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43rd PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 107

CONTENTS

Monday, May 31, 2021




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 150
No. 107
2nd SESSION
43rd PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Monday, May 31, 2021

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    The House met at 11 a.m.

Prayer



PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS

[Private Members' Business]

  (1105)  

[English]

Copyright Act

    The House resumed from April 15 consideration of the motion that Bill C-272, an act to amend the Copyright Act (diagnosis, maintenance or repair), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Mr. Speaker, it is good to see you in the Chair, because discussing right to repair brings back memories of when I was a political staffer serving on the industry committee. I think you were serving on the industry committee at the time, about 10 years ago, when we were discussing another right to repair bill from the member for Windsor West, so the discussion of this issue brings back memories.
    I appreciate the opportunity to continue with remarks I had been making previously; I had started a speech that I am now able to continue. I have six minutes left, I think. I am continuing a speech that I started earlier, and there has been an important development in my life since the first half of the speech, which was that I purchased a ride-on tractor for mowing my lawn, which will no doubt influence my reflections on right to repair, and I want to thank the member for Peace River—Westlock for giving me good advice on that purchase. It was the cheapest model available that I could find, but it is still worth more than the car I drive.
    Previously, there was a bill put forward before the House by the member for Windsor West that was dealing with the issue of right to repair for vehicles specifically. I was a political staffer at the time working with the member for Edmonton—Wetaskiwin, and other members who are still in the House were involved in that debate. There was this tension that always comes up around this question. On the one hand, there is the argument that people should have a right to repair their own property and they should have the right to access the information they need in order to allow something they own to continue to work and function. There are also concerns from the manufacturers' perspective, potentially, about things like reverse-engineering products and that, if they are sharing certain kinds of information, it could create problems for intellectual property that go beyond simply the question of repair.
    There are competing considerations, but I think considerations that can also be well balanced. I support in principle the idea that people should be able to repair their own property. That is a reasonable expectation of somebody who owns a vehicle, a tractor, or farm equipment, etc. It is also a reasonable expectation, and one that I think is compatible with that expectation, that people not be able to reverse-engineer products and take advantage of access to repair codes and other information. How do we balance these considerations?
    The way this was addressed in the previous Parliament, over 10 years ago, that dealt with right to repair legislation was that members passed the bill at second reading and while this issue was considered at committee, there was a great deal of discussion among stakeholders and it led to the creation of a voluntary agreement that facilitated information sharing. It was ultimately a voluntary agreement that all of the different players involved, the manufacturers as well as the repair associations, were happy to see proceed. That happened because members expressed their support in principle, but then also there was a good exploration of the issues and a reasonable meeting of the minds that happened and allowed for progress to take place.
    I congratulate the member for Cambridge on bringing this item forward for discussion again. I think it is a worthy issue for discussion, especially since the scope of his bill goes beyond just talking about cars; it talks about a broader range of issues involving repair and equipment. I recognize the need for the discussion and the legitimacy of the principles at play. I am pleased to be supporting this bill at the second reading stage, and I look forward to the detailed work that is going to be done by the committee on that. Again, the Conservatives support the principle of people who have property they have purchased being able to repair it and being able to continue its functioning and not be unable to take the steps they reasonably need to take, themselves. We also recognize the intellectual property issues at play, which require seriousness and balance in our response to them.
    I will be pleased to support the bill at this stage and look forward to the work the committee is going to be able to do.

  (1110)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, whenever I have had the opportunity to address the House in person or from Longueuil over the past weeks and months, I have typically been unhappy about something. There are all kinds of issues and problems I am not happy about, things we are not moving fast enough on, such as housing, health and seniors. Today, however, I am relatively happy.
    I think the bill before us now, Bill C-272, is a step in the right direction. I am pleased to speak to this issue this morning because it is kind of a personal one for me. I am an actor, so copyright issues are important to me. I am here to say that I support the bill because improper use of the Copyright Act to prevent people from fixing electronic devices is immoral. It is also expensive for consumers and has a terrible environmental impact.
    Bill C-272 would amend the Copyright Act to ensure that it “does not apply to a person who circumvents a technological protection measure that controls access to a computer program if the person does so for the sole purpose of diagnosing, maintaining or repairing a product in which the computer program is embedded”. What immediately spring to mind are telephones, lawnmowers, washing machines, and even tractors.
     The Copyright Act is intended to allow creators to earn a living from their art and to protect their work from being copied or used in ways they do not approve of. It is important legislation. As I said before, as an actor, I am keenly aware of the need to protect both artists' revenue streams and their rights to their creations, that is to say their art.
    Curiously, the Copyright Act also applies to those who write computer programs, particularly when the work is protected from pirates by what is called a digital lock. The law prohibits breaking that lock to reproduce or alter the work without the consent of the copyright owner, which is good. However, since the Copyright Act also covers software, businesses have decided to use it to keep repair professionals from breaking the digital lock. That effectively renders many objects irreparable.
     The vast majority of today's products have electronic components, so of course we see this everywhere, but many companies have included a digital device to prevent repairs from being made, unless the company has expressly provided the codes. According to those manufacturers, a repair person who overrides a digital lock to fix a phone, car or tractor without the company's consent is committing an offence under the Copyright Act. This is making it impossible to fix items that we own when they are broken or not working properly, unless we go to one of the company's dealers, and even then, the company has to agree to fix the item.
    Companies often refuse to repair their own products, just so customers are forced to purchase new ones. This is what is known as planned obsolescence, which is a terrible source of waste and above all totally unnecessary. It is costly for consumers and obviously disastrous for the environment.
    Take Apple as an example. That company has patented all the parts of its phones to ensure that no one can produce replacement parts. That is no joke. It has also locked its operating software to prevent repair people from circumventing the locks, which would make them subject to prosecution under the Copyright Act.
    If a consumer has a defective phone, the only way to get it fixed is to take it to an Apple store or an authorized Apple retailer. Even then, the company will fix only a very limited number of parts.
    Consumers are often told their phone cannot be repaired and must be replaced because Apple opts not to do the repairs knowing that the consumer does not have the right to do repairs the company refuses to do. It is a kind of repair monopoly.
    If a consumer has a problem with their smart phone and chooses to have an unauthorized person open it up to diagnose the problem, the consumer can no longer have it repaired and cannot even have it replaced under warranty because they had it repaired by someone else and that violates Apple's conditions. It is fascinating.

  (1115)  

    Incidentally, in the last quarter, Apple made a net profit of $28 billion. Members should think about that for a second because planned obsolescence is a particularly unethical concept. The company is manufacturing a product knowing in advance that the product will ultimately break. The company then makes sure that the product cannot be repaired so that it can sell more of the product and make more money. That is unacceptable.
    Companies are preventing consumers from repairing their items themselves and from paying someone a small amount of money to repair a product that costs hundreds of dollars. All of that is done with the goal of filling order books and lining shareholders' pockets. This aspect of consumer society is simply not compatible with environmental protection. In a finite world, we cannot encourage infinite consumption that cannot even be mitigated by re-use or repair. The need, and I want to emphasize that word, to protect the environment for future generations makes all acts and initiatives important, whether they be big or small.
    This bill does not seek for the elimination of fossil fuels or the oil sands, nor does it seek the adoption of measures that would ensure that greenhouse gas reduction targets are met, even if those targets keep changing. However, that does not change the fact that this is an important bill. Every action truly counts. I encourage my colleagues to quickly pass this bill.
    As I said, every action counts no matter how small. I would like to take a minute to remind my colleagues that we can do much more to combat planned obsolescence. For example, across the Atlantic, the European Union introduced a directive requiring its member countries to amend their laws to classify products according to their ability to be repaired. Since January, products in France have been labelled with their repairability index.
    For the most part, electronics such as smart phones, computers and televisions, as well as household appliances such as washers, dryers or lawnmowers now display a score out of 10. This rating lets consumers know what options are available to them when the time comes to have a particular item repaired.
    Such a measure obviously helps consumers make informed choices. It also makes businesses want to compete in an effort to manufacture more sustainable products, since consumers will finally know the sustainability of the product they are buying. Within the next two years, other European countries are also set to adopt measures similar to the ones taken by France.
    The bill to amend the Copyright Act will address a significant loophole and resolve part of the problem of planned obsolescence. We need to do more. Solutions such as the one I just spoke about already exist. Planned obsolescence is a major problem in our society because it creates a lot of pollution. It is very important that we tackle greenhouse gas emissions, and therefore the bill is important.
    According to ABI Research, 720 million cellphones are thrown away every year around the world. While people everywhere purchase their first cellphones, about 60% of the 1.2 billion units sold annually are purchased to replace discarded phones. If we do nothing to address planned obsolescence, just imagine what will happen when everyone or almost everyone has a smart phone.
    Every year, between 30 million and 55 million tonnes of electronic waste is buried. That is disastrous. As a point of comparison, 55 million tonnes of electronic waste is more than 1,000 times the weight of the Titanic. That is unacceptable.
    Therefore, it is urgent that we take action to protect our planet. Almost everyone agrees on that. We cannot go on this way. Let us leave cleaner air, clearer water and more fertile soil and not an immense mountain of waste to our children and grandchildren.
    I invite my colleagues to quickly pass the bill. However, we must not stop there. We can do much more. For the future of humanity, every small step must immediately be followed by another.

  (1120)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to virtually rise in the House today to speak on this important bill. However, before I begin, I would like to acknowledge the tragic news we heard last week of the discovery of 215 children's bodies at the Kamloops Indian Residential School. I am saddened by this discovery and my prayers are with the Tk'emlúps te Secwepemc First Nation, as well as all indigenous communities across Canada.
    I will now speak to the bill at hand. The increased pace of digitization of our economy and the use of software in more of our everyday consumer products has transformed the ownership and control consumers have over many purchases. Consumer products from kitchen appliances to cars, which were once only mechanical and electrical, are now embedded with software. These technological transformations can make products more useful and responsive for consumers. However, the software that controls the components of the products is protected by copyright. This reduces some abilities consumers have traditionally exercised, including the ability to repair their own purchases when they malfunction.
    The Copyright Act provides protection for software to encourage innovation and investment. It further grants copyright holders the ability to use technological protection measures, also called TPMs or digital locks, to protect their software from access, unauthorized copying and infringement. TPMs were originally promoted as a tool to encourage creative industries to offer their work in digital form. TPMs are now being used broadly across the economy to protect software incorporated within products in industries such as manufacturing. While I believe in the importance of legal protection for TPMs, I also believe that the Copyright Act should provide exceptions to these protections when they harm the legitimate interest of consumers to maintain and repair the products they own.
    Under current copyright law, it would be a violation for someone to circumvent a product's TPM for the purpose of repairing it. The Copyright Act already includes exceptions that permit TPM circumvention for a number of purposes, including ensuring interoperability of computer programs, conducting encryption research or unlocking a cellphone to change telecommunications services, to name a few examples. I believe adding a new exception to the Copyright Act permitting the circumvention of TPMs for the purpose of repair only makes sense.
    The recent parliamentary review of the Copyright Act drew attention to this situation. Recommendation 19 of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology’s 2019 report, entitled “Statutory Review of the Copyright Act”, calls for measures to permit Canadians to circumvent TPMs allowed under copyright law for the purpose of repairing, maintaining and adapting their software-embedded devices. Facilitating repair is a multi-faceted public policy challenge that might require additional legislative action. However, I support referring Bill C-272 to committee because it proposes to address the one issue that is clearly in federal jurisdiction: the Copyright Act.
    Bill C-272 would not solve all the issues faced by consumers regarding repair, but it is an important step in the right direction. I will vote in favour of referring Bill C-272 to committee because I believe that removing the copyright-related restriction to repair will make any further measures introduced by provinces and territories to support repair more effective.
    If Bill C-272 is referred to committee for further study, we as parliamentarians must work to ensure that all information and evidence comes to light on the issue of copyright and repair. This evidence would ensure that the TPM exception for the purpose of repair that Parliament ultimately decides on will be the best possible option. It will be an exception that balances all the varied considerations and interests that come into play on this issue.

  (1125)  

    We must ensure the exception serves the interests of Canadians who want more choice and ease to make repairs, but we must also ensure the exception has the appropriate safeguards to preserve the safety and security of electronic products.
    Removing the copyright-related restriction to repair may enhance competition for independent repair shops. To support the post-pandemic economic recovery, we need any boost to entrepreneurship we can get.
    Making it easier for consumers to repair their products, as proposed by Bill C-272, could also contribute to reducing electronic waste. A United Nations report found Canada was responsible for 725,000 tonnes of electronic waste in 2014.
    A study commissioned by Open Media found that 75% of Canadians have discarded or replaced a broken device because of a repairable issue. That study also found that one-third of respondents claimed that the repair of the product was prohibitively expensive, forcing them to buy a new one.
    All electronic waste is not because of the copyright law; however, a TPM exception such as the one proposed in Bill C-272 would facilitate the repair of products as opposed to their replacement. This could only help toward an overall reduction in electronic waste produced in Canada.
    Finally, it is my hope that a TPM exception for the purpose of repair, such as the one proposed in Bill C-272, would help historically marginalized groups to gain better access to repair services and have more repair services become available in rural and remote communities.
    In closing, I am in favour of this important change to the Copyright Act in support of repair. I look forward to further discussion on this to make sure we do not introduce unintended consequences at the same time.
    Madam Speaker, it is my privilege to stand in the House of Commons to address the right to repair legislation that we have before us.
    Last week, I was on the phone with Mr. Jackson, who has a John Deere tractor. One of the things he was concerned about was the amount of electronics in the tractor and his inability to access the electronics and repair them. We had an extensive conversation about the right to repair. It was interesting.
    One of the things he brought up was that a lot of data is put in by the farmer. Modern farming technology uses GPS coordinates, seed rates, soil samples and all kinds of things. That information is put into the tractor to make the calculations, when he is seeding a new crop, of how much fertilizer to put on, what speed to operate at, what the seed rate is and how many pounds of seed per acre he is using. All of these kinds of things are included.
    Basically, that is the farmer's intellectual property. That is how he put it as well. It is his seed recipe. It is his farming recipe. To get the tractor and seeder to implement his recipe, he has to enter a lot of data. His concern is that while he is unable to look at and get into the software of the tractor he owns, the tractor is uploading most of the data that he is inputting back to the manufacturer.
    Back when that technology was first coming out, he was programming the seeder to do all the seeding and fertilizing. Today, when someone buys a new tractor or seeder, they can press a button to say they are seeding barley and the machine does the set-up for them. It provides someone with a default mix. The seeder and the tractor manufacturers have used the data input by farmers over the last few decades to come up with a generic seed mix that works for folks. The manufacturers can say they have had 100,000 farmers input data into their system.
    There does not seem to be a give-and-take in that respect. While farmers seem to put in a lot of data, and the manufacturers work on building programs to allow that, if a farmer's machine breaks down they have to wait for the manufacturer to show up and then they have to pay that manufacturer. Manufacturers have farmers over a barrel. Farmers have 24 days to get their seed in the ground, and cannot really afford three days down.
    That was Mr. Jackson's big push in the conversation we had around the right to repair. It was an interesting conversation. That whole story speaks to the balancing act the government has to do in governing this relationship between consumers and manufacturers. Increasingly, of the things that we buy and the technology that we buy, the things we can see and touch are not what is valuable. It is the software that is making those things go.
    In talking about the right to repair, my washing machine broke down the other day. I have four children at home, so a washing machine is an important piece of equipment. The computer board that controls the motor went out. I ended up getting a new control board, but the ability to repair those things is helpful and saves time. In an afternoon, I had it torn apart, put back together and operating again.
    Regarding the right to repair legislation, off the top of my head, I think the term comes from the agriculture sector and tractors, but also from the automotive sector. When the government was bringing in emissions controls on cars, that technology was expensive. The manufacturers balked at it to a fair extent. Once it was brought in, they said it was proprietary technology and they wanted to maintain control of it. They did not want to lose it. There were a lot of defences put up around that technology.
    The government, however, brought in right to repair legislation saying it was emissions-related. No matter where that vehicle is in the world, we need to be able to have those emissions systems repaired.

  (1130)  

    Over time, we have seen protocols come into place, OBD1 and OBD2, OBD standing for onboard diagnostics. Every vehicle has a connector under the dashboard. It must be within 30 centimetres of the centre line. It is a very standardized connector. I think there were 27 pins, but now it uses about three or four of them. There is a standardized protocol for computer communication. It does not matter which manufacturer is building a diagnostic tool, it has the exact same plug and it communicates with the vehicle. The right to repair legislation has mandated that.
    In the 1980s and 1990s, vehicle scanners used 50 different connectors. Today, there is one and there is a standardized protocol for everyone. That is because of the right to repair legislation that came in generations ago.
    Automotive aircraft has probably led the way in terms of that kind of technology, but now we see that same kind of computerized technology, which was a challenge for the automotive industry in the 1980s and 1990s, in every area of industry, whether it is a washing machine, cellphone, tractor or the coffee pot. They have computer programming, and they connect to phones.
    Recently my dad got a new garage door opener. It connects to the phone. It is Wi-Fi and all that kind of cool stuff. Increasingly, we are dealing with this and we need to communicate with it. In some areas, some manufacturers are very open with their programming and how it works. In other areas, they are very closed with it. That is the reality.
    Currently, I am in the frustrating process of switching over my iPad. Apparently my iPad is no longer serviced by Apple. I was talking with the IT folks, telling them that I liked this iPad. The one I am going to get is significantly larger and bulkier and I will have to download all the apps again, and get used to a new device. I am not big on change.
     I asked if I could keep the one I had and was told no, because the software was no longer being updated and it would become a security risk. As the hackers get better and better, my device would not be able to compete with them. Therefore, I have to go to a new device. The right to repair would allow a third party to do the updates and maintain them.
    There is a definite balancing act that would come with the bill. I know I will be interested to hear what the witnesses have to say in committee, if this bill gets to committee. That is always a challenge. Increasingly, when we buy equipment, we are not so much buying the hardware part, but rather the software and the technology that comes with it. Most modern, large construction equipment is tied 100% back to the factory. It gets data from every input that goes into that machine. There has to be that relationship. When we purchase an item. we then feed that item data and that data often goes back to the manufacturer and the manufacturer either sells the data or uses it to create the next generation of that same item.
    As we to go to automation, the data people put into a machine will be used in the automated version of that machine that comes out. There has to be a give and take. If the companies use our data, we ought to be able to repair older technology, older data.
    I am pleased to see this bill come forward. I look forward to supporting it going to committee, and I look forward to the discussion that will happen there.

  (1135)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-272. When I saw that this bill had to do with the Copyright Act, I figured I was right in my element. As a songwriter and composer, I speak on behalf of thousands of my peers, and I was pleased to see that we would finally be able to debate the importance of creators, who, in a way, are such a big part of our everyday lives. They entertain our minds and hearts, inspire our dreams and stir our emotions, and challenge us to reflect on our very existence. They create the music that fills our ears with words and messages that influence our priorities and social choices. They play a huge part in how our future progresses and unfolds. I would be remiss if I had not at least mentioned this.
    When I read this very important bill introduced by our colleague opposite, I obviously thought it was about something else. It is not at all what I had imagined. This bill does not have to do with protecting copyrights for songs, theatre, music, writing or productions. I want my artist and creator friends to know that I will fight for that as well, because there is a lot to be done in this area, and our creators are suffering financially because this government has been slow to introduce legislation.
    That said, let us get back to the bill. The purpose of the Copyright Act is to allow creators to earn a living from their art and to protect their work from unauthorized copying or use. This may come as a surprise, but, as I just recently learned, the Copyright Act also applies to software developers, which brings me to this very important Bill C-272.
    Contrary to the fundamental principle of copyright law related to author remuneration further to universal usage, as is the case with songs, for example, the act does not apply when it comes to a refrigerator, washer or dryer or to computer equipment.
    The bill therefore proposes that the person circumventing the technological protection measure controlling access to a computer program for the sole purpose of diagnosing, servicing or repairing a product into which it is embedded should not be subject to the current Copyright Act and should not be guilty. That is why the Bloc Québécois supports this bill. We appeal to common sense, and when something makes sense, we get behind it.
    Incidentally, major nuances in the current act absolutely must be considered and corrected as well. When a work is protected from piracy with a digital lock, the act prohibits breaking the lock to reproduce or alter the work without the copyright owner's consent, and that is fine.
    The problem is that software is also covered by the Copyright Act, so many companies use the act to prevent repair people from breaking the digital lock, and that makes many devices irreparable. When a consumer product contains electronic components, as most products do these days, many companies include a digital mechanism to prevent repairs from being made unless the company has expressly provided the codes. According to these manufacturers, a repair person who overrides a digital lock to fix a phone, car or tractor without the company's consent commits an offence under the Copyright Act. I do not even know what to say.
    That makes it impossible to fix an item that belongs to us, is broken or is not working properly, unless we go to one of the company's dealers. Another problem is that the company has to agree to repair the product. They often refuse, which forces us to buy a new product. That is called planned obsolescence, and it is a terrible financial and environmental waste. It is environmentally disastrous.
    Let us look back in time. I do not have to look very far to find examples. My family never wanted for anything. My parents fell in love with a big house by the river and transformed it into a small hotel. To do this, my father and grandfather had to sell their schooner, with some regret, to finance the purchase of the house. I am sharing this story because it allows us to gain a better understanding of what we are talking about today. Times have changed, but have they done so for the better? Not always.
    Before running the hotel, my father and grandfather were schooner captains on the St. Lawrence. The role of these invaluable schooners was to deliver goods to the north shore, since, at the time, roads and railroads had not yet reached this area. For northerners, as my father called them, these schooners, these boats that people built and owned, were of the utmost importance. On the St. Lawrence, many of these schooners sailed from Montreal to Sept-Îles, and from there on all the way to St. Pierre and Miquelon.

  (1140)  

    Their arrival was quite the event, because everyone awaited the delivery of some coveted item, be it sugar or flour, farming implements to ensure their food self-sufficiency or, of course, a refrigerator, a toaster or an electric stove, for those villagers who were lucky enough to have electricity.
    It was therefore essential that all of these appliances have a long life expectancy, since they were not easy to get and supply was never assured. I think members would be happy to see a nice picture of some schooners. There is a bit of a glare, but I believe—
    Order. I must interrupt the member. We greatly appreciate the photo she is showing us, but the hon. member knows that members are prohibited from using props in the House.
    It is timeless, Madam Speaker. I apologize. Compare this situation to what is happening today.
    When I was just six, I remember my father buying a used dishwasher for our small hotel. He told me that he was buying a second identical one that was out of order so he could repair the first one if it ever broke down. I will not share how old I am, but believe it or not, that dishwasher has survived my dad. It is still working, and I swear that we have not found a better replacement. Obviously and fortunately, it is not subject to any code of obsolescence, or we would have been fined many times over under the legislation. Since this appliance is still fit for purpose and generally meets commercial standards in terms of water temperature for disinfection, we are keeping it and repairing it. Most importantly, it is not polluting the planet.
    This story illustrates what Bill C-272 seeks to correct. The Bloc Québécois thinks it is an interesting bill that confirms that we have the right to repair and have repairs done to our belongings. Repair technicians, be they mechanics, computer experts or former schooner captains cum hotel operators, will no longer be liable for copyright infringement.
    This bill will be especially helpful in the regions, where companies often do not have dealers, making it downright impossible to repair goods. By correcting a provision in the Copyright Act that manufacturers were using to prevent their products from being repaired, the bill gives substance to the right to repair our own belongings. This will go a long way in protecting the environment, which cannot take any more of the hundreds of thousands of tonnes of scrap metal, computer equipment and cellular devices, refrigerators and toasters that have keep piling up. The life span of those items could have been extended were it not for this egregious provision in the act, which is more about money than about common sense or the environment.
    The planet is making a green shift that is cannot be denied, and the future of the world absolutely depends on it. Perhaps this legislation will force companies to return to making devices that last. They might be more expensive to manufacture or purchase, but they will be more durable and therefore less polluting. Bill C-272 is a step in the right direction to force companies to adopt this approach, and the Bloc Québécois supports it.

  (1145)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, do we have the right to fix the things we buy, or do we have the obligation to bring those things back to the person who sold them to us and pay them to fix them for us? That is a long-standing question.
    Many sellers build into their business model or their engineering plans a system that requires buyers to come back to pay for maintenance and repair at the place they bought the product or service. This can generate a stable stream of income for the seller and also allow the seller to continue to improve his or her products. On the other side, it prevents the buyer from shopping around and finding a better deal for repairs. There is a conundrum.
    Sellers typically use two different ways to maintain their exclusive rights over the repair of products. One way is to build it right into the warranty or into the sales agreement that, for example, buyers can buy an automobile at a set price, but for the warranty to apply, buyers must bring it back to the seller and the seller alone for servicing. They can write into the contract, or the purchase agreement, that, if buyers want to buy this tractor, the seller will offer this original price, but customers are obliged by contract to give them the contracts to repair it. That is one way, through the use of contractual arrangements.
    The other way is through technological protection measures. This is a particularly new phenomenon in the case of most products because, 30 or 40 years ago, those products did not have a lot of digital technology baked into them that could be encrypted or made exclusive through coding techniques. Today, almost everything we buy has some sort of a technological component to it. The future of automobiles, washer and drying machines, toaster ovens, basically anything we buy will mean less about the hardware, the tin, iron or aluminum in it, and more about the technology that operates it. Therefore, businesses have become very clever in embedding technological protection measures that encrypt the ability to maintain and repair the equipment.
    There are two major extreme positions on what to do about this tension between the buyer who wants to repair his own product or the seller who wants to repair it for him. I will go through them very quickly. On the one hand, some argue that the government should force sellers to stop using technological protection measures or exclusivity clauses in sale and maintenance agreements. On the other hand, some argue that the status quo should continue, which forces buyers to respect technological protection measures and continue to go back to the seller in order to have repairs and maintenance done. Both of these solutions require government forcing one side on the other.
     I believe in the free enterprise system where government applies as little force as humanly possible. Having read Bill C-272, right of repair, that the member for Cambridge has offered, I conclude that he is of the same view. His bill neither bans technological protection measures nor bans efforts by buyers to circumvent those measures. What he simply does with the bill is that it would legalize the practice of developing technologies to get around those technological protection measures so that buyers have the ability to try and repair a product for themselves.
    For example, if someone were to buy a tractor and the tractor manufacturer put in a technology that prevented the buyer upgrading and maintaining that tractor, under the law today, the buyer could not buy a circumvention product that will allow them to get around the protection measure.

  (1150)  

     That is the way the law is written under the Copyright Act in section 41 today. If one does that, one is breaking the law. However, the bill proposes to remove that prohibition, so the manufacturer of the tractor could still put in a protection to prevent the buyer from maintaining the tractor themselves, but the buyer would have the legal right to buy another product that would allow them to get around that technological protection.
     In other words, the bill would basically open the matter up to buyers and sellers to sort out how they are going to arrange their contractual agreements on their own. It would continue to allow companies to put in place measures to try to retain their exclusive right to repair the products they sell, but it would also allow the customer to try to get around and circumvent those protections. I believe this is the right solution, because we should leave, as much as possible, decisions in commerce to the buyers and sellers involved and minimize the involvement of government in between their voluntary decisions.
    For example, if a car dealership wants to write in a requirement that a car buyer must come back to the dealership for maintenance as a condition of the warranty, that should be legal. However, if the car buyer does not want to follow that edict, he can go and buy a car somewhere else. That is the genius of the free market system.
    A buyer can say, “I do not want to be stuck going back to the dealership for maintenance. I want to go to Jane's Mechanics because she does a better job. I am bringing my car to her, and if the dealership is not going to allow my warranty to stand when she maintains my car, then I will not buy the car from that dealership. I will to go to another dealership where they do not have that requirement as part of their warranty.”
    This allows the buyer to make an informed decision about the trade-offs involved when purchasing a product, whether it is a smart phone, an automobile, a washer and dryer, or a farm tractor, the buyer will be able to decide whether or not he or she will buy a product knowing that the seller has a requirement for a product to be maintained at the seller's business.
    At the same time, if the seller wants to put some kind of technological method to prevent others from maintaining and repairing the product, well, he or she can do that. There is nothing in this proposed law that would prevent them from doing that. However, if the bill passes, the state would not enforce that technological protection, and I believe that is as it should be.
    We should live in a free and open market system where people get ahead by having the best product rather than the best lawyer, and where the voluntary exchange of work for wages, product for payment and investment for interest allows everyone to do well by doing good, which is the genius of the market system. If someone has an apple and wants an orange, and I have an orange and want an apple, we trade, and we still have an apple and orange between us but we are both better off because we each have something worth more to us than what we had before.
    What is true of that simple transaction of apples and oranges is also true in more complicated products, such as software-enhanced agricultural equipment, smart phones or other devices. We, as consumers, do our research. We find out the terms involved in buying a given product, and then we decide for ourselves. If we do not like the arrangement that the seller has put into the purchase agreement, then we shop elsewhere.
    I congratulate the member for Cambridge. I believe he has found the optimal solution in federal law to allow buyers of goods and services to try to maximize their utility when buying a product, and he removes unnecessary intervention by the state so that the buyers and sellers can do commerce and achieve the best possible outcome for themselves.

  (1155)  

    Madam Speaker, I am proud to speak to my private member’s bill, Bill C-272, and I am excited to see this bill will come up for a vote very soon. I became interested in this topic because of how many aspects of our lives that it touches. It touches everything from agriculture and the food we eat, to the environment and how we divert waste away from landfills, to consumer rights and allowing people to do the things they should be able to do with the goods they purchase.
    I hope this legislation also kicks off a deeper conversation about the right to repair. This issue is non-partisan and spans the concerns of urban and rural citizens, the young and the old, those who are tech savvy and those who are technophobes. It impacts all of us. I am pleased to see the positive response Bill C-272 has garnered from all parties, and I hope that an in-depth discussion at committee will follow.
    Bill C-272 addresses some concerns that have become more frequent over the past decade, concerns that the Copyright Act is being used and interpreted in areas far beyond its scope. In particular, these concerns focus on the provisions of copyright that are actually able to prevent the repair of digital devices and systems, even when nothing is being copied or distributed. As digital technology around us has become less expensive, it has become more integrated into our daily lives, and the Copyright Act governs the software that is found in these systems.
    As an example, the technology has not changed dramatically in refrigerators over the past few decades, but now you can get a fridge with a computer inside or digital touch screens on the front. That computer, more specifically the onboard software, is protected under the Copyright Act. That computer runs and manages the refrigerator and the onboard systems.
    However, a manufacturer could choose to not allow the repair or replacement of a filter, compressor, or some other part without a specific code, password, or permission entered into the system. They may do this to prevent outsiders from making repairs, to ensure only their approved technicians make the repairs or to prevent the installation of aftermarket parts. However, if someone makes that repair on their own and breaks the technological protection measures in place to force it to accept the repair, they could be violating the Copyright Act, and they could be charged with breaking a federal law.
    This need for repair is even more critical for people in rural or remote locations as they likely do not have quick or easy access to dealerships or manufacturers. These technological protection measures, or TPMs, can inadvertently prevent repairs, and they can shut out independent repair shops and home DIY repairs. They can even stop repairs after the company has gone out of business because they would still be breaking the TPMs, even if there are literally no other options for repair. That goes against everything that Canadians understand instinctively when they purchase something. Bill C-272 works to prevent these kinds of issues by carving out a specific and very limited allowance for consumers to circumvent a TPM, but only for the purpose of diagnosis, maintenance or repair.
     None of these copyright protections are an issue with respect to repairs, and the spirit of the Copyright Act is not intended to speak to the repair of physical devices at all. Interpreting it this way is wildly outside the scope of the intent of copyright, and the legislation is out of date and misused as a result. The circumvention of TPMs discussed and allowed under Bill C-272 are only for repair, maintenance or diagnosis. Any other circumvention would remain illegal under the Copyright Act.
    So far I have had the opportunity to hear from constituents, people across Canada and internationally who are all interested in seeing this bill passed. I thank them for their support.
    I would also like to thank my staff for all of their hard work on this bill, especially that of Andrew Cowie, without whom we would not be speaking about this today.
    My thanks to the hon. members for their debate today and in the first hour. I am also happy to discuss any changes requested by committee, changes that could strengthen the bill and its impact.

  (1200)  

    It being 12:01, the time provided for debate has expired. Accordingly, the question is on the motion.

[Translation]

    If a member of a recognized party present in the House wishes to request a recorded vote or that the motion be adopted on division, I invite them to rise and indicate it to the Chair.
    The hon. member for Kingston and the Islands.

[English]

     Madam Speaker, I request a recorded division.

[Translation]

    Pursuant to order made on Monday, January 25, the recorded division stands deferred until Wednesday, June 2, at the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[Translation]

Criminal Code

    The House resumed from April 16 consideration of the motion that Bill C-6, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (conversion therapy), be read the third time and passed.
    Madam Speaker, I thank the House for this opportunity to continue my remarks on Bill C-6.

[English]

    I am a member of the justice committee, where many witnesses stated that we need to clarify the definition of conversion therapy in this bill. We heard over and over from lawyers that the definition is overbroad and imprecise and the bill lacks clarity, and from faith leaders like Cardinal Collins, who is a spiritual leader to two million Canadians, that it goes beyond the stated goal of banning coercive therapies. Other witnesses testified that good-faith conversations from caring counsellors literally saved their lives and helped them sort themselves out with support, time and no presupposed or preferred outcomes.
    Given all the testimony we heard, much of which I referenced when I spoke previously, why not clarify the language of the bill? Why not specify that good-faith, non-coercive conversations would not be subject to criminal penalty? Why not? It is because the current Minister of Justice claims it would be redundant to do so. Redundant? Really? When is clarity so fervently called for by so many witnesses ever redundant? Why not give the comfort sought if it is implied, as the minister has suggested? The simplest answer is often the right one. The minister and the Liberal government do not want to give that comfort, do not want to give that protection.
    This bill calls for criminal sanctions that could land Canadians in jail for five years. It is our duty as parliamentarians to draft precise legislation for judges and for all Canadians. Criminal law should have the highest threshold against confusion and ambiguity.
    One of my daughters is a school counsellor. I want to ensure that she and the thousands of other hard-working counsellors across this country can continue to have safe conversations with students without violating the law.
    It is an easy fix. Conservatives put forth a simple amendment to add a “for greater certainty” clause to the definition of conversion therapy. Our amendment mirrored the wording on the Department of Justice's own website so that teachers, school counsellors, pastoral counsellors, faith leaders, doctors, mental health professionals and friends and family could provide support, without fear of criminal sanction, to persons who seek their counsel and who are struggling with their sexual orientation, sexual feelings or gender expression and identity.
    An explanation given by a Liberal member at committee was that the list in our amendment stating “such as...teachers, school counsellors”, etc. offends the principle and statutory interpretation that the inclusion of some means the exclusion of others. As a former trial lawyer and administrative law judge, I can say that lists were always helpful to me in interpreting and applying the law. As for the canon of construction expressio unius est exclusio alterius, it simply does not apply where a list includes a prefix like “such as”. “Such as” means that the list is not exhaustive.
    This is pretty basic stuff. Why does the Liberal government not stand by its own justice website? Why did it change its wording? This is the Liberals playing “gotcha” politics with real lives and real struggles, again, trying to force members to vote against this bill because of its lack of precision to later falsely claim that those who voted against it are therefore in favour of coercive conversion therapy. It is intentionally insulting and beneath the dignity of this House. By erasing all confusion, our amendment would have erased all doubt and garnered widespread support.
    One last concern is that as of the final justice committee meeting before clause-by-clause consideration back in December, members were told that 260 written submissions were still being translated, and they were not available until after we voted on amendments. To ignore them is disrespectful and runs counter to our democratic values. It may have altered the very outcome of our clause-by-clause deliberations.
    It is my hope that having digested these briefs in the intervening months, we, on both sides of the aisle, will recognize the importance of condemning harmful practices in a clear and targeted way. Let us reduce suffering and provide acknowledgement by banning coercive conversion therapy, but not increase suffering by ignoring so many briefs and witnesses.
    We should love and look out for all Canadians: no Canadian left behind. I challenge the government to clarify the language in this bill, or at least be honest with Canadians about the intent behind it. Let us leave out hurtful and unnecessary politicization and welcome inclusion.

  (1205)  

    Madam Speaker, while I normally have a good relationship with the member for South Surrey—White Rock, I am disappointed with her remarks today.
    I want to draw her attention to the “for greater certainty” clause that was added to the definition in proposed section 320.101. It states, “For greater certainty, this definition does not include a practice, treatment or service that relates to the exploration and development of an integrated personal identity without favouring any particular sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”
    How is this a vague definition that would somehow prevent counsellors from talking to kids about sexual orientation and sexual identity? It simply says that providing a supportive and affirming conversation is not covered by this bill.
    Madam Speaker, I have a lot respect for my colleague. We have worked on many files together.
    I want to be clear that I am against the practice of coercive therapies or conversion therapy. I do not agree with it. The member and I are both on the justice committee. Most of the witnesses, and it did not matter where they were from, were against that practice. What they wanted was real clarity, not an overly broad or imprecise definition, on what this means exactly, and they did not feel it was in this bill. Witness after witness, whether they be people who have explored this or lawyers studying the legislation, called for greater certainty, and that is what Conservatives are calling for, including the definition as set out on the justice website and in our amendment.
    Madam Speaker, I will be honest. When I hear Conservatives say they are against conversion therapy but the definition is vague, that rings hollow. All that suggests is that they are trying to cover up. They say they are against it but the definition needs to be stronger. They are basically saying they are against a different version of what they believe conversion therapy to be, not what survivors have been saying it actually is.
    The member did not answer the previous question. The member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke specifically asked why the member for South Surrey—White Rock considers the definition he read out vague when he went into detail describing the definition in the bill. Can she answer his question?

  (1210)  

    Madam Speaker, I would first like to say that I find the way that question was put deeply insulting and unnecessary in parliamentary debate, which is something we often see from the member. This is not the time to play these kinds of games. These are people's lives. People are suffering. I am on the justice committee, and I listened to the witnesses; the member did not.
    When listening to the testimonies, we at committee heard real suffering, but it was suffering by more than one category of person. We heard suffering from people who had undergone coercive therapies that they felt had hurt them deeply, perhaps for life, but we also heard from witnesses who said that good-faith conversations by counsellors or faith leaders had actually saved their lives. One has to have some balance when looking at any piece of legislation in this House.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, whenever I hear anything about conversion therapy, I find it really upsetting, because sexual orientation is not a choice people make. I did not choose to be heterosexual any more than homosexual individuals chose their orientation. That is how we were born, it is in our genetic makeup; we got it from our parents.
    If someone is struggling, it is only natural they seek psychological support, but do people really want a conversion? Do they really want to change their genetic makeup? How is this possible without psychological consequences, without anxiety and depression?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I am not sure there was a question. I was very clear that I am against coercive conversion therapy. I have said that from the very beginning. I am just looking for greater clarity in the bill. To suggest that I am for this practice is erroneous.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to have a speech in front of me this morning, because, like my colleague, I am very emotional and find this topic very upsetting.
    I am pleased to rise today at third reading stage to speak to Bill C-6, which amends the Criminal Code with regard to conversion therapy. I think that there needs to be a consensus on this bill to give LGBTQ+ people the respect and protection they deserve. Equality for all is a fundamental value in Quebec, and I hope it is in the rest of the country as well. It is an inalienable right.
     Practices that deny the existence of a person's core identity must be condemned. It is 2021. Historically, Quebec has been a leader in human rights protection. The Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms has recognized sexual orientation as a prohibited ground of discrimination since 1977, and the PQ justice minister got the National Assembly of Quebec to legalize same-sex marriage in 2002, when it instituted civil unions.
    The bill that we are debating today proposes to amend sections of the Criminal Code in order to create offences related to the practice of conversion therapy. The term “practice” is very important here. This bill is identical to Bill C-8, which was introduced in March 2020 and died on the Order Paper when Parliament was prorogued. I hope that Bill C-6 will be passed by all members of the House in this 43rd Parliament, because we cannot afford to waste any more time.
     What is conversion therapy? It is a practice, treatment or service designed to change a person's sexual orientation to heterosexual or their gender identity to cisgender, or to repress or reduce non-heterosexual attraction or any behaviour deemed abnormal. That is appalling.
    I want every member to put themselves in the shoes of a vulnerable person, if only for a few moments, and imagine just how much this can violate their identity and how much distress it can cause. I find it inconceivable that this type of treatment is still being used today in an attempt to please parents or any organization and obtain their approval. For goodness' sake.
    In Quebec, respect for each person's gender identity and sexual orientation is a value that the practice of conversion therapy violates. In our society that is so inclusive and respectful of human rights, or so I hope, who are we to judge what is good for a person and to try to convince them to be otherwise?
    As experts are saying, conversion therapy is pseudoscience. Not only is it dangerous and degrading, but, as many studies have shown, it does not work. According to the World Health Organization, conversion therapy practices “represent a serious threat to the health and well-being of affected people”. According to the Canadian Psychological Association, “[c]onversion or reparative therapy can result in negative outcomes such as distress, anxiety, depression, negative self-image, a feeling of personal failure, difficulty sustaining relationships, and sexual dysfunction”. That is very serious.

  (1215)  

    Conversion therapy has already been banned in five Canadian provinces and one territory: Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Yukon. The cities of Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary have banned it as well. Around the world, Albania, Brazil, Ecuador, Fiji, Germany, Malta, Switzerland and Taiwan have all banned this type of therapy, as have more than 20 states and 80 cities in the U.S. Conversion therapy does, sadly, happen in Canada, but it is done behind closed doors. When I tell my constituents, they are surprised to hear that this practice still exists. We must speak out against these types of therapy and take action.
    I would like to talk about the high-profile case of Gabriel Nadeau.
    Gabriel was a member of a Pentecostal Protestant community and underwent conversion therapy three times.
    I want my colleagues to feel what I did when I heard his story, so I will to quote Gabriel. He said:
     Four people physically held me down while the “prophet” shouted into my ears for 30 minutes, calling for the demon to get out, and they made me drink “holy olive oil”.
    He added:
     Everyone around me was saying that my sexual orientation could be changed. I tried everything...but of course nothing was successful. I had a breakthrough between the ages of 18 and 19.... Now, I accept my orientation and am proud to be gay.
    It is hard to imagine everything he went through.
    The members of his group believed that homosexuality was a malevolent spirit, a demon. Gabriel said he was aware of that and believed it himself. Exorcism was one of the therapeutic techniques used.
    He went on to say:
     I think that the hardest part for me, harder even than the exorcism, was the self-rejection that followed, the feeling of being completely disgusted by myself, wanting to change completely, and being so desperate every day.... It was truly awful.
    Gabriel Nadeau also added:
     I found self-acceptance, and I realized that I didn't always have to conform to what other people wanted or thought, when it came to my sexuality or anything else. It is wonderful, and I would never go back to that religious prison.
    I applaud him for having the courage to share his story and his experience, as traumatizing as it was. By sharing his story, he gave society and elected representatives like us an opportunity to reflect and the words and images to understand the violence that Quebeckers and Canadians who undergo conversion therapy may experience. I want Gabriel to know that we are grateful to him and we are thinking of him.
    Fortunately, Quebec society and Canadian society, distinct though they may be, have a lot in common, in particular in terms of values. Quebec and Canada agree on certain matters and adopt consistent policies to enhance human rights.
    As Bloc Québécois critic for living together, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the Quebec government's human rights protection initiative, Bill 70, which prohibits conversion therapy in Quebec.

  (1220)  

    May 17 was International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. This year's theme was “For some, showing their colours isn't a choice”. Around the world, LGBTQ2S+ individuals are still the victims of psychological, physical and sexual violence.
    The aim of the bill is to put an end to conversion therapy, which is a form of terrible psychological violence unsupported by science.
    I would therefore invite all of my colleagues, especially my Conservative colleagues, who are trying to make amendments that could be made at a later date, to act before the end of the session. We must stop postponing the issue and vote to defend and protect LGBTQ2S+ individuals in Quebec and Canada. We must not postpone the adoption of the bill, but vote in favour of it. That is what I ask. No one deserves to suffer needlessly and bear the scars for the rest of their life.
    It is our duty to protect the vulnerable. That is why I chose to go into politics. I would also like to mention that, not so long ago, on June 15, the Conservative leader tweeted, “Let me be clear, conversion therapy has no place in Canada and should be banned. Period.... I am committed to fighting this unacceptable and harmful practice. I will not compromise on this issue.” We will see if his word is worth anything when it comes to taking action.
    According to a recent official survey, 47,000 Canadian men belonging to a sexual minority have been subjected to conversion therapy. We are not talking about 2,000 men or 5,000 men, but about 47,000 men.
    The Bloc Québécois is proud to be a long-time ally of the LGBTQ2S+ community. All of my colleagues were prepared long ago to put an end to the violence of conversion therapy, here and now, so that no sexually or gender-diverse person has to convert, since we love them and celebrate them.
    In conclusion, I do not know if my colleagues have seen the movie Boy Erased, but it really helped me understand what conversion therapy is like and the impact it has on individuals and their families. It was so terrifying that it gave me goose bumps. It really opened my eyes. I asked my children to watch it, and then we talked about it. The first thing they said was, “Mom, it is based on a true story. When did it happen?” I answered that it was not very long ago and that this sort of thing is still going on. This 2018 movie is based on the memoirs of Garrard Conley, a 35-year-old author and activist. He recounts the traumatizing and violent experience of the conversion therapy forced on him by his parents. He did not want the therapy. I urge my colleagues to watch the movie, because it was a powerful awareness-raising experience for me and my family.

  (1225)  

    In the end, that is what it is all about: education, information and understanding others. Regardless of our gender identity or sexual orientation, we are all beautiful in our diversity.
    I am pleased to be able to say that the Bloc Québécois has always been resolutely committed to protecting and promoting the rights and freedoms of Quebeckers. I am very proud to belong to a political party that shares my values and that has always been an ally in the fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender or gender expression.
    I asked my colleagues to stand up and dare to take action. We need to pass Bill C-6 before the end of the session. It is already late, in my opinion. However, as we say, it is never too late.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I want to thank the member for the passion she has brought to this issue, speaking so clearly about it and representing the voices of those who have been affected by conversion therapy. I particularly agree with her that we need to pass the bill before the end of this session. I know I have certainly been asking for it on my side of the House, because this is important. I also thank her for the recommendation on that movie. I will look it up because I have not heard of it.
    I want to touch on the member's comments in regard to the Leader of the Opposition and the statement he made in June of last year when he said that he was against this. The Conservatives have been trying to use the issue of definition and how it is not detailed enough. Personally, I see that as a red herring. I see it as an excuse to avoid voting for something they claim to be so passionate about, especially when talking to certain demographics in our country.
    Could the member comment as to why the Conservatives are so hell-bent on the issue of the definition?

  (1230)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague.
    Let us be frank. When a bill is specific and anticipated and has garnered widespread support, even from the head of the party of in question, but there are still grey areas or clashes of values among the members of that party, there is only one course they can follow: delay the study of the bill, filibuster and find a way to stretch the process out so that they can say that the bill did not pass in 2021.
    After Bill C-8 and Bill C-6, how many others will we have to study? This has to end.
    There may be a free vote, but I am convinced that Bill C-6 will be passed. The filibustering must stop, and the bill must be placed on our parliamentary agenda before the end of the session so that the Senate can also study and pass it.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I agree with much of what the member said.
    I followed the committee proceedings closely on this bill and noted with great respect the interventions of the Bloc member for Rivière-du-Nord. He also expressed some concerns about the definition as it was amended. It was not only Conservative members, it was also the Bloc member on the committee. He voted against an amendment from the NDP to add in gender expression. Here is what the member of the Bloc said at committee:
    Let's say that, in the morning before going to school, an eight-year-old boy decides to wear a dress. His mother might say yes, or she might say no. Either way, if we use that definition, it would be a criminal offence for a mother to tell her son that she does not want him to wear a dress and to force him to wear pants. That's the definition we are about to adopt, and I see a problem with it.
    That is a direct quote from the Bloc member for Rivière-du-Nord, who represents the Bloc on that committee, who had concerns about the definition and who listened to the witness testimony. The same Bloc member proposed a motion to delay clause by clause so the written briefings submitted could be reviewed by the committee.
     I want to ask the member if she is in alignment with her Bloc colleague in terms of having some concerns about the reference to gender expression and other aspects of the definition and if she shares her colleague's concern about the lack of consideration of written briefs.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question.
    We have stated, explained and spelled out what is included in the proposal we are studying today several times. The role of a committee is to go into detail and analyze the bill from top to bottom in order to be able to take action. As I clearly stated in my speech, we must make it illegal for parents and religious organizations to force individuals to undergo conversion therapy.
    That is the least we can do. For now, it is clear that this practice must stop. We read it again earlier. Once the individual reaches adulthood, they will be able to make a voluntary choice. It is clearly indicated in the bill that that is the offence.
    The other members are trying to stretch things out so that the bill dies on the Order Paper—
    Order. The hon. member for Vancouver East.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, there is no question that conversion therapy is an attempt to fix members of the SOGI community, and it is wrong. New laws alone will not be sufficient to repair the damages of the past from conversion therapy nor to combat the hate that underlies these programs.
    Would the member agree that the government needs to fund capacity building within the SOGI community, so these challenges can be addressed by the community?

  (1235)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, it is clear that, once this bill is adopted, we must start thinking about reparation for the sins of the past, because time is running out.
    Our obligations should already have been recognized, as they were in Quebec. We spoke about the pandemic and mental health issues. Some 47,000 individuals were subjected to conversion therapy. As a society, we must make sure that these individuals are well and happy. I completely agree with my colleague.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, one of the interesting things is that the Bloc member who was on the committee at the time raised the concern that he did not feel the definition was clear enough. He said:
    For example, I personally have not seen much done to clarify the proposed definition in clause 5 of the bill. I'm really concerned about that definition. All of the witnesses we heard from, regardless of their background, agree that the definition is unclear. Obviously, we all need to think about it.
    When I had my practice, lawmakers were seen as godlike figures. Here, however, I find we are being a bit sloppy by doing a clause-by-clause study of the bill when we have not yet had time to read the briefs, thoughts and comments that members of the public have sent us.
    For all these reasons, I suggest that we postpone the clause-by-clause study to a meeting after work resumes in January.
    Does the member not agree with her colleague that we should perhaps have more fulsome study, so that all those briefs could be seen at committee?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, as part of our first experiences in this legislature, we realize that some items are proposed in committee and others are added as we go along.
    However, we must never forget where we started and why. The aim was to bring in an amendment that would make it an offence for a parent or religious entity to force a minor to undergo conversion therapy under the pretext that that is not the way they were born and they are possessed by a demon. Come on.
    While sitting on the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, I noticed that, whether we are discussing Pornhub or conflict of interest, the door is always wide open.
    We must not forget that when we procrastinate bills die on the Order Paper and, unfortunately, we do not get anywhere. I am ashamed to be in this Parliament and let this bill die on the Order Paper.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Laurentides—Labelle for her excellent speech, which was extremely humane and extremely moving, as always.
    The leader of the Bloc Québécois said that the sooner LGBTQ2 individuals are given all the respect they deserve, like everyone else, the sooner we can do that, the sooner we should.
    The bill is now at third reading. How does my colleague explain this sense of urgency?
    We are in June, and this parliamentary session will soon end. We know that the Liberals are very eager to call an election. The proof is that they invoked closure to pass a bill to reform the Canada Elections Act.
    Does my colleague feel this sense of urgency? Does she think the bill will be passed during this Parliament?
    Madam Speaker, I could not agree more. If we want to show the respect and compassion of previous years, we need to act now. We are in the middle of an end-of-session blitz, we can do it; it is a matter of political will.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I am very happy to be speaking to Bill C-6 today, finally. Here we are more than a year after its introduction with the final version of Bill C-6 before the House for a final debate and vote. That is more than one year longer that this hateful and harmful practice has been allowed to go on.
     Hopefully the fact that the bill has been before the House for debate has helped shine a light on the dark places where this so-called therapy takes place, as this is one practice that cannot stand much light. In the interim, many provinces and local governments have enacted bans of their own.

  (1240)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would like to hear what my colleague is saying, but there is a problem with the interpretation.

[English]

    The translation is not working. Let us try again.
    The hon. member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke.
    Madam Speaker, I will start over, assuming the clock has been stopped.
     I am very pleased to rise to speak to Bill C-6 today, finally. Here we are more than a year after its introduction with the final version of Bill C-6 before the House for a final debate and vote. That is more than one more year longer that this hateful and harmful practice has been allowed to go on.
     Hopefully the fact that this bill has been before the House for debate has helped shine a light on the dark places where this so-called therapy takes place, as this is one practice that cannot stand much light. In the interim, many provinces and local governments have enacted bans of their own.
     Hopefully this debate will conclude today so we can proceed quickly to a vote and send the bill to that other place, even though the other place has an unfortunate history of killing bills about sexual orientation and gender identity through delay.
    Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I am sorry to interrupt my fellow comrade, but I think he had a unanimous consent motion that he was hoping to move at the beginning of his speech. I wanted to see if the member was going to do that.
    The hon. member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke.
    Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. NDP whip for reminding me that I have to ask for consent to share my time with the member for North Island—Powell River.
    Does the member have unanimous consent?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The hon. member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke.
    Madam Speaker, conversion therapy has been found by all experts to be fraudulent and harmful. It is not sanctioned by any professional organization and many Canadians are surprised this practice still goes on in Canada. However, we heard powerful testimony at the justice committee, documenting the fact that conversion therapy still took place in both what I would call its traditional form, focusing on sexual orientation, and in a new form that argues that those who are transgender, non-binary or gender diverse ought to be talked out of their personal identity.
    The New Democrats and almost all members of the SOGI community have long been calling for a complete ban on conversion therapy in all its forms. What we have before us, after amendments at the committee, is a bill that comes close to a complete ban, as close as possible without actually being one.
    The Minister of Justice has repeatedly said that the reason for not going ahead with a complete ban is his fear that it would not survive a charter challenge on the basis that it would restrict the rights of consenting adults to freely choose to subject themselves to conversion therapy.
     There is an alternative argument that says a complete ban would indeed likely survive a charter challenge because there are strong legal precedents that argue that no one can actually consent to being defrauded or injured. The clearest parallel in the Criminal Code is the case of fight clubs, which remain illegal, as one cannot consent, no matter how freely, to being physically injured. Therefore, if the evidence is undeniable that conversion therapy is inherently fraudulent and harmful, the same legal principles should apply.
    What is banned in Bill C-7? The strongest provision in the bill is a complete ban for minors, including the offence of transporting a minor outside the country to undergo conversion therapy, which is a much more common practice than most Canadians would assume.
    Growing up in a society that remains heteronormative and intolerant of any challenges to the binary cisgender norms is challenging enough for queer youth without ending up being pressured into therapy whose goal is to get them to deny who they actually are.
    Though Bill C-6 does not institute a complete ban on conversion therapy, it will establish an effective ban on the practice as it prohibits generally what might be called the business practices around conversion therapy. This means there will be a ban on charging for, or profiting from conversion therapy and a ban on paid or unpaid advertising of conversion therapy.
    Working together at committee, we did strengthen Bill C-6, although the Conservatives are acting like no amendments actually took place at committee. One of the most important improvements was to alter the original language in Bill C-6, which proposed banning conversion therapy “against a person's will”. This was vague language with no parallel elsewhere in the Criminal Code of which I know. My amendment was adopted to change this language to a ban on conversion therapy “without consent”.
    Using the language of without consent clearly situates the ban on conversion therapy within the well-understood and well-developed Canadian jurisprudence on what does and does not constitute consent. I was disappointed that a second amendment, which sought to spell out the specific limitations on consent that would apply in the case of conversion therapy, was defeated. The testimony we heard from survivors about the kinds of duress they were almost universally under to subject themselves to conversion therapy would clearly obviate any claim of consent.
    The second important improvement made at the justice committee was to expand the scope of the definition of conversion therapy to include gender identity and gender expression. This makes the language in Bill C-6 consistent with our existing human rights legislation and the hate crimes section of the Criminal Code as amended by Bill C-16. This is important as the new forms of conversion therapy I mentioned are directed at transgender and gender diverse individuals and at the attempt to get them to deny their gender identity under the guise of helping individuals “adjust”.
    A third change to Bill C-6 made at committee was to add to the definition of what was in effect a for greater certainty clause stating what was not covered in the ban, something the Conservatives say they wanted and something they are certainly ignoring as it is now in the bill.
    Bill C-6 now makes clear that it does not ban good faith counselling. Let me cite the specific definition again, as I did in my question earlier, as it could not be more clear. This definition “does not include a practice, treatment or service that relates to the exploration and development of an integrated personal identity without favouring any particular sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.” That is specifically in the bill.

  (1245)  

    Opponents of Bill C-6 continue to insist that the bill will somehow prevent conversations between parents and children or pastors and their faithful on the topics of sexual orientation or gender identity. There is no truth to this claim. The only way these conversations could be captured is if, in fact, they were part of a sustained effort to change someone's sexual orientation or gender identity that constitutes a practice or service under the bill. It would be a giant stretch to characterize efforts of parents or pastors to “try to talk their kids out of it” as a practice, service or therapy.
    The vehemence of the debate on Bill C-6 around gender identity certainly reflects the fact that trans and gender-diverse Canadians face the highest levels of discrimination of any group in Canada. That discrimination results in high levels of unemployment, difficulties in accessing housing and high levels of violence, including the murder of two transgender Canadians in the last year alone, just for being trans.
    During hearings in committee there was a wave of hatred expressed toward me as an individual on social media, which showed me the level of hostility generally toward trans and gender-diverse people in our country. The insults thrown at me ranged from interfering with parental rights to supporting mutilation of children and, most absurdly, being in the pay of big pharma, apparently because transitioning involves hormones. That is a particularly ill-informed charge against someone who has fought all my time in public life for reducing the power of pharmaceutical companies through shorter patents, expanded use of generics, bulk-buying to bring down costs and, ultimately, the establishment of universal pharmacare.
    Those insults also included direct threats of violence directed at me, but, again, I remind myself that the hatred I saw, and will inevitably see again after this speech today, provided only a small glimpse into what transgender and gender-diverse Canadians face every day of their lives.
    Many of those objecting to the bill have used what I call a “false detransitioning narrative”. To be clear, I am not rejecting the validity of the stories of individuals who may have chosen to detransition, but opponents of Bill C-6 have adopted those stories to construct a false narrative about the number who choose to detransition and their reasons for doing so. Professional, peer-reviewed studies from the U.K. and Scandinavia tell us that very few transgender people actually later detransition. Both major studies cite a number of fewer than five in 1,000 who detransition, and, even more interesting, both studies report that most of them say they detransitioned not because it was not right for them, but because they did not get support from family, friends and the community they live and work in.
     The implication by critics seems to be that there is something in this bill that would prevent counselling concerning detransition, when this is absolutely not the case. Using the detransition narrative to detract Bill C-6 is false, in that I am pretty sure this argument often actually has nothing to do with the ban on conversion therapy being proposed; it is an argument about the very validity of transgender Canadians.
    Let me say that I find these arguments against the bill, and being at my most charitable, are at a minimum parallel, if not identical, to those that continue to cause harm to trans and gender-diverse Canadians, and they indicate why we need this ban. At some point, some might ask why have a bill at all, when CT is universally condemned as fraudulent and harmful. Again, as many members have pointed out, studies show that literally tens of thousands of Canadians have been subjected to this practice.
    It is important to listen to the voices of survivors of conversion therapy; only then can we understand the need for this bill. Once again, I want to extend personal thanks to two survivors, Erika Muse and Matt Ashcroft, who spent a lot of time with me trying to give me a better understanding of the horrors they faced and their own challenging roads to recovery.
    On a personal note, let me say again that I have seen progress in my lifetime for some in the sexual orientation and gender identity community, but we have a much longer road to follow when it comes to those who are transgender and gender-diverse. What a ban of conversion therapy really says is this: we know it is impossible to change someone's sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and trying to change or repress one's identity is harmful. Let's stop literally torturing young Canadians for being who they are. Let's put an end—

  (1250)  

    I will have to ask the hon. member to continue his points in the questions and comments.
    The hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands.
    Madam Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague from Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke for his championing of the rights of the LGBTQ+ two-spirit community. I am horrified as he shares with us the abuse he has experienced for standing up for trans rights.
    The only problem I have with Bill C-6 is why we call a practice that is clearly torture something called “therapy”. Is it not time to stop calling residential schools “schools” and call them what they were? Is it not time to call what is called “conversion therapy” abuse and torture?
    Madam Speaker, I could not agree with the member more. I thank her, since I ran out of time in my speech, for drawing the parallel to what happened at residential schools. I, of course, share the horror and the need for us to act resolutely on the news that we heard from Kamloops this week.
    All the professional studies show that conversion therapy results in depression, self-harm, suicide attempts and many actual deaths by suicide. There is no science behind this practice, there is no reason to continue to call it therapy and that is one of the reasons it should be banned.
    Madam Speaker, I would put two points to my colleague. One is around the definition of what constitutes a practice. The word “practice” is not defined in the Criminal Code. One of the issues in outstanding ambiguity and why people are concerned about how this would impact private conversations about questions around sexuality, for example, is that the reference to a treatment, practice or service could include things that are not in a pseudo-therapeutic context.
    I also want to ask the member why he opposed allowing for all of the written briefs to be reviewed before clause by clause began. Should we not, as legislators, have the humility to recognize that there may be new information in those written briefs and it is worth—
    The hon. member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke.
    Madam Speaker, this question from a Conservative is a good example of what Conservatives are doing here. They continually try to muddy the waters by talking about terms and definitions.
    It is very clear what this bill aims to ban, and that is sustained efforts to get someone to change or repress their sexual orientation and gender identity. There is no doubt about the purpose of this bill. There is no doubt about what is covered in this bill.
    Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his trail-blazing work and advocacy on this front.
    We all know well, or ought to know well, that transgender people in Canada face some of the highest rates of violence. I am wondering if my colleague could speak to how this bill would be critical in getting at that violent reality that so many transgender people face simply for being transgender, simply for being who they are. I hope all parliamentarians can get behind the notion that we need legislation to allow people to live who they are.

  (1255)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her kind words.
    The very fact that so-called conversion therapy is allowed to go on in the country contributes to homophobia, transphobia, biphobia and the very struggles that people face each and every day because it says that they are somehow illegitimate and should change. Making that very clear definition that, as Canadians, we accept people for who they are and we do not try to get them to deny their identity would be an important step forward in combatting homophobia and transphobia.
    Madam Speaker, I am here today to speak on Bill C-6, a bill on conversion therapy and the sometimes deadly impacts it has.
    I cannot help but take a pause before I start my speech to acknowledge the deep grief and pain across Canada due to finding the 215 bodies of children in a mass grave at a school in our country. Many elders have said to me that the first part of dealing with this is making sure we support those beautiful babies in moving safely to their ancestors' arms, so I am here in the House of Commons wanting to say we see these precious children and that their loved ones are fighting to make sure they are never silenced again. I say, “Please go home to the loving arms of the people there waiting and know we will continue here to do the work that must be done.” We love them, we see them; we are telling them to go home and be surrounded by love.
    For too long, Canada has not listened to residential school survivors and to the loved ones of survivors who have told us again and again of the horrific things they witnessed. Value is a key word today. Enough fighting kids in court. They do not get a second childhood. How many indigenous children should lose their childhood? Enough making indigenous communities choose between clean drinking water and other essential needs. Why would anyone be asked to choose one or the other? Enough make indigenous people fight for basic human rights, rights every other Canadian receives.
    Enough paternalistic mechanisms so embedded in the departments of Indigenous Services and Crown-Indigenous Relations that indigenous communities continue to be underserved and under-resourced, and self-determination is blocked every step of the way.
    The ugliness of our colonial history is hard to hear. However, it is harder to live, so I encourage all non-indigenous people to listen hard and then work toward reconciliation as an ally, which really means following and amplifying the voices of indigenous people and communities in Canada.
    I want to thank my granny, Minnie, who went to Lejac Residential School. She came back broken and working hard to build something better. To my amazing family, who works so hard every day to bring the culture back and to share it with the children, I see their work and I am so grateful.
    I also want to say to my niece Daisy, who today, after my sister explained why we are all wearing orange, said to her mom, “Please, don't let them take me to residential school” that we are all going to work so hard, baby, to make sure that never happens. What a relief it is that, unlike indigenous parents and family members in the past, we do not have to be arrested or beaten just for the right to protect her.
    Now I will go back to Bill C-6, which is such an important bill.
    I believe love is love and that our sexuality and gender identity and expression is a spectrum and celebrating everyone on it is a key point of building community and our country. I am also a parent and a grandparent. I remember when I had my first baby and the overwhelming honour I felt at knowing this being was a gift to me, that my job was to do one thing, which was to do my very best every day to love them exactly the way they are. It is the most beautiful practice of parenthood, in my opinion, that of unconditional love.
    Sometimes I struggle with my kids. They are themselves, and getting to know them, as they get to know themselves, can sometimes be challenging. When it is hard, I remind myself my number one job is to be their love foundation and that when they go into the world and face the challenges that are there for them, when they look at me they see someone who loves and believes in them.
    I often tell my children they are the best part, because for me they are. Grandchildren, well, that is just a whole other level of being a love foundation.
    This is what I think of when I speak today about a bill that would specifically criminalize subjecting a minor to conversion therapy, transporting a minor out of Canada for the purpose of conversion therapy, subjecting adults to conversion therapy against their will and the business of conversion therapy aimed at both minors and adults. This would include criminalizing advertising the service and charging for or profiting from the service.
    Let me just say I am absolutely horrified anyone has been supported or paid to try to convince any soul that who they are is not okay. Teens who are exploring transitioning are being subjected to body-affirming therapy that attempts to tell them they should love the body they were born with instead of affirming they can be whoever they want to be and feel themselves to be at their core.
    Who are we to tell anyone, much less a growing teenager, to accept their body as it is when that teen knows their body does not match their gender identity and they have felt wrong in their bodies their whole lives? Body-affirming therapy is wrong and must be included in this ban on conversion therapy.

  (1300)  

    The reality is that we live in a culture where hate toward the SOGIE, or sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, community still happens all too often. Young people know who they are but are terrified that, if they say anything, they will lose their love foundation. Some do. Some souls say who they are and they lose their foundation. For those beautiful people, we must keep speaking about this. They need to know that it gets better, and that there are many people out there with love in their hearts waiting to love and accept them.
    Any form of conversion therapy, in my opinion, is deadly because it is trying to change someone's wholeness and their being. That is a wound I cannot imagine. Some are told that who they are at their very core is wrong, and are left by the very people who were meant to love them. I want to put on the record that members of the SOGIE community do not need to be fixed, and that it is impossible to change someone's sexual orientation, gender identity or expression through counselling or aversion therapy because there is nothing wrong with them. We know that these attempts at conversion therapy, which are really just torture, and any kinds of attempts to alter a person's sexual orientation, gender identity or expression are harmful. All acts of homophobia and transphobia lead to depression, social isolation, self-harm and even death by suicide.
    An earlier speaker on this bill said that the SOGIE community is resilient. Despite the hate in the world, this community is resilient. I have seen this. The many annual Pride events in my riding are a great example. They are loving and powerful. I am so grateful for this. I want to stop the hate in Canada that this community has to be resilient against.
    I hope that by getting this bill through the House and the Senate we shut down this horrific practice that harms people so deeply. I hope we all work toward finding love for one another. Life is beautiful, but it is also hard. Who someone is should not mean they have to build up another level of resilience or layer of armour to simply exist in the world. Nothing in this bill affects the ability of parents to discuss questions of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression with their children. It simply does not stop the conversations.
    The “what if” argument I am hearing from the Conservatives is disappointing. What I would say is this. What if we lose one more member of the SOGIE community to suicide because they are being taught that who they are is not okay? I want to lean into that fear and work toward saving lives, because to me those lives are more precious and more important than fear. For me, this is a bill that says Canada is beginning to say no to anyone who is making money from or providing conversion therapy.
    Recently, I was able to participate in a virtual event to recognize the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia hosted by the member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke. I am so grateful for his leadership and hard work on this file. I was able to ask how to be the best ally I could. I will always remember what Brian Chang said. He said that people should advertise when they are allies. They should not just think about it: They should make sure they do all they can to make sure that the people who need to know do not have to ask. I have done my best to be that kind of ally: one who is not passive, but who reaches out and does the work as much as possible. I will always look for more input because I know that we can always do better.
    It is hard to recognize that we still live in a world that is not safe for the SOGIE community. This was amplified even more in my riding in December of 2020, when a young person put up a website and followed up with an art exhibit at the Comox Valley Art Gallery. Mackai Sharp had the great bravery to share the story of homophobia he experienced in his community. He named his project “Kill Yourself”. I hope we all take a breath when we hear that.
    Hate is a message that tells people who they are is not okay and that they do not belong. I want to continuously work toward a Canada that stops homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. I want a Canada that says clearly, “Love is beautiful. You matter. Your identity matters. Your sexuality matters. Your pronouns matter. Who you are matters.”

  (1305)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to get the member's opinion. Earlier, her NDP colleague said that the bill did not completely ban conversion therapy, which will remain legal for consenting adults. The bill prohibits forced conversion therapy for minors, as well as the advertising and marketing of such therapy, among other things.
    Could my colleague tell me whether she thinks that the bill should have gone farther and completely banned conversion therapy?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I think this bill goes forward to make sure that conversion therapy is no longer allowed. We need to continue to fight this and make sure there is no misinterpretation. We have to watch for that, because one of the challenges we see is that so many things are happening behind closed doors that should not be. Whenever a person is told that who they are is not okay and is made to feel less about themselves, we should always stand up and say that is not okay.
    I agree that if people want to ask questions and want to have a conversation with a trusted person about things they are thinking about, as long as they are supported, it is something totally different from conversion therapy. I thank the member so much for his question. When we address any issue of groups that have been oppressed and harmed, we must always question and always know that the fight must continue.
    Madam Speaker, I thank the member for the many important things that she said, many of which I agree with.
    I want to follow up on a question I had asked her colleague on the issue of the submission of written briefs. I asked him a two-part question and we only got to the response on the first part of it.
    Many stakeholder groups submitted written briefs to the committee, and many of those briefs were given to members only on the day of. It was the contention of the Bloc member, and one I agreed with, that by refusing to delay clause by clause in order to allow it to look at these written briefs, the committee did not show much respect for the work of people who had studied the bill and submitted suggestions. Given that the government did not call this legislation for another five months, there would have been sufficient time for the committee to look at those briefs.
    Why did the NDP vote against reviewing the many written briefs that were submitted before proceeding with clause by clause? There are many details in this bill. There might be good information about how things could be refined, expanded or adjusted in some way.
    Why did the NDP not want to have those written briefs considered?
    Madam Speaker, I will remind the member that amendments were made to the bill that clarified some of the concerns brought forward. I would say it has been unfortunate how slowly this bill has moved through the House, largely because of Conservative interruption and Liberal interruption. People of the SOGIE community are dying because of these terrible practices. It is not okay, in Canada, to tell anyone that who they are is not okay. They have a right to exist and they have a right to exist safely. This bill starts that process in a meaningful way. We must get it to the next steps.

  (1310)  

    Madam Speaker, I believe that the government has prioritized this legislation. We have had a substantial number of pieces of legislation related to the pandemic and the budget, yet we want to see Bill C-6 pass.
    Can the member provide her thoughts on how important it is to get opposition parties not only to speak, but also to take into consideration the passage of this important legislation?
    Madam Speaker, I absolutely agree with the member that we must get this through the House as soon as possible. Saving lives is important.

[Translation]

    This afternoon, I am very pleased to be able to speak to the bill that is before us today. It is a very relevant and important bill, which, without exaggeration, has the potential to save lives.
    I feel very strongly about Bill C-6, an act to amend the Criminal Code with regard to conversion therapy. My son Nicolas is a PhD student in chemistry. He likes to play sports, sail and do all sorts of other great things. These are the traits that characterize him and set him apart from others. My son is also gay. I can say that I am proud to live in a society and a country that does not characterize people based on their sex, gender or sexual orientation. This bill deals with a subject that is very personal to me and so my emotions may get the better of me during my speech.
    Nevertheless, in the next few minutes, I will attempt to illustrate why Bill C-6 is an excellent bill, especially why it is truly essential, and why it is, in my humble opinion, high time we legislate on this issue.
    For a long time, homosexuality was considered immoral, deviant and even criminal. Some still hold those views today, and I will refrain from citing some truly appalling speeches heard recently in the House on this subject. Some people think that homosexuality is not genetic. They believe it is caused by a trauma, the influence of an evil spirit, or a disorder linked to gender identity. Others believe that homosexuality is a choice, and therefore it can be changed, or that it is a mental disorder. There are those who would argue that it is a sin that must be resisted or a demon that needs to be exorcised.
    Historically, many methods have been employed to punish or cure homosexuality: riding a bike to the point of exhaustion, applying electrodes, administering chemical substances, or psychoanalytic therapy.
    Conversion therapy started to emerge in the 1990s. Let us be clear about what conversion therapy is. Conversion therapy aims to change an individual's sexual orientation to heterosexual, specifically in order to reduce or repress non-heterosexual attraction or sexual behaviours, or to change an individual's gender identity to match the sex he or she was assigned to at birth.
    Sexual reorientation practices aim to silence the individual's diversity in favour of a specific sexual orientation, namely heterosexuality. Framing sexual orientation as a choice within a binary system is, in the end, just another argument used to legitimize the homophobic nature of sexual reorientation practices.
    How can conversion therapy still exist in 2021, after great advances like legalizing gay marriage and making it possible for same-sex couples to adopt? That is why we need to legislate on this issue.
    What does this bill really do? Our colleagues across the aisle have raised a number of concerns about the bill, which is why it is important to set the record straight. If passed, the legislation would prohibit conversion therapy for minors and make it illegal to transport a minor outside of Canada for such therapy. It would also make it illegal to subject adults to conversion therapy against their will.
    Lastly, the bill makes it illegal to profit from or advertize conversion therapy.
    I want to send a clear message to my colleagues. We must vote with full knowledge of the facts. Private conversations between a parent and child, or between two people, are not and will not be prohibited. Supporting someone who is genuinely questioning their sexual orientation is legitimate. However, encouraging these individuals to repress their same-sex attraction is not the right solution. Instead, they should be supported in fighting the homophobia they may have internalized. That is why we introduced Bill C-6.

  (1315)  

    Conversion therapy is based on the false premise that an individual's sexual orientation and gender identity and expression can and must change to conform to an extremely narrow and outdated view of what is “natural” or “normal”.
    Despite the decriminalization and depathologization of homosexuality, there are still quite a few organizations that provide treatments to “heal” homosexuality. Those who carry out rites, prayers or exorcisms generally do not do so openly. They say they deliver or liberate people from the demon of homosexuality.
    The evidence collected has exposed situations where people are forcibly confined, assaulted and experience outright physical and emotional abuse. Furthermore, it has been shown that parents fail to ensure the safety and development of their children by encouraging them to participate in practices of sexual reorientation because they knew that third parties could emotionally and physically mistreat them.
    Several experts, including psychiatrist Richard Montoro, have stated that providing conversion therapy is tantamount to homophobia and is a serious threat to health and fundamental rights. This type of therapy has cognitive and social consequences and can lead to anxiety, depression and even suicidal ideation.
    The Pan American Health Organization has said that there is no medical justification for conversion therapy. When I met with them, representatives from organizations in my community, such as GRIS Estrie and Fière la fête, all said that this is an unjustifiable practice that must be denounced and subject to sanctions.
    It is absolutely essential that we help people accept their sexual orientation, rather than encouraging them to fight their homosexuality, often in a homophobic and heterosexist social environment.
    We cannot change the past, but I hope that this discussion will help advance gender and sexual diversity rights, in the hopes of building a fairer society. It is a positive for someone who is homosexual to say that they are lucky because they are accepted by their family, friends and community, but we can do so much better. The fact that someone even has to say these things is proof of widespread prejudice.
    When I read the letter my son wrote to tell us he was gay, I cried. I cried because of the world and its prejudice. I cried because this world, which claims to be egalitarian, categorizes people and still places white heterosexual men on a pedestal.
    Consider all of the discrimination packed into those three little words: white heterosexual men. We have seen too many examples of this in the news in recent months. We are living in a society where people who are different are at best marginalized and, at worst, abused and killed. That is why minorities always have to fight to maintain and build on their gains. Despite our efforts to change things, are we still be intolerant of difference?
    Let us hope that this vote will prove the opposite. Conversion therapy is a destructive, cruel and deadly practice. It has no place in Canada or anywhere else.

  (1320)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for giving her son, Nicolas, such a wonderful, welcoming, supportive home to live in. She is so right in saying that anyone from the SOGIE community should not have to say that they were lucky because they were raised in such a way; it should just be how our society is.
     I would like to give the member a little more time, as the mother of a gay son, to say why bills like this are important to ensuring that this stigma is reduced for all Canadians and that those barriers to equality of opportunity can be removed, because love is love and whom one loves should not determine one's path to equality in Canada.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for giving me time to speak a little more about Bill C-6.

[Translation]

    Every individual should be able to be who they are. We are who we are, the way we were born. Living in an open society where everyone is accepted as they are requires great openness, and that is what makes our communities strong. In my opinion, Canada’s strength is that it accepts difference and diversity.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for her testimony, which says it all. I would also like to thank her for sharing a more personal story with us.
    In October 2020, the Quebec government tabled a bill in this respect. The justice minister said that conversion therapy was a barbaric practice, and my colleague corroborated this through the examples she gave.
    I would like to ask my colleague a question.
    Why does she think such a bill was not passed unanimously?
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her question.
    Attitudes change over the years and decades. The fact that LGBTQ2+ communities are more engaged in raising awareness and are more visible in every sphere of life once again demonstrates Canadians’ openness. In my opinion, attitudes had to change if there was to be an equal place for everyone. It is because of ongoing efforts and our way of doing things that we have made it this far. It is high time that we passed Bill C-6 and prohibited conversion therapy in Canada.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I want to thank the member for her very moving speech. I would particularly like to recognize her for sharing her personal story of her family with us. This bill is so important to ensure that everyone is accepted for who they are. That is what this bill is about.
    With respect to conversion therapy, one of the issues that New Democrats want to see is to include body-affirming therapies also banned. Does the member agree with that premise? If so, what work does she think needs to be done to get the government moving in that direction?

  (1325)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her important question.
    The speech I gave this afternoon came from the heart. Where I come from, at home, we all live together and there is no difference between us. Everyone is happy, we love everybody and there are no barriers. That is how life goes.
    I will now come back to conversion therapy. To go a little further with Bill C-6, I will say that everyone has the right to live their life as they are. Each individual must be accepted by society the way they are. The more we—
    The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, like others, I do appreciate the words spoken by my colleague, who brings a very important personal perspective. She is right when she makes the assessment that all of us, every person living in Canada and around the world, have the right to be who we are. It is important. That is the reason I support Bill C-6. Conversion therapy is a degrading practice that targets vulnerable LGBTQ2 Canadians in an attempt to change their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. It can lead to a life-long trauma.
    The other day, I was listening to my colleague from Don Valley West and I really appreciated what he said. He put out a challenge to those individuals who might be thinking about voting against Bill C-6. I want to repeat verbatim what he said the other day. I would ask, in particular, for members of the Conservative caucus to listen to what he said. The member for Don Valley West said the following:
...I do expect every member in this House to truly wrestle with what it means for them to vote against this bill. If they say they are voting against it as a matter of conscience, then I believe they need to stare deeply into that conscience and ask themselves, “Why would I want to perpetuate an injustice against another human being, a friend, a colleague, a family member, a neighbour, a constituent, anyone who will be hurt by that action; hurt perhaps to the point of death?” Why would they not want to stand with the vulnerable, with the oppressed, with the stigmatized, with the people who need their help the most?
    I listened, and I have heard a great deal of debate. For me, it is a human rights issue. I do believe there are many within the Conservative Party who see the true value behind Bill C-6, and I applaud them for whatever advocacy they might be able to provide within their own caucus. It sends a very powerful message to the population as a whole when the House of Commons is united, especially on issues such as this.
     Bill C-6 has the potential to have a profoundly positive impact on our society. I would suggest to my Conservative friends, as I suggested to one of my New Democratic colleagues, that the time for passing this legislation is now. There is no need to indefinitely hold off on the passage of this legislation or put into place roadblocks that would see it prolonged.
    I believe that the support of the House of Commons of a unanimous nature would go a long way in sending a strong and powerful message that we are all equals. When I listen to Conservatives speak on the bill, it seems to me that they oppose conversion therapy, yet they tend to want to focus on what I would suggest are issues that are not relevant as to why the bill should not pass. The concerns have been addressed.

  (1330)  

    This bill would not prevent conversations aimed at exploring a person's sexual identity, including conversations with friends, family members, teachers, social workers, psychologists, religious leaders and so on. Members of the Conservative caucus know that. If they did not, then they now do. If they believe that to be the case, they should be very specific as to why they think that because they are planting the seed of doubt.
    Conversion therapy is rooted in the wrongful premise that sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression can and should be changed to fit a narrow idea of what is normal or natural. This is the reason it is so important that, as legislators, we do what we can to ensure there is a sense of equality.
    There are measures contained in the bill that are some of the most progressive and comprehensive responses, from a legislative perspective, to conversion therapy in the world. The government is also fulfilling a campaign commitment on conversion therapy, especially with respect to minors, to ensure that no one is subjected to this practice. We will continue to work with other stakeholders, provinces and territories in particular, to end conversion therapy in Canada.
    Having been a parliamentarian for a few decades now, I can talk about the impact this has on our communities. I think of the individuals, the people who are put into such a position that the contemplation of suicide is very real and tangible. Sadly, it sometimes takes place, and this is because of outside pressures and people telling them they are not normal.
    I believe that is so wrong. At the end of the day, as a community, we need to be accepting of all people. Ultimately, we need to strive to send that message collectively, and that would be a whole lot easier if we were to get support from all members of the House.
    When I reflect on past years, there has been significant progress, whether in protests, particularly at the Manitoba legislature, or pride parades, which go beyond major cities and are now in smaller municipalities. However, there is still more to do. Bill C-6 is a strong, powerful step in the right direction.
    Based, at least in part, on the correspondence I have received from people expressing concerns, I would remind them of what I said earlier. The bill would not prevent conversations aimed at exploring people's sexual identity, including conversations with friends, family and so on.
    Hopefully I have been able to add to the discussion we are having on this. In particular, I call upon my Conservative friends to see the intrinsic value of this legislation and the impact we can have by having one voice on it.

  (1335)  

    Madam Speaker, first of all, conversion therapy is a human rights abuse, and I support many of the concepts my colleague just put forward. This will be a question from a Conservative MP to a Liberal MP about a provincial NDP policy.
    I believe in Manitoba in 2015, the Manitoba legislature put in place policies to end the practice of conversion therapy. Given my colleague is a Winnipeg MP, I was wondering if he would maybe want to expand a bit on what he was talking about and how we can put policy in place to support the rights for equality of opportunity while ensuring other rights are protected.
    I was wondering if he wanted to speak a bit about that in the context of the Manitoba provincial legislation and policy.
    Madam Speaker, for me, what it highlights is something I made reference to, which is that there is still more to do. As my colleague referenced the province of Manitoba, whether it is the provinces, the territories, or even other stakeholders, Ottawa can support, and should encourage, positive steps forward.
    I do not necessarily know the details of what the member posed to me in her question. I suspect my daughter would because she is a member of the Manitoba legislature and a very strong advocate on the issue. I would not want to say something and later have her say, “Dad, you got it wrong.”

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I have been listening to the debate since earlier and there has really been some very touching testimony, including that of the hon. member for Sherbrooke.
    I am a bit of a special case. As some people probably know, I was in the arts before I was in politics. It is a more progressive environment than society in general, and in my personal life for the past 30 years, homosexuality and gender acceptance have not been taboo subjects. In my everyday life, I moved beyond the concerns of Bill C-6 30 years ago and I think in more advanced terms.
    Since we now seem to be accepting Bill C-6, I would like my colleague to tell us how we could make society more open with respect to all gender issues.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, that is one of the advantages of longevity as parliamentarian over the years. I suggest members take a look at debates that have taken place, and they will find a stronger progressive attitude on this issue as years have gone by. There are some aspects of our society, and the arts community is an excellent example, that have been more open for many years, while there have been others who needed to become more informed and provided with more comfort.
    Fortunately, today we are on very solid footing. I would suggest, as I indicated in my comments, there still is a great deal more to do. I emphasize that the national government has a national leadership role to play in working with other stakeholders on this issue.

  (1340)  

    Madam Speaker, I agree with my esteemed colleague that coercive therapy does not work. According to a Nanos poll, 72% of Canadians support a wait-and-see approach for counselling young people, meaning they support the right of parents to delay medical treatment for gender transition until the child is mature enough to understand the repercussions.
    Does the member believe parents should preserve that right to guide their young children with a wait-and-see approach, or does he believe children as young as seven or eight have the cognitive ability to understand the impact puberty blockers will have on their health in years to come?
    Madam Speaker, I believe that the legislation has that issue covered. It is good, solid legislation, and the member should truly support it.
    Madam Speaker, I am grateful for the opportunity to rise in the House today and speak to a very difficult issue. It is difficult because it is a very personal issue, one that is close to the hearts and minds of so many Canadians, and I understand why it would be.
    Throughout Canada's young history, many LGBTQ individuals have been seriously and irreversibly harmed by the effects of conversion therapy. Many have fallen victim to a practice that is now widely understood to be horrific in nature and rooted in many false and prejudiced views against LGBTQ Canadians.
    I am grateful to the constituents of my riding who have respectfully engaged with me on this issue and shared their support for the banning of conversion therapy. To my constituents and to all Canadians, I assure them that I stand with them. Conversion therapy is wrong, and it must be banned.
    However, the concern I have with Bill C-6, and the concerns I have heard from literally hundreds of individuals who have reached out to me over the past few months, is that the bill would do much more than just ban conversion therapy. One of the fundamental flaws of the bill, and what is becoming a signature move of this government, is that it does not properly define what type of practices and services the government is specifically trying to ban. As a result, its overbroad definition, one that would criminalize important support services, would, ironically, end up hurting the very individuals we are trying most to protect. Let me explain.
    One of the critical supports the bill would ban is the open access to counselling to manage sexual behaviour. Unlike every professional or medical institution in North America, the bill includes in its definition of conversion therapy “a practice, treatment or service designed to...repress or reduce non-heterosexual...behaviour”.
    We looked at 152 definitions of conversion therapy around the world, including those of the United Nations and all the governments that have passed a law or bylaw on this issue, and not a single one has used the definition of conversion therapy that is in the legislation before us. None of them included in their definition a ban on sexual behaviour counselling, independent of orientation change. I want to reiterate this because this is important: Not one medical body or government in the world defines conversion therapy this way. None of them include in their definition a ban on sexual behaviour counselling.
    This is highly concerning, as the reality is that Canadians may want counselling to help reduce or change all kinds of behaviours, including sexual behaviour, yet the government's definition is written in such a way that it would negatively impact equal access to counselling for LGBTQ individuals, as no counsellor would be allowed to help repress or reduce non-heterosexual behaviour.
    For example, an individual struggling with a heterosexual porn addiction and the compulsive desire to have extramarital, heterosexual affairs can go and get counselling to help manage their sex addictions. However, a homosexual individual wanting counselling to manage the same behaviours would not be able to access that support. I think we can all agree that this is discrimination. No individual should be prevented from getting the mental and/or behavioural supports they want.
    In fact, most Canadians agree. A Nanos poll conducted earlier this year reported that 91% of Canadians support the right of Canadians to get the counselling of their choice, regardless of sexual orientation. That is 91% of Canadians who do not think that anyone should be discriminated against for getting the help they want. Canadians are raising their voices out of concern on this.
    The justice committee heard numerous testimonies and received dozens of expert briefs explaining what they called a “chill effect” where, regardless of any assurances from the federal government, no counsellor would want to help LGBTQ individuals manage their behaviours for fear of breaking the law and sacrificing their careers. They also said that, even if a counsellor was willing to discretely provide such services to the LGBTQ community, these professionals would be difficult to find, given that the bill would also make a criminal of anyone “who knowingly promotes or advertises an offer to provide conversion therapy”. By definition, promotes or advertises would include a word-of-mouth referral by a parent or pastor to a counsellor who provides these services.
    This reality of a chill effect on counselling has already caused serious concern to a young man who wrote to my office. In his correspondence, he writes of being happily married to an amazing woman, the love of his life, and of being the father to two beautiful children, with another on the way. He is also attracted to men.
    In order to find the most fulfillment in his married life, he decided, with the support of his wife, to get counselling to help him manage his same-sex attractions. He describes that this has been a huge benefit to him and his family. His concern with Bill C-6 is that its scope is so large that it would criminalize the conversations that he freely sought out. He asks why he should be prevented from accessing the help he needs to pursue the sexual identity and the relationships he chooses.

  (1345)  

    It is critical that the definition in the legislation gets in line with all other medical bodies in North America. It is the role of the government to ban bad practices, but not to decide what identity or behaviours an individual should realize. That freedom should be left to the individual.
     I fully support a ban that focuses on harmful medical practices, but not on one that attacks Canadians' freedom to choose their outcomes and goals.
    I also want to speak to the very real concern that the bill would cast a dark shadow on free and open conversations between parents, teachers and clergy with their dependents. I know first-hand that children reaching adolescence often have many questions regarding sexuality and gender, but BIll C-6 would basically allow big brother into the home, church, synagogue or mosque, and it would bar parents and spiritual leaders from providing the guidance and direction that children and teens need, especially when they are in such a vulnerable and malleable stage in life.
    Parents in particular have rights and responsibilities toward their children, which includes the right to guide and direct them in accordance with their own world-view. We would be entering dangerous territory with the legislation, where the government would be telling parents what they may or may not say to their children. While we need to work toward an even-handed approach that protects the rights of the LGBTQ community and protects children from potential abusive therapies, we also need to protect the rights of all Canadians to hold their own perspectives on sexuality and raise their children in accordance with these views.
    Again, the justice committee received hundreds of briefs from different faith communities, all expressing this concern. However, I have to wonder if the justice minister has even read a single one of those briefs, because the justice committee sure did not. I was extremely disappointed that instead of taking the time to carefully consider the record number of public submissions, the government decided to rush the legislation through committee study before those briefs could even be translated for consideration. The government did not even bother to go over or elaborate on the evidence received by the committee or the testimonies of the witnesses. Instead, the report suggested a small handful of minor edits that in no way addressed the concerns of those who were opposed to the legislation.
    That is why I am grateful to speak today and bring to light the concerns of Canadians that the government refuses to address. That is why we, as Conservatives, put forward an amendment to the legislation that would protect these private conversations. Our amendment even used language pulled directly from the government's own website, but still the Liberals refused to support it.
    I have to ask the Minister of Justice this. If he was willing to acknowledge this concern on his website and provide clarification, why was he not willing to do the same on the actual legislation?
    He and I both know that an explanatory note on a government website will not convince the courts when this issue gets challenged. Judges do not refer to a website when making a ruling; they are going to look at and use the terms that have been laid out in the legislation we are debating today.
    Therefore, before I can support the bill, it needs to make very clear that good faith conversations, where personal views on sexual orientation, sexual feelings, sexual behaviour or gender identity are expressed, such as where teachers, school counsellors, pastoral counsellors, faith leaders, doctors, mental health professionals, friends or family members respectfully provide support to persons with respect to sexual orientation, sexual feelings or gender identity, are protected.
    Finally, in my time remaining, I want to touch on what is perhaps the most damaging in this bill, and that is its conflation of gender identity and sexual orientation. These are two very different issues and treating them as the same in this legislation will undoubtedly have many harmful effects on Canadians. While identifying as gay or lesbian at a young age may not have any biological consequence, choosing to identify as transgender does and irreversibly so if chemical and surgical transition follow.

  (1350)  

    Few young children have the cognitive capacity to state with certainty that they are transgender, yet Bill C-6 makes no distinction between 17 year olds and seven year olds. Any move on the part of parents or counsellors to simply encourage children to be comfortable in their own bodies or to practise watchful waiting could be a criminal offence under this bill.
     Is something not out of place here, where parental consent is required to allow children to join a field trip or to get a tattoo, but when it comes to changing their gender, the child has full authority?
     I have three wonderful children. They are bright kids, but I can assure members that nine times out of 10 they do not know what is best for themselves. Simply put, that is why my wife and I are their guardians until they are adults and until they have reached an age where they have the cognitive capacity to make permanent and life-altering decisions, such as having a surgical procedure or having certain treatments done that would have a permanent and long-lasting effect on their lives. Therefore, why then would we pass legislation that would allow children as young as five years old to make these irreversible decisions on their own?
    It is becoming increasingly clear that the majority of children with questions about their gender identity eventually grow comfortable with their biological gender and their dysphoria desists after some time. That is why watchful waiting has been used by some health professionals and experts as a way to see if what they are experiencing is a temporary phase in the child's life or if the dysphoria persists over a period of time. Watchful waiting allows parents and professionals to understand the particular circumstances of children experiencing gender dysphoria and to give them the opportunity to naturally desist or see if their gender dysphoria persists.
    Why encourage watchful waiting? If children want to transition, why stop or delay their ability to do so? The reality is that should children's dysphoria desist and down the road they identify with their biological gender, the path back is not so easy. Many transition therapies have long and irreversible consequences.
     Dr. Debra Soh, a neuroscientist and sex researcher, who earned her PhD from York University, wrote the following in an article for Quillette back in 2018. She said:
    Therapy that seeks to help gender dysphoric children grow comfortable in their birth sex (known in the research literature as the “therapeutic approach”) has been conflated with conversion therapy, but this is inaccurate. All of the available research following gender dysphoric children longitudinally shows that the majority desist; they outgrow their feelings of dysphoria by puberty and grow up to be gay in adulthood, not transgender.
    Children will say they “are” the opposite sex because that’s the only language they have to express to adults that they want to do things the opposite sex does. Cross-sex behavior has also been shown to be a strong predictor of homosexuality in men. Previous research tells us that even children who are severe in their feelings of dysphoria will desist.
    However, Bill C-6 as written treats the likelihood of gender-dysphoric children desisting as an impossibility or as somehow wrong.
    Ms. Lisa Bildy, a lawyer from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, warned the justice committee that the bill as written would force a one-size-fits-all approach to dealing with gender-dysphoric children, rushing to affirm a child's purported gender identity. As she testified, cautious measured approaches are not the danger. Rather, she said:
     A free society that supports individual rights, as Canada is supposed to be, would allow parents, children and health professionals to find the best path for each unique child, not have the state preordain that transition is the only permissible option.
    If members do not want to hear it from the experts, let us listen to what Canadians think.
     The same Nanos poll I referenced earlier found that 72% of Canadians supported a wait-and-see approach for counselling young people who were thinking about changing their bodies with drug treatment. That is a vast majority of Canadians who support a therapeutic approach that this bill would ban.

  (1355)  

    It is clear to me that most Canadians understand that the push for the immediate affirmation and transition of all gender-dysphoric children is dangerous. If we encourage all children struggling with their gender identity to transition, we run the risk of them eventually undergoing medical procedures that are irreversible without a sober second thought, because such thought would have been criminalized with Bill C-6.
    We would do well to learn from the mistakes being made by those countries leading in the progressive charge.
     Just last December, the British High Court ruled that children under 16 did not have the capacity to consent to life-changing transition surgeries. This case was the result of a growing number of law suits from transitioners who had come to regret their decision to transition at a young age and were now arguing that the government did not properly protect their vulnerability.
    In the ruling, the High Court argued that children under 16 did not have the ability to understand the long-term consequences of receiving puberty-blocking drugs and banned them from receiving such treatment. Other European countries are now moving in that direction as well.
    In contrast, in Canada, Bill C-6 would effectively prevent young people from receiving help to accept their biological gender, even if they wanted it.
     To be clear, the ban in this legislation would allow for any minor to get counselling and support to transition away from their biological sex, but they would not be allowed to get counselling that would help them identify with their biological sex, even if they wanted that help.
    We are going down a dangerous path here. It is a path that other countries have already gone down and have come to regret. We need to stand up for all children and all their specific needs. That is what I am seeking to do here in standing up to speak to the one-directional or one-size-fits-all approach of the legislation.
    I want to end my speech where I started, by reiterating that I support a conversion therapy ban, however, I do not support the ban as written in this legislation. It is far too broad and will end up hurting the very people we are trying to protect. Everyone has the right to be treated with the utmost dignity and respect, but it is precisely because of this right that we should not criminalize legitimate therapies designed to help patients explore their sexual identity and/or gender identity.
     While the government's intentions with this bill may be pure, its attempt to eliminate an evil is fundamentally flawed and will have far-reaching negative consequences. For these reasons, I cannot support the bill as written. I urge the government to go back to the drawing board and get the legislation right for the sake of the LGBTQ community and for all Canadians.
    The hon. member will have 10 minutes for questions and comments after Oral Questions.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Ethiopia

    Madam Speaker, the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation within the Tigray region of Ethiopia has been heartbreaking for Canadians across the country to witness. As the number of refugees fleeing the region grows and the violence toward innocent people continues, I want to reiterate Canada's call for immediate de-escalation and for a peaceful resolution between both parties.
    The human rights violations taking place, particularly against women and girls, are beyond horrific. The protection of civilians must be upheld in accordance with international law and humanitarian principles. In doing our part, I want to commend the Minister of International Development on providing $3 million in aid to help those affected by the conflict in Tigray and those who have fled to Sudan seeking safety. This funding will respond to urgent needs, including emergency health care, shelter, non-food items, water, sanitation and protection.
    Our government will always speak out against human rights abuses, no matter where they occur, and reiterate our commitment to peaceful resolution.

  (1400)  

2015 General Election

    Madam Speaker, it is agreed that systemic racism is a reality in many institutions in Canada. I want to enlighten this House about how power is misused to suppress and discriminate within the community itself.
    In the 2015 election, a powerful person as co-chair inducted candidates linked to the World Sikh Organization, anti-India and other allies and, further, got preferential positions into the government to conduct their common motives. These acts of institutional systemic racism sidelined the talented individuals and organizations and affected my riding too.
     I urge in future all political parties and the government to take preventive measures through bold steps to curb such challenges so as to provide equal opportunities to Canadians.

Local Clean Technology Business

    Madam Speaker, last Thursday, it was announced that a Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound business, Hydrogen Optimized, has been awarded $4.8 million of federal funding to support its $12-million program to advance, scale and commercialize its technology.
    Hydrogen Optimized is a sustainable energy conversion company. This innovative business enables the production of green hydrogen for green electricity that will be essential in supporting fossil fuel industries as sustainability leaders.
    I had the opportunity to meet with Hydrogen Optimized and tour its facility, and I believe it is important to continue to invest in Canadian cutting-edge clean technology. This Canadian company is playing a part in advancing our global leadership in the green tech market, helping the environment while creating jobs and economic growth in the riding and eventually across Canada.
    I would like to congratulate Hydrogen Optimized on all its success thus far, and I look forward to seeing what it will accomplish in the future.

Anti-Semitism

    Madam Speaker, today marks the end of the fourth annual Jewish Heritage Month. It has been a time to reflect on the diverse contributions of Jewish Canadians to this great country from coast to coast to coast. I have had the pleasure of joining with Jewish community members and colleagues to celebrate the local histories of Jewish Canadians in communities across the country.
    In 2018, this Parliament unanimously passed the bill making Jewish Heritage Month a reality. Right now, Jewish Canadians need the support of each and every one of us.
    The past few weeks have seen a sharp and disturbing rise in anti-Semitism across the country: vicious symbols and slogans of hate, invoking the Holocaust and calling for death to Jews, intimidation in Jewish neighbourhoods, repeated acts of anti-Semitic violence and vandalism, all directed at Jewish people, businesses and communities in Canada. This must stop. It is not Canadian and has no place in our country. It cannot be allowed to fester or it will grow and threaten every community. None of us are immune.
    We must stop anti-Semitism and all forms of hate wherever and whenever they arise.

[Translation]

Canada Labour Code

    Madam Speaker, federally regulated workers have long been unfairly treated. I want to talk about the lack of provisions in the Canada Labour Code preventing employers from hiring scabs during strikes or lockouts.
    Striking is an essential tool that allows workers to stand up for their fundamental right to free collective bargaining. Allowing employers to hire scabs deprives workers of that right. This practice has been banned under the Quebec Labour Code since 1977. It is high time that it was banned at the federal level.
    I join my voice to those of the workers at Unifor, who launched a campaign on May 13 for the enactment of federal anti-scab legislation. It is high time to address this injustice and join the 21st century.

  (1405)  

Mer Bleue Catholic High School

    Madam Speaker, on May 26, I had the pleasure of taking part in an engaging discussion with around 20 students from a civics class at Collège catholique Mer Bleue, in Orléans.
    The teacher, Zachary Boisvert, and the students all asked great questions. I was delighted to to explain the legislative process to the class, since they enjoyed a simulation and debate at the House of Commons earlier in the semester. They understood the importance of doing research to draft a bill, and the need to introduce and debate it. I also had the pleasure of talking about my role and experience as a parliamentarian and about how we can introduce bills as members, which we refer to as “private members' business”.
    I want to sincerely thank them for their invitation and their civic engagement.

[English]

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, last week, the government said it intends to put a rover on the moon. This came after the member for Nunavut spoke truth. Federal institutions like the House of Commons are not easily changed and governments do not help indigenous peoples without an immense amount of pressure. This begs the question, how can the government talk about putting a rover on the moon, symbolically claiming more territory for Canada, while being content to allow the generational impacts of Canada's colonialism to go unaddressed?
    We live under the shadow of gross inequalities and injustices faced by first nations and indigenous persons: lack of clean drinking water, deplorable housing conditions, systemic racism, abuse, neglect, human trafficking, erasure of culture and tradition, human rights abuses, and 215 children in a mass grave.
    This is Canada's shame to bear and Canada's responsibility to make right. Let the government not reach for the moon without first bringing justice to the people whose traditional territories Canada stands upon.

Retirement Congratulations

    Mr. Speaker, last Friday, a Canadian radio icon, Terry DiMonte, signed off the CHOM airwaves for the last time, after a stellar 40-year-plus career as a broadcaster that began in Churchill, Manitoba and led him back to his native Montreal, where he spent nearly three decades greeting morning listeners with friendly repartee, good humour, comforting words at difficult moments in the city's history, and great music and musical anecdotes.
    Montrealers, on Friday, listened misty-eyed, and that includes me, to an outpouring of love and appreciation for Terry from radio colleagues and musician friends like Jann Arden and Chris de Burgh, not to mention from the Prime Minister, who, in an extraordinary on-air conversation with Terry, reminisced about their long-standing friendship, interwoven with distinctly Montreal stories. We thank Terry for shaping our sense of ourselves as Montrealers.

[Translation]

    Best wishes to you and your beloved, Jessica. May life treat you well, our dear friend.

[English]

Anti-Semitism

    Mr. Speaker, today is the last day of Jewish Heritage Month. Unfortunately, this month, the celebrations have been overshadowed by the greatest wave of anti-Semitism that I have seen in my lifetime.
    Events in the Middle East should not lead to hate in Canada, but they do. People in their nineties have told me that they have not felt this level of fear since the 1930s, the time of the Christie Pits Riot in Toronto and our “None is too many” Jewish refugee policy. Some constituents have told me they are afraid to take their kids to the park. Schools and day cares have stopped letting their students leave school grounds at recess. An elderly couple told me they have taken their mezuzah off their door.
    This should not be happening in Canada. I call on all my colleagues to publicly denounce anti-Semitism in Canada and ask them to please issue a public statement if they have not already done so. Countering hate is all of our responsibility.

Retirement Congratulations

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Bill Makinson, a well-known local media personality and civic leader in Cornwall and surrounding communities, who announced that after volunteering and working with YourTV in Cornwall since 1976, he will retire on Friday.
    While Bill has spent numerous hours in the studio, his commitment to volunteerism has been matched by only a few people over the years: Big Brothers Big Sisters, United Way, Crafting a Cure, the MS golf tournament, the Cornwall and Area Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health, just to name a few.
    As Bill begins his next chapter in a well-deserved retirement, I want to say that we have appreciated his leadership, dedication and the difference he has made for many organizations. We thank him for going over and above his day-to-day responsibilities. We are expecting him and Sue to come back to Cornwall often, as he moves closer to his daughter and grandchildren, to see the many friends he has made and the organizations he has helped over the years. Well done on a successful career and record of service. I wish him an enjoyable retirement.

  (1410)  

Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health

    Mr. Speaker, today I am honoured to rise to recognize and congratulate a leader in my community of Kingston and the Islands, our local chief medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore.
    Dr. Moore has arguably overseen the most effective localized pandemic response in Ontario. With expertise in disaster medicine, Dr. Moore knew early on in the COVID-19 pandemic that being prepared meant immediately redirecting and deploying critical health inspectors to long-term care homes to protect the most vulnerable in our community. Working with all stakeholders daily, the Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Health Unit fared well throughout the past 15 months under Dr. Moore's leadership.
    That leadership has not gone unnoticed. Today, the provincial legislature in Ontario will vote to appoint Dr. Moore as the new chief medical officer of health for Ontario. It could not have made a better selection. There is no doubt that his acute attention to detail, combined with his energy, passion and the occasional hockey reference when explaining a situation, is exactly what this province needs to see us through the rest of the pandemic.
    I congratulate Dr. Moore once again. He handled our community incredibly well, and I know Ontarians will be in great hands with him in this new role.

Racism on Social Media

    Mr. Speaker, the Edmonton Oilers were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs last week. After the fourth and final loss, as devastating as it was for the team and the fans, one teammate bore the brunt of online hate. Ethan Bear, an indigenous player from Ochapowace First Nation, had to deal with racist comments targeted at him personally on social media.
     In response, Ethan made a brave video statement denouncing racism to help make change for all people of colour. However, his video should not have to be made and should not have to be called “brave”. It is 2021 in Canada. We have all been educated about the impact of racism and the harm of our words, but, sadly, racism persists and increasingly under anonymous social media accounts. This repugnant racial polarization is damaging to society.
    Ethan and his girlfriend, Lenasia, eloquently called out racism in their video, but to truly eradicate racism we must all continuously and tenaciously do our part.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline

    Mr. Speaker, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many issues to light, and chief among them is the struggle Canadians are facing in accessing mental health services in a timely manner. Almost six months ago, this House voted unanimously in favour of a motion put forward by my colleague from Cariboo—Prince George to establish a three-digit national suicide prevention hotline. Though nearly half a year has passed, the Liberals have yet to take action in this much-needed initiative.
    Thankfully, my riding has shown support for the establishment of this hotline. The communities of Radville, Alida, Fillmore, Torquay, Ogema, Yellow Grass, Frobisher, Kenosee, Weyburn, as well as the RMs of Bengough, Lomond and The Gap, have all passed similar motions and are looking to the federal government to take some action.
    Canadians expect their government to fulfill its commitments and get them the help they need. While the Liberals continue to sit on their hands and do nothing, we Conservatives will keep on fighting to secure the mental health of Canadian citizens now and into the future.

Retirement Congratulations

    Mr. Speaker, before I became an MP, I was a biologist. One of the most exciting and fulfilling parts of that career was my time on the board of the Nature Conservancy of Canada. The person leading that organization was John Lounds.
    When John joined the NCC as CEO in 1997, it had several dozen employees and an annual budget of $8 million. As he leaves the NCC this year, it has more than 350 employees, thriving programs in every province and a budget close to $100 million. That success is in large part due to John's quiet professionalism, guiding the NCC into major partnerships with the federal government. Combined, these programs have delivered more than one billion dollars' worth of conservation across the country, adding to the more than 14 million hectares of habitat protected in Canada with NCC's help.
    John Lounds is a champion. He inspires others to dream of what Canada and the earth can be if we put nature first. I thank John and offer him my best wishes on his retirement.

  (1415)  

[Translation]

Montreal Canadiens

    Mr. Speaker, tonight, millions of us will be glued to our TV sets, jumping to our feet like our parents before us, proud of our team like our grandparents before us, confident that the greatest dynasty in hockey history is still capable of working its magic.
    We will see Maurice Richard in Gallagher's determination, Patrick Roy in the genius of Price, Béliveau in our captain Weber, Charbonneau in Danault's stick handling, Lafleur in Caufield's shots, Doug Harvey in Petry's game, and Claude Lemieux in the risks taken by “KK” and Suzuki. All the ghosts of the Montreal Canadiens will be in our team's locker room. Believe me when I say that millions of us Quebeckers will be on the ice with the Habs.
    It is game seven, the Canadiens are being overlooked, and that is when they are the most dangerous. Here are three words that might sound very English, but, believe me, there are no three words more quintessentially Quebecker than these, when every Quebecker screams them at the top of their lungs tonight: Go, Habs, go!

[English]

Substance Abuse and Addiction

    Mr. Speaker, deaths from overdoses are in the headlines often, and rightfully so. Last year, a record 1,700 people died from overdoses in B.C. alone, an absolute tragedy.
    Lurking behind this is an even larger issue of substance abuse and addiction. Over 20% of Canadians, or eight million, will battle substance abuse at some point in their lives. Addiction is not a respecter of gender, of race or ethnic background, a position of age or political preference. The solutions are not simple. There are overlaps with a host of other social issues, including mental health and domestic abuse. That is why today I introduced Motion No. 88, calling on all members to recognize that we have reached a crisis point and pleading with the government to take action by developing and implementing a federal framework for addiction recovery treatment.
    The lives of untold thousands of Canadians are literally at stake. Conservatives remain committed to securing access to addiction recovery treatment.

Residential Schools

    Mr. Speaker, in the orange shirt story, Phyllis Webstad writes about the abuse she endured as a Secwpemc girl at a residential school, denied the ability to wear her favourite shirt, to speak her language, to practise her culture. After a year of abuse, the story concludes with a reunion with her granny, when Phyllis had “everything she needed” and she never went back to the residential school again, but not every child was as lucky as Phyllis.
    The shocking truth of those words was laid bare when we learned from the Secwpemc about a mass grave of 215 indigenous kids, some as young as three, on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. That is both shocking and heartbreaking, speaking to the horrific legacy of a racist colonial policy of assimilation that took children's lives.
    We cannot turn back the clock, but we must help with the healing. As a nation, we must determine the full scale of residential school deaths that took place across Canada. We must support survivors and properly mourn and memorialize those innocent souls taken. The memory of those who were not as lucky as Phyllis deserves nothing less.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]

[English]

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians have been grieving today and over the weekend after hearing the deeply sad and disturbing news of the remains of 215 indigenous children found at a residential school in Kamloops.
    Empty shoes are being left on front steps across the nation and flags are being flown at half-mast. We are all so saddened for these children, their families and their relatives.
    Indigenous leaders have asked for a thorough probe to find out the identity of these precious little children.
    Can the government please update this House on what its plans are?
    Mr. Speaker, we are heartbroken by the discovery of the remains of 215 children in Kamloops. This is a horrific tragedy that has once again deepened the wounds of the survivors of residential schools, their families and indigenous people across Canada.
    We worked with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation to develop and maintain the national residential school student death register and to create an online registry of residential school cemeteries.
    We are working with the communities to develop culturally appropriate approaches to identifying the deceased children, locating burial sites and memorializing those who died.

  (1420)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, all Canadians are shocked by the tragedy that occurred in Kamloops, where the bodies of 215 indigenous children were found in a mass grave near the residential school they attended. This shocking discovery will not soon be forgotten.
    The horror is indescribable. The children were not even given a proper burial. British Columbia indigenous leaders want the children to be identified and their bodies returned to their families.
    Can the government update us on the situation?
    Mr. Speaker, people across the country and in indigenous communities feel the pain of this discovery. Not one community is untouched by the situation.
    The member opposite will be pleased to hear that we will be there for communities. Most importantly, we will be there with communities, and we will respect their wishes. Grieving communities need support.
    On Thursday evening, I spoke to Chief Casimir and assured her of my steadfast support for the grieving and reconciliation process over the coming weeks. We have been in contact since then as well. We will be there with them as they lead this initiative, and we will help meet their needs in the coming weeks and months.

[English]

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, Canada's economic relationship with the United States is breaking down rapidly. First the Americans cancelled Keystone XL. The government was silent. Then the Americans put Line 5 on the chopping block and there was barely a peep from the Liberals. Now it is Canada's forestry sector. For months, the Liberals have been telling us how much they agree with the Americans.
    What is it going to take for the Liberal government to stand up for Canadian workers?
    Mr. Speaker, we are definitely disappointed by the recent announcement of the United States' administrative review on softwood lumber. The duties are unjustified, they are unwarranted, they hurt our forestry workers and businesses and they hurt American forestry workers and businesses too.
    Canada continues to press for a negotiated settlement as that is in the best interests of both our countries, and we will vigorously defend Canada's interests, particularly interests of workers in our softwood lumber industry.
    Mr. Speaker, well, this is like a broken record with these Liberals. On Keystone, all the Prime Minister could muster was one call to Biden before it got cancelled.
    On Line 5, the Prime Minister did not even raise it with the President until he got pressure from the Conservatives.
    These Liberals have gone six years without a softwood lumber deal. This should not be a big surprise to the Minister of Natural Resources. On Friday, though, he revealed that the Americans will not even negotiate with him on softwood lumber.
    Why are Canada's natural resources and our resource workers always just an afterthought for these Liberals?
    Mr. Speaker, that is hardly the case. Our workers are not an afterthought on softwood lumber, nor are they are an afterthought on oil and gas.
     I can tell the House, particularly on Line 5, with the Government of Canada filing that amicus brief in the United States federal court, that we did so with the support of provinces, industry and labour. We are working together on a team Canada approach because we know that Canadians will not be left out in the cold. On Line 5, while that court process unfolds, we will keep working at the political and diplomatic levels to make sure that Canada's energy workers and our energy security are the top priorities.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it has been six years since Canada and the United States had an actual softwood lumber agreement. For the past four years under the previous U.S. administration, relations were somewhat difficult, to say the least. That is understandable. When President Biden was elected, the Prime Minister was all happy and enthusiastic that Canada now had an ally.
    Nonetheless, what did the Canadian natural resources minister's American counterpart do the day after their meeting? He imposed new tariffs. What is the point of having a Liberal government that claims to have good relations when it never get results?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as I said, in softwood lumber, the duties are unjustified. They are unwarranted. They hurt our forestry workers. They hurt our businesses, but they hurt American forestry workers and businesses too and that is why we continue to press for a negotiated settlement. We know that that is in the best interests of both of our countries.
    We will vigorously defend Canadian interests, the interests of our workers and the interests of our softwood lumber industry.

  (1425)  

[Translation]

Official Languages

    Mr. Speaker, like its National Assembly, Quebec wants to apply Bill 101 to federally regulated businesses. In Ottawa, the Minister of Official Languages says she will protect the right to work in French. However, that is not what Bill 101 does. Bill 101 does not protect the right to work in French; it makes French the language of work in Quebec.
    Quebeckers are not asking for the right to work in French. They already have that right. What they want is for French to become the official language of work. Will the minister agree to apply Bill 101 to federally regulated businesses?
    Mr. Speaker, from the start, we have all been saying that French is in decline in Quebec and that more needs to be done for French. Not only have we been saying it, but we have been walking the talk through the minister's actions.
    We are doing something extremely important. We are taking real action to strengthen French throughout Quebec and across Canada. It seems to me that the Bloc Québécois should be happy about that, rather than trying to pick fights.
    Mr. Speaker, in its language reform document, the federal government does not say it intends to make French the language of work in Quebec. Rather, it says that it will extend the application of the Official Languages Act to all federally regulated businesses.
    However, this act is not designed to protect French; it protects bilingualism. Bilingualism has never been better in Quebec. It is French that needs to be protected, not bilingualism.
    Will the federal government allow Quebec to subject federally regulated businesses to Bill 101? If it really wants to help the French language, that is what it needs to do.
    Mr. Speaker, I have more bad news for the Bloc Québécois. We are currently working very well with the Quebec government to strengthen French throughout Quebec, as well as with the other provinces to strengthen it elsewhere in Canada.
    I know the Bloc Québécois does not like it when there is no bickering and everything is running smoothly. However, we are currently working hand in hand to ensure that the French language, which we cherish and love dearly, is much stronger and more resilient, and that it will be there for generations to come.

[English]

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, 215 indigenous children were found buried at a former residential school in Kamloops. We all mourn the loss of those children, but to honour their lives, we need to move beyond words to action. Right now the Prime Minister is fighting indigenous kids in court. Right now the Prime Minister is fighting survivors of residential schools in court.
    Will the Prime Minister move beyond words to actions and stop fighting these kids in court and these survivors in court?
    Mr. Speaker, the government has said time and time again that we will compensate children for the harm that they have suffered. We have acknowledged as much.
    This is a time where we perhaps do need to reflect on the course of reconciliation, but this is also a time where we must continue with the communities at the forefront to help their search in the truth. There can be no healing without the truth. We will work with those communities, the surrounding communities and all indigenous communities that are hurting to pursue the truth. There can be no healing without the truth. We will provide resources to help them, to help them in their healing and continue on this path in ensuring that the truth comes out so that we all, all Canadians, all indigenous peoples in Canada can be looked at straight in the eyes and not look—
    The hon. member for Burnaby South.

[Translation]

     Mr. Speaker, people across the country have been stunned by the discovery of the remains of 215 indigenous children buried at a residential school. We mourn the loss of these children.
     However, to honour the lives of these children, we need to move beyond words. Will the Prime Minister pledge to stop fighting indigenous children and residential school survivors in court, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, the government has been very clear about this. We will compensate those who were harmed while in the care of child services. There is a time for the government to reflect on reconciliation, but right now, we need to help the communities in question on their path and their search for the truth. The search continues, as we do not know the whole truth. We will support these communities by providing mental health resources. There can be no healing without the truth.

  (1430)  

[English]

Telecommunications

    Mr. Speaker, in a stunning reversal, the CRTC has decided to increase the wholesale fees that small Internet service providers are forced to pay to the large telecom oligarchs in the country. This, of course, reinforces the exceptionally high prices that Canadians already pay for connectivity that is much less expensive in other OECD countries. It also runs against the Liberal promise to reduce rates by 25%.
    Is it not time that we change this uncompetitive oligopoly and provide more competition and choice to consumers?
    Mr. Speaker, as my hon. colleague well knows, our government has been relentless in promoting competition to lower prices, while working to improve the quality and increase the coverage of telecom services in Canada.
    We are ensuring that Canadians pay affordable prices for reliable Internet services, regardless of where they live in our nation. We will keep on working with service providers and industry partners to drive investment and make telecommunication services more affordable and accessible for all Canadians.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, that is exactly the opposite of what the Liberals promised. During the election, they said they would work with the regulatory agencies to force a 25% reduction for consumers. However, now we see the CRTC raising prices.
    Of course, these increases are going to be passed on to consumers, and obviously we do not have enough competition in Canada. What will the government do to make the system more open to competition and create a true free market?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague. He should know that our government is constantly fostering competition to drive down prices across the country, while at the same time working to improve quality and, of course, expand the coverage of telecommunications services in Canada.
    We are working to ensure that Canadians pay an affordable price for effective Internet services, wherever they live. We will continue to work with service providers and partners to drive investment and make Internet services more affordable for Canadians across the country.

Canadian Heritage

    Mr. Speaker, last week, the Minister of Canadian Heritage suggested that Bill C-10 would not limit net neutrality in any way. However, in Bill C-10, the Liberal government is giving the CRTC more powers to regulate social networks, blogs, online gaming sites, apps and even audiobooks.
    Does the Minister of Canadian Heritage honestly think that regulating these platforms is in keeping with the principle of net neutrality?
    Mr. Speaker, Bill C-10 does not affect Internet service providers. The only thing this bill does is ask web giants like Netflix to contribute to the creation of Canadian content. This represents work in Canada for our Canadian artists. There is nothing against net neutrality in this bill, because it does not affect Internet service providers.
    Mr. Speaker, an internal memo sent to the minister clearly stated that apps like YouTube, TikTok, Amazon Prime, NHL.TV, TVA Sports en direct, RDS Direct, Sportsnet Now, PlayStation and many others will be subject to the CRTC rules.
    I repeat my very simple question: Does the Minister of Canadian Heritage honestly think that regulating the platforms I listed and all of the others is in keeping with net neutrality?
    The Broadcasting Act has not been updated in 30 years. Foreign web giants have come onto the market since then. They are making money in Canada but are not contributing to our creative cultural industries. Bill C-10 is designed to modernize our broadcasting system.
    Why have the Conservatives been promising all along to block the passage of Bill C-10 and to let these web giants make money in Canada without contributing to Canadian jobs and Canadian content?

  (1435)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we often hear it said that diversity is our strength. At least, that is what the Prime Minister often says. The irony with this is that Bill C-10 would actually attack diversity by narrowly defining what is constituted as Canadian content and therefore what will be demoted and what will be promoted online. Government-censored choice is not choice and government-approved diversity is not true diversity.
    Why is the minister insistent on hindering the expression of those who do not fit his mould?
    Mr. Speaker, the Broadcasting Act has not been updated for 30 years and during that time foreign web giants have stepped into that void. They have made money in Canada without contributing to our cultural creative industries. Bill C-10 seeks to modernize our broadcasting system and to level the playing field between our traditional broadcasters and these foreign web giants.
    Why have the Conservatives vowed from the very beginning to block Bill C-10 and let these web giants make money in Canada without contributing to our Canadian jobs and creations?
    Mr. Speaker, this bill has everything to do with attacking Canadians and nothing to do with going after these web giants.
    Canadian content creators from minority groups are doing better than ever on platforms like YouTube. They are able to reach a global audience without any interference from the government. Now we are hearing from leaders in these groups that these artists will be among the hardest hit with with Bill C-10 should it go through.
    Why is the government so adamant on picking what is and what is not Canadian, and thereby suppressing the voices of minority groups in Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, the Broadcasting Act has not been updated in 30 years, before streaming services even became a part of the way Canadians found their shows, movies and music. It needed an update.
     The rules for social media companies and their obligations would be restricted to requiring them to report the revenues they make in Canada, contribute a portion of those revenues back to Canadian cultural industries and to make Canadian creators discoverable. That would be good for Canadian jobs and our Canadian artists.

[Translation]

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, on Wednesday, the Minister of Justice announced that he was appointing one of his generous donors to the bench, someone who had contributed $2,200 to his riding and his nomination contest. This is the second time the minister has announced the appointment of a benefactor. Last year, he appointed someone who had donated $2,900.
    This time, the minister was too excited and jumped the gun. Apparently his donor's appointment was not yet official, and the nomination is still under review.
    Does the minister agree that his government should implement a non-partisan appointment process before appointing another one of his donors?
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague is having technical difficulties at the moment.
    In answer to my Bloc Québécois colleague's question, there is no doubt the process is completely independent and done in accordance with the rules. My colleague is well aware of that.
    Mr. Speaker, it was a mistake. The minister did not mean to announce the appointment of a political donor to the bench on Twitter. I understand that, but the simple fact that his name ended up on the minister's Twitter account shows just how high up he is on the list of candidates. This is a reminder that the Liberals screen their candidates using the “Liberalist”, their infamous partisan tool that helps them check the donation histories of future judges. This is a reminder that last year, the minister appointed another one of his personal donors to the bench.
    When will the minister finally implement an appointment process that is based solely on objective criteria?

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, we have put in place a judicial appointment process to choose qualified candidates who also reflect our diversity.
    With regard to the situation the member raised, I would point out that the Ethics Commissioner said that simply making a donation did not constitute a bond of friendship. We are doing good work to bring diversity to the bench and appoint the right candidates.
    Mr. Speaker, let us be clear. We are in no way questioning the quality of the candidates. We are questioning the fact that the Liberals are looking at whether candidates are Liberal donors.
    What happened is that the minister mistakenly announced the appointment of one of his donors. Last year, he appointed another one of his donors. Two years ago, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs also managed to get four of his donors appointed.
    Does the minister realize that it is hard to believe in coincidence when it is his own office appointing judges?
    Mr. Speaker, the tweets were posted by the Department of Justice and not the minister himself.
    Furthermore, apologies have already made to the individuals concerned. Apologies were made, and this issue, this situation, was addressed.

[English]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, on March 31, two years ago, the government's lab in Winnipeg shipped the Ebola and Henipah viruses to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Have there been any other shipments from the Winnipeg lab to the Wuhan lab of viruses or other materials?
    Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite knows, the National Microbiology Lab is a secure facility. We take threats to research security and intellectual property very seriously. Everyone working and visiting the National Microbiology Lab must undergo security screening and adhere to strict security protocols, procedures and policies.
     We will never put the health and safety of Canadians at risk.
    Mr. Speaker, if that is true, then how on earth did a Chinese military scientist gain access to work in the Winnipeg lab? Did the sudden departure of the two most senior people at the Public Health Agency of Canada last year, in the middle of the pandemic, have anything to do with this: the head of the lab, Dr. Matthew Gilmour, on Friday, May 15; and the president of the agency, Ms. Tina Namiesniowski, on Friday, September 18?
    Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite knows, I am not at liberty to discuss the confidential reasons why the scientists left the lab. They are subject to privacy concerns, as the member opposite knows.
    However, let me be clear that the National Microbiology Lab is a Canadian jewel. It is a secure facility. Everyone who works at the facility or visits the facility must undergo security screening and adhere to strict security protocols, procedures and policies.
    We will never put the health of Canadians at risk.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, last year, at the beginning of the pandemic, we asked the Prime Minister whether it was possible to stop flights from China from landing in Canada. The Prime Minister called us racist.
     Last week, we asked questions about Canada's top-secret laboratory. The Prime Minister called us racist.
    However, my question is very simple and clear. Are there still people from the Chinese Communist regime working at the Winnipeg lab, yes or no?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as I have said repeatedly in the House, every individual who works in or visits the lab undergoes strict security screenings and protocols. This is a secure lab. It is a crown jewel. We are so proud of the work done at the National Microbiology Laboratory and are grateful to the scientists and researchers who are working so hard to ensure that we have what we need to understand COVID, to test for COVID and to support provinces and territories in their hard work to do so. We will never put privacy and intellectual property at risk. We will ensure that the lab continues to operate in a secure and safe fashion.

  (1445)  

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, once again residential school survivors, families and nations are mourning with the news of 215 children found buried in a mass grave at Kamloops Indian Residential School. In response to this tragedy, the UBC Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre is calling on the federal government to make immediate investments to assist nations in locating children who never returned home.
    When will the government get serious about implementing the TRC calls to action, including numbers 73 and 75, and bring our children home?
    Mr. Speaker, we are heartbroken at the discovery of the remains of the 215 children in Kamloops. This is a horrific tragedy that has once again deepened the wounds of survivors of residential schools, of their families and of indigenous people across Canada. We have been working with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation to develop and maintain the national residential schools student death register and to create an online registry of residential school cemeteries.
    We are also currently engaging with indigenous communities impacted by residential schools on how best to implement calls to action 72 to 76 and invest the $33.8 million—
    The hon. member for Nunavut.
    Mr. Speaker, the federal government and churches ripped children away from their homes, put them into residential schools and kept their bodies. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission lays out a clear path to doing the right thing, yet the current federal government has stayed at a standstill.
    There were three-year-old babies in the ground. How many more are there? When will the federal government implement calls to action 71 through 76? Our children's bodies deserve to come home.
    Mr. Speaker, I certainly share in the grief that my friend for Nunavut has outlined. This is a national tragedy. It is one that our government has been working for the past six years to rectify. We are fully committed to implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls to action, all 94 of them, but most notably calls to action 72 to 76. We are also investing $33.8 million through budget 2019 in order to engage with the indigenous communities impacted by residential schools on how best to implement these calls. We look forward to working with everyone on this—
    The hon. member for Northwest Territories.

Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

    Mr. Speaker, here in Northwest Territories, we have experienced significant flooding in recent weeks. Residents of Fort Simpson, Jean Marie and Fort Good Hope have suffered major damage to their homes, and other communities along the Mackenzie River have also had high water levels.
    Can the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness please update the House on how the Government of Canada is working with its partners to assist any areas affected by this flooding?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Northwest Territories not only for his important question, but for his tireless and unrelenting advocacy to ensure that members of his community receive the help that they require.
    As we have said throughout the pandemic, our government will always be there to protect Canadians through any type of emergency. Recently, our government approved a request for assistance to deploy up to 60 Canadian Rangers to the territory to assist communities that are being impacted by or are at risk of floods. The Rangers will continue their support until the situation is stabilized, and we are always ready to adapt the model as required by the people of the Northwest Territories.
    I take the opportunity to thank all of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Rangers for their outstanding work.

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, the justice minister let it slip that he was making yet another judicial appointment to a top campaign donor: another day, another Liberal minister helping an insider jump the queue to get the inside track. Canadians expect their judicial appointments to be based solely on merit, not on candidates' connections to Liberal ministers.
    Will the justice minister tell Canadians the minimum donation to his campaign needed to be considered for an appointment?
    Mr. Speaker, we have taken a significant and important step to ensure that the process for naming judges is transparent and accountable to Canadians. Those reforms include revamping the judicial advisory committees that provide independent recommendations to the minister. That has resulted in a modernized judicial appointment process that not only meets the needs of the court, but also reflects Canada's diversity.

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, if Liberals appointed judges in a transparent way solely on their merit using a non-partisan process, then why did the justice minister delete the tweet naming his campaign donor and then throw the public service under the bus for it? It is clear that being a Liberal donor is a prerequisite for a lawyer to be appointed to the bench under the justice minister. It is Liberals helping Liberals.
    When will the justice minister start appointing judges based solely on their merit rather than on donations to his election campaigns?
    Mr. Speaker, allow me to quote the Ethics Commissioner on this very issue. He stated, “Making donations to a political party, or to a particular riding, does not indicate in itself a friendship. It is perfectly legal to make political donations.” What we want is qualified candidates from all backgrounds and all political stripes to bring their names forward, and we are disappointed that the official opposition is turning this into a partisan game.

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, a new report from the U.K. is raising alarms about solar panel parts manufacturers in China who have been linked to the potential use of forced labour by Uighurs. While Canada says it has trade measures in place on forced labour, the trade minister could not tell me back in April if Canada had even stopped one shipment using them.
    Can the minister confirm now if these trade measures have stopped any imports of solar panels made using the forced labour of Uighurs?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to assure my hon. colleague that we will always advocate and stand up for human rights around the world. Our government is actively working on operationalizing the forced labour ban. We are doing that with our colleagues at the CBSA and also with labour. We are working across the government and also with our international partners to ensure that Canadian businesses here at home and abroad are not unknowingly involved in any supply chains involving forced labour.
    We expect Canadian companies around the world to respect human rights and to operate at the highest ethical level.
    Mr. Speaker, reports indicate that nearly half of the world’s polysilicon used in solar panels is produced in Xinjiang. Concerns have been raised for months that Uighur forced labour may be used in these supply chains. The fact that the minister cannot say whether trade measures are preventing imports is disappointing. What is the point of these measures if they do not have any teeth?
     Will the government commit to reviewing Canada’s solar panel supply chains and their failing forced labour trade measures?
    Mr. Speaker, standing up for human rights is what we have been unequivocal about. We expect Canadian companies that are working here in Canada, as well as around the world, to respect human rights and to operate at the highest ethical standards. We are working actively to operationalize the forced labour ban. We are working across the government as well as with our international partners not only to operationalize the ban, but more importantly to ensure that businesses are not unknowingly involved in any supply chains that would involve forced labour.

[Translation]

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Indigenous Services said that it was unacceptable that the Indian Act has not yet been abolished.
    Surprise, surprise. I would remind him that he is the minister and his government has been in power for six years. He is right, this needs to happen in partnership with indigenous peoples, Quebec and the provinces, but in six years, there has been no discussion that has led to an agreement. What concrete action is the minister taking to abolish the Indian Act?
    Mr. Speaker, this topic is all the more painful in the wake of this weekend's news. Obviously the Indian Act is entirely unacceptable, but it is also unacceptable to abolish it in one fell swoop from on high in Ottawa. This is something that must be done in tandem, in partnership with the indigenous communities involved.
    With all due respect, the member has got it all wrong. The new modern treaties prove it, especially in western Canada. I would also remind the member of the great progress made by agreement communities in Quebec's far north, which have been leaders in this—

  (1455)  

    Order. The hon. member for Salaberry—Suroît.
    Mr. Speaker, we were all shocked by the discovery of the remains of 215 children buried at the former residential school in Kamloops. The Indian Act created two classes of human beings and treated this second class inhumanely.
    Today, we must ensure that we identify all the children who disappeared and were buried at indigenous residential schools. Will the minister pledge to fund this research so we can fulfill our duty to remember and allow indigenous nations to grieve?
    Mr. Speaker, we will absolutely support these communities.
    However, I would like to remind the member that call to action 76 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada states that indigenous communities shall lead such efforts. We will be there for them if they wish to conduct research and carry out digs. The provinces have also indicated that they will be there for them.
    This truth must come out for all Canadians. First and foremost we must support indigenous people in searching for the truth, as there can be no healing without the truth.

[English]

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, today is the 30th and final day for the minister to report to Parliament on the effectiveness of the national housing strategy through its first triennial report.
    In every single part of the country, housing prices continue to rise. The cost of construction is skyrocketing and young Canadians and first-time homebuyers are telling the government their dream of home ownership is more out of reach.
    Why is the minister leaving transparency to the last minute? Is he trying to delay proof of the Liberals' record?
    Mr. Speaker, we remain firmly committed to tackling the crucial issue of housing affordability in Canada. Our government is focused on ensuring that Canada's residential housing stock is not used unproductively by non-resident, non-Canadian investors. That is why we are proposing an annual 1% tax on the value of non-resident, non-Canadian-owned residential real estate that is considered to be vacant or underused. Budget 2021 is also the fifth consecutive budget that our government has presented that provides more money for affordable housing.

Fisheries and Oceans

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has claimed that science and evidence must always underpin the decisions made by any government.
    However, evidence acquired by BCWF's Jesse Zeman shows that the DFO assistant deputy minister's office altered a key scientific report to downplay the threats to endangered steelhead. Even DFO scientist Sean MacConnachie warned that this interference “continues to compromise the scientific integrity of the process”.
    How can the government say its decisions are based on science when it so clearly undermines science when making these decisions?
    Mr. Speaker, DFO uses all the best available science in making its decisions with regard to steelhead trout, salmon and every species. We will continue to work with our indigenous partners, the provinces and territories to make sure we are doing everything we can to protect these very endangered species.

[Translation]

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, many businesses need help getting foreign workers. Some have been waiting a very long time, since spring 2020. The answers they get are “it is because of COVID-19” or “we are taking care of critical files”. The pandemic has been going on for a year, but the problem has been around much longer than the health crisis.
    Worse yet, Quebec has unreasonable delays compared to other provinces. Can the immigration minister tell us what he intends to do to resolve the issue quickly and respect our Quebec entrepreneurs?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the government recognizes the importance of temporary foreign workers, for example for our producers and food processors. We are working tirelessly to ensure that temporary foreign workers can arrive safely in Canada by supporting employers, for example, with additional costs incurred to accommodate the isolation period.
    All the federal departments involved in the temporary foreign worker program have worked together to simplify processes and facilitate, as much as possible, the safe entry of workers. We recognize the integral roles temporary foreign workers and, for example, food processing employers play in ensuring Canadians have access to food, and we are here to support them.

[Translation]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, reopening la belle province is the result of the significant sacrifices Quebeckers made to fight COVID-19. I want to thank my constituents for rolling up their sleeves and working together. Quebec is finally coming out of lockdown, but we cannot be complacent, not after all the progress we have made.
    We will fight COVID-19 by vaccinating people. Can the minister provide an update on the vaccines that Quebeckers are relying on to get back to normal?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Alfred-Pellan for his excellent work.
    The good news keeps rolling in for Quebec. To date, we have delivered more than 5.8 million doses in Quebec, and a total of over 26 million in Canada. That translates into 59% of Quebeckers fighting COVID-19.
    I encourage everyone to keep up the momentum as more than 56% of Canadians have had their first dose. What we are achieving right now is historic.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, an internal government communication plan from the PMPRB labels patient organizations, such as Cystic Fibrosis Canada and the Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders, as engaging in disinformation.
     The PMPRB is not accusing these patient advocacy groups of being misinformed or having a difference of opinion. They are calling patient groups, often run by moms, dads and sick kids, liars.
     My question to the health minister is simple. Does she approve of what the PMPRB is doing, and if not, is she going to rein them in?
    Mr. Speaker, first let me say that I have personally met with many patient groups since becoming Minister of Health and prior to that. The Liberal government is always willing to listen to families and patient groups that are, of course, advocating for the best treatment for their family members and loved ones.
    In regard to the PMPRB, the organization has undertaken important work to understand the pricing of drugs here in Canada. As we know, that work is an essential part in our commitment to lowering the cost of drugs, including those for rare diseases, for all Canadians in this country.
    Mr. Speaker, weeks ago, Michigan generously offered its surplus vaccines to residents in Windsor-Essex. Thousands of vaccines are being tossed daily by the city of Detroit, and despite repeated appeals by local officials, the Liberal government has taken no action.
    Only 4% of Canadians are fully vaccinated. Among those waiting are hundreds of thousands of local residents. Enough with the excuses, delays and Liberal red tape. When will the government take action to ensure that the U.S. vaccines are available immediately?
    Mr. Speaker, let me tell the opposition and my hon. colleague about taking action.
    We have delivered 26.2 million doses to provinces and territories. More than 60% of eligible Canadians have received at least one dose. We are second in the G20 at the current time. We are bringing in millions and millions of doses every single week for Canadians, and we will not stop until all Canadians have access to vaccines.

COVID-19 Emergency Response

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal quarantine hotels have been a disaster from the beginning. Before it officially began, some confused Canadians were put into the program. Families were not told where their loved ones were being taken.
     Stories of mistreatment and sexual assault were not enough for the Liberals to reconsider. They kept saying it would prevent new variants from entering Canada. Guess what? It did not work the way they said it would, and they failed to protect Canadians.
     Will the Liberals listen to the expert advisory panel and scrap the failed program?
    Mr. Speaker, let me start by thanking Canadians for their commitment to staying home during this time when we are all working to fight COVID-19. In fact, travel volumes are down by 95% from the volumes prior to COVID-19 striking our shores. I want to thank Canadians for their incredible sacrifices.
    I will also say this: The report from the testing and screening panel is very important in charting our next steps on the border. I will be meeting with my health minister colleagues in the days to come, and we will have a conversation about next steps together. This is a team Canada approach.

Infrastructure

    Mr. Speaker, York Region has over 2,400 diesel buses that travel from the Richmond Hill Viva station to the Finch subway station as part of the regular daily commuter traffic. The recent announcement on smart transit funding for the GTA, including the Yonge North subway extension, is great news for our communities.
    Could the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities share with us how this investment would benefit the more than 1.2 million Canadians who live in York Region?

  (1505)  

    I wish everyone a happy Canadian Environment Week.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member and his colleagues in the York region for their continued support and advocacy for this project. Our historic investment of $2.24 billion for the Yonge North subway extension will benefit commuters from across the region, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create good jobs for Canadians. This funding includes a number of conditions, including requirements to hire historically disadvantaged groups.
    In a shout-out to CHEO, I am happy to support youth mental health and to have coloured my hair green.

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the discovery of the bodies of 215 first nations children at an old Catholic residential school site has set off shockwaves of grief across this country. It is a dark symbol of the war against first nations children that has gone on from Confederation right up to this day.
    The Prime Minister has spent over $9 million on lawyers trying to overturn the human rights tribunal that found his government guilty of systemic discrimination against first nations children, so he can stop with the crocodile tears. It is time to end the war against first nations kids.
    When is the Prime Minister going to stop paying the lawyers and start paying the compensation these children deserve and should be getting now?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to reiterate that we are heartbroken by the discovery of the remains of the 215 children in Kamloops. This is a horrific tragedy that has once again deepened the wounds of the survivors of residential schools, their families and indigenous people across Canada.
    We have worked with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation to develop and maintain the national residential school student death register and to create an online registry of residential school cemeteries. We are also working with communities to develop culturally appropriate approaches to identifying the deceased children, locating burial sites and memorializing those who died.

Small Business

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians have been struggling to make ends meet through the pandemic. At the same time, four of Canada’s big banks have raised service charges.
    Small businesses that are struggling to stay afloat are being fleeced by excessive transaction fees. Despite low lending rates, the interest rates on credit cards remain high. Payday loan companies prey on the hardships of low-income Canadians.
    All of these financial service providers continue to post record profits. Will the government rein in these exploitative corporations to protect Canadians and small businesses?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member opposite for his hard work and commitment. We agree that now, more than ever, everyone needs to pay their fair share and do their part. That is why, in the budget, we commit to taking action to reducing credit card interchange fees.
    We know that small businesses have been among the hardest hit by this pandemic. We know those credit card fees hurt them. That is why we are committed to working to support them.

Privilege

Conduct of the Member for Pontiac 

[Privilege]
    Mr. Speaker, I rise to respond to the question of privilege raised by the member for Elgin—Middlesex—London. I understand the concerns raised by the member. This was indeed an unfortunate and unacceptable incident.
    I would simply like to point out that the member for Pontiac has taken responsibility for this incident. He has apologized and proactively disclosed that the incident occurred. He has stepped aside from his parliamentary secretary responsibilities and from his committee responsibilities. He has stated publicly that he will seek assistance.
    In light of the fact that the member has indicated that he is taking some time to seek assistance, he cannot apologize in person or virtually for this incident, but he has apologized in his statement on social media. He has also asked that I convey this apology to members in this House on his behalf.
    While this incident is indeed unfortunate and unacceptable, I do not believe that it constitutes a question of privilege. There is a long-standing tradition in this House that, when a member apologizes, the House accepts that apology. I believe the member for Pontiac understands the seriousness of the incident, has apologized for it and is taking the appropriate steps to ensure that nothing like this happens again.
    I thank the hon. member, and I will take that under consideration.

Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Government Response to Petitions

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8)(a), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 28 petitions. These returns will be tabled in an electronic format.

  (1510)  

[Translation]

Interparliamentary Delegations

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe respecting its participation at the 20th winter meeting of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, held by video conference from February 24 to 26, 2021.

[English]

Committees of the House

Natural Resources  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the following two reports of the Standing Committee on Natural Resources: the fourth report, entitled “Main Estimates 2021-22”; and the fifth report, entitled “Supplementary Estimates (A), 2021-22”.
    The committee has considered the estimates referred by the House and reports them back without amendment.

Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics. It concerns the main estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022.
    The committee has studied the estimates and has agreed to report them back to the House without amendment.
    Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations among the parties and I believe, if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent for the following motion: That notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House, during the debate on the business of supply, pursuant to Standing Order 81(4), later today, one additional period of 15 minutes be added for members of the Green Party.
    All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.

Petitions

Iran  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to present a petition signed by 1,885 people, with 645 signatures coming from my home province of British Columbia. The petition reads, “We, the undersigned, concerned citizens across Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to take the matter of investigating the shooting down of Ukrainian passenger Flight 752, whose passengers were mostly citizens and residents of Canada, to the UN Security Council by soliciting support from friendly countries and to request support for an independent investigation.”

Conversion Therapy  

    Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to present three petitions to the House today on behalf of Canadians across the country.
    The first petition is with respect to Bill C-6. Petitioners recognize the need to ban conversion therapy. Harmful, coercive and degrading practices have no place in Canada. Their concern is with the fact that Bill C-6 would go much further than that, because the definition of conversion therapy in the bill is imprecise and overarching. This poorly written definition would restrict support available for LGBTQ Canadians and ban healthy conversations about sexuality and gender identity.
    Canadians are asking the House to fix the definition, so that we can get this right.

  (1515)  

Ethiopia  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition I am presenting today calls on the government to take action to end the violence in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. Credible reports indicate that war crimes, such as the indiscriminate shelling of civilian towns and villages, extrajudicial killings, at least one large-scale massacre, looting and sexual violence, have all occurred in Tigray. Petitioners are asking that the government engage directly and consistently with the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments and immediately call for an end to violence and for the restraint of all parties involved in the Tigray conflict. The world needs Canada to have a principled foreign policy and to promote and defend human rights across the world.

Human Rights  

    Mr. Speaker, the final petition I will present today draws attention to the human rights abuses Uighur people are subject to by the Community Party of China. Petitioners recognize the credible reports of genocide against the Uighur people. Uighurs are being subject to forced abortions and sterilizations, organ harvesting and arbitrary detention. I imagine the Canadians who signed this petition are pleased that the House passed a motion recognizing this genocide, but that they are disappointed by the shameful abstention of the Prime Minister and his cabinet on that vote. They are calling on the government to use the Magnitsky act and sanction those who are responsible for the heinous crimes being committed against the Uighur people. We must not stand by and watch this happen; the time to act is now.

All-Terrain Vehicle Safety  

    Mr. Speaker, I am tabling a petition on behalf of constituents in my riding of Kelowna—Lake Country. To summarize, they reference Canada averaging 145 fatalities and 3,400 hospitalizations every year due to all-terrain vehicle rollover accidents. The use of crush protection device installations on these vehicles would reduce the number and severity of these accidents significantly. Other industrialized nations have recognized this issue and mandated implementation by manufacturers, safety authorities and industry users. Petitioners are calling on the Government of Canada to require manufacturers to include crush protection devices on all new sales of all-terrain vehicles.

Human Rights  

    Mr. Speaker, the first petition I am presenting today is from Canadians calling on the government to impose sanctions against individuals in Russia who are responsible for gross human rights abuses against Russian pro-democracy activists, such as Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
    The petition also calls for sanctions to be placed against those who are interfering in Canada through malign influence operations such as intimidation campaigns targeting Canadians and that the Canadian government take additional steps to assist persecuted Russian activists and dissidents.
    The Canadian Russian community, particularly of I/We Russia, as well as central and eastern European communities in Canada, have done excellent work advocating for human rights and democracy in Russia. Canadians should heed the call of these pro-democracy activists and the government should take stronger action to address the abuses by the Russian government. For instance, Canada should sanction the corrupt oligarchs who continue to fund and support Vladimir Putin's repression and abuse of pro-democracy activists in Russia.
    I have seven additional petitions to table.

  (1520)  

Conversion Therapy  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition is with respect to Bill C-6, which we are debating today. The petitioners want to see a ban on conversion therapy, but are concerned about problems with the definition and lack of clarity around issues like what is meant by “practice”, and the failure of the government to support reasonable amendments that would have clarified the definition with respect to what this does and does not apply to. In particular, the petitioners want to see the government and the House of Commons ban coercive degrading practices that are designed to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity, amend Bill C-6 to fix the definition in order to ensure it does not include, for instance, private conversations where individual views about sexuality are expressed, and to allow parents to speak with their own children about sexuality, gender and to set house rules about sex and relationships.

Medical Assistance in Dying  

    Mr. Speaker, the third petition I am presenting is with respect to Bill C-7 that recently passed and the issues raised in it around euthanasia or medical assistance in dying for those with mental health challenges. The petitioners are very concerned about the decision of the government to add in euthanasia for those with mental health challenges at the last minute, when it had previously said it did not support these measures. They want to see the government do more to protect Canadians struggling with mental illness by facilitating treatment and recovery, not death.
     The petitioners are also supportive of the idea of having a national, three-digit suicide prevention line.

Ethiopia  

    Mr. Speaker, the fourth petition highlights the situation in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. The petitioners are very concerned about the humanitarian and human rights situation there and its severe impact on civilians. The petitioners want to see the government immediately call for an end to violence and restraint from all sides in the conflict and greater humanitarian access, advance strong investigations around war crimes and gross violations of human rights, engage directly and consistently with the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments on the conflict, and promote short- and long-term election monitoring.

Human Rights  

    Mr. Speaker, the fifth petition I am tabling today calls on the government to recognize the genocide of Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims in China, and to apply the Magnitsky act to those who are involved in this genocide.

Falun Gong  

    Mr. Speaker, the sixth petition I am tabling deals with the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China. The petitioners want the Government of Canada and the House of Commons to take additional steps in response to that persecution, including addressing the issue of organ harvesting. In particular, these petitioners highlight the need for legal sanctions and the use of the Magnitsky act against those involved in these persecutions.

Sex Selection  

    Mr. Speaker, the next petition is in support of efforts to ban sex-selective abortion in Canada. It notes that Canadians strongly support these measures and that it is recognized in the health care profession that sex-selective abortion is a problem. This issue will be considered by the House in a vote in two days.

Human Organ Trafficking  

    Mr. Speaker, the final petition is in support of Bill S-204, a bill currently before this House, which has just passed the Senate unanimously. Bill S-204 would make it a criminal offence for a person to go abroad and receive an organ where there has not been consent. This bill has passed the House unanimously in its current form as Bill S-240 in the last Parliament. Now we simply need to complete the reconciliation process by passing Bill S-204 in this Parliament. The petitioners are hoping this Parliament is the one that finally gets it done and deals with the abhorrent practice of forced organ harvesting and trafficking. It is an issue on which all parliamentarians agree and has had unanimous support in both Houses before in this form, so let us try to get it done in this Parliament.

Conversion Therapy  

    Mr. Speaker, I will be presenting one petition today on Bill C-6 that Canadians have brought to my attention.
    The petitioners identify the definition of conversion therapy in the legislation as being too broad, noting it wrongly applies the label of conversion therapy to a broad range of practices, including counsel from parents, teachers and counsellors encouraging children to reduce their sexual behaviour. Further, they raise concerns that Bill C-6 could restrict the choices of all Canadians, including those from the LGBTQ community, concerning sexuality and gender by prohibiting access to any professional or spiritual support freely chosen to limit sexual behaviour or to detransition.
    With that in mind, the petitioners call on the House of Commons to do the following: ban coercive and degrading practices designed to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity; ensure no laws discriminate against Canadians by limiting the services that they can receive based on their sexual orientation or gender identity; allow parents to speak with their children about sexuality and gender and allow free and open conversations about sexuality and sexual behaviour; and, finally, avoid criminalizing professional and religious counselling voluntarily requested and consented to by Canadians.
    Bill C-6 requires improvement in order to balance the need to protect Canadians from harm while also respecting the freedom of all Canadians to freely discuss matters of sexuality with trusted family members, friends and/or professionals.

TC Energy  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to present four pretty much identical petitions totalling over 3,350 signatures.
    The petitioners are calling upon the Government of Canada to stop the TC Energy's proposed pump storage project on 4th Canadian Division Training Centre at base Meaford.

Rights of the Unborn  

    Mr. Speaker, I have a number of petitions to present today. The first one is timely, given the situation we find ourselves in with the discovery of the mass graves of children in Kamloops.
     The petitioners call for Canada to bring in measures that would safeguard human life at every stage of human development. They call on the government to support measures that would protect human life. They note that all human life should be regarded with great respect, from conception to natural death.

  (1525)  

Pornography  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition I have the honour to present today is from constituents across Canada.
     The petitioners are concerned about the accessibility and impacts of violent and degrading sexually explicit material online and the impacts on public health, especially on the well-being of women and girls. They recognize that we cannot say we believe in preventing sexual violence toward women, while allowing pornography companies to freely expose our children to violent explicit material every day. This is a form of child abuse. As such, they note the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child requires Canada to develop the means to protect children from forms of media that are injurious to their well-being.
     The petitioners therefore call on the House of Commons to require meaningful age verification on all adult websites.

First Nations Financial Transparency Act  

    Mr. Speaker, the third petition I have to present today is from indigenous members of my riding.
     The petitioners note that everyone is equal before the law and without discrimination. They state that the First Nations Financial Transparency Act is supposed to enhance accountability and transparency. However, when receiving federal funding, official first nation band membership is counted, but off-reserve band members face alienation, and are receiving limited funds and services.
    The petitioners call on the Government of Canada to enforce the First Nations Financial Transparency Act and ensure that off-reserve band members are provided with equal levels of funding and services as on-reserve band members.

Conversion Therapy  

    Mr. Speaker, the next petition I have to present is on Bill C-6. This petition is signed by Canadians across Canada who are concerned about Bill C-6, which we are debating today.
     These Canadians oppose conversion therapy, but are concerned about the current definition of “conversion therapy” in Bill C-6. Like most Canadians, they want coercive and degrading therapies banned, however, the definition in Bill C-6 would limit private conversations and freely chosen supports to limit or decrease sexual activity that would be impacted.
    The petitioners ask for coercive and degrading practices to be banned. In addition, they would like a more clear definition in Bill C-6 that would not criminalize voluntary conversations and services, including counselling. They also ask for parents to be allowed to speak to their children about sexuality and gender and to set house rules about sex and relationships.

Sex Selection  

    Mr. Speaker, the next petition I have to present comes from Canadians across Canada who are opposed to the discriminatory practice of sex-selective abortion.
     The petitioners note that sex selection is completely legal and that 84% of Canadians, regardless of their views on abortion, think that sex-selective abortion should be illegal. The petitioners state that several organizations around the world have recognized the damages and impacts of the absence of girls. Additionally, Canada's health care professionals recognize that sex selection is a problem in Canada.
     The petitioners call for the quick passage of Bill C-233.

Firearms  

    Mr. Speaker, the final petition I have to present today is from Canadians across Canada who are concerned about the health and safety of Canadian firearms owners.
     The petitioners recognize the importance of owning firearms and are concerned about the impacts of hearing loss caused by damaging noise levels from firearms and the need for noise reduction. They acknowledge that sound moderators are the only universally recognized health and safety device, which is criminally prohibited in Canada. Moreover, the majority of G7 countries have recognized the health and safety benefits of sound moderators in allowing them for hunting, sport shooting and noise pollution reduction.
     The petitioners call on the government to allow firearms owners the option to purchase and use sound moderators for all legal hunting and sport shooting activities.
    We have run out of time for petitions and will have to continue at the next session.
    Mr. Speaker, I have a very practical point of order. When one has filed with the table to present a petition electronically, does one have to refile to present on the next sitting day or can it be added to the list?
    It will automatically transfer over to the next list.
    I want to take this opportunity to mention that when members present petitions, to try to be as brief as possible. We have run out of time, and some members were waiting on the list. It makes it very difficult for them.

Questions on the Order Paper

[Text]

Question No. 610--
Mr. John Brassard:
    With regard to the awarding of the South West Asia Service Medal (SWASM), the General Campaign Star (GCS), the General Service Medal (GSM) and the South West Asia Service ribbon by the Minister of National Defense for service in Afghanistan: (a) how many (i) SWASMs, (ii) GSCs, (iii) GSMs, (iv) South West Asia ribbons, have been awarded to date, broken down by award; (b) how many requests for the SWASM have yet to be fulfilled; and (c) how many years of service are required to be eligible for the (i) SWASM, (ii) GSM, (iii) CGS, (iv) South West Asia Service ribbon, broken down by award?
Ms. Anita Vandenbeld (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, National Defence is committed to recognizing the service and sacrifice of the brave women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces who participated in, and civilians who supported, Canada’s military operations in Afghanistan.
    The Canadian honours system recognizes their service and sacrifice by awarding service and campaign medals.
    In response to part (a), as of December 31, 2020, National Defence awarded 12,760 recipients with the South-West Asia Service Medal; 32,646 recipients with the General Campaign Star—South-West Asia; and 5,867 recipients with the General Service Medal—South-West Asia.
    National Defence recently changed its database that tracks awarded service medals. Statistics on medals awarded are now reported and tracked on an annual basis.
    The General Campaign Star and General Service Medal are awarded with a ribbon specific to the operational theatre or type of service being recognized. Therefore, the ribbon for South-West Asia is not considered a separate award from the General Campaign Star—South-West Asia, nor the General Service Medal—South-West Asia.
    In response to part (b), National Defence searched its awards database and found one pending application for the South-West Asia Service Medal for a retired member, which is currently being processed.
    In response to part (c), the official description, eligibility, criteria, and history of the South-West Asia Service Medal, the General Campaign Star—South-West Asia, and the General Service Medal—South-West Asia are available online: i) https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/services/medals/medals-chart-index/south-west-asia-service-medal-swasm.html; ii) https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/services/medals/medals-chart-index/general-campaign-star-south-west-asia-gcs-swa.html; iii) https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/services/medals/medals-chart-index/general-service-medal-south-west-asia-gsm-swa.html.
    In response to part (c)(iv), as noted above, the ribbon for South-West Asia is not considered a separate award from the General Campaign Star—South-West Asia, nor the General Service Medal—South-West Asia.
Question No. 612--
Mrs. Karen Vecchio:
    With regard to the government’s original response and revised response to question Q-373 on the Order Paper: (a) which official signed the Statement of Completeness for the original response; (b) which official signed the Statement of Completeness for the revised response; and (c) if an official signed the Statement of Completeness for the revised response, why did Public Safety’s response to the request made under Access to Information Act A-2020-00384 indicates that “Public Safety Canada was unable to locate any records”?
Mr. Joël Lightbound (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, in response to part (a), the official who signed the statement of completeness, SOC, for the original input provided by the Canada Border Services Agency, CBSA, is the vice-president, intelligence and enforcement branch.
    The official who signed the SOC for the original input provided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, RCMP, is the senior director, strategic policy and government affairs.
    In response to parts (b) and (c), no revised SOC was produced for the revised response as it did not require the agencies to consult new records, analysis or consultations.
Question No. 613--
Mr. Chris d'Entremont:
    With regard to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Small Craft Harbours program: (a) how much has been invested in the Harbour Authority of Little River, Digby County; and (b) how much will be invested over the next five years?
Hon. Bernadette Jordan (Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Small Craft Harbours program has invested $40,366.50 in the Harbour Authority of Little River, Digby County since 2019, up to and including fiscal year 2020-21. It will invest $50,580 over the next five years, based on existing contribution agreements between the harbour authority and the program.
    Please note that the Harbour Authority of Little River ceased to exist in 2018, at which time it was replaced by the Digby Neck Harbour Authority Association. The investments cited in this response include those made or to be made to both entities.
Question No. 619--
Mr. Warren Steinley:
    With regard to the federal quarantine facility at the Hilton Hotel on Dixon Road near the Toronto Pearson Airport: (a) how much is the government paying the hotel to be a quarantine facility; (b) what were the total expenditures to make modification to turn the hotel property into a quarantine facility, including the cost of fencing and barricades; (c) what is the breakdown of (b) by line item; and (d) why was this specific property chosen to be a quarantine facility?
Ms. Jennifer O'Connell (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a), on September 17, 2020, the Government of Canada launched a request for information, RFI, to seek input from industry about potential options and best practices for the third party provision of lodgings and/or management of services associated with federal quarantine sites. Any further breakdown of costs cannot be released at this time, as the information would hinder the prospective competitive process following the RFI.
    Due to current contracting activities, including the potential competitive processes noted above, the exact breakdown of costs cannot be publicly disclosed at this time.
    With regard to part (b), between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, the federal government has spent $285 million on enhanced border and travel measures and isolation sites. These measures include the federal designated quarantine sites across Canada; a strengthened national border and travel health program, including enhanced compliance and enforcement; safe voluntary isolation spaces in municipalities; and enhanced surveillance initiatives to reduce COVID-19 importation and transmission at points of entry.
    Due to current contracting activities, including potential competitive processes, the exact breakdown of costs cannot be publicly disclosed at this time.
    With regard to part (c), due to current contracting activities, including potential competitive processes, the breakdown of (b) by line item cannot be publicly disclosed at this time.
    With regard to part (d), the referenced hotel was chosen to be a designated quarantine facility because it met a set of site requirement criteria. Each designated quarantine facility is chosen based on minimum criteria, including proximity to the airport/port of entry and to an acute care hospital, and ability to meet the Public Health Agency of Canada’s requirements to safely lodge travellers while they complete their mandatory quarantine/isolation.
Question No. 620--
Mr. Warren Steinley:
    With regard to quarantine requirements and a CTV report of April 12, 2021, that an individual returning to Canada contracted COVID-19 while staying at a quarantine hotel and subsequently infected his entire family: (a) how many individuals have contracted COVID-19 while staying at a quarantine hotel of quarantine facility since the program began; (b) if the government does not track how many individuals have contracted COVID-19 while at a quarantine hotel, why is such information not tracked; and (c) when an individual tests positive while at a hotel or facility, is the room required to be put out of service and not available for other guests for a certain period of time and, if so, what is the time period the room must be out of service and when was this requirement set?
Ms. Jennifer O'Connell (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a), all federally designated quarantine facilities, DQFs, have strict infection prevention and control measures in place in order to safeguard the health of Canadians. There has not been any transmission of COVID-19 in DQFs in Canada.
    The number of individuals who have contracted COVID-19 while staying in a government-approved accommodation, GAA, is not collected as it would be impossible to know whether an individual became infected with COVID-19 at a GAA, rather than during high-risk exposures such as during air travel.
    Even with valid negative pre-departure and on-arrival test results, some individuals subsequently test positive during their quarantine period. This is because the amount of virus or viral load of the person being tested affects the test result. A low viral load, which can occur in the very early stage of the disease or during the recovery phase, could give a false negative result. In other words, the virus could be present in the individual but not be detected through testing during some stages of the illness. As such, it is not unexpected that some travellers receive a positive day 8 test result.
    Tests at day 1 and 8, previously day 10, are effective in preventing secondary transmissions. In addition, travellers must remain in quarantine for the full 14-day quarantine period. Their quarantine will only end once they have received a negative test result and completed the full 14-day quarantine, and as long as they have not developed any symptoms of COVID-19.
    Mandatory quarantine and testing requirements are part of the Government of Canada’s multi-layered strategy to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in Canada, and will continue to be part of enhanced measures.
    With regard to part (b), this information is not collected because it would be impossible to know whether an individual became infected with COVID-19 at a GAA, rather than during high-risk exposures such as during air travel.
    Positive results identified as part of the arrival testing program, day 1 and day 8, whether the person is in a GAA, DQF or at home, are collected by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
    With regard to part (c), at GAAs and DQFs, rooms are thoroughly cleaned between guests, whether they are positive or negative.
    In DQFs, the room is required to be put out of service and rendered unavailable for other guests for a period of 24 hours.
    At GAAs, staff are advised to wait 24 hours before entering the room, or if 24 hours is not feasible, then to wait as long as possible. GAAs and DQFs are expected to meet a set of criteria, which include meeting infection prevention and control procedures and following cleaning guidelines. Staff are required to be trained on cleaning and disinfecting as per guidelines and know how to apply these best practices for cleaning public spaces as per instructions.

  (1530)  

[English]

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns

    Mr. Speaker, if the government's response to Questions Nos. 607 to 609, 611, 614 to 618 and 621 could be made orders for return, these returns would be tabled immediately.
    Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Text]

Question No. 607--
Ms. Kristina Michaud:
    With regard to the Centennial Flame unveiled on July 1, 1967, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa: (a) what fuel is used to enable the flame to burn perpetually; (b) what is the price per cubic metre of the fuel used and, if applicable, how much gas is used annually to keep the flame burning; (c) what is the estimated amount of greenhouse gases emitted annually by (i) the flame itself, (ii) the infrastructure supporting the flame’s operation; (d) since the unveiling of the Centennial Flame in 1967, has the government estimated the cumulative amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere; and (e) has the government purchased carbon credits to offset these greenhouse gas emissions and, if so, what is the total amount that has been spent to offset greenhouse gas emissions, broken down by (i) year, (ii) annual amount spent?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 608--
Mr. Doug Shipley:
    With regard to the Supplementary Estimates (A), (B) and (C), 2020-21 and the items listed under Privy Council Office as COVID-19 communications and marketing: (a) what was the total amount actually spent under this line item; (b) what is the detailed breakdown of how the money was spent, including a detailed breakdown by (i) type of expenditure, (ii) type of communications and marketing, (iii) specific message being communicated; (c) what are the details of all contracts signed under this line item, including the (i) vendor, (ii) amount, (iii) date, (iv) detailed description of goods or services, including the volume; and (d) was any funding under this line item transferred to another department or agency, and, if so, what is the detailed breakdown and contract details of how that money was spent?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 609--
Mr. John Brassard:
    With regard to training and education benefits provided by Veterans Affairs Canada: (a) of applications for the Veterans Education and Training Benefit, since April 1, 2018, (i) how many veterans have applied for the benefit, (ii) how many family members of veterans have applied for the benefit, (iii) how many applications for the benefit have been received, (iv) how many applications have been denied, (v) how much money have been awarded to veterans and their family members, broken down by fiscal year; and (b) for the Rehabilitation and Vocational Assistance Program, broken down by year since 2009, (i) how many veterans have applied for the program, (ii) how many veterans were accepted into the program, (iii) how many veteran’s applications were denied, (iv) how much was paid to WCG Services to deliver the program, (v) how much was paid to March of Dimes to deliver the program?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 611--
Mrs. Karen Vecchio:
    With regard to the Translation Bureau operations: (a) how many hours of simultaneous interpretation of parliamentary proceedings were provided each year since 2016, broken down by (i) sittings of the Senate, (ii) sittings of the House of Commons, (iii) meetings of Senate committees, (iv) meetings of House committees; (b) how many employees have provided simultaneous interpretation each year since 2016 (i) of parliamentary proceedings, (ii) in total; (c) how many freelance contractors have provided simultaneous interpretation each year since 2016 (i) of parliamentary proceedings, (ii) in total; (d) what are the minimum employment qualifications for simultaneous interpreters employed by the Translation Bureau, including, but not limited to, (i) education, (ii) work experience, (iii) profession accreditation, (iv) security clearance; (e) how many of the employees and freelance contractors identified in (b) and (c) meet the Translation Bureau’s minimum employment qualifications listed in (d), including a breakdown of the qualifications specifically listed in (d)(i) to (iv); (f) what is the estimated number of total Canadians who currently meet the Translation Bureau’s minimum employment qualifications listed in (d); (g) what are the language profiles of employees and freelance contractors, listed in (b) and (c), as well as the estimated number of Canadians in (f), broken down by “A language” and “B language” pairings; (h) what was the cost associated with the services provided by freelance simultaneous interpreters, identified in (c), each year since 2016, broken down by (i) professional fees, (ii) air fare, (iii) other transportation, (iv) accommodation, (v) meals and incidental expenses, (vi) other expenses, (vii) the total amount; (i) what are the expenses listed in (h), broken down by “A language” and “B language” pairings; (j) what percentage of meetings or proceedings where simultaneous interpretation was provided in each year since 2016 has been considered to be (i) entirely remote or distance interpretation, (ii) partially remote or distance interpretation, and broken down between (A) parliamentary, (B) non-parliamentary work; (k) how many employees or freelance contractors providing simultaneous interpretation have reported workplace injuries each year since 2016, broken down by (i) nature of injury, (ii) whether the meeting or proceeding was (A) entirely remote, (B) partially remote, (C) neither, (iii) whether sick leave was required and, if sick leave was required, how much; (l) how many of the workplace injuries identified in (k) have occurred during (i) sittings of the Senate, (ii) sittings of the House of Commons, (iii) meetings of Senate committees, (iv) meetings of House committees, (v) meetings of the Cabinet or its committees, (vi) ministerial press conferences or events; (m) what is the current status of the turnkey interpreting solution, using ISO-compliant digital communications services, which was, in 2019, projected to be available by 2021, and what is the current projected date of availability; (n) how many requests for services in Indigenous languages have been made in each year since 2016, broken down by (i) parliamentary simultaneous interpretation, (ii) non-parliamentary simultaneous interpretation, (iii) parliamentary translation, (iv) non-parliamentary translation; (o) what is the breakdown of the responses to each of (n)(i) to (iv) by (i) A language pairing, (ii) B language pairing; (p) how many of the requests for parliamentary simultaneous interpretation, listed in (n)(i), were (i) fulfilled, (ii) not fulfilled, (iii) cancelled; (q) how many days’ notice was originally given of each service request which was not fulfilled, as identified in (p)(ii); (r) for each service request which was cancelled as listed in (p)(iii), (i) how soon after the request was made was it cancelled, (ii) how far in advance of the scheduled time of service was the request cancelled, (iii) what were the total expenses incurred; (s) how many documents have been translated with the use of machine translation, either in whole or in part, each year since 2016, broken down by original language and translated language pairings; and (t) how many of the machine-translated documents listed in (s) were translated for parliamentary clients, broken down by categories of documents, including (i) Debates, Journals, Order Paper and Notice Paper of the Senate and House of Commons, (ii) legislation, (iii) committee records, (iv) Library of Parliament briefing notes, (v) briefs and speaking notes submitted to committees by witnesses, (vi) correspondence, (vii) all other documents?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 614--
Mr. Terry Dowdall:
    With regard to the trips of the Minister of National Defence, broken down by each trip since November 4, 2015: (a) what are the dates, points of departure, and points of arrival for trips made with military search and rescue aircraft; and (b) what are the dates, points of departure, and points of arrival for trips using Canadian Armed Forces drivers (i) between the Vancouver International Airport and his personal residence, (ii) between his personal residence and the Vancouver International Airport, (iii) between the Vancouver International Airport and his constituency office, (iv) between his constituency office and the Vancouver International Airport, (v) between his constituency office and meetings with constituents, (vi) to and from personal appointments, including medical appointments, (vii) to and from the ministerial regional offices?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 615--
Mr. John Brassard:
    With regard to reports that some arriving air travelers are having their expenses for quarantining at a designated hotel or other quarantine facility covered by the government: (a) how many arriving travelers have had their quarantine expenses covered by the government since the hotel quarantine requirement began, broken down by airport point of entry; (b) what specific criteria is used by the government to determine which travelers are required to pay for their own hotel quarantine and which travelers have their quarantine paid for by the government; and (c) what are the estimated total expenditures by the government on expenses related to quarantining the travelers in (a), broken down by line item and type of expense?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 616--
Mr. Len Webber:
    With regard to expenditures on talent fees and other expenditures on models for media produced by the government since October 1, 2017, broken down by department, agency, Crown corporation or other government entity: (a) what is the total amount of expenditures; and (b) what are the details of each expenditure, including the (i) vendor, (ii) project or campaign description, (iii) description of goods or services provided, (iv) date and duration of the contract, (v) file number, (vi) publication name where the related photographs are located, if applicable, (vii) relevant website, if applicable?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 617--
Mr. Paul Manly:
    With regard to the government funding in the constituency of Nanaimo—Ladysmith, between October 21, 2019, and March 31, 2021: (a) what are the details of all the applications for funding, grants, loans, and loan guarantees received, broken down by the (i) name of the organization(s), (ii) government department, agency, or Crown corporation, (iii) program and any relevant sub-program, (iv) date of the application, (v) amount applied for, (vi) total amount of funding or loan approved; (b) what funds, grants, loans, and loan guarantees has the government issued and that did not require a direct application, broken down by the (i) name of the organization(s), (ii) government department, agency, or Crown corporation, (iii) program and any relevant sub-program, (iv) total amount of funding or loan approved; and (c) what projects have been funded by organizations responsible for sub-granting government funds, broken down by the (i) name of the recipient organization(s), (ii) name of the sub-granting organization, (iii) government department, agency, or Crown corporation, (iv) program and any relevant sub-program, (v) total amount of funding?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 618--
Mr. Warren Steinley:
    With regard to reports, studies, assessments, and evaluations (herein referenced as deliverables) prepared for the government, including any department, agency, Crown corporation or other government entity, by McKinsey and Company, Ernst and Young, or PricewaterhouseCoopers, since January 1, 2016: what are the details of all such deliverables, broken down by firm, including the (i) date that the deliverable was finished, (ii) title, (iii) summary of recommendations, (iv) file number, (v) website where the deliverable is available online, if applicable, (vi) value of the contract related to the deliverable?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 621--
Mr. Warren Steinley:
    With regard to the report that the government threatened to pull funding from the Halifax International Security Forum (HFX) if they awarded Tsai Ing-wen, the president of Taiwan with the John McCain Prize for Leadership in Public Service: (a) what are the details of all communications, formal or informal, between the government, including any ministers or exempt staff, and representatives of the HFX, and where there was any reference to Taiwan since January 1, 2020, including the (i) date, (ii) individuals participating in the communication, (iii) the senders and recipients, if applicable, (iv) type of communication, (email, text message, conversation, etc.), (v) summary of topics discussed; and (b) which of the communications in (a) gave the impression to HFX that its funding would be pulled if it awarded the prize to the president of Taiwan, and (i) has the individual who made the representation been reprimanded by the government, (ii) was that individual acting on orders or advice, either formal or informal, from superiors within the government, and, if so, who were the superiors providing the orders or advice?
    (Return tabled)

[English]

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

Request for Emergency Debate

Residential Schools  

[S. O. 52]
    The Chair has notice of a request for an emergency debate from the hon. member for Burnaby South.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am rising to request an emergency debate on the discovery of 215 children buried at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.
    The discovery of those children last week is a sad reminder of Canada's genocidal actions against indigenous peoples.
    First nations, survivors, elders, leaders, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and others are calling for action to confront this history and help bring about closure. Families and communities are discussing this important issue, and Parliament needs to do so as well.

[English]

    Canadians were horrified to learn of this discovery. It is heartbreaking to think about the families that never knew what happened to their children, to first have to grapple with the loss of their children, who were stripped from them, stripped from their homes, their identity, their language stolen from them, and then to have to deal with the loss of these children. So many more indigenous communities around the country are also wondering what happened to their children.
    I think about the memorials happening across the country, memorials where people are placing children's shoes to commemorate the lives lost, the flags flying at half-mast and indigenous elders who are conducting sacred ceremonies to guide the spirits of these children.
    We know this mourning is incredibly important, and we mourn together the lives of these children, but we must move beyond just mourning at the federal level, at the government level. We must move beyond symbolic gestures to concrete actions.
    In this emergency debate, we can talk about the fact the government continues to fight indigenous kids and residential survivors in court. We can talk about the steps we can take to truly walk the path of truth and reconciliation, implementing the calls to action, only 12 of which have been implemented so far.
    We can move beyond just symbolism and move to action by committing to funding the investigation and by working in partnership with indigenous communities of other potential sites like this. We can walk the path of reconciliation with concrete actions to commit to justice in the honour of those lives lost.
    That is why I am calling for an emergency debate, for us to move beyond just words to concrete actions and to talk about what those actions might be.

Speaker's Ruling  

    I thank the hon. member for Burnaby South for his intervention. However, I am not satisfied this request meets the requirements of the Standing Orders at this time.

Residential Schools

    Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties and if you seek it, I believe you will find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:
    That a take-note debate on the tragic discovery of the remains of 215 children at a former residential school in British Columbia be held, pursuant to Standing Order 53.1, on Tuesday, June 1, 2021, and that, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House: (a) members rising to speak during the debate may indicate to the Chair that they will be dividing their time with another member; and (b) no quorum calls, dilatory motions or requests for unanimous consent shall be received by the Chair.
    All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.
     The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.
    Hearing none, I declare the motion carried.

    (Motion agreed to)


Government Orders

[Government Orders]

  (1535)  

[English]

Criminal Code

     The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-6, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (conversion therapy), be read the third time and passed.
    The member for Cypress Hills—Grasslands has 10 minutes remaining in questions and comments.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague for his reflections on the level of engagement we saw from the public with respect to the number of written briefs that were submitted to the committee and the way those written briefs were treated. Obviously, this is an issue on which there is a great deal of agreement in the House. Members want to see a conversion therapy ban.
     It is also important that committees do their job and look at the law, the details, the intended and, perhaps, unintended consequences. It is with that in mind that many Canadians and stakeholder groups prepared and submitted written briefs that the committee could take into consideration, yet Liberal and NDP members voted against a Bloc motion that would have allowed for those committee briefs to be received as a part of clause-by-clause consideration.
    I wonder if the member could reflect on the fact that all kinds of Canadians and stakeholder groups had constructed input on how to strengthen the legislation and that was completely ignored by the committee because it refused to take the time to look at those briefs.
    Madam Speaker, my colleague is absolutely right. As far as I am aware, record submissions, at least in recent memory, were made to the parliamentary committee. Especially when we are talking about an issue such as conversion therapy, we need to ensure we put in the proper time to review the concerns and opinions expressed at committee through all those briefs.
    It would have been absolutely appropriate for the committee to take the time to get the translation on the briefs, to read all the briefs and consider all the statements and evidence put forward before proceeding in the matter before us today that. Once again, the government is rushing things through because it cannot control its legislative calendar.
    Madam Speaker, I have a quote to read from the website of the United Church of Canada, which states that conversion therapy is a widely “discredited practice” of trying to change someone's “sexual orientation or gender identity” based on the premise that being gay or transgender is a disorder and can be cured. In policy and principle, the United Church of Canada affirms that human sexual orientation and gender at least are gifts from God.
    I also would like to read from another website of GLA:D Canada, which goes into some detail about how many providers are frequently changing the terminology to avoid detection, that some of these terms can be changed to be harmless at first glance. It also details the reality that young members of the LGBTQ2S community are nearly 8.5 times more likely to attempt to commit suicide when subjected to harmful conversion therapy.
     My colleague opposite referred to some legitimate practice. I would like to hear from the hon. member on what a legitimate practice might constitute if it does, in fact, aim to change somebody's gender identity or sexual orientation.
    Madam Speaker, it is really important to just distinguish a few things. When individuals on their own have chosen to seek counselling for a specific issue, then it is incumbent that they get the counselling they are seeking. The way the member put the question is that somehow a counsellor will try to force a specific ideology or position upon an individual, which is not the case.
    We want to see a situation where individuals who have a specific problem in their lives and want to receive counselling, trying to get to a specific outcome, that it is set by them, not the counsellor. We have to ensure that their ability to do that is not impacted. There have been concerns this bill would do that.
    Madam Speaker, it is so unfortunate to hear my colleague make statements and quotes like “sexual behaviour counselling,” as if there is something inherently wrong in an individual living as who they are.
     I am curious to know why my colleague violently opposes this fundamental human right and continues to utilize stereotypes and language that certainly do not help with the identity of people in the LGBTQ2IA community? They have much higher rates of suicide as a result of this kind of brutal rejection.

  (1540)  

    Madam Speaker, I would like to reiterate that there are a lot of people who have life-controlling issues, such as a person who is constantly cheating on their partner. They might want to seek counselling to help address that issue.
    There has been a lot of feedback on this bill from a lot of different groups and organizations saying that a person who is a member of the LGBTQ community might not be able to get support if they are trying to honour their marriage or their union with their partner, and that because they have had an issue with extra-martial affairs, this is going to become a problem.
    We want to make sure that they have equal access to counselling that all Canadians would have when they experience a life-controlling issue, such as cheating on their loved one.
    Madam Speaker, the member opposite mentioned Keira Bell, as well as the chilling effect he believes this bill might have.
    I feel that the Keira Bell case in the United Kingdom is a landmark case that we would do well to take a look at. It talks about what has been a common occurrence for some people: A young girl, as she gets older and her body begins to change, feels uncomfortable and dislikes it. She could go through a period of anxiety and depression, and someone could tell her that changing would be the way out. Keira Bell went through changes including a double mastectomy. She deeply regrets it.
     Could this member comment on the chilling effect that he mentioned, and how that might impact more cases like Keira Bell's here in Canada with Bill C-6?
    Madam Speaker, it is important that we consider testimony like that. We have heard from many people, including Dr. James Cantor, who is a member of the LGBTQ community.
    He talked exclusively about the chill effect that it could have. I am going to quote him to make sure I get it right:
    We will end up with clinicians...with a chill effect, simply unwilling to deal with this kind of issue; the service will become unavailable. Without a clear indication of what counts as an “exploration” and exactly what that means, anybody would have trouble going into this with the kind of confidence that a clinician needs in order to help their client.
    He clearly points out that we want to make sure that a clinician has the full confidence to help somebody, particularly in that, where they have ability to take the time to make sure it is the right decision for them before they proceed, which in Keira Bell's case did not happen.
    Madam Speaker, very quickly, does the member believe that we are who we are when we are born, or does he think that our sexual identity is a choice?
    Madam Speaker, the issue of the debate here today is Bill C-6. We want to make sure that people have full and equal access to the same supports around them.
    When we look at the bill, we want to make sure that we look at all the different briefs that were submitted before committee so that we have the opportunity to hear what everybody is saying. Because the government was rushing through its agenda, we did not have the chance to consider all the different briefs. We should be able to hear from all the different people who are talking about a lot of different situations that have arisen.
    Madam Speaker, I hope the hon. members are aware that the British case they have been citing is under appeal and is not settled law in Britain.
    My question is for the member. If he is opposed to attempts at conversion therapy, why does he think that trying to repress someone's identity or repress their sexual orientation is an acceptable behaviour?
    Where does he find anything in this bill, after it was amended, that would prevent conversations affirming people's choices?
    Madam Speaker, what we want to see is that people have the ability to get the help that they are seeking on their own. We want to make sure they have the ability to get the help they need. That is what we are trying to do here today.
    We are trying to raise concerns that Canadians, reaching out to our office, have had. I have heard from hundreds of Canadians who have the same concern. We want to make sure we have equal access to counselling. This bill is creating a situation where one group of Canadians could get certain types of counselling that they chose, and other types of Canadians could not get the counselling they would like to have.

  (1545)  

    Pride Month starts tomorrow in my home province of Ontario, and I can think of no more opportune time to be working on the passage of Bill C-6 in the House of Commons. During Pride, LGBTQ2 Canadians celebrate who they are and their freedom to identify how they wish and love whomever they want, but there remain those who would deny the LGBTQ2 community's basic rights: those who believe that sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression can and should be changed to fit the narrow idea of what is “normal” or “natural” through the practice of conversion therapy. Bill C-6 would put an end to this.
    By criminalizing the practice of conversion therapy, our government is making a statement. We are stating clearly that conversion therapy is degrading, abusive and discriminatory, and the lifelong trauma it causes must come to an end. I have heard this call from my constituents in Parkdale—High Park and from those who believe in equality and in ending stigma right around the country. On the eve of Pride 2021, I hope that all colleagues in the House can agree that a practice based on age-old myths and prejudicial stereotypes about the LGTBQ2 community has no place in Canada.
    Now let me turn to the bill itself. It proposes reforms that would comprehensively protect children from the known harms of conversion therapy, and protect Canadians from commercialization of the practice and from being forced to undergo it.

[Translation]

    These reforms were inspired by a growing movement against conversion therapy led by survivors and supported by community allies, researchers and experts, many of whom shared their knowledge and experiences with the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights as we studied the bill.
    This broad body of work inspired important amendments at committee and highlighted the evidence-based findings, namely that conversion therapy is harmful to people subjected to it. Bill C-6 seeks to stop this affront to human dignity and is an integral part of our ongoing efforts to protect LGBTQ2 individuals.

[English]

    As many have rightly pointed out, the origins of conversion therapy betray its discriminatory and harmful ends. I want to highlight the testimony of Jack Saddleback. When I was at the justice committee, he poignantly reminded us in his testimony of the history of conversion therapy in Canada. It is inextricably linked to the erosion of indigenous culture and understanding of gender and sexual diversity, and to the suffering of two-spirit youths in residential schools, which is something we have all been thinking about a great deal over the past several days. As we reflect on the harm this bill is intended to prevent, we cannot forget the personal intergenerational trauma endured by two-spirit individuals and the communities for whom “conversion” has often been synonymous with assimilation.
    By the 1980s and 1990s, the practice of conversion therapy had become prominent in this country. Even as we adopted the charter in 1982 and strengthened our collective commitment to protecting the fundamental rights and freedoms of Canadians, the inherent dignity and quality of LGBTQ2 youths' and adults' lives continued to be threatened by interventions that vilified and pathologized their differences. These interventions sought to change who they were.
    In his testimony and memoir, The Inheritance of Shame, survivor Peter Gajdics described in no uncertain terms the trauma he experienced as a gay man subjected to conversion therapy between 1989 and 1995. He recalled being virtually imprisoned in a “cult-like house” and subjected to prolonged sessions of primal scream therapy, near-lethal doses of medication and “re-parenting” sessions to heal his “broken masculinity”. When none of these methods worked, he was subjected to aversion therapy to suppress his homosexual desires. In his words, these were weapons selected to wage “a war against his sexuality”.
    The names, means and methods of conversion therapy have changed over the years, often in an attempt to escape intensifying scrutiny and scientific condemnation. We heard this raised in the questions posed to the member for Cypress Hills—Grasslands. However, the practice's flawed and hateful premise has persisted: that LGBTQ2 persons' sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression are disordered and must be “fixed” or “rehabilitated” in order for them to live fulfilling and worthy lives. The brief submitted to the justice committee jointly by Dr. Travis Salway and the research team at the Centre for Gender and Sexual Health Equity referenced this point.

  (1550)  

    In his report entitled, “Conversion Therapy in Canada: A Guide for Legislative Action”, Dr. Wells underscores this point. We also have evidence from the UN Independent Expert 2020 Report, which concluded that conversion practices “inflict severe pain and suffering, resulting in long-lasting psychological and physical damage [and] are inherently degrading and discriminatory. They are rooted in the belief that LGBT persons are somehow inferior and that they must at any cost modify their orientation or identity to remedy that supposed inferiority”.
    The UN Independent Expert recognizes that all forms of conversion therapy are dehumanizing and harmful, regardless of whether they purport to make a person heterosexual or cisgender. The report echoes Florence Ashley's warning to Canadian legislators to “reject any attempt to separate trans conversion practices from gay conversion practices”.
    As Florence Ashley notes in one of their briefs, “these practices share a history and significant overlap in their contemporary forms. Neither trans nor cisgender LGBQ can be adequately protected without fully protecting the other.”

[Translation]

    That is precisely why the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights amended Bill C-6 in order to clarify that the bill has always sought to protect all LGBTQ2 communities.
    Survivors and experts told us that the efforts to reduce and suppress the gender expression of transgender, queer and two-spirit people are part of broader interventions designed to “make” them cisgender. The amendments made to the bill's preamble and the definition of conversion therapy to include the mention of “gender expression” reflect the major concerns of all stakeholders.
    In response to the experience and warnings of stakeholders with regard to the nature of conversion therapy, the Standing Committee on Justice also amended the offence regarding advertising in order to target the promotion of conversion therapy, namely the promotion of its underlying premise, which is hateful and unscientific.
    The proposed offence clearly targets the discriminatory public messaging associated with the advertising of specific conversion therapy services and the promotion of conversion therapy in general.

[English]

    I am very pleased that the justice committee strengthened this bill, despite many attempts by the official opposition to both delay the bill and stop it. I am particularly grateful to the survivors, advocates and allies who have come forward to inform the process. Through tireless advocacy, they have shed light on a glaring legislative gap in the protection of the inherent dignity and equality of all LGBTQ2 people. It is a gap that has allowed hateful narratives to fester and dehumanizing practices to go unchecked, and a gap that this legislation is carefully designed to fill.
     Practices that negate the diversity of the human experience instead of celebrating that experience have absolutely no place in our country. Bill C-6 seeks to end such practices, including by promoting values that are fundamental to what it means to be Canadian: equality, dignity, diversity and respect for difference. Let us join together to further those values in support of Bill C-6.
    Madam Speaker, I would note parenthetically that the member said the bill was delayed at committee by Conservatives. However, the bill was passed in one meeting of clause by clause on the same day that many written briefs were received from witnesses. Passing the entire bill in one sitting can hardly be described as delaying the bill, especially since a day of debate has not been called for the bill in the House since then: over five months ago.
    Our contention is that conversion therapy should be banned, and further that the bill misdefines the practice of conversion therapy so as to ban things that are not conversion therapy. In particular, and uniquely, compared with many other conversion therapy bans around the world as well as at the provincial and municipal levels, the bill includes as conversion therapy any effort, conversation or practice that has as its objective reducing sexual behaviour or non-cisgender expression.
    I could think of many situations in which people may have a conversation that involves suggestions around reducing sexual behaviour or modifying sexual behaviour in certain contexts. That is not conversion therapy. A person saying to another person that they should be single for a while and take some time for themselves, or a person saying to another person any number of things about such a thing, is completely different from what conversion therapy actually is.
    Will the member at least take seriously the arguments that are being made here that conversion therapy should be banned, but that Bill C-6 is flawed as a proposed law, and that the committee maybe should have read some of the written briefs that were submitted, which might have had some constructive suggestions about how to fix it?

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    Madam Speaker, I thank the member opposite for his contributions, and I can assure him that, notwithstanding the efficacy of the clause-by-clause analysis, there were definitely efforts to delay and potentially stop this bill on the part of his colleagues.
    With respect to the question he raised, what I would say is that we do take it seriously. We have said repeatedly that we are not aiming to prevent conversations that are aimed at exploring someone's identity, including conversations with friends, family members, teachers, social workers, psychologists, religious leaders and so on. That evidence came through at the committee meetings, which I attended in their entirety.
    Madam Speaker, the word “promotion” was added at the justice committee to the ban on advertising conversion therapy. Unfortunately, this wording encompasses simple verbal communication, meaning that even private conversation among family members would be included. Because of the government's broad definition of conversion therapy, which is not used anywhere else in the world, private conversations would then fall under their jurisdiction.
    First, the Liberals want to regulate the internet under Bill C-10. Now they want to regulate private conversations in Bill C-6. Why does the Liberal government think it can tell Canadians what they can watch, post or discuss in the privacy of their own homes?
    Madam Speaker, I just find this unfortunate. Perhaps it feeds that member's narrative in her own riding to spread disinformation or untruths about what we were doing as a government, but Bill C-10 would not affect individual users of social media, which we have said about 45 to 50 times every day in the House of Commons.
    This bill would not regulate private conversations with a parent, a teacher or a religious leader. What it does do is ban a harmful and degrading practice, whether it would be forced on an adult or performed on a minor. Those are important steps in 2021, when we believe that everyone has the right to be free to love whomever they want.
    Madam Speaker, one of the things that was pointed out at committee is that there were over 300 briefs submitted. The clause-by-clause was finished before the translation was even done on those 300 briefs, so it feels like this bill is being rammed through without due consideration. Many people came and shared their concern around the definition of conversion therapy, particularly around the word “behaviour” being in there.
    Is the member not concerned that we have not heard from all Canadians? Is he concerned that we have ignored 300 briefs at committee and we are continuing to push this forward?
    Madam Speaker, I would simply put it to the member opposite that, when briefs are received by the committee, they are also received by Parliament. Those briefs are a matter of public record and are available to all of us for the purposes of informing the debate we are now having. To purport that those briefs have been ignored is categorically false and untrue.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to begin by acknowledging that I am joining the House from the riding of Kitchener—Conestoga, the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabeg and Neutral peoples. I also wish to reflect the historical acceptance of gender-variant peoples and diverse sexual identities within indigenous communities in pre-contact times.
    The last two initials that have been added to a long string of letters that we now identify as communities stand for “two-spirited”. The sense that a person can have two spirits and is therefore regarded within a community as exceptionally spiritual is something that I believe we can learn from. In most indigenous communities, two-spirit people are seen, loved and respected as unique individuals.
     I rise today in the House for the third reading of this important bill. I am proud to speak in favour of Bill C-6, an act to amend the Criminal Code regarding conversion therapy. The bill proposes to put an end to this damaging practice. The bill sends a clear message to any person or organization advocating or practising conversion therapy that conversion therapy is unacceptable in Canada.
    Today, I will be speaking on the importance of this legislation, how this so-called therapy has no place in our society and how we need to protect the health and safety of everyone, most importantly, our youth. I will speak about what the legislation will do, and I will address the fact that this bill will not prohibit conversations or criminalize people's thoughts or opinions. Rather it would ban a practice that says one's identity is wrong and therefore needs to be changed. That is what would be banned. It is critically important that we do so.
    Respecting equality means promoting a society in which everyone is recognized as deserving of respect. It is about creating a culture that allows people the freedom to be who they are, to love who they love, to love themselves and to be loved and accepted by not just their families but also by society. That is the message we are sending with Bill