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42nd PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 339

CONTENTS

Monday, October 22, 2018




House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 148
NUMBER 339
1st SESSION
42nd PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Monday, October 22, 2018

Speaker: The Honourable Geoff Regan

    The House met at 11 a.m.

Prayer



PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS

[Private Members' Business]

  (1100)  

[English]

Postal Banking System

    The House resumed from March 26 consideration of the motion.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to participate in this debate on Motion No. 166 regarding postal banking. The motion calls for the creation of a special committee to conduct hearings and develop a plan for a postal banking system to be administered by the Canada Post Corporation. Let me explain why the government opposes this motion.
    I listened with care to the presentation made by the member for London—Fanshawe on why she moved this particular motion. I was disappointed that she gave so little attention to the hard work of her colleagues on the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates who completed a review of Canada Post less than two years ago.

[Translation]

     I remind the member for London—Fanshawe that the committee held public hearings in 22 communities, in every region of our wonderful country, from Surrey to St. John's, Newfoundland, from Yellowknife to Montreal, and many places in between. Our colleagues on the committee heard more than 200 witnesses who shared their views on the future of Canada Post. The committee heard directly from communities, associations, unions, businesses and individual Canadians on a number of topics, including the postal banking system.
    The committee also conducted an online survey, which gave Canadians another way to share their opinions. More than 5,000 individuals and 195 businesses responded.
    In addition to the committee's awareness efforts, some of our colleagues in the House organized town halls, giving their constituents an opportunity to participate in the process. These comments were passed along to the committee. The committee members carefully reviewed all of the evidence in drafting their detailed report, which made 45 recommendations. This is likely the largest consultation on the future of Canada Post on record. This evidence reflected the hard work—
    Order. I apologize to the parliamentary secretary. Apparently, there has been some confusion. I should have asked the hon. member for Edmonton West to give her speech before the parliamentary secretary. I apologize.

[English]

    If the hon. member for Edmonton West is ready, having had to wait, I will call upon him to speak now.
    Mr. Speaker, I was content to have my colleague finish his remarks, because it is a momentous moment when myself and the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility actually agree on an item, this being one of them.
    I am rising today on today's Motion No. 166 to establish a committee to study and propose postal banking. It is not to study it; it is to actually study and propose, putting the cart before the horse. I have a lot of problems with this motion, the largest of which is that I seem to be the party's point person on Canada Post and I would be afraid I would be stuck on such a committee if it actually went ahead.
    This motion is well intentioned, but it is proposing an eighties solution to a sixties problem. A lot of this postal banking push, of course, comes from The Leap Manifesto, “delivering community power”. It is quite odd, watching the NDP carry the postal workers' water here, mostly because postal workers basically abandoned the NDP in the last election to support the Liberals and their promise to restore door-to-door delivery. It is also ironic that we are discussing Motion No. 166, postal banking on a day where the postal workers are starting rotating strikes across the country.
     How did we get here, with Canada Post? My colleagues across the way promised a return to door-to-door delivery if they got elected. Of course, the Liberals would say that that is not what they promised or that is not what they intended. Actually we heard, during our Canada Post tour, the member of Parliament for Charlottetown testify that that was what the government meant, that the Liberals meant a complete return to door-to-door service. He said that to say otherwise would be lying. Interesting.
    What happened? The Liberals did get elected but, oops, they found that Canada Post was in deep trouble, door-to-door delivery was dropping, there was a massively underfunded pension, and the only thing keeping Canada Post marginally in the black was the changes Canada Post made with its five points, including a change to community mailboxes, raising the price of stamps and a few other other issues.
    What does the Liberal government do whenever there is a crisis? It proposes a study. The government struck a task force, and the task force came out with a report called “Canada Post in the digital age”. Here is another ironic thing. Minister Foote, when she struck the committee, directed the task force to find a way to justify postal banking in its study. We found this out through discussions, interviews and ATIPs.
    The four-person task force ignored the political interference and did its job. What it found with Canada Post was quite worrying. It found, from 2016, projected forward to 2026, that Canada Post would be net $3.4 billion cash in the hole, and would be losing three-quarters of a billion dollars every single year. These are not numbers pulled out of the air by the task force. These are audited numbers from a major, well-respected, international auditing firm. This loss of three-quarters of a billion dollars every year includes about a quarter million dollars to $400 million a year it is saving from the community mailbox conversion.
    The big problem is door-to-delivery is dropping and is being replaced by rush from Amazon parcel delivery. The problem with that is the profit on door-to-door delivery is about 70 cents on the dollar. For parcel delivery, it is marginal. It is cutthroat because of competition.
    On top of the fact that Canada Post's main profit driver is dropping and the heavy cost of parcel delivery is rising, we have an $8-billion unfunded pension liability. We know about the Sears issue. We know about Nortel. Double that, and it would still not dent the size of the Canada Post pension problem. That is even with Canada Post being on a pension holiday, not having to address this with added money for the last four years, and it is still on that pension holiday.
    What did the task force come up with? It basically came up with something the Liberals did not want to hear. It said that the government should stick to the original five-point plan that Canada Post had before, continue with the mailbox conversions, convert corporate stores to franchise stores, not in the rural areas but in the big cities. There is a Canada Post-owned store about 10 minutes from where I live, and between where I live and that 10-minute drive, there are over 30 franchise stores. They are talking about converting those to franchises as well.
    What did the report say on postal banking?

  (1105)  

    The report says:
     According to experts and stakeholders, Canada's financial environment is not conducive to the establishment and operation of full-scale postal banking. Postal banking is not likely to succeed in Canada as a result of the existence of a mature and competitive banking environment, as well as the extensive market coverage of...credit unions....Canadians in all economic circumstances in all regions of Canada already have access to one of the best, most inclusive financial systems in the world.
    In Canada 99% of its population have bank accounts. Canada in the developed world has the highest number of bank accounts among those who live in the below 40% income percentile. Therefore, we are very well served. We do not get great service, but we are well served by the banking industry.
    The report continued, “...postal bank today would be entering a highly competitive market and an expensive endeavour requiring significant investments in infrastructure, IT, security, acquiring new skill sets....”
    We are thinking that the same people who came up with Phoenix and Shared Services is going to somehow roll out the banking system from Canada Post. “Postal banking is unlikely to generate a profit.... Furthermore, having a government entity competing in the financial sector would contravene Canada's trade agreements”. Payday loan services “require customers to have bank accounts”. Adding a postal bank is not going to provide any alternative.
    In light of the conclusive report from the task force, the Liberals said let us do another study, so they sent the operations committee out on the road and we travelled from Surrey to St. John's learning about Canada Post and postal banking. In case anyone thinks it is lavish travel, we were on a plane so small that for the seven of us that my colleague from St. John's East had to sit on the toilet in the plane, although it did have seatbelts and I am sure he could have used the seat as a life support.
    From the experts we heard on the road, payday loans is a dying industry and most are within blocks of a bank anyway, so doing postal banking is not going to do anything with that. Some postal outlets get as few as two visitors a day, so it is not exactly a thriving business we pay to the bank. Also, 99% of Canadians have bank accounts. Bank outlets are growing in the country and one-third are in rural towns already. Credit unions are thriving with 10 million members. We have the highest number of ATMs per capita in the world, so Canadians are well served.
    At the meetings with postal workers, CUPW stacked our meetings to give their side of the story and they talked about other countries having postal banking. Every single one except New Zealand that had postal banking had privatized their postal services. We asked if they wanted to privatize it and the answer was of course not. We discussed payday loans and asked how we would do it. Payday loans have predatory high costs. The answer was to do free chequing. How would we make money to support Canada Post with free chequing? They did not know. What would happen the first time we lend money to Johnny Lunchbox and we have to repossess his truck? Oh, we will forget the loan. What happens when grandma does not pay her mortgage? Well, we would just forgive her loan. We mentioned that setting up a bank is going to be very expensive, how would we capitalize the bank? Would we put forward the pension from the postal workers? Well, of course not, taxpayers will do that.
    We see we have a situation where Canada Post is in a dire situation financially. We recognize that, but having a postal bank run basically on unicorns and fairy dust is not going to change things. We have a very robust, very competitive banking system that will be near impossible for outside, U.S. competition to establish instead of a bricks-and-mortar banking system in Canada, much less a system by Canada Post, which does not have the expertise. Perhaps as The Leap Manifesto says, we will put charging stations at every post office. I imagine some guy pulls up in his Tesla, plugs in his Tesla, walks into Canada Post, buys some stamps to send a Christmas card to his mom and then takes out a $2-billion derivative trade. It is not going to happen.
    What we need to address Canada Post is action from the government, not sticking its head in the sand and hoping the problem goes away until the next election. We need action to address its pension issues. We need action as proposed by a task force, real day action, not actions to address issues from the sixties or issues from perhaps some fantasy land.

  (1115)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I am glad to have this opportunity to talk about the motion moved by my colleague, the member for London—Fanshawe. I thank her for moving Motion No. 166 concerning a committee study and the creation of a Canadian postal banking system. I am honoured to have the opportunity to share my thoughts on a matter related to my former workplace.
    I was a member of the committee during its study of Canada Post. The NDP even moved a motion to look into Canada Post's infamous postal banking study. Unfortunately, we were unable to dig into as deeply as I would have liked because the copy we received was almost entirely blacked out. As a result, we were unable to learn more about Canada Post's study or develop a clear understanding of the issue.
    With respect to Motion No. 166 on appointing a special committee to come up with a plan for a Canadian postal banking system, I would like to talk about the services such a bank would provide.
    Canada currently has more post offices than Tim Hortons restaurants. Many municipalities already have buildings and other places where people pick up their parcels and their mail, places that already have employees on duty.
    As things stand today, and I heard many of my colleagues talk about this, Canada Post needs to innovate and find new ways to generate revenue. Canada Post is moving toward more parcel delivery, a market that is already working very well. Every day, Canada Post employees work hard to provide delivery service. According to the municipalities, most of the time people go to the post office to pick up their parcels and take advantage of other Canada Post services.
    Why, then, not offer banking services, too? Employees are already there, trained and qualified. They have their security clearance. A greater variety of products could be offered if financial services were provided at post offices. Loans and various financial services could be offered. That is actually part of the Canada Post Corporation Act, which requires the mail service to adapt to the public's communication needs as they evolve.
    Canadians across the country have always been able to count on high-quality mail service, going all the way back to colonial times. That is why we want to bring back Canada's postal banking system. Employees working in post offices offer high-quality service and are fully qualified to provide banking services.
    We could look at what other countries are doing. Many have innovated and diversified their postal services. In the United Kingdom, France, New Zealand, Brazil and Italy, postal services offer effective banking services that help rural, remote and low-income communities by providing them with income stability. The postal services in Russia and China are currently adding banking services. The fact that all these countries are doing this proves that there is an existing need and that this can be done.
    Japan has expanded the range of services it offers. This was proposed during study in committee when we met with the public, unions and even FADOQ. It was proposed that Canada Post diversify its services and include home support services for seniors. Japan, for example, delivers food and provides services to seniors. Our senior population is growing in Canada. With all the mail carriers on the streets and in municipal offices every day, we, like Japan, could diversify the services we provide.

  (1120)  

    In Switzerland, the public postal service offers an online payment service to businesses. In the past, it combined mail delivery with a public transportation service in rural areas. In Germany, the public postal service is now manufacturing three different sizes of electric delivery vehicles. The Germans are moving towards the use of green energy, which is what the Canadian Union of Postal Workers wants to do. In Australia, the public postal service has an online payment service that competes with PayPal. In Italy, the public postal service provides e-commerce services to businesses.
    To conclude my speech in praise of the services offered in other countries, I will speak about France. It was not easy to establish the French postal service in 2000, but there has been an increase in demand for services offered to the entire population. It is often difficult for some people to open a bank account, but everyone in France can use the public postal service. It is open to all, and everyone can open a postal bank account. In France, everyone had to pitch in, but that was the key to success.
    I also want to talk about workers. My colleague said that services have declined, but that we do not need postal banking because we have ATMs in credit unions. In my region of Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean and in municipalities across Quebec, credit unions are closing down and ATMs are being removed. However, post offices are not closing down. They are always around, so the number of services they offer could be increased. Many Canadians are forced to travel thousands of kilometres to reach a bank, whereas they could find a postal outlet close by in their municipality. As I was saying earlier, there are more post offices than Tim Hortons outlets in Canada.
    I will give you a specific example. In Welshpool, New Brunswick, some residents have to take a ferry from Canada to the United States to get to a bank, then cross the border again to get back to Canada. That is completely ridiculous, especially since there is a post office in the town. If there were a public postal banking system, these residents could just go to their local post office without having to plan a special trip. It would also increase the range of services available.
    As we know, Canada Post has had to cut its opening hours. By diversifying the services it offers, and especially by providing banking services, Canada Post might be able to extend its opening hours, which would benefit the entire population, including those who go directly to the Canada Post counter to pick up packages, for example.
    Things would change, but we have everything to gain by voting for Motion No. 166, carrying out a proper study—not one where information has been redacted, like the studies the committee received from Canada Post—and exploring the value of instituting a public postal banking system. I hope my colleagues in the House will vote in favour of the motion.
    Madam Speaker, thank you for the privilege of making this long-awaited speech.

[English]

    It is a pleasure to participate in this debate on Motion No. 166 regarding postal banking. The motion now is well known. It calls for the creation of a special committee to conduct hearings and develop a plan for a postal banking system that would be administered by the Canada Post Corporation.
     Let me explain why the government opposes this motion. I listened with care to the presentations by my friend from London—Fanshawe and her colleagues, as well as by the official opposition critic on Canada Post, and their rationale for either supporting or opposing this motion. I was disappointed that the mover of the motion gave so little attention to the hard work of her colleagues, as detailed by my friend from the official opposition, on the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, who completed a review of Canada Post less than two years ago.

  (1125)  

[Translation]

     I remind the member who moved this motion that the committee held hearings in 22 communities in every region across our wonderful country, from Surrey to St. John's, Newfoundland, from Yellowknife to Montreal, and many places in between.
    Our colleagues on the committee heard more than 200 witnesses who shared their views on the future of Canada Post. If memory serves, this was the largest consultation on Canada Post on record. The committee heard directly from communities, associations, unions, businesses and individual Canadians on a number of topics, including the postal banking system.
    The committee already did what the motion calls for. The committee also conducted an online survey, which gave Canadians another way to share their opinions. More than 5,000 individuals and 195 businesses responded.
    In addition to the committee's awareness efforts, some of our colleagues in the House organized town halls, giving their constituents an opportunity to participate in the process. These comments were passed along to the committee.
    The committee members carefully reviewed all of the evidence in drafting their detailed report, which made 45 recommendations. This evidence reflected the hard work of an independent task force comprising four distinguished members with public- and private-sector experience.
     The independent task force also met with representatives of unions and municipalities, postal experts, and other stakeholders, such as banking associations and credit unions. They studied international best practices and analyzed potential options for the future of Canada Post. The task force retained the services of experts in every field, such as financial analysis and international postal services. For instance, Oliver Wyman, a global management consulting firm, was contracted to identify and assess potential business opportunities, such as postal banking.
     The task force conducted public opinion research in order to get a statistically representative view of Canadians and businesses from which conclusions could be drawn. They also solicited Canadians' opinions of postal banking. The results of those surveys, as well as other findings and analysis, were presented in a discussion paper entitled “Canada Post in the digital age: Discussion paper”.
    Postal banking is addressed throughout the paper. Chapter 7 in particular focuses on this option. I encourage all of my House of Commons colleagues to read it.
    I want to underline the contribution of the independent task force in helping ensure a comprehensive, evidence-based review of one of our country's most iconic institutions.

[English]

    The government carefully considered the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, and the in-depth analysis conducted by the independent task force. Let me share with my colleagues what the committee and the independent task force had to say about postal banking.
    I begin with the independent task force. It found that Canada has a mature and competitive banking system, with approximately 99% of Canadians having bank accounts and 69% paying their bills online rather than through the mail. It also found that Canada has over 6,300 bank branches operated by 80 banks, along with nearly 3,000 branches operated by more than 600 credit unions, as well as over 65,000 automated banking machines.
    The Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates also studied postal banking and found very much the same evidence as the independent task force. In addition to hearing that 99% of Canadians have a bank account, the committee heard that 55% of Canadians use the Internet to do most of their banking. The committee also heard that the number of credit union members who use their branches in rural areas has dropped significantly in recent years as more and more members conduct their financial transactions online or using smart phone applications. Moreover, it has been stated that Canada Post did not sufficiently pursue postal banking as a potential line of business. In fact, the standing committee had the opportunity to consider the evidence and recommended that “Canada Post focus on its core competencies to help Canada meet the challenges of the 21st century.”
    It is fair to say that the matter of postal banking has been properly examined and consulted on, and that there is substantial evidence to support the conclusions reached by Canadians, the independent task force and the standing committee.
    In response to this motion by the member for London—Fanshawe, I ask this. Do we really need further hearings and study on this matter? We believe the short answer is no.

  (1130)  

[Translation]

     As members of the House know, the government has already outlined a new vision for Canada Post. The government's priority is to renew Canada Post, ensure that it remains relevant and viable over the long term and that it continues to provide good middle-class jobs and valued services to Canadians. A new service-focused vision is fundamental to the renewal of this iconic institution. It also means that Canada Post will provide high-quality service at a reasonable price to Canadians, no matter where they live.
    The government has already taken action to permanently terminate the conversion of home delivery to community mailboxes. Promise made, promise kept. We are also responding to the many concerns faced by seniors and others with mobility challenges vis-à-vis community mailboxes. That is another promise that we kept.
    Canada Post is developing an enhanced accessible delivery program which will ultimately result in improved service for tens of thousands of Canadians.

[English]

    We also know that significant changes are needed to ensure the long-term relevance and financial sustainability of Canada Post. That is why, as part of this renewal, the government has asked Canada Post to embrace innovation, experimentation and pilot projects, including in the area of some financial-related service, to adopt best practices and address market trends, new technologies and shifts in the needs and expectations of Canadians.
     For instance, as more Canadians move to online shopping, more convenient parcel delivery options may be needed. We also need to be innovative in exploring partnership opportunities with the federal government, other jurisdictions and communities to leverage the unique retail network of Canada Post, in line with the advice of the independent task force and the standing committee.
    Indeed, Canada Post's new leadership now has the direction from government to work with its dedicated employees, the private sector and the communities in which it operates to explore good ideas to support the services Canadians need in the years to come, including in the area of financial services, among many others. That is what it is doing. That is where the action should be, not in more talk in Parliament.
    With 3,800 corporate post offices and 2,500 franchise post offices, Canada Post has one of the largest retail networks in Canada. In some communities, particularly in rural Canada, Canada Post is the only federal presence. In short, Canada Post is in the unique position to drive this innovation and change.
    A more innovative culture and collaboration requires new leadership at Canada Post. We have also delivered that with the appointment of Jessica McDonald as chair of the board of directors.
    We have embraced change at Canada Post. We have broken with the ways of the past. We brought forward innovative solutions. We now need to enable Canada Post and its employees to move forward together and to an innovative future.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for London—Fanshawe for introducing this important motion, Motion No. 166. Her work on helping low-income Canadians and her other work in the House have made her an invaluable member of Parliament. I would also like to take a moment to thank her for her service to our nation since 2006, which is 12 years in the House.
    Postal banking is a concept that seems new, but is really very old. Some of our earliest banks were run by Canada's post office, which has always provided a secure, low-cost alternative to the commercial banks.
     The cost of banking in Canada is a serious issue. We often identify the payday lenders as the worst culprits. After all, they charge extremely high fees for cashing cheques and charge ridiculous interest rates for short and long-term loans. They open up in low-income neighbourhoods where the working poor live. These are people who work hard, but who receive such a low rate of pay that they live a hand-to-mouth paycheque to paycheque existence.
     Less than two blocks from Parliament Hill, a payday loan company is charging $45 for a $300 loan for a two-week period. That is a 15% interest rate over 14 days. It promises that no matter how poor one's credit, one can get a loan.
    Why would people go to payday lenders instead of to of the big five commercial banks? Because they will cash their paycheques today. Banks will sit on it for five business days, waiting for it to clear.
     A 2017 lpsos survey found that more than half of Canadians were living within $200 per month of not being able to pay all their bills or meet their debt obligations. Our working poor, half of all Canadians, cannot wait a week for their pay to be cashed. That would mean unpaid rent, no groceries, no school supplies, no bus passes.
     Let me reiterate, we are talking about more than half of all Canadians. Sure we can discuss financial literacy and the need for savings, etc., but none of that is part of today's reality, and the big banks often do not help.
    When I was young, people looked at banks to see which would pay the best interest rate on even small deposits. It was how we comparison shopped. At that time, consumers were considered to be valuable clients of the banks. That has changed today. Now we compare how exorbitant the banks' fees will be if we want to withdraw our own money. Will an overdraft cost $50 or $70? Will we need to pay extra for online banking? How good does our credit rating have to be to get a credit card?
    Then we have credit card interest, which can be 20% or more. If the payday loan companies are engaged in usury, what can we say about credit card companies?
     Out of interest, let us check what the good book has to say about moneylending. The Bible is not at all shy about taking a position on charging interest.
     Ezekiel 18:13 states, “[He] lends at interest, and takes profit; shall he then live? He shall not live. He has done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon himself.” I agree that is a little harsh, but we get the idea.
     Deuteronomy 23:19 states, “You shall not charge interest on loans to your brother, interest on money, interest on food, interest on anything that is lent for interest.”
     We are no longer the valued clients we once were. Now banks see consumers as a resource to be tapped, holding our money so they can leverage it for profit, while charging us so much they profit again. Banks often do not work for us.
    There is already one good alternative to the commercial banks. Credit Unions work with the community and are run by their members. However, they are limited in many ways by federal financial rules. We have recently seen attempts to make it even harder for credit unions to do their work.
     Last year, the current government attempted to ban credit unions from using such commonplace words as “bank” and “banking”, and that fight is still not over. We are expecting the government's final decision on the matter within a few months.
    What can we do? One very good option is postal banking. Until 1968, Canadians could go to their local post offices to deposit or withdraw money. They could transfer funds to another person.
     Today, we see the role of Canada Post changing. Few people receive their bills by mail, few people mail anything at all, except holiday cards and packages. There are opportunities to expand the mandate of Canada Post into new areas.

  (1135)  

    In fact, earlier this week, I attended a government-sponsored meeting on the issue of bus transportation in western Canada over the cancellation of Greyhound service. Over 75% of post office managers have offered to extend their services to include being bus depots, an excellent use of existing facilities and infrastructure.
    Similarly, we should reinstate the use of post offices as banks. Postal banking is a sustainable solution that provides accessible banking services across Canada where no service is currently available and for those who cannot afford corporate bank fees. Today, thousands of towns and villages across our country do not have a bank, including many smaller communities in my riding of Kootenay—Columbia. Many of them have post offices that could provide access to financial and banking services.
    Over 139 countries around the world have postal banking, including the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Switzerland and New Zealand. This is not a new idea. Canada has the existing resources and infrastructure needed to bring back postal banking. We certainly have the need because our current financial institutions are failing many Canadians.
    If we look at the report released recently by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we are a world in crisis and postal banking, being able to use the local post offices to do banking, reduces greenhouse gases and helps the environment for those citizens who have to drive to get to banks.
    I would like to close by quoting from a study conducted on behalf of the Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association, which states:
     “The government wants to help boost women's economic empowerment. Postal banking is the natural fit. Our members from the Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association are 95% women, who operate 3,260 rural post offices. Our study showed that there are almost 1,200 rural communities in Canada that have a post office, but no financial services. Worst yet, only 54 indigenous communities out of 615 in the entire country have a banking outlet. These community members are at the mercy of corner stores, subject to exploitation and must travel long distances to the closest bank. Postal banking is good for communities, it's good for the environment, it's good for local businesses, as well as maintaining and creating good jobs in rural communities where employment with fair living wages and benefits is often difficult to find.”
    Let us get postal banking back on track.

  (1140)  

    [Member spoke in Cree]
    [English]
    I rise in support of this motion. This issue has been raised countless times by the people in my riding of Winnipeg Centre. They have raised it because they believe it is important to have equity in our communities, not only in suburban middle-class communities but also in indigenous and rural communities and inner-city communities, where people often do not have as much access to banking services as others.
    Postal banking is an excellent idea. I have had hundreds of communications from citizens in Winnipeg Centre about this. We have conducted town halls on this issue, and time and time again people have come out to say they want this for Canadians and for Winnipeg Centre.
    Over the last two decades, we have seen a major decline in the number of bank and credit union branches and locations. In 1990 there were 7,964 branches, and by 2002 that number had fallen to 5,908, a decline of 26%.
    This is not a good thing for Canadians, particularly rural Canadians. People living in rural areas should be asking their MPs to look into this issue to a greater extent, whether Conservative, Liberal or even NDP.
    The decline of branch banking is not only linked to banks' rationalizing of their brick and mortar locations, but also to the rise of ATMs, the Internet and telephone banking. However, we must not forget that even though there is greater access to Internet, many rural communities do not have access to high-speed Internet, which is often required for the use of online banking, or do not even have any Internet at all. This is also true for inner-city communities. I know many people who have a cellphone but do not have access to free Internet service, and it takes them a long time and costs them a lot to access online banking services.
    Today there are more than 58,000 ATMs across Canada, and 61% of them are so-called “white” machines owned by non-bank companies. Online banking has grown at a tremendous rate in recent years, with 67% of Canadians now using this form of banking, according to a CBA study. This study also noted that 47% of Canadians now use the Internet as their main means of banking, up from 8% 12 years ago.
    While this is a good thing for many Canadians, it does not include all Canadians. We need an inclusive way of banking for all Canadians. For instance, we can look at some of fringe financial institutions. Indeed, many institutions are on the fringe, such as payday loan companies, the Wonga website or Zippy Cash, which can offer loans for 30 days with an interest amount of $40.10 or a rate of over 240% per year, which is an incredible amount of interest in a year.
    There are a number of Canadians who do not have access to a bank account. If we take the lowest figure of 3%, which is often put forward, there were an estimated 842,000 people in 2005 without a bank account. Today the number of unbanked Canadians, using the same method of calculation, approaches 910,000 people.
    Aboriginal communities remain largely without banks or credit unions across our country. Over the past decade, the aboriginal population has increased dramatically, growing by 21.1% between 2006 and 2011. Some 1.4 million people are now identified as aboriginal, or 4.3% of the Canadian population. However, banks and credit unions have lagged behind in providing them with services. While all the major banks have aboriginal services, there are very few branches on reserve.
    There are at least 615 first nation communities in Canada today, and many other Métis and non-status communities. A quick tally of bank and credit union branches on reserve shows there are only 54. That is an abysmal service level by banks, which make an incredible profits year after year in this country. I believe it was $32 billion last year by all of the major banks combined, yet they offer no services to many Canadians who need them. How is one supposed to have economic development if one does not have access to banking services? How is one supposed to cash cheques from the band office if one does not have access to banking service? This is extremely important not only on reserve, but also in inner-city communities.

  (1145)  

    Many people cannot access or do not have a bank because they sometimes do not have the proper identification. However, if they could find a place to cash a cheque at a low rate of interest instead of having a large charge, then maybe they would be better off in the long term.
    Postal banking has deep roots internationally and it is entering a period of expansion. This was shown by a major global study of postal banking carried out in 2012 by researchers of the Universal Postal Union, which Canada is a member of. The UPU report shows that after banks, postal operators and their postal financial subsidiaries are the second biggest worldwide contributor to financial inclusion, far head of microfinance institutions, money transfer organizations, co-operatives, insurance companies, mobile money operators and all other providers of financial services. This is important around the world and it can be important here in Canada.
    There are many large and important postal banking operations around the world, from Japan Post Bank, the world's largest deposit holder with 203 trillion yen or $2.15 trillion Canadian in assets, to the Postal Savings Bank of China, the fifth largest commercial bank in China with over 400 million customers, to the Deutsche Postbank, which is now owned by the Deutsche Bank but remains one of the largest in Germany, with its own network of over 100 branches and 4,500 postal outlets.
    The study did not examine these banks but looked at five successful models in industrialized countries: the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Switzerland and New Zealand, which have all maintained an important relationship between the financial services offered through postal office outlets at their post offices. These countries have been chosen because of their relevance to Canadian operations.
    Postal banking is extremely important. First, there are many Canadians living in large parts of Canada who lack physical access to banks or credit unions. The number of banks and credit union branches has shrunk over the past two decades. In rural Canada, many bank branches have closed in small towns, and while credit unions have purchased some of these branches, this process has slowed markedly in recent years. Because postal outlets are present in both rural communities and inner-city neighbourhoods, new postal banking could offer to citizens and businesses in many communities banking services that do not currently exist. In northern and rural Canada or on aboriginal reserves and in three northern territories, there have always been fewer banks and credit unions than are needed. There are no credit unions in the territories.
    Second, it is estimated that some 3% to 8% of Canadians do not have a bank account. This represents potentially more than one million new customers for postal financial services. Many Canadians use fringe financial services at a high personal cost. New postal banking services could be combined with legislation requiring the immediate rollback of FFI interest rates to bring them in line with existing banking rates.
    The Kiwibank and La Banque Postale in France are both excellent examples of how a postal bank can offer special services to low-income people for things such as home mortgages, rent to buy, or even social housing loans.
    Canada Post has the largest network of retail outlets already in place across Canada. It has a total of almost 6,400 postal outlets in 2012. Of 3,800 Canada Post outlets, 60% are in rural areas where there are fewer banks and credit unions. The post office in these locations could provide key services for individuals and local businesses. Indeed, some communities in Canada have a postal outlet but no other or limited banking services, especially since the closure of 1,700 bank branches and hundreds of credit unions over the last two decades.
    Canada Post has a high trust factor among Canadians and an already existing skilled and stable workforce of 68,000 employees, some of whom could easily be trained to handle limited financial services. Thus, it would not mean starting from scratch, but rather building on what already exists.
    Also, for a lot of newcomers, postal banking would allow them greater access to services to remit their money back to home countries like the Philippines, India or China, and would ensure that they have access to excellent services as well.
    In closing, I would like to highlight some of the comments by the hundreds of people who like the idea of postal banking, such as Candice Feilbert, who says that postal banking is a very smart business plan. Jonathan Klassen says it is an excellent idea. Norris Norden says, yes, banks and all credit unions must do more and allow for greater accounting. Helen Procner Mr. Baltesson say it is a fantastic idea.
    [Member spoke in Cree]

  (1150)  

    Resuming debate, the member will have about four minutes to speak before we have to go to the right of reply.
    The hon. member for Windsor—Tecumseh.
    Madam Speaker, I am very privileged to rise today to speak on behalf of the residents from where I live. In Windsor—Tecumseh, people are very astute and look around and shake their heads at a legislature's approach many times.
    Canada Post is a perfect example of infrastructure that has been built and developed across this country, in every corner, but that is not being maximized. As a matter of fact, the private sector is looking at the profit-making areas of Canada Post in a very predatory fashion and is eroding Canada Post.
    We have a perfect example today of how we should be maximizing this existing infrastructure. We have over two million Canadians who do not have access to a bank within their community. We have people who are subject to predatory lending. They have to go to payday cash lenders because banks have decreased the number of branches in their communities by some 20%. We have 45% of rural communities with a post office but not bank branch.
    Today, we know of Canadians who have to take their government cheque to a payday loan operation and pay an exorbitant fee to get their government cheque cashed. There is something wrong with that.
    The fact of the matter is that many of the comments today are based on a task force report that was done two years ago. There has been critical evidence in response to that task force and its premises in approaching postal banking with the aim of recommending that it not be pursued.
    The first premise of the task force was not based on how we could improve Canada Post. It was based on how we could cut costs and services at Canada Post. That is a key distinction. The second premise of the task force was that it studied postal banking with the view that private banking sector was serving Canadians very efficiently. As a matter of fact, they called it “great service”.
    Those two premises of the task force were wrong. They were erroneous. We have the expertise and evidence from over 60 countries with successful postal banking. We also have our own evidence and experience. People know that postal banking could be a springboard.
    When we are on vacation and want to mail a postcard home, we see this when we are in these rural communities. For Canadians living in the real world, our wheels get turning when we see how that service could be maximized in that space. It could be a kiosk for Service Canada. It could be a starting point for Nutrition North delivery. There are all kinds of things the government does that we could maximize within Canada Post.
    The problem that we have is that we are looking at everything in silos. Postal banking is a perfect example of how we could increase the well-being of Canadians. That social cost when we remove it does become, ultimately, an economic cost.

  (1155)  

    Madam Speaker, there is no better time to make investments in Canada Post that would ensure healthy profits for the corporation than now and into the future. Postal banking under Canada Post would provide profits and a secure source of revenue to enable the government to actually keep its campaign promise to restore home delivery to those who lost it under the previous Conservative government. A promise kept—imagine that; what a switch.
    Corporate banks have abandoned rural and urban Canada, leaving too many without access to a bank or credit union. Fewer than 10% of indigenous communities have a bank or credit union branch. Thousands of bank branches have been closed in the last 20 years, and nearly 400 since 2012, with more every day.
    Without access to services, people in rural communities must travel hours to access their own money or rely on private business owners to provide cheque-cashing services at their discretion and at a high premium. In urban areas, payday lenders prey on people of low income who cannot afford the service fees charged by big banks. Access to our own money is not a privilege; it is a right, a right that no Canadian should be denied.
    Postal banking works. We know this from the experience of countries whose economies are similar to Canada's. In the U.K., New Zealand, France, Italy, and even Switzerland, postal banking is part of the community, and it is profitable.
    Over the past few months, I have received overwhelming support for Motion No. 166, support from municipalities and individuals across the country, in urban and rural communities alike. I have received thousands of postcards in support of reinstating postal banking in Canada from constituents represented by 136 members of this House. I am certain that every MP in this House has received postcards from the Canadian Union of Postal Workers in support of Motion No.166. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the National Pensioners Federation support postal banking, because it is good policy.
    However, we have heard reservations from members who fear that credit unions and banks will experience unfair competition. They seem to overlook the fact that banks and even credit unions are already gone from rural and low-income communities.
    I have even heard reservations from Liberal and Conservative members who object to the word “banking” in the proposal. However, consider this. Switzerland has a postal bank. If the banking mecca of the world does not object to the name “bank”, why should we?
    Motion No. 166 provides flexibility for the committee to propose a name. Perhaps it could be something like “Canada Post financial services” or “Canada Post savings and loan”.
    I urge members of this House to avoid getting caught up in semantics and the misinformation we have heard today and to examine the true merits of providing financial services to those who have been abandoned by banks. People in indigenous, rural, and urban communities deserve affordable services. Access to personal finances is an undeniable right, a right that should be protected in a functioning democracy by providing it as a public service.
    Finally, we have heard from some Liberal Party members who claim to support the idea of postal banking but cannot support the motion, because it is somehow technically flawed and therefore not worthy of support. I have yet to hear what exactly that flaw is, except perhaps that postal banking is a progressive idea that did not originate with the government.
    In the past three years, this Parliament has heard NDP proposals to enshrine housing as a human right, implement a poverty strategy and close loopholes in conflicts of interest. There is no real problem with these NDP ideas except that they did not come from the Liberal benches. Canadians should expect to see these same NDP proposals as part of the 2019 Liberal platform.
    Sadly, Canadians cannot wait until 2019 and beyond. We are still waiting for the 2015 broken Liberal promises to be honoured. We cannot wait any more.
    Finally, I would like to remind members of this House of the Prime Minister's October 2017 letter to the Minister of Public Procurement, which stated:
    We made a commitment to grow our economy, strengthen the middle class, and help those working hard to join it. We committed to provide more direct help to those who need it by giving less to those who do not. We committed to public investment to spur economic growth, job creation, and broad-based prosperity....
    I expect Canadians to hold us accountable for delivering these commitments...to improve economic opportunity and security for Canadians.
    Once again—

  (1200)  

    Unfortunately, the time is up.
    The question is on the motion. Shall I dispense?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    [Chair read text of motion to House]
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): In my opinion the nays have it.
    And five or more members having risen:

[Translation]

    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): Pursuant to Standing Order 93, the recorded division stands deferred until Wednesday, October 24, immediately before the time provided for private members' business.

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Business of Supply]

  (1205)  

[Translation]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Terrorism 

     moved:

    That the House support the sentiments expressed by Nadia Murad, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, who in her book entitled The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State, stated: “I dream about one day bringing all the militants to justice, not just the leaders like Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi but all the guards and slave owners, every man who pulled a trigger and pushed my brothers’ bodies into their mass grave, every fighter who tried to brainwash young boys into hating their mothers for being Yazidi, every Iraqi who welcomed the terrorists into their cities and helped them, thinking to themselves, Finally we can be rid of those nonbelievers. They should all be put on trial before the entire world, like the Nazi leaders after World War II, and not given the chance to hide.”; and call on the government to: (a) refrain from repeating the past mistakes of paying terrorists with taxpayers’ dollars or trying to reintegrate returning terrorists back into Canadian society; and (b) table within 45 days after the adoption of this motion a plan to immediately bring to justice anyone who has fought as an ISIS terrorist or participated in any terrorist activity, including those who are in Canada or have Canadian citizenship.
    He said: Madam Speaker, I will start off by saying that I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Calgary Nose Hill.
    We have just heard the motion that we are moving today and will spend all day debating.
    First of all, I want to talk about the words of Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad. She said that what the fighters and terrorists of the Islamic State have done is an act of genocide that should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
    The problem right now is that our Prime Minister is not demonstrating any political will to bring these people to justice. There is no getting around the fact that most of them are Canadian. One hundred and sixty Canadians, most of whom were born in Canada, decided to go to Syria and Iraq to fight for the Islamic State and commit atrocities and acts of genocide. We know that 60 of them have come back to Canada, but only four have been charged. We have no other information on the rest of them. We have had information about the 60 fighters for two years. We do not know where the others are, nor what is going on with them.
     We learned recently that Muhammad Ali was captured by the Syrian army. Syria wants to send him back to Canada. Meanwhile, the RCMP is saying they probably would not be able to lay charges against him. That kind of news is really unsettling for Canadians. Going overseas to fight one's own country, to fight against Canada's allies, is called treason. We simply cannot understand how such traitors can come back here, without penalty, and continue to live their lives as though nothing happened. What is worse, many of them try to play the victim. They say that, looking back, it was not what they wanted to do and they claim to be victims.
    Let us recall how the Liberals replied recently. They told us they were able to charge four individuals, while the Conservatives did nothing. I would remind the House that our CF-18s were bombing ISIS, but the first thing this Prime Minister did was withdraw our CF-18s from the region. Why? We never did get an answer to that question.
    Today we are asking very specific and clear questions. These are questions that every member of the House gets asked. I am pretty sure that the Liberals across the way get the same questions from Canadians. What are they doing? What are they doing to bring these traitors to justice and to make victims feel like Parliament and their government are listening to them? That is currently not what they feel. It is not what they are experiencing.
    The Conservatives are calling on the Liberal government to take immediate action to bring Islamic State terrorists to justice. The Conservatives are calling on the Liberals to recognize that the vast majority of Canadians understand that whoever travels abroad to commit genocide or terrorist acts should be prosecuted under local and international law. The Conservatives strongly defend that principle.
    We are also calling on the government to focus its efforts on bringing those responsible for genocide or terrorist acts to justice and on protecting Canadians from those who return to Canada who are suspected of committing terrorism or genocide abroad, while ensuring that Canada's security agencies have the resources they need to closely monitor these individuals and their activities in Canada.
    We are also calling on the government to promote the use of the tools that impose conditions on persons suspected of carrying out terrorist or genocidal activities, such as peace bonds, ankle bracelets and house arrest. We are also asking that their use of social media be monitored.
    The Liberals are making it more difficult for those responsible for security to monitor presumed terrorists by changing the rules around the requirement to keep the peace.
    We are calling on the Liberals to examine ways to reform the judicial system to ensure that the courts have access to evidence collected against presumed terrorists.
    The procedures for bringing to justice the perpetrators of atrocities are slow and do not make it possible for victims to return to their communities. The Conservatives want Canada to lead global initiatives to reform and strengthen these procedures.
    We are also calling on the government to support initiatives and take concrete action to bring about justice for women against whom rape was used as a weapon of war.

  (1210)  

    Furthermore, we are calling on the Liberals to recognize that ISIS has committed atrocious crimes against ethnic and religious minorities, including the Yazidi people, Iraqi Christians, Coptic Christians and Shia Muslim minorities.
     We are also calling on the government to support the investigators and prosecutors mandated by United Nations Security Council resolution 2379 to support national efforts to hold ISIS responsible for its war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
    We are also calling on the Liberals to take action to respect Parliament's unanimous support for the Conservative motion to bring justice to victims of the Yazidi genocide.
    Lastly, we are calling on them to support initiatives like the ones proposed by Premier Doug Ford to prevent terrorists from returning to Canada and taking advantage of its generous social programs.
    When I got up this morning, I was very happy to see an article by Manon Cornellier in Le Devoir, which addressed this very problem. I want to read three paragraphs from her article that highlight what is going on right now.
    Some 190 Canadians are active in overseas terrorist groups such as Islamic State, mostly in Syria and Iraq.... About 60 have returned to Canada, but only four have faced charges to date. Three Canadian jihadists and their families, currently in the hands of Kurdish forces in northern Syria, want to be repatriated to Canada even if that means being tried here, though that is not guaranteed.
    According to Kyle Matthews, executive director of the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, Canada must not allow Canadian fighters to return to Canada or be repatriated without holding them responsible for the atrocities they helped perpetrate. They must be prosecuted to deter others from committing such crimes.
    Mr. Matthews condemns the Trudeau government for lacking the political will to prosecute returning fighters. Until recently, it has favoured monitoring and reintegration if possible.
     Even a reporter at Le Devoir, which is certainly not known for its right-wing sympathies, does not understand what is going on. People at the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies are also at a loss when it comes to explaining this government's soft touch.
    I cannot believe that the government members do not think the same way we do. There are 40 Liberal MPs from Quebec, and I know that there is a lot of pressure from Quebeckers to take action against these Canadian fighters. The offices of those MPs must be getting a lot of emails, but we are not hearing anything from them. They are hiding and do not want to deal with reality.
    To conclude my remarks this morning, I would like to repeat what I said at the beginning of my speech. The information we have about ISIS fighters is two years old. The last I heard, a report indicated that 60 fighters had come back to Canada. Have any others come back? We do not know since the government never wants to answer that question. How many Canadian fighters are still abroad? That is more difficult to determine, but we should try to find out.
    Why does the minister not want to give a full report on the situation? Why does the minister always hide when we talk about ISIS terrorists and especially about the Canadians who fought over there as traitors?
    We should have that information. I am sure that CSIS and the RCMP have it, but the government does not want to be transparent in that regard. We are calling on the government to take action, to be transparent with Canadians and to tell us when and how it intends to bring charges against these war criminals. We are asking that question today on behalf of the victims, because they do not understand why the Government of Canada is being so nice to these terrorists.

  (1215)  

    Before we move on to questions and comments, I just want to remind the member that he cannot use the name of another member or of the current Prime Minister, even when quoting an article.
    The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I was wondering if my hon. colleague could tell me how many returning terrorists were charged under the previous government.
    They're still fighting with your government. They haven't—
    I would ask the member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman to allow his colleague to answer. I know that he has a lot of experience in the House, but his colleague is quite able to answer that.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, the parliamentary secretary's question is a response to what we are asking in question period. The Liberals are simply trying to shirk responsibility by saying that the Conservatives did not lay any charges back then.
    I would remind the Liberals that they have been in power for three years now. ISIS was operating when we were in government. We were bombing ISIS and taking action against that organization. Now some of the people who fought over there are fleeing like rats from a sinking ship, because they are afraid and want to come back here. It is the government's job to lay charges against them. Back then, we were busy fighting them.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. We in the NDP voted in favour of the Conservative motion to recognize that ISIS has committed genocide. Heinous crimes and atrocities are being committed over there. Of course we want to see those responsible behind bars, but in order to achieve that, we need evidence. We have a judicial process in place.
    I would like to know how my colleague would solve this problem. The RCMP cannot go overseas and start using information gathered there when an ISIS fighter has been caught in another country. There are all kinds of problems related to that. I am not the one saying so. Solomon Friedman, a criminal defence lawyer my colleague knows very well, said that if we want to maximize the chances of putting criminals and terrorists behind bars, the RCMP must face the challenge of gathering evidence within the law.
    I would like to know what my colleague would do if he were in government to solve the problem of information sharing so that it could be used as evidence to begin criminal proceedings against these individuals.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from the NDP for the question.
    I believe that is the challenge. We both sit on the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security and we got through Bill C-59, which amended Bill C-51. Bill C-59 will make it even harder for law enforcement to lay charges.
    It is certainly a challenge abroad. There are international agreements and opportunities to work on this. I believe there is nothing stopping us from sending intelligence teams and the RCMP there to find evidence and work in collaboration with the forces on the ground.
    We should have the means to do this, but if we do not, then that is why we are calling on the government to take action and find legal avenues to make this happen.
    It is the government's responsibility to solve this problem, but that is not what we are seeing right now. It seems like the Liberals do not feel like solving this problem.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles for his fine speech and for his ability to maintain some composure. Lord knows that this is an issue that concerns us all, especially the hon. member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, who is a veteran, who wore the uniform, and who served Canadians with honour and dignity.
    My question for my colleague is this: as a veteran and a man who wore the uniform, how did he feel when the Prime Minister of Canada said that these terrorists who threaten our soldiers should be welcomed here with poetry lessons?

  (1220)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent for his fantastic question.
    As a veteran, I was disappointed, along with thousands of Canadian soldiers who fought in Afghanistan and elsewhere. I cannot tell you how many of them have written to tell me how disappointed they are with this government. They say that the 158 people who died in Afghanistan and the thousands injured fought for Canada. They do not understand how their Prime Minister can say that the swine who worked and fought with ISIS and committed crimes could be welcomed here with poetry classes.
    People just cannot fathom it. Even Manon Cornellier of Le Devoir said that she does not accept that.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the world has rightly feted Nadia Murad, one of the strongest women in the world, with the Nobel Peace Prize for the work she has accomplished in bringing attention to the need to eradicate one of humanity's oldest and most potent weapons in any conflict; rape. While on behalf of Canadian Parliament today I congratulate her on this achievement, I cannot help but feel as though we in this place are letting it ring hollow.
    Vanity Fair magazine, after learning of Murad's prize, ran a story entitled “This Year's Nobel Peace Prize Reflects the #MeToo Era”. It could not be more wrong. The key difference between those who have been under the spotlight of #MeToo, the long list of Hollywood actresses, political staffers and most recently Christine Blasey Ford, have presented their stories and the western media and lawmakers have reacted, from marches in the streets, to high-profile trials, to bills in this place to change our own sexual harassment code of conduct. Those who have come forward in #MeToo have seen, while arguably imperfect, some sort of movement on the part of our legislatures, courts and society to acknowledge their plight and act to remedy.
    The same cannot be said for Murad and her people. What of justice for them? There has been none. That is because in our position of privilege here in this place, in the glittering halls of Hollywood institutions, in our newsrooms and in our western academic halls and at elite think tank gatherings, it has been easier for us to give Nadia an award for her courage and link the woman and her people to the #MeToo movement rather than to take action to bring justice and that is wrong.
    Rape and sexual violence in war is a weapon that we rarely acknowledge, much less take action to end. To all who believe that #MeToo has somehow begun to shift our nation toward a more gender-equitable society, one where there is less sexual violence and more empowerment for women, then why are we in Canada not doing everything in our power to bring those complicit in the use of rape as a weapon against Nadia and her people to justice? To bring them justice, Canada must first lead the charge in condemning rape as the most potent weapon known to mankind.
    Time magazine recently recounted a story of a doctor who treats the survivors of rape in a war zone. She has stitched up the tears and she has retrieved inserted objects. She has repaired flesh seared by the heat of a bullet, fired inside a vagina that by some miracle or curse did not kill, but crippled for life. Her work is vital. Women with fistulas, tears between the vagina, the anus, the bladder and the bowel from rape cannot retain their urine or feces. No matter how often they clean, they smell. They are shunned by their communities and they are unwelcome in church. Like a dirty bomb, rape as a weapon of war is so much more powerful than the immediate damage that it yields.
     Rape as a weapon of war spreads venereal disease. Rape as a weapon of war renders women sterile. It ends childhoods. Rape as a weapon of war results in children who bear the stigma of rejection of their mothers, their communities and constant reminders of the conditions of their conception and of their bloodlines. Rape as a weapon of war results in women being ostracized from their communities as impure, as having not done enough to resist it, as having somehow asked for it, or worse, implied that they enjoyed it. Rape as a weapon of war disconnects women from their faith communities. It destroys marriages with husbands being unable to cope with children conceived in rape, so-called impure wives, wives who are suffering from the trauma of sexual violence, being unable to participate in intercourse without being re-traumatized. It kills and when it does not, many of its wide-ranging victims wish it had. It causes suicide. Rape as a weapon of war is a means to genocide.
    Sherrie Russell-Brown in the Berkeley law review summarized rape as genocide as follows:
     [Genocidal rape] is not rape out of control. It is rape under control. It is also rape unto death, rape as massacre, rape to kill and to make the victims wish they were dead...It is rape to be seen and heard and watched and told to others; rape as spectacle. It is rape to drive a wedge through a community, to shatter a society, to destroy a people.
    This is the rape that Nadia and her people have suffered, yet there are those who are complicit in using this weapon who walk free in Canada as though nothing has happened. Where is the outrage of #MeToo and our so-called Canadian feminist in chief for them? To end rape being used as a weapon of war, Canada must first acknowledge it as such, then we must destroy it as a weapon. We do that by bringing those who use that weapon or who are complicit in its usage to swift and immediate justice.
    Dr. Denis Mukwege, Nadia Murad's co-Nobel Peace Prize laureate, states that establishing and implementing laws that hold perpetrators accountable is one of the most important ways to de-arm those who consider using this weapon.

  (1225)  

    His foundation states that:
    Law serves as an effective tool to end and prevent rape as a weapon of war. When laws are implemented and enforced, more survivors are able to access justice and more perpetrators will be held accountable.
    Law enforcement can deter perpetrators and may help to end the cycle of impunity, which otherwise fuels future crimes. If perpetrators fear punishment, they are more likely to end the practice of using rape as a weapon of war.
    Legitimate law and legal structures also give victims confidence to demand their rights and feel less wronged.
    Yet, in Canada, our government has taken precious little action to acknowledge this truth, much less action to enforce it. Every time one of us stands in here and minimizes the need to place justice first, or worse, places the reintegration or feelings of ISIS terrorist ahead of the need to de-weaponize genocidal rape, we fail its victims. Make no mistake, every person who chose to act as an ISIS terrorist is complicit in the use of this weapon.
     In her book, Nadia bluntly outlines that every person, every Canadian who chose to act as an ISIS terrorist is complicit in the genocidal rape of her and her people, and she is right. She says, “I dream about one day bringing all the militants to justice, not just the leaders...but all the guards and slave owners.”
     Ali Shamo Aldakhi, a young Yazidi survivor, said “When I see other countries of the free world take charge and stand with humanity, it means that justice will be served and those of us who have survived will have some relief.”
    Canada can do so much more. Today, the Conservatives issued a statement calling on the government to take several specific actions to bring immediate justice to the survivors of ISIS, and so many of my colleagues will talk about them. However, I would like to focus on one specific item.
    Processes, both in Canada and in the courts of international law, to bring perpetrators of atrocity crimes to justice are slow and rarely work. They fail victims and prevent them from returning home. Canada should lead reforms to ensure justice is swift, both within our own domestic policy and abroad. We cannot purport to stand for human rights as Canadians without demanding change to the processes that allow those who use rape as a weapon of war to go unpunished.
    This is not just about one singular bad guy or leader. This is about the fact that state actors are no longer the heads of conflict and those who go, as Nadia said, and willingly choose to participate, to fight, to turn a blind eye to sexual slavery, first and foremost only deserve one thing, and that is justice. We cannot sit here and look into the eyes of these women and do anything other than commit to them, from the bottom of hearts as human beings, that we will bring them justice. That is what each and every one of us should do. For three years, the government had stood here and failed to acknowledge that it is incumbent upon it to do so.
    If laws need to be changed, then change the laws. If processes need to be changed, then change the processes. If the international community needs to change, then it needs to change. We cannot be complacent.
    Canada should also support initiatives which are taking concrete action to bring justice to women whose bodies, through rapes, have been used as a weapon of war. Canada should acknowledge Nadia and Ali's truth, that every person who took up arms with ISIS is as a complicit as the leaders and must face justice.
     If “never again” is not to ring hollow, if it is not just a phrase that we utter when convenient, then we must act. If we are to end rape as a weapon of genocide, we cannot allow those who supported ISIS in its genocidal rape to roam our country with impunity as though nothing happened. If we are to call ourselves feminists, then #MeToo has to bring justice to every Yazidi; to everyone, woman and man and village and town and every religious community and family that has been destroyed by weaponized rape.
    For Nadia and her people, justice will only be final when those who wield rape as a weapon of war suffer greater consequences than those who were subject to its abuses. It falls to us, here, today, to see that this happens.

  (1230)  

    Madam Speaker, I agree with my hon. colleague. I agree that women's voices are so very important and that violence against women is a way to silence those voices.
    However, I want to know why the spending was cut for women's groups in Canada. To hear those women's voices in Canada was made far more difficult under the previous government.
    Madam Speaker, the Conservatives increased funding to the RCMP and national security agencies for the period we were in government. We sent our men and women in uniform to stop the genocide that was happening by ISIS. We strengthened laws to close the intelligence to evidentiary gaps to ensure people would be brought to justice.
    What is extremely disheartening for me, and extremely disgusting from my colleague opposite, is for her to stand here with crocodile tears, purport to stand up for this and blame this on another government, rather than looking inwardly at herself and asking what she could do in her government appointment to force her government, through her own courage, to do something.
    The current government has done nothing. When most of her colleagues stood and voted against a motion to declare this genocide happened, a few of them voted for it, and I commend them for their courage. However, her question today is an abdication of responsibility. We cannot stand here and purport to be feminists. We cannot stand here and wrap ourselves in the cloak of #Metoo, point to a previous government after three years have passed and refuse to take action.
    That is why this motion is before Parliament today. It is to say that the government had a fiduciary responsibility to protecting human rights by tabling a plan to bring these people to justice. I hope she redeems herself in her speech by saying what she will do and what she will push her government to do to recognize the fact there are problems in our law and our processes that allow these people to not come to justice.
    Madam Speaker, indeed, we supported the motion, recognizing the genocide being committed by ISIS. We certainly share the objective that more needs to be done to put these terrorists behind bars.
    That being said, she mentioned that if laws needed to be changed, then we should change them That is a fair sentiment, one with which we agree. When we look at some of the changes in law that have happened over the last number of years, in particular relating to the work CSIS does to keep Canadians safe, specifically with threat reduction powers, some have put forward that obtaining threat reduction powers with judicial authorization, which will allow CSIS to breach the charter with the approval of a judge, will make it more challenging for law enforcement to do its job to collect the evidence it requires to facilitate prosecution of these individuals. I agree with that. This is where the intelligence to evidence gap is actually widened and not closed.
    What does my colleague believe the government should do with respect to legislation to close that intelligence to evidence gap, which has, in my opinion, widened over the last number of years?
    Madam Speaker, much of the processes that were put in place to bring actors of genocide and atrocity crimes to justice were put in place in the wake of World War II, when state actors were at the head of violence. That is no longer the case. ISIS is not a state actor. It is a network of terrorists who not only committed genocide against the Yazidi people in Iraq, but have carried out threats to the western world. Our processes need to reflect this reality.
    This is why I am deeply concerned that the government has made it harder and put roadblocks in place, for example, for the judiciary to use tools such as peace bonds to stop people who are highly suspected of terrorism. It has actually made that more difficult. Bill C-59, which is currently being considered in the other place, would reduce the powers of Canadian security agencies in many ways to information share, to act quickly to stop threats of these people when they arise. This flies in the face of testimony of experts on how we deal with this.
    To me, the government is going in the opposite direction. Rather than looking at a new global context, the reality of what conflicts looks like today, it is saying that there is nothing to see here and is reducing the powers of our law enforcement agencies to keep Canadians safe and bring the perpetrators of atrocity crimes to justice.

  (1235)  

    Madam Speaker, before I begin, I would like to recognize that today is the fourth anniversary of the attack on Parliament Hill and the loss of Corporal Nathan Cirillo. Today, we pay tribute to both Corporal Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, who served their country with dedication and honour. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and friends today.

[Translation]

    I appreciate the opportunity to participate in the debate on the motion by the hon. member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles. We can all support the sentiments expressed by Nadia Murad, the Yazidi human rights activist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

[English]

    Nadia Murad's powerful words remind us of the horrors unleashed by Daesh on the population it held captive. They remind us of the cruelty and brutality meted out by the group's violent depraved adherence. They remind us of the terrible suffering endured in particular by the Yazidi minority, and especially Yazidi women and girls. They remind us how important it is to do everything in our power to bring those responsible to justice and to prevent groups like Daesh from coming into existence in the first place.
    At the height of its self-professed caliphate, tens of thousands of people from all over the world joined Daesh. They came from neighbouring Middle Eastern countries. However, they also came from places around the world, including Europe, Australia, the United States and Canada. All of these countries, Canada included, are dealing with the reality that some of these people eventually may come back.
    At the time we took office, about 60 Canadian terrorist travellers had returned to our country. Over the last three years, that number, which includes people who joined Daesh as well as other terrorist groups elsewhere, has remained relatively stable. However, since the global coalition against Daesh, of which Canada is a proud member, helped bring about the group's decisive defeat late last year, we and our allies have been aware that some of these people may be on the move.
    According to the 2017 public report on the terrorist threat to Canada, about 190 Canadians have travelled overseas to join terrorist groups and remain abroad. Roughly half of them are in Syria, Iraq and Turkey. Some, perhaps many of them, are dead. Among those who survived, some are detained or are in hiding. They may be unable or unwilling to leave. A few may be attempting to move to Africa, Asia or Europe, and perhaps back to Canada. We are fortunate that we are only dealing with relatively small numbers compared to many of our allies. However, we have no illusions. These individuals were part of an organization that did horrific things. Many of them may have a good deal of blood on their hands and serious security risks are involved.
    The good news is that Canada's security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies are well trained and well prepared to address the threat and keep us safe. Canadians can be assured that our national security and intelligence agencies are carefully monitoring these individuals and actively assessing the threat that each one poses. When our agencies learn that an individual is planning a return, a coordinated whole-of-government approach is initiated. This ensures that measures to mitigate any potential threat can be taken even before that individual sets foot in Canada.
    If at all possible, arrest and prosecute are the favoured courses of action. It is a criminal offence to leave or attempt to leave Canada to commit terrorism offences. Canadian law enforcement actively pursues investigations and lays criminal charges when the evidence is there. In the last couple of years, the RCMP has been able to charge four people with terrorism-related offences after their return to Canada. Two have been convicted and two remain before the courts.
    There were no such charges under the previous government. In fact, until last year, all terrorism charges in Canada had either been laid in absentia or against people whose terrorist activity took place on Canadian soil. Of course, binding evidence related to actions taken in a war zone on the other side of the world is very difficult work.
     Therefore, while the RCMP and its law enforcement partners pursue that evidence, other counterterrorism tools are brought to bear. These tools include investigations, surveillance and monitoring, intelligence-gathering and lawful information-sharing, the no-fly list, revocation of passports, legally-authorized threat-reduction measures and terrorism peace bondings. Taken together, these measures help keep Canadians safe and they happen while police and prosecutors do everything they can to collect evidence and bring terrorists to justice in courts of law.

  (1240)  

[Translation]

    At the same time, it is important to note that terrorist travellers are only one of the serious threats that Canada faces. In general, our country is peaceful and safe, but we cannot meet the threat of domestic terrorism with complacency.
    Unfortunately, there have been attempts on Canadian soil by people who were radicalized here. Some were inspired by the ideologies of groups like Daesh and al-Qaeda, while others by white supremacists. I am referring to the shooting at the mosque in Sainte-Foy, and attacks in Edmonton, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and even here, in our Parliament.

[English]

    CSIS, the RCMP, the Canada Border Services Agency and all other security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies work tirelessly to know as much as we possibly can about every threat to our security. On a regular basis, they expertly assess and reassess all available data to make sure that we stay up to date as threats evolve. Our security and intelligence agencies also work in close co-operation with our allies. Those allies include NATO, our Five Eyes and G7 partners, the European Union, Interpol and others. That co-operation is crucial, given the global nature of terrorist threats today.
     The Government of Canada is constantly working to strengthen its ability to manage terrorist threats. The federal terrorism response plan, for example, facilitates a coordinated and integrated response to a terrorism incident or threat.
    The government is also modernizing and enhancing Canada's security and intelligence laws through Bill C-59. Among many other measures, this proposed new legislation would ensure that CSIS had the proper tools and authorities to investigate threats, including extremist travellers. For example, within well-defined legal parameters, and subject to strengthened oversight, Bill C-59 would give CSIS the ability to analyze travel-related data sets to investigate the movements and behaviours of extremist travellers. This is an important tool that our security professionals would be able to use within the clear constitutional and legal framework created by Bill C-59 to protect Canadians and Canadian interests around the world.
    Just as Canada's federal terrorism response plan recognizes that responding to threats and events requires close collaboration with many players, so too do our prevention efforts. It is in that spirit that we launched the Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence last year. The centre coordinates, bolsters and helps fund innovative programs and research in countering all kinds of radicalization to violence and supports local organizations on the front lines of early prevention efforts. This approach is guided by the fact that early intervention to prevent radicalization to violence can and does work.

  (1245)  

    A key part of our support for prevention efforts is the community resilience fund. This fund provides financial assistance to organizations undertaking programming and research to address radicalization to violence in Canada. It also mobilizes what we know about successful programming in Canada and around the world and shares these lessons among front-line practitioners across the country.
    To date, over $16 million has been invested in community resilience funding for research and intervention projects. For the next fiscal year and beyond, the fund will have $7 million available each year for existing and new projects.
    All of this represents concrete, thoughtful and responsible action to combat and prevent terrorism. Our government is being vigilant without being alarmist. We are confident, but we are not complacent. Unfortunately, part of the opposition motion we are debating today could be interpreted as an attempt to use this sober topic to score political points rather than as a serious effort to grapple with the genuine issues we are facing.
    We should be able to disagree without resorting to rhetoric and hyperbole. I disagreed vehemently, for example, with the deep cuts the Harper government made, in its final term, to our national security agencies: $530 million cut from the RCMP; $390 million cut from Canada Border Services Agency; $69 million cut from CSIS; $49 million cut from the Communications Security Establishment; and $171 million cut from the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority. It was over $1 billion in all.
    I also disagreed with the Harper government's indifference towards prevention and counter-radicalization. According to former CSIS analyst Phil Gurski, “the previous...government had an abysmal record when it came to countering violent extremism and early detection.”
    I disagree with the Conservatives' repeated refusal to strengthen accountability mechanisms for our national security agents, as we have done now with the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, created last year, and as we are doing with legislation currently before the other place. Accountability is about protecting our rights and freedoms, but it is also about making sure that our agencies operate effectively to keep us safe.
    I disagreed with the way the Harper Conservatives drafted a national security bill with provisions so vague and so open-ended as to make them virtually unusable by our security agencies. That is a mistake we are correcting with Bill C-59, which will give our agencies the legal clarity they need to do their jobs.
    I disagreed passionately with the Conservatives' elimination of health care for refugee claimants. It is under this very program, which we have now reinstated, that Yazidi women and girls in Canada are receiving counselling and mental health care, and health care in general, to help them deal with the unimaginable trauma they experienced at the hands of Daesh. I will remind hon. members that under our government, 1,400 women and families, 85% of them Yazidi, have come to Canada after surviving Daesh. Three Yazidi refugees were accepted by the Harper government.
    In spite of all of this, I would never accuse the Conservatives of being soft on terrorism. That should be beneath us in this place. In the fight against terrorism, while we may disagree about methodology, every one in this chamber is on the same side.

  (1250)  

    In that spirit, we intend to join the opposition in support of today's motion. We do not agree with every word of it, mainly the parts the Conservatives wrote, but we wholeheartedly endorse every syllable of the quote from Nadia Murad. We are all heartbroken by what happened to Nadia and many others like her. We all want the perpetrators to face justice and for girls and boys in Canada, Syria and everywhere else to live in a world shaped by love and peace.
    Madam Speaker, if the government's intent is to support the motion, then I would ask what particular actions it is going to take to immediately bring people to justice. Part of the motion is to table a plan in Parliament with concrete action. There are certain things the government could be doing right now, such as making greater use of peace bonds, which it has refused to do.
    In her question to me and one of my colleagues, the parliamentary secretary talked about the previous government, yet it was her government that pulled CF-18s out of the fight to contain ISIS. Does the government have any plans for further intervention? What is it going to be doing at the United Nations and other bodies to ask for reform to the International Criminal Court process to ensure greater expediency for justice, and what sort of initiatives is the government going to undertake to bring justice to women who have had their bodies used through rape as a tool of war? Liberals have not even acknowledged that to date.
    That is a many-part question, Madam Speaker, but it gives me an opportunity to share a way forward. We have been involved. We have been making significant investments in women and peace and security, because we know that if women are onside through a conflict and then in peacemaking afterward, the chance of peace surviving is far greater.
    Whenever we engage in any kind of peace mission around the world, we make significant efforts to make sure that women are part of that process, and that is going to get us in the right direction.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I want to ask my colleague a question about threat disruption powers. She rightly highlighted the flaws in Bill C-51, which was tabled in the last Parliament by the Conservatives. Despite my efforts to make amendments to Bill C-59 in committee, CSIS will keep its threat disruption powers. One of the major issues, besides the fact that a judge is essentially being asked to green-light unconstitutional disruption activities, is the comparison of information and evidence that would be admissible in court.
    One of the problems pointed out by experts is that, with the threat disruption powers used by CSIS, which are obtained through a very specific system, with approval from a judge, the RCMP must then take its own measures to gather the same information in order for it to be admissible as evidence.
    Would my colleague agree that giving this kind of power to CSIS exacerbates an existing problem with streamlining the work of intelligence agencies and the work of police forces?

  (1255)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, with Bill C-59, we needed both. We needed ways to protect the safety and security of all Canadians as well as ways to protect people's rights and freedoms, and that is what we have done. This bill would do both. It would give CSIS the power to commit acts of disruption, but under judicial oversight. People will understand that those powers would be limited in scope and in time and would only be used on the rarest of occasions, when the judiciary was convinced that they were appropriate.
    Madam Speaker, the parliamentary secretary mentioned that in the final term of the Harper government from 2011 to 2015, it cut $1 billion from Canada's security services.
    When we take the tools away from security services and yet criticize them for not doing their job, I want to ask the parliamentary secretary the role of government providing the framework, legislation such as Bill C-59 and the funding to do their jobs, the separation of politics from law enforcement and the judiciary and how important it is for us to give the tools that law enforcement and the judiciary need in order to do their jobs.
    Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague is absolutely right. We can put all of the policy and all of the legislation that we want through, but if we do not fund it, if we do not give our national security agencies the resources they need to do their jobs, then all of that work will fail. That is why we have made sure to return that funding to our national security agencies.
    We are heading in the right direction. We need them all to work together. They need to be funded well, so they can do this important work, and that is what we have done.
    Madam Speaker, I am really glad to hear the parliamentary secretary admit that ISIS fighters have committed cruel, brutal and horrible crimes against the Yazidis and many other different communities. I am confused. Will the 60, 80, 90 ISIS fighters who come back be prosecuted to the full extent of the law?
    Absolutely, Madam Speaker.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to use this opportunity to extend my heartfelt congratulations to Nadia Murad for winning the Nobel Peace Prize. It was not that long ago that Nadia was with us here in the gallery when our House of Commons showed that we could approach these very difficult questions in non-partisan ways. All of us voted unanimously, standing shoulder to shoulder with the Yazidi people in their suffering, and declaring that what happened was a genocide.
    Notwithstanding some difficulty with the wording of this particular motion, hopefully once again we will demonstrate that same sort of spirit.
    I am wondering if the parliamentary secretary could perhaps restate our commitment that those Canadians who involve themselves in the terrorist activities of Daesh will face the full consequences of the law, and in particular, those who directly or indirectly may have been involved in genocidal crimes.
    Absolutely, Madam Speaker. Those who are returning to Canada and who have participated in these horrendous events on the other side of the world will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
    Madam Speaker, the parliamentary secretary made reference to the fact that all members of the House are united against terrorism and terrorist acts.
    She also highlighted that some severe cuts had taken place under the previous administration that no doubt had an impact. As we talk about this issue throughout the day, no doubt some members will ask about the lack of commitment in terms of financial support in combatting terrorist activities.

  (1300)  

    Madam Speaker, the most significant cut was almost half a billion dollars to the RCMP alone. When $500 million is cut from the budget of one of our key national security agencies, it cannot help but hurt.
    We have returned that money. We are funding the RCMP. We are giving our national security agencies the resources they need to do the work that we are asking of them.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, today we mark the fourth anniversary of the horrific attack here, on Parliament Hill. We lost corporal Nathan Cirillo. Two days ago was the anniversary of the attack in which Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent lost his life in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, not too far from my riding. I think this is fitting, in light of today's debate on terrorism—a difficult, complex issue that too often leads to loss of life—and on Canada's response to terrorism in order to maintain public safety. We remember these two men who served their country and who lost their lives in horrible circumstances not too long ago.
    I would also like to take this opportunity to remind the House that the NDP was proud to support the motion moved by the Conservatives just over a year ago to recognize that these horrific, heinous crimes committed by ISIS constitute genocide. There is no doubt about the real nature of this horrific violence perpetrated against minorities, women, the LGBT community and all other victims. We support the Conservatives' motion.
    We know that all parties want the to achieve the same end. Regardless of what we say, regardless of our differences of opinion as to the means to that end, our objective is to put criminals, to put terrorists, behind bars.
    The question before us today is how a democratic, law-based society should go about achieving that end. We are facing a number of challenges, which I will address during my speech. Obviously, the fact that we acknowledge those challenges and that we have no easy ways to overcome them does not mean we are being soft on the issue or that we want these individuals, who may be living in Canadian communities, to threaten public safety.

[English]

    I think it is worth looking at the two key pieces here in this motion. However, before I go any further, I would be remiss to not congratulate Nadia Murad for receiving the Nobel Peace Prize for the extraordinary work that she has done to bring this issue to the forefront.
    The one thing I can agree on with my colleague for Calgary Nose Hill, although we do not agree on everything, is that the deafening silence that sometimes follows this kind of advocacy, that someone like Nadia Murad engages in, is troubling. We always want to do better as parliamentarians and as a country.
    In that vein, I think it is also important to recognize that we cannot even begin to imagine the strength and courage required to go through the type of ordeal and horror that she has witnessed. However, it takes even more courage to relive that horror, to be an advocate and be part of the political process in seeking justice and change in the way that different countries engage in these difficult issues.
    With that being said, I do want to address the two parts of this motion. I want to start with part (a) that specifically goes into this issue relating to rehabilitation.
     I think the issue here is that we have to look at the fight to combat radicalization. It has been made clear by many national security experts and many experts who have worked in connected fields that one of the key challenges that is facing this era of social media, for example, where it is easy for an individual and in many cases individuals with mental health issues who are easily being manipulated through social media and other means by different individuals related to ISIS and others, is that a proper, comprehensive anti-radicalization strategy is required to tackle this issue. It is not an issue that is exclusive to ISIS. It is also when we see white supremacists or when we see other extremism that leads to violence.
    I think that is the key is to counter radicalization that leads to violence. That is the key piece of how we ensure public safety with regard to these matters.

  (1305)  

    It is something the New Democrats brought up in the previous Parliament when we were debating then Bill C-51. We said to the government of the day that although there was an issue of addressing public safety, rather than adopting new, draconian legislation that does not actually address the issue and keep communities safe, why not give additional resources to the policing community, for example?
    In 2012, the police recruitment fund was cut. It allowed provinces and municipalities to have additional resources to hire police and, in some cases, put together special units that could tackle, for example, organized crime and street gangs. It provided the kinds of resources that could allow police to do their work and complement the efforts being deployed by the RCMP to tackle the issue of terrorism and other forms of extremism that we unfortunately see in Canada and other countries today. We raised that issue.
    We also raised the issue of radicalization and being preventative. I know sometimes “preventative” has a certain meaning, and rhetoric can be construed around it to make it mean something that it does not. The reality is that prevention is not about trying to use kid gloves with individuals who may commit heinous crimes. It is about making sure Canadians are safe and that these crimes and terrorist attacks are not being committed in the first place. After all, we can deploy all of the resources and legislative tools we can after the fact, but there is already a failure when we talk about things after the fact. How do we avoid getting to that point whenever possible? Countering radicalization is one way to do so.

[Translation]

     Of course there are challenges. For instance, Montreal's Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence lacks funding. I will not get into detail because there is also an internal management issue related to Government of Quebec programs. However, Montreal's mayor, Valérie Plante, raised an important point in this debate. She said that Montreal's government is reluctant to provide ongoing funding to the centre because the population it serves extends well beyond the greater Montreal area. It is, after all, the only organization in North America whose mission is to prevent radicalization leading to violence.
    As part of a study by the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, we met with representatives of the Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence. They told us they are getting calls from all across Canada and even the American east coast. For example, parents and members of a vulnerable community in New York have been calling the centre for assistance. This shows that there is a desperate need, not only in Canada but also in the U.S. and around the world. Strategies have been deployed in Europe to solve the problem, but here in Canada and North America, there is an appalling lack of initiatives.
    Of course I welcome the funding allocated by the federal government to try to address the issue, but obviously, it is not enough. If that were the case, there would be more than just one centre. If I am not mistaken, the government will fund only individual projects. What we need are broad, generalized efforts.
    Let us also not forget the importance of providing additional training to our police forces and especially the RCMP to support their work with communities that are vulnerable to all kinds of extremism, whether from ISIS or the far right. Right-wing extremism is a growing threat, according to an article published by the Toronto Star a few weeks ago. I encourage all my colleagues to read it.
    All of this shows that we must not only do more, but also think about the types of strategies being used. This is essential to ensuring public safety. When we talk about crime and terrorism, some people and some political parties might think that the word “prevention” means being gentle with those who are about to commit the most horrendous crimes in the history of humanity. Let us be clear: prevention means ensuring public safety and avoiding the loss of more lives like that of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo, whom we lost four years ago.

  (1310)  

[English]

    The other element of course concerns the intelligence-to-evidence gap, more specifically dealing with part (b) of this motion, which is the issue of how we prosecute these individuals, particularly those who are returning to Canada. It is a huge challenge that we face, and we are not alone in facing it.
     There are different reasons why this intelligence-to-evidence gap exists. One of the reason is the additional powers given to CSIS. When we look at the threat-reduction powers given to CSIS under Bill C-51, they continue to exist despite the amendments I presented at the public safety committee during debate on Bill C-59, which essentially represents the Liberals' attempt at correcting and failing to correct many of the outstanding issues. The big issue is that those threat-reduction powers are, in a word, and I am sure some lawyers will cringe hearing me say this because it is probably not the correct terminology, essentially extra-constitutional powers. CSIS is going to judges and asking them for judicial authorization to use its threat-reduction powers in a way that can contravene the charter.
     What we saw in Bill C-59 is that while those powers still exist, they have become, as I like to put it, less unconstitutional than they were under Bill C-51. However, the big problem in the debate today is the issue relating to information that is gleaned through the powers CSIS is using, because at the end of the day, the RCMP, in its responsibilities as a law enforcement entity in working with Crown prosecutors to bring these returning foreign fighters to justice and making sure they find themselves behind bars, cannot use the information CSIS has. Therefore, it is deploying its own efforts. It cannot simply cherry-pick what CSIS has obtained through a whole different regime of judicial authorization than using its own powers as the RCMP under the Canada Evidence Act and, of course, nationally under the Constitution, first and foremost.
    The other challenge relating to that is not just the powers being exercised by CSIS and the RCMP in their own individual silos but also how we use information obtained through international conflict, the consequences of that conflict, and how we use that in a constitutional way in fair trials. It is interesting when we say “fair trials”, because I am sure many Canadians listening to us and some members of other parties might say, “Who cares about fairness? These people have perpetrated some of the most horrible crimes known to humanity. They have committed genocide.” However, fairness is important in ensuring public safety, because it ensures the sanctity of the proceedings. Therefore, if we want successful proceedings that properly prosecute and convict these individuals, and hopefully in the cases where obviously it is appropriate and the findings are such, we need fairness, or else the proceedings will get thrown out and we will be right back to square one.
    There are a few elements to that. One was brought up. Here I will refer my colleagues to the fantastic podcasts by Craig Forcese and Stephanie Carvin called “Intrepid”, where there was an interview with Solomon Friedman, a criminal defence attorney. As he put it in the interview, these people are not always the most popular individuals when it comes to considering the victims of horrible crimes. However, he brought up an important point. When we look at the fantastic reporting by Stewart Bell, for example, on what is going on with these fighters who have been detained in Kurdish facilities, we will see that those facilities have abhorrent conditions and that the RCMP cannot just walk into facilities that are potentially engaging in less-than-savoury practices, whether it is torture or other things, or where the conditions are far below the standards that Canadians would expect for incarcerated offenders in our corrections facilities. The big issue there is that it would be easy for a judge, as a result of the arguments of a defence attorney, to look at that Kurdish facility and say that there clearly is an argument to be made as to whether the information before the court is true or not, because it is a result of confessions obtained under duress. Certainly that is not for me to say, but I want to make sure, as a legislator, that we are ensuring the maximum fairness in a process to maximize the success rate so that we find ourselves in safer communities and achieve the public safety and the justice objectives of our system based on the rule of law.

  (1315)  

[Translation]

    I admit, that is not always what the public wants to hear.
    Ultimately, we have to acknowledge that we all want the same thing. The big question is how to go about fixing this problem. It is a challenge.
    A reporter asked me a question following an excellent Global News report by journalist Stuart Bell. The reporter asked me whether the government should be taking steps to bring these people back to Canada.
    It is a question for which I have no answer. Obviously, as the minister mentioned, I do not want diplomats to put themselves in danger to bring back these individuals. Nor do I want individuals to come back to Canada and be a threat to public safety.
    That said, we also have a responsibility towards those people who hold Canadian citizenship. If they have committed horrible crimes, we must ensure that they are prosecuted in Canada and put behind bars in Canada. Not only do we have a responsibility to protect law-abiding citizens, but we also must prosecute those who are not. It is not always a very popular concept, but it is one of the underlying principles of Canadian citizenship.
    We are not just talking about the cartoonish characters the Conservatives have made up, usually frightening men in their twenties who return home and threaten our safety. There are also extremely complex cases, such as the women who went abroad. In some cases, because of their movements and activities with ISIS, they could be prosecuted.
    Those kinds of cases are much more complicated, because they may involve women who have gone through rape, spousal violence, and all sorts of other, more nebulous situations abroad, which we may not have information about. These are highly complex cases. Women are, of course, one of the groups that has been victimized by ISIS. Why would we want to abdicate our responsibility towards Canadian women who have been victimized by ISIS?
     I can understand how, in some cases, some women may be found guilty of certain offences under the Criminal Code provisions regarding travelling and supporting a terrorist group. However, we must not neglect the women who are victims.
    The government has a job to do. It needs to use the information at its disposal to make sure everything possible is being done to protect victims who are Canadian citizens.
    That goes for children as well. I think all Canadians, everyone tuning in at home and everyone here in the House, would agree that it is unacceptable for Canadian children, some under the age of five, to end up in camps in a conflict zone abroad. By failing to bring these women back to Canada, we are also leaving their children stranded in a foreign country under execrable conditions.
    I will come back to the quote from Nadia Murad included in this motion. She mentions brainwashing. Children as young as five years old, sometimes younger, can be turned into child soldiers abroad, as we often see in war zones where genocide is committed. Radicalization can turn them into future threats to public safety in their own right, and we do not want that to happen.
    Protecting a child and also protecting public safety are extremely commendable goals that anyone can get behind, even though this is happening in war zones where situations can become extremely tricky and difficult to handle.

  (1320)  

[English]

    In conclusion, while I certainly recognize Canadians' concerns in wanting to ensure public safety, let me be clear that while we might differ on the methods to be deployed and how we hone the tools that we have to prosecute returning foreign fighters and to counter radicalization, all in the House agree that more can be done to close the intelligence-to-evidence gap to ensure public safety. However, we do ourselves a disservice when we do so in a way that sometimes brushes aside the fact that not all of these individuals are coming from the same situation. There is a huge challenge when it comes to women and children, in particular, which cannot be ignored. For that reason, more needs to be done. We look forward to collaborating with the government as it tries to seek solutions to this issue.

[Translation]

    It would be naive to say that this is not the most complicated public safety issue we are currently dealing with. We therefore have to tackle it head on. I am pleased to work with my colleagues from all parties to try to resolve this issue and keep the public safe.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I want to begin by thanking my hon. colleague both for his service with the public safety committee, on which I served with him for a period of time, as well as for being a member of this chamber on the day that Corporal Nathan Cirillo fell as a result of a terrorist act. I can only imagine what it was like to have served on the Hill that day. I also want to thank him for his interventions on this important debate, in particular his comments on the work this government is doing when it comes to counter-radicalization.
    Some of the laws that have been put forward by this government provide prosecutors and national security agencies like CSIS and others the tools they need to bring terrorists to justice. Here I refer to the provisions the government introduced for the use of peace bonds, as well as some preventative measures, and the measures that CSIS and others can use to disrupt this kind of terrorist activity, especially of those who have travelled abroad and have come back.
     The member will recall his work on the committee, and I assure him that those measures are consistent with the charter and the law. Therefore, I encourage him to expand on why his party to date has not supported those measures in the chamber. I wonder, going forward, if on reflection that is something he might consider doing.
    Madam Speaker, certainly, I think the debate on both Bill C-51 in the previous Parliament and Bill C-59 in the current Parliament have been quite thorough.
     With time being limited, it is hard to rehash my arguments where I disagreed on some elements with my colleague, but certainly when it comes to the peace bond process, in particular, it has not been without controversy over the last number of years in Canada. However, one thing we do welcome is the use of special advocates, for example.
     To go back to one of the points I made in my speech, I think it is the eternal challenge to ensure fairness in the prosecution and the work that the RCMP does, law enforcement in particular. I say this because the word “fairness” might sometimes ring hollow to Canadians, as they might assume, as I said perhaps a bit too glibly, that we are using kid gloves with people who have perpetrated horrible crimes. However, fairness goes not only to the core of the rule of law in ensuring proper judicial proceedings free from political interference, but also serves to make sure that should the person actually be guilty of the crime, more fairness in the proceedings will result in a higher rate of conviction without some kind of procedural piece, or a judge or a defence lawyer managing to uncover something amiss.
     I do not want to get into this next issue, because it is a whole separate piece, but the Conservatives, for example, have been very critical of the Prime Minister commenting on Vice-Admiral Norman's case. By that same barometer, we have to be careful with our comments in the cases of returning foreign fighters, if we really want to see them convicted.
    Madam Speaker, I would like my NDP colleague, who knows these issues well, to comment once again on the Liberal Party.
     In the last election, the Liberals supported Bill C-51 but then changed it. Bill C-51 had made it easier to obtain a peace bond against someone who was a risk to public safety, like a returning terrorist fighter. However, in Bill C-59, they have made it harder to obtain a peace bond for these same individuals. As I said, in the last election the Liberals criticized Bill C-51 despite the fact they had supported its passage. They have now watered it down and made it harder to tackle terrorists.
    The NDP have been consistent throughout. It must be frustrating for those members to see the Liberal Party consistently changing its position on a range of issues, even when it comes to serious issues like national security.

  (1325)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    Of course, we do not always agree. We have had some rigorous debates in recent years, not just between him and me, but between our two parties as well.
    One thing is clear, the NDP has consistently opposed the draconian measures in that legislation. We firmly believe that, with more resources for our men and women in uniform and our police forces and a robust counter-radicalization strategy, the laws that existed before Bill C-51 was passed in the previous Parliament would have been sufficient. We just need the resources to enforce them. That is why we made those requests when opposing the two bills, namely Bill C-51 in the 41st Parliament and Bill C-59 in this Parliament.
    On another note, I must say that, as a progressive, it is very discouraging to see the approach the Liberals are taking. They said that they would support the bill, but that we should not worry, because they would resolve all the problems with it when they took office.
    In my opinion, the final result shows that Bill C-59 falls far short of resolving the problems.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the member mentioned his work on the public safety committee, and I thank him for that work. On the way up this morning, I was listening to a podcast on Julia Shaw's latest book, Evil. She discussed the circumstances which lead people to make violent and often bad decisions around how they treated the people around them. The argument was whether that was evil or because of the circumstances. Then it was how we would deal with people who dealt with circumstances which lead them to make bad decisions.
    In June 2017, the federal government created a Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence. It looks at local initiatives that help young Canadians turn away from a path of violence. Could the hon. member mention if this new centre has been looked at as part of the studies through the public safety committee? Does he see that as being a benefit in today's discussion?
    Madam Speaker, one thing that is clear when we look at the end result of some of this radicalization. For example, when we think of Patrice Vincent, Nathan Cirillo or the genocide being perpetuated by ISIS, there is no doubt that these are crimes of the most heinous nature. I think all Canadians agree on that. How we tackle prevention is a key issue. Prevention is not always a word people like to hear, but ultimately it means that one life lost to this type of horrible crime is too many. What do we do about that? I would remiss if I did not acknowledge that the government has begun to put funding in place, but definitely more can be done to have a more overarching strategy.
    Individual projects are receiving funding, which is certainly a positive thing. However, when we visited Montreal, the mayor of Montreal, Valérie Plante, pointed out something about the centre. It is the only centre of its kind in North America and it has to deal with people from all over Canada and the east coast of the U.S. to help them tackle radicalization. This demonstrates to us that more can be done. We could have more centres like that in more geographically strategic locations to allow us to maximize the efforts we deploy. It is perhaps a good first step, but definitely more needs to be done.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Beloeil—Chambly, who works very hard in committee and in the House to protect the rights and safety of Canadians, which are not mutually exclusive.
    I have not heard any mention of far-right violence in today's discussion and motion. Last year, the acts of violence committed in North America were largely perpetrated by the far right, by misogynistic and racist groups that spawned right here in North America.
    I want to ask my colleague what he thinks about the fact that today's motion does not recognize the radicalization of and growing violence by the far right?

  (1330)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. Indeed, the Conservatives too often forget to include in their approach this aspect of extremism and the violence associated with it.
     This is not an ad, but as I mentioned in my speech, the Toronto Star published an extraordinary report on the rise of the far right.
    I think I speak on behalf of all parliamentarians, and especially those in the NDP, when I say that we strongly condemn all violence resulting from radicalization or extremism, whether we are talking about ISIS, the far right or any other form of extremist ideology. I think it is our responsibility as parliamentarians to condemn this violence. It is also our responsibility to give intelligence services and police forces the tools they need to do their job, while still respecting our rights and freedoms, of course.
    To get back to my colleague's question, the fact that this is not included in the motion shows once again that there is a focus on a particular aspect, admittedly an important one, that is being prioritized over others.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the hon. member and my friend from Durham.
    This is an important motion, one I am glad my colleagues have brought forward. We are talking about ISIS's crimes against humanity. We are commemorating the work and efforts by Nadia Murad, and even her sentiment is captured in the motion, about what happened to the ISIS women and girls who were used as sex slaves. The member for Calgary Nose Hill described in detail the horrific existence, injuries and impacts that rape, as a weapon, had on culture and society, particularly how it traumatized the lives of these women and girls. We need to act upon that.
    It is one thing to have a Prime Minister call himself a feminist, but we have to take action. If we want to stop genocide, we need to have plan on how to do that. It is one thing to talk about the responsibility to protect. It is another thing to call an atrocity a genocide, such as ISIS committed against the people in the Syrian and Iraqi regions. We need to ensure that we stand with them and that those who committed these atrocities and crimes against humanity are held accountable.
    I have had the privilege over the last number of years to work with the Yazidi community in Canada. It was shocking to hear the stories of the women and girls who were sex slaves, They have come to Canada for refuge, asylum and our protection and are glad to be here, even though they still have family members in refugee camps in the region who cannot get out. We need to be of more help to them on that basis.
    It is disturbing when I talk to them and hear the stories they are experiencing right in Canada. A lady in London, Ontario, a Yazidi refugee, got on a bus with her captor, who was an ISIS terrorist. He had bought her, used her and then sold her again like she was property, like livestock. He is here under the so-called Syrian refugee program. He lied to get into Canada. We cannot allow this individual and his family to stay here. First, he is an ISIS terrorist. Second, he committed atrocities as part of the ISIS genocide. Third, he entered Canada on false pretenses.
    Another lady has had the same experience in Winnipeg. An ISIS terrorist, who is on the streets, was recognized by one of his Yazidi sex slaves. She too has talked to the police. She has not talked about it in the media, like the other case in London, but she saw him face to face in Canada.
     It is disturbing that these people have snuck into Canada under the Syrian refugee program and have lied about who they are. They were definitely part of ISIS. Then there are Canadians who have returned after the war started going sideways. They had joined ISIS and fought in Iraq and Syria. We know of some who are being held today by the Kurdish forces in northern Syria.
     Muhammad Ali has been on Global TV, talking about how he wants to come back to Canada. His wife lived for sometime in Vancouver. He would like to come to Canada with their children, but they are in detention. He admits to being part of ISIS and to committing atrocities, while fighting against Canada and our allies in the region, yet we are offering him consular services. Those crimes were committed in Iraq and Syria. When Canadians travel abroad and commit crimes abroad, they should be charged, prosecuted and brought to justice in those jurisdictions, just as we witnessed this past week when a young girl, who wrote graffiti on a historic site in Thailand, was arrested for it.

  (1335)  

    If they do the crime there, they will do the time there. Many Canadians are incarcerated around the world in various prisons, because they committed crimes in those countries. However, we still offer them consular services, but we do not need to make a case for them to return to Canada, like consular services did in talking to Muhammad Ali on how to get back to Canada and how to get his passport in order.
     Consular services also spoke to Jihadi Jack, Jack Letts, a British citizen. He became famous in 2014-15, promoting ISIS and even talking about using the heads of his victims as soccer balls and the atrocities he committed. He has a father of Canadian citizenship and wants to be returned to Canada, even though he has never lived here. Consular services are helping him with a passport application. It just does not make any sense at all.
    I am proud of the record we had under the Conservative government. We committed our Canadian Armed Forces to help our allies fight against ISIS. We went over there. We put our CF-18s in the fight, bombing ISIS positions in Iraq and even in Syria. We put over 200 trainers on the ground to help the Kurdish peshmerga become better equipped. We gave them equipment plus training so they were more effective soldiers. We helped save lives and protected those vulnerable communities.
    It was great that we were able to do that. We provided our surveillance aircraft, two CP-140 Auroras. We were not just providing targeting and looking for intelligence on the ground on where ISIS fighters were located, but we were there supporting our allies. We also had a Polaris refueller aircraft to help with the air attack.
    Our air task force there has done great work. How did the Liberals treat the air task force? One of the very first things the Liberals did when they came to power was to pull our CF-18s out of the fight. Shame on the Liberals. Kurdish peshmerga, the Kurdish regional government, said that those planes helped save lives and helped ensure that not just Canadian troops on the ground were safe, but that the Kurdish peshmerga fighters were safe as well. We were destroying ISIS targets, ensuring it could not continue on in committing its atrocities. We completely eliminated its offensive capabilities.
    Then the Liberal government took out one of our surveillance aircraft, cutting that by 50%. It brought one of our Auroras home. Adding insult to injury, the Liberals took away the danger pay for our air task force that was set up in Kuwait. Some of our guys on the ground there saw their pay cut between $1,500 and $1,800 a month, even though they were still in theatre. Even though they were part of Operation Impact, they were treated differently.
    After Conservatives embarrassed the government, the Minister of National Defence had to climb down on that and reinstate that danger pay, bringing in a new policy. It was our Conservative government that stood up for our troops, for the people who were fighting ISIS.
    We had many successes through that whole process, including having boots on the ground. We had snipers in theatre. We had special operations forces working. We trained over 1,100 Kurdish peshmerga.
     The Liberals changed the mission. We have not had a briefing on the mission in over a year. We are going to receive one, finally, next month, but it is well long overdue. For a government that says that it is transparent, we should see more about this rather than waiting until the last minute, before the mission has expires in March 2019 and has to be renewed.
    What it comes down is that we have people like Abu Huzaifa who is in Canada. He is a Canadian, he went abroad and enlisted with ISIS. He is 23 years old. We have not heard anything from the government about him being arrested. Abu Huzaifa was part of ISIS. He admitted to it on a New York Times podcast, called Caliphate, put out a few months ago. All of this is on the public record. He admitted to it in a CBC interview as well.
    We do not see anything from the government about arresting these individuals. The Liberals always like to talk about how the Conservatives never arrested any of them either. We have to remember that the fight was going on. It was a hot conflict until the end of 2016 when everybody started coming home. We know that Abu Huzaifa did not even come back until the winter of 2016.
    We expect better from the government. We are here to ensure we are acting on terrorism. A Conservative government will do just that to ensure Canadians are safe, that we act on protecting people who are vulnerable to genocide.

  (1340)  

    Madam Speaker, we are talking about the approaches the government takes toward combatting terrorism. We look at the Canadian approach of peace, order and good government in helping to establish and train security forces on the ground and also within Canada to make sure that we have a safe and secure country.
    I wonder if the hon. member could comment on the Harper government's cuts of nearly $1 billion from our security in Canada: $530 million taken from the RCMP, $390 million from the Canada Border Services Agency, $69 million from CSIS, $42 million from the Communications Security Establishment, and $171 million from the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority. Was this moving us toward better peace, order and good government in Canada?
    Madam Speaker, the Liberals can sit here and try to do their spin. The reality is that we actually increased resources for the RCMP and for border guards so that they could actually act upon these people. We brought in Bill S-7, the Combating Terrorism Act, which made it a crime under the Criminal Code to leave this country to join a terrorist organization. The Liberals have the option of using that and the peace bonds that are described under that act to hold terrorists, but they do nothing instead. They sit here and spin. They have been in power for three years, and we have seen nothing from them about how they are going to protect the Yazidis, how they are going to protect Canadians from terrorists who return to Canada or how they are going to continue prosecuting those who are abroad.
    I am looking forward to hearing my colleague from Durham talk about international law and how the International Criminal Court should be involved in this case. However, we are hearing absolutely nothing from the Liberals. Instead of standing up for Canadians, standing up for our troops, all we see from them is hug-a-thug and give a pass to terrorists who come back to Canada.
    Madam Speaker, I find it amazing that the member would even make the statement he just did. At the end of the day, this government went after terrorism and individuals who were wanting to come back to Canada, whereas the Harper administration did absolutely nothing. There was no prosecution. No charges were ever laid.
    The Conservatives talk a tough line, but the reality is that they cannot prosecute. When it comes time to pony up in terms of financial resources, they have failed miserably. They made serious cuts totalling $1 billion. That is not government spin. That is reality. Those are the facts.
    The former Harper government talked a tough line, but it delivered zero. I am wondering if my colleague has any regrets for supporting the Harper regime when it chose to cut back, when we should have been investing in and supporting our security forces.
    Madam Speaker, I regret sitting here and listening to all the rhetoric coming from the member for Winnipeg North. This individual continues to stand and spew all sorts of words in the House but fails to actually accomplish a single thing in supporting victims. This is an individual who continues to make excuses for his government, which does not do a thing to stop terrorism. This is a member who continues to stand up and fight for the rights of returning terrorists rather than fight for the rights of Yazidi refugees right here in Canada. He should be ashamed of himself. He should be talking about what the plan is going to be and how we move forward, because the Liberals have failed for three years, and Canadians deserve better.

  (1345)  

    Madam Speaker, I would like to ask my friend from Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman to compare his time in government as a Manitoba MP with the deputy House leader of the Liberal Party. He was part of the government that introduced Bill C-10, which allowed victims of terrorism to sue terrorists internationally, whereas we have seen recently Liberal members actually attack victims of terrorism. It is a totally different approach.
    Madam Speaker, I want to thank the member for bringing up Bill C-10 on victims of terrorism. He and I saw again this past weekend Maureen Basnicki, who was a victim of terrorism. Her husband died in 9/11. She lives in Collingwood, and she has no recourse against those criminals. She is one of the inspirations behind Bill C-10. We brought in Bill S-7 to allow more government tools and more tools for the RCMP and border services so we could get the job done.
    What we see from the Liberals is Bill C-75, which would take joining a terrorist organization down to a fine rather than an indictable offence.
    Madam Speaker, I am privileged to follow my friend from Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, who raised a number of issues related to the Canadian Armed Forces. I want to also thank our colleague from Calgary Nose Hill for her long and consistent efforts in working with people like Nadia Murad, who is quoted in this opposition motion, because Canadians are concerned about a government that has no ability to act.
    It is sad when I hear the rhetoric from the deputy House leader, but it is also sad to hear a distinguished veteran like the member for Kanata—Carleton suggest that the government is somehow powerless and that we are politicizing this. Protecting Canadians is probably the most fundamental aspect of what a federal government should do.
    What is troubling about the Liberals is that they act as if they have no ability to act on all issues. Whether it is criminal justice and a killer going to a healing lodge, funding the PTSD treatments of a murderer or recruiting ISIS foreign fighters to come back to Canada, the Liberals make it seem like they are powerless to act. It is actually an abdication of leadership. When their departments make a mistake, leaders rectify it. If there is a risk facing Canadians, they prevent it. I see nothing of the kind from the Liberals, and that should concern Canadians less than one year away from an election, when they can get a government that is serious again.
    I am going to start with a quote about ISIS, ISIL, and how dangerous it is, as an organization, and as the people who belong to it are:
    ISIL threatens peace and democracy with terror and barbarism. The images are horrific, the stories are appalling, the victims are many.
    The person who said that was the Prime Minister of Canada, the member for Papineau, in this House, three or four months into his government. He recognized the profound barbarism and threat of this terror force, but what did he do? Why did he say those words in this chamber? He was withdrawing Canadian participation in air strikes meant to hinder the advance of ISIS. He was stepping back at a time when France and a lot of our allies were asking Canada to step up, because our pilots are the best at targeting in those circumstances. He was pulling back at the same time he recognized that ISIS was a grave threat to Canada and our allies. That just shows how out of touch the Prime Minister of Canada is when it comes to terrorism and national security.
     What is worse is that the defence minister at the time made it seem that our allies were fine with that decision, that there was no concern that we withdrew our CF-18 fighter jets from degrading and destroying ISIS and put in more training and ground troops, supplementing the ground troops, the CSOR and JTF2 people the previous Conservative government had put in with the fighter jets. The defence minister made it seem that our allies were fine with that. The trouble is that documents came out later showing that the Iraqi minister, where our troops were operating, pleaded with him not to withdraw. I still do not think the minister has addressed how he misled the House with respect to that. Documents revealed, on December 20, 2015, after he inspected a parade, that the defence minister of that country pleaded with him consistently not to withdraw our fighter jets.
    That is how the Liberals started with ISIS, and now we see it continue to the point where they are almost proactively recruiting foreign fighters back to Canada, even those with tenuous links.
    There are two areas where this is wrong in law. We should not be repatriating people who have gone and, to use the term of the Prime Minister, committed barbarous acts overseas. We should not be bringing them home, and historically Canadians have not. What previous governments have done is something called constructive repudiation of dual citizenship or of consular rights, meaning that we do not act on consular affairs. The Prime Minister sending people to see “Jihadi Jack”, a British national involved in terrible crimes, it is reported, and even in his own words he acknowledges that, and Canada proactively offering him consular affairs is something the government does not have to do.

  (1350)  

    In fact, our foreign affairs committee right now is confirming, witness after witness, that consular affairs are a Crown prerogative. It is the ability of the government to decide who they provide consular support to. If my Liberal friends, who I am glad to see are listening, do not take my word for it, let them take the Supreme Court of Canada's words for it.
    In the Khadr decision, what is interesting about Omar Khadr is that it was that government, in previous iterations under Martin and Chrétien, that actually violated his rights by participating in investigations. The Supreme Court of Canada said that the Harper government was within its rights not to repatriate Mr. Khadr.
    Here is the irony of it. Paragraph 35 of that judgment states that “The prerogative power over foreign affairs has not been displaced by s. 10 of the...Act...and continues to be exercised by the federal government.” It goes on to say, “It is for the executive and not the courts to decide whether and how to exercise its powers....”
    It is for the government to decide. There is no right of consular access for terrorists, and certainly for nationals from other countries.
    What has the government decided? What discretion is it exercising? It is recruiting Jihadi Jack and a number of these terrible individuals back to Canada. It does not have to do that in law. That is important to note.
    What did the previous government do? We mentioned Bill S-7, which actually criminalized the activity of travelling to a foreign country for training or work with terrorists. It could have charged every single one of these people, because they were detained by the peshmerga. The peshmerga has said that those Canadians were found with ISIS fighters. The Conservative government provided a charge for that, which made it easier to seek peace bonds. Our law enforcement has degraded with Bill C-59 under this bill.
    The former Conservative government also brought in the ability of victims of terrorism, like our friend Maureen Basnicki, to sue foreign terror agencies. That is what that government did. In fact, at the time, Professor Christian Leuprecht, at Queen's University, said that the Conservative Bill S-7 “prevents the foreign fighter problem”.
    We actually tried to deal with the difficult decisions of governing. We did not pass them off and act like these issues were floating down the river and taken down the stream. Whether it is funding PTSD treatments for criminals or transferring child killers to a healing lodge, the Liberals act like they are powerless. They should check an org chart and realize that they are in charge.
    I will also bring up how the Liberal government's current conduct is actually in violation of a United Nations Security Council resolution. What is interesting is that there is a half-baked campaign under way by the government to obtain a temporary seat on the Security Council. Perhaps it should read the resolutions of the Security Council it intends to join. Resolution 2178 deals with foreign terrorist fighters and defines it.
    There are two key findings I would note from this Security Council resolution. First, it states:
    The massive flow of refugees and asylum seekers from conflict zones also raises the risk that FTFs will attempt to use the refugee system to escape prosecution.
    It said that vigilant vetting must be a requirement for specific countries. That was the United Nations. The resolution goes on to say something that shows how disconnected the Liberal government is. It states:
     Because the related challenges are by their nature international, the Council has called on Member States to enhance their international cooperation in preventing their travel.
    The Security Council of the United Nations is asking Canada to prevent the travel of foreign fighters, and we have a government facilitating it.
    I am wondering if the members of the Security Council, when they vote to see who they should add, will wonder if they should invite the one country swimming in the opposite direction, the one country pulling out against the fight against ISIS, the one country recruiting them back rather than preventing their travel.
    Governing is about making tough decisions. There is more to being the government than just photographs and hashtags.

  (1355)  

    Madam Speaker, I am not surprised that none of the Liberals wanted to ask a question, as it is just before question period when everybody is starting to tune in, and take on the member for Durham, with his very well-thought-out and researched argument on today's debate.
    I would like the member to talk a little bit about the international law that is in application here, and how it might be possible for the International Criminal Court to get involved in this and what Canada should be doing to facilitate that. We should be providing better investigations and more resources on that front, and should be working with Nadia and her group regarding the ISIS terrorists who committed the atrocities and genocide against the Yazidis and other religious and ethnic minorities and who used rape as a weapon. Could the member address that particular issue as well?
    Madam Speaker, I am glad we started the motion with comments from someone who has been a victim of ISIS. I am glad my friend from Calgary Nose Hill ensured that Nadia Murad's comments were included. “I dream about one day bringing all the militants to justice”, she said. She went on to say they should not be given a chance to hide. Those are her words.
    I hear the Liberals suggesting in the House that we are politicizing this. Nadia Murad wants us to politicize this because many of these people committed horrific crimes. That is why the Security Council has advised all nations not to let them travel, hide and claim to be refugees, and to bring them to justice in the International Criminal Court or in the jurisdictions in which they reside. That is what victims expect.
    I want to apologize to the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands. Unfortunately, I did not see her until I had recognized somebody else. However, there will be an opportunity for questions and comments on this issue after question period.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[English]

United Steelworkers

    Madam Speaker, over the weekend, CBC reported that this will be Leo Gerard's last term as president of the united steelworkers.
    As a member of the union and of the all-party steel caucus, I rise to congratulate Leo on his extensive service to steelworkers across North America, including those at EVRAZ and other workplaces in Regina. Leo distinguished himself as one of a very few Canadians to be elected as president of an international union. With his leadership, the united steelworkers have been steadfast in advocating for a Canadian exemption from U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs. All Canadians appreciate such cross-border solidarity as we push to maintain fair and balanced trade with our neighbours.
    I invite all members of the House to join me in congratulating Leo.

  (1400)  

[Translation]

Gaétan Gervais

    Madam Speaker, a year ago, I rose in the House to pay tribute to a great Sudburian, a great historian, a great professor. Today, I rise to once again give him a Franco-Ontarian tribute. Gaétan Gervais passed away over the weekend.
     Professor Gervais was a proud Franco-Ontarian, a thinker and influencer, and a proponent of the social and economic development of francophones in Ontario. He had a knack for encouraging young students and the entire community to get involved and fully contribute to their community and country. He was made a member of the Order of Canada and the Ordre des francophones d'Amérique and dubbed a knight and officer of the Ordre de la Pléiade. He also received many other awards and honours.
    There is a little of the man we knew as the father of the Franco-Ontarian flag in all of us. Our flag, with the green, the white, the trillium and the fleur-de-lys, represents where we come from, where we are and where we are going. It is one of our pillars.

[English]

Canada Summer Jobs Initiative

    Mr. Speaker, it was recently learned that the Liberal government approved federal funding through the Canada Summer Jobs initiative for an organization that is currently suspended by the Canada Revenue Agency for potentially funding terrorism. Federal charities regulators have flagged concerns that this organization had provided resources that may have been used for armed militancy.
    Meanwhile, the discriminatory Liberal values test meant that hundreds of legitimate charities running soup kitchens or children's day camps across Canada had to sign a statement supporting Liberal Party values as a condition of receiving federal funding.
    Support of terrorism or support of children's day camps? It is really not a difficult issue, or at least it should not be. If the Liberal government's moral compass were not so out of whack, it would not be.
    It is time for the Liberals to put aside their ideology, rescind their Liberal values test, and drop the attestation.

Women's History Month

    Mr. Speaker, this October, we celebrate Women's History Month. It is a time to honour the women and girls who have made a lasting impact as pioneers paving the way for future generations of trailblazers, leaders and innovators.

[Translation]

    Although it is important to recognize the success stories of extraordinary women who have had a lasting impact on our society, we also need to think about the obstacles that women and girls still face today. Although they may not be as obvious as they were before, we still need to understand those obstacles, address them and overcome them, so that gender equality becomes a reality in Canada and throughout the world.

[English]

    As a member of the Standing Committee on Status of Women and as a young woman myself, I encourage all women and girls to reach their full potential and make a lasting impact on our society.
    This month, and every month, we must remember to recognize the accomplishments of women around us and to use them as motivation for ourselves.

[Translation]

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, for the past few years, several rooming houses providing shelter for some of the most marginalized citizens in my riding of Hochelaga have had to be evacuated. Naturally, this has resulted in increased homelessness. Many people living on the streets today are drug users, which causes further marginalization and criminalization. We are trapped in a vicious cycle because people do not want to see them on the streets anymore, but they are unable to find new accommodations. In the meantime, it is no wonder their drug consumption has negative effects on public spaces.
    The war on drugs as we know it is not working. All health experts agree. I am proud to be a member of a political party that acknowledges this reality and that passed a resolution at its last convention in favour of decriminalizing simple possession of all drugs.

[English]

Small Business Week

    Mr. Speaker, last week we celebrated Small Business Week, during which time Canadian shone a spotlight on entrepreneurship and the ingenuity of local small businesses while recognizing the contribution these businesses make to our communities and our economy.
    In Edmonton Centre, we have a number of thriving local businesses, including specialty shops, health care service providers, technology-based companies and non-profits.

  (1405)  

[Translation]

    Our government proudly supports small and medium-sized enterprises and works hard every day to help Canada's small business owners get ahead.
    We know that when our small businesses succeed, our economy prospers.

[English]

    Last week I visited a few of these businesses, such as the Colombian, Jobber, Alberta Women Entrepreneurs and the Table Top Café, to thank them and to learn about their unique challenges. I thank them, their families and their clients. They make me and all of us very proud.

Battlefords—Lloydminster

    Mr. Speaker, like Canadians across this country, my constituents in Battlefords—Lloydminster want to feel safe and secure in their communities. However, spikes in rural crime rates are causing great concern. This trend is unacceptable, yet the Prime Minister and the public safety minister are not focused on making our rural communities safer. Instead, they continue to prioritize improving the lives of convicted criminals.
    Just last week the Liberals unveiled a plan to end solitary confinement in federal prisons. They have already introduced legislation to make many serious crimes eligible for just a mere fine. They are giving veterans benefits to a convicted cop killer who has never served a day in his life in the military. They paid out a convicted terrorist. The list goes on and on. Canadians have had enough of these backward priorities. It is time that the Liberals put the rights of victims and law-abiding Canadians ahead of criminals.

Women's History Month

    Mr. Speaker, October is Women's History Month. This year's theme is #MakeAnImpact.
    I would like to recognize some of the outstanding women who are making a lasting impact in my riding of Scarborough Centre, women like Cynthia Distajo, a nurse at The Scarborough Hospital, who was on the front line treating patients during the SARs outbreak, or Joyce Spencer of the Rosewood Church of the Nazarene, who helped to mentor young girls on grooming, careers, and physical and emotional well-being. The Villa Karuna Home For Seniors was founded by Indrani Nagenthiram to provide seniors with a familiar and comfortable community to call home. Mary Louise Cook has made it her mission to chronicle the early history of Scarborough and keep our heritage alive with her book Rambling about Wexford.
     I thank all the women in Scarborough and across Canada who are making an impact.

Mental Health

    Mr. Speaker, last Saturday I was proud to attend the seventh annual Walk & Talk - Defeat Depression event in Harrison Hot Springs. The defeat depression campaign is a national fundraising campaign designed to raise funds in support of local mental health programs and services. The campaign has grown into a national movement, bringing needed awareness of mental health issues and fighting the mental health stigma.
    I want to commend the organizers from the Agassiz-Harrison Community Services for their hard work putting this together, all of the volunteers who helped the day run smoothly and those in attendance who shared their own stories with us.
    Let us keep this fight going.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, the current government is failing to enforce its own environmental laws. Three years ago, we were shocked to learn that Volkswagen designed its cars to cheat vehicle emissions tests. In fact, it was Canada that verified that it was cheating. The U.S. took immediate action to prosecute VW, which was forced to pay $19 billion in penalties and publicly admit that its software was programmed to cheat. The German government has also levied over $2.5 billion in penalties against VW.
     Meanwhile, here in Canada, crickets. After three long years, the only information the Liberal government can give us is that the matter is “under investigation.” What could possibly still be under investigation when VW has admitted that it cheated Canadians? Why is the minister refusing to use her powers to prosecute and punish VW for its flagrant violation of our Canadian laws? The Liberals talk a big game on the environment, but it is all talk and no action.

  (1410)  

[Translation]

Laval Family and Friends Association for Mental Wellness

    Mr. Speaker, on October 11, I attended the annual vernissage hosted by the Association lavalloise de parents et amis pour le bien-être mental, or ALPABEM for short.
    The mission of ALPABEM is to support the family and friends of people with clinical signs of serious mental health problems by offering a wide range of services to provide the information, assistance and tools they need to improve their quality of life. ALPABEM has been operating in the riding of Marc-Aurèle-Fortin for nearly 50 years. The vernissage raised almost $19,000 for the organization.
    I want to thank the members of ALPABEM for being involved every day.

[English]

Surrey

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate my friend and new mayor-elect of the city of Surrey, Doug McCallum, for his electoral victory this past weekend. In 1999, I had the opportunity to run alongside Mayor-Elect McCallum as his team member, and I have seen first-hand his commitment and passion in serving Surrey.
    I would also like to congratulate the new councillors-elect: Brenda Locke, Jack Hundial, Mandeep Nagra, Doug Elford, Laurie Guerra, Allison Patton, Steven Pettigrew and Linda Annis. I commend all mayoral, council, and school trustee candidates across British Columbia for putting their names and ideas forward to make a positive difference in their respective communities.
    Along with my fellow Surrey MPs, I look forward to working closely with Mayor McCallum and the council for the betterment of Surrey and to continue to foster a positive relationship between both orders of government.

Government Policies

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians expect their government to create jobs, to respect their rights and freedoms, to care for veterans, to stand up for victims and to facilitate an environment of economic prosperity. These are the marks of a responsible and good government. Sadly, the Prime Minister is failing on each of the above points.
    The government is failing businesses by increasing red tape and taxation. Thousands of jobs are moving south of the border. The Prime Minister sees veterans as nothing more than an expense, and when given the choice to stand up for victims or criminals, he chooses criminals every single time. When it comes to stewarding tax dollars, the government has one goal, and one goal only, and that is to reward itself with luxurious vacations, office expansions and limo rides. While families are struggling to make ends meet, the government is insisting on driving up the cost of living even more by applying a carbon tax.
    Canadians deserve better, much better, and much better comes in the colour blue. In one year's time, they will get a chance to vote for a government that will work for them.

[Translation]

Pasticceria Alati-Caserta

    Mr. Speaker, Montreal's Little Italy is a source of pride for everyone in Quebec's Italian community. It is a neighbourhood where the combination of colours, smells and tastes reminds us of the Italian dolce vita.

[English]

    To Canadians of Italian descent, Little Italy brings them back to the tastes and aromas of their childhood and they cannot say “Little Italy” without thinking of the Pasticceria Alati-Caserta. Today, I am proud to take this opportunity to wish it a happy 50th anniversary of business.
    In 1968, Maria Di Meo and Vittorio Caldarone founded Alati-Caserta, a family business focused on giving people the best Italian deserts and service. Cannoli, granita, panettone and sfogliatella are only a few of the temptations to delight people's taste buds. Today, their son Marco and his lovely wife Linda carry on the heritage and the special ingredients that make their desserts extra special, with passion, love and the friendliest of services. At the Pasticceria, you will find the Italian spirit.
    Grazie to the Pasticceria Alati-Caserta for those 50 years.

New Westminster—Burnaby

    Mr. Speaker, Saturday was election day in British Columbia for municipalities right across the province and in New Westminster we are happy to see the re-election of our social democratic mayor, Jonathon Coté, and we note the important diversity we see following the election to council of Nadine Nakagawa and Chinu Das, and New Westminster's school board, where 85% of the elected representatives are now women.
    In Burnaby, we congratulate my long-time friend Mike Hurley, who is now elected mayor. He will do a great job. Of course, I would be remiss not to mention the election of former NDP MP Kennedy Stewart as mayor of the City of Vancouver, the largest city in the province. He will be terrific.
    Let us join together to thank all of those candidates for running for elected office. This is the very foundation of our democracy. Thanks to all candidates for putting their names forward and working to make our communities better.

  (1415)  

Patrice Vincent and Nathan Cirillo

    Mr. Speaker, four years ago today was a day like no other on Parliament Hill. Just two days after Warrant Office Patrice Vincent was murdered in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu for simply wearing his Canadian Forces uniform, Corporal Nathan Cirillo was shot and killed while guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the National War Memorial.
    When the gunman entered our Parliament with the intent to kill again, he was met with the valour of our Parliamentary Protective Service, the RCMP, and our former sergeant-at-arms.
    The gunfire in these halls, the uncertainty and the lockdown that followed in this very building deeply impacted those of us who experienced it, but the attack on our democratic institutions was a failure. All of us were in our seats here in the House of Commons united the very next day to pay tribute to Warrant Officer Vincent, Corporal Cirillo and all of our heroes who put themselves in harm's way to protect us and this place when we needed them most.
    May God bless them all. Lest we forget.

Patrice Vincent and Nathan Cirillo

    Mr. Speaker, on today's solemn anniversary, we remember Corporal Cirillo and Warrant Officer Vincent, who both paid the ultimate price for their service to Canada.

[Translation]

    We offer our deepest condolences to their families, their friends, and to all those affected by these attacks. We also thank the Parliamentary Protective Service and RCMP teams who put themselves in danger that day to protect our parliamentary family.

[English]

    Such attacks are meant to strike fear, divide us and break our resolve, but instead we emerged from this tragedy united. Canadians refused to compromise our most cherished values: democracy, freedom, inclusion and diversity.
    Shortly after the attack, Corporal Cirillo's friends were once again guarding the National War Memorial, our sacred place to pay tribute. Four years later, let us continue to thank those who put their lives in harm's way every day to defend us.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, when it comes to dealing with terrorists, the Liberals' priorities are misplaced. In fact, they communicate with individuals who may have never been in Canada to try to bring them here.
    It is not enough to support our motion. When will the Prime Minister submit a plan on how he intends to deal with terrorists, including the repeal of Bill C-75? This bill would remove the tools that law enforcement officers need to bring these people to justice.
    Mr. Speaker, as everyone here knows, providing support to terrorist organizations and travelling to give them that support is a crime.
    We fully support our police and intelligence services so that they can do the necessary work and ensure that the guilty parties are brought to justice and that Canadians and communities are protected at all times. That is why we will be supporting the Conservative motion.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we have seen this in the past when the Liberals support a motion the Conservatives have put forward and then they do absolutely nothing to take action afterwards.
    The Prime Minister has had years to deal with this issue, and the fact is that these individuals who have gone to fight for ISIS are coming back and are not facing justice. He has introduced legislation that actually ties the hands of our security officials and, shockingly, he has reduced the penalties for those who are facing terrorist-related charges.
    When will the Prime Minister finally take real action to protect our communities?

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, once again, as all Canadians know, as everyone in the House knows, supporting terrorism is a crime and travelling to support terrorism is a crime. That is why we have full confidence in our police and intelligence services to ensure that there are consequences for people committing these crimes, and that at the same time we do everything necessary to keep Canadians and our communities safe. Those are among the many reasons why we will be supporting the Conservatives' opposition day motion.

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, once again, they are supporting the motion but are taking no actual measures to make Canadians safer. We seen this pattern over and over again.
    We have also seen another pattern by the Prime Minister, and that is refusing to answer simple questions. I am going to ask him one about the Mark Norman case. I am going to assure him that I am not interested in his opinion on the case itself. I am not asking him to comment on the case. I would like to know if he will make sure that all documents necessary for the defence are made available to Mark Norman's legal case.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for his question. As he well knows, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on an ongoing court case.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is trying to deflect attention from this by trying to pretend as if answering a question about a procedural matter would in some way be commenting on the case. I do not want him to comment on the case. I am not interested in his opinion on the case. What I am interested in is due process and a fair trial for Mark Norman.
    Now, he has the power to allow Mark Norman's legal team to have access to the documents that are being requested. It is a yes or no decision. It is his decision alone. Will he make those documents and that evidence available?
    Mr. Speaker, there are many things members opposite could be asking questions about. We know that, and they have the right to ask questions on anything they like, but rather than ask questions about our success with the USMCA, rather than ask us about the historic low unemployment figures and all the jobs we have created, they continue to ask me about this ongoing court case when it would be inappropriate for me to comment on it.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. Members know there are often times when they hear things in the House they do not like from the other side perhaps, maybe occasionally from their own side even, but we have to listen regardless of that, and there is a rule against interrupting. I would ask members to keep that in mind.
    The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, I guess an independent judicial process and a fair trial for a member of the Canadian Armed Forces is not important to the Prime Minister, but he asked me to ask him a question on the NAFTA deal, and so I will do that.
    During the Sunday night of panic as the government was agreeing to concession after concession after concession to Donald Trump, did the Prime Minister agree to limit Canadian exports of dairy products to third countries so that American farmers could move into that market? Did he agree to those terms?
    Mr. Speaker, we are very proud that we managed to secure access to our most important trading partner. I want to thank not just people in the House, but people right across the country for standing strong and united in the face of this American challenge. That is how we succeeded to move forward in the right way.
    We also managed to protect supply management, despite equivocation on the other side of the House. We know it is a good thing for Canadians. It is a good thing for agricultural industries. That is why we will continue to work with our dairy farmers and all supply-managed sectors to ensure they have a bright future. We believe in them.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, when the Prime Minister said last night on national television that Canada was on its way to meet its GHG emissions targets, he was wrong on so many levels.
     First, he is the only one saying that we will meet these targets. Even his own environment commissioner says that we will not. Second, at this rate, Canada will miss these targets by at least 66 million tonnes, the equivalent of 14 million cars. Third, these targets were not even his own to begin with; they were the Conservative targets.
     The Prime Minister admitted he had no intention of changing course in face of these failures. Why?
    Mr. Speaker, once again, we see that the Conservatives and the NDP still think there is a choice to be made between the environment and the economy.
    The NDP refuses to accept that growing the economy in responsible ways is also a way of ensuring that we meet our targets, whereas the Conservatives do not have any plan to deal with climate change. Indeed, they want to make pollution free again.
    The fact of the matter is that we are moving forward on ensuring that we grow our economy and protect our environment, including fighting climate change and meeting our Paris targets at the same time.

  (1425)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it is like Tout le monde en parle all over again. He is skating around the question and not really answering it.
    Yesterday, on Tout le monde en parle, the Prime Minister was asked about the IPCC's finding that Canada's targets are not good enough. In response, he trotted out that old Conservative line about how our actions are just a drop in the bucket.
    The IPCC does not want us to solve all the problems. It just wants us to do our part. Buying a 65-year-old pipeline is not doing our part. Reopening energy east is not doing our part. Using the Conservatives' targets is not doing our part.
    The Liberals' current plan is not good enough. When will they make it better?
    Mr. Speaker, we invested $1.5 billion in a plan to protect our oceans. We have invested record amounts in green energy. We have worked with the provinces and municipalities to enhance our capacity to generate sustainable growth.
    We know that all Canadians want to be part of the solution. Our government has targets, and, for the first time in this country's history, we have a plan to achieve them. We will keep protecting the environment while ensuring the future of generations to come. That is what Canadians expect, and that is what we will keep doing.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the Saudi Arabian government's explanation for the disappearance and death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is becoming increasingly bizarre and unbelievable. There must be a real, UN-sponsored investigation.
    In the meantime, Germany took action and suspended arms sales to Saudi Arabia and is calling on its allies to do the same. The Liberals, however, are not doing anything but talking.
    Have they no shame?
     Mr. Speaker, we condemn the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. We are very concerned by reports of Saudi involvement. We are working closely with our allies, in particular the G7, on this issue. I repeat that we are calling for an in-depth investigation. We want to see those responsible for this murder held accountable, and they must face justice.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the government claims to defend human rights on the one hand and on the other hand it arms one of the world's worst human rights offenders.
     Saudi Arabia is leading a military coalition that has been accused of war crimes in Yemen, where 12 million people could starve to death due to the armed conflict.
    Therefore, could the government stop the doublespeak and stop arming rogue nations like Saudi Arabia?
    Mr. Speaker, we condemn the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The minister has been having ongoing and active conversations with our allies about next steps and how to work collaboratively.
     We strongly demand, and expect, that Canadian exports are used in a way that fully respects human rights. That is why our government is committed to a stronger and more rigorous arms export system and to the Arms Trade Treaty. We have frozen export permits before, when we had concerns about their potential misuse, and we will not hesitate to do so again.

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, could the Minister of National Defence tell us on what date former CBC journalist James Cudmore was offered a job in his office as his senior policy adviser?
    Mr. Speaker, I do not recall the exact date, but if I can get the exact date, I will ensure I get it to the member.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to make it easier for the Minister of National Defence. Could he tell us if it was before or after November 20, 2015?
    Mr. Speaker, I do not have the exact date before me, but I know where the member is going on this matter. I cannot comment any further on this.

  (1430)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, James Cudmore is the journalist who reported that the Liberal cabinet had decided to cancel the contract with Quebec's Davie shipyard.
    Not long afterwards, the office of the Minister of National Defence hired this journalist as a political adviser. That is quite the coincidence. I will repeat the question that my colleague asked the Minister of National Defence.
    On what date was Mr. Cudmore offered a job in the office of the Minister of National Defence?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it would be inappropriate for me or anyone else to comment or speculate on matters related to an ongoing criminal trial. As the members know, committee studies and multiple Speakers have found that in questions during question period members should abide by the sub judice convention.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, if there is a trial, we can see that there is something fishy going on.
    These are the facts: on November 17, Irving sends a letter to four Liberal ministers; on November 19, the Liberal cabinet decides to delay the Davie contract; and on November 20, Mr. Cudmore breaks his story about Davie. January 8, interestingly enough, is Mr. Cudmore's last day at the CBC and, just to remind the minister, four days later, on January 12, Mr. Cudmore starts his job at the office of the Minister of Defence.
    I will repeat my question. On what date did Mr. Cudmore receive a real offer to work in the office of the Minister of National Defence?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as per the House of Commons Compendium of Procedure, “Members are expected to refrain from discussing matters actively before the courts or under judicial consideration in order to guard those involved in a court action or judicial inquiry from any undue influence.”
    Mr. Speaker, that is an admission that James Cudmore is in the middle of the Mark Norman trial.
    In November 2015, CBC journalist James Cudmore broke an exclusive story about the Liberals stopping the construction of a new supply ship for our navy. Two months later, that very same journalist had a brand new job and, surprise, he was a senior policy adviser to the Minister of National Defence.
    When did James Cudmore first discuss his employment with the minister's office? Was this position created to reward him for his great reporting or were the Liberals trying to shut Cudmore up for his—
    The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety.
    Mr. Speaker, I will remind the members that it would be inappropriate to comment on an ongoing criminal trial. Peter Van Loan said, “It is deemed improper for a Member, in posing a question, or a Minister in responding to a question, to comment on any matter that is sub judice.” On this particular occasion, I have to agree with the Hon. Peter Van Loan.
    Mr. Speaker, what we are asking about is the employment of a former reporter in the minister's office directly. It has nothing to do about the case. The Liberals can try to hide behind Peter Van Loan's comments when they never once backed down when they were pursuing Mike Duffy.
    James Cudmore broke all sorts of exclusive stories with CBC and the Canadian Armed Forces. Just four days after he finished at CBC, he is working in the minister's office. It is clear that the Liberal sources were very comfortable with leaking stories to Cudmore and they were very comfortable when they hired him of course. Now Cudmore is in the middle of this Vice-Admiral Mark Norman case. Who is paying for his lawyer?
    Mr. Speaker, it is inappropriate to try to prosecute a legal proceeding on the floor of the House of Commons. The rules of the House and the work of the distinguished Table in front of us have made it very clear that this line of questions is inappropriate.

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians were so disappointed last week when the Liberals said they would not expunge criminal records for simple possession of cannabis. The Liberals claim that they want to break down barriers to jobs, education, housing and volunteer work, but they will not take the steps necessary to do so. Only by erasing those records can we ensure Canadians do not suffer unjustly for a previous act that as of last week is entirely legal.
    Will the Prime Minister support my bill and expunge those records or will he move ahead with his half-baked plan?

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Victoria for his leadership and advocacy on this issue. We look forward to continuing to work closely with him on this file.
    Having examined the situation very closely, we firmly believe that the appropriate way to deal with these existing records is through a pardon system, to make it affordable and accessible to all Canadians who carry the burden of that record. We believe this is the right thing to do. As we have said all along, we will deal with it in the appropriate way at the appropriate time. This is the appropriate way and a pardon is the appropriate—
    The hon. member for Timmins—James Bay.

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, I just returned from Kashechewan with Jagmeet Singh where the children are deeply concerned about Canada's long history of broken promises. We need to build a school for them, but when I talked to the kids, it has to be a proper building, one with a gymnasium and special education facilities.
     The minister supports the children, but her officials are nickel-and-diming them. What is it going to be? Will she commit to work with the community to ensure these children have what every other child in the country takes for granted, which is a school that is comfy and gives them hope?
    Mr. Speaker, I absolutely commit to continuing to work with the community of Kashechewan, including the chief, to ensure that good solutions are implemented immediately as well as in the long term. The member knows that I met with the chief recently. I will be meeting with the chief again tomorrow. We have made an offer for an immediate solution to provide a school and we will work with them toward a long-term plan.

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister continues to hide by saying he cannot comment on Vice-Admiral Norman's case. We are not asking him to comment on the details of the case. We are asking him to fulfill the government's responsibility to ensure a fair trial.
     The government holds critical evidence. We are asking him to simply answer the question. Who is he protecting, what is he hiding and on what date was James Cudmore offered a job in the office of the Minister of National Defence?
    Mr. Speaker, once again, it would be inappropriate for me to comment or speculate on matters related to an ongoing criminal trial. As the member should know, committee studies and multiple Speaker rulings have found that during question period members should abide by the sub judice convention.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the comments by members on the other side of the House today are really important. We do not want details, we only want the documents to be released. Asking for a fair trial is not a political game. On the contrary, it is a fundamental right for every Canadian.
    The question is simple. What is the Prime Minister hiding and who is he protecting?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it remains inappropriate to prosecute a legal proceeding on the floor of the House of Commons. The rules of the House and the work of the distinguished Table in front of us have made it perfectly clear that this line of questioning is not appropriate.
    Mr. Speaker, in his last story as a reporter, James Cudmore described Vice-Admiral Mark Norman as “brave” for being transparent on problems with the shipbuilding process. The date of that last story was December 21. Guess who had a great Christmas. James Cudmore, because a few days later he was working for the Liberal government.
    My question is for the Minister of National Defence. Who hired James Cudmore? Was it his office or was it the Prime Minister's Office?
    If we continue with this line of questioning, it is as if we are prosecuting a case on the floor of the House of Commons, and that would be totally inappropriate.
    Mr. Speaker, the sub judice rule applies to contempt of court. Is that hon. member saying to this Parliament that it would be contempt of a court action to talk about the hiring of a journalist? In January 2016, James Cudmore received a cushy job from the Liberal government and police were raiding Admiral Mark Norman's home.
    Will that member, a veteran herself, rise in the House and ensure that a decorated veteran receives due process under law?

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what we want. We do not want it to be prosecuted on the floor of the House of Commons. Therefore that line of questioning remains inappropriate.

[Translation]

Canada Post

    Mr. Speaker, today we debated Motion No. 166, which was moved by my NDP colleague from London—Fanshawe. This motion to appoint a committee to study the creation of a postal banking system administered by Canada Post is important to the regions.
    Postal banks can help rural regions where credit unions and bank branches are disappearing. They can also help provide affordable services to people with low incomes and ensure that services are available to our seniors. Post offices are a solution.
    Will the Liberals support Motion No. 166?
     Mr. Speaker, our government presented a new vision for Canada Post that puts service front and centre and honours our election promise. Our vision includes reinvesting profits in service and innovation at Canada Post. We are also encouraging Canada Post to expand its partnerships in the interest of Canadians.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, postal banking does provide services to Canadians in areas the big banks have abandoned, such as indigenous and rural communities. It is accessible as an alternative to payday lenders who prey on low-income earners.
    Motion No. 166, to be voted on this week, calls for a committee to study and propose the best model of postal banking under Canada Post and provide accessible banking services to all Canadians.
    Will the Liberals support our communities by giving them access to postal banking and vote yes to Motion No. 166 this Wednesday?
    Mr. Speaker, our new vision for Canada Post absolutely took into account the recommendations of both the House of Commons committee and the task force on Canada Post, both of which made comments with respect to postal banking.
    We have encouraged Canada Post to look at innovations working with unions and I leave it in its very capable hands to make that decision.

Status of Women

    Mr. Speaker, indigenous women and girls face unique challenges in their day-to-day life. Their rate of poverty is three times that of the general population.
    Women's groups across the country are working hard to remove barriers so all women and girls can fully reach their potential. With collaboration and partnership, we create more opportunities for women and advance gender equality.
    Could the Minister of Status of Women tell the House how this government is strengthening the women's movement so it can address issues impacting indigenous women?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Long Range Mountains for her leadership and for the opportunity to update the House on two new ways that we are working to advance gender equality with our partners.
    Last Monday, I announced a new funding envelope open until December 11. Women's organizations and indigenous organizations advancing gender equality are invited to apply for support to enhance their capacity.
    The following day, I announced a partnership with the Government of Yukon worth $1.6 million to support the work of three women's organizations.
    Canadians expect us to work together, and we are.

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, prior to today, James Cudmore had not been linked to the Mark Norman case by the government. However, today in their answers, the Liberals have linked him to the case.
    I am going to ask this very bluntly and I want a very clear answer. Was James Cudmore hired by the minister of defence or by the Prime Minister's Office to stop him from reporting on political interference on the Davie Shipbuilding contract?
    Mr. Speaker, the answer on this line of questioning remains the same. Prosecuting a legal proceeding on the floor of the House of Commons is inappropriate and does not align with the House of Commons Compendium of Procedure.

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, the minister of defence, in response to this line of questioning, said, “I know where you're going with this.” That is curious. If the minister knew where we were going with this, has he had discussions in his office, or with the Prime Minister's Office, on the potential fact that he hired James Cudmore to shut him up?
    Mr. Speaker, this clearly indicates why the rules of the House of Commons do not support prosecution on the floor of the House of Commons. This would be inappropriate, as this court case is ongoing.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it is becoming increasingly clear each and every day that the noose is tightening around this government, and yet the only answers we get are platitudes. We asked the Liberals for evidence in Vice-Admiral Norman's case, and they answered with platitudes.
    Today we are asking whether the Minister of National Defence hired Mr. Cudmore. It has nothing to do with the case, yet the Liberals keep saying they cannot comment on it. Let me repeat the question.
    I do not want to know how, I want to know whether the Prime Minister can make the documents available to Vice-Admiral Norman, yes or no?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the question by the hon. member clearly demonstrates why we do not prosecute cases on the floor of the House of Commons. He is asking for evidence. That is totally inappropriate, and that line of questioning remains inappropriate.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, what is inappropriate is denying a man, Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, his right to make full answer and defence in Canada. We are simply asking for documents. We do not want to discuss the case. We want the Prime Minister to agree to hand over the documents to Mr. Norman's defence team to uphold his right to make full answer and defence. We do not want to discuss the case, so I would ask them to stop saying that.
    Will the Prime Minister hand over the documents to Vice-Admiral Norman?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it has become quite clear that the Conservatives keep trying to indirectly prosecute this case on the floor of the House of Commons. We have a judiciary, courts and the rule of law for a reason, and we will be following that process.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, every day tens of thousands of temporary foreign workers work hard to contribute to our country, and yet we treat them like they are disposable. Today, 36-year-old Mary Claire De Guzman, who had a stroke, is on life support in Winnipeg. Her husband and her 14-year-old daughter are desperate to come and see her. I raised this with the minister personally last week, and yet nothing seems to have changed. In fact, one of the doctors was told that immigration said they could not do anything until Mary Claire was dead.
    Shame on the government. Why is it being so heartless? Will it act immediately to bring Ms. Guzman's family together?
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from my hon. colleague, but she knows very well that I cannot get into the specific details of immigration cases because of privacy laws.
    An hon. member: Oh, oh!
    Hon. Ahmed Hussen:I am happy to talk to her outside the House about issues around this case, but privacy laws prevent me from going into details in front of the House.
    Order. I encourage the hon. member for Windsor West not to yell in the House and to try to restrain himself.

[Translation]

Transportation

    Mr. Speaker, Greyhound bus company announced in July that it would be discontinuing operations in many provinces at the end of October.
    While the affected communities have been waiting for months for the government to show the slightest bit of leadership, the minister decided to go ahead with parliamentary consultations less than two weeks before the end date.
    My question is simple and straightforward. What does the government plan to do to guarantee remote communities access to transportation services?
    Mr. Speaker, I can assure my colleague that the government is showing leadership.
    In fact, since Greyhound announced that it is discontinuing some services as of October 31, my department has been working closely with the four western provinces and Ontario to come up with measures that could be put in place after Greyhound is gone.
    We will be making an announcement shortly.

  (1450)  

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said the budget would balance itself, but the government's annual financial report shows that government spending has increased dramatically—by $20 billion to be precise, 100% of which was borrowed.
    When will the budget balance itself?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to first congratulate the member for Carleton on becoming a dad. Unfortunately, that is where the congratulations end because this report actually confirmed that our plan is working. We have the fastest growing economy in the G7. We have created over half a million jobs since 2015.
    Let us contrast that to the Conservatives. They relied on a plan of austerity and cuts, cuts to things like Veterans Affairs. What did Canadians get for it? They could not even balance the budget.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for her congratulations on the birth of the lovely Valentina. When she was first born, she was not crying and we were quite worried. Then the doctor leaned over and whispered in her ear that this Prime Minister has added $2,000 of extra debt in her name since taking office, and she roared like a lioness.
    On behalf of my newest and favourite constituent, when will the budget balance itself?
    Mr. Speaker, I am glad the member opposite's daughter has a sense of humour similar to his, because the fact remains that a typical Canadian family will be $2,000 better off. With our Canada child benefit, we stopped sending cheques to millionaires so more families can access these benefits. Our economy is growing. The Conservatives had the worst growth since the Great Depression. These are all things confirmed in the annual financial report. Our plan is working, and unfortunately, the Conservatives failed when it came to the economy.
    Mr. Speaker, what the report actually confirmed is that the government went on yet another $20-billion spending binge last fiscal year, all of it paid for by borrowed money. Now, it said that the budget would be balanced, that it would balance itself next year. Instead, this Prime Minister is spending our tomorrow on his today.
    When will the budget balance itself?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians had a choice to continue on the Conservatives' plan of austerity and cuts, and no supports to the middle class and no tax cuts to the middle class. Canadians chose differently because they saw that it was not working. They had the worse growth rate since the Great Depression. Instead, they chose a plan that is working. We see growth in the middle class. We are strengthening the middle class, we are lowering taxes for small businesses, we have created half a million good, full-time jobs since 2015, and because of that, we have one of the best balance sheets in the G7. Our plan is working and will continue to work.

Rail Transportation

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians rely on safe and reliable rail systems, and so do the constituents and businesses in our riding. From my riding in British Columbia to the province of Nova Scotia, our government is always working to improve safety on our rails and for those living near them.
    Could the hon. Minister of Transport inform this House of our government's most recent initiatives regarding rail safety?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Fleetwood—Port Kells for his stellar work on the transport committee.
    When railways transport goods across this country, or to international destinations, they have to do so safely. That is one of the reasons why my government is accelerating the withdrawal of certain tank cars that are considered less safe for the transportation of dangerous goods. We are retiring them years ahead of the original schedule.
    Canadians know that rail safety is my number one priority. Canadians can be sure that we will deliver.

  (1455)  

[Translation]

Public Services and Procurement

    Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government had the Asterix converted into a supply ship, which employed 1,500 workers in Lévis. That ship is now the pride of our Royal Canadian Navy.
    However, today, something smells fishy. We now see that the Liberals did everything in their power to suspend that contract in a show of blatant political interference.
    Why are the Liberals depriving Canada's largest shipyard of its fair share? Why will it not award the Quebec shipyard the contract for sconverting the second ship, the Obelix?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we are very thankful for the great work that Davie has done on the Asterix. It is working alongside our frigates now.
    We have two permanent joint supply ships that will also be built as part of the national shipbuilding strategy, and a second interim ship is not required at this time.

[Translation]

Canadian Heritage

    Mr. Speaker, the ADISQ gala is less than a week away, and this weekend's edition of Le Devoir indicated that, when it comes to Quebec culture, we are at risk of losing everything we have built over the years.
    The Regroupement des artisans de la musique is speaking out against the fact that YouTube and Spotify do not have to pay their fair share. The Minister of Canadian Heritage and his predecessor keep saying that there are no free passes. That is easy to say; it is just lip service. Ottawa holds the solutions to issues involving taxes, copyrights and quotas, but the Liberals committed to do nothing until 2024.
    Does the minister not think that the daily loss of market shares for Quebec culture justifies urgent and immediate interim action?
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague knows that the laws governing our system predate the Internet. He knows that we need to modernize them, and that is what we are doing with the panel of experts and the whole team.
    Eventually, we will legislate so that we have laws worthy of the 21st century that will set out clear principles, particularly the principle under which those who participate in the system must contribute to it. There are no free passes.
    If my colleague is so interested in culture, why does he not ask questions about the $3.2 billion that we invested in Telefilm Canada, the Canada media fund and CBC/Radio-Canada?
    That would be a worthwhile question to ask because that is a record investment, the largest number—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. I would remind the hon. member for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert that, as he well knows, he is not to shout in the House of Commons or speak when he has not been given the floor.
    The hon. member for Sault Ste. Marie.

[English]

Innovation, Science and Economic Development

    Mr. Speaker, we know that in times of economic and societal change, the path to a better life for middle-class Canadians is through innovation, research and skills development.
     Our government needs to empower students and entrepreneurs to turn their research into discoveries, their ideas into new technologies and their skills into good jobs.
     Can the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development please tell the House about the steps the government is taking to build on Canada's strengths and unleash a new wave of start-up innovation in this great country?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Sault Ste. Marie for that very important intervention.
    As the member full well knows, our number one priority is economic growth and job creation for future generations. My daughters, Nanki and Kirpa, can reap the benefits from the investments we are making.
    That is why we invested in CDL. This particular investment will help the start-up ecosystem across Canada and will support 1,300 science-based ventures, which will help create 22,000 good-quality, middle-class jobs.

Employment

    Mr. Speaker, the government has instituted a policy of requiring the groups applying for the Canada summer jobs program to submit to a values test as part of their application. Did the government use that values test as part of its evaluation of the application for funds from the soft-on-anti-Semitism UNRWA before giving it $50 million?
    Mr. Speaker, we expect that when employers apply to hire a summer student through the Canada summer jobs program, they respect the laws and the rights established in this country. We have an obligation as the Government of Canada to ensure that those rights are upheld, and we will do exactly that.

  (1500)  

[Translation]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, Saudi Arabia murders journalists. Saudi Arabia flogs bloggers. Saudi Arabia kills civilians in Yemen. Saudi Arabia lies to the entire world.
    How many more Badawis, Khashoggis, women, and children will have to die? When will the Prime Minister cancel Canada's arms sales agreements with this murderous regime?
    Mr. Speaker, we condemn the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The explanations provided by Saudi Arabia are inconsistent and lack credibility. We continue to call for a thorough investigation in full cooperation with the Turkish authorities. Those responsible for this murder must be held to account and brought to justice.

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, thanks to a dubious financial arrangement, Chrysler has received a gift of $2.6 billion by having its debt written off, despite making $4.3 billion in profit last year. The government is okay with this.
    Ottawa is rich enough to write off half a billion dollars of Quebeckers' money, but it is not rich enough to pay our dairy farmers the compensation they are waiting for, or to help Davie put all its employees to work, or to contribute its fair share with regard to health transfers.
     Why does Ottawa have plenty of money for everything except Quebec?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, when the Harper Conservatives chose to bail out Chrysler in 2009, they had no intention of ever recovering the loan. The deal the Conservatives made actually approved 100% of the loss at the exact time that they handed out the bail-out money. Our government exhausted all possibilities for recovery from the old Chrysler.

Canada Post Corporation

    Mr. Speaker, once again, today Canadians are being denied postal services because of a labour dispute.
    Postal monopolies have been abolished everywhere in Europe since 2013. Opening to competition and privatization are the keys to reducing costs, improving service and ensuring that Canadians are never again denied postal services during a labour dispute.
    When will the government get rid of this antiquated monopoly?
    Mr. Speaker, our government firmly believes in the collective bargaining process because we know that when parties work out a deal themselves, that deal is in the best interest of both parties.
    I have been working closely with the Minister of Procurement and we are monitoring the impact of the labour disruption. I spoke with both the employer and the union this morning, and we encourage them to continue to negotiate and look for the deal.

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1505)  

[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 response to five petitions.

Committees of the House

Procedure and House Affairs  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 72nd report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs in relation to Bill C-76, an act to amend the Canada Elections Act and other acts and to make certain consequential amendments. The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House with amendments.
    As we can understand, this project, with over 400 clauses, was huge. It took us over a year and there are many people to thank. I would like to thank the clerk, Andrew Lauzon; legislative clerk, Philippe Méla; researcher, Andre Barnes; the former chief electoral officer who, with his years of experience, provided the committee with 130 recommendations; the new Chief Electoral Officer and his very experienced professional staff; officials from the PCO; the minister's staff and parliamentary secretaries. I have high praise for all of the PROC committee members of all parties. During committee debate of over 300 proposed amendments, MPs from all five parties spoke and were all very professional and respectful of each other's views, even when they disagreed.
    With years of wisdom from Elections Canada, the PCO, 57 witnesses, the department and ministry, parliamentary secretaries and MPs from all parties, we report a bill that we sincerely feel will greatly improve and facilitate voting and the electoral system in the dramatically changing digital world.

[Translation]

    Pursuant to Standing Orders 104 and 114, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 73rd report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the membership of committees of the House, and I would like to move concurrence at this time.
    Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Speaker: The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    (Motion agreed to)

[English]

Terrorism

    Mr. Speaker, I believe if you seek it, you would find unanimous consent for the following motion:

[Translation]

     That, at the conclusion of today's debate on the opposition motion in the name of the member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, all questions necessary to dispose of the motion be deemed put and a recorded division deemed requested and deferred until Tuesday, October 23, 2018, at the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders.
    Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Speaker: The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    (Motion agreed to)

[English]

Petitions

Human Organ Trafficking  

    Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to present a petition in support of Bill C-350 and Bill S-240 asking the House to finally take action to deal with the scourge of forced organ harvesting.

Canada Post  

    Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present.
    The first is in support of postal banking, because nearly two million Canadians desperately need an alternative to payday lenders due to the crippling lending rates that affect the poor, marginalized, rural and indigenous communities. There are 3,800 Canada Post outlets in existence where there are few or no banking systems and Canada Post already has the infrastructure to make a rapid transition to postal banking.
    Therefore, the 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.

  (1510)  

The Environment  

    Mr. Speaker, my second petition is to protect the Thames River system. As we will recall, the Conservative government stripped environmental regulations covered by the Navigable Waters Protection Act. It left hundreds of rivers vulnerable, including the Thames River in London.
    The Liberal government promised but failed to reinstate the environmental protections that were gutted from the original act. Therefore, the petitioners are calling upon the Government of Canada to support my bill, Bill C-355, which would commit the government to prioritize the protection of the Thames by amending the Navigation Protection Act.

Human Rights  

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I have the honour of presenting a petition. The petitioners express grave concern about the illegal international harvesting of organs, as documented by the Nobel Peace Prize-nominated David Matas and David Kilgour. They call for a stop to the barbaric practice of harvesting and trafficking in human organs and body parts.
    The petitioners urge Parliament to adopt Bills C-350 and S-240. These bills, which are based on Bill C-500 and Bill C-381, which I previously introduced in 2008 and 2009, would make it illegal to obtain organs or body parts from unwilling donors or as part of a financial transaction.

Animal Welfare  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition. It is e-petition 1689. The petitioners seek to have this House move to deal with the ongoing issue of the use of animals in testing for drugs. The petitioners point out that increasing evidence in scientific studies shows that the claim that this is necessary or appropriate runs against the best science and that animals do not make an appropriate model for humans in terms of the use of the medications as tested.
     The petitioners call on the House of Commons to organize a full scientific review and debate, judged by independent experts, to assess whether there is a real need for using animals in testing drugs intended for humans.

Religious Freedom  

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to present two petitions.
    The first is a petition from REAL Women, an organization of women and men who support faith-based groups that are being discriminated against. The petition is signed by hundreds of constituents, and it highlights the need to protect religious beliefs and conscience rights, both in public and private acts.
    The petitioners are calling on Parliament to deal with the issue of religious rights and conscience protection.

Pensions  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition highlights that before the 2015 federal election, Canadians were clearly promised, in writing, that defined benefit plans that had already been paid for by the employers and pensioners would not be retroactively changed to targeted benefit plans.
     Bill C-27, tabled by the finance minister, would precisely permit this change, therefore jeopardizing the retired income security of Canadians who have negotiated defined benefit plans as a form of deferred wages. Therefore, the petitioners are calling on the Government of Canada to withdraw Bill C-27 to amend the Pensions Benefits Standards Act.

Citizenship and Immigration  

    Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by constituents from Dufferin—Caledon who call upon Parliament to encourage the Canadian government to work with the Government of Israel to facilitate the completion of sponsorship applications for asylum seekers from Africa so that they can immigrate to Canada as soon as possible.

Questions on the Order Paper

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

Request for Emergency Debate

Methamphetamine Addiction  

[S. O. 52]
    I have a request for an emergency debate from the hon. member for Winnipeg Centre.
     We had a little chat earlier, and I would remind him, of course, that he should give his presentation briefly. It is not necessary to read it in its entirety, as I read it when he presented it to me. Therefore, I ask him to carry on.
    Mr. Speaker, I humbly request the holding of an emergency debate in the House of Commons on the issue of drug addiction, and specifically on methamphetamine, commonly referred to as meth.
    We are facing a crisis in cities, rural communities and indigenous communities in the Prairies. We are suffering greatly in places like Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury and in rural communities and indigenous communities, and we are only in the early stages of a major addiction crisis. As an example, Winnipeg has seen a significant increase in the number of violent crimes. Recently, a professor at Red River College, in Winnipeg, was violently assaulted and is in critical condition. This is not the only case such as this. There are numerous other examples, which I have highlighted in my letter to you, Mr. Speaker. All these cases are related to meth.
    Meth is a cheap drug that offers an easy, long high. Because of the inexpensive nature of meth, those who are poor, marginal and vulnerable prefer this drug over others. As a result, drug supply chains have increased access to and supply of this drug. Currently the market is being flooded with meth from Mexico. According to Winnipeg mayor Brian Bowman, meth is being produced in large factories in Mexico and is being sold cheaply to create addicts.
    At the federal level, we have an important role to play in coordinating this issue. While emergency debates are extraordinary, I feel that the situation has changed from a long-term issue to an issue that requires the active attention of the House of Commons.
     I represent a very poor inner-city riding. This riding has a high percentage of people living in poverty, those with disabilities, newcomers and indigenous peoples. Some feel the impact of their poverty in a negative way and use drugs, alcohol and other solvents to self-medicate.
    I have never been unsafe in my riding. Recently, though, I have started to feel unsafe. In my office in the past two weeks, I have had one staff member assaulted, one physically threatened, and one placed in a dangerous, sexually charged situation. I now have staff members who refuse to be alone in the office or to have the doors unlocked.
    I am often alone in my office late at night, and in the last three weeks, I have had what I would deem interesting yet uncomfortable encounters with citizens who were high on meth. Daily I can see people walking around high on meth, being arrested in front of my office, running naked through traffic, stealing, and assaulting others, causing a sense of unease. My office is not even in the most affected area of our city.
    I have served in the Canadian Armed Forces for 22 years, and I have never been afraid, while in the armed forces, for my physical person. I am uneasy right now.
    Meth is unlike other drugs available illegally. The most dangerous aspect of this drug is the psychosis, which causes a major public-security issue for police, emergency medical centres, homeless shelters and ordinary people walking the streets. In Winnipeg, the police are stretched. Gangs are profiting. Emergency rooms are being overwhelmed and fire departments are being asked to step into the cracks. Emergency room doctors and nurses and hospital personnel are being assaulted on a continual basis and are becoming afraid to go to work.
    We are now hearing of indigenous mothers who are addicted to meth and are giving birth, and it is causing issues with child and family services.
    I humbly request that the House of Commons proceed with a debate, post-haste, to debate this issue that impacts far too many Canadians. We are just at the beginning stages of this, and it will get a lot worse before it gets better. Let us not wait for it to get worse before it does get better through our actions here.
    [Member spoke in Cree]

  (1515)  

Speaker's Ruling  

[Speaker's Ruling]
    I thank the hon. member for Winnipeg Centre for raising what is, undoubtedly, a grave problem and an important matter. At the same time, the member will know that the House has a variety of ways in which it can debate important issues, and in this case, I do not find that this request, which I appreciate, meets the very strict requirements of the Standing Order.

Points of Order

Oral Questions--Speaker's Ruling  

[Points of Order]
    I am now prepared to rule on the point of order raised on October 3, 2018, by the hon. member for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound regarding unparliamentary language. I would like to thank the member for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound for having raised this serious matter, as well as the Leader of the Opposition, the Prime Minister, and the members for Milton, Portage—Lisgar, Grande Prairie—Mackenzie, and Barrie—Innisfil, for their comments.
    The member for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound expressed his concern about the response from the Prime Minister after the member for Milton raised a point of order regarding his use of the English expression “ambulance chaser”, an alleged unparliamentary term.

[Translation]

     The member for Portage—Lisgar added that allegations which question a member’s integrity, honesty or character are not in order. Furthermore, she argued that comments allegedly made by the Prime Minister in an exchange with the member for Grande Prairie—Mackenzie effectively questioned my impartiality and integrity as your Speaker.

[English]

    Let me address the second issue first. The issue of the independence of the Chair is pivotal to not only our proceedings but also to our parliamentary system. Therefore, I thoroughly reviewed the audio, video and interventions relevant to this allegation. Although I was unable to confirm the allegations, I want the House to know with absolute certainty that, as Speaker, I am the guardian of the rights and privileges of all members. That is to say, I am not the servant of any one part of the House nor of any one member. Rather, as your Speaker, I remain the servant only of the entire House, much as Speaker William Lenthall described on January 4, 1642. All members can be assured that I am guided by this core principle, which he helped to establish, by the way, every day, come what may.

  (1520)  

[Translation]

    As for the first question raised, it continues to be the responsibility of the Chair to ensure that the language used by members in the House falls within the parameters of what is considered to be parliamentary language. In fulfilling this responsibility, the Chair is guided by practice and precedent. As House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, says at page 624:
    Expressions which are considered unparliamentary when applied to an individual member have not always been considered so when applied ‘in a generic sense’ or to a party.

[English]

    As the expression used by the Prime Minister in response to a question from the member for Milton was not aimed directly at her but rather had a broader scope, technically speaking, the language used fell within our accepted practice. That being said, I want to remind members of their responsibility to be vigilant in their choice of words, given their potential effect.
    My predecessor encouraged members to be mindful of this when he stated, in a ruling on October 30, 2013, at page 593 of the Debates:
    Previous Speakers have tried to draw some lines around certain phrases.... My advice to all members on all sides is that when Speakers attempt to draw those lines, members should try to stay clear of them and not try to tiptoe up to them and see how far you can lean over.

[Translation]

    As your Speaker, I know we can do better through a continued collaboration and cooperation from all members.
    I thank all hon. members for their attention.

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Business of Supply]

[English]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Terrorism  

    The House resumed consideration of the motion.
    There are actually three minutes remaining in questions and comments following the speech by the hon. member for Durham.
    The hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands.
    Mr. Speaker, I rose earlier to put a question to my friend from Durham. In the course of his speech, which was a narrative that is somewhat familiar, that if we are not bombing a country we are not fighting terrorism, I would remind him that I was the only member of Parliament to vote against the continued bombing of Libya. It turned out that turning Libya into a failed state had the effect of a flood of weapons reaching terrorists, which helped get ISIS started. Therefore, it is not always bombing missions that provide the greatest security.
    However, I was deeply offended, particularly since he has received a letter, as all members have, from John Letts, the father of young Jack Letts. It is wilfully reckless character assassination, and may put someone's life at risk, to do what the Conservative Party is doing, what the leader of the Conservative Party has done, in adopting a term that comes from the tabloid press, the gutter press of London, to smear the reputation of someone for whom there is no evidence. Therefore, I would ask the hon. member for Durham to apologize and to withdraw the use of the term “Jihadi Jack” for someone who was born in this country and who has no accusations even levelled against him, no arrests and no charges.

  (1525)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is without question, in my view, having reviewed interviews given by Mr. Jack Letts, that he was, at the very least, deeply radicalized. He was certainly in an area working with ISIS and is detained by the people that were fighting ISIS. At a bare minimum, there is an air to reality in terms of charges with respect to him travelling abroad for terrorism.
    He is a British national, so that should be the primary focus. There is an investigation and the potential for charges with respect to his parents for aiding and abetting a terror suspect. That is for the courts of the United Kingdom to sort out.
    What I said in my remarks and what the member seemed to miss entirely is the fact that it is the Crown prerogative for a government to offer consular services to someone. When someone has left Canada to work or train with ISIS, regardless of who that individual is, that individual does not deserve access to those consular services.
    I would also refer the member to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2178, which I mentioned in my speech. Paragraph 11 of the resolution of the Security Council, which the Liberal government seems to ignore even though it wants to join it, calls upon member states “to prevent the travel of foreign terrorist fighters from or through their territories”.
    Maintaining security over these dangerous people needs to be paramount. We should not be bringing them back.
     I appreciate the opportunity to add my voice to the debate on the motion before us.
    I want to start by recognizing that we are having this debate four years to the day since the attack took the life of Corporal Nathan Cirillo just a few blocks from here. That attack was preceded two days earlier by the killing of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. I wish to attribute myself to the comments made during the debate on this motion honouring their sacrifice, as well as support for those hon. colleagues, first responders and public servants, both past and present, who served in Parliament on that horrific day.
    Four years later, we stand here now to debate a motion brought forward by the member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles. It is an important motion. It is one that calls for the House to support the sentiments expressed by Nadia Murad, a Yazidi survivor who, along with her family, suffered at the hands of ISIS-Daesh, and later wrote about it. For her activism, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
    Nadia Murad's story has inspired many to support the work of this government in providing refugees, and in particular Yazidi refugees, safe harbour. Among those who took up the cause for expanding our refugee humanitarian efforts is former leader of the opposition Rona Ambrose. She should be commended. We have provided a new home to more than 1,400 women and their families, who endured the brutality of Daesh, some 85% of whom are Yazidi.
    This is good. It is moments like this, especially today, when we should put aside partisanship to stand together in the fight against terrorism. Millions of Syrians and Iraqis have been displaced, and thousands more killed or tortured at the hands of Daesh henchmen in the most gruesome and barbaric ways imaginable. Others were forced to endure unspeakable cruelty and violence on an almost daily basis. Perhaps no group has suffered more under its depraved rule than Yazidis and Yazidi women in particular.
    This motion quotes the brave words of Ms. Murad, and we owe it to her and to ourselves to take them to heart, and to see to it that we defeat ISIS-Daesh and eradicate all forms of terrorism.
    As a nation founded on democratic values, the rule of law and the institutions which safeguard the fundamental rights to which every individual is guaranteed, including freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom of association and the right to due process, Canada has a vital role to play. We are fulfilling this role in a number of ways.
    First, from a military perspective, Canada continues to participate in Operation Impact. We are a major partner in the fight against ISIS-Daesh. Operation Impact is a U.S.-led coalition, including 70 partners. Our objective is to contribute to the goal of ensuring a strong, stabilized region through support that is backed by $1.6 billion over three years to provide humanitarian, development and security support in the region. This includes providing local training and support to individuals who live in the region. Last year alone, we saw to it that ISIS-Daesh lost more than 60% of controlled territory in Iraq and 30% in Syria.
    Canada's security, intelligence and police agencies have identified approximately 190 people with a connection to Canada who joined up with terrorist groups in various locations around the world, and remain abroad. That includes people who joined Daesh.
     About 60 more have returned to Canada, a number relatively unchanged since 2015. Again, some of these people were in Daesh-controlled territory, but many were identified elsewhere. These individuals pose a potential threat, and we take that threat extremely seriously.
    If at all possible, we want them to be arrested, charged, prosecuted and convicted for their crimes. Police and prosecutors do the difficult work of meeting Canadian evidentiary standards regarding activities committed in a distant war zone.
    I can speak with some personal experience in this regard, having worked on a case involving domestic terrorism and national security. Certainly, the evidentiary standards, the rule law, the independence of the judiciary and the role that the prosecutor plays are absolutely essential in bringing terrorists to justice.
     It is a testament to my former colleagues, as well as our partners in the national security and public safety spheres and all of their work that we have seen four of these travellers or returnees charged in the last couple years. Two have been convicted and two are still facing those charges in court. There are undoubtedly more criminal investigations under way. I would point out that no returnees were charged under the previous Conservative government.

  (1530)  

    At the same time as Canadian law enforcement goes about collecting the evidence required for prosecution, returnees can expect to be closely monitored by our intelligence and law enforcement agencies. These agencies work each and every day with international partners, including the Five Eyes, the G7, the EU, Interpol and many others. They have been doing so for years, and their expertise and capabilities are second to none. They expertly assess and reassess all data available to them to ensure Canada's responses can be effective and appropriate.
    Our security agencies have a wide array of tools and powers at their disposal to keep Canadians safe. That includes surveillance and monitoring; revocation, cancellation or refusal of passports; the use of the no-fly list; peace bonds under the Criminal Code; and legally authorized threat reduction measures. Another tool is the RCMP-led National Security Joint Operations Centre.
    The goal of the centre is to identify high-risk travellers and assess the threat that they may pose to our collective security. It is responsible for compiling and analyzing available information from Canada's security and intelligence community and uses this information to prioritize risk and to assist in coordinating an appropriate operational response. Canadians can be assured that our world-class security agencies actively track and assess any threat they may pose. Our government recognizes that the return of even one individual may have serious national security implications, and we continue to take those threats seriously.
    The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness discussed the issue of extremist travellers with his G7 counterparts in Toronto earlier this year. In fact, most of the allies at that table have far more of their citizens involved with international terrorist groups than we do.
    Our government has also introduced legislation to modernize Canada's national security framework, which was passed by the House last spring and is currently before the other place. This legislation is designed to ensure that our agencies continue to be effective at keeping Canadians safe from threats precisely like these. Along with the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians we established under Bill C-22, it enhances the accountability of our security agencies. Accountability is not just about ensuring that our rights and freedoms are protected, although that is obviously very important, but accountability and oversight are also about ensuring that our agencies are operating as effectively as possible to keep all of us safe.
    There are parts of today's opposition motion that are clearly designed to use the serious issue of returning terrorists to score political points and we should discourage that. However, on the anniversary of the attack on the National War Memorial and Parliament Hill, I prefer to join in solidarity with our opposition colleagues, because I know we all stand firmly against terrorism, as we should. We all stand firmly in solidarity with Nadia Murad, the Yazidi Nobel laureate, in her call for the perpetrators of Daesh brutality to be brought to justice. We do that by adhering to the rule of law. We do that by adhering to the norms in our charter. We do that by extending respect for the judiciary, the representatives and officials who work in our public safety apparatus and who do an exceptional job every day.
    The Prime Minister said earlier today:
    As Canadians, we will not surrender to hatred, and let attacks like these divide us. In the face of cowardly violence and fearmongering, we will not compromise our most cherished values—freedom, democracy, diversity, and inclusion.
    I hope that all members will endorse those words. For those reasons and for all the others I have stated in my remarks, I encourage all members to support this opposition motion.

  (1535)  

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my hon. colleague's comments and the fact that he is going to support this opposition day motion.
    My question has a bit of history to it. I know that he was one of the prosecutors, I believe the Crown attorney, in the case of the Toronto 18. I was a member of Parliament when the Toronto 18 made their plans. Their plan was to break into the House of Commons, capture a bunch of us and behead us. Of course, that did not happen, thanks to the good security and law forces that we have in this country.
    However, my question for the member is: How can he go from being a prosecutor against a group as bad as the Toronto 18 was to be part of a government that wants to welcome ISIS terrorists back into the country? I am having a hard time figuring this out, and I would like the member to respond.
    Mr. Speaker, I look back with great pride on the work I did as a federal prosecutor. Obviously the source of that pride is in knowing how important the role of the prosecutor is in our country.
    At the time those charges were laid, we were in an unprecedented moment in the sense that this was the first prominent case that brought to light the threats we faced when it came to domestic terrorism and radicalization. Of course, those individuals were brought to justice, following the rule of law and in accordance with the Criminal Code and the charter.
    It is a bit disappointing to hear the member try to juxtapose the work I did as a prosecutor with this government's agenda.
    I believe in this government's work. I believe in the legislation it has put forward, including giving the necessary additional tools and resources to prosecutors and other agencies within our public safety apparatus precisely to protect every Canadian. I certainly would encourage him to bear that in mind in the course of this debate.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for reminding those of us who served in the 41st Parliament not to forget the events that occurred in this place in 2014 when a gunman came in through the front doors of Parliament and when Nathan Cirillo was murdered near the War Memorial.
    To this day, I do not think it falls under the description terrorism. The shooter was someone with significant mental health issues who tried to have himself committed to deal with addiction issues. The system did not have any way to help him with his addiction issues, his radicalization and his violence. We can thank God that this individual did not have access to a multi-round gun, the kind of assault weapon used in shootings in the U.S., for example. He had a gun for deer hunting and he had to recharge that gun every time before shooting again.
    Would the government not agree that it is strange that Canada is the only democracy in the world in which such an event could take place and that there has never been a public inquiry into what happened, how it happened and who was responsible?
    Mr. Speaker, I am not sure I agree that this is the first attack of this kind, namely an act of terrorism, that brought violence and loss of life to a cherished institutions where our elected representatives fulfill their role.
    Let me address what I think is the central premise of the question, which is that there was not sufficient accountability in and investigation of the tragic events of that day.
    My distinct recollection is that indeed there were very serious inquiries into the events of that day, particularly into the role of the RCMP and other security personnel that stood in the line of fire that day and fulfilled their duty with great distinction. As a result of those inquiries, policies were revised such that each and every one of us who serve in this chamber, whether in the elected branch, as a first responder or as a public servant, could be well assured that we would be kept safe. It is as a result of the mechanisms we have in place to review the events and policy instruments of that day that we can be so assured.

  (1540)  

    Mr. Speaker, I join with colleagues across the aisle and here on this side of the House today. My hon. colleague who just spoke mentioned Nathan Cirillo. I echo the sentiment expressed and pay homage to his memory, his service. I also wish to express gratitude for the work done in the House on the part of the Parliamentary Protective Service and certainly the RCMP. I am fortunate enough to be the member for London North Centre, where “O” Division Headquarters is based.
    I am very pleased to have the opportunity to speak to the motion. Members in the House do not always agree on everything, but I know we can always stand united in denouncing the depraved and barbaric acts committed by Daesh. We can salute courageous women such as Nadia Murad, who I have had the honour of meeting twice, the Yazidi Nobel Laureate who suffered unspeakable horrors under the Daesh rule and survived to tell her story. Mercifully this group's reign of terror is all but over.
    Through defeats on the battlefield, it has lost the land it once controlled in Iraq and Syria, However, Daesh terrorists began returning to their countries of origin even while the so-called caliphate still existed. More of them may try to do so now that the group has been defeated.
     We and our allies are well aware that our success on the battlefield has not eliminated the problem entirely. To an extent, we have only displaced it. Virtually every democratic country in the world is grappling with this issue. Some of our allies are dealing with hundreds or even thousands of potential returnees. The number we have to deal with is thankfully much smaller, but that is not cause for complacency.
    In 2015, our security agencies were aware of about 60 people who had returned to Canada after engaging in terrorist activity abroad. That number has remained relatively stable since. While some of these people returned from former Daesh strongholds in Syria and Iraq, most of them were actually involved with other terrorist groups in other parts of the world.
    Today, according to the most recent public report from CSIS, about 190 Canadians have left our country to join terrorist groups, Daesh or others, and remain abroad. Some of them may be dead. Some of them may not want to come back. However, we must be ready for those who do, and we are.
    The professionals in Canada's national security agencies are working extremely hard to track these individuals, to bring criminal charges whenever possible and to carefully monitor them to keep us all safe. Here are a few facts. Facts are always important, but particularly in a debate such as this.
     First, if extremist travellers attempt to return to Canada, there is a very high likelihood that our agencies will know about it. That is because of the information-sharing we do domestically and with our Five Eyes allies, on an ongoing basis, to identify individuals seeking to return. When Canadian authorities become aware of such travel, a process is activated to control and indeed to manage their return. Even before they are back on our soil, Canada's intelligence, security and law enforcement agencies actively assess and monitor the threat each individual poses. Threat assessments, monitoring and investigations continue for as long as necessary after their return. If evidence supports charges, terrorism charges under the Criminal Code can and will be laid upon their return. Since last year, in fact, four individuals have been charged for terrorism-related offences after their return to Canada and two have been convicted. It is also worth pointing out that under the Harper government that number was zero.
     The task of collecting enough evidence about activity in a war zone on the other side of the world to support charges in a Canadian court is certainly a challenging one. While police and prosecutors go about the difficult work of collecting it, our security and intelligence agencies make full use of a broad range of tools at their disposal. For instance, they can issue peace bonds. They can cancel, revoke and refuse Canadian passports on national security grounds.
    Under the passenger protect program, they use the no-fly list to ensure that people are prevented from travelling for terrorism-related purposes. They also engage in surveillance and legally authorized threat-reduction measures to keep Canadians safe.
     At the same time, we should recognize that people do not travel to join a terrorist group and then become radicalized. Indeed, the radicalization happens at home. We should therefore be doing everything we can to prevent Canadians, mostly Canadian youth, from becoming radicalized in the first instance. The Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence supports community-based organizations that do this important work.

  (1545)  

    While I am on the subject, the Conservatives should stop denigrating counter-radicalization work. For example, think of parents whose teenage son has started bringing home extremist literature and visiting extremist websites. What would those parents prefer I ask? Would they rather the government have nothing to offer but handcuffs once it is too late? Or would they rather the government's support programs at their son's school, local community centre or place of worship to help extricate him from the clutches of extremism before he did something violent? I think we all know the answer to that question or ought to know it.
    None of us should pretend this can only happen to other people's kids or only to Muslim kids. Counter-radicalization programs help prevent all our children from being victims or perpetrators. Of course, once someone does cross the Rubicon and engages in terrorist activity, we need a modern national security framework our agencies can use to keep us safe.
    That is the purpose behind our landmark national security legislation, Bill C-59, which is currently being debated in the Senate. Bill C-59 would overhaul Canada's national security framework and bring it into the 21st century. It would modernize and enhance Canada's security and intelligence laws to ensure our agencies would have the tools they would need do their jobs. This would be achieved within a legal and constitutional framework that would be charter-compliant. For example, it would clarify definitions that are vague or overly broad. This includes the term “terrorist propaganda”.
    The former Bill C-51 created a new offence of knowingly advocating or promoting the commission of terrorism offences in general. Currently, the maximum punishment for it is a five-year prison sentence, but this provision is so unclear that it has hardly been used. That is why the government is revising the definition by using the clearer and more precise legal concept of counselling the commission of terrorism offences. This change would make it more likely that charges would be laid and successfully prosecuted.
    It is crucial we get all this right, the legal authorities, the counter-radicalization programs and all the work our agencies do at home and overseas, because extremism of all kinds remains a real threat to our security. That includes extremism inspired by Daesh and al Qaeda, extremism inspired by white supremacists and all the other varieties that exist in our country and around the world. Canada is, by and large, a safe and peaceful place. We should not get hyperbolic about the threat of terrorism, but we must take it seriously.
    I am not entirely convinced the Conservative motion takes this seriously enough. This motion seems to me more of a political game than anything else. However, we can all support the statement in it by Nadia Murad. I join all colleagues in their desire to see the villains of Daesh brought to justice.
    Mr. Speaker, I noted the member brought data, of which I am always a fan. Specifically, I wanted to ask about the 60 people who returned from fighting. From listening to the debate today, my understanding is that there are provisions under Bill S-7 that would allow us to charge each of the people who have gone off to fight with terrorists. However, the Minister of Public Safety said that only 10 charges had been pursued out of the 60. I am worried about the other 190 who may return. Why is the government not charging each one under Bill S-7?

  (1550)  

    Mr. Speaker, I know the member opposition and I know her to be a diligent member. On this matter, we simply disagree for a number of reasons. First, evidence has to exist in order for convictions to take place. How many convictions took place under the previous government, under the terrorism offence in the Criminal Code, for individuals returning from abroad that led to successive prosecutions of such individuals? We are monitoring the situation where individuals who are suspected have returned. Surveillance is always at the forefront. Our national security agencies have the tools because we have funded their work, not defunded, as the previous government did. That will continue.
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague made a statement that under the previous government no charges were laid for travelling for terrorism. I would like to ask him if he remembers when that became a law. It was in 2015, just before the writ was dropped. When has his government charged anyone for this offence? It was passed just before the Liberals became government.
    Mr. Speaker, I said before that facts matter. Let me simply read a clear fact. Since 2016, the RCMP has charged four individuals for terrorism-related offences after their return to Canada. Two of them have been successfully convicted, and the other two cases remain before the courts.
    The hon. member will note, I hope, that despite all their talk, no returned terrorists were charged under the Harper Conservatives.
    I will also take the opportunity to note that this motion is draped in fear. What has happened to the time when the Conservatives, not just at the federal level but also at the provincial level, embraced common-sense solutions to very serious problems? I think, for example, of John Robarts, Bill Davis, Bob Stanfield, or even Brian Mulroney or Joe Clark. What happened to that Conservative tradition of working constructively to address national security threats and challenges?
    I do not hear it on the opposite side. All I hear is fear.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member's thoughtful speech.
    I am just trying to figure this out. I completely agree with the sentiment expressed by many that we would all want to associate ourselves with the sentiments of Nadia Murad. We all recognize, in her own heroic struggle, a woman standing up against the horrific impact of violence and terrorism, and particularly the targeting of women and girls and the use of rape as an instrument of war.
    However, I do not know how I can, in good conscience, vote for a motion that refers to “paying terrorists with taxpayers’ dollars”. We know what that refers to: it is coded language for the Omar Khadr case. I do not believe that was a past mistake; I believe it was the right thing to do. I do not think Omar Khadr meets any normal definition of being a terrorist, even if the charges against him were true, which I do not think they were. He was in a war zone where there were enemy combatants. In our typical understanding of the term “terrorism”, that would not meet the definition.
    Does my friend from London North Centre have any concerns about the various ways this motion has been worded to make it almost impossible to vote for it?
    Mr. Speaker, as far as the wording of the motion is concerned, what I will say is that we have to stand behind those who have defended human rights.
    I mentioned in my speech that I have had the honour of meeting Nadia Murad, once here in Ottawa and in my home community of London. When she calls on the perpetrators of terrorism to be prosecuted, I think we have to get behind that sentiment.
    What I do not agree with is some members, and I am speaking specifically of the Conservatives, having taken that very important notion she has put forward and transitioned it into something else, not only here today but especially outside the House, constantly pressing this button of fear.
    I go back to what I said before. I am certainly interested in hearing from the Conservative members opposite what happened to that tradition in Conservative thought that took pride in common-sense solutions to dealing with national security threats, and getting away from fear entirely and, rather, working together to find ways forward. Here I refer to Bill Davis, Brian Mulroney, Joe Clark, and so on and so forth.

  (1555)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to echo the sentiments of my colleagues in the House on the anniversary of the attack on Parliament Hill, and to pay my respects to those who lost their lives serving our country and who on that day were willing to do so to protect those in this place.
    As well, I will be splitting my time with my colleague from Cypress Hills—Grasslands.
    I rise to speak to my colleague's motion on combatting violent and radical extremists, in particular, the ISIS terrorists who have fought against Canada and our allies and attempted to establish a regime based on hate, intolerance, slavery and violence.
    The Liberal reintegration plan and promise of funding for these returning ISIS terrorists welcomes people back to Canada who have rejected everything we hold as values in this country, and worse, fails the victims of their violence.
    This motion is based on the efforts and advocacy of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nadia Murad, who was enslaved, abused and raped and whose family was killed by ISIS fighters. We know her story only because of her bravery in fighting to escape and her courage to share her story. She has been an outspoken advocate against human trafficking, abuse of women and children, radicalization, murder and destruction by ISIS. As a Yazidi, she was oppressed for having religious views that conflicted with those of ISIS. Ms. Murad is the kind of person who Canada can and should welcome as a refugee, someone who is fleeing persecution and who needs support and help. Instead, we are providing refuge and support for returning ISIS terrorists who inflicted horrific and life-shattering experiences on tens of thousands.
     The Prime Minister's response to rapists, murders and terrorists returning to Canada is sadly to provide funding. He announced that all returning terrorists would have counselling. Most Canadians would say they need to be locked up and that their rehabilitation should not come at the cost of Canadians. They should never be in the same area as victims who have come to Canada for safety, yet that is the exact policy of the current Liberal government.
     The Minister of Public Safety repeated over and over again that the government would use all available resources to track these individuals. However, we know that this is about as accurate as its other broken promises. If every tool is to be used, I guess the question would be this. How many peace bonds and monitoring warrants does the RCMP currently have on ISIS terrorists? How many of them is it monitoring daily for spreading their radicalized views and planning violence? At last count, it was none, at least that we are aware of. There have been at least 60 terrorists who have returned to Canada, and none of them is under the full scrutiny of the law. However, just monitoring them alone is not good enough. These people should be facing justice and prosecution for their actions, for their are crimes against humanity. Allowing such people to live and continue their hateful ways only further endangers Canadians.
     This Parliament looked at and debated Bill C-59, the Liberals' attempt at a national security bill that could have dealt with these issues and tackled violent extremists. We heard from security and intelligence experts who told us of the real threats. However, instead of giving tools to prosecutors, police, and security teams to go after these kinds of extreme actions, Bill C-59 further ties the hands of police and our national security agencies. It restricts information sharing, telling national security agencies that administration and privacy are more important than stopping terrorist attacks. Bill C-59 makes it harder for police to get court-approved orders like peace bonds and recognizance orders designed to ensure that police can proactively protect Canadians by stopping attacks.
    The Liberals eliminated the criminal offence of advocating for terrorism. In Canada, it is no longer a criminal offence to promote a terrorist cause. ISIS terrorists can come to Canada, get government funding, and not be prosecuted for sharing their hate. Canadians believe that is shameful.
    All these new rules and oversight bodies amount to a cut in security and intelligence operations of $100 million, so that our already underfunded agencies will be less able to protect Canadians and our interests.
    In a bit of final irony, the Liberals rejected the idea of ensuring that information on crimes committed overseas could be used in criminal court proceedings without jeopardizing national security. When a Canadian goes overseas and fights for ISIS, there is generally limited court-admissible evidence. There are very few or no witnesses to speak to the horrors inflicted on innocent people like Nadia Murad.

  (1600)  

    All of the information would need to come from the national security and intelligence teams, but today we cannot use that information. For that evidence to come forward, it would require full disclosure of how that evidence was gathered. That could mean endangering Canadian agency operatives. It could mean endangering informants or others from an allied country.
    The Conservatives sought to address this issue by allowing evidence into the courts at the discretion of a judge without jeopardizing national security, similar to what almost every other country does, including our allies. The Liberals rejected these changes outright. Making it even more absurd, they claim to be doing everything possible to bring genocidal terrorists to justice while at the same time creating barriers to police and security teams, and opposing measures to bring terrorists to justice.
    The Liberal government has failed to protect Canadians at every opportunity and now, entering its last year in government, Canadians will be taking note.
    What should we be doing? Let us first focus on bringing the perpetrators of genocide and terrorist acts to justice and ensure that courts have access to evidence gathered against suspected terrorists.
     Let us strive to keep Canadians safe from those who are suspected of committing acts of terrorism or genocide but have returned to Canada, by ensuring that security agencies are adequately resourced to provide high levels of monitoring and surveillance of their activities in Canada.
    We must encourage greater use of the tools placing conditions on those suspected of terrorist activities, such as recognizance orders and peace bonds. However, the Liberals are making it harder for security officials to do just that, to monitor our suspected terrorists.
    The current processes to bring perpetrators of atrocities to justice are slow and fail victims. Canada should make immediate reforms to ensure that justice is swift. Canada should also support initiatives that take concrete action to bring justice to and treatment for women whose bodies have been used a weapon of war.
    We should support initiatives such as the one proposed by Premier Doug Ford to ensure that terrorists who have returned to Canada are restricted from taking advantage of Canada's generous social programs as part of their reintegration.
    The government should be listening to what Canadians want on this matter. What Canadians want is justice. They want to see these criminals face prosecution and be penalized, in Canada or at an international tribunal.
    We should fix the gap in evidence by ensuring that police have the tools to act on known threats, that recognizance orders and peace bonds can be accessed by police through the courts, and that the police are properly resourced to take action. We should restore our ability to strip violent extremists of their Canadians citizenship. It is not a Canadian value to rape, murder and pillage, and we should not let anyone involved in such activities to call themself a Canadian.
    The answer to ISIS terrorists who want to come to Canada should be “No, absolutely not”. My Canada, our Canada, is not a refuge for terrorism and terrorists. It should be a refuge for people like Nadia Murad. We should listen to the stories of women, children and religious minorities who have had their lives destroyed and their families killed. We should listen to Nadia Murad and her calls for justice.
     All Canadians support bringing terrorists to justice and, in just under one year, many of the government benches will understand that in Canada the silent majority often wields a very strong voice.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I listened to my colleague opposite very carefully. I wonder how he feels as a Conservative, given the Conservative record on funding for security, the RCMP and secret services. They made deep cuts to all these services, which are used to track and prevent acts of terrorism.
    I would like to know what my hon. colleague thinks about that.

  (1605)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, unfortunately what the hon. member's question invariably did was to mislead Canadians. It speaks specifically to an action in 2014 by the previous government that cut excess fat from the back offices of those agencies, not operational funding for frontline personnel. In fact, year over year, for the decade the Conservatives were in power, there was a one-third increase in operational spending for the RCMP and national security agencies. There was no funding cut for frontline operational personnel.
    Mr. Speaker, the entire debate today is premised on the narrative that there are welcoming arms for ISIS fighters in this country. I do not think that is true. The other thing that the hon. member for Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner said was that it is no longer the case that it is illegal to promote terrorism in Canada or join a terrorist organization. Unless I misheard him, which is why I wanted to ask the question, that is certainly not true.
    I worked hard on Bill C-59 as it went through the House. I also worked on Bill C-51 in the previous Parliament. It created an offence that is unknown in law, promoting terrorism “in general”. It is not something that anyone could identify, it was basically “thought chill”. It was a dangerous provision that would actually make it harder to fight terrorism in Canada under Bill C-51, under the Harper administration.
    The new bill absolutely makes it an offence to promote terrorism, not in general, but to promote terrorism. I am wondering if the member could clarify. If he genuinely believes that it is not illegal to promote terrorism in Canada, I will bring him a copy of Bill C-59.
    Mr. Speaker, I do not need a copy of Bill C-59 because I have read it. What it does is water down our national security and RCMP and policing agencies' ability to do exactly that, which is to fight terrorism. It makes it a lot more difficult for police to share information from one agency to another agency in Canada on terrorists, on those returning, on those activities within the country.
    Bill C-75 and other acts have made it a hybrid offence to participate in these sorts of activities. For anyone to suggest that Bill C-59 is an improvement across the board over Bill C-51 has missed the swing of the pendulum when it comes to protecting Canadians and national security.
    Mr. Speaker, it is amazing to hear from Conservative members who try to give a false impression. When Harper was the prime minister, of those returning from abroad who were accused of different things, from what I understand, not one was charged by the RCMP.
     We have not only better legislation through Bill C-59, and outstanding work from this government on that project, but we have also seen charges being laid by RCMP and in at least 50% of them there have been convictions. I see that as a positive thing. This government not only talks about it, but actually does something about it. Contrast that to the Conservatives, who cut almost one billion dollars that dealt with issues such as terrorism. Could the member explain the hypocrisy to me?
    Mr. Speaker, late in the mandate under the previous government, the law allowed for people to be charged for travelling to commit terrorist offences or to be involved in terrorism. Three individuals were charged under the previous government and we have to appreciate it was late in the mandate that this came into effect. One of those individuals went to trial this summer. The other two are presumed dead. That information is completely contrary to what the member across the way would have us believe and who likes to mislead the House in the best of times.
    As far as the funding, it is appropriate to say the funding increased for front-line operations for RCMP and national security by one third in the decade that the Conservatives were in government.

  (1610)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to hear the response across the way when my friend actually tells the truth. Liberals are laughing and think it is a joke. The reality is that their talking points have been off all day, because people have been charged. They were charged when the Conservative government was in power. Three of them were charged, two of them are presumed to be dead, the other person went to trial and, as far as I know, that trial is ongoing.
    The Liberals can do what they want to mislead people. I hear them heckling across the way right now trying to disrupt the proceedings this afternoon, but their talking points consistently today have been inaccurate. I do not know why they would mislead people on terrorism-related issues. I wonder why that would happen. We know full well how weak they are on this very issue.
    I want to talk about the last part of our motion today. We have talked a lot about ISIS. We talked a lot about Liberals giving taxpayers' dollars to terrorists for that kind of thing, trying to reintegrate and welcome terrorists back into Canada and working with other countries to bring Canadian citizens of convenience back here. Our country is volunteering to help when the citizens' own countries do not want them to come back.
    I want to talk about a bit of a different issue this afternoon than some other people have spoken of, and that is about the plan that Liberals are supposed to bring forward in 45 days. Liberals have said they are apparently going to support this motion we have brought forward, which calls for a plan to bring to justice anyone in Canada who has Canadian citizenship and has fought as a terrorist or participated in terrorist activities.
    I would like to discuss the repatriation plan and the people and places that are most impacted by what has happened. Those would be the victims and those who have become refugees. I think the government should consider this in its plan for the future, because we are not only dealing with terrorists but with the impact on many other people as well. In the future, we need to address these people in a way that will deal with some of the problems we have faced in the past.
    We are familiar with a number of communities that were not treated fairly over the past few years in terms of ISIS attacks and the conflict. Those included the Christian communities on the Nineveh Plains, the Copts, the Yazidi community and many of the minority Muslim communities. I am going to talk a bit about that for a few minutes.
    It is interesting that the government is pursuing reintegration for people who claim to hate the very values of our country. Those who have left here to pursue other, more violent applications of their own twisted values were a part of this conflict that imposed so much violence, death and rape on so many minority communities. As I mentioned, it particularly hit the Yazidi communities and the implications of this violence on them are probably a little more well known than the impact of the violence on some of the Christian communities on the Nineveh Plains, the pressure on the Copts, for example, and Sunni Muslim communities in that area as well.
    The government is now actively trying to bring some of these people back to Canada. It is a very strange thing and such a contrast in how it dealt with the victims of these terrorists. They are trying to find ways to welcome these terrorists back, reintegrate them, get them poetry classes and counselling and those kinds of things, but it is not as concerned about the victims of these people at all, especially those who have been targeted because of their religious or ethnic positions.
    Eighty per cent of the world's population still faces high or very high levels of persecution because of faith issues around the globe. We are familiar here with what happened, which was that ISIS swept across northern Iraq and into Syria, devastating many of the minority communities. Some people ended up in UN camps as refugees. The larger minority groups ended up there, but a lot of the smaller minority groups could not find their way into the camps because the camps were not safe for them in a conflict area, so they were in other places, private homes or outside the camps, trying to survive.
    The Prime Minister was clear that he was not interested in helping those who were affected by this conflict primarily because of their specific religious and ethnic communities. In fact, in October of 2015, he made a statement that was of either arrogance or ignorance. It was unbelievable. When asked twice if he would prioritize religious and ethnic minorities in terms of bringing refugees here, he gave a long lecture about he expressed his disapproval of anyone who would use refugees in a photo op. I thought that was ironic given what we saw later. He said that clearly to him, the idea of prioritizing religious and ethnic communities in terms of bringing them here because of belonging to those communities was disgusting, that it did not contribute to the Canada he wants to build and that his government would absolutely not go along with that.

  (1615)  

    That is a strange type of response to the type of vicious persecution that was taking place at the time. That persecution was taking place specifically because of the religious and ethnic identity of those communities. That is the very reason the communities were targeted. The government has said that is the very reason we are not going to consider the fact that they should perhaps get priority in coming to this country.
     When the Liberals wanted to set up their post-election PR refugee program, where did they go? They went into the UN camps and found the people who were in the camps there, but at the same time, they left the most vulnerable refugee communities unexplored in terms of bringing people here and giving them a new start in Canada. That involved the Yazidis at the time.
    We are familiar with the struggle we have had in this House to try to convince the Liberals that there was actually a serious issue around the Yazidi community. They have finally bent on that. They really have not gone very far in helping those folks, but at least they acknowledged that there was a problem, in the end. The other communities did not get that same consideration. That had to be deliberate, because the Prime Minister said specifically that this was how he was going to address it.
    The real cynicism arises when we see the Liberals changing their position on something simply because it suits them. I have an example of this. Referring to the Middle East and what was happening on the Nineveh Plains, the Prime Minister said that they would not bring people here based on their religious and ethnic identities. The Liberals made every attempt to make sure that did not take place.
     It is interesting that when it affects them, all of a sudden, they take a different position. I want to bring up something that happened a couple of weeks ago here in the House. There has been a group of Sikh and Hindu refugees in India who have tried to get recognition for the persecution they face in Afghanistan, which has been very specific to their religion. The Liberals had virtually no interest in this issue at all. They had no interest in bringing them here until three weeks ago, when our leader was in Indian and met with the group and assured them of our concern and that we would follow up on it.
    It was interesting that the first day back in the House, one of the Liberal members asked a question, saying, “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”. He asked the minister to “update the House on the status of the effort to resettle [these] vulnerable...refugees”.
    The response was very specific. The minister said:
    We are deeply concerned about Afghan, Hindu and Sikh minorities in Afghanistan.... we understand that these particular refugees are at particular risk, and that is why we have been working very closely...not only to identify them but also to expand resettlement opportunities in Canada.
    We are glad to see the Liberals finally coming to the position the Conservative Party has held all along. When people are targeted for persecution because of their religious or ethnic identities, they should be considered, and that should be a factor in whether they get to come to our country.
    I know my time is running out, and I am sorry that is the case. It is hard not to be very cynical about this group of Liberals. Their concern and their reaction are always about themselves, not about Canadians. We see that they will do what works for them. Canadians have an opportunity to let them know that this does not work for them when they have this openness to bringing terrorists back here. The Liberals are excited about being able to reintegrate them into this community, but they are much more reluctant to bring the most vulnerable groups here, to identify them by the very nature of the persecution that is taking place against them and then give them an opportunity to come to Canada.
    I am going to try to hold these people accountable over the next few months, when they bring the reintegration plan into place, to make sure that they are not creating a situation where Canadians are unsafe but are creating a situation where some of the most vulnerable minorities can be taken care of ahead of the terrorists who are returning.
    Mr. Speaker, I can only imagine the alarm-and-panic button that was sounded earlier this afternoon when the whip's office on the other side of the House discovered that we would be voting in favour of this motion. The Conservatives would have had to run around changing all their talking points, which they are clearly doing now.
    The reality of the situation is that when we look at issues like this, we do not look at them through an ideological lens. We look at the practical realities of it, and this is a motion that can be supported by this side of the House.
    I am glad the member on the other side brought up Yazidi women and the hardships that so many people face. The reality of the situation is that we, in the Liberal government, have provided a home to 1,400 women and their families who endured the brutality of Daesh, and 85% of them were Yazidi, yet the former Conservative government brought a grand total of three Yazidi women into Canada.
    Can the member opposite, given his new-found love for supporting refugees, please explain to this House why the former Conservative government was able to bring over only three Yazidi refugees, whereas this government has brought over 1,000?

  (1620)  

    Mr. Speaker, that is just about enough to make someone throw up, that the government is now trying to pretend that somehow it had an interest in Yazidi women. That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard in the House. If it was not for the member for Calgary Nose Hill doing the work that she has done on this issue, bringing the issue to the House time and time again, those members would have nothing to do with the Yazidis to this day.
    Mr. Speaker, in a non-partisan spirit, I find myself having difficulty with this debate but I certainly want to make it clear to everyone in the House that the hon. member for Cypress Hills—Grasslands has nothing newfound in his respect for human rights and his fight for the rights of minorities anywhere in the world to express and practise their religious freedom.
    I do find it difficult that Liberal members have decided to get rid of a political problem by voting for a motion that I cannot vote for. I have been in the House for the debate all day and I just cannot bring myself to vote for something which says that we have a history of making mistakes.
    The effort here is to further demonize a decision in relation to Omar Khadr. I cannot in good conscience ever vote for something for the purposes of avoiding a propaganda tool for future elections. I cannot compromise myself enough to say that was a mistake. It was the right thing to do. Mr. Khadr, on the evidence that I have looked into, was not even a soldier, certainly not a terrorist, and may not have committed any offence. The reality is the courts have told us that several different governments in this country violated his rights.
    I ask my hon. friend from Cypress Hills—Grasslands to forgive me in that I cannot be part of a 2019 Conservative election ploy, but I respect him from the bottom of my heart.
    Mr. Speaker, the member can take her position on that. She has her own political things she needs to do with this motion.
    The reality is that when a group is targeted because of their religion or a group is targeted because of their ethnic identity, the least a responsible government could do is to consider that and whether it is going to allow them to have some sort of status within a refugee program.
    The Prime Minister made it clear in October 2015 that he thought that was disgusting. I actually think it is disgusting if one is not going to consider that when people are targeted specifically because of the identity issues that they have.
    Mr. Speaker, I am sure the member across the way can understand why many of us on this side of the House get a bit aggravated when we listen to members such as he.
     For example, he said the government does not care about Yazidi women, when this regime has brought in 1,000-plus compared to a handful by the previous regime. Compare millions of dollars that were cut during the Harper days to our reinstatement of badly needed resources. We have seen more progressive legislation coming from this side of the House compared to the regressive legislation from the Harper era. I am sure the member can understand and appreciate why we get frustrated at times.
    It seems to me the Conservatives want to talk a tough line. However, when it comes time to deliver, we have seen this government time and time again deliver for Canadians in many different areas and especially in this area.
    That is inaccurate, Mr. Speaker. The parliamentary secretary can try to rewrite history all he wants and that is fine but anyone who is familiar with the debates in here particularly around the Yazidis would know that the initiative and the impetus for any care that was shown to that community came from this side of the House, particularly from the member for Calgary Nose Hill. If she had not been as stubborn as she was and if she had not kept coming back to this, the government would have let none of them in here. The Liberals could not have cared less until they were forced into accepting, first of all, that a genocide had taken place, and second, that that community needed to be brought here.
    I would suggest to the member opposite that maybe his government should take a look at some of the other communities over there, like the Christian communities, which were wiped out on the Nineveh Plains, and give them some special consideration as well.

  (1625)  

    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Vaughan—Woodbridge.
    I am pleased to rise in the House today for this debate. I will begin by fully endorsing the sentiment expressed by Nadia Murad, the Yazidi Nobel laureate quoted in the opposition motion. Nadia and many others like her were subjected to unspeakable brutality at the hands of Daesh. We all want her tormentors to be brought to justice. We all want their actions brought to light. We all want them to face the consequences of their crimes.
    While most members of Daesh were not Canadian, some of them were. They are rightly our focus today. Bringing them to justice involves taking a clear-eyed, fact-based look at the issue of terrorist travellers.
    There are approximately 190 people with a connection to Canada who have gone to join a terrorist group somewhere in the world and they remain outside of our borders. According to the “2017 Public Report on the Terrorist Threat to Canada”, about 60 others have returned to Canada. That number has not changed much since 2015. Again, some of these people were involved with Daesh, while others were part of other terrorist groups.
    If we compare Canada with many of our allies, the number is quite small. However, even one person can do a lot of damage, so it is a potential threat we must take very seriously.
    I want to underline that taking it seriously involves being serious about it. Let us not pretend, for example, that prosecuting the activities committed in a war zone on the other side of the world is a simple thing. This is not CSI: Mosul. It is a significant challenge to get accurate and credible knowledge about who was in Iraq and Syria and what they did. There is a reason, for example, that even though our intelligence agencies were aware of some 60 people who had returned to Canada from terrorist involvement overseas, none of them were charged under the Harper government.
    Today, four returnees have been charged. Two have been convicted and two cases remain before the courts.
    Whenever possible, if information pertaining to criminal activity exists, and if that information can be expected to withstand the rigours of our criminal justice system, charges are laid. Investigating, building a case, conducting interviews and following leads take time and effort, and our law enforcement agencies are doing that work. In the meantime, our security agencies, including CSIS, the RCMP and many others, work to identify, investigate and respond to threats.
    When an extremist returns, the person is carefully monitored by our intelligence and law enforcement agencies within the bounds of the law. Those agencies work around the clock all year, including with international partners. They keep extremely close tabs on returning extremists.
    Surveillance is not the only tool they can use. They may also use, for example, peace bonds, public listings, the no-fly list and the revocation of passports.
    The RCMP's National Security Joint Operations Centre works with all implicated departments and agencies to respond to high-risk travellers. The women and men of our security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies are trained professionals and they do a remarkable job of keeping us safe.
    At the same time, I am proud that our government is focusing on counter-radicalization. I was particularly concerned about radicalization locally when I witnessed a protest in my community at the Alexander the Great Parkette that seemed to be directing hate toward specific communities. This happened within the past couple of months. I believe that counter-radicalization is important for the continued safety and security of our communities across Canada.
    The Conservatives like to make fun of counter-radicalization, but the fact is, as University of Waterloo expert Dr. Lorne Dawson has said, “All the G20 nations are convinced of the need to move into prevention programming because, in the long term, it's our best bet. You can't arrest your way out of this problem. It's too big and pervasive around the world.”

  (1630)  

    Unfortunately, Canada has a lot of catching up to do. According to Dr. Dawson, “The previous Conservative government had little or no interest in following up on this”. The new Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence helps communities build resilience against all forms of extremism, whether it is inspired by Daesh, white supremacism or any other ideology.
    Just as an aside, when the Conservatives talk about fighting terrorism with poetry, they are referring to a program called Project Someone run out of Concordia University in Montreal. This program uses strategies, including the arts, to prevent youth from turning down the path of extremism. This program received $170,000 in funding from the Harper government.
    To recap, we need police and prosecutors to bring charges whenever they can find the evidence to do so. We need our security and intelligence agencies, in keeping with their legal authorities, to monitor individuals who may pose a threat. We need to support prevention programs that help keep young Canadians from becoming radicalized in the first place. Finally, we need to support the survivors of extremism.
    I am proud of the work our government has done to support and welcome refugees to our country. Under this government, over 40,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in Canada since November 4, 2015. Our government's commitment to bring 1,000 Yazidi women and girls and their families is well under way, something we have talked about today in this place.
    This weekend, I attended an event in East York, which brought together members of local sponsorship groups which welcomed people seeking refuge to our country. I also met with one of the people they helped to welcome. It was beautiful to see how much we could help one another and learn from each other. My office worked with many of these private sponsorship groups, and it has been one of the most touching and important things we have done as a way to help and support our community.
    A week and a half ago, I attended an event at the Metropolitan Community Church in my community, where we talked about the work this church is doing to support LGBTQ2 refugees coming to our country. It works with the Rainbow Railroad. It was an inspiring moment to talk about the work it is doing to help all these people who are seeking refuge in our country. It highlights our role as a country and what our government has taken on to help people who are escaping dangerous situations around the world.
    Our government is working with community partners to ensure that when people come to our country from dangerous situations as refugees, they get the specialized support and treatment they need, including mental health services provided through the refugees health care program that had been cut by the Harper government. I am very glad we have been able to offer them safe haven, and I am so proud to be able to welcome them to our country.
    Even though this motion contains some parts I do not agree with, I will vote for it as an act of solidarity with Nadia Murad, who is quoted in the preamble, and with all the Yazidi women and girls who have suffered at the hands of Daesh. I am sure, like most refugees, they will end up giving Canada more than Canada would ever hope to give them. That is certainly what we have seen in my community when we have welcomed refugees and have seen their commitment to make our country a better place. Certainly, we are better as a community for having welcomed them. I am happy we are giving them that support.

  (1635)  

    Mr. Speaker, I do not think any parliamentarian, or for that matter any human being, could fail to be moved by the struggle and heroism of now Nobel laureate Nadia Murad. Unfortunately, the text of this motion does not stick to the points made by Nadia Murad, and that is the problem I have with the motion. No one would say that those who have committed crimes where there is evidence and we know something has occurred should not be brought to justice.
    However, how can the Liberals vote for paragraph (a), “refrain from repeating the past mistakes of paying terrorists with taxpayers' dollars”? That is clearly a reference to the Omar Khadr case, and it is clearly quite wrong that it was a past mistake. Perhaps there are other examples which are being referred to as “past mistakes” in this language which seems to have come from the belly of the Rebel Media.
    Mr. Speaker, I cannot say I loved it when I read that clause myself. When the member references Omar Khadr and his settlement, I would hope that we as a government have learned from the mistakes of past governments and what led up to the Supreme Court of Canada decisions. The reason the settlement had to be paid was the past mistakes that violated a person's rights. In two of its decisions, the Supreme Court of Canada noted these violations, though I cannot remember the exact years of the decisions. We should not repeat those mistakes. We need to respect everyone's rights. Whether we like who they are or not, everyone's rights are charter rights that we must respect.
    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite mentioned peace bonds in her speech, but Bill C-59 has rendered peace bonds nearly useless. The threshold now is that a peace bond would be “necessary” to stop a terror attack, rather than one that is “likely”. That is about the same as the proof necessary to lay a charge. Why is the Liberal government weakening these tools?
    Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure of serving on the committee that reviewed this legislation and one of the most important issues that people were concerned about was the work that happened in the last years of the previous government, when it put together legislation that did not take into account the need to respect people's rights. In fact, we have learned time and time again that when legislation is drafted that does not have the proper balance in taking into account people's rights, it becomes unenforceable. Those things cannot be applied properly and do not respect the rights that we enjoy and respect in our country. That is what makes our country the safe place of refuge that people come to, because we respect charter and civil rights. That is something I treasure and I make no excuses for supporting that.
    Mr. Speaker, the member across the way talks very passionately about respecting people's rights and how the Supreme Court decision has reinforced the rights of people. I am wondering how she feels about individuals who have had their charter rights with regard to conscience, belief and thought violated by the horrible attestation in the Canada summer jobs program that her government has insisted people meet in order to receive government funding. How about their rights?
    Mr. Speaker, I feel that we have wandered a little off topic when we talk about people's charter rights and what the Supreme Court of Canada has said.

  (1640)  

    You're the one who brought it up.
    Mr. Speaker, I stand strongly by it. By the way, as a Jewish Canadian, as someone who has seen what happens in other countries, if we want to talk about extremism, when people speak about extremism, we saw what happened with people having to escape Nazi Germany when people's rights were not respected. When I talk about it, that is at the core of why I believe so strongly in the need to respect the rights of all people, as our charter does, and I will stand by that. I will not be distracted by other arguments bringing us to side discussions.

[Translation]

    Order. It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, Justice; the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, Foreign Affairs; and the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, the Environment.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise this late afternoon to speak on this opposition day motion with many thoughts brewing.
    The best way for me to think about what I wanted to say for these next eight or nine minutes was to first think about my riding. I am blessed to have a very vibrant, diverse Christian community from the Middle East, from the Chaldean community and the Assyrian community. They have been coming to Canada for the last 15 to 20 years. They are very hard-working and entrepreneurial. I go to the Church of the Good Shepherd every three or four weeks. I go to mass with parishioners there. I addressed the parishioners last Sunday morning at the nine o'clock mass. I spoke about the values that I was raised with, of hard work, tolerance, inclusivity and caring for family. Those are the same values this community has.
    The one thing I had to say to them was that I had to admit I could never know what they went through in Iraq and in other places in the Middle East, or why they had to leave. For a millennia, the Christian community in the Middle East was vibrant, numbered very populous, and now things have changed. It is partially due to Daesh or ISIS. Many have resettled here in Canada, including in Windsor and London, my area of Vaughan, and in the area of the member for Humber River—Black Creek. In Michigan, I think they number almost 400,000 now. They have also gone to San Diego and to Australia. People have had to leave the land that they inhabited for a long time.
    Thankfully, many have remained in Iraq, in the areas of the Nineveh Plains, as it is referred to. I salute them. I saluted them last Sunday at mass, with the bishop who I am very good friends with.
     I read this opposition day motion. Many in the House know that I am not one to be overtly partisan. I do not like rhetoric; I like substance. I did not come into politics for the future of my two daughters to engage in rhetoric. I do not want them seeing daddy being rhetorical. I want them to see me on TV providing substantive answers to the issues at hand, making sure that their and all other children's futures are bright. I will leave it at that tangent there.
    I am blessed in my riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge to have a very buoyant, dynamic Christian community from the Middle East, the Chaldean and Assyrian community. I like to see them at least once or twice a month. Unfortunately, many of them are refugees at this point. They have relatives who are refugees in Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon. Many are not in UNHCR camps; they are helped by informal networks. Many are being sponsored as refugees here in Canada. I look forward to working with the community.
    At this time I would like to send a special shout out to the bishop and parishioners of the Church of the Good Shepherd. I will see them in November, and we will celebrate Christmas thereafter.
    When I read this motion, which I support, I thought about the time I lived in New York City from 1996 or 1997 until 2002. I think about a terrorist attack that occurred in front of my eyes. That impacted me forever. It changed the destiny and lives of countless people in that beautiful city I was blessed to call home.
    I think about a beautiful day when I was travelling downtown. I worked on Wall Street for a number of years. I was going to a training session in front of the World Trade Center towers. It was a beautiful September, still summer, day. I think about the events that transpired, the planes hitting the two buildings, the buildings coming down, me watching the buildings coming down right before me, and being buried in the dust. I thought I would die, simply because I did not know which direction the buildings would fall. Afterwards, I thought about the feelings I had.
    I read this opposition day motion, and there is stuff in it that I agree with. For the Conservatives, this is politics. For me, this is serious business. I lived through it. I think about the emotions I had afterwards, of vengeance, of needing to get this or that person, needing to go after and find the perpetrators. Thankfully, President Obama did.

  (1645)  

    At the same time, we must always remember that we are a country of laws. We always need to keep that in mind. However, these folks leave our wonderful and blessed country of Canada, with all the values that we have, the freedoms we enjoy, and with that, the responsibilities we hold. We enjoy many freedoms, and I do not think there is a country in the world that people want to live in more than Canada at this moment in history. I do not think there is a country in the world that demonstrates its values to the extent that we do in Canada at this moment in history. However, we must remember that we are a country of laws, responsibilities and freedoms. Therefore, when these individuals go abroad and do what they do, as my brother, a 20-year veteran and sergeant in one of the police forces in Canada, reminds me, they must be held to account. He has done that for 20 years of his life. These people must be held to account and they will be held to account. Now, it is not the Code of Hammurabi, if we want to go back in history, but those are the laws we are based on.
    The debate today is an important one, and I have no desire to politicize it, because I have experienced it. I have seen it, and it is a very serious issue. When I read what Nadia has written, I do not think any of us will ever know the pain and suffering that she and all the Yazidis went through. I do not think I will ever know what the parishioners at the Church of the Good Shepherd and their relatives went through. However, I do know that we will stand beside them. We will fight for them in the international courts. We will ensure that the refugees who have been sponsored to come to Canada have that opportunity. We will ensure that the funding that is required in that area, in the Nineveh Plains that I spoke about, gets there. However, we will also make sure that those folks blessed enough to either be born in this country as Canadian or who came to this country are held accountable.
    I like the word “accountable”. It is what I was raised as. One needs to be accountable for one's actions. I am not going to use unfavourable language in this chamber that I am privileged to stand in, but they will be held accountable. We know that under this government, four individuals have been tried for terrorism-related offences since they returned to Canada. We know that two of them were successfully convicted and two cases remain before the courts. We know that the Conservatives in the prior 10 years, like it or not but it is a fact, introduced a lot of austerity measures so they could, with some accounting gimmicks, supposedly balance the books. We know that a lot of money was cut, for example, from the CRA, Statistics Canada and so forth. We also know that, unfortunately, from 2011 to 2015 there were cuts of approximately $1 billion made to a number of agencies and security services that we depend on. That was unfortunate.
    I understand that times were tough, and Conservatives' times are usually tough times for Canadians. I get that, but our government is judicious, we are diligent, and we will hold these perpetrators to account. When they come back, there will be no free bus passes, there will be no free lunch, not in the world I was raised in, and these folks will be held to account and will be sent to jail.
    I hope that the people who have suffered will have their day in court, that all the perpetrators will be held responsible, whether here, in The Hague, in Iraq, or whichever country, because that is the rule of law. We always must remember that this country is based on the rule of law.

  (1650)  

    Mr. Speaker, I really appreciate the personal notes my hon. colleague puts in his speech and his experience. What has that taught him about the right to address these kinds of serious security issues in our country?
    Mr. Speaker, looking back at my time and experience with 9/11 and with the Chaldean and Syrian community in my riding, these people want justice. They want the people who have afflicted damage on their families and their property held to account. However, I would always preface it that in Canada we have rules of law and we are a country of laws. When Canadians go abroad and commit offences, terrorists or not, they should be held accountable. When they commit terrorist offences, like the ones that have been described by Nadia, to be honest, I do not have much pity for them at all.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague talked about accountability and fairness for people who were perpetrators, I think those were the words he used. I am thinking of the illegal migrants who have been coming across our borders and breaking our laws by entering illegally. He is very confident his government will hold those people to account.
     He also said that there were no free lunches or free bus passes. My understanding is that is not the case with the illegal migrants who have come across the borders. They are enjoying a free lunch, a free stay, free medicare, free dental and maybe even a free bus pass. Therefore, in light of his government's track record on illegal migrants, what confidence does he have in his government to hold people accountable?
    Mr. Speaker, my parents immigrated here in 1959 and 1965, my dad via Australia, my mom via Pier 21, which I had the honour of visiting this past summer on a trip with the finance committee. My grandmother and grandfather brought seven children to this country. We worked hard to integrate. We worked hard to learn the language. My mom, even to this day, only has a grade four education. She raised three boys. One is a police officer, one is a parliamentarian and the other has done quite well also. Those values of hard work are ingrained in me.
     Anyone immigrating to our country, the 300,000 or so who do so every year, do so with that belief. I would like to think that all people of the world who wish to come to Canada do so in a regular manner. For anyone else, as the hon. member knows, a system is in place to look at that, assess the situation and ensure the people who come here deserve to be here, because it is the best country in the world.
    Mr. Speaker, I thought my hon. colleague's personal anecdotes were very fitting and telling to a very large picture of concern, not only in Canada but around the world, when we talk about terrorism. I was not aware that my colleague had lived through the experience of 9/11. When we look at the past 10 years under the previous administration, and I may have my numbers incorrect, I believe about 60 people who had been involved or who had been considered to be involved were returned to Canada, and only four have been held accountable for that. That is a concern for Canadians.
     There is an opportunity here today for us to all work together. How important is it to Canadians that we stand together on issues of national security and work together for the betterment of our country and ultimately for the betterment of those who are in Canada?

  (1655)  

    Mr. Speaker, after the events of 9/11, we stood shoulder to shoulder with our American friends as a country united. I remember the day when there was a caravan of Canadians citizens who came to New York City for a celebration around Times Square.
     I also stood, much like we did today and these last couple of weeks, shoulder to shoulder with past prime ministers in our negotiations under NAFTA.
    With respect to this issue of terrorism, there is no grey. We are all standing together. There is no black and white, if we want to use those two terms. There is just us coming together and ensuring we remain a country that is based on the rule of law and holds Canadians accountable for their actions.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the excellent member for Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill. I look forward to hearing her thoughts on this motion.
    I want to start by acknowledging the hon. member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles and my colleague from Calgary Nose Hill for their excellent work on this motion, and for closely monitoring this issue that is important to Canadians.
    This motion is an emotional one. It reminds us of just how insignificant people can feel in the world as victims of terrorism, caught up in a conflict they did not create, terrorized by groups using others to achieve their goals.
    We fortunately do not have to live these experiences in Canada and Quebec, but this is the reality elsewhere in the world. It is important to remember this and tell our constituents about the horrors perpetrated around the world and the role Canada can play in such situations.
    I will read out the motion again, because it says a lot:
     That the House support the sentiments expressed by Nadia Murad, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, who in her book entitled The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State, stated: “I dream about one day bringing all the militants to justice, not just the leaders like Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi but all the guards and slave owners, every man who pulled a trigger and pushed my brothers’ bodies into their mass grave, every fighter who tried to brainwash young boys into hating their mothers for being Yazidi, every Iraqi who welcomed the terrorists into their cities and helped them, thinking to themselves, Finally we can be rid of those nonbelievers. They should all be put on trial before the entire world, like the Nazi leaders after World War II, and not given the chance to hide.”; and call on the government to: (a) refrain from repeating the past mistakes of paying terrorists with taxpayers’ dollars or trying to reintegrate returning terrorists back into Canadian society; and (b) table within 45 days after the adoption of this motion a plan to immediately bring to justice anyone who has fought as an ISIS terrorist or participated in any terrorist activity, including those who are in Canada or have Canadian citizenship.
    Many Quebeckers watching us right now know little to nothing about the tragic story of Nadia Murad, a story that has had little coverage in the media, especially French-language media. I believe this story needs to be repeated and told in such a way that it goes across borders. No woman or any other person should ever have to experience the repulsive acts that were committed against Nadia Murad.
    Nadia Murad is a 25-year old woman who lived in a poor family in northern Iraq. She was part of a religious minority, the Yazidis—Yazidism is an ancestral monotheistic religion—who first fell victim to the Iraqi regime under Saddam Hussein.
    To share a bit of what happened to Nadia Murad, I will cite an excerpt from an article in National Geographic that summarizes an interview that Ms. Murad gave in September 2017:
    In August 2014, ISIS jihadists attacked Sinjar, the largest Yazidi town in Iraq, which was defended by Kurdish Peshmerga fighters. When the Peshmerga withdrew to the mountains, the Yazidis were at the mercy of jihadists who told them they would have to convert to Islam to save their lives. During 12 days, a mullah tried in vain to convince them to convert; most Yazidis refused.
    That is when the horror took place: the village inhabitants were summoned, and women, girls, and children were separated from men. Brought to the local school, Murad watched helpless as six of her brothers were shot dead or decapitated.
    Murad was abducted, taken to ISIS headquarters in Mosul, and sexually enslaved. For months, she was beaten and raped several times daily by at least one guard. Her last master wanted to sell her on the women's market and left to buy her an abaya, a traditional hijab. She took advantage of his absence to escape and took refuge in a neighbouring house. There, an Iraqi Sunni family agreed to provide her with Islamic identification papers in the name of one of the women in their family and helped smuggle her to the Iraqi Kurdistan border where she joined her brother.
    I do not have the words to express how this story makes me feel.

  (1700)  

    The worst part is that there are many more stories like Nadia's. Hundreds of thousands of Yazidi women have suffered this same kind of awful treatment during the conflicts provoked by the Islamic terrorists of Daesh.
    Rereading these stories made me very emotional. I felt angry and sad as I described these barbaric acts and injustices. No woman or human being deserves to be treated so cruelly. I think that people are touched by this story, like I am, and they want our country to make real changes in these countries to combat these terrorists and put an end to their brutal regime.
    As a country, we must take immediate action to give justice to the Yazidi and other ethnic or religious minorities that are being persecuted by ISIS, including women, like Nadia Murad, whose bodies are abused by these terrorists who use rape and sexual slavery as weapons of war.
    The Liberals say that they will support this motion, but I want to tell the Canadians watching us that they should be cautious. This government talks a good talk, but the motion is clear. We want a real plan, within a reasonable period of time, in less than 45 days. It is all well and good to support a motion, but without any meaningful action, this will all be pointless and no one will be helped. The Liberals have one chance. Since they have decided to vote with us on this motion, they must now take action and live up to the expectations.
    Considering the Liberal government's track record since it took office, we have reason to be concerned. The Liberal government literally abandoned the fight against terrorists with its lax approach to dealing with ISIS. The Liberals decided to stop the strikes against ISIS and chose to live in a fantasy world, believing that all of these situations would magically take care of themselves.
    The Liberal government's record of failure continues at the expense of Canadians and of those living in other parts of the world. There are Canadians who have left the country to join these terrorists and commit barbaric acts against women. Today, we are debating a motion that calls on the government to table a real plan to bring to justice the Canadians who acted as ISIS terrorists.
    Let's imagine for a second that, at the end of the Second World War, we decided to stop going after Nazi criminals because the war was over. Imagine if we had not hunted them down the world over, leaving no stone unturned to find them and get the evidence to bring them to justice. Had that been the case, some of those Nazi criminals would still be among us. They would be citizens of various countries around the world, and they might have done more of the terrible things they did during the Second World War.
    This situation is much like that. Some Canadians participated in atrocities. They went to those places to take part in genocide and barbaric acts. Whether they were just there to demonstrate support for those committing the acts, whether they participated in the acts themselves, or whether they witnessed acts that they did not report, those Canadians are guilty of not taking action to defend people who needed help and support. They did not act like Canadians; they acted like barbarians. Unfortunately, that is how they must be treated should they decide to return to Canada one day. They must dealt with to the full extent of the law.
    The migrant crisis offers up daily proof that border security is not one of the government's priorities. We want the government to use the most effective tools available to make sure that, if these people come back, they are monitored very closely, required to abide by strict rules, and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
    Canada should immediately set major reforms in motion and take concrete action to ensure justice for women like Nadia Murad, who, tragically, was raped and used as a weapon of war. As Canadians and as parliamentarians, we cannot stand for that. I expect the government to take action.

  (1705)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows the government's position in respect to today's motion. It is hard to disagree with much of his speech. I think everyone in the House, regardless of their partisan affiliation, detests the scourge of terrorism equally. I do not think one party or another has a monopoly on that.
    In particular, I would like to direct my question to the efforts of returning ISIS fighters before the last election. I note some 60 individuals returned to Canada prior to our government coming into force. Why was the number of prosecutions for those terrorists who returned to Canada before we came into power zero?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, one of the first things the Liberal government did was put an end to the air strikes, the very purpose of which was to combat those terrorists, those monsters, who are committing vile offences.
    Now the Liberals want to preach to us. We are talking about terrorists who want to come back to Canada. These are things that affect us all directly.
    I want to know what the Liberal government is going to do. The Liberals support the motion we are debating today. The motion calls for a plan to be tabled within 45 days.
    What is the plan?
    Will the Liberals finally keep their promise?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the member did not answer the question on why there were no prosecutions of the terrorists who returned to Canada. When the Conservatives were in power, they completely overlooked and ignored the whole issue. Would he answer that question this time?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, according to an article published this morning in Le Devoir, Kyle Matthews, the executive director of the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, deplores the fact that the Trudeau government appears to lack the political will to prosecute fighters who return to Canada.
    We are here to talk about serious matters. We are here to talk about the future of individuals who want to come back to Canada. We are here to find out what the government plans to do.
    The Liberals wanted to be elected. They wanted to sit on that side of the House. Now it is their duty to keep their promises and tell us what they plan to do. They will vote in favour of the motion, but that is just an image thing. They will not follow it with any action. They will vote in favour in order to look good, but they will not come up with a plan in 45 days.
    What is their plan?
    I very much look forward to seeing it.
    Mr. Speaker, I have a great deal of respect for the House of Commons interpreters. However, I believe that they missed something when interpreting the last two questions. Therefore, I will ask the question in French.
    Why did the previous government never indict any of the terrorists who returned to Canada?

  (1710)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is rather unfortunate that my colleague is trying to blame the interpreters. They work hard and do a good job when the interpret what I say.
    I did not answer the question. The Liberals must stop trying to pin the blame on others. I did not answer the question because the answer is not what he wants to hear. We want to know what the government will do. It has 45 days to come up with a plan. The Liberals are the ones in government, so they are the ones who need to answer the question.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is a fairly straightforward question, whether in French or English. Canadians want to have a better understanding why the Conservatives, now that they are in opposition, want charges and convictions. When Stephen Harper was the prime minister, to be very clear to those who might be following this debate, his government had zero charges and convictions for those who returned.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, one of the first things the Liberals did was to throw out Bill C-51. The bill would have provided the tools to take action in such cases.
    My colleague would like me to talk about the past but instead I will ask him what the Liberals will do today and in the future.

[English]

    In English or in French, what is the government's plan? How will the Liberals act on this?
    Mr. Speaker, a month ago I stood in the House deeply concerned for the future of our country and today I rise again to speak on the government's failure to address the priorities of our time.
    Canada is a nation of peace. After two devastating world wars, we committed to concrete actions to achieve global peace and security. We were a founding member of the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
    When we signed the Washington treaty that established NATO in 1949, we reaffirmed our faith in the purpose and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and our desire to live in peace with all peoples and all governments.
    Canada and our NATO allies committed to safeguarding the freedom, common heritage and civilization of our people founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law. We committed to promoting stability and united our efforts for collective defence and for the preservation of peace and security.
    That was almost 70 years ago and since then we have enjoyed a long period of peace, but not all points in history are equal, and once again we find ourselves at a tipping point.
    The world has dramatically changed in the last few years and we now find ourselves in a time of unprecedented global instability. The world is the most unstable it has been, both from an economic and defence and security perspective since the end of World War II. We are seeing fundamental shifts in the global economy while trade relationships, international agreements and defence structures are under threat.
    We are experiencing a substantive increase in threats from nation-states and also from non-state actors. These threats are not only through conventional military means such as occupying forces or missiles, but also are materializing from asymmetric threats such as economic and cybersecurity destabilizing measures and even more alarming, from radicalized individuals in our own backyard.
    As a former air force officer, I swore an oath to serve and defend this country and the values for which it stands. I prioritized Canada's defence and security.
    The Liberal government is not prioritizing the commitments made in the 1949 Washington treaty. The government is not ensuring the security of Canadians. Canada made a commitment to our allies and our international partners to contribute to global security, but the Liberal government is failing Canadians and our allies. Our allies are questioning whether or not they can count on us. They are questioning our resolve.
    Actions speak louder than words and the government may say it is committed to our national security, but where is the evidence?
    In June 2017, the Minister of Foreign Affairs announced her foreign policy and defence priorities. She said that turning aside from our responsibilities is not an option, that Canada can and must step up to play an active role in the preservation and strengthening of the global order from which we have benefited. It has been over a year since that statement but the government has not delivered. Canada has not stepped up.
    The government has failed to define a plan to meet our commitment to spend 2% of our GDP on our military. It has failed our military by leaving one-third of the defence budget unspent this year alone. The government failed by purchasing used, 40-year-old F-18s from Australia, and now it is failing Canadians by allowing terrorists to escape justice.
    That is why today's motion is of critical importance. Canada has 60 terrorists walking its streets that we know of and there are even more around the world. By not taking swift action to hold these terrorists accountable for their actions, Canada is not part of the solution but instead is part of the problem.
    The government's failure to bring terrorists to justice has consequences. It is possible that the government through social assistance is paying these Canadian terrorists to sit at home, radicalize other people and plan their next attack, which could be right here at home. These terrorists are emboldened to continue to commit atrocious acts, knowing that the Canadian government will not bring them to justice.
    In addition to allowing terrorists to continue unchecked, there are consequences to our international relations.
    The United States, our single greatest ally, has labelled Canada a national security threat and imposed punitive and costly tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum.

  (1715)  

    The U.S. has claimed that we are enjoying a free ride in defence and has even gone as far as to imply that we and our other NATO allies are foes rather than friends. Now, with the new NAFTA and section 232 of the American trade law, it is even easier for the United States to impose tariffs on Canada if they deem us a further national security threat. Two U.S. senators have even gone further to connect national security concerns with Five Eyes joint intelligence-sharing and co-operation. Does that mean that if Canada does not improve its national security, the U.S. might restrict intelligence it shares with Canada?
    If the U.S. has labelled Canada a national security threat and the Liberal government allows terrorists to roam free, then what arguments does the government have to say that Canada is not a national security threat? Failure to bring terrorists to justice puts Canadians in grave danger, compromises our relations internationally, undermines our global security and puts the world at risk. We can no longer turn a blind eye or downplay the severity of the government's inaction. These are terrorists and we have a responsibility to protect our citizens at home and safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilization of our allies.
    That is why we are calling on the government to immediately acknowledge the gravity of this issue. The government must commit to developing a plan to bring justice to anyone, including those in Canada or have Canadian citizenship and have fought as an ISIS terrorist or participated in any terrorist activity. This plan should acknowledge the severity of the problem, outline action to support international laws, review and reinforce Canadian law and demonstrate how we can use existing legal tools to bring terrorists to justice.
    The plan must be substantive and include, but not be limited to, demonstrating how Canada will support the laws of foreign countries and international law to ensure that individuals who commit terrorist acts are brought to justice, provide support for the investigators and prosecutors of ISIS terrorists mandated through UN Security Council resolution 2379, identify reforms to Canadian law to ensure that the perpetrators of terrorist acts will be brought to justice, identify reforms to the Canadian criminal justice system to ensure that courts have access to all the evidence and place conditions such as peace bonds on suspected terrorists to restrict their movements and social interactions.
    If there is no action to bring terrorists to justice, is Canada carrying its weight for national and global security? If terrorists escape justice and are free to commit future acts of terrorism, then the answer is clearly no. Canada's national security is compromised and Canadians are at risk. The government must act now to protect Canadians. The government must act now to regain the confidence of our allies and demonstrate we are not a national security threat. The government must prioritize and develop a plan to bring terrorists to justice. The Liberals must not only support this motion but follow through with concrete actions. Our national security and the safety of Canadians are at stake.

  (1720)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by saying that if the member opposite knows of 60, not 59 or 61 but 60, known terrorists in this country who she says have committed actual crimes, why has she not reported those people to the police if she knows there are exactly 60 people walking around contemplating terrorist acts? I know she is making that number up and guessing. The only way that number is known to anybody in this House is because the party she chose to join let 60 people leave this country, fight as terrorists in another country and did absolutely nothing about it when people were leaving this country to do just that.
    The question I have for the member opposite is even more precise than that. After joining a party that has zero convictions and brought zero people to court on these charges, why did she leave a party that brought forward justice and is cleaning up the mess of the party she joined? Why has she now joined a party that has never brought a single terrorist to trial for leaving?
    If that cannot be answered, maybe she could try answering this. Why did she choose to join a party that has landed zero new or used jets on military tarmacs in this country instead of one that has brought 40?
    The real question I have for her is this. Has she been radicalized by extremists on that side of the House, because, boy, she has changed her tune?
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. It is utterly disgusting of that member to accuse a former member of the Canadian Armed Forces, someone who has served our country honourably, of being radicalized. That member needs to stand and apologize for unparliamentary language—
    Order, please. The hon. member for Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill.
    Mr. Speaker, it is very disconcerting that the hon. member of the government would want to change the conversation so the Liberals do not have to assume responsibility and accountability for what they are not doing.
    This is where we are today. This is the information we have. This is the problem in front of us. That is why this opposition is calling on the government to do what needs to be done today.
    Do not let the government obfuscate the real issue which is this. How do we address the national security threat that these terrorists, who are not brought to justice, are imposing on Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I was not aware that I had not been recognized on my point of order previously when I was speaking. I was raising a point of order. The parliamentary secretary very clearly used unparliamentary language in suggesting that my colleague, who has served honourably in the Canadian Armed Forces, had somehow been radicalized. When we are having a debate about the terrible crimes done by ISIS or Daesh, for members to accuse each other of being radicalized in the same context is disgusting and beyond the pale.
    I think the member, whom I am sure would be happy to rise in his place and apologize, should be called upon to do exactly that.
    I thank the hon. member for Sherwood Park for his intervention. Certainly members are always cautioned about avoiding language that could be considered unparliamentary. As members know, in deciding these matters, chair occupants have to take into account a number of different factors, one of them being whether the remark in fact caused disorder. It would be fair to say that in this particular case it did.
    In the initial comment that the parliamentary secretary made, I did not detect anything, from my point of view, as being unparliamentary. However, it did cross a line with respect to causing disorder that perhaps may or may not have been intended. We will give the parliamentary secretary the opportunity to perhaps comment on the issue at a later time. We will leave it pending for the time being.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for York Centre.

  (1725)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. member a question. Sometimes in the heat of debate, we make claims and say things that we might not fully or necessarily believe.
     I want to reflect on something the member said regarding the reason for section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum. She tied that to the U.S. maybe feeling that Canada was a national security threat because of our policies as it related to terrorists and the actions we were taking in the world to combat terror.
    As the former chair of the subcommittee on international human rights and the current chair of the House foreign affairs committee, I have had the opportunity to spend a fair bit of time with our colleagues down in the U.S., speaking on issues of national security, international relations and human rights. There is always a lot of agreement and appreciation for the role Canada plays in the world.
    I would like the member to please clarify whether she is saying she believes the inputting of section 232 tariffs under national security terms had to do with Canada's position as it relates to terror and our foreign policy.
    Mr. Speaker, that is an incredibly important question, one that we should be asking the government.
    We do not know exactly what the nature of the national security threat is that has caused the U.S. to put these punitive and costly tariffs on us. The fact remains that the United States has put punitive and costly tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel and it has made it easier to put additional tariffs on in the future as a result of us being a national security threat.
    We absolutely need to understand the contributing elements that are causing our ally, the United States, to believe us to be a national security threat. Then we need to know what the government is doing to ensure that it addresses it so we are no longer a national security threat and can have those punitive tariffs lifted.
    Mr. Speaker, I guess I would have to refer to Donald Trump's tweets which suggested that we had burned down the White House in the War of 1812. The notion that Canada's imports of steel and aluminum to the United States represented a genuine national security threat is the stuff of fantasy and paranoia in the White House and should never extend to this place.
    Mr. Speaker, I am very deeply distressed by that comment. Ultimately, they have imposed on us tariffs related to national security.
    To argue that there is no reason for them and they are baseless, we do that at our peril. If our closest ally believes that we are a national security threat, then we have to ensure that we do everything to demonstrate that we are not.
    We are not meeting our commitments to NORAD. We are not meeting our commitments to NATO. We are not delivering on national security for our own Canadian citizens, but obviously now we have lost the confidence of our allies. To belittle and pooh-pooh it and say that we are not a national security threat is to mean that we take no action to ensure that we become secure.
    I see the hon. parliamentary secretary rising, perhaps on the point of order that was before the House earlier.
    Mr. Speaker, on reflection I recognize that my comments did cause a bit of a stir on the other side of the House and they mistakenly think that I accused the member opposite of being radicalized by extremists of the Daesh. I assure my colleagues that was not what my comment meant and I wish to correct the record.
    What my comment meant was that the anti-Canadian language being expressed by the member opposite that we would constitute a national security threat to the United States is clearly a radical position within any Canadian context, certainly within any context to this House of Parliament.
    I will not apologize for the phraseology but if the member opposite believes that I was accusing her—
    Some hon members: Oh, oh!
    Order, order. The hon. parliamentary secretary is up on a point of order. I have to say that I was unable to hear the last sentence. I would ask him to maybe go back and I would ask for a little bit of order until we can perhaps resolve this issue and carry on.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Mr. Speaker, as I was saying, if the inference that the member drew was that I was accusing her of being radicalized by Islamic extremists, that clearly was not my intention. I apologize for leaving that impression.
    What I was making my remarks to, when I suggested that she had been radicalized by extremists, were the extreme Conservative views that somehow Canada constitutes a national security threat to the United States. That is an extreme view for any Canadian to hold and certainly an extreme view for any member of Parliament to hold. Those members are supposed to be the loyal opposition. I think they have lost their way.

  (1730)  

    I will start in the same manner as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and recognize the significance of the day, the topic under discussion and the late Nathan Cirillo as an individual who will not be forgotten, as colleagues on all sides of the House reflect on that significant day four years ago and what a privilege it is to be able to rise at any given time to address the House. I will now provide additional comment on the matter that is up for debate.
    We often underestimate some of the important issues within our communities in all regions of our country. There is such a thing called radicalization and it is quite sad and profound. Many Canadians do not quite understand how it happens in the first place, but we do realize that radicalization toward terrorism happens here in Canada. The sad reality is that Canadians make the decision to leave our country to join and participate with terrorist groups and associations.
    That is exceptionally upsetting not only to Canadian society but also to parliamentarians of all political stripes. I do not believe there is a member of Parliament who would disagree with the statement of how reprehensible it is when Canadians make that decision to leave our soil and go to an area of the world where terrorist acts are taking place. The horrific situations that their victims find themselves in is absolutely abhorrent and we want to ensure that Canada plays a leadership role in doing what we can to make sure there is justice for those criminal actions taking place.
    It is interesting when we look at what we have been able to accomplish in the last few years. For those Canadians who leave Canada and then attempt to come back, there is a message we want to give them, that they will be arrested, charged and prosecuted. We have seen a government for the first time be successful not only at laying charges, but also in prosecuting and achieving convictions. That is new. We never saw that under Stephen Harper.
    Under this administration we have now seen four arrests and charges, and two resulting in convictions. I understand that the other two are still at trial and we are very hopeful and optimistic that those will come to fruition at some point in time in the not too distant future.
    Contrast that to what we saw when Stephen Harper was the prime minister. We heard the number 60 being bantered around on several occasions. Under the former government, the rhetoric was very loud. Press statements were numerous and the Conservatives talked very tough about terrorist acts and those leaving Canada and coming back, and what the consequences would be for them. However, the reality and the facts speak for themselves, namely, that no charges were laid under the Harper regime.

  (1735)  

    We had one member from the Conservative caucus stand up and say that, no, there were three or might have said there were four. Some dead guys got charged, and there was someone else who was charged from abroad who never actually came to Canada. I do not know how factual that is, but I do know that this government takes this issue very seriously. The Minister of Public Safety, on numerous occasions when asked about the issue, has addressed it head-on by trying to reassure Canadians that not only are we looking at arrests, charges and prosecutions, but we also believe in those agencies and security services that play an absolutely critical role in ensuring that Canadians can feel safe in their homes with respect to terrorist acts, and that they have a government that is genuinely moving forward on this file.
    The former prime minister had a majority government from 2011 to 2015. However, when we think about those security service agencies, the ones that are on the front lines, we will find that in the time of that majority government from 2011 to 2015, there were some serious cuts, such as on the RCMP in excess of $500 million. Over a half billion in terms of financial resources was taken away from our RCMP while there was a Stephen Harper majority government. There was $390 million taken away from the Canada Border Services Agency. We had serious cuts that went into the millions for CSIS. The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority also had $150 million-plus in terms of cuts.
    Therefore, I find it somewhat hypocritical of the official opposition to try to give the impression that this government is not moving forward on this important file, when the Conservatives sat idly back and could have done so much more. Instead of dealing with it in a proactive fashion, they administered serious cuts to the services that assisted the government and our society in ensuring that terrorism was being treated in a more serious fashion.
    We have heard a lot today about the Yazidis. Again, when I sat in the opposition benches, we heard very little. We did not hear the Conservatives while they were in government talk about the plight of the Yazidis. No one should be surprised that we can count on one hand the number of Yazidi women, victims, who came under the former regime. However, within three years, we have increased that number from under five to well over 1,000. The government understands the importance of this issue.
    In the motion that we are debating today is a quote from Nadia Murad from her book. Members will know that Nadia is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. It is a wonderful quote from a book she wrote that encapsulates what I believe is the sentiment of people around the world, which is that we want to ensure that there is a sense of justice, that this criminal behaviour that has been taking place will not be put to the side, that it will not be forgotten, and that we will seek and find those individuals who have taken these sorts of hideous actions against human rights and human beings.

  (1740)  

    I believe that people would do well by reading what Nadia has written, because there is so much in her wonderful modern-day hero's book.
    Mr. Speaker, in my riding of York Centre, I have had the opportunity to meet with a number of recent Yazidi immigrants who came in under the program that the hon.