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44th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 125

CONTENTS

Friday, November 4, 2022




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 151
No. 125
1st SESSION
44th PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Friday, November 4, 2022

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer



Government Orders

[Government Orders]

  (1000)  

[English]

Ways and Means

Income Tax Act 

Hon. Mona Fortier (for the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance)  
     moved that a ways and means motion to amend the Income Tax Act, related text and other text be concurred in.
    The question is on the motion.
    If a member of a recognized party present in the House wishes that the motion be carried or carried on division, or wishes to request a recorded division, I would invite them to rise and indicate it to the Chair.
    Madam Speaker, I request a recorded division.

  (1045)  

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

(Division No. 212)

YEAS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Ali
Anand
Anandasangaree
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Atwin
Bachrach
Badawey
Bains
Baker
Barron
Barsalou-Duval
Battiste
Beaulieu
Beech
Bendayan
Bennett
Bergeron
Bérubé
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Blaney
Blois
Boissonnault
Boulerice
Bradford
Brière
Brunelle-Duceppe
Cannings
Carr
Casey
Chabot
Chagger
Chahal
Champagne
Champoux
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Collins (Victoria)
Cormier
Coteau
Dabrusin
Damoff
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Desbiens
Desilets
Desjarlais
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Dong
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dzerowicz
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Fergus
Fillmore
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fortin
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Gaheer
Garneau
Garon
Garrison
Gaudreau
Gazan
Gerretsen
Gill
Gould
Green
Guilbeault
Hajdu
Hanley
Hardie
Hepfner
Housefather
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Idlout
Ien
Jaczek
Johns
Jones
Jowhari
Julian
Kayabaga
Kelloway
Khalid
Khera
Koutrakis
Kusmierczyk
Kwan
Lalonde
Lambropoulos
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Larouche
Lattanzio
Lauzon
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lemire
Lightbound
Long
Longfield
Louis (Kitchener—Conestoga)
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacDonald (Malpeque)
MacGregor
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maloney
Martinez Ferrada
Masse
Mathyssen
May (Cambridge)
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
McDonald (Avalon)
McGuinty
McKay
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod
Mendès
Mendicino
Miao
Michaud
Miller
Morrice
Morrissey
Murray
Naqvi
Ng
Noormohamed
Normandin
O'Connell
O'Regan
Pauzé
Perron
Petitpas Taylor
Plamondon
Powlowski
Qualtrough
Rayes
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Sahota
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sarai
Savard-Tremblay
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Serré
Sgro
Sheehan
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Simard
Sinclair-Desgagné
Sorbara
Ste-Marie
St-Onge
Sudds
Tassi
Taylor Roy
Thériault
Therrien
Thompson
Trudeau
Trudel
Turnbull
Van Bynen
van Koeverden
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vignola
Villemure
Virani
Vuong
Weiler
Wilkinson
Yip
Zahid
Zarrillo
Zuberi

Total: -- 207


NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Allison
Arnold
Baldinelli
Barrett
Benzen
Berthold
Bezan
Block
Bragdon
Brassard
Brock
Calkins
Caputo
Carrie
Chambers
Cooper
Dalton
Dancho
Davidson
Deltell
d'Entremont
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Ellis
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Ferreri
Findlay
Gallant
Généreux
Genuis
Gladu
Goodridge
Gourde
Gray
Hallan
Hoback
Jeneroux
Kelly
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Kusie
Lake
Lantsman
Lawrence
Lehoux
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Lloyd
Lobb
MacKenzie
Martel
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLean
Melillo
Moore
Morantz
Morrison
Motz
Muys
Nater
O'Toole
Patzer
Paul-Hus
Perkins
Poilievre
Redekopp
Reid
Rempel Garner
Richards
Roberts
Rood
Ruff
Scheer
Seeback
Shields
Shipley
Small
Soroka
Steinley
Stewart
Strahl
Stubbs
Tochor
Tolmie
Uppal
Van Popta
Vecchio
Vidal
Vien
Viersen
Vis
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Williams
Williamson
Zimmer

Total: -- 109


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

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

[Translation]

Digital Charter Implementation Act, 2022.

    He said: Madam Speaker, I thank my colleagues on the other side of the House for their enthusiasm this morning. I am extremely proud to speak today to Bill C-27, a bill to implement Canada's digital charter 2022. This bill will help us better protect our children in the digital age.
    I am also proud because our government continues to show leadership in an ever-changing world. In 2019, we launched Canada's Digital Charter, a set of 10 core principles intended to build trust in a digital world.
    Today, we are putting those principles into action by proposing ambitious and comprehensive reforms for Canada's privacy framework, including stronger protections for children.
    More importantly, Bill C‑27 recognizes that protecting personal information is not enough. Canadians also deserve to know that they can trust the innovative technologies that shape our economy and our society. With this bill, we will be one of the first countries in the world to create a framework for the responsible use of artificial intelligence.

[English]

    For Canadians to further prosper from the digital economy, we need to ensure they have confidence and trust in the digital platforms, confidence that our advantage in cutting-edge technology does not come at the price of privacy and safety, confidence that their personal information is protected and confidence that we are taking the extra steps to protect our children.
    Children interact with the digital world just like adults do, but our government believes that their privacy deserves special protections. Just as Canadians need to have confidence that new technologies are being developed and deployed responsibly, businesses need clear rules so that they can effectively deliver the products and services Canadians want and need. In today's digital economy, trust has never been more important.

  (1050)  

[Translation]

    As my hon. colleagues know, Canada is a nation that depends on foreign trade. We live in a world where data are constantly going back and forth across geographical boundaries. Economic activity is increasingly reliant on the analysis and exchange of personal information and data. It also relies on the development of technology, such as artificial intelligence, that can be deployed anywhere in the world.
    Although these technologies can improve our quality of life and make our societies and economies smarter and greener, we recognize that Canadians deserve to have their private information properly protected. We recognize that a responsible approach to artificial intelligence is crucial to building a more prosperous Canada.

[English]

    What is in the digital charter implementation act of 2022? Let me turn to some of the specifics.
    The bill introduces three new key pieces of legislation. The first is the consumer privacy protection act. It would replace part 1 of the existing Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, or what we otherwise know in Canada as PIPEDA. The second is the personal information and data protection tribunal act, which would establish the personal information and data protection tribunal as a key part of Canada's privacy enforcement regime. Third, this bill would introduce the artificial intelligence and data act, a new law that would set a foundation for regulating the design, development, deployment and operations of AI systems. It would also criminalize intentional acts that cause serious harm to individuals.
    Our previous privacy legislation, PIPEDA, has served us well. For more than 20 years, businesses have relied on its principles to guide their use of personal information, even as technologies have changed dramatically. Canadians have been secure in the knowledge that their information has been protected. However, we know there is significant room for improvement.
    The world now is a very different place than it was 20 years ago. Twenty years ago, iPhones did not exist, and neither did Facebook, TikTok and other social media. Those in this room who are old enough will recognize what I am saying this morning. It is therefore urgent that we update our laws to be in sync with the times.

[Translation]

    The amount of data that Canadians create and share every day has grown exponentially. Given that reality, our legislation must adapt to the latest technologies and business practices.
    Canadians have told us time and time again that we need more powers to enforce the law, as well as tougher penalties for those who commit the most serious offences. That is exactly what the consumer privacy protection act would do.
    The legislation would strengthen privacy protection for Canadians by giving the Privacy Commissioner of Canada significantly more powers, better protecting the data of Canadians, especially minors, and creating a clear set of rules to encourage Canadian organizations to innovate while using data responsibly. Together with the personal information and data protection tribunal act, it would introduce a new enforcement regime to hold organizations accountable for how they handle personal information.

[English]

    Specifically, it would increase control and transparency when Canadians' personal information is handled by companies. It would give Canadians the freedom to delete their data, as well as move their information from one organization to another in a secure manner. It would provide the Privacy Commissioner with broad powers, including the ability to order a company to stop collecting data or using personal information. It would also establish significant financial consequences for non-compliant organizations, among some of the toughest penalties in the G7.
    We heard from many stakeholders on the importance of privacy reform and got specific feedback for the effort we put forward as a government in the last Parliament, including from the Privacy Commissioner. We listened, and our bill is better for it, balancing strong privacy protections with responsible innovation. This bill reflects and builds on the strengths of prior work, but also ensures that we are responding to new realities, as Canadians would expect from the House.
    For example, the Privacy Commissioner asked for greater discretion and power to ensure that his office would have the ability to prioritize the most important issues. We agreed. At the same time, we recognized that the needs of smaller organizations for timely guidance and advice are real. For this reason, the CPPA would enable the Privacy Commissioner to prioritize organizations with the greatest needs when it comes to providing them with advice, while also supporting our small and medium-sized businesses so they can comply with this important legislation.
    We heard from organizations that said they needed flexibility about data use in order to be innovative and competitive, arguing that the new exceptions to consent proposed in a previous bill were either too narrow or too broad and were potentially susceptible to abuse. For this reason, the proposed new privacy law includes a new limiting exception to consent for activities in which an organization has a legitimate interest. This new limited exception would include a strong backstop to ensure that organizations act responsibly.
    Let me be clear. This would be a strongly enforced mechanism to allow for innovation within particular parameters. It is an approach similar to what is found in privacy laws in both the EU and Singapore, which are considered best in class.
    We also heard from many stakeholders, including esteemed colleagues here in the House, who urged us to go further when it came to the protection of children. They were right, and this is the section that I am most proud of in the bill. It is why the new privacy protection act would hold organizations to a higher standard when it comes to protecting the personal information of minors.
    Specifically, it would define their information as sensitive, requiring a different level of assessment and protection by the companies that use such information. This would help determine whether a company's reason for using personal information is appropriate, what type of consent they must seek, the strengths of safeguards that must be used to protect the information and how long it can be kept. Finally, the bill would also give parents and minors more power over this information, including the ability to have it deleted.
    This bill has so much more, and I urge every member in the House to seize this moment.

  (1055)  

    I think there was an error in the time on the screen. The hon. minister has 20 minutes for his speech, so I will not cut him off.
    Madam Speaker, obviously, if my colleagues will indulge me, I will continue, because there is so much to be said.
    I hear that they are clapping, which makes me proud that my colleagues have decided on a Friday to be here to support, attend and listen. I will try to go faster, as I know the House would like to hear from them.

[Translation]

    After the Digital Charter Implementation Act, 2020 was passed, we heard many people say that we should recognize the growing role of algorithms, even beyond their use of personal information. Privacy protection is important to Canadians, and many want the government to go much further.
    More specifically, stakeholders have drawn our attention to the growing use of artificial intelligence systems and their transformative role for society and the economy. Needless to say, as a global leader in artificial intelligence, Canada has an opportunity to play a key role on these important issues.
    Thanks to the pan-Canadian artificial intelligence strategy, Canada now has many leading researchers and businesses in this field across the country who also have an influence around the world. Their work is essential not only to job growth and creation here at home, but also to the supply of products and services that consumers demand and need.
    We want to continue to encourage their work. Artificial intelligence can contribute to stimulating the economy and enhancing productivity in many industries. We know, for example, the immense potential of artificial intelligence for diagnosing disease or even finding numerous treatments for several diseases.
    We know that it also has the potential to cause harm, including prejudice. That is why we want to act quickly to establish our expectations about how these risks should be mitigated.
    To that end the measures included in the Consumer Privacy Protection Act is a most important step.

  (1100)  

[English]

    Another important component is knowing that—
    I am sorry to interrupt.

[Translation]

    The hon. member will have eight minutes when we resume debate after oral question period.

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Education Workers in Ontario

    Madam Speaker, today in my riding of Sudbury, education workers will be bravely standing up to the provincial Ford government to fight for their legal rights to collective bargaining guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
    The Ford government’s use of the notwithstanding clause is unconscionable. Instead of continuing to bargain with the union, the Ford government wanted to impose a four-year contract on 55,000 education support workers, which includes prohibiting a strike during the life of the contract. Now it has proceeded with the use of the notwithstanding clause to prevent CUPE members from using the charter to challenge the legislation in court.
    Education workers deserve our respect and to be compensated fairly for the incredibly important work they do. They have the right to negotiate their contracts and not have the Ford government impose one. The largest public school board in northern Ontario has closed all schools today because it cannot operate without its valuable education workers.
     The Conservative Government of Ontario has demonstrated time and again it does not have the backs of workers in Ontario.

Birthday Congratulations

    Madam Speaker, a week ago, I had the great pleasure of attending a very special celebration for an incredible woman at the Preston Park II Retirement Residence in Saskatoon. Ms. Sophie Foster, the longest-living person in Saskatchewan, turned 108. There was a century's worth of friends and family in attendance, and the room was filled with smiles and laughter.
    Over her many years, Sophie has been a cornerstone of her community. She taught hundreds of students and volunteered as an English tutor for international students coming to Saskatchewan. In 2012, she received the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of her volunteerism to her community.
    Today, I ask the entire House to join me in wishing Sophie, who is now 108 years young, a happy birthday.
    Madam Speaker, I rise in solidarity with the tens of thousands of Ontarians who are protesting Doug Ford's blatant attack on their charter rights through the notwithstanding clause.
    Mr. Michael Cooper: Sit down. Just sit down.
    I would remind the member that he does not have the floor and his response here is inappropriate. I would ask members to be respectful of those who have the floor.
    The hon. member for Kingston and the Islands.

Education Workers in Ontario

    Madam Speaker, the Conservatives who are heckling me should know that there have been nine premiers of Ontario since the charter was adopted and the availability of this last resort clause, which effectively strips those rights, was established. Doug Ford is the only premier to have ever used it, and he has now done so twice. Even more egregious is that this time he is doing so in a pre-emptive manner, unwilling to even allow the court to weigh in before using it.
    CUPE's protest is today. It is fighting for a fair wage for custodians, educational assistants, secretaries, early childhood educators and librarians. However, this is a fight every Canadian should be invested in.
     A government willing to act in such a callous manner on a whim cannot be trusted with the safeguards of these rights. I encourage all members of the House to stand with those who are protesting today to preserve their charter rights in Canada.

Climate Change

    Madam Speaker, the climate crisis is also a water crisis. From catastrophic flooding to the devastating impacts of hurricane Fiona and the unprecedented mass die-off of salmon in B.C. streams, Canadians are feeling the impacts. Canada is already spending $1.9 billion each year on climate damages from extreme weather, and that number will only continue to grow.
    However, there are solutions. A recent Canadian Climate Institute report shows that every dollar spent on adaptation now will save us $13 to $15 in the future. Investing in the health of our waters can build climate resilience, support job creation, advance reconciliation and help ensure clean drinking water for all.
    We must create a truly independent Canada water agency and adequately resource the freshwater action plan. Indigenous water rights must also be recognized and rooted in nation-to-nation relationships. Canadians care deeply about the health of our waters. It is time for federal leadership and meaningful investments to protect our most precious natural resource. Water is life.

  (1105)  

[Translation]

Fire Department in Greater Longueuil Area

    Madam Speaker, last Wednesday, I had the very great pleasure of attending the Longueuil fire departments' distinguished service medal presentation ceremony.
    This event was an opportunity to recognize 58 of the department's firefighters who have 20, 30 and even 40 years of loyal service.
    Fighting fires is an essential and dangerous job. Every day, firefighters put themselves at risk to ensure the safety of their citizens and community. As we all know, they are exposed to ongoing risks even after the fire is extinguished.

[English]

    It was an honour for me to be at this very special ceremony to pay tribute to this exceptional group of firefighters, some of whom I have known for many years and count as friends. They have dedicated their lives to keeping our citizens and our communities safe.

[Translation]

    I am proud to pay tribute to all those who were awarded medals. Congratulations.

[English]

Langley Business Person of the Year

    Madam Speaker, the film industry in British Columbia is world class.
     It is dominant in Canada, and it is picking up momentum, thanks to the expansion of Martini Film Studios in my home town of Langley. Last year, it built a 30-acre site in the heart of our community, and this year it has started construction on the 600,000-foot full-service production facility that will employ thousands of talented people, helping to drive our local and national economies.
    This takes leadership from the top, and that leadership was recognized with the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce awarding Ms. Gemma Martini, CEO of the Martini Film Studios, as business person of the year. I send my congratulations to Gemma on a job well done. It is a recognition duly earned, as hers is a vision that sets British Columbia apart as a leader in the North American film industry.

Women Leaders in Cloverdale—Langley City

    Madam Speaker, today I would like to recognize four women of distinction from Cloverdale-Langley city.
     The first woman to mention is Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade. Now in her 29th year with the organization, Anita has done tremendous work in building and promoting the city of Surrey as a destination where people can find great-paying jobs while raising their families.
     Another woman I would like to recognize is Shannon Todd Booth, executive director of the Langley Hospice Society. I have known Shannon for over 20 years now, and I can attest to her community involvement across the non-profit sectors. Shannon and her team at the Langley Hospice Society are to be commended for the new hospice in Langley, which allows residents to live well right to the end.
     I want to also mention Kelly Sears, president of the Waceya Métis Society. In this role, Kelly serves local Métis people in the Langley and White Rock area and helps protect, promote and enhance the status of Métis membership in our region.
     Lastly, I want to recognize Ursula Maxwell-Lewis, who has served the Cloverdale community as an award-winning journalist. She runs a travel blog, sharing stories from around the world, and is involved with many non-profits in our community, including the Surrey International Writers' Conference.
     I want to thank these women who make our community a better place for all.

Remembrance Day

    Madam Speaker, this Remembrance Day, Canadians across our great country will remember the men and women who served and continue to serve in times of peace, crisis and war.

[Translation]

    Last week, a fire destroyed the legion in my riding. It had been established in 1957.

[English]

     Many irreplaceable items were lost, including the Legion's original charter, which was signed by Queen Elizabeth II; a restored World War I rifle; paintings; photographs; and more. Legions are part of our country's social fabric. They help bind us. On November 11, we will pay tribute to our fallen soldiers.
    I also want to personally honour the memory of maternal grandparents, Anthony Thromin and June Yvonne Stevenson, who served Canada during World War II.

  (1110)  

[Translation]

    As someone who served in the reserves for five years, I am grateful for their sacrifices.

[English]

    We will not forget their sacrifice nor their service.

[Translation]

    Lest we forget.

[English]

Immigration

    Madam Speaker, Conservatives put the Canadian people first, protecting their savings, paycheques, homes and their country.
     The immigration system is broken. The Liberals must know this after years of their mismanagement and backlogs. It is time for an immigration system that works. Doctors and nurses who dreamed of coming to Canada should not be denied work just because they come from another country.
     Working with the provinces, we will fix the broken foreign credential recognition system. Immigrants applying to work in their profession should get an answer within 60 days. As Canada faces a labour shortage crisis, we need new ideas that empower workers to fill our workforce gaps. Liberal red tape and bureaucracy should not stand in the way.

Education Workers in Ontario

    Madam Speaker, workers' rights are human rights, and the right to collectively bargaining is a fundamental pillar of workers' rights here in Canada. Unions across this nation protect workers and ensure better outcomes for them, their families and the people they support in schools, hospitals, factories and work sites across Canada.
    Education is absolutely essential. It is perhaps the most important public investment, and we have not seen investments in public education, or in the workers who support it, as a priority from Doug Ford in over four years. What Doug Ford's Conservative government is doing is an absolute travesty. Workers have the right to negotiate, and stripping that right away is wrong.
    Pre-emptively including the notwithstanding clause into legislation is a direct threat to the fundamental rights we are all fortunate enough to take for granted, and this is not what the notwithstanding clause is meant to be used for. It is a clear violation and an abuse of the trust we give to elected people in this country.
    Support workers are vital. They are vital part of the education system. They are some of the most essential workers, and at the same time, they are some of the most underpaid workers. They deserve better. I stand in solidarity with CUPE, ETFO, OSSTF, OPSEU and all workers in the education sector. They deserve better from Doug Ford's Conservatives.

[Translation]

Taxation

    Madam Speaker, inflation is at a 40-year high. This week, butter, which is usually a staple on Canadian families' tables, is $8.29 a pound. It has practically become a luxury good. More and more parents are being forced to make agonizing choices, or even worse, to go without meals so their children can eat. Food banks were visited by 1.5 million Canadians in a single month. That is the sad reality, and that is on top of the ever-increasing cost of housing, home heating, groceries and transportation.
    The inflation we are currently experiencing is a result of the government's out-of-control spending. The government has had its wallet wide open and its credit card out for years now. It has shown no restraint or forethought. We are in this situation because of the government's recklessness, but now it is time to course correct. If the government is serious, it will not increase taxes. It will reduce taxes and continue to lower the carbon tax.

[English]

The Economy

    Madam Speaker, not a day goes by without a senior reaching out to me worried about how they will heat their home this winter, or a family who fears their mortgage renewal interest rate will make their home unaffordable. The cost of groceries is out of control for everyone. Trucking companies cannot get workers, and their bottom lines are being busted by the carbon tax.
    “Have a carbon tax rebate,” the Liberals have told them, even though everyone knows it does not come close to covering the cost. Service and hospitality sectors are cutting hours because they have no workers. We are not fully over the baby formula shortage, and now we have shortages of children’s medicine.
    There are so many serious challenges here right now in our country. The problems affect every industry and every demographic. All the while, the coalition government votes to keep taxes on Canadians as high as their in-flight meals and hotel rooms. The government is out of touch, and Canadians are paying the price.

[Translation]

National Francophone Immigration Week

    Madam Speaker, November 6 to 12 is National Francophone Immigration Week, now in its 10th year. This year's theme is our traditions and our future. There will be a wide range of activities designed to bring people together so they can appreciate various francophone traditions and reflect on a better future for all. From cultural soirees and cooking workshops to job market training, sharing circles and school celebrations, these activities will promote cultural and linguistic exchanges while building social connections.
    The government understands the importance of francophone immigration. That is why it has bolstered its francophone immigration strategy by implementing targeted initiatives to reach our target of 4.4% of French-speaking immigrants outside Quebec by 2023.
    In closing, I want to thank all the people and organizations in Orléans, in Ottawa and across Canada for their support and their excellent work in welcoming francophone immigrants.

  (1115)  

[English]

Canadian Workers

    Madam Speaker, working people and people on fixed incomes across Canada are struggling with the highest levels of inflation in 40 years. Food bank usage has soared. Let us be clear that our federal and provincial governments are part of the problem.
    This inflation crisis is tied to the profiteering of billionaires who have hoarded their wealth on the backs of working people. Instead of putting a stop to it, Liberals and Conservatives keep helping out their billionaire friends, but working people have had enough.
    Today, I want to share my absolute solidarity with the 55,000 education workers and CUPE members, who are fighting back against Doug Ford. He, like all Conservatives, claimed to stand up for working people until he got into power and started attacking them.
    The looming threat of austerity is something we must also oppose. Working people did not create this crisis. Billionaires created it. We need to tax the rich, close the loopholes, shut down offshore tax havens and support working people, those on fixed incomes, CUPE members and all workers fighting back for our kids, our communities and economic justice for all of us.

[Translation]

Charlevoix Cancer Support Group

    Madam Speaker, hard times reveal true friends.
    I know that Mains de l'espoir de Charlevoix and its team of volunteers are loyal friends when cancer strikes. For the past 25 years, Mains de l'espoir, located in Baie-Saint-Paul and La Malbaie in the Charlevoix region, has been assisting, supporting and providing services to people with cancer, their family members and their friends. They offer transportation, accompany people to appointments, listen, take care of day-to-day needs, offer healing workshops and more. They are there for people.
    Without a doubt, they embody kindness, love, resilience and hope.
    There are dozens of non-profits like Mains de l'espoir that are funded by donation. We are seeing more and more such organizations because the federal government has been gutting Quebec's and the provinces' health care systems for years. Mains de l'espoir is doing everything it can to make up for that.
    Personally and on behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I want to express my gratitude to Francine, Anne, Evelyne, Nicolas, Maryse, Isabelle and all the volunteers and board members. Happy 25th anniversary—
    The hon. member for Niagara Falls.

[English]

Government Accountability

    Madam Speaker, the residents in my riding of Niagara Falls are suffering under 40-year high inflation caused by this government's reckless policies.
    While the Liberals make more false promises for a better tomorrow to distract us from the issues of today, none of the problems they have created, which Canadians now face, are getting fixed. Immigration applications are jammed. Passport applications are delayed. New NEXUS applications have stalled. Despite a record number of federal workers, nothing seems to work anymore.
    The government has wasted $54 million on the ArriveCAN app and cannot tell us who got rich. The government paid out bonuses to Destination Canada executives when the tourism industry is desperate to recover, and it spent $400 million on random testing at the borders when medical experts said the policy was no longer needed.
    Canadians deserve better. When will this federal government clean up its mess, fix its broken programs and put the service back in the public service?

Remembrance Day

    Madam Speaker, this week, Canadians will be reflecting on the bravery and heroism of veterans and service men and women at Remembrance Day ceremonies across the nation.
    In my riding of Cambridge, Remembrance Day activities will be held at cenotaphs in Galt, Preston and Ayr, where veterans, members of the armed forces and local Legion members will join our community to honour those who have served our nation. It is also a time to reflect on the work of historians, artists and educators who have devoted their craft to memorializing our military history.
    This year marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of John McCrae whose poem, In Flanders Fields, is a national symbol of the sacrifices made during the First World War.
    Dave Sopha was a talented Cambridge artist and patriot who painted the Portraits of Honour, a work commemorating the Canadian peacekeepers and deployed soldiers who fought for peace abroad and made the ultimate sacrifice. This year we mourn his passing and reflect on his work and legacy in representing Canadian sacrifice and duty.
    Please join me in honouring the lives of veterans and service people on Remembrance Day, as we thank them for their service—

  (1120)  

    I apologize for having cut off a few of the members. I know the Speaker rose in the House this week to remind members to ensure their statements fit within the timeline allotted. Today, there were quite a few of them that did not. I want to remind members to make sure their statements fall within the timelines in order to prevent being cut off.
    I apologize. It is not something we like to do. It is something we need to do to continue with the business of the day.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]

[English]

Finance

    Madam Speaker, the economic update released by the Liberals' costly coalition failed on every metric to address the cost of living crisis created by the Liberals' out-of-control spending. We had two demands: no new taxes on workers and seniors, and no new spending unless it was matched by equal savings. The newest inflationary plan triples the tax on home heating, on gas and on groceries, and added $21 billion to the inflationary spending that will drive up the price of everything.
    They ignored the one responsible thing Canadians needed. How could they have missed that part?
    Madam Speaker, global inflation is impacting the world's economy, but Canada's strong fiscal position is helping us make sure that life is more affordable and we are growing an economy that works for everyone. Today, 11 million Canadian households will be receiving hundreds of dollars in their bank accounts because of the doubling of the GST benefit. That is happening today. That includes over 50% of seniors, and students are going to save thousands of dollars because we are permanently eliminating interest on student loans. At the same time, Canada's workers are going to benefit from the investments we are making in clean technology, which is already creating sustainable, clean jobs for everyone.
    Madam Speaker, the cheque is in the mail, but so are the credit card bills, the highest credit card bills Canadians have ever seen. Spending is up 30% over pre-COVID levels: $500 billion plus. Forty per cent of all of those new spending measures had nothing to do with COVID. That is over $200 billion. Do not forget the fancy hotels and the Liberal insider contracts for things we did not need and things we did not even get. Canadians are paying for all of this with the Liberal inflation tax caused by the Liberals' spending. That hurts families, it hurts seniors and it hurts workers.
    How could they be so irresponsible?
    Madam Speaker, the fall economic statement shows that we are continuing to chart a fiscally responsible course. Canada has the lowest net debt and the lowest deficit-to-GDP ratios in the G7. Since the previous budget, we have decreased our deficit by $16 billion, and there are 500,000 more Canadians working today than before the pandemic, making Canada's economic growth the strongest in the G7. Investing in Canada, investing in Canadian workers, is exactly the right decision, and that is what we are doing.
    Madam Speaker, Canada actually has the lowest projected growth of any advanced economy in the G7. That is on the 25th page of the last budget. The spending of the government is 30% higher. Does one think it is irresponsible that an inflation tax is eating into the paycheques of middle-class Canadians? One in five families are cutting down on their diets. The Prime Minister spent $6,000 a night on the most expensive hotel room in London, while Canadians cannot even pay their rent.
    They know and they see the hypocrisy that every other Canadian sees. Why will the member not just finally condemn it?
    Madam Speaker, I am happy to talk about the fall economic statement, because it puts forward a plan that grows our fiscal advantage by continuing to reduce our debt-to-GDP ratio, creating new and sustainable jobs through the Canada growth fund, reducing credit card transaction fees for small businesses, accelerating Canada clean's transition, commercializing Canada's world-class research and development, investing in youth employment and cutting taxes for small businesses. We are making life more affordable. We are growing an economy that works for everyone.

  (1125)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, the major PR campaign undertaken by the Minister of Finance has proven once again just how disconnected the Liberals are from the daily lives of Canadians. They have completely failed to present a solution to the cost of living crisis caused by out-of-control Liberal inflationary spending.
    The Conservatives had two requests: no new taxes and no new spending without matching it dollar for dollar in savings. The government is proposing even more spending, which will make the cost of living crisis worse. There is $21 billion in new spending.
    Why did the Liberals refuse to cancel the tax hikes?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question. It is a pleasure to rise and speak about our economic update.
    Today is actually the day that 11 million Canadian households will see the the goods and services tax credit deposited in their bank accounts. I find it astounding that the Conservative members are talking about tax hikes. I am talking about tax credits, the doubling of a tax credit for 11 million Canadians. That is real money in the pockets of those who need it.
    Madam Speaker, the reality is that there is a cheque in the mail, but also a credit card bill that is higher than it has been in years in Canada because this government's inflationary spending has caused the price of absolutely everything to go up. It costs more to get groceries, fill up on gas and heat our homes in the winter. We had two demands, to help all Canadians by not introducing any new tax increases effective January 1, and by not tripling the carbon tax.
    Why are the Liberals refusing to help all Canadians? Why are they moving forward with their inflationary taxes?
    Madam Speaker, we know that eight out of 10 families are receiving more money through the credit than what they pay as part of the price on pollution. I think the Conservatives did not read our economic update yesterday.
    In fact, we are helping more than 500,000 workers in Quebec with our new Canada workers benefit. That is $1,200 for every single, hard-working Canadian. Why do the Conservatives not want to help Canadian workers?

Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees

    Madam Speaker, immigration is a blessing. However, based on the new thresholds they announced, the Liberals are completely out of touch with Quebec's situation. It seems they have forgotten that Quebeckers must provide all the services newcomers may expect such as housing, health, education and, above all, francization. In short, everything that helps people integrate.
    Why are the Liberals so intent on Quebec exceeding its capacity for integration or, failing that, losing its political weight?
    Madam Speaker, if Quebec wants to welcome francophone immigrants, we are there to help them. If Quebec wants to resolve the labour shortage, we are there to support it. If Quebec wants more, we are always there to help.
    Quebec has all the tools it needs to welcome francophone immigrants, to help communities grow and to protect French. We will continue to be there to ensure that more people immigrate to Quebec.
    Madam Speaker, the problem is that the federal government is not listening to what Quebec wants. It throws out a number, 500,000 immigrants, and thinks it has done its job. Immigration is not just a number. It is also about meeting people's needs.
    The federal government is incapable of providing its fair share of funding for housing and health. It is incapable of processing applications for permanent residency and citizenship in less than about a century and a half. This summer, it was incapable of printing a basic piece of photo ID, a passport. The federal machine is broken.
    Could the government start by fixing the machine before bringing another 500,000 people into the country?
    Madam Speaker, as the member opposite knows very well, the Canada-Quebec accord gives Quebec the exclusive authority to select the majority of its immigrants.
    We have always respected Quebec's jurisdiction with respect to immigration, and we will always work closely with Quebec to support its objective of welcoming the immigrants it needs to ensure business development and the vitality of the French language.

  (1130)  

Government Priorities

    Madam Speaker, the NDP knows that governments need to be there to help people, especially in tough times. Families across this country are struggling. Everything costs more because of the greed of the wealthiest.
    In health care, emergency rooms are overflowing. People are waiting endless hours for care. The Liberals admit that we are heading into a recession, but they have not fixed the EI system. Times are tough and the Liberals are clearly not doing enough.
    Why are the Liberals turning their backs on families in need?
    Madam Speaker, we are there for vulnerable Canadians. Yesterday's economic statement detailed several measures, including double the GST credit, which 11 million Canadian households will receive today.
    The NDP member talks about spending more to help Canadians. We know we cannot add fuel to the fire of inflation, but we have targeted measures to help the most vulnerable Canadians.

[English]

The Economy

    Madam Speaker, it is no secret that grocery chains and big oil companies are making record profits, all while Canadians cannot pay the bills. Not once in the government's fall economic statement did it acknowledge that corporate greed is driving up the cost of everything. The Liberals and Conservatives are standing by and doing nothing, while the wealthiest CEOs take advantage of hard-working Canadians. Families are doing everything right, but they are falling further behind.
    When will the government stop partnering up with CEOs and start working for Canadians?
    Madam Speaker, global inflation is affecting all of the world economies, but Canada's strong fiscal position is helping us make life more affordable. Today, 11 million households will be receiving money in their bank accounts thanks to the doubling of the GST benefit.
    We are continuing to make sure that everyone continues to pay their fair share. We are doing this by implementing the Canada recovery dividend, by taxing share buybacks in public companies and by strengthening anti-tax avoidance measures. It is the right thing to do, and we are going to keep doing it.

Taxation

    Madam Speaker, yesterday’s fall economic statement continues the inflationary spending of the costly coalition and fails to stop tax increases. Temperatures in Alberta have dropped below zero as the province gets blanketed in snow. Albertans are firing up their furnaces and are seeing their gas bills soar as the carbon and inflation taxes eat up their paycheques.
    Why will the Liberals not give Canadians some relief and cancel their plan to triple tax on home heating?
    Madam Speaker, Canadian workers need and deserve a robust industrial policy that will deliver good, sustainable and clean jobs. The Canada growth fund will help deliver billions of dollars of new investment required to reduce our emissions, grow our economy and create high-paying jobs.
    We are replacing inefficient fossil fuel subsidies with major investment credits for clean technologies and clean hydrogen. We are creating a sustainable jobs training centre to help Canada's unions ensure that our workforce is ready to prosper in our growing, clean economy.
    Madam Speaker, the Liberals are also hiding the fact that they are going to hit workers with a second carbon tax by the end of this winter that is going to cost them an extra $1,300. Inflationary spending, the Liberal inflation tax and the carbon tax are increasing the cost of essentials while sending more Canadians to food banks. While the costly coalition attacks Canada’s energy sector, our workers, seniors and families are paying the price.
    Why will the Liberals not give Canadians relief and cancel their plan to triple taxes on home heating?
    Madam Speaker, we know there is an affordability challenge across the country. That is why my residents were so happy that the finance minister introduced a number of measures to address the affordability challenge.
    Speaking of affordability, that is why it is so important that the climate action incentive puts more money into people's pockets, and eight out of 10 families will benefit from it. In fact, in the member's home province, that is going to mean up to $1,100 for a family of four. We are delivering on affordability and we are fighting climate change.
    Madam Speaker, the feedback from my community on the fall economic statement was not positive. Yesterday, I had someone ask how long they will have to wait for this nightmare to end, and another said the Liberals have a boot in Canadians' backs. On this side of the House, we have been calling on the government continually to stop its inflationary tax increases. Of course, we have seen that this is not what the government is doing.
    Why will the Liberals not cancel their plans to triple the taxes on gas, groceries and home heating?

  (1135)  

    Madam Speaker, I will not get into the various ways that the member has her information wrong. I would rather talk about the fall economic statement from yesterday, which will help Canadian workers, help students with the elimination of the interest on their loans, and help families who are having difficulty buying groceries as they are seeing the cost of things rise due to the global inflation that Canada is not sheltered from. We have a real plan to support Canadians.
    Madam Speaker, if we listened to the Liberals we would think Canadians had never had it so good. Liberals always list off all these new benefits they have created for people. Who pays for those benefits? People pay for them out of their taxes, and then the government takes that, gives them a little back and pats itself on the back. That is what is playing out here.
    Why will the Liberals not cancel their plans to triple taxes on gas, groceries and home heating?
    Madam Speaker, we know global inflation is affecting everyone, although Canada is in a pretty good position to be able to help those who are most affected. In fact, inflation in Canada is at 6.9%, while it is higher than 10% in most of Europe and higher than 8% in the United States.
    We put forward a plan that is fiscally responsible. It helps invest in making life more affordable. The Conservatives' affordable plan is very straightforward. They want to stop fighting climate change, and they want to tap into the pensions of seniors, right when they need it the most. It is not a responsible plan.

[Translation]

Finance

    Madam Speaker, the Liberals' economic update does not deal with the cost of living crisis.
    We certainly warned the government that a $500‑billion deficit, $205 billion of which is unjustifiable, would have a direct impact on Canadians. This is cause and effect. The Prime Minister did not listen to us, and as a result, we are seeing the worst inflation in 40 years.
    Will he listen to us this time and guarantee no new spending or tax hikes?
    Madam Speaker, I can talk about the deficit all day long if that is what the Conservatives want.
    Our deficit is the lowest in the G7. According to yesterday's economic update, the deficit is at about 1.3%. We also have the lowest debt in the G7 and the strongest economic growth.
    I think the Conservatives should look at the numbers.
    Madam Speaker, no matter what my colleague says, this does not address inflation, which is the highest it has been in 40 years. It is no wonder that 1.5 million Canadians turned to food banks in one month alone.
    The Prime Minister tried to make up for it yesterday with the economic update. The problem, however, is that it does not address the cost of living crisis.
    Can the Liberals fix their economic statement and assure us that there will be no new spending or tax increases?
    Madam Speaker, our economic update contains measures that will put money directly into the pockets of Canadians.
    In contrast, what the Conservatives are proposing is to rob our seniors of their pensions and to attack our EI system at a time when we are facing global economic instability. That is irresponsible.
    We are there for Canadians.

Health

    Madam Speaker, this week, all six urgent care chiefs of Quebec's hospitals declared the health care system to be at a breaking point.
    In that context, on Monday, in Vancouver, the Minister of Health will be meeting his counterparts from Quebec and the provinces to discuss health transfers.
    Yesterday's economic update did not plan for a penny more before 2028. The hospitals have reached a breaking point today; not in 2028 or next spring, but today.
    Why is the minister still going there empty-handed?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question and his attention to this truly very important subject.
    Canadians expect us to work together with the provinces and territories to find solutions to the challenges our public health care system is currently facing.
    Our government will continue to support the $72 billion investments we made during the pandemic and we will increase the Canada health transfer by 10% in March 2023, in addition to the supplementary increase of—

  (1140)  

    The hon. member for Joliette.
    Madam Speaker, if it is truly very important, the Minister of Finance should be the one to go to Vancouver on Monday to meet with the health ministers. She controls the purse strings. She has already outlined her position in the economic update, however: there will be no health transfer increase in the short term.
    The health minister does not control the money transferred, he is responsible for the conditions that the federal government wants to attach to that money.
    Finally, with respect to the ministers' meeting in Vancouver on Monday, is the federal government attending merely to impose conditions?
    Madam Speaker, that is not true. There are investments in dental care and there are members in the House who voted against them.
    The Minister of Health will meet with his provincial and territorial counterparts in Vancouver next week to further discuss, among other priorities, how we can continue to work together to solve the health care worker crisis and improve access to family health services across the country.

[English]

Finance

    Madam Speaker, $20 billion of inflationary spending, massive tax hikes on everyday essentials, continued high inflation and a potential economic slowdown: all of this in one fiscal update.
    Are the Liberals aware of how badly they are failing?
    Madam Speaker, the fall economic statement puts forward a plan that leverages our strong fiscal position while lowering our deficit by $16 billion. It also modernizes Canada's research facilities, strengthens Canada's anti-avoidance tax measures and makes life and housing more affordable, while eliminating inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.
    Instead, we are investing in clean, sustainable jobs of the future that Canadian workers are going to help us all make happen. This is what it means to have a strong environment and a strong economy working hand in hand, and that is exactly what we are doing.
    Madam Speaker, if only Canadians could eat that word salad.
    It has been observed that Liberals define compassion by how many people the government helps. Conservatives define compassion by how many people the government does not have to help. It seems like the Liberal government is intent on making everyone dependent on the government.
    Will the Liberal government finally show a little fiscal discipline and a little compassion, relent on their tax hike and let Canadians live their lives?
    Madam Speaker, our government has focused, for the last seven years, on reducing poverty. Because of that, millions of Canadians have been lifted out of poverty. That includes children and that includes seniors.
    In fact, our legislative agenda this session is focused on compassion. It is making sure that kids under the age of 12 can get the dental care they need. It is making sure 11 million Canadian households get hundreds of dollars to help deal with the cost of living because although inflation is a global phenomenon, Canada is in a good position to deal with it, so we are going to be there to help people, instead of ignoring them, like the Conservatives.

Taxation

    Madam Speaker, the fall economic statement gets a failing grade. The house is burning down and the Liberals, rather than pouring water on the fire, are pouring fuel on the flames.
    Spending is out of control, and it has led to inflation. One and a half million Canadians went to the food bank last month, yet the Liberals still plan to triple their tax on groceries, home heating and fuel.
    Will the Liberals cancel their plan to triple the tax on home heating, groceries and fuel?
    Madam Speaker, as I have said before, Canadian households receive more money back in the credit than they pay on the price on pollution.
    If the Conservatives were so concerned about helping Canadians through the winter, they would have waited more than 30 seconds before saying they were planning on voting against the fall economic statement and the measures contained therein.
    We will be helping Canadian workers with money that will arrive in their pockets in the next few months. We are going to be helping Canadian families through the Canada child benefit.
    We are there for Canadians, and the Conservatives continue to vote—
    Madam Speaker, Canadians know that this tax-and-spend Liberal government is not giving them back more money than it is taking from them. The government's carbon tax scheme will force millions of Canadians across the country to choose between heating their homes and eating food this winter. The carbon tax has failed to reduce emissions, and it is not protecting the environment. It is not an environmental plan. It is a tax plan.
    Is the government going to wait until people cannot heat their homes this winter to finally cancel its plan to increase the taxes on fuel—

  (1145)  

    Madam Speaker, last week the Conservatives voted against our proposal to subsidize dental care for Canadian children. Last week the Conservatives voted against a one-time payment to Canadians who are having trouble paying the rent. Today they are attacking the measures that will support vulnerable Canadians once again.
    How is it that the Conservatives think they can fool Canadians into believing they care about them or their families?

Seniors

    Madam Speaker, seniors were blindsided when Lions Place, a non-profit seniors housing complex in my riding was put up for sale. They are worried that a for-profit buyer could increase the rents, pricing them out of their homes.
    All that residents are calling for is a 90-day delay of the sale, so that all levels of government can come to an agreement to protect this affordable housing community.
    Will the Liberals intervene to ensure that seniors living at Lions Place do not lose their homes?
    Madam Speaker, this issue is very important to those of us on this side of the House. I would be pleased to have a sidebar conversation with the member about this exact case so we can make sure that we solve this issue, which is important to the member.

Taxation

    Madam Speaker, yesterday I did what Canadians expect of us. The media reported on a loophole that billionaires like the Irvings have relied on for 50 years to get out of paying their taxes, so we in the NDP moved to immediately call on the government to close it. Then the Liberals and the Conservatives did what Canadians expect from them: They worked together to protect their billionaire buddies, not even letting me finish reading my motion.
    Let us be clear. Every dollar that billionaires cheat the system out of is a dollar withheld from Canadian workers and Canadian families for the services they need. Why are the Liberals okay with this?
    Madam Speaker, the member knows very well that I cannot comment on specific cases, but what I can say is that our entire social safety net depends on the principle of tax fairness and people paying their fair share.
    That is why this government, since 2015, has invested $1 billionaire to counter tax avoidance, and we will continue to do that. It is yielding results. Just in response to the Panama papers, which I know the member has raised before, there have been 900 individuals identified as subjects of concern by the CRA. There are hundreds of audits being looked into and closed as well.

Disaster Assistance

    Madam Speaker, Canadians all across eastern Canada are still living with the devastating impacts from hurricane Fiona. Rural communities in particular were hit hard. The school and fishing ports in the Evangeline region of my riding of Egmont were destroyed during the storm. Now more than ever, they need to know how our government is going to stand by them and support the recovery of their communities.
    Could the Minister of Rural Economic Development tell the House and all Canadians how commitments from the fall economic statement from the government will ensure that we help our communities rebuild?
    Madam Speaker, I want to thank my friend and colleague from Egmont for his work during these horrific times of hurricane Fiona.
    We have all seen the heartbreaking images from hurricane Fiona, and even though they may not be on the national news, they are burned in our hearts forever. I want to assure everyone impacted that we are there to help them get back on their feet and on the to road to recovery.
    We know it is a long road to recovery. I was delighted to see in the fall economic statement the Deputy Prime Minister commit an additional $1 billion to the disaster financial assistance agreement with the provinces. I want to assure everyone impacted by this that we are with them every step of the way.

Taxation

    Madam Speaker, many Canadian children will not make it to their 18th birthday. Canada ranks 35 out of 38 in teen mental health and suicide. Do members know how many times the words “mental health” were mentioned in the federal economic statement? It was three. Do members know what contributes to the worsening of mental health? It is having to choose between heating and eating. That stress is downloaded to our children.
    Will the Liberals show some leadership and compassion and stop the planned tax hike on gas, groceries and heating?

  (1150)  

    Madam Speaker, the government, since 2015, has been committed to Canadian children and families. That is why the government implemented the CCB. Rather than cut, cut, cut like Conservatives did and cut cheques for wealthy Canadians, we put a plan in place that continues today. We have lifted 450,000 children out of poverty and 1.3 million families.
    We will be there for children and their families.
    Madam Speaker, that is insulting. In the 2020 UNICEF report, we are 35 out of 38. If that does not disgust the Liberals regarding teen mental health and suicide, shame on them.
    Credit card debt is sitting at $2,100. Canadians have admitted to maxing out their credit cards. What are they going to do now? It is not a luxury to heat their homes and pay for food.
    Will the Liberals show leadership and compassion and stop their plan to triple the tax hikes on gas, heating and groceries?
    Madam Speaker, I am very upset about what has just happened in this House. It could only take a Conservative to ask two questions on mental health and then somehow make them about taxes or the price on pollution.
    Mental health is a serious—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. The hon. member had the opportunity to ask a question, and I am sure all members want to hear the answer.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary may continue, from the top.
    Madam Speaker, while the Conservatives heckle at how disgusting it is for me to be standing here, I think it is disgusting to convert a question on the mental health of our young people into some kind of “triple, triple, triple” gimmick.
    This is a serious issue. We care about the mental health of Canadians. We will be there for them and we will not make it a partisan issue.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, everything costs more. The cost of food has gone up 10% and the cost of housing has doubled since the Prime Minister took office. Diesel fuel now costs over $2.50 a litre in Quebec.
    Rather than helping families, the government wants to take more money from workers' pay cheques.
    The only thing we are asking the government to do is to not increase taxes. Will it do that in 2023?
    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to continue answering questions about yesterday's economic update, but I would also like to share with the House some other figures from Statistics Canada. Canadians created over 100,000 jobs in October. Canadians' wages also increased by 5.6%, and this is the fifth consecutive month that wages have increased.
    We are making sure that Canadians have good, well-paying jobs.
    Madam Speaker, we are definitely not living in the same reality.
    Families are struggling and they are being forced to use their credit cards more and more to stay afloat and meet their basic needs.
    A recent Equifax study shows that the average credit card balance has reached a record high in Canada. Over half of Canadians polled said that they were concerned about their level of personal debt. They need to catch their breath.
    Will the Prime Minister listen to them and not increase taxes in 2023?
    Madam Speaker, I agree with my Conservative colleague on one thing: Canadian households are struggling to make ends meet. That is why I do not understand why the Conservatives continue to vote against measures that will help these Canadians.
    Just last week, on several occasions, the Conservatives denied direct payments to Canadians. Yesterday, once again, we proposed additional measures. Today, 11 million Canadian households will receive the doubled GST credit and that is important.

  (1155)  

Climate Change

    Madam Speaker, in the same year that Canada approved the Bay du Nord oil project, we learn that the Prime Minister will not be attending the COP27 climate change conference in Egypt.
    However, it is not because he dislikes travelling. This month alone, he is going to Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand and Tunisia. These are all important trips, but it seems to me that the climate change issues that the other heads of state will be dealing with at COP27 are just as important.
    Why is he not going to COP27? Is it because he is ashamed of his environmental record?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, we will be going to COP27 with our heads held high and with a large delegation from Canada. One hundred billion dollars has been invested in climate change and building the new economy since 2015, and $9.1 billion in our emissions reduction plan is being invested in electric vehicles, retrofitting homes and buildings, a clean electricity grid and reducing oil and gas emissions.
    We have a great plan, an action plan, and it is something we will be taking to COP27.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, those numbers are good, but Joe Biden will be at COP27 and so will Emmanuel Macron.
    The Prime Minister could even have met his U.K. counterpart, Mr. Sunak, for the first time. It boils down to this: Over 100 heads of state are expected to attend COP27, including all of Canada's major allies, but not the Prime Minister.
    What could be more important that going to COP27 to talk about fighting climate change? Seriously, is there a grand opening for a Tim Hortons somewhere?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, as I mentioned previously, we are going to COP27 with one of the largest delegations to an international meeting in our history. We are going with our ambitious climate change and economic plan that will be enhanced by the fall economic statement that was announced yesterday, with a growth fund that is going to take us to new levels with clean technology, a $26-billion market. We are going to catch that wave and we are going to be in Egypt in full force.

Taxation

    Madam Speaker, government revenues have increased by $40.1 billion this year. This is not economic growth; this is more taxes for Canadians on top of the increasing cost for essentials such as gas, groceries and home heating.
    Why will the Liberals not give Canadians some relief and cancel their plan to triple taxes on gas, groceries and home heating?
    Madam Speaker, we have said this plenty of times, but I think it bears repeating: The carbon price, the price on pollution, makes life more affordable for eight out of 10 families. If we followed the advice of the Conservatives, eight out of 10 Canadian families would actually be worse off. At the same time, that is not even dealing with the long-term cost of dealing with fires, floods and hurricanes.
    We are making investments today that are responsible, not just to make life more affordable but to make sure we are protecting the future for our kids.
    Madam Speaker, Canadians are hurting given that out-of-control inflation is getting worse under this costly NDP-Liberal coalition. Canadians are cutting back on food. Moms are watering down their milk for their kids. One in five Canadians are skipping meals because they cannot afford to eat, while the Prime Minister is jetting away to London and staying at a $6,000-a-night fancy hotel. Is he kidding me?
    Why will the Liberals not give Canadians some relief and cancel their plan to triple the taxes on gas, groceries and home heating?
    Madam Speaker, I just finished describing how our plan to price pollution actually makes life more affordable for eight out of 10 Canadian families, but that is not all it does. It protects our future by making sure that we are continuing to fight climate change.
    We are taking affordability seriously. We know that global inflation is affecting Canadians, but we are in a great position to deal with it. We have the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio in the G7 and have continued to reduce it. That is why we are investing in Canadians, with real money going into their bank accounts today in 11 million households.
    I wish the Conservatives supported kids to get dental care and supported vulnerable renters, but their actions speak louder than their words.

Seniors

    Madam Speaker, seniors are more intelligent than the government gives them credit for. Seniors are worse off today than they were seven years ago. Our seniors built this country and deserve better. With a 40-year inflation high and skyrocketing food prices, the Liberal government has implemented a failed plan that will force our seniors to use food banks and choose between eating and heating.
    The Liberals had a chance to cancel plans to triple the tax on gas, groceries and home heating that punishes seniors. Why did they not do so?

  (1200)  

    Madam Speaker, we recognize the challenges that seniors are facing, and our government has been there for them.
    The member is right: Seniors are smarter. Seniors voted in this government because we have had their backs since day one in 2015. Our government is helping seniors who are struggling by doubling the GST tax credit, with the money going into bank accounts today.
    I can tell members that the party opposite, in its last election platform, had zero for seniors, not a single policy. Voting against is not policy for seniors.

[Translation]

Finance

    Madam Speaker, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance presented the fall economic statement yesterday, outlining our plan to continue investing to grow our economy, make life more affordable for Canadians and build a Canada where no one is left behind.
    As members know, Canada faces real challenges, but also real opportunities.
    Can the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Tourism tell us about the concrete measures the government is taking—
    The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Tourism.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to take a moment to thank the member for Pontiac for her work on the Standing Committee on Finance and her work as the chair of the rural caucus for our government.
    We will soon be launching a new Canada growth fund, which will help attract private capital to invest in both rural and urban areas. We will also introduce a new 30% tax credit for clean technologies, including clean hydrogen, because we know that the citizens of Pontiac and all of Quebec want a just green transition.

[English]

Taxation

    Madam Speaker, Canadians are not feeling the relief that the government has promised. The amounts of $500, $800 or $2,000 are the increases on mortgages alone that my constituents are reporting to my office. Where do we think this money comes from? It comes directly off the tables of Canadians. The government's new spending is not helping Canadians. It is actually making it worse.
    Why will the Liberals not give Canadians some relief and cancel their triple tax on gas, groceries and home heating?
    Madam Speaker, this government is focused on making life more affordable for low-income renters, for Canadians under the age of 12 who need to go to the dentist and for 11 million Canadian households that are getting GST benefits in their bank accounts today.
    Our country's strong fiscal position allows us to do more. We are permanently eliminating interest on Canada student loans. We are creating a new quarterly Canada workers benefit and a new Canada growth fund that will help us reduce emissions, create sustainable jobs and attract private investment. In fact, the new labour survey was out today and there were 108,000 new jobs in Canada last month.
    Madam Speaker, farmers in my riding are paying hundreds, if not millions, of dollars in carbon tax. The Western Irrigation District’s year-over-year costs for fuel alone jumped by 53%. This fuel runs irrigation that delivers water to crops so that families can get Canadian-grown food on their tables. The rebates the government always talks about do not even come to one-tenth of 1% of the costs, and that is if the farms qualify.
    Why will the Liberals not give Canadian farmers some relief and cancel their plans to triple taxes on gas, groceries and home heating?
    Madam Speaker, we have always been there for farmers. We have always supported farmers. Unlike the Conservatives, we did not cut $500 million for farmers. We put $500 million back into the budget for farmers.
    As the hon. member knows, there is a fuel rebate charge that farmers get back for the price on pollution.
    Madam Speaker, the economic update released by this costly coalition only features more of the same reckless spending policies that have driven up inflation on Canadians. Now people are worried and wondering how they are going to be able to fill their gas tanks, heat their homes this winter or put food on the table.
    When will the Liberals finally stop their spending and cancel their plan to triple the taxes on gas, groceries and home heating?

  (1205)  

    Madam Speaker, if we cancel the price on pollution, it would make life less affordable for eight out of 10 Canadian families. Our fiscal update has focused on making life affordable for Canadian families, as has our parliamentary agenda for this entire session.
    We hope that the Conservatives will come onside and look for solutions instead of just suggesting that we cut into seniors' pensions and that fighting climate change is not worth doing. Both of those things are wrong and it is not responsible policy.

Regional Economic Development

    Madam Speaker, yesterday's fall economic statement showed that this government has a strong and concrete plan to help Canadians by investing in workers and jobs. FedDev Ontario has been working with small businesses across southern Ontario to provide support that will help them grow.
    Can the minister responsible for FedDev Ontario please tell the House about the work she is doing to support Canadians in southern Ontario?
    Madam Speaker, the investments that we have made and continue to make through the fall economic statement will grow the Canadian economy. We are drawing investors through the Canada growth fund, and we are upscaling and training workers toward a low-carbon economy through a sustainable jobs plan.
    The economic future for southern Ontario is solid. It will be inclusive, diversified and enable Canadians to reach their full potential. This is an economy that works for all Canadians.

Veterans Affairs

    Madam Speaker, the union of veterans affairs employees has been raising the alarm about service delivery at Veterans Affairs Canada. They have serious concerns about the minister's ability to eliminate the backlog and manage human resources and his plan to outsource service delivery to a private contractor. Veterans tell me that VAC's quality of service has been slipping and that they and their families are the ones paying the price.
    Does the minister understand that veterans need him to step up or step out?
    Madam Speaker, we will certainly look into this and get back to my colleague from North Island—Powell River.
    Caring for veterans has always been a priority of the government. We reinstated a number of the veterans services offices after they were closed by the previous government. We will continue to work with veterans.
    I sincerely hope that this can be an issue that we work on across party lines because our veterans deserve the best.

Marine Transportation

    Madam Speaker, what issue could possibly unite prairie grain farmers, the Grain Elevators Association, communities up and down the coast of Vancouver Island and Coast Salish first nations? It is the mismanagement coming out of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, CN and CP and the complete failure to be able to get prairie grain to a port on time. That is why my communities have free parking for freighters that sit there while everybody loses money and the marine environment suffers.
    I ask the Minister of Transport to tell us what the solution is here, please. It is his portfolio.
    Madam Speaker, I want to assure my colleague and all Canadians that the issue of vessel traffic management on the gulf coast is very important to me and to our government. A few weeks ago, I was in Vancouver where I met with the port authority and stakeholders, including shippers and agriculture producers. Global and domestic supply issues are causing a complicated matter at the port.
    Soon, we will be tabling a bill in the House of Commons to modernize how we govern our ports. We have also announced an investment to digitize our supply chains to help the flow of goods and make them more efficient. Our government is acting. This will also relieve pressure on inflation.
    Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. There has been considerable discussion by the other side, which we might say is misleading, about the effect of the carbon tax on Canadians. The reality is most Canadians are paying—
    That is a point of debate and not a point of order.
    Before I go to the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader, I want to apologize, because the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs was online and I did not see his hand up. I do appreciate the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader standing up to respond to that question.

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1210)  

[English]

Government Response to Petitions

    Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8)(a), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 22 petitions. These returns will be tabled in an electronic format.

Petitions

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship  

    Madam Speaker, I have a petition to present today that relates to the horrific war in Ukraine, but in this case from a slightly different perspective. There are members of families of Russian descent and Belarusian descent living in Canada. Many of those citizens do not support Putin's war on Ukraine, the aggressions and the tragic loss of lives we are seeing.
    This petition is with respect to the IRCC looking at pathways for immigration to Canada for those from Russia and Belarus who do not support the war on Ukraine.

Guaranteed Livable Income  

    Madam Speaker, I rise to present a petition this morning calling for the Government of Canada to introduce a guaranteed livable income for all Canadians. The petitioners recognize that a guaranteed livable income would establish an income floor below which no Canadian would fall and would reflect regional differences in the cost of living. It would be progressively taxed based on income. It would reduce poverty across the country, thereby reducing demand on social services, law enforcement and health care and would provide a social safety net for all Canadians.

Climate Change  

    Madam Speaker, I have two petitions to present on behalf of my constituents of Ottawa Centre.
     As we all know, climate change is real and is a concern for all of us. It is something that I hear about regularly from members of my community in Ottawa Centre. Both petitions deal with the issue of climate change.
    The first petition talks about the role that businesses and companies can play in protecting our environment and ensuring they are also abiding by human rights. It is asking for the House of Commons to adopt human rights and environmental due diligence legislation that would require companies to prevent adverse human rights impacts and environmental damage in all of their global operations and supply chains; would require companies to do their due diligence, including by carefully assessing how they may be contributing to human rights abuses or environmental damage abroad, and by providing access to remedies when harms occur; and would result in meaningful consequences for companies that fail to carry out and report on adequate due diligence. It also calls for establishing a legal right for people who have been harmed to seek justice in Canadian courts.
    The second petition, which is also on the issue of climate change, tries to address climate emergencies. The petitioners are asking for just transition legislation to be enacted by the Parliament of Canada to ensure that workers are able to transition from industries that are based on fossil fuels to those that are sustainable, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, will help us meet our net-zero emissions target and will do so in a manner whereby workers would be working in a low-carbon economy.

Human Organ Trafficking  

     Madam Speaker, I have two petitions I would like to present. The first is in support of Bill S-223. It is a bill that seeks to combat forced organ harvesting and trafficking. The bill has passed the Senate twice and the House once in its current form. It is currently stalled before the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, and petitioners hope it will soon be passed. The families of victims of forced organ harvesting and trafficking have now waited almost 15 years for Canada to pass this legislation. Let us end the delays and get this law passed.

  (1215)  

Charitable Organizations 

    Madam Speaker, the second petition is with respect to the Liberal Party of Canada's promise, in its 2021 platform, to deny charitable status to organizations whose convictions it believes to be dishonest. This would jeopardize the charitable status of hospitals, houses of worship, schools, homeless shelters and other charitable organizations that do not agree with the Liberal Party on matters of conscience. Charities and other non-profits should not be discriminated against on the basis of their political views or religious values and should not be subject to a politicized values test.
    Petitioners call on the government to, one, protect and preserve the application of charitable status rules on a politically and ideologically neutral basis, without discrimination on the basis of political or religious values and without imposing another values test, and two, affirm the rights of Canadians to freedom of expression.

Questions on the Order Paper

    Madam Speaker, I would ask that all questions be allowed to stand.
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[Translation]

Digital Charter Implementation Act, 2022

    The Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry has eight minutes to finish his speech.
    Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to be here with my colleagues this morning.

[English]

     Let me start where I left it before we paused for question period on a Friday.
    Another important component is knowing that companies are committed to the responsible development and deployment of artificial intelligence systems. This is why we have developed the artificial intelligence and data act. Ensuring strong legal protection so that organizations remain accountable for the use of AI systems will help us to build trust.
    Indeed, the proposed artificial intelligence and data act seeks to build on the already positive work of industry and academics to further promote and support responsible AI development. Specifically, much of the act will focus on regulating the development and deployment of high impact AI technologies.
    More importantly, this law is designed in a way that it can grow and evolve over time. It will set expectations and create clear, bright lines right now around the most egregious and harmful conduct, while allowing space for our regulations to evolve to a collaboration with civil society and industry, and I think that is what my friends on the other side of the floor will want.
    This part of the act would require that organizations consider the impacts of the system they use and put in place measures to identify, assess and mitigate harms to the health, safety and well-being of Canadians, which is something I hope everyone in this House will support. It would also require organizations to actively mitigate discrimination and bias as they design and develop artificial intelligence systems.
    Furthermore, specific requirements would be laid out in regulations regarding how companies must assess and mitigate risk and monitor the effectiveness of those measures. To support compliance and enforcement, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry would be empowered to request information, order third party audits or additional mitigation measures, and share information with other federal regulators.
    Finally, this new proposed act would set out clear criminal prohibitions and penalties regarding the use of data obtained unlawfully for AI development, where there is reckless deployment of AI, or where there is intent to cause serious harm. The act is a solid foundation, not only for today but also for our future.

[Translation]

    The economists among us know full well that Canada is an integral part of the global economy.
    That is why we developed legislation that promotes interoperability, but also our leadership in this very important domain. It will give us the necessary tools to work on a coherent national approach with our provincial and territorial counterparts, since that is a critically important issue that was raised.

[English]

    In recent years, many businesses and privacy experts have highlighted the importance of maintaining Canada's adequacy status with the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation, also known as GDPR. Without GDPR, we are at risk of falling behind globally.
    That is why I am asking members that we act today. That is why I am asking my friends and colleagues in this House to send the bill to committee. It is incumbent on the 338 people who sit in this House to bring our privacy laws into the 21st century. What we are suggesting with this bill is to give more power and more control to people over their data online. It is about protecting our children and making sure they are better protected in the digital age. It is also about making sure there is responsible use of AI.
    Let us seize the moment, let us be ambitious and let us bring our data privacy law into the 21st century. Let us have all members contribute to that in committee. The country, our nation and our children would be well served. It could be the best gift we give them for Christmas, that this House act to protect them.

  (1220)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for his speech. There was not a lot in the speech that I could disagree with or that we could disagree with. Our challenge is that we do not think the speech actually delivers what is said in this bill. We know perfection can be the enemy of the good, but I think, in this case, that “good” is not good enough.
    Privacy is a basic human right. We have seen in past iterations of this bill that the Liberal government cannot put that in the bill, which I think is a bit of nonsense. Parliament has the right to deal with economic issues under the Constitution. The personal privacy element is the basis of freedom, the freedom of movement and the freedom of speech. Privacy is critical to that. Privacy is a fundamental human right. It should be recognized in this bill, but it is not.
    Why do the Liberals not believe that privacy is a fundamental human right?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for his question and also for his work. I expect him to be working with us, and there is a simple answer to his question. He will see, when it goes to committee, that the bill recognizes the right to privacy of individuals and their personal information.
    In a sense, the bill achieves the same goal. I think we are on the same page, and that is why we put it in the preamble. I know my colleague, who is an experienced member of this House, is someone who wants to make sure we move into the 21st century. He is right. Let us not have perfection be the enemy of the good. We want to bring our laws into the 21st century.
    I would like to take this opportunity to say that today is the birthday of the member for South Shore—St. Margarets, and the best gift he could give to children across Canada is to make sure we vote for this bill and send it to committee. I know he is a man with a big heart; give a gift to our children in Canada. Let us protect them against harm in the digital world.
    Mr. Speaker, this is a very broad and complex bill. It is important that we recognize that. It can lead to some serious concerns that we may want to talk about later.
    Part of this bill creates the new personal information and data protection tribunal, which can overrule the new enforcement actions and fines imposed by the Privacy Commissioner. I am concerned about the vagueness of the membership of the tribunal, with many appointed by the government.
    Would this not be either a political tool or perceived as a political tool for the government to turn over rulings it does not like?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for her thoughtfulness in this regard, because she understands, like I do, how important it is for society to move and to have modern privacy laws that would protect Canadians. This legislation is about giving more power and control to people over their data.
    With respect to the tribunal, in terms of procedural fairness, we have heard a lot. The point I would make to my hon. colleague is that we listened to a lot of people on that. The fact that we would have a specialized tribunal is something that is quite common in our country, where we often have a commissioner who has regulatory power and power to demand action from companies that do not comply with the act. In terms of procedural fairness, we always have this check and balance with a tribunal.
    I can assure the member that the thinking behind the bill is to have people who are specialized in the area in order to make sure we have the best possible rulings on that, so that we can make sure the enforcement of the act is enshrined in the law, and also that we have judicial review in a way that would be done by people who are well versed in the field. As she well knows, obviously these decisions could be appealed to the Federal Court of Appeal, so there are a lot of safeguards, and it is really meant to make sure we have the best possible people, who understand privacy law and the digital world and can make rulings that would serve Canadians.

  (1225)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
    We know that, in many ways, Bill C‑27 seeks to protect individuals' anonymity. With digital services omnipresent in our lives, we know that transactions and information exchanges are happening faster and faster. Bill C‑27 was designed to give back the personal dignity that organizations have violated for far too long.
    Can the minister tell me if Bill C‑27 will go to committee so we can hear from experts who can identify the flaws in this bill?
    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to see you in the big chair.
    The answer to my hon. colleague's question is absolutely.
    There are parents listening to us at home today. The greatest gift we could give children is to refer Bill C-27 to a committee so that the questions my colleague raised can be properly studied. What she said in her introduction is correct. There are three simple things behind Bill C‑27. First, we want to give individuals more control and power over their online information. Next, as a parent, I feel it is fundamental that there be better protection for our children in the digital age. Finally, it will regulate artificial intelligence so that it is used responsibly and serves the public.
    I believe it is time to bring our 20-year-old legislation into the 21st century. That is a good thing, and it is what Canadians want. It may reassure my colleague to know that during the study of Bill C‑11, we listened to many experts and collected comments to ensure not only that we have a good law, but that we are among the best in the world and that we set an example on the international stage.
    I am pleased to hear that, like me, my colleague thinks that the best gift we can give our young people before Christmas is to send Bill C‑27 to committee to get it passed as quickly as possible.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for introducing this bill. I think it is very important to Canadians to protect their privacy.

[English]

    I have heard a lot about these issues in my work with the committee on access to information, privacy and ethics, and one thing we have heard in some of these committee meetings is that the privacy rules in Europe are stronger. I am wondering if the minister could explain to us how this legislation would bring Canada on par with Europe in terms of privacy.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I will answer quickly.
    First, I want to thank my colleague for all of the work she has done on this file. I also want to thank my parliamentary secretary, who does an outstanding job in committee. I strongly believe in the role of committees.
    My colleague is absolutely right. This legislation is the equivalent of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, which is very well known here.

[English]

    What the member is saying is fundamental. What we want to do with this law is to make sure that we maintain adequacy with the GDPR, which is the law that they have in Europe to protect privacy. I think that is very important. It is important for Canadians, but it is also important for businesses. I think my colleagues on the other side of the aisle will really understand that passing this is fundamental for small and medium-sized businesses across our nation who need to share information with colleagues in Europe to be able to do so. This is the best way we can do that.
    I hope we can send the bill to committee, so that work can start and we can give a big a gift to Canadians as we approach Christmas.

  (1230)  

    Mr. Speaker, as it stands today, federal political parties do not have to follow the same privacy laws that apply to others across the country.
    I wonder if the minister could speak to why this is not addressed in Bill C-27 and if he would be open to addressing this in the future.
    Mr. Speaker, I am always willing to listen. We have listened to a lot of people. This is about Canadians. It is not about us. It is about making sure that we have the best privacy laws that are fit for purpose in the 21st century. I invite my colleague and all members to send this to committee as quickly as we can, so that the real work can start.
    Parents are watching us as we speak this morning. They want the House and every member to help protect their children. That is what we are trying to achieve.
    Mr. Speaker, 34 years ago, the Supreme Court said that “privacy is at the heart of liberty in a modern state”. In the words of Justice Gérard La Forest of the Supreme Court of Canada in 1988, it is worthy of an individual and “it is worthy of constitutional protection”. All Canadians are worthy of having their privacy respected.
    It is our duty as parliamentarians to do our best to protect Canadians' privacy rights, especially as we struggle so much for it today.
    Bill C-27, formerly Bill C-11, is designed to update Canada’s federal private sector privacy law, the Personal Information Protection and Electronics Documents Act, or PIPEDA, to create a new tribunal and to propose new rules for artificial intelligence systems. It is a reworking of Bill C-11, and it has three components: the consumer privacy protection act; the personal information and data protection tribunal act, creating a new tribunal; and the artificial intelligence and data act.
    The bill applies to Canadians' private rights. It does not apply to CSIS, RCMP or CSE. That and other government-held data is governed by the Privacy Act. Privacy laws for Canadians have not been updated in 22 years, and Europe updated the General Data Protection Regulation in 2016.
    When we last updated this act, 22 years ago, the member for South Shore—St. Margarets was turning 21 years old, and society was going through big changes. The world had just gotten past the Y2K scare. We were looking at what was going to happen to computers when the clock changed from 1999 to 2000. In certain areas, we did not know if the power would go out or what would happen.
     People listened to music on CD Walkmans. Apple was over a year away from launching a cutting-edge new technology called the iPod. Less than 30% of Canadians actually owned a cellphone. The most popular cellphones were the Motorola Razr, which was a flip phone, and the Nokia brick phone, with texting that used the number pad and almost no web browsing capabilities. The most sophisticated app was called Snake. A fledgling Canadian telecommunications company was just starting, and it was called BlackBerry.
    That is how long it has been since we updated our laws. Today, 22 years later, data collection is getting more sophisticated, and surveillance is more of the norm than the exception.
    Apple Watch announced a few weeks ago that it can track and tell when a woman is ovulating. What is concerning, and we are going to talk a lot about data for good and data for wrong, is that this technology can tell if a woman skips a cycle, and then can identify if there has been a miscarriage or an abortion. This is very concerning.
    Our Fitbits, our web history and our Apple phones can tell us how many steps we did in a day. Sometimes when we are in Parliament it is about 10, and if we are door knocking it is about 25,000. That does not sound important, but that information is also letting those regulators know where we have been, where we are going and where we live.
    Facial recognition technology can identify a face like a fingerprint. Sometimes that is good. We have heard from law enforcement that it can be used for human trafficking. Sometimes that is wrong, when people are identified in a street and when people are identified with their names, their data and where they have been. Let us think of Minority Report, where everywhere someone goes, they are identified. It did not matter where they where going or where they had been. That is something that could happen with facial recognition technology.
    Google and Amazon listen and collect our data in our bathrooms, living rooms, kitchens and cars. How many times have we been in conversations and Siri asks, “What was that?” Siri is always listening. Amazon is always listening. Speaking of cars, they are cellphones on wheels. When we connect to a rental car, and a lot of us rent cars, we see five or six other phones in the history. That car has downloaded all the data from our phone into that car. A lot of times, if we see that in the rental car, that car holds our information. It is very concerning.
    There are many examples where it has hurt Canadians in the last several years. Two summers ago, Tim Hortons had a data breach, where every time someone rolled up the rim, it told Tim Hortons where they went afterwards, if they went home or where they were staying. It collected all that data, and it was a big problem.
    In the ethics committee, we studied facial recognition technology. There was a company called Clearview AI, which took two billion images off the Internet, including a lot of ours, and just gave them to the police. There was no consent. The information just went and ended up in the hands of law enforcement.
     There is Telus's “data for good”. During the pandemic, Telus collected our data. It knew where we went and if we went to the grocery store or the pharmacy, or if we stayed home. It just gave that to the government. It was called “data for good”. They called it de-identification. I am going to talk about how that hurt everyone later.

  (1235)  

    Lastly is doxing or using personal information to try to out people. GiveSendGo is a big one. It gave a U.S. company the information of people who donated to different causes or events. At one point, Google identified all those donors on a website showing exactly where they lived. Everyone's information, when they donated to a company, was identified and outed. That was terrible.
    Surveillance has not just resulted in a wholesale destruction of privacy but a mental health crisis in children and youth as well. I am glad to hear the minister speak about children and youth because data has certainly affected them and continues to.
     Canada’s federal government has repeatedly failed to take privacy seriously and construct a legal framework that protects the rights of Canadians in the digital age. This bill normalizes surveillance and treats privacy not as a fundamental human right and not even as a right to consumer protection. To make this point very clear, nowhere in the document for Bill C-27 does it state that privacy is a fundamental human right. However, this should be the crux of new legislation to update privacy laws, if not the outward premise, with the statement hammered from the preface until the end of Bill C-27 and following through the entire document. However, it is not there. It is nowhere and, therefore, holds no value.
    This bill does not use that statement from the onset. It should be the pillar by which the bill is designed and led. Only a strong bill will ensure that Canadians' privacy rights are protected. Because of its omission, the bill is very weak, making it easier for industry players to be irresponsible with people's personal data. This is ironic as Canada has signed on to the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. That is where the bill starts and ends, with its failure to properly address privacy for Canadians.
     Conservatives believe that Canadians’ digital privacy and data need to be properly protected. This protection must be a balance that ensures Canadians’ digital data is safe and that their information is properly protected and used only with their consent, while not being too onerous to be detrimental to private sector business. It is a balance.
    Let us be clear. We need new privacy laws. In fact, it is essential to Canadians in this new digital era and to a growing digital future, but Bill C-27 needs massive rewrites and amendments to properly protect privacy, which should be a fundamental right of Canadians. The bill needs to be a balance between the fundamental right to privacy and privacy protection and the ability of business to responsibly collect and use data.
    It also needs more nuance, but parts of this bill are far too vague. The definition of tyranny is the deliberate removal of nuance, so to create more equality or fairness on those privacy rights and to ensure businesses and AI use data for good, we need more nuance with more detail and more explanation, not less. There was a saying I used to love that my grandfather would say: “If you're going to do something, make sure you do it right or don't do it at all.”
    Besides the omission of privacy rights as a fundamental right, the bill needs a massive rewrite. First, the bill doubles down on a flawed approach to privacy using a notice and consent model as its legal framework. The legal framework of Bill C-27 remains designed around a requirement that consent be obtained for the collection, use and disclosure of personal information, unless one of the listed exceptions to consent applies. Those exceptions are called “legitimate interest”.
     What is scary about legitimate interest is that the businesses themselves will determine what legitimate interest means and what will be exempt. A quote on this from Canada’s leading privacy and data-governing expert, Teresa Scassa, says that this provision alone in the bill “trivializes the human and social value of privacy.” The legitimate interest provision allows Facebook, for instance, to build shadow profiles of individuals from information gathered from their contacts, even those with no Facebook access or accounts, without asking for their permission.
    Have colleagues ever seen the “people you may know” feature on Facebook? Sometimes people turn up there, although one might not know where they had ever met and even though neither party is actually on Facebook. That is because Facebook builds profiles and shadow profiles from other members' contacts. Facebook has a feature that will suggest that one share their contacts: It will be great. People will give all their friends' information to Facebook: their emails, addresses and sometimes their private phone numbers. The U.S. found that information was turning up in Facebook. Here are a couple of examples. An attorney had a man recommended as a friend he might know who was a defence counsel on one of his cases, when they had only communicated though a work email. Another time, a man who donated sperm to a couple, secretly, had Facebook recommend their child as a person he should know, despite not having the couple, whom he once knew, on Facebook.

  (1240)  

    Legitimate interests needs more nuance. It needs to be more defined, or it is useless. Legitimate interests allow for too much interpretation. In other words, it allows something to be something unless it is not. It is far too broad.
    Additionally, consent is listed as having to be “in plain language that an individual to whom the organization’s activities are directed would reasonably be expected to understand.” Bill C-27 makes it hard to determine what legitimate interests are, and that goes back to privacy as a Human Rights Commission complaint.
    If we compare this section to the European Union's privacy law, the GDPR, which is, as the minister stated, the gold standard, the legitimate interest exemption is available unless there is an adverse effect on the individual that is not outweighed by the organization's legitimate interest, as opposed to the interest or fundamental freedom to the individual under the GDPR. If adverse effects on the individual can be data breaches, which are shocking and distressing to those impacted, and some courts have found that the ordinary stress and inconvenience of a data breach is not a compensable harm since it has been a routine part of life, probably for the last two years at least, then the legitimate interest exemption will be far too broad.
    However, Bill C-27 would take something that was meant to be quite exceptional for consent in the European Union's privacy laws and make it a potentially more mainstream basis for the use of data without acknowledging consent. Why would it do this? It is because Bill C-27 places privacy on par with commercial interests in using personal data, something that would not happen if privacy was noted in the bill as a fundamental right for Canadians.
    Additionally, we need to be wary of consent. As a mandatory, consent should be made easier. Has anyone ever looked at their iPhone when agreeing to consent and scrolled down? Has anyone actually read all that? Has anyone read Google's 38 pages of consent every time they sign up or use Google?
    Consent is not easy. It is not simple, and certainly this proposed law would not make it any simpler. We need to be wary of consent, and we need to ensure that consent is consensual, both in language and intent, and that we all know exactly what we are signing up to do, to give and to receive.
    There is another term I want to explain as well called “de-identification”. The bill talks a lot about de-identification, and its definition is that it “means to modify personal information so that an individual cannot be directly identified from it,” and then goes on to say “a risk of the individual being identified remains.” Therefore, an individual would lose all their information, but a risk of identifying an individual would remain.
    Members will remember my Telus data for good example. Telus gave this information to the government during COVID, even though a risk of the individual being identified remained. It should be scrapped, and instead we should be using the word “anonymize”, which is also in the bill. This is what the GDPR does. In the bill, it “means to irreversibly and permanently modify personal information, in accordance with generally accepted best practices, to ensure that no individual can be identified from the information, whether directly or indirectly, by any means.”
    I would ask members which one they would prefer. Would they like to be re-identified, as there is a possibility, or would they like no identification by any means?
    Another major flaw in Bill C-27 is the creation of a bureaucratic tribunal instead of giving the Privacy Commissioner more bite. The creation of a tribunal is a time-waster, and the Privacy Commissioner should be allowed to levy fines. The Privacy Commissioner should be given more power and more bite. This is unclear because the EU, the U.K., New Zealand and Australia do not have tribunals that mediate their fines for privacy violations. Furthermore, it would no doubt cause those who have had their privacy violated to have to wait for years for the right of action.
    I will put this straight. First we would have the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, or OPC, make a ruling. Then the government said that it would have a tribunal, which could then reverse the ruling of the Privacy Commissioner, and then we would have the Supreme Court, which would be allowed to rule on the tribunal's ruling. We would have a decision, another decision and a third decision, and each one of them could be countered.
    Let me guess how long it would take. What do members think it would take? Would it take 48 hours or six months? Right now, the average is one year for the Privacy Commissioner, and we could add another year for the tribunal plus another year for appeals.
    I ask this: Is it fair to have the average Canadian who has had their data breached, with their limited resources, have to go up against Facebook and Amazon and then spend three years in court? Does this protect fundamental privacy rights? Is this not just adding another layer of government that we certainly do not need?
    The absence of rights-based language in the bill might tip the scale away from people in Canada, and the OPC and the tribunal weigh the privacy interest of people against the commercial interests of companies. Again, what does this come back to? Privacy was not listed as a fundamental right of Canadians.

  (1245)  

    Lastly, the AI portion of this bill is a complete rewrite. It needs to be split into its own bill.
    I want to commend the minister for bringing this forward. He wants to be the first one in the land to bring this part of the bill forward, but to be honest, consultations only started in June. We have met with many individuals who certainly have not had any input into this deal, and although AI is there, there are many parts missing.
    First of all, its findings conclude that there will be no independent and expert regulator for automated decision systems, nor does it have a shell of a framework for responsive artificial intelligence regulation and oversight. Instead, it says that the regulations will be determined at some future date and decisions will come from the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development or a designated official.
    Again, part of this includes a new tribunal and puts decisions where they should not be, onto the government, with enforcement and decision-making by the minister or the minister's designated ISED official. This would be political decisions on privacy. Does everyone feel comfortable that we are now shifting from a tribunal to the government?
    This part of the bill will shift all of that to the government, to the minister or his designate. It reminds me of the proclamation, “I'm from the government, and I'm here to help.”
    There is no mention of facial recognition technology, also, in this part of the bill, despite reports that have come from the ethics committee, the examples I gave from before on FRT. Certainly, that is worth more study.
    There are some parts of the bill that have good aspects and certainly ones we can get behind, including the protection of children's privacy. As a father, I know it is so very important. Our children now have access to all kinds of different applications on their phones, iPads and Amazon Fires.
    Our children are being listened to and they are being surveilled. There is no question that businesses are taking advantage of those children and that is something that we definitely need to talk about.
    The attempt to regulate AI, though, as I have stated, needs major revisions. Without a proper privacy statement, it does not have a balanced purpose statement establishing that the purpose of the CPPA is to establish rules for governing the protection of personal information in a manner that balances the right to privacy and the need for organizations to collect, use or disclose personal information.
    We should be shooting beyond the European Union's privacy act, shooting to be the world leader in the balance of ensuring privacy protection and that businesses and industries use data for good. In doing so, they would attract investment and technology, all the while protecting Canadians' fundamental right to privacy.
    Canada needs privacy protection that builds trust in the digital economy, where Canadians can use new technologies for good while protecting them from the bad, profiling, surveillance and discrimination. The minister said that he wants to seize the moment, that we need leadership in a constantly changing world. Most importantly, the minister said that trust has never been more important.
    If we do not get this right, and if we do not make sure that privacy is a fundamental human right, and declare that in the document and build the document around that right, we are doing two things: We are not prioritizing Canadians' privacy, as we are certainly not putting privacy at the forefront of the bill, and we are certainly not showing leadership in an ever-changing world.
    As I noted at the onset, the technologies of 22 years ago have changed so significantly. The technologies now are changing more significantly. In the next 22 years, we are going to have technologies that are more embedded, not less, in our lives. We will have AI that do good.
    One of the stakeholders that we met with actually talked about AI for good. They talked about embedding AI into the government's system of passports. That might actually mean that we could get passports within 48 hours. Could we imagine that? Could we imagine imbedding technology for good into a system that would allow Canadians to get the things that they need more often?
    We love technology. We want to embrace it. We just want to make sure that, number one, privacy is protected. We want to make sure that we do the hard work of building frameworks alongside Canadians' fundamental human right to privacy and being protected in equal balance with the economy, democracy and the rule of law. This bill does not do that, not yet.
    Let us work to make sure we come back with a bill that does that.

  (1250)  

    Mr. Speaker,I found the hon. member's intervention to be quite fascinating. He spent a lot of time talking about fundamental human rights and using rights-based language, yet today the Conservatives' provincial cousins in Ontario are literally trampling all over those rights by using the notwithstanding clause in legislation to force people to work before even allowing a court to weigh in on whether it is appropriate or if the law that they created was appropriate.
    I am wondering, with all of this talk about fundamental rights, would the member agree that these should be rights that are not subject to a notwithstanding clause or should not be able to be trampled all over, like their provincial cousins are doing in Ontario right now.
    Mr. Speaker, I am disappointed in that question. We are talking about privacy rights for Canadians. We are talking about protecting children's privacy rights, which are being absolutely discriminated against. They are surveilled every single day by big data. We want to protect their privacy rights.
    The member across from me is my neighbour, and I know he is also a father. Just how much of our children's information is out in the world, how much is being data mined and sold to other countries and companies, concerns me.
    I would love to hear questions about how we are going to better this bill and, therefore, better our children's futures in a digital age.
    Mr. Speaker, I know there was some discussion about rights, and I heard my Liberal colleague across the way questioning the Conservatives on why they are staying silent while Doug Ford takes away the rights of workers. I found it peculiar that my Liberal colleague asked that considering the government forced postal workers back to work.
    The member for Carleton has stayed silent, and I am wondering if the Conservatives support their buddy Doug Ford taking workers' rights away?
    Mr. Speaker, once again, I am disappointed. I guess the Liberals and NDP do not really care about privacy rights for children, which we are talking about today. This is fundamental to the bill.
    The minister did a lot of hard work putting this bill together and there have been a lot of consultations. This is the second iteration. Bill C-11 died only because there was an election called. Now we have Bill C-27, which is very serious. It talks about the rights of our children and Canadians that have been trampled on. I gave a lot of different examples where we just have not gotten it right in protecting children.
    I am surprised that the NDP also does not seem to think that privacy is a fundamental right and something that we should protect. The Conservatives will certainly protect it. We are the only ones speaking about it today.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Bay of Quinte, who was also my colleague at the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics. We all miss him a lot.
    He raised what I consider to be a very important point. He said that the bill in question does not treat privacy as a fundamental right. That really resonated with me because the Privacy Commissioner of Canada identified it as a prerequisite for moving forward.
    I would like my colleague to comment on that.

  (1255)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is absolutely essential. If we lose privacy as a fundamental right, or even, as in this bill, we put it in Parliament's business, and when we get to the courts and people who have had their rights trampled on, who have had their homes addresses on the Internet for everyone to see because they donated to something, we lose what we value as individuals, as Canadians and as a Canadian society. We lose the protection for all of us to have the right to live a great life, volunteer, do the things we want to do, pursue that which motivates us the most, not because man or God says it is the right thing to do but because it is our natural right as Canadians. It is what we tout to the world as our freedom. Protecting that is paramount.
    We have laws to protect that and give us the ability to look after that, but we do not mention that in any part of the bill. The bill is missing that. The biggest problem with the bill is that, if it becomes law and this is still not in the bill, then the courts and businesses are left to their own definitions of what that means. I talked about legitimate interest. It has to be in this bill from the outset. It is in the European Union's bill, and it is in Quebec's privacy bill, so why is it not in the Canadian bill being presented to Parliament?
    Mr. Speaker, some of this goes to the general approach of the government. We have a bill that purports to have noble objectives, which we might agree to as objectives, but there are all kinds of problems with the bill. The member talked about how much of this bill is left to future regulation. We have seen before where bills lack details or give the minister future powers, and we do not know what the final system is going to look like.
    The member was on the ethics committee when we studied artificial intelligence and facial recognition. There was a great report that had unanimous support from all parties, including the Liberal members of that committee, but this bill was already tabled, and it seemed we were really just beginning to scratch the surface.
    Could the member maybe comment on some of the recommendations that came out of the ethics committee report and the problem with just leaving so much to this vague future regulation?
    Mr. Speaker, we had a great study at the ethics committee, and we have just started to scratch the surface, as my hon. colleague mentioned, by looking at what has happened because of this technology and where it is going. Regarding facial recognition technology, Clearview AI was a company that scraped images off the Internet and just gave them to law enforcement.
    One of the most concerning parts of the report we had was that when facial recognition technology was used, it misidentified Black women 38% of the time. That is very concerning. When we asked law enforcement whether traditional technologies like fingerprinting did the same, we heard they do not.
    This technology is not perfect, and we therefore need a lot of study on it and a lot of consultation. We certainly have not had that. Our recommendation is to make sure we have tremendous consultation on the AI portion and perhaps scrap that until we are ready to present it.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to start by recognizing that tensions are high today with respect to workers' rights. I appreciate that colleagues of mine have brought up the importance of being mindful that a province has invoked the notwithstanding clause to trample on workers' rights and that the federal government has the power of disallowance in the Constitution to override that.
    I understand the member for Bay of Quinte does not want to speak about that, so I would like to ask a question related to Bill C-27 with respect to political parties not being required to protect consumers' private data and this gap not being addressed in the current version of Bill C-27. I would like to know if the member for Bay of Quinte is as concerned about this as he is about a number of other items in Bill C-27, and if so, if he would like to speak about that.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for bringing the subject back to the matter at hand.
    I have heard of this and read about it, and it is concerning to look at it.
    There are two parts we are looking at for privacy. Number one is Bill C-27, which would protect Canadians' privacy rights when it comes to business. The second side is the Privacy Act. We have not looked at that, and that needs to come back to Parliament as well. The Privacy Act pertains to everything the government holds and controls, and how much information the government gets to keep on Canadians as well. Those two are very important, and to the member's point, certainly political parties are as well.
    I think we all have to be responsible with private data. We all have the right as good citizens to collect it when it is going to be good, but not when it is bad. The point I brought up before is that using personal information for political gain to identify where people live because we do not like what they donated to is absolutely irresponsible, and I hope the member agrees with that as well.

  (1300)  

    Mr. Speaker, my previous question was not about privacy, because I agree with the member on that. My question to the member was how he is going ensure that the rights he wants so badly are not trampled on, like what we are seeing today.
    Mr. Speaker, the first thing to do with the bill is ensure that we get it right and include fundamental privacy rights. If the member is so concerned about that, I am hoping he is going to join our side with amendments to ensure that this is absolutely the starting place for the bill. If we are doing this in this Parliament here in this place, we should do everything we can to ensure that fundamental privacy rights are included in the bill and that going forward we accept nothing else.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by giving a shout out to my constituents in Trois-Rivières, whom I will be visiting all next week in my riding.
    When I talk to people on the street, privacy is a topic that comes up a lot. They know that I sit on the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, and privacy comes up often. People tell me that it is important, that we must do our best to rise to the challenge. Today, we have the opportunity to debate that very subject.
    Society is a human construct. It is a reflection of how we organize our lives together. It reflects our vision of the world, the role of a citizen, the role of the state. In a democratic society where elected officials are chosen by the people to represent them, our laws must reflect our desires and the desires of our fellow citizens, as well as the way in which their visions can be realized. In other words, a society and its laws are eminently cultural constructs.
    When we compare the legislation passed in the House of Commons with that of the Quebec National Assembly, the difference is striking. Ottawa tends to emphasize the enforcement mechanism, whereas in Quebec, the emphasis is on the legislator's intent. Ottawa wants to arbitrate, while Quebec wants to prescribe and guide.
    When it comes to privacy, this is especially true in the digital age: the difference is dramatic.
    At one end of the spectrum, so to speak, is the United States. In the United States, laws are primarily intended to arbitrate disputes rather than to shape how the digital economy operates. Laws are based on the good faith of the players and on voluntary codes. As one might imagine, this has its limits. Ultimately, if someone is wronged, they can get redress through the common law.
    At the other end of the spectrum is the European Union. The legislation there prescribes clear obligations. I am referring to the General Data Protection Regulation, better known by the acronym GDPR.
    In between is Canada, a hybrid creature whose intentions on privacy oscillate between the European and American extremes. This may seem like an academic debate, but there are practical implications that bring us to Bill  C-27.
    When it comes to privacy, European law is the most prescriptive in the world. It is based on a clear principle, namely that our personal information belongs to us and us alone, and no one can use it or benefit from it without our free, informed and explicit consent.
    Once the government set out that principle or objective, it then provided a mechanism for achieving it. That mechanism is the GDPR. The GDPR is becoming the standard to follow when it comes to privacy, because it is the legal standard with the clearest objectives and the most binding application. Simply put, the GDPR does a good job of protecting privacy. That is one reason why it is the standard we should be emulating; the other is that the EU is projecting its standard-making power beyond its borders.
    In order to protect the personal information of European citizens, the European Union will soon prohibit European businesses from sharing this information with foreign businesses that do not offer comparable protection. This does not affect us yet, but next year, the EU will be reviewing Canada's laws to see if they offer sufficient protection.
    The existing legislation on personal electronic information protection dates back to 2000. That was 22 years ago. We were in the dinosaur era, the pre-digital era, an era we barely remember now. Also, it is far from clear whether Canada passes the comparable protection test required under the GDPR.
    Information exchanges between Canadian businesses and their European partners could become more complicated. This is particularly true in areas that deal with more sensitive information, such as the financial sector. It is therefore absolutely necessary to redraft the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, which is completely outdated. It has not kept pace with technological change and the data economy, where we are both the consumer and the product. It has not kept pace with the legal environment, where Canada is a dinosaur compared to Europe, as I was just saying.

  (1305)  

    Nevertheless, my colleagues will have figured out that the Bloc Québécois is in favour of the principle of Bill C‑27. Nevertheless, I would like to make a general comment about Bill C‑27. For some reason, the government has put into one bill two laws with completely different objectives. The bill would enact the consumer privacy protection act and also the artificial intelligence and data act. Although there is a logical link between these two acts, they could be stand-alone bills. Their objectives are different, their logic is different and they could be studied separately.
    I have a suggestion for the government. It should split Bill C‑27 into two bills. We could create what I would call the traditional Bill C‑27, which would deal with personal information and the tribunal. Then, what I would call Bill C‑27 B would address artificial intelligence. As I was saying, there are logical reasons for that, but there are also practical reasons. Let me be frank and say that the artificial intelligence act being proposed is more of a draft than a law. The government has a clear idea about the mechanism for applying it, but, clearly, it has not yet wrapped its head around the objectives to be achieved and the requirements to be codified.
    The mechanism is there, the bureaucratic framework is there, but the requirements to be complied with are not. Apart from a few generalities, the law relies essentially on self-regulation and the good faith of the industry. I have often faced these situations, and I can say that the industry's good faith is not the first thing I would count on.
    Apart from a few generalities, this relies on good faith, but that is not a good way to protect rights. I am not convinced that this bill should be passed as written; I think it needs to be amended. Bill C‑27 probably deserves the same fate that Bill C‑11, its predecessor, encountered in the last Parliament. The government introduced it, debate got under way, criticism was fierce, and the government let it die on the Order Paper so it could keep working on it and come back with a better version. I think that is exactly what should happen to the artificial intelligence act.
    The government has launched a healthy discussion, but this is not a finished product. If we decide that the government needs to keep working on it and come back with a new version, we will also be delaying the modernization of privacy and personal information legislation. Given the European legislation, which I talked about earlier, that is not what the government wants to do. That is why I would cordially advise the government to split Bill C‑27.
    I am going to focus primarily on personal information protection because that is the part of Bill C‑27 that is ready to go and has the most practical applications. As I said before, Bill C‑27 is an improved version of Bill C‑11, which was introduced in the fall of 2020.
    However, Bill C-27 still does not establish privacy as a fundamental right. Bill C-11 was strong on mechanics, but weak on protection. The principles were also weak and consent was unclear. It was tough on large corporations and much less so on small businesses. When it comes to privacy, however, it is the sensitivity of the data that should dictate the level of protection, not the size of the company.
    A new start-up that develops an app that aggregates all of our banking data, for example, may have only two employees, but it still possesses and handles extraordinarily sensitive information that must be protected as much as possible. I cannot help but think of the ArriveCAN app, which was developed by just a few people but has a large impact on the data that is stored.
    Finally, Bill C-11 did not provide for any harmonization with provincial legislation, such as Quebec's privacy legislation. The Bloc Québécois was quite insistent on that. A Quebec company subject to Quebec law would also have been subject to federal law as soon as the data left Quebec. It would have been subject to two laws that do not say the same thing and have two different rationales. This would mean duplication and uncertainty. It was quite a mess. Passing Bill C-11 would have diminished, in Quebec at least, the legal clarity that is needed to ensure that personal information is protected.

  (1310)  

    Here is what Daniel Therrien, the then privacy commissioner, told the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, of which I am honoured to be a member. He said, and I quote, “I believe that C-11 represents a step back overall from our current law and needs significant changes if confidence in the digital economy is to be restored.”
    He proposed a series of amendments that would make major changes to the bill. I want to commend the government here. It listened to the criticism. It is rare for this government to listen, but it did so in this case. It buried Bill C-11. We never debated it again in the House and it died on the Order Paper. It reappeared only after being improved.
    Bill C-27 shows more respect for the various jurisdictions and avoids the legal mess I was talking about earlier.
    Our personal information is private and it belongs to us. However, property and civil rights fall exclusively under provincial jurisdiction under subsection 92(13) of the Constitution of 1867.
    What is more, privacy basically falls under provincial jurisdiction. That is particularly important in the case of Quebec, where our civil law tradition leads us to pass laws that are much more prescriptive.
    Last spring, Quebec's National Assembly passed Bill 25, an in-depth reform of Quebec's privacy legislation. Our law, largely inspired by European laws, given that we share a legal tradition, is the most advanced in North America. As we speak, it is clear that Quebec has exceeded the European requirements and that our companies are protected from any hiccups in data circulation.
    Our principles are clear: Our personal information belongs to us. It does not belong to the party who collected it or the party who stores it. The implication is clear. No one can dispose of, use, disclose or resell our personal information without our free, informed and express consent. Bill C-11 challenged this legal clarity but Bill C-27, at the very least, corrects that.
    Under clause 122(2) of Bill C‑27, the government may, by order, “if satisfied that legislation of a province that is substantially similar to this Act applies to an organization, a class of organizations, an activity or a class of activities, exempt the organization, activity or class from the application of this Act in respect of the collection, use or disclosure of personal information that occurs within that province;”.
    In other words, if Quebec's legislation is superior, then Quebec's legislation will apply in Quebec.
    When I met with the minister's office earlier this week, I asked for some clarification just in case. Will a Quebec business be fully exempt from Bill C‑27, even if the information leaves Quebec? The answer is yes. Will it be exempt for all of its activities? The answer is yes.
    There is still some grey area, though. I am thinking about businesses outside Quebec that collect personal information in Quebec. In Europe, it is clear. It is the citizen's place of residence that determines the applicable legislation. The same is true under Quebec's legislation.
    It is not as clear in Bill C‑27. Since the bill relies on the general regulation powers for trade and commerce as granted by the Constitution, it focuses more on overseeing the industry than on protecting citizens. That is the sort of thing we will have to examine and fix in committee. I look forward to Bill C‑27 being studied in committee so we can debate the substance of the bill.
    I have to say that I sense the openness and good faith of the government. In that regard, I would like to tell the member for Kingston and the Islands to take note that, for once, I feel he is working in good faith.
    Bill C‑27 will have a much greater impact outside Quebec than within it, because it is better drafted than Bill C-11. That is not the only aspect that was improved. The fundamental principles of the bill are clearer. Consent is more clearly stated. The more sensitive data must be handled in a more rigorous manner, no matter the size of the entity holding them. That is also more clear.
    If the principles are clear, the act will better stand the test of time and adjust to the evolving technologies without becoming meaningless.

  (1315)  

    We will support it at second reading after a serious debate, but without unnecessary delays. However, we believe and insist that the real work must be done in committee. Bill C-27 is complex. Good principles do not necessarily make good laws. Before we can judge whether Bill C-27 is indeed a good law, we will need to hear from witnesses from all walks of life.
    When it comes to privacy, it only takes one tiny flaw to bring down the whole structure. This requires attention to detail and surgical precision. The stakes are high and involve the most intimate part of our lives: our privacy.
    For a long time, all we had to do to maintain our privacy was buy curtains. That is how it used to be. It kept us safe from swindlers. Then organizations started collecting data for their records. Bankers collected financial information, the government collected tax information and doctors collected medical records. This sensitive information had to be protected, but it was fairly simple, since it was written on paper.
    Today, we live in a different world. Whereas personal information used to be a prerequisite for another activity, such as caring for a patient or getting a loan from a bank, it has become the core business of many companies. Information has become the core business of many companies, which are also large companies.
    Computerization enables the storage and processing of astronomical volumes of data, also known as big data. Networking that data on the Internet increases the amount of available data exponentially and circulates it around the globe constantly, sometimes in perpetuity, unfortunately.
    For many corporations, including web giants, personal data is crucial to the business model. Citizen-consumers are now the product they are marketing. To quote Daniel Therrien once again, we are now in the era of surveillance capitalism. Speaking of which, The Great Hack on Netflix is worth seeing. This is troubling.
    Furthermore, for our youngest citizens, the virtual world and the real world have merged. Their lives are an open book on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. They think they are communicating with the people who matter to them, but they are in fact feeding the databases that transform them into a marketable, marketed product. We absolutely have to protect them. We need to give them back control over their personal information, which is why it is so important to amend and modernize our laws.
    I would like to close my speech with an appeal to the government. Bill C‑27 does a lot, but there are also many things it does not do, or does not do properly. Consent is all well and good, but what happens when our data is compromised, when it has been stolen, when it is in the hands of criminals? These people operate outside the law and therefore are not governed by the law. All the consent-related protocols we can think of go out the window. To avoid fraud and identity theft, we will have to clarify the measures to be taken to ensure that anyone requesting a transaction is who they say they are. This really is a new dynamic. In that respect, we are somewhat in the dark, even though, curiously, this is a growing problem.
    There is another gap to fill. Bill C‑27 provides a framework for the handling of personal information in the private sector, but not in the public sector. The government is still governed by the same old legislation, which dates back to the pre-digital era. The legislation is outdated, as we saw with the fraud related to the Canada emergency response benefit. The controls are also outdated. I therefore call on the government to get to work and to do so quickly. We will collaborate.
    Finally, there is another thing the government needs to work on and fast. We addressed this issue in committee when we were looking at the geolocation of data. Bill C‑27 indicates what we need to do with personal data, nominative data. However, with artificial intelligence and cross-tabulation of data, it is possible to recreate an individual based on anonymous information. As no personal information was collected at the outset, Bill C‑27 is ineffective in these cases. However, we started by recreating the profile of a person with all their personal information. It is not science fiction. It is already happening. Nevertheless, this is missing from Bill C‑27, both in the part on information and the part on artificial intelligence.
    I am not bringing this up as a way of opposing Bill C‑27. As I said, we will support it. However, we have to be aware of the fact that it is incomplete. As legislators, we still have some work to do. The time has come to treat privacy as a fundamental right.

  (1320)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I have spent a lot of time on the ethics committee with the member for Trois-Rivières, and we have dealt with a lot of this material. It has been fantastic.
    He spoke about Quebec being a model for Canada, as Quebec has some of the strongest privacy laws in place at the moment. I am wondering if he could expand on two things. One, what does Quebec have that we could implement through Bill C-27 that works really well? Two, does Quebec mention privacy as a fundamental human right for Canadians?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, to reassure my colleague, Quebec does indeed mention that the right to privacy is a fundamental right.
    What is most important is that the Quebec act protects the data, no matter where it is used. It is protected based on the location of the individual. The laws apply in that place. At the same time, we do not only consider the size of the entity, but also the source of the data.
    These are minor differences, but they are important at a time when data is shared around the world.

[English]

    Uqaqtittiji, it is good to hear that the Bloc is willing to support this bill. I share the same concerns about the provisions for protecting minors, and the bill right now as it is does not provide very good guidance on sensitive information.
    I wonder if the member agrees that this bill could be enhanced by providing more guidance on how to handle sensitive information in relation to protecting minors.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I completely agree with my colleague's comments.
    Bill C‑27 is a good bill, but it is incomplete. We need to go further with respect to protecting the rights of minors, in particular. Today, minors are vulnerable, but they are the ones sharing the most data without it being protected. They will have to live with that for their entire lives. Therefore, I completely agree.
    I hope that in committee we will be able to propose amendments that are accepted by the government in order to protect minors.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my eloquent colleague for his speech. We always learn a lot when we listen to him. It is always enjoyable.
    I would like to hear what he has to say about what will happen in committee. I understand that there is a massive amount of work to do to make this bill acceptable since it currently contains many flaws. Often, the contributions of expert witnesses are what support us in committee.
    I would like to know what kind of experts he thinks it would be useful to hear from. Perhaps computer scientists, ethicists or legal experts? Generally speaking, who would he like to see testify in committee?
    Madam Speaker, for a bill like this one that will have such a major impact on society, I think that we need to invite a rather broad range of witnesses, whether it be anthropologists, philosophers, ethicists, demographers or futurists. We will invite a computer scientist to appear at the end. The idea is that we need to think about the world of tomorrow and beyond.
    I think that we should invite witnesses from all backgrounds and that we need to have the legislative maturity to listen, even when what we are hearing may be unpleasant. When exploring every angle of an issue, we need to hear all points of view and I am willing to do that.

  (1325)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, one thing that is a bit concerning for me in this bill is how broad and complex it is. It brings a lot of things into one place, and that can sometimes be a lot. It is important for us to have a process to look through that very closely to make sure that nothing is left out, and that does concern me.
    One thing in particular that I have reviewed is the personal information and data protection tribunal. I asked a question of the minister earlier today and the minister was very clear: He felt this is a normal process and no one should worry. However, I am concerned, because this tribunal would have the ability to overrule the new enforcement actions and fines imposed by the Privacy Commissioner. Unfortunately, the vagueness of the membership of the tribunal is a concern, with many of its members appointed by the government. Today, we know it is very important that we not have any conflict or any perception of conflict. Both of those things are important.
    I am wondering if the member could talk about whether this could be perceived or actually implemented in such a way that it allowed the government to use it as a political tool for the government to overrule decisions that it simply does not like.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for that excellent question. At this point, we do need some parameters we can use to define the tribunal's role and the Privacy Commissioner's role. I think the commissioner should have a little more power.
    I am usually on the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, but this time around, I will be on the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology because I want to make sure this work gets done. I will make sure that we do this work rigorously, that we take a non-partisan approach to assessing this bill and that we get everyone on board with the bill.
    Let me reiterate that this bill will have an impact on people's lives in the future. That is why we cannot let it become a political tool. I do not think it is one at this point, but I want to make sure it never becomes one. We will have to clearly define the roles of the tribunal and the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, as well as those of the higher courts, which may want to rule on these matters. There is some confusion about these roles that needs to be cleared up.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his very perceptive speech on this act. I wonder if he shares the concern I have, which is that whatever good provisions are here, a lot of my constituents do things every day online that put their privacy at risk. They do not understand the implications of the things that have become routine. When I read through the bill and I look at this, I wonder how we are going to deal with that problem in the future, because this is very complex material. Ordinary consumers are giving up their privacy rights, not willingly, but because of the complexity of the issues they do not really understand the implications of with respect to their privacy.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    When we reviewed the geolocation project at the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, we realized that someone with a Telus phone had not consented to their data being shared. It is very clear.
    There is already an education component in the Privacy Commissioner's mandate, but I think it needs to be exercised more, because right now, when people click on “I agree”, most of them do not know what they are agreeing to.
    As part of a recent committee mandate, we recommended that it should be possible to continue without accepting. I think there needs to be good privacy education in schools and at home. However, I also think that the Privacy Commissioner should be doing more on the prevention side of things. Right now, we are basically left to our own devices. Once we click “I agree”, it is too late.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Trois-Rivières for his interesting speech.
    The French magazine L'Express ran a story this week in connection with what the member was referring to. It said that it can take five, six or nearly seven hours to read the terms of service on Internet sites. That is what we are asked to do before clicking “I agree”.
    Does the member believe we should set limits for this type of practice?
    Madam Speaker, yes, I do. I believe that even the legal team who wrote the conditions we have to read before we agree to use Apple, for example, has not read all the conditions because it is too complex. Obviously, this needs to be put in layman's terms and simplified. When we sign a contract, it is advantageous to the drafter of the contract. When we are required to sign the contract, as in the case of an Apple iPhone, it is a problem.
    In past meetings of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, we voiced our desire to simplify this and draw inspiration from Europe's General Data Protection Regulation to determine if it is possible to move forward without accepting the conditions.

  (1330)  

    Madam Speaker, since we are talking about the rights of citizens, I would like to ask a question that is timely and urgent.
    Does my colleague agree that a government should use the notwithstanding clause to take away workers' right to strike?
    Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question.
    I was speaking on Bill C-27 this morning. I am not an expert on the notwithstanding clause. Unfortunately, I will not be able to answer his question because I do not have the legal background to do so.

Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

[Translation]

Citizenship Act

    The House resumed from October 20 consideration of the motion that Bill S-245, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (granting citizenship to certain Canadians), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Madam Speaker, since these are the last speeches before we go spend a week in our ridings and many members have already left the House to go be with their families and constituents, I would like to commend all those stalwart members who are sticking it out to the end. There are not very many of us, judging by the number of empty spaces there were in the parking lot this morning and by how easily I was able to find an EV charging station. There are very few of us here this Friday, but I would say that what we are lacking in numbers, we are making up for in quality.
    The last thing we are talking about today before leaving for our last week in our ridings before Christmas is Bill S‑245. I do not really have any kind of an inside scoop to share since my colleague from Lac‑Saint‑Jean already announced just two weeks ago that the Bloc Québécois would be supporting this bill. I like to contradict my colleague from Lac‑Saint‑Jean from time to time just to tease him, but I will limit my teasing to his clothing choices rather than a bill that has such a significant impact on some people's lives. In short, I will also be supporting Bill S‑245.
    I think my colleagues have already realized that the Bloc Québécois does not tend to be overly partisan. If a bill is good for Quebec, we vote for it, no matter who introduced it. If it is not good for Quebec, we vote against it. We always explain the reasons for our decision.
    Bill S-245 does not really fit in that framework. It is about Canadian citizenship. It affects people who may live in Quebec, our constituents, but it also affects people who may live elsewhere in Canada or even elsewhere in the world. This bill is fundamentally connected to a person's right to Canadian citizenship. While it may seem a little counterintuitive for a Bloc member to defend Canadian citizenship, the principle I am defending today in supporting Bill S‑245 is that no one should have their citizenship arbitrarily taken away just because they have reached the not particularly venerable age of 28.
    I would like to start by outlining the contents of this bill and its purpose, but I also want to offer two brief editorial comments about this bill's predecessor, Bill S‑230, and the immigration file in general because no bill should ever be analyzed in a vacuum without context and broader considerations. If we take too narrow a view of this bill in debate, we are likely to miss opportunities to improve not only this bill but also future bills.
    Now back to Bill S‑245. What is this bill all about? Bill S‑245 seeks to close a gap, a loophole in the Citizenship Act. The bill concerns a small group of Canadians who lost their Canadian citizenship or have actually become stateless due to government policy changes over time. This small group of Canadians is called “lost Canadians”, and there are about 100 to 200 of them.
    Here is a little background information. The federal Parliament passed its first citizenship legislation in 1947, but it was flawed from the beginning. Citizenship was not considered a guaranteed right at the time, but rather a discretionary power of Parliament. For instance, although it was set out that the children of a Canadian parent would also be Canadian, under this system, when the responsible parent took the citizenship of another country, his or her children lost their Canadian citizenship.
    Furthermore, the legislation provided that children born abroad would receive citizenship only if their parents registered them within two years of their birth. It also included an obligation for these children to be domiciled in Canada on their 24th birthday if they were born to a Canadian parent who was born outside Canada. This meant that many individuals, even if they lived in Canada for part of their lives, may have unknowingly lost their citizenship status.
    Finally, the legislation discriminated against certain children based on the circumstances of their birth. In order to have Canadian citizenship under the law, a child had to be born to married parents. The main purpose of the 1977 amendment was to simplify the citizenship regime. Once again, however, the amendments were far from perfect.

  (1335)  

    Although the new legislation did away with the requirement to file an application for a child within two years of their birth and stopped discriminating between children born to a married couple and those born to a common-law couple, it continued to differentiate between children born to a Canadian parent who was born in Canada and those born to a Canadian parent who was born abroad.
    Under the 1977 legislation, Canadians who were second-generation or more and were born to parents who were born abroad were required to submit an application in order to keep and confirm their Canadian citizenship.
    The legislation required these Canadians to apply by their 28th birthday or they would automatically lose their Canadian citizenship. One of the problems was that, having repealed the requirement for parents to register their children before they turned two, the government no longer had a list it could use to inform the citizens in question that they needed to confirm their citizenship before their 28th birthday. Some of these people who were born abroad returned to Canada, grew up here, worked here, raised a family here, and paid taxes here, all while oblivious to what they needed to do before their 28th birthday in order to avoid losing their citizenship.
    Some criticized the government for not doing enough to publicize this requirement both here and abroad, so that citizens would be aware that their citizenship could be taken away. It is said that ignorance of the law is no excuse, but that does not mean that a citizen must be familiar with all existing laws. Immigration laws are particularly impenetrable.
    In short, many people born while the 1947 law or the 1977 law was in force were at risk of losing their citizenship at some point in their lives without even being notified. They might only find out when they applied for a passport. They are the ones who came to be called the lost Canadians.
    This situation came to light largely through the efforts of Don Chapman, a former United Airlines pilot who brought their plight to the attention of the public. Don Chapman discovered that he had lost his citizenship when his father had emigrated to the United States. He demonstrated that this problem affected many Canadians, even some as well known as Roméo Dallaire, and forced the government's hand.
    If we think about it, these people suffered the same fate as those whose citizenship is revoked, which happens only if someone committed fraud, made a false representation or knowingly concealed information material to an immigration or citizenship application. This same extreme punishment was being meted out to people who had committed no offence whatsoever.
    To remedy the situation, Canada adopted a series of legislative reforms in 2005, 2009 and 2015. Those three attempts notwithstanding, some people still slipped through the cracks. Despite being reformed three times, the act still requires people born between February 15, 1977, and April 16, 1981, to reapply for citizenship before they turn 28.
    I am confident that this bill will pass unanimously, and at this point I would like to offer my first editorial comment on the bill's background. In the last Parliament, an identical bill, Bill S‑230, was passed unanimously in the Senate, but it did not have time to get to the House because the government called an election in the summer.
    When the election was called, what I told my constituents who complained about the cost of the election, which members will recall was estimated at over $600 million, is that there were even more serious but lesser-known costs associated with the election and that was the cost of all the work that was done on a whole pile of bills in the House and committee that ended up being for nothing. Unfortunately, Bill S‑245 is another glaring example of that.
    My second editorial comment is about the government's management of immigration in general. As we see here, many reforms were necessary to solve the problem and many citizens have been left in the dark for years. Nothing has changed, and the machine is still broken.
    Despite all that, the government is announcing that, because of the labour shortage, it wants to increase the number of newcomers to 500,000 a year, when it is already incapable of managing passports, when applications for permanent residency are piling up and taking forever to be processed, and when it is almost impossible to get a work permit in 12 to 13 months.
    When I ask businesses in my riding what would really help them with their workforce issues, the answer is not for the government to add 500,000 people to the waiting list. The answer is for the government to start managing the applications that are already in the pile more effectively.
    Simply put, there is no shortage of problems for the immigration department to fix, and Bill S‑245 addresses one of them.

  (1340)  

    I would like to conclude by humbly inviting the government to finish the work of fixing and improving the immigration department before even considering getting involved in any new project.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, today I am pleased to rise to speak to Bill S-245. I want to extend my thanks to my hon. colleague from the Bloc Québécois who just spoke.
    The New Democrats vote in favour of policies that are good for Canadians and will, of course, oppose those that do not. This is one of the bills that the New Democrats do stand in favour of.
    This bill would fix a very old problem in Canada that has contributed to the pain and suffering of families on a really basic question of who they are and of their identities. It is a shame that our country has done this, and it is now time that we remedy it. However, the bill must go much further.
    Indigenous people in Canada have long welcomed folks from other parts of the world so that they may find refuge, peace and prosperity here in our lands. That has been the promise of indigenous people to others for generations. However, that promise is foregone and broken when policies, particularly of this place, break that solemn commitment and force people into the worst states they can imagine. Sometimes they are deported or, worse, pass away.
    Today we are talking about those lost Canadians, individuals who have been stripped of their Canadian citizenship because of arcane provisions. That is not to say this bill would fix all of Canada's immigration problems, of which there are many. It is simply a fix for an amendment that took place in 1977.
    The Prime Minister has said, “A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.” However, this is sadly not the reality for lost Canadians. Our laws continue to enforce a tiered approach to citizenship. According to the United Nations, Canada is a leading offender of making citizens stateless, and this is simply unacceptable.
    It is long past time for Canada to right these wrongs by fixing our laws so that nobody is forced to once again lose their Canadian citizenship. Bill S-245 is a step in the right direction. It is a step that the New Democrats have called for and fully support. However, this legislation leaves many behind and does not go far enough. What we need is to fix the issue of lost Canadians once and for all.
    Bill S-245 seeks to fix the long-standing issue of the age 28 rule. What is the age 28 rule? The age 28 rule was introduced, as I mentioned, in 1977 in the Citizenship Act, and it meant that second-generation Canadians born abroad had to reaffirm their citizenship status before their 28th birthday. It seems simple enough, but here is the catch: The government never published a retention form. It also never instructed those individuals that they had to reaffirm, and those affected were never told a retention requirement even existed, which is a shame.
    Imagine someone who has been a Canadian citizen for their entire life. They shop in grocery stores in their community, send their kids to school, go to community plays and do all the things that everyone else in the community is doing. However, terribly enough, they are sent away to a police station and are informed they no longer have citizenship. This in fact happened here in Canada.
    In 2015, Pete Giesbrecht of Manitoba was sent to the police and informed that he had just 30 days to leave the country or he would be deported. This caused shock and disbelief. Even when reading the words today I am shocked. He had carried his citizenship for 29 years and had lived in Canada since he was seven years old. However, because he was born in Mexico to Canadian parents who were also born abroad, the age 28 rule applied.
    To regain his citizenship, his Canadian-born wife sponsored him and spent thousands of dollars on legal fees. No one should ever have to go through this. However, because of convoluted and arcane provisions in the Canadian immigration laws, people in this country have been unjustly stripped of their citizenship, an injustice that must end.

  (1345)  

    New Democrats have raised this issue for years, but successive Liberal and Conservative governments have failed to address the issue. The Conservatives have even managed to make the situation worse. The Conservatives said they were going to fix this issue when they were in government and introduced a bill entitled Bill C-37 over a decade ago. The bill did remove the age 28 rule. That was very good, but it was not applied going forward. Therefore, it did not allow Canadians who had already lost their citizenship to regain it. Those who turned 28 prior to 2009 were simply left behind.
    When Bill C-37 was introduced, the Conservatives had an opportunity to help lost Canadians and fix this problem, the problem we are debating here today. However, the bill failed to close the gaps in our laws for thousands. Even worse, it created a two-tier system of citizenship, with second-generation born Canadians losing their ability to pass on citizenship to their children altogether. It was a shame. This is simply discriminatory and wrong.
    In fact, today's legislation is the subject of a charter challenge calling on the government to change these discriminatory practices. Bill S-245, as presented, would leave these Canadians behind again. New Democrats will be putting forth amendments to finally address these outstanding issues, and I call on my colleagues and members of the House to look at these amendments and to truly help us fix this system and to stop the second generation cut-off so that second-generation Canadians born abroad can continue to pass on their citizenship to children, a very basic part of their family's identity and reunification.
    There are also war heroes who have been left out. The first Governor General of Canada in 1867, right after Confederation, said that they had just created a new nationality called Canadian citizenship, yet according to Canada's immigration laws, Canadian citizenship did not exist prior to January 1, 1947. That means no soldiers who fought and died for Canada in battles like Vimy Ridge or D-Day are Canadian. Bill C-37 failed to fix this. In reference to Bill C-37, Don Chaplain said, on February 7, 2014, “And the government has confirmed they’re leaving out all the war dead [pre-1947]. So, the war dead in Canada were really just British. We might as well just scratch the Maple Leaf off their headstones”. It would be fitting to recognize these hero soldiers as having been Canadian soldiers, especially when, in law, they were.
    It is time that we truly address the backlog of over 1.8 million applications. It was just mentioned in this debate that, when we are talking about immigration in Canada, we have to take a sympathetic and compassionate approach to ensure families and communities, and particularly children, are protected. When we talk about making sure our immigration system is robust and strong, it also means looking at and addressing the issues of the past. These hundreds of Canadians who no longer have their citizenship deserve to have the dignity that comes with being Canadian, and that includes the protections of our Constitution and our charter.
    To be a Canadian citizen is truly a blessing, and one that indigenous people for generations have fought to ensure is a right that is strong and recognized. This has to be protected for all persons, and particularly those lost Canadians who continue every day to struggle without these basic human rights.

  (1350)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, on behalf of the people of my riding of Calgary Shepard, I am pleased to speak to Bill S‑245. It is always a great honour and privilege for me to be able to speak on behalf of Canadian citizens.
     I am not like everyone else in the House. Like 23% or 24% of Canadians, I am an immigrant to this country. I was just talking about that with my colleague, the member for Calgary Forest Lawn, who was born in Dubai.
    As someone born in Poland, Canadian citizenship is extremely important to me. Canada is not only my homeland, but it is also the country that accepted my father, my mother, my brother and me when our country of origin, where I was born, did not want us. My father was a member of Solidarnosc. He was a worker, a labourer, an engineer for the Gdansk shipyards when Poland was communist. My father left Poland in 1983 to come to Canada, and it was Canada that offered him the opportunity to stay. He started working at a shipyard in Sorel. It was in Sorel, where I lived with my father in 1985, that I learned French.
    Poland let us leave the country, but it did not let us take our passports with us, because the Polish workers at the Gdansk shipyard, the Lenin shipyard, and their families were not allowed to return to that country. As I said, Canadian citizenship represents my homeland as well as the great honour of becoming Canadian in 1989. Now I have the great honour of representing my constituents as a Polish immigrant to this wonderful country that has given us so many opportunities.
    I must admit that I did not know a lot about the so-called lost Canadians, the people who lost the Canadian citizenship they had at birth or did not qualify for citizenship even though they should have been entitled to it by virtue of their presence in Canada. That is the result of a whole raft of laws and attitudes, and many MPs have talked about this and debated it since 1945. The laws changed again in the 1970s. Finally, along came Bill C‑37, passed by a Conservative government that wanted to solve the problem for good and reduce the number of lost Canadians as much as possible.
    Despite the many bills that have been introduced to reform the legislation in this century and the last, despite the fact that parliamentarians studied this issue and were meant to receive witnesses to explain to them how these things happened, despite the fact that the government has tried to change the legislation several times to ensure that this does not happen, no one noticed that there would be a gap of 50 or so months during which there would still be lost Canadians.
    Where are we at today?
    I would like to thank Senator Yonah Martin, herself an immigrant from Korea, who sponsored this bill in the Senate. In the House of Commons, it was sponsored by the member for Calgary Forest Lawn. It is Senator Martin who proposed this bill to try to fix this problem for lost Canadians. Apparently, there are hundreds of Canadians in a situation that I would describe as extremely shameful, despite the fact that parts of the legislation have been changed over the past 100 years. Several different governments have tried to fix this legislative problem.
    Before, the problem was that Canadians born outside the country to Canadian parents had until their 28th birthday to notify the Canadian government that they wanted to retain their citizenship. However, there was no form or simple way to confirm this with the government. It was not easy to do.
    Even within the Conservative caucus, our colleague, the member for Souris—Moose Mountain, would have been one of those lost Canadians, had it not been for his father tipping him off. I do not know how his father knew that Parliament was amending the Citizenship Act, but the amendments could have made him one of those lost Canadians.

  (1355)  

    In debate, the member for Souris—Moose Mountain said that he would be forever grateful to his parents who made sure to let him know, otherwise he would not have been able to serve in the House of Commons and represent the people of his riding in Saskatchewan.
    This is the second time that we have tried to fill this legislative void by introducing Bill S‑245. I greatly admire author Franz Kafka. We have here the perfect example of a Kafkaesque or bureaucratic government that creates problems for ordinary citizens. This great German author who penned The Metamorphosis, In the Penal Colony, The Trial, The Castle and Amerika, spoke about these major organizations that have far too many rules and far too many people trying to enforce them and about how an ordinary citizen can end up before them for making a mistake they were not even aware of.
    Many people have lost their citizenship this way. However, those people can be proud because there are many parliamentarians, including Senator Yonah Martin, who are working to ensure this legislative void is filled.
    We are now debating this bill to try to correct the error in Bill C‑37, which was introduced and debated in 2009 and 2011, if memory serves.
    At the time, Bill C‑37 sought to amend the Citizenship Act to address this legislative gap. The period covered by the bill was approximately 50 months for second-generation Canadians. I am a first-generation Canadian. My children were all born in Calgary and are first-generation Canadians because they were all born in Canada. There was a legislative gap for Canadians who were born abroad to Canadian parents during those 50 months between February 15, 1967, and April 16, 1981. These Canadians were to inform the government before their 28th birthday if they wished to keep their citizenship.
    As I said, there is hope, because we all agree that a Canadian is a Canadian and has the right to Canadian citizenship. It is a source of great pride and a great honour and privilege to be able to say that I am Canadian and always will be. In any event, that is my hope, unless the government makes another legislative mistake in the future and something happens to those of us who received their citizenship in 1989. I am hoping it will not happen, but one never knows.
    In this bill, I think that Senator Yonah Martin found the right words to legislate on this issue. I have sponsored many bills in the House and I have had to talk to the jurilinguists and lawyers who work in the House to find the right words to achieve a goal. Sometimes, the problem is finding the right words and the right dates in order to ensure that legislative voids are properly filled while addressing the initial problem we sought to solve by introducing legislation in the House.
    I thank Senator Yonah Martin, but also all of the other members and senators who worked hard on this bill. I am thinking of the former Speaker of the Senate, Noël Kinsella, and of former senators David Tkachuk and Art Eggleton, who worked hard to ensure that these Canadians get their citizenship.
    During debates in the House, I always share a Yiddish proverb. Today's is this: “When you sweep the house, you find everything.” I hope that this legislation will make it possible for us to find all of the lost Canadians so that they can get their citizenship.

  (1400)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I enjoy being recognized as the member for Ottawa Centre, because those are the great people who have given me the opportunity to serve them in this place. As always, every single day it is an honour to represent my community.
    I am thrilled to speak on Bill S-245. I heard the comments of members who spoke on it and I too speak in support of the bill. I am a proud Canadian and very much like my friend from Calgary Shepard, I was not born in Canada. I came from a country where my parents were also politically persecuted and had to find a new place to live where they could live freely. My family and I came to Canada in 1988 and one of the greatest attractions of Canada was the rights and freedoms that are protected in Canada, especially by virtue of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, an incredibly important constitutional document that protects all of our rights.
    I will be honest in saying that I stand here today with a heavy heart as a Canadian citizen, one day after, in my home province of Ontario, those rights were taken away from hard-working education workers by the invocation of the notwithstanding clause in back-to-work legislation by the provincial government, led by Premier Doug Ford. That is not the country my parents wanted to come to, where rights, in such a cavalier manner, could be taken away by the majority members of a Parliament. Rights are sacrosanct. They should always be protected. That is what makes us truly Canadian.
    I want to give a big shout-out to all education workers across the province of Ontario who are picketing right now, demanding that their rights be restored so that there can be collective bargaining in a good-faith manner with the government, so that they can be in classrooms and so that all children can be in classrooms getting the best education they deserve from our system.
    Bill S-245 is an important bill. As I mentioned earlier, I am supportive of the bill, but it really deals with a very small segment of “lost Canadians”, as has been described by other members, through the age 28 rule. There are many other new classifications of what I would say are lost Canadians as a result of changes that were made to the Citizenship Act in 2009.
    The one that is really close to my heart, the one that I have heard about from quite a few constituents, is the rule that says that a child born outside of Canada after April of 2009 to a parent who is a Canadian citizen is not a Canadian citizen at birth if their parent was born outside of Canada and inherited their own citizenship because one of their parents was Canadian at the time of their birth. Imagine that. For example, I was not born in Canada but I became a Canadian citizen. If I became a parent again and that child was born outside of Canada, that child would not be entitled to Canadian citizenship. That creates a whole new set of lost Canadians, and it is something that we need to really look at and consider. That speaks to the first-generation limit that has been created in the Citizenship Act.
    I want to tell a quick story, because I think it really brings into perspective what we are talking about. This is a story about somebody I know quite well, a close friend of mine who is a Canadian citizen. Her parents immigrated to Canada, became Canadian citizens, lived here, went to school here, worked here and just before this friend of mine was born, her mother went to her home country of Tunisia so she could have the support of her parents when she gave birth. This friend of mine was born outside of Canada in Tunisia.

  (1405)  

    However, in a matter of weeks, they came back to Canada, where their home was. Of course, my friend is a Canadian citizen. She lived here, went to law school here in Ottawa, worked here, and then, eventually, as many Canadians do, decided to go and work abroad.
    She went to Europe. She went to England, where she got a legal job and where she met her future partner and got married. They live in France now and, in 2013 and, I believe, 2015, she had two daughters.
    Unfortunately, although she is a Canadian citizen, she is unable to pass her Canadian citizenship to her two daughters, who were born after April 2009. In my view, that is a lost Canadian generation.
    It is a first-generation limit that really needs to be addressed. I am sure that if we looked around in our respective communities, we would find many people in the same position. It is a situation that creates an unequal model of Canadian citizenship. Really, in essence, we are saying that a Canadian is not a Canadian by virtue of where they are born.
     It is really of paramount importance, even now, because so many people who become Canadian citizens are immigrants. They are coming from different parts of the world. I am really excited that the Minister of Immigration, just a few days ago, announced that we will be bringing, by 2025, about 500,000 people per year into Canada, which is absolutely necessary. We are a big country with a small population base. We are growing, and we need more people.
    All of those people who will come as immigrants to Canada are born somewhere else, and many of them may end up, after becoming Canadian citizens, living somewhere outside Canada. They may have families there and may want, of course, to come back to Canada. We need to make sure those children, who are born of parents who were born outside Canada, remain Canadian citizens.
    It is creating an unequal model of Canadian citizenship and Canadian identity that needs to be resolved. It is also, arguably, a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, by virtue of sections 15 and 6 of the charter.
    By having this rule in place and not rectifying it, we are also marginalizing women, in particular, who are Canadian citizens who may not have been born in Canada. Many of these women go outside Canada for professional reasons, because they want to work in different parts of the world, which is fantastic, because we Canadians are known to travel the world, to live in other parts of the world and to contribute to the well-being of this great planet that we are part of.
    By having this rule, though, we are basically asking these women to put their careers on hold and come back to Canada in order to have children.
    I really want to say that Bill S-245 is a step in the right direction, but it is only resolving a very small part of the problem. There are some other glaring holes in the Citizenship Act by virtue of the first-generation limit rule.
    We need to look at those rules in a holistic manner so we can truly give expression to the idea that “a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian”, which I fundamentally believe is one of the greatest strengths of Canada. Our diversity and our inclusive society exist because we have this really well-defined pathway to citizenship. When people come to Canada as immigrants, they come fully knowing that if they meet certain rules and requirements, they will have the opportunity to become Canadian citizens and contribute fully to this great country.
    We undermine their capacity and we treat them unequally if we have different rules by virtue of, as an immigrant, where they were born. That is something we need to rectify. I look forward to working with members in the chamber to fix these rules so that, truly, a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.

  (1410)  

    Madam Speaker, I will not take up too much time today. I want to thank all of my colleagues who rose and spoke in favour of Bill S-245. It is a very important bill. Although we all recognize that it pertains to a small number of people who want to become Canadian, it is very important that we get this done.
    I want to again thank my Senate colleague, Senator Yonah Martin, as well as Don Chapman and many others, not only for advocating for this bill, but for their hard work and perseverance to get the bill to this stage today.
    I want to say that Bill S-245 is very important for the many who were stripped of their citizenship because of administrative errors and government failures from the past, when all they wanted to do was renew their passports, but I will keep it short.
    I encourage all my colleagues to support this. Let us get it to committee stage. Let us get it done.
    The question is on the motion.

[Translation]

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

[English]

    The hon. government deputy House leader.
    Madam Speaker, I request a recorded division.
    Pursuant to order made on Thursday, June 23, the division stands deferred until Wednesday, November 16, at the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions.

[Translation]

    It being 2:12 p.m., the House stands adjourned until Monday, November 14, at 11 a.m., pursuant to Standing Orders 28(2) and 24(1).
    Have a great weekend, everyone.
    (The House adjourned at 2:12 p.m.)
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