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42nd PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 311

CONTENTS

Friday, June 8, 2018




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 148
NUMBER 311
1st SESSION
42nd PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Friday, June 8, 2018

Speaker: The Honourable Geoff Regan

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer



Government Orders

[Government Orders]

  (1005)  

[English]

Export and Import Permits Act

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to be here today to speak to Bill C-47. Through this bill, our government will move forward on an important commitment we made to ensure that Canada finally accedes to the Arms Trade Treaty.
    I am sure that everybody in the chamber will agree with me in saying that all countries have an obligation to take action against the violence that is fuelled by the illicit trade in conventional weapons.
    The ATT is the first international treaty that seeks to tackle this illicit trade and, in doing so, take steps against the violence that this trade perpetuates. The ATT sets an essential standard for the international community. In doing so, it seeks to contribute to international and regional peace, security, and stability. It seeks to reduce human suffering and promote co-operation, transparency, and responsible action by countries.
    It is due time that Canada join our partners and allies in our accession to the treaty.
    I am also proud of the amendments that the foreign affairs committee has made to strengthen the bill. Our government heard from committee members and civil society that they would like to see the ATT criteria placed directly into the legislation, including the considerations of peace and security, human rights, and gender-based violence, and we supported the committee in making these changes. The criteria for applications to export arms from Canada will now be embedded directly into Canadian law.
    I am proud to point out that we also made sure to include the consideration of gender-based violence or violence against women and children as a fifth key criterion in this legislation.
    We have also made a significant change to the legislation by including a substantial risk test in what is now being proposed. This means that, for the first time, there would be a direct legal requirement for the government to refuse export permits for items where there is a substantial risk that they would be used to violate the criteria.
    Bill C-47 would allow Canada to accede to the Arms Trade Treaty, allow Canada to meet its international obligations, and, significantly, ensure that Canada holds itself to a higher standard in the export of arms.
    As the Minister of Foreign Affairs said before the foreign affairs committee in February, it is long overdue that Canada join many of its NATO and G7 partners by acceding to the ATT. We have heard support for the Arms Trade Treaty from civil society, from non-governmental organizations, and from Canadians. We also heard the clear desire to do better and to be ambitious in our strengthening of Bill C-47.
    Originally, we had planned to place the criteria by which exports are judged, including human rights, into regulation, but we heard from committee members and civil society that they would like to see the Arms Trade Treaty criteria placed directly into legislation. Once again, let me reiterate that this would include the consideration of peace and security, human rights, and gender-based violence.
    Going further than that, the bill now includes a substantial risk clause. Such a clause would mean that Canada would not allow the export of arms if there was a substantial risk that they would be used to commit human rights violations. This is a significant decision. It would mean changes in how Canada regulates selling weapons. This is the most significant change to how Canada evaluates the export of military goods in over 30 years. It is simply the right thing to do.

[Translation]

    The Arms Trade Treaty is the result of growing international concern about the direct and indirect consequences of the global arms trade, which perpetuates conflicts that violate human rights and hinder development. We must provide constructive, rules-based leadership on the international stage and with our partners to promote peace, security, and prosperity around the world.
    The Arms Trade Treaty recognizes the right of states to engage in the legitimate and responsible trade of arms. It requires that those weapons be exported responsibly. It is aimed at ensuring that individual states have an effective export control system in place to regulate the legitimate arms trade while, at the same time, using transparency measures to combat illicit trade. It requires all its state parties to adhere to a high standard when assessing the export of conventional weapons to ensure that they are not used to commit human rights abuses, violate international humanitarian law, or contribute to international terrorism or organized crime.

  (1010)  

[English]

    It is important to note that the ATT does not require its member states to automatically halt all exports to countries with challenging geopolitical or security situations. Rather, states must assess the risk of an individual export and consider options to mitigate potential risk. In other words, states must apply due diligence in considering exports and weigh both the risks and the benefits of specific exports of conventional arms.
    It is also important to note that, despite some claims to the contrary, the ATT does not and will not affect domestic ownership of firearms. This principle is even enshrined in the preamble of the treaty, which recognizes “the legitimate trade and lawful ownership, and use of certain conventional arms for recreational, cultural, historical, and sporting activities, where such trade, ownership and use are permitted or protected by law”.
    Bill C-47 does not affect domestic gun controls. Bill C-47 does not create a gun registry. Despite this reality, the Conservatives are trying to fearmonger and make things up, which I am not surprised they are doing. They have put forward a motion that ignores the reality of Bill C-47.
    As I noted, our government is committed to returning Canada to its rightful place among global leaders in promoting responsible arms trade. It is shameful that Canada has not already become party to the ATT. We are alone among NATO allies, G7 partners, and even the OECD states in not having signed or ratified the treaty. Canadians want better of their government. They expect us to participate in multilateral efforts to ensure that any transfers of conventional arms are done responsibly.
    Bill C-47 sets a high standard that lives up to the letter and the spirit of the ATT and reflects the leadership role that Canadians expect Canada to play in this most important area.

[Translation]

    The ATT also specifically requires that states assess their exports against the risk to peace, security, and human rights, as well as against the risk of violence and gender-based violence. That is an important issue to consider in modern-day export assessments, but one that was not officially taken into account 10 or 20 years ago.
    Our government intends to have Canada go even further than required by the ATT with regard to gender-based violence and violence against women and children. We are therefore proposing that exports not only be assessed against the risk that such horrible situations could occur, but also, unlike the ATT itself, against the same standards that are used for all of the other ATT considerations. That means that gender-based violence and violence against women and children will also be subject to the substantial risk clause.

[English]

    A second major step for Canada's accession to the ATT will be to ensure that we meet the requirements of article 10, which requires each state to regulate brokering. Brokering involves arranging the transfer of arms between a second and a third country. Brokering itself is not a crime, and responsible arms brokers can play a legitimate role in arranging and facilitating sales. However, there have also been far too many cases of unscrupulous arms brokers putting profit ahead of human lives. Transactions facilitated by these brokers have seen weapons transferred to conflict zones, even zones under UN arms embargoes, or to terrorists and criminal gangs. Nevertheless, Canada is coming late to regulating brokering. Almost all of our close partners regulate this activity. We seek to bring Canada up to speed.

  (1015)  

[Translation]

    However, Canada cannot deal with the risks of the unregulated or irresponsible arms trade alone. If we want to guarantee that the ATT will be successful, we need to make sure that it is adopted and implemented effectively by as many states as possible. This is why our government contributed $1 million to the UN Trust Facility Supporting Cooperation on Arms Regulation. This fund provides direct assistance to help states accede to the ATT and fulfill their obligations by strengthening their export controls. Canada's accession to the ATT will help us collaborate more effectively with our international partners to counter the negative effects of conventional weapons in conflict zones.
    We have also developed a partnership with international NGO Small Arms Survey to combat the flow of illegal arms in the Libya-Chad-Sudan triangle. The results of the survey will help Canada implement concrete follow-up measures to reduce the flow of illicit weapons through the channels identified by the NGO and make a real contribution to the everyday lives of those in the region who live under the threat of conventional weapons.

[English]

    I would like to make a final point about Bill C-47 and the Arms Trade Treaty. Some have criticized this bill for not going far enough or have taken issue with certain parts of it. I do not agree. We have gone back to the drawing board numerous times to accept amendments and challenge ourselves to make it stronger each and every time. That being the case, I try to understand where these perspectives come from. Just the same, I would encourage those persons, including some members of the House, not to lose sight of the forest for the trees. The objective of the Arms Trade Treaty is to “[p]revent and eradicate the illicit trade in conventional arms and prevent their diversion”. Canada should and must play a role in combatting this diversion and the violence it creates. Let us not lose sight of the real aim of the Arms Trade Treaty.
    The aim of this legislation is not to end the defence industry, as we may infer from the comments of some of the members opposite throughout debate in the House and at committee. This industry is integral to our economy and key in supplying our own military. Whether or not some members of the House think the changes to Canada's arms export system go far enough, we should not ignore the fact that including the ATT criteria in legislation and creating a new and legally binding substantial risk clause are the most significant changes to how Canada evaluates the export of arms in over 30 years.
     We need to work together to ensure that Canada can join the Arms Trade Treaty. Our allies all did it years ago. This is our collective duty. Let us not cut off our nose to spite our face. Let us be proud of the changes brought forth in Bill C-47.
    Let me close by saying that I firmly believe that Canada can once again take a leadership role on this issue in joining the ATT. I encourage all my colleagues in the House to support this bill.
    Mr. Speaker, there is a bit of disagreement here about the continual claim by the other side that we are fearmongering when we disagree with it, or when we have a better viewpoint on what we aim to get out of such laws or regulations.
    During testimony, I asked a very prominent witness whether the bill was a step forward or backward. The answer was that it was not a step backward, but for sure not a step forward either.
    I would like my colleague on the other side to comment on that very important testimony, which tells us that the bill would not do much. Actually, it is a step backward compared to our current act that was established in Canada in 1947.

  (1020)  

    Mr. Speaker, I agree that the bill is not one step forward, but in fact two steps forward.
    The bill would do two important things to strengthen what is already a rather robust arms export system in Canada. First of all, it would place criteria on decisions to allow export of certain arms. It places those criteria into legislation, making a new legally binding component to any decision made by this or any future government on how it permits the export of arms. Second, it would also create that same framework around the brokering of arms. We have not been able to regulate third parties brokering the sale of arms into conflict zones.
    For those two reasons, the bill creates two steps forward in strengthening our arms export system.
    I would reiterate that this in no way would affect the lawful use of guns and firearms in Canada. We heard that said in testimony numerous times by witnesses across civil society. We were even able to satisfy lawful gun owners with the insertion of a “for greater certainty” clause in Bill C-47. Therefore, Canadians should know that this would in no way affect domestic gun ownership in Canada.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would say it is more like half a step or maybe a quarter step.
    The NDP completely agrees. We have been pressing the government to accede to the Arms Trade Treaty for years, and now the government is not even half acceding, maybe a third or so. There are still loopholes in this bill that place it in direct and open conflict with the Arms Trade Treaty, such as the refusal to reassess export permits should new information be revealed. That seems pretty basic to me, and it is in the treaty. The U.S. exemption is also a problem because no licensing is required, no information is available, there is no tracking, nothing.
    Some people on the government side are awfully pleased with themselves in their assertion that the experts support their approach. The truth is that, even with minor improvements, experts are still against the bill at this time. That is why, in recent days, 33,000 Canadians have written to the minister to complain about the fact that the bill does not address arms exports to the United States or transfers from there to other countries.
    Will the government listen to the 33,000 people who took the time to sign the petition, as well as to the experts, take this bill off the table, and send it back to the drawing board?
    We are prepared to work with the government to draft a proper bill that will not undermine the Arms Trade Treaty.
    Mr. Speaker, I will do my best to address a few of the points raised by my hon. colleague. I appreciate all the work she has done at committee to improve this bill.
    Experts agree with our government that it is time for Canada to accede to the Arms Trade Treaty. I know our point of view is not at all consistent with that of the NDP, but it is a shame to see the members of that party rising in the House and voting against this bill, which will allow Canada to accede to this important treaty.
    The member opposite also mentioned the fact that the minister should be required to reassess permits if the situation changes in a given country. The minister already has the ability to do so, and one such example was made public earlier this year for everyone to see.
    Lastly, has the member across the aisle asked her colleague from London—Fanshawe if she agrees that we should let arms exports continue to Saudi Arabia? Does the NDP now oppose an export that it supported during the 2015 election?

  (1025)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we know that Bill C-47 formalizes the accountability process by which export permits are considered, and includes the factors to be considered, as set out in article 7 of the treaty. Could I have the parliamentary secretary's comments on why formalizing this process is important, and perhaps he could also address some of the factors that are taken into account?
    Mr. Speaker, certainly for years Canada has had a robust export control system in which considerations were supposed to be taken by the minister and the government responsible before issuing any export permits. We are now creating a legally binding requirement for the government to consider certain criteria when evaluating an export permit, including considerations like whether the arms could be sold or diverted to an area where they could cause grave atrocities, contravene international humanitarian law and individuals' human rights, and be used to perpetuate gender-based and sexual violence.
    We are creating a legally binding requirement that not only our current minister and government must take into consideration, but also all future governments. We are also applying that legally binding requirement to the brokering of arms and creating a new higher, substantial risk test to make sure that all of those considerations are taken into account before we sign any export permit for the sale of conventional arms.
    Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that the intent of this bill is to plug the hole where Canadian arms were getting into places where there was conflict and causing human rights issues.
    I do not exactly understand the mechanism, As I see it, in 2014, out of the 7,000 permits that came through, only 10 of them were rejected. Therefore, what exactly is being done to get traceability on manufactured parts and equipment to ensure they do not fall into the wrong hands?
    Mr. Speaker, Canada has quite a robust export control system that tracks the sale of arms and what happens with them when they are delivered abroad.
    To address the question of my hon. colleague, this bill allows us to work with the international community in our accession to the Arms Trade Treaty to create a more robust control and reporting system internationally, and to raise the capacity of other countries up to the standard that Canada has had for many years, albeit lacking just a few small pieces, the two small steps I mentioned to her colleague.
    This is an opportunity for Canada to play a leadership role in working with the international community and those who want to strengthen the capacity of other countries that do not have as strong an export control system as Canada does.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to start by reminding the House of certain facts, to counteract the falsehoods spread by some government representatives over the last few days. For example, they claim we are opposed to Canada's accession to the Arms Trade Treaty. It may be trendy to spread fake news, but these people know full well that what they say is not true. We have always supported Canada's accession to the Arms Trade Treaty. In fact, we have been pushing for it for years. However, we want to do it properly. We want to accede to the entire treaty, not just half or a third. The bill before us does not do that. I want to read out part of an email I just received from Project Ploughshares, which is probably the best-known arms control organization in Canada. The email says:

  (1030)  

[English]

    “Last day of debate on Bill C-47 for Canada to join the Arms Trade Treaty.”

[Translation]

    I would really like my colleagues across the aisle to pay attention to this:

[English]

    “Do not confuse merits of the ATT with merits of the Bill.”

[Translation]

    The email goes on to say:

[English]

    “Big shortcomings remain in export controls, eg loophole re exports to US.”

[Translation]

    We support the Arms Trade Treaty, but because of these big shortcomings, we cannot support the bill to implement the treaty. That is why I cannot support it, the NDP cannot support it, and experts cannot support it. Experts have expressed satisfaction with the few changes that the government accepted, but as of today, they still oppose the bill. That is why 33,000 people wrote to the minister to ask that this bill be withdrawn and replaced with a better one that includes and covers our exports to the United States.

[English]

    When people from the government spread falsehoods, I am usually patient, but this makes me really mad. These people should be ashamed of themselves. They say that the New Democrats are opposing the accession to the ATT. That is a bit rich. It is the NDP that has been pushing for years for Canada to accede to the ATT, but we want to do it well and completely, not as a half-baked measure. Bill C-47 would not do that well. It does not reflect the letter or the spirit of the treaty and it may weaken the treaty. That is why I cannot support it. That is why, as I said above, experts in arms control, as of today, still oppose Bill C-47 and why 33,000 Canadian citizens wrote to the minister and asked her to fix the bill.

[Translation]

    The Liberals are twisting the facts. By doing so, they are disrespecting the experts. What are the main problems? Since I know my time is running out, I will sum them up very briefly. First, there is the issue of exports to the United States. More than half of our exports go to the United States.

[English]

    When I say that more than half of our arms exports go to the United States, we do not even know if it is 52% or maybe 57%. Who knows, it could be 62%. Why? It is because we have absolutely no information on those arms exports to the U.S. With this bill, not only will our arms exports to the U.S. not be covered, but even when we asked for the small step of reporting to Parliament about those exports, the Liberals refused. There is no transparency at all, no willingness to give Parliament, this House, some sort of power to oversee the sometimes very troubling issue of our arms exports.
    We will remember that twice we have tried to create a committee that could provide oversight of our arms exports, and twice the Liberals have turned it down. Why does it matter? It is a matter of principle, transparency, and democracy. It matters also because under the Trump administration, the Americans are lowering their standards for arms exports. We have seen, for example, that some Canadian equipment goes to the United States and then becomes part of shipments that go to countries like Nigeria. We have cut our arms sales to Nigeria, but now Canadian arms are finding their way to Nigeria through that loophole. I have a problem calling it a loophole, because it is so huge. It is like a doughnut with a large three-foot hole in the middle. It is amazing. They say, “Oh yes, we are acceding to the treaty.” No, I am sorry, we are not acceding to the treaty. We are just putting our big toe in the water, and not more than that. This is a huge hole.
     A few weeks ago, there was a big story about a sale of helicopters to the Philippines. They were going to the Philippines without requiring an export permit. How interesting, selling helicopters to the army of a president who boasted that he had once thrown someone out of a helicopter and was ready to do it again. Why did it not need an export permit? It did not need one because the deal was organized through an agreement with the Department of National Defence and a Canadian commercial corporation, and it was deemed that helicopters are not military equipment, so it just went through. It created a hoopla. Of course, Canadians were upset by that. What we are learning now is that the company is planning to send the helicopters to the U.S., and then they will go on to the Philippines. There is no control over end-users.
    The bill would not cover all of government, because the bill would make amendments to the Import and Export Permits Act, and the Canadian Crown corporation is not covered by that act, as officials have told us.

  (1035)  

[Translation]

    Then we have the issue of reviewing permits in the event of new developments. That is in the treaty, so why does the government not want to include it in the legislation? I do not get it.
    When new information comes to light and when new developments arise, the government should make it its duty to review the permits that have been granted. I could go on about this for hours. In fact, I probably have talked about this for hours over the past few weeks. I invite everyone to read my blog on the issue and my Twitter account, where I am very active.
    I described all these shortcomings in this bill and talked about what a bad bill it is. More to the point, experts have described this as a bad bill that is full of holes.
    My final concern is about countries that claim they are complying with a treaty, but in fact are only doing it halfheartedly and badly so. That weakens the treaty for the rest of the world. As a result, other countries may well decide to follow suit. What Canada is in the process of doing is complying with a small part of the treaty, but mostly it is undermining it. That is not going to happen on my watch, and that is why I will be moving a motion.

[English]

    I move, seconded by the member for Victoria:
    That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following:
“this House decline to give third reading to Bill C-47, An Act to amend the Export and Import Permits Act and the Criminal Code (amendments permitting the accession to the Arms Trade Treaty and other amendments), because it:
a) doesn't require the Minister of Foreign Affairs to reassess existing export permits should new information about human rights abuses be revealed post-export;
b) does not allow for exports of military goods to the United States to be licensed, tracked, or reported back to Canadians in any way;
c) goes against the spirit and the letter of the Arms Trade Treaty.”

  (1040)  

    The amendment is in order.
    Mr. Speaker, I have tremendous respect for my hon. colleague, but I am tremendously disappointed to hear that she is trying to block this legislation from moving ahead to third reading.
    Let us be clear. The Arms Trade Treaty, all of the Arms Trade Treaty, once Canada accedes to it, is legally binding on Canada, both under international law and under Canadian law. However, to do that, we need Bill C-47 to pass, because this is the enabling legislation that is a precondition to Canada acceding to the treaty.
    There are child soldiers, and women who are being raped, and human rights defenders, and all of these people around the world who do not want to wait anymore. This delay by my hon. colleague is actually going to cost a lot of people around the world.
    I would like to ask my hon. colleague a question. Is it not true that we need this bill to accede to the treaty, and once we accede to the treaty, it will be fully and completely legally binding on Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, she said "fully binding on Canada".

[Translation]

    If all elements of the treaty were fully binding on Canada, that would mean, to go back to two examples I gave, that the minister would have to review the export permits at the time the new information emerged. The Liberals are refusing to include this. It would also mean that there would be no discrimination, because at least the requirement to report on our exports to the U.S., which represent more than half our exports, would be included. We are not talking about a minor matter.
    I would like to read to my colleague, who spoke about child soldiers, women dying, and all that, a quote from Control Arms, a very well-known organization and the driving force behind the Arms Treaty. If I recall correctly, this is what this organization asked when it spoke in Geneva last week. In speaking about Canada, the representatives said:

  (1045)  

[English]

     Also critical is ensuring that national implementation systems will ultimately be fully Treaty compliant at the time of accession. We note in this regard the example of Canada, which is currently working through the ATT accession process. While we welcome Canada's decision to become a State Party, we do have concerns with, for example, current plans to maintain a licensing and reporting exemption for transfer to Canada's largest trade partner—the United States. As the relevant legislation is still in draft form undergoing Parliamentary review, we hope that, rather than sprinting to accession, Canada can address this damaging loophole before becoming an ATT state party.
    Mr. Speaker, I see that there are a lot of countries that have not signed on to the treaty. I do not really understand the concerns they have and why they have not signed on. I wonder if my colleague could elaborate on anything she knows about why other countries have not signed on to the treaty.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her question and also for her tenacity and professionalism when asking questions in the House despite the problems with her voice.
    It is true that some countries have not signed on to the treaty. Very few countries have not signed it. The United States has signed it. They have not ratified it, but they have signed it. Unfortunately, in all such situations, there will always be countries that do not want to play by the rules. That is why I am so troubled by this bill. Canada is not really playing by the rules. When Canada is singled out in Geneva and told that it is not creating a good legislative measure, this means that it is not playing by the rules. It is making it look like it is acceding to the treaty, when in fact it is only doing so halfway. That is simply not right.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to join others in saluting my colleague from Laurier—Sainte-Marie for her tenacity and her long-standing support of the treaty as well as for pointing out the government's false narrative, if I can call it that, about the bill, the NDP's position on the bill, the position of those 33,000 people who provided their input on the bill, and the experts who agree that it is far from a good arrangement.
    In her speech, the member talked about social media and Project Ploughshares, a well-known group, which suggested that one must distinguish between the treaty and Bill C-47. It has long supported the treaty, as has she, but it points out that “shortcomings” remain in the export controls, such as the loophole with respect to exports to the United States. That was the burden of the amendment by my colleague. I would ask her to elaborate on that so-called loophole.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, I do not like calling it a loophole, because when a loophole covers almost half the treaty it becomes something else entirely. Perhaps someone has a better idea of what word we can use. “Gaping hole” is a good expression. These are just some of the points that experts raised from the outset. They mentioned this gaping hole with respect to our exports to the U.S. They brought up the problems with the Canadian Commercial Corporation and the Department of Defence, and they said that existing permits should be reviewed in the event of new developments. If I recall correctly, they pointed out 10 things that need to be fixed in the bill.
    The government finally agreed to fix a few things, but not the most important or biggest shortcomings. This is why everyone, aside from the people on the other side of the House, think this is a bad bill. If we truly want to accede to the Arms Trade Treaty, we need to stay true to the treaty. We need to do it right.

  (1050)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by thanking my colleague from Laurier—Sainte-Marie for her remarks.
    I would like to ask her if she thinks that what we are seeing in this bill is textbook Liberal government. Its tendency is to introduce a bill and telegraph appealing messaging about progressive values and improving society, but anyone who looks beneath the surface can see that business takes precedence over everything else. The same thing is happening with tax havens: the government is delivering all the right lines, but meanwhile, it keeps legalizing more and more tax havens. How about the fight against climate change? After parading around in Paris at COP21, the government is now making radical moves to extract even more dirty oil from the oil sands, which in no way helps address environmental issues.
     Is that what we are seeing with Bill C-47 too?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. I could not agree more.
    This is just more smoke and mirrors, more grandstanding. They say Canada is going to accede to the Arms Trade Treaty, but they are taking on only a tiny part and ignoring large chunks of it. Similarly, the government claims to be feminist, yet it sells arms to Saudi Arabia. The government claims to be concerned about climate change, yet it buys old pipelines with plans to expand them. We have a government that talks about tax fairness, yet it signs new deals that actually facilitate tax evasion and gives special privileges, like “get out of jail free” cards in Monopoly, to the biggest tax evaders.
    I agree, this is so typical of this government. I find it interesting, because these are important issues that really matter to all the parties. We realize that, and we hear the same old tune. Once again, the government spews all kinds of lofty rhetoric, but without any real action, and what little action it does take flies in the face of what it says.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the people of Ontario for electing a new PC government yesterday. It was a great victory. I think they made the right choice by electing a government that can serve the people, first and foremost, and no one other than that.
    I am pleased on this beautiful morning to talk about Bill C-47, a piece of legislation that does not achieve its stated purpose. I have spoken about the bill before. It is ineffective, unfair, and a step backward. I mean every word I say about the bill. The bill is a further example of the Liberals doing what they do best, chasing an optic while ignoring the tangible effects of their actions.
    Canada has a robust and effective system of arms control that has served it well for decades and will continue to serve us for as long as we need. I called Bill C-47 a step backward, and I mean that quite literally. The system that we currently operate under meets or exceeds anything proposed by the UN treaty. It is a fact that our current protocol exceeds the requirements of the UN treaty contained in the bill before us.
    I have the honour and pleasure of sitting on the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. When we were studying the legislation, Amnesty International appeared as a witness to discuss the legislation. Their testimony was quite interesting. Indeed, we were able to gather very important things from the witnesses who appeared before committee. Amnesty International is a very trusted and well-respected organization on the world stage and in Canada. We wanted to get its opinion on the difference between the proposed legislation and the current regime we already have in Canada. Alex Neve, the secretary general of Amnesty International, told us on October 31, 2017, “in the critical aspects where we need strengthening, it is not a step forward.” If we are not making substantive progress, then why are we doing what we are doing?
    We know that the United States, Russia, and other major countries making up the majority of the sales of military equipment have either not signed or likely will not ratify the treaty. As is the case with many ineffective international treaties, the key participants in the trade are not part of the treaty. We have a right to ask these questions before we adopt anything that comes our way, no matter where it comes from. The bill cannot be part of an effective international regime because we know that the Arms Trade Treaty is being ignored or boycotted by major players in the international arms trade. That is something we also have to pay attention to, because we are not the only player on the world stage, and we have to consider looking at those major players before we consider any law, or piece of legislation, or any treaty we have to agree to, because it means so much to Canada. We have to be very careful when considering what we are doing.

  (1055)  

    The hon. member will have 15 minutes coming his way when we resume debating Bill C-47.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[Translation]

G7 Summit

    Mr. Speaker, as we speak, La Malbaie is hosting a gathering of the most powerful people in the world, the G7. That is where senior officials meet with their thought masters to discuss the world to come. The discussion invariably focuses on the continuity of the prevailing ideology. Unbridled globalization of trade, neoliberal policies, and so forth are always on the agenda.
    This world that they idealize under virtuous pretexts seeks only to keep taking more from those who work hard to carve out a decent life in order to keep giving to those who already have more than they need. It is time we started remembering those who are struggling. It is time we started thinking about who really needs our help. It is time we remembered that it is still possible to dream of a better world for our fellow citizens.
    To quote Gérald Godin:
    Do you remember, Godin
that we have to spend today dreaming
of what we will do tomorrow?

[English]

Childhood Cancer

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honour and congratulate Paul and Dion Oram of Glovertown in my riding.
    On Wednesday, May 16, Paul, at age eight, returned to the Janeway Children's Hospital in St. John's to ring the bell of hope after five years cancer-free. There were other reasons to celebrate, too, as Paul and his father reached their goal of raising $50,000 for the Children's Wish Foundation.
    When his father asked him what he wanted to do to celebrate his five-year anniversary, Paul told him that he wanted to give the gift of making five other children happy. They set the goal of raising $10,000 per wish. The family spent seven months raising funds, and they set up an online auction, which raised over $35,000.
    I would like to congratulate Paul for being five years cancer-free and to thank him and his father for their contribution to the people in our community and our province.

  (1100)  

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

    Mr. Speaker, as members of Parliament, we have the privilege of meeting people all across our great country. However, no matter where I have been, I have not met anyone with the passion, enthusiasm, or dedication to a community that can match that of Edmonton Manning's own Carol Quiring. Carol is always on the go, and I have been blessed to call her my friend. Sadly, earlier this year, Carol was diagnosed with ALS, a terrible disease for which there is no known cure.
    Virtually everyone in the House has a personal story about ALS, and many have helped raise awareness and funds for research to find a cure for this deadly disease. While a cure has yet to be discovered, one drug, edaravone, has been found to slow progression by 33%. Unfortunately, this drug is not yet approved by Health Canada, and it is very difficult and expensive to obtain.
     I hope that the Minister of Health can help speed up the approval of this drug, as I and many other Canadians have written to request.

Nova Scotia Writer

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate Lesley Choyce on 40 years of publishing in Nova Scotia. He immigrated from the United States in 1978 and founded the Pottersfield Press publishing company. It is very impressive that he has published 60 first-time authors, most of whom wrote about various communities in Nova Scotia, including African Canadians.
    He has shared his wealth of knowledge in many universities where he taught. Currently, he is a part-time teacher at Dalhousie University.
    I recommend that members of the House read his award-winning book The Republic of Nothing.
    I congratulate him for the work he has done and also the authors who promote Nova Scotia literature.

[Translation]

Quebec Disabled Persons Week

    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise in the House today on behalf of my colleague from Drummond to mark Quebec's Disabled Persons Week, which takes place from June 1 to 7. This is the 22nd edition of Disabled Persons Week in Quebec, and this year's theme is “building a more inclusive society together”.
    In honour of this occasion, I would like to congratulate the organizations in the Greater Drummond area that play an essential role in the lives of people with disabilities. They are the Association des personnes handicapées de Drummond, led by its director, Daniel Mailhot, and its president, Brigitte Baril; the Association des parents d'enfants handicapés de Drummond and its team, which is made up of Danny Lauzière, Karine Fournier, and Nathalie Laroche; the Association des personnes proches aidantes Drummond and its coordinator, Emmanuelle Blanchard; and the Centre Normand-Léveillé and its executive director, Jocelyne Bérubé, and its founding director and president, Martin Lupien.
    Thank you to all of these organizations in the Greater Drummond area that help people with disabilities fully participate in our society.

[English]

Pride Month

    Mr. Speaker, Happy Pride to Central Nova.
     I rise to declare myself an ally, and to extend support and kindness to the entire Pride community. The rainbow will be easy to spot around my riding this month. In particular, I want to congratulate the town of Westville on its first-ever flag-raising ceremony.

[Translation]

    I sometimes hear people asking members of the LGBTQ2 community why they keep marching when they already have the right to marry. They keep marching because only with our government's new bill, Bill C-16, have identity and gender expression been recognized as grounds of discrimination. They keep marching because, not too long ago, an attack in an Orlando nightclub claimed the lives of 49 people because of whom they loved.

  (1105)  

[English]

    This June, let us take time to celebrate everything the LGBTQ2 community has contributed to our country. However, we should not lose sight of the fact that we are not done yet. We have a very long way to go. Therefore, let us continue to work along with every Canadian to ensure that no matter whom people love, they are treated as equals.
    Happy Pride Month.

Veterans Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, in Fort McMurray, we erected a monument to the 162 Canadians who died serving their country among the 40,000 other Canadians who served in the Afghan conflict from 2001 to 2014.
    Early in the morning on Monday, June 4, that monument was desecrated by vandals.
    These noble men and women sacrificed their lives in the cause of bringing peace and freedom to the people of Afghanistan. In this country, we build memorials and monuments to recognize the service and sacrifices made by great Canadians in the service of this great country. This cowardly act has no place in our society. The men and women of our armed forces deserve to be treated with loyalty, respect, and dignity.

World Oceans Day

    Mr. Speaker, today is World Oceans Day. Our $1.5-billion oceans protection plan prioritizes safer, healthier oceans. I would like to commend the Pender Harbour Advisory Council, the District of Sechelt, and the Bowen Island Municipality for their hard work in identifying and removing abandoned vessels. The harbours are being cleaned up.
     With regard to fisheries, at the Pacific Science Enterprise Centre, over 20 scientists from the Vancouver Aquarium have moved in to share the fisheries lab in West Vancouver.
     Next year, the West Vancouver school district will graduate its first cohort whose students will have learned side by side with federal scientists all year long. Ocean Ambassadors, representing hundreds of young people, is designing programs together with fisheries.
    Internationally renowned artist Douglas Coupland assembled his latest public exhibit, “Vortex”, drawing attention to the horror of ocean plastics, on the grounds of the fisheries lab in West Vancouver.
     Our government is 100% behind science research and community engagement on the big challenges that face the world's oceans. This is how we honour World Oceans Day.

Tri-Congregational Churches

    Mr. Speaker, there are three churches in my riding that have been serving people for almost 50 years under one roof. In 1970, all three churches were holding separate services in portables, so they pooled their resources and built Tri-Congregational Churches on Finch Avenue.
     Last Saturday, I attended the Tri-Church community fair and open house. I was amazed at how the members of these churches played together in harmony.
     I commend the spirit of co-operation of the four church reverends: Philip Der, Victor Li, Robert Reid, and Wes Chang.
     At a time when so many of our institutions are breaking apart, it is heartwarming to see a community growing together.

Ontario Provincial Election

    Mr. Speaker, welcome to Ford nation—Ontario, ours to recover.
    First, I am pleased to congratulate my provincial counterpart in Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, John Yakabuski, for the overwhelming vote of confidence he received from the smart voters in Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke.
    Next, I am pleased to thank the voters who saw through the lies, innuendo, and dirty campaign tactics of a corrupt party with corrupt policies that have bankrupted Ontario.
    Under the direction of Gerald Butts and the rest of the Toronto Liberal refugees, who fled a sinking ship to sit at the left hand of the Prime Minister, Ottawa is headed down the same terrible path of huge deficits, bad policies, and uncontrolled cronyism. It is going to take years to heal the deep wounds in Ontario.
    To premier-designate Doug Ford and all of the Conservative team, I extend my sincere congratulations. The campaign to save the rest of Canada from a similar fate begins today.

[Translation]

Pride Month

    Mr. Speaker, June is Pride Month across Canada. We are celebrating hope, change, and the recognition that as Canadians, we should all be proud of who we are. However, Pride Month is not just a time of celebration. It is also a time to remember that the fight against homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia is not over. It is a time to reflect that, by passing laws to protect trans and gender-diverse people from discrimination, by apologizing to federal employees and Canadian Armed Forces members who were persecuted due to their sexual orientation, including my friend Martine Roy, who was unfairly dismissed from the armed forces, and by financially supporting the Rainbow Refugee Society to protect LGBTQ2 refugees, we are continuing to defend LGBTQ2 rights in Canada and abroad. In closing, I want to remind my colleagues of all parties that local pride activities will be going on all summer. I hope to see many of you in my riding for Montreal's great pride parade on August 19.

  (1110)  

[English]

The Big Give

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize an Ottawa initiative called the Big Give, which was launched in 2009 by Kathy Blakely. Organized by churches, it is basically a garage sale where all items are free.
    On Saturday, June 2, 130 churches Canada-wide participated in this great initiative. In my riding, Nepean, 10 churches from Barrhaven to Bells Corners offered everything from furniture and clothes to toys, appliances, barbeques, car washes, and bouncy castles, all free.
    I thank the organizers and volunteers of this year's Big Give at Bibleway Ministries, Cedarview Alliance Church, Emmanuel Alliance Church, Good Shepherd Barrhaven, Living Waters Christian Assembly, Longfields Community Church, Metropolitan Bible Church, the Ottawa Church of the Pentecost, Sequoia Community Church, and Woodvale Pentecostal Church.
    It was a wonderful day when everyone in the community came together to help one another.

Thyroid Awareness Month

    Mr. Speaker, June is Thyroid Awareness Month in Canada. Roughly four in 10 Canadians will have thyroid disease during their lifetime, but of those, only 50% will be diagnosed. Some will be hyperthyroid, overactive; some will be hypothyroid, underactive; and some will contract thyroid cancer, often known as "the good cancer" because of its high cure rate. All are treatable.
    However, if left untreated, thyroid diseases like Graves's disease can have serious long-term health effects, including severe vision impairment and joint problems. As someone who has Graves's disease, I wish that I had been aware of the early warning signs and had been diagnosed and treated much sooner than I was.
    Thyroid disease knows no age, so I encourage all Canadians to visit thyroid.ca to learn about the early warning signs and symptoms of thyroid disease, and see a doctor immediately for a diagnosis if they have any doubts.

Ontario Provincial Election

    Mr. Speaker, last night, the people of Ontario made a choice for change.

[Translation]

    On behalf of the Government of Canada, I congratulate the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario and the premier designate, Mr. Ford, on their election.

[English]

    I rise today in the House as well to thank all the candidates of every party who had the courage and conviction to put their names forward on the ballot, and the volunteers who took time out of their busy lives to knock on doors, make calls and get engaged in the political process. This was truly a Canadian election. I thank their families, friends and communities for being involved in our democracy as well.

[Translation]

    I also want to thank the outgoing premier and MPPs for their years of tireless, dedicated service to the people of Ontario.

[English]

World Oceans Day

    Mr. Speaker, today is World Oceans Day. Oceans regulate our climate, produce half the oxygen we breathe, fuel the water cycle, and provide nourishment for nearly three billion people, and yet our oceans are increasingly under threat from rising temperatures, acidification, and pollution.
    In this regard, I am very proud of two institutions at the University of Victoria that are making a real difference. Ocean Networks Canada monitors all three of Canada's oceans and provides vital data for scientific research, and the Environmental Law Centre at the University of Victoria has recently made superb recommendations on how to tackle plastics in our oceans.
    My community of Victoria is surrounded by oceans on three sides. It is deeply concerned about the risk of a devastating bitumen spill that might result from Kinder Morgan's pipeline and tanker project, which the Liberals just purchased with our tax dollars.
    Canada's coastline is the longest in the world. Today especially, on World Oceans Day, let us commit to protecting it and Canada's oceans.

  (1115)  

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, with blue skies over Ontario and Premier Ford's commitment to get rid of the carbon tax, in addition to the other provinces that oppose this tax, in addition to the fact there is no carbon tax on our U.S. competition, the Prime Minister had better take all of this as a big wake-up call. Polls show that seven out of 10 Canadians think the carbon tax is just a government money grab, which it is, but even B.C., which has had a carbon tax for years, has not seen a real reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
    The environment minister cannot say how much benefit her carbon tax will bring or tell Canadians how much the carbon tax is going to cost the average Canadian household—this from a government that promised openness and transparency. Well, last night Canadians spoke out in Ontario against a carbon tax, and when Jason Kenney becomes the Premier of Alberta, it will mean that just a third of the country will be living in a jurisdiction with a punishing carbon tax.
    Things are definitely looking up for Canadians and for businesses.

[Translation]

G7 Summit

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to rise in the House today to mark the beginning of the G7 summit.
    As a Quebecker, I am very proud that our beautiful province, and the magnificent Charlevoix region in particular, is able to welcome world leaders for this historic event.
    We know how pleased Charlevoix residents are to show the entire world the beauty of their region, which is a great source of pride for them and the entire country.

[English]

    Just recently, our Prime Minister visited La Malbaie, where he had a positive meeting with local communities and local leaders to discuss this exciting opportunity. On behalf of our government and all Canadians, I would like to sincerely thank all of the people of Charlevoix for their warm welcome and hospitality.

[Translation]

    Thank you and happy G7 summit.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[English]

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, today we have the prospect and the future of a government in Ontario that is for the people. The people have voted for lower taxes. The people have voted for balanced budgets. The people have voted to open Ontario for business and the people have voted against the Prime Minister's carbon tax.
    Will the Prime Minister accept the verdict of the people and cancel his carbon tax plan to raise the price of everything?
    Mr. Speaker, I would also like to start by congratulating all of those who put their names forward as candidates in the election that occurred last night.
    The impact of climate change does not stop with a change in government, and Canadians expect us to take serious action to address climate change and to grow our economy. That is why we are accelerating the phase-out of coal, making historic investments in cleaner infrastructure, and putting in place a price on carbon pollution to grow the economy in cleaner ways. The science is clear that climate change is real, and we will continue to deliver on what Canadians and Ontarians expect.
    Mr. Speaker, Kathleen Wynne was the Prime Minister's Liberal soulmate. They agreed on absolutely everything. They both raised taxes. They both ran massive deficits. They both wrap our entrepreneurs in red tape, and they both dance to Gerald Butts' tune. The agenda of high taxes and big government, of carbon taxes on working people, has been rejected by Ontarians.
    Will the Prime Minister take that message?
    Mr. Speaker, our government was elected on a platform of investing in Canadians to grow our economy and to work to protect the environment. Our plan is working.
     We have successfully developed the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change, a historic agreement to address climate change with the provinces and territories. Since we formed government, the Canadian economy has created over 60% more full-time jobs than the Harper Conservatives did over the same time period. Last month, Canada saw its strongest wage growth, year over year, since 2009.
    Our government will continue to invest in Canadians as we continue to grow the middle class and support those working hard to join it.
    Mr. Speaker, we asked about the Liberal plan to raise the price of gas by at least 11 cents a litre. They said, “That's okay. Kathleen Wynne agrees with us.” We said the carbon tax would raise the cost of home heating for the average family. They said, “That's okay. Kathleen Wynne is onside with our plan.” When we said that the carbon tax would make groceries more expensive for the average Canadian family, they said, “But we've got Kathleen Wynne in our corner.”
    Now, Kathleen Wynne has been rejected by the people of Ontario, who have delivered a verdict for the people. Will the government take that message?

  (1120)  

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians know that climate change is real and they expect us to take strong action. That is exactly what we are doing. We have taken action. We are accelerating the phase-out of traditional coal power. We are making historic investments in clean infrastructure like public transit, and we are putting in place a price on carbon pollution to grow the economy in cleaner ways. I certainly wish for the sake of our children and grandchildren that the Conservatives were not making climate change a partisan argument.
    We will continue to take practical cost-effective measures to tackle climate change and grow a clean growth economy, because that is what Canadians expect, and that is what our children expect.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, Kathleen Wynne, a buddy of the current Prime Minister of Canada, was right. The Liberal Party lost yesterday.
    Yesterday, Ontarians clearly said that they wanted a Progressive Conservative government that would abolish the Liberal carbon tax that the current government wants to impose.
    Does the government still plan on imposing the Liberal carbon tax against the wishes of the people?
    Mr. Speaker, a new government does not mean we will stop feeling the impact of climate change. Canadians expect us to combat climate change, and we are taking serious action to improve our economy. That is why we are accelerating the phase-out of coal, investing in green infrastructure, and putting a price on pollution as an environmentally sound way to grow our economy. The science is clear: climate change is real.
    We will continue to do what Canadians and Ontarians expect of us.
    Mr. Speaker, I want the government to take note: greenhouse gas emissions were reduced by 2.2% in Canada without the Liberal carbon tax. Yesterday, the people of Ontario sent a very clear message: they want nothing to do with this tax.
    If the Liberal government is prepared to move forward and disregard the will of the people, would it at least have the decency to tell Canadians the truth? How much is the Liberal carbon tax going to cost Canadian families?
    Mr. Speaker, as I said, our government was elected on a platform that included investing in Canadians to grow our economy and protect our environment. Our plan is working. Since we took office, the Canadian economy has created more than 60% more full-time jobs than the Harper Conservatives in the same time frame. Last month, Canada recorded its largest year-over-year salary increase since 2009. Our government will continue to invest in Canadians in order to grow the middle class—

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, it seems that taking $4.5 billion out of Canadians' pockets to buy a pipeline is in the national interest. As Grand Chief Patrick Madahbee of the Anishinabek Nation said, if the government is willing to take out its chequebook for something that will not contribute to a sustainable future, then it should also be prepared to sign a big cheque for women's rights, the health care system, indigenous people's rights, and child welfare.
    What are the Liberals' real priorities?
    Mr. Speaker, our government came to an agreement with Kinder Morgan to ensure that the pipeline is built. During the construction season we are securing more than 15,000 jobs, including 9,000 jobs in British Columbia. What is more, that investment is a good value for Canadians. We can enter into this project with confidence knowing that we are honouring the trust that Canadians placed in our ability to grow the economy while protecting our environment at the same time.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians did not vote to buy a pipeline.
    Yesterday, the grand council chief of the Anishinabek nation called the Liberals' decision to spend $4.5 billion on a leaky 65-year-old pipeline “very foolish”. He asked, “why is the government paying an international company when there are many needs in this country?” It is a good question. Think about how many communities across Canada, particularly indigenous ones, could benefit from that level of investment.
    If the Liberals were to invest these billions of dollars in clean energy, would we create more or fewer jobs than this pipeline? Have they even thought—

  (1125)  

    The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources.
    Mr. Speaker, the NDP cannot seem to decide if it is a party that supports responsible resource development or if it is still the party of the Leap Manifesto.
    Let us be clear. The NDP will not support any project, even to the point of having its MPS disrespect the rule of law. The member opposite fails to acknowledge that there are several indigenous communities along the route that support this project. Could he please tell the House, are their interests also not important?
    This project was subject to the most exhaustive consultation in the history of pipelines in Canada. I wonder if the member opposite has bothered to consult the dozens of first nation communities that stand to benefit from this project moving forward.

Employment

    Divide and conquer, Mr. Speaker.
    Speaking of jobs, tens of thousands of Canadian jobs are under attack by the actions of President Trump. Millions of Canadians are worried about how a trade war will impact their families and their communities. No one can predict what President Trump will do next. Will the government focus on protecting workers here at home?
    Can the government tell us exactly when meetings will take place with labour and industry to determine precisely how we can support our Canadian workers?
    Mr. Speaker, we have committed to supporting our aluminum and steel industries that have been negatively affected by this, frankly, illegal and absurd tariff. We will continue to do so. We are in meetings with those industries.
     We continue to support innovation and steel-related research. We have recently invested $60 million in Rio Tinto and Alcoa in the Saguenay region to make greener and cleaner aluminum.
    We will continue to support those industries moving forward and will continue to support those industries in the face of—

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot.

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister told farmers yesterday that he will not sign NAFTA without supply management.
    Here is the response from farmers in Saguenay:
    We would have liked to hear him add “in its entirety”. For 20 years now, governments have been opening up the Canadian market a little bit more with each negotiation.
    The government seems incapable of saying “in its entirety”. The Prime Minister prefers to talk about “flexibility”. On Twitter this morning, President Trump took direct aim at supply management.
    What is this government going to do to protect supply management from these unfair American attacks?
    Mr. Speaker, our government strongly supports the supply management system and is committed to maintaining it.
    The Prime Minister, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, our entire cabinet, all 41 MPs from Quebec, and Canada's trade negotiators have been very clear and unequivocal on this since the NAFTA talks began. It was a Liberal government that created supply management. We will continue to defend it and protect it, and all interests of farm families.

[English]

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday Ontarians ended 15 years of Liberal wasteful spending and over-taxation by electing a Conservative majority government in a clear mandate to lower taxes and fight the Liberals' tax grab that they call a carbon tax. The people of Ontario have spoken loud and clear, but will the Prime Minister start listening to Canadians and stop forcing his carbon tax on everyday Canadians, or will he, at the very least, tell them how much it will cost?
    Mr. Speaker, the four provinces that price carbon pollution in Canada are B.C., Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec, which led the country in growth last year.
    The environment and the economy go together. British Columbia put a price on carbon pollution more than a decade ago, and since 2008, British Columbia's direct price on carbon has reduced emissions between 5% and 15%, according to the experts at the University of Ottawa and Duke University, while provincial GDP grew more than 17% during that period. It shows that the price on carbon pollution is part of an overall plan to address climate change. It will create economic—

  (1130)  

    The hon. member for Barrie—Innisfil.
    He might want to change his talking points, Mr. Speaker.
    The Prime Minister and Kathleen Wynne were political BFFs who share the same rigid ideology. Last night, voters in Ontario sent a clear message that they have had enough of Liberal taxes, scandal, entitlement, debt and deficits, and Liberal corruption. In fact, the same backroom operatives who ran Ontario into the ground are the same ones running the Prime Minister's Office. The people of Ontario rejected the failed policies developed by Gerald Butts. Will the Prime Minister listen to the people of Ontario, and not Gerald Butts, and scrap this carbon tax?
    Mr. Speaker, as long as we are talking about taxes, let us get the facts straight. Our government has cut taxes for nine million middle-class Canadians, while raising them on the richest 1%. We have also helped hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty with our Canada child benefit that benefits nine out of 10 Canadian families. We have a plan, it is the right plan, and that plan is working.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by welcoming my MPP, Jeff Yurek, on his re-election. It is fantastic.
    Last night, we saw the people of Elgin—Middlesex—London send a clear message by rejecting this carbon tax. The Liberals have lost over half of their so-called provincial support for the carbon tax. The environment minister has to realize that people are not buying in to these talking points. Ontario will join Saskatchewan, and soon we will see Alberta opposing these job-killing carbon taxes. Now that Ontario has spoken loud and clear, when will the Prime Minister scrap his carbon tax?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians know we can fight climate change and grow the economy at the same time. As many of Canada's largest employers have pointed out, putting a price on carbon pollution is just good business. It is already helping to build a clean-growth economy and to make Canadian businesses more innovative and more competitive, businesses like New Flyer, which makes zero-emissions buses in Winnipeg, and Landmark Homes, which makes energy-efficient homes for Edmonton families. They know that pricing pollution encourages innovation and will bring good, new middle-class jobs for Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, there are blue skies over Sarnia—Lambton today and blue skies over Ontario, thanks to a Conservative majority. This province has spoken out against the carbon tax, with multiple provinces in agreement. The carbon tax will hurt Canadians, hurt our businesses, and do nothing for the planet. Will the Prime Minister abandon this ill-conceived plan or be transparent enough to let Canadians know how much he will force us to pay?
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives do not have a plan to address climate change. They do not even seem to believe that climate change is real or that it is a problem, and they are missing the boat on the enormous opportunities that will be enabled through addressing climate change in thoughtful and substantive ways. The World Bank has indicated that the Paris Agreement will create $23 trillion in economic opportunities going forward.
    When the Conservatives were in power, Canada's share of the global clean-tech market shrunk by half. It was a function of the fact that they did nothing to address climate change. This government is going to grow the economy and address climate change at the same time.
    Mr. Speaker, Ontario voters have spoken clearly: they do not want a carbon tax. Now it is time for the Prime Minister to stop forcing his punishing carbon tax on middle-class Canadian families. Farmers in Kitchener—Conestoga are especially concerned about this unfair tax, which would increase their costs for tractor fuel, fertilizer, and transportation of feed and farm products.
    Will the Prime Minister finally stop forcing and using his heavy-handed taxes, which are only needed because of his out-of-control spending?
    Mr. Speaker, a comprehensive approach to addressing climate change includes regulatory measures like phasing out coal and reducing methane emissions and includes investments in clean technology and green infrastructure. It also includes a price on carbon. A recent study released showed that by 2030, a price on carbon will reduce 80 to 90 megatonnes of carbon emissions while stimulating economic growth going forward.
    The Conservatives have not told us how they will actually address climate change, because many of them over there do not even believe in climate science. It is time for us to hear from the opposition about how they will actually put together a plan to address climate change.
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the voters of Ontario sent a clear message to this Prime Minister: they do not want his carbon tax. Last year, Saskatchewan rejected the Liberal carbon tax, and next year, when Alberta elects Jason Kenney as premier, Albertans will reject this terrible tax. The Prime Minister has to stop forcing his carbon tax on Canadian families.
    When will the Prime Minister listen to Canadians and abandon his terrible carbon tax?

  (1135)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Party likes to repeat the question over and over again, and I will repeat a similar answer, which is that a thoughtful approach to addressing climate change includes measures that are regulatory measures. It includes making significant investments, and it includes putting a price on pollution to incent efficiency, to grow the economy, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
     We have a comprehensive plan. Canadians want us to address climate change in a thoughtful way. They want us to ensure that we are protecting the future for our children and our grandchildren. That is exactly what we are going to do. The question they have for the Leader of the Opposition is, where is his climate plan?

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, today is World Oceans Day, and Canadians are concerned about the health of our coastal waters. Instead of investing in clean, renewable energy, the Liberals have just spent $4.5 billion, our dollars, on an outdated pipeline that threatens our waterways, while doing nothing to address the catastrophic consequences of a bitumen spill.
    When it comes to an oil spill, the question is not if, but when, so why is the government forcing this pipeline through, when it has no way of protecting our waters?
    Mr. Speaker, members of the NDP indeed applauded Premier Notley's plan to protect the environment, but it seems they forgot what that plan contained. Let me remind them: a cap on oil sands emissions, a price on pollution, a pipeline to get resources to markets other than the United States. That is what real leadership on climate change looks like, and that is why we are putting a price on pollution, phasing out coal, and investing in clean technologies. Progressive leaders like Premier Notley get it, and it is unfortunate that the federal NDP disagrees with her.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister struts about the international stage bragging about how he is a champion of the environment. Lucky for him not everyone reads Canadian newspapers, because then they would realize that, instead of walking the talk, he took $4.5 billion in taxpayers' money and bought a pipeline.
    The Liberals promised to be champions of renewable energy. Why are they breaking their promise? Why invest in yesterday's energy sources rather than in the energy sources of the future?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for the question, which allows me to talk about some of the work we are doing around protecting our environment and growing the economy, including a $1.5-billion oceans protection plan. It is simply not the case that we believe that one cannot be done with the other. That is why, in addition to putting a price on pollution, we have a climate change policy that addresses all the opportunities within the clean-tech sector, whether that is in nuclear, whether that is in bioenergy, or whether that is in oil and gas.

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, whether the Prime Minister and his environment minister want to accept it or not, last night Ontarians overwhelmingly rejected their carbon tax. My home province of Saskatchewan welcomes a new ally in the fight against this Liberal tax grab.
    Will the Prime Minister learn from the lesson that has befallen his friend, the former premier, Kathleen Wynne, and finally stop forcing his carbon tax on middle-class Canadians all across this country?
    Mr. Speaker, as I have said, Canadians know that we can fight climate change and grow our economy at the same time.
    Many of Canada's largest employers have endorsed the concept of a price on carbon pollution. It is already helping to build a clean-growth economy for Canada. Companies like CarbonCure in Nova Scotia, companies like Hydrogenics in Toronto, and companies like General Fusion and Carbon Engineering in British Columbia are companies that are part of the way of clean growth that will enable Canada to ensure that economic growth continues going forward while we meet our international obligations to address climate change.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a beautiful, sunny day in Canada today. Why? It is because last night, Ontarians made the right choice for a new beginning in their province. Our Conservative Saskatchewan members of Parliament welcome the new Ontario Progressive Conservative government as an ally with our premier and the wonderful people of Saskatchewan in rejecting the Liberal government's carbon tax.
    Will the Prime Minister now, finally, listen to middle-class families and scrap his carbon tax?

  (1140)  

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians want their government to address the climate issue in thoughtful ways. They want to ensure that we are addressing and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with our international commitments, and they want us to do that in ways that ensure that we grow an economy that will ensure prosperity for Canadians in the future.
    That is what the pan-Canadian framework is about that we negotiated with the provinces and territories. It is a comprehensive approach that will drive growth going forward and will allow us to address climate change.
    I just want to remind the hon. members of the rules again. I know we have heard them before, but when somebody is speaking, it is not polite, and it is against the rules, to actually shout at them. I would like to hear what the hon. question is and what the hon. answer is.
    Mr. Speaker, last night, Ontarians rejected the Liberal carbon tax in their election of a Progressive Conservative government. They will join my province of Saskatchewan, and soon, Alberta, in rejecting the Liberals and their carbon tax. We in Saskatchewan know this plight all too well. We welcome our new ally in the fight against the Prime Minister's job-killing carbon tax.
    When will the Prime Minister stop his attack on middle-class families and axe his carbon tax?
    Mr. Speaker, as I have said on a number of occasions, Canadians expect their government to address climate change in thoughtful and substantive ways. That means ensuring that we have a comprehensive plan, one that addresses regulatory issues, such as accelerating the phase-out of coal, reducing methane emissions, making major investments in green infrastructure, and investments to stimulate the growth of clean technology in this country. It also includes putting a price on pollution to ensure that we are trying to address what we do not want and accelerating the innovation that we do. We are focused on ensuring a balanced approach that will drive economic growth going forward but will also enable us to reduce greenhouse—
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday voters in Ontario made it clear that they are fed up with rising taxes, including the Liberals' carbon tax. We also can be sure that Alberta will send the same message next year, when voters elect Jason Kenney premier.
     When will this Prime Minister start listening and stop forcing his unaffordable, job-killing carbon tax on hard-working middle-class Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, climate change is real. Climate change requires that we actually come up with thoughtful and substantive ways to address the issue. It involves thinking about the economy of the future and driving innovation. It looks at the key measures and the most significant and cost-effective measures to actually reduce that. One of those is putting a price on carbon pollution.
    I know that on that side of the House, members were not in favour of learning based on data and science over the past 10 years when they were in government, but a price on carbon pollution has been demonstrated internationally as one of the most effective and low-cost ways to address the carbon issue.

Marijuana

    Mr. Speaker, today is June 8, only three short weeks away from the Liberals' declared July 1 deadline for cannabis legalization. Talk about a plan going up in smoke. Now we have a slew of amendments to the Liberals' bill from the unelected Senate that this House will now need to deal with.
    After three years of waiting, Canadians want legalization, clarity, and reasonable rules for everyone. What is the government's plan to deal with these amendments so that Canadians get what they deserve, a fair and timely cannabis law?
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question with respect to Bill C-45, the cannabis legislation that we are moving forward. I would like to thank the members in the other House for the thoughtful and considered amendments they have put forward.
    I am anticipating that we will receive a message in this House. We will carefully consider the amendments that the other House has put forward as we move toward a comprehensive legalized framework and strict regulation of cannabis.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, once the cannabis is put to a vote in the Senate, it will be sent back to the House with nearly four dozen amendments. Each of them will cause additional delays, and the Liberals may have to postpone the coming into force of the bill to legalize cannabis.
    Meanwhile, thousands of Canadians continue to face criminal charges, particularly people who are already marginalized.
    Why are the Liberals turning their backs on Canadian citizens? They need to decriminalize marijuana right away.

  (1145)  

    Mr. Speaker, the current approach to cannabis is not working. It allows criminals to profit and has not managed to keep cannabis out of the hands of our children. However, our government is legalizing, regulating, and strictly controlling access to cannabis, and we are pleased that Bill C-41 was passed by the Senate.
    We thank senators for their work. Our government will carefully examine the amendments they made.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, on April 22, we celebrated Earth Day. That day, Canada joined the international community in focusing on the importance of protecting the environment.
    Cleanup activities took place across the country. Vast quantities of discarded single-use plastics represent a huge waste of energy and resources and are threatening our marine species.
    Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change tell the House about what the government has been doing lately to tackle plastic waste and marine litter?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by thanking my colleague, the member for Pontiac, for his question and his hard work.
    Our government is committed to protecting our environment and preserving our waterways so that all Canadians can continue to benefit from them. That is why Canada will be taking steps during its G7 presidency this year and in the coming years to prevent plastics from ending up in our oceans, our waterways, and our landfills.

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, dairy farmers cannot trust the Prime Minister anymore. RealAgriculture just reported that U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has confirmed the Prime Minister's hypocrisy.

[English]

    “Canada made dairy offer”, he said.

[Translation]

    The Prime Minister was dishonest yesterday with Saguenay's dairy farmers.
    Why did he hide from them the fact that Canada has already made concessions? Could the Prime Minister and his ministers tell us the truth for once? What concessions have they made to the Americans?
    Mr. Speaker, our government supports the supply management system, and we support farmers and their families. It was our party that fought to establish the system, and we are still protecting and defending it. We have always said that it is an excellent system.
    Do the Harper Conservatives want us to sign just any deal? This government will only sign a deal that is good for all Canadians. We will continue to support supply-managed farmers, their families, and all of our agricultural interests.
    Mr. Speaker, they are so good at playing word games.
    I have a question. Which Prime Minister are we supposed to believe: the one who said no in Chicoutimi or the one who said yes to the United States? Producer Michel Frigon was right to be extremely disappointed with the Prime Minister's visit to Saguenay yesterday. The news always comes from the United States. Canada made an offer to the Americans. This was confirmed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.
    Once again, what was the offer? Why lie to Canada's milk producers?
    Mr. Speaker, our government supports the supply management system, farmers, and their families. This system is a model of stability around the world. Our party fought to implement this system, and we will continue to protect and defend it.
    We have said many times that the proposals from our American partners about supply management are unacceptable. We will continue to protect supply-managed producers, their families, and all agricultural interests.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, as a result of the Prime Minister's tweets, our country has become a destination for illegal migrants.
    Today, our leader is there to observe the scope of the situation. From January to April of this year alone, 9,615 people entered Quebec illegally, and our customs officers are expecting up to 400 illegal entries a day this summer. Just imagine. It is scandalous.
    Why did the Prime Minister refuse to put the issue of illegal immigrants on the G7 agenda?
    Mr. Speaker, I am certain that the Leader of the Opposition's visit to Lacolle will be very interesting.
    The Leader of the Opposition will probably inform our partners that the former Conservative government slashed $390 million from the interim health program that it cut, a decision that was deemed cruel and unfair by the courts, and left a huge backlog at the Immigration and Refugee Board, and that the Conservatives are going to build a 9,000-kilometre-long official border crossing.
    If I were an immigration officer or a border services officer, I would refuse to attend and send the Leader of the Opposition packing.

  (1150)  

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, that is a pretty typical reaction from the parliamentary secretary.
    A month ago, I asked the Minister of Public Safety how much the lives of the correctional officers who work in Canada's prisons are worth.
    In Donnacona, there are men and women who risk their lives every day, and this government is penny-pinching. Rather than finding solutions to the Phoenix pay system, the Liberals are cutting prisons' internal fire brigades.
    Will this Liberal government take action, protect our workers, and pay public servants properly?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we are absolutely committed to maintaining a safe and respectful work environment for all members of the public service. We are working closely with the new interim commissioner of correctional services, who is taking significant measures to ensure a safe and healthy workplace for all corrections workers in this country.

[Translation]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, repression has intensified against women defending their rights in Saudi Arabia. Many have been arrested, detained, and charged with crimes such as “suspicious contact with foreign parties“ or “undermining the security and stability of the state”. One of the detainees is a former University of British Columbia student, Loujain al-Hathloul.
    What is the government doing to ensure that all these human rights activists are released and able to work safely in Saudi Arabia?
    Mr. Speaker, this government will always stand up for human rights, including the rights of women and girls abroad.
    We are extremely disappointed in the arrests of activists in Saudi Arabia. These arrests are inconsistent with the Saudi government's commitment to creating a more tolerant and open society. The minister raised these concerns with the Saudi foreign affairs minister.
    As I said, we will always promote and stand up for the rights of women and girls here in Canada and abroad.

[English]

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government is spending $4.5 billion of taxpayer money, our money, to buy a 65-year-old leaky pipeline. Many Canadians do not realize that the pipeline runs through Jasper National Park and B.C.'s Mount Robson Provincial Park. The government claims it will prioritize ecological integrity, but environmental leaders do not ram new pipelines through national and provincial parks.
    Can the minister explain how buying and expanding a pipeline will protect the ecological integrity of Jasper National Park?
    Mr. Speaker, the Trans Mountain project, which will provide significant economic benefits to all Canadians, was approved by the federal government, by the Province of B.C., and by the Province of Alberta after a thorough review of all key environmental issues.
    The decision includes 157 conditions associated with the construction of the pipeline. It includes incorporating the emissions in the pan-Canadian framework, it includes an oceans protection plan, and it includes a range of measures to ensure that the pipeline construction is done safely and in accordance with the ecological integrity of Canada's national parks. It is a decision that was taken after a review and after addressing all of the key environmental concerns, and it is a project that is in the national interest.

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, a year ago, B.C. suffered the worst wildfires in our history. The government said it would be there for us, but it did not last much past the photo-op.
    We brought to the attention of the finance minister a very important issue around salvaged woods and their capital gains treatment, and the local government brought the same issue to him, but after six months of phone calls and letters, there was not even the courtesy of a response in terms of this issue.
    Can the finance minister stand up and tell us and the victims what he is going to in terms of at least responding to a very simple request for options?
    Mr. Speaker, Public Safety Canada is mandated to keep Canadians safe from a wide range of natural disasters, including wildfires. The Government Operations Centre, acting on behalf of the Government of Canada, provides response coordination in such events affecting national interests.
    Our government will always stand ready to help any province or territory that requests federal assistance to respond to any natural disaster, including wildland and urban interface fires.

  (1155)  

Employment

    Mr. Speaker, here is another victim of the Liberals' summer jobs attestation requirement.
    One of Nova Scotia's must-see attractions, the Bangor Sawmill Museum, has had to close its doors. This has been a staple of the community since before Confederation. The member for West Nova has been shamefully silent while the landmark and the jobs that go with it are lost.
    How can the Liberals not see the absurdity of their Orwellian policy and the impact it is having on communities across the country?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for her new-found interest in jobs for young Canadians. She should maybe talk to her seatmate, because when the member for Carleton was minister, he cut $20 million out of the youth employment strategy. Of course his boss, Stephen Harper, wanted to shut the program down completely. We will take no lessons from the Conservatives about what to do for young Canadians.
     In Nova Scotia, we have over 3,000 young students who will benefit from the investment made by this government, which is twice as much as the Conservatives made.
    Mr. Speaker, on Wednesday, the Prime Minister stood in the House and bragged about killing jobs in Alberta by cancelling oil and gas exploration tax credits. Thousands of Albertans rely on jobs in our oil and gas industry.
    Can the Minister of Infrastructure stand and tell us if he and the member for Edmonton Centre support this job-killing decision?
    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to stand on this side of the House and support Albertans and the jobs that we are creating in Alberta.
    I will underline what we have done for Alberta.
    Working with our Alberta partners, we have improved transit, roads, bridges, and water systems all over Alberta. We have approved 150 projects worth $1.7 billion in federal funding and $3.9 billion in total funding.
    I, with the Minister of Infrastructure, am quite proud to stand on this side of the House. We have done more in three years than several dozen MPs from Alberta did in 10 years for Alberta, and we will do it again when we get re-elected.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, the oceans protection plan is an important priority for our government as well as for the people in my riding of Bonavista—Burin—Trinity—
    Order. One moment. I am trying to hear the hon. member for Bonavista—Burin—Trinity and I am having a hard time, although he is not far from me. I would ask everybody to listen to his question. I am sure it is a good one.
    Mr. Speaker, the oceans protection plan is an important priority for our government as well as for the people in my riding of Bonavista—Burin—Trinity.
    We know that we must do everything we can to ensure that our waterways and coasts are protected and preserved for generations to come.
    Can the parliamentary secretary share with this House the details of new initiatives taken to help the Canadian Coast Guard in contributing to protection and strengthening marine safety across the region?
    Mr. Speaker, on this World Oceans Day, I want to thank the member for Bonavista—Burin—Trinity for his advocacy on this issue and his work on the fisheries committee.
     Last month we announced the official reopening of the Canadian Coast Guard maritime rescue sub-centre in St. John's. The centre coordinates the Coast Guard's on-the-water response to marine incidents in the area and provides an essential link for mariners operating in the unique and challenging conditions often experienced off the coastlines of Newfoundland and Labrador.
    The centre will have a staff of 12 maritime search and rescue coordinators, and reopening it demonstrates our continued commitment to the Canadian Coast Guard and our coastal communities.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, Iran's Khamenei regime regularly uses terror groups, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, to destabilize the Middle East and target Israel, our closest ally and the only stable democracy in the region. This week, Iran's so-called supreme leader tweeted, “Israel is a malignant cancerous tumor...that has to be removed and eradicated”. His ambassador to France revealed that they are funding the present violent protests in Gaza. Why do the Liberals continue to insist on normalizing relations with a country that is such an obvious threat to peace, security and democracy?
    Mr. Speaker, our government, and I believe all Canadians, are appalled by the abhorrent statement of the supreme leader Khamenei.
     Our position on Iran is clear. We oppose Iran's support for terrorist organizations. We oppose its threats toward Israel. We oppose its ballistic missile program and its support for the murderous Assad regime in Syria.
    For many years Canada has been, and continues to be, a steadfast friend of Israel, and we will continue to support Israel's right to live in peace.

  (1200)  

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, we know that residential schools were instrumental in stripping away the language and culture of indigenous peoples. This is one of the tragic legacies of the residential school system. As our government continues to work in partnership with indigenous communities on a journey toward reconciliation, can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage please update this House on the work being done to fulfill the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's call to actions 13, 14, and 15 concerning indigenous languages?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from the Bay of Quinte for his engagement on this issue. We have said many times that there is no relationship more important to our government than our relationship with indigenous peoples. We know that indigenous languages are in danger across this country. That is why we are working with Métis, Inuit, and first nations leaders to co-develop the first indigenous languages act, and why we have recently announced the next phase of our engagement on this issue. Furthermore, we have invested a historic $90 million in indigenous languages initiatives. This is an essential step in our journey toward reconciliation.

Canada Revenue Agency

    Mr. Speaker, earlier this year the courts awarded Mr. and Mrs. Samaroo of Nanaimo $1.7 million in damages for malicious prosecution by the Canada Revenue Agency. This malicious prosecution ruined this family's life and cost taxpayers nearly $3 million in damages and legal costs. The minister has refused to confirm whether or not the individuals singled out by the judge are still employed at the CRA. Is this the minister's idea of being more client-focused at the Canada Revenue Agency?
    Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to ensuring that the agency treats Canadians as valued clients and not simply as taxpayers. The confidence and trust that individuals have in the agency is the cornerstone of our tax system. The agency's employees involved in audits follow rigorous training. Behaviours that diverge from their code of conduct are not tolerated.
    I would remind my hon. colleague that this case dates to 2008, under the previous Conservative government. As this matter is before the court, it would be inappropriate for me to comment any further.

[Translation]

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday in La Baie, 150 dairy producers asked the Prime Minister to protect supply management in its entirety during NAFTA negotiations. While campaigning in Lac-Saint-Jean, he promised those same producers that he would not open up supply management in the TPP, yet three months later, he did exactly that.
    The dairy producers were not interested in his lines. They made it clear that they want zero concessions. The Prime Minister told them that he understands the challenges their region is facing. You know things are looking grim when a politician says that.
    Will the government protect supply management in its entirety? This is pretty straightforward. Will the government protect it in its entirety, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, we are the ones who created supply management, and we will always protect it.
     Who wants to end supply management? The member for Beauce; his leader, who appointed him economic development critic; the member for Lévis—Lotbinière, co-chair of the member for Beauce's leadership bid; and several other Conservative members.
    Over here, all the Quebec Liberal MPs support supply management.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, the G7 summit brings together the world's most powerful leaders, but such gatherings often lead to property damage, leaving locals out of pocket. Whether in Quebec City or Pointe-au-Pic, it is municipalities, businesses, and residents who will have to pick up the tab.
    I am worried about the tourism industry, which is a pillar of the economy in the Capitale-Nationale region, especially in Charlevoix. I am worried about business owners, whose profits will take a hit or whose windows will get smashed. I am worried about seasonal workers, who are stuck at home, unable to get to work, even though the warm weather is back.
    The extravagance of the G7 stands in stark contrast to the austerity on the other side of the fence.
    Will the government promise to fully compensate anyone who is negatively affected?
    Mr. Speaker, all the members of the government are proud to be hosting world leaders in the beautiful region of Charlevoix for the G7 summit, which is taking place today and tomorrow. The Prime Minister has met with local officials, mayors, and businesses that could be affected by the summit.
    We know that the people of Charlevoix are equally proud to be hosting the world. I can inform my colleague that the compensation policies for affected local businesses are the same as when the Conservatives hosted the event—

  (1205)  

    Order. The hon. member for Manicouagan.

Marine Transportation

    Mr. Speaker, the only contact the people of La Romaine and Unamen Shipu on the north shore have with the rest of the continent is the ship Bella Desgagnés.
    The government has known for years that the wharf in La Romaine is in a critical state, so critical that the ship was able to unload only a quarter of its cargo yesterday, cargo that was primarily perishable goods. Tomorrow it might not even be able to dock.
    Time is of the essence, and the safety and security of the people of La Romaine and Unamen Shipu are at stake.
    Will the Minister of Transport act quickly? What does he plan to do for the people of the Lower North Shore?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.
    The residents of La Romaine on the Lower North Shore are our priority. The minister's office has reached out to the local representative, and we remain in contact with Relais Nordik on this file.
    We will ensure that the necessary work is completed as quickly as possible to fix this situation.

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Certificates of Nomination

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 111.1, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the certificate of nomination with biographical notes for the proposed appointment of Heather P. Lank as parliamentary librarian.
    I request that this certificate of nomination and biographical notes be referred to the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament.

Export of Military Goods from Canada

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 2017 Report on Exports of Military Goods from Canada, and the 2017 Annual Report to Parliament on the Administration of the Export and Import Permits Act.

[Translation]

Export Development Canada

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the Canada Account Annual Report, 2016-17, prepared by Export Development Canada.

Interparliamentary Delegations

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, two reports from the delegation of the Canadian Branch of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie. The first report is respecting its participation at the Bureau Meeting and the 43rd Ordinary Session of the APF, held in Luxembourg, Luxembourg, from July 6 to 11, and the second is respecting its participation at the Bureau Meeting of the APF, held in Paris, France, from January 31 to February 2.

[English]

Committees of the House

Veterans Affairs 

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the tenth report of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs entitled “Main Estimates 2018-19: Votes 1 and 5 under Department of Veterans Affairs, and Vote 1 under Veterans Review and Appeal Board”.

Public Accounts  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 48th report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts entitled “Special Examination Report—National Capital Commission, of the 2017 Fall Reports of the Auditor General of Canada”.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
    I also have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 49th report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts entitled “Special Examination Report—Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, of the 2017 Fall Reports of the Auditor General of Canada”.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.

  (1210)  

[Translation]

Justice and Human Rights  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 21st report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights entitled “Main Estimates 2018-19”.

Foreign Affairs and International Development  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 18th report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development entitled “Main Estimates 2018-19: Votes 1, 5, 10, 15, 20 and L25 under Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, Vote 1 under International Development Research Centre, Vote 1 under International Joint Commission (Canadian Section)”.

[English]

Environment and Sustainable Development  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 16th report of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development entitled “Main Estimates 2018-19: Vote 1 under Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, Votes 1, 5 and 10 under Department of the Environment and Votes 1 and 5 under Parks Canada Agency”.

Main Estimates 2018-19

    The following motion in the name of the hon. Leader of the Opposition was put on the Order Paper:
    That pursuant to Standing Order 81(4)(b), consideration by the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates of all Votes under Treasury Board Secretariat in the Main Estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019, be extended beyond June 10, 2018.

     (Motion agreed to)

  (1215)  

Chief Electoral Officer

     That, pursuant to Standing Order 111.1(2) and in accordance with section 13 of the Canada Elections Act, S.C. 2000, c. 9, the House appoint Mr. Stéphane Perrault as Chief Electoral Officer for a term of ten years.
     Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: On division.

    (Motion agreed to)

Petitions

Firearms  

    Mr. Speaker, law-abiding firearms owners have sent me a petition. They are tired of being treated as criminals and being targeted unfairly by government laws. We all know that criminals and gang members do not obey the already strict requirements that legal firearms owners face. The long-gun registry will do nothing to help solve the problem of gun and gang violence in Canada.
    Therefore, I am tabling this petition today, signed by hundreds of firearms owners in our communities and calling on the government to take action to target gang violence and to stop attacking law-abiding firearms owners, sport shooters, hunters, and farmers.

Taxation  

    Mr. Speaker, while I have the floor, I do have one other petition from small businesses, which are the backbone of our Canadian economy. Businesses provide opportunities for jobs, sponsor our local sports teams, and support our charities. These are all businesses that are doing some great things in our communities, and they deserve to have the support from the government and have an environment where they can thrive and have fewer government obstacles in their way.
    Therefore, I table this petition calling on the government to respect all small businesses, to recognize that no small business, such as campgrounds, can be too small to be a small business, and to ensure that all small businesses are treated in the same way.

Children's Welfare  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour today to present a petition signed by Canadians who are calling on the Government of Canada to ensure that all children in Canada have a good start in life by addressing social and economic inequality. The petitioners are calling on the Government of Canada to put children's best interests on the public agenda.

Catalonia  

    Mr. Speaker, I am rising today to present a petition signed by citizens from British Columbia regarding the events that occurred in Catalonia last fall and that continue to the present. They point out that the right to self-determination is a cardinal principle under the UN charter of human rights, and they ask the government to, among other things, condemn the violent police attacks on peaceful civilians exercising their right to vote during the October referendum, express its concern about the imprisonment of democratically elected representatives, advocate that a political solution is needed—and that would involve discussion among the parties—and support the will of the Catalonian people and their right to democratically decide their relationship with Spain.

Canada Summer Jobs Program  

    Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from a number of residents from the Waterloo region. They point out that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms identifies, among other things, freedom of conscience, freedom of thought, and freedom of belief as fundamental freedoms. They are calling out the Liberal government on its proposed attestation requirement for the Canada summer jobs program, under which applicants would be compelled to hold the same views as the government, which would contravene the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
    Therefore, they are calling on the Prime Minister to defend the freedom of conscience, thought, and belief and withdraw the attestation requirement for applicants to the Canada summer jobs program.

Status of Women  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present two petitions.
    The first is signed by folks in Prince Edward Island on the occasion of the G7 summit coming up here in Quebec. The petitioners are calling on the Government of Canada to invest in women in the poorest countries and they are calling on Canada to commit to a bold initiative at the G7 summit that enables at least 100 million women to learn, work, and increase their independence.

  (1220)  

Canadian Heritage  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition is signed by 25 Prince Edward Islanders, who point out the record of General Jeffery Amherst in the 1700s, whose ultimate goal was to exterminate all indigenous peoples. The petitioners feel that the consultations that were taken in connection with the removal of General Amherst's name from a historic national site in Prince Edward Island were inadequate, and they are calling on the Government of Canada to remove the name Fort Amherst from the national historic site of Canada located near Rocky Point, Prince Edward Island.

Canada Summer Jobs Program  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to present a petition from my constituents who believe the current Liberal government's proposed attestation for the Canada summer jobs program, requiring applicants to hold the same views as the government, contravenes the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They are calling on the Prime Minister to defend the freedoms of conscience, thought, and belief and to withdraw the attestation.

Questions on the Order Paper

    Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 1672, 1675, 1678, 1681, 1683, and 1684.

[Text]

Question No. 1672--
Mr.Tom Kmiec:
     With regard to the Canada Infrastructure Bank: how many full-time equivalents were working at the bank as of April 18, 2018, in total and broken down by job title?
Hon. Amarjeet Sohi (Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to the Canada Infrastructure Bank, the CIB, as of April 18, 2018, there were approximately 17 personnel, of which four were full-time equivalents consisting of employees and contract workers, while approximately 13 were contractors and consultants. These are broken down by job title as follows: one interim chief investment officer, one office manager, one executive assistant, one administrative assistant, and 13 contractors and consultants with variable time commitments whose duties included legal services, media relations support, corporate governance and corporate planning, IT services, compensation, recruitment, and management.
    The CIB also continues to be supported by a secretariat at Infrastructure Canada.
Question No. 1675--
Mr. Garnett Genuis:
    With regard to the purchase of shares by the government in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), in the amount of US $199 million (approximately CAD $256 million) over five years: (a) what is the government’s anticipated rate of return on this investment; (b) what specific projects will the taxpayers’ dollars finance with this investment; and (c) what reassurances from the AIIB has the government received to ensure that Canadian tax dollars are only used for projects that have the highest environmental and labour standards?
Mr. Joël Lightbound (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, Lib.):
     Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), our investments at multilateral development banks, or MDBs, serve multiple purposes, including promoting inclusive global economic growth, strengthening relations in the Asia-Pacific region, and promoting global opportunities for Canadian firms. While Canada and other shareholders typically choose to forgo dividends in order to increase the financial capacity of these institutions, the growth in retained earnings is consistent with a return that is in line with the long-term returns on investments at other MDBs and is above the Government of Canada’s cost of borrowing.
    With regard to (b), the AIIB invests in a number of infrastructure projects across Asia and non-regional members. A list of approved and proposed projects is available on the AIIB website at https:// www.aiib.org/en /projects/ approved/ index.html.
    Capital subscriptions by individual members are not targeted at specific projects but instead are used to support the entire portfolio.
    With regard to (c), the AIIB’s commitment to environmental and labour standards is laid out in the bank’s environmental and social framework. This environmental and social framework was approved by the AIIB board of directors and is considered on par with existing environmental, social, and governance policies at other MDBs. In addition, AIIB has put in place a compliance, effectiveness, and integrity, or CEI, unit, which independently reports to the board of directors.
Question No. 1678--
Mr. Kevin Waugh:
     With regard to the claim by the Minister of Infrastructure, on April 19, 2018, that there are currently approximately 20,000 infrastructure projects underway: what are the details of each project, including (i) project name, (ii) description, (iii) amount of federal contribution, (iv) date when “shovels were in the ground”, (v) expected completion date, (vi) location, (vii) riding?
Hon. Amarjeet Sohi (Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the approximately 20,000 infrastructure projects under way reported by the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities on April 19, 2018, were determined based on an aggregated implementation dataset that Infrastructure Canada collects.
    Infrastructure Canada provides Canadians with project-level details for thousands of Investing in Canada plan projects through the Investing in Canada plan project map at http://www. infrastructure.gc.ca/ gmap-gcarte/index-eng. html. The full dataset for the map in Microsoft Excel format can be found at http:// www.infrastructure.gc.ca /gmap-gcarte/ download-gmap-data- eng.html. The requested data corresponds to the following fields: “Amount allocated” can be found at column I, Federal Contribution ($), and “Project type” can be determined by examining columns C, Stream; D, Project Name; and E, Project Description. The government continues to provide data on as many projects as possible under the Investing in Canada plan through this dataset.
    The government recently published “Investing in Canada: Canada’s Long Term Infrastructure Plan”, which can be found at http:// www.infrastructure.gc.ca/ plan/about-invest-apropos -eng.html. The government releases project-level data through the Investing in Canada Plan project map and provides monthly updates through its results website, which can be found at https:// www.canada.ca/en /privy-council/campaigns/ mandate-tracker-results- canadians.html.
Question No. 1681--
Mr. Matt Jeneroux:
     With regard to the appointment process of the Chief Science Advisor: (a) how many candidates were initially considered before the final appointment of the current Chief Science Advisor; (b) how many candidates were considered in the final round of the decision making process before the appointment of the current Chief Science Advisor; (c) which departments, offices and individuals were involved in the selection process; and (d) how many candidates were suggested by BESC Ottawa Inc.?
Mr. Peter Schiefke (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Youth), Lib.):
     Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), in response to the notice of appointment opportunity for the chief science advisor, 201 applications were received and considered.
    With regard to (b), prior to the appointment of the current chief science advisor, 14 candidates were considered by the selection committee as part of the short list.
    With regard to (c), representatives from the following offices were substantively involved in the selection process: the Privy Council Office; Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada; the Office of the Minister of Science; and the Prime Minister’s Office
    With regard to (d), the involvement of Boyden Executive Search Canada Ottawa Inc., or BESC Ottawa Inc., in this selection process focused on screening applications that were received via the Governor in Council appointments website and determining candidate suitability based on the person’s application as it related to the educational, experience, and language proficiency requirements outlined in the notice of appointment opportunity. While BESC Ottawa Inc. did not suggest any candidates, following a firm-led recruitment process they identified 31 potential candidates following their review of the long list of applicants.
Question No. 1683--
Mr. Matt Jeneroux:
     With regard to the Innovation superclusters initiative (ISI): (a) what are the name of the individuals who were ultimately responsible for selecting the winning applications; and (b) what is the complete list of individuals involved in the decision making process, including the role they played in the decision making process?
Hon. Navdeep Bains (Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, ISED, was presented with recommendations that went to cabinet for final decision. The minister's recommendations, including the maximum potential contribution, were made on a balance of considerations, informed by a rigorous assessment process.
    The assessment process was administered by officials from ISED with the support of relevant federal organizations and validated by third party contractors and expert reviewers. Applications were considered against the assessment criteria outlined in the program and applicant guides. For example, assessments considered the ultimate benefit of the proposed activities to the supercluster region and to Canada, including the potential to create jobs. The assessment also considered superclusters’ plans to increase the representation of women and under-represented groups in supercluster activity and leadership, and help them succeed in skilled jobs in highly innovative industries, as well as intellectual property, IP, strategies that benefit Canada’s economic development.
Question No. 1684--
Mr. Alexandre Boulerice:
    With regard to the environmental impacts of the Réseau express métropolitain (REM) project on the least bittern habitat protected under the Species At Risk Act: (a) what studies have been done to assess the environmental impact on the least bittern habitat; (b) what measures have been or will be taken by the government to ensure that the construction of the REM will not destroy their habitat; and (c) how many Environment and Climate Change Canada employees worked to ensure that the construction of the REM complies with the Species at Risk Act?
Hon. Catherine McKenna (Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Lib.):
     Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the project was submitted for a provincial environmental assessment, and the impacts of the project on species at risk were assessed. The results of the consultations held by the Bureau des audiences publiques en environnement, BAPE, are available online at http:// www.bape.gouv.qc.ca/ sections/mandats/ Reseau electrique m%C3%A9tropolitain /index.htm, and the environmental assessment report from the Quebec Department of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change, MDDELCC, is available at http:// www.mddelcc. gouv.qc.ca/ evaluations/decret/ 2017/458-2017-rae.pdf. Members can also contact the Quebec Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks by email at services .clientele @mffp.gouv.qc.ca or by telephone at 418-644-6513 to find out more about the mechanisms for protecting species at risk.
    With regard to (b), although the project is not subject to the federal environmental assessment regime, the federal departments that own Crown land located within the area of the planned project route must, under section 67 of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, or CEAA 2012, assess whether the proposed project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects on their federal lands, and especially on species at risk. If so, they must identify effective mitigation measures to be used for managing environmental effects and must either completely prevent the environmental effects or reduce them and must carry out subsequent monitoring as set out in section 79 of the Species at Risk Act.
    In addition, regarding the presence of the Least Bittern in the Marais des Sources area, officials held meetings with land managers to make them aware of their responsibilities and obligations under the Species at Risk Act, the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, and the federal policy on wetland conservation.
    With regard to (c), five analysts at the Environmental Enforcement Directorate of ECCC had to work on the REM project on an ad hoc basis. Specifically, on the aspects related to species at risk, wetlands, and migratory birds, one analyst was involved, with the support of two expert biologists and a geomatics technician from the Canadian Wildlife Service of ECCC.

[English]

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns

    Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, if supplementary responses to Questions Nos. 1664 to 1666; a revised response to Question No. 1634, originally tabled on June 1, 2018; and the government's response to Questions Nos. 1671, 1673, 1674, 1676, 1677, 1679, 1680, 1682, and 1685 to 1690 could be made orders for return, these returns would be tabled immediately.
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Text]

Question No. 1634--
Ms. Irene Mathyssen:
     With regard to Canada Post: (a) since January 1, 2009, how many reports or studies were undertaken by Canada Post with regards to postal banking and retail financial services, (i) what were the contents of those reports or studies, (ii) were any reports or studies incomplete, (iii) what were the contents of the final drafts of the incomplete reports or studies, (iv) which individuals or organizations were consulted, (v) which elected officials were allowed to view the contents of any reports or studies; (b) since January 1, 1997, with regard to post office locations, (i) how many post office locations have been closed, including, (ii) the year, (iii) the location address and postal code, (iv) how many moratorium lists were developed with regard to post office closures, (v) what were the post offices included in each list, including an address and postal code, (vi) who was consulted on which post offices were selected for each list, (vii) were lists provided to any federal government task forces, (viii) which lists were provided for each task force, (ix) what is the content of each list; and (c) since January 1, 2009, with regard to mailboxes designed for the public to mail letters, postcards and small packages, (i) how many have been removed, including, (ii) the year, (iii) the location, (iv) what was the criteria used to determine removal?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1664--
Mr. Jamie Schmale:
     With regard to government expenditures with News Canada Inc., since January 1, 2016, broken down by department, agency, Crown corporation or other government entity: (a) what are the details of each expenditure, including (i) date, (ii) amount, (iii) duration, (iv) description of goods or services provided, (v) titles of “news” stories disseminated as a result of the expenditure; (b) have any departments, agencies, Crown corporations or other government entities discontinued their relationship with News Canada Inc. as a result of the Minister of Canadian Heritage’s January 23, 2017, tweet regarding “fake news”; and (c) will the government commit to ensuring that any unattributed stories written by the government are clearly marked as government propaganda in the story and, if not, why not?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1665--
Mr. Dave MacKenzie:
     With regard to expenditures made by the government since December 11, 2017, under government-wide object code 3259 (Miscellaneous expenditures not Elsewhere Classified): what are the details of each expenditure, including (i) vendor name, (ii) amount, (iii) date, (iv) description of goods or services provided, (v) file number?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1666--
Ms. Brigitte Sansoucy:
     With regard to federal spending in the constituency of Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot in the fiscal year 2017-2018: what grants, loans, contributions and contracts were awarded by the government, broken down by (i) department and agency, (ii) municipality, (iii) name of recipient, (iv) amount received, (v) program under which expenditure was allocated, (vi) date?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1671--
Mr. Larry Miller:
     With regard to consultation sessions organized by the government on Bill C-71, An Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms: (a) how many consultation sessions were organized by the government; (b) where did these consultation sessions take place, broken down by (i) city, (ii) constituency; (c) what groups and individuals were invited to each of the consultation sessions, broken down by session; (d) what groups and individuals participated in the consultation sessions; (e) what was the date for each of these sessions; (f) which Members of Parliament attended the consultation sessions; (g) how many online consultation sessions took place; (h) regarding the consultations in (a), by which criteria did the Minister responsible decide which individuals, communities and organizations to consult with; (i) what are the details of the discussion questions brought to each session; and (j) what are the details of any briefing notes, meeting transcripts, minutes, or correspondence related to the sessions in (a), including the (i) title, (ii) date, (iii) sender, (iv) recipient, (v) subject matter, (vi) file number?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1673--
Ms. Michelle Rempel:
     With regard to all advertising expenditures, including both traditional and social media, aimed at stemming the flow of individuals crossing illegally at the Canada-US border: what are the details of all expenditures since January 1, 2017, including (i) vendor, (ii) outlet, if different than vendor, (iii) amount, (iv) date and duration of contract, (v) intended market of advertising campaign, both geographic and demographic, (vi) summary or description of content?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1674--
Mr. Garnett Genuis:
     With regard to the usage of the government’s fleet of Challenger and Airbus aircraft, between January 1, 2018, and April 1, 2018: what are the details of each flight, including (i) date, (ii) origin, (iii) destination, (iv) time of takeoff, (v) time of landing, (vi) names and titles of passengers, excluding security staff, (vii) type of aircraft?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1676--
Ms. Diane Finley:
     With regard to the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) for the past 3 years, broken down by year: (a) which countries are included in the program; (b) how many workers did each country send; (c) what was the breakdown of workers by province or territory; (d) for workers under the program, broken down by province or territory, what was the average (i) rate of pay, (ii) total earnings; (e) what was the average amount of earnings that the workers remit to their home country, broken down by province or territory; and (f) how many farms rely on the SAWP program, broken down by province or territory?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1677--
Mr. John Brassard:
     With regard to the preparation of meals by Vikram Vij at multiple events during the Prime Minister’s trip to India in February 2018: (a) did the government pay for Mr. Vij to fly to India and, if so, what was the cost; (b) did the government pay for Mr. Vij’s accommodations in India and, if so, what was the cost; (c) what are the details of any other expenses covered by the government related to Mr. Vij’s travel to India, including (i) description of expense, (ii) amount; (d) did the government cover the costs of other individuals in conjunction with Mr. Vij’s travel to India, such as family members, sous chefs or cooks; and (e) if the answer to (d) is affirmative, what are the details of such expenses, including (i) name of individual, (ii) type of expense, such as airfare or accommodation, (iii) amount?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1679--
Mr. Kevin Waugh:
     With regard to the Access to Information and Privacy section of each department, agency, Crown corporation or other government entity, and as of April 19, 2018: (a) how many full-time analysts are working in each section; (b) how many files are currently in progress; and (c) for files of which an information package was released within the last year, what was the (i) average times each section took to complete the request, (ii) median times each section took to complete the request?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1680--
Mr. Mark Warawa:
     With regard to immigration to Canada between December 7, 2016, to December 6, 2017: (a) how many economic class immigrants have been admitted to Canada; (b) how many family class immigrants have been admitted to Canada; (c) how many refugees have been admitted to Canada; (d) how many temporary student visas were issued and how many individuals were admitted to Canada on a temporary student visa; (e) how many temporary worker permits were issued and how many individuals were admitted to Canada on a temporary worker permit; (f) how many temporary visitor records were issued and how many individuals were admitted to Canada on a temporary visitor record; (g) how many temporary resident permits were issued; (h) how many temporary resident permits were approved by the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship; (i) for (a) to (h), what is the breakdown by source country by each class of migrant; (j) for applications for the categories enumerated in (a) to (h), how many individuals were found inadmissible, divided by each subsection of section 34 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act; (k) for applications for the categories enumerated in (a) to (h), how many individuals were found inadmissible, divided by each subsection of section 35 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act; (l) for applications for the categories enumerated in (a) to (h), how many individuals were found inadmissible, divided by each subsection of section 36 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act; (m) for applications for the categories enumerated in (a) to (h), how many individuals were found inadmissible, divided by each subsection of section 37 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act; and (n) for application for the categories enumerated in (a) to (h), how many individuals were found inadmissible, divided by each subsection of section 40 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1682--
Mr. Matt Jeneroux:
    With regard to Governor in Council appointments: (a) how many positions are vacant as of April 18, 2018, including (i) the title of the role, (ii) the name of the department, commission, board, Crown corporation, agency or tribunal, (iii) how long has the position been vacant for; and (b) how many individuals, as of April 19, 2018, are serving in appointed positions that are past their expiration date, including (i) the title of the role, (ii) the name of the department, commission, board, Crown corporation, agency or tribunal, (iii) the date on which the appointment expired?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1685--
Mr. Randy Hoback:
     With regard to reports that Facebook has not been registered as lobbyist and thus its meetings with the government have not been reported on the Lobbying Commissioner’s website: (a) what are the details of all meetings between Facebook and the government, since November 4, 2015, including (i) date, (ii) location, (iii) list of attendees, (iv) purpose of meeting, (v) subject matter; and (b) what are the details of all briefing notes associated with the meetings in (a), including (i) date, (ii) title, (iii) summary, (iv) sender, (v) recipient, (vi) file number?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1686--
Mr. Deepak Obhrai:
     With regard to privacy breaches, since September 19, 2016, broken down by department, agency, Crown corporation, or other government entity: (a) how many privacy breaches have occurred; and (b) for each privacy breach, (i) was it reported to the Privacy Commissioner, (ii) how many individuals were affected by each breach, (iii) what were the dates of the privacy breach, (iv) were the individuals affected notified that their information may have been compromised and, if so, on what date and in what manner were they notified, (v) what was the incident summary or nature of the breach?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1687--
Mr. Glen Motz:
    With regard to individuals whom have illegally crossed the Canadian border, since January 1, 2016: (a) how many such individuals were subject to deportation or a removal order following a finding of an illegitimate or invalid refugee claim; and (b) for the individuals in (a), what was the average time between (i) initial entry to Canada and removal from Canada, (ii) finding of an illegitimate refugee claim and removal from Canada?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1688--
Mr. Glen Motz:
    With regard to government outreach and travel to the United States for the purpose of discouraging illegal border crossings, since January 1, 2017: (a) what is the total cost, broken down by type of expense; and (b) for each trip made by the government to the United States for such a purpose, what are the details, including (i) date and duration, (ii) list of cities visited on the trip, (iii) individuals on the trip, (iv) American officials whom were met on the trip, if any?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1689--
Mr. John Nater:
     With regard to the ministerial and executive vehicle fleet: (a) how many new vehicles have been purchased for the fleet since November 4, 2015; (b) for each purchase, (i) what was the date, (ii) what was the price, (iii) what was the make and model, (iv) was the vehicle electric, hybrid or traditional, (v) which Minister or executive was assigned to the vehicle; and (c) what is the total amount spent on such purchases since November 4, 2015?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1690--
Mr. Garnett Genuis:
     With regard to Canada’s foreign aid: what is the total amount of Canadian funding granted to Marie Stopes International, broken down by (i) year, from 2015 to present, (ii) recipient country, (iii) where applicable, the program that the funding was part of?
    (Return tabled)

[English]

    Finally, Mr. Speaker, I would ask that all remaining questions be allowed to stand at this time.
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Government Orders]

[English]

Export and Import Permits Act

    The hon. member for Edmonton Manning has 15 minutes remaining for his debate, and then we will go to questions after that.
    The hon. member.
    Mr. Speaker, when speaking about Bill C-47, we must remind ourselves to mention the current regime we have in Canada regarding arms trade control. Since 1947, when Canada adopted such a control regime, the minister has had the ability to prevent the supply of military equipment to countries for a variety of reasons. These reasons include that they are security threats, are involved in internal or external conflict, or are under sanction by the United Nations. We have the ultimate control over the arms trade in Canada, and it is something we have always been proud of and will continue to be.
    Canada can utilize a blanket ban on trade with at-risk countries through the use of the area control list. A blanket ban means that we use all the methods we have and all the tools to put tight control on arms and military equipment that can harm innocent civilians. Under the area control list, we have the Export and Import Permits Act. Through the Governor in Council, a country can be placed on this list. At the current time, for example, North Korea is on that list.
    Again, our current protocol is very strong, probably the strongest the world has ever seen. On top of that, we already heavily restrict many specific items that may be of concern, including military and missile items and chemical or biological goods, just to name a few. Furthermore, Canada already tracks and records more than what is required under the Arms Trade Treaty. Our arms control system, as I said earlier, is very tight and very strong to be able to deliver beyond any threat that may occur anywhere those arms go, including any country, regime, or army, around the world.
    We also know that the Canada Border Services Agency and Statistics Canada collect information on exports from Canada of every single item that may be work-in-progress items or finished goods. We have those protocols in place, and as I said earlier, we are very proud of what we have been able to do.
    Collectively, we are left with a process that amounts to little more than a virtue-signalling campaign by the government. It is unfortunate that politics gets into the issue. When we speak about our concerns and when we point out our views on this topic, the first thing that comes from the government is that this is fearmongering by the Conservatives, which, first of all, is not fair. It is not true that we are doing this. We are pointing out facts and logical positions we have taken for years. We have studied what we have and have made comparisons between what we are trying to adopt now and what we had before.

  (1225)  

    If this process is a total waste of time, then we must say so. We must protest and make sure that Canadians know about it so that at least they can understand what we are discussing here.
    Speaking of Canadians, we know they want a strong arms control treaty, but guess what? They have one. It has been in existence since 1947. If we were to ask anyone out there, they would say that Canada has the best arms control regime or protocol in the world already, so why not adapt our existing one rather having to adopt another bill, another treaty, or other controls coming from another party, whether it is the United Nations or others? We represent the finest example of putting controls on such an important thing in the international community. Canadians need that clarification. Our job here in the House, as representatives of our constituents and every Canadian, is to clarify that and to make sure that Canadians know what the government is willing to sign onto in order supposedly to move us forward, and that it not take a backward step, as was said by some witnesses and in some of the consultations we had on our own.
    This bill fails to address the potential adverse effects on law-abiding firearms owners. That area was discussed heavily at the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. It is definitely an area the government has shied away from, even diminished, when it presented Bill C-47 in its current form.
    Going back to Bill C-71, which is supposed to deal with those concerns, we know that when the Liberals introduced that bill, they confirmed that they were not concerned about the rights of hunters, farmers, and sports shooters. I recall at committee that we were trying to improve that area so that law-abiding Canadians would not fall victim to this whole process, but we were not able to achieve a result that would satisfy and take a fair stand when it comes to law-abiding Canadians, whether hunters, farmers, or sports shooters, who want to own firearms.
    I have to mention that the former Conservative government requested that civilian firearms specifically be removed from the treaty in order to protect the interests of Canada's lawful firearms community. I recall Conservatives doing that. We did it in the House and at committee, and it fell on the deaf ears of the opposition at the time. It is unfortunate that we had to face that at the time. It is unfortunate that we have had to go through such difficulties. We are asking that it at least be fair. We are not asking for anything more than to be fair to hunters and farmers and, unfortunately, we have not obtained that.
    The Liberals have decided to move forward with signing the ATT, with little or no consultation with lawful gun owners. They do not respect the legitimate trade in or use of hunting and sports firearms. Again, it bothers everyone out there, including us politicians, that despite the government's talk and advertising of consultation, saying that it is now the government that Canadians have been waiting forever for to consult with and ask questions of, we have been left with very little or no consultation.

  (1230)  

    The irony is that the government always says that it hears people and has consulted, as if it is the only entity doing politics, or working with, or representing, or listening to people. We do listen to people. We receive letters, complaints, and phone calls, and we know that the government is not listening enough. While this is not surprising, it is definitely a continuation of a disappointing pattern of disrespect and disregard by the government.
    In short, this bill is unnecessary. The first time I spoke on this bill at second reading, I said it was ineffective, unnecessary, and for sure a step backward. It will never be a step forward. It will basically diminish what we have done for years. Our record shows that we are leaders with our current regime, that we are world leaders in legislating the Arms Trade Treaty. Here we are in 2018, and supposedly we are doing things to make improvements, but this is a step backwards and it is unnecessary and not fair. As I have said, it is unnecessary, unfair, and ineffective.
    Upon its implementation, we would be worse off than we are today. For all of the reasons I and many of my Conservative colleagues have mentioned, this bill would not serve Canada, Canadians, and the world as the government is claiming. We will not support it.

  (1235)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have had an opportunity to serve with the member on committee now for a year and to travel with him, and I can say that he is a very good guy. However, the speech was a bit shaky. Let me remind him, because I know he is a new MP like me, and give him a little history lesson. In April 2013, the United Nations had a vote to adopt the Arms Trade Treaty, and 154 countries voted for it, and three countries voted against it. The three countries that voted against the treaty were North Korea, Iran, and Syria. One hundred and fifty-four countries voted for the treaty.
    If Canada, under the previous government decided that it was aspirational, that it was good, that it was great to be part of the world community and to sign and adopt that treaty, then my question is simple. Was the government hypocritical then or is it hypocritical now, was it disingenuous then or is it disingenuous now? Could he give me a time frame for when the government was disingenuous and hypocritical? Was it then or now?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for the history lesson. I know he has a good memory and a lot of information, and my memory is very good too. I enjoy travelling and working with him on committee, and by all means I call him a friend.
    On the question, it is correct that 154 countries signed the treaty, but how many countries ratified it and how many countries will be ratifying it? On the history lesson, he knows well that the world's major makers and exporters of arms are probably not interested. They have not shown any signs of ratifying this treaty. What is the point? It is the signature. What are the stakes? This is not hypocrisy. This is talking about where we are now and where we are going.
    We are now sitting on and already have the best legislation in the world. We should be very proud of what we have before we go looking to adopt something that is not really going to assure ourselves or the international community of anything. On that topic, I will leave it on that note.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I too am a new MP, as my Liberal colleague mentioned.
    I listened carefully to my colleague's speech. I heard him talk about the oversight of arms exports and strengthening our laws. From my understanding, the member recognizes that our job, as MPs, is to scrutinize the government's activities, including Canadian arms sales.
    Why then did the member's party and the government vote against an NDP motion that would have ensured parliamentary oversight of Canadian arms exports?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we will probably have to go back and talk about our current regime.
    I think it is a very important reminder. We know that. As I said, since 1947, when we came up with our legislation, the minister, regardless of which government and which minister it was, has had the ability to prevent the supply of military equipment to countries for a variety of reasons, including threat, internal or external conflict, and to those under sanctions by the United Nations and those subject to our blanket ban.
    How much review is needed? Why does it always have to be done here? There are major arms exporters in the world. They are already there. They refuse to even ratify this Arms Trade Treaty, and we are here complaining about one of the best, if not the best, pieces of legislation the world has ever seen.
    I do not understand where this is coming from. I do not understand why we should be wasting our time on something that is already in place and almost perfect.

  (1240)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my friend and colleague for his comments on this bill, because he clearly knows a lot about it.
    As I was listening to my colleague outline some of the things that our current regime includes, such as the trade controls bureau, the fact that heavily restricted items, such as military and security equipment, are already under good scrutiny by Stats Canada and the CBSA, as well as many other safeguards that my colleague pointed out, it was clear that Canada already has a very effective regime when it comes to the control of military goods and security equipment.
    This is beginning to sound a little like what I remember years ago when the Liberal government, I believe under the environment minister Stéphane Dion, signed on to the Kyoto accord. There was a big fanfare about our signing onto the Kyoto accord. However, we know that under that agreement, nothing was accomplished in terms of greenhouse gas reductions.
    Is this just another photo op to make Canadians feel good, but when they really look at it, they will find that we have a better system in place now than we would under Bill C-47?
    Mr. Speaker, that is a very good question. I think this is what we sometimes call virtue signalling by the government.
    We have very tight control over this. We have the Canada Border Services Agency and Statistics Canada for the collection of all of the information over and above any deal we would sign. The most important aspect of this whole thing is, what are the other major traders in this area doing? Are they willing to ratify it or not?
    This bill is already empty. There are no signals that they are going to ratify it. What is the point? Is it going to be a virtue signal or a photo op? Whatever it is, we know that it will be a total waste of time. Unfortunately, we have to take the time to discuss it in Parliament for hours and hours.
    Mr. Speaker, the only time the photo op was held was in April 2013.
    Now that we are talking history, let me remind the hon. member that 154 countries signed to adopt the treaty. As of January 2018, 94 countries have signed and ratified it. Five of the largest arms producers in the world have signed and ratified it: England, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy.
    When all of NATO has signed the treaty, the G7 has signed it, and the OECD has signed it, why is there debate over our signing it? You have not given one legitimate reason in your speech. You talked about the robustness of the system. You talked about how good the Canadian system is. If it were so good, why do we not sign and elevate the rest of the world to our standards?
    I am sure the hon. member did not mean that I did not get it. I am sure he meant that he wanted an answer from the member for Edmonton Manning.
    Mr. Speaker, I think my good friend from Kitchener Centre's memory has failed him big time this time. He knows that the most prominent NATO members have not ratified it. This has to be corrected. We have to be able to call a spade a spade. Besides that, we have a standard. I was hoping that the United Nations would come to Canada and say that we have the most perfect legislation in the world, and ask to adopt it. I would rather have that. With all due respect to what my good friend on the other side said, for our government to agree to a piece of legislation that we know is a downgrade from what we have is not smart.

  (1245)  

    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I want to call for quorum. At one point we were down to nine members. I still do not think we are up to 20.
     We have 22 members. We do have quorum.
    Questions and comments, the member for Ottawa West—Nepean.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague's argument is that Canada is already doing it and therefore we should not sign. However, the fact is that this creates international norms, norms that are accepted and shared across the world. That is the kind of thing where Canada can provide leadership. There is also a fund that allows other countries to accede to the Arms Trade Treaty. If virtue signalling means that we are actually going to create norms around the world to stop the illicit trade in arms and stop women and girls from being raped at gunpoint in the Congo and other countries, then yes, that is exactly what we want to do.
    I would ask the hon. member whether or not it is important that Canada be part of the world community in establishing these norms.
    Mr. Speaker, when we do any signalling, we have to watch what we do. I have a lot of respect for my hon. colleague. We serve together on the foreign affairs committee. I will tell her something. When I am listening to the Liberals, whether as a politician or as an average Canadian sitting at home watching TV, it starts to sound as if Canada has left the world stage. It sounds as if we are doing something wrong. I reject that tone every day, because we are, by all means, leaders when it comes to humanitarian efforts. We are leaders when it comes to the best practices of democracy and freedom in the world. When we have to adopt something that is less than what we have already, I do not think we are doing any good for the international community, or for humanity. We should always sound proud, rather than guilty and trying to apologize for everything in the world.
    Mr. Speaker, Canada plays a strong leadership role worldwide. However, we should never take it for granted. What we are talking about today is a substantial piece of legislation that adds to the value of Canada being on the world stage, making a very strong statement.
    This has nothing to do with gun registration. I know that many Conservatives want to focus the issue on gun registration. That is not going to happen under this government, perhaps under a future Conservative government, but not under this government. I wonder if the member would comment on why it is so important to demonstrate leadership. Conservatives can do that by voting in favour of this legislation.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a very good question, but in the meantime, they are changing the label all the time. The Liberals put a new label on and call it a step forward, or something that we have to do. Now, we have a change of label.
     This is not about the Arms Trade Treaty. It is not about how we trade arms around the world. It is just about giving a signal that Canada is part of the international community. Canada is a leader in the international community. No one can take Canada's place. We will remain the best example of democracy, freedom, and human rights, and no one can take that away from us. We are proud of the way we are and who we are.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform you that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Ottawa West—Nepean.
    Our government entered office with a mandate to expand Canadian diplomacy and leadership on global issues. We are committed to promoting human rights and fostering peace. We are committed to ensuring that our foreign, defence, development, and trade policies can work hand in hand. It is with this in mind that I am so proud to be part of a government that is committed to an export control system that is transparent and that protects human rights at every stage of the assessment process.
    Canada's export control regime is, by international standards, already one we should be very proud of. Canada promotes stringent transparency, and our export regime takes human rights into account during the assessment process. However, while I am proud of what has already been done to build Canada's export control system, I believe that to remain a global leader in human rights, we must continue to do better.
    The changes we are proposing in Bill C-47 are about demonstrating Canada's commitment to human rights on the global stage so that we can hold our heads high, knowing that we continue to do our part as we align ourselves with our closest partners and allies in NATO and the G7. In other words, this is about returning Canada to the forefront of international peace and security efforts. As we make these changes, and as we build lasting policies that will advance Canada's engagement on the responsible trade of conventional arms, we need to take the care to ensure that we take an approach that works for Canada. We must build policies that work within the context of Canadian institutions and embark upon an approach to the implementation of the ATT that is practical, long-lasting, and bureaucratically feasible.
    This is the first international treaty that explicitly acknowledges the social, economic, and humanitarian consequences of the illicit and unregulated trade in conventional arms. I think it is important to remember that what lies at the heart of this treaty is not bureaucracy or the motivation of partisanship but rather our collective obligation to advance the human security agenda and the international community's collective agreement that we must stand together if we are to protect the rights of those who live in insecure areas and conflict zones.
    There has been fearmongering where this treaty is concerned. A debate that should have been centred on the protection of some of the world's most vulnerable people has instead been haunted by hollow, baseless speculation as to how this treaty might interfere with the rights and practices of Canadian gun owners.
    As U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said:
    This treaty will not diminish anyone's freedom, in fact the treaty recognizes the freedom of both individuals and states to obtain, possess and use arms for legitimate purposes.
    Make no mistake, we would never think about supporting a treaty that is inconsistent with the rights of Americans, the rights of American citizens to be able to exercise their guaranteed rights under our constitution.
     This treaty reaffirms the sovereign right of each country to decide for itself, consistent with its own constitutional and legal requirements, how to deal with the conventional arms that are exclusively used within its borders.
    If people are legitimate law-abiding gun-owners or users here in Canada, this treaty will not impact them. The United States signed the treaty, and given the centrality of gun ownership in the United States, I highly doubt that it would have done so had there been any domestic impact from this treaty.
    For anyone who may have misread or misunderstood the Arms Trade Treaty upon first reading, let me take this opportunity to remind everyone that the preamble to the ATT both reaffirms the sovereign right of any state to regulate and control conventional arms exclusively within its territory, pursuant to its own legal or constitutional system, and recognizes the legitimate political, security, economic, and commercial interests of states in the international trade in conventional arms.

  (1250)  

    From day one, this government has believed in evidence-based policy. Not only does that govern our outward-facing policy, but it affects how we operate internally as well.
    We do not have unlimited resources or personnel, and we have to use them very smartly and efficiently. NDP members think differently. They want to force officials to review permits any time new information comes to light that could affect the larger decision to grant a permit.
    Our officials are experts in their jobs. They know better than any of us in this House what would constitute a meaningful enough change to trigger a review of either an export or brokering permit. We should allow them to focus their energies in areas where changes are significant and carry a real risk of impacting the eventual result. By pulling them off these important reviews to engage in less critical work, we are simply raising the possibility of not catching something in the high-risk cases that could have an extremely detrimental effect and impact on the ground. Legislation must be reasonable.
    The minister has the power to review permits, and in fact, the minister has used that power. The Arms Trade Treaty encourages state parties to review permits when relevant information comes to light. When we have experts tell us that they have relevant information that mandates a review, rest assured that a review will be carried out.
    At committee, we learned that export experts wanted us to place the Arms Trade Treaty criteria into legislation so that we could have clear guidelines on which the decision to issue export-import permits could be assessed. We did that.
    These criteria are the following: a serious violation of international and humanitarian law; a serious violation of international human rights law; an act constituting an offence under international conventions or protocols relating to terrorism to which Canada is a party; an act constituting an offence under international conventions or protocols relating to transnational organized crime to which Canada is a party; serious acts of gender-based violence; or serious acts of violence against women and children. These are mandatory considerations. They must be taken into account before any decision is made.
    This amendment is at the very heart of the Arms Trade Treaty as originally envisioned. It is a vital tool to help protect human rights all around the world. Of note is the language on gender-based violence, which goes beyond the requirements of the Arms Trade Treaty. I am particularly proud of this effort on our members' part in committee to ensure that our foreign policy and development agenda align.
    What else came out of committee? We now have a “substantial risk” clause in the proposed legislation. What does that mean? It would bind all future governments to the higher standards we are setting out in this proposed legislation. This clause would prevent the government from allowing for export or brokering if there were a substantial risk that it would lead to any of the acts I have previously listed. Prior to this amendment, there was no prohibition on allowing for export or brokering under these circumstances. It simply had to be considered as a factor.
    The Arms Trade Treaty is a powerful tool, and acceding to it is a meaningful statement of our values. It is a way we can keep weapons out of the hands of terrorists and those who seek to do harm to Canada and its allies. The Arms Trade Treaty is a way we can reduce the risk that the trade of arms at the international level will be used to commit genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
    As Canadians, we are blessed to live in a country where our strength is not measured only by our excellent defence forces or our resilient and growing economy. Our strength is measured by the people who inhabit this land who want to do good, not only in Canada but around the world. Our citizens demand that we engage with the world and that we continue to strive for peace and justice. That is the Canadian way, and that is the reason this government is going to accede to the Arms Trade Treaty.

  (1255)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Kitchener, my neighbour. I appreciate his input here, and I enjoy working with him in the Waterloo region.
    Earlier today when we were debating this, it was clear that there was a misunderstanding in terms of those major countries that have signed and ratified this document. I pointed out that the U.S. has not ratified it.
    I want to give my colleague an opportunity to clarify that the U.S. and other major countries, major manufacturers and exporters of military and security equipment, have not ratified this particular treaty.
    Mr. Speaker, I am glad the hon. member asked that question. I too also enjoy working with him.
    I am burdened by science. I am burdened by facts, and here are the facts.
    The U.S. signed that treaty. The nuance in the American political system is that to ratify a treaty requires two-thirds of the vote in the Senate. That is why the majority of treaties are never ratified, but that does not mean that they do not follow the treaty. They do follow the treaty. The G7 countries follow the treaty. NATO follows the treaty. Our allies follow the treaty. The OECD follows the treaty.
    What I have been hearing from the other side is about the strength and the robustness of the system. If it is strong and it is robust, why do we not share our best practices with the rest of the world? Why do we not accede to this treaty? Why do we not help those countries that also want to join collectively, in collective security around the world, with our best practices to sign this treaty?

  (1300)  

    Mr. Speaker, Control Arms is the international coalition of some 300 civil society partner organizations in all parts of the world. They campaigned for the creation and adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty.
    Today, Control Arms said this on social media:
    Canada's #armstreaty bill loopholes should be closed, so that they fully comply, and help lead the world in stopping arms that fuel atrocities
    How can the hon. member justify continuing with the bill when the main civil society partnership of some 300 organizations that built this treaty is telling them to close the loopholes?
    In response to the last question, does the member not understand the difference between passing a treaty and ratifying it, as the Americans have never done?
    Mr. Speaker, I know the difference between signing and ratifying. The United States has signed it, but the nuance of its particular system is a bit different, but it has adhered to the treaty.
    I know the NDP has difficulty understanding economics, so let me explain a bit about economics. When the member talks about loopholes, what he is specifically talking about is the United States, from what I gather. The reason for this treaty is to close loopholes, to make sure we aspire to a treaty that is collective among the world nations, the G7, NATO, and its allies.
    My colleague is trying to use a different way to ask the question, so let me answer the question directly. We have 2,500 different arrangements with the United States. We have been partners and we have been allies. We have fought two world wars together. We fought the Korean War. We have been in other multilateral situations where we fought side by side. Our defence industries are intertwined and are cross-border; 63,000 jobs in Canada depend on the defence industry; it adds $6.7 billion to our collective GDP; and 640 small and medium-sized enterprises in Canada depend on this industry.
    What I can honestly say to the member is that this treaty will allow us to accede to a higher norm that is presently available, but it will also set an example for the rest of the world, for those countries that are all struggling to find a way to accede to this treaty. We would share our best practices, and we would make sure that this treaty prevents war and the alteration of international human rights.
    Mr. Speaker, the Arms Trade Treaty is an important treaty, which sets high common standards for export controls and seeks to prevent the illicit trade in, and diversion of, arms. Our government is committed to acceding to the treaty and doing so in a manner that meets the requirements of the treaty and the expectations of Canadians and our friends and allies in the international community. This legislation, Bill C-47, is required for Canada to accede to the Arms Trade Treaty. More people around the world are killed by conventional weapons, mainly small arms, than any other type of weapon.
     Let us be clear about what this bill aims to accomplish. It is to stop guns from getting into the hands of foreign terrorists, war criminals, organized crime, and rapists. I am, frankly, stunned that the Conservatives and NDP both voted against this bill at report stage. I would have hoped that this bill would have passed unanimously. Every day that goes by, human rights defenders, women peace activists, and civilians are being killed.
    As I mentioned in my previous intervention in the House, I have worked in conflict-affected areas around the world, and the women there implored Canada not to wait, to stop delaying the ratification of this treaty. They told me that their countries do not manufacture weapons. Every gun that is used to commit sexual violence, given to a child soldier, or used by armed militia groups was brought into their country. This bill would allow Canada to finally ratify this vital global treaty, which will stop the trade in illicit weapons and, in particular, finally regulate the brokering of weapons that is happening right here in Canada, simply because we are one of the last of our allies to ratify the treaty and to enact regulations on brokering. Even the Americans are ahead of us in this regard. In fact, the State Department has been working with Global Affairs Canada to help us revise and improve our brokering controls. The U.S. has already implemented controls that are consistent with the Arms Trade Treaty.
    With that, I would like to address what the NDP is calling a loophole in the legislation, which is our separate defence and security agreement with the United States. This agreement is completely consistent with the Arms Trade Treaty. In fact, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg have almost the same kind of arrangement. Just because we have a specialized agreement with the Americans does not mean that there will be a free flow of guns from Canada to the U.S. to human rights-abusing countries, as the NDP would have us believe. In fact, we heard from the U.S. office of defence trade control policy and the Office of Regional Security and Arms Transfers that their controls regarding diversion of arms are often stricter than Canada's. For example, the U.S. end-user controls, the blue lantern program, controls on M and A and foreign sales of companies, and see-through rules on dual-use technology are actually more advanced than ours.
    The Americans share our interest in making sure weapons do not end up in the hands of terrorists and criminals. For the NDP to use this as an excuse to actually vote against this legislation is, to me, more rooted in partisanship than in an actual desire to see innocent civilian lives being saved around the world, especially since our committee members worked so well together and passed some very substantive amendments to the bill at committee stage.
    Let me address what the NDP said about going back to the drawing board. The fact is that we need Bill C-47, especially the brokering controls that are contained within it, in order to be able to accede to the Arms Trade Treaty. Those who vote against the bill are, in essence, voting against the Arms Trade Treaty, because we need the bill in order to accede to the treaty. I would also like to point out that, once Canada adheres to the treaty, it is binding on Canada. Every single clause within that treaty will be legally binding, both under international law and, thanks to the committee work, also under Canadian law.
    The Conservatives' argument that this bill will in any way impact domestic gun ownership is equally fallacious, but to assuage these concerns, the committee also passed amendments to even further reinforce and clarify this fact. Not one of the witnesses said that Bill C-47 would create a new gun registry. Again, I am disappointed that the Conservatives do not share our urgency about keeping weapons out of the hands of terrorists and war criminals.
    Accession to the Arms Trade Treaty received broad support from civil society, non-governmental organizations, industry, and Canadians, at second reading and while it was being studied in committee. However, we also heard the voices of those who are asking us to do better and to strengthen this bill. Our government took note of what was said at committee stage. We proposed additional amendments to Bill C-47 to strengthen it.
    Under the ATT, the Minister of Foreign Affairs must take into account certain mandatory export assessment considerations, such as the risk that the export could be used to commit a serious violation under international, humanitarian, or human rights law. These are listed in article 7 of the Arms Trade Treaty, which includes undermining peace and security, committing violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, terrorism, organized crime, and acts of gender-based violence.
    The government had originally planned to put these criteria, including human rights, into regulation; but our committee heard from civil society that they would like to see the Arms Trade Treaty criteria placed directly into legislation.
    We amended the bill by placing the ATT assessment criteria directly in legislation. Let me be clear: with this bill, the Arms Trade Treaty is binding on Canada both under international law and under Canadian law. To say that Bill C-47 is not fully consistent with the Arms Trade Treaty is absolutely untrue. In fact, with our committee amendments we actually exceed the requirements under the treaty.
    For example, I am pleased that the committee accepted my amendment to add into legislation the ATT requirement that the article 7 criteria be subject to an overriding risk test that applies when there is a determination that there is a risk of certain negative consequences to the export.
    In fact, the work of our committee shows what a significant difference we can make by adding or changing just a few words. We amended the bill to add the words “substantial risk”, meaning that, rather than the minister determining whether there is conclusive evidence that a certain arms export is being used for human rights abuses, now the minister must determine if there is a substantial risk of such abuses, which is much broader.
    Even more important, we proposed that the wording be changed from “may” to “shall”, one single word change that is going to make a tremendous difference. It now says that the Minister of Foreign Affairs “shall” take into account all of the assessment criteria before issuing an export permit, as opposed to the more enabling “may” take into account. Again, this is an indication of the tremendous work of our committee.

  (1310)  

[Translation]

    This amendment imposes an obligation on the minister that does not exist in the current system. This means that the government will not allow the export of a controlled good if there is a substantial risk that it could be used for human rights abuses. In the enhanced version of Bill C-47, the Minister of Foreign Affairs is required to ensure that we are reasonably convinced that this controlled good will not be used to violate human rights.

[English]

    To our knowledge, Canada will be the only country among our key allies to place the ATT risk test in domestic legislation.
    In addition to placing the core ATT assessment considerations in legislation, we also wanted to add some measure of flexibility to these considerations in the future, without the requirement of having to return to Parliament.

[Translation]

    The proposed changes to this bill not only meet the ATT criteria, but exceed them in some cases. Acceding to the Arms Trade Treaty will send a message to the international community that Canada is firmly committed to the responsible trade of conventional weapons.

[English]

    The fact that we are going above and beyond the minimum requirements of the treaty in a number of areas demonstrates that we are fulfilling an additional challenge that we have set for ourselves to do even better.

[Translation]

    I intend to continue working with my colleagues in the House on this important bill in order to finally take the necessary steps for Canada to accede to the Arms Trade Treaty.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the speech from the hon. member for Ottawa West—Nepean, during which she claimed that the New Democrats are wrong in calling these things loopholes, and that we are engaged in partisanship.
    Does the member agree with Project Ploughshares, as well as Control Arms, a civil society group 300 strong? Today, they asked Canada not to proceed because it needs to close these loopholes. They say the bill is weak and is an embarrassment. It is not the New Democrats who are saying these things on a partisan basis; it is Project Ploughshares and Control Arms.
    How does the member respond to those people and their trenchant criticism of this bill?
    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased that our committee heard from multiple organizations and groups, and listened to those groups in the amendments I outlined in my speech. In fact, Oxfam International testified before the committee that this would be binding on Canada. They said we should proceed with the legislation and with making sure Canada is adhering to the treaty.
    One of my first goals when I became elected was to make sure Canada did not delay in adhering to the treaty. I really regret that the NDP is looking at further delays and possibly even not being able to pass it in this mandate in this Parliament. I implore this House to vote for Bill C-47, so we do not have to wait any longer for Canada to be a member of this treaty and of this international norm and collective arrangement.

  (1315)  

[Translation]

    It being 1:15 p.m., pursuant to an order made on Wednesday, May 30, it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the third reading stage of the bill now before the House.

[English]

     The question is on the amendment. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the amendment?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota): All those in favour of the amendment will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota): All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota): In my opinion the nays have it.
    And five or more members having risen:
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota): Pursuant to order made on Tuesday, May 29, the division stands deferred until Monday, June 11, at the expiry of the time provided for oral questions.
     Mr. Speaker, I suspect if you were to canvass the House you would find unanimous support to call it 1:30 at this time so we could begin private members' business.
    Is there unanimous consent?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Committees of the House

Industry, Science and Technology  

     Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions amongst the parties, and if you seek it I think you will find unanimous consent for the following motion:
     That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, the remainder of the debate pursuant to Standing Order 66, on the motion to concur in the 8th Report of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, presented on Thursday, November 23, 2017, be deemed to have taken place and the motion be deemed agreed to on division.
    Does the hon. parliamentary secretary have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota): The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
     Some hon. members: Agreed.

     (Motion agreed to)


Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

  (1320)  

[English]

Infant Loss

    The House resumed from April 27 consideration of the motion.
    Mr. Speaker, much has been said about the painful compounding of tragedy when government policy and legislation lack coherence as they pertain to the actual people they are intended to serve.
    I would like to use my time to share with this chamber just how tragically things can unfold, and how helpless and devastated people may feel when faced with a tragedy and subsequently victimized by existing flawed legislation.
    Before I do this, I would like to quote from the Good Book, a little passage from James 4:17, which says, “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” In our case, if it is within our power to correct a great injustice and we fail to do it, how much more unjust are our actions?
    My wife Almut and I were soulmates back in 1978, and this unbelievable love only grew. I still remember when my wife-to-be began walking down the aisle at our wedding on a September day in 1993. She was so radiantly beautiful that she took my very breath away. We could not wait to be married and grow in our love for each other, and extend that love beyond ourselves by having a good number of children. From natural birth and adoption, we have seven children.
    The following June, we welcomed Christopher into the world, and our joy was overflowing. He was healthy, so was mom, and we were looking forward to being parents. He was a handful, but we were willing and quick learners.
     I do not mind saying that with help from some of our great mentors, friends, and family, motherhood and fatherhood fit us like a glove. For Almut and me, next to our love for each other was the love for our children and the awesome quest to help them grow into principled, contributing, and ethical adults.
    It was not too long thereafter that Almut became pregnant once more, and we were more excited than ever to greet the next addition to the Sweet family. We were a bit concerned, because Almut seemed to be growing at too fast a rate as her pregnancy progressed, but this was only marginally dampening our spirits compared to the opportunity of a new child.
    She visited an obstetrician early, as suggested, and as referred to by our GP. Sure enough, through amniocentesis and ultrasound, she was diagnosed with polyhydramnios, which is too much amniotic fluid too early.
    Of course, we were concerned, but the doctor comforted us that there was a low percentage of complication with such a condition, and that he would watch Almut and the new girl closely. We found out it was a girl due to the tests that were needed to determine the cause of the increased fluid production.
    Knowing a girl was coming excited us even more, and we did the usual thing. We painted the red room pink and made sure we had all of the corresponding toys to welcome a female infant.
    The following months involved a lot of appointments to continue to monitor Almut and the baby with the fluid buildup. It is my recollection that, other than these appointments, it did not seem like our health team was overly concerned, so we were not either. Consequently, our expectations grew and grew, as did our preparations.
    I believe it was around two in the morning in the seventh month of the baby's term, although I must admit I am still hazy on the details, when I heard one of those screams that no one ever likes to hear, particularly if it comes from the person one loves the most. I ran in the direction of the scream. My wife was in the bathroom at that time. She was in shock, and I was quite shocked as well to see the feet of the baby exposed from her. Because of the abundance of amniotic fluid, her membrane had burst with such force that it forced our daughter, who had not turned yet, breeched into the birth canal. This was a terrifying predicament for young parents with little to no medical knowledge to find themselves in.
    I did all I could to bring comfort to Almut and assure her that I would move heaven and earth to save our baby's life and to keep her safe as well.
    Fortunately, my sister, who was staying with us at the time, ran in to see what was going on. She called an ambulance and got our obstetrician on the phone as well. The doctor was not calm. I had to reassure him to calm him down. Fortunately, he came around and began to give me instructions.
    First, he said, I needed to reach up and unhook each arm. It felt like those little arms were going to come off at any moment. Nonetheless, I was able to free her left arm and then her right arm.

  (1325)  

    Immediately upon my releasing her right arm, her little body moved down so fast that it looked like it was going to blast out across the room. Of course, it did not, because when a baby is breech, the jaw hangs up on the pelvic bone, which is why the baby needs to turn for a good, successful birth.
    I said to the doctor, “There must be some kind of manipulation or process. What can I do now? I don't want to tear her fragile little head off of her body.” To my surprise, he hung up on me. To this day I do not know why. Maybe it was because he was afraid of some kind of responsibility, or maybe he panicked himself. However, I was there alone with my bride, who was panicking, and my young daughter, who was trapped in the birth canal and was beginning to suffocate.
    There are a lot more details that I could share with respect to this story. The ambulance came. However, of course it was too late. My wife was in shock. Thank the Lord, she recovered completely, physically and psychologically, but all of our hopes and dreams for our daughter vanished. It was like we were in a very dark tunnel all alone. Though we had many friends to comfort us, the gut-wrenching emotional pain of the loss was so great that it was like we were in another dimension. We knew they were there, but we could hardly hear their voices. This heartbreaking, mind-numbing, strength-sapping emotion took a long time to begin to lift.
    Today, Ruth Gisela Sweet rests in Meadowvale Cemetery in Brampton, Ontario. Thankfully, the faith that we live by assures us that we will be together again.
    I share this painful story with the House not for any personal comfort or catharsis, but so all members may have a clear understanding what it is like when, annually, hundreds of Canadian mothers and fathers go through such an event as this. It is my hope that knowing this, there will not be any resistance to passing this motion that is before the House so that a great injustice can be corrected quickly, completely, and properly.
     After going through this kind of trauma, no one should be faced with a form letter that advises them that on top of their immense pain, they will now have to face financial hardship as a result of being cut off from government benefits. How cruel and malevolent it must seem to people who have gone through such suffering to have to experience that as well.
     Let us do all we can to quickly pass this motion, get the study started, and make recommendations in order to ensure this injustice comes to an end once and for all.

[Translation]

    The Minister of International Development is rising on a point of order.

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Government Orders]

[Translation]

Fisheries Act

Bill C-68—Notice of time allocation motion 

    Mr. Speaker, I regret to inform the House that an agreement could not be reached under the provisions of Standing Orders 78(1) or 78(2) with respect to the report stage and third reading stage of Bill C-68, an act to amend the Fisheries Act and other acts in consequence. Under the provisions of Standing Order 78(3), I give notice that a minister of the Crown will propose at the next sitting a motion to allot a specific number of days or hours for the consideration and disposal of proceedings at those stages.

PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS

[Private Members' Business]

[English]

Infant Loss

    The House resumed consideration of the motion.
    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise to speak on the motion brought forward by the member for Banff—Airdrie. I want to begin by commending him for his advocacy and his dedication to this important issue, and I know it comes from a place of great sincerity.
    The death of any child is a tragedy. As any parent would say, it is something that is almost literally unthinkable, not because it never happens, but rather because the mere process of thinking about losing one's child is simply too upsetting for words. Somehow this becomes even more true when it comes to losing a child suddenly, as is the case with sudden infant death syndrome. Not only is there the unimaginable grief that any parent would feel after losing a child, but there is also the shock of the abruptness, the suddenness of it all, the shock from one's entire world being turned upside down in an instant.
    All of us have heard the terrifying stories from parents who have had to experience such pain first-hand. I was listening very carefully to the member for Flamborough—Glanbrook just now and I was touched by his words. My heart goes out to him and his community, and to every family touched by this very tragic syndrome.
    This is what makes a motion like Motion No. 110 so important. It shines a light on an issue that too often does not get enough attention. Our society does not handle grieving very well. Grief, yes, because tears and raw emotion make for affecting pictures and memorable headlines, but actual grieving, the personal way people handle loss over the longer term, is something that usually takes place hidden away in the shadows. It is not something that gets brought out into the open very often.
    In its own way, Motion No. 110 confronts this tendency head-on. It does so by asking us to think about how we support parents who have lost an infant child, particularly when they have lost a child to sudden or unexpected causes. It is not a comfortable conversation to have by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a necessary one. That is why, with a few very minor amendments I hope the member opposite will have no problem supporting—and I will get to those in a few moments—our government will be indeed be supporting Motion No. 110.
    Our government supports this motion because it aligns with what our government has done since taking office, and that is engaging and consulting with Canadians to make sure we have an employment insurance system that is flexible and responsive enough to be there for them when they need it most. Again I want to commend the sponsoring member for having this discussion, because it has brought to light the importance of this issue and is a way in which we can collaborate. If only we had more occasions when we could co-operate in a bipartisan fashion; not only would we get more done in this chamber, but I think Canadians would applaud all around.
    This is what has driven us to create a new El caregiver benefit to allow people to care for loved ones during times of suffering for up to 15 weeks. It is why we replaced the parents of critically ill children benefit with a new and enhanced employment insurance family caregiver benefit for children that expands the eligible support network to include all family members, rather than just parents.

  (1330)  

[Translation]

     We have made it easier to access caregiver benefits by allowing nurse practitioners, rather than just medical doctors, to sign medical certificates, which simplifies and expedites the application process.
    We have enhanced bereavement leave in the Canada Labour Code, which will allow employees in federally regulated sectors to take bereavement leave of up to five days, rather than just three days, following the death of an immediately family member.
    We also introduced new family responsibility leave that will allow employees to take up to three days of additional unpaid leave to address family responsibilities without fear of losing their jobs.
    In budget 2018, we extended the working while on claim EI provisions to include maternity and sickness benefits, which will give mothers and those dealing with an illness or injury the flexibility to plan their return to work while also keeping more of their EI benefits.

[English]

    Most recently, just a few weeks ago, we introduced the new Canada benefit for parents of young victims of crime, which will replace the existing income supports for parents of missing and murdered children with a system that is more flexible, more generous, and more accessible.
    With each of these changes, we wanted to make it easier for Canadians to balance family life with work responsibilities. None of these new or enhanced programs, of course, could even begin to help parents fully process the loss of a child, but in some way, they could help parents begin the healing process.
    I will also note that these changes were introduced following consultations with Canadians, with employers and employees, to make sure that all involved had their voices heard. That is why our government supports this motion. By talking about these issues and hearing from the people affected by them, we can ensure that the government programs and services currently in place are flexible enough to meet the needs of Canadians when they need them most.
    I want to commend the member for Banff—Airdrie for his tireless advocacy, on behalf of grieving parents, in support of this motion. As I noted earlier, while we fully support this motion's intent, we are hoping that the member will be open to making two small changes to his motion that would acknowledge the spirit of committee independence and ensure that, in its study, the standing committee is open to studying the full range of benefits and services available to help grieving parents.
    Therefore, I move:
    That Private Member's Motion M-110 be amended by: (a) replacing the words “instructed to undertake a study” with the words “requested to undertake a study”; and (b) replacing the words “particularly from Employment Insurance Parental Benefits” with the words “including Employment Insurance Parental Benefits”.

  (1335)  

    It is my duty to inform the hon. member that, pursuant to Standing Order 93(3), no amendment may be proposed to a private member's motion or the motion for second reading of a private member's bill unless the sponsor of the item indicates his or her consent. Therefore, I ask the hon. member for Banff—Airdrie if he consents to this amendment being moved.
    I consent, Mr. Speaker.
    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today to debate Motion No. 110, a motion brought forward by my hon. colleague, the member for Banff—Airdrie. If it were not for his diligent work, this pressing issue might have gone overlooked, and for that I say thank him.
    Parenthood is one of life's greatest treasures. Speaking from my own experience as a mother of three and a grandmother of 10, I can certainly say that parenthood is a gift from God. The joy and even the anxiety of being a new parent is an irreplaceable experience. I know that some of the other hon. members in this house are parents as well, and they can also understand what a wonderful moment it is to welcome a child into this world.
    Now imagine losing a beautiful baby in just weeks, days, or even minutes after it is born. Unfortunately, in Canada the sudden loss of a child is the tragic reality for some parents. It is a reality I am sure that no member in this House would wish on any parent. It is hard to even think about what one would say to a grieving couple in that situation.
     As members, we may not have the ability to legislate away this reality, although we can do a better job in supporting bereaved parents in Canada by assuring them that no government programming will cause them unnecessary or additional stress.
     Motion No. 110 is an impactful first step in that direction. It is an opportunity for us, who are so privileged to sit in this House, to rise above partisan politics and to stand united in seeking to provide compassion and support to bereaved parents. This motion is asking the House to have the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities undertake a study on the impacts that parents who suffer the loss of an infant child face, so that they are not subject to any undue financial or emotional hardship because of poor government programming, particularly the employment insurance parental benefits program.
    Studying this issue will be beneficial, as the committee will hear officially from parents who have lost infants, organizations who advocate on behalf of bereaved families, experts in the area of grief counselling, and officials responsible for our government programs.
    There are numerous cases in which parents have suddenly lost a child. I am familiar with many myself. However, today, I would like to draw attention to Rachel and Rob Samulack's experience, who say:
    “Our son Aaron was diagnosed with bilateral renal agenesis, which means he was missing kidneys at 20 weeks gestation. This condition is deemed incompatible with life. Despite pressure to terminate the pregnancy, we decided to continue the pregnancy with the support of the perinatal hospice program at Roger Neilson House. Despite the fact our son was critically ill, I was ineligible to receive compassionate care benefits or benefits to care for a critically ill child, as he was ill in utero. I continued to work full-time hours until 33 weeks gestation while attending numerous medical appointments, because I had no other option.
    “Aaron was born on Father's Day, June 19, 2016. We spent 100 precious minutes with Aaron. He had beautiful strawberry blonde hair and looked so much like our older son Gabriel. Gabriel met him, as did his grandparents and aunts and uncles. It was hard, but it was beautiful. Aaron passed away in our arms surrounded by love.
    “When Aaron died on the day he was born, my total of 15 weeks of maternity benefits started counting down. I was ineligible for parental leave benefits, as my son had died.
    “When I returned to work after 15 weeks, Rob was in nursing school and our other son was two years old at the time. I had to repeatedly tell coworkers why I had returned months earlier than planned. I cried alone daily in the washroom and took a pay cut so I could work four days a week.
    “If an infant dies while a parent is on parental leave, the parental benefits stop that day. They are left with three days of bereavement leave, and up to 15 weeks of sickness El benefits—if they are told about them and apply for them. Singing to my dying son, then later putting yellow roses on his tiny casket as we buried him, left me with barely the strength to cry, let alone navigate applying for sickness benefits.

  (1340)  

    “I was never told about these additional benefits by my employer, which is the federal public service. Despite the recent addition of two more bereavement days through Bill C-63, Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2, five days of bereavement leave is just not enough. Until you have had to plan a funeral for your child and bury them, it is hard to fathom the extended grief that accompanies this type of loss.
    “With the support of our friends and families, Rob and I organized the first charity walk/run for pregnancy and infant loss in Ottawa, called The Butterfly Run Ottawa/Gatineau. The Butterfly Run originally started in Belleville, Ontario, in 2016. The run was created to support individuals and families experiencing infertility or pregnancy and infant loss and to provide a community for those experiencing such losses. On Oct. 14, 2017, exactly one year after I returned to work following Aaron's loss, Aaron's Butterfly Run Ottawa/Gatineau was held. Approximately 400 people participated in the run and more than $30,000 was raised for pregnancy and infant loss programs at Roger Neilson House.”
    This is one of the downfalls of government being too big. Looking at Rachel and Rob's experience, we can see that big government programs can sometimes paint broad strokes for people, causing those who need special assistance to be overlooked. Evidently the current system is not designed to serve parents who undergo such a loss. It has a blind spot that we now have all been made aware of, thanks to this motion.
    Rachel works for the Government of Canada but was not even made aware of the benefits due to her. If it is like this in the public sector, imagine the difficulties for those in the private sector. Rachel and Rob have stepped up in an incredible way, and it is now on us who sit in the House to do the same. We have an opportunity to stand in the gap on behalf of these families. This is a moment when all parties can come together for the benefit of Canada.
    In listening to other hon. members speak to Motion No. 110, I can clearly see that there is a fundamental belief across all party lines that we need to support those families who suffer from such a loss. We should not have to debate whether or not we should study this issue. Therefore, I invite all members to join me in support of Motion No. 110 so that we can move forward on finding some concrete solutions for these families.

  (1345)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by thanking the hon. member for Banff—Airdrie for putting forward this motion and making this conversation possible. I would also like to thank him for being open to a few technical amendments that I trust do not change the spirit of the bill.
    Though I did not plan to share this as part of my remarks today, having had the opportunity to listen to the members opposite share their deeply personal experiences leaves me nearly speechless, and I want to thank them kindly.
    The member's motion concerns parents who have suffered the loss of an infant child, such as in the case of sudden infant death syndrome, and ensuring that they have enough support in their time of greatest need. Private member's Motion No. 110 is asking that the committee on human resources, skills, and social development undertake a study to consider the impact on these parents and explore new ways we can support them.
    I think we can all agree that the experience these parents go through is unimaginable, and the suffering is something that no person should ever have to endure. I want those parents, and the member who quite rightly brought this issue to the floor of this House, to know that I support, and that we support, Motion No. 110.
    We know that no amount of financial support is adequate to remedy the loss parents experience when they lose their child. However, every effort needs to be made to support those parents during this time of need.
    There are measures in place now, but we have to ask ourselves constantly whether they are enough. Are they effective in supporting parents who are undergoing an experience of tremendous grief? Are there better ways we can do justice by these citizens? These are some of the questions we need to be asking. We fully support Motion No. 110's call for an in-depth study along these lines.
    When we came into office, we made a promise to Canadians to support the middle class and those working hard to join it. Part of fulfilling this promise, in my mind, is ensuring that parents and their families are supported during their greatest times of need.
    When a parent loses an infant child to a random or tragic event, the emotional pain can be crippling for life. They should not have to worry about losing their jobs because they need to take time away from work. They should not have to worry about not having enough to pay the bills at home because their pay cheques have stopped coming in because they have been away from their jobs. We need to be there as a government for these Canadians, and while there are some supports available, we always need to be asking whether it is enough.
    The existing supports include bereavement and sick leave under the Canada Labour Code as well as employment insurance sickness benefits, along with community-based and employer supports for some employees.
    Our government has made a number of changes to help families. For example, we have created a new family El caregiver benefit of up to 15 weeks to care for and support an adult family member who has become critically ill or injured. We have made it easier to access caregiving benefits by allowing both medical doctors and nurse practitioners to sign medical certificates.
    On top of this, recent amendments to the Canada Labour Code ensure that workers in federally regulated sectors have the job protection they need while they are receiving caregiving, parental, or maternity benefits. The code has also been amended to help employees in the federally regulated private sector find the right balance between their work, family, and other personal responsibilities. When these changes come into force, employees will be entitled to enhanced bereavement leave, a new leave for family responsibilities, and the ability to request flexible work arrangements from their employers.
    All of these measures can provide important support for a parent who has suffered the loss of an infant child. These are only some of the measures our government has undertaken to better support Canadians when they need it most.
    Before I go into the conclusion of the short remarks I have prepared, I would just like to say that I always try to approach the motions and bills we debate in this House dispassionately, in consideration of what is in the public interest and not in my personal interest.
     I have been extraordinarily lucky. A few short years ago, my wife and I welcomed my daughter into the world. She is a little more than two years old now. It was quite a surprise the day she was born. We were not expecting it. She came into this world when my wife was six months pregnant. When she was born, she was a little more than two pounds. I got a phone call on my way to this chamber saying, “Can you meet me at the hospital?” I rushed there as soon as I could. I will never forget, for the rest of my life, watching my daughter open her eyes, look at me when I said hello and told her that her mother loved her, and then watching the doctors and nurses present perform a miracle to save her life.
    I know that all Canadians are not as lucky as my family. To the extent I can, in a small way, by supporting this motion, help the parents who have lost their child, I know that I will have done the right thing.

  (1350)  

    Losing a child is unspeakably painful, and we understand that there is no support that will suffice. We have to do every reasonable thing within our power to ensure that parents' needs are met when they cannot make it to work due to their crippling grief.
    The first step is to explore new ideas on how this can be done, and that is why I am in favour of the member's motion in this regard, as is the government.
    Again, I want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the member for Banff—Airdrie for raising this issue, and for being open to technical amendments. The motion addresses a very important and worthwhile issue, and for all grieving parents affected by such tragedies, I hope all of us, on all sides of the House, can come together to support it. It is the right thing to do.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to start by thanking all of my colleagues who have spoken in support of this motion today and, in particular, my colleague, the member for Flamborough—Glanbrook, for sharing his tragic personal story. I know how much courage that would have taken, so I thank him.
    As we wrap up this debate today on this very important motion, I want to start by telling the story of parent advocate Paula Harmon from Nova Scotia. Paula has become one of the most incredible advocates for this issue and Motion No. 110. She has worked tirelessly. She has told her story multiple times to members of Parliament in her home province and beyond, and she has pushed them to support Motion No. 110. Paula's story deserves to be told, and it is one that grieving parents all across our country unfortunately face every day. Parents often grieve and struggle in silence, but thanks to the hard work of people like Paula and others, their struggles are made public. We have an opportunity to support parents and stand beside them.
    Paula was admitted to the hospital when she was pregnant with Grace and her twin, at 17 weeks. By the time Grace was born, Paula had used up any available maternity leave she had, as it was a high-risk pregnancy. Paula applied for sick leave after Grace's passing, and she had to go through multiple layers of bureaucratic hurdles and to explain her story over and over again. She was finally told to get a doctor's note, so she did. However, the response then was that the note was not sufficient to qualify for sick leave. Paula tried to explain this to the government agent, and both of them were fighting through tears. She had to explain what her scenario was, and then the agent, who felt so terrible for her, explained to Paula that if she could just adjust and use another reason in the note, she might qualify for sick leave. She was told to go back to her doctor and get another note that read “stress” instead of “bereavement of daughter”. That is right: sick leave for “stress” qualifies, but because of how ridiculous the process is, bereavement of a daughter does not.
    Beyond that, Paula also had to navigate the complex bureaucracy at a time when she was, of course, already wracked with grief. No one should have to do that. That uncertainty and complexity is just plain wrong.
    This is a story I have heard over and over again all across Canada. I would like to just sum it up briefly in Paula's words:
    It's not necessarily more MONEY that parents of loss are looking for.... We want to be able to tell the Standing Committee where the system isn't working, or working in a way that is further traumatizing...and finding ways to have more compassion when it is all that parent may be able to do just to get out of bed.
    We have come a long way since this motion was introduced. Since then, I have heard so many stories from parents who have experienced the same frustrations, and their plea is the same. They want a system that is more compassionate and one that makes it easier for them. Our bureaucracy is never easy to navigate, even on a good day, and to expect grieving parents to be able to do that with minimal direction or support is simply absurd. That is what this motion aims to do: to provide support to parents in a compassionate way that allows them to properly grieve, to heal, and to be able to move at their own pace.
    This is not an easy issue to talk about. It often causes discomfort. When I hear stories about parents who have to repeat their story over and over again to colleagues, to Service Canada agents, to banks, and to other strangers, I hear one common theme: Most parents are not ready to share their story. The parents all tell us how difficult it was to share their stories the first time, and I do not believe it gets any easier. Motion No. 110 would help parents by allowing them to share their stories when they are ready, because only then can they begin to heal and recover.
    I have to conclude by again commending the bravery of all the parent advocates who have contacted me and other MPs, repeated their stories, and then stood up for other parents. Each year in almost every single community across Canada, there are memorial runs, vigils, walks, and other events to commemorate these babies who were taken from us far too soon.

  (1355)  

    They also raise awareness, and without the work that these groups have done, Motion No. 110 would not be being here debated today.
    We are lucky to have great advocates like Paula, whose story I mentioned; like Sarah Cormier from Airdrie, who brought this idea forward; like Rob and Rachel Samulack from Ottawa; and like so many others that I have worked with. They have all shown incredible courage in taking a lead and being a voice for other grieving parents. All of these parents had the courage to speak up and to do more.
    I hope members in the House will now have the courage to stand alongside grieving parents and support Motion No. 110.
    The question is on the amendment. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the amendment?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota): I declare the amendment carried.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota): The next question is on the main motion, as amended. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion, as amended?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota): I declare the motion, as amended, carried.

  (1400)  

[Translation]

    It being 2:02 p.m., the House stands adjourned until Monday at 11 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).
    (The House adjourned at 2:02 p.m.)
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