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42nd PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 429

CONTENTS

Friday, June 7, 2019




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 148
NUMBER 429
1st SESSION
42nd PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Friday, June 7, 2019

Speaker: The Honourable Geoff Regan

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer



GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Government Orders]

  (1005)  

[Translation]

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act

    The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-88, An Act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, as reported (without amendment) from the committee.
    There being no motions at report stage, the House will now proceed, without debate, to the putting of the question of the motion to concur in the bill at report stage.

[English]

Hon. Filomena Tassi (for the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade)  
     moved that the bill be concurred in.
     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 Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): In my opinion the yeas have it.
    And five or more members having risen:
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): Pursuant to an order made on Tuesday, May 28, the division stands deferred until Monday, June 10, at the expiry of the time provided for oral questions.

National Security Act, 2017

    The House proceeded to the consideration of amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters.
    That a Message be sent to the Senate to acquaint Their Honours that, in relation to Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters, the House:
agrees with amendments 3 and 4 made by the Senate;
respectfully disagrees with amendment 1 made by the Senate because the intent of the legislation is to ensure ministerial responsibility and accountability, and the legislation provides that the Intelligence Commissioner must review whether or not the conclusions of the Minister of National Defence, when issuing a foreign intelligence authorization, are reasonable; additionally, subsection 20(1) already requires the Commissioner to provide the Minister with reasons for authorizing or rejecting a foreign intelligence authorization request;
respectfully disagrees with amendment 2 made by the Senate because it would limit the scope of subsection 83.221(1) and would create inconsistencies with the general counselling provisions contained in section 22 and paragraphs 464(a) and (b) of the Criminal Code.
    He said: Madam Speaker, as many external experts have said, Bill C-59, which is before the House once again, is of extraordinary importance to Canada and the security and intelligence agencies that work every day to keep Canadians safe.
    During the 2015 election, we promised to correct certain problematic elements in the previous government's national security legislation, Bill C-51. In making that promise, we pledged that a government must be able to protect individual rights while at the same time keeping Canadians safe. This is not about striking a balance whereby rights and safety are traded off one against the other; this is about achieving and protecting both simultaneously.
    Work on this legislation began very shortly after our government was first sworn into office in late 2015. The time and effort it has taken to get Bill C-59 to the point it is at today have ensured that this is the right bill at the right time for Canada.
    We began by examining landmark court rulings, such as those issued by Justices Iacobucci, O'Connor and Major, as well as past reports of the Security Intelligence Review Committee, the Senate and the House of Commons. We sought to implement their advice and their rulings.
    We then looked at the legal authorities and powers our security and intelligence agencies have from a modern technological standpoint.
    The Communications Security Establishment has been part of the Department of National Defence since the end of World War II, with its authorities embedded in the National Defence Act. In 2011, the CSE became a stand-alone agency. However, to this day, it still does not have its own enabling legislation with clear, delineated powers and authorities that reflect the necessary capabilities of signals intelligence in the modern era. Bill C-59 would fix that.
    The Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act was written in 1984, following the Macdonald Commission report. It has been largely left in its original form since that time. To put that in perspective, in 1984, the Mac computer was first introduced to the public. If one had a PC instead of a Mac, one ran it on DOS, because Bill Gates had not released the first version of Windows yet, back in 1984. If one wanted to be one of the first people to buy a cellphone, one had to pay, in today's dollars, about $10,000, back in 1984. If one wanted to go online, one used a dial-up modem to access a bulletin board system, or BBS, because the Internet, with browsers, was still a decade away.
     As Federal Court Justice Noël wrote in 2016, “the CSIS Act is showing its age”. Suffice it to say, as we looked at the enabling legislation for our security and intelligence agencies, we realized that they needed a lot of updating just to catch up to technology.
    In September 2016, having done our basic research and homework, we launched a national security green paper outlining the challenges and the opportunities, and we asked Canadians to share their views. As it turned out, we heard back from them in spades. Over 75,000 submissions were received, and all of them are now summarized in an open and transparent manner on the Public Safety Canada website. During that process, we held town halls and public consultations from coast to coast. The public safety committee of the House of Commons also undertook a study and submitted its recommendations to the government.

  (1010)  

[Translation]

     Then, on June 20, 2017, after analyzing and synthesizing all of that input, Bill C-59 was tabled in Parliament.
    We put it in the public domain before the House rose for the summer so that MPs and the public could truly digest the bill's contents before debate began in Parliament later that fall.

[English]

    Once the House resumed that fall, the bill was referred to the public safety committee before second reading, allowing it to have more scope for possible amendments. The committee made numerous changes, improving the legislation, including a new requirement for public ministerial directives on receiving or sharing information that may have been tainted by torture. The House passed Bill C-59 on June 19, 2018, and sent it to the Senate, where it received even greater scrutiny and several more amendments.
    Among them, the Senate has amended the legislation to require parliamentary review of the legislation three years after royal assent rather than five years, as originally proposed. The original intent of the review after five years was to take into account that some of the provisions of Bill C-59 may come into force quite a bit down the road, and those parts may not have had the time to mature enough for a fulsome review after just three years. However, as I said at the outset, this is a vitally important piece of legislation, and the majority of it will be fully in force in the near term, so a review after three years, as proposed by the Senate, is just fine with me. Plus, a review this quickly would ensure that any changes that may be required as a result of the review could happen sooner.
    The Senate also improved part 1.1 of the legislation, the new avoiding complicity in mistreatment by foreign entities act. While the bill lists five specific agencies involved in national security and intelligence operations that would have to comply with the provisions of the new act, the Senate added a schedule so that in future, new departments or agencies might be added by Governor in Council. This could include existing departments with a new national security component or future agencies that might be created.
    I would also note that the Senate made eight observations about Bill C-59, which we will, of course, very carefully examine. I especially like the idea of the Senate undertaking a study it is proposing on converting intelligence to evidence in a court of law. This is a point that has bedevilled policy-makers for years, as well as Crown prosecutors and security and intelligence operators, and it is a topic that could benefit from detailed Senate examination.

  (1015)  

[Translation]

    The Senate also amended part 2 of the bill, which creates the new position and office of the intelligence commissioner. I thank the Senate for their consideration of this part, but will be asking my colleagues here in the House to respectfully decline this amendment.

[English]

    The intelligence commissioner, under the new legislation, would have a vital role to play in determining whether the standard of reasonableness had been met in a foreign intelligence authorization. However, it would not be the role of the intelligence commissioner to determine how that standard should be met. There may be various methods to meet the standard, and the choice of which method is to be used would be at the discretion of the minister. There should be no confusion about ultimate accountability. It is important to ensure that the authority and accountability for a foreign intelligence operation would rest squarely with the Minister of National Defence.
    My staff consulted very carefully on this point with the current Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner, which will ultimately become the office of the new intelligence commissioner under Bill C-59, about this particular amendment. The office of the current commissioner indicated a very strong preference for the existing language in clause 20 of the future intelligence commissioner act.
    The future clause 20 was amended by the House public safety committee to require the commissioner to provide reasons as to why he or she had approved any proposed authorization scheme or rejected it. That is the right step to take. The Minister of National Defence will consider those reasons when crafting any new authorization application. This approach allows the new commissioner to express his or her views very clearly, while the Minister of National Defence will retain the proper authority and accountability.
    If, in the future, there were to be a situation where an authorization is ever challenged in court, it would be the Minister of National Defence, not the intelligence commissioner, who would be accountable to the court. The minister's argument in court should not be that the authorization scheme was explicitly what the intelligence commissioner told him to authorize in order for the CSE to undertake an important activity. In other words, the burden of responsibility should not be shifted to the intelligence commissioner; it must remain with the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of National Defence needs to account for that.
    With respect to the Criminal Code amendment that has been proposed by the Senate, I very much appreciate what the senators have attempted to do here. I understand very clearly the point they are trying to make, and we have heard the same point from a number of other stakeholders that have come forward with similar questions and concerns.
     However, I make this point. The courts have set an extremely high bar for convicting individuals of counselling offences, which is why the language in the Criminal Code needs to be clear and consistent. It must be just as clear for section 83, terrorism offences, as it is for section 22 and section 464, which cover the counselling of other Criminal Code offences. This will help public prosecutors when they make a decision as to whether there is a reasonable chance of conviction in order to proceed to trial.
    Unfortunately, the changes made by the previous government's Bill C-51, back in 2015, had made the terrorist counselling provisions so obscure that they were never actually used. When Bill C-59 was tabled, the intent was to model the section 83, terrorism counselling offences, on the other Criminal Code counselling offences, which have been well used, successfully and are very familiar to police, prosecutors and judges alike.
    The courts have already ruled that the terrorism counselling provisions in the Criminal Code, which refer to counselling “another person”, do not require the accused to have counselled a specific individual or even someone he or she knows. In practice, this broad principle will apply in section 83 as well.
    If Parliament were to make the wording changes on counselling being suggested by the Senate, that could have unintended consequences for the rest of the Criminal Code's counselling provisions, such as counselling to commit a hate crime. A loophole could inadvertently be created, which I am sure some very assiduous defence attorney would attempt to exploit for a client facing a charge under section 464, for example.
     Further, the use of the term “terrorist activity” in the amendment, rather than saying “terrorist offence” actually narrows the scope of what will be illegal under the terrorism counselling provisions. Terrorist activity is defined in the interpretation section of part II.1 of the Criminal Code, and that definition does not include all terrorism offences.
     As an example, leaving Canada to join a terrorist group is an offence under the Criminal Code, but it is not contained within the definition of terrorist activity. As a result of the proposed amendment, it would be legal to counsel someone to travel to Syria to join Daesh. I am sure that is not what is intended by the proposed amendment, but that would be the actual consequence, and it is a consequence we need to avoid.

  (1020)  

    As I mentioned, I appreciate the spirit of the amendment and I have heard other representations to the same effect. However, what prosecutors have clearly told me is that if our goal is to have the terrorism counselling provisions used as frequently and effectively as possible, the best way to achieve that is to mirror the language used in the other counselling provisions in the Criminal Code where the notion of counselling “another person” already includes the counselling of an unknown individual.
    I would like to remind all my colleagues of what Parliament is being asked to approve under Bill C-59 generally. We are looking to establish a single national security review body with a government-wide mandate to follow leads from one agency to another, such as from CSIS to the RCMP or elsewhere. This has long been recommended by experts, academics and parliamentary committees. Sometimes it is referred to as the super SIRC, and Bill C-59 does it.
    We are creating a new act to govern the Communication Security Establishment, which includes a new regime for authorizing its activities for the first time ever. We are creating a closed list of threat reduction activities that CSIS may undertake so the service has clear direction from Parliament and knows what it can do, what it cannot do, and where the fences are. We are creating a justification regime for CSIS that will provide the lawful authorities it needs to perform the activities required to investigate threats and to keep Canadians safe. The same concept with respect to police officers has existed in the Criminal Code for many years.
    We are also creating a dataset regime for the service that will allow it to collect, retain and query datasets subject to stringent safeguards. We are fixing the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act, ensuring that it does not diminish lawful advocacy, protest and dissent. It will also have greatly improved safeguards to ensure federal departments share national security information only when it is necessary to do so, following appropriate procedures and keeping proper records.
    Then there is the no-fly list, and I know we have all been lobbied on this one. Bill C-59 would enable the creation of a recourse mechanism for people whose names coincidentally match or closely resemble names that are listed in Canada's passenger protect program. This is the infamous problem of false positives, sometimes affecting small children.
    I want to thank the members of the group known as the “no-fly kids”, whose tenacious efforts have kept this issue in the forefront for many parliamentarians, and Bill C-59 is part of the solution.
     I can assure my colleagues that officials at Public Safety have compressed the timelines as much as humanly and physically possible. The required Treasury Board submissions and other orders in council required after royal assent of Bill C-59 will be moving as quickly as possible to get that recourse system up and running to deal with that issue for the no-fly kids.
    That summary does not quite encapsulate everything that is in Bill C-59. However, as my colleagues can see, it is very comprehensive legislation that would strengthen and modernize our national security apparatus and architecture.
    I want to thank all of the public servants across multiple departments who have worked on this and have appeared before many committees to provide technical answers to parliamentarians. I want to thank the tens of thousands of Canadians who participated in our green paper consultation process and the many individuals who continue to provide advice as Bill C-59 moves through the parliamentary process.
    Most of all, I want to thank my parliamentary colleagues who have given this bill the thorough scrutiny that it most certainly deserves, including Senator Gold and his colleagues in the other place who have sent us the report we are dealing with at this moment and to which we are responding.
    With this comprehensive legislation, we are in fact achieving our original goal and obligation to keep Canadians safe and secure, while simultaneously safeguarding their rights and freedoms and the precious democratic qualities and values that make Canada, Canada.

  (1025)  

[Translation]

    Minister, I thank you for your explanations.
    I would remind the member to address his remarks to the Chair, not to the minister.
    The hon. member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the minister for his explanation.
    However, I am still skeptical about part 7. I listened carefully when the minister explained the part about the commission of a terrorism offence. In the broader conversation, people are comparing Bill C-59 to Bill C-51.
    Bill C-59 is 260 pages long. Many parts of it are very administrative and relate to structural changes. I will talk about that later.
    Everyone agrees that the government's approach here is wrong. National security experts say so. Conservatives sent the same message with our amendments. Even the Senate's amendment confirmed that the government's approach is wrong. Despite all that, the minister insists that he has the right solution.
    Is the government butting heads with everyone just because it wants to keep its election promise to change Bill C-51 at any cost?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the purposes of Bill C-59 are threefold.
    First, it would address the deficiencies that existed in previous legislation, including not only Bill C-51 but other pieces of legislation as well. There were errors or omissions that needed to be fixed, and Bill C-59 would do that.
    Second, Bill C-59 introduces a broad range of new accountability mechanisms through the new national security and intelligence review agency, the creation of the new intelligence commissioner and a number of other procedures in Bill C-59 to improve transparency and accountability throughout our national security architecture.
    Third, the legislation seeks to clarify and confirm legal and constitutional authorities so our security and intelligence agencies, whether that is CSIS, or the CSE, or the RCMP, or the CBSA or any others in the Government of Canada that deal with national security and intelligence issues, know explicitly where they stand, what their authorities are, where the fences are and what they can and cannot do.
    This legislation works very hard to accomplish all three of those objectives.

  (1030)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank the minister for his speech.
     I have two questions for him. The first is about the Senate amendments before us today. Some may think I am getting hung up on what seems like a minor detail in an omnibus bill, but I just want to figure out the government's approach and go back to something my colleague mentioned.
    This process should not be partisan, yet there is a certain partisan tinge to the amendment that changes the review period for the act from five years to three. I presented this amendment in committee, and it was rejected. Now that the Senate is presenting it, however, the government is all for it.
    Could the minister explain to me why the government changed its mind about a detail that is so trivial but was recommended by the committee's witnesses?
    My second question is about the Canada Border Services Agency. The minister has been promising almost since day one to create a review body for the Canada Border Services Agency. Now we finally have a bill that does that, but with so little time left in the session and the bill not even at committee stage yet, the odds of it passing are low.
    Since the government was tabling an omnibus bill anyway, why not throw in what we now see in Bill C-98, so that people whose rights are violated at the border can get at least some recourse?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, on the first point, about the review period, it is critically important that the principle is being embedded in the legislation. The entire national security and intelligence architecture of the Government of Canada, from end to end, needs to be revisited again at some period after the passage of this legislation. This is groundbreaking legislation that accomplishes more change within the security and intelligence system than perhaps ever before in our history, and it is important that the set of decisions we are making in Bill C-59 be revisited periodically in the future to make sure that we continue to get it right.
    The original proposal the government had made was to do this after five years. There was a discussion in the committee about maybe moving it up to three years, which is a compressed but doable time frame. However, the government maintained the view that five years would be a good frame within which to accomplish that review. The Senate came back to the same point that had been raised by the hon. gentleman, saying that three is a better figure. I am prepared to—
    I will have to interrupt the hon. minister. I do have to allow for more questions, and maybe he could include additional comments on the next one.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Oshawa.
    Madam Speaker, I want to thank the minister for his clarification, but there was one thing he did not really clarify. My colleague asked about part 7. I want to ask him about threat disruption. Part 7 raises the threshold for recognizance orders and peace bonds, making it more difficult for law enforcement to disrupt threats before they occur.
     This section proposes to change the Criminal Code from “the peace officer suspects on reasonable grounds that the detention of the person in custody is likely to prevent a terrorist activity” to “the peace officer suspects on reasonable grounds that the detention of the person in custody is necessary to prevent a terrorist activity.”
    This is an extremely high bar when times are very short. Our Conservative Bill C-51 aligned with our allies, including countries like Norway and Finland. Why has the minister made it more difficult for information sharing and also taken away the reasonableness that is in agreement with our allies, as far as that point is concerned?
    Madam Speaker, I think the hon. gentleman will find that the whole pattern of our amendments to national security law over the last three and a half years has in fact been to become more aligned, rather than less aligned, with our allies.
    For example, our allies have had, for years, the concept of a parliamentary mechanism for reviewing security and intelligence activities. Canada had never had that, until this House passed Bill C-22 and created the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. All of our allies had that; we did not. We changed the law, and now that provision exists.
    The point I was about to finish on the previous question was to give my colleague, the member for Beloeil—Chambly, some credit for actually having raised the three-year number in the first place. Now that it is going to be in the law, I think he can assume both some credit and some responsibility for that.

  (1035)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank the minister for the acknowledgement. However, I would like to come back to the second question I posed to him in my first round, which is regarding CBSA.
    As colleagues in the House know, CBSA is the only national security agency that does not have its own dedicated review and/or oversight body. The minister is proposing one in Bill C-98, but I want to know why he did not do that in the legislation before us, when it has been promised for a number of years now. The fact is that Bill C-98 has not even gone to a committee in the House yet, much less been brought to the Senate. Therefore, it seems less and less likely that it would be adopted, and we know that this is an important mechanism that is required.
    Madam Speaker, the reason is that the subject matter is different. Any security or intelligence activities of CBSA will in fact be reviewable under the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians and under the provisions of Bill C-59. What remains to be done, and this is the subject of Bill C-98, is a review mechanism for the activities of CBSA that do not relate to national security and intelligence. That is what Bill C-98 covers. The intelligence and security part of CBSA is covered by Bill C-59 and by the previous bill, Bill C-22.
    Before I go to resuming debate, I want to remind members that when we are doing questions and comments it is preferable that individuals do it within the one-minute mark. I should be able to get five questions in. I would ask that the preambles and the explanations be compressed into the one minute because there are quite a few people who want to ask questions. I would ask that those questions and comments be done within the one-minute mark or else I will have to cut people off to allow for healthy debate.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I rise this morning to speak to Bill C-59, an omnibus bill that is over 260 pages long and has nine major parts. I listened to the minister's speech, which addressed the Senate amendments, but I would first like to focus on Bill C-59 itself.
    As I have been saying from the outset, the problem is that most parts of Bill C-59 are administrative in nature. They make changes to the various intelligence and communications agencies. That is fine, but the main goal of Bill C-59 was to respond to Bill C-51, which was implemented by the Conservatives following the attacks that took place here in Ottawa. Bill C-51 was specifically designed to counter terrorism and ensure that anyone seeking to commit terrorist acts in Canada was stopped to avert disaster.
    Overall, the omnibus bill has some parts that are fine. They contain the sort of changes that need to be made from time to time. However, other parts are very administratively heavy and will be very costly for the public purse. Essentially, this is a bill on national security. The public expects the government to protect people properly and ensure that the offenders and would-be terrorists of this world are stopped.
    Despite what the minister says, we believe that Bill C-59 limits CSIS's ability to reduce terrorist threats. It also limits the departments' ability to share information in order to protect national security. It removes the offence of advocating or promoting the commission of terrorism offences in general and raises the threshold for obtaining terrorism peace bonds and recognizance with conditions.
    At the end of the day, Bill C-59 is going to make life difficult for CSIS agents and telecommunications services people. The bill makes it harder to exchange information. It will once again clog up a system that is already burdensome. People working on the ground every day to ensure Canada's security and safety will be under even more restrictions, which will prevent them from doing their jobs.
    Here is a snapshot of the nine parts. Part 1 establishes the national security and intelligence review agency.
    Part 2 enacts the intelligence commissioner act. It deals with everything pertaining to the commissioner and the various tasks he or she will have, but abolishes the position of the Commissioner of the Communications Security Establishment and provides for that commissioner to become the intelligence commissioner. It transfers the employees of the former commissioner to the office of the new commissioner and makes related and consequential amendments to other acts. In other words, it shuffles things around.
    Part 3 enacts the Communications Security Establishment act. CSE's new mandate includes the ability to conduct preventive attacks against threats in addition to its role in signals intelligence and cyber defence. We really do not have a problem with that, provided it remains effective. That is an important point.
     Part 4 amends the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act. It changes the threat reduction powers by limiting them to seven types of measures, one of which gives rise to the issue of whether non-invasive actions require a warrant. The measure in question is described as interfering with the movement of any person. This could mean that a CSIS officer requires a warrant to give misleading information to someone on the way to meeting with co-conspirators.
    During operations, officers will sometimes provide individuals with false information to be passed on to those organizing terrorist or other plots. That is one of the work methods used in the field. Henceforth, warrants will have to be obtained, making the work more complicated. The officers will have to spend more time in the office doing paperwork and submitting applications instead of participating in operations.

  (1040)  

    Part 5 amends the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act, which was enacted by the Conservative government's Bill  C-51. Individuals and privacy groups were unhappy that government institutions could, on their own initiative or at the request of another institution, share information on activities that undermine the security of Canada. Bill C-51 was criticized for permitting the sharing of citizens' personal information.
    Although Bill C-59 maintains part of the departments' ability to share information, it is much more restrictive. This means that the departments operate in silos, which was harshly criticized by the national security experts who testified.
    Part 6 is the most positive part, and we fully support it. This part deals with the Secure Air Travel Act and the problems with the no-fly list. When travellers have the same name as a terrorist, they encounter major problems, especially when it happens to children and they are not allowed to travel. This part will help fix this problem, and we fully support it.
     Part 7 amends the Criminal Code by changing the offence of advocating or promoting terrorism offences in general to one of counselling the commission of a terrorism offence, which carries a maximum sentence of five years.
    I will read the next part, which does not pose any problems:
     Part 8 amends the Youth Criminal Justice Act to, among other things, ensure that the protections that are afforded to young persons apply in respect of proceedings in relation to recognizance orders, including those related to terrorism, and give employees of a department or agency of the Government of Canada access to youth records, for the purpose of administering the Canadian Passport Order.
    Finally, here is the last part:
     Part 9 requires that a comprehensive review of the provisions and operation of this enactment take place during the sixth year after section 168 of this enactment comes into force.
    These are additional administrative measures.
    In short, of the nine parts of Bill C-59, we fully support part 6 on the no-fly list. The other parts contain a lot administrative provisions that will make the system more cumbersome. Part 7 is the most problematic.
    We believe that the Prime Minister and the minister are weakening Canada's national security agencies and their ability to keep Canadians safe. This legislative measure will make it more difficult for law enforcement and security agencies to prevent attacks on Canadian soil because it takes away their authority to counter threats. The information silos this bill will create within our federal agencies are dangerous and foolish. Rather than countering radicalization, the Liberals are creating loopholes that could be exploited by those who want to radicalize our young people.
    The Conservatives take the safety of Canadians very seriously. That is why the previous government brought Canada's national security laws into the 21st century and aligned them with those of our allies. While all of the Five Eyes allies are taking measures to strengthen national security, this government is bringing in legislation that will eliminate our intelligence service's ability to reduce terrorist threats. The Liberals' irresponsible approach will put Canadians' safety at risk.
    I was pleased with the four amendments proposed by the senators, who also took the time to work on Bill C-59 and hear witnesses. We know that the independent Liberals have a majority in the the Senate, so we would not normally expect to see amendments that reflect the Conservatives' views. This time, however, we think all four amendments are excellent and deserve our support. We waited for the government's response.
    Two of the amendments had been proposed by me and my Conservative colleagues on the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, but the Liberals had rejected them. One of them sought to clarify the definition of the phrase “counselling commission of terrorism offence”. This short phrase really embodies the problem we have with Bill C-59. For the benefit of our viewers, I would like to quote the specific wording.

  (1045)  

    The bill would amend the Criminal Code by changing the following existing definition:
    Every person who knowingly instructs, directly or indirectly, any person to carry out a terrorist activity is guilty....
    The bill would change it to the following:
    Every person who counsels another person to commit a terrorism offence...is guilty....
    What is the Liberals' real goal here, if not to just strike out the Conservative government's Bill C-51 so they can say they made a change?
    Did they make this change with the intention of improving the legislation? No. Even the senators advised the government to preserve the essence of the definition set out in the Conservatives' Bill C-51.
    The minister says that in 2015, when Bill C-51 was introduced by the Conservative government, no charges were ever laid. Is it not possible that no charges were laid because people got scared and decided not to run any risks, in light of the legislation and resources that were in place, as well as the enforcement capability?
    Maybe that was why nothing happened. Does watering down and changing this—
    An hon. member: Oh! Oh!

[English]

    I do want to remind the minister that there will be an opportunity to ask questions and provide comments. I would ask him to hold on to his thoughts. That way, he can build up on what he wants to ask the member.
    The hon. member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles.

  (1050)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I will continue my speech on this very serious matter.
    This week the Liberals moved a motion declaring that they would accept just two of the four amendments proposed by the Senate and that they were rejecting the important amendment on terrorism. The two amendments they retained were administrative ones.
    Also, we did not support this bill because it makes it harder for law enforcement and security agencies to prevent attacks on Canadian soil, since they no longer have any threat disruption powers. Furthermore, the bill creates information silos among our agencies, which creates problems. I have said this before and I will say it again: information sharing is fundamental.
    The Senate's first amendment is to part 2 of the bill, which deals with the intelligence commissioner. The amendment adds a new clause under the “Foreign Intelligence Authorization” heading. This new clause would allow the intelligence commissioner to refer a matter back to the minister with a description of the condition that would have to be added to the authorization in order to make the conclusions reasonable. This amendment would affect the Communications Security Establishment in particular and was recommended by the commissioner.
    We support this amendment because it improves the bill by increasing communication and feedback between the information commissioner and the minister, thus reducing administrative formalities. We also proposed this amendment at the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. Unfortunately, the government rejected it.
    The second amendment pertains to counselling the commission of a terrorism offence—I keep bringing it up and we will talk about it again and again—under the “Criminal Code” heading. Those few words make a world of difference in these 260 pages. This amendment broadens the scope of the wording slightly, given that some of our witnesses felt that the term “counselling” was too narrow. We support that amendment because it significantly improves the wording, ensuring greater certainty regarding how counselling another person to commit a terrorism offence should be interpreted. For an offence to have been committed, there is no requirement that:
    
(c) the accused knows the identity of the person whom the accused counsels to carry out the terrorist activity; or
    
(d) the person whom the accused counsels to carry out the terrorist activity knows that it is a terrorist activity.
    This amendment addresses concerns specific to online terrorist propaganda. We do not understand why the government rejected this amendment proposed by the Senate, which is dominated by independent Liberals.
    Despite two positive amendments, this legislation is still flawed. Aside from our unconditional support of part 6, we cannot support Bill C-59.
    I will close by mentioning a few examples of serious flaws.
    Part 4 amends threat reduction powers by limiting guaranteed powers to seven types of actions, one of which raises the question of whether non-invasive actions require a warrant. That action is described as interfering with the movement of any person. That means a CSIS agent on the ground would need a warrant to give false information to someone who could help the agent meet conspirators. It would also prevent a CSIS agent from warning the parents of a child who is being radicalized unless the agent has a warrant. These changes place an additional administrative burden on our agencies, which, without additional funding, will have to take agents out of the field so they can take care of paperwork.
    Information silos are another problem. Part 5 was created in response to privacy protection groups that were unhappy with the fact that government institutions may share information, of their own accord or at the request of another institution, about activities that pose a threat to Canada's security. This creates a silo effect, which national security experts decried.
    When ordinary Canadians look at the government, it seems complicated to them. There are many different public servants and many different departments. They often say that people do not talk to each other. Part 5 further complicates the exchange of information that is crucial to protecting national security. People have to be able to communicate. Information silos hinder communication. Leading national security advisors expressed concerns, but the government did not want to change its approach.
     The third important element is threat disruption. Part 7 raises the threshold for recognizance orders and peace bonds, making it more difficult for law enforcement to monitor problematic individuals and disrupt threats before they occur.

  (1055)  

    This clause replaces the following words from the Criminal Code, “suspects on reasonable grounds that the imposition of a recognizance with conditions on a person, or the arrest of a person, is likely to prevent the carrying out of the terrorist activity” with “suspects on reasonable grounds that the imposition of a recognizance with conditions on a person, or the arrest of a person, is necessary to prevent the carrying out of the terrorist activity”.
    It all comes down to two words: “likely” is replaced by “necessary”.
    Instead of having serious concerns or information about a likely terrorist activity, we now have to be sure that the arrest is necessary. This complicates things. If there is any doubt, we have to back off. Terrorist activities tend to develop quite quickly. People who plot attacks might take months to think about and plan them, but others might quickly decide that they feel like doing something on Sunday, for example. When we get information quickly we have to be able to react quickly. Bill C-59 encumbers the process.
    The powers provided for in Conservative Bill C-51 were aligned with those of our allies, including Norway and Finland. We modelled our bill on other democracies that believe freedom and security go hand in hand.
    In summary, Bill C-59 is a heavy bureaucratic tool that will not ensure public safety, but will undo what the Conservative government put in place to safeguard the security of Canadians.
    I move:
    That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following:
“the order for the consideration of the amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters, be discharged and the Bill withdrawn”
    The amendment is in order. We shall now proceed to questions and comments.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I remember when the Conservative Party was in government and passed Bill C-51. There was a lot of criticism by legal experts that the definition of counselling to commit terrorism was too broad and opened up a door to a lot of questionable practices. Then, lo and behold, the Conservative Party promoted an ad that quotes a video from a terrorist organization. Ironically, a lot of legal experts said that the Conservative government was violating its own law.
    I have two questions for my colleague. First, does he think it is wise to quote a terrorist organization in an ad? Second, does he agree with me that having a clearer definition is better?

  (1100)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague opposite for his question.
    He asked me if it was appropriate to quote a terrorist organization. I believe it is. That is why it is also important to record the names of terrorist organizations in the Criminal Code. We have to state the facts and use the right words.
    With respect to the definition of committing a terrorist act, the main objective should always be to be effective and ensure that we arrest those seeking to commit terrorist acts.
    Order. The hon. member will have eight minutes and 30 seconds to respond to questions and comments when we resume debate after oral question period.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[English]

The Environment

    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the voters of Nanaimo—Ladysmith for putting their faith in me. It is an honour to be in this place, and I pledge to work hard and do my best to represent my constituents. I would also like to thank my campaign staff and volunteers for working so hard to help me get elected and my family for their support, inspiration and guidance.
    We face a lot of challenges in Nanaimo—Ladysmith, but we also have a lot of opportunities to create the kind of community and world that we want our children and grandchildren to inherit. As a society, we can do better to ensure that our most vulnerable citizens are better cared for. We have a caring community, but what we need is more government support.
    Climate change represents a major security and economic threat. People in Nanaimo—Ladysmith are stepping up to do what they can, but we need the government to show the political courage for stronger greenhouse gas emission targets and to drive the transition to a clean energy economy. Together, we can do this.

[Translation]

Seniors' Organization in Saint-Philippe

    Madam Speaker, today, I am pleased to tell you about an organization that improves the quality of life of people 50 years old and over. I am speaking of Café liberté 50 in Saint-Philippe, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
    Established in 2009 by Maurice Bisson and Gilles Tardif, Café liberté 50 started out small with 20 members. The organization's mandate was basically to organize activities and outings for seniors throughout the year. Today, 10 years later, the organization has grown and now has more than 200 members.
    I am pleased to support organizations such as Café liberté 50. I would like to take this opportunity to promote the new horizons for seniors program, which aims to help seniors lead fulfilling lives.
    I invite anyone 50 years old or more who do not want to be isolated, like those who attend Café liberté 50, to immediately join this program. Let us be proud of our seniors.
    Congratulations to Café liberté 50 for its 10 years of operation.

[English]

Brooks Bandits Hockey Team

    Madam Speaker, Brooks Bandits fans know their team is top in the Alberta Junior Hockey League. The Bandits won the national championship in 2013 and made it to the championships in 2015 and 2017. They have won four AJHL titles in recent years. This year, we were hosting the national championships, and fans' expectations were high.
    Unlike the Prime Minister, the Bandits delivered. The Bandits shattered multiple records this season, with a record of 57 and 3, an unprecedented 30 to zero at home, a 33-game winning streak, a new record for points earned in a season, a new record for wins overall, and they scored the most goals in this league in decades. They lived up to their promise by winning their fifth AJHL title in eight years, and to cap it off, they won the National Junior A Championship, hosted in their hometown of Brooks, the hardest championship in sports to win, with 133 teams competing. The Brooks Bandits fans expected nothing less.
    Unlike the Prime Minister, the Brooks Bandits are as good as advertised.

North Shore Regiment

    Madam Speaker, yesterday marked the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the largest seaborne invasion in history.
    On that day, the men of the North Shore Regiment landed on the beaches of Normandy, and many of them did not return home to New Brunswick. One such soldier was Major Archie MacNaughton, a farmer from Black River Bridge. Archie enlisted during the First World War and did not hesitate to do so again in World War II. His story has inspired a new Heritage Minute, a short film that honours the wartime contributions by New Brunswick's storied North Shore Regiment.

[Translation]

    This story inspired more than 200 students and teachers in my riding, who, along with Lieutenant-Colonel Dufour and the current North Shore Regiment, went on a D-Day anniversary trip. Along with my constituents in Miramichi—Grand Lake, I am extremely grateful to these brave young men who made the ultimate sacrifice more than 75 years ago so that we could live in freedom and prosperity. We will remember them.

  (1105)  

[English]

The Environment

    Madam Speaker, a newborn orca was spotted swimming near Tofino by my good friends John Forde and Jennifer Steven. I cannot think of a better way to observe World Oceans Day than to congratulate the entire pod and celebrate this sign of hope and renewal for our oceans.
    At the same time, the survival rate of newborn orcas is only about 50% during their first year of life. May we resolve today, on World Oceans Day, on all sides of this House to take all actions necessary to ensure a healthy environment for this baby orca. Let us get the plastics out of its waters and let us protect and preserve the interdependent species on which these whales depend—a major and complex undertaking, to be sure, but nothing less will give real meaning to World Oceans Day and nothing less will allow the celebration of more baby orcas to come.

Accomplishments in Nepean

    Madam Speaker, I wish to recognize Rabbi Howard Finkelstein, who was with Beit Tikvah synagogue in Nepean for last 28 years. I wish Rabbi Howard and his wife Rivka all the very best in their retirement.
    I also wish to recognize Ted Bransfield, member of the Bells Corners Legion. Ted was recently named Legionnaire of the Year. Ted has sat down with 387 veterans to help with their benefits and claims. He is also actively involved with Perley and Rideau Veterans' Health Centre.
     I also wish to recognize the four Nepean churches that participated in this year's Big Give: Bibleway Ministries, Woodvale Pentecostal Church, Good Shepherd Barrhaven Church, and the Metropolitan Bible Church. This annual event supports those who are less fortunate by giving away all donated items free of cost.

Calgary Ukrainian Festival

    Madam Speaker, this past weekend my family and I had the pleasure of attending the 10th annual Calgary Ukrainian Festival in my riding of Calgary Midnapore.
     As both my husband and my mother come from Ukrainian backgrounds, it is something we all look forward to every year. The two-day annual festival provides an opportunity to showcase not only Ukrainian arts, cuisine, entertainment and culture but genuine, warm and energetic Ukrainian hospitality.
     As Albertans, we are aware of how much Ukrainians have added to our province and our country. They are hard-working, loyal and kind people.
    As Conservatives, we have always supported Ukraine. Our previous Conservative government was one of the first voices on the international stage to offer explicit support for the Ukrainian people in their struggle to restore democracy, freedom and the rule of law, and our leader has reaffirmed that this commitment will only grow stronger under our next Conservative government
    I want to thank all the organizers, including Chris, Lysia and Mike, for making my family and me feel so welcome last weekend, and congratulate them on a decade of honouring Ukrainian culture.

Progress in Spadina—Fort York

    Madam Speaker, as the member of Parliament for Spadina—Fort York, I am proud this term to have worked to secure funding to build a more affordable, more beautiful and more creative city to live, work and play in.
    It begins with housing: $1.3 billion to repair and build new public housing, including new funding for an 80-unit facility on the waterfront in my riding. On transit, $4.9 billion for the TTC has been delivered, and that supplied a new streetcar line between Cherry Street and Dufferin in the riding, supported the King Street pilot project and extended Toronto's Bike Share program.
    Our riding's natural beauty is benefiting from close to a billion dollars invested in naturalizing the Don River, delivering new parks and flood-protecting parts of my riding, most of all in downtown Toronto.
    As an MP, I have also secured millions of dollars in new funding for Harbourfront Centre, OCAD University, George Brown College and so many more, including Artscape.
    However, the best part of being a Spadina—Fort York MP is the progress we have made on poverty. Almost 50% fewer single moms are living in poverty in Toronto than when we were first elected. That is real change. Better is possible.

Filipino Heritage Month

    Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure and pride to rise to commemorate the first-ever Filipino Heritage Month in Canada, in this month of June.
    This is long-overdue recognition for what has been the fastest-growing community in Canada for several years now. Given their contributions, when it comes to music, food, entrepreneurialism and culture, I can think of great festivals, like the Taste of Manila, PIDC and Mabuhi Festival. Proudly Pinoy, Pinoy Radio and other businesses like FE Foods, Tabilon and Cuisina Lounge all add so richly to the social fabric of Canada.
    I would remiss if I did not also note the loss of a great leader in the Filipino community, Consul General Prospero, with whom I had the honour of serving in Toronto. Not only did she serve the kababayan, but she was a great friend to Canada. Through you, Madam Speaker, and through the ambassador to Canada from the Philippines, we express our condolences.
    We want to celebrate Filipino culture. Mabuhay.

  (1110)  

Kim Simard

    Madam Speaker, I rise today to honour the life and passion of Kim Simard, who passed after a courageous and faith-filled battle with cancer.
     Kim and I met some 20 years ago, when we were attending the same church with kids the same age. What really drew us together was our sole political goal of defeating the Liberals. Kim loved politics, and we knocked on many doors, made phone calls and raised money in the riding of St. Boniface with the purpose of electing Conservatives.
     Kim was passionate about much more than just politics. She loved God and she adored her family, including her church family at Springs Church, but she especially loved her husband Pat and their kids Josh, Jordanna and Jamie.
    Kim always had the most beautiful smile on her face, laughter in her voice and light in her eyes, even through some her most difficult physical battles. That light and that smile will be very much missed. I love you, Kim, and I am going to be thinking of you during the election campaign in October, because if there is any politicking going on in heaven, I know you will be leading the Conservative charge and cheering us on all the way.

National Indigenous History Month

    Madam Speaker, June is National Indigenous History Month. I would like to invite all Canadians, indigenous and non-indigenous alike, to join me in celebrating the culture, heritage and contributions of first nations, Inuit and Métis in Canada.
    The celebration of National Indigenous History Month marks a time to honour, reflect on and recognize the rich heritage and cultural diversity of indigenous peoples. It also aims to foster respect, understanding and appreciation across the country.
    On June 21, in honour of National Indigenous Peoples Day, events will take place from coast to coast to coast. I encourage everyone to share in the celebrations by participating in activities planned in their local area.
    Finally, I would like to invite everyone to participate in the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte powwow on August 10 and 11.

[Translation]

50th Anniversary of Hull Optimist Club

    Madam Speaker, the Hull Optimist Club, one of my riding's key organizations, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
    Many things came to be 50 years ago: the Internet, ATMs, the Beatles' Abbey Road, and even a certain member for Hull—Aylmer.
    A fiftieth anniversary is certainly cause for celebration. I want to thank this team from all different walks of life for providing personal development support to youth in Hull. The club helps young people by offering scholarships and mentorship and by supporting their physical and social development.
    I thank the Hull Optimist Club for its 50 years. Here's to another 50.

[English]

Government Policies

    Madam Speaker, I recently prepared and distributed a report card to constituents on my four years as a member of Parliament. While I was preparing that report card, I wondered what the Prime Minister's report card would look like. Let me tell members that it was four years of failure, because we have four deficit budgets—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. I will ask the member start over.
    I would ask members to please hold their applause or excitement until after the member has finished.
    The hon. member for Calgary Signal Hill.
    Madam Speaker, I will start again.
    As I said, I spent some time preparing a report card for constituents on my four years as a member of Parliament. While I was doing that, I was thinking about what the Prime Minister's report card would look like. Let us look at the Prime Minister's past four years.
     We had four years of massive budget deficits when we were promised a balanced budget in 2019. There were four slaps on the wrist by the Ethics Commissioner, one of which was with respect to the finance minister, because he forgot about his French villa. We had three women kicked out of the Liberal caucus because they stood up to the current Prime Minister. Then we had the meeting with either the prime minister of Japan or the prime minister of China. The Prime Minister gets an F on this report card for failure. The Prime Minister is not as advertised.

  (1115)  

International Development

    Madam Speaker, by working together, our government and our international and local partners have made huge strides in improving the health, nutrition and rights of the poorest and most vulnerable around the world.
     Earlier this week, our government announced that we will invest $1.4 billion a year for the health and rights of women, adolescents and children, $700 million of which will go specifically toward sexual and reproductive health rights. It reflects Canada's commitment to working hard to achieve the sustainable development goals by 2030. We believe firmly the only way to achieve these goals is by advancing gender equality. We need to tear down many social, cultural and structural barriers that hold women and girls back by limiting their choices and possibilities. Together, we will make sure women and girls have the resources, opportunities and tools they need to be empowered and to succeed.

Member for Port Moody—Coquitlam

    Madam Speaker, it has been an honour to serve. My political career began long before I was first elected.
     In 1995, I swam the 1,400-kilometre length of the Fraser River to draw attention to the issues impacting the health of the watershed. That swim changed my life and started me on a path that led me here.
     In 2002, I was elected to Coquitlam City Council.
    In 2009, thanks to NDP Leader Jack Layton, I was elected a member of Parliament.
     Now I am returning to the work that brought me here in the first place. The Fraser watershed initiative is a multi-year campaign to heal and protect the entire watershed, one-quarter of British Columbia, bringing together first nations, local governments, NGOs and others.
    While I am excited about getting back to work on the Fraser, I cannot leave this place without saying thanks to my NDP colleagues, friends, staff, volunteers, family, and especially my wife Lynda.
    I thank the MPs whom I have worked with over the years, from all parties, as well as the guards, the clerks and all the staff on the Hill.
     I also want to thank the people of Port Moody, Coquitlam, Anmore and Belcarra. It has truly been an honour to serve.

Government Policies

    Madam Speaker, I would like to reintroduce the members to the Liberal leader of 2015.
     He promised modest deficits, GST removal from social housing, to respect Parliament, to empower committees free from government interference, an open and transparent government, to take climate change seriously, a non-partisan Senate and to end first past the post elections. To top it off, he promised sunny ways.
    On these promises and so much more, he failed to deliver.
    The Liberal leader stepped into the office of the prime minister in 2015, with voters being sold a bill of goods. However, Canadians will not be fooled twice. He does not understand his failed policies and the negative impact they have on Canadian families.
    Canadians know that the Prime Minister is not as advertised.

Members' Families

    Madam Speaker, there are 338 members of Parliament in this chamber. That is 338 families that are directly affected by how this places operates.
    I have been blessed. I have had the good fortune to marry a smart, hard-working, beautiful, caring, independent woman in my wife Lynn. Our three sons, Mitch, Scott and Brad, have grown into wonderful young men we are both very proud of. We receive tremendous support from my parents, Lynn's folks, our sisters, brothers and close friends. However, make no mistake, Lynn, for the most part, raised the boys as a single mom.
    As I wrap up 19 years in this place, I offer a challenge to members from all parties who will return. On this specific issue, they should peel back the silly pettiness and gamesmanship. They should look beyond the scoring of any cheap political gain and make this place work for our families. I am certain that even first-term members here can see the inefficiencies in this place and the squandering of time and resources.
    As incredible an honour as it is to serve in this place, each and every member's first priority has to be family. Let us make this place work for our families.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[English]

Carbon Pricing

    Madam Speaker, it has only been a short time since Premier Kenney, a newly elected Conservative premier, has taken office and already he is keeping his promises.
    The elimination of the carbon tax has led to among the lowest gas prices in all of Canada. Meanwhile, in neighbouring British Columbia, which has the carbon tax model the Prime Minister seeks to replicate, had prices that reached almost $1.80 a litre, something the Prime Minister says is “exactly what we want”.
    I have a clear question in search of a clear answer. What will be the full and final increase in gas prices when the Liberal government's carbon tax is increased?

  (1120)  

    Madam Speaker, the hon. member is once again misleading Canadians about the impact of our plan to put a price on pollution. I would invite him to take a look at today's job report, which noted there were 27,000 additional jobs out of the Canadian economy, bringing unemployment to the lowest level we have ever seen in Canada.
    I note the Province of Saskatchewan actually commissioned a report that it has buried when it realized that our plan to price pollution would not have a drag on the economy. If the first two months are any indication, we know that we can bring our emissions down, create jobs at the same time and make life more affordable for families.
    The Liberals do not want to answer the question, Madam Speaker, because they do not want Canadians to know how expensive life will become when this carbon tax is fully and finally implemented. In fact, the total price is not even known for 2023, only four years away.
    We know already that Alberta has seen its gas prices drop to among the lowest in the entire country and the places with higher carbon taxes pay more at the pump. The average Canadian family is $200 away from insolvency. They cannot afford to pay $2 a litre for gas.
    Is that how high gas prices will go when the Liberal plan is finally implemented?
    Madam Speaker, once again, if the member looked at the facts, he would see that our plan is taking effect and it is making life more affordable for families. When I look at the Parliamentary Budget Officer's report, he confirmed that eight out of 10 families in the member's own province would be better off as a result of our plan.
    I would also direct the member to recent reports that show that Doug Ford's plan in Ontario to fight climate change is less effective and twice as expensive for Canadian households.
    We found a way to bring emissions down, have incredible job growth, like we witnessed in the province of British Columbia just last month, and make life more affordable for his constituents.
    Madam Speaker, only a Liberal would think life becomes more affordable when gas prices go up. In fact, that is what the Prime Minister said. When asked about $1.70 a litre gas prices in the province of British Columbia he said this was “exactly what we want”.
    Canadians without trust funds know that high gas prices hurt their bottom line. That is why families are on average $200 away from insolvency today.
    Why will the Liberals not answer the question? It is a simple and factual one. What will be the full and final increase in the price of gas when the Liberal carbon tax is completely implemented?
    Madam Speaker, the hon. member knows that our price will go to $50 a tonne by 2022. It has been on our website and I have told him that a number of times.
    The reason life is being made more affordable as a result of our plan is because we introduced the climate action incentive, which puts $307 in the pockets of the average family of four in that community.
    I would be curious if he has spoken to his leader, who potentially chose to file his taxes in Saskatchewan where he could get a bigger bump in the climate action incentive.
    The hon. member is convinced that misleading Canadians is the right strategy. I find honesty works.
    We can bring our emissions down and make life more affordable.

[Translation]

Finance

    Madam Speaker, how can the government be happy about making Canadian taxpayers poorer?
    On average, hard-working Canadians have $800 less in their pockets, and the Liberals are happy about it. Millions of Canadians are still not earning enough to pay their bills and debts. Worse still, the government has mortgaged our children's and grandchildren's future by leaving them a deficit in excess of $80 billion.
    Will the Liberals stop wasting Canadians' money?
    Mr. Speaker, with all due respect to my colleague from Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, I am sure he knows the opposite is true. A typical Canadian family of four has $2,000 more under our government than it had under the Harper government.
    Why? Because we stopped giving gifts to the wealthiest. We stopped sending cheques to millionaire families. Our approach is clearly more progressive and inclusive. While it is important to note that the member voted against our measures, there are 12,780 families and 23,640 children in his riding who receive an average of $5,760, tax-free, every year. That is huge.

  (1125)  

    Madam Speaker, I have plenty of respect for my colleague from Louis-Hébert, but I have to say, the Liberals are total hypocrites.
    The Liberals are strangling Canadian families. They eliminated the children's fitness and arts tax credits. They think Canadians are stupid. They send them money with one hand and take even more away with the other. Canadian families have $800 less in their pockets. This behaviour is irresponsible and dishonest to Canadian families.
    When are they going to stop wasting Canadian workers' money?
    Madam Speaker, what is dishonest is quoting a study from the Fraser Institute that has been widely discredited for failing to consider the Canada child benefit. This benefit is making a huge difference in the lives of the families of the 23,500 children in his riding who receive it. It is insulting that the Canada child benefit was not taken into account.
    He also mentioned the public transit tax credit, something the members across the way have been bringing up for months. What did the public transit tax credit offer? A maximum of 15%. A Quebec City resident who bought a pass for the Réseau de transport de la Capitale would get a total of $13 a month at the end of the year, when they filed their tax return. That is not in the same ballpark as the Canada child benefit.

Canada Revenue Agency

    Madam Speaker, KPMG clients accused of sidestepping our tax laws are getting a free pass. Once again, the Liberal government granted them amnesty. The privileged are well served by the government. A friendly agreement is never far when we know whose door to knock on.
    Will the Liberals end this preferential treatment and enforce our tax laws fairly?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, our government is firmly committed to fighting tax evaders. Out-of-court settlements are reached through a fully independent process within the Canada Revenue Agency in collaboration with the Department of Justice. This is to ensure the integrity of our tax system.
     While we understand that settlements can be used appropriately in certain circumstances, the minister has directed the CRA to review its processes to allow for greater transparency on the reasons why a settlement is reached.
    Tax fairness is a fundamental pillar of our system. Canadians have seen improvements through the recent tax filing season, helping to ensure Canadians get the benefits and credits to which they are entitled. We are delivering—
    The hon. member for North Island—Powell River.
    Madam Speaker, families across the country are just trying to make ends meet, with skyrocketing housing costs, out-of-pocket health care, child care and the very basic of necessities. Instead of getting relief, the Liberal minister again is granting amnesty to KPMG clients accused of avoiding paying their fair share of taxes. When will this end?
    The government's priority is clearly its wealthy friends and not the everyday hard-working people of our country. When will the Liberal government be accountable for its actions and take care of the people who work hard for our country?
    Madam Speaker, I want to remind Canadians that our government is firmly committed to supporting Canadians, ensuring that the benefits and credits they are entitled to are coming to them. Those are the improvements that we have been making in the CRA.
    I also want to remind the member about the 1.5% reduction in the federal tax rate that is benefiting the majority of Canadians and the increases to the Canada child benefit that we made tax free, which helps nine out of 10 families.
     The improvements that we have been making for Canadians have benefited them. The majority of families are $2,000 better off than they were under the previous government.

Seniors

    Madam Speaker, we are talking about tax evasion and about the real underlying issue, which is who are the Liberals going to care for, the wealthiest or the most vulnerable?
     That goes back to Service Canada, which lacks sufficient staff right now, causing applications from seniors to go unprocessed for years.
     A constituent recently shared with me her experience of applying for OAS and her survivor benefits over two years ago. While she asked for updates many times, 944 days later nothing has been done. Until Service Canada gets the appropriate resources, seniors will continue to suffer.
     Could the minister please explain to the seniors of this country why this continues to happen?
    Madam Speaker, I am happy to have the opportunity to speak about the strong work our government has been doing for seniors.
    The member mentioned OAS and GIS. We restored the age of eligibility for OAS and GIS. We moved it from 67 to 65. This prevented 100,000 seniors from going into poverty. We increased the GIS for the most vulnerable single seniors. This has has a positive impact on 900,000 seniors and has lifted 57,000 seniors out of poverty.
    In other areas, such as $55 billion in a national housing strategy and $6 billion in home care and palliative care. We know seniors want to age in place. We continue to work hard for seniors.

  (1130)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, age of eligibility matters little when people have to wait nearly two years in some cases or six months in others. It is a matter of dignity for our seniors, and the reality is clear: Service Canada does not have the resources to help seniors get the guaranteed income supplement or old age security to which they are entitled.
    I will ask the minister again: will the Liberals put away the talking points and realize that Service Canada needs to have the resources to ensure that seniors can truly benefit from these things and have their dignity?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, we are very focused on making sure that Service Canada responds more quickly and more appropriately to inquiries. In fact, we have improved response times, but there is still a lot of work to be done and the recent Auditor General's report has pointed us in a good direction.
    On the issue of OAS and CPP and automatic enrolment in GIS, we have taken steps to make sure that seniors are automatically enrolled through the tax system to make sure they get the benefits they are entitled to and retire with dignity. We have also invested heavily in reforms to CPP and changes to the GIS to make sure seniors get more money as they are enrolled automatically. We are committed to making sure that seniors are taken care of properly.

Foreign Affairs

    Madam Speaker, Canada-China relations are now at their worst level since Ottawa established diplomatic relations with communist China in 1970. The Chinese president refuses to take the Prime Minister's calls, while the foreign minister's attempts to contact her Chinese counterpart have been met with silence. All this is happening while Canadians are unlawfully detained and China continues to punish Canadian farmers and producers. Now the Prime Minister is saying he hopes to meet with the Chinese president in three weeks. He should have done that six months ago.
    Will the Prime Minister tell us how he expects to get a meeting with the Chinese president when he has put himself in such a weak position to do so?
    Madam Speaker, let us make no mistake about this. Canada has made its positions very clearly well known to the people of China and the Government of China. Our government takes every opportunity to advocate for Canadians, their interests, and especially detained Canadians.
    Two weeks ago, a parliamentary delegation went to China. We raised the issue of Canadians detained. I was on that delegation. Unfortunately, the Conservatives and the NDP sent no one. We raised the issue of detained Canadians and of human rights. We raised the issue of canola and pork. We will do our job. We will protect Canadians and their interests.

International Trade

    Madam Speaker, since the Liberals visited China, the situation has gotten even worse.
    Farmers and processors in my riding are paying for the Liberal government's failures. China is continuing to unfairly target Canada and is now taking aim at our pork producers. Now the Prime Minister is saying that he might talk to the Chinese president in three weeks. This crisis has been going on for six months. When will the Prime Minister finally stand up for our ranchers and farmers and support our Canadian agricultural industry?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I can assure the House that we have been standing up for our canola producers and our pork producers from day one. We are taking action on several fronts and we are working closely with the industry, with farmers and with our provincial colleagues.
    Obviously, as Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, I stand behind the quality of our products and our inspection system, which we can rely on. The Minister of International Trade Diversification is currently on a trade mission and we are supporting our farmers.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the Prime Minister has grossly mismanaged our relationship with China. Now we have learned that meat producers are next in China's target list. Farm incomes were down 45% across the country in 2018, 68% in Alberta alone. Constituents in my riding of Bow River are suffering the consequences. This crisis began six months ago, and now the Prime Minister is considering, maybe, meeting the President of China in three weeks. Gee, thanks. What is the Prime Minister waiting for to take some real action for my ag producers?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, we are taking real action for our farmers, and have been, consistently, since day one. I was pleased to meet with my Chinese counterpart and have a discussion with him when I was in Japan. Just two days ago, we followed up on the file. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has discussed the canola file with Chinese scientists. We are moving forward on this issue. We have also increased our support for farmers through the advance payments program in a meaningful way.

  (1135)  

[English]

Foreign Affairs

    Madam Speaker, those actions have had zero results. It has been six months since our relations with China have soured, six months since Canada has not had an ambassador to China, six months that two Canadians have been detained, and now the Chinese government is doubling down on canola, peas, soybeans and meat from Canada. We have repeatedly called for the Prime Minister to take action. Yesterday, he said he might arrange a meeting in three weeks. Really, three weeks?
    Why will the Prime Minister not take action now to protect Canadians?
    Madam Speaker, the cases of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor are a priority for this government. This Parliament has had a proud tradition of uniting and working together when Canadians are detained and when we are at risk with any other country.
    I would implore the opposition to think about what it is doing. We have rallied an unprecedented number of partners around the world in support of Canada's position. Liberal members were in China. The Conservatives and NDP did not come.
    We invite colleagues to stand together and take the side of Canadians in this very important issue.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, for six months, our relationship with China has been deteriorating. For six months, Canada has not had an ambassador in China and for six months, two Canadians have been detained there. Now, China is imposing sanctions on our agricultural products.
    We have asked the Prime Minister many times to take action. He announced that he might organize a meeting in three weeks. However, before doing so, he is going to look into whether it is “appropriate or desirable”, as he said yesterday.
    If the Prime Minister is scared to do his job, could he ask someone else to do it for him?
    Madam Speaker, the cases of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor are a priority for our government and others too, I hope.
    We have rallied an unprecedented number of partners in support of Canada's position. Some Liberal members, myself included, were in China two weeks ago to raise these cases, but the Conservatives and the NDP refused to send anyone.
    We are always ready to talk to China and raise these issues.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, there is no progress. The Prime Minister continues to destroy Canada's relationship with China, as tensions continue to escalate. Canadian farmers are struggling as China has stopped imports of canola and is restricting soy and pork shipments, while two Canadians are suffering in a Chinese prison and another one faces the death penalty. Now the Prime Minister is only considering engaging directly with China in three weeks, and that is if the Chinese agree to it.
     Why is the Prime Minister showing such weakness in the face of China?
    Madam Speaker, our Prime Minister and our Minister of Foreign Affairs have taken these cases and all of these issues extremely seriously, and we continue to work in a very complex and difficult situation with integrity, persistence and grace.
    I raised the concerns that the member has raised myself in China two weeks ago, and we have rallied an unprecedented number of partners around the world in support of Canada's position. Last week, the United States and Canada issued a joint statement firmly rejecting the wrongful detentions and calling for the immediate release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. We continue to raise these cases and all these—
    The hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.

[Translation]

Transportation

    Madam Speaker, more and more people are jumping on their bikes to cycle to work or get around the city.
    Yesterday the neighbourhood of Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie launched an ambitious plan to re-do our cycling network, make intersections safer and create new protected bike lanes. While municipal elected officials are taking action, the Liberals are dragging their feet. The report on cycling safety has been gathering dust in the Minister of Transport's office for months.
    When will the Liberals step up to protect pedestrians and cyclists?
    Madam Speaker, the Liberal government took action a year ago.
    I am the one who brought together the provinces and territories to talk about the very serious topic of vulnerable pedestrians and cyclists. As I have said many times, we are launching federal initiatives, including pilot projects, to increase the visibility of the trucks and other heavy vehicles travelling through our cities.
    I congratulate Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie on its initiative. We would like to see more municipalities and provinces follow its lead.

  (1140)  

[English]

Child Care

    Madam Speaker, Amanda from Penticton has found that the money she gets from the Canada child benefit is useless, as there are no child care spaces for her daughter, so she cannot go back to work. Amanda began the Waitlisted Project online to document the difficulties parents face when looking for child care. They found that the child benefit is entirely inadequate for covering child care costs and does not open up any new spaces. This is unacceptable.
    Will the Liberals act immediately to create more child care spaces so that parents like Amanda can go back to work?
    Madam Speaker, the focus on alleviating child poverty is one of the most important priorities this government has addressed in its first four years, and it has done it in several different ways. Of course, the Canada child benefit, which was massively increased and made tax-free, which the NDP voted against, is part of the solution.
    The other part of the solution is the $7.5 billion we have invested, through the provinces, to create new day care spaces, to create new day care subsidies and to support, through the infrastructure program, the construction of new day care facilities.
    This government is committed to finding the solution to the problem and working with partners to get there, including indigenous partners with the first-ever distinctions-based program.

[Translation]

Veterans Affairs

    Madam Speaker, the veterans' hospital in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec, was transferred from the federal government to the Government of Quebec in 2016.
    Unfortunately, under this Liberal government, the quality of care has gone downhill, forcing very elderly veterans to take legal action to get the services they were promised at Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue.
    Why are the Liberals once again abandoning our veterans?
    Madam Speaker, I want to compliment my colleague on his excellent French.
    We are committed to supporting veterans in long-term care facilities across Canada by keeping them close to home and to their loved ones.
    We are proud to provide financial support to over 5,000 veterans who are currently receiving care in one of the 1,300 provincial facilities we partner with.
    Since this matter is currently before the courts, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, what is inappropriate is for the Liberal government to ignore our veterans a day after we celebrated their win over tyranny in World War II, veterans like Wolf Solkin, who is the lead veteran at the Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue hospital. He and his friends were the veterans who secured the democracy we have today. He is standing up for his fellow veterans at Ste. Anne's to ensure that they have the same level and quality of service and treatment that they had before the transfer in 2016. We can celebrate our veterans, and both sides respect that, but only this side can make it right.
    When will the government commit to fixing the situation at Ste. Anne's?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, as I said, since this matter is currently before the courts, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further.
    I find it very distressing to hear a Conservative member saying that we are not taking care of our veterans when the Conservatives made billions of dollars in cuts to the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of National Defence, closed Veterans Affairs offices and laid off staff who processed claims.
    We have invested over $10 billion in our veterans. We will always be there for our veterans to support them and to make sure they get the care they need.

[English]

Forestry Industry

    Madam Speaker, it is obvious that the government does not care about the over 200,000 Canadians who are employed by forestry, or the 9,500 forestry jobs in indigenous communities across our country, or the hundreds of communities across rural Canada that depend on the forestry industry for at least half their base income.
    Despite having a once-in-a-generation chance to end the long-standing softwood dispute by negotiating a new NAFTA, Liberals squandered the opportunity. Why?

  (1145)  

    Madam Speaker, we are taking action to ensure that our forestry sector remains a source of good, middle-class jobs across the country. With new investments in budget 2019, our support will total over $1 billion. Our softwood lumber action plan is actively supporting workers in communities, and this past fall, we announced funding through the strategic innovation fund specifically for forestry.
    Building on our work to date, budget 2019 includes additional investments to help this sector innovate, diversify and grow. We will always stand with workers in our forestry sector.
    Madam Speaker, thousands and thousands of jobs are at risk right now. Hundreds of jobs have been lost in recent weeks in my province alone. Where are they standing with them? In the unemployment line? That answer is shameful.
    The Liberals have admitted that forestry has not been a priority. They would rather litigate than negotiate. For the past four years, they have failed to be a champion for our forestry families. What are they going to do for the thousands of Canadians employed in our forestry industry who have already received mill closure layoff notices or job losses?
    Madam Speaker, our hearts go out to the workers, their families and communities, but we have to underscore that the job figures are doing very well. We have increased the number of jobs by 27,000 in the last month alone, and we have the lowest unemployment rate in 40 years.
    We continue to strengthen this industry's competitiveness and sustainability as it struggles with log supply and market conditions. From wildfires to invasive species, our forests are feeling the effects of climate change. With new investments in budget 2019, our support for forestry sector workers will total over $1 billion—
    The hon. member for Hamilton Mountain.

Canada Revenu Agency

    Madam Speaker, in 2015, the Liberals promised the people of Hamilton change to make their lives better, but everyday families are just trying to keep up with their bills and are grappling with sky-high housing costs, out-of-pocket health costs, child care and seniors care.
     When big corporations decide to leave our communities, people pay the price by losing their jobs and livelihoods. Instead of standing up for workers, the Liberal government has been granting amnesty to wealthy KPMG clients trying to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. Can the Liberals explain to the people of Hamilton how this is fair?
    Madam Speaker, let me say that unlike the previous government, fighting tax evasion and bringing fairness to the tax system is a huge priority for this government.
    Since we took office, the CRA has completed twice as many offshore non-compliance audits in three years than it did in 10 years under the Conservatives. The CRA has opened 50 criminal investigations relating to tax evasion. With our historic investments of over $1 billion, our government is giving the agency the resources it needs to do its work, and we are starting to see results.
    We are committed to ensuring tax fairness, and we are delivering results.

Pensions

    Madam Speaker, in 2015, the Liberals promised all working people change to make their lives better, but workers and retirees in Windsor—Tecumseh and in the rest of Essex County can still lose their pensions, their deferred earnings, because the Liberals broke their promise. They did not fix the bankruptcy laws that put their wealthy insider friends ahead of hard-working Canadians.
     New Democrats know that people rely on their pensions to retire with dignity and to take care of their loved ones. Are the Liberals going to explain now what they are doing to protect pensions?
    Madam Speaker, after a lifetime of hard work, Canadians deserve peace of mind when it comes to their retirement security. We are taking a whole-of-government approach, an evidence-based approach, to address retirement security for all Canadians. Our government held national consultations and heard pensioners, workers, lenders and companies. In budget 2019, we took important steps to make insolvency proceedings fairer and more transparent, like ensuring better oversight of corporate behaviour.
    Unlike the opposition, we know that it is possible to protect Canadians' retirement security without compromising businesses' ability to invest, grow and create good jobs.

International Development

    Madam Speaker, my colleagues in this place have heard me speak before about the importance of proper nutrition, and I am sure that we all share in the belief that kids need access to healthy food and good nutrition habits to thrive and be productive. Kids in Canada and all around the world deserve access to healthy food.
    Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development please update the House on what Canada is doing to make sure that kids around the world have proper nourishment?

  (1150)  

    Madam Speaker, working together and promoting a comprehensive approach to nutrition and promoting the empowerment of women and girls takes us one step closer to gender equality. One example is Nutrition International, an important partner that helps nearly 500 million children annually and that is one of the key sponsors of Women Deliver in Vancouver. Its slogan, “She'll Grow Into It”, speaks to the fact that women can and will make a difference if we reduce gender disparities and unleash the amazing potential of women and girls everywhere. We will make that a reality here in Canada and around the world.

Auditor General of Canada

    Madam Speaker, the Auditor General has many new responsibilities now, including auditing the government's ill-considered Infrastructure Bank and the new Trans Mountain Crown corporation that resulted from it chasing Kinder Morgan out of Canada. Last summer, the Auditor General said that they needed more money to be able to keep doing performance audits, and last month, he told the public accounts committee that he cancelled audits, including on cybersecurity, because they did not have enough money.
    What is the government trying to hide from the Auditor General?
    Madam Speaker, although it is my pleasure to answer this question, I must admit that it is with a bit of trepidation that I see that the Harper Conservatives have really developed an interest in the Auditor General. The last time they had an interest in the Auditor General, they slashed his budget by $6.4 million, they fired auditors, they forced the Parliamentary Budget Officer to take them to court and they were found in contempt of Parliament itself. I am hoping that this is as far as their interest is going to go.
    Madam Speaker, one thing that never ever happened under the previous government was the Auditor General coming to the public accounts committee saying we do not have enough money to do our job. That never happened. On May 14, the Office of the Auditor General told public accounts, “[H]ad we received the $10.8 million.... [w]e would have been able to do the work that was expected.” I said, “You are not adequately funded now.” They replied, “That's right.”
    What part of that testimony does the parliamentary secretary not understand, and why will they not—
    The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board.
    I would just say, Madam Speaker, that the reason the Auditor General probably feels that he could fearlessly and freely offer advice to this government is that we actually listen to it.
    Let us take a look at the Conservatives' cavalcade of cowing, criticizing and canning public servants who dared speak up to them. All I have to mention is Kevin Page, perhaps Richard Colvin, perhaps Linda Keen, perhaps Pat Stogran. I can say that I am so glad that public officials feel that they can speak to us.

Transportation

    Madam Speaker, the Port of Oshawa is one of my riding's crown jewels. The transport minister announced the amalgamation of the port authorities of Oshawa and Hamilton this week, and it will take effect on June 18, just 11 days from now. This decision was made without any meaningful consultation with the Oshawa Port Authority, the regional and city governments, port users, customers, tenant operators, labour groups or the public. While the government once promised transparency, it has not been as advertised.
    When will the minister table the business case for the port amalgamation in this House?
    Madam Speaker, I am disappointed to hear my colleague say this, because I can tell you personally that I spoke to the mayor of Oshawa on several occasions, and in fact, with his council around the table. I also spoke several times to the mayor of Hamilton. We spoke to the port authorities themselves. There was a huge amount of consultation. We even extended the consultation period above what had been planned. This will be good for southern Ontario, and we did all the necessary consultation.

International Trade

    Madam Speaker, with the Prime Minister's counter tariffs, steel and aluminum manufacturers in my riding of Yorkton—Melville were crippled. Small and medium entrepreneurs invested everything they could to keep their employees working. The Liberal government promised to have their backs but never came through. It is clear that assistance from the $2-billion tariff windfall was never intended for them.
    When will the Prime Minister admit that his help for the steel industry is not as advertised?

  (1155)  

    Madam Speaker, we will always stand up for Canadian workers and Canadian interests. To support the steel and aluminum industries and workers, we have provided up to $1.7 billion through BDC and EDC to keep businesses operational; $250 million in new funding through the strategic innovation fund, the SIF, to bolster the competitiveness of Canadian manufacturers; and $100 million in support for SMEs through the regional development agencies.
    As you know, Madam Speaker, we stood to defend the workers in the industry against the unacceptable tariffs imposed by the Americans.

Child Care

    Madam Speaker, in my riding of Kootenay—Columbia, there are four national parks, and I have the pleasure of having many Parks Canada employees as constituents. Many staff work non-standard hours, and they struggle with finding affordable and accessible child care.
    Parks Canada's collective agreement expired last August, and as part of the bargaining process, the union is asking for the creation of a joint committee on child care to research the needs of employees, to determine challenges and to recommend solutions.
    Will the government show leadership and work with Parks Canada employees to address the child care crisis?
    Madam Speaker, as I represent the Minister of Environment, I note that it is important that we recognize that we have an obligation to the employees who work for the different departments and agencies, including Parks Canada.
    Of course, I would be willing to sit down with the member after question period today to discuss the issue in greater detail so we can move forward in a manner that respects the needs of Parks Canada employees.

Fisheries and Oceans

    Madam Speaker, in 2012, the Conservatives recklessly cut the surf guard program at Long Beach in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, putting lives at risk. Prior to its cancellation, this life-saving program was in place for almost 40 years and was responsible for saving dozens, if not hundreds, of lives.
    Recently, a CFB Comox helicopter and a Canadian Coast Guard vessel had to make another life-saving rescue. Following this incident, and two fatalities last year at this same spot, the communities and the families want to know this: How many fatalities and rescues will it take before the government does the right thing and reinstates this life-saving program?
    Madam Speaker, this government has made the largest investment in fleet renewal for the Canadian Coast Guard in its history.
    We are putting forward a plan that will provide the Coast Guard with the right equipment while promoting economic growth and creating good-paying jobs across the country. The fleet renewal is needed, as the average age of large ships in the Canadian Coast Guard is 38, and they are nearing the end of their service lives.
    This government is reinvesting in the Coast Guard to protect the communities that are affected and the people who make their living on the water.

Democratic Institutions

    Madam Speaker, we have seen how the Liberals are using $600 million and Unifor to stack the deck in their favour in an election year. Now the Liberals are forcing Elections Canada to hire social media influencers to get out the vote. I thought we were fighting to get influence out of elections.
    Can the Liberals guarantee that these influencers will be non-partisan, or is this just another example of Liberals trying to stack the deck and rig the next election?
    Madam Speaker, there is only one party in the House that wants to suppress Canadian voters, and that is the Conservative Party of Canada. In fact, the record shows it. Conservatives have misdirected voters as to where to vote. They have tried to circumvent party fundraising rules. They actually had a member of Parliament go to jail for not following elections laws. They were also slapped on the wrist for having government advertising and partisanship in the same frame.
    There is only one party that has worked consistently to try to undermine the election, and that is the Conservative Party of Canada.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, we have learned that Elections Canada plans to spend $650,000 to hire social media influencers. Elections Canada should be focusing on free and fair elections, instead of being forced by the Liberal government to come up with another way to rig the election.
    When will the Prime Minister stop manipulating every aspect of our democratic institutions to change the rules in his favour?

  (1200)  

    Madam Speaker, the Conservatives are playing a dangerous game.

[English]

    They are always trying to undermine our elections and institutions.
    I have a challenge for the members opposite. Let us see if they can make 2019 the first time they do not break elections laws.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, the only dangerous game would be to rig the election.

[English]

    Elections Canada is keeping secret the names of its social media influencers: musicians, celebrities, athletes and YouTube producers. However, it is unfair and impossible for the Prime Minister to demand these people set aside their own opinions and experiences to remain unbiased.
    Why does the Prime Minister not just admit that he is using his power and influence in this latest stunt to stack the deck and rig the next election?
    Madam Speaker, I would never put it past the Conservatives to let facts get in the way of their questions.
    When we look at the record, there is one party that has consistently broken elections law, that has actually been convicted for it and that has even had a member of Parliament go to jail for it. In fact, when the Conservatives had their chance in government, they put forward elections legislation that would make it more difficult for Canadians to vote, that would limit the rights of Canadians living abroad and that would not even allow the Chief Electoral Officer to talk to Canadians about how to vote.
    On this side of the House, we will not take any lessons and we will always stick to the facts.

Government Policies

    Madam Speaker, it should come as no surprise that the Leader of the Opposition has discredited economic views to match his discredited social views.
    Recently he stated that the government had no role in helping lift people out of poverty. While this explains the terrible Conservative track record on poverty reduction, it ignores that the Liberal government has helped lift more than 820,000 Canadians out of poverty, achieving the lowest level of poverty in Canada's history.
    Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development remind the House of how our government is helping Canadians working hard to join the middle class?
    Madam Speaker, a year ago Ontario voters chose to elect a Conservative government.
     While the Conservative leader says that he does not think governments have a role to play in lifting people out of poverty, the Conservatives in Ontario, under Doug Ford, seem to think they do have a role to push people into poverty. In fact, let us take a look at some of the cuts that have been made. They have cut minimum wage for young people. They have cut social assistance for people with disabilities. They have cut health supports. They have cut back on funding for homelessness shelters. They even have cut supports for advanced age seniors as they need support as they age.
    In fact, a Conservative in the House, just this week, stood and said, “if we want to know what God thinks of money, we look at the people he has given it to.” If we want to know what Conservatives think about poverty, look—
    Order, please. It is getting a bit noisy in here, so I would ask all members to ensure they can hear the question and allow people to answer it.

Telecommunications

    Madam Speaker, the Eastern Ontario Regional Network has a plan to help people get the broadband and cellular service connections they need.
    Nearly 20% of eastern Ontario has no cell service, putting Ontarians lives at risk. The project is expected to generate up to 3,000 jobs over 10 years, with potential revenues of $420 million. Municipalities, private sector partners and the province have all committed.
    When will the Prime Minister start taking connectivity seriously and commit to funding this essential project?
    Madam Speaker, our government has made tremendous progress in delivering infrastructure across the country, and has approved 4,800 projects to date.
    We patiently wait for the Ford government to act on this and prioritize these projects, which it has failed to do in a timely manner and in a collaborative way, even after we have extended the deadlines.
     We welcome this long overdue interest on infrastructure by the government and we are discussing the proposals with it, evaluating them properly. Instead of playing political games on these much-needed projects, we must work together to ensure that the needs of people are met and that we put shovels in the ground.

  (1205)  

Indigenous Affairs

    Madam Speaker, our government understands that no relationship is more important than the one we have developed with indigenous peoples, and unlike the previous government, we are committed to investing in reconciliation.
    Removing barriers and working with indigenous communities to promote access to sport is a matter our government takes very seriously.
    Could the Minister of Science and Sport please tell the House about the important investment our government is making to help promote indigenous access to sport?
    Madam Speaker, sport builds self-esteem and leadership skills and has the power to transform lives.
    We listen to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, indigenous communities and indigenous sport leaders, because we know no relationship is more important.
    Last week, I announced $48 million for a new program for sport and physical activity in indigenous communities to help improve the lives of indigenous peoples and build stronger, healthier communities for all. Everyone deserves the opportunity to participate in sport.

Telecommunications

    Madam Speaker, we have heard the same answer from those Liberals about the Eastern Ontario Regional Network project and its inaction after four weeks of non-answers. The province has already committed $71 million to fund it.
     This project will save lives by connecting first responders on a dedicated network. Municipalities in the province have put people's safety first and committed their share. The Ontario government has stepped up. The municipalities have stepped up.
     When will the Liberal government and the Prime Minister finally put eastern Ontarians' safety first and fund this project?
    Madam Speaker, it is always ironic to hear the Conservatives talk about infrastructure when on this side of the House the facts speak for themselves.
     Under this government, we have approved 4,800 projects. That is four times more than the last Conservative government. The vast majority of those projects were approved in the first three years: 651 projects in Ontario when it comes to transit; 1,353 when it comes to green; 39 projects when it comes to community and cultural recreational infrastructure; and 82 projects in that member's riding.
    How many are there under Premier Ford? Zero.

[Translation]

Regional Economic Development

    Madam Speaker, more than 40 years ago, the government established a tax credit to stimulate investment in the Atlantic region, which includes the Maritimes, Gaspé and the Lower St. Lawrence to La Pocatière, but not the North Shore, which also needs to diversify its economy.
    Mining is a good activity, but it is cyclical. I wrote to the Minister of Finance, but he took no action.
    Why is the government so intent on holding back investment in the North Shore?
    Madam Speaker, our government takes very seriously its responsibility to make investments across the country and in all Quebec regions. That is why, in recent budgets, we increased funding for regional economic development agencies, including Quebec's Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions. We made these investments to have a major impact across the country, and we also invested in CFDCs.
    An important announcement will be made today about investments in Community Futures Development Corporations, or CFDCs, to ensure that investments are made across the country and in every Quebec region, including the North Shore.

Forestry Industry

    Madam Speaker, let us talk about another file where the government is neglecting the regions of Quebec: the spruce budworm that is devastating our forests.
    The infested area is larger than the entire province of New Brunswick, and yet, the government gave $75 million to New Brunswick and nothing, not one cent, to Quebec. Not surprisingly, the Irvings own part of New Brunswick's forests and have cutting rights to the rest. They are the ones pocketing the money, as usual.
    Will the government admit that it is robbing Quebec to line the pockets of its friends at Irving?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, our priority is ensuring the forestry industry remains a source of well-paying jobs and prosperity. We understand the importance of evidence and science-based decision-making. That is why we are investing in early intervention and providing up to $74 million over five years to prevent the spread of Spruce budworm in Atlantic Canada. We are also researching an early intervention strategy to slow the spread of these pests and minimize damage.

  (1210)  

[Translation]

Canadian Heritage

    Madam Speaker, the loss of 68 jobs at TVA proves that even the most popular media outlets are in trouble. In the meantime, Facebook, Netflix and other companies are not paying their share of tax, are not collecting tax, are not contributing to creating Quebec content, and do not have a single journalist on their payroll. We need to have new fund, bankrolled by the web giants, for local television.
    Will the government finally force them to pay their share?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, our thoughts go out to the workers who have lost their jobs and to their families.
     Our media is in crisis. The laws we have to protect our culture were made well before the Internet. Europe has been working to update its laws for over 10 years. Canada only started when we were elected in 2015.
     While the Europeans are in a marathon to make the web giants contribute to their culture, we, because of Conservative inaction, have to sprint. We will make the web giants contribute to our culture like every other Canadian business. There will be no free ride.

The Environment

    Madam Speaker, the provinces and territories that represent 85% of the Canadian population have reduced their greenhouse gases by 15% since 2005, almost enough to meet the 2020 targets that Canada agreed to in Copenhagen. However, we will not meet that target because two provinces, Alberta and Saskatchewan, have increased emissions by the same amount and now account for 50% of Canada's emission.
     What is the government prepared to do to curb the emissions of Canada's oil and gas industry so we can meet our international obligations?
    Madam Speaker, given that this is the first time I am answering a question from the member, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate him on his recent by-election win and welcome him to the House.
    He pointed to the fact there is evidence that our plan is working across different provinces and different sectors. However, there is some work to do.
     We have been working with the oil and gas sector in Canada to help it reduce its emissions in a number of ways. There are a few examples, which include the phase-out of fossil fuel subsidies. We have already moved to phase out eight ineffective tax-based fossil fuel subsidies. We have introduced new regulations that will cut methane emissions by 45% in the short term. In addition, we are investing in research and development to help the sector reduce its emissions as we grow the economy.

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Committees of the House

Foreign Affairs and International Development 

    Madam Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 27th report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, entitled “The Canary in the Coal Mine: Responding to Violations of Press Freedoms in Venezuela and Myanmar”.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
    I would like to thank the witnesses, especially the journalists who testified before the Subcommittee on International Human Rights, some of them putting themselves at great personal risk to do so, and also journalists around the world who put themselves at risk for their safety to bring us the truth.

[Translation]

Agriculture and Agri-Food  

    Madam Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 18th report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food concerning the votes in the main estimates 2019-20 that were referred to the committee.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to ask for unanimous consent for the following motion: That, notwithstanding Standing Order 108.1(b), in relation to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, and for the remainder of the 42nd Parliament, dissenting or supplementary opinions or recommendations to committee reports, other than reports on bills or estimates, may be filed by members of the committee without approval from the committee, provided that dissenting or supplementary opinions or recommendations from a recognized party's member on the committee do not exceed a total of 16 pages or the length of the original report, whichever is shorter, and are filed by a deadline set by the committee and shall be appended to the report after the signature of the chair.

  (1215)  

[Translation]

    Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?
    Some hon. members: No.

[English]

Petitions

Firearms  

    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition signed by Canadians from the ridings of Brampton West, King—Vaughan, and Richmond Hill.
    The petitioners call on the House of Commons to respect the rights of law-abiding firearms owners and reject the Prime Minister's plan to waste taxpayers' money on a ban on guns that are already banned.

PTSD Treatment  

    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition signed by 100 people in Calgary who are calling on the government to revert its decision to change the medical questionnaire that has made it more difficult for veterans to access treatment for PTSD.
    The petitioners call on the government to either revert to the old form or amend the existing form, because the change it has made is making it more difficult for veterans to access the care they need.

Canada Post  

    Madam Speaker, I have a petition from residents of Manor Avenue in my riding who are not pleased with the location of their community mailbox. They find that it is extremely inconvenient, and in fact dangerous.
    The petitioners would like to bring to the attention of the government the fact that negotiations they have tried to undertake with Canada Post have not been fruitful. They are prepared to sit down and resolve the matter in a mutually agreeable way.

The Environment  

    Madam Speaker, I have a petition signed by concerned residents in my riding of Windsor—Tecumseh, who live in the heart of the Great Lakes freshwater system and so are extremely concerned that the government still has not produced a comprehensive plan or timetable to meet its own targets for greenhouse gas emissions. They call on the government to produce an action plan, including all of the ministries, for the next budget, to enable it to achieve its emission reduction targets by 2030, and also an action plan with the measures needed to meet the commitments made under the Paris Agreement to keep warming under 1.5°C.

Opioids  

    Madam Speaker, the second petition is also from residents in Windsor—Tecumseh, who are highly conscious of the issue of the opioid crisis and understand that in order to access certain resources nationally and to have an approach with the aim to reduce and eliminate preventable deaths, we have to declare this a national public health emergency under the Emergencies Act, and they urge us to do so.

[Translation]

College of Midwives of Ontario  

    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to present two petitions today. The first is signed primarily by citizens of Ontario, but it also contains signatures from Canadians across the country.

[English]

    The 2,065 signatories call on the government to denounce the decision of the Ontario government's Ministry of Health to cut operational grants to the College of Midwives of Ontario and to highlight how this retroactive cut is especially harmful. The petitioners strongly believe that midwifery is a critical health care service and that the College of Midwives of Ontario is a fundamental institution that deserves to be supported.
    Ontarians understand that cuts to services are dangerous and irresponsible. That is why they call on the premier to reverse these cuts.

  (1220)  

[Translation]

Transportation Safety  

    Madam Speaker, the second petition has been signed by 768 Canadians who support the installation of side guards on heavy trucks to prevent tragedies.

[English]

    They call on the Minister of Transport to ensure that the next revision of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act includes a regulation update that ensures that all trucks built in or imported to Canada are equipped with side guards by 2025 and that our government take measures to install side guards on all federal government vehicles where needed.

Pharmacare  

    Madam Speaker, it is an honour to present petitions on behalf of my constituents from Cumberland, Courtenay, Qualicum Beach, Parksville and Nanoose Bay.
    The first petition calls on the Government of Canada to implement a universal pharmacare program. The petitioners cite that one in five people is unable to fill prescriptions due to financial reasons and that people should not have to struggle to pay for the prescription drugs they need. They also state that Canada is the only country in the world with a universal medicare system that does not include prescription drugs. They call on the government to lower prescription drug costs for all Canadians and work with the provinces to implement a universal pharmacare program as part of our public health care system.

Seniors  

    Madam Speaker, the second petition calls on the government to ensure that when people turn 64, they automatically get their guaranteed income supplement. The petitioners call on the government to ensure that everybody who is eligible for old age security and has a low income can count on it, and that program will roll into itself.

Super Visas  

    Madam Speaker, I am presenting a petition today from constituents who have supported the need to have super visas, which are visas used by individuals to come to Canada and stay for an extended period of time, up to two years. They call for assurance that if they get a super visa, they will be allowed to stay for the entirety of the two years.

Questions on the Order Paper

    Madam Speaker, I would ask that all questions be allowed to stand.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): Is that agreed?
     Some hon. members: Agreed.

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Government Orders]

[Translation]

National Security Act, 2017

    The House resumed consideration of the motion in relation to the amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters, and of the amendment.
    The hon. member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles has eight minutes and 30 seconds for questions and comments.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. I would like to ask him a question.
    I hardly need to remind him that the NDP and the Conservatives disagree on how to address some of the issues raised by Bill C-59. However, I think that we do agree on one thing, which is how the study of this bill was handled. It was sent to committee before second reading so more amendments could be made, more witnesses could be heard from and the bill could be studied more thoroughly. I do not remember exactly how many meetings we had, but we had more for the clause-by-clause study than for the study itself.
    Does my colleague agree that more time should have been allocated to studying this important bill? The House could have studied it in greater detail, especially considering how much time the Senate spent studying it.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my NDP colleague.
    Our visions are often very different. However, our common goal is to succeed in making things better. Bill C-59 is a 260-page omnibus bill with more than nine parts. The NDP originally suggested splitting the bill so that we could work on it in a different way. All of its requests were denied. That was the government's ideology. The Liberals had their hearts set on attacking Bill C-51, and never mind everything else. Yes, I agree with my NDP colleague that our visions were different, but our objective was the same. Sadly, the Liberals were not willing to listen.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I was here when the minister made his statements in regard to the necessity of this legislation and explained exceptionally well why we are at the stage we are at.
    My question is related to the bigger picture. The member made reference to Bill C-51. There were a series of changes that were required. We are seeing part of that in the legislation; it is only a component of it. The legislation also addressed one of the biggest things lacking in Bill C-51, and that was the parliamentary oversight committee, which put us on par with other Five Eyes nations. I think this is good, substantive legislation that is in Canadians' best interests, from a security and privacy perspective. Both issues are being addressed.
    Would the member not agree that it is time we actually saw this legislation passed?

  (1225)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    Bill C-59 is an omnibus bill. That will make it easy for the government to claim that the Conservatives voted against the bill as a whole, but that is completely untrue. I made that clear in my speech. For example, we agree with part 6, which makes changes to air travel legislation to fix problems with the no-fly list. There are also other parts where certain elements were changed. The fact remains that, overall, Bill C-59 is a political document designed to attack Bill C-51. In our opinion, the primary objective of fixing things that were problematic in the eyes of the Liberals or others has not been met, or has been met in a way that caters to certain interests.
    As for security, this bill makes it harder for our agencies to do their job, especially the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, or CSIS. It is wrong to say that we oppose Bill C-59 as a whole, but we cannot support it, because it is an omnibus bill and the problematic provisions are simply unacceptable.
    Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in the House today.

[English]

    I ask for the indulgence of the House and I hope no one will get up on a point of order on this, but because I am making a speech on a specific day, I did want to shout out to two of my biggest supporters.
    The first is to my wife Chantale, whose birthday is today. I want to wish her a happy birthday. Even bigger news is that we are expecting a baby at the end of July. I want to shout out the fact that she has been working very hard at her own job, which is obviously a very exhausting thing, and so the patience she has for my uncomparable fatigue certainly is something that I really do thank her for and love her very much for.
    I do not want to create any jealousy in the household, so I certainly want to give a shout-out to her daughter and our daughter Lydia, who is also a big supporter of mine. We are a threesome, and as I said at my wedding last year, I had the luck of falling in love twice. I wanted to take this opportunity, not knowing whether I will have another one before the election, to shout out to them and tell them how much I love them.
     I thank my colleagues for their warm thoughts that they have shared with me.

[Translation]

    On a more serious note, I would like to talk about the Senate amendments to Bill C-59. More specifically, I would like to talk about the process per se and then come back to certain aspects of Bill C-59, particularly those about which I raised questions with the minister—questions that have yet to be answered properly, if at all.
    I want to begin by touching on a more timely issue related to a bill that is currently before the House, Bill C-98. This bill will give more authority to the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP so that it also covers the Canada Border Services Agency. That is important because we have been talking for a long time about how the CBSA, the only agency that has a role to play in our national security, still does not have a body whose sole function is to review its operations.
    Of course, there is the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, which was created by Bill C-22, and there will soon be a committee created by Bill C-59 that will affect the CBSA, but only with regard to its national security related activities.
    I am talking about a committee whose sole responsibility would be to review the activities of the Canada Border Services Agency and to handle internal complaints, such as the allegations of harassment that have been reported in the media in recent years, or complaints that Muslim citizens may make about profiling.
    It is very important that there be some oversight or further review. I will say that, as soon as an article is published, either about a problem at the border, about the union complaining about the mistreatment of workers or about problems connected to the agency, the minister comes out with great fanfare to remind everyone that he made a deep and sincere promise to create a system that would properly handle these complaints and that there would be some oversight or review of the agency.
    What has happened in four whole years? Nothing at all.
    For years now, every time there is a report in the news or an article comes out detailing various allegations of problems, I have just been copying and pasting the last tweet I posted. The situation keeps repeating, but the government is not doing anything.
    This situation is problematic because the minister introduced a bill at the last minute, as the clock is winding down on this Parliament, and the bill has not even been referred yet to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.
    I have a hard time believing that we will pass this bill in the House and an even harder time seeing how it is going to get through the Senate.
    That is important because, in his speech, the minister himself alluded to the fact that in fall 2016, when the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, of which I am a member, travelled across the country to study the issue and make recommendations ahead of introducing Bill C-59, the recommendation to create a committee tasked with studying the specific activities of the CBSA was one of the most important recommendations. As we see in Bill C-98, the government did not take this opportunity to do any such thing.

  (1230)  

[English]

    It is certainly troubling, because Bill C-59 is an omnibus piece of legislation. I pleaded with the House, the minister and indeed even the Senate, when it reached the Senate, through different procedural mechanisms, to consider parts of the bill separately, because, as the minister correctly pointed out, this is a huge overhaul of our national security apparatus. The concern with that is not only the consideration that is required, but also the fact that some of these elements, which I will come back to in a moment, were not even part of the national security consultations that both his department and the committee, through the study it did, actually took the time to examine.
    More specifically, coming back to and concluding the point on Bill C-98, the minister does not seem to have acted in a prompt way, considering his commitments when it comes to oversight and/or a review of the CBSA. He said in his answer to my earlier question on his speech that it was not within the scope of this bill. That is interesting, not only because this is omnibus legislation, but also because the government specifically referred the legislation to committee prior to second reading with the goal of allowing amendments that were beyond the scope of the bill on the understanding that it did want this to be a large overhaul.
    I have a hard time understanding why, with all the indicators being there that it wanted this to be a large, broad-reaching thing and wanted to have things beyond the scope, it would not have allowed for this type of mechanism. Instead, we find we have a bill, Bill C-98, arriving at the 11th hour, without a proper opportunity to make its way through Parliament before the next election.

[Translation]

    I talked about how this is an omnibus bill, which makes it problematic in several ways. I wrote a letter to some senators about children whose names are on the no-fly list and the No Fly List Kids group, which the minister talked about. I know the group very well. I would like to congratulate the parents for their tireless efforts on their children's behalf.
    Some of the children are on the list simply because the list is racist. Basically, the fact that the names appear multiple times is actually a kind of profiling. We could certainly have a debate about how effective the list is. This list is totally outdated and flawed because so many people share similar names. It is absurd that there was nothing around this list that made it possible for airlines and the agents who managed the list and enforced the rules before the bill was passed to distinguish between a terrorist threat and a very young child.
    Again, I thank the parents for their tireless efforts and for the work they did in a non-partisan spirit. They may not be partisan, but I certainly am. I will therefore take this opportunity to say that I am appalled at the way the government has taken these families and children hostage for the sake of passing an omnibus bill.
    The minister said that the changes to the no-fly list would have repercussions on a recourse mechanism that would stop these children from being harassed every time they go to the airport. This part of the bill alone accounted for several hundred pages.
     I asked the government why it did not split this part from the rest of the bill so it would pass sooner, if it really believed it would deliver justice to these families and their kids. We object to certain components or aspects of the list. We are even prepared to challenge the usefulness of the list and the flaws it may have. If there are any worthy objectives, we are willing to consider them. However, again, our hands were tied by the use of omnibus legislation. During the election campaign, the Liberals promised to make omnibus bills a thing of the past.
    I know parents will not say that, and I do not expect them to do so. I commend them again for their non-partisan approach. However, it is appalling and unacceptable that they have been taken hostage.
    Moreover, there is also Bill C-21.

  (1235)  

    I will digress here for a moment. Bill C-21, which we opposed, was a very troubling piece of legislation that dealt with the sharing of border information with the Americans, among others. This involved information on citizens travelling between Canada and the United States. Bill C-59 stalled in the Senate, much like Bill C-21.
    As the Minister of Public Safety's press secretary was responding to the concerns of parents who have children on the no-fly list, he suddenly started talking about Bill C-21 as a solution for implementing the redress system for people who want to file a complaint or do not want to be delayed at the airport for a name on the list, when it is not the individual identified. I think it is absolutely awful that these families are being used as bargaining chips to push through a bill that contains many points that have nothing to do with them and warrant further study. In my view, those aspects have not been examined thoroughly enough to move the bill forward.
    I thank the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness for recognizing the work I did in committee, even though it took two attempts when he responded to my questions earlier today. In committee, I presented almost 200 amendments. Very few of them were accepted, which was not a surprise.
    I would like to focus specifically on one of the Senate's amendments that the government agreed to. This amendment is important and quite simple, I would say even unremarkable. It proposes to add a provision enabling us to review the bill after three years, rather than five, and make amendments if required. That is important because we are proposing significant and far-reaching changes to our national security system. What I find intriguing is that I proposed the same amendment in committee, which I substantiated with the help of expert testimony, and the Liberals rejected my amendment. Now, all of a sudden, the Senate is proposing the same amendment and the government is agreeing to it in the motion we are debating today.
    I asked the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness why the Liberals were not willing to put partisanship aside in a parliamentary committee and accept an opposition amendment that proposed a very simple measure but are agreeing to it today. He answered that they had taken the time to reflect and changed their minds when the bill was in the Senate. I am not going to spend too much of my precious time on that, but I find it somewhat difficult to accept because nothing has changed. Experts appeared before the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, and it was very clear, simple and reasonable. Having said that, I thank the minister for finally recognizing this morning that I contributed to this process.

  (1240)  

[English]

    I also want to talk about some of what concerns us about the bill. There are two pieces specifically with regard to what was Bill C-51 under the previous government, and a few aspects new to this bill that have been brought forward that cause us some concern and consternation.
    There are two pieces in Bill C-51 that raised the biggest concerns at the time of debate in the previous Parliament and raised the biggest concerns on the part of Canadians as well, leading to protests outside our committee hearings when we travelled the country to five major cities in five days in October 2016. The first has to do with threat disruption, and the second is the information-sharing regime that was brought in by Bill C-51. Both of those things are concerning, for different reasons.
    The threat disruption powers offered to CSIS are of concern because at the end of the day, the reason CSIS was created in the first place was that there was an understanding and consensus in Canada that there had to be a separation between the RCMP's role in law enforcement, which is making arrests and the work that revolves around that, and intelligence gathering, which is the work our intelligence service has to do, so they were separated.
    However, bringing us back closer to the point where we start to lose that distinction with regard to the threat disruption powers means that a concern about constitutionality will remain. In fact, the experts at committee did say that Bill C-59, while less unconstitutional than what the Conservatives brought forward in the previous Parliament, had yet to be tested, and there was still some uncertainty about it.
    We still believe it is not necessary for CSIS to have these powers. That distinction remains important if we want to be in keeping with the events that led to the separation in the first place, namely the barn burnings, the Macdonald Commission and all those things that folks who have followed this debate know full well, but which we do not have time to get into today.

[Translation]

    The other point is the sharing of information, which we are all familiar with. We opened the door to more liberal sharing of information, no pun intended, between the various government departments. That is worrisome. In Canada, one of the most highly publicized cases of human rights violations was the situation of Maher Arar while he was abroad, which led to the Arar commission. In such cases, we know that the sharing of information with other administrations is one of the factors that can lead to the violation of human rights or torture. There are places in the world where human rights are almost or completely non-existent. We find that the sharing of information between Canadian departments can exacerbate such situations, particularly when information is shared between the police or the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Department of Foreign Affairs.
    There is an individual who was tortured abroad who is currently suing the government. His name escapes me at the moment. I hope he will forgive me. Global Affairs Canada tried to get him a passport to bring him back to Canada, regardless of whether the accusations against him were true, because he was still a Canadian citizen. However, overwhelming evidence suggests that CSIS and the RCMP worked together with foreign authorities to keep him abroad.
    More information sharing can exacerbate that type of problem because, in the government, the left hand does not always know what the right hand is doing. Some information can fall into the wrong hands. If the Department of Foreign Affairs is trying to get a passport for someone and is obligated by law to share that information with CSIS, whose interests are completely different than those of our diplomats, this could put us on a slippery slope.
    The much-criticized information sharing system will remain in place with Bill C-59. I do not have the time to list all the experts and civil society groups that criticized this system, but I will mention Amnesty International, which is a well-known organization that does excellent work. This organization is among those critical of allowing the information sharing to continue, in light of the human rights impact it can have, especially in other countries.
    Since the bill was sent back to committee before second reading, we had the advantage of being able to propose amendments that went beyond the scope of the bill. We realized that this was a missed opportunity. It was a two-step process, and I urge those watching and those interested in the debates to go take a look at how it went down. There were several votes and we called for a recorded division. Votes can sometimes be faster in committee, but this time we took the time to do a recorded division.
    There were two proposals. The Liberals were proposing an amendment to the legislation. We were pleased to support the amendment, since it was high time we had an act stating that we do not support torture in another country as a result of the actions of our national security agencies or police forces. Nevertheless, since this amendment still relies on a ministerial directive, the bill is far from being perfect.
    I also proposed amendments to make it illegal to share any information that would lead to the torture of an individual in another country. The amendments were rejected.

  (1245)  

    I urge my colleagues to read about them, because I am running out of time. As you can see, 20 minutes is not enough, but I would be happy to take questions and comments.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I have a question on the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act within Bill C-59. Could the member comment on how effective that element is and how it will make the Canadian public more secure and more effective? I would appreciate it if the member could elaborate on this point.
    Madam Speaker, we will have to disagree on information sharing. Both Bill C-51 and now with a slight rejigging or perhaps cosmetic change at best in the bill before us is not going to necessarily increase public safety, but certainly forces us to run the risk of finding ourselves in a situation where human rights might be violated.
    I will go back to the example I gave in my speech. On the surface, it might make sense to Canadians who are watching to think that we are going to share information between agencies. However, we said at the time of the debate on Bill C-51 that the RCMP, CSIS and any other agency in Canada that worked to ensure public safety needed more resources to more effectively do their work to keep us safe.
    We see some unintended consequences. If Consular Affairs has to share information with CSIS, for example, when CSIS might be engaged in a different type of activity or with different objectives, we know that is where we can find situations like the one Maher Arar went through when he was detained abroad and subject to torture, as well as many others, tragically and disturbingly. That is where we disagree.
    Information sharing, as it existed pre-Bill C-51, the Conservative legislation in the previous Parliament, was adequate. Again, additional resources to these agencies would have been the way to go. That is what we said at the time and that is what we continue to say today.

  (1250)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Beloeil—Chambly for his speech, and also for all the diligent and hard work he has been doing on this file for months now.
    At the end of his speech, my colleague made a point that I think is key and that I found very interesting. Because of time constraints, I did not hear enough details. He said that in committee, he proposed an amendment to amend the act to ensure that Canadian agencies and departments could not share any information that would lead, directly or indirectly, to the torture of Canadian citizens. That amendment was rejected.
    What reason did the other committee members give for rejecting an amendment that, my goodness, seems entirely reasonable and in line with our values?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question and his kind words.
    He is right; that is a very important aspect. The Liberals proposed an amendment, and we supported it. The amendment actually created a brand new law. Procedure allows us to do that.
    Once again, amending the act to state that Canada condemns torture and forbids our agencies from sharing information or taking action that could lead to Canadian citizens being tortured is commendable. However, the law also said that deputy ministers and agency directors were required to obey ministerial directives, even though we know that ministerial directives forbidding anyone from sharing information that could lead to people being tortured already exist and are downright inadequate.
    I wonder if the government decided not to make that prohibition law because it is worried people might sue the government and win. Many out-of-court settlements have resulted in payments to individuals who were victims of torture abroad because of the Government of Canada's actions. I do not think the government is bothered by these people winning. I just think it does not want to be humiliated in court when information about our agencies' bad behaviour gets out.
    I think the government just wanted to protect itself, but what I want is legislation that protects citizens here and abroad. Unfortunately, the government did not want to go as far as experts, groups such as Amnesty International and, of course, the NDP, wanted it to go. This is yet another half-measure. We are not going to turn it down, but much more can be done. Human rights warrant nothing less than total protection.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, Bill C-59 is a very important bill because it is an omnibus bill related to security and intelligence measures. I have spoken to it several times in the House, and it is critical.
     It is critical for parliamentarians to understand and hear the discussion on this bill before we pass it. Therefore, Madam Speaker, I would like to ask you whether the House has quorum for my speech on Bill C-59.
    And the count having been taken:
    We have quorum now.
    The hon. member for Durham.
    Thank you, Madam Speaker. I appreciate your rousting the government members from their slumber. As most Canadians realize, they have been—
    Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Given that the government has six times the number of members as the Conservative Party has, if anyone is slumbering, I would suggest it might be the Conservatives.
    That is not a point of order. Everyone should know that quorum in the House is 20. I would tend to think they will want to ensure there are 20 people here, and we all know whose responsibility that would be.
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Durham.

  (1255)  

    Madam Speaker, for Canadians watching, it is not appropriate for a member of Parliament to refer to the presence or absence of a member in the House, and I certainly did not mention an individual member at all. Most of the Liberals were not here, so I certainly did not highlight anyone specifically.
    Because Bill C-59 is one of the many omnibus bills we have seen in this Parliament, I am going to speak to three aspects of this bill. I need to remind Canadians and my friend, the deputy House leader of the Liberal Party, that the Liberals promised Canadians that they would never use omnibus legislation in this Parliament. I have lost count of the number of omnibus pieces of legislation, which my friend, the Liberal MP from Winnipeg, once called an assault on democracy. They have been regularly assaulting this democracy in this Parliament, and Bill C-59 is an example, because it is comprehensive. It would affect the Criminal Code, the Communications Security Establishment and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. There are multiple pieces of legislation referenced and amended. It is very comprehensive.
    The Conservatives have tried to work with the government on it. There are two central concerns I have with Bill C-59, which is why I and the Conservatives cannot support it, despite the good work by opposition members and despite the good work by the Senate, which agrees with much of what I am going to say.
    I am going to talk about two critical pieces where the government is falling short, from a public safety standpoint, with Bill C-59. Then I am going to talk about the great advocacy work of No Fly List Kids and people like Sulemaan Ahmed and the families that have been some of the most sincere, thoughtful and creative advocates I have seen in my six years in Parliament trying to make public policy better. I am going to make a commitment to them right at the start of this speech. Conservatives will fix the problems with the no-fly list. We will make sure that there is a redress system to have false positives addressed, and we will do that within the first two years of government. We will have a process to get it fixed.
    The government throws it into an omnibus bill and claims that it is going to cost far more than it is. We need a redress system, much like the one in the United States.
    When the no-fly list was created under the Conservative government, and I am not suggesting that it was not under the Conservative government, there was no idea that there would be so many false positives. Families impacted by that, many families who have children sharing a name with someone who might be on a no-fly list, have no way to distinguish that or redress that, and that is unfair. It has affected many families from across the country.
    I want to thank the no-fly list kids and their families and make that personal pledge to them. I have mentioned it many times in the House and in committee. If we win the election in the fall, which we are planning to, to get Canada back on track, we will make a commitment to fix that very quickly, faster than the government that still has not fixed the Phoenix pay system in the final months of its time in government.
    Here are the substantive measures we cannot support in Bill C-59. The no-fly list is part of this large omnibus bill.
     The reason Conservatives cannot support it are central to public safety and security. I say this as a Canadian Armed Forces veteran, as a former minister of the Crown and as a former shadow minister for public safety. I have looked at this bill and the issues involved in great detail.
    The first issue is the threat disruption threshold. The government's change is a risk to public safety. I never overstate risks. There is not a bogeyman around every corner. However, when we change the threshold for peace officers, law enforcement and our justice system from “likely to prevent” a terrorist act to “necessary to prevent” the commission of such an act, that is a threshold that will perplex police forces across this country and make it hard for them to detain risks to public safety and security.

  (1300)  

    Why is that critical? It is because, when we introduced a change to this power, following the attack on Parliament and following the attack and death of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, the Prime Minister, who was the member for Papineau and third party leader in the last Parliament, praised this preventative measure in that Parliament. In fact, he said that he “welcome[s] the measures [on] preventative arrest” that were contained in the bill. However, the Liberals are changing it, and law enforcement and security officials are telling them not to change it.
     I would invite Liberal members who were not here in the last Parliament to read the committee transcripts from the last Parliament and the testimony from Patrice Vincent's sister. He was a warrant officer serving with distinction in Quebec who was run down and killed by a radicalized Canadian because of the uniform he wore. That is it. He was targeted. Police knew that the young man from Quebec was a risk, but they did not feel they had an evidentiary burden to make a preventative arrest to prevent what they thought might be the commission of a terrorist offence.
    By making it “necessary to prevent”, the bill sets a high standard. As a lawyer, I worry about that standard. “Likely” does not mean that this power would allow law enforcement to willy-nilly preventatively arrest people. “Likely to prevent” the commission of an offence is an appropriate threshold. Changing this is a very poor and, quite frankly, dangerous public policy. Therefore, we have asked for that amendment, as have many Canadians and many law enforcement experts.
    We, in the Conservative caucus, trust law enforcement officers. They have a difficult job to do whenever someone is caught on the way to committing an offence, as we saw in southwestern Ontario with Mr. Driver. Questions are asked by law enforcement. Look at how close we were. We have relied now two or three times in the last few years on FBI information to stop threats in our country. Therefore, this is a serious gap in Bill C-59.
    The second issue is the “counselling commission of terrorism” element of the bill and the criminal standard of the offence under our Criminal Code. Many groups appeared before committee in this Parliament saying that we cannot have ambiguity on the counselling the commission of terrorism issue in the bill. The old standard was “knowingly advocates or promotes the commission of terrorism”. Therefore, there is still an evidentiary threshold that is required. This is not some draconian power that people are suggesting. There is a threshold required. Making the threshold too high or too ambiguous is a risk, and that is unnecessary. In fact, the entire Senate agrees with our position on this. “Counselling” is way too broad and unclear.
    In an age when a lot of threats are now online, advocating, pushing, promoting should be something for the commission of violence on another, so that we can avoid the next attack on the Hill, so that we can avoid the next horrible attack like the one we saw at the mosque in Quebec City. That horrendous killer went into the mosque, and if law enforcement had seen that he was knowingly advocating or promoting violence against an identifiable group, that would have been enough. In fact, combined with my last point, it would have been “likely to prevent”. That could have stopped someone in that circumstance.
    All communities, particularly religious communities like the Muslim and Jewish communities that face threats and see horrific things online, should not want these aspects of Bill C-59 to pass, and that is what the Conservatives have consistently been advocating in the interest of public safety, in the interest of all Canadians. The Senate agrees on the issue of counselling the commission of an offence. Most advocacy groups agree that it is too ambiguous. In a time when we are seeing these threats emerge online, we are seeing people radicalized online.

  (1305)  

    In the last Parliament, I remember one of my early votes was to make travelling abroad for training with a terrorist organization a crime under the Criminal Code. Now, with social media, technology and YouTube, people do not need to travel. They can be radicalized, promote hate and violence and actually advocate for violence against an identifiable group online.
    We have to give law enforcement the tools of preventative arrest and we have to criminalize some of that terror activity at its source, trusting our law enforcement and our courts. Preventative arrest is not trial and conviction. It is law enforcement, in conjunction often with the Crown, saying that it has ascertained there is a serious risk to public safety, to Canadian citizens, to people living in Canada, to people visiting Canada, and that preventative arrest will likely prevent it. That is a reasonable standard. That was the old standard.
     Changing that to arresting the person preventatively to prevent this or to stop it is too high a threshold. That could mean law enforcement would spend three more weeks looking into the suspect. In the case of Patrice Vincent, we heard that in committee in particular. I would invite Canadians to look at the committee transcripts. I will tweet his sister's testimony out later. Law enforcement knew that gentleman in Quebec. I cannot remember his name right now. He was a young Québécois who had been racialized and law enforcement knew he was a risk.
    Those are the two elements why the Conservatives cannot support Bill C-59. It is bad for public safety and security. There are other elements in the bill we like. However, an omnibus bill, as my friend from Winnipeg used to say, is an assault on democracy. I have tried in my speech to commit to two key things on why the legislation is flawed.
    I cannot understate enough how impressed I am by the thoughtful and informed advocacy of the no-fly list kids. I know members on all sides of the House have heard from these people and have seen their commentary.
    My friend Sulemaan will laugh when he hears I am promoting going to a Montreal Canadiens game, as a Toronto Maple Leafs fan, but I am. When young people are prevented from going to a hockey game of the Montreal Canadiens because they share a name with someone who is a threat, not only is it unfair to them, it shows that our no-fly list is full of garbage. In public safety and security that is not enough. If someone has to sort through dozens, hundreds and thousands of false positives, is there really security at all?
    This is a commitment from my leader and our caucus. We want to thank the no-fly list group and their families for the advocacy they have done with all the members of the House and commit to them. We are the party that delivers. We are not the hashtag party. We are not the photo ops party. We are the party that will deliver. We give our commitment that this will be a priority early in our government.
    I can see a resolution. I have often said that this is not as complex as the minister of public safety has suggested. I do not even believe it is an accurate statement that it will cost $80 million to fix it.
    The U.S. has a redress list. This is about data. This is about ensuring we constantly review the no-fly list . If people who are not threats are crowding out the one or two who may be, the system is not working. I think all Canadians will agree with our pledge to commit that.
     I praised the government when it finally addressed the issue, after listening to the families of the no-fly list kids. However, by putting it into an omnibus bill, it prevents us from addressing it immediately. I am not suggesting bad faith on the part of the government. I think it listened to the advocacy and found this was the most appropriate bill to put it into. However, I do not think it even requires legislation. It could have been done through a ministerial directive. Most of the entries on the no-fly list are known to be false positives.

  (1310)  

     I remember when retired Senator David Smith was on the list. He was a prominent Liberal senator, or whatever those types of senators are called these days, Liberal or independent. I am not sure. How many David Smiths would there be in Canada? There would be roughly a thousand, so the list is garbage.
    Then we saw that a number of young Canadians were on the list because they shared common names in certain communities. How do the hundreds of people with the same name but no biometric information redress that? How can we get the newborn babies off that list? The minister could fix that under his or her own authority. If that had been done, as I said at the time, there would have been full support for the government.
     I acknowledge that when we brought this measure in, even prior to my time in Parliament we did not anticipate this false positive issue. I think we have much to learn from the redress system in the U.S., because if there are problems with their no-fly list there, we could avoid some of those pitfalls and make ours world class. That is a commitment we want to make as part of the debate on Bill C-59.
    I will go on to say that we generally support other aspects of the bill, those related to security and intelligence oversight, and we have been trying to participate in that work. At various times during our time in government, we talked about a super SIRC and more coordination and oversight with respect to the agencies that collect data. However, one challenge that was faced in minority parliaments was that it was very hard to set up a committee of parliamentarians that would have been devoid of politics. So far, from what I have seen from that committee, although we have not had much in the way of reports from it, it does not seem that politics have been impacting the process. That is a good thing that has come out of this.
     There are elements of Bill C-59 that we support. However, when they are included in an omnibus bill, we have to weigh the elements we support on the intelligence side, such as the redress system for the no-fly list, against the elements we do not support. During my speech, I tried to outline the two very serious ones. I cannot underscore enough the fact that preventive arrest is a rare power provided to law enforcement, but it is there because we live in a dangerous and uncertain world. Many of us will remember the day when Nathan Cirillo was killed and the gunman came into the old building, and Patrice Vincent, and the shooting in the mosque in Quebec City, and the Aaron Driver case, when law enforcement stopped this person in southwestern Ontario when he was on his way to commit an offence. We cannot set the burden so high for law enforcement officers that they know there is a risk but are debating for weeks on whether preventive arrest will stop that risk from harming Canadians.
     One of our most fundamental duties as parliamentarians is to provide a safe, secure, rules-based system that respects diversity and human rights. Law enforcement officers have a tough job to do, so the last thing we can do, as this Parliament wraps up, is support a bill that will make their job harder.
    Madam Speaker, I was here when Stephen Harper brought in Bill C-51. We voted for it, even though we recognized back then that it needed significant changes, and part of this legislation deals with some of those changes. We brought in legislation earlier dealing with what was a major flaw in Bill C-51, which was not having the parliamentary oversight committee. This government rectified that problem. We made a commitment to Canadians.
    The difference between us and the Conservatives is that we look at individual rights and charter rights and privacy as being as important as security and safety, and in fact we can do both at the same time. This legislation is a good example.
    When my friend was talking about the no-fly list, it was as if the Conservatives know how to get it right, when in fact Bill C-51 set up the environment that put many children onto the no-fly list. It was Stephen Harper who complicated it and made it more difficult, such that more children were put on the no-fly list.
    In the future, are some of my colleague's proposed changes going to rectify the problems that Stephen Harper put in, which in good part this legislation and previous legislation have already addressed?

  (1315)  

    Madam Speaker, I always enjoy my friend from Winnipeg North. I know he loves my using his assault-on-democracy quote with respect to omnibus bills. The frequency of the Liberals' time allocation and closure in the last few weeks of Parliament would really make Peter Van Loan blush. He should review some of his speeches of outrage in the previous Parliament.
    Let me address the member's issues. As I reminded him when he railed on about Bill C-51, he voted for it. The Prime Minister, at that time the leader of the third party, praised the preventive-arrest measures. Now the Liberals are throwing those out the window. Much like everything with this Prime Minister, it is just not as advertised. I have heard that a few times.
     We generally support intelligence oversight, as the member will note from my remarks. That was difficult to do in a minority government at times. During the majority government it was not something that was looked at, but we have spoken in favour of it at times. I have spoken of it, and in fact Peter MacKay spoke in favour of it back around 2006.
    The final piece the member said about rights is critical. Public safety is a balancing between our important freedoms, liberties and rights and our public safety and security, and we certainly should be very careful. However, as I said, there are legal thresholds required for preventive arrest, and baked into them are evidence, a threshold and a trust in law enforcement to follow in conjunction with the Crown.
    We have the best legal system in the world. We have the best law enforcement in the world. It can always be better and we can make it better, but we cannot tie law enforcement agencies' hands. If someone is killed in a mosque or while guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, his or her rights are erased, so let us not bind the hands of law enforcement agents, who have a tough job in keeping Canadians safe. That is why we do not support the provision in Bill C-59.
    Madam Speaker, in the 2015 election Bill C-51 was front and centre in my riding. There were rallies held across the riding against Bill C-51. People were really angry with the Conservative government for putting it forward. They were almost equally angry with the Liberals for supporting it at that time.
    Regarding this current bill, Bill C-59, I want to quote from Cara Zwibel, acting general counsel, Canadian Civil Liberties Association. She said:
    All Canadian laws must comply with the Charter. Bill C-59 tries harder than its predecessor, but fails to fix some of the unconstitutional elements...contested in...Bill C-51. Troublingly, C-59 also allows intelligence agencies to engage in conduct that threatens freedom of expression, freedom of association, privacy, and public safety. The government has taken a first step, but a great deal more is needed. Canada must get it right on national security.
    I am interested in my colleague's comments on this statement that Bill C-59 continues to threaten freedom of expression, freedom of association, privacy and public safety.
    Madam Speaker, with respect to privacy, I refer the member to the comments of the Privacy Commissioner, who has provided testimony that directly contradicts what the member is saying. At least the NDP has been intellectually consistent with respect to the elements of Bill C-51. The Liberals voted for it, and now they are undoing it. The Liberals praised some of the elements on preventative arrest and now are caving on them. I think that is due more to electoral fortunes that anything else.
    I refer the member for Kootenay—Columbia, and anyone protesting in his riding, to look at the testimony of Patrice Vincent's sister, Louise Vincent, from March 2015, who said:
    It would have probably been able to prepare even more material for the attorney general who, with a lower burden of proof, would have agreed to issue a warrant. On October 20 of last year, Martin Couture-Rouleau very likely would have been in prison, and my brother would not be dead.
    Law enforcement knew that this young man, Mr. Rouleau, was a threat, and in fact, they had discussed with the Crown whether the burden for preventative arrest could be met.
    We are not requiring no burden, but we are also not saying to law enforcement that they have to be ready to go to trial if they fear that there is an imminent risk to public safety and security. Patrice Vincent had not done anything to Mr. Rouleau. He had a uniform on, and law enforcement could not protect him. That is why our laws have to reflect the world we live in, not a perfect world, not a dream world. We have to balance rights and liberties alongside public safety and security.
    Putting the threshold too high puts Canadians at risk, and that is why we have been consistent on this point. The Liberals have not been. At least that member has been consistent, and I respect that, but we, forming the next government, will have to make sure that we can tell Canadians that we will always make their safety a priority.

  (1320)  

    Madam Speaker, interestingly, the member for Durham mentions his friend Sulemaan Ahmed, who also turns out to be my friend. I happen to know how much work he and his whole cohort of parents have put into making this bill come to life in terms of getting their children off the no-fly list, where they do not belong. I think he would be shocked to know that his friend from Durham is no longer supporting this measure.
    Can he explain to us why he is doing this to his good friend Sulemaan?
    Madam Speaker, he is not surprised, because I spoke to him about 30 minutes ago as a courtesy. He is a wonderful Canadian, as are the parents of the no-fly list kids. I explained to him that our commitment, should we form government in the fall, is to deliver the redress system faster and more effectively than the government, which has lumped it into an omnibus bill.
    I explained to him that when there is an omnibus bill, we have to look at what elements we support and what elements we do not. This is why the member for Winnipeg North used to rail about omnibus bills when he was on this side of the chamber, which he soon will be again.
    However, I want to thank the member for that question, because at the end of the day, leaving the partisanship aside, we should thank families like the Ahmed family and others for their thoughtful advocacy. They worked with both sides of the House, appeared at committee and did a really innovative social media campaign, so much so that I think there is a business case study on their effective advocacy.
    Both the hon. member and I can say to Sulemaan that this is something we have identified as a gap. The Liberals have put it into this bill. We are making a commitment to make it a priority, should we form government. Both sides are committed to fixing that element of the no-fly list quandary.
    At the end of the day, we should thank Canadians for engaging with parliamentarians. We represent them. We are not perfect, nor are any bills perfect, but their advocacy helps make positive change. I want to thank them for doing that.

Notice of time allocation motion  

    Madam Speaker, I think the member for Durham has been quite clear that although things might not be perfect, it is important we move them ahead.
    That is exactly why I would like to advise that an agreement could not be reached under the provisions of Standing Orders 78(1) or 78(2) with respect to the consideration of certain amendments to Bill C-59, an act respecting national security matters.
    Under the provisions of Standing Order 78(3), I give notice that a minister of the Crown will propose at the next sitting a motion to allot a specific number of days or hours for the consideration and disposal of the said amendments.

  (1325)  

Customs Tariff

Bill C-101—Notice of time allocation motion  

    Madam Speaker, an agreement could not be reached under the provisions of Standing Orders 78(1) or 78(2) with respect to the second reading stage of Bill C-101, an act to amend the Customs Tariff and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act.
    Under the provisions of Standing Order 78(3), I give notice that a minister of the Crown will propose at the next sitting a motion to allot a specific number of days or hours for the consideration and disposal of proceedings at the said stage.

National Security Act, 2017

Notice of Closure Motion  

[S. O. 57]
    Madam Speaker, while I am on my feet, should we not be able to find a way forward, I wish to give notice that with respect to the consideration of Senate amendments to Bill C-59, an act respecting national security matters, at the next sitting of the House a minister of the Crown shall move, pursuant to Standing Order 57, that debate be not further adjourned.

Customs Tariff

Notice of Closure Motion 

[S. O. 57]
    Madam Speaker, with respect to the consideration of second reading stage of Bill C-101, an act to amend the Customs Tariff and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act, I wish to give notice that at the next sitting of the House a minister of the Crown shall move, pursuant to Standing Order 57, that debate be not further adjourned.
    Hopefully we will be able to find a better way forward.

National Security Act, 2017

    The House resumed consideration of the motion in relation to the amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters, and of the amendment.
    Madam Speaker, it is an honour and a privilege to have the opportunity to speak to such an important bill today.
    Yesterday marked the 75th anniversary of D-Day, a very important turning point in the Second World War and one where Canada was overwhelmingly able to contribute and further the cause of peace and security in the world.
    Why do I bring that up? This is a piece of legislation respecting national security matters and one that we must take very seriously, given the nature of the threats that are facing not only Canada here at home, but the world, at this point.
    For the first time in many years, we are seeing the rise of great powers. We are seeing an increase in the number of threats that are facing our country, and those threats are not coming only in terms of troops on the ground or weapons or guns being fired. Those threats are coming from what we call non-traditional or asymmetric threats. We can be sitting at home and we find that information manipulation, cyber-threats and online instigating of violence are having a significant contribution on people who would want to commit these acts.
    We must be vigilant. Democracy is fragile. Those men who sacrificed their lives 70 years ago for what we have today must be honoured. How do we honour them? Yes, we remember the incredible sacrifice they made, but we have also been entrusted with preserving the security and the values for which our nation stands going forward.
    What are those values? Those values are safeguarding the freedom of individual liberty, the principles of democracy and the rule of law. Every time any one of those things is eroded, we must stand and be counted to ensure that we do honour their memory and we remember what exactly they fought for and what we must also fight for into the future.
    What would Bill C-59 actually do? Bill C-59 is trying to make it appear that the Liberal government takes national security threats seriously. In a world of increasing threats, the government wants to show that it is doing something. Unfortunately, it is more about show than actual reality.
    Significant parts of the bill take existing legislation and muddy the waters. They make it weaker. They make the wording so that it is more difficult to execute on. Instead of giving money to the areas that will further pointy-end national security efforts, the government is putting money into more bureaucracy and more red tape and ensuring that nothing actually gets done.
    This is highly disconcerting. If Canadians do not understand what the threats are, and if our national security agencies and our law enforcement people have less ability, less legislation, weaker and more confusing legislation and more bureaucracy to execute on making sure we are safe and secure, then what exactly are we trying to accomplish?
    That is one of the more fundamental reasons why Conservative members cannot support the bill. It is a lot of bureaucracy. It is a lot of smoke and mirrors. It is an attempt to make it look like the Liberals are taking national security seriously, when in fact it compounds the problem and confuses the issue.
    The Liberals have combined it all into one organization, the national security and intelligence review agency, and we are not able to see what that organization is going to do and what its mandate will be.

  (1330)  

    Unfortunately, we have to end the debate here for now, but the hon. member for Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill will have 15 minutes the next time this matter is before the House.
    It being 1:30 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of Private Members' Business as listed on today's Order Paper.

PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS

[Private Members' Business]

[Translation]

Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act

    She said: Madam Speaker, on October 17, 2017, when Sears Canada announced it was declaring bankruptcy, I introduced Bill C-372, An Act to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. The 20,000 tragedies that were unfolding sadly echoed the 1,000 tragedies that Manicouagan experienced in 2015 and harshly but clearly illustrated the need for my bill.
    In January 2015, Cliffs Natural Resources, an American company operating in Fermont and Sept-Îles, Quebec, and Wabush, filed for protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act.
    Overnight, some 1,000 retirees lost nearly a quarter of their pensions as well as their group insurance. Through a negotiated, collective agreement, these workers agreed to forego part of their salary, to defer it to a pension fund. When Cliffs declared bankruptcy, that money was stolen from the workers. We have seen our share of tragedies back home on the North Shore.
    These are human tragedies with faces and names. For nearly 30 years, Bertrand Thériault from Sept-Îles worked at the Cliffs pellet plant. For nearly 30 years, he held up his end of the contract, in the dust. Mr. Thériault and his wife were forced to sell their home. On top of that, Mr. Thériault had to come out of retirement and start repairing bikes at Canadian Tire.
    The bankruptcy also affected Dolorès Chevarie and her husband, who is dealing with cancer. After Cliffs went out of business, the couple found themselves in a very tough situation when they lost their health insurance. These seniors racked up thousands of dollars in medical bills. They just wanted to be healthy. They did not have that kind of money. What are they being asked to do? Even though the multinational corporation went on turning a profit for its shareholders during and even after the bankruptcy process, it came at the expense of people like Bertrand Thériault and Dolorès Chevarie. True, our laws allow these tragedies to happen, but we, as legislators, have the power to change them. Politicians are often perceived as being powerless, but that is simply because they choose to be powerless. Today, I urge the House to demonstrate what politics can achieve by using the one thing that is at all members' disposal: our will.
    What I am proposing with Bill C-372 is a fundamental change to the way our laws treat the pension funds of workers and retirees. At present, our laws define the unfunded liability of pension funds as an unsecured claim, on the same level as a phone bill or credit card debt. The same goes for funds intended to be used to compensate workers for losing their group health insurance.
    Throughout their careers, workers give up a significant portion of their day-to-day wages to pay into a pension because they know this will make it possible for them to have some income when they retire. When the employer agrees to pay into a pension fund, it undertakes, under the terms of the collective agreement, which is a contract, to have workers receive what they have accrued once they have completed their years of service. Workers' wages belong to the workers. Workers' deferred wages also belong to the workers. No one would deny that.
    If our laws rightfully assign a very high priority to unpaid wages as a liability, they do not assign this same priority to actuarial unfunded pension liabilities. The law is not consistent because it creates two categories of wages. We must correct this anomaly. The principle of deferred wages must be enshrined in law in a fair manner. I will repeat that a pension fund consists of deferred wages. Thus, by law, it must be returned in full to workers and pensioners.
    Members will agree that this is a grave injustice. When this is acknowledged by Parliament, we as legislators will act to rectify it. What I am proposing with Bill C-372 is that we acknowledge the problem, take action and always strive for greater justice. My bill is very simple. It has five clauses that amend two acts. Clauses 1 to 4 amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and clause 5 amends the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act.

  (1335)  

     First, my bill ensures that, in the case of bankruptcy, no proposal in respect of an employer who participates in a pension plan, regardless of its nature, will be approved by the court unless it provides for the payment of an amount equal to the sum of all special payments. In practical terms, that means that workers' pensions will no longer be cut in the case of bankruptcy or restructuring, as has happened many times.
    Clause 2 of the bill would turn this unfunded liability into secured debt against the employer's assets. Those who oppose this idea claim that such a measure would lead to higher credit costs for businesses and could prompt banks to no longer give out loans. In response, I would like to quote independent financial analyst Diane Urquhart, who stated the following before the Standing Committee on Finance in 2010:
[F]or those that are investment grade and have pension fund deficits...the impact on the cost of capital...[would be] 0.16%. This is an amount that is easily borne, and should be borne, when you consider the social cost that comes when these companies...seek to enter bankruptcy for the purpose of double-dipping and making profit.
    A single company's collapse would not put the big banks out on the street, but the inconsistency of our laws can do just that to our pensioners.
    Clause 3 of the bill would ensure that, in the event of a receivership, special payments would also be guaranteed on the bankruptcy assets.
    Clause 4 is innovative as it introduces the concept of protecting group insurance as a preferred claim. I think it is necessary to make group insurance a higher priority, because it is a benefit that is received through work and that deserves greater protection since, again, it is a part of the compensation package. Beyond that, our continued denial of these facts amounts to knowingly jeopardizing the security of our seniors as well as the rights that workers have fought for.
    Lastly, clause 5 of the bill would amend the CCAA to ensure that, in the event of restructuring, the court could not approve a proposal that robs workers of part of their pension or fails to compensate them for the loss of their group insurance.
    If passed, Bill C-372 will fix the injustice of brazen pension theft. It will protect this income for retirees so that no one else will ever go through the same ordeal as the Cliffs pensioners.
    In closing, I should point out that the most-lobbied government member is the minister responsible for the CCAA. I know that all federalist parties support the report issued by the previous government, which proposed the status quo regarding the CCAA.
    I know the banks will not like my bill. I know they can afford to pay a lot of lobbyists. I know they do not want Bill C-372 and they will do everything they can to kill it. I know all of that. Unfortunately, I also know that in a perhaps not too distant future, other companies will go bankrupt, since crises are bound to happen in a capitalist system. I also know that if my bill does not pass, more families will experience hardships, just like the ones in my riding did. My bill is not about taking an opportunity or having the privilege of making things better; it is about our duty to make a change.
    When I vote yes on this bill, I will be thinking of the pensioners not only of Cliffs, but also Nortel, Sears, Mabe, Stelco and so many others, and I will know deep in my soul that it is the right thing to do. I hope all parliamentarians will think of them when it comes time to vote.
    I hope all my colleagues will have their conscience perfectly in line with their moral principles, because after all, we were elected to represent our constituents. We must never forget that. I never forget it. I never will forget it, and I will always represent them with dignity and pride.

  (1340)  

    Madam Speaker, I would like to know if the member for Manicouagan believes her bill will solve all the problems we have seen.
    Budget 2019 addresses these problems and will solve some of them.
    Madam Speaker, my colleague may not have understood the purpose of my bill.
    This is a legislative measure. At the risk of clarifying the government's own budget, it does not contain a single measure to help the people I talked about, nor does the government want to introduce legislation to help them. If it wanted to, I imagine it would have done so at some point in the past four years.
    As I said earlier, this could have been done back when the parties had a chance to respond to the report on the CCAA when it was under review. The government could have voted to make changes to help pensioners, but it voted to maintain the status quo.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, in her speech the member mentioned Sears, Nortel, Cliffs mines, Wabush mines and others. Does she see these companies' abuse of the current legislation as a way of unloading the liabilities onto workers?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, if I understand correctly, my colleague is wondering if there is a way to abuse the legislation.
    There is a case that I find especially interesting. It is about a multinational, Cliffs, that decided to end its operations in Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador. It declared bankruptcy in 2015, but it is still operating. It made $199 million in profits in 2016, $371 million in 2017, and $1.1 billion last year.
    To me, it seems obvious that the companies have the means to pay the retirees and workers what they are owed. If we do not have legislation obliging companies to do so, they will continue to make profits on the backs of workers.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her bill and what she proposed earlier. I invite her to listen to my comments to clarify the situation and what amendments will be made to legislation.
    Earlier, she spoke about the workers at Sears. I really empathize with Sears pensioners because a Sears store located in my riding shut down. That affects all members. Everyone here is very attuned to this issue.
     All Canadians deserve peace of mind when it comes to their retirement security. Our government recognizes this, which is why it has taken a number of significant steps during its mandate to enhance Canada's retirement income system, including enhancements to the old age security program and the Canada pension plan.
    At the same time, our government recognizes that recent corporate insolvencies, such as those mentioned earlier, have created challenges for workers, pensioners and even small and medium-sized businesses, such as contractors and suppliers. For this reason, our government committed in budget 2018 to undertake a whole-of-government, evidence-based approach to improve retirement security.
    In 2018, our government held national consultations to seek comprehensive feedback on ways to enhance retirement security. We met with labour and pensioner groups, companies, lenders, experts, and more still. We also received formal submissions from many stakeholders. The public at large made its views known on these important issues as well, with more than 4,400 online submissions. People also reached out to their MPs, myself included.
    After listening to Canadians, the government proposed a comprehensive package to enhance retirement security in its 2019 budget bill.
    Bill C-372, however, is less ambitious in scope, proposing three changes to Canada's insolvency laws that could have disastrous and negative consequences on the Canadian marketplace and firm competitiveness.
    Let us talk about Canadian insolvency laws. it is first necessary to briefly describe Canada’s effective insolvency system. Canada has two main insolvency statutes, the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, which governs bankruptcies and restructurings for small businesses, and the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act, or CCAA, which governs the restructuring of larger corporations, with over $5 million in debt.
     These two laws have clear and predictable rules regarding the order of creditor payment upon firm wind up and the negotiability of credit claims in firm restructuring discussions. These rules are specifically designed to support the core objectives of Canada’s insolvency regime, which include preventing a rush to the courthouse and promoting the restructuring of financially-distressed but viable firms, where possible, with the ultimate goal of preserving good jobs and economic value within Canada.
    Under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act regime, for example, many insolvent companies have avoided liquidation that would have crystallized losses in underfunded pension plans and employee benefit plans and eliminated good-paying jobs. Instead, these firms were able to stay in business, preserve good middle-class jobs, and continue to fund pension and benefit plans.
    In addition, our insolvency system contains certain checks and balances to protect pensions. First, pension contributions are held in trust for the sole benefit of pensioners. Second, unpaid past pension contributions are paid ahead of secured creditors. Third, all restructuring deals require both creditor and court approval to ensure fairness. What is more, courts often order the debtor company to provide at its own expense legal representation for pensioners and employees in the insolvency proceedings.

  (1345)  

     Bill C-372 proposes to change these laws in three ways that could undermine the system’s core objectives and have negative economic consequences.
    First, it proposes to amend the BIA and CCAA to give unfunded pension liabilities and unpaid special payments a superpriority, meaning that these claims would be paid in full ahead of almost all other creditors in an insolvency proceeding.
    An unfunded pension liability is the difference between a pension fund's current assets and future liabilities. Special payments are additional employer contributions that are sometimes ordered by pension regulators to compensate for fund deficits over time.
    Second, the bill creates a preferred claim in bankruptcies to indemnify employee losses associated with group insurance benefit plans, such as life, disability, health or dental benefits, meaning that they would be paid before unsecured creditors but after secured creditors. The bill also requires these payments to be made in full in CCAA restructuring plans.
    Third, the bill creates a preferred claim for unpaid severance and termination pay. I will now set out my main concerns.
    The bill’s proposals would weaken companies’ ability to restructure. Pension deficits can be very large, in some cases in the billions of dollars.
    An indemnity for employee benefit plans could also be very large. A superpriority that ranked such shortfalls ahead of all other claims, and a requirement that employees must be fully indemnified for benefit losses in CCAA plans, would reduce the incentives of all other creditors to support a restructuring deal. This would make a sale of the company as a going concern extremely unlikely. Companies could also lose access to interim financing, often essential to secure for a restructuring.
    Instead of supporting a restructuring deal that could save the company, secured creditors faced with a pension superpriority could act strategically by reducing their exposure to these companies by requiring them to pay down their debts before the start of insolvency proceedings. Indeed, if the measures in this bill had been in place in the past, many successful restructurings under Canada’s insolvency systems would not have occurred, resulting in greater job and pensions losses.
     Next, firms with defined benefit pension plans or group insurance benefits could see higher costs and lower availability of credit, as well as reduced competitiveness.
    I had much more to say but I am nearly out of time. In closing, the bill before us today does not provide an evidenced-based, whole-of-government approach to enhancing retirement security. It would weaken the ability of companies to restructure to preserve jobs and pension benefits. Furthermore, it would hurt competitiveness, while at the same time not always helping workers and pensioners.
    I am pleased to say, however, that the government's proposed measures will protect pensions and workers, while also supporting the central objectives of Canada's effective marketplace laws. We are ensuring that firms remain competitive and continue to employ hard-working Canadians throughout the country.

  (1350)  

    Madam Speaker, I am honoured to give a speech on this bill. I would also like to thank the member for Manicouagan for her bill on this very important topic.
    Retirement security is a very important issue. Seniors' overall financial security is an even more important issue for Conservatives.
    I agree that there is a problem with our pensions at the moment, but I do not agree with the solution put forward in this bill.
    I do not support this bill because it will create more problems for businesses in financial crisis.
    Last year, I introduced Bill C-405, which deals with this issue. Neither the Bloc Québécois nor the other parties supported my bill, which is a shame because my bill did not create problems for small businesses.

  (1355)  

[English]

    There were fewer problems with Bill C-405, which I introduced, because while we can agree that there is a problem with underfunded pension liabilities for pension plans, not the contribution-based plans but the defined benefit plans, when the pension is underfunded, we know it is a problem if there is insolvency of a company.
    If we changed the bankruptcy laws to a point where we caused more companies at risk to become insolvent, to liquidate, the solution being proposed by the Bloc would actually be worse than what they are trying to cure, even though we are in agreement.
    My bill tried to address the issue of underfunded pension liabilities without the impact that changing the bankruptcy laws for Canada and the insolvency laws in the CCAA would do.

[Translation]

    My bill would have ended the unfairness of excessive payments that exacerbate pension shortfalls. It would have helped protect workers wanting to retire by giving administrators options to protect and improve the pension funds.
    Furthermore, my bill would have increased transparency and accountability by improving the national reports on the solvency of pension plans. It proposed a lot of solutions, without any of the problems caused by Bill C-372.

[English]

    There is a way to tackle the public policy challenges of underfunded defined contribution pension plans without causing harm to businesses that are in financial distress, which will not be able to receive financing if they have an underfunded pension, because they will not be loaned money by creditors. I agree with the MP's public policy issue here, but we have to have a solution that does not cause disruptions in her province, in my province and across the country.
    One interesting point the member may not know is that Ontario has a pension benefits guarantee fund. We have talked a lot about Sears employees. Some of the Sears employees, in Ontario at least, will get assistance from the pension benefits guarantee fund. Other provinces do not have that, so it would be unfair to Ontario, which funds and backstops a pension benefits guarantee fund, to change national insolvency legislation.
    I worked as a lawyer on the insolvency and the protection process for Air Canada, which I know that member thinks highly of as our national carrier, based in Montreal. I was at the law firm Stikeman Elliott, which represented Air Canada in its restructuring, and it successfully restructured, as many MPs will know when they take Air Canada back to their provinces later today.
     CCAA puts a focus on restructuring, not on liquidating. Restructuring a company saves all the jobs; saves the pension by keeping it a going concern; makes all the suppliers whole, for the most part, or tries to; and keeps that business operating. In the case of Air Canada, restructuring kept it in place to provide an important service that a lot of Canadians use. Therefore, our focus when companies are in trouble must be to help the company survive.
     If the company survives, the pension fund is fine. If the company does not survive, then the liquidation will take place, and even if we applied superpriority to pensions, with most companies it would still only amount to pennies on the dollar or a much-reduced pension outcome. My bill, Bill C-405, tried to give pension administrators the ability to keep that fund going within another fund so that the pensioners who were stranded could get the upside of an existing fund through the pooling of resources and the ability for their returns to go up.
    In an insolvency, all the pension administrator can do is buy an annuity. As a result, those pensioners will be locked into a far lower annuity payment amount, because that annuity has to be purchased at a time when the markets are likely bad, and it will basically guarantee a bad outcome for pensioners.
    What is the solution? It is to keep companies operating. CCAA's focus is on maintaining those companies as going concerns, as well as their pensions and their employees.
    Let us take out some of the abuse. Bill C-405 proposed to take out some of the abuse occurring through key employee retention plan payments, whereby companies give large executive payments that seem to drain the company of resources while the pension was underfunded. Bill C-405 also tried to work with provincial securities regulators to make sure that there was a national health report on pensions each year. Canada already produces one, but it does not collaborate with the provinces, where most of these pensions are administered. The federal government can change insolvency legislation, but these are actually, in many cases, provincial pension funds.
    Sears Canada had its assets hollowed out by its main shareholder in the United States, thereby stripping out resources that could have been used for the pension. In cases like Sears, some of those actions could be prevented by securities laws and securities regulation, so my approach was also to have a report in which all levels of government and security commissions would look at ways to prevent the stripping out of resources.
    A lot of people out there, including great people at the Canadian Federation of Pensioners, CARP and others, see changing our bankruptcy and insolvency laws as a magic bullet. It is not. I do not think anyone wants to see more companies driven into liquidation. We want to see them survive, but how can we backstop and preserve payments to these pensioners?
    I think there is a way to do it without the negative consequences of superpriority, as it is called. Why do I know that this approach is better? It is because multiple governments at multiple levels have never fulfilled on pension superpriority, and even bills here in this Parliament are coming late in the session, because the studies have shown that more companies will go under as a result. We want the companies to survive so that the jobs and the pensions are preserved, which is what CCAA and restructuring legislation are about.

  (1400)  

    I want to thank the member for her bill and thank her for the opportunity to speak to the elements of the issue that I agree with her is an issue we have to tackle.
    Madam Speaker, I know my grandchildren, my grandson and granddaughter are watching. I want to say hello to Oliver and Lena while I have the chance.
    I rise today to speak to the private member's bill, Bill C-372, an act to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act, pension plans and group insurance plans, sponsored by the member for Manicouagan.
    First I would like to thank the member for bringing the bill forward. Like my Bill C-384, and like former Senator Eggleton's Bill S-253, the bill would bring about legislative changes needed to protect the economic well-being of Canadian workers and their families.
     As members in the House will know, I have invested a great deal of my time advocating for the protection of workers' pensions and benefits. I have been pushing the government for over three years to bring forward legislation. However, no, the government is too afraid to offend its corporate friends. It hides behind fancy words like “unintended consequences” and consultations meant only for show. The government has made it very clear what side it is on, and it is not the side of Canadian workers, retirees and their families.
    I have been a member of the United Steelworkers Union for 35 years, 25 of those years spent on the shop floor at Stelco in Hamilton and for 10 of those years, acting as president of my local union at the Stelco plant called Stelwire.
     In 2004, I was part of the negotiating team that spent two years working through the first bankruptcy restricting procedure under the CCAA and just two years go watched as my former union wrapped up negotiations in its second go-around on the restructuring under the CCAA.
     As members can imagine, the inequities and difficulties caused by the inadequacy of Canada's bankruptcy and insolvency laws are of great interest and concern to me. I have seen the damage caused by our inadequate laws, and I am determined to see them changed. The rights of workers to fair and stable pensions and secure benefits has been a concern to me my whole working life.
     This is why I am so happy to see legislation that secures workers' pensions and benefits finally come to the floor of the House of Commons. Make no mistake, I would have rather seen my own bill, Bill C-384, up for debate first, but there is enough in common between this bill and my bill that I and the rest of my caucus colleagues will support its passage.
     I salute my colleague from Manicouagan for bringing forward a bill that will protect Canadian workers, retirees and their families, and I say “merci beaucoup”.
     Many Canadian companies use Canada's bankruptcy laws to effectively gain concessions from their employees and escape responsibility for often huge pension deficits they themselves have created. Workers are then left with the threat of reduced pensions and health care benefits.
    Large multinational corporations are also using Canada's inadequate bankruptcy laws to take money meant for workers' pensions and divert it to pay off their secure creditors, which are often their parent companies. This is organized theft. Pensions are, after all, deferred wages, plain and simple. Diverting, withholding or seizing those funds should be illegal. Changing Canada's inadequate bankruptcy and insolvency laws is all about fairness for workers.
     It is important to point out that the Liberals campaigned on a promise to improve the income retirement security of all Canadian seniors, but have refused to take any meaningful action. Changes proposed in recent budget legislation encouraging parties to act in good faith and clarifying the discretion of judges in CCAA proceeding does nothing concrete to protect workers' pensions and benefits.
     Chris Roberts, policy director at the Canadian Labour Congress, had this to say about pension provisions in the government's budget implementation act. He said that modifications brought to Bill C-97 on the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act as well as to the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act “are inadequate and represent a missed opportunity to prevent” members of a defined benefits program and retirees from being the victims of injustices that would result from losing their benefits when businesses became insolvent.
    What is even more disheartening is that the government refused to even acknowledge the grim future of the workers and retirees involved in recent bankruptcy proceedings like Sears, Stelco, Wabush and Cliffs mines.
    This bill would amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and the CCAA so that companies would have to bring any pension plan fund to 100% before paying any secured creditors. It would also make amendments to require companies to pay any termination or severance pay owing before paying any secured creditors.

  (1405)  

    These amendments would inject some fairness and protection into a process that often sees the interests of workers, retirees and their families placed behind all others in a bankruptcy, liquidation or restructuring process.
    The recent collapse of Sears Canada has focused attention on the injustices inherent in the Canada bankruptcy and insolvency laws. These amendments would help to fix these imbalances and provide Canadian workers, retirees and their families with the protection they expect and deserve.
    Our current bankruptcy laws give priority to investors, banks and parent companies over workers' pensions and benefits. Time and again, proceedings under those laws have resulted in the interests of workers being overshadowed by the interests of rich investors and banks. Workers often lose severance pay benefits, pension benefits and health benefits. People in management also make out like bandits, giving themselves huge bonuses while cutting off the benefits of workers and retirees.
    This is an equity issue. At a time when 82% of the wealth in this country is going to the top 1%, and we see executives at Sears being paid over $6.5 million in bonuses while the workers are denied severance or termination pay, have their benefits cut off and see their pensions reduced, we have to recognize and work to eliminate the growing gap between the haves and have-nots in this country. It is a matter of basic decency and human rights. Every Canadian deserves no less.
    It is important that I point out one significant difference between my bill, Bill C-384, and the bill before us. I also have to say that I hope it is a difference that can be addressed at committee through what I would like to think would be a friendly amendment. In my private member's bill, there is a clause that would prevent a company from stopping the payment of any retirement benefits during any proceedings under the BIA or the CCAA. This is a fairly common practice, and it causes great hardship for workers and retirees. The exclusion of any language dealing with this problem is the only substantial difference I can see between my bill and the bill before us today.
    These legislative changes would inject some fairness into a process that often sees the interests of workers, retirees and their families placed behind all others in a bankruptcy, liquidation or restructuring process. Canadians know that it is wrong to allow pensions and benefits to be stolen and are demanding that our inadequate bankruptcy and insolvency laws be changed to protect workers, retirees and their families.
    I have gone across this country to many town hall meetings to listen to people who are concerned. Many people do not know that in our bankruptcy laws, their pensions can be reduced. They think it is a shame. They cannot believe that it is even happening in our country.
    What I am trying to get at is that people want to see a change, and they are sending a strong message. In Hamilton, in 2015, I made that commitment to my constituents in Hamilton Mountain and all Hamiltonians. When I crossed the country, I also made that commitment to Canadians. I made a promise that I would fight in this House to make sure that we no longer lose. This is our money. It is deferred wages. When I made that commitment, I know that many others made that commitment and promise, especially all the members from Hamilton. I am going to keep my promise. That is why I am supporting this bill. I expect the other members from Hamilton to support this bill and keep their promise to Hamiltonians also.
    In closing, I want to thank the sponsor of this bill. I believe that it is time to change. We have to stop the fearmongering by big corporations that say that they will not get investments. That is just false. We have to turn the tide to make sure that retirees and workers get the money they negotiated all through their lives and that it is not stolen by corporations that want to unload their liabilities because they made mistakes in running their companies.
    I thank the members for the time. I hope everyone supports this. We made promises. Let us keep them.

  (1410)  

    Madam Speaker, the issue of pensions has always been of keen interest to me, going back to the days when I was a member of the Manitoba legislative assembly. As has been pointed out, not only the national government but also the provincial governments have to play a critical role in this.
    I like the fact that the word “pension” means deferred income. When we go to work, work an eight-hour day or however many hours we put in, a great deal of consideration is given to the benefits that go beyond that hourly, weekly or monthly rate paid to us. A pension is a deferred income.
     Therefore, it is important we not take the view that no sacrifice has been made. Whether they are private or public pensions, they are part of the incomes of people. Instead of receiving that income today, they want that additional income for retirement. Therefore, we can only imagine the impact it would have on people to have their pensions denied or threatened, especially when they have worked for many years and have put in their time to justify that income upon retirement.
    Going back to the early nineties, I can recall walking along a picket line in which there were many of my constituents. I was quite surprised and shocked to hear the degree to which many private companies had marginal pensions at best. This was a relatively large company. I listened to what the workers had to say regarding the types of things for which they were fighting. One of those issues was pensions. They wanted to ensure they would have a reasonable pension when it came time for them to retire. Imagine putting in 30-plus years, especially in a labour situation, and getting only $400 a month out of that, after contributing to a pension plan all those years. It was that strike situation, and walking along that line and listening to the workers, that made me realize how much pensions really mattered.
     Although that occurred back in the early nineties, my interest in pensions has never diminished. However, when we talk about pensions, I recognize that we need to factor in the fact that it is not just the responsibility of the federal. The provinces play a critical role as well. One of the things I can really appreciate is the fact that it crosses party lines. For progressive steps to be taken, it is often about leadership from within.
     I would challenge members who sometimes believe one party is better than another. I am referring to my New Democratic friends. One of the policies that came out during the NDP government in Ontario related to pensions. My colleague across the way who just spoke might recall this. Those members might recall that in this policy was a clause called, “too big to fall”. It looked at using pension funds as a tool to support a company's expansion and survival. NDP cabinet members sat around that table and allowed it to take place.

  (1415)  

    That greatly diminished the security of pensions. As much as we like to point fingers at the private sector or other parties, I think it is important to recognize that one of the greatest failures, from a government policy perspective, was when the NDP was in power in the province of Ontario. There was a significant change, which had a profoundly negative impact on the idea of pensions. I believe that what we need to see are proactive approaches from governments at all levels to strengthen the security of pensions.
    Let us look at the last budget we introduced. We put in a policy that would restrain unreasonable executive payments by requiring publicly traded companies to hold non-binding say-on-pay shareholder votes and to allow courts to scrutinize them, and, if appropriate, hold directors liable for unreasonable executive payments made in the lead-up to insolvency.
    There is nothing that annoys workers more than seeing a company having financial difficulty go for bankruptcy and then hearing of these multi-million dollar payouts to directors or management. I see that as taking away from pension funds.
    Yesterday we were talking about the budget implementation bill. This budget would take tangible action that would provide additional security for pension funds. I think it strikes a positive chord to many workers who at times feel threatened because of what is taking place in companies. Through this budget, we would now have a court process to indirectly monitor these executive and directors payouts. Many go into millions of dollars at the cost of the person working on the factory floor, in a retail outlet, or wherever else it may be.
    When I think of pensions and the issue of insolvency and bankruptcy, there are things the government can do at both the federal and provincial level. I am glad that we have been able to address it, at least in part. There are always opportunities to look at ways to enhance it. I look forward, over the next number of years, to hopefully be able to dig in deeper on the issue.
    This government has been working with stakeholders to ensure that it takes action that will benefit workers and our economy. Pensions matter. That is why we put so much emphasis on achieving the CPP agreement with the different provinces. For the first time in 15 or so years, we actually got the provinces and the federal government coming to an agreement on CPP contributions so that working people will get more money when it comes time to retire. That is why we invested more money in the guaranteed income supplement.
    This government appreciates the value of pensions for seniors and workers. That is why we have taken this action today, and there is going to be so much more we can and will be doing in the future.

  (1420)  

    Madam Speaker, I truly appreciate the opportunity to speak to this issue, and I will mention why.
    First of all, it is clearly an important issue. Income security in retirement is something that people work toward. However, people do not really give much thought to it until they approach retirement in their later years.
    When pensions were solid and secure, our society really did not pay that much attention to the potential risks in the future if the economy changed, for example if returns on investments diminished or if companies, because of newly competitive environments, faced financial difficulties and sometimes even insolvency and bankruptcy.
    Early on, when the population was a bit younger and the demographics were different, people just paid into company pensions and really did not think about the possibility that someday that nest egg might not be there or that it might be smaller than anticipated.
    My engagement with the issue began shortly after I was elected in 2004, and it was because I have very many constituents who worked for companies whose pension plans did not produce at the end because of bankruptcy.
    I have many former Nortel employees living in my riding of Lac-Saint-Louis. There was a major Nortel facility down the highway from where the riding is located. Many of my constituents had very good careers there, only to find out one day that their pension payments were going to be much less than they had anticipated.
    I also have many Air Canada employees living in my riding of Lac-Saint-Louis. While the company is doing very well today, there was a time when we did not know if the company was going to continue to be a going concern, and there was actually a deficit in the pension plan. I am not sure exactly where things line up with the pension plan right now, but it is much better than it was maybe 10 or 15 years ago.
    Various stakeholder groups have been meeting with me over the years, including the Nortel pensioners and the Air Canada Pionairs, who are the retirees of Air Canada. As I said, I have many Air Canada employees in my riding because the riding is in close proximity to the airport.
    Until not long ago I also had a facility called Indalex in my riding that made the news about pensions. That case went to Ontario Superior Court and has become a rather well-known pension case.
    The government has also been engaged with this issue. Groups like CARP and others have interacted with the government to press for greater protections for pensioners, and the government has listened. It may not have come up with all of the solutions yet; there may be more solutions coming in the future to what is an extremely complex problem.
    While the issue of pensions is important and while it concerns a growing number of people who are focused on it, it is also one of the more complex issues. It is a financial issue. It involves markets. Anything that involves actuaries is by definition complex, and it may be a little hard to understand all the facets of it.
    The government has taken the issue seriously. In budget 2018, the government committed to undertaking stakeholder consultations and consultations with the broader Canadian population on measures that could be taken to ameliorate the situation beyond what many groups have called for, and by that I mean the solution of giving superpriority to pensioners in bankruptcy proceedings.

  (1425)  

    However, the government, while it stopped short of that, for now anyway, did take the issue seriously and tasked the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development to undertake consultations. These consultations were undertaken, and we saw some results of these consultations in the 2019 budget.

  (1430)  

    Unfortunately, the time for our business has expired. Therefore, the hon. member will have three and a half minutes 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.

[English]

    It being 2:30 p.m. this House stands adjourned until next Monday at 11 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1). I wish everyone a great weekend.
    (The House adjourned at 2:30 p.m.)
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