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Friday, February 17, 2023

Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 151
No. 163


Friday, February 17, 2023

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    The House met at 10 a.m.


Government Orders

[Government Orders]



National Security Review of Investments Modernization Act

    The House resumed from February 8 consideration of the motion that Bill C-34, An Act to amend the Investment Canada Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to rise in this House to talk about a very important issue. Today we are talking about investment, national defence and security. The world is a far different place today than it was even a year ago, and there has been a concerted effort by hostile foreign powers to undermine western democracies, undermine our national security, undermine our economic interests and undermine democracy itself.
    Before I continue, I want to mention that I am going to be splitting my time with the wonderful member for Langley—Aldergrove.
    The west has basically been sleepwalking into the realignment of global power, and if we do not wake up, our lives and interests will be impaired, or worse, children across the world may not have the same freedoms that our children have in our democracies, like independence and the other freedoms we enjoy.
    Not only have we allowed nefarious actions to occur right under our noses, but we have actually helped fund this global realignment. In 2018, Canada gave $250 million to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which is largely viewed as expanding China’s influence and power in the world. We have been funding it. This is the context that we have to keep in mind when we think about Bill C-34 and this investment act.
    These are largely viewed as some of the more significant amendments to this act in well over a decade. The bill provides new ministerial authorities and focuses on special business sectors of interest to the country. I give the government credit for bringing this forward as a stand-alone piece of legislation that will allow for proper scrutiny in this House, but I want to talk about a few issues.
    The first is reciprocity. A fundamental principle in all trade or any real commercial relationship is that each party gets something and gives something in return. There is some exchange of equal value. This is not necessarily the case with what has been happening in global trade with Canada. Certainly it is not the case with how companies and entities invest in Canada.
    Canadian companies want to invest in other countries or companies housed in other countries, but Canada does not have that opportunity. Canadian companies do not have that opportunity. It is always puzzling to understand why Canada allows companies and entities that have links to foreign governments to invest in and purchase Canadian assets when Canadian companies themselves are not allowed to make the same investments in those other countries.
    The fundamental principle of reciprocity does not exist when Canadian firms cannot make the same investments that we allow companies from other countries to make here. Sometimes those companies are either owned or heavily influenced by a foreign power. Whether that foreign power is hostile or not, geopolitics changes. As we have seen in the last year, things have shifted significantly.
    I submit that some of these companies and countries, frankly, are laughing at us all the way to the bank. I am beginning to think that they might think we are suckers. What I am worried about is that they are right. We do not have to look hard to find some examples of what I am talking about that make us scratch our heads.
    In 2017, the government did not request a security review of Norsat when it was purchased by Hytera Communications, which is partially owned by the People’s Republic of China. Just recently, at the end of 2022, it was exposed that the government awarded a hardware contract for RCMP communications equipment to a Norsat subsidiary. The United States blacklisted Hytera because it “poses an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States or the security and safety of United States persons”.
    Where was Canada's review? Was Canada informed by the United States about its findings? Did Canada do the due diligence we would expect it would normally do before a contract like this is awarded, or maybe even before a transaction is approved?
    There are more examples, but I will run out of time. Members can see that our approach can actually weaken our relationships with our partners. We are not holding up our end of the bargain when it comes to national security and defence, and I worry that some countries think we are not taking it very seriously anymore.
    I want to talk a bit about the governance we see at some state-owned enterprises and some of the entities that are owned, controlled or heavily influenced by foreign governments. The issue is that the objectives of these entities are not necessarily commercially minded first. They have some other interests potentially at play. They might be interested in locking up the supply of critical minerals. They might be interested in trying to get information, whether that is intellectual property, communications or information about national defence. Proper governance is important for ensuring we have faith in a free market. If these entities are not playing by the same rules and the same principles, we cannot trust all of their motives. We have to be skeptical.
    In the last Parliament, a very good proposal was made by the industry committee that when a state-owned enterprise is involved, there is no threshold too low to trigger a review. That is a reasonable approach. When there is a state-owned enterprise involved or an entity that is heavily influenced by a foreign power or could be heavily influenced by a foreign power, the government needs to think about the best interests of Canada.
    Who knows what these critical assets will be in the future? I am not sure 20 or 30 years ago people realized that lithium would be as important as it is now, but what about water in the future? Is that something we should be discussing now, or should we have some more flexibility to discuss that?
    The other issue is assets versus shares. One can sell a business by selling assets and one can sell a business by selling the shares in the company that owns the assets, but right now we are only looking at issues where shares are purchased. We are exposing ourselves to a loophole that companies and entities can plan around, especially those that have hostile foreign interests.
    There are some expanded powers for the minister, and that is okay if we believe and trust the minister. I think the minister in this case is a wonderful individual, and I do trust his judgment. However, we might get a dud in the future. We need to make sure we have proper oversight of the minister, so the Governor in Council and cabinet should have expanded power. Maybe there should even be a third body.
    We are required to be stewards of our assets in this country. Defence and security sometimes is more costly. We might not be able to sell to the highest bidder if it undermines our national security. We need to be working to secure Canada's best interests for her future. I hope that the minister and the government are open to amendments.
    I appreciate the fact that this has been brought forward as a stand-alone piece of legislation. It will enable the committee to do some good work, I believe, and hear from some important stakeholders. However, I view this legislation as merely a starting point for a conversation and hope to see it enhanced at committee.
    I appreciate the opportunity to speak to this important issue this morning. Before I close, I need to say a very happy birthday to Amanda Philp today, who I am sure is watching this and will see it on repeat a number of times.



    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his very good speech and all of the constructive work that he does on the Standing Committee on Finance. He is a really valuable member of the House.
    The Bloc Québécois applauds this bill, but we do not think that it goes far enough. National security is important, but we are asking the government to go further and to address the issue of economic security so that we have better control over foreign investments in general and so that we can keep our head offices, our economic levers and control over our resources.
    Last year, only 24 or 2% of the 1,255 foreign investment projects totalling $87 billion were considered to have national security implications. In our opinion, that is not enough. We need better oversight to preserve our economic interests.
    What are my hon. colleague's thoughts on that?


    Mr. Speaker, I have very much enjoyed getting to work with the member on the finance committee. He brings many insightful comments forward.
    Of course, we think the thresholds the government is currently using to review transactions are likely too low. I would refer the government to recommendations from the previous industry committee. The member rightly recognizes that there are likely more transactions that ought to fall under greater scrutiny to ensure we protect our national interests and the interests of critical resources or materials. He was alluding to jobs and headquarters too, which I think are also a consideration for the government to make sure it is reviewing.
    Mr. Speaker, this is about the question of trust. Since 2004, the NDP has been raising the issue of non-democratic governments owning Canadian companies. I have seen a number of them over the years, whether in the Harper administration or in Paul Martin's. It goes all the way to just last year, and we have seen takeovers.
    This is not only with regard to strategic assets, and what we have called for is addressing consumer issues. There are good examples: when Best Buy bought Future Shop and closed it down, when Zellers was bought by Target and it was shut down and when Rona was bought by Lowe's. It is now a private equity firm.
    How can we trust the Conservatives' intent on this? We have been raising the issue of private equity firms in kingdoms and other places that do not have the full disclosure the free market would have. Are we going to have the same standards for them? They are really important, especially private equity firms, because other governments own an interest in them.


    Mr. Speaker, my colleague may be happily surprised to hear Zellers is returning in a few locations. That may be some welcome news.
    In any event, the world is different today. Geopolitics changes over time and regimes change. That is why we need principles under which to look at all transactions.
    I agree about entities that are controlled by or influenced by a foreign power, for example, whether it is hostile or not. A hostile power today might not be a hostile power tomorrow, and one that is not today could be one tomorrow. Any time there is a lack of governance and transparency, the government should be on high alert and scrutinizing the transaction to the absolute highest degree.
    Mr. Speaker, the minister is very pleased with this legislation, which would give him more power to extend the national security reviews of investments. By doing so, the power would be moved from the Governor in Council and would place the responsibility in the hands of two ministers: the Minister of Industry and the Minister of Public Safety.
    Why should we trust the government to remove the accountability measure of putting these types of issues to cabinet? As we have seen over the last eight years, there is an incredible move toward putting more power within the hands of ministers and outside advisory councils with no accountability to this place.
    Mr. Speaker, that is an absolutely excellent question. I see that there are expanded powers for two ministers. I trust at least one of them. However, the Governor in Council provides a more fulsome review. Maybe even an external body that is removed from politics would be the right way to go.
    As I have said, we never know whom we will end up having as a minister, and I think we should take a bit more power away from one individual and spread it out to a greater group.
    Mr. Speaker, today we are talking about foreign investment in Canada: What are the benefits? What are the risks?
    Canada is a large nation by geography, but a relatively small nation when measured by population or by economic power. We are a small contributor, relatively speaking, to the world economy, but we are punching above our weight class, and the only way we can do that is by being a trading nation. That means we have to sell what the world wants and buy what the world has to offer, but we also have to be open to foreign investment, to allow investors to contribute to our economy but also to make a good return on that investment.
    This money is very mobile. A big hypothetical pension fund, for example, with a lot of money to invest, does not come to Canada because we are nice people or, as the Prime Minister says, because the world needs more Canada. That is just naive. Investment money goes where it can earn a rate of return. It is a very competitive market.
    The LNG sector in Canada is a very good example of that. LNG Canada is building a large export terminal near Kitimat, British Columbia, for shipping clean, ethical liquid natural gas to world markets, to our trading partners, so they can replace dirtier burning coal. This is a partnership among some very large international corporations, such as Shell Canada, Korea Gas Corporation and Mitsubishi Corporation, and there are a lot of foreign investment dollars involved here.
    This is what the world needs more of: more Canadian, clean, ethical liquid natural gas to help our trading partners get off coal. Unfortunately, this is not according to our Prime Minister, who just recently told the German chancellor that there is no business case to be made for Canada supplying Europe with liquid natural gas so that Europe can reduce or get rid of its dependency on Russia. Investors need to hear that kind of talk only once from our Prime Minister and they head for the exits.
    Happily, for the investors, there is a place for them to go. Late last year, the White House announced that it will work with the industry to ensure that U.S. liquid natural gas is available to replace Russian natural gas in the European market. Apparently there is a business case to be made, after all. The world smiles at Canada's naïveté.
    That is where we are after eight years of Liberal mismanagement of our economy. The fundamental problem with the way the Liberal government has been managing, or rather mismanaging, our economy is that it does not look to the fundamental economic principles.
    Take, for example, our economic productivity metrics. Canada lags, in a significant way, behind our largest trading partner, the United States. For every dollar that American workers pump into their GDP, their Canadian counterparts add 75¢ to our national economy. This does not mean that we are not working as hard as the Americans. We may be working harder than the Americans. It is just that we do not have the tools. We do not have the best tools available. We are lagging in investing in our tech sector and we are not investing aggressively in growth industries.
    Also, there is too much red tape, too much useless bureaucracy, which just gets in the way of hard-working Canadians using their ingenuity to grow our economy. This is what our leader, the member for Carleton, calls “gatekeepers”, who are just standing in the way. Let us get rid of them.
    Economists recognize that this productivity lag is a big, significant problem for Canada. Even our current Minister of Finance mentions this in her 2022 budget report and in her fall economic statement. She calls it “Canada's Achilles heel”. She understands the problem, but it is too bad that her boss does not seem to be paying attention to that.
    The former minister of finance actually underlines that. He agrees with the current Minister of Finance. In his recent book, he says this: “productivity improvement is the most important issue on our agenda”. It is not “one of the most important” but “the most important”. However, in his words, “neither the PM nor the Prime Minister’s Office saw the need to address our anemic growth”.


    That is where we are. After eight years of Liberal mismanagement, everything seems broken, including our economy. What Canada needs is a strong Conservative government that understands the basic principles of economics and how to grow the economy for the benefit of all, and that means working with foreign investors to attract investment money to Canada.
    When we are talking about foreign investment, it is important, in my opinion, to reflect on where we are today in relation to where we were 50 years ago.
     In 1974, when the Investment Canada Act's predecessor, the Foreign Investment Review Act, was the law, intangible assets, which are things that cannot be picked up with a forklift, ideas in our head like intellectual property, copyrights, trademarks and patents, accounted for only 17% of the S&P 500's assets by dollar value.
    If we fast-forward a decade, when the old act was replaced with the current Investment Canada Act, which we are talking about today, the intangible assets ratio had doubled to 32%. After that, it just accelerated. Today, it stands at roughly 90% of the S&P 500's total assets by dollar value.
    Let us move a little closer to home, to the Toronto Stock Exchange, a less technology-driven exchange. There, the comparable number is 70%. The European comparable number is 77%. This is hard data that Canada lags in developing our knowledge-based economy, and that is part of the reason why our productivity numbers are lagging.
    Where are we after eight years of a Liberal government? We have low productivity numbers, a lack of investor confidence in Canada and a lack of focus on our knowledge-based economy. It really is time for a change at the top.
    Today, we are talking about Bill C-34, an act to amend the Investment Canada Act. The parliamentary Committee on Industry, Science and Technology studied this a couple of years ago. It is too bad that the minister did not pick up on all the recommendations. That report highlights the need for foreign investment in the tech industry, but it also points out some of the challenges and risks.
    If we are attracting money from non-friendly, non-democratic countries, they may profit more from that than we do. One example is a state-owned enterprise funding a research chair at a world-class Canadian university. At the end of the whole process, after a lot of contributions by Canadian brainpower into new intellectual property, the foreign company ends up owning it. That is a big risk. I am happy to see that the federal government has finally zeroed in on that.
    One of the recommendations, recommendation 1, as my colleague mentioned already, was not picked up by the minister when he drafted Bill C-34. That recommendation would require that the valuation threshold for prospective acquisitions of control of Canadian assets or shares by state-owned or state-controlled enterprises must be reduced to zero. That being said, every proposed transaction that would transfer direct or indirect control of a Canadian corporation or assets to a foreign-owned enterprise would be scrutinized. I agree with that. It is too bad it was not picked up in the bill.
    We will be supporting Bill C-34 at second reading, in principle, so that it can go to committee, where hopefully it will pick up recommendation 1. We will work diligently at committee to make sure that Bill C-34 comes back better for third reading.


    Mr. Speaker, I listened intently to my colleague's excellent speech. In fact, the last two speeches have been superb speeches on Bill C-34.
    The member raised an issue around recommendation 1 from the industry committee report on state-owned enterprises. I would like to ask him something along a similar vein. The Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry was at the House of Commons industry committee this week. I asked him about the acquisition of the Tanco lithium mine in Manitoba, the only lithium-producing mine in Canada, by the Chinese government in 2015, and why he had not included that in his divestiture request of Chinese state-owned enterprises a few months ago. He said that he could not do it, that he could not go back far enough.
    There is nothing in this bill that will allow, when a regime changes, for the minister to go back and revisit a transaction when a regime becomes less co-operative as part of the world framework. I wonder if the member could comment on whether or not there should be changes to the bill to allow for that kind of review to go back further.
    Mr. Speaker, yes, I mentioned only one flaw in this legislation because we were pressed for time, but this is definitely another one.
    The Canada Investment Act has not been reviewed in a long time. Its predecessor, the Foreign Investment Review Act, was with us for many years. It was drafted at a time when we were concerned about international corporations taking over our energy sector. Today, the world is different. Unfortunately, Bill C-34 does not pick up on all of these things.
    I am confident that the industry committee will look at this thoroughly in its line-by-line review and the bill will come back in a much better shape than it is today.
    Mr. Speaker, my question for the hon. member is about the increasing number of foreign investments we see in the health sector, where for-profit companies from abroad see Canada as a place to make profits off the health care needs of Canadians. I am thinking of Anbang, which bought up Retirement Concepts. It owns 20 retirement homes in British Columbia and is the largest source of substantiated complaints about care in the province.
    Does the member believe that this version of the bill will provide adequate protection against for-profit companies trying to invade the health care sector?
    Mr. Speaker, that is a good question. I am not familiar with that particular file, so I will have a conversation with my colleague about that afterwards, but no, I do not think this bill provides adequate coverage for that. This is another one of the missed opportunities in redrafting the Investment Canada Act, so it is definitely something the committee should look at.


    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
    With the pandemic, we saw how fragile the global economy is when it comes to supply chains. I really expected the government to propose quicker, more constructive solutions than what it is proposing, which is almost nothing at all.
    According to my colleague, will Bill C‑34 help to address the supply chain issue? If not, what does the government—



    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, there is no translation.


    It is working now.
    The hon. member for Joliette can repeat his question.
    Mr. Speaker, what I was saying is that with the pandemic, we saw the fragility of global supply chains.
    Honestly, I expected the government to come up with strategies quickly to help the industries in the Canadian economy overcome this problem. To my knowledge, nothing or practically nothing has been done to help these companies.
    Does my hon. colleague believe that Bill C‑34 addresses that a little bit or not at all? What should the government do to promote the economy here as it pertains to the supply chain problem?


    Mr. Speaker, indeed, the pandemic revealed a lot of things to us. We are a free-trading nation, which is one of Canada's strengths, but it can also be one of its weaknesses in that we have seen through the pandemic that supply chain disruptions interrupted our ability to get products that are necessary for us. I am thinking of the pharmaceutical industry and how we learned about its weaknesses during the pandemic, when we were standing in line behind many other countries before we could get a vaccine. I think the pandemic has taught us that, although we are free traders and it is important for us to attract foreign investment money here, we also need to look after the essential things of our own economy.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Northumberland—Peterborough South.
    In December 1973, Parliament enacted the Foreign Investment Review Act, which was known as FIRA, to deal with the issue of foreign investors controlling Canadian industry, trade and commerce, and the ability of Canadians to maintain effective control over their economic future.
    These investments would be allowed to proceed only if the government had determined that they were, or were likely to be, of significant benefit to Canada. This net benefit test still exists today, but much has changed given rising national security concerns that necessitate new measures. Let me elaborate.
    In June 2017, Hytera Communications, a company owned by the Chinese Communist Party, acquired Norsat International, a B.C. telecom company. Just like that, a firm backed by an authoritarian regime took over an essential service provider here in Canada.
     One would think this takeover would have raised some red flags, but it did not, not for the Liberal government at least. If it had acted rationally, the government would have conducted a national security review into Hytera. However, after eight years in power, it is clear that rationality is in short supply these days.
    It did not bat an eye when, as all of this was taking place, our own Border Services Agency was using equipment from Hytera. We are talking about a company that has been charged with 21 counts of espionage. That company has been banned from doing business with our neighbour to the south. Up until that point, the Liberals have said that business is business, even when it means letting a hostile regime gain access to our essential services.
    This sort of lax attitude toward issues of national security is clearly a problem. What is even more problematic is that for five long years after the Hytera fiasco, the government has not learned from its mistakes.
    In 2020, it gave out a contract to Nuctech, a company founded by the son of a Chinese Community Party secretary general. It would not have taken a national security review to figure out who the company's founder was. A quick Google search would have sufficed.
    It was not just standard, run-of-the-mill work that this company with Chinese Communist Party connections was doing. Nuctech was supplying X-ray equipment, of all things, to almost 200 Canadian embassies and consulates.
    Two years ago, it looked like the government was changing its course when it updated its national security review guidelines. This was not the case, or at least it certainly was not the case when the Minister of Industry greenlit the takeover of a Canadian lithium mine by a Chinese state-owned enterprise.
    Once again, the opportunity was right there. The minister could have requested a national security review. The review framework was even new and improved, or so they would have us think. However, the minister did not act. Delays, half measures and slaps on the wrist. Those have been the Liberal responses to national security threats throughout the past eight years.
    Huawei is a perfect example of this. By 2021, each and every one of our allies within the Five Eyes had already banned Huawei from using their 5G networks. For years, my colleagues and I have been calling on the government to do the right thing: Listen to our allies, listen to security experts and ban Huawei from accessing 5G.
    Reluctantly, and far too late, the Liberals finally took our advice and took a stand against the Chinese Communist Party. That was less than a year ago. With the Liberal government's dismal track record in matters related to national security, Bill C-34 feels like too little, too late. It is like the goalie letting in eight goals, then coming onto the ice at the last minute and saying, “Don't worry guys. I've got this.”
    To be fair, this bill does address Canada's national security. It is a policy area where the government has been complacent for far too long. For that reason, I am prepared to support the bill at this stage, as long as it can be strengthened in committee.
     For a while, a lot of us had the naive idea that these regimes were emerging partners, and they were slowly moving toward the democratic norm. Putin's war changed all of that, and it is time that Canada acted accordingly. It is time for a reality check. Hostile foreign governments want to subvert and undermine this country. The threat is real and the threat is here. Canadians are well aware. A few weeks ago, all that Canadians had to do was look up and see a Chinese surveillance balloon flying at 60,000 feet.
    Bill C-34 responds to this new reality, but not well enough and not in its current form. The bill puts the power to request national security reviews in the hands of the Minister of Industry, the same minister whose predecessor did not even request a security review when Hytera took over an essential Canadian telecom provider. It is the same minister who, even after strengthening the security review guidelines in 2021, chose not to investigate the Chinese takeover of a critical Canadian mining company.


    The bill is only as strong as the minister's scrutiny, whoever that minister may be in the future. Conservatives believe matters of such importance should be scrutinized by all of cabinet to make sure nothing slips through the cracks.
    There are also existing problems with the Investment Canada Act that are not even addressed in Bill C-34. For no apparent reason, when a state-owned enterprise invests in a Canadian company, a national security review is only triggered if the Canadian company has assets worth more than $454 million. This provision has it all wrong. It is not about the size of the company that is being acquired. It is about the security risks that would inherently arise when a hostile state-owned company gains control over a critical service or product here in Canada.
    Bill C-34 needs a provision that would trigger an automatic national security review when a state-owned enterprise invests in Canada. The threshold should be zero dollars, not $454 million. Also, the bill would only deal with share purchases and non-asset purchases. Therefore, in theory, there is a roundabout way that foreign investors could acquire assets in Canada and completely circumvent the legislation. It is clearly a loophole that needs to be plugged.
    Since 2017, Chinese companies have been governed by the national intelligence law. This law compels every citizen and every company to hand over data to Chinese intelligence agencies. For almost six years, so much Canadian information has gone to China's autocratic government that it is hard to even quantify. We need to put an end to this, but right now, Bill C-34 would not do that.
    Bill C-34 needs a presumption against allowing the takeover of Canadian companies by China's designated state-owned entities. It needs a reformed net benefit test to better account for the potential effects of a transaction on the broader innovation ecosystem, with a particular focus on protecting intellectual property and human capital. It needs automatic review of transactions involving sensitive sectors, such as defence, artificial intelligence and rare earth minerals. It also needs a mandatory national security review for state-owned enterprises where national security is a concern.
    The act would not attempt to change definitions of state-owned enterprises or look at the issue of what constitutes control. One would not have to buy 50% of a company to control it. Someone could buy small percentages of it, get a number of seats on the board or change management, which Hytera has done.
    It is clear that Canada needs to improve these protections. Bill C-34 would be a small step in the right direction, but much more needs to be done.


    Mr. Speaker, it is quite troubling to hear that when the U.S. identifies national security risks, it shuts them down, and our Liberal government does absolutely nothing about it.
    I wonder if the member can comment on what kind of signal this Liberal dithering sends to investors and to our allies, as far as addressing national security risks goes.
    Mr. Speaker, I would be remiss if I did not say what the elephant in the room was this morning. There is a report in The Globe and Mail saying how the extent to which the Chinese Communist Party tried to manipulate the results of both the 2019 and 2021 elections was surely a bombshell revelation.
    We are dealing with a government that cannot even protect the basic integrity of our elections, and we are asking it to now make sure that we are secure in terms of foreign investment. I have grave concerns about Bill C-34 coming out of committee in a strengthened way. I certainly hope that members on the committee and in the Liberal Party see that this bill does need to be strengthened. We are living in a whole new world where it is not just about the net economic benefit anymore. It is about what the national security threats are to Canada as a whole.


    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague with whom I have the pleasure of working on the Standing Committee on Finance. It is truly a pleasure to work with him. I thank him for his speech. He raised a number of very troubling issues.
    I want to refer to the annual report from the department's investment division, which was tabled in Parliament last October. In the preceding year, there were 1,255 foreign investment projects, totalling $87 billion. However, only 2%, or 24 of them, were determined to have national security implications and would be covered by the new rules set out in this bill. The other 1,221 investments remain subject to the old rules. Of those, only eight, or less than 1%, were subject to a review to determine if they will truly provide a net economic benefit.
    According to my hon. colleague, is the government doing enough to ensure both national and economic security?


    Mr. Speaker, I enjoy working with my colleague on the finance committee. He always has excellent questions and makes excellent points, and this is in fact one of them.
    This is an opportunity to really overhaul how Canada reviews foreign investment, in light of the new world that we are living in. I agree with the member entirely. The committee needs to have a serious look at what we could do. It could be by reducing the threshold to zero; by including asset purchases; by making sure it is not just the Minister of Industry who decides, but all of cabinet or some other broader mechanism. That would make sure Canadians remain in control of their economic future.
    Mr. Speaker, I agree with my hon. colleague that this government really has failed in terms of protecting security in Canada. Let us look back in history. It was the Harper government that increased the threshold above which a foreign takeover of a Canadian firm would be reviewed in the first place.
    Would the member support reducing the current threshold for a prospective acquisition of either state-owned or state-controlled enterprises to zero so that every transaction triggers a review, including a net benefit test and a national security test?
    Mr. Speaker, I was hoping that the member had listened to my speech before she asked her question. If she reviews the Hansard, she will see that is, in fact, exactly what I said. I don't think the $454 million threshold solves the problem anymore. It should be zero.


    Mr. Speaker, getting into the substance of Bill C-34, this is an important topic. I do not know whether this legislation really crosses into being an important piece of legislation. Unfortunately, it is another half measure, a poorly drafted piece of legislation. It is going in the right direction, there is no doubt, but I want to give a little context before we break into a piece-by-piece discussion of Bill C-34. I will give a bit of a historical reference.
    When we look back over thousands of years, the nations, peoples and countries that innovate the best end up having the most prosperity. They are the ones that drive the world forward. If we look at the Roman Empire, it dominated the world and was a leader in innovation in that era. If we look back to the Industrial Revolution, we saw the prosperity of humanity grow exponentially during that time because of innovation. If we look at the digital revolution, the countries that will dominate are those that take hold of the new world we are entering. They are the ones that will see new levels of prosperity.
    Unfortunately, as innovation continues to go forward, Canada seems not to. We see that innovation is growing exponentially. This is not a linear chart; things are going faster and faster. Indeed, when we look forward to technologies such as artificial intelligence, bioscience and big data, these things will have a real impact on our lives. I strongly suggest that the world of my children is going to be a lot different than the world I grew up in, and their children will inherit a much different world.
    As the pace of change continues to grow exponentially, governments have to be more agile and quicker to respond than ever. As Elon Musk commented recently, many of these technologies can have tremendous power for good, but they can also pose substantial challenges to our societies and governments. That is why we need a government that is willing to be agile.
    For Canada to prosper, we must have a government that is starting to lead the way with respect to innovation and technology. Unfortunately, the government, as we have seen, seems challenged to even keep the lights on, much less to innovate and move forward. As we look forward, we see that the empirical data is coming back over the last eight years of government, and the numbers are not pretty.
    Canada has traditionally been a leader in innovation and productivity, yet we are falling further and further behind. We are currently ranked sixth out of the seven G7 countries. That is nearly last in the G7 when it comes to intellectual property. Intellectual property will be the driver of our future economy. It will drive our future of prosperity. It is what manufacturing was to the 1950s and 1960s. It is what agriculture was to the many centuries before. Those who are able to prosper in that area, to conquer the area of intellectual property, will be the ones who win the future.
    Canada currently ranks 24th overall with respect to knowledge and technology, which are measured by patents generated. We used to be in the top 10 in that area and we are falling further and further behind.
    Canada's issue is not with respect to basic research. We are recognized around the world as being one of the best idea generators in the entire world. We have some of the brightest minds. We have a wonderful diversity of opinion that no doubt comes from our diverse and great population. We have wonderful post-secondary education. We have many different great think tanks and institutions that generate these wonderful ideas.
    Indeed, our ideas are generating prosperity. The challenge is that they are generating prosperity in countries other than ours. What is happening is that we are generating these great ideas and, being the generous Canadians we are, we are giving them to the world.


    The problem is that they are taking those ideas and selling them back at a profit. Although Canadians are doing a lot of the hard work in coming up with the great ideas that are leading this world and lifting people into prosperity, Canadians are not getting the benefit from that.
    Whether it is from sheer incompetence, naïveté or worse, the government does not seem to understand the world we are in today. It does not understand the world of aggressive trade action and of state-owned enterprises. Companies and states around this world, authoritarian regimes, are utilizing Canada's generosity to put themselves ahead of Canadians.
    This is not, and we heard this from other colleagues, really a partisan issue. There are people raising the red flags from across the political spectrum. Jack Mintz, a noted economist and free marketeer, is talking about this as an issue, as is Jim Balsillie, founder of BlackBerry and noted expert on intellectual property.
    We also have that “random Liberal”. That has to hurt Bill Morneau, right? One day I will be out of this place and I just hope that the next prime minister, Pierre Poilievre, never refers to me—
    There is a point of order from the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.
    Mr. Speaker, the member might need to leave sooner than he thought, by resigning, after he just said the first and last names of the Leader of the Opposition. Perhaps the Speaker would like to weigh in on this.
    I will remind members that we cannot refer to members of the House of Commons by their proper names and that we need to go by riding names. I suggest the member should retract that and use the correct terminology.
    The hon. member Northumberland—Peterborough South has the floor.
    Mr. Speaker, I will apologize and not resign. I am glad I gave the member for Kingston and the Islands something to do today. I am pleased to have accomplished that today.
    Like I said, it has to hurt Bill Morneau to be referred to as a random Liberal. I certainly hope the next Prime Minister of Canada does not refer to me, or any member of our caucus, as a random Conservative, or worse, a random Liberal, I suppose.
    When I get into the substance of Bill C-34, the challenge is not directional. Directionally, it is on the right path. The government is trying to at least take the steps it needs to in order to protect domestic assets, corporations and intellectual property from foreign actors.
    The challenge is that it is not particularly well drafted, at least in my opinion and in the opinions of many other experts, and that it does not go far enough. We heard my colleagues talk specifically about some things that should be in there. For the record, I will reiterate what they said.
    First, we need to have not only sales of shares but also sales of assets. One can buy the actual corporation, which is buying the vessel, but one can also buy everything within that vessel. There are many different ways smart lawyers and accountants can avoid that, and this legislation is not smart enough, at least not yet, to catch those.
    We need to have automatic triggers, regardless of the amounts of sales, in certain sectors and also with respect to certain state-owned enterprises.
    While Conservatives acknowledge this is a step in the right direction, we are very hopeful we can have a robust conversation in committee and improve Bill C-34, because it certainly needs it.



    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague who also sits on the Standing Committee on Finance.
    I would first like to comment on the point of order. I want to quote a line from a French movie, a Christmas classic: “I am not blaming you, Pierre”.
    This bill is a step in the right direction, but it does not go far enough. That is how I see it.
    I would like to ask my colleague to explain once more what the government should do to improve the bill and enhance what is being proposed.


    Mr. Speaker, I very much enjoyed working with the fine member from the Bloc Québécois at the finance committee. I am confident we will work with the members of the Bloc to include things like automatic triggers for reviews by cabinet and for reducing the ability of actors to avoid this through things like asset sales and otherwise.
    We need to tighten up potential loopholes in this legislation to make sure we can fully protect Canadian companies, resources and ideas.
    Mr. Speaker, I am just looking for a comment from the member. Why should we believe the Liberals would even use these new powers, after eight years of inability to recognize national security risks?
    Mr. Speaker, I am not sure it is a great thing that I speak on behalf of the government. What I would say is that there are many different fields where the government could have acted, including perhaps reviewing past applications and transactions. That simply has not been done in many cases and should have been. Divestitures should have happened with respect to state-owned enterprises. Even with regard to other issues, such as passports or putting in place Magnitsky sanctions on human rights, the government cannot seem to get out of its own way.
    Mr. Speaker, I listen to my colleague's discussion on Bill C-34, and I cannot help but think of some of the incredible investments we have seen just recently in a neighbouring area to where our ridings are. In particular, in Hastings—Lennox and Addington, I think of the incredible work the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry did in attracting Umicore, a multi-billion dollar operation to build electric vehicle batteries right in a neighbouring riding to both of ours.
    Would he not agree that the types of investments we can see through the modernization of this act would continue to benefit not just our ridings but Canada as a whole?
    Mr. Speaker, it is a joy to be a neighbour of the member for Kingston and the Islands. That probably ends my career with the Conservative Party, but there we go.
    What I would say to him, in all seriousness, is that that is a great exception. It unfortunately proves the rule that Canada continues to be a laggard in the G7 and the OECD when it comes to productivity and innovation.
    While I certainly welcome the manufacturing jobs, it would be even better to get the research and development, as well as the heads of these companies, right here in Canada so that we would not be just a secondary manufacturer or resource economy but actually have a controlling interest and prosper from our own ideas.
    Mr. Speaker, I have a question about foreign corporations and state-owned corporations funding research chairs at our world-class leading universities and, at the end of the process, being the owners of the intellectual property that has been produced by Canadian brain power.
    Does he think there should be controls or regulations around that? Does Bill C-34 address that?
    Mr. Speaker, we have to acknowledge the world that we live in today, not the world we lived in 20 years ago. There are challenging actors out there who are trying to take Canadian ideas and utilize them for their own prosperity.
    We must control our ideas. We have to be straightforward with it but cannot back away from the ideas. Canadian ideas are Canadian, and they are there for Canadian prosperity.


[Statements by Members]



Sexual and Reproductive Health

    Mr. Speaker, lack of access to sexual and reproductive health services is the greatest cause of women's disability, disease and death globally. It was declared a human right in 1995, at the UN conference on women in Beijing, but it is still an elusive sustainable development goal.
    Recent WHO data shows that 200 million women lack access to contraception, 300,000 still die each year in childbirth, and 25 million have to use unsafe abortion. In addition, 250 million people still get STDs. Girls continue to face forced early marriage and female genital mutilation. Moreover, although rape is a tactic of war, most women in conflict zones have no access to safe abortions.
    Canada is a global leader in SHRH international aid, but every parliamentarian here should advocate for universal access to SHRH to support the world's girls and women.

Pink Shirt Day

    Mr. Speaker, February 22 is Pink Shirt Day, also known as antibullying day.
     Bullying is a major problem in schools, in workplaces, in homes and online. Pink Shirt Day aims to raise awareness of these issues, as well as supporting programs that foster children's healthy self-esteem.
    Bullying has no place in our community and is something that no one should ever have to experience. Strong people stand up for themselves, but the strongest people stand up for others. This Pink Shirt Day, let us get together, wear pink and stand up against bullying.

École Module Vanier

    Mr. Speaker, today I am honoured to recognize Chris Weins and his grade 7 class at École Module Vanier in my riding of Kingston and the Islands.
     Earlier this week, on Valentine’s Day, his class put together 18 handmade valentine gift baskets and delivered them to patients in the pediatric ward of Kingston General Hospital.
    This is the second year that Chris Weins’ class has prepared Valentine’s Day gift baskets for children who are in the hospital and unable to celebrate the day in school with their friends. One student in the class reflected on their experience of once being in hospital, how it can be a very scary experience and how a simple gesture like this could make somebody’s day a little better.
     I would like to thank Mr. Weins and all the students in his grade 7 class at École Module Vanier for their act of kindness this Valentine’s Day and for making that day a bit better for the children in the pediatric ward at Kingston General Hospital.

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, each year on February 14, family members, survivors and allies gather to honour missing and murdered indigenous women and girls and 2S+ people.
    This Valentine's Day marked the 32nd annual memorial march. It has been over three years since the final report on the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls inquiry was tabled.
    As another year passes, the crisis facing the missing and murdered indigenous women, girls and 2S+ community is more urgent than ever. Shamefully, little action has been taken to implement the 231 calls for justice. Despite years of promises, there is still no “for indigenous, by indigenous” northern, rural and urban housing strategy. None of the $420 million announced in 2020 to build transitional housing and shelters in response to the national inquiry has rolled out. The inaction is costing lives.
    I am so sad that I was not able to attend the march on Tuesday; I was in Ottawa grilling the Minister of Housing about the Liberals' inaction on the housing crisis. As always, I remain committed to holding the government accountable in the fight for justice for all indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people.
    The genocide must end. Indigenous women and girls cannot afford to wait for another year to pass by.

Nelnah Bessie John School

    Mr. Speaker, Nelnah Bessie John School is a school of just five students. It is located in remote Yukon on the traditional territory of the White River First Nation, part of Canada’s most westerly community.
    The five students of the school have a deep love for hockey, so they turned to social media to raise funds to see their first-ever NHL game live and in person. I am proud to share that these students raised enough money to travel to my riding of Kanata—Carleton to watch the Ottawa Senators take on the Calgary Flames, and what a game it was. The Senators won in overtime in an unforgettable game. They went above and beyond, paying for the students' tickets, donating a jersey for each student and introducing the students to some of the players after the game. It was a dream come true.
    I give my thanks to the Ottawa Senators and all involved for making these students’ first NHL game experience truly remarkable.


Family Day

    Mr. Speaker, every day I receive countless messages from constituents saying that they cannot afford this government's tax-and-spend agenda, which has burdened Canadian families with the worst affordability crisis they have ever seen. Canadians are also concerned about the increase in rural crime, thanks to this government's soft-on-crime policies, as well as massive backlogs in immigration that contribute to a shortage of workers.
    Despite the challenges and the negativity we have been facing, I would like to take this opportunity for us to refocus and remind ourselves of what truly matters in life: our families.
     This coming Monday is Family Day, a day to take the time to be with the ones we love, cherish them and remember how priceless they are to us. However we choose to spend Family Day, it is important to remember: It is not about what we are doing; it is all about spending the day with family.
    I wish everyone a happy Family Day.

Black History Month

    Mr. Speaker, each February, my community of Windsor—Essex organizes a celebration of Black History Month that rivals any in the country, with close to 50 events to celebrate one of the oldest and most dynamic Black communities in Canada.
    We can step into Sandwich First Baptist Church, the oldest active Black church in Canada; trace the steps of American slaves crossing to freedom at the Amherstburg Freedom Museum; listen to the Windsor Symphony Orchestra celebrate Black voices and Oscar Peterson; honour Windsor's connection to the famed No. 2 Construction Battalion; walk the McDougall Street Corridor, where Black culture and commerce thrive; join the Black, Indigenous and Workers of Colour Conference at Unifor Local 444; listen to Giller Prize-winning author Suzette Mayr at Biblioasis; support local Black businesses with the Buy Black 28-day challenge, and learn about innovators like engineer Cornelius Henderson, who helped build the Ambassador Bridge.
    I wish a happy Black History Month to all back home.

Black History Month

    Mr. Speaker, Black History Month is a time to reflect on our country's story and renew our engagement with anti-Black racism.
    Black enslavement was widespread in colonial Canada until 1834. In the next century, the residents of Africville, Nova Scotia, were denied services for decades before being forcibly removed from their homes and having their community demolished. Systemic racism continues to be entrenched in our institutions to this day.
    These truths are painful and difficult to grapple with, and their harmful effects have been passed down for generations. However, remembering the true stories, acknowledging the harm done and taking collective actions are the only ways to steer our country towards a just society.
     This year’s theme for Black History Month is “Ours to Tell”. To me, this speaks to the importance of elevating and celebrating Black voices in our conversations about race, history and justice.
    I will leave members with the words of Thandiwe McCarthy, a Black Changemaker in my community and the former Poet Laureate for Fredericton, who made this call to action:

Activism is a career choice.
A lifestyle. A best friend.
It is the dream and the reality.
It is both a beginning and endless
You'll have nothing useful to progress
Yet everything essential to build
So wrap yourself tightly around.
The darkness you want to change.
And when you activate who you are.
You'll find your sunlight.

Christian Atwood

    Mr. Speaker, while we were all enjoying Boxing Day, the frigid North Atlantic Ocean claimed the life of a 27-year-old lobster fisherman from Nova Scotia.
    Christian Atwood was lobstering off Cape Sable Island, setting the last trawl of traps, when he was pulled overboard. He has not been found.
    Christian leaves behind his beautiful 16-month-old son, Colson; his loving partner, Kristen; his siblings; and his parents, Carmella and Ralph.
    Everyone who knew Christian remembers him as a fun-loving, cheerful guy and a great father. He was the light that shone in every room when he entered. His father, Ralph, told me that he did not want his kids to go fishing because of the danger, but the draw of the ocean gets in one's blood, and fishing was in Christian's soul.
    The vast unmarked grave of the ocean is no consolation for those family members who have had people lost at sea. Christian's family is asking us in this place to do better to make our fishermen safer at sea and bring them home.
    May Christian rest in peace.


Heritage Week

    Mr. Speaker, next week, February 20 to 26, is Heritage Week across Canada. In my home province of British Columbia, the Heritage Week theme is “Always in All Ways”; citizens are invited to explore and celebrate the culture and heritage of the communities that make up the places we each call home.
    Heritage Week is a time for all Canadians to reflect on how we can keep our heritage alive. MPs can play a role in protecting heritage places in our communities while also advancing reconciliation by supporting Bill C-23 during our next sitting week. When passed, Bill C-23 will create the historic places of Canada act, which will add first nations, Inuit and Métis representation to the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. This action would implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call to action 79. In addition, this legislation would deliver on developing and implementing a national heritage plan and strategy for commemorating residential school sites, the history and legacy of residential schools, and the contributions of aboriginal peoples to Canada's history. Therefore, I ask my colleagues to vote in favour of Bill C-23 to support our heritage.
    I wish everyone a wonderful Heritage Week back in their communities.

Black History Month

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the African Nova Scotian community in Truro on the occasion of Black History Month and to highlight the vast contributions it has made to the growth and betterment of our country.
    The community traces its origins back to the middle of the 19th century. Most community members are descendants of Black Loyalists. Some are descendants of the Black refugees who fled America to escape slavery. Tragically, like many other Black communities in Canada face, there was and continues to be racism.
    Despite these menacing challenges, some of the defining characteristics of Truro's African Nova Scotian community are incredible resiliency, ingenuity and toughness. Many Canadian heroes are from this illustrious community, including William A. White, Rocky Jones, Art Dorrington, Portia White and Jeremiah Jones.
     Last, but certainly not least, I wanted to highlight Angie Parker-Brown, who is a hero. Angie has ALS, and through great adversity, she has written a book called Writing with my eyes: staying alive while dying. Sadly, we found out today that Angie is in hospital and is quite unwell. I ask all members of this House to say prayers for Angie and her family.

Liberal Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of the Liberal government, Canada has never felt so polarized. That is not just my opinion. A senior Liberal MP said, “I think it’s time to stop dividing Canadians, to stop pitting one part of the population against another. I can’t help but notice with regret that both tone and the policies of my government changed drastically on the eve and during the last election campaign”. He also said, “a decision was made to wedge to divide and to stigmatize.” He continued, “Time to stop with the division and the distractions.” I could not agree more.
    The Prime Minister would have people believe that their neighbour is their enemy. We are all feeling the financial pressure caused by the government's inflationary spending. There are 67% of Canadians who believe that the country is broken, and 56% are concerned that they will not have enough money to retire. Canadians are out of money, and the Liberal government is out of touch.
    After eight years of the broken government, it is clear that the only solution is a new majority, Conservative government. There has been enough of dividing for political gain. It is time to bring back hope to Canadians. Conservatives will unite Canadians for freedom.

Bonivital Angels

    Mr. Speaker, earlier this month, the U16 Bonivital Angels ringette team from South Winnipeg travelled to Ottawa to participate in the Gloucester Cumberland national ringette tournament.
    Before the tournament began, I was pleased to welcome these remarkable young women to Parliament Hill. During their tour, I got the opportunity to better explain my role as their member of Parliament and answer their thoughtful questions. We arrived before the sitting began, so they got up to the bar to view this chamber and witness the Speaker’s parade. The highlight of the tour for many of the girls, I was told, was taking a quick peek into the Prime Minister’s office.
    In the tournament, the Angels did an incredible job representing Manitoba, with a perfect 4-0 record in the round robin; they ended up finishing in the top four. I thank the parents and coaches for accompanying the Bonivital Angels on their trip to Ottawa. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for these young athletes.



Temporary Migrant Workers

    Mr. Speaker, for years now, a secret world has existed right alongside ours, without our noticing.
    Without these thousands of men and women, there would be no agricultural production, no abattoirs, no food processing. There would be fewer security guards, fewer cooks, fewer maintenance workers and fewer people to care for our seniors.
    These individuals are indispensable, but invisible. With no legal status and living in precarious situations, they are sometimes even exploited. They do hard but essential work, and yet are regarded as disposable. Without the rights and protections that we take for granted, they live on the margins, far from their families, often prisoners of closed work permits that make them vulnerable.
    I am talking about temporary migrant workers. Quebec has welcomed three times more of these workers since 2015, totalling tens of thousands of people every year. The NDP is proposing that they be granted permanent residency. This would give them proper recognition and provide some hope.
    In October, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship said he was working on a comprehensive program to regularize non-status people. This initiative is critical. If we do not want to live in a society that has a second class of workers, it is the right thing to do.

Daniel Gaudet

    Mr. Speaker, it is with a heavy heart that I pay tribute to our friend from L'Isle‑aux‑Coudres, Daniel Gaudet, who passed away recently. As a newly minted theatre graduate, Daniel was in an accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down, but that never stopped him from living life to the fullest.
    He was an author, director, writer, lecturer and creator of numerous projects, including his book, Gaïa, an improv league and a cross-Canada tour of his work entitled Comme Superman. From Cirque du Soleil to Petit Prince, in schools and on La vie du Temps, authored by yours truly, Daniel infused black and white with magical colour.
    As a natural-born producer, he worked with his partner to open a performance venue called Le Crapet-Soleil, where the likes of Cœur de Pirate, Louis-Jean Cormier and Le Vent du Nord graced the stage. Tire le Coyote wrote a song especially for him, Le ciel est back order.
    Right around the time he was twice diagnosed with cancer, he learned he was about to become a dad. He received a stem cell transplant and lived well past the doctors' prognoses. A master of the art of living, he would tell us, “Life is not a battle; it is a game”.
    On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I offer my sincere condolences to Caro, Mika, his family and his many, many friends.


Liberal Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, at the heart of any definition of leadership is the ability to unify people for a common purpose or cause, but after eight years of the Liberal Prime Minister, Canadians have never been more divided. He has used issues like mandates to pit Canadians against each other and to distract from the issues and problems he has caused. He believes that if people are afraid of their neighbours, they will forget that they cannot afford rent or groceries or even to heat their homes.
    Even the Prime Minister's own MPs are calling him out for his divisive behaviour. As the brave Liberal member for Louis-Hébert suggested, “From a positive and unifying approach, a decision was made to wedge, to divide and to stigmatize.” He then said, “Time to stop with the division and the distractions. It’s time to choose positive, not coercive methods. It’s time to unite.”
    I could not agree more. It is time for us to put the politics of division behind us and unite the country behind a Conservative prime minister who can bring prosperity back to Canada. It is time to turn hurt into hope.

Foundation for Black Communities

    Mr. Speaker, as part of our government's plan to support Black Canadians across the country, we previously announced a $200-million Black-led philanthropical endowment fund to improve social and economic outcomes for Black Canadians.
    Last week, I was proud to stand with the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion and the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth to announce the recipient of this fund: the Foundation for Black Communities. The FFBC is a national Black-led, Black-serving organization with strong partnerships whose proposal has received significant support from Black communities here in Canada.
    This foundational investment will help provide Black-led organizations with the long-term sustainable funding and self-sustaining resources needed to build capacity in their organizations to better serve Black Canadian communities.
    I would like to offer my heartfelt congratulations to the FFBC for its successful application. I wish it all the best in its ongoing effort to support and uplift Black Canadian communities across the country.


    Before proceeding, I just want to remind hon. members that statements are normally one minute, not more than one minute.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]


Government Priorities

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister thinks that if people are afraid of their neighbours, they might forget that they cannot afford their rent, to feed themselves or to heat their homes. However, do not take my word for it. The Liberal MP for Louis-Hébert has called out this divide-and-conquer strategy. He said, “it’s time to stop dividing Canadians, to stop pitting one part of the population against another.” We could not agree more.
    Will the Prime Minister take his own MP's advice and stop tearing our great country apart?
    Mr. Speaker, our government has been there for Canadians during this difficult time of global economic uncertainty. We are rallying Canadians and they are working harder than ever. In fact, 150,000 jobs were created in January alone, and women's participation rates in the economy are at a historic high.
    Canadians are standing together side by side in order to make it through these times.
    Mr. Speaker, she says side by side, but the Liberal member for Louis-Hébert said, “a decision was made to wedge, to divide and to stigmatize.” That is exactly what the Prime Minister has done. Working people are struggling to pay their bills, and Liberal insiders are getting rich. Urban Canadians have been pitted against their rural neighbours. The Prime Minister even labelled Canadians who disagreed with him as racist and misogynist.
    When will the Prime Minister follow the lead of Canada's Conservatives, who will unite Canadians instead of dividing and stigmatizing?
    Mr. Speaker, I have enormous respect for the member, but I am surprised that he would be talking down the Canadian economy at a time when we have record investment coming into our country. I think my colleague is forgetting that, for example, we rebuilt the whole biomanufacturing sector. We have investments like Moderna in Canada. We have further investments when it comes to the battery ecosystem.
    Bloomberg ranks Canada as second in the world, just after China and ahead of the United States. We have the first gigafactory in Canada to build batteries, and we built the largest hydrogen plant in Edmonton. It is going well.
    Mr. Speaker, well, I do not think the people who cannot afford to feed themselves or heat their homes, the people who have experienced their rent or mortgage doubling, the 20% of Canadians who are skipping meals and the 1.5 million Canadians who are lined up at food banks would say that it is going well. However, that is the tactic of the Liberals. They tell us that even though people cannot afford to feed themselves, they have never had it so good. Let them eat cake, the Prime Minister says.
    The Liberal member for Louis-Hébert said, “Time to stop with the division and the distractions”, distractions like that one. “It’s time to choose positive, not coercive methods. It’s time to unite.”
    That is what Conservatives will do, from Victoria, B.C., to Victoria-by-the-Sea. When are they going to follow our lead?
    Mr. Speaker, I think Canadians see that this particular Conservative Party has zero credibility on the economy. Its economic policy can be summed up with this: gutting the Canada pension plan, gutting employment insurance, abandoning our fight against climate change and, of course, investing in cryptocurrency as a way to opt out of inflation. It is entirely irresponsible.


    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of this Liberal Prime Minister, his policies aimed at dividing Canadians to distract them from his failures have only managed to destroy everything he has touched.
    The Prime Minister thinks that by pitting Canadians against each other, no one is going to realize that groceries are getting more expensive, that families cannot make ends meet, and that nine out of 10 young people no longer believe in their dream of building and owning a home.
    The Liberal MP for Louis-Hébert made it clear that a decision has been made by his government to intentionally divide and stigmatize people.
    Why did the Liberals embrace the Prime Minister's motto of divide and conquer?


    Mr. Speaker, it is very difficult to hear a politician talk about division and then use it to attack his opponents. We should all, as members of Parliament, in all political parties, aim to unify.
    We should all work together and recognize that we each have different positions, but we can work together. That is the government's position. We all want to work together.
    Mr. Speaker, after eight years, he has even managed to sow division in his own caucus.
    Not a day goes by that a member, like the one who just spoke, a former minister, a minister or a random Liberal, as the Prime Minister would say, does not criticize this government's decisions.
    To save his own leadership, he is applying his divisive policies within his own party and, unfortunately, it seems to be working.
    It is time we got to work. Will the Prime Minister take responsibility and stop dividing Canadians or get out of the way once and for all and let the Conservatives unite Canadians and give them a bit of hope?
    Mr. Speaker, let us talk about responsibility. The Conservatives' economic policy basically consists of giving up the fight against climate change, attacking our seniors' pensions, attacking employment insurance and suggesting that Canadians invest in cryptocurrency.
    We are a responsible government and we have a responsible plan.


    Mr. Speaker, when it comes to health, this government is unbelievably arrogant. Ten days after forcing Quebec and the provinces to accept an offer that covers one-sixth of the needs in our hospitals, the government is demanding accountability and forcing the provinces to commit in writing to accepting conditions and submitting action plans, failing which it will cut the pitiful amount of money that was promised.
    How many hospitals does the federal government run again? It does not run any. It does not have even an iota of expertise. Will the government just transfer the money?
    Mr. Speaker, this is a watershed moment for Canada. We are delighted with the announcement made by the Council of the Federation, and we thank the members of the council for their important work. Our discussions were, and will continue to be, focused on how we can work together to improve health care for patients, their families and health care workers.
    Mr. Speaker, the federal government continues to play petty politics with its conditions on health. While it plays sorcerer's apprentice, Quebeckers are waiting. I am talking about people unable to see a family doctor. I am talking about people waitlisted for surgery. I am talking about exhausted nurses. The federal government's promised transfers are insufficient, but can it at least provide them so that our health care professionals, who do know how things works, can make use of them?
    Mr. Speaker, under our plan, the premiers of the provinces and territories must agree to three key commitments to obtain funding through tailored bilateral agreements. In addition to an increase, it includes a commitment on the collection, sharing and use of essential health information to unlock the top-up to the CHT.



    Mr. Speaker, all Canadians deserve to retire and live with dignity, but the Liberals' underfunding has left seniors struggling to make ends meet. Seniors are telling me they cannot pay rent and they cannot afford groceries. They are terrified that they will be living on the streets.
    The Liberals' failure to support seniors is making them feel alone and like no one cares. Will the government increase the guaranteed income supplement and give seniors some hope?
    Mr. Speaker, we recognize the challenges seniors are facing, and our government has been there for them. In fact, our government is helping seniors who are struggling by doubling the GST tax credit and by providing dental and rental support. We have also increased the OAS for seniors aged 75 and over.
    On this side of the House, we will continue to be there for all Canadians, including seniors and the most vulnerable seniors.
    Mr. Speaker, my community is struck with grief after the loss of two Londoners in house fires while on wait-lists for long-term care. Tragically, this is all too common. Private beds are out of reach for many of my constituents, and the not-for-profit care homes have over a thousand people on the wait-list. Their only choice is to remain at home, despite safety concerns.
    Across Canada, people are dying while waiting for a bed in our patchwork, understaffed and overburdened long-term care system. These tragedies are preventable.
    The government needed to step up, but there is no mention of long-term care in its offer to premiers. Why?


    Mr. Speaker, we welcome the new standards released by the Health Standards Organization and the Canadian Standards Association, which are the result of extensive consultations across the country. We have provided up to $4 billion to support the provinces and territories in their efforts to improve long-term care in their jurisdictions. With this important step taken, we look forward to seeing a bill introduced in the House very soon. Of course, we see negotiations with the provinces and territories happening as we speak.

Government Priorities

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of the Liberal Prime Minister, Canadians are increasingly feeling like Canada is broken. Instead of owning up to his failures, the Prime Minister has called people names and pitted Canadians against each other. There are friends, family and co-workers who to this day will not talk to each other because of how the Prime Minister has stoked divisiveness.
    Why does the Prime Minister continue to divide and distract Canadians from his failures?
    I simply do not understand why it is that when we try to improve the situation of Canadians, Conservatives vote against it. On two different occasions, we reduced taxes for middle-class Canadians and the Conservatives voted against it. On two different occasions, we reduced taxes on small business owners and the Conservatives voted against that as well. We have been investing in Canadians, and the $10-a-day child care agreement is the latest example.
    Why will the Conservatives not be there for Canadians when they need it most?
    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite clearly did not take lessons when her colleague, the Liberal member for Louis-Hébert, called on the Liberal government to stop dividing Canadians, stop pitting one part of the population against another, stop with the division and stop with the distractions. Our Conservative leader’s positive message is this: enough divide-and-conquer; unite Canadians.
    Again, why does the Prime Minister continue to divide Canadians and distract them from his failures?
    Mr. Speaker, we will take no lessons from the Conservatives. If there is one Canadian who has stoked fear in our society, it is the leader of the Conservatives. Canadians watching at home on Friday know that.
    This is the time to unite Canadians. This is the time to talk about Canada, to talk up Canada. We are winning around the world. We have record investments in this country. Every parliamentarian here should talk up Canada. It is not time to stoke fear. It is time to unite Canadians, to seize the moment and be ambitious.
    Mr. Speaker, one year ago, a Liberal MP said, “It’s time to stop dividing Canadians”. What has happened in the last year? Canadians are more divided than ever. Inflation is at a 40-year high, 50% of Canadians are cutting on groceries, rent is up and mortgage costs are up, except we cannot question these issues or we would be called unpatriotic by the government.
    Canadians are struggling, and the Prime Minister wants to keep dividing. How come the government will not even take the advice of its own Liberal MP?
    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is right. Canadians are struggling and Canadians do not seem to understand why the Conservative Party does not want to help them.
    We have put forward measures in order to support Canadians through this difficult time, whether it is the doubling of the GST tax credit, our rental supports or our dental supports for children, which have helped over 200,000 children go to the dentist. The Conservatives voted against that measure.
    I think members of the Conservative Party need to look at themselves in the mirror and decide how it is that they can actually help improve the situation in this country rather than voting down measures that support Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House, we did support the government with the GST supplement, which is actually running out now. What we did not support was distributing dental and rental benefits by a process that is being called into question by the Parliamentary Budget Officer and the Auditor General, who says it increases the risk of fraud.
    If we listen to everybody else, the government says all these issues are someone else's problems. They happen outside of Canada. That means the government does not believe it has the responsibility or the ability to fix the problems that it causes.
    Will the government finally take responsibility for the issues that it has caused?


    Mr. Speaker, I feel that we need to remind the Conservatives that it was this government that decided, in 2016, to take a true strategy on poverty in this country. This government implemented the CCB, which lifted 3.5 million families out of struggles. Six million children were helped by that program. The Conservatives voted against it.
    This is a government that has implemented subsidized, affordable, high-quality child care across this country from coast to coast to coast, yet the Conservatives grudgingly support that. They do not know what they support, but they do not support Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of Liberal failures, more Canadians feel that our country is broken in so many ways. The Prime Minister does not want to hear it and tries to deny it, but it is true. He blames the rest of the world and shames other people for the problems that his Liberal government created.
    Instead of dividing Canadians against each other to distract from Liberal failures, will he finally take some responsibility and let Conservatives fix what he broke?
    Mr. Speaker, it is honestly quite disturbing to hear a member of Parliament talk about Canada being broken. At a time when we see division in the world, let us unite together to build up Canada. Let us talk about our economy. Let us talk about what we are doing for Canadians. Let us be together, not to stoke fear but to stoke hope in Canadians. That is what we are doing on this side of the aisle. We know Canadians know we have their backs. We will continue to work for them at every step of the way.
    Mr. Speaker, the 1.5 million Canadians using the food bank now who never have before might have something different to say from what he had to say.
    The government can ignore the opposition all it wants, but one of its own Liberal members called out the government last year, saying, “both the tone and the policies of my government changed drastically on the eve and during the last election campaign. From a positive and unifying approach, a decision was made to wedge, to divide and to stigmatize.”
    One more time, when will they take responsibility for what they broke?
    Mr. Speaker, again, Canadians are watching. All we hear this morning is about “broken”. Let us talk about building together. That is what we are doing on this side, and I think every member of Parliament wants to do that.
    Let us look at what we have done together. We have been there for seniors. We have been there for children. We have been there to help Canadians when they need it most. At the same time, we rebuilt our industrial policy. We landed significant deals when it comes to the aerospace industry. We have the largest hydrogen plant in North America, in Edmonton.
    Things are working well. We need to work together to help Canadians.


Official Languages

    Mr. Speaker, let us go back a little in the famous “West Island Story” narrative.
    The member for Saint-Laurent spread misinformation when she said that anglophones would no longer receive health care in their language because of the Charter of the French Language. That is completely false, but all the Liberal members from Quebec defended her.
    Could one of them finally rise today and tell the House that what the member said is false, and that anglophones will be able to continue receiving care in their language—
    The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Official Languages.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. We are the first government to recognize the decline of French in Quebec and across Canada. It is important that Bill C-13 have teeth to support official language minority communities across the country.
    I encourage all members of the House to ensure that Bill C‑13 is passed as quickly as possible. It is important to official language minority communities across Canada.
    I hope that the Bloc Québécois will join us. At present, it seems that the Bloc will vote against Bill C‑13, and that is not acceptable.
    Mr. Speaker, Bill C-13 is undermining the French language in Quebec as we speak. A dozen Liberal MPs from Quebec are considering voting against their own bill.
    There are still a few characters to discover in our favourite show, “West Island Story”, but we have already met a few, including the member for Saint-Laurent, the member for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel and the member for Mount Royal.
    These members are opposed to simply recognizing the Charter of the French Language in Bill C-13. These same members were among those who abstained from recognizing that Quebeckers form a nation in 2021.
    Does that seem like a coincidence?


    Mr. Speaker, it is clear that the French language is declining in Quebec and across Canada. That is why is it important that Bill C-13 be passed.
    Once again, I do not understand the Bloc Québécois's position. The Bloc wants to kill Bill C-13 and is doing everything it can to withhold support for official language minority communities in this country.
    As a proud Franco-Ontarian, I am still hoping to have the support of the Bloc Québécois to ensure that Bill C-13 is passed. This is important for the survival of the French language and the vitality of these communities. We must work together to achieve this goal.


Democratic Institutions

    Mr. Speaker, Beijing's communist agents engaged in a sophisticated strategy of manipulation and disinformation to wage a ground war on our democracy and on our elections. That is not me saying it; that is on the front page of The Globe and Mail. It reports that a Conservative MP was targeted for daring to champion establishing a foreign agent registry to plug a national security hole.
    The government is broken. It has not done anything. Did the Prime Minister turn a blind eye to foreign interference because he stood to gain from it politically?
    Mr. Speaker, absolutely not. Our government has been clear from the beginning that foreign interference is a serious threat to this country. That is precisely why we have taken action. The Conservatives seem to wake up to this fact only when they think it is politically advantageous.
     Meanwhile, on this side of the House, we have put in place measures like the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, a SITE committee, and the critical election preparedness committee. We will work to improve our democratic institutions and secure them while Conservatives play politics.
    Mr. Speaker, the people playing politics are Beijing and its communist agents in Canada, while the government does nothing about it. It knows and it does not tell Canadians that there have been serious accounts of foreign interference. The Globe and Mail reports a CSIS source of direct interference, including illegal donations, communist agents directing volunteers and a Beijing embassy official taking credit for the defeat of two Conservative MPs.
     The Prime Minister has said in Parliament that the task force determined “that the integrity of our elections was not compromised” in 2019 or 2021. CSIS says the opposite. Who is telling the truth, the Prime Minister or CSIS?
    Mr. Speaker, let me remind this place and the Conservatives that it was actually our government that closed financing loopholes that their unfair elections act actually left wide open for foreign interference.
    In addition to that, let us remind Canadians what CSIS and our national security community have said. They have said that there was no activity that compromised the integrity of our elections.
    Are the Conservatives going to work with us to continue to strengthen our institutions, or are they going to continue to do China's bidding and undermine the trust in our democratic institutions?


    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister told reporters last November that Canadians could rest assured that the integrity of our elections was not compromised. He was referring to the 2019 and 2021 elections.
    Today, The Globe and Mail reports some disturbing facts, and this is not coming from the mouths of Conservatives. Communist regime operatives actively worked to promote the election of a minority Liberal government in 2021. A disinformation campaign against Conservative candidates, illegal donations, it is all laid out in the CSIS report.
    Was the Prime Minister intentionally turning a blind eye because the secret reports he was receiving benefited him?


    Mr. Speaker, once again, if the Conservatives were paying attention, back when we took office, we were putting in place measures to strengthen our democracy. Conservatives seem to be awake to issues of foreign interference only when it seems politically advantageous.
    However, this is precisely why we have been saying, time and time again, that the threat of foreign interference is persistent and ongoing. That is why we need to continually be addressing this. I urge the Conservatives to actually work together on solutions instead of working with China to undermine the trust in our democracy.


    Mr. Speaker, addressing something is not resolving it.


    The tactics outlined in the CSIS report include making undeclared cash donations to political campaigns and having business owners hire students and assign them to volunteer full-time in election campaigns. Donors sympathetic to the regime were encouraged to provide campaign contributions to candidates favoured by China.
    During the last election, the Prime Minister knew that the Chinese Communist regime was actively involved in disinformation, particularly in two ridings. The Prime Minister told the House that the integrity of our elections was not compromised in 2019 and 2021. The CSIS report shows otherwise.
    Who is telling the truth?


    Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a moment to refresh the memory of the member opposite. On December 18, 2020, I wrote that member, and every member in this House, a letter advising them about the threat of foreign interference, and particularly the threat that China represented to our political integrity. That information was shared with every member of this House, bringing it to their attention. As well, we articulated the steps that the government was taking to protect our democratic institutions.
    The Liberal government has been alive and alert to that threat, and has taken action to protect our institutions.


    Mr. Speaker, Canadians have some of the most expensive cell phones compared to other G7 countries, and the cost of living crisis is only making it more difficult for Canadians. The minister is letting Canadians suffer with higher bills as he drags out the decision on the Rogers-Shaw merger. Rogers gobbling up Shaw means less competition, less choice, higher bills and worse service for families.
    Why is the minister taking so long to defend Canadians and to stop the merger? He has all the evidence and the support of the NDP to stop this greedflation. Why will he not act?
    Mr. Speaker, it is a bit rich to hear from the NDP that, because I am fighting for Canadians, I am not defending them. That is exactly why I am saying I will render a decision in due course. I have said all along that the only thing that matters is to fight to bring prices down. The way we have achieved that in Canada is through competition, to have a strong fourth national player.
    Canadians know that the time I am taking is time I am taking to fight for them. I will continue to do that.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, everyone deserves to feel safe in their communities. My riding of Nanaimo—Ladysmith is a stunning coastal community full of kind, hard-working people, but more and more people are feeling unsafe. Crime is connected with people struggling, poverty, and insufficient housing and mental health supports. We are living with the symptoms of a broken criminal justice system that treats crime like the cause, not the consequence, of lacking basic human rights.
    Will the Liberals keep our communities safe by ensuring people have mental health supports, guaranteed income and restorative justice?
    Mr. Speaker, I can assure my colleague that our government has been working on very smart criminal justice reforms that are meant to keep our communities safe.
    We brought forward Bill C-5, which will essentially address issues with systemic racism within the criminal justice system. We introduced Bill C-40 yesterday, which is for a criminal conviction review commission that is meant to ensure those who are wrongfully accused and convicted have a way out.
    We will continue to work on smart criminal justice policy.

International Development

    Mr. Speaker, it is estimated that 222 million children and adolescents are not developing the essential skills and knowledge they need to build and prepare for their futures, things that they would otherwise learn in schools. Children and young adolescents are feeling the impact of COVID-19 and face displacement from natural disasters and conflicts.
    Can the Minister of International Development share with the House how Canada is investing in immediate and sustainable programs to ensure access to quality education for children and youth in emergency and crisis situations so that no child is left behind?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his advocacy and hard work on this very important issue.
    All children and youth have the right to quality education and the chance for a better future. That is why our government is pledging $87.5 million over four years to “Education Cannot Wait”, the United Nations global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises. Our contribution will provide support for 20 million crisis-affected children in accessing quality education, particularly girls and adolescent girls living in hard-to-reach places and fragile or conflict-affected areas.



    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of the Liberal Prime Minister, farmers across Canada are just taking hit after hit: increases in a punishing carbon tax, tariffs on fertilizer and removal of vital crop protection products. Farmers cannot take much more, but wait, there is more. Farmers got notices last week that they are facing another Liberal tax, this time on underutilized homes. This tax could cost farm and ranch families tens of thousands of dollars.
    Why is this government punishing farmers yet again with another Liberal tax?
    Mr. Speaker, this government has always had the backs of farmers. Cash receipts are up. Obviously, climate change is costing farmers many dollars. Thirty per cent of grains did not make it to market last year because of climate change. We are assisting farmers to make that transition.
     We will always be there to defend our farmers. We should be proud of what the farmers do for our sector.
    Mr. Speaker, that just shows how out of touch the Liberal government is if it is defending farmers by using them as ATMs to pay for its out-of-control spending. Most farms and ranch families have multi-generational homes on their properties. This tax will cost them tens of thousands of dollars. Even if the tax does not apply to them, the Liberals are threatening fines up to $10,000 if they do not do the paperwork. Is it not enough that the Liberal government is milking Canadian farmers with carbon taxes and punitive policies?
     Will the Liberals give farmers a break and exempt agriculture from yet another Liberal tax?
    Mr. Speaker, our government has always defended farmers and will always be there for farmers. Obviously, there are always some issues that will arise. I have mentioned that climate change has been a major issue for farmers, affecting farmers whether in eastern Canada or out west with the droughts. We will always be there to defend farmers.
    I will be happy to work with the hon. member on the issue he has raised.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of the Liberal Prime Minister, everything feels broken. Just yesterday, the Governor of the Bank of Canada confirmed that the carbon tax is adding a full half percentage point to inflation. While Canadians are struggling just to feed themselves, the Liberals are now planning to triple the carbon tax, making inflation even worse.
    When will the Prime Minister take responsibility for the inflation he caused, axe the tax or move out of the way so Conservatives can fix the problem?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. friend from Manitoba for the question. He will know that there is actually good news for families in the Prairies. As of April 1, a family of four will receive up to $1,000 in Manitoba from the climate action rebate.
    Referring to the Governor of the Bank of Canada, he estimated that perhaps 0.1% will be related to the price on pollution in terms of inflation. That is one cent for every $10.
    Mr. Speaker, the carbon tax is all pain and no gain. The Liberals have never met a single target that they set for themselves. It is a tax plan, not an environmental plan.
    After eight years of the Liberal Prime Minister, everything feels broken. Yesterday, at committee, the bank governor confirmed that taxpayers will have to bail out the Bank of Canada. While Canadians are struggling to eat, heat and house themselves, with the Liberals, the Bank of Canada comes first.
    When will the Prime Minister take responsibility for breaking the bank and get out of the way so Conservatives can fix the problem?
    Mr. Speaker, as usual, the Conservatives are distorting the facts. Our emissions are going down. We are on track to meet our targets, which are in 2030.
    What did the Conservatives do when they were in power? Absolutely nothing. For 10 long years, they did nothing on climate change, they abandoned the Kyoto accord, they cut $350 million from the environment and climate change budget and they gutted our environmental laws. They are now blaming us for their inaction.


Democratic Institutions

    Mr. Speaker, a report from The Globe and Mail laid bare the full extent of China's interference in the 2021 federal election. According to the article, secret services carried out a major operation involving illegal campaign contributions and media manipulation.
    This is extremely worrisome, but it would be a mistake to challenge the legitimacy of the election and merely consider it a partisan issue. The real issue is how easy it was for these foreign actors to manipulate our elections. This needs to be addressed transparently, but the government has been denying there was any interference and hiding the truth for months.
    Quebeckers want to know whether the government is ever going to take this threat seriously.



    Mr. Speaker, I welcome the Bloc's intervention today and the willingness to work with us on this side of the House. The pervasiveness of foreign interference is serious. It is why we have taken action, but there is more work to be done. It should not be a partisan issue. Every single Canadian should want everyone in the House to take this issue seriously.
    Some of the loopholes we have closed were things like foreign campaign funding and tighter rules on third party advertising. These are some of the loopholes used around the world. We are going to continue to work with all parliamentarians to address this.


    Mr. Speaker, China's election interference is a threat to democracy that neither partisanship nor denial will help vanquish. We must all work to make elections impervious to foreign manipulation. The problem is, the government is hiding the truth from people. Not only was it aware of what was going on, but it discussed the matter with allied countries. Not only did it know candidates had received illegal contributions, but it knew which candidates and even refunded the money.
    When will the government understand that it cannot overcome Chinese interference by being as opaque as China?


    Mr. Speaker, of course we know that foreign interference exists. This is what we have been talking about since we have been in office. It is precisely why we have put forward several measures to strengthen our democracy and our democratic institutions, and ensure that our elections are free and fair.
    Foreign interference happens to countries around the world. We work with our partners and allies on how to counter it. I encourage all members of the House to bring forward solutions instead of behaving recklessly like the Conservatives, who use national security as a partisan issue.


Canadian Heritage

    Mr. Speaker, this week, Quebec expressed its concern about Bill C-11 by sending the government a letter and adopting a unanimous motion.
    Quebec's request is simple. It wants a provision to be added to Bill C-11 that will require the government to consult Quebec on the CRTC's potential responsibilities. The response from the Bloc-Liberal alliance is a hard no.
    We, the Conservatives, are bringing Quebec's legitimate request before the House.
    The question is very simple. Will this government agree to convene the parliamentary committee to debate Quebec's proposal?


    Mr. Speaker, looking at my watch, I see it is 2023. Where has the hon. member been the last year when this was being debated before the House and the Senate?
    Actors, authors, composers, producers, musicians and singers from Quebec are on side. They want to see the bill pass. By the way, even the Quebec National Assembly has unanimously requested twice, in May 2021 and June 2022, to expedite this bill. Where have the Conservatives been? They have been filibustering this legislation the entire way.
    On this side of the House, we are here for artists.


    Mr. Speaker, the Quebec National Assembly has twice asked to be heard by this government on Bill C-11. However, with the Bloc Québécois's support, co-operation and complicity, the feds just do the work by themselves.
    The government is maintaining its extremely centralizing, unilateral and heavy-handed position of giving the federal cabinet more powers to tell Quebeckers what the CRTC will let them watch.
    Maybe the Bloc Québécois agrees with that, but we do not.
    Will the Bloc-Liberal alliance finally let the Government of Quebec be heard?


    Mr. Speaker, today we learned that 240 jobs have been cut in the media sector in Quebec. That is 240 families that have lost revenue they were counting on. Our hearts are with them.
    This is happening too often. It is time that tech giants pay their fair share toward our culture. It is time to level the playing field. Bill C-11 is about that.
    What have the Conservatives been doing the last year? They have been filibustering. The hon. member's own seatmate acknowledged in the House of Commons that she has been filibustering this whole time.
    Where has the hon. member been this last year to stand up for Quebeckers, Canadians and artists across the country? He has been absent.


    Mr. Speaker, I encourage the government to be a bit more consistent. First my colleague says that we are filibustering, and then he says that we have done nothing, that we are asleep. It cannot be both.
    In any case, what we have done is neither one nor the other. We have done our parliamentary work.
    As we speak, the National Assembly of Quebec is asking to be heard by this government on Bill C‑11, to ensure that Quebec has a voice.
    If the Bloc Québécois is okay with giving the federal government all of the power, that is its choice. However, we want Quebec to be heard.
    We have been asking for this for five days now. Will the government hold a parliamentary committee meeting to listen to Quebec and also to review the Senate amendments?



    Mr. Speaker, the Canadian heritage committee has been discussing this for a year, in both the House and the Senate. The hon. member has been absent and has just taken notice of it this week, after the past year of debating it.
    In Quebec, artists have called upon the government, and the Quebec National Assembly has twice called upon Parliament, to expedite Bill C-11, but all we have seen from the other side is delay, blocking and filibustering. There have been no solutions from the other side.
     It is amazing that the member has stepped up this week to say that he cares, when over the last year he has been silent.


Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, immigration is an essential value in Canada, and it reflects the cultural mosaic that shapes our country's identity.
    The impact of francophone immigration is undeniable, as it contributes to the linguistic, demographic and economic wealth of francophone communities.
    Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship update us on the work being done to attract more new francophone immigrants to Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Sudbury for her question.
    I am very proud today to announce to the House that our government met the target of 4.4% francophone immigration outside Quebec in 2022.
    Indeed, 16,300 francophone newcomers have settled outside Quebec. This represents a 450% increase since our government was first elected.
    This is just the beginning. There is still work to be done to continue to promote French in Canada, and that is what we continue to do.


Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of the current Liberal Prime Minister, Gianne, a small business owner in Entwistle, is struggling under the oppressive carbon tax. With the cost of food, heating and fuel skyrocketing, it is becoming harder for Gianne and countless Canadians across the country to make ends meet. Conservatives will continue to keep the heat on and fight this tax to help all Canadians, like Gianne.
    When will the government axe the carbon tax?
    Mr. Speaker, the price on pollution our government introduced, or if the Conservatives prefer to call it a carbon tax, I am happy to do so, is actually a market-based mechanism. It is a capitalism-based mechanism that all experts agree is the most effective at fighting climate change. Even the Conservative Party temporarily campaigned on a price on pollution. I think we can all agree that this is the most effective way to fight climate change, and that Canadians are asking us to fight climate change in order to protect our planet for the future and for our children.
    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of the current Prime Minister, Canadians can no longer afford to eat, heat or house themselves. The situation is about to get worse. With the tripling of the carbon tax, seniors must choose between eating and heating. Conservatives will fight to turn the tax off, so seniors can keep the heat on.
    I ask the Prime Minister this: Will he show compassion and remove the carbon tax?
    Mr. Speaker, after seven years and three months, we have been able to make significant progress for seniors. Members should not take my word for it. They should take that member's word for it. The Conservative member for King—Vaughan, just last week, highlighted at committee how poverty rates dramatically decreased since we formed government in 2015. When we came into government, we made a decision to invest in seniors. We immediately reinstated the age of retirement back to 65. That member would have had seniors work two full years to get the benefits they paid into for decades.


    Mr. Speaker, if the member had listened to the entire question, he would have answered it properly. They cut out the part where I asked how much CERB impacted that figure. That is what Stats Canada asked.
     Sheila, a senior from Midland, would like to know why the government refuses to answer questions. Seniors demand accountability from the Liberal government. It is all talk and no action.
    Will the Prime Minister understand the benefit that seniors have brought to this country, show some compassion and let the Conservatives come and fix what the Liberal government has broken?


    Mr. Speaker, every day the Conservatives stand up and pretend to care about seniors. Day in and day out, month in and month out, and year in and year out since 2015, they have stood to vote against everything we have done for seniors in this country. For seven years and three months, they cannot stand up every year and vote against the things we do for seniors and then pretend to care about seniors.
    Canadian seniors know a whole lot better.


    Mr. Speaker, tax season is coming. Year after year, millions of Canadians file their tax returns, and in doing so they gain access to multiple benefits that make a real difference in their lives. Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue tell us more about the importance, but also the advantages, of filing our tax returns on time?
    Mr. Speaker, let me commend the member, who brings to this House 29 years of experience as an educator in his community. He has years of experience as a mayor and, most recently, he was co-chair of the seniors caucus on this side of the aisle.
    He is right. On the 20th of this month, Canadians can begin filing their taxes. It is absolutely essential to do so to get access to vital benefits, including the Canada child benefit, the Canada dental benefit and the Canada workers benefit, among many other examples.
    They have until May 1 to do so. It is vital to the social safety net, but it is vital to Canadian individuals and families, too.


    Mr. Speaker, New Democrats pushed the Liberals to deliver a one-time $500 housing benefit to low-income renters, but now the Liberals are saying that people on income assistance or disability assistance, whose rent is paid directly to landlords, are not eligible. They are among the most vulnerable in our community. We are in the middle of a housing crisis, and families are struggling to afford to buy food with the rising cost of living.
    They need this help now. Will the Liberals stop penalizing people on income assistance or disability assistance and withdraw this discriminatory requirement?


    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for her work on housing, particularly with regard to the benefit and the $500 top-up that we introduced.
    There has been no change to the eligibility criteria that all of us agreed on last October, with the exception of the Conservatives. I look forward to working with the member to ensure that the benefit will go to those most in need.


Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, this week, I met with Syrian community members in Waterloo Region who are reeling from the loss of loved ones in last week's earthquake. Those who survived this disaster are without access to hospitals, medicine, food, heating, electricity or clean water.
    Syrian and Turkish Canadians are desperate to bring their loved ones to safety, but they need Canada's help today. They are calling on the government to expedite existing immigration files and make it easier to sponsor their family members.
    When will the Minister of Immigration make this happen?
    Mr. Speaker, our hearts go out to all of the people and families who are affected by this horrible earthquake that has taken place in Turkey and in Syria.
    I have been in touch with many Canadian NGOs that are either working in Syria or trying to get support into Syria. Our government has already pledged a matching fund of an additional $10 million.
    I can assure the member that our government will be doing more.


    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
    Earlier, during oral question period, in response to a question from my colleague, the member for Yellowhead, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance and member for Outremont, who we appreciate very much, said that the Conservatives were talking about the carbon tax. I would like to point out that every time we talk about this tax, we are talking about the Liberal carbon tax.


    That is not a point of order.
    The hon. member for Foothills is rising on a point of order.


    Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday, when I asked a question to the Minister of Agriculture about the impact of the carbon tax on farms, she accused me of spreading misinformation and misquoting. She did the same thing to my colleague for Battle River—Crowfoot.
    I know that the Speaker has been asked to rule on a point of order from my colleague for Calgary Shepard, but I would like unanimous consent to table a document. It is a report published by four Canadian universities, entitled “Canada's Food Price Report”, which, on page 15, states, “It will see the cost per tonne of GHG emissions increase by $15 per year”—
    I am already hearing “no” from a number of members.
    The hon. member for Foothills.
    Mr. Speaker, this is about understanding the size of the carbon tax compared to the impact it has on farmers.
    I am hearing “no” from a number of members.
    The hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable.


Points of Order

Oral Questions 

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
    During oral question period, in response to a question from my colleague the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent, the member for St. Catharines made reference to a member's presence or absence in the House. I would like to remind the member that we cannot do that.


    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Mr. Speaker, on that point of order, today is the member for St. Catharines's birthday, and I think he just slipped up in celebrating his birthday.
    The hon. member for St. Catharines.
    Mr. Speaker, on the same point of order, if I did, it was unintentional. I do apologize to the House.
    That was the one real point of order that we actually had.
    However, happy birthday to the member for St. Catharines.
    We also have a point of order from the hon. member for Fredericton.

Statements by Members  

    Mr. Speaker, during the period for Statements by Members, I was delivering something that meant a lot to me, and there was a significant amount of noise in the chamber. I would ask for unanimous consent to redeliver my member's statement.
    I agree, there was a lot of noise at that time.
    Does the hon. member have consent?
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Deputy Speaker: The hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable.


    Mr. Speaker, we were able to watch the video and see the transcript, and the member's statement was very clear, so we do not think it is necessary for her to give it again.


    Mr. Speaker, we naturally accept that all members in this House are being honourable. The member has indicated that there was a significant amount of noise. It has been a practice in the House that we accept that. I would strongly encourage all members of the House to allow the member to give her statement again, given the circumstances.
    I see the hon. member for North Island—Powell River.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to point out to members in the House, who I believe are all honourable, that the normal practice is that, when the statement does not go well because of sounds that all of us are contributing to, we allow the member to do it a second time. It has been done several times in the House, and I certainly hope we do it today.
    There was an exchange happening while the member was delivering her statement. The member for Windsor West and the member for Nickel Belt were having a conversation, which was in close proximity to the member's position.
    The hon. member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes.
    Mr. Speaker, with respect to my hon. colleague's intervention, and having reviewed the recording, that was the spirit in which the request for unanimous consent was not granted. Mr. Speaker, having heard your comments and appreciating that it is important that the member may not have been comfortable in delivering her statement because of the conversation that you mentioned, I think that if you were to seek unanimous consent again, you would find it is there. Of course, as the member for Kingston and the Islands said, we expect that this practice is always exchanged based on the member's request.
    Does the hon. member have unanimous consent to proceed with her statement?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Mr. Speaker, Black History Month is a time to reflect on our country's story and renew our engagement toward anti-Black racism. Black enslavement was widespread in colonial Canada until 1834. A century later, the residents of Africville, Nova Scotia, were denied services for decades before being forcibly removed from their homes, with their community demolished.
    Systemic racism continues to be entrenched in our institutions to this day. These truths are painful and difficult to grapple with, and their harmful effects have been passed down for generations, but acknowledging the harm done and taking collective actions are the only ways to steer our country toward a just society.
    This year’s theme for Black History Month is “Ours to Tell”. To me, this speaks to the importance of elevating and celebrating Black voices in our conversations about race, history and justice.
    I am leaving members with the words of Thandiwe McCarthy, a Black Changemaker in my community and the former poet laureate for Fredericton, who has this call to action:

Activism is a career choice.
A lifestyle. A best friend.
It is the dream and the reality.
It is both a beginning and endless
You'll have nothing useful to progress
Yet everything essential to build
So wrap yourself tightly around.
The darkness you want to change.
And when you activate who you are.
You'll find your sunlight.

Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]



Public Order Emergency Commission

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to subsection 63(2) of the Emergencies Act, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the public inquiry into the 2022 public order emergency.
    Pursuant to the order made on Wednesday, March 2, 2022, this report is deemed referred to the Special Joint Committee on the Declaration of Emergency.
    I would like to take this opportunity to thank the commission for its very hard work and all of our officials for their dedication to making sure this report was completed on time.

Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 2020-21 annual report of the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime.

Committees of the House

Foreign Affairs and International Development  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the following two reports of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development: the 11th report, entitled “Reopening of the Lachin Corridor”, and the 12th report, entitled “Humanitarian Aid in Afghanistan”.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to the 11th report.



Corporate Social Responsibility  

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House today to table a petition initiated by the organization Development and Peace of the Outaouais region. The petitioners call upon the House of Commons to adopt human rights and environmental due diligence legislation.
    I would like to thank the members of Development and Peace for their humanitarian commitment to global, vulnerable and marginalized populations dealing with international companies that often operate without regard for human rights. I also thank them for their concern for the legal, environmental and humanitarian responsibilities of our Canadian businesses operating abroad.


Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship  

    Mr. Speaker, I am tabling two petitions on behalf of constituents in my riding who are drawing the attention of the House of Commons and the Parliament of Canada to the fact that there is still a backlog of 2.1 million applications in the immigration system, which has been caused by the Liberal government.
    I am going to draw attention to two specific lines in the petition that the petitioners are most interested in. First, the new parent and grandparent super visa applications have an 80% goal of meeting the service standard of 112 days, but only 41% meet this standard. Second, the new visitor visa applications have an 80% goal of reaching the service standard of 14 days, but only 27% meet the standard.
    The petitioners are asking the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to update the immigration system to pave the way for an efficient and streamlined process that addresses Canada's ongoing needs.


Medical Assistance in Dying  

    Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present today.
    The first petition I am presenting is on behalf of constituents in my riding of Kelowna—Lake Country. The petitioners want to draw the attention of the House of Commons to a representative from the Collège des médecins du Québec who recommended expanding euthanasia to babies from birth to one year of age following certain parameters. They state that infanticide is always wrong.
    The petitioners are calling on the Government of Canada to block any attempt to allow the killing of children.


    Mr. Speaker, the second petition I am presenting today is on behalf of residents from Kelowna—Lake Country. The petitioners refer to the House of Commons passing a motion in June 2018 to immediately list Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, IRGC, as a terrorist organization. Nearly three years have passed, and they are calling upon the Government of Canada to immediately list the IRGC as a terrorist entity.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns

    Mr. Speaker, if a revised response to Question No. 1012, originally tabled on January 30, could be made an order for return, this return would be tabled immediately.
    Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.


Question No. 1012—
Mr. Adam Chambers:
    With regard to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), broken down by year since 2018: (a) how many commercial (i) trains, (ii) train cars, crossed into Canada, in total, broken down by point of entry for each year since 2018; (b) how many of the (i) trains, (ii) train cars, in (a) were physically inspected by the CBSA; (c) how many of the inspected (i) trains, (ii) train cars, contained illegal items; and (d) what is the breakdown of illegal items seized from train cars, including the description and the volume of each item seized?
    (Return tabled)


    Mr. Speaker, I ask that all remaining questions be allowed to stand.
    Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]


National Security Review of Investments Modernization Act

    The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-34, An Act to amend the Investment Canada Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C‑34, the national security review of investments modernization act, which was introduced by the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.
    As the minister, my colleague from Saint‑Maurice—Champlain, mentioned, this bill is an attempt to update and strengthen the Investment Canada Act through seven amendments.
    I will not list them all, but I will say that the government is seeking to streamline the minister's ability to investigate national security reviews of investments, strengthen penalties, create a list of industries in which acquisitions would automatically be subject to national security reviews, give the minister the power to impose interim conditions, remove the Governor in Council from the process for making an order for further national security reviews and substitute the minister, and improve coordination with international partners.
    The act was last modernized in 2009. It is true that an update is needed. As my colleague from South Shore—St. Margarets and shadow minister for industry mentioned, I can confirm from the outset that we will be voting in favour of this bill at second reading. We will, however, work to make improvements to it.
    If there is one phrase that sums up how we feel about this bill, it is “too little, too late”. After eight years of this Liberal government approving countless acquisitions of Canadian companies by state-owned firms, we are skeptical that protecting our national security interests is important to this government.
    There is no shortage of examples of breaches. There have been numerous cases over the past few years where this government failed to take the real threats posed by foreign investments seriously.
    I am proud to be a member of the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology. Over the past two years, we have examined several cases of government failures during transactions and contracting processes that had the potential to compromise national security.
    I will share a few examples, some of which are very disturbing.
    In January 2022, the Minister of Industry failed to follow his own guidelines when he fast-tracked the takeover of the Canadian company Neo Lithium by Chinese state-owned Zijin Mining without a national security review.
    It seems to me that when a company controlled by the Chinese Communist regime wants to buy a Canadian company, that should raise a red flag. Unfortunately, that did not happen in this case. We are talking about rare materials that are important in dealing with climate change, for making more batteries and such. Lithium is an extremely important element in the production of batteries. A review should have been done.
    As I just mentioned, this is a Canadian company specializing in critical minerals, like lithium. Unfortunately, this government did not sound the alarm or issue warnings. We should already be doing everything we can to protect our companies in such a key sector, but, when the buyer has ties to the Chinese Communist regime, that is stating the obvious. A serious and rigorous review should have automatically been considered.
    The Standing Committee on Industry and Technology undertook an urgent study on this subject to investigate this questionable transaction. Following this study, we made three recommendations.
    The first recommendation reads as follows: “That the government create a formalized and transparent which government departments provide advice to the Minister...regarding decisions made under the Investment Canada Act”.
    The second recommendation reads as follows, “That the Minister issue a notice...for all investments by firms from authoritarian regimes considered to be state-owned enterprises under the Investment Canada Act”.
    It is worth noting that in China, the government often controls many companies, either partially or fully, through various means, so we need to have a closer look at that.
    The third recommendation reads, “That the Minister release in a timely manner a full and comprehensive Critical Minerals Strategy”.
     A year has passed, but it is clear that nothing has been done in that regard, unfortunately.
    I will give a second example of a dubious contract. In December 2022, the RCMP awarded a contract for sensitive communications equipment to Sinclair Technologies, which is a subsidiary of Norsat.


    It is important to note that Norsat, which was founded and based in Richmond, British Columbia, had itself been acquired by Hytera Communications. Who owns Hytera?
    It is headquartered in China and is therefore partly owned by the Communist regime of the People's Republic of China. The company is even a major supplier to China's national security department. The $500,000 contract was awarded without any thorough investigation or verification, even though it is known within the federal public service that China and the companies it controls have attempted to interfere in Canadian affairs.
    When the media broke the story, the minister responsible took swift action and cancelled the contract. Still, it is astounding that, once again, no one in government saw this coming, no one realized how dangerous the situation was.
    Hytera has been charged with 21 counts of espionage in the United States. President Biden has banned the company from doing business in the U.S., but it is free to operate here, no problem. The Prime Minister trusts everyone. Forgive me for questioning the severity of what the government wanted to do at that time.
     I have one final, particularly troubling example that I would like to present here. It was identified by the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates. In 2020, the Minister of Foreign Affairs awarded a contract to the Chinese company Nuctech, founded by the son of the former secretary general of the Chinese Communist Party, to supply X-ray equipment to 170 Canadian embassies and consulates. The contract was worth $6.8 million.
    Although it was assured that this equipment would not be connected to embassy networks, the contracts included delivery, installation, and maintenance. Again, this is a question of national security. It is extremely important to verify these things.
    During his testimony before the committee, David Mulroney, Canada's former ambassador to China, had some very harsh, but very fair, words for the government. He said that the experience gives us a troubling glimpse into this government's incompetence in dealing with China, considering that it has received clear, daily warnings that China is a strategic challenge to our country. However, there is no sign that the government is any more aware, no sign it has developed a greater sense of urgency to identify and better manage China-related issues. There is no evidence of any efforts to galvanize the government as a whole. All departments and agencies need to make an urgent effort to ensure that this does not happen.
    This shows an appalling lack of leadership. Once again, history has repeated itself. We are hoping for changes to the bill. After second reading, it will go to committee, where we will be able to propose amendments.
    I could say a lot more about this bill, but it is no different from everything else. Everything is broken.



    Mr. Speaker, the Harper government increased the threshold above which a foreign takeover of a Canadian firm is reviewed, from $300 million to a billion.
    Does the member stand by that decision or will he support reducing the current threshold to zero, so that every prospective transaction for either state-owned or state-controlled enterprises triggers a review?


    Mr. Speaker, when we made that decision several years ago, the reality was that the value of international investments was much higher. We wanted the flexibility to conduct the reviews for contracts within those amounts.
    Yes, I agree with the amounts. Given the current cost of living, the cost of building or repairing a home or buying a business has increased spectacularly because of the inflation caused by the current government. Inevitably, greater flexibility was required in conducting these reviews.
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague raised some very troubling points in his speech.
    There seems to be a trend. Year after year, the number of foreign investments made in Canada goes up, as does their value. According to the latest available data, there were 1,255 applications for a total of $87 billion. Only eight of those applications were reviewed.
    This bill would bump the number of applications reviewed up a bit, to 24. That is barely 2%. It does not sound like that is enough.
    What should the government do to improve this bill?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my Bloc colleague for that very important question.
    We will vote in favour of the bill at second reading. Together, we can make sure all the necessary elements are in place to do a review. Obviously, China is not the only country that could pose a national security risk to Canada. We want to work together to make sure the strictest standards and safeguards are in place to prevent incidents like those we have seen in recent years.
    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to hear that the Conservative Party will be voting in favour of this bill. It is important to make investments before things get difficult. Can he comment on the fact that it really is important to modernize the international trade regulations?
    Mr. Speaker, I completely agree with my colleague that we need to implement the necessary safeguards to prevent national security risks for Canadians, whether it be in telecommunications, business or health. In every area, we need to ensure that these safeguards are broad enough to ensure that nothing harmful gets through and avoid this type of incident.


    Mr. Speaker, in the questions and responses, I think there has been some confusion about what this bill addresses, which is investment by foreign state-owned enterprises as opposed to foreign investment that is private and not from authoritarian state-owned enterprises. I wonder if the member could use the remaining time to ensure that we understand the difference.



    Mr. Speaker, my colleague is correct. Indeed, companies run or controlled by entities such as China, which is a communist regime, pose a risk. The threat to Canada comes from that type of country. There is a fundamental difference between private companies and companies run by countries.


    Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to rise on behalf of my constituents from Kelowna—Lake Country.
    I am here today to speak on Bill C-34. Since Confederation, people from all over the world have believed in Canada as a place worth investing in, but an open-door policy for investment will only improve the public good if we keep our eyes wide open to see who comes through our door.
    In this, the Liberals have proven far too lax and have been asleep for eight years. It is a different time than it was generations ago and different than even eight years ago. A business that leaves its door open and unattended would swiftly go broke. So, too, would a country that does not recognize the difference between an investing free market ally and untrustworthy regimes.
    I am glad, in the name of improving our economic and national security, that this legislation has been put forward in this bill before us today to strengthen the Investment Canada Act, but I cannot hide my disappointment that the Liberals have dragged their feet for eight years to do so and still provide legislation that, if I am being honest, is really only half-finished.
    What we have before us is a bill that asks Parliament to protect the security of foreign investment by granting more power to the very ministers who ignored foreign investment threats. Traditionally, when the security guard falls asleep, he does not get a promotion the next day. The laundry list of these instances runs quite long in the eight years of the Liberals in power, so I will only provide a few examples of the government's negligence in the name of time today.
    In 2017, the Minister of Industry failed to request a full national security review of the acquisition of B.C.-based telecommunications company Norsat International and its subsidiary, Sinclair Technologies by the China-based Hytera Communications.
    In 2019, that minister failed again to request a full national security review when the Chinese Sinomine Resources purchased the Manitoba-based Tantalum Mining Corporation, one of Canada's largest lithium producers.
    In 2020, the Minister of Foreign Affairs approved another China-based company in Nuctech to supply security equipment to 170 Canadian embassies and consulates.
    In 2022, that same foreign affairs minister then became the Minister of Industry and approved the takeover of Canada's Neo Lithium Corp. by a Chinese state-owned enterprise with no national security review.
    To talk about this one for a moment, this undermined Canada's supply chain opportunities. Lithium is classified as a critical mineral in Canada, which Ottawa says are critical to Canada's economy and imperative to battery storage, in particular for the electric vehicle industry. The regime of China is establishing global dominance on securing critical mineral assets and intellectual property, which are imperative to high-tech manufacturing, including electric vehicles. This is a prime example of when the subjective authority is given to one person, a minister, as opposed to having solid laws and policies.
    Just last month it was discovered that the Minister of Public Safety allowed the RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency to sign equipment deals with Hytera Communications despite the United States having banned them from doing business after charging them with 21 counts of espionage. Communications technologies, security equipment and lithium mining are integral parts of Canadian national security and the security of our allies.
    Lithium mining and the export of other critical minerals are vital to breaking western reliance on Chinese-made electronics. We are blessed in Canada with some of the continent's greatest quantities of minable minerals. Still, as I have outlined today, the Liberal government has been more receptive to providing access to our natural resources to our foes than to our friends. State-owned enterprises are not operating separately from the interests of their centralized autocratic governments.
    Sadly, it has taken until year eight of the Liberal government to realize that. It has also taken it eight years to develop a critical minerals strategy, leaving us behind in supplying ourselves and our allies. I will mention that the Liberal strategy on critical minerals really is not a comprehensive strategy.


    The International Energy Agency forecasts that by 2030, the production of electric vehicles could reach 43 million units per year, with production valued at more than $567 billion U.S.
     Robin Goad, president and chief executive officer of Fortune Minerals Limited, said that his company has been speaking with the federal government about critical minerals for more than five years but has yet to see substantive action. Their proposed mine would supply Canada with minerals like cobalt, gold and copper, and provide much-needed employment to Canadians in the Northwest Territories. Mr. Goad put it best when he said of the government, on critical minerals, that “it's all smoke and mirrors right now” and “It's time we stop talking about this and actually [start] doing something.”
    Mined-in-Canada cobalt, graphite, lithium and nickel could become made-in-Canada batteries supplying our allies' electric needs while improving our environment. Instead, the Liberals chose to drag their feet on clean, green prosperity for Canadians. A Conservative government will do something. We will recognize that our natural resources are Canadians' opportunities for prosperity, not bureaucracy.
     I previously sat on the industry committee and some of this work has been done on previous studies, including the critical minerals study and the study on the acquisition of Neo Lithium. The witness testimony during the Neo Lithium study brought out how the discretionary nature of the current legislation has left Canada vulnerable. The informal decision-making process has had little transparency and accountability. As well, testimony stated how having a government department lead a national security review process, instead of those who are security experts, was concerning on how this could protect Canada's assets.
    Similarly, Conservatives at the industry committee are prepared to do the hard work in amending this legislation to enforce the precautions the Liberal ministers consistently forgot to take.
    To summarize, on these changes to the Investment Canada Act, it is a very difficult world right now, with unstable regimes in the world. The Liberals have been asleep for eight years, and this has left us vulnerable. This has been partially studied already at the industry committee, of which I was formerly a member.
     Under the Prime Minister, Canada has failed to conduct full security reviews on acquisitions within Canada by Chinese regime state-owned enterprises. This is at the same time when the Prime Minister cannot find a business case for LNG while Germany and Japan are begging for it.
     Conservatives will work hard to create jobs, bolster our allies and protect Canada's intellectual and resource assets. Conservatives want to ensure that this long-overdue update of the Investment Canada Act legislation features an automatic review system, as well as a net benefit analysis of any investment by a state-owned enterprise. This is just plain common sense. We would not wish to allow the entry of foreign state competitors into critical areas of Canada's security and economy.
    Similarly, Conservatives will seek to allow the government to list and completely prohibit state-owned enterprises from countries with which Canada should not be doing business at this time. I am sure no constituent of mine would wish to see a Putin-backed enterprise buying into any Canadian company.
    Let us ensure that this bill can draw that red line. We cannot have the uncertainty that would be created by selling off our critical mineral assets when we need these minerals for our modern world, including for electric batteries.
    After eight years of blindfolds from the government on foreign acquisition of Canadian companies, intellectual property, intangible assets and the data of Canadians, Conservatives at the industry committee will do what we can to ensure that this bill fully protects our economic and national security interests from nations that do not wish us well. We need to encourage investment, while at the same time protecting Canadian interests.


    Mr. Speaker, the necessity for this legislation, given the changes that have been happening, is extremely important. The member in her speech talked about the fact that things are different than they were 20 years ago or even just a few years ago. The reality is that, as we look to attract new investment and continue to open our country to investment from the world, we need to have secure legislation in place to ensure that the integrity of our economic system and our political system is kept in place.
    I am wondering if the member can comment on how we can properly balance that and bring that investment into our country, investment like that in my neighbouring riding of Hastings—Lennox and Addington, which is represented by a Conservative member, with the largest battery-manufacturing plant in North America. How do we ensure that we can have that proper balance in our country while also bringing in economic activity?
    Mr. Speaker, absolutely, this is part of why this legislation is very important. We also need to add in a few other things that Conservatives will be asking for when and if this moves forward, so that we can protect Canadian interests.
    It really comes down to looking at the regimes with regard to state-owned enterprises. There were a number of recommendations that were made at the industry committee. Not all of those recommendations went into this act. That is one of the things we will be looking at. There was a lot of testimony that went into that.
    Conservatives will be bringing forth other recommendations to actually make this even stronger.


    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. I think we both agree that this bill needs to be improved. However, in my opinion, given the overly limited interpretation by law clerks in committee, any amendments that can be made are too often limited.
    The Bloc Québécois believes that the government should introduce another bill to better control foreign investments in general, particularly with regard to retaining our corporate head offices, our economic levers and control of our resources.
    What does my hon. colleague think about that?


    Mr. Speaker, there are some parts of this bill that are very vague. As an example, the legislation does not make changes to the act's definition of a state-owned enterprise, and just that one piece, in itself, could be considered very vague.
    I think we need to look at what recommendations for amendments are being brought forth by all parties. That work will, if this bill moves forward, happen at the committee stage, where all members can dig in the weeds, look at what recommendations everyone is bringing forth, assess them and go from there.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the work that the member for Kelowna—Lake Country did on the industry committee's study on this issue, in terms of this act, in the last Parliament, which made nine recommendations. This bill addresses only two of those nine recommendations. Recommendation 1 from that report, which I think would address a lot of the concerns of members, was that the threshold for investments made by state-owned enterprises in Canada, for the review on national security or net benefit, be reduced from $415 million to zero.
    I would like to know whether the member has any views on that aspect.
    Mr. Speaker, that is something absolutely worth considering and it should really be considered in this.
    As I said in my speech, we know that it is a very different time than it was 10 or 15 years ago. We need to be amending our laws and our legislation to better reflect what the current environment is, the current economic environment and safety precautions, the current situation in the world. Based on the current environment that we are seeing with some of these regimes that are in the world, which have made very public what some of their plans are, we need to take that into consideration when developing legislation.


     Mr. Speaker, what should the number one job of a federal government be? I have always told my constituents that it is national security, our safety and security.
    Last night, as I was preparing my remarks, I asked Dr. Google what the top priority should be for a national government. Lo and behold, up pops a website for Canada's federal government, which states, under “National Security”, “The first priority of the Government of Canada is to protect the safety and security of Canadians both at home and abroad.” That made me feel pretty good at first. I thought to myself that I was on the right track, and I was glad that the Liberal government places safety and security as its top priority. That made me happy. Unfortunately, I then felt disturbed when I started to think about it, because, as we have seen so much with the Liberal government, rhetoric and words are one thing, and doing is another.
    Members might ask why. It is because I feel that so much of what the Liberal government and the Prime Minister do actually undermines the safety, security and protection of Canadians at home, within our borders.
    The Liberals are weakening our justice system by removing mandatory minimums. There was a report recently in Vancouver that 40 or so criminals have done 6,000 crimes. That is the Liberal method, to catch and release. That is okay, I suppose, for fishing stocks, to catch a fish and let it go, but it is not good when it comes to criminals, when we have increased problems on transit with random attacks on people, and when a killer who is out on bail murders a police officer. This is not right. Canadians are not feeling protected at home by their justice system. It is a shame and a disgrace. It is not fulfilling the government's priority with respect to our security.
    With respect to our national security, we have let our hair grow. Maybe that was okay back in the 1960s, but we have just let it go. We are thousands of troops short. We have obsolete equipment. The Liberal government said that it was not going to buy the F-35 fighter jets and instead decided to buy older planes, the F-18s, from the Australian air force. It has now decided that this is not working out so well and it had better get some new equipment. The Minister of National Defence has let things go with respect to our military.
    I was also watching reports on Twitter and, big deal, Canada sent one tank to Ukraine. That was brought up in the House and the response was that it was actually four tanks, because three more are on the way. Meanwhile, the Ukrainians are losing hundreds of tanks over there, but Canada does not have much to send because our cupboards are bare.
     This is personal for me, because I was raised in a Royal Canadian Air Force family. I was born in Germany and lived in bases all throughout Canada. Even from a young age, my mind was on the military and our national defence. I also served in the military after finishing high school.
    Our national defence is not a priority. I will say that categorically.
    Bill C-34 is an attempt to address an important national security risk, namely identifying and responding to economic security threats from foreign investments. I think this is good. The Conservatives will be supporting its moving to second reading because it needs a lot more teeth.


    Much of what we have seen, and what I have seen since being elected in 2019, is just rhetoric. It is smoke and mirrors to make it look like the Liberals are doing something when they are not.
    November 9, 1989, is a day that I remember well, along with the months and years that followed. What happened? The Berlin Wall that separated East and West Germany began to be dismantled. Numerous countries had been under communist regimes. Many are now part of NATO. There have been great changes. It was quite amazing. People were set free from communism without shots being fired in Europe. There was euphoria. It seemed miraculous, and maybe it was.
    I found, as I have gone in my communities and talked to people, that those who are most concerned about what is happening in Canada in terms of freedom and security are those from eastern Europe who used to be under communist regimes. They are very concerned about what they see. They can see through the bluster of the Liberal government.
    The United States became the only undisputed superpower. Western countries, including Canada, let our militaries go to pot. However, the world has changed in the past 30 years. Russia has armed itself to the teeth, and we have seen an invasion. We are coming to the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and Conservatives support the efforts to oppose it, as do the other parties.
    There is even more of a danger happening, and this has emerged in Communist China. China is an economic and military superpower that wants to extend its economic, military and political power and influence. It is threatening its neighbours. It is expanding control.
    I have been to China, and it is a beautiful country, but its autocratic communist government is suppressing its own population. There is a lot of concern worldwide and among our military partners, whether it be Five Eyes, the United States, the U.K. or other countries, about what we are doing in Canada.
    China has a larger navy than the United States. Our military partners are wondering why we are giving a country, a military and economic superpower like China, full access to secrets, our people and surveillance. It is a problem. My other colleagues have mentioned some of the problems we have had, such as Huawei, which actually used technology from Nortel, a Canadian company.
    It is a big concern. This just came out a few hours ago in The Globe and Mail. It said, “China employed a sophisticated strategy to disrupt Canada's democracy in the 2021 federal election campaign as Chinese diplomats and their proxies backed the re-election of Justin Trudeau's Liberals...and worked to defeat Conservative politicians”.


    The member cannot use the name of a member even in a quote.
    The hon. member for Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge.
    Mr. Speaker, I should have edited that quote.
    Some of the technology has gotten into the Canada Border Services Agency, other security and RCMP. We need to change this. We need to protect Canadians and pass some of the amendments the Conservatives have brought forward.
    Mr. Speaker, it should be remembered that the former Conservative government signed a foreign investment protection act with China that protected its investments in the event that Canada wanted to change legislation or do things in the interests of security.
    Can the hon. member reflect on what the future of FIPA might be now that China and other countries have shown their true colours?
    Mr. Speaker, in 2017 there was a Chinese company called Hytera that purchased a B.C. company, Norsat. The Liberal minister of the day said that what was happening was no big deal. However, Hytera was brought up on 21 charges of espionage in the United States and banned from doing service; we invited them to do this.
    We need to take care of business here and take our national security much more seriously.


    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. We know foreign investment is important in a globalized economy.
    In 2001, which was before China became a member of the World Trade Organization, Jacques Parizeau wrote, “We do not condemn the rising tide; we build levees to protect ourselves.”
    Unfortunately, weakening the Investment Canada Act has caused those levees to break. We agree that Bill C‑34 offers better protection, but it is not good enough.
    I would like my colleague to comment on that.
    Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that we do a lot of trade with China. The imports and exports are very important for our economy.
    This new bill should include the acquisitions of any foreign state-owned enterprise. We cannot just rely on the fact that a company is worth $500 million or more. Every company that is directly or indirectly managed by an autocratic government must be included in this bill.


    Mr. Speaker, on the issue of protecting Canadian workers or ensuring that they are at the forefront for investments, Conservatives have a long record of prioritizing foreign investors over Canadian workers. Does the member think that protecting Canadian jobs and workers should be at the forefront of any decision on the net benefit of a foreign investment in Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Party supports a strong economy and well-paying jobs for all Canadians, regardless of their ethnicity or anything else, in all parts of our country. That is key. However, we believe that we perhaps need to look for other sources and other purchasers, rather than state-run companies, for such things as strategic mines. That is for our own and our partners' national security.


    Mr. Speaker, recommendation number one in the industry committee's report, which unfortunately did not get picked up in Bill C-34, is that the threshold for a takeover of assets, or of corporate shares, by a state-owned enterprise should be set to zero. This would require a deep review of any such acquisition.
    Could my colleague comment on whether that is a gap in the bill that should be fixed?
    Mr. Speaker, I certainly agree with this recommendation. I believe I said it in French, but there should not be a threshold of $400 million or something before the review kicks in. It should start right at zero, not only for a company that is a new purchaser but also for acquisitions of another friendly company, a state-owned Canadian company, moving into purchasing in other strategic industries. I think in any industry, any purchases need to be considered.
    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to take the floor today to talk about a very important subject for Canada. It is near and dear to my heart because of the significant ramifications it has for our political system. I will get to the somewhat shocking news we read in The Globe and Mail earlier today, but first I will talk a little about how this bill is lacking and what Conservatives would like to see at committee to strengthen this bill.
    I will start with the motivation or what has been driving this. Why are we so concerned about the friends and insiders of the Liberal Party getting rich for the past eight years? This includes not just the government's Liberal friends who live in Canada but the ones who live in far-off lands as well.
    I have a level of admiration for China because of its basic dictatorship, foreshadowing what these last eight years have been about. We have a Prime Minister who admires a foreign dictatorship, the People's Republic of China. Now, if the stories in The Globe and Mail are true, although I know the government likes to dismiss them as false, what has been discovered is very scary. This is that the Chinese Communist Party influenced the last two elections here in Canada.
    What is worse is that the Prime Minister knew about this. This is our democracy. It is for the people who come to this room to determine the direction of our country, and I am deeply concerned about the influence of foreign actors. Conservatives support this bill going to committee so we can fix it. It needs to address that glaring hole of why things have been going the way they have in Canada. I believe any state-owned enterprise needs to have an analysis done on those transactions, especially for China.
    The People's Republic of China has been gobbling up companies around the world. We do not have to look too far. If we look at Africa, we will see the influence it now has on those countries. Obviously, the Chinese Communist Party wants influence in Canada. It appears it already has influence with the government because it illegally supported the government in the last election by donating money to 11 candidates. We do not yet know who these candidates are. Is it the Prime Minister? Is it a cabinet minister? Is it a member of an opposition? There is no reason why we cannot find out.


    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. We are extremely off topic right now, and if the member wants to go off topic, I would love to talk about Justice Rouleau's report that was just tabled. I would love to have a discussion about that right now. However, it is important that we stick to what is actually at hand, this piece of legislation, and not go off on tangents like the member is doing.
    I would remind all members that the topic at hand is Bill C-34.
    The hon. member for Saskatoon—University.
    Mr. Speaker, the bill is about national security. I cannot think of a more important national security issue than a foreign country influencing our election. It is absolutely tied to this because we know that this is—
    There is another point of order by the hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Mr. Speaker, the member appears to be challenging your ruling. If that is the case, he should challenge the Chair, and we will allow that process to take place. It is incumbent upon all members to respect the position of the Chair and your authority. You have made a ruling on this, and now the member is challenging it.
    I will again remind everybody that we are speaking to Bill C-34. While we do give a lot of leeway on what we debate and discuss in this chamber, I would remind the member to come back to the bill at hand.
    The hon. member for Saskatoon—University.
    Mr. Speaker, I am not challenging the authority of your chair. How this ties into the Republic of China is that it is influencing our elections, and the bill is about stopping the influence of countries like that in our economy. That is the connection. It is as clear as day.
    The member across the way is engaging in distraction, suggesting that it is somehow wrong to talk about the influence China has had on two elections. Eleven candidates received illegal donations, and we have yet to find out who these individuals are. Who is protecting those 11 individuals? What are they hiding? We know this is coming from a country we have concerns with.
    The bill would try to stop the undue influence on our economy, and there are reports out today saying that this country went one step further. We know that the People's Republic of China is influencing other countries through economic purchases in their economies. However, it just bypassed it all and bought a government with illegal donations, hiring people to work in elections and then sending those volunteers off to work on Liberal-friendly campaigns. Those are the reports in The Globe and Mail that are so troubling. It goes to the root of why we are here.
    Why does this all matter? We are supposed to be making choices for the benefit of this country, not for a foreign country that is, for the time being, in bed with one of the parties in Canada.
    The bill needs to be strengthened. We need to do a net analysis on all transactions from the People's Republic of China. We have to bring the threshold down to zero. These are recommendations we heard at committee, and when the bill does finally get to committee, I hope we do add that. We need to add teeth to the bill.
     There are a couple of things that are done well in the bill so far. One is the increase in penalties, because of inflation of all things. Everything is getting hurt by inflation. However, the bill would increase the penalties given to companies that would break this proposed act, and we are happy to note that increase. There are other common-sense things we can do to protect our economy from being bought out by the People's Republic of China.
    Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the member's comments. The bill we are discussing is on the Investment Canada Act and whether we need to update it given some changes in the world.
    I will ask a question that I asked earlier of a Conservative member.
    Increasingly, foreign investors see the Canadian health sector as place in which they can invest. We have the example of Anbang, a Chinese insurance company that was later nationalized or seized by the Chinese government, which is a major investor in long-term care homes in my province. I wonder if the member agrees with us in the New Democratic Party that we need to update this piece of legislation before us to take into account investments like these, which put the health of Canadians at risk.


    Mr. Speaker, the member is right on the sector aspect of the bill. The minister is the one who would decides what sectors would be exempt and the ones that would be included in this, which is another issue we have with the bill. Things can change in the regulations without a vote in this place. However, we can see where one might pick one sector over another for political benefit. This is what I believe we have in Canada right now, with the government definitely benefiting from a close and tight relationship with the Government of China and the influence it is trying to enact on our people and our economy. That is what we need to improve on.
    I really look forward to getting the bill to committee so that we can put some teeth into it to do the net benefit analysis on transactions so we can see, in a transparent way, up or down, what is taking place out there and whether there are purchases of crucial parts of our economy.


    Mr. Speaker, according to the latest data released, last year, there were 1,255 foreign investment projects totalling $87 billion. Only eight of those projects were reviewed. With this bill, that number would increase to 24, which is barely 2% of foreign investment projects. Does my colleague think that is enough?


    Mr. Speaker, no, it is not enough. We need to get it down to zero dollars.
     This is the virtual signalling that we have from the Liberals. Every day they talk a big game, but when they actually introduce something that is supposed to counter or to do what they have talked about, it does not. That is the most frustrating thing about being here in Ottawa. They are all talk and no action.
     Here is an example where we could actually strengthen our country, through this, to make sure that purchases from foreign state enterprises are scrutinized. For whatever reason, the Liberals do not want that scrutiny. One must ask why. Why would they be hiding from the scrutiny that would come from having that transparent process, where every transaction, not even just over a dollar amount but anything more than zero, would trigger the net benefit analysis? I hope our colleagues in the Bloc would support us at committee to strengthen these measures.
    Mr. Speaker, the member for Kingston and the Islands seems to be confused around what the bill is about.
    It is about the issue of national security and doing national security reviews of takeovers. There is a long record of the government not approving national security reviews for takeovers, such as Hytera, which was charged with espionage in the United States; the Tanco Mine; and many others, and having the RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency actually buy equipment from those entities.
    The security issue of state-owned enterprises and interference in our country's economy and elections is what the issue is all about. I would like to give the member an opportunity to clarify a little more what the member for Kingston and the Islands seemed to be so confused about.
    Mr. Speaker, I do not think the Liberal members are confused at all. They know exactly what they are doing. They are helping a foreign state actor influence our economy and now our elections. To that point, we have an example.
    In 2020, the Department of Foreign Affairs awarded a contract to the Chinese-based company Nuctech to supply X-ray equipment to, of all places, embassies. This is not a mistake. They are doing this on purpose. The only reason why this would be taking place is to let a foreign state actor into our embassies, to scan documents and articles going into embassies across the world. This is not incompetence; it is by design.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I even quickly put on a tie because I was a little disappointed with the comments from the member for South Shore—St. Margarets in relation to the suggestion that any member of the House would somehow be involved with undermining Canadian democracy or the Canadian economy to any extent.
    I do not know where it is exactly in the procedural rules, but I think that would perhaps be a little unwarranted. I am wondering if you might be able to address that comment.


    We are getting into debate. I will confer with the Table, but I do not think that is a point of order.
    Continuing debate, the hon. member for Calgary Nose Hill.
    Mr. Speaker, the world has changed in recent years. It is a reality that all people in this place need to confront themselves with on behalf of their constituents. What I mean by saying that the world has changed is that there are more state actors or other countries that are becoming increasingly hostile to the interests of our country and our constituents.
    As this is happening, we need to remind ourselves that our duty in this place is to protect our national sovereignty so that our constituents have bright, prosperous and safe futures, free from persecution, free from the influence of other nations that do not share our country's values of freedom, liberty, personal opportunity and diversity. These are all things we have to work really hard to maintain.
    Maintaining and defending Canada's national sovereignty is a big job. There are a lot of different aspects. There is maintaining our national defence and our defensive capacity. The government really has not done a good job of that, frankly.
    What we are debating today is whether we have adequate protections for our economy, in terms of protecting our national sovereignty.
    When we think about hostile nation-states wanting to exert influence on our country, sometimes we are tempted to think about that problem in really Hollywood-like terms, with planes coming in and invading our country. We have, in recent days, had incursions into our airspace, which sort of proves my point further.
    One of the big ways our national sovereignty has been threatened is by the lack of a legal framework and tools that prevent hostile state actors from influencing our economy in negative ways.
    What I mean by that are things like being able to purchase major components of Canada's natural resources, particularly critical minerals like lithium, or even hostile state actors being able to own intellectual property on really important things for protecting national sovereignty in the future like, let us say, quantum computing.
    We have a duty in this place to ensure that, with respect to nations that do not share our values but, in fact, show hostility, aggression and a desire to erode Canada's sovereignty, we put in place safeguards to prevent them from doing so.
    What I think this Liberal government has done with this bill is to try to distract Canadians. They are trying to say “oh, here is a bill that might do some things”, but it really does not get to the heart of the fact that, as I have said, the world has changed and that, given that, we need to have very strong protections to ensure our sovereignty is protected. It needs protection in terms of hostile state actors influencing our economy or, in fact, even taking resources, intellectual property or other things back to their nations that could, in turn, be used to threaten our country and the people we all represent.
    I do not think this bill is adequate at all. I want to talk about why, and what the government should be doing to protect our sovereignty, in terms of these economic measures.
    Right now, if a state-owned enterprise, a company that is owned, in part or wholly, by another government, another country, wants to buy, let us say, a mine or something like that, that transaction should be subject to a review, both in terms of national security and in terms of whether this transaction is in the best interests of Canadians.
    What this bill wants to do is take away the weak, inadequate process that exists right now, and instead of having it go through a cabinet process, where there are people from across the country, different portfolios, different lenses, looking at this, to put all that power into one minister.
     I have a big concern with the government, given what it did with SNC-Lavalin. When the Prime Minister was confronted with a cabinet minister who did her job and said, “Whoa, I am not doing this”, he just shunted her aside and replaced her with a minister who was more acquiescent.


    I am very hesitant to give the government, and particularly the Prime Minister, power here. Let us say he is under the influence of other nations or under lobbying influence, as we saw in the SNC-Lavalin scandal. If he is faced with that type of pressure again, I do not think he has the chops to stand firm in the best interests of Canadians because he has proven otherwise.
    With this bill, the fact that issues would not go to cabinet waters down the process, which should be of grave concern to all Canadians. Certainly an amendment should be considered to remove that process. They should go to cabinet. I cannot understand why they would not.
    The other thing to note is that because the world has changed, we know there are countries and state actors that employ this type of capital, like state-owned enterprises, to try to purchase major parts of the Canadian economy. There is a really high threshold in terms of dollar value for what would trigger a review under the current process. For certain countries, I feel that threshold should be zero.
    There are some countries that we know are acting against the interests of Canadians and are arguably challenging our sovereignty. Any time those countries want to buy up some of our critical resources or critical intellectual property, there should be an automatic national security review to review whether this is in the best interests of the country. Then parliamentarians and the government can show accountability to our constituents and show that we are not just letting countries be hostile to our country by buying up parts of it. I think that threshold should be zero, and it should be amended in this bill.
    There should also be a list of countries that have shown aggression and hostility to this country or to our allies so that they automatically get a review. If they are on this list, there is automatically a review for this type of transaction. That should also be an amendment in this bill.
    The other thing to note is that the bill talks about just looking at acquisitions of companies. It is not looking at the acquisition of assets. What do I mean by that? I know there have been a lot of concerns about certain countries that have been hostile to Canada buying up farmland in Canada or buying up critical mines that produce things like lithium. This is of course a substance used in really important things like batteries. It is a really rare earth mineral, and it is important we retain sovereignty of it. If these hostile state actors are trying to avoid scrutiny by our government through a back door, there should be an asset review.
    I want to circle back to why I do not think power should be consolidated in the hands of the minister. This week, our Ethics Commissioner said in an article, “The act has been there for 17 years for God’s sake”. He essentially talks about the Prime Minister, the cabinet and a lot of members in the Liberal Party not having a moral compass to know what is right and wrong, not holding the cabinet to account and letting this leader continue.
    This is why the bill needs to be amended. There is too much power concentrated in a group of people who think they can get away with things that are in their best interest. When we are talking about maintaining national sovereignty, we need more safeguards and not less for these types of economic transactions.
    In closing, I want to talk about what my colleague from Saskatchewan said. This morning, there was a report that said the Chinese Communist Party was directly influencing elections here in Canada. Our sovereignty is under threat, and we should be ensuring strict safeguards. We should be acknowledging the world has changed and that our constituents deserve greater levels of protection, and should be looking at how assets might be produced or taken from Canada and potentially used against us in the future.
    I am worried that because this bill does so little and waters down the fiduciary authority of cabinet to look at these transactions, we are putting ourselves in a more precarious position as opposed to a stronger position, particularly given the ethical lapses of the government and particularly given the inability of the Liberal backbenchers to stand up and hold their ministers, who give contracts to their friends, to account. The Prime Minister has had two ethics violations. How is he still the leader of their party? Because of the lack of moral compass the Ethics Commissioner talked about, there need to be amendments to this bill.
    As much as we really like having people join us in the chamber, they cannot applaud or react to what is happening on the floor of the House of Commons. However, I thank them for joining us here today.

Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]



Criminal Code

    The House resumed from November 29, 2022, consideration of the motion that Bill C-295, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (neglect of vulnerable adults), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Vancouver Centre for her bill.
    Bill C‑295 seeks to amend the Criminal Code to create an offence for long-term care facilities, their owners and their managers to fail to provide necessaries of life to residents of the facilities.
     Furthermore, it would allow the court to make an order prohibiting the owners and the managers of such facilities from being, through employment or volunteering, in charge of or in a position of trust or authority towards vulnerable adults. It would also allow the court to consider as an aggravating factor for the purpose of sentencing the fact that an organization failed to perform the legal duty that it owed to a vulnerable adult.
    According to the logic in this bill, filling the Criminal Code with offenses is a way to help people. We will need to take the time to study this in committee.
    In practical terms, this is what the bill would do.
    Sections 214 through 320.101 of the Criminal Code constitute part VIII, which deals with offences against the person and reputation. First, Bill C‑295 would add two definitions to section 214 of the Criminal Code, namely, “long-term care facility” and “manager”, for the purpose of establishing the following criminal offences.
     Section 215 pertains to duties tending to preservation of life. The following would be added after paragraph 215(1)(b): “(b.1) as an owner or manager of a long-term care facility, to provide necessaries of life to residents of the facility; and”.
    Paragraph 215(2)(b) of the act would be replaced by the following: “(b) with respect to a duty imposed by paragraph (1)(b.1) or (c), the failure to perform the duty endangers the life of the person to whom the duty is owed or causes or is likely to cause the health of that person to be injured permanently.”
    Subsection 215.1(1), pertaining to prohibition orders, would be added. This subsection would enable the court to issue a prohibition order against any person convicted under paragraph 215(2)(b). The order would prohibit the individual from “continuing any employment, or becoming or being a volunteer in any capacity, that involves being in charge of or in a position of trust or authority towards an adult who is vulnerable by reason of age, illness, mental disorder, disability or frailty.” The court would decide the duration of the prohibition order and the sentence. There is no maximum or minimum.
     The order can be varied by a court on application of the prosecutor or the offender if the circumstances change.
    Whoever fails to comply with the order could be subject to “an indictable offence and...imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years” or to “an offence punishable on summary conviction.”
    Finally, the bill introduces sentencing factors for organizations. The act is amended by adding the following after paragraph 718.21(a): “(a.1) whether the organization was under a legal duty that was owed to vulnerable adults and failed to perform that duty”.
    The Bloc Québécois believes that it is relevant to determine whether including criminal negligence of seniors in long-term accommodation in the Criminal Code will help them get the care and services to which they are entitled. Seniors have obviously been the biggest victims of the COVID‑19 pandemic. They were overrepresented in the number of deaths and they suffered and continue to suffer the most from the aftershocks of the virus: isolation, anxiety and financial difficulties.
    It should be noted that Quebec has legislation on elder abuse and the abuse of any vulnerable adult. This legislation provides for fines and protects informants who report mistreatment.
    The Bloc Québécois believes that the federal government is exercising its prerogatives through this bill. It would give investigators additional tools. The Bloc Québécois will take the time to study the issue in committee to assess the pertinence of the bill.
    However, beyond prosecuting managers who may have committed or may commit criminal acts, it is important that our seniors receive services that improve their quality of life. In that regard, the Bloc Québécois wants to underscore the other important role the federal government must play in health care, that is, to increase health transfers to 35% of the costs of the system, rather than sign the bargain-basement deal that has just been reached.
    Finally, the Bloc Québécois would like to point out that these horror stories are not to be used as a pretext for the federal government to impose national standards on long-term care facilities. I would remind the House that the Quebec National Assembly has unanimously denounced the idea of imposing federal standards on long-term care facilities and is demanding a much more substantial increase in health transfers than what is provided for in the deal this government has managed to force down the throats of the provinces.
    On December 2, 2020, the minister responsible for seniors and informal caregivers moved the following motion:
    THAT the National Assembly reject the Government of Canada's desire to impose Canadian standards in Québec CHSLDs and long-term care facilities for the elderly, as this falls under exclusive Québec jurisdiction;


    That it express its disappointment that the federal government did not include an increase in health transfer payments in its last economic update, while the provinces must cover significant health spending costs in the context of the COVID‑19 pandemic;
    That it call on the federal government to commit to not imposing Canadian standards in Québec CHSLDs and long-term care facilities for the elderly and to increasing health transfer payments to an amount equal to 35% of healthcare network costs.
     I think it is worth revisiting this motion. The Bloc Québécois supports the unanimous position of the National Assembly and condemns the centralizing vision that pervades the House.
    I also want to remind the House that Quebec has already come up with solutions. In her report of November 23, 2021, the Quebec ombudsman identifies shortcomings and recommends measures that the Government of Quebec needs to take to ensure that this never happens again. For example, the report suggests a risk assessment and management policy, a detailed plan for strengthening long-term care homes' capacity, a personal protective equipment supply strategy, a Quebec plan for deploying emergency personnel, protocols for deploying extra staff under exceptional circumstances, a Quebec strategy for combatting labour shortages, updated computer systems, a national action plan developed by the Quebec department of health and social services to recognize the complexity of care and service provision in long-term care homes, the adoption of legislative measures that define the guiding principles that must be followed regarding living environment quality and organization, and the establishment of the procedure for applying them by regulatory means.
    Quebec already has ideas for fixing this situation. The federal government knows nothing about the reality on the ground or about these specific hospital settings, so it is not likely to be able to improve things.
     In response to this report, the Government of Quebec presented its plan for reforming the health care system. The plan includes an array of measures such as large-scale recruitment, better access to data, the construction of new hospitals, and increased accountability for executives.
    Additionally, the coroner is still investigating, and some people are calling for a public inquiry into the situation at long-term care facilities. In any case, it is up to Quebeckers to take stock of the situation and to fix their system. The problems are not going to be fixed by the federal government blundering in with its standards, unwanted and unwelcome.
    If the federal government truly wants to help the provinces and Quebec emerge from the pandemic and provide better care to our seniors, it should stop being so paternalistic. I hope that this know-it-all government has understood that. It should forget about imposing federal nationwide standards that are not a good fit for a range of different social and institutional contexts. It should actually increase health transfers, which would enable Quebec and the provinces to attract and retain more health care workers.
    Unfortunately, the Liberals are pleased as punch to have shortchanged the provinces by offering them six times less than they said was needed to get the health care system working properly. These Liberals are puffed up with pride at the cheap deal they scored, but the problems and hardships in hospitals and long-term care homes will continue because of the government's negligence.


    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Joliette, because I want to take the extra minute that he left on the table.
    I am pleased to have the opportunity to participate in the second reading debate of Bill C-295, an act to amend the Criminal Code, neglect of vulnerable adults.
    At the outset, I would like to start by applauding the member for Vancouver Centre for her leadership on this file and for emphasizing that caring for and protecting vulnerable persons and adults is of the utmost importance. It is an important topic of discussion, not only to me personally, but also to my constituents at my seniors community council meetings.
    I would like to acknowledge the following private and public long-term care facilities, along with their staff, for the great service they have been providing to the community of Richmond Hill: the Mon Sheong Care Complex, the Revera Elginwood Long Term Care Home, the Richmond Hill Retirement Residence, Delmanor Elgin Mills, Sunrise of Richmond Hill, the Langstaff Square Care Community and Mariann Home Richmond Hill.
    Protecting vulnerable residents in long-term care is a laudable and important goal, not only for me and my constituents, but also for many Canadians. This issue is of national importance. Canada's population is aging, and more persons may find themselves living in institutional care or will be in the near future. Statistics Canada reported that the number of people over the age of 65 has increased by 42% since 2010. This is the fastest-growing rate among all G7 countries. As our national demographics shift, there will likely be a corresponding increase in the number of residences offering long-term care and the number of adults residing in them.
    In addition, more than one-third of women 85 years of age or over live in care facilities. In Ontario, for example, approximately 54% of residents in long-term care are over the age of 85, and approximately 10% are over 95 years old. Importantly, it is not only seniors who live in long-term care. In Ontario, 6.6% of all residents are 64 years of age or younger.
    All residents have diverse needs, and we have a responsibility to protect them from abuse. We are so grateful for the many excellent health sector professionals who take care of our vulnerable populations. We want to ensure that all residents of long-term care facilities receive the high-quality service they deserve.
    Beyond individual harms, we must also be mindful of systemic issues that adversely impact the quality of life of residents. Systemic practices, such as understaffing, overcrowding and insufficient resources, can all harm those who have come to care settings precisely because they cannot receive the care they need at home. In light of these statistics and issues, Bill C-295 will address the systemic challenges and the harms that would continue to potentially impact a growing part of our population.
    Our criminal law already contains a wide range of measures to address the abuse and neglect of vulnerable persons, including offences of assault, fraud and failure to provide the necessaries of life. Bill C-295 will build on this framework and improve protections in the context of long-term care accommodation. Residents of long-term care facilities accounted for 43% of the COVID–19 deaths in Canada from 2020 to 2021. They were 13 times more likely to die of COVID than non-residents 69 years of age or older.
    We have seen too many harrowing situations involving seniors in recent years, and it is our responsibility to ensure that they are provided with an environment free of neglect. This is why our government doubled down on its strong leadership and action to support vulnerable adults all across the country. It will continue its collaborative work with provinces and territories to help support improvements in long-term care, including $1 billon for the creation of the safe long-term care fund and $740 million in the safe restart agreements.


    On January 31, 2023, the Government of Canada welcomed the release of complementary, independent long-term care standards from the CSA Group and the Health Standards Organization, or HSO. Together, these standards provide guidance for delivering services that are safe, reliable and centred on residents' needs, that foster a healthy and competent workforce and that create safer physical environments by promoting a culture of quality improvement and learning across long-term care homes. Additionally, budget 2021 provided $3 billion over five years to support provinces and territories in their efforts to improve long-term care in their jurisdictions.
    Currently, there are 2,039 long-term care homes in Canada. Forty-six per cent of them are public and 54% are private. The percentage of facilities that are public versus private varies considerably from province to province. For example, 86% of long-term care facilities in Quebec are public, while only 16% are public in Ontario. Whether for profit or otherwise, the operators of such facilities have significant responsibilities to their residents, and this bill would ensure that those responsibilities are fulfilled regardless of the environment where care is provided.
    Bill C-295 would provide important new tools to respond to practices that fall below the standard expected and that put seniors and other vulnerable persons at risk. COVID-19 strained our long-term care facilities and shone a spotlight on system weaknesses, offering us a key opportunity to introduce reforms and do right by our elderly and vulnerable populations.
    Bill C-295 provides us with this opportunity by introducing the following three major improvements to our Criminal Code.
    First, the bill would add a category of persons in section 215 under “Duty of persons to provide necessaries”, specifically targeting owners and managers of these facilities who fail to provide the necessities of life to their residents.
    Second, it would create a prohibition order against these people so that for a period of time determined by a judge, they are prohibited from seeking, accepting or keeping any employment, even as a volunteer, where they would be responsible for adults who are vulnerable.
    Third, as the sentencing stage is an integral part of the criminal process, following a conviction, a judge must consider a variety of factors to determine the best sentence to impose in the circumstances of the crime committed. This means that Bill C-295 would create aggravating factors at sentencing for an organization that has failed to meet its legal obligations to a vulnerable adult.
    I think the reasoning behind Bill C-295 is quite simple: that organizations have a responsibility to the vulnerable, and failure to meet this obligation must be punished in a clear and unequivocal manner.
    The situation of vulnerable people in long-term care facilities has been repeatedly denounced over the past few years, with the conditions of these facilities and the care provided coming under increased scrutiny, particularly at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. While law reform alone will not eliminate neglect and abuse in long-term care facilities, it will send an unequivocal and clear message.
    I am proud to fight on behalf of our seniors and other vulnerable populations who use Canada's care facilities. Through this bill, we can inform all facility residents that we care about their well-being and are looking out for them. We can also support the many wonderful health sector professionals who provide care to residents every day by fixing operational problems and systemic challenges in facility management.
    In closing, Bill C-295 is a crucial first step in providing a level of accountability and restoring the public's trust in Canada's long-term care system. Focusing on the role of owners and managers by proposing measures to target their criminally negligent behaviour is important. I support Bill C-295 because it recognizes the responsibility that long-term care organizations have to their residents. Neglect cannot and will not be tolerated. I urge all members to do the same.


    Mr. Speaker, today I rise to talk about Bill C-295 and the new offences it would create in cases of neglect of seniors. The neglect of seniors and vulnerable people is a serious problem in Canada, and abuse is endemic.
    Ensuring the protection of vulnerable seniors is a very personal matter for me. My grandfather and his companion were defrauded by a caregiver. They were vulnerable seniors who were victimized by an individual who they had every reason to believe they could trust. The circumstances are sadly familiar to thousands of other families who have endured senior abuse. They spent the final months of their lives worrying about money.
    My grandfather's companion of nearly 30 years not only endured my grandfather's final months of illness and death, but also feared confrontation with the individual who defrauded them and remained in their neighbourhood. She worried about running into her at the grocery store or other places. My grandfather, who was 90 years old and in ill health at the time, did not live long enough to see justice done.
    The police did not treat the case as a priority despite the case being relatively simple and straightforward. There was a poster in the police station that invited members of the public to report situations of abuse. The public communication around this problem is that it is a problem and should be reported to police, yet the police are slow to act and did not act within my grandfather's remaining time alive.
    My grandfather was luckier than many. He had the support of family and was not ruined financially by the fraud. The particular fraud was not sophisticated and it was detected. Eventually, charges were laid and an arrest was made. He was not injured in body and was not denied physical care, but he was a vulnerable person like so many other Canadians.
    I thank the member for drawing attention to the issue of vulnerable Canadians through this private member's bill. This bill is welcomed.
    Sadly, neglect does not only occur in institutional settings, but this bill would address issues where neglect within institutions occurs by making changes to the Criminal Code that would hold operators and managers of such facilities to account when they neglect to provide the necessities of life to people in their care. I think all Canadians would agree that this level of neglect is a criminal matter and ought to be a criminal matter.
    This bill would also allow courts to make an order prohibiting persons charged with certain offences from working in proximity to vulnerable Canadians. That is a good step forward as well.
    There is so much that could be done. With private member's bills, we are very limited in what we can do with the one chance we get if we draw a low number for Private Members' Business. I certainly do not blame the member for all the things her bill does not do. However, there are many problems that need to be addressed, including fraud, emotional abuse, violence against seniors, abuse, neglect and other harms that occur outside of institutional settings. These are pressing issues the government needs to deal with.


    I am disappointed by the government in this case. It has taken a private member's bill to make any headway on this issue, despite the Minister of Justice's own mandate letter, which calls upon him to take action. His mandate letter calls upon him to finalize a proper definition for “elder abuse”. It calls upon him to get better data on this problem and to establish new offences and penalties. He has not done so. This bill from a private member will, but the government, which has said this is a priority, has failed to do so.
    The bill would actually fulfill a piece of the Conservative platform that my colleagues and I were elected on, so I certainly support the member in this. It does not matter to me who gets credit in this kind of thing. We want to improve the lives of Canadians, and that is what we can often do in Private Members' Business, so I support her efforts, but I am disappointed in the government for its lack of progress in this area.
    We have a minister who was tasked with this, and I wish he had spent more time on protecting vulnerable Canadians than he has on expending enormous effort on Bill C-21, where the Liberals have had to backpedal on those amendments they put forward at committee. There was Bill C-5 that the minister put forward, which would actually weaken penalties and sentencing for violent crimes and other crimes.
    Therefore, it is disappointing that we do not have a minister who will take this seriously, but fortunately we do have a private member who is taking a positive step forward.
    We know the vulnerabilities of seniors in institutional care, like the vulnerability to neglect. This was all laid bare during the pandemic. We heard other members comment on this. The abandonment of vulnerable seniors, the failure to supply the necessities of life to seniors, is appalling. It was appalling to many Canadians, so action needed to be taken.
    It is outrageous, really, that the Canadian Armed Forces would be called in to provide care in seniors facilities. That is not the purpose of our armed forces. That is not something we would normally think of in terms of aid to civilian authority by the Canadian Armed Forces. We are thankful for their ability and the work they did, but what a failure it was, down to an individual level in some cases, and certainly a failure of the management of facilities to ensure that vulnerable Canadians are able to get the necessities of life.
    On the data, the minister's own report says there is an enormous gap and a failure to understand the extent and patterns of types of abuse, but Statistics Canada knows a bit about that. It says that between 2014 and 2019 the rate of violence against seniors grew faster than for any other age cohort, so we know that violence against seniors is on the rise. We know that fraud among seniors is on the rise.
    I support what this member is doing with her bill. I am glad that this House is now taking time for us to give public voice to the vulnerable and to ensure that, I hope, fewer families and fewer seniors spend their final months as victims of crime. With that, I thank the member for her private member's bill.


    Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to be here today as the seniors critic for the NDP to talk about Bill C-295, an act to amend the Criminal Code targeted at neglect of vulnerable adults.
    This bill would do two things. First, it would amend the Criminal Code to create a specific offence for long-term care facilities, their owners and managers to fail to provide the necessaries of life to residents of the facilities. Second, it would allow the court to make an order prohibiting the owners and the managers of such facilities from being, through employment or volunteering, in charge of or in a position of trust or authority towards vulnerable adults and to consider as an aggravating factor for the purpose of sentencing the fact that an organization failed to perform the legal duty that it owed to a vulnerable adult.
    I am going to be in support of this bill. We saw dreadful outcomes during the pandemic. So many seniors across this country faced challenges that we cannot imagine and then there were deaths beyond our imagination. It is really important, as we remember this time, to remember the men and women in uniform who serve this country, who were sent in to some long-term care facilities and saw things they were horrified to see in their own country.
    It is really important to understand that when we ask those in our military to step up for us, they are used to stepping up outside of our country in these kinds of circumstances. They were in this country and saw seniors who had died just because of neglect, because they were dehydrated. This is Canada and that should never happen. Those folks did a huge service to us, something I hope they never have to do in their own country again.
    It is also important to point out that the vast majority of seniors never enter long-term care. That is important. I hear from the Seniors Advocate in British Columbia all the time that we should remember most people stay at home and that is where they end their lives. However, when seniors move into such facilities, families and loved ones need to know those people are safe and that standards are in place, something they can put their trust in.
    We know that sometimes families move their loved ones to be closer to them from one province or territory to another. What is surprising is that the standards are different in each part of this country, which really leaves increased vulnerability. I appreciate that the government did table some long-term care standards, but the thing that was terrifying to me is that they are voluntary. A lot of good work was done in looking at those standards, making sure they made sense for long-term care, and now we see that they are voluntary.
    This worries me because it provides a huge risk to seniors and the people who love them most. Again and again, we see loved ones doing the best that they can. If they live far away or there are any kinds of challenges, knowing that their loved one is in a long-term care facility and not getting the support that they want makes people feel ill.
    I am going to quote something important by Candace Rennick, CUPE's national secretary-treasurer, who said:
    Voluntary standards did not protect the 17,000 residents of long-term care homes who have died so far because of COVID-19. Canadians want better protections for seniors. This country needs standards that are backed by the force of law. People need to know that their loved ones will spend their last days living with dignity and respect. They need to know that there will be penalties and consequences for long-term care service providers that don’t follow the rules.
    If all we have in this country is a national voluntary standard, there will never be the level of accountability that I think Canadians want to see.
    This bill would amend the Criminal Code, but I am afraid that it will not do all that it must to protect seniors. We need more long-term support for them and a practice of having more accountability. What this really means to me is that when seniors die in this situation, there need to be actual charges laid, and we are not seeing that. We are seeing families taking on long-term care facilities, and that is not right. There needs to be a process and we need to start having charges laid. That is a real deterrent.


    Graham Webb, executive director and former staff lawyer of the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly, has called the Criminal Code amendments “a very viable approach”. However, he said, “I'm really not aware of a single charge ever having being laid for the neglect of a long-term care resident. I think it’s important that the criminal justice system is able to respond when we see such flagrant cases of institutional abuse and neglect of older adults.”
    I think that is startling. Even if we see a minor change to the code, it is still not fulfilling the other end, which is the actual movement toward laying those charges and holding people accountable.
    Members know just as well as I do that when people are held to account, other people observing start paying attention. I think it is shameful that in this country seniors are so vulnerable that they can be sacrificed without a thought. They built our country. We owe them so much more, and we owe them dignity.
    One of the things I found particularly painful in my role as the seniors critic is how many people with loved ones in a seniors facility have come to my door and talked about how hard they worked to try to look after them. They could not always be there the way they wanted to, because they had to work or because they had children. Then, when they went to visit, they saw things that horrified them, and they fought in that system the best that they could and with everything they had. Now that their loved one is gone, the pain is so raw that they do not want to talk about it because of the guilt they feel. They feel guilt because our system is broken. That is wrong, and that is why we must fix this.
    To me, it goes back to the simple reality that we need to see the long-term care standards in legislation. We need to raise the bar. I get that every province and territory wants to do their own thing. I respect that, but let us make this the bar. If any province or territory wants to be higher than that bar, good for them. Let us make sure that no senior in all of Canada falls below it. Let us make sure that no family is in a position that they would think of moving their loved one from one province to another, simply so that they get better care. That is ridiculous.
    I think Canadians need to listen to those on the front lines. For example, Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition, noted that there has been “no consequence whatsoever” for the abuse and neglect that was exposed during the pandemic, or for the needless deaths of residents due to poor infection control and non-COVID-19 reasons, such as dehydration and starvation. How could a senior be starved to death in this country? This is Canada. She further noted, “I think we need to search our conscience if the lives of the elderly are not worth a formal government bill and real change with teeth.”
    As we vote on the bill before us, which hopefully people will support because it is a small change in the right direction, I hope we all think about our commitment to the people who built this country. Those people are increasingly vulnerable as they age. Think about the hard-working families who are doing everything they can to support that loved one. Think about the fact that we still do not have legislation that has teeth so that we can make sure to support seniors as they age.
    In closing, as a person who represents a rural and remote community, we also have to recognize that those in small communities often see their loved ones go far away to get long-term care. They have to travel a great distance, which means they cannot be with them. Let us all fight to make sure that wherever one's loved one is, they are safe.
    The Deputy Speaker: I recognize the member for Vancouver Centre for her right of reply.


    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank all members who spoke in favour of this bill.
    As a physician for 22 years, I saw negligence in seniors home. I saw an inability to provide the appropriate protocols of cleanliness and the right kind of care. I saw actual abuse as well. What COVID-19 did was expose this for people other than physicians like me and for Canadians, who now see the vulnerability within the system.
    We have, in the Criminal Code, the ability to protect children who are vulnerable. This bill would expand that to protect not only seniors but persons with disabilities and vulnerable adults.
    I want to point out that an important thing about this bill is that we are not talking about adults who are being taken care of by their blood relatives or by people who are related to them by marriage. We are speaking of people who are taking care of three or more vulnerable adults who are not related to them by blood or marriage. We are talking about facilities, whether they are large institutions or small institutions. I think it is not just about abuse; it is about negligence and failure in the duty to protect vulnerable adults.
    This is, for me, a first step. I think many people have said this is the first step, and I want to thank everyone who recognizes it as that. It is not intruding on provincial or territorial jurisdiction. This is about making those who provide care within institutions, whether they are owners or managers, actually provide that care and are accountable.
     I have had patients with problems who did not have anywhere to go. Nobody was held accountable, and there were no standards to live up to. There was nothing going on. I think if we look at what happened during COVID in 2020, the scathing report from the 4th Canadian Division's joint task force really exposed all of the deficiencies within the system.
    I want to thank everyone for supporting the bill. I agree with everyone that the standards set out by the CSA and the HSO are important standards. However, because they are voluntary, there is no teeth to them. Criminalizing the behaviour of owners and managers who specifically fail to do their duty toward vulnerable adults will give them some teeth. It lets people know that there is a place they can go, that people can be held accountable and that they have to live up to certain requirements.
    Again, I want to thank everyone for supporting the bill. I have had calls from many members who have told me they can see ways to make it a better private member's bill at committee by adding amendments that would strengthen it, and I welcome them. I look forward to seeing this bill at committee and having people bring forward amendments that would strengthen it.
    At the end of the day, this is about protecting our vulnerable adults, whether they are disabled, they are seniors or they have a chronic illness. I thank everyone for their support.


    The question is on the motion.
    If a member of a recognized party present in the House wishes that the motion be carried or carried on division or wishes to request a recorded division, I would invite them to rise and indicate it to the Chair.
    Mr. Speaker, I request a recorded division.
    Pursuant to order made on Thursday, June 23, 2022, the division stands deferred until Wednesday, March 8, at the expiry of time provided for Oral Questions.
    It being 2:13 p.m., the House now stands adjourned until Monday, March 6, at 11 a.m. pursuant to Standing Orders 28(2) and 24(1).
    I hope everybody has a great break in their ridings.
    (The House adjourned at 2:13 p.m.)
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