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44th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 112

CONTENTS

Tuesday, October 18, 2022




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 151
No. 112
1st SESSION
44th PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer



Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1000)  

[English]

Committees of the House

Procedure and House Affairs 

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Orders 104 and 114, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 16th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the membership of committees of the House.
    If the House gives its consent, I intend to move concurrence in the 16th report later this day.

Criminal Code

    He said: Mr. Speaker, the modern-day slavery of human trafficking is happening today within 10 blocks of our homes. The inspiration for this bill was brought to me by a constituent of mine, Darla, who is a survivor.
    In June 2019, I introduced a private member's bill, Bill C-461, which was a product of meaningful consultation in our community. Although that bill did not pass, today I am pleased to sponsor Bill S-224, which would simplify the definition of exploitation for trafficking offences in the Criminal Code by removing the unfair burden placed on exploited individuals to prove there was an element of fear in their abuse.
    I want to introduce this to my fellow colleagues as a non-partisan issue. I thank Senator Salma Ataullahjan for her excellent work in the Senate, and my colleague, the member for Peace River—Westlock, for his commitment to ending human trafficking.

    (Motion agreed to and bill read the first time)

Committees of the House

Procedure and House Affairs  

    Mr. Speaker, if the House gives its consent, I move that the 16th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House earlier this day, be concurred in.
    All those opposed to the hon. member's moving the motion will please say nay. It is agreed.

[Translation]

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

    (Motion agreed to)

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, if you seek it at this time, I think you will find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:
    That the membership of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs be amended as follows: Mr. Nater (Perth—Wellington) for Mrs. Block (Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek), Mr. Calkins (Red Deer—Lacombe) for Mr. Vis (Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon), Mr. Berthold (Mégantic—L'Érable) for Mr. McCauley (Edmonton West) and Mr. Cooper (St. Albert—Edmonton) for Mr. Scheer (Regina—Qu'Appelle).

  (1005)  

    All those opposed to the hon. member's moving the motion will please say nay. It is agreed.
    The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.

    (Motion agreed to)

Citizenship and Immigration  

    That the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration presented on Monday, April 4, 2022, be concurred in.
    He said: Mr. Speaker, I want to raise a very important issue of international human rights, a subject on which we may even find some rare agreement with my friends in the corner.
    In the context of this motion, I want to say that we have the honour of recognizing the presence in Canada, in particular here in Ottawa, of Mrs. Kara-Murza, the wife of Vladimir Kara-Murza. She is here advocating for the release of her husband and, indeed, to promote justice and human rights.
    Vladimir Kara-Murza is likely among the most well-known heroes inside of Russia. He joins others who are fearlessly standing for freedom and human rights. Mr. Kara-Murza is currently imprisoned and has survived multiple assassination attempts. I salute Mrs. Kara-Murza, as well as Mr. Kara-Murza for his courage and work in magnifying these issues. I join my voice to others in calling for Mr. Kara-Murza's release.
    In the spirit of recognizing the courageous Russian opposition figures who are standing against the invasion of Ukraine and standing against the human rights abuses taking place inside of Russia, I am seeking the concurrence of the House for a motion that I moved at the immigration committee earlier this year. It was a motion to oppose the invasion of Ukraine launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin, to recognize the courageous Russian opposition and, really, the importance of that opposition in the larger context of what we are seeing in the world today and to have immigration measures put in place to provide support and assistance to these brave Russian human rights defenders.
    The motion that I put forward at the immigration committee and for which I seek the concurrence of the House is as follows:
    We
     (a) condemn the continuing attack on Ukraine ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin,
     (b) recognize that a growing proportion of the Russian people are bravely resisting and opposing this attack,
    (c) call on the Government of Canada to develop measures to support Russian dissidents, human rights defenders, and conscientious objectors within the military who are seeking to urgently flee Russia, while ensuring that necessary security precautions are taken.
    That is the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. It was adopted by the citizenship and immigration committee on April 4.
    Of course, the context has significantly shifted since then and has arguably made the role of the Russian opposition even more important, as we see increasing human rights violations inside of Russia and as we see, in response to the defeats on the battlefield that Russia is facing, the continuing brutalization of the Russian people and of the Ukrainian people by the Russian regime, which is throwing untrained, unprepared conscripts at the front lines and simply trying, in a sense, to pile up corpses of its own people in a vain hope of stopping the Ukrainian advance.
    We are seeing that this brutal regime has no regard for the lives of the Ukrainian people. It also has no regard for the lives of the Russian people. Estimates are now that more people have sought to flee Russia than were actually involved in the invasion. It is quite a number and quite a magnitude. We are seeing the rallies and the acts of resistance by people in Russia who are trying to call out what the regime is doing. They are defending the rights of Ukrainians and are also defending their own rights to choose and shape their own future.
    I will have more to say about the Russian opposition, but let me just start by making a few comments in the context of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in particular about the things that Canada needs to do right away to support Ukraine. Ukraine is winning and succeeding, but they need continuing support from Canada and other western allies. I would say we primarily need to think in two areas: the area of weapons support and the area of energy security.

  (1010)  

    In the area of weapons support, various voices from Ukraine, including very forthright comments on the weekend from a Ukrainian member of Parliament, have said that Canada needs to do more in terms of supplying weapons. There seems to be a hesitation in terms of supplying vitally required weapons from Canada, and Canada is falling behind in its support for Ukraine. More is required in terms of supplying weapons. We in the official opposition will continue to push the government to give Ukraine all of the weapons supplies it needs.
    There have been other voices connecting to the government that have called on it to do more. Canada's own ambassador to the United Nations, Bob Rae, has called out the government and said that, in his view, the government needs to be doing all that is required to supply Ukraine with the weapons that it needs. We need more engagement from the government in terms of supplying weapons. We were late to the party on that in many respects. We should have been supplying lethal weapons to Ukraine prior to the invasion, and we should be doing more now in the area of weapons.
     As to the area of energy security, right away after the invasion, the Conservatives had a motion in this House that recognized the critical role of energy security in this conflict and that said Canada needed to seize the moment to correct what have been seven years of failed energy policy, to ramp up our energy exports to Europe and to supply Europe with the energy support and security it requires. We recognized the government's failures in developing the energy sector over the last seven years. Now would have been the time to recognize those failures of policy and to correct them, yet the government is continuing to undermine efforts to expand energy development and export in response to these circumstances.
    This is critical because most of the world's democracies, as it happens, are geographically small and more populous nations that therefore tend to rely on imports of natural resources, especially energy resources from other countries. Canada is relatively unique in the democratic world, as it is a geographically large, less densely populated country that is rich in natural resources. I believe that gives us a special vocation within the community of democratic nations. We have the responsibility to supply like-minded democratic allies with the kinds of energy resources that they require in order to have security. We should step up and fulfill that role, because if we are not supplying energy and providing that security, our partners in Europe and in the Asia-Pacific, other democratic countries, will find themselves forced to be more reliant on more hostile, undemocratic sources of energy. We have seen how failures in Canadian energy policy to support our allies have left those allies more dependent on hostile powers like Russia and therefore potentially more vulnerable to energy blackmail.
    We cannot reverse these seven years of policy failures overnight, but the first step should be to recognize the problem. I note the Deputy Prime Minister has made comments about the need to get serious about this issue, and I would hope she would be even more explicit about acknowledging that her government has failed on these issues and acknowledging the current circumstances underlying the need to correct that failure as quickly as possible.
    When it comes to supporting Ukraine in general, Canada needs to step up in the area of weapons and Canada needs to step up in the area of energy. In particular, we can also step up, as it relates to this motion, in our support of the Russian opposition, recognizing the critical role that it is playing and that it is going to play.
    In some ways it is difficult to know all of the dynamics that are going on inside of Russia. We can speculate about what may be happening, what may be being contemplated and what the different figures opposed to the regime in Russia are doing. We can speculate about those things, but we can also learn the lessons of history and draw from those lessons in our understanding of what might be going on and of the critical role that other countries can play in offering support.
    As I have told the House before, my grandmother was a Holocaust survivor. I have done a lot of reading about the kind of anti-Nazi German resistance that was in place throughout the Nazi era but especially toward the end of the Second World War. It culminated in and continued after the Valkyrie plot.

  (1015)  

    There are a lot of lessons we can learn for understanding the kind of resistance that can exist to authoritarian or totalitarian regimes and how it manifests itself. I would commend a few books to the consideration of hon. members on that era.
     I recently read Disobeying Hitler: German Resistance After Valkyrie, by Randall Hansen. What he describes is the multi-faceted nature of resistance that can take place in a totalitarian system. Sometimes people are speaking out or protesting, and we have seen some of that in Russia. We have forms of military resistance seeking political change. Hansen also speaks in particular about how disobedience is a form of resistance.
     When we have a totalitarian regime giving orders to the military, we can then sometimes have instances where those orders are ignored or massaged to minimize the destruction and the loss of life. He chronicles many examples of this at the end of the Second World War, when low-level forms of resistance or disobedience by people within the German army, like disobeying orders that had come from high command, preserved infrastructure and lives, and had some degree of positive effect.
    We can hope that what we will see more of going forward inside of Russia is this kind of multi-dimensional resistance, where people in the military are maybe ordered to engage in atrocities or to respond in particular ways and they are ignoring or massaging those orders or maybe surrendering without authorization and taking these kinds of simple steps to try to resist the oppression of the Russian regime and its violence toward Ukraine, but also toward its own people.
    The other thing I certainly found interesting about reading stories of the anti-Nazi German resistors is that many of them were motivated by a deep sense of nationalism; that is, they loved their country, they were committed to the honour and dignity of their country, and they felt their country was being betrayed by the regime. These figures were key in the German resistance, people like Admiral Canaris. They had this sense of loving their country more than their government did, and they also came from elite circles. Many of them were in positions of privilege and power within the system, which gave them the means to resist. That existed alongside everyday people who were protesting in the streets in select moments and who were maybe distributing materials that were critical of the regime.
    In the case of the anti-Nazi German resistance, people did not fulfill their full potential, but they had an impact. They led to lives being saved, but they also provided the moral basis for what came next. They did manage to show the world that there was an other Germany, a different Germany, that was not represented by the fascist regime.
     We see a similar thing happening in Russia, where people like Vladimir Kara-Murza, whose heroism, resistance and sacrifice, and that of many others show the fact that there is a different Russia; there is a Russia represented by people who believe in freedom and democracy, but also who deeply love their country, love their culture and who do not buy into this fiction that somehow there is an inevitable antagonism between Russia and the West. They recognize that the values of freedom and democracy and recognition of universal human dignity are universal and they want to see Russia have a government that embraces these ideas and principles.
    We can recognize the value of the Russian opposition, the role it is playing and the role that it must continue to play. In particular, what are we seeing right now?

  (1020)  

     This motion was tabled in the House on April 4. As I said, there are many things we cannot know about what may be going on inside of Russia, but we do see evidence, and we have heard evidence at the foreign affairs committee and elsewhere, that there are emerging cracks. There has been speculation, for instance, if the military would carry out an order in Russia to use a nuclear weapon and the devastating consequences that would no doubt have for Russia. Would such an order be the occasion for resistance? We would certainly hope it would be.
     We can also see how, in the face of Russia's further mobilization, it is drafting people who are outside of military age, people who are, in some cases, not physically fit for military service, and forcing them to the front line without anything resembling appropriate training. This is rightly provoking a sense of resistance and frustration within Russia, where people are protesting or are fleeing.
    It is really important for us to recognize, in the context of this conflict, that everybody involved is an individual. People are responsible for their own choices and actions. Of course, many people around the regime itself are responsible for the evil actions it is undertaking. There are also Russian people who are opposed to it. We need to reflect on that and do all we can to support the Russian opposition.
    In Canada's engagement in response to the invasion of Ukraine, we need to do more with respect to weapons, energy policy and support for the opposition. The motion on April 4 was presented prior to the order for mobilization and we see all the more now, in response to the resistance, the need for Canada and other countries to respond in offering that support.
    As well, the motion speaks to immigration measures. This comes to us from the immigration committee. It talks about offering channels of support, with respect to immigration, for Russian dissidents and human rights defenders who are fleeing. For years, the Conservatives have been advocating special supports in terms of immigration for human rights defenders. We have talked about it in the context of a special program for Hong Kong and other situations. Our contention in general is that those who have taken a stand, who have fought for human rights and as a result of it face severe threats and persecution would make great Canadians. They can richly contribute to our country in our understanding and appreciation for the values of freedom and democracy, and we can provide those people with an opportunity to be safe here and a platform to continue to do their work and advocacy. This is one of the concrete measures that we are taking.
    I know there is some controversy in other countries about the question of the number of people who are fleeing Russia and who should be able to come here, and so forth. However, it is important to underline that the motion speaks specifically to human rights defence. It speaks specifically to those who wish to flee, those who have been actively engaged in human rights work, who are active dissidents and who are active and clear conscientious objectors.
    This is the focus of the motion, and on that basis it should enjoy broad-based support in the House. I hope members will be prepared to add their voice to this important motion and we will be able to get this motion supported, voted on and adopted by all members.
     The House, standing together, should express its support for the Russian opposition and express its recognition that the Putin regime does not represent the Russian people. We should recognize those brave Russians, and many who have private objections, who have been vocal and public in opposing the regime in various ways. It would send a powerful signal if the Canadian House of Commons recognized, as part of this, that we support the Ukrainian people in their resistance to Putin's tyranny, the Russian people in their resistance to Putin's tyranny, the Belarusian people in their efforts to resist Putin's tyranny and other people who are affected by the violence of that regime.
    The House of Commons, the government, Canada, should do more by supplying weapons, energy security and supporting the Russian opposition. I hope we are able to send that strong message today in support of the people of Ukraine and the people of Russia.

  (1025)  

    Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for mentioning the visit to Ottawa of Evgenia Kara-Murza, the wife of Vladimir Kara-Murza, who we had an opportunity to meet with last night.
     I had the chance to meet Vladimir Kara-Murza a few years ago through the World Movement for Democracy. I found him to be a man of conviction, a man of courage, a man who is an inspiration to all those in Russia who are fighting for freedom and democracy, as well as fighting against tyranny and authoritarianism.
    I have called for the immediate release of Vladimir Kara-Murza. Does my colleague join in that call?
    Madam Speaker, yes, absolutely. I said that earlier and I will repeat that call. I hope we will hear from more members adding their voice to that.
     It is very much appreciated that Mrs. Evgenia Kara-Murza is in Ottawa. It is really powerful for members of Parliament to hear a personal story directly from someone. I salute the courage of Vladimir Kara-Murza and of the many others who are speaking out. There will be many who have been murdered, who were imprisoned, and whose names we will never know, sadly. We honour their courage, as well as that of Vladimir Kara-Murza and call for his release.
    I believe Mrs. Kara-Murza is going to be joining us at the foreign affairs committee tomorrow. We will have an opportunity to hear her testimony on the record. I am not sure if that is 100% confirmed. I hope I am not telling tales out of school, but I hope more of the public will be able to hear directly her testimony during those hearings.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for bringing forward this motion.
    I am a member of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, and we are in the midst of wrapping up our own study into Canada's security posture vis-a-vis Russia. We have also heard testimony about the need to protect Russian dissidents, how they can be a valuable source of information.
     The security threats from Russia are multipronged. They are not only military but are also in the area of cybersecurity. We know that Russian criminal organizations are often working hand in hand with the Russian government to go after Canadian cybersecurity interests.
    I wonder if the member could comment on how Russian dissidents, who are in the cybersecurity field, might have that intricate knowledge of Russian attacks against Canadian cybersecurity infrastructure. That could also be a very valuable source of intelligence to help us fully understand the nature of the 21st century threats that are headed our way.
    Madam Speaker, Canada has a lot of work to do when it comes to strengthening our cybersecurity response and our response to foreign state-backed interference in general, recognizing the complexity of that. Sometimes it is state actors and sometimes it is state-backed actors. We are being told by our security agency that we need to improve our sophistication there. This is one of many examples where human rights defenders from Russia and from other countries can significantly contribute to Canada. We talked about that in the context of the government's program for Hong Kong, where it was said that one had to be a new graduate and meet other criteria.
     What we said at the time, and I believe the member's party was in agreement with us, was that the people who had stood up, who had stuck their necks out and fought publicly for human rights against an authoritarian regime, regardless of any other potential qualifications, those who had shown that level of courage and readiness for sacrifice, would make great Canadians and could significantly contribute to our country.
    Of course, many of these dissidents will bring particular information that will reflect their own expertise or their own area of work. Regardless, those who have been resistors to authoritarianism, those who have been brave human rights defenders, would make great Canadians. We should be putting in place programs to, in particular, recognize and welcome these brave human rights defenders.

  (1030)  

    Madam Speaker, this is a very important issue. We have just heard that one of the impacts of the Russian war on the world is IT infrastructure. Another one is energy security. Think about Canada having the third-largest reserves of oil and natural gas in the world and about the German chancellor who came to Canada looking for help with potential energy sources and we could not provide that, unfortunately.
    With respect to our position as an energy power in the world, I wonder if the member has some comments on what Canada could and should do to help the people of Europe as they deal with this issue.
    Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his excellent work on the immigration committee, which adopted this motion, and always for his hard work on the file.
    When it comes to the issue of energy security, the government has it backward. It is granting a waiver to our sanctions to allow Canadian work to be done on a turbine for the export of Russian gas to Germany. We should be focused on building the infrastructure to have Canadian gas supplying Europe. Instead, we are not doing that, but we are supplying technology to facilitate the export of Russian gas to Europe.
    The foreign affairs committee heard from a Siemens representative yesterday, who said that not granting this waiver would actually have no impact on workers here in Canada. This completely contradicts what the government has said. The government's latest rationale was that allowing this waiver of sanctions was about jobs in Canada. Siemens, the company involved, directly contradicted that.
    It remains a mystery to me why the government is facilitating and granting exceptions to sanctions to facilitate the export of Russian gas to Germany instead of focusing on building up the Canadian energy sector. It is not going to happen overnight. We have had seven years of failed energy policy under the Liberal government, but now is the time to stop digging, to try to get out of that hole and for Canada to realize its vocation within the democratic world of providing our European and Asia-Pacific allies with the energy security that will make them less dependent on authoritarian powers.
    Madam Speaker, I am wondering why the member chose today to discuss this, when we were supposed to be debating Canada's environment this morning. Canadians, as a whole, have many concerns related to the environment. Bill S-5 would go a long way in dealing with those concerns. What the member wants to talk about today could have just as easily been brought up in an opposition day motion.
    Why is the Conservative Party choosing to prevent debate on Bill S-5 in favour of this being debated, as opposed to proposing an opposition day motion or requesting a take-note debate or emergency debate in the House? Why is it avoiding the discussion on our environment?
    Madam Speaker, the House has sat for three weeks thus far this fall, and the government did not call Bill S-5 on any of the days in those three weeks. The government has clearly demonstrated that Bill S-5 is not a priority, and I suppose the member could talk to his House leader about why the government has not chosen to prioritize this bill.
     This issue of supporting the Russian opposition is critical. We felt it that was valuable and important to have this debate at a time when Evgenia Kara-Murza is in Ottawa, engaging in this advocacy and supporting the Russian opposition. This is an opportunity for all members to call for Vladimir Kara-Murza's release and to express our support for the Russian opposition.
    Later today, the government will have an opportunity to call whatever legislation is its priority. The government has most of the day available to it, but there are some limited opportunities the opposition has to raise its priorities and this is one opportunity. We have chosen to raise this important issue of supporting the Russian opposition in a non-partisan way, and we hope it gathers the support of all members.

  (1035)  

    Madam Speaker, I want to pick up on what the member just said. I, for one, like all members of the Liberal caucus, understand what is taking place in the Conservative Party today, and it is a little discouraging. The Conservative Party has many different ways in which it can address a wide spectrum of issues, yet it has chosen today to do this, a day on which we were supposed to be starting a very important debate on Bill S-5.
    Bill S-5 ultimately carries through on many platform issues from more than one political entity in the House that deal with our environment. I know many members opposite are climate deniers and do not recognize that climate is having an impact that needs to be addressed, but this legislation, Bill S-5, deals in good part with an issue that is so important to our country.
    The member opposite who introduced this motion had many different options he could have chosen, and I will reference them. If the member was genuine in wanting to be able to talk about issues of human rights and so forth, he could have brought it forward in the form of an emergency debate. Right after the petitions, the member could have stood and asked the Speaker for an emergency debate and made his case. The Conservative opposition chose not to do that.
    The Conservative opposition could have approached the House leadership and said it would like to have a take-note debate on the issue. I am part of the House leadership team on the government side, and to the best of my knowledge there was not one word on the issue the member has brought forward today. There was not one word in regard to this being such an important issue and their wanting to be able to debate it today on the floor of the House of Commons.
    Conservatives had two other opportunities so far in the last few weeks to bring forward this issue. They are called opposition day motions. They do not need approval from the Speaker for that like for an emergency debate. They do not need the government to say it agrees and will call it as a take-note debate. An opposition day is a day on which the Conservative Party gets to choose what the House is going to debate. Conservatives also chose not to use that opportunity.
    Is it really a priority of the Conservative Party under its current leadership? I would argue it is not. Why do we have this motion before us today? It is because the Conservative Party does not want to see Bill S-5 advance through the House of Commons. It is sending a message even before we can introduce the legislation. The ministers are here in order to bring forward the legislation and begin the debate, and we have the Conservatives trying to prevent that debate from taking place.
    When I posed the question to the member opposite, part of his response was that it is the government that sets the legislative agenda, and that if it was such a huge priority, why had it not introduced the legislation. He said that it had many days to do so and guessed it was not a priority. That is what the Conservative Party says after it failed in the other three areas in which it could have brought in the motion it wants to debate this morning.
    The member is partially correct on that, if I want to be fair. The government does set the agenda. However, without any sense of co-operation coming from opposition parties, in particular the official opposition, the number of things the government can actually bring in is limited.

  (1040)  

    We ask, “Well, how many government days have there been?” There have not been that many days since we have been back, and what is it that we have been doing? We are still dealing with pandemic relief. We are supporting Canadians who are trying to get through some very difficult times. We are establishing new national programs that are having an impact on millions of Canadians coast to coast to coast, while the Conservative Party wants to go back to its old ways of filibustering and preventing the House from being able to pass the measures that are so critically important to Canadians. Instead, it wants to start the filibuster all over again.
    I get it. The Conservatives do not want us to advance on the environment. It is disappointing. We have seen the Conservative Party flip once again on the environmental issues, and the best example of that, in fact, is the price on pollution. With the price on pollution, we will recall that every member of the Conservative Party in the last federal election told voters that they would support a price on pollution. They all campaigned for it in the last federal election. They have taken a complete flip.
    Is it any wonder that now, today, when we are supposed to be debating Bill S-5, a member brings forward a motion to prevent us from debating Bill S-5, on the environment, and we get the Conservative Party of Canada, the loyal opposition party, saying, “No”?
    Madam Speaker, on a point of order, the hon. member has babbled on for the last five minutes and has not mentioned Russian dissidents or the topic at hand yet. It should be relevant to the topic and the motion that is at hand.
    If you would please advise him of that and—
    As the members well know, there is a lot of latitude in what is considered relevant, and the hon. parliamentary secretary will certainly get there.
    Madam Speaker, members will find that everything I have spoken about thus far has been referenced by the member who brought forward the motion today. The member interrupted my speech to say that I am not being relevant, but everything I have said thus far is a reflection on what the previous member was talking about and why he felt it was important. He was critical of me when I asked him a question. He said the government had no other priorities and that was why he was bringing it forward. I am addressing exactly what the member brought forward. For another member to say that I am not being relevant, I think they need to refresh themselves.
    When it comes to the issue of Ukraine and what is taking place in Russia today, I do not need to be lectured in any fashion by the Conservative Party. We have been a government of action on that front on a multitude of levels. However, I will get to that after I finish addressing the points the member who introduced this motion raised in his response. When he said to me that the government has no priorities or did not make Bill S-5 a priority, I tried to explain to the member why that is the case. It is almost as if the Conservative Party, by making that particular point of order, is conceding the fact that I may be right in my assertions. I would argue that I am. Many of them are feeling uncomfortable.
     The member brings forward a motion. There is not too much to the motion itself. If one reads the motion, it states that the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration report the following to the House:
    We
(a) condemn the continuing attack on Ukraine ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin,
(b) recognize that a growing proportion of the Russian people are bravely resisting and opposing this attack,
(c) call on the Government of Canada to develop measures to support Russian dissidents, human rights defenders, and conscientious objectors within the military who are seeking to urgently flee Russia, while ensuring that necessary security precautions are taken.
    I believe it is important that the House recognize where the priorities of the opposition are. Take a look at the contrast between the Government of Canada and the opposition party today. When we have the opportunity to deal with the environment, they choose to filibuster. That is really what this is about. It is not about the motion that is before us. There is a motion on the floor, but it has nothing to do with the content of the motion. That is the point I am making.
    The opposition members do not want to see the advancement of the government's agenda on the environment, and they have demonstrated that by the policy decisions they have made. The policy decisions virtually ignore the concerns that Canadians have from coast to coast to coast with respect to our environment. Instead, they are saying they want to talk about what is taking place in Russia and the impacts of the war in Ukraine.
    Hon. Ed Fast: Do you not want to talk about it?
    Mr. Kevin Lamoureux: Madam Speaker, the member says that we do not want to talk about it. We have had emergency debates on it. Questions and answers have taken place. There have been all sorts of opportunities. I even highlighted those opportunities to remind members of them.
    In fairness to members across the way who are a little frustrated with some of the comments I made, I suspect they really did not have anything to do with what is happening this morning. I suspect this is from the Conservative House leadership team, the people who are in the back. This includes, I suggest, their new, shiny leader's office. He has made the decision that we do not need a price on pollution and has made other decisions that have ultimately displaced some people inside the chamber in terms of where they sit.

  (1045)  

    There are things that are really important, and that is not to say what is taking place in Russia or Ukraine today is not important. We all know that is important. That is why we have agreed in the past. If we were to check on it, we would find that there were emergency debates on what is taking place in Ukraine. Now is not the time for us to be talking about it this morning. This afternoon we are going to be talking about other important legislation. This morning provided us the opportunity, from now until two o'clock, to hear members on all sides of the House talk about the importance of the environment and what it means to our constituents, and to take a look at substantial legislation.
    I know the member for Winnipeg South came in this morning to virtually take note of all the different comments that were going to be made, because I know how aggressive and supportive he is in ensuring the issues that might have been raised would, in fact, be addressed in one way or another. We had ministers who were inside the chamber to ensure that the legislation began. Now is not the time that we should be talking about concurrence in an immigration committee report.
    The member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan started off by talking about human rights. I am a great admirer of Irwin Cotler, a former colleague. I sat, when I was in the third party, over in the corner with Mr. Cotler. He is an incredible individual and someone who genuinely understands world politics and human rights violations. I have a deep respect for the individual, and there was a special invite that was given out. I think it was yesterday, and it is really pleasing.
    Vladimir Kara-Murza is a hero in the minds of many around the world because of the actions he has taken. He is living, every day, the consequence of his actions, because he is in prison unfairly because of the words he said to people around the world. His spouse is actually here in Ottawa. Like others, I received an email. Unfortunately, I could not attend, but I know, without any hesitation, its credibility, because I received the email from my friend Mr. Irwin Cotler.
    That is why, when the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan starts off on the issue of human rights, I like to think that all members of the House understand and appreciate the importance of human rights. In fact, in my own home city of Winnipeg, we have the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, and I have had the opportunity to visit it on a couple of occasions, once it was completed and once during the construction phase. The level of interest in human rights continues to grow among the public.
    The war that is taking place in Europe today and the amount of attention it has received has enhanced the general public's knowledge of human rights issues. We know what is taking place with the violations in Ukraine today, whether it is torture, rape or what they are doing with children. There will be consequences.

  (1050)  

    The Government of Canada has made it very clear that we will continue to monitor this and ensure there is a follow-through and a sense of a accountability for what is taking place there. That is something we are indeed committed to.
    Even prior to when Putin began his illegal invasion, Canada was there in a very real and tangible way. Members of the Canadian Forces participated, and we put financial supports for its economy into place. There was a great deal of dialogue between Canadian members of Parliament and the members of Parliament and civil society in Ukraine. We are very much aware and the government has been supportive. I remember standing and talking about other aspects and other ways in which we can support Ukraine.
    After talking with the Prime Minister and people like the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, and the chair of the Canada-Ukraine Friendship Group, not to mention the community itself, where we had thousands of people show up, we understand what is taking place. However, I am going to argue that today is not the day we should be talking about this. If there is a need to talk about it, then let us work together in a take-note debate. If the Conservatives do not want that, they can use an emergency debate. If they do not want that, they can use an opposition day debate. There are other opportunities.
    Today, we are supposed to be talking about our environment and Bill S-5. I think there are a lot of people who are very disappointed in the Conservative Party once again because of its determination to prevent the House from dealing with Canada's environment. I believe there will be a cost to be paid, and the Conservatives will see that and realize that in the time ahead.
    I am thankful to be allowed to share a few thoughts.

  (1055)  

    Madam Speaker, the member made a lot of bizarre and unrelated procedural comments. I will just observe for his benefit that immediately after I spoke, the parliamentary secretary for international development got up and made what I thought was a very thoughtful intervention with respect to the issue at hand and thanked me for moving the important motion. Maybe this parliamentary secretary could consult the team within his own caucus who is responsible for foreign affairs issues before he gets up and speaks on these things, but I am much more interested in talking about the issue, rather than chasing the rabbit tracks he has put down for us.
    What was the member's reaction on the weekend to comments made on CBC Radio's The House by a Ukrainian member of Parliament who really was sounding the alarm, saying that Canada has fallen behind with respect to supplying vital weapons and that it seems to be strangely reluctant to supply some of the key equipment Ukraine requires? Does he agree with what Ukrainian members of Parliament from various parties are saying, that Canada, which is thought of as an important friend of Ukraine certainly, and the Canadian people want to see their government do more, but it is really falling behind with respect to supporting Ukraine, whether with respect to weapons, energy or other issues?
    Madam Speaker, one thing about the members of the Liberal caucus is that we are very caring and sensitive individuals who appreciate the importance of human rights. Unlike the Conservative Party, we also understand the importance of the environment. As part of the House leadership on the government side, I know full well that the member had many opportunities to raise this issue and he chose not to because the Conservative Party of Canada is trying to do whatever it can to prevent debate on the environment.
    With respect to the question the member put forward, I can assure him that this is a government that is committed to working hand in hand with allied forces to continue to support our good friends in Ukraine.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, my colleague basically just spent 20, 30 or 40 minutes—I am not even sure, but it seemed endless to me—telling us that this does not make sense and that we should be talking about something really important with Bill S-5, namely, the environment. He said that it does not make any sense that the Conservatives are holding up the work and that they do not want us to debate an important subject.
    Just yesterday, the Liberals on the other side of the House imposed a gag order on Bill C-31, a very important bill on housing and health.
    Is my colleague not a little embarrassed?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the member helps me make my case.
     Bill C-31 would provide dental care for children under the age of 12. If we did not bring the motion forward, between the Bloc and the Conservatives, the bill would never pass. The Conservatives were prepared to filibuster it.
     What do members think Bill S-5 is all about? It is on the environment, and the Conservatives are sending a very strong message. The message is that they do not want to talk about the environment and they do not want legislation on the environment. That is why they have brought in the concurrence motion.
    The two of them are tied together. They are both methods the government needs to get legislation through the House. The Bloc needs to understand why we got the support from the NDP to get Bill C-31 through. Maybe they should give us the support for Bill S-5. I do not think the Conservatives are going to help us. I would like to think the Bloc could be sensitive and caring about our environment.

  (1100)  

    Madam Speaker, I am always in awe at how the member for Winnipeg North manages to make a master class out of indignation in his remarks.
    I will say that I share his dismay that we are not talking about Bill S-5. It is a bill that is of interest to folks in northwest B.C., especially an organization called Douglas Channel Watch. It is very interested in this idea of the right to a healthy environment.
    The member did spend much of his remarks talking about Bill S-5 and the environment, so I thought I would ask, which amendments to the Environmental Protection Act does he find the most compelling?
    Madam Speaker, there is quite a list I could go through, whether it would be recognizing that every individual in Canada has the right to a healthy environment as provided under the act, or that the Government of Canada must protect the rights as provided under the act and, in so doing, may balance the right with relevant factors.
    If I could be granted another 20 minutes, and I could ask for leave, I would be happy to speak about our environment and go into details on this. However, I suspect the Conservative Party would not allow us to go into debate on Bill S-5. I would ask if it would be okay for me to continue to speak on Bill S-5, as I would be happy to do so.
    Madam Speaker, it has been implied that somehow the government was not giving priority to Bill S-5. However, we introduced it in the Senate to make it go faster because—

[Translation]

    I must interrupt the hon. member because there seems to be a problem with the interpretation.
    I am told that it is working now.
    The hon. member for Lac-Saint-Louis.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the government introduced the bill in the Senate because there was room in the Senate, whereas the agenda here was a bit more gridlocked. That shows that we were very much interested in expediting the bill.
    My second question to the member is whether it is possible that the Conservatives do not want to get to CEPA because CEPA is used to regulate greenhouse gases and vehicle emissions.
    Madam Speaker, my friend and colleague raises very good points on both accounts. There is a fear factor within the Conservative Party. They tend to want to shy away from anything related to the environment.
    In regards to the legislative agenda, when we stop and think about it, the member is right on. With respect to Bill S-5, the Senate has put in a great deal of effort and working with the government, we now have a substantial piece of legislation that we could and should be debating. One of the reasons why the government was not in a position is because we had to deal with legislation, such as Bill C-31, Bill C-30, Bill C-22, all of which are there to put more disposable income in the pockets of Canadians.
     Over 11 million Canadians benefit from those three pieces of legislation, and some of it has been very difficult to get through the House because the Conservative Party does not want them to pass. They take up the time of the House to prevent the government from getting some of this important legislation done. That is why I spent as much time out of my 20 minutes refreshing the back benches of the Conservative Party on why they should not be doing this concurrence motion. They should have allowed the debate on Bill S-5. That is what would have been good for Canadians today.
    Madam Speaker, given we are on the topic now, it is important to mention that the word “climate” is not in Bill S-5 even once. The term “greenhouse gas” is also not in Bill S-5.
    If the member for Winnipeg North is serious about moving forward with Bill S-5's improvements to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, can he reflect on other options that might also be available to the governing party to do so?
    Madam Speaker, the biggest option that the government has to deal with Bill S-5 is to bring forward the legislation at its earliest opportune time. For example, we are still trying to get the disability legislation through the House. We are also still trying to get through the rental subsidy legislation.
    This type of legislation is absolutely critical and will likely continue to require support from other opposition parties for the government to get it through. I suspect that, given the resistance from the Conservative Party today on Bill S-5, we will likely be requiring some opposition parties' support to do so.

  (1105)  

    Madam Speaker, the member for Winnipeg North wants to talk about the environment, so I have a question about the environment. Environmentally friendly natural gas is something Canada has lots of, and Europe needs it so it can stand up against Russian bullying.
    Does the member for Winnipeg North support expanding Canada's natural gas industry, including that on the west coast, where my riding is?
    Madam Speaker, we need to look at all commodities in whatever ways we can. There are going to be all sorts of markets that will come out of this and though working with our allied countries, as well as ways in which we might be able to support our allies in the future.
    Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Based on the comments of the parliamentary secretary, I suspect there would be unanimous consent of the House to agree that Bill S-5 be called for debate immediately after question period today.
    We do not have unanimous consent.
    Madam Speaker, on the same point of order, I would think, given we have another motion coming up to pass other legislation, if the member is quite prepared to support that motion, then we could maybe consider doing Bill S-5. Better yet, why does the member not—
    We are getting into debate, and I would like to give the hon. member for Trois-Rivières the opportunity to make his speech.
    The hon. member for Trois-Rivières.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to send my regards to the people of Trois-Rivières, whom I talk to every day about Ukraine. I thank the member for Winnipeg North for his display of contempt. It is something we learn to live with over time.
    The people across the way often talk the talk but do not walk the walk, yet curiously enough, on this and other topics, they do not even want to talk at all.
     I was at yesterday's meeting of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics about Roxham Road, and members there were anxious to avoid the issue. I think avoiding the issue is the new way of doing things.
    What is this morning's motion about? It condemns the continuing attack on Ukraine. It recognizes that a growing proportion of the Russian people are bravely resisting and opposing this attack. It calls on the Government of Canada to develop measures to support Russian dissidents and so on. What is it about? It is about war.
    From the Umma–Lagash war in the 16th century BC to Alexander the Great, from the Punic Wars to the war in Kosovo, war is as old as humanity itself. War is a show of the leaders' contempt for the people, pure and simple.
    No war could ever be justified when human life comes a distant second to commercial interests or the interests of a particular leader. That said, we may have talked a lot about Ukraine so far, but it is clear that nothing has changed despite all our talk. The situation remains the same in that sanctions have been put in place. Steps have been taken. There has been plenty of talk, but has there actually been any action? We are told that there has, but did that action have any result? I do not think so.
    There are Russian and Ukrainians dissidents who want this situation to end. If we break down the etymology of the word, a dissident is someone who wants to separate. Needless to say, we have a great affinity with those people. The dissidents in this case must be treated as heroes, because they are risking their lives to try to convince a leader that human life cannot come second to private or commercial interests. A dissident who wants to separate and do things differently will have certain values they want to promote. When we talk about values, we are talking about ethics.
    As a quick aside, as I was saying, certain values are promoted. They might say that human life, for instance, trumps commercial interests. They might talk about respecting human life. In the past, I often heard people say that they respect the environment, that they respect their colleagues and the trees. Such statements can be meaningless. They can just be empty words.
    Let us break down the word “respect” into two parts, the “re” and the “spect”. In language, “re” means “twice”, like “return”, “redo”, “restate” and “repeat”. It is the same thing. “Spect” refers to looking, as in “spectrum” and “spectral”. Respect means taking a second look to avoid needlessly hurting others. It is the very opposite of war. War is the pinnacle of disrespect.
    We currently have one party, the Russian party, that refuses to listen. It has turned a deaf ear to international appeals. It has turned a deaf ear to the appeals of its people as well. Clearly, this must be condemned. We must keep going because we are dealing with a Russian leader who is absolutely convinced that Ukraine must be taken. What does it mean to be convinced? It is to believe something absolutely, to hell with the consequences. “Let them all die” seems to be the motto here.
    As a country that claims to be a friend of human rights, we cannot sit on our hands and do nothing. Doing nothing is not an option. What can be done now? The support provided to date was necessary, but it is not enough. The dissidents must be supported. We might even have to come to their aid, perhaps by offering them asylum. We are good at offering asylum, by the way. They will be told to take Roxham Road. Things are moving well there.

  (1110)  

    Just in case, diplomatic efforts must continue to allow for ongoing dialogue. I get the impression that there is no dialogue right now between the parties, whether by text message, tweets or any other means. The President of France tried to open a dialogue. That did not go over well. Because that dialogue was unsuccessful, does that mean that all dialogue will be unsuccessful? I do not believe that.
    Let us remember that, during the Second World War, Churchill came to Quebec so he could speak with the allies about his plans. Does Canada have a role to play in the type of dialogue that, beyond condemning the attack, would provide assistance and allow us to take steps to support the dissidents? Could that be a solution?
    We must certainly stop taking without action. The time for action is now and I would not want to debate it for 20 minutes because the situation is quite clear: We cannot not take action.
    What is the government's response to that question?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the question I have for members of the Bloc is about the agenda for this morning. I believe that most members were anticipating that we would, in fact, be talking about the environment. The Bloc in the past has talked quite extensively about the environment.
    Is there any disappointment, from the member's perspective, given that there were other opportunities for the Conservative Party to bring forward what we are debating right now?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Winnipeg North for his very important question.
    We were supposed to discuss the environment this morning. It really is a very important topic, and we must deal with it as soon as possible. However, a motion on support for dissidents was moved this morning, and I do believe that human life should take priority for now.
    It is a matter of context. The environmental challenges themselves cannot and must not be ignored. To be frank, I think we are just putting them on the back burner this morning, which is something I would rather not be doing. That said, I still want to make it clear that we cannot remain idle with respect to the Ukrainian dissidents.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, indeed, when this issue came before the immigration committee, the member's colleague was very supportive of it, and we had all-party support in moving it forward. It was a pleasure working with his colleague and with other members on the immigration committee on that.
    I wonder if the member could share more about specific things that he thinks Canada can do to support the Russian opposition. Obviously, this motion speaks to immigration measures, but what other steps can we take to empower, strengthen and support those voices inside Russia?
    To me, the only long-term solution is to have Russia join the community of free, democratic nations that respect the international rule of law and to have a government in Russia that is prepared to join that community of nations and enjoy the benefits of prosperity and community that come from that. What are the member's further suggestion for moving this agenda forward?

  (1115)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his very relevant question.
     He mentioned immigration. I will not say any more about that, because the committee discussed it at length and made some very useful recommendations.
     However, I would like to talk about the fact that it was said that the Canadian embassy in Ukraine was being opened. It was opened, and the diplomatic staff were taken out. I think the first thing we must do is open an embassy.
    What we need is genuine, meaningful diplomatic dialogue, not superficial diplomatic dialogue or diplomacy conducted via images and tweets. I think seasoned diplomats are needed to establish dialogue between the parties. We are not mediators, but we must have a presence in Ukraine and Russia. There has been quite a bit of talk about closing the embassies in Russia, but that is not a good idea. The dialogue must continue.
    A long-term diplomatic solution must be seriously considered. Superficial diplomacy is simply not an option. It must be seriously considered.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, this is a very important discussion, but I find it disturbing that we are talking about supporting legitimate opposition in Russia when we have the Premier of Alberta spreading pro-Putin falsehoods and propaganda. She has claimed that Russia had a right to be upset with Ukraine, when we see mass murder, rape and killing, and the forcible annexation of Ukrainian territories.
    We have not heard a single Conservative in the House denounce this pro-Putin propaganda, so I would ask my colleague this. What does it say about our credibility of supporting opposition in Russia when we have pro-Putin propaganda right here in Canada? The silence from the Conservatives supporting Danielle Smith and her abhorrent comments is very concerning.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his very interesting point. I was not aware of Ms. Smith's comments, so I cannot speak to them.
    However, not every situation can be viewed through the same lens. There are two sides to every coin, and there are 360 degrees to consider in every situation. I think this situation must be examined as a whole.
    In a situation like this, there is probably no one who has not done something wrong once. It is more complex than that, and that is why I advocate for seasoned diplomats to take a hand, because they will be able to unravel this knotty problem.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I think it is important to pick up and follow the comments made by the member for Timmins—James Bay. The Conservative Party has been very clear in its support for Ukraine and in pushing the government to do more. Certainly, our focus is on federal politics and on Canada's need to engage internationally in a principled way when it comes to supplying the weapons that are required.
    I think the member for Timmins—James Bay should reflect on the failures of his own party in this respect. His party, from what I understand, continues to call for unilateral nuclear disarmament as a supposed solution to the international threats we have seen. Unilateral nuclear disarmament by NATO countries would leave us that much more vulnerable to threats and pressure from the Putin regime.
    We are having this discussion with the NDP through our colleague from the Bloc, which is a bit unfair to him in some ways, but I wonder if I could ask him to share his thoughts on the proposal of unilateral nuclear disarmament and what the impacts of that would be.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would never presume to speak for the NDP member. I am unable to say such a thing.
    Nuclear disarmament must be considered. I think the nuclear threat is very real. It is vital to pay attention to the scope of the threats being made.
    We can see that as a deterrent, it is working, but there should be a dialogue between adults about this issue.
    Madam Speaker, I thank and congratulate my colleague from Trois-Rivières for his excellent speech. His speeches are always interesting and teach us something. The tone of his speech differs from some others we may hear in the House when there is disagreement.
    My colleague mentioned respect and dialogue. He also talked about the fact that the government primarily relies on communication and posts on various platforms to show that it is trying to do something about the war in Ukraine.
    I would like to hear my colleague's opinion on this. What constructive actions could the government take to show leadership as a G7 country, to resolve the conflict and end the war in Ukraine?

  (1120)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
     He raises an important point. There is a difference between communicating, that is, transmitting a message, and the language. The language helps add meaning to the story.
    I think there has been a lot of superficial diplomacy, just for show. Most countries do this, not just Canada. We need to engage in meaningful action and determine which direction we want to take so we can put it into words that actually mean something.
    Things are a bit blurry right now. The messages are often contradictory and incomplete. I feel that our diplomatic efforts are purely superficial and have no real impact. That is my opinion.
    I would therefore like us to distinguish between the communication tools we use every day and the language that would enable us to settle an impasse.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I have a follow-up question for my colleague on something he was discussing earlier. He was speaking about diplomacy and dialogue. At the same time, we know there are security threats to Canada that are associated with the presence of the Russian embassy here in Ottawa.
    There was an incident, for instance, where a bike painted with Ukrainian colours was in front of the Russian embassy and was destroyed by what appeared to be people with links to the Russian embassy. There are concerns about cybersecurity issues. There are concerns about other kinds of foreign influence operations that are likely being run out of that embassy.
    There is always a tension that I think we have to navigate: Are we open for potential discussion, or are we, at the same time, opening ourselves up to potential security threats when there is the presence of hostile actors in this country? I wonder what the hon. member's reaction—
    I need to give the hon. member time to answer.
    The hon. member for Trois-Rivières has 20 seconds.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, a great country is known for its ability to take risks. This is a very real risk, but one that must be taken if we want to keep the lines of communication open. Right now, on Charlotte Street, the street signs near the Russian embassy read “Free-Libre Ukraine”, not the street names. This is clearly a provocation. However, I think a great country, a G7 country, must act and take these risks.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I have the great honour of splitting my time today with the member for Vancouver East.
    Today we have a concurrence debate, and we are talking about Ukraine, we are talking about Russia and we are talking about what more Canada can do to support the people of Ukraine and support the brave people in Russia who are valiantly trying to hold the line on the principles of democracy, the principles of human rights and the principles of international law in their country, which has very clearly been taken over by Vladimir Putin, who is of course not interested in any of those things.
    I want to start by telling members a bit about what I did last night. Last night, I had the great honour of joining my leader, the member for Burnaby South, in meeting with three remarkable individuals. One of those individuals was Irwin Cotler, who I know everybody in this House is well acquainted with. Another was Mr. Bill Browder, who many will know as the architect of the Magnitsky sanctions. He is a really remarkable human being who has done so much to protect those who have been illegally detained around the world.
    We also heard from Ms. Kara-Murza. Ms. Kara-Murza is the wife of detained political prisoner Vladimir Kara-Murza. She spoke of the pain she felt. She spoke of the challenges that she, her family and her three sons face. She spoke of her husband. One of the things she said to me was that he is a man of integrity and a man of brutal honesty and that his ethics are so strong. She made a little joke that it is not always easy to live with people like that, people who are so clear in their stance and their ethics.
    Ms. Kara-Murza told us about how hard it has been since he was imprisoned in Russia in April. This is a man who has been poisoned twice by the Russian Federation. It has attempted to murder him twice. He has undergone two assassination attempts while imprisoned in a Russian prison since April, because he condemned the illegal war and illegal genocidal invasion in Ukraine.
    I want to say his name in this place. One of the things that Ms. Kara-Murza, Professor Irwin Cotler and Mr. Bill Browder said to us is that we need to say his name because that protects him and makes it harder for the Russian Federation to murder him. I will take a moment in this House to say that name, and I hope everybody hears as I say it: Vladimir Kara-Murza.
    This is somebody who is fighting for democracy in this world. He has taken on risks. He has taken on incredible pain and suffering for himself and for his family as a fight for democracy. I do not know if any one of us in this room would be brave enough or strong enough to do what Vladimir Kara-Murza has done. I certainly hope we would be. We need to take a moment to honour him and honour what he has done for democracy, for the Russian people, for human rights and for the rule of law.
    While the motion deals a lot with protecting Russians, I think we can all agree that what is at the heart of this is the war in Ukraine. Similar to Vladimir Kara-Murza, Ukrainians are not just fighting for themselves. They are not just fighting for their own country. They are fighting for all of us.
    In the Journal of Democracy, David J. Kramer wrote, “The best hope for democracy in Russia—and all of Eurasia—is for the international community to support Ukraine in its efforts to defeat Vladimir Putin.” He went on: “Putin's fear of a successful, vibrant, democratic Ukraine on Russia's border is the real reason for the invasion. Nothing scares Putin more than for Ukraine to become a successful alternative model to the rotten, authoritarian system he oversees in Russia.”

  (1125)  

    Mr. Putin's war is a proxy war. The real goal is not territory; the real goal is hegemony. It should be obvious to everyone now that Putin is waging war to stop democracy from advancing, and he threatens not only Ukraine, but all of Europe and all of us in the West as well. It is important to remember, and I think sometimes Canadians forget this, that Russia is, in fact, our neighbour. Of course, we live on a globe. I do not mean to trigger any of the flat-earthers out there, but Russia is our neighbour.
    We know Putin's war on democracy did not start with Ukraine and we know it will not end with Ukraine. Ukraine is one piece in this puzzle. We should not forget that Putin's first tactic has been to try to destabilize democracies across the world through disinformation to weaken our democratic institutions and systems first. His cyber-attacks and disinformation campaigns in the U.S. are now coming to light. He has tried to attack Canada's elections, just as he did the U.S. election, and he continues to use these tactics in Europe and elsewhere. It is very important that all of us in Canada think about this.
     Last week, I met with progressive parliamentarians from around the world. I met with an MP, who has her home seven kilometres from the Russian border. While we often feel insulated in Canada and feel that this is not attacking us right now, the reality for that Finnish progressive member of Parliament is very different, and it is important that we keep that all in our minds.
    It is also important to recognize that we are not just talking about a war between armies. Putin's strategy has been, and continues to be, to attack civilians. His atrocious war crimes are on civilian targets, like theatres, hospitals and playgrounds.
     I know I have brought this up in the House before. I carry with me a piece of the shrapnel that a Ukrainian member of Parliament gave me, so I can remember what rips through the communities in Ukraine. This is not army to army. This is ripping through the community in which that MP and her eight year old. She travels around the world to ensure there is support for Ukraine. She has an app on her phone that tells her when that shrapnel is ripping through her community. When that happens, she phones to find out if her eight year old is all right. This is important for us to consider.
    It is important that everybody in the House and in our country stay firm in our support for Ukraine. That is not the case right now. I brought this up in the House yesterday, and I spoke to the media about this yesterday as well. Danielle Smith, the Conservative premier in my province, has said that Ukraine does not deserve to win this war, that it should bow down and that it should stop being supported. I have a big problem with that: I have not heard the leader of the official opposition condemn those comments. The Conservative premier is making these horrific and horrible comments, and I have not heard a single Conservative member condemn them. It would be very welcoming to hear that.
    I want to talk about the one thing that came up previously, and that is nuclear war. Unbelievably, a member of the Conservative Party just suggested that we should not be against nuclear war, that we, as a world, should not be against nuclear weapons. I, as a New Democrat, will always be against nuclear weapons, because when we do not prohibit nuclear weapons, the western world can be held over a barrel by any madman or genocidal maniac at any time. Very clearly, nuclear weapons need to be prohibited. I will stand by—

  (1130)  

    Questions and comments, the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.
    Madam Speaker, I really appreciate the manner in which the member has raised the issue of Vladimir Kara-Murza as a noteworthy individual. We should be stating his name, perhaps even in a wonderful unanimous consent motion. Maybe the member could possibly give that some consideration.
    I know how sensitive the NDP is on the environmental file. We were supposed to be debating Bill S-5 today. There were other opportunities in which this debate could have been facilitated. Could she comment on whether we are losing out because we are not debating this important legislation today?
    Madam Speaker, I agree with my colleague. There is just too little time in this place. What I have found, particularly during this session of Parliament, is that so many people are trying to obstruct us going forward, obstruct us in our work.
     For example, the foreign affairs committee has not been as effective and as transparent as it should be. The House of Commons cannot get important bills through, because there is so much obstruction.
     There needs to be a really concerted effort to actually get the important work that parliamentarians need to get done. I agree with my colleague that it is very important that we debate bills that are so vital to Canadians.
    Madam Speaker, the hon. member is certainly creative in her reimagining of comments that I and others have allegedly made. Fortunately, those comments are on the record and anybody can go back and review them to realize how nonsensical her paraphrase of them was. However, it is an important discussion and question to ask.
    My view is that unilateral nuclear disarmament is not an effective way of pursuing global peace, that if western nations and NATO countries were to unilaterally disarm themselves of nuclear weapons that this disarmament would not be reciprocated by countries like Russia and that we would be more vulnerable as a result.
     I support efforts to negotiate mutual reductions in nuclear weapons, consistent with the non-proliferation treaty that Canada is a party to, but I do not support NDP proposals for unilateral nuclear disarmament. Unilateral nuclear disarmament actually increases the likelihood that a nuclear weapon will be used by a hostile power. That is my position and I think it is the right position.
    I would be curious to hear how the NDP thinks that unilateral nuclear disarmament will make us less vulnerable to these kinds of threats.

  (1135)  

    Madam Speaker, the NDP have been standing up for nuclear disarmament across the board for a very long time. We have had leaders like Paul Dewar, Linda Duncan, the member for Randall Garrison (Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke) and others who have been pushing for nuclear disarmament, and it is a very important thing to do.
    I sit in the same chair in which the Hon. Douglas Roche sat. He has been fighting for decades for disarmament, and that work has been so important. The Conservative Party has made no move, unilaterally, multilaterally, whatsoever to move forward the case of nuclear disarmament in this world.
    Madam Speaker, we have worked together on the issue of nuclear disarmament a lot. The Canadian government has appallingly ignored the development. We did not participate in the negotiation of the treaty for the prohibition of nuclear weapons, which actually has entered into force, yet no nuclear state has signed on to it. It is critical that Canada do so.
    I do want to pay tribute to the leadership of a progressive Conservative, former member of Parliament, senator and former ambassador for Canada on disarmament, the Hon. Doug Roche, who has been a champion globally.
    As we discuss this issue, it was appropriate for the Nobel committee to give a peace prize to those who work for peace, including dissident Russians. It is appropriate that Canada stand by anyone who stands up for world peace and that we recognize in this context that if Russia was not sabre-rattling with nuclear weapons, the world would be safer. We must pursue disarmament.
    Madam Speaker, this is an appropriate time to make a note that the Hon. Douglas Roche is celebrating his 50th year since he was elected as a member of the House. It is quite remarkable that a man like Mr. Roche has fans in every party in this place. I would like to take a moment to acknowledge him today.
    Madam Speaker, I am happy to enter into this debate today.
    As we know, the situation in Ukraine is something the House condemns. The war that has been waged is an illegal war by Russia. The targets of this war are as clear as day. We see it in the news and we hear it from Canadians who have loved ones in Ukraine. We hear it from people who have fled Ukraine and are in Canada.
    The news continuously reports the fact that Russia is targeting civilians and public spaces. Children are getting injured and killed. Just hours ago, a news report said that a woman, who was six months pregnant, was killed. That is the reality of what is going on in this illegal war.
    My colleague, the member for Edmonton Strathcona, spoke very clearly about the new Alberta premier. I also wonder what the Conservatives in the House think about the comments of the newly minted premier of Alberta as they related to Ukraine. How is it even possible that the Conservatives are completely silent about that? The Conservative members stood with all of us in The House to condemn this illegal war, to say that we stood on the side of Ukraine. We all gathered in the House repeatedly to send that message.
    We now have a Canadian premier, the newly minted premier of Alberta, Danielle Smith, who has come out with those comments to not stand with Ukraine. That is more than shocking and disappointing.
    We are talking about the need to stand for democracy, because underneath everything, it is all about that, standing and fighting for democracy across the globe. When it is under attack, we need to be on the right side of history.
    Individuals have contacted my office about loved ones who are Russians and are conscientious objectors to this war. They are being targeted by Putin. They need to find a way to get to safety. Right now our immigration measures do not really have a specific measure to support people in Russia who are against this war.
    We just heard from my colleague of individuals who literally put their lives on the line. They have been imprisoned, tortured and brutalized because they are against this war, yet they have no ability to find safety.
    The question is, what can we do in Canada to support Russians who are against this war? Other colleagues have asked this question as well. I think all members in the House have had constituents contact them to ask what can be done. This motion speaks to that and it is important to look for and examine different ways that this can be done.

  (1140)  

    For Canadians who are watching this unfold, Canada is doing some work, and absolutely we do need to step up on sanctions to be clear in our support for Ukraine. The question, of course, becomes, given the state of play and where things are, what more can we do to work with our allied countries to support Ukraine? How can we do this work in such a way that will bring an end to the war and ultimately aim to save lives?
     Therefore, I will say the comment from Danielle Smith is not at all helpful. On the contrary, it is so disturbing that for Conservative members in this House to be silent about it and for the leader of the Conservatives to be silent about it sends all the wrong messages to everyone who is watching what is going on, and not just here in Canada. This war is impacting the entire global community. Everyone's eyes are on this. Where is that leadership? Is there any ability for the Conservatives to set aside the partisan politics for one minute and be on the right side of the issue?
    An hon. member: Oh, oh!

  (1145)  

    Can we have some order and allow the hon. member to make her speech without interruption?
    The hon. member for Vancouver East.
    Thank you very much, Madam Chair. I am being heckled by a Conservative member, saying that what I just said is partisan.
     It is not about partisanship. It is about standing on the right side of history, sending a unified, clear message from all Canadians that we are against this war, and that even the Premier of Alberta does not get away with the nonsense and the disgusting comments that have been made about Ukraine. It does not matter who they are.
    This war that Putin and Russia have inflicted on Ukraine is an illegal war. There is no justification; there is no excuse whatsoever. If members do not stand in this House to send that message, then they have to be responsible for the horrible news that is hitting our news waves every minute of the day about people dying, about pregnant women getting killed, about children in day cares getting bombed and about residential buildings being on fire and people jumping out of the buildings just to try to survive. That is what this is all about, and it is about democracy for all of us. If any member stands in this House, as the Conservatives often do, and says that they fight for democracy, well then they should fight for it and call people out, even if they are their friends, when they make comments that are so despicable as what Danielle Smith has said.
    We are here in this House. Of course we are discussing this. The Conservatives are asking and heckling me once again. They are asking, why are we in this House? We are in this House today and I am saying for the Conservative members to call on the premier in Alberta to stop and to desist and to apologize and take those comments back now. I am saying they should send a clear message from all Canadians with the leadership that is required, and send this message to Putin and to Russia: We will always be on the side of Ukraine and be on the right side of history; they should cease and desist with this illegal war.
    Madam Speaker, the only thing I would add to the member's comments is a reflection in terms of our Ukrainian heritage community in Canada. There are 1.3 million people of Ukrainian heritage, and it goes well beyond the people of Ukrainian heritage, I must say, but when they hear a leader who sits in the chair of a premier, it draws a great deal of attention. I wonder if the member could provide her thoughts in regard to the people of Canada and how they might be interpreting what this newly elected premier has stated.
    Madam Speaker, I cannot imagine what Ukrainians here in Canada must think when they hear those comments. I cannot imagine what Ukrainians, who are faced with this war in Ukraine, where their loved ones, children, women and civilians are getting killed, must be thinking. I cannot imagine what the global community must be thinking of Canada, when we have a premier, in that kind of leadership role, making that kind of comment. It is shocking. I am not Ukrainian, and I am so angry about it. It is unjustified and unacceptable, and there must be an apology—

  (1150)  

    The hon. member for Yorkton—Melville.
    Madam Speaker, I really appreciated listening to what the member had to say today. I certainly share her grief over the number of people who are being attacked in this whole situation in Ukraine, which is very dear to me as my mom is from there.
    She also spoke about the fact that many people are dying and drew attention to the pregnant women, who are in their most vulnerable state, who are being killed, and specifically in relation to the loss of a child in the womb in this circumstance of an illegal war. I would like to ask her, in this case, if she has that same feeling with respect to a third party attacking any woman who is pregnant and causing her to lose the child she is choosing to carry to term.
    Madam Speaker, seriously, I will just say this to the member. For the sentiment she has expressed about pregnant Ukrainian women getting killed, maybe she can send this message to the Premier of Alberta: Apologize.
    Madam Speaker, one of the really disturbing things that Premier Danielle Smith used her platform for was to say that Ukraine has nuclear weapons, which we know is false. This is part of the Putin propaganda. When we raise Danielle Smith in the House, we have not seen a single Conservative speak up, yet the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan decided to try to avoid the conversation about the refusal of the Conservatives to denounce pro-Putin propaganda and start speaking about nuclear disarmament.
    I find it ironic that when the Conservatives are asked to make a simple statement as to whether they support Danielle Smith's claims that Ukraine deserved the attack and that Russia had a right to be upset with it, and the other falsehoods she is perpetuating, we have not seen a single Alberta Conservative stand up and say it is wrong.
    I want to ask my hon. colleague this. Why does she think the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan and the rest of the Alberta and Saskatchewan caucuses are rallying to try to divert attention from the despicable language coming out of the Premier of Alberta regarding pro-Putin propaganda?
    Madam Speaker, my colleague is dead on with his comments. It is despicable. It is wrong.
    It is funny that the Conservatives cannot find the courage to speak up, at least not so far. I would ask any one of them to say clearly that what the Premier of Alberta has said is wrong and to demand an apology. It is so important for Canadians to stand united and send a clear message. We cannot afford to have a premier in this country say that the war that Putin has waged on Ukraine is justified.
    Madam Speaker, I rise today to speak to this motion, though my reason for being in the House this morning was to get up and speak to Bill S-5. There will be time for that, obviously, a little later on.
    I have been listening intently to the words of all members in the House, and it is obvious that all of us, all Canadians, are profoundly scandalized by the war crimes that we have witnessed through the news. We are scandalized by the disregard for the international order that has been displayed by Vladimir Putin and those who are working with him to carry on this illegal invasion of a peace-loving country that seeks only democracy and freedom.
    We are all profoundly scandalized by what is going on. We live here in a free land. We live in a land that is essentially free of violence, and it is certainly free of persecution. While we understand and are repelled by what is going on, we are really seeing it through the intermediary of the news, of the TV news and of the newspapers that we read. I cannot imagine what it must be like to be living in a war zone.
    I know that when President Zelenskyy spoke to us a few months ago, he tried to bring it home to us by asking us to reflect on what it would be like if we were living in downtown Toronto, like many MPs here live in downtown Toronto, and one morning we woke to the sound of bombardment bringing down structures as iconic as the CN Tower and whatnot.
    He asked us to reflect on what that would be like. How would we explain that to our children, who would be completely perplexed and puzzled and fearful? I think that was a very important approach that President Zelenskyy employed to make us try to understand what it is like on the ground. I do not think we really can, but we are seeking to understand, and even though we are not on the ground, we are no less disgusted and repelled by what Vladimir Putin has done.
    My generation never thought we would ever see another war in Europe. We thought that the First World War and the Second World War had driven home the point that conflict can lead only to mass suffering and destruction and all kinds of economic and human pain. We never thought we would see the day, but obviously this has taught us all, in some way, a lesson, a lesson that I think veterans understand.
    I know we are approaching Remembrance Day and we go to Remembrance Day events and reflect on the past and on past sacrifices. We underscore the sacrifice of those who fought for liberty, but somehow we always think that this was something from the past, which it was, but also that it was something that would never recur, at least not in a European context.
    I was reflecting on Remembrance Day just the other day, because it is coming up and we will all be asked, most likely, to speak at ceremonies. I was thinking about how the context of this year is so different, because we will not be thinking just of past sacrifices; we will not be thinking just of all that veterans have done to protect our freedom and our democracy. I think we will look at their message in a different light. Yes, there is the sacrifice, but the veterans are also sending us a message.
    They are saying that they understand something that maybe not everyone understands for not having been through war, that authoritarianism has not disappeared. The impulse toward authoritarianism has not disappeared. Authoritarianism can raise its ugly head very quickly, even in Europe and even though we never thought we would ever see that day. I think there is a special, additional meaning to Remembrance Day this year, which is that we have to be on guard against authoritarianism.

  (1155)  

    We should be grateful that there are many courageous individuals who volunteer for the armed forces, knowing that they are making sacrifices just by being in the armed forces but also that they may be called upon to make great sacrifices at times of conflict. As we know, our Canadian military is helping out over in Europe, offering training to Ukrainians.
    The thing about authoritarianism is that it can be defeated through military action. We saw that in World War II. The military action of the allies was particularly effective. However, there is another element that is required to defeat authoritarianism, and that is dissidence from within. I marvel at those who stand up to authoritarian regimes, whether it be in Iran or those who are protesting in Moscow and no doubt throughout Russia. I do not know what it means to fear that what I say would provoke a violent reaction against me and my family.
     We all get up and say things about other members. We criticize their positions and we even use a little humour sometimes to put down the point of view of the other, but we never walk out of this place thinking we are the target for somebody now. This is true of our entire society. We can stand up to political leaders, and people do it all the time. We can mock political leaders and we can satirize political leaders, and so on and so forth, without ever having any fear of retribution. This is something that should be underscored, because there are people putting their lives on the line to stand up to people like Vladimir Putin and to stand up to the Iranian regime, knowing that they could wind up behind bars in what I would say are some very awful conditions that would be foreign to incarceration in our own country.
    It is very important that we salute the dissidents. As I think of dissidents, many in the House are probably too young to remember the stature that a dissident like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn had all over the world, but especially in North America. I remember how former President Carter and his wife, Rosalynn Carter, embraced Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and his cause, and how he had the courage to write things that Soviet authorities were not too pleased with, and he paid the price.
    This is someone who was actually in the military himself. He was a military person who had fought in the war, but he saw certain things that he did not agree with and he wrote about them in an eloquent manner, and in a voluminous manner. His books were very large tomes, whether we are talking about the Gulag Archipelago or others, like Cancer Ward. The west stood up for him.
    It is very important that we stand up, not only that we stand up against Vladimir Putin's military machine, but that we stand up for dissidents and that we do so through the sanctions that we apply and that keep coming. I would like to underscore that fact. We have imposed sanctions on oligarchs, on members of the Putin regime, but they have been successive. They have not stopped after one round of sanctions. The foreign affairs minister has announced multiple rounds of sanctions, and I suspect there are many more rounds to come. We have done the same against the brutal authoritarian dictatorship in Iran.
    We need to stand up for the dissidents, and one way of doing so is through sanctions. I would like to say how fortunate our government is, not just the government but Parliament is, our country is, to have as an adviser someone whom I and the member for Winnipeg North sat with in this House, the Hon. Irwin Cotler. He devoted his life to standing up for persecuted dissidents, specifically but not exclusively by any means, in the Soviet Union.

  (1200)  

    To know that there is wisdom being communicated from the Hon. Irwin Cotler to this Parliament and to this government personally reassures me as a parliamentarian and also as a Canadian. We are very fortunate to have someone like Irwin Cotler providing his perspective and his advice on how we can support dissidents and how we can stand up to Vladimir Putin.
    As a matter of fact, if I recall, so courageous was Irwin Cotler that he went to Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union, and I believe he was poisoned while he was there. I do not know if that was the official news or headline, but I remember him saying that something was happening, that he was not feeling well and that it was not just the garden variety of food poisoning. I do not know more about that situation, but I seem to recall hearing or reading about it. We are very fortunate to have the Hon. Irwin Cotler who, of course, has been an advocate for the Magnitsky Law and so on.
    However, I think Canada is doing its part by supporting Ukraine militarily, but it is also doing its part by targeting those who would be part of the machines, mechanisms or apparatus of repression that are targeting, no doubt, dissidents in both Russia and Iran.
    With that, I will now take questions as best I can on a very difficult topic.

  (1205)  

    Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise to address a question to my colleague and friend and chair of the environment committee. We did have in mind discussing the Canadian Environmental Protection Act amendments today, but I am drawn to his very thoughtful speech, as he is a very thoughtful member, and the question of how we defeat authoritarianism.
    I think that democracy is at risk. Democracies around the world are at risk. We are at risk internally from disinformation that divides us so that we do not agree on our own set of facts, on what has happened and what is to be discussed. We too quickly go into different corners, often partisan corners, to take shots at each other.
    Democracy everywhere, including in this country, is at risk when we do not listen to each other respectfully and when we cannot agree on a set of facts. In a larger context, how do we preserve democracy globally? How do we take steps in Canada to repair the rifts of the last couple of years?
    Madam Speaker, the hon. member's question is a very good one. I do not think that there is a coordinated solution globally. Each freedom-loving country, each democratic country, has to take this problem, this dissemination of misinformation, very seriously.
    Things have changed. It used to be that we could have erroneous opinions and we could write them and send them in to the letters to the editor of a publication, but one's opinions were not being torqued through the use of algorithms and so on. We need to look at that as a national government. I think all national governments should be looking at that and trying to minimize the spread of patently false information. Again, on a national scale and on a more local scale, digital literacy has to be a priority in our schools.
    Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his speech, which I think underlined the importance of the debate we are having.
    One important point that the member alluded to is maybe the folly of presuming some kind of “end of history” and that in the 21st century we are dealing with the same kinds of problems that reflect the human condition that we have been dealing with for a long time previously. In the immediate aftermath of the Cold War, there was maybe some of this, in retrospect, folly of “end of history” presumption in that we were going to have this peace dividend when we actually should have been preparing for the reality of new threats always emerging.
    The member spoke about sanctions. I think it is fair to say that the government could continuously make announcements of sanctions, adding more and more people to the sanctions list. There is probably an extremely large number of people we could sanction. The key point is this: Are we having the right sanctions consistently applied and effectively enforced?
    In that vein, as the member knows, we are very disappointed on this side of the House to see the exception granted with respect to energy sanctions for Gazprom. I wonder if the member has a comment on the exception granted for the export of Gazprom turbines and how that was widely criticized by Ukraine as being a negative in terms of their efforts.
    Madam Speaker, with Gazprom and the turbines, it has been said in the House that we did not want to give Vladimir Putin an excuse. That is as a pretext to say that we were making the situation worse.
    On another point, yes, we have to take difficult decisions, but there are going to be cases where we have to make some judgments. Does creating a complete energy crisis in Germany advance the goal of peace? I am not so sure it does.
    These are decisions, obviously, that the government has to make. They have to be debated around the cabinet table. I have no doubt whatsoever about the proper intent of the government, but it had to make a difficult decision and it looks like it made the right one.

  (1210)  

    Madam Speaker, there was very telling essay written not long ago, which stated in part, “liberal democracy has now exceeded many people’s capacity to tolerate it.” Let us think about that. Democracy is hard work and we live in an era when people are tired of hard work. They are tired of moving forward. One of the things that is making them tired is the growing distrust of government and institutions.
    I would like the hon. member to reflect on that and to look at the dynamics in the House between the opposition, the government and the other parties. Are we driving people to distrust government by the way we behave here, and are there some things that we should be doing better to preserve democracy here at home and be an example for the rest of the world?
    Madam Speaker, that is a deep question and it is not unusual for my colleague to really plumb the depths of an issue.
    Democracy is hard work. Sometimes people come to see me out of frustration. There are many good causes of frustration today, and there always have been really throughout history, but people ask me why the government cannot just does this or that and why it takes so long. I have to explain that, yes, I guess a corporation can make a quick decision and if it is the wrong decision, it will pay in terms of lost sales and lost profits, so on and so forth, but governments are not corporations. Governments need to build consensus, and that is done through debate.
    Debate is long and sometimes arduous. We have to listen to points of view that we do not necessarily agree with and many people need to be consulted, many stakeholders. The objective is to come through with a consensus that people can buy into so that we can move forward, but it is hard work and we see it here in this House and in committees every day.
    Madam Speaker, the member's speech was very interesting and thoughtful.
    One of the things that was talked about yesterday when I met with some folks from Russia working on the Magnitsky sanctions is the idea of how our sanctions are imposed. Right now, we will often use the SEMA sanctions, not the Magnitsky sanctions. I am curious as to why the government has made the decision to use that system of sanctions instead of the Magnitsky act that we have. We have not used that act since 2018.
    I am wondering if the member has any insight into why that is the case.
    Madam Speaker, that is a good question. I am not intimately familiar with the Magnitsky act and the difference between that approach and the approach the government is taking.
    My sense, being on the government side, is that the government is looking for the most effective way of going about sanctioning individuals who deserve these sanctions. My sense also with the government is that it is always open to improving its approach, and it has shown this in the last few years. When something is not working as well as it could, it will try a different approach.
    I am sorry that I cannot address the finer point of the member's question.
    Madam Speaker, I should ask the member, given the presence of my colleague from Northumberland—Peterborough South, about Bill C-281, which is a private member's bill that my colleague put forward to strengthen the Magnitsky act by creating a mechanism by which a parliamentary committee can effectively nominate someone to be sanctioned under the act and require the government to respond. The existence of a parliamentary trigger, which exists in other countries, in a way forces the government to be more engaged in responding to what parliamentarians are proposing with respect to sanctions.
    Does the member think the excellent proposals from my colleague in Bill C-281, which would create a greater role for parliamentarians in putting forward individuals for sanctioning, would strengthen our democracy and our sanctions regime?

  (1215)  

    Madam Speaker, it is an interesting idea, and I look forward to following the debate. I am sure the government is quite open-minded to all kinds of proposals that will provide proper sanction to those who deserve it.
    Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley.
    I believe this concurrence motion is very timely. It is important.
    An hon. member: It is not.
    Mr. Marc Dalton: Madam Speaker, I am very disappointed to hear one of the members on the Liberal side saying that it is not important. Maybe I misheard, but it seemed like it.
    It is very unfortunate because, even though the war in Ukraine is maybe out of the front pages right now, it is impacting the world and millions of people. There are tens of thousands who have lost their lives. Millions have fled as refugees, with many of them coming to Canada. It is a terrible thing that is happening, and we need to be bringing this forward and continuing to take actions. Words are cheap. It is the actions that matter.
    That is the concern I have, that we on this side have, with the Liberal government. There are plenty of words, which I will talk about. There are plenty of words to say that they care and they have sympathy, but oftentimes the action is either lacking, minimal or could have been a lot better. This motion is important to bring forward, and I am hoping it will get unanimous approval.
    I was recently in eastern Europe. I met with NGOs, Ukrainian refugees and government officials. I was in Poland, and I talked with these individuals. We had heard about this in the papers, but I was surprised that there have been millions who have gone through that nation, and tens of thousands who have gone on to Canada, but there are no refugee camps. People have actually opened up their homes and allowed them to come into their homes. They were there, and they have given militarily in a very significant way.
    I know Canada has contributed in various ways militarily, in training, and a few guns and some other equipment. That is very disturbing, because words alone do not stop a dictator like Putin. Canada needs to be much more at the plate than it has been and is right now. It is very unfortunate. We have allowed our military to deteriorate.
    I was in a meeting with a number of other MPs. It was a bipartisan meeting, and the French ambassador made some comments about Canada's military. He made them public the following day. He said that the world needs more of Canada, and he was talking specifically of our military. We need to be stronger and not allow the rusting away of our arms so we can support, in a very practical way, the self-defence of Ukraine.
    The motion says:
    That the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration report the following to the House: We
(a) condemn the continuing attack on Ukraine ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin—
    Yes, we do condemn it, and this House has unanimously condemned it, but again it is about coming up to the plate and stepping up.
    I was born on a Canadian military base, Baden-Soellingen in Germany, during the Cold War. When I was about two years old or three years old, the Iron Curtain went up. My dad talked to me about it years later. He said that it was a very concerning time for him when I was born, wondering what this world was coming to with those threats.

  (1220)  

    In 1989, 1990 and 1991, thanks to the brave actions of the Polish people, and the other eastern Europeans who stoop up as well, the wall fell, figuratively. That was amazing. Then, as was mentioned by my colleague from Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, there was the peace dividend, and the idea that we could just let our military go to pot. That is unfortunately what has happened.
    We have great soldiers in our military. I have only the highest compliments for our service personnel, but our service personnel have spoken to me. One fellow I was talking to was at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during the Remembrance Day memorial here in Ottawa. He said that, even though he was in the infantry, they only practised one time a year because they did not have ammunition to practise. That is disgraceful. We need to stand up for and strengthen our military, so we can help other countries and not just rely on the United States. We need to be strong in this way. That is something very practical.
    In my visit to Europe, and I know others MPs have visited, my wife and I had the opportunity to go to Auschwitz. That was a grieving visit. It is not something one goes to snap a few pictures. It is a place of real reflection on and contemplation of the depravity of where humans can go.
    There is a place where the crematorium and the gas chambers were located. The German SS troops blew it up before the Allied forces took it over, but the remains are still there, and I reflected. I thought of the hundreds of thousands of people who had died in that space, which is maybe half the size, at the most, of this chamber, as far as the gas chamber and the crematorium go. Probably more people have died there than anywhere else in the world in history, and it is just a reflection of where totalitarianism and dictatorships can go. Canada is “The True North strong and free”. We need to continue to stand up for all those who seek freedoms.
    The second part of this motion says, “recognize that a growing proportion of the Russian people are bravely resisting and opposing this attack”. I feel for many of the Canadians of Russian heritage in Canada. It is not their decision, what happened, and when I have gone door to door in my community I have met people from eastern Europe, of Russian ancestry or who have immigrated over the past 10, 20 or 30 years. They are most appreciative of the freedoms we experience in Canada, and there are many Russians who are trying to flee that nation, hundreds of thousands of them, because of the Putin's decisions for the military to take men of all ages and press them into service as cannon fodder. They are fleeing, and Canada needs to do all it can to step up to help people trying to flee from Russia.

  (1225)  

    Madam Speaker, I appreciated hearing comments from the member opposite about the importance of standing up against totalitarian regimes. As a Jewish Canadian, I found hearing about his experience of touring a concentration camp to be very important.
    Does he not, from that experience, think it is so important for our leaders here in Canada to stand up clearly to extremism right here in our country, to speak out against racist movements and anti-Semitic movements in our country, and to be vocal at every moment to call it out?
    Madam Speaker, I do believe that we need to be standing up against extremism and speaking about it. Again, the Liberals make a good show of it, but what about speaking up and doing something about Iran and the IRG, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard? The Liberals say they disapprove of it, but they speak out of both sides of their mouths. What about Hong Kong? It took them forever to actually stand up for the people protesting in Hong Kong. What about the Uighurs in China? What about other things all over the world?
    It is disgraceful, the government and what it does. Yes, I will commend some of its actions in helping Ukraine, but it is not enough. We need a lot more done in the world. Canada needs more of us to be involved.
    Madam Speaker, I am somewhat disappointed in the sense that the Conservatives had options. They could have suggested an emergency debate. They could have suggested a take-note debate. They could have used an opposition day. There are all sorts of alternatives to deal with the issue they brought forward this morning. It would appear that they did not want to see Bill S-5 debated.
    Why is the Conservative Party so upset with the fact that Canadians want to see action on the environment? The Conservative Party persists in preventing debate on Bill S-5, which is up for the first time. Instead, it brings this motion.
    Madam Speaker, we are concerned and want the government to actually take action when people are dying and there are millions of refugees. We need to continue to bring things forward.
    I have an example. About two or three months ago, there was an opportunity to have free flights come here. They would have brought in refugees and sent back humanitarian aid. It was constantly being stymied by the Liberals. I asked what was going on here to try to maybe shame them, and the next day it was changed. I appreciate the change. Sometimes we have to bring things forward to see change. That is the reason. This is an emergency.
    Madam Speaker, given the horrific comments by Danielle Smith promoting pro-Putin propaganda and blaming the people of Ukraine for causing the war, I would like to see if just one Conservative, and I am not asking for much here, who has a backbone and a willingness to stand up and denounce Danielle Smith and her pro-Putin propaganda.
    If I can have that one, we would be much further ahead today in Parliament. I see a hand up. I want to hear him denounce Danielle Smith and her pro-Putin propaganda.
    Madam Speaker, it is kind of interesting that the member does not want to focus on seeing things happening and bringing people forward. He wants to go into politics on a provincial level. She needs to take responsibility for herself. We are standing—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. I would remind members that they had an opportunity to ask questions and make comments. I would like the hon. member for Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge to respond in the time he has left. I am sure everybody wants to hear his answer.
    Madam Speaker, the Conservatives unequivocally condemn Russia and Putin for their invasion. We put the blame on Russia, and we believe 100% in supporting Ukraine.

  (1230)  

    Madam Speaker, I am delighted to speak to this motion today. Earlier today, I was listening to the debate and heard the member for Winnipeg North say that it is not the right time to be speaking about Ukraine. The fact of the matter is that under the present circumstances, it is always the right time to be speaking about Ukraine. I point out that this motion is properly and procedurally before the House this morning.
    The people who are watching know what we are debating, but I am going to read the motion into the record. The motion before us that we are debating right now calls for us to do the following things:
(a) condemn the continuing attack on Ukraine ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin,
(b) recognize that a growing proportion of the Russian people are bravely resisting and opposing this attack,
(c) call on the Government of Canada to develop measures to support Russian dissidents, human rights defenders, and conscientious objectors within the military who are seeking to urgently flee Russia, while ensuring that necessary security precautions are taken.
    First and foremost, we need to understand that since World War II, the world has organized its affairs around maintaining international global peace and security. Many institutions were created, starting with the League of Nations after World War I. That organization was ultimately supplanted by the United Nations. Other organizations, like NATO, were created to maintain world peace. For most of the last 70 years, including the last 30 years after the end of the Cold War, the world has benefited from the peace dividend that these organizations have created the environment for.
    That all changed on February 24 of this year. Mr. Putin's actions have been a wake-up call for democratic nations like Canada that believe in peace, democracy and human rights. That is why we are all so horrified by Mr. Putin's actions.
    Throughout this time, I have had cause to reflect on our amazing democracy here in Canada. As Churchill said, democracy is the worst form of Government except for all the rest.
     In Canada, the official opposition performs a fundamental role in ensuring good government. I know that sometimes my colleagues on the government side may find a strong opposition to be a bit of a nuisance. However, I think about countries like Russia, where there is no real opposition and where dissidents who oppose Mr. Putin suffer great penalty, from imprisonment to torture to being murdered, just like the mob makes people disappear. In Russia, there is also no free and fair media. What people see on television and on their social media feeds are the lies and propaganda disseminated and fed to them by the state.
    I understand the power of propaganda. Earlier, my colleague mentioned that he visited a concentration camp. Back in May, I was in Berlin and I visited the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. When one walks up to the gate of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, like all of the concentration camps, there are three words written in German on the gate. Those three words are “Arbeit Macht Frei”. What do they mean? They mean “work makes you free”. Why were those words on the gates to the concentration camps? It was to propagandize those who were being imprisoned there to think they had hope and to provide them with false hope. That is the power of propaganda and that is what Mr. Putin is doing right now to his own population in Russia.
    There is another reason this motion is so important. Yesterday in this House, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, during question period, said that we have done a lot for Ukraine but that “we have to do more”. Well, here is the opportunity to do more by voting for this motion. All this motion asks for is for the “Government of Canada to develop measures to support Russian dissidents, human rights defenders, and conscientious objectors...who are seeking to urgently flee Russia”. Frankly, I am surprised that the government has not already taken steps to help these people, who are fighting their own government and supporting Ukraine.

  (1235)  

    Where is the leadership from the Prime Minister? I remember when Prime Minister Harper told Mr. Putin to his face to get out of Crimea. Where is this Prime Minister? Why is he not saying the same things?
    One area we have to address is energy and Canada's complete and utter failure to support the energy needs of our friends in Germany and Europe. The fact of the matter is that after seven long years of the government's failed energy policies, Canada, one of the largest natural gas producers on the planet, is completely unable to help our allies in their time of need.
    Putin is using energy as a weapon of war against our allies in Europe, and what does this country do instead? We send turbines back to Russia to help them sell their blood natural gas to Europe. It is shameful. It also stands in the way of LNG here in Canada at the same time. It is obvious that these permits for the turbines should be cancelled. The Ukrainian ambassador has made a compelling plea for cancellation and it is time for the government to act.
    Regarding the issue of dissidents, Vladimir Kara-Murza is a Russian patriot who fights against this tyrannical state for basic democratic rights. He puts his life on the line every day for the basic human rights that we here in Canada simply take for granted. Do members know what Putin did to him? Vladimir Kara-Murza is in prison. That is how Putin deals with opposition. Again, where is the leadership of the Prime Minister? Vladimir Kara-Murza has been in a Russian prison since April. They accused him of spreading fake news and he has been charged with high treason, yet the government does nothing.
    I take the Minister of Foreign Affairs at her word when she says she will do more. Well, here is her chance. Here is her and her government's opportunity to do just that. It is time to show leadership. It is past time for the Prime Minister to learn from Mr. Harper's example and tell Mr. Putin to get out of Ukraine. It is past time to support the energy needs of our allies in Europe and it is past time for the government to take real actions, support this motion and help Vladimir Kara-Murza and the brave Russians like him.
    Vladimir Kara-Murza provides real opposition to Putin's tyranny and is currently subjected to monstrous police and judicial pressure from authorities. He and his family live under constant pressure. Putin's mob-style government will stop at nothing to destroy those who threaten his totalitarian control through terror, acts of violence and fear. Mr. Kara-Murza is not the only one. We know what Putin has done to Alexei Navalny. We know what he did to Sergei Magnitsky. Again, where is the leadership?
    The Prime Minister and the government must support this motion now, show leadership and help these brave Russian dissidents and our friends in Ukraine.
    Madam Speaker, I would ask the member where the leadership is from the Conservative Party. If this is such a burning issue, as the member tried to portray, why did the Conservatives not bring it up in the form of an emergency debate? Why not work with the government on having a take-note debate? Why not have an opposition day motion?
    Why wait for the morning we are supposed to be debating the environment and Bill S-5, an important piece of legislation? This would have been the second day of debate on the bill, yet the Conservative Party today says that this motion is important. For the Government of Canada, the issue has always been important. The Conservative Party, on the other hand, chose today for it, a day when we were going to debate the environment, something it does not support, and the environmental legislation that would make our environment a better place for all Canadians. Why?
    Madam Speaker, I think one of the things the member opposite does not understand is that this motion is properly and procedurally before the House. We have brought it forward according to the rules of procedure. If he does not agree with that, I suppose he could bring up a point of order. To get back to the very first thing I said in my speech, it is obvious to me that he and his colleagues want to do everything to avoid talking about the substance of this motion.

  (1240)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, from the beginning of the debate, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons has been impugning the motives of the official opposition and telling us that this is not the right time. He questions the timeliness of such a debate this morning.
    However, I am not hearing much from him on the substance of the issue. Maybe my colleague could help him reflect on the substance of the question.
    Paragraph (c) states that we “call on the Government of Canada to develop measures to support Russian dissidents”.
    Maybe my colleague could give us a number of measures that might inspire the government to resolve the matter and allow us to move on to other things, namely the debate on Bill S‑5.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, unfortunately I only have a few seconds and there is so much I could say. The bottom line is that Canada needs to show leadership. That is what I said in my speech. We should take a page out of Prime Minister Harper's experience and speak directly to Mr. Putin to say that it is time to get out of Ukraine.
    Madam Speaker, I was very interested in my hon. colleague's talk about propaganda, because one of the most dangerous things we have seen with the Putin regime is the powerful use of propaganda and disinformation. That needs to be called out.
    One of the things I found very concerning was to see the Premier of Alberta, Danielle Smith, using her position to promote Putin propaganda, like, for example, claiming that it is right for people in Ukraine to be forcibly annexed into Russia. That has to be called out. There is nothing democratic about this. This is not about choice; it is about an illegal annexation that is being done with terror, murder, torture and rape. If we are going to stand up to Putin and Putin propaganda, we have to call out those who are spreading disinformation.
     I ask the member if he will denounce Danielle Smith and her totally unacceptable comments promoting Putin's misinformation war against the Ukrainian people.
    Madam Speaker, I want to say unequivocally that I completely denounce what the Premier of Alberta said. I disagree with it wholeheartedly, and I think every member of this House feels the same way. I am part of the class of 2019 and have never seen this House as united over a single issue as it is with what is going on in Ukraine. I will continue to speak up for Ukraine and will continue to denounce those who speak for Russia.
    Madam Speaker, I will start off by saying that I am going to split my time with the member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman.
    I am going to focus on three aspects and issues. I know the primary aspects of the motion today are focused on the report from the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. The report condemns the continuing attacks in Ukraine by Russian President Vladimir Putin, recognizes that a growing portion of Russian people are bravely resisting this and, finally, calls on what actions the Government of Canada can do about it.
    I am going to provide a little history, from my background and professional opinion, of why we are in this situation in the first place, what has been done, what is currently ongoing and more, to get to the crux of the issue in today's motion, which is what can be done going into the future.
    It is on the public record that I was surprised when things happened the way they happened earlier this year, in the February time frame, with Russia's illegal invasion into Ukraine and how much the Russians actually tried to achieve.
     This is where the west, including Canada, made a mistake. We should never have pulled all our trainers and diplomats out of Ukraine in the first place. I think this sent a cross signal to Putin and the Russian regime that the west did not care.
    That was the wrong strategic message to send. I understand and I wish that I still had access to all of the intelligence reports and stuff, like when I was in the Canadian Armed Forces and we were tracking this stuff fairly regularly. However, three years ago I made the transition here to politics, and I no longer have that same access to information that the Government of Canada and the appropriate officials have.
    My point is that there were all sorts of indications, and I think that is why, ultimately, the decision was made, and we can say for prudence's sake, to pull out of Ukraine. I think that by pulling all of our forces out, and when I say our forces, I am talking about the west, from Kyiv and everything to the west, it sent a message to Putin that said, “Hey, Ukraine is available here. We are not interested in defending it.”
    I really think that, as previous Canadian Armed Forces task force commanders in Ukraine have said, we should be in there, raising the alarm bells diplomatically and through our trainers right from day one, and not necessarily pulling all of our forces out. We should accept the risk.
    I think, from my understanding of the geopolitical situation, the real concern, and it is still the concern to this day, was about a possible escalation to a nuclear conflict. How do we manage that?
    I just think, all right, we can look at the American forces, the U.S. They could have pulled their forces out, but I think, ultimately, for ourselves and maybe the French and maybe the Brits, we should have left our trainers on the ground and definitely left our diplomats because, despite the fact that the conflict is still ongoing, the right decision has been made by the west to get our diplomatic missions going again in Ukraine.
    To speak again about just where it failed and why things have happened the way they have happened, still talking about the history, ultimately, Russia went in there. It did not have a competent force. I think a lot of the Russian generals were too scared to speak truth to power to Putin, so they thought this was going to be a cakewalk. However, based on the history and all the information we now have available, we know that a lot of those conscripts or reserved forces that were sent into Ukraine did not have a clue about what they were getting themselves into and, after five years of NATO forces and the west training the Ukrainian forces, we saw the benefit of what can happen when one has a well-trained western force, i.e. what the Ukrainians have managed to get themselves evolved into under a mission command construct, and what they were able to do, to bloody the nose and put up the resistance. I give so much kudos to the heroics and the courage of the Ukrainian people. They put up a tremendous fight and Canada needs to continue to support them.
    Let us talk about where we are now. Putin continues to do that. He recognizes that he got that bloody nose, that he got beat up pretty bad by Ukrainian forces. What is he doing now? He is basically resorting to tools of terrorism and utilizing and attacking the civilian population, versus going after Ukrainian and legitimate military targets.

  (1245)  

    We see that as Putin targets Ukraine's major city centres, their infrastructure and their energy infrastructure, doing everything in his power to take out women, children and people who have nothing to do with this conflict. That is where it is getting to.
    We have heard comments about propaganda. Absolutely, I am in 100% agreement. If we did a quick survey of all the members in the House of Commons, I am sure every single one of us from across the political spectrum has been getting phone calls and emails from constituents concerned about having heard this or that about Ukraine. It shows the danger that exists out there with the Russian propaganda and how it is trying to influence this. That propaganda is not just in the west. That propaganda is ongoing in Ukraine itself and within Russia itself.
    To get to the crux of this motion, the Russian people themselves are recognizing that there is a lot of propaganda that they do not buy. This, tied to the potential increased threat of a nuclear conflict, has them scared. They are looking at the situation now and saying that if this escalates, the west is not going to let this go, and it is their own people who are going to die because of a dictator in Vladimir Putin who is illegally invading another country for purposes that are nothing beyond him propping up his own regime, his own dictatorship and his own concerns for consolidating power. We need to do everything in our power to stop that.
    What has Canada done about it? Obviously, we have called this out and there have been sanctions imposed. However, as I said, we have made some significant potential errors, and we could have done a much better job. We have supplied all sorts of money. I will give the government kudos. We got the M777s over there and a bunch of 155-millimetre ammunition, but Ukraine needs more. It keeps asking for this more and more, time and time again.
    I stood in this House in the February time frame and asked the government about giving Ukrainians our old armoured vehicles. We have LAV IIIs; we have Bison ambulances, and we have Coyotes, surveillance-capable packages that are able to go there. We need to get them to the Ukrainians so they have the necessary support and ability to keep this fight going.
    However, it is not just me asking for that. Ukrainian MPs came to Canada in June and asked when they were going to get these vehicles, and there is still no answer from the government. Why will the government not just provide the necessary support in armoured capability platforms to the Ukrainian military? I still do not get it.
    There is lots we can do with respect to Ukrainian refugees. There have been debates here in the House about that, and additional measures. Colleagues of mine are currently in and out of Poland and Ukraine, and former friends of mine have done the lion's share of getting the majority of women, children and Ukrainian refugees out. I had the pleasure of meeting a number of Ukrainian refugees in my riding this past summer. Kudos to the Canadian population for everything they are doing to help them out.
    However, now more and more is going on. Russian people and dissidents are speaking out who recognize that this has to stop. This motion calls for the Government of Canada to actually do something to help. That is what the motion is calling for, and it is absolutely necessary. It needs to develop the necessary measures to help these Russian dissidents get out of the situation and allow them to be that voice, because the more of them speak out, the easier it is to combat the disinformation.
    In conclusion, I have talked about where we have made the mistakes historically, why the situation is as terrible as it is, what Russia is doing and all of its terrible actions, why we need to continue to oppose Putin and, finally, the importance of this motion and why the Government of Canada needs to do more.

  (1250)  

    Madam Speaker, I honour the member for the service that he has provided. There is a week coming up in which we need to make sure we do that.
    I want the member to reflect on something else that has been in the news, which is associated. The British government has warned ex-RAF fighters not to train Chinese pilots. In addition, we hear that former American service people, including senior officers, have been working with the Saudi Arabian government. I am wondering if he could reflect on what he may know about Canadian ex-military people off on these adventures and whether or not he considers this to be dangerous to the overall picture of world security.
    Madam Speaker, I thank the member for the very interesting question.
    I cannot speak with any level of fidelity on what is going on in Saudi Arabia or China from the perspectives of other nations and of ex-military folks, but I denounce it. Regardless of one's background, if one is going to go over and help train Chinese forces or forces in other countries that are not democratic and do not stand up for our values, I have issues with that.
    That being said, I want to extend a huge “thank you” and kudos to those former Canadian Armed Forces members who are in Ukraine, fighting with the Ukrainian people and helping to train them, because that is what we need more of. Again, it is sad in some cases, but it is the reality of the world, and they are the true heroes around this globe who stand up and risk their own lives. I get that there are bigger international concerns around it, but I just want to say “thank you” to all Canadian Armed Forces veterans who are in Ukraine making a difference.

  (1255)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, last spring, as a member of the Subcommittee on International Human Rights, I had the opportunity to speak with Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
    I asked him whether he thinks there is an imbalance in how the west is dealing with the conflict in Ukraine relative to other equally serious conflicts in the world. I am thinking of Tigray, the Uighurs, the situation in Iran and the current crisis in Haiti.
    Does my colleague think that the motion moved this morning by the Conservative Party reflects this overexposure of a major crisis?
    We fully agree that this crisis is significant. However, the west has demonstrated a distinct lack of concern when it comes to dealing with major crises, particularly those in Africa. What does my colleague think?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, that is a valid question.
     In the west, governments make decisions based on national interest and things that are going on. Unfortunately, the world is not fair. How do we fix it and make it up? However, I do take issue with the fact that this is a motion the committee approved, and any member of the committee could have brought it forward for debate this morning on concurrence, which is the crux of it.
    Getting to the main portion of the member's question, I would agree that more can always be done. In the west, Canada in particular is one of the nations that has not only the political will but the financial capabilities, despite dealing with this massive deficit right now. Canada could be doing more in all sorts of nations. How the government of the day chooses to deal with that is, well, a good question for the government.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his intervention.
    The member spoke about the slowness with which the supplies and weapons have been delivered to Russia. However, on June 28 of this year, the Prime Minister promised $75 million to help with humanitarian aid going to Ukraine. Unfortunately, none of that, as of September 1, had even been earmarked, let alone distributed.
    I am wondering if the member has any questions or concerns as well about the fact that humanitarian aid that this government has promised to the Ukrainian people has not even been delivered, considering that winter is coming and they are in dire need of that support.
    Madam Speaker, yes, I am concerned. It is absolutely egregious that the government promises one thing and then does not deliver on it. I am a big believer that we should not make promises, or that it is way better to underpromise and overdeliver than vice versa, as we have seen so much over the last seven years of the Liberal government. It is really good at promising but really bad at delivering.
    Madam Speaker, it is a privilege to rise and close the debate this morning on this important concurrence motion.
    I was disappointed to hear the member Winnipeg North say that he wanted to shut down this debate on the condemnation of the Russian invasion and genocide being committed in Ukraine. We need to reaffirm our position of standing with the innocent people of Ukraine, who are now civilian targets of the Russian Federation. We know Russia has been brutally attacking infrastructure, as well as places like hospitals, apartment buildings, and using not just cruise missiles and artillery but kamikaze drones it has acquired from Iran.
    We have to stand against these terrorist actions that the Russian Federation has taken. We have to continue to point out that when it is brutalizing the innocent people of Ukraine, it is committing war crimes. When it is wildly saying that it is going to try to take away Ukraine's language, culture and, again, revisiting that Stalin era under the Soviet Union of the Holodomor when it tried to stamp out Ukrainian nationalism, we have to call it what it is: an atrocity, a genocide. Everyone who is responsible for raping women, murdering children, attacking seniors in Ukraine must be held to account before a higher authority.
    I want to thank my colleague from Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound for his articulation of what Canada could do, and should do more, in support of the Ukrainian forces in their war of defending their territory from the barbarians of the north.
     Russia continues to recruit and conscript more Russian men to join the battle. It continues to reach out and hire mercenaries from places like Syria and Chechnya, using the Wagner Group, which should be listed as a terrorist organization. We are now hearing that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, RGC, of Iran is also fighting in Ukraine to support Russian efforts.
    We have to ensure that we are properly equipping all the Ukrainian armed forces and meeting the demands and requests they have made of Canada and our allies. As has already been articulated by the member for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, we are sitting on a fleet of armoured vehicles, Bisons, Coyotes and TLAV, all which are about to be retired and replaced with brand new super-Bisons, the new LAVs that are being built in Canada, at GDLS in London, Ontario. Those will be replacing this fleet very shortly.
    Why are we not sending those LAVs. These armoured vehicles have proven themselves in places like Afghanistan, to support Ukrainian troops on the ground, providing them with the armoured ambulances, the Bison ambulances, so they can get their wounded off the front lines and into hospitals. We need to actually provide them with Role 3 Field Hospitals. We bought a bunch to support Canada's pandemic efforts. We know these mobile hospitals are sitting in containers, never used. Let us put them on a plane and get them over there so Ukraine can properly triage battlefield wounds, save lives and help soldiers recover.
    One part of the motion also calls on helping those who are resisting Putin's hypocrisy, who are opposing the war in Ukraine and are in Russia today. Just yesterday, I met with Bill Browder, who has advocated for the Sergei Magnitsky legislation around the world. I met with Vladimir Kara-Murza's wife, Evgenia. Vladimir Kara-Murza, who is a political opponent of Vladimir Putin, has now been jailed on trumped up charges of high treason, He has been given a 22-year sentence. His crime is that he called out Vladimir Putin for his illegal invasion of Ukraine, a Russian criticizing a Russian.
    We are talking about free speech, which no longer exists in Vladimir Putin's Russia. It is about ensuring people have informed debate. Of course, with the disinformation campaign put on by the Kremlin, there is no way to get the truth into the hands of the Russian public.

  (1300)  

    As Russia conscripts another 200,000-plus men to join the fight in Ukraine, people are leaving in droves and fleeing as refugees from Russia. It is not just having to deal with the displacement and the refugee crisis that has been created in Ukraine because of this illegal invasion, but fighting-age Russian men know this war is illegal. They know Putin is going to lose this war and they are not about to sacrifice their lives for a dictator. We have to provide them with the opportunity to flee the country and come to allied nations, including Canada, so they can have safe haven, because they are taking up a very principled stand as conscientious deserters. Therefore, we have to be there as they object to this unnecessary war.
    I also want to comment on the comments by the new premier of Alberta, which has come up a few times today in debate. I will say this. She needs to educate herself on what is happening in the war in Ukraine. She needs to actually go and talk to the thousands of Ukrainian refugees who have now decided to call Alberta home. If she talked to those refugees, she would realize very quickly that neutrality, as she has suggested, is not an option. We cannot trust Vladimir Putin. He is a pathological liar. We cannot trust any piece of paper he has signed, because he has already violated the Minks 1 and 2 agreements, never mind throwing away the treaty on the nuclear disarmament of Ukraine, the Budapest memorandum. If we cannot trust him, how can we negotiate with him? How do we maintain a level of neutrality?
    There is something to be said about respecting the will of their Parliament, the will of the people. Through free will, the people of Ukraine have demonstrated, first through the Orange Revolution and then the Euromaidan on the streets of Kyiv and across the country, that they want to have closer relationships with the West. They want to be a member of the European Union. They want to be a member of NATO. If the people want that, which is one thing that President Zelenskyy came to power on, then we had better support them, because that is a democratic right and a democratic thing to do.
    I congratulate Premier Smith on her ability to get elected as the premier of Alberta. She is respecting the democratic process there. I hope she respects the free will under the democratic process that is taking place in Ukraine today and that she will support those people from Ukraine who have decided to call Alberta home.

  (1305)  

    Is the House ready for the question?
    Some hon. members: Question.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): The question is on the motion.

[Translation]

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

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to request a recorded division.

[Translation]

    Pursuant to order made Thursday, June 23, the recorded division stands deferred until later today, at the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions.

[English]

Petitions

Charitable Organizations  

    Madam Speaker, I have a number of petitions I want to present to the House today that deal with a variety of issues.
    The first petition raises the concern of petitioners with respect to a commitment made in the Liberal Party's 2021 election platform. That was a commitment to, in effect, politicize charitable status determinations and deny charitable status to organizations that take positions on important issues with which the Liberal Party of Canada does not agree.
    They call this the application of a values test to charitable status determinations. They want to see charitable status determinations made on a politically and ideologically neutral basis that respects the letter and the spirit of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms when it comes to freedom of expression without discrimination.
    The petitioners call on the House to protect and preserve the application of charitable status rules on a politically and ideologically neutral basis without discrimination and they also ask the House to affirm the right of Canadians to freedom of expression.

  (1310)  

Falun Gong  

    Madam Speaker, the next petition I am tabling is about the ongoing persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China.
    The petitioners note the various forms that persecution has taken over decades, as well as the work done by the late, great David Kilgour, as well as David Matas and others on exposing the persecution and the organ harvesting and trafficking component of that persecution.
    The petitioners ask the House to take action with respect to this persecution, to stop the killing and organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners and to take every opportunity to speak out against the persecution of these practitioners.

Human Organ Trafficking  

    Madam Speaker, the next petition is in a way similar. It relates to organ harvesting.
    The petition is in support of Bill S-223, a bill proposed in the other place by Senator Ataullahjan, which is currently in the House before the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. It is currently stalled before that committee, and petitioners want to see this Parliament be the one that finally gets Bill S-223 passed.
    The bill would prohibit someone from going abroad to receive an organ taken without the consent of the person whose organ it is. It would also create a mechanism by which people could be deemed inadmissible to Canada if they were involved in forced organ harvesting and trafficking.

Human Rights  

    Madam Speaker, the next petition relates to another human rights issue involving the People's Republic of China. It deals with the ongoing, arbitrary and illegal detention of Canadian citizen Huseyin Celil.
    The petitioners note the significant amount of public conversation and government conversation, rightly so, around the arbitrary and illegal detention of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. They also note that like the two Michaels, Mr. Celil is a Canadian citizen and is facing ongoing arbitrary detention.
    Mr. Celil is a human rights activist detained in China for supporting the rights of Uighurs. He was taken from Uzbekistan, illegally rendered to China and he has been in detention there for over a decade and a half.
    The petitioners have a number of asks of the government. They want to see the government push and demand that the Chinese government recognize Mr. Celil's Canadian citizenship and provide him with consular and legal services in accordance with international law. They want the government to formally state that the release of Mr. Celil from Chinese detainment and his return to Canada is a priority of the Canadian government, of equal concern as the unjust detentions of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.
    The petitioners want the government to appoint a special envoy to secure Mr. Cecil's release and also to, as it has done with other cases, to seek the assistance of the Biden administration and other allies around the world in obtaining Mr. Cecil's release.

Carbon Pricing  

    Madam Speaker, this next petition highlights the concern of petitioners about the government's plan to triple, triple, triple the carbon tax. The petitioners note that in the 2019 federal election, the federal government said that the carbon tax would be frozen at $50 a tonne annually and—
    Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I really do enjoy this member's presentation of petitions, and he is diligent in presenting them, but I do think some of the last rhetoric may not have been found in the petition and was actually the talking points of the Conservative caucus we hear every day. I would ask the Speaker to rule on whether saying “triple, triple, triple the carbon tax” is part of an appropriate petition presentation.
    I am not sure what is in the petition itself. I would hope that members are sticking to a short summary of the petitions themselves.
    I know there are other members who want to present petitions as well. I will allow the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan to continue, but I also want to remind him to ensure that what he is saying is within the petition itself. I do not want this to be a point of debate.
     The hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan has the floor.
    Madam Speaker, if there are other members, maybe I could be given a signal when there are three or four minutes left in the time, and I will stop there. I do have a few petitions, but I am happy to stop partway through to ensure others have an opportunity.
    This petition does not specifically use the phrase, “triple, triple, triple”. However—
    I ask the member to ensure he sticks to what is in the petition and not put his own views forward or his party's views forward.
    Please stick to the petitions and summarize what is in the petition.
    Madam Speaker, I was going to say that I think it is a reasonable summary, insofar as the text of the petition specifically notes that in the 2019 federal election the then Liberal environment minister said the carbon tax would be frozen at—
    Madam Speaker, on a point of order, I believe the rules of presenting petitions are that there should be a brief summary and do not allow a member to literally fill up the time that might be asked for by other members presenting petitions. The member should be directed to keep it brief. This is not a speech.
    I did just mention that to the hon. member, and I would say that applies to everyone. Again I would just ask the member to provide us with a brief summary of what is in the petition. When presenting petitions, we cannot be providing our own views on the subject matter.
    The hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.
    Madam Speaker, I will certainly triple my efforts to stay true to the rules of this place.
    Petitioners are concerned that the Liberal government has repeatedly claimed that the carbon tax would be revenue-neutral, whereas in many cases that is not the case. These petitioners say that low- and middle-income Canadians are already overtaxed. Specifically, they are asking the government to keep its promise to not increase the carbon tax beyond $50 per tonne.

  (1315)  

    Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
    I am sure the member is aware that we are not supposed to be actually reading the petition either. We are supposed to be reporting a summary—
    I understand. The hon. member is actually summarizing the petition by reading a couple of the remarks. I think that every member does that, so I just want to allow the hon. member to continue so that we can get on with the business of the day.
    The hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.
    Madam Speaker, it is a bit entertaining that I have received, in the middle of the same petition, objections to both not sticking to the text of the petition—
    Again, the hon. member is now going into debate, and I would ask him to read what is in his petitions. Does the hon. member still have petitions to table?

Energy-Related Manufacturing  

    Madam Speaker, I do, but I am finished with the petition respecting the carbon tax. I would not want to go into it for a third time.
    The next petition is one that is very dear to my own constituents. It is expressing support for Alberta's industrial heartland as one of the most attractive locations for chemical, petrochemical, oil and gas investment. Petitioners note the role of Alberta's industrial heartland. They note that energy-related manufacturing plays a crucial role in Canadian energy development and security and in providing jobs and opportunities for Canadians. The undersigned call on the Government of Canada to advance policies that support growth in Alberta's industrial heartland and growth in energy-related manufacturing in general, as well as to support a permanent accelerated capital cost allowance for energy-related manufacturing.

Oil and Gas Industry  

    Madam Speaker, the next petition deals with the issue of energy security.
    Petitioners note that the demand for oil and gas in Canada is still very significant, that Alberta and western Canada in particular produce the most environmental oil and gas with the highest labour standards compared to other countries, and that Canada should be only using oil and gas from within Canada, rather than importing from other countries, especially hostile ones. Petitioners therefore call on the House to work toward the elimination of foreign oil and gas imports into Canada over a five-year period, thus creating more jobs and helping to build a stronger economy.

Medical Assistance in Dying  

    Madam Speaker, the next petition raises concerns with respect to Bill C-7 from the last Parliament and the fact that the bill would allow euthanasia for those with a mental illness as their sole medical condition.
    This petition quotes the Canadian Mental Health Association in saying that CMHA does not believe that mental illnesses are irremediable and it supports recovery. Petitioners also note that suicide is the second leading cause of death for Canadians between the ages of 10 and 19. Petitioners call on the government to reject proposals to allow euthanasia in cases where mental health is the sole condition at play and further to protect Canadians struggling with mental health challenges and facilitate treatment and recovery for them as opposed to death.
    I think I will leave it there for the present.

Animal Welfare  

    Madam Speaker, the petitioners are asking that the Government of Canada and the Parliament of Canada consider moving in the direction the European Parliament voted to pursue back in September of 2021, and that is to phase out the use of animals in research. The petitioners note that animal models do not closely resemble human biological systems and are not necessarily as accurate for medical research as other available alternatives.
    The undersigned ask that the government follow the lead of the European Parliament and commit to phasing out the use of live animals in research.

Guaranteed Livable Income  

    Madam Speaker, I am proud to present a petition that calls on the Government of Canada to implement a guaranteed livable income for all Canadians. There are 689 signatories to this petition who, among other things, note that a guaranteed livable income would reduce poverty, which, in turn, would actually reduce demand for social services, law enforcement and health care, thereby leading to reduced costs. It would also replace the patchwork of federal and provincial income assistance programs. Last, it would implement and establish an income floor for all Canadians, reflecting regional differences in the cost of living.

  (1320)  

Questions on the Order Paper

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

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[Translation]

Strengthening Environmental Protection for a Healthier Canada Act

    The House resumed from October 7 consideration of the motion that Bill S-5, An Act to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, to make related amendments to the Food and Drugs Act and to repeal the Perfluorooctane Sulfonate Virtual Elimination Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Madam Speaker, at last we are talking about Bill S-5. The Bloc Québécois supports the principle of Bill S‑5 with respect to strengthening environmental protection for a healthy Canada. I want to stress the word “strengthening”. The Canadian Environmental Protection Act, or CEPA, has not been updated since 1999. I am therefore speaking for numerous organizations and thousands of people who have been urging the federal government for years to carefully review the act. People have even come to my riding office to talk about it. It is an important job, of course, but it is also a monumental task if we want to do it right and get it all done within a reasonable time frame.
    The senators received the bill on February 9, and they finished their study on June 22. It goes without saying that they proposed amendments. They also criticized the speed at which they were expected to work, especially since this is a complex legal issue and this bill has some important technical aspects. Changing one part of an act can sometimes have a ripple effect on other sections. I will get back to this later.
    One of these amendments concerns new substances, more specifically, living organisms. Yesterday morning, I asked the representative of Environment and Climate Change Canada questions on this topic during the briefing on Bill S-5. She told me that, following the Senate's amendments, a consultation was planned. However, the required public consultation was not announced to stakeholders and the public until last Thursday. Why did the government wait until mid-October to hold the consultation when it could have done so any time after June 22? The results of the consultation are vital for our committee work.
    I would like to point out that it is not enough to revise, modernize and strengthen CEPA. We need to make sure that this bill is only the first of many that will ensure that all aspects of the act are completely reviewed and adjusted in light of the scientific knowledge and the assessment and monitoring technologies we now have at our disposal. These future bills, which should complement this one, should be drafted and tabled as soon as possible. I hope that we will not have to wait another 20 years.
    Special attention should definitely be paid to the problem of air pollution and contaminants being released into the environment, which the scientific literature tells us affects the health of women, children and vulnerable individuals, as well as the issue of genetically modified organisms. This one revision is not enough.
    However, the good news is that the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change and his parliamentary secretary, the hon. member for Cloverdale—Langley City, have said much the same thing. I think that there is enough time left in this parliamentary session to look at the rest.
    I do not have a medical background, but at the risk of repeating myself, although I am certain my colleagues will forgive me, every time I have an opportunity to speak in the House or even to the people in my riding, I always pair the environment with health. These topics are interrelated. I have listened closely to environmental protection organizations such as Nature Canada, Vigilance OGM, Breast Cancer Action Quebec and the Association québécoise des médecins pour l'environnement.
    Last March, 54 organizations and more than 200 women concerned about these issues signed a letter to the members of the board of directors studying Bill S‑5, the members of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and the Prime Minister. This 13-page letter highlights the long list of health problems associated with certain chemical substances and recommends amendments that would remedy the shortcomings.
    Let us look at one example. How many consumers know that Canada's chemical regulatory system is officially based on post-market reporting? Manufacturers do not have to submit a report until after their product has gone on the market. This report is used before the effects have even been evaluated.
    In 2022, the scientific and medical literature provided ample proof of the risks associated with cumulative exposure to PFAS and BPA, which can be found everywhere on a daily basis, including in packaging. They are known endocrine disruptors.

  (1325)  

    Here is a list of health effects: altered estrogen action, breast cancer, altered sperm count and quality, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. As if that were not enough, I could add hormone dysfunction and immunological effects such as decreased vaccine response. I am certain that this is important information. I could also talk about reproductive issues, including decreased fertility.
    I will not name them all, because that would take too long. Given that the data provided by Environment and Climate Change Canada in 2018 showed that less than 2% of the regulated industry community was inspected in 2017-18, there is cause for concern. This means that the act is not being enforced as strenuously as it once was. In 2015-16, the Department of the Environment reported that 43 companies had been investigated for violating Canadian law. In 2018-19, that number had dropped to 12. The COVID-19 pandemic still lay ahead.
     At the very least, it is unfortunate that it took more than 20 years to revise this important act. That being said, let us look to the future. Let us bring the act robustly into the 21st century and protect it from lobbies and commercial interests. Industry players are often quick to hold up their rights against those allowing for a better application of the law and enhanced monitoring, against the public’s right to be informed and protected from substances that are hazardous to people's health.
    Let us look more specifically at Bill S-5. The government made a big thing of the amendment on the right to a healthy environment. We were not fooled, and Canadians should not be either, by the Liberal government’s claim that we have a real right to a healthy environment. This is not the case, according to the senior public servants who presented Bill S-5 to parliamentarians when it was tabled.
    Transparency has its merits, so I will say straight out and in good faith that the clauses regarding the right to a healthy environment and those concerning vulnerable populations are in the bill’s preamble. This means that their scope is within the act and that they have no impact on other Canadian laws. What does that mean?
    My colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands, whom I commend, had something to say about this before we returned to our ridings. It means that, even if protection of the right to a healthy environment is added to the government’s mission, that does not create a basic right to live in a healthy environment.
    I would like to quote my colleague from Cloverdale—Langley City. In his October 7 speech, he said that the “implementation framework is expected to set a path for a progressive implementation of a right to a healthy environment...and to evolve over time, based on the views of Canadians and the experience gained by the government.”
    I think it would be appropriate to clarify what it really means to talk about a right that will evolve over time in a preamble. What does that mean exactly? I hope that it does not mean that we will spend another 20 years finding out.
    Fundamental rights are the rights granted to every individual and guaranteed under the rule of law and in a democracy. Fundamental rights include human rights, the rights of citizens and civil liberties. The right to a healthy environment, which can have all sorts of meanings, is not a new idea.
    It first started in Switzerland in 1971. Sweden added that right to its constitution in 1974. The primacy of this right has not eroded over time. Over the decades, governments have made considerable efforts to integrate this right in their policies and legislation. We certainly cannot say that Canada is a leader in this regard.
    There may have been a time when the issue was given less importance in the political agendas of governments, but our environmental and health problems have surely moved things along. One fact remains: When a right makes its way into a constitution of a state of law, that right becomes a fundamental right. According to the UN, 153 states have legally recognized this right in their constitution. Before anyone says they do not believe me, I will point out that the legislative framework of the states in question and their choice of terminology and implementation do vary.
    The few countries where the constitution has no influence over environmental legislation are those that added this right more recently—such as Kenya in 2010, the Dominican Republic in 2010, Jamaica in 2012 and Fiji in 2013—or countries facing civil war or other types of social, economic and political crises. Take the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Africa has the largest number of countries where the constitution appears to have no impact on environmental legislation.

  (1330)  

    A few weeks before COP26 last year, the UN adopted a resolution making the right to a healthy environment a human right. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights now has a special rapporteur assigned to this issue, because the deterioration of the environment and climate change are recognized as interconnected human rights crises. The aim is to promote a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.
    Almost at the same time, New York modified its constitution to include the right of everyone to clean air and water and a healthy environment. As in the six U.S. states that took this step before New York did, it was an arduous struggle. Detractors of legal, social and environmental progress always say the sorts of things we will hear here in the House: it is too vague; it is imprecise; anyone can go to court; we need to protect business activity and confidential business information. We will hear these things. Of course, there was also the hon. member for Regina—Qu’Appelle who spoke of the potential litigation a revised act would attract.
    I would like to remind members that the OECD confirmed that including environmental provisions in the European constitutions led to an in-depth revision and a marked progression of environmental policy, and facilitated the implementation of inspection, monitoring and enforcement processes.
    Sometimes, we need to look to the past in order to have a clearer picture of what is happening now. That is why I wanted to see how this issue was being examined in the Canadian context, in the federal context, which continues to show its limitations.
    Several academics have focused on the issue over the years. Some feel that this type of mechanism should be included in Canadian environmental protection legislation. In 1990, the Canadian Bar Association made that recommendation in a document entitled “Sustainable Development in Canada: Options for Law Reform”. More specifically, it recommended that the federal government attempt, through a long-term strategy, to include in the Constitution the right to a healthy environment and, pending interim measures, adopt at least one law recognizing that right. We are far from that today.
    The association recommended the adoption of detailed provisions on public participation, as well as provisions to facilitate public access to the civil and criminal courts, to eliminate the limits under common law around legal standing in nuisance cases, to expand access for individuals and environmental groups, and to increase potential remedies in the event of environmental damages.
    That was over 30 years ago. I would also like to thank the Library of Parliament who, at the same time, felt it was appropriate and timely to publish a research report on the topic. I encourage my colleagues to read it. This all goes to show that successive governments have had ample time to do the right thing. I hope, therefore, that members will understand my disappointment at the half-hearted mention of the right to a healthy environment in a preamble.
    We are not falling for it. I do not think anyone has fallen for it.
     As we know, every level of government can pass laws to protect the environment if those laws are related to an area of constitutional jurisdiction under the Constitution Act, 1867, a concurrent jurisdiction. In 2006, Quebec amended chapter IV of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. It reads, “Every person has a right to live in a healthful environment in which biodiversity is preserved, to the extent and according to the standards provided by law.” Unlike the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, the Quebec charter, in the political context of Quebec, is quasi-constitutional in scope. It is plain to see that Quebec does not need Canada's help in promoting and protecting the fundamental rights of Quebeckers.
    I know full well that the federal government has not developed the humility needed to recognize the political merit of what I just mentioned, or the humility to learn from the progressive public policies implemented around the world, even though it sees itself as a leader in all things relating to the environment. Why not have the ambition to give serious meaning and scope to this provision that it plans to include in the preamble?
    Since 2006, the amendment to chapter IV of the Quebec charter not only enshrines a fundamental individual right, but also puts forward a normative principle on which the courts can rely to give an environmental dimension to other fundamental rights set out in the charter, including the right to life, personal security, freedom, private life, property and equality. That is where we are, at least in Quebec.

  (1335)  

    What is before us, with all the fanfare and under the banner of the right to a healthy environment, is not even the bare minimum. The bare minimum would be to include it in the body of the act.
    As I pointed out earlier, the addition of this right is not in the act and its preamble. It therefore has no impact whatsoever on other federal legislation, not to mention that its implementation framework is still very uncertain as to the strictness and scope of its application, in light of the CEPA provisions.
    If the government were serious about creating a new right, if it were truly a partner with states of law and progressive democracies, if it were aiming for transparency, if it had confidence in the application of its law, and if it had political courage, it would propose a round of negotiations to truly enshrine it in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Otherwise, this provision kept in the preamble will change nothing.
     On April 13, 2022, partners from all political parties represented in Quebec’s National Assembly adopted a motion affirming the primacy of Quebec’s jurisdiction over the environment. Elected representatives in Quebec unanimously oppose any federal intervention in environmental matters in Quebec. The Bloc Québécois fully endorses that position.
    The Bloc Québécois wants to work with all partners to ensure that the amended act best reflects the recommendations from health protection, environmental protection and industry groups and stakeholders from various industries, without losing sight of the fundamental role of this law and the following priorities: improving transparency on mandatory labelling; improving enforcement of the regulations and ensuring stricter requirements for the assessment of products by the importers; addressing disproportionate exposures and the impacts of toxic chemicals on health, while specifying the effects on vulnerable communities; improving the collection of biomonitoring data to better understand and treat exposure in those communities; establishing clear timelines for the assessment of substances and taking measures for processing substances deemed to be toxic. These elements merit careful consideration by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. I would really like to do a truly collaborative study, a study that would prioritize the participation of experts, those who know this and not a parade of various lobbies.
    Finally, as the saying goes, if something is worth doing, it is worth doing well. It would be unfortunate, even irresponsible, to move quickly. Doing so would compromise the quality and depth of the work to be done. Let us be serious but let us not waste too much time. I will ensure that there are no sections or provisions that can be considered as intrusions in the jurisdiction of Quebec and the provinces. I will work collegially to ensure that the revised act is truly strengthened and that it allows the federal government to better protect health and the environment while ensuring, without compromise, respect for Quebec's environmental sovereignty.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I want to thank the member for her thoughtful remarks and her good work on the environment committee. The hon. member will remember that CEPA reform was first introduced as Bill C-28 in this House in the last session and is Bill S-5 in this session.
    I wonder if the hon. member can reflect on whether the Senate strengthened Bill S-5 and improved it. Will she support getting it to committee quickly so we can thoroughly discuss the issues she has raised on the floor today?

  (1340)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague, who is also a member of the committee, for the question.
    I think that the Senate did rather good work and introduced new ideas. It made important amendments. Earlier, I was talking about the amendment regarding living organisms. I completely agree with referring this bill to committee as soon as possible for a thorough and detailed study so that it may be sent back to the House quickly, by the end of spring or by summer, I hope.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I wonder if my colleague from Repentigny could expand on how we can improve this bill, especially around the right to live in a healthy environment and around how we have to not only strengthen the rights of Canadians to live in a healthy environment, but uphold those rights through individual powers to ask the government for remedies when those rights are violated.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, as I mentioned in my speech, it truly works best when it is integrated into charters of rights. That is the best approach. Of course it requires a great deal of courage from the federal government to open constitutional talks.
    In 1990, the Canadian Bar Association proposed enshrining this in a charter, but it also said that we could have interim legislation. That is where the door could open slightly. On October 7, my colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands said that there were obstacles to clause 22. I admit that I have not had the time to look at that, but I think there are ways around this.
    Madam Speaker, I just want to thank my colleague from Repentigny for exposing this bill's shortcomings in relation to the real right to a healthy environment. A real right is never weighed against other factors. A right is a right. Is there anything she would like to add about that?
    How does she think that concern should be addressed?
    Madam Speaker, if I understand correctly, my colleague is again referring to the right to a healthy environment. His question is very similar to the question from our other NDP colleague, so I will offer the same answer.
    Bill S‑5 contains some interesting amendments from the Senate. As a political party, however, we would like to make other amendments on transparency, disclosure on mandatory labelling and strict product assessment requirements. A number of other amendments could be made. The title of the bill includes the word “strengthening”. We have some ideas about how to strengthen the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.
    Madam Speaker, I listened closely to my colleague's speech and analysis of the bill. I entirely agree with her when she says that the issue of the environment and that of health are closely linked. They are intricately linked. We could take a holistic approach to these issues.
    I have a two-part question. What does industry think of this bill? Has public health ever given an opinion, are they closely monitoring the issue and would they be a good expert to consult?
    Madam speaker, since my colleague was a nurse in another life, I understand why she also sees the link between the environment and health.
    I have had Zoom meetings with industry people who all agree on the first part of the bill tabled by the government. However, they are not so sure about the Senate amendments. In our opinion, the Senate amendments really strengthen the law.
    I will now put on my other hat, that of the union president I was in my former life. I am suspicious when industry says they agree with what is coming. It makes me think that we are not going far enough and that the measure needs to be strengthened. Let me give an example. Automobile manufacturers were uncompromising for 75 years in their response to the challenges of science. They were against seat belts; they were against anything that could improve vehicle safety. They lobbied strongly, but governments, elected officials, stood firm to impose safety equipment because that is what people needed.
    I think it is the same thing now for the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Let us strengthen it and stand firm in the face of lobbying to achieve something. This is about our health.
    Speaking of health, the Association québécoise des médecins pour l'environnement, a branch of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, has provided some very interesting opinions on the subject.

  (1345)  

    Madam Speaker, I want to thank my dear colleague from Repentigny, especially for her remarks about my efforts in this place. We agree that Bill S-5 needs a lot of improvement.
    I want to ask a question about—

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I have a point of order.
    Is it about interpretation?
    Mr. Terry Duguid: Yes.

[Translation]

    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): Is it working now?
    Perhaps the hon. member could unplug and then plug in her mike again.

[English]

    It always helps if it is plugged in.
    The hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, we are all human. That is not a problem.
    I want to ask my friend a question. What does she think of the Senate's amendments that eliminate the issue of balance, balancing with other factors?
    In Bill S-5, with the Senate amendments, there is not a real right to protect the environment. What is her response?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague and friend from Saanich—Gulf Islands. She is absolutely right. As I said, and as we have talked about at length, it is all smoke and mirrors. No one is fooled by this.
    We know that this does not make any meaningful changes in terms of rights. It is really just a pseudo-right, as indicated in the preamble of the act, and it does not affect other acts of Parliament or federal laws. Yes, the senators explored this. They criticized the fact that it was not a true right, that it was a pseudo-right. We want to work on that in order to integrate it into the body of the act, as a bare minimum.
    I know my colleague has been working on this bill for years. I look forward to working collaboratively with her.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it is really important that we are talking about a bill that is about dealing with the central crisis of our time, which is climate. I would ask my hon. colleague what she thinks about a government that has made promise after promise to create a clean-energy economy but has missed every single climate target it has set.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague, and I will be very brief. We often hear that it is important to walk the talk.
    In the case of the federal government, the Government of Canada, it is definitely not walking the talk.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I would first like to seek the unanimous consent of the House to split my time.
    Does the hon. member have unanimous consent to split his time?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

  (1350)  

    Madam Speaker, with that, I would like to split my time with the wonderful member for Victoria.
    It is a real honour to rise here this afternoon to speak to Bill S-5, the government's new environmental protection act. I am happy to say that I will be supporting the bill at second reading with the hopes that it can be substantially strengthened at committee.
    The bill has come to us from the other place, and the Senate has made some important amendments to the initial government bill it considered. I am pleased to hear words from the government side that suggest it will be supporting those amendments.
    This is an important bill, as it would amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, or CEPA as it is known, which was enacted in 1999, 23 years ago. This act is largely concerned with—
    There are a lot of discussions happening, which is overshadowing the member's speech. I would ask members, if they want to have discussions, to take them out into the lobby.
    The hon. member for South Okanagan—West Kootenay.
    Madam Speaker, this act is largely concerned with protecting the environment and human health from toxins and maintaining air and water quality, but there is widespread agreement that CEPA is overdue for a substantial improvement. For one thing, it is widely considered to be unenforceable as it now stands, as there are multiple obstacles to enforcing it and remedies cannot be used.
    A lot has happened in 23 years. New chemicals have been invented that potentially impact our health, and the public has been increasingly concerned about the health of our environment and the impact of it on our health and on the populations of animals and plants that we share the world with and depend on for our well-being. A poll in 2017 found that nine in 10 Canadians are concerned about exposure to toxins from consumer products, 96% agreed that labels should disclose the presence of those toxins in consumer products and 92% agreed that Canada should recognize the right to live in a healthy environment.
    I would like to concentrate my remarks today on that final point: the right to live in a healthy environment. There are 159 countries around the world with legal obligations to protect the human right to a healthy environment, but Canada does not have those legal obligations. There are environmental bills of rights in Ontario, Quebec, Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, but there is no federal law that explicitly recognizes the right to live in a healthy environment in Canada.
    International efforts to recognize that right go back to the 1972 Stockholm declaration, which recognizes the right to “an environment of equality that permits a life of dignity and well-being”. Fifty years later, this past summer, on July 28, the UN General Assembly passed a unanimous resolution that recognized the right to a healthy environment around the world. With Canada voting for that resolution to finally join the rest of the world and with the 92% of Canadians agreeing with it, it is certainly high time that we had federal legislation that recognized this right. I am happy to say that Bill S-5 provides a step in that direction.
    The preamble of CEPA will now include the following statement: “Whereas the Government of Canada recognizes that every individual in Canada has a right to a healthy environment as provided under this Act”. That is a good step, but there are limitations to that statement. For one, as the member for Repentigny mentioned, it is in the preamble where it does not really carry much legal weight. Also, the right is clearly restricted to the provisions of the act. In other words, it is around the control of toxins, air quality and water quality.
    This new act would also state that those rights are “subject to any reasonable limits” and that those limits will be elaborated on in the implementation framework through “the consideration of relevant factors, including social, health, scientific and economic factors”. It is therefore important to see how these rights will be upheld. The implementation framework of this bill will apparently also elaborate on mechanisms to support that right.
    While Bill S-5 seems to be a step forward in recognizing the right to live in a healthy environment, there are serious concerns that the right will not be backed up by measures that improve the enforceability of the act. In fact, the Senate committee studying the bill reported:
    This committee would like to state their concern that the right to a healthy environment cannot be protected unless it is made truly enforceable. This enforceability would come by removing the barriers that exist to the current remedy authority within Section 22 of CEPA, entitled “Environmental Protection Action.” There is concern that Section 22 of CEPA contains too many procedural barriers and technical requirements that must be met to be of practical use. As Bill S-5 does not propose the removal or re-evaluation of these barriers, this Committee is concerned that the right to a healthy environment may remain unenforceable.
    In discussions that I have had with top environmental lawyers about Bill S-5, I have heard more concerns that the implementation framework proposed in this bill would interpose the government between public rights and the remedies needed when those rights are violated.

  (1355)  

     My first suggestion would be that the bill be strengthened by giving the residents of Canada more power to ensure that their right to live in a healthy environment is upheld. That is one of the things that my private member's bill, Bill C-219, would do.
    Bill C-219 is entitled the Canadian environmental bill of rights and will be debated later in this session. I would like to spend some time covering its provisions, because it suggests several ways Bill S-5 could and should be improved. I would like to mention here that Bill C-219 was drafted by my former colleague Linda Duncan, a brilliant environmental lawyer who was the MP for Edmonton Strathcona for many years. She introduced this same private member's bill four times during her career as an MP. It was never voted down but, unfortunately, died in each of those parliaments before becoming law.
    As I mentioned earlier, one of the limitations of the right to a healthy environment proposed by Bill S-5 is that it is restricted to the provisions of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. It does not cover environmental protections outlined in other parts of the federal environmental mandate, such as the Fisheries Act, the Species at Risk Act, the Impact Assessment Act, the Migratory Birds Convention Act, and so on. Bill C-219 would provide umbrella coverage to all federal legislation outside of CEPA. CEPA was carved out of Bill C-219, apparently to avoid clashing legislation.
    On top of that wider coverage, Bill C-219 would provide stronger protections of the right to a healthy environment. Specifically, it would give residents of Canada the right to, among other things, access information about environmental concerns, standing at hearings, access tribunals and courts to uphold environmental rights, and request a review of laws. It would also provide protection to whistle-blowers.
    To conclude, I reiterate that I will be supporting Bill S-5 at second reading, but I hope the government will look carefully at my bill to see how it might inform efforts to improve Bill S-5 in committee amendments. I also hope that if the government is serious about extending the right to live in a healthy environment to all Canadians, that it will support my bill, the Canadian environmental bill of rights, to extend and strengthen that right to the entire federal mandate.

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Small Businesses

    Madam Speaker, small businesses are at the heart of our communities and their owners are the dreamers and the doers that keep our economy strong. Whether it be the local café that brews that perfect cup of coffee or the family store downtown, small businesses create an invaluable sense of community.
    Richmond Hill owes a great debt of gratitude to our resilient small businesses for their continued perseverance. On Canada’s 43rd Small Business Week, I am proud to acknowledge Richmond Hill’s local shops but I also recognize the hardships that they have faced and adapted to in light of the pandemic.
    During the summer, I had the pleasure of visiting over 15 small businesses mostly led by inspiring women leaders. At Naeb Restaurant and Mexican Amigos, we heard their concerns over funding for growth. At Zarsima Hair Salon, Bottiba Boutique and Diva Brows and Beauty Academy, we heard their struggles to adjust the prices of their services due to inflation.
    These are the realities of many small businesses, and our government has heard them loud and clear. This week, we celebrate our unique small businesses and the incredible people behind them. We once again recommit to supporting them, as long as it takes.

  (1400)  

Small Businesses

    Mr. Speaker, I want to also wish a very happy Small Business Week to all small and medium-sized businesses in Canada, specifically in the Bay of Quinte. Employing nearly two-thirds of the entire Canadian workforce, small businesses are struggling. With rising interest rates hammering bottom lines, the struggle to find employees, the need to invest in new technology and the cost of all items rising because of unjust inflation, small businesses are now looking at a tripling of tax increases in 2023, but Conservatives will not stand for it.
    Farmers alone, many of them small business owners, pay an average of $45,000 to the carbon tax but only receive $862 in rebates. Seventy-two per cent of Canadians think that their taxes are too high and businesses do not need their taxes raised any more.
    This Small Business Week, Conservatives pledge to fight to lower small business costs and taxes and to ensure that not just Canadians but small businesses are put first: their bottom lines, their savings, their businesses and their country.

Women's History Month

    Mr. Speaker, this month marks Women's History Month in Canada. It is a time to reflect on all of the incredible women who make our communities proud. Whether by breaking barriers in areas like politics, business, arts and culture, or sports, we must celebrate them and reflect on their courage.
    Today is Persons Day, marking the historic victory of the Famous Five, who paved the way for women in public life and politics. It is a reminder of the great progress we have made as a country. If it were not for their monumental steps, we may have not seen the 103 women in this chamber with us today.
    I want to recognize all women in leadership roles. Their success is a reminder to all of us of the potential we have to make an impact and change the world.
    I ask everyone to take a moment today to recognize the strong women in their lives, because when women thrive, we all thrive.

[Translation]

Local Farm Women's Organization

    Mr. Speaker, the Cercle de fermières de Saint‑Lucien is celebrating its 50th anniversary on October 19.
    Sixty-eight of the original members are still active in this organization, which was founded in 1972. They are all generous and committed women who make a remarkable contribution to the community. I want to recognize their commitment to promoting Quebec's cultural and artisanal heritage and passing it on to future generations. We have a rich story worth telling, and these women are extraordinary ambassadors.
    I want to recognize the incredible contribution of Francine Leroux, the organization's president, who in 2019 founded Maison Francine Leroux, a place of learning and sharing for farm women that is tailored to their needs. That is where they keep their nine magnificent looms and provide training to the younger generation in order to keep the organization and its mission alive.
    It is good to know that Drummond can count on such passionate women who are working hard to make Quebec a better place.
    I wish the Cercle de fermières de Saint‑Lucien a happy 50th anniversary and many more wonderful years to come.

Small Businesses

    Mr. Speaker, investing in Canada's small and medium-sized businesses results in prosperity for all. It is not complicated. When people are given the means to realize their dreams, we can foster skills and innovation that grow our economy and create good jobs.
    That is why I want to highlight the extraordinary work of our economic development agencies, our CFDCs and BDCs here, in Quebec, who every day, every week, help flagship companies in my riding realize their entrepreneurial dreams and showcase the entire region.
    Together, we will build a green and prosperous economy, an economy that benefits everyone.

  (1405)  

[English]

Access to Addictions Treatment

    Mr. Speaker, from coast to coast to coast we are seeing record-breaking tragic overdose deaths. Conservatives believe that addiction is a health issue and must be treated as such. We believe there needs to be resources for treatment and a shift in our focus toward recovery.
    Alberta's drop in opioid-related deaths shows that recovery-oriented policy is working. According to experts, many push decriminalizing illicit drugs as a silver bullet. However, the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police has been clear that it does not support decriminalization without first having the necessary prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery supports in place. Decriminalizing without appropriate access to treatment and supports is akin to putting the cart before the horse. According to experts, we must do better.
    There is not going to be a one-size-fits-all solution. We need a suite of programs and initiatives to address the crisis, but I think the most important thing we need is to expand access to treatment and to focus our space on recovery. Recovery is possible.

Guelph Chamber of Commerce

    Mr. Speaker, to celebrate the start of Small Business Week, I would like to recognize the important work done by the Guelph Chamber of Commerce.
    Throughout their history, chambers of commerce have been focused on working collaboratively with local businesses on the main streets of every riding in Canada, connecting community partners and all levels of government to enhance the prosperity of all regions. The Guelph chamber’s many initiatives have supported the social, environmental and economic development of our community.
    We are also fortunate in Guelph to have a vibrant business community led by many women. As a former president of the Guelph chamber, I know first-hand just how important this work is to our community, and I have been fortunate to work closely with them in my capacity as a member of Parliament on a number of occasions. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with them and our community partners to ensure economic recovery, housing stability, environmental progress and social supports within our community.
    I thank the Guelph Chamber of Commerce and the chambers across Canada for the wonderful work they do for all of us.

Hespeler Village Market

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to highlight the incredible work being done by the Hespeler Village BIA, community leaders and local small businesses that have worked so tirelessly to make Hespeler what it is today.
    There is no better example of this growth than the Hespeler Village Market. I, like many residents of Kitchener South—Hespeler, had bittersweet feelings about the arrival of fall, as it means the Hespeler Village Market is closed for another season. Started only in 2016, this urban farmers' market focuses on building community connections and supporting local businesses. Every Friday afternoon and evening, rain or shine, local vendors set up shop in downtown Hespeler to create a place where everyone can come together to enjoy live music while doing their shopping and meeting neighbours.
     I ask this House to join me in acknowledging the contributions the Hespeler market has made to the connectedness and vibrancy of the community.
    While the summer market season has sadly drawn to a close, we look forward to seeing everyone back at the Hespeler market next spring.

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, there is a housing crisis in Canada. Too many first-time homebuyers are giving up on the dream of ever owning a home. Market rentals are hard to find. Affordable rentals are impossible to find.
    I have heard from housing providers and community groups all across the country that are so eager to help be part of the solution, but are continually stymied by NIMBY municipal politicians and special interest groups that create delays, add costs and often kill proposals for new homes. Worse yet are the community groups and housing providers that may have finally received their municipal approvals, but get stalled by the bureaucracy of the CMHC. Despite billions of dollars promised by the current Liberal government, it has created a system where there are too many forms, too many requirements, too much red tape and an Ottawa-knows-best approach that actually makes it almost impossible to get grants or loans from the CMHC.
    We must say yes to building more homes. This crisis requires all levels of government and the private sector to work together to ensure that Canada becomes a country where everyone has the dignity of a home.

Small Businesses

    Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to rise today to recognize Small Business Week.
     I have always been impressed by the spirt of entrepreneurs and small business owners, many of whom invest their lives in their dream businesses with the hope that their idea will become a success.
    One of these people in my community of Kingston and the Islands is Dave McNamara. Dave opened the Union Kitchen + Cocktails months before the pandemic began. Despite the hardships that would follow, not only did Dave ensure the success of his new venture, but he went on to open another restaurant this past summer. An instant hit in the downtown area, Baja Craft Kitchen offers unique Mexican dishes.
    Business owners like Dave exist throughout our country. They are the backbone of our economy and this week we salute their incredible grit and determination.

  (1410)  

Anti-Semitism

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to add my voice of disgust to the shocking news that the Prime Minister knew about disgusting, anti-Semitic hate that was being spread and funded by the government for a month before any action was taken. The worst part is he took action only after he got caught and exposed for doing nothing.
    I may not be of Jewish faith, but as a Christian, as a voice in this House and simply as a human being, I feel an obligation to call out and condemn this shameful silence. Why, at a time when anti-Semitic acts here in Canada and around the world are on the rise, did it take a month for the Prime Minister to do anything? It is clear that he knew, and it is clear that he did nothing until he was caught.
    I stand with Jewish leaders in condemning the deafening silence of our Prime Minister. We need to be united in confronting anti-Semitism when we see it, every single time. Shame on the government and shame on the Prime Minister.

Anti-Semitism

    Mr. Speaker, silence. That is what Canadians heard from the Prime Minister and the Minister of Canadian Heritage after it was discovered that more than $500,000 was granted in public contracts to a public anti-Semite racist and bigot. Silence. Deafening silence.
    This individual has tweeted some of the most heinous and vile things imaginable. He called Jewish folks human bags of feces. He said that they should be shot in the head. I see a smirk across the way, and that is shameful. He labelled Black and indigenous people as house slaves. He repeatedly called francophone speakers frogs. This is who the government hired to teach Canadians about anti-racism.
    All of this horrific and shocking news was made evident, but what is perhaps most abhorrent is the fact that the Prime Minister did nothing for one month. There was a whole month of deafening silence. The point—
    The hon. member for Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation.

[Translation]

Economic Development in Argenteuil—La Petite‑Nation

    Mr. Speaker, on October 11, I had the pleasure of welcoming nearly 100 people to my conference on economic development in my riding of Argenteuil—La Petite‑Nation. Participants came from the municipal, agricultural and tourism sectors, chambers of commerce and industry, as well as community organizations.
    I would like to thank my colleague, the member for Hochelaga and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Housing, Diversity and Inclusion. Everyone appreciated her participation. As we know, economic recovery is one of our government's priorities, and I strongly believe that we must work closely with key players in the field.
    The topics discussed during the workshops were the environment, tourism, agriculture, jobs, high-speed Internet access, municipal financing, housing and the role of organizations in the regional economy. We had frank discussions about local concerns, about the challenges related to rural living. This conference helped me gain a better understanding of the issues. That is exactly what we will be working on in Argenteuil-La Petite-Nation.

[English]

Gender-Based Violence

    Mr. Speaker, with the pandemic came a spike in calls to frontline agencies for help with domestic violence. Like the pandemic, that increase has not faded away.
    In the previous Parliament and again this June, the justice committee unanimously recommended that the government bring forward legislation to make coercive and controlling behaviour in intimate partner relationships a criminal offence as one additional tool to help fight intimate partner violence.
    Unfortunately, when the government tabled its recent response, there was no sense of urgency. In Canada, we continue to see a woman killed by an intimate partner, on average, every six days, and coercive and controlling behaviour is almost always a precursor to this physical violence.
    In the face of government inaction, New Democrats will be seeking other ways to make sure victims and survivors get access to the help they need, with both improved access to support and making coercive and controlling behaviour a criminal offence in my private member's bill, Bill C-202.
    I ask all members of the House to continue to support concrete action to address the ongoing scourge of intimate partner violence in Canada.

  (1415)  

[Translation]

Québec Capitales Baseball Team

    Mr. Speaker, Quebec City is not just about hockey. It is also about baseball.
    On September 18, the Québec Capitales won the Frontier League championship with a 2-1 victory over the Schaumburg Boomers.
    The Capitales previously racked up seven Can-Am League championships, but this win is extra special because it is the Capitales' first season with the Frontier League. What an electrifying debut.
    All season long, the players treated their fans to outstanding games, and the entertainment, along with Capi the mascot, was the icing on the cake. Capi is all about the hugs. We should talk to my office manager about that.
    Fans know they will always have an amazing time. Manager Patrick Scalabrini and president Michel Laplante are a big part of the team's success. We are already looking forward to next year.
    Congratulations to the Québec Capitales.

[English]

Government Contracts

    Mr. Speaker, who got rich? That is the question.
    The Prime Minister paid $54 million for a malfunctioning, intrusive and economically destructive ArriveCAN app, which developers have since shown could have been built over a weekend for less than $250,000. Canadians deserve to know the truth. They deserve to know what happened.
    Parliament's Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates will be investigating this scandal as to how taxpayers were taken to the cleaners by this costly cover-up.
    I am calling on the Bloc and especially my NDP counterparts to help us find out which Liberal signed off on this epic case of greed and abuse, and more importantly, who got rich doing it.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

    Mr. Speaker, in 2016, Kim MacDonald was diagnosed with breast cancer. Today, this Hamilton Mountain resident and popular Weather Network personality, friend and fighter is five years cancer free.
    Kim did not emerge from this ordeal unscarred, but some would say she is now more powerful. Through Breast Cancer Canada, Kim bravely shared her story and made her private struggle public. She bared her chest post double mastectomy, and she showed us how the scars were transformed into gorgeous sunflower tattoos. Kim identifies with sunflowers because they stand strong and follow the sun.
    I am grateful to honour Kim today to bring attention to Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One in eight women will be diagnosed in their lifetime, so they should get screened and ask questions.
    As someone who just lost her father to cancer, I want to thank Kim for being a shining role model, for standing strong, following the sun and showing us what beautiful really means.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, the cost of government is increasing the cost of living. The wasted $500-billion money-printing inflationary deficit is driving up the cost of the goods we purchase and the interest we pay. Inflationary taxes are making it more expensive for our businesses and workers to produce these goods and services. Next year, Canadians will be paying $3,000 per family because of this inflation caused by the Prime Minister.
    When will he reverse his inflationary policies?
    Mr. Speaker, if the Conservative Party leader really wanted to be there for families who need help in these difficult times, he would support our proposal to help low-income families with dental care and rental assistance. Not only is he not supporting these measures to help low-income families, he is blocking them in the House of Commons. It is one thing to disagree with our proposals to help families and quite another to try to prevent that money from getting into the pockets of the families who need it.

  (1420)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the help for housing he is bragging about will go to almost no Canadians, and those who will get it will get, at most, 500 bucks. These days, one cannot even rent a doghouse in the backyard for that amount of money. The reality is that the Prime Minister has presided over the worst housing bubble on planet earth. UBS says that Vancouver is more overpriced than New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Los Angeles, which are all places with more people, more money and less land.
    Will the Prime Minister get the gatekeepers out of the way and stop printing money to inflate our housing market?
    Mr. Speaker, the leader of the official opposition makes a big show of being concerned about families, but if he actually wanted to support low-income families he would step up and support our measures to give more money to low-income families for the cost of dental care for their kids or to help the 1.8 million Canadians who would benefit from additional help on the housing benefit. The reality is that not only does the Leader of the Opposition not support those measures to help low-income families with real money this fall, but he is blocking their passage in the House, preventing anyone from getting that money.

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, this is the Prime Minister who is blocking people from actually getting a house. It is $2,000 to rent an apartment in Canada these days, and the average price is $1 million for a home in Toronto. Now he wants to make it more expensive to heat homes by tripling the carbon tax. Even the Liberal premier in Newfoundland and Labrador has said that rural seniors will struggle to keep the heat on.
    Will the Prime Minister show some mercy for those people who are struggling to heat their homes and cancel his plan to triple the tax?
    Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition's obsession with attack politics means that he is not supporting measures that are focused on helping low-income families pay for the cost of dental care for their kids with an extra $1,300 over the next two years or an extra $500 for low-income renters that would hit about 1.8 million Canadians across this country. He flip-flopped and reversed himself and supported our GST credit, which is supporting Canadians, but not only is he not supporting concrete measures for dental and rental, but he is actually blocking their passage in the House.
    Mr. Speaker, the question was about home heating. This Prime Minister wants to triple, triple, triple the tax on seniors for the crime of heating their homes in February. It is not a luxury to heat one's home in Canada in the wintertime, yet the Prime Minister wants to punish people for doing it. Forty per cent of Atlantic Canadians are living in energy poverty, yet the Prime Minister wants to hit them all with a big fat tax hike.
    If he is not going to back down on his plan to triple the tax, will he at least have the decency to exempt home heating this winter from that tax hike?
    Mr. Speaker, it is important that as we debate in this House we ground ourselves in facts. The reality is that an average family in this country receives more money from our putting a price on carbon pollution than it pays. It is support for families, even as we fight climate change. In the leader's own riding, families have received, including last Friday with the latest cheque, a total of $550 because of the climate action incentive. We will continue to fight climate change. We will continue to put more money in the pockets of families.
    Mr. Speaker, first of all, the Prime Minister is imposing this carbon tax hike on all 10 provinces and three territories. Six provinces will not get any rebate at all. Even in the remaining four, the Parliamentary Budget Officer has shown that the majority of people pay more in taxes than they get back in rebates. It has all been a falsehood.
    Furthermore, the Liberals have not hit a single, solitary climate target since they took office. Finally, it is a little rich for the Prime Minister to call little old ladies in rural Newfoundland and Labrador polluters for heating their homes in the winter when he makes them pay for him to jet around and go to Costa Rica in the middle of the summer.
     Why would he not halt the high carbon hypocrisy?

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, while the Leader of the Opposition focuses on me, I will stay focused on Canadians.
    That is why we are moving forward with a price on pollution that puts more money in the pockets of average families and that does not help the wealthiest Canadians. We know that Conservative politicians on the other side of the aisle are always looking to give tax breaks and advantages to wealthy politicians. They still think trickle-down works. We are seeing, across the Atlantic, how that does not work.
    We have made investments in Canadians, supporting those who are most vulnerable and those in the middle class. We will continue to do so. Why are the Conservatives continuing to block dental and rental supports for low-income Canadians?

[Translation]

Public Services and Procurement

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, we finally learned that the lucrative Roxham Road contracts awarded to a Liberal donor were worth $28 million. I say “finally” because we have been asking about this for a year. The government has been dodging questions and denying access to information requests for a year. Under pressure, the government finally disclosed how much the contracts known to the media were worth, but it did not disclose the contracts themselves.
    We know that there are other contracts, namely for hotels. If the government has nothing to hide, why is it refusing to disclose all of the Roxham Road contracts?
    Mr. Speaker, we are ensuring that our immigration and refugee systems remain robust and humane. That is why we invested in the necessary facilities.
    The decisions regarding contracts were made by public servants, as was mentioned yesterday in committee. The Canada Border Services Agency, or CBSA, is the one that contacted the property owner. The contract involved the only property possible under the circumstances, and the CBSA was already using it to intercept and process irregular border crossers. The rental agreements were negotiated based on fair market value to arrive at a competitive price.
    Mr. Speaker, the government is withholding information about the Roxham Road contracts on the grounds of “national security”. What nonsense.
    In order to offer untendered contracts under the pretext of national security, the law states that there must be a disaster or a threat to life. Roxham Road is neither of those.
    Yesterday, the fine Liberal donor who got $28 million in contracts disclosed in committee that it was the government itself that insisted that these clauses in the contracts remain confidential. That is very suspicious.
    Is the Liberal donor who got the $28 million just the tip of the iceberg?
    Mr. Speaker, as we heard in committee yesterday, it was the Canada Border Services Agency that contacted the owner and negotiated the contracts. This included the only land available given the circumstances, and the CBSA was already using it to intercept people crossing the border irregularly. The lease agreements were negotiated to reflect current prices, and this was done independently, by civil servants.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance admitted what the experts are saying: It is highly likely that we are going to have a recession here in Canada. However, the government does not have a plan.
    We need a plan because people are going to suffer. People are going to have a hard time making ends meet. They are going to lose their jobs.
    Will the government deliver a plan or will it do nothing until people are suffering?
    Mr. Speaker, our government has taken action from day one.
    When we came to Parliament this fall, the first thing we did was introduce the GST credit bill, which will help 11 million Canadian families. Even the Conservatives have decided to support it.
    After that, we introduced dental care for low-income families and assistance for low-income renters. We know there is more to do. We will keep working so we can be there for Canadians. We will keep working with all parliamentarians to do what needs to be done to help people going through tough times.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the government does not have a plan to deal with the recession. The Minister of Finance admits that one is coming, and we need a plan. Right now, the current EI system, the one brought in by the Conservatives, only covers 40% of Canadians. We need a plan that covers all Canadians.
    Will the government put into place a plan to deal with the recession that would support families and ensure that every worker in our country would be covered if they were to lose their job?

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, this government has demonstrated time and time again over the past seven years that we have Canadians' backs, whether it was with lowering taxes for the middle class and raising them on the wealthiest 1%, or delivering a child benefit that has lifted millions of Canadians out of poverty.
    The things we have done continue to focus on having Canadians' backs. Through the pandemic we supported them with unheard of direct supports and managed to make sure not only that Canadians kept safe, but also that our economy rebounded faster than other places. We will continue to be there through the troubled waters ahead. We will be there for Canadians, as we—
    The hon. member for Calgary Forest Lawn.

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, thanks to the Prime Minister, Canadians are sinking faster than ever as well, and as Canadians prepare for a harsh winter, Liberal inflation has driven up food, gas and utility costs for struggling families. The Ontario Energy Board estimates that natural gas prices are rising 153% just this month. Families across Canada could see gas bills rise anywhere from 50% to 300%, and it is all because of these failed Liberal energy policies.
    Will the Prime Minister do the right thing, end his plan to further punish Canadians for necessities and cancel the tripling of the carbon tax?
    Mr. Speaker, let me start by congratulating the member for Calgary Forest Lawn on his new role as Conservative finance critic. I am sure we will disagree about many things, but I also do believe there are issues where we will find common ground.
    One good example is Bill C-30, which would provide inflation relief payments to 11 million Canadian households. Thanks to unanimous support in the House, including from the Conservatives, I am very hopeful that bill will receive royal assent very soon.
    Mr. Speaker, Liberal inflation is vaporizing any supports they could even come close to giving, and the carbon tax will never be high enough for the costly coalition. In Calgary, the average gas bill is $170 a month, but because of failed Liberal policies, it could be anywhere from $300 to even more than $500 after the price increase. When the Prime Minister triples the carbon tax, it alone could make up 60% of heating bills.
    When will the Prime Minister finally stop draining Canadians' bank accounts and cancel the tripling of the carbon tax?
    Mr. Speaker, the only way to eliminate energy poverty and reduce household energy costs in Canada is by fighting climate change. With the volatility of oil prices and the record profits of oil companies, Conservatives are proposing Canadians be chained to the oil and gas markets and completely vulnerable to foreign wars and cartels. Our plan would give Canadians autonomy and sovereignty in their energy needs and their finances.
    Why do Conservatives want to let foreign oligarchs dictate Canadian household finances?
    Mr. Speaker, it is a bit rich to hear the Liberals blaming foreign oligarchs for attacking the Canadian energy sector. Every day we hear heartbreaking stories of Canadians struggling with the cost of living crisis caused by the Prime Minister's policies. Liberal inflation is forcing people to cut back on groceries, with many having to turn to food banks for the first time ever. Canadians are stretched beyond their limits.
    Will the Prime Minister finally do the decent thing and end his plan to triple taxes on gas, groceries and home heating?
    Mr. Speaker, our government understands that the cost of living is a real challenge for many Canadians, and that is why I am so pleased that we were able to put forward a plan to double the GST tax credit. This would provide nearly $500 to vulnerable Canadians families, and I am delighted all members of the House, including the Conservatives, have supported this plan.
    Now it is time to provide some more support, such as $500 to help the most vulnerable pay their rent, and let us get behind making sure all kids in Canada under 12 can go to the dentist.
    Mr. Speaker, thanks to Liberal policies, gas is up to nearly two dollars a litre and grocery bills are up 15%. It now takes about half of a Canadian's paycheque to pay their housing costs, and the cost to heat those homes during a Canadian winter is about to rise up to 300%, yet somehow the Prime Minister thinks this is the time to propose Liberal tax hikes that would make everything more expensive.
    When will the Prime Minister stop making things worse and just end his plan to triple taxes on gas, groceries and home heating?

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, certainly one thing we can agree on is that it is important to address the affordability issue, and that is exactly what we have been doing through doubling the GST tax credit and introducing dental care for children in this country.
    With respect to the price on pollution, and it is a price on pollution, the hon. member knows that, with the average rebate, 80% of families get more money back in this country than they pay. Therefore, this is not an issue around affordability.
     Let me be clear that, if we want to ensure affordability in the long term, we have to address the climate crisis. The leader of the opposition has been campaigning for over six months and the words “climate change” have almost never crossed his lips. Where is his climate plan?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, what the Liberals fail to understand is that the Liberal carbon tax is having a real and direct impact on the rate of inflation. Winter is coming. What does that mean for Canadian families? It means that heating costs will go up. It means that transportation costs will go up and, as a result, the cost of food will go up. All three are basic necessities for Canadian families. The Liberal government refused to cut taxes.
    Does the Prime Minister realize that his actions are contributing to inflation?
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are proving once again how much they love austerity. It is fine to criticize, but they do not have the guts to say what they would do. Where would the Conservatives make cuts? Would they cut supports to children who need a bit of help or cut child care? Would they cut supports for seniors, workers or families? It is easy to criticize, but the Conservatives do not have the courage to say what they would do instead.
    Mr. Speaker, we should have done what every G7 country has done, that is, lower taxes. Only Canada under this government has refused to lower taxes. To stand alone like that suggests that the others may be right and we are wrong. Every G7 country, even the U.S. under Biden, the Prime Minister's friend, has lowered certain taxes. This government has refused to do the same.
    Why is the government refusing to lower taxes, which is contributing to rising inflation?
    Mr. Speaker, I understand that the Conservatives want to imitate what is currently going on in England, but I am not sure that is the right path to take.
    Here at home, programs have been put in place to help children. I am thinking about the Canada child benefit that lifts children out of poverty. Is that what the Conservatives would cut? They should say so. Is it the guaranteed income supplement, which gives seniors a bit of a boost? Is that what they would cut? Would they cut the workers benefit? Again, it is easy to criticize, but they should have the courage to say what they would do.

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, last week in Washington, the Deputy Prime Minister announced to the world Canada's new foreign policy with respect to energy. She announced that Canada will fast-track energy projects to export more oil and gas. Fast-tracking projects implies a certain number of things. She might cut the environmental assessment, forego consulting Quebec, the provinces and first nations peoples or skirt the whole issue of social acceptability. She might also do all of that simultaneously.
    What will it be?
    Mr. Speaker, our government is determined to address the global energy security crisis and the climate change crisis. To do that, we are investing in good energy projects across the country. We are working directly with the developers to ensure that they advance as quickly as possible and we are working on harmonizing the regulatory process with the provinces and territories. That said, these projects will have to comply with our climate and environmental ambitions and respect the rights of first nations.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, the new policy to fast-track energy products announced by the Deputy Prime Minister has already had an impact in Canada. We learned last week that a call for tenders was issued for oil exploration in 100,000 square kilometres of ocean off the coast of Newfoundland. However, this drilling is exempt from environmental impact assessments.
    Is that part of Canada's new energy policy or is it Canada's same old habit of sacrificing the environment when oil is involved?

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, the commission that made this recommendation is an independent commission. Independence is a term that the Bloc Québécois should understand well. It is not the federal government or the Newfoundland government, it is an independent commission. This energy development project will be subject to our rigorous environmental assessment process and public consultations.
    However, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Environment authorized the Bay du Nord oil project in Newfoundland, and he said that it was the last oil project that would be approved. He does have some power after all.
    Now, there is a new call for oil exploration off the coast of Newfoundland. This is for serious contractors only. They have to commit to spending a minimum of $10 million each on oil exploration in order to obtain the permit. These people are paying a lot of money to look for oil because they expect to find it and develop it.
    How many more projects like Bay du Nord does the government want to find off the coast of Newfoundland?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to talk for a moment about the green transition and the need for Canada to invest and attract private capital in this major transition. To do that, we need to build more.
    This is a very big challenge before us, and I think that it must truly be a national project, a project for Quebec and for Canada. In order to do that, we must work—
    The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

[English]

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, the environment minister now says that he does not like foreign oil oligarchs. Well, that is news, because I was beginning to think OPEC was going to give the Prime Minister an outstanding achievement award for all that he has done to promote foreign oil interests by blocking the 15 proposed LNG projects that existed when he came to office. He has reduced Europe to its knees and turned it to be dependent on Putin. By blocking oil production in Canada, he has prevented us from supplying ourselves and forced us to import more oil.
    Why will the Liberals not stop sending paycheques out and pollution up?
    Mr. Speaker, certainly, Canada has worked very hard with our allies around the world to augment the production of oil and natural gas. We committed to increasing production by 300,000 barrels by the end of the day to help our allies in Europe.
    With respect to domestic energy security, here are the facts. When the Conservatives were in government, foreign oil imports were double what they are today. In fact, they have declined 80% from when Stephen Harper was the prime minister of Canada.
    The facts speak for themselves. Under this government, more Canadians are using Canadian and North American energy. The leader opposite may not like it, but a fact is a fact.
    Before going to the next question, and I do not want to interrupt, but I want to remind that with the shuffling and everything going around with the seats, I can hear those who are nearer to me they are pretty loud. I would ask them to tone down their outbursts. They are not constant, but they are outbursts and I ask that they just keep them down.
    The hon. Leader of the Opposition.
    Mr. Speaker, here is a fact for us: 15 LNG projects were proposed when the Prime Minister took office. Zero are completed. Even the one that we approved in our final days in office, he has still failed to bring to completion.
    Now, after the Prime Minister stood in the way of LNG Quebec and east coast LNG projects, Europe is totally dependent on Putin to keep the heat on this coming winter, funding that war. What has the government contributed? It has sent Putin back his turbines to help him pump his gas.
    Why are the Liberals funding Putin's war instead of paycheques for Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, let me just say that a fact is a fact. The projects that he is talking about were assessed under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 2012, in which Stephen Harper took out all of the environmental protections. One of the big reasons why these projects did not proceed is because they completely gutted the environmental assessment process.
    We have put in place better rules to ensure that good projects are going to get built in this country, and we are certainly moving in that direction.

  (1445)  

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, the winter months are coming across the country and Canadians are hesitating to turn on the heat. Why? Because they are already paying more for gas. They are already paying more for groceries, Now, thanks to the Prime Minister, they are paying more for home heating, in fact, in some cases, 300% more.
    Will the Prime Minister cancel his plans to triple the taxes on gas, groceries and home heating?
    Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that those members would talk about energy poverty, because when they were in power, the first thing they did was cut energy efficiency projects for the lowest-income Canadians. Hundreds of people were laid off. That is the first thing they did when they came into power in 2006.
    Then what did the Conservatives do? They eliminated subsidies to help Canadians buy electric vehicles. Then what did they do? They limited support for renewable energy projects. If there is energy poverty in the country, it is because the Conservative Party was in power for 10 years.
    Some of the comments have not been very parliamentary. I want to remind hon. members about that.
    The hon. member for Edmonton Riverbend has the floor.
    Mr. Speaker, under the Prime Minister, people cannot afford to heat, eat and live. Does he not realize almost half of Canadians are $200 away from insolvency? A recent report now indicates that families spend more on income taxes, at 43%, than they do on basic commodities, at 35.7%. That means that the young couple that emailed me from my riding, James and Debbie, cannot afford to put their little girl into skating.
    Will the Prime Minister cancel his plans to “just in” increase their taxes?
    Mr. Speaker, we understand Canadians are struggling with the cost of living. That is why we have a plan to double the GST tax credit. I am really glad all members of the House, including the members opposite, are supporting that plan and Canadian families will be getting nearly $500 in inflation relief soon.
    Now it is time to get together and support the rental payments and support dental care for kids under 12. By the way, I wish the members opposite would support, for Edmonton families, our great day care plan, which is lowering the day care cost for that family by 50% this year.

Climate Change

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians want bold climate action and workers want to know they will have well-paying jobs for the future, but the Liberals have failed to deliver. Instead, they are giving billions of dollars to rich oil and gas companies, while workers and communities struggle.
     Unions, environmental organizations and workers have been calling for a clear path forward, an industrial strategy and investments in good, clean jobs. The global economy is already moving toward a clean energy future, and Canada is failing to keep up.
    My question is simple. Why is the Liberal government leaving Canadian workers behind?
    Mr. Speaker, certainly, I agree with the hon. member that we do need to have a proactive economic strategy that ensures Canada seizes the opportunities that will be created through a low-carbon transition. That is why we brought forward a critical minerals strategy, a hydrogen strategy. That is why we are working on regional energy and resource tables with most of the provinces and territories, and eventually all of them.
     Certainly, those are the conversations the hon. member and I have been having, as we have actually talked about a number of these issues. I certainly look forward to continuing that work going forward.
    Mr. Speaker, Alberta workers have delivered a very clear message to Ottawa today that the energy transition is happening and they need the Prime Minister to show up. We see that Biden is transforming the American economy with well-paying union jobs, yet the Prime Minister has missed every climate target he has set. Clean energy represents a $61-billion opportunity in Alberta.
     We know the Alberta Conservatives would throw workers under the bus just out of ideological spite, but my question is for the Prime Minister. Is he willing to work with the Alberta Federation of Labour on establishing its plan for a clean energy transformation?
    Mr. Speaker, we have been working with labour across the country. In fact, we are going to be the first country in the world to be producing green steel, green aluminum, and we are working on green batteries.
     We do not need to look back very much. Just look at the announcement we made with Rio Tinto recently. While it is going to be reducing its emissions, the site itself will be the largest site in the world to be producing titanium to be on the global market. Just recently, we broke ground on the Dofasco plant in Hamilton.
     We are going to be producing green steel that is going to be part of the car of the future. The country is on the way to win at every step of the way.

  (1450)  

National Defence

     Mr. Speaker, as the world grows darker, we are stronger together. Last week, the Minister of National Defence participated in a meeting of NATO defence ministers and visited Poland to address key challenges to our collective security, including increasing our support for our Ukrainian partners.
    Could the minister tell the House how Canada continues to step up and support NATO, as well as the brave Ukrainian military fighting back against Putin’s brutal and reprehensible attacks?
    Mr. Speaker, last week, in Poland, I signed a memorandum of understanding, strengthening the defence relationship with Poland, and committed 40 Canadian Armed Forces engineers to help train Ukrainians. Then at NATO, I announced another tranche of military aid for Ukraine, including cameras for drones, satellite services, 155 millimetre ammunition and additional aid.
    We will stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine in the short and long term.

[Translation]

Public Services and Procurement

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Liberal members of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics worked very hard to convince us that Mr. Guay, who received $28 million for his land in Lacolle, had never met with any MPs from their party to talk about those contracts.
    However, we know that Mr. Guay attended at least four cocktail party fundraisers for the Liberal member for Châteauguay—Lacolle.
    Will the Prime Minister admit that, contrary to the testimony in committee, the member met with Pierre Guay on several occasions?
    Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister said, the rental agreement was negotiated based on fair market value to arrive at a competitive price.
    In their testimony yesterday, the public servants and Mr. Guay made it clear that Mr. Guay was approached by public servants to negotiate a lease and that no public office holder was involved in the negotiations for this lease.
    Mr. Speaker, what is clear is that Mr. Guay was paid $28 million for contracts awarded without tenders.
    In committee, the Liberals did everything they could to suggest there was never any contact with elected members. However, Mr. Guay is known to have attended at least four cocktail party fundraisers with the Liberal member for Châteauguay—Lacolle.
    Is there a conflict of interest, yes or no? Could land have been leased from someone who is not a Liberal donor?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, again, the contract award has been clearly revealed by our department. The government has been delivering open and fair procurement processes, while obtaining the best value for Canadians in all that our government is contracting in terms of the needs during the Roxham Road situation.

Diversity and Inclusion

    Mr. Speaker, for over a month, the Prime Minister's Office knew the public rantings of a known anti-Semite and then continued to fund him until he was caught. This is not incompetence, it is purposeful and condones the very real and growing anti-Semitism.
     The Prime Minister, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion knew. They knew for a month and they did nothing. It is hard to imagine a month of silence of hate-fuelled bigotry against any other group in our country.
    Who else knew and why is no one on the other side being held accountable for promoting hate with Canadian tax dollars?
    Mr. Speaker, this is a very important question. Anti-Semitism, hate and racism have no place in our society. I have said this before and I will say again that the anti-Semitic, violent, racist statements made by this individual and the organization are reprehensible and vile. The funding to this organization has been cut.
    Our government will never tolerate this hate, and we are implementing new measures to make this never happens again.

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, it took two days to cut funding to Hockey Canada and it took one week to cut funding to the WE scandal.
     The Liberals condemn it now because they got caught, because the media asked them, because they could not hide it any more. It took a month to do and say nothing about a racist anti-racism consultant they knew spewed public hatred. They continued to fund him for a month.
    Who is getting fired for this?
    Mr. Speaker, there is absolutely no doubt that the comments made by this individual and this organization are absolutely appalling. We condemn the anti-Semitism, racism and hatred that he has spread over a number of years.
    I want to thank my colleague, the member of Parliament for Mount Royal, for bringing this individual to our attention. When this issue was raised, we immediately asked the department to confirm the project funding details and inform us about the procedural next steps. After the review, we followed the process in place, cut the funding to this organization and demanded the money back.

[Translation]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, nearly nine months ago, convoys of transport trucks were heading to Ottawa, announcing their plans to lay siege to the city.
    We learned yesterday that hotel operators knew they were coming. They warned the City of Ottawa that, in the middle of the pandemic, 15,000 people were trying to book every hotel room in the city for three months. Ultimately, only the federal government did not see the siege coming.
    When the government says that it was in constant communication with the City of Ottawa before the trucks arrived, what were they talking about, if not this? Were they exchanging recipes?
    Mr. Speaker, we invoked the Emergencies Act because it was an unprecedented situation. Witnesses testifying at the commission have demonstrated that people's lives were disrupted, including families and young people who needed cancer treatments and care for other very serious illnesses.
    In an effort to manage the situation, we first sent RCMP officers to help the City of Ottawa, and now we are going to work with the judge to learn from the experience.
    Mr. Speaker, the problem is that they did not manage the crisis. The total lack of leadership on the part of this government is telling. That is what the mayor of Ottawa, Jim Watson, showed the commission today.
    He personally spoke with the Prime Minister on January 31, day three of the crisis, to ask for police reinforcements. He then spoke with the Minister of Public Safety on February 3. It took three more weeks for Ottawa to take action, three weeks. If the situation was so urgent that the Emergencies Act needed to be invoked, then why did it take three weeks to deploy police officers? It is urgent, but there is no rush?
    Mr. Speaker, with all due respect for my colleague, the timeline is very clear.
    From day one of the illegal blockade, we managed the situation by providing the resources, the RCMP officers and all the tools that the police needed. Now we are going to co-operate with the commission to learn from the experience. It is a very serious situation.
    We invoked the Emergencies Act because it was necessary, and it worked very well on the ground.

[English]

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, last year, the average family spent 36% of their income on basic necessities like food, shelter and clothing. Do members know what percentage was spent on taxes? It was 43%. That is over $40,000 per household, and the Prime Minister is planning on tripling the carbon tax, further penalizing families when they purchase their basic necessities. The Prime Minister is also planning a payroll tax increase on January 1.
    Will he recant and offer some relief to struggling Canadian families?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians understand that EI contributions are how they insure themselves in case they lose their jobs. Mr. Harper understood that too, which is why the EI contribution rate was higher in every year that he was prime minister than it is this year and than it will be next year.
    Here is what The Globe and Mail had to say about the EI debate we have been having in Parliament: The finance minister's “math is impeccable”. As for the Leader of the Opposition, The Globe and Mail said this about his EI claim: “his claim is misleading”.

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, Canadian families can no longer afford the Liberal government. The average Canadian family now spends more on taxes than it does on the basic necessities of food, clothing and shelter. The Prime Minister spent $12,000 of taxpayer money on groceries in a single month when Canadian families are skipping meals to pay their grocery bills.
    When will the Prime Minister do the right thing and cancel the January 1 tax increase on Canadians' paycheques?
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives in this House have the opportunity to do the right thing right now. There is a bill before the House that would see Canadian children in low-income households have access to dental care. There is a bill before the House that would see low-income renters have access to rental support.
    On this side, the government side, we have been there consistently for families since we were elected in 2015. I hope we can count on the Conservatives, who claim to care about Canadian families, to join us in these instances.
    Mr. Speaker, small businesses are being buried under layers of red tape and tax hikes by the Liberals. Take onions: It is now cheaper and easier to import onions from Turkey than buy Canadian. First there is red tape, as Canadian onion exporters face inspection delays and costs, and then there is the carbon tax, which also drives up costs and makes Canadian onions more expensive than those shipped from around the world. The Liberals are making Canada one of the worst places to compete in the global marketplace.
    Will the Prime Minister end his plan to triple the carbon tax on Canadian small businesses?
    First of all, in terms of making Canadian businesses competitive, we are aggressively pursuing trade agreements around the planet to diversify our supply chains. Second, what we are doing with respect to small businesses is empowering inclusive trade, which means supporting women entrepreneurs with a $6-billion program. It means empowering Black entrepreneurs with a $200-million program. It means supporting indigenous people on this land so they can reach their economic potential. We will continue that work because we know that what is best for inclusive businesses is best for Canada.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate my colleague, the Minister of National Revenue, for the important announcement she made about the community volunteer income tax program on Friday.
    Can the minister tell us more about the enhancement of this federal grant, which helps individuals access the credits and benefits they need, and in particular, can she tell us about the funding for organizations that serve northern and indigenous communities?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from the Yukon for his kind words and his hard work.
    This past weekend, I announced an increase in funding for free tax clinics. This funding will help organizations that serve northern and indigenous communities in particular by helping people access the credits and benefits to which they are entitled. We will continue to do whatever it takes to improve access to benefits and credits.
    Mr. Speaker, according to a recent poll, 85% of Quebeckers have had to change their habits to deal with the rising cost of living in 2022. They are reducing their outings, choosing house brands or putting off renovations. They are struggling to keep their heads above water. Instead of helping them, this government wants to deduct more money from their paycheques.
    Will the Prime Minister commit today to cancel his planned tax increase?
    Mr. Speaker, our government understands very well that many Canadians are struggling with affordability and the cost of living. That is the reality. That is why I am very pleased that all members of the House have decided to unanimously support our plan to deliver inflation relief payments. It was a significant moment.
    The time has come to take the next step together and deliver the housing and dental care payments.

  (1505)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, northerners are facing unaffordable gas, groceries and home heating bills. I was in Inuvik recently, and two and a half litres of orange juice was over $21, ground beef was over $16 a kilogram and Kraft Dinner was over three dollars a box. Liberal inflation and carbon taxes are already punishing northerners and it will soon be impossible for them to afford it.
    On behalf of all northerners, will the Prime Minister end his plan to triple taxes on gas, groceries and home heating?
    Mr. Speaker, I was in Inuvik as well, about six weeks ago, and there I announced $163 million of new money for the nutrition north program. The program moves beyond a simple subsidy for nutrition north. It offers a new community food programs fund directly to support community-led food initiatives. We are providing more funds directly to indigenous partners through the harvesters support grant, increasing traditional country foods for our partners.
    Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, there is a simple answer to this problem: The Liberals could end the carbon tax.
    Experts are warning that Canadians could see heating costs double this winter. As we brace for the winter months, Canadians will be paying more to heat their houses, gas up and stock their fridges due to the out-of-control inflationary spending from the Liberal government. Canadians are going to need more than just hot air from the members opposite to stay warm this winter.
    Will the Prime Minister end his plan to triple the taxes on groceries, gas and home heating?
    Mr. Speaker, as I said previously, I think we can all agree that the affordability challenges facing Canadians are very important. That is why we are moving forward with the GST tax credit. That is why we are moving forward with dental care for children in this country.
    It is important for the hon. member to understand that the direct rebates to families paying the carbon tax are greater for 80% of the families than what they actually pay. This works to help with affordability.
    I would also say that we have to take into account the future costs of inaction on climate change. Absent urgent action, those costs will be $25 billion by 2025 and $100 billion a year by 2050. For the sake of our children, we need to take action on climate change.

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, small and medium-sized indigenous businesses across the country experienced great volatility during the pandemic. With the federal government's support, many were able to stay in operation by taking advantage of loans through the COVID indigenous business initiative.
    As the economy continues to rebound and companies recover, could the Minister of Indigenous Services please update this House on what measures are being made available to support indigenous businesses?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for caring about the success of small businesses and, in particular, indigenous small businesses, which were equally hit hard during the pandemic.
    We have announced that we will be providing 50% loan forgiveness for indigenous small businesses across this country. That is about 3,800 small businesses that will go on to hire friends, family and neighbours and continue to grow our economy here in Canada.
    I am thankful for all small businesses, including those run by indigenous people in Canada.

Labour

    Mr. Speaker, the government was asked a very clear question about support for Alberta workers. Its answer was insulting, so I am going to ask it again: Will the minister support the Alberta Federation of Labour's plan for a future economy?
    Albertans are tired of empty words and no action. There is a massive opportunity for good-paying union jobs, and Alberta workers risk getting left behind because of the government's inaction. We need the government to commit real dollars and take real action now. Where is the plan for Alberta workers? Where are the—
    The hon. Minister of Natural Resources.

  (1510)  

    Mr. Speaker, I will underline the fact that I was in Calgary just a couple of weeks ago meeting with the Alberta federation and a number of the unions in Alberta talking about exactly these issues. I would say there was an enormous amount of agreement about the need to develop an economy that is going to be strong and that will create jobs and economic opportunities.
    We are working very directly with labour in Alberta. We are working very directly with some of the member's colleagues, whom she may want to talk to about that, to ensure that we are moving forward in the right way.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, obviously there is no plan at all.

[Translation]

    We learned that the Liberals spent $28 million to lease land near Roxham Road and they did so secretly.
    Instead of suspending the safe third country agreement to streamline the process for refugees, the Liberals chose to funnel millions of dollars of public money to a Liberal donor without a call for tenders. For a Liberal, a crony is always a crony.
    When will the Liberals suspend the safe third country agreement as the NDP has been calling for?
    Mr. Speaker, the rental agreements were negotiated based on fair market value to arrive at a competitive price. Given the location of the land and its proximity to the border, this was an ideal location for CBSA.
    Our government is delivering open, fair and transparent procurement processes, while obtaining the best value for Canadians.

[English]

Presence in Gallery

     I wish to draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of Hon. Natalie Jameson, Minister of Education and Lifelong Learning and Minister responsible for the Status of Women for the Province of Prince Edward Island.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[Translation]

Canada Disability Benefit Act

    It being 3:12 p.m., pursuant to order made on Thursday, June 23, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C‑22.

[English]

    Call in the members.

  (1525)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 190)

YEAS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Aldag
Alghabra
Ali
Allison
Anand
Anandasangaree
Angus
Arnold
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Atwin
Bachrach
Badawey
Bains
Baker
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Barron
Barsalou-Duval
Battiste
Beaulieu
Beech
Bendayan
Bennett
Benzen
Bergen
Berthold
Bérubé
Bezan
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Blaney
Block
Blois
Boulerice
Bradford
Bragdon
Brassard
Brière
Brunelle-Duceppe
Calkins
Cannings
Caputo
Carrie
Casey
Chabot
Chagger
Chahal
Chambers
Champagne
Champoux
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Chong
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Collins (Victoria)
Cooper
Cormier
Coteau
Dabrusin
Dalton
Damoff
Dancho
Davidson
DeBellefeuille
Deltell
d'Entremont
Desbiens
Desilets
Desjarlais
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Dong
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dzerowicz
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Epp
Erskine-Smith
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Fergus
Ferreri
Fillmore
Findlay
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fortin
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Gaheer
Gallant
Garneau
Garon
Garrison
Gaudreau
Gazan
Généreux
Genuis
Gerretsen
Gill
Gladu
Godin
Goodridge
Gould
Gourde
Green
Guilbeault
Hajdu
Hallan
Hanley
Hardie
Hepfner
Hoback
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Idlout
Ien
Jaczek
Jeneroux
Johns
Joly
Jones
Jowhari
Julian
Kayabaga
Kelloway
Kelly
Khalid
Khera
Kitchen
Kmiec
Koutrakis
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Kusie
Kusmierczyk
Kwan
Lake
Lalonde
Lambropoulos
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lantsman
Lapointe
Larouche
Lattanzio
Lauzon
Lawrence
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lehoux
Lemire
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Liepert
Lightbound
Lloyd
Lobb
Long
Longfield
Louis (Kitchener—Conestoga)
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacDonald (Malpeque)
MacGregor
MacKenzie
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maguire
Maloney
Martel
Martinez Ferrada
Masse
Mathyssen
May (Cambridge)
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McDonald (Avalon)
McGuinty
McKay
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLean
McLeod
McPherson
Melillo
Mendès
Mendicino
Miao
Michaud
Miller
Moore
Morantz
Morrice
Morrison
Morrissey
Motz
Murray
Muys
Naqvi
Nater
Ng
Noormohamed
Normandin
O'Connell
Oliphant
O'Regan
O'Toole
Patzer
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Perkins
Perron
Petitpas Taylor
Plamondon
Poilievre
Powlowski
Qualtrough
Rayes
Redekopp
Reid
Rempel Garner
Richards
Roberts
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Rood
Ruff
Sahota
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sarai
Savard-Tremblay
Scarpaleggia
Scheer
Schiefke
Schmale
Seeback
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Shields
Shipley
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Simard
Sinclair-Desgagné
Singh
Small
Soroka
Steinley
Ste-Marie
Stewart
St-Onge
Strahl
Stubbs
Sudds
Tassi
Taylor Roy
Thériault
Therrien
Thomas
Thompson
Tochor
Tolmie
Trudeau
Trudel
Turnbull
Uppal
Valdez
Van Bynen
van Koeverden
Van Popta
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vecchio
Vidal
Vien
Viersen
Vignola
Villemure
Virani
Vis
Vuong
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Weiler
Wilkinson
Williams
Williamson
Yip
Zahid
Zarrillo
Zimmer
Zuberi

Total: -- 328


NAYS

Nil

PAIRED

Members

Bergeron
Boissonnault
Gray
Sorbara

Total: -- 4


    I declare the motion carried.

[English]

    Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

    (Bill read the second time and referred to a committee)


Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Committees of the House

Citizenship and Immigration  

    The House resumed consideration of the motion.
    Pursuant to the order made on Thursday, June 23, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion to concur in the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration.

  (1535)  

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

(Division No. 191)

YEAS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Aldag
Alghabra
Ali
Allison
Anand
Anandasangaree
Angus
Arnold
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Atwin
Bachrach
Badawey
Baker
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Barron
Barsalou-Duval
Battiste
Beaulieu
Beech
Bendayan
Bennett
Benzen
Bergen
Berthold
Bérubé
Bezan
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Blaney
Block
Blois
Boulerice
Bradford
Bragdon
Brassard
Brière
Brunelle-Duceppe
Calkins
Cannings
Caputo
Carrie
Casey
Chabot
Chagger
Chahal
Chambers
Champagne
Champoux
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Chong
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Collins (Victoria)
Cooper
Cormier
Coteau
Dabrusin
Dalton
Damoff
Dancho
Davidson
DeBellefeuille
Deltell
d'Entremont
Desbiens
Desilets
Desjarlais
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Dong
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dzerowicz
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Epp
Erskine-Smith
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Fergus
Ferreri
Fillmore
Findlay
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fortin
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Gaheer
Gallant
Garneau
Garon
Garrison
Gaudreau
Gazan
Généreux
Genuis
Gerretsen
Gill
Gladu
Godin
Goodridge
Gould
Gourde
Green
Guilbeault
Hajdu
Hallan
Hanley
Hardie
Hepfner
Hoback
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Idlout
Ien
Jaczek
Jeneroux
Johns
Joly
Jones
Jowhari
Julian
Kayabaga
Kelloway
Kelly
Khalid
Khera
Kitchen
Kmiec
Koutrakis
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Kusie
Kusmierczyk
Kwan
Lake
Lalonde
Lambropoulos
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lantsman
Lapointe
Larouche
Lattanzio
Lauzon
Lawrence
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lehoux
Lemire
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Liepert
Lightbound
Lloyd
Lobb
Long
Longfield
Louis (Kitchener—Conestoga)
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacDonald (Malpeque)
MacGregor
MacKenzie
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maguire
Maloney
Martel
Martinez Ferrada
Masse
Mathyssen
May (Cambridge)
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McDonald (Avalon)
McGuinty
McKay
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLean
McLeod
McPherson
Melillo
Mendès
Mendicino
Miao
Michaud
Miller
Moore
Morantz
Morrice
Morrison
Morrissey
Motz
Murray
Muys
Naqvi
Nater
Ng
Noormohamed
Normandin
O'Connell
Oliphant
O'Regan
O'Toole
Patzer
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Perkins
Perron
Petitpas Taylor
Plamondon
Poilievre
Powlowski
Qualtrough
Rayes
Redekopp
Reid
Rempel Garner
Richards
Roberts
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Rood
Ruff
Sahota
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sarai
Savard-Tremblay
Scarpaleggia
Scheer
Schiefke
Schmale
Seeback
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Shields
Shipley
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Simard
Sinclair-Desgagné
Singh
Small
Soroka
Steinley
Ste-Marie
Stewart
St-Onge
Strahl
Stubbs
Sudds
Tassi
Taylor Roy
Thériault
Therrien
Thomas
Thompson
Tochor
Tolmie
Trudeau
Trudel
Turnbull
Uppal
Valdez
Van Bynen
van Koeverden
Van Popta
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vecchio
Vidal
Vien
Viersen
Vignola
Villemure
Virani
Vis
Vuong
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Weiler
Wilkinson
Williams
Williamson
Yip
Zahid
Zarrillo
Zimmer
Zuberi

Total: -- 327


NAYS

Nil

PAIRED

Members

Bergeron
Boissonnault
Gray
Sorbara

Total: -- 4


    I declare the motion carried.

Government Orders

[S. O. 57]

[English]

Government Business No. 20

Motion That Debate Be Not Further Adjourned 

    Mr. Speaker, in relation to the consideration of Government Business No. 20, I move:
    That debate be not further adjourned.

  (1540)  

    The hon. Minister of Indigenous Services is rising on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to express my disappointment at hearing members of the opposition, in particular the Conservatives, asking our Deputy Prime Minister to smile a little more. This is recognized as a known sexist remark. I would just say that—
    I am afraid that this is more of a point of debate and not a point of order. However, I do want to remind both sides that when someone is answering or talking, as I am, to listen and to respect each other.
    We will now return to the motion that was put forward.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1, there will now be a 30-minute question period. I invite hon. members who wish to ask questions to rise in their places or use the “raise hand” function so the Chair has some idea of the number of members who wish to participate in this question period.
    The hon. member for Sarnia—Lambton.
    Mr. Speaker, here we are again. The Liberal government, which promised Canadians that it would not shut down debate, is doing it again.
    It is shameful. These are important measures to get right. There are concerns that have been expressed on this motion, as well as the bill that it pertains to, and the government is not listening. I am very disappointed to see, once again, a lack of transparency and Liberals not keeping their promises, which is what we have come to expect from this government.
    Mr. Speaker, I am so glad and grateful to be able to answer this question and to agree with the member that this is a very important bill. We should move forward because, as we all know, the next occasion is going to give us more time and a better place to study the bill clause by clause and to look at it carefully to make sure that it serves the needs of Canadians on dental care and rental support.
    Mr. Speaker, I find it mighty rich that Conservatives are using all of their stalling tactics to prevent children from getting dental care, while MPs in the House get dental care, Conservative MPs.
    I find it extremely disturbing and shameful that they are doing this. We need to move forward with this so that children get help so that they can deal with their dental work.
    Mr. Speaker, the member is correct. As we do this, we are going to save probably around $2 billion in emergency services in current dental work not having to be given.
    A lot of Canadians, and low-income Canadians in particular, do not have access to dental care because of affordability, and $2 billion in hospitalization costs could be prevented with better dental care for children and low-income families.

  (1545)  

[Translation]

    This is another slap in the face of parliamentarism, Mr. Speaker. It is a two-handed slap, one hand being Liberal and the other New Democrat. Again, it seems as though we are in a bad movie.
    Bill C‑31 is ill-conceived. We should have worked on this bill because it was scribbled on the back of a napkin. Then, we can see there is a desire to expedite debate. There is talk of dental insurance, but there is no clear indication in the bill that it was dental insurance, quite the contrary. What we are seeing now is a government that drafted bad legislation because it was in a too big a hurry to consummate its marriage to the NDP to really put any work into it.
    My question is simple. Is the minister embarrassed to introduce this closure motion?
    Madam Speaker, I congratulate my colleague for wanting to take a closer look at the bill. That is exactly what we can do if we vote for the motion today. We can go to committee and take the time needed to listen to experts to see how taking care of our children's dental health means taking care of their health in general. It avoids them having to go to the hospital for emergency surgery that would not be needed if they had access to quality preventive dental care. It is for all children who need it in Quebec and elsewhere.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I found it very ironic that the new shadow minister for civil liberties just tried to lecture this side of the House on not allowing the democratic process to take place when only hours ago, the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan moved a concurrence motion in order to stall for time in the House. It is a tactic that we have seen year after year being played by the Conservatives to affect the agenda from moving forward. Now, once again, they are trying to do it on an issue that is as important as dental care for children under 14 years of age, who otherwise might not be able to afford it.
    Could the minister comment as to whether he is equally frustrated as I am with respect to the fact that, on an issue that should enjoy the support of all members of the House, we seem to be seeing more Conservative tactics and delays?
    Madam Speaker, we obviously all feel the urgency of moving forward. December 1 is coming. This is when we would like children of low and middle-income families to benefit from better dental care.
     By the way, about a third of all surgeries under anaesthesia for children between the ages of one and five are because children do not have access to proper dental care before they end up in emergency surgery. We know we can do better, and with the assistance of all members of the House, we know we will do better.
    Madam Speaker, the minister knows that Ontario, as an example, has five programs that help low-income children access dental care. Dental care is a program that should fall under a provincial mandate for health.
     I am very curious as to why the minister would not have collaborated with the provinces to enhance the programs instead of creating another program, more bureaucracy, more red tape, duplication and triplication of programs. Instead of helping more people in a more streamlined way, the Liberals just seem to be adding more layers of red tape when they could just be helping Canadians.
    Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for pointing to the need of having more people having access to better dental care in Canada, including through complementing the work provinces and territories currently do. It is only about 4% of total dental care expenses that are currently covered by provinces and territories. About seven million Canadians, 30% of all Canadians, do not go to see a dentist every year, because they do not have the means to do so. Therefore, we need to do better, and we are doing this in collaboration with and in support to provinces and territories.

  (1550)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, after listening to the minister's speech and reading the bill, I feel certain important elements are missing.
     Basically, before any action is taken, there is a fundamental principle to respect. That is the jurisdiction of the provinces. Before doing anything, did the minister even consult or consider the possibility of simply transferring the money to the provinces?
    Madam Speaker, as my colleague suggests, there are considerable benefits for the provinces and territories in having the Government of Canada invest more in dental health. For example, it costs between $12,000 and $25,000 to treat a child who has a widespread infection because dental health problems were not resolved through preventive services before the child ends up in urgent care, which is very costly for the provinces and territories.
    We know that we can do better. We look forward to discussing it in committee to ensure that this bill is as robust as possible.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, as much as I appreciate the minister moving forward with this bill and fast-tracking it, I am deeply disturbed by the Conservatives using all their tactics, like concurrence motions and whatnot, to delay children getting help for their dental work. I also feel the Liberals have not done enough to move on their promise on their mental health transfer, the four and a half billion dollars over five years.
    Does the minister agree that the Liberals need to move rapidly also on their promise for a mental health transfer, because we are in the middle of a mental health crisis in Canada?
    Madam Speaker, the member is correct that we need to do more. We are doing more, in fact, because we have a $6-billion transfer already in place, which will be negotiated over the next few months, on home care, community care and mental health care. In long-term care, there will be an additional $3 billion. Just a few months ago, we announced an additional $2 billion for reducing backlogs in surgeries and diagnostics.
    We know there will be more, and we are very proud to work with all members of the House who know and feel that we all need to do more.
    Madam Speaker, I want to highlight the fact that members in this chamber are making comments about whether it is ironic, or whatever. The facts are the facts, and the fact on this piece of legislation is that it is being sped through this House at an alarming rate. We are not being given adequate time to even study this massive omnibus bill, which brings together multiple ministries, in a timely manner.
    It is quite concerning to me that the government has moved time allocation on this, something it said it was not going to do because of some of the abuses that happened in previous governments, but here it is yet again, using this tool to try to force things through. Liberals are also making programming motions to force it through in committee.
    Why are the Liberals so scared of this bill having adequate critique in committee?
    Madam Speaker, we should all commend the member for asking for additional time to study this bill. That is exactly what we are going to do at committee, which is where members of the House can spend more time and energy in the appropriate setting, asking for experts and other stakeholders to come to the committee so they can ask questions and get answers.
    This is where we want to go next, because, as the member knows, we need more time to take action in delivering dental care and rental supports for low-income and middle-income families.
    Madam Speaker, the government is going to use the exact same process to disburse payments to receiving individuals as it did with CERB, using the CRA to disburse the payments.
    Will the minister say on the record whether he believes in the process that the government has set up? Is it a good process, is it the one it intends to use, and does he stand by that process?
    Madam Speaker, there are two things: first, the process, and second, the outcomes.
    This is the right process to proceed quickly to deliver better dental care for children.
    On the outcome, about two million school days are missed by children every year because they need to go for emergency dental care. This is time wasted, obviously, for children. It is also an important burden for families. We need to do better. When children get sick, it is bad for their health and it is also bad for their long-term development, socially and health-wise, especially when they miss days at school.
    Madam Speaker, we know our health care system is fractured. We do not truly have a head-to-toe health care system. It stops here. We know dental care is finally coming in to ensure that people get access to dental care.

  (1555)  

    How is the NDP in B.C. doing it, then?
    Madam Speaker, it is because of the NDP, absolutely, to my colleague who is heckling me. We are making sure we have pharmacare so that people who do not have private insurance can access the medicine they need when they need it. Also, when it comes to mental health, we need parity. Mental health is health.
    Does the minister not agree that we do not have parity between mental and physical health in this country and that we need legislation so we can make sure there is truly parity between mental and physical health?