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42nd PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 425

CONTENTS

Monday, June 3, 2019




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 148
NUMBER 425
1st SESSION
42nd PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Monday, June 3, 2019

Speaker: The Honourable Geoff Regan

    The House met at 11 a.m.

Prayer



PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS

[Private Members' Business]

  (1105)  

[English]

Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act

     moved that Bill S-214, An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act (cruelty-free cosmetics), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    She said: Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to speak to Bill S-214, a bill that was introduced in the Senate by Senator Stewart Olsen. The bill aims to ban cosmetic testing on animals in Canada. Bill S-214 would amend the Food and Drugs Act to prohibit cosmetic animal testing and the sale of cosmetic products developed or manufactured using animal testing. It would also ensure that no evidence from animal testing may be used to establish the safety of a cosmetic in Canada.

[Translation]

    At present, there is long list of approved cosmetic ingredients. New scientific methods have been developed to test products on human tissue collected during surgical procedures, making animal testing obsolete.
     Cosmetic animal testing has been banned since 2009 in 27 EU countries, and the sale of cosmetic products or ingredients subject to new animal testing has been illegal since March 2013. Israel imposed similar bans in 2007 and 2013, and similar policy change is also under consideration in India and South Korea.
     In most other countries, cosmetic animal testing is neither expressly required nor prohibited, so cosmetics companies and ingredient suppliers decide whether they want to conduct such testing.
     In a few countries, including China, cosmetic animal testing may still be a legal requirement for some ingredients and finished products.
    Given the push by Health Canada to adopt a risk-based system for classifying food products, prescription drugs and cosmetics, this bill would allow ingredients for use in foods and natural health products that would not be allowed in cosmetics.

[English]

    This bill originated in the Senate, and it came out of the Senate at the end of the summer session last year. It was passed unanimously in the Senate. Therefore, members can imagine my surprise when various stakeholders began to approach me and the government to indicate they could not support the bill in its existing form and that amendments would be needed in order to drive it forward. That began the process of talking to each stakeholder group and finding out about the amendments that they wanted to the bill.
     As can happen, not everyone wanted the same amendments, so negotiations were undertaken to come to a consensus on what amendments should be made. We have now all come to the place where we believe we could improve the bill, and I am going to take a few moments to go through the amendments we would like to see to the bill.
    The first amendment, reference to a cosmetic for human use, is intended to provide clarity to the principle that the ban is not intended to apply to products that are included in the definition of cosmetics but are for non-human use, such as pet grooming products. For example, the ban should not prevent non-invasive and non-toxicological testing of a finished product, such as a dog shampoo, on a dog to ensure its effectiveness and likeability.
    The second amendment refers to the party to be held responsible for ensuring that the cosmetic products comply with the ban. This should be consistent with the regulated entities that currently have legal responsibility under the Food and Drugs Act, which are the manufacturer or the importer. It is important that the people who are producing cosmetics, producing the ingredients for cosmetics, and those who are importing, have the responsibility of making sure that they have met the requirements in Canada. In the past, there have been people who have been distributors of the product, not the manufacturer or importer, and they do not always have the necessary information. Therefore, we would hold the manufacturers and importers legally responsible to ensure that they comply with that.
    To be sold legally in Canada, the cosmetic product must be filed with Health Canada by the manufacturer or importer. The cosmetic notification system provides Health Canada with a list of all products on the market and the party that is responsible for the regulatory compliance. Retailers may be the responsible parties if they are also the manufacturer or importer of record. As to a ban on conducting animal testing on finished cosmetic products, this would apply, appropriately, to a person, as the ban would be on the act of doing the testing rather than on the ability to sell the product.
    Amendment number three is that it is a principle that the ban should not apply to animal testing of any substance regulated as a food, drug or device in the context of those regulatory uses under the Food and Drugs Act and associated non-cosmetic regulations. As I mentioned earlier, the government is moving away from the separate approval process that existed for food, drugs, natural health products and cosmetics, and going to a risk-based approach, which puts additional burden of proof on those things that have higher risk.
    Amendment number four is that the operational details of the sales ban as they relate to reliance on new animal test data for cosmetic purposes should fit within the Canadian regulatory context in order to operate officially, as well as to align with the European Union. One of the discussions was about aligning ourselves with the European Union and the State of California in terms of what they have established to make sure that would be applicable with all of the countries that have globally agreed to the ban.
    It is understood that the Minister of Health has the ultimate responsibility for the protection of public health and safety with respect to consumer products. As such, the minister should have the power to issue an exemption to the ban if the minister determines it is necessary to address a serious or imminent risk of injury to health, for the protection of human health or the safety of the public, and that there is no acceptable non-animal approach available. This gives powers to the minister, and these are powers that the minister ought to have to make sure that public safety is protected.
    The minister deciding to use the power to issue an exemption gives rise to the next amendment. Public transparency and accountability are key principles with respect to regulation. As such, the public and stakeholders should be able to expect that they will be made aware when there is either a violation of the ban or the minister has exercised the authority to provide an exemption as previously outlined. Public notification should consider due process, but also be transparent and easily accessible to interested parties.
    Amendment seven has to do with the principle that the ban should be on a go-forward basis and not apply to any animal testing conducted, or the use of data arising from it, prior to the ban coming into force. It is recommended that the ban come into force two years after the date of its enactment, although it is understood that Health Canada must be in a position to effectively administer the changes. There is no point in having rules that cannot be enforced, so that would have to be put in place.
    When we considered the bill, there was no Conservative Party policy in this area, so there was a bit of a polarity of views: some were in favour and some had concerns about the legislation. They were concerned that people may use this legislation as a wedge to prevent other activities, like hunting, fishing, farming or going into other areas. That was a concern.
    Another concern had to do with applying to countries that require animal testing in order to be approved. For example, if we want to sell in China, we have to do animal testing in order to sell the product there. We did not want to limit people from being able to participate in markets in other countries that have other requirements, so that, as well, was written into the bill.
    Another question came up as to how this would impact jobs in Canada. What we typically talk about, for the purposes of this bill, are rats, mice, rabbits and some guinea pigs that have been predominantly used for the purpose of these tests in the past. There are a very small number of jobs in Canada associated with that. In fact, most of the larger cosmetic firms have already adopted this, because of its use in the other counties that I mentioned. We do not believe there will be a huge impact on jobs, but think it is something that should be looked at.

  (1110)  

    It was in December when we first came to agreement on all these different amendments and began to put them into the legalese of all the members' bills that come before the House. That activity has taken place.
    Getting to this point and to the first hour of second reading has been a pleasure, but we are very close to the end of the session. It does not appear that this bill will actually be passed in this parliamentary session, because there is a polarity of views and there are some other discussions to be held. However, I feel that we have increased the amount of support on all sides of the aisle. I will be interested to hear the comments that other parties are going to make after I finish my speech, to see where they are on this bill and to see the potential to introduce this into the 43rd Parliament, which I hope to return for.
    I would like to thank a lot of the stakeholders across Canada that participated in both bringing this legislation forward and with the amendments: the Animal Alliance of Canada, The Body Shop, Cosmetics Alliance Canada, Cruelty Free International, Humane Society International/Canada, and Lush fresh handmade cosmetics.
    There were so many petitions from The Body Shop. That is how I became the sponsor of this bill. The Body Shop in Sarnia—Lambton approached me. They had stacks of petitions from people calling for us to support this legislation. I then found out that The Body Shops across the country were doing similar things. We have had hundreds of thousands of people sign petitions to show their support for the bill. In addition to that, the Humane Society ran a national TV campaign to raise awareness of it.
    I have received emails, letters, petitions from every part of the country. There is an appetite to follow it along. Currently I believe there are 38 other countries that have now agreed to this ban. Canada would then become the 39th, if we can get this done, and it is well worth doing.
    Some of the interesting things I have learned going through on this bill was about the new technology that exists that uses post-surgery human skin for testing. We do not need to do testing on animals anymore. The technology has now brought us to a place where it is time to change the legislation and catch up with the technology.
    One of the members of our caucus, the very intelligent member from Kingston, asked the question on whether or not this legislation would apply in cases where animals are euthanized before the testing is done. The way the legislation is written currently, that would be okay. I am not sure whether everyone who is a stakeholder would be okay with that. There are further discussions to be held on some of those questions, and some of those things could be taken care of in the regulations.
    That is my summary on Bill S-214, the bill to ban animal testing on cosmetics. I think it is a good step forward. It is a step that would align Canada to other countries in the world that are taking similar steps. There has been a significant amount of work that has gone into meeting with stakeholders, talking to Canadians, and addressing amendments and changes that are needed to make this legislation both consistent with the food, drug and cosmetic rules being changed and put in place by the government, and also to make it consistent with other places, like Europe, California and countries we do business with. That has brought us to the place where we are today, and it is a good place.
    I am certainly interested to see this bill go forward. With that, I will end.

  (1115)  

    Madam Speaker, the hon. member mentioned the process she has gone through, and then acknowledged that there is not time to get this bill passed. That is really disappointing for stakeholders, not only the big ones she has mentioned, but everyone from high school students to constituents.
    I am disappointed that it has been brought forward so late in the session. Could the hon. member elaborate a little more on that?
    Madam Speaker, when I first received the bill, it was the end of the summer parliamentary session. I left the session early with pneumonia, and when I returned in the fall, I was surprised to find so much disagreement on the bill. There were amendments one group wanted that another group could not agree with, so discussions went on until December. Then we were supposed to draft it, but we did not receive the final draft from the stakeholders until February. At that point, there was an indication from the health minister's assistant that the government wanted to look at the amendments as well to be sure that it could be comfortable with them, and that it might want to make further amendments.
    From there, we tried to get the bill on the approval process and get it to the House. We presented it in April, and then of course it went to the bottom of the Order Paper, another 30-day delay. I have been trying to trade the bill up, but here we are running into the end of the session and many members are at the first reading of their private members' bills, so it is their only opportunity to get that done, or people who are at the second hour of second reading and want their bill to go to committee still have a chance to get it through before the end of the session, so I have not had much luck there.

  (1120)  

    Madam Speaker, I have a similar bill, Bill C-400, which requires the labelling of dog and cat fur on products that are imported into Canada. I would like the member's comments with regard to consumer rights. My bill calls for that as a basic requirement. The United States and many countries in the Europe have banned this practice. Millions of dogs and cats are slaughtered, often coming from Asian countries, and they are in children's toys, coats, and a whole series of products we see, from the dollar store to the higher-end stores.
    I am arguing for consumer rights as a bare minimum. Would the member agree with that approach?
    Madam Speaker, when it comes to aligning it with other countries, again there is a polarity of views. Within our own caucus, there were people who were strongly in favour and people who were strongly opposed. There seems to be a fear that this would creep and end up infringing on other people's individual rights to hunt and fish, and that it would also get into the area of animal welfare with respect to farming. We have seen a lot of progression in farming in Canada to allow for animal welfare and better conditions for chickens. I have toured barns and I know that is a concern as well.
    Madam Speaker, my colleague answered most of my questions. As with other bills, sometimes I get a little concerned about the definition of what cruelty to animals may be. I am from an agricultural constituency. Other bills have taken certain ranch practices and have deemed some of that cruelty to animals.
    As to the member's point about compliance with California and Europe, I have some concerns with anything using that as an argument. It may not be a very strong argument for me. Could she give more assurance on the definition of cruelty to animals? Is it by statute or is it going to creep, as she talked about?
    Madam Speaker, the bill confines everything to the testing on animals for cosmetic products. It does not do anything to the definition of what is cruelty or what is not cruelty. It is just talking about the use of animals specifically in testing. Therefore, I do not believe it would progress as the member is concerned about.
    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to be here today to discuss Bill S-214, an act to amend the Food and Drugs Act with regard to cruelty-free cosmetics. I would like to start by commending Senator Stewart Olsen for spearheading this work in the other place, and the member for Sarnia—Lambton for introducing this bill in the House.
    I am disappointed with how long it took Bill S-214 to get to where we are today, as it passed third reading in the Senate almost a year ago. However, I am happy to announce our government's support of this important legislation, with amendments to bring it in line with the approach taken by the European Union.
    The humane treatment of animals is undoubtedly a matter that preoccupies many Canadians. Our government has heard directly from many Canadians who have expressed their heartfelt concerns through emails, social media and letters. I can honestly say that this legislation has been a top concern from my constituents. The Body Shop alone has collected over 630,000 signatures on its petition.
    According to a 2013 poll commissioned by Humane Society International/Canada and the Animal Alliance of Canada, an overwhelming majority of Canadians, 81%, support a nationwide ban on cosmetic animal testing.
    The government's view is that the decision to test anything on an animal should not be taken lightly or without due and careful consideration of the potential pain and suffering that may be caused. For years, the Government of Canada has been publicly committed to eliminating animal testing for cosmetics and to the responsible and ethical use of animals for human health research.
    This commitment is reflected in the work that has been done to support and carry out the research, development and implementation of alternative, non-animal test methods, both in Canada and abroad. Health Canada officials have worked in close collaboration with domestic and international partners, including the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Cooperation on Cosmetics Regulation, and the International Cooperation on Alternative Test Methods.
    In addition, our government has begun to explore potential opportunities with the newly established Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods at the University of Windsor. My friend and colleague, the member for Beaches—East York, who is one of the most knowledgeable and passionate on issues of animal welfare, has spoken to me about this centre at the University of Windsor, and I understand it holds great promise.
    The Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods and its subsidiary, the Canadian Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods, aim to develop, validate and promote methodologies in biomedical research, education and chemical toxicity testing that do not require the use of animals. All of this work is of the utmost importance, because by joining forces, we can more quickly and effectively develop and implement alternative, non-animal test methods for a variety of purposes, not just cosmetic safety.
    Thanks to these efforts, I am pleased to say that, in most cases, it is now possible to test for issues such as dermal penetration, skin irritation, harm to genetic material and eye irritation without using animals. The presence of alternative test methods is dramatically decreasing the use of cosmetic animal testing around the globe.
    However, it would be irresponsible for me to ignore certain situations where animal testing may still be required in order to protect the health and safety of Canadians. For example, in cases of determining carcinogenic effects of ingredients, reproductive toxicity and the way the body processes toxins, the inability to use animal testing could put Canadians at heightened risks of cancer, fertility issues and acute or chronic effects from repeated exposure.
    Such concerns are especially pronounced when considering the rapid development of new, biologically active ingredients, not only in the area of cosmetics, but in many other products used by consumers every day, including drugs, vaccines and food additives. While I know that this may be upsetting for some, I emphasize that animal testing may be the only reliable way to protect the health of Canadians in these circumstances.
    I would also point out that in many cases products share ingredients with cosmetics. In such situations, it only makes sense to allow evidence derived from animal testing to be submitted to support the safety of a cosmetic, given that it was not undertaken for the purpose of developing the cosmetic itself. Not permitting this would mean ignoring potentially crucial existing information that might enable us to better protect the health and safety of Canadians.

  (1125)  

    The European Union recognizes the importance of maintaining access to this evidence. While the EU imposes restrictions on testing on animals specifically for meeting the requirements of its cosmetics regulations, it does allow evidence generated for other, non-cosmetics-related regulatory frameworks to be submitted to demonstrate the safety of cosmetics. As it is currently written, Bill S-214 would not permit the use of such evidence. I highlight this to bring the attention of members to one important element of this well-intentioned bill to which we ought to give careful consideration.
    I am pleased to inform the House that our government has identified a number of amendments to this bill that would be moved at committee and that would adequately mitigate the issues I have just mentioned. The bill, as amended, would continue to explicitly prohibit animal testing for cosmetics in Canada and the sale of any cosmetic that was developed or manufactured using cosmetic animal testing. However, the amendments would, among other things, allow government officials to rely on animal testing data for cosmetics when the health of Canadians is at risk and provide companies with the ability to submit animal testing data when required under another regulatory framework, consistent with the EU approach.
    These amendments will also designate a four-year coming-into-force period for the entire bill to allow for an orderly transition. With the amendments I have briefly outlined, the bill would allow us to meet the expectations of many Canadians to put in place new measures supporting the goal of eliminating cosmetic animal testing, while ensuring that we continue to protect the health and safety of Canadians.
    I look forward to further discussion of this bill, and I am pleased to tell the House that, with these amendments in mind, the government will support its referral to committee.
    I want to close by thanking all Canadians who have been advocating for the passage of this bill for their passion and commitment to cruelty-free cosmetics. I applaud their efforts and want them to know that I share their concerns. In particular, I want to commend those in Oakville North—Burlington who contacted me, from students at Garth Webb Secondary School to those who have come to my office. Their voices are important and make a difference.

  (1130)  

    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise on Bill S-214 in the House of Commons.
    Like the previous speakers, I certainly would like to thank all those Canadians who have been actively engaged in putting the spotlight on this issue of cruelty in testing on animals, particularly in cosmetics, and who have also been urging members of Parliament to adopt the bill. I praise those members, and will come back to where the government should be going procedurally in a moment.
    First, I would like to thank all the activists involved in Be Cruelty-Free, including the Canadian section of the Humane Society International and the Animal Alliance of Canada, who have been working to bring forward this legislation. This legislation is important, and many Canadians see its passage as absolutely vital.
    We could say that the market has already evolved in a very real sense, since there are hundreds of cosmetic companies that are now banning animal testing, so in that sense it is important for government to provide the final impetus to eliminate cruelty to animals in cosmetic testing.
    There are 39 countries around the world that have already passed laws to end or limit cosmetic animal testing, including, as has been mentioned, the 28 member companies of the European Union, India, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey and Guatemala. There is no doubt that there is broad public acceptance for banning animal testing of cosmetics. In the most recent polling, over 80% of Canadians indicated that they support a national ban on animal testing of cosmetics and cosmetics ingredients, so with all of these things in place, it is clear to me that there is broad public support for this measure.
    In the NDP's case, we will be supporting the bill. This support comes from a long history within the NDP of providing support for measures that diminish cruelty against animals. Isabelle Morin, a former NDP MP, offered Bill C-592 in the previous Parliament, which would have amended the Criminal Code. My colleague from Windsor West has been very determined in terms of producing a bill on the cruelty towards animals in the community. He has been very active in Windsor and in put forward legislation, such as his Bill C-400, that would have forced the labelling of all dog and cat fur in products that were imported into Canada. This ban on dog and cat fur did not pass Parliament, but his Bill C-400 would have ensured that Canadians knew if dog and cat fur was in a product they were looking at buying. These are the types of initiatives that the NDP has supported in the past, which is why we are supportive of Bill S-214.
    My colleague from Sarnia—Lambton spoke very eloquently about the amendments that need to be brought forward. However, I heard the government representative say that it is too bad that we are running out of time and that we just cannot bring this bill forward, which is misleading to all the Canadians who are interested in the bill and all the Canadians who have approached members of Parliament on this bill. The government has given itself extreme tools that it is using to push through a variety of other legislation.
    There are three weeks remaining in this session, and we have seen the government approve billions of dollars in corporate tax cuts and a whole range of initiatives that tend to benefit corporate CEOs, and it does that in a minute. We have three weeks remaining in the session, which provides the ability, given the Senate has already passed the bill, for the bill to come through committee, come back to the House and be adopted. There is no doubt about that. The government has the tools to do it.
    The fact is that today the government is putting up speakers throughout the day to actually prolong and delay the consideration of the second hour of debate. If the government really was supportive of this legislation, instead of putting up speakers to delay passage of this legislation until after we rise for the summer, it could facilitate having the bill adopted and sent to committee.

  (1135)  

     Because there is a Liberal majority on every committee in this House of Commons, we have seen committees impose closure on consideration, and they have moved to extended hours, so they can adopt amendments that are brought forward to improve this legislation and then bring this bill back to the House.
     As colleagues know, we are now sitting until midnight every single evening. Often we are doing that to adopt legislation that is only good for the Liberals. Some pieces of legislation, quite frankly, have an attractive title, but when we look beyond the attractive title, we see a whole range of things that could have been done but that the government has chosen not to bring forward. Those amendments or clauses are in not in the legislation. As a result, we are often talking about empty shells of legislation that do not do what they are purported to do.
    Instead of pushing legislation through that is good for the Liberal government, the Liberals should be pushing legislation through that is good for Canada, and many Canadians have told us that Bill S-214, with the appropriate amendments, is something that they see as a priority.
     Liberal members will probably come up and speak again over the next half hour or so to say they would really like to see this bill go through, and then not exercise any of the abundant tools that the government has given itself. I think that smells of rank hypocrisy.
     This is a bill that over 80% of Canadians support, as I mentioned earlier, and it is certainly a bill that most members of Parliament support. The issue, then, is to get the amendments through, do the due diligence, get the work done and bring the bill back to the House for a final vote. If that does not happen in the next three weeks, it is because the government is refusing to do so. Although Liberal members stand up and say that they support the bill, they are going to have to walk the talk and make sure that this bill gets passage over the next three weeks.

[Translation]

    I think that is why more than 80% of Canadians across the country support this bill. This is a common-sense bill that aims to eliminate something the vast majority of Canadians no longer want to see in our country. Animal cruelty is being used simply to test cosmetics and beauty products. The vast majority of Canadians oppose this and do not want to see any of these products on the Canadian market.
    We have the ability and the opportunity to pass this legislation within the next three weeks. The government has all the tools at its disposal. Over the past four years, the government has been giving itself ever-increasing powers and procedural tools. Let there be no doubt that this bill could pass if the government really wanted it to.
    The Liberals are standing up in their places today, one after the other, and delaying the study of the bill and the vote on the bill. This proves that they are not walking the talk. This legislation is supported by many Canadians across the country, including in my riding, New Westminster—Burnaby. Obviously, popular support is important. We must not allow the government to delay the study of this bill and stop us from studying all the amendments that are needed. We must pass this legislation within the next three weeks, specifically before this session of Parliament ends.

  (1140)  

[English]

    We have broad popular support and we have the support of very important organizations across the country. The government should simply get the job done, use the tools that they have and make sure that Bill S-214 is adopted before the end of the session.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my NDP colleague for his comments. He drew the excellent conclusion that the Liberals lack the will to move forward. Sad to say, as my colleague from Sarnia—Lambton said, we will not be able to pass the bill by the end of the 42nd Parliament.
    I want to thank my colleague from Sarnia—Lambton for the great work she did on this file. I wish to acknowledge her talents as a parliamentarian. She is conscientious and very open-minded. I commend her for it, and I hope the people of Sarnia—Lambton will bear it in mind on October 21.
    I rise today in the House to speak to Bill S-214, an act to amend the Food and Drugs Act regarding cruelty-free cosmetics. I want to thank Conservative Senator Carolyn Stewart Olsen for sponsoring this bill, which was introduced on December 10, 2015. I want to highlight the fact that it was introduced in 2015, because it bears out what I said in my preamble about the Liberals lacking the will to get this bill passed.
    Ms. Stewart Olsen has 20 years of experience as a nurse, including more than 10 years as an emergency room nurse in hospitals all over New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec. She knows first-hand that things have changed and that progress has been made in all fields, which obviously includes science, technology and research. In a speech she gave in February 2016 at second reading of Bill S-214, she said:
     Many of the tests on animals conducted today were developed in the 1940s, an era when our understanding of how chemicals interact with the human body was very basic. Science and technology have advanced considerably since those days, but in the 21st century, nearly 200,000 animals still suffer and die every year in the name of cosmetics and beauty products.
    Every year, 200,000 animals die needlessly. That is a huge number.
    Something that used to be useful, necessary and commendable for protecting human health when these tests were first conceived 70 years ago has no relevance anymore.
    I read in an article in La Presse on April 15 that a 3D print of a heart with human tissue was unveiled in Israel.
    Israeli researchers announced on Monday that they 3D printed the first vascularized heart using a patient's own cells, calling it a major breakthrough in treating cardiovascular disease and preventing heart transplant rejection.
    Researchers at Tel-Aviv University showed the media the inert, rabbit-sized heart encased in liquid.
    Although many obstacles remain, scientists hope one day to be able to print 3D hearts that could be transplanted with minimal risk of rejection in patients who will no longer have to rely on a possible organ transplant.
    If we have come this far, then tests created in 1940 can certainly be replaced, thanks to scientific advances. Tests can be done on 3D models made from human tissue taken post-surgery, for example. There is therefore no need to conduct animal testing for the cosmetics industry and beauty products. I believe we are capable of testing products without needlessly affecting animals' lives.
    We, the Conservatives, support the cruelty-free treatment of animals. In the interest of Canadians' health, medical research must continue, but we strongly recommend that scientists develop other means of testing. We cannot oppose scientific research and jeopardize Canadians lives. That is the bottom line. However, we can do better.
    Steps have been taken to eliminate cosmetic animal testing in close to 40 countries, including the European Union, India, Israel, Switzerland, Norway, New Zealand, South Korea and Guatemala, to name just a few.

  (1145)  

    Some countries have passed legislation prohibiting animal testing, while others have laws that ban the sale of products developed with animal testing. It is a societal choice. I believe that our bill affirms the position of Canadians.
    In 2018, California was the first U.S. state to pass a law prohibiting the sale of animal-tested cosmetic products. The California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act was passed unanimously, 80 votes to none, by the California State Assembly on August 31, 2018. It comes into force in 2020. The assembly made decisions and worked to pass the bill, unlike the Liberals, who did nothing for three and a half years with a bill that was introduced in 2015.
    All Canadian provinces and territories have laws, codes of conduct and standards regarding animal welfare. In her speech on February 3, 2016, Senator Carolyn Stewart Olsen said:
     Canada's legislative record on animal testing is more complicated than those of other countries. There's no clear statement on animal testing in Canada at the federal level other than permitting its use under the regulations attached to the Food and Drugs Act and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. However, part of the animal welfare aspect of the issue of animal testing is dealt with in the Criminal Code, and that is “causing unnecessary suffering to animals” and “causing damage or injury to animals by willful neglect,” which are offences under sections 445.1 and 446 of the Criminal Code.
    We have all heard about animals being injected with chemicals, having substances put in their eyes—or worse—during testing. This is 2019, and we can do things differently. We must be responsible and protect these little creatures that unfortunately become victims of the cosmetics industry.
    Clause 5 of the cruelty-free cosmetics act addresses concerns raised by the cosmetics industry. It would add section 18.2 to the Food and Drugs Act to give the Minister of Health the power to authorize animal testing “when there is no alternative method to evaluate substantiated specific human health problems associated with a cosmetic or ingredient of a cosmetic”. As I mentioned earlier, we will not jeopardize the lives of Canadians. The act seeks to protect animals and prevent them from being used to test cosmetics, which are not essential. Animals should not be killed for that reason. It is time the federal government showed some leadership in this regard.
    I would like to assure the House that the Conservatives support research and scientific testing, as well as the humane treatment of animals. I therefore support Bill S-214, an act to amend the Food and Drugs Act with regard to cruelty-free cosmetics.
    I would now like to talk about something very important. It is important to understand that this bill does not go against recreational hunting and fishing. That is completely different. It is important to let hunters and fishers, who care about the preservation and conservation of nature and environmental protection, practise their sport. What we are saying is that the cosmetic industry's scientific testing on defenceless animals is unacceptable. I am a fisherman and I am not concerned about this bill.
    I encourage members on the other side of the House to be constructive and to consider the 10 amendments proposed so that this bill can be quickly passed.

  (1150)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise here today to speak to Bill S-214, an act to amend the Food and Drugs Act.
     I want to congratulate the hon. member for Sarnia—Lambton, not only for sponsoring the bill, which originated in the other place, but for the co-operative approach she has adopted in ensuring that the legislation would achieve its objectives in a way that could be supported by both the animal advocacy community and the industries being regulated. Too often, these initiatives, which most of us support, digress into combative false dichotomies that pit one group against the other, to the detriment of the overall objective. That may be a useful exercise in terms of attention and fundraising, but it does not serve the public interest well and it does not serve public policy goals well. In many cases, it actually makes the situation worse.
    This brings me to the central question: What is the objective of Bill S-214? The legislation, as tabled in the House, purports to end the practice of testing cosmetics on animals in Canada, even going so far as to describe the outcome, in the bill's short title, as cruelty-free. What is particularly interesting about this communication strategy is that even the original sponsor of the bill admitted during debate that there was virtually no animal testing of cosmetics in Canada, and she went on to praise the advancements the cosmetics industry has made in the development and implementation of alternative testing methods here in Canada.
    I would like to reference the factual comments by the sponsoring member in the other place made during the second reading debate on Bill S-214, on Wednesday, February 3, 2016:
    Currently, more than 99 per cent of all safety evaluations related to cosmetics products or their ingredients are now being conducted without animal testing as the Canadian industry has adopted alternative testing methods....
    Our cosmetics industry should be commended for moving forward towards eliminating this backward practice.
    We can all agree that eliminating this practice is moving forward on the issue and that a narrative that vilifies the Canadian cosmetics industry under these circumstances is both irresponsible and fundamentally dishonest. In fact, this admission by the sponsoring senator resulted in one of her colleagues on the Senate committee studying the bill to question the need for the bill at all.
    Although it may appear that what we have here is a piece of legislation in search of a problem, I feel that by reaching out to all the stakeholders, the member for Sarnia—Lambton, along with Health Canada, has used this opportunity to put together a potential bill that would bring some needed consistency and clarity to the application of this overall and global objective.
    Mr. Darren Praznik, president and chief executive officer of Cosmetics Alliance Canada and a former minister of health in the province of Manitoba, in his testimony before the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, provided a solid rationale for moving ahead with this initiative in the absence of any pressing domestic need. He said:
     If properly done, where we can all make this work...and we don’t create some absurdities in regulation, I think it sends a very symbolic message to the world to get on with the work generally about eliminating animal testing and developing alternatives, scientifically, to eliminate animal testing. It also sends a message to regulatory authorities that when those [alternatives] are developed and validated by regulators that they should be used as the [primary] method of approving safety.
    I would certainly agree with that sentiment and applaud the responsible manner in which the sector has engaged in this process. The cosmetics industry in Canada is made up of hundreds of individual companies and employs thousands of Canadians. Due to the intricate nature of globalization, the sector is both a major importer and exporter of products. Whenever we as legislators contemplate making regulations, especially ones that are questionable in the domestic context, we must ensure that we do not put Canadian industry and jobs unnecessarily at risk while we also look at the global good and the performance of public policy.
    Today, as legislators, we must deal with the actual bill that is before us now. I quote from the bill as written:
cosmetic animal testing means the topical application or internal administration of any cosmetic or ingredient of any cosmetic to a live non-human vertebrate to evaluate its safety or efficacy for the purpose of developing or manufacturing a cosmetic.
    Drawing on my own experience in regulated industry, when I look at this proposed bill through the lens of regulatory compliance, I have two specific questions that pertain to the actual implementation of this bill.

  (1155)  

     First, based on this definition of cosmetic animal testing, would testing a dog shampoo on a dog prior to putting the product on the market be considered cosmetic animal testing? Second, if the cosmetics industry wished to use an ingredient, let us say a chemical preservative that is currently being used in a health food product, which would require animal testing, based on Health Canada's approval process, would that subsequent cosmetic use be allowed under Bill S-214, even though no additional animal testing would occur?
    I ask these questions to underscore the difference between a policy that is supported and the regulatory instruments chosen to implement it. If I understand correctly, and I realize that this chamber has a duty to deal responsibly with a public bill originating in the other place, we are being asked to vote on whether there is agreement in principle for a bill that requires at least seven amendments that we have yet to see and evaluate.
    I am certainly heartened by the comments from the government that it plans to introduce the necessary amendments to the existing bill and that any new bill introduced in the next Parliament would incorporate this approach as well. I also wonder if the amendments being proposed would be considered outside the scope of the original bill, as passed by the other place, and whether the sponsoring member of the other place would agree to allow these changes.
    As we all know, complex regulations are often used as non-tariff barriers, and as I stated earlier, bringing consistency and clarity to this issue is useful. In addition, we need to examine closely how our major trading partners in the European Union, one of the leading jurisdictions on this issue, have approached animal testing regulations. Given that the EU has not only set the precedent in this area but has also had implementation time to make the necessary adjustments to the administrative and logistical details, it becomes clear that any initiative we undertake must align with what the EU is doing, albeit in a manner that is consistent with our domestic regulatory framework.
    If we take note of where we are in the electoral calendar, clearly the clock will run out on this current initiative, but I feel that a new bill in the next Parliament, one that is based on stakeholder consensus reached through this process and based on the manner in which the member for Sarnia—Lambton has approached this bill, will serve Canadians very well.
    In closing, I want to reiterate my praise for the member for Sarnia—Lambton and my support for the realistic and inclusive approach she has chosen for this initiative. I want to recognize as well the government and the ministry, for putting in the work to ensure that the end result will bring clarity and consistency to the issue, and the animal advocacy sector and the cosmetics industry, for recognizing the importance of working together collaboratively.
    Madam Speaker, I know I have a couple of moments to touch on Bill S-214, an act to amend the Food and Drugs Act, cruelty-free cosmetics.
    I want to thank Senator Carolyn Stewart Olsen of the other place, who has put in months, if not years, of work on the bill. I also want to thank the sponsoring member in the House, the member for Sarnia—Lambton, for her work in bringing this forward.
    We have heard from literally hundreds of thousands of Canadians. They are concerned about this issue. They have seen worldwide the changes that have been made in other countries and they want to follow that up in Canada.
    This ban recognizes that science has come a long way in developing alternative methods by which we can test cosmetics without subjecting animals to cruel and needless testing
    Furthermore, the ban would put us in line with many of our international trading partners, including the European Union, Israel, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand.
    The bill proposes to ban the sale of cosmetics that are developed or even manufactured using cosmetic animal testing. In effect, it will ensure that the Canadian cosmetic market is completely free of any products derived from animal testing practices. I think Canadian consumers desperately want to see that.
    In implementing the bill, we will ensure that Canada does not participate in testing cosmetics on animals in any shape or form. This prohibition recognizes that Canadians does not accept the cruelty of animal testing within the cosmetic industry. We must move forward in alternative methods of testing that do not require the use of live animals.
    More cosmetic companies are testing their products these days using more innovative and effective means, such as three dimensional reconstructive human skin modules, which can be more accurately tested for the harmful side effects of certain cosmetic products.
    It is time for Canada to fully embrace these alternative methods of testing the safety of cosmetics by banning the practice of animal testing within the cosmetic industry.
    Given the existence of these alternative testing methods and given the cruelty that animals suffer for the sake of testing cosmetic products, it is unacceptable that animal testing for cosmetic purposes remains permitted in Canada in 2019.
    Bill S-214 is truly a step forward because it would put Canadian policies toward animal testing of cosmetics in line with not only our international partners, as I mentioned previously, but with the views and the expectations of all Canadians as well.
    In my constituency of Saskatoon—Grasswood, hundreds of people have signed petitions, calling on all of us in the chamber to support Bill S-214 to ban cosmetic cruelty in Canada.
    It is also worth noting that the bill passed in the Senate almost one year ago without any opposition whatsoever. Now a year later, the responsibility clearly falls on all of us in the House to move in the right direction as a country toward ensuring a cruelty-free cosmetics industry in Canada.
    I want to thank those people throughout my province of Saskatchewan who have signed petitions. I have read many of them into the record a number of times in the House. I looked at each and every one of those signatures. They came from people far and wide in my province. The sponsoring member of the bill mentioned all of Canada. I presented over 600 names from Saskatchewan, from those who took the time to go into places like The Body Shop and sign the petition, indicating where they were from, in an effort to have the bill go forward.

  (1200)  

    The hon. member will have five minutes left for his speech should he wish to use them the next time this matter is before the House.

[Translation]

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

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Business of Supply]

  (1205)  

[Translation]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—News Media Industry 

    That the House:
(a) take note of the importance of a free and independent press to a healthy democracy;
(b) express its belief that it is inappropriate for partisan political actors to pick winners and losers in the media in an election year;
(c) condemn the inclusion of Unifor, a group that has taken and continues to take partisan political positions, in the panel that will oversee the distribution of the $600-million media bailout; and
(d) call on the government to immediately cease trying to stack the deck for the election with their media bailout and replace it with a proposal that does not allow government to pick winners and losers.
    He said: Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today. This subject is a personal one for me. I will disclose my conflict of interest right off the bat: I was a journalist for 20 years. That means I probably know what I am talking about. At issue here is the importance of ensuring the freedom and independence of the press.

[English]

     I am very proud to say that I will be sharing my time with my hon. colleague from Thornhill, who is also former journalist. I am sure he will explain his experience. However, I have to remind him that he was there for the induction of Robert Stanfield and Pierre Elliott Trudeau as leaders. He was a correspondent during the Vietnam War. When I was a student in his class, I remember quite well the famous interview he had with Sir John. A Macdonald. It was a really important part of journalistic history. That is a joke; please do not quote me on that.

[Translation]

    What we are talking about today is the freedom and independence of the press. The Liberal government came up with this proposal to give some $600 million of taxpayers' money to its hand-picked media organizations mere months before the next election. We are looking at a clear case of unacceptable partisan political interference targeting one of the founding principles of our democracy, journalistic independence. As I said in my intro, I was a journalist for 20 years, so I know what I am talking about.
    Having worked as a journalist for many years, I know that people sometimes try to influence journalists by presenting their ideas and explaining why they are right. I have no problem with that. However, that is not the same as people telling journalists they can probably give them a few million bucks to help their company.
    Journalists are human beings. Expecting independence of them in response to such a proposal is totally unrealistic. That is why I think the Liberal government's approach is disrespectful of journalists and a serious threat to journalistic independence. Moreover, their $600-million proposal will in no way resolve the underlying problem with the media.
    What do the Liberals plan to do? They plan to take $600 million of taxpayers' money to help the media industry, which is currently in crisis. We acknowledge that there is a crisis in this industry as a result of technological changes. I do not remember the last time I paid for news by buying a newspaper. I always have free, up-to-the-minute access to the news on my smart phone.
    The industry is facing a new reality, and the Liberal government chose to take taxpayers' money and invest it in the media companies it chooses.
    We do not think this is the right thing to do. The government is choosing who will receive taxpayers' money, and on top of that, this will not even fix the underlying problem with traditional media, in particular print media, which is that people have access to massive amounts of news for free. That is how things worked at the time. I remember delivering the Le Soleil newspaper when I was a kid, about 40 years ago. The newspaper was thick on Wednesdays and even thicker on Saturdays. Now, Le Soleil, which is published in Quebec City, is much thinner than it was back then, and this has nothing to do with climate change.
    We need to be careful here. We think the government is offering a band-aid solution that does not fix the real problem. This is indeed a problem, but it is nothing compared to the problem the Liberal government manufactured by appointing Unifor to the panel. Unifor is a politically partisan and engaged union whose avowed mission is to ferociously attack the opposition. The panel members must decide who is right and who is wrong, who will receive millions of dollars and who will not.
    What is Unifor? It is a union that apparently represents over 12,000 people who work in the media. However, it is not the only union that represents media workers.
    On November 14, 2018, at 4:40 p.m., those folks sent out a very evocative tweet that really gets to the root of the issue and shows the Liberal partisan political agenda hidden behind the media bailout. This bailout will be paid with hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayers' money.
    On November 14, 2018, at 4:40 p.m.—and the time matters—Unifor president Jerry Dias tweeted the following:

  (1210)  

[English]

    “Unifor’s National Executive Board started planning for the federal election today.”

[Translation]

    I cannot show the photo that was posted, but it was a black and white photo of the five main Unifor leaders. It replicated exactly what Maclean's had posted just a few days earlier on the same platform.

[English]

    It said, “The resistance: Welcome to [the opposition leader's] worst nightmare.”

[Translation]

    Indeed, the opposition leader's name was mentioned, but I cannot say it in the House.
    Unifor took a partisan political stance against the official opposition, and yet it represents journalists. They have been chosen by the Liberal government to sit on the panel that is going to decide who will get the hundreds of millions of dollars. Obviously, that makes no sense.
    I said earlier that the time mattered. It was on November 14 at 4:40 p.m. that Jerry Dias sent out his tweet clearly indicating that he was campaigning against the official opposition. At 5:46 p.m., so about an hour later, David Akin, an eminent journalist, reacted strongly by distancing himself from his union, Unifor.

[English]

     “I am a member of [the] union as a condition of my employment and I cannot stress enough how stupid an idea this is for a union that represents journalists.”

  (1215)  

[Translation]

    That was the reaction of an honourable man, a dignified journalist of integrity who understands that his union representative should not meddle in the political debate, because he is a journalist. Journalists must be impartial and independent from political power of any kind and any party. In this case, Unifor has entered the political arena without even consulting its own members. That is also insulting.
    That is why we are fiercely condemning this approach and, above all, the fact that, of the hundreds of Canadian unions that represent journalists, the Liberal government picked the one that has directly stated that it is the Leader of the Opposition's worst nightmare. One could not be any more partisan or compromise journalistic independence more seriously. That is exactly what the Liberals have done.
    Fortunately, experienced people have distanced themselves from this. According to Chantal Hébert, who is well known in the worlds of politics and journalism, among the ranks of political columnists, many fear it is a poison pill that will eventually do the news industry more harm than good.
    Others have also spoken out. According to Andrew Potter, an associate professor at McGill University and CBC correspondent, the reality is actually worse than anyone could have imagined. He said that an independent body staffed entirely by unions and industry lobbyists is a real disaster.
    Andrew Coyne wrote that it is quite clear now, if it was not already, that this is the most serious threat to the independence of the press in this country in decades.
    Will the Liberals' strategy really help the media? No. The Liberals are appointing Liberal Party friends and enemies of the opposition leader to the panel that will pick the winners and losers in the granting of the $600 million that the government intends to give the media without actually resolving the fundamental problem it is facing. This strategy shows how loose the Liberals' ethics really are.
    I would like to remind members that the Liberal Party has been in office for almost four years now, and this is the fifth time that this government has been investigated by the Ethics Commissioner. Never, in the history of our country, has a sitting prime minister been investigated and found guilty of breaking the ethics rules.
    From my perspective, this attempt to distribute $600 million to the media without truly helping them, while appointing Liberal partisans who are against us to the panel in charge of distributing this money, shows that the Liberals have flexible ethics.
    The same goes for the infamous SNC-Lavalin scandal. When an honest, integral and clear decision was made by the justice system, as prescribed by law, the Liberals interfered in the justice system for partisan purposes because they were unhappy with the decision and because the Prime Minister said that he was an MP from Montreal and he had to be re-elected. That is what the Prime Minister and his henchmen actually said.
    These unedifying examples show that this government has very flexible ethics. The example we are raising in today's motion only proves it, with the Liberals appointing an ultra-partisan group, Unifor, to a so-called independent panel. Unifor has avowed to destroy the leader of the official opposition, saying that it was the Conservatives' worst nightmare. That is totally unacceptable. That is why we are calling on hon. members to support this motion that seeks to safeguard journalistic independence.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I may share a profession with my hon. colleague across the way, but I certainly do not share his perspective.
    When Unifor is identified as only representing journalists, it does not tell the story that Unifor also represents the caretaking staff, librarians, editors and camera operators. It also represents receptionists and all of the personnel who make up media organizations in this country.
    To suggest that Unifor represents only journalists does not only elevate journalism in a way that is very telling from the other side, but it also completely misrepresents and under-represents, in fact I would say obscures the reality, that newspapers, radio stations and television stations across this country are so much more than just the journalism. They are the heart and soul of so many communities, and they are disappearing person by person, city by city, town by town every single day.
    Anyone who has spent a lifetime in this industry knows the families who are affected, and to simply put this down to the defence of journalism so massively oversimplifies this problem that it is horrible.
    The member said that he is afraid that journalists can be bought. That seems to be the implication of what he is saying. Could he perhaps tell us the journalists he thinks can be bought and list them by name?
    Madam Speaker, I would be very pleased to quote a journalist who talked about that. David Akin said, “I am a member of this union as a condition of my employment and I cannot stress enough how stupid an idea this is for a union that represents journalists.”
    I recognize that there are a lot of people who work to produce newscasts. I know this, because I was a journalist for 20 years. I have a lot of confidence with the camera, and it worked well for me. There are also editors, and people like Marie Josee, who worked so hard and so well in the newsroom. However, Unifor is not the only union to represent people who work in the media.
    That is why I find this totally unacceptable. Many people and journalists think it is a shame that a guy who identifies himself as the worst nightmare of his political opponents is part of a so-called neutral panel that will give millions of dollars to the workers. This is unacceptable.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
    In a past life, in my youth, I worked for two weekly newspapers in Rimouski, Le Rimouskois and Progrès-Écho, which are now defunct. There is only one weekly paper left, which was started later on. Diversity of information has really suffered these past few years.
    When the Conservatives were in office, from 2011 to 2015, I was in Parliament, and the crisis had already been going on for quite some time. The Conservatives had no solutions to offer back then. I remember my colleague from Longueuil—Saint-Hubert's frequent interventions on this issue, but the Conservatives did not seem to see it as urgent.
    Now the Liberals are proposing a plan, which does have many flaws, and the situation is growing ever more urgent. The Conservatives' position is rather confusing, since they have no ideas on how to address the crisis that the media is grappling with.
    Could my colleague tell us what the Conservatives would suggest to the media, especially print media, in order to respond to the crisis it is facing today?

  (1220)  

    Madam Speaker, I am happy to hear from my colleague from Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, who always asks relevant, well-thought-out questions.
    I too worked for regional media outlets before moving into the so-called national media, but I want to reassure the former parliamentary leader of the NDP, the second opposition party in the House, that our leader was very clear when he answered similar questions just a few weeks ago.
    To us, the worst thing is for the government to be spending millions of dollars picking winners and losers. This is a solution that does not solve the long-term problem.
    We are working on a proposal that would enable people like me, who have free, direct access to news through the Googles and Facebooks of the world, to participate and contribute to the tax base.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I appreciated almost all but the opening remarks of my colleague from Quebec's speech.
    Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau had the good sense to stay out of the nation's bedrooms. His prime ministerial son does not have the wit, sagacity, acuity, percipience, sapience or clue of a newt to realize he has absolutely no business in the nation's newsrooms.
    We know that the Liberal Prime Minister can memorize and recite a clever explanation of quantum computing, but he has shown us that he has no knowledge of or respect for the absolutely essential independence of the fourth estate. I will offer a reminder for the record, for Hansard, if the PM or his acolytes are ever advised by its contents, as well as for the most recent heritage minister.
    Historically, there were three original states of the British realm: the clergy, the nobility and the commoners. However, over time and the evolution of parliamentary democracy, society came to recognize the press, or print, and then, over time, radio and television news, as a fourth estate, or independent chroniclers, protectors and defenders of facts and truth, arbiters of public trust, and eventually independently expressed analysis and criticism of the other evolved estates: the Crown, the courts and government. Then suddenly, as we approached the turn of the last century, mainstream journalism, as we had come to consider it, hit the rocks.
    These were the rocks of technology, of fragmented audiences, of equally fragmented advertising revenues, and generational abandonment of traditional newspapers and appointment television and radio newscasts. At the same time, there was an ever-escalating shift of audiences to digital information sources, digital opinion and unregulated social and anti-social media.
    The Canadian news industry began to collapse. Newspapers were downsized. There were massive layoffs and failed consolidations. Scores of newspapers were abandoned. The same shrivelling of original news content generation, local, national and international, hollowed out and emptied radio and TV newsrooms.
    The solution to this crisis in Canada's news industry is not after-the-fact mitigation, the Liberal government's misguided attempted election-year bailout of failing newspapers, which, despite the heritage minister's rhetorical flailing, are indeed the fossilizing dinosaurs of hard-copy print.
    The solution will eventually be found, will come, in those print and broadcast newsrooms that can adapt and survive the transformation to profitable, sustainable digital news platforms. The transformation and survival of robust, independent, digital journalism platforms in Canada will require bold policy adjustments and political leadership to level the news industry playing field. However, how can any news organizations be truly independent if they become dependent on government subsidies, temporary slush-fund tax relief or direct cash bailouts?
     It is important to remember that these hundreds of millions of dollars, almost $600 million, will only go to Canadian journalistic organizations that must first apply to register for financial assistance and then be accepted as a QCJO. What is a QCJO? It is a typical, Liberal nanny state concept, a values-imposing concept, a confected panel bureaucratically designated as a qualified Canadian journalism organization. To be eligible, a newsroom must employ two or more journalists working a minimum of 26 hours a week and employed for at least 40 consecutive weeks. As well, the panel will also decide eligibility on the subjective measurement of acceptable news content generated by a newsroom.
    The Liberal government is going to decide, through this commissioning panel, which struggling newspapers get money and which ones do not. It is a terrible concept, an outrageous concept. It offends the fundamental principles of the independent craft of journalism. However, it gets worse. This motley panel was created without consultation. Its most blatant shortcoming, of course, is the inclusion of Unifor, a union which has repeatedly proclaimed its deeply partisan intent to become the worst nightmare of the Leader of the Opposition in the coming election.

  (1225)  

    We have heard protests in recent weeks from many of the 12,000 practising journalists that Unifor claims to represent, journalists forced to belong to Unifor and forced to pay dues to a union that compromises their independent craft. However, beyond Unifor, we have heard protests from journalists represented by other groups among the eight groups on the Liberals' panel. For example, the head of the Canadian Association of Journalists said that she learned of the CAJ's involvement in the panel not by consultation but by the government's proclamation, and that she was concerned to learn that decisions of the panel will not be transparent and final but subject to secret secondary screening by the Liberal cabinet.
    Condemnation of the Liberals' misguided decision to pick winners and losers in the Canadian news industry is not limited to those journalists represented by panel organizations. The columnist Andrew Coyne, for example, in noting that the Liberal plan excludes anyone outside the existing Canadian newspaper industry, wrote that it is designed for “not the future of news but the past; not the scrappy startups who might save the business, but the lumbering dinosaurs who are taking it down.”
     The founder and editor of The Logic, one of those scrappy start-ups, David Skok, complains that the mandatory full-time status of journalists required for funding ignores the vital role that freelance journalists play in the news ecosystem. Mr. Skok noted in an editorial, “According to Statistics Canada, as of 2016, there are about 12,000 people who identify 'journalist' as their profession. Of those, it's safe to assume that the number of people not employed full-time with a newsroom is in the thousands”.
    Chantal Hébert, whose primary employer is the Toronto Star, will very likely be designated a qualified recipient of Liberal beneficence. She said, “The government’s half-a-billion package will not resolve the crisis [that newsrooms face]. It may end up doing little more than delaying the inevitable.” Ms. Hébert says that “among the ranks of the political columnists, many fear it is a poison pill that will eventually do the news industry more harm than good.”
    Here are a few more prominent voices. One is Andrew Potter, from McGill University, who wrote, “This is actually worse than anyone could have imagined. An 'independent body' staffed entirely by unions and industry lobbyists. What a disaster.”
    Jen Gerson, a commentator on CBC and Maclean's, tweeted, “If any of these associations or unions could be trusted to manage this “independent” panel, they would be denouncing it already.”
    Aaron Wudrick from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation tweeted, “Mark my words, this isn't going to arrest the erosion of trust in media. It is going to make it worse. Indeed, it already has.”
    Global News Journalist David Akin, who sits above us on many occasions, sent an invitation to Unifor union boss Jerry Dias to visit with Unifor members who are also members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery. David tweeted, “I’ll set the meeting up. You will learn first-hand how much damage you are doing to the businesses that employ us, to our credibility and how terribly uninformed you are.”
    The finance minister cannot justify this $600-million election year bailout because he has no idea at all what will happen after his subsidized transition period, and that is unacceptable. It is wasteful of Canadian tax dollars, because an intervention should have a goal of not only short-term survival of print but long-term sustainability of the evolving craft of digital journalism.
    As I remarked earlier, the transformation and survival of robust, independent journalism platforms in Canada will require bold policy adjustments and political leadership, but how can any news organizations be truly independent if they become dependent on government subsidies, temporary slush fund tax relief or direct cash bailouts?

  (1230)  

    Madam Speaker, the member opposite and I were colleagues in journalism before we were colleagues here in the House. In fact, he was so enraptured by my entry into politics that he actually donated to my first campaign. I do not think I have ever thanked him face to face before, but let me give him my thanks. It has been an interesting career change.
    My hon. colleague described this industry as a “fossil”. The word “fossil” was used a couple of times. I would love for the party opposite to turn this around and think of another industry that is based on fossils, such as fossil fuels, an industry that the Conservatives are only too happy to subsidize. They are only too happy to pick winners and losers and only too happy to provide support and public investment.
    I am curious as to why that industry is worthy of such investment, including representation from those very workers and industries, and why the print industry and journalism is not.
    Madam Speaker, I do recall with a certain amount of fondness the days when we were both practising the craft of journalism in different newsrooms, and I do recognize and accept his point that I made occasional errors both as a journalist and in supporting a fledgling politician, who seems to have gone more than a little off the rails.
    I understand and respect the fact that my hon. colleague is trying to deflect this debate from the motion at hand, but I would suggest that he look more closely and ask his Prime Minister and finance minister why, as I said, this motley panel is being asked to be sworn to confidentiality in their considerations and why the panel will not be allowed to comment on those applicants whose applications will ultimately be denied by the Liberal government.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague a question.
    The first point in their motion reads:
(a) take note of the importance of a free and independent press to a healthy democracy;
    The Conservatives want a “free and independent” press. Do they also want a sustainable press or do they want a dying one? From what I know, things are not going well.
    What are they proposing?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.

[English]

    The reality that we face today is that the journalism of the last century, print newspapers, is collapsing. The transition to digital platforms has caught up and surpassed the old media. The newspapers that are asking and have celebrated the announcement of the $600-million election-year attempted bailout are newspapers that are fossilizing. They are failing. They have not been able to establish the digital platforms that will eventually determine which media organizations and newsrooms survive and which fail.
    I mentioned that this issue needs bold political leadership and policy adjustments. The government should be looking at the taxation of Canadian advertisers on American digital platforms under chapter 19. Just as print publications no longer allow advertising on outside platforms to be deducted, exactly the same should apply to digital advertising.

  (1235)  

    Madam Speaker, is it not true that the independence of journalism in this country is being placed at risk by this Liberal plan? It is not the journalists themselves; it is actually this plan that is placing the independence of those journalists at risk and in fact placing our democracy at risk.
    Madam Speaker, I would respond in much the same way I did when the heritage minister wagged his finger at me and said that Conservatives were accusing the government of attempting to buy journalists. I asked him if he would go up to the gallery where the journalists sit above us, some of them forced members of Unifor, and ask them whether they would give thumbs up or thumbs down to this outrageous government policy.
    I would like to take this opportunity to stand today and remind this chamber of the importance of a free and independent press to a healthy democracy. I cannot say it enough: A fundamental pillar of our democracy and all democracies around the world is a healthy, independent press. However, that is now at risk, and it is putting us all at risk.
    Canada's news media industry and those around the world are fighting for their lives. They are being pushed to the limit by smaller and smaller advertising funding, and more recently by dramatic changes in how people are receiving their news. If we do not take our heads out of the sand, it will not be too long before these changes will erode our democratic process altogether.
    I have seen first-hand in authoritarian countries what happens when the media are not able to speak up: minorities are ignored or, worse, punished for being who they are; criticism of the government is prevented or silenced; and people live in fear of what their government may do to them. This is not a world that I or Canadians want to live in.
    This crisis faced by the Canadian news media has come to a pinnacle in recent years, with countless layoffs, once strong and vibrant newspapers closing one after another, and countless towns and cities finding themselves without local journalists or reporting of any kind. Since 2009, daily and community newspapers have seen a 48% decrease in advertising revenues alone, which is half their revenue gone just like that, in just 10 years. Any industry with that kind of loss would be struggling.
    Just last week, The Hamilton Spectator announced that it will close its printing and mailroom operations and will likely sell its building. That is 73 full-time Canadian jobs and 105 part-time staff who will be laid off. Equally troubling is the loss of local content in a major media market.
    The story does not stop there. Around the world, people have changed how they are getting their news. Social media and mobile phones have blown up the traditional markets. Canadians are not sitting at home any more just waiting for their curated and peer-reviewed morning paper to tell them about the news of the day. More and more, people are relying on social media, Facebook, Twitter, Google and others for their news. However, these platforms hold none of the same standards as the news media. Verification, research and sources have been thrown out the door for a quick click or negative motives. These platforms simply do not have the resources or expertise to undertake in-depth reporting that holds corporations, organizations or governments to account.
    We know that the press gallery in Ottawa is shrinking and is a fraction of its former self. It does not have the resources to challenge the government or the opposition in the way it was once able to do.
    With web giants offering news for free, Canadians are quick to cut their subscriptions. Not only have news organizations had a huge drop in advertising, which in itself is an important part of their revenue model, but these same organizations have also had to contend with new players in the industry who do not play by the same rules. Faced with so many challenges, there are only two options: try to adapt, or close shop altogether. Unfortunately, the second option is what appears to be happening.
    This is not limited to daily newspapers: Community newspapers, the foundation of our neighbourhoods and a critical source of information for communities all across Canada, are facing the same challenges, and 32% of daily newspapers and 19% of community newspapers have had to close their doors since 2009. Those still standing have had to face the hard reality needed to adapt. Cutting staff, reducing printing and merging are just some of the choices staff have had to make to keep their newspapers alive.
    All of these closures and reorganizations have had a massive impact on jobs in Canada. Since 2006, close to one-quarter of the newspaper workforce has been laid off, which means close to 10,000 jobs. In the last three years alone, more than 600 of these jobs have been cut, which means Canadians are no longer getting the news they need to make this country, province or town work. There is no more coverage of courtroom trials, no more news on current councillors or wards. People do not know what is going on in their neighbourhoods. The best they can hope for is sometimes seeing a small story in a major paper. This hurts all of us.

  (1240)  

[Translation]

    With a 24-hour news cycle and an endless amount of information at people's fingertips, it seems strange that millions of Canadians cannot find out what is happening just down the street.
    How can we, as Canadians, make the right choices regarding our governments when we do not even know what is happening? How can we solve a problem if we do not even know it exists?

[English]

    With even less accurate reporting, fake news is able to spread even faster. We can add to that the fact that people and organizations are trying to take advantage of Canadians by bombarding them with fake news on a daily basis. We have all seen the rise of the anti-vaccine movement and flat-earthers because of fake news circles spreading uncriticized information. Many countries, including Canada, are under constant threat of fake news spreading uncontrollably, made even worse because of a lack of journalists able to hold people to account.
    That is why our government saw the need to take action. Our $595-million tax credit investment in Canadian news over the next five years will help restore the news industry in Canada. Our government has established a panel that comprises not only publishers but also reporters and other workers within the sector. This panel includes representation from both francophone media groups and ethnic media representatives.
    Canadians deserve to know the truth about what is going on in Canada and around the world, yet it seems that Conservative members across the way continue to have problems with journalists and the truth. I do not know about other members, but I have met many journalists and none of them can be influenced or bought by a government, yet the Conservatives keep trying to follow Doug Ford's lead and imply that journalists are the enemy. Their staff said that they would “go for the jugular” when it came to the media.
    The opposition continues to be out of touch with real Canadians. Journalists and the media play a fundamental role in our country. Canadians know that, and so should the Conservatives. To call them fossils is disrespectful to both journalists and Canadians. Members of the party opposite continue to see enemies and conspiracy theories all around them. Next they will be telling us that we need to ground planes because of the chemtrails, or they will start saying how the scientists are out to get them again.
    Two fundamental principles have guided us in developing these policies: First, a mechanism designed to support the news industry must be independent from the Government of Canada, and second, it must be based on the creation of original content.
     In closing, there is no denying that the government has an important responsibility in ensuring the health of our democracy. I am proud to sit as a member of the party that believes in investing in people, unlike the party opposite, which wants to sit on its hands or, even worse, make cuts to our news industry.
    Our government is taking action to address the issues faced by the Canadian news system. We believe in the need to invest in and support the industry so that Canadians can get the news they need. These initiatives recognize that strong and independent journalism is a key element of a healthy democracy, while protecting the independence of the press on any platform. In an age when fake news is being spread freely, these investments will ensure that Canadians have access to the reliable news coverage necessary to our country.
     I am thankful for this opportunity and look forward to questions.

  (1245)  

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Laurentides—Labelle, or rather, for Louis-Saint-Laurent.
    Madam Speaker, I visited the riding of Laurentides—Labelle and I met many people there who are ready to vote for our party in six months.

[English]

    I would like to note the following statement: “I am the worst nightmare of the Liberal Prime Minister. Am I coming out against the Liberal Prime Minister? You're damn right I am. I'm probably going to make it worse. The Liberal Prime Minister has really been irritating me the last few days.”
     Does the hon. member consider that neutral or objective? No, not at all. That is exactly what Jerry Dias said against us, not against the Liberal Party. Can the member explain why he supports Jerry Dias on the panel, which is supposed to be neutral and objective but is anything but that?
    Madam Speaker, this panel involves eight different representatives of organizations. There is a wide-ranging spectrum of the industry that includes owners, publishers, reporters and workers.
    I know the party opposite has a real problem with unions and makes no excuse for it. It is unfortunate that it has taken the position that having a member representing labour at the table is problematic. I think it is fundamental that, when we make decisions, all parties are consulted and are part of the decision-making process. That is why we have constituted the panel as it is.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
    I am beginning to feel like a parrot and it is getting tiresome. Why does another four years have to go by before something gets done?
    He is the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism. His minister's predecessor launched the ecosystem review process four years ago.
    It was passed from committee to committee, then there was a committee report, and then it went back to committee. The election will be over and still nothing will have been done.
    How is it that the Liberal government has not accomplished anything in this regard in four years?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, what is important is that action is being taken, decisive action. This fund will allow our media to recalibrate over the next five years and be able to support initiatives that will ensure the long-term viability of the industry.
    Madam Speaker, the member has talked about how the funding will be over five years. It seems that the government is trying to become part of the financial operations of the media.
    Does the government plan to have this indefinitely? Is it going to provide stable funding, something each year or every five years, or is this just a one-shot event?
    Madam Speaker, it is important to recognize that there is a dire crisis. As I stated in my speech, there are operations closing weekly. In Hamilton, just last week, The Hamilton Spectator closed its printing operations. That has affected many jobs in that local community.
    This is essentially to ensure sustainability of the industry, both short-term and long-term.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for drawing attention to the Hamilton situation, which is dramatic and drastic. A lot of us are feeling a kind of heartless response from the other side, which is ignoring the plight of so many people who are responsible for delivering the news.
    I would like to have my friend comment on that.
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate my friend's comments.
    Newspapers are not just about journalists, although journalists play a very important role in producing newspapers. Many people are involved in delivering the news, from those working in the press room to those delivering the newspapers. At a young age, I used to deliver the newspaper. Right now, that is my daughter's first job.
    I know that many Canadians have relied on this industry for a very long time, be it as a courier or even for part-time work while being a student. This is such a critical industry for all of us. I know that small towns like Hamilton are struggling, and we want to be able to support them.

  (1250)  

    Madam Speaker, the opportunity to provide insight on how the government values a healthy democracy through a free and independent press is why I am here today. Voices must be heard in a democracy: diverse, dissenting and dynamic voices. Those of us who have a seat in this place must speak up for the voiceless, even when said voice sounds like it could use a little TLC.
    No one will dispute that a healthy democracy requires a solid, independent news media industry, and we all agree that with today's technology Canadians now consume information differently and through various media forms. Many readers are changing their consumption habits and getting information online.
    If we look at the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, 65% of Canadians worry about false information or fake news being used as a weapon. These are the new realities we face here in the House and as a government, and the advent of fake news has prompted our government to act to ensure that our democracy remains well served by informed and reliable journalism.
    The support measures we developed ensure that Canada will continue to have an active, professional, reliable and independent press, and that, through responsible journalism, Canadians remain informed of the events that shape our country. As stated by the hon. Minister of Finance, “Whether it's holding governments to account or getting involved in a local cause, Canadians rely on the journalism industry to shine a light on what's important—and these measures will help the industry continue to do exactly that.”
    Without these independent journalists, it is much easier for the opposition to peddle fake news stories, such as the ongoing attack ads using public funds, paid for by Doug Ford's government. That is why the Conservatives are vehemently disparaging journalists. However, unlike the Conservatives, our government is not afraid to be held to account by Canadians.
    There was one scrum after budget 2019 where someone asked whether this fund would just make sure that the media says what the Liberals want it to say. The Minister of Finance was there, and I think his quip was “I would really like the media to say exactly what I want it to say, but that is not how an independent press works.” That is at the core of what we are doing here.
    To this end, we announced a series of measures that, together, would provide support to the Canadian news system, which is crucial to our democracy. Two fundamental principles have guided us in developing these support measures. First, we choose to support the news in a way that is independent, because of all the principles that enshrine our democracy. In short, we fundamentally believe that journalists should not be afraid of their funding being cut simply because they disagree with us. Second, it must be based on the creation of original content.
    The first of these measures was introduced in budget 2018, where the government emphasized its support of local news in communities presently underserved by Canadian news media organizations. In an era when fake news is ubiquitous, all Canadians deserve to have access to reliable information.
    Let us take the issue of fake news head on. The Conservatives have been trying to sell a narrative recently that is completely false, related to recent government announcements. I want to take the time that I have to address these issues head on.
    It is a fact that, on May 22, 2019, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism announced the launch of the local journalism initiative. This initiative, which allocates a total of $50 million over five years, supports the creation of original civic journalism that covers the diverse needs of underserved communities across Canada.
    It is a fact that, to protect the independence of the press, seven not-for-profit organizations representing different segments of the news industry will administer the initiative. These organizations will hire additional journalists or undertake projects to give their news greater visibility in underserved communities, thus addressing the need for local civic journalism in underserved communities. The content produced through this initiative will be made available to media organizations through a Creative Commons licence so that Canadians can be better informed regardless of the platform on which they consume their news.
     Other support measures were announced in budget 2019, and the government proposed three new initiatives to support Canadian journalism: allowing not-for-profit news organizations to receive charitable donations and issue official donation receipts; creating a new, refundable labour tax credit for qualifying news organizations; and creating a temporary, non-refundable tax credit for subscriptions to Canadian digital news media.
    It is a fact that an independent panel of experts will make recommendations on the eligibility criteria for the tax measures so that they are efficient, transparent and fair.

  (1255)  

    Eight associations representing Canadian journalists were invited to submit the name of a candidate to take part in the work of the independent panel of experts. Unfortunately, the Conservatives have taken issue with one of these associations and have been sharing false information that these associations will somehow be deciding who will receive funding. Fortunately, our government does not believe in such a draconian way of either sharing information or organizing a system meant to protect the independence of the media.
    It is a fact that these associations were chosen because they represented the majority of Canadian news media publishers and journalists. the independent panel of experts will be able to consider the views of third parties, including industry stakeholders.
    We know for a fact that these key measures will provide Canadians with more access to informed and reliable journalism.
    The fact that the Conservatives are threatened by an independent panel of news media publishers and journalists is indicative of the kind of government they had under Mr. Harper and what kind of government they could be. It is the same kind of fear they had with scientists. It is the same kind they had with people of any sort of difference who might actually hold their feet to the fire. Our feet can be held to the fire and because of that, better is always possible.
    Over the past week, there has been intense Conservative opposition to the appointment of Unifor to the local journalism panel. Unifor is an independent union that represents 12,000 media workers across the country. It will bring much-needed expertise to the panel on the integrity of news media, freedom of information and workers' rights.
    Our government is committed to raising and improving labour standards and working conditions for all journalists across the country, while promoting free press.
    We recognizes and value the importance of the independent press to a healthy democracy, and the addition of Unifor to the panel only strengthens that principle.
    Let us make no mistake in assuming there is an easy fix after the deep cuts to media experienced under the Harper government, CBC alone, $150 million in cuts. The leader of the official opposition is already on record as saying hundreds of millions of dollars of cuts will come to the CBC should the Conservatives form government.
    The Harper government also allocated extensive resources to monitor independent media outlets. Monitoring them is contradictory to the very independence of those media outlets. The previous government was obsessed with message control and engaged in widespread media monitoring. In contrast, our government has built an open relationship with the press.
    The Canadian news media ecosystem is under tremendous pressure and that is why we take this issue seriously.
    Let us look at the change of the media ecosystem since 2019.
     Twenty per cent of daily and community newspapers have ceased their operations. This means that a total of 276 Canadian communities rely on alternative sources of information to obtain the news that is of concern to them. Also, we are not considering the many Canadian news media organizations that had to downsize and adapt their operations to remain in operation due to the drastic cuts of funding that has caused nearly irreversible damage.
    In my time as a member of this place, the way the Edmonton media has covered stories has changed dramatically. I used to give an interview to the Edmonton Sun and an interview to the Edmonton Journal. Then about midway through their mandate, they said that I would just have to do one interview now. When I asked them why, they said that they have been consolidated. The Edmonton Sun and the Edmonton Journal are in the same offices now. Therefore, I just give quotes to one person and then the reporters take the different quotes they want to shape the story they want. That is the shape of things to come in the country, so it is time we acted.
    Our government recognizes the vital and indispensable role that journalism plays in our country. That is why we will continue to protect the independence of journalists and why we are prepared to make the necessary investments and to take action to ensure Canadians continue to have access to informed and reliable news coverage that is necessary to ensure a democracy.

[Translation]

    There used to be over 10,000 jobs in journalism, but most of them have been lost since 2007. Close to 250 daily newspapers have been affected. Some of them have had to close their doors and others have had to reduce the number of journalists that work for them. The government needs to act in this kind of situation and that is what we did.

[English]

    That is exactly why we are taking these steps now.
    Madam Speaker, all of us in the House agree on the principle that the independence of our press is important. The difference I suppose is that on this side of the House we believe the best way to defend the independence of the press is for it to operate independent of government and not have a government-appointed committee that includes the most vocal of Liberal partisans determining who is a journalist and who is eligible for this funding.
    It is quite Orwellian for the member to say that the best way we defend the independence of the press is to have somebody who is vocally campaigning for the re-election of his government responsible for deciding which members of the press get the money and which ones do not. Journalists realize that this makes it harder for them to demonstrate their credibility to their readers.
    Will the member take a step back from this kind of Orwellian language and realize that independence requires real independence, not government control or control by a government committee?

  (1300)  

    Madam Speaker, the hon. member's comments are double-plus bad. In the case of his messaging today, he is making a tempest out of a teapot.
     Let us look at the billions of dollars existing in the media industry. Revenues have gone down from $5.5 billion in 2008 to $3.2 billion in 2016, and the member on the other side is worried about a $50 million fund that somehow will revolutionize the balance in the media.
    He talked about this somehow favouring Liberal candidates in the next election. Right up to the last election, 74% of all Canadian dailies called for the Harper government to be re-elected, three times more than how it was polling. More than 50% of the population was interested in supporting it. That kind of imbalance is exactly what the member is accusing us of doing, and the Conservatives lived it. We are here to ensure that the independence of journalists is taken seriously.
    Madam Speaker, I think we all agree there is a crisis here. What the government is sharing with us as a solution really misses the mark and is just a stopgap.
    In Saskatoon, the Saskatoon Express, another local paper, just went under. I want to wish Cam Hutchinson and his staff well. It is a difficult time. It went under because there was no more advertising revenue.
    What the government is proposing may help. However, the fact is that the tax system is unfair and large multinationals are making tax-free income from revenue from advertisers and small papers cannot make a go of it.
    Would the hon. colleague not acknowledge that what the Liberals are offering today is just not enough and that it will not solve the problem of the loss of independent media in the country?
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate the passion of the hon. colleague on this issue. I, too, and colleagues on this side, lament any time a daily or weekly goes under because of lack of revenues. One of the things we have learned and have heard loudly through committee work and through studies across the country us is that ad revenue that used to go to these dailies and weeklies for a dollar apiece now goes to online providers for pennies on the dollar. One cannot sustain a business model that does this.
    Therefore, I agree there is more we can do. This is a start. These actions will make a difference. They will help to ensure that independent journalists can protect that independence and ensure Canadians can access media content that has a significant editorial component to it.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague, the member for Elmwood—Transcona.
    I am happy that the masks are coming off today, because we are talking about something that the NDP has been concerned about for a long time. For around eight years, we have been standing up for Canadian news media and cultural content, and particularly in Quebec, where there is a great deal of provincial investment in businesses that offer such content. Furthermore, as a result of the changing paradigm, every investment the Government of Quebec makes involves greater risk.
    Last night, the Québec Cinéma Gala celebrated the talents of director Ricardo Trogi, actor Debbie Lynch-White, actor Martin Dubreuil and Sara Mishara, who did the cinematography for the movie The Great Darkened Days. The Québec Cinéma team reminded us that Quebec is so good at telling its stories because of giants like Jean Beaudin and Jean-Claude Labrecque, who passed away last week.
    A pioneer of filmmaking on nearly 100 Canadian films and keenly attuned to the evolution of Quebec society, Jean-Claude Labrecque, considered the filmmaker who captured the essence of Quebec, used to describe himself simply as the guy holding the camera. He did right by us, as the great man he was.
    To pay tribute to Jean-Claude Labrecque is to pay tribute to the architect of what we inherited today. We inherited a system that allows us to tell our stories through fiction and documentaries, but also through the news media. It allows us to talk about our democracy and to monitor what our politicians do. That is precisely what is currently at stake, because of the partisan games and mediocrity we are seeing from Canada's two main parties.
    Under the Conservatives we had 10 years of inaction. Ten years of acting like nothing happened. Then the Liberals came to power saying that something had to be done, that we absolutely needed to fix the problem. That was four years ago and they have done absolutely nothing since then. This government has done a poor job because it is afraid of the opposition. I am talking about the official opposition, of course, because the NDP has been fighting for this cause for at least four years, if not eight, since this issue was not as urgent at the time. This situation has truly deteriorated in no time at all.
    It is unacceptable that 80% of Internet advertising revenue currently goes to the United States. All legislators in Canada should be ashamed. It is not unusual for a society that lives in the north, like ours, to import pineapples or bananas. However, we are now importing advertising signs. Is it not appalling that we are letting all our advertising investments go elsewhere? That is a pathetic trade record. Time and again I find myself having to face the fact that we have no backbone. We have to wake up and protect our industry. We have to stop being mesmerized by five different colour letters just because they represent the most beloved brand in the United States, by Republicans and Democrats alike. We need to wake up.
    It is not Google's fault that we are slackers. It is not Netflix's fault that we have not asked it to collect the GST, our country's basic tax, which is a consumption tax. The Liberals will not do it for utterly embarrassing reasons. They are afraid that those opposite, the Conservatives, who only want to win the next election, will say that a Netflix tax will raise prices. Give me a break. All Canadians pay the GST on goods they purchase. That is normal. We pay for goods and services, but they will not charge the GST.
    You should all be ashamed. I, for one, as a citizen of a country like Canada, am ashamed that we are not taking a stand and charging our consumption tax. That is just disgraceful. As we can see, this mainly concerns the GST.

  (1305)  

    The government has been avoiding the issue and thinking pretty highly of itself for four years. For the past four years, it has been ignoring other people's advice. For four years, it has been afraid of being known as the government that taxed Netflix, but come on, Netflix raised its rate by about 33% a year ago and nobody said boo. The Liberals say they will not charge the GST for that kind of service. They know they do not have a leg to stand on, but they will not do it. There might be questions at the year-end review. The Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance are literally lying to us when they say taxing an intangible online service is complicated. They talk about seeking advice from their G7 and G20 friends. Seriously, though, this is a sales tax. What is the deal here? You are lying to our faces. This kind of situation—

  (1310)  

    I would ask the member to direct his comments to the Chair, not to the government.
    Madam Speaker, the fact is, we are here in a Parliament where the opposition is supposed to be able to propose things and take a constructive approach. I have been fighting for the media for eight years now, and the NDP has been working tirelessly to protect our stories and our journalism, to ensure a level playing field for everyone. It is not happening. We are not the only ones. In January 2017, a report entitled “Shattered Mirror” recommended the following:
    Recommendation No. 1: Enhance Section 19 and 19.1 of the Income Tax Act
    We have talked about this. It is completely unacceptable that, in a wealthy, western democracy like ours, we are incapable of amending a section of an act that online advertisers are shamelessly exploiting. Basically, if a company pays to place an ad in an American magazine, it cannot include it as a deduction for its advertising expenses. It cannot put it in an American or Canadian magazine, because it is not an eligible expense. However, placing an ad on Google or Facebook is an eligible expense. It is completely ridiculous.
     The Conservatives were no better. That loophole has been around for a long time but the Liberals let it be because they are afraid of being taxed. They have spent four years doing nothing even though this is such an important issue, an issue so crucial to our identity. Our stories are disappearing along with our journalism and possibly even our democracy. A number of us have pointed out that many of the weekly papers that cover local politics in every one of our ridings are closing. They are closing because advertisers can jump on that kind of outrageous advantage. That recommendation I just quoted was the first one in the January 2017 report. That was two years ago, and it came from an expert. The heritage minister requested the report. Two years have passed, and nothing has been done. The government has not done a thing about it even though that was the first recommendation.
     Here is another recommendation from the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage's June 2017 report:
    Recommendation 1: The Committee recommends that the Minister of Canadian Heritage explore the existing structures to create a new funding model that is platform agnostic and would support Canadian journalistic content.
    That was two years ago. Let me point out that both the heritage minister and the Prime Minister summarily dismissed the report.
    Here is the second recommendation from the other report from January 2017:
    Extend GST/HST to all digital news subscription and advertising revenue for companies not qualifying under new Section 19 criteria. Rebate GST/HST for those that do qualify
    Nothing was done. That was in the January 2017 report published by Mr. Greenspon, a distinguished journalist and expert. The Liberals did nothing.
    Now, a little like the huge boondoggle they made of the SNC-Lavalin affair, the government decided once again to improvise. It slipped a line somewhere in the omnibus bill, thinking no one would noticed, but they were wrong. The government should have consulted everyone. It would have been nice if it had not tried to hide this in a huge bill the size of an Eaton's catalogue. What happened as a result? Many jobs were lost in Quebec. People might be in difficult situations, but it is not the government's problem. It is, however, a serious problem for Quebec.
    Once again, a committee was thrown together at the last minute. It smacks of conflict and does not look good on the members opposite. They have always known just how much the unions hate them because they are always saying they do not care about the news or the situation facing our media here in Quebec and Canada.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I have to congratulate the member opposite for his performance. I think post-politics, the Canada Council for the Arts may be interested in funding his acting career.
    It is important to recognize that our government is taking action. It has been taking action for the last three years. I find it quite difficult to accept the member opposite's position that the government has not moved on this.
    Could the member identify aspects of the fund and the need to support journalists that he finds particularly important to him?

  (1315)  

    I want to remind members that they should not be making personal attacks on individuals. They can talk about procedures and the things being said, but personal attacks on individuals are not accepted.
    I think the parliamentary secretary may want to withdraw a bit of what he indicated to the member. Does he wish to withdraw his comment?
    Madam Speaker, that was not my intention. I withdraw my comment if it was taken as offensive.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I will focus on the second part of the member's comment, so that my answer is as constructive as possible.
    In the second part of his comment, the member asked me what we would recommend. First, we would recommend that the government take things seriously and acknowledge that information promotes a better democracy. Such a fundamental issue should have been tackled much earlier. It would have been preferable not to wait until the last minute, as the government did with a number of very important bills. It also should have done some research and not thought it was so superior that it was above criticism.
    Obviously, it is going to be a bit controversial when the government chooses a union that has very much taken a side in the debate and when it makes the announcement at the last second, right before the election. Nevertheless, the Conservatives should not be surprised. They are hated by almost everyone in the news and communications sector. The Conservatives hung us out to dry for 10, or even 14, years, because they were threatening the government.
    As for the first part of your comment, you claim to have done things. The Canada Council for the Arts budget was doubled four years ago. Stop saying that; you have not done a thing since.
    Again, I would remind the member that he must address his remarks to the Chair, not to the government directly.
    The hon. member for Saskatoon—Grasswood.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I used to sit on the heritage committee with the hon. member from Quebec. I want him to know that my home province of Saskatchewan is the second jurisdiction in Canada to have a provincial sales tax on Netflix. Quebec was the first, and Saskatchewan followed up earlier this years with a 6% tax.
    I will say a couple of things. I worked for Bell under the CTV brand. There was a lack of innovation from Bell, Rogers and other multimedia companies in this country. They were simply beaten by Netflix, which had been out for two or three years.
    Instead of Unifor telling the government where the $600 million should go, perhaps Unifor could use its membership dues to partner with these media giants it is the union for. That would be a far better use of union dues. Instead of using government tax money, Unifor could partner with Bell and Rogers and form a relationship, because they are in bed with each other right now. What the government has proposed is ridiculous.

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert has less than a minute to respond.
    That will not be easy, Madam Speaker.
    I thank my colleague. I know he means well, and I appreciate his province taking the lead.
    He is absolutely right. This definitely demonstrates how pathetic it is that this government does not to have the guts to do the obvious and just apply the GST to a service like this. He is right that we all need to work together. As a result of the government's inability to show federal leadership and persuade the telecom giants to join the comprehensive review, the stakeholders are left to watch as the system falls to pieces. They are petrified of being swallowed up by Big Brother, Google, GAFA and others.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise to speak to today's motion, because it addresses something that I think is an important public policy issue. It is a matter that touches the public interest. At the very least, I think we all agree that having an independent and well-resourced media is an important part of any well-functioning democracy. That is why it has been concerning over the last number of years to see newsrooms closing down and journalists being put out of work because of the revenue challenges among more traditional media.
     As much as news is circulating more than ever on social media, social media is not a content generator. It does not write the stories. Fewer and fewer journalists are writing the stories that are being circulated ever and ever wider, but that is not an increase in the amount of quality journalism that is happening; it is just a wider audience for the smaller amount of journalism that is happening.
    The lack of funding, or the inability of news organizations to be able to hire journalists to do proper investigative reporting, is a serious problem. I think it is a public interest problem. That is where I disagree with the member for Thornhill, who has said on a number of occasions that, essentially, government should be blind to this problem and not engage with it or that there is no room for some kind of public policy fix. If we simply leave this to the market, what we have seen is that the market is failing to support good journalism. There is a need for a solution. If the market can provide one, so be it. It is just that we are not seeing that, and we are running out of time as more and more newsrooms close down and we have fewer people doing the good work journalists do in Canada.
    We in the NDP agree that something needs to be done. We have been calling for that for a long time. Part of our frustration is that this is kind of an 11th-hour solution, if we can call it that. It is an 11th-hour proposal by the Liberal government to finally start, maybe, doing something about a problem that has existed for a long time and that has been allowed to get to a point where it is actually becoming quite serious. To drop it at the end of this Parliament is unfortunate.
     We do not all agree on various components of this debate, but the fact that there is so much contention about the solution is evidence that we needed a longer timeline if we wanted to try to find some kind of consensus, or least a meeting of the minds, among the parties in this place. We needed more time to be able to do that. To have the proposal come out just recently, when the end of Parliament is only a few weeks away, really does not bode well for finding a solution that as many political actors as possible could sign on to. That is important.
    The NDP has known for a long time that big corporate money has played a role in media, and we have often been on the receiving end of what that means in terms of editorial opinion, the kinds of stories that are covered and the angles of the stories that are covered. We on this side know all about what money means to the media and the frustration of finding people who are ideologically opposed to a point of view and do not want to see it succeed.
    We have had a lot of people in the media over the years. We are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike this year. We have heard lots of stories about the coalition between business leaders and newspapers and what they did to demonize strikers and misrepresent their position. We have seen that carry on through the last 100 years, too.
    There are great journalists doing independent work. There has always been the question of money in media. As long as we have a solution on offer, and the government is going to be providing subsidies, the NDP has no objection to workers being at the table. Unifor represents over 12,000 workers in the industry. We know, because we are not outside unions looking in, that Jerry Dias can have his opinion, and Unifor, as a larger union, can have its position when it comes to an election.
     Brad Honywill is an established, retired journalist who worked for the Sun Media chain, which, incidentally, is not known for giving the Conservatives an unfair hearing. Members here who have read the work of the Sun Media chain will not feel, if they are giving an honest assessment, that the Sun Media chain does not fairly communicate the views of the Conservative movement of Canada.

  (1320)  

    That was his career. He can speak on that panel with a sense of independence, as a retired journalist, and that is fine. That is separate from the political activities of the union. It may be that there is some misunderstanding on the part of Conservatives as to how large democratic organizations work. However, to have somebody from Unifor, with a long history and experience in the industry, being named as one member of eight on the panel to make recommendations about what the rules will be, and to further nominate a second independent panel, is not the end of the world.
    That does not mean that this is the best model. This has been coming like a slow train wreck for years and years, as my hon. colleague from Longueuil—Saint-Hubert said very well, and I commend him for all the work he has done on this, over years. This has been coming for a long time. As my hon. NDP colleague from Saskatoon pointed out earlier, the reason this is happening is because of a kind of structural issue within the industry. It has to do with the fact that this is an industry that heretofore has been funded through ad revenue. The problem is that ad revenue for traditional media is drying up because it is going to new media. When businesses or any advertisers spend money on ads through Facebook, Google or another Internet company, they are not charged the same tax that they would be if they were advertising in Canadian media. They are not charged the sales tax, the GST. Therefore, these social media platforms already have a number of inherent advantages in terms of their reach and being able to target.
     On top of that, government policy offers further incentive to advertise with those companies by helping to make it cheaper by not applying a sales tax. Those who advertise in Canadian print publications can write off their taxable revenue as a business, but they cannot do that if they are advertising in print in U.S. or international publications. However, when it comes to the Internet, even though Facebook and Google are American-based companies, they are treated as Canadian companies. Therefore, Canadian advertisers are able to get the same tax advantage for advertising with Facebook and Google as they are in Canadian print publications.
    Those are two taxation measures that incentivize advertising with foreign-based advertisers as opposed to Canadian publications. That is at the root of the crisis of revenue that is causing newsrooms to shut down or to lay off journalists and run on a skeleton crew. What is odd about this proposal is that it does not cut to the core of the structural incentives that government policies have created to advertise with non-Canadian advertisers online. Why would the government come up with a band-aid solution when there are clear structural issues? There are recommendations from a number of different parliamentary committees and other independent groups that name that problem, so why the Liberal government would not be concerned with addressing the structural issue rather than slapping a Band-Aid on it is anyone's guess.
    I have not been here for as long as some, but it is coming up on four years. What I have seen, when it comes to pharmacare, for instance, is that there are clear proposals for how to move forward, such as expanding coverage for Canadians to save billions of dollars every year, and Liberals are not prepared to do it. Why is that? It is because that would hurt the corporate profits of their buddies.
    When we look at climate change and some of the real things that need to happen to effectively combat climate change from the Canadian perspective, we run up against the Liberals' desire to protect the profits of the oil and gas industry. They continue to offer subsidies. They bought an old pipeline. They did not build a new one, but spent $4.5 billion on an existing pipeline to pay out Kinder Morgan's shareholders, because that was consistent with protecting the profits of their corporate friends.
    We again have a model where, instead of allowing new media start-ups to be eligible for this funding, because a lot of people are interested in that, this is a program that favours the established print industry. It did not have to be that way. That was a decision that the Liberals made, once again, no coincidence, and that benefits established corporate interest over everyone else. There is definitely a pattern. Unfortunately, it has had an influence on this. They waited too long to present a real solution, so we are finding it hard to find agreement before the next election. That is unfortunate if it causes Canadians to feel less trustful of journalism during an election.

  (1325)  

    Madam Speaker, I really wanted to ask a question of the previous speaker, but time did not permit.
    However, I think it is important that the NDP gets a better understanding of the situation when it comes to our culture and arts. We have spent well over $2 billion, which is a record investment in culture and arts. This government does not need to be lectured by the New Democrats on that issue when we have delivered historical amounts of money.
    In regard to the media, this is not the first time we have responded to the changes that have been taking place within our media. We have spent, likely in the neighbourhood of $50 million in terms of assistance. This tax credit program is going to go a long way in providing for, in many ways, its survival. In other ways, it will be complementing, allowing for other forms of compensation to potentially take place in other sectors, whether it is private advertising or whatever else it might be.
    This is something that I believe has been well received, and some of the strongest advocates for it were in fact union members. Would the member not agree that is a good thing?

  (1330)  

    Madam Speaker, I think a good thing would have been to have a plan that first of all addresses the structural issues that are causing this upheaval within the industry. It would not just be a one-year to a five-year funding fix on a model that is not working. I proposed some ways that the government could address that structural deficit.
    The second thing good thing would have been for the Liberals, instead of sitting on their hands for four years, to have presented this plan much earlier in the Parliament. There would have been opportunities to make changes and tweaks, in light of criticism that is bound to come up, to try to get closer to something that more people from more sides of the political spectrum could wholeheartedly endorse. We could find a way to ensure that Canada continues to have quality independent journalism, which is important for our democracy, and to do it in a way that is the least politicized as possible, because that is an inherent part of that project.
    Madam Speaker, I sat on the finance committee, and this bailout is embedded in an omnibus budget bill. I think it deserves mentioning, again, that this is something the government promised not to do.
    This is also a kind of three-package deal. In it, there is a panel that is going to oversee a tax credit. I cannot find any other tax credit the government has which has a government-appointed panel that decides on it. Typically, we let the Canada Revenue Agency decide who meets the eligibility criteria that is set out in the law.
    Does the member know of any other tax credit where the government basically appoints a panel to decide who is in or out? If he knows of any, I would love to hear it.
    Madam Speaker, the short answer is no, I do not. However, I thank the member for bringing up the fact that this is couched in an omnibus budget bill.
    Whatever anyone thinks of this, whether they think it is the greatest thing since sliced bread or that this is a horrible end to Canadian democracy, and more likely it is somewhere in between, what people should be able to agree on is that it is significant to have this amount of government funding available to media organizations. It is the kind of thing that deserves a real debate.
     However, the government said, for instance, that it was going to put the practice of omnibus budget bills in the past. It criticized the previous government for making unilateral changes to the Elections Act, which the current government subsequently did. It said it would not move forward with unilateral changes to the rules of Parliament, but then tried to do exactly that.
    This is another industry that touches on the very fundamentals of Canadian democracy. We should have had more of an effort by the government to bringing people on all sides of the political spectrum onboard, that this would be done in a way that people expect. Instead, the government has taken the same ham-fisted approach it has taken to changes to Parliament, changes to the Elections Act and to implementing its budget bills.
    I would note that in that same budget bill, the government is adopting the Conservatives' misguided approach to immigration. That in itself deserves real and sustained debate. Instead the government is tucking it into the back of a budget bill. There certainly is not time to debate both of these significant changes that are under the auspices of a single bill, let alone the other content of the bill that we have not touched on in today's debate.
    Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.
    The institution of freedom of the press is an underpinning of any democratic nation. It is the principle by which we understand that journalists or those in civil service investigate policy, politicians, and comings and goings, and shed light and perhaps different viewpoints on what is going on in our country. This is in order to ensure that we have the best public policy and work toward equality of economic opportunity. Regardless of political stripe, I hope we all agree that the institution of freedom of the press is very important.
    I want to contrast the institution of freedom of the press with something that my colleague just said, which was on the industry of journalism. The institution is different from the industry. The institution of freedom of the press does not imply that somehow someone has to make a profit off of this. What we are talking about today is the state interfering in the industry of the press and whether or not that is appropriate in terms of the ability for the institution in Canada to survive.
    In 2013, PwC's report, “Online Global entertainment and media outlook 2013-2017”, predicted that newspaper revenue would drop by 20% by 2017. This was not attributed to a lack of consumer demand for journalism, but was attributed directly to a rise in advertising revenue being shifted from print media to online media. It will be no surprise to anyone in this room, or anyone listening at home, that it is because the way we consume information has changed dramatically in the last several years. Many of us consume information on our phones. We consume information with short video blogs. We consume information from content that it is pushed to our phones.
    The industry of journalism in Canada knew, through its own corporate forecasts and reports like this one, that its business model was failing. It begs the question of why the taxpayers of Canada should have to bail out a business model that was failing, which is print journalism. These organizations should have known, as any industry does, that they would have to adapt in order to survive. Anyone who owns a business knows that business models can change. For example, look at taxi companies when Uber came in. When something is disruptive to an industry, one has to adapt or one does not survive.
    We are now debating whether the government should be bailing out a failed business model, or a failed industry. Unfortunately, what the government has chosen to do in answer to that question affects the institution of freedom of press. Anyone of any political stripe should be concerned about this. A partisan political actor should not be allocating tax dollars in such a way that it could harm the independence of the institution of free press in Canada.
    How does that happen? What the Prime Minister has done is to allocate $600 million, which is a lot of money that could be used for a lot of things, to a select group of industry actors in journalism, based on criteria that the government selects and doles the money out on. If those industry actors are not sympathetic to the government of the time, are they inherently credible in terms of actors in the institution of free press? That is what is at stake here.

  (1335)  

    Anybody who votes Liberal, Green or NDP should be as comfortable with a Conservative-led government selecting those criteria as they are their own. They would have a very hard time standing here arguing for, let us say, Stephen Harper having control over the Canadian media. If an argument does not work both ways from political strife, then we actually have a big problem. Somebody who votes NDP or Green should have a huge concern.
     Let us park, for a second, whether Canadian taxpayers should bail out a failed industry that has failed to transition to digital online. This is really about the credibility of anybody at any journalistic institution who takes money out of this fund and for those who choose not to take funds or who are not eligible to take those funds, whether they will be able to compete with people who now have a partisan interest, and they do have a partisan interest.
    The government has appointed Unifor to the panel of people who will select the criteria by which the government doles out the funds. Unifor has a publicly stated, publicly funded campaign against a political party in this place. This weekend on the political talk shows, the leader of Unifor said that he should be on that panel because he had a score to settle. He said that other industry and media had endorsed the Conservatives before and why should he not be able to settle the score.
    What we are debating here is which partisan actor is better suited to influence the industry on which the institution of freedom of the press is based in Canada. That is disgusting.
     We have had a lot of discussions in this place about foreign influence in our election and fake news. It is the individual responsibility of every Canadian to understand how to critically evaluate information presented as news. There is no way the government can regulate that. Many of the existing actors in Canadian industry have responded to this drop in online content by trying to build their own media platforms and responding with clickbait. We do not have a lot of print journalism that I would constitute as journalism anymore. There is some, but a lot of it is editorialization on both the right and the left. Why would Canadian taxpayers perpetuate a failing industry that has such strong ramifications for Canadian democracy?
    I know why the Liberal government is doing this and I know why the NDP supports it. When people control the press, they control people. That is what is happening here. Jerry Dias said that he had a score to settle. People cannot control the press through the state. Let us vigorously debate policy and let us even want to throttle each other over differences in public policy. However, to somehow argue with any sort of a fig leaf that this is anything other than the state controlling the press is shameful.
    Columnists who have written about the fact that any journalist who works for an organization that takes money from this fund will have to work ten times harder to be credible are right, and they are brave for saying that.
     At the end of the day, this bailout will not save print journalism in Canada. The only way that is saved is if these organizations figure out how to transition to the new digital reality, which many of them have failed to do.
    In the strongest possible terms, I oppose any sort of interference in this regard. We need to have a conversation about what the state's role is in funding news writ large in Canada. We need to oppose partisan political actors being involved in the doling out of tax dollars to save an industry on which the institution of freedom of speech in our country is underpinned. I refuse to stand here, partisan hat off, and say as a Conservative that I would be excited about that level of control. No, we should have vigorous debate that challenges dogma, not that perpetuates a monopoly that is controlled by partisan actors. It is wrong and it needs to stop.

  (1340)  

    
    Madam Speaker, I listened very closely to the member opposite. I cannot help but think of the word hypocrisy. During the time of Stephen Harper, his government invested tens of millions of dollars annually in print or news magazines.
    On the one hand, former Prime Minister Harper and his government recognized that they needed to support news magazines. Now that member has made it very clear that this is a bad idea, a dumb idea. I do not know if she represents the entire Conservative caucus when she says that. Stephen Harper recognized it.
     It seems to me that the Conservative Party is even going further to the right, getting closer to the Doug Ford mentality with respect to policy. Is the position of the member opposite the same as the Conservative Party and Doug Ford?

  (1345)  

    Madam Speaker, my colleague opposite has committed two logical fallacies.
    One is tu quoque, we are doing it too. He is comparing himself to a Conservative government. The policy he talked about was perpetuated under a Liberal government. Frankly, yes, I disagree with it. I do not think we should be funding failed business models. I do not think we should be bailing these organizations out, and we should stop it.
    The other logical fallacy that he committed was a red herring. As opposed to refuting any of my argument with regard to the fact that the government's motive was to control the press and undermine freedom of speech, he tried to divert the argument with crass partisan politics. This topic deserves more than that. It deserves real, intelligent debate. For anyone watching, I offer my condolences for having to watch that debate failure.
    Madam Speaker, there is one element in my colleague's speech with which I agree. It is that this crisis was foreseeable. We knew that the media, especially the print media, was in trouble, but that trouble was compounded by the fact that social media such as Facebook, Twitter and so on, were using, for free, the content created by that media. That accelerated the crisis. That acceleration took place when the Conservatives were in power and they did nothing about it.
    I am not saying that what the Liberals are proposing is perfect. I am not saying this it is what we would proposed. However, leaving that crisis for the private sector to solve would be extremely dangerous for the future of our democracy and the future of the independence of the press. There would be very little protection of its independence.
    I remind my colleague that we are not only talking about the independence of the media, which I agree is critical, but we are also talking about the viability of the media. We need to find a way to help the media transition to a different model. I would like to ask my friend how this Parliament, the government and the House of Commons can help the media sector to do this.
    Madam Speaker, my colleague is arguing that it is the role of the state to bail out a failed business model. It is not. His premise is flawed.
    These organizations have failed to transition to a digital online model. He is talking about content being shared on Twitter. There are organizations in Canada that are profitable. Blacklock's is an example that uses a paywall. People will pay for the information they want to consume. Those platforms are not stealing that advertising. When people share content, they get driven to online platforms and absorb the advertising there.
    The failure of industry to respond in an already highly regulated market to the demand of the consumer does not mean it is the role of the state to bail them out. Therefore, my colleague's premise is completely flawed. It should be the role of the private sector to figure this out. It is incumbent on every Canadian to determine how he or she will consume information and reward those who respond to that demand accordingly.
     We could be using that $600 million for any other purpose, but to use it and undermine the freedom of the press is an abdication of our fiduciary responsibility to Canadian taxpayers.
    Madam Speaker, today we are discussing a proposal by the government that is transparently ridiculous. I think my six-year-old daughter could well understand why it is ridiculous and government members should as well. It is a $600-million government bailout fund for some journalists and media organizations. The distribution of that fund is to be controlled by a committee that includes Jerry Dias and the leadership of Unifor. Unifor's leadership has made it clear that it will use workers' funds for electoral purposes. It will campaign to defeat the Conservatives in the next election and for the re-election of the Liberal government. It calls itself “The resistance” to the Conservatives.
    Overtly partisan people are responsible for meting out dollars to journalists; that is for determining who is a journalist and who is not for the purpose of this funding and for determining who gets the money and who does not.
    Our contention on this side of the House is that in defence of an independent press, we should not have overtly partisan individuals or entities responsible for meting out funds on the basis, supposedly, of supporting non-partisan journalism. This should be very clear. Having people who are actively involved in campaigning for one particular outcome in the election and also determining who is a journalist for the purposes of receiving funding is outrageous. It is beyond outrageous. I think members across the way would understand this very easily if the shoe were on the other foot.
    That is why thus far in this debate members of the government are trying to avoid the real conversation about the real issue by all means necessary. They are making all sorts of other points that do not really address their decision to have partisan mechanisms handing out funding and deciding which journalists get funding.
    Government members have talked about the important role that journalists play in our democracy. Of course we strongly agree with that. However, the most important tool that journalists have in their toolbox is a recognition of their credibility. Why do people choose to get their information from credible media organizations as opposed to blogs? Why do people go to nationalpost.com as opposed to liberal.ca to get their media? It is because of credibility. People understand. They hope that when they go to a media organization they trust, they can expect the information to be credible, accurate and non-partisan.
    When the government intervenes by determining who gets funding and who does not, it is undermining the perception of credibility in the press by the public. Thus, it makes the job of independent professional journalists that much more difficult. The government is eroding public confidence in the fourth estate and it is doing so for its own interests.
    If the government really cares about defending the vital work our independent press does, it should actually listen to what members of the press are saying about the proposal.
     Don Martin from CTV says, “The optics of journalism associations and unions deciding who picks the recipients of government aid for journalism are getting very queasy.”
    Andrew Coyne says, “It is quite clear now, if it was not already: this is the most serious threat to the independence of the press in this country in decades.”
    Jen Gerson from CBC says, “If any of these associations or unions could be trusted to manage this “independent” panel, they would be denouncing it already.”
    David Akin says, “I am a Unifor member and had no choice about that when I joined @globalnews. Unifor never consulted its membership prior to this endorsement. Had I been asked, I would have argued it should make no partisan endorsements.” He says “Jerry: I invite you to visit with Unifor members who are also members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery. I’ll set the meeting up. You will learn first-hand how much damage you are doing to the businesses that employ us, to our credibility and how terribly uninformed you are.”
    Chris Selley, from the National Post, says, “Liberals' media bailout puts foxes in charge of the chickens.”
    Chantal Hébert says, “Among the ranks of the political columnists, many fear it is a poison pill that will eventually do the news industry more harm than good.”
    That is quite a list of intelligent, thoughtful journalists who comment on a range of different issues and who are known and have recognized names in Canadian democracy.

  (1350)  

    If the government says that its goal is to defend independent journalists like Don Martin, Jen Gerson, Andrew Coyne, David Akin and Chantal Hébert, then maybe it should listen to those independent journalists, because they understand that when the government pursues policies that undermine their perceived credibility in the eyes of the public, it makes it more difficult—not easier, but more difficult—for independent journalists.
    Members of the government talk about an independent press. They talk about how having Unifor on a panel that doles out government funds and determines which journalists get the money and which do not, how having overtly partisan mechanisms controlling which journalists get funding and which who do not, is somehow in defence of an independent press. That is very Orwellian. War is peace; freedom is slavery; ignorance is strength. It is Orwellian to say that government partisans doling out funding arbitrarily to media organizations of their choice is a way to maintain the independence of the press.
    Canadians should be concerned about it because journalists are concerned about it. Not only is it a waste of taxpayers' money and not only is the government trying to intervene to stack the deck in its favour for the next election, but it undermines the independence of the press and it creates greater challenges for the press as they try to do their job. It makes it harder for them to fight back against those who are challenging their credibility.
    In response to this, Jerry Dias from Unifor said that he is entitled to his free speech. I agree that all Canadians are entitled to free speech, but he is not entitled to use Canadians' tax dollars to promote those particular views.
    Further, we expect certain positions in our democracy to be independent. We expect budgets not to be involved in overtly partisan politics. We expect the Clerk of the Privy Council not to be involved in overtly partisan politics—oops—and we expect some of these people to be outside of speaking about elections and parties. We certainly expect that the people responsible for doling out funding to journalists or deciding which organizations get the money would indeed be independent and would be separate from politics.
    This is about preserving the independence of our institutions. We on this side of the House stand for preserving the independence of those institutions. It is not good enough to say it; we have to actually leave those institutions alone and not interfere with them. We should not interfere in the independence of our journalists, our public servants, or the functions of our judicial system, which is another problem. There are so many cases of the Liberals not respecting the independence of our institutions and interfering with them, and they are doing it again with respect to independent media.
    The government's argument is that Unifor should be represented because it represents journalists. Here are some important numbers: Unifor is a very large union, representing over 300,000 people. There are about 12,000 journalists in that number; less than 5% of the membership are journalists, so this is not an organization that speaks uniquely and exclusively for journalists. In fact, journalists represent a very small part of the overall membership of the organization, so claiming that Jerry Dias can speak particularly for journalists in the context of public policy and advocacy widely misses the mark, especially since we hear so many journalists speaking out against this situation.
    This is part of a broader pattern. We see repeatedly by the Liberal government efforts to stack the deck in its favour to undermine the independence of our institutions. We saw this first with the electoral system, when the government wanted to change the electoral system to its advantage and wanted to do it without a referendum. When the consultations came back and were different from what the government wanted, it ordered another round of consultations, again trying to stack the deck. The government tried to change the electoral system to its advantage and it failed. We called the government out on it.
    The government also tried to change the Standing Orders of this place. Without the agreement of all parties, it tried to bring in automatic closure, again undermining the role of the opposition in the House of Commons. The government has tried to do this multiple times, but we successfully stood against it.
    We called on the government to clamp down on foreign interference in elections; it refused to act on that.
    The government has unilaterally acted to control the structure of the leadership debate. It has pushed through other changes to the Canada Elections Act that allow third party groups to massively outspend political parties in the pre-election period. The government did that to stack the deck.
    Now again we see, in its efforts to undermine the independence of the media by having overtly partisan people controlling the handouts that are going to media, that the government is again trying to stack the deck in its favour.
    The government does not respect the independence of the media. It does not respect the independence of Parliament. It does not respect the independence of the opposition, and that more than anything else is the reason that the Liberal government must be defeated.

  (1355)  

    The hon. member will have five minutes for questions and comments after question period.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

    Madam Speaker, today the government received the final report from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
     I attended the closing ceremony and was moved by the powerful testimony of families, grandmothers and elders.
    The report has 231 calls for justice. Let us highlight calls to which all Canadians are asked to respond.
    One, read the report; two, speak out against racism, sexism and misogyny; three, hold governments to account; and four, decolonize ourselves—learn the true history of Canada.
    Our response must be more than words. Governments must recognize the rights of indigenous peoples and must make investments in education, housing and restorative justice to bring about true reconciliation and stop the violence against indigenous women, girls, and two-spirited and trans people.
    We all have a responsibility to act. I will be an ally—will you?
    Please read the report.

  (1400)  

[Translation]

Alfred-Pellan

    Madam Speaker, as the parliamentary session winds down, I want to take a moment to look back on our fantastic term in office.
    On top of our Liberal government's major accomplishments, like the Canada child benefit and the free trade agreements we signed, since 2015, Alfred-Pellan has seen a 186% increase in Canada summer jobs placements, more than $184,000 for seniors through the new horizons for seniors program, nearly $115,000 for accessibility upgrades, more than $760,000 to support deaf Canadians participating and competing in sporting events, and nearly $3.5 million to support businesses in Alfred-Pellan.
    I supported many organizations, including the Alzheimer Society Laval, the Fondation du Dr Julien, la Fondation Cité de la santé and all the local festivals, as well as about seven community clean-up and tree planting events.

[English]

    I am proud of the results obtained since since October 2015 and I am determined to keep on defending the interests of my constituents.

Leon Dopke

    Mr. Speaker, it is my great honour to rise in the House today to pay tribute to my constituent, World War II hero Lieutenant Leon Dopke, who passed away on May 4 in Niagara.
    Leon enlisted in the army at the age of 14 in response to German troops attacking and destroying the Polish Air Force. He went on to fight with the Allies in Britain, Poland, Italy, Sweden and France, culminating in the liberation of Bologna, Italy, and the capture of Mussolini.
    When I was Minister of National Defence, often the topic of medals would come up. I remember bragging about Leon's array of medals. I said that if we spread them out across his chest, they would have stretched down to his elbow.
    Freedom is not free, and no one knew that better than Leon Dopke. As we approach D-Day on June 6, in what may be my last S. 0. 31 in the House, I am privileged to pay homage to Leon Dopke.
     I thank Leon for standing on guard for Canada. Democracy is indebted to him.

Newmarket Farmers' Market

    Mr. Speaker, I want to express my heartfelt congratulations to the Newmarket Farmers' Market, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this season.
    The first market was actually held on June 1, 1871. Spurred on by this tradition, the market was revived, and the latest version began in May 1999. Every Saturday morning from May to October, a band of farmers, vendors and volunteers transforms the Riverwalk Commons into a bustling hive of activity reminiscent of the town's historic beginnings as a new market.
    Thanks to the driving force of Marilyn Church, Joe Sponga and Jackie Playter, the market was revived 20 years ago. Many others, such as Margaret Koopmans, Julia Shipcott and Matt Haggerty helped ensure its early survival and later success.
    Of course, a special thanks is owed to all the farmers who make the farmers' market what it is. As its motto goes, come for the freshness and stay for the fun. We'll see everyone at the market.

National Indigenous Peoples Day

    Mr. Speaker, last year I attended a ceremony for the creation of the Missanabie Cree First Nation Reserve. This community joins 17 first nations that make up a significant part of the geography and culture of Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing.
     This June, as we mark National Indigenous History Month and the contributions of indigenous peoples, I encourage everyone to visit indigenous communities, meet their neighbours and join in celebrations such as those that will take place on National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21.

[Translation]

    The powwow season begins in June and anyone who has ever participated in one knows how important they are.

[English]

    For those interested in celebrating indigenous cultures and communities, there may be no better place than Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, where the opportunity to do so will take people from the shores of lakes Huron and Superior to the heart of the boreal forest.
    I wish my indigenous friends the very best as they celebrate their incredible history, heritage and communities. Happy National Indigenous History Month.

  (1405)  

Canadian Armed Forces Day

    Mr. Speaker, the women and men of our Canadian Armed Forces are at the core of everything we do, and Canadians are deeply proud of them.
     On Canadian Armed Forces Day, I rise to thank the members who are taking part in the national sentry program, standing guard and watching over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. They honour the sacrifice and memory of members who fought for peace and security in Canada and around the world. I thank members French, Comeau, Renzelli, Barrett, Teminksy, Gagnon, Barnes, Bryan, Hira, Power, Alfallah, Ryu, Hill, Masseo, Cook, Booth, Fenton, Parker and Conquist.
    Our government will support the Canadian Armed Forces as they support all Canadians. From their efforts to help fellow Canadians facing floods and wildfires to stabilizing regions abroad, their actions are selfless, noticed and appreciated.
    I ask all members of this House to rise and join me in thanking our Canadian Armed Forces members for all they do.

Air Cadets

    Mr. Speaker, this Saturday, I had the honour to attend the 60th annual ceremonial review of the 699 Jasper Place Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron, fondly known as the pink panther squadron. Where did the name come from? The cadets used to have white surplus RCAF flight suits. Someone had the idea of dying them a bright orange just before the cadets left to volunteer at the Abbotsford air show, and the result, in true Canadian military procurement fashion, was not as intended. The overalls came out a bright pink. It being too late to address the issue, the 699 cadets proudly wore them. Thus, the pink panthers were born.
    The panthers have a long history of producing community leaders, with many going on to serve our country proudly in our air force, navy and army. Their proud motto is “Never Settle”, and they do not.
    Congratulations to the pink panthers on their 60th anniversary. I thank the many volunteers who help develop our cadets into our community's future leaders.

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to inform the House that Prince Edward Islander Hannah MacLellan will be representing Canada at a UN conference on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in New York next week.
    At 20, Hannah has already made her mark in P.E.I. politics. She was the driving force in the adoption of a bill known as Hannah's Bill, which passed through the P.E.I. legislature in 2016.
    While working toward a degree in human rights and disability studies, Hannah has been an active member of the Carleton University Young Liberals and is a valuable employee in my office. She has been a fixture in the gallery of this place, especially during the debate on the government's bill to create a barrier-free Canada. Hannah most recently represented the riding of Cardigan in Parliament for Daughters of the Vote, where she gave an impassioned speech on Bill C-81.
    I am proud to say that persons with disabilities have a formidable advocate in Ms. MacLellan. Today also happens to be her birthday. I wish Hannah a happy birthday.

Portuguese Heritage Month

    Mr. Speaker, in June we celebrate Portuguese Heritage Month and the great contributions made by Canadians of Portuguese descent. The Luso community in Canada numbers over 480,000 members. We thank them for their contributions in shaping our communities from coast to coast to coast.
    Just last year, we welcomed a special guest, Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa, whose first state visit to Canada was a testament to the continually growing co-operation between our two nations.
    Portugal Day, June 10, celebrated both in Portugal and around the world by Portuguese, honours the 16th century poet Luís Vaz de Camões, whose prose captured Portugal's age of discovery. It is a special day of pride for me, both as a Portuguese immigrant who came to Canada at the age of two with my family and as an MP who represents a riding in Mississauga, a city that 20,000 Portuguese Canadians call home.
    I am proud to call June Portuguese Heritage Month.
    Viva Canada. Viva Portugal.

Government Policies

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister made a lot of promises during the 2015 election to balance budgets and support the middle class. He has failed on his promise to lower the federal debt-to-GDP ratio every single year he has been in office. He has failed on his promise to run tiny $10-billion deficits, outspending every government in Canadian history, outside of those that were fighting global wars or recessions. He broke his vow on a key pledge that the new 33% income tax bracket cuts and increases would be revenue neutral. He has not fulfilled his promise to provide a costing analysis for government bills. He broke his pledge to invest in better home care services for families struggling to support loved ones. He did not remove the GST, as promised, on new capital investments in affordable rental housing. He botched his promise to balance the budget by 2019.
    Now he is making more promises for the election this fall. It is no wonder Canadians do not trust him anymore. He is simply not as advertised.

  (1410)  

ALS

    Mr. Speaker, June is ALS Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness and funds for research and support services for this devastating disease.

[Translation]

    Approximately 3,000 Canadians are currently living with ALS, a disease that can strike anyone and that affects entire families.

[English]

    We must continue to ensure that those with ALS feel supported, advocate for better awareness and promote research initiatives that will help us find a treatment.

[Translation]

    ALS is a heartbreaking disease and we should all try to do more. This cause is very dear to me. It is important to continue to share this message.

[English]

    In memory of my predecessor, the remarkable and inspiring MP Mauril Bélanger, I would like to recognize all those affected by ALS across the country. Our hearts are with them this month and every month.

Filipino Heritage Month

    Mr. Speaker, late last fall, the House of Commons passed a resolution recognizing the month of June as Filipino Heritage Month. This will be the first national coast to coast to coast celebration of Filipino heritage.
    In the next year and a half, the Filipino population will be one million here in Canada, so it is a great opportunity, no matter what region of the country one lives in, to make note that June is Filipino Heritage Month. People should go out, enjoy themselves and understand and appreciate how much the Filipino community has impacted every aspect of our society, whether socially or economically, everywhere.
    It is a wonderful opportunity for us to show a little love and appreciate the valuable contributions the Filipino community has made to Canada.

[Translation]

2019 General Election

    Mr. Speaker, three and a half years ago, the Liberals were elected on all sorts of promises that they did not keep.
    Let us not forget that they promised to run three small deficits and then balance the budget in 2019. Instead, they ran three big deficits and will have a $20-billion deficit in what was supposed to be a zero-deficit year.
    The Liberals solemnly promised that 2015 would be the last first-past-the-post election. In the end, the Prime Minister decided it suited his purposes to forget all about that promise, so that is what he did.
    The Liberals promised that they would do away with omnibus bills, but they did not. The outcome was the terrible and unprecedented cabinet crisis arising from the Liberal SNC-Lavalin scandal. How did that crisis end? It ended with the Liberals ousting two senior female ministers from caucus.
    The Liberals promised to make massive investments in infrastructure. At this point, they have spent less than one-third of what they promised. However, they took $4.5 billion in taxpayers' money and sent it to Houston.
    Quebeckers are no fools. On October 21, Quebeckers and Canadians are going to tell the Liberals that enough is enough and that it is time for them to go.

[English]

Women Entrepreneurs

    Mr. Speaker, 99% of all businesses in Canada are small and medium sized, yet only 16% are owned by women. When half of our population owns less than a quarter of our businesses, our economic potential is held back.
    In Fredericton, Bethany Deshpande is an example of how, with support, women entrepreneurs drive the economic growth in Canada that has helped us create one million jobs.

[Translation]

    In 2016, Bethany established SomaDetect to market technology that can measure all the key components of raw milk. Thanks to support from our government, this young innovative company now has 26 employees and works with farmers across North America.

[English]

    Our investments helped SomaDetect grow its business, develop its technology, and trade across North America. Fredericton can be proud of SomaDetect. It is driving trade on our continent and creating jobs in our community.
    Our government will always support women entrepreneurs like Bethany, because they will drive the economic growth that will create another million jobs in Canada.

  (1415)  

Labour

    Mr. Speaker, Canadian workers should not have their well-being threatened by unclear and unfair workplace practices. Imagine being suspended from a job without pay, without a clear reason and without a clear path to reinstatement. This is what is happening to pre-boarding screening employees at Canadian airports.
    In one recent example, a screening officer was observed taking a throat lozenge. This was deemed unprofessional conduct by the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority. The employee's required CATSA authorization was revoked, and he was removed from the workplace. Retraining was ordered but was not available for a full two weeks. The employee was not paid for that time.
    There are countless similar examples from airports right across the country. All these employees work for a third party, so while CATSA determines if employees are allowed to work, these same employees have no ability to appeal CATSA decisions or to negotiate a fair process for handling disputes.
    Thousands of airport workers have signed a petition. It is time for the government to change the legislation and fix this workplace injustice.

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has tried to deceive Canadians into believing that he cares about the environment by introducing his so-called tax on pollution. What we really have, however, is a Prime Minister who is more concerned about keeping up appearances than about actually doing something that will make a difference.
    There is not a single case study that shows that a carbon tax actually reduces emissions. B.C. has had one since 2008, and its emissions have not come down at all. In fact, its emissions have gone up.
    The Prime Minister claims that this is about reducing carbon emissions, but he is letting the biggest emitters off the hook. How hypocritical is that? In what world does it make sense to make soccer moms, local business owners and seniors on a fixed income pay a carbon tax, but big concrete factories get to go free; it is no big deal. This does not make sense in any world except the Liberals'.
    The Liberals' carbon tax is not an environmental plan; it is actually a tax plan, and the Prime Minister, well, is not as advertised.

[Translation]

Veterans

    Mr. Speaker, after 10 years of cuts by the Conservative government, our government came to power with the promise to change things, and that is exactly what we are doing for our veterans.

[English]

    The Conservative Party balanced the budget on the backs of the veterans. In Nova Scotia, the Conservative Party was trying to close Camp Hill Hospital, but we refused. We stopped it from doing this, and we added beds to meet the needs of our modern day veterans.
    We invested in Canadians. A million jobs have been created and 300,000 kids have been lifted out of poverty. That is even better than advertised.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[English]

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, today the inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women released its report, and of course our hearts go out to those who have lost family and loved ones.
    This report calls attention to gaps in our Criminal Code that make it easier for vulnerable people to be exploited. Advocates have been calling for more action on human trafficking specifically, which also includes funding for survivor services and public awareness.
    Will the Prime Minister agree that more action needs to be taken to combat human trafficking and to protect those most vulnerable?
    Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to ending the ongoing national tragedy of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. We thank the commission for its work in identifying systemic causes of violence against indigenous women and girls and for its substantive recommendations on a path forward.
    Our job now is to develop a national action plan to implement the recommendations, in partnership with first nations, Inuit and Métis governments and organizations, survivors and families. We must all work together to end this ongoing national tragedy, and Canadians should expect no less.

[Translation]

News Media Industry

    Mr. Speaker, a healthy democracy depends on an independent press free from political influence.
    That independence is now at risk because of a half-billion-dollar media bailout. The Canadian Association of Journalists has expressed serious concerns with the process, the role of the advisory panel and the powers given to the minister.
    When will the Prime Minister realize how much he is harming our free press by trying to rig the upcoming election in his favour?

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, we are seeing the free press being attacked all around the world, and today the Conservatives are officially joining that movement.
    The Conservatives decided to use their allotted day to attack the Canadian press and journalists. That is worrisome. The Conservatives are directly attacking our democracy. On this side of the House, we will always support a free, strong and independent press.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, Conservatives are attacking the Liberal government for stacking the deck in its favour. We all agree that an independent press is important. It is the Liberals who are undermining that in this country.
    Unifor boss and good Liberal friend, Jerry Dias, said last week, “Am I coming out against [the Conservatives]? You're [darn] right I am.” When asked if he was going to tone down his anti-Conservative campaign now that his union is on the Prime Minister's so-called independent media panel, he said, “I'm going to probably make it worse.”
    There are lots of other organizations that represent journalists. Why did the government put such a biased organization on this panel?
    Mr. Speaker, unlike the Conservatives, we do not want just CEOs around the table. Yes, we want the CEOs, but we also want people who are representing the entire industry: the journalists, the workers, the people in the newsroom, small papers, large papers in English and French. Why? Because it is the right thing to do.
    Conservatives want to get rid of the free press, and we want to make it stronger.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, Unifor is the largest union of journalists in Canada. Its boss, Jerry Dias, said that he would go after our leader and would be his worst nightmare. He also promised that it would be worse than anything we could have imagined.
    My question to the Prime Minister is this: will he finally do what's right and take Unifor off the panel, yes or no?
    That is another attack on workers, Mr. Speaker.
    Why are the Conservatives so scared of middle-class workers? Under the Harper regime, they waged a war on workers' rights. They made it more difficult for workers to organize freely, bargain collectively and work in safe environments.
    Unlike the Conservatives, we know that unions are our partners, not the enemy.
    Mr. Speaker, after weeks of backlash from members of the media across Canada, the Canadian Association of Journalists has publicly denounced this manoeuvre and criticized the Liberals' lack of transparency and this panel's lack of independence. With four months to go, the Prime Minister is trying to sway the election using $600 million of Canadians' money.
    I will repeat my question for the Prime Minister. Will he take Unifor off the panel, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, from the outset, we have stressed the importance of having everyone around the table, including newspaper owners, the people working in the newsroom, and unions representing journalists and workers.
    What we on this side of the House want is a free press, a strong press, an independent press. Instead of attacking the press and journalists, we hope the members across the aisle will join forces with us to make the press stronger and more dynamic.

[English]

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the final report of the inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls talked about the roots of this violence, the misogyny, the racism and the social economic injustice. It calls on us to accept our history of a colonial past.
    Will the Prime Minister join me in acknowledging this injustice against indigenous women and girls and the 2SLGBTQQIA community, and commit to working with the indigenous community in implementing these recommendations, including sweeping reforms to the justice system, health care, well-being and rural transit?
    Mr. Speaker, we all owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the survivors and family members who shared their painful memories and stories with the commission, often putting their own health at risk in order to do so.
     In the coming weeks, we will be announcing our initial response to the final report as well as a process and further steps to formally develop a national action plan. This plan will build on the efforts that our government is already taking to address this ongoing national tragedy, including reforms to child and family services that recognizes the inherent rights of indigenous peoples, and investments in women's shelters, housing, education and safety on the Highway of Tears.

  (1425)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it is utterly heartbreaking to think of the horrific violence that so many indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people have suffered. Violence is still a reality for too many of them. This report cannot be left to gather dust on a shelf. We need to read it carefully and implement its recommendations.
    Working together with indigenous organizations and communities, will the government endeavour to answer the report's calls for justice by finding solutions that will advance social justice?
    Mr. Speaker, our detailed response to the commission's interim report involves taking immediate action to keep indigenous women safe through investments in women's shelters, housing, education, child welfare reforms and safety on the Highway of Tears.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, when it comes to dealing with the climate emergency, the Prime Minister is not putting his words into action.
    We presented a plan to win the fight against climate change and create quality jobs. For the future of our children and our workers, we need to stop talking and take immediate action. The NDP has the courage to act.
    Will the Prime Minister join us and cancel the fossil fuel subsidies in order to build a safe future for generations to come?
    Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to see the NDP announce that it wants to do what we are already doing to fight climate change but in a way that will jeopardize good jobs. We have already seen their about-face on LNG Canada, the largest investment in Canada's history that created 10,000 jobs and has the support of British Columbia's NDP government. Meanwhile, 400 days have already gone by and the Conservatives still do not have plan to fight climate change.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, let us talk about the Liberals' plan. Their plan is to spend over $15 billion on a pipeline and sticking to Stephen Harper's emissions targets. They put a price on pollution but exempted the biggest polluters. While Liberals delay change, Conservatives deny that a problem even exists.
    New Democrats have a better way: a plan to create new jobs, reduce energy costs, and adopt legally binding emissions targets. Will the Prime Minister finally agree to take on the big polluters and commit to our new deal for climate action and good jobs?
    Mr. Speaker, we welcome the New Democrats bringing forward a plan that includes most of the components that are already in the plan we have brought forward to fight climate change, which is the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change.
    This government takes the fight against climate change very seriously. We have been implementing measures that are included in the 50 different measures in the pan-Canadian framework. We intend to not only protect the planet through fighting climate change but to grow the economy, which is something, clearly, that the NDP does not understand.

News Media Industry

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals' media funding plan needs to be sent back to the drawing board. By putting overtly anti-Conservative Unifor on the panel, the Prime Minister is not only threatening the media's independence, but he is threatening the credibility of the panel. Now, even the Canadian Association of Journalists has spoken out about the lack of transparency of the bailout.
    Will the Prime Minister start respecting journalists and fix this mess that he has created?
    Mr. Speaker, there is a series of attacks across the world against the free press, and today the Conservative Party has officially joined the movement. The Conservatives have decided to take the entire day to attack Canadian media and Canadian journalists. It is very concerning: the Conservatives are directly attacking our democracy. On this side of the House, we will always support a strong, free and independent press.
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are completely disrespecting journalists with this panel. The panel is being used by the Prime Minister for his own political gain. We have learned that members of the panel are going to be muzzled, and will not be allowed to discuss whom they may have rejected. Guess what? If the Prime Minister does not like the panel's decision, he is going to override it, so no worries. So much for accountability and transparency. There is no respect for journalists in this panel.
    Why is the Prime Minister always trying to interfere in democratic processes for his own political gain?

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, today we see another attack on unions. Why are the Conservatives so scared of middle-class workers? Under the Harper regime, they waged a war on workers' rights. They made it more difficult for workers to organize freely, bargain collectively and work in safe environments. Unlike the Conservatives, we understand that unions are our partners, not the enemy.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has introduced a plan to give $600 million to the media right before the election.
    The Prime Minister himself is going to choose the members of the panel that will decide how the money is distributed. He will not commit to following their recommendations. He will not allow the panel's deliberations to be public. He is actually asking the panel members to sign non-disclosure agreements.
    The Canadian Association of Journalists is calling for greater transparency. They are goddamned right.
    Why does the Prime Minister want to decide, behind closed doors, which media—
    Order. The hon. member used a word that is unparliamentary and I would like him to apologize.
    Mr. Speaker, I apologize for using that word.
    Thank you very much.
    The hon. Minister of Canadian Heritage.
    Mr. Speaker, there is something deeply offensive in that, not towards me or the government, but towards journalists, the men and women who have built their careers on integrity, professionalism, independence and the freedom to think, act and write.
    Today the Conservatives are saying that these individuals can be bought. That is insulting to journalists, to our media and even to our democracy.
    Mr. Speaker, Unifor is a huge union, by far the one that represents the largest number of journalists in Canada.
    Unifor was invited by the Prime Minister to be part of the panel that will decide who gets a part of the media bailout. Many journalists and the Canadian public are shocked by this appointment. Jerry Dias, the president of Unifor and good friend of the Prime Minister, was clear: his union will be the Conservatives' worst nightmare in 2019.
    When will the Prime Minister end this anti-democratic farce?
    Mr. Speaker, that is another direct attack against workers. Why are the Conservatives so afraid of the middle class and our workers?
    They waged war against workers under the Harper government. They tried to make it harder to organize freely, bargain collectively and work in safe environments.
    We know that unions are not the enemy. When will the Conservatives understand that?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Association of Journalists is calling for transparency when it comes to the government's $600-million media bailout, but that is not what these Liberals are offering. Instead, journalists on the panel will be muzzled with confidentiality agreements. We will not know whom the Liberals reject for funding. Decisions will be made behind closed doors, and the minister can arbitrarily overrule the panel.
    The Liberals have no problem listening to anti-Conservative organizations like Unifor. Why do they not listen to the Canadian Association of Journalists and stop trying to stack the deck in their own favour?
    In very few words, that is totally false, Mr. Speaker.
    Let me talk about this program for print media: millions of dollars in support for the news and media industry, helping Canadians get the information they need, supporting expensive costs for shipping, special funding for underserved communities.
    Does that ring a bell? This is the 2010 program brought in by the Conservatives to support the media. The difference here is that the Conservatives did not want an independent panel to decide; they wanted to pick themselves.
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are working overtime to try to stack the deck in the next election. They are allowing foreign-funded special interest groups to continue to pour millions of dollars into Canada. They are using unlimited tax dollars to promote themselves, while preventing political parties from spending their own money. They have even put anti-Conservative Unifor on a panel to determine which media outlets covering the next election will get $600 million from the government.
    Will the Liberals finally stop playing games with our democracy and stop trying to rig the next election?

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, we are hearing the same old lines from the same old Conservative Party. What it did when it was in government is that it limited the rights of Canadians to vote. It made it more difficult for our most vulnerable to vote, and it made it even more difficult for Elections Canada to talk to Canadians about voting.
    We changed that with Bill C-76. It is unfortunate that the Conservatives keep attacking our democratic institutions. They have gone after the CEO of Elections Canada; they have gone after the commissioner, and they have gone after the debates commissioner. That is unacceptable.
    Here on this side, we are standing up for democracy.

[Translation]

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, as evidenced by the recent tariffs imposed on Mexico, Donald Trump's actions are spontaneous and unpredictable.
    Last week, Vice-President Mike Pence was in town to try to pressure the Liberal government to ratify the new NAFTA. This is a bad agreement for farmers and for workers.
    The Liberal government has always said that it will not sign a bad deal. Why, then, are they in such a hurry to sign the new NAFTA, which is a bad deal?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians saw how hard it was to negotiate this agreement and achieve the lifting of tariffs. This was a task all of our country was involved in.
    During that time, many Canadian families had real worries about whether or not they would lose their jobs. Canada did its job. We have a new NAFTA deal, which is a win-win outcome. We have a full lift of tariffs.
    It is astonishingly irresponsible that the NDP seems preoccupied and prepared to plunge our country into a new negotiation in a period of great economic uncertainty.
    Mr. Speaker, the USMCA is being undermined.
    U.S. Congress members are working to fix the deal to ensure provisions for environmental protections and lower-cost medicines. In response, the Liberals are trying to cut Congress at the knees by fast-tracking the deal, undermining its progress.
    Moments after the U.S. vice-president left Ottawa, President Trump imposed new tariffs on Mexico. Liberals made this concession-based deal with the trade-off being certainty from Trump. Now that Trump has undermined the only gain the Prime Minister could cling to, will the Liberals finally stop undermining Congress, which is trying to fix the deal for all of us?
    Mr. Speaker, Canada and the U.S. share an incredibly important relationship. It is naive to pretend otherwise.
    Last week's visit was an opportunity to discuss the new NAFTA, which provides economic security for our workers. It was an opportunity to discuss the situation facing our two Canadians detained in China. As a result of this meeting, Canada and the U.S. released a joint statement firmly rejecting those wrongful detentions and calling for the immediate release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.
    These are important conversations that we will always continue with the United States.

Auditor General of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General is sounding the alarm.
    For the first time in Canadian history, he will be unable to complete his audits because the Liberal government has refused to fund his important work, including audits on cybersecurity and Arctic sovereignty. The Liberals keep claiming that they support the Auditor General, but those are just empty words unless they give his office the funds he needs. We are running out of time.
    Will the Prime Minister reverse his position of starving the Auditor General's office and give him the funds he needs to do his job?
    Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to supporting the ongoing and important work of the Auditor General. Where an officer of Parliament, such as the AG, identifies a need for additional resources, we consider that very carefully.
    I would like to mention to the member opposite that it was the Conservatives who cut 10% out of the Auditor General's budget, and it was the Liberals who reinstated that funding.
    Mr. Speaker, at no point in Canadian history has the Auditor General ever said that he could not do his job for lack of funding, until now.
    Under the previous government, he never cancelled audits. However, the Liberals have a track record of rewarding their friends and attacking those who would try to hold them to account. Canadians depend on the Auditor General to provide transparency and to tell us the truth. This is completely unprecedented, and it goes right to the heart of Parliament's responsibility for accountability.
    Why does the government hate accountability so much that it is willing to silence the Auditor General?
     Mr. Speaker, this government is committed to accountability and transparency. That the member opposite believes that by cutting the Auditor General's budget by 10% when they were in government the Conservatives were enabling him to do his job is completely unbelievable.
    We consider these requests. We will ensure that the office can continue to do its important work for Canadians efficiently and effectively.

  (1440)  

    Order. Members should understand, of course, that freedom of speech in this place depends on members allowing others to speak, even when they disagree, and not interrupting.
    The hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, ever since the Office of the Auditor General of Canada was created, the Auditor General has always had the means to conduct his audits. In the history of Canada, the Auditor General has never threatened not to complete an audit for lack of funding, and yet that is precisely what is happening.
    Last week, the Auditor General sounded the alarm. He wants to continue studying cybersecurity and Canada's Arctic sovereignty, but he lacks the necessary funding.
    Will the government give the Auditor General the funds he needs to do his job?
    Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to supporting the Auditor General. When the Conservatives were in power, they slashed his budget by 10%.
    Why did they do that? Why did they not reinstate the AG's funding, which is what we, the Liberals, have done?
    We will continue to support the very important work of this officer of Parliament.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the minister on her French, but we cannot agree with her just because she spoke French.
     Her remarks are out of touch with the facts. Here are the facts: last week, the Auditor General said he no longer had sufficient funds to complete two audits. That is a first in Canadian history.
    The Auditor General is like a watchdog. His job is to tell the government it is spending too much or spending unwisely. This government is keeping him very busy.
    Will the government agree to the Auditor General's request so he can do his job properly, yes or no?
     Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to supporting the important work of the Auditor General.
    The Conservatives have me perplexed. They are the ones who cut the RCMP's budget by $500 million and the Canada Revenue Agency's by $1 billion. They cut funding for officers of Parliament.
    Why—
    The hon. member for Windsor—Tecumseh.

[English]

Persons with Disabilities

    Mr. Speaker, Mr. and Mrs. Karki, age 66 and 69, missed their flight from Vancouver to Edmonton after being left in their wheelchairs without assistance for hours at the airport. They could not go to a washroom or even get a drink of water.
    The Liberal government passed an accessibility act that exempts the Canadian Transportation Agency from enforcing it. How can we rely on airlines to include people with disabilities when Liberals failed to make it mandatory in Bill C-81?
    Mr. Speaker, we are focusing on making Canada more accessible, and we are sorry for the situation that happened to this couple. Our government takes accessibility and transportation in Canada very seriously, and we are standing up for Canadian air passengers to ensure they are treated with fairness and respect.
    Through the accessible Canada act, we are taking concrete steps to move forward a barrier-free Canada for all Canadians. The Canadian Transportation Agency is an expert in passenger considerations and complaints, and I would very much recommend that these individuals approach that agency with any complaints they have.

Auditor General of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, this is the first time in the history of Canada that the government of the day has failed to adequately fund the work plan of the Auditor General.
     Given that one of the planned audits being killed is on cybersecurity, how can the government possibly justify this unprecedented attack on the work of the Auditor General and the work of oversight and accountability?

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to supporting the important work of the Auditor General. When an officer of Parliament, such as the Auditor General, makes a request for additional budget, we take that request very seriously.
    My question for the member of the NDP is this: Where was he when the Conservatives cut 10% out of the Auditor General's budget, as well as cutting half a billion dollars out of the RCMP, millions out of the CRA and so many other things that they did to undermine our democracy and accountability?
    Order, please. Members have to let other members speak, even when they do not like what they are hearing.
    The hon. member for Davenport.

Health

    Mr. Speaker, thalidomide was used off-label in the 1950s and early 1960s to treat morning sickness in pregnant women. The drug had devastating consequences and led to miscarriages, birth defects such as missing organs and stunted limbs, and premature death.
    Our national government has taken action in launching a new, more compassionate support program: the Canadian thalidomide survivors support program. Could the Minister of Health please give us an update on the status of this program and how it will help thalidomide survivors?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the member for Davenport for her advocacy on behalf of thalidomide survivors.
    Our government believes that thalidomide survivors deserve to live the rest of their lives in comfort and dignity. We have held a dialogue with the community and listened to their concerns with respect to the original program, which is why the new Canadian thalidomide survivors support program will use a probability-based medical assessment process to determine eligibility. I am very pleased to announce that the applications were officially launched today.

[Translation]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, last week I asked the Prime Minister a question about the safety and security of Canadians. Since I did not get an answer, I will try asking again.
    About two weeks ago, two men were arrested in Richmond Hill in possession of explosive materials, and 24 hours after the arrest we heard nothing further. The Prime Minister said this was not a matter of national security, even though the FBI is involved.
    When will they stop taking Canadians for fools and give us more information?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as the charges laid in court amply show, the case being investigated by the York Regional Police relates to the illegal possession of explosives. The investigation is early and ongoing. There is no information available about motive or other factors. To date, the York police have not referred the matter to federal policing or to the national security unit of the RCMP.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, when I asked the Prime Minister last week, he answered that this was not related to matters of national security. Today the minister has given us a little more information.
    We simply want to know whether the government thinks that the two individuals who had explosives were a potential threat to national security.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the case is being investigated by the police of local jurisdiction: the York Regional Police. If they believe they have some need for the federal policing services of the RCMP or the national security services of the RCMP, they will ask for them. The FBI was referred to in the hon. gentleman's question and in the heckling across the floor. The FBI investigates a tremendous number of federal offences in the United States: national security, but many, many more.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, “I felt it's unfair and it felt like a third world country, where things can be manipulated and deals can be reached on something which was a government process” are the words of a new Canadian upon finding out that the Liberals secretly awarded Canadian residency as a settlement or a prize to people who were suing them.
    Is the government expecting further lawsuits as a result of the chaos it has created in Canada's immigration system?
    Mr. Speaker, the chaos that the member opposite refers to is the chaos that that party put parents and grandparents through. The Conservatives deleted the program for two years. They kept people waiting five to seven years. We are the ones who cleaned up their backlog of 167,000 cases, and we have quadrupled the number of spaces available to Canadians to sponsor their loved ones. They did not get the job done; we are getting the job done.

  (1450)  

    Order. I remind members that each sides gets its turn and each side should wait its turn.
    The hon. member for Calgary Nose Hill.
    Mr. Speaker, that is a flat out embarrassing answer. These are people's lives. These are people who are trying to come to this country legally.
    “It seems to me that what our government has done with this settlement is just state that being able to pay a few hundred dollars for a lawsuit can actually get you a spot in the program.” He is right. Between this and Roxham Road, there is no legitimacy in our system anymore.
    When is the government going to stop creating chaos, injustice and unfairness in Canada's once proud immigration system?
    Mr. Speaker, the unfairness the member opposite speaks of is what Conservatives put Canadians through in their version of the immigration system.
    They left a broken system. Spouses were kept apart for years under the Conservative Party. The Conservatives want to talk about the parents and grandparents program, but they deleted that program for two years.
    The fact of the matter is that we have fixed the broken immigration system left by the Conservatives.

[Translation]

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, the IPCC report was clear: We must act now to deal with the climate emergency.
     The NDP has an ambitious plan to deal with this emergency. The plan is focused on the jobs that support our workers and their families by providing training, helping them go back to school, helping them find good jobs and making life more affordable for them. The energy transition needs to happen quickly.
    Can the Liberals assure workers that they will have easy access to EI so they can make this energy transition?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, with respect, I have had the opportunity to review the NDP's plan, and despite its good intentions, it is simply poorly thought through.
    When it comes to supporting workers, I point to the $185 million set aside to support training for those in the conventional energy sector in Canada under our just transition task force.
    I would take the NDP plan more seriously if its leader would take a position on LNG Canada and stop flip-flopping. I note in particular that on its carbon pricing plan, Ecofiscal Commission chair Chris Ragan said that the NDP's carbon price “would hurt the Canadian economy and would not help global emissions.”
    Climate change is real, and moving forward takes a government that understands how to develop policy seriously.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, according to the latest IPCC report, we have less than 12 years left to reverse the results of global warming.
    Last Friday, the Leader of the NDP announced a bold plan for energy transition that does not abandon workers, but helps them throughout the process. The success of this plan will rely mainly on developing green public transit.
    If the government is serious, will it finally follow the NDP's lead and commit to implementing the high-frequency rail project?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, when it comes to investing in VIA Rail and our passenger rail services, we are doing it correctly. We are making it more green, we are making it more energy efficient and we are making it more accessible.
    I am very happy that today I can provide an update to the member that we are also working with the infrastructure bank to put together the right structure to attract the appropriate partners.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, this government has failed on the environment. It imposed a carbon tax and we know that does not work in Canada. Just ask Quebec and British Columbia.
    The Liberals paid more than $4 billion to Americans for a pipeline. That did not solve anything. They are talking about an environmental emergency. Is that how they justify their lack of action? This government is now waking up, but Canada will not even meet its Paris targets. We must take action now.
    When will this government present a real plan to meet the Paris targets?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is hard to take seriously criticism from a member of a party that promised to provide a plan over 400 days ago and has been sitting on its hands since.
    Over that 400 days, we have put a price on pollution and finalized methane regulations to reduce the emissions in our gas sector. We have also established GHG standards for heavy-duty vehicles. We are protecting our oceans and investing in energy efficiency.
    If the hon. member had been paying attention to debates in the House over the past three years, he would know our plan includes over 50 measures that are being implemented today and are bringing down our emissions and putting more money in the pockets of Canadian families.

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's climate plan has become a massive failure. We have more punishing taxes on Canadians, skyrocketing gas prices, a shutting down of Canada's energy industry and a $12-million handout to Loblaws, a billion-dollar company. How is that a climate plan?
    Now the Liberals have fallen so far behind that they have no hope of meeting their emissions targets.
    When will the Prime Minister finally admit that his plan is not as advertised and that he will not meet the Paris targets?
    Mr. Speaker, we will meet our Paris targets. With respect, we are going to achieve our targets because failure is simply not an option. This is the greatest challenge of our time.
    I would introduce the hon. member to a copy of our plan. I would be happy to provide it to him in both official languages after question period is over. He will see that it includes putting a price on pollution that will bring our emissions down and put more money in the pockets of eight out of 10 Canadian families. He will see that by 2030, 90% of our electricity in Canada will be generated from non-emitting resources. He will see the largest single investment in the history of public transit and green infrastructure in Canada.
    It is time for the Conservatives to get with the times instead of sitting on their hands.

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals will not meet the targets and they do not have an environmental plan. They just have a tax plan.
    For months, businesses, municipal and provincial governments and indigenous communities have called on the Liberals to kill Bill C-69. The Senate energy committee made amendments in consultation with impacted industries, amendments supported by the provinces, to fix the worst of this bill to give some certainty to job creators.
    Will the Liberals confirm today that they will accept 100% of those amendments in the House of Commons?
    Mr. Speaker, the purpose of Bill C-69 is to replace a broken system that we inherited from the Harper government. Bill C-69 will allow good projects to move forward. It will allow Canadians to participate in the regulatory process. It will allow us to protect other environments.
    We have always said we are open to amendments that will strengthen and improve this legislation and we look forward to the work being done by the senators.

Northern Development

    Mr. Speaker, I know that the Minister of Finance has been very generous in the past to the north and the Arctic, with record increases in funding for northern allowance rates; northern infrastructure and trade corridors; child care; mental health; home care; addictions; indigenous languages, post-secondary education; sports, tourism and training; Arctic renewable energy; housing and homelessness; opioids; seniors and veterans services; doubling the summer student jobs; a 777-kilometre new Internet line; and the arts, but what has the minister done for us lately?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Yukon for his tireless advocacy on behalf of people in the Yukon and people broadly across the north. He does a fantastic job.
    What can be seen in budget 2019 is that we put $700 million in it over 10 years for the continued prosperity of Arctic and northern communities.
    There are a couple of things for which the member for Yukon has personally advocated, such as extending the mineral exploration tax credit to five years and, importantly, providing funding for a science building at Yukon College so that we can have the first university north of 60. His advocacy was very important in these efforts.

Interprovincial Trade

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has failed on free trade between provinces. As an example, he fought against the right of Canadians to buy wine from one province and bring it to another. He introduced a so-called “Canada free trade agreement” in which half of the agreement is a list of things than cannot be traded. Canadians are frustrated that it is easier to buy and sell to the Americans than between our own provinces.
     When will the Liberals do what Canadians demand and allow them to buy and sell freely across our provinces?
    Mr. Speaker, I am happy to say that we had a meeting of ministers of trade from the provinces last week. It was an important meeting, at which we talked about how important it is to expand internal trade in our country. We see a huge opportunity, and progress was made. It builds on the effort of the federal government, because we took away all federal restrictions around, for example, the transfer of alcohol across our country.
    We are working together with the provinces to make sure this can actually come true in our country to help our economy over the long term.

Fisheries and Oceans

    Mr. Speaker, the federal government has spent nearly $2.3 million fighting a marine biologist and the 'Namgis first nation in court to avoid testing fish farms for the contagious PRV virus. Biologist Alexandra Morton is dedicated to protecting wild salmon. She has taken the federal government to court twice and won both times, but the Liberal government is dead set against diligently screening farmed salmon for this virus.
     Can the minister explain why the Liberal government is prioritizing the profits of the fish farm industry over the health of B.C. wild salmon?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, protecting the health of wild Pacific salmon is a top priority for the government. Canadians want to be assured that aquaculture in Canada is conducted in a manner that emphasizes environmental sustainability and the protection of the environment.
    I actually met last week with Ms. Morton and certainly heard her concerns. We are taking those into account as we develop policies going forward.
     We announced in December a suite of initiatives to ensure the environmental sustainability of the sector. We announced last week an advisory committee on science that includes international participants. We will work to ensure the success of the industry while ensuring the environmental sustainability going forward.

Status of Women

    Mr. Speaker, this week Canada is welcoming the world in Vancouver for Women Deliver, the world's largest gathering on gender equality, health, rights and well-being of women and girls.
    Our government has been working hard to advance gender equality, and our plan is working. One million jobs have been created, and there are now more women working than ever before.
    Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Women and Gender Equality tell this House how this conference can bring awareness on the imperative for action for women and girls in Canada and around the globe?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Scarborough Centre for her question and her advocacy.
    Women Deliver is not just a conference; it is a movement to advance gender equality worldwide. It brings together thousands of people from across the globe to find solutions to the barriers still faced by women, girls and gender-diverse people everywhere.
    While we celebrate the progress that has been achieved, we are reminded daily, even in Canada, that women's rights are at risk. Women Deliver will leave a legacy that will empower women and create lasting change that benefits everyone.

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, Manitobans are angry that the Prime Minister is refusing to allow the sale of our clean energy. The National Energy Board has approved a hydro transmission line to Minnesota, but the Prime Minister is actively trying to kill that project. It is obvious the Prime Minister is lashing out at Manitoba in retaliation for standing up against him and his carbon tax.
    When will the Prime Minister get out of the way and allow this project to be built?
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is completely wrong. In the review process of this project, we are ensuring that we are adequately discharging our duty to consult with indigenous communities on a number of outstanding issues that have arisen because of the actions of the Manitoba government as well as Manitoba Hydro in relation to this project.
    We are working with our partners to ensure that we move forward on this project while fully discharging our duty to consult with indigenous communities.

[Translation]

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, on January 28, all the family reunification application spots for 2019 were taken between noon and 12:09 p.m. Too bad for people who work on Mondays. The only requirement for family reunification was being at the computer at noon sharp.
    Family reunification should be a more equitable process than buying concert tickets.
    Does the government realize that its first-come, first-served system does not work?
    Mr. Speaker, they know that our government is the one fighting for family reunification.

[English]

    We have cleaned up the system. We had over 167,000 cases and eight-year wait times for families to be reunited. We have listened to communities, which have asked us to increase the number of spaces from 5,000 to 10,000 and then ultimately to 20,000 spaces. We have cut the wait times to under two years and we will continue to work on this file, because for us on this side of the House, family reunification is a number one priority.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, family reunification is not a game. A lottery system might be a good way to sell tickets to the Rolling Stones, but it is not a good way to decide the fate of families.
    All families should have an opportunity to apply. Applications must be assessed on the basis of the urgency of a particular situation and the contribution that potential immigrants can make.
    The process is broken and unfair. Will the government change it? Will it transfer responsibility for immigration to Quebec?

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, they know that our government is the one fighting for family reunification.

[English]

    At the end of the day, we will continue to consult with Canadians. We listen carefully to how we can continue to improve the system.
    The fact is that we have four times more spaces available for Canadians and permanent residents to sponsor their parents or grandparents. We worked with the community to ensure that any tweaks needed in the system were considered. We have cut the wait times to below two years, and we will continue to work hard to reunite more families than ever before.

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, a dispute over border security and tariffs has raised questions about whether Mexico will ratify the new NAFTA. By contrast, Canada and the U.S. share a secure border, similar wage rates and balanced trade.
    If Mexico does not ratify, will the Canadian government amend the replacement protocol so we can ratify the new NAFTA bilaterally with our largest trading partner?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member opposite for his hard work on this. I know he cares and thinks deeply about it.
    The issue of the border between the United States and Mexico is a bilateral issue between the U.S. and Mexico. The Mexican president has confirmed that Mexico will continue with the ratification of the new NAFTA. The new NAFTA of course is important for certainty in the North American economy.
    As we have always said, we will move in tandem with our partners to the greatest extent possible.

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Government Orders]

[English]

Ways and Means

Notice of Motion  

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 83(1) I wish to table a notice of ways and means motion respecting an act to amend the Customs Tariff and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 83(2) I ask that an order of the day be designated for consideration of the motion.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I hope and believe that if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent for the following motion: That the House reiterates that a strong and independent journalism is not a fossil but a living pillar of our democracy; recognizes the Canadian media needs to be supported to pass through the current crisis; and calls on the government and all parties to—
    Some hon. members: No.
    Order, please. A couple of points about these requests for unanimous consent. Members may recall that I made a statement on the issue recently on requests for unanimous consent. When a member presents that, we expect in fact there will be consent because the member consulted all the parties and has received that consent.
    It is important that the House hear the request and what it is about, but it is also true that if it is clear there is no consent, then we may not hear the whole motion. That is not a brand new tradition here. It goes back to the practice before now. There was no unanimous consent for that.

Criminal Records Act

     The House resumed from May 30 consideration of Bill C-93, An Act to provide no-cost, expedited record suspensions for simple possession of cannabis, as reported (with amendments) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.
    It being 3:07 p.m., pursuant to order made on Tuesday, May 28, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded divisions on the motions at report stage of Bill C-93.
    Call in the members.
    And the bells having rung:

  (1510)  

    The question is on Motion No. 1. A vote on this motion also applies to Motion No. 2.

  (1515)  

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

(Division No. 1328)

YEAS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Amos
Anandasangaree
Arseneault
Arya
Ayoub
Badawey
Bagnell
Bains
Barsalou-Duval
Baylis
Beaulieu
Beech
Bendayan
Bennett
Bernier
Bibeau
Bittle
Blair
Boissonnault
Bossio
Bratina
Breton
Carr
Casey (Cumberland—Colchester)
Casey (Charlottetown)
Chagger
Champagne
Chen
Cuzner
Dabrusin
Damoff
DeCourcey
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dzerowicz
Easter
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Erskine-Smith
Eyking
Eyolfson
Fergus
Finnigan
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fortin
Fragiskatos
Fraser (West Nova)
Fraser (Central Nova)
Gerretsen
Gill
Goldsmith-Jones
Goodale
Gould
Graham
Hajdu
Hardie
Harvey
Hébert
Hogg
Holland
Housefather
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Joly
Jones
Jordan
Jowhari
Kang
Khalid
Khera
Lambropoulos
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lebouthillier
Lefebvre
Leslie
Levitt
Lightbound
Lockhart
Long
Longfield
Ludwig
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Manly
Massé (Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia)
May (Cambridge)
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
McCrimmon
McDonald
McKay
McKenna
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
Mendicino
Mihychuk
Miller (Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs)
Morneau
Morrissey
Murray
Nault
O'Connell
Oliver
O'Regan
Ouellette
Paradis
Pauzé
Peschisolido
Peterson
Petitpas Taylor
Philpott
Picard
Plamondon
Poissant
Ratansi
Rioux
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Rota
Rudd
Ruimy
Rusnak
Sahota
Saini
Samson
Sangha
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Schulte
Serré
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Sikand
Simms
Sohi
Sorbara
Spengemann
Tabbara
Tan
Tassi
Thériault
Tootoo
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vaughan
Virani
Whalen
Wilkinson
Wilson-Raybould
Yip
Young
Zahid

Total: -- 167


NAYS

Members

Albas
Albrecht
Alleslev
Allison
Arnold
Aubin
Barlow
Barrett
Benson
Benzen
Bergen
Berthold
Bezan
Blaikie
Blaney (North Island—Powell River)
Block
Boucher
Boutin-Sweet
Brassard
Brosseau
Calkins
Caron
Carrie
Chong
Choquette
Christopherson
Clarke
Clement
Cullen
Davidson
Deltell
Diotte
Dubé
Duvall
Eglinski
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Finley
Gallant
Généreux
Genuis
Gladu
Godin
Gourde
Hardcastle
Harder
Hoback
Hughes
Jeneroux
Johns
Julian
Kelly
Kent
Kmiec
Kwan
Lauzon (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Liepert
Lloyd
Lukiwski
MacKenzie
Maguire
Martel
Masse (Windsor West)
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
Miller (Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound)
Motz
Nantel
Nater
Nicholson
O'Toole
Paul-Hus
Poilievre
Quach
Rayes
Reid
Rempel
Sansoucy
Scheer
Schmale
Shields
Shipley
Singh
Stanton
Stetski
Strahl
Stubbs
Sweet
Tilson
Van Kesteren
Vecchio
Viersen
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Weir
Wong
Yurdiga

Total: -- 100


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare Motion No. 1 carried. I therefore declare Motion No. 2 carried.

[Translation]

    The question is on Motion No. 3.
    The hon. member for Ajax is rising on a point of order.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, if you seek it, you will find consent to apply the results from the last vote to this vote, with Liberals members voting against.
    Mr. Speaker, we agree to apply, with Conservative members voting yes.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, we agree to apply the result from the previous vote, with the NDP voting no.
    Mr. Speaker, we agree to apply the result from the previous vote and we are voting in favour of the motion.
    Mr. Speaker, we are voting in favour of the motion.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Green Party agrees to apply, with the Green Party voting no.
    Mr. Speaker, this member agrees to apply, voting no.
    Mr. Speaker, this member agrees to apply and will be voting no.
    Mr. Speaker, I am always happy to agree to apply, and I will be voting no.
    Mr. Speaker, I am voting no.
    Mr. Speaker, the CCF agrees to apply, and will be voting no.
    Mr. Speaker, the member for Parry Sound—Muskoka agrees to apply, and is voting yes.

  (1520)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 1329)

YEAS

Members

Albas
Albrecht
Alleslev
Allison
Arnold
Barlow
Barrett
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Benzen
Bergen
Bernier
Berthold
Bezan
Block
Boucher
Brassard
Calkins
Carrie
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Davidson
Deltell
Diotte
Eglinski
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Finley
Fortin
Gallant
Généreux
Genuis
Gill
Gladu
Godin
Gourde
Harder
Hoback
Jeneroux
Kelly
Kent
Kmiec
Lauzon (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Liepert
Lloyd
Lukiwski
MacKenzie
Maguire
Martel
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
Miller (Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound)
Motz
Nater
Nicholson
O'Toole
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Plamondon
Poilievre
Rayes
Reid
Rempel
Scheer
Schmale
Shields
Shipley
Stanton
Strahl
Stubbs
Sweet
Thériault
Tilson
Van Kesteren
Vecchio
Viersen
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Wong
Yurdiga

Total: -- 84


NAYS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Amos
Anandasangaree
Arseneault
Arya
Aubin
Ayoub
Badawey
Bagnell
Bains
Baylis
Beech
Bendayan
Bennett
Benson
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blaney (North Island—Powell River)
Boissonnault
Bossio
Boutin-Sweet
Bratina
Breton
Brosseau
Caron
Carr
Casey (Cumberland—Colchester)
Casey (Charlottetown)
Chagger
Champagne
Chen
Choquette
Christopherson
Cullen
Cuzner
Dabrusin
Damoff
DeCourcey
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Drouin
Dubé
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duvall
Dzerowicz
Easter
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Erskine-Smith
Eyking
Eyolfson
Fergus
Finnigan
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fragiskatos
Fraser (West Nova)
Fraser (Central Nova)
Gerretsen
Goldsmith-Jones
Goodale
Gould
Graham
Hajdu
Hardcastle
Hardie
Harvey
Hébert
Hogg
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Johns
Joly
Jones
Jordan
Jowhari
Julian
Kang
Khalid
Khera
Kwan
Lambropoulos
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lebouthillier
Lefebvre
Leslie
Levitt
Lightbound
Lockhart
Long
Longfield
Ludwig
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Manly
Masse (Windsor West)
Massé (Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia)
May (Cambridge)
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
McCrimmon
McDonald
McKay
McKenna
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
Mendicino
Mihychuk
Miller (Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs)
Morneau
Morrissey
Murray
Nantel
Nault
O'Connell
Oliver
O'Regan
Ouellette
Paradis
Peschisolido
Peterson
Petitpas Taylor
Philpott
Picard
Poissant
Quach
Ratansi
Rioux
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Rota
Rudd
Ruimy
Rusnak
Sahota
Saini
Samson
Sangha
Sansoucy
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Schulte
Serré
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Sikand
Simms
Singh
Sohi
Sorbara
Spengemann
Stetski
Tabbara
Tan
Tassi
Tootoo
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vaughan
Virani
Weir
Whalen
Wilkinson
Wilson-Raybould
Yip
Young
Zahid

Total: -- 183


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare Motion No. 3 defeated.

[English]

     moved that the bill be concurred in at report stage.
     The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it.
    And five or more members having risen:

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I believe if you seek it you will find unanimous consent to apply the result of the previous vote to this vote.
    Liberal members are voting in favour of the motion.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives agree to apply and will be voting yes.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, we agree to apply the result from the previous vote, with the NDP voting no.
    Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois agrees to apply the result from the previous vote and is voting in favour of the motion.
    Mr. Speaker, the People's Party of Canada agrees to apply the vote and is voting in favour of the motion.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Green Party agrees to apply and will be voting yes.
    Mr. Speaker, I agree to apply and will be voting yes.
    Mr. Speaker, I agree to apply and will be voting yes.
    Mr. Speaker, I agree to apply and I am voting yes.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the CCF agrees to apply the vote and is voting in favour of the motion.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, Parry Sound—Muskoka agrees to apply and is voting yes.
    (The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 1330)

YEAS

Members

Albas
Albrecht
Aldag
Alghabra
Alleslev
Allison
Amos
Anandasangaree
Arnold
Arseneault
Arya
Ayoub
Badawey
Bagnell
Bains
Barlow
Barrett
Barsalou-Duval
Baylis
Beaulieu
Beech
Bendayan
Bennett
Benzen
Bergen
Bernier
Berthold
Bezan
Bibeau
Bittle
Blair
Block
Boissonnault
Bossio
Boucher
Brassard
Bratina
Breton
Calkins
Carr
Carrie
Casey (Cumberland—Colchester)
Casey (Charlottetown)
Chagger
Champagne
Chen
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Cuzner
Dabrusin
Damoff
Davidson
DeCourcey
Deltell
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diotte
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dzerowicz
Easter
Eglinski
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Erskine-Smith
Eyking
Eyolfson
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Fergus
Finley
Finnigan
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fortin
Fragiskatos
Fraser (West Nova)
Fraser (Central Nova)
Gallant
Généreux
Genuis
Gerretsen
Gill
Gladu
Godin
Goldsmith-Jones
Goodale
Gould
Gourde
Graham
Hajdu
Harder
Hardie
Harvey
Hébert
Hoback
Hogg
Holland
Housefather
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Jeneroux
Joly
Jones
Jordan
Jowhari
Kang
Kelly
Kent
Khalid
Khera
Kmiec
Lambropoulos
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lauzon (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Lebouthillier
Lefebvre
Leslie
Levitt
Liepert
Lightbound
Lloyd
Lockhart
Long
Longfield
Ludwig
Lukiwski
MacKenzie
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maguire
Manly
Martel
Massé (Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia)
May (Cambridge)
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McCrimmon
McDonald
McKay
McKenna
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
Mendicino
Mihychuk
Miller (Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound)
Miller (Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs)
Morneau
Morrissey
Motz
Murray
Nater
Nault
Nicholson
O'Connell
Oliver
O'Regan
O'Toole
Ouellette
Paradis
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Peschisolido
Peterson
Petitpas Taylor
Philpott
Picard
Plamondon
Poilievre
Poissant
Ratansi
Rayes
Reid
Rempel
Rioux
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Rota
Rudd
Ruimy
Rusnak
Sahota
Saini
Samson
Sangha
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Scheer
Schiefke
Schmale
Schulte
Serré
Shanahan
Sheehan
Shields
Shipley
Sidhu (Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Sikand
Simms
Sohi
Sorbara
Spengemann
Stanton
Strahl
Stubbs
Sweet
Tabbara
Tan
Tassi
Thériault
Tilson
Tootoo
Van Kesteren
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vaughan
Vecchio
Viersen
Virani
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Weir
Whalen
Wilkinson
Wilson-Raybould
Wong
Yip
Young
Yurdiga
Zahid

Total: -- 244


NAYS

Members

Aubin
Benson
Blaikie
Blaney (North Island—Powell River)
Boutin-Sweet
Brosseau
Caron
Choquette
Christopherson
Cullen
Dubé
Duvall
Hardcastle
Hughes
Johns
Julian
Kwan
Masse (Windsor West)
Nantel
Quach
Sansoucy
Singh
Stetski

Total: -- 23


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.
     When shall the bill be read a third time? Pursuant to an order made on Tuesday, May 28, later this day.

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1525)  

[Translation]

Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner

    Pursuant to paragraph 90(1)(b) of the Parliament of Canada Act, it is my duty to present to the House the annual report of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019.

[English]

Government Response to Petitions

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 26 petitions.

Committees of the House

Health  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 24th report of the Standing Committee on Health, entitled “Tackling the Problem Head-on: Sports-Related Concussions in Canada”.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
    The subcommittee held 13 meetings, received 20 briefs and heard from 42 witnesses over the course of the study. The subcommittee heard from some very high-profile witnesses, including Mr. Gary Bettman, the commissioner of the National Hockey League, and NHL hall of famers Eric Lindros and the Hon. Ken Dryden.
    The subcommittee made 13 recommendations, which the standing committee has now approved.
    I would like to thank the members of the subcommittee for its hard work over the past few months to make this historic report possible.

Industry, Science and Technology  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 16th report of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, entitled “Statutory Review of the Copyright Act”.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
    I would also like to thank all committee members, all those who appeared before the committee, those who took the time to meet with us on our five-city tour and those who took the time to submit online documents. The committee consulted a broad range of stakeholders to ensure that many perspectives would be considered. In all, we held 52 meetings, heard 263 witnesses, collected 192 briefs and received more than 6,000 emails and other correspondence.
    I also want to thank our committee's clerk, analysts and all the supporting staff for doing such an amazing job keeping us on track to do such a lengthy and complex study.
    Mr. Speaker, I first want to thank everyone who came before the committee and submitted briefs as well as the analysts who supported our work. This was a substantial report and one that I believe is full of largely positive recommendations to ensure that innovation can thrive and that Canadians can have access to the content they want.
     Copyright protections cannot be onerous. Creators deserve to be paid for their work, but those works also need to be widely available. That is the balance I hope we struck with this report.
    There were two points of disagreement our caucus had within the report. Those are included in our dissenting opinion. The first relates to the artist's resale right. We feel that this refers to real tangible property and that such a measure should not be addressed in the context of copyright. An artist's resale right would be a provincial matter, and we feel that it should not be included in this report.
    Second, we believe that Crown copyright should be completely abolished. That view was shared by many witnesses. Unfortunately, the recommendations in this report do not go far enough. Content created with taxpayers' money should belong to all Canadians, and the government should not be able to enforce copyright on those works.
     I thank everyone who participated in this review. I encourage the government to review the report and ensure that Canadian copyright law works for our population in the modern world.
    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 17th report of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, entitled “Main Estimates 2019-20”.

[Translation]

Citizenship and Immigration  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 24th report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, entitled “Main Estimates 2019-20: Votes 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35 under Department of Citizenship and Immigration and Votes 1 and 5 under Immigration and Refugee Board”.

  (1530)  

[English]

Foreign Affairs and International Development  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 26th report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, entitled “Main Estimates 2019-20: Votes 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, L25, 30, 35, 40, 45 and 50 under Department of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Vote 1 under International Development Research Centre and Vote 1 under International Joint Commission (Canadian Section)”.

[Translation]

Procedure and House Affairs  

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Orders 104 and 114, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 95th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the membership of committees of the House.
    If the House gives its consent, I intend to move concurrence in the 95th report later this day.
    Mr. Speaker, I think the member for Yukon is mistaken. I believe we are talking about the 96th report. This is important because of the motion that follows. Can the member confirm whether it is indeed the 96th report?
    Well spotted, Mr. Speaker, but no, we changed the numbers. The 96th report will be presented soon, but not today.

[English]

Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act

     He said: Mr. Speaker, previously in this Parliament, I submitted a bill, Bill C-410, that would protect registered education savings plans and registered disability savings plans when someone declared bankruptcy. This was a good bill that was supported by many stakeholders. Clearly, the government agreed, because it took my idea of protecting RDSPs and put it into its last budget implementation act. Unfortunately, it did not afford RESPs the same protection, so I am happy today to table a bill to address this significant oversight.
    RESPs deserve the same bankruptcy protection now afforded RDSPs. Parents deserve peace of mind that the money they set aside for their children will be protected if they experience financial difficulties. Entrepreneurs are often asked to put up their homes as collateral for a business loan. They should not have to sign up their children's RESPs as well.
    As we continue to face a rapidly changing innovative and disruptive economy, we must ensure that laid off workers who have put their hard-earned money into their children's education savings plans are protected. I urge the government to feel free to steal this idea once again, as parents really do need help.

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

[Translation]

Committees of the House

Procedure and House Affairs   

     Mr. Speaker, if the House gives its consent, I move that the 95th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented in the House earlier today, be concurred in.
    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)

  (1535)  

[English]

    Presenting petitions, the hon. member for Calgary Nose Hill, to whom we want to offer congratulations for her recent nuptials.

Petitions

Equalization  

    Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I will convey that to my new spouse.
    I am here today to table a petition on behalf of my community. Many people have expressed their extreme displeasure, which I share, with the state of the equalization formula in Canada. Given that the government has tabled punitive legislation against Alberta's energy sector, many people feel the equalization formula is no longer justified in its current state.
    The petitioners therefore ask the government to cancel Bill C-69 and to launch a study into the economic impact of the equalization formula.

[Translation]

Employment Insurance  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition to the House that calls on the government to make access to employment insurance more universal.
    I want to remind members that 35% of unemployed women and 52% of unemployed men who contribute to EI are not eligible for EI benefits.
    The petition calls on the government to enhance the current EI system to ensure universal access by lowering the eligibility threshold to 350 hours or 13 weeks, establishing a minimum threshold of 35 weeks of benefits, and increasing the benefit rate to 70% of salary based on the best 12 weeks of salary.
    These are just a few of the measures proposed in this petition, which has been signed by people from many regions of Quebec.

[English]

Animal Welfare  

    Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by over 1,500 people from across the Kitchener-Waterloo region and from communities as far away as Vancouver and even Yellowknife.
     The petitioners call upon the House to support Bill S-214 and ban the sale and manufacture of animal-tested cosmetics and their ingredients in Canada. They note that doing so would harmonize our cosmetic safety regulations with those of the EU and other nations that have already switched to using alternative safety tests, like India, Switzerland and New Zealand.
     This petition has been duly certified and I am proud to affix my signature and endorse it.

Justice  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present e-petition 2126 with almost 750 names on it. It is in support of my private member's bill, Bill C-266, the respecting families of brutalized persons act.
    As members will recall, individuals convicted of abducting, sexually assaulting and murdering currently can get parole at year 23. The petitioners call on Canada to pass the bill to give the courts the power to increase parole ineligibility to 40 years to ensure that families of victims are not revictimized. The bill is fair, just and compassionate.

Poverty  

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour today to present two petitions.
    The first petition calls upon the House of Commons to adopt a national poverty elimination strategy, thereby ensuring Canadians a suitable quality of life and opportunity to succeed.

The Environment  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition comes from youth, asking for more to be done to avert disastrous climate change.
     Young petitioners and those who care deeply about youth call upon the House of Commons to take meaningful steps to support the future of young Canadians and to fulfill Canada's obligation under the Paris agreement by adopting a detailed climate action strategy that includes science-based targets for greenhouse gas reduction, with a plan to meet them, including but not limited to eliminating fossil fuel subsidies; implementing a comprehensive and steadily rising national carbon price beyond 2022 that rises to $150 a tonne by 2030; and redirecting investments into renewable energy systems, energy efficiency, low-carbon transportation and job training.

PTSD Treatment  

    Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to table a petition that calls upon the government to reverse its decision to change the medical questionnaire that has resulted in making it more difficult for veterans to access treatment for PTSD. This issue was brought to my attention by the Budd family, constituents of mine.
     The petition is signed by a number of my constituents and people across the Calgary region.

  (1540)  

Agriculture  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour today to table two petitions from people in Saskatchewan both from rural and urban centres. It is about recognizing the inherent rights of farmers.
     The petitioners call upon Parliament to enshrine in legislation the inalienable rights of farmers and other Canadians to save, reuse, select, exchange and sell seeds. In addition, they call upon the Government of Canada to refrain from making any regulations under the Plant Breeders Rights Act that would further erode farmers' rights and/or add to farmers' costs by restricting or eliminating the farmers' privileges.

Shoal Lake 40  

    Mr. Speaker, I have three petitions today.
    The first petition calls on governments to finally complete the building of a water treatment facility for Shoal Lake 40, a community that has waited over 100 years for road access. While Winnipeg enjoys the water and freedom, they are left stranded. Now they are looking for a water treatment plant.
    The petitioners, mostly from my riding in Winnipeg, are calling for the water treatment plant to be built.

Indigenous Artifacts  

    Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions related to indigenous artifacts.
    The petitioners ask that we try to retain these artifacts in Winnipeg. Residents from Kildonan—St. Paul and other Canadians call on us to find a home for these artifacts in Winnipeg.

Animal Welfare  

    Mr. Speaker, today, Bill S-214, which would ban the sale and manufacture of cosmetics using animal testing, was debated in the House for the first time.
     I am pleased to present more than 2,400 petition signatures, collected at The Body Shop in Regina's Southland Mall, in support of the legislation.
    It is disappointing that the legislation was not brought forward in the House of Commons earlier, but I hope the next Parliament will take account of the strong public support for a ban on animal testing.

Sex Selection  

    Mr. Speaker, I am presenting a petition today on behalf individuals from Prince George and Chilliwack; B.C.; Lloydminster, Alberta; and Churchbridge, Saskatchewan. They present the petition as a result of watching a CBC documentary, revealing that ultrasounds are being used in Canada to tell the sex of an unborn child so expectant parents can choose to terminate the pregnancy if the unborn child is a girl. An Environics poll found that 92% of Canadians believe sex-selected pregnancy termination should be illegal.
     The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada and the Canadian Association of Radiologists strongly oppose the non-medical use of fetal ultrasound. There are over 200 million girls missing worldwide. This gendercide has created a global gender imbalance crisis, resulting in violence and human trafficking of girls. The three deadliest words in the world are “It's a girl”.
    The petitioners therefore call upon Canada's Parliament to support legislation that would make sex selection illegal.

[Translation]

The Environment  

    Mr. Speaker, Canada and the United States share many lakes and waterways. This includes two in my riding, Lake Champlain and Lake Memphremagog, and one in the riding of my colleague from Kenora, Lake of the Woods.
    The petitioners want the Canada-U.S. Boundary Waters Treaty to be amended so as to include environmental standards. They are therefore calling on the Minister of Foreign Affairs to respond to this petition and begin the process of working with her American counterparts to amend the Boundary Waters Treaty to ensure it includes environmental standards.

  (1545)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to present a petition from residents of Saanich—Gulf Islands, most particularly those located around Brentwood Bay and Pender Island.
    Residents on the Saanich Inlet and surrounding it have been asking the federal government for some time to designate Saanich Inlet a zero sewage discharge zone. I note parenthetically that some know there has been an issue in Victoria, but this is totally different. There is no sewage discharge, but we have a problem with boats in the area of some local residents.
     Again, a zero discharge zone is being requested from the Government of Canada.

[Translation]

Human Organ Trafficking  

    Mr. Speaker, I have three petitions to present today. The first has to do with Bill S-240 on organ trafficking, which is currently before the Senate.

[English]

Afghan Minority Communities  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition is in support of the Sikh and Hindu minority in Afghanistan.
    The petitioners call on the government to do more to provide support to them.

Human Organ Trafficking  

     Mr. Speaker, the third petition is also in support of Bill S-240 on the issue of organ trafficking, which is currently before the Senate.

Plant-based Food  

    Mr. Speaker, I present petition e-2071 signed by thousands of Canadians who note that the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer recently classified processed meat as a class 1 carcinogen.
    The petitioners note the science underscoring the Canada food guide and call on the Government of Canada to make healthy food affordable by redirecting subsidies to ensure that healthier, organic, plant-based food is affordable for everyone, in particular for indigenous and low-income communities; and to ensure that government assistance and subsidies are shifted to the industries in agriculture that form the basis of the science in our food guide.

Human Organ Trafficking  

    Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to bring forward today.
    The first petition has to do with Bill S-240, which would combat the scourge of forced organ harvesting that takes place worldwide, but in particular in China. The bill was presented by the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan as his private member's bill, and this petition is in support of it.

Afghan Minority Communities  

    Mr. Speaker, the other petition I am bringing forward is in support of Afghanistan's hard-pressed Sikh and Hindu minorities.
    The petitioners call on the government to create a special program to allow these minorities to receive private sponsorship to come to Canada directly. This would give them the opportunity to call Canada home and therefore receive a place of safety and refuge.

Questions on the Order Paper

    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. If you seek it, I believe you will find unanimous consent for the following: That notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, Bill S-214, an act to ban cosmetic testing on animals, be deemed read a second time and referred to committee.
    Does the hon. member have unanimous consent of the House?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Business of Supply]

[English]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—News Media Industry  

    The House resumed consideration of the motion.
    The member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan has five minutes remaining in questions and comments.
    The hon. member for Winnipeg North.
    Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that the Conservatives would choose this topic for debate today, especially given former prime minister Stephen Harper and his government gave tens of millions of dollars not once but every year to news magazines. Not only that, Stephen Harper and his government would determine which ones would receive the money. I am sure people following the debate sense a bit of hypocrisy in this.
    Could my colleague across the way explain to Canadians why Stephen Harper chose to support news magazines to the degree of tens of millions of dollars every year? At the same time, could he provide some thoughts regarding the Conservative Party's most current position on providing a tax credit to the media industry as a whole? Do the Conservatives support that initiative today?

  (1550)  

    Mr. Speaker, it seems that the member for Winnipeg North thinks Stephen Harper was too close with, too generous to or too supportive of the media. That is not a criticism I have heard from Liberal members before, but we hear all sorts of criticisms from the Liberals that come from all sorts of different directions, and it is hard to keep track of what they are saying.
    A bit of time has passed since I gave my speech before question period, but I will discuss what I talked about in my speech and I will explain the motion we are debating, and then maybe other Liberal members will have some questions.
    The member did not address the fact that his government is giving $600 million to a fund that is going to be controlled by a panel that includes Unifor. We will have explicitly partisan people, who are loud and proud in campaigning for the Liberals, involved in distributing money to journalists.
    If the government is in favour of defending an independent press, then it should listen to what the press is saying because, as I quoted in my speech, many of the leading independent thought leaders in Canadian political journalism are sounding the alarm about the approach the government has taken.
    Let us take this partisan interference out of journalism. We can debate specific policies, such as government advertising. Obviously, every government advertises through the media in some form, which is not particularly novel, but the fact that the government has put partisan people in a position to dole out this money should be very concerning to those who care about preserving the independence of the press.
    Mr. Speaker, I listened to the hon. member and I all I can say is if Conservatives ever talk about the family farm the way they talk about media organizations, they would quickly change the talking points they used. They talked about not supporting an industry that is going through technological change, not supporting family-owned industries and not supporting small industries in small communities.
    The media sector is not a bunch of journalists. The media sector is a bunch of small businesses, small businesses in communities right across this country, and it is not just journalists who work in those companies. There are receptionists, producers and editors. There is a whole network of supply chains that go all the way back to the resource sector and the pulp and paper mills in this country.
    When we talk about providing support to a sector of the economy, none of which are direct supports for content and all of which are charitable donations, tax cuts and a series of other measures that help consumers access Canadian media that have nothing to do with a journalist's paycheque, why can Conservatives not support small businesses in local communities, why can they not support part of the supply chain that is tied to the resource sector and why can they not support small, independent family-owned businesses that sustain communities right across this country? Why is it journalists that catch their attention, when every other small business in this country seems to get their support?
    Mr. Speaker, my friend across the way has a habit of debating things in the House that he clearly has not read about, because he is not aware of what this motion is about. The motion is about the inclusion of Unifor in the distribution of funds.
    Yesterday he went after me on Twitter, saying that I had put Bill C-81 at risk of not passing because it might not have time to go through the Senate. Actually, he did not know that when we were debating Bill C-81, it had already passed the Senate, and we were debating Senate amendments. He has a habit, without reading or understanding the detail, whether it is Bill C-81 or this motion, of taking strong opinions and attacking people.
    Let me be very clear for the benefit of the member: This party will always stand up for small businesses. We do not accuse small business owners of being tax cheats; we create a competitive environment that is beneficial for small businesses and entrepreneurs, which includes journalists. That does not include having Jerry Dias at Unifor involved in deciding who gets a government bailout. That is not something that we see as part of an agenda to advance and protect small business.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I want to inform the House that I will be sharing my time with the excellent member for Toronto—Danforth.
    I am very pleased to be here to speak to a subject that is extremely important to our rural and francophone communities, and I will be talking about today's motion from that perspective.
    I agree that a free and independent press is important and even essential to a healthy democracy. That is why our government showed leadership by announcing measures that will enable Canadians to continue to have access to reliable newspapers. Later this year, Canadians will be called upon to choose their next government. As is the case with every election, they will count on a reliable, independent press to keep them informed of the major economic, social and environmental issues facing our country, so that they can make an informed decision.
    Can members imagine an election campaign with no press coverage? Would that really be a step forward for democracy? The answer is obvious. Similarly, would Canadians really be better off if we did not have a strong and independent free press to keep an eye on what governments and public institutions are doing and to hold them more accountable? Once again, the answer is obvious.
    We would have to search very hard to find a healthy democratic system that does not have a free and independent press. Conversely, it is unfortunately all too easy to compile a long list of dictatorships and authoritarian regimes to which the idea of a free press is a totally foreign concept. Those who criticize what our government is doing say that a laissez-faire approach is the best solution to guarantee the freedom and independence of the press. They are the same people who criticize CBC/Radio-Canada. They think journalists can be bought and corrupted. These conspiracy theories are insulting to Canadian journalists, who deserve better than these kinds of prejudices.
    We on this side of the House obviously do not feel that way. We respect journalists and their work. We have faith in their integrity, and we know they are professionals. We also strongly believe that a bankrupt press is not a free press. That should be obvious. The print media industry is going through a serious crisis. Over the past decade, more than 200 community newspapers and about 40 daily newspapers have shuttered. According to Statistics Canada, over 10,000 journalism jobs disappeared during that period. This crisis is picking up speed. In the industry, cost-cutting and layoffs are not the exception, they are the norm, and that goes for both small media outlets and the bigger players.
    For instance, The Globe and Mail, the largest daily newspaper in the country, just recently announced cuts in order to reduce its operating costs, which amount to $10 million a year. No one in the industry is immune. Since 2008, overall annual revenues in Canada's newspaper industry have decreased by 42%. This decrease is primarily due to the loss of more than 60% of advertising revenues. In 2017, Canadian newspapers were taking in $1.7 billion less in annual ad revenues than they were 10 years earlier. This is a huge loss that is undermining the viability of the entire industry. More and more advertisers are moving away from the printed word and turning to the Internet to place their ads, but Canadian online media platforms are getting very little of this new windfall.
    This transformation in the media environment is having a direct and significant impact on the quantity, quality and diversity of reliable journalistic content that Canadians have access to. Many communities across the country are seeing less journalistic coverage of matters of public interest. Access to local news has become especially compromised in many rural communities as a result of the many closures and job cuts.
    On that issue, people talk about government responsibility, not only at the federal level, but also at the provincial level and, more importantly, at the local level. It is extremely important that we have a free press active in our communities because it is the sole guardian of the responsibility of local governments back home, in our small communities. I want to emphasize that point, because this is a serious threat to the health and sustainability of our democracy.

  (1555)  

    If we do nothing in the coming years, other newspapers will close their doors, the number of journalists covering public interest issues will continue to decline, and the health of our democracy will face a growing threat.
    Our rural communities will be hit first. Our minority groups will be devastated, especially linguistic minorities such as the people of Prescott—Russell, most of whom are francophones living in a minority community in Ontario.
    This is the worst possible time to throw in the towel. Unlike those on the other side, we will not surrender to market forces. We know that, in this day and age, Canadians tend to turn to the Internet for a variety of content, including news. We also know that the accuracy of the information available on many sites, typically those of foreign origin, is questionable, to say the least.
    Everyone knows that social networks can be astonishingly effective at spreading fake news and launching misinformation campaigns designed to manipulate public opinion. Now, more than ever, we need trustworthy news sources to offset the misinformation and fake news articles proliferating across the country.
    Our government promised that any action taken to support journalism would fully respect the independence of the press. We kept that promise and we will continue to do so. Many western democracies have had policies and programs in place for decades to support the print news media without interfering with the independence of the press. If others can do it, we can too.
    Our government's approach involves setting up an independent panel of experts to identify and refine the eligibility criteria for the tax measures to support journalism. We believe that it is important that the panel reflect the diversity of the industry and its various sectors by representing both employers and employees, and that it also reflect our society's linguistic and ethnic diversity.
    This approach will make it possible to implement fair and effective measures to support journalism, while respecting the independence of the press. In my opinion, it is clear that the official opposition's motion must be rejected by the House. We believe in an independent press, but we need to support it in the coming years.

  (1600)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciated listening to my colleague's comments and one of the points he was making about the loss of revenue in the newspaper industry.
    I wonder if the member might know the amount by which the federal government has decreased its advertising support for the newspaper industry in the last four years. I believe it has shifted a tremendous amount of its advertising to the Internet and has taken away that revenue source from the print media.
    Does the member have any idea of the advertising dollars the federal government has removed from the print industry and put into social media in the last four years?
    Mr. Speaker, the member would know, of course, having been here for more than one mandate, that this particular policy of moving advertising to the Internet started under his own government.
    With respect to the issue at hand, we want to support an independent press, and bankruptcy is simply not an option for an independent press. That is what we are talking about here. That is what is important to keeping our democracy accountable.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his important speech, particularly since, in his riding, the Franco-Ontarian fact is, of course, very vulnerable and must always be promoted and protected.
    I would like to know where small newspapers and local weeklies stand. Did the people who run them feel reassured by the government's announcements? If the member has any time left, I would like him to tell me why the Liberals took so long to present solutions that were looked into two years ago in a number of reports submitted to the government.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question.
    Obviously, conditions have changed over the decades for newspapers. Journalists used to attend press conferences, for example. Earlier in my speech I mentioned the importance of having journalists hold local governments to account. Here in Ottawa we are lucky to have a national press, but local governments do not always have this platform. It is important to ensure that they have these platforms and this obligation to be accountable at the local level.
    Indeed, local papers have managed to survive and yes, they will benefit from some of the announcements we made. However, we still have a long way to go to ensure that we have a reliable and independent press in Canada, especially in our official language minority communities.

  (1605)  

    Mr. Speaker, in today's debate we are hearing people, especially on the Conservative side, talk and complain about the fact that a union has a voice at the table.
    What does my friend from Glengarry—Prescott—Russell think about having employers, unions and companies at the discussion table so that we can get the whole picture of what we need to do?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Toronto—Danforth for her question.
    It is important that all sectors be represented at the table, including employers, francophone journalists and Canada's ethnic media. It is important that these people be at the table.
    It is also important to include unions that represent those working in the area. I think that all the criticism of the union that will represent one in eight voices is unfounded. It is important to have them at the table. We must not take away the unions' and the workers' right to have a voice at the table.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to the Conservative opposition motion presently being debated.
     The issue of how to properly support the media is something I have had the opportunity to work on and think about quite deeply over the past years while I have been here in Ottawa. I am a member of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. When we started, one of our first studies was in fact on local media. It was an in-depth study where we really looked at what we should be doing. We heard from media across our country, from the unions, the employees and business owners. They all spoke to us about a need to ensure that we continue to have a vibrant local media across our country.
    I would like to thank the chair of the committee at the time, the member for Vancouver Centre, as she led us through the study. We made 20 recommendations. Included in those recommendations were the very items we found in budget 2019 about making changes to the tax act to allow not-for-profit media foundations to have charitable status, and tax credits. It is nice to see work being done at committee and how that can translate into policy going forward.
    As well, when we were doing that study, there was a report by the Public Policy Forum called the “Shattered Mirror”. Interestingly, as a part of that report, they also included a review entitled “the Copyright Act's fair-dealing rules to strengthen rights of news originators to control their intellectual property” as one of their recommendations, as well as some of the recommendations we had in the committee report on that. It is interesting that the “Shattered Mirror” report reflects future work that was done by the committee. I am now the chair of the committee. We have also studied copyright rules and made recommendations on that issue.
    I have the newspaper delivered to my house every day. It is funny, but I was reading the newspaper and thinking about what we were going to saying in the debate. It is not a fossil. Newspapers are not fossils. This a way that Canadians get the news that we rely upon. It has an important role in raising civic awareness and keeping Canadians informed. No matter what the size of the communities that we live in, no matter our distances from larger population centres, we rely on important local news to make decisions, to see how we look at the world, planet and our local communities.
     Canadians still rely on newspapers and other news outlets today. We have just changed a lot of the way that we do it. As I mentioned, I was reading a newspaper this morning in its physical form, but more and more people are scrolling from article to article rather than turning from one page to the other. In fact, Canadians are among the most engaged and best-informed citizens globally. We should be proud of that.
    In international surveys, such as the well-respected Reuters Institute digital news report, Canada ranks highly in consumption and trust in news sources. For example, in 2018, Canada ranked fifth out of 37 countries that were surveyed for trust of the news that people read. More importantly, the numbers for Canada are rising. There was a 9% increase in trust from the previous year. The survey also showed that a majority of Canadians, 60% to be precise, are concerned about what is real and what is fake on the Internet when it comes to news. That is really important. Canadians are concerned about making sure they are getting news that is in fact true, with the whole issue of fake news having become something of a concern.
    Another well-known measure of trust in the news is the international Edelman trust barometer. This annual survey confirms digital news survey results concerning trust. There was an increase of 8% in Canadians surveyed who declared trust in the news industry. Traditional news outlets, like newspapers, ranked the highest, at 71% level of trust, while news via social media was at the bottom, with 31% of trust from Canadians. Most importantly, 21% of Canadians consumed news regularly compared to the previous year. Clearly, the world is increasingly faced with misinformation and social media bots, and Canadians are relying more and more on trusted news outlets to deliver honest and independent reporting on the issues of the day.

  (1610)  

    The challenge that these outlets are facing is not one of trust levels, but it is rather about how we are consuming our news. It is the economic model that has been radically altered, and we are hearing that from creators across industry. Today when we are talking about the news, we are talking about a massive shift towards online news consumption.
    Today, only 9% of Canadians pay for online news, according to a writer survey. Canada ranks 27 out of 37 countries surveyed in that respect. Much needs to be done to encourage higher rates of online subscriptions, and that is what is so interesting about the steps being taken. The fall economic statement of 2018 included measures to specifically encourage Canadians to subscribe to digital news outlets. The statement addressed that shift directly.
    With that type of model, providing measures to encourage Canadians to subscribe, the choice remains with individual Canadians as to whether or not to take a subscription with one outlet or the other. They still have the choice. Some outlets are more conservative and some have been endorsing the opposition party over the last four cycles, and then others are more progressive. It is up to Canadians to choose which one they want to subscribe to. That is the model that has been put out there.
    We are also providing tax credits to these news outlets for the cost of employing professional journalists. That is important. We need to ensure that we have support for these journalists. These tax credits are available to all of the qualified journalistic organizations in the news industry, regardless of the scope or the lean of their reporting.
    As has been said from the outset by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Canadian Heritage , any government action in support of news media will rest on the principle of ensuring respect for the independence of the press. That is why we are putting together an independent panel to advise on the criteria that should be applied to define these qualified journalistic organizations.
    To ensure the independence of the panel from any influence of government, eight non-governmental organizations were each asked to provide the name of one individual they believe has the necessary qualifications and expertise to contribute to the work of the panel. All eight organizations represent part of the news industry.
    Four of them represent the owners and publishers of news outlets: News Media Canada, representing daily and community newspapers and online news sources; the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada, representing the multicultural and multilingual press; the Quebec Community Newspapers Association, representing English-language newspapers in Quebec; and the Association de la presse francophone, representing French-language news sources in the other provinces and territories.
    The other four represent journalists and employees, who also have an important stake and a vital role in the future of the news industry. They are the Canadian Association of Journalists, Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec, Fédération nationale des communications, and Unifor, which represents more than 10,000 employees in the news media sector.
    The objective is to hear the voices of all professionals involved in the sector: employers, publishers, official languages communities, ethnic media, big and small organizations, freelancers and bloggers. We do not just want CEOs around the table, but a diversity of voices.
    It is clear that the Conservative opposition is merely playing politics with Canada's journalism and news sector, to the detriment of our democracy. They have a track record of doing so. In 2015, they made a special effort to have Postmedia newspapers across Canada endorse the Stephen Harper Conservatives, over the objections of staff and employees. The Conservative Party also bought the front page of these newspapers in the days before the 2015 election, deliberately misleading Canadians into thinking that the political advertisement was journalism. That it not how an independent press works.
    It is clear that the Conservatives, regardless of the compelling human and democratic arguments in favour of supporting our struggling news sector, will continue to unabashedly play politics with the topic.
    That is why I am opposing this motion. I will be focusing, with the House, on the important issues to Canadians. We have many issues that we should and could be debating. To be debating the composition of this committee is not the proper use of our time.

  (1615)  

    Mr. Speaker, the member is absolutely wrong in how she characterizes this issue. Nobody on this side is saying that there should not be freedom of the press to print and write the articles and the opinion editorials it needs to. We simply think that the government should not be involved in the business of the free press.
    At committee, finance officials said that no blogger will be eligible for this. They said that no owner-operated news outlet will be eligible for any of this. In fact, most start-ups will be automatically eliminated just by virtue of how start-ups begin.
    One thing I also want to mention to the member is that this issue was brought in through an omnibus budget bill.
    It is the first time, that I can find, that the Canada Revenue Agency will not be directly involved in the administration of a tax credit. The government is setting up a partisan panel, with Unifor on it. Does the member have another example of a tax credit that is not administered directly by the CRA?
    Mr. Speaker, it is very interesting that this partisan panel being referred to has eight different associations as part of it. I would be surprised if any of these eight members would like to see themselves characterized as partisan. In fact, these are the people responsible for our democratic news. Different organizations and newspapers may have leanings one way or the other, but if we are characterizing our newspaper sector as partisan, as represented by these eight organizations that represent all sides and all parts of our media, that is a problem.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her speech and excellent work at committee, where we discussed these issues at length.
    I will not ask her why we had to wait until the last minute because I have already asked that question many times today. A lot of people are wondering if they are going to pack up next weekend because the parliamentary session is almost over. It cannot believe that we are tackling this issue today, but the Conservatives wanted to raise it.
    Is my colleague surprised by the Conservative belief that choosing a union such as Unifor to represent the views of workers and others is some kind of a game?
    I find it appalling that they waited until the last minute, just before the election, to introduce such a highly debatable motion.
    Is she surprised by the Conservative belief that unions do not look favourably on the Conservatives and do not believe them to be on their side?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question. It is true that we work well together in committee. Our committee works very hard. We have talked extensively about what we should do about the media and many other issues. Various steps have been taken in the past three or four years.

  (1620)  

[English]

    The Canada Media Fund received stabilization funds several years ago, and the CBC, for local news production, also received a large investment. Therefore, there have been steps taken all along.

[Translation]

    I apologize for switching to English, but sometimes it is easier for me. Unifor represents over 10,000 employees. How can anyone think they are all partisan? The truth is that journalists represent all points of view. Unifor is a big union that wants to do good work for employees. It would be crazy to say it is completely partisan, yet that is what we are hearing today.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my colleague from Mégantic—L'Érable.
    I am honoured to have the opportunity to speak to this opposition motion today, because, as my colleagues know, I was a journalist for more than two decades. I spent the bulk of my time working for community newspapers across southern Alberta, so I think I can speak with a lot of insight into how journalists across the country feel, not necessarily about the media bailout but certainly about certain groups that have been added to this panel to decide who is going to be getting funding, who is going to be left out, and what the criteria will be for how these funds are going to be rolled out to various media groups.
    From the beginning of my career as a journalist to near the end, I could see a stark difference in how Canadians viewed journalists across the country. There is no question, for various reasons, be it the growth of social media, cable news or other avenues, that there has been a very clear erosion of trust in journalists across this country, and certainly across North America.
    Our motion today is not questioning Canadian journalists and the importance of the media in strengthening our democracy and holding government and politicians to account. That is not stated anywhere in the motion we are putting forward. What we are questioning is the inclusion of a group like Unifor on this panel. Our motion clearly states that it is important that we have a free and independent press, which is an integral pillar of our democracy. That is the first comment in our motion. However, my argument today is that including a group like Unifor, which has been outwardly partisan, has called itself the resistance and is once again going to be actively campaigning against a specific political party in the upcoming election, erodes the integrity of this entire process. We have heard this from journalists across the country, not just members of the opposition.
    Andrew Potter, a CBC contributor, said, “This is actually worse than anyone could have imagined. An 'independent body' staffed entirely by unions and industry lobbyists. What a disaster.”
    Andrew Coyne, a columnist with the National Post, said, “It is quite clea