighting the areas of that growth he believes might be taking place, or other means. I would like to think those barriers are coming down more and more. In the minds of many it could never be fast enough, but we need to recognize it.
    I was a provincial politician for many years. One of the Conservative members across the way spoke on the issue. Excuse me for not knowing the riding offhand, but he was also a member of the Quebec legislature for many years. We understand. When one has had the opportunity to serve in a provincial legislature, one develops a fairly good understanding of why these barriers are in place today. There are provincial and territorial entities that have a vested interest in trying to ensure that the regions they represent are being taken care of, and sometimes we might go a little too far in terms of the protective measures.
     I will use a budgetary measure as an example, because it is very easy for people to understand this one. I recall a provincial budget that came out where we wanted to promote to people to purchase hybrid cars. We wanted to reduce fossil fuels, so the government said it would give a $2,000 tax break if they purchased a hybrid car. Interesting enough, there were some limitations on that. They had to purchase the car in the province of Manitoba.

  (1230)  

    I will use the Toyota Prius as an example because at the time I raised the issue. I said that the consumer was not really getting a break because a better deal could be had on the car in Edmonton than in the city of Winnipeg, even with the $2,000 tax credit. Many people have taken advantage of that, but from a consumer's point of view this was found to not make sense. From a provincial perspective on something of that nature or a regulatory nature, it does have a negative impact, a negative perception, and a negative reality.
    What can we do? The Red Seal program is an excellent example, where many workers through an interprovincial standards program are able to have more mobility. This applies to cooks, electricians, welders, roofers, many different professions. We are seeing more movement in that direction in terms of getting individuals certified. Mobility is an important issue when we are talking about interprovincial barriers.
    Regulations are critical. Harmonizing regulations has the potential to generate millions in extra economic activity for our country and all of us will benefit under that. Harmonizing regulations would allow businesses in all regions of our country to expand. Dealing with those regulations and finding commonality and promoting and incorporating, that alone can add phenomenal value to Canada's economy. By doing that we are strengthening our economy. By strengthening our economy and with good, sound government policy, we are enhancing Canada's middle class and we all win. Consumers will benefit.
    Whether it is a reduction in consumer price or an increase in consumer choice, there is a great deal in terms of benefit. We should look at ways to allow the better movement of goods, services, and investments. We need to look at ways to encourage labour mobilization. We need to take down barriers and allow a free flow of merchandise while at the same time recognizing that the best way to achieve this is not necessarily by taking it through the courts but by working collaboratively with our provincial, territorial, and indigenous counterparts. That is the best way to achieve what the opposition motion wants to achieve.
    If both New Democrats and Conservatives would recognize the value of consultation and co-operation with the stakeholders I just listed and became a part of this government's plan to marginalize the problems with internal provincial trade, then all of Canada would benefit in every way.
    As much as we want to talk about international trade, there is so much more that we could do about internal trade barriers between the provinces and territories.

  (1235)  

    If we continue the course that the minister talked about earlier today, that this government has talked about in terms of working in co-operation, then we will in fact have the desired outcome of having reduced the number of barriers that are there, and all Canadians will benefit by that.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for an excellent and informative presentation.
    Being someone from New Brunswick, looking at the need for interprovincial trade is a paramount issue, as well as being a trading province internationally. Looking at the proximity of New Brunswick to our American partners, for many businesses in the southern end, in my end, of the province, it is a faster drive and easier transit to the American market, although we do look interprovincially at opportunities.
    I have been preparing businesses over the last 25 years for international trade. Certainly, we look at opportunities for export readiness with businesses, through education, through training. We know that 75% of first-time exporters are not exporting in their second year because they were not prepared. They did not know what they needed to know to be successful, to get into that market, to maintain themselves in that market, and also to find emerging opportunities.
    Looking at opportunities interprovincially and the need for co-operation, if we had a framework similar to getting companies export-ready and preparing them for what they needed to know, if we had that opportunity provincially, looking at preparing provincial governments, territories, and businesses for interprovincial trade, how might we be more successful in maintaining and improving the opportunities for the middle class?
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague has it right in terms of just how important it is that we see that higher sense of co-operation and provide incentives where we can to promote that growth, not only so that it goes beyond the borders of Canada but within Canada.
    Let me just highlight how important it is. Currently, interprovincial trade accounts for $373 billion. That is 20% of Canada's GDP and 40% of provincial exports. If we can continue to encourage the Council of the Federation, our first ministers, our territories, our indigenous people to work with the federal government in a co-operative, collaborative approach, we have good reason to believe that we would see significant gains on what is already a very important part of the Canadian economy and who we are as a society.

  (1240)  

    Mr. Speaker, I listened to the speech of my friend across the way with interest. There seems to be a false narrative that he and other members of the Liberal caucus seem to be promoting, not all, to be fair, but it was the Minister of Industry under the previous government who actually launched the renewed AIT. Fifteen of the 17 rounds that have been held on this were held under the previous government.
    To say that there is a new approach and somehow the Liberals will solve what we never even touched is completely false. However, I did not hear once the member address this. He spoke about different levels, section 91 versus 92 in the Constitution.
    Does the member not believe that the Supreme Court of Canada is uniquely enabled to rule on the constitutionality of both federal and provincial statutes and is the ultimate arbiter? He also neglected to mention that in terms of the original Gold Seal case in 1921 that narrowed the application of section 121, which allowed all these trade barriers and allowed the protectionism that he cited in his speech to come in, the Supreme Court was the body that originally narrowed the application. Therefore, they are the only body that can restore section 121. Does he support that?
    Mr. Speaker, I believe that, collectively, we are uniquely able to accomplish so much more. At the end of the day, we need to take responsibility for doing so.
    The member made reference to the AIT and the fact that 15 of 17 meetings were held under the previous Conservative government. The AIT was a creation of Jean Chrétien back in 1995. That is when the Prime Minister at the time called all the first ministers from the different provinces to come together and achieve this agreement.
    They met, 15 of the last 17 times, because they happened to be in government during those 15 of the 17 times. Not once did the Prime Minister see fit to go, participate, and show that willingness to work as a confederation to try to resolve an important issue to Canadians.
    That is a different approach and in the eight, nine months, we have seen our minister and our Prime Minister reach out on this very important issue. We have done more in the last nine months than the previous government did in 10 years.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, by way of information, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business says that barriers to internal trade cost our economy around $14 billion a year.
     The Liberals also cancelled plans to reduce the small business tax rate from 11% to 9%, which will cost the public purse about $2.2 billion. Small businesses will pay the price. The Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development said that internal trade was a priority and that he was in talks, but we have seen no results and no evidence.
    Can my Liberal colleague update us on those talks? What progress does the government have to report?

  (1245)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question in reference to small business.
    I can assure the member that the most important thing a small business wants today is a customer. What we have seen in the last budget, that we just voted on last night, is a budget that puts literally hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars into the pockets of Canadians.
     That is going to create more customers, whether it is the nine million-plus in the middle class who are getting the tax break, or the hundreds of thousands of children who are going to be lifted out of poverty through the Canada child benefit program.
    With respect to the latter part of the question, I can assure the member that on these discussions, we have a minister who is very proactive on the file and a government that is genuinely concerned about dealing with internal trade barriers. This goes right to the Prime Minister's Office. We have witnessed that, and it is unlike what we saw in the previous 10 years.
    Mr. Speaker, again, going back to the hon. member across the way, he is trying to paint this narrative that somehow the Liberals are doing things differently.
    First of all, what they did differently was there no mention of internal trade in the throne speech, there was no mention of internal trade in any mandate letter, and the Prime Minister, the intergovernmental affairs minister himself, spent zero political capital.
    In fact, as I said in my speech this morning, the premiers were supposed to come together in March on a new agreement on internal trade, and instead the Prime Minister decided to talk about carbon pricing, which was extremely divisive.
    For this gentleman to be saying that Conservatives do not care about trade is, first of all, wrong.
    I am going to ask the member a simple question. Does he believe that it is a constitutional right for a Canadian to trade with a Canadian? That is my question.
    Mr. Speaker, I do believe that there is an obligation for the Government of Canada to do whatever is possible to try to enhance trade between our provinces.
    This is something Canadians want to see, and this is something the government is working progressively at being able to achieve. We are doing it in a better way than the former government chose. We believe this is best achieved by working in a collaborative approach with our provinces, territories, and indigenous peoples in order to be able to take down the many different barriers that are there, so that all of Canadian society can benefit.
    It is not going to happen overnight. It does take time to make it happen.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to the motion brought forward by the hon. member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola. I will be sharing my time with the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.
    I thank the member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola for his continued efforts to promote economic vibrancy through interprovincial trade across our great nation. I am motivated to speak in support of the motion because I find myself asking the same question that many Canadians are asking. Why not? Why would we delay action that would free Canadians to offer their goods to fellow Canadians right across our nation?
    I understand that the previous government committed to working with the provinces and the territories to do away with restrictions that limit interprovincial trade. However, now we have an indication that we should be referring to the Supreme Court so that developing and future legislation and regulations do not cause extended delays in freeing the sale of goods across provincial lines.
    Let us be clear here. What we are talking about is the court clarification of free trade among the provinces and territories. The recent decision handed down by the Supreme Court of New Brunswick confirmed that section 121 of the Canadian Constitution says:
     All Articles of the Growth, Produce, or Manufacture of any one of the Provinces shall, from and after the Union, be admitted free into each of the other Provinces.
    It seems pretty clear that the Constitution provides for free trade across provincial boundaries. Although this court decision and campaign has been dubbed “free the beer”, it is about much more than beer.
    Our Fathers of Confederation had the vision and foresight when composing our Canadian Constitution to include this section, this concept, and this liberty. Their vision in forming a nation for all members, constituents of the nation, would be free to trade with each other, to build commerce, and to benefit from the co-operative trade was a vision far beyond its time.
    Then in 1921, the Gold Seal decision said that this vision, this liberty of section 121, only meant that interprovincial free trade could occur without any tax or duty imposed as a condition of their admission. The Gold Seal decision somehow became the basis of constricting powers, allowing a patchwork of restrictions to grow over time. Somehow as provinces and a country, we have lost the clear vision of free trade across our federation the way our founders envisioned it.
    Now the stage is set to make things right. In 2012, Mr. Gerard Comeau, the defendant in the recent court decision, made some decisions. He first decided to take a drive to Quebec and purchase some spirits and beer. I suspect he was not the first New Brunswicker to do so. Upon returning to his home province of New Brunswick, where the provincial liquor act restricts interprovincial importation to one bottle of spirits or wine, or 12 pints of beer, he was stopped and charged with importation charges. Why? His property was not stolen, no, he had paid for it in Canada, which means he had also paid taxes, federal and provincial, for the goods.
    Then when Mr. Comeau decided to challenge the charges laid against him and take the case to court and put his trust in the Constitution of Canada, he sparked a reaction that has raised the profile of section 121 of the Constitution. Again, it states:
    All Articles of the Growth, Produce, or Manufacture of any one of the Provinces shall, from and after the Union, be admitted free into each of the other Provinces.
    That is what section 121 states. I do not know how that statement could be any more clear, but obviously it has become clouded, manipulated, and misinterpreted over the last 149 years.

  (1250)  

    Here we are today as our nation looks on, wondering if we might have the wherewithal to uphold the intent, the spirit, and the liberty afforded to us by our forefathers, the liberty to move goods across provincial lines freely.
    Why would the current government risk stalling the process of removing restrictions by not seeking clarity of the Supreme Court so that whatever agreements are reached between the provinces would stand far less risk of being challenged and delayed in their implementation? Does the current government doubt that the notion of individual liberty set out in section 121 of the Constitution is inappropriate? If so, then it should take a look at how much beer, wine, and liquor moves across the river behind this place on the Hill on a daily basis, especially on a Friday.
     In all seriousness, let us trust Canadians to hold section 121 of the Constitution as they wish. There have been successes in restoring the spirit of section 121, and we ought to carry that momentum forward. The Agreement on Internal Trade came into force in 1995, as an intergovernmental trade agreement signed by the Canadian first ministers, and is aimed at reducing and eliminating barriers for free movement of persons, goods, services, and investment within Canada. This is essential for an open, efficient, and stable economic market.
    Twenty-one years after the introduction of the Agreement on Internal Trade, we need to move forward again with bolstering interprovincial trade. There are provinces that have taken significant steps in this direction, and continue to facilitate interprovincial trade because it yields mutual benefits, because it works.
     One example of initiative and leadership at the provincial level in driving interprovincial trade is the New West Partnership Trade Agreement, the NWPTA, which was agreed to by the governments of British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. The NWPTA came into effect in 2010 and has been fully implemented since 2013. The NWPTA represents Canada's largest barrier-free interprovincial market. This agreement is an extension of the pre-existing Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement between British Columbia and Alberta in 2006. In the NWPTA, B.C., Alberta, and Saskatchewan became the first jurisdictions in Canada to commit to full harmonization of the rules affecting trade, investment, and labour mobility. This removed barriers to free movement of goods, services, investment, and people between the three provinces. These agreements were hammered out by provincial leaders for the benefit of their constituents.
     I believe that we too, as federal legislators, can seize the opportunity to bolster our national economy by leading all the provinces and territories to agreements that remove restrictions on trade or the mobility of investment and labour. Canadian businesses, investors, and workers deserve to be treated the same across Canada. The federal government has an opportunity to provide leadership in establishing such an agreement to open doors of the provinces and territories.
    Some may say this is not possible: that the provinces and territories need to be insulated from one another; that disputes would eclipse any possible benefits of co-operation. I disagree. I believe that a strong economic union means a stronger Canada. I believe that opening doors for the provinces and territories to one another would spur mutual benefit and broader opportunities now and in the future. As I mentioned earlier, this is much more than free beer; it is a much larger issue than that.
    Let us make it clear again that the hands that trade or choose goods across provincial boundaries should not be changed by the restrictive status quo. Our Constitution was drafted by recognizing interprovincial trade and the value it brought to Canadian economic growth and Canadian buyers of goods.

  (1255)  

    While we have this in our sights again, let us not lose sight of it for partisan reasons. Let us move this forward for the benefit of Canadians, like Mr. Comeau, who want to purchase Canadian goods in other Canadian provinces.
    As our fellow Canadians look on with intent at the proceedings here today, let us all be mindful of our duty to protect, and if need be restore the liberties provided in section 121 of our Constitution.
    Mr. Speaker, as probably one of the only members sitting in the House today who was a signator and party to the negotiations that led up to the 1995 AIT, I would like my colleague to comment on why he thinks using the courts would be better than a negotiation process. After all, we are dealing with 10 sovereign provinces within the Canadian federation that handle issues like this.
    I would like him to expand a bit more on why he and the opposition feel that the court is the only way to go to resolve trade barriers within the country, when negotiations have worked in the past.

  (1300)  

    Mr. Speaker, I believe that referral to the Supreme Court of Canada for clarification and negotiations with the provinces should go hand in hand. To move negotiations forward and come to an agreement without seeking clarity from the court on whether the negotiations and agreements are constitutional would simply be wasting time. We could send this decision to the Supreme Court, ask for a referral on it, and get the court's opinion so that future legislation could be drafted in compliance with the Constitution.
    Mr. Speaker, I am finding this debate very interesting. I know that we were going to have it earlier, under a slightly different subject area, and I was looking forward to participating. Now it is more confined to simply a referral to the court.
    I am a little puzzled by the decision of the Conservatives to go in this direction. As I am sure those who are from B.C., Alberta, and Saskatchewan are aware, we already have the New West Partnership Trade Agreement, and Manitoba is saying that maybe it would like to be part of it. We have had discussions about TILMA before.
    Even the provinces themselves are wanting to exclude certain areas from the opening up of trade. They want to exclude water-related areas, the management and conservation of forests and fish, the promotion of renewables, and the management and conservation of energy and mineral resources.
    Therefore, even if there were a reference to the court and it upheld the decision in New Brunswick, is it not necessary, in fact, to open up this dialogue, not just to the premiers of the provinces and territories but also to the Canadian public and workers, on what the implications of such decisions might be for the regulation of critical areas like child welfare, the environment, and health?
    Mr. Speaker, I am not clear that there was a question there, but as I stated, the directive from this motion would be to refer this matter to the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, to get a referral on how the negotiations and legislation should be moved forward so that we do not end up with court battles over the constitutional correctness of future negotiations and those that may be taking place right now.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for North Okanagan—Shuswap for his contribution today. I am very happy that he is a member in this place, and as a fellow British Columbian, I am happy to have him speak to this issue.
    He spoke about the Gold Seal case and how, originally, that court decision narrowed the application of section 121. He also spoke about the Comeau case actually bringing new evidence to bear, saying that section 121 should be restored to its original meaning, which would call into question myriad legislative frameworks and agreements, including the Agreement on Internal Trade.
    Does the member agree that when we have questions on constitutionality, the Supreme Court is the only vehicle to answer or respond to the original concern that the current interpretation of section 121 is improper?
    Mr. Speaker, the member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola is very well versed on this. He certainly knows the fine points of the Gold Seal decision and the Comeau case. The fact that the Comeau case brought new evidence forward and directed the decision around section 121 of the Constitution is why it has become important that we refer to the Supreme Court, as the highest ruler in the country on constitutional issues. It is so we can move forward in negotiations with the certainty that those negotiations will not be challenged in the future.

  (1305)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am excited to be joining this debate, as I get to use both court decisions and John Maynard Keynes in support of a Conservative argument. I am glad to see that my friend the parliamentary secretary is here. I am sure that he is a big fan of both and will enjoy hearing this Conservative argument, which references the wisdom of the courts and of John Maynard Keynes.
    I want to thank my colleague from Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola for bringing forward this important motion and for all the work he has done on this issue.
    What we are talking about today is internal trade. We are bringing forward a motion that encourages the government to make a reference to the Supreme Court, or to elevate a particular case to the Supreme Court, which will provide us with some clarity on what the constitutional requirements are in terms of internal trade. Our party has been clear throughout this process that we are strongly supportive of more open trade generally and in particular of more open trade within Canada between Canadians in different parts of the country.
    In my remarks today I would like to start by talking more generally about why I favour policies of open trade. Then I will talk about internal trade specifically in the context here. Finally, I want to move beyond the economic discussion to talk about the social and cultural benefits of trade, because often when we talk about trade, we see the benefits economically in terms of economic growth and prosperity. However, there are important social and cultural reasons to favour greater internal trade. I think it is positive in terms of creating greater harmony within our country and between different countries. I will talk more about that later on.
    First, fundamentally, why do we believe in the importance of trade policy? I think sometimes when this issue is discussed the language can be a bit confusing to people. When we talk about negotiating free trade agreements with other countries and within Canada, we are not talking about the government negotiating to trade. We are not talking about the government saying, “We will trade this much of these particular goods with you for a certain amount of other goods.” It is not up to governments to specifically negotiate trades. When we talk about trade deals, they are agreements to remove barriers to allow private individuals and private actors within those jurisdictions to make voluntary trades themselves. It is not principally about trade. It is about the freedom of individuals to trade. This illustrates its importance.
    Many of the counterarguments against trade I think misunderstand the freedom component. We hear people say, “Trade is well and good, but is the trade fair?” The response is simply that if the trade is not fair, the private individuals involved in making that trade need not participate. We are not talking about forcing people to make an exchange. We are talking about removing barriers to allow a voluntary exchange between individual actors who would invariably regard those exchanges as mutually beneficial.
    Therefore, at a basic logical level, we can see that this invariably creates benefits, because if the individual actors previously prevented from engaging in voluntary exchange are now able to make exchanges and see that a trade arrangement is in both of their interests, then almost certainly it is. I think people are better judges of their own economic interests than an external agency like the state. Therefore, the state removing barriers to free economic exchange, giving individuals the ability to exchange without state intervention, enhances their freedom and allows them to pursue their own well-being and their own conception of the good life without unnecessary state restrictions. Almost by definition, the freedom to trade is good.
    There are some exceptional circumstances where economists will talk about the concept of externalities, where the exchange between two private individuals might have a negative or a positive effect on a non-consenting third party. However, in the absence of these externalities, it always makes sense for governments to remove barriers to free and voluntary exchange between individuals in different jurisdictions.
    There is a basic principle of individual freedom here that applies just as much to an individual's right to buy certain kinds of goods as it does to that person's finding the good life with respect to social or other kinds of private activities.

  (1310)  

    In addition to being consistent with the principles of individual freedom, trade helps to create collective wealth. It helps to facilitate specialization. It allows individuals or communities to become focused on certain activities that may fit certain natural competencies—obviously we do not grow a lot of bananas or coffee here in Canada—and it allows others to focus on other things and to then make exchanges. Having both specialized in certain areas leads to enhanced efficiencies, and there is a collective economic benefit in that voluntary exchange.
    This is the basic logic of trade agreements, and it should, in some ways, be fairly elementary. There are still members of the House, not just in the NDP but in the government, who demonstrate significant skepticism about the value of trade deals, at least of certain kinds of trade deals. Going over that basic groundwork on the importance of allowing voluntary exchange and how it is conducive to the growth of wealth is important.
    We are talking specifically about allowing voluntary exchange within Canada. The recent Comeau court case recognized that individuals should be able to go across provincial borders and trade without undue and unnecessary restrictions. We are saying that the government should get clarity from the Supreme Court. We should negotiate, as well, to remove trade barriers. We should work with the provinces and continue the work the previous government did on this, but we need some clarity from the Supreme Court in terms of what actually is required by section 121 of the Constitution.
    In terms of the economic impact of internal trade, estimates produced by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business say that barriers to internal trade cost the Canadian economy nearly $15 billion per year. Another estimate, from the Conference Board of Canada, says that the removal of trade barriers would add close to $5 billion to real GDP and would create close to 80,000 jobs in B.C. and Alberta alone, and much more, I am sure, across the country.
    The same arguments that apply to international trade very much apply with respect to internal trade. We need to realize the economic benefits, in terms of efficiency and the growth of our collective wealth, that come with increased trade. However, we also need to respect the freedom of individuals who might want to buy wine from B.C., even if they do not live there, or to buy other goods or partake of services that are available in other provinces that may be different from what is available in their own province. This is sensible. This is consistent with freedom and is conducive to the growth of wealth and well-being.
    I want to talk quickly about the social and cultural impact of trade. Trade is not just about economic exchange. It is about allowing commerce between people in different regions of this country and between people in different countries and that commerce creating greater community between people and leading to increased cultural sharing and understanding. The ability to buy goods that come from other provinces or other countries allows people, in a sense, to access parts of that distinct culture or community and to learn and build community with the people involved.
    Generally speaking, trade has been recognized as a way of enhancing community at an international level and even of reducing conflict. In Canada, we could understand internal trade as an important way in which we build national unity, in which we enhance our national cohesiveness. That speaks to the importance of doing this.
    I want to mention the great economist John Maynard Keynes, because he was outspoken in the context of the First World War settlement. He was not supportive of the Versailles agreement, which he described as a Carthaginian peace. It was far too harsh and was reminiscent of the Roman treatment of Carthage during and after the Punic Wars, when it was really more about punishing the former enemy than about creating a durable peace. He advocated instead for a policy of free trade in Europe. He thought that if after the First World War countries worked together for free trade, there would of course be an economic benefit, but the social, cultural, and international cohesion that would result from prospering together, from becoming more interdependent economically, would be an important check against the possibility of future hostilities arising.
    This was a visionary idea from John Maynard Keynes and one that was very much ahead of its time. He understood the economic benefits of trade, and the respect for individual freedom, but also the social and cultural benefits.
    We can harness that insight in the Canadian context as well and use internal trade as a tool for national unity as well as economic growth.

  (1315)  

    Mr. Speaker, my friend from the Prairies spoke eloquently about the freedom of trade.
    We focused primarily on beer and liquor in much of this debate. I wonder if the member would like to reflect on the managed trade, which is what real free trade is. It is managed trade. It is not free. There are rules and regulations to virtually every trade agreement. That is why they are so thick.
    However, one of the most interesting pieces of interprovincial-managed trade, to the exclusion of other provinces, is the trade agreements around milk in the prairie provinces; the fact that, if they are selling milk from Quebec, they cannot actually sell into the prairie provinces without significant trade barriers being put in place. I wonder if his party is advocating the end of the milk quotas and the management of the milk trade in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia? Is that is the position that he advocates and his party now advocates?
    Mr. Speaker, it is not all about alcohol, although that is of course part of it.
    I trust that the member meant to take all the fun out of it by talking about managed trade.
    There has to be some degree of pro-competitive regulation in every marketplace. We know that, in order to prevent the emergence of monopolies, there has to be some element of pro-competitive regulation. However, I would not agree that the purpose of trade agreements is to sort of micromanage trade relations. It is simply to establish that kind of basic, fair groundwork.
    In terms of issues around the milk quotas and these sorts of things, I think this is a discussion we have had before, and that is somewhat of a separate conversation. I certainly would not endorse all of the policies undertaken by the current Alberta provincial government. I think the point is very much that we need to have some degree of regulation, yes, but regulation that encourages competition. That has been the groundwork of our trade agreements, and that should be the way we manage internal trade, as well.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, although I agree that we need to work on internal trade issues, I find it a little unfortunate that the Conservatives are proposing to refer this matter to the Supreme Court. For years, the Conservatives stalled on this, despite the many proposals brought to the table.
    Does my colleague have any ideas on the right strategy to be pursued? The challenges will be around harmonizing the regulatory regimes regarding the distribution of alcohol in Canada. A number of provinces will probably want to discuss it, but the negotiations are no simple matter. Does my colleague have any suggestions for the House today regarding how to overcome those challenges?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I think we are quite clear in the motion, in terms of what we are proposing; that is, first and foremost, to get some clarity in response to the Comeau case, to get some clarity about what our constitutional requirements are. That arises from the specific court decision. It is something we have to respond to, and I think getting clarity for Canadians for Canadian business right away on that is very important.
    More broadly, I would disagree very much with the premise of the question. The member may not be aware of all the work that was done under the previous government, with respect to internal trade, but our government held regular meetings, was moving forward, was working with the provinces to try to negotiate sort of the next generation agreement on internal trade that would respond to the new and emerging situation in our economy today. It is not an either/or. We do not have to choose between working through negotiated mechanisms and referring this to the court.
    It is important for us to get clarity around what our constitutional requirements are, but it is also important for us to continue that negotiating track that was started and pushed forward under the previous government. We need to continue that, as well.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Eglinton—Lawrence. I appreciate the motion that has been put forward by the member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola and the ensuing discussion that we are having today on internal trade.
    It reflects the concern that we all share for middle-class Canadians. We agree that middle-class Canadians need to work in an environment where good internal trade is important for growth of the economy and growth of their careers.
    My concern is the approach that this motion is suggesting, but also what is being excluded from this motion. The motion does not include labour as a key element of building our economy and the difficulties experienced by those whose work requires them to go across multiple provinces.
    That is why our government is working actively with provincial and territorial counterparts to address the barriers to Canada's internal trade. There is good will and commitment to get this job done. We look forward to achieving a renewed agreement in the near future, as was mentioned by our minister this morning.
    I am happy to participate in today's debate because it allows me to speak to an important issue related to internal trade, and that is labour mobility. We believe that Canadians should be able to work anywhere they want in Canada. That is why we are making it easier for people to move and work. We want to give Canadians the freedom to work wherever there is an opportunity in Canada.
    We are working to open doors for Canadian workers. We want to save them time and money, and we are supporting them in different ways. Our government has programs that help Canadians locate jobs and learn more about specific provincial and territorial requirements for their professions. Some of our programs even help workers pay for moving expenses, and we all know that moving can be expensive.
    One of the challenges we face is that some occupations are regulated differently in some provinces and territories. Accountants, architects, carpenters, lawyers, electricians, and welders are just a few opportunities. As a certified engineering technologist based in Manitoba, I was working across Canada using my certification as credentials when automating equipment. However, upon moving to Ontario, I was required to recertify.
    Providing easy access to employment opportunities is also an opportunity that has to be addressed. To help Canadians navigate the job market, we have helpful online tools and services available from our job bank website. These provide Canadians with valuable information about occupations across Canada and by region, including job opportunities, requirements, wages, educational programs, and employment outlooks. Users who are often excluded from working within their profession due to local regulations can also access job market trends and news reports. These tools allow Canadians to explore careers and find out whether their chosen occupation is regulated in the province or territory where they need to work but often the barriers are not indicated.
    In 2015, the Government of Canada also launched a new labour mobility portal that provides comprehensive information to Canadians who wish to move to obtain employment. Anyone can explore these possibilities, including skilled trades workers, who also need our support.
    In Canada, a mobile certified skilled trades workforce with up-to-date skills is critical. That is why we are working with provinces and territories to support the interprovincial standards red seal program. This program makes it easier for tradespeople to have their skills recognized across Canada, and to move to other provinces or territories to work. The red seal program is recognized as Canada's standard of excellence for the skilled trades.
     To further support the mobility of apprentices, we are working with the provinces and territories as well as industry to harmonize apprenticeship training in red seal trades across the country. This will make it easier for apprentices to move to another province or territory, while pursuing their training.
     Often there are ratios that do not act in our favour and, in fact, compete for jobs across the country, where British Columbia has a different standard from Ontario and can draw workers from Ontario.

  (1320)  

     Let us talk about apprenticeship training for a moment. Apprentices rely on a dynamic training system that includes on-the-job learning and in-class technical training. This training is provided by colleges, polytechnics, union-based training centres, and other training providers.
    To strengthen the role of union-based training providers, we will provide $85.4 million over five years to develop a new framework. This framework will incorporate greater union involvement in training, support innovative approaches, and enhance partnerships with stakeholders and employers. In addition, the government offers a number of supports to help apprentices complete their training. This includes apprenticeship grants and the Canada apprentice loan.
    We owe it to hard-working Canadians to provide supports that allow them to build and grow their careers, and I am proud that our government has measures in place like these to help them, but there is more. I could not talk about labour mobility without mentioning the Agreement on Internal Trade.
    Canadians want to work. They do not want to be held up by differing standards from one province or territory to the next. This is not something they should have to worry about. A dentist qualified to work in one province or territory is as capable of doing a good job in another province or territory. Under chapter seven of the Agreement on Internal Trade, once someone is certified in one province or territory, that certification will be recognized by all other provinces and territories that also regulate that occupation.
    The Agreement on Internal Trade is the result of a great partnership with provinces and territories, one that we want to continue to build. Through this agreement we promote the free movement of goods, services, investments, and labour within Canada. The goal is to make the domestic market open, efficient, and stable. We are working actively with provincial and territorial counterparts to address the barriers to Canada's internal trade. This partnership with provinces and territories is essential to delivering real, positive change as we work together to foster a strong and more innovative economy.
    Another example of that collaboration is the recent release of a best practice checklist by the forum of labour market ministers. This checklist, designed for regulators, outlines guiding principles and best practices for requesting information from certified workers to certify them in another province or territory. Each province and territory is unique. Each of them has its own demographic and economic situation, but we can all learn from each other and find common ground. By working together, we will maintain a competitive workforce for our country.
    Our government is growing our economy, strengthening the middle class, and helping those who are working hard to join it. I am sure that everyone in this House wants what is best for hard-working, middle-class Canadians, but we are looking at different approaches. We are looking at legislation and Supreme Court challenges versus working together in a collaborative way.
    Let us continue to give them opportunities by working collaboratively, and I am sure we will achieve real and positive results.

  (1325)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Guelph for his speech and contribution today. I understand that a motion will not suit everyone's unique taste, but he has actually expressed an interest by saying that if there were the inclusion of labour mobility, he would be more apt to support this.
    In a report that was tabled yesterday in the other place, “Tear Down These Walls: Dismantling Canada's Internal Trade Barriers”, it actually talks about a reference to the Supreme Court, and it says that any such reference should focus on two questions: whether sections 91 and 92 must be read into the context of section 121 and whether section 121 applies to internal trade and services.
    I think that is an excellent question. If the member is really serious about supporting labour mobility, he or a member of his party could put forward a potential amendment. I would be happy to discuss it with him, and maybe we could find some resolve to bring these issues to the Supreme Court within that context.
    I would like the hon. member to respond to that.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member, not only for his question but for bringing this forward today for discussion.
    We are talking about two different approaches. We could continue to go down the rabbit hole of Supreme Court challenges, constitutional adjustments, and connections between sections of the constitution, or continue the good work our minister is doing in his department in delivering a collaborative result for all Canadians.

  (1330)  

    Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the member wanted to elaborate on how he sees more value in the process under way now than in the process that is contemplated in this motion.
    Mr. Speaker, in my speech I did indicate that the collaborative approach is the approach that I am favouring and that our government is favouring. I am concerned that we would make a move that might undermine existing discussions that are under way. There is a saying that when all one has is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. We are hitting a problem right now with a hammer that really is not a nail.
    Mr. Speaker, I wanted to ask the member how sending this question to the Supreme Court, asking for more certainty around it, would exclude a program of collaboration and negotiation with the provinces and other interests.
    Mr. Speaker, it is wonderful to hear from the Okanagan Valley on both sides. I am starting to think of wine all of a sudden. If only we could get that wine in Ontario, we would be in a different position than we are today.
     I do not think that having a collaborative discussion with the provinces and all of the ministers across Canada excludes working with the Supreme Court. I am sure that part of the ministers' discussions will be to ensure that whatever is being discussed will meet any Supreme Court requirements.
    Mr. Speaker, I am happy to rise today to speak on the motion from the member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola. I am honoured to speak against the motion today, as we have heard from other colleagues of mine from this side of the House.
    Internal trade is an important priority for the government. It is a key platform for long sustainable economic growth. As the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development said earlier today, our government is working actively with provincial and territorial counterparts to address the barriers to Canada's internal trade. Our government believes that we need to continue to be focused on collaborating with our partners to achieve an agreement as opposed to antagonizing them.
    I would like to focus my time by bringing to attention the very important issue within internal trade, and that is what our government is doing to lower trade barriers internationally, including the involvement of the provinces and territories.
    As outlined in the mandate letter of the Minister of International Trade, the government is developing a new Canadian trade and investment strategy with a focus on working actively with Canadian companies to help them grow. This strategy will include a strengthened “investment in Canada” office to support Canadian jurisdictions in attracting foreign direct investment; plans to help Canadian businesses take advantage of international trade agreements; a targeted strategy to promote trade and investment with emerging markets, with particular attention to China and India; and improved support for Canadian companies looking to export and Canadian communities looking to attract investment.
    Canada has always relied heavily on international trade and investment for its economic well-being. We are a large country with a relatively small population and a high standard of living. We produce more in terms of goods and services than our population consumes. As such, we sell our goods and services internationally. This is one factor that contributes to maintaining a strong economy. Exports of Canadian goods and services in 2014 were just under one-third of our GDP, and one in five Canadian jobs is related to exports.
    In order to provide international trade opportunities for Canadian businesses, we work to maintain and increase access to international markets. Against a backdrop of slowing global economic growth, it is important for Canada to continue to expand our trade network and to strengthen our competitive position.
    Companies in Canada have improved access to markets through a network of FTAs, air transport agreements, and foreign investment promotion and protection agreements. With our international trade policy initiatives, Canada seeks to maintain a level playing field with our competitors, and to open new markets for Canadian goods and services through a range of trade policy tools, some of which include multilateral negotiations at the WTO, and bilateral and regional trade and investment agreements.
    Canada is competing from a position of strength due to factors such as our strong economic fundamentals, our envious position as one of the most attractive countries for investment and doing business, and the extensive trade agreements Canada has negotiated with key trading partners in recent years.
    Canada's trade is heavily weighted to traditional partners. We know that our relationship with the U.S. remains essential. However, despite the recent strong economic performance of the U.S., emerging markets as a whole are growing faster and are expected to see continued growth in the long run. This is why we are working to bring our recently concluded agreements with the Ukraine and the European Union into force, and to ratify updates that we have made to our FTAs with Chile and Israel.
    Canada is also actively consulting Canadians on the trans-Pacific partnership, as members will have recently heard. Furthermore, the Government of Canada is looking at opportunities to enhance trade relationships with emerging and established markets, including China and India.
    While the negotiation of international trade agreements is an exclusive federal responsibility under Canada's Constitution, provinces and territories are important partners in developing and delivering on Canada's international trade negotiations agenda.
    The Minister of International Trade was mandated specifically to work with the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development to engage with provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to ensure our strategies, to the greatest extent possible, are aligned to strengthen the overall Canadian brand and to reduce complexity and administrative burdens for foreign investors and Canadian companies engaged in international trade.

  (1335)  

    In this regard, the federal government closely collaborates and consults with provinces and territories through a variety of effective federal-provincial-territorial consultative mechanisms, some of which include FPT meetings of ministers responsible for international trade; FPT meetings of deputy ministers responsible for international trade; long-standing working-level, issues-based meetings of the FPT committee on trade, also known as C-trade; ongoing consultations and exchanges of information through a dedicated FPT website; regular meetings and teleconferences with the provincial and territorial heads of delegation consultative group dedicated to softwood lumber issues; ad hoc FPT consultations to address specific issues as required; invitations for provinces and territories to attend real-time briefing sessions with the chief negotiator and lead negotiators during certain negotiating rounds; and FPT international business development networks to discuss issues related to trade promotion, including the promotion of concluded FTAs and how to best position Canadian exporters and investors to take advantage of the benefits of FTAs.
    Regular dialogue with provinces and territories ensures that the broadest national perspective on priorities and interests is reflected in Canada's international trade agreements and provides Canada's international trade negotiators with timely, well-informed input on areas of key provincial-territorial interest and sensitivity in various negotiations.
    In the case of the negotiation of the Canada-European Union comprehensive economic trade agreement, or CETA, more direct, and provincial and territorial involvement in the negotiation process was unique and unprecedented, due to the specific circumstances of the negotiation. In particular, provinces and territories were expected to make binding commitments in areas that fall under their jurisdiction, such as the sub-federal government procurement, which is unique to CETA. For this reason, provinces and territories were closely involved in the negotiation process.
    Following the conclusion of trade negotiations, provinces and territories remain key partners in promoting the benefits of concluded agreements and ensuring Canadian companies are aware of new market access opportunities.
    Provinces and territories also play a significant role in the softwood lumber trade file with the United States, given that forest management practices, timber pricing methodologies, and forestry programs administered at the provincial level are at the heart of the issue.
    The federal government consults extensively with provinces and territories when developing and implementing strategies related to negotiations, as well as litigation where necessary, as well as in the implementation of any agreement relating to softwood lumber. Consultative mechanisms, such as the softwood lumber heads of delegation consultative group, are in place to promote collaboration and ensure regular engagement among federal, provincial, and territorial governments. Provinces and territories are also involved in defending Canada's interests when one of their measures or a joint federal-provincial measure is challenged under NAFTA's chapter 11. In some circumstances, they contribute financially to the associated legal costs.
    Global trade has evolved. Barriers to internal trade can impact our ability to take advantage of the benefits of international free trade agreements. The more Canada signs international agreements, such as CETA, the more important it becomes for our internal market to be as open and efficient as possible. Undertaking domestic reforms to our internal market will in turn enhance Canadian competitiveness on the world stage.
    We agree the current Agreement on Internal Trade needs to be renewed. However, we strongly believe that we need to work with our provincial and territorial partners to reach that agreement. Negotiations only work when all partners are at the table and respect each another. Moving this to the judicial system would only hinder our current negotiations and add additional barriers to reaching a renewed agreement, which is the fundamental flaw in the member opposite's motion.
    We need to continue with our current approach and reach a negotiated agreement with our territorial and provincial partners. That is why I am against the motion. I would encourage members on all sides to vote against it as well.

  (1340)  

    Mr. Speaker, while I certainly welcome robust debate in the House, it seems that the Liberal members continue to use the same structure over and over. Every time we talk about the constitutional right of Canadians to trade, they decide to talk about the Agreement on Internal Trade. The motion is about the constitutional right for a Canadian to trade with a Canadian. Does the member recognize and support that right?
    Mr. Speaker, I, along with all of my colleagues on the government side, support all of the rights and freedoms that are enshrined in the Canadian charter.
    As I alluded to toward the end of my remarks, the flaw we see in the opposition motion is that it would seek to circumvent the natural course of litigation that is being undertaken. We are working closely with the province of New Brunswick. The province of New Brunswick has considered and, I believe, is seeking leave to appeal that decision. However, fundamentally, the way forward is to work with provinces and territories to strengthen the internal trade agreements.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I just heard my colleague talk about the need to consult the provinces. We heard the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development say that internal trade is a priority and that the government is in a consultation process. However, as with many other issues, we never hear about any results from the Liberals' consultations. We never know what course of action will be taken, what the timelines and deadlines are, or what strategies will be adopted.
    If it is such a priority, and if we really want to work on internal trade, eliminate some tariff barriers, and help small businesses continue to grow and develop, what sort of results are the Liberals' current consultations producing?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, far be it for me to pre-empt the outcome of the negotiations, however, I will provide a general update.
    As members may have heard earlier in the day, negotiations on the internal trade agreement have been progressing well. They have been ongoing since December 2014. In the final analysis, here is what we hope we will achieve from a revised AIT: expansion of the AIT's coverage will apply economy wide; it will be subject to target exceptions; and there will be fair procurement rules. These are just some of the examples which we are endeavouring to make progress on and which will benefit the Canadian economy in the long run.

  (1345)  

    Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the member could elaborate a bit on this. We were talking about constitutional rights. As a fellow lawyer, perhaps the member for Eglinton—Lawrence would shed some light on the rights of the provinces, the rights that are protected by the province, and the right for a province to raise its own funds through taxation. Could he comment on those rights?
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague referred to the fact that I am a lawyer. Hopefully, that will not count against me. I am looking across the aisle at some of my colleagues who were also called to the bar in the same province as I was.
    We respect the rights enshrined by the Constitution to provinces to collect certain taxes. As I have said before, this is the subject of ongoing litigation. The proper course for this litigation is for it to take its path to the Supreme Court of Canada. If that is what the province of New Brunswick wishes to do, we will continue to support it.
    However, more to the point, we need to work with the provinces and territories to improve internal trade, and that is precisely what we are doing right now.
    Mr. Speaker, is the member opposite aware of what he is saying? He is saying that frameworks that may not be constitutional trump individual rights of Canadians. Does he not agree that section 121 of the Constitution says that products of manufacture and growth shall be admitted free in all provinces? The fact that we are having this debate and the fact that there is a collegial question, does he not agree that the Supreme Court is the one venue where these issues that apply to all Canadian governments, provincial and federal, on issues of a constitutional nature should be settled?
    Mr. Speaker, I am going to draw on my professional experience to answer the question.
    The short answer is no. The Supreme Court is not the only forum in which that analysis will be rendered. It may very well be the final forum in which that question is answered but, in the meantime, this matter has to follow the normal statutory and common law process. It has to make its way from the trial court to the provincial court of appeal, and then, ultimately, to the Supreme Court of Canada, which is why we are against this motion. This motion would circumvent that process, and that is why we are voting against it.
    Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise on this important debate today. I will be dividing my time with my friend from Calgary Signal Hill.
    I want to take a moment to thank someone who has used his time in Parliament to advocate for an important issue that will actually help all Canadians, and that is the member of Parliament for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola. Since his time here, he has helped Canadians and businesses, particularly small businesses in the Okanagan, across the country to sell more product within their own country. These are world-class in the case of wines. The “Free my Wine” and “Free my Grapes” initiative are world-class wines selling around the world. However, there are restrictions about selling them one province over. His advocacy over his years in Parliament, expanding the personal use exemption, allowing Canadians this choice that really should have been provided decades ago, shows that a passionate and knowledgeable member of Parliament can accomplish great things, and we are here debating that today. I thank him for it.
    I am following some of my friends on the government side, the members for Eglinton—Lawrence and Newmarket—Aurora, both lawyers, both capable people and friends. As I have joked before, my friend from Newmarket—Aurora was a year behind me in law school. I am quite certain he graduated, but I will leave that to him to talk about. I jest. He is very capable. I know they share our intention here, but their minister has them in a straitjacket, talking about incremental change and agreements on internal trade that have moved at a snail's pace.
    In fact, since the war, my friend from Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola has advanced the issue of internal trade more than any government, with the exception of perhaps the 1994 Agreement on Internal trade, which set up the rubric that we need to expand here today.
    There has been no recognition of what the origins of Canada wanted to see when this young country started in 1867, which was a free flow of goods and services across the country. We have not seen that. I will remind members of the House, and my friends the lawyers who were speaking before me, of section 121 of the Constitution Act, 1867, which clearly says, “All articles of the growth, produce or manufacture of any of the provinces shall...be admitted free into each of the other provinces”.
    Unfortunately, early interpretation of this intention seemed to restrict that just to custom duties, so duties charged by provinces between one another. However, what built up were walls and silos of a legislative and regulatory nature that effectively limited internal trade within the Dominion of Canada, even though the intention of the country forming was to facilitate that trade.
    I will remind the House that the early decision of Confederation put Upper Canada, my friends in the Maritimes still refer to Ontario as Upper Canada, put Ontario and Quebec in a more advantageous position by restricting trade with the United States. Therefore, in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, natural north-south trade linkages were stopped by a tariff wall and in return there was the build-up of a competitive manufacturing centre in central Canada. The early decisions to favour some provinces in the Confederation by limiting the north-south trade of other provinces in the Confederation was a policy decision that should have been offset by more interprovincial trade. We did not see that.
    In fact, the maritime provinces, and later Newfoundland and Labrador, which is an Atlantic province, had their growth inhibited by the fact that the national policy of Sir John A., who we on this side love, favoured Ontario and helped build up world-class manufacturing and mercantile trade in those provinces at the sacrifice of the others. However, the intention with section 121 of the Constitution Act, 1867 was that Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island could trade westward.

  (1350)  

    However, what we saw built up was not customs, which were specifically excluded by the courts, but regulatory and other provincial barriers being set up.
    What we are doing here today, and what my friend is suggesting by asking for a Supreme Court of Canada reference, which is warranted in this case, is we have to, particularly for smaller businesses in Atlantic Canada and other parts of rural Canada, speed up the process, so that 150 years after Confederation, we can say that we barely made it by the 150 year mark in promoting internal trade within Canada. Due to the leadership of the previous government, we were signing record trade agreements with the European Union, with countries in Asia, with the trans-Pacific partnership countries. Yet, we do not even facilitate free trade of goods and services within our own country.
    There are two specific legal reasons why I think this Parliament needs to ask the Supreme Court of Canada for a reference. The first is a 2003 Supreme Court case in R. v. Blais. It clearly said that the original intent of legislation was something a lower court could raise if it believed there had been a misinterpretation of the original framer's intent. This is the original constructionism of our Constitution. The Supreme Court has said that lower courts are not bound if they feel the original intention and the spirit of that has not been adopted in Canada.
    Recently in the province of New Brunswick, the Comeau case, a Superior Court justice took that initiative, which the Supreme Court of Canada said was proper in the Blais case, to suggest that section 121 of the Constitution Act, 1867 was not properly interpreted. In fact, we have had over a century of limited free movement of trade within Canada, not just goods and services. We have seen Ontario and Quebec, for decades, struggle over mobility of construction trades and others, when Canada's intent was to facilitate that.
    The other reason why we should be going to a Supreme Court reference in this case, particularly before we hit our sesquicentennial, is the chain of precedent established in the Bedford and Carter decisions. In Carter, which we have been debating euthanasia, assisted-dying, the Supreme Court of Canada said that stare decisis, or precedent, should not be a straightjacket upon subsequent courts.
    Using the Bedford, the prostitution decision, it said that that precedent could be looked at for two reasons: first, if there was fresh evidence; second, if there was a change in circumstances. In fact, in the Carter decision, the court looked at the societal change in attitudes with respect to assisted-dying, between Sopinka decision of 1993 in the Rodriguez case, and Carter. It looked at societal change.
    My friend from Okanagan has shown that Canadians want to free their beer. Canadians want to free their grapes. They want the original spirit of section 121 of the great experiment that is our Confederation to be realized.
     It is up to the government now. We have a justice in the Queen's Bench in New Brunswick who took the leadership of the Supreme Court in the Blais decision in 2003 to say the original interpretation had not been followed. Then we have the Gold Seal case of 1921, dealing with intoxicating liquors being sent to Calgary from outside Alberta, in the years of a Temperance Act for Canada. This government is legalizing marijuana. We are way past the Temperance Act days.
    The decisions in Bedford and in Carter show that when there is societal change and when there is demand by consumers and producers to fulfill the potential of the Constitution Act, 1867, it is up to this Parliament and it can do so responsibly, allowing the Supreme Court of Canada to use its own precedent to liberalize trade in Canada. I hope we see it before July 1 of next year.

  (1355)  

    Mr. Speaker, a wise man said that negotiations trump litigation all the time. I say a wise man because it is interesting that the member for Egmont is one of the individuals who was a signator to that 1995 agreement on interprovincial trade. I believe that he is right when he talks about how important it is to negotiate in good faith.
    The difference between the Conservatives and the Liberal government is that the Conservatives want to fight in court and there was always a vacuum in terms of leadership. Will the member not acknowledge that in fact negotiating is a better way of achieving the types of results that Canadians want, and that this is the type of approach that this Liberal government is taking?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question, but it illustrates the problem with the Liberal philosophy of negotiation and consultations. The Liberals are never in a position to make a decision on the long-term interests of the country. They would prefer to debate these things incessantly. We have a window, because of the Comeau decision in New Brunswick and because of case law, which is recent, in the Carter and Bedford decisions, to move forward quickly on internal trade, the original spirit of section 121.
    I will remind this House that tomorrow we are going to be celebrating Canadian beer on the Hill, “free the beer”. The original brewers, like that good Conservative, Alexander Keith and the Oland family in Moosehead, the only independent and longest-serving brewery in Canada, were restricted to sell their products into prosperous Ontario and Quebec because of misinterpretations of section 121. I know you appreciate Keith's, Mr. Speaker. It is time for the current government to fix it.

  (1400)  

    The member knows that I like and appreciate all good Nova Scotia products, of course.
    The member will have three minutes remaining when the House resumes after question period.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[Translation]

Federal Wood Charter

    Mr. Speaker, Quebec City is currently hosting experts from countries with a major stake in the forestry industry to discuss the challenge of wood as a renewable resource.
    Quebec is a leader in this field. It has already adopted a wood charter that requires entrepreneurs to consider using wood in major projects funded by public money. Our companies can benefit by developing new secondary and tertiary products.
    In addition, substituting wood products for energy-consuming products like steel is a good way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
    We believe that the government should follow Quebec's lead and create a federal wood charter as proposed by the Bloc Québécois. It is a golden opportunity to diversify the forestry economy while combatting climate change.
    It would kill two birds with one stone.

Thérèse-De Blainville Chamber of Commerce and Industry Gala

     Mr. Speaker, on June 3, over 350 people met to celebrate the 30th edition of Gala Stellar, hosted by the Thérèse-De Blainville Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
    I am pleased to congratulate Alain Martineau, the general manager of Caisse Desjardins de l'Envolée, who received a special award, the Michèle-Bohec award, for his outstanding social involvement and professional accomplishments.
    The Michèle-Bohec award was created in honour of an outstanding business woman from our region and the founder of the Thérèse-De Blainville Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
    I would also like to congratulate Pierre Chartrand, who received the Jean-Marc Boisvert award in recognition of his remarkable career and social involvement.
    Finally, I would like to congratulate all of the other award winners at the gala who are a shining example of the excellence, talent, and vitality of the Thérèse-De Blainville RCM business community.

[English]

Unionville-Milliken Soccer Club

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate the Unionville-Milliken Soccer Club in my riding, which this year celebrates its 40th anniversary.
     The UMSC is a volunteer-based, non-profit community organization that runs soccer programs for all ages, from toddlers to senior players. The club also has competitive and recreational outdoor and indoor soccer leagues for all to enjoy, including a program for players with special needs.
     The UMSC relies on hundreds of volunteers who dedicate their time and energy so that thousands of players can enjoy the health benefits of sports. Nothing is more praiseworthy than that.
    I hope that the Unionville-Milliken Soccer Club's next 40 years are as successful as the past 40 years.

Shabbat

    Mr. Speaker, on Friday, May 13, in Richmond, I had the honour of joining friends for a communal Shabbat dinner. That night, I enjoyed inspiring conversation, a delicious meal, and the warmth of Jewish tradition.
     Shabbat is Judaism's day of rest, the seventh day of the week. It is an opportunity for families and friends to come together in conversation and in reflection.
     Shabbat begins with the lighting of candles, followed by the blessing of children, and prayers of thanks for the Shabbat and for the challah, after which the meal is served.
    I would like to thank my hosts and the Jewish community in Richmond for welcoming me to their Shabbat dinner. It was truly a lovely evening.

[Translation]

Airport Project in Saint-Cuthbert

    Mr. Speaker, there is a plan to build an airport in Saint-Cuthbert, in my riding. There is no social licence for the project, but the minister refuses to intervene.
    The people of Saint-Cuthbert and Saint-Norbert, elected officials across the regional county municipality of D'Autray, environmental groups, the Union des producteurs agricoles of Lanaudière, and the Union des producteurs agricoles of D'Autray are all opposed. In a town of 1,800 residents, 1,500 people have signed a petition. That is very telling.
    On top of that, the Quebec National Assembly adopted a unanimous motion calling for a ministerial order in Saint-Cuthbert. I am concerned about the lack of social licence. How can such a project be of public interest? It is simple. The minister must listen to the public and issue a ministerial order.
    In conclusion, I want to thank the residents, elected officials, and volunteers for their dedication to this issue.

  (1405)  

Quebec City Summer Festival

    Mr. Speaker, as the House prepares to rise for the summer, I invite all my hon. colleagues to seriously consider a little detour to Quebec City from July 7 to 17 for the Festival d'été.
    There are 300 shows, 10 stages, and 11 days of music awaiting my colleagues. If they are still not convinced, perhaps the following acts will do the trick: the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Selena Gomez, Ice Cube, The Lumineers, Mac Miller, Karim Ouellet, and the Dead Obies.

[English]

    For my country-loving Conservative friends, Brad Paisley will also be performing.
    As for my NDP friends, it will be $90 for an all-inclusive transferable pass. I think that is accessible, family-friendly, and in the spirit of sharing.

[Translation]

     As for my Bloc Québécois friends, Les Respectables will be playing as well. They got their start back in 1993.

[English]

    As for my fellow Liberals who would need to be convinced still, I will just talk to the whip.

North Okanagan—Shuswap

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize collective achievements in communities across the North Okanagan—Shuswap, the collective achievements of our high school graduates.
    Over the past and coming weeks, 18 high schools across the North Okanagan—Shuswap will see hundreds of graduates cross the stage, marking a successful achievement in their lives. These graduates will go on to great things, I am sure. Whatever path they choose to take in the future, I rise today to wish them the best as they journey into a world full of opportunity. These graduates have reached a significant milestone with the help of parents, guardians, teachers, mentors, and peers, all of whom can share in the celebration and achievement of the graduates.
    I congratulate all the graduating students of the North Okanagan—Shuswap, and everywhere else, on their achievement.

Ramadan

     Mr. Speaker, as–salaam alaikum.
     I rise today on the ninth day of Ramadan to acknowledge all of my Muslim brothers and sisters participating in the holy fast this month and to recognize the Brampton Islamic Centre in Brampton West.
    During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn until dusk, known as sawm. This practice strengthens their understanding of self-discipline, self-reflection, sacrifice, and empathy for the less fortunate.
     For over a decade, the Brampton Islamic Centre has enriched the spiritual and community lives of Muslims in Brampton. This mosque has contributed to local community groups, charities, and disaster relief efforts. I thank it for all that it has done for our community.
    Ramadan Mubarak to all my Muslim brothers and sisters in Brampton West, in Canada, and around the world.

[Translation]

Nirra Wellman Fields

    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to announce that a citizen of Lachine was chosen as the new guard for the Phoenix Mercury professional basketball team.
    Nirra Wellman Fields is only the second Montrealer to be on a WNBA team. Before being drafted, number 21 began her career at LaSalle Elementary Senior, and then became part of the starting lineup for the UCLA Bruins, where she broke many records.

[English]

    I would also like to mention another amazing person: Faith Fields, Nirra's mother.
    Faith raised seven children by herself and taught them the importance of believing in themselves and working hard to achieve their goals.
    If members ever find themselves in Phoenix, I recommend that they go and catch a game, but do not go in August as Nirra will be busy in Brazil, with the rest of our basketball team, working hard to bring us the gold.
    I wish her and all her fellow athletes good luck, and “Go Nirra, go Mercury, go Canada!”

[Translation]

Young Entrepreneur Day

    Mr. Speaker, today I am speaking on behalf of Xavier, 9, Jordane, 7, and Guillaume, 4, from Thetford Mines, who decided to start their own business called Becs sucrés XJG. Pauline, 10, Martin, 8, and Auguste, 5, from Lac-Mégantic, are shareholders in another business, Pain et compagnie.
    This Saturday, almost 3,000 new entrepreneurs across Quebec will start a new business at the third young entrepreneurs day. This day is geared to children between the ages of five and 12 and allows them to run a business for one day in their own neighbourhood.
    Making business plans, budgeting, creating, and retailing are all part of the process of transforming their passion into big bucks. Young entrepreneurs will be running lemonade stands, magic shows, “bike washes”, and other activities on a street corner near you
    It is not too late for children to register at petitsentrepreneurs.ca. I salute the vision of the founders of this day, Mathieu, Isabelle, and Catherine.
    I invite all Quebeckers and my colleagues to encourage young people such as Olivier, Justine, Mathis, and all the others, who will one day be our great entrepreneurs.

  (1410)  

[English]

Brampton Memorial

    Mr. Speaker, today, I rise in the House to express my feelings about a horrific car accident. Three young children of my riding, Daniel, Harry, and Milly Neville-Lake, and their grandfather, Gary Neville, were killed by a senseless act of an impaired driver. I met Edward and Jennifer, the parents of the deceased children, just after the accident, and again at later stages. I am deeply touched by the emotional trauma to the family. Bramptonians are with the grieved Neville-Lake family.
     I discussed a proposal with the mayor and city officials to dedicate a park so as to keep the memories of the children alive. This will be a strong social signal and will always remind impaired drivers in the future.

Blood Donor Eligibility

    Mr. Speaker, today is World Blood Donor Day, marked by the World Health Organization.
    I want to thank the hundreds of donors in Beaches—East York. This past Friday over 200 of my neighbours signed up to give blood at the Beach United Church, including Amanda Tiernan-Carpino, whose daughter Gigi was saved by a blood transfusion three years ago.
    Unfortunately I am unable to thank the thousands of would-be donors across our country because of our continued policy effectively banning donations from gay and bisexual men, regardless of whether they are in a long-lasting monogamous relationship.
    I am proud of the Young Liberals of Canada for raising attention to this issue and of my government for including a commitment in our election platform to end the ban based on science. Other countries, such as Portugal, Italy, Poland, Mexico, Argentina, and Chile, base donor eligibility on a combination of risk factors, not sexual orientation alone. Canada should do the same.

Stanley Cup Winners

    Mr. Speaker, this past Sunday, Winkler's own Eric Fehr hoisted the Stanley Cup in victory after his team, the Pittsburgh Penguins, defeated the San Jose Sharks in the Stanley Cup finals. Many Winklerites and southern Manitobans were glued to their television sets these past weeks as they cheered Eric on.
    This marks the third time in nine years that a Winkler native has won the Stanley Cup. Dustin Penner brought it home to southern Manitoba in 2007 with the Anaheim Ducks and again in 2012 with the L.A. Kings. What a record. Clearly there is something special in the water in the city of Winkler.
    During these playoffs, Eric truly became Winkler's son as the city rallied around the boy who grew up playing hockey on the pond of the family farm. I am sure his parents Frank and Helen Fehr only dared to dream that their son would one day not only play in the NHL but win the cup.
    I say congratulations to Eric. All of Portage—Lisgar, but especially the city of Winkler, is very proud.

[Translation]

City of Vaudreuil-Dorion

     Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to inform the House that the city of Vaudreuil-Dorion has won the International Award UCLG – Culture 21 for its I am/Je suis project, beating cities like Rio, Cape Town, Dublin, and Lisbon.

[English]

    This incredible success is due in part to inclusive multicultural events such as the Mozaïk parade, which will be marching through the city this year on June 23. Over 800 citizens, representing various cultural backgrounds and organizations, will take part in dressing in vibrant and innovative costumes and sharing incredible music and dance from countless countries.

[Translation]

    I would like to congratulate everyone who worked on the Mozaïk parade and the I am/Je suis project, in particular the mayor of Vaudreuil and the members of city council, many of whom are here with us today in Ottawa.

Rouyn-Noranda Huskies

    Mr. Speaker, the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, a major junior hockey team, has won its second President's Cup in three years. This trophy is awarded annually by the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League to the league's top team.
    The Foreurs de Val-d'Or won the cup in 2014, and this year it was the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies who came out on top, and also came within four minutes of winning the Memorial Cup, the pinnacle of junior hockey supremacy in Canada.
    I want to congratulate each and every player on the team, as well as their coach, Gilles Bouchard, and the rest of the coaching staff, on their remarkable season, their passion, and their 72 victories.
    I also want to commend the team president, Jacques Blais, and other members of the organization who contributed to the Huskies' success. The team is also celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, an anniversary that will go down in hockey history for the entire Abitibi-Témiscamingue area, as highlighted by the thousands of fans who turned out for the parade through the streets of Rouyn-Noranda.
    To our champions, the Huskies, thank you once again for a great season.

  (1415)  

[English]

Ministerial Expenses

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of the countless Albertans who have voiced their outrage over the infrastructure minister's astonishing renovation costs for his sky palace 2.0.
    Later tonight we will be debating a motion to approve over $110 million in operating expenditures for the office of the Minister of Infrastructure. The infrastructure minister spent a staggering $835,000 on renovations, furnishings, and furniture that the taxpayer should not be on the hook for.
     It is shocking and unacceptable that the government continues to spend without regard for taxpayers. There are empty office spaces owned or leased by the government that the minister could have occupied, and there are warehouses full of refurbished furniture the minister could have used to furnish his office.
    I call on the President of the Treasury Board to do the right thing, support our notice of opposition, and remove the nearly $1 million of unneeded lavish renovation money spent by the Minister of Infrastructure.

[Translation]

Light Rail

    Mr. Speaker, today, I would like to recognize and congratulate my provincial counterpart, Marie-France Lalonde, MPP for Ottawa-Orléans, on her accomplishments.

[English]

    To the delight of all Orleans residents, the Premier of Ontario and MPP Lalonde announced that the Ontario government would commit to fund 50% of two additional LRT extensions, one to the Ottawa International Airport and another to Trim Road in Orleans.
    I echo our government's previous commitment of $1 billion to this excellent project, and pledge to consult with the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, who sits very close to me, on the merits of a federal commitment to these two new extensions.

[Translation]

    I thank Ms. Lalonde.

[English]

    Also, I say congratulations to the new provincial minister of government and consumer services and minister responsible for francophone affairs.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[English]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the European Union, the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.K. House of Commons, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and others have shown moral clarity by standing up and clearly stating what is obvious: ISIS crimes against religious minorities, women and children, and gays and lesbians are genocide.
    Meanwhile, the Liberal government tries to hide behind weasel words and says it may constitute a genocide.
    It is totally shameful. If all our allies can find the moral resolve, why can our Prime Minister not do so?
    Mr. Speaker, as you know, Canada strongly condemns the atrocities committed by ISIL in the Middle East. We stand with our allies in the fight against ISIL to make sure they lose the capacity to take so many civilian lives.
    The fact is, we have formally requested of the United Nations Security Council to make a determination on this. We do not feel that politicians should be weighing in on this first and foremost. Determinations of genocide need to be made in an objective, responsible way. That is exactly what we have formally requested the international authorities to weigh in on.
    Mr. Speaker, this is a low point for the Liberal Party and it is a dark spot on Canada's record as a defender of human rights.
    Liberal MPs actually said calling the crimes committed by ISIS a genocide would be a rush to judgment. Other Liberals said it does not matter because genocide is just a word.
    It is more than a word for the thousands of Yazidi girls being murdered and enslaved by ISIS.
    Will the Liberal government do the right thing and support the motion to declare ISIS crimes a genocide, yes or no?
    As we have said, Mr. Speaker, we feel that determinations of genocide need to be done by objective measures and through proper research on the international stage.
    We will not trivialize the importance of the word “genocide” by not respecting formal engagements around that word. That is what has been done in the past. That needs to be done in the future.
    However, I will take no lessons on playing politics from a former government that used footage of ISIL executions in an attack ad against me.

  (1420)  

     Mr. Speaker, this is not actually about him.

[Translation]

    How many people will have to be murdered by ISIS before the Prime Minister recognizes that it is committing genocide? Canada has always stood up for human rights, but with this Prime Minister, we are now one of the only countries that has not recognized these horrors as genocide. That is shameful.
    How far will ISIS have to go before the Liberals declare that these killings constitute genocide?
    Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, we understand how important it is not to trivialize the word “genocide” and to give it the international legal weight it deserves. That is why we are asking the international community to examine the facts and make an objective determination.
    We do not want to play petty politics with this issue and these atrocities. Canadians expect better than that from this government.

[English]

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, Yazidi girls as young as nine years old are being used as sex slaves by ISIS.
    On International Women's Day I asked the Prime Minister if he would step up and ensure that these Yazidi girls get placed in Canada's joint sponsorship program, and he had no answer.
    Germany has now taken in 1,000 of these girls and given them safe haven, so I am asking again for the third time, will the Prime Minister step up and follow Germany's lead and help these girls?
    Mr. Speaker, under our government we have worked very hard to reopen Canada to the world. The cuts to immigration that happened over the past 10 years, the cuts to refugee programs were disgraceful, and that is one of the reasons why Canadians asked for this government to restore Canada's place in the world as an open, welcoming country.
    That is exactly what we did with 25,000 Syrian refugees, and it is what I have asked our Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to work on in all similar situations.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister still, after three questions, does not even understand the issue. These girls are not refugees. They are not considered refugees. They are languishing in camps as displaced people.
    However, we have a special program that the Prime Minister has the power to use to bring these girls to Canada, so I ask him again, when will he take action and help these girls?
    Again, Mr. Speaker, the previous government did a lot to diminish our capacity to welcome in people from around the world. The fact is that we are working very hard—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I appreciate the efforts of the Conservative whip to get his colleagues to quiet down. Most members in all parties are able to hear things they do not like without reacting. I would encourage all members to do that, so I do not have to mention their riding names.
    The right hon. Prime Minister.
    Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that we are working very hard to restore Canada's place in the world as a country that welcomes in vulnerable peoples. That is what we were able to demonstrate when Canadians stepped up in an extraordinary way for 25,000 Syrian refugees. That is exactly what the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship is working very hard on: to restore it, after all the cuts the previous government made to immigration.

Veterans Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals' broken promise to our veterans is shameful. After serving our country and making such sacrifices, veterans are still being forced to fight in court to recognize their rights. We have also learned that the Liberals have just denied care to a 94-year-old veteran on a technicality, when there are empty beds ready to be used. It is a new government but the same disgraceful behaviour.
    When will the Prime Minister stop fighting veterans in court, and when will he provide them with the services that he promised?
    Mr. Speaker, after 10 years of a government that shamefully neglected our veterans, we are proud that we are working very hard to restore the kinds of services and the kinds of respect that veterans have earned through their incredible service to our country, to its values, and indeed, to the world.
    We will continue to endeavour to restore the kinds of services they deserve, and we look forward to working collaboratively with them to ensure the kind of support they have earned.
    Mr. Speaker, last year, the Prime Minister, along with all of his Liberal colleagues, voted in the House never to repeat the mistakes of the Conservatives, to respect the rights of our veterans, and that is another broken promise.

  (1425)  

[Translation]

    That is shameful. Not only has the government broken its promise by taking our veterans to court, but today we learned that the Liberal government is refusing care to a 94-year-old veteran.
    Will the Prime Minister explain to us why he is refusing to provide this veteran with well-deserved care, care that he promised veterans?
    Mr. Speaker, after 10 years of a government that neglected our veterans, I am proud to be part of a team that recognizes our solemn obligation to support our veterans, help them in times of difficulty, and show them that we respect their service.
    We are working hard to do just that. Our Minister of Veterans Affairs is working with veterans' groups to ensure that we are providing them with the services that they truly deserve.

[English]

Marijuana

    Mr. Speaker, I wish the Prime Minister would stop blaming the Conservatives and start respecting his own promises.

[Translation]

    According to the Liberals, the problem is that it is impossible to decriminalize marijuana because it would be sold illegally. I have news for them: that is what is happening now. The only thing that would change is that tens of thousands of young Canadians would not have a criminal record, and that would be a good thing.
    Why is that so hard for the Prime Minister to understand?
    Why does he want young Canadians to keep ending up with criminal records?
    Mr. Speaker, NDP members are once again showing that they do not understand the issues around marijuana. Decriminalizing it would provide a legitimate source of income to street gangs, criminal organizations, and gun runners.
    We have a proposal to legalize marijuana so that we can protect our children by making it harder for them to get marijuana and eliminate a source of income for criminals. That is what we promised to do, and that is what we will do.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I guess for the Prime Minister it is a classic case of do as I say, not as I do.
    The government is trying to argue that if we decriminalize marijuana, there may be some who will sell it illegally. This just in: that is what is happening now. Do Liberals really think that they can tell everybody in Canada to stop smoking dope until they finally get around to legalizing it? That just does not make any sense.
    If the Prime Minister is serious about moving toward legalization, why is his government continuing to hand out tens of thousands of criminal records to young Canadians? That is wrong, and they can change it easily.
    Mr. Speaker, legalizing marijuana is done with two things in mind. It is done to protect young people from having the easy access that they have right now to marijuana, and it is about reducing the capacity of criminal organizations, street gangs, and gun runners to make incredible profits off that marijuana.
    Until we bring in a legalized controlled regime, marijuana remains illegal. That is the law of the land. That is what we are working on changing, but we will change it to protect our young people and protect our communities.

[Translation]

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is looking into a new way to tax the public. Apparently it is called a carbon pricing mechanism. Let us not be fooled. This is a new tax that will affect everything Canadian families buy.
    I would like the Prime Minister to tell Canadians exactly how much more it will cost them to buy necessities.
    Mr. Speaker, unlike the opposition members, we know that the environment and the economy go hand in hand.

[English]

    I am very surprised to hear the opposition party, the Conservative Party, not recognizing the role that markets play when it comes to reducing emissions. Conservatives should stand with the Conservative Premier of Manitoba, who said in the speech from the throne that the new Conservative government “...will include carbon pricing that fosters emissions reduction, retains investment capital, and stimulates new innovation in clean energy, businesses, and jobs”.
    That is the right thing to do. It is the efficient thing to do.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, we proved that the economy and the environment could go together. We are the only ones who reduced greenhouse gas emissions and created jobs in the country.
    For now, those are just words. We will see what happens.
    If my colleague is giving clear answers, can she say how much more it will cost to buy groceries, gas, and everything else? Families need these things.

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians know that we must reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in order to grow our economy in a sustainable manner.

[English]

    Let me point to another Conservative leader, the Ontario Conservative leader and former MP, Patrick Brown. He said, “Climate change is a fact. It is a threat. It is man-made. We have to do something about it, and that something includes putting a price on carbon”.
    He may also want to listen to his colleagues. The member for Wellington—Halton Hills, in launching his Conservative leadership bid, said on the issue of climate change, “I think it's clear that carbon pricing has arrived in Canada”.
    Mr. Speaker, I find it very interesting that the Minister of the Environment is actually confirming in the House today that the Liberals plan on introducing a carbon tax. That goes with the broken promise on the small business tax. That also goes with the CPP tax that they are going to be putting on small businesses.
    The Minister of Finance also confirmed that he is going to be introducing a carbon tax that will eventually increase the price of, well, everything we pay for. Small business is the backbone of our economy; 95% of Canadians work in small business. When will the Minister of Finance stop his attack on small businesses?
    Mr. Speaker, I am quite happy to continue repeating all of the people who support a price on carbon. Maybe we should go to industry. We have Pierre Gratton, who is the president and CEO of the Mining Association of Canada. Speaking on behalf of one of Canada's largest industries, he stated that they support carbon pricing and that it represents “the most effective and efficient means of driving emissions reductions and making real progress in the global fight against climate change”.
    Maybe it is time for the Conservatives to get with the program and do what everyone else is calling for, which is to take climate change seriously and put a price on emissions.

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, let us get some facts straight here. Canada has one of the highest household debt ratios in the world. The government is planning on introducing a CPP hike. It is planning on introducing a carbon tax, yet it was elected on the notion that it was going to bring fairness for taxation to the middle class. How is this possibly fairness for the middle class? This is nothing more than taking it out of one pocket and putting it in another.
    At the end of the day, it is Canadian families that are going to hurt because of this. When will the minister admit that all of these Liberal tax schemes are making life terrible—
    The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for her question, but let me remind the House and Canadians that this is the government that reduced taxes for middle-class Canadians, and we want Canadians to retire in dignity with security. One of the first things the Minister of Finance did was to meet with his provincial counterparts to look at a CPP enhancement. That is what he is going to be doing in a couple of weeks. That is what Canadians want. That is what we are going to pursue, a secure retirement for Canadians in our country.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, maybe the Minister of Environment and Climate Change does not realize that, when the market imposes a fee, it is a cost; but when the government does that, it is a tax. While carbon taxes may be lucrative sources of revenue for politicians, they do not actually do anything to reduce emissions.
    The Minister of Finance and his cabinet colleagues are scheming to impose a carbon tax on the middle-class workers who make their living in the oil and gas sector. The Liberals see that the energy sector is hurting, and they want to kick it while it is down. This cold-hearted plan would only delay the recovery. When will the Liberals stop their mean-spirited attack against the hard-working middle-class workers in the energy sector?
    Mr. Speaker, we understand that the middle class is working hard. We also understand that we need to take action on climate change. We know that the lowest-cost way of reducing emissions and tackling carbon pollution is by putting a price on it.
    However, once again, let me go to Preston Manning. “Conservatives profess to believe in markets. So why don’t conservatives major on how to harness markets to the environmental conversation, and make that their signature contribution.”
     Mark Cameron, former policy advisor to former prime minister Stephen Harper, said, “As most free-market economists...”—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please. The hon. minister knows that we do not refer to members in this House by their names, but by their titles.
    The hon. member for Regina—Qu'Appelle.
    Mr. Speaker, only to a Liberal would increasing taxes result in lower costs. It makes no sense. However, if the Liberals are so keen on helping the middle class, Premier Wall has an idea that would put Canadians back to work.
    Across the oil sector lie countless decommissioned oil and gas wells; out-of-work Canadians in the energy sector have the skills to clean up these abandoned wells. This is a practical idea that would actually clean up the environment. Instead of raising taxes, will the Liberals adopt this common-sense idea, and help create jobs?

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, I had the pleasure to go to Saskatchewan, where I met with my counterpart, the environment minister there. We had a great discussion about how we could reduce emissions and we could tackle climate change working together. I went and visited carbon capture and storage, where they are looking at new technologies. I talked to the agricultural sector about how it could reduce emissions.
    It seems that the only party that does not understand the need to reduce emissions is the party opposite.

[Translation]

Physician-Assisted Dying

    Mr. Speaker, the government is clearly all over the map with its bill on medical assistance in dying.
    After assuring us that Bill C-14 complied with the Supreme Court's decision, the Minister of Justice is now telling us that her bill does not need to comply with the decision and that it only needs to comply with the charter. However, the Supreme Court based its decision on the charter.
    Why this new take? Did the government finally realize that its bill does not comply with Carter or with the charter?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I was pleased to release an addendum to the explanatory paper that we released previously with respect to Bill C-14, to provide additional information to parliamentarians who are considering this important piece of legislation. In considering very carefully the Carter decision, Bill C-14 would comply with the Carter decision. The Carter decision stated that a complete prohibition on medical assistance in dying is unconstitutional, and the court left it up to Parliament to put in place medical assistance in dying in this country. That is exactly what we would do in this legislation.
    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice insisted Bill C-14 complied with the Carter decision, but courts in Alberta and Ontario disagree. She argued the bill was constitutional, but then Canada's leading expert on constitutional law said that was not so. Now the minister is changing her tune again, saying the bill does not have to comply with the Supreme Court of Canada ruling, forgetting, it seems, that the case was based on section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
    Why is the minister trying to ram through a law that, according to the Supreme Court of Canada decision, would take away Canadians' charter rights?
    Mr. Speaker, I completely reject the premise of the questions that have been proposed. All of the discussions and the considerations by the Court of Appeal in Alberta and others were considering personal exemptions with respect to medical assistance in dying. They were not considering Bill C-14.
    The Supreme Court of Canada rendered its decision in Carter. We are complying with the Carter decision in doing our jobs and putting in place a complex framework for medical assistance in dying in this country. The question is whether this bill is constitutional, and I submit that it is.

Democratic Reform

    Mr. Speaker, in today's National Post, Laval Professor Stephen Gordon notes:
    
...much of the argument against using a referendum to choose an electoral system uses technocratic language. The topic is complex, ordinary voters won’t understand the issues, and the possibility that voters will make the objectively incorrect choice is too great a risk to run...
    Professor Gordon concludes, “The only reliable way of finding out what Canadians think about electoral change is to ask them”, the opposite point of view.
    Academics agree with the media consensus that has already been expressed often in the country, that there ought to be a referendum. Does the government not agree?
    Mr. Speaker, we will be asking Canadians. That is the role and function of the all-party committee, made up of members of the House. It is up to all 338 members to ensure that their constituents' voices and needs are reflected in this process.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, we have reason to be very concerned today. Imagine this: no members have even been appointed to the committee on electoral reform, and after eight months here in the House, we learned yesterday that the Liberal Party is consulting its own members on this topic, for a fee, in order to fill the party's coffers.
    Is that the transparency and openness we have heard so much about from the Liberals? Is that what it means to do consultations differently? When will the minister listen to experts and the public? When will the minister tell us that we will have a referendum so that all Canadians can have a say on this?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, first, it is my understanding that the event the member is referring to is asking for a voluntary donation to help cover some of the costs of the event, such as room rental and light refreshments.
     That said, I am encouraged that Canadians are engaged in this conversation. I look forward to all the ways that the MPs in this place will go out of their way to hear from their constituents.

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have never heard such a lame excuse in all my life. The Liberals keep claiming that they are listening to Canadians on electoral reform and that they “will not proceed with any changes without the broad buy-in of the Canadian people”. However, it turns out that what they meant by buy-in was that Canadians were going to have to buy a ticket to get in.
    This is not about filling Liberal coffers, it is democracy. Every Canadian deserves a say without having to pay to get in the door. Therefore, will the Liberals actually listen to Canadians and give each and every Canadian a direct say in a referendum, yes, or no?
    Mr. Speaker, I can assure all Canadians that our government is acting to remove as many barriers as possible and ensure full participation of all Canadians in this important conversation. I urge the member opposite to bring forward more constructive dialogue into this debate.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, clearly the minister does not understand the conflict of interest that exists when politicians choose their own electoral system. That is why other jurisdictions have had royal commissions and citizen assemblies followed by referendums. Why does the minister want to put politicians in a conflict of interest situation? Why not let millions of Canadians choose through a referendum?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am not sure if the member opposite understands that the role of an MP is to represent his or her constituents in this place. In that vein, I once again encourage all members to ensure the voices of their constituents—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please. I have trouble hearing the answer to the question. I should not have any trouble. Let us all listen carefully please. I guess the hon. Minister of Democratic Institutions has finished her answer.
    The hon. member for Saskatoon West.

Labour

    Mr. Speaker, the previous Conservative government attacked collective bargaining and weakened worker protection for the public service. In January, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour tabled a bill to repeal some of the Conservatives' anti-worker legislation. However, six months later and the bill is languishing.
     It is not enough just to meet with public servants and pay lip service to undoing Conservative damage. When will the Liberals stop stalling and bring Bill C-4 back to the House?
    Mr. Speaker, we are all anxious to get Bill C-4 through the whole parliamentary system. In fact, members have had an opportunity to speak to the bill. It has gone to committee. I had an opportunity to present. We are looking forward to actually bringing it back to the House, voting on it and making it a new law for Canadians.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the minister's answer is not good enough.
    Bill C-4 is currently in parliamentary limbo. No one even knows what stage it is at. On top of that, the Liberals failed to include a number of elements.
    For instance, this bill does not even reinstate the provisions on workplace health and safety. The previous government attacked workers' rights over and over again. The Liberals are quick to make promises to Canadian workers, but they have a hard time keeping them.
    Will the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour finally do something and reinstate the provisions on workplace health and safety in Bill C-4 in order to protect Canadian workers?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as everyone in the House knows, we have had several very important national issues to discuss, debate, and vote on.
    Bill C-4 was introduced second to the budget bill itself. It shows an indication of the priority that our government has to restore fair and balanced labour legislation.

[Translation]

Innovation in Canada

    Mr. Speaker, innovation drives growth and makes Canada more competitive.
    In my riding, Sudbury, businesses have boosted their productivity and accelerated their growth by adjusting their innovation strategies.
    Can the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development tell the House what the government is doing to stimulate innovation in Canada?

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Sudbury for his question and for expressing his interest in promoting innovation.
    Our government has always said that we need a whole-of-government approach to building a more inclusive and innovative Canada. Today, I had the pleasure of announcing our first step toward creating a more innovative Canada.
     We invite Canadians to tell us how to better foster innovation as a Canadian value.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, later today, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development will outline the Liberals' latest innovation scheme, but there is one problem. The event is being hosted by Canada 2020. This is the same group that hosted the pay-to-play trip to Washington. It just so happens that the leaders of Canada 2020 are deeply connected to the Liberal Party, and they also happen to own a lobbying firm, which happens to be registered to lobby the minister.
    Could the minister explain how this is not textbook cronyism and a gross conflict of interest?
    Mr. Speaker, I am so glad the member opposite raised the issue of innovation.
    The Conservatives have been asking a lot of questions around the Agreement on Internal Trade. We believe that both these issues were addressed today when we talked about our innovation agenda.
    This agenda is making key investments to grow our economy and to help the middle class. It is about providing future growth opportunities for companies to not only grow but to scale up. It is an opportunity for us to make key investments that ensure we have a better future for our children and grandchildren.
    Mr. Speaker, running its events through a non-profit that also happens to be run by a lobbyist is quite innovative. For a government that says it is dedicated to inclusive growth, it is quite shocking to see how many exclusive pay-to-play events it promotes.
     Today, the Liberals have outsourced the innovation agenda to their Liberal friends at Canada 2020. Not only that, but Canada 2020 controls the invite list for this so-called government announcement. Therefore, there is in fact nothing public or inclusive about the Liberal innovation agenda.
    How is the minister protecting the taxpayer by granting exclusive access of a $2-billion policy to well-connected Liberal insiders?
    Mr. Speaker, today I had the opportunity, along with my colleagues from science and small business, to talk about our innovation agenda.
    We did a press conference. In that press conference, we outlined key themes to growing the economy. We made these announcements on top of the commitment we already demonstrated in our budget to grow the economy: $800 million for clusters; $2 billion for research institutions and our post-secondary institutions; and $500 million for our broadband connectivity agenda.
    The bottom line is that we have an innovation agenda that is about growing the economy and creating jobs, and we made that known to the public.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, Canada 2020 is at the forefront once again.
    Apparently the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development's innovation strategy was developed in close collaboration with that organization, which is anything but non-partisan. That organization shares offices with Bluesky Strategy Group Inc., a lobbying firm, and one of Bluesky's top brass was a Liberal strategist during last year's election campaign.
    Can the minister tell us when lobbyists started having a hand in his government's innovation strategy and why he condones this conflict of interest?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, our government believes that a very open and transparent process should be put in place when it comes to dealing with the public on the innovation agenda. I met with hundreds of CEOs, small business CEOs and large business CEOs. There were numerous round tables and many engagement opportunities.
     Today, we announced a robust innovation agenda that talks about key themes to grow the economy, to bet on talent, to bet on innovation, to ensure we have a process that includes everyone. We have a whole-of-government approach. We have a whole-of-society approach. It is about finding solutions to problems. It is about growing the economy.
     I am glad the members opposite are talking about this very important priority of this government.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, we learned that the launch of the minister's innovation agenda is under partisan and political control. Just a few days after the innovation strategy event was announced, the event was sold out.
    Again, Canadians will have a problem with the very close ties between the Liberal government and lobbyists.
    Why is the minister allowing his policy to be used in this way, and why is he giving Liberal insiders special access to this $2-billion policy?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I already outlined the policy objectives earlier today in a news conference in a very open and transparent way. We made sure that we engaged Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
    When we talk about the innovation agenda, we outlined that during the campaign, a campaign that talked about growing the economy, a campaign that talked about investing in the middle class. Then we reinforced that with making significant investments in the budget.
    Today, again, was an ongoing commitment to the innovation agenda. We understand that in order to innovate and grow, we need to invest in people. That was the message we shared with Canadians today.

  (1450)  

[Translation]

Food Labelling

    Mr. Speaker, 90% of Canadians think that labelling genetically modified foods should be mandatory. Today I introduced Bill C-291 to do exactly that. It is far from excessive. Sixty-five other jurisdictions, including Vermont, have already made labelling genetically modified foods mandatory.
    My question is simple. Will the government support my bill and allow Canadians as well to make an informed choice about what they eat?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my hon. colleague's question. That is why I have asked the agriculture committee to explore what steps should be taken to best inform the public about new products involving genetically modified animals.
     In our country, there is a clear and strict process for evaluating genetically modified products. Our government continues to follow, and will follow, a science-based strategy.

Status of Women

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday the chair of the public accounts committee tabled “Report 11: Chapter 1, Implementing Gender-Based Analysis, of the Fall 2015 Report of the Auditor General of Canada”. In this unanimous report, our committee recommends that by April 1, 2017, gender-based analysis be made a mandatory requirement for all federal departments and agencies.
     Given that both government and opposition members support this report, will the government commit today to implement the committee's recommendation on mandatory gender-based analysis?
    Mr. Speaker, gender-based analysis is a very important tool that this government uses to ensure we embed gender equality in all of our legislation. We will be reviewing the report, and we will be reviewing the standing committee's report as well. We will be happy to report back to the House when we have had a chance to do so.

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals broke their promise to Canadians for a fair and open competition to replace our CF-18s. Then they misled Canadians by creating an imaginary capability gap. Now the Liberals refuse to invest the $400 million that we budgeted to extend the life of our CF-18s.
     When will the Minister of Defence tell the Prime Minister to quit playing politics with our troops, with Canadians workers, and with Canadian taxpayers?
    Mr. Speaker, the government is committed to replacing the CF-18s. They were originally acquired in 1982 and by now have had several life extensions. We are approaching a capability gap, which we mean to remedy.
    It is a pity that the hon. member does not adopt the former Minister MacKay's view, which was, “Do I regret that we did not make a final purchase of that aircraft? Absolutely”. Its cost and capabilities, however, forced a halt to the process.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the unilateral decision to exclude a company from an open and transparent process is a perfect example of the Liberals' doublespeak. Awarding a sole-source contract only helps the Liberal Party. This decision is not good for our men and women in uniform, the aerospace industry, jobs in Canada, or Canadian taxpayers.
    Can the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development tell us how acquiring the Super Hornet would benefit Canada economically?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as I said previously, the replacement of the CF-18 is an absolute priority for this government. Regrettably, we have lost about five years in that process, as indicated by the previous minister.
    Following that, the analysis of the industrial benefits of various options is still open and is still ongoing, but we mean to close this capability gap.

Ministerial Expenses

     Mr. Speaker, Liberal after Liberal has gotten up over the past few weeks to defend the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and sky palace 2.0. Initially he tried to defend his actions by claiming that this was simply the Liberals doubling the infrastructure budget. Apparently only Liberal ministers need to apply.
    Does the minister feel embarrassed to know that his colleagues are being forced to support his spending almost $1 million on fridges and flat screens?

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, the expenditures the hon. member is referring to are for 32 staff members. As for the fridges, furniture, and paintings she is talking about, the only painting hanging on my office wall is the map of Canada.
    As the Conservatives well know, we did not have a dedicated minister and deputy minister before—
    The hon. member for South Shore—St. Margarets.

Transport

    Mr. Speaker, a thriving marine transportation sector is very important to my constituents, and there is a will in my riding to support local port ownership. Local port ownership opens up new commercial possibilities that allow port facilities to reach their full potential.
    Can the Minister of Transport please update this House on recent developments on the Port of Liverpool in my riding of South Shore—St. Margarets?
    Mr. Speaker, that is a great question from my colleague for South Shore—St. Margarets.
    We in this government believe that local stakeholders are much better positioned to take over the remaining Transport Canada-owned ports, because they are more sensitive to the local needs, so we are delighted that the Province of Nova Scotia has decided to take over the Port of Liverpool.
    This will be good for the community of Liverpool and the Port of Liverpool. It will create jobs. It is great for their marine sector.

Internal Trade

    Mr. Speaker, every time I stand up to ask the government about free the beer, the minister starts talking about the Agreement on Internal Trade.
    The Wynne Liberals have said publicly that alcohol will not be part of any new agreement. Why is the minister misleading Canadians on a new agreement on internal trade when he knows full well that it will not free the beer?
    Mr. Speaker, our government supports open markets, and that is why we are working in collaboration with our provincial and territorial counterparts to talk about alcohol and other areas of interest to make sure that we reduce barriers and harmonize regulations.
     It is a priority for this government, because we understand the importance of having free trade within Canada. It is good for our economy, it is good for small businesses, and it is good for consumers. This will remain a priority as we continue to grow the economy.

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, Saskatchewan's Black Lake First Nation is struggling to teach students in a school that is bursting at the seams. There are 440 children, from K to 12, crowded into Father Porte Memorial Denesuline School. The school was built for only 350 students.
    The Liberals promised $2.6 billion for first nations education, but so far they have failed to deliver. Will the government commit today to give the Black Lake First Nation the funding to build the much-needed school these children deserve?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question.
    I too am excited and am anticipating the rollout of budget 2016, with the generous commitment to school infrastructure that will benefit so many first nations and have children allowed to learn in dignity, like all other Canadian children.

Seniors

    Mr. Speaker, as the member of Parliament for Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas, I know that my province has a diverse ethnic population. Seniors living here require support and resources that are tailored to meet their individual needs. Most at-risk seniors are those who live alone, have disabilities or poor health, have low-income, have language barriers, or have reduced access to services.
    Can the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development inform the House about what the government is doing to help support seniors in Hamilton?
    Mr. Speaker, let me first thank my two colleagues from Hamilton East—Stoney Creek and Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas for their very hard work in support of Hamilton residents.
    Our government understands the importance of supporting seniors who are or may be at risk of becoming socially isolated. This is why I had the pleasure, with my colleagues, to announce last weekend $2 million for seven organizations under the Hamilton seniors isolation population impact plan. This will help support Hamilton's capacity to reach, identify, and connect socially isolated seniors.

  (1500)  

International Development

    Mr. Speaker, the Official Development Assistance Accountability Act of 2003, first proposed by a Liberal, states specifically that it is for poverty reduction, human rights, and the promotion of democracy. The Prime Minister's envoy to the United Nations recently declared that foreign aid will form the backbone of Canada's bid to win a seat on the UN Security Council.
    Is the Prime Minister's envoy not aware that they are breaking a Canadian law with the use of aid money to buy a UN Security Council seat?
    Mr. Speaker, our government is incredibly proud of the international assistance we provide to countries and people around the world. As the member knows, since coming to government, the Prime Minister has mandated the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie to refocus Canada's development assistance on the most poor and the most vulnerable, including in fragile states, and that is exactly what we are going to do. We are proud of the work that we are doing around the world.

[Translation]

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, this morning, I talked about the petitions signed by 25,000 Quebeckers who are saying “no” to energy east. According to another electronic petition of the House, 257 Quebeckers are in favour of energy east.
    Therefore, 10,000% more Quebeckers oppose energy east. There is no social licence in Quebec for this project and there never will be.
    What hidden interests are behind the government's reluctance to say no? Is this the Irving siren call from the Maritimes?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, on January 27, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and I announced a set of principles that will govern the review of major projects. One of those major projects is energy east. The National Energy Board will spend 21 months reviewing the project, during which time all Canadians, mayors, premiers, leaders of the opposition, members of Parliament, and Canadians at large will have every opportunity to express their views.

[Translation]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health's statements are preposterous. She has announced that a 3% increase in transfers is quite enough, as though there were no such thing as population aging. To hell with the federal-provincial negotiations. They are obviously bogus.
    What is worse is that she wants to split the block transfer into 13 individual agreements in order to tell Quebec what to do in the area of health, even though Ottawa knows absolutely nothing about it. We have stopped counting the fires that the minister has set with a single statement.
    Can the Minister of Finance, who oversees the health transfer, rein in his pyromaniac colleague?
    Mr. Speaker, at the January meeting of Canadian health ministers, the federal, provincial, and territorial ministers agreed to put forward shared health priorities.
    I confirmed our commitment to working with the provinces and the territories, including Quebec, to establish a funding agreement that provides for bilateral agreements. The provinces and territories have different circumstances and are at different stages, which will be reflected in these bilateral agreements.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege. The Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development has just talked about introducing a new innovation consultation, and he said he did it in an open and transparent way. That is not at all true. This is the first I have heard of it. I am not sure how I am supposed to fulfill my role as the critic for science and find out if that is a good process if I am not even invited to this Canada 2020 Liberals-only event.
    I have not had notice of a question of privilege, and this sounds a bit like debate. If the member wants to come back and wants to send me a notice of a question of privilege, that is open to her.

Government Orders

[Business of Supply]

[English]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion--ISIS  

    The House resumed from June 9 consideration of the motion.
     It being 3:04 p.m., pursuant to an order made Thursday, June 9, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion of the member for Sturgeon River—Parkland relating to the business of supply.
    Call in the members.
    And the bells having rung:
    The Speaker: The question is as follows. Shall I dispense?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    [Chair read text of motion to House]

  (1510)  

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

(Division No. 88)

YEAS

Members

Aboultaif
Albas
Albrecht
Allison
Ambrose
Anderson
Angus
Arnold
Ashton
Aubin
Barlow
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Benson
Bergen
Berthold
Bezan
Blaney (North Island—Powell River)
Blaney (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis)
Block
Boucher
Boudrias
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brassard
Brosseau
Brown
Calkins
Cannings
Caron
Carrie
Chong
Choquette
Christopherson
Clement
Cooper
Cullen
Davies
Deltell
Diotte
Donnelly
Dreeshen
Dubé
Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona)
Dusseault
Duvall
Eglinski
Erskine-Smith
Falk
Fast
Fortin
Gallant
Garrison
Généreux
Genuis
Gladu
Godin
Gourde
Hardcastle
Harder
Harper
Hoback
Housefather
Johns
Jolibois
Julian
Kelly
Kenney
Kent
Kmiec
Kwan
Lake
Lauzon (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Laverdière
Lebel
Leitch
Liepert
Lobb
Ludwig
Lukiwski
MacGregor
MacKenzie
Malcolmson
Masse (Windsor West)
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McColeman
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
Miller (Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound)
Moore
Mulcair
Nantel
Nater
Nicholson
Nuttall
Obhrai
O'Toole
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Plamondon
Poilievre
Quach
Raitt
Ramsey
Rankin
Rayes
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Ritz
Saganash
Sansoucy
Saroya
Scheer
Schmale
Shields
Shipley
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Stetski
Strahl
Stubbs
Sweet
Thériault
Trost
Trudel
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vecchio
Viersen
Wagantall
Warawa
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Weir
Wrzesnewskyj
Yurdiga
Zimmer

Total: -- 139

NAYS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Alleslev
Amos
Anandasangaree
Arseneault
Arya
Ayoub
Badawey
Bagnell
Bains
Baylis
Beech
Bennett
Bittle
Blair
Boissonnault
Bossio
Breton
Brison
Caesar-Chavannes
Carr
Casey (Cumberland—Colchester)
Casey (Charlottetown)
Chagger
Champagne
Chan
Chen
Cormier
Cuzner
Dabrusin
Damoff
DeCourcey
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Di Iorio
Dion
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dzerowicz
Easter
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Eyking
Eyolfson
Fergus
Fillmore
Finnigan
Fisher
Fonseca
Foote
Fragiskatos
Fraser (Central Nova)
Freeland
Fry
Fuhr
Garneau
Goldsmith-Jones
Goodale
Gould
Graham
Grewal
Hajdu
Hardie
Hehr
Holland
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Joly
Jones
Jordan
Jowhari
Kang
Khalid
Khera
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lauzon (Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation)
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lefebvre
Lemieux
Leslie
Levitt
Lightbound
Long
Longfield
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maloney
Massé (Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia)
May (Cambridge)
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
McCallum
McCrimmon
McDonald
McGuinty
McKay
McKenna
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod (Northwest Territories)
Mendès
Mendicino
Mihychuk
Miller (Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs)
Monsef
Morrissey
Murray
Nassif
Nault
O'Connell
Oliphant
Oliver
O'Regan
Paradis
Peschisolido
Peterson
Petitpas Taylor
Philpott
Picard
Poissant
Qualtrough
Ratansi
Rioux
Robillard
Rodriguez
Romanado
Rudd
Ruimy
Rusnak
Sahota
Saini
Samson
Sangha
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Schulte
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Sikand
Sohi
Sorbara
Spengemann
Tabbara
Tan
Tassi
Trudeau
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vaughan
Virani
Whalen
Wilkinson
Wilson-Raybould
Young
Zahid

Total: -- 166

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion defeated.

  (1515)  

Opposition motion—Decriminalization of Marijuana Possession  

    The House resumed from June 13 consideration of the motion.
    The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion of the member for Victoria relating to the business of supply.

  (1520)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 89)

YEAS

Members

Angus
Ashton
Aubin
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Benson
Blaney (North Island—Powell River)
Boudrias
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brosseau
Cannings
Caron
Choquette
Christopherson
Cullen
Davies
Donnelly
Dubé
Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona)
Dusseault
Duvall
Erskine-Smith
Fortin
Garrison
Hardcastle
Johns
Jolibois
Julian
Kwan
Laverdière
MacGregor
Malcolmson
Masse (Windsor West)
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
Moore
Mulcair
Nantel
Pauzé
Plamondon
Quach
Ramsey
Rankin
Saganash
Sansoucy
Stetski
Thériault
Trudel
Weir

Total: -- 49

NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Albas
Albrecht
Aldag
Alghabra
Alleslev
Allison
Ambrose
Amos
Anandasangaree
Anderson
Arnold
Arseneault
Arya
Ayoub
Badawey
Bagnell
Bains
Barlow
Baylis
Beech
Bennett
Bergen
Berthold
Bezan
Bittle
Blair
Blaney (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis)
Block
Boissonnault
Bossio
Boucher
Brassard
Breton
Brison
Brown
Caesar-Chavannes
Calkins
Carr
Carrie
Casey (Cumberland—Colchester)
Casey (Charlottetown)
Chagger
Champagne
Chan
Chen
Chong
Clement
Cooper
Cormier
Cuzner
Dabrusin
Damoff
DeCourcey
Deltell
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Di Iorio
Dion
Diotte
Dreeshen
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dzerowicz
Easter
Eglinski
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Eyking
Eyolfson
Falk
Fast
Fergus
Fillmore
Finnigan
Fisher
Fonseca
Foote
Fragiskatos
Fraser (Central Nova)
Freeland
Fry
Fuhr
Gallant
Garneau
Généreux
Genuis
Gladu
Godin
Goldsmith-Jones
Goodale
Gould
Gourde
Graham
Grewal
Hajdu
Harder
Hardie
Harper
Hehr
Hoback
Holland
Housefather
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Joly
Jones
Jordan
Jowhari
Kang
Kelly
Kenney
Kent
Khalid
Khera
Kmiec
Lake
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lauzon (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Lauzon (Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation)
Lebel
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lefebvre
Leitch
Lemieux
Leslie
Levitt
Liepert
Lightbound
Lobb
Long
Longfield
Ludwig
Lukiwski
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacKenzie
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maloney
Massé (Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia)
May (Cambridge)
McCallum
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McColeman
McCrimmon
McDonald
McGuinty
McKay
McKenna
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
McLeod (Northwest Territories)
Mendès
Mendicino
Mihychuk
Miller (Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound)
Miller (Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs)
Monsef
Morrissey
Murray
Nassif
Nater
Nault
Nicholson
Nuttall
Obhrai
O'Connell
Oliphant
Oliver
O'Regan
O'Toole
Ouellette
Paradis
Paul-Hus
Peschisolido
Peterson
Petitpas Taylor
Philpott
Picard
Poilievre
Poissant
Qualtrough
Raitt
Ratansi
Rayes
Rempel
Richards
Rioux
Ritz
Robillard
Rodriguez
Romanado
Rota
Rudd
Ruimy
Rusnak
Sahota
Saini
Sangha
Sarai
Saroya
Scarpaleggia
Scheer
Schiefke
Schmale
Schulte
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Shields
Shipley
Sidhu (Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Sikand
Sohi
Sopuck
Sorbara
Sorenson
Spengemann
Stanton
Strahl
Stubbs
Sweet
Tabbara
Tan
Tassi
Trost
Trudeau
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vaughan
Vecchio
Viersen
Virani
Wagantall
Warawa
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Whalen
Wilkinson
Wilson-Raybould
Wrzesnewskyj
Young
Yurdiga
Zahid
Zimmer

Total: -- 256

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion defeated.

  (1525)  

[English]

Opposition Motion—Internal trade  

    The House resumed consideration of the motion.
    There are three minutes remaining in questions and comments after the speech from the hon. member for Durham.
    Questions and comments.
    The hon. member for Newmarket—Aurora.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his contribution to the debate here today.
    Just as a point of clarification, he intimated in his comments as to whether or not I actually graduated from Dalhousie law school one year behind him. I can assure the hon. member I did. I think it was in no small part thanks to the notes he left behind from the year before. I will even admit, in the context of this debate, that I used his constitutional notes. I do appreciate his efforts.
    It is clear from his speech that he has comprehension and understanding of the Constitution that many in this House do not. However, I think he will also agree with me that the Constitution, as important a tool as it is, as the backbone of our nation that it is, is certainly open to some interpretation and has proven to be, especially section 121, which he so eloquently discussed. The hon. member goes way back to the colour of margarine sold in Quebec or whether hay can cross the Alberta-B.C. border. There is much jurisprudence on these cases.
    I just want the hon. member to answer one simple question. Does he think that if we do reference this case or this situation to the Supreme Court it is an absolute slam dunk that the court will rule on the side of there being no tariffs? Actually, there are no tariffs on beer, as it is now, but the provinces are not allowed to enact tax on their alcohol products. Does he think it is a slam dunk?
    I hope that in answering the hon. member for Durham will not refer to the year he graduated from Dalhousie law school, because I know it was long after I did.
    The hon. member for Durham.
    Mr. Speaker, you carved the trail that the member for Newmarket—Aurora and myself humbly walk behind. My friend is an exceptional lawyer and was a member of a great law firm. In fact, his partner, Michael Osborne, and I were in Vancouver, remarking on what a great fellow he is. I am glad he used my CANs, as we called them in law school. Perhaps we had beers in the Domus Legis together, and it might have been Alexander Keith beer, made in the north end, by the Hydrostone, where I lived in Halifax. We used to have an Alexander Keith's sociable in Toronto, celebrating Alexander Keith, who was a Tory, an early privy councillor for Nova Scotia pre-Confederation. However, it is a shame we could not take Moosehead from New Brunswick or Keith's from Halifax and have that same beer in Toronto, or even in Ottawa, because of archaic laws.
    This is a time we have the precedence from the Bedford decision, the Carter decision, the Blais decision. I do think it is a slam dunk, particularly, if we get my friend's old law firm on the case.

  (1530)  

    Mr. Speaker, I had to rise to ask the hon. member for Durham a question because we are making the full round of Dalhousie law grads here and trading notes about who graduated when. I was in the same graduating class with our Speaker and also in the same year with the Speaker of the Senate.
    Thank you very much. I am actually older than the Speaker because I was a mature student when I started out, but I appreciate the friendly heckling as to how well I may or may not be aging.
    My question for the hon. member for Durham is this. Do we have any examples where the Supreme Court of Canada has been willing to provide a response on a question that has not yet reached it but which is currently under appeal from the courts of New Brunswick from the Comeau decision? I genuinely do not know; I need to do some legal research.
    Mr. Speaker, I am glad my friend, the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, got up to complete the Dalhousie trifecta here today and to show that there is a quiet Dalhousie law school mafia running the Parliament of Canada. We do not like to admit it. It is kind of the illuminati of Parliament.
    However, she raises a great point on whether there has been a Supreme Court reference on a matter in the courts below, in the superior court.
    I would refer the hon. member to what the previous government did with respect to the Senate reference where we go straight to the Supreme Court for a reference. The government did that in part because of comments from the Government of Prince Edward Island, which intimated that it would challenge a move to modernize the Senate, which the last government tried to do. To go for that reference would set clarity and allow us to break down the trade barriers before Canada turns 150.
    As I said in my speech, the case law, particularly, Bedford and Carter, which showed that societal change, and then the intent of the Blais decision, shows that the Supreme Court would likely look favourably and support the Comeau decision from New Brunswick.
    Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to participate this afternoon. Now that we have gotten past all the lawyer self-adulation, we can get back to some blue-collar debate about beer.
    Today's motion by our hon. colleague from Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola kind of highlights the dilemma that we have in Canada, the dilemma of the federation itself. Canada is a country made up of 10 provinces and three territories that in many ways operate quite independently, but we still fall under Confederation and under the country of Canada.
    We have gone through some cycles in our 149 years. It was not that long ago that we had the federal government playing a fatherly role to the provinces, and I can think of programs such as the national energy program, the Canada Health Act, and so on. However, then we went through what I believe was 10 years where we had a Conservative government that believed that there was federal jurisdiction and there was provincial jurisdiction. By and large, under the leadership of our previous prime minister, it was felt that the federal government's responsibility was to stay out of the jurisdiction of the provincial governments.
    It is pretty obvious, by some of the actions we have seen happen so far with the current government, that we are probably moving back more into a time when the federal government will be trying to play that fatherly role with provinces again. I am thinking about things like discussions we are hearing today about a carbon tax. We are also talking at various committees about looking at bringing in pharmacare. We always have the debate in this House about supply management. In some ways it is timely that we have this debate about the motion that has been brought forward today.
    As has been been mentioned on several occasions, it is clearly pointed out in the Constitution in section 121 that free trade between provinces is part of our Canadian Constitution. However, there are clearly a number of examples of how that has moved over the past number of years. The most recent debate relative to my colleague's “free the beer” campaign is but one issue that tends to rear its ugly head, on more than one occasion.
    As an example, labour mobility has become a big issue between provinces. While we have the Agreement on Internal Trade, there are still varying degrees of constraints around labour mobility. I think about the health care field where we have scope of practice, which is not the same from border to border. There are also certain professions that are regulated differently from province to province. Then if we move more into the apprenticeship role, clearly the certification around different apprenticeships varies from province to province. We have issues relative to food inspections and food safety. Then of course, the one that is probably the most troubling is that certain provinces prevent out-of-province companies from competing for government contracts. We all know that takes place on a fairly regular basis across the country.
    However, I want to talk a bit about the successes that I am aware of. In a previous life I had the opportunity to serve in a provincial legislature of Alberta. At that time there were a number of agreements that we managed to negotiate. First, with the Province of British Columbia, the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement was very popular in our two provinces; so much so that Saskatchewan came on board in 2010. I believe a number of issues have been resolved through TILMA. The issue that comes to mind was when the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta decided that to have a weigh station, or a truck regulation stop, in each province did not make any sense as the trucks were travelling either across the Trans-Canada Highway or the Yellowhead Highway. They had to stop in Alberta and get inspected. Then they crossed the B.C. border, and another inspection had to take place.

  (1535)  

    What Alberta and B.C. did on the Trans-Canada Highway was jointly set up an inspection station to make sure that regulations were adhered to, but it was a joint initiative. It not only saved money but saved a lot of hassle for the trucking industry. Those are the kinds of issues to which the provinces could find some resolution, if they were prepared to work together.
    I do have some concern as we move forward. I have to admit that I think it is in the Liberals' DNA that they become pro