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43rd PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 123

CONTENTS

Tuesday, June 22, 2021




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 150
No. 123
2nd SESSION
43rd PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer



Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1005)  

[English]

Public Health Agency of Canada

    I wish to lay upon the table a letter received earlier today from the president of the Public Health Agency of Canada in relation to the order made Thursday, June 17, 2021.

Government Response to Petitions

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

Canada Disability Benefit Act

Interparliamentary Delegations

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the report of the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group concerning its participation at the Canadian American Border Trade Alliance Spring Virtual Conference by video conference on May 3 and May 4, 2021.

Committees of the House

International Trade 

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 10th report of the Standing Committee on International Trade on Bill C-216, an act to amend the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act (supply management).

Environment and Sustainable Development  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the eighth report of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development on Bill C-230, an act respecting the development of a national strategy to redress environmental racism.
    The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House with amendments.

Citizenship and Immigration  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the eighth report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration entitled, “Immigration Programs to Meet Labour Market Needs”.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to the eighth report.

Public Safety and National Security  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, two reports of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. The seventh report is entitled “Concurrence in the Findings and Recommendations of the Final Report on the Implementation of the Merlo Davidson Settlement Agreement by the Hon. Michel Bastarache”.
    In my many years in Parliament, I have seldom been more disturbed by the testimony of a witness. Justice Bastarache came before the committee with his report and laid out the cold, hard facts of the Merlo Davidson settlement, which had over 3,000 claims, of which 2,300 were paid out, for a total of $125 million. All members of the committee were very disturbed by the report.
    We have not asked the government for a response, but we did receive a response late yesterday from the commissioner of the RCMP, which we have included on the committee website and hyperlinked to within this report.
    I also have the honour to table the eighth report of the committee entitled, “Parole Board of Canada and the Circumstances that Led to a Young Woman's Death”. Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to the eighth report.
    Mr. Speaker, in January 2020, Marylène Levesque was killed by a convicted murderer who had killed his wife in 2004 and was out on day parole. Ms. Levesque was failed by the system. She was failed by Correctional Services. She was failed by the Parole Board, and she was failed by the government.
    The threat to Canadians by dangerous and repeat offenders on parole or after release is experienced by far too many innocent Canadians. The committee's report outlines these failings, but does not go far enough. For that reason, Conservatives are tabling a dissenting report that outlines the severity of the systemic gaps that made the victim vulnerable and allowed the convicted murderer to kill again.
    Conservatives are presenting multiple recommendations for action in order to do justice for the victim, prevent other tragic crimes like it and protect the safety of all Canadians.

  (1010)  

    Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to speak to the Levesque report in the House. We tabled a supplementary report.
    All those opposed to the hon. parliamentary secretary moving the motion will please say nay. It is agreed.
    The House has heard the terms of the motion, all those opposed to the motion will please say nay.
    Agreed and carried.

    (Motion agreed to)

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to the supplemental report tabled by the Liberal Party today as part of the eighth report from the standing committee on the tragic death of Marylène Levesque. I will begin by expressing our condolences to the family and friends of Marylène Levesque.
    Immediately after this tragic event, a board of investigation was called and led by two co-chairs independent of the Parole Board of Canada and Correctional Services Canada. The board of investigation made five recommendations to Correctional Services Canada, which were accepted, and no recommendations for the Parole Board of Canada. We support implementing all recommendations.
    We were disappointed that some of the witness testimony was partisan in nature and unfortunately, the Conservative recommendations reflect that. I was particularly upset when the member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles declared that our government's merit-based appointment process to the Parole Board of Canada was part of “ideology that wants to make changes in the name of diversity, by including indigenous women, for example”.
    As retired director general of corrections and criminal justice at Public Safety Canada, Mary Campbell, said, “In terms of what would address, or what would have changed what happened here, there is one person to blame here, and that is Mr. Gallese.... As I said, if you can show me in the Parole Board decisions where an error was made, I'd love to have that discussion.
    In response to the board of investigation report, Correctional Services Canada has testified that it will move to a single community supervision model for federal offenders across the country and strengthen community supervision policies. It will be strengthening monitoring tools and practices to support effective information collection and sharing throughout the offender's sentence. CSC will be introducing new mandatory intimate partner violence training.
    In 2019-20, 99.9% of offenders on day parole completed their supervision period without committing a violent offence. That is just a fact. As David Henry, director general of L'Association des services de réhabilitation sociale du Québec—
    I am going to interrupt the hon. parliamentary secretary for a moment. We have a point of order from the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would like to clarify that the motion adopted to give the member special permission to present a supplementary report was to present the report, not to read the entirety of the report.
    I was getting there. I would like to remind the hon. parliamentary secretary to be as concise as possible. I will let her continue.
    Mr. Speaker, I am almost finished.
    Mr. Henry said, “parole is a key social rehabilitation measure. Giving someone parole, guidance and supervision in the community ensures the safety of our communities.... The statistics speak for themselves.”
    Committee members heard from the Union of Safety and Justice Employees, represented by David Neufeld, that major cuts under the previous—
    I have to interrupt again. I have another point of order.
    The hon. member for Banff—Airdrie.
    Mr. Speaker, I understand that you are attempting to give the member some latitude here, but this time is intended to present a dissenting report or supplemental report. There have been attacks on other parties, and there have been all kinds of commentary here. I really do think, Mr. Speaker, it might be time to consider that it has been enough.
    I understand the parliamentary secretary is wrapping up, so I will give her a bit more time and then we will go from there.
    Mr. Speaker, the Union of Safety and Justice Employees representative David Neufeld said in committee that major cuts under the previous Conservative government's deficit reduction action plan eliminated counselling for offenders in the community.
    While community resources have been increasing over the past four years, it is clear that more needs to be done. We recommend better supports for parole officers in the community and enhanced vocational programming for prisoners. We support enhanced training on domestic and intimate partner violence, and sex work and sexual assault, in consultation with sex workers, women and gender rights organizations.
     Last, the Harper changes to sex work legislation has put women in precarious and dangerous situations, which is why we feel that the government should examine sex work laws.

  (1015)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am rising on a point of order.
    I seek the unanimous consent of the House, in all fairness, for the member for Lakeland to be able to share a few more comments about the Conservative dissenting report. I am sure she also has more to say. I wonder if there is unanimous consent to do that.
    All those opposed to the hon. member's moving the motion will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.

Parliament of Canada Act

     He said: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to present a bill inspired by the work of retired procedural clerk, Thomas Hall, which was published in the Journal of Parliamentary and Political Law in July 2020, entitled “Taming the Power to Prorogue Parliament”.
    The bill goes hand in hand with my private member's motion, Motion No. 93, which seeks to establish some more explicit instructions on how the prime minister can judge whether he or she has the confidence of the House. However, this bill in particular would do three things that are meant to constrain the very broad power of prorogation the prime minister currently holds, without requiring a constitutional amendment.
    Those three things are to ensure that prorogations do not last more than 10 sitting days, according to the House of Commons calendar; Parliament cannot be prorogued more than once in any 12-month period following the opening of the first session of Parliament; and Parliament cannot be prorogued between the day any estimates are presented to the House and the final supply day in that supply period.

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

Textile Labelling Act

     He said: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to reintroduce this bill, an act to amend the Textile Labelling Act to allow for a practice that is not in Canada right now, which should be.
     As a consumer, an individual should be aware when they are purchasing dog or cat fur in clothes or children's toys. The United States and other countries have moved forward with similar legislation. This would bring us on par, at least, to having this awareness, as right now, over two million dogs and cats are slaughtered each year and used in products across Canada from various sources.
    This bill would bring us into compliance with the United States and other countries and, more important, would allow consumers the right to choose. If they are going to have dog or cat fur in their or their children's coats or in toys for their children, they should at least have that knowledge.

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

Income Tax Act

     He said: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to reintroduce this bill. It is not often that the National Post actually endorses an NDP idea and bill. This bill would allow tax credits on donations to charities, similar to donations to political parties. This way, there actually would be more giving, and there would also be more tax revenue that would go back to the individual. Charities and not-for-profits have had difficulties and challenges with regard to donations. This bill would at least provide some revenue stream for them to help.
    I will just say that this is very important, because right now we know, with COVID-19, those organizations have been really challenged. This would allow our donations to charities to replicate those to political parties. They would be capped, so there would not be an endless stream of money that we can get back, allowing for fairness for all Canadians.

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

  (1020)  

Department of Public Works and Government Services Act

    He said: Mr. Speaker, this will complete the trifecta, and this is important. As Bill C-227, it was previously in Parliament, and it was designed to provide community benefits for infrastructure projects.
    Community benefits go to helping employment, offsetting environmental degradation, and so forth, on projects that are put through by public works, for example, the Gordie Howe Bridge, which I have been fighting for. My first public meeting on that was in 1998. We finally got some community benefits to help Sandwich Town, but unfortunately it is not in legislation. As I mentioned, Bill C-227 was passed in the chamber but was held up in the Senate. I would suggest this is a good opportunity to restore that work and provide community benefits for infrastructure projects, so that we can actually help.
    Often, there is money that goes toward employment for youth, for issues related to the environment and also specific regional things.

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

    Before going on to the next one, I just want to comment on the hon. member for Windsor West. I think all members should look to him and see how it is to be concise and precise, to just put the salient facts forward and to not take up a lot of time. I want to thank the hon. member.

[Translation]

Petitions

Indigenous Affairs  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask for unanimous consent to present a petition signed by over 800 people regarding indigenous rights in northern Ontario. The petition could not be certified because of a formatting issue.
    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.
    The hon. member for Nickel Belt.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I have a petition to the Minister of Indigenous Services.
    Citizens of the Mattawa/North Bay Algonquin first nations community call upon the hon. minister to take action on the unfairness and discriminatory selection for membership by the Algonquin nation, its consultant, Joan Holmes and Associates Inc. and its solicitor, Mr. Potts. They ask for a review of all memberships revoked based on the April 2020 proposed beneficiary criteria for contradicting interpretation of the consultant office and the Mattawa/North Bay community office. There was no input from the members, as required under section 10(2). Memberships were revoked under the proposed beneficiary criteria. They seek for all chiefs to comply with the same criteria as the members, including proof of documentation on their Algonquin ancestry to be verified by an independent genealogist.
    The petitioners ask for their appeals to be heard prior to the next election, in order to allow successful appeals for an individual's right to vote to not be suppressed.

Animal Welfare  

    Mr. Speaker, I have four petitions to present this morning.
    The first, petition e-3187, is signed by almost 78,000 Canadians who are calling attention to the inherent cruelty in the live shipment of horses for slaughter. It is an inhumane practice, as large draft horses are air-shipped in over 10-hour flights in crates smaller than a single horse stall without food or water, causing injury and death. The petitioners note that the science is clear: Horses suffer physically and psychologically during long-distance transport, and our animal protection laws are not fit for purpose.
    The petition highlights a 2019 Nanos poll in which 69% of respondents are opposed to the slaughter of horses for human consumption. Public awareness about this issue is increasing, thanks to the efforts of the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition, music icon Jann Arden and many other horse advocates.
    The petitioners call for an end to the air shipment of horses exported for human consumption, due to ongoing animal welfare concerns inherent in this practice.

  (1025)  

Human Rights  

    Mr. Speaker, second is petition e-3114.
    Atheists are persecuted in several countries by government and the public. Some countries, including Saudi Arabia, label all atheists as terrorists. The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled several times that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the right to freedom from religion as much as the right to freedom of religion, yet atheists are denied access to the less complex claims policy of Canada because they are excluded from the list of those who qualify, all of whom are members of a religion.
    As over 2,000 Canadians note, this is an urgent matter, because the lives of several atheists are currently in danger while awaiting their refugee hearings, which would be avoided if atheists were included in the less complex claims process.
    The petitioners call upon the Minister of Immigration to change the policy regarding less complex claims to include atheists in the list of people eligible for the status, so that they will be treated equally.

Forest Industry  

    Mr. Speaker, the last two petitions, 11279761 and 11278785, note that indigenous peoples have rights and title to their traditional territories and have been stewards of these lands. As well, the climate crisis requires action, and old-growth forests provide immeasurable benefits.
    Old-growth ecosystems in B.C. are endangered, yet logging still continues. Of the remaining almost 3% of the original high-productivity, old-growth forests in B.C., 75% are still slated to be logged.
    The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to, among other things, work with provinces and first nations to immediately halt logging of endangered, old-growth ecosystems and to fund the long-term protection of old-growth ecosystems as a priority.
    I just want to remind hon. members that we do have quite a list to present petitions, and I would ask that they be as concise as possible.
    The hon. member for Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies.

Military Service Medal  

    Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present today.
    The petition calls upon the Government of Canada to recognize the service by Canadians in the regular forces, reserve military forces and others who have taken an oath and sworn to defend our nation and who have completed 547 days or 18 months of uninterrupted honourable duty in their service to Canada from September 2, 1945 to the present day, and in perpetuity, by means of creating and issuing a Canadian military service medal to be designated the “Canadian military service medal”.

The Environment  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition is from over 55,000 individuals. Community leaders throughout Northeast B.C. have expressed grave concern over the lack of consultation with regard to the proposed caribou recovery plans.
    The petitioners call upon the provincial government to further consult users, stakeholders, businesses and local government, immediately begin economic and socio-economic impact studies on the Northeast Region, and provide baseline data on populations and relevant science-based studies to support closure and recovery plans. Therefore, they call upon the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to work with the province of British Columbia to ensure that the local voices are being considered, including consulting further with community leadership and caribou experts on the ground.

Black Canadian Heritage  

    Mr. Speaker, it is with immense pride that I table a petition calling for the Black Culture Centre for Nova Scotia, the first and largest museum dedicated to Black history and African Nova Scotian legacy in Canada, to be designated as Canada's “National Black Cultural Centre and Museum”.
    As the birthplace of Black culture in Canada, Nova Scotia is home to the oldest and largest multi-generational, indigenous, Black community and has over 52 historic Black communities, many of which can trace their origins to the 17th century.
    Over 1,200 Canadians have signed this petition to support this designation, which would create a national Black cultural centre for Canada and provide Canadians an exceptional way to learn more about the diverse culture and history of African Nova Scotians and Black Canadians.

  (1030)  

Chemical Ban  

    Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions here today.
    In the first petition, the citizens of my riding are calling on the government to reverse course on their ban on strychnine, which is used to control Richardson's ground squirrels populations as Richardson's ground squirrels can pose a serious threat to the health and well-being of our livestock population and also to our food security.

Natural Resources  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition is calling on the Government of Canada to defend the energy sector at any opportunity as presented to them both nationally and internationally to make sure that they are prioritizing the natural resource sector here in Canada.

Human Rights  

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today to present two petitions from concerned Canadians.
     The first petition is e-3424, with more than 1,000 signatures. This petition concerns the recent military action in Armenia and Azerbaijan, and the conduct of forces during and after the conflict. It also includes details about the holding of Armenian prisoners of war, and calls for condemnation of Azerbaijan due to its illegal holding of these POWs.

Racism  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition, petition e-3185, has more than 2,000 signatures. This petition was started because of issues about a street named “Swastika Trail” which has caused frustration and concern for some residents. These petitioners are calling for the end of using the word ”swastika” as a name, sign or symbol in Canada where it will lead to hatred or harm, and ask that in those instances the name be changed.

Indigenous Affairs  

    Madam Speaker, it is an honour to table e-petition 3174 today.
     The petitioners cite that Health Canada has an open file to license a medical marijuana facility at 7827 Beaver Creek Road, in Port Alberni, British Columbia. They cite that the Walmart-sized cannabis facility would be located directly across the street from Kackaamin, a first nations family trauma and addictions healing centre that provides treatment to adults, while housing the entire family. Kackaamin is doing the work of healing from their shared history of colonialism and residential schools. They were never consulted in the initial planning of the facility and have requested that the facility be located elsewhere.
     The petitioners are calling on the government to acknowledge the implicit racism in the policy choices of Health Canada's cannabis licensing process and handling of this file. They are calling on the government to expedite review of this file and cancel all cannabis licenses at 7821 Beaver Creek Road. They ask the government also to apologize to Kackaamin and reaffirm its commitment to UNDRIP and the TRC’s calls to action.

Freedom of Conscience  

    Madam Speaker, I have several petitions to present today.
    The first petition was originally brought forward by the late MP Mark Warawa, who was very passionate about protecting the conscience rights of health care professionals. This petition is from Canadians across the country wanting protections for doctors and medical professionals. They are calling on the House of Commons to adopt conscience rights legislation for physicians and health care institutions. They recognize that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.

  (1035)  

Firearms  

    Madam Speaker, the second petition I am presenting today is from Canadians across the country who are calling on the House of Commons to support the health and safety of Canadian firearms owners. The petitioners recognize the importance of owning firearms, and are concerned about the impacts to hearing loss caused by the damaging noise levels of firearms and the need for noise reduction.
    The petitioners acknowledge that sound moderators are the only universally recognized health and safety device that is criminally prohibited in Canada and that the majority of G7 countries have recognized the health and safety benefits of sound moderators, allowing them for hunting, sport shooting and noise reduction. The petitioners are calling on the Government of Canada to allow legal firearms owners the option to purchase and use sound moderators in all legal hunting and sport shooting activities.

Rights of the Unborn  

    Madam Speaker, the next petition I have to present is from Canadians across the country who are calling on the government to recognize and safeguard human life at all stages of human development. They are calling for the government to recognize human life from conception to natural death.

Pornography  

    Madam Speaker, the next petition I have to present is from Canadians across the country who are concerned about the impacts of violent and degrading sexually explicit material online and the impacts on public health, especially on the well-being of women and girls. They recognize that we cannot say we believe in preventing in sexual violence toward women while allowing pornography companies to freely expose children to violent, sexually explicit imagery every day. As such, they are calling on the Government of Canada to adopt meaningful age verification on all adult websites.

Indigenous Affairs  

    Madam Speaker, the next petition I have to present today is from Canadians across the country who are concerned about the equal application of the law. The petitioners are indigenous members in my riding and are concerned that the First Nations Financial Transparency Act, which is supposed to enhance financial accountability and transparency, is not being enforced.
    The petitioners also point out that the federal government recognizes band membership when allocating funds, yet often off-reserve band members face alienation and are limited in receiving funds and services from their respective bands. They are calling on the Government of Canada to enforce the First Nations Financial Transparency Act to ensure that off-reserve band members are provided levels of funding that are equal to those received by on-reserve band members.

The Environment  

    Madam Speaker, the last petition I am presenting today is from Canadians across the country who are concerned about the increases to the carbon tax. They are supportive of Bill C-206, which will be voted on soon. The petitioners note that there is no carbon tax increase in the Liberals' election platform, and that increasing the carbon tax severely impacts and penalizes those living in rural and farming communities. They are concerned about the increasing costs of heating and groceries, along with how the government is trying to bring about a one-size-fits-all approach instead of co-operating with the provinces.
    The petitioners are asking the Liberals to respect their electoral promise and not increase the carbon tax, which disproportionately affects rural and western Canadians. They want co-operation with the provinces and ask for the speedy passage of Bill C-206 so there are exemptions from the carbon tax for certain farm fuels.

Human Rights  

    Madam Speaker, I have two petitions to table today.
    The first petition is from my constituent, Brookes Bayfield. She notes that the UN Special Rapporteur and Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities have recently expressed concerns that the Canadian government continues to hold reservations on article 12, which ensures that persons with disabilities have the right to refuse treatment, to not be deemed incapable and to not be subject to substitute decision-making.
    As such, the petitioners are calling on the government to rescind all reservations to article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and repeal laws that authorize substitute decision-making related to treatment for psychological and other disabilities, as well as laws that violate the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by continuing to authorize detention, restraint, isolation, community treatment orders, drugging, electroshock, sterilization and other similar impositions.
    Madam Speaker, the second petition I have to table—
    Unfortunately, we are out of time. There are still a lot of MPs who wish to present petitions.
    I see the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan is rising on a point of order.
    Madam Speaker, I wonder if there would be unanimous consent to allow members to finish tabling petitions this morning.
    All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): There is no unanimous consent. All other petitions can be tabled on a different day.
    I want to remind members that as we near the end of this session a lot of members wish to table petitions. I remind members to be more brief when they table their petitions in order to allow everyone to table their petitions.

Questions on the Order Paper


Government Orders

[Government Orders]

  (1040)  

[English]

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1

Hon. Carla Qualtrough (for the Minister of Finance)  
     moved that Bill C-30, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures, be read the third time and passed.
    Madam Speaker, what a pleasure it is to address the House on such an important piece of legislation. To be very clear, in budget 2021 the government has outlined a plan to allow us to finish the fight against COVID-19, heal the wounds left by the COVID-19 recession as much as we can, and ultimately create more jobs and prosperity for Canadians in the days and decades to come.
    This is critically important legislation, and we would encourage all members of all political stripes to support it. Within it is a continuation of the government's focus on the pandemic. In the last federal election, Canadians wanted Parliament to work well together. They wanted us to come together to do the things that were necessary to facilitate a more positive environment for all Canadians, and being thrown into a pandemic made the priority fighting COVID-19: the coronavirus.
    From the very beginning, our Prime Minister and this government have made it very clear that fighting the pandemic was our number one priority. We put into place a team Canada approach and brought together all kinds of stakeholders including different levels of government, indigenous leaders, individuals, non-profit organizations and private companies. We brought them all in to hopefully minimize the negative impact of the coronavirus.
     It is because of those consultations and working with Canadians that Canada is in an excellent position today to maximize a recovery. The statistics will clearly demonstrate that. We have a government that has worked day in and day out, seven days a week, and is led by a Prime Minister who is truly committed to making Canada a better community.
    I have, over the last number of months, witnessed a great deal of frustration from the opposition, in particular the Conservative opposition. The Conservatives continuously attempt to frustrate the process on the floor of the House of Commons. There was a time when all parties inside the chamber worked together to pass necessary legislation, and worked together to come up with ideas and ways to modify things so we could better support individuals and businesses in Canada. However, that time has long passed. The degree to which we see political partisanship on the floor of the House of Commons today is really quite sad.
    Yesterday was embarrassing. I know many, if not all, of my colleagues found it embarrassing and humiliating to see one of Canada's most noble civil servants at the bar on the floor of the House of Commons. The New Democrats and the Bloc joined with the Conservatives to humiliate a civil servant who should be applauded for his efforts over the last 12 months. He was publicly humiliated by being addressed in the manner he was, on the floor of the House of Commons, and it was distasteful. I say shame to the NDP, the Bloc and the Conservatives.

  (1045)  

    There were alternatives. If they did not want to take shots at the civil service, they could have dealt with it in other ways. For example, the Minister of Health provided the unredacted information to the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, which was made up of parliamentarians from all political parties. Instead of passing the motion they did, they could have passed a motion for that committee to table the documents they wanted from the civil service. After all, the civil service provided the unredacted copies to that committee, not to mention that documents that had been redacted for national interest and security reasons were sent to another standing committee.
    The political partisanship we are seeing today is making the chamber, for all intents and purposes, dysfunctional. We have seen the official opposition, less than a week ago, come to the floor of the House of Commons and within an hour of debate attempt to shut down Parliament for the day. It actually moved a motion to adjourn the House. The opposition is oozing with hypocrisy. On the one hand, it criticizes the government for not allowing enough time for debate, and on the other hand it tries to shut down the chamber in order to prevent debate.
    If we were to look up the definitions of the words “hypocrisy” and “irony” in Webster's, which I have not, I wonder if they would describe what we are seeing from the opposition party, which moves concurrence debate, not once or twice but on many occasions, so that the government is not able to move forward on legislation, including Bill C-30, which we are debating today. That legislation is there to support Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Members of the Liberal caucus have fought day in and day out to ensure those voices are heard, brought to Ottawa and ultimately formulating policy that will take Canada to the next level. However, we have an official opposition that I would suggest has gone too far with respect to its resistance and destructive force on the floor of the House of Commons.
    I have stated before that I have been a parliamentarian for approximately 30 years, the vast majority of which were in opposition. I am very much aware of how important it is that we protect the interests of opposition members and their rights. I am very much aware of the tactics opposition parties will use, but at a time when Canadians need us to work together, we have an official opposition that is acting as an obstructive force. When we talk about how Bill C-30 will be there to support small businesses and put money in the pockets of Canadians so they have the disposable income necessary to pay the bills that are absolutely essential, the Conservative Party continues to play that destructive role. It continues to focus on character assassination and on ways to make something out of something that is often not real. The Conservatives are more concerned about political partisanship than getting down to work, which was clearly demonstrated last Thursday. They are more concerned about character assassination, as we saw the official opposition, with the unholy opposition alliance, take personal shots at a national hero, someone we all know as the Minister of National Defence. This is unacceptable behaviour we are witnessing.

  (1050)  

    We have critically important legislation before the House. We can think about the types of things Bill C-30 would do for Canadians. If we want to prevent bankruptcies from taking place, we need to support this legislation, as it supports small businesses through the extension of the wage subsidy program, a program that has helped millions of Canadians, supporting tens of thousands of businesses from coast to coast to coast.
    This is the type of legislation that we are actually debating today. It is not the only progressive, good, solid legislation that we have brought forward. Yesterday, through a closure motion, we were able to push through Bill C-10. We can imagine that legislation not being updated for 30 years. It is a major overhaul. We can think about what the Internet looked like 30 years ago, compared to today.
    The Liberal government understands, especially during this pandemic, and we see it in the budget, the importance of our arts community, whether it was with Bill C-10 yesterday, where the government had to push hard to get it through, or the budget implementation bill today, where we are again having to use time allocation. It is not because we want to, but because we have to.
     If we do not take measures of this nature, the legislation would not pass. The opposition parties, combined, often demonstrate that if the government is not prepared to take the actions it is taking, we would not get legislation through this House. The opposition parties want to focus on electioneering. We have been very clear, as the Prime Minister has stated, that our priority is the pandemic and taking the actions necessary in order to serve Canadians on the issue. It is the opposition parties that continuously talk about elections.
    In my many years as a parliamentarian, in the month of June we have often seen legislation passing. It happens. It is a part of governance. One would expect to see a higher sense of co-operation from opposition parties, in particular from the official opposition party, not the obstruction that members have witnessed, not the humiliation that we have seen on the floor of the House of Commons at times.
    Liberal members of the House are prepared to continue to work toward serving Canadians by passing the legislation that is necessary before the summer break. We still have time to address other pieces of legislation. Minutes prior to going into this debate, I was on a conference call in regard to Bill C-19. Again, it is an important piece of legislation. I challenge my colleagues on the opposition benches to come forward and say that we should get that legislation passed so that it could go to the Senate.
    I mentioned important progressive pieces of legislation, and the one that comes to my mind, first and foremost, is this legislation, Bill C-30. Next to that, we talk a lot about Bill C-6, on conversion therapy. We talk a lot about Bill C-10, dealing with the modernization of broadcasting and the Internet, and going after some of these large Internet companies.

  (1055)  

    We talk about Bill C-12 and net zero, about our environment. We can check with Canadians and see what they have to say about our environment and look at the actions taken by opposition parties in preventing the types of progressive legislation we are attempting to move forward with.
    We understand that not all legislation is going to be passed. We are not saying the opposition has to pass everything. We realize that in a normal situation not all government legislation is going to pass in the time frame we have set forth, given the very nature of the pandemic, but it is not unrealistic for any government, minority or majority, to anticipate that there would be a higher sense of co-operation in dealing with the passing of specific pieces of legislation. Bill C-30 is definitely one of those pieces of legislation.
    Unfortunately, some opposition members will have the tenacity to say they are being limited and are unable to speak to and address this particular important piece of legislation. Chances are we are going to hear them say that. To those members, I would suggest they look at the behaviour of the Conservative official opposition and remind them of the Conservative opposition's attempts to delay, whether it is through adjourning debates, calling for votes on those kinds of proceedings, concurrence motions or using questions of privilege and points of order as a way to filibuster, which all happen to be during government business.
    Bill C-3 was a bill that initially came forward a number of years ago from Rona Ambrose, the then leader of the Conservative Party, about judges. We can look at the amount of debate that occurred on that piece of legislation. It is legislation that could have and should have passed the House with minimal debate. It was hours and hours, days, of debate. Even though the Conservatives supported the legislation, even back then they did not want to have the government passing legislation.
    Their purpose is to frustrate the government, prevent the government from being able to pass legislation, and then criticize us for not being able to pass legislation. What hypocrisy this is. Sadly, over the last week or so, we have seen the other opposition parties buy into what the Conservative opposition is doing, which has made it even more difficult.
    As much as the unholy alliance of opposition parties continues to do these things and frustrate the floor of the House, I can assure Canadians that, whether it is this Prime Minister or my fellow members of Parliament within the caucus, we will continue day in, day out to focus our attention on the pandemic and minimizing its negative impacts.
    We are seeing results. Over 32 million vaccine doses have been administered to Canadians. We are number one in first doses in the world. We have close to 35 million doses already in Canada, and we will have 50 million before the end of the month. Canada is positioning itself well, even with the frustration coming from opposition parties. We will continue to remain focused on serving Canadians, and Bill C-30 is an excellent example of the way in which we are going to ensure that Canadians get out of this in a better position. We are building back better for all Canadians.

  (1100)  

    Madam Speaker, the hon. member spoke at length about dysfunctionality and how the opposition parties were creating dysfunction. I wonder if he considers it dysfunctional when Parliament is not debating bills every day, or when there are no opposition day motions, or when there are no emergency debates, or when there are no tabling of reports from committees, or when there are no private members' bills, or when there are no adjournment debates. That is how his government governed for a big part of 2020.
    Could the member comment on that?
    Madam Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth. In the last eight months, we had more emergency debates than I have seen in the previous six or seven years. We have had just as many private members' hours. We have had opposition days, all be it, some of those opposition days were very offensive.
     It was an opposition day that led to what we saw yesterday, the humiliation of a public civil servant, someone who we should be thanking. The combined unholy alliance of opposition parties wanted to make a public statement by humiliating a public civil servant at the bar on the floor of the House of Commons. Shame on the members of the opposition. That collective group should hang its head in shame.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, the speech we heard was rather predictable. In fact, when the parliamentary secretary rises, we know almost exactly what he is going to say for the next 20 minutes.
    We also heard him laying a lot of blame and expressing a lot of criticism toward the opposition, particularly for making the president of the Public Health Agency of Canada appear before the House and for stalling bills and keeping them from being passed on time.
    However, is the parliamentary secretary able to identify his own government's shortcomings? If he did some soul-searching, perhaps the parliamentary secretary would realize that some of the problems with the way his own government is managing things are what led us to these conclusions and outcomes.
    I would ask the secretary this: Could he show a little humility and identify one of his government's shortcomings during this parliamentary session? It is actually very simple.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, at the beginning of the pandemic, we brought in a suite of different programs to support Canadians and businesses. The programs were not perfect, and we continued to look at ways we could improve those programs. We have never said that everything is perfect. We continue to try hard to ensure that we maximize these benefits for all Canadians. We all have something to learn from it.
    Yesterday, the members of the Bloc had a choice. They could have mandated the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, for example, to table the unredacted documents, and they chose not to that. Instead, they chose to humiliate a public servant, unjustifiably.
    Madam Speaker, the government moved immediately, within four days of the pandemic hitting, to provide an unprecedented $750 billion in liquidity supports for Canada's big banks, and, of course, we have seen record profits of $60 billion so far during the pandemic.
    However, at the same time, with Bill C-30, we are seeing significant cuts in the CRB, ultimately from the $500 a week the NDP fought for down to $300 a week, below the poverty line for all those Canadians who still need the CRB over the coming months to put food on the table and keep a roof over their head.
    I would like the parliamentary secretary to simply explain why the government is slashing benefits on which Canadians so urgently rely.

  (1105)  

    Madam Speaker, Canadians can see through the NDP's continuously scripted lines. At the end of the day, the Government of Canada, with the help of many, came up with a program, which Canadians know as CERB, to support putting disposable income in the pockets of Canadians. It was a hugely successful program, a program that came from nothing, with excellent civil servants making it happen. Over nine million Canadians directly benefited by that program. Yes, it cost billions of dollars, but it was money well spent to support Canadians.
    This government has had its eyes on supporting Canadians from day one, and we will continue to provide the necessary supports to ensure we can get out of this pandemic as best as we can.
    Madam Speaker, minority Parliaments are not easy. I spent six years in two minority parliaments in Nova Scotia. We had to actually work with the opposition to ensure we could get the things we needed for our constituents. We went out of our way to ensure that opposition MPs, or MLAs at the time, got what they needed to help their constituents.
    What I hear from the member is bellyaching about the opposition members and what they do not want to do. The management comes from the Liberal side. The management comes from the House leader and the management team. How much has that member reached out? How much have those ministers reached out to us? I have been waiting for weeks for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to reach, and that has not happened.
    Has there been some introspective that maybe some of these things the member bellyaches about are because of the Liberals mismanagement of many of these files?
    Madam Speaker, I use yesterday as an example. Yesterday, we had a civil servant come to the bar, which is the first time in 100 years, to be publicly humiliated. I felt ashamed. I thought it was disgusting. That would not have happened if it were not for the NDP, Bloc and Conservatives forcing that civil servant to stand before the House to be admonished. I thought it was distasteful.
    A minority government means exactly what we saw yesterday, that the combined opposition have the majority. Anytime they want to humiliate someone, they can easily do it. They know that and they do not have any reservation in doing it even if it is somewhat historical in its very nature. That is not the only example, unfortunately.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, anyone could have seen that speech coming from miles away.
    For weeks now, the parliamentary secretary has been calling Parliament dysfunctional and accusing opposition parties of picking fights. What he is doing is setting the stage for what he really wants: a snap election.
    I will pick up where my colleague from Drummond left off. Here is my question for the parliamentary secretary. Would the parliamentary secretary humbly state—and humbly here means “not proud; having a low estimate of one's own importance”—that last August's prorogation of the House constituted an obstruction to our parliamentary work?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the prorogation that took place last summer was easily justified in regard to the previous throne speech and the necessity to introduce a new throne speech, which was done on September 23. All one needs to do is just read the document to get a better appreciation as to why prorogation was important, keeping in mind that even through the prorogation, we might have lost maybe two days of debate at best.

  (1110)  

    Madam Speaker, in my earlier remarks about the budget, I noted that with this budget, the Prime Minister had squandered a historic opportunity to reposition our economy for long-term success. I did, however, acknowledge that the budget contained a number of temporary measures that were critical to sustaining Canadians as we struggled to get past the pandemic. I commended the government for extending the wage and rent subsidy programs and a number of other measures that would continue to support struggling Canadians.
    That is what a responsible opposition does. We offer helpful suggestions where possible and we call out failure when it happens. Therefore, I wish I could say that we Conservatives will support this budget, because we should not let the perfect become the enemy of the good. However, the reality is that this budget completely fails to deliver the growth budget that the finance minister had promised. Instead, it represents, as former deputy finance minister Kevin Lynch recently noted, the largest “transfer of debt and risk” that our country has ever seen. The finance minister failed to recognize the enormity of that challenge and in so doing, failed to include in her budget the strong fiscal anchor and debt management plan for which her own mandate letter called.
    This budget would see our massive national debt swell to $1.4 trillion in the immediate term, with a hint from the government that it plans to borrow even more. The only anchor the minister could point to was a trajectory that would see Canada's debt-to-GDP ratio move slightly below 50%, far above what it was pre-pandemic, with endless debt and deficits for our children and grandchildren to repay.
    The minister has been asked many times if she ever expects the government to return to balance; in other words to live within its means. She has steadfastly refused to answer, clearly a signal that the answer is no. Is this the growth budget the Prime Minister promised? It is absolutely not. While it would dramatically grow deficits, debt and the size of government, there is little that would position our economy for long-term growth and prosperity.
    While other G7 countries have invested heavily in things like critical infrastructure, cut taxes, embarked on regulatory reform, harnessed the value of their innovators and reoriented trade away from hostile regimes like China, our Prime Minister has simply sprayed half a trillion dollars at targets intended to secure his re-election.
     There is no plan to reorient our industrial policy from a tangibles to an intangibles economy, and there is no plan to capture the value of Canadian education, research and development, and innovation to ensure our start-ups commercialize and create jobs in Canada. There is no plan to reverse the dramatic flight of foreign capital from our country and to get nation-building infrastructure built. We now have the dubious distinction of being known as the country where nothing ever gets built. The demise of northern gateway, Keystone XL and energy east, and the potential demise of Line 5 under the current Liberal government, are evidence of that. What is worse is that this budget throws our oil and gas sector under the bus by expressly excluding it from the CCUS tax credit.
    Again, is this a growth budget? It is not at all. In fact, even the Prime Minister's former policy adviser, Robert Asselin, recently confirmed this when he said that the budget doubles “down on programs that do not address our innovation shortcomings and have yielded few results to date.” He said, “it is hard to find a coherent growth plan.”
    The finance minister clearly has not been taking the advice of her own Liberal advisers. She has also failed to act on other pressing issues. Her budget fails to properly address the looming threat of inflation and with it, rising interest rates, which could have a profound impact on millions of Canadians with mortgages.

  (1115)  

    In fact, last week we learned from Stats Canada that the cost of living continues to rise and is the highest it has been in over 10 years, proving that the minister's trillion-dollar debt and endless deficits are actually making life much more expensive for Canadians. One of the reasons for this is that the minister injected massive stimulus into our economy when economists were warning that she risked stoking the fires of inflation, and here we are. Even the Parliamentary Budget Officer commented that the Liberal government may have miscalibrated the necessity to spend on stimulus.
    I will not sugar-coat this. The threat that massive borrowing and spending will lead to runaway inflation is real. I know the government does not want to hear that and is hanging on to the belief that inflationary pressures will be transitory. It says there is nothing to see and do not worry and tells us to be happy. However, Germany's Deutsche Bank is not buying it. It recently warned of a ticking inflation time bomb, a warning our minister refuses to heed.
    For example, why is the Liberal government spending hundreds of millions of our tax dollars on the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank? It is a bank that makes no investments in Canada and instead supports China's efforts to assert its power and influence across Asia. In fact, why is this government collaborating with the communist regime in China on anything while that regime commits genocide against its own Uighur Muslim population, lays waste to democracy in Hong Kong, engages in harvesting organs from persecuted minorities like the Falun Gong and betrays Canada in the CanSino vaccine debacle? Why are the Liberals partnering with China when the Prime Minister cannot even explain why two Chinese scientists were escorted from a high-security virology lab in Winnipeg and fired? Why is Canadian money being invested in a bank controlled by China's communist regime when our two Michaels continue to languish in Chinese prisons? The minister has refused to answer these questions, as more and more taxpayer money is wasted on the Prime Minister's efforts to appease China.
    This budget also failed to deliver a clear plan to safely reopen our common border with our largest trading partner, the U.S. Some two billion dollars' worth of trade crosses our border every single day, yet the budget scarcely mentions border security and trade facilitation, and makes no mention of whether discussions with the Biden administration are under way to safely reopen our border.
    We are going to judge the government's budget not on the quantity but on the quality of its spending. Based on that standard, much of this budget remains unsalvageable. We Conservatives are now in a better position to judge the merits of this budget and to determine what it might mean for Canadians in the short, medium and long term. As I said, in the short term there are a number of measures that we can support that will help Canadians through this economic and health crisis, but in the medium and especially the long term, there is very little to get excited about. It is just endless debts and deficits with not even a pretense of the Liberal government ever wanting to return to balance.
    As a responsible official opposition, we have no choice but to reject the government's attempt to spend the cupboards bare in order to position the Liberals for re-election, leaving future generations of Canadians to pick up the tab. There is one thing Canadians can be absolutely sure of. A Conservative government will implement a true Canada recovery plan that secures our future by getting Canadians back to work, by helping small businesses recover, by restoring Canada's reputation and competitive advantage and by prudently managing the massive financial burden that the government has left us. The Conservatives have done it before and we will do it again.
    Madam Speaker, the member started off by acknowledging the important programs that have supported Canadian businesses and workers over the last year with money that we had to spend as a country to keep our economy going. However, I hear the Conservatives constantly asking how we are going to pay for it.
     The NDP says it should be the super wealthy who pay for it, the billionaires who made over $70 billion during the pandemic. We put forward an idea for a 1% wealth tax on Canadians with assets over $20 million. Canadians really like this idea. In fact, 80% of Canadians like the idea, two-thirds of whom are Conservative.
    I am wondering what the member has to say. Why does his party not support this? It seems like the most logical idea regarding who should pay for this is the people who can afford to.

  (1120)  

    Madam Speaker, it seems that every time that NDP members get up in the House, their only solution to the fiscal challenges and the financial challenges facing Canadians is to increase taxes on this and that.
    I want to point the member to the fact that the NDP, the Bloc and our Conservatives are working together at the finance committee to find out how the Canadian government can better collect taxes that are owed. We know there is a tremendous amount of tax evasion taking place and an aggressive avoidance of taxes within Canada. Some of the biggest companies and the richest Canadians are finding loopholes for, and other ways around, paying taxes that they should be paying in Canada.
    I am hopeful that as we continue to study this challenge, with all of this tax revenue falling through the cracks because the federal government cannot properly collect the tax that is owing, we will deliver some of the additional revenues required to bring our country back on track and will find a way to balance the budget, something the Liberal government has refused to tell us it is going to do. Sadly, the government has repeatedly refused to answer when it will return to a balanced budget or if it will ever return—
    We have to allow for other questions.
    The hon. member for Kingston and the Islands.
    Madam Speaker, given the answer the member gave to the last question about tax avoidance, loopholes and the various mechanisms that people are using to avoid paying taxes, I am reminded of discussions I have heard, in private settings and publicly, about looking at the tax code in its entirety, rather than looking at individual sections of it.
    There have been calls to look at the whole tax code and basically start from the scratch. Does the member agree with the position that this is a good way to proceed when trying to address some of these problems?
    Madam Speaker, the short answer is yes. In fact, if the member looks at the pre-budget consultation report that the finance committee came up with, he will see that the dissenting report from the Conservatives contains the recommendation that the government finally engage in comprehensive tax reform. It should find a way to simplify our tax system to make it fairer, making sure that everybody pays their fair share, and should simplify it so that it is easier to collect taxes and it is easier for Canadians to fill out their tax forms every year
    Madam Speaker, the Conservatives continue to bring up China and the Liberal Party. I would like to remind the member that it was the Harper Conservative government that signed an agreement with Communist China, the 2012 Canada-China FIPA, which gave Chinese state-owned corporations a great deal of power over our democratic authority. It was Rob Nicholson, the defence minister at the time, who signed an agreement with the Chinese for military co-operation in 2013.
    I would like to step back into taxes. We know that trickle-down economics has not worked. Cutting taxes for the ultrawealthy has meant that they have lined their pockets, and the burden of taxation has gone to the working class and the middle class. That is not working. It is not good for our economy and it is not good for working people. I agree with the member for Kingston and the Islands that we need serious tax reform and need to make sure that the wealthy pay their fair share.
    Would the member not agree that the burden falls too much on working people in the middle class?

  (1125)  

    Madam Speaker, the member knows that I just responded to the question. I am in favour of comprehensive tax reform to bring our tax system back to fairness and balance to make sure those who should be paying taxes are paying taxes.
    With respect to the FIPA, I would say the member obviously has not read it. I have, and it does not in any way create additional market access. This agreement is called a post-establishment investment protection treaty. In other words, it only protects investments once they have been made in Canada. The decision the federal government makes is whether it is going to allow a foreign investment to be made in Canada if it is above a certain threshold value.
    The suggestion that somehow this agreement opens up the market for Chinese investment is patently false. In fact, this agreement protects Canadian investors when they make investments in China and are then discriminated against by Chinese governments. This—
    I have to allow for another question.
    The hon. member for Langley—Aldergrove.
    Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Abbotsford for his comments on this year's budget. He mentioned that inflationary pressures are already embedded in the economy. We know that the best way to tackle inflation is to grow the economy to make sure that it is producing all the goods and services that people need.
    Does the member have comments about what this budget does to grow the economy?
    Madam Speaker, inflation does represent a significant threat to our economy and to Canadians right across the country because as inflation grows, interest rates typically follow. That is something every family who has a large mortgage needs to be concerned about.
    My colleague is also right in that the best way to address a recessionary economy, a large budgetary deficit and a massive, growing debt is to grow the economy. What we can do is cut spending, which I do not believe any of the parties in the House of Commons are talking about; increase taxes on Canadians, which is what the NDP, the Bloc and the Liberals always propose; or grow the economy, thereby finding a way to manage the debt and start to return to balanced budgets, at least in the long term.
    Given the massive debt we have now incurred, growing the economy is the best way forward. One thing the Conservatives will not do is increase taxes on Canadians at such a difficult time.
    Madam Speaker, I know the member for Abbotsford has constituents who rely on the CRB. Particularly in the tourism industry and a number of other industries, people will rely on it to put food on their tables over the course of the summer.
    I would like the member to comment on the government's slashing of the CRB from $500 a week to $300 a week, which is below poverty levels. Does he feel it is in the best interests of his constituents to see the marked slashing of those benefits at such a critical time?
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate the member's work at the finance committee. I think we work together quite well on that committee.
    We have repeatedly said that Canadians need to be financially supported by government until such time as all of us have made it through the pandemic. We are not advocating for slashing and burning. We are advocating that once Canadians make it through to the end of the pandemic, they are weaned off of these supports. We do not believe in slashing and burning these programs, because they are absolutely critical for sustaining Canadians through this very difficult time.

  (1130)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, before I start my speech, I seek unanimous consent to split my time with the hon. member for Shefford.
    Does the hon. member for Berthier—Maskinongé have the unanimous consent of the House?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Madam Speaker, I thank all my colleagues for giving me their consent; it was very nice of them.
    This morning, it seems to me that I will be repeating things we have been saying for a while now. Evidently, it takes a lot of repetition for the message to sink in.
    I will start by talking about health transfers.
    Of course, it is important to pass Bill C-30 swiftly, that is to say, before the session ends, because, among other things, the support measures need to be extended. We all agree on that point. However, there are significant flaws.
    The main idea in my speech is that the federal government wants to hold all the power and be omnipotent. It wants to exert its dominance over the other levels of government and over Canadians. The health care transfers are a darned good example.
    Why is the current government, the Prime Minister, refusing to give 28 billion dollars annually to the provinces and Quebec, who are all asking for the same thing? If it did so, after three to five years the health care problems in the provinces, territories and Quebec would mostly be resolved, which would allow us to better manage the health system. As a result, the provinces, territories and Quebec would no longer need to ask the federal government to kindly come to the rescue by giving them a few billion dollars.
    Politically speaking, it is much better and more relevant and advantageous to hold a big press conference, with a big smile and a sunny disposition, and look like the great saviour. We are offered only a billion dollars, and told to come back on our knees and beg for more again next year, because Ottawa wants to hold on to that power. The unreasonable spending power is the evil side of the Canadian federation, and so is the unreasonable sharing of taxation powers: 50% of Quebeckers' tax dollars go to Ottawa, but Ottawa does not take on 50% of the responsibilities. That is the problem.
    That is one of the themes I wanted to address in my speech, but I will now move on to something else.
    Old age security comes to mind. Why are the Liberals increasing old age security? They probably want to hold on to that as a nice election promise. Government members are always waiting for the next election campaign. FADOQ members and seniors' groups are paying attention to the government's promises. The benevolent government tells them not to worry and promises to take care of seniors if it is re-elected. What a crock.
    The government has an opportunity to do this now. All the opposition parties are on board. We were calling for this before the pandemic began, not now because of the pandemic. Things were not going great before the pandemic, and the situation is much worse now.
    Every day, or nearly every day, people tell me that they received an adjustment of $1.59. It is a slap in the face. People ask me what we are doing and whether we are still delivering the message. That is why, with every darned speech I make on the budget, I bring these things up. I do this work for my constituents.
    I do not want to blame anyone, but I would like to offer members of the House some food for thought. Sometimes I get the impression that members may have forgotten the initial commitment we make. I invite each and every one of us to remember our first election campaign, even though some members have been here for 25 or 30 years. That is a nod to Mr. Plamondon, who has never forgotten why he is here. There are others who have been here for a long time. Let us not forget—

  (1135)  

    Order. I would remind the member that he is not to name members of the House and he must always address his speech to the Chair.
    The hon. member for Berthier—Maskinongé.
     Madam Speaker, it is because this man's name is etched on my heart. The name of his riding is Bécancour—Nicolet—Saurel.
    I was saying that members need to remind themselves of their commitment. I invite them to think of the people who call their riding office to tell them how they are struggling to put food on the table. I have been helping some of those people this year.
    Let us remember the older people who supported the Quiet Revolution in Quebec and the establishment of the society we live in today, which has allowed us to thrive because it is so generous and prosperous. I would not be here today if not for the Quiet Revolution. I am a son of the proletariat, of the working class. If these people had not created the good public education system that we have in Quebec, I would not be here. Could we remember that from time to time?
    I will talk about the renewal of an agriculture-related measure because, as members know, I cannot make a speech without talking about agriculture. Another good example of the arm's length relationship that the federal government wishes to maintain was the extension of the tax deferral on patronage dividends of agricultural co-operatives for another five years. This measure has been in place for more than 10 years, actually 15 years. It works well, but, every time it is about to expire, the sector panics. They have to ramp up their lobbying system and contact all of us. All elected members of the House with farmers in their riding have been contacted this past year because of concerns about the lack of an official commitment to renew this measure.
    People in the agricultural sector are happy the measure has been renewed for five years, of course. They would not say they are unhappy, but it is not exactly what they wanted. They wanted the measure to be permanent.
    Why would the government make a measure permanent and make people's lives easier when it can score political points and come off looking so good and generous by making a wonderful announcement every three or four years about renewing the measure?
    Make that measure permanent and move on to other things. Elected representatives should be working to improve people's lives and their constituents' lives for the long term, regardless of their political interests. We have all noticed the announcements happening all over the place, little mini-announcements about $25 million for this or $100 million for that. That is fine, and I am not saying I do not want those announcements, but let us do some really structural, long-term things for our people.
    Take, for example, the emergency processing fund, which was implemented during the pandemic. I forwarded some cases to the minister's office but nothing came of it. These cases involved people who had started modernizing their regional processing plants—plants we so desperately need—in good faith, but ended up being told that the program had run out of money. They were told that it was unfortunate, but that they would have to try again another time. When the government is feeling generous and people have begged enough, it will see whether it can inject another $1 million or $10 million. When I raise the issue, they tell me that $10 million more were invested, but that is not enough. Sure, $10 million is great, but what businesses need is effective, long-term assistance.
    My time is running out and I would be remiss if I did not bring up the point I raised the other day about support for temporary foreign workers. As of June 16, the $1,500 amount has been reduced to $750, even though bringing in temporary foreign workers is no less expensive than it was before. Quarantines are still mandatory and necessary. The farmers who are bringing in foreign workers right now are just as important as those who brought in foreign workers two months ago. Why are businesses being treated differently and unfairly? It still costs money.
    In my last speech, I cited a letter from the agricultural community addressed directly to the government and the minister asking them not to cut this money. What is more, these people lost a tremendous amount of money in the Switch Health mess. Not only should these amounts not be reduced, but more money needs to be given to these people to compensate for the problems they encountered with Switch Health.

  (1140)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I am curious. From the member's tone, body language and speech, he seemed to be pouring it on pretty thick on the government for all of its failures and its wrongness in its approach, yet the member and his party are supporting it. I would ask him to reconcile the two.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, we can certainly reconcile the two. I thank my colleague, who I dare not name, for his good question.
    Sometimes what the opposition parties and often the government seem to fail to grasp is that we are a party of propositions. There are two ways to be the opposition in life. We can stand up and say that the government is rotten or we can stand up and say that it did not get it quite right and here is what we propose. We have been doing that consistently since October 2019 and we will continue to do that. The member's impression may come from the fact that we collaborate, we make improvements and we vote in favour of the budget because it is important to extend certain measures, but that does not mean that it is perfect, which is why we criticize it at the same time. We are doing our job as parliamentarians.
    Madam Speaker, when I hear my colleague from Berthier—Maskinongé discuss topics that affect so many colleagues in the House, particularly on the issue of agriculture and the urgent need to treat our farmers and dairy producers with the respect they deserve, I must admit that I am surprised not to see more of a reaction to his speeches.
    As he just said, dairy farmers in Quebec and farmers in general face a huge number of challenges, and they need to feel that the government and their MPs are behind them.
    I would like to ask my colleague whether he feels that this work is going well on the ground, in the various ridings, based on the relationships and discussions he has with the community.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my esteemed colleague from Drummond for his question.
    My answer will be mixed. There have indeed been actions taken to support farmers, but often they are inadequate one-offs, involving meagre amounts that, I just said earlier, are used to make “mini-announcements” rather than bring in anything permanent.
    There are requests, and I will give three examples. If the House feels strongly about the question asked by my colleague from Drummond and wants to do something for the farming community, Bill C‑216 protects supply management once and for all. All parties voted overwhelmingly in favour of this bill, which was referred to committee and must now come back to the House. I wish it had come back before we leave.
    Bill C‑208 is currently before the Senate. I find it very fishy that it is taking so long. I hope the Senate passes it before Parliament rises.
    There are several measures like that.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague a question about cuts to the emergency benefit.
    So far, people who are out of a job and need an emergency benefit to put food on the table and keep a roof over their head have been getting $500 per week. Now the government is about to cut that back to $300 per week, which is below the poverty line.
    How have my colleague's constituents reacted to this massive cut to the emergency benefit?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his excellent question.
    It is all in how these things are handled. The important thing is making sure support measures incentivize people to work. We have hammered that point home constantly over the past year. Let us help people. Rather than reducing benefit amounts, let us create an incentive for people to get jobs. At the same time, it makes sense to start reducing the amounts to get people back to work. This is about balance.
    Unfortunately, I would need much more time than I have to answer the question properly.

  (1145)  

    Madam Speaker, my esteemed colleague and seatmate, the member for Berthier—Maskinongé, is a tough act to follow. Since he was a teacher, he knows that repetition is the key to success, and that is what we need to do. My husband, who works in advertising, would say the same thing, so that is what I am going to do today.
    It is with excitement for the end of the year that I rise today to speak to Bill C-30 at report stage. Many of my colleagues and I have said it before, so the House already knows that the Bloc Québécois will vote in favour of this bill to implement certain measures in the 2021 budget.
    However, as the Bloc Québécois critic for seniors, I want to remind the House that we first voted against budget 2021 because the federal government was not responding to our two main requests, which remain essential.
    Before the House adjourns for what might be an indeterminate period of time, I want to reiterate those requests. First, the Government of Quebec and the Canadian provinces are formally requesting adequate, recurrent health funding. Second, seniors are calling for an increase in old age security for those aged 65 and up, a request brought forward by the Bloc Québécois.
    The government continues to ignore Quebec's request. I know because I recently met with many elected members and employees at the National Assembly of Quebec, who speak to me about this regularly. This is a unanimous request from the provinces, Quebec, the National Assembly, and even the House of Commons, which adopted a Bloc Québécois motion last December that called on the government to significantly and sustainably increase Canada health transfers.
    The government refuses to increase the current level of health transfers from 22% to 35%. Instead, Bill C‑30 offers only a one-time increase in health transfers, as announced last March. At the time, I showed that the amounts were clearly insufficient.
    In this speech, which will quite probably be my last before the summer break, I will address our key requests for health and for seniors, as well as our requests for businesses and business owners. I will finish with a few wishes for the future of this Parliament.
    The Bloc Québécois has made sensible choices in the best interest of Quebeckers. The deficit announced in budget 2021 is lower than expected: $354 billion instead of $382 billion. The difference happens to be $28 billion, the exact amount that Quebec and the provinces are asking for. With the government clearly gearing up for a massive spending spree, by refusing to increase transfers, Ottawa is making a political choice, not a budgetary choice, to the detriment of everyone's health.
    The saddest part, however, is that Bill C‑30 is strictly an election budget. It merely repeats the Liberals' 2019 campaign promise to seniors to increase old age security, but only for those aged 75 and over and by only $766 per year, or $63.80 per month. This increase, which will not take effect until 2022, is not enough for seniors or for the Bloc Québécois. More importantly, it leaves those aged 65 to 74 out in the cold, which is practically half of the current beneficiaries of old age security. Let us also not forget the one-time $500 payment to made in August 2021, also only to those 75 and older.
    That is why I continue to keep talking about our support for seniors. The Bloc Québécois will continue to demand a substantial increase, namely $110 more a month, for all seniors aged 65 and over. We do not accept the Liberals' argument that financial insecurity begins at age 75 and that younger seniors can just go to work.
    For that reason, I am currently sponsoring petition e-3421, which was put online by Samuel Lévesque on behalf of his grandparents. Several seniors' groups have also sent letters in support of this request that comes from the entire House, except the Liberals, who continue to be isolated.
    Ottawa is not doing as we asked and is creating two classes of seniors. Seniors' groups and seniors want to know why only seniors 75 and older are getting this increase and why it only starts in 2022. There are testimonials posted on FADOQ's web site showing that the lives of seniors 65 to 74 can also be difficult, and that they have needs that cannot wait until they turn 75.
    For the Liberals, vulnerable people 65 and over do not deserve their attention. For the Liberals, insecurity only begins at 75. Naturally, we are not against the idea of a good number of seniors, about 50%, receiving the help they need, which is what Bill C‑30 would do.
    In terms of the economy, I am elated to know that Bill C‑30 has finally rejected the foundation for creating a pan-Canadian securities regulatory regime, which the Bloc Québécois and Quebeckers strongly opposed. I would like to congratulate my colleague from Joliette for this important win and his hard work on this file. Ottawa could not be allowed to centralize securities regulation in Toronto. This is a big win for Quebec.

  (1150)  

    The Quebec National Assembly adopted four unanimous motions calling on the federal government to abandon this idea. Seldom had we seen Quebec's business community come together as one to oppose a government initiative. A strong financial hub is vital to the functioning of our head offices and the preservation of our businesses.
    As we have seen with the pandemic, globalized supply chains are fragile and make us entirely dependent on other countries. We must develop our own chains and restore economic nationalism. Some measures in the budget are good, and we support them and support implementing them. For example, the budget will extend some essential, albeit imperfect, assistance programs, such as the wage subsidy and rent relief, until September 25, 2021. This is a positive because businesses, especially the ones back home that made good use of these programs, need some predictability in the programs they will have access to in the coming months. I should point out that this extension comes with a gradual decline in the amounts provided, which is a concern.
    The Bloc Québécois will ensure that our businesses have access to programs that meet their needs for as long as they need them, particularly in the sectors that will take more time to get back to normal, such as tourism and small- and large-scale live events. These sectors are very important to Shefford, which relies on Tourisme Montérégie and Tourism Eastern Townships, and, of course, on many cultural events, such as the Festival international de la chanson de Granby. I could go on.
    The bill also introduces some measures to combat tax evasion, but it does not go far enough. The government is presenting these measures as a massive campaign against corporate tax evasion, but in reality, these are just some highly specific, minor changes connected to ongoing litigation. The fight against tax havens will have to wait, even though it is a very important aspect of building tax fairness to enhance social justice.
    Another thing to highlight is the creation of a new hiring subsidy program for businesses that are reopening. It could be useful. Bill C-30 would create this new program to encourage businesses to rehire their staff. We know that the hiring subsidy will come into effect in November 2021. Businesses will then have the choice of applying for either the hiring subsidy or the existing wage subsidy, whichever works out better for them. These are measures that could be very useful.
    Since my time is running out, I will try to cover everything quickly. I have a wish list. I would have liked to see more investments in social and affordable housing in this budget. This problem continues to affect my riding in particular, especially the city of Granby, which is otherwise considered a great place to settle down. Businesses in my region are experiencing a labour shortage and need housing to attract workers with families so they can try to recruit them, but they have nowhere to house them.
    There are also some bills that will not receive royal assent. That really saddens me. I would have like to see the Émilie Sansfaçon bill passed to allow people who are suffering from a critical illness to have 50 weeks of leave instead of 15 weeks. It is a matter of recovering with dignity.
    I would have also liked to see the House pass my colleague from Manicouagan's Bill C-253 regarding pension protection and for it to receive royal assent. People who worked hard their whole lives have the right to enjoy the fruits of their labour. This bill would help them age with dignity.
    I would have liked a budget with more support for our farmers. That is so important in my riding, which is part of Quebec's pantry. I would have liked to see a greater willingness to help the next generation of farmers. I want to point out that, right now, farmers are suffering because of frost and a lack of precipitation. They need better risk management programs and more precise traceability programs. Farmers are also feeling the effects of climate change.
    I would have also liked to see tougher environmental measures for a greener recovery. For example, the government should invest just as much in forestry as it does in the oil industry. My Bloc Québécois colleagues and our political party established a comprehensive plan to focus more on renewable natural resources to get out of the crisis and to drive our regions' economies.
    In closing, I would like to add one last thing. It goes beyond the budget, but as the status of women critic, I cannot give my last speech before the summer break without mentioning the crises that have been affecting women in particular since I arrived in the House. We commemorated the 30th anniversary of the École Polytechnique attack, but the issue of better gun control has still not been resolved because too many people are not satisfied with Bill C‑22. Femicides are on the rise. There have been 13 just since the beginning of the year. Quebec is calling for transfers with no conditions and fewer delays to provide better funding for women's shelters. Quebec knows what to do. There are also the cases of assault in the Canadian Armed Forces. The Deschamps report needs to be implemented.
    In short, there is still a lot of work to be done. Let us reach out to one another and work together. The federal government's paternalism and interference needs to stop. We need to take action. There is still so much to be done.

  (1155)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the member mentioned that the Bloc would like $110, I believe, for every senior over 65, and there are about three million seniors who would benefit by the increase from the government for those 75 and over. I wonder if the member could provide a cost to that particular commitment. Is that a Bloc Québécois commitment?
    Also, it is encouraging to hear a Bloc member talk about the national housing strategy, for which we are literally spending billions of dollars. It is not too often that we get a member from the Bloc actually encouraging the federal government to have that footprint in housing, so I would like to compliment her on that. I think most Canadians see the value in having a national government, and as the government, we are providing historic amounts of money to invest in non-profit housing.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I will try to give a brief answer.
    If I understood correctly, my colleague had a two-part question.
    First, he talked about seniors aged 75 and older who will get something. However, there are just as many seniors who will get nothing, because they are under 75. This means the government is completely turning its back on 50% of seniors.
    Do my colleagues know how much this would cost? The Bloc Québécois has done the math, and it would cost $4 billion. That is roughly what it would cost to include people between the ages of 65 and 74. I cannot believe Ottawa cannot find $4 billion to help all seniors.
    In response to the other question from my colleague, I would say that this is clearly an area of jurisdiction that must be transferred to Quebec. I realize that agreements need to be signed when it comes to social housing.
    I recently spoke with quite a few elected representatives in Quebec, specifically on the issue of seniors. Some seniors want to remain in their homes, and they need safe and affordable housing. Quebec is asking for increased funding to deal with social housing so that seniors who want to stay in their homes longer do not have to spend all their money on rent.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Shefford for her speech.
    I want to tell her that I have the same concerns as she does about seniors aged 65 to 74. These seniors know that they too can count on the support and solidarity of the NDP. The NDP is standing up for them.
    Why does she think that the Liberal government wants to cut support for people who need it right now? She talked about the culture and tourism sectors in her riding, and I must admit that I share her concerns. The Canada recovery benefit is going to be cut. It will be reduced from $500 to $300 per week. That is a 40% cut. The Liberals offer no rational explanation as to why this has to happen now, in July, when the economic recovery is not fully under way yet.
    I would like to ask my colleague what she thinks about the Liberals cutting direct support to workers.
    Madam Speaker, the Bloc Québécois firmly believes that a number of measures will have to remain in place until certain sectors have fully recovered from the crisis. The culture and tourism sectors, for example, will suffer the effects of the crisis for longer.
    I invite my colleagues to think about what my colleague from Berthier—Maskinongé said; he said that we need to strike a balance. Many entrepreneurs and businesses in my region are aware that there was already a labour shortage before the crisis. Therefore, there needs to be a delicate balance to ensure that these measures make work more attractive. I realize that there is a balance to be struck. As long as we are still in this crisis, we will have to look at this. We have to help people in the sectors most affected, while allowing companies to have incentives for people to return to work.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my esteemed colleague for mentioning Samuel Lévesque, a young man from my riding, whose parents live in my colleague's riding, who is circulating a very important petition. This 20-year-old young man is fighting for his grandparents to help put more money in their pockets. I congratulate him.
    Does my colleague think the federal government's unreasonable spending power, which another colleague mentioned earlier, is a way of holding Quebeckers and Canadians hostage?

  (1200)  

    Madam Speaker, I think the government's spending power could be interpreted as “power to not spend”.
    Under the pretense of a crisis, the government does not want to reinvest in certain sectors, particularly health, insisting that it will see how things are after the crisis, that it will determine if, and how much, it can afford to invest. Is that spending power or “power to not spend”? One has to wonder.
    As I said at the end of my speech, the federal government must stop interfering in provincial jurisdictions. As for the much-touted national frameworks, the national framework for reproductive health, the national framework for women's health and the national framework for mental health, the federal government should give the money to Quebec. Quebec knows how to use that money.
    Madam Speaker, I am speaking from the traditional, unceded territory of the Qayqayt First Nation and of the Coast Salish peoples.

[English]

    I am rising today in the context of the final days of Parliament. This is perhaps the final speech that I will make in this Parliament. The Prime Minister has made no secret about his deep desire to go to elections as quickly as possible, and the rumours appear to show that by the end of the summer we will be in an election.
    In this pandemic Parliament over the last 15 months, it is important to review what the NDP has been able to achieve, where the government has clearly fallen short and where I believe Canadians' aspirations are in building back better after this pandemic.
    We pay tribute every day to our first responders, our front-line workers and our health care workers who have been so courageous and so determined during this pandemic. Whenever we speak of it, we also think of the over 26,000 Canadians who have died so far during the pandemic. We know that it is far from over. Although health care workers are working as hard as they possibly can, some of the variants are disturbing in their ability to break through and affect even people who have been fully vaccinated.
    We need to make sure that measures continue, because we need to make sure that people are protected and supported for whatever comes in the coming months. It is in that context that the NDP and the member for Burnaby South, our leader, have been so deeply disturbed by the government's plan to massively slash the emergency response benefit that Canadians depend on.
    Hundreds of thousands of Canadian families are fed through the emergency response benefit, yet in budget Bill C-30, the government slashes a benefit that was above the poverty line to one that goes dramatically below the poverty line. This is something that the Prime Minister wanted from the very beginning. We recall that 15 months ago, the Prime Minister was talking about $1,000 a month for an emergency response benefit. He talked about $1,000 a month for supports. It was clearly inadequate. That was why the member for Burnaby South and the NDP caucus pushed back to make sure that the benefit was adequate to put food on the table and keep roofs over their heads of most Canadians, raising it to $2,000 a month or $500 a week.
    We did not stop there, of course. We pushed so that benefits would be provided to students as well. Students were struggling to pay for their education and often struggling to find jobs. We pushed for those supports. We pushed for supports for seniors and people with disabilities. Regarding people with disabilities, I am profoundly disappointed that the government never chose to do the work to input every person with a disability to a database nationally. When they file their tax returns, they should be coded as people with disabilities. The government refused to do that, so the benefit to people with disabilities only went to about one-third of people with disabilities in this country, leaving most of them behind.
    We pushed as well to ensure that the wage subsidy was in place to maintain jobs. This is something that we saw in other countries, such as Denmark and France, always with clear protections so that the money was not misused for dividends or for executive bonuses. We pressed for that to happen in Canada with those same protections. We succeeded in getting the 75% wage subsidy. The government refused to put into place the measures to protect Canadians from abuse so, as we know, profitable corporations spent billions of dollars on dividends and big executive bonuses at the same time as they received the wage subsidy from the federal government.
    We pushed for a rent subsidy for small businesses as well. I know the member for Courtenay—Alberni, the member for Burnaby South and a number of other members of the NDP caucus pushed hard to make sure that those rent subsidies and supports were in place. The initial program was clearly inadequate. We kept pushing until we eventually got a rent subsidy that more Canadian businesses could use.

  (1205)  

    We are proud of that track record of making sure people were being taken care of, and this is part of our responsibility as parliamentarians. Some observers noted that NDP MPs are the worker bees of Parliament. We take that title proudly, because we believe in standing up and fighting for people.
    Where did the government go then by itself, once you put aside the NDP pressure and the fact the government often needed NDP support to ensure measures went through Parliament? We were able to leverage that to make sure programs benefited people, but there were a number of programs the government put forward with no help from the NDP, most notably the $750 billion in liquidity supports for Canada's big banks, which was an obscene and irresponsible package.
    The $750 billion was provided through a variety of federal institutions with absolutely no conditions whatsoever. There was no obligation to reduce interest rates to zero, as many credit unions did. I am a member of two credit unions: Vancouver City Savings and Community Savings in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Both of these dropped interest rates to zero at the height of the crisis.
    Many of the credit unions that are democratically run understood the importance of not profiting or profiteering from this pandemic, but the big banks did not. They received $750 billion in liquidity supports with no obligation to reduce interest rates to zero and no obligation to remove fees or service fees.
    We have seen unbelievable amounts of profiteering through this pandemic. Those massive public supports were used to create the space for $60 billion in pandemic profits. To ensure the profits were increased even more, the big banks increased service fees. Often when they deferred mortgages, they tacked on fees and penalties and increased interest. They acted in a deplorable way with free agency from the federal government, because the federal government refused to attach any conditions to the massive and unprecedented bailout package.
    We know from history that past federal governments acted differently. Past federal governments put in place strict laws against profiteering. They made sure there was a real drive to ensure the ultrarich paid their fair share of taxes. We got through the Second World War because we put in place an excess profits tax that ensured companies could not benefit from the misery of others. This led to unprecedented prosperity coming out of the Second World War.
    This is not the case with the current government. It is not the case with this Prime Minister. Instead of any measures at all against profiteering, it was encouraged, and we have seen Canada's billionaires increase their wealth by $80 billion so far during the pandemic. We have seen $60 billion in profits in the banking sector, largely fuelled by public monies, public supports and liquidity supports.
    We have also seen the government's steadfast refusal to put in place any of the measures other governments have used to rebalance the profiteering that has occurred during the pandemic. There is no wealth tax and no pandemic profits tax. When we look at the government's priorities when it acts on its own, with the NDP removed from the equation and all the measures we fought for during this pandemic, it is $750 billion in liquidity support for Canada's big banks with no conditions. It is no break at all from Canada's billionaires reaping unprecedented increases in wealth during this pandemic. It is no wealth tax, it is no pandemic profits tax and it is also a steadfast refusal to crack down on overseas tax havens.
    Let us add up where the government went on its own over the course of the last 15 months. There was $750 billion in liquidity supports for the banks and $25 billion that the Parliamentary Budget Officer tells us goes offshore every year to the overseas tax havens of wealthy Canadians and profitable corporations. There was $10 billion in a wealth tax that the government refused to put into place: That is $10 billion every year that could serve so many purposes and meet so many Canadians' needs.

  (1210)  

    However, the government steadfastly refuses to put in place that fiscal measure that so many other countries have put into place. It is a refusal to put in place a pandemic profits tax that would have raised nearly $10 billion over the course of the last 15 months.
    We are talking about a figure of close to $800 billion in various measures that the government rolled out, or refused to in any way curb, that could have been making a huge difference in meeting Canadians' needs. When Canadians ask, as they look forward to a time, hopefully soon, when we will be able to rebuild this country in a more equitable way that leaves nobody behind, we need to look at why the government steadfastly refuses to put these measures into place. It is not because there is not the fiscal capacity. We have surely seen that.
    I need only add the incredible amount of money the government has poured into the Trans Mountain pipeline: According to the PBO again, it is $12.5 billion so far and counting. It is an amount that keeps rising, with construction costs that are currently either committed to or will be committed to in the coming months. It cost $4.5 billion for the company itself, which was far more than the sticker price. Add those numbers up and we are close to $20 billion that the government is spending on a pipeline that even the International Energy Agency says is not in the public's interests or in the planet's interests. That is nearly $20 billion. We have to remember that the government and the Prime Minister came up with that money overnight, when the private sector pulled out of the project because it was not financially viable. Within 24 hours, the Prime Minister and the finance minister at the time announced that they would come up with the purchase price to buy the pipeline. Subsequently, they have been pumping money into this pipeline without any scant understanding of or precaution to the financial and the environmental implications.
    The government has proved that it can come up with big bucks when it wants to, but Canadians are left asking the following questions.
     Why can Canadians not have public universal pharmacare? The government turned down and voted out the NDP bill that would have established the Canada pharmacare act on the same conditions as the Canada Health Act. The Liberal members voted against that, yet we know that nearly 10 million Canadians have no access to their medication or struggle to pay for it. A couple of million Canadians, according to most estimates, are not able to pay for their medication. Hundreds die, according to the Canadian Nurses Association, because they do not have access to or cannot afford to pay for their medication. The Parliamentary Budget Officer tells us that Canada would save close to $5 billion by putting public universal pharmacare into place. Of course, the government has completely refused to implement its commitment from the 2019 election. The Liberals will make some other promise in the coming election that the Prime Minister wants to have.
     Why can we not have public universal pharmacare? The answer, of course, is that there is no reason why we cannot. It is cost effective. It makes a difference in people's lives. It adds to our quality of life, and it adds to our international competitiveness because it takes a lot of the burden of drug plans off of small companies. The reason we cannot have pharmacare is not financial: It is political. It is the Liberal government that steadfastly refuses to put it into place. The Liberals keep it as a carrot that they dangle to the electorate once every election or two. They have been doing that now for a quarter century, but refuse to put it into place.
    Why can we not have safe drinking water for all Canadian communities? The government members would say it is complicated and tough. It was not complicated and tough for the Trans Mountain bailout. It was not complicated or tough for the massive amounts of liquidity supports, unprecedented in Canadian history or any other country's history, that the government lauded on Canada's big banks to shore up their profits during the pandemic. It certainly has not been a question of finances, with $25 billion in tax dollars going offshore every year to overseas tax havens.

  (1215)  

    Therefore, the issue of why we cannot have safe drinking water I think is a very clear political question. There is no political will, as the member for Nunavut said so eloquently in her speech a few days ago.
    Let us look at why we do not have a right to housing in this country. We know we did after the Second World War. Because an excess profits tax had been put into place and we had very clear measures against profiteering, we were able to launch an unprecedented housing program of 300,000 public housing units across the country, homes like those right behind me where I am speaking to the House from. They were built across the country in a rapid fashion. In the space of three years, 300,000 units were built because we knew there were women and men in the service coming back from overseas and we needed to make sure that housing was available. Why do we not have a right to housing? Because the Liberals said no to that as well. However, the reality is we could very much meet the needs of Canadians with respect to affordable housing if the banks and billionaires were less of a priority and people were a greater priority for the current government.
    Let us look at access to post-secondary education. The amount the Canadian Federation of Students put out regarding free tuition for post-secondary education is a net amount of about $8 billion to the federal government every year. I pointed out that the pandemic profits tax is about that amount, yet the government refuses to implement it. Students are being forced to pay for their student loans at this time because the government refused to extend the moratorium on student loan payments during a pandemic. Once again, banks, billionaires and the ultrarich are a high priority for the government, but people not so much.
    Let us look at long-term care. The NDP put forward a motion in this Parliament, which the Liberals turned down, to take the profit and profiteering out of long-term care and put in place stable funding right across the country to ensure high standards in long-term care. We believe we need an expanded health care system that includes pharmacare and dental care. The motion to provide dental care for lower-income Canadians who do not have access to it was turned down by the Liberals just a few days ago. It would have ensured that long-term care would be governed by national standards and federal funding so that seniors in this country in long-term care homes are treated with the respect they deserve. The government again said it could not do that. Once again, the banks, billionaires and the ultrarich are a high priority, yet seniors, who have laboured all their lives for their country, provided support in their community and contributed so much are not a high priority for the government.
    Let us look at transportation. The bus sector across this country is so important for the safety and security of people moving from one region of the country to the other, yet we saw the bus and transportation services gutted, and the federal government is refusing to put in place the same kind of national network for buses that we have for trains. In a country as vast as Canada, with so many people who struggle to get from one region to the other for important things like medical appointments because they do not have access to a vehicle is something that should absolutely be brought to bear, yet the government refuses to look at the issue because banks, billionaires and the ultrarich are a high priority.
    Finally, let us look at clean energy. We know we need to transition to a clean energy economy. We have seen billions of dollars go to oil and gas CEOs, but the government is simply unprepared to make investments into clean energy. I contrast that vividly with the nearly $20 billion it is showering on the Trans Mountain pipeline, which is for a political cause rather than something that makes good sense from an economic or environmental point of view. It is willing to throw away billions of dollars in the wrong places, but we believe that money needs to be channelled through to Canadians to meet their needs. That is certainly what we will be speaking about right across the length and breadth of this land in this coming election.

  (1220)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have heard this NDP member refer to the NDP as the “worker bees” on a number of occasions. He is selling himself short, as worker bees are nothing more than mindless drones that fly around and contribute to the hive mind. The NDP actually offers quite a bit more than that in this House, and I would encourage him to consider a different term.
    To the member's discussion about fiscal capacity, he seems to suggest that just because we were able to take on this fiscal capacity during a pandemic, we should be able to do it at any time. That is simply untrue. The reason why Canada, a country like ours, can take on this fiscal capacity right now is because our allies, our partners that we interact with and that we trade with regularly throughout the world, are also taking on that capacity. We are going through this together, globally, with other nations. That is why we are able to take on this kind of fiscal burden at this particular time. It is because we are going through it with other like-minded nations.
    Mr. Speaker, the member has made our point for us, and that is that other countries have put in place wealth taxes because they see that massive gulf between the very wealthy in their countries and most of their population.
    That is why when we go to other social democratic countries, we see much stronger protections around health care and ensuring that there is a transition to clean energy economy. We see, in other countries, our international allies are far ahead of Canada in terms of making the investments that count, investments in health care, investments in education, ensuring as well that people have a right to housing, and that we transition to the clean energy economy.
    Canada could learn a lot from our international partners. My point is very valid, that the Liberal government is refusing the good examples that would make a difference in the quality of life for Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to applaud my fellow British Columbian for the work that he has done in terms of the all-party credit union caucus. He raised the profit-taking by certain companies, particularly the large banks. I would also point out that many small credit unions, unlike the big ones, like Vancity, already do so much. Valley First credit union in my area does Feed the Valley. Interior Savings Credit Union does bursaries for students.
    Rather than focusing on what we agree on, we are in elected office, so I am going to ask the member a question where we maybe part ways. I agree with the member that the Trans Mountain pipeline should not involve taxpayer funds. In fact, Conservatives believe that pipeline projects should go forward on the basis that they are safe and let the market work from that.
    NDP members in my riding of Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, support that, specifically in merit, because they believe in supporting jobs. What does the member have to say to his own party members in my section of the province?
    Mr. Speaker, the reality is I have not met a single NDP member who believes in spending $18 billion of public funds in the Trans Mountain project, that the Parliamentary Budget Officer has evaluated and has indicated is not a viable project given the context of today, given the report of the International Energy Agency.
    Pouring more billions of dollars into this pipeline that is not a viable project, according to the PBO, is money that would not create jobs. Ultimately, after Trans Mountain is completed, we know it would be 60 full-time jobs for the province of British Columbia. It is an unbelievable amount of money for 60 full-time jobs.
    For folks in—

  (1225)  

    We will go to other questions and comments.
    The hon. member for Berthier—Maskinongé.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for New Westminster—Burnaby for his speech. As with the previous speaker, we agree with the NDP on many things. Quite honestly, I have to tell my esteemed colleague that I am disappointed we have not been on the same page more often.
    I would like to talk about health transfers. In his speech, the member went to the trouble of pointing out that national standards are an essential part of the conversation about health transfers. I disagree. Is the member aware that there are provincial standards in Canada and Quebec and that a dire shortage of resources is to blame for the tragedy that struck those facilities?
    Can the member look his voters right in the eye and tell them that Canada is so great and is going to give them money but that there will be strings attached because the government is going to tell them what to do with the money even though the people on the front lines are the ones who know what to do?
    Mr. Speaker, nobody has pushed for health transfers more than the NDP. We opposed the Harper government's cuts, and we oppose the fact that the current government is refusing to dole out enough cash to maintain the health system. That is very clear.
    We want the government to give Quebec and the provinces more resources to improve everyone's health and create a better health system. The pandemic affected seniors' health services in British Columbia, but it had an impact elsewhere too. We saw what things were like in Quebec's long-term care facilities. The government has to provide adequate funding to ensure a better quality of life for seniors across Canada.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. friend for the great work he does.
    Day in and day out, all I hear from the Liberals' side is that they are supporting Canadians, that they have Canadians' backs and that everything is a high priority, but what we do not see in Bill C-30 is the supports for people with disabilities, except for a three-year study on who has to live on $1,200 a month. That is inadequate. Then, we find out the Liberals want to extend the CERB with Bill C-30, but they did not tell us the story. They want to give us the rates that people with disabilities are living on and to reduce it to that low below poverty. Then, we have the great work they do in supporting seniors, but they only want to support half the seniors.
    Does my friend believe this is the way we are supporting Canadians and having their backs, or does he feel it is very shameful, what the government would implement?
    Mr. Speaker, the member for Hamilton Mountain is a real fighter for his constituents and for people right across the country, like workers and seniors. I really want to thank him for his service to Hamilton and to the entire country.
    He is right. The Liberal speech is nothing, until we look at where the money goes. When we look at where the money goes, it goes to banks and billionaires. There is $750 billion in liquidity supports. Without batting an eye, they did not announce it publicly, they just doled it out. Billionaires are up $80 billion in increased wealth through this pandemic, and the government steadfastly refuses to use any of the tools that other countries have put into place. There are enough vacuous, vapid Liberal speeches. We follow the money and we see where the priorities are, and the priorities of the current Liberal government are banks, billionaires and the ultrarich, and that comes to a real detriment of people.
    Mr. Speaker, the member talks about banks. One of the things I think about, and this comes from the parliamentary library, is who owns the banks. It is the Public Sector Pension Investment Board, the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan, the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and the Ontario Pension Board. That is for the RBC. Then for BMO, there is the Health Care of [Technical difficulty—Editor] Plan trust fund, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, the Public Sector Pension Investment Board and the Ontario Pension Board. Then for TD, there is the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan.
    Would the member not recognize, be honest with Canadians and say who actually owns the banks?

  (1230)  

    Mr. Speaker, will the member actually recognize that it is obscene to provide $750 billion of liquidity supports to Canada's big banks, with absolutely no conditions, to allow them to increase service charges, to impose penalties and fees and to do all the damage they have done over the course of this past year by refusing to provide supports to so many small businesses and people who are actually relying on the banks to provide some support during this pandemic? The Liberals do all that, and then say they are going to cut CRB by $200 a week and they are going to cut other supports Canadians rely on.
    Will the member acknowledge that is inappropriate, given how much the Liberals have given to the banks and billionaires and how they are cutting back on the needs of people?
    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Essex.
    Before I get started on the budget, this may be the last time I get to appear in front of you, Mr. Speaker, given that there seems to be a lot of chatter about an election. I want to take this time to thank you for your service to your country and say what a pleasure it has been to be able to serve with you. I wish you the very best in everything that you do into the future.
    I am standing here again on a budget bill. Although much of this budget was important because it helped families and businesses ensure that they had some kind of income so they could manage through this crisis, it is also important that we talk about how it will potentially burden the future of many families and younger people as we have amassed this enormous debt.
    This February, I was appointed as the shadow minister for COVID-19 economic recovery. It has been an incredible honour to serve in this role, because it has given me the opportunity to go across the country virtually and look at the economic impacts COVID has had on every sector, every region and every demographic of the country.
    A strong economic recovery should be inclusive to all demographics, sectors and regions, ensuring that all persons and all areas of the country thrive and that we have specific objectives with measurable strategies for every sector to ensure that nobody gets left behind. It is impossible to implement a cookie-cutter plan, which is pretty much what I see in the Liberal budget. We will not get a full recovery unless we look at every economic sector to make sure it is successful.
    The budget outlined how the federal Liberals proposed to rebuild the Canadian economy in a way that will bring Canadians along. This is another example of a lot of talk without a clear, precise, strategic and thoughtful action by the government.
    If the government was actually interested in bringing all Canadians along, it would have laid out outcomes for job creation, growth and prosperity in this country's agricultural sector, maybe the energy sector, the forestry sector and the natural resources sector, just to name a few. There are millions of Canadians who work in these sectors. It is time that the government at least got honest about what it is trying to accomplish. Quite frankly, it seems like we are stuck in this never-ending cycle of spending more to achieve less. It is all talk and no action.
    I hearken back to when I first had the opportunity to get involved as a contributor to the economy. I was able to buy into a business when I was 21 years old. I look back at those times and how I looked at the world as my oyster, that I would be able to do something, build something, grow something. Sadly, I do not hear that from youth anymore. I do not see that in this budget, which does not necessarily set people up for success.
    A bunch of stats have come out of this budget, like the largest debt and deficit we have seen in the history of our country, and yet very little to show for it. We are certainly not moving forward. In fact, I often think we are moving backwards. It is important that we look at a few stats. Canada fell out of the top 10 ranking of the most competitive economies. We have fallen near the bottom of our peer group on innovation, ranking 17th, as stated by the World Intellectual Property Organization.
    Canada ranks 11th among G7 countries, among 29 industrial countries, with a debt-to-GDP ratio of 33%, and Canada fell to 25th out of 29 countries. In other words, Canada has the fifth-highest level of total indebtedness. No other country experienced such a pronounced decline in its debt ranking. The debt-to-GDP ratio will rise from 31% last year to 56% this year. The Bank of Canada projects business investments to grow at 0.8% over the next two years, failing to recover to 2019 levels until 2023.
    Consumption and government spending will represent about 80% of economic growth over the next two years, while investment and exports will be next to zero. An important industry like mineral fuels accounted for 22% of our country's exports, the number one exported product, which is something we should not forget about. We still have the third-largest proven oil reserves in the world and are the third-largest exporter of oil.

  (1235)  

    Just as the government continued to do since 2015, it has ignored the Canadian natural resource industry. There is virtually no mention of the energy sector, which is Canada's number one export. By ignoring the strength of Canada's resource, forestry and agriculture sectors, among others, the government has failed to recognize the impact these sectors would have on our battered economy. The world wants and needs more of our natural resources, so we should be thinking about expanding our market share, not hastening its decline. At the very least, we should be trying to develop policies that make sure we have an active role in these sectors.
    There is an entire chapter in the budget dedicated to environmental initiatives aimed at net-zero emissions by 2050, which includes $18 billion in spending, but with dubious assumptions about the impact on economic growth. Rather than supporting a proven catalyst for economic growth like the natural resource sector to accelerate Canadians' recovery and get Canadians back to work, the Prime Minister has decided to continue the abandonment of this industry and hedge our future on uncertain technologies.
    Conservatives are not opposed to developing and enhancing Canada's environmental-oriented sector. In fact I, along with the Conservative Party, highly encourage Canadian market participants in this sector to continue to grow and create more jobs and revenue while making sufficient contributions to the nation's ecological sustainability. I am proud of our industry. Our industry has been doing fantastic work and is a leader in the world. We should be proud of that and stand up for it. As we continue to combat this pandemic and the economic damage it would cause, we must unleash and utilize the capabilities of all profitable revenue streams. That includes green technologies and natural resources.
    There are some vague references in the budget to growing green jobs and retraining the workforce for new jobs. It is very vague. Where and in which sectors are these jobs going to be created, and by when? Words are great, but actions speak louder. In the province I come from, people want to know, if they will be trained into a green job, where that job will be, what kind of income they will get and how they are going to be able to support their families in that new role. We have heard lots about retraining for these jobs that do not exist yet, but the need for tradespeople only happens if something is approved and built in this country.
    What is it going to take? If the economy is going to grow, it has to be private sector-driven. The high cost of doing business in Canada, the red tape and the over-regulation make it almost impossible for small business owners. That has to change. There has been a real and visible impact on Canada's capacity to attract foreign investment. We need to be able to tell people they are welcome in this country and their investments are welcome. The perceived risk around investing in Canada's energy sector has to change.
    What does the future look like? What is the trajectory? What does the country look like? We see inflation now. The target was 2% and it is running at about 3.6%. It is very concerning for people who are trying to live on a budget. My biggest fear for the country is that this budget will continue to invest massive sums of money into under-tested, under-productive schemes that fit the government's political agenda. The title is “A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth and Resilience”, but the federal government's budget contains very few details on specifics and a lack of measurables, and it really does not say how it is going to execute on this plan.
    I am concerned this budget is far from resilient and far from sustainable. If it were resilience that the government was after, it would be asking itself how this federal spending is going to position the country for post-pandemic success. We need to ensure that any spending helps with productivity in this country and ensures we have long-term sustainability. The well-being of our people and our economy cannot afford to be stuck in this never-ending cycle of the government's scheme of throwing money into the wind and hoping something sticks.
    The most important focus for our country right now needs to be investment and commitment to ensuring Canadians get back to work. That is why the Conservative Party of Canada would implement the Canada recovery plan, a plan that would recover the hundreds of thousands of jobs in the hardest-hit sectors. Canadians deserve strong leadership, inclusive leadership and a robust plan for not only recovery, but prosperity for many years to come.

  (1240)  

    Mr. Speaker, I know that the member comes from a part of our country that has contributed so much to Canada's economy and prosperity for years. If there was ever a time when Canada needed to do all that it can to strengthen our sectors, our producers and those who actually produce our energy, work our fields and grow our food, it is now.
    I wonder if the hon. member would be willing to comment on the absolute need to have a government with a vision to bring the best out of Canadians. We have so much to offer to the world and those who want to do business with us. We have the most responsibly produced energy in the world. We have the best producers of food and agriculture. We can only increase our manufacturing capacity.
    We have great opportunities that are missing. Would the hon. member like to comment on that? What are his thoughts?
    Mr. Speaker, I am an incredibly proud Canadian. We have an enormous capacity and potential in this country. It is time we recognized it. It is time we let these sectors grow and prosper.
    I firmly believe the rest of the world wants more of what Canada produces. We are leaders on the agriculture side, leaders on the forestry side, leaders on the energy side. Let us recognize that. Let us look at our strengths and make sure we emphasize those strengths, get behind those strengths and grow this economy so that kids will have something to look forward to in this country.
    Mr. Speaker, the one thing I did not hear the member mention in his speech was tax evasion and the need to ensure that the wealthiest Canadians pay their share. I was reading in the news today that since 2015, the CRA has only investigated 44 Canadians with net worth over $50 million for tax evasion. Only two of those went to prosecution and no fines were issued.
    I wonder if the member could inform us what his approach is to cracking down on tax evasion and what message this news sends to Canadians who work hard and pay their share.
    Mr. Speaker, my position would never change on this. If people earn an income and owe taxes, they should pay. We should use the full force of the law to make sure that we go after those who are trying to take advantage of any kind of scheme that would allow them not to pay their fair share of tax.
    In the same breath, we should also recognize that wealth creators are good for our country. They are creating wealth. Creating more jobs and more investment in Canada is good for our country. Those who do it by the rules, let us support them and let us cherish them because they are the ones who are going to help us grow this economy.

  (1245)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate my great colleague from Edmonton on his amazing speech and the great job he is doing in the House in his various roles.
    In the Financial Post yesterday there was an article that said, “Brace for even higher rates when the Bank of Canada does start raising” and “Interest rates expected to climb above the previous peak for the first time in decades amid robust recovery”.
    Could the member comment on the threat that higher interest rates will pose to the sustainability of our economy, which he so eloquently spoke about during his speech?
    Mr. Speaker, it is a great concern, as we see inflation starting to move to 3.6%. We have issues with supply chains. We have issues with housing costs. We are seeing a lot of things drive up costs. The concern is that we are going to see interest rates do the same thing.
    The level of debt that we have taken on in this country has to be paid back, and there is going to be interest that has to be paid on that debt, even if it is termed out over a period of time. A lot of the budget is now going to have to go toward debt repayment. That money could be spent on housing. It could be spent on some of the things that we desperately need in this country. That is a big concern.
    Future generations will be stuck with this burden. That is the thing that is most distressing.
    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-30.
    I want to thank the member for Edmonton Centre for his incredibly compelling speech, and he did a fabulous job. As well, to follow up on his comments, all the best to you, Mr. Speaker, in the future.
    As I was walking up to the House today, I was given to thought. I thought about my family, my staff, my friends and the people of Essex, and the impact that Bill C-30 would have on each and every one of them. Each of us will be affected by the bill. I want to give many thanks to my family, my staff and my constituents of Essex for the opportunity to be in this place to speak to Bill C-30.
    Fifteen months ago, after the government's failure to heed the early warning signs of the pandemic ravaging Asia, Parliament was shut down for three weeks to flatten the curve. These many months later, the government's record is characterized by bad ethics, poor decision-making, undemocratic measures and huge deficits.
    The government, propped up by the NDP, Bloc and Green Party, has repeatedly failed Canadians, from its early and repeated power grabs, its failure to shut down international flights in the early stages of the pandemic, its failure to secure PPE and its disastrous back-scene procurement and rollout. On top of that, we had the ill-conceived Canada student support program and the resulting WE scandal that led to the prorogation of Parliament to avoid scrutiny. For 15 months, we have seen the Liberals reward their Liberal buddies with contracts and now judicial appointments.
     Only the Conservatives, as the official opposition, have stood against the Liberal excesses. The NDP has voted with the Liberals basically at every turn, even joining with them to shut down committees to help the Liberals avoid scrutiny. At a time when Canadians needed true leadership, ideology partisan interests have trumped principle.
    Why am I mentioning this record in a speech on the budget? Because post-COVID, Canada needs an economic recovery plan and, yet again, the Liberal-NDP-Bloc-Green Party alliance has failed to offer anything but shiny baubles. The record speaks for itself. The NDP-Liberal budget is a massive letdown for workers in my riding of Essex. This is not a growth budget, and it fails to put forward a plan to encourage Canada's long-term prosperity.
    I have three children just entering adulthood, and my first grandchild was born just a few weeks ago. I think of families in my riding, generations that have made their home in Essex County, and I wonder if my children and their children will be able to have the things that previous generations took for granted: a well-paying job, affordable housing and saving for their children's education. I am receiving hundreds of emails from constituents who remember the Canada of my youth. They tell me that they have no heart to celebrate Canada this year. They see the writing on the wall.
     Rampant corruption, unchecked, has tarnished our hallowed halls. Bill C-10 threatens our Charter of Rights, and deficit spending and high debt always leads to tax increases and program cuts down the road. It is an open question if we will be able to protect our social safety net and our senior's pensions, who should be able to enjoy their retirement worry-free.
     As the government continues to print money against Canada's GDP, as Conservatives predicted, inflation has risen to 3.6%. The cost of housing has soared and, as I said previously, putting it out of reach for many young families. As the cost of living rises, so does the cost for basics, like food, which hurts the lowest-income Canadians and seniors on fixed incomes the most. The government spending today borrows against our children's future. It is not a cliché; it is a simple reality that everyone who has a personal or household budget to manage understands.
    The Parliamentary Budget Officer has noted that a significant amount of the Liberal spending in the budget will not stimulate jobs or create economic growth. The Conservatives support getting help to those who have been hit the hardest by the failure of the Liberals to create jobs. In fact, the Liberal government has spent more and delivered less than any other G7 country. Canada's Conservatives were very clear that we wanted to see a plan to return to normal, that would safely reopen the economy and get Canadians back to work.

  (1250)  

     It is very clear that the Liberal-NDP budget was more about partisan politics than creating jobs or growing our economy. With their uncontrolled spending, the Liberals made it clear that they had no plan to return to a balanced budget. Throughout the pandemic, the Conservatives have made emergency support programs better for Canadians.
     Alas, unemployed Canadians are hoping to see a plan to create new jobs and economic opportunities for their families. Workers who have had their wages cut and hours slashed are hoping to see a plan to reopen the economy. They were let down.
    Layoffs at the Fiat Chrysler plant in Windsor mean that expectant mothers will see their maternity benefits cut, with all the money going out the door in income support. What has the government done for them?
    Small business owners have been devastated by repeat lockdowns. Many have closed their doors permanently. Many are hanging on by the slimmest of margins.
    Gyms like Xanadu in my riding have petitioned the government for ongoing aid. I have stood in the House for them. It will take months for them to recover, if they do at all.
    Many hair salons and barbershops, many of them owned and operated by women supporting their families, do not qualify for business support.
    Travel advisers went 15 months without any revenue. What does this budget do for them? Absolutely nothing.
    Manufacturers in my riding whose entire business model is based on cross-border transactions have experienced losses of major contracts because the government did not see fit to deem them essential despite repeated appeals to their government. It is a tone-deaf government that cannot not grasp the concept that we cannot export goods without the free movement of the people who make and sell them. The effects of this will be felt for years. It will take many years for manufacturers to get back to where they were.
    While they brag about the numbers, the Liberals fail to understand that the stuff manufacturers are working on now was negotiated two years ago, before the pandemic. Manufacturing is 13% of Canada's GDP. This sector is the largest contributor of taxable income. In Essex and Windsor, 54,000 jobs are represented in this industry. Eighty-five per cent of those goods produced go to the United States of America.
    Manufacturers have done a good job. They were mandated to keep open and they did everything required, yet the government did not see fit to recognize their good work. When I first raised this issue with the minister in the House, and other government officials appearing before the special committee on Canada-U.S. economic relations, the government's response revealed its total ignorance and outright indifference.
    Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention the loved ones who have been separated by the Canada-U.S. border closure. Even when changes were made to broaden the definitions, many were left out or could not afford to quarantine for 14 days. To make matters worse, the government then added quarantine hotels and exorbitant costs with unsafe substandard care. The human toll has been deep. Here are but a couple of examples: grandparents unable to meet their grandchildren for the first time; parents looking to be with their son, graduating after 10 years.
    The simple fact is that this budget does nothing to secure the long-term prosperity for Canadians. It does nothing to help my excellent riding of Essex. Canada's Conservatives got us out of the last recession. Canadians who are worried about their future know that we can and will do it again.

  (1255)  

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague mentioned many times how people were struggling and needed help, especially through this difficult time. Does he agree with me that people with disabilities need immediate help now, some funding to help them during these hard times? Does he agree with the NDP and the Bloc that seniors should all be treated the same and not have a two-tiered system?
    Mr. Speaker, I agree that everyone needs help. The budget should be helping everyone; nobody should be left behind. Be it seniors, young adults, our youth or people with disabilities, everyone should be helped, especially, and hopefully, at the end of a pandemic.
    Yes, we need to look from 100,000 feet down and ensure that everybody is duly taken care of.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague if he agrees with the Bloc Québécois that, in order to better protect all workers and meet needs created by the pandemic, the federal government should have accepted the idea of transferring the amounts requested for health care to the provinces and Quebec through the Canada health and social transfer. That would provide better support for the entire health and social services network in Canada.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is so important for the federal government to work with individual provinces, with their leaders and, quite frankly, with their governments. Everyone has to come to the table. It is important that everyone has a voice at the table and whatever works best between the federal government and each specific province is a direction about which we certainly need to talk.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Essex for pointing out that the Liberals love making things up. One of the things that they suffer from is a disease called “dyspocketnesia”. What it means is taking from “this pocket”, which is the taxpayer pocket, and putting it into “that pocket”, which is the government's pocket, and then forgetting about why they did it.
    One person who does not forget about things that the Liberals do is the Parliamentary Budget Officer, who points out the Liberal claim that they would create 315,000 jobs this year, 334,000 in 2022, and 280,000 in 2023. He notes that it is more likely 39,000 jobs this year, 74,000 next year and 94,000 in the year after that.
    I wonder if my colleague would mind commenting about these job numbers.

  (1300)  

    Mr. Speaker, at the end of the day, there are other people who know about the taking money out of this pocket and putting it into that one. It is everyday taxpayers. It is the young 20 or 21-year-old man and woman who pays taxes and wonders what is left in their bank account at the end of the day.
    As I mentioned in my speech, 54,000 jobs directly related to manufacturing in Windsor-Essex are coming under the gun if we do not get this ship righted really soon.
    Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the member's speech. He said that everybody needed help, and I agree. Seniors who are not getting their OAS increase because they are under the age of 75 but over the age of 65 need to be treated equally.
    People are going to be cut from their CRB payments when they are not going back to work yet. Businesses, in particular in the tourism industry, are not going to have the wage subsidy extended in time.
    The member also talked about the debt. I wonder how he sees these two things fitting together. Who should be bucking up and paying their fair share?
    Mr. Speaker, they are directly related. I do appreciate the fact that he brought up tourism. Tourism in my riding of Essex has been devastated beyond belief. One hand will feed the other, but we must have tourism to drive that back up and to drive down the deficit.
    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to speak to the budget implementation bill.
    Before I do that, I would just like to say thank you to some people. Undoubtedly, one of the problems with a minority Parliament is that we never quite know when that election might come. Whether the rumours are true or not, two years is certainly, by conventional wisdom, on par with the standard length of a minority Parliament, so I will take this opportunity to give thanks to some people.
    I have been coming to this House for 75 sitting days in a row. I have been in the House almost every single hour, every single minute. I just referenced my own participation and attendance in the House, which I think I am allowed to do.
    I could not have done this work without the incredible work of the folks back in my offices. We all know we have these incredible teams of people who work behind the scenes. In particular, in Ottawa, I have Kaitlin and Kelly, who have been working to help me prepare for here.
    Then, of course, because I have been here so much, I have not been able to be back in my riding or working on a lot of that constituency work. I have three incredible women in my Kingston office, Ann, Nicole and Jennifer, who have been handling that case work and working with the government to help people through these difficult times.
    I just want to give a huge thank you to them for being so supportive in the functions and for being an incredible team that really knows how to come together.
    I also would like to say thank you to you, Mr. Speaker. When you first announced you would not be running again, I said something briefly, but I have really enjoyed you as Deputy Speaker. I hope that means something coming from the riding that also produced the longest serving Speaker of the House of Commons, Peter Milliken. We certainly have a keen eye for a good Speaker.
    You have undoubtedly done such a good job in your role as Deputy Speaker throughout the years. Whenever you are in the chair, I have admired your patience with us, even at times when we seem to be at each other's throats. Thank you for that.
    Getting toward my discussion on the budget, I would like to talk about the first responders out there who have literally been fighting this pandemic on the front lines for the last 15 to 16 months. We come to this place and we fight, argue, debate and create policy with the hopes that it impacts those on the front lines and makes a genuine difference in the work they do. At the end of the day, they are the ones we need to be looking out for, making sure they have the right tools to fight and do the incredible work they do.
    A lot of those frontline workers are probably not even all that keenly interested in what is going on in this place, but nonetheless we have an incredible obligation to make sure they have what they need to do the job they are doing on our behalf.
    To that end, I know it has come up in this debate from a couple of different members, I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to members of the House with respect to something that happened in this House yesterday. Hopefully we could learn from the experience.
    I learned very early on in my political career, back in municipal politics in Kingston, that it is fair game to be fighting and disagreeing with other politicians. We are elected. We choose to be put in this position. We choose to come forward, voice our opinions and engage in those debates and that dialogue. However, staff do not. What we witnessed here yesterday was something that, quite frankly, has not happened in this Parliament, in this institution, for more than 100 years.
    We dragged a public civil servant to the bar of the House of Commons, to Parliament, to receive a scolding from the Speaker. I am appealing to members because of my desire to try to have them recognize that that is not proper conduct toward a public servant. If there is disagreement or concern over the manner in which a government or a particular minister is acting, it would be entirely appropriate to engage in holding them accountable, and if they wanted to, to pull that minister before the bar, if they could do that, and to exercise the same kind of decision or scolding on them.

  (1305)  

    I just do not think it is right to bring a public servant, especially the lead of the Public Health Agency of Canada while we are in the middle of a global pandemic, to be used as a political tool, as we saw yesterday. It is just not appropriate and, in fact, it has very rarely ever happened. Never has a public servant come before the bar. The last time a private citizen did was in 1913.
    For all the differences we have in this place, I really hope we can learn something from yesterday and commit to never doing that again. Politicians are here to be the ones who are in the line of fire, not our public servants, who are doing the incredible work on behalf of Canadians. I will note that my understanding is that that particular public servant has been in executive positions in public health for the last 17 years, which spans multiple governments of different parties.
    I did obviously want to speak to the budget implementation act, and I am very proud to be supportive of this. I am very proud not just of the government, but also of this Parliament, for the way it acted 15 or 16 months ago to get supports to Canadians, quite often through unanimous consent motions. We were passing motions in this House to immediately trigger sending money to Canadians who needed it. It was not just because Canadians needed the money, although that is incredibly important, but also because we were encouraging people to stay home.
    In the beginning of this pandemic, the objective was to get people to stay home. We did not want people to go out because we did not want them to become infected and for the pandemic to spread. We saw our public service working through the direction of Parliament to send money out in record speeds. When we think about what it did in four short weeks back in March of 2020, it is truly remarkable. I am indeed proud of all members of this Parliament for working together.
    I know different parties had different ideas about how much the wage subsidy should be, and I think we ended up with better proposals and better policies as a result of those deliberations and discussions. I am very relieved to see this budget, and it looks like it will be supported and that it will pass, so we can continue those supports through to the end of this pandemic.
    We see the light at the end of the tunnel. We can see what is coming, and we can see we are going to be, fingers crossed, in a much better position in the coming weeks and months in terms of relaxing restrictions throughout the country. We can see Canadians will be getting back to life like it was before the pandemic.
    I think knowing the government and Parliament were there for them genuinely means a lot to Canadians because, when it was necessary to provide the supports, the government, and indeed Parliament, had their backs. It is extremely rewarding for me personally to see that we were able to do that.
    I also think there is a great opportunity here. I will choose my words carefully, because when our Minister of Finance said that there was a political opportunity she was pounced on and her words were taken out of context. At the heart of this, there is an opportunity in all of this to look at the way in which Canadians are supported, where we can do better and where we can make corrections. For example, long-term care homes and developing national standards on long-term care homes is something we can do better in.
    This pandemic has provided us with an opportunity to say that we failed many seniors in long-term care homes and must do better. It is a provincial jurisdiction, and I certainly do not want to reopen the debate with the Bloc Québécois about who is responsible for what. I totally accept provinces are responsible for long-term care, but the federal government could play a leadership role in defining how we can develop some long-term care standards, just like we do with our national building code, as one example.
    We can also look at this as an opportunity to say we need to invest in our economy now if we want to come roaring out of this and ask ourselves where the best place is to invest right now. If we look throughout the world, we see new technologies developing.

  (1310)  

    There is an opportunity here for the government to determine if it should continue to invest just in traditional infrastructure like roads and bridges or also look at some of these new technologies. We could help businesses develop them so these technologies and new opportunities can continue to spin off for years and decades to come.
    Therefore, I think it is entirely appropriate to look at where we can position ourselves in the global economy in the years to come and use that as a strategy for where to invest money now. It is incredibly indicative of the government to take that approach and quite frankly for any government would take that approach.
    I find it concerning and unfortunate that the words of the Minister of Finance were taken out of context when she said that there is a political opportunity to look at child care. The opposition clipped half of her sentence, because what she was really saying is there is a political opportunity to look at the way we are approaching child care.
     I am very happy to see the budget announcement on child care. I will start off by saying we probably owe to the Province of Quebec for the desire and need to move toward more affordable child care. Quite frankly, it has done an incredible job of showing what child care supports can mean to individual families and some of the burden it relieves.
    It has recognized that, in 2021, it is not only the responsibility of parents to raise children, but also that of our collective society. That is where child care comes in, and why I think we are better off as Canadians because of Quebec's experience with child care.
    Not only has Quebec seen an increase in people in the workforce as a result of its incredibly good child care program, it has particularly seen more women in the workforce, which is incredibly important because, more often than not, it is women who end up staying at home with the children. By using child care opportunities to help subsidize those costs, Quebec has seen more women enter the workforce, which has contributed to more economic activity, which means more income taxes paid. It has also contributed to more women pursuing the entrepreneurial desires they may have held back on because they chose to or were expected to stay at home with children.
    Therefore, I look at this child care plan in the budget as not only a support for families, but also as an economic opportunity to unleash into the marketplace and the labour force those people who want to work, but for one reason or another, based on their family situation and young children, have chosen not to participate. That would result in more people working and paying taxes.
    This would also result in having more entrepreneurs and people running family businesses, generating income and creating ideas, which would be better for our entire society and indeed all Canadians. Therefore, as the government strives to provide more supports with respect to child care, I hope it takes a long, hard look at the incredibly efficient model Quebec has produced and how it has changed the labour force, according to the statistics that have come out.
    I will also touch briefly on seniors and the OAS. I know that has been coming up a lot. In particular, there has been a lot of criticism about how the increase should be for every senior over the age of 65, which is a really good talking point. It sells well and delivers well when the Bloc and NDP members continually bring it up. However, the reality of the situation is that, the longer seniors are in retirement, the more of their savings they go through and the less they have as they get older. This is not the case for every senior, but it is the case for low-income seniors in particular.

  (1315)  

    The government had a choice here. It could either increase the amount for everybody or increase it even more for those aged 75 and over. Of course, in response to that, we are asked why we did not increase it for everybody. Well, there are limitations. There are budgetary limitations and decisions that have to be made from time to time with respect to how much money to spend. I think the government is trying to balance the objective of having meaningful supports with the genuine need for them.
    I do not hold the NDP and the Bloc entirely in distain, for lack of a better expression, for using that argument. I think it is a very effective political argument, so I can appreciate why they are doing it, but I think it is important to recognize why the current approach is the right one.
    Finally, I want to talk about the debt incurred as a result of the pandemic, because I know that has been coming up a lot. The reality of the situation is that if we had told any member of the House two years ago that the debt would be over a trillion dollars, they would have probably laughed and said nothing. When I think back to the first majority Parliament session that I was a part of, I remember that people were harping about an extra $10 billion being spent or said the deficit was supposed to be $10 billion and it ended up being $20 billion.
    We are now talking about hundreds of billions of dollars. It is over a trillion dollars. Indeed it is a lot of money, but the choices were quite clear: Do we invest in Canadians so that we can come out of this in a much better position, or do we leave people on their own? It is not a Liberal, Conservative or NDP thing. Every member agreed on it. Every member voted in favour of it, and we had unanimous consent motions to spend the money because members knew it had to be done.
     As I indicated in a question for the member for New Westminster—Burnaby earlier, this was acceptable because every country did the same thing. Every country took on incredible amounts of debt. If Canada had been the only country that took on this kind of debt, it would have been detrimental to a lot of our policies. It would have sent companies running out of the country. It would have done a whole bunch of other things that could have been seen as extremely negative.
    The reality is that all of the ally countries that we interact with in the marketplace through commerce and our various trading relationships did the exact same thing. We are going through this together with our partner nations. Also, we had an incredible debt-to-GDP ratio going into the pandemic, and if we expect to come out of the COVID recession with relatively similar economic activity, we will have to invest. I genuinely believe that everybody agrees with that. I think that is why everybody, at the end of the day, supported the measures. They recognized that it was important.
    I believe that because of the measures we took and because of the spending that was authorized by the House, we will be in a better place when we come out of the pandemic in a few months. Our economy will come roaring back and we will see the debt-to-GDP ratios return to what they were before. We will also see unemployment return to some of the historic lows that we previously had. Why? It is because when we went through this, we did it in the right way. It cost a lot of money, there is no doubt about that, but we did it in conjunction with our global partners and did it in the responsible way according to the vast majority of economists.
    I hope that after my run of 75 consecutive sitting days, this will not be my last opportunity to speak. However, I know I have had my fair share of time over the last 75 days, so if it is, I am entirely content with that. I look forward to questions.

  (1320)  

    Mr. Speaker, I did not hear the member use his favourite word, according to Open Parliament, which is “Conservatives”, so I want to congratulate him for being able to avoid the rhetoric.
    I am grateful that he talked about some things of substance in the budget bill, particularly child care. The federal government has a $30-billion plan for it. There has been a lot of interest and a lot of feedback on that in my riding. A lot of people are concerned about the costs that are going to be shared with the provinces. People are looking at the finances of the provinces and asking how on earth the provinces will be able to afford their portions of this.
    Can the member comment on that?
    Mr. Speaker, it would be a mistake if we tried to develop a national plan that was completely done by the national government. It is indeed something that will be done through collaboration with the provinces. The first stop in this exercise needs to be Quebec. We should have a real thorough look at how it has been so successful at this, and then try to see how we can apply this model to other provinces, respecting the fact that everything is different from province to province to territory.
    There is a great opportunity here, and I think the provinces will have to be partners in this. They will have to want it too, which is why it will take negotiations and discussions with the provinces.
    To answer the member's question, I do not know what the exact cost will be, but I do know that it is something the feds want to do. If the provinces want to do it, I am sure we can find the solution.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I too would like to congratulate our colleague because he is his party's sole representative across the aisle, in the actual House, of course. There are Liberal members who we will not recognize when the Liberals decide to resume sitting in the House.
    My question for my colleague is the following: Concerning child care, can he guarantee that Quebec will obtain the full amount that it is due?

  (1325)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I do not know. I guess that will come out in the discussions with the provinces. The formula will be set up through negotiating with Quebec and the rest of the provinces, such as Ontario and Alberta, wherever it may be. If we can replicate Quebec's success, I certainly would not want to try to change the program considerably. We know something already works successfully in Quebec, so I agree that we should be looking at that and having those discussions. If the outcome the member is suggesting is determined to be the best course forward, then I suggest that is what we need to do, if it is why Quebec has been so successful at this.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to take the opportunity now to thank you in public, although I know I had a chance to speak with you privately last week to thank you for your years of service and gentlemanly conduct in the House of Commons. It has really been appreciated by all of us.
    To the member for Kingston and the Islands, we have heard repeatedly about the senseless cut in CERB payments that the Liberals have brought in, but there is a similar senseless cut to other pandemic supports. One is very important in my riding: the seasonal agricultural worker program. The federal government has been providing $1,500 per worker to pay for extra costs, including from the two-week quarantine and charter flights from Jamaica, Mexico and Central America, because there are no public flights. These costs are not going down any time soon, yet this benefit is being cut in half right now, to $750.
    I wonder if the member could comment on where the sense in that is.
    Mr. Speaker, at the end of the day, it is important to recognize that these programs were never designed to be there forever. There needs to be a transition away from them. There needs to be a transition back to regular life, so to speak, that does not depend on these programs specifically.
    There will be some industries that are affected for quite some time. A good friend of mine is an audio engineer who works at a lot of big concerts and conventions. His industry was one of the first to be hit. He went from having six months' worth of work ahead of him to having absolutely nothing in 48 hours, and it will be one of the last industries to come back, later on. He is equally worried about these kinds of supports and what the changes are going to mean.
    Will we have to continue to revisit this and look at new opportunities to support people? I think that is the fair thing to do, and I hope we will be able to consider the people who will be impacted by the pandemic for longer than others.
    Mr. Speaker, let me say, and not in a back room in a private conversation, that you are awesome. Thank you for your service.
    To the member for Kingston and the Islands, the demographics in this country are getting older, and we know that means there will be less of a tax base for governments, both provincial and federal. We also know that there has been criticism, even from the member's own party. Mark Carney has said publicly that this is not a growth-oriented budget and so has David Dodge, both former governors of the Bank of Canada. We need to see more investments for the long term that make us more productive, but unfortunately it seems that the government is only focused on consumption today.
    I agree that making sure people have supports during the pandemic is important, but why is the government always fixated on giving people money for things that will not build long-term value in the way that we need for growing this economy to help support public services, like health care, that we all depend on?
    Mr. Speaker, unfortunately I could not disagree more. There is a reality, and I spent a lot of time talking about child care, for example. That is not about just giving people money right now to deal with their children; it is a long-term growth strategy.
    The member asked how we are going to get more people into the economy. I submit that one of the ways we are going to do that is by unleashing the economic potential of the many people who are stuck at home taking care of their kids. That is not a bad thing, because a lot of people want to do that, but there are a lot of people who would also like to be working.
    To the member's point specifically about how we deal with the labour shrinkage, it is in the budget. Child care is one way. However, it is not something that will work when we start spending the money. It is going to take years to get to a point where the labour force has the injection. To that point, we need to be investing in ways and in places that are going to help our labour market later on.

  (1330)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague why the Liberals absolutely do not want to provide stable and adequate funding for health care systems by increasing health transfers.
    Health care systems in Quebec and the provinces have reached the breaking point. Cuts in health transfers have left them with insufficient funding. In the meantime, the Liberal government is meddling in Quebec's jurisdictions with its spending power.
    Why not increase health transfers, as Quebec and all the provinces are asking?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I do not think my intervention would be complete without a question from the Bloc Québécois about health transfers. It is my understanding, at least from what I have heard the Prime Minister say in the House over the last several months and from discussions out there in the public, that it is the intention of the government to revisit this issue. Could it have been done in this particular budget? I think everything that has been going on with the pandemic, as we get through it and focus on it, has made it more difficult to do. However, there is an opportunity, as we move into the future, to have those discussions.
     I know that people within our party are talking about it. I certainly hear it a lot from the Bloc Québécois, and I hear it from the Conservatives. I think there is an opportunity here, but it was perhaps too challenging to accomplish in this budget in addition to all of the other stuff that needed attention.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise on behalf of the good people of Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola. Let me inform you, Mr. Speaker, that you will have a much more enlightened speaker because I plan on sharing my time with the member for Elgin—Middlesex—London, who, I am sure, will do a fantastic job.
    From a parliamentary perspective, we live in dangerous times. I say that because I would like to take us all back to 2015 and a comment that this Prime Minister shared with Canadians. “[W]e are committed to delivering real change in the way that government works”, said the Prime Minister. He followed up with, “It means setting a higher bar for openness and transparency, something needed if this House is to regain the confidence and trust of Canadians.”
    When we look at the actions of this Prime Minister today, it is profoundly obvious that this PM had absolutely zero intention of honouring those words to Canadians. In fact, as is so often the case with this Prime Minister, it is all just words. The actions are always at odds with reality. Look at where we are here with this omnibus budget bill from a Prime Minister who had promised he would not use omnibus budget bills, promised he would not use prorogation, and promised he would deliver a balanced budget, cast in stone, in 2019. He also promised openness by default.
    I could go on and on, but we are not here today to debate the character of this Prime Minister. We are here to debate the omnibus budget bill, Bill C-30, a bill that the finance minister has repeatedly stated, if it were not to pass, would be the single greatest threat facing Canadians. Honestly, the finance minister said that multiple times in question period. Here we have a government that tells us we do not need a budget for over two years, and suddenly not having a budget is the greatest economic threat facing Canadians. What unbelievable arrogance that is.
    In reality, this budget is really about furthering the Liberals' electoral chances. I would submit it that does not do so. It is not in the long-term best interests of Canadians. However, in my view, this is a Prime Minister who will always place his needs and those of his powerful friends and insiders ahead of the needs of everyday Canadians.
    People should not just take my word for it, but read very carefully the many criticisms of this budget bill. They come from prominent people not accustomed to criticizing Liberal government budget bills: Parliamentary Budget Officer, Yves Giroux; former Bank of Canada governors, both David Dodge and Mark Carney; and even former senior Liberal adviser Robert Asselin. They have all provided well-articulated concerns over this budget. To summarize them, ultimately this bill proposes to spend money that the government does not have to spend and, according to these critics and many other experts, does not not need to spend.
    However, that is what this Prime Minister does. He believes he can spend his way out of any problem or circumstance, but that in itself creates problems. Let us look at our communities' local downtown. If they are anything like the communities in my riding, there are increasingly more help-wanted signs out there. A huge number of small and medium-sized business owners have said they cannot get people to work.
    I am going to share something with this place. Recently, my Summerland office was contacted by a woman, and we will call her “Nathalie”. Nathalie is very concerned about her brother, whom we will call “Doug”. Doug has a trade. Unlike some trades, Doug got very busy during the pandemic. Last fall, Doug decided to quit his job so he could collect the CERB. Granted the system was not supposed to work that way, but it was, by design, set up so people like Doug absolutely could quit their job and still collect it. At the time, Doug told his family it was just for the winter months and he would go back to work in the spring. Over the winter months, Doug began drinking. His drinking led to the loss of his place. The family now says Doug lives in a recreational vehicle. He collects the Canada recovery benefit and spends most of the time drinking. Doug now refuses to return to the workplace. Doug's position is that he paid the government EI and taxes for years and now he is owed this money, and not working while he is collecting benefits is his way of getting even with the government.

  (1335)  

    I am not suggesting for a moment that everyone collecting benefits is in Doug's situation, but speaking with many who work with individuals in addiction and recovered, many will share privately just how damaging the CRB has been and how it has derailed many recovering addicts. The problem remains that the Liberal government has absolutely no exit plan that ultimately will help people like Doug return to the workforce.
    Indeed, according to the Prime Minister, people like Doug do not exist. Some will say if only employers paid more, we would not have this problem. However, in Doug's case, he had a trade that provided net take-home pay of $60,000. Doug can make much more money returning to work, however, the $2,000 a month he collects now is enough money that Doug can choose not to work.
    I come back to all those help-wanted signs. A local small business owner told me his small business could survive the pandemic, but he was less sure it could survive the government assistance programs like CRB. I am not raising this to be partisan, I am raising this because this budget by design extends all of these benefits into September and it does this by design because the Prime Minister wants to go into an election where everyone is still getting paid those benefits. He wants to use the payment of these benefits as an election issue. That is ultimately what the bill proposes; that and massive amounts of spending that even former Liberals and friendly experts have said is excessive and largely unnecessary.
    However, when it comes to winning power, we know that the Prime Minister is capable of basically anything. We know from his many promises in 2015, he will say basically anything. We know from his governance, from prorogation to multiple Liberal filibusters, to being found in contempt of Parliament, he is capable of doing anything to remain in power. Indeed, Bill C-30 is just another example of this.
    Is there seriously a person in this place who does not believe that Canada needs an exit plan to get Canadians back into the workforce? I am starting to think that maybe there are some who believe we can continue on this current path that the Parliamentary Budget Office has repeatedly told us is not sustainable. Do we listen? Bill C-30 suggests we are not listening. Indeed, even raising these issues is rarely done.
    We all know that there are people like Doug out there who are struggling. This budget fails people like Doug. This budget fails the many small business owners who need Doug back in the workplace. Let us hope that he can rejoin the workforce. His sister Nathalie blames the government programs. She pointed out EI, as one example, never used to work this way. She asked how long can the government continue to pay people benefits that they do not qualify for. It is a fair question, yet I do not hear any member of the Liberal government ask this question.
    The Parliamentary Budget Officer has raised it. Various ministers have promised to address it, but when the opposition has raised it, they never do. We all know that the EI system ultimately has to be sustainable and currently it is not sustainable. The government has no plan to address this. This should trouble all of us because ultimately we need to defend the integrity of the programs that Canadians depend on. We are collectively failing to do that.
    It is just not responsible. This is ultimately what troubles me so greatly about Bill C-30. It is great for a Prime Minister trying to stay in power, however, it maximizes short-term political gain for long-term pain that will be felt by future generations of Canadians.
    Somehow in this place, we have drifted away from long-term thinking, of building a foundation for the success and prosperity of future generations of Canada. Worse, we have seen this movie before, as it was the former Liberal governments that made some very difficult and unpopular decisions, but necessary decisions. Many of what I refer to as traditional Liberals, at least in my riding, wonder where the Liberal Party has gone.
    Before I close, I will leave with one final note. When the finance minister introduced this budget, she told us that we must “build a more resilient Canada; better, more fair, more prosperous, and more innovative”.

  (1340)  

    We should all ask ourselves who has been governing this country for the past five years to have made Canada so unresilient, so unfair, so unprosperous and so lacking in innovation. We all know the answer to the question. This budget bill, Bill C-30, simply offers more of the same.
    Mr. Speaker, I know the member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola is a real champion for the wine industry, which is very important in the Okanagan, and has a private member's bill that could help the wine industry. I am worried that, with the constant rumours about an election, that private member's bill will not make it onto the Order Paper in this Parliament.
    I would like to give the member the opportunity to talk about the situation that we have seen with the wine industry losing the excise tax exemption through a WTO challenge. The government has a promise of funding in this budget, $101 million over two years, but now we hear it has back-loaded that promise so that only a third of the money will come in the coming fiscal year. This is a time when the wine industry has really been suffering, like a lot of sectors.
    I am wondering if the member could comment on that decision by the government.
    Mr. Speaker, obviously small family wineries, small craft breweries and artisan distillers are hurting. The foot traffic is gone, tourism has dropped, people are not buying from them and they are often going to liquor monopolies, so this is a big issue.
    My Bill C-260 deals with trying to get around provincial liquor monopolies. I will let the member know that the leader of the official opposition gave a speech to the Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce where the question was asked: What if this bill dies on the Order Paper? Guess what, we are going to be campaigning on this so that we can bring some resiliency and opportunities to that industry.
    In 2015, I said that the Liberals would say anything, then disregard what they said, do what is right for them and not the long-term interests of Canadians. They are doing the same thing to the wine industry, and it is wrong.

  (1345)  

    Mr. Speaker, there is lots of talk in this budget about training for new jobs, green jobs, jobs that are not here yet. Does the member have any idea what specific jobs the government is talking about that people will be retrained for? In my province, people want to know where these new jobs are, how they are going to get started and what these training programs are going to do for them in the near future, not looking out five years.
    Mr. Speaker, this is one area where the government continually talks a game about innovation and skills. Kevin Page, former parliamentary budget officer, is now heading up the University of Ottawa's Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy. It is a think tank that analyzes these issues. When the government first came to power, it was presented with a report from the think tank that showed that for years it has been funding employment skills training with tens of billions of dollars and it has never been reviewed. When we look through it, and I met with the expert who penned the report, there are no metrics. The government continually adds more rhetoric and more money, but there are never any results.
    That is the big problem. We are not thinking in terms of the long-term interests of Canadians. With our demographics and the pandemic debt, we have to start asking the tough questions. We cannot let the Liberal government and the Prime Minister slide by with nice words and a quick wave. My community deserves better than the government is offering.
    Mr. Speaker, once again, I get to speak to you while you are in the Chair. To anyone who is tuning in right now, I wish all the best to the Speaker in the Chair right now. I know that the next chapter of your life will be very fulsome. It has been wonderful working with you. Hopefully, we will be able to work together again in September.
    I will continue with some of my thanks. I know so many people are involved in making sure that this chamber can run. I am thinking of all the House staff, the interpreters about whom we have heard so much, making sure we are not popping in the mike, the technical support folks for the hybrid virtual Parliament who have been very busy, and the table staff, especially one of my favourites, André Gagnon. I have always said that he is going to be stuck in my living room forever, because one of my favourite photos is of him and me at my second swearing in. Thanks to all of the great people working in our House and making sure the democracy of Canada continues.
    It truly has been a great pleasure serving in the 43rd Parliament, 2nd session, as the deputy House leader for the Conservative Party. There has been a lot of learning to do and a lot of procedural things, as well. All of us are working together to get that done.
    I thank my colleague who spoke before me, because when we talk about results, that is something we really focus on. I would like to see results. When I first got here in 2015, we would talk about the government. We would talk about what we had done in government for nine and a half years, and some of the positive changes that we saw here in Canada. Some very good legislation was put forward. Every single time I was on a panel, I recall that the words used against me were, “Ms. Vecchio, that's rich.” Those were the words of our Liberal government members, all of the time: “That is rich,” any time we asked for something to be justified or asked for verification on things.
    The government just does not want to answer. When we see an omnibus bill like this budget implementation bill, we should not be surprised. When we try to have debates, we should not be surprised when we do not get answers. I know that shortly we will be going into Question Period where that will continue.
    In this Parliament specifically, we have seen things, such as the WE scandal, prorogation and Bill C-19 being done wrong. I want to focus on that. As of yesterday, Bill C-19 was reported back and tabled in the House of Commons. The fear that I have, and the fear that I think so many other Canadians should have, is that we are putting forward bills that have no witnesses coming to talk about these things. When we wanted to discuss Bill C-19, there was a motion to have important organizations representing everyone from seniors to people with disabilities look at this legislation and ask what it means. We were looking to speak to chief electoral officers who were on the ground and could talk about some of the things we needed to do.
    What would a pandemic election look like in London North Centre or London West? I am looking at the member of Parliament for London West right now. What would it look like for London West? What would it look like for Elgin—Middlesex—London? I am seeing that special member look at me right now. I would like to thank her for all of the work that she has done. It has been great having a person beside me in London West who is part of the government and who has always ensured that when I give her a call, she knows what is happening in Elgin—Middlesex—London.
    On behalf of all the constituents of Elgin—Middlesex—London, on behalf of my municipalities, I know I can call that member and say that we need an announcement, and the member for London West will ensure that announcement is made. If it is sitting on a minister's table, she is one person I know who can get it done. I really appreciate all of her hard work.
    Moving on, when I am talking about some important things, I see that we are truly not doing what we should always be doing. We talk about due diligence. Last night, I got to listen to the member for Winnipeg North talk about the Conservatives and how awful they are. Although the word “corrupt” was not being used, he loved to use the word “obstruction.”
    I will tell Canadians what obstruction looks like. Obstruction looks like 101 days in a filibuster when we are talking about prorogation of the government. That is what obstruction looks like. I love looking at the member, because he is laughing. I think it is because he knows exactly what I am getting at. He knows. He has been in politics for over 30 years. He knows how to wing this. He knows when we are playing these games, and we know that when the member for Winnipeg North is coming to a committee, the plan is to filibuster. When some of the greatest speakers who can speak 700 or 800 times in Parliament are brought in, we know the government is bringing in the big guns to filibuster. I would like to commend my colleague for Winnipeg North because that is exactly the type of work that they are able to do.

  (1350)  

    We have seen committee reports delayed. As the former chair of the status of women and as the former shadow minister of the status of women, I am really concerned that the defence committee could not table a report. Why it could not table a report, I think, has to do with the obstruction in committee. There has not just been obstruction in the Procedure and House Affairs committee. There has been obstruction in the committees for defence, ethics and any other committee in which the reports and information going forward are not to the liking of the government. That is just the type of thing that I have been seeing.
    I do a lot of outreach as well in my riding. When reflecting on this budget, what do we see and what is important? I like to go out and speak to my constituents. We do a lot of householders. We do a lot of mailers and get a lot of information back. I would say that we probably got the most information back ever from replies to our last householder. We looked at that data. Do not worry. We were not using Liberalist. We actually looked at this data in our own office to see what my constituents were saying. I did not send it off to somebody to ask them to please look at it analytically and then let us know, while targeting my voters. I actually wanted to hear what they have to say. It is not just about how I am going to get their vote the next time. I want to be sure that I am serving them with a purpose.
    However, 66% of our respondents believe there should be an increase in health care funding to the provinces. The government can talk about the funding put forward through this pandemic when it comes to health care. It did have to put some forward, but why? It was not prepared for a pandemic. It had taken some of the money and it had taken some of the programs. We know that the system to alert us of a coming pandemic and its impacts was not there. The information we should have been able to receive was not there because of some cuts and things they were doing while thinking that it was not important.
    Sixty-six percent of our respondents believe there needs to be more money put into this health care system, but in this budget we do not see an increase in health care. We can see some things when it comes to pandemic spending, but as the former speaker talked about, we need to look at long-term plans as well. They cannot just be short-term. They cannot just be about how we get people voting for us today. It is about how we can provide good lives and better opportunities for them.
    Coming from a farming community, one thing I always talk about is sowing the field. How do we prepare the field so that people can be the best crop possible? How do we encourage great growth? I look at all of these programs coming forward from the government and I am very concerned. What do we see for these people moving forward? I look at my son, who is 27 years old, and know that if he were to try to purchase a house in Elgin—Middlesex—London and put down the $20,000 he has been able to save, it would get him nothing. Why? It is because we have seen a 46% increase in housing prices in my area alone.
    Those are some of the things that I think the government needs to tackle, along with the fact that we see inflation going higher and higher. That inflation is going to impact us greatly, especially if the interest rates go up.
    I look at my own children who want to buy houses. The rates for getting a mortgage are awesome, but how can they buy houses when the prices start at almost half a million dollars? How are they ever going to get into the housing market and out of renting? I think that 55% of renters have been paying more in the last six months than they were before. How are people able to move forward and go up the housing ladder? How will they be able to go from being renters to being home owners and into those next homes for retirement? How will they be able to do that? I just do not see the path, unfortunately. I am very concerned with that.
    We have 73% of respondents who were concerned about Bill C-10, which we voted on last night. At about 1:30 a.m. we saw that some amendments went through. We also saw the bill pass, unfortunately. I can tell colleagues that in my riding of Elgin—Middlesex—London this was an issue about which I heard from tons of my constituents. They said they did not want Bill C-10, and that they believed it needed to be amended. The amendments we put forward did not, unfortunately, go through.
    Finally, 86% of respondents were concerned about the level of debt in this budget. These are the types of things I talk about.

  (1355)  

    Mr. Speaker, when I reflect on standing committees, the potential within them is fairly significant. Some standing committees perform exceptionally well and produce fantastic reports for Canadians.
    I am wondering if the member could provide her thoughts on another situation in which we can do fine work if we take out the partisan politics. I am not reflecting on a specific committee, but generally speaking, would she not agree we can see some positive work come out of standing committees when the partisan politics are put to the side, for a little while anyway?
    Mr. Speaker, I am actually also looking right now on my screen at the Chair of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women. I am the former chair of the status of women committee. Last July we met on July 7 or July 8, I believe, before prorogation. We had a standing committee that worked really well together. It was a minority Parliament so we had a variety of different views. The member for London—Fanshawe was on the committee and we had members from the Toronto area. It was a really good mix.
    The report we would have tabled right before prorogation was fantastic, but it has a lot to do with what the interests are. We know in some committees there are topics we really want to work on and then there are committees that are a bit more partisan, so I absolutely agree with the member.
    It is always a delight to work with the member for Winnipeg North. He keeps us going.
    The hon. member for Elgin—Middlesex—London will have three and a half minutes for questions and comments when the House next gets back to debate on the question, should she wish to take them.

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]

[English]

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, my congratulations to all the graduates of 2021. They are resilient, and I hope the challenges they have faced during their education will help them be flexible and creative as they continue on their life's journey. Enjoy the summer.
    COVID-19 is not over yet. As we reopen, we need to remain vigilant to the threat that the variants pose to public health. It is also important to acknowledge that many people and businesses are still facing financial insecurity and the stress that comes with it.
    The pandemic has shown us what is possible when we unite to face an emergency. We need that same approach to transform our economy, to put people and the planet before corporate profits. The climate emergency and biodiversity crisis demand nothing less.
     I am committed to this work, and I pledge to work collaboratively to get it done. Together, we can do this.

  (1400)  

Graduates of 2021

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to offer my most sincere congratulations to all 2021 graduates in my riding of Sault Ste. Marie.
     Happy graduation to the students of Sault College, Algoma University, École Notre-Dame-du-Saul, St. Mary’s College, Korah Collegiate, Superior Heights Collegiate, White Pines Collegiate, the alternative and adult learning centres, and, of course, all the amazing grade eight graduates.
    This has been a challenging year to be graduating, but these graduates have shown incredible perseverance and should be very proud of their accomplishments. I know that I am, as are their parents, relatives and friends.
     Whether they are entering the workforce or returning to school in the fall, I know that the next chapter of their lives will bring great things for them.
    As a reminder, the federal government has invested record-breaking dollars into the Canada summer jobs program, creating over 580 youth job opportunities locally, so visit the Canada Job Bank online for more info.
    For the 2021 graduates, who are outstanding members of the community, I wish them all the best in their future endeavours.

Parliament Hill

    Mr. Speaker, there is something rotten on Parliament Hill. We have the Centre Block renovations that have become a big, black hole for Canadian taxpayers, with billions of dollars blown through already, over budget, delayed and literally just a big hole on Parliament Hill, and the Liberals are just getting started.
    It is now being reported that the once proud national symbol is being “green washed”. The Liberals want to cancel our centennial flame, symbolizing Canadian unity, that has been using Canadian natural gas since the start. The Liberals now want the flame to burn on garbage instead. They would rather truck in garbage dump gases from Montreal than use Canadian clean natural gas.
    When will the Liberals stop turning our national symbols into garbage? Canada is not a garbage dump, and the Liberals need to stop treating us like one.

[Translation]

Francophone Association for Social Inclusion in Ottawa

    Mr. Speaker, I had the privilege of speaking virtually to express my appreciation to the members of the Association pour l'intégration sociale d'Ottawa, or AISO, on the occasion of their annual general meeting, on June 14.
    The association is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and I wanted to thank its members for the essential services they offer in our community. The theme of their AGA was “Our strength is the foundation that brings us together”, a theme that is perfectly aligned with the values they convey in offering services in French to francophones with intellectual disabilities.
    In this way, AISO plays a leadership role in promoting and teaching our beloved French language. In the last three decades, it has proven that all we need is a vision and some leadership to accomplish great things.
    I wish the whole AISO team a happy 30th anniversary. I hope they keep up the good work.

Tornado in Mascouche

    Mr. Speaker, I am still in a state of shock after learning that a tornado struck the heart of Mascouche, in my riding. It took the life of a man, Jacques Lefebvre, and left devastation in its wake.
    I would like to extend my condolences on behalf of the Bloc Québécois and myself to the family and friends of Jacques Lefebvre. The whole region is there for them in this time of mourning. My thoughts go out to the fifty-some families affected who, today, must deal with the damage and, in some cases, the rubble. I wish them courage.
    I invite all the residents of Mascouche and the region to stand together in the days to come. Their friends, relatives, neighbours and fellow residents of Mascouche have a lot of challenges and work ahead of them. Let us be attentive, generous and kind to one another in the wake of this tragedy that we never thought could happen in our riding.

[English]

Member for Kanata—Carleton

    Mr. Speaker, I stand here today to thank the people of Kanata—Carleton and all Canadians. They have inspired me with their tenacity, their generosity, their compassion and their care. We are seeing it even today, with the number of Canadians who are stepping up to get vaccinated so they can look after each other.
     My mother's favourite saying was, “It's not happiness that makes you grateful, it's gratefulness that makes you happy”, and we have so very much for which to be grateful.
     It is quite an honour to stand here and to thank people for their commitment to a better Canada. If we acknowledge our shortcomings, if we know that we can do better, if we are willing to work hard and if we are willing to let love, kindness and care guide the way, we cannot get it wrong.
    I thank them all, and I appreciate everything they have done to make this an even better country. We will just keep going.

  (1405)  

[Translation]

Labour

    Mr. Speaker, as Parliament is about to rise, allow me to thank the Chair, all the staff of the House and all my colleagues. It has been impressive to see how adaptable and resilient we are.
    This government must now find solutions so that our businesses can emerge from this crisis and share in the economic recovery. The labour shortage is alarming, and this government needs to stop making excuses and put tools in place, such as speeding up and relaxing immigration of workers. Businesses are the backbone of our economy; it would be shame if they were hit by another crisis in the form of a labour shortage.
    The inefficiency of this government can be seen in its inability to find solutions. We must value work, not encourage passivity. I am urging this government to give a boost to Canadian businesses, which are threatened with bankruptcy. We simply need to give them access to labour; it is not complicated. Let us not forget that our businesses are what create economic prosperity, not this ethically deficient, centralizing Liberal government. This government needs to act now.

[English]

Peter Regan

    Mr. Speaker, each member of Parliament is able to serve because of people who freely give of their time for a cause larger than themselves. That is the kind of person Peter Regan was.
    Last week, Peter passed away as a result of acute myeloid leukemia. He is survived by his devoted wife Lissa; daughters Amy, Sarah, Mary and Leah; his grandchildren Sydney and Thomas; and siblings Shelley, Sue, Judy, John, Mark, Jeff, and Shannon.
    Peter was dedicated to his family and friends from across Canada and the United States, including his London Knights every Friday night gang, the London Football Referees’ Association, the Fanshawe Optimists, his Bell Canada guys, former North London Soccer and London Minor Football teams.
    I met Peter seven years ago as a candidate pursing my party's nomination. The first volunteer to put signs into the ground and the first to take them out, Peter was genuine and kind. People like him are seldom talked about. They ought to be, because they help to make Canada exactly what it is.

Government Programs

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government has failed Canadians. My constituents in Peace Country are fed up with politicians who claim one thing to get elected and then impose an Ottawa-knows-best, one-size-fits-all fantasy solution to real-world problems.
    Peace Country residents have been hit hard by the Liberals' ongoing attack on Alberta's energy sector, the tripling of the carbon tax, and they cannot afford the hyperinflation the Liberals are currently manufacturing. My constituents want representation that actually cares who they are and what they believe, and the effective solutions they have. It is time for a government that will not pit one group of Canadians against another.
    Canadians are the solution; they have always been that. Canadians deserve a government that will encourage creativity, innovation, opportunity and prosperity rather than inhibit it through government control and unnecessary regulations. It is time for a government that will respect the people and will be focused on building a future for every Canadian, not just politicians and their friends.

Islamophobia

    Mr. Speaker, earlier this month, our country witnessed a horrific tragedy. The Afzaal family, enjoying an evening walk together, became the victims of an abhorrent act of hate and terror that demonstrated the destructive and deadly consequences of Islamophobia. The reality is that this cowardly attack was not an isolated incident.
     From London to Toronto to Quebec City to Edmonton, Muslim Canadians have continued to be the subject of Islamophobic attacks, targeted simply because of their faith. Muslim Canadians are hurt, they are angry and they are demanding action.
    To the growing Muslim community in my riding of Winnipeg South, which is home to elders, parents, young adults and children who make our neighbourhoods a vibrant place to live, I want them to know we stand with them. I commit to listening to them and to demanding better for them.
     It is the responsibility of each one of us to fight against Islamophobia and racism, and to root it out of our communities once and for all.

  (1410)  

Schools

    Mr. Speaker, last year, schools across the country received $2 billion in funding to see COVID-19 safety measures implemented before the school year began, including schools within SD38, the district where I once held the honour of serving as a board of education trustee.
    This year, schools are still facing uncertainty as the pandemic continues. I must bring to the government's attention that vaccines for people 12 years or older alone are not enough. Richmond schools require enhanced sanitization and staff to disinfect high-touch areas. They also need support for essential health and safety supplies and PPE, including child-sized masks and hand sanitizer.
    As well, with learners having been greatly impacted by the isolation, mental health supports for students and staff are also critical. There is still work to be done to prepare our nation for reopening and to ensure our children and youth have a safe return to school this fall.

Fort Edmonton Park

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today to congratulate Fort Edmonton Management Company for the completion of the Fort Edmonton Park enhancement project, a $160-million project sponsored by the Government of Canada, the Province of Alberta and the City of Edmonton. As both a board member and an Edmontonian, I am proud to have played a small part in seeing this project come to life.
     Recognized as the largest living history museum in Canada, Fort Edmonton Park will reopen on July 1 with an upgraded utility work, an expanded 1920s midway, a new front entry plaza and, most important, the Indigenous Peoples Experience. This one of a kind transformative experience will immerse our guests in indigenous customs and traditions and highlight the inspirational stories of first nations, Métis and Inuit peoples who have resided on these lands for hundreds of thousands of years. The breath-taking and interactive exhibit tells the story of four seasons and the 13 moons, and is designed to be truly diverse and an inclusive representation of Canada's first peoples.
    I look forward to the impacts it will have on my community, the surrounding area of Edmonton and the rest of Canada.

Attack in London, Ontario

    Mr. Speaker, at the request of rabbis in Hamilton and leaders of the Jewish community, I rise today and share an excerpt from their statement of solidarity with the Muslim community after the attack in London. They say:
    Once again, the Jewish Community of Hamilton recoils in horror upon learning of the deplorable act of murder perpetrated in London yesterday. We are no less sickened to learn that the murder was a racially motivated, premeditated Islamophobic attack, carried out solely because the victims were Muslims....At this incredibly painful and frightening time, Hamilton’s rabbis and its Jewish leadership reach out to our Muslim brothers and sisters and to their sheikhs and imams, extending our empathy, solidarity and support. We cry with you and we mourn with you. We yearn for a day when every human being, whether Indigenous, Muslim or Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Atheist, Christian or other, can proudly live in this country true to her or his beliefs without a drop of fear. And we pledge to work with you, shoulder to shoulder, to bring this about....We pray for the recovery of the injured child, and that the memories of the murdered ones always be for a blessing.
    In tears and hope

[Translation]

Raïf Badawi

    Mr. Speaker, in the face of human tragedy, the only thing worse than inaction is promising to act and then doing nothing. That is what the federal government is doing to the family of Raïf Badawi, who has been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia for nine years.
    His wife, Ensaf Haidar, wrote to the Minister of Immigration and the Prime Minister this morning, reminding them that all members of the House, including the minister and the Prime Minister, agreed that Canada should grant citizenship to Raïf Badawi. She also reminded them that the Quebec National Assembly and the Senate also support that request. Everyone is calling on Ottawa to take action.
    The saddest part of her letter is that Ms. Haidar expresses doubt, perhaps for the first time, that her husband will be able to serve his full prison sentence before Ottawa finally takes action. I still believe this government is better than that. It is not too late. The government needs to honour its promise and make Raïf Badawi a citizen.

  (1415)  

[English]

Liberal Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, the pandemic has laid bare the state of our institutions. There is no governor general because of scandal. Eight senior leaders of the Canadian Armed Forces have resigned or have been forced out. We have military procurement systems that cannot procure, and we have payroll systems that cannot pay.
    We have a government that thought it appropriate a year ago to introduce legislation that would have suspended the powers of Parliament over taxation and spending until the end of this calendar year. We have a government that prorogued Parliament to shut down committee investigations. We have a government that continues to defy four orders of this House and its committee to hand over documents related to serious breaches at the Winnipeg lab, which is now preventing this Parliament from doing its job.
    The government is in contempt of Parliament. The government does not deserve another mandate. The government must go.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, my thoughts and prayers are with three beautiful, innocent children who were attending a birthday party on a warm summer night. What should have been a happy occasion, filled with children's laughter, quickly turned to tragedy when a one-year-old, a five-year-old and an 11-year-old were hit by gunfire. Our community is outraged by this brazen, disgusting and horrific attack. We are grateful two of the injured children have been released from hospital, while we keep a little girl who is in critical condition in all our hearts.
     Firing a gun anywhere at any time in our communities is unacceptable. We cannot tolerate violence, especially when it threatens the lives of children in our communities. The perpetrators of this heinous crime must be brought to justice. We thank 23 Division of the Toronto Police Service for working non-stop to find those responsible. We must strengthen our efforts to end gun violence and heal our communities.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, the sexual misconduct scandal within the Canadian Armed Forces and the Minister of National Defence's indifference have gone from a crisis to a tragedy.
     This morning the ombudsman spoke about political interference, the absence of ministerial responsibility and cover-ups by the Liberals. When will the Prime Minister take responsibility for his actions?
    Mr. Speaker, we are fully committed to making structural and cultural changes at the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces, and we have already taken steps to do so.
     We appointed Lieutenant General Jennie Carignan as chief of professional conduct and culture. We also recently appointed Louise Arbour to conduct an independent investigation into the handling of sexual misconduct.
    In budget 2021, we committed to allocating more than $236 million to combat sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces. We will continue to do what is necessary to ensure that everyone who serves in the armed forces is protected and supported.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the defence ombudsman said that the sexual misconduct cover-up in our military has gone from a crisis to a tragedy. He said the government's actions and failures have eroded trust in our military.
    Unlike the Prime Minister, the Conservatives have a five-point plan to secure our future and to restore accountability to Ottawa and institutions like our military. Rather than ask a question to have the Prime Minister read something back to me, I just want to say to Canadians, we will clean up this mess in Ottawa.
    Mr. Speaker, since the day we came to office in 2015, we have been focused on creating a fairer, more just Canada for everyone and that means standing up for women's rights. That means moving forward on fighting sexual harassment and discrimination in workplaces, including the Canadian Armed Forces. It means reconciliation. It means doing the hard lifting that had not been done over 10 years of a Conservative government.
    That is exactly what we have been focused on for the past five years. We have made significant progress, but absolutely, there is much more to do. We will continue to do the hard work of delivering for all Canadians.

  (1420)  

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, the only hard work the Prime Minister has been delivering on is for his friends. Yesterday, we learned the Prime Minister forced almost all Liberal MPs to give taxpayer dollars to his lifetime friend Tom Pitfield. Mr. Pitfield is not just the Prime Minister's buddy, he is also married to the former Liberal Party president. It certainly pays to be a Liberal insider in Ottawa these days.
    We know of at least 149 contracts given to Mr. Pitfield. Can the Prime Minister assure the House that no more government contracts went to him?
    Mr. Speaker, as all members in the House know, it is critical for members of Parliament to keep track of their constituents' concerns, the matters they bring to their attention and the issues that need to be addressed. All politicians do that. All members of Parliament do that.
    We have a data management system that is entirely separate from the functioning of political parties. That is something that continues to matter, and we have followed all the rules and principles that guide the separation of politics from the work for constituents.
    Mr. Speaker, the only thing the Prime Minister keeps track of is how his friends and insiders are doing, from SNC-Lavalin to the WE to Mr. Pitfield.
     Mr. Pitfield is the Prime Minister's lifetime friend. He stood in the Prime Minister's wedding party. They even took an illegal trip to a billionaire's island together.
    Canadians cannot afford more of this insider dealing and corruption. Can the Prime Minister assure the House that he never personally approved a contract with Tom Pitfield or Data Sciences?
    Mr. Speaker, throughout this pandemic, we have been focused on supporting Canadians who need help, and that is exactly what we have done. Whether it was the millions of Canadians helped by the Canada emergency response benefit or the expanded EI, or whether it was the workers in small businesses we have been able to support with the wage subsidy, our focus through this pandemic has been on being there for Canadians, and that is exactly what we have done.
    While Conservatives have nothing to do but try to sling mud and see what sticks, we are going to stay focused on Canadians. Let them focus on me. I will focus on people who really need the help right across the country.
    Mr. Speaker, we will see if this sticks.
    There is a contract from the Prime Minister, in this pandemic, to his good friend Mr. Pitfield. His office also ensured that 148 other members of Parliament gave taxpayer money to the Prime Minister's lifetime friend. In the midst of a pandemic, Mr. Pitfield runs a Liberal list. People need to be on a Liberal list to be a judge in the Liberal government's Canada.
    Will the Prime Minister apologize today for putting the interests of his friends ahead of the interests of Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, once again, the Conservatives will never let the facts get in the way of a good political attack, unfortunately. Canadians deserve better than that. Fortunately, we have a government that is entirely focused on that.
    In terms of managing the needs of our constituents, MPs across all different parties use database management systems to support Canadians. I can assure members that we are following all the rules in keeping those databases separate and, indeed, ensuring that House resources are used for constituency business and not political purposes. The other parties cannot say that the same way.

[Translation]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, once again, the Prime Minister is announcing measures at the border without thought to the consequences of his ad libbing.
    This time, he is loosening health guidelines for people who are fully vaccinated, but not for their children, who will still have to quarantine. There is also no easing of restrictions for people who contracted COVID‑19 and who are not allowed a second dose, nor for vaccinated international travellers. From start to finish, it is confusion and ad libbing.
    Has the Prime Minister learned nothing during the year and a half of the pandemic?
    Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, what we have presented is a gradual and responsible plan to reopen our borders.
    Starting July 5, we will allow every fully vaccinated traveller to forgo quarantine in order to facilitate a gradual reopening. We will have other measures to announce in the weeks to come, as Canadians get vaccinated, because our decisions are always based on the need to ensure, first and foremost, the health and safety of all Canadians—

  (1425)  

    The hon. member for Beloeil—Chambly.
    Mr. Speaker, it is not terribly clear for those who did not have to quarantine.
    The Prime Minister is telling us that everything he is announcing now will no longer be valid as of July 21. On July 21, in the middle of summer when no one is watching the news anymore, Ottawa is going to again change the rules and the way the border is managed and create even more confusion.
    We need clear rules. We need simple rules that have been agreed upon with Quebec public health. There are more variables in the way the borders are being managed than there are variants in the world.
    Can the Prime Minister explain how he is making reopening the borders even more confusing than closing them?
    Mr. Speaker, I know that the leader of the Bloc Québécois wants simple answers, but we are in the midst of a complicated pandemic. We are going to have to look at how vaccination efforts in Canada are going, what is happening with the variants across Canada, the new cases that are cropping up in various regions and what happening internationally.
    We will continue to proceed with a responsible reopening plan in partnership with the provinces and territories to ensure that we keep Canadians safe and healthy every step of the way. That is what people expect.

[English]

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, the military ombudsman stated that vested political interests complicate his office's ability to do its work. This is outrageous.
    He goes on to say that when the Liberal government refuses to listen to his office's recommendations in order to advance political interests, its self-preservation or career advancement, then members of the defence community suffer. Specifically, women suffer because there continues to be a climate that is conducive to sexual misconduct against women.
    What is it going to take for the Prime Minister to fix this?
    Mr. Speaker, since we arrived in power in 2015, we have been completely and totally committed to structural and cultural change in addressing sexual assault, all across Canada, including in the Canadian Armed Forces.
    Recently we have taken concrete actions on top of previous actions to address this, including naming Lieutenant-General Jennie Carignan as the chief of professional conduct and culture, appointing Louise Arbour to conduct an independent review of the treatment of sexual misconduct, and committing over $236 million in budget 2021 to combatting sexual misconduct in the CAF.
    We will do more. We will continue to work hard on this to end the culture of acceptance and tolerance of misogyny, and—
    The hon. member for Burnaby South.

[Translation]

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, I want to talk about the choices that this government and this Prime Minister are making. In a few weeks, the Prime Minister is going to cut assistance for people who need $800 a month, but he is not doing anything to prevent tax evasion by the ultra-rich. That is a choice.
    Why is the Prime Minister turning a blind eye to tax evasion by the ultra-rich while cutting assistance for people who need it?
    Mr. Speaker, from the start of this pandemic, we promised Canadians that we would be there with all the help they needed for as long as it takes. That is exactly what we are doing.
    We hope that the budget will be passed in the House by tomorrow so that we can continue to provide assistance to Canadians who need it in the coming months. I hope the NDP will support us.
    We will continue our work to combat tax evasion and tax avoidance because everyone needs to pay their fair share of taxes.

[English]

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians have come to expect the same thing from the Liberal government: constant scandals and ethical breaches and that Liberal insiders will always get the inside track.
    Now it has come out that Liberal MPs are funnelling taxpayer dollars to the Prime Minister's close friend Tom Pitfield, and for what? The Liberals do not even know. This could not fit the Liberal MO any better.
    Who coordinated this scheme for Liberal MPs to cut cheques to the Prime Minister's buddy?

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, is that the same guy who tried to shut down Parliament a couple of weeks ago? He is part of a group that refused to work longer hours to help Canadians. They filibustered important work we are doing for Canadians, and what are they doing now? They are just trying to change the channel. They should stop wasting time and help us help Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, I am glad the government House leader holds me in such high esteem that after he shut down Parliament during a pandemic and his members supported the prorogation and filibustered across all kinds of committees, he wants to talk about me instead of talking about the fact that he and his colleagues are funnelling taxpayer dollars to support Liberal Party back office and black ops. As we have seen before, whenever there is a racket to be run in the government, we can be sure that those closest to the Prime Minister are involved.
    Will the Prime Minister tell Canadians who gave the order for Liberal MPs to funnel taxpayer money to the PM's pal?
    Mr. Speaker, there they go again: personal attacks on well-respected individuals. They keep doing that. Why? They want to hide their failure. They refuse to work. We remember a couple of weeks ago when it was 10 a.m., when people go to work, and the Conservatives decided they had worked enough and should go home. They refuse to work longer hours to adopt important legislation and they filibuster. If they do not want to help, they should get out of the way and let us help Canadians.

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence is under fire again. This time, the military ombudsman, Gregory Lick, who reports directly to the minister, had this to say about the minister’s failure to act on military sexual misconduct: “When leaders turn a blind eye to our recommendations and concerns in order to advance political interests and their own self-preservation or career advancement, it is the members of the defence community that suffer the consequences”.
    Will the minister face reality, quit putting his own career ahead of the women and men in uniform, do the right thing and resign?
    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite continues to play political games. As he very well knows, from the time that I joined and the time that I left and currently, what I am doing is making sure we look after our troops. We know we have a lot more work to do. The work we began in 2015, we are going to get it done. Where the member opposite cut, when he was the parliamentary secretary for national defence when the Conservatives were in government, we invested. We have a lot more work to do, and we will get it done.
    Mr. Speaker, we know there have been two military ombudsmen who have said the defence minister has failed, and the defence minister refuses to acknowledge the anger of the victims, military members and his own ombudsman. The ombudsman was clear about the defence minister’s role in fanning the flames of the current crisis. He said:
…the actions of the Minister of National Defence, senior government and military officials have bitterly proved this point. The erratic behaviour of leadership defies common sense or reason. The concept of Ministerial accountability has been absent.
     Has the minister finally gotten the message? For the good of the Canadian Armed Forces, will he please, please resign?
    Mr. Speaker, I got the message way back when I was serving during the previous government when it cut the type of training that was absolutely necessary to prevent this type of work. When I got into politics in this party, we worked very hard to make sure that we can create an inclusive environment. It does not take just words; it takes actions, and we have been working very hard. We know that we have a lot more work to do. We are willing to get it done.
    With the work that Madam Louise Arbour will be doing, and many others, we will eventually come to a place where there is absolute inclusivity. We know there has to be work, and I ask the member opposite to stop playing politics and support our work.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Defence is in hot water again.
    The military ombudsman, Gregory Lick, who reports directly to the minister, had this to say about his failures to act on sexual misconduct in the Canadian Forces: “When leaders turn a blind eye to our recommendations and concerns in order to advance political interests and their own self-preservation or career advancement, it is the members of the defence community that suffer the consequences”.
    The minister continues to put his own interests ahead of those of Canadian Forces members. When will he resign?

  (1435)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite and his party can continue to play political games and continue their mudslinging and attacks. We will remain focused on survivors. We have a lot more work to do. As I stated, we have appointed former Supreme Court Justice Arbour to conduct an independent external review, with a mandate that includes looking at a more robust independent reporting mechanism that meets the needs of survivors.
    We will get this done. We are not going to take any lessons from the member opposite or the previous government.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the defence minister does not seem to grasp the seriousness of the problem. He refuses to even acknowledge the anger of the victims, the military and his own ombudsman.
    The ombudsman was clear about the minister's role, saying that he is the one who has been fuelling the problem. According to the ombudsman, “The erratic behaviour of leadership defies common sense or reason. The concept of ministerial accountability has been absent”.
    Does the minister understand that he has failed again? Will he do the right thing and resign?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we will stay focused on supporting survivors. We know that we have considerable work to do, but we also have started a lot of work. We passed Bill C-77, whereas the previous government let it die on the Order Paper. We have also committed $236 million in budget 2021 to end sexual misconduct. We will get it done.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it is both sad and striking to see that nobody on the other side of the House has the wherewithal to defend the minister.
    The defence ombudsman lashed out today. He said he was fed up with the fact that reports of sexual misconduct in the army are being shelved. As he put it, quote, “When leaders turn a blind eye to our recommendations and concerns in order to advance political interests and their own self-preservation or career advancement, it is the members of the defence community that suffer the consequences.” The ombudsman added, “It is clear that inaction is rewarded far more than action.” He said that this cannot persist.
     What will it take for the Prime Minister to fire his Minister of Defence and put him out of his misery?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we look forward to a further review of the ombudsman's report. That said, we are taking further action to eliminate sexual misconduct, including committing over $236 million in budget 2021. As I stated, Justice Louise Arbour will be conducting an independent review to make sure that we create a more robust independent reporting mechanism that meets the needs of survivors. She will provide recommendations that we are committed to implementing. We know that we have a lot more work to do and we are willing to get it done.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, that is pathetic. I agree with the ombudsman: this cannot persist. The ombudsman warned us that the system is broken, that the minister is not listening and that he is dismissing the ombudsman's concerns.
    The ombudsman warned us that people in the army who file complaints face retaliation from their superiors. The ombudsman warned us that the federal government commissions reports and then systematically shelves them. The ombudsman repeatedly accused the minister of protecting his own political interests rather than the victims.
    Given everything we know, how can it be that the Minister of Defence is still in office this afternoon?
    Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois should take a step back and watch what it says.
    We are talking about a man who dedicated his life to his country, a respected veteran, a man who is transforming how the Canadian Armed Forces work, a man who is focused on instituting a culture of zero tolerance for discrimination and harassment, a man who deserves our trust and respect.
    The Bloc Québécois should look itself in the mirror and stop resorting to such petty attacks.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, the government is disobeying four binding orders of the House and its committee. The situation is getting worse by the day. Through its disobedience, the government is verging on defying the rule of law.
    What hope do we have as a democracy to counter the rise of authoritarianism if our own government undermines our democracy and the rule of law?

  (1440)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, once again we see Conservatives showing no shame in playing politics with national security. In fact, we have provided documents to two separate committees: one in a way that is measured for taking into account national security preparations, and the other was a fully unredacted release of documents to NSICOP, where members and the committee itself have all of the national security measures in place. Conservatives should care about national security and stop playing politics.
    Mr. Speaker, why do Canadians send 338 of their fellow citizens to this chamber if its decisions are ignored? Why do we spend $400 million a year on Parliament if our votes do not mean anything? Why are we spending billions of dollars on the buildings in this precinct if the processes and procedures here do not amount to anything? Why do we vote to adopt orders if the government is going to ignore them? When will the government show some respect for Parliament and follow the order of this House to produce the documents related to the breaches at its Winnipeg lab?
    Mr. Speaker, as stated already, the documents have been provided to two separate committees.
    I have a question for the member opposite. Why does he refer to the work of NSICOP when it suits his needs in committee to prove a point, but when he is playing politics and it no longer suits him, he throws the integrity and the work of NSICOP under the bus? Canadians see through these partisan games and understand which party is willing to put national security at risk for a little bump in the polls.

Health

    Mr. Speaker, wow, that was awkward.
     The Liberals have a panel of scientists that provided clear advice on benchmarks for lifting federal COVID-19 restrictions. Families who are separated across the border, tourism operators, and hotel, airline and airport employees all need these benchmarks in order to work and have hope. Many countries around the world have already done this. There is anger in the community that the Liberal government has not provided these benchmarks yet. I have a very simple question: When will the Liberals provide benchmarks for lifting federal COVID-19 restrictions?
    Mr. Speaker, the only thing awkward is the Conservatives' policy when it comes to border measures. On social media, they say “tighten the border measures”. In the House, they say “loosen all restrictions” without any basis in science or evidence.
     The approach we are taking is a cautious one. All Canadians are very excited to see life start to return to normal. Canadians have stepped up to get vaccinated and followed local public health measures, and we are not going to sacrifice that work based on the political games being played by Conservatives. We are going to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives, and we are going to do so based on science and evidence.
    Mr. Speaker, the answer from the parliamentary secretary was really disrespectful to families who are separated across borders and to airline and airport employees, who just want a plan. They want benchmarks, and there is science to support those benchmarks. In fact, the government's own expert panel provided these benchmarks.
    The hotel quarantine program is not scientific. It is not based in any fact. People need hope. I am asking the parliamentary secretary to take the concerns of these groups really seriously, to resist the urge to provide that partisan response, and just explain to Canadians when the Liberals will provide benchmarks for lifting federal COVID-19 restrictions—
    The hon. minister.
    Mr. Speaker, once again, we have taken the concerns of Canadians seriously throughout this pandemic. It is the opposition members and their own caucus who cannot seem to get their story straight when it comes to which measures they want to follow.
    We are guided by science and evidence every step of the way. Throughout this pandemic, we have had to adapt and adjust as the virus changed. We have done so to keep Canadians safe and save lives.
    While the members opposite want to play politics, we are taking this virus seriously and have put in place a cautious approach to make sure the hard work all Canadians have done is not lost. That is what our government is committed to. We are taking care of Canadians. The Conservatives continue to play politics.

  (1445)  

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, imagine Canada recognizing the asylum claims of refugees, only for them to be told their children must wait patiently in an environment where they are at risk. The processing times for dependants of asylum seekers is 39 months. Right now, from Gaza alone, there are at least 10 refugees in Canada who have been separated from their loved ones for over two years. The Canadian Council for Refugees is calling on the government to uphold the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child with a six-month processing target. Will the minister immediately issue temporary resident visas to get them to safety and reunite them with their loved ones?
    Mr. Speaker, since forming government in 2015, we have doubled the number of refugees in comparison to the last Conservative government. We have introduced and expanded pathways for Yazidis and survivors of Daesh, guardian angels and Afghan Sikhs. This year, we have already extended protected status to roughly 20,000 people. That is nearly double what the Conservatives did in their last year of government in 2015 in half the time.
    I am proud of the work this government has done in upholding human rights through our asylum systems and we will continue to do that.

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, Canada has been in mourning since 215 children, victims of Canada's genocide, were found at the Kamloops residential school. First nations are pushing to bring their children home, but the Liberals are nowhere. They are recycling old announcements and expecting first nations to investigate genocide themselves. The current Prime Minister pretends he is a human rights champion globally, but here in Canada he is part of the problem with respect to human rights. When will he drop the empty symbolism, listen to first nations, establish independent oversight and provide adequate support, including bringing in the ICMP as called for by the Pimicikamak Cree Nation?
    Mr. Speaker, all Canadians have been heartbroken since we learned of the remains at the former Kamloops residential school. We are working with all of our partners and this morning we were able to announce $4.88 million for the FSIN to be able to begin its work. The engagements must be indigenous-led, community-based and survivor- and family-centric, as well as culturally sensitive. That is what the community wants and that is what we are here to support.

Small Business

    Mr. Speaker, my constituents in Guelph are proud of our local small businesses and entrepreneurs. Budget 2021 sets us up for a strong, inclusive and sustainable economic recovery, ensuring that we are supporting local businesses through our actions. Just yesterday, the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade announced the shop local initiative. Can the minister inform the House how shop local will help promote consumer confidence and provide growth for local small businesses?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his strong advocacy for small businesses in Guelph and indeed across Canada.
    Our government knows that small businesses are the backbone of the economy and will be critical to our recovery from COVID‑19. As the economy begins to open safely, our $33-million investment in the shop local initiative will encourage Canadians to shop at their local businesses, supporting those entrepreneurs and helping them recovery more quickly.
    From day one we have been there for businesses every step of the way throughout this pandemic and we will continue to support them in this recovery.

[Translation]

Employment

    Mr. Speaker, the job market gives us the worst of both worlds. On one hand, there are another half a million workers out of work. On the other hand, there are half a million vacant positions. According to a Statistics Canada report, there are more unfilled positions now than before the pandemic.
    Why did the government implement policies that prevent the unemployed from working?

  (1450)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have a long and storied history of accusing Canadians of being lazy. I remember, as an Atlantic Canadian, when Stephen Harper described our culture as one of defeat and tried to pass policies that would not support middle-class Canadians during their time of need. That has characterized the Conservative approach to the management of the pandemic and the economic losses that have stemmed from it.
    Canadians can rest assured that, from the beginning of this pandemic to its end, we will be there for them in their time of need. The member's leader opposed programs that helped keep food on the table for nine million Canadians and kept five million workers on the payroll. We are here for Canadians, and we have their backs until the end.
    Mr. Speaker, that member's heart bursts with so much generosity that he had no problem with the original CERB, which kicked people off benefits the second they dared earn more than $1,000. That is not compassion.
    Our people want paycheques, but what we are learning today is that we have the worst of both worlds. Not only are there half a million more people without jobs, there are a half a million jobs without workers. The Liberals, of course, have mismanaged the labour market policy to block Canadians from job opportunities.
    Why are they preventing Canadians who want a paycheque from getting one?
    Mr. Speaker, from the very beginning of this pandemic, the Conservatives have opposed our emergency supports that were designed to keep workers on the payroll and help families keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. In fact, that member held a press conference so that he could declare Conservatives do not support big, fat government programs. His leader has spoken at length about his opposition to the CERB, which helped feed nine million Canadian families and, last night, the Conservatives voted against measures that were going to continue to support households and business and, indeed, ensure that Canadians going forward would have a source of funds so they can earn paycheques.
    I will not take lessons from the Conservatives when it comes to economic management in an emergency. This government has had Canadians' backs and will until the end of this pandemic.

Public Services and Procurement

    Mr. Speaker, Canada is still playing catch-up with the rest of the world because of the government's hapless vaccine procurement. Small businesses still do not know if they are going to lose a second summer season, and the government has not produced a pathway to normalcy, especially for small businesses that depend on an open border for tourism.
    I do not know how many times we have had to ask, and maybe today is going to be the day: Will this government finally table a real plan for a safe, permanent reopening?
    Mr. Speaker, evidently the member opposite is not aware that Canada is first in the G20 and the G7 for the percentage of population with one dose of vaccine. We have delivered 36 million doses to the provinces and territories, and 76% of eligible Canadians have had one dose. We are going to have 50 million vaccines in this country before the end of June and 68 million before the end of July.
    I do not think that is hapless work. That is work focused on Canadians, and we will keep doing it.

[Translation]

Seniors

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government promised seniors an increase in their pensions, and rightly so, since many of them struggled during the pandemic.
    However, to everyone’s surprise, it decided to give it only to those 75 years of age and older. Through its lack of logic, the government is creating two classes of seniors.
    What does the government have to say to Colette in Saint-Georges, who is 68, and to many other Beauce residents who are struggling financially?
     When will the Liberals do the right thing and make 65-year-olds eligible for the same increase?
    Mr. Speaker, we are well aware that seniors have different needs and are more likely to use up their savings, have disabilities and need more hospital care, all while health care costs are rising.
    Half of all seniors 75 and older have a disability, of which half are severe. Fifty-seven percent are women and four out of ten are widows. Our plan will help us address these pressures, while delivering on our promise to increase old age security for those 75 and over by 10% in July 2022.

Employment Insurance

    Mr. Speaker, people who are suffering from illnesses like cancer do not have the energy to worry about their finances.
    However, that is exactly what happens when the EI system fails people who are suffering in the middle of their treatment. Benefits are sometimes needed for up to 50 weeks, which is why the Bloc Québécois introduced Bill C-265. All parties, including the Liberals, supported it in committee. The only thing missing is for the government to give the royal recommendation to the bill.
    Will it grant the royal recommendation and finally ensure adequate support for people who are sick?

  (1455)  

     Mr. Speaker, Canadians expect and deserve to have an employment insurance plan that is flexible and meets their needs. Employment insurance sickness benefits are an important support for Canadians who have to stay home from work because of an illness or injury.
    Workers who receive major treatments or who need more time to heal will benefit from the measure in budget 2021 to extend EI benefits from 15 to 26 weeks. This extension will provide nearly 169,000 Canadians every year with additional time and flexibility.
    Mr. Speaker, the government is offering half of what sick people need. Not everyone needs 50 weeks of benefits to recover from an illness, but limiting benefits to 15 or even 26 weeks means leaving those who are suffering the most out in the cold, and the government knows it.
     That goes against the values of every member of the House. I am appealing to the government's sense of compassion. Will it give Bill C‑265 the royal recommendation so that we can pass it at last and tell sick people that their elected representatives are on their side?
    Mr. Speaker, for workers undergoing major treatment or needing more time to recover from an illness or injury, that gap from when their benefits run out to when they are well enough to return to work is a financially stressful time.
    That is why, in budget 2021, we are extending EI sickness benefits from 15 to 26 weeks. This extension will provide nearly 169,000 Canadians every year with additional time and flexibility.

[English]

International Development

    Mr. Speaker, on August 3, 2014, the Prime Minister publicly committed that he would support a humanitarian initiative led by Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish named Heal100Kids, to get 100 Palestinian children from Gaza to Canada for medical treatment. Since then, the Liberal government has ignored repeated requests for follow-up and help. This type of inaction and broken promises, saying one thing to get elected and then not following through afterward, is something that Canadians have seen time and time again from the current Liberal government.
    When will the government stop ignoring Dr. Abuelaish's request for help and follow through on the Prime Minister's own commitment to provide these children with the assistance they need?
    Mr. Speaker, I am glad to see the member opposite, for the first time, stand up on behalf of Palestinian children, because until now in this House he has been constantly asking the government to defund Anera, but, as he knows, it provides education for 500,000 Palestinian children. In fact, this government has been sure to provide services that will protect and uphold the human rights of Palestinian children, and we will continue to do so. I am glad to see the member opposite, for the first time, showing concern for Palestinian children.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, in a June 2020 industry committee meeting, a witness from CSIS highlighted how today's spies wear “lab coats, not just trench coats.” The Liberal government is withholding documents concerning two federal scientists connected to the Chinese military, one of whom oversaw virus transfers to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Canadians deserve answers.
    Will the Liberals finally release documents this House has demanded and ordered four times, or will the cover-up continue?
    Mr. Speaker, once again, only the Conservatives can accuse a government of a cover-up, when we actually provided all of the documents to two separate committees. One was with redactions to protect national security and another in a completely unredacted form. It is unfortunate that the Conservative members did not trust their own committee representation on that committee. I served with them; they did good work and it is a shame that Conservatives are more focused on innuendo and conspiracy theories than doing the job of parliamentarians in this House and protecting the national security of all Canadians.

  (1500)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government is continuing its cover-up by preventing us, the parliamentarians, from getting all the facts about the firing of two scientists from the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.
    Yesterday, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons even insulted the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel by stating that he did not have the necessary training or expertise to assess the documents we requested.
    Will the Liberals respect the will of the House, or will they brandish the threat of a hasty election in the hope that this will all blow over?
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague forgot to mention that we provided different options, which you are currently exploring.
    The government obviously recognizes the fundamental role and rights of Parliament and parliamentarians, but it also recognizes the importance of protecting our national security and keeping certain things secret.
    Therefore, we must find a solution. Unlike my colleague, who is trying to play petty politics by finger-pointing, we are providing options for you to explore. I hope that we will be able to work together.

Persons with Disabilities

    Mr. Speaker, the pandemic highlighted the disparities that persons with disabilities face in terms of their health, financial security and social well-being.
    Fortunately, our government was there to protect the financial security of Canadians with disabilities through programs like the one-time payment, CERB and the disability portion of the Canada emergency student benefit. We also presented the first disability inclusion action plan.
    Can the minister update the House on what our government is doing to support Canadians with disabilities?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Alfred-Pellan for his work on behalf of persons with disabilities.
    Since 2015, our government has taken historic measures to create an inclusive Canada for persons with disabilities. Our 2020-21 budget focuses on measures that embody the “nothing without us” principle. We are investing in accessible communities, training and job creation, students with disabilities, and inclusive child care services.
    This morning, we introduced a bill to establish the Canada disability benefit. This important bill will help reduce poverty and provide financial security for Canadians with disabilities.
    With an inclusive approach, everyone wins.

[English]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday on the issue of gun violence, after the tragic Etobicoke shooting that seriously injured an 11-year-old, a five-year-old and a one-year-old, the minister of public safety stated that his government's approach to banning firearms owned by law-abiding citizens would curb such violence, yet his government introduced Bill C-22, which weakens penalties for gun crimes by eliminating mandatory minimum sentences.
    Can the minister of public safety please explain how weakening penalties for gun crimes somehow reduces gun crime?
    Mr. Speaker, to be very clear, we promised Canadians that we would strengthen gun control. We are in the process of doing that. We know that the Conservatives have promised the gun lobby that they would weaken gun laws, and I believe that is a very serious mistake.
    I also want to be clear that ensuring we eliminate the systemic and structural racism that exists throughout the criminal justice system is another way to improve public safety in our communities. It would ensure that all Canadians are treated in a just and fair way, and are given opportunities to participate fulsomely in our communities and in our society. Success for everyone in Canada is an important part of our strategy for keeping Canadians safe.

Health

    Mr. Speaker, as I represent a border community, I hear daily from families and business owners who need to cross the border. This requires a 14-day quarantine, a three-day lockdown and substandard fare, all at their own expense. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister enjoys 12 hours in a posh hotel of his choosing at the taxpayers' expense. There is one set of rules for regular Canadians and another for him and his entourage.
    When will the Prime Minister present a plan to safely reopen the borders?
    Mr. Speaker, we are all incredibly excited as we start to see life post-COVID. That is precisely why we have started to release or adjust some of the border measures, but we are going to do this in a cautious, responsible manner to ensure that all of the hard work and all of the sacrifices that Canadians have made are not lost. We are so grateful that Canadians continue to step up to get vaccinated and follow local public health guidelines. By doing so, we are going to get through this. We are going to save lives.
     We are going to follow the science and evidence to make sure that Canadians are safe.

  (1505)  

Public Services and Procurement

    Mr. Speaker, my riding of Red Deer—Mountain View is now almost fully open, despite the Liberal government's total failure to address the COVID-19 pandemic. We have succeeded because we are Albertans. Not only is Alberta now leading the way when it comes to vaccinations and reopening our economy, but we are poised to lead the way for an economic recovery across Canada providing the Liberal government gets out of the way.
    Why does the Liberal government ignore Alberta's leadership role and continually punish it with draconian measures like Bill C-69?
    Mr. Speaker, every step of the way the federal government has been supporting the provinces and territories in order to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. In terms of PPE, we procured 2.7 billion items of PPE for the provinces and territories, and 40% of those contracts by dollar value are with Canadian companies, including companies from Alberta. We have procured over 100 million vaccines, 50 million of which will have arrived by the end of June. The Conservatives take credit for our vaccine procurement on one hand and they criticize our procurement of PPE and vaccines on the other. Which one is it? I would like to know.
     Mr. Speaker, it is 2030 and I want to remind Canadians that the Conservatives were at the top of the mountain claiming that we would not get vaccines for years. The Leader of the Opposition and the health critic stood in this place and said we would not be getting vaccines for years: until about 2030, I believe. This is the same party that did not believe that we would meet the targets that we are now exceeding. Let us get to the point and let us get the record straight.
    Can the Minister of Public Services and Procurement tell the House how her hard work was able to deliver a well-thought-out vaccine plan and update us on where we are in the process?
    Mr. Speaker, while the opposition criticizes and then takes credit for our vaccine procurement, I am working on getting millions of doses into Canada as early as possible. This week alone, we are receiving 5.2 million doses from Pfizer and Moderna. We are on track to receive 50 million doses by the end of June and more than 68 million doses by the end of July. Canada continues to lead the world in vaccines because of hard work, and that is what I will continue to focus on.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, first nations in B.C. are announcing their intention to take back control of resource stewardship on their traditional territories. Many of these territories contain ancient, old-growth rainforests and watersheds that are critical to our planet's biodiversity and are important in fighting climate change. The nature legacy program's budget and priorities are not nearly enough to support indigenous-led initiatives to protect ancient, old-growth stands.
    Will the Minister of Environment and Climate Change commit to providing the necessary resources and work with first nations that wish to create a conservation economy that protects these critical ecosystems?

  (1510)  

    Mr. Speaker, this government has made historic investments in protecting nature. Over the course of the past number of years, both marine and terrestrial, we have piloted, in partnership with indigenous peoples, many indigenous conservation protected areas as part of that conservation agenda. It is extremely important on the path forward. We have committed to 30% protection by 2030 and are working very closely with provinces and territories, and with indigenous peoples across this country, to ensure that we are doing what science tells us we must, which is protect biodiversity and stop the decline that has been happening over the past number of decades.

Health

    Mr. Speaker, last week I hosted a parliamentary press conference on the censorship of Canadian doctors and medical experts. Their testimony was truly shocking.
     Unfortunately, Facebook stopped my livestream in mid-conference. Despite this, the full press conference is now the most viewed video in history on CPAC's YouTube channel, with over 500,000 views. However, Facebook and Twitter are still restricting the sharing of this video on their platforms.
     Given the importance to democracy of Canadians seeing official parliamentary functions, does the minister denounce this censorship by big tech?
    Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the dissemination of misinformation regarding this pandemic, I think the member opposite should understand his role and responsibility as a parliamentarian, and the trust that his constituents place in him.
    This pandemic is serious. It requires a serious response. I would urge him to follow the rules. If Facebook would not even allow what he is saying to be put up, perhaps he should rethink his choices.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties, and if you seek it, I believe you will find unanimous consent for the following motion, which is consistent with the unanimous report that the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development tabled in the House: That the House call for dialogue between representatives of the Tibetan people, His Holiness the Dalai Lama or his representatives, the Central Tibetan Administration and the government of the People's Republic of China with a view to enabling Tibet to exercise genuine autonomy within the framework of the Chinese constitution.
    All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. As I mentioned in my question, I had a parliamentary press conference that was censored by Facebook. People have reached out to me to say that they are unable to share it. That is problematic. Anything that goes on in the House should be able to be shared freely by Canadians.
     I would like to seek unanimous consent for the following motion: That the House recognize that the House of Commons itself and the Parliament of Canada are a bastion of democracy and free speech; that members of Parliament enjoy special parliamentary privileges overseeing their ability to speak freely in Parliament, to discharge their duties freely and without constraint; that any Canadian seeking to share digital content of parliamentary functions should be able to do so freely and without constraint; that the government must strongly defend the rights of parliamentarians against the outside interference of social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter; and I call on the government to recognize that any potential suppression of information or censorship of parliamentary events, such as official press conferences, must not be allowed to happen and to officially sanction Facebook and Twitter for their actions.
    All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.
    An hon. member: Nay.
    Mr. Speaker, I believe the Minister of International Development may want to correct her comments. She said some things that were misleading to the House. She suggested that I had not ever previously raised the plight of Palestinian people from a humanitarian perspective. I will draw her attention to my intervention at committee on June 3 of this year as well as a speech I gave in the House on June 12 of—

  (1515)  

    I am going to interrupt. I believe that is debate to correct information.
    An hon. member: It was misleading the House.
    The Speaker: Order please. I want to remind hon. members, whether they are in person or virtual, to please take into consideration what they are saying. We do not want anything inflammatory said that is going to cause problems in the House.

Points of Order

Statements by Members  

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, I had technical difficulties and could not complete my S.O. 31 as a result. I would ask for unanimous consent to do it now.
    All those opposed to the hon. member's request for unanimous consent will please say nay.
    Mr. Speaker, in the past, you have not required unanimous consent to allow a member redo his or her statement. I expect you would apply the same logic this time.
    I do not have a problem with it. The hon. member asked for unanimous consent. If he wants to retract that, I will allow him to go ahead.
    I would be happy to retract that, Mr. Speaker.
    Since there were technical difficulties, we will allow the member to go ahead.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, approximately 3,000 families in Canada are affected by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. Every year, 1,000 Canadians die from this disease.
    Sometimes, we can put a human face on these statistics. That was the case five years ago when we lost our dear friend and colleague, Mauril Bélanger, to ALS.

[English]

    It sadly became the case again for me this past weekend when my friend Daniel Rousseau passed away from ALS, leaving in mourning his loving family, Kelly and their three teenaged sons.
     Daniel was an exceptional man. He never, not once, succumbed to self-pity, but, rather, he exuded gratitude. He and his family have been models of grace from the early diagnosis of ALS right to his passing last weekend.

[Translation]

    Daniel and Kelly advocated for the need to give Canadians fair, fast and affordable access to treatment. That is why I am rising today during ALS Awareness Month to honour the memory of my friend Daniel and to recommit to working for a future without ALS.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would like to clarify the record. The Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations in question period talked about $48.8 million being given to Saskatchewan first nations. That number is incorrect. It is in fact—
    That is beginning to turn into debate. A point of order is for referring to one of the Standing Orders and how it is contravened. Members often forget that and we get caught up, and that is fine. I thought I would point that out to remind hon. members.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

  (1520)  

[English]

Criminal Code

     The House resumed from June 21 consideration of the motion that Bill C-6, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (conversion therapy), be read the third time and passed.
    It being 3:17 p.m., pursuant to the order made on Monday, January 25, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at third reading stage of Bill C-6.

[Translation]

    Call in the members.

  (1530)  

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

(Division No. 175)

YEAS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Alghabra
Alleslev
Anand
Anandasangaree
Angus
Arnold
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Atwin
Bachrach
Badawey
Bagnell
Bains
Baker
Baldinelli
Barsalou-Duval
Battiste
Beaulieu
Beech
Bendayan
Bennett
Bergeron
Berthold
Bérubé
Bessette
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Blaney (North Island—Powell River)
Blaney (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis)
Blois
Boudrias
Boulerice
Bratina
Brière
Brunelle-Duceppe
Cannings
Carr
Carrie
Casey
Chabot
Chagger
Champagne
Champoux
Charbonneau
Chen
Chong
Cormier
Cumming
Dabrusin
Damoff
Dancho
Davidson
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Deltell
d'Entremont
Desbiens
Desilets
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Dong
Dowdall
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duvall
Dzerowicz
Easter
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Erskine-Smith
Fergus
Fillmore
Findlay
Finnigan
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fortin
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Garneau
Garrison
Gaudreau
Gazan
Généreux
Gerretsen
Gill
Godin
Gould
Gourde
Green
Guilbeault
Hajdu
Hardie
Harris
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Ien
Jaczek
Jeneroux
Johns
Joly
Jones
Jordan
Jowhari
Julian
Kelloway
Kelly
Kent
Khalid
Khera
Koutrakis
Kram
Kusmierczyk
Kwan
Lake
Lalonde
Lambropoulos
Lametti
Lamoureux
Larouche
Lattanzio
Lauzon
Lawrence
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lefebvre
Lehoux
Lemire
Liepert
Lightbound
Long
Longfield
Louis (Kitchener—Conestoga)
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacGregor
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maguire
Maloney
Manly
Marcil
Martel
Martinez Ferrada
Masse
Mathyssen
May (Cambridge)
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McCrimmon
McDonald
McGuinty
McKay
McKenna
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLean
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
McLeod (Northwest Territories)
McPherson
Melillo
Mendès
Mendicino
Michaud
Miller
Monsef
Moore
Morantz
Morrissey
Murray
Nater
Ng
Normandin
O'Connell
Oliphant
O'Regan
O'Toole
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Perron
Petitpas Taylor
Plamondon
Poilievre
Powlowski
Qaqqaq
Qualtrough
Ratansi
Rayes
Regan
Reid
Rempel Garner
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Ruff
Sahota (Calgary Skyview)
Sahota (Brampton North)
Saini
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sangha
Sarai
Savard-Tremblay
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Schmale
Schulte
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Shipley
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Simard
Simms
Singh
Sorbara
Spengemann
Stanton
Ste-Marie
Tabbara
Tassi
Thériault
Therrien
Trudeau
Trudel
Turnbull
Van Bynen
van Koeverden
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vaughan
Vecchio
Vignola
Virani
Webber
Weiler
Wilkinson
Wilson-Raybould
Yip
Young
Zahid
Zann
Zuberi

Total: -- 263


NAYS

Members

Allison
Barlow
Barrett
Benzen
Bergen
Bezan
Block
Bragdon
Calkins
Chiu
Cooper
Dalton
Diotte
Dreeshen
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Gallant
Genuis
Gladu
Gray
Harder
Hoback
Jansen
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kurek
Kusie
Lewis (Essex)
Lloyd
Lobb
Lukiwski
MacKenzie
Mazier
McColeman
Morrison
Motz
Patzer
Redekopp
Rood
Saroya
Scheer
Shields
Shin
Sloan
Soroka
Steinley
Strahl
Stubbs
Sweet
Tochor
Van Popta
Vidal
Viersen
Vis
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Williamson
Wong
Yurdiga
Zimmer

Total: -- 63


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

    (Bill read the third time and passed)

[English]

Ethics Commissioner Report in Relation to Member for Don Valley East

     Pursuant to subsection 28(9) of the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons, Appendix I to the Standing Orders, the hon. member for Don Valley East, who is the subject of a report of the Ethics Commissioner previously tabled in the House, has the right to make a statement. The member shall not speak for more than 20 minutes and there will be no period of questions and comments.
    I now invite the hon. member for Don Valley East to address the House.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to comment on the recently released report of the Ethics Commissioner. My intention is not to comment on his conclusion and recommendations, but rather to help put the situation in context.
    The past many months have been difficult, to say the least, for me and my family. They have indeed been a struggle, and I am grateful to family, friends, colleagues and individual Canadians who have supported me through this ordeal.
    I would like to thank the thousands of supporters who have believed in me and encouraged me to stay strong. I would also like to thank the various multi-faith groups and ecumenical groups that I have worked with, the constituents of Don Valley East and the numerous well-wishers for their support. As well, I would like to thank the senators and MPs who have stood by me and guided me.
    As I read through the report, something very obvious jumped out at me. It gave me reason to pause. With the encouragement of many Muslim scholars and ecumenical friends, I have decided to speak in the House.
    The Ethics Commissioner's report states, “Ms. Khatri was not considered a family member for the purposes of the Code.” He says the evidence gathered is that “Ms. Khatri is in fact her foster sister", and that Ms. Khatri is neither my biological nor adopted sister.
    He further goes on to state:
    Ms. Ratansi did not appear to have furthered her own private interests or those of a member of her family since the Code does not include siblings in its definition of “family members.”
    She submits that the documentary evidence provided shows that there is no legal bond between her and Ms. Khatri, including for the purposes of the By-law...[and the] relationship falls outside the applicable definitions in the Code and the By-law as presently worded.
    Further on he states that the code is ambiguous and that “as a pri