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42nd PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 334

CONTENTS

Monday, October 15, 2018




House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 148 
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NUMBER 334 
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1st SESSION 
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42nd PARLIAMENT 

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Monday, October 15, 2018

Speaker: The Honourable Geoff Regan

    The House met at 11 a.m.

Prayer



Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

  (1100)  

[English]

Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities

    That the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities be instructed to undertake a study of flight training schools in Canada and be mandated to: (i) identify the challenges that flight schools are facing in providing trained pilots to industry, (ii) determine whether the infrastructure available to flight schools meets the needs of the schools and the communities where they are located; and that the Committee present its final report no later than seven months after the adoption of this motion.
    He said: Houston, we have a problem.
    Mr. Speaker, Canada is facing a severe pilot shortage, and it has lost the ability to generate the pilots it needs today or that it will require tomorrow. This problem will continue to grow unless there is significant effort put towards solving the situation.
    Aviation serves a variety of crucial roles in the Canadian economy by safely and efficiently transporting people, moving cargo and supplying or acting as a vital lifeline to northern and rural communities. Canada has the third-largest aerospace sector in the world, generating $29.8 billion in annual revenue and supporting 211,000 direct and indirect jobs and 5% of jobs in the north.
    Global air transport industries will double the number of aircraft and the amount of passenger traffic by 2036. This will require 620,000 new pilots to fly large commercial aircraft internationally. Eighty per cent of these pilots have yet to begin training, emphasizing the need and importance of the pilot training sector on a global scale.
    To its benefit, Canada has an excellent infrastructure for flight training education, unlike many countries where air space is heavily restricted. Domestically, Canadian flight schools produce about 1,200 commercial pilots each year. Of these, only about 500 join the Canadian aviation industry each year due to international student pilot graduates returning home or to international entities that purchase Canadian flight training schools that prioritize their home markets.
    Here in Canada, we will need 7,000 to 10,000 new pilots by 2025, resulting in a projected shortage of at least 3,000 pilots, given current production rates. According to a recent Canadian Council for Aviation & Aerospace 2018 labour market information report, this number will significantly increase when the new flight duty time rules are put into effect by Transport Canada in the near future.
    As noted in the report, half of flight operators state that finding qualified pilots is a significant challenge, with regional airlines reporting flight cancellations due to a lack of flight crew in the busy summer months. This problem will significantly worsen in the coming years, more broadly affecting the travelling Canadian public, unless action is taken.
    In terms of recruitment challenges, the report notes that over half the flight operators surveyed say that finding qualified and experienced employees is a significant challenge. One-third cite finding pilots with applicable aircraft-type ratings their biggest skills challenge.
    With new carriers commencing operations and established larger airlines experiencing both growth and the retirement of senior pilots, there has been an increase in the rate of drawing pilots from regional airlines and small operators. This is affecting regional airlines particularly hard. Smaller airlines are a training ground for young pilots, who will normally try to move up to larger carriers as soon as possible. Historically, it took two to three years before pilots moved up, but this can happen now in 18 months, and in some cases six months, under current conditions. This trend is forcing some regional carriers to lower their experience levels for new hires in an effort to maintain their operations.
     This hurts regional airlines financially as well. Airlines are often required to give new hires a type endorsement for the type of aircraft they will fly. These training costs have traditionally been amortized over the expected retention period of a pilot. With retention periods dropping from three years to six months, the economics change dramatically. Some regional airlines have reported cancellations of flights due to a lack of pilots and/or higher training costs.
    The increasing need for more pilots is also causing faster than normal attrition rates at flying schools. New instructors who would normally work two to three years before moving on to the airlines or charter jobs are now moving up within four to six months. This is resulting in flying schools having a serious problem maintaining a sufficient number of experienced instructors to take on chief or senior flight instructor roles. This in turn further reduces the supply of new pilots.
    Some of the biggest challenges in pilot production in Canada are the high cost of training for new commercial pilots, the low starting salaries, and an industry that has evolved a non-linear career path.
    The traditional pathway to becoming a pilot in Canada has involved earning licenses and ratings that cost approximately $75,000 yet can climb to over $150,000, with tuition and other student costs, when combined with post-secondary education. Most student pilots acquire substantial debt to cover these expenses. It is common to see high rates of attrition in flight programs due to a lack of financing.
    Canadian pilots are also recruited by airlines outside Canada, where many of these positions pay more than local airlines offer. Overseas and larger companies draw pilots away from the flying schools and smaller operators. As previously noted, this adds strain not only for sensitive northern operators but also for niche operations, such as crop-spraying and forest firefighting.
    Since I tabled this motion back in April, I have heard from a number of air operators, flight schools and aviation organizations, which all indicated that they are very concerned about the pilot shortage and the future of aviation in Canada.

  (1105)  

    Ms. Heather Bell, chair of the B.C. Aviation Council, had this to say on the matter:
    As the Board Chair of the British Columbia Aviation Council, I am writing this letter in support of an industrywide request for focused financial assistance for Canadians pursuing careers as aviators. It is indisputable that the industry is facing a shortage of qualified pilots at all levels; local, national and international. This shortage is seeing scheduled carriers cancelling flights as qualified pilots are being recruited “up and out” of small and regional operators into the more lucrative positions offered at a national or even international level. While this type of career progression has long been the way of the industry, we are facing a crisis as there is not the requisite level of new pilots entering the system to sustain the pilot “pipeline”. The issue is being exacerbated as we are seeing a dearth of qualified flight instructors making the training of new pilots more and more difficult. Further, the impending regulation change around Flight and Duty Time will see an increased need for pilots over and above the shortages currently forecasted.
    In British Columbia, we have many remote communities that rely on air service for routine medical and food supply. Our concern, as local operators struggle with pilot resources, is that this critical access is at risk. One local operator has had to hire and train the equivalent of 100% of their pilot workforce in less than one year; a costly endeavour that also leads to a cadre of less experienced pilots. Other operators have been advertising long-term for pilots for every aircraft type in their fleet, and while they are receiving applications, they are unable to move forward as they cannot keep a training pilot on staff. Another operator that services both Northern BC and Alberta is so stymied by attempts to hire locally that they are actively recruiting internationally but are running headlong into immigration issues that make hiring from outside Canada an economic impossibility.
    As an Aviation Council that is focused on ensuring the sustainability of our industry, BCAC fears this pilot shortage will have severe and critical impacts not only on our economy and operators, but on our remote and Indigenous communities. As one of the barriers to increased pilot supply is definitely the financial burden of obtaining the requisite flight time experience, we feel increased financial aid would be a strong indicator that the government is aware of the issue and supporting positive change.
    Sincerely,
    Heather Bell
    In my riding of Kelowna—Lake Country, Carson Air, a well-respected cargo, air ambulance, flight training and aircraft maintenance company, had this to add:
    The challenges faced by Flight Training Units are many and complex. The high cost of the initial training to receive a commercial pilot's license (CPL) leaves students deeply in debt. To ask CPL students to remain in training longer to receive an Instructor Rating is very challenging now. With the current state of hiring in the industry, new pilots do not need to spend the time instructing to build hours to move to commercial operators. Many operators, even including major airlines, are accepting some candidates directly out of flight school with a Commercial Pilot License and little to no actual time in the cockpit.
    This obviously creates a trickle down effect where there are then less pilots to train the next generation, and the shortage then intensifies.
     At Carson Air, we have a constant backlog of students due to a shortage of instructors. Less and less students are attracted to the industry due to the historically low wages, and high costs of entry and training.
    Changes to infrastructure which could help the Flight Training Units would best be served in the form of additional funding available to students. Currently, the cost of a 2 year Commercial Aviation Diploma program is approximately $85,000.00. Of that, most students are eligible for only about $28,000 in student loans. The barriers are huge and many qualified candidates are simply not applying. If they do get through, working as an instructor when you can move to a Commercial flying position in some cases right away is not attractive to them, at all.
    Currently we estimate that a 30% increase in training rates is needed in order to retain qualified instructors. This will simply magnify the cycle of higher costs and fewer students.
    Programs which allow for streamlined or aviation specific Labour Market Impact Analysis for aviation related jobs—both pilots and Aircraft Maintenance Engineers—are also urgently needed. Collaboration between government ministries [is required] to ensure immigration can be fast tracked for pilots and AMEs with suitable qualifications. Our studies have found that suitable candidates exist world wide, and these people wish to come to Canada. However, applying the tests of LMIAs and other requirements is excessively onerous. Additionally, the current classification system puts pilots in the same category as skilled trades, requiring a potential employer to pay wages equivalent to highly paid skilled tradespeople in that province for what amounts to an entry level position. Paying high wages for starting level positions creates animosity among employees and financial difficulties for employers.

  (1110)  

    The challenges faced that I have noted above are what we are seeing in the industry currently, today. If and when the proposed Fatigue Management Regulations for pilots come into effect, we estimate that there will be up to 30% more pilots required for the work that we are doing today. This does not take into effect attrition through retirement and airline hiring in the future. This will force operators to reduce service, and potentially create safety issues for operators who have no qualified pilots.
     That is Kevin Hillier, the vice-president of Carson Air.
    Motion No. 177 highlights only one aspect of the pilot shortage here in Canada. Flight schools and pilot training is a critical component of the pilot-generation machine. However, it is certainly not the only issue Canadian aviation is facing from a broader perspective.
    The industry also has a growing need for experienced aircraft maintenance engineers. It is projected that the industry will need a minimum of 5,300 new aircraft mechanics by 2025 to keep up with growth and retirements.
     Occupations with the largest hiring needs in the industry include pilots, mechanics, avionics techs, flight attendants, assemblers, air traffic controllers, managers, machinists and engineers.
    Our country's economic prosperity will be highly influenced by the health and well-being of the Canadian aviation industry. As parliamentarians, I believe it is our duty to do what is necessary to ensure that it not only survives but thrives.
     I would like to thank the many flight schools and aviation organizations that took the time to correspond with me. Many of them had recommendations, which I will forward to the transport committee. I would like to thank the following people specifically: Dr. Susanne Kearns, associate professor at the University of Waterloo; Kevin Hillier, vice-president of Carson Air Ltd., Kelowna, British Columbia; Heather Bell, chair of the BC Aviation Council; the Air Transport Association of Canada; Jim Thompson; Greg McConnell of the Canadian Federal Pilots Association; the Kelowna Flying Club; the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association; and the folks at the Canadian Council for Aviation & Aerospace. Much of their work is cited directly, indirectly or verbatim in my presentation.

  (1115)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank our hon. colleague from Kelowna—Lake Country for this common-sense motion. As most know, I was in aviation for 22 years and know very well that there is not only a national pilot shortage but also a global pilot shortage. Our country could serve to fill that shortage in aviation, as a whole, and be a leader within this sector.
    I am wondering if our hon. colleague across the floor would be amenable to the following amendment: “That the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities be instructed to undertake a study of the pilot shortage in Canada and be mandated to: (i) identify the challenges that flight schools are facing providing trained pilots to the industry, (ii) determine what factors deter students from enrolling in flight training, (iii) determine what factors cause students to leave this field of study, (iv) determine whether the infrastructure available to flight schools meets the needs of schools and the communities where they are located; and that the Committee present its final report no later than seven months after the adoption of this motion.”
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the amendment and would absolutely consider it. I think it sounds good. I would need to look at it a little more closely. However, I would be in favour of moving in that direction.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to what my colleague from Kelowna—Lake Country had to say.
    I must admit that I agree with him in principle. I will deliver a speech of my own shortly, but there is one burning question I have to ask him now.
    If a motion concerning such a study had been put to the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, we would definitely have agreed to it given how serious this issue is.
     Why did my colleague move a motion in the House of Commons rather than introduce a bill? Is there no other way he can convince the Minister of Transport to do something about this issue?
    I think the industry's problems are serious enough to warrant a government bill, not just a motion calling for a study. A lot has to happen to get from here to there.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am amenable to considering the amendment put forward by my colleague. It makes the motion a little broader than flight training schools, opening it up to aviation in general in Canada. As my other colleague knows, committees are masters of their own domain, so if they want to pick this up sooner rather than later, I would rather see this get sorted out before Parliament rises or dissolves for the next election. We can certainly talk about making an amendment and getting this to committee as soon as possible to make sure action is taken on this issue.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for championing this issue not only today but over the course of the last few years. I used to sit beside him, and he was always in my ear about the seriousness of the pilot shortage facing our country.
    I had the pleasure of sitting on the transport committee in my first few years as a parliamentarian and I learned about this issue in my meetings with stakeholders. I am curious if my colleague could add a little more colour around the dire need to solve this problem, to both create economic opportunities for people who might want to become pilots and the economic opportunity that comes more broadly when we have a more efficient transportation system that moves people and goods where they need to go in the most effective way.
    Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned at the beginning of my speech, the aviation industry in Canada has a massive economic impact. With $29.8 billion in revenues, it is the third largest aerospace sector in the world, supporting 211,000 direct and indirect jobs. Canada, as we all know, is a massive country and we just cannot function without air transport getting us from one end of it to the other. Unlike many places in the world, like Europe, that have rapid trains and other things that can help compensate when they have fluctuations in their air transport industry, we simply do not have that here.
    I do not think there is going to be a lot of disagreement from my colleagues that we really need to get at this. To be quite honest, we are late to the party on this. I would like to see it go to the transport committee. The reason I did not put this forward as a bill is that, as we all know, private members' business requiring fiscal support from the Crown is typically not supported; plus we do not have time. Parliament is going to be dissolved probably in a year from now for a federal election. With a private member's motion, I can raise awareness on this issue. The transport committee can certainly recommend options to the Government of Canada that would cost the Crown some money, because I think that is exactly where this is going to go as part of a package solution that we need to get on with.

  (1120)  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak to Motion No. 177, which instructs the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities to study issues faced by flight training schools in Canada. As the chair of the all-party aviation caucus and a pilot myself, I am quite familiar with the industry, the flight training and the lack of pilots.
    I hate to date myself, but back in 1968 when I applied for pilot training, it was not very expensive. It cost about $500 to get a private pilot's licence. Later on, in the late 1970s, I went on to get a commercial pilot's licence. It gave me a chance to expand my experience and to do different things.
    Motion No. 177 calls for the committee to study the challenges faced by flight schools in providing trained pilots and to determine if the infrastructure is adequate in our flight schools. However, I am concerned, because even if we have state-of-the-art infrastructure, we cannot use it if there is no one to train. I think the study would have a much larger impact if it were amended to focus on pilot shortages and the factors that deter students from enrolling in the first place.
    The 1950s and 1960s are often referred to as a golden age of air travel. Pilots and flight attendants were seen as an elite class, and recruitment was high. Fast forward to the last 10 or 15 years, and all those recruits have retired. At the same time, it has become increasingly expensive and difficult to become a pilot. Members will remember that I said it cost $500 back in the day when I started to fly. Today, an average private pilot's licence in Canada would cost upwards of $14,000.
    As safety standards have increased, which is by no means a bad thing, more requirements have been placed on young pilots learning to fly. When I learned to fly, I could get a pilot's licence after 35 or 40 hours of flight time. Today, in Canada, the average is 60 hours. Therefore, one has to train more hours and maintain a certain number of flight hours each year to maintain a licence. All of this extra time means that one has to spend extra money for certification.
    For a commercial licence, a minimum of 200 hours of flight training must be obtained. I mentioned that a private pilot's licence costs about $14,000. If one is really good, fast and does everything correctly, to get a basic commercial pilot's licence would cost about $18,500 over and above the cost of the private licence. This is for such things as 5 hours flying at night, two of which must be cross-country. You also need to accumulate five hours more cross-country time than for your private licence. You also require at least 20 hours of instrument time, 30 hours of solo time after obtaining your private pilot's licence, and 100 hours of pilot command before you can go on to obtain a commercial pilot's licence. By the end of all of this, with the cost of living and everything else included, you would have spent $50,000 or more to get a commercial pilot's licence.
    The Canadian aviation regulations tell us that in addition to having a valid licence or permit and a valid medical certificate, there are some other things pilots need to do every five years, every two years and every six months to maintain their licences, and this scares a lot of people. Every five years, a pilot must fly as pilot in command or as a co-pilot at least once. Every two years, pilots must complete a recurrent training. Every six months, pilots who wish to carry one or more flights with passengers must complete five takeoffs and five landings. Also, there are the medicals, and as one gets older, at age 40, one has to have medicals every six months. Therefore, I do not think the problem is as much the quality of the flight schools in Canada but the inability to attract recruits due to the cost and time required to gain a pilot's licence.
     Even the Canadian Air Force is experiencing a shortage. The shortfall of pilots and mechanics was referenced in an internal report recently published by the Department of National Defence. The air force is authorized to have 1,580 pilots, but it is short by around 275 pilots, or 17%. In the civilian world, Boeing has projected that worldwide aviation will require 790,000 new pilots by 2037 to meet the growing demand, with 96,000 pilots needed to support the business aviation sector.

  (1125)  

    At the Farnborough air show in the United Kingdom, Airbus recently estimated the demand at 450,000 pilots needed by 2035. Even with Airbus's more conservative number, the gap between demand and supply is vast. It is why I believe this motion is very important. We need to study the availability of pilots, including how we can increase recruitment levels.
    There are a lot of ways this can be done. For example, the government could create incentives for experienced pilots to stay in the industry or set up financial assistance for flight schools. Back in the 1960s when I went for my private pilot's licence, the cost was $500. If I continued on for my commercial licence, I would receive a fifth of that money back, a whole $100. Then when I received my commercial licence, I believe I received one-third of that back and there was a tax deduction as well. These are just some of the examples that we need to study more in-depth.
    An increase in pilots could also help in consumer choices down the road. When I flew to Ottawa from my riding yesterday, I only had two options of airlines. It is hard to expect an industry to diversify and compete when it does not have enough talent to draw on. I have read of many cases in the news where flights were cancelled because the crew members needed to rest and there was not another crew to replace them. From a pilot and safety standpoint, I completely understand the need for rest, but as a consumer, this can be incredibly frustrating. If there were more pilots, perhaps a lot of these cancellations could be avoided because there would be someone to replace those who need to rest. Increasing the number of pilots and retaining them could help increase airline choices for Canadians and benefit the consumer experience when flying.
    Not only do we need pilots for the large airline companies, but there are also a lot of other industries in Canada which rely on pilots. They courier our mail, help control forest fires, help rescue stranded hikers, and monitor our forests and pipelines. They belong to CASARA, the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association. In my own riding, oil companies have pilots who fly over pipeline routes to make sure there are no leaks or other issues. We also have pilots who fly over the forests in Jasper National Park to document the spread of forest pests like the mountain pine beetle.
    Pilots are needed in many industries across the country, and we need to explore ways to increase the number of recruits to flight schools.
    As a pilot and a member of the all party aviation caucus, I want to see this study go to committee. I hope the sponsor will consider our amendment to ensure this study has the most impact possible.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I must admit, it is with some wariness that I rise today to speak to the motion moved by my Liberal colleague from Kelowna—Lake Country.
    I would never want to give the impression of downplaying the importance of the subject of Motion No. 177 in any way. However, it seems to me that given the urgency of the needs in this area, it would have made more sense for the government to include a bill in its legislative agenda to address the concerns raised in Motion No. 177. Furthermore, the Liberal government's record over the past three years clearly demonstrates how important private members' bills and motions passed and adopted in the House of Commons, some of them unanimously, are to our Prime Minister and his team.
    Let me remind members of a few examples. Perhaps the most recent one that comes to mind is the unanimous vote in the House of Commons to fully protect supply management. We saw how that turned out with the signing of the new agreement. That motion carried very little weight.
    I could also mention Bill C-262, a bill proposed by my colleague from Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, which is intended to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The legislation was passed by the House with overwhelming support, yet just a few days later, the Liberal government undermined the very spirit of the bill. Unless we get a real Liberal bill intended to fix a problem, I fear we will fall wide of the mark.
    If there is one thing that will be obvious to Canadians by the next election, it is this government's paltry legislative track record. Setting aside its legalization of marijuana, its gifts to web giants, and its purchase of a pipeline that is a money pit, this government's accomplishments have been meagre, especially since it is on the wrong side of the fight against greenhouse gases.
    Conversely, we could consider ourselves lucky to have a government that allows private members' bills to play a greater role in the political arena, enabling individual members to meet their constituents' expectations more effectively. However, as I just mentioned, there is a major disconnect between the role they are allowed to play and the results being achieved. Furthermore, we know the limitations of a bill or motion compared with a real government bill.
    What is there to say about a motion calling for a study? While this is a legitimate issue, it could have been addressed in committee, where it would have received a positive response. This would have allowed us to make the most of our valuable time in the House. However, the government has made up its mind. Canadians will draw their own conclusions when the time comes, but for now, let us go ahead and debate Motion No. 177.
    The motion asks that the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities be instructed to undertake a study of flight training schools in Canada and be mandated to do the following three things: to identify the challenges that flight schools are facing in providing trained pilots to industry, to determine whether the infrastructure available to flight schools meets the needs of the schools and the communities where they are located, and to present its final report no later than seven months after the adoption of this motion. I will come back to the second point a little later.
    Although I support such a study, I believe there is a technical flaw in this motion. If we ask the committee to present its final report seven moths after the adoption of this motion, and I remind members that this is only the first hour of debate on the motion, then there is no way that the office of the Minister of Transport will be able to draft a bill before the next election, particularly since we have seen how slow the minister has been to act on other issues. I would like to remind members that people on the north shore, particularly in Trois-Rivières, have been waiting for 25 years for the train to come back. VIA Rail's high-frequency train proposal seems to have been languishing on the minister's desk or buried under a pile of studies that all say the same thing for several years now. Nonetheless, the minister is not taking a position.

  (1130)  

    Let us talk about the bypass that the people of Lac-Mégantic have been anxiously waiting for. There is an election coming up in 2019 and the bypass will not have been built.
    What about a topic that was the subject of an interesting documentary on the JE news program on Sunday, namely the passengers' bill of rights, which everyone has been waiting for for ages?
    The NDP proposed such a bill under the previous government even though it is clear even before anything has been tabled that it will be inferior to the one in European countries. It would seem that the government shifts the focus of most resolutions to the benefit of corporations rather than consumers.
    These are just a few examples that make it hard for me to believe that we will be able to flesh out such an important issue.
    Let me come back to the motion. As I was saying, I will support this motion and recommend to the members in my party that they do the same because this is very important.
    The industry expects that by 2025, which is not long from now, we will need 7,300 new pilots. Fewer than 1,200 new licenses are issued every year, of which 45% are issued to international students. That does not take into account the fact that for undetermined reasons, which we might want to look into, 30% of these new pilots leave the profession or leave Canada to go work in China or the Middle East.
    According to the Air Transport Association of Canada, there could be a shortage of 3,300 pilots in Canada by 2025.
    The problem is even more complex than it would appear to be. Not only is there a shortage of students, but there is also a shortage of flight instructors because they are accepting lucrative offers from major carriers, which have been seriously impacted by the pilot shortage.
    An adequate response to the problem can only be given with a more nuanced understanding of the issues plaguing this industry.
    If we have questions about the causes of this shortage in a sector with generally good working conditions, we should first come to an understanding of the situation where, for example, there is significant inequality between male and female pilots before we propose measures to be implemented.
    If our efforts were to give rise to recommendations for concrete measures that will mitigate or resolve the problem, this would automatically lead to an increase in students. More students means more training flights and perhaps more schools or schools that provide more hours, landings and takeoffs. The title “Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities” does make mention of “communities”.
    I said that I would get back to the second point, which is to “determine whether the infrastructure available to flight schools meets the needs of the schools and the communities where they are located”.
    Because these flight schools exist near urban communities, there are already questions about the effect of the noise associated with the frequent take-offs and landings and with loud, low-flying aircraft, which significantly diminish the quality of life of those living near these airports. With the agreement of my colleague from Kelowna—Lake Country, and in the spirit of taking a holistic approach, I would like to propose a friendly amendment to include research on potential solutions to this issue in the study. The amendment could be something like:
iii) study the effects of noise pollution on public health
iv) that the government be more transparent in how it handles all the data collected
    It goes without saying that I will support this motion and, as a member of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, I look forward to working with all stakeholders to find concrete solutions to this whole issue, including the issue of noise for the people who live near these airports.

  (1135)  

     I must inform hon. members that, pursuant to Standing Order 93(3), amendments to private members' motions and to the motion for the second reading of a private member's bill may only be moved with the consent of the sponsor of the item.

[English]

    Therefore, does the hon. member for Kelowna—Lake Country consent to the amendment being moved?
    Mr. Speaker, I do consent. It is a valued addition to the existing motion and I accept it.

  (1140)  

    We have not had the opportunity to review the amendment to ensure it is in order, but we will do that momentarily. Therefore, we will take it under advisement and get back to the House before the end of the hour to ensure we can proceed accordingly.
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Alfred-Pellan.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by wishing a happy 65th birthday to a very good friend of mine, Teresa Melchior Di Palma.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak to Motion No. 177, which was put forward on April 24, 2018, by our friend and colleague from Kelowna—Lake Country.

[English]

    As members are aware, the motion seeks to direct the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities to undertake a study of flight training schools in Canada, with three specific goals in mind: first, to identify the challenges that flight schools are facing in providing trained pilots for the industry; second, to determine if the infrastructure available to flight schools meets the needs of the schools and the communities where they are located; and third, to present its final report no later than seven months after the adoption of the motion.
    My colleague from Kelowna—Lake Country is concerned about the ability of flight schools in Canada to graduate enough pilots to meet market demand in Canada's growing aviation sector. It is a concern that the government shares as well.

[Translation]

    The recommendation in this motion is a worthy one because it is in Canada's interest to ensure that the aviation sector has enough workers to meet Canadians' needs.
    Canada is a recognized leader in aeronautics and aviation-related services. We are a sought-after provider of flight crew training services because we have excellent facilities and instructors, we adhere to the highest standards, and we integrate new technology.
    Our tradition of quality flight training goes all the way back to 1939. To support the war effort in Europe, Canada trained over 130,000 pilots and crew members as part of the British Commonwealth air training plan.

[English]

    We are proud to be a nation that flies and teaches others to fly as well. Canada is a large country that increasingly relies on air transportation to keep its people connected with one another and to the rest of the world. Improvements in technology, such as lighter aircraft and better fuel economy, mean that the cost of flying remains in the reach of most Canadians, who, in turn, choose to fly more and more frequently.
    As a result, aviation in Canada is a growing industry. The increasing demand for air travel also means a greater demand for pilots and crew to operate aircraft. Canadians have become accustomed to and dependant on flying. It is in the national interest that we have a sufficient supply of certified pilots.
    The demand is not limited just in Canada; it is a growing trend globally. In 2017, airlines around the world carried more than four billion passengers, which is more than double the number they carried in 2004. That number is projected to keep growing for the foreseeable future.

  (1145)  

[Translation]

    The resulting global demand for pilots and crew members is not something we can ignore.
    We want to ensure that Canada's aviation sector has a rich and diverse talent pool.
    Our colleague from Kelowna—Lake Country is right to ask the committee to study flight training schools in Canada to ensure that they can function effectively, that there are no unnecessary regulatory barriers, and that they can train enough pilots to meet our own needs.
    We already know that certain factors have a direct influence on the number of trained pilots and crew members available in the aviation sector. For one thing, the very high cost of training is a deterrent to many who would be interested. For another, the dearth of instructors directly impacts training capacity. In addition, the large number of international students makes it harder for Canadians to access flight training.
    In essence, Canadian flight training programs have so much to offer that we have become the collateral victims of our own success.
    The labour supply problem in the aviation sector is complex and calls for a multi-layered approach that requires co-operation with a number of stakeholders.
    This means that Canada will face a shortage of qualified pilots unless the aviation sector, training schools, the provinces and the federal government work together to develop a strategy to fill the gaps.

[English]

    Industry voices have already identified the scale of the issue in the field. The Transport Canada-commissioned 2016 Conference Board of Canada report entitled, “Building and Retaining Workforce Capacity for Canada's Transportation Sector to 2030”, highlights that the shortage of domestic air pilots, aircraft maintenance engineers and flying instructors, already deficient of 200 employees in 2015, is estimated to reach close to 550 by 2030.
     The Air Transport Association of Canada, an industry association representing air operators, estimates that the industry will face a shortage of 6,000 pilots by 2036. The numbers are certainly daunting, but they represent what is expected to happen if no action is taken.
    Fortunately, there is already action on a number of fronts. The commercial airline industry in Canada hosted a labour market strategy day, where almost half of the participants highlighted the future supply of skilled labour as a key concern. They felt that the most promising solutions included recruiting from a talent pool, greater outreach to generate interest in a career in aviation and aerospace and increasing the number of students through educational systems.
     While the government does not directly address labour market issues, it is a key player in the ability of industry workers to enter the transportation labour market by way of regulations that require licensing or certification for many occupational groups.

[Translation]

    Transport Canada is responsible for all aspects of flight crew licensing in Canada. While part of its mandate is to promote aviation in Canada, it does not intervene directly in labour markets in the transportation sector in order to avoid potential conflict of interest. However, there are a number of ways the government can support labour market growth.
    Transport Canada has been working closely with the industry over the past year to identify the root causes and the extent of the labour shortage in the transportation sector in Canada. Transport Canada also hosted a forum on the labour shortage in Canada's aviation industry. Representatives from across the Canadian aviation sector met to discuss the most pressing labour-related issues in the industry. They also looked at ways to make the aviation sector more inclusive and welcoming to under-represented groups, such as women and indigenous peoples.
    Transport Canada is also working with other federal departments to determine potential avenues that can be explored and used to meet the growing needs of aviation industry professionals.
    In addition to industry, it is just as important to work with the provinces and territories, because they are the ones that manage the labour market and that have an influence over educational standards for programs of study. It is clear that the solution involves many parties and that any solution should involve a coordinated effort.

  (1150)  

[English]

    Finally, to bring this back to the motion being discussed today, there are some questions around the capacity of Canada's flight schools that would benefit from the non-partisan review of the standing committee. While Canada has a rich and proud legacy of training other pilots, how are we doing today? Are there enough schools to meet the demand? What are the regulatory barriers that schools face? Is it necessary to put the needs of Canada first and, if so, what approach should be taken?

[Translation]

    In closing, I support the motion to instruct the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities to undertake a study of flight training schools in Canada in order to identify the challenges that flight schools are facing in providing trained pilots to industry and to determine whether the infrastructure available to flight schools meets the needs of the schools and the communities where they are located.
    The amendment moved by the hon. member for Trois-Rivières is in order.

[English]

    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Motion No. 177, a private member's motion put forward by the member for Kelowna—Lake Country. I would like to thank the member for highlighting the issues and challenges faced by flight schools in Canada through this motion.
    There are a number of excellent flight schools in Saskatchewan. I have had the opportunity to meet with instructors from one in particular, Apex Aviation in Saskatoon, to hear first-hand about the issues it is facing as an aviation training company.
     First, I would like to reflect on the specifics of the motion, as well as the importance of flight schools.
    The quality of aviation education is fundamental to the safety of the air industry in Canada. The safety record of the Canadian aviation industry is paramount not only to government, but also to those who work in the industry, especially the pilots and attendants.
    As the motion reflects, tied to the quality of the education is the infrastructure and environment in which these schools operate. The saying goes that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Equally, the quality of flight education in Canada will only be good if all the components supporting that education are good.
    One specific directive the motion outlines is to call on the transportation, infrastructure and communities committee to study “the challenges that flight schools are facing in providing trained pilots to industry”. Of particular interest to me will be to understand what specific challenges flight schools are facing that are created by the federal government. What is the Government of Canada doing or not doing that is perhaps creating those challenges?
    Should the motion pass and this matter be studied by the committee, one recent development, which I suspect is a challenge and which I plan to delve into, will be how the Liberal government's carbon tax has impacted flight schools and the cost of pilot education in Canada. As we all know, but only some of us admit, the Liberal carbon tax is a tax on everything. In fact, the government has indirectly acknowledged the negative impact its carbon tax will have on Canada's air industry.
    This past summer, at the request of the three territorial governments and northern air operators, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and the Minister of Finance agreed to exempt aviation fuel used in Canada's three northern territories. While this is an important first step, it is my hope they would also remove this tax on everything from everything else. However, my point here is that in providing this exemption, these ministers are acknowledging the harmful impact of their carbon tax.
    When a government imposes a new tax, costs for consumers inevitably go up. This means that a student wanting to obtain his or her pilot licence will ultimately bear the cost of this extra expense.
    As part of my intervention should the motion get to committee, I look forward to asking flight school operators whether they would see an exemption from the carbon tax in flight training as a positive step.
    I would like to go back to what I consider the broader issue facing the Canadian aviation industry, which is very much connected to the challenges that flight schools are facing. Again, this is the issue of a commercial pilot shortage in Canada.
    Industry experts suggest there could be a shortage of 3,000 pilots by 2025. There is not, in my opinion, one simple solution for this problem. The federal government needs to look at its tool box to see if there are policies it can implement, or stop implementing as in the case of the carbon tax, that would help alleviate the problem. Of course, matters of safety should never be compromised as this must be the government's primary concern.
    On the private sector side, the industry itself should look at what it can do to help promote commercial flying as a career option. One place to start could be putting more emphasis on introducing the idea of becoming a pilot to high school and college students.

  (1155)  

    Additionally, industry should also look at what can be done to improve a pilot's work-life balance. Often pilots' schedules begin and end at strange hours, cause pilots to be away from home for extended periods of time, as well as work over weekends and holidays.
    While in some cases these challenges might simply be the nature of the industry or be necessary due to the region in which an airline operates, nonetheless they can be a factor that a prospective pilot will consider. If they can be mitigated by the airline or the industry, they should be looked at.
    One area in which airlines and flight schools and perhaps the federal government could partner would be to review the costs and length of time it takes for a new pilot to become qualified. I want to stress that in no way am I suggesting that the safety or the quality of the training should be compromised. When I read that it can cost up to $75,000 for a pilot to reach a level of training in order to be employed as a commercial pilot, I can only imagine that this is a daunting sum for a prospective student considering this as a career path.
    1 wonder whether airlines and flight schools could, together with students, develop a partnership in order to: first, alleviate some of the financial risk and burden for the student; second, provide a guaranteed pool of qualified pilots for airlines; and finally, provide a steady flow of students to the flight schools. It should be recognized that this issue is not specific to Canada or even North America. The issue of pilot shortages is one that the airline industry is facing worldwide.
    However, coming back to the motion before us, in conclusion, I want to indicate to the member for Kelowna—Lake Country that it is my intention to support the motion. I do wish that the wording of the motion would have been more specific to studying the issue of pilot shortages and then included the need to study flight schools as a component of that overarching study.
    However, I do believe that, should the motion pass as is, the study that the committee will undertake will be a positive step in identifying solutions for our flight schools and more broadly the industry here in Canada.

  (1200)  

    There is about one minute in the remaining time for private members' business. I wonder if the hon. member for Laurentides—Labelle might wish to introduce his remarks and then will have his remaining time when the House next gets back to debate on the question.
    I see the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader rising on a point of order.

Business of the House

    Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties and if you seek it I believe you would find consent to the following motion. I move:
    That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, the recorded division on the motion for Third Reading of Bill C-79 Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership Implementation Act, currently scheduled for this evening, at 6:30 p.m., be further deferred to Tuesday, October 16th, at the expiry of time provided for Oral Questions.
    Does the hon. parliamentary secretary have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this deferral?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Deputy Speaker: The House has heard the terms of this deferral of a vote scheduled for later today. Is it the pleasure of the House to make this change and defer the vote as indicated?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    (Motion agreed to)

    The Deputy Speaker: Agreed and so ordered. That will take care of the time that we did have available for the hon. member for Laurentides—Labelle, so he will have his full 10 minutes when the House next gets back to debate on the question.

[Translation]

    Consequently, the time provided for the consideration of private members' business has now expired and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the Order Paper.

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Government Orders]

[English]

Multilateral Instrument in Respect of Tax Conventions Act

    The House resumed from September 28 consideration of the motion that Bill C-82, an act to implement a multilateral convention to implement tax treaty related measures to prevent base erosion and profit shifting, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    When the House last took up debate on this question, the hon. member for Carleton was to have a full 10 minutes for questions and comments.
    We will now go to questions and comments, the hon. member for Carleton.
    Mr. Speaker, I wonder if my colleague from Carleton could expand a little bit on his thoughts about tax evasion in general and what Canada should be doing but has not been doing in terms of trying to recover some of this lost revenue.
    Mr. Speaker, there is no question that the governing side has some expertise on this. We have a finance minister who, after increasing income taxes that took effect January 1, 2016, deliberately carried out a massive sale of shares just a month before that tax increase would take effect so that he would not have to pay higher taxes on his capital gain.
    This is the same finance minister who registered his shares for a Toronto company in Alberta, even though he lives in Toronto, so that he could pay the lower corporate tax rate in Alberta, rather than paying the same tax rate as everyone else in the province in which he lived.
    This is the same finance minister who set up a subsidiary for his family business, Morneau Shepell, in Barbados, which is a jurisdiction notorious for allowing corporations to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.
    Then, of course, we have the Prime Minister, who despite being a multi-millionaire recipient of trust fund money from his family, has accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars of speaking fees and other benefits that other Canadians could not dream of receiving.
    They are the trust fund twins, the finance minister and the Prime Minister, wanting to tell us that they are going to bring tax fairness to Canadians. It is just a little bit rich.

  (1205)  

    Mr. Speaker, as the Conservatives and particularly the member across the way want to continue the personal attacks on members of this House, this government will continue to be focused on what really matters to Canada's middle class and those who aspire to be a part of it.
    An interesting question about tax fairness is this. Exactly what did the Conservative Party do? The member in one sense is correct when he says that there was a special tax put on Canada's 1% wealthiest, something which the Conservative Party voted against. The members across the way need to be reminded of that. When it came time to have a decrease for Canada's middle class, the Conservative Party voted against that tax break.
    I wonder if my friend from across the way can tell Canadians why he voted against the increase to the taxes for Canada's wealthiest 1% and the tax break for Canada's middle class.
    Mr. Speaker, I did no such thing. In fact, according to the CRA, the wealthiest 1% paid $4.5 billion less in the first year after the government's tax changes took effect. According to the renowned and objective Fraser Institute, the middle class paid $800 more as a result of the tax changes by the government. Therefore, as a result of the tax changes by the government, the wealthiest 1% are paying $4 billion less, while a middle-class family is paying $800 more. That is the sum total of their changes.
    What did the Conservative Party do? That was my colleague's other question.
     According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, the previous Conservative government reduced taxes by $30 billion with a preponderance of that money going to low- and modest-income families. That is why poverty fell by almost one-third during the previous Conservative government and middle-class incomes were up by over 11% after tax and inflation, the largest increase of any government in the last 40 years. That is what the Conservative Party did.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to give the member for Carleton an opportunity to answer this. I am going to make the question as simple as possible to follow up on the last one, because I know he is very good at doing that during question period. He wants a direct question so that he can get a direct answer. I am going to ask the direct question that he did not answer from the previous question.
     Why did he and the Conservative Party vote against cutting taxes for the middle class and increasing taxes for the 1%? Why did they vote against it? I would like an answer to that question.
    Mr. Speaker, the answer is that we did not. The government introduced changes to the tax system that had the effect of lowering taxes on the wealthiest 1%. This is CRA data. If the government does not like the CRA, then it should talk to the officials there.
    The CRA has reported that in the first year after these tax changes took effect, the wealthiest 1% paid $4.6 billion less in income taxes while middle-class Canadians paid $800 per family more. How did they pay more? They lost the children's fitness tax credit. They lost the transit tax credit. They lost the education tax credit. They lost the textbook tax credit, in addition to the overall tax burden. That does not even include the carbon tax and the increases in payroll taxes that are expected to take effect on January 1 of this coming year and in the year following that.
    Even without those additional forthcoming tax increases, middle-class people are already paying more while wealthy people are paying less. That is what we voted against.

  (1210)  

    Mr. Speaker, I wonder if our hon. colleague could expand on the comparison between the current Liberal government and the record of our previous Conservative government.
    Mr. Speaker, Conservatives were obsessed with lowering taxes for the people who needed it the most, the working poor, the struggling middle class.
    We cut the GST from 7% to 6% to 5%. We brought in the working income tax benefit, which gives a 25% pay raise to people who earn between $3,000 and $11,000 a year. We raised the personal exemption so that one million of our poorest working people would no longer pay income tax at all. We lowered the payroll tax, which is one of the most regressive taxes that targets the working poor, our youth, and our disabled. The people who need the money the most were able to keep the most under our government.
    According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, under the Conservative government, tax reductions amounted to $30 billion and the preponderance of those savings went to low- and modest-income people. We allowed the working poor to springboard into the middle class and that is why poverty was down almost one-third while the Conservatives were in government.
    Mr. Speaker, it is like looking over there and seeing Stephen Harper all over again. That has to scare a lot of Canadians.
    The reality is that there was legislation and there were budgets. It is unbelievable that the Conservatives are trying to deny factual history. Do not let the facts get in the way of a good speech seems to be their motto.
    The Conservatives voted against tax breaks for Canada's middle class. There is no two ways about it. The record will show that. The Conservatives voted against having a special tax on Canada's wealthiest. The member talked about poverty. Through the Canada child benefit, our government lifted hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty, not to mention what we did with the guaranteed income supplement, which lifted thousands of seniors out of poverty.
    Where does the member get his facts from?
     Mr. Speaker, I am glad that the member asked that question. I get my facts from the Canada Revenue Agency, which says that the wealthiest 1% are paying $4.6 billion less under the Liberal government. Should we really be surprised, when we have the trust fund twins, the Prime Minister and the finance minister, making tax policy?
    One of them received a multi-million dollar trust fund from his grandfather's petroleum empire, and I speak now of the Prime Minister, and yet he had the audacity to take money from charities for speaking fees that all members of Parliament typically give for free. He then forced middle-class and working poor Canadians to pay for his $30,000 worth of nanny services. This is someone who has lived in government-funded mansions for the better part of his life.
    Then there is the finance minister, who registers his assets in Alberta even though he lives in Ontario, so that he can avoid paying the taxes that everyone else pays.
    What else would we expect from the trust fund twins but more breaks for the wealthy, which is exactly what the Liberal government has delivered?
    Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my friend and colleague from the east coast from the riding of Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook. It is great to see him in the House this morning.
    It is great to be back in the House this morning and to hear some of the debate. It is not so great to hear the level of discourse coming from members on the other side, the opposition benches, where they will stay for a very long time if they continue as such. I say that through you, Mr. Speaker, to my friend from Carleton, who I sit on the finance committee with.
    Bill C-82, an act to implement a multilateral convention to implement tax treaty-related measures to prevent base erosion and profit shifting, is one of those international accords we can all applaud. We can also applaud the tax cut for nine million Canadians, which brought about $20 billion in tax savings over a four-year period, or about $550 per year per couple. To a working couple benefiting from our tax cut for middle-class Canadians, $550 is a substantial amount of money. It helps pay for many activities for their kids. It helps put gas in their vehicle and to buy groceries and so forth. It is too bad the Conservatives voted against that, and I think they need to be held to account for that. It is too bad they also voted against the Canada child benefit, which benefits nine out of 10 Canadian families, representing an average of $2,300 more. In my riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge, I consistently hear about how the Canada child benefit is helping families fund their kids' day-to-day activities.
    It was also noted about what is called “refundable” or “non-refundable” tax credits. A lot of the boutique tax credits the opposition party member referenced in his comments were ones working middle-class Canadians could not take advantage of because they did not have taxes payable, and only benefited wealthier working Canadians. It is a little fact that was missed.
    Turning to Bill C-82, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said the following:
    The conclusion of this multilateral instrument marks a new turning point in tax treaty history. We are moving towards rapid implementation of the far-reaching reforms agreed under the BEPS Project in more than 1,200 tax treaties worldwide. In addition to saving the signatories form the burden of bilaterally renegotiating these treaties, the Convention will result in more certainty and predictability for businesses and a better functioning international tax system for the benefit of our citizens.
    Bill C-82 basically follows our government agenda from budget 2016. In chapter 8, we talked about making our tax system fairer, simpler, more efficient and also ensuring all organizations, enterprises and high net worth individuals follow the tax rules that everyday businesses and people in my riding follow. It is great to see Bill C-82 come to the House for approval, and it is great to see our party is shepherding this as quickly as possible.
    On a personal note, I sat on the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants user advisory council for a number of years. I understand full well the importance of working with our international partners at various accounting institutions in the world, and also with our partners for multilateral purposes, including the base erosion and profit shifting deal.
    To give an indication of the annual losses that are occurring, the OECD estimates 10% of global corporate taxing income, or approximately $100 billion to $240 billion is lost, where little or no overall corporate tax is being paid. This agreement is far-reaching. Working together in the OECD G20 BEPS project, over 60 countries developed 15 actions to tackle tax avoidance, improve the coherence of international tax rules and ensure a more transparent tax environment. Leaders of OECD and G20 countries, as well as other leaders, urge the timely implementation of this comprehensive BEPS package.
    That information comes right from the document I was reading over the weekend on the multilateral convention to implement tax treaty-related measures to prevent BEPS from OECD. I encourage my colleagues to read it because it is an interesting document.

  (1215)  

    It pertains to our economy and ensuring we have a strong middle class and that we continue to help those who are working hard to join the middle class. It pertains to ensuring that all corporations in Canada with operations in the world and vice versa, those foreign entities that operate in Canada domestically, pay their fair share, much like all our residents do in each of our ridings. With that, it is great to stand up and speak to Bill C-82.
    Taxes paid by Canadians are what fund the programs and services that make our country thrive. When the wealthy use international tax avoidance schemes to avoid paying what they owe, it is the hard-working middle class, those folks in my riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge, who foot the bill. That is unacceptable.
     Tax fairness continues to be a cornerstone of our government's promise to Canadians to grow a stronger middle class. In each of our three budgets, the government has passed laws on both the international and domestic fronts to enhance the integrity of Canada's tax system and give greater confidence that the system is fair for everyone. I encourage some of the opposition folks here this morning to look at our budgets. They are actually great documents that pertain to tax fairness for all Canadians, especially with respect to putting in resources. Over $1 billion was invested in the CRA, after those many years of cuts by the Conservatives. The Conservatives are synonymous with cuts to the system and the CRA. We want to ensure that all institutions in Canada are paying their fair share, because we know all hard-working Canadians go to work, pay their fair share of taxes, and want to make sure they create a better standard of living for their families and a better future for their children and for all Canadians.
    Since our first budget in 2016, the government has continually strengthened the ability of the CRA to crack down on tax evasion and combat tax avoidance with increased funding. This funding has supported transformational changes to the CRA's compliance programs, allowing them to better target those posing the highest risk of tax avoidance, and more effectively fight tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance.
    Today we take another step toward levelling the playing field and ensuring all Canadians pay their fair share of taxes. With this legislation, the Government of Canada is upping the ante in the fight against aggressive international tax avoidance and safeguarding the government's ability to invest in the programs and services that help the middle class and people working hard to join it. Whether it is putting in place a 10% increase in the guaranteed income supplement for our most vulnerable seniors, increasing the Canada workers benefit for those hard-working Canadians at the lower end, giving them that bump up, that extra few hundred dollars a year to make a big difference in their lives, we are doing those things while ensuring that our tax system is sound, efficient and fair for all Canadians and all Canadian organizations.
     Ensuring tax fairness is complex. I know that for a fact because I sat on the CICA user advisory council. Understanding tax and accounting language does require a certain amount of specialization. It requires that we work with a wide range of partners at home and around the world, which is what we have done with the legislation we are debating today.
     Bill C-82 would implement treaty-related measures to counter base erosion and profit shifting, also known by its acronym BEPS. This term refers to tax avoidance strategies through which businesses and wealthy individuals can use gaps and loopholes in tax rules to shift profits inappropriately to low-tax or no-tax locations. It would also ensure that transfer pricing is done fairly.
    My riding is blessed with entrepreneurs of all different stripes. The city of Vaughan has over 11,000 SMEs. We have some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country. I applaud their efforts. I meet with them regularly. I like to listen to what is working to ensure they have the skills and resources for their workers and that they can invest in their Canadian operations, and they are doing that.
    That is why our unemployment rate is at a 40-year low. That is why our growth rate is near 3%. That is why firms across the world are choosing Canada to invest in. I am proud of that. However, we also need to make sure that our social programs are funded, that investments are made in early learning, that we enhance the Canada pension plan, that we reduce taxes for nine million Canadians. Yes, we ask those who are very fortunate and privileged in our society, those who are doing well, to pay a bit more. I think that is fair. I wish my colleagues on the opposition benches would appreciate that as well.
    With that, I would like to close by saying that Bill C-82 is a good piece of legislation. It concerns an instrument that has recently been ratified by our counterparts, by many European countries, by France, Australia, Singapore, and some of the South Asian countries which have also adopted it in the last few weeks.

  (1220)  

    It is something that moves the needle forward on combatting aggressive tax avoidance and tax evasion, which is something good for our society. It makes our society fairer but at the same time allows those companies and corporations that do the right thing day in and day out to make the right decisions for their employees and their employees' families. I will end with that.
    Mr. Speaker, I will begin by telling the member about the so-called middle-income tax break. For Canadians earning $48,000, the tax break was $81.44. If we include an increase in the carbon tax and the increase in payroll taxes that people are paying at the end of the year, they are actually worse off under the current government than they were at any time between 2006 and 2015. That is just on domestic taxation.
    The member crowed about how great CRA is doing, but I am hearing from small businesses in my riding and from many of my constituents about how aggressive CRA has become in its collection process, especially against single moms who are just trying to collect their child benefit, and from small business owners who are just trying to make ends meet. It is garnishing wages and getting straight into the bank accounts.
     Is this the way the member imagines the CRA should be behaving with our small businesses, small entrepreneurs and single moms who are just trying to make ends meet? With the rising cost of living, at the end of the day, what matters is whether Canadians can make ends meet and whether businesses can actually pay their employees. CRA is making it much harder than at any point before 2015.

  (1225)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is great to see my hon. colleague from Alberta back in the House this morning. I was not here last week because I was travelling with the finance committee, but I welcome him back. It is really nice to see him, and I look forward to his getting back on the finance committee.
    As an economist, as someone who follows the markets and looks at everything, and as someone who is also raising a family, I know the number of measures we have implemented, whether it is the Canada child benefit, the 10% increase in the GIS, or the tax cut. It is interesting that some of the research put out by reputed institutions is actually quite shameful as it ignores the Canada child benefit that is going to millions of families. It is literally a $5-billion increase to families from coast to coast to coast. It is shameful as the institution named earlier should have had that in its report. It would have made a big difference.
     Yes, we have reduced taxes. The member will note that at a certain point taxes payable will become very low with the way the tax system works.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague a question, particularly since he is a members of those committees.
    Ordinary Canadians who work hard and pay their taxes find it unacceptable that the government is introducing bills that merely fiddle with minor details. Will the government review the tax system? The NDP has asked it to do so many times.
    The government is encouraging cynicism among Canadians by failing to make major changes, such as establishing a public registry of those who benefit from the tax exemptions given to the wealthiest Canadians and big business. When people hear that a company did not pay taxes one year or that it was taxed at only 1% when they were taxed at 33% or 34%, it makes them very angry.
    I am sorry, but I must remind the House that a Liberal prime minister registered his Great Lakes ships in Panama.
    Would my colleague care to comment on that?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, in the first three budgets that our government brought forward, we invested about $1 billion into CRA to ensure that we keep an eye on aggressive tax-planning techniques or programs and tax avoidance. We are fighting those things and Bill C-82 is another large step in that direction.
    As the member knows, tax planning is complex and tax measures need to be looked at. We have looked at certain tax expenditures in our budgets. For example, the multiplication of the small business tax deduction was something we eliminated so that people would not take advantage of it in ways it was not meant for.
    Our government has invested a serious amount of funds, over $1 billion, into CRA to combat tax avoidance and tax evasion. We have also looked at our tax code with the goal of simplifying it. I personally feel that we have done a terrific job. There is always much work to do on all files. That is what life is about working in government, and what we all do here on a daily basis, but we need to ensure that we continue on as such.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be back in the House this morning after our constituency week. Constituency weeks give us a chance to spend time with people in our communities, which is incredibly important work.

  (1230)  

[English]

    It is a pleasure for me to speak to Bill C-82 this morning. It is definitely another clear step by our government in moving forward on taxes and fairness. When I say fairness, it is extremely important to realize that the tax loopholes that exist need to be shut when it comes to international base erosion and profit shifting. We are seeing wealthy individuals or businesses moving their money to countries where low taxes are available to them, and Canadians lose out on those revenues. That is crucial. For example, many programs we offer to our people we will not be able to continue or improve if money keeps flowing outside the country.
    For example, there was nothing better than this week when I went around and heard veterans indicating how happy they are that our government brought back the pension for life. That is something they were asking for over a number of years that is very important to them. I hear veterans talk about the $40,000 education investment or the $80,000 four-year education investment. Those are major investments for veterans.
    I was chatting not so long ago with some youth about what our government has done thus far to help and work with them. We underlined, of course, that we doubled the Canada summer jobs for individuals. We also created the youth Canada program, where we hired 870 young people on the ground for competitive co-op programs or internships. We can talk about the 1,200 green jobs for young people under STEM, which is science, technology, engineering and math.
    This is very good legislation. It would continue our philosophy of ensuring that we can continue to offer programs for Canadians.
    This multilateral convention came about when the OECD and G20 countries worked together to look at base erosion and profit shifting. While they were doing that, they realized that many of the tax treaties that existed had many loopholes and some challenges. Trying to find solutions for each and every one in all the countries involved would be time consuming, very costly and probably not very efficient. Because of that, they brought forward this framework, this multilateral convention, which is a framework for countries to move forward quickly and effectively. Our government signed on to it on June 7, 2017, and then, of course, we tabled it in the House in January 2018.
    It is not just Canada. Over 100 countries have already signed on to this, because they know that this is an area they need to streamline so they can continue to grow and prosper.
    Talking about growth and prosperity, we need to talk about our country. Of course, we have created over half a million jobs in the last two and a half years. That is an enormous increase in jobs. We have the lowest unemployment rate in the last 40 years. That is again an indication of the strength of this country, and it puts us in a great position to continue to grow and prosper, and we are going to take advantage of it. This is an opportunity, not a challenge, in that way. We will crack down on these programs to ensure that the revenues due to Canadians are there so we can reinvest them for the middle class and for Canadians. That is our objective.
    This important multilateral convention would deal with three major fronts. The first one would modify existing tax treaties. It is extremely important to look at the loopholes and see how we can find solutions and bring them forward. However, we have also added minimum standards for the abuse of tax treaties. There is lots of abuse, so how we deal with those abuses is key. First are the loopholes. Second is finding tools or rules to reduce those abuses. That is what countries will have to find solutions for.
    I want to talk about the minimum standards that focus on dispute resolution and arbitration. We have to make sure that there is dispute resolution where the objective is to find a solution. Instead of being very costly and fighting in court, we need to find a way to work together to find solutions that are acceptable and that ensure that Canadians receive the funds they are supposed to and can reinvest those funds in social programs for the middle class and less fortunate Canadians.
    Tax fairness is our objective, and this would move another step closer to what we have introduced throughout the two and a half years the Liberals have been in government. I have to talk about the fact that we cut taxes for the middle class and raised taxes for the wealthiest one per cent. There were two objectives. One was to reduce taxes for the middle class and to increase those for the most fortunate, which is extremely important.
    When I speak to young families in my riding about the Canada child benefit program, they recognize how important that investment is in their families for their children. It is essential. It is very touching to hear young families share that information, and it is not just in my riding but right across the country. In the riding of Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, which I represent, $5.2 million per month—yes, everyone heard me correctly, $5.2 million per month—goes to young families. That represents $60 million a year. If we multiply that by 338 members, everyone can see how much investment our government is putting into this important area.
    This is Small Business Week, so we should be talking about small businesses and what our government has done to continue to improve the environment for small businesses to prosper. When we came into power, the tax rate was 11%. We reduced it to 10.5%, then 10%, and in April, we will reduce it once again to 9%. What does 9% represent? That 9% means that with the federal, provincial and territorial taxes together, it will be only 12%, which is the lowest in the G7 and one of the lowest in the OECD as well.
    In conclusion, the money we invested, over $1 billion, in budgets 2016, 2017 and 2018 was to enhance a new program that will allow us to track closely any transactions of $10,000 or more that move about monthly. How big is this? It is very big. A million transactions per month is 12 million transactions of $10,000. We work closely with other countries to make sure that we share the information about foreign banking.
    I am extremely happy to be here today to speak to this bill that will continue to allow Canadians and our government to support the middle class and ensure that there are jobs and programs as we move forward in a strong country.

  (1235)  

    Mr. Speaker, I find it interesting that the government chose the member for Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook to stand up. I will remind those listening, and those in the House, that his family was on the receiving end of a lucrative surf clam quota given by the former fisheries minister. Subsequently, the Ethics Commissioner did an investigation on this.
    If that is not enough, our hon. colleague is waxing on about how great the government is, when its own Minister of Finance registered a Toronto-based company in Alberta. Is that not a version of tax avoidance? Could our colleague explain, in his own words, why he feels the Minister of Finance did that?

  (1240)  

    Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to set the record straight. I think it is extremely important.
    On this side of the benches, we do not need permission to speak for the party. We are not chosen because it is time for us to speak. We request the right to speak on any bill, and we do so, and that is how we do business. On that side, if members have to play games to get access to speak on behalf of their residents, that is pretty bad. That is why I am on this side and not on that side, that is for sure. I guarantee you that.
    I believe the member opposite should spend a lot more time focusing on bills being debated in the House so that he can bring forward the perspective of the people he represents on these very important bills.
    Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that we are talking about tax avoidance. I will say, in fairness to the Liberal government, that it has made a massive effort to go after tax avoidance. However, what it is perpetuating in the House is a fraud in not being honest about the fact that who the Liberals are going after are single mothers. They are not going after offshore tax havens. Ask any member of Parliament who deals with child tax benefits, and they will point out that the government is targeting single mothers. I know families that have never gotten child tax benefits, because they cannot prove that they actually live in this country. They will make single mothers jump through every single hoop imaginable and will never ask the same of the Bronfmans or of any trust fund friends of the Prime Minister.
    The idea that the government is serious about offshore tax havens is a joke, because we can see how it targets child tax benefits and targets single mothers. If the member had any dignity, he would stand up and say that what is happening against single mothers and young families across this country is unconscionable.
    Mr. Speaker, there is always lots of energy behind my colleague's questions, and I appreciate that very much. He must keep in mind that since the Liberals took power, we have invested $1 billion in the CRA to put systems in place to better track and identify the loopholes and the wealthy individuals or companies that are not paying their fair share of taxes and to make sure that they pay those taxes. We will continue to do that. We have hired 250 more auditors to make sure that CRA is doing the job it needs to do.
    The member should keep in mind that the government is focused on tax fairness and investing in the middle class.
    Mr. Speaker, this is a very esoteric topic, and I think it makes sense to talk about tangible examples.
    I spent this past weekend in Saskatoon at the Saskatchewan NDP convention. One of the largest companies in that city is Cameco, which mines uranium in the northern part of the province. For many years, it had a contract with its own subsidiary, in Zug, Switzerland, to sell uranium for the rock-bottom price of only $10 per pound. The uranium was not being consumed in Switzerland. The whole point of this arrangement was to transfer profits from Canada to Switzerland, avoiding hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate tax both federally and in the Province of Saskatchewan.
    Could the member for Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook explain to us how Bill C-82 would help to stop companies from engaging in that type of tax avoidance?
    Mr. Speaker, I do not know if my colleague should share the bad news with the company or if he wants the CRA to do so, but if it is not paying its taxes, Bill C-82 would force it to pay them. The member may deliver the bad news if he wants to, or I will, but the company will pay.
    The sharing of information between companies has increased, which is extremely important. As well, with the new tracking system that will be put in place, we will be able to ensure with regard to those who are moving money monthly, $10,000 or more, or $1 million a month or $12 million a year, that we can assess the risks and focus on them and find solutions. We will be able to see if a lot of activity is happening with one company or 10 companies.
    Objectively, Bill C-82 would ensure that companies and individuals that need to pay their taxes will pay them so that the Canadian government can—

  (1245)  

    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Calgary Shepard.
    Mr. Speaker, I am glad to be back this Monday to talk about what I think is a tax treaty for tax treaties. I can think of no drier subject to debate in the House other than maybe ways and means motions.
    Bill C-82 looks at base erosion and profit shifting. It is a problem that tax regimes and tax administrators across different countries are increasingly starting to grasp as a result of the digital age now upon us and the ability of companies to create sub-companies and larger holding companies to shift around money quite easily, as well as IT, or intellectual property. They are able to shift the work of employees in a digital sense, not in a physical sense, to other countries to take advantage of lower taxes and tax loopholes and tax avoidance schemes that currently are legal in some ways, but in other ways go against the spirit of tax treaties that legislatures have introduced across different countries.
    The Tax Justice Network has done some estimates and provided an aggregate of different statistics from the OECD, World Bank and IMF of how much money we are talking about in base erosion and profit shifting. It could be an excess of $200 billion that developing countries are losing out on from that money being shifted around. This is revenue that could be taxed and possibly provide social services that we all live off of. We need police forces and EMS. Also, this place does not run for free. We have to pay the clerks. We have to pay all of those who provide administration for this building. Some of the lowest estimates are as low as $100 billion while some of the higher one go up to about $300 billion. Large multinational corporations are typically best able to take advantage of different tax treaties and tax treatments for the type of work they do. This is happening mostly because the digital age is upon us and the ease with which companies can hire experts in this field.
    Let us be honest. I am not a tax lawyer. Neither are the vast majority of the members in the House. I am humble enough to say this. Whenever I see a tax bill before the House, it takes me an extra long time to go through it. When I have to file my taxes every single year, it takes me the better part of an afternoon to do it. Dealing with tax treaties and their tax implications for multinational corporations and how these could be used is not my area of specialty. Those companies know that. Multinational companies are able to hire high-paid accountants, high-paid lawyers and high-paid lobbyists to ensure that they get the best possible tax treatment for their businesses. In some cases it may be justified to avoid a situation of being double taxed.
    In Bill C-82, a lot of the provisions in this tax treaty for tax treaties will get rid of the double taxation of some companies. However, many simply abuse the rules. There are 78 jurisdictions that will be covered by this and 1,200-plus matching treaties that will be looked at. Countries are joining this process every day.
    This was not started by the current Liberal government, let us be clear. It began under the previous Conservative government as a result of multinational bodies starting to look at this matter. I have heard several members on the government benches say this is part of the their initiative to improve tax collection somehow. They are taking credit for something that others started. The government repeatedly takes credit for things that others have done, either things that civic society has done or charities are doing on their own, or that a previous government has done or a provincial government is doing. The government takes these as its own, claiming victory that somehow these meet the campaign promises that the Liberals were elected upon.
     I have an example that I found in a package that the OECD made available on its website. I want to read it into the record because it is an example of base erosion and profit shifting.
    In the example set out in the video, company A, which resides in the Cayman Islands, wants to provide a licence for the use of intellectual property to company C in South Africa. South Africa, however, has not concluded a tax treaty with the Cayman Islands and would thus be entitled to apply its domestic withholding tax rate on outbound royalties. I hope that everyone is still with me on this. However, a European country has concluded a tax treaty with South Africa that reduced its withholding tax rates on royalties. Also, this country does not itself levy a source tax on royalties. Therefore, company A establishes a letterbox company in this European country and diverts the royalty payments through the letterbox company to reduce the tax withheld by South Africa. In this example, the principal purpose of establishing this arrangement, including the letterbox company, was to obtain the lower withholding tax rate available under the tax treaty between South Africa and the European country.

  (1250)  

    If everyone is still with me, that is what we call “base erosion profit shifting” in its simplest sense. Large international companies like Starbucks do this. Every time we go to Starbucks to get a triple spiced pumpkin latte, or whatever, that company engages in this type of behaviour. I am sure I am going to get a phone call from one of its lobbyists. Specifically, it is a popular thing to do with intellectual property and trademarks, particularly in the arts and cultural industries. At a certain size we are talking about large sums of money. In these cases, the trademarks and intellectual property have a very high value. A company's reputation and branding are how it differentiates itself from its competitors.
    This matter is international. We also have it happening in a certain way domestically. We have a government that has been pursuing single moms, small business owners, and many residents in my riding who have been trying to make ends meet. The government wants to force them to provide documentation proving they are not engaging in tax avoidance or welfare fraud of some sort.
    Other members have said that the Alberta registered corporation that the Minister of Finance uses is really a form of tax avoidance. It is not illegal in any way in Canada to go outside a jurisdiction where the work is being done in order to register in a lower tax jurisdiction, Alberta in this case, to avoid paying more taxes.
    It is done domestically, which is why the Standing Committee on Finance has been doing a statutory review of the proceeds of crime and terrorist financing act. The reason I bring it up is that in the process of this study, the members of the committee would have had an amazing opportunity to learn from FINTRAC and other agencies of the government that are dedicated to tracking down illicit funds and suspicious transactions and activities.
    What we do domestically has implications internationally. We know that business owners are engaging in aggressive tax planning, making use of tax firms and tax consultants, such as KPMG, PWC and all of the large firms out there. KPMG is notably the one that has made the news most often with its relationship with the Canada Revenue Agency. These companies are aggressively planning businesses' taxes to help them avoid paying their “fair share”. It is not a term I like to use, but it is one that has been used quite often in the House.
    I wish we spent more time talking about how to get companies and Canadians to create more wealth. We spend an awful lot of time in the House trying to figure out ways to tax people and corporations in order to try to squeeze and get more water out of that stone in some way, but we do not really spend a whole lot of time talking about how to make sure that in the free market economy, where free people are working in their own best interests and figuring out how to make ends meet for their families, we can simplify and improve their lives. We are not doing that. We have been doing the opposite for the past three years. From this so-called middle-income tax cut, a Canadian who is earning $48,000 is saving $81.44 off their taxes. If we include carbon taxes, increased payroll taxes, depending on the provincial jurisdiction, where they are probably paying higher provincial taxes as well, costs are rising, including the costs of everyday essentials.
    There are think tanks that say that the number one item on the average family's pay slip is taxes. They are paying more for taxes than for the essentials of life: rent, food, electricity or natural gas. For the first time ever, the average family is having to pay more in taxes than for anything else. We do not spend enough time talking about how to create more wealth and to broaden the base that has been a way of ensuring that more Canadians and corporations are at least paying a little bit into the system. When we pay into the system, it makes us part of it. There is a certain ownership in what the Government of Canada and what the Parliament of Canada do on our behalf. When we have to put a little money into it, we really do care what is being done with it.

  (1255)  

    The Liberals said in their campaign platform that a so-called tax hike on the top 1% would bring in $3 billion more. The Department of Finance then produced an estimate, saying it would bring in an extra $2 billion. The government actually lost money in its first year; $4.5 billion to $4.6 billion less money being brought in. Those are not my numbers. Those are Statistics Canada and CRA numbers, which say the government is bringing in less money than it did before.
    The top 1% of income earners pay 20% of all taxes. The top 8% of income earners, including every member in the House, every cabinet minister, are paying half of all taxes right now. That is an incredible amount, just in the share of national revenue, that we are asking an increasingly smaller group of people to pay. It also speaks to the administration and the idea of taxing the rich, fleecing the rich, on a personal income side, which has been a total failure of the government.
    Now we have Bill C-82, in which the Liberals want to go after multinational corporations and big business, and I am all for it. It is a fantastic idea. We have a tax treaty of tax treaties. It should be done right. I am glad we are at this point where we can talk about it.
    However, where are we talking about the wealth creation to get small businesses and entrepreneurs to start creating more jobs, to want to invest? We had the aborted attempt by the Minister of Finance's department, and by him as well, to tax small businesses more because they were not paying their fair share. I heard loud and clear from general practitioners and small business owners in my riding who were just trying to make ends meet. They wondered how they could keep growing their small family businesses and eke out an existence to pay for the schooling for their kids and to continue living.
     Calgary continues to have the highest unemployment rate in Canada. The reason for that is that the Government of Canada is in no way interested in ensuring that the energy industry of Alberta continues humming along. Most high-income earners come from Alberta. The Government of Canada has made changes to the tanker ban on the coast of British Columbia and the introduction of Bill C-69, which has passed through the House and is in another place. Every regulatory and legislative measure that the Government of Canada has been able to use to constrict and put the energy industry of Alberta into a pretzel, it has done it. The Liberals have succeeded in reducing our incomes. They have succeeded in undermining the ability of Albertans and Alberta families to make a living. They are not helping to create the wealth that they want to tax. We should be starting the conversation with how we can ensure people can create wealth for themselves and the Government of Canada can tax a reasonable amount from them to pay for common, public services that we all get to enjoy.
    For multinational corporations, what we are talking about in this tax treaty is base erosion. They are using a digital economy to shift around so-called profits, and this is primarily used by big businesses. The ability of small businesses to do this is very limited because they need access to high-paid tax lawyers, lobbyists and accountants who know the details of these tax treaties, who can read the different tax treaties between different countries and take advantage of specific provisions in them.
    After the paradise papers and the Panama papers, I think there is a general understanding among parliamentarians in both houses that something has to be done. It is not just in North America and in Canada that base erosion and profit-shifting for large multinationals is getting out of control. It is happening in European and developing countries as well. With the digital economy and the ability to cite their so-called work locations almost anywhere they wish, it has become profitable for companies to engage in this type of tax avoidance.
     We also have to remember that they are trying to avoid taxes, sometimes punishing taxes, that limit their ability to continue working, to continue generating a profit for shareholders. If they are co-operatives, it limits their ability to provide a return to the members of the co-operatives. It goes back to the notion of whether we are creating an opportunity to create wealth. Instead, we usually talked about how we can tax more.
    Another example is that during the whole cannabis decriminalization and legalization, the discussion primarily in the public was about how much taxes the Government of Canada would generate through the legalization provisions it had introduced. Oftentimes we did not talk about the potential for wealth creation through these businesses, through legalizing this one sector of the illegal economy, the black market that already exists.

  (1300)  

     The United States will not be a party to these international tax treaties that Canada and many other countries have, to this multinational effort on the base erosion of profit shifting, although it would be in its best interest to do so because it stands to gain quite a bit from it as well.
     Canada's competitiveness is further eroding. We do not participate in measures such as this. The provisions in our federal corporate income taxes and the tax rates in comparison to those in the United States make us not competitive. In Canada, one of its champions for natural gas just cannot continue doing business in Canada at this pace. It costs it $100,000 in carbon taxes for every well drilled in British Columbia. That is a rig hand, an extra person on every rig who could be hired who did not need to be.
    The Government of Canada crows about how great it is doing on the energy file, such as the LNG project that was approved. However, it does not talk about the $70 billion to $75 billion in projects that did not go ahead. It does not talk about the fact that this project, the LNG project, was approved in 2014. Businesses took until 2018 to decide to go ahead with it. They only went ahead when they got exempted from the carbon tax.
     Large multinational corporations have been exempted from the domestic carbon tax that everyday Canadians will have to pay, every small business owner who owns a convenience store and every gentleman I meet who drives my Uber. Usually in Calgary it is a form of an oil and gas war. The drivers of my Ubers will pay higher carbon taxes, will pay a higher price on their gasoline, will pay a higher price on their natural gas to heat their homes. They will have to pay for that, but multinational corporations will not have to pay. That was the inducement, on top of other inducements, necessary to get them to invest in Canada.
    I am all for Bill C-82, what I call the tax treaty of tax treaties, the driest subject we could possibly talk about. However, let us go back and talk about how we can get people to create more wealth. I do not mean the government-directed creation of wealth. I see this all the time in news releases, that the government created 100,000 jobs. It created no such thing. This place is not capable of creating jobs. People out there create jobs. They start businesses. They may start a family business. They go out and find a product or a service that somebody out there wants to buy. They fill a gap, a niche in the free market. That is popular capitalism. It is capitalism for the people. We do not talk about it enough in this place.
    In this place what we often talk about is select industries that deserve a tax break or special treatment of some sort. I am glad we are going ahead and ensuring that base erosion and profit shifting stop happening as easily as they have been.
    Let us go back to talking about how we can get junior oil and gas companies in Alberta to start drilling again, to start hiring again. Probably 10% to 15% of the people who live in my riding are either unemployed or underemployed. They are maybe working a day or two a week. This is years after the commodity prices, the so-called grand WTI went down. We do not even get that in Alberta. Last week, we were told that WCS, a standard Canadian mix of bitumen and dilbit, was selling at zero. Companies were paying others to take it for 8¢ to 18¢. They had to pay someone to take it because there was so much supply.
     We rarely talk about all of these problems. We posture, which is pretty standard from that side of the benches. I do not hear us talk about wealth creation. How can we get people to create their own wealth? Then, at that time, the Government of Canada can come by and ask for a reasonable share of that amount.
     However, for multinational corporations, I hope this treaty will be the starting point for reducing their ability to rob from the public purse, which should be justly paid to the Government of Canada for the provision of services that we all enjoy.

  (1305)  

    Mr. Speaker, after listening to the member across the way, I have to think he is living in a different time and in a different place. He should be well aware of the facts, those being 600,000 new jobs created and the lowest unemployment rate in the last 40 years at 5.9%.
    We hear about companies opening and hiring people. Canadians are doing well. We just signed the USMCA with the United States and Mexico. We are moving forward in a positive way. There is the $40 billion project, the biggest infrastructure LNG agreement to be done in the history of our country. That member must be living in a different time and in a different place. We have the fundamentals in place.
     I do not understand. The member's party was not able to get it done. His party took us into a technical recession, but we have come out of that and we are doing very well.
    I would ask the member to get on board and see how things are progressing in a positive way for all Canadians, including the middle class.
    Mr. Speaker, the member talked about the lowest unemployment rate in all of Canada. That is an aggregated number across all provinces. He did not talk about my home province of Alberta, which still has the highest unemployment rate and Calgary continues to have a high unemployment rate and an underemployment rate as well.
    The LNG project that the member mentioned was approved under the previous Conservative government in 2014. Businesses took four years before deciding to go ahead because the price of doing business here was just too high. That deal comes from the exemption from the carbon tax, a carbon tax that people in British Columbia have to keep paying, while this multinational corporation, the conglomerate that will be a part of it, is exempted from it.
    If things are going so well that they need to provide exemptions through the carbon tax, I guess that is the member's standard for the Liberals doing such a great job.
    The member for Mississauga East—Cooksville also failed to mention the $100 billion-plus in new debt that has accumulated under the Liberal government's watch, which future generations will also have to pay.
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals consistently talk about how they are going to work hard for the middle class and those trying to join it.
    I had a case in my office just last week involving a young mother with four children. She home schools the children and they have lived pretty healthy lives. She had to submit 143 pages of documents to get a child care tax benefit, and she still does not know if she will get it.
    Rather than suggesting that they are working hard for the middle class, I suggest the Liberals are burying diabetics and people looking for child care benefits in red tape and paperwork. Would the member care to comment on that?
    Mr. Speaker, the member's question is the same question I raised with the member for Vaughan—Woodbridge about the CRA's behaviour toward taxpayers and the way it goes about reassessing and auditing Canadians.
    The member mentioned a single mom who was trying to get certain benefits that were owed to her by the Government of Canada. I had the exact same situation in my riding. It involved a single mom who had great difficulty in proving to the CRA that she was living with her kids. No paperwork satisfied the individuals who she was dealing with at the Canada Revenue Agency.
    I had a business owner who in 2016 had his entire business crushed because he made an accounting mistake involving all of the wages he owed. He admitted to the CRA that he made a mistake and he was trying to fix it. The CRA shut down his bank account and took all the money out of it. He could not pay his employees. This was a small business with 18 employees.
    I have serious problems with the way the CRA is behaving.
    The member mentioned diabetics. Last year the Canada Revenue Agency went after diabetics. It refused type 1 diabetics from being eligible for the disability tax credit. This was one of the reasons I introduced my private member's bill to look after them and make it impossible for the CRA to do it again.
    We in the House have to get into the weeds of the administration of taxes by the CRA. There is a culture problem over there that needs to be resolved.

  (1310)  

    Mr. Speaker, over the last three years, this government, in particular the Minister of National Revenue, has taken action on the issue of tax avoidance. For the first time in many years we have seen a serious commitment of close to $1 billion in total set aside to hire the auditors who are necessary to look at ways in which we can prevent tax avoidance. The member spends a lot of his time talking about ensuring that a sense of fairness applies.
    This government put a special tax on Canada's wealthiest 1% and took many other tax initiatives in a relatively short time span.
    All in all, even though we hear a lot of negativity from the Conservative side, as a government we have delivered in many tangible ways for Canada's middle class on the issue of tax reforms, including tax avoidance, tax breaks for the middle class and so much more.
    The member might like to make a more general comment with respect to the many things that have been done by this government in a relatively short time span.
    Mr. Speaker, there is a Yiddish proverb that goes, “A quarrel is like an itch; the more you scratch, the more it itches.” I am glad the member satisfied the itch I had, by bringing it back to just talking about more of the generalities rather than specifics of this tax treaty of tax treaties bill.
    Yes, the government has done some things. Again, Bill C-82 is the government's attempt to go after multinational corporations that are taking advantage of base erosion and profit shifting, doing things bordering on aggressive tax planning.
    What I am pointing out, though, is that in the CRA's drive to try to collect more taxes from overseas corporations, that same zest and zealotry is being applied to small business owners in Canada, to single moms simply trying to apply for child benefits, and to type 1 diabetics, whose only crime really is they wanted to apply for a disability tax credit. I went through this over the summer, when I was trying to figure out how to apply for the disability tax credit for my youngest daughter. It was a process where I was thankful I had spent a year drafting a private member's bill, because I am not sure I would have been able to do it all by myself. The complexity of complying with CRA rules and regulations at times makes it impossible for average Canadians to be able to file their taxes.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Calgary Shepard for bringing up the challenge posed by intellectual property, where it is very difficult for tax authorities to determine where it is located and how much it is worth. Now, there is a potential solution to that, which is called “formulary apportionment”, essentially allocating a company's profits based on the actual location of its sales and payrolls. We are familiar with the system in Canada because the Canada Revenue Agency does not allow companies to move their profits around between provinces based on transfer pricing. It actually requires them to allocate their Canadian profits based on where they actually employ people and sell their goods and services.
    Since we are talking about an attempt at international co-operation through Bill C-82, does the member for Calgary Shepard see prospects to apply formulary apportionment at the international level?
    Mr. Speaker, I am not a tax lawyer, and this is one of those very technical questions I am not able to answer. Under the permanent establishment definitions that are part of this international initiative that Bill C-82 would implement, there might be an opportunity to ensure those types of definitions are included. Outside of that, it would have to be the hybrid mismatch arrangements and the anti-treaty abuse provisions, where I guess one would find these intellectual property rights and trademark provisions in order to ensure that type of behaviour is clamped down on.

  (1315)  

[Translation]

    We have time for one brief question or comment.
    The hon. member for Jonquière.
    Mr. Speaker, I have a comment to make.
    I would like to take a step back and remind my colleague that it was the Conservative government that started making massive cuts to the Canada Revenue Agency, or CRA, back in 2012. The consequences of those cuts are still being felt today, and Canadians are the ones suffering. The upshot is that in terms of taxation, the CRA is not as efficient as lawyers, accountants and consultants in the private sector. This shows that the cuts had a catastrophic effect.
     I would like to hear my colleague's thoughts on the fact that it was his party, the Conservative Party, that made these cuts in 2012.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her question.
    I do not think the cuts made in 2012 or in any other year are directly linked to the culture of the organization in its current form. In the interim, the CRA has received several hundred million dollars to hire more staff to hassle moms who need support or information from the CRA, as well as entrepreneurs and people who are just trying to find out what information the CRA needs so that they can pay what they owe. I think the organizational culture bears no relation to the amount of funding it receives.
     There are thousands of CRA employees today who are more than capable of administering the Government of Canada's tax system. The issue of culture and work practices is much more important.
    Mr. Speaker, as the spokesperson for the people of Timmins—James Bay, I am very proud to be here today to take part in the debate on Bill C-82, which seeks to implement measures to prevent base erosion.
    When I look at this bill, I have one simple question: where is this government's plan to close tax loopholes? Workers across Canada pay their fair share of taxes, but wealthy people, corporations and Liberal cronies can use tax havens. It is unacceptable. Tax havens have undermined our country's ability to develop a fair and equitable economy.

[English]

    I want to talk about this conversation we have been having this morning where the Liberals talk about tax fairness and closing loopholes. I do not often agree with the Liberal Party, but I will say that the Liberals have been very committed to closing tax loopholes. However, they are not committed to closing them on the friends of the Liberal Party. They have been using the massive resources of the CRA to go after single moms, young families and small businesses.
     We see one of the great and I think really disturbing political frauds in the last few years. The government says again and again it is committed to getting money to young families through the Canada child tax benefit, but what it does not say is that it is clawing that money back through a whole series of measures, which are actually cruel in their implementation, and targeting people who have no capacity to defend themselves.
    I could give a few comparisons to show how unfair this system is in terms of how the Liberals look after the friends of the Liberal Party.
     Let us talk about the need to deal with the tax avoidance system. The problem with the super rich not paying their part has a massive impact on the erosion of our economy, and our ability to make investments and to build an economy that is fair and just across this country. We are learning now that tax avoidance is upwards of $3 billion a year, but there may be $70 billion to $240 billion being held offshore and out of access to the Canada Revenue Agency.
    What is the Canada Revenue Agency's response to such massive tax avoidance? Well, we saw how the government made a deal with KPMG after it was found out that KPMG was involved in establishing scams for those who had $5 million to blow. Now, not many people out there in television land probably have $5 million to spare, but if one is friends with the Liberal Party it is likely one may and could be set up in offshore tax havens, which is cheating.
    When a small business in my region gets caught out not paying its taxes, the government brings the full weight of the law down on it. There is no mercy. I have never seen mercy from the CRA, ever. If one is not paying one's taxes, that is the way it has to be. However, why would the government make an agreement, why would the Prime Minister make an agreement, with KPMG, people who are tied to the Liberal Party and people who are tied to getting federal contacts, to give them an amnesty for avoiding taxes? That does not happen if one is a single mom with an overpayment on EI.
    Let us talk about Stephen Bronfman, who is a very close friend of the Prime Minister. He is the Liberals' top fundraiser. In fact, he is so good at raising funds, he helped raise $250,000 in two hours for the Liberal Party. I mean, they just travel in different circles than the rest of us Canadians do. When Stephen Bronfman gets named in the Panama papers, one would think that would be a serious question for the legitimacy of the friends of the Prime Minister and the need to deal with tax loopholes and unfairness. However, the Prime Minister came out and said immediately that there was no investigation needed. He was a friend of his. Know what? No investigation happened.

  (1320)  

    My young daughter, who just starting working and makes minimum wage, is being audited for the second time. She was audited last year and is being audited a second time. I told her to get used to it. A young student trying to pay her rent might get audited by the CRA all manner of times, but I would never call the CRA to say she's my daughter and does not need to be audited. That would never happen. However, the Prime Minister went public, said Stephen Bronfman is a good guy and does not need to be audited, when he was named in the Paradise papers, and it never happened.
    Who else was named in the Paradise papers? There was Leo Kolber. This was about the trust that was set up for the Kolber family. For those who do not know and are not part of the Laurentian class, Leo is a Liberal senator and a very well-placed Liberal bagman. He was named.
    Paul Martin was named, but I guess that should not be surprising. Paul Martin made his name by keeping his ships offshore so he did not have to pay taxes. Paul Martin was named in the Paradise papers. Jean Chrétien was named in the Paradise papers.
    Then, of course, there is the finance minister. Morneau Shepell had its Bahamas subsidiary. What would anyone be going to the Bahamas for, one of the notorious tax havens? Of course, there was lots of tax work to do there and Morneau Shepell had its subsidiary in the Bahamas. When the government says it is going to take special measures to deal with the Bahamas, set up with the finance minister, does anybody in any place in this country think it is going to be looking after the little guy? I do not think so.
    It keeps going on and on. There is the Minister of Infrastructure. There was a report in Le Journal de Montréal about the Minister of Infrastructure and the transfer of payments to shareholders of a company in, wait for it, the Turks and Caicos. Folks back home who work at the mill, at the mine or at Tim Hortons might wonder why someone would have shares in the Turks and Caicos and wonder where it is. It is well known for offshore finance operations. Maybe we will be talking, if we have enough time, about the privatized infrastructure bank that was set up. I bet a lot of people from the Turks and Caicos will be very interested.
    I am not being mean to just the Liberals. We can talk about the famous Nicole Eaton, a senator. When a bunch of documents were released from the notorious Bahamas, it turned out that she was a director of a corporation called Mount Bodun Limited and said she had no idea how she was named as a director of this corporation. That stuff happens to me all the time. I find out I am a director of a corporation in the Bahamas. Shrug, shrug, how did that happen? I guess it is the world that they are travelling in.
    Let us go back to the illustrious upper chamber. Of course, we could not have this discussion about offshore tax havens without talking about Liberal Senator Pana Merchant. It was said that her husband “moved nearly $2 million to secretive financial havens while he was locked in battle with the Canada Revenue Agency”, and she gets paid until she is 75 by Canadian taxpayers to represent our interests.
    What happens is really interesting. When rich people like these move assets around outside the hands of the CRA, what happens? Nothing happens. That speaks to the fundamental problem we are seeing, the unfairness, because ordinary Canadians pay their fair share of taxes. They work really hard, they are diligent and they pay their fair share. Therefore, when we see the super rich and the friends of Laurentian and Liberal class not paying their share, we have a problem, unless one thinks that the CRA is the most relaxed, laid-back organization and does not like making life difficult for anybody over taxes.
    Let me give an example of what happens for people who are not super rich. Let us talk about what happens for the working poor and how they get treated. Let us also talk about the Canada child tax benefit, because again the great fraud that is being perpetrated by the government day in, day out is this great miracle of the child tax benefit that everyone gets and brings everyone out of poverty. What Liberals do not say after they make those announcements is that they use the resources of the Canada Revenue Agency to claw it back, and the vast majority of cases coming through my office right now—and I have talked to many members of Parliament—are single moms being denied the child tax benefit because of the loopholes that they are being forced to jump through. What are some of those loopholes?

  (1325)  

    A young father came into my office. His wife left town and left him with the kids. He did not know where she went. He had to quit his job to look after the little children. He was cut off from his child tax benefit because he could not prove where she was. At Christmastime the neighbours were putting together food hampers for the family because the family had nothing.
    It is not just single moms. A young couple was told after getting the funds to go back and prove who they were, prove that they were married and where the children were, even though they had always had the children. Single moms are being told they are being cut off because they cannot prove they have their children. They say the children go to the local school, but the government will not accept report cards as proof anymore. It is not fair to make a single mom jump through those kinds of hoops when we would not make Stephen Bronfman do it.
    I know a wonderful young Cree mother who has the most beautiful little girl and in six years that mother has never received any child tax benefit. Why? The government does not believe she actually lives in the country. She is not living in the Turks and Caicos. She is living in social housing. She is working and raising her child but she is not getting a single dime from the government. Officials tell her she has to go to the doctor or the dentist, but that is not good enough. Then she has to go to the landlord. They even told her to get the mailman to sign something confirming where she lives. She has paid her taxes every single year.
    There are mothers who do not have proper housing, so they are couch surfing. When they are couch surfing, CRA says their address indicates that they are staying with their folks and it is cutting them off. CRA will make single moms jump through all kinds of hoops, but would not make anybody whose name is in the Panama papers go through that.
    One of the other things the CRA has come up with is that for people to get the child tax benefit, they have to show proof of insurance on their residence and on their children. The people I represent such as single moms in poverty do not have insurance. I guess if someone is the finance minister and cannot remember he owns a chateau in the south of France, he probably thinks it is great: “We should just find out what people's insurance is.” What kind of idiotic loophole is it, telling a poor mother to prove she has insurance for her kids and maybe the CRA will give her the benefit? If she had insurance, she probably would not be so desperate to get the child tax benefit.
    The government talks about the middle class and those wanting to join it. If it were a Liberal drinking game and the Prime Minister gave a speech, he would be bombed after the first five minutes if he had to respond every time he said the middle class and those wanting to join it. I do not want to be mean to the Prime Minister, but I think he and I grew up in different middle classes.
    When I was young and starting out, my wife and I started a small business. We barely made ends meet, but we paid our taxes. We paid our employees. We worked really hard. I was really surprised when the Prime Minister talked about small business in the 2015 election. He worried they were being used as millionaire tax dodges.
    For two terms I was on the Tri-Town and District Chamber of Commerce in northern Ontario. I did not know anyone sitting around that table who were there because they were establishing millionaire tax dodges. Small businesses are the backbone of the economy and people work really hard. It seemed to me such a disconnect that the Prime Minister said we would have to watch small businesses because they are millionaire tax dodges, but then of course, he would know because he set up three numbered companies to handle his income, his investments and also the money he was getting as a member of Parliament to do public speaking so it would lower his tax rate. From his perspective, everyone else must be doing it, but other people are not doing it.
    What do we need to do? We need to start addressing tax fairness in a coherent manner. We need to review the overall tax system. The last time it was reviewed was in the 1960s. We are in a very different world now in terms of tax avoidance, in terms of corporations not paying their share. More and more the cost of social services is being downloaded onto municipalities. Single households and people in the middle class pay a very good chunk of taxes.

  (1330)  

    We need, number one, an overview of the tax system. We need a really clear sense of where tax avoidance is happening. I was really surprised to see that the government fought so hard against the Parliamentary Budget Officer over the simple question of identifying where the tax bleeding is happening. If we can see where the tax bleeding is happening, we can start to make changes.
    Then we need a government that will spend more time going after the superbillionaires who are hiding their money in the Turks and Caicos than going after single moms. That should be a fundamental principle that all members in the House, regardless of their political ideology, agree with. Young people, single mothers and young families who are trying to get by should not have to bear the kinds of burdens CRA is putting on them, as though they were criminals for being entitled to this money.
    We should be putting those resources into actually tracking and going after those who use tax havens. For those who use tax havens, like corporations, there has to be some kind of punishment. An example is KPMG. We have to start saying that if people are using international tax havens and are found guilty of not paying their fair share, they will be disallowed from getting federal contracts for a period of, say, five years. That would send a message that we are serious. Many companies in this country play by the rules and do everything that is asked of them and more to make sure they are compliant. The outliers that do not play by the rules should not be rewarded for shipping resources offshore to avoid their basic responsibility, which is to ensure we have a tax system that works so that we can make the investments needed to grow a more fair economy, a more just economy, an economy in which people can live the kinds of lives they deserve to live in this country. A coherent tax policy is important for this.
    As much as I am okay with the fact that we are going to sign a bunch of tax agreements with a bunch of countries, which is all right, I want to know when we are going to start getting serious about going after these tax havens and the Canadians who use them.

  (1335)  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise just to clarify a few points that were addressed to the House in the previous presentation.
    When the member opposite spoke about requiring proof of insurance for people to qualify for the child benefit, he mentioned that the Canada Revenue Agency asks for proof of residency. The Ontario health card is the insurance they are talking about. It is not a private scheme; it is a public scheme. That health card, which provides a person's address and identity, is one thing that people can use to verify residency so that people can qualify for the Canada child benefit.
    Additionally, I am disturbed, as I am sure every member of the House is, to hear of aggressive tactics by the Canada Revenue Agency that put, in particular, single moms into harm's way. We are committed to working with members of the House. If members are hearing about these sorts of situations, they should be resolved as quickly as possible, because the Canada child benefit, which is one of the best social policies to have evolved in this country in the last 40 years, is there for children and they should ensure that parents can get access.
    There are complicated situations involving divorces where the two parents are in a dispute and both claim the child benefit. Those things have to be resolved. However, I give the assurance to the House and to Canadians listening that the government works very quickly to resolve those issues, and it would be happy to take inquiries from members of Parliament to ensure we resolve issues in the best interest of the children in this country.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that answer. I wonder why he is not the CRA minister, because we never get those kinds of answers from the present minister.
    I would like to just clarify that if a health card were sufficient, the CRA would not be telling single moms to go find a doctor. They are. Many families in the north do not have doctors, so the CRA tells them to go to a dentist. If the health card is sufficient, they should not have to jump through those other hoops. They should not have to get proof from their landlord or the school. Children's report cards say where they go to school, but the CRA is not accepting those either.
    What really concerns me is when there are issues of domestic abuse. I talked with my hon. colleague earlier about the situation where a man has skipped out of town after being abusive, and the woman is supposed to find out where he is living to prove he has left. She should not have anything to do with him.
    These are serious questions, and I am hearing from my constituents and staff about this more and more across the board. To me, this is a structural problem at the CRA that needs to be addressed across party lines.
    Mr. Speaker, the intervention by our hon. colleague from Timmins—James Bay was well-thought-out and had a lot of key points.
    I too find it very rich that we have, as has been said before, a trust fund duo with the Prime Minister and the finance minister, a finance minister who registered a Toronto-based company in Alberta. I am wondering why he would have done that.
     I know of a number of incidents where the CRA has gone after single mothers and small businesses yet lets big business get away with things. One who comes to mind is Irvin Leroux in my riding, who actually took the CRA to the highest court in our country and won his case, showing that the CRA owed Canadians a duty of care. The process absolutely bankrupted him, but it was a case of the little man, just an everyday Canadian, winning.
    I am wondering if our hon. colleague from Timmins—James Bay has more examples of where the CRA has been heavy-handed. Perhaps it should be turning its attention to the folks who are in big business, which this bill really looks to tackle. I wonder if our hon. colleague has more local examples from Timmins—James Bay.
    Mr. Speaker, this is not something we should be putting on the front-line staff of the CRA as though they have vendettas, because we deal with them all the time and they want to work with us. The impediments are higher up. The impediment is the policy, and the policy is set by the government.
    My hon. colleague has a really good example with respect to small business. We have dealt with small businesses in hard times, when things start to fall behind. An example would be the prices in the forestry sector, when the cash flow was not coming in and they were falling behind. However, these are long-term businesses, sometimes two and three generations, that need a deal. They are not trying to cheat the system. They are trying to stay afloat. If we do have issues where people are cheating, they end up paying the full amount. I tell them from the get-go that if they are cheating, they will pay the full amount.
    On the issue of the child tax benefit, I have dealt with young mothers who have just given up. It seems to me the fundamental problem is that the CRA makes it so difficult. People have to leave work and get an appointment with their doctor. The doctors do not want to get involved in family matters, especially if there has been a divorce. People have to go to the school to get proof. There is this whole long list of things that the CRA is demanding when the parents already have the children.
    I will end on this final note. There are people who were getting the benefit and then it was cancelled arbitrarily and they were told that they had to prove they have children. How could they have been getting the money for having children and then be told that there is no proof that they have children? This happened before Christmas. We were making Christmas hampers to help families actually have Christmas because the Liberal government cut off single moms and young single families at Christmastime. How is that possible in this country right now?

  (1340)  

    Mr. Speaker, we are all familiar with our own statistics of the Canada child benefit. I am wondering if the statistics are correct for Timmins—James Bay, that 8,900 families receive benefits for a total amount in the 2016-17 year of $64 million. Would that be accurate? What percentage of that number does my friend think would be challenged?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my hon. colleague what he is saying. Is he saying that because money comes into Timmins—James Bay the parents who are not getting it should keep their mouths shut and be thankful to the government? To me, that is not acceptable. I do not care how much money comes into the riding, if people are entitled to this money and they are not getting it, then they are being ripped off by the government.
    The government acts like the money is coming out of its own pockets. The government acts like it is the benevolent one. It has the gall to tell individual MPs that because this money has come into their ridings they should be happy. I am happy when single moms in my riding have what they are entitled to. This is not a gift from the Liberal Party. This is what they are entitled to. When the CRA is targeting, sometimes upwards of 60% of my cases, single moms to prove that they have children, and the member says that as all this money is coming in we should be happy, no, we will be happy when every mother gets what she deserves.
    Mr. Speaker, the member for Timmins—James Bay makes a great act of standing up for people in his riding who are affected by CRA, so I had to look up how he voted on Motion No. 43 by my colleague from Calgary Rocky Ridge. That motion aimed to give the Canada Revenue Agency an enforceable duty of care. Had it passed and our colleague's initiative gone forward, the member's constituents would have had recourse, a greater ability and greater tools to demand that they be treated properly and fairly by the government. I do not know whether that member remembers the vote. It took place in September 2016. He voted against that motion by my colleague from Calgary Rocky Ridge.
    Could the member explain to the House why, after so passionately defending the situation of single mothers who are being attacked by the CRA, he voted against Motion No. 43 by my colleague from Calgary Rocky Ridge?
    Mr. Speaker, it is fascinating that the party that has never stood up for the working class in this country had a motion that was going to fix everything. No, it is the party that has undermined tax fairness in this country from the get-go. The Liberals and Conservatives have done this back and forth because they are representing each other. What we need to do is to start going after fiscal parity, the issue of offshore tax havens. We have never seen, and will never see, the Conservative Party stand up on that. It will never happen, but we will continue to fight for that.
    Before we resume debate and go to the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, I will let him know that we will need to interrupt at about the 15-minute mark, of the 20 minutes that he would usually have for his remarks, for the usual statements by members followed by question period. He will have, of course, his remaining time when the House next gets back to debate on the question.
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.

  (1345)  

    Mr. Speaker, before I get to my prepared remarks, I just cannot let this moment with my colleague from Timmins—James Bay pass. It really is incredible to see the other parties, the Liberals and New Democrats, stand up as if they are champions of the underdog, yet when they have an opportunity to pass real, substantive measures that would hold government accountable, that would require government to treat people consistently with fairness and respect, every time they have a chance to put their votes where their mouths are, they are found wanting. Given the passion of that member today, I could not believe that he would have voted against the motion I referred to, so I had to look it up and confirm that it was only Conservatives who voted in favour of imposing a duty of care on the Canada Revenue Agency.
    If people at home believe that the Canada Revenue Agency in its interactions with taxpayers should have a duty of care, there is only one party in the House that has stood up for that. It was the Conservative Party. There is only one party that said that single moms who are being attacked by the CRA and small businesses being pursued by the CRA for money they do not owe deserve to have a duty of care imposed on the CRA for their protection. This was a great initiative put forward by my colleague from Calgary Rocky Ridge. He said that a study should be done at committee to ensure there was an enforceable duty of care between the Canada Revenue Agency and individual taxpayers, which seems pretty reasonable, and that necessary steps be taken to make the provisions of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights legally enforceable, such as by amending the Canada Revenue Agency Act to establish a duty of care.
    It was a motion, not legislation, so it would have set the terms for a study to begin this process. Therefore, crucially, my colleagues across the way had no excuse to vote against it on a technicality. It was to set out direction for a study by committee to move forward with bringing about this duty of care. However, they voted against it. They had a responsibility to put their votes where their mouths were, and they did not.
    The holier-than-thou member for Timmins—James Bay says that he is standing up for his constituents in the House while voting against their interests. When I asked him about his vote on Motion No. 43, he had to talk about something completely unrelated, saying that the Conservative Party does not stand up for this, that, and the other thing. That is exactly the response we would expect from someone who realizes his votes in the past do not match the comments he has made.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in the House to speak to Bill C-82. This is a good opportunity to clarify international tax rules, more specifically those concerning base erosion and profit shifting.
    It is no secret that many multinational corporations use a multitude of strategies to avoid paying higher taxes. They shift their profits to a territory with a lower tax rate in order to avoid paying taxes. This strategy of shifting profits from one territory to another, as well as other tax evasion strategies, costs the Government of Canada billions of dollars.
    This multilateral convention seeks to mitigate this problem by clarifying in which territories profits must be declared and taxed. The hope is that with these new rules, multinational corporations will no longer be able to shift their profits from Canada to another territory to lower their tax burden.
     It is important to note that this convention will not affect the small businesses that this Liberal government has often attacked. This bill will have more of an impact on multinational corporations. The Liberals may have realized that they cannot keep attacking small businesses if they want to win the next election, but I am not holding my breath.

  (1350)  

    In the past, the Liberals called small business owners tax cheats. They said they were wealthy people who set up businesses to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. The Liberals created new regulations that increased the tax burden on small businesses, and they justified these measures by saying that they wanted the system to be fairer.
    I do not understand how making small business owners pay more taxes will make the system fairer. Perhaps the Liberals can justify these attacks by saying that small business owners are tax cheats. I believe that the Liberals are not going to change their minds about small businesses.
    The multilateral convention will also eliminate double taxation. It will clarify which territory has the right to impose a tax on which profit. The Conservative Party has always been in favour of simplifying the tax system. We believe that this convention is a good first step. Of course, we have a lot more work to do to simplify our tax system, but if we can start with the international tax regime, that is a good first step.
    Since attaining the objectives of the convention requires the exchange of information with the competent authorities of other territories, this convention also includes a provision on that.
     There will be strict rules on how this information can be used and when it must be protected. This information is crucial to the fair enforcement of Canada's tax laws and the enforcement of this convention and the tax laws of the signatory countries.
    These reforms are also important because simplifying the international tax system will strengthen relations between Canada and the other signatories. Clearer international tax rules and laws will facilitate trade between countries. When countries trade, they prosper and are more likely to maintain peace.
    I am pleased to see that for now, the Liberals have decided to stop going after small business owners and ordinary Canadians to pay for the Liberals' reckless spending. I am pleased to see that they have decided to go after national corporations' taxes instead. Unfortunately, this is not usually the case. Usually, the Liberals go after small business owners, the middle class and those who are working hard to join it.
    First, they increased taxes on small businesses, claiming their owners were wealthy people who were trying to avoid paying their fair share. Now, they want to impose a carbon tax, and it is not because they want to protect the environment. This tax will do nothing for the environment. It is because they have to find some way to pay for their reckless spending. The Liberals keep going after average Canadians so that they can pay for their irresponsible deficit. The Liberals do not seem to understand that they should not be going after Canadian workers and small businesses that are already paying their fair share.

[English]

    Having explained some of the particulars of the bill, in the remaining time I have before question period I want to make a few other observations about how the philosophy of this bill relates to other actions of the government.

  (1355)  

    We are discussing the issue of tax avoidance. One observation that should come out of this is that those who have greater wealth and a greater capacity to hire lawyers to study the rules often have a greater capacity to engage in activities that involve tax avoidance. When we have a more complicated tax system, it generally advantages those who are well off, because they have the capacity to develop mechanisms for avoiding those taxes. However, in this party, we advocate simple, clear, low taxes that ensure that the benefits of low taxes are accrued equally, and in particular that we deliver tax relief to those who need tax relief the most. That has always been the record of Conservatives.
     When we were in government, we lowered the lowest marginal rate of tax. We lowered the GST. We raised the base personal exemption. We increased the amount of money that a Canadian could earn before they pay any income tax. All of our tax measures were targeted on the income tax side and were targeted at those who needed the relief the most. We are very proud of that record. However, what has the current government done? It raised taxes in the name of helping the middle class. In reality, it never closed the tax loopholes that are advantageous for themselves and their friends.
     When it comes to the capacity for tax avoidance, let us talk about the carbon tax. A single mother who is barely getting by cannot afford the home retrofits that might be required if she were to make a substantial change in the carbon tax she was paying. How about giving people the capacity to make decisions that are good for themselves and the environment rather than punishing people who actually do not have the capacity to make those kinds of investments?
    There are some Canadians who have the wealth and resources to take advantage of things like the programs that the previous Ontario Liberal government put in place that really directed resources towards the wealthy, towards those who could take advantage of those opportunities. When we think that a climate policy is hitting people with a stick instead of giving them a carrot, if those are people who cannot actually change their situation because they do not have the capacity to participate in tax avoidance types of activities by changing aspects of their lifestyle, then they are stuck paying higher taxes.
    We see consistently with the government, through aggressive tax policies, increases in taxes that perversely target those who can accept those increases the least. Meanwhile, when Conservatives were in government, we cut taxes and we have always targeted tax relief to those who need the tax relief the most.
    The hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan will have seven minutes remaining for his remarks when the House next gets back to debate on the question and, of course, the usual 10 minutes for questions and comments.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[Translation]

Élaine Zakaib

    Mr. Speaker, it is under sad circumstances that I rise today to speak about Élaine Zakaib, who was laid to rest this weekend. A former MNA for Richelieu, Ms. Zakaib had deep roots in the Sorel-Tracy region. She got involved in politics first and foremost to boost our local economy. As Quebec’s minister of industrial policy, she made supporting small businesses and start-ups her main focus.
     I had the opportunity to campaign and work regularly with Ms. Zakaib. As an MNA, she was engaged, dedicated and always available to serve her constituents. On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I would like to thank her for her dedication. Her passing reminds us that the fight against cancer is far from over and that we must continue to actively support research to find a cure.
     I offer my condolences to her entire family.

[English]

Frank Maine

    Mr. Speaker, it is with deep sadness that I inform the House of the passing of Frank Maine. Frank was a member of Parliament from 1974 to 1979, where he served under former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Later, he served on Guelph city council as a councillor. Frank leaves behind his wife, Mary-Eva, of 60 years this coming May, his sons and daughter and their families. Frank and I never had a conversation where he did not mention how proud he was of his kids and their latest accomplishments.
    He was educated at Queen's University, with a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in engineering chemistry, and at Churchill College, University of Cambridge, with a Ph.D. in organic chemistry. He developed new materials and processes and was involved in patenting some of his work and commercializing the bioplastics, some of which have his name.
    Frank and I got to know each other though his service to Holy Rosary Parish, where he always had time to pitch in or display his beautiful orchids. Frank spent many years in leadership positions with the local Knights of Columbus, as well as helping with faith development groups.
    May Frank rest in peace. He has fought the good fight, and has finished the race.

  (1400)  

[Translation]

Rive-Sud Sheltered Workshop

    Mr. Speaker, today I would like to pay tribute to individuals in my riding who put human dignity first. The Atelier occupationnel Rive-Sud is a social economy enterprise with 75 workers, whom I salute, and who are supervised by an experienced team. It offers a workplace adapted for adults with intellectual or physical disabilities who would otherwise have difficulty entering the workforce.
     We have a labour shortage in Chaudière-Appalaches, and this sheltered workshop provides companies with customized subcontracting services that save them significant time and money. Above all, it creates a role in our community for exceptional people who contribute to our collective prosperity and wealth.
    With its president, Thomas Potvin, and his board of directors, and its incredible executive director, Claude Vaugeois, and his team of professionals, the Atelier occupationnel Rive-Sud is now in new premises.
     I wish to say thank you and congratulations to the Atelier occupationnel Rive-Sud. Keep up the good work, everyone.

[English]

Suminder Singh

    Mr. Speaker, last week, Surrey lost an exceptional teacher in a tragic car accident. Suminder Singh, known as Mr. Singh by his students, was an exceptional teacher, mentor and musician. His impact on his students and fellow teachers at Tamanawis Secondary was profound. He was the head of the math department, an award-winning teacher, and on weekends, an amazing tabla player. He lived a very disciplined, graceful and elegant life. He taught, he served, he sang, and in between he worked out.
    This Saturday, thousands of students and teachers arranged a vigil in his honour, shared stories of how he made math relatable, how his door was always open and how he extracted the best of his students. He will be deeply missed by his friends, students and colleagues. We know we will continue to see him through his three beautiful children Jeevan, Jodhan and Kiran. I miss my friend.

James Bay Highway

    Mr Speaker, the James Bay Highway was built in the 1970s to make way for hydro development in James Bay—Eeyou lstchee. It is 620 kilometres long and is an important corridor for thousands of people who use it every month. It badly needs repair. I have had the pleasure of driving that bumpy and broken highway many times to visit the communities in my riding.
    The highway is so infamous that Manuan Lafond, a musician from Chisasibi, has written a song in honour of all the people who use this road. The song, James Bay Highway Blues, is written in Cree and English, and the chorus goes, “It is so bad, this road, so horrible.” Manuan says that it is a wonderful feeling to write Cree lyrics and to sing his heart and soul out. I invite everybody to get to know northern Quebec a little more by supporting musicians like Manuan, and safely driving the James Bay Highway to visit beautiful Eeyou lstchee.

[Translation]

Armenia

    Mr. Speaker, I have just come back from a successful visit to Armenia, which included the Sommet de la Francophonie and bilateral discussions. There was a moving ceremony at the Armenian Genocide Memorial.

[English]

    I want to thank the Prime Minister for announcing the Arnold Chan Initiative for Democracy in Armenia. This includes initiatives to assist Armenia strengthen its democratic process. The initiatives include building the capacity of youth in Armenia through inclusive debates, protecting the education rights of Yazidi girls and women, increasing participatory governance and inclusion policies of political parties, strengthening women's political participation and promoting environmental education in public schools in Armenia.
     Through the Arnold Chan Initiative for Democracy in Armenia, Arnold's commitment to democracy will be honoured and democracy in Armenia will be strengthened.

  (1405)  

Pakistan

    Mr. Speaker, Asia Bibi is a loyal law-abiding Pakistani Christian woman who faces trumped-up blasphemy charges and a possible death sentence. Pakistan's blasphemy law is in urgent need of reform. It is often used to target minorities in personal disputes.
     Asia's case has gotten attention because two prominent Pakistani politicians gave their lives to advocate for her. Shahbaz Bhatti and Salmaan Taseer were both killed because of their calls for blasphemy law reform and their advocacy for Asia. These men were heroes who gave their lives out of a true patriotism rooted in their humanism. They did not die in vain.
    In Asia's case, Pakistan's leaders have a clear choice. The world is watching. They cannot expect to be welcomed into the community of nations on favourable terms while putting innocent people on death row. All forms of violence against the innocent are extremism by definition. This case will be a defining moment.
     Will Pakistan's leaders release this innocent woman and reap the benefits of our strengthened relations or will they will choose extremism? For Asia's sake, and for the sake of all Pakistanis, I hope they make the right choice.

Scouts Canada

    Mr. Speaker, today we welcome scouts from across Canada to Parliament.

[Translation]

     For more than 100 years, Scouts have helped millions of Canadians go on adventures, make new friends and, most importantly, learn life lessons. As they progress, Scouts become more independent, capable and poised for success.
     In the House, there are many members who are fantastic examples of what Scouts can accomplish.
     Our young people are keeping the fire burning, and Scouts are positioned to be leaders of their generation.

[English]

    I would like to thank Scouts Canada and l'Association des Scouts du Canada for their wonderful work with our youth. As we see a new generation of scouts embark on their journey, we are inspired to see these young people become the future leaders of Canada.

Tobique—Mactaquac

    Mr. Speaker, I am so pleased to stand in the House today to congratulate not one but two students who live in my riding of Tobique—Mactaquac who have been selected to participate in this year's page program.

[Translation]

     First, there is Pascale Gagnon from Grand Falls. A member of my riding’s youth council and a graduate of Polyvalente Thomas Albert, she will continue her education in the honours bachelor of commerce program.

[English]

    From the Fredericton area of my riding, Hongliang, otherwise known as “Leon” Yu, is working toward his joint honours in economics and political science. Leon graduated from Rothesay Netherwood, an International Baccalaureate World School, located in the Saint John area of New Brunswick.
    My sincere congratulations to both Pascale and to Hongliang Yu, to their proud parents and their families. Full marks go to Paul McLellan Head of School at Rothesay Netherwood and Pierre Morin, directeur, Polyvalente Thomas-Albert. They make New Brunswickers proud.

Freedom of Speech

    Mr. Speaker, the great prime minister John Diefenbaker famously said, “I am a Canadian...free to speak without fear...free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong.” This freedom is foundational to our society. It is the right on which all other rights depend.
     I was shocked and disturbed to see two recent videos of young women here in Canada violently assaulted for peacefully expressing their pro-life beliefs.
     For the sake of our democracy we must be able to speak our minds and express our personal convictions about difficult and controversial subjects without fear of violence and with a willingness to listen and debate peacefully.
    If we allow this politically motivated violence to go unchallenged, we delegitimize our society. I condemn these attacks and call on all members in this place to do the same and stand up for the rights of Canadians to freely express their deeply held convictions.

  (1410)  

National British Home Child Day

    Mr. Speaker, between 1869 and the late 1930s, over 100,000 child migrants were sent to Canada from the British Isles. Motivated by social and economic forces, many believed that these children would have a better chance for a healthy, moral life in rural Canada. The children were first sent to distributing and receiving homes, then to farmers in the area. Many were poorly treated and abused.
    September 28 marked the first National British Home Child Day. I was privileged to commemorate it by joining president of the Ontario East British Home Child Family, Judy Neville, in honouring Dave and Kay Lorente, founders of Home Child Canada, and current Nepean residents. In 1991, they formed Home Child Canada and were a driving force behind the growing awareness of the British Home Child history in Canada.

Inco/Vale

    Mr. Speaker, in my hometown of Port Colborne there are only a few lasting reminders of times past and even fewer that look forward to our future. I am proud to rise today to honour the International Nickel Company, or Inco, now known as Vale, as it celebrates 100 successful years in our city.
    From its construction to the boom of the post-war years and up to the present day, the impact of Inco/Vale continues to be felt throughout the city of Port Colborne. Anyone who lives in the city has a family member or knows someone who works or has worked at Inco/Vale. As children, we knew that when the 9 p.m. whistle sounded, it was time to go home.
    Through the years and all of the ups and downs, Inco/Vale has stood the test of time. For many of us, it is a source of pride and happy memories. At the same time, its continued commitment serves as a beacon for the future.
    I congratulation Inco/Vale on being innovators, employers and responsible corporate citizens over the past 100 years and for many more years to come.

Government Policies

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has failed. He failed on the economy by making the middle class pay more, while the wealthiest pay less. He failed to start construction on the Trans Mountain. He failed to secure our borders. He failed to put returning terrorists behind bars. He failed to stand up to Donald Trump in trade negotiations. He failed to stop the flow of illegal guns used by gangs. He failed to put the needs of victims ahead of the wants of criminals.
    Sadly, it is Canadians, not the Prime Minister, who will bear the consequences of these failures. Canadians have told us that because of these failures, life is more expensive for them, our communities are less safe, it is harder for them to find opportunity and they are less confident in their government.
    Canadians deserve better. In 2019, the Conservatives will fix these Liberal failures and offer Canadians a government that they deserve.

[Translation]

Small Business Week

    Mr. Speaker, this week we are celebrating small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy and the strength of our communities. I am proud to come from a family of entrepreneurs and to have experienced what it is like to be an entrepreneur and to work very hard for customers, partners and employees. I am also very proud to have been president of a business association whose members were mostly small businesses.
     Small businesses provide the goods and services we all need, and they create millions of jobs across the country. Few people work harder than small business owners. They deserve a government that also works for them. Our government has done a lot to help small businesses succeed. We recently lowered the small business tax rate to 10% and will lower it again next year to 9%.
     I congratulate entrepreneurs and wish everyone a happy Small Business Week.

[English]

Okihcitâwak Patrol Group

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to an extraordinary group of volunteers, the Okihcitâwak Patrol Group, or OPG.
    This summer, when a young girl was almost abducted in Saskatoon, these community members decided enough was enough and stepped up to reclaim their neighbourhood. From patrolling schools and parks to needle cleanup to just being a reassuring presence and friendly face, OPG is on the front lines doing its part to make the Pleasant Hill neighbourhood a safer place for everyone, especially children.
    Okihcitâwak means warrior in Cree. OPG members are also committed to building cultural and neighbourhood pride, with events like impromptu round dances in the local park. OPG founder and leader Colin Naytowhow and Lanny McDonald, second in command, are working with the Saskatoon Police Service to provide volunteers with training and support.
    Please join me in thanking Colin and Lanny for their leadership and all the members of OPG for stepping up to make our communities safer. They are our neighbourhood heroes.

  (1415)  

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

    Mr. Speaker, today is national Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, a day to remember mothers and fathers who lost their babies by miscarriage or stillbirth or infant loss.
    The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada estimates up to 20% of pregnancies end in a miscarriage.
     Over the summer, my family said goodbye to our youngest daughter, Lucy-Rose, after only 39 days. I want to thank the staff at the neonatal intensive care unit, the doctors, the paramedics, the police, our First Alliance Church members and the many, many neighbours who dropped off food and comforting cards and gave us hugs at the door. I also want to thank the many parliamentarians who sent my family kind notes and expressed their sorrow.
    Too often we prize a long life of achievements over a life well lived, filling the hearts of those around us with warmth and compassion. On this day, let us grieve with the parents who have lost a child, as well as the siblings who lost a lifelong best friend.
     The next time members are home, they should hug their kids. If they are old and have their own, hug them anyway, even if they protest. Life is too short and none of us knows when our hour will come.
    God bless you all
    I thank the member for Calgary Shepard for his statement. I think he can see that the love and support of the parliamentary family are with him and his family.
    The hon. member for Pontiac.

[Translation]

Community Mental Health Organization

    Mr. Speaker, as you know, October 10 was World Mental Health Day.
    I recently had a chance to visit La Maison le Ricochet, in the community of Sainte-Cécile-de-Masham. This organization works to improve the quality of life of people struggling with mental illness by providing rehabilitation and reintegration services and supporting their loved ones.

[English]

    For over 28 years, Le Ricochet has helped people across the Outaouais who are struggling with mental health issues get back on their feet. In addition to residential services, their day centre offers different programs, from support groups and a carpentry workshop where they make the beautiful furniture sold in their boutique.

[Translation]

    I want to thank executive director Marc Beauchamp, clinical coordinator Anne Doiron, and the entire team of staff and volunteers for their dedication and professionalism. Their outstanding work makes a big difference in the lives of many Canadians, especially in the Pontiac region.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, we learned last week that Kurdish forces had captured Islamic State jihadists who have Canadian citizenship. These jihadists have committed atrocities. The media is reporting that government officials have reached out to these individuals and hope to help them return to Canada.
    Could the Prime Minister confirm that this government reached out to these terrorists instead of making sure they were brought to justice?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, what I can confirm is that this government takes the safety of all Canadians seriously. We work very closely with our law enforcement agencies and their partners around the world to ensure that the evidence is gathered on individuals who commit serious crimes. They will face the full consequences of the law in Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, we already know that that is not the case, because it has been months, and the Prime Minister has failed to introduce any measures to hold those who have already returned from fighting with ISIS to justice. He is offering poetry classes instead of keeping these individuals behind bars. These are people who have committed some of the most heinous atrocities imaginable.
    If the Prime Minister has failed to hold those who have returned from fighting with ISIS responsible already, why is he reaching out and trying to bring more home?

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, in 10 years of the previous government, it failed to take any action against any member who had committed terrorist acts in a foreign land. Since coming into power, our government has incarcerated four individuals.
    We have complete confidence in the RCMP and our national security officials to do their job to keep the country safe.

[Translation]

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, it is clear that the Prime Minister’s renegotiation of NAFTA has not put Canada in a better position. Donald Trump’s officials said that Canada gave very graciously with its concessions.
    Not only has the Prime Minister agreed to increase access to our market for American dairy producers, but he has also decided to limit our exports to other countries.
    Why did the Prime Minister accept an agreement that would put our exporters at a relative disadvantage?
    Mr. Speaker, we refused to capitulate and we got a good deal for Canadians. The agreement will protect billions of dollars in daily trade and support millions of jobs in Canada. The agreement enjoys broad support, whether it is by union leader Jerry Dias, provincial premiers or former ministers from all political parties.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is odd that the minister used the word capitulate, because that is exactly what the government did. It capitulated on access to Canada's dairy market. It capitulated on pharmaceuticals, agreeing to Donald Trump's plan for higher drug costs for Canadians. It actually agreed to limit Canada's dairy exports to other countries so that American farmers can fill that space.
    Could the minister explain? Did she get in return for all those concessions an end to steel and aluminum tariffs?
    Mr. Speaker, when we were in the heat of the negotiations, all we heard from the Conservatives was that we were being too tough, that I was being too tough, and that we should capitulate. Now that we have a—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. The hon. member for Edmonton West will come to order, and so will others. We need to hear the answers as well as the questions. I had no trouble hearing the question. I should be able to hear the answer equally well.
    Mr. Speaker, now that we have a deal, they have discovered their Monday morning courage.
    We were tough when it mattered. We stood firm, and we got a good deal for Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, I can assure the minister that nobody thinks that the current government was too tough with Donald Trump. Nobody. Nobody thinks that it was too tough on autos when it accepted a cap. Nobody thinks that it was too tough when it agreed to limit Canadian dairy exports to other countries.
     It seems like the minister had some Sunday night panic as the Liberals agreed to concession after concession. Did they get an end to steel tariffs after giving all that away?
    Mr. Speaker, what we are hearing from the Conservatives is déjà vu all over again. They wanted us to capitulate on NAFTA. We did not. Now they want us to capitulate on steel and aluminum. We will not.
    The U.S. has imposed illegal and unjustified tariffs. Canada responded with perfectly reciprocal dollar-for-dollar retaliation. The solution is for both sides to lift their tariffs, and that is what we are insisting on.

  (1425)  

[Translation]

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, the climate crisis is real, and it carries a heavy cost.
     Last week, IPCC experts called on all governments to act very quickly to try to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.
     The effects of climate change are already being felt. In my region, the Lower St. Lawrence, we have already experienced two summers of drought. In fact, according to the UPA, last summer was the worst drought in 50 years. We must act now.
     Will the government agree, yes or no, to support our request for an emergency debate on the IPCC's findings?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians know very well that we must fight climate change, and that is exactly what our government is doing.
     We have a real plan to address climate change and to grow the economy. Our plan is to make polluters pay. We will continue to work with Canadians to ensure that we have strong economic growth, but that we also take concrete action to fight climate change.
    Mr. Speaker, instead of patting itself on the back, perhaps the government could acknowledge that it adopted the same greenhouse gas reduction targets as Stephen Harper's Conservatives.
    The Conservatives deplore the carbon tax, and the Liberals have not been able to come to an agreement with the provinces.
    A Nobel Prize in economics has been awarded to two researchers who demonstrated that carbon pricing is an effective means of fighting climate change. We should be able to move forward.
    Our planet cannot wait for us to make a decision. We must set aside the half measures advocated by the government.
    What good are government plans if they are not ambitious enough?
    Mr. Speaker, it will come as no surprise to my hon. colleague that we do not share his pessimism about our ambitions. We have an ambitious plan.
    In the 2015 election, Canadians agreed that we need a coherent plan to fight climate change and to focus on economic growth. That is exactly what our plan is doing.
    We will continue to work with all Canadians to assure them that our plan is working and that we are going to take serious action on climate change while focusing on the economy.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are feeling the effects of climate change, and things will only get worse if we do not act. In my province of British Columbia, wildfires threatened our communities for months, and last week, the UN panel on climate change said Canada's targets were woefully inadequate. Of course they are, because the Liberals took the Harper Conservatives' targets, and we are not even going to meet those.
    Will the Liberals listen to the report and act now to protect the environment, or is the proof from 6,000 scientists still not enough?
    Mr. Speaker, our government shares our hon. colleague's appreciation of the importance of taking robust action to deal with the challenge of climate change. Our government has said consistently, since before the 2015 election, that we would have a plan to tackle climate change and we would do so in a way that also fosters clean growth and a growing economy.
     My colleague referred to the difficult circumstances of the wildfires in British Columbia. We have seen floods in New Brunswick and Atlantic Canada. We have seen tornadoes in the national capital region. All of these instruments tell us that we must take action on climate change.
    Mr. Speaker, this is not a response that is robust. Six thousand scientists have said that the government's plan is simply not enough. The Liberals failed to eliminate the fossil fuel sector and spent billions of public money on a pipeline. Climate change is the single greatest threat the world is facing. It is an emergency that we need to deal with now.
    Following the UN's report, Canadians need us to come together and do our part to prevent catastrophic climate change. It is very simple. Will the Liberals do the work and agree that we need to have a debate about this in the House?
    Mr. Speaker, I can assure our hon. colleague and all members of this House that our government is taking real action to deal with the challenge of climate change.
    Canadians know that the time is urgent in terms of concrete steps governments can take in partnership with industry and citizens. That is exactly what our government has proposed to Canadians. We believe that the measures we have proposed over the last number of years and that we are in the process of putting into place are good for the Canadian economy, will create good middle-class jobs and will also deal with the challenge of climate change head on.

  (1430)  

[Translation]

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, on Friday, Vice-Admiral Mark Norman's lawyer filed a request with an Ottawa court to gain access to a number of government documents that she claims are necessary to properly defend her client. Unfortunately, the government refuses to be transparent and make those documents available.
    Will the Prime Minister explain why?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, my mandate as President of the Treasury Board involves expenditure management and a challenge function to ensure that the integrity of government procurement practices is followed every time.
    When we formed government, we inherited a situation where the previous government had negotiated a $668 million sole-sourced contract. We had a responsibility at that time to do our due diligence, to pause and to ensure that we were doing everything we could to protect the interests of Canadian taxpayers.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, Vice-Admiral Norman is a man who courageously served Canada all his life. It is unfair and unacceptable for the Liberal government to fail to give him every opportunity to defend himself. The documents that have been requested include communications between an Irving lobbyist and the Liberal member for Kings—Hants, who coincidentally enough is also the President of the Treasury Board.
    My question is simple. Did the President of the Treasury Board get clearance from the Ethics Commissioner to lobby on Irving's behalf?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, our government is delivering for Canadians by equipping the navy and the—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Mr. Speaker, the government is delivering for Canadians by equipping the navy and the Coast Guard with the ships they need in order to serve Canadians. It would be inappropriate to comment on ongoing court proceedings on this or any other matter.

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, there are very troubling reports about leaks that were coming from the Liberal government in relation to the Davie shipbuilding deal. The National Post reports that the Treasury Board President personally intervened and tried to kill the deal in favour of his friends at Irving.
     That minister's connections to the Irving family are well known, so a simple question: Did the President of the Treasury Board get clearance from the Ethics Commissioner before he lobbied on Irving's behalf? We would appreciate an answer from the President of the Treasury Board.
    Mr. Speaker, again, my mandate as Treasury Board president is to ensure due diligence in the expenditure of public funds and to perform a challenge function, particularly in terms of the procurement process. The previous government negotiated, on the eve of an election, a sole-sourced contract worth $668 million.
    I am sure the Conservatives understand the need to perform some level of due diligence for a new government, having formed government, to ensure the proper expenditure of taxpayer dollars. That is exactly what I did: my job.

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, his job is not to lobby on behalf of the Irvings. My question was whether he was cleared by the Ethics Commissioner before he did that.
    What we know about Mark Norman from all accounts is that he was a trusted and dedicated public servant who put his life on the line and served our country with distinction. However, today the Prime Minister and the Liberal government are singling him out with serious allegations of criminal misconduct. Vice-Admiral Norman deserves a fair hearing, but, shockingly, the PMO is blocking requests to hand over relevant documents. Why is the Prime Minister's Office not providing these documents? Who are they protecting?

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, it would be inappropriate to comment on any court proceedings that are under way at this time, but it is important to understand and underscore how important it is to have a procurement system that actually serves the benefit of Canadians. That is exactly what we are doing.

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons is very clear when it says, “A Member shall not use his or her position...to influence a decision of another person so as to further the Member's private interests or those of a member of...her family”.
    The member for Ottawa West—Nepean launched a blitz of robotic phone calls as an MP, asking her constituents to vote for her husband for city council. Do the Liberals agree this is a flagrant breach of the Conflict of Interest Code?
    Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, the member has commented on this issue. We take the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner very seriously. We interact with that office and have the utmost respect for it. We will continue to do our important work.
    Mr. Speaker, the Ethics Commissioner has announced that his office is considering investigating the Liberal member for Ottawa West—Nepean. Ironically, the member sits on the ethics committee. Does the minister believe that the member for Ottawa West—Nepean should continue on the ethics committee while the Ethics Commissioner considers and conducts an investigation?
    Mr. Speaker, as I have just stated and will state once again, the member has been in contact with the commissioner's office and will continue to respect and follow his advice.

[Translation]

Canada Revenue Agency

    Mr. Speaker, when it comes to political harassment against charities, the Liberals have picked up right where the Conservatives left off. The Canada Revenue Agency does not intend to abide by the court's decision. With its new rules, the CRA will continue to monitor all charitable organizations. However, the judge made it clear that organizations have the right to freedom of expression.
    Will the Liberals stop playing Big Brother and stop trying to scare charities?
    Mr. Speaker, our government recognizes the importance of charities in Canadian society. The government identified a number of errors of law in the decision and will appeal in order to clear up any uncertainty created and seek clarification on these important matters of law. The resolution of these legal issues will not in any way affect the political approach our government intends to take regarding quantitative restrictions on political activities.
    I cannot comment any further since this matter is before the courts.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, Canadian charities remember well the dark days when the Harper government used the CRA to attack them, trying to silence the voices of civil society: anti-poverty groups, environmental groups, women's groups. The Liberals promised them that the attacks would stop, but as with so many other Liberal promises, they broke their word. These groups counted Liberals as maybe friends, but with friends like them, these groups do not need any enemies.
    Charities beat the Harper rules at the Ontario Superior Court. The Liberals are appealing that decision. How about going after hate groups or billionaires and their tax havens rather than trying to silence the voices of civil society?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, our government recognizes the importance of the activities carried out by charities, which play a key role in our society. That is why we ended the political activities audit program created by the Harper government. The draft legislative proposals aim to allow charities to pursue their charitable purposes by engaging in non-partisan political activities and in the development of public policy. Charities will still be required to have a charitable purpose, and restrictions against partisan political activities will remain in place.

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, Canadian oil is being sold at a discount in the United States. Why? Because Canada cannot sell it anywhere else, since we do not have the pipelines we need to get our oil where it needs to go.
    According to Scotiabank, this has cost the Canadian economy $15.6 billion over the past year. What did the Liberal government do to fix the problem? It decided to take $4.5 billion in taxpayers' money and send it to Houston. Wow.
    Since we now all collectively own this pipeline, will the government tell us when the work on Trans Mountain is really going to get started?

  (1440)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is unacceptable that we lose $15 billion in potential revenue because we have only one customer, the United States. For almost a decade, the previous government failed to build a single pipeline to expand our non-U.S global markets.
     We are working very diligently to respond to the issues that have been identified by the federal court and we put forward a path to bring this project back on track in the right way.
    Mr. Speaker, right now Canada is the cheapest place in the world to buy oil. Our oil is so cheap we are practically giving it away, all because the Liberals will not get pipelines built. This is preventing us from getting Canadian oil to new markets and is costing our economy, especially Alberta's, billions of dollars. The consequences of this Liberal failure mean loss of revenues for building schools, hospitals and roads, or maybe even for balancing the budget.
    If the minister can build himself a taxpayer-funded million dollar office in three months, why can he not get a pipeline built in three years?
    Mr. Speaker, the decade of failure of the former Harper government to build a single pipeline to expand our non-U.S. market is the reason that we are losing billions of dollars in potential revenue that we could use to improve services for Canadians, to invest more money in infrastructure and to make sure that we are transitioning to a greener, cleaner economy.
    We are focused on getting it right. We are focused on building the pipelines. We are making sure that we are taking the right steps to respond to the challenges that—
    The hon. member for Lakeland.
    Mr. Speaker, the consequences of the Liberals' pipeline failures are tens of thousands of Canadian jobs lost, oil moved by trains at record levels, hurting agriculture, forestry, and manufacturing, and now a Canadian barrel of oil selling for $52 less than a U.S. one. That is billions of lost dollars that could pay for health care, pensions and bridges in Canada. Premiers, workers, and economists have warned that the anti-pipeline bill, Bill C-69, will kill all future pipelines in Canada.
    Will the minister listen to Canadians and cancel the Liberal anti-pipeline bill, Bill C-69?
    Mr. Speaker, the reason the previous government failed to build a single pipeline to non-U.S. markets over the 10 years of its tenure is that it never understood the importance of responding to environmental issues and the need to engage in a meaningful conversation and dialogue with indigenous Canadians to make sure that issues are dealt with.
    We are moving forward to make sure that we are taking action on climate change and that we are responding to real issues that indigenous Canadians have faced.
    Mr. Speaker, four major new pipelines, including access to new markets, is the Conservative legacy.
    The reality is that the Liberals' anti-pipeline bill, Bill C-69, will block all new pipelines and make the massive discount permanent. That will be the Liberal legacy. The consequences of the Liberals' failure are tens of thousands of Canadians out of work, Canada's money going to the U.S. and billions of dollars in deficits.
    When will the Liberals kill their anti-pipeline bill, Bill C-69?
    Mr. Speaker, let us talk about the lack of action that we saw from the previous Conservative government. When the Conservatives got into office in 2006, 99% of Alberta's oil was sold to the United States. When they left office in 2015, 99% of Alberta's oil was still sold to the United States. That is their failure.
    We are focused on expanding our non-U.S. global market. That is why we are responding to the TMX issue in the way the federal court expects us to do.

Pensions

    Mr. Speaker, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board is a Crown corporation answerable to Parliament. In its corporate ethics guidelines, it says it will meet a credible standard, and yet it has been using Canadian pension savings to invest in cigarette companies, arms manufacturers and privatized U.S. prisons. The profit margins for these have gone through the roof because of Donald Trump's policy of seizing and separating families at the border and putting them in privatized prison camps.
    Does the finance minister believe that investing in cigarette companies and privatized prisons meets a credible standard of corporate investment for the Canada pension plan?

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board is an independent agency from government. This is important to protect the pensions of Canadians both today and tomorrow. We expect the CPPIB, like other Crown corporations, to live up to the highest standards of ethics and behaviour, and that is in fact exactly what it is doing.

[Translation]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, many people have spoken out about the troubling disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

[English]

    However, here in Canada the Minister of Foreign Affairs waited almost two weeks before doing what? She tweeted a joint statement by the French, German and U.K. foreign ministers. We did not even issue our own statement.
    What will it take for the government to stand up for human rights and stop the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia?
    Mr. Speaker, our government's willingness to stand up for human rights around the world, including in Saudi Arabia, is very well known.
    When it comes to the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, we are very concerned. I spoke earlier today about it with the Saudi Arabian foreign minister. I expressed Canada's deep concerns and asked for a thorough, transparent and credible investigation. I emphasized that those responsible must be held to account. We have been in very close touch with our G7 and NATO allies on this issue.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, Sikh and Hindu minorities in Afghanistan face constant persecution, discrimination and violence. Thousands have been forced to flee, and many are living in very precarious conditions in nearby countries. We are fortunate to have a strong community in Canada that has come together and stepped up to bring some of these vulnerable families to Canada as refugees.
    Will the minister please update the House on the status of the effort to resettle vulnerable Afghan, Sikh and Hindu refugees?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Brampton East for his strong advocacy on this particular issue.
    We are deeply concerned about the persecution of Afghan, Hindu and Sikh minorities in Afghanistan. Although our government is a global leader in refugee resettlement, we understand that these particular refugees are at particular risk, and that is why we have been working very closely with the Manmeet Singh Bhullar Foundation and others not only to identify them but also to expand resettlement opportunities in Canada.

[Translation]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, once again, the Prime Minister is showing that he does not take the security of Canadians seriously. It is now very clear that Huawei is a threat to our national telecommunications infrastructure.
    Not only have the United States and Australia banned this company from their countries, but two senior U.S. senators from both sides of the aisle have written to the Prime Minister in an attempt to make him understand the gravity of this threat.
     Will the Prime Minister give the order today to ban Huawei?
    Mr. Speaker, we have procedures in place with our security agencies to conduct reviews in such circumstances. We will rely on the opinions of our security agencies and experts.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the United States' two political parties are united on one thing: they oppose Canada's opening itself up to China's telecom giant Huawei by including it in our 5G network. This increases the risk of the Chinese spying on Canada and our allies. We know that China stole Canadian technologies, resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs, and now the Liberals are failing to protect Canadian security and jobs.
    Will the Prime Minister put Canada first and ensure that Huawei is excluded from our 5G network?
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows that we will never compromise our national security. We have every confidence in our national security agencies. We are constructing a 5G network in this country. We have put resources into that, but in no way, shape or form will we compromise our national security. We will rely on the expertise of our agencies and move forward in that regard.

  (1450)  

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative caucus, like many Canadians, is deeply concerned about reports that Saudi Arabia may be directly involved in the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
    Will the minister inform this House on actions the government will take against Saudi Arabia if the reports of his death in Saudi custody are confirmed?
    Mr. Speaker, there is more Monday morning courage on the other side of the House, and I would like to remind the member opposite of his own comments and the comments John Baird made following Canada's strong position standing up for human rights activists.
    When it comes to Jamal Khashoggi, Canada is extremely—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. Members may not like what they hear in this House; it often happens on both sides, but members have to listen and hear what others have to say, regardless of their dislike. Order. I call upon the hon. member for Parry Sound—Muskoka and others to restrain themselves.
    The hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs.
    Mr. Speaker, I understand that the members opposite wish they had been more supportive of the government's position in August. When it comes to Jamal Khashoggi, we are very concerned. As I said earlier, I spoke this morning with the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia, and we are working with our G7 and NATO allies.
    Mr. Speaker, in response to a serious question from my colleague, I think we have seen exactly what the Prime Minister meant when he said, “the nastiest election ever”. I asked that minister three times if she would condemn Saudi Arabia's placement on the UN women's rights commission. I asked that question over a year ago, and three times consecutively the minister refused to condemn the placement of Saudi Arabia on the UN women's rights commission. Talk about Monday morning courage.
    Will the minister do what she would not do three times a year ago and say Saudi Arabia should not be on the UN women's rights commission?
    Mr. Speaker, we will take no lessons from the members opposite when it comes to standing up for women's rights and human rights around the world. I would like to remind them what John Baird said in August our government should be doing. We did not. We stood firm. We will continue to stand firm. When it comes to women's rights, women in Canada and around the world are proud of our feminist foreign policies supporting women here and around the world.

Transport

    Mr. Speaker, a 2010 Transport Canada report revealed that school buses not only failed safety tests but not enough was done to prevent serious injuries to our children. This information was kept from Canadians for almost 10 years. That means both Conservatives and Liberals failed to protect and inform families. In the meantime, Canadians put their kids on school buses to go to class, on field trips and day camps.
    This problem needs to be fixed now. What are the Liberals doing to ensure safety on our school buses?
    Mr. Speaker, our government has done a great deal to improve road safety in the past three years, whether it is for cars, trucks or buses. My colleague will have to ask the previous government why it did not release the report from 2010. However, having said that, I have instructed my department to take an in-depth look at the question of seatbelts on buses, a fresh look based on all the evidence that has been collected since all the way back to 1984. I look forward to its findings.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, eight years of secrecy puts both Liberals and Conservatives on the same side of the fence. A 2010 report shows that school buses fail safety tests and that, as a result, our children are not adequately protected when they go to school. Worse still, for eight years, Transport Canada has kept this report secret. This is the height of recklessness and non-transparency.
    Will the Minister of Transport, who keeps saying that safety is his top priority, fix the problem, or will he call for another study to see if we need to better protect our children?

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, as I just said in English, we have done a great deal to improve road safety in the past three years, whether it is for buses, including school buses, cars or trucks.
    Having said that, I have instructed my department today to take an in-depth look at the question of seat belts on school buses. I look forward to its findings.

[English]

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, western Canadian grain farmers are dealing with one of the most difficult harvests in recent history. In my area, barely 20% of the harvest is in. Early snow and wet conditions have forced farmers to dry most of the crops being harvested. Unfortunately, in Alberta, the carbon tax is making this difficult harvest worse and wiping out all remaining profits.
    Will the Liberals quit attacking farm families and scrap their punishing carbon tax?
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my hon. colleague's concern. Being a farmer, I fully understand that when there is snow on the ground and we cannot harvest our crops, it is certainly a difficult situation. We are monitoring the situation. There are programs that are available, but we hope they will not have to be used. It is important and hopefully farmers will be able to harvest their crops.
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals did not campaign on imposing a carbon tax on provinces and more and more Canadians do not support this tax grab. The Liberals' carbon tax scheme is crumbling. Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Alberta all stand in opposition to the carbon tax. The Liberals use this ridiculous argument that the carbon tax improves competitiveness and creates jobs. Canadians know this tax grab is a failure and they do not support it.
    Will the minister stand with Canadians and abandon the carbon tax?
    Mr. Speaker, we have been clear since before the election in 2015 that our government would take serious and meaningful action to face the real challenge of climate change. We have also said that putting a price on pollution is one of the most effective measures in dealing with the real challenge of climate change.
    My hon. friend may think that pollution should be free. We think that polluters should pay. We will continue to work with provinces, industry and Canadian citizens to ensure that we have the most robust, effective climate change plan in place.
    Mr. Speaker, polluters will not pay under the Liberal plan. In fact, large industrial polluters are exempt from the carbon tax. It is seniors and struggling single mothers who will pay more just to drive to work or heat their homes in -30° degree weather.
    Why is it that whenever Liberals come up with a new tax it always costs the most to those with the least?
    Mr. Speaker, with respect, I would direct the hon. member's attention to the report of Stephen Harper's former director of policy who indicated specifically that families can expect to be better off with the results of our plan being implemented. It is not just him. I would also point the member to the news last week that Professor William Nordhaus won a Nobel Prize in economics for identifying a plan that would actually lead to families being better off. He pointed specifically to the Province of British Columbia as a world leader.
    We are moving forward with a plan that will protect the environment and grow the economy. It is what Canadians expect. It is what they deserve. It is what we are delivering to them.

[Translation]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, October is Autism Awareness Month. It is an opportunity to learn more about autism and how we can help people living with autism and their families and friends. Autism spectrum disorder is a condition that remains misunderstood by many people.
    Can the Minister of Health tell the House about the measures the government is taking to raise awareness and help families?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Châteauguay—Lacolle for her important question. Our government recognizes that autism spectrum disorder has a profound impact on Canadians and their families. That is why, in budget 2018, we invested more than $20 million in helping families and launching new community initiatives. We are also making major investments in research to better meet the needs of Canadians with autism spectrum disorder and their families.

  (1500)  

[English]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, with marijuana legalization only two days away, law enforcement is not adequately prepared and equipped for this change. The Liberals failed to learn from the experiences in Washington state and Colorado, where accidents involving marijuana skyrocketed after legalization. Roadside testing is not in place in most Canadian jurisdictions, and the Liberals did not provide adequate training for police officers. Why have the Liberals failed to protect Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, let us talk about failure. For almost a decade, the police urged the Harper Conservatives to provide them with new legislative authorities, for funding for training, for access to new technologies, and they failed to provide that. When we brought those measures forward, they voted against them.
     Let us let members of the police talk for themselves. This afternoon, the president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police said, “The police are ready.”

[Translation]

Canadian Heritage

    Mr. Speaker, a new radio station called QUB Radio launched today and is broadcasting only on the Internet. It will therefore be exempt from the Broadcasting Act and from the quotas that protect Canadian content.
    Quebecor has been investing in Quebec culture for years, so we are not worried about QUB Radio. However, what will happen if the Broadcasting Act no longer applies to music stations in Montreal, Toronto or Winnipeg?
    The Liberals have put off all of these issues to 2024, or even 2025, just like they did with Netflix. Canadian culture is disappearing a little more every day online. We need to act now to protect it.
    When will the government stop these losses?
    Mr. Speaker, I am sure my colleague would appreciate a reminder that I have been travelling around Canada for a while now and meeting people from all over. These Canadians are telling us how happy they are about the government's investments in arts and culture through the CBC, the Canada Media Fund and Telefilm Canada.
    We also brought together a panel of experts, who are currently reviewing this issue. Our legislation will be based on the very simple principle that those who participate in the system contribute to the system. There will be no preferential treatment, and my colleague knows this.

[English]

Multiculturalism

    Mr. Speaker, some time ago I hosted a town hall on anti-racism and a number of white supremacists and racists interrupted the event. We have an active level of citizenry in Beaches—East York from STAMP to East Enders Against Racism. It was a jarring reminder of the work we still have to do in the name of equality when people are so willing to be so public in displaying their hate. We need to call it out directly and confront it head-on. Can the minister explain to this House and to my community what we are doing to confront this issue and this problem head-on?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Beaches—East York for his hard work in helping more Canadians live in safety and dignity. That is why we are launching cross-country consultations on a national anti-racism plan. That is why we are also investing in more culturally appropriate support for racialized communities. That is why, by removing systemic barriers, we are going to help more Canadians live in safety and dignity in this country.

[Translation]

Public Services and Procurement

     Mr. Speaker, when will the Liberals stop trashing the Citadel in Quebec City? I was there last week, and not only is the stone being delivered non-compliant, not as specified, and of poor quality, but it is also susceptible to frost. Did anyone consider the fact that it freezes in Quebec? Earth to the Liberals.
    When will the minister show some respect for the professionals in his own department? He was supposed to do a study. Is that happening? I call on the minister to respect the Quebec Citadel and our heritage. Use the original stone. We have it in Lévis, and we are ready to sell it to him.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, let me be clear. We value the rich heritage of the Citadelle. We will repair the fort using original Citadelle stones. In cases where damage to the original stone is too severe, a Quebec bidder was contracted to ensure additional stones meet regulations. I understand this contractor will now use stones from Quebec for the next phases of the project.
    I am surprised to hear my colleague's concern, given that his former government used an American stone for projects at the Citadelle in 2007 and 2008.

  (1505)  

[Translation]

International Trade

     Mr. Speaker, who would have thought Coca-Cola would be selling us milk? Multinationals like Coke will be competing with our dairy farmers. That is what it has come to.
    Can Coca-Cola be trusted to meet our quality standards? Honestly, nobody in Quebec is going to want to serve that disgusting stuff to their family.
    Does the government realize that what Quebeckers want to buy is milk produced in Quebec by people from Quebec?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my hon. colleague's question and concern. I can assure him that we will continue to support the supply management system.
    There are some hits that the dairy farmers and processors had to take, and we will fully and fairly compensate the dairy farmers in this country. We have continued and will continue to take care of farmers in this country.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it is amazing how the minister can talk without ever saying anything.
    Since the Liberals took office, they have been three for three. They let down our dairy farmers in free trade with Europe, with Asia, and now with the United States.
     The Quebec Liberals may protest by spitting on American milk for the cameras, but that does not change anything. Quebeckers do not want grandstanding. They want their elected officials to do their jobs when it is time to act.
     Can the Quebec Liberals explain to us how, under their watch, our farmers got shafted three times out of three?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, again, I appreciate my hon. colleague's question. We understand, as I said, that farmers will have some hit, but what we will do is fully and fairly compensate the dairy farmers in this country.
     We have made sure and will continue to make sure that the supply management system thrives in this country.

[Translation]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, how many Raif Badawis, Samar Badawis and Jamal Khashoggis will it take before the government decides to stop selling arms to a regime that flogs bloggers and murders journalists?
    When will the Liberals stop selling out human rights for dirty money from the murderous regime of Saudi Arabia?
    Mr. Speaker, I agree with my colleague that Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance is very troubling. That is the message I conveyed to the Saudi Arabian foreign minister today. I have also begun a discussion on this issue with my counterparts in Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. We join our partners in calling for a full investigation.

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1510)  

[English]

Government Response to Petitions

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's responses to 10 petitions.

[Translation]

Committees of the House

Citizenship and Immigration 

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 21st report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, entitled “Order in Council Appointment of Richard Wex to the Position of Chairperson of the Immigration and Refugee Board”.

[English]

Foreign Affairs and International Development  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 19th report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development entitled “A Call to Action: Ending the Use of All Forms of Child Labour in Supply Chains”.
    Many Canadians and individuals from around the world are very excited to see this report and I want to thank all of the members of the Subcommittee on International Human Rights, which I had the pleasure to chair, for their hard work in putting this report together.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.

Business of the House

    Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties and if you seek it I think you will find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:
    That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, the hours of sitting and the order of business of the House on Thursday, October 25, 2018, shall be those of a Wednesday;
that the Address by the Prime Minister of the Netherlands to be delivered in the Chamber of the House of Commons at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, October 25, 2018, before Members of the Senate and the House of Commons, together with all introductory and related remarks, be printed as an appendix to the House of Commons Debates for that day and form a part of the records of this House; and
that the media recording and transmission of such address, introductory and related remarks be authorized pursuant to established guidelines for such occasions.
    Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Speaker: The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    (Motion agreed to)

Petitions

Firearms  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition signed by Canadians from several ridings, including Ottawa Centre, Kanata—Carleton and Pontiac.
    The petitioners call on the House of Commons to respect the rights of law-abiding firearm owners and reject the Prime Minister's plan to waste taxpayers' money studying a ban on guns that are already banned.

Public Safety  

    Mr. Speaker, I have a petition in regards to Bill C-75, an enormous 302-page omnibus bill, which proposes lightening sentences on such things as obstructing or violence to or arrest of officiating clergymen participating in terrorist activities, impaired driving causing bodily harm, polygamy, marriage under the age of 15 years and forcible confinement of minors.
    The petitioners call on the Prime Minister to defend the safety and security of all Canadians as well as the rights of victims by withdrawing Bill C-75.

Canada Post  

    Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions today.
    The first is in support of postal banking. Nearly two million Canadians desperately need an alternative to payday lenders, whose crippling lending rates affect poor, marginalized, rural and indigenous communities most.
    We have 3,800 Canada Post outlets already in rural areas where there are few or no banks. Canada Post has the infrastructure and the ability to make a rapid transition to include postal banking. These petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to enact my motion, Motion No. 166, to create a committee to study and propose a plan for postal banking under the Canada Post Corporation.

  (1515)  

The Environment  

    Mr. Speaker, my second petition is in support of protecting the Thames River system. The former Conservative government stripped environmental regulations covered in the navigable waters act, leaving hundreds of rivers vulnerable, including the Thames, and the Liberal government failed to keep its promise to reinstate environmental protections gutted from that original act.
    The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to support my bill, Bill C-355, which commits government to prioritizing the protection of the Thames by amending the Navigation Protection Act.

Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood  

    Mr. Speaker, today I am presenting e-petition 1558, which was initiated by two constituents in my riding of Longueuil—Charles-LeMoyne. It received the minimum number of required signatures within 48 hours of its posting on the House of Commons website.
    E-petition 1558 is about sudden unexplained death in childhood, SUDC, occurring between one and 19 years of age. At this time, there is no known way to reduce or prevent SUDC. The hope is for the House of Commons to declare April 26 national SUDC awareness day to raise public awareness and increase research interest and funding so that no other family experiences the tragic, unexplained death of a child.

Pensions  

    Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions, both regarding pension policy in Canada.
    These petitioners point out that in the 2015 federal election, Canadians were clearly promised in writing that defined benefit plans, which had already been paid for by employees and pensioners, should not be retroactively changed into target benefit plans, and that Bill C-27, tabled by the Minister of Finance, precisely permits this change, thereby jeopardizing the retirement income security of Canadians who have negotiated defined benefit plans as a form of deferred wages.
    These petitioners call on the Government of Canada to withdraw Bill C-27, an act to amend the Pension Benefits Standards Act.

The Environment  

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise again to table a petition on behalf of coastal British Columbians from Ahousaht, Tofino and Victoria that calls on the government to develop a national strategy to combat plastic entering our waterways. Everyone is well aware that plastic is a huge problem right now in our coastal communities. We have Canada's largest coastline.
    They are looking for regulations and legislation to combat plastic use, especially consumer and industrial use of single-use plastics. They are looking for permanent and dedicated annual funding for the cleanup of derelict fishing gear; for community-led projects to clean up plastics and debris on our shores, banks, beaches and other aquatic peripheries; and for education and research campaigns.
    We have tabled this petition repeatedly. The government has announced its findings on what it is doing, and did not include any of these things in what it released on Friday. Petitioners are asking that this be included.
    I remind hon. members that the presenting of petitions is not the time for debate and making arguments. It is a time for presenting what petitioners are calling for.
    The hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.

Human Organ Trafficking  

    Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to be tabling three petitions today.
    The first petition deals with Bill C-350 and Bill S-240. These are two bills that deal with the scourge of organ harvesting without consent. These bills seek to make it a criminal offence for a Canadian to go abroad for this purpose.
    Bill C-350 is my bill and Bill S-240, I understand, is on the verge of passing the Senate. We hope to see, as do these petitioners, it pass the Senate very soon so we can get to it here in the House and finally move forward with this good, non-partisan initiative. Great work was done on it by Irwin Cotler, as well as other members of the government. Some of that work is being continued by members of the opposition.

  (1520)  

Carbon Pricing  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition is probably a less cross-party sentiment, which is to oppose the carbon tax. It is certainly a strongly felt sentiment in my constituency.
    The petitioners note that this tax will not help the environment. More effective measures to help the environment would involve exporting Canadian technology to less environmentally friendly jurisdictions and not sending jobs to less environmentally friendly jurisdictions.

Canada Summer Jobs Initiative  

    Mr. Speaker, the third petition I would like to present today deals with the Canada summer jobs values attestation program.
    The petitioners note that section 2 of 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 urge the government to defend the freedoms of conscience, protected in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and withdraw the misguided values attestation from the Canada summer jobs program next year.

The Environment  

    Mr. Speaker, I stand here on behalf of petitioners from southern Vancouver Island to recognize that both the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans have a mandate to establish an increased protection of Canada's marine and coastal areas. They also recognize that establishing a national marine conservation area for the Southern Strait of Georgia, also known as the Salish Sea, is needed to both protect the marine environment and its species, including the threatened southern resident killer whale.
    The petitioners therefore urge the government to continue on with its hard work in working with first nations in the area, with local governments, businesses and non-governmental organizations to get this important protection set up for the area in which we live.

Ukraine  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present this petition signed by residents of Kildonan—St. Paul and other Canadians particularly on this day, defender of Ukraine day, a state holiday in Ukraine, first celebrated in 2015 on this date due to the Russian provocation and military intervention in Ukraine.
    Ukrainian Canadians make up approximately 18% of my riding where these individuals laid down roots, set up businesses and organizations to make immeasurable contributions to the development of our country.
     The petitioners call on the Government of Canada to grant Ukrainian nationals visa-free travel to Canada for periods of 90 days.

Impaired Driving  

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to present a petition from a group called Families For Justice. It is a group of Canadians who have tragically lost a loved one killed by an impaired driver. These Canadians believe that Canada's impaired driving laws are much too lenient. They want the crime called what it is, vehicular homicide. It is the number one cause of criminal death in Canada. Over 1,200 Canadians are killed every year by an impaired driver.
    The petitioners call for mandatory sentencing and they are very concerned about the new legislation for legalization of marijuana. They believe that Canada's enforcement is not ready.

[Translation]

Cigar Packaging  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to rise in the House to present a petition signed by cigar aficionados in Alfred-Pellan.
    These people purchase cigars to smoke them, but also to offer them as gifts. They are therefore concerned about the impact of neutral packaging for cigars, as provided for in Bill S-5.

[English]

    Thus the citizens in my riding call upon the government to exempt premium cigars from the proposed tobacco products regulations.

Canada Post  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table two petitions.
    The first petition is from people who are looking to the government to support postal banking. We know that millions of Canadians desperately need an alternative to payday lenders, which affects the poor and marginalized and indigenous communities. There are 38,000 Canada Post outlets that already exist in rural areas where there are few to no banks.
     The petitioners therefore ask the government to support Motion No. 166 to create a committee to study and propose a plan for postal banking under the Canada Post Corporation.

  (1525)  

Vision Care  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table the second petition from Canadians who ask the government to create a national framework for action to promote eye health and vision care. The emerging crisis in eye health and vision care affects all segments of the Canadian population, with Canada's most vulnerable populations, children, seniors and indigenous people, at particular risk.
    The petitioners ask the Government of Canada to commit to acknowledge eye health and vision care as a growing public health issue and, through the development of a national framework for action, to promote eye health and vision care, which will benefit all Canadians through the reduction of vision impairment resulting from preventable conditions and the modification of known risks.

Fisheries and Oceans  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to present two petitions today.
     The first is from constituents within Saanich—Gulf Islands who note that the World Parks Congress has called for expansion of ocean habitat protection in marine protected areas, that there are a number of different classifications of marine protected areas within Canada, some are no-take zones, most are not.
     The petitioners request that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans work with other government branches to simplify the various communications and responsibilities and ensure better protection in marine protected areas.

Killer Whales  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition is also from residents of Saanich—Gulf Islands, expressing the deep and growing concern for our southern resident killer whale population. It is, as I think all members know, extremely endangered. Steps have been taken by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.
     The petitioners ask for more to be done while there is still a chance to save the population.

Questions on the Order Paper

    The Speaker: Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Translation]

Request for Emergency Debate

The Environment  

[S. O. 52]
    I have received three requests for emergency debate. I will recognize members in the order in which I received their notice.
    The hon. member for Beaches—East York.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am seeking leave for the adjournment of the House, pursuant to Standing Order 52, to request an emergency debate with respect to the IPCC special report on global warming of 1.5°C. This is the first sitting of the House since that report was released.
     Three expert IPCC working groups have issued a dire and urgent warning to governments around the world, including our own, that we must immediately ramp up our efforts to limit global warming to 1.5°C or face serious and irreversible consequences.
    At the current levels of commitment, the world is on course for a disastrous three degrees of warming. We need a plan to respond to the IPCC report today.
     The report states that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy, land, urban infrastructure and industrial systems and that global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide would need to fall by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching net zero around 2050.
    Debra Roberts, co-chair of IPCC Working Group II, has called the report the largest clarion bell from the science community, noting that the next few years are probably the most important in our history.
     Jim Skea, co-chair of IPCC Working Group III, has explained that limiting warming to 1.5°C is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics, but doing so would require unprecedented changes. He highlighted that the final tick box was political will and that the main finding of his working group was the need for urgency.
    We need an emergency debate in Parliament to respond to this report and to ensure that our country takes immediate action to meet our international, intergenerational and moral obligation to do our part in tackling climate change. The scientists have spoken. What we need now is political will. We need to talk about the IPCC's report, and we need to talk about it today.
    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise to follow the letter I tabled with your office on Friday.
     Under our Standing Order 52, I want to associate myself with every syllable spoken by the member for Beaches—East York. He is absolutely correct. Following my request, I note that we will hear from the Democratic Party caucus. I appreciate its understanding of the urgency.
    If I could just focus on things that were not already said, the reason for an emergency debate is that time is not on our side, not just in the time frame of 10 years, but in the time frame of a number of weeks. The United Nations Conference of the Parties will be convening in Poland, December 2 to 14. That is COP24. It is where the IPCC report will be debated and it is where we will have to see a significant improvement on the targets that governments have accepted from around the world.
    Our government has a real opportunity. Our Prime Minister and our Minister of Environment have a real opportunity to leverage up the targets of other countries. As the member for Beaches—East York just said, the changes we are seeing are irreversible. Time is not on our side. A 10-year window to go to 45% below 2010 levels of greenhouse gases will require heroic, massive global efforts, but Canada must change our targets in the near term and be an effective mobilizer at the meetings that take place in less than 30 sitting days time from this Parliament.
    Mr. Speaker, for that reason, I hope you will use your discretion. I understand these matters are difficult, but the time is now for us, in a non-partisan spirit, to understand the science and grab the one opportunity we have to protect our children's future.

  (1530)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today under Standing Order 52(2) to request an emergency debate, as my colleagues from Beaches—East York and Saanich—Gulf Islands have done.
     It has been pointed out that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, has just published a special report on the consequences of a 1.5-degree rise in global temperatures. In this 728-page report, the United Nations committee confirms that the consequences of global warming of 1°C are already being felt: more extreme weather events, rising sea levels and decreasing sea ice in the Arctic. The report also stresses the crucial importance of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees in order to avoid devastating impacts on ecosystems and human well-being.

[English]

    To meet the required emission levels outlined by the panel, Canada's emissions will need to be reduced by almost half, far below our current performance. In fact, according to the IPCC, the world needs to reduce its GHG emissions by 45% by 2030 to avoid catastrophic climate change. The panel has made it clear that preventing a single extra degree of heat could make a life or death difference for millions across the globe. It also firmly states that our current course of action is simply not working.
    Canada can rise to meet the challenge, but we need decisive leadership and strong actions. Canadians expect their representatives to come together to address the challenges facing our country and our world.
     An emergency debate is required in order to allow parliamentarians to address this critical situation and to discuss how Canada can take a leadership role in this climate crisis.

[Translation]

     It should also be noted that the date of my party’s next opposition day has still not been set. The IPCC report shows that immediate and far-reaching action is needed to combat climate change. I therefore respectfully ask you to plan an emergency debate on this matter as soon as possible.

[English]

Speaker's Ruling 

[Speaker's Ruling]
    I thank the hon. members for Beaches—East York, Saanich—Gulf Islands and Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques for their comments.
    I am prepared to grant the emergency debate.

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Government Orders]

[English]

Multilateral Instrument in Respect of Tax Conventions Act

    The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-82, an act to implement a multilateral convention to implement tax treaty related measures to prevent base erosion and profit shifting, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    The hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan has seven minutes remaining in his speech.
    Mr. Speaker, we are continuing the discussion on Bill C-82, which is a bill dealing with implementing certain provisions of an international agreement with respect to tax avoidance. In my remarks prior to question period, I discussed the particulars of the bill. I discussed our support for the bill. I also touched on a number of other issues that have been important in the debate on this bill and relate to its provision. I want to come back to those likely areas of disagreement among the different parties.
    This bill deals with, in substantial part, the activities and operations of the Canada Revenue Agency. It has been interesting throughout this debate to hear various members of different parties talk about how the CRA interacts with different people, how it should treat people. All of us as members of Parliament hear these stories when people come into our offices. We hear of people who have just had terrible disruption occur in their lives as a result of actions of the Canada Revenue Agency, people who are treated unfairly, who may actually have been in the right but are put through a long, disruptive process and are ultimately not compensated for the disruption that is caused to them as a result of CRA activities.
    Very early in this Parliament, a member of the Conservative caucus, the member for Calgary Rocky Ridge, decided to do something about this. My colleague from Calgary Shepard seconded that motion and was very active in this initiative as well. Motion No. 43 was put forward. It created the opportunity for progress toward establishing a duty of care, which should not be that revolutionary, that in interacting with individual taxpayers, the tax authority has a duty of care, that it ought to be fair to them and accord them certain rights and the taxpayers bill of rights ought to have some concrete enforceability. I think if any members asked their constituents whether CRA should have a duty of care, they would say yes. If they asked constituents whether the taxpayers bill of rights should be enforceable, they would say yes.
    This motion is very reflective of a Conservative philosophy toward government, which is, in this case, that government ought to be formally constrained in a way that protects the fundamental rights of individuals and that restraint requires us to constructively pass motions and initiatives that ensure government is bound to behave in a way that is proper toward citizens and that respects their rights as individuals and as taxpayers. However, when the motion came up for a vote, every member of every other party who was present chose to vote against it.
    Today, when these different issues of challenges that individuals face in their interactions with CRA come up, my colleagues in other parties, the NDP and the Liberal Party, are keen to tell us about the actions they are taking and about the impact on individuals, yet they were unwilling to take the clear, obvious action which would have constrained forever the CRA from engaging in abuses of power in their interactions with individual taxpayers. Maybe I will hear from them during questions and comments. Maybe we will hear from some of the different members who have spoken already today about why they voted against providing taxpayers with that basic protection to ensure they are treated fairly.
    I made the point as well that when it comes to issues of tax avoidance, a complicated tax code that limits the manoeuvrability of those who cannot hire expensive tax lawyers is particularly regressive. The government has sought to implement tax changes that have always protected the most well connected and well off, while imposing new higher taxes on individuals.

  (1535)  

    I want to highlight specifically the issue of income splitting, because this is quite revealing about the approach the government took. Under the previous government, we had a policy of allowing everybody to split his or her income, recognizing that two families making the same amount of money should be able to split their incomes such that two families with the same income pay the same amount of tax. The Liberals opposed income splitting and repealed it. They repealed income splitting for the wage earner, and then they said it was a problem to have income sprinkling that potentially allows income splitting for people in the small business world, that somehow that is an inequality, an unfairness that exists in the system. There are a lot of things that argument totally misunderstands.
    One could also point out that to the extent there might have been an inconsistency in terms of the ability of some people to do that and others not, it was an inconsistency created by a policy decision of the Liberal government, which was to raise taxes on families by undoing what had been the previous Conservative tax cut for families, which was to bring in income splitting.
    We see all these different ways in which Liberals are increasing taxes: the carbon tax, getting rid of income splitting and refusing to pass concrete measures holding CRA accountable. It is important to note these measures target those who actually need tax relief the most. It was Conservatives who targeted tax relief to middle-income and low-income Canadians. We raised the base personal exemption. We lowered the GST. We lowered the lowest marginal tax rate. We did not make any changes to higher income brackets. That is our record: standing up for those who need the help most by cutting their taxes and giving them more power over their own lives.

  (1540)  

    Madam Speaker, I have had the opportunity to listen to a lot of the debate today. We often hear about issues surrounding why it is the government is not doing more in terms of providing support for the single parent.
    I need to emphasize that there was a significant change with the Canada child benefit program when this government took office, which literally saw millions of dollars added to it. Thousands of children have been lifted out of poverty as a direct result. It has also seen some tax changes so that those who need it the most will, in fact, get the most compared to, let us say, the millionaire family.
    Even though my colleague across the way seems to want to focus on that CRA issue, I am wondering if he can provide his thoughts on how important it is that when we take a look at the whole issue of tax it is an issue of tax fairness, and sometimes recognize, such as with the Canada child benefit, that it was a movement in the right direction.
    Madam Speaker, the government is very proud of its efforts to reorganize and repackage the universal child care benefit which was brought in by the Conservatives. I remember a time when the Liberals actively opposed direct payments to parents. They said that people would just use that for beer and popcorn, and that instead the money should be given to provincial bureaucrats. However, our policy of a universal child care benefit was so popular that eventually the Liberals saw the light. It took them a while, but eventually they came around.
    I should make a couple of points about the universal child care benefit in comparison. One, it was universal. The other thing is it was a taxable benefit. The members would have to agree that taxable benefits are structurally more progressive because they are taxable based on one's level of income.
    The government should be careful about patting itself on the back too quickly for simply not undoing Conservative policy in one case, because unfortunately, it has undone good Conservative policy in many other areas. It has tried to bring in a carbon tax. It got rid of income splitting. It got rid of many tax deductions targeted at making life easier for families and everyday people who do not have the kind of connections that some in the government do.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, it is rare for us to all agree in the House because we have views unique to our own very different parties. Although we often see the same problem from different angles, it is quite clear that each party has its own stereotypes and ways of doing things. We are used to Liberal spin, as they want to manipulate what we think.
     We in the NDP have not had the chance to form government, so of course we cannot be blamed for the serious problems that have been affecting Canadians for a long time. The blame lies more with the Liberals or the Conservatives.
     I hold my colleague in high regard, but I am sorry to hear him constantly saying that we did not vote for this or that bill they brought before us. I am not a tax expert, but that is disappointing. I do not see what your point is. The point here is to show that these people are not really doing the work necessary to fight tax avoidance and tax havens. That is clearly the point. So why are you coming after us? I do not understand.
    I would remind the member to address his remarks to the Chair and not to individual members.

[English]

    The hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. I spoke about my colleague's motion because I wanted to respond to the discussions that took place in the House regarding the CRA's actions and their implications for individuals.
    His colleague spoke a lot about how vulnerable some people are to the CRA, and I thought it was important to respond to that. We had the opportunity to address that problem, but unfortunately the House decided not to.
    It is certainly important to talk about the specifics of his bill, and I think that, in general, all of the parties support it, but we also need to talk about the major shortcomings in the government's approach to taxing the middle class.

  (1545)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the member mentioned all of the opportunities the government and all members have had in the House to further simplify things for Canadians, both in applying for and receiving benefits from the Canada Revenue Agency and also avoiding four tax measures that would have drastically improved the lives of everyday Canadian families who are trying to make ends meet. It is a juxtaposition with Bill C-82. In this bill, the bill that I reference as the tax treaty for tax treaties, the government is proposing to make sure that large multinational corporations that are able to afford the best-paid lawyers and accountants are taken to task when they engage in aggressive tax planning.
    There is also a cultural issue that has been mentioned before about the behaviour of the CRA when it comes to large corporations. We have seen it make deals with KPMG so its clients do not suffer, but the same type of willingness for the culture of settlement does not seem to exist for everyday Canadian families or single moms who are trying to get the child benefit.
    Can the member comment more about his experience in his riding for families trying to comply with CRA regulations?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his excellent question and important work on all of these issues at the finance committee and here in the chamber. I think he is exactly right that when it comes to the activities of the CRA, we often do not see the same opportunities available to people who are not in that category of well connected and able to hire lawyers. Unfortunately, this often happens when people do not have the same sort of fiscal capacity to fight back against injustices that are affecting them and are necessarily more vulnerable to the actions of government, of regulators in government departments, and so forth.
    It is sometimes presumed by my colleagues in other parties that bigger, more powerful government is somehow good for those in the middle and those who are struggling. I think the opposite is very often the case, that when we have bigger government, it becomes accessible to and aligned with the interests of those who are well connected. That is precisely the reason why I think we need limited government, a constrained government. A government that is constrained by an understanding of the rights of citizens ensures that those who do not have the connections, the lawyers, the lobbyists can have their rights and interests protected. That is what Motion No. 43, seconded by my colleague, would have achieved.
    Bill C-82 certainly makes progress. However, there is so much more to do that could have been done. Hopefully, after the next election and the next parliament we will have an opportunity to finally move forward with some of the measures that Conservatives have been proposing for a long time to fix the CRA and ensure that people are treated fairly.
    Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to participate in this debate. I was thinking just the other day that one of the most offensive words in the English vocabulary, and perhaps the vocabulary of others throughout the world, has to be “taxes”. People hate taxes. More specifically, people hate paying taxes. This should come as no surprise to anyone. I do not like paying taxes. I do not think anyone does, but there is a huge difference between paying taxes as required by law and individuals or sometimes companies and multinational corporations deliberately finding ways to avoid paying taxes.
    There are many old sayings that I could bring to the floor today and I will invoke a couple of them. One, of course, is that the only inevitable things in life are death and taxes. That just shows a predisposition by people to accept the fact that we are taxed, and perhaps over-taxed, unnecessarily. People have accepted it, but they do not have to do so willingly.
    I recall many years ago a media broadcaster and commentator in the United States by the name of Arthur Godfrey, who once said, “I am proud to pay taxes in America”—because he understood understand that the taxes paid for all of the benefits, programs and services he received—“but I could be just as proud for half the money.” That is the reality that we face today in our everyday lives. We understand that we need to pay taxes to be able to pay for the programs and services that we receive, but do we really have to be paying as much as we currently do?
    That debate we can have, but what is non-debatable is the fact that everyone needs to pay their fair share, and I emphasize the word “fair”. What we have seen over the last number of years is the proliferation of multinational companies that are not paying their fair share of taxes. That is the genesis of Bill C-82 that we are debating today.
    In fact, we have seen, and there has been empirical evidence provided, that many multinational corporations are not just attempting to reduce their tax obligations and tax burden, but are actively trying to avoid paying taxes. That is where I have to disagree, and disagree vehemently, with those who would try to take advantage of what is undoubtedly a complicated tax code and tax system and deliberately try to undermine that tax system that affects all of us by deliberately avoiding their fair share of taxes.
    Over the last number of years, certain articles have come to light, most specifically the Panama papers, which contain the names of Canadians who have been avoiding paying their fair share. I have been a firm believer all my life that every single person understands, from the first moment they are able to achieve cognition, the difference between right and wrong. I have no issue and take no issue whatsoever with individuals, corporations or companies that do everything they can to legally reduce their tax burden, which is fair game, but I do take issue with multinational corporations that have sometimes deliberately used illegal methods to avoid paying taxes.
    I support Bill C-82. It is a step in the right direction. Quite frankly, I have criticized the current government for not going far enough. It has talked a good talk, but I have not seen it walk the walk yet in terms of recovering lost money that should have been paid into government coffers to provide the very programs and services we all enjoy. However, I at least applaud and agree with the initiative to bring forward Bill C-82. I certainly will be supporting it, because I hope that over time this and perhaps future governments will be able to more effectively collect the monies duly owed this country through lost taxes.

  (1550)  

    I also believe that Bill C-82, while admirable in its intent, does not go far enough. In fact, I would suggest that what we need to engage in now is to talk about tax policy in general, because one is connects to the other. Indeed, we are losing money to tax avoiders and tax cheats. Moreover, we also need to have a conversation about the level of taxation in this country and how it affects this country's competitiveness.
    I have been alarmed over the last number of years to discover the amount of money, the amount of investment, that is leaving this country to go south of the border primarily because of the reduction in taxes by the new U.S. administration. The United States has drastically reduced its corporate taxes to a point where Canadians and Canadian businesses are moving south of the border because they find it a more attractive tax environment than here in Canada. I find that truly alarming.
    We have implored the current government to try to come to grips with that, to try to reduce the tax burden here in Canada both on the corporate side and the individual side. However, so far, we have not had a very receptive audience. We find time and again that whenever we get financial updates from very reputable organizations and financial observers, not just in Canada but throughout the world, they say that Canada is losing investment capital to the United States because of our failed tax policy. I believe that has to be addressed. I would again implore the current government to deal with this quickly.
    I have seen over time that tax policies certainly vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. However, one thing that is undoubtedly true is that excessive taxation is a problem for the citizens of every jurisdiction. It creates a system where both individuals and companies, but primarily large companies, aggressively try to avoid taxes because they believe they are overtaxed to begin with. In fact, I believe that this regressive tax policy and taxation in general, and high taxes in particular, cause individuals and corporations to try to avoid paying their taxes. As a matter of fact, I recall a statement by an old Republican warhorse by the name of Barry Goldwater, who once opined many years ago that the taxation has created more criminals than any other single act of government. That is true. Excessive taxation creates criminals, because individuals will do whatever they can to avoid paying what they believe to be excessive or unfair taxes. Once again, that is a debate that perhaps we can have at another time.
    Currently, the level of taxation, both corporate and individual, in this country is proving to be uncompetitive. I do not want to see a situation where months or years from now we have to tell our children that the best thing they can do is to move out of this country to a place that has a more favourable tax regime to start a business, because here in Canada it is uncompetitive and they will simply be unable to compete.

  (1555)  

    It does not have to be that way. If we put our minds to it, and if there is the political will, we can do something about this unfair tax regime and the uncompetitive environment we find ourselves in today.
    Let me conclude simply by saying that while I agree with, and will certainly support, Bill C-82, much more work needs to be done. I have not yet seen the government prove that it is willing to take the steps necessary to improve the competitive situation in this country, and once again, I implore it to do so.

  (1600)  

    Madam Speaker, the member mentioned something about reducing corporate taxes in the United States. When we first came into government, we reduced the small business tax rate from 11% to 10.5%. We have continued to reduce that tax rate, and it is now down to 10%. In 2019, that will be reduced to 9%.
    He also talked about competitiveness in the market and Canada not being competitive. I would have to disagree, because we just signed the USMCA, we signed CETA and we also signed the CPTPP, which gives us access to a market of 1.5 billion individuals.
    Does the member not agree that our tax rate has been lowered for business and that we are competitive in world trade with these agreements?
    Madam Speaker, I want to point out a couple of things to my colleague.
    First, with respect to the trade agreements he referenced, CETA was negotiated by our former Conservative government. TPP negotiations were initiated by our former government. I would also go further and point out to my colleague that under CETA, as one particular example, any trade agreement we signed benefits Canada as well as the European Union. That is certainly not the case with the USMCA.
    Let us talk about one particular sector with respect to CETA: supply management. We allowed the European Union to gain access to the Canadian dairy market, primarily in Quebec, in the range of 2.5% to 3%. However, two things also accompanied that concession. We compensated our dairy producers to the tune of $4.3 billion, and most importantly, the reciprocal agreement provided that our dairy farmers had access to 18 countries in the European Union.
    Contrast that with the recently signed USMCA, by which the United States gained access to the Canadian dairy market in Quebec while Canada got no access whatsoever to its market. That is not fair trade. That is not equal trade. That is capitulation. That is a concession outright.
    That is why we continue to point out to Canadians that the USMCA, while a relief to most Canadians that an agreement was reached, is a bad deal, and that bad deal falls on the shoulders of the Liberal government.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech. I think that his input is important. He seems to have a lot of experience in business and finance. I found his explanations of the issues interesting, particularly what he just said about the free trade agreement with the United States, which was clearly signed at the expense of Quebec and Ontario dairy farmers.
    I would like to ask him a question. I think he is very articulate. He was saying earlier that it is problematic when businesses break the law. However, he did not find it problematic that our laws establish certain tax havens. It may be a bit candid of me to say this, since I have no training in that regard, but I cannot understand why big business is allowed to get away with so much.
    When it comes to free trade, is it possible that the Conservatives' approach is depleting the skills in our revenue collection agencies, while the private sector is busy snapping up the best and brightest, those who know the most about tax evasion?

  (1605)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, let us just try to simplify this as much as possible.
    I firmly believe that a low-tax, high-productivity environment is the best environment for everyone. I do not think there could be any argument on that. What we see today in Canada is almost the reverse, where we have a high-tax, low-productivity environment.
    The Liberal government has proven time and time again that it seems to favour the Keynesian approach to fiscal policy. That has never proven to be effective in anyone's lifetime, and it certainly will not be effective if the government keeps pursuing that road.
    In addition to its inability and unwillingness to at least engage in meaningful consultation about tax reform and the reduction of taxes, it has also continuously increased the debt load of Canadians. From promising a modest $10-billion annual deficit, the Liberals have gone far beyond that to the point now that officials in their own finance department have suggested that we will not see a balanced budget until 2045.
    We have a situation where we have increasing debt in this country and uncompetitive and higher than necessary taxes. That is a recipe for fiscal disaster and economic ruin, and the Liberals know it. They simply need the political will to do something about it.
    Madam Speaker, there are many aspects of the member's speech that I would love to address, and I look forward to what will no doubt be a great debate on trade in the coming days and weeks. The USMCA deal is an incredible deal that is going to create all sorts of opportunities for Canadians. We fundamentally disagree with the opposition on its position. We recognize the true value and benefits for Canada's middle class.
    My question is related specifically to the issue of tax fairness. What we have seen under the Prime Minister and this government over the last three years is a great deal of effort on that file. We could talk about the special tax on Canada's wealthiest one per cent. We could talk about the tax break for Canada's middle class. We could talk about the close to $1 billion put in by this government to go after individuals who are avoiding taxes. Now we have a legislative response to try to ensure that Canadians are taxed in a fairer way. It is budgetary. It is legislative. It is a progressive government moving forward on what is an important issue for Canada's middle class.
    When the member reflects on the bill itself, would he not say that the bill itself is worthy of supporting?
    The answer is yes, Madam Speaker. I said it in my remarks earlier, and I say it again here. I will be supporting Bill C-82, because I agree with the intent of the bill. However, as I pointed out in my remarks, the government has failed in its ability to follow through on that intent.
    I have not seen any meaningful recovery of tax dollars yet by the government. There has been some minor recovery, but certainly not to the extent the government should be attacking the problem.
    The problem is that currently between $20 and $60 billion a year is leaving this country through tax avoidance measures by multinational corporations. Think of what that $20 to $60 billion could do for our country. Think of the benefits for our country in terms of health care, as one example.
    The government has shown decidedly no desire whatsoever to go after some of these multinational companies that continuously flout the tax system by avoiding taxes. Instead, and I have to point this out, since my hon. colleague raised the question, all the government has done over the past couple of years is try to label small business people as tax cheats. If there are tax cheats out there, they are on the large multinational scale.
    The government has done absolutely nothing to try to recover that money but instead tries to turn hard-working, small business people in Canada into tax cheats themselves with its own legislation, and that is shameful.

  (1610)  

     Is the House ready for the question?
    Some hon. members: Question.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Finance.

    (Motion agreed to, bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

National Defence Act

    The House resumed from October 1 consideration of the motion that Bill C-77, an act to amend the National Defence Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the very fine and hon. colleague from Kingston and the Islands.
    It is an honour for me to once again rise in this honourable House to speak on behalf of the residents of my riding of Davenport on Bill C-77, which is an act to amend the National Defence Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other acts. The focus of my comments over the next 10 minutes is to discuss the importance of this bill and its implications for indigenous peoples.
    Before I begin, I want to say that repairing the relationship and building a new nation-to-nation relationship with the indigenous people of this country is very important to Davenport residents. They want to see both a renewed relationship and that we have made key progress. I am very glad to be focusing on the implications for indigenous peoples and highlight two key things that this bill would do that would specifically benefit the indigenous peoples of Canada.
    The first is that Bill C-77 includes indigenous sentencing provisions that would require that military tribunals consider the circumstances of indigenous offenders at sentencing, as is the case in the civilian justice system. The second is that through Bill C-77, we would ensure that indigenous people are given the same rights and respect in the military as in civilian courts.
    I am getting a little ahead of myself, so I will provide some context. Each time that Canada has called upon its armed forces, indigenous peoples have volunteered to proudly and honourably serve their country. Many have done so while facing discrimination and inequality from the very people they were sworn to defend and the very institution they have chosen to serve. It is part of our history that we acknowledge sadly, and a wrong that we seek to right each and every day.
    As all members of the military, indigenous service members make sacrifices to serve. They have left their homes, families and communities to fight in war zones so that Canadians may enjoy peace and security here at home in Canada. They were valued allies in the War of 1812. Then came the First and Second World Wars when thousands of indigenous servicemen and women risked their lives for freedom. They did so again in the Korean and Gulf wars. More recently, indigenous Canadian Armed Forces members served in missions in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and other UN-led missions.
    When I was in Iqaluit, I saw a monument that was dedicated to indigenous Canadians who died in service of this country in various wars in our past. There are countless members of the Rangers who work diligently to protect our sovereignty, perform search and rescue operations, and carry out operations and patrols. I had a chance to meet with a group of them when I arrived in Iqaluit over the summer via the Canadian leaders at sea program that sailed on the HMCS Charlottetown from St. John's, Newfoundland, to Iqaluit. It was wonderful to meet the Rangers, to understand the work they do and how well they work with our Canadian Armed Forces. It was wonderful to have an opportunity to meet them.
    I am not here to give a history lesson but to reaffirm the respect we have for indigenous Canadian Armed Forces members and how the legislation our government is proposing now reflects that respect.
    As the Prime Minister has stated before, no relationship is more important than our relationship with indigenous peoples. Based on self-identification statistics from May 2017, indigenous Canadians make up a total of 2.7% of our armed forces. This means that nearly 2,500 indigenous members, in total, now serve in the regular and reserve forces. They are employed in careers throughout the Canadian Armed Forces and have become leaders in fields as diverse as engineering, physiotherapy, vehicle maintenance and systems specialities. Suffice it to say, their contributions are notable and Canadians owe these members a great debt of gratitude.

  (1615)  

    Our government has put an unprecedented focus on reconciliation with indigenous peoples. We understand that for far too long, indigenous peoples have had to prove their rights exist and have had to fight to have them recognized.
    This past November, our Prime Minister delivered a powerful and long overdue apology to residential school survivors in Newfoundland. However, as the Prime Minister stated, saying sorry is not enough. Saying sorry does not undo the harm that was done and does not bring back the culture they lost. A real apology begins with action. That is why we are taking steps for real and lasting change.
    Earlier this year, our Prime Minister stood in the House to discuss the recognition and implementation of rights framework. That was done in February of this year. The importance of that is we are taking a much more proactive stand and in doing so, we are not only transforming the status quo of how Canada operates and interacts with indigenous people, but also challenging and supporting indigenous communities in a positive way to lead change, rebuild and find solutions, and take their rightful place within Confederation in ways that reflect indigenous self-determination.
    I am very proud that we did that earlier this year. Our Prime Minister further stated that it is our job as a government to support, accompany and partner with first nations, Inuit and Métis people. It is our responsibility to provide them with the framework and tools they can use to chart a path forward. The framework will lay the foundation for real and lasting change. It is up to us to take concrete action toward a better future for indigenous peoples.
    Actions include reducing the overrepresentation of indigenous Canadians in federal prisons, which is about one-quarter of all inmates in Canadian prisons. Unfortunately, female incarceration rates are higher than men's, at 38%. It is something we really need to work on.
    Indeed, this is one of the priorities set out in the Minister of Justice's mandate letter from the Prime Minister when she first was appointed. This speaks directly to the calls to action declared by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was called upon by our government to address the overrepresentation of indigenous people in custody.
    While the military justice system has not experienced overrepresentation of indigenous offenders, the proposed changes to the National Defence Act reflect our understanding that indigenous Canadians have faced very difficult histories and that they should be taken into account when determining which sentences would best serve justice in each particular case. The proposed amendments to the National Defence Act mirror the civil system's considerations for sentencing and our nation's history.
    As it currently stands, the National Defence Act does not mandate military tribunals to consider the specific circumstances of indigenous Canadians when determining sentencing the way our civilian criminal justice system does.
    This legislation will change that and bring the military system more in line with our civilian criminal justice system. Canadian civil courts are mandated to consider the circumstances and history of indigenous offenders when considering sentencing options. This information then informs the judge's decision about appropriate sentencing for the indigenous offender.
    Bill C-77 would enshrine those same principles in the military justice system. The proposed legislation will expand on the principle that, in all cases, a sentence should be the least severe sentence required to maintain the discipline, efficiency and morale of the Canadian Forces that is appropriate given the gravity of the offence committed and the responsibility of the offender.
    The legislation then goes a step further and mandates particular attention to the circumstances of indigenous offenders when determining appropriate sentences for service offences. The hope is that keeping indigenous offenders out of civilian and service prisons and detention barracks, when justice can be met through other punishments, will allow for better outcomes, greater rehabilitation, less recidivism and a greater sense of justice within Canada and our military.
    Amending the National Defence Act speaks directly to our government's efforts to repair and renew our relationship with indigenous peoples. Our Department of National Defence is also committed to focus on building relations with local chiefs and engaging with local communities. I know there is a lot more work that needs to be done in our reconciliation efforts, but I know that the bill goes a long way along this path. I am confident that our government will continue to take this right path forward.

  (1620)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her presentation.
    However, we are left wondering why it has taken so long to introduce this bill and why the proposed measures, which we generally support, were not introduced along with those that went into effect in September 2018.
    There is one question that has gone unanswered, and I hope that the member will be able to enlighten me. Acts of self-harm continue to be considered an offence in the military justice system.
    What protections will the Liberals put in place to ensure that members of the military have access to mental health services without fear of reprisal or disciplinary action?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, in terms of timing, I think we all wish things moved a lot faster in the government. All I say is that I am absolutely pleased that we finally have this before the House that we are finally strengthening victims rights within the military justice system.
    In terms of my colleague's question around mental health and supports within this bill, what I will say is that this bill would give victims of service offenders clear statutory rights to information, protection, participation and restitution within the military justice system. It would also create the role of a victim liaison officer who would help guide victims through the military justice system and all the services and elements available to victims.
    Madam Speaker, I think all of us at the defence committee are looking forward to having this bill get before us in relatively short order so that we can go through the bill clause by clause. This bill is a copy of Bill C-71 under the former Conservative government that was tabled just before the last election. It has taken three years to get it this far. I am glad we finally got it here but we have to move on it when we get it to committee.
    I was wondering if my colleague would talk a little bit about this. She mentioned the victims bill of rights, which is in the Criminal Code now, and how we are incorporating that within the National Defence Act to ensure that victims of crime in the military system have the same rights and abilities. It also refers to the importance of rights to information for victims.
    Unfortunately, correction services Canada broke the bill of rights when it transferred Terri-Lynne McClintic, the murderer of Tori Stafford, into a healing lodge. That information should have been shared with the family of Tori Stafford and in particular, Rodney Stafford, her father.
    I wonder if my colleague would talk about how we remedy that within Corrections Canada since we are now bringing the rights for the victim into the National Defence Act in Bill C-77.

  (1625)  

    Madam Speaker, there are a couple of comments that the hon. member made, which I would like to respond to.
    My understanding is that there was a similar bill introduced under the former Harper Conservative government. However, it was introduced in the dying days of that government. I wonder whether there was any intention to actually pass that legislation. We have made sure that this legislation was introduced in more than enough time for us to be able to see this bill through the legislative process. I am very proud that we, through this bill, will be strengthening victims rights within the military justice system.
    In terms of some of the additional comments that the hon. member made, there is, as part of this bill, the declaration of victims rights. It would ensure that victims who come forward to report harassment and misconduct would have the support that they need. It very much builds on Bill C-65, which is our commitment to create workplaces free from harassment and discrimination from the federal sphere. Also, as I mentioned earlier, for those victims who are looking for specific services, it would create the role of a victim liaison officer who would help guide them through the military justice system and what is available to help them.
    Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Davenport for sharing her time with me today.
     I stand today in support of Bill C-77, which would bring important changes to Canada's military justice system, including greater support and new statutory rights for victims of service offences.
    During today's debate, I will focus my remarks on one specific aspect of the legislation: the proposed reform to the military's summary trial process. These changes would enhance the efficiency of the military justice system. They would preserve the current responsiveness of the system in maintaining discipline, while simplifying the process of dealing with more minor breaches of military discipline.
    Our military justice system is unique and necessary. It contributes significantly to the ability of our armed forces to achieve its mission here at home and around the world. It does this by assisting military commanders in maintaining discipline, efficiency and morale.
    In Canada we hold our military members to a high standard, a standard which is also different from what we expect from a civilian. These men and women not only serve our country,they also represent it within our borders and abroad. Their discipline affects not only the operations of the Canadian Armed Forces, but also our reputation as a great country throughout the world. They are expected to conduct themselves accordingly. They must reflect the best of us. In times of peace and armed conflict, the foundation of military efficiency and excellence is an adherence to law, a commitment to discipline and obedience to authority. Rules must be obeyed. The chain of command must be respected. Breaches of military law must bring consequences for the greater good of the military and all Canadians.
    Serious breaches of military discipline are handled by courts martial. This would remain unchanged under the proposed legislation as courts martial would retain the sole jurisdiction over service offences. However, Bill C-77 would change and improve how minor breaches of military discipline are handled. It would replace the current summary trials process in the Canadian Armed Forces with a new system of summary hearings to better ensure minor breaches are heard and ruled on in a fair and timely manner.
    In Canada we take pride in being a global leader in the development of a fair and effective military justice system. Bill C-77 demonstrates that continuing commitment by enhancing the rights of victims and the efficiency of our military justice system. Historically, summary trials have made up over 90% of all tribunals and courts martial have made up the remainder. This system was established under military law to ensure justice in respect of minor service offences. The proposed summary hearing process seeks to enhance the efficiency of the military justice system. It would do so by creating a process which deals with minor breaches of military discipline quicker and more simply.
    The new process would be non-penal, non-criminal in nature. It would focus exclusively on minor breaches of military discipline. Hearings would be conducted fairly, more rapidly and by a wider range of military officers. The summary hearing process would maintain the current responsiveness and enhance the overall operational effectiveness of the Canadian Armed Forces. It is about ensuring that we, as a country, adapt with the times and continue to respect the guidance the Supreme Court of Canada provided us some 25 years ago. At that time, it noted, “To maintain the Armed Forces in a state of readiness, the military must be in a position to enforce internal discipline effectively and efficiently.”
    The proposed reforms would also show trust and confidence in our military leaders. By improving the chain of command's ability to address minor breaches of military discipline, we would contribute to improving the efficiency of the system and the operational effectiveness of our armed forces.
    It is important to emphasize to this House and Canadians that these new summary hearings would focus exclusively on minor breaches of military discipline. These minor breaches would be called service infractions and would be created in regulation. They would not be considered criminal offences and would be dealt with at the unit level. They would be punishable by one sanction or a combination of sanctions, including reduction in rank, reprimands and deprivation of pay. More serious breaches of military discipline, known as service offences, would continue to be tried under our system of courts martial.

  (1630)  

    To further increase efficiency, the officers who conduct summary hearings would have an extended jurisdiction so that they are able to conduct a hearing for persons of all ranks as long as the officer conducting the hearing is at least one rank higher than the person charged.
    The Supreme Court has affirmed on a number of occasions that our military justice system is necessary to meet the needs of our Armed Forces. It falls to the government of the day to ensure that the military justice system is configured to help ensure the highest standards of conduct and discipline. This is required so that our Armed Forces are ready at all times to act decisively and effectively in service to their country.
    Military justice must evolve just as civilian justice changes with the times. The proposed changes I have outlined today are about making the military justice system simpler, more effective and more efficient. They are about ensuring that minor and serious breaches to discipline are dealt with in accordance with their respective character.
    The new summary hearing process would help ensure discipline and preserve morale at the unit level by issuing sanctions that are corrective in nature but do not involve detention or a criminal record. It would allow the chain of command to address minor breaches fairly and more rapidly, which in turn would contribute to the operational effectiveness of the Canadian Armed Forces.
    In summary, Bill C-77 would create a faster, fairer and more flexible process to handle minor breaches of military discipline, a process that reflects our Canadian values while supporting the unique needs of the Canadian Armed Forces.
    Since launching the new defence policy, “Strong, Secure, Engaged”, our government has been improving support for the Canadian Armed Forces and the men and women who serve. Bill C-77 would further contribute to an effective military that is ready to defend and protect Canadians at home and abroad. This is a good law, and I look forward to seeing it passed by this House.
    Madam Speaker, my colleague from Kingston and the Islands is a member of the defence committee. I am looking forward to some of the discussions we will have around the committee table.
     I want to ask the member if he is aware that the Court Martial Appeal Court recently ruled in the Beaudry decision. It was a split decision that has now been referred to the Supreme Court. Everything that we are trying to do in Bill C-77 to strengthen the judicial system within the Canadian Armed Forces could be completely undermined by the Beaudry decision, which is saying that all crimes committed that fall under the Criminal Code should be tried in a civil court. That creates all sorts of difficulties as it relates to a good order of discipline and morale within the Canadian Armed Forces. Of course, I think the chain of command is very concerned about this. We know that in the civil court system there is a huge backlog, especially with respect to sexual assault cases. If Operation Honour is to work at dealing with sexual misconduct within the Canadian Armed Forces, we need to have a strong military justice system.
    I wonder if the member could comment on the possible questions that will arise with respect to the Beaudry decision once this bill goes to committee.

  (1635)  

    Madam Speaker, as I have said before, I am not overly familiar with that particular case. I absolutely look forward to learning about it more so that we can have this discussion when the bill goes to committee. Having said that, I strongly believe there are always opportunities to improve the legislation, to adapt it, and to make the necessary changes. That is what our committee process is for. I look forward to working with the member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman when we get to that stage so that we can have those discussions and see where we can improve upon things.
    Madam Speaker, I had the opportunity to sit in committee during this study and there were some great witnesses, far more learned witnesses than I am. One of the witnesses, herself a criminal lawyer, testified that a great way to speed up the judicial process, which this bill is partly intended to address, was to fill some of the judicial vacancies. This administration has moved on that at a glacial pace. That impacts ridings, rural ridings specifically such as mine, Cariboo—Prince George. We are seeing cases being thrown out because a judge is not always available to hear some of the court cases. I would like to ask my hon. colleague his points of view on the glacial pace that his administration, this administration, is moving at to fill those judicial vacancies.
    Madam Speaker, this might be slightly outside the scope of the discussion today as it relates to our military justice system, but I will say that when we get into any situation where we cannot try cases because of the fact that we do not have enough justices currently sitting on the bench, then we definitely need to ensure that the vacancies are filled.
    I have great confidence in the Minister of Justice and her ability to exercise due diligence to make sure that people are appointed in a timely fashion so that we do not continue to experience the problems that the member suggested.
    Madam Speaker, could the hon. member explain to this House how Bill C-77 would improve victims rights in general?
    Madam Speaker, it is tough to provide a brief answer, but I will say that fundamentally at the core of this bill is the opportunity to separate the serious offences from the minor offences. By being able to do that, the proper process through the courts martial system to try those serious offences can take place. Through that we will see more attention being given to those victims who are suffering as a result of these serious offences.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, it is a great honour for me to rise in the House to debate Bill C-77.
    I would like to begin by thanking the previous Conservative government for its excellent work on the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights, which was an important first step in advancing victims' rights in Canada. Next, I would like to thank the former minister of justice in the Conservative government, Peter MacKay, for his excellent work on the act that enacted the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights. Finally, I would also like to thank the previous minister of national defence, Jason Kenney, for his work on the Victims Rights in the Military Justice System Act.
    Unfortunately, this last bill did not reach second reading stage. These two bills prove that the previous Conservative government has always been committed to defending victims, and that the Conservative Party will always uphold this principle in its justice policies. Unfortunately, that is not the case for the Liberal government.
    The current government introduced Bill C-75, which reduces penalties for offences such as membership in a criminal organization and administering a noxious thing. This government is also the one that refused to send Terri-Lynne McClintic, a child murderer, back to prison. It was also this government that awarded benefits intended for veterans to the man who killed Constable Campbell. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister was telling veterans that they were asking for too much. This government always seems to side with criminals, even when the right thing to do, morally speaking, seems obvious.
    This bill is very important to victims' rights in Canada. It provides victims with very important protections. For instance, the bill guarantees victims' privacy in crimes of a sexual nature. It also provides additional protections for victims under the age of 18. Thus, the bill will protect the rights of vulnerable witnesses by allowing them to testify using a pseudonym and providing them with other supports.
    These are important reforms, because they provide victims with the resources they need to understand the legal process and feel safe as the process unfolds. It is also important to show victims that they are not alone and that people are available to help them through this extraordinarily difficult time.
    Looking at Bill C-77, it is quite clear that the Liberals took inspiration from the previous Conservative government. The wording of the bill is identical to that of the bill introduced by the previous Conservative government. I am very pleased that the Liberals have decided to copy the Conservative bill. That was the right thing to do, and it would be nice if they did more of that.
    Obviously, the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party are not the same, so the two bills do have some differences, although they share the same objectives. That is why I would like to see this bill referred to committee, so we can look at how to improve it and come to an agreement between the Liberals and Conservatives.

  (1640)  

    This bill is a good start, and I would like it to go to committee so it can be improved.
    The committee should also study this bill carefully to ensure that each provision complies with the Constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and to ensure that there are no deficiencies in this bill.
    I hope that the committee will make substantive amendments to improve the bill.
    I will vote in favour of this bill, so that it can be sent to committee for a more thorough review.

[English]

    We have a bill here, Bill C-77, that adopts in many respects the work done in the previous Parliament by the then defence minister and future premier of Alberta, Jason Kenney. The bill began a process, and it is good to see that occasionally the Liberal government sees the wisdom of continuing the good work Conservatives have done. The Liberals have often been reluctant to recognize the heritage they bring forward in these cases, but nonetheless, we will accept that even if they need to engage in some reinvention of the record about the trajectory of this issue, we see some progress being made on initiatives that were carried out previously.
    The unfortunate thing about the current government is that this one bill dealing with the rights of victims is so out of step with the vast majority of the Liberals' agenda. It is curious to hear members of the government talk about victims, because in so many other debates on so many other bills we deal with in the House—sometimes on opposition day motions that we put forward, as well as legislative initiatives—we hardly hear the Liberals talk about the rights of victims.
    There are many issues where we need to recognize the problems specifically created by the current government when it comes to the rights of victims. We see legislation coming forward to weaken sentencing. We see perverse outcomes and the failure of the government to intervene. I note in particular the opposition day motion that we put forward that no members of the government had the courage to vote in favour of, even though I am sure they were hearing from their constituents about it. Coming off a constituency work week, that is one of the things I was hearing about again and again from different constituents. Many people were very engaged with the particulars of that issue, because they understood that having a convicted murderer in a facility where there is no fence and children are present is obviously inappropriate. I think Canadians of all backgrounds and all political persuasions understood that, but unfortunately our colleagues across the way do not seem to share in it. We did not see a single Liberal stand up for the protection of society and for victims in that case. They could have done much better; unfortunately, they did not.
     There are other areas where we see a lack of regard for the protection of victims, namely the backlogs that the Liberals have allowed to emerge in our justice system. My colleague from St. Albert—Edmonton raised this issue right at the beginning of this Parliament, the fact of court delays and the lack of a government response to actually do its job of ensuring that we have judges in place so that cases can move through in a timely way and that people who have committed a crime actually pay the consequences. We have seen this problem exacerbated by the continued lack of effective response by the government. This is important to Canadians and to victims. Of course, we have the failure of the government to effectively respond to the issue of ISIS or Daesh fighters who are coming back to Canada. Again, the government has not responded by taking seriously the needs of society and potential victims, and so forth.
    While I am pleased to support Bill C-77 through to committee, I wish that the Liberals would adopt more of our Conservative legislation and more of our respect for victims. I will not hold my breath, but here is hoping.

  (1645)  

    Madam Speaker, I am glad that my colleague recognizes that Bill C-77 is good legislation. It would appear that the Conservatives want to support its passage through to committee.
    However, I get the feeling that the Stephen Harper Conservatives over there are having a tough time because the rights of victims are enshrined within this legislation. That member spent a good portion of his time speaking about the government not caring about victims, and yet we are enshrining the rights of victims within the bill. The member has a bad example of a bill if he wants to talk about what Stephen Harper would like him to talk about inside the chamber.
    Bill C-77 is good legislation. It is doable. It would modernize our military, and I see that as a positive thing.
    When does my friend across the way anticipate seeing this legislation go before committee?

  (1650)  

    Madam Speaker, my colleague imagines Stephen Harper being in the lobby giving instructions. I would take the latter's advice over Gerry Butts' advice most of the time.
    I was very clear in my remarks that we had good Conservative legislation in the last Parliament, and I wish that the Liberal government would do this more often. The government has decided to put forward a bill that is substantially similar to what the previous government did. It is worth supporting this bill's going to committee. It is important to point out, as I did, that the vast majority of the Liberals' actions in this area do not show regard for victims.
    We can recognize improvement occasionally while hoping for a lot more.
    Madam Speaker, my question for the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan is related to how we maintain discipline in the military. In the bill we see a substantive change in the service discipline code and how we maintain order and morale within our forces. For a number of years we have seen a lack of use of a lot of the instruments that disciplinarians in our military units have available to maintain order. We have used these less often as society has changed.
    Could the member comment on how these new measures would allow a greater level of flexibility, not to have a charge against an individual who has had a service code of discipline infraction but to allow them to really look at making sure that we do have discipline that respects not only human rights but also ensures morale and that units maintain a level of operational mobility to be able to accomplish the missions the government and the House of Common sets for them?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his service and for visiting my constituency during the summer.
    The questions he raised are good ones that should be engaged in further detail at committee. I look forward to seeing the committee's study on some of these points to achieve the balances that need to be struck.
    I do not want to pre-judge that by being too prescriptive or specific in my response to his questions, but it will certainly be important to hear from all the people who will be affected by this, who have experienced this from different perspectives, to ensure that the committee's study is amply informed by those experiences in the process of proposing amendments and reporting back to the House.
    Madam Speaker, they say that to every new song we can find an old tune. It is a Yiddish proverb, because I am big fan of them. However, in this case, the proposed legislation has many members of the opposition on this side of the House who will support it to move to the committee stage. It is so similar to legislation in the previous Parliament, which was supported by the government at the time, that would have enshrined great protections for victims. At the time, it was Bill C-71, and now we are finding a lot of the same types of provisions in Bill C-77.
     I will, as little as possible, go over the same ground that others have already gone over and steer my remarks to the 2018 spring report of the Auditor General of Canada. This was an independent report on the delays and the flawed process within the military justice system. It was a review done of cases from 2016-17, entirely within the time of the current government.
    Bill C-77 would change three major things: enshrine the previous government's Victims Bill of Rights in the National Defence Act; put a statute of limitations of six months on summary hearing cases; and clarify what cases should be handled by summary hearing. These are good measures.
     My experience with the military is limited, but I did work for a previous minister of national defence. He had served as a one-star brigadier general in the armed forces. Specifically on cases of sexual misconduct in the forces, he would always remind us that it was an issue of discipline and command. He reminded us sternly that if a person was accused and convicted of sexual misconduct, he believed that person did not belong in the forces anymore as there were obvious problems with discipline and the ability to follow orders. I am glad to see that we will be paying greater attention to that.
    The bill proposes that special considerations be given to indigenous peoples, which match those in the Criminal Code of Canada already. Some of the differences that will be introduced regard absolute discharges for court martial. Also, there is the simple change of name from “summary trials” to “summary hearings”.
    The Auditor General's report was tabled just this year. It is quite detailed and uses a pool of cases, looking at the military justice system, and it offers a list of recommendations. I will go through some of the content of that report prepared on the military justice system.
    The Auditor General's report found delays, and in some cases unbelievable delays, in the adjudication of cases. The solution in many of these situations that the Department of National Defence offered was simply a new tracking system, which was some type of electronic, online, tracking database called the justice administration and information management system. However, the Auditor General found in several cases that delays had been leading to dismissal or not proceeding with a court martial in cases where it was warranted.
     In the report's analysis, for some charges, and I have a list of charges, it took an average of 2.3 months to refer the charges for prosecution, an average of 3.2 months to decide to proceed to court martial and then an average of 12.2 months for the pretrial preparations and a court martial. The average time the Auditor General found it took to complete 20 cases was 17.7 months, which goes very close to what the Supreme Court of Canada ruled would be a fair amount of time between the moment when one was charged with an offence to the moment when one's trial was completed, which is at 18 months.
    What we see proposed in Bill C-77 are efforts at streamlining some of those procedures to ensure that members of the forces who are accused of different alleged actions will face justice in a reasonable amount of time so it matches up to what is available to civilians in the Criminal Code.
    The Auditor General looked at 117 summary trial cases and 20 court martial cases. Under the headline “Delays in summary trials”, it details the problems with investigations and delaying of charges. It details how some of those delays really raise major concerns about the way the National Defence Department deals with cases of disciplinary actions against its members and deals with the more serious cases where a court martial is necessary.

  (1655)  

    We know that what should be top of mind in all of these cases, which the Supreme Court of Canada has confirmed, is discipline; discipline of the members who wear the uniform in defence of Canada. It is of vital importance that they know justice will be served upon them. It serves as a deterrent for those who abuse not only their position, but also the particular situations in which they find themselves, doing so for either personal gain or some type of financial reward.
    The analysis also showed that there was lack of time standards, inadequate communication between military police investigators and other parties, late communication with defence counsel services and a risk that sufficient military litigation expertise was not developed. All of these failings noted in the 2018 Auditor General's report give the committee an opportunity, when considering this legislation, to also consider whether Bill C-77 goes far enough in certain cases or does enough in light of the Auditor General's report.
    Members on this side of the House, as all members have heard, support that it be sent to committee to give it that secondary review so we can go in-depth on the opportunities to improve military justice for members in uniform and ensure that their rights are upheld and that the rights of victims are upheld as well.
    Too often the government forgets about the victim in these situations. Other members have mentioned it, including the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, with respect to the case of McClintic. I have had members of the RCMP and the military come to my office who have been victims of the system or actions of others. They feel that justice has not been served. They do not feel that the system has protected their interests. The system has not helped them get through and the trial system has not given them satisfaction.
    It would ensure that those who commit criminal acts or participate in actions or behaviours that are not conducive to ensuring the proper discipline in the armed forces are actually punished. As I mentioned, I really believe that for those convicted of sexual misconduct in the forces, we should think about whether they should be serving in the forces in the first place. That type of behaviour has no place in the forces, something that has been reiterated by the chief of defence staff and the minister. Previous ministers have said it as well. Part of this legislation gets us to the point where we can do a great service to victims of those types of crimes and of other crimes to ensure the military justice system looks after them.
    One of the recommendations in the Auditor General's report was “The Canadian Armed Forces should define and communicate time standards for every phase of the military justice process and ensure there is a process for tracking and enforcing them.” As I said, there is a new online digital tracking system called the JAIMS system, which is supposed to be part of what the Liberals are calling for here. However, there should be time standards as well. It is very reasonable to have, at the very onset of the process, a certain amount of expectation regarding how long the process will last.
     The speed at which a trial happens in the military, just like in the civilian court system, is vitally important to ensuring that justice is done. Justice deferred is judicial failure. It is justice not delivered. In cases where men and women in uniform are serving overseas in combat roles, we owe it to them to ensure that they have faith in the military justice system and that it will look after their interests. We will be fair and just, but we will also be efficient.
     Some of the proposals in Bill C-77 go toward achieving that goal, which is why I will support sending the legislation to committee to give it a further review in light of the Auditor General's report on the military justice system.

  (1700)  

    Madam Speaker, the key component and essence of Bill C-C-77 is to enshrine victims' rights in the military justice system. It is one thing to pass a bill; it is quite another to actually see the implementation of those rights.
    There are going to be a number of challenges from an operational standpoint in terms of implementation. One of the key positions that Bill C-77 establishes is a victim liaison officer, which is basically parallel to the victims ombudsman in the civilian court system.
    It took the government a year to fill the vacancy of a victims ombudsman. This really speaks to the fact that the government may talk a good game about victims' rights, but when it comes to delivering, time and again it has come up short. Could my colleague comment on that?
    Madam Speaker, the member is absolutely correct in his assessment that there have been so many delays on the government side. There has not been a focus on ensuring that justice be done for victims and those going through the judicial system, either on the civilian or military side. It has been three years now that the government has been in power and we can point to a very small number of accomplishments.
    We have had Auditor General reports, like the one that came out on the military justice system, entirely under the government's watch and in the time Liberals have been government, supposedly in control of it. There has been delay upon delay that calls into question whether the military justice system is working correctly. The government has fallen behind in appointing judges and in ensuring the judicial system is working on behalf of victims.
     I can only agree with the member's assessment of the situation.

  (1705)  

    Madam Speaker, there is a different component within the legislation that was not there previously, the indigenous factor, for service personnel, where there would be an obligation to give that consideration. I am wondering if I could get my colleague's thoughts on that aspect of the legislation. We see that as important and is reflective of what is happening in our civil process at the current time.
    Madam Speaker, the member is correct that the provisions included in Bill C-77 would bring the military justice system more in conformity with what the Criminal Code provides for with indigenous and aboriginal offenders. Therefore, I cannot see any reason to disagree with it at all.
    Madam Speaker, I rise to speak to Bill C-77, an act to amend the National Defence Act. It is a bill that would make a number of changes to Canada's military justice system, which applies to members of the Canadian Armed Forces.
    Before I address the substance of the bill, let me put on the record my thanks to the brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces for their service, sacrifice and duty to country. The men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces collectively represent the highest standards of excellence.
    CFB Edmonton is located minutes from my riding of St. Albert—Edmonton, and many Canadian Armed Forces personnel who are posted at CFB Edmonton live in my riding and are an integral part of the communities I am so fortunate to represent in the city of St. Albert and in northwest Edmonton. I am very proud to be their voice in the House of Commons.
    Broadly speaking, Bill C-77 would seek to align the military justice system with modern day Criminal Code amendments. Without more, Bill C-77 is a good bill, and I am going to address why I think it is a step in the right direction. Before I do that, just for context, it would be somewhat helpful to discuss the fact that we have two parallel justice systems in Canada, a civilian justice system and a military justice system, and the rationale for that long-standing reality.
    It was very succinctly put by Chief Justice Lamer in the R v. Généreux decision, wherein Chief Justice Lamer stated the purpose of a military justice system. He stated:
    To maintain the Armed Forces in a state of readiness, the military must be in a position to enforce internal discipline effectively and efficiently. Breaches of military discipline must be dealt with speedily and, frequently, punished more severely than would be the case if a civilian engaged in such conduct. As a result, the military has its own Code of Service Discipline to allow it to meet its particular disciplinary needs.
    I would further add that another aspect of the military justice system is the recognition that Canadian Armed Forces personnel can be situated anywhere around the world, and it extends that jurisdiction to Canadian Armed Forces personnel whether they are operating in Canada, Afghanistan, Mali or wherever they may be.
    The military justice system has done a lot of things really well. Chief Justice Lamer spoke about the need for a speedy process for justice and about a higher level of discipline, having regard for the fact that members of the Canadian Armed Forces are not civilians and are held to a higher standard.
    However, one area where our military justice system has not done as good a job is in protecting the rights of victims, and that is what Bill C-77 would seek to change. What Bill C-77 would do is establish a bill of rights. It would incorporate a victims bill of rights into the Code of Service Discipline. It would be similar to the Victims Bill of Rights that applies in the civilian context, which, of course, is an important achievement of the previous Conservative government.
    What types of rights would Bill C-77 enshrine? It would enshrine four pillars of rights for victims. One would be the right to information. Quite often, those who are victims find themselves in a very difficult position in understanding all the court processes.

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    The right to information under Bill C-77 would mean that victims would have information at all stages, from the time the charges were laid, through the trial, through sentencing and through the post-sentencing phase, at all stages. That is really important. In order to help ensure that victims received information at all stages, Bill C-77 would establish a victims liaison officer.
    A second pillar is that it would ensure that victims had the right to privacy and that the privacy of victims would be treated as paramount. That is important, particularly in cases, for example, involving sexual assault.
    A third pillar of rights for victims is the right to be heard at all stages of the justice process. That includes being able to provide a victim impact statement at the time of sentencing. This is something that is routinely done in the civilian court context, and it seems to be quite logical that it should extend to the military justice system as well.
    Finally, Bill C-77 would provide the right to restitution whereby it would require a court martial to consider the imposition of a restitution order where there was a loss involved.
    All of those things are good. They are a step in the right direction. We support them. We strongly support protecting the rights of victims.
    When we say that there is no problem with Bill C-77 and that, on the whole, it is a pretty good bill, it is perhaps because it is a carbon copy of Bill C-71, introduced by the previous Conservative government.
    While the bill will pass, hopefully sooner rather than later, and it has taken three years for the government to finally get around to literally copying and pasting a bill from the previous Conservative government, after Bill C-77 is passed, there are going to be challenges from the standpoint of implementation. It