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43rd PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 117

CONTENTS

Monday, June 14, 2021




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 150
No. 117
2nd SESSION
43rd PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Monday, June 14, 2021

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    The House met at 11 a.m.

Prayer



Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

  (1105)  

[Translation]

     The Chair would like to take a moment to provide some information to the House regarding the management of Private Members' Business.
    As members know, certain procedural realities constrain the Speaker and members insofar as legislation is concerned.

[English]

    Following the replenishment of the order of precedence, the Chair has developed a practice of reviewing items so that the House can be alerted to bills that, at first glance, appear to impinge on the financial prerogative of the Crown. This allows members the opportunity to intervene in a timely fashion to present their views about the need for those bills to be accompanied by a royal recommendation.

[Translation]

    Accordingly, following the May 31st, 2021, replenishment of the order of precedence with 15 new items, I wish to inform the House that there is one bill which preoccupies the Chair: It is Bill C-301, An Act to amend the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act and the Canada Health Act, standing in the name of the member for La Prairie.

[English]

    The understanding of the Chair is that this bill may need to be accompanied by a royal recommendation.

[Translation]

    I therefore encourage hon. members who would like to make arguments regarding the requirement of a royal recommendation for Bill C-301 to do so at the earliest opportunity.
    I thank hon. members for their attention.

[English]

National Strategy for a Guaranteed Basic Income Act

     moved that Bill C-273, An Act to establish a national strategy for a guaranteed basic income, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
     She said: Mr. Speaker, I am absolutely honoured to rise in the House today to speak to my private member's bill, Bill C-273, an act to establish a national strategy for a guaranteed basic income. I give my thanks to the member for Malpeque, who seconded the bill and is a champion for a guaranteed basic income pilot in his home province of P.E.I., and to the member for Beaches—East York, a true progressive who traded his spot so I could stand in the House today to begin second reading of Bill C-273. I feel blessed to call him a colleague and friend.
    Basic income is not a new idea. It is one that has been circulating in Canada for decades. This bill is being introduced after the many years of advocacy, research and work of many leaders, including Professor Evelyn Forget; former minister, MP and senator, the Hon. Hugh Segal; Ron Hikel, who directed the MINCOME program in Manitoba; Sheila Regehr, chair of the Basic Income Canada Network; Floyd Marinescu, executive director of UBI Works; the Hon. Art Eggleton, former senator, MP and minister; and Senator Kim Pate, among many other current senators. I stand on all of their shoulders. Their work is the reason this bill exists.
    Even though a motion on basic income was presented in the House by the member for Winnipeg Centre, Bill C-273 represents the first time a bill on basic income has been introduced in the House of Commons, and it is a true honour for me to speak at the second reading of this bill.
    We are slowly coming out of a once-in-a-generation pandemic, and we are all wondering what kind of world we want to come back to. We are all asking ourselves questions about how we want to live, inquiring about some of the models and systems that are currently in place. We are looking with new eyes at the economic model that has been the foundation of global growth. We have a much better understanding of the human impacts on our planet, which are accelerating climate change, and are asking ourselves how we can change the way we live. We see more clearly the disproportionate impact of the pandemic and other global disruptors on the most vulnerable and are asking what our obligations are to those who are less fortunate than us.
    In building back better, what is the world we want to live in? As we chart a course forward, I believe we need a 21st-century approach that provides stability and better supports for Canadians, tackles income inequality, enhances productivity and spurs economic growth and innovation.
    Bill C-273 proposes to create a new model that would serve as the foundation of our social welfare system. The bill, at its core, is about enabling implementation pilots between the provinces and/or territories and the national government to test large-scale guaranteed basic income programs. This bill is not about testing whether basic income is a good idea. There is already strong and substantial data that supports the effectiveness of a guarantee basic income, but there is much less information on the best ways or models to implement and deliver basic income at scale.
    Bill C-273 would enable us to frame, test and validate different models to get to those answers and the data. The results of these implementation pilots and data would ultimately be used to create a national guaranteed basic income model. The bill does not propose which basic income model to use, whether it is a negative income model, the Ontario model, the MINCOME model or any other model. It also does not articulate a price tag or propose to eliminate any existing government-assisted income or support programs.
    Bill C-273, if passed, would have all these details worked out between the provinces and/or territories and the federal government. It would allow for interested provinces or territories to model and create a program that works best for their populations. This bill would also collect data in three key areas: the impacts to government, the impacts to the recipient and the impacts to recipient communities. It also proposes the creation of a framework of national standards.
    Why am I proposing a bill on guaranteed basic income? Canada's current social welfare system, created in the 1940s and modernized in the 1970s, is still largely at the foundation of the system we have today. No matter how many times it is adjusted, too many Canadians are still falling through the cracks. There are literally hundreds of income and support programs for Canadians, delivered by dozens of departments and ministries. This complexity leads to our current service model missing many of the Canadians most in need, and focuses too often on applications and auditing Canadians and far less so on delivering the actual support they need. Meanwhile, even with these programs, income inequality continues to grow despite our deliberate efforts to tackle it.

  (1110)  

    I am so proud of the many ways our federal Liberal government has tried to directly address income inequality and reduce poverty over the last five years, such as raising taxes on the top 1%, reducing it on the middle class, introducing the Canada child benefit, increasing the Canada workers benefit and increasing the guaranteed income supplement for seniors, among many other things. We have greatly reduced poverty in Canada by over a million people, but income inequality continues to be an issue. That is why I believe it is time to review the foundation of our social welfare system and bring it into the 21st century. I believe that a new service model could be a guaranteed basic income program, one that may simplify our social programs while better delivering support.
    Even before the pandemic, almost half of all Canadian families were $200 away from coming up short on their monthly bills. The jobs they rely on are not what they used to be. People used to turn to part-time and temporary work as a last resort during tough times, but now for many, multiple jobs are needed to pay the bills and meet responsibilities.
    Indeed, the world of work is changing faster than ever before. More workers are shifting to the gig economic, there are more temporary and short-term jobs, and many jobs, whether blue collar or white collar, are being eliminated by automation and artificial intelligence. In addition, disruptions in our economy are happening at an accelerated rate, faster and more frequently, leaving more Canadians working harder, longer and feeling like it is more difficult to get ahead.
    Throughout history, humans have had to adapt to major disruptions like the ones we are going through now, which include COVID and the move to digital economy, among many others, and we eventually do adapt. However, the period of change can be harsh, even ruthless, leaving countless workers behind, with many never recovering. Our social safety net is not well designed to help Canadians through transitions, so in my opinion we need a new model, one that provides stability to those who have been trapped in a cycle of poverty, to those who are in danger of falling into poverty and to the middle class threatened by disruption.
    Workers cannot weather economic change without a strong financial floor under them that provides them with stability. Too many jobs no longer provide that floor. Low-wage work prevents people from moving on to better opportunities. People cannot take time to train for tomorrow's job market or turn an idea into a business that employs other people. People need financial freedom to move up the economic ladder and innovate.
    Young people understand this volatile future because they are already living it. They know that the guarantees made to them no longer hold true. We promised them a middle-class lifestyle if they got an education and worked hard. Instead, they are inheriting an economy facing non-stop disruption. They are being forced into a gig economy and temporary jobs or facing threats from automation. We need a social welfare system that is more responsive, less complex, more flexible and better at managing labour changes, disruptions and transitions. A basic income program can offer that.
    Finally, I see the guaranteed basic income as a cornerstone of Canada's innovation and economic growth strategy. Providing an equal opportunity for everyone to succeed is a fundamental value at the heart of Bill C-273. We need a system that removes all obstacles regarding access to opportunity and that allows people to be their best selves. Canada's economy and success will be dependent on our ability to innovate. The only way for Canada to achieve its economic potential is by allowing all Canadians to achieve their full personal potential.
    It is vital to note that the operational design of a basic income program is critical to its success. Ron Hikel, director of the MINCOME Manitoba program, said there are three essential design features of a system that will provide sufficient income and address variability of income, greatly encouraging work, minimizing fraud and reducing public costs. The design of any basic income model or implementation pilot must be thoughtful, and guaranteed income implementation pilots should be monitored and adjusted as they unfold to ensure they are producing the impacts that are desired.
    There are three common often repeated myths of basic income. One, it will encourage people to stay at home and not work; two, social programs that are helpful will be eliminated; and three, it will cost too much.
    Basic income pilots have been tested all over the world. Beyond our borders, countries such as Japan, Finland, Iran and the United States have tested it. The verdict is that a basic income helps reduce poverty without reducing people's desire to work. Some people find that last part hard to believe, even though basic income recipients in pilots around the world show they continue to work. That is because most basic income models would not cover all costs, but would provide the stability needed to improve options. Recipients of basic income do not see it as a handout but a resource that they use to retrain, go back to school or search for full-time work, and when they do, they often find better work, earn more and stay in jobs longer.

  (1115)  

     As for the cost, some people believe that the price tag is too big. However, real life has shown us that the cost of doing nothing is bigger. What is the cost of not altering a system that we know is outdated? What is the cost of not better supporting Canadians to be their best and more productive selves? In the end, it may be cost-effective, if pilots generate more value than they cost.
    Before the pandemic, our social safety net was already failing; the pandemic just pointed a spotlight at it. In the months ahead, pandemic supports will start winding down, and families will go back to hoping that their limited monthly savings are enough to get by on. My sense is that we know they will not be.
    We are faced with some big questions as we come out of this pandemic, and as we tally up the costs and face the hard truths that have come to light over the last 16 months. The late Shimon Peres, former president and prime minister of Israel, at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2014 said that the world is changing faster than ever before, but the opportunity before us is to shape the world that we want to live in. So, what is the world that we want to live in? In Canada, what kind of society do we want to create?
     Mark Carney tells us that the crises facing the world today come from a focus on price and profitability at the expense of fairness and income equality. Recognizing that our current models have not resulted in a fair and more equitable world, what are the right values for Canada to pursue now?
     Maybe we want to create a base set of principles that is at the root of our society: that all Canadians have access to food, a roof over their heads, health care, freedom from violence, greater choice and full access to opportunity. Maybe we want to balance, making policy decisions that look only at improving productivity, efficiency and creating jobs while also providing Canadians with stability, dignity and personal growth that will have greater success in achieving those goals. Maybe we want to create a new foundation for our social welfare system, one that provides stability, dignity and the right incentives for all Canadians to be supported so they can contribute as their best selves.
    We have done this before. After the Depression and World War II, a compassionate Tommy Douglas imagined universal health care for all men and women, many of whom he was seeing in the streets. Many had served in the war but, when coming home, could not afford health care and had become destitute. Tommy Douglas had imagined free health care services for all, and starting in one province he showed that it could be done and how best to do it. We then expanded health care to the rest of Canada, and we are not poorer as a country; we are richer for it. We also did this with public pensions and old age security for seniors. Again, we are a better, richer and fairer country because of these programs.
    In conclusion, the world is in transition now, and it is a moment when we need our governments to step up and create the world that we want to live in. This is that moment. Our aging social infrastructure is ill-suited to support the needs of Canadians today. Too many people no longer have a fair shot at opportunity. Creating a new model that provides stability can restore a fair shot for everyone and boost our innovation and economic potential. A guaranteed basic income, as would be enabled by Bill C-273, is the simplest, fastest and most effective way to get it done.

  (1120)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I listened to the member plead her case at length, but what she is talking about is a pilot project with the provinces, not a guaranteed minimum income.
    I will not comment on the substance of the matter, because a guaranteed basic income, or minimum income, has potential advantages. However, I have to point out that it is up to each province to introduce it. The social assistance programs we are talking about, the income assistance programs, ultimately, and other social programs are a provincial jurisdiction.
    Rather than reflecting on these conditions for the 21st century, there are two things the government could do right away. First, it could strengthen and reform the employment insurance system for workers. Second, it could stop discriminating against some seniors and increase old age security for all seniors aged 65 and over.
    Could my colleague comment on that?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, there are two things that I want to address. The first is in terms of adjusting our current EI system. As I mentioned in my speech, it was a system that was created in another era, and it was meant to serve a population at a time with different challenges and opportunities. For me, it does not matter how many times we adjust the system. Still too many people cannot actually access the supports. Still too many people are falling into poverty. We do not have the agility and flexibility in the system that we need for the unpredictability of the work world that we see both today and in the future.
    In terms of the participation of the provinces, support programs are actually offered both provincially and federally, and I think—
    Unfortunately, I do have to allow for other questions. There are only five minutes for questions and comments.
    The hon. member for Winnipeg Centre.
    Madam Speaker, I want to congratulate my colleague on her private member's bill and advancing the idea of basic income. However, as we know, leading basic income efforts have indicated that basic income is actually not a silver bullet and it must be in addition to current and future government services and supports.
    My concern is with proposed subparagraph 3(3)(d)(i), which provides the option of “the potential of a guaranteed basic income program to reduce the complexity of or replace existing social programs”. My concern was amplified last week, on June 3, when the member for Davenport voted in support of reducing the CRB from $2,000 to $1,200 come July, in the FINA committee, which is a totally unlivable income.
    Is the member willing to make amendments to her bill to ensure that cutting our social safety net is off the table?
    Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her leadership on this issue. There are two things I will address.
    One is in terms of what support programs would be included in any type of basic income implementation pilot. The bill does not actually call for any programs to be reduced. I think it is just gathering the data as to what would be reduced if there are any programs that are flattened over time. It is really up to the provinces and territories to work with the federal government to come up with a pilot for their citizens. The principle should be that everyone is better off.
    In terms of what the member referred to in the finance committee, there was a proposal to actually increase CRB, but it was ruled out of order because of a technical thing that does not allow motions to come before the finance committee that would increase the budget.

  (1125)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Davenport for her important work on Bill C-273. In my riding of Cape Breton—Canso, health care is top of mind for all constituents.
    Can you tell us about the relationship between basic income and social determinants of health, and how basic income can reduce the strains on our health care system?
    I want to remind the member that he is to address the questions to the Chair and not to the individual member.
    A brief answer from the member for Davenport.
    Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his tremendous support and leadership. The reason we want to have these types of implementation pilots is that we want to test how we could better support our populations in an era that is changing faster than ever before. We know that the current costs of poverty and the current costs of not providing enough support to our population do have negative effects on health. I think that is the reason we want to be testing these implementation pilots moving forward.
    Madam Speaker, it is very good to be back on the floor of the House of Commons. Like so many parliamentarians, I have been participating virtually for months, so it really feels great to be here today with you and everyone in the House.
    I am pleased today to put some thoughts on the record concerning Bill C-273, an act to establish a national strategy for a guaranteed basic income.
    What is a guaranteed basic income? There are many different policy iterations of it. On the whole, it would essentially be monthly cheques to every Canadian. Some of the policy iterations of this would provide basic cheques to children as well. The amount tends to vary depending on the plan, some having a few hundred dollars a month and others seeing it more as a means to cover all basic necessities, like CERB, which was of course $2,000 a month. In simple terms, a guaranteed basic income is like CERB, but for everyone, forever.
    The Parliamentary Budget Officer has estimated that a national guaranteed basic income could cost $85 billion per year, rising to $93 billion per year in 2025-26. To pay for this at the federal level, Canadians could expect to see a tripling of the GST, which currently sits at 5%, or an increase of personal income taxes to 50%. Introducing a basic income following the costliest year in Canadian history, where federal government spending hit $650 billion in 2020 and is predicted to hit $510 billion in 2021, is cause for concern, especially since we have received no viable, tangible strategy of how the Liberals are going to raise enough revenue from taxpayers to responsibly pay back the $354 billion of deficits from 2020 or the $154 billion of deficits predicted for 2021. Just six short years ago, the federal budget was a mere $298 billion. The Liberals have doubled Canada's national spending during their time in office, and now want to talk about adding another $93-billion permanent spending program to the bottom line. I think Canadians are reasonably concerned about this.
    The basic income proposal is about more than spending, of course. One of the main arguments is to address poverty, and policy proponents argue that the benefits to the country's social fabric will outweigh the costs. In 2019, Statistics Canada estimated that 3.7 million Canadians, or one in 10, live below the poverty line. A 529-page report, quite a lengthy report, by researchers and economists at three leading Canadian universities concluded after a three-year investigation that a basic income would not be the best way to address poverty. Rather, the report found that government should focus on improving existing programs that already target those who really need them, for example help with rental assist, youth aging out of the child welfare system or perhaps Canadians living with disabilities. Proponents of basic income argue that it will help those living at the extreme inequalities in Canada, those who are homeless, for example. We know that often those who suffer from homelessness also suffer from severe addictions, with the two often feeding into one another.
    I have grave concerns about the impact of a basic income on Canadians suffering from addictions. We know that COVID‑19 has had severe, extreme and deadly outcomes in Canada since the pandemic began. In fact, overdoses have killed more young people, by far, than COVID‑19. In Toronto, fatal suspected opioid overdose calls to paramedics were up 90% in 2020. In Manitoba, 372 overdose deaths were recorded last year, which is a full 87% jump from the year prior. In British Columbia, the latest data tells us that an average of five people die every single day from illicit drug overdose, with 500 people having died in the first three months of 2021 alone. In fact, Canada-wide, in the six months following the implementation of the COVID‑19 lockdowns and restriction measures, there were 3,351 apparent opioid toxicity deaths, representing a 74% increase from the six months prior, a truly devastating statistic.
    What happens if we send a monthly cheque of thousands of dollars to those who are severely addicted to drugs? When CERB was first introduced, a constituent of mine, a mother, called me in desperation, terrified that her adult son, who was unemployed and did not qualify for CERB, would apply for CERB, get it and have a severe and possibly deadly relapse. Frontline workers confirmed this fear, like those at Winnipeg's Main Street Project, who have said they believe that CERB has hiked drug use and contributed to opioid abuse and addiction. This is a real concern I have about a basic income, and I really have not heard a coherent solution to address it.
    It is difficult to break out of the poverty cycle. We know this. The data tells us that once a person has been unemployed for more than a year, it can be extremely difficult to rejoin the labour market. It can create a dependency on social programs and a disincentive to work. In this sense, a basic income could create a permanent underclass in Canada.

  (1130)  

    Importantly, there is an inherent dignity in work. MPs are hearing from small businesses in our communities across Canada, particularly in the service industry and the construction field, that it is more difficult now than ever to hire workers and that prospective employees are opting to stay home on government emergency support programs rather than going to work.
    Millions of Canadians are, of course, working and taking whatever work they can find, but some are not. We know working and earning an income provides both economic and social benefits. It is necessary for providing for oneself and one's family, and it also boosts confidence through the earned satisfaction of a paycheque. It provides purpose and builds personal responsibility, personal growth and perseverance. It provides daily structure and a reason to get out of bed in the morning. We know it contributes to our personal identity. Many people say, “I'm a nurse,” I'm a truck driver,” “I'm a scientist,” or “I'm a small business owner.” It is part of who we are.
    As Sean Speer said in the Financial Post a few years ago, “Work is one of those crucial activities and institutions that underpins the good life.”
    Recently my grandfather passed away. He was 91, and he was born in the Prairies in the last pioneer generation in Canada. There were very few government support programs in his early days. CERB and public health care were unheard of at the time. People simply had to work very hard every day or they would not eat.
     Now, we have developed a kinder, more compassionate society that takes care of people when they fall on hard times, and that is very good. My grandparents' generation built the strong prosperous country that allows for this type of public generosity in Canada. However, near the end of his life, my grandfather remarked that sometimes it seemed to him that young people feel a sense of entitlement to an easy life of comfort, free from struggle. As a young person, I do get that sense as well.
    Last year, when CERB was first introduced and the Liberals were creating a student version of it, it happened to be at the same time that our country's food resources were at risk. Every year Canada brings in about 40,000 temporary foreign workers, generally from Central America, to work in our agriculture sector to produce the food that feeds Canadians and, in fact, feeds the world.
    However, with the border closures, it was very difficult to get these workers in and our food supply chains were at risk. Now, with tens of thousands of service sector jobs in tourism, hospitality, and the restaurant and bar industry closed, many students who relied on that work for summer employment, and I use to be one of them, obviously did not have the same opportunities.
    At the time, just over a year ago, the Conservatives suggested to have able-bodied young people, full of energy, work, as a temporary measure, in our agricultural sector. They could be picking fruit, working in the fields, living on farms for the summer, contributing to the COVID effort and really securing our food supply chains.
    This proposal was met with quite a bit of apprehension, to say the least. In fact, when I consulted university student leaders during committee on this idea, one student, and I will never forget this, said that students go to university so they do not have to do those jobs. That is what she said. This was coming from a student who was at a committee meeting asking for government handouts for students.
    The student benefit was important, and I am glad it was provided. However, I found these comments very discouraging, not just for the younger generation but also for what was implied, which was that a labour job or an entry-level job with limited requirements for complex skills or education was somehow not respectable, or that those jobs were beneath certain Canadians, notably some student university elites, apparently, who looked down their noses, perhaps, at an honest day's work in the sun.
    What does that message send to those aspiring to break into the job market at the bottom of the ladder, or the millions of Canadians who have to work at minimum wage jobs. I was one of them. I worked in dozens of these types of jobs, in restaurants, retail and manual labour. I have done them all, and I am a better person for it. It taught me the value of hard work. It shaped my work ethic and character. I learned many valuable skills that really carry me today. I could go on about the value working part-time since I was 14, on and off, has added to my life.
    We know there is no better way out of poverty than getting a job, even when someone has to start from the bottom. The experience, skills, and socialization are ultimately unmatched.
    In conclusion, that is why the Conservatives and the Leader of the Opposition, the member for Durham, are focused on a jobs recovery plan from the economic destruction of the COVID-19 pandemic. Priority number one for a federal Conservative government would be to recover and create one million jobs, and get every industry in Canada firing on all cylinders and leaving no demographic or region of the country behind.
    Meanwhile, the Liberals are here today to talk about basic income, which is more money for everyone forever. We know that is not a jobs plan. It is certainly not an economic recovery plan. Conservatives want to create an inclusive economic recovery that will build a stronger Canada with more opportunities for everyone, so they can succeed in the job market and not need to collect cheques from the government every month. That is our focus and will be our number one priority should we form government after the next election.

  (1135)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to acknowledge the member for Davenport, who introduced Bill C‑273. Everyone on the Standing Committee on Finance very much appreciates her contribution.
    I studied economics for years, and I remember that the great union leader Michel Chartrand published a book about citizen's income with Michel Bernard. I was immediately intrigued by the idea. I was also surprised to learn that right-wingers such as the father of neoliberalism, Milton Friedman, also supported the concept. My professors and classmates and I debated it during our classes.
    Whether it goes by guaranteed minimum income, basic income, universal allowance or basic living stipend, citizen's income will feature prominently in political debates in the years to come in Quebec, in Canada and around the world. There are two reasons for this: one, the unprecedented accumulation of wealth by advanced societies, most of which is being hoarded by a handful of individuals and must be redistributed; and two, the unprecedented growth in precarious employment, with its attendant insecurity, poverty and misery.
    In Canada, the wealthiest one per cent hold 10% of the wealth, while over one-third of the labour force hold non-standard jobs. The social safety net no longer protects these part-time, self-employed or temporary workers. That is what this pandemic has proven, since the employment insurance regime fell apart as soon as the crisis began and the crisis seems to have once more exacerbated inequalities.
    The various social programs, especially employment insurance and social assistance, do not provide the minimum social safety net our fellow citizens are entitled to receive. It is not surprising that vulnerable workers raise their eyebrows when promises are made regarding the right to a citizen’s income that would be paid without the exclusions and bureaucratic nitpicking that come with existing programs.
    However, this generous plan to redistribute wealth in our society runs contrary to another plan: that of the guaranteed livable income promoted by advocates of neo-liberalism, which would be just enough to enable people to eke out a living in exchange for the dismantling of the current social safety net. Once again, the benefits of such a policy depend on how it is done and to what extent. Once again, as the saying goes, the devil is in the details.
    Support for individuals and families is the responsibility of Quebec and the provinces, not Ottawa. Let us look at an example and ask ourselves about the consequences of allowing a program to be run by Ottawa instead of Quebec.
    In 1940, Quebec ceded its jurisdiction over employment insurance to Ottawa through a constitutional amendment. As reform after reform was made to the system, employment insurance eventually lost its primary purpose and practically its fundamental meaning. EI collapsed at the beginning of the crisis, even though its very purpose was to provide insurance in this type of extreme situation, but it was already failing to fulfill its role even before the pandemic hit. Barely four out of 10 unemployed workers were entitled to EI benefits. For women and youth, it was about one in three. This tracks with the increase in the total percentage of jobs that are not permanent full time, which is over 40%. What is more, the different governments in Ottawa changed EI from an insurance program into a hidden tax by pilfering $59 billion from the fund, money that was effectively taken from the unemployed. Quebec agreed to a constitutional amendment and Ottawa did not play its role. It betrayed us.
    The majority of the programs in the social safety net, aside from employment insurance, fall under Quebec's jurisdiction. I am talking about welfare, the CSST, the QPP, child benefits, disability benefits, and so on.
    A guaranteed minimum income in Quebec would require a major overhaul. Because so many programs have been adopted since the 1960s, it would be very complicated to dismantle the existing social safety net and bring in this universal policy. Dismantling these programs could end up making many people receiving government assistance worse off. I am not saying that we should not do this because it is complicated, but we need to be well aware of what we are doing. We would have to ensure that no one who might be affected by this kind of change would see any change to their well-being. I am thinking about seniors, single mothers and people living with a disability.
    Furthermore, because of the way Canada's federation is structured, this kind of program would require the federal and provincial governments to work together closely, which is always a big challenge. In the best case scenario, Ottawa collaborates in the initial stages of a program, as appears to be the case with the new child care program. However, Ottawa has an unfortunate tendency to renege on its commitments and break its word. Health care and EI are examples of that. Just ask the first nations: This country has a history of failing to keep its word.

  (1140)  

    If Quebec wanted to establish a citizen's income, it would have to repatriate the employment insurance program. However, as constitutional scholar Henri Brun pointed out to the Commission nationale d’examen de l’assurance‑emploi, co-chaired by Gilles Duceppe and Rita Dionne-Marsolais, the federal government's exclusive jurisdiction over employment insurance “could not be transferred to the provinces, or Quebec in particular, without a constitutional amendment” that would have first obtained the agreement of seven provinces representing more than 50% of Canada's population. As they say, good luck, Charlie Brown.
    In practical terms, establishing a citizen's income, or even a more modest guaranteed minimum income program, necessarily involves the collaboration of the two levels of government, because the income security system is a complex web of assistance and social assistance measures, not to mention there would be major implications for income tax rate structures.
    If Ottawa were to embark on such an initiative, as suggested by Bill C-273, it would effectively be expanding, not to say intruding, into Quebec's constitutional areas of jurisdiction. The history of such intrusions calls for caution, to say the least.
    Does the Liberal Party really want to reopen the Constitution? That is what should be done here with, I repeat, the agreement of the seven provinces that represent over 50% of the Canadian population.
    Take health, for example. Although health falls under provincial jurisdiction, that did not prevent Ottawa from using the spending power it is granted under the Canadian Constitution to intervene. In 1957, the federal government passed the Hospital Insurance and Diagnostic Services Act by promising to cover 50% of the cost of the provincial and territorial plans that provide hospital insurance to all of their residents. In 1966, the federal government passed the Medical Care Act by promising to share the costs fifty-fifty.
    What is happening today? Federal transfers may have covered 50% of health care costs in the 1970s, but today they barely cover one-fifth of Quebec's health care costs. What is more, this percentage will drop to about 18% in a few years because Ottawa unilaterally decided to use a new formula related to GDP growth, which will deprive Quebec of billions of dollars. We know that this government's approach involves throwing the provinces some crumbs if they meet certain conditions. The Liberal health minister from the previous Quebec government referred to this as predatory federalism.
    The federal government also changed its rules for how it allocates budgetary funding among the provinces. The allocation is now done on a per capita basis, even though Quebec's population is older and seniors depend more on health services than younger people do. The Government of Quebec calculates that because of this new rule the province will lose $174 million a year and over $2 billion over the next ten years.
    The Commission nationale d'examen de l'assurance-emploi showed that the federal system is not adapted to the specific needs of Quebec and its regions, any more than the federal health transfers are. There is every reason to believe that it would be the same story with the citizens' income.
    To recap, if Ottawa wants to set up a guaranteed minimum income that would enable people to live with dignity, it would have to reopen the Constitution with the approval of seven provinces representing over 50% of the Canadian population. Canada, Quebec and the provinces would also have to agree to replace, in whole or in part, existing social programs, such as EI, supports for seniors like the GIS, social assistance, programs provided by Quebec's Commission des normes, de l'équité de la santé et de la sécurité du travail, Quebec pension plan payments, child benefits, disability benefits and so on. Governments would also have to ensure that nobody affected by the transition, such as seniors, single-parent families and people with disabilities, would end up worse off than before. Lastly, we would all have to trust Ottawa and hope it keeps its promise not to take a program everyone finally agreed on and slash it a few years later. That has never happened because Ottawa has never shown that it deserves anyone's trust when it comes to administering social measures.
    The Bloc Québécois finds the idea of citizen's income to be worthy of consideration, but Ottawa cannot be the one in charge. Quebec absolutely has to be the one in charge because running it in the context of the Canadian federation would pretty much be mission impossible. In other words, and I mean this sincerely, a citizen's income that actually works is possible only if Quebec is independent.

  (1145)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to start out by congratulating my hon. colleague, the member for Davenport, for her private member's bill, because we know what we have learned during the pandemic is that our social safety net is patchwork and it is insufficient.
    This is not an accident. This capitalist economy of Canada leaves those behind who do not fit into its economic agenda. Who is being left behind? It is disabled persons, people with complex mental health and trauma, people who are unhoused and living rough, people who do unpaid work and care work, seniors, veterans, students and the list goes on. I think it is important to note that we cannot understand the poverty that we are experiencing today outside of race, gender, racism, ableism, colonization and the violent dispossession of land from indigenous peoples. To do otherwise is a futile exercise of washing over the ongoing white supremacy of racism that supports inequalities and inequities in the present.
    We know that when we provide people with an income guarantee, along with wraparound social supports, it is a cost-saving measure. It is good economics to look after people. What we found is that during COVID-19, with the creation of the Canada emergency response benefit, a basic income is both possible and feasible in this country. There is no reason for anyone to live in poverty in Canada, and it comes at a very high cost. In fact, the World Health Organization has declared poverty to be the single largest determinant of health, and there is a direct correlation between poverty and high rates of incarceration.
    According to federal data, the John Howard Society has shown that the annual cost per prisoner in federal prisons is about $115,000 a year for one person. In the MMIWG final report, the commissioners found that about 80% of indigenous women who are incarcerated are incarcerated for reasons related to poverty-related crimes, and therefore it is not surprising that in the report they included a demand for a guaranteed livable basic income. The Parliamentary Budget Officer did a careful breakdown, between 2011 and 2012 and found that each Canadian pays $550 in taxes per year on criminal justice spending.
    Do members not think that this money would be better invested in looking after people to make sure that people have what they need and to ensure that we can all live in dignity? Creating lasting and meaningful plans that use human rights frameworks to address poverty would be costly up front, but not nearly as expensive as doing nothing. So much research has already been done, study after study, to prove this. In fact, in 1970 in the Dauphin Mincome study, one of the most ambitious social science experiments ever in Canada, they saw a decrease in hospitalizations, improvements in mental health and a rise in the number of children completing high school.
    The Ontario basic income pilot, the most recent study, found that participants of the Ontario basic income pilot project were happier, healthier and even continued working, which goes against all arguments that when we look after people it is a deterrent to working. There has been study after study and pilot after pilot, even though we know the results, as mentioned by my hon. colleague, the member for Davenport. Guaranteed income programs have great results.
    Basic income is a way forward in lifting millions of Canadians out of poverty and empowering them to make their own choices.

  (1150)  

    Basic income would give workers leverage. No one would be desperate to take a job offered at any wage anymore as we saw with migrant workers and meat-packing plants across Canada during the pandemic. Companies operating without adequate safeguards despite warnings from health experts create breeding grounds for the COVID-19 virus.
    A basic income would mean not having to put up with degrading work as people could be in a better place to refuse a job offer. This would put the power back in the hands of the workers giving them the power to walk away from abusive work situations.
    Although basic income is not a silver bullet, it would save lives in many cases and it would heed the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls call for justice 4.5, which states:
     We call upon all governments to establish a guaranteed annual livable income for all Canadians, including Indigenous Peoples, to meet all their social and economic needs. This income must take into account diverse needs, realities, and geographic locations.
    However, after more than two years, the government has only recently released a national action plan with no implementation strategy. Not only has the government not acted on the calls for justice, but it was unfortunate listening to our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that he said that he sees no path for a basic—
    I want to remind the hon. member she is not to mention the Prime Minister by name.
    The hon. member.
    I am sorry, Madam Speaker.
     —which goes directly against call for justice 4.5.
    Unlike this bill, the motion that I put forward, Motion No. 46, which I introduced last summer was very clear that a permanent guaranteed livable income would not cut our social safety net, rather add to it as stated in paragraph 5 of my motion, “in addition to current and future government public services and income supports meant to meet special, exceptional and other distinct needs and goals...”.
    It is not clear in Bill C-273 that the option to get our social safety net is not on the table. Of particular concern is proposed subparagraph 3(3)(d)(i), which states:
—the potential of a guaranteed basic income program to reduce the complexity of or replace existing social programs, to alleviate poverty and to support economic growth,
    Leading experts on guaranteed livable income have been very clear that basic income programs are not a silver bullet and basic income must not replace our existing social safety net. Rather, it must be in addition to our current and future public services and income supports that are meant to meet special, exceptional and other distinct needs and goals rather than basic needs.
    It needs to build on our current guaranteed income programs that are no longer livable like old age security, the child tax benefit and provincial income assistance and expand them out for those who are falling through the cracks. When we leave people without choices, we place people at risk. Poverty costs lives. Poverty kills.
    There is no reason why anyone living in Canada should be destined for a life of poverty. This is especially the case given that we continue to witness billions of dollars gifted by the current Liberal government to subsidize corporations, including the $18 billion in the past year to big oil and gas.
    The government has also failed to go after offshore tax havens and companies like Loblaws that have profiteered off people's suffering during the pandemic and have cut pandemic pay for frontline workers. The pandemic has only made the dire situation of poverty for individuals worse.
    We must prioritize people and the collective well-being of our communities, families and individuals over corporate privilege. We must move forward toward a future where all people in Canada can live with dignity, security and human rights. This future is possible. It is simply a political choice.
    I would like to congratulate the member on this historic step today. I am pleased to see her moving this conversation about basic income forward and I look forward to working with her to improve the bill.

  (1155)  

    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak on private member's bill, Bill C-273, an act to establish a national strategy for a guaranteed basic income, sponsored by my colleague, the member for Davenport, who is also a colleague at the finance committee.
    I congratulate the member for Davenport for putting into a legislative format what has been discussed for years. In fact, various concepts of a basic income guarantee have been attempted over many decades, but for one reason or another there is less than complete documentation on how those systems worked, if it was even completed.
    There was a program that was mentioned by another speaker in Dauphin, Manitoba in the 1970s, which was a different time from now. The data is really not available in a substantive way. The most recent trial, at least in this country, was the Ontario basic income pilot, brought in as a pilot project by the previous Wynne government, which was then cancelled by the incoming Ford government before any results were known. I think there was a lot of hope in that project that it would give us a baseline of how a guaranteed annual income would work.
    Bill C-273 does not preconceive what is the best or the perfect basic income approach, but the bill sets the stage to try different pilots, to attain data in real time and to monitor results. It basically pushes the federal government to provide leadership in this national strategy.
    Bill C-273 would require the Minister of Finance to develop and table a strategy to assess implementation models for a guaranteed basic income program in Canada. What the bill is really saying is that there could be different models. The government would be responsible for assessing them, for attaining the data. The act would require development, in consultation with key stakeholders, including industry, indigenous communities and governments, as well as municipal, provincial and territorial governments.
    I heard what some of the other speakers on this bill said, some in opposition to it. My good friend from Joliette, who is also a member at the finance committee, said that this would require a constitutional amendment. Not so. This concept could vary from province to province. What we really need is the data to assess whether it would really work as well as some people suggest it would. There would be all kinds of consultations and the federal government would be required to do that under this bill.
    The act outlines specific measures that the strategy must contain, including pilot project, national standards and measures for the collection and analysis of relevant data. I think that is key. I talked to a friend on the weekend who said that a guaranteed annual income is just going to be like CERB was with people not wanting to work. I do not think that is necessarily the case. People may improve their education. They may go for better jobs. They may look for better-paying jobs. As a strong supporter of a guaranteed annual income approach, I am willing to put my beliefs on the line. I believe it would work. I believe people would still want to work. I believe it would address the poverty issues that we have in this country.
    I am willing to say that we should do a pilot. Let us put our beliefs on the line. Those who oppose the bill, saying that it will be a waste of money, which people will spend on drugs or whatever, should put their beliefs on the line. Let us actually do a sincere pilot where we collect the data in real time and prove it one way or the other. That is where I think we should be going. The minister, at the end of the program, would also have to prepare a report on the results of implementation two years after the tabling of the strategy. I think that is really important.

  (1200)  

    Let me turn to subclause (3)(a) in the bill, which states “establish a pilot project in one or more provinces to test models of implementation of a guaranteed basic income program.”
    I come from Prince Edward Island, a province that has shown a willingness at the provincial level for the province as a whole to be one of those pilot projects. The member for Charlottetown and I have met with countless groups on the guaranteed income approach, and this province would be absolutely ideal for a pilot project.
    There is the province as a whole; then bigger communities, smaller communities, rural ones and urban ones; hospitals and schools; and only 158,000 people. We could have a pilot project over time in Prince Edward Island. There is the willingness on the provincial side, which passed a motion in the legislature, to work with the federal government to attempt one of those pilot projects. This is really what we need. It would provide the evidence to show whether the system works or does not work.
    Subclause (3)(d) reads “collect and analyze data for the purpose of assessing, for each model tested.” That is where we need to be. We need to do the pilots. I would suggest to do three across the country. I know there is some interest in B.C. and maybe in a bigger urban area as well, but do the pilot projects, monitor the data and assess it.
    Then we all as members of Parliament, regardless of what our position is, would have the concrete evidence in real-time based on data that has monitored how it impacts people, their health, their income, their community and how it impacts people in the workforce. We would have evidence on whether people are willing to go to work or increasing their education and looking for higher-paying jobs. That is the kind of information we need and that is what I really like about the member's bill. There are no preconceived notions, only that we should do the experimentation.
    I want to close by mentioning former Senator Hugh Segal. He is quoted in an article by Jamie Swift in the Whig Standard, in which he talks about his book Bootstraps Need Boots: One Tory's Lonely Fight to End Poverty in Canada. Senator Segal has long been an advocate of a guaranteed annual income for dealing with the poverty issue in Canada. This is a way to find out if it really works.

  (1205)  

[Translation]

    The time provided for the consideration of Private Members' Business has now expired and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the Order Paper.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[Translation]

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1

Bill C‑30—Time Allocation Motion 

    That in relation to Bill C‑30, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures, not more than five further hours shall be allotted to the consideration of the report stage and five hours shall be allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said bill; and
    That, at the expiry of the five hours provided for the consideration at report stage and the five hours provided for the consideration at third reading stage of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.
     Pursuant to Standing Order 67(1), there will now be a 30-minute question period.
    The hon. House leader of the official opposition.
    Madam Speaker, unfortunately, for the second time in only a few days, the government will shut down debate to keep parliamentarians, the elected representatives of the people, from doing their job and participating in a fair and balanced debate where every point of view can be properly heard. Once again, as it did with Bill C‑10, the government is shutting down debate on Bill C‑30, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget.

  (1210)  

[English]

    It is never a win for Canadians when the government does this. Unfortunately, it has done this twice: last week on Bill C-10, which is an attack on freedom of speech; and today, on a main issue of the government, which is the debate on the budget.

[Translation]

    Why did the government not do its homework?
    Why did it not let us debate Bill C-30 when required? Why did the Minister of Finance move an amendment last week in the House when she very well could have done so at the parliamentary committee?
    Madam Speaker, I would remind all members that we have already spent 22 hours in the House and 40 hours in committee debating this bill. We listened to 160 speeches on this bill in the House, and the committees heard from 132 witnesses.
    I would also like to remind all members of the House that it is now June 14. This bill is absolutely necessary for Canadians, for the economic recovery, for the Canada emergency wage subsidy, for the Canada emergency rent subsidy and for the Canada recovery benefit. All these measures are in this bill.
    I do not understand why the Conservatives think this partisan squabbling is more important to Canadians than support for the economic recovery.
    Madam Speaker, no one is happy about time allocation, especially since these measures are so important and it is important to discuss them. Of course there have been discussions, but limiting debate again is a bit counterproductive because it stops other changes and insights from being proposed.
    That being said, would the government have needed to limit debate if it had managed its legislative agenda properly and not prorogued Parliament for six weeks? If Parliament had not been prorogued, the budget could have been tabled sooner and this bill could have been fully debated. Does the government plan to make sure its legislative agenda is sensible and well managed from now on?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question.
    Again, I wish to remind members of what this debate is actually about. Today we are talking about economic measures that are essential to Canadians. Today we are initiating the economic recovery. For a successful economic recovery, it is imperative that we continue to provide support measures to Canadian businesses and to Canadians and Quebeckers. This support is urgent and essential.
    Since we have a minority government, we need the support of progressive parties to bring in what Canadians need. That is what we are doing today.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, as the Minister of Finance knows full well, the NDP has been pushing to stop the slashing of the benefits contained within Bill C-30. We have a situation in which benefits will be markedly reduced at a time when Canadians need those benefits to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. This will have a dramatic impact on people who are still struggling. Even if the government believes that fewer people might be going for the CRB, that fewer people will need it, the reality is that those who do need that benefit can use that $500 per week.
    Instead of putting in place time allocation, why does the government not stop the slashing of the CRB so all Canadians who need that benefit at this crucial time, as variants hit our country, can use it to keep a roof over their heads and put food on the table?

  (1215)  

    Madam Speaker, I know the member for New Westminster—Burnaby shares my concern for Canada's working people. He, like me, knows they need continued support as Canada finishes the fight against COVID and as all of us work so hard for an economic reopening to punch our way out of the COVID recession. To do that, we need the income supports and the business supports in this budget. We need to extend those to September 25. Without passing this budget legislation, those supports will expire this month.
    Due to the Conservative delaying tactics, we have no choice but to move time allocation because we know Canadians urgently need this support. I am calling on all members of the House, particularly from progressive parties, to support us.
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate the comments from the minister. To be very clear, what we have seen from the Conservative opposition is an attempt to prevent legislation from passing. We have seen that in the form of the Conservatives trying to adjourn the debate in the chamber for the day or by moving concurrence motions. They will do anything but allow bills to pass.
    Could the minister continue her thoughts on why this legislation is so very important to Canadians, given that the measures in it are a continuation of what has been our priority, which is the pandemic?
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his very hard work. As my colleague points out, this is getting really serious. The time for parliamentary theatrics, the time for parliamentary games and the time for the delaying tactics of the Conservatives is long past.
    Today is June 14. The essential business and income support measures in the budget that are holding up Canada right now expire in June. The budget proposes to extend them to September 25. Canadians need that. People have sacrificed so much in the fight against COVID. We need to come together in the House, finish the fight against COVID and support the recovery. That is why we need to pass this budget legislation.
    Madam Speaker, I am very sympathetic with the position that we need to get Bill C-30 through. There are many provisions there that are helpful. However, on principle, I have always stood against time allocation motions. The House exists to examine legislation and to take the time it takes to review it.
     One of the things I am concerned about is that we seem to be under the false time pressure on many bills that an election is looming. We have a fixed election date law. In order to have an election looming, somebody in government must be prepared to break that law because the next election is in October 2023. This bill is important to get through, for sure, because there are immediate provisions that help Canadians, but other legislation continues to need to be studied.
     Would the Deputy Prime Minister agree with me that there is no prospect of an election any time soon, unless her government is prepared to break the law?
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands for her hard work.
    Let me say a few things. First of all, on the question of an election, let me be very clear: Our government has absolutely no desire for an election. We think the job right now is to work hard to support Canadians, to finish the fight against COVID and to support our national effort to punch our way out of the COVID recession. That is our sole and unrelenting focus.
    However, we do not have the luxury of time when it comes to the budget legislation. These income and business support measures run out in June. That is why we need to pass this budget legislation now and that is why the government is doing something we do not relish, which is bringing forward time allocation.

  (1220)  

    Madam Speaker, why is it that the minister does not want the opposition to do its job? Our job is to hold the government accountable and to exercise scrutiny and oversight. This is the biggest budget in Canadian history. It is the biggest debt, at well over a trillion dollars and heading toward $1.8 trillion. Canadians have never seen this.
    As Kevin Lynch, the former deputy minister of finance said, this is the largest intergenerational transfer of risk and debt in Canadian history, and this minister wants to give us just two meetings at the finance committee to review this legislation. We are doing our job.
    With this huge debt and interminable deficits facing Canadians, does the minister have a plan to return to balanced budgets, yes or no?
    Madam Speaker, let me just say this to Canadians: Canada continues to have the lowest net debt-to-GDP ratio in the G7. Following the tabling of our budget, the credit ratings agencies Moody's and S&P both reaffirmed Canada's AAA credit rating. That is the highest there is. That is clear, objective evidence of the reality, which is that this budget presents a prudent and responsible fiscal path. That is the verdict of the judges who really matter.
    Let me also say, through you, Madam Speaker, to the Conservatives: It is time to stop delaying tactics. It is time to stop playing games with Canadian jobs and Canadian businesses, and to extend the supports Canadians need.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I have a very simple question for the Minister of Finance.
    Many people in the cultural sector, including those who work in theatre, music, live shows and festivals, are very worried that this budget means the end of direct assistance for workers. That may be all right for the majority of people, but workers and businesses in the cultural sector will need targeted assistance.
    Why is the Liberal government trying to impose a gag order, when we could be working together to make direct assistance more flexible and to extend CERB for certain sectors, such as the cultural, tourism and hospitality sectors? I would like to hear my colleague’s thoughts on that.
    Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to answer the questions, because it gives me the opportunity to point out that our concern for creators, cultural workers and tourism companies is exactly why it is so urgent to support Bill C‑30. These people, these Quebeckers, are the ones who need the support this budget will give them.
    However, the only way we can help them is with the support of progressive parties in the House. That is what Canadians want, and that is our job.
    Madam Speaker, it is important to remember that we went without a budget for two years before the government tabled one.
    This budget was tabled late in the spring and was preceded by an economic statement in November. We are now being asked to urgently pass the budget implementation bill and, obviously, it would be good if we passed it. However, the government is trying to once again impose closure on us, pushing us and saying that it is urgent we take action for various reasons, when the government is the one that dragged its feet and took two years to table a budget.
    It seems to me that the reasons that are being given to justify closure do not take into consideration the work of Parliament or parliamentarians. What does the finance minister think about that?

  (1225)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.
    I would like to once again point out that we have already had a great deal of discussion on this bill. We had 22 hours of debate and 160 speeches in the House as well as 40 hours of debate and 132 speeches in committee.
    I would again remind all members of the House that what Canadians and Quebeckers want is to get the help they need. We are in the midst of a crisis, a global pandemic, and they need the federal government's support to finish the fight against COVID-19 and ensure a strong economic recovery. We need to take action and do our job.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it has been two years since there was a budget, and this is a budget that is spending like there is no tomorrow. Parliament was prorogued and the natural resource sector is missing from the budget.
    Why is it that the government cannot manage its time and is going to restrict debate on this very important piece of legislation?
    Madam Speaker, we can manage our time. The problem, which is threatening to become Canada's problem, is that the Conservatives appear to prefer partisan theatrics and partisan games to doing the work of the country: doing the important work we were all elected to do.
    This is a national crisis. COVID has plunged Canada into the deepest depression since the Great Depression. It is time for all of us to set aside juvenile games, roll up our sleeves and pass this essential budget legislation that will continue the wage subsidy, continue the rent subsidy and continue the CRB. These support measures expire in June. We have no time to waste. Let us set aside the juvenile gamesmanship and let us do our jobs.
    Madam Speaker, I find it very interesting when the hon. minister talks about gamesmanship and so on. When New Democrats came to the table, we came to work to make this bill better and ensure that instead of giving billions to corporations and banks with absolutely no question we actually gave it to the people: to the taxpayers, people in my riding of London—Fanshawe who are struggling and desperately trying to pay their bills, pay their rent and pay for food.
    Why is it that when the government talks about a team Canada approach it does not actually mean it unless it is to do what it wants, when it wants, instead of working for people in Canada?
    Madam Speaker, I have to say that this budget is not about any political party. It is about precisely the people the member for London—Fanshawe has just spoken about so passionately. This budget is about giving Canadians the support they so urgently need to finish the fight against COVID and have a robust recovery. It extends the income supports to the end of September. It increases the OAS for Canadians over age 75. It will build a universal early learning and child care system across the country. That is what my constituents and the people of London—Fanshawe need.
    Let us pass this budget, and let Canada get back to work.

  (1230)  

    Madam Speaker, I want to follow up on one comment the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands brought up about not having the government break the fixed election law. Why is it that we have speeches tomorrow for MPs who are not intending to run again if there is not going to be an election until the fixed election date, and if there is no need for an election at this point?
    The other point I would make is this. We are here to try to fix this legislation. We have just seen the largest transfer of wealth from governments and taxpayers to the ultrawealthy. The ultrawealthy have made out like bandits during this pandemic. There are flaws in this legislation that would cause people to have their CERB cut when they are not ready. The needs of the small business community, in particular tourism, have been flagged in this piece of legislation, and there are a lot of things to fix. It is our job, as members of Parliament and legislators, to fix this legislation. That takes time and democratic debate.
    Madam Speaker, let me emphasize that we have already debated this legislation for 22 hours in the House. There have been 160 speakers. We debated it for 40 hours at committee. There were 132 witnesses there.
    The member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith asked about an election. Our government does not want an election. We know that Canadians want and expect all of us to get to work to finish the fight against COVID and support a robust recovery. To have that, they urgently need the supports in this budget. I want to remind members of the House that the support measures run out this month. We have no time left. We need to act.
    Madam Speaker, we hear the Conservatives say they need more time to debate this. The reality is that not a single Conservative has talked about how they would like to change the bill; rather, they have said how much they dislike the bill. It is quite clear the Conservatives are going to be voting against this very important piece of legislation for Canadians, so for them to suggest that this side of the House is playing political games is completely false. The reality is that we have a budget here to support Canadians through to the end of this pandemic.
    Would the minister like to comment on the actual impact this will have on Canadians, and on Canadian small businesses in particular?
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Kingston and the Islands for his hard work and excellent question.
    The reality is that every budget is important, but this budget is urgently needed. It is going to be the budget that finishes the fight against COVID and supports Canadians in the reopening they have sacrificed so much to achieve. It extends the wage subsidy, rent subsidy and lockdown supports until September 25. It extends the CRB. This budget creates a Canada hiring credit that will help businesses recover and will support them as they bring on new workers. It will establish a federal minimum wage of $15. It will send $5 billion to the provinces to support the vaccine rollout and our health care systems. How can anyone fail to see the urgency and not support this budget that will get Canadians the supports they need?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, what we see is a government that dragged its feet and took its sweet time deciding whether to table a budget or not. Now it is pushing everyone around to get time allocation, even though it knows nobody will go for it. We will not allow ourselves to be pushed around like that.
    Is this not just the Liberals' way of creating an excuse to trigger an election on the grounds that the government is not able to function?

  (1235)  

    Madam Speaker, I have a lot of respect for the Bloc Québécois member, but I have to say he is totally wrong about that.
    The fact is, our government does not want an election. Our government wants to work for Canadians because we know we are going through a crisis right now. We need to remember that we have spent the past year in a global pandemic and an economic crisis caused by that pandemic.
    What our government wants to do now is finish the fight against COVID‑19 and support Canadians as we recover. I hope opposition members will understand that this is the practical, pragmatic work Quebeckers want and need.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, once again we are faced with time allocation. The Liberal government has played games all along, proroguing Parliament and not releasing a bill. Now we are in the eleventh hour and once again the minister is trying to limit debate.
    Nobody on this side of the House is trying to play games. We have been fighting hard to help Canadians. I am wondering when this party will stop playing games and stop ending debate so that we can truly represent the people of our ridings.
    Madam Speaker, members on the opposition benches have in fact been playing games. That is what we have watched over the past days being done by the Conservatives. They are partisan delaying tactics at a time when Canadians need us to get to work.
    I sincerely believe that the member opposite wants to work for her constituents. I do as well. The way to do that is to pass this budget, which, by the way, includes $18 billion to support indigenous people in Canada. They need that support. Let us pass the budget and get it to them.

[Translation]

    Madam Chair, I am really shocked by the words of the Minister of Finance, who spoke earlier of “juvenile games”, when it is the Liberals themselves who have been the most obstructionist over the last session of Parliament.
    The minister is asking why we want to talk about the budget. It is because the Liberals decided to wait until next year to extend EI sickness benefits from 15 weeks to 26 weeks, because the Liberals created two classes of seniors and abandoned those between 65 and 75 years old, because this is the biggest budget and the biggest debt we have ever seen, and because the rich are getting richer while everyone else is getting poorer, since everything costs more.
    We should make a list of all the members who are being deprived their right to speak to all the measures I just mentioned. Why is the government preventing members from speaking?
    Madam Speaker, what is shocking is the partisan bickering by the Conservatives. They need to realize that the country is watching what they are doing, and it does not have patience for such childish games.
    Canada is going through a real crisis today, a global pandemic, and the country needs us to be pragmatic and practical. The country needs support from the federal government, and that is what the budget will provide. I want to reiterate that if this budget does not pass, that support will end in June. That is why we must all set this bickering aside and support the budget.
    It is my duty to interrupt the proceedings at this time and put forthwith the question on the motion now before the House.

[English]

    The question is on the motion.
    If a member of a recognized party present in the House wishes to request a recorded division or that the motion be adopted on division, I would invite them to rise and indicate it to the Chair.
    The hon. member for Banff—Airdrie.

  (1240)  

    Madam Speaker, I request a recorded division.

  (1325)  

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

(Division No. 140)

YEAS

Members

Alghabra
Anand
Anandasangaree
Arseneault
Arya
Atwin
Badawey
Bagnell
Bains
Baker
Barsalou-Duval
Battiste
Beaulieu
Beech
Bendayan
Bennett
Bergeron
Bérubé
Bessette
Bibeau
Bittle
Blair
Blanchette-Joncas
Blois
Boudrias
Bratina
Brière
Brunelle-Duceppe
Carr
Casey
Chabot
Chagger
Champagne
Champoux
Charbonneau
Chen
Cormier
Dabrusin
Damoff
DeBellefeuille
Desbiens
Desilets
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Dong
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dzerowicz
Easter
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Erskine-Smith
Fergus
Fillmore
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fortin
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Garneau
Gaudreau
Gerretsen
Gill
Gould
Guilbeault
Hajdu
Hardie
Holland
Housefather
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Ien
Jaczek
Joly
Jones
Jordan
Jowhari
Kelloway
Khalid
Khera
Koutrakis
Kusmierczyk
Lalonde
Lambropoulos
Lametti
Lamoureux
Larouche
Lattanzio
Lauzon
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lefebvre
Lemire
Lightbound
Long
Longfield
Louis (Kitchener—Conestoga)
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maloney
Marcil
Martinez Ferrada
May (Cambridge)
McCrimmon
McDonald
McGuinty
McKay
McKenna
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod (Northwest Territories)
Mendès
Mendicino
Michaud
Miller
Monsef
Morrissey
Murray
Ng
Normandin
O'Connell
Oliphant
O'Regan
Pauzé
Perron
Petitpas Taylor
Plamondon
Powlowski
Qualtrough
Ratansi
Regan
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Sahota (Brampton North)
Saini
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sangha
Sarai
Savard-Tremblay
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Schulte
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Simard
Simms
Sorbara
Spengemann
Ste-Marie
Tabbara
Tassi
Thériault
Therrien
Trudel
Turnbull
Van Bynen
van Koeverden
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vaughan
Vignola
Virani
Weiler
Wilkinson
Yip
Young
Zahid
Zann
Zuberi

Total: -- 184


NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Alleslev
Allison
Angus
Arnold
Ashton
Bachrach
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Benzen
Bergen
Berthold
Bezan
Blaikie
Blaney (North Island—Powell River)
Blaney (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis)
Block
Boulerice
Bragdon
Brassard
Calkins
Cannings
Carrie
Chiu
Chong
Cooper
Cumming
Dalton
Dancho
Davidson
Davies
Deltell
d'Entremont
Diotte
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Duvall
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Findlay
Gallant
Garrison
Gazan
Généreux
Genuis
Gladu
Godin
Gourde
Gray
Green
Hallan
Harder
Harris
Hoback
Hughes
Jansen
Jeneroux
Johns
Julian
Kelly
Kent
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kram
Kurek
Kusie
Kwan
Lake
Lawrence
Lehoux
Lewis (Essex)
Lloyd
Lobb
Lukiwski
MacGregor
MacKenzie
Maguire
Manly
Martel
Masse
Mathyssen
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McColeman
McLean
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
McPherson
Melillo
Moore
Morantz
Morrison
Motz
Nater
O'Toole
Patzer
Paul-Hus
Poilievre
Qaqqaq
Rayes
Redekopp
Reid
Rempel Garner
Richards
Rood
Ruff
Sahota (Calgary Skyview)
Saroya
Scheer
Schmale
Seeback
Shields
Shin
Shipley
Singh
Soroka
Stanton
Steinley
Strahl
Stubbs
Sweet
Tochor
Uppal
Van Popta
Vecchio
Vidal
Viersen
Vis
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Williamson
Wilson-Raybould
Wong
Yurdiga
Zimmer

Total: -- 144


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

Privilege

Government's Alleged Non-compliance with an Order of the House  

[Privilege]
    Mr. Speaker, I rise to respond to the question of privilege raised on June 7, 2021, by the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent in respect to the order adopted on June 2, 2021. In reviewing the lengthy intervention by the hon. member, I want to raise two issues with respect to the motion the member proposes to raise if the Speaker agrees that there is a prima facie question of privilege in this matter.
    First, the practices of the House clearly demonstrate that the Speaker has the discretion on the type and substance of a motion to be moved when the Speaker finds a prima facie question of privilege or contempt. There are two avenues that the House can consider in the event of finding a prima facie question of privilege. They are to either refer the matter to the procedure and House affairs committee or find a member, the government or an institution of the government to be in contempt of the House.
    This is not what the member is proposing to pursue. The member is suggesting a substantive motion with many separate elements for which formal notice would be required. The member for Louis-Saint-Laurent stated in his intervention:
     That brings me to the remedy which I am prepared to propose in a motion, should you agree that there is a prima facie case of contempt here.
     In the interest of giving members appropriate notice of where this debate might go, the motion I intend to move would do the following things: (a) it would find the Public Health Agency of Canada to be in contempt; (b) it would order the Minister of Health to attend in her place, here in this House, to produce documents that have been ordered; (c) it would then require the minister to be questioned by the House; (d) finally, it would set out the procedures for this questioning because the old practices followed when the witness would be summoned to the House for questioning, which the curious could find explained in a search of Bourinot's Parliamentary Procedure and Practice in the Dominion of Canada, do not fit neatly into our contemporary rules and ways of doing business.
    Page 150 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, states, “The Speaker would be reluctant to allow a matter as important as a privilege motion to fail on the ground of improper form. The terms of the motion have generally provided that the matter be referred to committee for study or have been amended to that effect.”
    That is not what the member is proposing. The member's proposed terms of the motion represent a substantive motion for which notice would be required. Therefore, I suggest that the member can propose a motion of censure or to refer to the matter to the committee for study. That is the long-standing practice of this House.
    The second matter I would like to raise is the lack of any meaningful mechanism to ensure that the confidential information that may be contained in the papers ordered to be provided are not made public. The member is proposing that the Minister of Health table unredacted documents in the House, thereby placing these documents into the public domain. This approach ignores the mechanism that was in the order adopted by the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations on May 10, 2021. That order provided:
(a) these documents shall be deposited with the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel, in an unredacted form, within 20 days of the adoption of this order;
(b) the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel discuss with the committee, in an in camera meeting, information contained therein, which in his opinion, might reasonably be expected to compromise national security or reveal details of an ongoing criminal investigation, other than the existence of an investigation, so that the committee may determine which information is placed before a committee in public....
     The in camera meeting being the critical part.
    The safeguards, like those contained in the motion adopted by the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations, are nowhere to be found in the proposed motion of my hon. colleague. This is a clearly a very dangerous and, quite frankly, clumsy oversight. The government has proposed using the National Security Committee of Parliamentarians, otherwise known as NSICOP, to undertake this work given the nature of the information contained in the documents and the expertise of the members of the committee in matters of national security.

  (1330)  

    Just as the then Conservative government did in 2010 with the Afghan detainee documents, the government is proposing a similar process that respects the balance of interests between the right of parliamentarians to have access to information and the obligations of the government to protect information related to national security.
    NSICOP has a broad mandate to review Canada's legislative, regulatory, policy, administrative and financial framework for national security and intelligence. It may also review any activity carried out by a department that relates to national security or intelligence.
    Committee members come from both Houses of Parliament. It is a body that was created by an act of Parliament by parliamentarians. All members hold top-secret security clearances and are permanently bound to secrecy under the Security of Information Act. Members swear an oath or solemn affirmation indicating that they will obey and uphold the laws of Canada and not communicate or inappropriately use information obtained in confidence as part of their responsibility on the committee.
    NSICOP was created for exactly these types of situations and is an appropriate place for the review of these documents. The government has provided unredacted documents in response to this motion. The Minister of Health has referred this matter to NSICOP and the government through the Public Health Agency of Canada, provided a copy of the unredacted documents to NSICOP and informed the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel of this on June 4, 2021.
    It is critically important that there be an appropriate mechanism in place to ensure information that may be injurious to Canada's interests, could compromise national security or the privacy rights of Canadians, or relate to an ongoing criminal investigation, be protected. Providing unredacted documents to NSICOP is the appropriate and reasonable approach. Unfortunately, the House leader of the official opposition has dismissed this option entirely.
     Speaker Milliken clearly acknowledged the need to balance these interests in his ruling on April 27, 2010, which is directly relevant to the matter before the House. He said:
    Several members have made the point that there are numerous ways that the documents in question could have been made available without divulging state secrets and acknowledged that all sides in the House needed to find a way to respect the privileges and rights of members of Parliament to hold the government to account, while at the same time protecting national security.
    The government, for its part, has sought to find a solution to the impasse.
    Speaker Milliken then states the following in relation to putting a mechanism in place to ensure this balance is struck:
    The Chair must conclude that it is within the powers of the House of Commons to ask for the documents sought in the December 10 order it adopted. Now it seems to me that the issue before us is this: Is it possible to put in place a mechanism by which these documents could be made available to the House without compromising the security and confidentiality of the information they contain? In other words, is it possible for the two sides, working together in the best interests of the Canadians they serve, to devise a means where both their concerns are met? Surely that is not too much to hope for.
    Since the member raises precedence from the Australian legislature, I too would like to point out that the Australian legislators have experience putting in place mechanisms to deal with requests for sensitive information. I would draw to the attention of members an excerpt from Speaker Milliken's 2010 ruling. He said:
     In some jurisdictions, such as the Legislative Council in the Australian state of New South Wales, and I would refer members to New South Wales Legislative Council Practice by Lovelock and Evans at page 481, mechanisms have been put in place, which satisfy the confidentiality concerns of the government as well as those of the legislature. Procedures provide for independent arbiters, recognized by both the executive and the legislature, to make determinations on what can be disclosed when a dispute arises over an order for the production of documents.

  (1335)  

    Page 986 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, 2017, elaborates on this matter:
     In cases where the author of or the authority responsible for a record refuses to comply with an order issued by a committee to produce documents, the committee essentially has three options. The first is to accept the reasons and conditions put forward to justify the refusal; the committee members then concede that they will not have access to the record or accept the record with passages deleted. The second is to seek an acceptable compromise with the author or the authority responsible for access to the record. Normally, this entails putting measures in place to ensure that the record is kept confidential while it is being consulted. These include in camera review....
    In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I suggest that you have the power to ensure that if there is a finding of prima facie contempt, the motion to deal with the matter is either a motion to censure or a motion to refer the matter to committee for further study. NSICOP was created for exactly these types of situations and is an appropriate place for the review of the documents. As I stated, this body was created by an act of Parliament by parliamentarians.
    The government remains open to discussions with the opposition on how to balance the right of members to consider unredacted documents with the need to protect sensitive information from public disclosure that could be injurious to Canada's interests.
    I thank the hon. member for his intervention. I will take it under consideration.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1

[Government Orders]
     The House resumed from June 11 consideration of Bill C-30, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures, as reported (with amendments) from the committee, and of Motion No. 2.
    Mr. Speaker, thank you for allowing me to rise again to talk about this very important bill.
    I had the privilege to serve as the Minister of State for Seniors for four years in the Harper government. In the ensuing days, my passion for being an advocate and champion of the golden generation has not waned. Indeed, in the last months of the previous Parliament, the House unanimously passed my motion, Motion No. 203, calling for action on fraud against seniors, which is a form of elder abuse. June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, so it is perfect timing that I am speaking to this very important issue.
    Unfortunately, little has been done since my motion passed. For example, in the Lower Mainland, there has been a wave of scammers and thieves targeting seniors through phone calls or emails and taking advantage of those with weaker digital literacy. People of all ages are locked out of their Canada Revenue Agency accounts. Calls on the government to take further steps to address the systemic increase in elder abuse have once again fallen on deaf ears.
    Of course, let us not forget those who take the time out of their day to provide support and aid not just to seniors, but to anyone who is struggling to meet the basics of everyday life. They are the informal and unpaid caregivers. Caring for the caregivers must be a central plank of any government steps to address a post-COVID-19 recovery. Unfortunately, there is little support for them in the budget.
    In conclusion, the way forward needs to be treated through a reasonable, responsible, fiscally sound approach that spends Canadian tax dollars in a way that will best help Canada weather the fiscal storm on the horizon while also caring for the most vulnerable citizens. Moving forward, the government should seriously consider these urgent needs.
    I am happy to take any questions.

  (1340)  

    Madam Speaker, one of my concerns certainly has been the lack of support for seniors since the pandemic began. Could the member comment further on that?
    Madam Speaker, because of COVID, a lot of seniors have been left alone and have not been able to seek assistance. Also, as I mentioned in my speech, a lot of fraud has been committed against them. Protecting seniors against all forms of elder abuse, including physical, mental and financial abuse, is very important. That is exactly what everybody should be doing, but I am afraid the government has done little or close to nothing about it.
    Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to address this issue this afternoon. There are a couple of aspects that I would like to provide some comment on, but first and foremost is the idea of Bill C-30, now at report stage, and how important passing it is to all Canadians.
    The other day, I talked about a progressive agenda. The Government of Canada has put forward a very strong, healthy, progressive agenda that includes today's bill, Bill C-12, Bill C-6, Bill C-10, Bill C-22 and Bill C-21. Of course, I often make reference to Bill C-19 as well. All of these pieces of legislation are important to the government, but I would argue that the most important one is the bill we are debating today, Bill C-30.
    The budget is of critical importance for a wide variety of reasons. I can talk about the benefits that seniors would be receiving as a direct result of this budget bill, in particular those who are 75 and over, with the significant fulfillment of our campaign promise of a 10% increase to OAS for seniors aged 75 and above, and a one-time payment coming up in the month of August for that group. During the pandemic, we have been there for seniors, in particular those 65 and over, with one-time payments closer to the beginning of the pandemic, and even an extra amount for those who were on the guaranteed income supplement. That is not to mention the many different organizations that the government supported, whether directly or indirectly, to support our seniors, in particular non-profit organizations.
    We have done a multitude of things, many of which are very tangible. The Minister of Finance made reference to the extension of some of the programs, for example, which we brought in so we could continue to be there for businesses and real people. This was so important. At the beginning of the process, the Prime Minister made it very clear that this government, the Liberal Party and the Liberal members of the House of Commons were 100% committed to working seven days a week, 24 hours a day to ensure that the interests of Canadians in combatting and fighting the pandemic were going to be priority number one.
    As to that priority, we saw the establishment of a large number of new programs that ensured money was being put directly into the pockets of Canadians. One was the CERB, which benefited somewhere around nine million Canadians. Virtually out of nowhere this program came into being, in good part thanks to our civil servants, who have done a tremendous job in putting in place and administering the many different programs.
    We have seen programs to support our businesses in particular, whether it is the Canada emergency wage subsidy program, the emergency rent subsidy program, the emergency business account or the regional relief and recovery fund. We recognized what Canada needed. The Government of Canada worked with Canadians and with, in particular, provinces, non-profits, territories, indigenous leaders and many others in order to make sure that Canadians were going to be protected as much as possible. All of this was done with the goal of being able to get us, as a nation, out of the situation we are currently in.

  (1345)  

    We have put ourselves in a position where Canada will be able to recover, and recover well. It is interesting to hear the Conservative Party asking about the debt. Many of the things I just finished talking about are the reasons why we have the debt. The Conservatives in many ways are saying we should be spending more money, while the Conservative right is saying we have spent too much money or is asking about the debt. Some Conservatives are talking about the creation of jobs. The most recent Conservative commitment was that they would create one million jobs.
    Between 2015, when the Liberals were first elected, and the election of 2019, we created over a million jobs. We understand how important jobs are. Jobs are one of the reasons it was important for us to commit to businesses of all sizes, and small businesses in particular, to get through this difficult time. We knew that by saving companies from going bankrupt and by keeping Canadians employed we would be in a much better position once we got ahead of the pandemic.
    I am actually quite pleased today. I started off by looking at the national news. A CBC story said that when it comes to first doses Canada is now ahead of Israel, according to a graph that was posted. When we think of populations of a million or more, Canada is doing exceptionally well. We are ahead of all other nations in dealing with the first dose.
    I am now qualified to get my second dose. Earlier today I had the opportunity to book an appointment for a second dose on July 7. Canadians are responding so well to the need for vaccination. We understand why it is so important that we all get vaccinated. We need to continue to encourage people to get those shots.
    It goes without saying that we need to recognize many very special people who have been there for Canadians. The ones who come to mind immediately are the health care workers here in the province of Manitoba. They are a special group of people that not long ago, in a virtual meeting, the Prime Minister expressed gratitude for in a very strong and significant way.
    Our health care workers, whether the nurses, doctors or lab technicians, and people in all areas of health care, including those providing and sanitizing facilities as well as a whole litany of people, have ensured that we have been there from a health perspective.
    We can look at workers involved with essential items such as groceries. Whether it was long haul truck drivers, people stacking groceries or collecting money for groceries, or taxi drivers who took people where they needed to go, whether to the hospital or the grocery store, they were there. Public institutions were there. I think of Winnipeg Transit bus drivers who opened their doors not knowing who was walking onto their buses. They were all there.
    This legislation we are debating today is a continuation of getting Canada in a better, healthier position to deal with the coronavirus. We needed to bring in time allocation because of the destructive behaviour of the official opposition. We wanted to work and the Conservatives wanted to take time off. There was an excellent indication of that last Thursday, which was the biggest day in terms of debate for government. The Conservatives attempted to end the session only moments after the day got under way. It is not right that the Conservatives are playing games. We need to pass this legislation. I would ask all members to vote for it.

  (1350)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I listened closely to my colleague. At one point he said that they would help seniors, in particular those who are 75. “In particular those who are 75” implies that there will be help for those aged between 65 years and 74 years, 11 months and 30 days.
    What type of help will it be?
    I must say, $63 a month is not even enough to buy groceries for a person living alone.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the Government of Canada has been supporting seniors from the very beginning. I might get the month wrong, but my friend might recall the payments made in July of last year. There was a one-time payment for people collecting OAS and an additional payment for people who were being supplemented with the GIS. I also made reference to many seniors non-profit organizations, whether the new horizons for seniors program or the non-profit groups that received millions of dollars to expand services to seniors from the beginning until today. This specific bill is the fulfillment of an election campaign promise from 2019, when we said we would give a 10% increase to those 75 and over, and I think all members should support it.
    Madam Speaker, I certainly agree. Seniors between 65 and 74 do not think this budget is doing enough for them. That is quite obvious and has been brought to the House many times by the parties in opposition, but my question comes to another issue that has been going on during COVID. The Liberals have had two years for this budget. For businesses that opened during the period of COVID, there have been no supports. I have had all kinds of calls to my offices. Callers are told this budget has something for everyone, but it does not have anything for them.
    My question to the member opposite is this: Why did the Liberals not have any supports for existing businesses during this time and why are the Liberals, once again, trying to pick winners and losers?

  (1355)  

    Madam Speaker, the government has recognized not only during the pandemic, but even pre-pandemic, the important role that small businesses play in Canada through, for example, the small business tax reductions. Once we got into the pandemic, we recognized the need to support them in tangible ways. That is why there is the Canada emergency wage subsidy program, the Canada emergency rent subsidy program, the emergency business account, the business credit availability program and the regional relief and recovery funds. Ultimately, we are supporting businesses by putting disposable income in the pockets of Canadians so that they will be able to continue to pay bills and be consumers. We are providing business opportunities for small businesses of all sorts, and now there is the new hire program.
    I am sure the Minister of Finance would be able to provide more details as to how we support small businesses in Canada.
    Madam Speaker, the government has told us time and again that its most important relationship is with indigenous peoples. We know that in the last few days the Liberal Party has refused to acknowledge the genocide against indigenous peoples, but if we look at Bill C-30 there are some major gaps. One of the biggest crises first nations face here in Manitoba is a lack of housing. We know that overcrowded housing has been a major contributor to the spread of COVID-19 in first nations communities, yet Bill C-30 has no commitment to indigenous-led housing initiatives to deal with the crisis that exists on the ground and the truly third-world living conditions.
    How can the government claim that its most important relationship is with indigenous peoples and fail to act on one of the most significant crises they face?
    Madam Speaker, from a historical perspective, when it comes to indigenous-related issues I would challenge the member to point to a government that has done more than this Prime Minister and this government over the last four or five years. Take into consideration the financial and social supports, infrastructure, one-on-one and other types of relationships with respect to trying to build healthier relationships and communities.
    We need to look beyond yesterday and into tomorrow to find out what more we can do to deal with issues such as the inquiry we conducted into murdered and missing girls and women of indigenous heritage and the calls to action, all of which the Government of Canada is committed to work on. Ultimately, I truly believe that by empowering and working with indigenous leaders and people we will make the desired changes, hopefully as quickly as possible.

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Community Leaders

    Madam Speaker, I rise today to recognize two outstanding individuals from my riding of Kingston and the Islands.
    Reid and Ben, most famously known for their morning show, Reid and Ben In The Morning, are so much more than average radio personalities. Whether it is attending local events, celebrating our 2021 graduates or promoting pride month, they always do a great job in showcasing the best that Kingston has to offer.
     However, it does not stop there. At times when our community needs cheerleaders the most, they are always there to rally support and lift up spirits. In the height of the third wave of the pandemic, they painted and hung a large banner in front of Kingston General Hospital, which simply said “Thank you KGH”.
     Last week, following the terrorist attack in London, Ontario aimed at the Muslim population, Reid and Ben promptly headed to our local mosque with sidewalk chalk in hand and inscribed words of love and inclusion for the most affected by this act.
    We thank Reid and Ben for their energy and passion, and for all that they do for our community.

  (1400)  

Government Policies

    Madam Speaker, energy security should be a concern for all Canadians. Distribution of Canadian energy through networks of pipelines is paramount to withstand shocks from a wide range of sources, like natural disasters, geopolitical conflicts and other emerging threats. Energy distribution like Line 5 potentially being shutting down will initiate shortages, causing astronomical increases in the cost of everything.
     The Liberal government's lack of understanding of the importance of ensuring reliable and cost-effective energy has put Canada at a huge disadvantage compared to other nations. As the Liberal government continues to spin the narrative of our economic standing globally, it is only countered with the facts.
     Thanks to the pending Bill C-10, the Liberals will be able to shut down what we can hear and see, just like North Korea. Canada was once a nation that embraced freedom of speech, but I guess that will be a footnote in history if not censored by Bill C-10.

Newfoundland and Labrador

    Madam Speaker, since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has taken incredible measures to keep the pandemic away from our island shores. In fact, there has been a ban on non-essential travel to our province for over a year now, and the results have spoken for themselves. Compared to other areas of Canada, my riding in the Long Range Mountains has seen relatively small case counts.
     However, as we turn the new corner of the pandemic and vaccines are more available, the travel ban is about to be lifted, and Newfoundland and Labrador will once again be open to Canada. Travel to my province and the Long Range Mountains, of course, will be allowed again as of July 1, with folks having their second shot of vaccine.
     I am so excited as I received my second dose this past weekend. I am doing my part to keep my loved ones and my community safe, and I encourage all Canadians to do so. I cannot wait to see family and friends reunited.
    As members start their travel plans, remember to support the hospitality and tourism sector. Come and explore the Long Range Mountains and see all that Newfoundland and Labrador has to offer.

[Translation]

Youth Centre in Montreal

    Madam Speaker, I am honoured to rise today to recognize the 30th anniversary of Antre-Jeunes, an essential organization that has been a pillar of Montreal's Mercier-Est community since 1991. Its two drop-in centres are open to young people aged 12 to 17 every day after school and offer activities throughout the year.
    Antre-Jeunes is a welcoming community place where young people can do all kinds of activities under the supervision of leaders and facilitators. It helps the youth of Mercier-Est expand their horizons by providing them with opportunities for success, learning and personal development.
    Antre-Jeunes also offers a street outreach program to meet the needs of young people who do not go to traditional youth centres and use their services.
    I would like to thank the director, Joelle McNeil Paquet, and the entire team at Antre-Jeunes for the extremely important work they do. This is a caring, engaged, dedicated, dynamic team that is always there for the young people of Mercier-Est.
    Happy 30th anniversary to Antre-Jeunes.

Sophie Nadeau Becker

    Madam Speaker, today, I would like to recognize another young entrepreneur from my region, Sophie Nadeau Becker, who is 11 years old.
    This young lady from Saint-Jacques is already business-savvy. She recently launched her family micro-business, which makes and sells homemade treats and bandanas for dogs. Her business is called Ohlala... de Sophie.
    Once a week, with her brother Félix's help, Sophie makes dog biscuits and sells them to local stores.

[English]

    The business has expanded such that it has now more than 200 clients. The young entrepreneur is even looking for students to join her team this summer.

[Translation]

    We admire our amazing young entrepreneurs, who continue to astound us and show us that the future of our economy is in good hands.

[English]

    Let us encourage our youth to believe in their dreams; they may well come true.

[Translation]

    In the meantime, I encourage the people of Madawaska—Restigouche to treat their furry four-legged friends to Ohlala... de Sophie products.

[English]

Baltic Republics

    Madam Speaker, I rise today as chair of the Canada-Nordic-Baltic Parliamentary Friendship Group.
     Eighty years ago, between June 14 and June 18, 1941, citizens of the Baltic republics of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania were forced at gunpoint and taken to Communist prison camps. Many were elderly and nearly a quarter were children.
    Thousands died on the way to Siberia and many more faced executions when they arrived. Forty-five thousand were only the first during what would become known as the June deportations. Tens of thousands more would follow. The horrific actions of the tyrannical Soviet government to assimilate the Baltic nations was unspeakably brutal, violent and merciless.
    During those forced relocations, they silenced cultural and religious minorities and arrested, tortured or killed perceived threats to the regime. Let us stand with Baltic Canadians as we mark June 14 as a day of commemoration for all freedom-loving people.

  (1405)  

Memorial University Graduate

    Madam Speaker, I would like to congratulate all graduates in my riding, but there is one in particular whose story I would like to share. She is Amanda Saunders at Memorial University in Newfoundland and Labrador, and her story is incredible.
    In 2018, while studying psychology, she was diagnosed with end-stage heart failure. Instead of a classroom, she went to a hospital in St. John's and finally to the Ottawa Heart Institute to receive a new heart. Inspired by her parents, Amanda vowed she would go back to school, and she did just that, for seven months.
    Unfortunately, 14 months after her transplant, she was then diagnosed with blood cancer, but let us not think for one moment this would stop Amanda Saunders. She continued her school during her treatments and all through the pandemic. I am proud to announce that Amanda has graduated, and she plans to pursue her second degree.
    I congratulate Amanda and thank her for inspiring all of us.

National Indigenous History Month

    Madam Speaker, this June marks National Indigenous History Month, and Monday, June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day. It is a time when we honour the rich cultures and histories of first nations, Inuit and Métis people across Canada.
    Over the past few weeks, from all across the country, we have been confronted with the horrific news from Kamloops, where first nations families found missing children in unmarked graves at the Kamloops residential school site.
    Earlier this month, I stood with survivors and family members of residential schools across my own riding. There were five residential schools in Newfoundland and Labrador, and four of them were in the riding of Labrador. The intergenerational trauma of these institutions continues to this day among many Labradorians and Canadians.
    Indigenous people face poorer health outcomes, systemic racism and injustices. The hard work continues for us as a government and together with indigenous partners—

Edmonton Manning Constituent

    Madam Speaker, I stand today to highlight a constituent and friend I have known for over 15 years who has served in the Canadian Army.
    Major Alexander Tsang has served our country for 28 years and has deployed across the globe representing Canada. He served in Bosnia and Sudan to help peacekeeping efforts. He continued working with the UN to track down war criminals. This guy is nothing short of courageous.
    After his time at the UN, he committed to help our veterans and increase awareness for our soldiers. I have had the honour of working with him on Edmonton Salutes to help recognize our troops.
    Unfortunately, Alexander is in a battle of his own against cancer. I wanted to take this opportunity to wish this extraordinary Canadian the best treatment against this horrible disease. Alexander has this, and he has my support.
    Get well soon, my friend.

[Translation]

Ontario's Francophonie

    Madam Speaker, June 24 is Saint‑Jean-Baptiste Day. It is an important day for francophones and francophiles to celebrate their culture, language and traditions. This day is also an opportunity to commemorate the sacrifices our parents and grandparents made to defend our language.
    This month, Collège Boréal will also celebrate its 25th anniversary. For 25 years, Collège Boréal has consistently provided a high-quality education and served as a leader at the local and international levels. Collège Boréal has built strong ties with the industry and provides its students with a learning environment designed to help them succeed.

[English]

    I thank all who contribute to a vibrant francophone community in the Nickel Belt and greater Sudbury area.

  (1410)  

[Translation]

    I also want to wish the Montreal Canadiens good luck on the road to their 25th Stanley Cup.

[English]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, the government's philosophy on growing the economy and creating jobs is doing everything possible to get in the way. What is more is that the Prime Minister will add more national debt than all the previous prime ministers combined. All that money spent under his watch and still Canada has consistently had one of the highest unemployment rates in the G7. The unemployment rate climbed to 8.2%, losing 68,000 jobs last month.
    Small businesses are struggling, falling through the cracks, and a staggering amount will never reopen. Sean, a small business owner in my riding of Niagara West, in business for the last 30 years, had to take on over $160,000 in debt just to stay afloat. That was after he spent all his life's savings.
     The travel and tourism industries have been destroyed.
    It is time for the Prime Minister and his party to own up to their failures and change course. Our small businesses and our economy are done waiting.

Bill C-10

    Mr. Speaker, the priority for Conservatives is getting Canada’s economy reopened and back on track. The Liberal government’s priority is ramming through Bill C-10, its Internet censorship bill.
     I have heard from constituents across my riding who want to see this bill scrapped. New Brunswickers in Liberal-held ridings are frustrated by their MPs' failure to commit to opposing this bill, a bill that fundamentally would alter how the Internet would operate in Canada. Canadians are even more bewildered by how the government is so focused on Bill C-10 rather than pressing issues that impact their health and the economy.
    I will not support Bill C-10, a bill that puts freedom of expression in peril. The government should listen to Canadians who are telling it to abandon this poorly thought-out bill that is focused on political power rather than protecting the freedom of speech that Canadians so rightly enjoy.

Government Policies

    Mr. Speaker, this past week, Canada's Prime Minister had quite the performance at the G7. He claimed that Canada was a champion on human rights and a benevolent provider of COVID-19 vaccines, and made commitments on infrastructure and the climate emergency. The world ought to know that the reality here at home is very different.
    On human rights, the Prime Minister has failed to recognize genocide against indigenous peoples. He has failed to take decisive action to support first nations in searching the grounds of the schools imposed on them so they can bring their children home.
    On vaccines, our vaccine rollout has been deeply flawed, putting us well behind other major countries. In addition, we have not championed the IP waiver needed for the world stage.
    On infrastructure, in my region dozens of communities have no road access, suffer in overcrowded housing and need health facilities.
     On the climate emergency, the government has been part of the problem, not the solution.
     Increasingly Canadians see the Prime Minister and the government for what they are: nice words, no action. First nations deserve better. Canadians deserve better.

[Translation]

Gill Tinkler

    Mr. Speaker, today I want to pay tribute to Gill Tinkler, a prominent figure in the Upper Laurentians region, in my riding of Laurentides—Labelle. Mr. Tinkler is a legendary, world-renowned canoe racing champion whose life story was recently chronicled in a biography.
    Now 91, this man is a true marvel, having achieved so much over the course of his life, both on the water and in the forest, and he has always sought to promote physical activity and help others learn to love the outdoors. One of his most notable achievements was when he paddled across Canada for the 1967 centennial. This trip took him 104 days, during which he travelled 5,283 kilometres, along the same lakes and rivers paddled by the first explorers.
    I sincerely congratulate Mr. Tinkler, whose involvement with various organizations over the years has significantly helped build tourism in the region.

[English]

RCMP Constable Shelby Patton

    Mr. Speaker, it is with a heavy heart that I pay tribute to RCMP Constable Shelby Patton. Originally from Yorkton, Constable Patton was stationed at the detachment in Indian Head, Saskatchewan. Early Saturday morning in Wolseley, he stopped a stolen truck. Tragically, the criminals driving the truck ran over Constable Patton and ended his life, ripping apart a family and devastating a community.
    This young man, a 26-year-old hero who was killed in the prime of his life, was a husband, a brother and a son. Shelby Patton, like the thousands of police officers across the country, literally put his life on the line to protect us. He went to work every day knowing the risks and was willing to make the greatest sacrifice to keep us safe. When we call 911, we often take it for granted that a police officer will come and help. Without people like Shelby Patton, who have the bravery and dedication to their communities, there would not be anyone on the other end of the phone.
    I ask all of my colleagues in this House to join me in sending our deepest condolences to the Patton family, to his fellow officers in his detachment and to the communities of Indian Head and Wolseley, Saskatchewan.

  (1415)  

National Indigenous Peoples Day

    Mr. Speaker, June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day. In 1996, the Governor General of Canada, Roméo LeBlanc, proclaimed June 21 as National Aboriginal Day. In 2017, the current Prime Minister announced the day would be renamed National Indigenous Peoples Day. The government's official website states, “It's an opportunity for everyone to celebrate the cultural richness and contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.”
    Why is it June 21? For centuries, many of our first inhabitants would celebrate the arrival of the warm weather and the pleasures of the summer solstice. The summer solstice is the day of the year with the longest light. It is a day with spiritual significance for many people, and it is a good time to celebrate indigenous peoples and culture. I will personally also be reflecting on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 94 calls to action, the number 215 and that all children matter.
    We all have a role to play.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]

[English]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, what a weekend our Prime Minister had in the U.K. hobnobbing with the rich and famous. He seemed to have forgotten his mask a few times, and he will not have to quarantine like everyone else when he gets home, because, after all, there is one set of rules for the Prime Minister and another set of rules for everyone else. While he was enjoying his wine and cheese, back here in Canada our economy is shedding jobs, supply chains are crumbling and housing prices are skyrocketing.
    Instead of trying to impress his celebrity friends, why is the Prime Minister not focused on getting Canadians back to work?
    Mr. Speaker, if the Conservatives really care about the Canadian economy, if they really care about Canadian workers and if they really care about Canadian businesses, let me suggest one simple and very practical thing they can do, and that is to support Bill C-30, the budget implementation bill. This essential legislation extends the wage subsidy, rent support and the CRB. We need it to finish the fight against COVID and to punch our way out of the COVID recession. The Conservatives need to support it.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is so embroiled in scandal that there is no doubt he is not thinking about the economic storm that is brewing. He has been too busy rewarding his friends at the WE foundation, appointing Liberal donors as judges—
    I am going to interrupt. I believe we have a point of order.

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Manicouagan.
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to the interpretation, the volume is the same for both the English and the French, so I am having a lot of trouble hearing either one.
    Is everyone experiencing that problem or just those who are attending virtually?
    I am being told it is a technical problem. Can it be fixed?

[English]

    Can you hear me well? Are we still having a problem?
    Can you hear me well in French?

  (1420)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the volume of the French interpretation is lower.
    Can those who are listening in French hear me?
    Mr. Speaker, I can hear you very well. There is no problem with the interpretation.

[English]

    I think we have resolved our problem.
    The hon. deputy leader of the opposition. I will let you take it from the top.
    Mr. Speaker, as I was saying, the Prime Minister is so embroiled in scandal, there is no doubt that he is not thinking about the economic storm that is brewing here. He has been very busy rewarding his friends at the WE foundation, appointing Liberal donors as judges and covering up sexual misconduct in the military. Now, he has no time left to deal with issues like people losing their jobs and businesses shutting down—
    A hon. member: Start again.
    We will get to this question sooner or later, I am sure. We will have to interrupt the hon. member.

[Translation]

    I thank the member for Manicouagan for raising the problem.
    The hon. member for Manicouagan.
    Mr. Speaker, it is exactly the same, and I am not the only one having this problem. People have written to me to tell me that they cannot hear anything and that the volume is set at the same level in both languages.
    I thank the hon. member for Manicouagan.
    I will give the technical team a few minutes to resolve the problem.

[English]

    I am going to conduct a very unscientific test. Can everyone who is out there listening in French hear me in French at different levels?

[Translation]

    Apparently not. I think there is still a problem.
    Are those listening to the English interpretation having problems?

[English]

    It is English to French that is the issue. We will see what our technical folks can do about this.

[Translation]

    Can you hear me properly in French?
    The francophones seem to be hearing me properly, but there is still a problem. Most people are hearing me properly.
    Would someone please find out if it is a problem with the member for Manicouagan's computer?
    Mr. Speaker, I will wait for a call from the technical team.

[English]

    The third time is the charm.
    The hon. deputy leader of the opposition.
    Mr. Speaker, I am sure the government members will have a very substantial answer because this will have been the third time they have heard the question.
    Of course, the Prime Minister is not thinking about the economy, because he is so busy dealing with all of his scandals, whether it is the WE scandal, whether it is appointing his Liberal donors as judges or covering up sexual misconduct in the military.
     Let us be honest: It is hard work for the Prime Minister to put the interests of Canadians first when he is so focused on polishing up his own image and helping out his Liberal friends.
    Mr. Speaker, let us talk about who is really concerned about supporting Canadian jobs and Canadian businesses, and who, instead, prefers to play partisan games.
    Our government is working hard today in the House to pass the budget, which would extend the wage subsidy and rent support, and create a new Canada recovery hiring credit. That is what Canada needs. It is the Conservatives who are blocking it.

  (1425)  

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians will not believe this, but this weekend a top officer with direct connections to the Vance investigation was golfing with General Vance.
    Not only does this show zero respect for Operation Honour and zero respect for victims, it shows there is zero respect for the defence minister among the top brass. The minister has refused to stand up for victims and continues to cover up bad behaviour of his buddies.
    When will the defence minister admit the top ranks of the military are fast becoming a shambles, and it is a direct result of the minister's failures?
    Mr. Speaker, our members and employees deserve an institution in which they can have full confidence. We are working to deliver on the reforms that would bolster our members' confidence in the military justice system.
    The acting chief of the defence staff has been reviewing this matter very closely, and it falls within his responsibility in the chain of command. The acting chief of the defence staff has informed me that the vice-chief of the defence staff is no longer in his role, effective immediately.
    Our government is working towards a complete institutional culture change in the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces.

[Translation]

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party created the “Liberalist”.
    What is the “Liberalist”? It is the list of Liberal Party members, supporters, volunteers and donors. I have no problem with that, but there is a difference between the Liberal Party of Canada and the Government of Canada.
    I have a simple question for the Minister of Justice: Did he or anyone from his office or anyone from the Department of Justice check the infamous “Liberalist” before appointing a judge, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, when our government was elected in 2015, we created a more rigorous, open and accountable system. Our appointments are always based on merit. They are also based on the needs of the various benches, the expertise of the various candidates and the recommendations of the independent judicial advisory committees.
     We are proud of all those who have been appointed since the implementation of our system. They come from diverse backgrounds and political affiliations.
    Mr. Speaker, really, how sad to see the Minister of Justice, a man with a distinguished judicial career, play partisan games and unfortunately be unable to respond to a clear question. Did he, yes or no, consult the Liberalist? The answer is clear, and it is “yes”.
    However, he lacks the courage, the honour and the dignity to say so. The Liberal Party has two lists, the list of their cronies and the list of other Canadians.
    Why did the government even consult the Liberalist for the appointment of judges? It makes no sense.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to quote from an article published in The Globe and Mail back in the day about the appointment process under the Harper government. It said, “They use their local contacts, such as party fundraisers...to identify lawyers, academics and sitting judges who fit their specifications, and recommend them to the justice minister.”
    We changed all that. We will not take any lessons from that side of the House. Unlike the Conservative Party, we have an open process that makes appointments based on merit, not ideology.

Official Languages

    Mr. Speaker, 50 years later, the federal government is finally recognizing French as the official language of Quebec. The government is only half a century late. Maybe next week it will recommend a great new television show called Symphorien. Seriously, though, this flash of inspiration must have made the government realize that Quebec's official language legislation designates French as the language of work.
    Will the government allow Quebec to make French the official language of work in federally regulated businesses, as it should have done half a century ago?
    Mr. Speaker, it goes without saying that we recognize the importance of French in Quebec and across the country. Why? Because the French fact is eroding and in decline. We are going to take action. We are going to act on our responsibilities.
    As my colleague knows very well, in February we proposed a reform whereby, in some federally regulated businesses in Quebec and in regions with a strong francophone presence, we will recognize the right to work in French and the right to be served in French as a consumer and we will prevent discrimination against francophones. I hope to be able to work with my colleague in the coming weeks and months on these issues.

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, the federal government will therefore recognize that French is the official language of Quebec.
    What does that mean, official language? When Canada defined its two official languages in its Constitution, it stated that English and French have “equal rights and privileges as to their use in all institutions of the Parliament and government of Canada”.
    Since the minister recognizes French as the only official language of Quebec, is she saying that it will be the only language used in the institutions of Parliament and government of Canada in Quebec?
    Mr. Speaker, it goes without saying that, as the protector of both official languages, the federal government will always take action in its jurisdictions, because it is important to respect not just the Constitution, but also the country's unity.
    That said, French requires more protection because it is being eroded and is in decline. Therefore, we are committed to doing more and we will do more. In the coming days and weeks, I will have the opportunity to speak about our future official languages bill which, as my colleagues well know, is currently on the Order Paper.

[English]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, the current Liberal government is trying to slash emergency benefits to below the poverty level for Canadians who need the benefits to put food on the table. It gives billions of dollars in subsidies to oil companies and $750 billion in liquidity supports to banks. The Liberals refuse to impose a wealth tax that would make the ultrarich pay their fair share, but have no problem at all taking away money that Canadians desperately need to keep a roof over their head. Why will the Liberal government not do the right thing and stop slashing the benefits that so many Canadians rely on?
    Mr. Speaker, let me say this. If the NDP truly wants to support Canadian workers, let me suggest one simple thing they can do: support Bill C-30. This budget bill will extend the income supports to the end of September and Canadians desperately need that to happen. It is by supporting Bill C-30 that we can act together to provide Canadian workers with the support they need to finish the fight against COVID.

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, the old boys' club is at it again. While still under investigation, General Vance played a game of golf with the senior leaders involved in his investigation. Like Major Kellie Brennan said, Vance believes he is “untouchable” and owns the military police. The Liberals have had six years to make substantive changes to the toxic culture in the military. Resignations aside, that toxicity is still there. The government's response was another task force. How can women in the Canadian Armed Forces trust that their allegations will be taken seriously when their accuser is still treated like a VIP?
    Mr. Speaker, our members and employees deserve an institution they can have full confidence in and we are working to deliver reforms that will bolster the confidence of our members in the military justice system. Our government is working toward a complete institutional culture change in the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. As I stated earlier, the acting chief of the defence staff has informed us that the vice-chief of the defence staff is no longer in this role, effective immediately.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, the government is not answering my questions, so I will ask this again. We know from peer-reviewed academic papers, which are public documents, that a Chinese military scientist, Feihu Yan, of the People's Liberation Army, was granted access to work in the government's Winnipeg lab, a level 4 facility where the world's most dangerous viruses are handled. How did this individual gain access to the lab in apparent contravention of security policy?
    Mr. Speaker, every step of the way, the National Microbiology Lab has been working so hard to protect Canadians through COVID‑19. I want to thank the hard-working lab employees during this national week of recognition of public servants. In fact, they were one of the first labs in the world to be able to create a PCR test from the original genetic sequence. We have incredible scientists and researchers here in Canada, helping to lead the way.
    Mr. Speaker, the government is still not answering the questions. I have another question.
     According to the WHO's director general, the G7 discussed the Wuhan lab leak theory last weekend. President Biden has directed U.S. intelligence agencies to report back in late August on whether the pandemic came from human contact with an animal or from a lab accident at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Given that government scientists at the Winnipeg lab closely worked with the Wuhan lab, will the government tell us if it is making available government scientists and their relevant documents, including lab notes, to U.S. investigators?

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, like many countries around the world, we have always been clear that we need to understand the origins of COVID-19, and we will work with our international partners to ensure there is a robust and continued investigation into the origins of this virus. It is important not just for Canadians but, indeed, for the entire world so that we can prevent another epidemic of this kind.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations twice asked the Liberal government to provide unredacted documents concerning the security breach at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg. The government refused to do so twice.
    We then moved and adopted a motion in the House to make these documents available. Instead of complying with the will of the House, the Prime Minister has been obstructing the work of the committee by sending the documents to the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians to ensure that Canadians will never get the information that he wants to keep secret. How can the Prime Minister shamelessly take Canadians for fools?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite knows that is not true. I have fully released unredacted documents to the appropriate committee; a committee of all parliamentarians who have the appropriate security clearance to review these documents.
     We will never play games with national security. There is an appropriate place to review those documents, they are there and I await the committee's findings.

[Translation]

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, the minister will never get the findings because the committee must keep the information secret. Only the Prime Minister can know.
    On another topic, we learned that Lieutenant-General Mike Rouleau played golf with former chief of defence staff Vance, even though Mr. Vance is under investigation for sexual misconduct. Mr. Rouleau has authority over the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal and is responsible for the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service, which is investigating Mr. Vance.
    The findings of this inquiry are now tainted. The Minister of National Defence lacks leadership and has no control over his department or over the chain of command. Everyone is doing as they please. Once again, what message does this send to the women of the Canadian Armed Forces?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as the member very well knows, the acting chief of the defence staff has been reviewing this matter very closely as it falls within his responsibilities in the chain of command. The acting chief of the defence staff has informed me that the vice-chief of the defence staff is no longer in his role, effective immediately.
    Our government is working towards a complete institutional culture change in the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces.
    Mr. Speaker, Canada's military is in crisis, and those at the highest levels know they are untouchable.
    General Vance is under police investigation, but that did not stop the boys from enjoying a round of a golf. This brazen act by two of the military's most senior commanders is a public declaration that they are neither impartial nor think that the rules apply to them.
    The problem starts at the top of the chain of command with this defence minister. When will he admit he has failed in his duties as minister?
    Mr. Speaker, we are absolutely committed to making sure that we have that culture change to let everybody who joins the Canadian Armed Forces have a place to work free from harassment.
     As I stated, the acting chief of the defence staff is currently reviewing this matter very closely as it falls within his responsibilities in the chain of command, and the acting chief of the defence staff has informed me that the vice-chief of the defence staff is no longer in his role, effective immediately.
    Mr. Speaker, yet, despite months of devastating testimony and four generals under police investigation, the old boys' club is stronger than ever.
    General Rouleau has the power to intervene in military police investigations, and golfing with Vance sends a clear message that the fix is in. Vance and the senior military brass are untouchable. By turning a blind eye, the defence minister ensures that the military's toxic culture can continue unchecked.
    Will the minister admit that he is part of the problem and not part of the solution?
    Mr. Speaker, our members and employees deserve an institution that they can have full confidence in. I have been working from day one to make sure that we create the institutional culture change that is absolutely necessary. That is why, in a statement from the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal, he clarified, with regards to an ongoing military police investigation involving sexual misconduct, that he has complete independence from the chain of command in the conduct of policing duties. That said, and as I stated, the acting chief of the defence staff has informed me that the vice-chief of the defence staff has stepped down.

  (1440)  

[Translation]

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals announced that they would stop using the “Liberalist” to appoint judges. I have said it before and I will say it again: The Bloc Québécois enjoys being proven right. This is a good step forward, but it does not fix the problem. The problem is that the Liberals are appointing judges who donate to the Liberal Party.
     Radio-Canada reported that the Liberals would stop using the “Liberalist” to identify donors, and the same sources have confirmed that the Liberals do the same checks with Elections Canada. Whether they are using the “Liberalist” or Elections Canada data, they are still making patronage appointments.
    When will the minister institute an impartial process?
    Mr. Speaker, our government has taken significant steps to create a better process for appointing judges, one that ensures that our judiciary reflects the country it serves. All judicial appointments are based on merit. There are no partisan considerations in the decision-making process. When we took office, we removed the partisanship in place under the Harper government and brought in a more independent and more rigorous process.
    I am proud of the appointments that we have made and the process that we put in place.
    Mr. Speaker, that is discouraging. The same minister has been feeding us the same line for two years. We know that the judges are competent. That is not the problem. Before, the government was looking up donors in its Liberalist database and now it is using the Elections Canada database. Whichever one the Liberals use, it pays off for them, even though using the Elections Canada database might take longer.
    With the Elections Canada database, the government will also be able to identify those who donated to the Bloc Québécois, for example. If a lawyer donated to the Bloc Québécois, the government will send that application straight to the shredder. Not only can the government give its Liberal friends special treatment, but it can also discriminate against any others.
    Why not have a non-partisan process?
    Mr. Speaker, according to the Ethics Commissioner, making donations to a political party for a specific riding does not in and of itself indicate that there is a friendship. It is completely legal to make donations.
    We want qualified candidates from all walks of life and all political stripes to apply. We are disappointed that the opposition is turning this into a partisan game. Our government always strives to meet the needs of the courts and appoint very deserving legal experts of all political stripes.
    Mr. Speaker, the problem is not with a lawyer making a donation to the Liberal Party or any other party. The problem is with the minister giving someone a judgeship because of that donation. That is what we are speaking out against.
    Yes, there is an advisory committee that screens applications and recommends candidates to the minister. The problem is that the Liberals get the recommendations and look through the list for their friends' names.
    Worse yet, last year the media reported that, when the PMO wanted to make sure a good Liberal friend made the list, someone from the PMO would call the minister up in person demanding information.
    When will the minister put an end to this cronyism?
    Mr. Speaker, what the hon. member is saying is patently false.
    Our new judicial appointments process has produced concrete results for Canadians and is creating a bench that reflects the rich diversity of Canadian society. Changes we have made are increasing the number of new judges who identify as indigenous, members of visible minorities, people with disabilities, members of ethnocultural groups and LGBTQ2.
    Of all the judges appointed through the new process since 2019, 58% are female, 16% are visible minorities, 9% identify as LGBTQ2 and 5% identify as indigenous.

[English]

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, today we learned that a Toronto developer is purchasing hundreds of houses and converting them into rentals, eliminating the dream of home ownership for even more Canadians. For months, we have been demanding that the government stabilize house prices and come up with a plan to restore the dream of home ownership for Canadians. Sadly, all the recent budget did was impose a tiny 1% tax on foreign owners, which will do nothing to make housing more affordable.
    Why is the minister failing the families he is supposed to be serving?

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, our government has prioritized housing affordability and affordable housing through the national housing strategy. That is why budget 2021 is the fifth consecutive budget that plans to invest $2.5 billion and reallocate $1.3 billion in funding to speed up the construction and repair, and support 35,000 affordable housing units.
    Budget 2021 makes numerous investments into affordable housing, yet the Conservative Party has pledged to vote against it. The Conservative playbook is open now. Fake outrage in the House of Commons, yet when it comes time to vote to help Canadians with housing needs, voting—
    The hon. member for Abbotsford.
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government cannot hide from the fact that thousands of Canadians are being forced to abandon their dream of owning their home. The current government has had six years to act, with nothing. Now, developers are taking advantage of skyrocketing house prices by scooping up houses and turning them into rentals, removing even more houses from the market. Meanwhile, the government stands idly by as the home ownership dreams of Canadian families fade away.
    Why will this minister not act?
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative record on housing is $250 million a year spent on affordable housing. We have spent more than $27 billion on affordable housing since we came into office. In budget 2021 alone there is $315 million more for Canadian women and children fleeing domestic violence and more rental supplements.
    What did the Conservatives do? They pledged to vote against that. We are building more rental construction across major urban centres. What is the Conservative Party's position on that? It is to vote against it. It is fake outrage in question period and voting against real help for Canadians with respect to affordable housing.
    Mr. Speaker, it is not the quantity of the spending, it is the quality of the spending. We have an affordability crisis in this country. The price of everything is going up: groceries, gasoline, clothing and lumber. In fact, inflation is now well above the government's target of 2%, and it is only going to get worse before it gets better. We are also in a full-blown housing crisis, with millions of Canadians realizing that their dream of home ownership is now out of reach.
    Why has the government made life so unaffordable for so many Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, the first-time homebuyer incentive gives first-time Canadian homebuyers help from our government to buy housing. What is the Conservative Party doing for that? They are voting against it. What did they provide first-time homebuyers in their time in office? It was a mere $750 in a tax credit.
    Meanwhile, we are expanding the first-time homebuyer incentive, so that more and more Canadians can have access to affordable housing. In addition to that, we are spending more money than ever before across all the different spectra of the housing needs of Canadians, and the Conservatives have said that they will vote against the budget. That is their real record. They are entitled to their opinions, but—
    The hon. member for Winnipeg Centre.

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, 104 potential graves of children have now been found at the former Brandon Indian Residential School. Chief Bone is calling on the government to “enact legislation to protect all residential school cemeteries”. The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs called for all documents related to the schools to be released, and Southern Chiefs' Organization in Manitoba is calling for “the [UN] and its High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide oversight”.
    Will the government immediately heed these calls from impacted nations to respond to this genocide?
    Mr. Speaker, our hearts are with all of these communities dealing with these stark realities in terms of the discoveries at Tk'emlúps. We will be there as a government to support all communities with whatever they need for healing, gatherings, commemoration or archaeological expertise. We will be there for all the communities affected by this terrible discovery.
    Mr. Speaker, it is ironic that, on the morning the Prime Minister defied Parliament and went back to court to try to quash the human rights tribunal ruling that found him guilty of systemic discrimination against indigenous kids, we learned more about the medical catastrophe facing children in Kashechewan, where there are now 144 children and babies suffering from COVID.
    They begged the government for help, and all they got was a Band-Aid. If the government spent less time fighting indigenous kids in court, it could have been focused on keeping indigenous children safe and healthy. When is the Prime Minister going to end his toxic legal war against indigenous children in this country?

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, perhaps, since the member opposite asked two questions, I can give the House the update on the very concerning situation in Kashechewan. Indeed, the outbreak is among the children, who are not immunized. The situation, sadly, will get worse before it gets better. I have been speaking to Chief Friday over the course of the weekend and assured him we will be there for him.
    The House would, indeed, appreciate knowing, as well, that 15 Canadian Rangers have been mobilized in Kashechewan and six additional nurses have been deployed, for a total of 15. We are actively assessing and reassessing as the days go on, but we will be there for the people of Kashechewan.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, in recent weeks, I have been deeply disturbed by the rise of anti-Semitic acts in my community of York Centre and across Canada. We have seen Jewish businesses, synagogues and memorials vandalized, and Jewish Canadians have faced acts of violence and intimidation in our communities. These acts of hate have no place in Canada.
    Could the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth please tell the House how our government is combatting anti-Semitism here in Canada today?
    Mr. Speaker, our government remains committed to combatting anti-Semitism and all forms of hate, prejudice and discrimination through measures such as Canada's anti-racism strategy, in which we adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's definition of anti-Semitism.
    Last week, our government announced that we will work alongside the Hon. Irwin Cotler, Canada's special envoy to preserving Holocaust remembrance and combatting anti-Semitism, on an emergency national summit on anti-Semitism, which was advocated for by many hard-working colleagues, including the member for York Centre and partners such as CIJA.

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Natural Resources sent two Liberal staffers to Newfoundland in January at a cost of thousands of taxpayer dollars as the pandemic raged and just in time for the provincial election. Predictably, these same staff were campaigning for the provincial Liberals. During a pandemic while businesses were closed and staff were working from home, the minister had taxpayers pick up the tab under questionable reasoning.
    Will the Liberal Party repay Canadian taxpayers for sending ministerial staffers to help its friends in the provincial Liberal Party get re-elected during the pandemic?
    Mr. Speaker, staff travelled to Newfoundland to support operational requirements on the ground in the discharge of my ministerial duties. All rules were followed to the letter.
    They adhered to public health guidelines, including the mandatory 14-day quarantine upon entering the province. They also adhered to the Treasury Board guidelines for ministers' offices and campaigned only on their day off, on one Saturday. I and my office hold ourselves to a high standard. I will reiterate that all rules were followed.
    Mr. Speaker, these staffers were in Newfoundland on the taxpayer dollar during a pandemic and were campaigning for the provincial Liberals. It is crystal clear. While Canadians were locked down, losing their livelihoods and their lives, the minister was skirting the rules to help his friends. The Liberals operate under two sets of rules: one for their friends and one for the rest of us.
    Will the Liberal Party reimburse taxpayers for this clearly partisan trip?
    Mr. Speaker, what is crystal clear is there was no interference here. They participated in their capacity as private citizens on one Saturday on their day off. I will quote the Treasury Board guidelines, which I might add were put in place by the previous Conservative government. Section 3.5.4 states, “If a member becomes engaged in campaign activities on a part-time basis, his or her involvement must be on his or her own time, not during regular office hours.”
    That is exactly what happened here. All rules were followed to the letter. It is crystal clear.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it is an embarrassment and a scandal. The people of Newfoundland and Labrador should be extremely upset over what happened. Why is the leader of the Newfoundland and Labrador Conservatives so outraged?
    It is because two of the Minister of Natural Resources' staffers campaigned for a provincial Liberal candidate at Canadian taxpayers' expense. Geordie Summers-Lubar and Ian Cameron billed taxpayers nearly $9,000 to campaign for a Liberal friend. Does the Liberal Party intend to repay Canadians for the minister's partisan zeal?

  (1455)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, this is riling up an outrage machine. Let me be very clear. All rules were followed to the letter. My staff adhered to all public health guidelines, including the 14-day mandatory quarantine and the Treasury Board guidelines for ministers' offices put in place by the previous Conservative government.
    We could continue with these petty personal attacks against hard-working staff, but it was their day off. We will continue to work hard for Canadians on the issues that matter.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, these staffers from the Minister of Natural Resources' office would never have gone to campaign in Newfoundland and Labrador if their expenses had not been approved by the minister himself. They arrived in the province on the very day the election was called, and they only left weeks later.
    At a time when everyone was teleworking, does the minister expect us to believe that he needed his assistants by his side, in the middle of a pandemic? Nonsense. The Treasury Board directives are clear: Door-to-door canvassing is not cabinet business. Will the Liberal Party repay the expenses they claimed, yes or no?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the rules of Treasury Board were followed crystal clearly.
    Let me be very clear about something else. What happens on my staff members' time off is their business. I will not be policing what they do on their time off. On one Saturday they campaigned. I will leave it there, other than to say and assure the House that all guidelines were followed to the letter, crystal clearly.

[Translation]

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, led by the government, all the parties just passed a bill to designate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a day to commemorate the indigenous children who were ripped from their families and sent to residential schools. Meanwhile, just this morning, the government was in court fighting indigenous children who were also ripped from their families and sent to foster homes. This is the height of hypocrisy.
    Will the government immediately terminate its legal action again indigenous children?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to be very clear once again.
    The Prime Minister, myself and all of Canada have sent a very clear message that any first nations child who has suffered the consequences of discrimination in the child welfare system, which is broken, will be compensated fairly and equitably.
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal are in court fighting indigenous children who were ripped from their families in 2005.
    I would remind members that the Liberals were also the party in power in 2005. Fifteen years later, this is still before the courts.
    I encourage the Prime Minister to do a favour to whoever is prime minister 15 years from now. Will he terminate this legal action? Will he spare the future prime minister from having to apologize for a despicable decision that the current Prime Minister could reverse right now?
    Mr. Speaker, I could spend all my time talking about what this government has done since coming to power in 2015, the billions of dollars it has invested in reforming a broken system, but I would like to set my colleague straight. She should realize that, in this case, the compensation order was handed down two months ago. We are challenging its proportionality, not the source of the discrimination.
    We are committed to compensating these children in a fair and equitable manner, and that is what we will do.

[English]

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have shown the U.S.A. and the world that it is okay to openly disrespect our Canadian oil and gas sector. The Liberals' crusade against oil and gas has real-world consequences. The proof is the cancelling of Keystone XL, energy east, Pacific Northwest, northern gateway, Aurora LNG, Grassy Point LNG and Saguenay LNG. The Liberals’ “reimagined” agenda has set the course of the newest anti–oil project, with Governor Whitmer trying to cancel Line 5.
    Did the Prime Minister even attempt to talk to President Biden about Line 5 or are we just going to add it to the ever-growing list of cancelled Canadian energy projects?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, let us talk about lists. TMX was approved and we are building it, with 7,000 jobs created so far. The Line 3 pipeline was approved, with another 7,000 jobs created. We approved NGTL 2021 and thousands of jobs were created. We are building LNG Canada. For orphaned and inactive wells, we have $1.7 billion, with tens of thousands of jobs to be created. Of course, the wage subsidy has kept more than 5,000 workers in their jobs during the pandemic in Alberta alone. That is our record.
    Mr. Speaker, last week the Keystone XL pipeline was the latest casualty in the Prime Minister's assault on Canada's energy sector. This follows the cancellations of energy east, northern gateway and several other projects that would have meant thousands of well-paying jobs, along with significant economic growth, across western Canada.
    When will the Prime Minister just admit that he wants to see Canada's energy sector shut down entirely?
    Mr. Speaker, I will reiterate to the House once again how deeply disappointed we are with the U.S. decision on KXL. Let me also remind members of the House that the Government of Alberta is also deeply disappointed. I know that because our governments worked hand in glove the whole way on KXL. Workers in Alberta are looking to the future and to the opportunities it holds.
     Last week, I stood alongside Premier Kenney to announce a $1.3-billion investment in hydrogen. It includes the development of a new large-scale clean hydrogen facility in the Edmonton area. It is going to create thousands of jobs for Albertans.
    We will work with the Alberta government to build a low-emissions energy future that leaves no energy worker behind, as we will with all provincial governments.

Forestry Industry

    Mr. Speaker, over the past several weeks, reconciliation has become a very important topic in the House. The infrastructure, health and education gaps faced by first nations across Canada will not be solved by government programs alone.
    In northern Saskatchewan, the forestry industry provides tremendous opportunity to address these gaps. Last month, the U.S. announced plans to double the tariffs, literally taking money out of the pockets of indigenous people.
    When will the government finally get a softwood lumber agreement? Can the minister confirm that 100% of the duties collected will be returned?
    Mr. Speaker, we remain disappointed with the American action on softwood lumber. We will continue to work with the administration. Our focus will be, as it always has been, on the workers within the industry and on ensuring that we have an industry that continues to prosper and grow in this country.

[Translation]

Telecommunications

    Mr. Speaker, during this pandemic, we have come to realize the importance of our digital capacity for meeting Canadians' urgent needs. Our government has shown that it is up to the task and has ensured that Canadians receive the benefits and programs they need in a timely fashion.
    We know there is a still a lot of work to be done. Can the Minister of Digital Government inform the House of her plans for continuing the important work of delivering essential digital services to Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Alfred-Pellan for the question and his hard work.
    Our digital response to COVID‑19 showed that we are capable of responding quickly to provide benefits to Canadians. The new digital government strategy focuses on four areas: modernizing IT systems, improving services, implementing integrated solutions, and transforming how we work. We are committed to providing secure, reliable and easy-to-access public services.

[English]

Forestry Industry

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has had five years to reach a softwood lumber agreement and he has failed. In fact, in this place, he has referred to the subject of softwood lumber about four times each of the five years he has been in office. Contrast that with the subject of his predecessor, Stephen Harper, whom he has referenced over 220 times.
    I have a simple question. When will the Prime Minister start getting focused on his job, like getting a softwood lumber agreement, rather than passing the buck to others or putting the blame on his predecessors?

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, let us be clear. These American duties are completely unjustified and, quite frankly, counterproductive since they hurt workers and businesses on both sides of the border. The minister has raised this with President Biden directly and with Ambassador Tai, and our government continues to press for a negotiated settlement, because a negotiated settlement is in the best interests of both of our countries.
    We will do whatever it takes to defend our softwood lumber industry, including instigating litigation under NAFTA, under CUSMA and before the WTO. All options are on the table.

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, the cost to rent a one-bedroom apartment in Barrie now averages $1,530 per month, the fifth-highest rental rate in Canada. In May, the average home price was $720,000, a 38% increase from last year. Everyone, especially first-time buyers and renters, is finding these prices out of reach. Last week’s Conservative opposition day motion had a tangible solution to address affordable housing in Canada, but the Liberals voted against it.
    It is clear that the Liberal housing plan is not working. Why is the Prime Minister ignoring the housing needs of Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, we are investing more money than ever before in affordable housing, including reallocating money from the rental construction financing initiative to turn commercial buildings into affordable housing.
    What are the Conservatives doing about that? They are voting against that. Their plan had no real solutions that even came close to the progress we have made and the strong foundation that we are building on the national housing strategy. They spent meagre amounts of money during their time in office. They had no leadership, no strategy, and now they are faking outrage and actually voting against real measures to help Canadians—
    The hon. member for Battle River—Crowfoot.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, a fixed-income senior recently shared how he was excited about the new Canada greener homes grant to upgrade his coal-fired furnace. His excitement quickly turned to disappointment after learning the details of the program. With the rising cost of living, he cannot afford to pay up front for the pre and post EnerGuide evaluations, let alone front the cost to replace the furnace itself.
     This is yet another example of the “Ottawa knows best” bureaucratic-heavy policy that clearly misses the mark. It makes great talking points, but leaves regular folks behind. When will the Liberals actually figure out a plan that helps Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, the focus is on addressing affordability concerns in the context of actually working to reduce carbon emissions from all sources.
    The $5,000 subsidy is focused very much on enabling homeowners to retrofit their homes, to increase energy efficiency, to reduce carbon emissions and to ultimately reduce their energy bills. That is certainly an element of a broader program to address the crisis that is climate change in a manner that will enable economic progress.

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, today the Minister of Canadian Heritage announced the appointees to the first Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages.
    The Indigenous Languages Act is historic and demonstrates this government's commitment to support the efforts of indigenous people to reclaim, revitalize, maintain and strengthen indigenous languages. The establishment of the Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages achieves a concrete milestone in the implementation of the act.
    Could the minister tell us how the commissioner and the directors will support the efforts of indigenous peoples?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Northwest Territories for his tireless advocacy on this issue.
    Language is at the heart of cultural identity. It shapes who we are and our perspective. When we speak our language, we share stories, pass on knowledge and create bonds for generations.
    This morning, I had the pleasure and honour to announce the appointment of Commissioner Ronald Ignace and directors Joan Greyeyes, Georgina Liberty and Robert Watt to the very first Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages. This is a historic day. I have every confidence that the office will bring exceptional strength that will effectively support the aspiration of indigenous people—

  (1510)  

    The hon. member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke.

Health

    Mr. Speaker, here we are in National Blood Donor Week, again, with the ban on blood donations from gay men, men who have sex with men, and trans women still in place. As always, I continue to call on friends and family to step up and donate in the place of those of us who remain banned.
    On Friday, the Liberals lost in federal court in their attempt to have themselves excluded from responsibility for the ban. The Minister of Health claims she is waiting for Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec to give her a recommendation to lift the ban.
    On what date did she explicitly request a new policy from CBS and Héma-Québec, and what deadline did she give them for a response?
    Mr. Speaker, I agree with the member opposite that there is no place for discrimination against the community.
    It is important that we continue to press on. We have done more in the last five years than had been done in the previous 10. Of course, until 2013, Canada had a lifetime restriction on blood donation from men who have sex with men. In 2019, it was reduced to three months.
    There is more to do, and we will continue to push Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec until we can end this practice.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, recent rumblings over the Constitution are not without significance, causing some to ask if we are necessarily heading towards renewed constitutional talks.
    If so, the environment must be top of mind. In 2008, Ecuador's Constitution gave nature legally enforceable rights to exist, flourish and evolve, the first country to do so. In 2014, Te Urewera, the home of the Tūhoe people, became the first natural feature in New Zealand to be recognized as a legal person with rights.
    Like New Zealand, and prior to any possible constitutional change, will the government consider granting legal personhood to significant natural features in Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, our government has recognized the importance of preserving the environment, fighting greenhouse gas emissions and fighting global warming. It is a priority, as my colleagues in that ministry have put before the House, and we have fought that battle all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.
    We will look at all options. I am not going to commit to any specific thing suggested by the hon. member, but I thank her for her question, and we certainly will always consider all options that will help us advance the cause of fighting climate change.
    That is all the time we have today for question period.
    We have a point of order from the hon. member for Malpeque.
    Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to make a personal point of privilege. I will not take much of the House's time because I know that time is very precious in this place. However, I believe strongly that it is in this place, the House of Commons, that announcements that affect members should be made.
    Today, I am announcing that I will not be re-offering as the candidate in the riding of Malpeque in the next federal election. Tomorrow evening, I will be joining with others not running for speeches and to give heartfelt thanks.
    As members know, the election is scheduled for October 2023, but rumours abound there may be one before then. Certainly, the media seems to be pushing that rumour. On the off chance that an election is held before then, I want to give others ample time to consider representing my party in the riding of Malpeque.
    It is close to 28 years since I was first elected to this chamber, and when there in person, I am always in awe of its traditions, its history and the opportunity it provides for members to have a say in the legislative mandate and governance of this country.
    I am proud to be a Canadian. Yes, there have been moments, as recent events showed, that none of us are proud of in our history. However, I do believe we learn and move forward. We are recognized as one of the best places to live in the world. As stated in our daily prayers, we have the “freedom, opportunity and peace that we enjoy.”
    It has been my honour to work with and serve the residents of Malpeque for nine terms. I am thankful for the opportunity to say these few words, and I will join with others tomorrow evening.

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Government Orders]

  (1515)  

[English]

Extension of Sitting Hours in June

    The House resumed from June 10 consideration of Government Business Motion No. 8, of the amendment and of the amendment to the amendment.
    It being 3:15 p.m., pursuant to order made on Monday, January 25, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the subamendment of the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands to the amendment to the motion to extend the sitting hours of the House.
    Call in the members.

  (1530)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 141)

YEAS

Members

Alghabra
Anand
Anandasangaree
Angus
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Bachrach
Badawey
Bagnell
Bains
Baker
Barsalou-Duval
Battiste
Beaulieu
Beech
Bendayan
Bennett
Bergeron
Bérubé
Bessette
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Blaney (North Island—Powell River)
Blois
Boudrias
Boulerice
Bratina
Brière
Brunelle-Duceppe
Cannings
Carr
Casey
Chabot
Chagger
Champagne
Champoux
Charbonneau
Chen
Cormier
Dabrusin
Damoff
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Desbiens
Desilets
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Dong
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duvall
Dzerowicz
Easter
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Erskine-Smith
Fergus
Fillmore
Finnigan
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fortin
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Garneau
Garrison
Gaudreau
Gazan
Gerretsen
Gill
Gould
Green
Guilbeault
Hajdu
Hardie
Harris
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Ien
Jaczek
Johns
Joly
Jones
Jordan
Jowhari
Julian
Kelloway
Khalid
Khera
Koutrakis
Kusmierczyk
Kwan
Lalonde
Lambropoulos
Lametti
Lamoureux
Larouche
Lattanzio
Lauzon
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lefebvre
Lemire
Long
Longfield
Louis (Kitchener—Conestoga)
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacGregor
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maloney
Manly
Marcil
Martinez Ferrada
Masse
Mathyssen
May (Cambridge)
McCrimmon
McDonald
McGuinty
McKay
McKenna
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod (Northwest Territories)
McPherson
Mendès
Mendicino
Michaud
Miller
Monsef
Morrissey
Murray
Ng
Normandin
O'Connell
Oliphant
O'Regan
Pauzé
Perron
Petitpas Taylor
Plamondon
Powlowski
Qaqqaq
Qualtrough
Ratansi
Regan
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Sahota (Brampton North)
Saini
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sangha
Sarai
Savard-Tremblay
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Schulte
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Simard
Simms
Sorbara
Spengemann
Ste-Marie
Tassi
Thériault
Therrien
Trudel
Turnbull
Van Bynen
van Koeverden
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vaughan
Vignola
Virani
Weiler
Wilkinson
Wilson-Raybould
Yip
Young
Zahid
Zann
Zuberi

Total: -- 207


NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Alleslev
Allison
Arnold
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Benzen
Bergen
Berthold
Bezan
Blaney (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis)
Block
Bragdon
Brassard
Calkins
Carrie
Chiu
Chong
Cooper
Cumming
Dalton
Dancho
Davidson
Deltell
d'Entremont
Diotte
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Findlay
Gallant
Généreux
Genuis
Gladu
Godin
Gourde
Gray
Hallan
Harder
Hoback
Jansen
Jeneroux
Kelly
Kent
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kram
Kurek
Kusie
Lake
Lawrence
Lehoux
Lewis (Essex)
Liepert
Lloyd
Lobb
Lukiwski
MacKenzie
Maguire
Martel
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McColeman
McLean
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
Melillo
Moore
Morantz
Morrison
Motz
Nater
Patzer
Paul-Hus
Poilievre
Rayes
Redekopp
Reid
Rempel Garner
Richards
Rood
Ruff
Sahota (Calgary Skyview)
Saroya
Scheer
Schmale
Seeback
Shields
Shin
Shipley
Sloan
Soroka
Stanton
Steinley
Strahl
Stubbs
Sweet
Tochor
Uppal
Van Popta
Vecchio
Vidal
Viersen
Vis
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Williamson
Wong
Yurdiga
Zimmer

Total: -- 119


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the amendment to the amendment carried.

[English]

    The next question is on the amendment as amended.

[Translation]

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

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I ask for a recorded division.

  (1540)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 142)

YEAS

Members

Alghabra
Anand
Anandasangaree
Angus
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Atwin
Bachrach
Badawey
Bagnell
Bains
Baker
Barsalou-Duval
Battiste
Beaulieu
Beech
Bendayan
Bennett
Bergeron
Bérubé
Bessette
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Blaney (North Island—Powell River)
Blois
Boudrias
Boulerice
Bratina
Brière
Brunelle-Duceppe
Cannings
Carr
Casey
Chabot
Chagger
Champagne
Champoux
Charbonneau
Chen
Cormier
Dabrusin
Damoff
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Desbiens
Desilets
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Dong
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duvall
Dzerowicz
Easter
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Erskine-Smith
Fergus
Fillmore
Finnigan
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fortin
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Garneau
Garrison
Gaudreau
Gazan
Gerretsen
Gill
Gould
Green
Guilbeault
Hajdu
Hardie
Harris
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Ien
Jaczek
Johns
Joly
Jones
Jordan
Jowhari
Julian
Kelloway
Khalid
Khera
Koutrakis
Kusmierczyk
Kwan
Lalonde
Lambropoulos
Lametti
Lamoureux
Larouche
Lattanzio
Lauzon
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lemire
Lightbound
Long
Longfield
Louis (Kitchener—Conestoga)
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacGregor
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maloney
Manly
Marcil
Martinez Ferrada
Masse
Mathyssen
May (Cambridge)
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
McCrimmon
McDonald
McGuinty
McKay
McKenna
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod (Northwest Territories)
McPherson
Mendès
Mendicino
Michaud
Miller
Monsef
Morrissey
Murray
Ng
Normandin
O'Connell
Oliphant
O'Regan
Pauzé
Perron
Petitpas Taylor
Plamondon
Powlowski
Qaqqaq
Qualtrough
Ratansi
Regan
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Sahota (Brampton North)
Saini
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sangha
Sarai
Savard-Tremblay
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Schulte
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Simard
Simms
Singh
Sloan
Sorbara
Spengemann
Ste-Marie
Tabbara
Tassi
Thériault
Therrien
Trudel
Turnbull
Van Bynen
van Koeverden
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vaughan
Vignola
Virani
Weiler
Wilkinson
Wilson-Raybould
Yip
Young
Zahid
Zann
Zuberi

Total: -- 212


NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Alleslev
Allison
Arnold
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Benzen
Bergen
Berthold
Bezan
Blaney (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis)
Bragdon
Brassard
Calkins
Carrie
Chiu
Chong
Cooper
Cumming
Dalton
Dancho
Davidson
Deltell
d'Entremont
Diotte
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Findlay
Gallant
Généreux
Genuis
Gladu
Godin
Gourde
Gray
Hallan
Harder
Hoback
Jansen
Jeneroux
Kelly
Kent
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kram
Kurek
Kusie
Lake
Lawrence
Lehoux
Lewis (Essex)
Liepert
Lloyd
Lobb
Lukiwski
MacKenzie
Maguire
Martel
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McColeman
McLean
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
Melillo
Moore
Morantz
Morrison
Motz
Nater
O'Toole
Patzer
Paul-Hus
Poilievre
Rayes
Redekopp
Reid
Rempel Garner
Richards
Rood
Ruff
Sahota (Calgary Skyview)
Saroya
Scheer
Schmale
Seeback
Shields
Shin
Shipley
Soroka
Stanton
Steinley
Strahl
Stubbs
Sweet
Tochor
Uppal
Van Popta
Vecchio
Vidal
Viersen
Vis
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Williamson
Wong
Yurdiga
Zimmer

Total: -- 118


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the amendment as amended carried.

  (1545)  

[English]

    The next question is on the main motion, as amended.
    If a member of a recognized party present in the House wishes to request a recorded division or that the motion as amended be adopted on division, I invite them to rise and indicate it to the Chair.
    The hon. member for Kingston and the Islands.
    Mr. Speaker, I ask for a recorded division.

  (1555)  

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

(Division No. 143)

YEAS

Members

Alghabra
Anandasangaree
Angus
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Atwin
Bachrach
Badawey
Bagnell
Bains
Baker
Barsalou-Duval
Battiste
Beaulieu
Beech
Bendayan
Bennett
Bergeron
Bérubé
Bessette
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Blaney (North Island—Powell River)
Boudrias
Boulerice
Bratina
Brière
Brunelle-Duceppe
Cannings
Carr
Casey
Chabot
Chagger
Champagne
Champoux
Charbonneau
Chen
Cormier
Dabrusin
Damoff
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Desbiens
Desilets
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Dong
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duvall
Dzerowicz
Easter
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Erskine-Smith
Fergus
Fillmore
Finnigan
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fortin
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Garneau
Garrison
Gaudreau
Gazan
Gerretsen
Gill
Gould
Green
Guilbeault
Hajdu
Hardie
Harris
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Ien
Jaczek
Johns
Joly
Jones
Jordan
Jowhari
Julian
Kelloway
Khalid
Khera
Koutrakis
Kusmierczyk
Kwan
Lalonde
Lambropoulos
Lametti
Lamoureux
Larouche
Lattanzio
Lauzon
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lefebvre
Lemire
Lightbound
Long
Longfield
Louis (Kitchener—Conestoga)
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacGregor
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maloney
Manly
Marcil
Martinez Ferrada
Masse
Mathyssen
May (Cambridge)
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
McCrimmon
McDonald
McGuinty
McKay
McKenna
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod (Northwest Territories)
McPherson
Mendès
Mendicino
Michaud
Miller
Monsef
Morrissey
Murray
Ng
Normandin
O'Connell
Oliphant
O'Regan
Pauzé
Perron
Petitpas Taylor
Plamondon
Powlowski
Qaqqaq
Qualtrough
Ratansi
Regan
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Sahota (Brampton North)
Saini
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sangha
Sarai
Savard-Tremblay
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Schulte
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Simard
Simms
Singh
Sorbara
Spengemann
Ste-Marie
Tabbara
Tassi
Thériault
Therrien
Trudel
Turnbull
Van Bynen
van Koeverden
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vaughan
Vignola
Virani
Weiler
Wilkinson
Wilson-Raybould
Yip
Young
Zahid
Zann
Zuberi

Total: -- 210


NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Alleslev
Allison
Arnold
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Benzen
Bergen
Berthold
Bezan
Blaney (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis)
Block
Bragdon
Brassard
Calkins
Carrie
Chiu
Chong
Cooper
Cumming
Dalton
Dancho
Davidson
Deltell
d'Entremont
Diotte
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Findlay
Gallant
Généreux
Genuis
Gladu
Godin
Gourde
Gray
Hallan
Harder
Hoback
Jansen
Jeneroux
Kelly
Kent
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kram
Kurek
Kusie
Lake
Lawrence
Lehoux
Lewis (Essex)
Liepert
Lloyd
Lobb
Lukiwski
MacKenzie
Maguire
Martel
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McColeman
McLean
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
Melillo
Moore
Morantz
Morrison
Motz
Nater
O'Toole
Patzer
Paul-Hus
Poilievre
Rayes
Redekopp
Reid
Rempel Garner
Richards
Rood
Ruff
Sahota (Calgary Skyview)
Saroya
Scheer
Schmale
Seeback
Shields
Shin
Shipley
Soroka
Stanton
Steinley
Strahl
Stubbs
Sweet
Tochor
Uppal
Van Popta
Vecchio
Vidal
Viersen
Vis
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Williamson
Wong
Yurdiga
Zimmer

Total: -- 119


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion as amended carried.

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 14 petitions. These returns will be tabled in an electronic format.

Committees of the House

Canadian Heritage  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to present, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage in relation to Bill C-10, an act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other acts. The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report it back to the House with amendments.

Points of Order

Admissibility of Amendments in the Fifth Report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage  

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, I am rising on a point of order.
    The point of order concerns the report that was just tabled: the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage respecting Bill C-10. I would respectfully submit that several of the amendments contained in that fifth report must be struck out because the committee exceeded its authority.
    Last Monday, June 7, the House adopted a time allocation motion limiting committee deliberations to only five further hours. The part of the House's order that is relevant to this point of order says, at pages 104.3 and 104.4 of the Journals:
    That, at the expiry of the time provided in this order for the committee stage, any proceedings before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage on the said bill shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.
    At the committee's second meeting, on Thursday, June 10, those five hours had expired and the Canadian heritage committee proceeded to the disposal of the committee stage of the bill, in accordance with the House's order.
     The chair of the committee, the hon. member for Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame, informed the committee that, by the terms of the House's order, the amendments that had been placed on notice could not be moved and therefore could not be voted upon by the committee. The Liberal-Bloc-NDP majority on the committee, however, then overturned the chair's ruling, thereby forcing the committee to consider these amendments without any debate, without any opportunity to question expert witnesses from the department of Canadian Heritage and without any opportunity to hear the wording of the amendment read aloud.
    Those events are recorded in the relevant minutes of proceedings for the committee's second meeting on June 10. The amendments subsequently considered by the committee are recorded in those minutes of proceedings, as well, for the committee's meeting on Friday, June 11. Both sets of minutes, as noted in the comment in the fifth report immediately preceding the chair's signature, have been laid upon the table, among others.
    House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition says, at page 779:
     Since a committee may appeal the decision of its Chair and reverse that decision, it may happen that a committee will report a bill with amendments that were initially ruled out of order by the Chair. The admissibility of those amendments, and of any other amendments made by a committee, may therefore be challenged on procedural grounds when the House resumes its consideration of the bill at report stage. The admissibility of the amendments is then determined by the Speaker of the House, whether in response to a point of order or on his or her own initiative.
    That is why I am rising today on this point of order. In overturning the committee chair's ruling and forcing amendments that had not been properly moved to be voted upon, I respectfully submit that the committee exceeded its authority by contradicting the House's order, which required that “every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.”
    To be clear, the questions necessary to dispose of the clause by clause consideration of the bill are questions on the clauses themselves, not amendments that have simply been placed on notice.
    The Chair has previously considered a similar case, from which I believe in the current circumstances a distinction may be drawn.
    On November 29, 2012, Mr. Speaker, one of your predecessors, the hon. member for Regina—Qu'Appelle, made a ruling at page 12,609 of the Debates, concerning the proceedings of the Standing Committee on Finance respecting Bill C-45, the Jobs and Growth Act, 2012. In that case, the committee had adopted a timetabling motion concerning its study of the bill. It contained language that was similar to that which the House adopted last week in its time allocation motion concerning Bill C-10.
     In the case of the finance committee, the chair had made a similar ruling to the one made by the hon. member for Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame and, again, the committee overturned that ruling.
    Following a point of order in the House concerning the finance committee's report on the former Bill C-45, the former Speaker did not set aside the committee's report on the bill. The distinction between these two cases, I would argue, is that the finance committee was interpreting a motion that the committee itself had adopted. In the current case, seven members of the Canadian heritage committee substituted their own judgment for how an order of this House, voted upon by the entire House, should be interpreted.

  (1600)  

    We often refer to committees as masters of their own proceedings, but Bosc and Gagnon put that in a very important context at pages 1057 and 1058, which state:
    The concept refers to the freedom committees normally have to organize their work as they see fit and the option they have of defining, on their own, certain rules of procedure that facilitate their proceedings.
    These freedoms are not, however, total or absolute. First, it is useful to bear in mind that committees are creatures of the House. This means that they have no independent existence and are not permitted to take action unless they have been authorized or empowered to do so by the House.
    While the case of former Bill C-45 was of a committee majority preferring its own interpretation of a committee motion, the current case of Bill C-10 is of a committee majority seeking to override the House's instruction. It was, to borrow the words of Bosc and Gagnon, taking an action that it was authorized or empowered by the House to do. Therefore, I would respectfully submit that the amendments made to clauses 8 through 47 of Bill C-10 must be ruled out of order and therefore struck from the fifth report.
    I would further ask that the committee's consideration of amendments after the proceedings had been interrupted under the provisions of the time allocation order be disregarded by the Chair for the purposes of applying the note attached to Standing Order 76(1)(5) respecting the criteria considered by the Chair in the selection of motions at the report stage.
    I do not make this point of order lightly. In fact, one of those amendments that I refer to was sponsored by my own party and several others were voted for by my colleagues, but that is beside the point. Our rules must be followed. Parliamentary procedure is not a body of play pretend rules that can just be set aside at the first moment of inconvenience. It does not matter whether these flawed decisions were taken by majority vote or even with unanimity because the rules of the House must be followed.
    The hon. member for Regina—Qu'Appelle, in a different ruling on May 1, 2014, at page 4787 of the Debates, concerning Bill C-30, the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act, found that amendments that were adopted by the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, without procedural objection and without dissent, had to be struck from the bill because the committee had acted outside of its authority in adopting them, commenting:
    The Chair has no difficulty agreeing with the parliamentary secretary that the amendment is relevant to the subject matter of the bill. Indeed, as a fellow Saskatchewan MP who represents a large number of grain producers, I can certainly agree on the importance of this issue. As Speaker, however, not only can I not simply act according to my personal beliefs, I must respect House of Commons precedents which, in the case before us, are only too clear.
    The correct place to put forward the amendments to clauses 8 through 47 of Bill C-10, in light of the proper application of a time allocation order, is at the report stage here on the floor of the House.
    Additionally, and in the alternative to the matter I have already raised, I would also draw your attention, Mr. Speaker, to the amendment known as amendment LIB-9.1 that was made by the Canadian heritage committee to clause 23. The Chair ruled the particular amendment out of order for exceeding the scope of the bill and that it breached the so-called “parent act” rule, which is explained by Bosc and Gagnon at page 771, by proposing to amend a section of the Broadcasting Act which was not touched by the provisions of Bill C-10. The committee, however, voted to overturn the Chair's ruling in that regard as well.
     In that particular case, the Chair may simply have to regard the fifth report and note that the amendment on its face does something which the committee was not permitted to do and therefore should be ruled out of order and struck from the fifth report.
    The solution for the government here is, like the case of the former Bill C-30, to propose an amendment at third reading to recommit Bill C-10 to the Canadian heritage committee so it may, once properly instructed and empowered, make Liberal-9.1 amendment in the proper manner.

  (1605)  

    I thank the hon. member for his point of order. I will be returning quickly with a decision prior to the report stage of that report.

  (1610)  

Committees of the House

International Trade  

[Routine Proceedings]
    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the eighth report of the Standing Committee on International Trade, entitled “Investor-State Dispute Settlement: Some Considerations for Canada”.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
    Madam Speaker, I will be presenting the dissenting opinion today on behalf of Conservative committee members on the Standing Committee on International Trade. I want to thank the analysts, clerk and staff of the committee in working to prepare the report on select impacts of the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism, also known as ISDS.
    Attached with the report is the dissenting opinion from Conservative members and in this we highlight the role ISDS still has in trade agreements and between countries in depoliticizing the process of dispute settlement. We hope the Government of Canada recognizes the importance of this when it comes to settling investment disputes. We heard from many experts, academics and lawyers in the field during our study on why ISDS mechanisms were still relevant in today's world.
     When studying these selected impacts of something as important as ISDS, it is important that we paint a comprehensive and well-rounded picture on ISDS. I hope the government will continue to consider the full picture as it looks to negotiate trade agreements in the future.

Canada Elections Act

     She said: Madam Speaker. Today, I am introducing my bill to get indigenous languages on the ballot. Indigenous languages, democracy and reducing barriers to voting are all important to all members of the House, and I look forward to everyone's support in this initiative.
    During colonization, the languages of these lands were replaced by settler languages. Indigenous peoples in Canada have always faced barriers in participation in politics. In the last election, voter turnout for indigenous peoples living on reserves was 51.8%. In Nunavut, which is almost entirely indigenous, voter turnout was under 50%, well below the Canadian average of 76% voter turnout.
    The federal government's report in PROC recognized that indigenous peoples, especially elders, would face significant barriers to voting in a COVID election. How can it be that in Nunavut, where 46% of voters' first language is Inuktitut or Inuinnaqtun, ballots are in only English and French. Imagine if the voters in Quebec or Alberta could not vote in English or French. This is the situation that many constituents in Nunavut face every federal election.
    It is profoundly important to us, the indigenous peoples of these lands, to have what we deserve. We need to seize this COVID election as an opportunity to put our indigenous languages where they belong: on Elections Canada ballots beside English and French. This bill asks the federal government to put reconciliation on the ballot. Recognizing the rights of indigenous peoples to vote in their languages is one small step in the right direction.
    I am urging the federal government and all members of the House to come together and ensure that we use every available opportunity to immediately right this wrong in the spirit of true reconciliation. My name may not be on the ballot in this upcoming election, but I want indigenous languages to be.

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

  (1615)  

Privacy Act

    She said: Madam Speaker, it is an honour to introduce my very first private member's bill today, an act to amend the Privacy Act, prevention of violence against women. I would like to thank my colleague, the member for Port Moody—Coquitlam, for all her hard work on this very important issue and for seconding the bill.
    Gender-based violence is an epidemic that disproportionately affects women. Just recently we heard of another woman who was attacked and killed by her intimate partner. My private member's bill proposes to amend the Privacy Act to provide that personal information under the control of the government institution that relates to an individual who has been charged with or convicted of an offence involving intimate partner violence may, in certain circumstances, be disclosed without the consent of the individual.
    I look forward to the debate on this bill, and I hope I can get the support of all members for this.

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

    Madam Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties and if you seek it, I believe you will find unanimous consent for the following motion: That, given that since the beginning of the pandemic, Air Canada has received more than $6 billion in public funding despite laying off more than 20,000 workers; that Air Canada's board of directors approved $20 million in bonuses, $10 million of which were paid to executives; and that Air Canada executives responded to public outrage by pledging to repay $2 million in bonuses, the House call on the government to require Air Canada to fully reimburse the $10 million in bonuses given to its executive team and to cancel all approved bonuses for senior executives.

[Translation]

    All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.

[English]

    An hon. member: No.

  (1620)  

Petitions

Human Organ Trafficking  

    Madam Speaker, I rise today to present a petition from constituents concerned about forced organ harvesting. I think we all agree this horrific practice must be stopped.
     I thank my colleagues, the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan and Senator Salma Ataullahjan, for their advocacy on this issue, including Bill S-204, recently tabled in the House. The bill would create a new Criminal Code offence for trafficking human organs, while also amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to prohibit entry into Canada of any permanent resident or foreign national who is believed to have engaged in this abhorrent practice.
    Let us do the right thing and promptly pass this important legislation. Lives hang in the balance.

Natural Resources  

    Madam Speaker, it is an honour to table two petitions today.
    The first is petition e-3159, which has 10,984 signatures from people who are concerned about approved strip mines in the Alberta Rocky Mountains.
    The petition states that strip mining in all its forms causes irreversible damage to the environment, puts watersheds supplying clean drinking water for millions of Canadians at risk of permanent contamination and threatens billions of dollars in revenue and tens of thousands of jobs in agriculture, recreation and tourism. Removing overburden exposes contaminated materials to the elements, destroys habitat and allows wind and water borne pollution to be spread for hundreds of kilometres. Finally, proper consultations with indigenous communities about these mines were not done before they were approved.
    The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to impose an immediate ban on new or expanded strip mines in the Rocky Mountains.

Forestry Industry  

    Madam Speaker, in the second petition, the petitioners are deeply concerned about protecting endangered old growth. They note that a number of first nations have asked for deferrals on old growth.
    The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to work with the provinces and first nations to immediately halt logging of endangered old-growth ecosystems, fund the long-term protection of old-growth ecosystems as a priority for Canada's climate action plan and reconciliation with indigenous peoples, support value-added forestry initiatives and partnerships with first nations to ensure Canada's forestry industry is sustainable and based on the harvesting of second- and third-growth forests, ban the export of raw logs and maximize resources for use for local jobs, and ban the use of whole trees for wood pellet biofuel production.

Travel Advisers  

    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition on behalf of independent travel advisers across the country.
     There are over 12,000 independent travel advisers in Canada who have been without income for one year because of government-imposed COVID travel restrictions, and these small business owners are sole proprietors. Federal assistance programs like CEBA, CERB, CEWS and RRRF exclude the majority of these small business owners, leaving them to slip through the cracks and forcing them into bankruptcy.
    The petitioners are asking the government to provide sector-specific funding for independent travel advisers and extend qualifications for the RRRF in the urban areas to include sole proprietors. Many of them are constituents of Regina—Lewvan.

The Environment  

    Madam Speaker, I am honoured to present two petitions today that are of key interest to the constituents of Saanich—Gulf Islands.
    The first petition relates to a very significant body of water at the heart of this riding, Saanich Inlet, which is, in effect, one side of the Saanich Peninsula, the one that is more inland and therefore has very little flushing capacity. It is basically up against the side of the riding that continues up toward the Malahat, and needs protection primarily from pollution, sewage from recreational vehicles and any online sewage contamination.
    As there is such a thing in Transport Canada, the petitioners are asking the Minister of Transport to designate the Saanich Inlet a zero-discharge zone to ensure that its ecological fragility is protected.

  (1625)  

Forestry Industry  

    Madam Speaker, the second petition goes to another kind of ecosystem, namely the old-growth forests of Canada, specifically in British Columbia, where only 2.7% of the original old growth remains.
    Old-growth forests are not renewable, and the petitioners make this point. They also point out that the federal government has an opportunity to assist by working with first nations governments, which have been increasingly raising their voices and asking for logging deferrals. The potential for federal action includes banning raw log exports and ending the use of forests as so-called biofuel for electricity.

Traffic Stops  

    Madam Speaker, I am tabling 10 petitions in the House today.
    The first petition is signed by a group of citizens who are concerned about policies related to people being pulled over and having their vehicles impounded. The petitioners highlight a particular incident from this winter, when a young woman was pulled over on a drive from Toronto to Ottawa in the middle of the night. She was speeding, her car was impounded and she was simply left by officers on the side of the road. She asked officers what she was supposed to do in this case and she was told it was all part of the journey. She was able to get a ride to a truck stop, where she camped out for a number of hours until someone could pick her up. However, this was potentially a very dangerous situation for someone to be in.
    The petitioners call on the government to supply police with the resources they need to effectively uphold the law and avoid putting citizens in positions where they could be vulnerable, and to ensure that vehicles are impounded at night only if it is absolutely necessary for public safety and that arrangements for the protection of owners of vehicles are made by police in these cases.

Equalization  

    Madam Speaker, the second petition is about the equalization formula. The petitioners are concerned about the fact that there is a cap on the fiscal stabilization program. This negatively impacts provinces like mine, Alberta. They are also concerned about perverse outcomes that can result from equalization in provinces where there has been a significant drop in revenue.
    The petitioners want the government to immediately increase and backdate the fiscal stabilization program, and they call on the government to commit to working with the provinces to address the current inequalities that exist in the equalization formula.

Human Rights  

    Madam Speaker, the third petition highlights the fact that, following the recent conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia that dealt with the Republic of Artsakh or Nagorno-Karabakh, various Armenian prisoners of war were taken who, in violation of agreements, continue to be held. The petitioners want to see action on the fact that prisoners of war continue to be held. They call on the government to condemn Azerbaijan's illegal detention of Armenian POWs, call for their immediate release, use all diplomatic tools available to advocate for the release of those held captive, condemn state-sponsored anti-Armenian hatred in Azerbaijan, denounce the aggressive rhetoric from Turkey and Azerbaijan against Armenia and Artsakh, provide the necessary humanitarian assistance to ensure the safety and viability of the population of Artsakh, and facilitate the exchange of remaining fatalities.
    Madam Speaker, the next petition highlights the human rights situation of the Hazaras, and in particular the historical violence that has been experienced by the Hazara community, with various acts of genocide and other acts of violence. This is the indigenous community in Afghanistan.
    The petitioners call on the Government of Canada to formally recognize the ethnic cleansing perpetrated against the Hazaras between 1891 and 1893 as a genocide, to designate September 25 as the Hazara genocide memorial day and to support Bill C-287 to ensure that all development assistance sent from Canada to Afghanistan is contributing to the peace and security of the region for all peoples.

Property Rights  

    Madam Speaker, the next petitions I am presenting is about property rights. The petitioners say the government should seek the agreement of the provinces to amend the Constitution to include property rights and take steps to enact legislation to ensure that full, just and timely compensation will be paid to persons who are deprived of personal or private property as a result of any federal government initiative, policy, process, regulation or legislation.

Conversion Therapy  

    Madam Speaker, the next petition is on Bill C-6. The petitioners call on the government to move forward with efforts to ban conversion therapy. They also want the government to fix the definition in the bill. They are concerned about how a poorly drafted definition could result in restrictions on private conversations in which people are not engaged in any kind of quasi-therapeutic practice, but are simply having conversations and expressing personal views. They want the House to protect freedom of speech, clarify the definition in the bill and then move forward with a ban on conversion therapy.

Human Organ Trafficking  

    Madam Speaker, the next petition is in support of Bill S-204, a bill that would make it a criminal offence for a person to go abroad and receive an organ without consent. The petitioners are supportive of that bill and want to see it passed as quickly as possible. The bill is currently before the House, having unanimously passed in the Senate. It unanimously passed in the House in a previous form.

  (1630)  

Freedom of Speech  

    Madam Speaker, the eighth petition is about Bill C-10. It notes that the CRTC already has sweeping regulatory powers over traditional forms of media. The original mandate of Bill C-10 was to expand those regulatory powers to include online platforms, but Liberal members have since used their position on the heritage committee to amend Bill C-10 to include social media platforms and other Internet platforms. This would amount to a significant attack on freedom of speech.
    The petitioners want to see the government reverse its position on this and defend the freedom of speech of all Canadians. This petition calls on the government to respect Canadians' fundamental right to freedom of expression and to prevent Internet censorship.

Human Rights  

    Madam Speaker, the ninth petition highlights the genocide of Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims in China.
    The petitioners call on the government to formally recognize that Uighurs in China have been and are being subject to genocide, and to use the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act, the Magnitsky act, to sanction those who are responsible for the heinous crimes that are taking place as we speak in the People's Republic of China. The petitioners would also like to see the government reform supply chain legislation so that we are not importing products made from slave labour.

Religious Freedom  

    Madam Speaker, the 10th and final petition highlights religious freedom and some of the challenges around public worship during the pandemic.
    The petitioners note that restrictions on public gatherings during the pandemic are legitimate as long as those restrictions are evidence-based and are applied on an equal basis. They therefore call on the Government of Canada to seek dialogue with faith communities in Canada with an eye to the development of mutually agreeable guidelines for allowing public worship to occur during times of pandemic while preventing the spread of disease.
    I commend all of these petitions to the consideration of my colleagues.

Questions on the Order Paper

[Text]

Question No. 667--
Mr. Blaine Calkins:
    With regard to the RCMP's Auxiliary Program for the K Division: (a) has a decision been made related to the resumption of allowing (i) tier two volunteers, (ii) tier three volunteers; (b) if the answer to (a)(i) or (ii) is affirmative, (i) what was the decision, (ii) when was the decision made, (iii) who was informed of the decision, (iv) was the decision communicated to the public, and, if so, how; (c) if the answer to (a)(i) or (ii) is negative, (i) when will the decision be made, (ii) what criteria are being used to make the decision; and (d) which organizations and individuals outside of the RCMP have been consulted in relation to these decisions?
Mr. Joël Lightbound (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), (i) no decision has been made specific to tier 2; (ii) tier 3 volunteers were approved pending the drafting and signing of a memorandum of understanding.
    In response to (b), (i) the Alberta RCMP, in consultation with the Government of Alberta, decided to allow the resumption of the usage of tier 3 volunteers, pending the drafting and signing of a memorandum of understanding; (ii) November 14, 2019; (iii) the Government of Alberta; (iv) in the absence of a memorandum of understanding, this decision was not released publicly. However, Albertan communities that have inquired about the status of the auxiliary program have been advised that the program remains in abeyance until a mutually acceptable position on insurance liability is reached.
    In response to (c), the decision will be made after the signing of a new memorandum of understanding.
    In response to (d), no outside organizations were consulted except for the Government of Alberta, which is our contract partner.
Question No. 668--
Mr. Daniel Blaikie:
    With regard to the government report entitled "2018 Export Development Canada Legislative Review" presented in July 2019, which contains 64 findings: (a) what actions is the government taking to reform Export Development Canada (EDC) in light of this report; (b) with respect to finding 51, will the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade propose legislation to amend the Export Development Act to cause EDC to observe the higher disclosure standard expected by stakeholders; (c) with respect to finding 53, will the minister propose legislation to amend the Export Development Act to (i) establish a standard to be used by EDC in its assessment of companies’ human rights and environmental performance, (ii) require that EDC undertake due diligence to assess the human rights, environmental and corruption risks associated with transactions and companies, (iii) prohibit EDC from supporting corporate activity that causes or contributes to human rights violations or significant environmental damage; and (d) with respect to finding 55, will the minister propose legislation to amend the Export Development Act to ensure that EDC’s business is conducted in a way that supports Canada in achieving its international commitments to reduce emissions in the fight against climate change, including by prohibiting EDC from supporting (i) projects that would increase extraction of coal, oil and gas, (ii) companies who rely significantly on coal for their operations, (iii) companies whose primary business is the export of coal, oil and gas?
Ms. Rachel Bendayan (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, in response to parts (a) to (d), the “2018 Export Development Canada Legislative Review” report was tabled in Parliament on June 20, 2019. The report has not yet been reviewed by a parliamentary committee. However, Export Development Canada, EDC, and the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade have taken measures that address the key findings of the report.
    EDC has developed an ambitious new human rights policy built on the United Nations guiding principles on business and human rights. With this policy, EDC became the first Canadian commercial banking institution to release a dedicated human rights policy. The policy commits EDC to conduct transaction-related human rights due diligence taking a risk-based approach; use its leverage to influence customers’ practice and enable remediation for human rights impacts; communicate with stakeholders in good faith; track and report human rights procedures, practices and performance; and use its influence to encourage stronger human rights practices from peers and customers.
    To build on this approach, in 2021, the minister asked EDC to enhance its activities with respect to disclosure standards, responsible business conduct and corporate social responsibility in her annual statement of accountabilities, SPA, letter to the chair of Export Development Canada. The minister specifically requested EDC to strengthen its accessibility of information for stakeholders and Canadians and continue to model its human rights policy on industry-accepted best practices and collaborate with corporate social responsibility, CSR, leaders. EDC is committed to upholding rigorous standards of responsible business conduct, RBC, and using its influence to promote RBC within the business community.
    EDC has been equally active in strengthening its policies and activities with respect to climate change. In its new 2019 climate change policy, EDC committed to fully end its support to coal and coal-related sectors; measure, monitor, and set targets to reducing the carbon intensity of its lending portfolio; increase transparency around climate-related risks and opportunities, including fully implementing the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, TCFD; and integrate climate-related considerations, such as carbon intensity, into its risk assessment process.
    Since the adoption of this policy, EDC set a carbon target to reduce support to carbon-intensive industries by 15% of 2018 levels by 2023. EDC met this target two years early and is currently working to establish a new and more ambitious target. At the same time, EDC has emerged as Canada’s largest financier of the clean technology sector, providing $4.55 billion of support to Canada’s clean technology sector in 2020.
    As with human rights, climate change issues have been a ministerial priority, as indicated in the SPA letter guidance to the chair of EDC’s board of directors. Specifically, in 2021, the minister has asked that EDC scale up and report on its climate change solutions; update its climate change policy to further align investments across its portfolio with the climate goals of the Paris Agreement; end its financial support to international transactions in the oil and gas sector involving foreign companies; and fully consider and evaluate greenhouse gas emissions and climate change considerations as a key aspect of its transaction due diligence.
    In addition to responding to the findings of the legislative review, the government continues to develop policies to strengthen EDC’s support of Canadian exporters while upholding Canadian values and human rights. Budget 2021 announced the government’s intention to work with Export Development Canada to enhance supports to small and medium-sized exporters and to strengthen human rights considerations in export supports. The government may propose amendments to the Export Development Act.
Question No. 670--
Mr. John Barlow:
    With regard to the COVID-19 vaccine contracts that Canada has with seven vaccine manufacturers: (a) which of the contracts contain transparency clauses similar to the one found in the UK-AstraZeneca vaccine contract, section 17.13, which allow for the disclosure of information to government bodies, including Parliament, parliamentary committees and any parliamentary reporting requirements; and (b) what are the details of all such clauses, broken down by manufacturer?
Mr. Steven MacKinnon (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, PSPC cannot disclose details of specific vaccine agreements unilaterally. This includes the confidentiality clauses since they are part of the agreements themselves. We continue to have discussions with suppliers about opportunities to share information publicly.
Question No. 671--
Mr. John Barlow:
    With regard to the COVID-19 vaccine contracts that the government has with seven vaccine manufacturers, including the recently signed contract with Pfizer for booster shots: (a) what is the cost per vaccine dose, broken down by contract and manufacturer; and (b) what specific remedies are available to the government when manufacturers do not meet their contractual obligations, and which, if any, of the remedies have been pursued, broken down by manufacturer?
Mr. Steven MacKinnon (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, PSPC cannot disclose details of specific vaccine agreements unilaterally. This includes the confidentiality clauses, since they are part of the agreements themselves. We continue to have discussions with suppliers about opportunities to share information publicly.
Question No. 674--
Mr. John Nater:
    With regard to legal expenses incurred by the government that are related to lawsuits filed against the government from individuals claiming to have suffered from the Havana syndrome: what are the total legal expenses incurred to date, broken down by case?
Hon. David Lametti (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with respect to legal expenses incurred by the government that are related to lawsuits filed against the government from individuals claiming to have suffered from the Havana syndrome, to the extent that the information that has been requested is or may be protected by any legal privileges, including solicitor-client privilege, the federal Crown asserts those privileges. In this case, it has only waived solicitor-client privilege, and only to the extent of revealing the total legal costs, as defined below.
    The total legal costs, actual and notional costs, associated with the lawsuits filed against the government from individuals claiming to have suffered from the Havana syndrome amount to approximatively $437,000. The services targeted here are litigation services provided, in these cases, by the Department of Justice, as well as litigation support services. Department of Justice lawyers, notaries and paralegals are salaried public servants and therefore no legal fees are incurred for their services. A “notional amount” can, however, be provided to account for the legal services they provide. The notional amount is calculated by multiplying the total hours recorded in the responsive files for the relevant period by the applicable approved internal legal services hourly rates. Actual costs represent file-related legal disbursements paid by the Department of Justice and then cost-recovered from client departments or agencies. The total amount mentioned in this response is based on information contained in Department of Justice systems, as of April 28, 2021.
Question No. 680--
Ms. Candice Bergen:
    With regard to the registration and deregistration of businesses in Canada since January 1, 2016: (a) how many businesses have deregistered, broken down by month and region or city; (b) of the businesses in (a), how many employees are listed as working at each business, broken down by region or city; (c) how many businesses have registered, broken down by month and region or city; and (d) of the businesses in (c), how many employees are listed as working at each business, broken down by region or city?
Hon. François-Philippe Champagne (Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, Innovation, Science and Economic Development undertook an extensive preliminary search in order to determine what would fall within the scope of information collected by federal sources and the amount of time that would be required to prepare a comprehensive response. We concluded that producing and validating a comprehensive response to this question from federal sources is not possible in the time allotted and could lead to the disclosure of incomplete and misleading information. In addition, some of the information requested would have required direct contact with provincial jurisdictions.

[English]

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns

    Madam Speaker, if the government's responses to Question Nos. 663, 665, 666, 669, 672, 673, and 675 to 679 could be made orders for returns, these returns would be tabled immediately.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès): Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Text]

Question No. 663--
Mr. Earl Dreeshen:
    With regard to the government’s response to question Q-488 on the Order Paper and the $941,140.13 provided to China for the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives project: what is the itemized breakdown of the local projects in China that money was spent on, including, for each project, the (i) amount, (ii) project description, (iii) name of the local organization that proposed and implemented the project?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 665--
Mr. Earl Dreeshen:
    With regard to exemptions from the quarantine rules for individuals entering Canada, broken down by month since March 1, 2020: (a) how many individuals have received exemptions from the quarantine requirements, broken down by reason for the exemption (essential worker, amateur sports, etc.); and (b) how many individuals received exemptions from the quarantine requirements after receiving a ministerial exemption, such as a national interest designation, broken down by minister and type of designation?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 666--
Ms. Michelle Rempel Garner:
    With regard to the government's use of Switch Health for post-arrival coronavirus tests for travellers: (a) what are the service standards in terms of distributing, picking up, and processing tests; (b) what are the service standards for responding to client inquiries or complaints; (c) in what percentage of cases did Switch Health meet or exceed service standards; (d) for cases where standards were not met, what was the reason given; (e) how many of the required post-arrival tests were never completed; (f) of the tests in (e), what is the breakdown by reason (Switch Health unable to provide service in Spanish, traveler refusal, etc.); (g) was there a competitive bid process for the contract awarded to Switch Health and, if so, who were the other bidders; and (h) what are the details of all meetings, including telephone or virtual, that Switch Health had with the government prior to the awarding of the contract, including the (i) date, (ii) names and titles of representatives from Switch Health, (iii) names and titles of government representatives, including any ministerial staff?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 669--
Mr. Kenny Chiu:
    With regard to the Federal Framework for Suicide Prevention: (a) what national level research has been conducted on lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, Two-Spirit and queer or questioning populations, people with disabilities, newcomers and refugees, youth, seniors, Indigenous Peoples, first responders since issuance of the framework; (b) where can the public access the findings of the research in (a); (c) is the framework being updated to account for the impact of COVID-19 on these populations; (d) what current support programs are being offered under the framework; and (e) what knowledge-sharing and outreach initiatives have been undertaken since the framework has been implemented?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 672--
Mr. Michael Barrett:
    With regard to costs incurred by the government to scrap decommissioned warships, broken down by ship: (a) what was the total cost related to scrapping the (i) HMCS Fraser, (ii) HMCS Athabaskan, (iii) HMCS Protector, (iv) HMCS Preserver, (v) MV Sun Sea, (vi) HMCS Cormorant; (b) for each total in (a), what is the itemized breakdown of expenses; (c) what are the details of all towing costs associated with the scrapping of ships in (a), including the locations where the ships were towed to and from, if applicable; and (d) what are the details, including totals, for all costs associated with asbestos removal from the ships in (a)?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 673--
Mr. Michael Barrett:
    With regard to all monetary and non-monetary contracts, grants, agreements and arrangements entered into by the government with Huawei and its known affiliates, subsidiaries or parent companies since January 1, 2016: what are the details of such contracts, grants, agreements, or arrangements, broken down by (i) date, (ii) amount, (iii) department, (iv) start and end date, (v) summary of terms, (vi) whether or not the item was made public through proactive disclosure, (vii) specific details of goods or services provided to the government as a result of the contract, grant, agreement or arrangement?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 675--
Mr. Earl Dreeshen:
    With regard to government-issued credit cards, broken down by department, agency, or ministerial office, where applicable: (a) how many credit cards have payments that are past due as of April 28, 2021; (b) what is the total value of the past due balances; (c) what is the number of credit cards and value of the past due balances in (a) and (b) that were assigned to ministers, parliamentary secretaries, or ministerial exempt staff; (d) how many instances have occurred since January 1, 2017, where government-issued credit cards were defaulted on; (e) what is the total value of the balances defaulted on in (d); (f) what is the total number of instances in (d) and amount in (e) where the government ended up using taxpayer funds to pay off the balances; and (g) what are the number of instances and amounts in (d), (e) and (f) for credit cards that were assigned to ministers, parliamentary secretaries, or ministerial exempt staff?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 676--
Mr. Jeremy Patzer:
    With regard to the renovation, redesign and refurnishing of ministers’ or deputy ministers’ offices since February 1, 2019: (a) what is the total cost of any spending on renovating, redesigning, and refurnishing for each ministerial office, broken down by (i) total cost, (ii) moving services, (iii) renovating services, (iv) painting, (v) flooring, (vi) furniture, (vii) appliances, (viii) art installation, (ix) all other expenditures; (b) what is the total cost of any spending on renovating, redesigning, and refurnishing for each deputy minister’s office, broken down by (i) the total cost, (ii) moving services, (iii) renovating services, (iv) painting, (v) flooring, (vi) furniture, (vii) appliances, (viii) art installation, (ix) all other expenditures; and (c) what are the details of all projects related to (a) or (b), including the project description and date of completion?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 677--
Mr. Jeremy Patzer:
    With regard to reports, studies, assessments, and deliverables prepared for the government, including any department, agency, Crown corporation or other government entity, by Gartner 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. 678--
Ms. Candice Bergen:
    With regard to sole-sourced contracts related to COVID-19 spending since November 25, 2020: (a) how many contracts have been sole-sourced; (b) what are the details of each sole-sourced contract, including the (i) date of the award, (ii) description of goods or services, including volume, (iii) final amount, (iv) vendor, (v) country of vendor; (c) how many sole-sourced contracts have been awarded to domestic-based companies; and (d) how many sole-sourced contracts have been awarded to foreign-based companies, broken down by country where the company is based?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 679--
Ms. Candice Bergen:
    With regard to ministers and exempt staff members flying on government aircraft, including helicopters, since September 28, 2020: what are the details of all such flights, including (i) the date, (ii) the origin, (iii) the destination, (iv) the type of aircraft, (v) which ministers and exempt staff members were on board?
    (Return tabled)

[English]

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

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

  (1635)  

[Translation]

Broadcasting Act

Bill C-10—Time Allocation Motion  

Hon. Steven Guilbeault (for the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons)  
    moved:
    That, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House, Bill C‑10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, shall be disposed of as follows:
(a) the bill may be taken up at report stage immediately after the adoption of this order;
(b) not more than one hour shall be allotted to the consideration of the bill at report stage and, at the conclusion of the time provided at report stage, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment, provided that, if a recorded division is requested on any motion, it shall not be deferred, except pursuant to Standing Order 76.1(8);
(c) a motion for third reading may be made immediately after the bill has been concurred in at report stage;
(d) when the bill is taken up at the third reading stage, a member of each recognized party and a member of the Green Party each be allowed to speak for not more than 10 minutes followed by five minutes for questions and comments and, at the conclusion of the time provided for debate or when no member rises to speak, whichever is earlier, all questions necessary for the disposal of the third reading stage of the bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment provided that, if a recorded division is requested on any motion, it shall not be deferred; and
(e) the House shall not adjourn until the proceedings on the bill have been completed, except pursuant to a motion proposed by a minister of the Crown, provided that once proceedings have been completed, the House may then proceed to consider other business or, if it has already passed the ordinary hour of daily adjournment, the House shall adjourn to the next sitting day.
    It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Regina—Lewvan, The Economy; the hon. member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, National Defence; the hon. member for Edmonton Strathcona, Indigenous Affairs.
    Madam Speaker, if we really want to understand where we are, we have to look at where we started.
    Bill C‑10 came out of the work of the Yale commission, which worked on this for nearly a year and a half. The commission was created by my predecessors. It travelled across the country gathering input from experts and stakeholders, including groups representing people in music, visual arts, television and film.
    The Yale commission received close to 2,000 briefs and submitted its report in early 2020. We took that input from the consultations and feedback from a group of leading Canadian experts, including the former director general of the CRTC, Ms. Yale, and started working on Bill C‑10. We worked hard to do what the previous overhaul of the Broadcasting Act in the early 1990s did when the Conservatives modernized it. The act was created to protect Canadian artists, organizations and businesses from the American cultural invasion.
    We all know that the American cultural invasion is powerful and that it can steamroll any culture on the planet. I have discussed these issues with ministers in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. Many countries worldwide are currently dealing with the issue of cultural sovereignty.
    This is the spirit in which we tabled Bill C‑10. At the time, I was the first one to say that the bill could be enhanced, improved and amended. I would remind members that the last time the Broadcasting Act was amended, the government of the day overlooked one very important issue: the ownership of Canadian broadcasting companies. The act was amended in the early 1990s, and the Governor in Council issued an order in council a few years later, in 1997, to protect the ownership of Canadian broadcasting companies, because this had been overlooked.
    All of this is to say that, when we propose a bill, we do our best to make sure that it represents the best of our intentions. I would like to remind all of the members in the House that Bill C‑10 was praised by cultural organizations across the country. According to many, its passage was a historic event.

  (1640)  

[English]

    Not only was the tabling of the bill saluted from coast to coast to coast, but the National Assembly of Quebec voted unanimously in favour of Bill C-10. It said that we need Bill C-10 and that it is a good piece of legislation. Among other things, it would help the French language, French producers, French artists and French composers to better perform in this environment. Another feature of Bill C-10 is that it would also further help and support indigenous creators, indigenous artists and indigenous producers in ways the previous incarnation of the bill unfortunately did not do.
    This bill is not about content moderation. The CRTC, in its decades of existence, has never said to Shaw, CBC or TVA that they can do one program but cannot do another program. The CRTC has never had that power.
    I heard one member talking about the sweeping powers of the CRTC. The CRTC is not above Canadian laws. It must comply with our bodies of laws and regulations, and it is a regulator. We have many regulators in different sectors, and the CRTC, from that point of view, is no different than existing regulators. What Bill C-10 wants to do is to ensure web giants pay their fair share.
    As I have said many times in this House, as well as at the heritage committee, the independent, professional civil servants at Canadian Heritage estimate that, by asking web giants to pay their fair share, we would be adding revenues in excess of $800 million a year for our creators, artists, independent producers and musicians. That figure is an estimate, not an exact figure, as we would have to adopt the bill and implement the regulations to know exactly how much it would be.
    I want to point out that, initially, when the heritage committee started working on the bill, things were going really well. The committee was able to go through roughly 20 amendments at every committee meeting. What has been really challenging to understand is the Conservative Party.
    By and large, we have four parties in this House that recognize the need to modernize the Broadcasting Act and agree on the goals. We do not agree on everything, but between the Greens, the NDP, the Bloc and us Liberals, I think there is vast agreement on what needs to be done.
    Frankly, I am trying to understand the position of the Conservative Party on this, as it has been a moving target. Initially, the Conservatives criticized the bill for not going far enough because we were not going after YouTube or integrating these really important companies in the bill, so we changed it. Then, all of a sudden, they changed their minds. It was not good enough. Not only was it not good enough, but they disagreed with their initial position.
    Then they started talking about this idea that somehow the bill would lead to censorship, which was proven wrong by the independent professional civil service of the justice ministry. The deputy minister came to testify at the heritage committee to that effect and produced analyses that showed Bill C-10 did not go against the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In fact, there are elements within Bill C-10 and the CRTC's own laws that state that the CRTC has to abide by the Charter of Rights.
    Because of that, the Conservatives claimed that it was an infringement on net neutrality. We tried to explain what net neutrality is and what it is not. Basically, net neutrality is about telecommunications. It is about the hardware and the ability of people to have access to networks. Bill C-10 does not do that. It is not about telecommunications at all.
    I think we are now faced with the fact that, because of the Conservative Party, we have lost months of work on Bill C-10. For every month that passes, artists, creators, musicians and technicians in this country lose roughly $70 million per month, so we must proceed with the adoption of Bill C-10. Artists, musicians and organizations across the country are asking us to do so.

  (1645)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank the minister for his intervention today and for trying to set the record straight with respect to what is happening with this bill. The reality of the situation is that, unfortunately, the Conservatives have attempted to hijack this bill in an effort to convince Canadians that the government is trying to limit free speech, but nothing could be further from the truth. This bill is about ensuring that Canadian content continues into the future.
    I think of artists such as the musicians in The Tragically Hip, who came from my riding of Kingston and the Islands. It is quite possible that, in those early days, they may not have had the exposure they had without the requirements for Canadian content. This is really about helping to ensure that Canadian content and Canadian artists continue to have that level of exposure right from the infancy stages, before they are popular, when they really need it.
     I am wondering if the minister could comment on how he sees this helping future artists as those in The Tragically Hip were helped.
    Madam Speaker, the member for Kingston and the Islands is absolutely right. That is exactly what Bill C-10 is about and exactly what it aims to do.
    As we know, web giants are taking more and more of the share of how we listen to music, watch TV and watch movies. Unless they are brought into the Canadian regulatory framework, then the very reason why we created those modifications in the early nineties will disappear, and we will lose our cultural sovereignty. That is precisely why Bill C-10 was brought forward and why we want it to be adopted as quickly as possible.
    Madam Speaker, the Minister of Canadian Heritage was right when he admitted this bill could be improved.
    The last two days in committee, we rammed through everything. There were no amendments and no discussion. There was nothing. Forty per cent of this bill was never talked about in the heritage committee, yet now we have another gag order thanks to the Bloc's support of the government.
    How can the minister of heritage stand here today and say that this bill is good for Canadians when over 40% of the bill was never even debated in committee?
    Madam Speaker, it is ironic that the Conservative Party would ask my colleague, of all its MPs, to ask me a question because he was one of the MPs who initially criticized the bill for not going far enough, saying that this bill needed to include companies like YouTube. When we did this, all of a sudden the Conservative Party changed its stance.
     The Conservatives did not really want one of the wealthiest companies in the world to pay its fair share. YouTube is part of Google. It is one of the largest, one of the wealthiest, one of the most powerful companies in the world. I just cannot figure out what happened to the Conservative Party, which, instead of standing for our artists and our Canadian creators, decided to stand with Google and YouTube. Frankly, I just cannot understand it.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, earlier the minister used a generic statement when he said that if we really want to understand where we are, we have to look at where we started.
    I like this kind of statement. It reminds me that it took six years for us to even get Bill C‑10. It also took 120 amendments. My Conservative colleague alluded to this, but it seems as though we have the Bloc Québécois to thank for this. The Liberals did not seem very enthusiastic about working on Bill C‑10 until we intervened.
    My question for the minister is the following: What inspired the Liberals' enthusiasm for working on Bill C‑10?
    Madam Speaker, I think that my colleague, unlike some of his colleagues in the Bloc Québécois, has not followed the evolution of Bill C-10. I would like to remind him that Bill C-10 is based on a consultation and the ensuing report, which was released in early 2020.
    If we do the calculations, 2020 to 2021 is not six years. It is a year and a few months. We acted promptly, swiftly and decisively.
    I defended Bill C-10 on every forum, as did our government. I would remind my esteemed colleague that the Quebec National Assembly adopted a unanimous resolution supporting Bill C-10. In addition, several thousand artists, including Yvon Deschamps, Lise Dion and Claude Legault, signed a petition in support of Bill C-10. I think that our work is recognized and appreciated by the artistic community.
    I will conclude by saying that I appreciate the Bloc Québécois’s support, as well as the work done by the Bloc and other members on the committee. Unfortunately, I do not appreciate the work of the Conservative Party.

  (1650)  

    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the minister for his remarks.
    Obviously, we have often discussed the fact that we need to support the cultural sector, that the Broadcasting Act is outdated and archaic and that digital platforms need to be included. We agree on the principle that web giants should be co-operating to help protect our artists.
    However, this afternoon, we are talking about this type of supermotion. What makes me uncomfortable is the Liberal government’s management of its legislative agenda. The minister is telling us that the government acted swiftly, but now here we are in a mad rush at the end of the session. We get the feeling that this was not a priority, and now we are under a five-hour closure. We did not even get 10 hours.
    Then we were asked to add committee meetings. We agreed to hold five meetings instead of two in one week to try to move things along a little. Now, even with the closure and the extra committee meetings, the minister is back with another fast-track procedure. Why did he not plan the work schedule better?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. I do not know if he has had the opportunity to speak with representatives of the cultural and arts sector in Quebec or elsewhere in Canada in recent weeks. All those I spoke to said that they wanted Bill C-10 to pass as soon as possible. That is what I was told by the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, ADISQ, the Union des artistes and many others. Had it not been for the Conservatives’ filibustering, I do not think we would be where we are now.
    However, I must admit that I am somewhat surprised that the NDP is not prepared to support artists, and that it let them down because they are afraid of the Conservative Party. I do not understand the NDP’s position. On the one hand, they say they are in favour of Bill C-10 and forcing web giants to contribute their fair share, but, on the other hand, when the time comes to support artists and take action, they run and hide. I am truly shocked.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I find it funny for the minister to be asking what happened to the Conservatives. We always have stood up and always will stand up for free speech. We believe that citizens across the country should not be censored on what they put on social media, like Facebook and YouTube. We believe people have a right to their own personal thoughts and opinions, unlike three-quarters of the front benches of the Liberal Party who want a basic dictatorship. Conservatives will always stand up for free speech and Bill C-10 curtails that. We will stand with all Canadians and their right to have their own opinions and own independent thought process.
    Madam Speaker, I am not sure there was a question in there, but I will give it a shot. I would be curious to hear the hon. member on his party's stance regarding free speech when they were in power under the Harper government. At the time, I used to work for not-for-profit organizations. Organizations like mine, and so many others in this country working on environmental issues, women's rights issues and international development issues, were the target of the government because we did not agree with it. That is word for word. People can look it up.
    I had a huge argument with the spokesperson for the Prime Minister's Office at the time when it was prime minister Stephen Harper, at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference. He said the reason they were doing this was because they wanted to shut us up because we disagreed with the government.
    Where was their priority and eagerness to defend freedom of speech when they were using all of the state's resources to go after non-governmental organizations and try to take away our funding because we disagreed with them? Where was their concern for freedom of speech two weeks ago when 81 members of this party voted—

  (1655)  

    My apologies, but I do have to curtail the minister's answer right now.
    I wish to inform the House that because of the deferred recorded division, Government Orders will be extended by 41 minutes.

[Translation]

    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Richmond—Arthabaska.
    Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to be speaking today. Earlier, I listened to the Minister of Heritage talk about Bill C‑10, which he tabled, and I almost choked several times.
    He began by pointing out that it was important to look back at the past to understand where we are now. I will give another version of the facts for everyone out there watching, and I would invite everyone to fact-check me by consulting the unedited transcriptions, the “blues”, of the various discussions at the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. People will be able to check if what I am saying is accurate and well informed and if it reflects everything we have gone through during the saga of Bill C‑10 leading up to the present day.
    The minister was right to say that he had all the resources he needed to table Bill C‑10 for more than a year and a half and garner a unanimous response from the outset. The minister is confusing things, talking about web giants and insinuating how he will handle them and make them pay their fair share. The ultimate goal was to produce an act that ensures a level playing field between digital broadcasters such as Disney Plus, Spotify and Netflix, and conventional broadcasters such as TVA, CBC/Radio-Canada, Global and CTV.
    The minister even chose to ignore the important elements that everyone wanted to see, including copyright issues and CBC/Radio-Canada's mandate, explaining that he divided these challenges into three parts and was only introducing one in the House of Commons so that the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage could work on it.
    When he introduced the bill, the committee worked diligently and co-operatively to improve it. This bill was clearly imperfect even though the minister had had a lot of time to draft it with his experts. More than 120 amendments were proposed by all parties. Surprisingly, these amendments were moved not just by the Conservative Party, but also by the Green Party, which had been given authorization to move them, the Bloc Québécois, the NDP, Liberal members of the committee and even the government. In fact, the government and the Liberal Party moved almost 30 amendments, not to mention all the amendments to the amendments along the way, to try to address all the shortcomings of this bill.
    As the minister pointed out, the committee's study of the bill was moving along relatively well, which I can vigorously and honestly confirm. We even worked with the minister and his staff, who were telling anyone who would listen that the Conservatives were slowing down the process. That was completely false. All the committee members even agreed to do a preliminary study and use that evidence in the committee's official study, to avoid holding up the work.
    At no point in the legislative process was the bill delayed, despite what the minister and his aides implied. I am saying so in all honesty, and I challenge everyone to take the time to read all the speeches and everything leading up to that infamous Friday when the minister, surreptitiously and without warning, withdrew clause 4.1 that he was proposing to add to the Broadcasting Act. This made the bill altogether different by including social networks, which had originally been excluded.

  (1700)  

    Why do I say that? It is because, when we did our job in good faith as Parliamentarians, each party had the opportunity to call witnesses to testify about various aspects of Bill C‑10. That gave us the opportunity to obtain as much information as possible to do the best we could, based on the knowledge of every member and staffer, to formulate proper opinions during our study of the bill in order to improve it. That is our job as legislators, of which I am extremely proud.
    The problem is that the Minister of Canadian Heritage left social media out of the original version of Bill C‑10. Furthermore, despite the minister's assertion from the get-go that it is a historic bill, to my knowledge, only one organization has said that. The other organizations highlighted the bill's good parts and said that it was indeed time to modernize the act and to align the way we deal with digital with the way we deal with what we call conventional broadcasters. However, I met with all the organizations the minister mentioned, and every one of them pointed out several frightening provisions in Bill C‑10.
    The Minister of Canadian Heritage said that the Conservatives delayed and filibustered. I am sorry, but it was not the Conservatives who did that. The Conservatives have merely given a voice to a number of organizations, individuals and experts who wanted to point out the flaws in Bill C-10. The minister can go ahead and play his partisan games in the run-up to an election to try to scare everyone into believing that the Conservatives do not support the cultural community. However, it is all complete and utter nonsense, pure theatrics, a show worthy of our Prime Minister, who is a great stage actor.
    The heritage minister should stop with the games, because nobody is against culture. On the contrary, we are against censorship, against this attack and the way the minister undermined freedom of expression one Friday by removing section 4.1, which was supposed to be added to the Broadcasting Act.
    That is when we began what could indeed be described as filibustering or slowing down the committee's work. We are talking about a maximum of three weeks during the six-plus years the Liberal government has been in power. Those three weeks have allegedly been catastrophic, but the Liberals are filibustering in many other committees with regard to the corruption scandals they were involved in, whether we are talking about the former justice minister, SNC-Lavalin, the WE Charity or the Standing Committee on Health, where we have been requesting access to the vaccine procurement reports. The Liberals have definitely done their share of filibustering.
    Why have we been filibustering for approximately three weeks? The heritage minister was right. Let us give some background on all of this. It is important to understand it, so that people know how we got to where we are today, muzzled by the Liberals with the support of the Bloc Québécois.
    By amending the bill one Friday afternoon, the heritage minister set off alarm bells all over the place. During the weekend, law experts and university professors sounded the alarm, telling us to look out because the government was doing something that would undermine freedom of expression.
    What did the Conservatives do? We just asked to hear from the heritage minister again and get a legal opinion from the Minister of Justice stating that the rights guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms were not violated by the removal of clause 4.1.
    In response, the Liberals objected incessantly for more than two weeks until the member for Mount Royal moved a new version of the motion asking for exactly the same thing we had proposed, which was to have the justice and heritage ministers come explain the situation and answer our questions, as well as an opportunity to hear the other side of the story from experts who had concerns about Bill C‑10.

  (1705)  

    They ended up appearing, and we were finally able to put an end to the committee's three-week-long standstill. That is the truth about the delay that has the minister up in arms.