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43rd PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 061

CONTENTS

Thursday, February 18, 2021




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 150
No. 061
2nd SESSION
43rd PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer


  (0905)  

[English]

Points of Order

Criminal Code 

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, I am rising on a point of order. Yesterday, the House voted on Bill C-218, an act to amend the Criminal Code, sports betting, at second reading. The government has also introduced a bill on the same issue: Bill C-13, an act to amend the Criminal Code, single event sport betting.
    Page 568 of the House of Commons Procedure and Practice, Third Edition, 2017, respecting the rule of anticipation, states:
     If a decision is taken on the first bill,... [as was the case with Bill C-218] then the other [in this case, Bill C-13] may not be proceeded with.
    Mr. Speaker, I am wondering if you could please inform the House of the impact the second-reading vote on Bill C-218 has on Bill C-13.

  (1000)  

    I want to thank the hon. member for his question. We will be getting back to the House with an answer as soon as possible.

  (1005)  

Adjournment Proceedings  

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to raise a point of order with respect to the Adjournment Proceedings last evening.
    During the Adjournment Proceedings, the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, in responding to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, referred very explicitly to my absence from the House of Commons. That is an egregious break of parliamentary procedure. It breaks the rules of the House of Commons.
    There are times when members of Parliament, including you, Mr. Speaker, need to be away from the House of Commons and it is a long-standing parliamentary tradition that this is respected. That is why we are indeed called “honourable”, and are able to use that title for each other with respect, and it is very important. The member broke that tradition by referring to the fact that I was not in attendance in the House last evening. I was not able to be in the House last evening. As many members of Parliament will recognize, there are often times when we are not able to be in attendance. Our responsibility, and my responsibility as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, is to ensure that a question would be answered, and it was ably answered by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health.
    I would like the Speaker to consider this and to recognize that this is not a new member of Parliament. He is someone who has been here for over five years. I would expect that an apology would be forthcoming and that it would be understood that this is way the House needs to operate.
    I want to thank the hon. member for his intervention and point of order. As he was speaking, I saw what was said and, yes, I want to remind the hon. members that referring to someone's presence in the House or lack of presence in the House is not permitted. We rely on individual members' honour to respect that code so that we can keep civility in this chamber and continue to do our jobs so that Canadians can be proud of what goes on in their democracy.
    Mr. Speaker, I acknowledge the point. I believe that what I said last night was that the parliamentary secretary could not be bothered to be here to answer the question. I acknowledge that I misspoke. What I intended to say would have been that the government could not be bothered to send a person who was responsible for the file. A range of individuals are responsible for the file. I apologize for misspeaking. I should have framed my response more carefully to get at the point I intended to convey, and I hope, in the future, somebody who is not the parliamentary secretary of—
    I will interrupt the hon. member there before he digs even further. I just want to remind the hon. members that the apology is accepted, but they cannot say indirectly what they cannot say directly in the House, regardless of how they say it.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
    I have extraordinary respect for the Speaker, and I just wanted to clarify that this whole issue is over the fact that the member for Don Valley West made all of Canada know that he was not in the chamber. I think he might have done this in a more subtle manner, so that he was not drawing attention to the fact that he was not in the chamber.
    I am not sure that is a point of order. That is more argument, but I am not going to go any further on that. I will just continue.

Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Criminal Code

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

  (1010)  

Interparliamentary Delegations

    Pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, a report of the delegation of the Canadian Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union respecting its participation at the 206th session of the governing council, which was held virtually from November 1 to 3, 2020.

Committees of the House

Public Accounts  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the following seven reports of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts: the fifth report, entitled “Immigration Removals”; the sixth report, entitled “Student Financial Assistance”; the seventh report, entitled “Request for Government Response to the 65th Report from the 42nd Parliament, First Session”; the eighth report, entitled “Request for Government Response to the 66th Report from the 42nd Parliament, First Session”; the ninth report, entitled “Request for Government Response to the 67th Report from the 42nd Parliament, First Session”; the 10th report, entitled “Request for Government Response to the 69th Report from the 42nd Parliament, First Session”; and the 11th report, entitled “Request for Government Response to the 70th Report from the 42nd Parliament, First Session”.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to each of these seven reports.

Protection of Freedom of Conscience Act

    She said: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to introduce my private member's bill, entitled the “protection of freedom of conscience act”.
    I have introduced this legislation to ensure in plain language those rights guaranteed to all Canadians in the Charter. This bill seeks to enshrine in law a minimum national standard of protections for the freedom of conscience of medical professionals, while respecting the jurisdiction of my provincial colleagues to expand on this bill. It would ensure that medical professionals who choose to not take part in, or refer a patient for, euthanasia or medical assistance in dying would never be forced by violence, threats, coercion or loss of employment to violate the sovereign rights we all enjoy by virtue of our citizenship in this nation.
    I encourage all my colleagues in this place to ratify my bill, thereby stating unequivocally that the right to free conscience expressed in the Charter applies equally to all Canadians, regardless of their chosen profession.

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

  (1015)  

Fisheries Act

     He said: Mr. Speaker, this bill would make it illegal to dump untreated waste water into any body of water that contains fish habitat. This bill would remove the power of the federal minister to grant permits to municipalities to dump raw sewage into waterways, like when the former environment minister gave permission to Montreal to dump eight billion litres of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River.
    When it comes to the environment, the Prime Minister acts completely phony. He talks a good game, but when the City of Montreal asked to be allowed to dump its raw sewage into one of Canada's most important waterways, he told them to go ahead. This bill would remove the power of federal ministers to grant permission to municipalities to damage vital fish habitats.
    The Liberal government has a terrible record on the environment. It has not planted a single tree out of its promised two billion. Its carbon tax is neither revenue neutral—
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, the member knows, and you just indicated, that when members introduce a bill they are supposed to give a brief description of it, not provide political commentary that might not necessarily be accurate.
    I thank the member. I will let the hon. member for Regina—Qu'Appelle continue, but I will remind him to be succinct and that this is not a time for debate.
    Please proceed.
    Mr. Speaker, this is a very succinct explanation. As members know, private members' bills are often accompanied with a rationale. In fact, usually members talk about the need for their bill. Of course, the need for this bill is to take meaningful action on the environment.
    I am almost finished my remarks. I know we have always given the the government House leader great latitude when he has the floor in the House, and I promise him that I will not be but a few more moments.
    Please proceed. I will not interrupt the discourse that is going on, but I will let the member continue, very succinctly.
    Mr. Speaker, as I was saying, the Liberal government has a terrible record on the environment. It has not planted a single tree of its promised two billion, and its carbon tax is neither revenue neutral nor lowering emissions. It has damaged more lakes, rivers—
    I am sorry, but I am going to have to interrupt. We have a number of points of order coming in. The hon. member for Winnipeg North has the first point of order, and I am not sure of the other one.
    Mr. Speaker, I believe it is the former leader of the Green Party for the second point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, I just want to reinforce the ruling you just made. We all know that providing political commentary is debate, and this is not a debate. The member should be giving a brief description of the bill. He knows full well that this is the case and I would ask him to respect the rule.
    Mr. Speaker, I am, of course, speaking to the bill. The irony here is that the parliamentary secretary—
    If the hon. member for Regina—Qu'Appelle can hang on, we have two more points of order. The first one is from the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, and then we will move on to the second one.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise with some trepidation to support the point of order just made by the hon. member for Winnipeg North.
    The former leader of the official opposition knows full well what he is doing. As a former speaker of the House, he must know this is a violation of our rules. By the way, I agree with him entirely about the terrible record of the current Liberal government. It is not as bad as that of the former Conservative government, but the introduction of a private member's bill is not a time to deliver a partisan speech.
    I believe we have slipped into the same thing we were talking about.
    The hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to address the point of order raised by members who are not in our political party.

[English]

    There is only one judge in this situation, Mr. Speaker, and it is you. Obviously these members do not accept what you have said. They disagree, but this is what democracy is all about. We have debates in Parliament. If the member who tabled the bill has something to say, you are the one who will judge if it is too much, not others.
    Usually what happens, though, is that it is brought back on a point of order and then it is up to the Speaker to decide. I want to thank the hon. members for bringing that up.
    I will let the hon. member for Regina—Qu'Appelle continue, but I remind him that anything more than just the bill itself or the motion itself really borders on debate and it is not the time for debate right now.
    The hon. member for Regina—Qu'Appelle.

  (1020)  

    Mr. Speaker, I will absolutely respect the guidance there.
    Out of the interests of allowing the House to proceed to orders of the day, I will briefly touch upon the aspect of this bill that allows municipalities some time to upgrade their systems. The coming-into-force component of this bill is designed to allow municipalities across the country that may not yet have the capacity to fully treat the water they admit into waterways to do so in due course.
    I thank the indulgence of members. I think it is very telling that when the Conservatives propose meaningful measures to improve the environment, the Liberals get pretty squirmy.

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

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. You asked the former speaker numerous times to stay on the issue at hand. I find it deplorable that, on a Thursday morning when we are trying to get to important issues, he continued, even to the end, to turn this into a circus. I ask you to reflect on that and ask him to reflect on his actions.
     I will reflect on it and I am sure the hon. member will as well. Thank you for that intervention.

[Translation]

Excise Tax Act

    He said: Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to introduce in both official languages a bill to amend the Excise Tax Act to exempt school supplies from the GST.
     The bill seeks to promote children’s success in school, provide financial assistance to families during the back-to-school season, and encourage students to pursue their studies.
    I thank the legislative counsel and House of Commons analyst for their contributions.

[English]

    I would like to thank my hon. colleague, the member of Parliament for Lac-Saint-Louis, for supporting my private member's bill.

[Translation]

    For promotional purposes, this is also known as the “Dubourg discount”.

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

[English]

Petitions

Sex Selection  

    Mr. Speaker, I table this petition on behalf of Canadians calling on Parliament to prohibit abortions based on gender. In Canada, the abhorrent practice of sex-selective abortions is legally permitted, but I believe a broad consensus exists among Canadians to end it. A National Post opinion poll reported 84% of Canadians believe it should not be permitted to end a pregnancy if a family does not want a child based on gender. I hope this consensus will be reflected in Canada's Criminal Code by our Parliament.

Airline Industry  

    Mr. Speaker, today I present a petition signed and supported by over 8,000 Canadians. The impact of COVID-19 has been harshly felt by our local regional airports, including the JA Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport. The petitioners call on the House to provide urgent financial support to our air industry so that our air carriers can re-establish commercial air service to airports across the country and reconnect our communities as part of a strong cross-country recovery.

  (1025)  

[Translation]

Falun Gong  

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to rise this morning to present a petition concerning a crucial issue that is of particular importance to our debate today.

[English]

    Petitioners are asking the House of Commons to look at the situation in the People's Republic of China, particularly in regard to the campaign of eradication of the practitioners of Falun Dafa, or Falun Gong.
    Petitioners point to the issue of organ harvesting and the torture of practitioners of Falun Gong. They point to particular individuals, against whom they ask our government to apply Magnitsky sanctions.

Questions on the Order Paper

    Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Government Orders

[Business of Supply]

[English]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Religious Minorities in China  

    That,
(a) in the opinion of the House, the People's Republic of China has engaged in actions consistent with the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 260, commonly known as the "Genocide Convention", including detention camps and measures intended to prevent births as it pertains to Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims; and
(b) given that (i) where possible, it has been the policy of the Government of Canada to act in concert with its allies when it comes to the recognition of a genocide, (ii) there is a bipartisan consensus in the United States where it has been the position of two consecutive administrations that Uyghur and other Turkic Muslims are being subjected to a genocide by the Government of the People's Republic of China, the House, therefore, recognize that a genocide is currently being carried out by the People's Republic of China against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims and call on the government to officially adopt this position.
    He said: Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles.
    On a warm night in June of 2009, two Uighurs were killed by a Han Chinese mob in Guangdong province. Uighurs are an ethnic Muslim minority in China, making up some 12 million people in a country of 1.4 billion ethnic Han Chinese. These two Uighurs were among the thousands of Uighurs who had migrated from their homes in impoverished western China to the bustling manufacturing plants in the south. This influx of Uighurs created ethnic tensions with the Han majority, which exploded that night.
    In response to these two killings, thousands of Uighurs took to the streets in their home province of Xinjiang, some violently. According to reports, several hundred ethnic Han Chinese were killed. In response, Chinese authorities rounded up thousands of Uighurs. Unknown numbers were killed.
    Ethnic tensions continued to mount, and after President Xi came to power in 2012, a series of terrorist attacks by Uighurs took place across China. Hundreds of ethnic Han Chinese were killed and wounded. One of these attacks took place in Tiananmen Square, the heart of the Chinese state.
    None of this justifies what happened next. According to secret documents obtained by The New York Times, in 2014 President Xi ordered the full force of China's authoritarian state to be unleashed on the Uighurs, as well as on Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and other Muslim minorities. He criticized the approach of western democracies in their war on terrorism for putting “human rights above security” and instructed authorities to “show absolutely no mercy”.
    Uighurs living abroad suddenly lost contact with family in China. Parents disappeared. Neighbours went missing. Children were told their parents had gone to training school, a school they could not leave. These children were told their behaviour would influence the length of time their parents had to stay at school.

  (1030)  

[Translation]

    The disappeared have been sent to hundreds of detention camps that were built by the Chinese government as quickly as the COVID-19 hospitals were built in Wuhan last year.
    Some estimate that more than two million Chinese Muslims have been detained in these camps. Some experts have called this the greatest mass incarceration of an ethnic group since the Holocaust.

[English]

    Chinese authorities first denied the existence of these camps, but when presented with satellite evidence, they said they were educational training centres. Just a year ago, authorities said that everyone had been released from these camps, but the evidence says otherwise.
    A growing body of evidence, which is based on satellite imagery, survivor testimony, leaked documents, smuggled videos and many other sources, document these atrocities. We can no longer ignore this.
    Documents obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists highlight what is going on in the camps, including indoctrination, torture and forced labour. Women, men and children are being imprisoned with no chance of escape. Women are subject to sexual violence, mass sterilizations and forced abortions. Birth rates for Uighurs dropped 60% in the three-year period beginning in 2015. Last month, China's embassy in Washington celebrated this in a tweet.
    Outside the camps, Xinjiang has turned into an open prison for Uighurs. China has combined the power of an authoritarian state with leading-edge technology to create a surveillance system that is beyond Orwellian. Every single Muslim is tracked. Muslims who do not meet the algorithmic standards are flagged for arrest and detention in camps. Any Uighur who does not follow the direction of authorities is flagged for arrest and detention. There is no procedural fairness, just the brute force of an authoritarian state.
    Surveillance cameras are everywhere, but these are not just cameras. These are the gateway to a vast information-gathering system that analyzes every single ethnic Uighur's facial bone structure, expressions and behaviours. Every Uighur is tracked, classified and rated.
    Reports indicate that in 2017, the Chinese authorities required every one of the 12 million Uighurs to go to their local police station to submit biometric data such as DNA samples, voice imprints and facial scans. Uighurs must also have tracking apps on their smart phones. Everything on the phone is tracked. Anything suspicious leads to arrest and detention in the camps.
    Digital bar codes are found on the front doors of many Uighur homes allowing the police to check in through smart phone applications. Uighurs must swipe identity cards multiple times a day just to go about their daily lives, for example while shopping or visiting friends. In essence, Uighurs are not only being persecuted, they are being treated as human guinea pigs in the development of surveillance technology for China's new model of an authoritarian system of governance.
    There are an estimated 1,400 technology companies working in Xinjiang province, many working closely with state authorities. One of these companies is Huawei. According to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Huawei is extensively involved in state security projects in Xinjiang. This is the same Huawei the Liberal government cannot say no to and which it is in a partnership with, with a $5-million grant.
    Last December, a report from the Center for Global Policy concluded that more than half a million Uighurs are being forced to pick cotton through a coercive state-run system. This is in a region that produces more than a fifth of the world's cotton.

  (1035)  

[Translation]

    China is in the process of eliminating an entire religion and culture. Satellite images show that about twenty Islamic religious sites, including mosques, have been destroyed. Uighur children are not allowed to learn their language or culture.

[English]

    The state is perpetuating a genocide and committing crimes against humanity through its systematic population controls, sexual violence and mass detentions. These constitute elements of a genocide. These crimes have been documented in numerous reports from think tanks, such as the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, and from reputable news organizations, such as The Wall Street Journal, Associated Press and BBC World Service, which was expelled from China just last week for documenting exactly that.
    Two consecutive U.S. administrations have concluded a genocide has taken place, as has the Subcommittee on International Human Rights and numerous MPs in this House on both sides of the aisle. Think tanks like the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights and the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center have also come to the same conclusion, as has Irwin Cotler, the former Liberal minister of justice.
    The genocide convention codifies the crime of genocide. It was the very first human rights treaty adopted by the United Nations in December of 1948. It signified the international community's commitment after the Holocaust to never allow it to happen again.
    Canada is a state party to the convention. Article 1 clearly establishes Canada's obligation to prevent genocide, even if it is extraterritorial. Article 4 clearly establishes Canada's obligation to take action to punish genocide, including punishing the perpetrators. These obligations are binding and are the norm of international law.
    No one pretends the recognition of a genocide will lead to an immediate stop to that genocide, but it is an essential first step. It is a clear call to the world for action, just as Canada's stand on apartheid was so many decades ago.
    The evidence is clear. A genocide is taking place. Canada should not evade its responsibility under the convention simply by avoiding the recognition of a genocide. We must show leadership. We must take a stand. This motion must pass.
    Madam Speaker, there is no doubt a great deal of concern and reflection on Canadian values when we talk about this really important issue.
    In his comments, the member made reference to the United States being in favour of calling it a genocide. Can he provide the House some thoughts on Canada being in the Five Eyes with Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, and indicate whether or not these countries have already stated it is a genocide?
    Madam Speaker, the United States is the only country in the world that has formerly recognized that this constitutes a genocide. It was first recognized by the previous administration. It has since been confirmed by two secretaries of the current administration, both the current secretary of state and secretary of the treasury.
    We are calling on the government to work with our allies, particularly our closest ally, the United States, in formally recognizing this Uighur genocide and to take action in order to prevent the continuation of this genocide.
    Madam Speaker, as a member who was on the Subcommittee for International Human Rights and heard the testimony from former Liberal members of Parliament, human rights groups, international legal experts, and survivors of the genocide, whose testimony of course had the most impact, I recognize and have declared that I see this as a genocide. I will support the bill.
     The word “genocide” comes with serious responsibility. If the House of Commons passes this motion today, what actions would the member opposite like to see the government take to ensure an end to the ongoing genocide of the Uighur people?
    Madam Speaker, I believe the government should work closely with our allies and everything should be on the table for consideration when working with our allies. We should be considering Magnitsky sanctions on the perpetrators of this genocide and the officials responsible for these gross human rights violations. We should be formally asking the International Olympic Committee for a relocation of next winter's Olympic games.
    Canada has been a world leader in human rights and dignity on the world stage. We took a principled stand on apartheid in South Africa when many of our allies would not. We took a principled stand on the liberation of Europe some 75 years ago from the tyranny of Nazism. It is time for the government to play to the best tradition of this country, recognize this genocide and take commensurate action to stop it.

  (1040)  

    Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills and all members in this House who have taken a stand on this issue, particularly through an open letter initially coordinated through the hon. member from the Bloc Québécois, with members from all parties signing it.
    I want to put a difficult question to the member for Wellington—Halton Hills. I obviously agree with him that we are seeing a genocide in the Uighur population, but sometimes when I speak to retired senior members of our foreign civil service, there is a tremendous concern that being more aggressive in our communications about the People's Republic of China could result in more difficulty in gaining the release of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig.
    Could my hon. colleague for Wellington—Halton Hills reflect on this?
    Madam Speaker, we are very concerned about the wrongful detention of Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor, as we are with the arbitrary decision to put Mr. Schellenberg on death row, as we are with Huseyin Celil and other Canadians who are the target of China's belligerence.
    That said, we strongly believe that being passive in the face of these threats is clearly not the way to respond to China's belligerence. It is time for Canada to join with allies, to stand up for our interests and our citizens, and to stand up for our values. We believe that is the best way to counter the rise and ever-increasing belligerence of this increasingly powerful authoritarian state.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, it is not only a great pleasure for me to rise in the House today to speak to this motion, it is also a duty. All parliamentarians in the House of Commons should feel that sense of duty.
    I will reread the motion for everyone tuning in. It says the following:
    That, (a) in the opinion of the House, the People's Republic of China has engaged in actions consistent with the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 260, commonly known as the “Genocide Convention”, including detention camps and measures intended to prevent births as it pertains to Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims; and
(b) given that (i) where possible, it has been the policy of the Government of Canada to act in concert with its allies when it comes to the recognition of a genocide, (ii) there is a bipartisan consensus in the United States where it has been the position of two consecutive administrations that Uyghur and other Turkic Muslims are being subjected to a genocide by the Government of the People's Republic of China, the House, therefore, recognize that a genocide is currently being carried out by the People's Republic of China against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims, and call on the government to officially adopt this position.
     The plight of the Uighurs in China is not something that people in Quebec and Canada know very much about. If truth be told, the media in Quebec rarely address the subject. We rarely see an article about what is currently happening in China.
    The Uighurs are a people who live in northwestern China. There are 11.5 million Turkic Muslims who have been living in that area for centuries. Hundreds of thousands of Uighurs are sent to deradicalization camps and used for forced labour. What is more, a number of organizations, including Canada's Subcommittee on International Human Rights, and two American administrations have now found that the Chinese government was committing acts of genocide and other crimes against humanity.
    These acts of genocide include systematic population control, sexual violence and mass detention. We are deeply concerned about the genocide of the Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims in China. These reports demonstrate in detail the extent of the abuses perpetrated by the Chinese government against the Uighurs. They show the Chinese government's growing contempt for human rights and international law, including in Hong Kong, as well as for Tibetans, Christians and other ethnic and religious minorities.
    This situation is very serious, especially when it is a major world power like China that commits these acts of violence against its own citizens and its minorities. That is why we, like so many others, are sounding the alarm against these crimes.
    History shows us that our country, Canada, was built by people from all over who, one way or another, came to settle in Canada. Canada has a reputation for being a welcoming country, even though our record is not perfect.
    Let us not forget that in 1939, Canada refused to accept certain refugees because of their race. The MS Saint Louis, a German ocean liner carrying Jewish refugees, travelled to Cuba where it was refused entry even though the passengers had visas. They then went to the United States, where they were turned away. Canada also refused entry to this ship with Jewish refugees on board. The ocean liner returned to Europe and the passengers were imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps, where 254 of them died.
    I think we have since learned that we need to do as much as we can to speak up and help people who are in abusive or life-threatening situations. Today's motion calls on the Prime Minister and his members of Parliament to open their eyes and face the facts. As my colleague from Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan has pointed out, independent investigations have already been conducted. The investigations relied on testimony from survivors, satellite images and leaked Chinese government documents. The evidence is clear, and the government needs to believe it.
    The Prime Minister seems to have some doubts. His response this week was to say that he was not sure. I suggest that he consult his Minister of Foreign Affairs, who recently said, “The mounting evidence of a systematic campaign of repression cannot be ignored.”
    The United States, Canada's Subcommittee on International Human Rights and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, just to name a few, have all confirmed the point we are making today. The Prime Minister seems to be the only one who does not want to believe it.

  (1045)  

    Even his good friend Bob Rae, Canada's ambassador to the United Nations, said that there is no question that aspects of what the Chinese are doing fit the definition of genocide set out in the UN Genocide Convention.
    We are calling on the Liberal government to do four things: to officially recognize the Uighur genocide, as the Biden administration did; to encourage the other allies to recognize this genocide; to work with our allies, including the United States, in order to take coordinated action in response to this genocide; and to impose Magnitsky sanctions on those responsible for the heinous crimes against the Uighurs.
    We are also calling on the government to take any action necessary to keep Canadians safe. That includes updating travel advisories to reflect the potential threat for Canadians travelling to China and stopping the foreign influence and intimidation operations being carried out by the People's Republic of China here in Canada. We will certainly use various parliamentary tools and every other tool at our disposal to ensure that Parliament recognizes this genocide as soon as possible.
    I would like to remind the House that Canada's Subcommittee on International Human Rights has already examined the facts and found that the actions of the Chinese Communist Party constitute genocide. We know that the Uighurs are being systematically detained in camps, violated, sterilized and forced to become labourers on a mass scale. The time for debating semantics has passed.
    I have often spoken in the House about the dangers of Huawei, a Chinese company controlled by the Chinese communist regime.
    Huawei applied for a patent for a facial recognition system. This system uses cameras to conduct facial recognition in order to determine whether the person belongs to the Uighur minority. Once the analysis is complete, the person is tracked, registered and identified. Then they are sent to jail or a forced labour camp. In China, this system is being used to identify Uighurs specifically. However, Huawei asked China's government patent authorities to remove the word “Uighur” because it knows full well that it is unacceptable. That is what is happening right now, but they are still trying to hide the truth.
    When we talk to the Chinese government, they claim that the camps that the Uighurs are in are educational camps and that attendance is voluntary. That is what Beijing would have us believe, but we know what is going on. There is evidence. There are witnesses. Satellite images confirm what is happening on the ground. We can see the camps. We can see what the problems are.
     We have often said that Canada needs to become a leader. In 2015, five years ago, the government said that Canada is back. That is what we heard, but we have yet to see it. Canada must support the United States and publicly and officially confirm the existence of the Uighur genocide by supporting the motion. Canada must publicly say that it is prepared to do everything in its power to ally with every democratic country that is willing and speak forcefully to the Chinese Communist Party. If Canada does not, then it is complicit in everything going on over there. If the Government of Canada turns a blind eye and says nothing, it is complicit in what the Chinese Communist Party is doing, and that is unacceptable.

  (1050)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles for his speech.
    Obviously, we learned quite a bit from the subcommittee. I am absolutely stunned by the Liberal government's indifference and its failure to act on this issue.
    Of course we know that what is happening to the Uighurs meets the definition of genocide. We even have proof of that.
    In my colleague's opinion, what are the reasons behind the Liberal government's failure to act?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question. As the saying goes, that is the million-dollar question.
    Why do the Prime Minister and his government refuse to admit the facts and acknowledge that China is committing acts of genocide? That is the question that needs to be answered. From what I understand, the NDP and the Bloc Québécois will be supporting our motion. At least we will win this one. The advantage of having a minority government in the House is that the opposition can sometimes be stronger if it works together. We can send a message to Canadians that, even if the Liberals vote against it, we will have prevailed and sent a message through the House of Commons, telling China that enough is enough.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I know a previous question was asked about our Five Eyes partners and the answer was that only the United States had declared what was going on as a genocide.
    Following up on the last question from the member for the Bloc about why Canada had not taken this position, could the member comment as to why he does not think that the other Five Eyes nations have taken this position at this time and that perhaps they are considering it as well?
    There is always an opportunity for Canada to lead. I am not suggesting that we do not, but I am inquiring as to why the member thinks that some of the other countries may have not already followed suit with the United States?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I am very pleased that my Liberal colleague is asking this question.
    At present, four of the Five Eyes countries have said no to Huawei. Only Canada has not yet taken a position. With regard to the Uighur genocide, the United States was the first country to take a position, and Canada could be the second. The other countries will follow our lead. That is what it means to be a leader.
    Must Canada wait until the other four members of Five Eyes take a position? Must it be last once again? No, it must be proactive and show leadership on this issue.

  (1055)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, we have seen overwhelming evidence of a systematic attack against the Uighur people and, quite frankly, the Chinese Communist Party has not hid from that reality. In 2019, a communist official stated with respect to the Uighurs, “break their lineage, break their roots, break their connections, and break their origins.” Then we saw the shocking tweet from the Chinese embassy in Washington that said with respect to Uighur women that they were “no longer baby-making machines.”
    The Chinese communist regime has all but admitted that it is committing genocide. Could the member speak to that?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    I believe that we have all the information and that it is all clear. Canada must now act and take a position against China.
    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak to the motion moved by my colleague, the member for Wellington—Halton Hills.

[English]

    I want to first start by saying unequivocally that Canada will always advocate and stand up for human rights around the world. We are deeply concerned by reports of human rights violations in China against the Uighur minority and other ethnic minorities, and we will continue to voice our grave concerns regarding the situation in Xinjiang.
    I welcome today's debate and the opportunity to discuss our actions to date.

[Translation]

    We know that our relationship with China is an important and complex one, which is why we go into it with our eyes wide open. Although China is a key economic player and could be a major partner in, for instance, the fight against climate change, we need to see China as it is now and not how we want it to be. Indeed, China has changed a lot over the past five years.
    I know that Canadians share our government's serious concerns about Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor being arbitrarily detained and Robert Schellenberg being arbitrarily sentenced to death. Furthermore, the ongoing crackdown on fundamental political freedoms in Hong Kong and the widespread human rights violations happening in Xinjiang and Tibet are inconsistent with Canadian values and interests and with China's international obligations. The Government of Canada continues to raise these issues with the Chinese government at all levels, and we are not alone. A growing number of members of the international community are calling on China to make changes.
    China must recognize that its actions are damaging its reputation in the eyes of the whole world. Defying long-standing international standards and principles sends a negative message to the international community and undermines the trust that is essential to any relationship.
    Our government's top priority is to safeguard and protect the rules-based international order. We will continue to work with our international partners to defend fundamental human rights and freedoms, as well as the guiding principles that shape our international political relationships. To that end, promoting and protecting human rights is an integral part of Canada's foreign policy and will continue to guide the Government of Canada's engagement with China. We will vigorously defend Canadian values and the fundamental rights and freedoms of people around the world in all their diversity.

  (1100)  

[English]

    As Canada's new Minister of Foreign Affairs, my top priority is securing the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who are being arbitrarily detained. Our government is working tirelessly to secure their immediate release. These men have been detained for more than two years now, two years that have been stolen from them, their families and their loved ones. They must be brought home.
    Canada will continue to advocate for their release at every opportunity both directly with Chinese authorities and with our friends and allies on the world stage. In fact, on Monday, I stood with nearly 60 countries at the launch of the Declaration Against Arbitrary Detention in State-to-State Relations. This illegal and immoral practice undermines the rule of law and it needs to stop. Though this declaration is not aimed at any particular country, it is in fact practised by too many. The message to our Michaels and others around the world was clear: They are not alone.

[Translation]

    The promotion and protection of human rights is an integral part of Canadian foreign policy and it will continue to guide the Government of Canada's engagement with China.
    Canada is deeply concerned about the repression and ongoing targeting of ethnic minorities, religious groups and vulnerable groups in China, including Tibetan Buddhists, the Uighurs and other Muslims, Falun Gong practitioners and many others.
    Canada has expressed its concerns about the shrinking space for civil society in China. The continuing increase in actions against human rights defenders, including lawyers, journalists and civil society actors, is also worrisome. We have consistently called on China to honour its international commitments to protect and promote the freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of assembly and association, and freedom of religion or belief of all Chinese citizens. Canada will continue to raise these issues at every opportunity.
    In recent years, Canada has observed a steady and significant decline in the fundamental rights and freedoms that the people of Hong Kong should have. China's inability to implement a more inclusive political system has led many Hong Kong residents to revolt. Unfortunately, the authorities have continued to suppress rights and freedoms in Hong Kong.
    On July 1, 2020, the Chinese central government imposed national security legislation on Hong Kong without the participation of Hong Kong's own institutions. This legislation was enacted in a secretive process, without the participation of Hong Kong's legislature, judiciary or people, and in violation of international obligations. This process demonstrated a lack of respect for Hong Kong's basic law and the high degree of autonomy promised to Hong Kong under the one country, two systems principle.
    On July 3, shortly after the law was imposed, Canada announced a series of measures: We suspended our extradition treaty with Hong Kong; we are now treating exports of sensitive goods to Hong Kong in the same way as those destined for China; we will not permit the export of sensitive military items to Hong Kong; and we have updated our advisories for travel to Hong Kong due to the risks of arbitrary enforcement of local laws and civil unrest.
    On November 12 my colleague, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced new immigration measures to attract young people from Hong Kong to Canada by offering them a new open work permit and making it easier for them to obtain permanent resident status. On February 4, 2021, he announced that residents of Hong Kong could apply for a new open work permit and he indicated that the Government of Canada was committed to implementing two other avenues for accessing permanent residency for young residents of Hong Kong.
    As a committed friend with a lasting interest in the prosperity and long-term well being of the people of Hong Kong, Canada will continue to work with its foreign partners to—

  (1105)  

    I apologize for interrupting the minister. The hon. member for Manicouagan is rising on a point of order.
    Madam Speaker, I have been listening to the minister, and it seems to me that he is not talking about the matter before us. Most of his remarks pertain to the situation in Hong Kong, but today we are talking about the Uighurs. I just wanted to bring that to the Chair's attention.
    I thank the hon. member for her comments. As she knows, we grant a certain degree of latitude during these discussions. I am sure the hon. minister will take note of the member's comments and ensure that his remarks are germane to the motion we are debating today.
    The hon. minister.

[English]

    The minister's speech is relevant to the motion that is being debated.
    The hon. minister.
    Thank you, Madam Speaker. My speech is relevant to what we are debating today, and I would ask my colleague to be a bit patient. We will get there.

[Translation]

    As a loyal friend with a long-standing interest in the long-term prosperity and well-being of the people of Hong Kong, Canada will continue to work with its foreign partners to persuade China to respect its international obligations in relation to Hong Kong.

[English]

     Canada has called on China to respect, protect and promote freedom of expression, assembly and association, as well as freedom of religion or belief, for all individuals. The restrictions of these freedoms for Tibetans living in China as well as the destruction of historic buildings and temples are cause for great concern. Canadian officials regularly discuss concerns regarding the treatment of Tibetans in China, and in Canada with our Chinese counterparts.
    As I said at the beginning, the Government of Canada is gravely concerned about the human rights situation affecting Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. I would like to acknowledge the work by the Subcommittee on International Human Rights on the human rights of the Uighurs, including the brave testimony from survivors and civil society representatives on this issue.
    We have already been very clear: Canada takes allegations of genocide very seriously and I take these allegations very seriously. This includes testimony from survivors, leaked government documents, and credible allegations and reports of mass arbitrary detention, repressive surveillance, forced labour, forced sterilization, torture and other mistreatments affecting Uighurs and other ethnic minorities.
     As I have repeatedly stated, China must provide unfettered access to the region without delay. We continue to call for an international investigation in response to serious and deeply concerning allegations of genocide. Regardless of whether that access is provided, the international community has to work together in order to investigate the egregious human rights abuses taking place in Xinjiang. It is clear from the available evidence that serious and credible human rights violations are occurring in Xinjiang. The nature and scale of these abuses are alarming.
    That is why this government has taken and will continue to take action. We will do this with single-mindedness working with our international partners. We have raised these issues bilaterally with the Chinese government at all levels. Canada has also raised on numerous occasions the specific human rights situation in Xinjiang. In October 2020, Canada, along with 39 other countries at the U.N., expressed its grave concerns regarding the situation in Xinjiang.
     On January 12, we announced that the Government of Canada is adopting a comprehensive approach to addressing human rights abuses in Xinjiang, including measures to address forced labour. We announced a robust suite of measures that have placed Canada at the forefront of the global response to human rights concerns in Xinjiang, including the prohibition of imports into Canada of goods made in whole or in part with forced labour, and a business integrity declaration for Canadian exporters.
    Global Affairs Canada will continue to work closely with Canadian firms doing business in or with China to make sure that their officials understand and mitigate the risks of doing business with entities possibly implicated in forced labour. We will also continue to work with our international partners and raise our concerns about the human rights situation in Xinjiang, and to call on China to live up to its international obligations.
    In closing, I would like to emphasize that we must and we will continue to coexist with China. We will compete with China, using our innovative businesses, people and abundant resources. We will co-operate on global challenges like climate change, and we will challenge China when human rights are being violated.

  (1110)  

    As the ground beneath us shifts, this government will continue to evolve its approach to China. As we do, we will always put the safety and security of Canadians first and be firmly guided by our interests, our fundamental values and principles, as well as global rules and strategic partnerships.
    Madam Speaker, I disagree with a lot of what the minister said on the government's response on the China file more broadly. However, this debate, as he should know, is about a specific issue, namely a legal finding of genocide corresponding to the data, the opinion of experts and the testimony of survivors. Our partners are already moving, including two U.S. administrations. Canada would not be the first, but we do not have to be the last. Working multilaterally should not be an excuse to do nothing and act last.
    I have some specific questions for the minister on issues that he should have addressed in his remarks, but did not. Has the minister been briefed on the existing reports and legal findings by experts with respect to genocide? Does he agree with their conclusions and will he support this motion?
    Madam Speaker, I want to say again very clearly, and I have stated this on many occasions, that we are gravely preoccupied with the host of egregious reports and allegations made with respect to the treatment of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities. We have urged China to allow impartial, independent experts to go in and look at it. If there is nothing to worry about, then there should not be a problem with looking at it.
    Finally, as I said a number of times in my speech, we are working with our international partners. We have a body of evidence here in Canada and are working with our international partners to understand fully the extent to which the allegations are justified and correct.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, we were just treated to quite a string of words that were meant simply to evade the question of whether the Minister of Foreign Affairs supports the motion.
    The minister's Liberal colleagues who sit on the Subcommittee on International Human Rights have used the term “genocide”. Three of his Liberal colleagues have signed an open letter that was released on February 6 entitled “The Games of Shame” that also uses the term “genocide”. To make this as clear as possible, does the Minister of Foreign Affairs support the position of his colleagues who are calling the treatment of the Uighurs in Xinjiang “genocide”?

  (1115)  

    Madam Speaker, to answer my colleague's question, our government has a responsibility to make decisions and to make certain determinations. That is what we are doing right now and, as I have mentioned, we are deeply concerned about all the information we have received from credible sources.
    We are currently studying and analyzing the situation, and doing so with our international partners. Before coming to any conclusions, it is particularly important to draw upon all the expertise that exists in Canada, as well as expertise in other countries, which is what we are doing. Meanwhile, we encourage China to open up and provide access to a group of independent observers to examine the situation in Xinjiang.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it is very important for us to discuss human rights in this chamber. When I heard the minister talk about Canada's commitment to human rights and to keeping Canadians safe, I was thinking of the people of Eabametoong First Nation this morning, who are living in tents. It has been -45 degrees and they are living in shacks and homes overrun with mould and bugs. They have gone 20 years without access to safe water. I am sure the hon. minister knows that under the United Nations commitments Canada made, access to water is a human right, as is access to safe housing.
    Given the fact that people are going to die in Eabametoong/Fort Hope if we do not get emergency housing in there, why has the Liberal government done nothing to help this community?
    Madam Speaker, I reject the allegation that this government has done nothing. We are the first government to commit not only to reconciliation but also to correcting many of the wrongs that exist with respect to indigenous peoples, and we did so as soon as we came to power in 2015. Incidentally, this is something we could have started about 10 years earlier if the NDP had not blocked our motion when the Kelowna accord was being discussed.
    Madam Speaker, does the minister worry that equivocation in response to China's belligerence and threats, its detention of Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor and condemnation to death of Mr. Schellenberg, sends a message to China that these threats and this belligerence works?
    Madam Speaker, I very much appreciate the question from my colleague, which is complex and one that I assure him our government is seized with.
    We are examining all of the evidence that has been provided, and we will continue to do that in concert with other countries. I believe that my colleague for Wellington—Halton Hills said that, yes, we should be working with other countries, and that is precisely what we are doing at the moment.
     This file will not go away. We will continue to deepen our knowledge of exactly what is happening, and we will do it in partnership with other countries.
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate the minister's comments, and I want to pick up on the point of international partners and just how important that is.
     Canada alone has a voice, but in working with other countries, that voice is enhanced. Could the minister provide his thoughts on why it is so important that we have those international partners and how that gives further strength to Canada's voice?
    Madam Speaker, I would point out that earlier this week, the declaration against arbitrary detention in state-to-state relations, a Canadian initiative, was brought forward. We, as a country, feel that it is better for us to approach issues on a multilateral basis on certain issues, and that is why we are working in concert with international partners on this very legitimate point that has been brought up today in debate.
    We are happy to participate in this debate on this extremely serious subject, but it is also important for Canada to work with its international partners to move this particular issue forward to arrive at a final determination.

  (1120)  

    Madam Speaker, I recall back in 1996 when former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien signed a deal to sell nuclear reactors to the People's Republic of China, and we gave it the money to buy our reactors. The prime minister at that time said that engagement with China would help our values rub off on them. However, I have been concerned ever since that its values have rubbed off on us: We are more secretive now, and the former government under Stephen Harper signed, in secret, the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement with the People's Republic of China, which means that we could be being sued right now in secret tribunals about which this Parliament knows nothing.
    By the way, I congratulate the minister on his new role as Minister of Foreign Affairs, but I would ask if he would undertake to allow a full debate in Parliament and review of how much sovereignty we have lost under the foreign investment protection treaty with the People's Republic of China, which operates entirely in secret.
    Madam Speaker, I will answer the point generally by saying that the China of 1996 and even the China of 2016 is not the China of 2021, which is why our policies with respect to China, whether these apply to foreign investment, trade or human rights, is evolving.
    As I have said on many occasions, we must coexist with China, and in some areas we will co-operate, but in some areas we will challenge them and in some areas we will compete with them. This is part of our evolving policies with respect to China, and in all matters, as times change, these can legitimately be reviewed.

[Translation]

     Madam Speaker, first I would like to state that I will be sharing my time with my esteemed colleague from Lac-Saint-Jean. I would also like to congratulate him today for the leadership he has shown on this file at the Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development and also for spearheading an open letter entitled “The Games of Shame”, which was published a few days ago in certain media across Canada.
    I know that my colleague is greatly concerned about this issue and has worked hard to have members of the subcommittee unanimously recognize that a genocide is actually taking place in China and to bring about this cross-party gesture which transcends the House. In fact, representatives of all stripes at Quebec's National Assembly and also people from civil society, such as the former Liberal justice minister and founder of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, Irwin Cotler, were also brought in. None of this could have happened without the efforts of our colleague from Lac-Saint-Jean, and I believe he will have a place in history for it.
    What is a genocide? I think that is the first question we need to ask. What makes this a genocide?
    I am sure that when my colleague speaks in a few minutes he will share some of the horrific testimony heard by the members of the subcommittee studying what is going on in Xinjiang, in particular.
    Witnesses have spoken about concentration camps euphemistically referred to as re-education camps. This reminds me of the inscription over the entrance to Nazi concentration camps, “Work sets you free”. In other words, if people worked hard, they were eventually freed. This is the kind of euphemism used to describe concentration camps. There was also talk of rape, children being separated from their families, slavery, surveillance and mass sterilization. These facts have been reported around the world.
    I want to get back to the meaning of genocide. I remind members that in the aftermath of the Second World War, the world was shocked to learn what had happened in Nazi concentration camps, where Jews, gypsies and gay people faced mass extermination.
    One of the first conventions, if not the very first, adopted by the newly founded United Nations after the Second World War was the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which Canada ratified in 1952.
    Article II of the convention explains what is meant by the term “genocide”. It reads, and I quote:
     In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
    It is important to note that not all of the criteria need to be present to constitute genocide; rather, only one criterion needs to be observed for acts to constitute genocide within the meaning of international law.
    The convention goes even further. In article I, it states, and I quote:
    The Contracting Parties confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish.

  (1125)  

    I remind you that Canada signed that agreement.
    Since the early 2000s, the international community has been concerned about human rights violations against a number of religious minorities in the People's Republic of China, including practitioners of Falun Gong, Uighurs, Kazakhs, Uzbeks and Tibetans, among others. Several reports, including those from Amnesty International, point to flagrant violations.
    I heard the minister talk about the need for consensus among international partners, or at least agreement with a certain number of them, in order to conclude that genocide is indeed taking place in the People's Republic of China. The minister claimed that he did not have enough information to reach that conclusion and that it would take an international observer mission to obtain evidence that genocide is indeed happening in the People's Republic of China.
    Curiously, that reminds me of what Global Affairs officials said to members of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development about the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. Officials were unable to say what was happening on the ground. However, we learned after the fact that the former minister was well aware of what was going on in the region.
    I am respectfully of the opinion that the government knows full well what is happening in the People’s Republic of China. In addition, when it comes to relying on international partners, which seems to mean so much to the minister, I would like to point out that the European Parliament published a declaration in 2016 stipulating that “[t]here have been persistent credible reports on systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience in the People’s Republic of China, primarily from practitioners of Falun Gong peaceful meditation and exercises but also from Uighurs, Tibetans and Christians.”
    The members of the United States Congress are also aware of this. Both the current and the former administrations refer to this as genocide. A BBC news story reported that genocidal actions are definitely being committed in the People’s Republic of China, and the Chinese government responded by prohibiting the network in its country.
    I think that the minister cannot bury his head in the sand forever and claim that he is unaware of what is going on in the People’s Republic of China jus to avoid taking action. As my colleague from Lac-Saint-Jean pointed out, some Liberal members on the Subcommittee on International Human Rights signed an open letter entitled “The Games of Shame”. What is the government waiting for to follow its MPs’ lead and recognize that there is a genocide taking place in China?
    It is important to point out that this Conservative motion is very welcome. However, I feel I have to mention in passing that its author, the Conservative Party critic for foreign affairs, who just yesterday made all sorts of statements asking that the next Olympic Games be moved to another city, failed to sign the open letter. Moreover, Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party was happy to participate in the Beijing Olympic Games, which took place while it was in power. As the former leader of the Green Party was saying earlier, the Conservative Party even negotiated an investment agreement and collaborated with China on the expulsion of Chinese nationals. This being said, they say that is never too late to see the light. We were therefore pleased to see the Conservatives put forward this motion today.
    To answer the Minister’s arguments, I would say that the People’s Republic of China is certainly an important partner, but that in no way justifies turning a blind eye to such abuses of Chinese citizens’ most inalienable rights, which unfortunately seem to have been proven to be true.

  (1130)  

    If Canada has even the slightest desire to continue positioning itself as a leader in respecting human rights, it will have to walk the talk.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I heard the member talk about the systemic nature of what is going on in China and all the different criteria.
    Could the member comment further on the necessity for the government to respond specifically to the question of genocide and to answer to all the points that he made in his speech and that the motion addresses?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, during his speech, the minister spent a lot of time telling us about the situation in Hong Kong. We understand and agree that the situation there is extremely worrisome. It has even been the focus of work by the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development.
    However, I would have liked to hear the minister talk about the various criteria in the genocide convention. I would have liked him to tell us why the evidence that has been available internationally for years now, evidence gathered from our partners, is not sufficient for us to say that at least one of the criteria has been met. That would enable Canada to take action and recognize that this is genocide. It must do so because of its commitment under article 1, which I discussed. That commitment requires action and reprisals on the part of the government.

  (1135)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I appreciated the intervention from my colleague in the Bloc. He delivered it with great passion and he is clearly well informed on this topic.
    I did take exception to the member saying that the minister was pretending that he does not know what is going on in China. I did not hear that from the minister. What I heard the minister say was that there are a lot of moving parts, that things have to be considered holistically, that Canada was working and is working with other countries throughout the world on this very important file, and that Canada was going to continue to do that moving forward.
    Would the member at least acknowledge that the minister is clearly aware of what is going on and that he has said he is working on this issue?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, perhaps my colleague knows something we do not.
    If the minister is actually aware of what is going on in China, he should have said so. In his speech he was very careful not to acknowledge that he is aware of what is happening in China.
    If I am to believe my colleague and the minister is aware of what is going on, it is even more unacceptable that he refuses to call it a genocide. Either the minister knows what is happening and is being complicit by remaining silent, or else he claims to not be aware, even though his partners, whom he loves to mention, have clearly acknowledged this as a genocide.
    We went through this with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Global Affairs was telling parliamentarians that they did not know what was happening there because Canada did not have any representatives in Azerbaijan and Armenia. A few days later, the former minister testified in committee and told us that he was well aware of what was happening over there.
    We want the government to tell us the truth.
    Madam Speaker, I was much younger then, but I remember hearing about the Rwandan genocide and about how the government did not listen to General Dallaire. He suffered terribly knowing what he did when no one would listen.
    What can the government do today to avoid repeating its mistakes of the past, which are many?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question, which is likely the most important question today. What did we learn from the Second World War? Despite the convention, we turned a blind eye to the Rwandan genocide. Despite the convention, we turned a blind eye to the genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
    Are we going to turn a blind eye to yet another genocide by reacting after the fact and saying that it is unfortunate? We see what is happening. It is time to take action.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Montarville for his speech. Since he paid me a compliment, I will reciprocate by saying that his speech was powerful, eloquent and sound, and I congratulate him.
    I am extremely thankful to be here in the House for what may be a historic debate. For this reason, it is especially important that we ask ourselves the following question: what side of history do we want to be on? It is not often that we are fully aware we have this choice, but today, in the House, we are faced with a unique opportunity.
    We are here in Parliament, exactly where many politicians have stood before and either failed or succeeded. It is not up to me to judge what happens today. History will decide. I will limit myself to judging my and my colleagues' ability to convince every member of the House that what is going on in Xinjiang is genocide. My only power over my colleagues is to convince them to stand on the right side of history.
    The facts are troubling, and members from every party could cite them, so I, too, will do so. Regardless of what the House does with the motion put forward by my colleague from Wellington—Halton Hills, at least no one will be able to plead ignorance, which happens to be the greatest ally of totalitarian regimes, after willful blindness. Let us be neither ignorant nor blind.
    This summer, the Subcommittee on International Human Rights, on which I sit, studied the human rights situation of the Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang after documents were leaked that strongly suggested that there was a system of mass detention and oppression in this region of China. Numerous experts consulted by the subcommittee estimated that millions of people are being held in what Chinese authorities despicably refer to as “vocational training centres,” surrounded by walls, barbed wire and guards.
    For some people, just hearing this is not enough, and that is where the increasingly troubling satellite images and photos of huge complexes, factories and lines of prisoners and forced labourers come in. These images reveal the scope of the operation that has been under way for several years in Xinjiang and that is now unfolding before our very eyes. This operation needs to be called by its name: genocide. There were witness accounts, but they were eclipsed by the western world's complacent attitude towards the Communist Party and its secrecy. Suddenly, these stories were corroborated by the missing physical evidence. I can say that members of parliaments around the world have taken notice.
    As we speak, a veritable cultural obliteration is taking place. In Xinjiang, wearing a beard, praying or quitting smoking can get a person sent to a concentration camp. There, people are prohibited from practising Islam or even speaking their own language. They are forced to eat pork and to praise the Communist Party and President Xi Jinping.
    It is not easy to hear Uighur expatriates tell their story. It is very hard to remain indifferent when human beings are telling stories of children being taken away from their families and placed in state-run orphanages or schools. It is even harder when we know that they will be robbed of their language and culture so they can be indoctrinated and ultimately assimilated.
    Unfortunately, it gets worse. We were disgusted, to put it politely, to hear that many women had been raped in these camps. When we heard the unproven allegations of organ harvesting, we could not decide what horrified us most, that this was possible or that we were not surprised because it had happened before to Falun Gong followers and other religious minorities.
    That is not all. We were deeply troubled by the stories of mass sterilization in Xinjiang. It was revealed that the authorities hoped to sterilize 80% of all women of child-bearing age. The methods used include forced insertion of IUDs and forced surgery. It was reported that people are being forced to take drugs and receive injections.
    If anyone does not trust the stories, all they have to do is look at the figures. Between 2015 and 2018, the population growth rate in the mostly Uighur areas of Xinjiang dropped 84%. I recently heard members of Parliament, including our Prime Minister, who were reluctant to use the word “genocide”. They claim that “genocide” is a loaded word and that we need to think hard before using it.

  (1140)  

    With all due respect, it is because it is such a loaded word that we must use it. The first nations of Quebec and Labrador are not reluctant to use it. Representatives of the Ukrainian community are not reluctant to use it. Representatives of the Jewish community are not reluctant to use it. Irwin Cotler, Canada's special envoy on preserving Holocaust remembrance and combatting anti-Semitism, is not reluctant to use it, and he was appointed by the Prime Minister. We should not be reluctant to use it, either. It is our duty to denounce it and to take action.
    We may not realize it, but we are involved in this genocide. Without knowing it, we are benefiting from the situation. More and more evidence is coming to light directly linking western companies' supply chains to forced Uighur labour. I will not name names, but I would bet that each one of us very likely has items in our possession that were fully or partly made by Uighurs.
    In any other situation, we would not hesitate to call taking people out of their regions to make them work as forced labourers modern-day slavery. I submit to the House that the situation in China should not be considered any more leniently than if it were in any other country. We realize, at a time when the entire planet is facing the worst health and economic crisis in more than a century, that human rights are not front and centre. We are talking about genocide, the most horrible example of man’s inhumanity to man. We cannot remain silent.
    That is what prompted me to find a possible solution, because I believe that we have to start somewhere. Following our allies and declaring that genocide is taking place is an important step that I hope to take with every other member in the House, and we can do more. We can and must hit the Communist Party regime where it hurts the most: in its arrogance and pride. In 2022, Beijing is set to hold the winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. It is a prime opportunity to act and to unite humanists and democrats the world over around a very simple idea: refusing to participate by not allowing this world sports event to be used as a platform for the self-aggrandizement of a regime that is committing the most heinous crimes against its own people. We cannot reward the Communist Party for its nefarious schemes by going to Beijing, and neither can the rest of the world.
    On February 6, 13 members of the House signed an open letter along with human rights organizations and a number of Quebec MNAs. In fact, my colleagues from Montarville and Longueuil—Saint-Hubert both signed the letter. We are not asking our athletes to give up their Olympic dreams. We are very aware of the considerable efforts they have put into following that dream. We believe that there is still time to demand that the International Olympic Committee move the games if the Chinese government continues its genocidal spree.
    Some have said that we should not mix politics and sports. We are not taking our elite athletes hostage. We cannot hide behind politics when a genocide is taking place. My answer is that we are facing a genocide. As I just said, we are not talking about politics, but about human rights and crimes against humanity. We need to make sure that the medals athletes win in 2022 are not tainted, because history will undoubtedly remember these games as the games of shame, much like the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. We cannot accept the status quo. I know that my 12 colleagues and I are not alone in the House.
    That is why I am proposing an amendment to the motion moved by the member for Wellington—Halton Hills, which I hope will garner the support of a majority of members of the House. I move:
    That the motion be amended by adding after the words “against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims,” the following:
“call upon the International Olympic Committee to move the 2022 Olympic Games if the Chinese government continues this genocide.”

  (1145)  

    It is my duty to inform hon. members that an amendment to an opposition motion may be moved only with the consent of the sponsor of the motion. Therefore, I ask the hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills if he consents to this amendment being moved.
    Madam Speaker, I consent.
    The amendment is in order.
    The hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands.
    Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Lac-Saint-Jean. I believe that he obtained the consent of the member for Wellington—Halton Hills for his amendment and that we are working in a non-partisan manner precisely because of his efforts and leadership in this matter. I sincerely thank him. It is an honour for me to work with him.

  (1150)  

    Madam Speaker, it is an honour and a pleasure to work with the member for Saanich-Gulf Islands.
    I also want to thank her, as well as her colleague from Nanaimo—Ladysmith, for signing that letter. We can prove to this House that we are capable of working together, across party lines, on international human rights issues.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to let the member comment further on his amendment.
    There is a long and shameful history of despots and dictators using the Olympic Games as propaganda to the rest of the world and as a domestic policy distraction to oppressed peoples. He mentioned the 1936 Olympics, the Olympics of shame. Sadly, that is not the only time a despotic regime used the Olympics for this purpose. As we saw shortly after the Sochi Olympics, the site of those games was a staging ground for the expansion and invasion launched from Russia.
    I ask the member to comment on his amendment and the importance of not letting the Olympics be used as propaganda by dictatorships.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    I think this is a situation that will occur more and more often. The International Olympic Committee has an obvious problem when it comes to choosing where to hold the Olympic Games. We know that it is becoming increasingly expensive to host the Olympics and that the countries that want to host them are often those led by a tyrannical government looking to boost its image. These countries use the Olympics as an opportunity to glorify their own regime and to show their own people that they are strong and powerful.
    That is a problem we need to consider. I believe that the amendment we are proposing today is a strong gesture. I think that, if the House votes in favour of the amendment and the motion, we will be better off and we will become leaders on the world stage. I am convinced that this will snowball in many of the world's free parliaments.
    Madam Speaker, let me paraphrase the late Pierre Mondy and the brilliant Alexandre Astier who believed that a great leader, a hero, always fights for the dignity of the weak. With that sentiment in mind, I would like my colleague to comment on Canada's actions, or lack of action, in response to the genocide of the Uighurs.
    Madam Speaker, I will try to reply quickly and to the best of my ability, and I will do so with the following quotation: “A politician thinks of the next election; a statesman, of the next generation”.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it is very troubling to speak about the Conservative opposition day motion. It is a very serious matter.
    The motion calls on the House to recognize that a genocide is being carried out by the People's Republic of China against Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims and it calls on the government to adopt this position.
    We are in a legislative forum in the House of Commons, but it is also a political forum, and all actions are under that umbrella in this chamber. It would be easy therefore to treat this as a political motion, to see it as an attempt by the Conservatives to demonstrate that the government is not strong enough on China or on human rights internationally, and members may well seek to do that in this debate.
    It is evident that this is part of the Conservatives' challenge to the Liberals as the governing party, but it is far too serious a matter to treat as a political event. It is a matter of fundamental human rights and the obligations of countries like Canada to call out the actions of states whose actions and practices of widespread and systematic abuses of human rights are of such enormity that they require international opprobrium and action. This is a matter on which we need to work together to seek to bring about an end to these practices and to deter other nations that may follow the lead of China if they are ignored and allowed to be carried on with impunity.
    It has been said that the term “genocide” is a loaded word and therefore we should not use it. The Prime Minister has used that expression himself in the House. Yes, it is a loaded word, loaded with the freight of horrors of the past, a word that was not coined until 1944 to describe the implementation of Nazi policies in occupied Europe and mass killings of the past. Other words were not strong enough for the actions of the Nazis: the mass murders and executions carried out against the Jews, the Roma and other peoples as well as homosexuals, persons with disabilities, mental illness, political enemies or anyone who did not meet their standards. These horrors have cast a long shadow to this day in the minds and memories of mankind. These atrocities were deserving of a new name and it came to be called genocide.
    The term was later incorporated in the United Nations genocide convention established in 1948, which was more broadly defined as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” These acts included the killing of members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about the physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; and forcibly transferring children of that group to another group. That was the convention definition. They are broad and any one of them would meet the definition.
    In Canada, the term “cultural genocide” has been used by no less an authority than the former chief justice of Canada, the Hon. Beverley McLachlin, in a 2015 speech in reference to the policies and practices of assimilation of indigenous people adopted by Sir John A. Macdonald's government in the early years of Confederation and continued as part of our colonial history. She called cultural genocide the language of the 21st century, replacing what was then called assimilation.
    The same phrase, “cultural genocide”, was used by former prime minister Paul Martin a few years before that in reference to the residential school system in testimony before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, saying he needed to call it what it was. Indeed, the report of the National Inquiry into the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls used the term “genocide” to describe its findings, a term that was accepted by the Prime Minister.
    When we are dealing with the actions of the Government of China with respect to the Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims, we must look to the material that was presented to the Subcommittee on International Human Rights that heard testimony this summer from many groups and individuals.

  (1155)  

    The committee heard from Amnesty International, for example, that China's unrelenting repression of the Uighur people went back decades and that other governments, including Canada, failed to make it clear to China that this was unacceptable and that it had to stop. It talked about authorities in Xinjiang being engaged in a massive campaign of intrusive surveillance, arbitrary detention, torture, political indoctrination and forced cultural assimilation targeting the regions of Uighurs, Kazakhs and other Muslim people since 2017. More than one million people were being held in what they called “transformation through education” or “vocational training centres”, which are actually detention camps. We saw visual evidence this on CBC in 2019, evidence of the surveillance and detention camps. We have undeniable evidence of mass internment, arbitrary punishment and torture, the true scope and nature of which is not yet fully known.
    We need to recognize that the mass detention, forced labour, surveillance and population control measures, which have been described by other speakers today, being directed against the Uighurs and Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang fits the definition of genocide. If we are dealing with mass detention and population control through various measures such as sterilization and abortion, mass internment and labour camps, those measures must be called out by Canada, by Parliament and by the government. We have to recognize that we have an obligation to call out these practices as crimes against humanity and seek international action.
    Further investigations are required as is international action by the government and other governments, but we need to see that there is no impunity for that type of behaviour, that it is called out. Other nations have an interest in what is happening in China for the sake of the future of humanity. If these actions go unnoticed, unnamed, unchecked or not acted upon, we endanger not only the people who are affected by this today in China, who are concerned and fear the continuation of further actions of this nature, but people in other parts of the world.
    China cannot be allowed to operate with impunity in the world. Otherwise it could engender other nations following suit. This is an example of how a nation can treat the people it wishes to assimilate or take actions against, by indicating that these practices are acceptable and may be repeated. By not acting, we endanger the future of mankind. We see the future of humanity potentially being changed if this kind of action is allowed to continue in China and is followed by other nations that feel they can do the same thing with impunity. Action must be taken.
    It is incumbent upon us to follow and support this motion because it calls out the practices of China for what they are, which are included in the definition of genocide under the convention against genocide. Action needs to be taken. Hopefully, the government, by adopting the motion, will also encourage other nations to do the same and continue to put pressure on China to end those practices and ensure they are not continued either in China or elsewhere. It is requires some example by this Parliament, first, and the government to hopefully encourage other nations to follow suit.

  (1200)  

    Mr. Speaker, last month, the Government of Canada announced measures with respect to the importation of goods from Xinjiang in response to human rights concerns over violations that are taking place in that region. Does the member believe there is a better way to put in place these trade sanctions on that region of China?
     For example, does he believe it would be better to put a blanket ban on all imports from Xinjiang because of the evidence of mass forced labour and instead require companies to seek an exemption to that ban if they want to import products from that area, an important area to the world in particular because it produces more than 20% of all the world's cotton?

  (1205)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is a situation where the government has chosen perhaps not the best way of doing this. The member's suggestion is one worthy of consideration.
     I attended a briefing from the government on its policies and I was very concerned about the onus that was put on importers to have a very high degree of surveillance and diligence as opposed to the government playing a role in identifying either those particular products that needed to be embargoed and banned or, as the member points out, the region itself or companies themselves which were engaged in using forced labour. There needs to be a better method than we have now. A blanket ban on all imports may not be the right tool, but we need better measures than we have right now.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's comments, but it is important to recognize that tangible actions have been taking place as the government recognizes and has a better understanding of what is happening in China. We have been working very closely with our international partners. When we look at the Five Eyes countries, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada, there is a great deal of concern as we try to move forward on the issue.
    Is the member concerned at all that we might be undermining in any fashion the potential? The motion is that Canada, in essence, say that China is committing genocide and that Canada is not going to participate possibly in the Olympics or, at the very least, see the Olympics change its venue? Does the member believe that maybe we could have had this go to a standing committee to have the discussion before we got to this type of a vote?
    Mr. Speaker, yes, Canada has expressed concern, and there is no doubt that we have concerns, but we need to do more than that and recognize it for what it is. Perhaps we could have done this a week or two weeks from now after the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development had dealt with the report of the subcommittee, but we are aware of the essence of it.
    It is an important to call it what it is. Yes, we should seriously seek a change of venue of the place for the Olympics as a part of this motion.
    Mr. Speaker, what is very concerning right now in the situation with China is that we see the horrific human rights abuses faced by the Uighurs. We see the attack on democratic rights in Hong Kong. We see the arbitrary detention of Canadians who are being held hostage in order to intimidate Canada. However, I do not see a coherent strategy at the international level of how we actually hold China to account.
     I listened very closely to my hon. colleague as he laid out some of the issues and the problems, whether it is trade sanctions or the Olympics. Being the 21st century, how can Canada as a middle power play a stronger role of holding the Chinese regime accountable for the abuses that are taking place under its jurisdiction?
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague's question is a very good one. Canada is only one country and obviously not the biggest country in the world, but we have a strong commitment to human rights and international human rights. I think we have a role to play in helping to start these things with other countries, and we have. I give credit to the government for the statement made earlier this week regarding the arbitrary detention declaration. It has the potential ultimately to become a new norm, which it is already in some form, or a new thrust on that point. That is one way Canada played a role. Even though it did not mention China, the clear intention was to get international support for the problem we have of the serious, totally uncalled for and outrageous detention of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig in China for more than two years. That is something that has to change.
    We have a role to play in developing more international recognition. To start with, naming it a genocide tells other countries and the people of China how seriously this is being taken by Canada and should be by other nations.

  (1210)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for St. John's East for his well thought out speech and for presenting in such a convincing manner that the actions of the Chinese Communist Party against the Uighur minority do in fact fit the definition of genocide. He also showed in a very convincing manner that other nations must act.
    My question to the member is this. How beneficial would it be for Canada's reputation, in the community of nations, if this motion from the opposition party were to pass and get the support of the Prime Minister and his party?
    Mr. Speaker, I think it would be beneficial. Obviously, we know the United States has taken a position, through the administration, of recognizing that what is happening meets the definition of genocide, but it requires further action by other nations. There has to be action by the United Nations. We support the investigation being proposed through the United Nations. That should take place, but we also need to have support from other nations in calling it what it clearly is, and putting it in that category. That gives rise to the continuation of that investigation and the expectation that China should respond to that, so the government's support for this would be extremely beneficial.
    Mr. Speaker, I could not agree more with the member. Does he think this could be one of those watershed moments, where the Prime Minister has an obligation to step up? For example, I am thinking about when the MS St. Louis was turned back by William Lyon Mackenzie King, whose government was famous for the statement, “None is too many.” Does he think, if the Prime Minister does not take a stand, that this could be a situation where a future prime minister would be apologizing for his actions?
    Mr. Speaker, the prediction of what might happen in the future is not within my powers, so the member is asking a hypothetical question about how history might look back on this day. I do not know whether it meets the test the member puts forward, but I think it is a serious question regarding a position that has a significant moral implication for Canada as a country: to call this what it is and describe it as it is. We do not know the full scope and extent of this, but we know the actions meet the definition. That is a starting point for a full recognition by the community of nations that this has to be taken seriously. We hope the Prime Minister and his government support this motion and take that step.

  (1215)  

    Mr. Speaker, doing what is right is rarely easy but it is often simple. Today, we are calling on the House of Commons to do a simple but hard thing: to recognize the reality that the Government of China is committing genocide. In this speech, I will seek to make the case for that reality, for greater certainty and for the benefit of those who have not heard the evidence before. I do so knowing that among scholars and experts, as well as among members here who have reviewed the facts, there is no serious basis for disputing them.
    What makes the 1936 Olympics different from the 2022 Olympics is that in 1936, we did not know about the Nazi concentration camps. We had not seen the piles of children's shoes, the mounds of human hair or the bodies of victims being bulldozed. In 1936 we did not know, but today we do.
    My sister and I went to Berlin a couple of years ago to discover, up close, the stories of members of our own extended family who were sent to concentration camps. We visited a site of deportation and we visited Sachsenhausen concentration camp on the outskirts of the city. What struck me, visiting those places, was that these were not in isolated locations. The deportation site we saw was surrounded by tall apartment buildings. Even the concentration camp had three- and four-storey buildings at a reasonable proximity, such that everyday people could have come to an understanding of at least some of the horrors that were taking place there simply by looking out their windows.
     I thought about the people in those buildings who were neighbours to such horrors. What were they thinking? What action did they take or not take as they saw their neighbours, friends and fellow human beings taken away and massacred? I say to my colleagues today that they are the people in those apartment buildings.
     All of us can see a genocide taking place in China, as we speak. Thanks to satellite imagery, we too can look down and watch people being loaded up and taken away. Thanks to survivor testimony, we now know about systemic rape and torture in these concentration camps. Thanks to published or leaked Chinese government documents, we can see an abrupt turn and plunge in birth rates following the commencement of a policy of forced abortion, forced sterilization and forced insertion of IUDs.
    Anyone who says that there is not enough evidence is simply too cowardly to look through the window of their computer screen. Some here have drawn the curtains so they do not have to see the march of desperate humanity outside their windows, but for them there is still no excuse.
    Imagine having been a member of Parliament in the 1980s who opposed taking action against the apartheid regime in South Africa. Imagine having opposed sporting boycotts targeting that regime, saying that athletes should not be political pawns. Imagine having claimed that there was not enough evidence of violations of human rights, or that we should wait for our allies, and then imagine someone having to explain that decision to their grandchildren 40 years later in terms of why they failed to do the right thing. I say, for every member of the House, that in the decades to come we will have to explain our votes to our children and grandchildren. They will likely not be satisfied if we tell them that we had not familiarized ourselves with the issue or we were just following our party whip.
    So that there shall be no excuse, let me lay out again the clear case for the simple motion whereby Parliament would make an official declaration of genocide.
    Canada is a party to the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which provides a clear legal definition of genocide and outlines our obligations in terms of response. As a definition, the convention says:
...genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
    As my colleagues have mentioned, only one of the criteria needs to be established to necessitate a determination of genocide. The Government of China's treatment of Uighurs likely involves all five of the above, but in particular, the evidence that the government's actions respond to criteria c and d, “Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part”; and, “Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group”, is now completely irrefutable.
    In the summer, the all-party Subcommittee on International Human Rights heard two full days of testimony from experts and survivors. Upon hearing the information, all members of all parties who had heard the evidence unanimously agreed to recognize that the actions of the Government of China constitute genocide.

  (1220)  

     Leading researcher Adrian Zenz told the committee the following:
    Starting in 2018, a growing number of female internment camp survivors testified that they were given injections that coincided with changes in or cessation of their menstrual cycles. Others reported that they were forcibly fitted with intrauterine contraceptive devices...or subjected to sterilization surgeries.
    Also in 2018, official natural population growth rates in Xinjiang plummeted. In Kashgar and Hotan, two Uighur heartland regions, combined natural population growth rates fell by 84% between 2015 and 2018.... For 2020, one minority prefecture set a natural population growth target of near zero....
    New evidence shows that drastic declines in population growth are not merely linked with the campaign of mass internment but also related to a systematic state policy to prevent births in minority regions....
    Further down, he continues with:
    A stunning 80% of all newly placed IUDs in China...were fitted in Xinjiang, even though the region only makes up 1.8% of the country's population. By 2019, Xinjiang planned to subvert over 80% of women of child-bearing age in the southern four minority prefectures to birth control measures with “long-term effectiveness”. This refers to either IUDs or sterilizations.
    The subcommittee heard that this campaign of sexual and reproductive violence including placing non-Uighur men to live in the homes of Uighur women after their husbands had been taken away. This community is subject to systemic sexual violence, which includes the rape of women inside and outside of concentration camps.
    The subcommittee heard from many survivors, including Ms. Sayragul Sauytbay. She told us:
     In the concentration camps, the Chinese Communist Party guards rape the women and girls they want. It's daily....
    In one of the examples I remember, I was giving a lesson at a class on the Chinese language when they brought back a young lady. When she entered the class, she couldn't even sit on the chair. She just fell down on the floor. They started calling everyone by number. Every girl has a special number. They don't call them by their names; they call them by their numbers. When they called that girl by her number, she said, “I'm not a girl anymore, because they raped me.”
    She further continues that one day,
    [The guards] brought 200 prisoners to the hall, and they picked out one young girl, about 20 years old, and they forced her to accept the guilt for something that she never had done. She was crying and she was saying that she was guilty even though she was not guilty. She accepted it in front of the 200 prisoners. Then the Chinese guards—
    Order. I would ask the hon. member to stop there momentarily. I see the hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills on his feet.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. It is with great hesitation that I interrupt another member's speech, but I was wondering if the member planned on speaking for the full 20 minutes or just for 10 minutes.
    I was wondering that myself. I have stopped the clock here momentarily. We are getting to the end of the first 10-minute segment and we would be starting into a 10-minute question and comment period here fairly soon if we did not get some indication from the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan. I would ask him what his intentions are in that regard.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time.
    Then we will go back to the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.
    Mr. Speaker, I will restart the quote I was reading. She said that one day,
    [The guards] brought 200...[women] to the hall, and they picked out one young girl, about 20 years old, and they forced her to accept the guilt for something that she never had done. She was crying and she was saying that she was guilty even though she was not guilty. She accepted it in front of the 200 prisoners. Then the Chinese guards started raping her, one by one, in front of all these 200 prisoners. They went down the line and raped her one by one in front of all the people.
    If some of these 200 prisoners showed pain on their faces or in their eyes, or hesitation or any negative emotion...they will pick these prisoners from the crowd and later they will start torturing them because they didn't change.
    That is what is happening right now. Where is our feminist foreign policy? Ms. Sauytbay is just one of many who told this to the subcommittee.
    Irwin Cotler later told the following to the subcommittee:
    Genocide obliges us all—internationally, domestically, governments, parliaments, civil societies...to call out genocide. It's a responsibility under the genocide convention to both prevent and punish acts of genocide.
    It would be first and foremost a responsibility for Parliament to define these acts targeting the Uighurs as constitutive of acts of genocide, as the witness testimony has so eloquently and compellingly conveyed before this committee...
    The Prime Minister says that “genocide” is a loaded term and he is right. It is a loaded term. It is a term that should only be used to describe instances where genocide is clearly taking place, such as this one. The Prime Minister says he wants more evidence and he wants to send a fact-finding mission to China. This is disgraceful obfuscation. The facts have already been found. The evidence has been exposed and the experts agree. The Prime Minister knows that the Chinese regime will never allow unfettered access to do the required investigation.
    If I could see through my window that my neighbour was being violently raped and killed by an intruder, would it really be okay for me to knock at the door and wait to be invited in to investigate?
    The Prime Minister's reluctance to call out these crimes is all the more striking given the fact that he has previously accused Canada of committing a 21st century genocide. He said in 2019 that his government accepts that murders of indigenous women and girls in recent decades amount to genocide. Experts at the time, including Irwin Cotler, criticized this use of the term “genocide” saying, “I think we have to guard against using that term in too many ways because then it will cease to have the singular importance and horror that it warrants.”
    Is it not then ironic that the Prime Minister of Canada is prepared to accuse his own country of genocide, even when some experts say otherwise, but unprepared to accuse the Government of China of genocide, even when the experts say otherwise? Far from having some natural filial attachment to his own country, the Prime Minister is willing to accuse his own country while unwilling to recognize a genocide in China when it is clearly taking place.
    There can be no doubt that the Prime Minister's denial of the Uighur genocide has nothing to do with the evidence. I will not pretend to know his true motivations, but I hope that members of his caucus will be prepared to press him on the point, if not in public, then certainly in private.

  (1225)  

    Mr. Speaker, I know from the member's other speeches in this House that he is fully aware of this issue and is very well connected with it. He follows it closely. He advocates very strongly, and I appreciate that, but I want to pick up on one of the last sentences in his speech. In it, he said that he does not attempt to understand why the Prime Minister would be against it. However, he said so much about that previous to making that comment. The member must, for some reason, assume something, and I am curious to know what it is.
    Is it the fact that a situation like this is very complex, as the minister said earlier? What leads someone in the Prime Minister's position to make the decision that he made? Could the member try to comment on that, as he did on everything else leading up to it?
    Mr. Speaker, respectfully, it is a bit curious for a member of the Liberal caucus to ask me, a member of the Conservative caucus, to speculate about his own leader's motivations for failing to recognize this genocide. The member might be better disposed to do that.
     The evidence is very clear, as has been stated. The Prime Minister's reluctance to act, to call it a genocide in this case, in response to the experts, is very troubling, very concerning.
    If I were to speculate, I might read from a tweet from a gentleman named Steve Ricketts, who veers a little more to the left than I do. He is active on Twitter in my riding. He said:
    While I detest what is happening to the Uyghurs in China, I'm hesitant for Canada to declare it a genocide, as that requires taking action.
    If I were to speculate about the Prime Minister's motivations, I wonder if Mr. Ricketts said what the Prime Minister is thinking: that he is reluctant to call it a genocide because recognizing a genocide necessitates, under international law, a proportionate response.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to acknowledge the long-standing commitment of the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan to the plight of the Uighurs. The speech he just delivered conveys the passion that drives him, but it also shows how urgent the situation is, considering what is happening in Xinjiang.
    Canada has not always been on the right side of history. Let us not forget that Mackenzie King refused entry to a ship full of Jewish refugees in 1938. He said at the time:

[English]

     “None is too many.”

[Translation]

    However, our country has also been on the right side of history. One has only to think of Mr. Mulroney, who showed real leadership fighting apartheid in South Africa.
    On what side of history does my colleague think this Prime Minister will be?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, in response to that acknowledgement, I do want to acknowledge the excellent work done by the member for Lac-Saint-Jean on these issues as well. It has been a pleasure to work with him and members from all parties on these important issues.
    The member will appreciate the reflection that although many of us came into those subcommittee hearings with our party hats on, they were long gone as we started to hear this compelling evidence. That is how we came to the unanimous conclusion that this is indeed a genocide.
    The member asks an important question. As I said in my speech, we will all have to give account, to future generations at least, of the choices we made as members of Parliament. Our careers are fleeting and the memory of history is long. This is one of those profound historic moments when not just the Prime Minister but every single member of this House who has the power to vote on this motion will be called on to give an account of what side they were on. Were they on the side of justice, on the side of victims, or did they use “it is complicated” as an excuse?

  (1230)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am very concerned about my colleague's brush-off and minimization of the current crisis of murdered and missing indigenous women and girls.
    My question, however, is this: Does the member feel that the UN genocide convention also applies in real time in Canada to the forced sterilization of women that is occurring right now, as stated in article II(d), “imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group”, and also to the events that occurred in residential schools, as stated in article II(e), “forcibly transferring children of the group to another group”?
    Is the member committed to applying definitions of genocide to our own backyard when acts of genocide are occurring?
    Mr. Speaker, just to be very clear, my comments were in no way a brush-off. I simply pointed out the reality, which is that the Prime Minister has described events in Canada as constituting genocide but refuses to say that events taking place now in China are genocide. That is an observation that the Prime Minister has to be accountable for.
    As for the appropriateness of applying the term “genocide” to other policies in Canadian history, I am interested in hearing from experts and hearing the evidence on that. The debate we are having today, and certainly the debate I am prepared for, is that we have heard overwhelmingly from expert legal opinions that clearly a genocide is ongoing in China and necessitates a response.
    Mr. Speaker, famed Holocaust survivor and scholar Elie Wiesel said:
    We must [always] take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.
     I take these words to heart. As someone who has studied the Holocaust throughout my life, I understand the importance of the reality of man's inhumanity to man. It can sometimes be difficult here in Canada to understand the lengths to which human beings can go to advance their own self-interest.
    We have our own issues of social justice in Canada, to be sure, but the realities of the Holocaust and the shock of the Holocaust, outside the lived experience, is for some just too much to bear. However, we must bear it. When we say “we must never forget” and make our solemn promise of “never again”, it means not only for the purposes of honouring those who were murdered by the Nazis but also to make sure this never happens again to anyone or any group.
    This is one of those moments in history when we have not only an opportunity but an obligation to speak out and take action. People are dying and being persecuted, for no other reason than their faith, by an authoritarian regime that cares not. To not speak up leaves us in a moral vacuum, and history will not judge us well if we fail to act.
    Let us look at the facts of what is actually taking place in China right now as we debate this motion.
    There are about 12 million Uighurs, mostly Muslim, living in northwestern China in the region of Xinjiang. The Chinese government has reportedly arbitrarily detained more than a million Uighurs in detention camps. The existence of these camps has been confirmed by government documents, witness testimonies and satellite imagery. The majority of people in these camps have never been charged with crimes, have no due process and have no legal avenues to challenge their detentions. Often, their only crime in the eyes of the Communist Chinese regime is being Muslim.
    It is only their closely held faith that may be sealing their fates. I say “may”, because we here in the House have a role to play.
    The Chinese government has implemented measures against Uighurs, such as forcibly transferring children away from families, restricting the use of their national language, banning cultural activities, destroying schools and religious institutions and many other things we have heard about here today.
    Since 2016, thousands of mosques, graveyards, and other religious sites have been desecrated and destroyed. The Uighur language has been banned in Xinjiang in schools. Practising Islam has been discouraged as a sign of extremism. Between 2017 and 2019, it is estimated that more than 80,000 Uighurs were transferred out of the far eastern Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region and forced to work in factories across China, some directly from detention camps. Researchers and rights groups say the labour transfer programs are part of the Chinese government's system of control, indoctrination and forced assimilation.
    Both China and Canada have ratified the genocide convention, which defines the crime of genocide, establishes obligations of prevention and punishment, and recognizes the possibility of establishing state responsibility for a campaign of genocide. According to the genocide convention, genocide is a crime that can take place in times of war as well as in times of peace. The definition of genocide set out in the convention has been widely adopted at both national and international levels, including in the 1998 Rome statute of the International Criminal Court.
    The crime of genocide is defined by the genocide convention with respect to three elements.
    The first is that the victims form part of a protected group, i.e., a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, and in this case we have the Uighur Muslims as this group.
    The second is that the perpetrators committed one or more enumerated acts against members of the group. These acts are the killing of members of the group, causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group, deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part, imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group, or forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. We have seen multiple instances of these acts in the case of Uighur Muslims in China.

  (1235)  

    Third, the perpetrators acted with the intent to destroy the protected group in whole or in part.
    With respect to the third element of genocide, the intent in this case by the Chinese Communist regime could not be more clear: It wants to destroy the culture, faith and existence of the Uighur Muslims. Canada's Subcommittee on International Human Rights has already studied the facts and has concluded that the actions of the Chinese Communist Party constitute genocide. We know that the Uighurs are being systematically detained in camps, abused, sterilized and forced to become labourers on a mass scale.
    The time has passed for debating semantics. The government must join our U.S. allies and the Biden administration in officially recognizing the Uighur genocide. It must encourage the recognition of a genocide by our allies around the world. It must work with these allies, including the U.S., to take coordinated action in response to this genocide, and it must impost Magnitsky sanctions against those responsible for these heinous crimes being committed against the Uighurs.
    The Prime Minister can dodge questions about this as much as he wants, and that might work in the short term, but I implore him and Canada's government to do the right thing. History never fails to be the final arbiter of the performance of world leaders on the foremost human rights issues of the era in which they served. When it comes to the action or lack thereof taken by the Prime Minister, how does he want to be remembered?
    In 1957, former prime minister Lester Pearson received the Nobel Peace Prize for his role is resolving Suez crisis through the United Nations. The selection committee argued that Pearson had saved the world, and he is considered one of the fathers of the modern concept of peacekeeping.
    In 1988, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney stood virtually alone in the world against the tyranny of apartheid in South Africa and is revered to this day in South Africa.
    In 1939, Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King and his government said, “None is too many” when it came to allowing the German transatlantic liner MS St. Louis to bring its passengers fleeing Europe onto Canadian soil, callously turning away that ship and sending over 900 Jewish souls back to the Nazis to be exterminated.
    I ask the Prime Minister this: Does he want to be remembered like Pearson and Mulroney, as a champion, or like Mackenzie King, leaving himself to have to apologize for his lack of action when it comes to one of the true human rights abuses of our generation?
    Any prime minister of this great country must have the courage and foresight to be among the first to condemn evil when they see it and have the determination to take steps that stop it from continuing. My colleague, the hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills, eloquently said in the House that in Canada, our foreign policy begins with who we are. I therefore ask members this: Who are we?
    I alluded to this before, but this is truly our time, as legislators and political leaders in a country that stands for freedom and human rights, to take action, to speak out and to stand up for what is right. Let us call out the Chinese Communist regime's heinous acts for what they truly are: a genocide.
    I urge each and every member to do the right thing and support this motion. Let us vote yes for freedom, vote yes for human rights and vote yes for never again.

  (1240)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his speech. It was very eloquent. Like him, I have deep concerns about the genocide that is happening against the Uighur people, and I appreciate his comments.
    One thing we have an obligation to do as a country and as parliamentarians is to recognize and acknowledge genocide wherever it occurs, whenever it occurs. However, we are seeing a reluctance by the Prime Minister to acknowledge the genocide that is happening against the Uighur people, and the member spoke to some degree about what he would like to see the government do in response to that genocide.
    In Canada, the government has acknowledged that we have a genocide against indigenous peoples. Could the member also talk about the implications of that genocide and what he would like to see the government do with regard to it?
    Mr. Speaker, as a first step, I think the government needs to get its act together on this. The Prime Minister's hand-picked ambassador to the United Nations is saying that what is going on with the Uighurs fits the definition of “genocide” and the hon. chair of the finance committee has indicated concerns about our relationship with China. However, the Prime Minister says “genocide” is a loaded term. It is a loaded term for good reason.
    It is really time for the Prime Minister to stand up. What we need to do is work to create an international coalition of like-minded countries. They should come together and come up with a strategy to deal with genocide, not unlike what happened during the Holocaust. Magnitsky sanctions could be a very effective tool, and the Olympics, of course.
    On social justice issues around indigenous Canadians, I am very sympathetic to arguments on that. I did not come prepared to debate that issue today, but I am certainly open-minded and would love to have a debate about it and hear arguments around those issues—
    We will go on to the next question.
    Questions and comments, the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.
    Mr. Speaker, the member referenced like-minded countries. There has been a great deal of discussions and dialogue among international partners. Issues have been raised with regard to the Five Eyes and Canada is one of four that is still in the same position today. Conservative members and others have made reference to the fact that we have this outstanding foreign affairs subcommittee that is doing fantastic work.
    My question to the member is the same question I put to the New Democratic member, who, with hindsight, said maybe we should have done it that way. Maybe we should be saying that this is a very important question that all members are asked to vote on. Why would we not allow the foreign affairs subcommittee to review having that vote? Would the member not think this would better inform all members of the House about the fine work it has done to date? Maybe we could bring that work to a conclusion by having a recommendation like this come before the House.

  (1245)  

    I have to say, Mr. Speaker, that I find the question very concerning because it tells me that the member is blind to the facts that are before him. We do not need the foreign affairs subcommittee to tell us what we already know. We need to be working with our international allies, but we should be first out of the gate, not in the middle of the pack and not last.
    We should do, for example, what Brian Mulroney did. He stood virtually alone, as I said in my speech, on the world stage to seek the freedom of Nelson Mandela and end apartheid in South Africa. That is the leadership this country needs, not months from now after the foreign affairs committee has studied it, but today, this afternoon. I urge the member to vote for this motion when it comes up for a vote.

[Translation]

Points of Order

Criminal Code  

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday the government asked for unanimous consent to withdraw Bill C-13, which is still on the Order Paper, at second reading.
    This request was made in response to Bill C-218 being passed at second reading. Since both bills propose similar amendments to the Criminal Code, it makes sense to withdraw one bill and move forward with the other.
    Unanimous consent was denied, which means that not all members agreed.

[English]

    A point of order was raised today to ask the Speaker to rule on the matter of the rule of anticipation, which forbids the same question from being decided twice within the same session. While Bosc and Gagnon supports this argument, it also claims, “past attempts to apply this British rule to Canadian practice are inconclusive.”
    The sponsor of Bill C-218 has indicated to the Speaker and to me that he wants to weigh in on this important point of order since it involves his bill. He plans to do so as soon as the House resumes tomorrow.
    Bill C-13 cannot be called for debate today since, as we know, opposition motions on allotted days take precedence over all other business. In addition, except for today, the government has the prerogative to schedule this bill any day it wants, and last I looked, it has other bills to debate, including the bill to implement the economic statement, normally a priority bill for a government.
    Mr. Speaker, I urge you to respect the member's right to defend his bill and make his own representations regarding the rule of anticipation before you make your ruling on this matter.

[Translation]

    I thank the House leader of the official opposition for his additional comments on this matter. His comments will certainly be taken into consideration.

[English]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Religious Minorities in China  

[Business of Supply]
    The House resumed consideration of the motion, and of the amendment.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, is the hon. member for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley not allowed questions and comments?
    I thank the hon. member for raising the point. We were down to the last 20 seconds of his time, which is not sufficient time to start another round with both a question and a response, as sometimes happens. Sometimes members go over the five minutes by a bit and sometimes they are a little short. On any day, we hope it will average out to about the same.
     I appreciate the hon. member's point and I am sure the hon. member for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley also appreciates her additional thoughts in that regard.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I would gladly take the 20 seconds.

  (1250)  

    No, it is a discretion the Chair will exercise from time to time in the course of managing the timetable that is available to all members.
     We will proceed with the hon. member for Saint-Jean.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Pierrefonds—Dollard. I cannot wait to hear his speech, even though I expect we have somewhat different views. I look forward to potentially asking him a question afterwards.
    The matter before us today, recognition of the Uighur genocide in China, has come up in a number of committees, at times indirectly. I am a member of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, which is currently studying the situation in Hong Kong. I have often seen the similarities when questioning our witnesses about whether Canada should speak with a strong and consistent voice to help all groups that are currently experiencing repression in China. They were unanimous. The witnesses all told us that focusing solely on immigration measures, which is currently the suggested approach for Hong Kong, is ineffective if not backed by assertive diplomatic action. Yesterday, a witness even told us that if we tackle the underlying causes that lead to people becoming refugees, immigration measures would be unnecessary. That is what should be done. Everyone said Canada should take a stand against this international bully, against China, in support of human rights.
    As for the technicality of recognizing genocide, since that is what I want to focus on, the definition comes to us from the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which Canada ratified in 1952. As many of my colleagues have done before me, I think it is important to look at the criteria set out in article II of the convention. The first point refers to the act of killing members of the group. A number of media sources have reported on the disappearance of several million Uighurs without any—
    I apologize but I have to ask the member to check whether her microphone is connected properly. It seems that the sound quality is not very good.
    Perhaps the member could try again.
    Okay, Mr. Speaker.
    Can the interpreters hear me a little better now? I think I selected the right microphone on my device. Is the sound okay now?
    No, it seems the same. Perhaps the hon. member could double-check the channel selected on her monitor.
     Mr. Speaker, it seems that was indeed the problem. I am terribly sorry.
    I was talking about the first criterion for recognizing genocide, that is, killing members of the group. A number of physicians have reported that as many as several million Uighurs have gone missing, and there is no documentation of their whereabouts. At least two years ago, some actors, including Nury Turkel of the Uighur Human Rights Project, were suggesting that several million Uighurs had disappeared. To date, China still has not acknowledged the concentration camps. The fact that so many people are missing could lead us to believe that there have been mass murders of this group, although that is harder to prove, since few people have escaped from the various camps to report their existence and the conditions inside.
    The second criterion for recognizing genocide is causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group. In this regard, several witnesses reported to the committee that forced organ harvesting may have been carried out in the Uighur community. Sadly, there is no shortage of accounts from women who were raped in the camps. Women have reported the sexual, psychological and physical abuse they have experienced, which leads us to believe that the second criterion has been met.
    The third criterion is that of deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part. We know that many Uighurs have been taken from their homes by force, sent to concentration camps and then moved to factories, mainly located in Xinjiang, in order to help to reduce the Muslim population in that part of China. We know that the working conditions in those factories are inhumane and unbearable. Given that the workers are paid little or nothing, this is a form of modern-day slavery.
    With regard to psychological destruction, we need only think of China's mass surveillance. As has been mentioned many times, particularly in relation to the issue of Huawei, China has an extraordinary surveillance capacity. The Beijing regime invests huge amounts of money in security and technology. We know that there are security cameras installed everywhere and that, as a result of facial recognition technology, Uighurs can be specifically targeted in a crowd. There is therefore a feeling of ongoing persecution both in China and abroad. We have heard reports of intimidation, harassment and spying from the Uighur diaspora abroad, which leads us to believe that the third criterion is being met.
     The fourth criterion in the convention is imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group. We know this is happening. Witnesses have told us. The Chinese Communist Party engages in eugenics, practising a form of mass sterilization on Uighur women to reduce the population. Leaked documents show that the government has even set a target and intends to forcibly sterilize 80% of Uighur women of reproductive age. This approach is working. Sadly, the Uighur population's growth rate declined by 84% between 2015 and 2018.
    The final criterion for a finding of genocide is forcibly transferring children of one group to another group. Once again, witnesses have testified that children have ben separated from their families. Children have been taken from their families and placed in state-run orphanages, schools or camps to re-educate them, indoctrinate them and turn them into perfect little Chinese citizens, erasing their culture.
    I have discussed each of the criteria, but the convention states that the presence of even one of these criteria is sufficient for a finding of genocide.

  (1255)  

    In this context, I believe that rather than relying solely on the technical analysis of genocide, the government should admit that there is a genocide. The Prime Minister should acknowledge that a genocide is taking place, as he did with the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
    The main message that emerged from the testimony of several witnesses who appeared before the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration was that if we want to tackle the root of the problem, we must stop just treating the symptoms. We must stop implementing measures that only help people after they have been subjected to prejudice and genocide. We must tackle genocide head-on. If we are to tackle the problem, we must be able to name it. This becomes the cornerstone of the measures we can then take to stop the genocide. We must acknowledge that it exists if we want to apply sanctions in response. According to several witnesses, a token acknowledgement will only lead to token measures.
    Earlier, colleagues from the government asked why the other Five Eyes countries have not acknowledged the genocide yet. The answer may have less to do with acknowledging genocide and more to do with international relations and the government's willingness to do the right thing about this genocide.
    Let me give an example. Foreign affairs minister Zhao Lijian said in November that if the Five Eyes dared to interfere in the government's business and harm China's sovereignty, security and development interests, those eyes could get poked and blinded. That was a direct threat against the Five Eyes.
    In my opinion, that provides further justification for the government to take a leadership role in acknowledging the genocide and not be browbeaten by China. Acknowledging the genocide will allow us to have clear measures. It could also prompt governments of other allied countries, the other members of the Five Eyes, to follow suit.
    Acknowledging the genocide means clear, appropriate measures could be taken. That acknowledgement would be a political move that could inform the other measures to follow.

  (1300)  

    Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleague for her speech.
    I would like to come back to the subject of concrete measures. In her speech, she talked a lot about the various reports saying that the genocide should be acknowledged.
    How does my colleague feel about asking the International Olympic Committee to move the 2022 games, which are slated to be held in Beijing?
    Mr. Speaker, it will not come as a surprise to anyone that I intend to fully support the proposal of my Bloc Québécois colleague, the member for Lac-Saint-Jean.
    In my opinion, it is definitely a step in the right direction. It is a position with diplomatic dimensions that would show Canada has no intention of bowing down. It can be done in a respectful manner towards athletes, as we do not want to take away their Olympic dreams.
    There are also other options we could consider, including Magnitsky sanctions. These sanctions will likely be much easier to impose once the existence of the genocide has been recognized.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech.
    I am very concerned about the Chinese government's position. Its attacks on human rights are unacceptable. Attacking Hong Kong's democracy is very serious. In particular, there is the issue of the Uighur genocide.
    In my opinion, it is clear that Canada can play a key role together with its allies. We will have to work with the international community to implement a plan in response to the attacks on human rights.
    Does my colleague believe that Canada must work with Europe, the United States and other countries to support the human rights of Chinese minorities?
    Mr. Speaker, that is the very spirit of the conventions signed by many countries. In this case, the strength of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide lies in the fact that it was ratified by many countries.
    When facing a world power like China, we must present a united front, and this will also let us apply pressure with regard to other matters. We spoke about Hong Kong, the situation in Tibet and the two Michaels. I completely agree with my colleague that greater international collaboration will result in more effective sanctions against China.

  (1305)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. This is a technical question. I am finding that some speakers are not appearing on the House of Commons' screen. During the last questioner, I could see you. I heard the question, but I was not able to see who was asking the question.
     This happened earlier today during petitions. It did not seem to be as relevant, so I did not raise it. However, on debate like this I would like to be able to see the members ask questions, particularly when those questions are trying to sidestep this issue and hide behind the international community, when Canada must act.
    I thank the hon. member for New Brunswick Southwest for bringing this to my attention. I do see the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay rising. I do not know if he has some additional thoughts on this point of order.
    The hon. member.
    Mr. Speaker, certainly if people did not have the chance to see my face I am very concerned. However, I am also very concerned that my colleague thinks this is an attempt to be hidden from a discussion that I think is very important.
    In the interests of being fair, if you would allow me to ask that entire question again and restart the clock, I think that might be a fair solution, if we could get unanimous consent for it.
    I am fairly certain what the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay said is indeed on the record. We will look into the issue of why this is occurring with the video of members who are participating. I am quite certain that members would much rather be seeing the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay than me sitting here being idle as I listen to the hon. member.
    We will now go to questions and comments. The hon. member for Beauport—Limoilou.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to hear my colleague's thoughts on how the Minister of Foreign Affairs implied that China is a major economic partner and that this economic partnership outweighs the threats against the Five Eyes.
    Does she think that by refusing to call what is happening to the Uighur people a genocide, the government is putting the economy ahead of human beings and human feeling?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.
    There is obviously no denying that China is an economic partner. There is a lot of trade between the two countries, but that should not be a reason to completely ignore the convention. The two are not mutually exclusive. By maintaining an economic relationship with China, Canada can also exert international pressure over the matter of human rights.
    Just because China is an economic partner does not mean we can ignore international human rights conventions. All of the international conventions that Canada and other countries we want as allies have signed would become meaningless. We have a chance to set an example for these other countries and be among the first to recognize this as a genocide.

[English]

    That finishes up the time we have for questions and comments.
    To follow up on the previous point of order, I am told that the issue with the wrong screen being visible to members who are tuning in virtually has only to do with a small error with the broadcast. It is not a technical issue. We will, however, certainly be attentive to that in the future. I again thank the member for New Brunswick Southwest for bringing this to my attention.
    We will now resume debate. The hon. member for Pierrefonds—Dollard.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Saint-Jean for sharing her time with me.

[English]

    I would also like to pick up on what the member said. I am speaking as a parliamentarian who has heard a lot of the testimony from concentration camp survivors, from experts, from former ministers of government, and from diplomats. I am also speaking as a deeply concerned citizen and a humanitarian and somebody who has a track record of human rights advocacy.
    The testimony that we heard at the Subcommittee on International Human Rights was deeply disturbing for a lot of my colleagues and me. We remember these stories and the human tragedies and shared in their experiences. These are things we cannot un-hear. These are things that we cannot un-experience. That is the perspective from which I am approaching this debate.
    I was asked for my opinion on what is happening within Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. I pointed to the testimony that we heard at the Subcommittee on International Human Rights, which is a parliamentary committee of this Parliament. In that committee, we put aside our partisan differences to focus on a humanitarian issue. As individuals, as parliamentarians, we put partisanship on the back burner to deal with a very serious crisis. Out of that, we reached a number of determinations after hearing witnesses.
     We determined that, number one, there are serious crimes against humanity occurring within Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. We learned that approximately two million people are in concentration camps, where forced labour is happening.
     We heard first-hand testimony of a woman who was raped and who had witnessed rape that occurred in front of 200 people. She said that when any of the individuals witnessing those rapes by government officials flinched, they themselves were tortured.
    We heard testimony of a man who was apprehended. Everybody we heard from who was apprehended said that it was done without cause and without process. The man who was apprehended was physically examined to such an extent that he thought he would be dissected on the examination table. That was the extent to which the physical examination was taking place.
     We know that the BBC, approximately three weeks ago, reported that this is a system. If we read the articles published by the BBC, we know that this is systematic.
    More than that, we know this is happening and being directed from the highest levels. There have been leaks of what were called “the China papers” released to The New York Times in 2019. These are 400 pages of original documentation released from the central party, showing that this is a system, that a system is in place where people are being systematically tortured, raped, sterilized and forced to abort. This was later confirmed that same year by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, of which the CBC is a member. The China papers first released by The New York Times showed what is happening and the operational directives from the top. The second leak that was published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists showed the operationalization of what the state is doing.
    As a result of all this information, we now know that the American government, our most important trading partner and ally, has named what is happening a genocide. This has been confirmed by the Biden administration, by Secretary of State Blinken, and the government is standing firm on that in America.

  (1310)  

    The positive thing about President Biden is that we know that he works with other countries, Canada included. I expect that any moves that America takes on these type of files will be done in coordination with other governments, in particular the Five Eyes countries and Canada.
    This determination was not only reached by America, but also by a parliamentary committee. It is true that the committee is different from government and different from Parliament, but there were a number of recommendations made by the committee. Those included that genocide is in fact occurring. We also recognized that forced labour is occurring, that Uighur people are being forced to produce products for little or no wages and are being plucked from of their homes and thrown into concentration camps. We learned that when both parents are plucked out of their homes, the children who are left parentless are turned into wards of the state. The media have reported that facilities to house these children are being built in China as we speak right now. We learned that since 2014, approximately 400,000 Uighur people have been moved outside of the province of Xinjiang into mainland China, so they can produce goods. We learned about forced sterilization and forced abortion. We were also reminded that the Canadian, Huseyin Celil, has been imprisoned in China since 2006. This is why we concluded that genocide is in fact occurring.
    When asked what my personal position on this is, I have to stand firm with the testimony I heard and the findings we arrived at when listening to the evidence and considering it in accordance with the definition of international covenants, namely the genocide convention of 1948, of which China is a signatory and has ratified its documents.
    We know that Canada is now engaged. We have a responsibility to protect. The knowledge that we have forces us to protect. This is a doctrine in international law. Canada was a leader in creating that doctrine. This is something I would like us to reflect upon: the fact that we know, obliges us to act.
    What is happening aside from what we have heard about forced labour and sterilization and abortions? We know that 20% of cotton originates from the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. That means that 20% of items on store shelves made out of cotton globally come from that region. We know that 32% of tomato products originate out of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, meaning 40% of pasta sauce. I love pizza and pasta, but want to eat pizza and pasta that does not come from forced labour. We know that 41.72% of polysilicon used to produce solar panels originates from the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Supply chains are tainted, that is without question.
    In conclusion, we need to act. I want to recognize that we have started to act. On January 21, our government issued measures that specifically speak to forced labour and to the serious abuses happening within Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Those measures are real. They deal with importation and exportation. Those measures touch that region and our interaction as a country with that region.

  (1315)  

    We know that Canada is the fifth-largest investor in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Parliamentarians are watching this debate. People around the world are watching this debate. My message to everybody, Canadians and those internationally, is that they all have power. They have power to act. By sharing information on social media, by speaking to their friends and colleagues, and by raising the alarm, they are helping to reduce harm in this world and to prevent very serious crimes against humanity.
    It is not only Parliamentarians—
    We have reached the limit of our time for this intervention.
    We will now go to questions and comments.
    The hon. member for Langley—Aldergrove.

  (1320)  

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague told us very convincingly that the actions in China do fit the definition of genocide, and he also said that the world is watching this debate.
    What negative impact would it have on Canada's reputation among the community of nations if this motion put forward today by the opposition fails in the House? What negative impact would that have on our reputation internationally?
    Mr. Speaker, I always like to take the hopeful and optimistic look. I would like to believe that everything we are doing here, this conversation included, is nudging things in the right direction. I think the decision of Parliament with respect to the motion at hand is an open question, so I do not want to speculate about what the negative impact could be, but I do understand and know that all of this, including the member raising this question, is moving things in the right direction. The fact that we are having this debate is important. It emboldens and allows other jurisdictions to also have this debate, which they are doing, including the U.K., America, Australia and many of our allies.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by congratulating the member for Pierrefonds—Dollard. If I understood correctly, he is going to support this motion, which means that he has the courage to take a stand that is different from that of the government he represents.
    I am wondering whether he will vote in favour of this motion. I hope that he will propose action and manage to convince his leader to support this motion. This is a pivotal moment in history and an opportunity for Canada to take a stand against this genocide.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I weigh heavily every single action that is taken around this. Members have heard me speak to the findings of the subcommittee, which were unanimous, and all of my Liberal colleagues on the committee did vote for the SDIR findings, so we stand united on that. I stand by the determination that genocide is, in fact, occurring in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, as do so many parliamentarians across the line.
    Mr. Speaker, that was a wonderful speech. It was very brave and very well done.
    The member sat on the international human rights subcommittee with me. We heard the harrowing testimony together, and I echo his sentiment that we were deeply moved. From what I am seeing, though, from the government, I am not just concerned about the genocide against the Uighurs, but also that our whole China policy has not been effective. With all due respect, it has not helped Michael Spavor, Michael Kovrig or Huseyin Celil. I am wondering what we can do to convince the government to move faster and more ambitiously to get those Canadians released, and also to make sure that China comes back to the rule of international law and that we are standing up against the human rights against the Uighur people.
    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs noted at the beginning of his statement that the China of today is different from the China of not so long ago. The country has changed a lot with respect to its leadership in the last five years, and this statement alone demonstrates that there is a rethink of our engagement.
    I know for a fact that Canada is doing its utmost best to secure the release of the two Michaels. That means, though, we must look at this holistically, including with the serious crimes against humanity occurring within the region.

  (1325)  

    Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry.
    I rise today to express my serious and heartfelt concerns with and vehement opposition to the abhorrent abuse and genocide actively being perpetrated against the Uighur people and other Turkic Muslims by the Government of the People's Republic of China. The Conservative Party stands in solidarity with the Uighur community in Xinjiang, China, and with the Uighur diaspora.
     Several bodies, including Canada's Subcommittee on International Human Rights as well as two American administrations, have now concluded that the Government of China is committing acts of genocide and other crimes against humanity. These acts of genocide include systemic population control, sexual violence and mass detention. Ideally, Canada is a nation unafraid to stand on the side of freedom and human rights. We in the House have done so before, having recognized and condemned seven genocides that occurred around the world during our nation's history.
    Before I continue, I want to reflect briefly on a story I read recently that resonated with me. It is relayed by the book, The Boys in the Boat by Daniel Brown. It is the narrative of the U.S. Olympic rowing team and its journey to Olympic gold in the 1936 Olympics, which were held in Nazi Germany. Throughout the book, two histories play out simultaneously. The first story is about Joe Rantz and the rowing crew at Washington University. The second story revolves around the Nazi propaganda department, its desire to showcase a specific image to the world as well as some of the debate that took place in the United States prior to the Olympics, which included whether the Americans should even participate in the games.
    Near the end of the book, the two storylines overlap when the rowing team explores the town of Kopenick, the location of their Olympic rowing venue. Let me quote and paraphrase from page 332 onward:
    “But there was a Germany the boys could not see, a Germany that was hidden from them....They knew nothing of the tendrils of blood that had billowed in the waters of the river Spree...in June of 1933, when SA troopers rounded up hundreds of Köpenick's Jews, Social Democrats, and Catholics and tortured ninety-one of them to death....They could not see the sprawling Sachsenhausen concentration camp under construction that summer just north of Berlin, where before long more than two hundred thousand Jews, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Gypsies...would die....many of the Köpenickers the boys passed on the street that afternoon were doomed...destined for cattle cars and death.”
    Throughout the book, Brown speaks about the lengths the Nazi regime took to showcase an image of Germany that was triumphant, modern and superior, all the while masking their hatred of others in the pursuit of racial purity and power.
    Of course the Holocaust is one of the seven genocides that has been recognized in Canada's House of Commons, and now we are debating whether the people's House should recognize yet another.
    Unlike the 1930s, however, the world in which we operate today is much different.
     Last year the Subcommittee on International Human Rights released a statement regarding the situation of Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims. From first-hand witness testimony, it detailed mass instances of forced detention, where prisoners were refused the right to practise their religion and speak their own language; forced labour disguised as poverty reduction and skills training program, surveillance and control over every aspect of life, an effective police state; forced sterilization and population control, and, indeed, China's most recent statistics even show a massive reduction in the number of births in the Xinjiang region; and control and repression. The Xinjiang region is rich in natural resources and a strategic link to central Asian countries as part of the belt and road initiative.
    These instances and sadly many other documented cases fulfill the United Nations definition of genocide under the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, created following the revelations of the Nazi Holocaust.
    We recognize the seriousness and severity of direct comparisons to the Holocaust. Tragically, the evidence is present and plain for all to see. Dr. Adrian Zenz, senior fellow in China Studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, testified before the subcommittee that it was in fact a Holocaust 2.0, but much more sophisticated.
    We have heard reference to the chilling drone video from 2019, showing hundreds of men dressed in prison garb, stencilled with the words “Kashgar detention centre” and seated in rows on the ground in a large courtyard outside a train station. They are blindfolded, their heads are shaved, their hands are bound behind their backs and they are being guarded by dozens of police officers in SWAT-like uniforms. I ask people to please watch it if they have not yet done so.
    Shortly after this clip aired on the BBC, the late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, at the time U.K.'s Chief Rabbi, stated, “As a Jew, knowing our history, the sight of people being shaven headed, lined up, boarded onto trains, and sent to concentration camps is particularly harrowing.”

  (1330)  

    Australia's Strategic Policy Institute has documented 27 forced labour camps across China using forced and displaced labour for many mainstream brands.
    These instances are not rumours or one-offs, but corroborated and verified accounts. We have first-hand testimony from victims who managed to survive and escape the Chinese Communist regime of oppression and torture.
     Mr. Omerbek Ali testified before the subcommittee this past July. He stated:
    I was electrocuted. I was hung up. I was whipped with wires. Needles were inserted. I was beaten with rubber batons and pliers were used on me.
    Ms. Gulbahar Jelilova of Kazakstan was kidnapped from her hotel and transported to prison, where she was stripped, shackled, had blood and urine samples forcibly taken and unknown pills and injections administered, pregnancy tests performed and sexual violence perpetrated against her. She relayed the threats the Chinese state, stating:
    They talked to me and told me that I had to remain silent, that if I wouldn't stop talking, they would reach me, because China has long arms. They said they would reach me and kill me anywhere in the world.
    Legal academic and journalist Ms. Azeezah Kanji and her colleague Mr. Mehmet Tohti, long-time Uighur rights activists, have reported on these actions as the current stage of the Chinese government's “project of settler colonization and demographic change in the resource-rich territory China refers to as 'Xinjiang'.” Tellingly, this name literally means “new frontier”. The terrifying parallels to the Lebensraum and Anschlusss terminology used by the Third Reich during the 1930s and 1940s are clear.
    Kanji and Tohti cite:
...renowned scholar of settler colonialism Patrick Wolfe famously wrote that “the question of genocide is never far from discussions of settler colonialism.” In the case of China’s policies against the Uyghurs, this question of genocide is not just abstract or metaphorical, but imminent and literal.
    Continuing the disturbing similarities to the meticulously organized methods employed by the Nazi state, Ms. Kanji testified to leaked official Chinese documents that prescribed mass forced sterilization and mass surveillance in the Uighur homeland.
     Human Rights Watch likens the Chinese Communist Party to an “Orwellian high-tech surveillance state”. It says, “No other government is simultaneously detaining a million members of an ethnic minority for forced indoctrination and attacking anyone who dares to challenge its repression.”
    Where does this leave Canada?
     I was taught that being a Canadian meant our nation stood for something. Like thousands of young Canadian university students, I remember learning about the positive role that Canada's foreign policy played in the 20th century throughout such hallmarks as the 1948 signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Lester B. Pearson's creation of the UN Emergency Force during the Suez crisis and the role of Canadian peacekeepers. We were taught that Canada meant something internationally, that its actions were a force for good, that Canada stood above the fray as an example to the world. Canada is not only a place people want to live, it is a nation that others strive to emulate.
     Now is the time for our Parliament to reflect those Canadian values, which are still par for the course in classrooms across our country. Our Prime Minister should work with his American counterparts. Canada should join the republican and democratic senators in the United States to coordinate an international response. Canada is a principled nation that believes in fundamental values, values that run contrary to the interests of the communist Chinese government and its objectives.
    Turning back to the book The Boys in the Boat, in 1935, the American anti-Nazi federation called for a boycott of the Olympic games in Nazi Germany. A vote was taken at the U.S. Amateur Athletic Union to send a three-man committee to investigate the atrocities. The resolution failed 58 to 55.
    Unlike 1935, we cannot claim ignorance or a lack of knowledge in the broader population. We need to demand internationally that China is held accountable for its genocidal acts. Therefore, we must choose. Canada can stay silent and allow President Xi to gain international favour and superiority through the platform of yet another Olympic games hosted by an authoritarian, genocidal and repressive regime or we can work together with our like-minded allies and call out the horrendous human rights abuses being perpetrated by Beijing against the Uighur people. After all, if there is any truth to the idea of Canada as a nation that stands on guard for freedom and human rights now would be a good time to prove it.

  (1335)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I really enjoyed my colleague's speech.
    He talked about a book that tells the story of young athletes who competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. As we know, today, I proposed an amendment to the Conservative motion, calling upon the IOC to move the Olympic Games if China continues its genocidal spree. That amendment was accepted.
    Some members disagree because they think that we should not mix politics and sports. I would like to know what my hon. colleague thinks about that argument.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it was a little hard to hear the member. I am having some technical difficulties.
    Generally speaking, I believe that Canada's values transcend everything else we do. Our first and foremost priorities as Canadians must be to stand on our charter values, and those transcendent ideals transcend sport.
    Mr. Speaker, evidently there is a tremendous amount of cross-party agreement that we are deeply shaken by the extent of the state-sponsored and state-run deliberate genocide toward the Uighur people. The testimony that the committee heard on this matter has horrified many members of Parliament more than any other testimony they have ever heard.
    In moving this motion forward, could we also consider whether there is a similar genocide against the people of Tibet, who, based on the invasion that occurred so many years ago, are also facing, in my view, systematic genocide?
    Mr. Speaker, from the reading I have done and some of the evidence that is available, I believe the same tactics taking place against the Uighur Muslims have likely been applied against the Tibetan people as well.
    Mr. Speaker, my question is dealing with trade with China. China is an important trading partner of Canada, and it has been suggested by some that this action by Canada's Parliament might have a negative impact on our trade with China.
    What are his comments about that?
    Mr. Speaker, again, there was a bit of a technical difficulty with the connection.
    China depends a lot on Canada for its economic prosperity and on Canadians buying Chinese goods. We need to use our purchasing power and our trade as a means to perhaps work with our international colleagues to ensure that China does not get away with these human rights abuses.

  (1340)  

    Mr. Speaker, would the member like to add anything about the shameful way that despotic regimes use the Olympics as propaganda to the rest of the world?
    Mr. Speaker, my big concern in general is that if the Olympics are held in China and China is not held accountable for its human rights atrocities, it is going to have the opportunity to showcase a China that does not actually reflect the realities of the citizens of China and their abuse at the hands of their government.
    Canada stands up for human rights. Those values are universal, and we need to ensure that we use our position internationally to work with our like-minded colleagues to ensure that the values we espouse as a country are reflected in our interactions around the world.
    Mr. Speaker, there is a genocide happening in the world. It is happening, it is undeniable, the evidence is there, and this House of Commons is calling it out.
    There are one million people in detention camps in China. Women are being sterilized. There is forced abortion and slave labour. People are being ripped away from their families, tortured and murdered simply because of their religion.
    Joe Biden and Donald Trump do not agree on much, but when they do, I think we owe it to take a look. The U.S. administration, meaning the previous Trump administration and the current Biden administration, key world leaders, have agreed and said that there is genocide happening in China, full stop.
    I will start my speech today by using my political science degree, which I got a few years back, and look back in history at Brian Mulroney, former prime minister, and his leadership on apartheid in South Africa.
    Back at that time, there were a lot of people who said, “Who cares? Why are we involved in a situation 15,000 kilometres away in a country where we do not have much connection?” However, Brian Mulroney stood up—contrary to other world leaders, who stood quiet—and a snowball effect started to build support and effect real, tangible change in South Africa. A lot of people today credit Brian Mulroney and Canada for getting Nelson Mandela out of prison and ending apartheid in that country. The then prime minister stood up to people who said that they were not sure, they did not care, it did not matter, they needed more research. Maybe at times people thought it was not worth the effort. Today we look back at that stance and see that it formed part of our Canadian identity.
    There are a few of those moments in our history. I think of Vimy Ridge and the contributions of our brave men and women in the First World War and the Second World War. They stand as defining moments of who we are as Canadians. Our leadership stance in South Africa was tough and often ran against the current, but it effected real change, saved lives and formed our Canadian identity. We do not look back today to wonder whether it was worthwhile, if it was important or not, or if it was happening or not. It helped define us here at home and around the world.
    However, for as proud as we are of the circumstance and situation in South Africa, we have to be mindful of what we did not do when it came to Rwanda. The House and our country know very well of the difficult story of Lieutenant General Roméo Dallaire, a former senator and a well-known name across the country. Canada took a different approach in the mid-1990s when it came to the Rwandan genocide. We still talk about that today, but not in proud terms. We committed back then, and several times since, to say that never again will we allow that to happen. A lot of speeches, commitments and talk have been made by elected officials, Canadians, military leaders and other people around the world.
    I believe that right now, we of this generation are confronted with our South Africa and our Rwanda in the Uighur situation happening in China.
    Some of my constituents in Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, or perhaps somebody watching in rural Saskatchewan, a lobster fisherman off the coast of Nova Scotia, somebody in an office tower in Vancouver or a middle-class family in Mississauga might ask, “What does it matter?” To them I would say that it does matter, because it is testing our identity. It is testing our value set to do what we have done before: stand up and take a stand. It is not always easy to confront and it is not always easy to solve, but we know it is there.
    The Communist Party in China is not playing by the rules, and it affects us all. The Uighur situation, the genocide happening there, is a clear and prevalent example, but it is not the only one.

  (1345)  

    We need look no further than what we see in dealing with COVID-19, the challenges with the World Health Organization, with CanSino and the issues that happened with vaccines, the horrible and unfair treatment of our two Michaels, the spying and the infiltration of our institutions. The list goes on, and it says that the Government of China—not the people of China, but the government, the Communist Party of China—is not doing right in this world.
    I commend the Bloc Québécois and support the amendment that was made today to the motion. We talked earlier this week about China not deserving the right to host the 2022 Olympics, plain and simple, and there is still time to change that.
    More than anything, why this should matter to every Canadian is that when people are being raped and slaughtered simply because of their religion, their skin colour or because of who they are, we have a moral obligation here at home. I do not want to stand in the House of Commons years from now feeling sorry that another 800,000 people were murdered as we stood by and were indecisive about whether it was happening, whether we should have acted or what we could have done. We have done that before and we have the scars. I do not want that to happen again. I do not want to hear speeches in which members say they wish they had acted differently back then.
    We are at a fork in the road in our country. Are we going to go down the path that we followed before? Are we going to confront this as we confronted the Nazis in the Second World War and the evil that was taking place in South Africa and make a difference, or are we going to go down the road we took with Rwanda and live with regret?
    Today I am thinking of the million people detained in camps that the Chinese call “re-education centres”. The research, studies and information out there are crystal clear. Reports and first-hand accounts have been devastating. I remember watching the news several months ago and seeing a man pick up someone coming out of one of these detention centres who was trembling and barely able to walk. Frankly, the image will never leave my mind. I would describe him as barely alive. It was horrific. We owe it to them to stand up for the people who cannot stand up for themselves.
    I want to close my comments today with a personal story about Tursunay Ziawudun, as told in an article by the BBC in the U.K. She tells her story as an example of what happens. She stated that some of the women in the detention camp who were taken away from the cells at night were never returned, and that those who were brought back were threatened against telling others in the cell what had happened to them. “You can't tell anyone what happened, you can only lie down quietly”, she said. Women were forcibly sterilized, including a woman who was just about 20 years old. “We begged them on her behalf”, she said.”
    Tursunay was released in December of 2018 and fled to the U.S. A week after she arrived in the United States, she had surgery to remove her womb, a consequence of being stamped on. She said, “I have lost the chance to become a mother.”
    That is one story of many that we know are happening today. We know a genocide is being committed. We owe it to pass this motion, but more importantly, we owe it for this country to act again in the best humanitarian interests of the world.
    I think of those people there, wondering if humanity will step in for them. I for one, the Conservative Party, other parties we have heard from today and numerous bipartisan colleagues have said we are ready. We are at a decision point. I agree that we have a lot of things going on in this country, but standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves needs to be one of them. The question is, will we stand up for the Uighur and Turkic Muslim people when they need us? I for one say yes, and I believe this House will say yes too.

  (1350)  

Points of Order

Criminal Code  

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would like to provide input on a decision that was asked of the Speaker earlier today. I will make my intervention short, and I thank the Speaker for the indulgence.
    I rise today to provide input on a matter that was raised by the member for Kingston and the Islands this morning and further discussed by the official opposition House leader. I would like to discuss the significant and meaningful difference between Bill C-218 and Bill C-13.
    First, the member for Kingston and the Islands, when he spoke in the House on Wednesday, February 17, stated:
    We also proposed to engage the provinces, territories, indigenous communities and organizations that have expressed an interest in discussing how gambling is regulated. We believe Bill C-13 is substantively different from Bill C-218, as it includes a horse racing provision and achieves its objectives through different means.
    I agree with this statement. The government member is correct and is stating the facts. The bills are substantially different. This was found in an analysis conducted by the subject matter experts at the Library of Parliament in a section of a research report comparing Bill C-13 and Bill C-218.
    The report looks at how Bill C-218 would repeal paragraph 207(4)(b) of the Criminal Code in its entirety. The consequence would appear to be that betting on a single sport event or athlete contest would then be permitted, since those activities would no longer be excluded from the definition of “lottery scheme”, but so would be betting on other types of activities referred to in that paragraph, notably all types of races.
    By way of contrast, Bill C-13 would amend paragraph 207(4)(b), rather than repealing it, so that the following activities would continue not to be permitted lottery schemes: “bookmaking, pool selling or the making or recording of bets, including bets made through the agency of a pool or pari-mutuel system, on any horse-race”.
    In other words, Bill C-13 would continue to exclude betting on horse racing as a type of lottery scheme the provinces could engage in. The governmental materials issued on Bill C-13 confirm the explanation that the regulation of single event sports betting would be up to the discretion of each province and territory, with the exception of horse racing, which would remain regulated and supervised by the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency.
    As the experts have pointed out, there are very significant differences in both bills.
    Next I would like to discuss the process. The place to decide which of these significantly different bills merits further progress is in a relevant committee, which would examine both bills in detail, hear from stakeholders and make considered determinations. The committee would then vote on these bills and resolve which one should proceed to third reading.
    I trust the legislative process of the House. The procedures, evaluations and safeguards are built-in. We should trust it and allow members to carry out their duties as legislators, which will result in the most robust and thorough bill.
    It is unfortunate, Mr. Speaker, you have been put in this situation. This mismanagement of Bill C-13 has caused delays. It has been debated constantly, and taken on and off the calendar, which has created confusion and concern, and has led to these unnecessary circumstances.
    Business workers and communities have been waiting long enough to have this substantial issue addressed. I have had the privilege of being a member of this chamber since 2002. During all these years, I have witnessed that the tradition of the House, when it is uncertain, is for the Speaker to allow the debate and the process to continue. I hope we can uphold this time-honoured practice.
    I appreciate the indulgence of the House today in allowing me to speak to this issue. I did not want to want to intervene in the momentum of the debate today, but I had to given what the government has done.

  (1355)  

    There are several members rising for additional points of order on this matter. Members know this is currently an open item. I am watchful of the time as well.
    I see we have at least three members who wish to weigh in on this. We are also waiting for five minutes of questions and comments for the hon. member for Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry.
    We will first hear from the chief opposition whip, and then from others, but I ask members to please keep their comments concise.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order, and I will be quite brief. I wanted to inform you that the member for Saskatoon—Grasswood would like to add to this point as well. He intends to do that tomorrow, so I ask that he be allowed to have his opportunity to comment on this prior to any ruling on it.
    Mr. Speaker, on an actual point of order, there is nothing you are currently considering with relation to the intervention made today. I rose yesterday on a point of order to move a unanimous consent motion, which was not adopted. There is nothing outstanding for you to rule on that.
    What I raised today was for the Speaker to address the concern in the way bills will be handled. The member is actually contributing now to a point of order that has been dispensed with, so I would encourage you to consider that when entertaining further commentary on this point of order, which really does not exist.
    I thank the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands for his additional thoughts on the matter.
    We have a quick intervention by the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be brief.
    Yesterday, when this matter came forward for unanimous consent, I did confer with the government House leader's office and the hon. member for Saskatoon—Grasswood. I was concerned that I should say no to the measure for unanimous consent. It was only after I was reassured by the hon. member for Saskatoon—Grasswood that I held my tongue.
    I was originally convinced to support this bill by the hon. member for Windsor West, who explained to me the issue of sport betting and why this law was important. I am persuaded by him once again.
    I would like to put forward my view about the recommended course. I take the point of the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands that this is perhaps not an open question. However, with the time available, and having regretted going along with unanimous consent, I now wish to be on the record supporting the idea that the right way to handle this is at committee.
    I thank the hon. member for Windsor West for once again educating me.
    I thank the members for their additional thoughts on the matter. This does trace back to the hon. opposition House leader's comments and points of order earlier in the day. As well, I appreciate the members who reflected on earlier comments along the same lines relating to this subject.
    We will now go to questions and comments. The hon. member for Trois-Rivières.

[Translation]

    It seems the Minister of National Revenue wishes to speak. I will therefore ask the member for Trois-Rivières to wait a moment so we can figure out exactly what is happening.
    It seems the interpretation is not available. Could the minister explain again the problem she is currently experiencing?
    Mr. Speaker, I was saying that we are hearing both the English and the French at the same time.

[English]

    I am just going to test that again. We are getting the interpretation in French now.
    We have time for just one question to the hon. member for Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry. He will, of course, have the remaining time when we get back to debate on the question.

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Trois-Rivières.

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Religious Minorities in China  

[Business of Supply]
    The House resumed consideration of the motion and of the amendment.
    Mr. Speaker, as everyone knows, the Bloc Québécois will support this motion because we believe that China's measures against the Uighurs are very serious.
    I would like my colleague to tell me about the relationship between this government and generous political donors. I would like to know if he thinks the donations from supporters of the Chinese Communist Party might explain the government's dithering over the decision to get involved in countering the Uighur genocide.

  (1400)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, this is not easy for any country to tackle. China is a growing force in the world. It is a world player, and this is economically, socially and culturally complicated. We are facing a lot of different issues.
    No matter how complicated it is, this is about basic human rights and human dignity. This is about a genocide that is happening, which we must stop. Regardless of financing, regardless of how complicated it is and regardless of how big any country is, no country should get away with what is happening right now. We must always stand up for human rights.
    I am proud to be a parliamentarian from a party, and, I think, a House of Commons, that will call it what it is.
    Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to my hon. colleague. What I find really, really concerning right now is the actions of China holding Canadian citizens hostage, which is well beyond the rule of law.
    The attack against democracy in Hong Kong, to me, is a line-in-the-sand moment that is very, very concerning, in addition to what is happening with the genocide of the Uighurs. We also have another issue with the Olympics coming up.
    How can we work internationally with our allies to actually put limits on this ongoing abuse of human rights and democracy by the regime in China?
    Mr. Speaker, we need to work together internationally to combat this. As I mentioned, China is a powerful force. It has a lot of connections worldwide, but as I also mentioned, we have the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. There are a growing number of countries that share the same concerns. Domestically, those countries are facing the same challenges with China that we are. The member mentioned the situation in Hong Kong. That is yet another growing challenge.
    My argument to Canadians is that if we do not stand up against this, against genocide, with the whole list we spoke about, what do we stand for? At some point, we have to stand up, work together with our international colleagues on sanctions, whatever they may be, and send the message that we are not going to tolerate this from China or any other country in the world. It is about leadership and values, and these are being tested right now.
    The hon. member for Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry will have one minute remaining, enough time for one question and response, when the House next gets back to debate on the question.

[Translation]

    Order.
    Before we begin statements by members, I would like to remind members to choose their words carefully in our proceedings at all times. Equally important are the tone and context in which the words are used, since a disruptive intervention can quickly be deemed inconsistent with our long tradition of respecting the integrity of all members of Parliament.

[English]

    I thank members for their collaboration.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

  (1405)  

[English]

Airline Industry

    Mr. Speaker, last Thursday I met virtually with over a dozen Air Canada employees and Unifor union leaders in my riding to discuss the impact the pandemic has had on them. On Friday I was informed by Air Canada that nearly 100 additional employees in my riding were being laid off. As a result, the number of people employed by Air Canada in our community has been cut nearly in half since the onset of the pandemic. The airline sector is a critical part of our local economy, and it is in a state of crisis due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. That is why I am advocating for a federal support package that would ensure the long-term viability of the industry and the jobs it supports post-pandemic. Such a package must also ensure that Canadians whose flights were cancelled due to the pandemic receive refunds, and it must be implemented as soon as possible. I am working hard to ensure our government has the backs of both our airline workers and those who need refunds.

Black History Month

    Mr. Speaker, as we continue to celebrate Black History Month and give honour and recognition to the contributions of Black Canadians, I wanted to give a special tribute to a hockey legend: New Brunswick's very own Mr. Willie O'Ree.
    Originally from Fredericton, New Brunswick, Willie O'Ree has had a tremendous impact on the world of hockey. On January 18, 1958, he was called up to replace an injured Bruin to play against the Montreal Canadiens, becoming the first player to break the Black colour barrier in hockey. After his playing career was over, Willie became a champion for diversity, serving as the NHL's diversity ambassador from 1998 to this day. In 2018 he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. It was recently announced that on January 18 of next year, he would be honoured yet again by having his number, 22, retired by the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on the 64th anniversary of his historic entry into the NHL.
    I congratulate Mr. O'Ree on this tremendous honour. I thank him for his contribution to Canada's beloved game, and his continued advocacy and promotion of diversity and respect for others.

Community Art Initiative

    Mr. Speaker, the tradition of quilting is certainly well known here in Kitchener—Conestoga, and it has now been taken to a new level with a community art initiative created by a local University of Waterloo architecture student, Brenda Reid. She is creating From Behind the Mask, a project to help bring people together in spirit. Brenda is inviting people to share their pandemic stories on pieces of fabric. The pieces will then be tied together, showing our physical distance, while representing our social ties. From students to seniors, our community is getting involved, including support from community members, local businesses, public libraries, the Homer Watson House & Gallery, and financial support from the Region of Waterloo arts fund.
    The finished quilt project will be assembled and displayed this summer, and images will be uploaded to create a digital quilt. It is art that is keeping us together while apart. I thank Brenda and everyone for adding their stories to help create a tribute to spirit and resilience in the Waterloo region and throughout Canada

[Translation]

Regional Environmental Organization

    Mr. Speaker, today I would like to highlight the 25th anniversary of Ciel et Terre, an organization founded by residents of my riding involved in environmental causes.
    In 1995, the founders of the Centre de l'information sur l'environnement de Longueuil, now known as Ciel et Terre, were true pioneers because the cause had far fewer supporters then than it does now. Nevertheless, the volunteers rolled up their sleeves and organized recycling awareness workshops in Longueuil schools.
    Since 2009, the organization has recruited dozens of volunteers to participate in major clean-ups of the St. Lawrence shoreline in Longueuil, which is a great idea. Ciel et Terre also participates in public debates. The organization writes reports on environmental issues, submits briefs to government authorities and holds consultations. By contributing their expertise, members of Ciel et Terre help improve policies and make them more environmentally friendly.
    As the member for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, I would like to thank everyone involved with Ciel et Terre now and in the past, as well as everyone who is committed to protecting the environment.

Hooked on School Days

    Mr. Speaker, I want to wish my son Gabriel a very happy seventh birthday.
     [Member spoke in Italian]
[Translation]
    I rise today to recognize Hooked on School Days, which is being held February 15 to 19. Let us be honest: Our young people could use a reason to get hooked on school these days.
    It has not been easy to adapt to the many changes education has undergone over the past year. Between having classes in the kitchen or living room, not being able to play with classmates or even having to wear masks, it has been an entire year of learning and adaptation for all students and teachers in Alfred-Pellan.
    I congratulate all the teachers, support staff and students, young and old, on their perseverance, resilience and daily victories in a school setting that is completely different. Everyone continues to amaze and inspire us. My message is this: Do not give up, you are doing great, way to go.

  (1410)  

Athletes from Beauce

    Mr. Speaker, I want to acknowledge the accomplishments of Antony Auclair, an athlete from Beauce who recently won the Super Bowl. He is the pride of our young Canadians and Beauce residents. It all starts with a dream, and then it takes effort.
    Speaking of effort, Beauce has been doing Canada proud in the world of sports for some time now. Besides Antony, I want to acknowledge the efforts of Marie-Philip Poulin, from Beauceville, who was named the best female hockey player in the world; Eliot Grondin, an Olympic snowboard cross athlete from Sainte-Marie who recently won two world cup medals; Raphaël Lessard from Saint-Joseph, a talented driver competing in the NASCAR truck series in the United States whose season just started; and Thomas Chabot, a young NHL hockey player from Sainte-Marie who plays for the Ottawa Senators.
    We have many more young athletes making the people of Beauce and all Canadians very proud. They are working hard to achieve their dreams.
    Sports is in Beauce's DNA, and so is pride.
    I congratulate all the Beauce athletes of today and tomorrow.

[English]

Black History Month

    Mr. Speaker, Black health care workers are both at the forefront and behind the scenes of this unprecedented battle against COVID-19. During a virtual Black History Month event in Brampton West, we celebrated Black front-line workers for their remarkable contributions during such a critical time in our country. We heard from Crystal, Tristan, Sherika and Angella on what it means to be a Black health care worker during the pandemic, along with Dwight, Prudence, Heather and Sellinor, whom I have had the privilege to work alongside on the front lines as a volunteer nurse.
    While we owe it to our health care workers to end this virus, we also owe it to them to end another virus that plagues our society and institutions, which is anti-Black racism. As a proud member of Parliament for Brampton West and as a proud member of the Liberal government, I will not rest and will continue to work toward ending systemic racism in this country. I wish members a very happy Black History Month.

[Translation]

Trévi

    Mr. Speaker, given the public health situation, entrepreneurs in our ridings are being sorely tested and must try to keep going in order to be ready when things get back to normal.
    Today, I would like to talk about a company in my riding of Marc-Aurèle-Fortin. The Trévi pool company has stayed in business thanks to its resilience and ingenuity. This family business decided to manufacture all of its in-ground and above-ground pools in Quebec.
    My office has been working closely with Trévi to help this industry leader get through the pandemic and then grow once the pandemic is behind us.
    Together, we can get through this crisis. I hope we will build back even stronger.

[English]

Black History Month

    Mr. Speaker, the Amherstburg Freedom Museum is in my riding in the town of Amherstburg. The museum tells the story of Black slaves seeking refuge in Canada via the Underground Railway: pioneers who built homes, businesses, schools and churches in Essex County. It is the first Black national historic site in Canada, founded in 1966 by Melvin Simpson, and showcases this community's vital role in the Canadian tapestry.
     Elise Harding-Davis, curator emeritus and celebrated Black Canadian history consultant, can trace her own Canadian ancestry back seven generations. Elise has worked tirelessly to preserve Black history in Canada for the next generation.
    Finally, a salute to Claudius Thomas. Claudius leads the local chapter of Black Boys Code, a national organization founded to prepare Black youth for success in today's technology-dominated economy, each of them leaving the world a better place than they found it.

Black History Month

    Mr. Speaker, 25 years ago, the Hon. Jean Augustine established February as Black History Month across Canada. This month, while we celebrate the incredible achievements of Black Canadians, we need to reflect on the systems that limit them from achieving their true potential.
    There is an urgent need to reform criminal justice, to reimagine policing and to ensure equal access to jobs, housing, capital, health care and education. Today, the Minister of Justice introduced important changes to sentencing to turn the tide on the disproportionate impact the current system has on young Black Canadians.
     Despite the impact of anti-Black racism, Black communities in Canada are resilient. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many members of this community have been on the front lines to keep us all safe. I would like to thank the Black front-line workers who have been at TAIBU Community Health Centre, the Jamaican Canadian Association of Nurses, the Black Health Alliance and those across the country who continue to keep us healthy and safe and make Canada great every day.

  (1415)  

Small Business

    Mr. Speaker, we have all heard from struggling small businesses in our ridings. Small business owners do not have pensions. They do not have employer health and dental insurance, vacation pay, sick leave, maternity leave, a minimum wage or overtime payments. Owning a business is a tough life, yet thousands of Canadians with a dream and an entrepreneurial spirit do it anyway, and they provide the goods and services upon which every community depends.
    Sadly, these hard-working Canadians have borne the brunt of COVID restrictions. While relief programs allow some business owners to cling to their life's work, they need customers and they are watching helplessly as the rest of the world surges ahead of Canada with vaccines and the end of pandemic restrictions. The government owes it to small business owners, who are burning their savings and piling on debt, to deliver vaccines to safely open the economy and save our local businesses.

[Translation]

Official Languages

    Mr. Speaker, our country was built by two founding peoples, one francophone and one anglophone, along with the first nations.
    The Official Languages Act, which was adopted in 1969, declares English and French to be Canada's two official languages. French has been on the decline in Quebec and in francophone communities across Canada. The last report from the Commissioner of Official Languages was clear. We need to take urgent action to stop the decline of French in our country.
    A Conservative government would take action within its first 100 days, modernizing the Official Languages Act to make it stronger, creating an administrative tribunal to handle complaints, allocating a budget for francophone universities in minority communities and centralizing enforcement powers at the Treasury Board to protect public servants. As the leader of the official opposition has said so well, we must act now to protect the French language across Canada.
    How can Quebeckers and francophones have faith in this Liberal government, which has done nothing to protect the French language over the past five years?

[English]

Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing

    Mr. Speaker, every day my social media feed shows me people across Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing doing their most to raise spirits and bring a smile to others.
    That is how I learned of the Thessalon First Nation snow sculpture contest, and where I hear concerts from fantastic musicians such as George C. Williamson, his grandson Cole Hughson and Robbie Shawana, all from Manitoulin Island, and from Johnny Lemieux and Estelle Deschamps from Smooth Rock Falls.
    In Espanola, Dennis Lendrum and volunteers have been improving the Black Creek Sno-Shoe Trail on the Espanola Game and Fish club's property for all to enjoy.
    In Wawa, brothers Myles and Spencer Jennings are clearing and maintaining a skating path and small hockey rink on Wawa Lake.
    In Kapuskasing, the rotary club is hosting a photo scavenger hunt on the hiking trails, while students from École Secondaire Jeunesse-Nord in Blind River and from Assiginack Public School made valentines for seniors in their communities.
    It is clear that Canadians are finding innovative ways to help each other through the pandemic and it is easy to see that we are truly in this together.

[Translation]

Regional Recreational Organization

    Mr. Speaker, I want to take advantage of the activities surrounding the 50th anniversary of Loisirs Laurentides to acknowledge the exemplary work of all its partners.
    This organization is a major player in sports and leisure in the magnificent Laurentides region. This organization was established on February 22, 1971, with a view to promoting physical activity and healthy habits for the people of Laurentides.
    I want to acknowledge the invaluable contribution of the volunteers and the management team who have made Loisirs Laurentides a landmark in the region.
    Long live Loisirs Laurentides and happy festivities for this noteworthy 50th anniversary.

  (1420)  

[English]

COVID-19 Emergency Response

    Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia has been so fortunate during the second wave of COVID-19. In our province of almost a million souls, we only have 14 active cases and only one patient in hospital as of this morning. That is quite a contrast compared with other provinces and territories in our great country.
    However, our economy continues to take a huge hit due to the Liberal government's failed vaccine rollout plan. Delays in a vaccine directly correlate with delays in our economy, and with Canada currently ranked 52nd in the world in terms of immunization, it will be impossible for us to foresee a strong economic recovery in the near future.
    From the start of the pandemic, the constituents in West Nova took an all-hands-on-deck approach to help slow the spread of the virus, but we are getting tired of the isolation and would like to get back to normal. People want to get back to work or visit their grandchildren in other provinces. The only way to do this is through a strong vaccination program, which the Liberal government has yet to produce.
    We need to get the vaccine rollout right in order to secure jobs and secure our economic future. Let us get all Canadians and Nova Scotians back to work.

Gerald Thompson

    Mr. Speaker, it is with great pride that I pay my respects to a great man and proud Newfoundlander. Gerald Thompson of Grand Falls-Windsor recently passed away and I would like to pay tribute to his community service. He was dedicated to the Memorial United Church, the executive director of the chamber of commerce, a dedicated member of Lodge Northcliffe for over 40 years and indeed a dedicated Liberal, from Joey Smallwood's election to today.
    Gerald left a great impression on his community, one of great respect, and I will miss his great poems. Gerald's greatest legacy is his family: four children, 15 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
    To his partner and wife Ruth, someone who stood with him through an incredible journey, all of us here in the House of Commons send our sympathies. God bless Gerald.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

Employment

    Mr. Speaker, today, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business published a report showing that one in six small businesses are considering closing permanently, putting 20% of private-sector jobs in jeopardy.
    We have already lost more than 800,000 jobs and the unemployment rate is one-third higher than the G7 average. The government promised one million jobs.
    When will these workers get their paycheque?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for the question. It gives me the opportunity to share some good news with Canadians.
    This week, the International Monetary Fund published its annual report related to Canada. The report shows that Canada's strong and decisive measures provided essential support to the economy and the functioning of financial markets and helped protect lives and people's livelihoods.
    That is not coming from me but from the International Monetary Fund.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, they need to update their talking points over there, instead of just reading a selective quote from some starchy report.
    The reality is this. Here are the numbers. Across the G7, the unemployment rate averages 6%. In the U.S., it is 6.3%; in the EU, it is 7.5%; in Canada, it is 9.4%. We are far worse than all the other countries that are also facing the COVID crisis.
    Is it not clear that while those economies are suffering under COVID, our economy has the added problem of suffering under the policies of the government?

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, let me be clear about the success of our government's policies in supporting Canadian workers and Canadian jobs.
    As of January, Canada had recovered 71% of the jobs lost since the beginning of the pandemic. That compares with only 56% recovered in the U.S. Canada has a 64.9% labour force participation rate. That is higher than Germany, at 56%, and the U.S., at 61.7%. It is higher than Japan and higher than South Korea.
    We are doing well in tough times.
    Mr. Speaker, that answer demonstrates how out of touch the government is.
    If the policies were working, we would not have 834,100 more Canadians out of work now than were a year ago. If it were working, then we would not have an unemployment rate that is 50% higher than the average of the G7 and of the United States of America. The reality is that the government is delivering among the worst job records on Planet Earth, and Canadians are starting to wonder how they are going to put food on the table or a roof overhead.
    When will those people who have lost their jobs get their paycheques back?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians know that debates in the House are inevitably partisan, and that is why I know that Canadians will be really pleased to learn that the International Monetary Fund, the premier international financial authority, this week published a report with a very positive verdict on our government's policies so far. The IMF said that our government's strong and decisive actions provided crucial support to the economy and helped protect lives and livelihoods. It predicts our GDP will grow by 4.4% this year.

[Translation]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, for months now, we have been clearly stating that the Liberal government has failed miserably at protecting Canadians.
    In addition to COVID-19-related deaths, which now exceed 20,000, and the shutdown of the economy, the lockdown has us all stuck at home with no end in sight.
    The decision to make a deal with the Chinese Communist Party was a disaster. In addition to being duped by CanSino, we wasted three months when we could have been negotiating with other companies.
    Again, why did the Liberals make a deal with the Chinese Communist Party?
    Mr. Speaker, with respect to vaccines, let me be clear.
    Canada has secured 10 doses of vaccine per Canadian, and we have the most comprehensive and diverse vaccine portfolio in the world. To date, Canada has received over 1.4 million doses of vaccine, and we will receive another 400,000 doses this week.
    Mr. Speaker, I too can be clear with the minister. Currently, if we receive six million doses by the end of March, then three million Canadians will be vaccinated. That means 8% of Canadians will be vaccinated by the end of March. Right now, we rank 54th worldwide in terms of vaccinations. By the end of March, we will have dropped even lower.
    My question is simple: does the Prime Minister have a plan B? At the moment, plan A is a flop.
    Mr. Speaker, Canada has understood from the very beginning that it was important to have a plan A, B, C and D. That is why we have the most comprehensive and diverse vaccine portfolio in the world. We decided not to risk depending on just one vaccine.
    Health Canada has already approved the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and is currently examining the AstraZeneca, Novavax and Johnson and Johnson vaccines.
    Mr. Speaker, I get the feeling that we have come to plan D, which is about to fail.
    At committee this morning, the COVID-19 vaccine task force confirmed that it did not recommend that the government participate in the CanSino vaccine project with China. The panel demonstrated that it did not have the scientific basis to recommend the project. The government decided to go ahead anyway, despite the experts' advice. It defied their recommendation and put all its eggs into the CanSino basket. As a result, time has been wasted and Canada has not been able to develop a new domestic vaccine production strategy.
    Why did the government not listen to the experts? Who made that decision?
    Mr. Speaker, from the start of the crisis, our government has always followed the advice of experts, researchers and doctors. That is our policy, and it is an essential policy during a pandemic.
    With respect to the vaccines, we have the most comprehensive and diverse vaccine portfolio in the world. At the same time, we have focused on production in Canada.

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, I invite the Deputy Prime Minister to listen to what was said at the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology this morning. She would realize that that may not be the reality. Mr. Scott-Douglas, secretary of the task force, stated that the science suggested not backing CanSino. It is hard to understand the government. It refused, supposedly on the advice of experts, to give a mere $2 million to test the vaccine developed by Dr. Kobinger of Université Laval. However, it sunk $56 million into a Chinese project against the recommendation of the vaccine task force. This proves that these were political decisions and that the government only listens to the science when it is in its interest to do so.
    Who decided to go ahead with the Chinese project? Who shut down the Quebec vaccine?
    Mr. Speaker, our government has invested and will continue to invest in vaccines manufactured in Canada and in domestic biomanufacturing.
    In fact, Dr. Kobinger received a $1-million grant for his research through the federal government's novel coronavirus rapid research funding opportunity. We will always invest in promising solutions that are made right here in Canada and Quebec.

Employment Insurance

    Mr. Speaker, the NDP fought to bring in a federal paid sick leave program.
    When the Liberal government introduced the program, it missed the mark. The plan is neither flexible nor accessible, the amount is not enough to support families and people are waiting too long to get the payment.
    Will the Prime Minister commit to improving the paid sick leave program so it protects our workers and stops the spread of COVID-19?
    Mr. Speaker, we introduced sickness benefits so that all workers, no matter where they live or work, do not have to choose between going to work sick or putting food on the table.
    This is an important program. Part of our commitment in the safe restart agreement is to provide 10 days of paid sick leave. Under the agreement, the provinces established job-protected sick leave. I encourage all eligible Canadian workers who need this support to apply for it.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, New Democrats fought to bring in a paid sick leave program at the federal level, but when the Liberals introduced the program, it had a number of problems. It is not flexible enough. It is not accessible enough. The amount is not enough to support families, and we are finding that the delays in receiving the payment are just too lengthy.
    There is an opportunity here. Experts all agree that paid sick leave is one of the best tools to stop the spread of COVID-19. Will the Prime Minister commit today to improving paid sick leave so that it protects workers and helps us stop the spread of COVID-19?
    Mr. Speaker, I agree with the member opposite that paid sick leave is absolutely essential. It is essential any time, and it is particularly important during this global pandemic, which is why our government was very pleased to put in place, as part of the safe restart agreement with the provinces and territories, 10 days of paid sick leave provided by the federal government. That sick leave is there, and I encourage all Canadian workers who need it to use it.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, Uighurs in China are subject to the single largest mass surveillance program in human history, and Huawei equipment is helping in their oppression. Security experts around the world have been raising major concerns about Huawei, but despite this, the Minister of Industry has decided to sign-off on a $5 million deal with Huawei anyway. He even bragged about it on Twitter.
    How in the world could this government think it is wise in any way to hand over taxpayers' dollars to Huawei?
    Mr. Speaker, as members know and Canadians who are watching know, our government will continue to ensure that Canadian networks are kept safe and secure. While we cannot comment on any specific companies, an examination of 5G technologies and a review of security and economic considerations is ongoing.
    National security is paramount when we assess the next steps. We carefully assess these matters with allies and partners around the world, and we will make the best decision in the interest of Canadians for generations to come.

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, it looks like the minister is okay with turning the same blind eye to this genocide as his boss is. The genocide in China has been called the largest mass detention of human beings since the Holocaust, and Huawei appears to be right in the middle of it.
    When are these Liberals going to show some courage and get serious about Huawei or at least cut them off from getting taxpayers' dollars?
    Mr. Speaker, I have enormous respect for my colleague, but I would take exception to the premise of her question. She well knows, because she is a very experienced member of the House, that the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council is responsible for the administration of the Alliance grants she was referring to. Grants are awarded through an independent process and managed at arm's length from government.
    Further, she would know that last September we published a policy statement on research security, which included instructing the federal granting councils to review their security policies so that Canadian researchers can appropriately protect their work. That is an issue we take very seriously and we will continue to protect the interests of Canadians.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, a troubling report revealed that Canada’s visa application centre in Beijing is operated by a subcontractor owned by Chinese police forces. Canadians are concerned that sensitive and confidential information will fall into the hands of the Chinese Communist Party, one that is committing Uighur genocide and detaining the two Michaels. This brings into question the integrity of our visa application process.
    I am baffled. Why does the government think it is acceptable for a company with ties to the Chinese government to be running our visa office?
    Mr. Speaker, we take the privacy and security of all applicants very seriously and ensure that we meet high standards when it comes to transparency and privacy. Protection of personal information is a primary consideration when choosing any service provider such as a visa application centre. Our officials closely monitor that these processes are followed and that Canada's stringent privacy standards are being met. We will always ensure that the privacy of all applicants remains protected.
    Mr. Speaker, it is obvious to Canadians that a company with ties to the Chinese government should not be operating our visa application centre. Last night at committee, a former Hong Kong legislator, Nathan Law, who has experienced first-hand the brutality of the Chinese regime, and former Canadian diplomat to China, Charles Burton, called for an end to the contract.
    Given the contract's troubling connections to the Chinese government, will the minister end the contract, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, I will reiterate that we take the protection of Canadians' privacy very seriously. Information is always handled according to Canada's privacy laws and the data is stored in Canada temporarily and then deleted. Our officials closely monitor that these processes are followed, that Canada's stringent privacy standards are—
     I will have to interrupt. I believe we have a point of order.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the interpreter cannot understand the minister. She is asking her to turn her microphone down.

[English]

    I would ask the minister to lower the arm on his headset.
    Mr. Speaker, I will reiterate that we take the protection of Canadians' privacy very seriously. Information is always handled according to Canada's privacy laws and the data is stored in Canada temporarily and then deleted. Our officials closely monitor that these processes are followed. We will always ensure that the privacy of Canadians remains protected.

  (1440)  

Human Rights

    Mr. Speaker, members of the cabinet are persistently denying the Uighur genocide in spite of overwhelming evidence. Their proposed way of unearthing the evidence which they say they require would be for the Government of China to offer unfettered access to the scene of this genocide. Short of a proposed guided tour of the concentration camps, what evidence would they consider sufficient to recognize genocide?
    Mr. Speaker, we have been very, very clear from the beginning that we are very seriously concerned about the allegations that have been brought forward with respect to the treatment of Uighurs. We have demanded that the Government of China allow unfettered access to a group of experts to examine the situation, but in parallel, we are also working with our international partners to pool our expertise to best understand all of the allegations, most of them extremely credible, that have been made against the Chinese in their treatment of the Uighurs.
    Mr. Speaker, the evidence is just so clear and we continue to see breathtaking cowardice by the government and that minister. Yes, we understand that China is powerful, and so was Nazi Germany, but I am only here today because Canadians were willing to stand up to a genocidal power that threatened my grandmother's life. Will the minister finally put aside his nonsense talking points, think about his own legacy and his own humanity, and finally speak the truth about this issue?
    Mr. Speaker, I do not very much appreciate those very personal comments made against me as a person, but I will respond by saying that this government is very seized with the issue of the treatment of Uighurs and other minorities, and we are looking at this very carefully in concert with our international partners so that we get to the bottom of the very serious allegations that have been made against China with respect to the treatment of the Uighurs and other minorities. We will continue to do that with single-mindedness.

[Translation]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, in January 2020, the genetic sequence of the COVID-19 virus was made public so that scientists around the world could begin the race for a vaccine. The government did not take action to develop a vaccine domestically.
    Two months later, on March 11, the World Health Organization declared a pandemic. The government stayed in neutral. The panel of experts that was supposed to advise the government on domestic vaccine production met for the first time on June 26.
    It is unbelievable. While others had been racing for a vaccine for six months, the government was still in the starting blocks. Why?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. However, I want to set the record straight.
    On March 11, the World Health Organization declared a pandemic, and 12 days later, the federal government announced $192 million to support Canada's biomanufacturing industry. On April 23, we announced an additional $600 million. Within about a month of the pandemic being declared, over $800 million had been allocated to support the domestic biomanufacturing industry.
    We will continue to build a resilient biomanufacturing industry here in Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, given the SARS experience in 2003, the government knew that we had to invest heavily in vaccine research and production capacity so as to not depend on other countries. That was the very first thing we needed to do at the onset of the pandemic.
    Not only did the government not do that, but it took five months just to get experts together to consult. Because it was five months late, Canada had already lost the race for vaccines.
    How could this government be so passive at such a critical time for public health?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    As I told him, the federal government made nearly $800 million available in under a month. I will be a little more specific, because I know he is going to be interested.
    We have made historic investments. For example, we have invested $173 million in Medicago in Quebec City, $4 million in Glycovax Pharma in Montreal, $1.3 million in Biodextris in Laval, $4.6 million in JN Nova Pharma and $4.1 million in Laurent Pharmaceuticals.
    We have invested close to $350 million in Quebec and will continue to invest to build a resilient biomanufacturing industry in Canada.

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, by all means, let us talk abut Medicago. They sent their proposal in March but did not hear back until July. That delay was the government's fault.
    Let me give a quick recap. The government did not create a consortium of all the Canadian researchers with the expertise to find a vaccine. It did not convene experts to advise it until June 26, which was five months late. It did not invest in production capacity until August 31, which was seven months late. It did not make meaningful investments in domestic vaccine production until October 23, which was nine months late.
    As a result, we are depending on other countries and getting our vaccines late.
    Why did the government not show some vision instead of always being late?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    On the contrary, as I said, we took immediate strategic action guided by a long-term vision. Investing $350 million in biomanufacturing in Quebec is exactly the kind of thing Quebeckers want to see.
    I mentioned Dr. Kobinger earlier today. I have been talking to stakeholders all across the country about bringing the supply chain home so we will be in a better position to meet any future public health need. We are going to have a resilient industry here in Canada.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask a simple and fair question.
    There is a motion before the House calling on the government to officially recognize that the People's Republic of China is carrying out a genocide against the Uighur people and other Turkic Muslims.
    Will the government support that motion?
    Mr. Speaker, we have welcomed the motion appropriately. It was time that this extremely important matter was debated. I am listening to the debate, and everyone is getting a chance to state their position.
    We will see later, when the vote happens.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, let me ask a slightly different question. If the House adopts the Uighur genocide motion but the government votes against it, will the government uphold democratic norms, respect the will of the House and recognize the Uighur genocide?
    Mr. Speaker, as I said, we welcome the debate today. I participated in it and many other colleagues on both sides of the aisles are doing the same thing. We will see the outcome next week. I am not going to speculate about the outcome. It is totally hypothetical and we will see what happens.
    Mr. Speaker, moving on to the Indo-Pacific, President Biden is assembling a coalition of democracies to counter China's threats in the Indo-Pacific. Today, the Biden administration is participating for the first time in the quadrilateral security dialogue made up of Australia, India, Japan and the United States. Some say this could evolve into an eastern NATO.
    Is Canada going to be part of this as it was with the creation of the western alliance NATO? Did the Prime Minister, in his phone calls with Prime Minister Modi and President Biden, raise this issue?
    Mr. Speaker, Canada has had an interest in the Indo-Pacific area for trade, for example, our participation in the CPTPP. We are very interested in the ASEAN group of countries. We have a number of interests with respect to countries like India, South Korea, Japan and others in the southeast Asian region. It is natural for Canada, which is a trading nation, to want to develop those, and we will continue to do that in the years ahead.

News Media Industry

    Mr. Speaker, Facebook's attempt to block news media in Australia is a direct attack on every nation's sovereignty.
    When the government says that it stands with Australia, I say, “Well, God help the poor Australians.” When Facebook was found guilty of breaking Canadian law, the Liberals did nothing. When Facebook needs staff, it just calls into the minister's department. Facebook Canada is run by a former Liberal operative, for crying out loud.
    Canadians deserve a government that will hold this rogue company accountable. Instead, it has one that holds its hand.
    Will the minister insist that Facebook pay what it owes in Canada now? That would be solidarity with the Australians.

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, we have been very clear for many months. In fact, our government is at the forefront of the battle to ensure that the web giants pay their fair share, should it be when it comes to our cultural heritage in Canada, should it be for media or online harm.
    Just last week, I was in conversation with France, Germany, Australia and Finland, so we could work together to tackle these very important issues.

[Translation]

Official Languages

    Mr. Speaker, it is a well-known fact that when it comes time to support French education, the Liberals have a habit of dragging their feet.
    The official languages in education program has been frozen for years, even though student enrolment is on the rise. In Alberta, Campus Saint-Jean is under attack from the Kenney government. In Ontario, Laurentian University is fighting to survive.
    What will it take for the Liberals to realize how urgent this is and step up to defend the rights of francophones when it comes to education?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question.
    Obviously we must protect our linguistic rights now and always. We must also ensure that francophones outside Quebec have access to universities and educational institutions where they can continue to learn their language and support the vitality of their communities.
    I hope my colleague will join me in denouncing the inaction of the current provincial Conservative governments who unfortunately continue to reduce services to francophones daily and directly undermine the vitality of French in this country.

[English]

Fisheries and Oceans

    Mr. Speaker, with the world's longest coastline and connected to three oceans, Canada is well-positioned to be a global leader in the blue economy, an economy that creates good, middle-class jobs while ensuring healthy oceans and sustainable ocean industries.
    Could the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard please tell the House what our government is doing to grow our blue economy?
    Mr. Speaker, as my colleague said, Canada is an ocean nation. We have the largest coastlines in the world, and over 300,000 Canadians are employed through our blue economy. This is why it is important that we develop a blue economy strategy that is second to none.
    Last week, we launched the engagement with a number of stakeholders through round tables, including ones with industry, fisheries and aquaculture, academia, ocean science and women in ocean leadership.
    The blue economy strategy is going to be ambitious, prosperous and productive as well as sustainable. It is extremely important for us to develop this strategy for our future.

Public Services and Procurement

    Mr. Speaker, I want to follow up on the questions asked by my colleague from Abitibi—Témiscamingue.
    Today, at the industry committee, the vaccine task force said that the deal with CanSino, which fell through, for vaccines was struck before the task force was formed. However, after the task force was formed, it reviewed the deal and recommended against going with it.
    If the vaccine task force said it was a no-go, why did the Liberals proceed?
    Mr. Speaker, we received the advice of the vaccine task force to proceed with seven vaccine manufacturers. That is exactly what we did. We put in place the largest, most diverse portfolio of vaccines of any country in the world.
    We began inoculations as one of the first countries in the world to do so, and we continue to ensure that Canadians have access to vaccines. Indeed, 14.5 million Canadians can expect to be vaccinated prior to the end of June.
    Four hundred thousand doses of the Pfizer vaccine have arrived in Canada and are being distributed. That is hard work. That is progress and we are sticking to it.
    Mr. Speaker, that is not what I asked. The vaccine task force said today that it expressly advised against proceeding with CanSino, and we know that deal had a huge impact on the delays we are seeing in vaccine delivery today. Those delays have cost Canadian lives, jobs, hopes and more.
    The vaccine task force, the science-delivered approach from the government, said “no-go” with CanSino, yet the government proceeded anyway. Why was it so enamoured with this Chinese company at the expense of Canadian lives?

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, I will tell members what we were enamoured with. We were enamoured with ensuring that we acted on the advice of the vaccine task force in order to execute those seven agreements in very short order.
    I would like to thank all the public servants at PSPC who worked throughout the summer and on the weekends to ensure they got that job done.
    In addition, we are well on track to have six million vaccines in the country prior to the end of March, another 23 million vaccines in the country prior to the end of June and 84 million vaccines in the country prior to the end of September, so that every Canadian who wants a vaccine will indeed have access to it.

[Translation]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, China has been detaining two Canadians, the two Michaels, for more than 800 days. China blocked shipments of vaccines to Canada. China is turning a blind eye to the genocide in Xinjiang. China banned Canadian imports of pork and canola. China simply does not respect human rights.
    When will our Prime Minister join the Conservatives in calling for the Olympic Games to be relocated?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    With respect to his very specific question about the Olympics, we have said many times that this decision is up to the International Olympic Committee, and our position has not changed.
    Mr. Speaker, what a pathetic response. What a lack of leadership. Our athletes should not have to pay the price because the Liberals and their Prime Minister are inept.
    We recently learned that Canadian athletes are being told what they can and cannot say in China to avoid being targeted by Chinese authorities. This is serious.
    How can the Prime Minister and his minister be okay with this? When will they show some leadership, demand that the Olympics be relocated and urge the International Olympic Committee to do so, if necessary?
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague knows very well that the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee are responsible for deciding whether Canadian athletes will participate in the Olympics. We have full confidence in these organizations. They will make informed decisions that reflect Canada's fundamental values.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, the government has no guts when it comes to gun control
    Not only is the government doing nothing to ban handguns, but it has also completely abdicated its responsibilities by asking the municipalities to act in its stead. There is no way that Quebec can end up with hundreds of different firearms policies because the federal government refuses to do its job.
    Yesterday, the Quebec National Assembly unanimously called upon this government to delegate it the authority to control handguns.
    Will the government respect this unanimous request from Quebec?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the member's question makes me wonder if she has even read the bill.
    The legislation we brought forward will provide Canadians with the strongest regulatory framework for the restriction of handguns in all parts of the country. When coupled with the legislation we passed with Bill C-71 and the new measures of Bill C-21, we will have the strongest restrictions in every place in every part of the country.
    There is nothing in this legislation that compels any municipality or Quebec to do more, but we are quite willing to work with those who want to do more in their communities. We have heard from many municipalities and provinces that are prepared to do more. Every order of government has a responsibility to the safety of its citizens.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, they are too cowardly to control handguns but too vain to let Quebec do it.
    If the Liberals do not want to help, they should at least try not to hinder. There is no way that Boisbriand, Sainte-Thérèse and Blainville can end up with three different firearms policies covering the same square kilometre. The number of homicides committed with handguns grew by 40% in 10 years.
    If the federal government does not want to take responsibility, will it at least let Quebec do so?

  (1500)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the member's unparliamentary and rude language notwithstanding, let me be very clear that the legislation we have brought forward will provide all Canadians in every place, including in the province of Quebec, with the strongest regulatory framework that prevents handguns from getting into the hands of criminals by strengthening our response at the border, by preventing the theft and criminal diversion of handguns into criminals' hands and by taking steps to remove dangerous firearms from dangerous situations.
    We are also prepared to support the provinces. We have given the Province of Quebec tens of millions of dollars to assist the police, and we look forward to it finally distributing that to municipal police services to help them do the important work of keeping their communities safe.

Agriculture and Agri-Food

    Mr. Speaker, for months I have asked the government for certainty on getting international farm workers to Canadian farms. These workers are vital to Canadian fruit and vegetable producers. With commercial flights being cancelled from Mexico and the Caribbean, where the vast majority of workers come from, many farmers across the country are left wondering exactly how and when they will get their workers.
    Will the minister tell farmers the plan for getting workers to farms after mid-March, when the largest number of farm workers are set to arrive?
    Mr. Speaker, our government recognizes the integral role farm workers and farmers play in ensuring that Canadians have access to food, and we are here to support them. We are working very hard to ensure the continued safety and timely arrival of temporary foreign workers into Canada.
    In the case of temporary foreign workers in the agriculture and seafood sectors, our government is deferring the requirement that they quarantine in a government-approved hotel until March 14 to allow for the development of tailored solutions. In the interim, temporary foreign workers entering Canada will go to the usual place of quarantine provided by their employer under existing quarantine rules. We value and are so appreciative of the work these workers do.

[Translation]

Employment

    Mr. Speaker, in Beauce, using foreign labour is not a choice but a necessity.
    Companies like Beauce Reinforcing Steel in Saint-Benoît-Labre are coming up against red tape. The delays, especially right now, never end. Businesses like these need foreign workers to remain operational and deliver on their contracts.
    I asked the minister about this matter a year ago, nearly to the day. Nothing has changed in a year's time. The pandemic keeps being used as an excuse.
    I want to know what the minister plans to do to help those businesses and, more importantly, when he plans to do it.
    Mr. Speaker, we are working very closely with the agricultural sector and we understand the need for foreign workers. The Minister of Agriculture and I have been putting significant resources into this file and we continue to support those workers and of course the farmers. We thank them for their work.

[English]

Transport

    Mr. Speaker, a commercial driver in my riding has a job pending, but his FAST card has expired. All requirements were met, except for an in-person interview. The problem is that the FAST support service office is closed due to the pandemic.
    What does this mean for renewals? Windsor-Essex is the busiest border crossing in North America. Failures in processing FAST cards mean jobs lost and delays at the border. What specifically is being done to fix the problem?
    Mr. Speaker, international bridges and border crossings are critical economic links between Canada and the United States, and those borders support essential supply chains for many different industries. We are aware of the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic and related travel restrictions have had on those border crossings. We are closely monitoring the situation to ensure that these border crossings and bridges continue to operate safely for individuals and supply chains.

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, the evidence is clear: Indigenous and racialized Canadians are overrepresented in the justice system. Indigenous people account for just 5% of the adult population but 30% of federally incarcerated inmates. This is shameful.
    However, the Minister of Justice has recently tabled a critical piece of legislation, which includes reforms that will help address the overrepresentation of indigenous people in the justice system. Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice update the House?

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, I first want to thank the member for Sydney—Victoria for his tireless advocacy in the fight against systemic racism. We are finally turning the page on failed Conservative criminal justice policies that have not made us safe and not deterred criminals. Instead, they have resulted in the over-incarceration of indigenous people, Black people and marginalized Canadians.
    The package that has been tabled is a necessary reset for our criminal law. It proposes to repeal certain mandatory minimum penalties, restore greater availability of conditional sentence orders and provide police and prosecutors the tools and guidance to treat addiction as a health issue.
    Bill C-22 represents an important step forward in the fight against systemic racism. We hope members across the aisle support this bill that will truly keep all communities in Canada safe.

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, it has been two weeks since I asked the Prime Minister to take action on the Line 5 issue. This requires a leader-to-leader interaction.
    Will the Prime Minister personally pick up the phone, call President Biden and ask him to intervene to keep Line 5 open?
    Mr. Speaker, as I have said, we take this issue very seriously. Line 5 is vital to our energy security and vital to our economy. It provides thousands of jobs at refineries in Sarnia and in Montreal and Lévis, Quebec. It supplies 53% of Ontario's crude oil supply and 66% of Quebec's. It supplies Michigan with 55% of its statewide propane.
     I assure the House that we are looking at all of our options. Line 5 is a vital pipeline for Canada's energy security. We support it. We will defend it.
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government has presided over thousands of job losses in Alberta's energy sector. At the same time, our energy workers watched foreign oil come into this country from third world dictators and human rights abusers. Clearly, the Liberal government is willing to support jobs in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Russia, Nigeria and others instead of supporting jobs here in Canada.
    What specific action will the Liberal government take this year to reduce foreign-oil imports into Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, I am happy to remind the hon. member that we approved TMX and are building it. That is 7,000 jobs we have created. We approved the Line 3 pipeline, so another 7,000 jobs. We have approved NGTL 2021, with thousands of jobs created there. We are building LNG Canada, with thousands of jobs there. We have put $1.7 billion toward orphan and inactive wells, with thousands of jobs to be created. Of course, there is the wage subsidy. More than 500,000 workers were kept in their jobs in a pandemic, in Alberta alone.
    That is our record.
    Mr. Speaker, over the last three weeks there has been growing bipartisan consensus that the Keystone XL pipeline cancellation was a mistake. Now high-profile Democrat and Republican leaders are calling for the project to be continued, and more than a dozen states are pondering legal action against the Biden administration.
     The Liberals say they support the patch. Now is their chance to actually do it and stand up for KXL. Will the government finally do so?
    Mr. Speaker, we are not happy with the decision to cancel Keystone XL's permit. I will quote Chris Bloomer, the CEO of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association. He said:
     Keystone XL is a loss. But is it the end of Canada’s oil and gas industry? Absolutely not. Canada is a world leader in responsible energy development.... We have abundant natural resources that can help meet the growing demand for affordable energy around the world and can offset global emissions.
    We agree that the world needs more Canadian energy, and we support our energy workers.

[Translation]

Economic Development

    Mr. Speaker, Parc Safari is one of the main tourist attractions in the Montérégie region, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
    Like many tourism operators, Parc Safari has been hit hard by COVID-19, and has had to adapt to survive. A few weeks ago, I was pleased to announce that we are allocating close to $1 million to Parc Safari to help it cover its new costs, continue to welcome families and protect the jobs of the many people who work there.
    Could the Minister of Economic Development please tell the House how this government is delivering for tourism businesses in my riding and across Canada?

  (1510)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Châteauguay—Lacolle for her question and her extraordinary work.
    Parc Safari is certainly a key tourism attraction for the region. We know that the tourism sector is facing huge challenges. Of course, we have been there from the beginning to help.
    Through economic development agencies, we have supported about 1,000 Quebec businesses. We have invested $44 million in various tourism businesses. Across the country, we invested over $350 million. About 3,500 organizations in the tourism industry have received federal funding, in addition to—
     The hon. member for Vancouver East.

[English]

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are struggling with significant income loss due to the pandemic. Even with the CERB or CRB, many are unable to afford rent. Their debt load in rental arrears is staggering, and as provinces lift their temporary eviction bans, many Canadians are at risk of losing their homes. This is especially acute in large cities and has disproportionately affected women, people of colour and people with disabilities. The National Housing Strategy Act says that adequate housing is a basic human right.
    Will the Prime Minister put in place national eviction standards and a federal retroactive residential tenant support benefit so that no one will end up on the street because they cannot afford rent?
    Mr. Speaker, our government's priority is to make sure that Canadians can keep food on their tables and a roof over their heads. That is why we took quick action by creating the Canada emergency response benefit and the Canada emergency wage subsidy to ensure that Canadians have the support they need to stay in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    We have moved Canadians from the CERB into employment insurance with no increase in EI premiums. In addition, we are concluding agreements with provinces and territories for the Canada housing benefit, a game-changer to enable people to receive direct payments to enable them to pay rent.

Human Rights

    Mr. Speaker, disturbingly, Vancouver stats show that anti-Asian hate crimes are up 717%. At the same time, China's national security law is of grave concern to Canadians who have ties to Hong Kong. The two Michaels continue to be arbitrarily detained. As for the Uighurs, why is it genocide for my people, but not for the Uighurs? Move or boycott the Beijing Olympics? Well, the government has abdicated that decision in favour of an Olympic committee.
    Will the government please stand up for justice and human rights and demonstrate it has the backs of Chinese Canadians, indeed of all Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, as we have stated repeatedly, we are gravely concerned about the allegations coming out of Xinjiang with respect to the treatment of Uighurs and other Turkic Muslim minorities.
    We have urged the Chinese government to allow a group of international and impartial experts to examine the situation, and at the same time we are working with our international partners and putting together our expertise with respect to the serious allegations that have come out of China.
    That is all the time we have for today.

[Translation]

    There are two points of order. We will begin by listening to the hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.
    Mr. Speaker, after consultation among the parties, I believe you would find consent in the House for the following motion: That the House condemn the Facebook decision to ban content from Australian media on its social network and affirm that intimidation by Facebook has no place in democracy—
    An hon. member: Nay.
    Mr. Alexandre Boulerice: ...and call on the government to introduce a bill that would force web giants to pay their fair share for their use of media content.
    Before asking the question, I would like to remind hon. members that, out of courtesy, members listen to the entire question and then state their position.
    All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Speaker: The hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent.
    Mr. Speaker, it being Thursday, I would like to ask the usual question of what business we can expect to be brought forward in the House in the next few days. I would remind members that parliamentarians have been ready for almost one month to debate the bill to eliminate the controversial $1,000 for non-essential travel by workers. Will the government soon introduce this bill so it can be debated and passed?

  (1515)  

    We will get to this question shortly, but I first have a statement to read. The member will then have an opportunity to repeat his question so that it may be clearly understood by all.

[English]

Points of Order

Criminal Code—Speaker's Ruling  

[Speaker's Ruling]
    Following the order raised earlier today, I would like to make a statement on Bill C-13, an act to amend the Criminal Code with regard to single-event sports betting and its similarity to Bill C-218, an act to amend the Criminal Code with regard to sports betting, standing in the name of the member for Saskatoon—Grasswood. As members are aware, both bills seek to amend the same provision of the Criminal Code as it relates to single sports betting.
    While Bill C-13 was introduced in the House on November 26, 2020, and has yet to be called for debate by the government, the general provisions surrounding single sports betting have in fact not only been debated in the House during consideration of Bill C-218, but a decision was made yesterday by the House on the general principle of allowing all single sports betting, and the bill was referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. The House is now placed in an unusual situation where a decision was made on one of two very similar bills standing on the Order Paper.

[Translation]

    The Chair recognizes that both bills are not identical; they are, however, substantially similar as they both amend the exact same provision of the Criminal Code for similar purposes.

[English]

    Both Bill C-218 and Bill C-13 seek to amend the same paragraph of the Criminal Code as it pertains to sports betting. Bill C-218 repeals paragraph 207(4)(b) of the Criminal Code in its entirety, to make it lawful to conduct and manage a lottery scheme that involves betting on a race, a fight or a single sporting event. As for Bill C-13, it conserves the paragraph, but seeks to amend it to make single sports betting lawful, except for bets on a horse race.
    The rule of anticipation, which prohibits the same question from being decided twice by the House within the same session, is explained in the following manner at page 568 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition:
     The rule of anticipation becomes operative only when one of two similar motions on the Order Paper is actually proceeded with. For example, two bills similar in substance will be allowed to stand on the Order Paper but only one may be moved and disposed of. If a decision is taken of the first bill (for example, to defeat the bill or advance it through a stage in the legislative process), then the other may not be proceeded with.
    This makes clear that if two bills are similar, without being substantially the same, both may be placed on notice, introduced and given first reading, and both could even be debated at second reading, provided that the House has not taken a decision with respect to either of them.

[Translation]

    Given the decision of the House yesterday afternoon, the question therefore before the House is, following the adoption of Bill C-218 at second reading, should Bill C-13 be permitted to proceed further in the legislative process?

[English]

  (1520)  

    In adopting Bill C-218 at second reading, the House has agreed to the principle of the bill and consequently has agreed to repealing the portion of the Criminal Code that deals with sports betting. While there are examples where the House has repealed sections of an act already amended by another bill adopted by the House in the same session, this is not exactly the situation before us today. Instead, since Bill C-218 seeks to completely repeal paragraph 207(4)(b) of the Criminal Code, it seems to the Chair that it would not be possible for Bill C-13 to continue in the legislative process, as it would seek to amend a paragraph of the Criminal Code that would no longer exist upon adoption of Bill C-218. In fact, the Chair notes that other avenues would be open to the House to achieve those same ends, such as through amendments proposed to Bill C-218 during the committee's study. As a consequence, the Chair has difficulty seeing how the House could now move forward with Bill C-13 after it has adopted the larger principle of repealing the very portion of the Criminal Code that Bill C-13 seeks to amend.
     Consequently, as long as Bill C-218 follows its course through the legislative process during this session, Bill C-13 may not be proceeded with. As was mentioned during the intervention yesterday, as well as previously by the member for Saskatoon—Grasswood, members who wish to further review or amend the provisions included in Bill C-218 should follow the proceedings and take part in discussions during the hearings of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
    I thank all members for their attention.
    Mr. Speaker, we are seriously concerned with the process of this decision.
    As mentioned in your answer, the point is that we are talking about two bills. One is from the government and one is from a member of the official opposition, the member for Saskatoon—Grasswood. The government had the chance to explain itself, and I officially ask that this member of Parliament speak on behalf of his private member's bill here in the House of Commons.
    This decision has been made without considering the fact that this member of Parliament had asked to talk about his bill. Unfortunately, because of the decision made right now, he will not have that chance. We are seriously concerned.

[Translation]

     This sets a very unfortunate precedent and we have some serious concerns. When a member's own private member's bill is affected by a decision, the member should at least have the right to address the House if they want. We made an official request to do so in this case, but the member was unfortunately unable to speak.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to add to this point of order as well.
    I also have that same concern. I am disappointed at the timing of this ruling. The Opposition House Leader and I both stood and indicated, so it was on at least two occasions, that the member for Saskatoon—Grasswood did have points he wanted to raise on this in his point of order, and he should have that opportunity. He should have been afforded that opportunity. I am extremely disappointed that it was not given to him as a member. I think it is his right to have that opportunity.
    Furthermore, we are waiting for a ruling on a question of privilege that I raised on Tuesday. You have obviously moved quickly when a member sought to intervene in this case and was not afforded that opportunity, yet you have a question of privilege on which there could have been a ruling and nobody else was seeking to intervene. It just seems to me that the timing of this is something that we should all be concerned about. I feel it is important and imperative that I raise that point with you.
    I do think that the timing of this does create a real problem and a bad precedent for a member who did seek the opportunity to intervene and who did have pertinent facts, given that his private member's bill was one of the bills in question. There are serious concerns here, and I wanted to add those thoughts.

  (1525)  

    Mr. Speaker, I too rise on a point of order.
    Very quickly, I think it is worth pointing out that the point of order that was raised today that you have now responded to was specifically with respect to seeking clarification as to how things were supposed to move forward. It was not, per se, a point of order addressing a procedural error, a point of order to which other people would contribute arguments. This was just a question that was asked of you to provide clarification on what the next steps would be. In the context of what is being discussed, I think it is important to consider that aspect.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, this is a highly unusual situation to say the least. The government was custodian of this bill, its own bill, and did not move it rapidly through, so we are in a situation here.
    I would ask if you had the chance to look at the submission I made earlier, because you did not reference it at all in your decision. There is some value to take a step back for a moment. That is not to question your judgment or capability in this; it is just that there is new information, and we want to make sure we go through a thorough process for this.
    The government acted hastily yesterday. It gave no indication about its tactics of withdrawing the bill to any of us until yesterday, and then this morning we saw this action. I would ask for the process to be thorough to ensure that we do not rush to error, and perhaps take a day to allow the member for Saskatoon—Grasswood a chance to participate. That would be valuable too.
    I respect your judgment on this, Mr. Speaker, but I believe it is incomplete without the chance to review my intervention earlier and the intervention from member for Saskatoon—Grasswood, whose bill I spoke of.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, with all due respect, I do not understand my colleagues. This is not a a question of privilege. This is not a debate. It is a simple question for clarification that was asked of you: If Bill C-228 was adopted, could Bill C-13 continue? That is it. There is no debate. It does not affect anyone else. It was just to know whether if one were adopted, could the other continue? It was a direct question, and you answered, and that is it. There is no debate around this. It is an answer to a question.
    I want to thank the hon. members. I know decisions are not always easy ones, believe me. I appreciate their advisement. I will take it under that guise.

[Translation]

Business of the House

[Business of the House]
    Mr. Speaker, I do not know if this falls into the category of weekly statements, but each week we, the government House leader and the leader of the official opposition, have this meeting on Thursday afternoon to find out where we are headed.
    For the fifth time, and I am not counting what I just did about five minutes ago, we are reaching out to the government.
    When will it table the bill so we can debate it here in the House and eliminate the $1,000 given to workers who travel when it is not necessary to do so?
    Mr. Speaker, if I understand the question correctly, my colleague wants to know what the legislative agenda will be for the next few days.

[English]

    Tomorrow morning, we will continue with second reading debate of Bill C-14, which would implement certain provisions of the economic statement. In the afternoon, we will begin debate on Bill C-19, which would provide for temporary rules to ensure the safe administration of an election in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

[Translation]

    Then, Monday and Wednesday of next week, we will continue the debate on Bill C-19. On Tuesday, we will consider Senate amendments to Bill C-7, the medical assistance in dying law. I would also like to inform the House that Thursday, February 25 will be an allotted day. On Friday that same week, we will begin second reading of Bill C-21, the firearms act.
    I thank my colleague for his question.

Government Orders

[Business of Supply]

[English]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Religious Minorities in China  

    The House resumed consideration of the motion, and of the amendment.
    There is one minute remaining in questions and comments for the hon. member for Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Kelowna—Lake Country.

  (1530)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for the heartfelt examples he presented today of what is occurring. He mentioned standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. I am wondering if the member could go into more detail as to why it is important to work with our allies, and also to show leadership on this particular issue.
    Mr. Speaker, the stories we have seen from the BBC, the Washington Post, The New York Times and the Associated Press have documented numerous examples of these personal stories. The people being affected in China, the Uighur people and the Turkic Muslim minority, do not have a voice. We do not need to go into why. We know why they are seeing oppression in China.
    Here at home, we need to stand up for those who cannot do it for themselves. We owe it to them and our own values to do that.
    I want to begin by thanking the member for Wellington—Halton Hills for bringing this crucially important issue to the attention of both the House and Canadians. I also want to thank him for his very thoughtful speech this morning, which outlined more than a decade of persecution of the Uighur people and other Turkic Muslims in western China.
    Equally, I want to thank the member for Montarville for his clear elucidation of the importance of this Canadian Parliament continuing to take strong action on the infringement of human rights in China, and the member for St. John's East for his thoughtful understanding of this not only as a political process, which we are hearing today, but also for drawing a distinction between it and the subsequent legal actions that would be necessary to engage the whole world in ending the atrocious treatment of the Uighur people.
    This is an issue I have been following closely for well over a decade. The Uighur community is small in Canada, but I am privileged to represent some of them who live in my riding of Don Valley West. I have heard first-hand their stories and worries about families, friends and colleagues who remain in Xinjiang province. My first encounter with this community was with a family facing immigration difficulties imposed on them by the previous Conservative government, when I was in opposition. I was proud to stand up for them then, as I continue to be proud to stand up for them. Their faces, stories and broken hearts weigh heavily on me today.
    This issue took on a larger perspective when I first met Rebiya Kadeer, who at the time was the president of the World Uyghur Congress. Known as the “dragon fighter”, she gently, passionately and intelligently told me the story of her people. It is a story that has only gotten worse over the last decade. She is not only known as the “dragon fighter”, but also as “mother of all Uighurs”. Her legacy looms large for me whenever I raise the issue of the persecution of her people.
    Let me be clear: I have been and continue to be concerned, alarmed and horrified by the reports of mass arbitrary detentions and repressive surveillance; the allegations of torture, mistreatment, forced labour and forced sterilization; and the mass arbitrary separation of children from their parents by the Government of the People's Republic of China. It is wrong, and it is yet another example of the failure of the PRC to recognize the singular importance of human rights. Human rights are the bedrock of the civilized world, and to infringe upon them will never lead to peace, harmony, prosperity or the well-being of either minority or majority populations.
    In 2018, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination raised the alarm on this issue. It noted that repression was rampant and organized, and that other violations were undertaken by senior members of the Chinese Communist Party. Though official numbers were impossible to obtain, it indicated the number of people detained may be anywhere from tens of thousands to over a million, and reports continue to emerge regarding practices of forced labour, forced sterilization and other coercive birth control measures. Other atrocities, which some have called human rights abuses, crimes against humanity, genocidal activity or genocide itself, have been widely reported.
    All of this is why the Canadian government has already acted, and will continue to act, conscientiously on the international stage regarding the persecution of the Uighur people. One of the best ways to work with international partners is to do so through multilateral institutions such as the UN. Since both the drafting and adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, governments of two parties in Canada have taken an international leadership role in human rights. Human rights issues will not be solved overnight, and require vigilance and determination. That is why Canada is committed to pushing forward on issues related to China, recognizing that the China of today is not the China of even just a few years ago.
    We worked at the UN Human Rights Council. In September 2020, Canada co-hosted a side event on Hong Kong. At the General Assembly's third committee on October 6, 2020, Canada and 38 other countries co-signed a joint statement on human rights in Xinjiang and Hong Kong. Also, through China's most recent UN Universal Periodic Review in 2018, Canada provided frank input on China's human rights record.

  (1535)  

    At a time when many are questioning the future of multilateralism or of diplomacy altogether, Canada is committed to playing an active role in shaping the norms and engaging the institutions that underpin our global community.
    However, we know that only so much can be changed in the halls of power. That is why Canada also engages with diaspora communities, activists, civil society, journalists and human rights defenders to hear the stories of persecuted people around the world. That is how the world knows about the crackdowns on freedom of assembly and suppression of democracy in Hong Kong. That is how the world knows about restrictions of freedom, language, culture and religion, and the destruction of historic buildings and temples in Tibet. That is how the world knows about China's abuses against the Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang, which have all been very well enumerated today.
    The mounting evidence of a systematic campaign of repression cannot be ignored. We take egregious human rights violations very seriously. We take allegations of genocide very seriously. The international community has to work together in order to investigate the egregious abuses taking place in Xinjiang. In the 21st century, there is no excuse to be unaware of these issues.
     Canada is committed to engaging unilaterally, as well as alongside our partners, to advocate for the human rights of those in China. We will continue to call for unfettered access to Xinjiang for international independent observers, as we did in July 2019, June 2020 and at the UN most recently last October. We will continue to oppose China's prosecution and persecution on the basis of religion or belief for Muslims, Christians, Tibetan Buddhists and Falun Gong practitioners, as we did in the 2018 UPR.
    We will continue to support restored respect for civil and political rights in Hong Kong, which we have done repeatedly with like-minded allies. We will continue to oppose the death penalty in China and everywhere, seeking clemency for Canadians facing that sentence.
    Finally, we will continue to work tirelessly to bring Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor home. This is something that, very frankly, motivates my work every day of my life.
    It is in this spirit that I am not only speaking in this debate but also listening to the wisdom, experience, passion and care being offered by my colleagues in every party today. Canadians expect their Parliament and their government to stand up against injustices in Canada and around the world. While we may sometimes disagree about how and when to do that, I know that we all agree that Canada needs to both speak and act, to continue to fight for justice and human rights in Canada and around the world. Today, we hold the Uighur people in our thoughts, minds and hearts to do what is best and right for them.
    Madam Speaker, I agree with many of the things my colleague said, but he has not really answered the main question, in terms of his remarks.
    The parliamentary secretary knows that genocide has a specific legal meaning in international law. He knows that Canada is a party to the genocide convention, and being a party carries certain obligations. Those obligations do not depend on the actions of other parties or states.
    Our commitment, as part of that multilateral instrument, is to respond in cases where genocide is taking place. We have those obligations as Canada, regardless of what other states do, although we know that other states, such as the United States, have already started to act.
    The crucial question of this debate, and of this motion, is this: Does the parliamentary secretary believe that genocide is happening in the specific legal sense as defined by the convention, such that it triggers the obligations of the Government of Canada under that convention?

  (1540)  

    Madam Speaker, for me, that is not the central question today. The central question today is about the health, well-being and human rights of the Uighur people, and how best to move on.
    It is not about a Parliament deciding, in its unilateral way, anything on that issue. The Government of Canada bears the responsibility of international conventions. The Government of Canada bears the responsibility of asserting itself on the world stage. The Government of Canada continues to do that, and will continue to do that.
    This issue is way bigger than the declaration of anything. It is about human rights, and let us drill down to the core of what these motions are about. They are about conversation, but they also need to be absolutely grounded in the reality of human rights atrocities. We will find every way to deal with these appropriately, honestly and with integrity on the world stage.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I somewhat agree with my Conservative colleague from Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, and I somewhat disagree with the parliamentary secretary. He is skating around the issue so as not to commit to anything on behalf of his government.
    In his speech, the parliamentary secretary admitted that there have been human rights violations, that there are re-education camps, rape and sterilization campaigns, all of which have been documented at the international level. Last week, we sent an open letter to the newspapers signed by all members of this House: from the Liberals to the Greens and from the Bloc Québécois to the Conservatives. All that is needed to move forward is for the Government of Canada to admit that there is a genocide, because words are important. That is all that is missing to help the Uighurs in China who are currently facing genocide.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I will be perfectly clear. There are many ways for us to help the Uighur people, so what I am doing today is utterly committing to listening to this debate and to hearing not only expert opinion, but also anecdotal thoughts about the current issue we are engaging in.
    We will continue as a government to take the best course, always concerned about human rights and always concerned about finding the best way to do things. We will make sure we do this carefully and studiously with the best legal minds at stake, and we will make sure we get it right. The goal of government is to get it right, to do it well and to continue to make sure we do the best for the Uighur people, not the best for me or for any member of the House.
    Madam Speaker, I certainly miss the conversations I had with the member at the Canada-China relations committee.
    These issues are complex, but ultimately this motion has to come to a deliberative end. We are a country that believes in the rule of law. If we see human rights abuses happening to Uighurs in China, as the member has said he clearly does, does that not compel us as a people to put the rule of law into action through the international obligations and conventions we have signed?
    Does the member acknowledge that the government has an obligation to stand up for Canadian values and the rule of law on behalf of those who are—
    I have to give the member 10 seconds to answer.

  (1545)  

    Madam Speaker, right now the government has a responsibility to listen to Parli