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44th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 013

CONTENTS

Wednesday, December 8, 2021




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 151
No. 013
1st SESSION
44th PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    The House met at 2 p.m.

Prayer


[Statements by Members]

  (1400)  

[English]

    It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem led by the hon. member for South Okanagan—West Kootenay.
    [Members sang the national anthem]

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Etobicoke North

     Mr. Speaker, I rise to thank the wonderful people of Etobicoke North for putting their trust in me to serve them, to be there for them on the hard days, to celebrate with them, to fight for their issues and to be their voice in Ottawa.
    I hear from our youth, women, men, families and seniors. They are clear that they want to get through the COVID-19 pandemic, and they are doing their part to get through it because we are a caring community. We lift each other up, we are here for one another and we fight for one another.
     I am so grateful to the people of Etobicoke North for all that we have shared over the last 13 years, from anniversaries to graduations, and new jobs to remembrance. Our community and people matter.
     I look forward to the moments we will share and the future we will build together.

[Translation]

Exceptional Women in Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier

    Mr. Speaker, an outstanding project has come to fruition thanks to the perseverance of an inspiring woman: Danielle Du Sablon.
    She has produced a book immortalizing 40 equally inspiring, active women from one of the 18 municipalities of the Portneuf RCM. Allow me to name these exceptional women: Ysabel, Marian and Allyson Jacob, Christine Genest, Carmelle Matte, Johannie-Kym Cavanagh, Mélanie Lajeunesse, Madeleine Genest Bouillé, Nadine Beaudet, Sophie Perreault, Josée-Anne Fiset, Doris Julien, Nellie Juneau, Caroline Morin, Laurence Petitclerc, Julie Fournier Nicole Provence, Louiselle Soulard, Anette Julien Gignac, Chantal Blais, Linda de la Chevrotière, Sophie Denis, Martine Labrie, Jocelyne Pichette and Josée Petitclerc. That list also includes two women’s groups in Rivière-à-Pierre and Sainte-Christine-d'Auvergne.
    Ladies, you will be an inspiration to future generations of women in Portneuf. Thank you for bringing prestige to Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier. I am an ally of yours.

  (1405)  

[English]

Burnaby North—Seymour

    Mr. Speaker, it is with tremendous pleasure that I rise today to address my constituents at home and my colleagues in this place.
     I must start by thanking the people of Burnaby and North Vancouver for putting their trust in me for a third term. I also want to give a big thanks to my entire campaign team and to my campaign manager Tyler Norman, in particular. He not only ran a great campaign, he actually got married during the election.
    I am also happy to share that Ravi and I welcomed our second daughter, Solar, to the world just 10 months ago, and her presence has renewed my commitment to use my time in this place to build a better Canada, especially for future generations.
    Finally, I want to thank my colleagues. I am still in awe of this historic place and I still believe in our ability to improve the lives of those people we represent, especially when we work together. Our work during COVID was a demonstration of this.
     After all, it does not matter whether we are Liberal, Conservative, Bloc, NDP, Green or independent, at the end of the day, we are all on team Canada.

[Translation]

Gilles Duceppe

    Mr. Speaker, under the rules of the House, a member may not be identified by anything other than the name of their riding. You even grace us by referring to members as “honourable”.
    However, today we have with us one of the most honourable of all, a member who made all of Quebec his riding, to the point of wanting to make it a country. At first feeling intimidated—and God knows that he was intimidating—I called him Mr. Duceppe. More recently, often eager for his advice, and now—I dare believe it and flatter myself—a friend of Mr. Duceppe, I have taken to calling him Gilles, and that is a privilege.
    As I have gone from admirer to appreciative friend, I must also extend my heartfelt thanks to Gilles. He managed to pass on his diligence and passion, as well as a lot of his charisma, to the member for Lac-Saint-Jean. In that respect, he will have to share at least half the credit with Yolande. In sharing their son, they also gave me the chance to make a dear friend.
    For Quebec, for the country, and for friendship, thank you, very honourable Gilles.

[English]

Government Programs

    Mr. Speaker, it is with great pride and humility that I undertake my second mandate as MP for the riding of Saint-Leonard—Saint-Michel. I wish to express my sincere gratitude to my constituents, volunteers, friends and family members for their continuous support and confidence in me.
    I am ready to serve my constituents and Canadians with dedication and determination as we face challenging issues, such as a marathon pandemic, the rise in cost of living, pressing environmental concerns and the increase in gun violence in our neighbourhoods, just to name a few.
     I am proud to be part of a government that in the first 100 days of its mandate has kept its promise by introducing a bill that will allow 10 days of paid sick leave for all federally regulated workers. This new measure will ensure that none of them will have to choose between staying home when they are sick or having to pay their bills.

[Translation]

    As we move forward together, I, along with my colleagues, will continue to focus my energy on finding and implementing solutions that will lead to a stronger economy, a greener environment and safer neighbourhoods for Canadians.

[English]

Racism

    Mr. Speaker, I am rising to speak about an unfortunate incident that occurred in Barrie last week. A well-known community advocate and entrepreneur, Shanicka Edwards, also known as Shak, was verbally harassed and physically assaulted.
     Ms. Edwards founded Shak's World, which addresses the issues of addiction, homelessness and mental health challenges for youth in downtown Barrie.
    While the verbal harassment and physical abuse Shak experienced were despicable acts on their own, what made this incident even more heinous was that it was racially motivated. Ms. Edwards was sought out, berated and assaulted because she was a young Black woman. She was told to go back to where she came from. Shak was born and raised in Canada, in Simcoe county.
     No person should ever be subject to such racist and derogatory statements and acts. I would encourage Shak to keep doing her great work. I and the people of Barrie are behind her every step of the way.
     I would also like to thank the Barrie Police Service for making a speedy arrest in this despicable incident.

  (1410)  

The Carr Family

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today in recognition of the incredible generosity of a family in Kitchener—Conestoga and its contribution to our local arts sector.
    During the pandemic, every stage across Canada went dark. As we move forward, theatres are slowly opening. In Kitchener—Conestoga over the years, countless supporters have attended the St. Jacob's Country Playhouse. The landmark theatre still stands, but with a new name.
    Brad Carr and Susan Wagler of West Montrose have made a $500,000 donation to Drayton Entertainment, one of Canada’s most successful professional theatre companies. The funding will go toward a new youth academy training facility to help support programming and operations.
     As audiences return to in-person attendance, they will notice, as a show of gratitude, the St. Jacob's Country Playhouse will now be named the Carr Family Auditorium.
    On behalf of the community, I want to thank Brad and Susan for their generosity, and in Kitchener—Conestoga we are looking forward to live entertainment at our newly named Carr Family Auditorium.

[Translation]

Arts and Culture in Sherbrooke

    Mr. Speaker, members of Sherbrooke's arts and culture industry, including Suzanne‑Marie Landry of Théâtre Granada and Mario Trépanier of the Centre culturel de l'Université de Sherbrooke, have tapped into their enthusiasm and creativity to successfully renew themselves and serve up an impressive cultural lineup.
    For the first time ever, Théâtre Granada will host the Grand Réveillon de Sherbrooke on December 30 and 31. A number of well-known artists are on the roster, such as Bleu Jeans Bleu, Les Trois Accords, Loud and Sherbrooke's own Qualité Motel. They are sure to wow the crowds with standout performances.
    I recently had the privilege of announcing nearly $100,000 in financial support to help organizers offer this event free of charge.
    I therefore invite Sherbrooke residents to come one, come all to the Sherbrooke Station Market and celebrate the new year together, with the hope it will bring happiness and joy.

150th Anniversary of Saint‑Narcisse‑de‑Beaurivage

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to recognize the 150th anniversary of my hometown of Saint‑Narcisse‑de‑Beaurivage, which will take place in 2022. The people there are friendly, hardworking and always willing to lend others a helping hand.
    They are proud of their roots and plan to pay tribute to the legacy passed on by previous generations in their own way. There will be folk music, outdoor winter activities, a “blast from the past” weekend, a founders' day, the traditional parade and much more. These events will give people an opportunity to reconnect with family and friends and to try a craft beer bearing the picture of Saint‑Narcisse called 1872.
    As the member for Lévis—Lotbinière and a resident of Saint‑Narcisse‑de‑Beaurivage, I am pleased to invite you to take part in any or all of the activities being held as part of Saint‑Narcisse‑de‑Beaurivage's 150th anniversary celebrations.

[English]

Whitby Environmental Projects

    Mr. Speaker, over the past few weeks, we have seen extreme weather events happening on both coasts of our great country. My heart goes out to the people of British Columbia, and Newfoundland and Labrador, as we watch the destruction occurring in their communities and the devastation it has caused for people.
    There is no longer a debate on whether climate change is real, or at least not on this side of the House. Canadians know we must act quickly and in a meaningful way to ensure a healthy planet for our children, and that means working closely with all our partners, including municipalities.
    That is why I am so proud of the town of Whitby, which is showing leadership in the fight against climate change. From the town's green development standard, to its ambitious plan to achieve net-zero by 2045, to local projects such as building a geothermal district energy grid and a new sports complex that will be the first municipally owned zero-carbon sports facility in Canada, to companies such as GH Power, which has developed unique green hydrogen technology, the town of Whitby is blazing a trail and demonstrating what is possible when we work together.
    I want to thank the mayor, town council and local innovators for working so closely with the federal government to build a sustainable future for generations to come.

  (1415)  

British Columbia Flooding

    Mr. Speaker, British Columbia has been devastated by unprecedented flooding, landslides, the washing out of highways, evacuation of whole communities and tragic losses of life.
    In my riding of Kelowna—Lake Country, we continue to do our part to assist those who have come seeking help and support. We have opened our doors to people and animals, and offered food, clothing and shelter to those in need. Many faith organizations, companies and not-for-profits have initiated donation campaigns. This shows that the spirit of Kelowna—Lake Country continues to shine brightly, just as it did during the COVID-19 pandemic and summer wildfires.
    We must continue to do all we can for those most in need as we move forward from this tragedy. The rebuilding and reopening of our province will not be swift, and all levels of government must come together to ensure a robust recovery and to protect our communities from future weather events and help them to adapt.
    My heart goes out to all those affected. I thank all who are doing their part to help.

Afghanistan Refugees

    Mr. Speaker, Omar, a 37-year-old Afghan, was contracted by coalition forces and deployed in his home country for three years as an interpreter, working with Canada through often deadly and dangerous missions. When the Taliban took over Afghanistan, Omar feared for his life and family. He fled alone, leaving his family behind to find refuge. He walked for seven days to Iran, became shipwrecked on his way to Greece and landed in refugee camps across eastern Europe.
    Corporal Justin Bronzan, who is a former infantryman with the Royal Canadian Regiment and a Bay of Quinte citizen, took Omar in and reunited his family in Canada in mid-October. It was because of Corporal Bronzan and his family that Omar and his family found refuge in Canada to avoid the terror that is the Taliban in Afghanistan.
    Please join me in congratulating them.

Gender-based Violence

     Mr. Speaker, Friday marks the end of the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence. It is an opportunity to come together to call out, speak up and renew our commitment to end gender-based violence. The dangers women and trans people still face are all too real.
    In my riding of York Centre, the North York Women’s Shelter does essential work empowering women and trans people to move forward into lives free from violence. As an anti-violence centre and shelter, for over 35 years it has provided safety and support for over 11,000 women and children, and recently it opened a brand new facility.
    The fact that we need even more of these services to protect women and trans people, especially during the pandemic, is unacceptable. Regardless of one's gender, as MPs and Canadians, we can and must do more, do better, stand up, speak out and take action in putting an end to gender-based violence.

Poverty

    Mr. Speaker, food bank use in Canada climbed 20% with the pandemic and topped 1.3 million monthly visits. It is the largest increase since the 2008 recession.
    With the clawback of the GIS and the Canada child benefit, and the elimination of COVID emergency benefits, food banks face further increases in demand. Food banks alone do not solve hunger. They are a symptom of the root problem of poverty.
    Who are the faces of poverty? They are families, women, seniors, people with disabilities and low-wage earners. They are our friends and our neighbours. Fixed income earners’ buying power has been decimated and we can do something about it.
    Former NDP leader Ed Broadbent received unanimous support for his motion in 1989 to eradicate child poverty by the year 2000. That was more than three decades ago. The Liberal government has a chance to address the affordability crisis with the fiscal update. A guaranteed livable basic income is the path forward.
    Better is possible.

[Translation]

Jean and Gilles Duceppe

    Mr. Speaker, 31 years ago, Quebec lost one of its greatest cultural ambassadors, my grandfather, Jean Duceppe. A proud sovereignist, he shared with our people the desire to gain independence and decide our own destiny. His legacy and his passion for Quebec still flow through my veins and those of my father, Gilles Duceppe.
    For over 20 years, Gilles made his mark as an MP, official opposition leader and leader of the Bloc Québécois. Many members here, including the Prime Minister and you, Mr. Speaker, worked with him. Members may have noticed him in the gallery. He is here with my daughter and my mother.
    I want to reassure my hon. colleagues that I will be the only Duceppe working here today. This evening, the Bloc Québécois will celebrate my father's commitment to defending Quebec's interests in this Parliament by naming a room after him. It is a humble but well-deserved tribute for a man who made such an impression on the political psyche of Quebec and Canada. We will continue to carry his dream forward all the way through to nationhood.
    I love you, Dad.

  (1420)  

[English]

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, Fort McMurray is a lot of different things to a lot of different people. To many Canadians, Fort McMurray represented a beacon of hope, prosperity and a fresh start. To the world's leading oil producers, we are a tough competitor who refuses to lie down. To many elected officials, we are simply a cash cow. To the fringe eco-activists, we are the enemy.
    However, to me, Fort McMurray has been and always will be home. It is where I was born and raised, and Conservatives of every stripe have always had our back. They understand that when Fort McMurray works, Alberta works. When Alberta works, Canada works. Only Conservatives are fighting for pipelines and energy corridors to secure the long-term viability of northeastern Alberta, and to get Alberta energy to the world.
    I will not back down from politicians in this chamber, such as the Prime Minister and the Minister of Environment, who seek to landlock and firewall our oil sands, leaving our workers without jobs. Canada and the world need Alberta energy.

Flooding in British Columbia

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize the extraordinary community spirit of local media organizations in Surrey-Newton, and the extraordinary generosity demonstrated by the people of British Columbia.
    In response to the recent flooding across British Columbia, Red FM initiated an emergency fundraising drive that raised $1.1 million for Canadian Red Cross flood relief efforts.
    Similarly, Connect FM and Sanjha TV raised $1.4 million for the PICS Guru Nanak Diversity Village, a facility for South Asian seniors in need of culturally sensitive long-term care.
    I want to thank all the donors who stepped up to help. I ask all members to join me in thanking Red FM, Connect FM and Sanjha TV for their dedication and service to our community.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[English]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand all announced that Huawei would have no place in their 5G infrastructure years ago. Our Prime Minister has still not made a decision. The Five Eyes all came out with a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics, and the Prime Minister was the last one to sign on.
    When it comes to the international stage, why is the current Prime Minister always the last one to show up?
    Mr. Speaker, our approach has always been to stand up strongly for Canadians, for Canadian interests and for Canadian values, and to do that every step of the way alongside our allies in the world. We have done that and will continue to do that as we express deep concerns about the situation around human rights in China, and as we continue to ensure protection for security while we look at competitiveness for our domestic markets. These are things we take seriously and will always do the right way for Canadians.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, more than a quarter of Canadians have mortgages with a variable rate. The number of high-leverage uninsured mortgages is more than 25% according to the Bank of Canada. The bank suggested today that it would raise interest rates soon. Some experts predict five interest rate increases next year.
    How many thousands of families are at risk of losing their homes because the Prime Minister has ignored the inflation crisis?

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, we are extremely concerned with the rising cost of living faced by Canadians. This is why we have a concrete plan to take action on that, whether through investing in child care, investing in more supports for Canadians or putting forward the most ambitious plan on housing this country has ever seen, which includes $4 billion for municipalities to help build more supply. The Conservatives only offered tax breaks for Canada's wealthiest landlords in the last election campaign. Canadians need solutions. That is what we are delivering, not the Conservatives.
    Mr. Speaker, higher inflation means higher prices for families. Prices are 21% higher for apples, 22% higher for bacon and 33% higher for a house. The Prime Minister said he has a concrete plan, but the government has not committed to keeping the 2% inflation target as part of the bank's new mandate. Keeping the 2% inflation target is the bare minimum the Prime Minister could do to fight the cost of living crisis.
    He talks about a plan and being there for Canadians. My question is simple. Will the government mandate the Bank of Canada to maintain its 2% target, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, even though the Conservatives are offering the bare minimum, we are interested in offering much more to Canadians. Yes, we will renew the mandate of the Bank of Canada, but we will also continue to step up with record investments in housing and with things such as the rent-to-own program, a municipal accelerator that is going to put more housing across the country, and more supports for rural Canadians with respect to housing. We have a concrete plan to invest in housing. The Conservatives only offered massive tax breaks to wealthy landlords as their solution to the housing crisis. That is not what Canadians need.
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians should be worried when the Prime Minister and the finance minister will not answer a simple question about fighting inflation by keeping the 2% target. What are they going to do for Canadians who are struggling? The Prime Minister does not think about monetary policy. He does not think about interest rates. He thinks budgets will balance themselves.
    How bad does the cost of living crisis have to get before the Prime Minister gets a grip?
    Mr. Speaker, while the Conservative Party flails around and offers personal insults, we are focused on Canadians. We are focused on investing tangibly to counter the housing crisis. Whether it is $4 billion for municipalities, investment in $10-a-day child care right across the country or support for seniors or young families, we are there. We will continue to be there for Canadians while the Conservatives play political games and throw mud.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, inflation has never been as bad as it is now.
    Inflation means that everything goes up, especially the cost of fruit, meat, housing and gas. The list is long, and Canadians are worried.
    This government has not yet given the Bank of Canada a mandate to maintain the 2% inflation target.
    Will the government maintain the 2% target, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, the opposition leader is well aware that we will be making an announcement about that soon.
    The fact is that we are focusing on the challenges facing Canadians. That is why we are making massive investments in housing by helping municipalities build more units. We are investing in more child care spaces across the country and in helping seniors and youth. We are there to help Canadians.
    All the Conservatives had to offer on the housing file was tax credits for the wealthiest Canadians so they could sell their buildings. That is not what Canadians need. We will continue to be there for Canadians.

Health

    Mr. Speaker, the new travel rules are different for everyone, depending on whether one travels by land or by air, in Europe, in the U.S. or, worse, in designated countries in Africa, and on whether one is entering or leaving the U.S.
    Upon their return, travellers are facing public health restrictions that are reminiscent of “the place that sends you mad”, which even Asterix had trouble navigating.
    Why will Canada not introduce procedures and rules that are reassuring, clear and reciprocal to those imposed by the United States?

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, the COVID-19 crisis requires adjustments that are based on science and respond to different situations. Canadians are well aware of that.
    They also know full well that our government will be there with the necessary measures to support them, whatever the situation. There are new rules in place, and I realize that it can be confusing for people who can and want to travel, but the vast majority of Canadians need us to do whatever is necessary to keep them safe.
    That is what we have been doing since the beginning of the pandemic, and we are not about to stop now.
    Mr. Speaker, we will clarify by imagining an example.
    Let us say the Prime Minister travels to Egypt. On his way back, he goes through Paris to say hi to his pal Macron. He then hops over to Burlington before returning to Canada by road, ideally not by Roxham Road.
    What with quarantines, tests at the airport, trips lasting more than 72 hours and subcontractors making house calls, can the Prime Minister tell us what rules he will be subject to, what tests he will have to take, what restrictions he will have to follow and when?
    Mr. Speaker, anyone who has to travel or decides to travel will have to consult public health authorities to see what rules apply to their situation.
    I do not think it is so hard to understand that every person who travels is going to have to take appropriate steps, and we have all the information to share.
    The reality is that yes, it can be complicated. However, we have to be there to protect Canadians from the omicron variant and COVID‑19. We are going to make choices accordingly, to protect the vast majority of Canadians who are staying home and who want to finish the fight against COVID‑19.

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, a recent analysis found that the price of homes in Montreal has increased by 21% in the past year. It is impossible for people to find affordable housing.
    The Liberals say that there is nothing they can do about it. We disagree. The Liberal government has the tools to address this crisis. Why is the Prime Minister not doing anything to help people?
    Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. leader of the NDP was not listening when we said that we do indeed have solutions. We can do things, and we are in the process of doing things to deal with the housing crisis.
    We are investing billions of dollars with municipalities to speed up access to housing. We are launching rapid housing initiatives, creating various programs and expanding several others because we know how much we need to be there for people. We will continue to be there for people. That is what the government is doing.
    Mr. Speaker, this Prime Minister’s actions come up short in the face of this crisis.
    The problem is also that the Liberal government prefers to favour the ultrarich instead of helping people. Here is a clear example. The Peel basin is federal land in Montreal. Instead of using that land to build affordable housing, this Liberal government wants to hand it over to its friend and billionaire developer, Mr. Bronfman. Why does the government favour the ultrarich instead of helping people?
    Mr. Speaker, we have come to expect personal attacks from the Conservatives, but it is a bit disappointing when it comes from the NDP.
    The reality is that we are here to work with municipalities to invest in housing. We are here to work on creating more programs for affordable housing. We are here to partner with Montreal, with Quebec City, and with investors who want to build housing for everyone.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition summed up the situation very well. Inflation is hitting Canadians hard, and the Liberal government can no longer deny it.
    One of the Bank of Canada's mandates is to keep inflation to 2%. Inflation is currently almost 5%, and everyone is affected. If the Prime Minister does not maintain the 2% target, Canadian consumers will once again pay for his mismanagement.
    The question is very simple: Will the government maintain the 2% target, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives know very well that the Bank of Canada's current mandate is 2%. There will be an announcement shortly about the renewal of this mandate.
    In the meantime, I can reassure all Canadians that we will be there to help them. We will be there to help them access home ownership, to help them access $10-a-day child care, and to invest in youth and seniors. We will be there to help Canadians as we have been from the beginning.

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's answer is in no way reassuring. The cost of everything is going up, and Canadians are seeing their purchasing power go down. Just talk to food banks, mothers and seniors to get a sense of how bad things are right now.
    Will the Prime Minister guarantee that the Bank of Canada will maintain inflation at 2%? A yes or no will do.
    Mr. Speaker, the member should know that the Bank of Canada is independent and that it must remain free from political interference.
    Yes, we will continue to work with the Bank of Canada, within our jurisdiction, to ensure that Canadians are well served. That is why we are investing in housing, child care spaces, and help for seniors, young people and workers. We promised to be there for Canadians, even though the Conservatives wanted us to invest less in Canadians during this pandemic. We will always be there to help Canadians with what they need.
    Mr. Speaker, runaway inflation is driving up prices. Canadians are feeling the pinch. Many are struggling to pay for groceries, while others are giving up on their dream of buying a home because prices have gone up 33%. The Liberal government's attitude feels like a frontal assault.
    Can the Liberal government have a heart and see how fed up Canadian consumers are? It is a simple question.
    Mr. Speaker, I find that a little surprising coming from a member whose election campaign was founded on a Conservative Party housing promise to give massive tax credits to landlords.
    That was not going to help families become homeowners. In contrast, the Liberal Party had and still has a concrete plan to invest with municipalities in order to build housing, ensure affordable access to home ownership and assist first-time buyers.
    We are here to help Canadians every step of the way. The Conservatives want us to do less. We will not do less, we will do more.

[English]

Canada-U.S. Relations

    Mr. Speaker, what did the Prime Minister's Office say when Bud the Spud from the bright red mud rolled into Ottawa looking for help? They sent him to city hall. It was the Conservatives who brought the spuds back to Parliament Hill so they could not be ignored. However, potato growers in Prince Edward Island are frustrated that they are hearing nothing from their Liberal MPs. Three hundred million pounds of potatoes sit idle, hundreds of jobs have been lost and dozens of family farms are at risk.
    Will the Prime Minister do the right thing? Will he end his self-imposed export ban on P.E.I. potatoes before Christmas, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, I am certain that I am not hearing right. I do not think I am hearing the Conservatives propose that we allow the Americans to impose a ban on P.E.I. potatoes, because that is what they are proposing right now.
    We moved forward to make sure that we kept control over the situation. I had a meeting with Premier King the same week that I had a meeting with President Biden to highlight the issues we have right now. We will continue to be there to support P.E.I. and indeed the potato industry across this country. We will continue to be there to support Prince Edward Island potatoes in every way we can, as we have continued to support Canadians throughout these difficult years.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has just admitted that the government self-inflicted a wound before the United States did anything. He has admitted that this decision was based on politics, not science. In fact, the agriculture minister has said the same thing. The Liberal member for Cardigan said that absolutely there is no doubt politics is involved in this dispute with the United States.
    Will the Prime Minister end his half-baked ban? Will he expend some political capital and political will and end this dispute before Christmas?
    Mr. Speaker, I highly recommend that the Conservatives actually engage substantively on this issue, because we should all be using a team Canada approach and should recognize that with the U.S. threatening to impose a ban on table potatoes from Prince Edward Island, we needed to act.
    We are continuing to work with the United States and to put pressure on the United States so that we can move forward in a way that is safe for everyone and supports Islanders. The Conservatives are busy throwing mud and do not actually understand the issue. The member talks about rich red mud. He should respect that rich red mud and get the facts straight.

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, I wish the Prime Minister would show that kind of fight with the United States when some of our commodities are at risk. He has failed when it comes to our trade relationship with the United States. He has failed on energy. He has failed on softwood lumber. He has failed on dairy and potatoes. Now the United States is threatening to instigate mandatory country-of-origin labelling, which will devastate our livestock industry. The WTO has already said that COOL violates international law.
    Will Canada’s beef and pork industry be protected, or will the Prime Minister continue to outsource our trade agenda to the United States?
    Mr. Speaker, what we saw over the past number of years was the Conservatives recommending that we cave on standing up to the United States. We did exactly the opposite. We stood up for steel. We stood up for aluminum workers. We stood up for people across the country—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I will have to stop the Prime Minister. I am having a hard time hearing his answer and I am sure everybody wants to hear what he has to say. I want to ask everyone to just calm down.
    The Prime Minister can start from the beginning and answer the whole thing.
    Mr. Speaker, time and time again, we have heard the Conservatives recommend that we cave on standing up to the Americans. That was their approach. When we brought in retaliatory tariffs to stand up for our steelworkers and our aluminum workers, the Conservative leader called that “dumb”.
    Every step of the way, whether it was in renegotiating NAFTA, standing up for steel and aluminum workers, standing up for our auto workers or standing up for agricultural workers, this government has been there. The Conservatives have been playing politics and losing the plot.

[Translation]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, with greater Montreal reeling from a wave of shootings and tragedies, the Prime Minister should be doing everything he can to fight illegal guns.
    However, that is not what he is doing with Bill C‑5. His bill eliminates minimum penalties for importing firearms and for using them to commit crimes. The Prime Minister is even eliminating these penalties for repeat offenders convicted of illegal firearms possession.
    The Prime Minister will have to explain how Bill C‑5 will help curb gun violence in Montreal.
    Mr. Speaker, we recognize that firearms pose a huge challenge in Montreal and across the country.
    That is why we are taking this issue seriously by investing $125 million to create a cross‑border task force to stop gun smuggling, $250 million to support community‑based anti-gang programs, $327 million to give police the resources they need to detect and prevent crime more effectively, and at least $1 billion to help the provinces and territories, like Quebec, ban handguns.
    We will be there and will continue to be there to fight gun violence.
    Mr. Speaker, to counter the violence in the greater Montreal area, the mayor of Montreal and the Government of Quebec are calling on the federal government to take action against illegal guns.
    The first tangible action this government has taken on illegal guns since Parliament resumed has been the introduction of Bill C‑5, which would repeal certain related minimum penalties.
    Quebec's public safety minister said the federal government needs to send the message that it is taking this seriously. Does the Prime Minister think that introducing Bill C‑5 in the middle of a wave of shootings sends the message that he is taking this seriously?
    Mr. Speaker, we are taking meaningful action to help stem gun-related violence. Many measures need to be taken, and Bill C‑5 is one of them.
    We have also invested $125 million to create a cross-border task force to stop smuggling, $250 million to support community-based anti-gang programs, and $327 million to give police the resources they need to detect and prevent crime more effectively. We are also investing $1 billion to help Quebec and other provinces ban handguns.

[English]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, the Bank of Canada is supposed to be focused solely on reducing the rising cost of living, but some people are saying that it should be focusing on all sorts of other things outside of that, particularly policy, which is the sole responsibility of elected representatives.
    Right now, people are struggling with maxed-out credit cards, and they are trying to figure out how to buy Christmas presents. The Prime Minister has not answered the basic question, and so I will ask him something very simple. Does he agree that the Bank of Canada should only be focused on reducing inflation and keeping it at 2%?

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite well knows that the current mandate for the Bank of Canada is to keep the 2% target for inflation. We will be renewing the mandate in the coming days or weeks, and we will demonstrate that we are squarely focused on the preoccupations that Canadians have once we make that announcement.
    Mr. Speaker, why can he not just make that announcement right now? His lack of policy on this has created a lot of instability, and what that translates to the average Canadian is that they cannot buy Christmas presents. They are struggling with maxed-out credit cards.
     What we have here is a Prime Minister who does not understand that it is his responsibility to set this policy. The Bank of Canada should be solely focused on keeping life affordable for Canadians. Will the Prime Minister announce today that he intends to renew this exact mandate?
    Mr. Speaker, as members of this House well know, monetary policy and the work of the bank is independent of the work that politicians do. There are very clear rules around how we create those mandates, how we renew those mandates. Those rules on this side of the House will be followed. I can reassure Canadians that the current mandate does have the target of 2%, and we will be renewing the mandate in the coming days.
    Mr. Speaker, except the Canadian economy has seen inflation blow way past that target, and the average Canadian knows that.
    The average Canadian right now cannot buy Christmas presents. I know that the Prime Minister might not understand what it is like to be struggling with a maxed-out credit card, but most Canadians do. That means understanding that he should be telling the Bank of Canada to focus on keeping life affordable, not making economic or fiscal policy. That is his job and the job of this place. So, will he today, very basic and very simple, say that he will keep that target at 2% through the mandate?
    Mr. Speaker, we will be making an announcement in the coming days and weeks.
    The reality is that Conservatives have been misrepresenting this inflation crisis for the past many weeks. It is a result of the disruption around COVID-19. It is a result of disrupted supply chains.
     We are continuing to be there to support Canadians, whether it is with $10-a-day child care, whether it is historic investments in countering the housing crisis, whether it is supports for seniors and supports for young Canadians. We have made a promise that we would have Canadians' backs. Despite some Conservatives complaining that we have done that too much, we will continue to have people's backs.
    Mr. Speaker, “misrepresenting this inflation crisis”, tell that to someone in Kelowna today who is paying $1.67 a litre for gas. Tell that to the single mom who is trying to fill up her tank with gas, or the person who is trying to buy her spouse a hockey jersey that is costing $100 more this year or is paying $600 a month in interest on a credit card.
    The Prime Minister has misrepresented to Canadians his ability to manage a basic economic crisis. What he could do today to reassure Canadians is tell them that he understands this, he is going to quell this crazy talk about the Bank of Canada wading into policy that he has responsibility for, and is keeping inflation at 2%.
    Mr. Speaker, over the past weeks, what have we seen from the Conservatives? They tell Canadians about the problems they are facing with decreased affordability, increased prices on everything, difficulty buying gas, difficulty buying computers, and they shrug and say, “Oh, it's just inflation”. Well, it is not just inflation; it is the focus that we have to have to continue to invest in Canadians.
    They play board games. We are focused on delivering on housing, child care and support that Canadians need, while the Conservatives play cheap political games.

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, a recent survey of young Canadians between 18 and 24 across major cities in Canada has found that the vast majority of them do not believe they will ever be able to own their own homes. Rent—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I am going to ask the hon. member for Burnaby South to pause for a second.
    I am having a hard time hearing him. Everybody wants to hear the question.
    The hon. member for Burnaby South from the top, please.

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, a recent survey of young Canadians between 18 and 24 years of age across major urban centres in Canada has found that the vast majority of them believe that they will never be able to own their own places. Rent is going up, it is expensive to find a place to call home and the Prime Minister is not responding to this crisis with the urgency it requires.
    What does the Prime Minister have to say to young people who have given up on ever being able to own their own homes, who are worried if they can ever find a place that is in their budget? What does he have to say to them?
    Mr. Speaker, every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. That is why in 2017 we brought in the national housing strategy that has supported the creation of nearly 100,000 new units, repaired over 300,000 more across all housing programs and helped families get the housing they need. We have had a particular focus on first-time homebuyers and young homebuyers with things like the first-time homebuyers incentive, the rapid housing initiative, the Canada housing benefit and reducing the fees for purchasing a new home.
    These are things we have taken specifically to help young people buy a home. We are going to continue to do those things.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister can continue all he wants. He has been in power for six years and in those six years, housing prices have gone up. It is more unaffordable. It is harder to find a place to call one's own after six years of the Liberal government being in power. The government asks what it can do. It can do a lot. There are some concrete steps it can take. It can end blind bidding, it can tackle house flipping and it can put a tax on foreign buyers. It can do that, and do it immediately.
    Why will the Prime Minister not use the fiscal update to put in place these measures to stop the housing prices from continuing to skyrocket?
    Mr. Speaker, I have to admit, I am always open to hearing suggestions from the members opposite on how we can work together in this Parliament to deliver things. I was sort of pleased, though, to hear that the three initiatives he said were all three initiatives we proposed in our platform just a few months ago.
    We will continue to work with them and with all parliamentarians to deliver concrete solutions for homebuyers. We will deliver aid to Canadians to help them through this housing crisis, because we need Canadians to be able to afford their new homes, to be able to get into safe, secure housing, and that is exactly what we are going to do.

COVID-19 Economic Measures

    Mr. Speaker, this government has had the backs of small businesses throughout the pandemic by helping them stay open and keep employees on the payroll. People and businesses in my riding of Newmarket—Aurora are concerned about the health and the economic impacts that the omicron variant might bring.
    Can the Prime Minister please tell this House what this government is doing to support Canadian business through the COVID pandemic?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Newmarket—Aurora for his tireless advocacy for the people in his riding.
    We introduced legislation to provide targeted support to those who are financially affected by the pandemic, including caregivers and those with COVID-19, and ensure no one is left behind at this critical moment. The measures in this bill are essential in finishing the fight against COVID-19, making sure the hardest-hit sectors are part of the recovery and creating jobs.
    I urge all members in this House to support its speedy passage.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's response was just incredible. He said even after house prices increased by a third, he did not think about monetary policy; even after gas prices hit $1.60 in some places, he did not think about monetary policy; even as CPI hit a two-decade high, he did not think much about monetary policy, because he only thinks about himself.
    Will he not admit that what it took for him to start thinking about inflation is when we put his name in the word?
    Mr. Speaker, from the very beginning we have been focused on having Canadians' backs. Whether it was back in 2015 when we were elected on a promise to support the middle class and people working hard to join it after 10 years of Conservative mismanagement, we have actually delivered for Canadians. Whether it is on the housing strategy, whether it is on support for seniors, whether it is on support for families, through this COVID pandemic, we have been there for them. Even though the member for Carleton kept saying we were doing too much for Canadians, we continued to step up and have their backs. That is exactly what we are going to continue to do because Canadians deserve our support. They do not deserve Conservative games.

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, on October 28, 2020, the finance minister promised Canadians they would have deflation. For the Prime Minister's benefit, that means prices go down. Today the Bank of Canada confirmed that we have inflation. Again, for those who do not think about monetary policy, that means prices go up. Everything the Liberals said would go down is going up and everything they said would go up is now going down.
    Now that the Prime Minister has himself spinning in circles and saying his own name here on the floor of the House of Commons, will he finally admit that what we have in this country is just—
    The hon. Prime Minister.
    Mr. Speaker, we have seen over the past many weeks Conservatives simply try to play attacks, fling mud, label and distract, when the reality is Canadians deserve support. Canadians deserve a government like ours that continues to invest to support them with historic investments in infrastructure and housing, with supports for families and seniors.
    The Conservatives continue to complain that we were investing too much through the beginning of this pandemic to support Canadians. What we have seen is our economic recovery is actually better than most of our peers because we were there for Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister got confused when he was asked what is this famous middle class he is always talking about. It turned out he said it is those people who live off their income instead of their assets, except that inflation hits folks who live off income the hardest because their paycheque is worth less, while helping those people, like him, who live off ancestral assets. Their assets appreciate and inflate in value.
    Maybe the reason he does not think about inflation is because he benefits from it. For example, could the Prime Minister tell us how much his mansion in the Laurentians has inflated in price since he took office?
    Mr. Speaker, again we see the Conservatives choosing to focus on me when they should be focused, like we are, on Canadians. We will continue to be there to invest in countering the housing crisis with real investments for municipalities as opposed to the member for Carleton's suggestion that we give tax breaks to wealthy landlords to help them sell their buildings. That is not what is going to help Canadians afford their first homes or retire in safety. That is the kind of thing the Conservatives proposed when we proposed concrete investments in helping Canadians through.
    We promised to have their backs and, despite what the Conservatives say, we will continue to have their backs.
    Mr. Speaker, speaking of wealthy landlords, I have here the financial stability report from the Bank of Canada, which shows that since the Prime Minister started pumping $400 billion into the financial system, wealthy landlords have seen a 100% increase in mortgage lending they have been able to acquire. Cheap debt for the wealthy investor class, high inflation for the working class. More dollars chasing fewer goods means higher prices. Does the Prime Minister realize that every time he takes a trip to the central bank, Canadians have to go over to the food bank?
    Mr. Speaker, a question like that from the Conservatives might have a shred of credibility, had it not been for the fact that their entire plan on fighting the housing crisis in the last election was about giving a half-billion dollar tax break to wealthy landlords to help them sell their buildings. That is the kind of approach the Conservatives take while they are trying to attack the Liberal government. We will stay focused on Canadians while they stay focused on us. We will be there to have Canadians' backs as we are every single day with investments in housing, child care and families.

[Translation]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, for weeks now, everyone in Quebec has been calling on the federal government to take its responsibility for gun control seriously. People have been waiting weeks for the government to take any kind of concrete action.
    The government did not start by tightening border controls to thwart illegal arms trafficking. The government did not start by taking leadership on joint efforts by police forces. The government did not start by investing in border crossings. No, the government started by introducing Bill C‑5 to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for illegal weapons.
    Does the Prime Minister think the streets of Montreal will be safer once Bill C‑5 is passed?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, we introduced Bill C‑5 because we know it will help curb violence and enable the police to stop criminals. It will also tackle the systemic discrimination that the Liberal Party acknowledges is a reality. The Bloc still seems a bit noncommittal on that.
    We will also continue to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to help tackle gun trafficking at the border and to support our police forces so they can do their job. We will also invest $1 million to help Quebec ban handguns altogether.
    Mr. Speaker, this Prime Minister is completely out of touch. The priority right now is to address violence in Montreal.
    His priority should be to stop the flow of illegal weapons across our borders. His priority should be to keep guns off our streets. His priority should be to crack down on organized criminal gangs.
    Once he has fulfilled his responsibilities in the areas under his jurisdiction, once he has done all that, then we can have a conversation about minimum sentences.
    Will the Prime Minister get his act together and put people's safety first—
    The right hon. Prime Minister.
    Mr. Speaker, our priority has been to invest $125 million to create a cross-border task force to stop gun smuggling, $250 million to support community-based anti-gang programs, $327 million to ensure that police have the resources they need to better detect and prevent crime, and $1 billion to help Quebec and other willing provinces ban handguns entirely.

[English]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, there was a historic admission in the House of Commons today. The Prime Minister put aside his talking points about having people's backs and admitted that the rising cost of gas, food and essentials is just inflation.
    With that admission out of the way, now knowing that inflation is gripping this country and the rising cost of living is worrying families and seniors on fixed incomes, will he take the next step and today tell Canadians that he will mandate the Bank of Canada to get inflation back down to 2%?
    Mr. Speaker, it is the Conservatives who have been saying that over the past many weeks. That is not the reality Canadians are facing. Canadians need concrete support now, which is why we are investing billions of dollars so municipalities can create more supply. We are investing to support families and seniors, even though the Conservatives said we were doing far too much.
    On the Bank of Canada, the member opposite should well know that the mandate of the Bank of Canada is to keep inflation at 2%.
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians have seen, just in the last few years, houses go up 33%. Rents in Victoria, B.C., in one year alone are up 20%. Families with children are using food banks more than ever before. Families are worried and they have a Prime Minister who said he does not think about monetary policy, a Prime Minister who does not seem to know about the rising cost of living, and a Prime Minister who said famously that “budgets balance themselves”.
    Will the Prime Minister stand up in this House, say he will fight for Canadians and get inflation back down?
    Mr. Speaker, one can always tell the Conservatives are getting desperate when they trot out every old attack line they have ever tried against me and against the Liberals instead of focusing on what actually needs to happen.
    Canadians need a government like ours that continues to focus on them, not on petty political games. That is why we are stepping up with a real national housing strategy to counter the housing crisis. That is why we are delivering $10-a-day child care, which the member opposite opposes, right across the country. That is why we continue to be there for Canadians while Conservatives propose tax breaks for the wealthiest.
    Mr. Speaker, this is a serious issue. This is not about the Prime Minister or the Leader of the Opposition. He suggests we are getting desperate. Canadian families are getting desperate.
    There are single parents worried about Christmas gifts this year. There are seniors on fixed income who cannot afford to fill up their car. There are people worried about transient employment and driving Uber to save for a car over 15 years. He has a time to not say “I have their backs”. He has a time to say he will ask the Bank of Canada to get inflation back down to 2%.

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the Leader of the Opposition that the Bank of Canada actually has a mandate to keep inflation at 2% right now, as we speak.
    We are focused on making sure Canadians get the support they need. That is why we have invested in them and invested historic amounts to help them through this pandemic, to help small businesses, to help seniors and to help workers.
    All the while, Conservatives kept saying we were spending too much, too fast. Well, our investments have had the Canadian economy rebound faster than most of our peer countries because of what we did, despite the complaints of the Conservatives. We will continue to have Canadians' backs.

[Translation]

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, cutting greenhouse gas emissions and fighting climate change are important priorities for our government. Clean technologies are key to growing a sustainable economy.
    Can the Prime Minister update the House on our government's investments in the clean technology sector?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by thanking the member for Châteauguay—Lacolle for her question and her hard work.
    Our government has always been there to support and invest in innovative and clean growth projects. For example, we are making zero-emissions vehicles more affordable for Canadians, we are supporting the development and production of carbon-free aluminum in Quebec, and we are investing in cleaner, more sustainable electricity grids in the Atlantic provinces. We will continue to invest in clean technologies in order to grow a sustainable economy.

Health

    Mr. Speaker, how the heck could the Prime Minister let his government repeat the mistakes of the past? Canadians went through hell in the quarantine hotels, and the ordeal is still going on, with no cleaning services, no milk for infants, mothers unable to get diapers for their children, and horrible meals.
    Is this ringing any bells for the Prime Minister? How can he allow Canadians to be treated so badly?
    Mr. Speaker, we will always be there to help Canadians in difficult situations and to ensure that the border rules are understood. However, our priority must be to keep Canadians safe. We must implement measures, even though they may be difficult or complex, to ensure that the vast majority of Canadians who remain in Canada are protected against COVID-19. That is what we have done from the outset, and we encourage everyone to follow public health rules. That is why we are encouraging Conservatives to get vaccinated.
    Mr. Speaker, I remember the beginning of the pandemic. The Liberals were slow to close the borders and bring in vaccines, and the N95 masks in the national stockpile were expired. All of that contributed to the first wave of closures and to the severe health measures we all faced. On top of that, there were the instances of sexual violence in the quarantine hotels.
    The Prime Minister has learned absolutely nothing. He is repeating the same mistakes, except that this time, the ministers are announcing the failures in advance.
    Why is the Prime Minister failing Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, what Canadians remember is that the government has been there to support them during this pandemic. Our country was at the top of the list in terms of vaccination. We are here for Canadians. We have been helping businesses and families, and we have been covering missing pay cheques for workers. We have been there to support them every step of the way, and we will continue to do so. We are all worried about the omicron variant, which is why we are taking the necessary precautions. We will be there for Canadians who travel, but especially for Canadians who remain here.
    Mr. Speaker, if the Prime Minister has learned anything, then he should quickly bring his ministers together to send a clear message to Canadians. What is happening right now is that the Minister of Health is announcing measures that the Minister of Public Safety says he is unable to implement. Meanwhile, the Minister of Transport is already announcing changes. There seems to be a lot of confusion and improvisation going on, and Canadians are the ones paying the price. ArriveCAN, testing at airports, mandatory quarantines: None of it is working.
    When will the Prime Minister call his ministers to order and work for Canadians instead of making things harder for them?

  (1510)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am rather concerned that the member opposite is saying that nothing is working. The reality is that we are protecting Canadians across the country with one of the best systems in the world, as far as COVID-19 is concerned.
    We are taking the necessary steps to rely on science and listen to the experts. Yes, that means adjustments will have to be made because of the omicron variant, and yes, adjustments will have to be made because the number of cases of COVID-19 continues to rise.
    However, we will be there to ensure that every effort is being made to protect Canadians across the country.

[English]

Seniors

    Mr. Speaker, seniors built the Canada we know and love today. Their retirement should be secure, and they should have the financial supports they need. GIS recipients are the most financially vulnerable seniors. Can the Prime Minister please update the House on what we are doing to help seniors make ends meet?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Sudbury for this important question and all her hard work.
    One of the very first things we did when we came into office in 2015 was increase the GIS for seniors by 10% for the most vulnerable, those who have more challenges making ends meet in their retirement years. Ever since, we have continued to be there to help the seniors who need it most, especially through the challenging times of this pandemic. We will continue to be there for seniors, and they know the Liberal government can always be counted on.

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, we have laid out how the housing crisis is impacting people, how inflation is driving up the cost of housing, and how the current government can take concrete steps to tackle it. We have laid out how it can tackle speculation by putting in specific measures to stop blind bidding, to stop property flipping and to discourage foreign buyers.
    It also needs to respond to the urgency of this crisis by building homes people can afford. We have called for massive and bold investments to build half a million new homes. Will the Prime Minister respond to the housing crisis with the urgency that it demands?
    Mr. Speaker, we agree. That is why we are working together on delivering massive investments to counter the housing challenges that Canadians are facing across the country. Whether it is by cracking down on speculatory or predatory practices that take advantage of homebuyers, by limiting the impact of foreign buyers in our housing market or by investing $4 billion for municipalities to accelerate the construction of affordable homes, these are the kinds of things we are doing. We look forward to working with all partners in the House to get it done.

Transportation

    Mr. Speaker, from coast to coast to coast, Canadians outside urban areas lack even the most basic public ground transportation. While the inquiry on missing and murdered indigenous women and girls called for such basic services and while our climate goals clearly require low-carbon bus and rail service, coach bus lines from Wilson's Transportation on the west coast to Maritime Bus await financial security and funding support.
    A recent B.C. court decision called on the government, in the interests of reconciliation, to fund Vancouver Island rail. Will the Prime Minister commit to a national network of low-carbon, convenient and reliable rail and bus service?
    Mr. Speaker, from the beginning of this government's first mandate in 2015, we put forward historic amounts of money to invest in public transit across the country and support the provinces and municipalities in moving forward on investments in transit that are going to keep people safe and reduce carbon emissions. That is what we have consistently done, including now with a permanent ongoing public transit fund that is going to support municipalities large and small across the country with investing for the future. We know there is much more to do and we look forward to continuing to work with all members in this House, including the hon. member, to get that done.

Government Orders

[Business of Supply]

[English]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on Afghanistan 

    The House resumed from December 7 consideration of the motion and of the amendment.
    It being 3:15 p.m., pursuant to order made earlier today, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the amendment to the motion of the hon. member for Durham relating to the business of supply.
    Call in the members.

  (1535)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 6)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 333


NAYS

Nil

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the amendment carried.

[English]

    The next question is on the main motion, as amended.

  (1555)  

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

(Division No. 7)

YEAS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Allison
Angus
Arnold
Ashton
Bachrach
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Barron
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Benzen
Bergen
Bergeron
Berthold
Bérubé
Bezan
Blaikie
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Blaney
Block
Boulerice
Bragdon
Brassard
Brock
Brunelle-Duceppe
Calkins
Cannings
Caputo
Carrie
Chabot
Chambers
Champoux
Chong
Collins (Victoria)
Cooper
Dalton
Dancho
Davidson
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Deltell
d'Entremont
Desbiens
Desilets
Desjarlais
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Ellis
Epp
Erskine-Smith
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Ferreri
Findlay
Fortin
Gallant
Garon
Garrison
Gaudreau
Gazan
Généreux
Genuis
Gill
Gladu
Godin
Goodridge
Gourde
Gray
Hallan
Hoback
Hughes
Idlout
Jeneroux
Johns
Julian
Kelly
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Kusie
Kwan
Lake
Lantsman
Larouche
Lawrence
Lehoux
Lemire
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Liepert
Lloyd
Lobb
MacGregor
MacKenzie
Maguire
Martel
Masse
Mathyssen
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLean
McPherson
Melillo
Michaud
Moore
Morantz
Morrice
Morrison
Motz
Muys
Nater
Normandin
O'Toole
Patzer
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Perkins
Perron
Plamondon
Poilievre
Powlowski
Rayes
Redekopp
Reid
Rempel Garner
Richards
Roberts
Rood
Ruff
Savard-Tremblay
Scheer
Schmale
Seeback
Shields
Shipley
Simard
Sinclair-Desgagné
Singh
Small
Soroka
Steinley
Ste-Marie
Stewart
Strahl
Stubbs
Thériault
Therrien
Thomas
Tochor
Tolmie
Trudel
Uppal
Van Popta
Vecchio
Vidal
Vien
Viersen
Vignola
Villemure
Vis
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Williams
Williamson
Zarrillo
Zimmer

Total: -- 179


NAYS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Ali
Anand
Anandasangaree
Arseneault
Arya
Atwin
Badawey
Bains
Baker
Battiste
Beech
Bendayan
Bennett
Bibeau
Bittle
Blair
Blois
Boissonnault
Bradford
Brière
Carr
Casey
Chagger
Chahal
Champagne
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Cormier
Coteau
Dabrusin
Damoff
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Dong
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dzerowicz
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Fergus
Fillmore
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Gaheer
Garneau
Gerretsen
Gould
Guilbeault
Hajdu
Hanley
Hardie
Hepfner
Holland
Housefather
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Ien
Jaczek
Joly
Jones
Jowhari
Kayabaga
Kelloway
Khalid
Khera
Koutrakis
Kusmierczyk
Lalonde
Lambropoulos
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lattanzio
Lauzon
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lightbound
Long
Longfield
Louis (Kitchener—Conestoga)
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacDonald (Malpeque)
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maloney
Martinez Ferrada
May (Cambridge)
McDonald (Avalon)
McGuinty
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod
Mendès
Mendicino
Miao
Miller
Morrissey
Murray
Naqvi
Ng
Noormohamed
O'Connell
Oliphant
O'Regan
Petitpas Taylor
Qualtrough
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Sahota
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Sorbara
Spengemann
St-Onge
Sudds
Tassi
Taylor Roy
Thompson
Trudeau
Turnbull
Valdez
Van Bynen
van Koeverden
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Virani
Vuong
Weiler
Wilkinson
Yip
Zahid
Zuberi

Total: -- 156


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion, as amended, carried.

[Translation]

Privilege

Alleged Non‑compliance with an Order of the House  

[Privilege]
    Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today in response to the intervention of the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, who was responding to the question of privilege we raised a few days ago in relation to the production of documents by the Public Health Agency of Canada in the infamous matter of the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.
    We have carefully read the government's response—
    I must interrupt the hon. member for a moment.

[English]

    Order. The hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent is presenting a question of privilege. We want to make sure we all hear it, so I want to ask everyone who is speaking to please take it to the lobby so we can hear the hon. member.

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Louis‑Saint‑Laurent.
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for your intervention.
    We have carefully read the text tabled by the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, and we have noticed that efforts are being made. However, these efforts to find an appropriate solution are many months late.
    Let us recall that there were two positive votes at the former Special Committee on Canada‑China Relations, as well as two votes here, in the House, in favour of our proposal to order the production of documents.
    The will of Parliament is therefore clear and, aside from a few details, the September election did not change the seat map to such an extent that one could expect a different result if, by any chance, there were a fifth vote on this request.

[English]

     My counterpart cited the handling of Afghan detainee documents as an example that we could follow, so allow me to add a bit of context.
    An ad hoc committee of parliamentarians was created as a solution forged by necessity given that a 2009 Liberal opposition motion recklessly ordered the public release of some 40,000 pages in their original and uncensored form, despite the fact that this could have prejudiced the interests of Canada and its NATO allies where our troops were at risk on the ground.
    In his widely celebrated April 27, 2010, ruling, Speaker Milliken, recognizing that there was support across the House to address the Liberal motion’s shortcomings and ensure sensitive information was protected, invited senior figures in the House to find an “interest-based solution to this thorny question” of reconciling the House’s role as grand inquest of the nation and the executive’s role as defender of realm, before he would turn the matter over to the House for its adjudication. Those discussions yielded the ad hoc committee, whose processes built upon the good-faith efforts of the government of the day, begun well ahead of any Speaker’s rulings, to have a trusted, independent review, at arm’s length from the government, determine what information could safely be placed in the public domain.

  (1600)  

[Translation]

    Unlike the situation in 2009–10, the motions adopted by the Special Committee on Canada–China Relations and the House included mechanisms to strike a balance between parliamentary accountability and protecting sensitive information in the 546 pages in question, which represent only about 1.4% of the volume of the Afghan detainee documents, and foster ongoing dialogue on the issue, as the Speaker acknowledged in his ruling on June 16, 2021.
    The very basis of the government's argument against our point of privilege is that when the Conservatives were in power, they applied the solution that the Liberal government now wishes to apply to the situation at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg. However, this is like comparing apples and oranges.
    The situation in 2009–10 involved the production of 40,000 pages of unredacted documents to be released to the public. We are proposing that 546 pages be released. That is not the same thing at all. In addition, we would like the documents to be analyzed by table officers to prevent any sensitive information that could compromise public safety from being released. Evidently, it is apples and oranges.
    It is also important to remember, with respect to the Afghan documents of 2009-10, that our country was involved in a military operation on enemy territory. Soldiers from our army, Canadians in uniform, were fighting the Taliban enemy in Afghanistan. Their health, their safety, and their lives were at risk, whereas with regard to the Winnipeg issue, what we are talking about is analyzing the work of public servants to see what they did with respect to other public servants. This involves a few people, a few individuals. These are two completely different things.
    I wish to remind the House that it is also important to keep in mind that the majority of the House voted to have the law clerk and parliamentary counsel conduct a reliable, independent review at arm's length from the government.
    To that end, Mr. Speaker, in your June 2021 ruling, you stated the following: “It is, however, not up to the Chair to judge the extent of the measures taken, but to note that they were considered. There is thus no reason to allow an additional delay.”

[English]

    Regrettably, delay was the name of the game for the government. Its approach this spring was not to accept the reasonable compromise set out in the motions, nor to negotiate workable amendments to those arrangements. Instead, its approach was to deny, then to deflect and then to finally litigate, in an entirely shocking and unprecedented court application against the House of Commons. Members will recall I argued last month that that also constitutes contempt against the House.

[Translation]

    We must unfortunately note that this is, to our knowledge, the only time in Canadian history and in Commonwealth parliamentary history that the government has gone to Federal Court to challenge the voted will of the House of Commons. The executive branch used the judicial branch to prevent the legislative branch from doing its job. The government is knocking on the Federal Court's door to prevent the House of Commons from doing its job. This has never happened in Canadian history, nor, as far as we know, has it ever happened in Commonwealth parliamentary history.
    The only event that comes to mind happened in June, July and August 1974 at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., when the President of the United States went to the Supreme Court to prevent the release of documents as requested by the U.S. Congress. The executive branch knocked on the door of the judicial branch to prevent the legislative branch from doing its job. That was the Watergate scandal. Need I remind the House that the government or executive branch at the time, meaning the President, resigned a few days after the Supreme Court decision?

[English]

    Surely, members can appreciate that Conservatives are worried about the government's sudden 180° turn. Indeed, the official opposition has serious concerns, to say the least, that the government's proposal represents an actual change in any way, shape or form to the government's approach, given the Liberal's pattern of behaviour concerning parliamentary accountability over the past few years.
    Furthermore, I must also take note of the government House leader's words on the floor of the Commons last week, which were not in the letter that was shared with journalists, on how his proposition was conditional, when he stated, “If the matter is revived again in this new Parliament by way of substantive motion”.
    Therefore, if I am to understand his position correctly, it is not actually an effort to address my question of privilege, which is currently before the Chair, but rather, I would say, distract from it. It will follow that, for the House to achieve any forward progress in obtaining the documents, which have already been ordered four times to be produced, you must deliver your ruling, Mr. Speaker.
    The government House leader's parliamentary secretary recently rose in the House to distract us from the principle that a Parliament may punish the contempts committed against its predecessor by discussing imprisonment in the Tower of London five centuries ago. I would remind you of the recent citations of several Canadian speakers' statements on that matter, all from our own lifetime, and all delivered by the hon. member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, who is also the deputy House leader of the official opposition.

  (1605)  

[Translation]

    Nevertheless, in the interests of finding an adequate solution that addresses the concerns of all the parties, I think that the response could actually be found in the June 21 letter and in the speech given in the House by the former government House leader, the member for Honoré-Mercier, who said, and I quote:
    While the government accepts that the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel has the appropriate security clearance to review the information, we do not believe he has the necessary training or expertise in national security-related information to make the necessary assessment.
     He continued:
    The government is open to providing the unredacted documents to the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel if the House of Commons agrees that national security specialists can assist him in this process and that other appropriate safeguards be put in place.
    This offer is consistent with the open-door policy that the law clerk talked about during the March 31 meeting of the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations. He said, and I quote:
     In terms of national security and other grounds, my office acts essentially as the department of justice for the legislative branch and we provide legal services and legal advice to committees on all of their areas of law, including all of those potential grounds for confidentiality that committees and/or the House may decide to accept or not accept. We are prepared and able to provide that legal advice in the interpretation of those concepts, including national security, commercial sensitivity and so on.
    That said, there may well be some factual information and knowledge that the government or other entities have that we don't have, because it's their information and their concerns, and they may be well placed to share that with us with regard to proposed redactions or proposed areas of concern. That's certainly something the committee can consider, namely, to have my office provide you with advice on the scope and application of those grounds, but not preventing the government or any witness from proposing and raising a concern—albeit, with this committee, and ultimately the House, still having the last word on accepting or not that interpretation.

[English]

    Therefore, I would propose that the government deposit the documents with the law clerk, as previously ordered, and together, along with other representatives of the acting national security and intelligence adviser to the Prime Minister and/or the director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, to suggest what, in their professional opinions, ought to be redacted and why, in order to assist the law clerk in discharging his duty.
    As for the other unspecific “appropriate safeguards” the former government House leader referred to, I believe these should be simple, incontrovertible matters, such as ensuring that in camera discussion of the documents does not take place on Zoom or allowing the meeting to take place at a secure facility away from Parliament Hill. These could be easily negotiated in a unanimous consent motion to supplement the existing sound and responsible measures already adopted by the House.
    That is what Conservatives believe to be a reasonable resolution to the situation. It would allow the government's concerns to be addressed while vindicating the authority of Parliament to order the production of documents. Hopefully, the Liberal government will voluntarily table the documents, so we can get on with the redaction process.
    Otherwise, you will have to make a ruling to allow the process to move forward, and if you find a prima facie case of contempt, I remain prepared to move an appropriate motion.

  (1610)  

[Translation]

    I thank the hon. member for Louis-Saint‑Laurent. I will take these matters under advisement and come back to the House with my ruling as soon as possible.

[English]

Parliament of Canada Act

    (On the Order: Introduction of Bills)

    S-2 — December 7, 2021 — The Leader of the Government in the House of Commons — An Act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act and to make consequential and related amendments to other Acts.
    I wish to draw the attention of the House to the presence on the order paper of Bill S-2, An Act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act and to make consequential and related amendments to other Acts, which the Senate adopted on December 7 and submitted to our attention the same day.

[Translation]

    The Chair is not in the habit of expressing its concerns on procedural matters in the House unless a point of order has been raised, except in very specific and particularly important cases.
    I thus wish to advise the House that, at first glance, Bill S-2 seems to infringe upon the financial prerogative of the Crown and, since it originates in the Senate, it could also infringe upon the privileges of the House with respect to the appropriation of public funds.
    The provisions set out in the bill are extremely complex, and the Chair wishes to hear members' observations on the matter.

[English]

    I thus encourage members who wish to comment on the issue to do so as soon as possible. In the meantime, I will not allow the motion for first reading to be moved.
    I thank hon. members for their attention.

Royal Assent

[Royal Assent]

[Translation]

    I have the honour to inform the House that a communication has been received as follows:
    Rideau Hall
    Ottawa
    December 8, 2021
    Mr. Speaker,
    I have the honour to inform you that the Right Honourable Mary May Simon, Governor General of Canada, signified royal assent by written declaration to the bill listed in the Schedule to this letter on the 8th day of December, 2021, at 10:49 a.m.
    Yours sincerely,
    Ian McCowan
    Secretary to the Governor General and Herald Chancellor
    The schedule indicates the bill assented to was Bill C‑4, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (conversion therapy).

Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Access to Information and Privacy

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act, I have the pleasure to table, in both official languages, two copies of the 2021 access to information and privacy reports for the following: the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces; Ombudsman for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces; Military Grievances External Review Committee; Military Police Complaints Commission; Communications Security Establishment and Non-Public Property; and Staff of the Non-Public Funds, Canadian Forces.
    While I am on my feet, I move:
    That the House do now proceed to orders of the day.

  (1615)  

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

  (1705)  

    During the taking of the vote:
    The hon. member for Dufferin—Caledon did not hear the question, but we need unanimous consent to allow him to vote. Do we have unanimous consent?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

  (1710)  

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

(Division No. 8)

YEAS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Ali
Anand
Anandasangaree
Angus
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Atwin
Bachrach
Badawey
Bains
Baker
Barron
Battiste
Beech
Bendayan
Bennett
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blaney
Blois
Boissonnault
Boulerice
Bradford
Brière
Cannings
Carr
Casey
Chagger
Chahal
Champagne
Chatel
Chiang
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Collins (Victoria)
Cormier
Coteau
Dabrusin
Damoff
Davies
Desjarlais
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Dong
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dzerowicz
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Erskine-Smith
Fergus
Fillmore
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Gaheer
Garneau
Garrison
Gazan
Gerretsen
Gould
Guilbeault
Hajdu
Hanley
Hardie
Hepfner
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Idlout
Ien
Jaczek
Johns
Joly
Jones
Jowhari
Julian
Kayabaga
Kelloway
Khalid
Khera
Koutrakis
Kusmierczyk
Kwan
Lalonde
Lambropoulos
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lattanzio
Lauzon
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lightbound
Long
Longfield
Louis (Kitchener—Conestoga)
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacDonald (Malpeque)
MacGregor
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maloney
Martinez Ferrada
Mathyssen
May (Cambridge)
McDonald (Avalon)
McGuinty
McKay
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod
McPherson
Mendès
Mendicino
Miao
Miller
Morrice
Morrissey
Murray
Naqvi
Ng
Noormohamed
O'Connell
Oliphant
O'Regan
Petitpas Taylor
Powlowski
Qualtrough
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Sahota
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Singh
Sorbara
Spengemann
St-Onge
Sudds
Tassi
Taylor Roy
Thompson
Turnbull
Valdez
Van Bynen
van Koeverden
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Virani
Vuong
Weiler
Wilkinson
Yip
Zahid
Zarrillo
Zuberi

Total: -- 181


NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Allison
Arnold
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Benzen
Bergen
Bergeron
Berthold
Bérubé
Bezan
Blanchette-Joncas
Block
Bragdon
Brassard
Brock
Brunelle-Duceppe
Calkins
Caputo
Carrie
Chabot
Chambers
Champoux
Chong
Cooper
Dalton
Dancho
Davidson
DeBellefeuille
Deltell
d'Entremont
Desbiens
Desilets
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Ellis
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Ferreri
Findlay
Fortin
Gallant
Garon
Gaudreau
Généreux
Genuis
Gill
Gladu
Godin
Goodridge
Gourde
Gray
Hallan
Hoback
Jeneroux
Kelly
Kitchen
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Kusie
Lake
Lantsman
Larouche
Lawrence
Lehoux
Lemire
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Liepert
Lloyd
Lobb
MacKenzie
Maguire
Martel
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLean
Melillo
Michaud
Moore
Morantz
Morrison
Motz
Muys
Nater
Normandin
O'Toole
Patzer
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Perkins
Perron
Plamondon
Poilievre
Rayes
Redekopp
Reid
Rempel Garner
Richards
Roberts
Rood
Ruff
Savard-Tremblay
Scheer
Schmale
Seeback
Shields
Shipley
Simard
Sinclair-Desgagné
Small
Soroka
Steinley
Ste-Marie
Stewart
Strahl
Stubbs
Thériault
Therrien
Thomas
Tolmie
Trudel
Uppal
Van Popta
Vecchio
Vidal
Vien
Viersen
Vignola
Villemure
Vis
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Williams
Williamson
Zimmer

Total: -- 148


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Criminal Code and Canada Labour Code

Bill C-3—Time Allocation Motion  

    That, in relation to Bill C-3, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Canada Labour Code, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the bill; and
    That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.

  (1715)  

    Pursuant to Standing Order 67(1), there will now be a 30-minute question period.

[Translation]

    I invite hon. members who wish to ask questions to rise in their places or to use the “raise hand” function so the Chair has some idea of the number of members who wish to participate in this question period.
    Mr. Speaker, it has been only 12 days since Parliament was recalled and the 338 parliamentarians in the House were called to debate legislation. This is the second time in just 12 days that the government has imposed time allocation on a bill.
    This is an important bill that deserves careful attention and serious parliamentary work. Unfortunately, the government is shutting down debate for the second time, saying that this is an emergency situation and that we need to proceed quickly because of the upcoming holiday season.
    The only reason we are in a hurry to pass bills is that the government decided to call an unnecessary election that Canadians did not want and that cost taxpayers $620 million. All this to end up with a Parliament that looks very much like it did last June. Today we are in a hurry because the government dragged its feet for more than 60 days between election day and our return to the House. The government has only itself to blame for the fact that we are in a hurry.
    Why shut down debate in Canada's Parliament for the second time when we have been back in the House for just 12 days?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I think it is absolutely imperative that we move as quickly as we can on this because the COVID virus, the coronavirus, waits for nobody. It is important that we allow an opportunity for our health care workers to feel safe. It is important too that we ensure our front-line workers, and workers as a whole, feel safe and know that they no longer have to choose between the groceries they buy or the rent they pay and their ability to stay home if they do not feel well.
    This is one of the many things we have learned from the pandemic, which we are still not through. We are still fighting our way out of it. It is important that we move quickly, that we learn from our past lessons and perhaps errors, in some cases, so we know and understand what we need to do next. This is important.

  (1720)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, the government forced us into an election. I will repeat the remarks of my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent, who quite rightly said that this election, which cost $600 million, was unnecessary.
    We waited two months before coming back to the House. Everything was going well. The situation was under control. The government was in no hurry. Now, all of a sudden, it is an emergency.
    We had very little time to debate this bill. Some Bloc Québécois members still wanted to speak. We do not understand what the rush is. I have not seen anyone in Quebec starting fights on buses to get this bill passed more quickly. I do not understand what is so urgent. I know that the minister just answered this question, but he has not convinced anyone here that the situation is all that urgent. The House still needs to be respected. We can appreciate the need to bring in time allocation when there is an urgent need to act, but right now, there is no emergency.
    Why proceed so quickly without leaving time for discussion?
    Madam Speaker, the pandemic has shown us that many workers do not have paid sick leave. We are proposing amendments to the Canada Labour Code to provide all federally regulated private sector workers with 10 days of paid sick leave. We will work with the provinces, territories and other interested stakeholders to come up with an action plan to legislate sick leave across the country.

[English]

    Let me add that time is indeed of the essence, and that regardless of what differences we may have in the House, we all know and understand that the virus and its variations wait for no one, including ourselves.
    Madam Speaker, a week ago today we saw a moment in the House that I think all of us, and all Canadians, were proud of. All 338 members of Parliament came together to pass at all stages the ban on conversion therapy. That was an important moment in the House.
    Now we have other important legislation that is before us. Of course, the member for Burnaby South has been the foremost proponent of this, raising it dozens of time in the House. The NDP caucus has strongly pushed the government to put in place 10 days of paid sick leave. During the pandemic, all members of Parliament have become aware of how important it is to have these provisions for paid sick leave put into place. No worker should have to choose between going to work sick and putting food on the table. The provisions of this bill achieve that.
    My question to my hon. colleague is this. Why are some members of Parliament trying to hold up this bill rather than get it through so that it will be in place and workers can benefit from it?
    Madam Speaker, many of us in the House can reflect on that moment. We were able to make some significant changes and ban conversion therapy in this country. What we showed was that on some matters that may divide us, when the imperative was there and we needed to see progress and justice, we were able to move in the House.
    We are saying now that because of the virus, its ability to mutate and the variations that exist, we know and understand that workers need 10 paid sick days because that is the time it takes for a lockdown.
    Madam Speaker, I see what is happening today as a very strong signal of the government's priority. I applaud my New Democrat friends for recognizing that by allowing us to move to orders of the day.
    Whether the government is supporting our businesses or individuals, the pandemic is still there, as the minister has referred to. We need to have the backs of Canadians from coast to coast to coast, and this particular legislation is going to support them in a tangible way. We are talking about disposable income and saving jobs, and this is really important to all of us.
    Given the relatively short time span and the importance of passing this legislation, would the minister not agree that pushing it through in this manner will provide peace of mind? That is what I want: peace of mind for Canadians so they know the House of Commons is still there to support them through this difficult time.

  (1725)  

    Madam Speaker, the impassioned rhetoric of the hon. member inspires me, as it has inspired many in the House.
    I would say to the hon. member that the virus waits for nobody. The sooner we can get through whatever the next wave may be, and the sooner workers do not hesitate to stay home if they feel sick, the better. Let there be no hesitation in workers feeling comfortable staying home, and knowing that they will be able to pay rent and pay for groceries. Fifty-eight per cent of workers in this country do not have any paid sick leave. This is a good start.
    Madam Speaker, what concerns me about trying to close down debate on this issue is that it is an issue where we have had fairly general and broad support across the House. It is a shame that we are being pushed to end this debate, because it is not just about a debate. Often, this chamber is a place for members to sing the praises of people on the front lines, for example, of health care in their communities. This bill provides an opportunity to do that.
    We have also been working on a couple of amendments to this bill, particularly the labour parts of the bill, to make it more effective and to do more with it. I worry that we are going to rush it through and miss the opportunity to make the bill better.
    When we all try to work together, agree on something and make it better, why rush? It seems unfair to the process.
    Madam Speaker, I thank the member for what I think has been a very collaborative effort to make sure that we seek common solutions, adjustments and compromises where we can in order to make sure not only that this legislation passes as quickly as it can, but that it is as effective as it should be. For that, I agree with the hon. member that we need to make sure it is heard. It will be heard in the time. I realize and understand that it is not the length of time that many members would want, but it is imperative that we do this as quickly as possible. The sooner it is done, the safer our workers will be. The safer our workers are, the safer everybody in the country is.
    Madam Speaker, I want to reflect on the unanimous consent that the House granted just last week, and the ability of parliamentarians to work together to challenge the issues that are present to workers.
    Ten days of paid sick leave can go a tremendous way toward helping racialized communities across the country. We have seen the discrepancy that has been occurring recently, and as many as 20 months ago, in racialized communities, and in particular in my community in Alberta. We have seen at places like Cargill, for example, racialized workers being hit the hardest. The importance of a requirement for 10 days of sick leave is something they have been fighting for, for a long time.
    Would the government agree that this bill is long overdue and we must do this now? Workers cannot wait any longer.
    Madam Speaker, a tremendous number of Canadians remain vulnerable. They remain in a position where, if they feel they are sick, they are not entirely sure if they can afford to stay home. While I understand with all humility that the federally regulated jurisdiction only occupies about 6% of the workforce, it is a big place to start. It occupies some of the biggest companies in this country, many of which have already shown tremendous leadership in providing paid sick days for their employees, but there are many that have not, and this a good place to start.
     After that, we will begin our consultations with provinces and territories that have the vast majority of the workplaces and govern those workplaces, but this is a good place to start.
    Madam Speaker, on addressing the other point from the paid sick days on this particular piece of legislation, the minister is talking about the protection of individuals who are trying to access hospitals. In my riding of Kingston and the Islands, we saw protests, harassing comments and things being thrown at people going to and from a cancer clinic at Kingston General Hospital, of all places.
    Could the minister comment on how important it is that this legislation get through as quickly as possible? Then people would not have to worry about this form of intimidation when they were trying to access a hospital, for example.

  (1730)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for that very important point and for the opportunity to speak on behalf of not just the constituents of St. John's South—Mount Pearl, but on behalf of millions of Canadians who were utterly disgusted by what they saw on the news. It was night after night of people intimidating and obstructing our health care workers and patients as they tried to receive the health care they desperately needed, and while our workers tried to do the work we counted on them to do in a pandemic.
     What we hope will come of this legislation is an increase in the fines and, more importantly, very exact and precise instruction to law enforcement so that they do not hesitate in making sure there is no obstruction or intimidation of health care workers or patients as they enter medical facilities. I think that is very important, but more important than any of it is a clear show of support and solidarity for health care workers in this country.
    Madam Speaker, it is a little disheartening, I am sure, for Canadians to see that the coalition is alive once again between the Liberals and the NDP.
    When I see time allocation moved on an important bill, I think of the tremendous work that my colleague, the member of Parliament for Cariboo—Prince George, did on Bill C-211, an act to amend the Criminal Code, assaults against health care professionals and first responders. There is a time for debate and discussion on these things, and the government is cutting that short. In our own platform, we spoke about critical infrastructure protection: protecting Canadians and protecting infrastructure. The minister is cutting off that type of debate.
    We will take no lessons from the Liberals when I hear them say that “COVID waits for no one.” It is a government that called a COVID election.
    Madam Speaker, I would simply say that if we look at just about any country in the world, we have acted tremendously. We have acted quickly, effectively and thoroughly.
    In this instance, we recognize that, as we head into the winter months and as more people spend more time inside, it is imperative that we act quickly so that workers know immediately, or as quickly as we can offer them that assurance, that they are able to stay home when sick. When they are able to stay home, they are not entering the workplace perhaps with symptoms or perhaps with the virus. This is something that, while I hear the hon. member, is the circumstance. This is a pandemic that we are still in the middle of. I will repeat again in the House: Time is of the essence.
    Madam Speaker, I want to ask the minister, respectfully, a question about process.
    We have a piece of legislation in front us, and I am a bit confused as to why it groups together two very different issues. It groups together a question of benefits for people who are sick, and a question of Criminal Code amendments with respect to harassment and intimidation. I am concerned that the government, it seems, is unwilling to have individual proposals debated on their own and is therefore trying to group together multiple, unrelated items to avoid scrutiny and debate. Both of these items are things that I think we have shown we are supportive of, but it seems like an abuse of process for the government to not only be moving closure but, prior to that, lumping together unrelated items.
    I remind the minister that, in 2015, the government promised not to bring in omnibus bills, yet we see this routine lumping together to minimize parliamentary scrutiny. It is part of a dangerous trend.
    Can the minister comment on why his government is continuing to undermine, really, its respect for Parliament with these kinds of tactics?
    Madam Speaker, I hardly think this is a lumping together of two very polarized or disparate ideas. They are welded together quite firmly by two overriding concerns. One is the spread of the virus, first and foremost, and the other is concern for workers. In both of these affairs, that is what we are dealing with.
    On the one hand, we want to make sure workers feel safe and secure, knowing they can go home if they do not feel well, that they will be cared for and looked after as best as we can, and that they will be assured of paid leave.
    On the other hand, specifically for health care workers, we want them to know they can go about their duty. They can go to work doing the good work they do in a pandemic to protect all of us, remembering that one of the overriding imperatives of lockdowns and moving as quickly as we have, as almost every member here can agree, is making sure our health care system is not overcome and that the health care workers themselves remain safe.
    This is extraordinarily important in terms of making sure the virus does not spread any further and workers, in both cases, are protected.

  (1735)  

    Madam Speaker, I want to talk about inspiring rhetoric for a second. The minister himself, in his announcement, actually pointed out that the vast majority of federally regulated private sector workers already have more generous paid sick leave programs, and this may not have that massive an impact on those positions in the private sector.
    I wonder if, in fact, we are rushing this because the Liberals felt they should have gotten it done before the unnecessary election. They had lots of time to start this process then. I do not understand why we cannot get a little more work done on this now to make sure we can make the amendments we want in order to make it more substantive and so the minister can start his negotiations with the provinces. If it is such a crushing thing, it should have been done before this unnecessary election. I do not understand why we cannot just take a few more days here.
    Madam Speaker, I would simply say that it is not 10 days. While there are some people within federally regulated industries and within the jurisdiction who have some paid sick leave, they do not have 10 days. The reason 10 days is so important is that it is roughly two weeks. We all know what two weeks is. It is the time it takes to lock down and make sure people are safe. We know that if they have to quarantine, it is the amount of time that will inhibit the spread of the virus.
    If we are looking at two weeks, it is roughly 10 working days, which is why we landed on 10 days. Six days is not enough. Seven days is not enough. Ten is the magic number and it is a number we need to start moving on now. The sooner we do that, the better. We start with those in federal jurisdiction and we move on to talking to the provinces and territories again on an accelerated basis.
    Madam Speaker, during the pandemic we have seen many health care workers being harassed just trying to do their jobs, and we certainly have seen that for decades and decades for women who are trying to access safe abortions.
    How is this legislation being put forward going to protect, for example, not only health care workers providing vaccinations but also health care workers who provide proper reproductive health care for women?
    Madam Speaker, we cannot allow the intimidation or obstruction of duty of health care workers we have asked to simply do their jobs. This is something so many of us saw on the news night after night: health care workers who were intimidated and obstructed.
    My officials worked hand in glove with officials in the justice department, first to make sure this would in no way infringe upon their ability to strike or express themselves, and we are assured of that. This would give clarity and purpose to law enforcement, who know now without question that this is something they need to act upon if indeed they see the obstruction and intimidation of health care workers as they go about their duties and functions in the jobs we have asked them to do.
    Madam Speaker, I have a couple of questions for the minister that I have asked a number of times but not received a clear answer on. I am hoping he can clarify a couple of things.
    First, this bill deals with two very distinct issues. I was hopeful, and remain hopeful, that it could possibly be split up to be studied in the two separate committees where it would best fit. Question number one is whether he would be willing to proceed in that manner and take leadership on that.
    Second, specifically regarding the paid sick leave, I have asked a number of times exactly how many workers this would affect. Are we talking about thousands? Many workers within federally regulated sectors already have extensive sick leave provisions, either under union contracts or whatever the case may be. How many workers would this actually affect and to what extent would it affect them? Would it affect the contractor who is contracted to work for a sector that may be federally regulated?
    There are a lot of questions surrounding this that I have not received answers for yet, and I am hoping the minister can clarify some of those things.

  (1740)  

    Madam Speaker, I will get the hon. member the exact number of how many federal workers it affects. I will say that it is in the hundreds of thousands. It is quite sizable. That is why I insist that this is a good place to start.
    I will disagree humbly with the hon. member, just to say that while I understand we are looking at two issues contained within this bill, what they very much have in common is, first of all, our fight against this pandemic. While that may seem fairly broad, it is not broad when we talk about our imperative to move quickly on it and our ability to act fast and assure workers in this country that they can stay home, should stay home and must stay home if there is any suspicion or question that they may have it.
    Secondly, particularly for health care workers in this country, they too need to know that they can go to work, knowing they have the support of this House and Canadians in doing the duties we need them to perform as we continue to fight this pandemic through this winter.
    Madam Speaker, as some in this House may know, I have a spouse who works in health care, and I know many members in this House have family and friends who work in the health care system. We have seen how the pandemic has really pushed our health care system to the point of breaking many times, and it is relying right now on the moral fibre and goodwill of those working within the system. We have also seen paramedics, who really are at a breaking point.
    I would like to hear from the minister about why there is urgency on this bill, as far as protecting the workplaces and getting people in to work to provide health care services during this ongoing pandemic in the waves we are seeing, as well as ensuring access to medical facilities by patients. I would appreciate it if the minister could comment on that.
    Madam Speaker, I think almost every member of this House in some way can relate to somebody who they know, like a member of their family or a friend, who is either a health care worker themselves, like a nurse, doctor, orderly or paramedic, or somebody who was possibly treated by them. We have a great deal of sympathy and appreciation for the good work they do.
    I remember doing initial interviews for this and being told that people feel this way. It is very important that we also make the statement to health care workers in this country that we support them and that we support them in a tangible way. We will ensure, as best we can, that they will not be intimidated and obstructed in the duties we ask them to perform. While they have always been on the front line of health care, right now they remain stalwart in their fight on the front lines against a pandemic in this country, and it is important that we give them every bit of ammunition we can.
    Madam Speaker, it is always a pleasure to rise on behalf of the citizens of Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo.
    My questions for the hon. minister are twofold. First, did the hon. minister implore the Prime Minister to bring back Parliament earlier than two months after the election, given the necessity, in his view and in his mind, to bring this legislation forward as quickly as possible? Second, does the hon. minister know of three employers who specifically do not offer two weeks of paid sick leave and are federally regulated?
    Madam Speaker, I will provide those names to the member. There are some companies that have yet to provide the full two weeks. In fact, about 63% of employees in federally regulated industries do not receive the full two weeks, so the vast majority do not. Again, and I cannot say this often enough, the two weeks is what is important here. The 10 days is what is important. We all know that, because it is the amount of time it takes to quarantine safely, if someone has been affected by the virus.
    It is important that we reach that number, and it is important that we do that as soon as possible as we enter the winter months. We know that when more people are staying inside, their ability to contract the virus increases exponentially. We need to make sure those numbers remain down. Canadians, time and again, have stood up. They have become vaccinated. They want to make sure we are all doing the right thing, because bit by bit, we are getting there and defeating this virus, but we need to get over this hump.

  (1745)  

    Madam Speaker, I have heard the hon. minister speak about this, and the only argument he has actually made to justify the 10 days of paid sick leave is that of COVID, so my question for him is this: Why is there no sunset clause in the bill, so that once COVID is over, the 10 days are reversed and we let the private sector take care of it, as it has done all along?
    Madam Speaker, we also believe that this is not only a permanent change, but a good change that will be in the interest of public health, not only for this pandemic but, unfortunately, possibly for the next one. We want to make sure we are equipped to handle not just the one we are going through, but quite possibly some that may follow. This is one of many things we have learned. There are many who would argue quite the opposite and ask why we did not do this on a permanent basis much sooner. I would simply say this: Here we are. We are here together debating it and I believe we will do it.
    Madam Speaker, my question for the hon. minister is twofold. The first part is on the issue of urgency. Can he identify, given that we all recognize the horrors that happened during the election regarding the protests and the intimidation, that since the election this has been an ongoing trend? I would like to know about that, because I have not heard about it.
    The second part is on the issue of statutory interpretation. How does the issue of minor disturbances, which appear to be allowed under these amendments, assist the health care workers?
    Madam Speaker, I would simply say it is extremely important that obstruction and intimidation are dealt with, and we believe they are dealt with effectively in this bill.

[Translation]

    I wish to inform the House that because of the deferred recorded divisions, Government Orders will be extended by 40 minutes.

[English]

    It is my duty to interrupt the proceedings at this time and put forthwith the question on the motion now before the House.
    The question is on the motion.
    If a member of a recognized party present in the House wishes to request a recorded division or that the motion be adopted on division, I would invite them to rise and indicate it to the Chair.
    The hon. member for Banff—Airdrie.
    Madam Speaker, we request a recorded division.

  (1840)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 9)

YEAS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Ali
Anand
Anandasangaree
Angus
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Atwin
Bachrach
Badawey
Bains
Baker
Barron
Battiste
Beech
Bendayan
Bennett
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blaney
Blois
Boissonnault
Boulerice
Brière
Cannings
Carr
Casey
Chagger
Chahal
Champagne
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Collins (Victoria)
Cormier
Coteau
Dabrusin
Damoff
Davies
Desjarlais
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Dong
Drouin
Dubourg
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dzerowicz
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Erskine-Smith
Fergus
Fillmore
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Gaheer
Garneau
Garrison
Gazan
Gerretsen
Gould
Guilbeault
Hajdu
Hanley
Hardie
Hepfner
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Idlout
Ien
Jaczek
Johns
Joly
Jones
Jowhari
Julian
Kayabaga
Kelloway
Khalid
Khera
Koutrakis
Kusmierczyk
Kwan
Lalonde
Lambropoulos
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lattanzio
Lauzon
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
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
McPherson
Mendès
Mendicino
Miao
Miller
Morrice
Morrissey
Murray
Naqvi
Ng
Noormohamed
O'Connell
Oliphant
O'Regan
Petitpas Taylor
Qualtrough
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Sahota
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Sorbara
Spengemann
St-Onge
Sudds
Tassi
Taylor Roy
Thompson
Turnbull
Valdez
Van Bynen
van Koeverden
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Virani
Vuong
Weiler
Wilkinson
Yip
Zahid
Zarrillo
Zuberi

Total: -- 180


NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Aitchison
Albas
Allison
Arnold
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Benzen
Bergeron
Berthold
Bérubé
Bezan
Blanchette-Joncas
Block
Bragdon
Brassard
Brock
Brunelle-Duceppe
Calkins
Caputo
Carrie
Chabot
Chambers
Champoux
Chong
Cooper
Dalton
Dancho
Davidson
DeBellefeuille
Deltell
d'Entremont
Desbiens
Desilets
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Ellis
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Ferreri
Findlay
Fortin
Gallant
Garon
Gaudreau
Généreux
Genuis
Gill
Gladu
Godin
Goodridge
Gourde
Gray
Hallan
Hoback
Jeneroux
Kelly
Kmiec
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Kusie
Lake
Lantsman
Larouche
Lawrence
Lehoux
Lemire
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Liepert
Lloyd
Lobb
MacKenzie
Maguire
Martel
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLean
Melillo
Michaud
Moore
Morantz
Morrison
Motz
Muys
Nater
Normandin
O'Toole
Patzer
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Perkins
Perron
Plamondon
Poilievre
Rayes
Redekopp
Rempel Garner
Richards
Roberts
Rood
Ruff
Savard-Tremblay
Scheer
Schmale
Seeback
Shields
Shipley
Simard
Sinclair-Desgagné
Small
Soroka
Steinley
Ste-Marie
Stewart
Strahl
Stubbs
Thériault
Therrien
Thomas
Tochor
Tolmie
Trudel
Uppal
Van Popta
Vecchio
Vidal
Vien
Viersen
Vignola
Villemure
Vis
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Williams
Williamson
Zimmer

Total: -- 145


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

[English]

    I wish to inform the House that because of the proceedings on the time allocation motion, Government Orders will be further extended by 30 minutes.

Second Reading  

    The House resumed from December 6 consideration of the motion that Bill C-3, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Canada Labour Code, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Mr. Speaker, Bill C-3 would protect health care workers, Canadians seeking health services and Canadians who work in federally regulated sectors deciding between their well-being and paying bills. Delivering protections for health care workers and 10 days of paid sick leave were top priorities for our government. It is why I stand here today, just weeks into the 44th Parliament speaking in favour of Bill C-3, so we can ensure Canadians receive the protections they deserve as quickly as possible.
    Throughout this pandemic, we have commended our health care workers through efforts such as the nightly banging of pots and honking—
    Order. Could we have some order in the House, please. A member is giving a speech.
    The hon. member for Cloverdale—Langley City.
    Madam Speaker, as I was saying, we have commended our health care workers through efforts such as the nightly banging of pots and honking of horns at 7 p.m. Health care workers have been true heroes working on the front lines tirelessly.
    Calling health care workers heroes and commending their bravery, while entirely deserved, is not enough. We need to provide real protections for them.
    The amendments to the Criminal Code in this bill would afford health care workers security against obstruction from accessing their workplaces safely. Unfortunately, we have seen terrible incidents where doctors, nurses and other health care practitioners have been intimidated, threatened and in some cases spat on or threatened with violence, all because they are saving the lives of COVID-19 patients.
    I would like to take a moment to give my very personal perspective on this bill.
    My wife is a doctor at a hospital that was declared a COVID hospital at the outset of the pandemic. During the first week of the pandemic, we updated our wills, not knowing what dangers we faced. We slept on different floors and took extra precautions to sanitize, when we could actually find disinfectant materials.
    Some doctors moved out of their private homes to protect their families and moved into private accommodations. Many extra precautions were taken to launder clothes to make sure the virus did not come into our personal homes. Challenges continued wave after wave. Then throw in a heat dome and another wave, and we have a health care crisis and a system stretched to the breaking point relying on the goodwill and moral fibre of the people who work in the system.
    I would like to thank my wife and her colleagues at Surrey Memorial Hospital and other hospitals across the country, the specialists and technicians, the nurses and the aides, the cleaning staff, food services and everyone else in patient care who all worked to keep the rest of us safe.
    Now protestors are trying to threaten these workers and to prevent them from accessing their places of work. I feel especially for the emergency room doctors but also the paramedics, who are understaffed, underfunded and need to shepherd their patients past rabid anti-vaxxer protestors.
    Our health care workers are facing moral distress. No one should feel unsafe at their workplace. This legislation would provide health care workers the confidence and legal protections needed to safely access their workplaces.
    We know intimidation can also manifest through online forums as well, not just in person. We would be protecting health care workers here as well. In the age of social media and digital technology, we know online threats can be just as real and devastating as those faced in front of a workplace. No individual should be able to use fear to stop health care workers or those who assist them from performing their duties.
    Our legislation would not only protect health care workers but those accessing health care as well. In many cases, those accessing health care are the most vulnerable, particularly during this pandemic. This summer, an individual went to Toronto from Prince Edward Island to wait for a lung transplant. They were leaving the hospital after a physiotherapy session. They had to be escorted by police to protect them from an unmasked group blocking access to and from the hospital. We have heard story after story of this kind of behaviour across the country. We cannot accept this behaviour, which is placing our most vulnerable at risk.
    This legislation would clearly ensure Canadians have the freedom to voice their concerns and protest in a safe and peaceful manner. It would also ensures workers’ freedom to take labour action, including picketing. These would be respected by these proposed changes to Canada’s criminal law.
    The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a number of issues facing Canadians in their workplaces. Too many health care workers, those who assist them and Canadians seeking medical care have experienced or feared intimidation while attempting to provide or access health services.
    In normal times this type of harassment and intimidation is disagreeable, but during a worldwide pandemic, this type of behaviour is abhorrent, which is why legislation is needed.
    I will now shift my focus to another aspect of this bill.
    Too many Canadians have been forced to choose between staying home when they are sick or being able to afford rent or groceries. This legislation's other change, which is the provision of 10 days of paid sick leave, would protect the well-being of Canadians, support them economically and avoid pressures on our health care system. While this would only apply to federally regulated workers numbering almost one million workers at this point, it would contribute to a wider discussion about paid sick leave across the country.

  (1845)  

    The pandemic has demonstrated the effect that illness can have on our economy and the cost for individuals and families. With isolations and quarantines lasting up to two weeks, workers need to know that if they contract COVID-19, they can take the necessary time off work without risking a loss to their income and without exposing others to the risks of COVID. Not only will this ensure that workers do not need to choose between their income and their well-being, but it will also avoid spreading COVID-19 or other contagious illnesses in the workplace. There have been too many stories of outbreaks in workplaces that happened because individuals felt they had to come into work because they could not afford to take unpaid time off. This often results in negative economic effects for companies as well.
    Not only will this legislation help workers, but it will be a preventive measure for our health care system. We have all experienced lockdowns throughout the last 20 months to help our hospitals avoid being overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases. This is another measure to prevent the outbreaks in workplaces from driving up case numbers and putting our health care system at risk now and in the future.
    For Canadians not employed in a federally regulated industry, our government will be engaging in consultations with federally regulated employers and workers on the implementation of this legislation. Additionally, the government will convene the provinces and territories and other interested stakeholders to develop a national action plan to legislate paid sick leave across the country, while respecting provincial and territorial jurisdiction and clearly recognizing the unique needs of small business owners. Ten days of paid sick leave is another tool in creating a more resilient economy as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
     For all the reasons I have outlined in my speech today, I will be supporting this bill. I welcome any questions from my colleagues.

  (1850)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, banning demonstrations aimed at intimidating health care workers or hindering the smooth running of hospitals is a good thing.
    However, does my colleague not think that there is a risk that this will backfire on workers who want to demonstrate, on the right of unions to demonstrate?
    What could we do to clarify that aspect?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, a very important right we need to maintain is the ability to have legal protests within a workplace to stand against employers and stand up for the rights of workers. This legislation does address that. It respects the constitutional rights of workers to defend their rights and negotiate with their employers. It also makes sure that workplaces will remain accessible despite protests, so it is about free passage to obtain necessary health care. I believe the bill strikes the right balance, and that is why I am supporting it.
    Madam Speaker, I want to ask a simple question of the member. This legislation deals with changes to the Canada Labour Code and changes to the Criminal Code, two very separate pieces of legislation. I believe, as many members would agree, the bill should go through different committees.
    Would the member agree that both aspects of the legislation should be examined separately rather than lumped together as they are right now in Bill C-3?
    Madam Speaker, the minister, in his response to a similar question, spoke to that, and I think there is a benefit to putting these two pieces together.
    We are in a pandemic, and it is so important that we have timely resolutions to the issues we see. We want to make sure that health care workers and patients are protected, but also that as a result of the pandemic, federally regulated workers have 10 days of paid sick leave. Because the pandemic is the common item that ties these two issues together, it makes sense for them to go through the House as Bill C-3, to be reviewed by a committee that can comment on both aspects of it.
    Madam Speaker, my question is about urgency and being in a pandemic. The member mentioned that this needs to happen very quickly because we are in a pandemic, so he will not be surprised when I ask him why he feels it has taken the government 18 months to move forward with these 10 days of sick leave. The government has known since the very beginning, of course, that the New Democratic Party would be very supportive of allowing these 10 days. We have been calling for that, really, since the beginning of the pandemic.
    If this is urgent, why are we in a situation where we have to push the bill through quickly right now? If the government wanted to bring this forward sooner, and could have, why did it not?
    Madam Speaker, unfortunately, I was not here in the last Parliament and could not weigh in on the urgency of this based on the personal experience I was seeing with my family, as my wife is a health care practitioner, a physician, and the pressures it was putting on my community. That is why I am so delighted, now that I am back in the House of Commons representing my community, that our government has acted so quickly. This is a priority piece of legislation within the first hundred days, and we are acting on it. We are moving quickly. That is the kind of response I want to see when I am fighting for the needs of my community.

Message from the Senate

    I have the honour to inform the House that messages have been received from the Senate informing this House that the Senate has passed the following bills, to which the concurrence of the House is desired: S-202, An Act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act (Parliamentary Visual Artist Laureate); and Bill S-206, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (disclosure of information by jurors).

  (1855)  

[Translation]

Criminal Code

    The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-3, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Canada Labour Code, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C‑3.
    I must admit that this bill is a little strange because it deals with two completely different topics. It would amend the Canada Labour Code and would also amend the Criminal Code. The bill's scope goes in two completely different directions.
    First, the bill would amend the Criminal Code to increase penalties on people who intimidate health care workers or patients or who obstruct access to a hospital or clinic in order to impede people from obtaining health services, such as vaccination. It is hard to argue against virtue, so it is relatively easy to support this part of the bill.
    Second, the bill would force federally regulated employers to grant up to 10 days of paid sick leave to their employees. As I just said, it is hard to argue against virtue, so we will support this bill.
    I would like to raise an important point about the part involving protests outside health care facilities. We are being told the bill is not intended to infringe on the right to peaceful protest and is therefore not intended to affect workers' rights, but that is not made perfectly clear in the wording.
    This will require clarification. As usual, the Bloc Québécois will be thorough in asking questions, checking the facts, seeking confirmation and possibly proposing any amendments needed to protect this basic right.
    The Bloc Québécois always stands up for workers' rights. Of course, we defend collective rights, but defending workers' rights is one of our core values. It is of the utmost importance to us.
    In Quebec, workers' rights during a dispute are particularly well protected compared to the rest of Canada. Think, for example, of the anti-scab legislation in effect in Quebec. It is important that close attention be paid to this part of the legislation.
    Furthermore, paid sick leave is a step forward for federally regulated Quebec workers, even though there are not that many of them. It is a step forward for them.
    As history has shown, progress for one group of workers is always progress for all workers. A rising tide lifts all boats, and measures like this create momentum, which is always positive even if it is just for a small group of people. The Bloc Québécois will definitely support this measure.
    I want to comment on the prohibition of protests. The bill would give prosecutors added powers to charge people who impede others in the performance of health care duties and interfere with access to a clinic or hospital.
    Under the present circumstances, because of the election campaign and anti-vax protests, people have been thinking about access to health care facilities a lot. It is these events, in large part, that led to the creation of this bill.
    Over the years, we have also seen protests by people preventing access to abortion clinics. Recognizing that every woman has the right to do what she wants with her own body and that nobody can interfere with that is one of our core values. In that respect, this measure is good because it goes some way toward ensuring that people will not be hassled while accessing health care.
    This part of the law is important because it distinguishes between “freedom of expression” and “aggression”. Unfortunately, in our society, some individuals or groups often confuse the two concepts. Some think that because they have the right to express themselves, they have the right to prevent others from doing something. This is not at all the case, and such behaviour should never be tolerated. This is a fundamental and very important point.
    As parliamentarians, we have a duty to protect people from all forms of aggression. This is what we started to do in the last Parliament before the unnecessary election that everyone knows about. We were working on Bill C‑205, which concerned the agricultural sector and would have prevented vegan activists from trespassing on livestock farms and other farms.

  (1900)  

    Assaulting someone or coming onto their property to express a political opinion or a point of view is unacceptable. This is a democratic country, and democracy is expressed in a peaceful and respectful way. There are public spaces for demonstrating. Once people start to be bullied, it becomes very important to intervene.
    This also deals with intimidation, and that is important. When people head out to a certain place and find a threatening group there, they may turn back. The example of vaccine-hesitant folks comes to mind. This is not a judgment of someone's opinion. I am not saying that one group is more right than another. However, in order for us to get out of this miserable crisis, our duty as parliamentarians is to encourage people to get vaccinated. That means that any demonstration that might interfere with that goal obviously must be prevented without stopping people from expressing themselves. Once again, “expression” does not mean “aggression”. This is a very important point.
    In my former life as a high school teacher, I fought against bullying and intimidation for many years. It was a fundamental issue that was very important to me. I will continue that fight as a parliamentarian, because our civil society must not accept that kind of behaviour.
    Bill C‑3 is quite severe, providing for prison sentences of up to 10 years, depending on how the offender is charged. They could get 10 years or two years less a day. This could be a good way to make people think twice about assaulting others.
    As for the rest, the bill also contains other clauses, such as release orders for people charged under the amended law, potentially with conditions. That is fairly standard.
    However, I would like to highlight one very important point for my colleagues. Under Bill C‑3, any criminal offence committed against a health professional in the performance of their duties would now be considered an aggravating factor. I think this is a great approach, because it confirms the almost sacred nature of health care work. It also protects access to care for the general public, which I think is a very good sign.
    The last part deals with paid sick leave, and it is positive, as I said earlier. However, the majority of federally regulated private sector workers already have access to 10 or more days of sick leave. We are talking about roughly 63% of those workers. Getting that number up to 100%, or in other words, giving everyone access to those sick days is great, but there is one aspect of Bill C-3 that could prove to be problematic, and it needs to be addressed. I am referring to the fact that the employer can require a medical certificate within 15 days of the employee's return to work. I wonder about that.
    Consider the example of someone who has been sick for two days and returns to work, then after another five or six days is asked by their employer to provide a medical certificate. I think it would be hard to prove one's illness by that point. The right questions need to be asked, and I am counting on my esteemed colleague, who is the critic on this issue, to dig into the matter, but I think it is important to clarify that aspect.
    As I have been saying from the start, we cannot be against this bill, despite the fact that it changes very little. It feels like the Liberals are trying to prove that they are with the times and following the trends. We are being asked to vote on this bill after we were forced to urgently vote on a time allocation motion. As a colleague from our party said earlier, however, this was brought up a long time ago.
    Why was this not done at the beginning of the crisis when many people may have needed it?
    Why wait 62 days to recall members to work and then shove bills down their throat?
    Many areas need our swift action, such as the cuts to the guaranteed income supplement for seniors, which is a major injustice. When will we see some movement on that? I am being told that Bill C‑3 is urgent, that it needs to happen by tomorrow morning, but we sounded the alarm about the cuts to the GIS before the election campaign.

  (1905)  

    Does the government not want to introduce a bill to address that situation? It is a matter of social justice. Yesterday, we discussed Afghanistan; it is the same thing.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, one of the things we recognize is that Canadians afforded the House of Commons a minority government. This means that the government does work, has worked and will continue to work with opposition parties as best as it can to speed up legislation, as legislation does require the support of another party to pass. In the past, we have been sometimes supported by New Democrats, and sometimes by members of the Bloc. We have even had support from the Conservatives.
    The majority of members of Parliament are saying we should proceed quickly on a piece of legislation for whatever reasons, just as, I trust, the Bloc will identify an important piece of legislation. Based on that, would the member not agree that this says a lot about the urgency to get this bill through for our health care workers and for workers because it is in the best interests of both?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question and openness. That is exactly why we are here.
    My colleague noted that Canadians re-elected a minority government. I would point out to him that combining the Liberal and Bloc members results in a majority. The Bloc Québécois proposes initiatives every day in the House because we are an intelligent and constructive opposition.
    I talked about the guaranteed income supplement. We also made suggestions about Afghanistan, and the motion was adopted this afternoon. I hope that we will be able to move quickly to bring people over and to provide humanitarian aid to that country. Furthermore, for two years, we have been making proposals with respect to temporary foreign workers. We have been promised that reforms are in the works. These reforms must be implemented, and we will be there to support them.
    There is much work to be done, and the Bloc Québécois is here for the people, but always with the same principle in mind: It has to be good for Quebec.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to come back to something my colleague mentioned in his speech. I have already had the opportunity to ask questions about Bill C-3. Obviously, nobody can be against sick days and apple pie.
    My colleague gave two examples related to the right to protest that are of particular interest to me. The first example, specifically protests in front of abortion clinics, is of particular interest to me as the critic for status of women. Indeed, those protesters can sometimes do more harm than good, since the women who need to attend those clinics are often going through an already difficult and intensely private experience.
    My hon. colleague also drew a parallel with a previous bill, Bill C-205. As a member representing a rural riding, I have heard a lot about the harm protesters have caused to animals.
    Can my colleague talk about the need to balance the right to protest with the fact that these protests sometimes do far more harm than good?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my esteemed colleague and favourite seatmate for her fundamental question. I thank her for giving me the opportunity to emphasize this point.
    Just last week, I had discussions with people who were at a crossroads. Take the vaccine, for example. Imagine someone is afraid to get vaccinated, but then thinks about it and finally decides to go ahead. If that person arrives at the health care facility and protesters are blocking their way, that person might turn right around.
    The same thing might happen to a young woman who has been sexually assaulted or who has been fretting for days about an unplanned, unwanted pregnancy. She too might turn back.
    Access to health care must be respected, because it is essential. Our job is to protect these people.

  (1910)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, during the pandemic, I have been absolutely appalled at the level of harassment I have seen toward health care workers, who are trying to do their part to fight the pandemic. Does my hon. colleague agree that it is absolutely critical for health care providers to be provided with immediate protection?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.
    I agree, it is absolutely critical. I will take this opportunity to come back to the urgent need to pass this bill. Earlier today, debate was shut down on the pretext that it was urgent to pass the bill. However, someone pointed out earlier that the 10 days of paid leave were proposed a long time ago.
    The COVID‑19 crisis began a long time ago, so why did the government not act sooner?
    I would like to remind the House that Quebec did not wait for Canada to act. In Quebec, we have already passed legislation and introduced very severe fines. Quebec is often ahead of the game when it comes to legislation. Rather than judging it—
    Order. Resuming debate.
    The hon. member for Kenora.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to join the debate on Bill C-3. Although this is not my first opportunity to rise in the 44th Parliament to give a speech, this is my first opportunity, not just in this Parliament, but since I was elected in 2019, to deliver a speech with my fiancée, Danaka, watching live.
    I wanted to acknowledge that and acknowledge Danaka for her continued love and support, especially through the turbulent times of election season. I have to say that going through two elections in two years is more than enough for an MP, but it is also important that we recognize the impact it has on our loved ones, so I thank Danaka for her continued support.
    There are two very important aspects of the bill. It really is two bills in one, with amendments to the Criminal Code and to the Labour Code. It is very important that we talk about both of these things separately, considering how different they are. I will, time permitting, have the opportunity to touch on both of those aspects, but I also want to acknowledge the tremendous work of our shadow ministers on this file. The member for Fundy Royal has done a great job representing our position and working with our colleagues to move forward on this. As well, the member for Parry Sound—Muskoka on the labour side ensured that our party was well represented.
    When it comes to the Criminal Code, of course Bill C-3 would make it an offence to intimidate health care providers or impede individuals from obtaining health services, and this is something I do not think anyone in this chamber would take issue with. I think we would all support that and the idea behind that.
    We know health care workers face incredible hardships at the best of times, especially in northwestern Ontario, where they have limited staff, limited resources and policies that do not adequately account for our unique needs in rural and remote northern Ontario. These are challenges I have heard of first-hand from constituents across the riding.
    Of course, this has all been exacerbated by COVID-19 and the pandemic we are continuing to fight through. Hopefully we are at the tail end of. We have seen more clearly than ever before how important our frontline workers are. They are our doctors, our nurses and those who went to work every day, risking their own safety, to ensure that all Canadians would remain safe and have the service they need. That is why so many people in the Kenora riding, across northern Ontario and across this great country were outraged by the news when they saw these protests and the harassment of health care workers throughout the course of the pandemic.
    I wish I could sit here and name everybody, but there are a couple of health care workers in particular I would like to make note of, one of whom is Dr. Sean Moore at the Lake of the Woods District Hospital in Kenora. Dr. Moore has been a champion for our region throughout the course of the pandemic. He helped organize and arrange all of the COVID protocols and the COVID response at the Lake of the Woods District Hospital. With many concerns around the availability of beds and shortages of PPE, he remained steadfast in his commitment to ensuring everyone had the support they needed.
    He continued to also keep me up to date on what was happening on the ground and offered advice to me to pass on to the government and my colleagues on how to best move forward through the pandemic. I would say as well that his consistent public advocacy for best practices in ways to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe has just been incredibly beneficial for everyone across our region, which is something he continues to do.

  (1915)  

    I want to make a quick mention of a health care provider who is very important to me, my mother Charlene. My mother is a nurse at the Lake of the Woods District Hospital and I know first-hand from her the challenges during the best of times at the hospital in delivering health care services in the Kenora riding. Having to deal with the additional protocols and challenges that COVID-19 brought on was difficult for her and her colleagues. Not once did any of the health care workers in my riding, or across the country, hesitate. They were always there to continue to serve and work for everyone's safety. I am happy to share that today.
    There is another side to this. It is not just the health care providers. It is not just the doctors and nurses. It has also been a very difficult time to be a patient. I know many people who have had to bring their children to a hospital and only parent has been able to be with them or their loved ones. It has been incredibly difficult for families to deal with challenges to their health given the COVID restrictions.
    I know the thought of any of these individuals being harassed or targeted in a protest that could be happening outside of a hospital would not sit well with anybody in the chamber. We need to look at that important aspect of the legislation as well.
    As I said, apart from the Criminal Code side, there is also the labour side of the bill, which is very important as well, with the proposed 10-day medical leave in federally regulated sectors. Frankly, many companies are already going above and beyond that, as many members of the House have noted.
    I believe the Minister of Labour has noted that the change he believes the bill would make would be minimal. It is important to note that, in many ways, this could be seen symbolically, but it is an important floor to work toward. However, we cannot take away from the great work that so many companies are undertaking already.
    Although it is viewed as a minimal change, I do not think we should accept that without proper scrutiny. We all know there are huge labour shortages across the country. We see that in my riding at the Lake of the Woods Brewing Company, for example. It has not been able to stay open all days of the week. Many restaurants have been forced to close or are only open for short periods because they cannot find staff.
    When we are talking about changes to the Labour Code, it is also very important that we have a wholesome examination of it, so we can understand all the potential impacts the legislation could have. That is why I want to see the bill get to committee. I want to see both sections of it get to appropriate committees, because they are quite different, the Criminal Code side versus the Labour Code side.
    I hope we will see that from the government, that these sections will be examined separately and thoroughly. That is part of the concern I have with the time allocation motion. We have two very important sections in the legislation that need to be discussed and examined, and the government has unfortunately decided that it would rather not have those discussions.
    I look forward to any question or comments my colleagues may have, but I appreciate the opportunity to share some thoughts on Bill C-3 this evening. I want to reiterate that there are two very important sections to the legislation. We need to examine them. Let us get them to committee.

  (1920)  

    Mr. Speaker, the feedback I have received on the legislation has been very encouraging, such as health care stakeholders recognizing that Ottawa parliamentarians see and understand what they have had to go through with the protests. During the debate, I found out that the Province of British Columbia was also bringing forward paid sick leave. I believe it is for five days. The federal legislation covers a much smaller percentage of the workforce.
    Would the member agree that by the national government providing action on sick leave, we could see provincial jurisdictions following suit and, to that end, workers across Canada would benefit? Could he just provide his thoughts on the leadership role that Ottawa can play on progressive legislation such as this?
    Mr. Speaker, we all appreciate the thoughtfulness and willingness of the member for Winnipeg North to engage so often in this chamber and share his thoughts on a number of topics. He definitely has a great respect for this institution.
    That is a good question, but it is a bit hypothetical. I suppose the quick answer would be yes. It definitely could be something that the provinces could look to and be encouraged by it. The point is that many sectors are already above and beyond this. From a federal point of view, the 10 sick days could be looked at as a floor rather than a ceiling.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, what I appreciated about the speech by the colleague who just spoke is the great compassion and empathy he expressed for health care professionals and social services workers.
    In the name of wanting to protect them, all of a sudden it is urgent that Criminal Code be amended.
    If we are looking to support and protect health care workers, does the member not agree that it would be more urgent to provide federal health transfers to Quebec and the provinces so that they can organize their health care systems in such a way as to ensure that they have workers, that they are able to offer good working conditions and that workers do not experience burnout?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, absolutely, we called for and continue to call for increased health transfers to the provinces. Again, as I mentioned, in northern Ontario. and I am sure in northern and rural Quebec it is a similar situation, there is underfunding. There are not the appropriate resources considering the distances that people have to travel and considering the unique situations that northern and rural regions have. Having more supports available to the provinces will certainly help fix that situation.

  (1925)  

    Order, please. It being 7:25 p.m., pursuant to order made earlier today, it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the second reading stage of the bill now before the House.
    The question is on the motion.

[Translation]

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

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I would request a recorded division.

[Translation]

    Pursuant to order made on Thursday, November 25, the recorded division stands deferred until Thursday, December 9, 2021, at the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I may have been misinformed about there being an opportunity for a speaking slot at this point for me, on behalf of the Green Party, to speak to Bill C-3.
    We ran out of time on Bill C-3, and I interrupted so we could move on to the next order of business.
    Mr. Speaker, I suspect that if you were to canvass the House, you would find unanimous consent to see the clock at 7:40 p.m. so we can begin committee of the whole.
    Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Deputy Speaker: Pursuant to order made Thursday, November 25, the House will now resolve itself into committee of the whole to study all votes in the supplementary estimates (B) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022.
    I do now leave the chair for the House to go into committee of the whole.

Business of Supply

Supplementary Estimates (B), 2021-22 

[Business of Supply]

    (Consideration resumed from December 7 in committee of the whole of all votes in the supplementary estimates (B), Mr. Chris d'Entremont in the chair)

    Today's debate is a general one on all votes tabled before the House on Friday, November 26. Pursuant to order made Thursday, November 25, the committee will now resume the debate.

[Translation]

     Pursuant to order made on Thursday, November 25, each member will be allocated 15 minutes at a time, which may be used both for debate and for posing questions. Members wishing to use this time to make a speech have a maximum of 10 minutes, which leaves at least five minutes for questions to the minister. When a member is recognized, he or she should indicate to the Chair how the 15-minute period will be used, meaning how much time will be spent on the speech and how much time will be used for questions and answers.
    Also, pursuant to order made Tuesday, December 7, members who wish to share their time with another member shall indicate this to the Chair. When the time is to be used for questions and comments, the Chair will expect the minister's response to reflect approximately the time taken by the question, since this time will be counted in the time originally allotted to the members.

  (1930)  

[English]

    Pursuant to order made Tuesday, December 7, the time provided for the debate tonight may be extended beyond four hours, as needed, to include a minimum of 16 periods of 15 minutes each, and no quorum calls, dilatory motions or requests for unanimous consent shall be entertained.
    I also wish to indicate that in committee of the whole, comments should be addressed to the Chair. I ask for everyone's co-operation in upholding all established standards of decorum, parliamentary language and behaviour.
    We will now begin tonight's session.
    The House in committee of the whole, pursuant to order made Thursday, November 25, consideration in committee of the whole of all votes in the supplementary estimates (B) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022.
    The hon. member for Alfred-Pellan.

[Translation]

    Mr. Chair, today I am pleased to talk about the supplementary estimates (B) for 2021-22. I want to start by saying that I am a big believer in the principle of transparency.
    Canadians and the parliamentarians who represent them have the right to know how the government intends to spend public funds and to hold the government accountable for its actions. Our government takes that responsibility very seriously. That is why this conversation about the estimates is so important, especially as we are emerging from the COVID‑19 pandemic.
    Today I am happy to have the opportunity to talk to the committee of the whole about the supplementary estimates (B) for 2021-22. As hon. members know, every year the government tables up to three supplementary estimates detailing proposed spending in addition to the main estimates.
     On November 26, the President of the Treasury Board of Canada tabled the supplementary estimates (B) in the House of Commons. The budget includes a summary of the government's incremental funding requirements and an overview of the major funding requests and horizontal initiatives.
    These supplementary estimates seek a total of $8.7 billion in voted budgetary expenditures. For information purposes, these estimates also include $4.7 billion in budgetary statutory expenditures, mainly due to the extension of the Canada recovery benefit and the forecasted requirements for the Canada recovery caregiving benefit and the Canada recovery sickness benefit.
    That said, I would like to provide my hon. colleagues with a breakdown of some of the more significant expenditures. Over the past year, many Canadians have had to deal with the hard truth of our country's historical treatment of indigenous peoples. This has been a year of listening and soul-searching. It has also been a year in which indigenous voices have been louder than ever, and our government is listening to them.
    That is why these supplementary estimates (B) provide a total of $1 billion for the Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs and $2.1 billion for the Department of Indigenous Services. This includes $725.2 million for critical infrastructure such as housing, schools, health facilities, water and wastewater. This funding will also support the transfer of infrastructure to indigenous-led organizations and fund the operation and maintenance of indigenous-owned infrastructure. This amount also includes $412.2 million for the specific claims settlement fund. As my colleagues know, these are claims by a first nation against the federal government which relate to the administration of land or other first nation assets and to the fulfillment of historic treaties or other agreements. The settlement fund is used to provide compensation to first nations in accordance with negotiated agreements. Finally, we have allocated $361.3 million for prevention and protection services to support the safety and well-being of first nations children and families living on reserve.
    The COVID-19 recession is the steepest and fastest economic contraction Canada has seen since the Great Depression, and it has had major repercussions on Canadians across the country. Nevertheless, we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. More than 85% of Canadians age 12 and up are now fully vaccinated. Businesses are reopening and travel has resumed across the country. What is more, we have now started to vaccinate children between the ages of five and 11.

  (1935)  

    Important programs like the Canada emergency response benefit, which helped millions of Canadians during the toughest days of the pandemic, were only possible because of the hard work and dedication of our public servants.
    The government appreciates its public servants and has the greatest respect for its obligations to them. That is why these supplementary estimates include $1.5 billion for the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat for the salary adjustments included in the recently negotiated collective agreements, as well as for changes to the terms and conditions of employment.
    Among the other funds set out in these supplementary estimates, I would like to mention the $375 million for the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development for COVID‑19 vaccines, treatments and diagnostic products for developing countries; the $327.7 million for the Department of National Defence to fund the pay increases in the Canadian Armed Forces; and the $253.4 million for the Department of National Defence and the Department of Veterans Affairs for the Heyder and Beattie class action settlements.
    These estimates reflect our government's continuing commitment to get better results for all Canadians, including those who live in indigenous communities, and to continue to contribute to the global COVID‑19 pandemic response effort.
    I want to be clear. The estimates process is guided by the principles of transparency, openness and accountability.
    We have taken several measures to ensure transparency. For example, departments regularly account for their expenditures through quarterly financial reports, and the Department of Finance provides monthly financial updates on the government in the “Fiscal Monitor”.
    Furthermore, in light of the extraordinary circumstances and the extent of pandemic-related spending, the government provides additional reports. This includes the spending authorities associated with the government's response to the global COVID‑19 pandemic in the supplementary estimates, as well as the spending authorities and expenses for each of the COVID‑19 pandemic measures, through the Government of Canada's InfoBase and open government portal.
    These reporting tools make it easy for Canadians to see the spending authorized by Parliament and the money spent by the government on its pandemic response.
    We also release a reconciliation between these two estimates documents to provide greater clarity on the relationship between the figures therein.
    Hon. colleagues, these supplementary estimates provide for essential investments to build an economy that works for everyone, fight climate change, continue on the road to reconciliation, and ensure that our communities are safe, healthy and inclusive.

  (1940)  

[English]

    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Alfred-Pellan.
    Mr. Chair, it is a privilege to rise today to participate in this committee of the whole. I want to start by thanking the hon. ministers for being here this evening, and for outlining some of steps that our government has taken to protect the health and safety of Canadians as well as to support our critical industries.
    My questions this evening will be for the Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance. I would like to ask him a question about tourism businesses in my riding of Alfred-Pellan.
    Tourism businesses in my riding, just as in many others, have suffered greatly from the pandemic. Fairs, carnivals, music festivals and community events have all been cancelled due to COVID-19. As we can all agree, COVID-19 has been incredibly difficult for tourism businesses and especially for their workers.
    Can the minister expand on how our government intends to continue to support the tourism businesses that have been greatly impacted? What is the recovery plan?

[Translation]

    Mr. Chair, I think we should note that the recovery is under way. It is strong, but, as my colleague from Alfred-Pellan knows, it is uneven.
    As he mentioned, I am referring specifically to people in the cultural industry: technicians, actors, comedians, camera operators, musicians, directors and all those behind the scenes who reflect the best of who we are as human beings.
    As a government, we must be there for the workers and businesses in the cultural sector. During the election campaign, we clearly indicated that we would be there for them, and that is exactly what we will do.

[English]

    Just to be clear about the work done and the commitment we have to the cultural sector coming out of this pandemic, we made sure that $200 million was provided to festivals, $300 million was provided in a recovery fund for culture, sports and the arts, another $200 million was provided for large festivals, and a $500 million emergency fund was established for the cultural sector. There is more to come.
    Mr. Chair, the CEWS has supported hundreds of businesses in my riding and in many others. I heard the Minister of Health referring to vaccines. These are of such critical importance to ending the pandemic and allowing the tourism sector to get back to work.
    I am double vaccinated and I am proud of it. Today, at five o'clock, my eight-year-old son received his first vaccine shot. Hello Gabriel.
    I carry around my proof of vaccination to show all the businesses in Alfred—Pellan, and here in Ottawa, that I have indeed done my part. I know not everyone in this place is able or willing to do the same, and I will take this moment to say how disappointing that is.
    I would like to give the minister an opportunity to expand on his point about vaccination, and what our government is doing to help businesses, as well as provincial and territorial partners delivering vaccines. Can he provide Canadians with the assurance that they are safe to visit local attractions?

  (1945)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Chair, first, I would like to congratulate the son of the member for Alfred-Pellan. I am very proud of him, and I am certain that he was very good about it and that he set an example for many others in Canada, perhaps even here in the House of Commons.
    Let us talk about Canada: 80% of the population has received at least one dose, 76% has received two doses. There are probably people in the House who have not yet received one of the 62 million vaccine doses administered since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Mr. Chair, every year on November 8 we pay tribute to indigenous veterans who served in missions across Canada and around the world, in times of war, conflict and peace.
    I would like to ask the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations what measures are in place to commemorate their sacrifices? How does this government ensure that indigenous veterans have access to culturally appropriate support?
    Mr. Chair, the answer is all the more important because the indigenous people who served our country were not served by our country when they returned.
    November 8 is a special date to honour the sacrifices they made. This date is twinned with November 11. Any support for indigenous peoples obviously requires culturally appropriate support, which we provide.

[English]

    Mr. Chair, my question is for the minister of middle class prosperity, who is a member of Parliament here in Ottawa.
    What is the average cost of a home in the city of Ottawa?
    Mr. Chair, my title is Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance. I am sure my hon. colleague across the way knows that.
    Let me say 156,000 jobs.
    Mr. Chair, maybe the President of the Treasury Board can help by telling us the average cost of a house in the nation's capital.
    Mr. Chair, I want to say 106% of jobs have been recovered since the lowest point of the pandemic.
    Mr. Chair, what is the average increase in house prices since the government took office in 2015?
    Mr. Chair, Canada's economy contracted by 17% between February and April 2020, the largest and most sudden contraction in real GDP since the Great Depression, and we are already back.
    Mr. Chair, I asked for just the average house price.
    Mr. Chair, 5.5 million Canadians lost their jobs and they are all back.
    Mr. Chair, what would they pay for the average house?
    Mr. Chair, in 2020, the unemployment rate more than doubled from a pre-pandemic level of 5.7% to a record of 13.7%. It is 6% now.
    Mr. Chair, I think there is a problem with the audio in the chamber. The question was, what is the average cost of a house in Canada today?
    Mr. Chair, our government has made historic investments in housing affordability and we will continue to do so.
    Mr. Chair, how affordable are such houses?
    Mr. Chair, our government has made historic investments in housing. We will continue to do so, so that housing is affordable for all Canadians.
    Mr. Chair, if so, how much have house prices increased since the government took office?
    Mr. Chair, let us talk about how it is possible for people to afford their houses with good employment. That is why employment income fell by an unprecedented $28 billion during the pandemic.
    Mr. Chair, I will ask one last time. In dollars, how much have house prices risen since the government took office?
    Mr. Chair, consumer confidence is back. People are back to work and 106% of the jobs have been recovered since the lowest point in the pandemic.
    Mr. Chair, how much?
    Mr. Chair, from a steep decline in profits, we are back 66% since the bottom of the pandemic.
    Mr. Chair, how much?
    Mr. Chair, the economy is recovering.
    Mr. Chair, does the minister have any idea what it costs for the average person to buy a house in Canada? Does he have any idea, or does he even care?
    Mr. Chair, the rent subsidy helped more than 213,000 businesses stay afloat.

  (1950)  

    Mr. Chair, I think that the average Canadian can see how much the government knows and cares about the cost of buying a home in this country. The government members' level of care is zero. I am going to give the member one last chance.
    Can he tell us what it costs the average Canadian to buy the average house in Canada today?
    Mr. Chair, the CERB helped nearly nine million Canadians who lost their jobs when COVID hit, making housing affordable for them. We will continue to do so.
    Mr. Chair, how much new debt per Canadian has the government added?
    Mr. Chair, in April 2020, labour force participation of Canadians aged 15 to 64 fell to a three-decade low.
    Mr. Chair, how much debt per man, woman and child has the government added?
    Mr. Chair, as of the third quarter of 2021, the income that fell across the country rebounded to—
    The hon. member for Carleton.
    How much?
    Mr. Chair, 106% of jobs recovered.
    Mr. Chair, how much new debt per man, woman and child?
    Mr. Chair, we took the steps necessary to protect Canadians.
    Mr. Chair, how much new debt per person?
    Mr. Chair, there were 154,000 jobs announced just last week.
    How much debt?
    Mr. Chair, 106% of jobs recovered.
    Mr. Chair, 106% increase in debt?
    Mr. Chair, there were 106% of jobs recovered since the lowest point in the—
    The hon. member for Carleton.
    Mr. Chair, the question was about debt. How big is Canada's national debt today?

[Translation]

    Mr. Chair, 154,000 jobs have been recovered.

[English]

    Mr. Chair, is there a minister involved in finance who can answer questions?

[Translation]

    Mr. Chair, we have recovered 106% of jobs lost since the lowest point in the pandemic.

[English]

    Mr. Chair, do they provide briefing notes?
    Mr. Chair, with the wage subsidy, 450,000 employers were supported.
    Mr. Chair, does the Finance Department brief associate ministers on matters related to finance?
    Mr. Chair, the economy is in full recovery. The Conservatives do not like it. We are happy that Canadians are back to work.
    Mr. Chair, the member bragged about the CERB. According to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, reporting entities indicated that clients have applied for and received CERB despite not living in Canada and appeared to be residing in a jurisdiction of concern.
    How many people not living in Canada got the CERB?
    Mr. Chair, I am happy that my hon. colleague wants to talk about something of substance, and so let us talk about the CEBA, which helped over 898,000 small businesses survive. Think of the families, think of the people that helped to afford housing and to make ends meet.
    Mr. Chair, I am glad to know that the minister does not think housing or debt are matters of substance.
    Back to the CERB fraud. How many people not in Canada got the CERB?
    Mr. Chair, the wage subsidy helped over 450,000 employers keep more than 5.3 million employees on the payroll. That is our track record.
    Mr. Chair, the question was about the CERB, not the wage subsidy. How many people not in Canada got the CERB?
    Mr. Chair, I am not sure the hon. member heard me say that, when we are talking about substance, we are talking about Canadians who were supported in a timely manner through the CERB.
    Mr. Chair, I think the problem is he is not hearing me. The question was about the CERB. FINTRAC says that people who do not even live in Canada were getting the CERB. How many of them got it?
    Mr. Chair, the data that I have shows very clearly that nine million Canadians who lost their jobs were supported by the CERB when COVID hit.
    Mr. Chair, did the minister just say nine million people not living in Canada got the CERB?
    Mr. Chair, I did not say that.
    Mr. Chair, how many?
    Mr. Chair, nine million Canadians living in Canada were supported by the CERB. Think about that. It is transformative.
    Mr. Chair, who will pay for the fraudulent CERB recipients?
    Mr. Chair, the rent subsidy helped more than 230,000 businesses survive.
    Mr. Chair, fraudulent CERB recipients was the question. How many?
    Mr. Chair, nine million Canadians were supported by the CERB.
    Mr. Chair, so the only number we are getting is nine million when I ask how many people took the CERB who did not live in Canada. If nine million is not the right number, which number is?
    Mr. Chair, maybe the hon. member would like to know about the CEBA, which helped over 898,000 small businesses survive.
    Mr. Chair, why is the minister hiding the true number of people not living in Canada who got the CERB?
    Mr. Chair, following a steep decline of 27% in the first half of 2020, corporate profits rebounded 61% above pre-pandemic levels.
    Mr. Chair, could we replace the minister with a cassette tape that we could just hit “play” on?
    Mr. Chair, I am sure there are all kinds of technological advancements available, but I can tell the member that the wage subsidy helped over 450,000 employers—

  (1955)  

    The member for Carleton.
    Mr. Chair, is there a technological advance that might help the minister answer the question?
    Mr. Chair, the rent subsidy helped more than 213,000 businesses stay afloat. That is good for all Canadians.
    Mr. Chair, can the officials who are here today hand the minister a new script? He seems to be reading one unrelated to the questions.
    Mr. Chair, all right, I will talk about consumer confidence that went to an all-time low. It is back. That is good for business and that is good for Canadians.
    Mr. Chair, one last time, FINTRAC, which is responsible for monitoring monies that are misappropriated, organized crime and money laundering, indicated that many people have received the CERB even though they do not even live in Canada. I am going to ask one last time: How many was that?
    Mr. Chair, the hon. member knows that FINTRAC is independent.
    What we know is that consumer confidence is back, and people are able to pay their bills, thanks to our historic investments in their lives and in their livelihoods.
    Mr. Chair, what is the inflation rate for the price of land in the last year?
    Mr. Chair, I am glad to talk about inflation, because we know that it is a global phenomenon.
    Mr. Chair, land prices are a global phenomenon. Does the minister realize that the land we have here does not come from the rest of the globe? It is already here.
    Mr. Chair, I think members can read Hansard, as the hon. colleague can. I said very clearly that inflation is a global phenomenon.
    Mr. Chair, “land-flation”. How much?
    Mr. Chair, our inflation is in line with peer countries around the world. In fact, we are doing much better than the United States, Mexico and countries in the eurozone.
    Mr. Chair, the question was about land price inflation. How much have land prices inflated in the last year?
    Mr. Chair, land price is part of the basket of goods in inflation. Our inflation is in line with peer countries.
    Mr. Chair, he is allowed to say that he does not know.
    Mr. Chair, we are focused on affordability, and that is what matters.
    Mr. Chair, there is no affordability to focus on. How much have house prices risen in the last year?
    Mr. Chair, let me say that the unemployment rate had more than doubled in May 2020, from a pre-pandemic level of 5%.
    We are now at 6%.
    Mr. Chair, the question was this. How much have house prices inflated in the last year?
    Mr. Chair, I think it is important for the hon. member across the way to understand that our government helped nine million Canadians who lost their job through the CERB.
    Mr. Chair, the Liberals hand the minister a speech that a bureaucrat wrote for him and he stays glued to it. Why do we not just elect a robot to read off these speeches that are written by bureaucrats in the finance department? That robot at least would stick more tightly to the script than he has. If he does not actually have any answers to the factual questions, is it possible that he could be replaced with a robot?
    Mr. Chair, it is unfortunate the member opposite does not like the answers I am providing, but I know Canadians do. The net worth of Canadian households fell by 3.6% in the first quarter of 2020, one of the largest declines on record, and this metric is now up 22% from its pre-crisis level. Consumer confidence is back on the rise, with 156,000 jobs announced last week and 106% of jobs that are back.
    Mr. Chair, the question was not how much poorer Canadians are; it was how much more expensive their housing has become.
    Can the member tell us this? What is the average house price right across Canada today?
    Mr. Chair, I think labour force participation is a good metric to help answer the member's question. It has reached a new high of 79.6%. That shows a strong sign of confidence with respect to job prospects. That is how people—
    The hon. member for Carleton.
    Mr. Chair, can the average Canadian afford the average house?
    Mr. Chair, I am not entirely sure what the question was, but I can say that 106%—
    The hon. member for Carleton.
    Mr. Chair, the question was this. Can the average Canadian afford the average house?
    Mr. Chair, we are there to support housing affordability and will continue to do so.
    Mr. Chair, maybe more specifically, what share of the average Canadians' take-home pay would they have to spend on mortgages and other housing costs in order to live in the average house?

  (2000)  

    Mr. Chair, housing is a right. That is why this House has declared it as such. We made historic investments in housing stock, housing affordability and affordable housing, and will continue to do so.
    Mr. Chair, what would it cost the average person to buy the average house in Canada today?
    Mr. Chair, I think it is important to say that the economic contraction of the Canadian economy was 17%—
    The member for Carleton.
    Mr. Chair, we know the economy collapsed, but somehow real estate prices went up. The question is how much would it cost the average family to afford the average house today?
    Mr. Chair, GDP has rebounded to almost 99% of its pre-pandemic level, 106% of jobs have been recovered and 156,000 jobs were announced just last week.
    Mr. Chair, what is the average rental cost for the average Canadian today?
    Mr. Chair, over the first half of 2020, employment income fell by an unprecedented $28 billion, and now it is back.