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42nd PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 369

CONTENTS

Tuesday, December 11, 2018




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 148
NUMBER 369
1st SESSION
42nd PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Speaker: The Honourable Geoff Regan

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer


  (1000)  

[English]

Privilege

Member of Parliament for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel 

[Privilege]
    I have notice of a question of privilege from the hon. member for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel.

[Translation]

     Mr. Speaker, I rise to respond to a question of privilege raised by a member of the second opposition party who was wondering about my absence from the House.
    First, I would like to set the record straight. It was not my decision to be away from the House. The circumstances that led to my absence were not of my choosing, nor were they the result of anything I did. At no time and under no circumstances was I taken to task, except by the NDP member in his complaint regarding my absence from the House. My conduct was, at all times, above reproach. I am not collecting a salary from the House of Commons. I belong to a caucus, and for me to remain a member, my freedom of speech is subject to certain restrictions.
    Despite my absence from the House, I have, at all times, worked to represent the interests of my Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel constituents and other citizens and groups that have sought my assistance. The personal and family reasons that led me to announce my intention to resign are extremely serious.
    Here is some context. Various events occurred and circumstances arose, some consecutively, others concurrently, and some simultaneously.
     On April 24, I sent out a press release indicating that I intended to resign my seat. On June 12, I spoke in the House on this subject. I then toured my riding in order to be accountable to my constituents. I heard from them that they really wanted me to find a way to continue my mandate while being relieved from my obligations in the House.
    My work on constituency matters continued to take up most of my time from late June until August, to the point where I had to cancel all of my holidays. On August 29, my commitment to continue representing my constituents was made public, even though the reasons for my announced departure were not. A solution was needed. As I will explain, other events occurred that made it unnecessary to search for such a solution.
    August 31 marked the culmination of a series of events completely beyond my control, and on September 14, it was agreed, at the request of my party, that I keep my seat and that the party whip would let me know when I was needed in the House. At every moment, no matter the circumstances, I respected the direction of the whip.
     At that time, I had one major reservation about the implementation of the Cannabis Act. It troubled me that it did not include sufficient measures to raise awareness about the dangers of cannabis use for road users.

  (1005)  

    The lack of awareness initiatives surprised me, given that manufacturers had shown more willingness to work on that aspect than I expected from any government. During discussions on this issue, it became clear that my decision to remain in office was problematic. Consequently, I was informed that my departure date would coincide with the entry into force of the Cannabis Act, but that in response to my efforts and those of other people, our government was going to announce a significant commitment regarding the prevention of drug-impaired driving.
    I was then informed that a mistake had been made in setting my departure date. I would be contacted with a different date. I then began an internal conversation involving my caucus, which ended with me receiving another departure date. The decision I was given on September 14 was that I would leave the House for a few weeks to focus on the tasks I had been asked to do. I informed the people I was speaking to that I would not be keeping my MP's salary during this period, even though I would be doing the work that was asked of me, and would perform all my other MP duties during this time. I wanted to offer a concrete gesture with regard to the formal portion of my duties as an MP. Time spent in the House should, in principle, account for just a small portion of an MP's work. Nevertheless, I decided to offer this concrete gesture for the sake of a cause that is very inspiring and important to me.
    The member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley raised a question of privilege regarding my absence, but some of his facts were quite simply false. I did not make a statement in the House on April 24. I urge the member to re-read my news release. Contrary to his claims, I continued my work as an MP from the end of the spring through to the fall. I continue to do this work. Contrary to his claims, I am not collecting my salary. Furthermore, I am not the one who chose the planned departure date.
    I have been a lawyer for a long time. I also teach, publish and give lectures. Since my nomination campaign, I indicated that I would continue to do all of this even after the election. I have been very clear about this throughout my mandate. I even stated this in the House. The cabinet shuffle changed nothing. I was and remain convinced that Canadians would be better served if members kept some kind of job, to anchor them to the real world.
    During this time, I fought some tough battles to protect my constituents and my community. Furthermore, in recent months, I have undertaken and continued work on topics that I hold dear to my heart. Many of these topics have been keeping me busy these days, and I will share some examples. On June 10, 1940, our country's government interned Italian Canadians without reason, without charges and without trial. These people were detained throughout the war. I have known about this since I was a child, but it was only when I became an adult that I understood why people would whisper as they passed by, even though they had grown old.
    Italian Canadians still carry the stigma of this collective trauma. I remind members that our government took over Casa d'Italia, the oldest cultural and ethnic centre in the country, which immigrants from the old country built with their bare hands, to house soldiers, who pillaged it before they left.

  (1010)  

    No appropriate reparation has ever been made. To date, the House has never issued an apology.
    I will give an example of the kind of stigma I am talking about. Although there are 1.5 million Italian-Canadians, there is not a single one sitting in the Senate.
    Furthermore, as I said, I have been practising labour law for 35 years as a professor, prosecutor and researcher. Here is another example. Our labour laws are based on ideas developed during the industrial revolution of the 19th century. It should come as no surprise that they need to be updated to catch up with the 21st century. I am putting all of my expertise to work for my government and my constituents, and I am working hard on this societal project.
    In reference to the member who raised the question of privilege about me, I would like to ask him whether he was concerned about a member's presence in the chamber when his neighbour, the outgoing member for Outremont, was absent for nearly a year while still collecting a salary.
    If necessary, I will complete my comments outside the House.
    I thank the hon. member for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel. I will review his arguments and the other arguments put forward on the matter and I will come back to the House with a ruling in due course.

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1015)  

[English]

Parliamentary Budget Officer

    Pursuant to subsection 79.2(2) of the Parliament of Canada Act, it is my duty to present the House a report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer, entitled “Fall Economic Statement 2018: Issues for Parliamentarians.”

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the treaty entitled “Canada-Japan, Side-Letter on Motor Vehicle Standards and Regulations under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, done in Ottawa on November 29”.

Office of the Taxpayers' Ombudsman

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 2017-2018 Taxpayers' Ombudsman annual report, entitled “Effecting Change”.

Office of the Ombudsman for National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, a document entitled “Annual Report 2017-2018 Ombudsman National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces”.

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 one petition.

Government Response to Opposition Motion on Terrorism

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the Government of Canada's response to the supply day motion calling for a plan to be tabled to bring to justice those who have fought with ISIS or participated in any terrorist activity.

[Translation]

Committees of the House

Justice  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 24th report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights entitled “Moving Forward in the Fight Against Human Trafficking in Canada”.

[English]

    Pursuant to Standing Order 109 the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.

Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 17th report of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, entitled “Democracy under Threat: Risks and Solutions in the Era of Disinformation and Data Monopoly.”

Petitions

Justice  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present petition e-1757, signed by approximately 800 Canadians, which points out that the president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, has unleashed wars against Georgia and Ukraine and is responsible for much of the conflict that we are seeing in Syria as well as the oppression of the people of Chechnya. They point out that he is embedded in the chemical bombings in Syria that are responsible for over 10,000 deaths in Ukraine and was responsible for the shooting down of MH17 over Eastern Ukraine that resulted in over 300 civilian casualties. Yesterday was International Human Rights Day and we remember all the human rights abuses that happened in the Crimean Peninsula in Donbass under Putin's regime.
    They call on the Government of Canada to declare Putin a war criminal and that he should stand trial in front of the International Criminal Court at the Hague for his crimes of aggression and war crimes as well as crimes against humanity and sponsoring terrorism.

Firearms  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition signed by Canadians from the ridings of Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, Thunder Bay—Rainy River and the Pontiac. They call on the House of Commons to respect the rights of law-abiding firearms owners and reject the Prime Minister's plan to waste taxpayer money studying a ban on guns that are already banned.

Animal Welfare   

    Mr. Speaker, I have petitions signed by hundreds of Cape Bretoners who are very passionate about animals and how animals are treated. They ask the House to support Bill S-214 and ban the sale and/or manufacturing of animal-tested cosmetics and ingredients in Canada.

  (1020)  

Human Organ Trafficking  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of individuals who are concerned about the trafficking of organs. They call on the Parliament of Canada to move quickly on Bill S-240, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, to prohibit Canadians from travelling abroad to acquire human organs removed without consent or as a result of a financial transaction and to render inadmissible to Canada any and all permanent residents or foreign nationals who have participated in this abhorrent trade in human organs.

Vision Care  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table another petition regarding a national framework for action to promote eye health and vision care. The petitioners indicate that the number of Canadians with vision loss is expected to double in the next 20 years. They also indicate that just 1% of the total expenditures on vision loss is invested in post-vision loss rehabilitation therapy. They ask the government to put in place a national framework for action to promote eye health and vision care that would benefit all Canadians through the reduction of vision impairment resulting from preventable conditions and the modification of known risk factors. The petitioners are from Lancaster, Green Valley, Alexandria, St. Catharines, Aylmer, Queenston, Springfield and Amherstburg.
    I want to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and all the best in the new year.

Sex Selection  

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to present three petitions. The first one highlights that gender-based violence against girls begins before they are born. The petition asks Parliament to condemn discrimination against girls through the use of sex selection.

Impaired Driving  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition, regarding impaired driving, asks that the Prime Minister keep his promise to increase the penalties on impaired driving causing death and that there be mandatory minimum sentences as he promised he would introduce.

Canada Summer Jobs Initiative   

    Mr. Speaker, the last petition is on the Canada summer jobs. The petitioners ask the government to end the attestation requirement and the values test, and they are very happy that the Prime Minister apologized for last year's attestation and values test.

Questions on the Order Paper

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

  (1025)  

Privilege

Access to Information  

[Privilege]
    I have notice of a question of privilege by the hon. member for Perth—Wellington.
    Before I go to him, I want to remind members of the rules that apply. In House of Commons of Procedure and Practice, Third Edition, edited by Bosc and Gagnon, at pages 144 and 145, it states:
    A Member wishing to raise a question of privilege which does not arise out of the proceedings during the course of a sitting must give notice before bringing the question to the attention of the House. The Member must provide a written statement to the Speaker at least one hour before raising the question of privilege in the House. If such notice is not given, the Speaker will not allow the Member to proceed. Speakers have also ruled that oral notice is neither necessary nor sufficient. Questions of privilege for which written notice has been given are raised at specific times, namely on the opening of the sitting, following Routine Proceedings but before Orders of the Day, and immediately after Question Period. They are occasionally raised during a debate.
    The notice submitted to the Speaker should contain four elements:
    1. It should indicate that the Member is writing to give notice of his or her intention to raise a question of privilege.
    2. It should state that the matter is being raised at the earliest opportunity.
    3. It should indicate the substance of the matter that the Member proposes to raise by way of a question of privilege.
    4. It should include the text of the motion which the Member must be ready to propose to the House should the Speaker rule that the matter is a prima facie case of privilege.
    By providing the Chair with a context for the question of privilege and a proposed remedy for the problem, the Member assists the Speaker in dealing with the issue in an informed and expeditious manner. The inclusion of the text of the proposed motion allows the Speaker the opportunity to suggest changes to avoid any procedural difficulties in the wording; otherwise, the Member might be prevented or delayed from moving the motion should the Speaker rule the matter a prima facie question of privilege.
    In this case, I received notice but not any indication of the substance of the matter. It seems to me that members have started to forget what these rules provide. While I will allow the member to proceed in this case, I am indicating to members that in future I expect them, of course, to follow what the rules provide, as I have read this morning.
    The hon. member for Perth—Wellington.
    Mr. Speaker, I apologize for not providing sufficient information. Should a future question of privilege arise, I will be sure to do that.
    However, I rise on a question of privilege relating to a declaration I received in lieu of response to Order Paper Question No. 2001, regarding the government's refusal to cover the costs of legal assistance to Admiral Mark Norman.
    The document I received from the government reads in part:
     With respect to legal assistance provide to specific individuals, a response could disclose personal and solicitor-client privileged information. Therefore the Government must respectfully decline to respond.
    We are accustomed to the government responding to written questions with non-answers, and we are also aware that Speakers' rulings, documented in Bosc and Gagnon state that “it is not the role of the Chair to determine whether or not the contents of documents tabled in the House are accurate”. However, what I have not experienced in my relatively short time in the House is a situation where the government makes no attempt whatsoever to answer a question or offer reasons why it cannot answer a question, but instead boldly refuses to even respond to a question. That is a different matter altogether and, I believe, is unprecedented.
    While I appreciate that this may appear to be a technical point, the government has for years been getting away with providing inaccurate, misleading and incomplete answers by exploiting the technicality I mentioned earlier from Bosc and Gagnon. I think you will be aware, Mr. Speaker, that the last thing the House needs to do is codify another technical loophole to allow the government to deny information to members.
    Mr. Speaker, you may be tempted to consider the statement a response, since it was tabled like a response, but to do so would make mockery of the proceeding, since a response stating the government declines to respond is a communication effort left better to a Monty Python skit than to a proceeding in Parliament, and not unlike the time Graham Chapman attempted to explain rumours of cannibalism in the British Navy when he said “Absolutely none, and when I say none, I mean there is a certain amount, more than we are prepared to admit”, which could also have doubled as an answer to an Order Paper question.
    Standing Order 39(5)(b) has a provision to deal with the government when it fails to respond to a question within the 45-day period required under subsection (a), but no such procedure exists in the Standing Orders to deal with a government refusing to respond outright. I would argue that the only means to deal with this matter is through a question of privilege.
    On December 16, 1980, at page 5,797 of Hansard, Madam Speaker Sauvé ruled that:
     While it is correct to say that the government is not required by our rules to answer written or oral questions, it would be bold to suggest that no circumstances could ever exist for a prima facie question of privilege to be made where there was a deliberate attempt to deny answers to an hon. member....
    The second edition of Joseph Maingot's Parliamentary Privilege in Canada, at page 234, offers a condition that is relevant and has been clearly met to allow you, Mr. Speaker, to rule favourably on my question of privilege. It says that in order for the Speaker to find a prima facia question of privilege:
...an admission by someone in authority, such as a Minister of the Crown or an officer of a department, an instrument of government policy, or a government agency, either that a Member of the House of Commons was intentionally misled...and a direct relationship between the misleading information and a proceeding in Parliament, is necessary.
    As you know Mr. Speaker, deliberately withholding information from the House is in the same category as deliberately providing it with misleading information. They are both deliberate acts that obstruct and impede members of Parliament in the performance of their duties. In this case, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence actually signed the defying declaration that his government declines to respond, and he did so through a proceeding in Parliament.
    Given this deliberate and admitted defiance of the authority of the House of Commons by the parliamentary secretary, I trust, Mr. Speaker, that you will allow me to move the appropriate motion and refer this matter to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. I am prepared to move such a motion should you find favour with these arguments.
    I thank the hon. member for Perth—Wellington for raising his question.
    Before I go to the hon. parliamentary secretary to the Government House leader, while not commenting on the substance of the argument, I must say that I appreciate the reference to Monty Python, although he did not get into the question of whether a sheep's bladder may be employed to prevent earthquakes.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.

  (1030)  

    Mr. Speaker, we will take this matter under advisement and return to the House with our thoughts on it.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Customs Act

Bill C-21—Time Allocation Motion  

    That in relation to the Senate amendment to Bill C-21, An Act to amend the Customs Act, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration of said stage of the bill; and That fifteen minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration of the Senate amendment of said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the stage of the bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.

[Translation]

    Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1, there will now be a 30-minute question period. I invite hon. members who wish to ask questions to rise in their places so the Chair has some idea of the number of members who wish to participate in this question period.
    Mr. Speaker, once again the government wants to cut our speaking time short, but we will be questioning the minister this morning to find out why.
    Today we are talking about Bill C-21, which was introduced by the Liberals in 2016 but is part of what the Conservatives had started at the time.
    We have an important relationship with the United States when it comes to exchanging information. We can all agree on that. This ensures everyone's safety and helps in obtaining important information.
    However, there is currently a bit of a trust issue with our partners. Regarding what is currently happening with Huawei, three of the Five Eyes countries have decided that Huawei must be banned from their systems. Here at home we are creating a climate of mistrust, and I know that there are countries, including the United States, that are starting to question Canada.
    Can the minister tell us whether Canada is still a trustworthy partner for our Five Eyes partners? Decisions are currently being made that cast doubt on this relationship and may also have an impact on Bill C-21.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, there is absolutely no doubt about Canada's status in the Five Eyes and the G7. We are a respected partner, always have been, and that relationship will continue.
    Madam Speaker, yesterday time allocation was again invoked by the government. The member for Winnipeg North commented on time allocation and talked about when he was in the third party in the last Parliament and sat in this corner. He referred to the fact that he became aware of how important time allocation was. I would remind that member and the Minister of Public Safety, when they invoke time allocation, and they know full well that it limits debate in the House, that the record will show the fervency with which the Liberals argued against it in the House. When they campaigned in the last election, they told Canadians they would do something different.
    We find ourselves today in a unique situation. As we reach the end of this session, we find time allocation being used day after day by the government. We could check the Hansard record, which, frankly, I have not, but I could if we determined that to be necessary. How can the Liberals sit as a government and repeatedly use time allocation in good conscience?

  (1035)  

    Madam Speaker, one of the great functions of the Parliament of Canada, particularly the House of Commons of Canada, is to provide members with an opportunity to debate the great questions of public policy that come before the House. In addition to debating, we also have the obligation, on behalf of our constituents, to decide; that is, to listen to all sides of the argument and to then vote to come to a conclusion on a matter.
    Bill C-21 has been before this House for a considerable length of time. It was considered at length in the Senate. The Senate made one very technical amendment having to do with the limitation of a time frame. It referred the matter, as amended, back to this House. What we are considering at this stage is that one very narrow question: Do we or do we not accept the time-limit issue raised by the Senate?
    I have had the opportunity, as Minister of Public Safety, to present to this House several pieces of legislation dealing with important national security concerns. I would say that Bill C-21 is probably the one measure that has achieved the largest degree of cross-party consensus and the largest degree of support and consensus in both Houses of Parliament.
     I listened enthusiastically to the member for Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, who spoke at great length the other day about his fervent support for Bill C-21. Obviously, it is time to vote on the matter upon which, it seems, most members of Parliament agree.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, as there seems to be a consensus, as my colleague claims, why exactly does the government find it necessary to move a time allocation motion to limit debate? With 30 minutes for questions and comments, 30 minutes for the ringing of the bells and 15 minutes for the vote, we lose one hour and 15 minutes.
    Why is the minister taking the time to move time allocation if he believes he has the consensus of the House for his bill? What is the urgency and relevance of this kind of motion if he believes that everyone agrees with the bill?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I am sure the hon. member knows the procedure by which time allocation comes about. The procedure cannot be introduced to the House on the whim of the government House leader. Consultations have to be undertaken to determine if there is reasonable consensus to proceed in a sensible way. If that consensus cannot be achieved, the government House leader has the option of moving time allocation. The point is that the government House leader asked, and the necessary consent was not forthcoming, necessitating the motion for time allocation.
    Madam Speaker, it is indeed my honour to stand up and speak to this very important issue of time allocation. I remember when the hon. member for Abbotsford, who is my mentor, and I stood back from this big House, Centre Block, and both of us said how privileged we have been to be given the very important duty of representing our constituents in making sure that we make good laws for the benefit of all Canadians and that we are able to bring their voices to this great place.
    This block will be closed for 10 years, if not more, and we will move to the other place, but the spirit is that we were elected and selected to be the voices of our own people. Limiting our ability to debate such an important issue by cutting off our time is not the right thing to do. I really question why the minister and the Liberal Party keep wanting to be rid of our privilege as the voice of our own people.

  (1040)  

    Madam Speaker, three or four days ago, in House sitting time, the official spokesperson on this legislation for the official opposition, the member for Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, gave a very extensive speech in which he reviewed Bill C-21, including the technical amendment made by the Senate, with which the official opposition is in full agreement. That is what he told the House, and I welcome the position, on the part of the member for Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, that there is no further dispute, argument or debate with respect to this particular matter. It is a technical matter having to do with the time frame specified in the legislation, and it is a subject upon which the official opposition says it is in complete agreement.
    Madam Speaker, the other day, on Senate amendments that came back to the House, a Conservative member stood in his place and spoke for two and a half hours on a report on Senate legislation. I have witnessed over the last little while that there seems to be a great desire by members of the Conservative opposition to talk for the sake of talking and not wanting to see bills passed.
    If we look at the content and the importance of this legislation in terms of trade and travel and the overwhelming support from all entities in the House, we see that it is important at times to use time allocation to ensure that the government is able to pass legislation. Sometimes it is legislation the opposition does not want to see pass but that it supports. That is the predicament we are in today.
    Could the minister explain why this legislation is so important for Canadians and why it should ultimately be passed?
    Madam Speaker, I think if we asked most Canadians who travel back and forth across the international border between Canada and the United States, they would say that there is a system in place for checking on security issues about people who come into the country, and equally, there is a system in place for checking the facts and figures when a person leaves the country.
    In fact, the former is true but not the latter. We do not have and we have never had a system whereby we record departures from the country. That has been observed by many members in the House as a significant gap in our security architecture, and many members, on all sides of the House, have said that this gap should be filled. That is exactly what Bill C-21 would do.
    Recognizing that there are 400,000 people every day who go back and forth across the Canada-U.S. border, and recognizing that there is $2.5 billion in trade that goes back and forth across that border every single day, it is obviously important to expedite that legitimate trade and travel while at the same time making sure that the border is sound and secure.
    Bill C-21 would fill an important security gap upon which it would appear every member of the House is in agreement. Therefore, it is time to vote and put a system in place that will serve the best interests of Canadians.

  (1045)  

    Madam Speaker, I find it interesting that time allocation is being put in place to try to reduce the amount of time we can debate the pros and cons of the value of this legislation, yet the Liberals themselves are just trying to stifle debate on the bill. They are not speaking to whether they have overused their power to impose time allocation.
    If we added up all the time taken up in this place, since the Liberals took power, on reducing the opportunity for debate in the House, it would probably far exceed the opportunity to actually debate bills. Many of us, including me, wish to participate in substantive debate on a lot of bills, which change every day, if not by the hour, which makes it difficult for us to prepare for a constructive debate.
    I truly wish the government would reconsider its use of the very undemocratic measures it has been using to end debate in this place.
    Madam Speaker, all of us wish to have ample time and opportunity to debate those important questions of public policy that come to the floor of the House of Commons. It is the function of House leaders, the government House leader and her counterparts in the other parties, to try to manage the time of the House in such a way as to bring issues forward in an orderly way, provide the opportunities for discussion and debate and ultimately the calling of votes, the divisions and decisions that need to be taken.
    The procedure in our rules requires that the House leaders work together to come to reasonable accommodations. When that cannot be done, when consent is not forthcoming, and when people will not agree that the debate will run from A until B and then we will vote, when there is no certainty in that process, the government House leader has no alternative when consent fails but to try to organize the affairs of the House using time allocation.
    Those motions invariably provide for further opportunity for debate before votes are ultimately taken. It is a procedure that no House leader likes to use, but it is necessary in certain circumstances to make sure that the House does not just debate eternally, but in fact comes to decisions on issues that matter to Canadians.
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak to this question of time allocation. I am sure the ears of the government members are burning as they realize that Canadians across the country continue to discuss what the Liberals said they would do, what their promises were versus what they have actually done.
    In a number of circumstances the Liberals indicated they would be a better government. They promised not to present omnibus bills to the House, and yet we have seen one after another being presented. On the question of consultation, they indicated there would not be just the impression of consultation but true consultation would take place. Being the shadow minister for veterans affairs, I have heard over and over again how veterans feel these consultations have simply been a photo op and an opportunity to appear like the Liberals are consulting when they truly are not listening. Then there is this question of time allocation. This is something the Liberals promised Canadians they would not abuse, and yet they continue to do so, even today.
    If the Liberals are concerned about time allocation in this circumstance, what truly is their motivation as the House goes toward another break? The government has not been able to accomplish a great deal, so perhaps this is simply a move to enable them to get some work done.
    Madam Speaker, I would note with respect to the points that were raised by the member for Yorkton—Melville, Bill C-21 is not an omnibus bill. Bill C-21 has been subject to extensive consultations, both inside and outside Parliament. Bill C-21 enjoys a large consensus of support, including the support of her party. It is a very technical amendment that is before the House now to be voted upon, one that was originally raised in the committee proceedings, incidentally, by the NDP and subsequently raised again in the Senate.
    After all of that work, there is a consensus that this is the right measure to introduce, and since there is no substantive disagreement, it is time to call the vote and settle that question.

  (1050)  

    Madam Speaker, last night we celebrated the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations. During that ceremony there was discussion about the migration of people and how it has been increasing over the recent past, climate change being part of that and wars being part of that. It highlights how important it is for us to have a good regime in terms of our border controls and movement of people in the turbulent times we are living in.
    How does Bill C-21 fit in terms of our commitments to the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the rights of people to a country? Could the minister comment on that briefly?
    Madam Speaker, Bill C-21 is an important part of our national security architecture. It will provide for records to be kept when people leave the country. Right now those records are kept if one is a foreign national or if one is a permanent resident, but they are not kept if one is a Canadian citizen. The view of security experts is that is an important gap in our national security structures.
    However, there are protections in this legislation to make sure that human values and rights are properly respected. For example, all of the advice from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner is very thoroughly taken into account to make sure that privacy issues are not violated. In fact, the specific amendment that we are considering right now, which is the subject of the time allocation motion, is an amendment that was put into the bill in the Senate because of the advice of the Privacy Commissioner. What we are doing at this moment, in fact, is we are taking steps to follow good advice from the Privacy Commissioner about how to respect dimensions of human rights.
    I would also point out that in terms of the information that is collected and shared under this legislation, it is information that is nothing more or less than what can be found on page 2 of one's passport, which means that there is no intrusion into personal privacy as a result of this matter.
    Madam Speaker, I rise today to question the Minister of Public Safety. A few moments ago, he said that most of this issue had been discussed, that Bill C-21 had been debated previously and there is only one amendment coming from the Senate. Why does he not simply let the debate continue as it should in this House so that all members who wish to speak would have the opportunity? If it has been thoroughly discussed, surely no further members would stand to speak to it. Obviously, there are more members who have concerns and want to speak.
    The government does not want to hear the concerns from the opposition, so it has imposed time allocation. Why not let the debate unfold and collapse when members have had their chance to speak?
    Madam Speaker, we sought the consent of other parties to proceed in a reasonable way on a very technical amendment. No consent was being given by the other parties, and therefore, the time allocation procedure was brought forward.
    I would point out to the hon. gentleman that his party's official spokesman on this bill is the member for Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, who gave a very eloquent speech in this House three or four days ago saying that this legislation, including the technical amendment put in by the Senate, enjoys the complete support and confidence of the official opposition. Therefore, let us vote.

  (1055)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, we could have continued to debate that. I have a question for the minister.
    I am well aware that Canada and the United States exchange information about the people who cross the border in both directions. However, under Bill C-21, would information about illegal migrants be exchanged in the same way given that these people do not arrive at official ports of entry?
    Will the Americans be advised of the arrival in Canada of people from the United States? Is there a procedure in place for those people who have a warrant for their arrest in the United States?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, from the very beginning of the circumstances that the hon. gentleman referred to, security and safety have been the paramount concerns of the Government of Canada. I am very happy to report that through all of the difficult challenges of migration over the course of the last couple of years, Canadian officers at the border, whether they be CBSA officers or RCMP officers, have performed in an exemplary fashion. They have, in fact, ensured that every Canadian law is properly enforced and every international obligation of Canada has been properly respected.
    Madam Speaker, here we are again facing a time allocation motion. Virtually every member in this House remembers the campaign of 2015 when the Liberal candidates would adamantly declare they would end these practices of closure, time allocation and omnibus bills. On and on the promises went about what a Liberal government would do differently, yet here we are again with time allocation on a very technical amendment.
    It may be true that we agree with the amendment, but one of the things that would be helpful is that while it is important for us to do all that we can to keep Canadians safe, it would be good to know from some of our other colleagues in this House what their perceptions are as to how other democracies are handling this situation, in terms of exit and entry. Obviously our prime concern is the safety of Canadians and also the safeguarding of their personal information.
    Could my colleague comment on how he could stand before his constituents in the last election, and basically promise an end to the use of time allocation, but here we are, dozens of times later, using the same technique?
    Madam Speaker, the point the hon. gentleman is making is an interesting one.
    He says that the Conservatives agree with the technical amendment. They agree with the thrust of Bill C-21. There has been debate here, in the standing committee and in the Senate. That debate has gone on for a considerable length of time, and it does appear, at the end of that discussion, that a consensus has been arrived at and everyone is supportive of the legislation, except the member would like the debate to continue with no specified end point in sight.
    That is the problem one constantly faces with this dilemma of time allocation. Do we have debates that go on interminably with no conclusion, or when it appears that a reasonable consensus has been arrived at, do we take the necessary procedures to actually call the vote and take a decision?
    The Parliament of Canada is the most important debating society in our country, but it is more than that. It is the most important decision-making body in this country. We have had the debate. It has been reasonable. It has been extensive. Consensus has been arrived at. It is time to vote.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, today, I am once again amazed at the Liberals' attitude. Once they took office, they did exactly the opposite of what they said they would when they were on this side of the House. That includes the Minister of Public Safety, who sat on this side of the House a few years ago and criticized the Conservatives' time allocation motions.
    Was my colleague being honest at the time when he said that the government was being disrespectful to the House by moving time allocation motions, or was he misleading everyone because he knew full well that he was going to do exactly the same thing when he took office?

  (1100)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it is all a matter of reasonability in the circumstances.
    The fact of the matter is, in dealing with Bill C-21, the government has been eminently reasonable. I would say that the representatives of the opposition have spoken from the very beginning about their support for the principles of this legislation. Participation in the committee was ample and extensive. Amendments were made. Improvements were made to the legislation. The same is true in the Senate. There was a very good discussion in the Senate. There was a very key conversation about the protection of privacy and putting a limit on the time over which certain information could be retained by government agencies.
    The discussion of the substance of the bill has been thorough and constructive. Now that the House has identified a very clear consensus, the time to leap over the procedural hurdles has arrived, and the House can take a very well-informed vote on whether or not we support Bill C-21. I suspect we do, because it is in the public interest and it is a piece of legislation that has enjoyed broad support from the very beginning.
    It is my duty to interrupt the proceedings at this time and put forthwith the question on the motion now before the House.

[Translation]

    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 yeas have it.
    And five or more members having risen:
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): Call in the members.

  (1140)  

[English]

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

(Division No. 978)

YEAS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Amos
Anandasangaree
Arseneault
Arya
Ayoub
Badawey
Bagnell
Bains
Baylis
Bennett
Bibeau
Bittle
Blair
Boissonnault
Bossio
Bratina
Breton
Brison
Caesar-Chavannes
Carr
Casey (Cumberland—Colchester)
Chagger
Champagne
Cuzner
Dabrusin
Damoff
DeCourcey
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Di Iorio
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dzerowicz
Easter
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Erskine-Smith
Eyking
Eyolfson
Fergus
Fillmore
Finnigan
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fragiskatos
Fraser (West Nova)
Fraser (Central Nova)
Freeland
Fry
Fuhr
Garneau
Gerretsen
Goldsmith-Jones
Goodale
Gould
Graham
Hajdu
Hardie
Harvey
Hébert
Hehr
Hogg
Holland
Housefather
Hutchings
Iacono
Jordan
Jowhari
Khalid
Lambropoulos
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lauzon (Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation)
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lefebvre
Leslie
Levitt
Lightbound
Lockhart
Long
Longfield
Ludwig
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maloney
Massé (Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia)
May (Cambridge)
McCrimmon
McDonald
McGuinty
McKay
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod (Northwest Territories)
Mendicino
Mihychuk
Miller (Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs)
Monsef
Morneau
Morrissey
Murray
Nassif
Nault
Ng
O'Connell
Oliphant
Oliver
O'Regan
Ouellette
Paradis
Peschisolido
Peterson
Petitpas Taylor
Philpott
Picard
Poissant
Qualtrough
Ratansi
Rioux
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Rota
Ruimy
Rusnak
Sahota
Saini
Sajjan
Samson
Sangha
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Schulte
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Simms
Sohi
Sorbara
Spengemann
Tabbara
Tan
Tassi
Trudeau
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vaughan
Whalen
Wilkinson
Wilson-Raybould
Yip
Young
Zahid

Total: -- 164


NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Albas
Albrecht
Alleslev
Allison
Anderson
Angus
Arnold
Barlow
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Benson
Benzen
Bergen
Berthold
Bezan
Blaney (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis)
Boucher
Boutin-Sweet
Brassard
Brosseau
Calkins
Cannings
Carrie
Chong
Choquette
Clarke
Cooper
Davies
Deltell
Diotte
Doherty
Dreeshen
Dubé
Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona)
Dusseault
Duvall
Eglinski
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Finley
Fortin
Gallant
Garrison
Généreux
Genuis
Gladu
Godin
Gourde
Hardcastle
Hughes
Jeneroux
Johns
Kelly
Kent
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kusie
Kwan
Lauzon (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Laverdière
Leitch
Liepert
Lloyd
Lobb
Lukiwski
MacGregor
MacKenzie
Maguire
Malcolmson
Martel
Masse (Windsor West)
Mathyssen
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McColeman
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
Moore
Motz
Nantel
Nater
Nicholson
Nuttall
O'Toole
Paul-Hus
Plamondon
Poilievre
Quach
Ramsey
Rankin
Rayes
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Sansoucy
Saroya
Scheer
Schmale
Shields
Shipley
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Stetski
Strahl
Stubbs
Sweet
Tilson
Trost
Trudel
Van Kesteren
Vecchio
Viersen
Wagantall
Warawa
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Wong
Yurdiga
Zimmer

Total: -- 120


PAIRED

Members

Cormier
Pauzé

Total: -- 2


    I declare the motion carried.
    I wish to inform the House that because of the proceedings on the time allocation motion, Government Orders will be extended by 30 minutes.

[Translation]

Consideration of Senate Amendment  

    The House resumed from December 7 consideration of the motion in relation to the amendment made by the Senate to Bill C-21, an act to amend the Customs Act.
    The hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable has eight minutes remaining for his speech.
    Mr. Speaker, I have a few minutes left to talk about Bill C-21. The days go by, but not every day is the same. On Friday, when I started this speech, the debate was proceeding democratically and properly. Every member of the House who wanted to speak to this bill had an opportunity to do so. A few minutes ago, a time allocation motion was adopted. The government has once again decided to limit MPs' speaking time. My colleague from Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles is lead on Bill C-21 and we had a lot to say about it.
     I cannot understand why it took so long for the Liberals to bring it back to the House for debate. This bill was first introduced in 2016. Today, at the last minute, with just four days to go before we break for the holidays, the government decides that getting Bill C-21 passed is suddenly a national emergency and introduces a time allocation motion. Once again, it is muzzling opposition members who had some important comments to make about Bill C-21.
    Since I have the floor, I want to take this opportunity to say how much I have loved this magnificent House of Commons. This may be my last chance to speak in this chamber for the next 10 years, although I do plan to come back here when the House reopens. It is important to set goals and be optimistic. Just because this is the last time I will be giving a speech this year, it does not mean I am not planning to be here 10 years from now.
     The people of Mégantic—L'Érable have put their trust in me, and I definitely intend to keep earning their trust. I do not think a single day has passed without me thanking someone for the immense privilege of being entrusted by the people of Mégantic—L'Érable with the responsibility of representing them here on Parliament Hill.
    There is history here in the House of Commons and Parliament. Many bills have been debated here. Parliamentarians who have participated in House of Commons debates have witnessed changes in society. When members rise in the House of Commons, they must always do so with dignity. That is why we always rise respectfully, keeping in mind the men, women and young people from various communities who elected us and gave us a very clear mandate to speak on their behalf so that people across the country can share their point of view and have their say on various bills. I take this role very seriously. I tend to do this in private, but today I would like to thank the people watching and my colleagues. I would like to thank the people of Mégantic—L'Érable for granting me this amazing privilege, for giving me the extraordinary opportunity to come here bearing their messages.
    Speaking of messages, my constituents have a few to share about the Liberal government's failures in 2018. Reminding the government from time to time that it has missed the mark is one of the jobs our constituents have given us. I think the government was well wide of the mark in 2018.
    I began my speech by talking about Bill C-21 and how the government is incapable of managing its time and that of the House and parliamentarians. At the last minute, the government is imposing a time allocation motion to force us to stop speaking. It has failed on this bill, and it would not be the first time.
    I remember this government's promises and commitments to be open and transparent, to not use time allocation motions and to do politics differently. This is not different, it is worse than ever. It is just another one of the government's failures.
    The pipelines are a failure across the board. Thanks to this government, Canadians can no longer benefit from this resource and the country cannot make money even though it has the means to do so. The current crisis is a Liberal failure.

  (1145)  

    We are here today talking about missed opportunities to support Canada's energy sector because this government and the Prime Minister said himself that it was time to slowly start moving beyond oil and gas. Everyone knows full well that this will take time. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister has kept this promise and has started withdrawing Canada from the energy sector, especially the oil and gas sector.
    Border security is another failure, especially in Quebec where a large number of migrants entered Canada illegally. This government did absolutely nothing to stem the flow of illegal refugees. It is another failure.
    One of the things people talk to me about the most in Mégantic—L'Érable is the massive deficits. We remember the commitment the Prime Minister and all the Liberal MPs repeated countless times in 2015. The MPs from Quebec solemnly swore that this was the right time to borrow money to invest in infrastructure. They said there was no need to worry since they would run small deficits and we would return to a balanced budget in 2019.
    When Canadians made a choice in 2015, the Liberal candidates promised to take care of all that and quickly return to a balanced budget in 2019. The Liberals said they would only borrow a small amount, like when you use your credit card at the store and pay the bill at the end of the month. The problem is that the Liberals have been using their credit card non-stop for three years and now they are realizing they cannot afford to pay the bill at the end of the month.
    In my view, the Liberals' biggest failure has been their inability to manage our public finances and to fulfill their commitment to balance the budget in 2019. Our children and grandchildren are going to be the ones stuck paying the Liberals' credit card bill.
    Lastly, I am extremely disappointed by this time allocation motion on Bill C-21. Unfortunately, it is consistent with the Liberals' poor record when it comes to time management in the House. Once again, they have failed across the board.

  (1150)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, after listening to the Conservatives debate, one can conclude that they think that travel between Canada and the U.S. is a good thing and that this legislation would enhance that. They recognize the value of travel and trade with the U.S. It is really important to Canada's economy and the general lifestyle that Canadians expect.
    This is wonderful, positive legislation that is overdue, and yet one can easily conclude that even on legislation that the Conservatives support, they continue to demonstrate that they do not want it to pass. They talk against legislation, no matter what it is, and then wonder why the government, at times, needs to use time allocation. Indeed, the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan stood up to speak for two and a half hours on another piece of Senate legislation.
    With the spirit of Christmas upon us, would the member not acknowledge, at the very least, that if the Conservatives support legislation, they should allow it to pass? Would he not agree to a little grace—
    We have to allow for more questions.

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable.
    Madam Speaker, it is always interesting to hear the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and his rhetorical flights, since, as an opposition member, he was always so outraged about time allocation motions. He had things to say about the big bad government that was using these motions.
    This time, we agree with the government. We will support Bill C-21 and we were very proud to say so. We were pleased to be able to say that the government had done something good during its mandate. It would be implementing a proposal made by Mr. Harper's former government, which had made an agreement with Mr. Obama on the beyond the border agreement.
    Unfortunately, when we try to give positive feedback to the Liberals, they cannot take it. They are so unused to it that they shut us down. That is what Canadians should remember.

  (1155)  

    Madam Speaker, I have a question for my colleague about the exchange of information.
    I would like the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons to listen to me so that he realizes that I am speaking about the bill and that there are still things we want to look into and talk about.
    We support Bill C-21. We voted on this bill at second and third reading in the House.
    The Senate returned the bill with one amendment. However, we have other things to say because the situation has changed since the bill was first introduced in 2016.
    In 2017, a situation arose at the border following the Prime Minister's famous tweet. Therefore, today, we have questions about the exchange of information about illegal migrants. Will these people be subject to the law that is in effect? Does the bill have provisions to ensure that people who enter Canada through official ports of entry are subject to the same rules? Will the Americans be informed that these people are arriving in Canada? Do some of these people have criminal records in the U.S.? If so, the Americans may want to come looking for them and take them back.
    We could have debated these questions in the House if a time allocation motion had not been moved.
    In my opinion, these are very technical elements specific to Bill C-21.
    Does my colleague know if the government thought about that before proceeding with a final vote?
    Madam Speaker, dragging your heels is never a good idea and the Liberals have been dragging their heels on this file since 2016. We wanted to talk about it much sooner, but the government did not put the bill on the Order Paper.
    The government took its time and, as a result, here we are today at the very end of the process, and we will not be able to discuss the important things mentioned by my colleague from Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, even though the situation has changed considerably since that time.
    All it took was one ridiculous tweet from the Prime Minister, who thought he was doing a good deed and bolstering our public image by saying that everyone was welcome in Canada. He then quickly moved on to something else.
    Unfortunately, some people read that tweet and thought that Canada was welcoming them with open arms. As a result, these people thought that it was no big deal if they could not enter at a border crossing and had to find another way to enter Canada illegally.
    The “Welcome to Canada” tweet cost $1 billion. That is indeed a completely new situation, and I fully agree with my colleague from Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles. These are elements that we absolutely should have discussed in our deliberations on Bill C-21.
    Unfortunately, once again, the government refuses to allow us to discuss things that matter.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, if I understand correctly, and perhaps the member could clarify this, the Conservatives are supportive of this piece of proposed legislation, they think it is a long time coming, and they plan to vote in favour of it, yet they are overly concerned about not having enough time to speak to it.
    Could the member clarify if the ridiculousness of what I just proposed is in fact correct?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I hope my colleague opposite realizes what he just said.
    He just said it is ridiculous to speak on behalf of the people of Mégantic—L'Érable, that it is ridiculous for MPs to want to speak on behalf of their constituents. I disagree with him. In fact, I intend to speak on behalf of the people of Mégantic—L'Érable at every possible opportunity.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, further to that question, I would ask the member if there is any aspect whatsoever of the proposed legislation or amendment that the Conservative Party of Canada objects to at all. Is there any aspect of the proposed legislation that they objection to? I am talking about the content of the proposed legislation itself. Is there anything that causes concern for the Conservative Party and, if so, what?
    An hon. member: Oh, oh!
    I would remind the member for Foothills that I am sure his colleague is very well capable of answering the question and will not need any help.
    The hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, my main concern is that the government decided there is no need to talk about it any more.
    The government is not letting us speak for as long as we should be allowed to, according to the rules. That raises many other questions for me.
    Why does the government not want to hear what we have to say? As my colleague from Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles said, is it because of the unexpected problems around illegal migration? Is that why the government does not want us to talk about this any more? Is it because we raised an issue the Liberals did not anticipate when they introduced the bill? The situation is different now.
    I think the government is trying to hide things. We want to know what those things are, and we want to talk about them here in the House. That is probably why the government wants to keep us quiet. It does not want us to talk about this. It has things to hide.

  (1200)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to ask my colleague a question. He has been doing a great deal of work on this, particularly on Bill C-21.
    Earlier he referenced the costs of immigration, of the illegal border-crossers who have come across into Canada, as being $1.1 billion today. That was the answer I received from the Parliamentary Budget Officer when I wrote to him about those costs.
    Could the member indicate how Bill C-21 would help those companies that have a labour shortage in the province of Quebec? What has come across as illegal border-crossers has not found its way into the workforce. The paperwork is not being done fast enough and the government cannot identify as to whether they are legal to be in the country.
    Could the member explain a little about how the shortage of labour could be addressed, particularly in the agricultural field of he is very aware?

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable has one minute to respond.
    Madam Speaker, one minute can be a lot, but not in comparison with the time we could have spent answering questions if it were not for the time allocation motion.
    I want to thank my colleague for his excellent work on the foreign workers file and the labour shortage in agriculture.
    We would like to make things easier for those who want to come work in Canada. We want to simplify the process. However, there are rules to follow. Illegal border crossings create a backlog in the system and make it very hard to find labourers and ensure that those who want to come here to work have access to the officials they need when they need them. It is almost impossible.
    There are solutions, but unfortunately we will be unable to propose any today because the government decided to cut off our speaking time.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to speak to this important bill.
     Before I do that, given this is probably the last time I will get to rise in this chamber before we recess and move to West Block, I would like to take the opportunity to say what an honour and a privilege it has been for me to come here and represent the people of Kingston and the Islands and to be their voice in this place.
     For the next 10 years or so, we will be in a different chamber. This one in particular holds a great degree of history. I and the other 337 MPs are extremely humbled, including the member for Durham who is heckling me right now, to have the opportunity to come here and debate in this chamber. What a privilege and absolute honour it has been.
    I will talk a little about the bill today, where I see the importance of the bill and why it is important to support the amendment. Then perhaps I will touch a bit on where the questions left off, and that was with respect to the time allocation specifically.
    I am happy to support the legislative amendment proposed in Bill C-21, which aims to provide higher and greater clarity on the amendments made in the House to limit the data retention period under the bill to 15 years.
     We all understand the importance of collecting basic biographic information on people entering Canada: who they are, where they are from and how long they will be staying. However, it is also good security practice to keep track of travellers who leave the country. In this regard, Canada has fallen behind best practices of our world counterparts when it comes to security.
     In fact, Canada collects information only on a small subset of people who leave the country. This means that at any given moment, with no means of identifying precisely who is exiting our country, we cannot know if dangerous persons may be leaving Canada to escape justice. Nor, for example, do we know whether we are expending valuable time and money trying to track down someone who has been ordered to leave Canada when that individual might have already left the country on his or her own. It is clear that having this obvious security gap, Canada needs to catch up with the rest of the world.
     Let us be clear about what we would be collecting in terms of data. Canadians would only have to provide basic data, such as the traveller's full name, nationality, date of birth, gender and time and place of his or her border crossing. Travellers are already showing this information to airline personnel to verify their identity before boarding a flight. However, the information is currently not given to immigration officials. If Bill C-21 is passed, airlines will collect that information from those departing Canada and immediately share it with U.S. customs and border patrol agents who will then use it as entry data.
    The experience for travellers flying to and from the United States will not change. It is extremely important to highlight the fact that this is not about making the process for coming in and out of a country more cumbersome. Rather, it is to ensure it remains seamless and in a fashion to which we are accustomed to, while at the same time gathering the necessary information that could be useful to law enforcement and border security in the present day and future.
    Currently Canadians provide this information to other countries when they travel internationally. This information is not extensive and does not include other characteristics about the individual, such as those related to religion or ethnicity, so there is no chance they will be used for activities such as profiling. The only other information that will be collected will be the location and time of departure and flight number, in the case of people who are leaving by air. This is the same information that is collected from people when they enter Canada. It is nothing new and no new information will be collected.
    To drive this point a little further, I will refer to the testimony of Canada's Privacy Commissioner before the parliamentary committees in both chambers. In the House committee, the commissioner said that the information requested was not particularly sensitive, especially in light of public policy objectives it aimed to address. In the Senate committee, the commissioner indicated that he was satisfied with the degree of consultation that had taken place between his office and the government.

  (1205)  

    The Government of Canada is aware that Canadians place respect for their privacy among their top priorities. The collaboration between CBSA and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada in the design and implementation of the entry/exit initiative has been extensive with respect to protecting privacy rights.
    I will mention another way that the Government of Canada has listened to Canadians through consultations.
    Canadians told us that they wanted more transparency and accountability when it came to safety and security activities. We are listening and we are moving ahead with a set of initiatives that will bring a brand new level of transparency and accountability to information gathering and sharing, including as it pertains to cross-border activities. What this means is that when Canadians trust us to share their personal information, they will not have to worry that their rights, freedoms or privacy will be infringed upon.
    I will go back to the mechanics of Bill C-21 and how the entry/exit will work.
    For example, people crossing the shared border by land when entering one country, the passport information that is swiped on entry will automatically be sent to the country they have just left. In this way, one country's entry is the other country's exit and vice-versa. The exchange will take place through the existing secure electronic channel between Canada and the U.S., the same system that is used to transfer information between Canada and the U.S. under NEXUS, FAST and the enhanced driver's licence programs.
    For air travellers, entry/exit would require no new exchange of information between nations as this information would come directly from airline passenger manifests. To obtain an exit record in the air mode for example, the CBSA would receive electronic passenger manifests directly from air carriers, with information on all passengers scheduled to depart Canada aboard outbound international flights. This information would be received up to 72 hours prior to departure to facilitate the identification of known high-risk travellers attempting to leave Canada by air.
    This is just one of the many ways that Bill C-21 would help the CBSA deal with threats, threats that in many cases it currently lacks the tools to address.
    For threats originating outside Canada, the CBSA uses a system called “Lookouts” to identify persons or shipments that may pose a threat to Canada. Lookouts are based on information in the CBSA's possession or what may come from security organizations or networks.
    While lookouts are effective for identifying inbound threats, the absence of exit information means they are not effective in identifying outbound threats. In a global threat environment, with dangerous individuals travelling abroad to join extremist organizations or engaging in human trafficking, collecting reliable exit information has never been more vital.
    It is essential that we equip the CBSA with the statutory authority to collect the same information on outbound travellers as it does on inbound ones. In today's world, clear and complete exit information is not a "nice to have" but a must, to ensure the security of democracies like Canada.
    Furthermore, the changes would allow the Canada Border Services Agency, the CBSA, to share the information it collects with Employment and Social Development Canada, the ESDC, for the purpose of enforcing the Employment Insurance Act and the Old Age Security Act. By tracking people's movements in and out of the country, ESDC officials have said that it would save $50 million a year on fraudulent payments.
    In addition, the changes will also increase security at the border, not change the border-crossing experience for Canadians.
    With that, I would encourage all my colleagues in the House to support the legislation.
    Speaking perhaps a bit to the second part of this was the requirement for time allocation. It is ironic that I concluded by saying I would encourage all of my colleagues to support the legislation in the House, when I know that a vast majority of people in the House will support it.
    The reason why we had to put time allocation in place this morning, despite the fact that there would be wide-spread support for the legislation, was this. Despite the fact that this is a bill that is right up the Conservatives' alley, a bill that by default just about any Conservative out there would support, the Conservatives nonetheless are forcing the government to put time allocation in place just for the simple point that they do not want any legislation to pass through the House. The Conservatives have actively been doing this time after time, dragging members into the House to stand up and vote on time allocation motions when they know they are going to vote for this.

  (1210)  

    I asked a question before of another member about the fact that this was getting a bit ludicrous. He insisted that he needed to speak on behalf of his constituents. Absolutely, that is a fundamental right that he has in coming to this place and he should exercise that right at every opportunity. However, the reality of the situation is that this bill started in this chamber and went through the reading process and the committee process. Then it came back from committee and we had a vote on it. It went over to the Senate and went through the exact same democratic process there. The Senate made a minor amendment to the bill and the bill came back here.
     I have not heard any members from the opposition speak to what that amendment is. Presumably they already had the opportunity to speak to the bill in its original form before it went to the Senate. What I would like to see is some Conservative members stand up and talk for 20 minutes about the administrative and legislative amendment that came from the Senate. That would be nice to see, but of course, they are not interested in doing that. What they are interested in is just burning as much time as possible so that they can force the government into having to put time allocation on a piece of legislation that is so widely supported in this chamber.
    Regarding the comments that were made by my colleague from Winnipeg when he was in opposition as a member of the third party and some of the stuff that he said back then, the circumstances could not have been more different. The Conservatives brought in legislation and specifically targeted the ability of members to speak, and prevented members from speaking by putting time allocation almost immediately on pieces of legislation.
    What we are seeing here is something that is completely different. This is a piece of legislation that has already gone through the democratic process in this chamber, and has gone through the same in the Senate, and then has come back here and is being held up by the Conservatives. All the Conservatives care about is just making sure that absolutely no objective of this government can move forward.
    When Canadians have the opportunity to actually have a look at what is going on in this place, I am sure that many of them will be ashamed of the fact that members of Her Majesty's loyal opposition use every opportunity that they can to stop any progress on any legislation, including legislation that they overwhelmingly support, as we have been hearing through the various different phases of this piece of legislation moving back and forth between both chambers.
    It has been an honour to talk to this piece of legislation again. I did have an opportunity the first time it came through. I look forward to any questions that my colleagues have for me.

  (1215)  

    Mr. Speaker, my thanks to the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands for speaking to Bill C-21, the Custom Act, for the second time. As his riding is on the lake, its history is based on Canada's relationship with the U.S. Fort Henry, which is located there, recognizes that at times we did not trust our southern neighbours.
    There is a proud military heritage in Kingston. I know this well from my time at RMC. I am sure the hon. member does as well, because this week the military community was shocked when he tried to use the Vimy Officers' Mess for a political event with the Prime Minister. He is likely, in response to my question, going to acknowledge regret for that decision and I am glad he withdrew that event.
    With respect to Bill C-21, the Conservatives support this measure largely and the clarity from the Senate amendment. Perhaps the member could respond to the comments made in 2011 by the current Minister of Public Safety. In talking about entry and exit sharing with the United States, he asked, “Could the Prime Minister at least guarantee minimum gains for Canada?”
     If we accede to this long-standing American demand for entry and exit, let us at least see something positive back. We have seen nothing positive from the Canada-U.S. relationship under the Liberal government, starting with President Obama and the cancellation of Keystone to the imposition of tariffs, to a bad NAFTA deal. What did we get in return for the common entry and exit system expressed in Bill C-21?
    Mr. Speaker, I will answer the last part of that first. What we get in return is our ability to make sure we are proactively taking care of our borders and can monitor people as they are leaving 72 hours in advance so we can properly respond to any particular threats. This is something I would assume the member of the Conservative Party would understand wholeheartedly and agree with, given the member's position on law and order.
    He asked me to comment on comments by another member from this House which were made in 2011. Seven years ago I was the mayor of Kingston. To be completely honest, I apologize if I should have been paying closer attention to what other people in other legislatures were saying at the time, but I was not quite following that. I do not believe I would be in the best position to comment on somebody else's comments. However, that would be a great question for that particular individual.
    This is just underscoring what I was saying in the latter part of my speech. The Conservatives want to support this legislation, but they want to drag it as slowly as possible through the legislative process so they can somehow score a political point several months from now and say that the government was forced to put this through or that the government imposed time allocation a number of times, as if people are really going to resonate with that.
    I would suggest that the Conservatives should really take the opportunity to speak to the legislation specifically, and very specifically to what is coming back from the Senate, because I continue to not hear any of that from the other side.
    Mr. Speaker, I agree with many of my colleague's comments regarding the Conservatives' approach to legislation. Whether they support or oppose it, they never want to see decisions and votes occur. They go out of their way to try to prevent the government from moving its agenda forward, which is unfortunate.
    I ask my colleague to comment on the importance of this legislation for travel and trade between Canada and the U.S. It is of the utmost importance for Canada's middle class and those aspiring to be a part of it, and the impact it would have on Canada. This is good, positive legislation which is universally being received quite positively. Why is it that we need to have this debate go on indefinitely? If it was up to the Conservatives, it would not come to a vote for another year, and then they would criticize us for taking so long to have it come to a vote.

  (1220)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am sure it will come as no surprise that I agree with the member for Winnipeg North. Yes, that is exactly what is happening here. This is why the debate is derailing into a debate about time allocation. It seems the only thing the Conservatives can really say is, “Give us more time to talk. You are not giving us our democratic rights.”
    This is a great tug on the heart kind of talk that comes from them, but in reality, they do not want to talk about the actual legislation because they overwhelmingly support it. They have nothing to say about the legislation, especially nothing critical. What we have systematically seen them do is stall this House by forcing time allocation. They force the government into a position where it has to use time allocation. What does that do? It disrupts everything else in this place. Think about the committees that get disrupted when members have to be pulled out. Think about the witnesses who have been flown across the country and from other parts of the world to speak at these committees who are now literally sitting in an empty committee room because this government is put in a position where the only way it can put forward legislation is by bringing in a time allocation motion which, in effect, is being forced by the Conservatives.
    Mr. Speaker, I have been listening to the member for Kingston and the Islands make his argument that the Conservatives do not support pieces of legislation and therefore we speak against them. The argument from the government caucus is we sound angry or mean, and we do not agree with all the wonderful things the Liberals want to do. When members of the official opposition want to stand and give kudos to the government, the Liberals are also telling us we should not be standing and giving them credit for doing something that is actually correct in this instance. It seems absolutely ridiculous. The Liberals would be happiest if we never stood in the House at all and just stayed mute.
    I do not have a question, just a comment on how ridiculous the argument of the member for Kingston and the Islands is, that we should not give the government credit for doing something that we agree with. When members have confidence in a bill and have shared their concerns with constituents, they should be given credit where credit is due. Sometimes we stand in this place and criticize the government heavily for what it is doing.
    To add to what the member said about the poor government House leader having to impose time allocation, I weep for the schedule she has to put together and the difficulty she has to manage the schedule to ensure that the government's business gets done. It might come as a news flash, but it is not the job of the official opposition to simply stand aside and make it easy for the Liberals to ram through legislation and to use time allocation when it is convenient for them. It is our job to stand in the House and speak on behalf of our constituents, and at times criticize the government or give credit where credit is due.
    This is just a commentary on how ridiculous the argument has been so far, especially on the process side of things. We agree on the contents of the legislation. Any member in the House who wants to stand and speak to it should be allowed to do so without the ridiculous criticism coming from the member.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member very much for his congratulatory remarks. I will be sure to use them in my upcoming householder. It is great to see Conservatives offering congratulatory remarks to this side of the House.
    My point is not that the opposition should never talk. Obviously, one of the best tools the opposition has is the ability to delay process. That is a great tool for an opposition party to have. In fact, it is probably the most powerful tool it has.
    The problem is when members use it systematically on every piece of legislation. What ends up happening is we see every single piece of legislation being slowed down just out of spite. Their ability to use that tool would be so much more effective if they chose wisely when to use it and when not to use it.
    My humble advice to opposition members would be that a good time not to use it is when they are fully supportive of the legislation.

  (1225)  

[Translation]

Message from the Senate

    Resuming debate. The hon. member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles.

Consideration of Senate Amendment  

    The House resumed consideration of the motion.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent. Our debate has not been very fruitful since this morning. I want to remind the House of certain facts about Bill C-21. Bill C-21 authorizes the Canada Border Services Agency to collect and receive biographical information on travellers leaving Canada. The act will authorize officers to require goods being exported from Canada to be reported, despite any exemptions, and will give them the power to examine those goods.
    The Prime Minister first announced an agreement with the United States to implement a system for sharing basic biographical information in March 2016, after his first official visit to the U.S.
     Currently, under the beyond the border action plan, the two countries collect and share biographical information on third-country nationals and lawful permanent residents at land ports of entry. Data on entry to one country serve as a record of exit from the other.
    On November 21, on the matter that concerns us today, the Senate committee heard from Daniel Therrien, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, about the bill's general intention and the amendment adopted by the House of Commons. Mr. Therrien had this to say about the bill: “I am generally satisfied that this border management issue is based on important public policy objectives and the personal information in question is not particularly sensitive.”
    As for the amendment, Mr. Therrien pointed out that, for greater legal certainty, section 93.1 should be amended to state that the data collected under sections 92 and 93 should be retained by the agency for a maximum of 15 years.
    However, we should not forget that the former Conservative government negotiated the beyond the border action plan, which includes a provision on sharing entry and exit data with the United States. At the time, given the political concerns about privacy, we decided not to give effect to this legislative measure just before the election. However, this provision deals with longstanding Conservative priorities for border security and compliance with benefit programs.
    Our border services need to have the tools to keep Canadians safe. Frankly, our law enforcement services all need the tools to do their jobs, but the current Prime Minister's government is needlessly compromising Canadians' safety. As long as this Prime Minister continues carrying out his reckless ideas, Canadians will have good reason to be concerned. Allow me to give some examples.
    Under the current Prime Minister, we are seeing a problem at the border. This is something we raise often, but the government claims the opposite. However, I can confirm that right now, the time to conduct a security screening on the illegal migrants crossing into Canada has gone from the standard eight hours to just two hours. In addition, there is no government directive for border officers regarding the new ways to manage the influx of visitors coming to Canada with marijuana. Once again, the government says that we need to stop debating, that we should help the government move forward instead of standing in the way. The thing is, there is a reason we are standing in the way. We have valid questions.
    Problems often arise after the debate and implementation of bills that the government rams down our throats, like Bil C-45 on marijuana. We then point out that we told the government so. The government refused to accept some of the amendments proposed by the Senate and now there are problems. Right now, border services officers are having to deal with those problems, as are police officers, who are having trouble detecting whether drivers have used drugs.
    Let us come back to the matter of illegal migrants. Every time we ask a question about this issue, the Liberals say that we are racist or xenophobic. This has absolutely nothing to do with the race of the people who are coming to Canada. I believe that anyone who illegally crosses our border is an illegal migrant, regardless of his or her origin or colour. This has nothing to do with racism or xenophobia. That needs to stop. It is a dangerous game. The government is accusing us of playing a dangerous game when it is the one doing so by saying things that make no sense.
    The problem is that the Prime Minister created a situation with his infamous tweet, even though the members opposite say that is not true. It is fairly easy to see that people are coming to Canada in response to what the Prime Minister said.
    The government set up a camp to welcome migrants in Lacolle. Yes, it is important to welcome people, even if they are in Canada illegally. We are responsible people after all. We can agree on that.

  (1230)  

    However, the Liberals grossly mismanaged the situation. They set up a camp and expanded it. They set up infrastructure to receive 500 people a day. It is a nice facility with all the equipment and everything needed to do things properly.
    However, this year, the camp expanded tremendously. There was room to take in 3,000 people. The Saint-Bernard hotel was even part of the security perimeter. The Government of Canada sent a cheque to the hotel owner, who must have left on vacation for a year since the rooms that were rented are empty and no one is staying there.
    There is a steady flow of migrants every day and we are spending tens of millions of dollars in Lacolle. The Parliamentary Budget Officer pegged the cost at $1.1 billion. In the meantime, the government is not fixing the problem, it is not taking a position and telling these people to stop coming here illegally.
    We are not asking questions just for the fun of being obstructionist. On the contrary, we want to resolve this issue. I have been here for three years. Whether in committee or in the House, our questions always serve to advance matters, not obstruct them.
    The member for Kingston and the Islands accused us of throwing a wrench into the works, but they are the ones who are doing a bad job and messing everything up. They have botched everything including Bill C-45.
    I would like to see a bit more maturity in the House, and I would like people to make sense when they are talking to MPs on this side of the House.
    We also need to talk about the UN global compact for migration. Once again, members over here have been clear, we have taken the time to do things properly, we have assessed the situation and reviewed this much-touted compact. My party's immigration critic was on the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. Nothing made sense. The fact that the Prime Minister told the world Canada is good and is going to help them solve their problems is just a lot of hype, just for show.
    Once again, we were practically accused of being bad, racist, right-wing or even extreme right-wing people for being against this. In the end, 34 countries—countries that matter—refused to sign the compact.
    This morning, a former UN lawyer and current Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada lawyer published a very clear letter in Le Devoir setting out very specific facts that show that this is far-fetched. That is the word that the author uses at the end of the piece. We must not sign the global compact because it does not hold water. It is nonsense.
    This is just like the government. From the start, for three years, all this government has cared about is improving its image and doing whatever it wants, like tweeting that it is sending $50 million to South Africa and that it is all good because the suckers in Canada will foot the bill.
    Do we ask this kind of question just to block the system or for the fun of it? No. We are responsible people. We are seeing what is happening and we are asking questions appropriate to the circumstances.
    Many of the 38,000 people who crossed the border illegally will experience hardship. That is obvious. There are families, particularly Haitian families, who were in the United States and got a scare. They were told to come to Canada, but now they are being told that they do not have the right to claim asylum here. The tweet sent in 2017 was just a joke, just for show. However, people are bringing their children with them and they will have to go back, not to the United States but to Haiti. Do the Liberals see how complicated this situation is and how much hardship this will inflict on people over the years?
    All that to say that we supported Bill C-21. However, it is not a futile exercise to continue to debate it, to ask questions and to make improvements when circumstances change. The government needs to stop laughing at the opposition. As I already mentioned, the opposition has not raised many issues over the past three years that did not turn out to be true and important.

  (1235)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, to my mind, this legislation is important. My understanding is that along with his Conservative colleagues, the member across the way is supportive of the legislation and the amendment. I would ask my colleague to provide his thoughts on the importance of the passage of the legislation because of what I and many believe would be the positive outcomes of pre-clearance. It would ensure better two-way travel and trade between Canada and the United States, a country we have a long, positive history with. This legislation would enhance travel and trade, from which all of Canada would benefit directly or indirectly. It is good that the legislation will ultimately pass and receive royal assent not too far in the future. Would the member not agree?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    Yes, it is important. It was the Conservatives who initiated the protocol at the time, and we were also the ones who implemented it. However, we were unable to continue because of the election. We recognize the importance of the bill. We have even voted to support it.
    The fact remains that we have reached a certain stage in the legislative process for our debates in the House of Commons. We believe that certain points still need clarification, as reflected in my question regarding the illegal border crossers. Will they be subject to the law that will be in effect? Will information on these individuals be shared with the Americans? Those are the kinds of questions that have been raised based on the new information.
    Things have evolved since 2016, and now we cannot even talk about them anymore. We have to shut down debate. After that, procedures will have to be initiated, and it could take years to resolve things that could be resolved right now.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, based on his considerable knowledge and command of this file, I am wondering if my colleague could give us an overview as to what some of the other Commonwealth countries, such as the U.K., Australia and New Zealand, are doing in regard to these kinds of initiatives. Could the member just give us a little image of what that might look like?
    The other concern that has been raised a number of times is the 40,000 illegal border crossers, migrants who have come into Canada in the last number of years. Certainly, this is a cause for great concern for many of my constituents, along with, as my colleague commented, the global compact that we are signing. Many of us on this side of the House have housed refugees in our homes. We care for refugees. We want to care for legitimate refugees. However, we are concerned about the misuse of some of these options that people are taking advantage of.
    Could my colleague comment? Does this bill do anything at all to increase the likely safety of those who are crossing our borders illegally in Quebec and Manitoba?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his excellent question.
    There are many facets to his question on the management of migration around the world. Australia takes a strong stance on this matter, as do many European countries. We must take a stance with respect to our sovereignty. Do we exercise our sovereignty and decide for ourselves how we will welcome people, so that our immigration is orderly? A decision must be made on this.
    With respect to Bill C-21, we do not currently have an answer for how to fix the problem of illegal migrants. Are the 38,000 people who illegally crossed the Canadian border from the United States entered into the system in the same way as a law-abiding citizen who drives to Old Orchard for the weekend? Law-abiding citizens do exist. This is similar to the debate on firearms, in that it is always the law-abiding citizens who have to follow the rules. When something out of the ordinary happens, it is an exception, and this exception is often not managed or mismanaged. Bill C-21 does not currently address this issue.

  (1240)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-21. I thank my colleague from Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles for sharing his time with me. He just gave a very enlightening speech about the context of this bill. Questions remain and, unfortunately, we will not be able to provide the detailed answers that taxpayers expect because the government has decided to invoke a form of closure to limit the time we have to debate this bill.
    This bill is about what to do when people decide to cross the U.S. border. In a way, it seeks to tighten up our system and also to provide much greater security and authority to the people who verify that those crossing the border are doing so in a legal and regular manner in order to protect citizens.
    This seems extremely important when we know that, now more than ever, people are travelling from one country to another multiple times a year thanks to globalization. This is not a problem for us. It is fine and normal. We even encourage it. However, it means we need much more security than 50 years ago, when far fewer people were crossing borders around the world.
    It is therefore entirely appropriate for our border officers to be better equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century, especially those we are facing today.
    All this is consistent with the reasoning that led to the first agreement on this specific file between the former U.S. administration and the former Canadian government. This agreement, which was known as beyond the border, was jointly signed by President Barack Obama and the Right Honourable Prime Minister Stephen Harper. It laid the groundwork for a new approach to the cross-border travel process that was mutually more responsible.
    It was followed by an agreement signed by the then minister of public safety, my colleague from Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, that sought to increase the number of border crossings and preclearance centres, particularly in Canadian airports and train stations. Not to get too partisan about this, but the momentum started under the previous government and continued under this government during the current Prime Minister's widely reported state visit to the White House, where he met President Barack Obama.
    This bill, which was actually tabled quite a long time ago, on June 15, 2016, formalized the arrangements that had been agreed upon during the Canadian Prime Minister's state visit to the Obama White House. The reasoning was the same, to ensure that everything goes smoothly.
    This bill introduces measures that will enable our border services officers, wherever they are located, to do background checks on people who want to come here and Canadian citizens who want to cross the border, which we think makes perfect sense.
    However, as the member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles so eloquently said, the devil is in the details. That is why we need to be thorough in our analysis of any given bill. That is why we are so bitterly disappointed that the government is once again using closure to limit debate on this bill. This is not the first time; sadly, it is unlikely to be the last.
    Three years ago, the Liberals got themselves elected on a promise to do politics differently. They said they would not introduce 800-page omnibus bills, yet we recently voted on an 800-page bill. They promised they would not do anything to cut into members' speaking time. Naturally, as they were saying those things, they were also being sharply critical of the previous government. As it turns out, they did exactly the same thing.
    Let me be very clear. If, by chance, Canadians place their trust in us on October 21, 2019, and I know they will, we might occasionally need to resort to these particular measures. We, however, would not be so dishonest and hypocritical as to tell Canadians that we would never do that, as the Liberals did three years ago. There may be times when we need to use these measures to give effect to certain laws.

  (1245)  

    Speaking of details, let's get right into the details on the subject of marijuana. As we know, as of October 17, Canada is unfortunately the only G7 country that has legalized marijuana. The debate was rushed. Everyone knows our position on that topic. We respect democracy, but just because the House voted in favour of legalization does not mean that we just happen to suddenly support it. It was wrong, but it is a done deal. The only thing I have to admit is that at least it is something the government had promised to do. It also promised to do a good many other things that it failed to do. For instance, it promised not to use too many time allocation motions or to introduce omnibus bills, and it promised to run small deficits and balance the budget in 2019. It did not keep those promises. What it did do, however, was legalize marijuana.
    What effect will the legalization of marijuana have on Bill C-21? We do not know. We do not know because when we ask very specific, very pointed questions, they tell us that they will make adjustments. What we want is a clear answer.
    What happens to people who cross the border after consuming marijuana?
    What should people who have marijuana on them do when asking to cross the border?
    What about people who consumed marijuana two weeks ago but who still have traces of it in their blood?
    That is the reality. Among the host of incongruous situations brought about by this legalization, there is the fact that police are unable to properly determine whether an individual is under the influence because traces can remain in the blood for a long time even if the effect does not manifest itself.
    I am getting off topic a little with marijuana, but the reality is that Bill C-21 does not fully address the issues and does not provide enough details, which could have been provided in a fulsome debate in the House. Unfortunately, our time is limited.
    A second point has to do with those much-talked-about illegal refugees who are crossing the border. I use the word “illegal” because it is written, in black and white, on a sign at the entrance to Roxham Road, that it is illegal to enter the country. Members opposite keep telling us that the crossings are not illegal, but irregular. No. They are illegal. It is right there in black and white.
    We are not the only ones who think this. The Canadian government employees who created that sign think so too. The Government of Quebec has also confirmed that this is illegal immigration. A news release from a few weeks ago, after the meeting between Premier Legault and Premier Ford, stated in black and white that they had concerns about illegal immigration.
    Is the use of this word surprising? Absolutely not. Since when can someone cross into a country on a small, well-trodden wooded path when there is a giant sign stating it is illegal to cross? The only people in Canada who disagree are current Liberal members, and this does not honour our country, our tradition and our exceptionally good history of welcoming others, including immigrants. I have never made it a secret that my parents came to Canada 60 years ago.
    This is a terrible message to send to the world. We are telling people who want to come to Canada, enrich our country and enjoy the full Canadian experience to come in illegally by that small country road, because if they join the queue like everybody else and follow the rules, they will be stuck waiting for years and years. If they go through Roxham Road, they will have no problems.
    That is not the right signal to send. Let us not forget that this whole fiasco started with an ill-advised tweet that the Prime Minister posted two years ago in January. This tweet alarmed our diplomats, including those at Canada's embassy in Mexico. They were traumatized and did not know how to respond to the flood of requests prompted by the Prime Minister's tweets. The government had to get the current Minister of Canadian Heritage and the member for Bourassa to rush down there and say to people, wait a second, just because we are opening the border, that does not mean everyone is welcome, and to warn them that they could be sent back, which is in fact what happened. Of the 40,000 people who entered the country illegally, nearly two-thirds were sent back.
    In closing, we agree with the principle of Bill C-21, but sadly, the devil is in the details. Without details, we cannot get into the nitty-gritty of these issues, because the government has issued a gag order.

  (1250)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague talked about the inability to get into a full debate on this particular topic. At the same time, he talked about how this particular legislation was introduced by the previous government, so he obviously knows a lot about it.
    This bill has been debated in this chamber already. It has gone through committee, has come back to this chamber and has gone over to the Senate, through the Senate committee and back to the Senate. It has now returned here with some minor amendments. I wonder if the member can enlighten me on what it is, specifically, about those amendments coming back from the Senate he is concerned about being able to discuss at great length.
    Mr. Speaker, I welcome the question from my colleague from Kingston. I am sure everyone remembers one of the greatest members of Parliament, the hon. Flora MacDonald. She was one of the greatest ministers of external affairs.
    I would like to remind members that in 1979 and 1980, when Madam MacDonald was minister in the Right Hon. Joe Clark's government, she had to address one of the most difficult issues in international affairs when our country saved the lives of six American diplomats who were held hostage during the Iran crisis. Thanks to the Right Hon. Joe Clark, and thanks to the hon. Flora MacDonald, from Kingston, we had one of our greatest hours in Canadian history.

[Translation]

    I would like to come back to the question asked by my colleague from Kingston and the Islands.
    Our government did launch those initiatives, but when we were in office, the borders were being respected. We did not have 40,000 people coming into Canada via Roxham Road as though nothing were amiss. When we were in office, we did not legalize marijuana. These two new issues were created entirely by the Liberal government and now Canadians have to deal with them. The Conservative Party did not create these problems, and that is why we are being so insistent. The devil is in the details.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, before the marijuana bill was passed, we were very proud of holding a Canadian passport when crossing the border. However, now, when one gets to the border, the first question the Americans ask is whether one possesses or has taken marijuana or has traded in or done business with it. That is what the Liberal government has put us through. Crossing the border is no longer an easy job.
    It is important that we give the right tools to the border services officers, yet it is important that we, as Conservatives, hold the government accountable for the bill's implementation. I would ask my colleague to shed more light on how we can hold the Liberals accountable.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to pay my respects to my hon. colleague from the province of British Columbia. She is doing a tremendous job on behalf of her constituents, and I am very proud to be a member of her caucus.
    The question is quite clear. Unfortunately, since the election of the current government, we have had to address two major international crises when going to another country. First is the fact that the government has accepted people coming to us in an illegal way. Second is marijuana legalization.
    It is very tough for us as Canadians, because as the hon. member said so clearly, the Canadian passport is one of the most precious things we can have as citizens. It is very well recognized around the world, thanks to our great history and our great people, but now, under the new rules of the Liberals, who have tabled the legislation to legalize marijuana, it more difficult for us to cross the border. We can thank the government for that.

  (1255)  

    Mr. Speaker, the amendment before us today would change Bill C-21 by amending proposed subsection 93(1) to clarify that the data collected under proposed sections 92 and 93 would be retained by the agency for a period of no more of 15 years maximum.
     I would like to spend the remainder of my time discussing the implications of a 15-year period, given that this is the amendment that we are discussing today and the fact that in a few short days this chamber that we are currently in will likely be closed for a period of 15 years or so. For many of us, this will be the last time we get a chance to speak in this place. In assessing the impact of a 15-year period, let us review how much has changed since parliamentarians rose in this place in 2003.
    The member for Calgary Forest Lawn was only in his second term. Many of our colleagues did not carry smart phones; they actually had go back to their offices to check their messages and email and to make some phone calls perhaps. Google still competed with AltaVista as a search engine and, Mr. Speaker, I believe if you looked at the faces of the pages right now in front of you, they would be slightly confused as to what we were talking about. YouTube did not exist, Facebook did not exist, and Twitter did not exist. For our colleagues 15 years ago, responding to news cycles involved reading headlines and watching the morning news, consulting with experts and thought leaders during the day for a few hours, and sending a written statement before a deadline. Fifteen years ago this month, I wrote my last exam for my undergraduate degree.
    Therefore, what words of wisdom do I have for parliamentarians who will occupy this place 15 years hence, and what do we need to do to keep this place relevant over the next 15 years? When we look at the things I have just talked about, our world has fundamentally changed in a 15-year period, and across different flavours of government we in this place have a propensity to move way too slowly. In preparation for this speech, I was looking at the Hansard from November 2003, and what was really startling to see was that a lot of the issues we are debating today are very similar in form and concept to those that were being debated in 2003. Now the news cycle does not move in nine-hour increments, but in one-second increments. The economy has fundamentally changed and I want to talk about that in a second too.
    When I look at where we need to be in 15 years, we are almost 15 years behind. We need to start looking in Parliament, and do this across party lines, at things like data and privacy in a much more robust way, which I am not even sure we have political lines to discuss yet. I look at things like China's social credit system and the fact that a government like it is using a ubiquitous form of technology to give scores to its citizens that will determine if they can be employed or travel. Then I look at my own smart phone and I wonder how much of my privacy I give up daily. We are advertized to because we give consent to release our data in ways that we often do not realize. It is not just about advertising. It is about knowing where we are and knowing what we might do in our spare time and using that for advertizing or for other nefarious purposes.
    We have not, as a Parliament, really started to think about the implications of that for our pluralistic society. Indeed, we might not be able to regulate these issues because things change so quickly. How can Parliament address this over the next 15 years? I am concerned about that. As parliamentarians, we probably need to start talking about the value of data rather than just looking at a regulatory approach. That does tie into this bill as well, but what concerns me is that as a Parliament we are just not there.
    I watched the U.S. congressional hearing of Mark Zuckerberg some time ago, where, in one of the questions, he was asked about email. There was just no connection between the reality of the data breach that was alleged to have occurred and legislators' knowledge of the context in which we are operating. Therefore, I hope that in a 15-year period we would start getting this right, because data and the transfer of data and how it is used is affecting every aspect of Canada.

  (1300)  

    That brings me to the next point. I hope we can get our act together on the economy in Canada. The way the economy is operating is fundamentally changing. Someone who is entering the workforce is not going to have the same paradigm that you and I, Mr. Speaker, did when we entered the economy. For a lot of people 18 and under, the reality is that full-time work in one job might not be available to them. Many people today work in the gig economy, driving Ubers, doing a little stint with Instacart during the day, or small contract work as opposed to sustained long-term work over time.
    What does this mean for home ownership? What will home ownership even look like in 15 years? Does it exist in Canada? How do we ensure that people have opportunities to participate in the economy and that we are do not see income disparity growing over time? How do we sustain a middle class as the economy changes? These are things that deficit spending and small tweaks to the tax code are not going to address, because the economy has fundamentally changed and is fundamentally shifting. That reality is something I never hear us talk about here.
    In 15 years, I hope we will have started to take this issue seriously and will not be looking at it with a regulatory approach, with government becoming even more onerous and ubiquitous and more entrenched in society. Rather, we need to focus on how we can allow people to prosper and innovate as the economy changes, which we should not necessarily see as either a good or bad thing, but just something that is happening that we need to adapt to in order to make sure that people can still prosper as we go forward. This is something we have not spent a lot of time discussing in this place, and I hope that we do in the future.
    I also hope that we start looking pretty seriously at Canada's role in the world. Times have changed. Our relationship with the United States is not what it once was. We are seeing the heads of major global powers rearing, which could lead to some pretty serious instability over time. We have to ask a very difficult question: How do we maintain our country's sovereignty? We have to start taking that question very seriously. I do not think we are equipped to defend ourselves as a country. We need to do a better job in this place at really taking that seriously, understanding that procurement of military assets is not something that can be led by bureaucrats over a 20-year period who fail to deliver results when there are very real threats to our sovereignty, including in the north, with regard to trading relationships, and getting caught in the middle of disputes between large powers.
     If in 15 years time we have not figured that out, we are going to have a major problem on our hands. I do see the world changing in that dynamic, and it is not for the better. We have to be prepared to stand strong and true if we are going to stand strong and free. That means that we really have to think about that. It also means that if we do believe in multilateralism, we do not allow these multilateral organizations around the world to dictate our policy without their being tasked for reform.
    Many of our multilateral organizations 15 years ago were starting to their efficacy fall away from their original purposes when they were put into place after the great wars. I am concerned about where our country will be in 15 years time if we do not start pushing the status quo and some of the sacred cows associated with the United Nations, the European Union, NATO and other groups that have served the world in the past but now have questionable roles, given perhaps nebulous mandates or efficacy, and which do not, as Parliament does, stand up and realize that questioning dogma is something we are supposed to do in here from time to time.

  (1305)  

    I worry about where our country will be in 15 years. I have spoken to some issues here in the House. Why can we not talk about how the United Nations selects refugees, when we do not see them referring genocide victims to host countries, or about why the United Nations will not condemn Hamas?
     Why can we not talk about how we interact with our allies in terms of military objectives, or about the role of multilateral organizations? Are they supposed to be giant bureaucracies that sometimes just provide contracts for management consultants and cocktail parties, or are they supposed to do something? What is that something, and what is Canada's role in that change over time? Is Canada's role sometimes to maybe say that everything is not working and that we need to tweak stuff? Is it our role to just stand idly by and say, “Nothing to see here”?
    I would hope that in 15 years' time this chamber would become a place where we can question dogma, where although we might not agree on the policy instrument or outcome, we could at least agree that in order to move forward and to make progress, we cannot simply say there is nothing to see and nothing to change, when there is.
    The other thing that I think we have to think about over a 15-year time period is the people we represent. That goes without saying in any instance, but we have seen movements around the world bringing governments to power for different reasons, but each reflective of the fact that there are a large number of people around the world who do not feel they are listened to or that they have a place in here, or who feel they are not represented by the people who might occupy this place in 15 years' time.
    There are a lot of people around the world who have fought, and especially in our country, who have gone overseas to fight in missions, and who now question how they are treated at home. There are a lot of people whose skills are becoming out of date, as manufacturing processes and industries change, and they are asking, “What about me?” The response they often get from us is that, “You're wrong. You're not experiencing anything wrong. What you're feeling, what you're saying is wrong.” When we ignore the cries of people, we are failing in our job as parliamentarians.
     That is something to keep in mind. Over a 15-year period, we cannot just listen to a certain group of privileged people when we are making our policy decisions. I would hope that over a 15-year time period we would start reinserting people's voices back into some of our policies that we bring forward, and that people's concerns would not be dismissed by labelling them, as certain people in this place are wont to do from time to time. Instead, we should actually reflect in our policies both the best data and the best outcomes, while also reflecting the challenges of the people we represent.
    The reality is that we are paid to be here on behalf of those people. We are paid to serve them, not ourselves. If we fail to put their voices in our policies and to think about that over time, I think we will fail them. I am concerned about some of the choices we have made over the last 15 years. The state is ubiquitous. Very rarely in this place do we question the role of the state. We often talk about how we have added bureaucracy or regulation, or have increased the state, but we often do not talk about what we managing.
    What concerns me is that time after time I see colleagues of all stripes walk in to read speeches prepared by government bureaucrats, without even reading them beforehand, or without even talking to their constituents about how they feel about a certain bill. When we allow our public service to dictate policy and direction, we fail in our role as parliamentarians. Even parliamentarians with a role in the government have a role to question what the government is doing, and the role of the state, be it around the cabinet table, in our caucuses and certainly here in this place.

  (1310)  

    I would hope that in 15 years we realize that it is not a sin to question dogma. I have seen that to be perhaps one of the most challenging things with respect to what has changed in this place over the last 15 years. We each have a responsibility to go back to the voices of people and reflect them in our policies and in the context of a changing economy.
    I could spend lot of time talking about artificial intelligence. Maybe in 15 years we will not have jobs in here. We do not know. We have the tools to have a direct democracy. Maybe that is something the people of Canada will start talking about in a short period of time.
    What do we need to do? Parliamentarians and all Canadians need to value critical thinking. When we talk about the changes in news, how news is consumed, what is news and what is true, I do not understand why we would support failed media business models or why we would talk about the fact that the government has to prop up or determine what is right and what is wrong. In a democracy and in a pluralism, it is up to us to critically evaluate with our own skill sets what is true, what is right, what everybody's agenda is. Those are our responsibilities in a democracy, condensed and coagulated and focused. As parliamentarians, they are even more so.
    In 15 years' time, I would hope that we are not having conversations in here about the Speaker's role, Question Period or whose job it is to regulate the content of ministers. We are taking that responsibility on ourselves and we are coming up with what is right and true.
    I hope that we also protect our pluralism. I hope that we protect our sovereignty. I hope that we do not cede the rights that we have as parliamentarians and as Canadians to other agencies or organizations around the world, that we do not cede our philosophies and our democracies to ideals that are not that, around the world. I hope that we reverse this path that we have been on of increasing the role of the state and go back to a role that is more free.
    I would hope that people who follow us here above all come into this place and challenge dogma, that they challenge the status quo within their own parties, even when it is difficult, across the aisle when it is not so much so, and that they are receptive to different schools of thought.
    The rights that we have in Canada are not static. We are the exception; we are not the rule around the world. We have to constantly protect our rights and assume that they are under threat, because they are, and our actions and our words in this place should reflect that.
    In 15 years, I hope there is one thing that does not change and that is that the people in this place respect and love the people who love them, who stand behind them and make them better people, even in the day-to-day grind, the sausage making of this place, in the light of public scrutiny those who love us, who protect us, and who are there for us even on dark days.
    In the dying minutes of my speech I would like to thank a few people who make my life easier. They are the engine behind the hood ornament. I would like to thank Sean Schnell, Julia Parsons, Bari Miller, Kim Tyres and Jillian Montalbetti for working like slaves over the last many years for the people of Calgary Nose Hill, and Paul Frank as well. I would also like to thank Jeff, Tori, Kori and Kepi for teaching me that there is more to life than this place from time to time.
    In 15 years, I hope that we still remember how special it is and what a privilege it is to stand and serve people in this beautiful, wonderful free country. I hope that we continue to understand that what we have here is something that we have to fight for, even when it is amongst ourselves, and that it is indeed worth fighting for.

  (1315)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my friend from Calgary Nose Hill for reminding us that there is so much more that unites us than divides us.
    While she was talking about how things have changed in the last 15 years, I was thinking that Will & Grace was on TV, Murphy Brown was on TV. We were watching Roseanne on TV. Some things do not change.
    I hope that 15 years from now we will look back at this moment and think that all the good things about Canada have not changed and that which divides us and that which is bad has changed and become better.
    Although my question has little to do with the bill, I would like to ask my friend from Calgary Nose Hill what is her fondest memory over her years of service in this chamber?
    Mr. Speaker, I am so glad my colleague opposite brought up the Will & Grace reference, because 15 years after that point in time, I find myself self-identifying with Karen more and more on a daily basis. I am happy to share a martini with him afterward to prove this point.
    I had two very fond moments. One was my first day in this place, stepping into this place and realizing that, as a young woman, I had the opportunity to speak in a free democracy on behalf of many people in a free, beautiful and strong economy. The sense of place in here was something I will never forget, and try not to forget on a daily basis. When we forget that wonder, we kind of forget why we are here.
    The second was when the House unanimously supported a motion I put forward to bring genocide survivors to Canada, with one of those genocide survivors, who is now a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, in this place. It was a reminder to me that we can effect change, that what we do here matters, that the words we say have import and to always be persistent. Persistence pays off, even when people do not like it.
    This is a special place, and it is a place I have had the honour to stand in. I thank my constituents in Calgary Nose Hill for affording me the opportunity to be their voice, and to stand here in such a beautiful and wonderful country.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech, which was more insightful and had quite a bit more depth than the bill itself.
    What does she think about parliamentarians' responsibility to tell Canadians the truth? We must not take any intellectual shortcuts by telling half-truths or playing with words in order to fearmonger on certain issues. Some parliamentarians and some political parties around the world fearmonger, tell untruths or half-truths and play with words as part of their strategy for winning votes during an election campaign.
    Does she not agree that it is also the responsibility of parliamentarians to tell the truth and to not play with words when speaking to Canadians? Canadians are not fools and they see parties' populist election campaign speeches for what they are.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I think there is a great danger with the word “fearmongering” because what has happened in this place over the last few years is that when certain people do not like their dogma challenged, as opposed to standing and explaining why their point of view is correct, they try to deflect from their inability to debate someone's point by calling them a name. This is one of the things that I mentioned in my speech. If the government or anyone cannot stand in this place and defend why their idea is correct or why their approach to policy is correct, and correct being defined by how it best serves the interests of Canadians, they should not have the ability to call someone a name. That is wrong. Frankly, that is what has polarized politics in many places in the developed world right now.
    When concerns are dismissed, for example, I speak often about immigration, I do not think that we should allow people who have reached the United States to claim asylum in Canada. Instead of someone standing and calling me a name, they should stand and argue why they think that is the case and why that is in the best interests of Canadians instead of calling Canadians names. What ends up happening then is we have a polarized division.
    I am happy to debate policy, which is why I try to put policy forward whenever I can, even in opposition, but over a 15-year period, we need to get away from the tendency, especially in certain schools of political thought, to denigrate and call people names as opposed to looking at alternate points of view. If someone can make a policy argument, we should be able to discuss that and refute it here. I think we have lost that in this place over the last 15 years.
     I do not agree with my colleague's assertion. I do not think that happens all the time. When it does, I would hope that Canadians would have the ability with their critical thinking skills to call that out and address it at the ballot box. I know they have that skill, but that should not prevent us from challenging policy or dogma in here from time to time. In fact, that is why Canadians pay our salaries and why we are supposed to show up here for work.

  (1320)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for her reflections on the many important things that have happened over the last 15 years. It is important for government, when there is a plethora of important things to address, to actually pick the things that are important and take action on them.
    With respect to Bill C-21, how important a piece of legislation does the member think this is, in the plethora of important issues facing Canada today?
    Mr. Speaker, I suspect Bill C-21 is being fast-tracked by the government right now. I would surmise that this came up as part of the NAFTA renegotiation agreement. I would like to see what the government actually received for making some of these concessions, but I digress. The reality is that Canadians picked the government based on the assumption that it would put forward legislation that is in the best interests of Canadians. I would encourage Canadians to evaluate the success of the government's choices in doing so in the upcoming election.
    Mr. Speaker, I will keep my comments related to what I think was a theme from the member across the way. One of the things I would like to see 15 years from now or whenever this chamber does reopen and as we get into what could be the last three days of sitting in this beautiful chamber, is that we will have new Standing Orders that would enable the chamber to be more effective at doing what needs to be done, but that also recognize the importance of each and every member and their ability to be able to contribute in different ways.
    To be relevant to the motion, I am wondering if the member could provide any thought in regard to why we have received wide spectrum support, where the Conservatives, New Democrats and others all support of this legislation.
    Mr. Speaker, I would hope the Standing Orders in 15 years encourage thoroughness of debate. I would hope they encourage people to reflect upon their party positions and stand for or against them as it best serves their constituents. I would hope the Standing Orders reflect a need to make this place relevant in the minds of Canadians and that when people tune in to holographic CPAC, or whatever it will be in 15 years, they will be riveted by the debate that happens in here.
    I wish our future colleagues the best.

  (1325)  

    Mr. Speaker, I feel privileged to speak after my colleague from Calgary Nose Hill. Her work on the Canada-U.S. file and the border, in particular, has been very important.
    I am also very happy to stand in this place. As many MPs have said this week, this is likely my last speech here. Many of my friends, including my friend from Winnipeg North, are probably happy about that. However, I can guarantee him that I will resume my speaking pace in the new chamber, as I know he will.
     We all respect this institution, this chamber and the history it represents. Whether I agree with my friends on the other side or not, I respect their ability and freedom to make their case to Canadians, often a bad one, because this is their chamber. My constituents and Canadians who may be watching at home or online should know that we may disagree, but we try to do it without being disagreeable. Even though the member for Winnipeg North will ask me a question full of bombast after my remarks, I respect him, nonetheless.
    This is a unique occasion, given the frequency of the Senate to send back amendments. This is probably the first time I have spoken to a bill for the third time. That is probably quite normal for the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader, but this is the third time I am speaking on Bill C-21, which was introduced in June of 2016, with its companion bill, Bill C-23, the pre-clearance act. I have spoken to both.
     I worked on cross-border trade as a lawyer in the private sector and I was the public safety critic when this Parliament began. I have a raised a number of concerns with respect to the legislation, but have indicated that there is general support by the Conservatives of the entry and exit sharing of information with the U.S. that is represented in the Customs Act.
    The amendment from the Senate, which brings us to debate this before the end of session, relates to something I raised in my September 2017 speech on Bill C-21. I was concerned about the information sharing and the storage of the information that would be collected about Canadians leaving and returning to the country and the implications of that vast amount of personal data. Therefore, I am quite happy the Senate has proposed more with respect to the retention of that data, limiting it to 15 years. This is why I support the Senate amendment and I am happy to speak to it today. It is an example of both Houses of Parliament working the way they can, making the bill better.
    This is a rare occasion where I am supportive of both the original legislation and the amendment from the Senate.
     I have been a representative in this chamber for six years. In fact, tomorrow marks six years to the day since I was escorted into this chamber as a by-election winner. I am getting the golf clap from a few of my Liberal friends, and I will take that over heckles any day. It is a very special day for me. I spoke about that on the radio last week.
    On the 12th day of the 12th month of 2012, Prime Minister Harper and Jim Flaherty, a close friend of our family, led me into the House as a new by-election winner. I took my seat in the rump, and I have tried to make a difference ever since. To be true to form in my last speech, especially a 20-minute speech, in the chamber, and I am sorry to inform my Liberal friends of that fact, I would be remiss if I were not somewhat partisan and point to wider issues that should concern Canadians with respect to the Customs Act changes.
    As I said, Bill C-21 and Bill C-23, its companion bill, have been with us since June 2016. The Liberals are rushing it through with time allocation on debate and pushing it through in the final days. We are almost in 2019. For almost two and a half years, this legislation has sort of languished in Ottawa. That shows there are efficiency problems with the government.
    I will devote my remarks to what Canadians should ask when it comes to our border. Bill C-21 and Bill C-23 would make profound changes to the way Canada and the U.S. operate the borders.

  (1330)  

     Bill C-23 is the pre-clearance bill, which would allow American ICE officials, immigration and customs enforcement officers to search Canadians on Canadian soil. It probably would shock a lot of Canadians if they had to do a pre-clearance. That will work in a lot of cases to speed up time at the border, which is why we supported it.
    Bill C-21 has entry and exit sharing of information, which is also something that is quite unparalleled. That is why data protection measures are bringing this debate back to the floor of the House of Commons. They are the most substantial additions to the relationship between the United States in a generation and a slight erosion of sovereignty. That can be a good thing if Canada is getting more in return in response to this, but it can also be something about which we pause.
    Those elements were part of the beyond the border initiative, which I worked on in the former Harper government as the parliamentary secretary for international trade, so I support these measures. However, let us see how the Liberals have allowed the Canada-U.S. relationship to atrophy terribly in the three years of the Liberal government.
    The Minister of Public Safety, then the MP for Regina—Wascana, in February 2011, with his appropriate degree of outrage, asked Prime Minister Harper, “Could the Prime Minister at least guarantee minimum gains for Canada? For example, will he get rid of U.S. country of origin labelling?” He went on to to ask if we would get softwood protections and have the Americans eliminate buy American. What was the minister of public safety demanding at that time? He wanted some clear wins for Canada if we were to give up the entry and exit information.
    During debate on the exact elements of Bill C-21, when this was being contemplated by the Harper government, the Liberals said that before we acceded to the American request, they wanted to know what Canada would get in return. That is what their most senior member of the cabinet said.
     Diplomatic relations even with our closest friend, trading partner and ally are a give and take. It is not just to take or give, give and nothing in return. At the time, the member for Regina—Wascana wanted to see Canada gain, whether it was with the unfair country of origin labelling or other elements of our complex trade relationship.
    Bill C-21 and Bill C-23 would allow the Americans to inspect and search Canadians on our own soil. What have we gained? Absolutely nothing. In fact, under the Prime Minister's watch, our relationship with the U.S. has atrophied beyond all recognition. It is not just because of the current occupant of the White House.
     Therefore, I will spend a few minutes exploring that and what the former public safety minister demanded. Where are the wins for Canada as we allow more and more American intrusion on decisions related to customs and the border?
    In November 2015, President Obama, with a new Liberal Prime Minister in office, cancelled the Keystone XL pipeline. The Keystone XL pipeline was one of the reasons that former prime minister Harper was reticent to pass entry and exit information sharing. We wanted that quid pro quo. We wanted the Americans to approve a pipeline to once again try to get better market prices, more market access for our resources, which is something we are struggling with as a country right now.
     We withheld that element of what was a priority for the U.S. in terms of foreign policy to try and secure a win. The prime minister caved within months. He said that he was disappointed. Later he introduced President Obama in this chamber as his “bromance” and he said it was a relationship of “dudeplomacy”. It was a one-way relationship. He did get a state dinner on March 11, 2016. At that dinner, the prime minister said they were closer than friends.
    What else did our Prime Minister announce the same day in Washington? With zero consultation with indigenous and territorial leaders, he agreed to ban future development on 17% of Arctic lands and 10% of Arctic waters. It was pure surrender to what President Obama wanted to do in his final months in office. Once again, it was a one-way relationship.

  (1335)  

     Let us see what the longest-serving Inuk Liberal senator said about that. When I asked retired senator Charlie Watt about the Prime Minister's unilateral action, he said, “There have never been clear consultations.” He went on to say that the federal government said, “This is what's going to happen.”
    Is that consultation when a respected Inuk leader and a former Senate colleague of some of the Liberal MPs is basically told by the government what is going to happen? Territorial premiers said they were given an hour or so heads-up on the announcement by Canada's Prime Minister in Washington.
    Under President Obama, the Prime Minister was giving up the entry and exit priority which for years the Americans had been asking for and bringing in Bill C-23 on pre-clearance. We lost Keystone and we eroded our own sovereignty and that of our Inuit and Inuk people in our north, which are two huge losses under the first president's relationship with the Prime Minister.
    The same day I questioned retired Senator Watt, there was an aboriginal law expert at committee. I asked her if the Prime Minister had violated the country's duty to consult indigenous Canadians as dictated by the Supreme Court of Canada. Robin Campbell's answer was, “The simple answer is yes.” He also breached this duty to consult when he cancelled the northern gateway pipeline.
    There are many instances when the Prime Minister's posturing and kind words on reconciliation are not matched by his actions. I would like to see more accountability for that. In fact, I invite Canadians to look at at Chief Fox's column in yesterday's Globe and Mail which says on Bill C-69, the anti-pipeline bill, that there have been no consultations.
    There is really nice language but bad actions. Those are the first two elements of the declining Canada–U.S. relationship under President Obama.
    What has it been since? We now have the legalization of cannabis, which really is the only promise the Liberals have kept from their 2015 election platform. The Prime Minister, despite the state dinner and despite acceding to many Canadian demands, could not even get the Americans to remove one question, the marijuana question, from the pre-clearance screening on that side of the border. A lot of Canadians should be concerned. If they are asked that question, they could lose the ability to travel to the United States. This could impact people's economic ability to pursue a job or go to the United States because of work. It could impair their freedom of movement. All we needed to do was to get assurance from the U.S. federal government that immigration and custom enforcement, ICE, would not ask that question. We could not even get the U.S. to remove one question from a list.
    With Bill C-23, the companion bill, we are allowing Americans to search Canadians on Canadian soil. It is a one-way relationship that Canadians should be concerned about. That issue was under both President Obama and now under President Trump because it took some time for the Liberals to complete their legalization of cannabis. That was one of the concerns the Conservatives held out from day one: Make sure the border issue is resolved with the Americans. We could not get that assurance.
    Let us look at NORAD. The Conservatives urged the Liberals to complete our full NORAD security partnership making sure that we are a partner on ballistic missile defence. Had we started talking about security at the time there was missile testing by North Korea, that would have, in the early days of President Trump's time in the White House, shown Canada as the only trade and security partner with the United States, period. Through NORAD, we have a North American defence and have had since the 1950s. Since the 1965 Auto Pact, only Canada has had a trade and integrated security relationship with the United States, which is why we could have been able to avoid section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum, which I will get into later. However, we missed an opportunity to actually show partnership to the United States at a time that was critical.

  (1340)  

    What did we do instead? The Liberals postured in front of the new U.S. president, putting up non-binding criteria for the negotiation of NAFTA, the progressive agenda, to play politics rather than to get down to business with the Americans. With the border, the cannabis question and NORAD are issues three and four where the relationship has declined.
    I would also mention the safe third country agreement. My colleague from Calgary Nose Hill talked about the 40,000 people who have illegally crossed the border in Manitoba and Quebec claiming asylum when the government knows that the vast majority of them have no substantive asylum claim. They actually have status in the United States. The minister did not even, for the first year or more, talk to the U.S. about amendments to close the loophole in the safe third country agreement, which is an agreement that was negotiated by the previous Liberal government of Jean Chrétien. Once again, the Liberals did not want to interfere with the Prime Minister's tweet rather than fix the system.
     It is interesting, because the current Minister of Public Safety in February 2011 called the entry and exit system with the Americans a surrender of sovereignty. He said, “If we have a common entry and exit system, does it not follow that Canada no longer has sovereign Canadian control over immigration and refugees?” This is a Liberal, now a minister, who was saying that when the Conservative government was considering entry and exit visas.
    The Liberal government's inaction and incompetence at the border has surrendered our sovereign control at a time when the Liberals are also going around the world saying that their model should be a best practice used by the world. Canadian confidence in their handling of our system has eroded terribly. That is probably the worst of their failures in our time, and it is allowing Canadian confidence to go down through the Liberals' own inaction.
    Finally, with respect to tariffs and NAFTA in general, we were given a one-way, take-it-or-leave-it deal. For two months, the United States and Mexico were at the negotiation table and Canada was not. Mexico played the relationship and the negotiation much more strategically than we did. There was too much politics by the Prime Minister and his minister, and we were given a take-it-or-leave-it deal where we lost on all fronts. There is no win in NAFTA.
    When it comes to tariffs, when I spoke to the bill for the second time in May 2018, I warned the Prime Minister that tariffs were on the way. In fact, when Canada was granted a temporary reprieve from steel and aluminum tariffs, on March 11, the Prime Minister said when he was touring steel communities, “as long as there is a free trade deal in North America there won't be tariffs”. Well, I guess he broke that one. He went on to say, “We had your backs last week and we always will.” That was in March.
     In May, in debate on Bill C-21, I warned the Prime Minister that tariffs were coming, because the Americans did not take our security considerations over supply of steel from China seriously. Sadly, in June, the U.S. unfairly applied tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, sending our economy into a tailspin in manufacturing in southern Ontario, leading eventually to what we saw with GM and a crisis of confidence in manufacturing. In part, it is because the retaliatory tariffs we brought in were not hurting the Americans but they are hurting many of our suppliers. As I said, Bill C-21 and Bill C-23 were a wholesale surrender to U.S. demands with respect to customs and pre-clearance.
     The current Minister of Public Safety demanded in 2011 that Canada, for giving up these elements, should gain something. We have not gained. I will review this for Canadians: Keystone, the Arctic ban, the cannabis question for the border, NORAD partnerships, the safe third country loophole, steel and aluminum tariffs and a take-it-or-leave-it NAFTA.

  (1345)  

    As I said at the outset, while I support Bill C-21 and the amendment, Canadians need to know that the Canada-U.S. relationship which is critical is not a one-way street where the Americans get what they want and we get nothing. It is about time we see the Prime Minister and his minister stand up for Canadian interests in return for Bill C-21.
    Mr. Speaker, just before I pose my question to the member, this will probably be my last time rising to speak in this chamber. It has been an incredible honour to stand in this place and be part of this history, and be part of the debates in the House. I want to extend a huge thanks to the residents of Oakville for giving me the honour and opportunity to represent them here in this place before we move to our new temporary quarters.
    The Senate made one amendment to clause 2 allowing Canadian border security to keep records for 15 years. Canada, unlike most countries, does not collect information about people leaving Canada. This will improve our ability to prevent people from travelling overseas to join terrorist groups, combat human trafficking, respond to amber alerts, and ensure the integrity of our social benefit programs that require residency in Canada.
    I have heard a lot of discussion from the member today in the 20 minutes he had to speak. In the end, does he support this bill?
    Mr. Speaker, maybe the member came in late, but I did start in my first minute saying that I support the bill and the amendment. In fact, the Senate amendment took into consideration my suggestions from September 2017 with respect to retention and storage of personal information.
    I am going to use the remainder of the time for my answer to tell the member about a concerning meeting I had at the Oakville Chamber of Commerce at the beginning of the summer, when we had our saving Canadian jobs tour. The tariffs being imposed not just by the U.S. but by his government on U.S. imports into Canada are crippling small and medium-sized enterprises.
    In fact, an accountant from Oakville showed up at my meeting and said the only work he has done for clients, privately held businesses, employers in the Oakville-Halton region, was arranging their affairs to move investments to the United States. It is concerning, the uncompetitiveness that we see across the country, from the west with Bill C-69 to tariffs in southern Ontario. It is concerning.
    I would ask the member to use his last caucus meeting tomorrow in the hallowed room that they hold it in to demand that the Prime Minister start taking competitiveness seriously, to demand that businesses in Oakville remain as competitive as they have been to make sure they are still part of North American supply chains at the end of this year.
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague has a fantastic command of this file, especially as it relates to trade.
    He outlined a number of failures of the government as they relate to trade, but one of the issues he did not have time to get to was the issue of giving up our sovereignty of the dairy industry in the USMCA. I spent a lot of time on the phone this morning with two farmers from my area who are very concerned about this one part of giving up our sovereignty. Again, the Prime Minister has capitulated to President Trump on so many issues.
    My question really relates to the hypocrisy of the government in bringing in this bill, which we support, which increases the safety and security of Canadians, but at the same time the government is welcoming 38,000 to 40,000 illegal migrants across the border in Quebec with virtually no safety measures in place to actually guarantee that for Canadians.
    I wonder if my colleague could comment on that hypocrisy.
    Mr. Speaker, I know how well regarded my colleague from Kitchener—Conestoga is by the small businesses and farming families in his communities. He is always listening.
     I agree with the member. Just last week I heard concerns from Robert Larmer, from my riding, that in the final days leading up to the signing ceremony for the new NAFTA, the USMCA, the U.S. was still making unilateral changes to the agreement.
     Let us recall that the Prime Minister threatened he would not show up for the photo op for NAFTA unless tariffs were removed. The last time I checked, tariffs are still in place. Removing himself from a photo op is the nuclear option for the current Prime Minister, because photo ops are his key priority.
    What he does not see as a priority are farming families. When the Conservatives were in government and made changes to supply management with CETA and with the negotiation of the TPP, we worked in unison with these families to provide certainty on timelines and market access. Right now, we see agriculture uncertain about access, and in fact giving up access for nothing in return.
     As I said, the Canada-U.S. relationship under the current Prime Minister, since Obama and through to Trump, with respect to security, the border, trade and everything, has been a one-way relationship. We have given but received nothing in return, because we are not seen as serious.
    We say our priorities for NAFTA are non-binding issues. The minister did not even mention the auto industry in her priority speech at the University of Ottawa.
    We would not have free trade in North America without the Auto Pact of 1965. We did not even mention it. It is no wonder that with tariffs, trade, payroll taxes and carbon taxes, GM and other manufacturers are leaving. The one solution is called election 2019.

  (1350)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is always interesting to listen to my colleague across the way. Entertaining is probably a more appropriate word.
    We are talking about Bill C-21. The Conservatives supported it at first reading, at second reading, at committee and at third reading. They supported it in the Senate. They support the amendment. That is all clear.
    The other thing that is clear is this. If the Conservatives could, they would spend the rest of the year, this year and next year, talking about Bill C-21.
    The member across the way wants to talk about trade. Let us talk about trade. This is a government that got a trade agreement, when a year ago the Conservatives were capitulating because they were concerned we would not be able to get a trade agreement. Not only do we now have a trade agreement with the U.S., we also have trade agreements with the European Union and Ukraine.
    This is a government that understands the importance of trade, because we understand the importance of Canada's middle class and those aspiring to be a part of it. This is a government that has delivered hundreds of thousands of jobs in the last three years by working with industry and Canadians in every region of this country.
    An hon. member: Does he have a question?
    Mr. Kevin Lamoureux: The proof is in the pudding. Our economy is doing better than the rest of the G8 countries, because we have good, solid, progressive policies that incorporate all sorts of positive things, which have generated so many things for Canadians.
    Like the member opposite, I look forward to 2019. We on this side have a lot to talk about in 2019. I am anxious to continue the dialogue we will have in the coming months in the new chamber, as we ultimately say goodbye to this beautiful historic chamber.
    Before we go to the hon. member for Durham, I noticed a few of the newer members were asking about questions. When the Speaker stands up, he or she usually asks for questions or comments. I thought I would clarify that for the newer members who are here and are not quite sure how the rules work.
    The hon. member for Durham.
    Mr. Speaker, I agree with my colleague. We can have dialogue in this place, but we do not need the yelling. Dialogue can happen. I predicted to viewers at home that the hon. member would stand up with bombast in the questions and comments, and he held true to my prediction. I still respect him as much as I promised I would, even though he is still lost in the wilderness on the Liberal side of the House.
    Capitulation is a ridiculous word they used when they were not invited to the negotiation table, when Mexico and the United States formalized the USMCA, the new NAFTA, without Canada at the table. I would like Canadians to think about it as all of their economic wealth, their home even, being negotiated, and they are not invited into the room. That is how concerned manufacturers in Ontario and softwood lumber producers in B.C. have been by the incompetence of the government.
    Capitulation? We were wanting them to fight for jobs from the beginning, when the environment minister suggested that my suggestion to focus on auto was stupid. “Crazy” was her comment in a debate.
    There has been a lot of speculation. This sitting started with a Liberal who had lost confidence in the Liberal leader. She crossed the floor and joined the Conservatives, where she is thriving. She is a great member of the team. There has been speculation as to whether it will end with a similar crossing from the Liberals to the Conservatives.
    I want to tell the hon. member for Winnipeg North that I did my best, but the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan would not say yes to his coming over.

  (1355)  

    Mr. Speaker, with Vancouver International Airport in my riding of Richmond Centre, border services are definitely very important to my constituents and to all Canadians who happen to pass through my riding a lot of times. If anyone does not know where Richmond Centre is, just visit YVR.
     All of my immigrant friends, both new Canadians and those who have been here for a long time, are really mad at the fact that there are so many illegal entries through our border. What would you recommend that a government do? It simply is not fair that those illegal border crossers are jumping the queue.
    Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that we have been raising the erosion of Canadians' confidence in the immigration and refugee system because of the inaction of the government. My colleague from Richmond Centre has been a consistent voice, as has my colleague from Calgary Nose Hill.
    When the minister had documents in his possession warning him of a $3-billion cost and a potential 11-year wait time for the Immigration and Refugee Board, the minister told the House that the safe third country agreement was working fantastically well. That was his comment.
    Canadians are proud of our fair, compassionate and rules-based system. We need to get back to it. In fact, all Canadians, including new Canadians, want us to get back to that system. They followed it, and their success here has been tremendous. We will get back to it once again after election 2019.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[Translation]

Immigration

    Mr. Speaker, for two years now Ottawa has been bungling its management of the migrants file. There is no triage plan, no plan to speed up processing of asylum claims and work permits, no compensation for the $300 million this has cost Quebec.
    Even though the Prime Minister keeps dropping the ball on this file, he is sneaking off to Marrakesh to sign the compact on migration.
    The Prime Minister, whose strategy for migrants is to do nothing and let Quebec pay, goes to the UN to give lessons.
    He wants to sign the compact when almost every measure it proposes encroaches on Quebec's jurisdiction and Quebeckers will have to foot the bill. What is more, none of this was negotiated with Quebec or debated in the House.
    He should start by assuming his responsibilities in the migrant crisis in Quebec and by coming to an agreement with Quebec. Let him bring the debate to Parliament.
    We cannot give a blank cheque to a federal government that is incompetent and irresponsible with migrants.

[English]

Genocide Education

    Mr. Speaker, on this 70th anniversary of the UN adoption of the genocide convention, we live in a world where this most atrocious of crimes still exists. This House has recently recognized that Yazidis and Rohingyas were victims of genocide, but even in our own land we are seeing increases in hate crimes targeting the Jewish, Muslim and black communities. Concerns and fear have increased. Action is needed. Genocide must be taught in our schools.
     I want to congratulate the Foundation for Genocide Education, founder Heidi Berger, and members Lucy Shapiro and Marcy Bruck, who convinced the Quebec education ministry to create a genocide teaching guide that will be introduced in all Quebec high schools in 2019.
     Let us call on all our provinces and territories to introduce mandatory genocide education so that Canada's youth will learn the consequences of hate and intolerance.

  (1400)  

Retirement Congratulations

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize the exceptional service of one of my constituents. Willie Woo retired last week after 12 years as a local and regional councillor in Clarington. His personal story is inspiring. Willie is the child of Chinese immigrants, who grew up in the apartment over the restaurant that his family operated in Newcastle, Ontario for over 30 years. A family who had to pay the head tax when they arrived saw their son grow to be the most respected leader in our community.
    He also had an exceptional political slogan, “Willie Woo for You”. People from Durham know it is true: Willie was for them in hundreds of council meetings and at thousands of events where he was a champion and a positive force in politics.
     He was a huge friend and adviser to me, and I will miss our annual tradition of ending Remembrance Day with a pint in the Snug pub in Newcastle. The Snug is located where his family restaurant once was.
    I thank Willie for being for us, and I give my best wishes to him and Donna on their next adventure.

[Translation]

Canada Summer Jobs Initiative

    Mr. Speaker, with the application period for the Canada summer jobs initiative opening in a few weeks, I would like to share some feedback from Ms. Lavoie, who owns an inn in Matane. On November 27, Ms. Lavoie contacted our riding office to thank our government for giving her the opportunity to benefit from the Canada summer jobs initiative.
    Thanks to the program, her small business hired a student for the summer, which made a huge difference to her and her employees. The extra help meant that Ms. Lavoie and her staff could work reasonable hours and provide the kind of quality service our region is known for.
    I would like to remind the House that Canada summer jobs is an important program that makes a huge difference to employers in Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia. Let us continue to support the people who create jobs and drive regional economic development.

Mishell Potvin

    Mr. Speaker, today I would like to salute the exceptional work of Mishell Potvin, a resident of my riding who has been a volunteer for going on 60 years.
    Mr. Potvin travels all over Quebec to help people in need. As a Red Cross volunteer since 1996, he has participated in a number of major operations, such as bringing Canadian citizens home after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and responding to the Lac-Mégantic disaster.
    Recently, when a tornado hit this region, Mr. Potvin came to lend a hand by helping to manage the Gatineau emergency shelter. He helped tornado victims with their basic needs and provided them with moral support.
    As some may know, Mishell Potvin won a Hommage bénévolat-Québec award, which recognizes volunteers' exceptional dedication and commitment and rewards them for their work in their community.
    I would like to thank Mr. Potvin on behalf of all the people he has helped during his many years of volunteering.

Volunteers in Marc-Aurèle-Fortin

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to use the time set aside for this very purpose and recognize the exceptional work being done every single day by our volunteers from coast to coast to coast. These are caring people with big hearts, people whose dedication knows no bounds and who are taking concrete action to support their communities.
    Today I especially wish to recognize the exceptional work done by volunteers in my riding, who put their heart and soul into ensuring the welfare of their neighbours. On behalf of all my constituents, I thank them for their generosity, their compassion, their time and, above all, their constant smiles, which put joy in our hearts.
    Happy holidays, everyone.

[English]

Christmas

    Mr. Speaker, under the red nose of a Prime Minister who preaches the word “tolerance” by practising bigotry against Christians, it is still Christmas in the Ottawa Valley. Congratulations to no fewer than 14 communities that celebrated the birth of our Lord and Saviour with Christmas parades: Arnprior and Barry's Bay, Whitney and Eganville, Beachburg and Killaloe, Calabogie and Pembroke, Cobden and Renfrew, Deep River and Westmeath and Palmer Rapids and Petawawa.
    As Christians in Canada briefly celebrate the election year climb-down by the Liberal government that used students looking for work last summer to attack Christian churches, and as Christians gather together and pray for members of the Early Rain Covenant Church in China, who are suffering from a vicious state crackdown of their own, let us never forget the true meaning of Christmas.
    Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

  (1405)  

Chipman Youth Centre

    Mr. Speaker, the Chipman Youth Centre is nothing short of amazing. Its small staff, led by Faith Kennedy, is truly changing lives for the better in that community.
    The Chipman Youth Centre offers many opportunities to the children of this rural area, such as low-cost after-school care, dance classes, crockpot cooking, a girls self-esteem program, a library program, a babysitting class, and an adopt-a-grandparent program, just to name a few.
    Village youth team members volunteer with not-for-profit organizations in the area. The program is designed to keep the young people of Chipman active in their community and to help them develop excellent work ethics and leadership skills while gaining valuable experience. This past summer, this amazing group of just 17 youth volunteered 1,119.5 hours.
    I ask my colleagues to join me in applauding the Chipman Youth Centre and all its volunteers.

[Translation]

Vestshell

     Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to recognize the consistently remarkable work being done by Vestshell, a company that recently won a Performance Québec 2018 award in the independent manufacturing SME category.
    Since 1964, Vestshell has been serving various industries, including the aerospace, nuclear and medical sectors, to name just a few. Vestshell is well known in Canada, the U.S. and Europe for the quality of its products.
    This is the highest distinction Quebec can award to outstanding companies. I am of course very pleased that this honour has been bestowed upon a company located in Montreal North, in the riding of Bourassa, which I represent here.
    I congratulate the president of Vestshell, Joseph Laflamme, and the employees for their energy and enthusiasm. Well done.

[English]

Christmas

    Mr. Speaker, 'tis the season for traditions. In my home, it is opening the stockings and funning and feasting with family. In my riding, it is Santa Claus parades, Christmas concerts and the lighting of the parks that mark this special season.
    Here at work, we celebrate with Santa for the kids, trees in our offices and flipping the switch on the spectacular Parliament Hill lights show. The halls of Centre Block sparkle with red-ribboned trees and garlands, and of course, there is always the MP for Cape Breton—Canso's annual irreverent version of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. They are all part of what makes this House feel like a home. As this will be the last Christmas in this chamber for most of us, let us hope that many of these traditions we hold dear will continue in the new place.
    I wish all my colleagues here and all my constituents, from Long Point to Lowbanks, from Caledonia to Kelvin and Courtland, a happy Christmas, happy holidays, and a wonderful new year.

Christmas

    Mr. Speaker, with apologies to my Irish colleagues,

Bon Echo clean, our highland scene,
the prettiest riding you've ever seen.
It's Christmas in Cloyne,
with all the folks at home.

The Bright Light Show, reflects on snow,
and all the people of Napanee go,
to celebrate downtown of course,
because they feel at home.

Rural doors are always open,
at Christmas time in Tweed.
And Mr. Speaker, before you go,
to Marmora I'll lead!

Bancroft's hearts are light,
Bath's spirits are bright,
Madoc celebrates with joy tonight,
It's Christmas in my riding,
with all the folks at home.

We'll decorate our Christmas trees,
in Stirling and Denbigh,
All round Stone Mills township,
and Greater Napanee.

There's gifts to bring
and songs to sing,
and laughs to make Deseronto ring,
It's Christmas in my riding,
with all the folks at home.

    Merry Christmas.

  (1410)  

[Translation]

Élites Football Team from Collège Mont-Sacré-Coeur in Granby

    Mr. Speaker, the Élites youth football team from Collège Mont-Sacré-Coeur in Granby crowned an exceptional season by winning the Eastern Townships league finals for the first time in its short history.
    I would like to congratulate these young athletes, who demonstrated intensity, discipline and great execution in this game. Their teamwork was incredible. The final game was really spectacular, and the close score throughout the game had fans on the edge of their seats.
    I want to highlight the support of all the college staff involved in the football program, including executive director Claude Lacroix, program founder Benoit Penelle, current team manager Réal Brunelle, and head coach Claude Lessard.
    I would like to thank the parents for their support. Once again, congratulations to the champions of the Eastern Townships football league, the Élites from Granby's Collège Mont-Sacré-Coeur.

[English]

Christmas

    Mr. Speaker,

'Twas the month before Christmas and all through this House
Canadians miffed, Liberals quiet as a mouse
Taxpayers hung stockings by the chimney with care
With fear that the carbon tax soon would be there.
The Cabinet were nestled all smug in their beds
While visions of deficits danced in their heads.
When out on the borders there arose such a clatter
PM says, “Open the borders, what does it matter?”
To the window the Finance Minister flew like a flash
He tore open the shutters and threw out more cash.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a ministerial sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.
With a little old driver, could it be St. Nick?
No, it was little Gerry Butts, it was just a trick.
With his sleigh full of handouts, in they came
Gerry whistled and shouted and called them by name.
On deficits! On spending! On with the fiscal mess!
All of this contributing to Canadians' stress.
'Twas the night before Christmas, October 19 is near
We'll throw them out and replace them with Andrew Scheer.

    Of course, the hon. member knows that we do not refer to members by their personal names.
    The hon. member for Thunder Bay—Rainy River.

Parliamentary Personnel

    Mr. Speaker, as we approach the end of the year and the closing of Centre Block, I would like to take this time, on behalf of all members of this House, to thank the dedicated parliamentary personnel who work hard to make our jobs possible. All parliamentary staff embody a high level of professionalism, such as Constables Robert Poirier and Michelle Renaud of the Parliamentary Protective Service. Both will be retiring this January after 30 years of service. I think I speak for all members here when I thank them for their hard work and dedication to duty and wish them all the best in the future.
    I would also like to thank the staff and the supervisor of catering services, cafeterias and the parliamentary dining room, Dino Storti. Dino has provided over 14 years of excellent service to members of all parties in both Houses. It is because of him and his team's tireless efforts that events and receptions here can go off without a hitch. We appreciate his hard work.
    The parliamentary personnel's excellence is a service to all Canadians and this country. On behalf of all of us here, I thank them very much. May they all have a very merry Christmas and an extraordinary new year.

  (1415)  

Christmas

    I would like to read my letter to Santa.
    Dear Santa,
    My name is Wayne, and I live in Kootenay—Columbia. I have tried to be a good boy this year, did not heckle even once in question period, but I did shake my head a lot of times. My Christmas list is short, but it means a lot to me.
     I would like fair and timely settlements of labour agreements for our postal workers, our parliamentary protective service officers and our border security officers;
    That in the future, all trade agreements would make agriculture the number one priority;
    That the federal, provincial and municipal governments and indeed all Canadians would work together to fight climate change;
    That in our new House of Commons in West Block, we will always put principles ahead of politics;
    And that all of our parliamentary family will stay safe over the holiday season.
    I know that is a lot to ask for, Santa, but maybe if you team up with a Higher Power, the two of you can deliver on it.
    Thanks Santa, and merry Christmas!
    P S. I am only leaving out carrots for both you and the reindeer this year. I am a little concerned about your weight.
    I trust the member does not think that I am Santa.

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent.

Government Policies

    Mr. Speaker, 2018 is drawing to a close, and it is time to take stock. This has been a year of failure for the Liberal government, and that is putting it mildly.
    The Liberal government has failed when it comes to sound management of public funds. For the third year in a row, it has presented a budget that is not balanced, it is running astronomical deficits, and it has no idea when it will balance the budget.
    The Liberal government has failed when it comes to respect for our borders. Roxham Road still exists because of the Prime Minister's ill-considered tweet, which is going to cost us $1 billion.
    The Liberal government has failed when it comes to the full development of our natural resources. Not an inch of pipeline has been built. However, the Prime Minister did accomplish two things: he insulted pipeline workers, and he sent $4.5 billion in taxpayers' money to Houston.
    The Liberal government has failed when it comes to our international relations. The Prime Minister took a trip to India that was particularly embarrassing and shameful for Canada. What is more, despite the trade agreement with the United States and Mexico, the tariffs on steel, aluminum and softwood lumber are still in place and are directly affecting 80,000 Canadian workers.
    Fortunately, 2019 is just around the corner, and Canadians will be able to say bye-bye to the Liberal government.

King's Daughters

    Mr. Speaker, we have some special guests in the House today. We have the immense honour of welcoming 14 Filles du Roy who made Canada, more specifically the seigneury of Laprairie, their home from 1663 to 1674.
    Very few people are aware of the history of these women. Sponsored by King Louis XIV to populate the colony, the Filles du Roy played an important role in the demographic and socioeconomic development of New France. Just 10 years after the arrival of 764 Filles du Roy in 1673, Canada's population tripled. That says it all.
    In that sense, we might consider them, and rightly so, Canada's daughters. Next year, the Société d’histoire des Filles du Roy would like to organize an exhibition that would include a replica of the log cabins the Filles du Roy lived in. The organization would also like to make September 22 a commemorative day in Canada to mark the arrival of the first contingent of the Filles du Roy.
    I would like to take this opportunity to wish my colleagues, the pages and all staff very happy holidays.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister promised that the budget would be balanced in the coming year. Now he is admitting that there will be a giant deficit instead.
    The Parliamentary Budget Officer announced today that the deficit could be $11 billion more than what was announced by the Prime Minister. If that is true, the deficit will grow by about $30 billion a year.
    Not only did the Prime Minister say that the budget would be balanced, but he misled Canadians about the deficit. Why?

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, here are the benefits of a real economic plan: we have the lowest unemployment rate in 40 years, we created 700,000 new jobs in the past three years, and every family has an average of $2,000 more a year than under the Conservative government.
    We have a plan to invest in the middle class and to grow the economy. For 10 years, the Conservatives' growth stagnated. We focused on what is important to Canadians and we met their expectations.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, that is simply not the case.
    Here is what the Prime Minister said about deficits during the last election. He said that his plan to get back to balanced budgets was “very” set in stone, and that he was looking straight at Canadians and being honest, that the budget would be balanced in 2019.
    We found out a couple of weeks ago that that was not the case. The Prime Minister had smashed through his promise and had racked up massive deficits of almost $20 billion.
    If that were not bad enough, today we find out that it is going to be even worse, at almost $30 billion next year. Why did the Prime Minister mislead Canadians in the last election?
    Mr. Speaker, in the last election, we made a promise to Canadians that we would invest in the middle class and grow the economy, because for 10 years they had had a Conservative government under Stephen Harper that gave benefits and advantages to the wealthiest and did not have growth to show for it.
    We took a 1% growth rate under the Conservatives and turned it into a 3% growth rate. We created 700,000 new jobs over the past three years, and right now we have the lowest unemployment rate in recorded history in Canada.
    We are moving forward in a way that invests in Canadians and builds for their—
    The hon. Leader of the Opposition.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's record is actually very clear. He has raised taxes on the middle class, but for those who have inherited great wealth through trust funds, he has protected their assets.
    It is no wonder that the Prime Minister does not worry about the impacts of his irresponsible spending, because he has never had to worry about money. Canadians are worried about the legacy of deficits that he is placing on their shoulders.
    Does Prime Minister really believe that Canadians do not understand that they are on the hook for his irresponsible spending?
    Mr. Speaker, if they want to talk about the legacy of debt, the Conservatives added $150 billion to Canada's national debt, and this is the kicker, with nothing to show for it, with the lowest growth rate since the Great Depression.
    We came forward with a positive plan to invest in Canadians, and that is what we did. It is working. Our plan has delivered the lowest unemployment in 40 years and has created 700,000 new jobs. The Conservatives have no plan, other than the failed policies of Stephen Harper.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister knows that is just not true.
    The previous Conservative government got through a global recession and came roaring back with the greatest job growth in the G7. That is the situation he inherited. He inherited great fortune, and not just personally, a global booming economy, lifting up Canada.
    What did the Prime Minister do with that? He squandered it. He has racked up, now, almost $30 billion worth of deficits alone. Canadians are going to have to pay that back.
    Will the Prime Minister finally admit that his budget is spiralling out of control, and that under his watch deficits are here to stay?
    Mr. Speaker, what the Conservatives continue not to understand is their phony efforts to balance the budget just in time for the election, cutting millions from veterans by closing their service centres, cutting millions from hard-working Canadians from coast to coast to coast, whether it was the Canada Border Services Agency or hard-working Canadians getting short shrift because of their cuts to programs. The Conservatives' obsession with providing a phony budget balance before an election hurt Canadians.
    We invested in Canadians and have the positive results to show for it. They had no plan—
    The hon. Leader of the Opposition.
    Mr. Speaker, you are darned right that we are obsessed with treating taxpayers' dollars responsibly.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

  (1425)  

    Order. Well, I like being told that I am darned right. It does not happen very often. However, I do not think the hon. Leader of the Opposition was referring to me. I would ask the hon. Leader of the Opposition to address his comments through the Chair.
    Mr. Speaker, I would hope that you are darned right about that, too.
    However, the Prime Minister is darned right that we are fighting to treat taxpayers' dollars with respect, but he has never had to worry about money that he has not earned. He is taking money from Canadians and raising their taxes. Canadian families are worse off under the government. He attacked small businesses and those who create jobs in our community while protecting those inherit trust funds. That is the legacy of the current government. The cost of living keeps going up, deficits keep going up, and he has to raise taxes to pay for his out-of-control spending. When will he finally admit that the budget will never balance itself?
    Mr. Speaker, we can tell that when the Conservatives resort to petty personal attacks, they have nothing to say on the basis of fact.
    What we have done is invest in Canadians. We invested historic amounts in infrastructure and put more money in the pockets of the middle class so that kids across this country, with the Canada child benefit, can get better school supplies, better after-school programs, and have new shoes and boots for the winter.
    We know that investing in Canadians is the way to grow the economy. For 10 years, the Conservatives could not do it, but that is exactly what we did. The lowest unemployment in 40 years—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. The hon. member for Chilliwack—Hope and others will come to order. There is too much noise. Order.
    The hon. member for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques.

[Translation]

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, the United States requires guarantees of local content in bids for public transportation. China requires guarantees of local content in bids for public transportation. Here, the government says that we can do nothing and our hands are tied because of trade agreements. What a crock.
    This is even more evidence that Liberal members from Quebec do not carry much weight. The United States requires a minimum of 65% local content and requires that the final assembly be carried out in the U.S. They have signed the same agreements as us.
    Why do the Liberals keep giving in when the time comes to stand up for Canadian interests?
    Mr. Speaker, when we are investing hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, we want the best deal for all Quebeckers and Canadians.
    When companies submit bids, they are aware of the criteria and the process right from the beginning. The opposition is asking me to interfere politically, violate our laws and, ultimately, hurt Canadians, which is unacceptable.
    We recognize that Canadians have expertise in the transportation sector, and we believe that we have the best workers in the world. This is why we will always support our workers.

[English]

Labour

    Mr. Speaker, it is so sincere when it is coming from a sheet of paper. The Prime Minister does not know this file. He does not know the position of his own government.
    Let me try this. This morning, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers filed with the Ontario Superior Court a challenge to the legislation that forced its members back to work without a collective agreement. They have been down this road before and won.
    The Prime Minister has painted himself as a friend of labour, but where is the proof of this when he is willing to trample labour's constitutional rights in order to ensure the bottom-line profits of companies and corporations? How is this Prime Minister different from Stephen Harper?
    Mr. Speaker, one of the first things we did was to repeal the anti-labour legislation passed by Stephen Harper, Bill C-525 and Bill C-377. We know those are the things that matter to labour.
    For the past three years, we have worked constructively with organized labour across this country, showing meaningful progress and understanding the tripartite principles, which mean that labour, government and industry work together to create better opportunities for the middle class.
    We have been a solid partner to labour. We will continue to do that. We will take no lessons from the NDP.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Like the Conservatives in 2011, the Liberals have imposed back-to-work legislation on Canada Post employees. Like the Conservative legislation, the Liberal legislation is being challenged in court. By imitating the Conservatives, the Liberals have shown that they are the bosses' party, not the workers' party.
    The Liberals criticized the Conservatives' tactics at the time, so are they not ashamed to be doing the exact same thing now and denying postal workers their right to free bargaining?

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, we did everything we could to encourage Canada Post and the union to negotiate a new collective agreement. We provided conciliation officers and mediators, appointed a special mediator and offered voluntary arbitration. Despite all that, the parties could not reach an agreement. We only introduced legislation after all other options had been exhausted. We have appointed Elizabeth MacPherson as mediator-arbitrator. She will have 90 days to work with the parties to resolve all outstanding issues.

[English]

International Trade

    You forgot to add that you trampled on their charter rights. This—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I hope the hon. member is not suggesting that I trampled on someone's charter rights. I do ask that she redirect her comments to the Chair.
    Through you, Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is trampling on collective bargaining rights.
    The Liberal government refused to award a billion-dollar contract to Canada's Bombardier to build new VIA Rail trains. Instead they awarded the contract to a German California-based company, Siemens. Why? It is because the Liberals know that using Canadian companies for procurement can get us sued by the EU under the investor-state provisions in CETA. When the Liberals called CETA a gold standard in trade, Canadians had no idea that meant giving away their jobs to foreign companies.
    Why do the Liberals and Conservatives keep signing us on to trade deals that hand good-paying Canadian jobs to other countries?
    Mr. Speaker, we are proud of our Canadian workers and companies. Indeed, we know that they can successfully compete right around the world. Signing trade deals allows us to access procurement opportunities around the world so that we can see things like Bombardier trains in Africa, in Asia and around the world.
     We will continue to promote the extraordinary quality of the work that is done by Canadian companies around the world. We know that as we engage in trade we create better opportunities for our workers and for all Canadians.

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, long ago in a galaxy far, far away, the Prime Minister wrote a mandate letter to the Minister of Finance. He said, “I expect Canadians to hold us accountable for delivering these commitments, and I expect all ministers to do their part”.
    The number one priority for the Minister of Finance was to make sure that Canada's finances are sound by respecting a balanced budget in 2019-20. Troubling news from the Parliamentary Budget Officer's report indicates that we could be looking at another $11 billion added to the deficit next year, which would be, if true, almost $30 billion.
    My question for the Prime Minister is this. Does he still believe budgets will balance?
    Mr. Speaker, our plan and our commitment to Canadians was to grow the economy and to ensure that our economy works for all. Unfortunately, after 10 years of failed Conservative policies, we saw low unemployment rates. We did not see growth.
    However, thanks to our plan and our Prime Minister's leadership, we have seen wages grow. We have seen the lowest unemployment rate on record. As a result, we have the best financials in the G7. We will not take the Conservatives' advice on how not to grow the economy.
    Mr. Speaker, buried at the back of the fall update was actually a report card on the government, written by the government. In it, they talk about their status update on the promises made in the mandate letters. Interestingly enough, balancing the budget in 2019 again appeared as the number three overall responsibility of the government. What is the update? Actions taken, progress made and facing challenges.
    Will the government balance the budget?
    Mr. Speaker, it is really sad to see that the Conservatives continue to think that lifting 300,000 children out of poverty is not progress made. It is sad to see that the Conservatives do not think that creating 700,000 new jobs is progress made. The Conservatives will not be happy until our economy is tanking, but billionaires are taken care of.
     On this side of the House we are focused on Canadians. We are focused on lowering taxes for the middle class and lowering taxes for small businesses. As a result, the promise has been delivered.

  (1435)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Parliamentary Budget Officer just tabled his latest report and his findings are even more dire than what we thought. We have not yet reached 2019 and we already know that the 2019 deficit will be $11 billion more than forecast, reaching a grand total of approximately $30 billion. That is an enormous deficit that is being added to the deficit of the first three years.
    My question for the Prime Minister is simple: when will we return to a balanced budget?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, again, the Conservatives do not want to take the facts as good enough because the fact is our debt to GDP ratio is steadily on the downward track. A typical Canadian family is $2,000 better off under our plan. By the investments we have made, we have seen over 700,000 new jobs created.
    We have one of the best records in the G7, but the Conservatives do not get it. Their failed plan under Stephen Harper did not work, and they continue to have no plan to really grow the economy and create an economy that works—
    The hon. member for Richmond—Arthabaska.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, allow me to do a bit of math with the parliamentary secretary.
    The deficit accumulated since the beginning of the Liberals' term of office totals $100 billion. What does that $100 billion represent for the average person. It represents 20 third links between Quebec City and Lévis. It represents the construction of 600 arenas like the one where the Ottawa Senators play. It represents one million repairs to Canadian roads, or the equivalent of 75 return trips across the country. The minister—
    Order. The hon. parliamentary secretary.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, if the Conservatives want to talk math, let us talk math. They added $150 billion in debt, and what we got were fake lakes and gazebos. They also had a steady GDP growth rate of 1% when they left office. We came into office with our economic plan and we are seeing the growth rate at 3%. Our investments are to grow a more fair economy. We are reducing taxes on the middle class. We are reducing taxes for small businesses. We take no math lessons from the Conservatives.
    Mr. Speaker, math lessons are precisely what this Prime Minister needs.
     Let us start with his promise. He said that next year the deficit would be zero. Then in the fall update, he said it would be almost $20 billion. Now today, the Parliamentary Budget Officer confirms it could be another $11 billion on top of that, for a grand total of almost $30 billion in one year, the year when the budget was supposed to balance itself. Will he finally admit that his deficit is spiralling right out of control?
    Mr. Speaker, I must correct the record. When the Conservatives left office they added $150 billion to the debt and they could not balance the budget. On top of that, their plan was austerity, and cuts on the backs of people like our veterans. Canadians had a choice in 2015 and they chose a plan that put Canadians first and not Conservative millionaires. We are reducing taxes on the middle class, we are lowering taxes for small businesses and, as a result, we are seeing the best growth that we have seen in decades, unlike the Conservatives.

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, basically everything the parliamentary secretary just said there is false. Under the Conservatives, we had the strongest growth in the G7. We roared back from the great global recession with a million new jobs and we left the Liberals with a balanced budget.
     Now that they are done with stating falsehoods about our record, let us tell the truth about their record. The Liberals are adding deficits this year of three times the rate they promised and next year threatens to be even bigger. Will the Prime Minister finally stand up and answer this simple question? In what year will the budget finally balance itself?
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives think that their roaring plan had us back to a technical recession in 2015. They think that is success? On the other hand, we knew that creating the right kinds of investments in Canadians was the best way to get our economy growing. As a result, our plan is working. We have seen over 700,000 jobs created. We have seen lower taxes, where a typical middle-class family is going to be $2,000 better off. We have seen wages grow after being anemic under the Conservatives.
    The Conservatives' plan is not—

[Translation]

Member for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel

    Mr. Speaker, every Liberal seems to have a different version of what is going on with the member for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel.
    The member claims that the Prime Minister assigned him a secret mission. The Prime Minister has clarified nothing. In September, the Liberal whip assured everyone that the member would resign.
    Being here on behalf of our constituents is central to our work. Until this morning, the member for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel had been absent since June.
    My question is simple: Can someone, anyone, on the other side of the House tell us the truth about what tasks have been assigned to the member for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel?
    Mr. Speaker, all members are responsible to their constituents for their work in Ottawa. The member in question publicly indicated his intention and shared the issues on which he will be working on behalf of his community. I saw him today.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the member for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel alleged in the House this morning that the Prime Minister's Office interfered with his attempt to resign. He also stated that the reason he has been so quiet is that the Prime Minister has tasked him with a special duty that overrides his obligation to Parliament while he still runs a business on the side. That makes this an issue of government business. Will the Prime Minister explain to us what this top-secret project is and did his office attempt to interfere with his effort to resign his position?
    Mr. Speaker, we recognize that every member of Parliament is responsible to their constituents for their work in Ottawa. The member in question has publicly indicated his intention and has shared the issues on which he will be working on behalf of his community.

Veterans Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, mismanagement by the Minister of Veterans Affairs has created massive backlogs of disability claims. We have known this for over a year, yet the backlog continues to get worse.
     The minister likes to compare his transition from TV host to minister with that of injured veterans struggling to rejoin the civilian world. However, unlike veterans, he has never been made to wait in an endless line by the very government he had to pledge his life to. The minister owes veterans an apology.
    Mr. Speaker, we had an announcement yesterday that built on our government's commitment to easing the transition between military life and a veteran's life. As I said then, I know enough about the military to know that I would never compare my experience to that of a veteran. However, I will say, it gives me a glimpse into that window, and that fuels what I do and my mission, this government's mission, to make life better for veterans and their families. We need to make sure that the supports are in place to help them with that transition, and yesterday's announcement is what that was all about.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Veterans Affairs made an unfortunate comment comparing his transition from television star to minister to a veteran's transition to civilian life. That is unacceptable.
    In talking to our brave veterans, we realize that each one has their own story, their own experience. No one has experienced what they have gone through.
    How can the minister claim to represent veterans when he does not understand them?
    When will the minister apologize?

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to highlight our commitment to ensuring a smooth transition to civilian life after military service.
    As I said, I know enough about the Forces to ensure I would never claim to understand what soldiers go through during their transition. However, I gained some insight into that experience. This year I organized town halls across the country and I listened to veterans talk about the challenges they face during their transition. We have to bring in the necessary resources to support our soldiers, and that is exactly what we are doing.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, to compare the plight of veterans transitioning out of Canada's military for issues related to PTSD, and by the way, Minister, PTSD does not stand for post-teleprompter stress disorder—
    Order. I have had to ask members several times today to direct their comments to the Chair and not to people on the opposite side, or even on their own side.
    The hon. member for Barrie—Innisfil.
    Mr. Speaker, to compare the plight of veterans transitioning out of Canada's military for issues related to PTSD, occupation stress or injury to his own circumstances transitioning out of television broadcasting, is ridiculous. I ask the Minister of Veterans Affairs, how many times did he come close to being shot, or worse yet, witness a comrade who was shot or blown up by an IED?
    The reaction from the veterans community was disbelief. Will the minister apologize to Canada's veterans?
    Mr. Speaker, I wish I could say I was surprised that the member opposite would rather make personal attacks than talk about the new transition group, but I am going to take advantage of this opportunity to talk about how ensuring a seamless transition to post-military life is essential to the well-being of veterans and their families. The transition group will improve the transition services, with personalized guided support and special care for those who are ill and injured. We will not be distracted in our mission to veterans and their families.
    Mr. Speaker, the minister needs to apologize to veterans for the shameless attack on them. To compare his experience transitioning out of television to those who are transitioning out of Canada's military is shameless. I am going to give the minister one more chance. Will he apologize to Canada's veterans for saying that he understands what transitioning is like? He transitioned out of television and not Canada's military.
    Mr. Speaker, I imagine for anyone who is suffering from mental illness or is struggling with asking for help that this room is about their worst nightmares. There are shouts about comparing ourselves to others and who do we think we are, and misconstrued comments. I have always said I would never compare my experience to a veteran's experience, nor would I compare it to anybody else's, nor would I compare it to the one-quarter or one-fifth of members in this chamber who are suffering or will suffer. However, I say to Canadians, and especially veterans, if they need help, please ignore what they hear in this place. Most people are kind and they have their back.

Health

    Mr. Speaker, I guess it is all about him.

[Translation]

    The opioid crisis is claiming more and more victims every day. The situation is getting worse in Montreal, as it is elsewhere. The Liberals claim to be doing everything in their power to address the crisis, but that is not true. They could be doing much more.
    Will the Liberals finally declare that this is a national public health emergency, as the NDP has been calling for for two years, and invest additional resources to truly address this issue?
    Mr. Speaker, we are facing a public health crisis when it comes to opioids. Our government is assuming its responsibilities.
    We have made significant investments in the provinces and territories. We recognize that Canadians need services on the ground, which is why we are finalizing bilateral agreements with the provinces and territories to ensure that they have more resources.
    Declaring a public health emergency would not give us more tools, which is why we are not doing so.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the number of Canadian lives lost to the opioid epidemic is sobering, staggering and growing. New Democrats have offered five positive proposals to tackle this escalating crisis: declare a national public health emergency, fund overdose prevention sites, invest more in treatment, decriminalize and medically regulate supply, and hold opioid manufacturers to account.
    Given that opioid deaths have risen every single year of the government's term, why will Liberals not act on these proposals to save lives?

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, once again, the member recognized that we are facing a public health crisis when it comes to the opioid epidemic. Our government has been taking actions. We continue to work with provinces and territories, we have made significant investments in the area of harm reduction and we are also in the process of negotiating bilateral agreements with provinces and territories. We want to ensure that there are more services on the ground, whether it be providing funding for supervised consumption sites or any other services that provinces need. We are a partner at the federal level, and we will continue to work with individuals on the ground.

Infrastructure

    Mr. Speaker, there is no resource more precious to the residents of Toronto than Lake Ontario, yet last week the Government of Ontario unexpectedly fired the provincial appointees to the board of Waterfront Toronto.
     For over a decade, Waterfront Toronto has spearheaded the revitalization of the waterfront area by developing parks, streets and new neighbourhoods with affordable housing. The rash dismissal of the chair of the Waterfront Toronto board has everyone in Toronto worried and concerned. Therefore, I would like to ask the—
    The time has concluded. I do not hear something that relates to the responsibility of the government, so I am going to go on.
    The hon. member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles.

[Translation]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, anyone who fought with ISIS should be held responsible for their crimes. The Prime Minister was supposed to present a plan to put these murderers behind bars, but he has failed to do so. Rather than presenting a plan, he is giving us lame excuses and throwing in the towel. The Prime Minister's lack of leadership is shameful, and all Canadians should be concerned about his failure to act.
    If the Prime Minister is unable to stop terrorists, then who will?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, those who have abandoned Canadian democracy to travel to a war zone and engage with terrorists need to take full responsibility for their criminal conduct. Our intelligence, security and police agencies will investigate terrorists by all possible means, with the absolute goal of charging, prosecuting and putting them in jail to the full extent of the law. We have done that more so than our predecessors.
    Those are pretty tough words for somebody who has not got the job done, Mr. Speaker.
    The reality is that the government has tabled legislation that would make it more difficult for law enforcement officials to do their job. It has invested in de-radicalization as opposed to trying to get these people behind bars where they belong.
     The government just tabled a report in Parliament, where half of the whole five pages of its grand plan were excuses as to why it could not do anything. It is the government's job to keep Canadians safe, not to respect the feelings or poetry lessons of ISIS terrorists.
     When will the government get serious and lock up those genocidal maniacs?
    Mr. Speaker, in case you missed it, every aspect—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please. I will invite all members to show respect for this place.
    The hon. Minister of Public Safety.
    Mr. Speaker, I simply want to point out that every aspect of the preamble to that question is bogus and false.
    The fact of the matter is that with respect to returnees from those war zones, under the previous government, under which most of them returned, not a single charge was laid. Not one.
    Under our government, in the past three years, we have identified four cases, we have charged four, we have convicted two and two others are pending.

  (1455)  

[Translation]

Member of Parliament for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel

    Mr. Speaker, all of this government's answers on the budget that will balance itself were ridiculous and untrue.
    It was confirmed to us today that there is nothing the Prime Minister will not do when it comes to manipulating the rules to his advantage. Only one thing was clear in the speech given this morning by the member for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel and that was when he said, “At every moment, no matter the circumstances, I respected the direction of the whip.”
    Did the Prime Minister or a member of his cabinet order the Liberal member not to resign before a certain date so they did not have to call a byelection?
     Mr. Speaker, as I said, every member of Parliament is responsible to their constituents for their work in Ottawa. The member in question has publicly indicated his intention and has shared the issues on which he will be working on behalf of his community.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal member for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel broke his silence today and confessed that even though he announced he would resign in April, someone else decided he should wait until January 22 to make it official.
     The Liberals' new Elections Act states that the Prime Minister does not have to call a by-election for any seats that become vacant after January 21st. What a coincidence.
    Why has the Prime Minister rigged the date of the member's resignation to keep the people of Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel from having the by-election that they deserve?
    Mr. Speaker, all members of Parliament are responsible to their constituents for their work in Ottawa. The member in question has publicly indicated his intention and has shared the issues on which he will be working on behalf of his community.

[Translation]

Canada Revenue Agency

    Mr. Speaker, for the past three years, the Liberals have been talking about how hard they are working to fight tax evasion and tax havens, but nothing has changed and everyone knows it is just a smokescreen.
    The Minister of National Revenue herself even accepted a donation from an influential Liberal whose name turned up in the paradise papers. Now we understand why she has not done anything. As they say, one does not bite the hand that feeds.
    What message is the minister responsible for the CRA sending to the public and all taxpayers when she accepts money from individuals named in the paradise papers?
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague is attempting to connect me indirectly to the paradise papers. If he wants to play that game, I suggest he look at his own people. Mr. Singh and Mr. Mulcair, as well as the members for Timmins—James Bay and Skeena—Bulkley Valley, all accepted contributions from an individual named in those data leaks. For my part, I will keep doing what we do best, which is work to put a stop to tax evasion.

[English]

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, we are approaching the one year anniversary since the Liberals announced their intent to create a Canadian ombudsperson for a responsible enterprise: One year, no ombudsperson, no mandate. Again, it looks like the Liberals just wanted to hold a nice press conference and that would be it.
     Supreme Court of Canada decisions, modern slavery legislation abroad are advancing corporate responsibility and still no action from the Liberal government. What is the point of making an announcement when nothing happens for a year?
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member will be pleased to know that corporate social responsibility is a very important matter for this government and for all members of the House. They know that the practices of Canadian corporations overseas are the subject of interest to this government and certainly to other members opposite, including the one who just asked the question.
    Very soon we will have the pleasure of announcing the successful candidate in a competition that has shown there is great interest from coast to coast to coast in this very important job.

  (1500)  

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, northern gateway was approved by the Conservatives and then was killed by the Liberals. The Liberals then put a double standard against energy east, killing that project. They failed on the Trans Mountain Expansion, bought it and now, not one shovel in the ground.
     Billions of dollars in GDP and hundreds of thousands of jobs are gone or in jeopardy. Investment is fleeing the country. This is the record of the Prime Minister's failed oil and gas sector polices.
    If that was not enough, we have the Liberal “no more pipelines bill.” Will the Prime Minister deliver a Christmas miracle and kill Bill C-69?
    Mr. Speaker, we understand the challenges that are being faced by Alberta's energy sector. We are working closely with both provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan to explore a number of options, including moving forward on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in the right way, engaging in meaningful consultation with indigenous peoples.
    We are the government that invested $4.5 billion to save that pipeline and every member of that party voted against it.
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are not listening to all indigenous people and they do not speak for all of them, just like when they killed northern gateway and the 31 indigenous partnership. That is why 15 leaders from the National Coalition of Chiefs, the Indian Resource Council and the Eagle Spirit Chiefs Council, which represents hundreds of first nations and Métis who want to build their own pipeline, are here today.
    The Liberals' oil export ban, Bill C-48, and their no more pipelines, Bill C-69, blocked their way. If the Liberals keep ignoring provinces, economists and industry, will they at least listen to those leaders and to most Treaty 7 chiefs and will they kill their no more pipelines Bill C-69, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, our natural resource sector is an important source of good middle-class jobs for all Canadians. We remain committed to a renewed relationship with indigenous peoples based on recognition, respect, co-operation and partnership.
     I am delighted to report that many chiefs and leaders of B.C. coastal first nations were in Ottawa last week to express support for Bill C-48 and to express concerns about efforts by “people claiming to represent a unified voice in the northwest whose intentions are to undermine the implementation of the moratorium.”

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, we have a whole list of people who are against those two bills.
     First, the transport minister claims he has never heard the concerns of the transportation industry about the Liberal carbon tax. Today, when Air Canada and WestJet expressed their concerns and again supported the idea of a study of the harm of the carbon tax, the Liberal members voted it down.
     The Liberals are hiding the environmental impact assessment and ignoring calls from the premiers to cancel the carbon tax. Therefore, why are they now blocking businesses from being able to talk about this job-killing carbon tax?
    Mr. Speaker, on our side of the House, we do not believe that pollution should be free. We are moving forward with a plan that is going to put a price on pollution and leave families better off at the end of the day.
     I understand that the Conservatives do not want to take meaningful action on climate change, but I cannot figure out why they insist that the families they represent do not get this money. If they want to continue to dig in and avoid taking action on climate change, I will be happy to continue this debate on this side of the House after the next election.

Status of Women

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday marked the last day of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence. Over the past 16 days, we have reflected on the lives of survivors of violence and the lives of those we have lost. During this time, we also thought about the role we could all play to prevent and address gender-based violence, strengthen our communities and build a better Canada.
    Could the Minister of Status of Women update the House on the actions our government is taking to end gender-based violence and build resilience?
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague from Whitby knows that gender-based violence is preventable, yet when we formed government there was no coordinated strategy to address it. Women's organizations were underfunded and their advocacy was silent.
     Our government worked with survivors and experts to develop Canada's first strategy to address and prevent gender-based violence. We invested over $200 million to help implement it. Yesterday we launched a call to support critical research to better understand gender-based violence, the first public call for research from Status of Women since the Harper Conservatives shut down its research branch in 2008.

  (1505)  

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, the pain Tori Stafford's family had to endure when it lost its daughter is unthinkable, but the pain it has had to endure since then is absolutely outrageous.
     The Liberals refused to back down after they sanctioned the transfer of Terri-Lynne McClintic to a resort style healing lodge. Now they are justifying Michael Rafferty's transfer to a medium-security facility, which they deliberately concealed from Tori's family. It is clear that the interests of child killers are more important to the Liberals than the interests of victims and their families.
    Why is the Liberal government putting Tori's family through hell? Has it not already been through enough?
    Mr. Speaker, let me point out that Rafferty is in a federal penitentiary with two fences, three and a half metres high, three guard towers, human patrols, electronic surveillance. This prison also specializes in handling sex offenders. Rafferty is behind razor wire.

Veterans Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the Veterans Affairs minister keeps missing the mark. Today, he will not even apologize for comparing his own career transition to that of ex-military personnel transitioning to civilian life. He missed it again last week at the Veterans Affairs committee when he would not commit to using the lapsed spending at Veterans Affairs to improve services for Canada's veterans.
     The minister voted to end the practice of lapsed spending at Veterans Affairs. Therefore, will he honour his commitment to spending all money allocated for veterans on veterans, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday's announcement was on our commitment to the transition from the military to veterans life. It is an extraordinarily difficult transition for many people in the military, and it is one that our side of the government is committed to helping veterans and their families make.
    We will not waver in our mission to make life better for veterans and their families. We will not be distracted by personal comments, innuendo, or maligning comments. We stay committed and focused on veterans and their families.

Seniors

    Mr. Speaker, seniors make valuable contributions to our families, workplaces and communities. By 2036, seniors will represent close to 25% of the population.
    Could the Minister of Seniors please update this House on what our government is doing to ensure that our seniors remain active, informed and engaged in our communities?
    Mr. Speaker, our government has been working hard for seniors from the day we were elected.
    Last week I was very pleased to announce that the call for proposals for the pan-Canadian new horizons for seniors program is now open. This year, we have increased the funding to $5 million, and increased the length of time for the projects to five years.
    Our government knows that these projects will go a long way to combat seniors' isolation and work towards inclusion. We all benefit when seniors are engaged and active in our communities.

Veterans Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, at the veterans affairs committee last Thursday, the Minister of Veterans Affairs continued his attack on veteran Sean Bruyea when he was questioned why he publicly shamed Bruyea in the media. He suggested Bruyea's complaints about the Liberals were a result of mental health issues and anxiety. The minister was defending his decision to shame Bruyea after Bruyea dared question the Liberal pension for life scheme that finance department officials confirmed involves no new money.
    Since the minister publicly attacked Sean Bruyea, will he publicly apologize for his personal attack on Mr. Bruyea?
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member well knows that the case is before the court, and so, no, I will not comment.
    Let me make a comment on pension for life, which the hon. member has maligned. It is very real. On April 1, 2019, we will be reintroducing a monthly tax-free pension for life. It is costed at $3.6 billion. It is very real.

[Translation]

Rail Transportation

    Mr. Speaker, VIA Rail would rather award a $1-billion contract to a German multinational than to a Quebec company.
    The Minister of Transport could have stood up for Quebec workers in three ways. He could have informed Bombardier of the Siemens bid, he could have included local economic spinoffs in the contract criteria, and he could have cancelled the bidding process and started over, but he did nothing.
    Will the minister tell VIA Rail that it must reconsider its decision and give Bombardier a chance to win this contract, or will he let VIA Rail announce on Friday that it is awarding the contract to Germany?

  (1510)  

     Mr. Speaker, when we are investing hundreds of millions, or even billions, of taxpayer dollars, we want the best deal for Quebeckers and Canadians. I am talking about taxpayer money.
    When companies submit bids, they are aware of the criteria and the process right from the beginning. The opposition is asking us to interfere politically, violate our laws and, ultimately, hurt Canadians, which is unacceptable.
    Mr. Speaker, the government allocated $100 billion to shipbuilding, but the Davie shipyard is getting practically nothing. The government allocated billions of dollars to the Trans Mountain pipeline, billions of dollars to the Muskrat Falls project and billions of dollars to the Ontario automotive industry.
    Now, VIA Rail is awarding a $1-billion contract for a fleet of trains to a German multinational instead of a Quebec company, and Ottawa is standing idly by, even though the transport minister has the power to act. What is the use of even having a transport minister?
    Why did the minister abandon Bombardier workers and their families in La Pocatière?
    Mr. Speaker, as we all know, Bombardier is able to do business around the world. That is why it sells trains in Israel, India, Africa and other places, including the United States. That is how international trade works when free trade agreements are in place. We need to abide by those rules. I know that the Bloc Québécois has a hard time understanding that concept, but that is how things work for adults who represent the government.

[English]

Northern Affairs

    [Member spoke in Inuktitut and provided the following text:]
    ᐅᖃᖅᑎ
    [Member provided the following translation of the Inuktitut:]
    Mr. Speaker,
    [English]
    Yesterday, Canada finally announced changes to the nutrition north program. The additional funding and other changes are welcome. However, the government has failed to fix the biggest problem with the program: its transparency and accountability. For example, the department has admitted the program subsidy received by some retailers is higher than the freight rate they are paying, which is why Nunavummiut believes some retailers are unjustly profiting from the subsidy.
    Will the minister commit to finally fixing this problem before the spring budget?
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday my colleague from Labrador announced much-needed improvements to nutrition north based on extensive engagement our government had with northerners on how we can make perishable, nutritious food more affordable in Canada's north. As colleagues will know, the fall economic statement added $62.6 million of additional funding.
     I absolutely share my colleague's concern with the need to add increased transparency. I have talked to him about that. I have talked to northern premiers about that.
    We will bring more and further changes and we will start with the new Crown-Inuit working group on food security.

Presence in Gallery

    I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the Honourable Scott Fielding, Minister of Finance for the Province of Manitoba.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!
    The Speaker: I would also like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the Honourable Gordon Wyant, Minister of Education for the Province of Saskatchewan.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!

Points of Order

Oral Questions  

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I would like to revert to the question I posed earlier.
    Order. What I am looking for from the member is his argument on the question of whether or not it is within federal government responsibility and not the question itself.
    Mr. Speaker, as you are aware, the federal government funds Waterfront Toronto. Therefore, I would like to pose a question to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities.
    The member is making the argument, I gather, that Waterfront Toronto is in fact a federal agency. I will allow the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities to respond.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member for Willowdale for his passion and his great work.
    As one of the three government partners overseeing Waterfront Toronto, we respect the work that the organization is doing to lead the development of the waterfront. We are committed to Waterfront Toronto and the long-term revitalization of the port lands. In fact, I was pleased to be in Toronto recently to mark the groundbreaking of the port lands flood protection project, in which our government is investing $416 million.
    We will continue to work with Waterfront Toronto. We will continue to work with the Province of Ontario and we will continue to work with the people of Toronto.

  (1515)  

Treasury Board

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the annual report to Parliament for the 2017-18 fiscal year on federal regulatory management initiatives. This report outlines the net benefit of significant regulations made by the Governor in Council in 2017-18 and reports publicly on the one-for-one rule as required by the Red Tape Reduction Act.
    This tabling actually shows the reduction of 458 administrative requirements and federal regulations. A lot of governments talk about cutting red tape, but we are getting it done.

Points of Order

Oral Questions  

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I am not sure where the precedent is or what the rule is whereby you ruled that somebody's question was out of order, and then you give him advice on how to appeal that ruling, and then you extend question period and allow for an answer.
     Perhaps you could please explain, because I do not know where that rule is, and I would very much like to be able to tell my caucus, who will be asking me.
    Order. At the time of the question, members in the opposition seemed to be calling that in fact it was not a question within the responsibility of government. At the time, it sounded to me like it was not. Therefore, at the time, I ruled. However, I subsequently learned that the organization is a tripartite organization in which the Government of Canada is included. I should have known that. I apologize for not knowing, and therefore I have tried to correct my mistake by allowing the answer to the question.
    The hon. member for Grande Prairie—Mackenzie.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like clarification. Is it your ruling that every organization that receives federal funding will now be subject to questions in question period?
    I thank the member for his argument, and I will review the matter.
    The hon. member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford.
    Mr. Speaker, on the same point of order, I think the issue is that you are very strict with the amount of time that we get to ask our questions. At 35 seconds, we are cut off. If we do not get through the preamble and deliver the question, it is tough luck. We would like to have the same standard that we are subjected to apply to government members.
    The member will note that I did not allow the member who posed the question originally to repose it.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I ask for unanimous consent to table the results of the government's analysis of how hard it is working for itself that was found in the last financial economic update.
    Does the hon. member have unanimous consent?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Speaker: There is no unanimous consent.
    Mr. Speaker, in the spirit of non-partisanship, I would like to table in the House of Commons the Liberal Party platform from 2015 that committed to a balanced budget in 2019.
    Does the hon. member have unanimous consent?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Speaker: There is no unanimous consent.
    Mr. Speaker, if you seek it, I think you will find unanimous consent that I table the PBO's report.
    Some hon. members: No.
    Mr. Chris Warkentin: It is interesting that members are saying no already.
     In fact, the Parliamentary Budget Officer outlined his report today detailing the fact that the Liberals misled Canadians with regard to their fall fiscal update. In fact, the PBO demonstrates that the Liberals underestimated their deficit next year by $11 billion, meaning that it will be in excess or just around $30 billion—
    The member is getting into argument now. Is there consent?
    Some hon. members: No.
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Business of the House

    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, there have been discussions among the parties and, if you were to seek it, I think you would find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:
    That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, the deferred recorded division on the motion M-163, standing in the name of the Member for Etobicoke Centre, currently scheduled on Wednesday, December 12, 2018, immediately before the time provided for Private Members' Business, be deferred anew to immediately after the time provided for Oral Questions that day.

  (1520)  

    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)

    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, the opposition asked for a number of documents to be tabled in the House today. As Minister of Digital Government, I would like to remind the members that all of the documents they have sought to be tabled in the House are available online. It would be far greener for them just to go online—
    Order. This sounds more like debate than a real point of order.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Customs Act

Bill C-21. Second reading and concurrence in Senate amendment  

    The House resumed consideration of the motion in relation to the amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-21, An Act to amend the Customs Act.
    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to be rising today on Bill C-21 and the amendment proposed by the Senate. I will be splitting my time with my friend, the hon. member for Battle River—Crowfoot.
    This could likely be the last time I get to speak in this chamber, and I do so with great emotion. I am very fond of this place. There is so much history here. This building is so beautiful. There have been so many great speeches delivered in this chamber over the past century. Unfortunately, we need to renovate this building. We need to upgrade it, and we will be moving into the new chamber over in the West Block.
    As much as I would like to consider this as the House of Commons, the House of Commons is a body of people. It is us, as commoners, gathered together, and wherever we are is where the House of Commons shall be. A lot of people may not realize it, but the green rug and the green decor we have in here represent the fields and the grass where the early House of Commons in Britain used to meet. They would gather in the common lands and pass bills to hold the government to account. Therefore, it is important that as members of Parliament, regardless of partisanship, we remember that principle. First and foremost, we are commoners elected to serve the people and wherever we gather, whether in this beautiful chamber or the temporary chamber being created in the West Block, we will get the business of the country done, with those of us in opposition holding the government to account and, of course, the government bringing forward legislation. As private members we have that opportunity as well.
    It is my pleasure to be speaking to Bill C-21. The bill is very similar to legislation that was brought forward by our previous Conservative government. The Liberals, at that time the third party, actually opposed that legislation. They did not believe we needed to improve our relationship on security matters across the border with our friends in the United States.
    This is part of the beyond the border action plan, and I appreciate that Daniel Therrien, the Privacy Commissioner, brought forward the amendment that was accepted in the Senate and that we are accepting here. It would ensure that any data that is collected on individuals is only retained for 15 years as part of the public record. It is important that we address that need.
    We have to make sure that people understand that Bill C-21 is not only tracking people who arrive here in Canada, but that it would also enable us to track them as they leave. This is of major concern to our security partners, particularly in the United States. It is an obvious national security matter, and it helps us track those dangerous persons who may be entering our country and then leaving. It actually helps us deal with things like the Magnitsky law that we passed last year. The Magnitsky law provides us with the opportunity to enforce sanctions against those who are committing human rights abuses or are corrupt foreign officials. If they are coming to Canada and then leaving, we need to know. They could be trying to launder money or to hide persons because they may be in trouble back in their home country, for example, in the Russian Federation, or Iran, or Saudi Arabia for that matter.
    If we are going to have this information, we have to be able to access it and use it for investigations. Some of those investigations involve criminal activity, like fraud, including identity theft. It could even include the fraudulent use of one's identity to come to the country. We also know that this would help us make sure that permanent residents here are actually in compliance with the rules for permanent residency. We know that some permanent residents come here, get their applications done, get accepted into Canada and then leave. No one seems to know they have left and have returned to their homeland, and yet they are in the process and on track to becoming citizens.
    This system needs this tool to ensure that the Canada Border Services Agency has the tools to do its job, and make sure that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has the tools to do its job.

  (1525)  

    We have a system that is backlogged with criminal cases and often victimized by fraudsters. This will enable us to get that documentation and information into the refugee and immigration court processes so we can hold those individuals to account.
    The theme for 2018 when looking at the government is that it has failed. The Liberal government has failed on so many different fronts. When talking about border security and national security, it has failed. We know that with border protection, we have an issue with ISIS terrorists who have returned to Canada. We just heard that in question period. Terrorists left this country to wage war on Canada and are allies and to commit mass atrocities and genocide against individuals and communities, and yet instead of stopping them from coming to Canada or arresting them at the scene, they have come back into our country.
    All I have to do is to say the name Abu Huzaifa. He has been bragging about coming back to Canada and saying he is untouchable by unbelievers. He openly discussed with the media, whether CBC or the New York Times, all of the atrocities he has committed. He has done podcasts and interviews on television documenting and confessing to the crimes he has committed against the people ISIS has been waging war against and committing human rights abuses against.
    When we talk about national security and the reason we want to have Bill C-21 pass, it is because we want to build a strong relationship with the United States. We want to build a stronger relationship with our security partners under the Five Eyes partnership, they being the five nations of the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, with whom we share security information to keep our countries safe and secure.
    How can we be a trusted security partner when we have a government that is prepared to allow Huawei, a Chinese corporation, to infiltrate our 5G network? It is a corporation that is beholden to the communist government of China. How can we allow them to take data they come into contact with through their information and technology networks like 5G through smart phones and computer systems, and share that with the Communist Party of China?
    Why would anyone in the Five Eyes trust the Liberal government when it has not shut down Huawei from accessing our new 5G spectrum? The United States has stopped them from selling smart phones and accessing their networks. Australia and New Zealand have stopped them. Orders have been given by the U.K. now to stop Huawei from selling their phones to government organizations, including their military, never mind participating in their 5G networks. We need to make sure that we can see the government taking national security and border control seriously, although it turns a blind eye when it comes to Huawei.
    Talking about border controls, the government likes to brag about all of the Syrian refugees it has brought in. It deeply concerns me when I talk to refugees from the Yazidi community on the streets of Canada, whether in London, Ontario or Winnipeg, Manitoba, who ran away from being sex slaves and from the mass killings of the genocidal network of ISIS. After arriving in Canada, Yazidi refugees have seen their ISIS captors here, the people who sold them into the sex trade. Luckily they have reported them to the RCMP and to the Ontario Provincial Police and now those individuals are being apprehended.
     It is disturbing that we are supposed to trust the Liberal government on border security and our American allies are supposed to trust them, and yet we have all of these ISIS terrorists who have returned to Canada. We have had Syrian refugees infiltrated by ISIS, which has snuck into our country that way. How are we supposed to know what the information is when the government cannot get it right? We are supposed to be collecting this information on non-citizens and non-permanent residents who are coming and going from Canada, yet we are allowing in people who have belonged to a terrorist organization like ISIS.

  (1530)  

    Of course, then all we have to do is look at the illegal border crossers. In Manitoba, we see them coming across at Emerson from Minnesota and North Dakota. In Quebec, of course, they are crossing from New York. That has cost the government $1.1 billion. The Parliamentary Budget Officer has provided that information, and we know that it has caused a great backlog.
    We need to have a good relationship with the United States. However, we do not trust the current Liberal government, because it continues to fail on national security matters, to fail on immigration and to fail on managing our border with the United States and with our other allies.
    Mr. Speaker, what we have before us today is legislation that was introduced at first reading. It went to second reading, committee stage, and third reading after report stage. It then went to the Senate, which had committee meetings. There was an amendment. This has all been fairly healthy. We have had a great deal of good discussion and questions. My understanding is that everyone is supporting the legislation.
     The Conservatives want to continue talking and debating the bill indefinitely. However, the government does have an agenda. It is one of the reasons we had to bring in time allocation. Otherwise, the Conservatives would continue to talk about this indefinitely.
    Having said that, I wonder if my colleague could provide his thoughts on my comments.
    Mr. Speaker, the bill has gone through all those different stages already, but this is my first opportunity to actually speak to it.
    I would also remind the member that this is called democracy. We get to stand in this place and pronounce ourselves on legislation. It is my right and privilege as a member of Parliament to get up here and speak to it.
     It is unfortunate that, again, we have a government that continues to move closure and shut down debate rather than allow members of Parliament to actually represent their constituents in this place. I am glad I have been given this opportunity to get up here and speak to the bill as well as to some of the concerns we have on national security matters that have been mismanaged by the Liberal government. It is an utter failure by the government and is something Canadians need to be aware of.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to rise in this fine chamber, possibly one last time before the House rises, and say what an honour it is to represent Canadians and, of course, my constituents in York Centre. I know that for the next decade, all of us, all members of Parliament, are going to miss the ability to stand in this fine room, speaking out and engaging in democracy for Canadians across the country.
    The hon. member mentioned the Yazidis. I have to say that I am proud of the action taken to bring so many Yazidis to Canada over the last number of years, something that happened with consensus and agreement among the parties in this House.
    As it relates to this bill, it is clear that this will bring us up to the standard and on par with action taken by our Five Eyes allies. It will make Canadians safer. It will ensure that we have more control over our borders and over organizations. The airlines are onside with this.
    Does the member not agree that this is a good move and something that is going to keep all Canadians safer?
    Mr. Speaker, it is a good move. It was originally legislation that came from the Conservative Party, so of course we think it is a good move.
    I appreciate my friend's comments about this grand room we get to rise in. We are all going to miss it dearly. Maybe some of us might still be around in 10 years when it reopens and is refurbished. If I am not, I shall return to see it myself.
    I can say this. We have to have a relationship with our Five Eyes partners. We have to be a trusted partner in the security of the information we have. As long as we have Huawei running around in our 5G network, and as long as it is selling its smart phones in Canada, not just the Government of Canada but all Canadians have to be concerned about their private and confidential information being shared with the Communist Party of China. That has to stop. Therefore, I ask my friend from York Centre to step up and ensure that the government shuts down Huawei's activities in this country.

  (1535)  

    Mr. Speaker, when Bill C-21 was first tabled in June of 2016, the relationship we had with the United States was a very close one, so sharing data made sense at that time.
    I am increasingly concerned about the tariffs the U.S. has put on us, claiming national security issues. I wonder if the member could comment on how he thinks that is going.
    Mr. Speaker, when I meet with our friends in the United States, they are concerned about the way we are handling national security under the current government. The desire for trade and other relationships with China is something that is very disconcerting to our allies, especially among the Five Eyes.
     If we believe in having proper intelligence sharing among our allies, we need to make sure that we are doing the responsible thing here. We are seeing ongoing softwood lumber tariffs. The steel and aluminum tariffs were done as national security matters. It is because the trust between Canada and the United States has eroded under this Prime Minister and the Liberal government.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-21, an act to amend the Customs Act. Once enacted, this legislation would create an entry/exit program to keep track of when Canadians enter and leave the country. It is a measure I support. In fact, it was our previous Conservative government that negotiated the beyond the border agreement, which included a provision to share entry and exit information with our close friend and ally, the United States.
     It is important that our border services have the tools they need to keep Canadians safe, and this legislation would provide one of those tools. It is extremely unfortunate that while Bill C-21 would provide for added security at our borders, that security is being negatively impacted by the influx of illegal immigrants at our borders.
    Canadians expect our refugee system to be safe, orderly and compassionate. Unfortunately, what we have seen under the Liberal government is insecurity, chaos and a lack of sincere empathy. Thousands of illegal, or irregular, as Liberals call them, border crossings have occurred since the Prime Minister irresponsibly tweeted “#WelcomeToCanada” in January 2017. As a direct result of that, twice as many refugees are being admitted into Canada as the system was designed to handle.
     While I do not want to cast blanket aspersions, some of those coming into our country may very well have criminal records. Without proper background checks, which cannot be done before one crosses illegally, persons who pose a safety risk to our citizens may be slipping into Canada.
    The newly appointed Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction certainly has his hands full taking on the huge task of trying to stem the tide. Only time will tell if this new minister can, in fact, effectively take control of this illegal and dangerous situation. He has not so far.
    This queue jumping we are seeing has also created an unfair situation, whereby those waiting in refugee camps or facing persecution in dangerous places around the world must wait longer as more and more scarce resources are being spent processing people who are just jumping across the border with the United States. This two-tiered system is compromising the integrity of our entire immigration system while putting those patiently waiting to be legally approved to come to Canada at even further risk.
    It is not compassionate, nor fair, when individuals who have been brought here on humanitarian grounds are forced to live in homeless shelters, university dormitories and tent cities, because this country is ill-prepared to handle such volumes of asylum seekers.
    The Syrian refugees, who a majority of Canadians overwhelming supported being brought here, have faced housing shortages, particularly in Toronto and Montreal. The mayors of these two large cities recognize that, as well as the newly elected Ontario Conservative government, and they have been requesting federal financial assistance to redress this situation. Saskatchewan and Manitoba have also asked for some additional funding.
    To date, the Liberal government's only solution, as it is with so many other issues, has been to use more taxpayers' dollars to manage the crisis instead of resolving the issue with a fully costed plan. Just last week, the Parliamentary Budget Officer confirmed that if left unaddressed, this crisis will cost Canadian taxpayers $1.1 billion by 2020, not including the hundreds of millions of dollars incurred by the provinces.
    My Conservative colleagues and I will continue to call for policy solutions that go beyond simply spending more money and adding new ministers to the fold. We want to see our immigration system run on a safe, orderly and compassionate basis that prioritizes the world's most vulnerable and ensures that when refugees are brought to this country, we indeed have the ability to help support them.
    We do not, and will not, support the newly signed United Nations global compact on migration. While the immigration minister has tried to defend this compact, calling it an effective way to address migration challenges worldwide, Canadians really would not know, as the Liberal government did not bother to consult or brief them at all in regard to the United Nations global compact. In fact, if it had not been for this side of the House, this compact would have been quietly signed by the Liberals, and Canadians would have been left completely in the dark.

  (1540)  

    As a direct result, many questions and concerns remain, such as whether Canada is surrendering our sovereignty. That is a good question. What are the costs associated with this compact? What exactly does some of the language found in the compact mean, such as “sensitizing and educating” Canadian journalists on how they should report on migration issues?
    Conservatives believe that Canadian journalists should be free to scrutinize the government on immigration policy without influence from an international body and without being bought out, to the tune of $600 million, which is the Liberal government's other plan.
    Canadians, rightfully, deserve answers to these questions. I know that the constituents in my riding of Battle River—Crowfoot expect and deserve those answers. I have been receiving letters, emails and telephone calls ever since this issue was brought to the front.
    I would like to read a portion of an email that I know all members received:
     “I am a 58-year-old female born and raised in Canada. I spent over two decades travelling across this great country, from Newfoundland to B.C. and north to Yellowknife. For my work, I spent weeks in towns, cities and rural areas meeting people of different faiths, races and creeds. Nowhere did I see the kind of racism and hate the Prime Minister thinks he needs to 'quell'....
    “My only concern is the U.N.'s global migration pact. This agreement is the most destructive piece of literature I have ever read. It will be the end of our great country and the last nail in the coffin of free speech in Canada. This has been hidden on purpose, and after I read this rambling strait jacket of so-called agreement, I understood why. Something so divisive, damaging and horrendous to the future of Canada and it citizens should have been on the front page of every newspaper and magazine in the country.... If it wasn't so sad, I would give a round of applause to our Prime Minister for hiding it so well....
    The letter goes on:
“...stunned that there was no vote for us to voice our objections, and they were against signing Canada to it!.... The PM of course, was voted to represent the people of this country, but more and more he decides what this country should look like.”
    While time has not allowed me to read this email in its entirety, I would like to finish by quoting a few last words:
     “Canada has had decades of peaceful and orderly immigration. Allowing our borders to be open and under the control of the U.N., and not our own government, is the death of our country. What is a country without a border to stop people that may do us harm? We should be the ones to say who, what and why people and things may cross into our country. And this document says that the government will quell or silence any disagreement or negative comments....”
    If members on all sides of this House have not yet read the email from Ms. Lori Gagne and Mr. Gunter Retzer sent to them on December 6, I urge them to do so and to please really listen to what they have said, because their sentiments are being expressed by many Canadians.
    In closing, I would like to once again state my support for Bill C-21, because I agree with Lori and Gunter that our borders should be under the control of our government.
    I would also like to take just a moment to express, as the member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman did earlier, the overwhelming sense of loss I am experiencing right now as I stand in this place for the last time until the renovations are done, which is expected to take 10 to 12 years. I have had renovations done in our home that I thought would last six months, and they lasted way longer. I know that when governments do renovations, it typically takes even longer than they expect.
    I have spent 18 wonderful years in this amazing chamber, both as part of the government and as part of the opposition. Whichever side of the House I have been on, it has been a real honour and privilege to have been granted the opportunity to rise in this place, time and time again, to debate, to question and to provide answers to questions. I have tried to do so with the utmost respect for this institution and with the sole purpose of trying, to the best of my ability, to represent the constituents of Battle River—Crowfoot.

  (1545)  

    While I look forward to coming back after Christmas and going into our new chamber in West Block, it is not going to be the same without the amazing architecture, the history and the debates that have taken place in this chamber. I will forever carry with me the memories and the nostalgia of rising in this place to utter the words, “Mr. Speaker”, although I will do it in the other chamber.
     I thank the House for the privilege of being able to stand here and speak to Bill C-21, and for the opportunity to just be nostalgic about this beautiful chamber.
    Mr. Speaker, I too would like to join my hon. colleague in paying homage to this wonderful institution and the pleasure it has given me to serve here, knowing that over the next 10 years we will be anxiously waiting for it to reopen.
    Canada is an open and welcoming country. Those who need protection come to our shores because they know they can find refuge here.
    We have invested over $173 million to strengthen our security operations at our border, to ensure that they are fair and faster in processing asylum claims. Our government is committed to having a strong asylum system.
    My hon. colleague mentioned several times in his speech that Canadians want a system that is safe, orderly and compassionate. The CBSA has been doing that for years, even before we were elected into government.
    He also mentioned a lack of empathy a couple of times in his speech. I am wondering why he mentioned a lack of empathy. I do not want to question whether it was related to his previous government's position of cutting $390 million from the CBSA, or developing a massive asylum claim backlog, or cutting health care for refugees. Was he relating that lack of empathy to the previous government? It certainly is not related to ours.
    No, Mr. Speaker, the lack of empathy I referred to is that of the Liberal government.
    My point was that when we open the borders to those who want to simply jump across from New York state, allowing those asylum seekers or refugees to come into Canada, we are really prolonging the period of time that people are legitimately and legally waiting. In some cases they have gone through years of paperwork. Allowing our borders to be wide open only allows people to jump the queue.
    The person who fills out the proper applications may be a husband whose wife is waiting to come over. When they hear of tens of thousands of people jumping the queue with no paperwork and with barely anything else, it teaches the wrong lesson to those who are trying to be legal, law-abiding people who really want to come to Canada.
    I do not blame them. We live in the greatest country in the world. I have met people who gloried in the fact when they heard that I was from Canada. They would love to be here. We welcome people who are going to contribute to our economy and who are going to be good, solid citizens here.
    We also have empathy for refugees, but when we start pushing back those who have made the application and done due process, that is where we fail.

  (1550)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have probably broken my own record, as I have stood up four times to ask questions about this important legislation, Bill C-21.
    It was important for me to stand and ask questions, because Vancouver International Airport is in my riding and is actually considered a border city.
    It was also important for me to stand up because I received something important from one of my constituents. He asked whether, after the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship has signed the United Nations agreement, we should start flying the flag of the United Nations instead of Canada's national flag with the maple leaf on it. That is the question he asked me today.
    In my own riding, there are legal immigrants who have been waiting for a long time. There are also legal refugees who did not get the right kind of support.
    What would my colleague suggest the government do to solve all the problems in my riding?
    Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, I want to touch on the member's point about flying the UN flag. This country is governed by Canadians and it is governed for Canadians. We have a remarkable opportunity to pick who will lead us. In the last election, Canadians picked. I take great solace in the fact that we get what we deserve or we get what we voted for. Right now many Canadians are very concerned about what they elected. In my province of Alberta, this applies both federally and provincially.
    However, our sovereignty needs to be protected. Protecting our sovereignty means we never give up flying our Canadian flag and making our laws right here in this beautiful chamber in the House of Commons, not some other place in the world.
    Mr. Speaker, this will probably be one of the last times I rise to speak in this building, as we are moving to West Block in the new year. Like many fellow members, I have been reflecting on this place, its beauty and history. I do not know the route the Usher of the Black Rod will take from the new chamber to the Senate, but it will be interesting to see how the logistics and details are worked out.
    That said, I am here today to talk about Bill C-21. I will start by explaining, for those who are not aware, what this bill would do. Essentially, it would allow for the exchange of biographical information between the U.S. and Canada. This will be important for a number of reasons.
    When the bill was tabled in June 2016, we were co-operating with the United States in trying to make it easier for goods, services and people to flow across the border. One of the problems is that we often only have information about when Canadians leave the country, not on when they return. It is important to know how many days Canadians spend outside the country, because a lot of the benefits people qualify for are dependent on that time and a lot of the immigration requirements for residency depend on being in Canada for a required amount of time and not outside the country for too long.
    With that in mind, Bill C-21 would allow the kind of data exchange that would be useful to keep track of these kinds of things. Some people will embrace that, but of course there are always those who may not be as enthusiastic. A lot of Canadians like to spend their winters in the south, in Florida, etc. They go for six months. People in my town, which is a border town, also go to the U.S. for the day to shop or have a meal or whatever, so all of those days would count as days away from Canada.
    We are concerned that some of those people may find themselves losing the benefits they have, or having difficulty receiving them. There are also people who accidentally spend too much time out of the country for their residency requirements for their immigration and permanent resident cards. That may be of some concern as well.
    Most stakeholders are very supportive of sharing the information and having a closer relationship with the United States of America, but an amendment to the bill was proposed by the Privacy Commissioner. Canadians are always concerned about the privacy of their information, and in this case the amendment stipulates that the data not be retained for more than 15 years. I am supportive of the bill and of that amendment.
     I will look to some of the issues the government has not addressed. When it comes to the border, there are a number of really critical issues, and this bill addresses just a small portion of them. This is a bit disappointing, because there are a couple of larger issues the government has dropped the ball on, to be frank.
    The first one has to do with the border and the legalization of marijuana. Liberals ran on a platform of legalizing it. They know it is still illegal at the federal level in the United States, so it should not have been a surprise to them that there were confrontations about that. Although many of the states along the border between the U.S. and Canada are either in the process of legalizing it or have already legalized it, the borders are controlled federally, so there should have been some negotiation between the United States and Canada for some kind of understanding.
    That was not done, and there have been incidents across the country where travelling Canadians are being turned back at the border and not being allowed to go into the U.S. In one case, a gentleman was given a lifetime ban. He was a worker in the cannabis industry on his way to a cannabis convention in Las Vegas. He was given a lifetime ban, and the people travelling with him were turned back and delayed.

  (1555)  

    Therefore, there is something still to be done there, and that is a critical issue for everyone who lives in a border town and for people who would be crossing back and forth.
    The other subject that comes to mind has been touched on quite often during the debate today. That is the illegal immigration that we are seeing in Manitoba and Quebec, mainly at Roxham Road. We have had 38,000 individuals come over from upper-state New York and cross into our country. The problem with this is not just the huge cost that is related to feeding and housing them and providing medical services and their legal services. In most cases they are crossing into those provinces because they will provide those services. This is a huge cost. We are hearing it is a $1.1-billion cost to taxpayers for people whom Canadians did not choose to have come to the country.
     Even more alarming than that are the statistics associated with the people who are coming, where 60% of them already have legal status in the U.S. so they are actually not eligible to claim asylum. For those who have had their claims processed, 70% to 80% of them are having their claims rejected but only a handful have been deported from the country. Therefore, people who do not have a valid claim and have already been processed are still here in Canada and we are continuing to have to pay to support them. I do not think that is right.
     Even more alarming is that the queue is now supposedly so long that it will take three to four years to finish processing the people who have already come across, so that will escalate those costs again and again. It is not just the federal costs we are talking about. There are costs to the provinces: $200 million in Ontario; $300 million in Quebec. There are costs for the municipalities. From Toronto to London in my province, all of the social services and shelters for the homeless are being taken up by illegal asylum seekers.
     This is an issue that needs to be dealt with, and it is a lack of leadership on the part of the Prime Minister that he has not dealt with it. It would not take much more than for him to say that if people do not use our fair legal immigration process and cross at a point of entry that is designated, we are not going to process their claims and pay for their food, shelter, legal aid and all those different things. If that were said, not many people would come. There is an opportunity for the current government to address that but I do not think there is political will because the sentiment in the government is toward open migration.
     My colleague who spoke before me talked about the global compact for migration. When it was first discussed that the Prime Minister was going to sign on to this UN agreement, immediately I had a flurry of emails and phone calls to my office from people who were opposed. The things they objected to in this global compact were, first, that they felt Canada would be giving up its sovereignty, our ability to determine who is able to immigrate here.
     We want to choose immigrants who are going to fill economic skills gaps that we have. We want people who are going to be reunited with their families. Canadians are a compassionate bunch. We are going to see places in the world where people are experiencing war and torture and genocide and rape, and we want to rescue those kinds of people. We have people coming from upper-state New York where there is no war and no hardship. Those people are not under persecution and they are not being tortured. That is definitely a different situation.
    The other concerning thing in the global compact for migration is the freedom of the press. There is language in there that talks about training the media to correctly speak about immigration. That does not sound like freedom of the press and I am a bit concerned. With the current government and the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, when people criticized spending by the government on illegal asylum seekers, they were called un-Canadian. There was a whole sentiment that we should not be able to criticize and talk about these things. That is not the country I grew up in. We have a democracy where we have the right to our opinion, the right to express our beliefs and our views; we have freedom of the press and we do not want anything to come against that.

  (1600)  

    It has been said that this agreement is non-binding, but I have conferred with our former justice minister who was a former attorney general. He told me that the Supreme Court uses these agreements that Canada has signed with the UN to interpret the law, to hold up the standard that Canada should be behaving to. These things do become binding and that is very concerning as well.
    In terms of the border and the exchange of information, I said there were a number of issues and I have talked about a couple of them. There is one issue that is probably specific to my riding that I am really disappointed the government did not address and that has to do with the border crossing at Sombra. For those who do not remember the circumstances surrounding this, the situation is this. In January of this year, the Coast Guard did not shut down the channel when the ice became thick. That is normally what happens, but they allowed several icebreakers to go through at quite a speed and as a result, the ice was pushed and crushed the crossing to the Sombra Ferry. That border crossing is relied on by my constituents, by people on the U.S. side and we called out to the government for help.
    The Minister of Public Safety's department CBSA collects $3 million a year of duties off this crossing, but it refused to provide the dollars that were needed to repair, even though the amount needed was less than what they would make in a year off the crossing. The minister of Fisheries and Oceans at the time, whom the Coast Guard reports to, would do nothing as well, even though it was its icebreakers that pushed the ice and caused the situation.
    I was told by the former minister of transport that there was a contingency fund just for this sort of thing and if I approached the Minister of Transport, he would be able to apply that contingency fund to restore the border crossing. This was at a time when we were in the middle of the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations and we heard outcries from the mayor, senators, congressmen in the U.S., up through the ambassador from the U.S. to Canada, calling for restoration of this border crossing, which is the contingency border crossing for the Bluewater Bridge, another border crossing within my riding. This is the only other crossing where trucks of an industrial nature can be diverted to. I was disappointed in the extreme that the Minister of Transport claimed there was not such a contingency fund, which the former transport minister said there was.
    Combat engineers in my riding told me that the Minister of National Defence, if he decided it was in the public interest, could tell them to repair the border crossing, as they fix bridges all over the place. They had just finished one in Laval and another one in Guelph, certainly they would be happy to see this restored because time was marching on and there is only a certain season where construction can take place. In the St. Clair River there is fish spawning season, so there are regulations about when construction can be done. The Minister of National Defence decided to do nothing as well.
    We then escalated to the Prime Minister's Office, which received calls from the ambassador from the U.S. to Canada, calls from the Marine City mayor, calls from me, and nothing was done. Again, we talk about border crossing and we talk about the relationship with our neighbours in the U.S. and here is an example where the Prime Minister and five of his cabinet ministers totally let down the United States as well as my riding. The Minister of Infrastructure was equally unwilling to help, so all the way around it is a border issue that I would have liked to have seen addressed under the government that was an absolute failure.

  (1605)  

    When we talk about Bill C-21, I notice that the Liberal Party, the NDP and the Conservatives are all standing up to say that we support the legislation and we support the amendments. I am all about efficiency. There is something I find very frustrating as an engineer. There is nothing more concerning than having a limited amount of time to talk about things in this House. There are all kinds of issues that need to be addressed, and we start at the beginning of a debate with Liberals, Conservatives and NDP agreeing but things will continue to press on. Things go to committee even if we agree, and they then come back from committee, and so that is a concern to me in terms of efficiency. I would prefer to see us change the Standing Orders, and perhaps when we move to the new place we will have an opportunity to do that.
    The other issue I have here on my list to talk about is the amount of time this bill has taken to get here. It was introduced in June of 2016 and is just coming now. That also highlights one of the difficulties the Liberal government has had with managing the legislation in the House. There have not been that many bills passed compared to previous governments, and again, we see bills that are less meaningful.
    I was speaking yesterday about a justice bill. Again it was one of these situations where, if we look at all the things that need to happen in Canada from a justice point of view, we are not too sure why the bills coming forward are the ones that have been selected. There was a bill on solitary confinement and not allowing people to be kept in solitary confinement. It only impacts about 340 Canadians, but quite a number of days were spent on that.
    I am coming to the summary about this bill. It is important we continue to have good relations with the U.S. I am a bit concerned about the state of our relations with the U.S. There are a number of things exacerbating the situation. With the free trade agreement that just came through, although I am happy to have a deal, it was a terrible one and could have been negotiated much better if it had been done quickly. As well, I am extremely concerned about the remaining tariffs we have on steel, aluminum and softwood lumber. This is not good. We are claiming that these are illegal tariffs and pursuing action on that, which makes the relationship more fractious.
    Now we have this Huawei situation, where the Liberal government has been warned that many countries are not willing to do business with Huawei because of the nature of the way it spies for the Chinese government. The government has been warned not to let it into our 5G network and knows this is a significant issue with the U.S. It has a very confrontational relationship with China, and the U.S. is not going to see our forays with China as improving our national security in any way.
    I am concerned all of the actions the Prime Minister is taking, the things he calls out when goes abroad at the G20, as well as the virtue signals, are all things he knows will inflame the President of the United States and cause those kinds of fractious relationships.
    It is important we build on the goodwill in this bill. We are starting to exchange data. We should work with the U.S. to find a resolution to border crossing and the marijuana issue. We should protect our borders and be vigilant to make sure we are controlling who comes into the country, and ensure the security of Canadians. If we do that, then we will be moving in the right direction. We know we need to have those borders processing goods and services in an expedient way. Many of our jobs and much of our economy depend on the U.S., so it behooves us to keep moving in the direction of good.
    Being that it is the holiday season, I want to wish all the residents of Sarnia—Lambton a very merry Christmas, a happy holiday and a happy new year. To everyone in this House as well, I thank them. It has been an honour to serve with them in this building, and I look forward to serving with them in the new one.

  (1610)  

    Mr. Speaker, nothing quite like listening to a speech in the House of Commons about efficiency that takes 20 minutes to agree with the government. One would think efficiency would just be to say that she agrees with the bill and sit down. Instead, what we were treated to was a very long lecture, one which moved into some pretty disturbing space.
    The UN pact on migration is not binding on this country. We know that. Anyone who has ever dealt with the UN or with migration issues around the UN knows that. However, I was here on the weekend, and I saw the demonstration by the white supremacists on the front lawn of Parliament Hill as they walked down past the Justice Building shouting their horrific slogans.
    When I hear white supremacists chanting the very same slogans members opposite speak with soft voices in this House, what is the difference between the position the white supremacists took on the UN migration pact and the position the party opposite is taking? It has raised this issue. It has nothing to do with Bill C-21, but members opposite keep coming back to it speech after speech. This notion that there is some globalist conspiracy to overrule Canada's sovereignty on immigration is exactly what the white supremacists were saying on the lawns of Parliament this week. What is the difference between that and what the Conservatives are saying here today? Quite frankly, it is a little scary.
    Mr. Speaker, I am totally offended by the accusation that member has made. It is really insulting. Even though I find his attitude offensive, I grant him the privilege of freedom of speech.
    I am listening to the advice of people who are in the know. The former justice minister and attorney general told me that the Supreme Court would use this UN compact on migration, would compare our laws to the intent we had signed on with and it would become binding. I am taking the experience of that gentleman who has served in this place and in a higher role where he certainly is more informed than me.
    With respect to the efficiency the member mentioned, he might be amused to know that when I first arrived in the House, I was asked to do my maiden speech on the withdrawal of the CF-18s from the ISIS fight. I said that I could probably say what I wanted to say in about two minutes. I was informed that thus was not the procedure of the House and that I had a choice of 10 minutes to 20 minutes. It has taken me some time to be able to stretch out my commentary to fill in the standing order requirements.

  (1615)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to pick up on the issue of irregular crossings at our borders. I know the Conservatives have a different term that they like to use. We will just have to agree to disagree on certain aspects of the motivations behind it.
    My concern is this. The opposition tries to give a bit of a false impression. It is as if there has only been these border crossers in the last few years. If we repeat something enough times, we begin to believe an untruth. Illegal or irregular border crossers, however one wants to put it, has been occurring for many years.
    Would the member across the way apply the same principles that she talked about with respect to denial of services and so forth even when Stephen Harper's government accepted irregular border crossers?
    Mr. Speaker, as a point of information for the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader, the sign at Roxham Road says “illegal” and that is why the phrase of “illegal immigrants” is appropriate.
    His point is well taken. There have been a number of people who have come across, but not at the rates we are seeing now. The alarming part of this is that originally there were a number of Haitians, for example, who were allowed to stay in the U.S. for seven years. They were rescued and were to be returned back to Haiti. That was the deal. However, they decided they did not want to go back to Haiti and wanted to come to Canada. They have flooded the borders. People from Nigeria have heard that there is a really great social system in Canada, that there are great health benefits, that everything is paid, that they will be processed. They are flooding into Canada.
    Data suggests that about 11 million people are in similar circumstances in the United States and they may decide to come our way. Obviously, that would totally overwhelm us. We are already struggling to keep up. They are talking about three and four-year queues for the existing illegal immigrants and we know people who use the lawful process have to wait for two years or, in many cases, three.
     It is time to take leadership and take this issue very seriously, because there is a flood that has not previously occurred.
    Mr. Speaker, I just heard an astonishing observation from the member opposite about the requirement to speak for 10 minutes and if a member did not, somehow he or she would get admonished by the leadership in the House.
    Let me assure the member opposite that a member does not have to speak for 10 minutes. A member is allowed to speak for 10 minutes, but if the member runs out of things to say, he or she does not have to pick up a paper and start searching for things to say just because the House leader told the member to speak for 10 minutes so the debate would not collapse. The member opposite could now attempt to use the time she has to answer my question.
     I listened to the white supremacists on Parliament Hill this weekend and I listened to her comments. I am trying to let her tell me what the difference is between the two. Both parties are worried about some global conspiracy theory. I am going to make her a tinfoil hat for Christmas. She can wear it proudly.
     I am not sure where this conspiracy theory is coming from and I certainly do not like the inference that somehow by making sure that migration and immigration is done in an orderly way, it is somehow undermining the values of the country. The country was built on immigration and on good immigration policy. The idea that there is a global conspiracy theory afoot to try to make us absorb immigrants who we do not want is absolutely offensive to those of us who were raised by immigrants, because our parents were immigrants.
    Mr. Speaker, when it comes to immigration, we have a fair and legal immigration process. We want to have people come to Canada who will help us fill those economic skill gaps, who will be reunited with their families, who will be people on whom we take compassion, rescuing them from true torture situations in the world. We know that many Canadian are immigrants. That is who makes up our country. That is why we are as diverse and wonderful as we are.
    The member mentioned Christmas. Therefore, in the spirit of the holiday season, I wish him peace and a happy holiday.

  (1620)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to follow up on what the parliamentary secretary just asked the member with regard to white supremacists. It is really difficult to understand why anybody in the House would try to put other members of the House in the same bed as extremists. It undermines democracy and the people who have voted for each and every one of the members in the House. It is unbecoming of a member of Parliament.
     The question I have for the member is this. Going forward on this issue, does she believe we should be working with each of the groups involved to ensure there is a smooth process for legal migration into Canada, one that is respected according to our immigration laws?
    Mr. Speaker, we should have a fair and legal immigration process. I want to clearly state that I am opposed to people who hate people on the basis of race, religion, colour or any of these things. These extremist groups certainly do not represent the views of our party or my personal views as well.
     Therefore, I would like to see us get there. However, the situation that is being allowed to happen with all of the illegal asylum seekers coming across the border is causing a lot of tension. We see it in Quebec. We see it in Ontario. If it goes unchecked and it undermines that fair and legal process, then it will fan flames that we do not want to have fanned.
    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 Nanaimo—Ladysmith, Status of Women; the hon. member for Saskatoon West, Housing; the hon. member for Vancouver East, Child Care.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to stand in the House to talk again to Bill C-21. I thought yesterday would be the last time I would have a chance to speak, but it turns out I will have another chance today.
    One of the things we understand when we look at a bill like Bill C-21 is the close relationship we have with our neighbours south of the border and the fact that geography has us joined. This is one of these things that helps goods flow back and forth in a way that people understand what the expectations are and how they work.
     First, we do support the bill. It is important that our border services have the tools they need to keep Canadians safe. The legislation addresses the long-standing Conservative priorities regarding border security and ensuring entitlement programs are not abused.
    On this side of the House, we will continue to hold the Liberals to account and ensure that this program is implemented in a way that does not infringe on the rights of Canadians.
     Bill C-21 would allow the Canada Border Services Agency to collect and receive biographic information on travellers exiting Canada. It would authorize officers to acquire goods exported from Canada to be reported, despite exemptions, and would give them the power to examine goods being exported.
    The Prime Minister first announced the agreement with the United States to fully implement a system to exchange basic biographic information in March 2016, following his first official visit to the United States. Currently, as part of the beyond the borders action plan, the two countries collect and exchange biographic entry information at land ports on third country nationals and lawful permanent residents. Entry information into one country is considered exit information from the other.
    As we look at initiatives like beyond the borders, these are the things I hear at round tables. We need to continue to work on ways to ease the flow of goods, services and people. Some of the challenges our companies have are getting goods to market.
    We can look at the automotive facilities in Windsor, where I visited this past summer. One of the things Chrysler told me was that based on just-in-time inventory, and automotive manufacturers experience and require the same thing, that any delays such as traffic, caused delays in its production, which was problematic as it worked very hard to get goods to market in a timely fashion.
    On November 21, the Senate committee heard from the Privacy Commissioner of Canada who spoke on the general intent of the bill and its amendment, which was passed by the House of Commons. This is related to the data retention period. The Privacy Commissioner said, “I am generally satisfied that this border management initiative is based on important public policy objectives and the personal information in question is not particularly sensitive.”
    For the amendment, Mr. Therrien indicated that in order to achieve greater legal certainty, subsection 93.1 should be amended to clarify that the data collected under sections 92 and 93 should be retained by the agency for a period of no more than 15 years.
     The legislation will not have any incremental costs for new systems as it will leverage those already in use. It will, however, save an estimated $20 million per year from those who are unduly receiving entitlement programs while out of the country for extended periods. This includes those who are receiving employment insurance from outside of Canada.
    Speaking of financial implications at borders, it is important to bring up the issue our country is grappling with right now, and that is the issue of steel and aluminum tariffs that still remain in place. The Prime Minister was supposed to have steel and aluminum tariffs lifted before the G20 summit about two weeks ago. Unfortunately, he failed to do so when he signed the USMCA without assurances that tariffs would be lifted. This is causing major problems with our manufacturers.
    I have talked with small and medium-size enterprises. I have talked with steel and aluminum producers. I have talked with automotive, tool and dye and moulding companies. I have talked with a whole host of people who use steel and aluminum in their production and they are dealing with these issues. They tell me that every day these tariffs remain in place, workers will continue to face more uncertainty.

  (1625)  

    Businesses, especially small businesses, are struggling to pay the surtaxes on the materials they need. Jobs are at risk of being moved south of the border. Some companies are saying they are not sure they can continue to operate the way they are. For smaller companies, moving is not an option and larger companies are certainly reassessing some of the options they have.
    I spent some time this summer criss-crossing the country and talking to small manufacturers who depend on stable markets for aluminum and steel. I talked to over 150 stakeholders in three different provinces. I had 26 meetings in 18 cities and talked to a variety of stakeholders. There were business owners, chambers of commerce and trade associations. I heard that U.S. tariffs are killing businesses. We have a 25% tariff on steel, a 10% tariff on aluminum and businesses are having a hard time planning. Not only are they not able to plan for the future, say two or three years down the road, they are also having a hard time planning for the next three to six months. That kind of uncertainty is a challenge.
    I have talked to small boat wholesalers and retailers of boats who are trying to buy inventory now. They say the next season is coming up and they are not sure what they are going to do in terms of how many boats to order or what they need to do, because people refuse to pay some of the taxes. Small and medium-sized enterprises form an essential part of our local economies and their loss would be keenly felt if the tariff situation is not resolved in an expeditious way.
    Last week, in the international trade committee, Conservatives introduced a motion asking the Prime Minister to attend and present his plan for the immediate removal of tariffs on steel and aluminum products. The Liberals voted against that motion. Canadians have the right to know exactly how the Liberals and the Prime Minister are going to address this growing negative impact of tariffs on steel and aluminum for our workers and the economy. When the Prime Minister signed the new NAFTA, he failed to ensure that the tariffs would be removed from Canadian steel and aluminum products. Canadians are still facing even more uncertainty given the recent announcement that the United States will terminate the existing trade agreement if the new NAFTA is not ratified in six months.
    Conservatives spent months travelling across Canada speaking with over 200 businesses, owners, labour groups and stakeholders and heard that same message over and over again. Local businesses are being hindered by red tape and proposed higher taxes by the Prime Minister and the Liberal government and they are unable to access relief. They need to stay afloat during difficult periods, with no end in sight. Businesses have had to cut orders, reduce shifts and, in some cases, have been forced to lay off workers.
    Conservatives will continue to fight to protect Canadian workers and our economy and will call on the Prime Minister to also do the same. The Prime Minister must take immediate action and tell Canadians exactly what his plan is to remove the tariffs from our steel and aluminum products and ensure that our workers and our economy will remain competitive.
    Speaking of competitiveness, the global competitiveness index has Canada in 14th place. The U.S. has risen to first place out of 140 countries. We are in 53rd place when it comes to regulatory burden. Our corporate tax rate is now close to 27%, which is one of the higher ones of other developed countries in the OECD. We are close to having the highest corporate tax rate. The real tax rate for corporate income is also creeping toward 30%. Canada also has a high personal income tax rate. We spoke with companies trying to attract talent from all over the world and they said it is tough because of the high personal taxes that individuals pay in this country. For entrepreneurs, this is a challenge.
    The personal tax rate in most provinces and in Ontario exceeds 50%, and that is certainly a challenge for businesses. Other provinces are getting dangerously close. The U.S. tax rate has been reduced from 35% to 21%, with additional incentives to invest and relocate there. This is our biggest trading partner where over 76% of our exports go. The government must recognize the importance of tax rates, our competitiveness and the importance of a strong business environment for our economic stability. Right now, there is no reason to be confident in our economic prospects. There are issues with capital flight and onerous regulations.

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    In Alberta right now, there are obviously many challenges. We see that Alberta just mandated an 8.7% cut in oil production to combat low prices. Thousands of jobs and several companies are in jeopardy. Canadian oil is selling at an $80-million discount every single day. Texas oil is going for around $50 a barrel, while Western Canadian Select, I believe, has gone to $14 and below. Why has that happened? One of the reasons is that Alberta cannot get its oil to global markets.
    This is a direct result of the Prime Minister's failure to approve three different pipeline projects of over $100 billion. Northern gateway was vetoed. Energy east was killed by shifting regulatory goalposts. The Trans Mountain pipeline was subject to delays and obstruction. We, as a country, now own that pipeline for just a little over $4.5 billion. Bill C-69 would make the problem even worse. This bill would bury any chance at future pipelines, under the mountain of new ever-changing regulations. This is all part of the Liberal plan to phase out the oil sands without a thought for the workers and families who depend on them for their livelihoods.
    Unfortunately, with such a high degree of uncertainty surrounding resource development in Canada, investors have taken notice. Canada is no longer seen as a safe bet for economic growth.
     Problems are not just in our resource sector. Most people are aware that recently over 2,500 workers at GM in