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43rd PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 122

CONTENTS

Monday, June 21, 2021




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 150
No. 122
2nd SESSION
43rd PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Monday, June 21, 2021

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    The House met at 11 a.m.

Prayer



Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

  (1105)  

[Translation]

Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act

     The House resumed from June 2 consideration of the motion that Bill C-206, An Act to amend the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (qualifying farming fuel), be read the third time and passed.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise virtually in the House today to speak to Bill C-206.
    I would like to thank my colleague, the member for Northumberland—Peterborough South. I am sure he has had many discussions with farmers.
    I also want to thank Michel Dignard and Réjean Pomainville, two farmers from my region I greatly respect and who informed me of the impact that the changes could have on farms. I am very grateful to them.
    Personally, I supported the bill because I made a commitment to those two farmers. I want to thank them. They did the right thing by telling me about the potential repercussions this could have on farming.
    The bill seeks an exemption to the price on pollution. There are computerized grain dryers, but they are still rather rare in Canada. Most farmers have to use propane dryers, and those who are lucky enough to have a natural gas connection can use a natural gas dryer.
    Given that the price of the carbon tax will increase to $170 by 2030, we hope that new technologies will be available on the market by then. I am sure that our government will present potential solutions and that it will invest to enable our farmers to take advantage of those solutions, which must, of course, be market solutions.
    Climate change is real. For example, we know that the oil and transportation sectors account for approximately 52% of greenhouse gases produced in Canada, the heavy industries account for about 10%, and the agricultural sector accounts for roughly 10% as well.
    We are trying to reduce the effects of climate change in the agricultural sector. The goal is not to penalize our farmers but to decarbonize their suppliers.
    I supported Bill C‑206, and I also support the objectives and changes that our government presented.

[English]

    The rebate program for farmers, which will allocate an estimated $100 million to the four provincial jurisdictions that have decided not to put a price on pollution, is a recognition by our government that we have to decarbonize the way we dry grain. However, right now those technologies may not be available to the majority of farmers. Obviously, by 2030 the price on pollution will rise to $170 a tonne, which sends a market signal to those who create new technologies to adapt technology so that it is not necessarily carbon heavy. That is where I believe we need to go. It is the only way to decarbonize our economy.
    We know the ag sector contributes 10% of our greenhouse gases. However, I know that farmers have done a tremendous job, such as our egg farmers, who are able to produce more than 50% of what they used to 50 years ago while reducing their carbon emissions by 50%. There are positive stories out there. Farmers have adopted new technologies, whether they are biodigesters, solar panels or those to make their dairy barns extremely energy efficient. They are doing a fantastic job. What we are trying to do now is decarbonize the majority of their suppliers.
    I was happy to hear that there is now a $200-million fund to help with the adoption of cover crops. I think that is an extremely important domain of science. If we could reward farmers so that cover crops play an even bigger role in capturing carbon, it would be an extremely good news story. The world will be looking at our net-zero products, and whether it is our produce or the other things that farmers grow, farmers will always be there. However, I think cover crops have a major role to play. I have started seeing farmers adopt it in my riding. Not everyone is, but some surely are, and the $200-million fund that was presented in budget 2021 will be there to help and guide them.
    Last week, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food launched the agricultural clean technology program, which has a fund of $165 million. There will be some money there to help farmers improve their green energy and energy efficiency, and help them further adopt precision agriculture. When we think about precision agriculture, we know there used to be days when farmers would just lay fertilizer across the land. Nowadays they can actually pinpoint, to the plant and to the row, where they need to put fertilizer, should they need it, to help improve plant health. That is the way of the future. The fertilizer industry has a role to play, and it is stepping up to play that particular role. Soil health is another important conversation we need to have in this country, and I think farmers want to be part of this particular conversation.
    To get back to the matter at hand, as I said at the beginning of my speech, I have supported Bill C-206 because of a simple commitment that I made to two farmers back home. I certainly do not support an exemption that would last forever, but I do know that technologies will be available to our farmers. With the funds that were announced through budget 2021, there will be some dollars to help farmers adopt new technologies on the farm.
    Grain drying is something that I will be looking at in my riding to see who has the most efficient method. It is part of my summer pet project to visit farms once it is safe to do so. It will help me better understand where farmers could make changes and where they might not necessarily have to rely on traditional technologies.

  (1110)  

[Translation]

    I want to raise another issue. Earlier we talked about cover crops and our government's $200 million fund for cover crops. There are a lot of trees on our farmland, and deforestation of private lands is a major problem.
     I am not trying to single out farmers, because I know they are doing what they have to do to earn an income and support their families. However, part of that $200 million our government announced is for a reverse auction program, which is a really interesting initiative that encourages farmers to conserve existing wetlands and trees on their private property to capture carbon. These are all measures we announced in budget 2021 to help farmers reduce on-farm greenhouse gas emissions. This is an important thing to do because that is where the industry is heading.
    I think we would be sending a wonderful message to the rest of the world if we could produce food while having a positive impact on the environment and limiting our greenhouse has production. We would be the envy of the world, and I think that is how Canada should position itself.
    Again, I thank my colleague from Northumberland—Peterborough South for his bill, which I support. I wish him luck. Even though this bill will not help the green transition, it is an important part of the conversation.
    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise again to speak to Bill C‑206 today, as I did at second reading. Today, we have come full circle. I propose that we look at the bill by asking five basic questions, which we should ask more often in these cases: who, when, how, what and where. It is very simple.
    I will start with who, in other words, those we are proposing this bill for. Unlike other political parties, we in the Bloc Québécois do not tend to give gifts to people who do not need it.
    Farmers kept the agriculture sector going in a crisis, which is not easy. We know that farm owners had a very tough time on the labour front. This hurt food security, supply and, in some cases, animal health. Management of issues surrounding the arrival of foreign workers has been problematic, and, a few days ago, assistance from the government in support of quarantine was cut in half.
    However, even before the crisis began, our farmers were already struggling. Climate change is causing even greater uncertainty around crops and harvests. Furthermore, it is getting harder and harder to find young farmers to take over, particularly because the price of land keeps going up year after year.
    People who grew up on the land and worked with their parents will find it increasingly difficult to take over the farming operation. There are rare occasions when parents can afford to be generous and gift the farm to their children, instead of using the value of the farm business they have built up their entire lives to fund their retirement. In other cases, given the rising cost of land and quotas, it is hard to find young farmers to take over.
    Why are we doing this, that is, why are we debating Bill C-206? We must remember that the bill would amend the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, including section three, which lists the products that are not taxed, in particular those for farming purposes. Natural gas and propane were missing from the list of exempt products. Why does Bill C-206 seek to add them to section three?
    A carbon tax discourages people from taking a certain action and encourages them to choose a behaviour over another. However, in order for that to happen, people must have options, and that is exactly the problem.
    There was an example of this in my riding during the rail crisis. CN just stopped delivering propane for two weeks when farmers had to dry their crops, which was a critical time for them. The moisture level in crops was very high that year, and had farmers not been able to dry them, they would have rotted, which would have resulted in the loss of an entire year's income.
    In this particular case, propane was the only option, since any alternatives are still in the pilot-project stage and are not a viable option for large-scale farming businesses. When I asked farmers, who were worried about not getting the propane they needed, they told me that there was no alternative to propane, but that they would like to have one.
    The existing power grid would not even have the capacity to generate enough heat for drying grain. It is as though people expected to one day have electric hot air balloons—they are very popular back home—but this is not going to happen overnight. Technologies like biomass are still too new, and there is not enough incentive for us to expect quick changes in carbon pricing.
    That brings me to my third point: When will it happen? This is the part I find unfortunate, because we are three days out from the end of the parliamentary session and the summer recess. This Parliament could end up being replaced with a new one, based on the election rumours we are hearing.
    It is really unfortunate that we are debating a bill this important and necessary at the eleventh hour, knowing that it could end up dying on the Order Paper, just like Bill C‑216, the bill on supply management introduced by my colleague from Berthier—Maskinongé, or the bill on farm succession planning, which the Senate just started studying.

  (1115)  

    On this third point, I want to say how disappointed we are with the government's management of the legislative calendar, because we are currently debating a great bill that, unfortunately, may never see the light of day.
     How is Bill C‑206 being dealt with?
    This part is a bit nicer. As I was preparing for my speech on my drive in to work this morning from my riding of Saint-Jean, I listened again to what happened and what my other colleagues said, particularly those who are members of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food. I was very happy to hear how well people are working together on this committee. There is no excessive partisanship since everyone is serving the same cause, that of farmers and those who feed us. It is in that spirit of co-operation that a key amendment was proposed to improve Bill C‑206. This amendment is really worthwhile, because it addresses the concern that some might have about the fact that there is a gap in the bill, the ultimate purpose of which is to try to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
     The amendment sets an end date for the exemption for natural gas and propane. In other words, natural gas and propane will be exempt from taxation for 10 years in the hope that, a decade from now, there will be new technology that will enable us to stop using natural gas and propane. That is our hope, anyway, but the government needs to get cracking because farmers do not want to be passive witnesses to these changes. They want to be part of it, but they need help. Contrary to what some people think, farmers do not wake up in the morning thinking about how great it is that they can go out and pollute. They just want help finding alternatives that are commercially viable, because they operate in a global market and cannot pass costs on to their customers. They would no longer be able to compete internationally, so we have to give our farmers that support.
    The final point is, where is that supposed to happen? People might think that it is obvious it should be done in the House of Commons and Parliament, because that is where bills are passed and amendments made. That seems obvious, but nowadays, very few things that should be obvious are.
    I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributed to the parliamentary spirit that has characterized Parliament during the pandemic. I would like to take a few moments to pay tribute to the interpreters, the support staff and the tech support who made it possible for us to function relatively normally, despite COVID‑19.
    I also want to express my hope that, despite everything, we will get back to normal quickly, so that we can have accountability, so that there is someone in the House who answers questions, and so that reporters can do their job and ask parliamentarians questions as they leave the House. I also hope that we can go back to normal sooner rather than later so we can get parliamentarians working co-operatively, apart from the occasional stormy question period.
    When we parliamentarians are working together face to face, we are able to move files along more efficiently, understand one another better, and remember for whom, why, how, where and when we create bills. It is fundamental to remember that, and that is what we are reminded of when we sit in the House in person.
    With that in mind, I want to acknowledge the work of the House, but I also want to take a moment to remember the farmers. I wish Bill C‑206 could have gone forward. I cannot help but think of all the people I have known since I was a little girl growing up in the country. As members can imagine, it has been quite a while since I was “little”.
    My thoughts are with our farmers, in the hope that, if not this time, Bill C‑206 can come back sooner rather than later and eventually be passed by the House and the Senate.

  (1120)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I have had many occasions to rise with privilege to share a bit about my own family history. I have spoken a lot about my father and the African Canadian diaspora, but I have not had the privilege of speaking about my mother's side of the family, a family that settled not far from here, about an hour from here in the South Mountain area. It is a place I have fond memories of, stories of my grandfather with a grade-six education being told by his father that the world and the road ahead is as long as he can make it.
    My grandfather, Nelson Scharf, in fact had a cheese factory in Russell and Hulburt. It was a connection we had to the supply chain and the agricultural sector here. My grandmother, Doris Forward, had a family farm in Chesterville. My cousin, Tom Forward, is still on the land and works within the dairy sector today.
    I think about those early memories of visiting those farms, visiting the cheese factory, being up close as a child and seeing these hard-working people, folks who often do not get enough credit for the number of hours they work and for what they provide this country.
    I rise today with the honour, on our 60-year anniversary as New Democrats, of being from the founding party of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, which aimed to alleviate the suffering that workers and farmers felt and endured under capitalism. We are, in fact, the only party that was founded by farmers, so it is an honour and a privilege to be here today with that family background and that party background in support of this bill.
    I want to take a moment and thank the hon. member for Northumberland—Peterborough South, a gentleman whom I have gotten to know in my committee work and somebody who I know has brought with him the good intentions of supporting the constituents within his riding.
    For those who are tuning in and trying to get a sense of what this is all about, this bill, Bill C-206, seeks to amend the definition of “qualifying farming fuel” in the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act to include natural gas and propane. Of course, this issue is complex. I will not pretend to be an expert, and there is certainly a lot of room for improvement at the committee stage, but this legislation stems from an unseasonably wet autumn in 2019, which was called “the harvest from hell”, when grain farmers were using propane and natural gas heaters to dry their grain. Without these grain dryers, grain rots and becomes worthless as food or as a cash crop contributing to our GDP.
    There is currently no viable alternative to the use of propane or natural gas for the operation of these dryers, and because propane and natural gas are currently not covered under the act qualifying for farm fuels, grain farmers are forced into a situation of contributing more CO2 into the atmosphere as a result of carbon taxes on the cleaner fuels. The Grain Growers of Canada has confirmed, as of February of last year, that many of them have turned to higher-CO2-emitting diesel fuel, which is listed, ironically, as qualifying farm fuel in the act, for grain dryers to avoid the higher-taxed propane or natural gas heaters.
    As our very learned critic for agriculture, the hon. member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, has stated, ultimately what we want is high-CO2-emitting industries to be contributing less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and if we penalize the agricultural sector with a higher price for choosing a cleaner fuel option, we are running entirely counter to our ultimate objective of combatting climate change by reducing GHG emissions. Our critic for agriculture, the hon. member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, states quite rightly that farmers are not only well aware of what the effects of climate change will be, but they are also one of our greatest tools for fighting climate change.
    When we are looking at this bill, I think we have heard this false dichotomy between Liberals and Conservatives about carbon taxes being the defining feature of climate change. The Liberals would suggest this is a market solution and Conservatives would suggest this is yet another tax. As New Democrats, we recognize that reducing greenhouse gas emissions ought to be our objective, and we do not feel that providing this in this particular way meets that objective. While the intent of the bill is sound, making it easier and more affordable for farmers to burn cleaner fuel should be a no-brainer, and using no fuels whatsoever or existing clean technologies is just not a viable option.

  (1125)  

    I think of my family who are still in this sector. My cousins, the Weagants, sold farm equipment throughout Ontario. I also think about the hard-working farmers in my city. I am a very proud MP representing Hamilton Centre, and many people do not know that while we have close to 600,000 people, the geography of our city encapsulates a very large portion of rural areas in the greenbelt and into some of the tender fruits land.
    We are here today hoping to see a better outcome on this particular issue, to ensure that we are not adding to the complexities of the food supply chain and that we are cutting through the noise into a bit of a more intelligent argument about, again, a party founded by the CCF and about supporting our farm workers. Those who are out there across Ontario, Quebec and, indeed, across the country know that the New Democratic Party was founded on those principles.
    The Regina Manifesto, right there in our founding documents, says, “The security of tenure for the farmer upon his farm which is imperilled by the present disastrous situation of the whole industry, together with adequate social insurance, ought to be guaranteed under equitable conditions.” It is right there, in the foundation of the CCF, which, 60 years later, would become the NDP of today.
    I hold that position, and I support our agricultural sector. I know that farmers are on the front lines of climate change, and I know that they will play a key role in our food security and our ability to adequately adapt to the changing climate, which will have a direct impact first on them, and of course, in the spirit of the hard-working people of my own family, those who continue to this day to work the land and to acknowledge our precious connection to the land, the food that we have and the food supply chains.
    In closing, I would like to thank the hon. member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford who, on the technical aspects of this, has been absolutely incredible for me and our caucus to help us better understand the nuances, because we want to see a just recovery. We want to see a just transition for workers. We acknowledge that farmers are indeed some of the hardest-working people, and that includes the migrant workers who work alongside them in our fields.
    I want to take this opportunity to thank the members of the House for allowing me to rise with the deep privilege that I have in the waning days of this Parliament to be able to share a little about myself, my family and our ongoing support for workers as New Democrats.

  (1130)  

    Madam Speaker, it is a wonderful Monday morning. After listening to the earlier speeches, I would like to offer my thanks. My thanks to the Liberal Party member, who I just heard speak about the importance of this bill. Then there was my friend from Saint-Jean, and I did not know that she grew up on a farm, so we have a few more things in common. My thanks as well to the member for Hamilton Centre.
    This is something that we have to recognize, as it is so important to our farmers. They are the ones who produce our food. They are the ones who, throughout this entire pandemic, have been working to support Canadians. Looking at this bill, I think it is absolutely exceptional.
    I would really like to thank my great friend, the member for Northumberland—Peterborough South. I actually drove through parts of his riding yesterday on my return to Ottawa from Elgin—Middlesex—London. The one thing I see in southwestern Ontario is beautiful agricultural land. There are lots of different commodities and sectors, but it is a big farming community. There are some big pockets of cities, but surrounding all of those big cities are acres and acres of great farmland where they are producing necessary commodities and food.
    I am going to start with a very simple quote, which actually comes from the member for Northumberland—Peterborough South. He said this at committee, and I want to put it in the record of the House of Commons because this is a very valuable debate.
    These are things that are very, very important to my riding, so I appreciate having the opportunity to speak to this bill for the farmers who are living in Elgin—Middlesex—London. I can tell members that, according to Statistics Canada, in 2016 there were 1,930 farm operators in Elgin and 3,260 farm operators in the county of Middlesex. These are things that are very, very important to my riding, so having the opportunity to speak to this bill is an honour.
    To quote my good friend, at the agriculture committee he said:
    The greenhouse gas pollution pricing currently allows qualifying farmers an exemption on certain farm fuels such as gasoline and diesel; however, it fails to extend that exemption to other fuels such as natural gas and propane. This is challenging on many different fronts, as farmers quite often don't have other options and their only option for their particular industrial equipment may be natural gas and propane.
    The science says that natural gas and propane are often cleaner fuels than diesel or gasoline. Why would we not include them in this exemption? Farmers, after all, are stewards of our land and, along with our indigenous people, were some of the first environmentalists standing up for the land and also for the animals and plants located on their properties.
    That is why I wanted to talk about propane. I have quite a bias, to be honest. The former chair of the Canadian Propane Association is a resident of Elgin—Middlesex—London. He is also the CFO for Dowler-Karn, which is probably one of the biggest distributors of gasoline and fuel products to multiple farmers in the southwestern Ontario region. I can sit down with him, and when I call Dan Kelly with a question, he will answer. If he does not have the answer, he will find it, because he is out there working for Canadian farmers.
    He brought this to my attention as well. He said that Bill C-206 is excellent and what we need to do. He was actually hoping that we would not have to put through Bill C-206, and that the Liberal government may recognize the issue and put it in the budget, but we did not see that. The government does not recognize that it is going to take more than just two or three years for farmers to transition to greener fuels.
    I was really happy to see this bill continuing on to third reading, but as the member for Saint-Jean indicated, these are the final days, so I hope that today we can get through this. After we return to Parliament, hopefully this is a bill that the Senate will look at very quickly. This is what our farmers need and what they are asking for.
    Continuing on to the Canadian Propane Association, I would like to read a statement I received from it. I am sure everybody has received it as well. It explains why we should support this bill and the importance of the exemption that would come to our farm operators.
    This statement, I believe, was put out after the vote on second reading of Bill C-206, a vote of 177-145. All opposition parties actually agreed and recognized that this is something that needs to be done. We saw that the Liberal government was not good with that, yet it may have had to do with it coming from an awesome Conservative. We may never know. However, I will read out the Canadian Propane Association's statement, which says:
    “Discouraging the increased use of carbon-intense fuels such as gas and diesel in favour of low-emission energy like propane for agriculture applications would be a win-win for the environment and for farmers’ bottom line,” said Nathalie St-Pierre, President of the Canadian Propane Association....

  (1135)  

    “The principle of the GGPPA is intended to encourage a reduction in the use of carbon-intense fuels,” said St-Pierre. “By exempting gas and diesel but not allowing the same exemption for propane, the law actually encourages the increased use of gas and diesel – this is environmental nonsense.”
    Just moments ago, we heard my friend from Hamilton Centre say the exact same thing, which is that, because of this, people are beginning to use diesel. The government has established the carbon tax, but it is actually giving an exemption to a dirtier fuel. We have an option here. The statement continues:
    St-Pierre said that CPA members are also hearing from their customers in the agriculture sector about the significant added cost due to the federal carbon tax. According to an estimate provided by the Parliamentary Budget Officer last December, over the next five years about $235 million will be collected from farmers for using natural gas and propane.
    I will note that statistic. I was speaking to Dan about this. On behalf of the farmers in our area, he sent a cheque for over $1 million for just a few months for carbon tax collection. That $1 million that could have been used for so many other things, perhaps new technology, workers or new things on farms, but instead, that money is paid to the government.
    We are talking about $235 million. I have heard people say that the government is going to lose $235 million. To me, the government should not be taking that $235 million in the first place, so it would not be losing revenue. This is revenue it should not be taking, so we have to look at this as not being a loss of revenue for the government.
    The government had no business taking the $235 million in the first place because, at the end of the day, who pays for it? It is going to be the farmers. After the farmers, who pays for it? It is going to be people sitting at their tables, eating their cornflakes or their eggs from the local chicken farm. These are the people who, at the end of the day, are going to be impacted.
    Yes, this bill is good for farmers, but it is also good for Canadian consumers who want to support the agricultural industry in Canada, especially that in Elgin—Middlesex—London, which is so important to me.
    We have talked about inflation. In the last few weeks, inflation has been really key. We have talked about how much the price of wood and lumber have gone up. Housing is a big issue. In my riding of Elgin—Middlesex—London, there has been a 46% increase since last April in the cost of a two-storey home. Inflation is an issue, and the government is adding more costs to our goods.
    If we talk about poverty reduction strategies, we need to see what we are doing that is creating more barriers. I look at not giving this exemption as just another barrier to reducing the high cost of our goods right now. Farmers know that, when they are paying all this money, it affects their bottom line.
    I am so fortunate to work with Scott at the Grain Farmers of Ontario in my area. He is the zone manager there. I thank Scott, who always works with me. The Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province's largest commodity organization, representing over 28,000 barley, corn, oats, soybean and wheat farmers, and it has been very supportive of Bill C-206, an act to amend the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act regarding qualifying farming fuel.
    The Grain Farmers of Ontario is supporting this bill because of its exemption of the carbon tax for on-farm fuel and calls on all MPs to consider the tax on grain drying and its impact on the agriculture system in Canada. It is quite simple. The government should not be making money off a tax that negatively impacts a farmer's ability to market viable grain. The carbon tax does not make that happen.
    Brendan Byrne was the chair of the Grain Farmers of Ontario on February 22, 2021. There are a lot of AGMs going on, so that may not be his position now.
    As we have always indicated, farmers have been doing great work in our communities. They are the stewards of our land. I think of some of the great projects that have been done in the back of farmers' fields with wetlands conservation. Those settlements are being taken back.
    I love farmers, so I am very supportive of Bill C-206, and I thank the member for Northumberland—Peterborough South for bringing this bill forward.

  (1140)  

    Madam Speaker, it is great to be back in the House. It is great to have a vast audience across the way to hear what I am about to say, although the member for Kingston and the Islands may not entirely agree with it.
    I appreciate the opportunity to speak to this excellent private member's bill, Bill C-206, from my colleague for Northumberland—Peterborough South, and in particular to talk about the significant failures in environmental policy on the part of government and how it is imposing costs on Canadians without a real plan to help us achieve our environmental objectives vis-à-vis climate change.
    I will start briefly by congratulating the member for Northumberland—Peterborough South on his excellent work on this bill and so many other issues. He serves as the shadow minister for revenue in our caucus. When I hear “shadow minister of revenue”, I think it sounds exciting, but he really has grabbed this position by the horns. It has been a pleasure to work with him on a number of revenue issues, including trying to bring about reforms to the direction and control system.
    This member has been a great champion of the charitable sector, trying to push the government to reform various aspects of the regulatory and legislative environment around revenue, especially direction and control, to really empower our charitable organizations and help them move forward. I want to congratulate the member for all his work, particularly in this bill, on behalf of farmers in his riding and elsewhere.
    Bill C-206 seeks to change the definition of a qualifying farm fuel to include certain fuels not currently included, and that is a step forward in terms of allowing any fuel a farmer would use to be qualified as a qualifying farm fuel, and therefore not having the carbon tax applied to it. Right now, while natural gas and propane are not identified as qualifying farm fuels, gas and diesel are. Not only does this impose additional costs on farmers, but it also gives farmers an incentive to move away from using natural gas and propane and toward using relatively more gas and diesel.
    In all likelihood, this is sort of perverse incentive that encourages greater greenhouse gas emissions, so this member is rationalizing the system through this bill in a way that would reduce costs for farmers and help our environment by removing this artificial incentive to use fuels that pollute to a greater extent.
    One would think this is a no-brainer on that basis. If this is going to reduce costs for farmers, but is also going to help our environment by providing more of an incentive for farmers to use cleaner fuels, why would it not just be automatic that everyone in this House supports it? The Liberals are stubbornly clinging to their position that the way they did it was fine.
    The big problem with these Liberals on so many aspects of their environmental policy is they do not understand the way in which perverse incentives can lead to worse outcomes for the environment, and they are not willing to look critically at the impact of those incentives on behaviour.
    One of the issues we have talked about a lot in the Conservative caucus in terms of the failures of the Liberals' environmental policy is this issue of border adjustments. The Liberal approach is to impose carbon taxes on Canadian producers, Canadian farmers and Canadian consumers, but not to apply those same requirements on people outside of Canada who are producing products and then selling those products in the Canadian market.
    The effect of this is that it is artificially creating an advantage for foreign producers, the people manufacturing goods and growing crops outside the country who are trying to then sell those products in Canada. One is creating an advantage for those outside Canada who are selling their products to Canada over Canadian producers. This obviously does not make any sense, in terms not only of protecting our own economic interests, but also of responding to the environmental challenges we face.
    When one makes it more expensive, and in the case of this particular bill, it relates to farming, and when one imposes more costs on Canadian farmers and therefore tilts the field against our farmers and in favour of people involved in agriculture production outside of the country, that is not helping the environment. It is simply hurting our own economy at no environmental benefit.

  (1145)  

    We understand, in this caucus, that the challenges we face in terms of climate change are global challenges. Canada has to do its part, but it also has to put in place policies that recognize that emissions can happen outside of the country, and when they happen they impact us. We need to have a structure that integrates an appreciation for the global impact of climate change.
    That is why the Conservative environmental plan, for the first time from any party, proposes a strong policy around border adjustment tariffs. There has to be an equivalency between the burden imposed on Canadian producers and the import adjustments that are taking place. We should not be creating a tilted playing field in which we are actually creating an advantage for those producing greenhouse gas emissions outside of the country.
    We have raised this issue of perverse incentives: incentives in the policy that actually encourage the wrong kind of behaviour. In the case of border adjustments, we are talking about an incentive that the government has created, in its approach to environmental policy, to move production outside of the country.
    If someone is making products for the Canadian market right now in Canada, that person is paying carbon tax. If someone is producing those products outside of Canada in a jurisdiction that does not have a carbon tax and then selling them into Canada, they are in an economically advantageous position, at least vis-à-vis the carbon tax.
    This should be fixed so that we have a fair environmental policy that encourages improvements to environmental performance, but does not encourage the wrong kinds of adaptation, such as moving work outside of the country. As other colleagues have talked about as well, in the case of this bill we are talking about another case of perverse incentive. In imposing the carbon tax on certain kinds of fuel and not others, as the system is currently structured, there is an incentive for farmers to use fuels that may be more expensive and that may produce more in the way of emissions.
    I think we can do better. The member for Northumberland—Peterborough South has quite rightly seen the opportunity to do better and has thus put forward a bill that seeks to adjust the incentive environment. That is why I am very supportive of this bill. I would encourage all members to be supportive of it and to push the government to recognize something. It has been a talking point of the Liberals for a long time. They say the environment and the economy go hand in hand, yet they impose restrictions and taxes that hurt our economy and provide no benefit to the environment.
    It does not make any sense that they would impose obligations on Canadian producers and not have the corresponding adjustments happening at the border. It does not make any sense from an environmental standpoint. If they really believed that there was a unity of objective that could be pursued between the environment and the economy, they would be supportive of the plan that we have put forward, which includes these kinds of border adjustment measures.
    In general, in our environmental plan as announced by our leader, the money that is gathered through the deductions paid when people purchase products that emit carbon is put back into their pockets to also pay for adaptation. Our plan is not just about taking money away from people who are producing: It is about giving those resources back to them to invest in adaptations that improve their environmental performance. Our plan is very different from what we see from the Liberal government. The government is trying to use the environment often as a way to raise extra revenue. Our approach is to target measures that are going to improve the environment, while also supporting our industry.
    On this side of the House, we recognize the important role of our farmers. We recognize the value of having agricultural production in Canada. We want to strengthen farming communities. We recognize that from a basic security, food security and well-being perspective, it is important to have strong agricultural production happening here in Canada.
    We have championed this position, as a party, from the very beginning. We understand that it is not enough to just say it. Within every party we hear members saying flowery words about the agricultural sector, but the Conservative Party has always been there to stand with our farmers, and Bill C-206 is another example of that.

  (1150)  

    Madam Speaker, it is certainly an honour to rise on behalf of the good people of Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola to speak to my colleagues about Bill C-206, brought by the MP for Northumberland—Peterborough South, who has done an excellent job of finding an issue that resonates not just within his riding but right across the country. I will make a few short points about this, because I believe that Private Members' Business provides the opportunity for members, such as the member for Northumberland—Peterborough South, to bring up issues they are hearing locally to see if they are salient. The adoption of this bill through second reading to committee and now to third reading shows there is a consensus in this country. The Liberals were the only party to vote against it. Every other party recognizes that Canada's future is, in great part, due to agriculture. Many may argue that Canada's past was formulated on that, and I would say that is true, but so is the fact we can do more.
    In fact, in the majority government the current ambassador to China, Dominic Barton, put forward the Barton report and said that Canada could do so much more by working with agriculture. It could expand exports and feed people not just across our country but around the globe. It seemed for a while that the report might go somewhere. Most farmers thought it was great to have a government that was focused on that. Unfortunately, the government was not. Rather, it was focused simply on ideology and not on helping to connect the dots to make it work for farmers.
    As the MP who sponsored the legislation said, the Grain Farmers of Ontario stated, “there are no readily available grain drying technology replacement alternatives that are cost effective. Drying grain is essential for marketing grain.” This points out that when the input costs are too high, grain farmers will lose traction to other areas that have better prices. Unfortunately, it is a commodity market and we cannot just say, “Buy Canadian because Canada is great.” People in other countries also need to feed their families. If the rate for our grain is too high because of input costs, these people will simply go to another cost provider.
    The member of Parliament for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan previously mentioned the concept of carbon leakage, which is where adding extra regulations or taxation beyond that of another jurisdiction eventually makes it difficult for a place with a carbon tax, such as Canada's, to compete. I should know this. A B.C. Liberal government was the first to introduce a carbon tax in British Columbia. It found out quite quickly that the farming community would not be able to be competitive. Therefore, along with cement, it ended up having to subsidize many of those activities.
    I am grateful the MP for Northumberland—Peterborough South has brought forward something that will help with that competitiveness. The bill has received broad agreement, with the exception of the Liberal government and its backbenchers. I am sure there was a whipped vote on this, so I know many Liberal members probably felt very sympathetic and wanted to vote alongside the Conservatives, the Bloc and the NDP to support our farmers, but unfortunately it seems many on that side do not question the government's position as much. In fact, some seem to want to carry it on all day long, but enough about the member for Kingston and the Islands.
    I just have a few more things to say. The Conservatives believe we should be working with agriculture. The government has put out a clean fuel standard that is so complicated that farmers do not know what opportunities are there. They are worried about getting lost in the paperwork. It is the same government that is making it more difficult for farm operations to use small amounts of propane. The government is basically encouraging them, through red tape, to move to diesel. We know it is not as clean, as easy to store or as manageable. The current government seems to always be at odds with what farmers need and want.
    I will say this. Members like the member for Northumberland—Peterborough South and our Conservative caucus will be standing up for our farmers. We will put forward solutions, and we will have a meaningful impact on our greenhouse gas emissions while growing the economy, especially for our farmers.

  (1155)  

    Madam Speaker, it is absolutely my pleasure to rise on my private member's bill, Bill C-206. To me, it is a fantastic wrap-up for the year, if we go to an election.
     A couple of weeks into being an MP, I was in Ottawa and my staffer came to me and said, “You won the lottery”. I did not think I had bought a ticket. What did that mean? I had gotten number 16 on the private member's bills, which then put in place a large canvass of issues: ones that affect people across Canada and in my wonderful riding of Northumberland—Peterborough South. One issue that kept coming up was the impact of the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act on the agricultural sector.
    I am a very proud advocate for and supporter of the agriculture sector and rural Canada in general. I had been told that dirtier fuels like diesel and gasoline were exempt from the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act but propane and natural gas were not, and of the impact this was having on our local farmers. When I had the opportunity, I was compelled. This was something I had to bring forward for the residents of Northumberland—Peterborough South and for our farmers across the country.
    I have enjoyed this process. It has been an iterative process and it has been collaborative. In fact, this whole hour has been an island of its own in a sea of partisanship. This has been full of non-partisanship. We had the member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell stand up for my private member's bill and for a commitment he made to a couple of constituents. That is the very epitome of what it is to be from rural Canada and rural Ontario. When we give our word in rural Ontario and in rural Canada, we stand by it. That is exactly what this member did, and I salute him.
     One of the issues he brought to attention in his discussion was that things may change, and that very well may be. That is why the member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford made a wise amendment to my private member's bill, which was to timeline it and have it go for only 10 years. If technology evolves and, in a decade, we can get to a point where there are biofuels or some other way, we are all for it, but as of now there is no other solution. Climate change is 100% real, and we are all in the House to fight climate change.
    In the absence of exemption, we are pushing our farmers out of competitiveness because they are dependent on worldwide markets and on trade boards for pricing. When a cost is increased, such as with the carbon tax, it is put directly on the tables of our farmers. Farmers work so hard. Especially through this pandemic, they have not stopped for a moment, and because of that they have kept our food supply the best in the world. We produce the best grain, the best poultry and the best beef right here in Canada, and we need to make sure that our farmers stay competitive because when we increase input costs, those come directly from the farmers.
     These costs not only affect our farmers, but entire rural communities because farmers are largely the ones who drive our economies. They are the ones who go to tractor dealerships and buy tractors. They are the ones who go to local restaurants, and there may be only a couple of restaurants in their towns. They are also the ones who support our local grocery stores, so we need to support and protect our farmers.
    As I said, we are at the end of the session. I would like to take a moment to thank all the wonderful members of my constituency of Northumberland—Peterborough South and thank the farmers for this wonderful piece of legislation that I have been able to work with. Particularly, I would like to thank Brandon from the Grain Farmers. I would like to thank my staffer Hailey, who was fantastic and critical to doing this. Most important, I would like to thank all the members of the agriculture community who worked so hard to get this on board. We will have a vote on Wednesday and we will get this across. Hopefully, we will be back in session so we can get this bill passed and help our farmers.
    I thank everyone out there so much. It has been a great pleasure to hear all the interventions. Some of my best friends, across the aisle and otherwise, have spoken. The member for Hamilton Centre is even wearing a blue suit for us, if I am allowed to acknowledge that he is in the chamber. I really appreciate that. I thank everyone for their learned interventions and their contributions. It is a great day for farmers.

  (1200)  

    It being two minutes past noon, the time provided for debate has expired.
    Accordingly, the question is on the motion.

[Translation]

    If a member of a recognized party present in the House wishes to request a recorded division or that the motion be adopted on division, I would invite them to rise and indicate it to the Chair.
    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to request a recorded division.
    Pursuant to order made on Monday, January 25, the recorded division on the motion stands deferred until Wednesday, June 23, at the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[Translation]

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1

    The House resumed from June 18 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.
    Madam Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to continue the speech I started on Friday.
    Does Bill C-30, budget implementation act, 2021, no. 1, provide adequate guarantees to protect workers, to protect the unemployed, to protect sick workers and to treat seniors and their care workers with dignity? As I was saying, the answer is maybe or no.
    I would like to use the five minutes I have remaining to talk about sick workers, who were counting on the government to take action after 50 years to extend special EI sickness benefits from 15 weeks to 50 weeks once and for all.
    There is no reason for the government to pass up this opportunity, to ignore the testimony and to abandon 150,000 people who benefit every day from sickness benefits, which expire after 15 weeks.
    The government decided to take a half step by increasing the benefits to 26 weeks starting in 2022. In the short term, sick workers will have no more than 15 weeks of benefits. We are making a heartfelt plea for the bill to be passed. We heard the evidence; the House of Commons adopted a motion; the bill sponsored by my colleague from Salaberry—Suroît was adopted by a majority; the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, of which I am the deputy chair, did a clause-by-clause study of the bill on June 17. All that is needed is one last push. We must act, and the government can do so by seeking royal assent. It must do so now.
    Unemployed workers had very high expectations. I remind members that, in 2015, the Liberal government promised to overhaul the EI system, which leaves behind 60% of workers. They cannot access it because it discriminates against women, part-time workers, and workers who are ineligible and abandoned by the system.
    It took the pandemic to force the government to implement temporary measures. Once again, all the budget offers is a single, 420-hour eligibility requirement for a period of one year. This is urgent. Where is the government? This is not enough. Once again, the government has everything it needs.
    The Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities conducted a big study on modernizing employment insurance. The committee's report was tabled in the House last week. The government has everything it needs, it has the solutions and has access to all of the analyses on the flaws of the program. However, according to Bill C‑30, there will be another two years of consultations.
     I read an article from Radio-Canada in which the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion was saying that the computer system was in need of updates, that modernization could not happen all at once and that we might actually have to wait another seven years. That is preposterous.
    It is unbelievable that the government is going to negate all of the efforts that have been made for so long and invest in consultations. The time for consultation is over. We need to sit down at the drawing board and take action. All of the solutions are in place. We need to do this for women, youth and self-employed workers.

  (1205)  

    Some might think that the crisis is over because there is a glimmer of hope. However, some sectors of the industry are still heavily impacted and still do not have any answers for their workers. They cannot provide any answers in the short term unless the government changes course and takes immediate action to undertake a reform.
    We cannot wait any longer. I think that the government has everything it needs. Although some aspects might technically be more difficult because it is a complex system, the government needs to make them more politically desirable and implement a real employment insurance system. Workers are calling for it, as are groups representing unemployed workers and women.
    We cannot continue with a system that discriminates against so many workers. I am thinking in particular about the many regions of Quebec and Canada that rely on seasonal industries. These workers experience gaps and become impoverished between their two employment periods. If we want to revitalize our regional economies, then we need to recognize the unique situation of seasonal economies and adapt the EI system accordingly so that workers in these industries are not penalized by default.
    I would like to quote a witness who appeared before the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities and send a message to the government. The witness said, “Just do it.” It is time to act.
    From what columnists are saying, we have probably reached the end of this Parliament. The government could very well trigger an unnecessary election campaign. It will no doubt brag about everything it has done for workers, but we must not lose sight of the fact that the government has not taken any structured, concrete action, even though it has had the means to do so for quite some time now. It has made only empty promises, without any commitments.
    Nothing will change as of tomorrow morning for workers who are sick. They will still be entitled to only 15 weeks of benefits, or possibly 26 weeks in 2022. We in the Bloc Québécois are calling on the government to increase sickness benefits to 50 weeks right now, but the government is still asking the unemployed to wait.
    The government's Bill C‑30 has many other shortcomings, including the fact that it discriminates against seniors. We asked that a study be done and evidence provided to justify discriminating against seniors between the ages of 65 and 74. Very little information was forthcoming. It is ridiculous—

  (1210)  

    Order. I apologize for interrupting the hon. member.
    I am hopeful the government will rise in the House today to take concrete steps for all workers—
    Questions and comments, the hon. parliamentary secretary.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day, a day we can all reflect on the 215 children who matter, children who really do matter, and murdered and missing indigenous women and girls. It is very important for all of us to work toward reconciliation.
    The budget implementation bill is a continuation of support programs that have been there to help Canadians get through this pandemic, whether one is a senior, a worker or a youth. These support programs were there to ensure that we would be in a better position to be able to recover in the pandemic, while at the same time providing disposable income for Canadians at a time in which they need it most.
    Could the member provide her thoughts as to why it is important we actually pass this legislation?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, in terms of the length of debate on the bill, that is up to us.
    With regard to all the measures, the Bloc Québécois said it would support Bill C‑30. Indeed, this bill does have measures that people need and that we need to implement.
    However, I must remind the government that, whether it be the Canada emergency wage subsidy, the Canada emergency rent subsidy, EI, sickness benefits or measures for seniors, all these measures are temporary and will come to an end. The bill does not include any meaningful measures nor any vision.
    We have been saying for a long time that, in order to find a way out of this crisis, we need a vision to help us look forward and propose real, concrete and meaningful measures that will be lasting, not just temporary.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I had the chance to listen to both the first part and second part of the hon. member's speech.
    I have not heard very much about a part of the bill that proposes an amendment to the Canada Elections Act, which specifically would make it unlawful to knowingly mislead electors during an election campaign. I find it interesting that this is in an omnibus budget bill. Has she had a chance to look into the proposed amendment to the Canada Elections Act and does she have any comments on it?

  (1215)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question, even though I cannot answer it entirely.
    The entire election issue has us scratching our heads. Why make changes with respect to elections when everyone here is saying that there will not be an election during the pandemic and we are still in a pandemic?
    I even wonder why there needs to be an election and why we should make changes. I hate the fact that we in the House are unable to reach a consensus on the conditions to put in place to hold an election. It is up to parliamentarians. This should not be done through a regulation in a bill.
    Madam Speaker, I really appreciated the speech by my colleague from Thérèse‑De Blainville.
    She talked about employment insurance and the fact that the current system is flawed. Many workers have suffered the consequences. She also talked about sick leave and the fact that the bill provides for only half the period that everyone considers necessary. People suffering from diseases such as cancer need sick leave for up to a year.
    There are also cuts to the Canada emergency response benefit. Since the budget was tabled in House, we have been calling for an adjustment to allow people to continue to receive $500 a week. It is important, especially during a pandemic.
    According to my colleague, why is the government refusing to make these important changes?
    The hon. member for Thérèse‑De Blainville only has a few seconds to reply to the question.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague. A very brief answer would be that the government has abandoned the idea that these programs are part of the social safety net. The government views them as an insurance policy. The time has come for the government to reconsider—
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Battle River—Crowfoot.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it is an honour to join in the debate, once again, in the House.
    However, from what I am hearing in the media, and the rumours around Ottawa, we very well may be facing an election in the coming months. As this may be my last speech prior to that election, I want to share some brief words of thanks to the constituents of Battle River—Crowfoot for the honour to be their voice in Canada's Parliament over the last year and a half or so.
    As we have faced an unprecedented time on so many fronts and the need for collaboration and to hold the government to account as a member of the opposition, it has been a true honour. I look forward to life getting back to normal. Alberta plans to open for the summer, with the vast majority of COVID restrictions being lifted on July 1. It is an exciting prospect for Albertans as we look forward to getting back to normal.
     Even though Parliament is scheduled to rise in a few days, I look forward to continuing to fight in every way possible for the good people of east central Alberta and Battle River—Crowfoot for whom I have the honour and privilege of serving.
    I am rising on debate on the Liberal's budget, an omnibus budget bill, Bill C-30, which the Liberals promised to never do. When a Liberal parliamentary secretary was asked that very question on Friday, he said in effect that this was different because it was a budget bill. I have asked a number of questions and on this and, quite frankly, I have not received much response to them. This bill covers a wide swath of things that, yes, were promised in the much-delayed budget that was introduced a number of months ago, but it also includes some other aspects, such as an amendment to the Canada Elections Act, a change to the gas tax fund and a few other things, which I will dive into in more detail.
    However, I would like to address one concern I increasingly hear from constituents, and that is the attitude to which this current Liberal government has approached the legislative agenda and the way it has governed the country. I had a constituent give me a very apt description that I would like to share with members about the rhetoric that has been coming out of the Liberal benches as of late, and it is simply this.
     The government is quick to blame the opposition for all its failures, which I think we have been very effective at articulating how absurd that is. Had it not been for the opposition, Canada would be in a much worse spot when it comes to COVID relief programs. The third time is the charm with respect to legislation that has had to be repaired several times. The fact is that the opposition has been exposing many of the areas of mismanagement and very troubling trends related to the approach that the Liberals have taken to government accountability and ethics.
    These last couple of weeks, in particular, the government House leader, other Liberal members and the Prime Minister in his press conferences, who would never say this in the House of Commons because he would be held to account on it, have effectively said that it is the Conservatives who have been obstructionists, that it somehow is the opposition's fault that the government cannot get anything accomplished.
    A constituent shared with me an analogy that I will share with members. It is a bit like students, after having received the syllabus for the school year, coming upon the night before the deadline for a major assignment at the end of the course and all of a sudden realizing they had lot of work to do but did very little or nothing and now they have a choice: They can either admit their failures or they can blame, pivot and make excuses. The Liberals have chosen to do the latter by blaming the Conservatives for obstruction, rather than acknowledging that they are the ones in charge and that they have utterly failed in their legislative management. If this is any indication of how the Liberals have managed government over the last six years, no wonder our country is facing some major challenges.

  (1220)  

    Bill C-30 is a large bill and it addresses many aspects of COVID response program changes to other aspects of the functioning of government. I am going to get into those specific things.
     However, I want to touch on a couple of things that have not received a lot of airtime, so to speak, one of which is the proposed amendment to the Canada Elections Act. The part of the Elections Act that talks about misleading statements during an election was struck down by a court ruling. The government has inserted in the bill, somewhat innocuously, an amendment to the act that would include the words “knowingly mislead” during an election.
    There should be a lot of discussion on the “knowingly mislead” part, especially when we see the failures of the current government to uphold elections commitments, its pivoting away from promises made and, certainly, the astounding level of mistrust that is faced across political discourse these days. I find it troubling that this has not been debated extensively. It calls into question some of the purposes associated with why that would be inserted into the back of a budget implementation bill.
    The second thing, and this is typically Liberal, is that in the budget implementation bill, the government plans to rename the gas tax fund. This is the Liberal agenda at its best. It takes something, renames it, shines it up a bit, gives it a little spit and polish, and then suggests they have done Canadians a great service with this new program with its fancy new name. That appears to be what Liberals have done with the gas tax fund, which will be called the Canada community building fund going forward.
    The new name certainly has a ring to it, and most Canadians might say that it is a great idea, with grant applications and funds going to municipalities. However, it is very important to highlight that it is simply a change in name of a program, which has some of the challenges associated with government accountability and the increased costs. Then I expect to hear a flurry of election spending announcements, promoted by the infrastructure of government, as we saw prior to the 2019 election. We are already seeing cabinet ministers jet-setting across the country, using the tools they have at their disposal to make a myriad of promises prior to the election.
     We are going to see a whole bunch of promises related to this new fund, but the Liberals probably will not call it a new fund. However, under a new name, the Liberals will certainly claim credit for the work, even though it was not the Liberals who brought forward that fund, and how it has benefited many municipalities, including some in Battle River—Crowfoot.
    I am glad to have had the opportunity to put that on the record so Canadians know that simply renaming something does not give the government of the day credit.
    There are extensions to many aspects of COVID programming and there are some concerns related to not being able to address some of the folks who have fallen through the cracks. There are further changes to health transfers, some of which are very needed. I would suggest the dollars are a little too late when it comes to vaccinations, which speaks to the Liberal strategy. If we had been on time with vaccines, we would not have had a third wave. This was the Prime Minister's third wave, when it comes to the delays we face.

  (1225)  

    As I have come to the end of my speech, I will simply say this. Parliament is an institution that represents Canadians, and to hear that the government is trying to circumvent, at every cost, the need for this place to carefully and thoughtfully debate and discuss legislation, including something as significant as the bill before us, Bill C-30, is very troubling. It is very troubling to hear the Liberals try to circumvent and dismiss the need for what should be of absolute importance to every single one of us.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, like my colleague, I took the time to read and analyze the budget. When taking notes, I use a red pen to indicate interference in Quebec's and the provinces' jurisdictions. There was a lot of red ink.
    What does my colleague think of this aspect of the budget and jurisdictional meddling?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it has become standard practice for successive Liberal governments, whether through direct legislative means, as we see in this bill, or through the myriad of other regulatory or political mechanisms, to blur the lines between the different levels of government.
    Our federation works because there has to be respect between the different levels of government, and unfortunately we have seen a significant erosion of that over the last six years. It has led to an increased level of alienation in various regions of the country. Certainly it is being felt in western Canada. A lot of that points back to a Liberal government that refuses to stay within the lines of what our country was intended to be and how the federation was intended to operate.
    It is incredibly troubling that time and time again we see an intrusion into provincial jurisdiction by the federal government. It is the Ottawa-knows-best mentality. That may make for great press conferences and great spending announcements, but it is not how leadership works. Leadership needs to be working with provincial partners and—

  (1230)  

    I have to allow time for other questions.
    The hon. member for Kingston and the Islands has the floor.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to ask the member to expand on his comment that the federal government is going into jurisdiction that is provincial territory. The only thing I can think of offhand in this regard is the fight over the price on pollution, which the Supreme Court said was within the federal government's jurisdiction.
    Can the member elaborate on where the federal government seems to be going into territory that it should not be?
    Madam Speaker, the member emphasizes the problem. Time and time again, he refuses to acknowledge that there are regions of the country that demand respect in our federation. The Liberal government has refused to do this too, even in various pieces of legislation. I think about Bill C-48, Bill C-69 and even the debate around carbon pricing. The federal government has the ability to impose its will on provinces, but the question that should be asked is whether or not it should. The problem is that we have a Liberal government that refuses to respect anyone who disagrees with any aspect of the way it approaches politics, the legislation it puts forward—
    The hon. member for Vancouver East has the floor.
    Madam Speaker, we know that during the pandemic inequalities have increased. The ultrarich are becoming richer than ever and those who need help are still struggling to get by. However, we do not see a wealth tax or a pandemic profiteering tax in this budget bill, Bill C-30. In fact, the government has opted to do more consultation in tackling the problem of tax havens.
    Does the member think that this is the right approach, or does he think the NDP's proposal to bring forward a wealth tax and a profiteering tax at this time is the right way to go?
    Madam Speaker, the member asks a question that strikes at the heart of the way the Liberals have pulled the wool over the eyes of Canadians. They are trying to outflank the NDP on the left regarding policy measures, and when it comes to actual implementation to deal with the things they promised to deal with, they end up simply saying that they will consult going forward or they back away from their commitments entirely. That is a further troubling trend we see, and the government is not being honest with Canadians. With a lot of the COVID programming, we have seen that, increasingly, it is the elites who are benefiting from the billions of dollars that were meant to—
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to underscore today the importance of National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada. We have much to reflect upon and much to do in terms of the justice that is required for true and meaningful national reconciliation.
    From the very beginning of the pandemic, the member for Burnaby South and the NDP caucus have been pushing for supports that can really make a difference in people's lives. In the beginning, the Prime Minister proposed initial supports for the pandemic that were barely $1,000 a month. That is far below the poverty line, and it was the serious proposal by the Prime Minister. Members will recall that the member for Burnaby South and the NDP caucus pushed very hard to get that amount above poverty levels, above dire levels. We understood the magnitude of the pandemic and the impacts that were being felt in people's lives, so we pushed for an adequate level of support and ultimately they got $2,000 a month through the CERB, which became the CRB.
    It is to our utmost dismay that we are now debating a bill that takes us back to where the Prime Minister originally wanted to go, with barely over $1,000 a month for people struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic who are unable to work because their businesses have closed. Whole sectors, including the tourism sector, have repeatedly raised concerns about the fact that the pandemic is not over yet and that there is no place for a victory lap. Indeed, the variants we are seeing are indicating, in some countries and regions, a disturbing number of new cases. In fact, we are seeing this even in the case of individuals who have been vaccinated with two doses.
    People are subject to these variants, which are disturbingly starting to creep up in various parts of our planet and in some parts of our country, yet the government has persisted from the very beginning, with a budget announcement and now with Bill C-30, in slashing the benefits that Canadians so vitally depend on. They need those benefits to put food on the table, to keep a roof over their heads and often to pay for medication because the government broke its promise to put in place public universal pharmacare. However, we still have the situation where the government continues to insist that slashing benefits to below the poverty line is somehow in the best interests of Canadians. This is something the New Democrats have raised from the very beginning and continue to raise as a broad concern. As the variants disturbingly start to make progress across the country, this should be a concern for the Prime Minister and the government.
    There are other aspects of this bill that the NDP has raised broad concerns about. One is seniors, who often live below the poverty line. They will not be given an OAS increase unless they are 75 and over, even though we know the poverty rate among seniors who are 65 to 75. That is another measure that makes no sense at all. We raised this at committee and offered amendments, but the government continues to refuse to do the right thing and put in place a broad level of OAS support that lifts seniors up, regardless of their age, and does not create two classes of seniors.
    Broadly, our biggest concern with Bill C-30 has been the lack of vision in how we get through the pandemic and rebuild afterward. As my colleague, the member for Vancouver East, has pointed out, there is no wealth tax, there is no pandemic profits tax and there are no concrete measures against tax havens. Despite the plethora of documentation showing that Canadians and profitable corporations are taking their profits overseas, which is well documented in the Panama papers, the Paradise papers, the Bahamas papers and the Isle of Man scam, the government has not, after six years, brought a single charge against any of the Canadians or profitable Canadian companies guilty of tax evasion. Despite the fact that the information is freely available to the public, not a single time has it said that this is wrong and we should do something about it.

  (1235)  

    It strikes me as incredibly hypocritical for the government to say that it restored some of the cuts to the CRA and that is all it needs to do, when we have databases with the names of thousands of Canadians and profitable Canadian corporations and the government has refused to do a single thing about this issue. It has not charged a single Canadian. It has not charged a single profitable Canadian corporation.
    As members know, the Parliamentary Budget Officer has indicated how serious this is. It is something that costs Canadians, in terms of tax dollars, an astounding $25 billion a year. Addressing the lack of a wealth tax, the lack of a pandemic profits tax and the refusal to take action against tax havens would make such a profound difference in our quality of life. We are talking about $25 billion to $40 billion annually that would be available to provide supports for seniors, for students and for people with disabilities, and to broaden our education system. We could lock in place public universal pharmacare. We could put in place dental care, which my colleague from St. John's East proposed and the Liberals voted against just a few days ago.
    Today, on National Indigenous Peoples Day, we are talking about the fact that there are dozens and dozens of Canadian indigenous communities that do not even have safe drinking water, yet the government continues to say that it cannot do anything about the issue because it would cost too much. The reality, as members know, is quite different. The reality is that the government seems to rely on providing supports to the ultrarich. It does it with impunity and does it regularly, and it does not take care of the rest of Canadians, who have real, meaningful needs that have not been addressed by this bill, nor by government action over the last six years.
    I can tell members about the heart of the housing affordability crisis in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia and in my riding. In that context, in the two communities I proudly represent, New Westminster and Burnaby, housing costs have spiralled out of control. However, the government has done very little about this. It makes noise about having contributed in some way to building housing units, but the B.C. government has built more new housing units than the rest of the country put together. The federal government made a small contribution to that, but it has tried to take credit for a program that was put in place by the B.C. government. This is another measures that could make a substantial difference in the quality of life of Canadians, yet the government refuses to implement it.
    The member of Parliament for Nunavut did a housing tour showing, in vivid and appalling detail, the housing crisis in Nunavut and in the north, yet the government has not acted. It has refused to take the actions that would make a difference in the quality of life of indigenous communities and throughout northern Canada. It is perplexing to say the least that a government that could have put in place the tools to make a difference in people's lives has chosen not to do that. The government could have made substantial investments in this budget and with this budget implementation act, but it has refused to do it.
    To add to that, I will come back, in a circular way, to my initial argument. The Liberals are cutting the emergency response benefit at the most critical time. Canadians who have tried to get through the last 15 months and have managed to survive thanks to the member for Burnaby South and the NDP caucus, which pushed for a CERB that was above the poverty line, are now seeing, looming on the horizon, a government that wants to lower the emergency response benefit to below the poverty line. That is unacceptable, and we will continue to push the government to do the right thing and not cut the emergency response benefit.

  (1240)  

    Madam Speaker, I have a finance question.
    Two great economic historians from Harvard University, Reinhart and Rogoff, have listed five precursors to a debt crisis: asset price inflation, particularly housing price inflation; long-term current account deficits, that is to say buying from the world more than we sell to the world; a drop in output, as we experienced last year with the $100-billion drop in GDP; rising household leverage, and we have the highest household-debt-to-income ratio in the G7; and an increase in overall indebtedness. We now have $8.6 trillion of household, corporate and governmental debt combined, which is four dollars of debt for every one dollar of GDP.
    If interest rates rise before these incredible debt ratios decline, does the member believe we could face a debt crisis in Canada of which I have warned in the past and am warning in the present? Does he share that concern, and what would he do to avoid it?

  (1245)  

    Madam Speaker, the member for Carleton and I disagree on many things. We sometimes agree as well, but I always enjoy working with him at the finance committee.
    He has raised something that the NDP identified years ago. The household debt crisis is a crisis that was enacted under both the former Conservative government and the current Liberal government by a refusal to put in place a fair tax system. When we force Canadian families to go massively into debt for post-secondary education, to go into debt to pay for medication that their family depends on and to go into debt for housing because there is no affordable housing available, that creates a household debt crisis. What we have seen under former Conservative government and the current Liberal government is a refusal to force the ultrarich to pay their fair share. The household debt crisis is intrinsically linked to the crisis that we have with a lack of a fair tax system that I mentioned in my speech.
    There is $25 billion a year going into overseas tax havens, no wealth tax, no pandemic profits tax and a refusal to make the ultrarich pay their fair share.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his remarks. He accurately pointed out which sectors of the economy have been hardest hit during the pandemic and discussed seniors, people with disabilities and the housing crisis. In Quebec alone, 40,000 people are waiting for social housing, for low-income housing, and 450,000 people have urgent housing needs. It is a big deal.
    During the pandemic, the government rolled out its big Canada emergency wage subsidy to help people working for struggling businesses. The Conservative Party, the Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party all claimed the subsidy, which I find scandalous. The Liberals and the NDP have not said anything about reimbursing the money. We will be campaigning in two months, and the NDP is going to use government money, which was supposed to go to struggling workers, to pay for lawn signs. Is my colleague not the least bit embarrassed by that?
    Madam Speaker, we fought for non-profits to be eligible for the wage subsidy to ensure that organizations would not have to choose between laying off employees or keeping them on staff.
    As the member just said, the member for Burnaby South and the NDP caucus pushed the hardest for this initiative which, as the member knows, already existed in other European countries, for example. This was important for Canada. The government initially refused, but the NDP continued to push for it, as we normally do, being the workers' party. We want people to stay employed.
    We were successful, as everyone knows. The subsidy allowed for workers, including Quebec workers, to remain employed.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to rise in the House today and speak to the government's budget. I have been spending a lot of time talking to people in my constituency about where they think this country should go coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. What does the future look like? What are the things we need to be focusing on as we move forward as a country?
    There are three big priorities that I am hearing from my constituents in terms of their concerns of the direction of the government. Their concerns are around rising government debt. Their concerns are around the failure to support the energy sector and the role that the energy sector will play in our economy going forward. The third concern I hear a great deal about in my riding right now is freedom of speech and attacks on freedom of speech that we hear from the government.
    With respect to Bill C-30, the government's budget bill, let us zero in on the first of those two points: government debt and the energy sector. As we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, people are looking to see what kinds of plans are in place to allow our economy to grow and prosper and be firing on all cylinders again. In order to do, that we need strong public finances. In order to do, that we need to have support for our key natural resource and other sectors that really drive prosperity.
    We have to have sound public finance and we have to have revenue coming in to government coffers as a result of jobs being created, opportunities being created in our key sectors. There is a great deal of concern about the public debt that has been run up over the course of this pandemic, but it did not start with the pandemic. Let us remember, when the Prime Minister took office, we had a balanced budget. Canada had been through the global financial crisis. We ran deficits during those years, but Canada was back in a balanced budget position in 2015.
    In fact, over the course of the tenure of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Canada's debt-to-GDP ratio had gone down. We had been through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Over the course of the tenure of that prime minister, through those incredibly difficult circumstances, the debt-to-GDP ratio had gone down.
    We had a prime minister coming in and saying, “the good times will last forever, do not worry about it, the budget will balance itself, so we can run modest deficits”. Recall that 2015 election campaign, three $10-billion deficits followed by a balanced budget in year four: that was the promise made by the Prime Minister. Teeny, tiny deficits, $10-billion deficits for three years followed by a balanced budget.
    What happened? In the first year under finance minister Bill Morneau, the government had a deficit that essentially ate up its promised deficit allotment for the three years all in one year. The Prime Minister had not foreseen perhaps, or maybe he did and just did not tell us, that when opening the floodgates with money for everything, money for this and money for that and we do not have to worry about raising the revenue for it, that can become a bottomless pit. We have seen over time this bottomless pit of willingness to go into debt get deeper and deeper. Instead of three years of $10-billion deficits and then a balanced budget, we had four years in the order of about $30-billion deficits. During relatively good years, the government ran up another $100 billion worth of debt.
    Part of the reason we need to have strong public finances is to preserve that capacity during challenging circumstances to run deficits. In the midst of a global financial crisis as we faced in 2008-09, in the face of the pandemic as we dealt with in this Parliament, it is very often necessary to have some degree of deficit spending. However, if we are running deficits already prior to that period and then go further into deficit, we increase our risk of a long-term debt crisis. Certainly we run up massive amounts of more debt that have to be paid off at some point.
    The government's long-term fiscal plan coming out of this pandemic involves very large deficits in perpetuity. There is no plan for us to ever get back at any point, even to the $10-billion figure that the Liberals talked about when they ran in 2015. The long-term plan is to spend more that we have every single year.
    We have different parties in the House with different approaches to spending. Conservatives believe that it is important for us to move toward a balanced budget—

  (1250)  

[Translation]

     I remind the member that he should not have any devices that make sounds near him.
    The hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I thought it was my children calling, worried about the debt they are going to have to pay off in a few years as a result of the profligate spending of the current government.
    As I was saying, Conservatives emphasize the importance of moving toward a balanced budget. I do not agree with them, but I give the New Democrats credit for saying we should be spending more and increasing taxes. That is not an approach that is going to lead to long-term prosperity, but at least they sort of have understood at certain times that if they are going to spend more they have to pay for it somehow.
     The Liberal government, uniquely in this place, takes the position that we could consistently spend more than we have: that, during good years, we can run what were historically considered large deficits of $30 billion; and then, during challenging circumstances, we can run astronomical deficits of 10 times that. Notably, this one Prime Minister has accumulated more debt during his time in office than all of the previous prime ministers had up until 2015. This is the great debt Prime Minister. That is his legacy to our children.
     It is understandable that people in my riding are coming to me, asking, “What is the plan here, where is all this money coming from, and how are we ever going to get out from under this?” I tell them the reality is that the money we spend today, we are going to have to pay off. It is going to lead to higher taxes, lower social spending or both, in the future, or maybe the government's way of getting out of it is simply printing more money and leaving it to inflation. That too is a form of taxation. It is a form of the government reaching into people's pockets and, through inflation, reducing the value of the money they have. Therefore, yes, we should be very concerned about debt.
    The way we can move forward as an economy is going to also require strong job growth and a reoriented, rational economic policy that gets our debt under control. However, also part of balancing the budget is promoting growth. We need to have support for what have always been the engines of economic development in this country, and those are the natural resources and manufacturing sectors.
    Conservatives have said very clearly that we want to support economic growth in all sectors of the economy. We want to support in all sectors and in all regions. For energy workers in Alberta, for forestry workers in B.C., for forestry workers and manufacturing workers in Quebec, for people working on the assembly line in Ontario, from coast to coast, Conservatives are supportive of those vital sectors. That is where we differ from the government. The government is disdainful of our energy and manufacturing sectors. The government is imposing additional burdens on those sectors. The Liberals have this notion that the sectors that have driven our success for all of our history could somehow be shut out of economic recovery and, instead, government could pick winners and losers and be subsidizing what it thinks are going to be the technology and the jobs of the future.
     If we are going to put the focus on jobs and opportunity for Canadians, then we need to come back to those tried-and-true sectors that have delivered prosperity in the past. That means removing barriers from our oil and gas sector. That means supporting private-sector-driven stimulus, the development of pipelines, energy projects that employ so many Canadians, not just in my riding, not just in Alberta but people from other parts of the country who invest in or come to Alberta or who create component products that are then used in energy-related manufacturing as well as extraction.
    We have this opportunity, going forward. We have an opportunity to secure our future; that is, to get our debt under control, to work toward a balanced budget over time, and to do so by controlling spending but also by supporting growth.
    On the other hand, we have a government across the way who says we can shut down our traditional sectors and at the same time we could spend more money than we have. The Liberals are cutting the knees out of our revenue sources and they are continuing to insist on spending more and more. It is not going to work to undermine the sources of job growth and opportunity growth and government revenue and, on the other hand, to just keep insisting on spending more and more money. That is a recipe for economic disaster. The government is just bullishly moving forward in this direction that will be disastrous for our long-term economic well-being. We need a change. We need a government that is committed to securing our future.

  (1255)  

    Madam Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for his great speech on this important topic. He spoke a bit about cutting the knees out of our economy. Perhaps he was talking about the lack of pipelines getting built in this country. I wonder if he can talk a little more about that.
    Madam Speaker, what we saw from the current government, immediately upon taking office, was killing the northern gateway pipeline and imposing all kinds of conditions on the possibility of an east-to-west pipeline that would connect Canadian energy with Canadian consumers. It has killed pipeline project after pipeline project, and that is obviously undermining investor confidence. At the beginning of this Parliament, there was the Teck Frontier project, a project that had been through all the hoops. Members of the government caucus openly lobbied to kill that project, which actually had a net-zero target built into it. We see project after project that go through all the steps, good projects that create jobs and take triple bottom line—

  (1300)  

    We have a lot of interesting questions.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.
    Madam Speaker, the member made reference to job creation. It is important to recognize that even pre-pandemic, this government had the lowest historic unemployment rates. In fact, in the first four to five years of governance, we created well over one million jobs, which is far superior to Stephen Harper's record.
    When it comes to the deficit, even the Conservatives have been unanimously supporting the expenditure of billions of dollars through the wage subsidy and CERB programs. Is the Conservative Party now saying we should not have brought forward the wage subsidy and CERB programs? Is that—
    The hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.
    Madam Speaker, the member is quite correct that we sought to work with the government during the very challenging circumstances of COVID, but that does not mean we were not critical of some aspects of the implementation. There were many problems with the way these programs rolled out. We said there were ways they could have been constructed better. For instance, we talked about having a back-to-work bonus to make it easier for people receiving CERB to get back to work part time without losing all of their benefits. If the government had implemented some of our suggestions, we would have been able to be there for Canadians and also take into consideration the fiscal circumstances. We can do both at the same time; we can take both under consideration, but the government failed to do so.
    Much of the spending is far beyond these benefit programs. There are the benefit programs, but we were in a seriously dangerous deficit situation even before the pandemic.
    Madam Speaker, the hon. member talked a lot about the recovery, but we are still in the middle of the pandemic. We hear constantly about the tourism sector and the hospitality industry, many of whose members have not survived. They need and want and are crying out for a continuation of the rent and wage subsidies for a while so they can survive long enough to recover. Do the hon. member and his party support that continuation so these businesses can survive long enough to enjoy a recovery and keep people employed?
    Madam Speaker, it has been a pleasure working with this colleague. I wish him well in his planned retirement.
    There are different things happening in different parts of the country. My province has announced a complete reopening starting at the beginning of July. There are different circumstances in different places and different trajectories. Hopefully, over time we are expecting the country as a whole to be on its way out of the pandemic as a result of various factors, including the availability of vaccines.
    I would say to the member's question that a targeted approach is important. There are certain sectors that have been hurt more than others, and there are certain sectors for which the impacts will be there much longer. Therefore, it is important to look at the changes in the circumstances and how some sectors are continuing to be affected while others are coming out of it. Certainly, we would provide the tools and incentives for returning to a situation of growth as quickly as possible, and that does require a bit of sensitivity with respect to the different circumstances.
    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to see you in the chair today, giving me this opportunity, I guess, to speak until the end of the programming motion that has been forced upon us because the government and the House leadership on its side seem to really want to do their homework at the very last minute. As a constant procrastinator in my youth, I appreciate that, but with old age we get wiser. I have come around to not doing that in my personal life and making sure that I am on top of my work before the clock strikes the eleventh hour.
    What I am going to talk about today with regard to this piece of legislation, the budget bill, the first BIA, is what Albertans and constituents in my riding have cared about for the last 20 years, which is equalization, equalization and equalization. That is some of the biggest unfairness in our Confederation, and I think every Albertan would say so.
    Typically in the BIA, the budget implementation act, we would see modifications made to the formula that governs equalization. I remember being on the finance committee when this was indeed the case. I actually missed it at the time, but the government simply rolled over the same formula and then accused the Conservatives at the time of having supported this formula back in 2014. The Liberals said it was not a big deal because it was the same thing.
    Here is the deal. Over the last two years, the provincial government in Alberta has run a $24-billion deficit, if COVID spending is excluded. Once COVID spending is included, it will approach a $40-billion deficit over two fiscal years in the province of Alberta, my home province, the province I call home, the place that adopted me. It is patently unfair that Albertans are continuing to see major contributions to federal coffers because, after all, it is not a cheque cut from Edmonton to Ottawa; it is the totality of federal income taxes levied on workers in Alberta, and then the redistribution is based on a formula and the fiscal capacity of the average of the 10 provinces combined together. Now, there are a lot of different revenues included. There are different calculations being made.
     At the Fraser Institute, Ben Eisen and another analyst made a calculation that demonstrated that in Canada, equalization and the fiscal capacity of the provinces are actually converging. Over the last five and a half years, my province has gotten poorer because of Liberal policies out of Ottawa. My province is now so poor that Albertans are only 20% above the median income of the people in Ontario, whereas before we were in the range of 80% to 90% above. That is a significant decrease in the common prosperity of the people of my province. It is directly related to policies that the Liberal government has introduced. It has stymied the growth of the oil and gas sector. I have not seen a single major oil and gas project be proposed and built since the Liberals took power. Actually, every single project that was completed had been started under the previous Conservative government.
    Equalization by 2025-26 fiscal year is expected to be $25 billion. That is according to the government's own figures. The total number is actually growing over time. It is not shrinking over time, and it should be shrinking because our fiscal capacity is actually converging. The provinces are actually becoming much closer together to the average. One would think that over time there would be less money to redistribute because the provinces are more even, but that is not what is going on.
    I want to recognize a member of the New Democratic Party, the member for St. John's East, who has stated several times how unfair equalization is to his home province of Newfoundland and Labrador. I had the distinct privilege of being able to travel with different parliamentary committees to the province as well, and I have read the Greene report. Lady Greene provided a report on the state of the finances in Newfoundland and Labrador. It is an eye-opening read. It is not just unfair for Alberta. It is not just unfair for Saskatchewan and other “have” provinces contributing to our shared prosperity in this country; it is also unfair to Newfoundland and Labrador, which is seeing an immense drop in its provincial revenues and barely any finances being made up in the fiscal stabilization program, the FSP, the so-called equalization rebate.
    Let it not be said that we Conservatives and I have not done something about it. I have tabled Bill C-263, the equalization and transfers fairness act, which would have eliminated that cap, but in this budget, in the BIA, all the Liberal government is committing to do is simply increase the cap to another random number.

  (1305)  

    The Liberals have tripled the cap now to a number that I do not think is defensible. If the cap had been eliminated entirely, my home province of Alberta would have been eligible for a $3-billion refund because of the significant loss in revenues. It is not as if the federal government does not have increasing revenues. I was just looking at the numbers. The income taxes that the federal government is forecasted to raise will go up by $46 billion over five years. That is $46 billion of additional revenue coming in, and it still cannot balance the budget within a five-year timetable.
    To conclude, I want to be clear that if Albertans want to know more, if members across the country want to know more, I encourage them to follow Fairness Alberta and Dr. Bill Bewick's work, which gives an eye-opening account by the numbers, not rhetoric, just by the numbers, of the hardship my province is being asked to bear in order to pay for the finances of the federal government, and we cannot afford it. We cannot afford this government. We cannot afford another five years of nothing being done on equalization. The formula needs to be changed, and there needs to be greater fairness for the people of Alberta.
    I will finish with a Yiddish proverb, because I know members know how much I appreciate them: “Let your mouth not speak what the eyes do not see.” Albertans have been seeing deep unfairness over the last five and a half years. We have suffered one of the greatest—

  (1310)  

[Translation]

    It being 1:11 p.m., pursuant to order made on Monday, June 14, it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the report stage of the bill now before the House.
    The question is on Motion No. 2.

[English]

     Shall I dispense?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
     [Chair read text of motion to House]

[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 ask them to rise and indicate it to the Chair.
    The hon. member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I request a recorded division.
    Pursuant to order made on Monday, January 25, the division stands deferred until later this day at the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions.

[Translation]

Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act

Bill C‑12—Time Allocation Motion 

     That, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House, Bill C‑12, An Act respecting transparency and accountability in Canada's efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050, 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.

  (1315)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to speak to this motion, but I would like to focus my remarks on Bill C-12 itself and the importance of passing this legislation.
    As I hope all members in this House know, climate change is a global threat and Canadians rightly expect us to take action to counter the climate crisis. The net-zero emissions accountability act is a fundamental part of this plan. If we do not reduce emissions rapidly and consistently down to net-zero by 2050 at the latest, we will not achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. This is an existential threat to the planet on which there is global consensus.
    At the Leaders Summit on Climate convened by President Biden in April, the Prime Minister joined 39 other world leaders of nations that account for more than half of the world's economy as they committed to set emissions reductions, the pace required globally, to limit warming to 1.5°C. We have a responsibility to all Canadians and future generations to act now.
     In November 2020, our government tabled Bill C-12, an act that would enshrine in legislation Canada's commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and provide a framework of accountability and transparency to ensure governments undertake the planning, take the actions and conduct the monitoring needed to achieve that goal.
    In May 2021, Bill C-12 was referred to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development for consideration and clause-by-clause. During this study, our government listened to the broad range of feedback and worked collaboratively with members of the House of Commons in order to further strengthen and improve the bill. Several amendments spanning virtually all areas of the bill were adopted by the environment committee to reinforce Bill C-12.
    This is the version now before the House of Commons, and I will summarize the amendments that were adopted. First, new language has been added to the preamble to state clearly that climate change is a global problem requiring immediate and ambitious action by all governments in Canada. In addition, the preamble lists Canada's international and domestic greenhouse gas emissions reporting obligations as such under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act.
    As we know, the objective of Bill C-12 is for Canada to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The new version of Bill C-12 clarifies that nothing in the act would preclude Canada from attaining net-zero emissions before 2050. In other words, net-zero by 2050 is the minimum goal. If we can reach the goal earlier it would be even better, and nothing in this law would prevent that kind of ambition.
    The committee also worked on improving the act's provisions in relation to targets. First, the committee voted in favour of codifying the 2030 greenhouse gas emissions target as Canada's nationally determined contribution for that year under the Paris Agreement, which the Prime Minister announced at the recent Leaders Summit on Climate as 40% to 45% below our 2005 levels. In addition, each greenhouse gas emission target set under the act must be a progression from the previous one. This amendment would prevent backsliding on Canada's greenhouse gas emissions targets. Lastly, each target must be as ambitious as Canada's most recent nationally determined contribution under the Paris Agreement.
    Under this new version of the act, all targets after 2030 would be set at least 10 years before the beginning of its corresponding milestone year instead of the five years in advance provided by the original version of the bill. This new provision would ensure the government starts planning for future targets earlier and would align with Canada's current practice under the UNFCCC.
    Going a step further, the committee adopted a complementary amendment that would strengthen the act by requiring the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to publish within a year of setting the targets for 2035, 2040 and 2045 a high-level description of key emissions reductions measures to achieve that target, as well as the latest projection of greenhouse gas emissions.
    This provision would, for example, ensure the targets set for 2035 in 2025 are accompanied by a high-level description of those measures that will be undertaken to reach the target, as well as the most current emissions projections. The detailed plan to achieve the 2035 target would be due no later than December 2029.
    With respect to the criteria for setting the targets, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change must now consider submissions and advice provided by the advisory body in addition to the best scientific information available and Canada's international commitments with respect to climate change.
    Another set of amendments enshrines the role of indigenous knowledge. The preamble now states the Government of Canada's commitment to taking indigenous knowledge into account when carrying out the purposes of this act, and a related amendment would require the minister to consider indigenous knowledge when setting greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.

  (1320)  

    Year 2030 is not that far away, and Bill C-12 needs to provide accountability for taking action prior to 2030 as well as after that. To address this, the committee adopted a new provision that would require the inclusion of an interim greenhouse gas emissions objective for 2026 in the emissions reduction plan for 2030.
    Further amendments would require additional progress reports in 2023, 2025 and 2027. These reports must now contain an update on the progress made towards achieving the 2026 interim objective. Moreover, the bill would now require that the first report to the Commissioner of the Environment and the Office of the Auditor General to be submitted by the end of 2024. Taken together, these changes would provide a midpoint check-in between now and 2030, and ensure meaningful accountability checkpoints over the next decade.
    The committee also strengthened the planning requirements in the bill. The amended bill would now require the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to take into account the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the submissions provided by the advisory body, and any other relevant consideration when establishing the plan.
    It also prescribes some of the items that must be included in each plan, such as the description of how Canada's international commitments with respect to climate change are taken into account, projections of the annual greenhouse gas emission reductions resulting from the plan's combined measures and strategies, and a summary of the co-operative measures or agreements with the provinces and other governments in Canada.
    Consultation is an important element of Bill C-12. Canadians, indigenous peoples of Canada, environmental and non-government organizations, and other interested parties would be able to provide opportunities and make submissions at various stages of the act's implementation, such as when the minister has to set a target or plan.
     To strengthen the commitment to transparency, Bill C-12 now includes a provision that would require the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to publish a report on the results of the consultations carried out in relation to targets and plans.
    The committee also approved the progress report requirements. As I previously noted, the 2023, 2025 and 2027 progress reports on the 2030 target must also include an update on the progress made to achieving the 2026 interim objective. In addition, the 2023 report, as the midpoint between now and 2025, would be required to contain an assessment of the 2030 target and include changes being made to correct the course, if needed, to achieve the target.
    Other amendments would also require more content to be included in the progress report, such as Canada's most recent published greenhouse gas emissions projection for the next milestone, and details on any additional measures that could be taken to increase the probability of achieving the target if projections indicate that a target will not be met.
    Similar amendments were also adopted with respect to assessment reports with a view of ensuring they also contain a summary of Canada's most recent official greenhouse gas emissions, inventory and information submitted by Canada under its international commitments on climate change, as well as an assessment of how key co-operative measures or agreements with provinces or other governments in Canada described in the plan contribute to Canada's efforts to achieve the target.
    The committee also adopted a number of changes with respect to the advisory body. The act now formally establishes the net-zero advisory body. It specifies that the net-zero advisory body would provide independent, forward-looking advice on achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, which also includes providing advice on targets and plans. These amendments within the act align with the current net-zero advisory body's terms of reference, which were published by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change in February 2021. Further, the act would now require the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to publish the advisory body's terms of reference and amendments made to them.
    This strengthens the act by increasing the transparency of the process. With respect to the membership of the net-zero advisory body, the amended bill contains new provisions that would require the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to consider the need for the net-zero advisory body, as a whole, to have expertise in or knowledge of, among other things, climate change science, indigenous knowledge, physical or social sciences, climate change policy at the national, subnational and international levels, energy supply and demand, and relevant technologies.
    With regard to the annual report of the net-zero advisory body, the committee adopted a new provision requiring the net-zero advisory body to take into account a range of factors when preparing the report, including environmental, economic, social, technological and the best scientific information and knowledge, including indigenous knowledge, with respect to climate change.

  (1325)  

    This provision recognizes that multiple factors must be taken into account in developing a plan that meets the science-based objectives of the net-zero emissions by 2050 in a way that works best for Canada.
    Moreover, in line with the objective of keeping the government accountable and transparent toward Canadians, the act now clarifies that the net-zero advisory body's annual report must set out results of its engagement activities. It also requires the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to publish the report 30 days after receiving it and to respond publicly within 120 days. The minister's response must also address any target recommendations by the net-zero advisory body that differs from the one the minister has set.
    The Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development plays an important role in the accountability regime established by the bill. Unlike the net-zero advisory body's report, which will provide forward-looking advice, the CESD will assess past performance of the government on its path to achieve net zero by 2050. Its first report is now to be submitted no later than 2024.
    Finally, with respect to regulations made by the Governor in Council, the act has been modified to clarify that any regulation made by the Governor in Council under the act must align with the international standards to which Canada adheres.
    Canadians are counting on us. They want assurance of Canada's sustained commitment to achieve net zero by 2050 and they want ongoing input into the consideration of the pathways to get there. By putting climate obligations into law, the net-zero emissions accountability act would ensure that governments are accountable for and transparent about their actions to combat climate change. Putting Bill C-12 into law as soon as possible is critical to this effort.
    I am very proud of the collaborative work that took place during the committee study. Those efforts have resulted in a strengthened and improved version of the act, one that provides greater predictability, transparency and accountability. This collaborative work will continue and is crucial to successfully fight the climate crisis and transition toward a resilient and strong low-carbon future. Our government is committed to doing just that.
    It is therefore my hope we can advance the bill and this motion to a final vote on this revised and improved version of Bill C-12, and allow it to be considered by the Senate as expeditiously as possible.
    Madam Speaker, the member and I sit on the environment committee together. He described the process of committee review as “collaborative”. The Conservatives actually supported the Bloc amendments as well as NDP and Liberal amendments. We actually came there to collaborate, but that particular parliamentary secretary and his team of Liberal members made a complete hash of the process.
    He talked about indigenous knowledge. There was no indigenous representation at committee. The Assembly of First Nations brief came after the time for amendments. It was very clear that there was a political agenda between the NDP and the Liberals to slam through and not even support any other amendments.
    When it comes to some of the amendments, I can see why the member only wants to talk to the bill and not to the process or even this motion. The Liberals have mishandled even getting this to Parliament. It has been over a week and a half since the committee finished.
     The member referenced specifically amendments that would force the office of the environment commissioner to study or review the government's plan. That, effectively, is a cut because there is no extra funding to do this.
    Why is the government always pushing it onto someone else's desk?

  (1330)  

    Madam Speaker, the Liberals on the committee have a minority. To get this through, there had to be collaboration.
    In the budget debate, the hon. member was for this bill before he was against it. It is shocking that after voting against it, he is now crying foul about there not being enough collaboration. We worked with opposition parties to see this through. I have no doubt that the hon. member supports action on climate change. It seems his party does not and that is truly unfortunate, as he did his best to drag it out, stall it and prevent it from getting to the Senate.
    We work with the opposition. We want to see this get through. Other parties are committed to climate action quickly and I think Canadians want to see rapid climate action. It is unfortunate the hon. member does not.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I can assure members that the Bloc Québécois approached its committee work from a standpoint of wanting to improve the process and the bill. Unfortunately, only one of the Bloc Québécois's 33 amendments was agreed to.
    Nevertheless, I would like to concentrate on plans to increase Canadian oil sands development, which is incompatible with three things: limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, achieving net zero by 2050 and hitting the targets for the milestone years in the act. Those are Environment Canada's targets, not the Bloc Québécois's. Would the parliamentary secretary comment on that?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for her climate advocacy, but Bill C-12 would achieve measures similar to the Bloc's objectives in Bill C-215, and the amendments that were adopted by the committee confirm that. I know there was a concern from the Bloc about incorporating targets into law. I would remind my colleague that the government proposed an amendment to the committee to incorporate Canada's target within the legal text of the bill and the Bloc voted against it; it tried to defeat the amendment.
    Again, there was an honest attempt to work collaboratively, and I hope we have the Bloc's support. In hearing from environmental groups—
    The hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley.
    Madam Speaker, I share the parliamentary secretary's view that we need to move expeditiously to get this bill into law, given the severity of the climate crisis.
    One of the key differences between Bill C-12 and the gold standard legislation out of the U.K. is that the latter uses a carbon budget framework, and it has been proven, through its example, to work magnificently. However, the Canadian government chose a different approach in this legislation. The minister came to committee and tried to explain to us why that was, and frankly his explanation did not make very much sense.
    I wonder if the parliamentary secretary could take a stab at sharing the rationale for not using the proven approach, which is the use of carbon budgets as in the U.K.

  (1335)  

    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his work on this bill to help us strengthen it.
    Carbon budgets are one path forward. We took the view that this should be a made-in-Canada approach moving forward. The approach is tailored to Canadian circumstances, ensuring the target setting and planning of the key measures, including sectoral measures, are made with the collaboration of all governments in Canada, including indigenous people, industry, non-governmental organizations and Canadians. The level of ambition, or of a target or of a budget is more important than of the two approaches used. Canada has recently announced a highly ambitious new target for 2030, 40% to 45% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 2005—
    The hon. member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to talk about the collaborative effort that happened in this committee.
    The hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands put forward a number of amendments and, in fact, one of those amendments was voted down by the Liberals and the NDP, even though it was the same wording as a Liberal amendment that came after it. They wasted an hour scrambling around to try to reword that amendment they voted down to get that language back in the bill. A number of really great amendments put forward by the Green Party were blocked.
    This is supposed to be a bill about accountability, but the only accountability in this comes after 2028, and the accountability is that we can vote out the government. That is not accountability. The citizens can do that in any election. We need a carbon budget like the U.K. and New Zealand have, and we need actual accountability.
    It would have been good to see a much stronger bill. I wonder if there are some comments about why we have not done that. What is this about collaboration and voting down amendments—
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Madam Speaker, it is interesting to hear from members of the Green Party, who voted against the bill at second reading, who voted against it in principle and now cry foul that we should take their amendments at face value and wanting to be part of this process. It is clear they are not. It is disappointing to see their leader, instead of focusing on important environmental issues, attack the Minister of Finance for no apparent reason.
    Perhaps the hon. member wants to look to his own caucus to see where the hon. member for Fredericton sits now and which party she thinks has a credible plan for the environment, and that includes Bill C-12.
    Madam Speaker, I would love to say that I listened very closely to the parliamentary secretary's intervention today, but I did not if I am being honest. He started off by saying that he hoped all members would know that climate change was a global threat. Then I spent 20 minutes trying to rationalize why 54% of the Conservative Party of Canada, one of the major forces in politics in Canada, did not believe climate change was a global threat.
    Could the parliamentary secretary help me in wrapping my head around all this?
    Madam Speaker, the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands is a leader in our caucus on the climate crisis and is always pushing the government to move in stronger ways.
    It has been clear throughout this debate. I know a few members of the Conservative Party in the House were in favour of the bill initially before the rest of the caucus bullied them into voting against it. They voted against climate change being real at their convention.
    I know a lot of Conservative voters out there believe climate change is real, but Conservative politicians do not support real measures. We even can look at the Leader of the Opposition's proposed carbon tax, which is “The more pollution you burn, the more you earn.” There is no real environmental policy on that side of the House, which is disappointing. I am sure this is similar to the hon. member's riding, but 70% of residents in my riding voted for a party that had an incredible plan on climate change.
    Madam Speaker, is this not a strange set of circumstances? When the government House leader said that we would be debating Bill C-12 last week, I foolishly assumed he meant the actual bill. Multiple times last week it looked like maybe Bill C-12 would be debated, but no. The Liberals say that we Conservatives are delaying. Unfortunately, instead of debating the bill today, we are debating a motion to shut down debate on the bill because the government cannot seem to manage the House agenda at all. To say this bill is urgent after not calling it for months, and indeed after proroguing the House and delaying everything, is the height of hypocrisy. Therefore, here we are.
    This is not the first disaster of management on this legislation by the current government. Indeed, it is just the most recent in a long list of failures relating to the bill. I would like to go through some of those here.
    When the bill was first introduced, I stood in the House and said I would support the bill. That is true and on the record. However, at that time, I made the mistake of taking the minister at his word: that he was willing to work in good faith with opposition parties. Very quickly I was disabused of this notion.
    The first domino was when the government pre-empted the bill entirely. It ignored its own promises and appointed the advisory body. The minister had committed to working with us and with the oil and gas industry to develop the advisory group. In fact, the Minister of Natural Resources said, “We're not reaching net-zero without our oil and gas sector in this country. We're not reaching it.” I agree with this minister and expected direct representation from this critical industry on the group advising government. Unfortunately, instead, the minister appointed a body with no direct oil and gas representation. It was full of people devoted to the death of that industry and the jobs and prosperity it brings.
    There were some choice quotes and statements from various members of the advisory committee. One tweet thanked Greta Thunberg for calling on the Prime Minister to stop all oil and gas projects. Another rejected that fossil fuels could co-exist with climate action, rejecting the industry and its workers entirely. Another advocated for stopping all fossil fuel exports and another said, “Tomorrow, I'll join thousands gathering around Canada to call on premiers to act on climate and reject pipelines.”
    Members may think that I am done, but I am just getting started because all those were from one person: Catherine Abreu of the Climate Action Network.
    Another board member, Kluane Adamek, again quoted Greta, advocating abandoning the fossil fuel economy. Simon Donner from UBC, another board member, called to halt all new oil sands projects and asked if we should cap production entirely.
    To be clear, I am not saying that these people are not entitled to their own opinions and beliefs. We are a free country with free speech, until Bill C-10 passes I guess. However, the minister chose these people who are actively anti-oil and gas and put them on this group to tell him what to do in regard to policies relating to oil and gas.
    We wanted to work with him on this advisory group and felt it could represent expertise in which Canadian industry excels. Instead, the minister would much rather reject industry entirely, so I for one have no interest in supporting his crusade or his legislation. It has become clear that the minister is completely focused on destroying Canada's oil and gas sector and all the people it employs.
    Even knowing all that, we went into the committee process in good faith. I met with many groups from across the ideological spectrum, did a lot of research and worked to create productive and relevant amendments that would improve the bill. What did we find at committee? As many more people watch the House and committees, despite being wonderful entertainment, I will let those at home know what exactly occurred.

  (1340)  

    Initially, when the bill came to us at committee, all parties worked together to create a timeline for consideration that would have allowed enough time to hear witnesses, receive briefs and review the bill. However, when the committee next met, the Liberal members dropped a surprise motion to reverse all that had been agreed to in order to fast-track the bill and get it through as fast as possible. At the time, Conservatives warned that this schedule would make it difficult to properly conduct our important work, and how right we were.
    The Liberals, with their NDP allies, were able to speed things up, so we started the study immediately. Witnesses were due the next day, so everyone had to scramble to do their best. Witness testimony was essentially limited to two days. We did hear some particularly good testimony from a variety of witnesses, yet on something clearly this important to the Liberals, why would they not want more evidence? It would become clear soon enough.
    Many people do not know that when committees study a bill, there is a deadline to submit witnesses and amendments. As well, drafting amendments takes a couple of days. The incredibly hard-working staff, who assist in drafting these, are amazing to work with, but writing law takes time. The deadline for amendments in this sped-up Liberal-designed process was immediately after we heard the last witness testimony, so there was not much time to formulate ideas and get them ready. Even worse was how it affected the written submissions. This is what really gets me.
    As soon as the bill got to committee, we put out a call for written briefs. These are quite common: Generally experts or interested Canadians send in their opinions on a piece of legislation. They are an essential aspect in ensuring that Canadians can feel included in the process and feel heard. I spoke to witnesses who, when invited to the committee, were told the deadline for submitting a brief was the day they were invited. These briefs are often technical and professionally researched articles. How is an expert supposed to write a submission with literally zero days' notice? The answer is they cannot.
    Additionally, as we are a bilingual nation, all of the submissions had to be collected and translated before being sent to members of the public. All of this led to the farce that we saw at the environment committee on the study of Bill C-12. When amendments were due on a Friday before we started clause-by-clause review, only a small number of briefs were available to members. The next week, there were dozens of briefs. Over 70 were posted and then made available. That means that due to the Liberals' single-minded focus on passing the bill as fast as they could and limiting the witness testimony as much as they could, the vast majority of public opinion on the bill was not available until after amendments were due. This is a completely disrespectful act conducted by the Liberals and their allies in the NDP to ignore public opinion.
    Ontario Power Generation, Fertilizer Canada, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, the Canadian Nuclear Association and the Canadian Electricity Association all sent briefs after amendments were due. Even environmental groups were hurt by this. The briefs from Ecojustice, Citizens' Climate Lobby, Leadnow, the David Suzuki Foundation and the previously mentioned Climate Action Network all were not available until after amendments were due.
    Perhaps the most egregious impact of the Liberals' behaviour on this bill is that no indigenous witnesses were heard from during the study. As par for the course, the brief from the Assembly of First Nations, as I am sure everyone has guessed, was available only after amendments were due.
    Additionally, there were a great many briefs from individual Canadians who worked hard to have their voices heard. Thanks to the Liberals, they feel ignored. I heard from one Canadian who said she worked hard on her brief and was excited to have her voice heard, yet when she learned that amendments were due before her brief could even be read, she was totally disenchanted with the process. Our responsibility as elected officials is to ensure that Canadians feel heard, feel included and feel a part of something. What the Liberals and their NDP allies did during this process is disgraceful, and it is a terrible mark on the history of this place.

  (1345)  

    Now I will get to the clause-by-clause study itself. Despite all I said, we still went in with productive amendments and hoped for the best. Indeed, the minister said he was willing to work with all parties to make the bill better. Again, that turned out not to be true. It became clear very quickly that, instead of there being a willingness to debate or even engage on good ideas, the fix was in. The Liberals and the NDP made a deal to approve their own amendments and reject everyone else's, no matter how reasoned or reasonable.

  (1350)  

[Translation]

    Before I get to our proposed amendments, I just want to share an example that shows how ridiculous the whole process was. At one point during the study, the Green Party proposed an amendment that was identical to a government amendment. The Green Party's amendment came up first, and the Liberal and NDP members opposed it even though it was exactly the same as their own amendment.
    It is clear that their strategy was to reject literally every other suggestion, regardless of what it was. For context, the amendment in question would have required emissions targets to be set 10 years in advance.
    People who are familiar with the workings of Parliament and committees can probably guess what happened next. If an amendment is rejected, any subsequent amendment that says the same thing is automatically removed from the list because the committee has already expressed its will on the matter. The Liberals and New Democrats are so staunchly opposed to any amendment other than their own that they ended up killing one of their own amendments.
    What followed was an absurd exchange during which the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley proposed a new amendment that would require targets to be set 9 years and 366 days beforehand, instead of 10 years. I am not giving this example to poke fun at the Liberals and the New Democrats, even if it was funny, but because it shows to what extent they were reluctant to consider changes that were not theirs.
    What were some of the reasonable changes we proposed? I think Canadians would like to know.
    First, we think that solving the very real problem of climate change must be done through a whole-of-government approach. The federal government is famous for operating in silos. One group or department that is responsible for a problem or a particular issue does not usually work with others, or does not coordinate with them. I am sure anyone who has worked in Ottawa or for the federal government has many stories about this. That cannot happen when it comes to tackling climate change. Everyone must work together.
    Of course, Environment and Climate Change Canada is the key department, but it also needs to coordinate with the departments of industry, finance, natural resources, employment, crown-indigenous relations and many others. We therefore proposed a series of straightforward amendments to remove the powers to set targets, create plans and approve reports from the Minister of Environment alone and include the entire cabinet. The Minister of Environment would recommend policy to cabinet, but cabinet would ultimately decide how to move forward. This is not exactly reinventing the wheel.
    That is generally how policy is made in government: Silos are broken down as much as possible and other departments are included.
    Perhaps the Minister of Environment did not consider the impact on industry, jobs and indigenous peoples. Bringing together cabinet to make decisions about these objectives and plans is the right thing to do. Unfortunately, the Liberals and the NDP even refused to debate, and they rejected every amendment we proposed for that purpose.
    In their dream world, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change is an omnipotent figure who dictates every policy by decree. That is not how the Conservatives want to manage things. We believe in collaboration and the importance of working together, especially on the issue of climate change.
    Another set of amendments that we proposed would have added that, when objectives were set or plans formulated, the minister would be required to balance social and economic factors, including the impact on employment and national unity. Climate change is real, and we absolutely need everyone to work hard to address it.
    We cannot accomplish this by blowing the top off Canadian industry and the well-paying jobs that support Canadian families. We need to look at the big picture and make decisions that will improve the lives of all Canadians. That includes Canadians in the regions that will be most affected by these policies. Our country is stronger together, and we must do all we can to keep it that way. A government that is bent on destroying a region's main industry is not a government that knows how to build a nation. Therefore, it seems to me that examining how these policies will impact these factors would be a good idea.
    However, the Liberals and the New Democrats refused to so much as debate the subject and rejected all the amendments, which, frankly, surprised me. The government loves to talk about how the green economy will create so many jobs. If that were true, our amendment would allow the government to brag about it, would it not? Instead, they rejected it. Why? Because it came from the Conservatives.
    We then suggested that the progress report include the greenhouse gas emissions and sequestration from non-anthropogenic or non-human factors. This would include the amounts sequestered by our vast unmanaged forests and prairies and emissions from such things as forest fires and methane releases from melting permafrost. I personally feel that we cannot make a plan unless we have the full picture. Canadians often ask me what impact our forests have on emissions. Although this information is available in some places, it would be much easier for Canadians to have access to it in the main reports. Again, this seems like an obvious thing to include, but the Liberals and the NDP voted against it without debate.
    After that, we proposed another great addition. As people know, Canada is a federation, and the provincial governments control many of the policy levers that are needed to achieve our climate goals. They manage the resource sector, the electrical grid and the building code.

  (1355)  

    We wanted the assessment reports to include a summary of the measures taken by the provincial governments to achieve the national greenhouse gas emissions targets.
    Again—

  (1400)  

    Order. The hon. member will be able to finish his speech after question period.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Retirement Congratulations

    Madam Speaker, for over 27 years, Rae Bowie has dedicated her career to public service and helping Canadians. Over the years, Rae has worked for many members of Parliament, at both the provincial and the federal levels. She has mentored numerous staff and provided outstanding service to constituents in several ridings.
     Rae has also been an exemplary community member through her volunteer service across York Region, a friend to all of us, and a proud mother and grandmother. Her support for the residents of Newmarket—Aurora throughout this pandemic has not been unnoticed.
     Rae has been an invaluable team member and we will miss her. On behalf of our team and all of those who have had the pleasure to work with her, congratulations to Rae on her well-deserved retirement.

COVID-19 Vaccines

    Madam Speaker, today as we celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day, I would like to recognize the Siksika nation's generous donation of vaccines to the Dashmesh Culture Centre in Calgary for their vaccine drive. Through the tireless efforts led by President Amanpreet Singh Gill and the entire executive committee, the Dashmesh Culture Centre serves the community at large in Calgary through Seva and many community initiatives. This is what Canada is about.
    When the South Asian community needed help to tackle COVID-19, it was our indigenous brothers and sisters who stood up and came to help. During this pandemic, we must remember that we are in this together. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Somewhere along the way, we must learn that there is nothing greater than to do something for others.”
    We are stronger together and may God truly keep this beautiful land strong and free.

Withrow Park Farmers' Market

    Madam Speaker, this year, the Withrow Park Farmers' Market celebrates its 15th anniversary. Started as a pilot project, it came together through the hard work and dedication of volunteers. Roberta was at the heart of it all. She could be found every Saturday at the market and working throughout the week to make it a success.
    The market is not just about food; it is about projects like its zero-waste initiative, which moved people beyond single-use plastics by lending out plates, cups and cutlery to use for market foods, and it is about building community. I used to organize a stone soup at the fire pit. Community members would pick food up at the market and together we would make a big pot of soup to share while telling stories around the fire.
     My thanks to Chantal, the market manager; Eleanor, Janet, Lanrick, Estelle and Mary on the board of directors; and all of the amazing volunteers who make the Withrow Park Farmers' Market a great part of our community.

[Translation]

Employment Insurance

    Madam Speaker, at this very moment, seriously ill people are facing unacceptable financial worries. They are wondering whether they will be able to provide for their families while they are recovering. They are caught in this dilemma because employment insurance is failing them in the middle of their recovery, when what they need is 50 weeks of special sickness benefits.
    Bill C‑265 received unanimous support from the members of the parliamentary committee. People who are sick need compassion and caring, not to be abandoned. That is why the House is calling for an increase in EI sickness benefits to 50 weeks.
    The only thing missing is for the Liberal government to give the royal recommendation to the bill. The time has come to listen to the will of parliamentarians and give the royal recommendation to the Émilie Sansfaçon bill, to ensure that sick workers are never again abandoned.

  (1405)  

Medal Awarded by MP for Bourassa

    Mr. Speaker, as part of the third “eminent men in Bourassa” ceremony, which was held in Bourassa, I had the honour of celebrating six men, who lead various organizations, for their significant contributions to making our riding a better place to live.
    At this ceremony, held on Father's Day, I handed out certificates to these men and awarded them the Bourassa MP's medal for distinguished service. The recipients are François Bérard, Antonio Bernabei, Omar Messioun, Will Prosper, Martin Rodrigue and José Trottier.
    It is important to point out the accomplishments of these men in the riding of Bourassa and to present them to my colleagues in the House of Commons.

[English]

Barrie—Innisfil

    Mr. Speaker, close to 200 well-wishers lined the streets leading to the home of Edwin Ng as he returned home earlier this month.
    Ng, a 48-year-old husband, father, grandfather and dedicated personal support worker, contracted COVID-19 when an outbreak devastated Roberta Place long-term care centre in January. He spent almost five months in hospital and underwent a double lung transplant. He was determined to survive and with support from his wife Samantha, family, friends and community and their faith in God, Edwin never gave up hope.
    Our community of Barrie—Innisfil is also sending its love and support to Troy Scott, owner of the Foodland in Stroud, who was recently hospitalized facing a similar battle as Edwin did after contracting COVID. In Barrie—Innisfil and communities across Canada, our resiliency, and in many cases our faith, has been tested with stories like Edwin's and Troy's.
    As we approach Canada Day inspired by these stories of resilience, let them serve as a reminder that as a nation, Canada has faced and overcome great challenges during our history when we are united, determined, compassionate and respectful, and we will do so again.

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, since 2015, I have been advocating for more affordable housing for my riding of Saint John—Rothesay. Housing is a basic human right that should be available to all. That is why, for the fifth consecutive budget, we are making significant new investments in housing.
    Budget 2021 proposes an additional $2.5 billion over seven years in new funding. Notably, we are extending the highly successful rapid housing initiative introduced by our government late last year, with an additional investment of $1.5 billion in 2021-22. Last week, I had the pleasure of being joined by Minister Hussen to announce a $1.3-million investment from the federal government to build the Unified Saint John Housing Co-operative’s Victoria Street building, which includes 14 housing units primarily intended for low-income women, including women with children.
    I want to thank all of those involved in this project for all of their hard work and their commitment to providing safe and affordable housing for those who need it most.
    I just want to remind hon. members that even during their S.O. 31, they cannot mention the name of someone in the chamber. Normally, we refer to them by their position or their riding.
    On another note, I just want to offer a tip that has worked for me. I saw it happen to a member earlier. Always have a hard copy of whatever your statement is, even if you are using the screen. It just works out that much better as a backup.
    The hon. member for Niagara Centre.

Year of the Garden

    Mr. Speaker, gardens and gardening contribute to the development of our country and our cities, as well as to the lives of Canadians in terms of health, quality of life, reconciliation, inclusion and environmental challenges.
     We recognize 2022 as Canada’s Year of the Garden, marking the centennial of Canada’s ornamental horticulture sector on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association. The Year of the Garden, led by the Canadian Garden Council, will engage Canadian gardeners, families, students and tourists with our garden culture and history, the importance of public and private gardens, and our urban landscapes. It will invite Canadians to “live the garden life”.
    The Year of the Garden 2022 will also contribute to the economic development of municipalities across this great nation. Members of all political parties have expressed support for the Year of the Garden 2022, along with members of Canada’s garden family from all parts of this great country. Canada is also the first country to celebrate the Year of the Garden.

  (1410)  

Henry Fleck

    Mr. Speaker, Ponoka lost a legend earlier this year when Mr. Henry Fleck passed away on January 22. A cowboy to the core, Henry had a love for all things horse-drawn and was best known as a stagecoach driver in the grand entry of the Ponoka Stampede, a role he held for more than 15 years.
    No doubt about it, Henry was a cowboy through and through and shared his passion with everyone. If he was not driving the stagecoach in the summer, he was pulling a sleigh in the winter. He rarely asked for money; just a little something to cover the cost of feeding the horses. When the occasion called, Henry would honour fallen cowboys by bringing them to their final resting place in a horse-drawn hearse.
    Henry was proud to be from Central Alberta and would often tour with the stagecoach to other destinations to promote his hometown and the Ponoka Stampede, and to bring a sample of our western hospitality to everyone. We were so blessed to have such an incredible ambassador for the cowboy way of life in our midst.
    Rest easy, Henry. We tip our hats to you.

[Translation]

Shop Local

    Mr. Speaker, small neighbourhood businesses across the country are reopening, and the federal government is here to support them, as it has been from the first day of the pandemic.
    After working with the Minister of Small Business for several months, I was present for the announcement of our national shop local program this morning. The federal government is working with chambers of commerce across the country, including the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec, to promote our main streets.

[English]

    Small businesses are reopening across the country, and they need us. They need all Canadians to think of them and support them through their recovery.
     Earlier today, the Minister of Small Business and I announced a new federal program that will support “shop local” initiatives right across the country and encourage all Canadians to support their local entrepreneurs.
    Tens of millions of dollars in federal funding are coming to our main streets, because our local small businesses and our neighbourhood merchants are what make our communities home. So get out there and shop local.

Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes

    Mr. Speaker, the people of Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes have been getting things done. Collaborating with the provincial and municipal governments, our community has been working together to bring federal funding for major projects we need in developing them from ideas into reality.
    There are massive infrastructure projects, like the County Road 43 expansion that will get us to work in the morning and home at night more safely; recreation projects, like the new arena in Prescott that will serve as a community hub; or affordable housing projects, like the St. Vincent de Paul project in Brockville with affordable housing for seniors. I will continue to fight to make sure that our community gets its fair share of dollars for these vital projects.
     We are going to call on the government for more funds for investment in Gananoque, Westport, Rideau Lakes, North Grenville and across the United Counties, with rec projects in Leeds and the Thousand Islands and Edwardsburgh Cardinal.
    I want to thank my provincial and municipal counterparts and everyone in our community who has worked so hard on these projects. Together, we are building a better community.

Attack in London, Ontario

    Mr. Speaker, the anti-Muslim terrorist attack in London, Ontario, which took the lives of four members of the Afzaal family devastated our nation, including my community of Oshawa and Durham Region.
    On Friday, June 11, councillor Maleeha Shahid and Siraj Patel organized a peace walk and vigil to remember the lives lost, mourn for Fayez, a boy now left without his family, and to take a stand against the hate that brought destruction to innocent Canadians just trying to live their lives. I want to thank Imam Shakir and Pastor Jayson Levy for their words of comfort and challenge that evening.
     I was also thankful for the opportunity to visit the Islamic Centre of Oshawa this past Friday to speak with the imam and the congregation. The intense pain felt by those in London is shared in Oshawa.
    Oshawa has a strong history of celebrating our multicultural past, and we are committed to welcoming all cultures as part of our rich, shared and respected future.

  (1415)  

National Indigenous Peoples Day

    Mr. Speaker, today is National Indigenous Peoples Day. It should be a day of celebration, culture and history, but I am filled with a tremendous amount of sadness and anger.
    When this institution talks about indigenous communities, we often talk about resiliency. Those in the federal institution talk about record-breaking investments when a quarter to five dollars is a slap in the face. They pat themselves on the back while denying Inuit access to safe, livable space that keeps them alive.
    I will continue to say this. There is no reason to be proud of for indigenous peoples in this institution. There is nothing for anyone to be patting themselves on the back. In fact, they should all feel extreme shame. I feel ashamed that Inuit are continuously being denied the right to live, the right to self-determination.
    Today, I applaud Inuit and indigenous peoples. Without ourselves, our strength and our resilience, we would not be here.
    Matna.

[Translation]

National Indigenous Peoples Day

    Mr. Speaker, today is National Indigenous Peoples Day, but commemorations are not enough, especially after what happened in Kamloops. This day must be one of action and must focus on respectful nation-to-nation collaboration, in spite of the gravity of residential schools. That is why the Bloc Québécois spoke to the different assemblies representing the first nations and the Inuit.
     As a result of these discussions, we are calling on the government to contribute financial resources to identify the locations that may have been the site of the same horrors as in Kamloops. We are calling on the government to push the religious communities that participated in the residential school system to give access to their archives. Furthermore, we are demanding that a monument for residential schools be constructed in Ottawa, in collaboration with the Algonquin nation.
    These actions will not erase the generations of violence, inhumanity and shame, but they do represent a step forward. This is what indigenous peoples are recommending and what we must do together.

[English]

Conservative Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, this pandemic has wreaked havoc on our economy and resulted in thousands of individuals being laid off, with the vast majority of those affected being women.
    While Canadian women have been struggling to make ends meet, the Liberal government, under this Prime Minister, decided to dole out millions to his rich friends and raise taxes on middle-class Canadians. Canadian women cannot afford this corruption and these higher taxes any longer.
    However, there is hope for women. Canada’s Conservatives have a five-point plan to secure the future for Canadians, which includes recovering the million jobs lost, balancing the budget over the next decade and bringing about more accountability so we never see another WE scandal.
    For those who support higher taxes, job losses and more scandals, Canadians have four parties to choose from, the Liberals, Bloc, NDP and Greens, but for Canadian women who care about securing Canada’s economic future, there is only one choice: Canada’s Conservatives.

National Indigenous Peoples Day

    Mr. Speaker, today we honour the rich cultures and traditions of first nations, Inuit and Métis across Canada. We also recognize this National Indigenous Peoples Day is occurring at a time that is very difficult. Many of us are deeply heartbroken on learning of the unmarked remains of children at the former residential school near Kamloops.
    This National Indigenous History Month is dedicated to the missing children who went to residential school and never came home. It is dedicated to their families and to all residential school survivors.
    While today we recognize the historic and ongoing contributions of indigenous people to our country, we also take the time to educate ourselves about the hard truths of our past. We acknowledge the ongoing impacts of racist colonial policies and the realities of current systemic racism.
    We encourage all Canadians to read or reread the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action, as they are a road map to reconciliation, a road map that is supported by indigenous people, by our government and hopefully by all Canadians.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]

  (1420)  

[English]

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, today we learned that 149 Liberal MPs have been using taxpayer dollars to pay the Prime Minister's good buddy, Tom Pitfield, to help Liberals get elected. Mr. Pitfield is not just the Prime Minister's friend; his wife was the president of the Liberal Party, and they both were with the Prime Minister on that infamous billionaire island trip. It is just a typical day in the life of the corrupt Liberals.
    Who instructed Liberal MPs to use their taxpayer-funded budgets to pay the Prime Minister's friend to do political campaign work?
    Mr. Speaker, our government believes strongly in the work that all members do for their constituents. It is very important work, and Canadians need to know their MPs are advocating for them. They also need to know that MPs have the ability to keep up with all the files of the people they represent.
    The technology that has been raised here today is used by our MPs to help manage their constituency casework. Canadians are being served well by their MPs through this system.
    Mr. Speaker, well, Liberal friends are certainly being served well: $200,000 for Katie Telford and Gerald Butts's moving expenses, half a billion dollars for the Prime Minister's friends at the WE Charity and now tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars for another one of the Prime Minister's buddies.
    It pays very well to be a friend of the corrupt Prime Minister, but Canadians cannot afford more of this unethical behaviour. Again, who in the government told 149 Liberal MPs to give taxpayer money to Tom Pitfield, the Prime Minister's friend and colleague?
    Mr. Speaker, what Canadians cannot afford anymore is this blockage from the Conservatives. We have very important bills ahead of us in Parliament that need to be voted on, and the Conservatives are trying to shut down Parliament. They have been filibustering. They did not want to add additional hours so that we can work. We are here ready to work for all Canadians. The Conservatives should stop playing their games and support us to support Canadians.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, let us talk about the important work of Parliament. In less than one hour, the president of the Public Health Agency of Canada will appear before the bar of the House of Commons. This Parliament, this one, has asked four times to see the documents relating to the firing of two scientists from the National Microbiology Lab. Now the agency has been found in contempt of Parliament for failing to hand the documents over.
    Will the government confirm that it will stop the cover-up today and allow the president of PHAC to table the unredacted documents to this, the people's House?
    Mr. Speaker, it is disappointing to see the opposition play games with Canadians' national security. The member knows full well that unredacted documents were provided to an appropriate committee of parliamentarians who have the expertise and clearance to review documents that are sensitive in nature. We will never put Canadians' national security at risk, and I really hope the member opposite understands why that is important.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the important thing is that we respect our institutions.
    In less than an hour, the president of the Public Health Agency of Canada should be here in the House to table documents regarding what happened at the Winnipeg lab. It is an order of the House, not a wish or desire. In one hour, we will see whether the Government of Canada respects our institutions and the will of the House of Commons.
    Will the government allow the Public Health Agency to table the documents that Canadians want to see so that they can understand what happened in Winnipeg?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is clear that the member opposite does not respect institutions, nor does the member opposite respect national security. Do not take it from me. Take it from Thomas Juneau, an associate professor at the University of Ottawa. He said, “This is a big setback for the parliamentary oversight of intelligence in Canada and, more broadly, for efforts to improve transparency and accountability.” The Conservatives are playing a dangerous game and they know it.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, what is dangerous and despicable is to disregard the orders of the House.
    Experts may not know that, but the minister should. The documents that we have requested will be tabled here with the Clerk. The Clerk will do his duty as a Canadian and a responsible man. He will review the documents, strike out any sensitive information and present the documents to parliamentarians. That is our job as responsible MPs.
    Why does the government want to play petty politics by toying with national security and disregarding the House?

  (1425)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, again, the member opposite knows that those unredacted documents have been provided to a committee of parliamentarians that has the appropriate oversight to look at them in a safe way that protects Canadians' national security.
    However, why take it from me? Let us listen to Stephanie Carvin, a professor at Carleton University. She said, “This bulldozer approach to national security is misguided, dangerous”, and there is that word again, “and will result in a less transparent system overall.”

[Translation]

Employment Insurance

    Mr. Speaker, EI was one of the greatest failures of the pandemic. The program is so ineffective that the federal government had to invent the Canada emergency response benefit to keep millions of families from ending up on the streets. Particularly hard hit were arts and culture workers, many of them self-employed.
    Last week, the Government of Quebec wrote to the federal government, urging it to ensure that the employment insurance reform takes into account the unique status of artists and cultural workers.
    Will the government work with Quebec to reform EI so that it provides decent coverage to self-employed workers, especially those in arts and culture?
    Mr. Speaker, the answer is yes. We are keeping our promise to modernize the employment insurance program. We are making a historic investment in targeted consultations with Canadians, employers and stakeholders. The concerns the Government of Quebec raised in its letter dovetail with what we are trying to do, which is work with the provinces, stakeholders and experts. We will keep working to modernize EI so that all employees have access to it.
    Mr. Speaker, I am all for reopening, but we must not forget that the economic recovery will not help cultural sector workers this summer. They will not be able to sell out concert halls or tour festivals this summer. They were the first ones to be laid off and they will be among the last ones to return to work at the very end of the pandemic. They are falling through the cracks, and their situation is urgent.
    Employment insurance has never been there for them and, today, despite the emergency measures, they will be cut off from the Canadian recovery benefit. This is an urgent matter.
    Will the government help businesses in the cultural sector and their employees?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, since the beginning of this pandemic, that is exactly the kind of worker we have been trying to help, whether it be through the CERB or through the CRB.
    Bill C-30 has measures in it that will extend the CRB, that will help out businesses and that will help out employers who want to retain their employees. What we can do, as a Parliament, for this country, is support Bill C-30, get money to workers and get money to business so that we can all get through this pandemic.

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, as the number of indigenous children found in unmarked graves in Canada rises, the government is continuing to retraumatize indigenous families.
    A human rights tribunal found that the government discriminated against first nations kids, and instead of making it right, the government keeps fighting these kids in court. This is not a collaborative process. The government is taking indigenous kids to court.
    Since the last time I asked the minister about this, the government has been in court for another week, so I will ask this again: When will the government stop fighting first nations kids in court?
    Mr. Speaker, it is important to be clear to all Canadians and Parliament that as part of this process, not a single child has had to testify.
    There are competing class actions that require us to look at this process as a whole. We are currently in confidential discussions with parties, and those will remain confidential.
    Let me be clear once again that every single first nation child who has been discriminated against by the broken child welfare system will be fairly, justly and equitably compensated.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, this weekend, Black Lives Matter Toronto organized the first national gathering of Black and indigenous families affected by police violence. Families stood outside the Prime Minister's Office demanding action regarding Anthony Aust, Jamal Francique, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, Rodney Levi, Abdirahman Abdi, Eishia Hudson, Andrew Loku, Jermaine Carby, Chantelle Krupka and Chantel Moore.
    When will the Prime Minister heed the calls from these families and end police state violence against the bodies of Black and indigenous people and people of colour?

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, we take these calls to action very seriously. We know that the pandemic has impacted all Canadians, and disproportionately certain segments.
    We know that systemic racism exists within our institutions. That is why, in budget 2021, we see numerous measures to address a lot of this important work. It is important that we pass this legislation, and it is really unfortunate that political games are being played.
    We recognize that every department and agency and every minister has a role to play. We take this work seriously. That is why we are working closely with the anti-racism secretariat. I look forward to working with the member.

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, when asked why 97% of Liberal MP offices were paying Tom Pitfield, the childhood friend of the Prime Minister and fellow vacationer to billionaire island, the Liberal member for Scarborough—Guildwood said, “I haven't got a clue. I can't explain it. I vaguely recall once a year we write a cheque and it's always been explained that it is within the ethical guidelines, so we all kind of sign up for it and it goes into some oblivion.” Yikes.
    Who in the government told these Liberal MPs to sign taxpayer dollars into oblivion?
    Mr. Speaker, as I explained earlier, our government believes strongly in the work that all members do for their constituents. It is extremely important work, and Canadians need to know that their MPs are advocating for them. They also need to know that MPs have the ability to keep up with all the files of the people they represent.
    The technology we are discussing here is used for MPs to help manage their constituency casework. Canadians are being served well by their MPs through the system.
    Mr. Speaker, the government House leader said that it is no big deal, so I guess we better take his word for it, just as those Liberal MPs should take the word of the Prime Minister and this cabinet, who have been found guilty of multiple ethical law breaches, that there are no ethical misdeeds happening here.
    Tom Pitfield is a close friend of the Prime Minister. This is another Liberal insider getting ahead on the backs of hard-working Canadians.
    Who in the government told these Liberal MPs to cut a cheque to the Prime Minister's friend Tom Pitfield?
    Mr. Speaker, that is a bit rich coming from that member, who tried to shut down Parliament not too long ago. The Conservatives have tried to change channels here, but what is happening at the moment is that we are trying to work for Canadians. We are trying to adopt bills that are extremely important, including the budget, which has elements that are extremely important to Canadians.
    What are the Conservatives doing? They are blocking, filibustering and wasting the time of the House. It is time for them to stop their games and support this work for all Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, what is rich is hearing the government House leader, who sits on the side of the most corrupt government in this country's history, talk about shutdowns. The Liberals prorogued the House during a pandemic, filibustered dozens of hours across multiple committees and mismanaged the House agenda so badly that they find themselves unable to get what they deem to be key legislation passed at the end of the parliamentary session. He should be ashamed of this, just as he should be ashamed of how the Liberals are misappropriating taxpayer dollars to subsidize Liberal political operations.
    The Liberal minister needs to tell us whether he was complicit. Was he the one who gave the order for 97% of the Liberal caucus to misappropriate taxpayer dollars?
    Mr. Speaker, the member should be ashamed. He got up a couple of weeks ago on a Thursday morning around 10 a.m., when people go to work, and said the Conservatives had worked enough and they were going to stop and go back home. There is no way. We are here to work for Canadians.
    The Conservatives want to talk about proroguing. They are the international champions of proroguing, and they had no reason in their case. They should stop blocking us and should work with us for the benefit of all Canadians.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it is clear that it pays to be a member of the Liberal Prime Minister's inner circle. Do my colleagues know Tom Pitfield, a very old friend of the Prime Minister's? Mr. Pitfield is also the owner of Data Sciences, a business that offers technical support for the Liberalist, the partisan scoring list of the Liberal Party.
    We learned today that 97% of Liberal members, or 149 of them, used their constituency budgets to pay for Data Sciences' services. Who asked Liberal members to pay for the services of the Prime Minister's friend?
    Mr. Speaker, as I have already explained, the technology that has been raised here is used by MPs to help manage their constituency casework. That is all.
    I find it a little odd that the Conservatives are trying to change the channel right now, because what is going on is shameful. They are blocking bills that are absolutely critical. Benefits for several programs will end in nine days if the budget does not pass, but what are the Conservatives doing? They keep blocking our work. It is time for them to stop doing that and start working with us for the benefit of all Canadians.

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, let me explain to the government House leader why this issue is so sensitive. Rather than tell the truth, two Liberal members said they did not know why they were paying Data Sciences with parliamentary resources. The Liberals are writing cheques to a friend of the Prime Minister without knowing why. That is what is really going on.
    We only recently learned about these partisan payments to Data Sciences, but Mr. Pitfield has been in charge of the Liberals' digital operations since 2015, and he will likely take on the same role for the next election. Can the Prime Minister tell us how much money his good friend has received from parliamentary offices since 2015?
    Mr. Speaker, can my colleague tell me when the Conservatives will stop blocking the budget? Can he tell me when they will stop blocking Bill C‑10 so we can get the web giants to start contributing? When will they stop blocking Bill C‑12 so that we can continue working for the future of our children and grandchildren? When will they stop blocking Bill C‑6, on a process that harms our youth and the LGBTQ+ community?
    When will they stop blocking these progressive bills, and when will the Bloc Québécois and the NDP stop supporting the Conservatives' antics and start helping us and all Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals did not add Bill C‑6 to the agenda for four months, and they spent 183 hours filibustering in committee. The Leader of the Government is the one who is unable to manage the House. That is the reality.
    The member for Malpeque told The Globe and Mail that the Liberal Party gathers partisan information from constituency offices. He said that MPs have to be careful in how they handle the system, to avoid misusing the information for partisan gain.
    To sum up, the Prime Minister has a good friend who travelled with him to the Aga Khan's island and a close friend who runs the partisan Liberalist with money paid out of the public budgets of 149 MPs. He is asking Canadians to believe that no rules were broken. Who ordered the payments?
    Mr. Speaker, who on the other side is instructing members to block everything the government is doing? Who on the other side is instructing members to block funding for the wage subsidy, the rent relief and the assistance for people who lost their jobs? Who in the opposition is instructing members to block the bill that would help our cultural sector and our artists who are struggling right now? I would like to know who over there is giving these instructions.

Official Languages

    Mr. Speaker, on Thursday, I asked the Minister of Official Languages why she was opposed to the Charter of the French Language applying to all Quebeckers.
    Her answer speaks volumes, and I want to quote her directly. “For the first time ever, the federal government is stepping up and protecting the French language.” That is a pretty big admission.
    I have a suggestion for the minister. Why would the federal government not, for the first time in history, let Quebec choose its own language regime?
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague can keep asking me questions, which I will always be pleased to answer because doing so gives me an opportunity to talk about the government's position.
    Basically, we want to protect the French language. We are recognizing new rights: the right to work in French and to be served in French in federally regulated businesses.
    My colleague should be happy about that. For years, for decades even, for 30 years to be exact, the Bloc Québécois has been demanding greater protection for French. That is what the Liberal government is doing. Let us celebrate that fact together and get to work.
    Mr. Speaker, what the government could do for the first time in history is respect the Charter of the French Language. For the first time in history, the government could recognize that Quebec should be in charge of deciding matters related to the French language in Quebec. For the first time in history, the federal government could fulfill its responsibilities and protect French by allowing Quebec to fulfill its responsibilities and protect French.
    Will the Minister of Official Languages respect the will of Quebec for the first time in history?
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague must be wondering what place the Bloc Québécois has in the House of Commons. The Bloc Québécois has been calling for greater protection for French for decades.
    Our government keeps its promises and protects the French language. Obviously, the Bloc Québécois's objective is to always bicker with the federal government and find points of contention to advance its sovereignist agenda and defend the separatist cause.
    However, that is not working, because Quebeckers want us to protect French within a united Canada where we care about their concerns and create opportunities for them.

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the minister would have us believe, it is not true that the bill she introduced does more to protect French in Quebec. It is full of grandfather clauses and exceptions. It does, however, contain some good things for francophone minority communities, which I applaud her for, because that was needed.
    However, for Quebec, this bill is clearly not equivalent to Bill 101. The minister says that she really wants to protect French in Quebec. If that is true, can she justify why her party is the only one that is refusing to support our bill to subject federally regulated businesses to the Charter of the French Language?
    Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois is fearmongering once again. Basically, if my colleague read the bill we introduced very carefully, she would know that we are willing to recognize the application of the Charter of the French Language to federally regulated businesses that have already signed up and to those who wish to do so and be subject to it.
    Now, we want to fill the legal void. We do not want the right to work or to be served in French to be denied. Therefore, we are also creating our own federal approach, which will help strengthen the French language in Quebec, as well as in regions with a strong francophone presence.
    This is good news. Let us celebrate together.

[English]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, the government introduced its budget with limited targets, and one of the few measurements was the declaration on chart 35 that one million jobs would be recovered by the end of June. The fact is that between March and May of this year, our economy lost jobs. We have the second-highest unemployment rate of all the G7, and inflation is running rampant.
    Will the Prime Minister deliver on his promise of one million jobs recovered by the end of June?
    Mr. Speaker, with respect, the hon. member seems not to appreciate the difference that our economy is experiencing in a positive way. This is the result of the measures we have put in place to support Canadian households and businesses through this pandemic. Yes, in order to protect lives from the threat of COVID-19, provincial governments put public health measures in place, including in Nova Scotia, which is reporting zero cases today. The reason we expect such a profound recovery is that we have supports designed to help businesses.
    I am disappointed, however, that the Conservative member and his colleagues are obstructing the proceedings of Parliament to prevent these benefits from reaching businesses and workers. I am confident we will meet our target and exceed it in a timely way, so long as we have the measures in place to continue to support households and businesses through this pandemic.
    Mr. Speaker, it appears that another promise made is a promise failed, when the government does not meet its benchmark of a return of creation of a million Canadian jobs by the end of this month. Between March and May, the unemployment rate rose from 7.5% to 8.2%. That is 1.6 million Canadians out of work. Jobs come from growth, and there is a lack of focus from the government on spending that would grow the economy.
    Could the Prime Minister tell us today where the jobs went and the new date they will be coming back on?
    Mr. Speaker, with respect, it is disappointing but not surprising to see the Conservatives take such glee in Canadians who were put out of work in order to protect the lives of their families and neighbours. The reality is that, yes, there has been a short-term hit to job numbers because provincial governments have restricted economic activity to save people's lives and preserve the long-term economic outlook for their provinces.
    Nova Scotia is a prime example. It has recently rebounded from a lockdown with zero cases today. My only wish is that the Conservatives would stop obstructing the benefits that are designed to trigger growth and contribute to what is projected to be a profound—
    The hon. member for Edmonton Centre.
    Mr. Speaker, I can assure members I am not laughing. Jobs are not being created. The economy is not growing, and we are slipping in our G7 position. Canadians are desperate.
    The Prime Minister sold this budget as a growth plan, but evidently it is nothing more than a marketing plan for an election. We cannot talk our way into a better future. My constituents are sick and tired of the lack of deliverables. They want action. I have had enough of the theatrics and the sales pitch of a budget.
    Will the Prime Minister come forward with specific growth targets and clean, clear timelines by economic sector?

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member wants to compare us to our G7 counterparts, I would point him to the fact that we have a 64.6% labour force participation rate in Canada, compared to 61.6% in the United States. I would also point him to the fact that 80.9% of jobs have returned from peak job losses here, compared to 65.9% in the United States.
    The reality is that we are seeing a relatively stronger economic rebound because we had relatively stronger public health measures put in place. I would point again to the example of Nova Scotia, which did see 22,000 jobs shut down last month, and it had previously had 100% of the economic activity return.
    Today, my province is reporting zero cases, and we expect that to allow us to accelerate out of this pandemic recession. I only wish the Conservatives would get out of the way to allow these important measures, which target growth specifically, so the economy can come roaring back immediately.

[Translation]

Government Programs

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have decided to cut the Canada recovery benefit at a time when thousands of businesses are still struggling to get back on their feet and entire sectors of our economy, such as the cultural sector and tourism, are still suffering.
    What are the Liberals basing these cuts on? Did they conduct any studies or consult an expert panel? Are they reading tea leaves or prophesying from the actions of birds? All we are asking for is more than just lip service and platitudes. People deserve clear answers and transparency.
    Why did the Liberals decide to cut support that people still desperately need?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, from the beginning of the pandemic, our government has worked hard to keep Canadians healthy, safe and supported. Our emergency and recovery income support measures are helping buffer the worst economic impacts and continue to help Canadians put food on the table.
    To continue supporting workers through this pandemic, we presented a plan in budget 2021 to extend the Canada recovery benefit up to 50 weeks and the Canada recovery caregiving benefit up to 42 weeks. We are also helping Canadians re-enter the labour market by creating 500,000 new training and work opportunities and launching the Canada recovery hiring benefit.
    We are doing everything we can. We just need the support of every member in this House to get the support to Canadians that they need.
    Mr. Speaker, there it is again. When the government talks about extending the Canada recovery benefit, it does not say what Canadians need to hear, and that is that it is cutting the amount of the support by 40%, from $500 a week to $300 a week. New Democrats have consistently opposed that cut.
    I think the government at least owes Canadians the decency to hear out of the mouth of the minister that it is cutting that benefit, even as it extends it, by 40%.
    Will the minister just fess up and put it on the record that the Liberals are cutting the benefit by 40%?
    Mr. Speaker, the CRB is part of a comprehensive set of emergency and recovery measures to support Canadian workers. Through the CRB, Canadians can have access to up to 50 weeks of benefit.
    Yes, the first 42 weeks are at $500, and the last eight weeks are at $300, but they also have access to more flexible EI benefits and access to the wage subsidy. All these other programs are in jeopardy if this House does not pass Bill C-30. That is what is at stake. Our entire recovery infrastructure is at stake if we do not get together and support Bill C-30.

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, in 2007, the Conservative government chose to vote against the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In the years since, indigenous parliamentarians, including Romeo Saganash and I, among others, have worked diligently to rectify this mistake, resulting in our government's tabling and passing of Bill C-15.
    On National Indigenous Peoples Day, could the Minister of Justice please update the House on Bill C-15 and the work ahead to implement UNDRIP?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Sydney—Victoria for his advocacy and effort in helping us to get to this momentous landmark. I would also like to salute and thank his father, Professor Sákéj Henderson, for all the work that he did in the development of the declaration.
    The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples passing in both chambers is an important step on the path toward reconciliation. It is not, however, the last one. The real work begins once the declaration is adopted. We will continue to work with indigenous peoples across Canada and support the co-development of an action plan to implement and achieve the objectives of the declaration.
    We are building a better country for all our children and grandchildren.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, a Toronto birthday party that should have been a celebration instead ended in tragedy. A one-year-old, a five-year-old and an 11-year-old were indiscriminately shot, caught in crossfire. This shocking and outrageous act of gun violence against the precious lives of innocent children is devastating.
    Violent gun offences are on the rise, increasingly because of illegal guns. The government has done nothing for six years. When will the minister act to protect Canadians and remove illegal guns from our communities?

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, I share the member's outrage about this terrible act of gun violence that took place in Toronto, in which innocent children were the victims. That is precisely why we have taken strong action to strengthen gun control, which is a different approach, whereas the Conservatives promised the gun lobby that they would weaken it.
    We have prohibited a number of weapons designed for killing people, and we have brought forward strong, new legislation that will address all of the ways in which criminals gain access to guns. Additionally, we have made significant investments in policing and in communities. I would urge the member opposite to support those measures because communities and the police need our help.
    Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, the minister continues to mislead Canadians with that response. Under the Liberal government, gang violence continues to terrorize our communities, just like it did in Etobicoke this weekend. In Toronto, there have been over 160 shootings, with dozens injured or killed, in the last six months alone.
    The Liberals' failed approach with Bill C-71, the gun ban, the confiscation plans and Bill C-21 focused on law-abiding firearms owners rather than illegal firearms and criminals. Instead of deceitful, tired talking points, when will the minister admit their plans are failing and put forward measures that actually protect Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, once again, the Conservatives are demonstrating their absolute commitment to weakened gun control and to keeping their promises to the gun lobby. The member referenced Bill C-71. The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police deemed Bill C-71 as essential to public safety. In addition, we have introduced strong new legislation that would address all the ways in which criminals gain access to guns through smuggling, theft and criminal diversion.
    We will strengthen gun control in the country and we will invest in policing and communities to keep our communities safe.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, if the media and the Conservative Party had not been so vigilant, the Prime Minister would have allowed the Chinese Communist Party to infiltrate our embassies around the world through the company Nuctech, which installed X-ray machines. We managed to convince him that it was a mistake, and he cancelled the contract.
    However, the same company has installed the devices at our borders and airports. If they were not right for our embassies, will the Prime Minister finally realize that these devices need to be removed from our borders and airports?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, let me assure the member opposite that our border security officers remain extremely vigilant with respect to all national security concerns. They work very collaboratively with our national security intelligence agencies and law enforcement. We take their advice on all procurement decisions.
    I have been assured that the devices that the member references pose no risk to Canadian national security, but we will remain vigilant.
    Mr. Speaker, the minister knows that this is not true. The government knowingly installed security-compromised Nuctech equipment at our borders and airports. The operations committee's recommendations are clear: remove the Nuctech equipment from our airports and borders and ban the purchase of tech from Chinese state-owned companies.
    Will the government act on this report to protect Canadians or will it instead continue to admire the basic Chinese dictatorship?
    Mr. Speaker, this gives me an opportunity to clarify that I have been assured by our border service officers that the use of this equipment in no way compromises Canadian interests or data, and that the devices are effective for the purposes for which they are used but do not pose a significant risk to public safety.
    I want to also assure the member that we will continue to be vigilant. As I shared with the House back in December, we are well aware and have informed the House of the concerns that we have with respect to any opportunity for foreign interference from any hostile actor.

  (1455)  

[Translation]

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, when it comes to dealing with cases of sexual misconduct, the military justice system is a sad farce. Former Supreme Court justice Morris Fish says that the system allows high-ranking officers to interfere in the process. The former justice spoke about recommendations that were apparently rejected on the basis of arguments such as “it would hurt his career” or “we should give him another chance”. In short, the system protects abusers.
    Justice Fish made 107 recommendations. Unfortunately, they will have to be implemented by the current Minister of Defence.
    Is there anyone left in the House who believes that this will happen?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we are absolutely committed to making sure that we create a harassment-free workplace, free of absolute misconduct. I thank Justice Fish for the work he has done. We are accepting all the recommendations. In fact, we have actually started implementing 36 of the recommendations.
    We will also be working alongside Madame Justice Arbour on the next steps as well.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, if the government is that determined to change the culture of sexual misconduct in the military, it is going to have to explain itself.
    For the past month, the Liberals have been filibustering at the Standing Committee on National Defence to avoid having to release the committee's report on sexual misconduct to the House. Right now, we do not even know if there will be a report in the end.
    My question is for the Liberal member who chairs the Standing Committee on National Defence.
    When will she stop allowing the committee to keep victims of sexual misconduct from getting the accountability they are waiting for?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the work of the committee, it makes its own decisions, but I look forward to the recommendations on which the members have been working. I know our members of the committee are absolutely committed to supporting survivors. The antics that the opposition continues to make are to prevent that work.
    Our government has worked since we formed a government on providing support to survivors, with the passing of Bill C-77. We know that we have a lot more work to do and we will continue to do it.

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, Canadian farmers, producers and processors are worried about market access to international markets. They are unsure whether their current market access will continue. They also want to know if they will regain access to markets that have been closed to them. I have met with many stakeholders who are very concerned that the government does not have their backs on this.
    Will the government assure the House that it is actively working to guarantee and open market access for Canadian farmers, producers and processors?
    Mr. Speaker, let me just repeat, if the member is not aware, that Canada has actually been playing a leadership role since the very beginning of this pandemic, whether at the World Trade Organization or elsewhere, to ensure that we keep our supply chains open, that no country turns inward and that we keep our rules-based international trading system intact.
     We will continue to advocate for free trade right across the world and we will take every action necessary to defend our farmers and all our exports in Canada.

Tourism Industry

    Mr. Speaker, now that Canada is finally starting to catch up to the rest of the developed world on immunization, provinces, territories and municipalities are beginning to reopen. However, Canada's borders are under federal jurisdiction and there is still no clear plan for a permanent safe reopening. Thousands of small businesses are dependent on tourism and they are being left behind by the federal government.
    Once again, when will the government finally table a comprehensive, detailed reopening plan?
    Mr. Speaker, first, over 36.3 million doses of vaccines have been shipped and 32.2 million doses administered. We are, indeed, making progress.
    Today, there is good news for fully vaccinated Canadian travellers and others with right of entry to Canada: Because of their full vaccination status, they will be able to avoid some measures of quarantine, including the obligation to stay in a hotel. We will always use science and evidence to guide our next steps on the border, and we thank Canadians for stepping up and getting vaccinated in such incredible numbers.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, more than 265,000 jobs were lost in the past two months. In April, the number of Canadians receiving regular employment insurance was up nearly 10% overall, but more than 22% for women. Women in South Surrey—White Rock who had jobs do not want EI; they want to work.
    Does the Prime Minister accept any responsibility for these job losses?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, when the hon. member refers to job losses in the past couple of months, she ignores the fact that after the previous wave, we actually saw more than 560,000 jobs created. When she is talking about the specific measures that are designed to help women take part in this economic rebound, I will acknowledge women have disproportionately been impacted.
    That is specifically why we have made great game-changing investments in child care to allow more women to enter the workforce. It is why we made new investments to encourage women entrepreneurship to help kick-start economic growth. It is why we are going to continue to put supports in place that have undergone a gender-based analysis so we can understand the impact of our investments and how they impact women and men differently.
    With respect to the hon. member, the best thing she can do, if she wants to support women's participation in this recovery, is to get out of the way and stop obstructing Bill C-30 so these supports can reach the people who need them.

[Translation]

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, the pandemic has made the need for safe and affordable housing more obvious than ever.
    My constituents have told me that affordable housing is an urgent priority. Students, young families and seniors all need affordable housing to support their well-being and to help them meet their goals.
    Could the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development tell the House what has been done to make affordable housing a reality?
    Mr. Speaker, the federal government is committed to helping Quebeckers and Canadians with their housing needs.
    Since 2015, our government has invested more than $4 billion in housing in Quebec. On June 3, we announced more than $20 million for affordable housing for students in Montreal. We will continue to work tirelessly for Canadians and Quebeckers.

[English]

Fisheries and Oceans

    Mr. Speaker, the Pacific salmon strategy of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is nothing but more empty promises. The Liberal government has been in power for six years and, once again, it has failed to listen to our B.C. fishers to develop and implement an effective plan to conserve and restore Pacific salmon. We do not need any more studies. We do not need any more stall tactics. We have experts on the water who know what needs to be done, and it needs to be done now.
    When is the minister going to start listening to B.C. anglers and get to work on restoring our B.C. public fishery?
    Mr. Speaker, I actually agree with my hon. colleague. We absolutely have expertise on the west coast with regard to the wild Pacific salmon and the declines that we are seeing. That is why we are developing, in collaboration with those organizations, communities, first nations and the Province of British Columbia, the Pacific salmon strategy. This government is very proud of the fact that we are investing $647 million in that strategy.
     We know we have to do everything we possibly can to restore wild Pacific salmon.

[Translation]

Infrastructure

    Mr. Speaker, with the closing of the Pierre‑Laporte bridge for repairs in a few days, construction of a third link is more important than ever to maintain the flow of traffic between Quebec City and Lévis.
    What are the Liberals waiting for to follow our lead? The Conservatives are giving their support for the third link, which will help our regions and our motorists.
    Will the Liberals finally make a decision and support the third link, which is essential for regional urban mobility?
    Mr. Speaker, as everyone knows, we are making historic investments in Quebec. I was there with the member from Quebec and the Quebec premier when a certain announcement was made last week.
    With regard to the third link, we are still waiting for a proposal. We would like to see project proposals at our offices. We will continue to invest in Quebec and throughout the country.

  (1505)  

[English]

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, for the 2020 parent and grandparent sponsorship application term, 209,174 applications were submitted. To date, zero applications have been processed. Even worse, this current processing time is estimated to be 28 months. This Liberal-made backlog mess is hurting young families, minorities and our economy, while the Liberals pile on more platitudes and election promises.
    When is the government going to fix its failed application system?
    Mr. Speaker, our government has an exceptional track record in meeting our immigration goals. We welcomed tens of thousands of temporary workers to keep our economy going, adding $100 million to protect their rights. We have reunited tens of thousands of families, showing compassion where we can. We have created new pathways for refugees, demonstrating global leadership on human rights.
     Even in the face of the pandemic, we have a plan that shows how immigration creates jobs and growth, and that is in stark contrast to years of failure under the last Conservative government.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians have been forever impacted by gun violence. Many constituents here in Cumberland—Colchester, particularly women, have told me that they support fully implementing Bill C-71, which addresses domestic violence with red flag legislation through lifetime background checks, helps law enforcement trace firearms and addresses the sale of firearms to those without a licence.
    Meanwhile, worryingly, the Conservative leader is promising to weaken background checks, remove support for our police and return military firearms to the streets.
    Could the Minister of Public Safety please reassure women and other concerned citizens by updating us on measures to bring Bill C-71 into force?
    The hon. minister.
    Mr. Speaker, I most certainly share the member for Cumberland—Colchester's concern about Conservative promises to weaken gun control. I want to assure the House that our government is listening to all those who are concerned about gun violence and we are responding to the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, which has deemed Bill C-71 essential to public safety.
    Earlier today, we tabled regulations that would strengthen licence verification and record-keeping in Canada. These measures would enable strong action to prevent the sale of firearms to those who are not legally authorized to possess them, and they will provide enhanced support to law enforcement to hold criminals to account.
     Together, these measures will prioritize public safety and empower effective police work.

Health

    Mr. Speaker, the border between the United States and Canada has been closed for the past 16 months due to the COVID pandemic and following the science to protect public health. Now, with Canadians and Americans being fully vaccinated, it is time to follow the science and begin the reopening for families who have been separated for a long time and for businesses that are struggling to survive. We need no more half measures and inadequate responses. People have sacrificed and suffered enough.
    When will the government follow the science and open the border to Canadians and Americans who are fully vaccinated? Canadians need a clear plan. When will the Liberals do it?
    Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what we have been doing on this side of the House. We have been following the science and the evidence. We have been working hard to make sure that the sacrifices Canadians have made over the past year and a half are not wasted.
    We will continue to take prudent measures to relax measures on the border based on science and evidence. Today is a good day. Starting July 5, fully vaccinated travellers who are currently permitted to enter Canada will not be subject to the existing quarantine requirements. We can see the finish line. Let us get there together.

Canada Revenue Agency

    Mr. Speaker, a recent report by the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group says that a secretive division of the CRA is unfairly targeting Muslim charities with audits amounting to discrimination. The report found that 75% of the charities audited and whose status was revoked were Muslim charities, despite them representing only 0.47% of the overall sector.
    Could the minister explain what is being done to stop this harassment?
    Mr. Speaker, our government will continue to work to end discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and disability. The CRA monitors the operations of registered charities and ensures compliance through a balanced program of client service, education and responsible enforcement, including audits to protect the integrity of the charitable sector.
    The CRA does not select registered charities for audit based on any particular faith or denomination. The Minister of National Revenue does not instruct the CRA to begin audits, nor does the minister intervene in audits that are under way.

  (1510)  

[Translation]

    The time for question period has expired.
    The hon. member for Beloeil—Chambly on a point of order.

Residential Schools

    Mr. Speaker, I am at the Maison amérindienne in Mont‑Saint‑Hilaire. There have been discussions among the parties and if you seek it, I think you will find unanimous consent for the following motion:
     That the House, recognizing the importance of historical truth in the process of healing grieving families and nations, insist that the government deploy, for the benefit—
    I apologize to the hon. member for interrupting, but there is a problem with the interpretation.
    While we wait for the problem to be resolved, I give the floor to the hon. member for Louis‑Saint‑Laurent, who also wishes to rise on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, as everyone knows, when a member rises to move a motion in the House, they must always have the proper equipment. We saw that the leader of the Bloc Québécois did not have the necessary equipment. That being said, I think that all parties know what the leader of the Bloc Québécois wants to talk about, and I seek the consent of the House to let him continue.
    All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.

[English]

    I am asking for consent for the motion that the hon. member for Louis-Saint Laurent just put forward.
    Mr. Speaker, I think we all recognize that the member for Beloeil—Chambly is not set up correctly to address the House of Commons. We also know what he wants to talk about today.
    What I would suggest to my colleague for Beloeil—Chambly is that he first make his presentation in French and then after that, if he can, translate it to be sure that every member will have access, in both official languages, to his proposition of the day.

[Translation]

    The problem with the interpretation is due to the fact that the member does not have the proper equipment. Does the hon. member for Beloeil—Chambly agree to proceed as the member for Louis-Saint‑Laurent suggested?
    Mr. Speaker, I am not sure about the nature of the request because I cannot simultaneously interpret—
    The problem is that we cannot hear the member for Beloeil-Chambly properly because he is not using the official equipment provided by the House.
     Mr. Speaker, please give me 30 seconds to change headsets.
    Order. I would ask for the attention of the House.
    Even if we could understand—barely—what the hon. member for Beloeil-Chambly was saying, it was not clear enough for the interpreters. It was therefore suggested that the member start in one official language and then repeat the same thing in the other official language so that everyone could understand. Is that agreeable to everyone?
    Hon. members: Agreed.
    The Speaker: That is how we will proceed. The hon. member for Beloeil-Chambly will start in the official language of his choice and then repeat the same thing in the other official language. The hon. member for Beloeil-Chambly.
    Mr. Speaker, I am at the Maison amérindienne de Mont‑Saint‑Hilaire. There have been discussions among the parties and if you seek it I believe you will find unanimous consent for the following motion:
    That the House, recognizing the importance of historical truth in the process of healing grieving families and nations, insist that the government deploy, for the benefit of indigenous communities, the financial resources necessary to carry out every call to action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in order for indigenous communities to have the technical and scientific means and the project management necessary for the identification of sites and the establishment of registers, as well as for historical research and the commemoration of the victims;
    That the House ask the government, in consultation with affected indigenous communities, to place the new information that would be collected for the purpose of finding all the missing children under the aegis of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, all under the authority of the indigenous people;
    That the House recognize that Ottawa is located on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people and, acting accordingly, affirm that it is urgent that call to action number 82 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, providing for the construction of a national monument to residential schools, be erected in Ottawa and reiterate that it is essential that all recognized national indigenous organizations be involved in the process, as they should; and finally,
    That the House ask the federal government to push all religious communities that participated in the residential school system to give access to the relevant archives to researchers, to indigenous communities, and to survivors and their families.

  (1515)  

    Can the hon. member repeat the text of the motion in English? The House made that decision because the interpretation was not available.
    I want to ensure that everyone understands exactly what is being moved.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, there has been consultation between the parties, and I think you will find unanimous consent for the following motion.
    I move:
    That the House, recognizing the importance of historical truth in the process of healing grieving families and nations, insist that the government deploy, for the benefit of indigenous communities, the financial resources necessary to carry out every call to action in the truth and reconciliation Commission in order for indigenous communities to have the technical and scientific means and the project management necessary for the identification of sites and the establishment of registers, as well as for historical research and the commemoration of the victims;
    That the House ask the government, in consultation with affected indigenous communities, to place the new information that would be collected for the purpose of finding all the missing children under the aegis of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, all under the authority of the indigenous people;
    That the House recognize that Ottawa is located on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people and, acting accordingly, affirm that it is urgent that call to action number 82 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, providing for the construction of a national monument to residential schools, be erected in Ottawa and reiterate that it is essential that all recognized national indigenous organizations be involved in the process, as they should; and finally,
    That the House ask the federal government to push all religious communities that participated in the residential school system to give access to the relevant archives to researchers, to indigenous communities, and to survivors and their families.

[Translation]

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

[English]

    The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.

    (Motion agreed to)

    I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that, if they are going to do something in a different location than they are used to, they should please make sure the equipment is at hand and tested previously. It will just make things work so much more smoothly, and it will make things a lot easier.

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, I will make myself clear so everyone understands what I am saying.
    We have to follow certain rules. Yes, there are technical considerations, but location matters too. I completely understand what motivated the member for Beloeil—Chambly, the leader of the Bloc Québécois, to do this on National Indigenous Peoples Day and to do it in an indigenous centre. That puts us all in a positive frame of mind. Plus, his proposal, which he read in both official languages, was unanimously adopted.
    I invite the Speaker to issue a recommendation about whether we are supposed to be in the House, in our parliamentary office or in our riding office. If it should so happen that we are not in one of those three places, I believe, although we would have to reread what has been said about this, that we are expected to inform the House in advance so officials can make sure everything is working properly.
    For today, it is understandable. I would be the first to agree, because Wendake is in my riding. We can move symbolic motions like the one moved today. However, I think we need a rule, should a member choose to speak from somewhere other than the House of Commons.

  (1520)  

    I thank the hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent, who raised a very good point.
    I would like to remind all members that the House is a neutral place, as free of symbols as possible. Sometimes, we do not notice it at all, but it is very important to make sure that the House is as neutral as possible.
    It being 3:22 p.m., pursuant to order made on Thursday, June 17, it is my duty to ask the Sergeant-at-Arms to admit Mr. Iain Stewart.

[English]

House of Commons

President of the Public Health Agency of Canada  

[House of Commons]
    Mr. Stewart, you are attending at the bar of the House on behalf of the Public Health Agency of Canada for failure to comply with the orders of the Special Committee on Canada–China Relations of March 31 and May 10, 2021, and the order of the House of June 2, 2021.
    The orders in question called for unredacted versions of all the documents produced by the Public Health Agency of Canada about the transfer of the Ebola and Henipah viruses to the Wuhan Institute of Virology in March 2019 and the subsequent revocation of the security clearances of Dr. Xiangguo Qiu and Keding Cheng.

[Translation]

     The privileges held by the House of Commons are an integral part of the Constitution Act, 1867, and the Parliament of Canada Act. These rights include the right to require the production of documents. Under the Standing Orders of the House of Commons, committees of the House exercise these same rights when carrying out their respective mandates.

[English]

    The privileges in question, like all those enjoyed by the House collectively and by members individually, are essential to the performance of their duties. The House has the power, and indeed the duty, to reaffirm them when obstruction or interference impedes its deliberations. As guardian of these rights and privileges, that is precisely what the House has asked me to do today by ordering the Speaker to reprimand you for the Public Health Agency of Canada's contempt in refusing to submit the required documents.
    The House further ordered you to immediately submit unredacted versions of the documents to it. However, through your counsel, the Speaker was informed that you are unable to deliver the documents referenced in the order.
    In this regard, I have received a communication earlier today from counsel representing the president of the Public Health Agency of Canada in relation to the order of the House adopted on Thursday, June 17, 2021.

  (1525)  

[Translation]

    As the letter is in only one language, it would require unanimous consent for me to table the letter.

[English]

    All those opposed to the tabling of the letter in one language, please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    I understand there is a point of order being raised by the government House leader.
    The hon. government House leader.

Points of Order

Documents Related to the Transfer of Ebola and Henipah Viruses to the Wuhan Institute of Virology  

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform the House how the government believes we can move forward on the issue of the document order from June 2. Today, I wrote a letter to you in which I went into some detail on this issue, and I would like to explain to the House what I proposed in this letter, if I may.
    The House of Commons adopted a motion on June 17, 2021, “That the House find the Public Health Agency of Canada to be in—”
    I will interrupt the hon. government House leader.
    The opposition House leader has a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, we shall follow the rules step by step. You were talking about the June 17 decision. There is someone here, and we are asking this person to table documents. Do what you have to do, and after that we will see if there are any documents. If there are none, we will address it.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order—
    I want to interrupt the hon. government House leader. Mr. Stewart is still with us, and I want to consult with the table. This is a very touchy situation. I want to make sure that we take the proper steps so that there will not be any questions afterward.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, could you at least consider hearing the rest of the point of order by the government House leader?
    I have made my statement. I ask all members to sit and wait while we consult. It is a matter that we must go over. As I said, this is a unique situation. I want to make sure that we get it right on all sides. This is not to show any favouritism to one side or the other; I just want to go over it.
    The Chair is in the hands of the House. Nothing in the order of June 17 provided for the possibility of taking measures, nor does the order give the Chair the authority to respond to the situation the House is currently facing. It is up to the House to decide.
    I will go back to the hon. government House leader and ask if the point of order he is raising is directly related to what we are discussing now. If it is not, I would ask him to please inform the House and we shall continue.
    The hon. government House leader.

  (1530)  

    Mr. Speaker, the point of order is totally related.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Correct me if I am mistaken, but I believe you were interrupted while trying to finish the statement you were making. You were admonishing the Public Health Agency of Canada, and I think you should be able to finish your statement before there is a point of order responding to that statement. I think you should have the right to—
    To correct the hon. member for Banff—Airdrie, I was done and about to dismiss Mr. Stewart when the hon. government House leader rose on a point of order to bring information forward. It was brought after. Right now we are dealing with that to see if it is directly related.
    This is what I am going to do. I will listen to what the government House leader has to say and then determine relevance afterward. If it is way out of whack, I will stop him, but I believe what he has to say is related.
    I stopped the hon. member because what he brought up was not exactly correct.
    Mr. Blake Richards: I have a point of order.
    The Speaker: I think we will listen to what has to be said and then we will deal with that after.
    The hon. government House leader.
    Mr. Speaker, it is totally related.
    The president of the Public Health Agency of Canada has worked diligently to try to comply with the order of June 2, 2021. He has done so in a manner that balances the rights of parliamentarians to have access to information with the duty of the government to protect information related to national security and privacy.

[Translation]

    The Parliament of Canada Act states in section 4 that the privileges, immunities and powers of the two Houses are to be those that were held in 1867 by the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, and such privileges, immunities and powers as are defined by an act of the Parliament of Canada.
    The Parliament of Canada, in exercising its legislative authority to define the privileges of the Houses, may circumscribe those privileges and has done so. A statute may be made expressly applicable to the Senate and the House of Commons or may apply implicitly, by necessary intendment.
    As well, statutes of Parliament may impose duties of non-disclosure on government officials. As the Supreme Court observed in Canada (House of Commons) v. Vaid in 2005, “Legislative bodies created by the Constitution Act, 1867 do not constitute enclaves shielded from the ordinary law of the land.”
    Furthermore, in Chagnon v. Syndicat de la fonction publique et parapublique du Québec, Justice Rowe, in concurring with the majority of the court, added, “...expecting a legislature to comply with its own legislation cannot be regarded as an intrusion on the legislature's privilege. It is not an impediment to the functioning of a legislature for it to comply with its own enactments. Accordingly, when a legislature has set out in legislation how something previously governed pursuant to privilege is to operate, the legislature no longer can rely on inherent privilege so as to bypass the statute.”
    Parliamentary privilege has been circumscribed by valid statutes, and the House of Commons cannot now choose to relieve itself from their application.
    As we know, the Minister of Health referred the matter and provided unredacted documents to the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, given the expertise of the members of the committee in matters of national security. The committee has a broad mandate to review Canada's legislative, regulatory, policy, administrative and financial framework for national security and intelligence. It may also—
    I would ask the hon. Leader of the Government in the House of Commons to be very specific in his point of order. He is giving many details, but I do not believe that this is necessary.
    I will let him continue for a few minutes and I hope that he will have time to finish his comments. I want to ensure that we hear from everyone to the greatest extent possible before giving my ruling.
    Mr. Speaker, the connection to the matter before us will soon be clear.
    Of course the government wants to collaborate. That is what it has been trying to do from the start, in a way that respects parliamentary privilege and extremely important national security issues.
    I am going to skip a whole section of my presentation and jump right to my proposal.
    We are putting various options before you, all of them valid, in my opinion. I think it would be worth your while to read them so that we can find a solution that works for all parliamentarians and all parties.

  (1535)  

[English]

    I will not be very long.
    The first option relates to what I call a memorandum of understanding regarding Afghan detainee documents. In response to the ruling by Speaker Milliken in 2010, the government and the opposition agreed to a memorandum of understanding that created an ad hoc committee of parliamentarians to review national security documents. It included safeguards and a panel of arbiters to determine how the relevant and necessary information could be made available to MPs and the public without compromising national security. A similar memorandum of understanding could be used for the review of the documents that the House has ordered.
    As a second option, the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel could be assisted by national security specialists.
    The motion adopted by the House on June 2, 2021, states, in part:
(d) the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel shall confidentially review the documents with a view to redacting information which, in his opinion, could reasonably be expected to compromise national security or reveal details of an ongoing criminal investigation, other than the existence of an investigation;
(e) the Speaker shall cause the documents, as redacted pursuant to paragraph (d), to be laid upon the table at the next earliest opportunity and, after being tabled, they shall stand referred to the special committee;
    While the government accepts that the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel has the appropriate security clearance to review the information, we do not believe he has the necessary training or expertise in national security-related information to make the necessary assessment. Disclosing sensitive information could have a number of negative side effects for our intelligence agencies. These include, inter alia, revealing covert methods of operation and tradecraft and investigative techniques; putting at risk human sources and their families; and identifying or helping to identify employees, internal procedures and administrative practices. Finally, it could have a severe impact on Canada's reputation as a responsible security partner.

[Translation]

    Assessing the damage caused by disclosure of information cannot be done in the abstract or in isolation. Seemingly unrelated information can be used to develop a more comprehensive picture or “mosaic effect” when added to information already known, thereby revealing further tradecraft. Declassification of documents needs to undergo a review which takes into account the potential impact on covert methodologies, sources and relationships.
    The government is open to providing the unredacted documents to the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel if the House of Commons agrees that national security specialists can assist him in this process and that other appropriate safeguards be put in place.
    It is our hope that the government and the opposition can come to a reasonable solution that ensures that the government can continue to respect its obligations to protect national security, and the House of Commons can effectively do its work.
    The hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent on a point of order. Other hon. members can then rise on a point of order.
    The hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent.

Privilege

Alleged Non-compliance with an Order of the House  

[Privilege]
    Mr. Speaker, what my friend, the government House leader, just did is completely unacceptable. He disregarded the ruling you made on June 17.
    If the member had something to say about this matter, he could have done it at the appropriate time, 10 days ago, when the member for Kingston and the Islands responded to my well-researched speech. That was when the government leader should have made the argument he made just a couple of minutes ago, instead of having the member for Kingston and the Islands give a speech, although I must say it was an interesting one. However, you considered the strength of the arguments and made a decision. You acknowledged that our proposal was a fair one.
    We proposed that the president of the Public Health Agency of Canada attend at the bar of the House to receive an admonishment and to deliver the documents. When this matter was duly put to a vote on June 17, it then became an order.
    That order contained two elements. The first was that the president, Mr. Stewart, attend at the bar of the House. I see that he is still there, which is good. The second is that he be admonished by the House, and that is what you did.
    However, the story does not end there. The June 17 motion was very clear. The majority of the House of Commons, all of the opposition parties, voted in favour of it. He was supposed to deliver up the documents related to the Winnipeg lab without redaction. That demand has not been met.
    That is why I am informing you that I am raising a question of privilege related to the fact that this order of the House was not followed, given the refusal of Iain Stewart, president of the Public Health Agency of Canada, to produce certain documents when he attended at the bar, contrary to the order adopted by the House on Thursday, June 17.
    Standing Order 48(2) normally requires that I give one hour's notice if my question of privilege is not one “arising out of proceedings in the chamber during the course of a sitting”.
     Mr. Stewart received the order to attend at the bar of the House this day for the purposes of “delivering up the documents ordered by the House, on June 2, 2021, to be produced, so that they may be deposited with the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel under the terms of that order”.

  (1540)  

[English]

    Mr. Stewart was here but he did not deliver what we were asking for. This is why we are talking about a question of privilege here today.

[Translation]

    I want to stress that that is the real issue. The order of the House required two things: that Mr. Stewart attend the House to receive the admonishment, which he has done, and that he produce the documents, which he has not done.
    That is why the House is once again debating this issue. This is an important question of privilege related to what happened here a few minutes ago.
    House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, at page 82, lays out the well-established list of types of contempt of Parliament.

[English]

    I will refer members to the ninth and 10th items.

[Translation]

    It includes:
...without reasonable excuse, refusing to answer a question or provide information or produce papers formally required by the House or a committee;
without reasonable excuse, disobeying a lawful order of the House or a committee;

[English]

    Both of those have happened before our eyes today.

[Translation]

    There is no question that Mr. Stewart was aware of the order made Thursday. He testified before the Standing Committee on Health on Friday, and said he was aware of the motion adopted in the House of Commons. That is a good thing.
    Parliamentary Privilege in Canada, second edition, states, at page 240, “Disobedience of rules or orders is an obvious contempt and would include refusing to attend at the Bar of the House after the House had so ordered, refusing to personally attend and to produce the documents requested by a committee…”.
    The documents Mr. Stewart was to produce were requested on four distinct occasions, last spring.
    The hon. member for Kingston and the Islands on a point of order.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. We have now had Mr. Stewart here for about half an hour. He has been standing diligently at the bar. I think it would be appropriate for the Speaker to allow him to leave now, so he can get back to the important work he has been doing over the last 15 months looking to protect this country.
    I would ask that the Speaker allow Mr. Stewart to leave at this time. I think the Conservatives, the NDP and the Bloc have proven their point, and now it is time for him to be able to depart.
    I do not believe that is a point of order.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please.
    I would like to point out that I had discussions with the Sergeant-at-Arms prior to Mr. Stewart's coming here to ensure that, should Mr. Stewart want to sit, there would be a chair for him there. There is one there, so he can be comfortable, if he prefers to sit.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    The Speaker: Order.
    The hon. member for Kingston and the Islands was going to ask for unanimous consent. I will let him proceed with that, and then we will continue with the hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent.
    Mr. Speaker, I would ask for unanimous consent to let the president of the Public Health Agency depart at this time.
    All those opposed to the request of the hon. member will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
     The Speaker: There is no unanimous consent.
    I would like to remind the hon. member for Cambridge that his face does show up when he speaks online. I do not want to embarrass him, but there is enough tension in this room. We do not need it coming in.
    Mr. Brian May: I am not embarrassed, Mr. Speaker.
     The Speaker: Mr. May, please stand down.
    The hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent.

  (1545)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, last Thursday, you ruled that the House had every right to compel the production of documents. You also ruled that, contrary to a reckless Liberal opposition motion from 2009 and 2010, the House had taken the necessary steps to balance parliamentary responsibility with protecting national security, and to promote dialogue with the government on the issue.

[English]

    The only way was to put forward a motion to order Mr. Stewart to appear in this House today, at the bar, with those documents.

[Translation]

    It is also within the authority of the House, as indicated in House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, 2017, at page 130.
    It is incumbent on us to do something. The House must defend itself and assert its rights.
     Citation 120 of Beauchesne's Parliamentary Rules and Forms, sixth edition, states that with respect to questions of privilege, at first glance, and I quote: “Should the House wish to proceed without reference to the committee it may do so.”
    Maingot adds at page 263, and I quote: “It is nevertheless open in flagrant cases of contemptuous conduct to move that the facts in question constitute a breach of privilege”.
     In the First Report from the Select Committee on Procedure, session 1977-78 of the United Kingdom House of Commons, at paragraph 57, appendix C, a former clerk of that House, Sir Richard Barlas, wrote, and I quote: “Failure to comply with a formal order to attend or to produce papers may be dealt with by the House as a contempt; so may the failure to answer questions when giving evidence.” Such a failure should in fact be investigated by the Committee of Privileges. “[T]he House itself could and has dealt with the matter as one of privilege on a report being made by the committee concerned, and exercised its penal jurisdiction accordingly.”
    Last week, we proceeded without reference to the committee to call Mr. Stewart to the bar to produce the requested documents. I would remind the House that it was the majority of elected members here in the House who voted for that action. It was not a wish or a request, it was an order. These documents still have not been produced. The urgency of the matter has not changed.
    Paragraph 302 of the 1999 report of the Joint Committee on Parliamentary Privilege in the United Kingdom clearly states, and I quote, “If the work of Parliament is to proceed without improper interference, there must ultimately be some sanction available against those who offend: those who interrupt the proceedings or destroy evidence, or seek to intimidate members or witnesses; those who disobey orders of the House or a committee to attend and answer questions or produce documents....But unless a residual power to punish exists, the obligation not to obstruct will be little more than a pious aspiration. The absence of a sanction will be cynically exploited by some persons from time to time.”
    That is exactly where we are right now.

[English]

    That said, what would be more important than imposing a sanction would be for the—
    I am going to interrupt the hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent.

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Ottawa—Vanier is rising on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to table, in both official languages, the letter sent by the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons on this subject.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I believe if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:
    That Mr. Iain Stewart be dismissed from the bar of the House.
    All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.
    The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.
    I declare the motion carried. Mr. Stewart, you may leave.

    (Motion agreed to)

  (1550)  

[Translation]

    The Speaker: The hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent.
    I see he has a lot to say. I hope he will be as concise as possible.
    Mr. Speaker, we have seen worse.

[English]

    That said, what would be more important than imposing a sanction would be for the powers of this House to be vindicated by obtaining the documents. Allowing the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations to do its work would be, in my opinion, more valuable than deliberating on how to scold the Public Health Agency a second time.
    If the House were so inclined, it can arrest someone or even commit him or her to jail. For example, had Mr. Stewart not even showed up today, the authorities are clear that we could send Sergeant-at-Arms to bring him here.

[Translation]

     Paragraph 121 in Beauchesne, in reference to persons summoned to attend at the bar, indicates that if the person is not present, “the absence is noted and the House orders the Speaker to issue a warrant for him to be taken into custody.”
    That did not happen, however. Mr. Stewart did what he had to do, that is present himself to the House, but he did not do what the order asked him to do, and that is submit the documents.
     Sir Bourinot's Parliamentary Procedure and Practice in the Dominion of Canada, fourth edition, states on page 62, and I quote, “If, when the order of the day has been read at the appointed time, the sergeant-at-arms informs the house that the person summoned is not in attendance, or cannot be found, the house will instruct the speaker to issue a warrant for his arrest.”
    That did not take place, and that is all the better.
    I will also quote from Parliamentary Practice in New-Zealand, which states, at page 794, “the House may also use its...powers to enforce and uphold its privileges. It may...coerce someone to do something it wishes to be done, for example committing a person to the custody of the Serjeant-at-Arms so that he or she may be brought to give evidence before a committee. When using its powers in this way, the House is not 'punishing' anyone for past transgressions, but rather ensuring that no transgressions occur.”
    It goes on to say, “The House uses its powers to secure compliance with its orders before there has been any disobedience of them. If a person committed into the Serjeant's custody escaped, then a contempt would be committed and the person would be liable to be punished. The distinction between punishing for disobedience and taking action to secure compliance can be a fine one where there is disobedience to the House's order.”
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to quote the most recent example, a ruling by your predecessor, the hon. member for Halifax West, on May 18, 2016, which can be found at page 3547 of the Debates of the House of Commons. Members will recall this sad day. The ruling had to do with the incident in which the Prime Minister crossed the floor and forcibly grabbed the official opposition whip by the arm like a common thug and dragged him back to his seat. It was one of the most disgraceful incidents in the history of our Parliament. The supreme political authority of this country behaved with the dignity of a thug. A few hours later, he admitted his mistake and formally apologized in the House of Commons. The member for Papineau did the right thing. Let us remember the parliamentary consequences of that incident.
    In this case, after some brief comments, the Speaker simply said:
     I appreciate the comments of all the members who have spoken, and I appreciate the Prime Minister's apology.
    Having said that, I cannot help but find a prima facie case of question of privilege and I call upon the hon. member for York—Simcoe to move the appropriate motion.
    Mr. Speaker, since you do not have any written notice in this case, I would like to read the motion that I intend to move.

[English]

    The motion states: That the House find that the Public Health Agency of Canada continues to be in contempt for its failure to obey the orders of the House, adopted on June 2 and June 17, 2021, as well as the orders of the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations, adopted on March 21 and May 10, 2021, and, accordingly, directs the Sergeant-at-Arms attending this House to enter into the premises of the Public Health Agency of Canada to search for and seize the documents which were ordered to be produced by the House on June 2 and June 17, 2021, and by the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations on March 21 and May 10, 2021, and to deposit the documents with the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Council under the terms of the order of the House adopted on June 2, 2021 and that the Speaker do issue this warrant accordingly.

[Translation]

    We had previously worked on a motion that was reviewed by the Chair and staff, who concluded that the proposal was not acceptable, so we immediately came up with a new one, which was adopted.
    That is why we came prepared for every contingency this time around. If, by chance, the Chair decides that this first motion does not meet the requirements of the House, here is a second one that can be used moving forward.

  (1555)  

[English]

    The motion states: That the House find the Public Health Agency of Canada continues to be in contempt for its failure to obey the orders of the House, adopted on June 2 and 17, 2021, as well as the orders of the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations, adopted on March 31 and May 10, 2021, and, accordingly, refers the matter to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs for its consideration of an enforcement mechanism available for this House to obtain the documents previously ordered by the House and the special committee to be produced to provide that: (a) the committee to be instructed to report back within four weeks of the adoption of this order to provide that in the event it does not do so, it shall be deemed to have presented a report making the following recommendations: “That the Sergeant attending this House be directed to enter the premises of the Public Health Agency of Canada to search inside for the documents which were ordered to be produced by the House on June 2 and 17, 2021, and by the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations on March 31 and May 10, 2021, and to table these documents with the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel, under the terms of the order of the House adopted on June 2, 2021, and that the Speaker do issue a warrant accordingly; (b) any report which is ready to be presented when the House stands adjourned may be submitted electronically to the Clerk of the House and shall be deemed to have been duly presented to the House on that date, and (c) the provisions in paragraph (q) of the order adopted on Monday, January 25, 2021, concerning committee proceedings shall apply to maintain the committee held in relation to this order of reference until Sunday, September 19, 2021.
    Let me be clear: This House has a job to do and this House shall be respected and especially shall be respected by all members, because we are 338 Canadians here in the House of Commons but we are more than citizens.
     We are representatives of our constituents. When we do not pay respect to the House, we do not pay respect to the Canadian citizens. This is why, Mr. Speaker, I think that you will realize and recognize that if we let it pass, no one can address anything further.

[Translation]

    This is all about respect for the House, which is made up of 338 Canadians who were duly elected by the public. If the House does not respect its orders, who will respect the laws adopted by the House? Who will respect the regulations adopted by the House? Who will respect the political decisions made after debates, albeit spirited ones, but decisions that were voted on by the individuals who were duly elected by the public?
    The June 17 order was very clear, and two things were supposed to happen. The president of the Public Health Agency of Canada was to appear here and receive an admonishment. He was also meant to deliver the documents, but he did not.
    It is like someone saying that they do not believe in a law, that it does not apply to them and that they do not care about the consequences because they do not believe in it. It is one thing if we are talking about a citizen who believes their rights have been violated. However, that is not how it works, and even less so when that someone is an elected official.
    The House must respect the House. That is why I urge the Chair to take my question of privilege into consideration.

[English]

    I have a long list of people who are rising on a point of order. I will get to them in the order in which I have noticed them.
    The hon. member for St. John's East.
    Mr. Speaker, I wish to intervene, first, on the point of order raised by the government House leader, but also to speak to the question of privilege raised by the opposition House leader.
    The government House leader, allegedly having a point of order, made an argument against the order that was made. He did say in his opening remarks that the president of the Public Health Agency of Canada had to balance his obligations under legislation and the order of the House. That is absolutely wrong and totally contrary to the decision made by you, Mr. Speaker, and by the decision on which is was based, that of Speaker of Milliken in April 2010.
    It is not up to Mr. Stewart to decide what the balance is. Nor is it up to the government House leader. In fact, it is up to the House of Commons to achieve the balance and determine how to balance the national interest, whether it be with respect to security, privacy or anything else, with the privileges of members of the House with respect to access to documents.
    The House has already determined that matter. The points made by the government House leader seem to be offering some sort of alternative to the method adopted by the House. Clearly, there were plenty of opportunities for him to do that during the debate in the House on the motion that was moved. It could have been done at committee. It could have been done during debate on the opposition motion or on the debate on the matter of privilege. On all those occasions, he could have come forward and offered another method of doing the same thing that would give access to the documents to the committee, which has passed a motion for their acceptance and the House has determined such.
    It certainly did not come before the House as a proper point of order. It was really a matter of debate, a debate that should have taken place on one of the other occasions, before the decision was made by the House. That is what I have to say about the point of order. The point of order should be dismissed.
    The question of privilege that was raised by the opposition House leader is quite appropriate. We have a situation where the president of the Public Health Agency of Canada has complied with part of the order, but not the full order. Therefore, he is in breach of the order of the House, and a proper remedy has been suggested.
     I am assuming there was two suggestions, actually one that the Sergeant-at-Arms be ordered, immediately, to undertake a search of the premises of the Public Health Agency of Canada with appropriate support, which has been done in the past, to obtain the papers that have been ordered by the House, or, alternatively, to present to the committee on procedure and House affairs to follow through. I think this was the committee that was recommended.
    Either of those alternatives would be a way to proceed. I would leave that to you, Mr. Speaker, to decide what is the appropriate method in keeping with the precedents. I am speaking virtually, and I do not have access many of the authorities to respond specifically to the various sections of our procedures and rules. I would leave that to you and your assistants to determine the exact and appropriate method.
    I would reiterate his assertion that the House is the master of the situation, not the government, not the government House leader, and that you as Speaker are entrusted with enforcing the privileges of all members of the House, including the government members and the cabinet ministers who also sit as members of the House. It is their privileges, it is our privileges, it is the people's privileges that we have the obligation to uphold. I commend you, Sir, to your deliberations.
     I hope we could resolve this impasse by a proper order from you, Mr. Speaker, to comply with the order of the House.

  (1600)  

    We will go to the government House leader.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, to begin with, I would ask that you take the statements I made during my point of order on the question of privilege and include them all in the debate.
    I would add the following comments to the debate on the question of privilege.

[English]

    The government respects the right of the House of Commons to order documents, but we also believe firmly in what the former House of Commons Speaker, Speaker Milliken, articulated in his ruling on April 27, 2010, where in the context of an order for national security-related documents he stated:
    But what of the House’s responsibility regarding the manner in which this right can or ought to be exercised? The authorities cited earlier all make reference to the long-standing practice whereby the House has accepted that not all documents demanded ought to be made available in cases where the Government asserts that this is impossible or inappropriate for reasons of national security, national defence or international relations.
    O’Brien and Bosc, at page 979, states: “—it may not be appropriate to insist on the production of papers and records in all cases.”
    The basis for this statement is a 1991 report by the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections, which, as recorded on page 95 of the Journals of May 29, 1991, pointed out:
     The House of Commons recognizes that it should not require the production of documents in all cases; considerations of public policy, including national security, foreign relations, and so forth, enter into the decision as to when it is appropriate to order the production of such documents.
    He further stated:
    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.
    Speaker Milliken's ruling is an important precedent to guide how both the government and the House can come to a resolution on this important issue. The government wishes to work constructively with all members of Parliament to find a solution that respects the balance of interest between the rights of parliamentarians to have access to information and the obligations of the government to protect information related to national security and privacy.

  (1605)  

[Translation]

     As we all know, given the sensitivity of the information in question, the president of the Public Health Agency of Canada gave notice to the Attorney General of Canada pursuant to subsection 38.01(1) of the Canada Evidence Act on June 20, 2021, advising that “sensitive or potentially injurious information” was at risk of being disclosed as a result of the June 17 House of Commons order.
    Under section 38.02 of the Canada Evidence Act, “no person shall disclose in connection with a proceeding (a) information about which notice is given...”. This means that information subject to the notice cannot be disclosed until the Attorney General assesses whether its disclosure would be injurious to national security or after the Federal Court has ordered its disclosure.
    That being said, the Attorney General can, at any time under the Canada Evidence Act, authorize disclosure of the sensitive information if he is satisfied that measures are put in place to safeguard it. Given this, the government wishes to work constructively with the members of Parliament to find a solution that reflects the balance noted above and is willing to continue to seek a path forward that does not require the court's involvement. This would require the agreement of the Attorney General of Canada.
    I have offered concrete solutions. I spoke of two very real options that would allow us to resolve this.

[English]

    I made reference to the memorandum of understanding. I gave the example of the documents relating to the Afghan detainees. That is one option that can be used by the House.
    The second option is related to the law clerk and parliamentary counsel, assisted by national security specialists.

[Translation]

    These two options are concrete and real, and they respect both the will of the House and all of the government's obligations with regard to privacy and the protection of potentially sensitive information, the disclosure of which could be injurious to the country, individuals and institutions.
    Mr. Speaker, I ask you to take the time to analyze these two very concrete options and solutions so that we can work together with the opposition parties for the benefit of all parliamentarians, but also for the benefit of all Canadians, which is much more important.

  (1610)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we once lived in a country where the Governor in Council ignored the will of the elected legislature. We once lived in a country where the executive council ignored the will of the legislative assembly. We once lived in a country where the chief minister and the cabinet ignored Parliament. That was a country long ago. That was a country some 18 decades ago and it was that ignorance of the elected legislature that led to the people rising up. It led to insurrection, it led to the rebellions of 1837 and it led ultimately to reforms. It led to the introduction of responsible government, first in the legislature in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which was established in 1758, and subsequently, several years later, in the predecessor Parliament to this one: the Parliament of the United Province of Canada in the 1840s.
    It led to Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine and Robert Baldwin establishing the first responsible government, the first great ministry of Canada, on February 25, 1848. It was an important milestone that established the fundamental concept that the executive branch of government is accountable to the elected legislature, that the executive branch of government cannot ignore the orders of this place, cannot ignore the bills that are passed and adopted in this place and the other place, and cannot ignore the will of the elected House of Commons. Until that point, the Governor in Council regularly ignored Parliament and the elected legislature. Bills were often vetoed by the governor. Orders of the House were ignored. The Governor in Council hired and fired advisers at will and made his own decisions, the legislature be damned.
    The introduction of responsible government was an event so important that on Parliament Hill we have a statue to Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine and Robert Baldwin that overlooks the Ottawa River and is labelled at the bottom, chiselled in stone, “Responsible government”. Since the introduction of that responsible government, Canada's democracy has evolved to the point that we now accept that the government is accountable to the House, but the Liberal government is rolling back 18 decades of parliamentary evolution with its defiance now of four orders of the House and its committee.
    The situation in front of us is rapidly evolving from a situation in which the government is simply refusing to provide documents related to the termination of Dr. Qiu and Dr. Cheng, and the transfer of materials from the Winnipeg National Microbiology Laboratory to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, to a situation that is much more serious and that involves the rule of law. The rule of law is such a sacrosanct part of the trinity of our principles of a belief in democratic institutions, human rights and liberty and the rule of law, that the 1982 Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms put in its preamble that this country recognizes the supremacy of the rule of law, and the Liberal government is seriously undermining that rule of law with its flagrant disobedience of the four orders of this elected chamber.
    There have been two strong precedents in recent years to support the orders of the House and its call for documents. One is the case that has been referred to many times, in which Speaker Milliken's ruling of 2010 made clear that it is the grand inquest of the nation that this chamber has an unfettered, absolute right to call for the production of papers, full stop. There was a more recent example two and a half years ago in the mother Parliament of the United Kingdom, when the Conservative British Prime Minister of the day defied Parliament and said she would not release the Attorney General's solicitor client-protected opinion on the Irish backstop in relation to the Brexit deal.

  (1615)  

    She refused to hand over those documents, and the House found her in contempt and ordered that her Attorney General come to the House with the documents, which Attorney General Geoffrey Cox did because the British government understood the importance of the rule of law, the importance of Parliament and the importance of democracy. That is why the current Canadian government cannot be allowed to get away with this flagrant defiance of four orders of the House.
    I will finish by saying this. Why do Canadians send 338 of their fellow citizens to this chamber if their decisions are going to be ignored? Why do we spend $400 million a year on this chamber and the other one if our votes do not mean anything? Why do we vote to adopt orders if they do not have effect? Why are we spending billions of dollars on these buildings, some $5 billion on Centre Block alone at last count, if the processes and procedures in this place do not mean anything?
    We cannot allow this open defiance of the House to go unchallenged. We must uphold parliamentary democracy, and we must ensure the government fulfills the order of the House.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
    That is a very tough act to follow. Very powerful and passionate arguments were just made by the member for Wellington—Halton Hills defending the importance of the decisions made in this place and the democracy that we have. I probably will be far less interesting, powerful and passionate, but I have a couple of citations to make that I think the Speaker will find helpful in making his decision, and I would like to share those with him.
    Central to the very key elements of the intervention from our opposition house leader, who made a very compelling case for the path that he has put forward, was the idea that, if the House is able to do incredible things to order persons to attend, we should be able to do the same with respect to documents. That is central to the arguments he made, and I just wanted to share with members a couple of citations I believe the Speaker will find helpful in making his ruling.
    First of all, in their 1972 paper, entitled “Parliamentary Committees: Powers over and protection afforded to witnesses”, then Attorney General of Australia, Ivor Greenwood, and then Solicitor General of Australia, Robert Ellicott, wrote at paragraph 117:
    Although seldom if ever used, it would no doubt be within the competence of the House of Commons and therefore our own Houses to authorise an officer to search for specified documents or classes of documents in a particular place and order that they be inspected or copied or brought before the House. If a committee had power conferred on it to do this there seems to be no reason why it, too, could not give such an order. Any person who obstructed an officer in the course of carrying out the order would, of course, be guilty of contempt.... We are inclined to the view that the power to give such an order is conferred on a committee by reason of a power to send for documents.
    The principle of the House being empowered to search for and seize documents is also endorsed at page 688 of Australia's House of Representatives Practice, sixth edition, and it is also cited favourably by Derek Lee, a former Liberal member of Parliament in this House, in his 1999 book, The Power of Parliamentary Houses to Send for Persons, Papers and Records at page 47, where he adds, “Alternatively, where a person is in the sergeant's custody, the House may send the sergeant to accompany the prisoner while the prisoner goes to obtain the document required by the House, as the U.K. House of Commons did in 1809.”.
    I just wanted to make sure I added those important citations to the record. I think they will be helpful to the Speaker in making his decision, and I believe it is very clear that the House does and should have the power to order the documents to be produced, just as it can order someone to attend to the bar.

  (1620)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I would like to reserve the right of our party to respond to the question of privilege raised by my hon. colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent at a later date.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, on this matter, I would also like to add to the body of evidence you are considering in this matter, as we had Mr. Stewart in front of our Standing Committee on Health on Friday, where he was questioned on this issue. It was very apparent in his testimony he understood the terms of the order and had decided not to abide by the second component of the order, which was the production of documents.
    It is important for the Speaker, in considering his ruling in terms of a prima facie case of breach of privilege, to understand that Mr. Stewart did have the opportunity to comply with the motion, that he understood the terms of the motion and yet failed to comply today. This has made my job as a parliamentarian and the vice-chair of the Standing Committee on Health exceptionally difficult. It is our job to scrutinize these matters. I certainly feel that having the head of the Public Health Agency of Canada before the committee outlining the fact that he understood the terms of the motion yet indicating he may not comply with it to be highly problematic. Parliament is supreme. We have, as parliamentarians, the right to compel documents and to have them so we can suggest better public policy outcomes.
    I would add one further point in this regard. This is now becoming a pattern. There was a motion put before the House in October for the production of other documents. That has not been complied with fully, with the health committee we are seized with. In testimony in front of the health committee, the deputy minister for Public Works also said that the government had wilfully not complied with the terms of the motion and that it had not produced unredacted documents to the law clerk. Therefore, parliamentarians have not had the ability to scrutinize these documents.
    The documents I am raising right now as extra evidence are in fact contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions of dollars. It is difficult to ascertain because we do not have copies of them. Given that Canadians pay taxes to fund these contracts, and there have been a lot of delays in the delivery of these contracts, it is incumbent upon the committee to be able to look at these things.
    This is a pattern. I would direct the Speaker and the Clerk to the testimony of Mr. Stewart in front of the health committee on Friday, and present that as evidence that this was wilfully ignoring the will of the House. I find this deeply unacceptable and I certainly support some of the arguments that have been made by my colleagues this afternoon.
    My understanding is that the Public Health Agency of Canada has been invoking a mandatory requirement under section s.38 of the Evidence Act. This is a part of the legislation the Speaker really needs to look at as Mr. Stewart is, from what I understand, following the law. He has turned those documents over to the office of the AG from what I understand, and notice has been filed in the federal court. This is my understanding. The rule of law limits Parliament. Its powers are not completely unfettered. They are fettered by its own laws. The law is, and I really want to emphasize this, clear in section s.38 of the Evidence Act. That is the first point.
    The second point, and I think I can speak on behalf of a number of my colleagues, is that having Mr. Stewart at the bar was very difficult for many of us to witness. The amount of time he stayed at the bar was deeply offensive to many members.
    Can the Speaker provide, in his ruling, why it was necessary to keep this outstanding civil servant, who has done such a wonderful job during this pandemic, at the bar in such a fashion? It seemed to be somewhat, in my opinion, shameful, so I ask the Speaker to also take that into consideration when he provides the ruling.

  (1625)  

    Mr. Speaker, I wish to respond to the comments from the member for Calgary Nose Hill regarding Mr. Stewart's appearance at the health committee on Friday.
    From my recollection, Mr. Stewart did not, in fact, indicate that he would not bring forward the documents, although he did decline to say one way or the other. However, he did, most emphatically, express serious concerns that, as a public servant, he is bound to obey the laws passed by this Parliament.
    The fact that Mr. Stewart did not produce these documents at this time, I would say, does not indicate any willful disregard of this House, but rather a much higher regard for the will of Parliament as a whole, which has passed the laws that he is bound to obey.
    I want to point out that we have heard a lot, and we still have three more people getting up on this point of privilege. I want to make sure that anything that is being brought is new and concise rather than repeating what has already been said.
    The next person getting up is the member for Vancouver Kingsway.
    Mr. Speaker, I have heard a number of members speak to an issue that I think is very important for you in assessing this ruling, and that is what kind of fetters may or may not exist to the House's power to order documents. There was a suggestion made that government officials may validly refuse an order of production from the House if they believe that another law prevents them from doing that.
     I just want to bring to your attention, Mr. Speaker, a letter that was sent to the Standing Committee on Health, dated March 20, 2020, signed by Philippe Dufresne, the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel. In this letter, he said:
...we reminded the government officials that the House's and its committees' powers to order the production of records is absolute and unfettered as it constitutes a constitutional parliamentary privilege that supersedes statutory obligations.
    When some of my hon. colleagues say things like that the Evidence Act, which is another statute of this House, prevents Mr. Stewart or someone else from disclosing documents, or maybe it is the National Security Act or other considerations, those are all other statutes of the House that very clearly are superseded by Parliament's constitutional authority to order the production of documents.
    My final brief point is this. There seems to be a suggestion that national security would be compromised were the government to comply with your ruling, Mr. Speaker. If I am not mistaken, your ruling and the subject matter of the order do require the documents to be reviewed by the law clerk for national security reasons. The real issue here is who does that. It is the will of the House that it is the law clerk of the House of Commons who will be doing the redacting, whereas the government seems to be suggesting that it has the right to pre-redact. I think that is leading to confusion and misunderstanding among Canadians that these documents might somehow compromise national security were your ruling to be complied with, but that is not the case at all.

  (1630)  

    Mr. Speaker, there is a significant point of rebuttal to the comments that were made by various people with respect to the letter of the law and other laws that are passed by Parliament. My colleague for Vancouver Kingsway has referred to the letter from the law clerk.
    However, the complete rebuttal to the comments made with respect to that is actually found in the ruling of Speaker Milliken of April 27, 2010. It completely sets out the whole case, starting with what was suggested by the government House leader and then going on to explain that how it is done and the methods of doing it are to be determined by the House. All of those arguments were made before the Speaker back in 2010 and were rejected by the Speaker in making his ruling. I would suggest that this is the complete rebuttal to the comments that have been made to suggest that the order of the House, which you ruled to be in order, was in fact improper.
    Mr. Speaker, members of the government have been invoking this argument that the Public Health Agency is limited in the documents it can hand over, by law. We heard this argument the first time the president of the Public Health Agency appeared before a committee on March 22. He invoked the Privacy Act in his consistent refusal to answer questions or hand over information subsequently.
    I have a few points on this invocation of the Privacy Act.
    Number one, Mr. Speaker, you have already ruled on this question in your ruling on the initial question of privilege, so it seems that by invoking this, members are trying to undo a ruling that you have already made.
    Number two, members have rightly invoked the constitutional principle that the rights of this House are part of our constitutional law and they supersede statutes like the Privacy Act. A point that has not been made, however, and that was made by my colleague from Wellington—Halton Hills at the ethics committee on March 31, when the committee first adopted an order to send for these documents, was that the Privacy Act itself contains an exception, which clarifies, in this case, that the document should be handed over. My colleague, at the time, read paragraph 8(2)(c) of the Privacy Act, which says:
    (2) Subject to any other Act of Parliament, personal information under the control of a government institution may be disclosed...
(c) for the purpose of complying with a subpoena or warrant issued or order made by a court, person or body with jurisdiction to compel the production of information or for the purpose of complying with rules of court relating to the production of information;
    In other words, we do not have a conflict between the constitutional principle of the supremacy of Parliament and the Privacy Act, because the Privacy Act explicitly defers to the authority of courts, of Parliament and of other bodies that have the right to send for these documents.
    These arguments were made at the time, and in fact these arguments were persuasive to Liberal members of the committee. At the time, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs said:
    I think the section that [the member for Wellington—Halton Hills] cited is actually more appropriate. I hope that legal counsel to the Public Health Agency of Canada will listen to [the member] on that, and investigate further the right and the responsibility of a parliamentary committee, following under the rules of the House and the purpose of the House to oversee government and its agencies. I'm not going to be arguing with [the member] on that point, as well.
    Very clearly, members of the government who claim that there is some legal obligation on the part of the Public Health Agency of Canada to not hand over these documents simply are not aware of the relevant law in this case. Mr. Speaker, you have ruled, the Constitution is clear and the Privacy Act is clear that these documents should be handed over. Members of the government have consistently agreed with that view of the law at the Canada–China committee. That is why they have voted in favour of motions to send for these documents.

  (1635)  

    I want to thank the hon. members for their interventions. This is an unprecedented situation and one that concerns the Chair.

[Translation]

    I will take the matter under advisement and get back to the House with a ruling.

[English]

Message from the Senate

[Translation]

     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, Natural Resources; the hon. member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, National Defence; the hon. member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith, Indigenous Affairs.

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Government Orders]

[English]

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1

     The House resumed 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.
    It being 4:35 p.m., pursuant to order made Monday, January 25, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at report stage of Bill C-30.
    Call in the members.

  (1705)  

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

(Division No. 159)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 155


NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Alleslev
Allison
Angus
Arnold
Ashton
Bachrach
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Benzen
Bergen
Bergeron
Berthold
Bérubé
Bezan
Blaikie
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Blaney (North Island—Powell River)
Blaney (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis)
Block
Boudrias
Boulerice
Bragdon
Brassard
Brunelle-Duceppe
Calkins
Cannings
Carrie
Chabot
Champoux
Charbonneau
Chiu
Chong
Cooper
Cumming
Dalton
Dancho