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43rd PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 047

CONTENTS

Thursday, December 10, 2020




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 150
No. 047
2nd SESSION
43rd PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer



Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1005)  

[Translation]

Parliamentary Budget Officer

    Pursuant to subsection 79.2(2) of the Parliament of Canada Act, it is my duty to present to the House a report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer entitled “Fall Economic Statement 2020: Issues for Parliamentarians”.

[English]

    Pursuant to Standing Order 32(5), this report is deemed permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Finance.

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 responses to five petitions. These returns will be tabled in an electronic format.

[Translation]

Canada Elections Act

Hon. Mona Fortier (for the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs)  
     moved for leave to introduce Bill C-19, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (COVID-19 response).

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

[English]

Committees of the House

Public Accounts 

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, entitled, “Follow-up Audit on the Transportation of Dangerous Goods”.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
     I also have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, entitled “Supplying the Canadian Armed Forces”.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.

[Translation]

Foreign Affairs and International Development  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development entitled “Good Friday Accord”.

[English]

International Trade  

     Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on International Trade, entitled “Trade Between Canada and the United Kingdom: A Potential Transitional Trade Agreement—Interim Report”.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the Standing Committee on International Trade's clerk, analysts and colleagues for helping prepare this interim report. Attached to it is the supplementary opinion of the official opposition.
    The Conservative Party of Canada congratulates our Canadian negotiating team for announcing a trade agreement with the United Kingdom. However, we are concerned with the government's lack of transparency on the details, lack of proactive and robust consultation with business and labour and lack of planning to allow parliamentarians in the House of Commons, at committee and in the Senate proper time to scrutinize the potential legislation before the end of the year, when the CETA's application to the U.K. ends.
    In this supplementary opinion, we respectfully list recommendations for the government to consider in the immediate and long term regarding the next steps in trade between Canada and the United Kingdom, including to begin work to negotiate a successor agreement that is good for Canada and good for Canadians.

[Translation]

    For the petitions, we will do the same thing we did yesterday and begin with the members who are online.
    I would like to remind hon. members to keep their comments brief so that all members who want to present a petition can do so.

[English]

Petitions

Inland Waters  

    Mr. Speaker, I am presenting a petition today on behalf of Canadians concerned about the state of our waterways and watersheds, otherwise known as inland waters. They have been neglected over the period of the last few decades.
    The petitioners call on Canada to update our laws related to inland waters and take into account their essential nature and how tied they are to the health of the nation. They call on us to also ensure that no industry or corporation can take precedence over the health of our waterways and watersheds.

Human Rights  

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to present a petition about a really a horrific situation that highlights the human rights abuses of Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims in China.
    The petitioners highlight the recent Associated Press story that identifies forced abortion, forced insertion of IUDs and forced sterilization targeting Uighur women as part of an effort to reduce the Uighur population. The Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development has recently identified that these acts constitute genocide.
    The petitioners have two asks of the government. First, they call on the government to recognize that these acts constitute a genocide, in line with the recommendations of the subcommittee. Second, they are calling for the use of Magnitsky sanctions, through the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act, targeting those involved in gross violations of human rights. These are the two asks of the petition, and I commend it for the consideration of the House and all members.

  (1010)  

Firearms  

    Mr. Speaker, today I am honoured to present three petitions from my constituents in Markham—Unionville. The petitioners acknowledge the growing use of smuggled guns used in crimes and call on the Liberal government to support my bill, Bill C-238, an act to amend the Criminal Code (possession of unlawfully imported firearms), and to take more action to stop the flow of illegal firearms across the border. I hope the government takes these calls to heart.

Human Rights  

    Mr. Speaker, in case the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands is listening, I loved her S.O. 31 about the night before Christmas and I encourage her to listen to mine tomorrow.
    I am presenting a petition on the same subject the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan presented. It is with regard to Uighurs in China. The petitioners request the Parliament of Canada to take two actions: first, to formally recognize they have been and are being subject to an ongoing genocide and, second, to use Magnitsky act sanctions on Chinese officials involved in this genocide.
    Mr. Speaker, today is international Human Rights Day, and while the Standing Orders do clearly state that an individual presenting a petition ought not give their position on the petition, it is extremely difficult in this case as, in East Turkestan, there is a genocide going on against the Uighur Muslims at this time. A committee of the House of Commons has ascertained that.
    The petitioners ask the House to recognize that Uighurs in China are facing a genocide and to use the tools we have in the Magnitsky act to bring about sanctions to end the genocide.

Physician-Assisted Dying  

    Mr. Speaker, I have three petitions to present.
    The first is a petition from citizens who are concerned about Bill C-7's further removing safeguards from the current euthanasia regime. They are calling on the House of Commons to restore the 10-day reflection period for people whose death has been determined to be reasonably foreseeable, restore the original requirement that a person must give consent for the life-ending procedure immediately before it is performed, restore the original requirements for the signature of two witnesses, require medical professionals to do everything possible to enable a person to access life-affirming services and accommodate persons with communication disabilities by clarifying refusal or resistance to administration of physical-assisted death.

Human Rights  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition is in regard to the Uighurs and the suppression of their community by the Chinese Communist Party and the oppression they are facing.
    The petitioners are calling on Canada not to remain silent and to ensure we formally recognize that Uighurs in China are being subject to genocide. They call on the use of the Magnitsky act for sanctions.

Human Organ Trafficking  

    Mr. Speaker, my final petition concerns the human trafficking of organs and the removal of organs from victims without their consent. It is abhorrent that individuals are able to travel overseas to receive this medical aid that is being brought forward in an unethical way.
    The petitioners call on the government to prohibit Canadians from travelling abroad to acquire human organs removed without consent or as a result of financial transaction and to render inadmissible to Canada any and all permanent residents or foreign nationals who have participated in this abhorrent trade in human organs.

  (1015)  

Afghan Minority Communities  

    Mr. Speaker, I have three petitions to table.
    The first is an urgent plea from Sikhs and Hindus in Canada and Afghanistan. They draw the attention of the House to the fact that at one time there were hundreds of thousands of Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan and today there are fewer than 5,000. They note that a recent bombing killed leaders from both communities.
    They are calling on the Minister of Immigration to exercise his powers to allow vulnerable minorities, such as these Hindus and Sikhs from Afghanistan, to come to Canada as privately sponsored refugees.

Human Organ Trafficking  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition addresses the issue of organ harvesting. The petitioners are calling upon the House to move quickly on proposed legislation that would prohibit Canadians from travelling abroad to acquire human organs that have been removed without consent.

Human Rights  

    Mr. Speaker, the third petition addresses the plight of Uighurs in eastern China and the persecution they face from the communist regime in Beijing.
    The petitioners are calling on the House to do two things: first, formally recognize that Uighurs in Canada have been and are being subject to genocide and, second, use the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act, also called the Magnitsky act, to sanction those who are responsible for the heinous crimes against Uighurs.

Farmers' Protests in India  

    Mr. Speaker, today I am tabling a petition from my constituents in the greatest riding in Canada, Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon. They are concerned for the safety of farmers from the Indian states of Punjab and Haryana who are protesting domestic legislative changes affecting their livelihoods.
    Legislative independence of sovereign nations must be respected, but Canada will always stand for the protection of fundamental freedoms both at home and around the world. I stand with farmers in India who are peacefully protesting. I stand with the protesters in Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon. Without farmers, we do not have food.

Human Rights  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to present a few petitions this morning.
    The first petition has been presented by a number of my colleagues, and I want to add my petition to this issue. The petitioners from across Canada are calling for a formal recognition of the genocide of the Uighur population that is occurring in China. The petitioners are very concerned about this genocide. They are also calling for the government to use the Magnitsky act to hold the corrupt foreign officials in China to account for the genocide against the Uighur people.

  (1020)  

Human Organ Trafficking  

    Mr. Speaker, the next petition I have to present today is from Canadians across the country who are concerned about forced organ harvesting, which is happening around the world. They are calling for the passage of Bill S-204. This bill would prevent Canadians from travelling abroad to purchase organs that have been illegally harvested.

Afghan Minority Communities  

    Mr. Speaker, the next petition I have today is bringing awareness of the Hindus and Sikhs who are living in Afghanistan and are being persecuted. Petitioners are calling on the government to recognize this and allow for private sponsorship of these refugees, so they can come to Canada and live here in Canada.

Firearms  

    Mr. Speaker, the next petition I have to present today is from Canadians across the country. These Canadians are concerned about the health and well-being of Canadian firearms owners.
    They recognize the importance of owning firearms, but recognize the impacts of hearing loss caused by the noise levels of firearms. They seek a noise-reduction apparatus. These petitioners acknowledge that we are the only country in the G7 that does not have a noise-reduction apparatus available, and they are calling for this to be allowed here in Canada for the safety of our sport shooters and hunters.

Sex Selection  

    Mr. Speaker, the next petition I have is from Canadians across the country who are concerned about gendercide, which is happening here in Canada. They are calling on the Canadian government to recognize it and to pass laws preventing the abortion of girls specifically because they are girls, which is, again, happening right here in Canada.

Medical Assistance in Dying  

    Mr. Speaker, the final petition I have here today is from Canadians from across Canada. They are calling on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to be respected in terms of religious freedom and conscience rights around the euthanasia issue. They are looking for conscience rights for doctors and institutions. They have signed this petition and have asked me to present it.

Human Rights  

    Mr. Speaker, I would also like to have my voice heard on the recognition of Uighurs in China. They have been and are being subject to a genocide.

Questions on the Order Paper

    Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Request for Emergency Debate

COVID-19 Emergency Response  

[S. O. 52]
    The Chair has notice of a request for an emergency debate from the hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise this morning to ask that you grant leave for an emergency debate on a program, which I think is fair to say has become the signature program of this Parliament, the Canadian emergency response benefit, as well as its successor, the Canada recovery benefit. There is most definitely a sense of urgency around this issue. The program has been a cornerstone of Canada's pandemic response, and it seems the terms and conditions have suddenly changed retroactively for many Canadians who applied in good faith.
    With your indulgence, I would like to take a few moments to explain the importance of the issue. I will then proceed to why I think it is important that Parliament deal with this matter on an urgent basis.
    It will come as no surprise to many members of the House that at the beginning of the pandemic the NDP advocated for a universal basic income approach. We advocated for a payment to be made everybody, which could then be recuperated from those who were found not to have needed that income at the end of the tax year. We did this because we knew any other approach would lead to a lot of cracks in the system and the people who really needed help would not get it.
    As a compromise, the Liberal government moved from its original position of tinkering with EI to something more substantive, and out of that CERB was born. However, the decision to exclude people meant, inevitably, that a lot of people who really did need help were unable to get it. Many times we had assurances from the government, and the House by way of a motion that passed unanimously, that people who were in real need and applied in good faith would not be persecuted later for it.
    We still see cracks in the system. There are cracks for people on maternity leave or workers' compensation. What was recently reported is that artists, the self-employed and small business people, who thought their CERB application was being assessed on their gross income, have found out just this month that all along the government imagined it would be calculated based on their net income.
    We know there are a lot of small businesses that have suffered serious losses. We know self-employment is often precarious at the best of times and people needed financial assistance right away during the pandemic. They were encouraged to apply if they needed the help. There are members of the government who told them that if they needed it to apply and they would not be turned away. People did that, and they are now finding out that they may well have to pay back amounts between $14,000 and $16,000 by December 31. However, the government is not asking for the repayment of massive amounts of money paid under the wage subsidy to companies that went on to ship it out in dividends to their shareholders.
    We need an emergency debate on this because there is a December 31 deadline looming for these large repayments, which people had no idea the Canada Revenue Agency was going to come after them for. It was reported by the CBC on Saturday, December 5. The last opposition supply day was that Monday, which did not leave a lot of turnaround time. Only one party had a supply day very shortly after this came to light, which means Parliament has not really had an opportunity to talk about this.
    Given the House of Commons took a very strong position on the issue of CERB repayments, and the government seems to have changed its policy direction, I think it is important that Parliament be given the opportunity to pronounce on that change in direction.
    If we do not have this debate now, with the House set to rise tomorrow and not coming back until the end of January, it will be a very long time before members have an opportunity to get this matter back before the House, and for the government to get some direction from Parliament on this. The way the government is behaving is not consistent with the unanimous consent motion passed in the House of Commons.
    Therefore, because it could potentially affect a lot of the almost nine million Canadians who availed themselves of the help that was available through the CERB at some point during the pandemic, and because there is a deadline of December 31, I think there is a great need for this emergency debate on the part of Canadians. It is something that I think the House absolutely needs to take up today.

  (1025)  

    I would like to thank the hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona for bringing this to the attention of the House.
    Is the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands intervening on a point of order?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like the opportunity, if I could, before you rule on this matter, to put on record my support—
    I thank the hon. member for her attempt at weighing in on this. These are matters that are not debatable, at least not at this point. It remains a decision for the Chair. I would ask the hon. member to keep her comments for the time being.
    I thank the hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona for bringing this to the attention of the House. I will take this matter under advisement and reflect on what the member has presented. I will get back to the House later today.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Criminal Code

     The House resumed from December 9 consideration of the motion that Bill C-7, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying), be read the third time and passed.
    When the House last took up this question, the hon. member for Steveston—Richmond East had a minute and a half remaining in his time for questions and comments. We are at the tail end of the five-minute period for questions and comments, which is probably enough time for one good question and response.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.
    During the debate, we have heard a lot about palliative care. I am wondering if the member could share his thoughts on the important role of palliative care. Could he share what he believes, and how he believes the federal government could be playing a stronger role in that area?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Winnipeg North for asking such meaningful questions.
    If I recall correctly, a former member in the House Mark Warawa actually suffered from terminal cancer. He was not able to receive palliative care for a number of days before the end of his life. It is critical that this country provide that support to Canadians who are facing inevitable death. The country could do more to provide options for Canadians facing immediate death.
    We know that health care is delivered by provincial governments, but the federal government could actually negotiate more with provincial governments to provide support and funding, and perhaps set standards in palliative care for Canadians in general
    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to talk about such an important piece of legislation.
    I will be the first to say that I did not really have a position on this particular legislation when it came before the House four years ago. I supported it back then, because I strongly believe that people deserve a choice and that choices are important, especially when it comes to one's health and medical condition. Since then, I do not even remember if I spoke to it the last time it came before the House, but if I did, I did not do it from the informed position that I find myself in now.
    I want to talk about Don Tooley, my father-in-law, who passed away three days ago. Don suffered from cancer, and he died at the young age of 67.
    Don grew up in Plevna, Ontario, and for those who do not know, Plevna is north of Highway 7, in my colleague's neighbouring riding. He grew up in a hunting and fishing lodge in Plevna that his grandfather had started in 1944 right after the Second Word War had ended. Don loved life. He was a tough person. He knew how to hunt, fish and do all those “manly” things, at least they would have been considered that way back in the day, but he was also very soft, caring person. He was very artistic and loved things with a great degree of passion.
     However, just over a year ago, during the 2019 election, Don was diagnosed with colon cancer and he went through the process of being treated. He wanted nothing more than to live. He was so young, he wanted to live and he wanted to be there for his grandchildren. In the new year, in January, he had a colonoscopy and was declared cured of cancer. Don thought that he had the rest of his life ahead of him. The reality is that it did not go quite as well for Don. By July of last year, he had been experiencing some challenges with his mobility and ended up in the emergency room in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic during the first wave, where he was told that he had a tumour in his brain. Don went under immediate surgery. He was asked what he wanted to do, and he said that he wanted surgery to have it removed, because he needed to spend more time with his grandkids. Don had the tumour removed on a Friday. The doctor was going to let him out of the hospital once he could walk again. He was so determined to walk that he walked out of that hospital on the Monday morning, 48 hours after having surgery on his brain.
     Don continued to live life, he continued to spend time with his grandkids, but everybody kind of knew where it was going and what the inevitable was. I think Don even did, although he really never talked about it. In the fall, about a month and a half ago, he had radiation, which helped his situation a bit. Then two weeks ago, Don ended up in the hospital again, because after a routine CAT scan it was determined that he needed to go back to emergency right away.
    My father-in-law headed back to the hospital where he was informed that he had very few choices: he could be operated on again with great risk and not knowing how that would turn out, or he could let nature take its course effectively. Don chose to be operated on again, because he wanted nothing more than to live. His objective was to live for another day for his grandchildren and to be there with them, because he loved spending time with them.

  (1030)  

    Don was operated on about three or four days later. It did not go as well as it had the first time that he was operated on, in the summer. Don ended up being told that he was not going to walk again. He was given the grim reality that the cancer had grown to a point where the doctors could not operate on it in its entirety, they could not remove it all and that he probably did not have a lot of time left to live.
    Don still did not give up. He wanted more input into this. He wanted to talk to other people. He refused to give in to the idea that it could end.
    About three or four days after that, the doctors had a very frank conversation with him and they said, “Don, this is the reality of where you are in your life, and what is going to happen.” Once he fully grasped that and fully understood, I believe that is when Don came to terms with the reality of his course and where his life was going. That night, just over a week ago, he suffered a massive heart attack. I truly believe it was because his heart just realized that he was not going to live much longer.
    The next morning, my wife and my mother-in-law and my brother-in-law went to the hospital because Don wanted their advice as to what he should do. At that point, Don realized that the fight was over, that it was time to give up; and he chose to not be treated. The doctors said that they could treat him for the heart attack, but the likelihood of its being effective was very small because of the blood thinners and the effects of everything else going on in his body. Don chose to let nature take its course.
    For seven days, Don was in palliative care in the same hospital. I had the opportunity to see him once. Because of COVID restrictions, it is very hard to get in and out of the hospital. Don suffered during that time. That is the reality of the situation. He wanted to live so badly, but when he knew that his time was coming to an end, he recognized that was the case. I do not even know if Don would have chosen medical assistance in dying if that had been an option for him. He certainly did not have 10 days to have the reflection period, and I do not even know if he would have chosen that. However, what I know is that he did not have a choice.
    The reality is that I strongly believe coming from a more informed position now, yet not as informed as so many other people, that people need that choice. Our medical system has advanced so much in this world, doctors fight to keep people alive at every opportunity they can. I do not blame the doctors for being against parts of this legislation and some who are against all of it. That is what they are there for. Doctors are there to fight and keep fighting to keep people alive, but sometimes it gets to the point where that is not going to happen.
     If he, and so many other people like him, had made that choice, Don could have prevented seven or eight days of his own suffering. For a year, he fought to live and the last seven days he realized that it was not going to happen. If anybody is put in that position, I strongly believe that they should have the choice to make that decision.

  (1035)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want thank my colleague Kingstonian, a son of Kingston whom many Kingstonians would be proud of today. I only have a comment, and my colleague had some kind comments for me a few days ago.
    I want to thank him for giving space in this legislature for people who are having a tough time with this decision in regard to the legislation. He has demonstrated that, in the heart of hearts of every human being, there is this strong drive to live. In most cases, we deal with legislation where we are trying to upbraid bad behaviour, whether with the Criminal Code or regulations on white-collar crime. In this case, we are looking at legislation that actually would cause the state to intervene in someone's life.
     I want to thank the member for breathing some air of reasonableness into this debate, and for giving people space to have conflicting positions on this.
    Mr. Speaker, I totally agree. I started my speech by saying that I am at a very different position on this particular legislation than I was four years ago when it was debated in this House. I do not harbour any ill feelings toward people who take a different position from me on this.
    The reality is that, from what I have seen, I only ever envisioned people who did not want to fight for life, but I have seen with my own eyes somebody who fought as hard as he possibly could until the moment that he knew that it was not possible anymore. I thank the member for his comment, and I respect the position of every member of this House. I am certainly not here to try to convince people differently from their own position on this. It is hotly contested. There is a lot of energy behind this debate, and there are a lot of different emotions behind it, but I just wanted to let people know where I am on it and where my position has evolved from.

  (1040)  

    Mr. Speaker, I also want to thank the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands and extend deep condolences to him and his wife and family on the loss of his father-in-law. Certainly, the stories that we have shared and how emotional and difficult this subject is for each and every one of us is really clear. For myself, I came to the position of strongly supporting the bill when we dealt with it in the last Parliament, and the issue was made clear to me by many constituents who raised the issue with me.
    Sue Rodriguez, who took the matter all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada so many years ago, was a resident of North Saanich, within my constituency, and there is a huge support base for her personally and the cause she raised. Therefore, in the time remaining I want to ask the member: if we do not deal with this issue, vote and get it to the Senate before we rise for Christmas, what is the legal effect for the people of Quebec, where the Truchon decision will take legal effect and there will be a void of the law for end of life in Quebec?
    Mr. Speaker, I would rather speak not so much about the legal effect, but the effect on the individuals who will be in these positions like my father-in-law was just a few days ago. There will be more people who suffer, quite honestly. I want to make it very clear that the doctors and the nurses in Kingston General Hospital did everything they could for my father-in-law to make sure that he was as comfortable as possible, but there was still a great degree of pain there. By not passing this legislation today, we are potentially putting ourselves in a position where other people will suffer the same way, and that is just not something that I want to see.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my friend for doing this. It is something I know I could not do just a few days after such a tragic event.
    I was hoping he could talk about those 10 days, because at the justice committee, when I was on it, we heard about suffering. I know it is difficult to ask this of my friend, but could he talk about the 10 days and the difficulty, knowing that there is that period of time that one cannot escape from the legislation?
    Mr. Speaker, even if Don had been able to say on day one that he wanted this procedure, he would not have been able to confirm that, if he had lasted 10 days. During that 10-day period, there was an incredible amount of hardship and pain that he went through. There were, obviously, his loved ones around him who also felt a great degree of pain and suffering, but for the individual in that position, I witnessed it first-hand, and it is nothing that I would ever want to see somebody go through, if they chose not to go through it.
    Mr. Speaker, today we rise to discuss a matter of the gravest importance, literally a matter of life and death.
    It has been my practice as a member of Parliament to favour the expansion of free choice and individual human agency in all our decisions. I believe that government's principle role is to protect the life and liberty of its people, and that doing so means allowing people to make decisions for themselves with minimal application of force, in essence to minimize force and maximize freedom.
    I am the finance critic and I have applied that principle to all economic matters, such as how can we allow individuals to make their own decisions with their own money. Here we talk about a matter that is more important than money, the matter of life and death.
    I look upon this bill to determine whether it extends or withdraws individual freedom and free will from the people to whom it will apply. As I look through the practical application of the bill, it is my view that the bill will do more to withdraw individual choice and freedom than it will to extend it.
    Let me begin by quoting the member for Thunder Bay—Rainy River, a physician and Liberal member of Parliament, who said:
    My biggest concern, as someone who has spent my whole life trying to avoid accidentally killing people, is that we don't end up using MAID for people who don't really want to die.
    Medical assistance in dying was supposed to be exclusively for people who did want to die, who, having been presented with all the worldly alternatives, chose death. We have a member of Parliament and former physician on the government side saying that the bill will have the effect of forcing people to a decision they would not otherwise make.
    This is not just a theoretical issue. Allow me to read the story of Mr. Roger Foley. This is from a CTV story, which states:
    Foley suffers from cerebellar ataxia, a brain disorder that limits his ability to move his arms and legs, and prevents him from independently performing daily tasks.
    Roger Foley, 42, who earlier this year launched a landmark lawsuit against a London hospital, several health agencies, the Ontario government and the federal government, alleges that health officials will not provide him with an assisted home care team of his choosing, instead offering, among other things, medically assisted death.
    In other words, we have a state health care system to which everybody is forced to pay and of which everyone is forced to be a part, from which it is impossible to avoid receiving care because paying out of pocket is illegal, private insurance is not allowed for essential care. When this gentleman then went to the care, the only care the government would allow him to have, it said that it could not provide him with that care, but what it could do was end his life, that he could pack it in, that he could just give up.
    That is not free choice. That is the state effectively compelling a man to end his life or face endless years of unnecessarily turmoil that could have been avoided were appropriate care allowed. For that reason, I cannot support the bill.
    I add my voice to thousands of people from the community representing persons with disabilities. The government is often fond of quoting the UN. The UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities was “extremely concerned about the implementation of the legislation on medical assistance in dying from a disability perspective. I have been informed that there is no protocol in place to demonstrate that persons with disabilities” deemed eligible for assisted dying “have been provided with viable alternatives.” Mr. Foley's case is a prime example of that.

  (1045)  

    Therefore, those most vulnerable are not given a choice, but rather they are funnelled toward one inescapable outcome and compelled by the state to end their lives at threat of merciless and unnecessary suffering. Rather than providing these people with the care that would mitigate their suffering and fulfill the wishes of a happy life, they are told they have no choice but to end life altogether.
    I will quote from disability groups, 72 of which wrote a letter to the government expressing their opposition to the bill.
     I will start with Krista Carr, the executive vice-president of Inclusion Canada, an organization that works with Canadians with intellectual disabilities. She stated, “Bill C-7 is our worst nightmare.... The community of Canadians with disabilities and their families have long feared that having a disability would become an acceptable reason for 'state-provided suicide'.”
    There are the words of Dr. Goligher, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, who said, “Bill C-7 declares an entire class of people, those with physical disabilities, as potentially appropriate for suicide — that their lives are potentially not worth living. Indeed were it not for their disability, we would not be willing to end them. I cannot imagine a more degrading and discriminatory message for our society to communicate to our fellow citizens living with disabilities.”
    We are meant to give a voice to all Canadians, but most of all to the voiceless, and the voiceless are speaking through their advocates. Seventy-two groups have spoken out against the bill, the dehumanizing way with which it treats persons with disabilities and the manner by which it robs them of their free will and human agency. I fear that it adds to the quiet and sometimes unspoken narrative of certain politicians and opinion leaders who suggest that persons with disabilities do not have the same worth as others, a concept I find repulsive.
    The lives of persons with disabilities are every bit as valuable and precious as the lives of the rest of us. No legislation should ever pass through the House or the next House that devalues the precious gift of life that persons with disabilities should have the right to enjoy. No bill should rob people of their free choice and human agency to live on in peace and dignity should they so choose.
    This bill does not contain any protections against scenarios where people who are conflicted might try to suggest upon a person with disabilities that they should simply accept death. We put forward an amendment to ensure that a case like Roger Foley's would never happen again by banning medical professionals and other caregivers from raising the issue of assisted dying with a patient rather than letting the patient raise the issue himself or herself. The government opposed that.
    The government is removing the requirement that there be two witnesses to sign off before someone dies. It is removing the 10-day waiting period, which allows people, who might be in a burst of urgent distress, to consider and reconsider their decision, a decision that we all know is absolutely irreversible, the most irreversible of all decisions, and that is to end one's life.

  (1050)  

    Why the government would oppose such protections that would ensure the patient truly does consent to end of life I do not know, but I do know one thing and will conclude on this. We must protect the freedom and choice of all our people and we must recognize the dignity and worth of every human life.
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Party has spoken a lot about dignity, but when I ask questions about providing a guaranteed liveable basic income, something being fought for and supported by the disability community to ensure people can live in dignity and have those choices, I am often met with no response.
    I wonder if my colleague can share with me whether he supports a guaranteed liveable income, accessible and affordable social housing and other supports required to ensure people can live in dignity and do have choices.

  (1055)  

    Mr. Speaker, we do support basic dignity in life for all people. When it comes to persons with disabilities, there are two ways that this can happen. Many persons with disabilities prefer to earn their income through work, and have the ability to do so. That is a statistical fact. A million Canadians with disabilities have jobs; 300,000 of them have severe disabilities and have jobs.
    We should reform our benefit and tax system to let them keep more of their wages. Right now, if people with disabilities get jobs, in many cases they lose more in clawbacks and taxes than they gain from wages, effectively banning them from the workforce. Many in the disability community have spoken out against that.
    I think of Mark Wafer, who is 80% deaf. He could not get a job when he was a kid, so he hired himself, started a business and opened five different Tim Hortons locations that employed 130 people with disabilities at full wages without government assistance, doing the same work but at a higher quality than the rest of his workforce. He had some of the highest performing Tim Hortons locations in the country by all the metrics, proving that people with disabilities have something to contribute, not just their lives but in their livelihoods. We should encourage and reward that.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate, and I have said this before, that members of the Conservative Party are standing up and supporting persons with disabilities. However, I am concerned when language gets added that death is being compelled by the state, which is not true, and that the Conservatives will stand up for the voiceless.
    I would like to ask the hon. member about the voiceless person in the hospital bed who has suffered through cancer, who is sitting there for 10 days in excruciating suffering. Where is the voice of the Conservative Party for that person?
    Mr. Speaker, the first question is with respect to the compulsion of death. I will read a quote, “My biggest concern, as someone who has spent my whole life trying to avoid accidentally killing people, is that we don't end up using MAID for people who don't really want to die” That is the Liberal member for Thunder Bay—Rainy River, himself a physician. The member should ask his Liberal colleague why he thinks this bill could ultimately compel people to die even when they do not want to.
    Where is the support for people suffering in a hospital bed? We believe in strong palliative care so people receive the end-of-life care that permits them to live out their final days in dignity and to make a true choice rather than being compelled by a lack of alternatives.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
    Can he tell us what the Conservatives' position was on the Truchon case and why the Conservatives took that stance?
    Mr. Speaker, to be honest, unfortunately, I did not hear the question, so I cannot answer it.
    Conservatives would have appealed the Truchon decision. The government can appeal the ruling and even take it as far as the Supreme Court.
    The government decided not to do that, however. It could have. That would have given all Canadians a chance to understand their rights in this regard.

  (1100)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, what results from this bill is truly a matter of life and death. The decisions we make here always have some ripple effects on others, but this bill needs to be about protecting the rights of some of our most vulnerable.
     It is from a place of deep conviction that I speak on Bill C-7. My hon. colleague for Thunder Bay—Rainy River echoed some of these concerns and convictions in a CBC article written by Kathleen Harris. He states:
    I don't like voting against my party, but as someone with a medical background and somebody who has dealt with this issue over the years a lot, I think morally it's incumbent upon me to stand up when it comes to issues of health and life and death.
    I find it heartbreaking that we are putting doctors and legislators in this position. As the member opposite suggests, the primary issue is protection of conscience rights for medical professionals, health care providers, and the rights of hospices and other institutions not wanting to cause the death of people in their care.
    As a Maclean's editorial explains, many doctors who may be willing to expedite the natural process of dying, given their traditional role to relieve suffering, would likely be threatened by the qualitative and ethical distinction between hastening a death that is drawing near and ending a life that is expected to persist. This is a very valid point.
    When one senator asked an expert witness whether it was true that medical professionals were leaving because of the lack of conscience rights, Dr. Leonie Herx replied that she knew of doctors who took early retirement for reasons of professional integrity or because of their own personal moral compass.
    Do we want to harden the hearts of those who, because of their very own world view, cannot comply? These are people who feel that MAID is a betrayal of their professional commitment to save lives, a betrayal of their faith or a betrayal of their conscience.
    A CBC article says it rather well:
    Rather than instilling hope and helping to build resilience by focusing on options for living, health care providers will now be asked to discuss an early death.
    Many helpful voices express serious reservation with this bill. Constitutional lawyer and author Don Hutchinson explains that this bill does not provide a sound structure and protection for all people, especially those living with disabilities, chronic pain or mental illness.
    The executive vice-president of Inclusion Canada told us that for the disabled community, Bill C-7 is their worst nightmare. Their “biggest fear has always been that having a disability would become an acceptable reason for state-provided suicide.”
    Colleagues may say that will never happen. Many of us never thought that we would be here debating same-day MAID, yet here we are. We are hearing stories that are happening today even with the current legislation.
    Palliative care consultant Dr. Herx described the experience of Candice Lewis, “a 25-year-old woman with a developmental disability and chronic medical problems”. When she entered the ER, a doctor approached her mother and suggested that she consider MAID for her daughter. She refused. The doctor promptly told her she was being selfish.
    The disabled community has made it very clear, time and again, that they have suffered at the hands of our current legislation and they feel directly targeted by this new MAID legislation, as no other community is directly referred to in the proposed amendments to the current legislation.
    Despite the holes in the current legislation adopted in 2016, the government is pushing for a further expansion to the eligibility of MAID at an alarming pace. Krista Carr, executive vice-president of Inclusion Canada, explains that the community of Canadians with disabilities and their families have long feared that “having a disability would become an acceptable reason for state-provided suicide”.
    According to the Council of Canadian Academies, without its reasonably foreseeable natural death provision, Canada would become more permissive with respect to medical assistance in dying than any other jurisdiction in the world.

  (1105)  

    There are also the voices of Lemmens and Krakowitz-Broker. They explain that, unlike in any other country in the world, the new bill fails to explicitly require that all reasonable options be made available and tried before allowing physicians to end a patient's life. Even when that decision for MAID is made, we absolutely need to reserve the right for people to have a change of heart.
    Dr. Leonie Herx, the past president of the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians and chair of the division of palliative medicine at Queen's University, sees life stories every day that show how people can change their minds with respect to MAID. She refers to one beloved patient who arrived at her clinic asking for MAID, but quickly abandoned his quest after being assured of his worth and that he was not a burden.
    Recently, the member for Vancouver Granville asked the justice minister in the House why the 10-day reflection period and reconfirmation of consent were waived in this proposed new legislation. She said that the removal of these safeguards was not required by the Truchon decision: the ruling the Liberals chose not to appeal.
    I noted the member's comments with great interest, given that she was the former justice minister who brought forward the original bill to legalize MAID in Canada, known as Bill C-14. In response to her questions and other critics, the current justice minister replied that the 10-day waiting period only increased suffering and that he had even heard of people who stopped taking their medications during this period.
    Ensuring that all Canadians have access to care needs to be our top priority to address the needs of suffering Canadians. Death cannot, and should not, be the only choice to end excessive suffering. I have talked to many health care providers who say that we have the tools and resources here in Canada to alleviate all kinds of suffering, and even to alleviate the anxiety of individuals facing imminent death.
    John Diefenbaker once said, “Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong.” Canadians value our right to think freely, to consider our thoughts and opinions, and to change our minds if we so choose. The elimination of the 10-day reflection period and the requirement to reconfirm consent takes this option away from those facing this difficult situation. How are we preserving the right for people to change their minds when we waive the waiting period? It would seem that this bill makes the choice for MAID to be final and irreversible.
    That is not what is reported in the “First Annual Report on Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada, 2019”. It says that 3.6% of the patients who made a written request for MAID subsequently withdrew that request. While that may not seem like a very significant number, to put it into context 263 people out of the 7,336 people who completed written requests later chose to change their minds because they had the opportunity to do that in the 10-day waiting period. That is 263 lives. Every single one of them deserved the right and the freedom to make that decision. This piece of legislation before us would take that right away from individuals.
    Experts speaking to the Senate committee on Bill C-7 discussed how, in the proposed bill, MAID eligibility would apply to treatable diseases where death was not imminent. This is also where the bill adds a 90-day assessment period. It is no wonder that people with disabilities or chronic illnesses feel threatened by this legislation. This addition is especially concerning when people are faced with a sudden, dramatic life-changing illness or disability, as it often takes much longer than three months to gain a renewed perspective.
    It is no wonder the former health minister, Dr. Jane Philpott, and the member of Parliament for Vancouver Granville wrote an editorial for Maclean's urging Parliament to proceed with caution, and questioning whether there was enough medical and social evidence to even understand the implications of these potential changes.
    Saying that we are at a defining moment in history by approving this bill without further amendments is not an overstatement. I am thankful for the opportunity to highlight these very real risks, and I want to urge the Liberal government to address the bill's serious challenges.

  (1110)  

[Translation]

    I would like to start with a comment. My colleague seems to be saying that having one of the world's most progressive policies on medical assistance in dying is a bad thing. I disagree. We are a progressive society and proud of it.
    To clarify my colleague's and the Conservatives' position once and for all, I would like to know if he is against the idea of medical assistance in dying or if he is against the amendments and our government's response to the Quebec Superior Court's decision.
    I believe the amendments we have proposed will improve the existing act, and I would like my colleague to tell us if he is against the idea of MAID itself, which, I would remind him, is the law currently in effect here in Canada.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, for the record, I want to restate that I voted against Bill C-14 when it came before the House four years ago. We have come to a difficult spot as a country and as a nation when we diminish the value of life.
     I believe that all life is important. This piece of legislation, based on the ruling in the Truchon decision in Quebec, goes much further than that ruling suggests. It also does not provide the proper protection for conscience rights for medical professionals. It takes away that 10-day reflection period. That is an important note to make because as I said, 263 people changed their minds during that 10-day reflection period. This bill removes it. This is same-day death being proposed by the Liberals.
    If someone is having a bad day facing an illness that they think is unbearable and degenerative, and for whatever reason they request medical assistance in dying, they do not have the 10-day reflection period to see whether that was the right decision. Under this legislation, that decision would be permanent and final.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Provencher for standing up for life and promoting life. I have lamented the fact that the Liberal government has had a singular focus on facilitating and speeding up death rather than promoting life.
    I notice that my colleague did not have time to address the issue of palliative care, which is something the Liberal government promised four years ago it was going to champion. The Liberals suggested they were going to invest $6 billion in palliative care, then we found out that it was going to cover the whole country. Then they said it was over 10 years. They promised it in 2015, 2017 and 2019. There has been virtually nothing done to make sure people who have painful diseases and are suffering are still able to live lives that are productive and joyful.
    Perhaps my colleague could comment on that, and the role palliative care should be playing in delivering support for these people who need our support.

  (1115)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Abbotsford who I know shares the passion, as I do, that life is important and that we need to value life right from conception to natural death. That is an important fundamental principle that needs to be enshrined here in Canada.
     I recently sat with local doctor Curtis Krahn and his wife at an event, and we talked about end-of-life and dying. Shortly after I was elected, a few years back, my mother was very ill with cancer. Dr. Krahn's wife, who is a registered nurse, was one of the chief palliative care providers in our community. She was very gracious with my mother. At the event, Dr. Krahn told me clearly that we have the resources, the tools and the medications to make people comfortable in end-of-life situations and when people are suffering. Often people become quite anxious as they are approaching their final days. He said, “We can even take away their anxiousness. We have medication that can do that as well.”
    I know that the government made some very lofty promises when it came to palliative care, and it failed miserably to deliver on those promises. Seventy per cent of people, when given the option of being provided with palliative care, would choose to live rather than to accept MAID.
    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to enter into the debate.
     This is the first time I am speaking to Bill C-7. What drives my desire to speak today is the fact that we would take away the safeguards that were rightfully put in place to protect people from quick decisions and unnecessary death in Canada. This weighs on me because there are two individuals who I have witnessed pass away.
    A good friend of mine, Scott Clarkson, had cancer. At thirty years old, he had a child, but unfortunately he succumbed to cancer. I watched as the angels who work in palliative care cared for him until the end. I think about the extra days he had with his son and his wife, but I know that Scott had tough days where it seemed pretty dark and bleak.
    However, the bill, with its current safeguards, could catch an individual on a bad day, even without facing certain death, be it cancer or other conditions. On an off day, Scott might have been convinced that medically assisted dying was something for him. This is where I have an issue with the government not taking the amendment to include the 10-day reflection period. We all have tough days, but without the safeguard of a pause, there may have been times when Scott would have succumbed to the pain and made a different decision, and that would have resulted in less time with his wife and son.
    This is why we need to revisit the bill. I encourage the government to please consider some of the reasonable amendments that we put forward, such as the 10-day reflection period.
    The other person I think of is standing over my shoulder today, my father, who passed away during the summer. There were times when it must have been tough for him, but he was always a very positive man and believed that there were better days ahead, so much so that the month before he passed away after battling cancer for three years, he renewed his driver's licence for five years. He was always thinking that there were positive days ahead and that there were reasons to live. However, there were tough days, and I wonder what would have happened if the bill had passed in its current state and on one of those days my father might have made a different decision.
    He was mentally stable right to the end and had great palliative care with some great doctors and nurses, but on a day when maybe family was not around, he might have thought it was right for him. My father died the same month as his 75th birthday, and without that reflection period, he may not have enjoyed that birthday with his family, and they may not have had that extra time with him.
    These are the reasons I have entered into the debate today for the first time, to speak against Bill C-7. Primarily it is the issue that, at committee, no amendments were taken, and if we do not have safeguards in place there will be abuse. There will be individuals who decide to end their lives because of whatever pain and suffering they are in. That pain and suffering might end for them, but it passes on to their loved ones who are left to deal with those feelings. That is why we need to pause, go back to committee and draft a bill that has safeguards.

  (1120)  

    Other members have talked about all the people who have grave concerns about this bill and what it would do for people with disabilities. I think it is ironic that we are in the middle of a pandemic and we are asking health professionals and all Canadians to do whatever they can to save lives, and in the meantime parliamentarians are debating and are going to be passing, but hopefully not anytime soon, the opening up and lessening of restrictions on medical assistance in dying.
    My colleague, the member for Cariboo—Prince George, is championing the cause of a national 988 suicide prevention hotline. This is not a partisan issue, and I encourage all parliamentarians to get behind that initiative. We would like to save the lives of people who are maybe finding themselves in tough situations. That is a noble cause.
    We are talking about helping people, and unfortunately some are people with mental health issues who are committing suicide, we are trying to prevent those losses and the pain of those families. However, at the same time we are making people's ability to get a medically assisted death that much easier. I just cannot agree with that.
    This is the first time I am speaking to the bill because of the personal nature of this. This is a tough subject. I entered into the debate so that we could understand who we represent. I represent Saskatoon—University, and the majority of my constituents want the safeguards to stay in place.
    In conclusion, I implore the people of Canada, if they think we need safeguards, to contact their Liberal member of Parliament and in a respectful way please ask for some of the restrictions that were in place to be reintroduced on the bill. If we can come together in a respectful manner and find solutions, that is what Canadians want to do in the trying year of 2020, to find ways to bridge the gaps in our society. If we do not do this, if we do not consider other people's opinions and other views, I believe our society would be headed in the wrong direction, and the division we have seen in other parts of the world would come to Canada.
    I plead with all reasonable people on the other side of the aisle to pause this. Let us go back to the drawing board, and let us make sure we have the safeguards in place to protect lives.

  (1125)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his speech. There has been a number of speeches today of people sharing some really personal stories about what they have gone through, what friends and family have gone through. It really adds to the debate, and I want thank the member for that. It shows that we all come from different perspectives.
    Perhaps this goes a little into the weeds on this, but the Parliament of Canada has legalized medical assistance in dying, making it a medical procedure. A lot of the concerns that have been raised by members of the Conservative Party are with respect to what doctors are doing. Is that not the role of the province and the role of the colleges to regulate those professions? Should that not be left out of the hands of the federal Parliament?
    Mr. Speaker, I believe that is what our role is as federal members of Parliament, to debate important legislation like this.
    In my office right now, I got an email this morning from a Dr. McCartney. He was talking about his desire not to be forced into this medical procedure, as it was called. Not to get into the weeds, but there are many other physicians who have deep issues with MAID. If we do not get this right, we may see physicians leaving the practice that they love, and Canada will be a lesser country because of it.
    We need all hands on deck, especially during—
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Winnipeg Centre.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge the very heartfelt sharing. I know that this is a difficult topic, and many of us have experienced these life and death situations in our own lives, so I want to acknowledge that.
    I do have a question, though, and it goes back to dignity. The last member I posed a question to, asking if he supported a guaranteed liveable income, accessible affordable social housing and everything else needed to live in dignity, referred to getting a job. I think it is important to recognize that, for example, 70% of adults with intellectual cognitive delays live in poverty.
    I want to ask the member if he is supportive of giving people what they truly need, so that they can live in dignity, including the items that I mentioned.
    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to answer that.
    I believe that we want the same thing. The dignity that comes with a job and the inherent benefit to the individual to fulfill their potential is what we should all strive for. We know that people who are in tough economic situations may consider MAID, and we need, as a society, to push back. If it is a warm meal or a warm bed to sleep at night, that is what society should be providing people who are a little down on their luck, but we also, not to get too economically driven in our defence of having these restrictions, do understand that we need a growing economy to help more individuals out of poverty.
    With poverty comes tough decisions. That is why I, as an individual member along with the Conservative members, have been voicing our concern around the direction—
    We have time for one more short question and response.
    The hon. member for Yorkton—Melville.
    Mr. Speaker, I would just like to share, first of all, my deep condolences to the member, as I know his family well.
    I just want to quote a little message I got in an email yesterday. This individual says:
    I watched your speech in [the House] yesterday and was touched by it. My dad was 93 and home alone with cancer in 2005. He was so bad I wished for euthanasia. Got him in palliative care and he improved immediately. They gave him 3 weeks of improved quality of life. When things got very bad they made him painfree until he died. It changed my mind on euthanasia.
    That is just a comment, again, about the dynamics of the government making a commitment to improving palliative care, yet we are not seeing that take place.

  (1130)  

    Mr. Speaker, the importance of palliative care is there, and we have spoken at great lengths that we need to make it accessible across Canada. My father actually passed away in Yorkton, where the member who posed the question is from, and I must say the people there provided outstanding palliative care that granted us a few more days with dad. That is what he wanted, and we need to make sure that is available in all parts of Canada. That is what is missing. The current government likes to virtue signal in one direction, but we see what MAID is with no additional amendments at committee. The Liberals are putting their heads down and believing that they know best for this country. I vehemently disagree with their position on this.
    Is the House ready for the question?
    Some hon. members: Question
    The Deputy Speaker: The question is on the motion.
    In the usual form, if members of recognized parties present in the House wish to request either a recorded division or that the motion be adopted on division, I invite them now to rise and indicate so to the Chair.
    Mr. Speaker, I request a recorded vote.
    Accordingly, pursuant to an order made on Wednesday, September 23, 2020, this division stands deferred until later this day at the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions.

Citizenship Act

    The House resumed from November 23 consideration of the motion that Bill C-8, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's call to action number 94), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    When the House last debated the motion, there were six and a half minutes remaining in the speech by the hon. member for Northumberland—Peterborough South.
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Northumberland—Peterborough South.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour and a bit of a surprise to virtually stand in the House of Commons to continue my speech on Bill C-8, an act to amend the Citizenship Act (Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's call to action number 94).
    I want to reiterate that despite the fact that Canada is one of a few countries in the world where indigenous rights and treaties are entrenched in the constitution, our relationship with indigenous people is far from perfect. It represents, unfortunately, a very dark chapter of Canadian history, which has left a damaging impact on the lives of indigenous peoples across our country today.
    In the first half of my speech, I talked about the damaging history of residential schools and the impact they have had on indigenous people to this day. This terrible act committed by the Canadian government saw thousands of children ripped away from their families and forced to assimilate with what it perceived as Canadian values, which could not be any more un-Canadian.
    In a 100-plus year period, over 150,000 indigenous children were removed from their families and forced to live in terrible conditions. Their rich culture and history was stripped away from them. The abuse endured by these children had an everlasting impact and an adverse effect on indigenous cultures for generations to come.
    I really cannot imagine what it would be like, as a father of a five-year-old and a seven-year-old, to have my children taken away from me, along with everything that I hold dear: my personal values, family values and religion. I cannot imagine my children being put into a foreign environment where they are unable to connect with the generations before. I find it deeply troubling that it ever occurred in Canada.
    The history of abuse represents a shameful portion of Canadian history and reminds us of the importance of respect and dignity that should be afforded indigenous peoples across Canada. I look forward to a better day when we see the process of reconciliation moving forward and everyone walking strongly together, building a better Canada for everyone, indigenous and non-indigenous. In this modern day and age, however, indigenous people across Canada continue to face many important issues and we, as a country, have a lot of important work ahead of us on the path to true and meaningful reconciliation.
    I have been shocked and, quite frankly, disgusted by some of the recent news articles that outline the ways our indigenous people are still being treated to this very day. There are still many indigenous communities that do not have access to clean drinking water. While the government has committed to ending long-term drinking water advisories for all first nations communities, there are still 61 indigenous communities that do not have access to clean drinking water.
    As the member of Parliament for Northumberland—Peterborough South, I am honoured to be the representative of the Alderville First Nation and Hiawatha First Nation. Both of these first nations are extremely well led by Chief Carr and Chief Mowat, and I have been honoured to have conversations with both.
    While Alderville First Nation was connected to clean drinking water in 2017 and Hiawatha First Nation is in the process of this, the fact that both of these great powerful nations have had to endure going without clean drinking water in the 20th and 21st centuries is incredible to me. It is something that should never have happened in Canada. I find this appalling.
    Beyond that, indigenous people across Canada are facing a mental health crisis. With a lack of access to mental health services, Statistics Canada found that overall, indigenous people in Canada die by suicide at a rate nearly three times as high as non-indigenous Canadians. There is no doubt that this must be related to the troublesome history indigenous people have had in our country, and we need to do better. We need to make sure indigenous people are not committing suicide, and certainly not at three times the rate of non-indigenous peoples in Canada.

  (1135)  

    Another huge issue is missing and murdered indigenous women. Between 1980 and 2012, despite the fact that indigenous women make up 4% of the female population, indigenous women and girls represented 16% of all female homicides in Canada. This is shocking.
    Bill C-8, which would expand the Canadian oath of citizenship to include recognition of the treaty rights of the first nations, Inuit and Métis people, is an important step toward true and meaningful reconciliation. By including this historic amendment, Canada is taking steps to educate newcomers of Canada and recognize our dark history.
    I am proud to support the bill to create a new oath of citizenship, one that would elevate and promote the inherent dignity of indigenous people and their rights, including treaty rights, to new Canadians. It is important that we recognize the first people who called this great land home. .
    Mr. Speaker, one of the commitments that were given many years ago by the Prime Minister and the government was to work toward reconciliation. Here we have yet another piece of legislation that deals with that very important issue, and it is always encouraging when members on all sides of the House recognize the importance of reconciliation. For me, that is what the bill is really about.
    I ask my colleague and friend to provide his thoughts on the importance of continuing to strive for reconciliation.

  (1140)  

    Mr. Speaker, this is incredibly important. As I said, I am proud to have the nations of Alderville and Hiawatha as part of my riding. There are so many terrific and great people there. I wonder, though: If indigenous people were given the opportunity they truly deserve, could one of those indigenous children who grew up in residential schools have cured cancer? Could one of those children have led the way to a cure for COVID a bit quicker?
    We need to make sure every Canadian child has the opportunity to be successful, and—
    The hon. member for Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—Verchères.

[Translation]

    I must say that when we first looked at the bill, we found it interesting. The government wanted to reach out to indigenous nations, which is good, considering all the harms inflicted on them in the past.
    We are obviously not particularly attached to any oath for new Canadian citizens, given that we want to be independent and have our own oath for Quebec citizenship.
    However, after examining the bill more closely, we realized that it contained a poison pill. On the one hand, the government wants to reach out to indigenous peoples, but on the other hand, Quebec gets a slap in the face. In fact, new citizens would have to swear an oath on the Canadian Constitution, which Quebec never signed. It was forced upon us; we never voted on it, either.
    I would like to hear my Conservative colleague's thoughts on the fact that the government is trying to surreptitiously slip something past us that is actually quite insulting to Quebec.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, let me start by saying that I fully respect the people of Quebec and am generally a proponent of provincial jurisdiction and autonomy where it is possible. However, I believe that this legislation is for promoting reconciliation with our indigenous peoples, and for that reason I have to support it as we continue our journey of reconciliation with the indigenous people of our country.
    Mr. Speaker, Fort Albany was founded in 1697, over 100 years before Toronto ever came into existence. The Cree were negotiating directly with the Europeans for 200 years before Canada. Of course, Fort Albany is where the notorious St. Anne's residential school was and where the current government continues to spend millions of dollars fighting survivors.
    The Liberals are very good at symbols, but they are absolutely vicious when it comes to denying the rights of the survivors of some of the worst abuse. How do we ensure that when we move forward on these important symbols, we are actually holding the government to account to respect the legal rights and historic rights of the people who have been neglected and abused over the years?
    Mr. Speaker, as always, the hon. member brings a passionate eloquence to the chamber. I support what he is saying in that we need action and we need clean drinking water for all first nations people. We need to make sure no indigenous child is left behind. There is so much opportunity, not just for indigenous children, but for what they will bring to Canada, namely the diversity of opinion, thoughts and leadership, which will no doubt come from indigenous communities if they are given the opportunity.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure and honour for me to participate in this debate.
    The bill before us, Bill C-8, is essentially about the respect and consideration that we here in the House always owe to first nations. This applies as much to Canadian citizens as it does to those who will one day join our country as citizens. When these new citizens come forward, they will have to swear this oath of allegiance, which, thanks to Bill C-8, now recognizes first nations. This is therefore an important issue, one that calls for reconciliation and consideration and, above all, respect.
    We all know that the first nations have been living on the land known as Canada for a very long time. We all know that when the Europeans arrived in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, the first nations were overcome in the events that unfolded. We must, however, always acknowledge their indelible presence on this land and their tremendous contribution to building this great country known as Canada.
    This process was not a seamless one. Unfortunately, there was a litany of sad, unfortunate and unjust events that led to what is currently going on in this country. We cannot erase 400 years of difficult relations with the stroke of a pen, but we can learn from our mistakes and never repeat them. We can take a different approach, a different attitude, to see the future from a better perspective, while showing the patience necessary to acknowledge that mistakes were made in the past and to establish trust and reconciliation.
    It is an honour and a privilege to have the community of Wendake, previously known as the Huron Village, in my riding of Louis-Saint-Laurent. I was born in Loretteville, right next to Wendake, in 1964, so I grew up very close to the Wendat people. I still have some very dear and very close childhood friends from that community. I am lucky, because I have been around first nations peoples my whole life, which may help me better understand some concerns. Still, who am I to talk about their experience? All I can say is that the Wendat people have made exceptional and extraordinary contributions to the community and in particular to Quebec City.
    The Wendat people have lived on this land since the dawn of time, but in a more sedentary way. After being threatened with outright extinction through wars and battles, they went from Île d'Orléans to Sillery to what is now known as L'Ancienne-Lorette, before ultimately settling at the foot of the Kabir-Kouba Falls in 1696.
    Of course I have nothing but good to say about them because I know them very well. I have been their neighbour for 56 years. It is a privilege and an honour to represent them in the House of Commons, as it was to represent them some time ago in the National Assembly of Quebec. I have to say that I am the one who is privileged in Canada, and I say it with all due respect. I am tempted to say that it is the best nation in Canada, but other nations might dispute that.
    Instead I will say that Wendake and the Wendat people are an inspiration for all Canadians with respect to collaboration and living together harmoniously, and we should look to the Wendat people's relationship with non-indigenous people in the Quebec City area and follow their example everywhere in Canada. They are an inspiration.
    The Wendat community I represent is made up of proud, positive and constructive people. They are also business people. In Wendake, in my riding, there are dozens of businesses that hire indigenous and non-indigenous workers. Nearly 400 non-indigenous people work in these businesses located in Wendake territory.

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    Just recently I had the pleasure of visiting a factory that makes snowshoes. Raquettes GV was established in Wendake in 1959 and employs dozens of people. It sells its products throughout Quebec and Canada and around the world. Naturally, I am very proud of these people, and that is why I am so pleased to represent them in the House of Commons. They are hardworking people who can look to the future while being extraordinarily attached to the heritage of their ancestors and proudly representing it.
    Sadly, we were recently called to pay tribute to Max Gros-Louis, who, as hon. members know, was a high-ranking indigenous leader. For more than 50 years, he was committed to defending his nation and the first nations. He did so with the fighting spirit of a proud Huron-Wendat, but also with respect for the people he was dealing with. That is why, when Grand Chief Gros-Louis passed away, everyone unanimously spoke of his extraordinary contribution to the good relationship we need to have.
    There was an election in Wendake roughly a month ago. A young man by the name of Rémy Vincent was elected. I congratulate him. He succeeded Konrad Sioui, who held that position for 12 years. I worked with him during the 12 years of his mandate since his term began about a month and a half before I started mine at the provincial level. We always collaborated with respect. We had differing opinions. I could recognize certain things that he could not and vice versa. That is what living together is all about. We can have different points of view and agree to disagree. We must work together to improve the things we do not agree on, and we must work together when we have common views. I know that is the approach that the new chief, Rémy Vincent, is taking as he begins the mandate that his nation has just given him.
    I do not claim to be better than anyone else, but it so happens that I have the great privilege of knowing the first nations well, especially the Huron-Wendat people, having grown up alongside them from my earliest days. As I said in my introduction, we have a responsibility to recognize that relations between indigenous and non-indigenous people have been particularly difficult and rocky. I will have the opportunity to talk about a few aspects of that.

  (1150)  

[English]

    On the other hand, we have the responsibility to recognize that some steps have been taken that have had such an important impact on how we live today. Let me remind members that it was the Right Hon. John George Diefenbaker who recognized the fact that first nations should have the right to vote.

[Translation]

    We must also recognize that on June 11, 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered the Canadian government's formal apology to the first nations for the residential school tragedy. For an entire century, residential schools were opened by successive governments, from Sir John A. Macdonald to the Right Honourable Pierre Elliott Trudeau, forcing over 140,000 first nations children to renounce and deny their most precious heritage, the legacy of their ancestors. It is arguably the greatest tragedy in Canadian history.
    It took courage and honour to recognize this tragedy. I am proud to know that the Right Honourable Stephen Harper is the one who offered this formal apology to the first nations on the recommendation of the late Jack Layton of the NDP. Yes, we must acknowledge our mistakes, but we must also build on the good things we have done and look to the future.
    We salute the government for placing a lot of emphasis on reconciliation with first nations in its statements. We hope that this reconciliation will be based on concrete, positive action that focuses on the future of relations between first nations and non-indigenous peoples. We noted, as did everyone, that the current government made a commitment to first nations that they would have clean drinking water, which seems obvious to those of us who do not have this problem. Unfortunately, the government has failed. We salute the minister for having the honour and dignity to admit it, but we hope that he will redouble his reconciliation efforts and that it will not be just talk.
    From our perspective, the fact that the recognition of first nations is included in the oath that will be taken by new Canadians is important, even essential, and it must be perpetuated by this reality.

  (1155)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I believe that the Prime Minister, ministers and all members are very much committed to reconciliation. I appreciate many of the remarks made by the opposition House leader.
    In fact, one of the documents that I keep around when I am inside the chamber is the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in a mini-report. What we are really talking about is number 94 of its calls for action.
    Can the member just reinforce that this is just one of the calls for action and there is always going to be room for us to continue to look at what we can do? Several of those recommendations require us to work with other levels of government and other stakeholders as well.
    Mr. Speaker, obviously this report is quite important. It is the basis of the reflections that we should be having. Some of those recommendations are right. Sometimes there is room for discussion. If we are talking about provincial jurisdiction on some issues, then we have to work together with them. We have to put aside our differences on some issues to work toward the best future relationship we can have with first nations.
    I do also recognize that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was created under the former Conservative government.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent for his very interesting speech. I could support most of what he had to say, but there was one thing that disappointed me.
    It is important to reach out to indigenous nations and make up for the mistakes made in the past in some small way, even if it is only a very small way, since we are talking about putting a few words in an oath of citizenship. I do not think that is going to solve all the problems. However, there is a negative element in what is proposed in Bill C-8, and yet I did not hear my colleague talk about it. Quebec did not sign the Canadian Constitution, but now new citizens are being asked to take an oath on the Canadian Constitution. There is something wrong with that. It is a disgrace.
    Unless I am mistaken, Mr. Mulroney, the former leader of the Conservatives, recognized this at the time. He said that he wanted to bring Quebeckers back in with honour and enthusiasm. Once again, that was a failure in terms of closing the rest of Canada to Quebec.
    I would like to know what my colleague, as a member from Quebec, thinks about that. Does he still intend to vote in favour of Bill C-8, or does he intend to support amendments that could be made to it?

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    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comment and question from the member for Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—Verchères. I figured he would ask me that question, which is why I did not address the subject in my speech, since our speaking time is limited.
    I agree with what the member is saying about how the 1982 Constitution was never recognized by the Quebec National Assembly. I know what I am talking about, since I used to be a member of the National Assembly. As the member so aptly stated, impressive efforts were made by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and others to get Quebec to sign the Constitution with honour and enthusiasm. Unfortunately, for partisan political reasons, the current governing party disgraced itself by making backroom deals to prevent the historic accord that would have enabled us to carry on.
    At the same time, I would like to point out to my colleague that, even though the 1982 Constitution was not signed by Quebec and has not been recognized by the National Assembly for 38 years, it is in effect nevertheless. The proof is that the House of Commons operates under that Constitution. That means that the mandate that my colleague received and the work that he has done for over five years, which I appreciate, is done in a chamber that operates under the Canadian Constitution.
    Yes, we need to continue to remind everyone that Quebec did not sign the Constitution. However, we also need to remind them that the Constitution still applies, that this country is still running and that, even though the National Assembly does not recognize the Constitution, as I can personally attest, because I used to be a member of that assembly, the Constitution enables the National Assembly and the provincial jurisdictions to operate.
    Yes, let us continue to remind everyone that, unfortunately, because of the federal Liberal Party's base political manoeuvring, the Meech Lake accord fell through, but Canada continues to carry on.

[English]

    Is the House ready for the question?
    Some hon. members: Question.
    The Deputy Speaker: The question is on the motion.

[Translation]

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

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I would request that there be a recorded vote.

[Translation]

     Accordingly, pursuant to order made on Wednesday, September 23, 2020, the recorded division stands deferred until later this day, at the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions.

[English]

Broadcasting Act

    The House resumed from November 19 consideration of the motion that Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise to speak to and give some thoughts on Bill C-10, which makes amendments to the Broadcasting Act with respect to changes the government is proposing.
    As a parliamentarian, when I first learned of the legislation and began doing research on it, I realized it is important to give some context as to why this act requires amendments. It is 29 years old. To give some context as to what was happening in the broadcasting and entertainment industry back in the day, I was three years old. I do not remember when the original Broadcasting Act came into force in the Parliament of Canada very well. Bryan Adams was topping the charts, and the relevant music was by Paula Abdul and Boys II Men. I am not denying it was great music, just a little older. It was six prime ministers ago.
    Three decades later, I think there is consensus among the parties in the House that we need to tackle this legislation and make updates to reflect the reality we are in today. The bill proposes to update a huge part of what was not there in 1991 regarding Internet and social networks. Today, if we go through the list, we have Facebook, Google, Netflix, Crave, Spotify and Apple Music. All these online platforms are new to the rules the federal government must regulate around. They are not the same as the conventional players we had when this act was enacted back in 1991. It is key that we find a balance between conventional media and the new online platforms we have around today.
    Having said that, I am disappointed with the government side and not very happy with or supportive of the legislation as it stands today, not necessarily because of the direction it takes regarding some angles, but the lack of direction and answers we are getting on this.
    Like many pieces of legislation, I would say there are parts I support and parts that I oppose. There are far too many I am not satisfied with, that would need serious amendments for me to support it in the end. I want to be clear when I say that. The frustration I am sharing regarding Bill C-10 is not because I do not believe we need or do not need to modernize the law; rather it is because of the many shortcomings I am hoping to address in my time here today.
    I want to commend our shadow minister, the member for Richmond—Arthabaska, who kicked off the debate on this legislation. As a Quebecker, a Canadian and a francophone, he gave some great context about the importance of getting this legislation right.
    In my time today, I want to talk about two things. One is Canadian content. Of course we all want more Canadian content. I also want to talk about the aspect of conventional broadcasters to give my constituents of Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry who are watching this clip, or Canadians who may not be familiar with this legislation, the rules and background around it.
    There is a rule for conventional broadcasters in this country that anywhere between 25% to 40% of their content must be Canadian. When we talk about conventional broadcasters, it is important to understand who they are. We are talking about CTV, Citytv, CBC and Global. Those companies have an easier time of meeting the requirement for Canadian content because they broadcast sports and have news programming. They also have to contribute a percentage of funds to the Canada Media Fund, which supports the production of Canadian content in this country. As parliamentarians, the challenge we face is that we need to debate and have good legislation on where these online platforms fit into that. Netflix has talked about wanting to create more Canadian content, but it is concerned, and this is where we get into a bit of red tape, that it is harder for it to meet that threshold because it does not have the sports and news programming a conventional broadcaster does.
    Here is the crazy part and where the red tape is outdated and needs updating. My colleague, the shadow minister, mentionedThe Decline in his speech, a Quebec feature film that was done in partnership with Netflix, and I believe was filmed in his riding. It used Canadian actors, had a Canadian crew and was filmed in Quebec. The economic impact was that it brought over $5 million in economic growth to the province of Quebec. It checks all the boxes, except it could not be certified as Canadian content because it was financed and produced by Netflix, which is not recognized.

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    This speaks to where we literally have millions of dollars in economic development and a film based in Quebec with Canadian actors that cannot get recognized with some of the red tape and rules that are in place today. Netflix is trying to make an effort, but cannot get there. One would think that, when we talk about updating Bill C-10 and modernizing some of these laws, it would encompass some of those areas. Unfortunately, from what we have seen to date, without serious amendment, I do not believe it is there.
    One of the concerns we have with the legislation before us is that, for a lot of these parts, it would kick the can down the road on a lot of these decisions, saying that there is the intention to do something but will let the CRTC come up with the rules, regulations and deadlines on it. However, as a Parliament, I believe it may be our role to set those benchmarks. As well, there are provisions in the bill that would take away Parliament's ability to scrutinize some of these decisions and give that ability over to the CRTC.
    To my colleagues on the government side or any party that, when my constituents ask me what I did to support Canadian content and the industry in Canada, if I were to say that I supported a bill that passed it over to the CRTC to deal with, I do not think they would be very happy with that.

[Translation]

    I apologize in advance to the interpretation team because I am still in the process of learning French.
    I am an anglophone from the very anglophone Dundas County, where there is not a lot of French-language content. There is a little in the Township of North Dundas and Dundas County.
    Nevertheless, I feel that French-language content is very important, and not just for people living in Quebec or for francophones, but for all Canadians. Canada needs lots of French-language content for people like me who want to study a second language, as well as for people who want to get to know French and francophone cultures.
    A law like this would mean we would have to pass even more laws. I do not think this law is acceptable because it is not nearly good enough.

  (1210)  

[English]

    One thing we need to do is send Bill C-10 to committee. As we debate the bill in the coming weeks and months, likely with the Christmas recess coming up, I would encourage my colleagues on the government side and perhaps other parties that may be inclined to support the bill to make sure that we are modernizing, that we do not have a piece of legislation to say that we checked a box to make amendments to the Broadcasting Act, but rather have tangible, meaningful ways that update conventional broadcasters in the online industry.
    We can all agree that we need modernization of this law. We can agree that we need to have more online platforms, get with the times and understand what is there. However, this legislation as a whole would kick the can down the road and would not address a lot of the key issues that Canadians expect with legislation such as this.
    I am supportive of more francophone and French content, LGBT content and first nations content, absolutely, but it is our Parliament with the oversight that we deserve here to hold the government of today and future governments accountable to those rules. We can go back to our constituents to say that we are doing meaningful things, not passing it to another body and not reducing transparency, but making it stronger than ever.
    I appreciate the opportunity to speak on Bill C-10 today. I look forward to following the debate in the coming months and, as always, I look forward to questions from my colleagues on the legislation.
    The member is right in the sense that a lot has changed and that we need to modernize the legislation. I suspect that I have a little more confidence in the CRTC than the member opposite as I see the high level of expertise that is there, but I share the concern regarding how important it is that we have Canadian content. I think we could find some common ground.
    The member is right in the sense that, if by chance, the bill went to the committee stage prior to us recessing, it would provide the committee the opportunity to do a little more work potentially. Does the member have some specific amendments in mind that he may have shared with the department? I would encourage him to share, particularly with the minister, who I know would be open to changes that would improve the legislation.
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member for Winnipeg North adding more comments, as he does on many pieces of legislation.
    There is unanimous agreement that we need more Canadian content. The issue is how best to do that. We will hear more from our shadow minister. His opening speech was about 20 minutes and it gave a lot of details. It talked about the Quebec feature film, about updating the rules to say that players like Netflix have the opportunity to create more Canadian content and about some of the red tape and rules around how we can do that.
    That is certainly part of what we want to do, not just our Quebec team or our francophone team. We will be coming up with a lot of suggestions and perhaps amendments.
    Respectfully, we are going to need some serious changes and a commitment to serious changes at committee or before final reading, if I am to support it. I will follow this and see what happens. My commitment is always to try to be constructive and give ideas to get more Canadian content in the coming months.
    Madam Speaker, I listened with great interest. The problem we are dealing with is that we have the best solution of 1995 for a problem of 2020. We all agree about the incredible power of the Canadian cultural industries, and that is now an issue we can expand internationally. That is the one issue.
    The other is, how do we hold the tech giants accountable? To turn it over to the CRTC is ridiculous. We have a couple of key issues here. Facebook is still not paying taxes. We will not see the Liberal government tell Mark Zuckerberg to pay tax. If Facebook paid taxes, we would have a lot of resources, but the Liberal government will not do that.
    The safe harbour provisions allow Pornhub to host child pornography right in Canada. The Liberal government will not take on the safe harbour provisions, because it will not stand up to Google or Facebook. It will punt it to the CRTC and tell us how great it was back when we had the King of Kensington, and we could do those days again. Those days are gone.
    We need a plan to deal with the tech giants and to hold them accountable, the way other jurisdictions are. Then we need to discuss how we promote Canadian content. There are two issues, but they have been blurred into this menage that is not coherent.

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    Madam Speaker, I find myself saying this too much when we have these debates, but I agree with the member for Timmins—James Bay. I cannot believe I am saying this, that we have some agreement on the frustrations.
    I go back to the member's point about kicking the can over to the CRTC. Parliament needs to be more active in the promotion of Canadian content and in the regulation of this. I agree with him when we talks about the giant tech companies like Facebook and Google.
    The frank reality is that we need to have more tough conversations about these companies and what they are doing. We can talk about MindGeek and Pornhub and what they are not doing from a perspective of revenue and contribution to our Canadian economy, but also from a public safety perspective.
    I was horrified to see a story in the last few days, I think it was in The New York Times. It talked about MindGeek and the lack of protections. In the year 2020, for all the advancements we have made in online broadcasting and technology, to still have these gaps from a tax perspective, a government perspective, a privacy perspective and safety against children from being victims of sex trafficking, sex crimes perspective, whatever it may be, says a lot.
    I will go back to the same thing about Bill C-10. It does very little to actually resolve the key issues that Canadians want to see addressed.
    Madam Speaker, it is a privilege to speak to Bill C-10. To quote the Minister of Canadian Heritage in the official background documents for the legislation, it states unequivocally:
    Canadians have a right to recognize themselves in the music they listen to and the television they watch. We are proposing major changes to the Broadcasting Act in order to ensure online broadcasting services that operate in Canada contribute to the creation, production and distribution of Canadian stories.
    I share the minister's support of Canadian music, movies and television, or as I will call it throughout this speech, CanCon. However, the bill may do exactly the opposite of supporting CanCon. It is not about the intent of a bill but about the reality, and I believe we will all see room for some serious concerns on this issue during my talk today.
    I would like to point out that notwithstanding any criticisms I make, changes need to be made to rules surrounding production and creation of CanCon. We need to revisit the content qualification rules that specify whether something is Canadian. We heard a great example in the speech just prior to mine about a production in Quebec that did not qualify as CanCon even though it was produced in Canada and told Canadian stories.
    There is a real need to look at these thresholds. However, when we dig deeper into what is being proposed by the minister, his commentary about wanting to licence Canadian Internet content producers, the realities of digital content creation and the big tech corporations that dominate the media landscape today, it becomes apparent to me that the bill has serious shortcomings. The bill may lay the foundation in the future for a series of government interventions that have the potential to damage the creative and innovative Canadian media producers in the digital field.
    On November 3, the day the legislation was introduced by the Minister of Canadian Heritage, several Canadian media experts spoke out publicly against Bill C-10.
     An article published in The Globe and Mail, for example, entitled “Broadcasting bill targets online streaming services”, mentions digital media expert and University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist. I have enjoyed reading his daily blog posts on this issue. It is very informative. He said that the policy foundation behind Bill C-10 was very weak and that the government's claims that the Canadian film and television production industry was in crisis was not supported by evidence.
    Mr. Geist said, “The truth is that the market has been working...well as Canada being an attractive place to invest in these areas.” He further stated that what was actually at risk was that some of the largest investors in film and television production would pull back until they had more certainty on their obligation and that new services would think twice before entering the Canadian market.
    Perhaps more concerning for the government is that in that same news article, the well-known advocacy group, the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, which specifically promote Canadian content, called the bill “a mess that fails to ensure the companies are subject to specific requirements for using Canadian production teams.”
    I am personally concerned by the fact that the legislation does, as mentioned by the member prior to me in his speech, give a vastly enhanced range of abilities to the CRTC. For example, it grants it full enforcement powers, while at the same time providing no fulsome detail as to the guidelines for Canadian content production and future contributions to the Canadian media fund.
    Despite asking MPs to vote in support of the legislation, it is hard to shake the fact that the lack of details creates a situation where we have to trust the government and see the details later. We should all find that problematic.
    To go back to some comments made by Mr. Geist, the law professor in Ottawa, the primary concern to examine, in his view, is that the policy foundation for the bill is weak. He has stated that CanCon is not in crisis and the level playing field claims are misleading. The example of the CanCon production here is relevant. The minister has acknowledged that foreign-based streaming companies are investing directly into Canada, but the minister wishes to compel such investments to be made mandatory.
    In the words of Mr. Geist, this indicates a lack of confidence in our ability to compete and in fact flies in the face of all the evidence. Just hear me out here.
     The CRTC chair, Ian Scott, has already said that Netflix is probably the biggest single contributor to the Canadian production sector today. The Canadian media industry has received record amounts of investment for film and television production. Over the last decade, investment levels have nearly doubled. Certified Canadian content has grown, with two of the largest years on record for CanCon television production having taken place within the last three calendar years. Last year was the biggest year for French language production over the last decade.

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    When we dig down into the available provincial data, we will find further evidence of production levels setting new records. Earlier this year, the Ontario government's agency for cultural creations, called Ontario Creates, announced that it had a record-breaking year for Ontario's film and television sector, with more than $2 billion in production spending for well over 300 productions.
    Professor Dwayne Winseck at Carleton University is on record. In his annual review, he finds film and television production in Canada has continuously increased for two decades, most recently driven by massive investments from streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.
     These facts and figures show that the basis for which the minister claims Bill C-10 is necessary are actually contrary to reality and once again raises the issue of the unintended consequences of interfering in the wrong way in this sphere.
    The second issue noted by Mr. Geist is that as opposed to creating certainty, the bill would create enormous short-term uncertainty. For those companies that do invest, they may not know if their investments will count.
     I suspect that Amazon, Netflix and these types of companies will keep investing regardless of whether the bill is passed or not. However, many smaller streaming services, BritBox, Spuul, Crunchyroll, are not household names, but are among dozens of streaming services that have emerged in recent years to serve a global audience. Unless the CRTC provides specific exemptions for these niche services, many are likely to forgo the Canadian market entirely, given all the new regulatory costs. Many multicultural markets will be especially hard hit by what will amount to, by the bill, a regulatory firewall in Canada.
    Another very interesting point that has been raised by certain critics is the topic of trade threats and retaliatory tariffs. This concern should be on all of our radar screens. According to Mr. Geist, in this case, Bill C-10 violates the general standards in the USMCA. The government is relying on the cultural exemption to allow for this, yet even with the exemption, the U.S. will still be entitled to levy retaliatory tariffs.
    Given the claims by the minister that this will generate billions of dollars in financial benefit for the industry, the retaliatory tariffs could be enormous and given the reworked structure of the USMCA, the tariffs the U.S. launches against Canada need not be limited to cultural tariffs. It could target any sector it likes. This is a potential concern that needs to be examined.
    The legislation is likely to result in less competition and higher costs. If we generate large revenues, we will face mandated CanCon payment requirements that make no sense given the content. If we stay small, we will still have to comply with disclosure requirements that have no real incentive to grow past the threshold. That is assuming we see an actual threshold as none was listed in this legislation. This will result in less competition and less choice for the Canadian market.
    I believe that the Netflixes and the Amazons will continue to invest, but as I mentioned earlier, some of the start-up companies that have specialized content, maybe multicultural content, will not know whether to invest in Canada or not because of the uncertainty around the bill. This will lead to a scenario where they will just avoid investing in Canada. We need to think about what this mean for the future of Canadian content.
    My view is that the bill is not protecting Canadian sovereignty. The legislation basically surrenders it to the Internet giants. Therefore, they will keep investing here, but I do not know if it opens up the ability for some of these other start-ups to do so. They will become the dominant funders and purchasers of Canadian content. Canadian broadcasters may not be able to compete for Canadian content, given the desire of the giants to meet their CRTC obligations. This would force big decisions to Amazon and Netflix and leave Canadian broadcasters and smaller streaming services on the outside looking in.
    I would ask all of us here to heed the warnings of different experts who have raised valid concerns, whether they be trade or investment related, and let us take a look at amending the bill in a way that will answer those concerns.

  (1225)  

    Madam Speaker, I am a very firm proponent for freedom of the press and freedom of speech, but after hearing my colleague's comments on Bill C-10, I believe him to be of the view that there should be very limited regulation on the part of the government with respect to the information that is disseminated on the Internet through web giants, as he describes them.
    I would ask him if he believes there should be some role for government to play with respect to regulating information that appears online, for example, anti-vaccine campaigns or other information that is not based on science.
    Madam Speaker, Canadians and others need to be free to raise concerns, whether on the Internet or elsewhere. Obviously things that are illegal, that inspire violence or incite criminal activity need to be regulated. When it comes to general discussions and raising concerns, we have a right to do so. I would be concerned by any member, and I am not suggesting this member was, in a parliamentary democracy such as ours suggesting that there needs to be some ethereal censorship board somewhere that decides what concerns are valid. In this country, citizens raise concerns and they elect representatives to represent them in government. We are a function of that and need to allow citizens to express their concerns.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
    The Broadcasting Act is absolutely outdated, and we are trying to move forward so that everyone who benefits from the broadcasting ecosystem can contribute to the production of Canadian or Quebec content.
    Bill C-10 is a step forward. However, it completely ignores social media that broadcast content, such as YouTube. I therefore think we need to expand the definition of broadcaster, because if it takes another 30 years to review this new legislation, which is how long it took to review the old one, it will be important to ensure that, regardless of the broadcaster, we can bring everyone who benefits from culture around the same table, so they can contribute financially to producing that culture.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the member has indicated another shortcoming of the bill. As I mentioned in my speech, we need to make sure that we are promoting Canadian content and not advantaging certain providers over others. There needs to be an even playing field for everybody, and I am not sure the bill does that.

  (1230)  

    Madam Speaker, I was surprised when the hon. member referenced the FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting, as that organization's strongest criticism of Bill C-10 was its failure to provide long-term sustainable funding and a path forward for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. I was under the impression that the party to which the hon. member belongs was not in favour of expanding CBC funding or of better supporting our public broadcaster.
    I would like to ask the member's opinion, and if he is in fact supporting the demands of FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting?
    Madam Speaker, my point was to identify that there are concerns related to the bill coming from various political persuasions and various parts of Canadian society. With respect to the specific contention on the CBC, I agree with my party's general contentions in that vein, but it is fair to say that on the bill a variety of concerns are coming from different areas, and I am happy to raise those.

Speaker's Ruling

[Speaker's Ruling]
    Before we resume debate, I wish to get back to the House in respect to the request that was earlier posed by the hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona in respect to an emergency debate. I want to thank him again for bringing this to the attention of the House. I have taken into consideration the arguments that he put forward, and I am not persuaded that the request meets the requirements of the Standing Orders.

[Translation]

Broadcasting Act

[Government Orders]
    The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Let me begin by saying that we have some serious reservations about this bill. I will have the chance to talk later in greater detail about the major powers being given to the CRTC, the lack of definition on certain important issues, as well as the fact that it does not fix essential problems that directly affect the broadcast of information and the current more modern context of web giants and social media. I will also come back to the lack of consideration given to French in this new legislation, which was surprising and disappointing coming from the Minister of Canadian Heritage.
    First, let's be clear. It goes without saying that we are in favour of reviewing the Broadcasting Act. The last review occurred 28 years ago. The Internet was available on some university campuses and in some spheres such as the Department of National Defence, but it was not part of our daily lives like it is now.
    Twenty-eight years ago, anyone who knew a little English may have known what the word “Google” referred to, but that was about it. If, 28 years ago, we had mentioned Facebook to our children, neighbours or friends, they would have given us a weird look and asked what we were talking about. It makes sense, then, for the Broadcasting Act to be reviewed after 28 years.
    However, it is disappointing to see that the government is not going deeper on important issues like the web giants and social media platforms. That is disappointing, because we are already going through the bill 28 years later, so we might as well do it right and not put off regulating certain issues, like these ones in particular.
    Now, 28 years later, the Broadcasting Act is in need of updating, meaning that it needs to be reviewed and then amended. Furthermore, the Conservatives agree on the principle of fairness regarding the web giants and social media platforms. We need to ensure that people who pay for and use these online services and people who pay for and use so-called traditional services, such as cable, are treated the same way. We need to ensure this process is fair and that taxes are collected fairly.
    We are guided by these two principles: The Broadcasting Act must be reviewed and we must address the new realities and respect the principle of fairness. I will now speak to the matters that concern us.
    First, let us talk about the French language. Even though the Minister of Canadian Heritage and I may have serious differences of opinion on certain matters, I am in complete agreement with him on one thing: the importance of French. At our request, the House had a take-note debate on this and the minister asked us out of the love we all have for the French language, to defend it and preserve it in Canada. This applies in particular to Montreal where, by its very nature and the fact that there are seven to eight million francophones in a sea of almost 350 million anglophones in North America, it is only natural that French be deemed worthy of always being preserved.
    If ever there were a vehicle to help protect the French language, goodness knows it would be broadcasting, the web and communications, and yet, French is somewhat neglected in this bill, which is disappointing. French is specifically mentioned twice in this bill. Before reading it out, however, I will put on my glasses, because no matter how much I speak, I still need to know how to read, and if I am going to read, I might as well read properly. I am 56 years old and I fully accept what that entails. I have white hair, I have wrinkles, and that also comes with glasses. I am going to stop talking nonsense and get serious again.
    The one and only measure to improve the place of French can be found in the proposed amended version of paragraph 3(1)(k) of the act, which states that “a range of broadcasting services in English and in French shall be progressively extended to all Canadians” as resources become available. That wording is nothing more than wishful thinking, although the government boasts that it is doing everything it can to protect the French language. It can hardly be said in this case that it is written in black and white and backed by concrete actions.

  (1235)  

    We think this situation is unacceptable, and it represents a far too vague approach to protecting French.
    This is no small thing, given that the debate on the importance of French is currently under way in Quebec and Canada and we are waiting for this government to finally introduce a new version of the Official Languages Act. Rather than honouring and respecting its commitments under the act, the government has decided to publish a white paper. We know what a white paper is: When we read it, there are only blank pages, because it does not propose any concrete measures on the subject at hand.
    We would have liked this bill to have a little more muscle. Unfortunately, it is not what we expected. However, we acknowledge and applaud the fact that there are proactive measures regarding indigenous people, racialized individuals and members of the LGBTQ2 community. We agree with all of that.
    However, we believe that French would have been entitled to the same attention that was given to indigenous communities. For the benefit of members who might not know my story, in 1984, I started my radio career at CIHW-FM 100.3, in Wendake, so I am fully aware of the importance of radio and broadcasting for indigenous communities.
    Therefore, we believe that this does not solve the issue of social media and web giants. Quite frankly, we would have expected some basic guidelines, frameworks and fairness with respect to social media and web giants.
    As I said at the outset, and everyone recognizes this, 28 years ago, when someone talked about “the web”, you had to know a little bit of English to know that they were referring to an actual web. The word was not commonly understood in everyday speech. So while the Broadcasting Act needs to be refreshed, the government needs to directly address the issue of social media and web giants.
    In this case, we do not feel that this bill resolves the major problems this new reality created. It goes without saying that we agree on what is happening. We have to pay attention and not fool ourselves. We are in no way suggesting that this reality does not exist. We are not against it. It exists, and all we have to do is regulate things properly.
    Often, the best regulations are those that create an equitable framework that allows and protects freedom of expression. The rules must apply to each and every one of us. We must not create two classes of news media where some broadcasters have certain obligations while others, like online outlets, are subject to different kinds of regulations. Fairness is important here, but unfortunately, the government came up short in that department.
    Earlier, I was talking about the CRTC's inherent powers. We have very serious reservations about that because it gives the CRTC considerable discretionary authority to define what constitutes an online enterprise and to force such enterprises to spend money producing and broadcasting Canadian content.
    Of course, we recognize that the CRTC has a role to play in making sure that everything is done properly, but the way the current bill is drafted, we think it has been given far too much power. We have nothing against the CRTC, but if you give the CRTC all the powers, you have to give it the means to do what it wants to do. Also, this provides a structure that means that it takes a long time before results can be implemented. As a result, the common good is not very well served in all of this.
    Following this second stage of the bill, a parliamentary committee will study it and propose amendments. Our critic in this area will make proposals to move in the direction we are interested in, which is to freshen up the Broadcasting Act.
    We are obviously in favour of fairness, but these two elements still need to be included in the bill. That is not quite what we are seeing right now. We hope that the improvements and amendments that we will bring forward in committee will be accepted by the government.

  (1240)  

    Madam Speaker, not 15 minutes ago we heard a speech by a Conservative colleague who said that French content has already increased considerably over the past few years when his government was in power and that we needed to allow the market to operate without additional regulation.
    Then, moments ago, we heard another speech by a Conservative member who says that we need to do more to encourage francophone content.
    I would like my colleague to tell me what the Conservative Party's position is on this matter and on the provisions in this bill that introduce some very serious fines for web giants. I think he would agree that there needs to be more regulation, as our bill proposes. The proposed fines are the stiffest in the world.
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate the comments and remarks from the parliamentary secretary to the minister who introduced this bill.
    It is rather odd to hear a member of the Liberal Party of Canada come to the defence of the French language when we know that, unfortunately, that party's top official in Quebec believes that Bill 101 is just fine as it is and there is no need to go any further. We, on the other hand, believe that Bill 101 should apply to federally regulated businesses. One of the member's colleagues, who I believe represents a riding neighbouring her own, expressed serious doubts about the importance of Bill 101 in Quebec. Twenty minutes after officially backtracking in parliamentary committee, the member in question expressed support for an online post that said the exact opposite of what she had just said. There is no consistency.
    On top of that, those folks were elected five years ago after saying that the Official Languages Act needed to be revised and that they would do everything they could to move that forward, and now, five years later, all we have gotten is the promise of a white paper.
    I would like the government side to do its job when it comes to French before passing judgment on anyone.
    Madam Speaker, the Bloc Québécois is obviously in favour of modernizing the Broadcasting Act given the rapid and staggering evolution of information and communications technology.
    Does my colleague believe that Bill C-10 is designed to really reflect and make room for the perspectives of indigenous peoples, Quebeckers, racialized communities and various other ethnocultural communities?

  (1245)  

    Madam Speaker, I appreciate my colleague's comment and I commend him on his new mandate, which he received a year and several months ago now. I really appreciated the work we do together. I would like to digress a little, if I may, because we are talking about communication after all. My colleague's father was a major player in the communications industry in the 20th century when he worked as a press photographer in Quebec and across Canada. I wanted to point that out.
    The member talked about the representation of indigenous, racialized and LGBT communities. We are in favour of that principle, but we would have liked the same attention to be given to French. That is what is missing from this bill right now. Some future plans were mentioned and that is fine. We cannot be against that, but a lot is being said and very little is actually being done.
    However, we agree that indigenous communities need more representation. The same is true for racialized and LGBT communities.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. I do indeed think that, after 28 years, the act needed to be reviewed, because technology has advanced. However, it seems that the government did not finish the job. There are still a bunch of holes left. Some players are not at the table. The way it works is, if you benefit from the system, you have to contribute to the system.
    The CRTC has totally arbitrary exemption powers. Broadcasting on social media like YouTube is not included, and Internet service providers are not included either. Cable companies are, however. In other words, if you watch your TV show on cable, the company will contribute to the system to create original content. However, if you watch your show on Videotron Wi-Fi, in that case, the company does not contribute to creating content.
    What does my colleague think of that?
    Madam Speaker, it is a little like what we were talking about earlier. We support the fairness principle, but unfortunately, this bill does not directly address the issue of web giants, social media and fairness. We believe that the government has failed in its duty in this regard.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to be able to speak on the modernization of this act. As my colleague, the member for Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, said earlier, it is an act that absolutely needs to be modernized.
    As we have heard, this act has effectively been in place since 1991. It has not been modernized up to this point. With all of the changes that have gone on in the digital world, and I think the list is as long as the day in terms of the digital changes that have occurred, there is no question that the Broadcasting Act needs to be modernized to meet the standard of 2020. I had to laugh at the comment of my colleague from Timmins—James Bay earlier that this bill brings a 1995 solution to a 2020 problem.
    There are some concerns that we have—
    Mr. Charlie Angus: You didn't mention the King of Kensington part.
    Mr. John Brassard: And the King of Kensington part, too.
    Madam Speaker, we have some concerns with the legislation. There are some good things, like all pieces of legislation, but there are certainly things that provide some inequity that need to be addressed. There have been numerous studies done over the years about upgrading the Broadcasting Act.
     In fact, just recently there was a recommendation from the broadcasting and telecommunications legislative review, which published a report in 2020. It was appointed a few years ago, and its purpose was to look at the key pieces of legislation that govern our communications sector. In that report, there were 97 recommendations based on the objectives of supporting the creation, production and discoverability of Canadian content, and improving the rights of the digital consumer, amongst other things.
    In the report, it spoke specifically, and of course Bill C-10 speaks specifically, to online platforms. It speaks to financial contributions by broadcasters and online undertakings, and an update to Canada's broadcasting and regulation policy. It also gives the CRTC increasing powers.
    For us, that is probably one of the most concerning parts of the bill, among some others, the fact that it can impose an administrative monetary policy for violations of certain provisions of the act, such as contraventions of regulations or orders made under the act, broadcasting when prohibited to do so and failing to submit information. There are numerous things that the CRTC will gain power on with respect to this. It also provides for oversight of the Canadian broadcasting landscape.
    There are things within the bill that definitely need to be worked on. Here is one of the things that the bill does not address, and I want to spend a considerable amount of time on this. Recently I had the opportunity to meet with Metroland newspapers, which is part of the Torstar group. They were advocating on behalf of online digital content.
    As members know, the inequity that is created, the disparity of online digital content is significant for those content producers. Oftentimes many of those stories will end up on Facebook or even Google, and a lot of the ad revenue that is being created does not go back to the content providers. That means there has been a significant change in the landscape of digital content in this country as a result of players like Facebook and Google. Facebook and Google profit significantly from that content that is being provided, but those content producers do not. It is causing a significant problem.
    In meeting with Metroland, Shaun and Elise brought to my attention some of those concerns. My hope is, and I am writing a letter in support of their ask, that some of what they are suggesting to level the playing field is actually adopted by the government fairly soon. What the bill would not do is address the concerns of the digital content providers.
    Their concern, of course, is preserving a functioning journalism industry. They said at the time that citizens around the globe are demanding high-quality journalism and investigative reporting. Nonetheless, the ability of news publishers to continue providing such critical information is under threat by the market power and preferential regulatory treatment of dominant platforms in digital information. Democratic governments are recognizing market failures in the market for news, and they are now working to implement policies to address them.

  (1250)  

    Just the other day, I was in a conference Zoom call with the new owners of Torstar, who own Metroland Media. Overwhelmingly, the consensus of the community leaders who were on that call spoke about the role of journalism, the role of truth and the role of providing balance, particularly in the case of local journalism. We had quite an interesting discussion about that because, as we see the evolution of social media platforms, there is a level of disinformation. Therefore, it comes back to a matter of trust in the content being provided by these digital producers.
    France, Spain, the U.K. and Australia have already passed regulations. In fact, I am told that just today Australia passed legislation to level the playing field. Again, in the context of Bill C-10, none of this is addressed in this piece of legislation. What the Australian legislation is designed to do is to reduce the effects of the platforms' market power and to restore balance and fairness in the market for digital advertising and digital news distribution, which is exactly what I heard from Metroland representatives when I met with them.
    Other countries, including the U.S., are now analyzing how the market is dominated through those digital platforms, and they are developing regulatory reforms and legislation and beginning antitrust proceedings to rectify the platforms' market dominance. The hope is to continue that discussion here in Canada and end up with either regulation or legislation that solves that inequity in the country. When many of our allies, and I do not mean that in a war context but in regard to the countries that we are aligned with digitally, are engaging in that process, we need to start doing that as a country as well.
    Consumer demand for news obviously remains high, not just in the local and national content but also digital content. That speaks to the need for more credible and professional news as a result of that increased demand. There was a time when there was no social media, obviously, and as Canadians we received our news from reputable sources and reputable news people. There is an online demand for that news to continue, but in some cases it is not indicative of what is important or what is factual in a lot of cases.
    Therefore, supporting that level playing field for the digital content and the producers of it becomes critical in protecting the truth, and that is what the Metroland representatives are talking about. They are, in their words, approaching market failure because of the inequity that is happening. They reminded me that market failure occurs when participants in a market do not produce an economically and socially optimal outcome because of non-market factors. Examples might be the inclusion of regulatory barriers to enter or market power.
    Market failures can take several forms and several of them are applicable to the market for digital ads and news in Canada. The most pressing failure that they indicated was the result of the market power of both Google and Facebook, which I referenced earlier. Google and Facebook, they say, are in an effective duopoly over the market for digital advertising in Canada and its peer nations. Those platforms have segmented the market between search, which is Google, and Facebook for social media, which limits the direct competition between the two.
    I know I have spent a lot of time on levelling the digital playing field in support of local content producers, but the concern that I have and the hope that I have is that the government will recognize this inequity and will work toward regulation or legislation that allows for these local content producers and the individuals who work for them to be paid fairly, not just from a monetary standpoint in terms of income but also from advertising as well, because that becomes important to the viability, the sustainability and the legitimacy of the news business in this country, going forward.
     I would be glad to answer any questions.

  (1255)  

    Madam Speaker, a lot of what I heard from the member's speech I agree with, as there is a lot of misinformation on social media platforms. He talked about more credible news, and I believe he was referring to those online sources.
    A lot of what gets spread around are conspiracy theories, conspiracy theories that are then repeated by members of this House, including the member who just spoke, who yelled out the other day an anti-Semitic trope talking about George Soros.
    Could the hon. member comment on the misinformation he speaks out against and why he uses that in this House?
    Madam Speaker, in the context of Bill C-10, I am not even going to dignify that with an answer.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
    He spoke at length about local content, but also about the media and journalism. The NDP is quite disappointed with the current bill. We hope we can improve it by amending it in committee.
    Right now, many websites like Bing, MSN and Yahoo rebroadcast news content created by others, but they do not pay for the content. Unfortunately, Bill C-10 does absolutely nothing to force these web giants to pay for content created by real journalists.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, that is a very fair question. I think I addressed that at length in my speech on this bill. It goes back to precisely what I have been hearing from local digital content producers, not just from an advertising standpoint, but from an income standpoint. That inequity is existing and it is significant. It could lead to market failure from a digital content standpoint.
    We must get to a point where we are able to provide that level playing field to allow the content to be shared. It will come. Other countries have done it, including Australia today. More importantly, the content producers and those who write must be paid fairly and quickly after this information is used by Facebook, Google or the other examples the member gave. Unless and until we get to that point, we are going to see a continued decline in digital content and sources in this country.

  (1300)  

    Madam Speaker, there is a couple of concerning things about this bill.
    Number one, it gives more power to the CRTC, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, which is a big flag in this country. During the pandemic last summer, the CBC in its wisdom, decided to pull the local Compass, the half-hour newscast out of Prince Edward Island, with no consultation. It is their only newscast. The CRTC should be looking at the licencing agreement of CBC and Prince Edward Island, not just to give them a slap on their hands, but to fine the CBC for pulling that show, because it is in its licence agreement.
    The other thing, and I want the hon. member for Barrie—Innisfil to comment on this, is that order in council is given all precedent in this bill. It is the Cabinet and the heritage minister who will end making every decision at the cabinet table, which is absolutely wrong.
    Madam Speaker, to the latter point by the hon. member, we have seen that a lot of the legislation introduced in this place really has had that power consolidated through the executive branch of government. I look to some of the environmental bills that we have dealt with in the past, such as Bill C-48 and Bill C-69, for example, where the minister has the ultimate say. The power is not distributed among Parliament or even within the government, but within the executive branch. I am not surprised by that assertion, quite frankly, given the history of this government.
    Secondly, the example in P.E.I. speaks to the insatiable appetite that people have for news, not just national or international news, but local news as well. It is not surprising to me when people push back as they did in P.E.I. They are seeking the truth as well.
    Madam Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to engage in this debate, which really does affect Canadian culture, how we see ourselves in the global marketplace and our identity as Canadians.
    The Broadcasting Act has not been renewed or reviewed for 28 years, so it is time that we get this done. The problem is that, as is so typical with the Liberal government, it has brought forward legislation that is so deeply flawed that we, as Conservatives in the House who want to get it right, just cannot support it. I am going to go through some of those flaws, because they are significant, but the reason we are even talking about reviewing the Broadcasting Act is because the whole environment in which broadcasting takes place has changed.
    We have moved from an environment in which digital forms of communication were mostly unknown to an environment in which we have digital platforms that are, in fact, challenging the role of conventional broadcasters in Canada. We have to get this right, because there is a lot at stake. What is at stake is Canadian content and making sure that we, as Canadians, see ourselves in the products we see on television, on streaming services and in the movies. It is also important that we recognize that there are individuals and companies within Canada that are producing content, really good and in most cases Canadian content, that are actually not being reimbursed and compensated for that content.
    I will start by highlighting that this bill, and this is one of the positives in it, will effectively add online businesses to our broadcasting regime. This is to make sure that we capture everything that is happening online of a broadcasting nature, and we include it in the regulations and the legislative regimes that we put in place. We do not want conventional broadcasters, which already operate within a set of rules, to be placed at a disadvantage when we have a whole set of other online content providers that operate either under a different set of rules or, in most cases, in the absence of rules. We want to get this right.
    One of the challenges of this bill is that it does not address the monetization of content on some of the largest online content providers, the Facebooks and the Googles of the world. Recently, I met with Ken Goudswaard and Carly Ferguson from the Abbotsford News, our local newspaper. It is an excellent newspaper focused on the local issues that matter to our residents.
    I met with them and the first thing they raised with me was the Broadcasting Act and the fact that they operate in an environment where the big players, such as Facebook and Google, take advantage of them. I asked how that happens, although I had an inkling of what they were going to say. They said they are producing 100% Canadian content within our community, the city of Abbotsford. They are the ones who pay the reporters, the layout people and everybody else who works in the newspaper office. They are the ones who pay for all of it. They then put that content online, and Facebook and Google get to then advertise off of that content without compensating the Abbotsford News for any of it. It is, in fact, a freebie.
    These are the largest corporations in the world. They are also among the most profitable corporations in the world. They are not sharing their wealth and the income that our local content producers rightfully deserve. That is one of the failings of this legislation. It does not adequately address that challenge.
    To Ken and to Carly, I say I am advocating for them. We Conservatives are advocating for them in the House. We want to make sure that those who deliver content, Canadian content, in Canada are also properly compensated for it, and that others do not get rich off their backs.

  (1305)  

    One of the other considerations is that the bill has a lack of clarity when it comes to the powers that would be granted to the CRTC. My colleague rightfully raised this challenge earlier in that much of the decision-making is vested in the Governor in Council. For Canadians who are wondering who the Governor in Council is, it is effectively the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the cabinet, who can simply, by fiat, say that this is what we are going to do and this is how much will be committed to Canadian content.
    As members know, in Canada our broadcasters have to invest in Canadian content. They have no choice. We want to make sure that we, as Canadians, see ourselves in the products of online content, as well as in our broadcast media. They are committed to taking anywhere from 25% to 40% of their content and ensuring that it is Canadian. They also have to contribute 5% to the Canada Media Fund, which is a separate fund that helps Canadian content producers deliver Canadian content in a way that does not bankrupt them.
    These support mechanisms are in place for Canadian broadcasters, the conventional broadcasters, but we have this whole other realm of content producers and content streaming services, the online platforms that are not part of that broadcasting regime. We want to make sure that they also play by the same set of rules that our domestic broadcasters have to play by.
    Unfortunately, the powers to direct this are vested in the cabinet and the CRTC, but those powers are not clear on exactly what kind of requirements would be imposed upon our online streaming services when they deliver content to Canadians. There is no certainty, and if I were someone who was leading one of these streaming services, I would think that, until I had clarity from the Canadian authorities as to exactly how much I had to invest in Canadian content and how much it was going to cost me, I would probably hold off on any further investments, and that is not good for Canada.
    To their credit, companies such as Netflix, Crave and Amazon Prime and others like them do invest in Canadian content already, but they are not subject to the same rules as our Canadian broadcasters and content providers, and that needs to change. What we are doing is levelling the playing field. Unfortunately, we do not know what the rules are for that level playing field.
    Effectively, the government is saying to trust it. When have we heard that before from the Prime Minister? The irony here is that we have a Liberal government that is bringing forward Bill C-10 with changes to the Broadcasting Act that are supposed to enhance Canadian content. This is to drive home the fact that we are Canadian, we have a Canadian identity and we want to see ourselves in that content.
    However, this is the same Prime Minister who publicly said that Canada has no core identity. Do members remember when he said that? We have no core identity but we want Canadian content. Members can see that there are so many flaws in this proposed legislation. Step by step, we need to deal with the Broadcasting Act in a manner that actually delivers exactly what Canadians need.
    The last point I will make is that there is no reference at all to taxing the big boys. The Facebooks and Googles of this world are still not paying taxes in Canada. Are Netflix, Crave, Amazon Prime, Spotify and the others paying taxes in Canada? No, but they are driving major revenue growth from delivering their content here in Canada.
    This is all about fairness. Bill C-10 does not deliver fairness, and for that reason we, as Conservatives, will be voting against the legislation.

  (1310)  

    Madam Speaker, the hon. member raised this a number of times in his speech, and I agree with him that the Internet giants not paying their fair share. However, I believe Crave may be a Canadian company, but I am happy to be corrected on that.
    The member briefly touched on this in terms of taxation, but what does he think the role of the federal government should be, and what should it do to ensure that the Internet giants like Facebook pay their fair share?
    Madam Speaker, I think if we were to ask Canadians what they expect, they would say they simply expect fairness. They are not asking us to overtax companies from other countries that are investing in a very good service for Canadians and in Canadian content. That is a good thing, but we need fairness. Fairness means a level playing field for everybody, so taxation should not only focus on Canadians, but focus on everybody who derives income from delivering content within our country.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my Conservative colleague for his truly passionate and fascinating speech.
    I fully share his indignation about the fact that web giants do not pay taxes. However, I have some reservations when I consider the past few years. It seems to me that the Conservatives were in power from 2006 to 2015, and they did not do a single thing to fix this problem.
    I do not understand why, because Google, Facebook and all these web giants did not spring up in the past couple weeks. They have existed for at least 15 to 20 years. Why did the Conservatives do absolutely nothing to address this when they were in power ?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the reality is that 10 or 15 years ago, Facebook, Google and some of the streaming services were not anywhere close to as pervasive as they are today. Today Canadians know that the big boys are the ones that deliver content and that many of them are getting away with not paying the requisite taxes they should be paying in Canada. I am in favour of making sure the playing field is level and that there is fairness for everybody.
     Here we are in 2020. It is not 2010 or 2006, when the former Conservative government was elected. The digital online environment is dramatically different today than it was 15 years ago.

  (1315)  

[Translation]

    Madam President, I am pleased to hear that my Conservative colleague is finally on board with our position of advocating tax fairness and requiring web giants to pay taxes in Canada.
    I would like to ask him about workers. The current act states that predominant use must be made of Canadian talent, meaning Canadian or Quebec workers. Today, in this bill, there is no mention of this, which means that our workers will be used only where possible, subject to certain circumstances. We believe that this weakens the act. We are concerned for our artists, artisans and technicians. What does he think of this?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague raises a good point, and it is another one of the major flaws in this legislation and why the Conservatives cannot support it.
    I do not know if he and the NDP will be supporting it, but the reality is that when we walk through Bill C-10 step by step, we see flaw after flaw. We could have done much better. Unfortunately, the bill is fundamentally flawed, which is why the Conservatives will not support it, but it is time to review our broadcasting environment in Canada and introduce fairness onto the playing field.
    I ask for a brief question from the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands.
    Madam Speaker, it is hard to ask a brief question, because I am so deeply engaged in Canadian content and creativity.
    I want to ask the hon. member if he thinks it would be better to keep the current section 3 of the Broadcasting Act. We do need modernization, but by getting rid of the language in section 3 regarding deeply embedded Canadian content, we would weaken the act.
    I married into a family of actors. I am going to give a shout-out to my stepdaughter Janet Kidder, who is starring in Star Trek: Discovery. She plays Osyraa, an evil green villain, not like me, so—
    I have to allow time for the member for Abbotsford to give a very short answer.
    Madam Speaker, I did not really hear a question from the “evil green villain”, so I will leave it at that. She is not an evil green villain, I can assure everyone. She is a valuable colleague of ours in the House.
    Madam Speaker, how does one follow on the comments made by the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands? I congratulate her relative for getting a role in Star Trek: Discovery. I am sure there are a lot of Trekkies out there who appreciate that and will watch with bated breath to see who she is portraying.
    It is an honour for me to rise in the House today to join in the discussion of Bill C-10, an act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other acts.
     As the member for Abbotsford put on the table, there are some fundamental flaws with it, one of which relates to the Governor in Council. When we go through the bill, one thing that jumps out right away is the power the Governor in Council will have. There would be a lot of power situated in the minister's office and cabinet when it comes to making decisions regarding Canadian content and broadcasting services, and that is a fundamental flaw in the bill.
    What also pops out when reading the bill is the pretty broad definition of “online business”. I think that is what people were looking for.
     Another issue my constituents have brought forward to me, which we will have time to talk about more, is the issue of giving more power to the CRTC. When we talk about the availability of online services, broadcasting and the news, most Canadians would like to see less power in the Ottawa bubble and the CRTC and more power throughout the country, as people would like to have more options.
    I agree, and I think many members of the House would agree, that waiting 28 years to update a bill is a substantial length of time. The member for Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry mentioned he was three years old when this act was introduced, and he talked about some of the great music then. Times have changed, and a lot of conversations need to be had now about how we are going to do business using online services with Facebook and Netflix.
    What are we going to do? How are we going to do it? The members across the way have talked about what taxes should look like for very big corporations, and the member for Abbotsford brought it up very well when he said that when businesses come to Canada they expect to be treated fairly. That is something we need to keep in mind when we are looking at this legislation.
    We talked about having Canadian content and making sure there is a level playing field when it comes to news services. I think the other issue we need to talk about is how smaller online businesses and news services are competing with the bigger online services. That needs to be levelled as well.
    Some smaller businesses are trying to compete against taxpayer dollars. The member for Barrie—Innisfil said, very correctly, that some of these small local publications are trying to compete with the CBC online, and the CBC has a good online paper. The member for Saskatoon—Grasswood talked about how it just updated its online presence, which is wonderful, but that online presence is now competing with smaller online papers. It is very hard for them to compete, because they do not have the resources that bigger companies like CBC, CTV or Global have. We need to take that into consideration as well when we are looking at how we will be able to ensure that smaller publications have the ability to compete. A lot of Canadians across the country want to see competition in the online broadcasting field and the ability to have more selection and options when looking at online news and broadcasting.
    We also need to have a discussion about how we are going to ensure there is correct information online. That conversation is important in this day and age. Some of the members across the way have brought up fake news, or whatever they like to call it, but I think it is also incumbent upon us to make sure we hold ourselves to a higher level of decorum in the House when debating bills. Let us not bring up issues that are not related to Bill C-10, nor have personal attacks back and forth during these speeches. That is below parliamentarians and below the level that our constituents expect from us. We need a higher level of discourse in this chamber.

  (1320)  

    I expect that to continue and expect us to raise the bar of decorum in the House to ensure that when we have debates about important legislation, we stick to the facts and the debate at hand. We must leave personal and partisan feelings away from the table when we have these conversations. I will do my best to ensure that there is good decorum in this chamber whenever I am on my feet to talk about important bills.
    When we have conversations on Bill C-10, possible situations could arise that are interesting. The long-awaited legislation is the result of the Yale report on the framework for communications in Canada tabled in February 2020. The 97 recommendations of the report deal with social media, copyright, taxation of web giants and advertising fees to ensure the sustainability of traditional media. Bill C-10 is limited to the modernization of the Broadcasting Act, which essentially consists of introducing, as I said earlier, a very broad definition of online business, broadcasting cultural content and giving the CRTC broad discretion to regulate them where it does require a percentage of Canadian content, requires financial contributions and imposes fines to investigate compliance.
    There are a lot of recommendations from the Yale report, which Bill C-10 is based on, that have not been implemented, and I think we should take some time to step back. That is why on this side we think Bill C-10 misses the mark in a few areas, especially regarding centralizing the discretion within the CRTC and within the Minister of Canadian Heritage's office, which we think is a big concern. Many of my colleagues have talked about that concern. We need to ensure there are broader consultations about where Canadians would like to see the ability to regulate and where our online business and our broadcasting ideas would come from.
    We want more news available, and we want Canadian content within our broadcasting. However, the bill misses the mark on creating some fairness within the broadcasting sector and ensuring that we have space for smaller and start-up publications. There are a couple back home I can think of that would be hurt from not having a level playing field when starting up and competing with the larger companies, such as CBC, Global and CTV. They need to start with an online presence, because that helps.
    I know, as do the young staff in my office, that there are not a lot of newspapers in the office anymore. We have our phones and PressReader, and we get much of our information from online sources.
    I know the Regina Leader Post and The Star Phoenix have dropping publication numbers in Saskatchewan. They are working hard to make sure they have a large online presence because they realize that more and more people are getting their news from websites and through online services.
    We need to allow for room in online businesses so they have the ability to compete. It is not as fair at this point as we would like to see it, and we wish there would have been the ability within Bill C-10 to create a more level playing field.
    When it comes to online services, companies such as Netflix and Facebook should pay their fair share, as my colleagues across the way like to say. I think that is a good point, but they need to have certainty so that before they come to Canada, they know what the taxes or fees are going to be when they bring their businesses to Canada. Without certainty, it is very hard to attract new businesses and new tech companies to Canada if they do not know what the fees will be.
    Given the uncertainty reasons and the power that is going to be situated within the CRTC and the minister's office, we have issues and concerns. That is why we will not be supporting this piece of legislation at this time.

  (1325)  

    Madam Speaker, I would like to point out that levelling the playing field and taxing web giants is the purview of the Minister of Finance, which is why the Minister of Finance, in the fall economic statement, said that we would be taxing web giants.
    With respect to Bill C-10, which was presented by the Minister of Canadian Heritage, I would say, perhaps echoing colleagues from the Conservative Party, that it is high time we modernize the Broadcasting Act. I wonder why this colleague is suggesting that we should delay it further by doing more consultations. We have consulted extensively with the broadcasting sector, content providers and the culture industry here in Canada.
    Unlike the Conservatives, who did not modernize the Broadcasting Act when they were in power for 10 years, we are proposing to do that now. It is 2020, and it is time to move forward. Would the member opposite agree?
    Madam Speaker, it is time to modernize the Broadcasting Act.
    Would the member agree that all the power should not reside with the CRTC and with the office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage, regarding what the Broadcasting Act should entail?
    I have a problem with that. Canadians and constituents that I represent in Regina—Lewvan say that the CRTC does not need more power. It needs less power. That is definitely one reason why. It is because of the people I support. I have listened to people within my constituency and across Saskatchewan who firmly believe that there should be less power residing in the minister's office and in the CRTC, not more power.
    Those would be two very good reasons why I cannot support this bill at this time.

  (1330)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
    I would make a little correction to what the parliamentary secretary said. The Liberals are not going to tax web giants next year. They are going to make the consumers who use their services pay GST. That is not at all the same thing.
    I really enjoyed my colleague's speech. He said that the definition of “broadcaster” was very broad, but a lot of people are saying that it is actually not broad enough and that this law should account for technologies that do not yet exist and that will be released in the future. For example, social media platforms are not considered broadcasters, even though there is a good chance that some of them will become broadcasters in the coming months. Things are moving very quickly.
    Should we not create a bill that accounts for technological changes and that is broad enough to include them in the future?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I agree completely with the member's statement.
    One of the problems we had with this bill is that the definition was so broad, and there was not more included in it. The member is right: the modernization of this bill should include the fact that Facebook and Netflix should be seen as broadcasters. That would be a good solution.
     That is probably one of the reasons why he may not be able to vote in favour of this bill, because that definition is not there.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
     I do agree with some of the things he said, including the fact that this bill relies too heavily on the CRTC. It is not that the people working for the CRTC are bad people, but I had some bad experiences with the CRTC a few years ago when I was the spokesperson for the Mouvement Montréal français. We had complained to the CRTC about some private radio stations in Quebec because they were not complying with quotas for French music, especially at peak listening hours. They were finding ways around the rules.
    For example, they would edit English songs into one 10- to 15-minute-long track. Since the songs played consecutively without interruption, for quota purposes, that counted as a single song. Private radio stations were effectively playing a 15-minute English song at peak listening hours. It was ridiculous.
    Does my colleague not think that, as legislators, we should give the CRTC much clearer rules, especially to protect French-language content?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, that would be another issue that we have with the legislation. It does not provide any benchmarks to legislate the percentage of French-language content. I would agree with the member.
    I bet he is not the only one who has had issues with the CRTC, when it comes to people who have been involved in the broadcasting services. His interaction is probably not one that is replicated across the country with the hardworking people at the CRTC. We just think there should be a more strict delineation of power within the CRTC, and people across the country would like to have more say in what broadcasting standards should be.
    Madam Speaker, before we begin discussions on regulating content on the Internet, let us recognize that Canada has 38 million regulators. They are called customers. They are the people who decide what they watch. With the click of a mouse, they can choose the content that serves their interests. For the same reason, the ability to produce unique and diverse content is greater today than ever before. The advent of the Internet, far from limiting the production of Canadian content, has vastly expanded it by dramatically reducing the cost of production and distribution.
    If members really think about it, the cost of producing and distributing content today is probably 99% lower than it was just 25 years ago. There are 14-year-old kids who can produce their own movie trailers on their laptop computers and broadcast them before as many eyes as want to see them, without spending a single dollar beyond the purchase of a bit of software and a laptop on which to design them, and the quality is probably superior to what Hollywood would have been able to create just a few decades ago.
    This has democratized and expanded the scope of content. It has allowed minorities, and people with particular interests not held by the majority, to reach audiences. Back in the old days, people had to compete for real estate in HMV, the local record store or the local Blockbuster, and if someone was not among the top 50, they did not get that real estate. Even if their product was interesting to 3% of the public, they could not sell it to anybody, because they had no means of getting it to the public and they could not generate the capital to produce it in the first place.
    I will acknowledge that the changes to which this bill proposes to respond are actually good changes. They are democratizing changes. They spread out power and diversity, which is something we should allow and that freedom provides.
    The current government seeks to extend its reach and broaden its tentacles into the Internet.
    Mr. Kevin Lamoureux: Hear, hear.
    Hon. Pierre Poilievre: “Hear, hear,” says the Liberal member across the way. Every once in a while the veil falls, and they reveal their true selves. I say they want to extend their tentacles into the Internet, and one of the most prominent Liberal MPs says, “Hear, hear.” I thank him for his temporary and accidental honesty.
    I will quote Andrew Coyne, who is far from a Conservative, who says in The Globe and Mail, which is far from a Conservative publication, “The Canadian government's Bill C-10 has opened the door to serious state regulation of the Internet.” The Prime Minister has expressed his admiration for Fidel Castro and for the basic dictatorship of communist China; has attempted to use this pandemic to extend to himself the unmitigated power to raise any tax at any time by any amount, until 2022; has used a debate commission to put Craig Kielburger, and other Liberal insiders, in control of how the leaders' debate would go; and has extended a taxpayer subsidy to the media and then put the head of Unifor, a Liberal-backed organization, in charge of how the money is given out. Whenever such a Prime Minister introduces a bill to extend the power of the state over the Internet, we should be very suspicious.
    I will quote Mr. Coyne, who says:
    While the government claims it would not empower the CRTC to regulate smaller services such as Britbox, social media sites such as Youtube or online news content, the bill contains no specific provisions that would prohibit it, and includes provisions that seem to allow it. For example, the bill exempts “programs that are uploaded to an online undertaking” by its users and “online undertakings whose broadcasting consist of only such programs.” It leaves the way open for the CRTC to regulate services that show both user-generated and curated content. Like Youtube.
    That means we would be opening the door for the CRTC to regulate the kinds of things that everyday Canadians produce and upload onto the Internet.

  (1335)  

    We are allowing the CRTC, which is an already overly powerful bureaucracy of nameless, faceless government authorities, to potentially extend its regulation into what content people put on the Internet. It is no surprise the Prime Minister would want to limit and regulate that kind of content. Often the kind of independent material uploaded to the Internet by everyday Canadians is the only place outside of the House where he faces real criticism. He is not protected by the adoring glow of his supporters in the press gallery. Therefore, he has to contend with the scrutiny of everyday Canadians who dare criticize him or his ideological direction, or dare produce content that might contradict his world view.
    The government refuses to clearly circumscribe the power of the CRTC, and it opens the door for that power to be extended. We can only assume it was designed for the very purpose of extending more control over what Canadians watch, read, hear and produce. That is further compounded by the fact that the bill allows the cabinet to have order-making power over the CRTC, and to direct how it will apply these brand new powers: powers that the member across the way is salivating over right now. Powers that he said, “Hear, hear” to, as soon as I suggested that he might have them.
    We live in a free country. Everyday, ordinary Canadians should be allowed their own megaphones and the only limit on how loud and how vast their voices are should be whether people choose to listen to them. Everyday Canadians should be able to decide what they like by voting with their clicks. That is the kind of liberty we should extend to the Canadian people. In the marketplace of ideas, there is no role for state coercion and intimidation. There is no role for nameless, faceless government bureaucrats to decide who is heard and who is not. Everyday Canadian people should have the freedom to do that for themselves.
    If we, on this side of the House of Commons, are the only ones to stand up for free speech, then there a lot of Canadians who will stand with us. We know that we have, in the Prime Minister, someone who does not believe in free speech. After a French newspaper was the victim of a terrorist attack, he was asked about free speech and whether that publication should have freedom of expression. He said, “Freedom of expression is not unlimited”, as if to suggest that the attack against the publication was somehow justified on the grounds that the publication had improperly exercised freedom of expression, and that the state ought to have the ability to limit that expression. He then backed down, by the way. He came to the House of Commons and reversed himself completely, swallowed himself whole and realized how much he had humiliated himself by revealing his real thoughts to the Canadian people.
    Every time the Prime Minister attempts to extend control over what we see, hear, read and produce, we ought to view the proposal through the lens of a man who believes in strong state control over its citizens. We on this side of the House will stand for the ancient liberties we have inherited from our ancestors and that we hope to bequeath to those who come after us.

  (1340)  

    Madam Speaker, I detect a Reform Party comeback when I listen to the member opposite. I am a bit surprised of the manner in which the member feels government does not have any role. If we listen to his comments, we would think that he wants to see the demise of the CRTC. From across the way, he gestures yes, what is wrong with that?
    The vast majority of Canadians recognize the value of Canadian content, not to mention the thousands of jobs that come as a direct result. Through this legislation the government is ensuring Canadian content and good middle-class jobs. We are moving forward.
    Why is the Conservative Party moving more to the Reform side? This is like going back to the Harper era in the extreme.
    Madam Speaker, the member wants to go back to 1984.
    I will identify the member as the Liberal MP who yelled “Hear, hear!” when I said the government is attempting to extend its tentacles and take control over the Internet. He yelled out “Hear, hear!”, confirming my claim to be true.
    We know the member's bias. He believes that people like him should decide what everyday Canadians are allowed to see. He thinks that Canadians are too stupid or too morally bankrupt to choose for themselves, that he, in his ivory tower with his Liberal elitist friends, should be able to regulate what Canadians choose to watch because he, of course, is made of better clay. He is a superior, a thinker, and therefore should be able to regulate the thoughts of every single Canadian.
    We on this side disagree. We have faith in Canadians and believe they should have the freedom to choose for themselves.

  (1345)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I was very curious to hear what our Conservative colleagues would have to say about Bill C-10. I was actually wondering what was holding up the vote on this bill, when everyone on the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage and the entire cultural and media sector are anxious for us to study this and move it forward.
    Of course I understand my colleague's concerns about certain Internet regulations that will prevent misinformation, which they are probably a little more partial to than we are, but I do not see where freedom of expression is being infringed upon in any way in this bill. If he were to consult the players in the media and cultural sector in Quebec and Canada, my colleague would very quickly see that these are legitimate requests coming from the industry, that they are not ideological at all, and they have nothing to do with the online content that the government may or may not want to control.
    I would like to know whether my colleague took the time to consult the cultural and media sector before forming his opinion on the matter.
    Madam Speaker, here is the centralist Bloc, which now wants more federal regulations. It wants an authority here in Ottawa to have more control over what Quebeckers choose to watch and consume. The Bloc Québécois is contradicting itself. It is the centralist Bloc.
    We think that Quebeckers should be masters in their own house, that each of them should be able to choose for themselves what they watch on the Internet. A federal authority in Ottawa should not be deciding that for them.
    He is asking me why I think that the government wants to control the Internet. I am looking at the comments of the minister, who said that people should have to get a licence from the federal government to produce online content. I would never have thought that a sovereignist party would support the idea of a federal authority in Ottawa requiring people to have a licence to express themselves.
    We are the only party that will protect Quebeckers' freedom of expression.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it is an honour to once again debate in this place, and to debate a bill that takes on a special relevance in the year that we find ourselves in. The dynamics associated with online content have expanded dramatically with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    We can look at the last number of decades. I recall back in high school, people were talking about how the speed of a computer was doubling every 90 days, and the next year they would say it was doubling every 45 days. The rate at which technology is advancing is incredible, and along with that come challenges and changing dynamics that definitely need to be addressed in legislation. With the tabling of the Yale report with the 97 recommendations, this is what I would assume is part of that response, being that it addresses only a small number of those challenges.
    Having stated the demands that we face and needing to make some of these changes, I would make a couple of observations about the bill.
    I think of a few speeches from my colleagues preceding me, including the member for Carleton, the member for Abbotsford, the member for Regina—Lewvan, and others, who have articulated very well some of the challenges that we faced. I have some constituents who are real politicos, who do not just follow the news as it is seen on the news channels, but follow when bills are introduced and their responses were striking. When this bill was first tabled, I had a number of constituents who reached out and asked how do they know that this is not the government just trying to take more power, how do they know that this is not the government trying to regulate free thought, and how do they know that there is not a nefarious agenda at work here.
    That speaks to some of the greater societal challenges that exist, especially when it comes to the way that the government members opposite conduct themselves and certainly some of the comments that the Prime Minister has made, whether regarding China or other aspects of society and even our country; or comments of the minister who is responsible for bringing forward this bill has made. There was a great deal of concern.
     Certainly, my hope is that in the midst of the debate in this House the government members will articulate very clearly those concerns. I have here in front of me 14 pages; and yet, having read it, there is not a whole lot of clarity as to what is actually trying to be accomplished and that poses a problem. That is part of the reason that constituents reach out and ask what this is about. They have concerns because they do not trust the intentions that are brought forward in the preamble. Certainly, that is something that needs to be very much clarified.
    There are a few points that need to be addressed, including levelling the playing field with the explosion of digital content. It is interesting that we are having this debate today when just a number of days ago there were some fairly significant conversations happening in the United States surrounding Facebook and whether it is too large and the government in the United States needs to take some antitrust actions. I would hope that the minister is following this carefully, and how it speaks to the larger issues that we face when it comes to addressing the evolving nature that is digital content.
    A big part of my concern here is with what this bill would not ensure in regard to those web giants, because they are giants and they touch every part of our life. I have an Android phone and Google touches every part of my life, whether it is talking to my kids as they are tucked into bed at night and I am here in Ottawa or to do with my job as a member of Parliament, whatever the case is.

  (1350)  

    Facebook as well; what do we not see on Facebook these days? There is certainly a great deal of concern that it is not clearly articulated how some of these things would be addressed. As well, it is not made clear what the standards would be for those multinationals and the rules that domestic content suppliers and producers have here in Canada.
    i want to talk about unleashing the private sector. There is a community in my constituency many in this House will know as Drumheller. It is the dinosaur capital of the world, the heart of the Canadian badlands. Not only is it known for the dinosaurs and the Royal Tyrrell Museum, and a big shout-out to everybody there and the challenges they are facing because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it has been very interesting how that community has benefited greatly in content creation.
    In fact, my wife suggested we watch the Netflix series Lost in Space, and I thought to myself that those hills looked familiar. It turns out I had not been to that planet, but rather I had driven through Drumheller. It was filmed there, and of course there was some CGI and whatnot associated with it, but there is incredible work done here in Canada. It is not just solely Canadian content like we see sometimes produced by the CBC, and although there are some aspects of that content a lot of people are very proud of, there is a lot of it that quite frankly I question why tax dollars go toward paying for.
    There is a lot shot in Canada, whether it be Vancouver, the Prairies or Toronto. A number of television shows supposedly based in New York are actually shot in downtown Toronto. It is absolutely incredible how much Canadian content there is and to ensure the free market is absolutely unleashed, to ensure Canada is a destination for that investment and the jobs that come along with it.
    When the Leader of the Opposition was running for the leadership of the party, I was very pleased he addressed one of these things, which was to eliminate the goods and services tax on Canadian digital platforms as a mechanism to say that it is an equal playing field. It is something that bears mentioning in this place.
    I will discuss a couple of other issues and then I will wrap up with a very important one. Nothing in this bill seems to address the issue of royalty sharing to media content shared on digital media. It does not explain how digital platforms would be treated versus more conventional broadcasting. It would give full enforcement powers to the CRTC, and like the member for Carleton articulated very well, I certainly have a great deal of concern when enforcement powers are given. Like the member for Abbotsford mentioned before, there is a tremendous amount of hesitation when the minister has the final say on a lot of the governance aspects of how content is done.
    There are a number of other concerns, but I do not think I will have time to get to them, so I will finish with simply this. All Canadians should be concerned with The New York Times editorial, and it has been discussed in this House, related to the exploitation of children on the web giants like MindGeek's Pornhub. A tremendous number of issues need to be addressed, which I do not have the time to get into today.
    The New York Times exposé and some of the debate that has taken place subsequently here and around the world look to make sure there is a clear understanding of how we can ensure those most vulnerable among us are protected. I simply finish my remarks with that.

  (1355)  

    Madam Speaker, I have a couple of questions for my hon. colleague.
    Bill C-10 is a direct response from artists, musicians, independent producers and technicians in the arts and culture sector in Canada. They are saying that we are losing our cultural sovereignty. What the member said is true. A number of productions are happening in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Manitoba, but these are service productions with American stories being told. They are telling us that we losing our cultural sovereignty, and I think the Conservative Party recognizes that.
     In fact, a few days ago, the Conservative MPs for Lakeland, Portage—Lisgar and Peace River—Westlock all said that government needed to intervene to regulate online platforms. However, the minute we try to do something and the first attempt we make at doing that, they say we are trying to take away free speech.
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate the member's comments, but I do not think there was a question there.
    I am no expert on media and production, but I have talked to many filmmakers. In fact, I am proud to have a filmmaker in my constituency who is creating a film production base. It is a ready-made set that people can use, whether international, domestic, local, indigenous, French, whatever may be the case.
    It is interesting that the minister raises those issues, because the bill does not seem to address the very things he suggested it would. There is ambiguity in what the bill attempts to address. Therefore, how can a producer, how can a content—
    The hon. member will have three minutes for questions following question period.

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]

  (1400)  

[English]

COVID-19 Pandemic

    Madam Speaker, the pandemic has hit families within my riding of Pierrefonds—Dollard. Especially hard hit are those families with children with disabilities.
     Amelia is a four-year-old girl in my riding. She has an extremely rare genetic condition. Amelia cannot walk, cannot sit and cannot see. Amelia's condition causes her severe seizures daily. Amelia is fully dependent upon her family for all her activities of daily living. Amelia's family actually needs accommodations in order for her to live a fulsome life. As COVID-19 hit, the cost of those accommodations to their home through the form of reparations skyrocketed.
    Elsewhere in my riding, I have also heard of a dad who was taking care of his autistic son. Those supports that he needed to access have been strained and have not been as readily available.
    I want to take this moment to share their stories with all members in the House and with all Canadians. We hear them and we support them.

Canadian Citizenship

    Madam Speaker, as a former immigrant, I rise today to represent millions of immigrants who have followed the rules and regulations to become Canadians.
    Newcomers are proud of completing the criminal record checks, proud of proving their education and skills and proud of acquiring jobs which benefit our new home here.
    However, because of the joy of becoming Canadians and the pride in our contributions to this country, we are heartbroken that such a glaring loophole exists that allows exploitation in getting Canadian citizenship. This loophole is exploited by overseas businesses, profiting by arranging for birth-giving vacation-like packages that cheapen our citizenship and the hard work of those who obtain it the right way.
    Sadly, this problem is prevalent across Canada, jumping 13% in just one year. So far, our government has taken no action to see it hindered. To be a Canadian citizen is a sacred trust, a commitment to a set of democratic norms and ideals that bind us to our history and the promise of our future.
    I call upon the government to protect that very trust.

Human Rights Day

    Madam Speaker, on this Human Rights Day, I want to honour the human rights defenders who put their lives at risk to advance ours.
    These heroes led the movement denouncing systemic racism and police brutality against indigenous peoples, Black and racialized Canadians. They reminded us that Black lives matter. They demanded accountability for victims of sexual assault and gender-based violence. They continue to call on their fellow Canadians to protect the world's most vulnerable, including children, refugees, members of the LBGTQI communities, religious minorities and those marred by war.
    Our government has heard these voices loud and clear. Last month we convened the first federal-provincial-territorial meeting on human rights, our second one since taking office in 2015.
    Last week we introduced landmark legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This legislation was inspired by so many indigenous peoples, and is built on the work of Romeo Saganash in the last Parliament.
     In the year of COVID, let us recommit to achieving human rights for all.

[Translation]

Dominique Fortier and Émélie Bernier

    Madam Speaker, Quebec is making a name for itself in its official language. Today, I speak for all Quebeckers who are proud of their fellow citizens.
     Dominique Fortier is originally from the greater Quebec City area, more specifically Cap-Rouge. She is the first Quebec author to win one of the most prestigious literary awards in the Francophonie, the Renaudot prize, in the essay category. Because of this award, her book, Les villes de papier, about the imaginary life of the American poet Emily Dickinson, will be famous throughout the Francophonie.
    In Charlevoix, the power of words is essential to the survival of a people, and Émélie Bernier is harnessing that power for Quebec. She won first prize in the news reporting category at the Grands Prix des Hebdos for her reporting on the slaughter of wolves. She also took home five other awards, bringing great honour to the weekly newspaper Le Charlevoisien for the quality of its content and writing. That is happening back home in Charlevoix.
    To Dominique Fortier—
    Order. The hon. member for Hochelaga.

Holiday Greetings

    Madam Speaker, it has been quite a year, and the people of Hochelaga have shown exceptional resilience in 2020.
    This holiday season, I encourage everyone to give back, whether by donating to food banks or by volunteering. I encourage everyone to buy their presents from small local businesses, to thank all those who work in our health care system and in essential services, who are on the front lines of this crisis, and to protect their loved ones and themselves by continuing to follow public health rules.
    I thank the community organizations that are stepping up their efforts to help the less fortunate during the holidays, including the Hochelaga community centre, Bouffe-Action in Rosemont, Projet Harmonie, Table de quartier Hochelaga-Maisonneuve and the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve community kitchen.
    Happy holidays to the people of Hochelaga. Rest well so that we can start 2021 strong.
    Merry Christmas, everyone.

  (1405)  

[English]

Canadian Federation of University Women Georgetown Chapter

    Madam Speaker, 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Georgetown chapter of the Canadian Federation of University Women in Wellington—Halton Hills.
     In the summer of 1971, a group of friends gathered with the idea of promoting public education, human rights and civic engagement. They became the Georgetown chapter of the CFUW, a self-funded non-partisan organization with over 8,000 members and 100 chapters across Canada.
    Over the past 50 years, the Georgetown chapter has raised thousands of dollars for local youth scholarships, hosted election debates, run children's programming and supported numerous community causes.
    I congratulate the Georgetown chapter of the Canadian Federation of University Women on this bicentennial. Many thanks for their contribution over so many decades to our community.

Lou Marsh Award

    Madam Speaker, it is a tie. This week, the Lou Marsh, the award for Canada's top athlete, went to two great Canadian footballers, Edmonton's Alphonso Davies and Montreal's Laurent Duvernay-Tardif.
    Alphonso Davies was born in a refugee camp in Ghana after his parents fled the civil war in Liberia. When he was five, they settled in Edmonton and became Canadian citizens. At just 19 years old, number 19 became a champion's league winner with Bayern Munich. Alphonso always plays with a huge smile on his face and represents a bright future for Canada's men's soccer team.
    Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is an offensive guard with the 54th Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. He played for McGill University where he earned his medical degree before being drafted to the NFL in the sixth round. He was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated when he decided to skip the 2020 football season to fight the coronavirus outbreak on the front lines at a long-term care facility in Quebec.

[Translation]

    These are two very inspiring Canadian athletes. I ask everyone in the House today to join me in congratulating the winners of the 2020 Lou Marsh award, Alphonso Davies and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif.

[English]

Hanukkah

    Mr. Speaker, tonight at sundown marks the first night of Hanukkah. In my riding of York Centre and communities across Canada and around the world, millions of Jewish families will light the Hanukkiah and celebrate the festival of lights with their loved ones.
    Though this year we cannot gather with family, friends and our neighbours, the story of Hanukkah, of perseverance and resilience, of hope and triumph against oppression, is a timeless reminder of the spirit that guides us through our challenges today.
     Each night of Hanukkah we add another candle, increasing the light surrounding our homes and our families. This tradition shines brightly and reflects the vibrancy of the Jewish community. It is also a symbol of the power of one's convictions in the face of adversity, that spark of inspiration, the light that travels from candle to candle, person to person, household to household and to all our communities. It is the light that drives out the darkness. This is the strength that is Canada in its diversity and its inclusion.
    With the festival of lights beginning, on behalf of all my constituents, I would like to wish all members of the House and all Canadians a happy and healthy holiday season.
    [Chag urim sameach]. Happy Hanukkah.

Frederick Sasakamoose

    Mr. Speaker, I was very saddened when told that Frederick Sasakamoose passed away from COVID-19 complications in late November.
     Freddy was the NHL's first indigenous player with treaty status. He made his official debut in 1954 with the Chicago Blackhawks. On Hockey Night in Canada, he taught Foster Hewitt how to pronounce his last name.
     Sasakamoose played against greats such as Gordie Howe, Jean Beliveau, Maurice Richard, but after 12 games, he realized his heart was not in the NHL but back at Sandy Lake.
    Fred's story was far from over following his NHL days. He played another decade in western Canada, he became a band councillor, served as chief and established athletic programs for kids.
    As a child, Freddy would play hockey and skated in my hometown of Canwood. In his later life, he played recreational hocky in Canwood. I can still remember watching Freddy skate down the ice, cross the centerline, top the circles, let go of that famous snap-shot and say to myself, “Thank God I'm not the goalie.”
    I pass on my condolences to Neil and the entire Sasakamoose family. Freddy was a great man.

  (1410)  

Human Rights Day

    Mr. Speaker, today is Human Rights Day. I am proud to say that as a part of our Subcommittee on International Human Rights, we as Canadians have stood together to listen to heart-wrenching testimonies from witnesses across the globe. This year has been rightly themed at “Recover Better - Stand Up for Human Rights”.
    Yes, 2020 has forever changed our conversation globally around human rights. Today is an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of human rights in rebuilding the world we want, the need for global solidarity as well as our interconnectedness and shared humanity.
     Protecting and defending human rights is a shared duty. I sincerely encourage all Canadians to reflect on how we can all do much more to advance human rights in our day-to-day life, at our homes, school, workplaces, social media and local communities. Together we can definitely build a more equal, safer and fairer world for generations to come.
    Let us all stand up for human rights.

[Translation]

Romain Giguère

    Mr. Speaker, after six years of remission, Romain Giguère, a 16-year-old boy in my riding, has learned that his leukemia has returned. He is now waging a new battle against this terrible disease.
    Romain is not alone in this ordeal. Students have come together in a show of solidarity at two high schools, Le boisé and Le tandem, which was where I worked as a teacher and a principal before I got into politics.
    This wave of generosity has swept across the region. I and many others will be shaving my head in solidarity with Romain and the movement supporting his cause. This will be happening on Monday, December 14.
    The money collected thanks to the generosity of the community and of Solidarité Jeunesse will go towards helping Romain and his family and to Leucan.
    I urge everyone who can do so to support the cause. Romain will be able to watch the event by video conference from the hospital. He will see people who believe in him, who support him, who are proud of him and who applaud his courage.
    Romain, you have a whole region behind you. Do not give up.

[English]

Search for Missing Woman

    Mr. Speaker, three years ago, a family in my riding saw their daughter for the last time. Nadia Atwi told her parents, "Bye, Mom. See you tomorrow.” That tomorrow never happened.
    Nadia has now been missing all this time and her family is looking for any answers or clues to her whereabouts. I want to take this time to praise Nadia's family and community for their courageous efforts to locate her and for working so hard to bring her home. I ask everyone to do their best so that we can bring her home safe and sound.
    All mothers want the best for their daughters, and they deserve that. We need to continue to advocate for initiatives to keep young women safe from those who wish them harm. If Nadia sees this message, I want her to know we have not given up on her.

[Translation]

The Opioid Crisis

    Mr. Speaker, statistics show that the death rates from opioids in many northern Ontario regions are much higher than rates in major centres in the south.
    It is a myth that drugs are only a problem in big cities. Even small towns like Hearst and first nations communities are affected by the opioid crisis.

[English]

    With an increasingly toxic, unregulated supply of street drugs, individuals cannot be certain of the safety of any processed drug in circulation. The pandemic has added barriers to accessing harm reduction services and treatment, while physical distancing recommendations mean more people are taking drugs alone and dying in isolation.
    As communities struggle to deal with opioids, it is imperative we do all we can to support those efforts. While drug addiction is a health problem, the flow of illegal opioids is an international criminal exercise that must be tackled headlong. Until progress is made, there will always be the next batch of poorly prepared drugs to rip holes in our communities, taking loved ones from us far too early and in a preventable way.

  (1415)  

[Translation]

Roger Dubois

    Mr. Speaker, Roger Dubois is one of those people who find meaning in life through their efforts to make the world a better place.
    Mr. Dubois is a successful businessman who started out with very little and grew his company, Canimex, into an international success story. However, his generous philanthropy will also be part of his legacy.
    His generosity is immense and legendary. Drummond's foundations and community organizations testify to it. How many projects got off the ground thanks to his generosity and involvement? There are too many to count.
    Mr. Dubois is also passionate about classical music. A lover of the arts known around the world, he has been a patron of many musicians whose talents propelled them to international careers.
     Roger Dubois' worth is not measured in dollars, but in the positive benefits of what he has done for the Drummond community. Statues are erected for such men. He has just received Canada's highest civilian honour, and he more than deserves it.
    Mr. Dubois, the entire riding of Drummond is very, very proud and grateful.

[English]

Independent Travel Advisers

    Mr. Speaker, last week, I had a Zoom meeting with independent travel advisers from Manitoba. As I looked at my screen, I saw the beautiful faces of 20, mostly female, entrepreneurs who have worked hard to serve their communities and clients, but are now suffering and are very worried because of the impacts of COVID. They shared heartbreaking stories of having their commissions, already paid to them prior to COVID, now being clawed back by some in the airline industry. In some cases, the commission was taken directly from their bank accounts without their consent. This is unfair and unjust.
    That is why we are telling the government that if it is going to help bail out the airlines, that help should include independent travel advisers. These women run small businesses across Canada, which we know are the backbone of our economy. They also represent the spirit of Canadian women, which are hard-working, tenacious and providing for their families by serving others. These women deserve more than being left behind to flail in the wind. Let us help them out.

Volunteerism in Toronto—Danforth

    Mr. Speaker, happy Hanukkah. It is the festival of lights. After the year we have had, we can all use more light. When I am lighting my candle tonight, I am going to be thinking of some of the hope and light that I have from amazing community volunteers and all of the wonderful work they do.
    One such volunteer is Stephen Bates, who spent two months in Eswatini with the Women Farmers Foundation, helping women farmers move from being gardeners to commercial farming. His work has helped to push forward gender equality. I want to thank him for his work.
    I am also going to thank today, on the five-year anniversary of 73,000 Syrian refugees resettling to Canada, the Ripple Refugee Project for its work to support 20 refugees coming to our country and for everything it did to help the community reach out.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[English]

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, months after Canadian citizens were taken hostage by the Communist regime in China, we learn that the Liberals fought hard to keep a close relationship with China. In fact, the Deputy Prime Minister fought for Canada to train China's military on Canadian soil, against the direct advice of the chief of the defence staff.
    With our citizens in jail, our exports banned and with China committing human rights abuses around the world, why did the Deputy Prime Minister push hard to partner with them?
    Mr. Speaker, today marks two years since Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were arbitrarily detained in China. These years have been stolen from Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor, from their families and loved ones. I know that all Canadians admire the integrity and strength of character these two men have shown. I would also like pay tribute to their families. The release of these two brave Canadians is an absolute priority for our government.
    Mr. Speaker, I agree with the Deputy Prime Minister. All Canadians are worried about the fate of Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor. Those two years were stolen. While the Chinese were stealing the lives of our citizens, why was she trying to push the Canadian Armed Forces to train the Chinese military on our soil?
    When they are abusing our citizens, our rights and international law, why was the government trying to partner with them?

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have long personal experience reporting on authoritarian communist regimes and I am very aware of the threat they pose. When it comes to China, Canada is appalled by the treatment of the Uighurs. We stand with the people of Hong Kong, especially the Canadian citizens there, and the release of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig is an absolute priority for our government.
    Mr. Speaker, the minister's actions never match those fine words. That is the problem with the government. The Liberals ignored security and scientific experts on the CanSino vaccine deal. They ignore our allies on Huawei. Now we learn they were ignoring the chief of the defence staff when it came to military exercises with China. Defence officials clearly said there were risks of knowledge transfer by working with China.
    Why does the Deputy Prime Minister think that she knows better than the military about how to maintain our military secrets?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to talk a little about CanSino and vaccines because that is where the Leader of the Opposition began his question.
    Let me say I understand why the leader of the official opposition is worked up about vaccines. It is because he and his party spent weeks trying to scare Canadians into believing we were at the back of the line. Instead, Canada has the most robust vaccine portfolio in the world. Vaccines arrive next week and the Pfizer vaccine has been approved. The leader of the official opposition would do better to confront the anti-vaccine—
    The hon. Leader of the Opposition.
    Mr. Speaker, as the Canadian Forces and our allies were warning about the protection of military secrets, documents reveal that the government was more worried about upsetting the Communist regime in Beijing. Every time we ask about China, the Liberals say that national security is a priority, or as the Deputy Prime Minister just demonstrated, they do not answer the question.
    My question is simple: Why did her department try to overrule the Canadian Armed Forces and force them to train the Chinese military on Canadian soil while our citizens were being imprisoned?
    Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear about our government's priority since the moment Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig were detained. Our clear priority then, as well as now, was to secure the release of these two brave Canadians. We stand with them and stand with their families, and we are going to continue working doggedly until we secure their release.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, today marks the second anniversary of the two Michaels' detainment.
    This morning, we learned that the Deputy Prime Minister pressured the Canadian Armed Forces to conduct joint exercises with the Chinese military. That is unbelievable. The Liberal government must take the two Michaels' situation seriously and stand up to the Chinese regime.
    Mr. Speaker, our government and I take the threat of all authoritarian communist regimes very seriously.
    When it comes to China, our priority, as we must point out today on this sad anniversary, is, of course, the two Michaels: Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, two courageous Canadians. I commend the efforts of their families.
    Today I want to emphasize that Canada is working for them and that we will continue to work for them.

Official Languages

    Mr. Speaker, all the living premiers in Quebec's history, the National Assembly of Quebec, the mayors of Quebec's six largest cities, the unions, everyone in Quebec wants the Charter of the French Language to apply to federally regulated businesses.
    Yesterday, the Prime Minister replied that he did not want to do anything and that he would wait for Quebec's language bill. To clarify, can the Liberals confirm that the federal government will abide by Quebec's law?

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    Our government recognizes how fragile the French language is in Quebec and Montreal. We understand the importance of supporting the French language, and we will continue to do so.
    Mr. Speaker, those are still the words of someone who does not want to do anything.
    The Bloc has introduced a bill to apply Bill 101 to federally regulated businesses. When we ask the Liberals to vote in favour of it, they say that they are waiting for the Quebec bill. When asked if they will respect Quebec's legislation, they refuse to answer. All they do is put things off.
    Will the Liberal government step up and force businesses under its jurisdiction to comply with Bill 101?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to point out that we recognize that the French language is in decline in Quebec and Montreal.
    I would also like to point out that we are all concerned about the fragility of the French language in Quebec. Since Quebec is a francophone province, it is essential to protect French in Quebec and give it its rightful place. We would be very happy to work with all members of the House to do so.

Health

    Mr. Speaker, for decades, Liberal and Conservative governments cut health transfers. As a result, our loved ones now have less access to health care.
    Now, premiers, including Premier Legault, are demanding higher health transfers. Why is the Prime Minister refusing to increase health transfers to ensure that people receive better care?
    Mr. Speaker, we have made significant investments in health care, and we will continue to make significant investments, both in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada. The fight against COVID-19 depends not on any one person, but on everybody doing their part. Now we need to focus on working together to deploy the vaccine, which will be here next week and to fight COVID-19 together.

[English]

COVID-19 Emergency Response

    Mr. Speaker, here is what we are learning. More and more reports are coming out that confirm that large companies took public money, laid off their workers and made massive profits. However, the Liberal government and the Prime Minister have no concerns about that. What the Prime Minister is concerned about is going after self-employed workers and artists with clawbacks to CERB, which they applied for in good faith.
    The Prime Minister could fix this problem right now. Will he commit to ending the clawbacks to self-employed workers and artists who applied for the CERB in good faith?
    Mr. Speaker, when Canadians needed support the most, the CERB was there, and it supported nearly nine million Canadians.
    The CRA has issued letters to some CERB recipients where the agency could not validate income eligibility criteria. The letters do not require immediate payment; rather, they inform the individual that there may be a requirement to repay amounts received.
    We have supported Canadians throughout this crisis and we will continue to do so.

[Translation]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, we learned that two departments disagreed on the terms of engagement between the Canadian Armed Forces and the Chinese army. There is no evidence the Prime Minister gave orders to either department. What an appalling lack of leadership. Two departments are operating at cross purposes. Diplomats and soldiers are working against each other.
    When will this government come up with a clear China policy?
    Mr. Speaker, today is a sad day that marks the two-year anniversary of the arbitrary detention of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. These men and their family and friends were robbed of two years of their lives.
    I know that everyone on this side of the House, and I hope this is true of all parliamentarians and all Canadians, are united in demanding their immediate release. We will continue to fight for them.

  (1430)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, that answer demonstrates why the government's policy on China is such a complete mess.
    The Prime Minister took one position on Meng Wanzhou, Ambassador McCallum another. The government was going to make a decision on Huawei before the last election, and then it was not. The government was going to come forward with a new framework on China, then it was not. Instead, we got an evolving and shifting policy, the opposite of a framework.
    Enough is enough. When will the government start defending Canadian interests and Canadian values, work with our allies and come forward with a clear, coherent policy on China?
    Mr. Speaker, I am afraid today is not a day for politics. Today is a sober day that marks two years of the arbitrary detention of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, two years that have been stolen from these fine gentlemen, two years that have been stolen from their families and their loved ones.
    I know that colleagues on this side of the House, my colleagues on the other side, and indeed all Canadians want to speak with one voice today to ask for the immediate release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. We will fight with them every step of the way.

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, it would be great if the minister would actually answer the question.
    Yesterday, top secret government documents revealed that the Liberal government was irate when the chief of the defence staff stopped communist Chinese troops from receiving winter warfare training on Canadian soil with our soldiers. Even after acknowledging there were national security concerns raised by our Five Eyes partners, the Liberal government said, “...there is still a desire to maintain an ongoing relationship with China”.
    Why is the Prime Minister bowing to the Chinese communist regime and turning his back on our closest allies?
    Mr. Speaker, our government will always stand up for Canadians at home and abroad, and this includes in our relationship with China.
    Let me be very clear: We do not train with the Chinese military. However, I understand the member's concern, because it was a previous government that actually signed a co-operation plan initiative in 2013 under Rob Nicholson, when he was the minister of national defence. The member was the parliamentary secretary of defence at that time.
    Mr. Speaker, the defence minister knows full well that the Chinese government from back then and the Chinese government today are completely different, and Canadians are shocked and outraged by the Prime Minister cozying up to the regime in Beijing. Even the defence minister accurately described us as being engaged in hostage diplomacy. We already know the Prime Minister naively admires the communist dictatorship, and now he wants to train Chinese troops at Garrison Petawawa so they can learn tactics that our Five Eyes allies warned would cause a dangerous transfer of military knowledge.
    It is sickening that the Prime Minister has complete disregard for our armed forces, our national security and our democratic way of life, so the only question is this: Whose—
    The hon. minister.
    Mr. Speaker, the agreement they had signed is one of the reasons we actually changed our approach. It was also because of the concerns the member outlined. We will always stand up for Canadians who are arbitrarily detained. This is one of the reasons we actually stopped our training with the Chinese, and this is exactly what we are doing.
    I would ask the member to stop turning this into a political issue, because those are exactly the steps we have taken.

[Translation]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, over the past few months, Canadians have realized more than ever how numerous the needs are in health care. To meet those needs, adequate funding is needed and, as we know, health care is a provincial responsibility. In order for the provinces to respond properly, they must be funded properly.
    Is the Liberal government prepared to endorse the proposal we support, namely stable, predictable, unconditional health care funding?
    Mr. Speaker, from the beginning of the pandemic, our government has been supporting Canadians. The federal government has provided more than $8 out of every $10 spent fighting COVID-19.
    We will continue to work with our partners and do whatever it takes for as long as it takes, until we get through this pandemic.

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for her answer in French, but she did not answer the question.
    The question was about stable, predictable, unconditional funding for the health care system. However, the Liberal government is taking the opposite approach. Consider seniors' residences, for example. Yes, the Prime Minister says he is prepared to fund that sector, but only on his terms. That is not how it works.
    As we speak, the Prime Minister of this Liberal government is meeting with the premiers of the provinces. Does he agree that funding for health care should be stable, predictable and unconditional?
    Mr. Speaker, since 2015, our government has made unprecedented investments to support health care for Canadians.
    Over the next five years, an estimated $235 billion in total will be provided to the provinces and territories through the Canada health transfer. We will continue to support the provinces and territories.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, we have learned that Ottawa intends to make Quebec pay the carbon tax because Canada is not going to meet the Paris Agreement targets. Quebec's per capita greenhouse gas emissions are two and a half times less than Canada's. The government has missed the mark; we are the leaders. Quebec already has carbon pricing with the carbon tax it created.
    Why does the government not encourage the provinces and governments to join the carbon exchange instead of lecturing them?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for her question.
    Quebec is a leader in the fight against climate change and it put a price on carbon pollution in 2013. We assess provincial systems every year, and will do so until 2022. The Quebec system has met the standards every year.
    We will continue to support the provinces, like Quebec, which implement ambitious measures to reduce pollution and leave a cleaner environment for future generations.
    Mr. Speaker, in that case, they should join us.
    This government purchased a $17-billion pipeline. This government is getting all worked up because the U.S. president-elect is not interested in Keystone XL. This government took advantage of the pandemic to authorize 100 oil drilling projects without an environmental assessment.
    After all that, this government is surprised that greenhouse gas emissions are not going down. Come on.
    Does this government think it is it in a position to lecture Quebec?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians expect the government to take action on climate change while also growing the economy, and the fall economic statement maintained that commitment.
    Under our plan to restart the economy after COVID-19, we will provide grants of up to $5,000 to help Canadians make energy-efficient improvements to their homes. We will accelerate investments in zero-emission infrastructure and invest in science-based climate solutions, such as planting two billion trees. We are doing this for our children and for future generations.
    Mr. Speaker, despite all the fine words, the federal government has no plan to combat climate change. It introduced a bill to achieve net-zero emissions, but it has yet to set greenhouse gas reduction targets for 2030. Then when it does, it has the power to change the target on a whim in the event that it fails. There is no accountability.
    Quebec has a plan. It has a carbon exchange that works well.
    Why is the minister changing his mind today and why does he want to impose a failed system on Quebec and interfere in Quebec's jurisdiction?
    Mr. Speaker, the fact is that the legislation includes solid accountability and transparency measures for all future governments.
    My colleague must be aware that the architectural structure of the Paris Agreement is based on the year 2030, just like British Columbia's plan, Quebec's plan and the plan of countries around the world. What is more, the commissioner of the environment and sustainable development has to report on the progress made in five years and determine whether we are on the right path.

[English]

COVID-19 Emergency Response

    Mr. Speaker, Conservatives warned that the original wage subsidy could potentially be used by corporate profiteers to pay out dividends to their shareholders. The government dismissed our concerns, and what happened? Sixty-eight of those companies did exactly what we originally warned.
    Meanwhile, the government goes after tiny micro-business owners who thought they were eligible for the CERB based on their gross income. Now, the government says, “No, we meant net.”
    Why is the government picking the pockets of the little guy in order to pad the pockets of the fat cat?

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak for a moment about the wage subsidy. This subsidy, which was supported unanimously by all members of the House, has supported more than 3.9 million Canadian jobs. Let me be clear: The wage subsidy can only be claimed for employee remuneration. It cannot be used for any other purposes. This is a support measure that is keeping Canadians on the job, keeping Canadians at work. I am pleased that all members of the House supported it.
    Mr. Speaker, all the money goes into the same account, so what the business actually uses it for is impossible to say. Sixty-eight companies took money they would have used for wages and instead of paying workers more and keeping them on, they laid them off and effectively used the tax dollars Canadians provided them to pay out wealthy shareholders, just as Conservatives warned would happen.
    Other countries brought in controls to protect taxpayers from this kind of abuse. Why did the government not do the same?
    Mr. Speaker, let me again remind all members of the House that the wage subsidy is supporting more than 3.9 million Canadians to keep their jobs. That is essential. The wage subsidy includes an accountability requirement in the legislation. An officer in the company must attest to the accuracy of the company's claims when claiming this subsidy.
    I know that Canadian business people are honest and responsible and that the vast majority of them play by the rules. However, let me be clear in the House today. We mean it. The rules are there and they will be enforced.

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, she claims to believe businesses are honest, but this is the same government that was calling small businesses tax cheats not so long ago. When recently the minister said she wanted to “unlock” the savings of Canadians, including small businesses, for a preloaded stimulus, it brought back an awful lot of memories of when the government attempted to impose a 73% tax on the savings of small business people. This is the same party that has threatened to tax the capital gains on primary residences.
    Will the minister, yes or no, rule out taxes on capital gains of principal residences, reintroducing the previous small business tax or any other tax increase?
    Mr. Speaker, we have all seen that the Conservatives have in recent days been descending into some dark and, indeed, dystopian conspiracy theories, and I think I understand why. The problem is the Conservatives themselves cannot figure out what they stand for. Do they believe in science or do they believe in anti-vaxxers? Do they believe in supporting Canadians and Canadian business or do they believe in austerity? Do they believe in free trade or do they believe in protectionism?
    What the Conservatives need to do is figure out what they stand for and let us know once they have made the decision.

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday my motion calling on the government to make greater investments into housing shelterless individuals passed with unanimous consent. In the last two months in Winnipeg Centre, four cases of trench fever have been diagnosed. This is a disease not seen in Canada for almost 100 years. It is a result of extreme poverty. Our community is facing another public health crisis and we need help now.
    Will the government commit to making investments now, so people in Winnipeg can have their basic human rights of health and housing met?
    Mr. Speaker, I join the hon. member in recognizing the urgency of this situation.
    We are making the necessary investments and we are committing to future investments. In the fall economic statement, we saw almost $300 million in additional dollars for the federal reaching home program, which tackles head-on issues around homelessness and funds 62 communities on the front lines of the fight against homelessness. Early during the pandemic, we allotted an additional $157 million in funding for reaching home and $50 million more for women's shelters, $237 million—

  (1445)  

    The hon. member for Courtenay—Alberni.

COVID-19 Emergency Response

    Mr. Speaker, Dave owns Wayward Distillery in my riding. He and his employees produced hand sanitizer for local police, health care workers and community organizations. He gave away tens of thousands of dollars' worth of sanitizer for free and sold some at cost. Even though his profit went down, his revenues show as being up, and the government says that he does not qualify for any emergency support programs.
    Why did the Liberals abandon Canadian heroes and give big orders to multinational corporations instead of purchasing from small Canadian businesses like Dave's?
    Mr. Speaker, I would be pleased to be in touch with the office of the hon. member and learn more about the particular situation of that business.
    We have a wide range of programs in place to support Canadian businesses. The wage subsidy, rent support, additional lockdown support, CEBA, including the new CEBA top-up that became available last Friday, and the regional development agencies are there to fill in the gaps for businesses that, for unique reasons, just do not quite qualify.
    I would be happy to work with the hon. member regarding this business.

Telecommunications

    Mr. Speaker, I am happy to say that, with help from the federal government, Xplornet is now able to offer its customers in New Brunswick high-speed Internet. This includes customers from Blackville, Baie-Sainte-Anne, Acadieville and St. Margarets in my riding. I know that the government has created a network of resources, including universal broadband funds, that will benefit communities such as ours in getting connected to this essential service.
    Can the minister tell the House what else New Brunswickers can expect when it comes to the future of connectivity?
    Mr. Speaker, let me thank my hon. colleague for Miramichi—Grand Lake for working so hard to get his community connected to high-speed Internet. It is because of his hard work, and the hard work of members like him, that by the end of this month, 2,973 households in New Brunswick will be connected to this essential service. In the next two years, another 83,000 will have high-speed connectivity.
    I urge my colleagues across the aisle to stop spreading misinformation about the program. It is discouraging their communities from applying.
    Our government will work with all partners to get every Canadian connected.

Health

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a moment on behalf of all parliamentarians and thank the doctors, nurses, long-term care workers and lab technicians who have been working overtime, putting their lives and their families at risk throughout the pandemic this year to keep Canadians healthy and safe. We all have an obligation to support their work across partisan lines.
    Ahead of the first ministers' meeting this week, will the government commit to increased, stable, predictable and, most importantly, unconditional funding for health care for the provinces?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to echo the member opposite's thanks to health care workers across the country, including all of those she mentioned as well as pharmacists and personal support workers who are working in the community. We know that they are bearing the burden for all of us, and one of the best ways that we can help them is to contain the spread of COVID-19.
    I encourage all Canadians to continue, even though it is difficult, to take the measures as prescribed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and support these hard-working health care workers so that they too can get a rest in the near future.
    Mr. Speaker, that is not the answer we are looking for.
    It is very simple. The Liberals need to figure out what they believe in. Do they believe in the WE Charity scandal and giving money to their insider friends or do they believe in giving money to long-term care workers? Do they believe in the Aga Khan's island or do they believe in increasing funding for doctors and nurses? Do they believe in SNC-Lavalin or do they believe in stable, predictable, unconditional funds for increased health care transfer payments to the provinces?
    Mr. Speaker, I am not sure what the member opposite believes in, but what this government believes in all the way is supporting Canadians through the pandemic. Yes, we believe in health care. That is why we transferred $24 billion through COVID-19 safe restart funds to provinces and territories, so they could augment testing, contract tracing and data, and support workers with wage top-ups and in long-term care.
    We also created a rapid response program to send in hard-working people through the Canadian Red Cross. We sent the military in to support long-term care homes when they could not manage. Every step of the way, we have been there for Canadians and will continue to do so.

  (1450)  

[Translation]

Public Services and Procurement

    Mr. Speaker, in response to the Prime Minister's call this spring, Canadian distilleries invested heavily in manufacturing disinfectant to fight the pandemic.
    We have learned that, while this was going on, the Liberal government awarded contracts to foreign companies for disinfectant without any consideration for Canadian businesses. How does the Prime Minister explain that decision?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to say that since the beginning of this pandemic, this government has supported businesses across this country that stepped up and went above and beyond to support the effort against COVID-19. Roughly 1,000 companies pivoted to produce PPE in the fight against COVID-19. Companies like Fluid Energy Group in Edmonton are making hand sanitizer for all of Canada. We are immensely proud of how Canadian industry has stepped up, and we continue to support Canadians through their efforts.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, in total, this government spent $570 million in foreign countries, including $250 million for Chinese disinfectant.
    Our Canadian distilleries did not get any contracts. Si-Mart, a business in my riding, invested $150,000 to help us combat COVID-19. Will the Liberal government buy Canadian when possible? This is another scandal.
    Mr. Speaker, once again, I thank my hon. colleague for his question.
    The situation he described is inaccurate, however.

[English]

    We have a contract with Fluid Energy Group for hand sanitizer in the amount of $106 million. Fluid Energy has provided that hand sanitizer. Right here in Canada, hand sanitizer is produced while we support businesses across this country for the benefit of Canadians always.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, this government is working against Quebec in shipbuilding.
    It is cutting the Davie shipyard out of a $2-billion contract and giving it to Seaspan in Vancouver. However, Seaspan previously had this contract for six years and did nothing in those six years. In fact, the contract was taken away from Seaspan last year, in 2019.
    I am not making this up. The Liberals are prepared to give the contract back to a shipyard that failed to honour it. What are the Quebec Liberals doing? How can they stand for this?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, before I respond, I just want to say this has been a wonderful week for Canadians. We are going to have vaccines in this country on Monday. Pfizer has been approved. Pfizer has committed to vaccine deliveries, and all Canadians can be so proud.

[Translation]

    As for the question, we have not made a decision on the icebreaker yet, not at all. The process is ongoing, and we are looking at our options. Davie is a strong and reliable partner. We are working with Davie.
    Mr. Speaker, 3% is the share of contracts that Quebec has obtained under Liberal leadership. Quebec is the second-highest tax-paying province. It has the largest shipyard in Canada, yet we are not able to get more than 3% of the contracts. We are being robbed of a contract by a shipyard that already proved itself incapable of fulfilling it. There are 2,500 jobs at stake in Lévis and Quebec City.
    I have been rising for weeks in support of Davie. Will my Liberal colleagues from Quebec rise with me, too?
    Mr. Speaker, this is not at all the case.
    We have awarded more than 14% of contracts worth over $2 billion to Quebec businesses. We have not yet made a decision on the icebreaker. As I said before, the shipyard is a very important partner for our government, and we are working with it now.

  (1455)  

[English]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, Uighurs, Tibetans, Christians, Falun Gong practitioners, even the residents of Hong Kong, face persecution in China. The Washington Post reports that Huawei has tested face recognition software that could be used by China's regime to spy on its minorities and report them to police. Now the same company wants to build out Canada's 5G network, raising fears that its technology will be used to spy on us and undermine our national security.
    My question is for the Prime Minister. When will he finally say no to Huawei?
    Mr. Speaker, our government continues to protect our networks. We are going to ensure Canada benefits from the latest technology and the latest innovations in telecom. A review of the 5G technology, and associated economic and security issues, is ongoing. Our experts will be advising us all the way and our allies will be advising us all the way.
     Let us be clear. The security of Canadians will never be compromised.
    Mr. Speaker, with many small businesses going digital due to the pandemic, there is an incredible amount of data points, such as passwords, emails and sensitive personal information. The government knows terrorist organizations, cybercriminals and foreign threat actors, such as China, are carrying out massive cyber-attacks against our government and Canadians. These attacks have a negative impact on our economy, national security and the lives of Canadians. Why is the government's response to cyber-attacks and China so naive?
    Mr. Speaker, let me tell the member how seriously we take this. I will remind the House that just last week, in the votes on the main estimates, we brought forward $20.9 million in funding for enhancements to RCMP federal cybercrime enforcement. This is a good opportunity for me to thank the members of the Bloc and the NDP, who joined us in voting for this essential investment.
    Mr. Speaker, the Chinese state-owned Shandong Gold Mining Company is trying to acquire TMAC Resources in Nunavut. Like the Russians, the Chinese Communist Party is actively positioning itself for military and economic dominance in the Arctic. That is why security experts, such as retired Major-General David Fraser, have strongly urged the current government not to allow this deal to go through.
    Can the Minister of Public Safety assure Canadians that the government will not give up any further ground in Canada's Arctic to the Chinese Communist Party?
    Mr. Speaker, let me assure the member opposite and this House that we will always remain vigilant in ensuring we protect the interests of Canadians, and in particular, our sovereignty in the north. We rely on the advice and information we receive from the national security intelligence community in making these decisions, and we will always stand up for Canadian interests.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, in 2015 the conflict in Syria was in full force and on display to the world. We all remember the heartbreaking images and stories of the families affected, which moved people around the globe, including Canadians. It has now been five years since Canadians stepped up in overwhelming numbers to sponsor Syrian refugees and the first of the refugees began to arrive in Canada.
    Can the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship update the House on operation Syrian refugees?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for her advocacy and for her hard work.
    Five years ago, Canadians began an ambitious and national effort to welcome some of the world's most vulnerable as they fled the conflict in Syria. Some said it could not be done, but the outpouring of compassion as communities across the country opened their doors and their hearts led to 73,000 people making Canada their new home, including the 29 I just welcomed into the family of Canadian citizenship earlier today.
    We now lead the world in welcoming refugees, because we know when Canadians succeed everyone succeeds. I would like to thank Canadians for their efforts and wish every success to all who have found a new home in Canada.

  (1500)  

Aviation Industry

    Mr. Speaker, for months, Canadians who work and depend on the aviation sector have been calling on the Liberal government for a concrete action plan. After suspending service between Sydney and Halifax earlier this fall, all flights to Sydney have now been cancelled indefinitely, leaving many Cape Bretoners without air service for the foreseeable future. As a result of this suspension, airport employees, rotational workers, university students and many others will be greatly impacted.
    Ten months into this pandemic, will the government finally act and present its plan for the aviation sector?
    Mr. Speaker, we recognize many have been impacted severely by COVID, particularly in the air sector, and we regret the fact that routes have been abandoned. That is why we are working on solutions to this.
    As members know, in the fall economic statement we announced more than $1 billion in aid to airports and also regional airlines, and we are also working on negotiations with the major airlines to find solutions that will ensure regional support of airlines to communities that need it.

Infrastructure

    Mr. Speaker, the Yonge subway extension is critical for job creation, economic recovery and growth, yet the government refuses to invest. The Prime Minister said he wants to invest, but he is waiting for the Ontario government. However, the Ontario government has provided everything he has asked for, and it has committed the funds to get this project built. It is Ontario that is waiting for this government.
    No more excuses. No more delays. Why will the Prime Minister not just say yes to the Yonge subway extension?
    Mr. Speaker, once again we have the same question, and the answer will be the same. We continue to invest historic amounts in public transit. In fact, 13 times more than the previous government, which invested only $1 billion. We have invested $13 billion, and we continue to move forward.
    We are looking forward to receiving from the Ontario government business plans for public transit projects, including the project in the member's riding. We need to create jobs. We need to go ahead, but we also need to be mindful of taxpayer dollars, and that is exactly what we are going to do as we rebuild our economy, create jobs and build a more sustainable future for Canadians.

COVID-19 Emergency Response

    Mr. Speaker, I have heard the finance minister's responses today. Let me be clear. We support the wage subsidy and we fought to increase it. However, what is also clear is that the program is being terribly managed.
     Sixty-eight companies were able to pay large dividends to shareholders while collecting the subsidy. The Liberals are bad at managing programs and money. They are either giving it away to large corporations like this or to friends and insiders.
    When will the Liberals stop acting like Santa Claus by giving to rich companies and their friends, and fix the wage subsidy?
    Mr. Speaker, the wage subsidy was supported by all members of this House, and for a very good reason. This program has been essential in keeping Canadians on the job and in keeping Canadian companies going through COVID. There have been 3.9 million Canadian jobs supported by this program. As we approach Christmas, that is something all of us should be proud to have been a part of.
     This program does come with serious accountability measures, and our government fully expects all companies that avail themselves of this program to follow the rules.

[Translation]

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, Bill C-7, which amends the Canadian framework for medical assistance in dying, is the result of a detailed consultation process involving over 300,000 Canadians, including health care professionals, people with disabilities and caregivers. The deadline set by the courts to pass Bill C-7 is quickly approaching.
    Can the minister explain why it is so important to all Canadians for the government to meet the deadline set by the Quebec Superior Court?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Châteauguay—Lacolle for her question and her great wisdom.
    We need to meet the court's deadline to avoid prolonging the unnecessary suffering of Canadians like Audrey Parker, who chose to move up the date of her death to be sure that she would have the choice, or Jean Truchon, who had the courage to fight for his rights just before he died.
    I am the justice minister, but I am first and foremost a member from Quebec. Respecting Quebec means respecting the will of its courts. I thank all members for finally allowing Bill C-7 to move forward so that we could meet the court's deadline.
    It is our duty to Ms. Parker, Mr. Truchon and all Canadians who are suffering greatly.

  (1505)  

[English]

Veterans Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, two years ago when veteran Sean Bruyea stood up for himself and others in similar situations, the former veterans affairs minister berated him in the media. The very next day, the government took away the benefit that Mr. Bruyea needs to care for his children so that he can get the help he needs for his PTSD. Finally, today after years of fighting, Mr. Bruyea's benefit is to be reinstated. Why does the government continue to spend taxpayer money on fighting veterans in court instead of serving them?
    Mr. Speaker, of course, decisions on veterans' files are made by our professional, non-partisan public servants, always with the intent of care and compassion and with respect for veterans.
    This government has continued and will continue to invest in veterans because they are the ones who provided our freedom and democracy and we are fully aware of that.

COVID-19 Emergency Response

    Mr. Speaker, 2020 turned out to be a year that no one could have imagined, and the government was able to respond quickly to enact programs to help Canadians cope during the pandemic. We saw support for workers who lost their employment; youth and students who lost summer income opportunities; and parents, predominantly women, who had to make the difficult decision to stay at home with children and forced into double duty or forced to leave their jobs. What that effectively means is that millions of people received something like a basic income for the first time in their lives this year, and yet so many people are still falling through the cracks.
    Will the government, in the spirit of the holiday, offer the life-changing gift of compassion to Canadians and, finally, a guaranteed livable income for all?
    Mr. Speaker, I agree that, working together, all members of this House have provided unprecedented support to Canadians, to Canadian businesses and to the Canadian economy, as we have faced together this unprecedented crisis. Now is the moment for us, as we face a very virulent second wave, including in New Brunswick, to focus on the crisis at hand, to focus on supporting Canadians as they fight the coronavirus, to focus on beating the coronavirus and to focus on deploying vaccines.
    That is where our government is focused, and I hope that is work we can all do together.

Points of Order

Oral Questions  

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions with other parties, and if you seek it, I believe you will find unanimous consent for the following motion: that, notwithstanding any standing order or usual practice of the House, Bill C-13, an act to amend the Criminal Code, single event sport betting, be deemed read a second time and referred to a committee of the whole, deemed considered in the committee of the whole, deemed reported without amendments, deemed concurred at report stage, and deemed read a third time and passed.
    As members will be familiar, this being a hybrid sitting of the House, for the sake of clarity, I will only ask those who are opposed to the request to express their disagreement.
     Accordingly, all those opposed to the hon. member for Windsor West moving the motion will please say nay.
     Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Deputy Speaker: There is no unanimous consent.
    We have other points of order. I see the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan wanting one as well. We have two others ahead of him. The member could stand by for just a moment.
    The hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona.
    Mr. Speaker, today is Human Rights Day in the House, and we will soon be voting on the third reading of Bill C-7.
    Whatever the outcome, the debate on that bill has shown beyond a shadow of a doubt the urgent need for Canada to respect the rights and dignity of people living with disabilities.
     It is in that spirit that I hope, if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent for the following motion: that, in the opinion of the House, in the context of a medical assistance in dying regime that does not require a reasonably foreseeable death, it is more important than ever that the government provide the resources Canadians with disabilities need to live with dignity; and therefore the House call upon the government to properly fund services, like home care and palliative care for people across Canada; and ensure that people living with disabilities have an income that keeps them above the poverty line, including by transitioning people living with disabilities who currently qualify for federal, provincial or territorial disability income support or pension program to a federal benefit of $2,200 per month.

  (1510)  

[Translation]

    Once again, for the sake of clarity, I will only ask those who are opposed to the request to express their disagreement.
    Accordingly, all those opposed to the hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona moving the motion will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Deputy Speaker: We do not have unanimous consent.
    The hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, during question period, my colleague from Calgary Nose Hill mentioned the WE Charity contract, which we learned today did not pass an official languages impact analysis before it was approved by the Treasury Board.
     I am therefore seeking the unanimous consent of the House to table this government document stating that the analysis must mention the impact on the vitality of Canada's francophone and anglophone minority communities and foster the full recognition and use of both French and English in Canadian society.
    Does the hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable have the unanimous consent of the House to table this document?
    Some hon. members: Nay.

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Government Orders]

[English]

Criminal Code

     The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-7, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying), be read the third time and passed.
    It being 3:10 p.m., pursuant to an order made on Wednesday, September 23, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at third reading stage of C-7.
    Call in the members.

  (1550)  

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

(Division No. 39)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 213


NAYS

Members

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

Total: -- 106


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

    (Bill read the third time and passed)

    The Deputy Speaker: Before we proceed to the next vote, we will pause briefly to allow employees who provide support for our operations to substitute each other for safety purposes. In doing that, members must recognize this group of technical and support people for their incredible efforts these past months.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!

[Translation]

Citizenship Act

    The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-8, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's call to action number 94), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Pursuant to order made on Wednesday, September 23, 2020, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-8.

  (1625)  

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

(Division No. 40)

YEAS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Alghabra
Alleslev
Allison
Amos
Anand
Anandasangaree
Arnold
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Atwin
Bachrach
Badawey
Bagnell
Bains
Baker
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Battiste
Beech
Bendayan
Benzen
Bergen
Berthold
Bessette
Bezan
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blaney (North Island—Powell River)
Blaney (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis)
Block
Blois
Boulerice
Bragdon
Brassard
Bratina
Brière
Calkins
Cannings
Carrie
Casey
Chagger
Champagne
Chen
Chiu
Chong
Collins
Cooper
Cormier
Cumming
Dabrusin
Dalton
Dancho
Davidson
Davies
Deltell
d'Entremont
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diotte
Doherty
Dong
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duvall
Dzerowicz
Easter
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Epp
Erskine-Smith
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Fergus
Fillmore
Findlay (South Surrey—White Rock)
Finley (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Finnigan
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Gallant
Garneau
Garrison
Gazan
Généreux
Genuis
Gerretsen
Gladu
Godin
Gould
Gourde
Gray
Guilbeault
Hajdu
Hallan
Harder
Hardie
Harris
Hoback
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Ien
Jaczek
Jansen
Jeneroux
Johns
Joly
Jones
Jordan
Jowhari
Julian
Kelloway
Kelly
Kent
Khalid
Khera
Kitchen
Kmiec
Koutrakis
Kram
Kurek
Kusie
Kusmierczyk
Kwan
Lake
Lalonde
Lambropoulos
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lattanzio
Lauzon
Lawrence
Lebouthillier
Lehoux
Lewis (Essex)
Liepert
Lightbound
Lloyd
Lobb
Long
Longfield
Louis (Kitchener—Conestoga)
Lukiwski
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacGregor
MacKenzie
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maguire
Maloney
Manly
Martel
Martinez Ferrada
Masse
May (Cambridge)
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McCrimmon
McDonald
McGuinty
McKay
McKenna
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLean
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
McLeod (Northwest Territories)
McPherson
Melillo
Mendès
Mendicino
Miller
Monsef
Moore
Morantz
Morrison
Morrissey
Motz
Murray
Nater
Ng
O'Connell
Oliphant
O'Regan
O'Toole
Patzer
Paul-Hus
Petitpas Taylor
Poilievre
Powlowski
Qualtrough
Ratansi
Rayes
Redekopp
Regan
Reid
Rempel Garner
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Rood
Ruff
Sahota (Calgary Skyview)
Sahota (Brampton North)
Saini
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sangha
Sarai
Saroya
Scarpaleggia
Scheer
Schmale
Schulte
Seeback
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Shields
Shin
Shipley
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Simms
Singh
Sorbara
Soroka
Spengemann
Steinley
Strahl
Stubbs
Sweet
Tabbara
Tassi
Tochor
Turnbull
Uppal
Van Bynen
van Koeverden
Van Popta
Vandal
Vaughan
Vecchio
Vidal
Viersen
Virani
Vis
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Weiler
Wilkinson
Williamson
Wilson-Raybould
Wong
Yip
Young
Yurdiga
Zahid
Zann
Zimmer
Zuberi

Total: -- 288


NAYS

Members

Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Bergeron
Bérubé
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Boudrias
Chabot
Champoux
Charbonneau
DeBellefeuille
Desbiens
Desilets
Fortin
Gaudreau
Gill
Larouche
Lemire
Michaud
Normandin
Perron
Plamondon
Savard-Tremblay
Simard
Ste-Marie
Thériault
Trudel
Vignola

Total: -- 28


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs.

[English]

    I wish to inform the House that because of the deferred recorded divisions today, Government Orders will be extended by 73 minutes.
    It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith, Persons with Disabilities; the hon. member for Kenora, Regional Economic Development; the hon. member for Yorkton—Melville, Veterans Affairs.

[Translation]

Business of the House

[Business of the House]
    Mr. Speaker, as per tradition, I would like my counterpart, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, to inform the House and Canadians of what is on the legislative agenda from now until tomorrow.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    It is important for me to inform the House and the thousands of Canadians who are waiting to find out what we will be debating this week. Without further delay and so as not to make them wait, I will tell my colleague right away.

[English]

    This afternoon and tomorrow we will continue with second reading debate of Bill C-10, the Broadcasting Act.

[Translation]

    In the event that we finish debating Bill C-10, we will then give priority to the following two bills: Bill C-12 on net-zero emissions and Bill C-13 on sports betting.
    Mr. Speaker, I will take the opportunity afforded to me by my colleague's question to thank you and your colleagues in the chair.
    I also want to thank my colleague, the House leader of the official opposition, and our Bloc Québécois and NDP counterparts and their teams.
    I want to thank the table officers, who do extraordinary work, all of the teams, and the pages who are patient enough to work with us every day and kind enough to always smile while doing so. I also want to thank the whips and their teams.
    Finally, I want to thank all members for this very different session. It has not always been easy but, together, we were able to do a lot for the good of all Canadians.

  (1630)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased, unlike last week, to concur with the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. I too join my voice with that of all 338 of my colleagues to thank you and the people who ensure that we can do the excellent work that needs to be done here in the House, as well as all the people who have helped make the hybrid Parliament possible over these past months.
    Mr. Speaker, like my colleagues, allow me to quickly say a few words to wish everyone some well-deserved rest as the session comes to a close.
    Allow me also to acknowledge and thank several people, including all Quebeckers for their resilience, their creativity and their solidarity.
    My thoughts are with caregivers and seniors who will not be seeing their family this year in most cases, and with the people who will be alone, unable to see their friends. My thoughts also go out to the workers and business owners, who have been hit hard by COVID-19. Christmas might be more difficult for them this year than it has been in years past.
    I wish all our colleagues in the House a merry Christmas. We look forward to seeing everyone again in the new year.
    I thank all the clerks as well as the interpreters, who had a tough job this year and did exceptional work.
    I wish everyone a Christmas as wonderful as it is odd and a 2021 as festive as 2020 was quiet in its own way. Every year we wish everyone well and sometimes we might say it lightly, but this year I feel the weight of my words. I wish everyone love, prosperity, but most of all good health.
    Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the NDP caucus and its leader, the member for Burnaby South, I would like to wish the House of Commons' security staff, the administrative staff, the clerks, the security people who are on the front lines every day, the food services and cleaning staff, the Speaker's entire team, including you, Mr. Speaker, and the pages, who work hard every day in Parliament in the midst of a pandemic, a merry Christmas and happy new year.
    We wish a merry Christmas and happy new year to all these people.

[English]

    On behalf of the NDP caucus, I would like to say to all members of Parliament, who have worked together in this pandemic Parliament, a very merry Christmas and a happy new year. We of course urge all to redouble efforts to ensure that nobody is left behind during this pandemic, and we mourn the thousands of Canadians who have passed away.
    We wish everyone a safe Christmas, for sure, and urge all Canadians to continue to stay safe. Let us be kind to one another. As we stand together, let us socially distance, wear our masks and make sure to follow the instructions of our health authorities. We will get through this pandemic, there is no doubt.
    On behalf of the NDP caucus, merry Christmas and a happy new year.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to echo my colleague's sentiments. On behalf of the Green Party of Canada, I sincerely thank the entire parliamentary team, the clerks, the pages and the entire security team. All these people work very hard for everyone.

[English]

    I hope that all of us in the House, and all of our loved ones, will be safe and well. I hope all Canadians will take the health advice they are given and will get through this horrible year.
    I remember when the Queen said she had an annus horribilis. I think all of us have had a pretty difficult year. However, members on all sides of the House have worked very hard, and the best of our work came when we worked together without partisanship.
    For those who are lighting menorahs tonight, happy Hanukkah; for those who celebrate Christmas, celebrate the birth of our Lord; and let it be said, Festivus for the rest of us.
    I thank the Speaker and the House team for all of their hard work as well.

  (1635)  

    I will take this occasion to add my own remarks about the remarkable work of so many people in the House of Commons administration this past year in helping us function well in these really unusual circumstances. Their contributions have been nothing short of heroic.

[Translation]

    I also wish to thank the House of Commons team, the people in IT services, the proceedings and verification officers, the Sergeant-at-Arms and his office, the pages and their coordinators, the clerks, the interpreters, the security officers, the language instructors and all parliamentary staff. I thank you for your professionalism, dedication and courteous service to all and to Parliament.

[English]

    Finally, to all my colleagues in the House and in ridings all across the country, and on behalf of the Speaker and my fellow chair occupants, may I wish you and all your families a wonderful and appropriately socially distanced holiday season in the time ahead.
    Safe travels, merry Christmas and happy Hanukkah, until we meet again in the new year.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Broadcasting Act

    The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    When the House last took up debate on the bill, there were three minutes remaining in questions and comments for the hon. member for Battle River—Crowfoot.
    Questions and comments, the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.
    Mr. Speaker, what I especially like about the legislation is that it reinforces how important Canadian content is. It is one of the ways for us to ensure that many talented individuals, in what is a large industry in all regions of our country, will have many more opportunities here in Canada. We can better celebrate our heritage by ensuring we have additional Canadian content.
    I wonder if my friend could provide his thoughts on how important it is that, as legislators, we work toward ensuring there will always be Canadian content in all forms of media.
    Mr. Speaker, the question posed by the member opposite is similar to the question I had hoped to finish responding to.
    One of the challenges I have with the bill, which has been raised by a number of my Conservative colleagues, is that it is ambiguous in what it tries to accomplish. I point out for my hon. colleague that the absence of language guidelines in the bill disadvantages francophone communities by failing to ensure that online broadcasters create content in both official languages. We have heard much in this debate regarding the importance of ensuring that the cultural significance of the French language is preserved in this country, and that is one of the challenges.
    As I have just a few moments left, I will take this opportunity to wish all of my colleagues a very merry Christmas. May God bless each and every one them as we head back to our constituencies and to our homes. Whatever the holidays look like across the country, it is certainly a challenging time for all Canadians.
    I thank my colleagues, both within the Conservative caucus and otherwise, and all of those who make sure this place can run, including my constituency staff, whether it is in a pandemic or otherwise. There is a lot we have to be proud of in our parliamentary institution, and it is an honour to ensure that this legacy lives on no matter what the global circumstances are. I wish a merry Christmas to them and to all who are watching today.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in the House to discuss a bill that is close to my heart.
    As I have been a professional performing artist for most of my life, I know that for these kinds of bills, the devil is in the details. I was very glad to see the union ACTRA endorse the bill. It said performing artists from coast to coast to coast will now be able to perform more, have their works seen on more screens and devices, and be paid for their work.
    When I first started acting, I was 16 years old doing theatre in Nova Scotia at the Neptune Theatre in Halifax. From there, I moved on to doing theatre right across the country, including in Edmonton, where I played Marilyn Monroe in a rock opera on the life of Marilyn called Hey, Marilyn!. I was 19 at the time. From there, I went on to do my first movie at the age of 20 in Wilcox, Saskatchewan. It was called the Hounds of Notre Dame about Père Athol Murray. Anybody from out west might remember that. I then went on to play the fiancée of Colin Thatcher, a Conservative politician who ended up murdering his wife. I played his girlfriend, who helped turn him in to the police.
    These were all heady days of the business. We also did live radio. I remember the Jarvis Street studio in Toronto. We did live radio plays, and sometimes we would need to be at the radio station at 6:30 a.m. to do a live one-hour or half-hour show. One of my favourites was about a politician. The amazing Gordon Pinsent played that role, and I played a cabinet minister.
    I remember one day early in the morning we were waiting for the star of the show to arrive and he was not there. We were about to go on live radio. The producer was getting ready to take his part, and was pretty freaked out, when in came Gordon, in his pyjamas, at the last minute. He went on to perform brilliantly, of course, the role he was born to play.
    I have lived through the times when radio was cut and cut and cut. We called it “death by a million cuts”. CBC was being cut. Radio was being cut. Dramas started to be cut down. This is the lifeblood for performers who do a lot of theatre but who also need to be seen on camera. To be honest, it is the cheapest and best way a government can invest in tourism. It brings people to a country and gets people around the world to see the beauties of our country and the stories that make us unique and different from any other country in the world.
    That is why it is so important to look after people. It is so their work can be performed and seen all around the world, and now on many different devices.
    Let us fast-forward to around the year 2005, when I was living in New York doing animation for PBS.
    PBS wanted me to sign a contract, and I had never seen one that said work could be shown on all devices in the universe. PBS wanted me to sign away my rights for eternity throughout the universe. It was the first time I had ever seen that and the first time I had ever seen “on devices” in a contract. I had to ask somebody what that meant, and they said that pretty soon people would be watching things on their watches or their phones. I could not conceive of that concept. I thought it was crazy. However, if we fast-forward, where are people watching things now? They are watching them on watches, phones and all kinds of devices.

  (1640)  

    Currently, online undertakings that deliver audio and audio-visual content over the Internet are exempt from licensing and most other regulatory requirements. That is why Bill C-10 really aims to clarify that online undertakings are within the scope of the broadcasting regulatory system.
    It would also provide the CRTC with new powers to regulate online audio and visual content. It would allow the CRTC to create conditions of service and other regulatory requirements under which those online broadcasters would operate in Canada, and update the CRTC's regulatory powers as they relate to traditional broadcasters as well. This is good.
    The bill would ensure the act would not apply to users of social media services or social media services themselves for the content posted by their users. However, the bill aims to update key elements of the broadcasting policy for Canada to ensure the creation of Canadian content is reflective of Canadian society and accessible to all Canadians. This is what I am talking about. We need to get our stories told. We need to see more diverse Canadian faces and voices.
    I have many friends in this industry who are Black or indigenous. We need to see them. We need to hear them. We need to hear the beautiful stories they have to tell. This is a great way to be able to open the door so that more of this content can be seen.
    One of my favourite stations now is APTN, so here is a shout-out to APTN. It does some amazing work.
    The bill would amend the act to take greater account of indigenous cultures and languages, and recognize that Canada's broadcasting system should serve the needs and interests of all Canadians, including racialized communities and Canadians of diverse ethnocultural backgrounds, socio-economic status, abilities and disabilities, sexual orientation, gender identities and expressions, and age. Additional amendments would also serve to promote greater accessibility for persons with disabilities.
    Is it not time we show more people and more different diverse stories? I think Canadians are open to that content now. The more we talk about different styles of living and cultural backgrounds, the more people will start to understand that we really need to walk a mile in people's shoes, moccasins and so forth, to understand where they are coming from, what their background is and what they have been through. At the end of the day, it is all about compassion and trying to understand where another person is coming from and putting ourselves in their place.
    As a performer and professional actor for 30-odd years and now as a parliamentarian for 11 years, I have to say that being a performer was very good training for being a politician, and not for the reasons some people would think, such as that we can pretend and put on a stony face. It is because we can feel compassion for others. I think that is an important part of this job.
    I am very glad the bill has been introduced and is hopefully going to be passed. The bill would also provide a flexible approach to regulation, allowing the CRTC to tailor the conditions of service and other regulatory requirements imposed on broadcasters, taking into account the act's policy and regulatory objectives, the variety of broadcasters in the system and the differences between them, and determining what is fair and equitable depending on the circumstances.
    With that, I believe my time is up. I would like to express a merry Christmas, a happy Hanukkah and safe travels to all of my colleagues and everyone across Canada. May everyone's families be safe. Remember to love one another because, in the end, all there is is love.

  (1645)  

    Madam Speaker, one thing that concerns me is that there are a lot of unanswered questions here. The Liberals are passing the buck to the CRTC to deal with most of the bill. They are doing nothing for fair tax rules. Right now in our country, journalism is under threat. I just met with the Parksville Qualicum Beach News and the Comox Valley Record, and they talked about the fact that 75% of online advertising is with Facebook and Google, and they are having a difficult time surviving. Those web giants are using local journalism to advance their goals.
    There was a promise in the Speech from the Throne to get big tech giants to pay for local journalism content. Australia tabled legislation yesterday to do so.
    Does my colleague agree the government needs to take action and table legislation soon, so that local journalism is protected and the web giants using their content will pay their fair share?

  (1650)  

    Madam Speaker, this is also a concern of mine. I understand where the member is coming from, and I understand where journalists are coming from.
    Right now, it is very difficult to make a living as a journalist. As we know, many of the newspapers are closing down. People are getting their news from Facebook or Twitter and other places. Sometimes that news is not correct, as we know. It is fake news or it is paid-for news.
    This is a very good step, and it is something that my colleagues in ACTRA have been asking for, for a long time. I believe it is the right way forward, so let us see what happens after this. I still stay on this as well.
    Madam Speaker, I am just curious if the member would have any comments on the conversation around sexual exploitation and MindGeek and hosted content, which has been debated in the House as of late. There are some absolutely disgusting, quite frankly, abuses that are taking place, with children, victims of rape and assault, and their videos not being able to be scrubbed off the Internet.
    Would the member comment on that issue and how it may relate to this conversation?
    Madam Speaker, I want to thank the member for asking this very important question.
    A few years ago, I was also targeted on the Internet by some folks who started to use a picture of mine from a television show I had done. They started to flash it around and refused to take it down. I started to get notices from constituents who told me that their daughters were abused in a similar fashion by former boyfriends who had sold pictures of them to Internet providers. We discovered that most of them were not located in Canada. They were actually overseas.
     I contacted the former minister of justice at that point, Peter MacKay. I also talked to the province. I was an MLA at the time. We found that it was very difficult to get those pictures down. In the end, it was Anonymous who actually contacted me and said, “We see what you are trying to do and how difficult it is.” They took it down. They took the website down.
    I do not know why it is so hard for people to do it. I understand. It is a terrible thing, and we need to do something about it.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to start by wishing all Canadians a very happy holidays, a merry Christmas, a happy Hanukkah and a happy new year.

[Translation]

    I would like to ask my colleague from Cumberland—Colchester the following question: What is her view of Bill C-10, in a context where we are trying to truly help the cultural community of actors and everyone in Canada's production and arts sector?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it is going to help because it is going to push people to do more content, more Canadian content, and for people who are having their content shown on other devices, they will be paid.
    I am, as some people know, Rogue in the X-Men. I do not get paid for any of the times that people see me on Netflix or on any of these shows, or Disney. I do not get paid for any of that stuff. It would be nice if there was a way that we could have contracts now where people will get paid for their work. Some people are making billions off of Canadian actors.

  (1655)  

    I just want to remind the member, and I did not want to interrupt because there is not a lot of time between questions and comments, that she is not to use the name of ministers in the House by their first or last names. I just wanted to remind her of that, because she did mention the minister at one point.
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Saskatoon—University.
    

There was an old lady who swallowed a fly.
I don't know why she swallowed a fly,
Perhaps she'll die.

There was an old lady who swallowed a spider,
that wiggled and wiggled and tickled inside her.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly.

    I believe that song, co-written by a Canadian, by the way, Alan Mills, in the 1950s, describes a little of what the government is trying to do here, and I think it is going to be ultimately unsuccessful. The Internet and the changing landscape of media in Canada is creating challenges for sure, but this bill would do nothing or, worse, make it worse for Canadians.
    The worst part of the changes the Liberals are proposing is making the CRTC not accountable to elected members of Parliament. It would move the reporting process to the minister or, ultimately, the Prime Minister's Office. I cannot think of a situation where that would be good for Canada. The control the Prime Minister's Office would have over our media landscape would be detrimental to our ability to tell our stories.
    I have listened closely to some of the speeches today and a value I hold is that we should be sharing Canadian stories. However, the current landscape has changed and what Liberals are proposing, as the Saskatchewan saying goes, is to rush to close the barn door after the horses have all left. If we play out the different scenarios of what the bill would do, it would cost the consumer or Canadians more and reduce competition. That is something I do not think anyone would support at the end of the day.
    We must look at what is happening in the media landscape. Other members have talked about Google and Facebook, and some of the news stories out of the United States about the federal government and Facebook. If there is a problem of fairness, it is that taxation is not the same in Canada versus some of the Internet players. We are talking about massive organizations that impact people's perceptions and views, and can have political ramifications.
    We have a problem and we have identified it is with a lot of these large international players, but this bill would do nothing. It does not mention Google or Facebook. Maybe that was by design because some of the indirect things we could do with pressure are probably more dangerous than what we could do with direct pressure. With Google and Facebook being threatened, in essence, that they would fall under a government organization such as the CRTC and taxation, this will change the policies and procedures of those two large companies and have a detrimental effect on Canadians.
    There would be a massive increase in the powers and added responsibilities of the CRTC. How will the CRTC afford to do that under the current budget? The CRTC gets most of its funding, as far as I understand it, from fees. Fees are paid by consumers. Consumers have to earn that $1, pay tax on that $1 and then, with their freedom of choice, decide where to spend it. Would the CRTC collect it indirectly through consumers or would the Liberals go back to the taxpayer and ask for more money so that the CRTC can fulfill the mandate of what the bill would enact?
    I do not know what country, maybe the Government of China would be one of the few, would admire what the bill would do. We all know the Prime Minister's view of the basic dictatorship of China and its affection for all things controlled by government, and that is where I have concerns with adding more responsibilities to the CRTC.

  (1700)  

    Once again, the lofty goals of this bill are admirable, to a certain extent, but will it actually improve the landscape of media in Canada? I do not think this is going to happen.
    The reason we are talking about the lady who swallowed the fly is that when we try to regulate things that cannot be regulated, such as the Internet in a free society, we will find other actors and other avenues that will pop up that will take the place of what we currently have. What is next? That is where I get to the Government of China reference: in order for this to be successful, we need to regulate everything in the world, and I just cannot see that happening.
    On the example of the CRTC, we were talking about foreign companies. What if they have no assets and no footprint in Canada? How are we actually going to force foreign identities? Is the next thing we are going to be regulating what Visa or Mastercard could charge, so that consumers make a decision to support one platform over the other? The next one would be asking for credit card companies, and the next thing will be Paypal and then the next and then the next.
    We are trying to fix a problem that needs to be addressed, but in the way that this bill is written, I do not think it is going to go anywhere near what we actually would need in Canada. Talking about the reduced competition, I think we would actually have fewer Canadian stories that actually have an impact on either our residents or internationally, if we go down the path of regulation to the extent that this bill would do.
     I would like to also unwrap, just briefly, the changes on the CRTC reporting to Parliament versus the minister and how important it is that does not take place. If we live in the free society that I like to believe we live in, it is Parliament, not the minister and not ultimately the Prime Minister, that should have the final say on what is created for content. That flows over to an overarching concern I would have with a government having the ability to approve one thing over another, one platform over another or encouraging one story over the other. That, I believe, is not where Canada should be going. I do not believe that is the mandate of Parliament to enact such far-reaching abilities. The impact of that on a