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44th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 193

CONTENTS

Tuesday, May 9, 2023




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 151
No. 193
1st SESSION
44th PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer



Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1000)  

[English]

Petitions

Criminal Code 

    Mr. Speaker, today, I have one petition to present. It is a petition on behalf of Canadians from across the country who are concerned about the risk of violence against women, particularly when they are pregnant.
    Increasingly, the injury or death of preborn children as victims of crime is not established in Canadian law as a risk factor. Folks are calling for Canada, this Parliament, to consider that to be an aggravating circumstance in sentencing under the Criminal Code of Canada. Currently, Canada has no abortion law and this legal void is so extreme that we do not even recognize preborn children as victims of violent crime. Justice requires that an attacker who abuses a pregnant woman and her preborn children be sentenced accordingly and that the sentence should match the crime.
    The people who have signed this petition are calling on the House of Commons to legislate the abuse of pregnant women and inflicting harm on a preborn child as an aggravating circumstance for sentencing under the Criminal Code.

Health  

     Mr. Speaker, today, I present a petition signed by the residents of Brantford—Brant in response to the heartbreaking and tragic death of 12-year-old Grace-Lindsay McSweeney, whose life was taken far too soon from a Tylenol overdose.
    Unfortunately, the situation is not uncommon as acetaminophen, a key ingredient in over-the-counter pain medication, is responsible for approximately 10,000 overdoses in Canada per year. Grace's parents and other petitioners urge the government to require warning labels outlining the risk of lethal overdose on all medical products containing acetaminophen.
    Additionally, the petition calls for removing acetaminophen from non-analgesic over-the-counter products and for its sale to be restricted to behind the counter with a minimum purchasing age. The petitioners believe that all acetaminophen products should be required to have a child lock cap and be limited to selling only 36 units per package.
    With approximately 10 Canadians dying from suicide each day and a mental health crisis adversely impacting youth across Canada, the petitioners urge the government to offer immediate assistance to the provinces to further mental health counselling for young Canadians across this country.

  (1005)  

Seniors  

    Mr. Speaker, I have a petition to present today that calls upon members of Parliament in the House of Commons to undertake a serious and comprehensive review of the current transit system of Canadian citizens' money in this country, with the aim of putting in place more stringent procedures, protocols and safeguards to protect seniors, in particular from losing their lifetime savings and wealth to fraud.
    We recognize there is a growing retiring population in Canada. Increasingly, they are becoming the target of fraud, given that they have built up wealth over a lifetime to help support their retirement years, and are vulnerable due to lack of controls and protections through the transmission of money within the Canadian banking system. Seniors are seeing the savings they have built up over years removed.
    This is about consumer awareness and what we can do, as parliamentarians, to protect seniors' retirement.

Questions on the Order Paper

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

Privilege

Reference to Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs  

[Privilege]
     The House resumed from May 8 consideration of the motion.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in the House today. I want to start by thanking you for your very important ruling on the matter of privilege raised by my colleague, the member for Wellington—Halton Hills, a ruling in which you found a prima facie case of a breach of privilege and allowed the member to present his motion for this matter to be further studied at the procedure and House affairs committee. I want to put your ruling in some common language for the common people. I do not want to put words in your mouth, Mr. Speaker, but when I thought about it, I was reminded of the quote from the movie Network when the anchor said, “I’m as mad as [blank], and I’m not going to take this anymore!” That is how Canadians feel about what has happened with these allegations around foreign interference in our elections.
    What a nightmare. One can imagine waking up one morning and reading in the paper that a foreign power is threatening one's family. I cannot imagine waking up, seeing that and knowing how I, or any member of this House, or any Canadian, might feel. The problem is that many Canadians are experiencing this. I will get to that in a minute.
     Let us think about that. A foreign power decides it does not like how a high-profile elected politician voted in this House and makes it its mission to threaten and intimidate his family. I wish it was just something from a spy novel or a movie, but it is real. It actually happened and it is happening as we speak.
    Those who are watching this broadcast right now might think that I am talking about the Prime Minister, but I am not. In fact, the Prime Minister abstained from the vote that triggered this whole matter, which is like not showing up to play with his team and then saying that because he was not there he is not to blame that they lost. I am not speaking of the Prime Minister or a cabinet minister, although they also abstained from the vote, or a member of the government or even a Liberal member; in fact, I am speaking about an opposition member. The member for Wellington—Halton Hills was sanctioned by Beijing for taking a moral stance and voting against genocide.
    I want to take a moment to read from an article published on March 27, 2021, after this occurred. After the sanctions, the member for Wellington—Halton Hills, said, like the mensch he is, that he was going to wear those sanctions “as a badge of honour.” That is leadership. That is not hiding, delaying or impeding the progress of this House in terms of passing laws that are important to Canadians. He stood up to the PRC, the Communist Party in China, and said that he was going to wear this as a badge of honour: in other words, that he was not going to allow it to intimidate him by doing this.
    What were those sanctions? After the member for Wellington—Halton Hills, who is also our party's foreign affairs critic, voted on the motion, which I will get to in a minute, the sanctions were also placed on the House of Commons Subcommittee on International Human Rights, which concluded in October that China's treatment of its Uyghur population amounted to genocide. The Chinese Communist Party said that the individuals concerned are prohibited from entering the mainland, Hong Kong and Macao, and Chinese citizens and institutions are prohibited from doing business with the relevant individuals and having exchanges with the relevant entity.

  (1010)  

    Other members might have just said nothing. They might have said that they did not want to stir the pot any more than it has already been stirred. However, the member for Wellington—Halton Hills took a principled stand, and he said, to the Chinese Communist Party, that he was wearing it as a badge of honour. That is what leadership looks like.
    When I was a young man, I would often tune into the proceedings in this place. I looked at the MPs debating and understood the high honour bestowed on those who put their names on a ballot and come to this place to make laws and shape the future of this great country. It is a high honour.
    My favourite, Winston Churchill, said something that has been quoted many times in this House but it could never be quoted enough. He said that “democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms.” Our system is messy by design, chaotic, as members know, and at times descends into a serious state of disorder. Many people ask, “What are these guys doing? Why are they so critical of the government? Why do they not actually offer solutions?” Our debate can, at times, be furious in this place, but it is from the hot cauldron of debate that good policies and laws are created.
    The reality is that we, in this party, are His Majesty's official loyal opposition. We believe that it is an act of loyalty to oppose the government. Consider what things are like in countries with no strong opposition that is free to be critical of the government. We need look no further than what Mr. Putin has done to his critics, like Alexei Navalny, Vladimir Kara-Murza and Sergei Magnitsky, or what China has done to its Uyghur population, to the Turkic Muslim population and to Hong Kong, and what it wants to do to Taiwan, to understand that in countries where opposition is silenced, terrible things happen.
    That is what Beijing tried to do. It tried to silence this opposition through intimidation efforts against the member for Wellington—Halton Hills and his family, and to silence Chinese Canadians through ongoing intimidation and scare them into thinking that voting in Canada might be hazardous to their future. I will get into more of that in a moment.
    This did not happen in China. This is happening right here, on Canadian soil. I am astounded at the lack of care, the lack of attention, the lack of interest by the government in dealing with this fact. I am going to talk a little more about that as well.
    I just want to say, to Canadians of Chinese descent, Chinese Canadians who are watching this speech right now, that I want them to know that the Conservative Party of Canada stands with them. We will always stand with them. Just like my grandparents came here 100 years ago to avoid the pogroms in Ukraine perpetrated against Jewish communities, they came here to avoid the oppressive freedom-hating regime in Beijing. On behalf of all my colleagues, I want to thank them for being here and I want them to know that we will always stand up for their rights as citizens of this country.

  (1015)  

    So many stories have come out of this about Chinese communities in ridings across this country, where, as the leader spoke about in his speech yesterday, there is demonstrably lower voter turnout. Why is that? It is because, although the member for Wellington—Halton Hills has the ability to stand up in the House, on the biggest stage in this country, and defend himself, millions of Canadians who do not have that ability are suffering at the behest of the Chinese Communist Party in this country. The House needs to wake up and do something about it before it goes on any longer.
    I say to the members of the Chinese community that they should always know that we will be with them and that they should never be afraid to go vote in this country. It is a great privilege. I can say, as someone who won by only 460 votes in the last campaign, that every vote counts. Their vote really matters, and that is what makes Canada such a great country. I want to thank the Chinese Canadian community for trusting our country to do the right thing, even if the government needs to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into doing the right thing by His Majesty's official and very loyal opposition.
    With respect to the facts of the specific matter, the Prime Minister claims he did not know until last Monday about a Beijing operative's intimidating a sitting MP. He claims that he did not know about it, even though the intelligence report was in his office two years ago. It is hard to imagine. It was not just in his office; it was with his national security adviser, ironically. It was not with his chief of staff. It was not from someone else in the PMO; it was actually with a person who is responsible for advising the Prime Minister about national security threats. That is what the role of the national security adviser is.
    This whole sordid affair reminds me of a Sherlock Holmes quote, “when you have eliminated the impossible whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” We have a mystery here. The Prime Minister says that he would never deliberately keep such information from any member, and that it would be wrong to do so. I agree with him. It would be very wrong to do that. Therefore, for the moment, let us take him at his word. He says he did not know. That is something I can somewhat believe, because he does not seem to know much about what is going on in his office. He did not know that the Trudeau Foundation had a meeting in his office. He did not know that Beijing donated $140,000 to that very foundation. He did not know about an important intelligence report that his national security adviser was given two years ago. He did not know, even though Katie Telford, his chief of staff, said in committee that he reads everything and that nothing is kept from him.
    How do we reconcile these things? There is something missing here when the Prime Minister says he did not know about this until a week ago, but his chief of staff says he is told everything and he reads everything. There is a disconnect here. That is why it is so important to pass this motion; we need to get these questions answered, and the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs is the right place to get to the bottom of all this. The bottom line is that we have a Prime Minister who does not know what is going on in his office. That should be a concern to every Canadian.
    What is left? The report was in his office, but he never read it. The only thing really left to assume is incompetence and negligence. There it is. Option one is that he knew and is denying it; option two is that he did not know and is incompetent.

  (1020)  

    Two years ago, the government was briefed by our security agency, CSIS, which said that there was an ongoing intimidation campaign against the member for Wellington—Halton Hills. Why was this happening? It was because that member brought an important motion to the House. I thought it would be worth taking a moment to read that motion and bring us back in time to two years ago, the time of that vote, to understand what that important motion was speaking to. The motion said:
    That,
(a) in the opinion of the House, the People's Republic of China has engaged in actions consistent with the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 260, commonly known as the “Genocide Convention”, including detention camps and measures intended to prevent births as it pertains to Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims; and
(b) given that (i) where possible, it has been the policy of the Government of Canada to act in concert with its allies when it comes to the recognition of a genocide, (ii) there is a bipartisan consensus in the United States where it has been the position of two consecutive administrations that Uyghur and other Turkic Muslims are being subjected to a genocide by the Government of the People's Republic of China, the House, therefore, recognize that a genocide is currently being carried out by the People's Republic of China against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims, call upon the International Olympic Committee to move the 2022 Olympic Games if the Chinese government continues this genocide and call on the government to officially adopt this position.
    That was a very important motion. To put it in basic language, it was about calling out Beijing for committing genocide, the most heinous crime a government can commit against any people. We did the right thing, or most of us did. Conservatives voted for the motion, with the Bloc, the NDP and even some Liberal members, but there was one important Member of Parliament in the House who did not vote for it; it was the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister refused to recognize that there is a serious problem. Not only did he not vote for it, but he did not vote at all, which is even worse. It was a gutless move that left the member for Wellington—Halton Hills, a member of the opposition, to bear it, which is what I am trying to get across. In the aftermath, China banned him from entering the mainland, as we talked about, and it did something else: It threatened his family because of his motion and how he voted. Nothing is more important than our democracy, and that is underpinned by the privilege MPs have to speak their mind in this place and to vote how they choose.
     There have been a lot of leaks about foreign interference since last fall. Intelligence officials, frustrated with the Prime Minister's actions, have taken to leaking information to The Globe and Mail. Each leak is like a bomb going off. First, there was the one about funding 11 candidates. Then came foreign police stations, and then there was the allegation that a Liberal member tried to get Beijing to hold the two Michaels longer for political reasons. Now we have this.
    Canadians desperately want a public inquiry. Members want a public inquiry. What does the Prime Minister do? He drags his feet and appoints a “special rapporteur”, a term never used before, who happens to be a member of the Trudeau Foundation.
    The Prime Minister looks weak, and I am sure Beijing thinks he is weak. In fact, I think this is pure Neville Chamberlain-level weakness and incompetence.
    Finally, yesterday, after a week of questions and immense pressure from His Majesty's loyal opposition, the Prime Minister expelled the diplomat.
    I just want to conclude by saying that it is time for the House to wake up from this nightmare. This country desperately needs a real leader who will stand up to tyrants and dictators without delay or hesitation, and bring home respect for Canada on the international stage. The member for Carleton would be that leader after the next election.

  (1025)  

    Madam Speaker, if we listened to the Conservatives' questions during question period, or to their speeches over the last 24 hours, with all indications that they would like to continue to debate this issue, it is very clear that this is a political issue for the Conservative Party. It is an issue through which they want to attack the Prime Minister. They have been very clear. The Prime Minister found out last week; they know that, yet they continue to espouse misinformation.
    My question to the member is this: Is there not any sort of conscience on the other side, when the Conservatives continuously want to espouse misinformation and continue to want to ramp up this issue to politicize it? Why are they doing it?
    Madam Speaker, honestly, as a fellow Manitoban, I know that the member is better than that. I know he does not really believe what he just said, so it is hard for me to dignify that with an answer. What he is saying is that, having all this information, knowing that the report was in the Prime Minister's Office two years ago, he would just have us sit here quietly, like Beijing has its opposition sit quietly and like Mr. Putin puts his opposition in its place. He would have the loyal opposition sit here and do nothing, and that is not something we can do. There is too much at stake.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, we have been talking about this issue for hours, for weeks already. If quick action had been taken at the outset, we would not be held up by this issue today. We could be talking about health, seniors, the fight against climate change and biodiversity.
    Does my colleague agree with me that we have really become stuck on this issue, and that we could be accomplishing a lot more for the people of this country?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, my colleagues know that I am a numbers guy. I love the finance committee, and I agree 100%. I would like nothing better than to be debating the budget, but the Liberals cut off debate on the budget. Therefore, we cannot talk in the House about, for example, the fact that they have doubled the national debt in the last six years, from $600 billion to $1.2 trillion, because the government and the costly coalition NDP partners actually quashed debate in the House about that.
    I agree wholeheartedly, but the fact of the matter is that action should have been taken early on, two years ago, to let the member for Wellington—Halton Hills know this was going on and to call a public inquiry.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. I really appreciated his reminding us that the opposition is important to democracy and to Parliament, although I do not remember him saying anything like that when Stephen Harper was Prime Minister. Things were different then.
    What is going on right now is very troubling. Every day brings new revelations. The member for Wellington—Halton Hills and his family are being directly threatened. The Liberal government is dragging its feet despite having had this information for two years.
    Does my colleague agree with me and with many other members of the House that the only way to fully understand what is going on and fix it is to have an independent public inquiry into foreign political interference in general in this country?

  (1030)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, first, in terms of being the opposition party, I just want to say to that NDP member and his entire party that we could use a little help over here. They are not the opposition any more; they are a part of the government. They vote with the government on pretty much everything.
    I appreciate the question, but, of course, the member knows very well that our position is that we should have a public inquiry. If it had been called right off the bat instead of having an appointment of the Trudeau Foundation as special rapporteur, maybe we would not be in this place right now.
    Madam Speaker, I listened intently to the hon. member's speech, and I think he laid out the facts quite clearly and perfectly.
    One of the things that struck me was his comment about an opposition, because we have seen, over the last eight years, that this government, in effect, does not want an opposition; it actually wants an audience. It wants us to sit here and listen to its members ram pieces of legislation through, as they have been doing, that have profound impacts on Canadians. This issue has a profound impact not just on the member for Wellington—Halton Hills but also on the Chinese Canadians who are facing that fear, intimidation and harassment by the Chinese regime in Beijing.
    On the issue of an independent inquiry, do all roads not lead to that? Do we need a rapporteur to tell us what the majority of parliamentarians and the majority of Canadians are saying, which is that we need an independent inquiry?
    Madam Speaker, the words that come to mind when I think about the Prime Minister are “deny”, “deflect” and “delay”. If he rags the puck, maybe this will not be a big issue by the time the special rapporteur gets around to making his ruling.
    The member for Winnipeg North says that we are playing politics. They are playing politics with the future of our democracy, and they should be ashamed of themselves for standing up in this House saying they are not.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, as the hon. member for Repentigny rightly pointed out, we have been discussing the issue of foreign interference, particularly Chinese interference, for several weeks now. We know that the government has blundered on several fronts when it comes to dealing with interference. We saw it with the elections and with the $125-million endowment it gave to a foundation several years ago out of the public purse—our money. I am talking about the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, of course.
    The foundation is having major problems, especially on the tax front. For many years, the foundation has failed to meet the criteria for a charitable organization, and things are only going to get worse, because the criteria are increasing and the foundation is not doing anything to improve.
    What does my colleague have to say to members about the threat that Chinese interference poses to charitable organizations in Canada?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it just stretches credulity to think that, when a so-called Chinese philanthropist showed up at the Trudeau Foundation to give it $140,000, they did not have their own agenda. They did have an agenda, which was to influence the Prime Minister to be soft on China.
    That is why I said in my speech that this is Neville Chamberlain-level appeasement, weakness and incompetence.

  (1035)  

    Madam Speaker, I wonder if the member could reflect about the number of years that foreign interference has been an issue, even while Stephen Harper was the prime minister and today's leader of the Conservative Party was the minister responsible for democracy. Those individuals did absolutely nothing; they did zero in terms of dealing with this particular issue.
    The Prime Minister has done numerous things. When he actually found out about this specific case, just a week ago, he took immediate action. The Conservatives may disagree, but based on the speeches that I have been hearing over the last number of hours, this debate is more about character assassination of the Prime Minister than it is about defending rights.
    What hits one affects us all, and the Conservatives are doing a disservice to the issue by ramping it up politically. Does the member not believe that the Conservatives need to turn the page, dial it down and ensure that we deal with the issue?
    Madam Speaker, members opposite like to say that prior governments should have created a law that would have protected the Liberals from getting into yet another scandal. I find it quite ironic.
    I want to mention one thing. I noted yesterday that the member for Winnipeg North was waxing philosophical about his time in the Manitoba legislature and the many years he spent there. He made a point of saying that he was in opposition. I think members on this side want to do him a favour and make sure that he is returned to the role he cherished so much as soon as the next election comes along.
    Madam Speaker, I am going to split my time with the hon. member for Bay of Quinte.
    It is usually a pleasure to rise in this House on behalf of the constituents of Thornhill, but I am afraid that is not the case today. I want to start by speaking about the member for Wellington—Halton Hills, somebody who has been in this House a lot longer than I have. He looks at this place as upholding democracy. He knows more about this than I will ever know. I seek advice from him as a member who works with opposition colleagues and who treats this place as it should be treated. To know his privilege was breached is, unfortunately, something that nobody ever wants to speak to. I know the member probably does not want me speaking about him, but I hold him up when it comes to members of Parliament who teach me something about being here.
    On that note, the member had to deal with getting a call, probably sometime in the afternoon, from a journalist who told him that he and that his family living abroad in Hong Kong might be the subjects of intimidation. The journalist told him that this was done by a diplomat who, until yesterday, was given immunity, powers and rights by the government that Canadians do not even have. Moreover, the government knew about that diplomat's behaviour or what that diplomat did over the course of two years.
    The government will say that it has acted quickly and as soon as it found out, it did something. However, there is more to this. It made a conscious decision to disparage the character of the member for Wellington—Halton Hills. Members of the Liberal Party suggested that the member for Wellington—Halton Hills was in fact briefed two years ago on what the diplomat did, not a week ago after it became known in the newspapers. They said that he was briefed on the intimidation or the behaviour of this diplomat two years ago. It was a conscious decision by Liberal members opposite to say that, and we know that is not true.
    In fact, last Wednesday, after The Globe and Mail printed what the member learned in that call from a journalist about the intimidation of the member and his family, the Prime Minister went as far as to say that the CSIS report that we are talking about of July 2021 never left the intelligence agency and that it was not shared. Of course, this claim was debunked a day later, when his own national security adviser told the member for Wellington—Halton Hills that this was not true at all, that it was shared with multiple ministries and the Privy Council Office, which is directly attached to the Prime Minister's Office. This weekend at the Liberal convention, where Liberals were clinking glasses, the public safety minister blamed CSIS for not informing the government. However, we know that is not true.
    The member for Wellington—Halton Hills went to committee to ask the Minister of Foreign Affairs directly why she has not expelled this diplomat, and that is before they waited seven days to act after knowing for two years. He asked why this person still enjoys diplomatic immunity, rights that Canadians do not have, life in Toronto and taking his kids to the Ex, while they go to school with their compatriots in Toronto. After two years of knowing the behaviour of this diplomat, why is that even okay?

  (1040)  

    The member for Wellington—Halton Hills asked her, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who was confronted at committee last week about the expulsion, gave a stream-of-consciousness response. She gave a live-action response, a cost-benefit analysis of why they would, why they would not, why they should, why they could not and why it took so long. This was for the whole world to watch. On something a minister should use their inside voice for, she gave this response in front of committee while the cameras were on. She did it in front of a member of Parliament whose family was being threatened over a vote in the House of Commons, which the government knew about for two years. We know that. That is what happened back then.
    Members on the Liberals' side have suggested that this member knew. The member opposite just talked about this being a debate about character assassination, but that is the character assassination. They actively tried to assassinate Wellington—Halton Hills' character by suggesting to the Canadian people that he was briefed on this two years ago. That is a shame. It stops members of Parliament from doing the work in this chamber.
    We know why we are talking about this. The member for Wellington—Halton Hills cosponsored a motion. By the way, much of the front bench of the Liberal Party was absent for the vote on that motion. They did not vote on it. There is probably a reason for that. To have the member's family attacked because he sponsored that motion is a complete breach of privilege, and it is hard for anybody to look at this as anything else.
    It is hard for Canadians to have confidence in a government that puts its political fortunes ahead of the work that is done in this House, as the member for Wellington—Halton Hills never does. It is hard to believe that is the case. It is harder to believe that Liberals take this seriously and that they have done so many things, as they get up and claim every day. Even yesterday, in question period, they were asked about it a number of times. The Minister of Public Safety has said, on at least one occasion, that the Chinese police stations that have been widely reported on in the media are closed. This is just not true. That is not the case. We know of at least two that are open.
    For the duration of most of the question periods leading up to this, day after day, we find out new information trickled out by The Globe and Mail. The Liberals say the reporting is not true, and the Minister of Public Safety continues to lead Canadians to believe the police stations are closed when they are not. In fact, an opposition motion that was voted on in the House just yesterday called for closing those police stations. Who voted against this? It was 150 members of this House who all ran under the Liberal banner.
    These members voted against a national inquiry on the matter of foreign interference in elections because they already appointed a friend, a former member of the Trudeau Foundation, to tell Canadians whether an inquiry is needed. Yesterday, they voted against that inquiry, as well as a foreign agent registry.
    A foreign agent registry is something the U.S. and Australia have. We have a lobbyist registry for just about anybody on just about any charity. Just about any business that talks to government needs to register, but there is no existence of a foreign agent registry for people who come here from another country who are registered, who are given diplomatic immunity by the government, who engage with the government and who engage in their own affairs here. We do not have a foreign agent registry. When asked about it, we are told it is just continued consultations and some gaslighting view that a foreign agent registry would in some way be racist.
    Do we know who would not think it is racist? The Chinese Canadians who are intimidated in their own homes would not think it is racist, nor would the Iranian Canadians who have called our offices with a blurred-out background in a car far away from their homes because they are terrified of the intimidation they feel from dictatorial regimes on the other side of the world. That is a shame. We want to see a foreign agent registry, and we want to see it now.

  (1045)  

    Madam Speaker, my question is with respect to the spreading of misinformation. Last Thursday, I was heckled by a member who said that I had said the Prime Minister and the member in question had the same briefing.
    I stood up and I said, and I quote from Hansard:
    Mr. Speaker, it was never my intention to say that the Prime Minister and the member had the same briefing. If that is in fact what I said, I would apologize for saying that it was the same briefing.
    No matter what we tell the Conservatives, they have their certain spin. It is about character assassination. As we continue with the debate, as they continue to want to ramp up the politicization, it is more about the character assassination of the Prime Minister than it is about the issue.
    When will the Conservative Party depoliticize this and allow the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to deal with the issue?
    Madam Speaker, we will depoliticize it when the government acts. This motion of privilege is not about that member. It is not about the member in question.
    That member has gaslit Canadians into believing the member got a briefing two years ago. We can look into the parliamentary record to see it. He has disparaged the character of a member of the House.
    He has said himself that an attack on any member of the House is an attack on all members, so he should think about that.
    Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. What I was reflecting on in my question was the issue that the member did get a general briefing, as other members—
    That has been dealt with by the Speaker and I hope we can move on from it.
    The hon. member for Beauport—Limoilou.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I am trying to understand why the government is failing to act on this matter, but I cannot. The House has repeatedly voted in favour of standing up to any form of intimidation and harassment against communities and even against an MP who became an independent so as not to compromise his core values. The government party also voted in favour of that.
    In short, I get the impression that the government is not always walking the talk. That is the case here. It seems as though the government is never short on fine words when it is time to talk but turns into a pillar of salt when it comes time to take meaningful action.
    What should the government have done if it had put its fine words into action?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I agree with the hon. member. The government has not acted on this. We had a motion in the House, which the government voted against, that called for a public inquiry, that called for a foreign agent registry. That is least the government can do to show Chinese Canadians, and, frankly, Canadians right across the country from many diaspora communities who are intimidated by the regimes at home, who are fearful for their lives, their livelihoods and their families, just like what was done to the member for Wellington—Halton Hills, that it actually takes this seriously and that it takes national security seriously. It can vote in favour of the many motions in front of the House that have called for sanction on that.

  (1050)  

    Madam Speaker, I have intervened on this topic several times to implore members of the House to lower the temperature. I applaud the member who just spoke, because she did attempt to lower the temperature in the House and focus on real solutions.
    How does the member see a way out of this impasse in the House, where everything is being held up? Would she agree with me that the things that were in the Conservative motion were quite reasonable, including the necessity of calling a public inquiry, so we are not constantly saying ”he said, she said” about what has happened here and we can get an independent authority to judge the facts about foreign interference?
    Madam Speaker, a public inquiry would be one of the ways. A foreign registry would be another way.
    Canada does not have a legal definition for political interference. What we have to do is find other things that happen, where diplomats are potentially breaking other laws, in order for us to investigate them.
    A foreign registry would allow us a legal definition, perhaps, of what interference is. The Australians have that. This would be a good model to look at.
    If the government were actually serious about this, it would at least engage in conversation and not just disparage members of the House.
    Madam Speaker, “speak softly and carry a big stick” was the foreign policy of Theodore Roosevelt, the American president in the early 1900s. It meant softly spoken diplomacy, backed by something that could make one's word count when it mattered and make it stick.
    We may not have the largest military in the world, or population or government, but we do have trade, resources and IP. All of those can be used to ensure we uphold our great nation. It allows Canada to maintain its democratic system, while simultaneously expelling any unacceptable state actors who threaten our democracy.
    Why does it matter? Because this country matters and our country's place in the world matters, as it is becoming increasingly more hostile. Canada has always been a beacon of hope, a pillar of democracy and freedom alongside our allies including Europe, the United States, Australia, Japan and South Korea, among many others.
    However, our democracy is under threat and the threat has infiltrated the very democratic system that we hold incredibly dear. The government has failed to protect Canadians from foreign interference from Beijing. There have been no less than eight police stations set up in Canada to monitor our own citizens in Canada, and 11 MPs were influenced in nominations and elections.
     Two years ago, the member for Wellington—Halton Hills had his family threatened and intimidated by a Beijing operator over a vote to denounce the treatment of Chinese Muslim Uyghurs in China and the government allowed the perpetrator to remain in Canada for that two years.
    This country, the Prime Minister have allowed Canada to be in an abusive relationship with China. China takes advantage of Canada, which has resulted in a “speak softly and carry a small stick” foreign policy to allow China to treat Canada as the “little potato” nickname it calls our Prime Minister.
    China is taking advantage of Canada. If we want proof of that, we can compare it to a survey that talks about the five signs that someone's partner is being taken advantage of. Members can be the judge. The signs are constantly making excuses for them, frequently compromising on the things one wants, being afraid of confrontation with them, often waiting around for them and paying for dinner almost every night.
    We constantly make excuses for China. We only need to look at Hansard from the last few weeks to see the government tripping over itself and making excuses for China. The Liberals go so far as to blaming the MP for Wellington—Halton Hills for the fact that his family went through hell. They say it was his fault.
    The Liberals have said that it was the Leader of the Opposition, when he was the minister of democratic reform, who did not put stricter laws in place that would have restricted the Liberal government from being interfered with. They say that it is not China's fault. It is the fault of the Conservatives. It is the fault of Canadians. It is the fault of anyone but the Liberals. They constantly make excuses for China when they should not.
    We also frequently compromise on the things that we want. What is the biggest export from Canada? Coal. For a government that talks about net zero, or how great it wants the environment to be and how it wants to make the world better, Canada ships coal that is burned in China. Of course, the wind just blows it back toward Canada. Does that sound like we are frequently compromising on the things we want?
    We had a deal for vaccines with a company called CanSino in China. It was signed in May 2020. Canada put all its eggs in that basket. It said that said this would save us. The government did not go to Pfizer. It did not go to Moderna at that point. It went to CanSino and signed a deal. Guess what. The deal fell through because China fell through. We are in an abusive relationship with China.
    We lost $55 million. I know this is small potatoes compared to the almost $1 billion we lost with Medicago and Novavax, but it was the first of three failed deals, and it was with China. The government promised we would get vaccines. It promised we would have them produced in a facility in Montreal in the summer of 2020, but China let us down because of this relationship.
    Another issue is that we are afraid of confrontation with China. We took two years to kick out an agent who threatened a sitting MP in the House. Intelligence went to CSIS and to the Privy Council. We are afraid of confrontation.
    We often find ourselves waiting around for China. The Prime Minister had to wait for a meeting with the president of China. We buy $100 billion in trade from China, yet when there was a G7 meeting, the Prime Minister had to go to a side room and have a meeting off camera. The president told him that he was supposed to have a meeting off camera, that he was not supposed to tell anyone about it. The Prime Minister then said that Canada respected the rule of law. Again, we are afraid of confrontation. That is an abusive relationship.

  (1055)  

    We also pay for dinner every night. In the trade relationship with China, Canada buys $100-billion worth of goods per year from it and China buys, in response, $25-billion worth of goods per year. Madam Speaker, an analogy would you giving me $100 and I give you $25 back, saying that I have the better relationship, that I have to compromise. No, if people give me $100, they have the relationship and the ability to set the compromises. It is a really sad situation.
    The real question for Canada and for the Prime Minister is this. What are we going to do to protect Canada's democracy, its people, its government, its MPs, their freedom and democracy, and our home and our values? The government has failed its citizens in its basic duty to protect our values and our home.
     If it were not for the accurate and honest reporting of reporters for The Globe and Mail and Global News, the litmus test for a free and democratic society being freedom of the press, our democracy in the House would be worse off than it is now when it comes to protecting the values of our democracy. If it were not for His Majesty's loyal opposition, the government-in-waiting and this prime minister-in-waiting, we would be worse off than we are now. It has been this freedom of the press, not the government, that is truly protecting Canadians by reporting accurately and honestly. It may be too accurately and honestly.
    At the Liberal convention this weekend, a motion was passed, saying that the Liberal Party of Canada request the government to explore “options to hold on-line information services accountable for the veracity of material published on their platforms and to limit publication only to material whose sources can be traced.” In other words, if The Globe and Mail or Global News did not disclose its sources, these stories would never have been allowed to come out. Let us think about that for a moment. We are in the House today only because of the freedom of the press.
    Reporters Without Borders just demoted Canada from fifth in the world for freedom of the press to 22nd. That is really alarming. Is it only to protect this abusive relationship with China?
    The bigger conversation is that a government that promotes democracy should be prepared to face the consequences in protecting it. When this democracy is under threat, the government does not seem to take it seriously. The real question is this. Why do Canadians continually have to shame our government into action? If the government had a leader, that leader would stand up for the country and the democracy which it represents.
     Perhaps the biggest question is this. What are we afraid of? Are we afraid of an open inquiry into foreign interference that is not headed by a former member of the Trudeau Foundation? Are we afraid of sending very bad actors who threaten our very own MPs packing? Why did it take two years and two weeks? Why are we afraid of shutting down and stamping out Beijing police stations, with force if need be? Why are we afraid of setting up a foreign registry like they do in the U.S. and in Australia? Are we afraid of defending our democracy, our people and our nation and of holding Canadians and Canada to the high standard that we expect of our government?
    We can work together but we will not put up with this abusive relationship. We do not capitulate to infiltration of our elections and our national security or to threats and intimidation to our citizens and our elected officials. When it comes to an abusive relationship, we can either get out of the relationship or we can improve it. The first step, when we are looking at an abusive relationship, is to accept that we are in an abusive relationship and to tackle it head-on in an open inquiry. I think every party in the House has asked for an open inquiry. Maybe it is better if we phrase it as counselling. Maybe we just need a new leader.
    To fix this abusive relationship, we need to stand up for Canadians. We need to speak softly, diplomacy is very important, but we carry a big stick. We do not put up with abuse. We do not put up with compromise in our democracy. We certainly do not put up with one country infiltrating another, and we do not put up with democracy as a whole being threatened and putting down Canada, which we know is the number one nation on this planet. To fix this abusive relationship, we need to stand up for Canadians, but perhaps what Canada really needs is a prime minister who will do just that.

  (1100)  

    Madam Speaker, when I was sitting in the opposition benches, Stephen Harper went to China and brought back a commitment for panda bears. What he did not tell us is that he actually signed off on a secretive trade deal.
    The member might want to reflect on that, given his comments about trade—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. Could we allow the hon. member to ask his question?
    Madam Speaker, when it comes to foreign interference, it is really important to recognize, as I have, that foreign interference has been taking place for many years, even when Stephen Harper was there. Stephen Harper was aware of it.
    How does the member justify the secretive trade agreement or Stephen Harper doing nothing? The Prime Minister found out about this last week for the very first time. Within a week, that diplomat was asked to leave the country.
    Madam Speaker, first of all, we have a trade relationship with China because they are the second biggest economy in the world.
     When Stephen Harper signed investment deals, not trade agreements, it benefited Canadians. At this point, there is now a massive trade deficit, and Canadians are not benefiting. Canadians are in an abusive relationship and are losing in this relationship with China under the Prime Minister.
    At the end of the day, we have to have a nation that speaks softly, has diplomacy and has sets of investment deals because that is good for Canadians and Canadian companies, but we do not put up with Canadians being compromised, elections being compromised or democracy being compromised. There is a difference. Our government knew that difference and acted on it. The Liberal government does not.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I had the pleasure of serving with my colleague on the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics. I always liked his knack for summarizing, for getting straight to the point.
    As a member of the Bloc—

[English]

    Would hon. members please remain silent to allow colleagues to ask questions?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, as a member of the Bloc Québécois, I am always surprised to hear our neighbours across the way point out what Mr. Harper has done. Apparently, Mr. Harper has made a big impact on politics, based on how often they mention him.
    Now, for my question. The member mentioned the fact that a resolution passed at the Liberal convention this weekend—one that was akin to a form of media censorship—would be dangerous.
    What should we think of a Prime Minister who gets his information from the newspaper rather than CSIS?

  (1105)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, we are all very concerned with the fact that there is information that went through the proper channels, but either the Prime Minister ignored it, or he was incompetent in receiving that information on behalf of Canadians.
    We have been over this. This has been perhaps the most alarming part of the information we have received. Canadians have been left in the lurch for two years. The Liberal government is trying to figure out why, only based on the fact that the freedom of the press allowed information to come to the public. Otherwise, we would be going about our days dealing with an array of other issues right now.
    First and foremost, we want to know who knew, and when. We cannot believe that the Prime Minister and a lot of other people did not know. Certainly, the first act is, how do we fix that? The only way to do that is through an open inquiry at this point.
    Madam Speaker, I think we all agree that the member for Wellington—Halton Hills has an incredible amount of integrity.
    Where we do not see integrity is in how the Conservatives are trying to exploit this. I am amazed that my colleague quotes Teddy Roosevelt. Do Conservatives think their leader is going to carry a big stick? Teddy Roosevelt, of course, launched illegal invasions into Cuba and Philippines, and mass murder, based on falsehoods.
    The Conservatives believe that, as long as Canadians do not know history, they will be okay. When it was Stephen Harper who was kissing up to China, what did they announce? The member on the back bench can confirm that they were going to send blueberries to China. In exchange for blueberries, what did China take? Chinese state corporations took control of a huge part of the oil sands. Stephen Harper said that was okay because they were sucking up to China.
    For Conservatives to come in now with this false history is really concerning. They are exploiting a very serious situation to make their very juvenile leader look like he is going to walk out on the world stage with his big stick to take on China. For sure, Canadians deserve better than that.
    Madam Speaker, Canadians deserve a government that is going to stand up for them. As I clearly noted, the big stick is our trade relationship, which will ensure that we can not only encourage growth and investment, but also keep out bad actors and bad countries that want to do bad things to Canadians. We are certainly going to do that. This prime minister or the next prime minister, the opposition leader is going to be a great prime minister and will do that for Canadians.
    Madam Speaker, in listening to the debate last night and today, which has been quite something, I am at a loss for words as to how to frame what we are hearing from the other side and the costly coalition down the way. They are scrambling to the defence of the one member of the government who continually stands up to speak to this very important issue. How did we get here?
     For months, Canadians have been hearing, through leaked security reports to the media, about Chinese interference or foreign interference in our previous elections and nominations. Then, within the last week, we found out that there was a foreign operative from Beijing, by the name of Zhao Wei, who took it upon himself to find out about a sitting member of Parliament in the House, the member for Wellington—Halton Hills.
    The member for Wellington—Halton Hills is very respected on all sides because he is a very reasoned leader. He is very passionate and very articulate. He is measured in his responses, measured in his debate, and he has garnered respect on all sides. However, this foreign operative endeavoured to find out the whereabouts of this sitting member of Parliament's family in China and perhaps here.
    Why was that? It was to make an example of him because of the way he voted and the motion he put forward on China's human rights atrocities and its record on human rights as it applies to the Uyghurs, a section of China's population who are being persecuted. Horrible acts are being committed against them. All that he was doing was standing up for this minority, and this Chinese operative decided to target him and his family to make an example of him.
    Two years ago, in September 2021, a CSIS report came out identifying this, and this government did nothing. As a matter fact, up until yesterday, Zhao Wei was still in this country affording the privileges and rights that many Canadians do not even have. He had diplomatic immunity to say anything and to do anything. Indeed, the lone speaker from the government would want Canadians to believe that the Prime Minister, his ministers and his cabinet knew nothing about this.
    I want to read something from CSIS a report entitled “Mission Focused: Addressing the Threat Environment”. Under the heading of “Duties and Functions”, it reads that they are to:
    Investigate activities suspected of constituting threats to the security of Canada and report on these to the Government of Canada.
    Take measures to reduce threats if there are reasonable grounds to believe the security of Canada is at risk.
     Provide security assessments on individuals who require access to classified information or sensitive sites within the Government of Canada.
     Provide security advice relevant to the exercise of the Citizenship Act or the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
    Conduct foreign intelligence collection within Canada at the request of the Minister of Foreign Affairs or the Minister of National Defence.
    However, the report continues with what CSIS, in its own words, can do. It reads:
    CSIS may collect foreign intelligence; that is, intelligence relating to the intentions, capabilities and activities of a foreign state. However, foreign intelligence may only be collected from within Canada at the request of the Minister of Foreign Affairs or the Minister of National Defence, and with the consent of the Minister of Public Safety.
    These assessments or reports are relied upon and provided to the Government of Canada. The report goes on to say:
    In 2022, CSIS produced over 2,500 intelligence [reports]. These are relied upon by Departments and Agencies to help inform policy making and to support evidence-based decisions. Separately, CSIS may also take measures to reduce threats to the security of Canada.

  (1110)  

    I offer that into the record because there are only two choices here. Either the Liberals and the government do not care about the safety of parliamentarians, the families of those who serve, and the stress and mental health of those in the chamber trying to do their jobs daily, or they are negligent in their duties with malicious intent. They are either grossly incompetent or grossly negligent. That is right. We have two choices here. That is it.
    They allowed a threat against a sitting member of Parliament and his family, then they allowed this person, who sent that volley across the bow of the ship and threatened a sitting of Parliament, to stay in the country for two years. They will also have us believe that, seven days after they found out about it, the Prime Minister acted swiftly. If the leader of our country does not know about these threats, he does not care about them, which is crazy to believe. As I said, there are two choices here: They are either grossly incompetent or grossly negligent.
    For over two years the government has sat on knowledge that a member of this House and his family have been under threat. For over two years, it has done nothing about it. If we go around this chamber or anywhere on the site of Parliament, there are signs about our security. If we see something, we say something.
    Now, we have top secret CSIS security reports that are being leaked to the media. Why is that? It is because, as we heard through other testimony on foreign interference, CSIS has been providing these reports and nobody is acting on them, so whistle-blowers from within are trying to find a way to raise the awareness of the threat levels in our country, whether they are threats of interference in our elections, threats against sitting members of Parliament or threats against Canadians of the Chinese diaspora.
    We go out, as members of Parliament, and we meet with Canadians from all walks of life, and there are many times I have had a meeting with members from different diasporas, and they say, “Can we just go outside? I am going to turn my phone off, and I want to go outside.” This is real. They are worried about the foreign interference. They are worried about their country of origin listening in and finding out. They are being intimidated during elections as to who to vote for. These threats are real, and our colleagues across the way would have us believe that there is nothing to see here.
    Originally, they said it was because they did not have the information. The government did not act because it did not have the information. It only found out about the threats and intimidation when it was revealed in a Globe and Mail story. What has transpired over the last week in the case before us today provides valuable insight into the Liberal government. What has happened to the hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills is just another example. Two days after the story broke, the Prime Minister told Canadians that the CSIS document in question had not been circulated.
    Can members believe that our leader, the leader of our country, is so woefully unaware? He is blissfully unaware, going merrily about his way in whatever he is doing, going to cocktail events and taking selfies, but he does not know about the threats against a sitting member of Parliament in the House. He told Canadians that the report by CSIS outlining the details of the threat to intimidate the member for Wellington—Halton Hills never left the building. On Thursday, the member for Wellington—Halton Hills caught the Prime Minister in this miscommunication. I say “miscommunication”, because it would be unparliamentary to call it anything like a “lie”.

  (1115)  

    According to the member, the Prime Minister's very own national security adviser called him directly to tell him that the intelligence assessment of July 20, 2021, was indeed sent to all relative departments, that in fact it did go to the Prime Minister's Office and it did go to the public safety minister's office.
    I do not want to get into the machinations of the machinery of the government, but for those watching, the Prime Minister's Office also includes the Privy Council Office. PCO is the Prime Minister's department. He is solely responsible for it. Anyone who has worked in a large organization will understand the silo effect, each part working on its own projects, its own agenda with one large body overseeing everything, being the guy who sits in that seat right there.
    With the exception of possibly the finance department, PCO is the only organization in all of government that actually knows what is going on everywhere. In fact, each week all the deputy ministers from across the government descend on the Prime Minister's Office in Langevin Block to discuss what has transpired, what is coming up and how they are going to move forward. They strategize. Each week, all the political chiefs of staff from each department meet so they can inform the Prime Minister's Office on their files and how they are progressing.
    The Prime Minister and the government want us to believe that they did not know, that they were not informed, that this information simply fell through the cracks. With all these people meeting each week, discussing issues of national importance, I find it extremely hard to believe that no one in this government would flag this issue, that not one person would say to the Prime Minister that he needed to know about this, that not one person would raise it.
    As I said at the start, we should give them the benefit of the doubt. Gross incompetence or malicious intent, there are cases made for each. We have seen gross incompetence daily. We have all heard the rumours about files piled so high on the Prime Minister's desk that it is not inconceivable that perhaps he actually still has not seen the memo yet as it is not on this month's reading list. Maybe it is on next month's reading list.
    The total control demanded by this PMO is unlike any in the history of government. Nothing gets signed or passed until the Prime Minister's Office has seen it or okayed it. Nothing gets done until the Prime Minister has given it the green light. Advice from the departments can sit for weeks and months in PCO and PMO and, because the Prime Minister is vacationing in the Caribbean, surfing in B.C., taking all-expense paid trips, things just seem to pile up. I mean, leading is hard.
    We all heard the testimony of the Prime Minister's chief of staff, Katie Telford, in recent weeks. The Prime Minister reads everything. If that is true, if he reads everything, we know with certainty that the CSIS intelligence file was in his office. Would it not stand to reason that he actually read it, that he understood it and that he willfully chose to ignore it? That leads us to gross negligence. Why on earth would a Prime Minister put the lives of members of Parliament at risk? I will remind this chamber that the Chinese operative was going to “make an example of” a sitting member of Parliament. What does it mean to “make an example of” ? Why would any threat against a parliamentarian go unanswered?
    Why would the government willfully ignore intelligence briefings from CSIS? It is because it did not suit their needs or their political agenda. That is right. If it was not incompetence, it was negligence. It is that simple. If we look at the political climate and the events that were transpiring around this time, we can see a pattern. We know that foreign actors were funnelling money to 11 Liberal candidates in the greater Toronto area, 11 sitting members of Parliament. That is a fact. CSIS has reported on that.
    We know that the Prime Minister was planning a snap election at the same time. We know that, despite numerous warnings, the Prime Minister and his staff understood the security threats. We know that CSIS provided the information on the intimidation campaign against the member for Wellington—Halton Hills in 2021 and the government did nothing.

  (1120)  

    In its 2021 annual report to Parliament, CSIS said that foreign interference threats had increased. Canada's spy agency said efforts by foreign states to steal intellectual property from Canadian researchers and companies were “persistent and sophisticated” and contributed to a “mounting toll on the country's vital assets and knowledge-based economy.” It warned that foreign interference threats in Canada to shape public policy or harass dissidents, as well as espionage, “increase[d] in scale, scope and complexity”. In 2022, an unsealed indictment in the U.S. alleged that Beijing's overseas campaign to put pressure on Chinese nationals to return and face criminal charges in China included enforcement efforts on Canadian soil. That is right, through its use of illegal police stations operating in Toronto and Montreal, the Communist Chinese regime was using intimidation to influence Canadian citizens.
    Prior to the 2021 election, constituents came to me and asked if it was real, was it actually happening in Canada that a foreign country had police stations in our country and was forcing Chinese Canadians to do their deeds through intimidation. I chalked it up as conspiracy and told my constituents that it could not be true, yet it is. Months after the government stood in the House and admitted, yes, it is and it had closed their doors, but these police stations are still open. They are still threatening Chinese Canadians.
    I said at the beginning that if one sees something, one should say something. Can anyone imagine being from China and living here? They come here for a better life, and yet they are still feeling the undue pressure of the foreign government that they fled because they still have family there. They are still worried about persecution. They are still worried about intimidation. They are still worried about the threats of violence or whatever could happen to their families. Why would they say something when they see the leader of our country taking such a weak stance?
    Talking about weakness, time and again we have seen the Prime Minister on the world stage being so weak. Literally weeks after Iran shot down PS752, a Ukrainian airline, killing 57 Canadians, there he was bowing to the same regime that killed those Canadians. The right thing to do is to send a message to these countries that we are strong, that regardless of our political beliefs, we will stand up for one another here.
    There is something that we do not take into consideration, at least I did not when I signed up to be a member of Parliament, and that is the threats of violence, the increasing threats to our own safety and our families' safety. I have to say it is alarming. I can handle myself, but I worry about my family, always. The message has to be that regardless of which party we are with, if a country attacks one of us, it attacks us all, and it will not be allowed. When the government was challenged with that, its response was that it was kind of worried about what China was going to do. That is BS. I would like to say that word in full.
    The government is so weak on such issues that matter to all Canadians. We can do so much better. Yesterday we had a motion before the House about setting up a foreign interference agency and having a non-partisan commission to investigate foreign interference, and the government voted against it. Yes, it has appointed a special rapporteur who has close connections to the Prime Minister. He might as well just sign the report right now and hand it in because we know what it is going to say. I am not besmirching our former governor general. I am saying the Prime Minister should have better guidance from those around him.
    I will cede the floor with this. I am so troubled by the fact that all the government wants to do is impugn the reputation of a sitting member of Parliament that it could have protected in the first place.

  (1125)  

    Madam Speaker, what has become abundantly clear in the hours of debate we have had thus far is the fact the Prime Minister found out about this just last week, and a number of measures were taken, including the expulsion of a diplomat within a week. Those are the facts. The member might want to speculate, hypothesize and all these other weird things, but those are the facts.
    The Conservatives continue to want to dial up the issue because they want to focus on character assassination more than they want to deal with an issue of substance.
    One member affects all members. This is an issue that will be discussed at committee. The question is this. There were 49 members of Parliament in 2022, a couple of dozen provincial legislators and even some local councillors. Does the member not believe that the best way to deal with this is to put politics aside and let the committees do what they need to do?
    Madam Speaker, the best way to deal with this would have been two years ago when the government first had the report.
     I do not believe for one minute that the Prime Minister, his ministers or those around him did not know about it. I think it is unacceptable that this member of Parliament continues to stand up here and gaslight with respect to the 49 elected officials who were briefed on this. He continues to throw that out there.
    Last week, when the Liberals changed their talking points, they tried to say that the member for Wellington—Halton Hills somehow knew about it two years ago and did nothing when it was solely their responsibility to stand up not only for the sitting members of Parliament who have been elected to represent Canadians, but also for those Canadians who are facing intimidation from foreign agents.

  (1130)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, when we look at this whole situation, it is obvious that the Prime Minister does not understand China. When it comes to foreign affairs, I do not think he understands Russia. There are many things like that.
    I would like to ask my hon. colleague a question. Is the Prime Minister acting this way because he is gullible, naive or incompetent?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, that goes to the main point in my intervention, which is this. The Liberals do not care about the safety of parliamentarians or the families of those who serve, so they are either negligent in their duties with malicious intent, grossly incompetent or grossly negligent.
    I worked in China for a long time in my previous career and I know about the threats and intimidation. As soon as people land and get into a taxi, it gets pulled over and the Chinese officials know exactly who they are and why they are there.
     I have faced intimidation by China. I cannot imagine what it is like to be from the Chinese community living here in Canada, having fled that country for a better life, yet still being faced with threats of violence and intimidation, and worrying about my friends and family back home and the coercion they face. It is unacceptable and the sign of a weak leader. It is not even leadership; it is just weakness.
    Madam Speaker, my hon. friend from Cariboo—Prince George would know that my colleague from Kitchener Centre and I, the Green Party, supported the motion to ensure that the prima facie case of privilege that the hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills advanced goes to committee for study, but there is one factual matter I want to probe a bit with him.
    We know a lot of things about the circumstances here, and I have an open mind on whether the Prime Minister or the people near him in the PMO knew for two years. We do not know that. We know that CSIS wrote a report, we know that the national security advisers knew, but we do not know whether that information was communicated to the Prime Minister's Office and I am not prepared to make that assumption. With respect to the information going forward from CSIS or the national security adviser to the Prime Minister's Office, I find it entirely plausible that it did not pass it on. I would like to ask him if he does not think there is even a possibility that is the case.
    Madam Speaker, I am going to respectfully disagree. This is a matter of national importance and of the safety and security of a sitting member of Parliament. I will go back to what I said during my intervention. CSIS does these reports and investigations only at the request of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Public Safety or the Minister of National Defence. I just cannot see it happening that it produced these reports and they somehow sat under a stack of selfies in our Prime Minister's Office without him seeing them. I just cannot see a situation where our Prime Minister does not know about the matter of a national security threat.
    Beyond that, CSIS built these reports about potential threats within his party to nominations or whatever. I cannot see any scenario where the Prime Minister, in his leadership, had no knowledge of it. He can say he did not know and plead ignorance all he likes, but I just cannot see it. I have sat in security briefings at the highest level, and I cannot believe that the Prime Minister had no knowledge of it. Our first job is to tell our commander-in-chief when there are threats. We cannot insulate them and allow them to be willfully ignorant of these threats.
    Madam Speaker, I want to ask my colleague from Cariboo—Prince George to comment briefly on the facts of the timing of all this. We heard from the member across the way that he wants to talk about facts, so let us do so.
    We started on Sunday night, when the member for Wellington—Halton Hills was informed of this potential threat to him and his family. That story came out in the media on Monday. On Monday and Tuesday, the government side deflected; there was no comment about anything. Finally, on Wednesday morning, the Prime Minister and the public safety minister said that this report never made it out of CSIS. I think by the end of the day or early the next morning, the member for Wellington—Halton Hills was in fact informed that this report had made it to the PCO and the national security adviser's office. The Liberals deflected for a couple more days. They were going to summon the ambassador to have a conversation, and finally, we end up with this operative, as he is called in many reports, being expelled from our country.
    What we are trying to accomplish in this parliamentary privilege motion is actually getting to the truth, and we have the goal of getting it to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs for a deeper study. Could the member for Cariboo—Prince George talk about how this changing set of facts and narratives affects this?

  (1135)  

    Madam Speaker, that is kind of the modus operandi we have seen from the Prime Minister, at least in the seven and a half years that I have been a member of Parliament. Whether it is “elbowgate”, Jody Wilson-Raybould, SNC or the WE scandal, it is always, “There is nothing to see here.” Then they blame Stephen Harper or the previous government. It just goes on and on.
    The Prime Minister reminds me of the schoolyard bully, where he picks and natters at somebody. When the person finally has enough, they punch the bully in the nose, and the bully runs to his parents and blames everybody else. He does not take responsibility for his own actions, which caused that to happen.
    It is the lack of leadership we have seen and come to expect from the Prime Minister, as well as the weakness he has shown time and time again. It is his own self-adulation, the arrogance we have seen and how he loves being on the red carpet rather than being on this green carpet right here.
    This is the House of the people; this is the House of Commons. This House elects 338 members of Parliament so that we can bring Canadians' voices here. At the very least, the Prime Minister should be standing up for the 338 members of Parliament so that they can vote with their conscience and be the voices for their constituents and Canadians. Canadians know that we will stand up for them. Regardless of who they are or where they are from, we will allow them to have a free and democratic life here in Canada. We will not stand for a foreign country intimidating them.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I must first acknowledge the Speaker’s ruling on the question of privilege raised by the member for Wellington-Halton Hills. I find the Speaker’s response to that motion very interesting.
    I am an economist by training. More specifically, I am a macroeconomist. Some say that a macroeconomist is a microeconomist who knows how to count, but, no, I would not say that. Many things could be said about economists, but I would say that I like to have an overall picture of the situation, so that is what I will provide to the House. I know my colleagues have waited a long time for me to explain the situation to them. No, that is not true, I know that is not the case, but I will nevertheless take on the task of explaining who the Prime Minister is. I will share my macroanalysis of this situation. I will start at the beginning.
    I was a member of the National Assembly in Québec City before sitting here and, in Québec City, I served under two premiers, Ms. Marois and Mr. Couillard. When I saw them during oral question period, they were always passionate. For Ms. Marois, it was always a true pleasure to cross swords with her friends across the floor. It was clear that she loved debate and that she loved being premier.
    As for Mr. Couillard, there are many things that divide us. I can say that because I faced him for four years. However, he was like that as well. When he got to question period, he was prepared. It was clear that he enjoyed it, and we enjoyed asking him questions. One of Mr. Couillard’s problems is that he had left “his heart at home”, as Michel Rivard would say. However, that is another debate. If he is listening today, I salute him and I reverently salute Ms. Marois, the first woman premier in Quebec history.
    When I arrived in the House of Commons, I was anxious and happy. I told myself that I would be finally seeing the Prime Minister in all his splendour. In 2015, it was said that he was a rock star, a bit like Bono or something. He was heard singing songs from Queen even though it was not very convincing. I still thought it would be impressive.
    I arrived in the House and I saw him for the first time. I would say, respectfully, that I was disappointed. There are many other words that would come to mind. I know that there are people who would encourage me to say them, but I will just say that I was disappointed. In summary, I would say that I saw someone who did not want to be here. He is in the House but he does not really want to be, nor does he want to answer questions. Sometimes, he prorogues Parliament and leaves for a while. He was excited to be re-elected in 2021, but we waited months before returning to the House. It appears as though he does not really want to be here.
    It occurred to some that he might not like this part of the job, but surely he still worked hard as the leader of Canada, was aware of everything that was going on, read the CSIS reports and had an opinion on everything. People really wanted to believe that that was true.
    I will give a short presentation. I hear people laughing on this side of the House, while on the other side, people are giving me the stink eye and wondering where I am going with this story. I feel like they are worried, but I want to assure them that I am not speaking to the Liberal Party, but to its leader. I know, there are small differences.
    I figured that I might as well watch him for a while and give him a chance, because that is the kind of guy I am. Those who have watched me for a while know that I give people a chance. It is something that people like about me. I therefore gave the Prime Minister a chance and then I studied his actions over many crises.
    First, I always have the proverb in mind that says, “To govern is to anticipate, and whoever does not anticipate is doomed.” It was Émile de Girardin who said that in 1852. I believed that, because he was in government, the Prime Minister had to be someone who plans ahead, but that is not so. He planned to hire McKinsey until 2100. This is one of the things that he can anticipate. He anticipated that Canada would have a population of 100 million by 2100. It is a prediction, but I am not sure that it would be very glorious.

  (1140)  

    When it comes to anticipating things, he scores a big fat zero. He simply does not have that skill. Some might say that anticipating is not always easy, but I would remind the House that to govern is to anticipate, and whoever does not anticipate is doomed. He certainly seems to be running toward a brick wall. He is running toward it at such speed that even Alexis le Trotteur could not catch up. Then, when a crisis hits, he decides to take his time. It is a bit like The tortoise and the hare. He starts off very late and moves at a tortoise's pace. He has both disadvantages at the same time.
    Let us return to the crisis. Let us talk about crises for a moment so that members can understand where I am going with this. I am painting a portrait.
    First, there was the Wet'suwet'en crisis. When that happened, had he anticipated it? The answer is no. He did nothing. In fact, it is because he did nothing that it ended in a crisis. When the crisis began, he was travelling. That is another thing, he likes to travel. He does not like crises, does not like governing, does not like being here, but he likes to travel. He is a great traveller. Let us think back to the first 10 days of the crisis. He was travelling and said that he would not return for that. It was a rail crisis and there were no more trains anywhere, but he said that he would not return for that, that there was no way he would miss a trip. It is like a trilogy. It lasted 30 days. In the first 10 days, he said he was travelling and did not want to be bothered. However, he had to return one day. In the next 10 days, he acknowledged that there was a problem but stated that it was not the government's job to address it and that the provinces would have to figure it out. In the last 10 days, he realized he was really in a jam, so he decided to listen to what the Bloc, among others, was saying, and to do what the Bloc had requested him to do, and it worked.
    Then, there was the COVID‑19 crisis. Could it have been anticipated? Of course not. COVID‑19 could not be predicted. I cannot blame him because nobody, or at least almost nobody, saw it coming. Countries began closing their borders. People were panicking and asking what the Prime Minister had decided to do in Canada. He had not done a thing. People were coming here and they did not need to be tested. There was nothing. Planes full of people were arriving from China, from Italy. There was no problem. The Prime Minister's handling of the situation was so abysmal that even Valérie Plante, the mayor of Montreal, became involved. The mayor arrived at Dorval and said to stop letting people into the country, that it was terrible and that we would end up full of COVID‑19 cases. It is unbelievable: The Prime Minister did so little that the mayor of Montreal had to become Canada's head of state on the fly.
    Let us talk about trucks and the occupation in front of Parliament. Was it foreseeable? It was, a bit. There was talk of it. I remember a man from British Columbia. He was in Vancouver in his 53‑foot truck. He said he was headed to Ottawa to protest. Canada is big. He left Vancouver with a 53‑footer. When I heard him talking he was clean shaven. When he arrived here, his beard was so long he could have joined ZZ Top. In other words, we saw him coming, the guy with his truck. The protesters settled in. Once they were settled, someone a bit calmer than the others asked the Prime Minister to intervene. The Prime Minister did just that: He went outside and insulted them. He waved his arms in the air and insulted them. He went back inside satisfied that his job was done. Sadly, no, it was not; the protesters were even more riled up than usual. Their eyes were practically popping out of their sockets and they needed sunglasses to keep them in. It was bad. The Prime Minister finally decided to emulate his father, more or less. He brushed off the Emergencies Act and ended the whole thing by using the nuclear option.
    The Prime Minister is a procrastinator. He keeps putting things off and letting them drag on. Picture a teenager's bedroom. That is pretty much Canada, in Trudeau's eyes. He lets everything drag on—

  (1145)  

    I would remind the member that we do not use names.
    Madam Speaker, I apologize. I was not referring to him. I was talking about the Prime Minister. I am sorry and I will never do that again, unless I make a mistake.
    Now let us talk about Chinese interference. Chinese interference is very serious. It poses a threat to democracy. According to the intelligence services, it is the greatest known threat to Canada. This is very serious. It seems to me that the guardian of democracy in Canada is the Prime Minister. It is up to him to ensure that we have a healthy democracy. This guy was democratically elected, so I think it would be in his interest to try to protect our democracy.
    This all began in the fall of 2022. Honestly, there are so many elements to Chinese interference, but I will focus on the most important ones. I will address all of them and try to find the common threads, in other words, the same issues that keep coming up over and over again. Members will see where I am going with this.
    In the fall, we read in the papers that China had interfered in 11 ridings in 2019. We asked the Prime Minister what was going on. He said that he had no idea, that he had never heard anything about it. When we asked again, he compared us to Trump, of all people. I cannot say we were happy about being compared to Trump. The Prime Minister accused the opposition of saying that the elections were not legitimate, despite the fact that no one in the opposition had said anything of the sort. That made us angry.
    We answered that we were not saying that the Liberals had not won the election, but that we simply wanted to know what happened in 11 ridings. The Prime Minister told us that he had no knowledge of this. Right after that, he went to the G20. I can still see it. He told us he did not know what was happening, but at the G20, he ran after Xi Jinping to talk to him, as if he had no one else to talk to. He spoke to Xi Jinping for so long that Xi got fed up. The Prime Minister told us that he had talked to Xi about interference.
    However, he had told us that he had no knowledge of any of this and that the election results were not illegitimate. Why did he talk to the president about interference? That is the first problem. Was he joking? Is the Prime Minister a joker? Perhaps he is.
    There was also interference in 2021. I would like to remind the House that this is a minority government. According to the final polls, it was a close race. The Chinese interfered in 11 or 15 ridings in 2019. Since then, they must have practised and gotten better at it, because they may have interfered in up to 15 or 20 ridings. It does not take a PhD in math to understand that, if someone can influence the election results in 10 or 15 ridings where the Liberals and Conservatives are neck and neck, that could mean victory or defeat for one of the parties. It could determine which party forms government. This is no laughing matter.
    We know that the Chinese government is fond of the Liberals. It likes them. It believes it could get close to the Liberals without much trouble. It would prefer a minority Liberal government. The Chinese government is not as fond of the Conservatives. It is a well-known fact. This is troubling.
    We told the Prime Minister that the issue had to be dealt with before the next election. We have a minority government, which means that an election could be called at any time. We need to resolve this problem quickly to make sure that the dice are not loaded when the next election happens. That will take intelligent action.
    Then we learned that, in 2021, the member for Don Valley North apparently spoke to the Chinese consulate and even asked them not to free the two Michaels, so as not to favour the Conservative Party. It is not always easy to grasp all the arguments in this affair. It is about as easy as eating an apple through a tennis racquet. I do not really understand it, but, in any case, that is what happened. Obviously, the Prime Minister says that he was unaware. The Liberal member for Don Valley North is now an independent member, despite the fact that he had the Prime Minister’s support. It is troubling.
    Then there is the Trudeau Foundation debacle, and that is a real circus.

  (1150)  

    If anyone thinks they understand something about the Trudeau Foundation, it is because someone explained it wrong. It is complicated, so we are looking into that. Apparently, in 2016, the Chinese government donated $140,000 to the Trudeau Foundation.
    The Prime Minister says that he has not had anything to do with the foundation for 10 years. That is another joke. He is a real card. He says that neither he nor his office has had anything to do with the foundation.
    Then again, his brother is involved in the foundation. In 2016, the Prime Minister’s Office called the foundation about the Chinese donation. After that, the Prime Minister asked Morris Rosenberg, the former CEO of the Trudeau Foundation, to look into the matter and determine whether there had been any Chinese interference. In Mr. Rosenberg’s massive report, there are four lines about Chinese interference and that is to say that there is none. The Prime Minister then asked David Johnston to act as special rapporteur so he could decide on whether there is a need for an independent public inquiry. Mr. Johnston told him that that was a big ask, that he was not sure he could answer right away, and that he would study the situation for two months. It is like Rodin’s The Thinker: everyone is waiting.
    While we are waiting, other things are happening. All of these people are from the Trudeau Foundation. The Prime Minister goes to spend Christmas with a friend who is involved in the Trudeau Foundation. His office also hosted the Trudeau Foundation.
    Do they take me for a fool? The Prime Minister says that he has not had anything to do with the foundation for 10 years. He keeps repeating it. The members of his government keep repeating it. The government House leader rises and says that he has not had anything to do with the foundation for 10 years. Does he believe that? The Liberals are in trouble. They believe that guy, when everyone knows that it is all complete nonsense, and it just goes on and on.
    The latest news is about the police stations. There are two in Quebec. That is new. The Minister of Public Safety was very serious last week when he said that they had been closed. We called, and they are still open.
    How can he not know that? Before saying something, he should check it. He is a minister. He also has a team. If he does not have time to check, he can ask his friend to call and find out.
    They are still open. It is troubling. One of these police stations is five minutes away by bike in my riding. I will say it again, this is troubling.
    Here is the cherry on the sundae. Now I come to the present day. Two years ago, the hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills and his family received threats. Once again, the Prime Minister says he was unaware. Jody Thomas, his national security adviser, said she was aware, but he was not. Is he telling jokes, or is he a little lost? I am putting it extremely politely, but that is what we must ask ourselves.
    Now, we have a member who was threatened by the Chinese government because he voted against its wishes. We do not care about its wishes. It did not elect us.
     I just said that. The Prime Minister will never be able to say that the hon. member for La Prairie may have been threatened. We do not know. The hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills was threatened two years ago, but we did not find out about it until this week. The government still says it was unaware.
    I swear that if I were the prime minister of Canada, which will never happen, but let us just pretend for a moment, and I found out that a member had been threatened, I would be throwing the diplomat out five seconds later. It would not take me five weeks or five days. In just five seconds, he would be out on his ear.
    If the Prime Minister had learned about this right away, he could have thrown him out and told him to beat it. Instead, he procrastinated. The Liberals got together to figure out what they should do. The Prime Minister knew two years ago, the rascal.
    He knew two years ago. Now they are getting together to figure out what they should do. The opposition demanded that this person be ejected. They said that they could not do that and that it is no easy thing to expel an ambassador.
    Finally, yesterday, they bought themselves a spine and announced they would be throwing him out. Now they are patting themselves on the back like they are heroes.
    We do not believe that. Are any other members of the House being threatened by China? We do not know. It is troubling. It is very troubling.

  (1155)  

    Members of the House and their families may be under threat. The Prime Minister may know this is happening, but he will not say. The Prime Minister is a cross between Ulysses and Pontius Pilate. Happy the man who, like Ulysses, has travelled well.
    There is one thing this Prime Minister likes. He likes to travel. Last weekend, when he was in front of the Liberals, he was happy because he was travelling to see the King—
    We have to go to questions and comments.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, at times, we can witness that the coalition between the Conservatives and the Bloc is doing quite well. It is kind of like the blue and the light blue. It is interesting.
    I went through premiers Gary Doer, Greg Selinger, Gary Filmon and, of course, former prime minister Stephen Harper, all in opposition. I am very comfortable with what we have been able to accomplish.
    I would challenge the member. He has a different view of the last eight years. I could talk about the tax break to the middle class; the GIS lifting hundred of thousands, going to millions, of people out of poverty; and the historic number of trade agreements signed off by the government. Shall we talk about COVID and about the nine million Canadians who benefited from CERB? What about the wage subsidy program? Shall we talk about post-COVID? We can talk about child care. We can talk about the health care agreements. We can talk about the Volkswagen deal. It is endless.
    That is a leader who has demonstrated an immense amount of focus, when every day, the Conservatives, and now the Bloc, are more concerned about character assassination. As those two political parties focus their attention on the negative, on the Prime Minister, and are spreading misinformation, we will continue to espouse what is important to Canadians.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, that was not really a question. It was a love letter to his own party. I am surprised to hear him list all the things that the government has done in the last eight years. Considering how much money they make, I should hope that they are getting things done. The Prime Minister certainly ought to be doing things. He has a packed schedule. However, we could list all the things he did not do or did wrong. Dental care was a mess, and CERB was plagued by fraud.
    My colleague said that we are a coalition. I would respond that we are the coalition of democracy. That is what we are. The Conservatives are right to be angry with this government, because one of their members was intimidated, threatened for two years, and this government sat idly by. Now the government is trying to get the Bloc Québécois to say that they are only Conservatives and that they are not part of our party. Come on. They are right.
    When the Conservatives are right on one issue, we are not ashamed to stand up and say we support them. The coalition for democracy is standing up to this government of opacity.

  (1200)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I agree with the hon. member. If I ever have the opportunity to be prime minister, regardless of where the threat came from and against whom, that diplomat and that country would know, exactly, that the government would not tolerate that.
    It is NHL hockey playoffs right now. Evander Kane, from the Edmonton Oilers, said something that is a saying in my riding as well, which we say to bullies. I will paraphrase because some of the language is unparliamentary: If someone messes around, they will find out what will happen to them. That is the message I would send to China regarding this: Mess around and find out.
    In my intervention, I said that there are two choices we have here: malicious intent or willful negligence. I want to ask what my hon. colleague believes as to why the Prime Minister sat on this information and did not inform the sitting member of Parliament.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, there is an obvious kernel of truth in my colleague's question. It is very troubling. Did the Prime Minister know the truth but fail to say anything when he should have, or did he not know because he was too naive? Which of these alternatives is preferable? Neither of them.
    The government obfuscates and remains silent every time we say something about Chinese interference. Their attitude is deny, deny, deny. Lives may be at stake, but the Liberals continue to deny. That is the problem.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from La Prairie for his speech. I always learn new turns of phrase from him. This time, it was, “It is about as easy as eating an apple through a tennis racquet”. I had not heard that one before.
    I would like to make it clear that the NDP obviously supports our Conservative colleague from Wellington—Halton Hills and his family, who are in an extremely delicate position. I also agree that troubling facts keep emerging, what with the secret police stations, the contributions to Liberal candidates, the strange donations to the Trudeau Foundation, and now these threats against a member of Parliament, who was not informed for two years.
    There is nothing more important in a democracy than getting to the whole truth so that Canadians can trust our institutions and the electoral process. Does my colleague agree that the only way to get at the whole truth is to hold an independent public inquiry?
    Madam Speaker, my colleague is right. Speaking of coalitions, I think it is pretty clear. The Conservatives, the Bloc Québécois and the NDP all agree. Is that partisanship? No, it is not.
    I completely agree with my colleague that we need an independent public inquiry. We have been asking for one for a long time. The NDP has been asking for one. The Conservatives are also asking for one. The government got the brilliant idea to procrastinate once again, hoping things would get better on their own, only to discover that it had wasted two months and that the revelations keep on coming. It is not over yet, I am sure.
    I therefore agree with the hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie. We need an independent public inquiry.

  (1205)  

    Madam Speaker, I want to commend my colleague from La Prairie for the tone and mood of his speech. He addressed serious topics, but he found a way to make it fun to listen to. He is a talented speaker who should inspire many. I really like listening to him in the House.
    A few days ago, the Prime Minister stated that he was not aware of the threats and intimidation that the hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills had been facing for the last two years. Soon after, we learned that he may have been aware and that his entourage was aware. In short, all this is unclear. However, CSIS was well aware of this information and did its duty by notifying the Prime Minister's Office.
    My question for my colleague is as follows: Does he feel that this government is listening to the agencies, especially CSIS, the way it should, or is it operating in isolation?
    Is CSIS just there for decoration?
    Madam Speaker, I recognize all the work done by my colleague. Our caucus truly appreciates him and so do his constituents.
    The question is whether CSIS has discovered anything. I have never been there, but I imagine that those people must work hard. They are not sitting on their couches eating chocolates and waiting for people to come to them with information. They have to go look for the information and work hard.
    They go look for information some place, somewhere, and that is extremely important. They want to protect Canada's democracy and parliamentarians. After making all these efforts, they come up against a government, and especially a prime minister, that completely ignores the hard work they do. There is reason for concern. We are in the dark.
    Madam Speaker, I will ask my question in English, because I do not have much time.

[English]

    I want to thank the hon. member for his speech, the history and the truth. In my interactions as former House leader, I found that this member speaks the truth. He is honourable, and his word is his worth. I cannot actually say that about the Liberal or NDP House leaders.
    Is there no other option at this point but to have a public inquiry, with Mr. Johnston, to get to the bottom of what is happening with foreign interference and all of the stuff that is happening with the Trudeau Foundation? Is an independent public inquiry the only way to get to the bottom of what is happening here?

[Translation]

    The hon. member for La Prairie has 40 seconds to respond.
    Madam Speaker, it would take me longer than 40 seconds to say how much I appreciate my colleague. He is amazing.
    To answer his question, yes, an independent public inquiry is essential. One thing we know for sure about the Prime Minister is that he is in no way competent enough to find out what happened and disclose it publicly. He has to hand over the reins to someone else, and an independent, public inquiry is what it will take.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I too want to add my voice to the conversation we are having here today in this debate on privilege. The issue of a member's vote in this place is really what we are after today. Our ability to vote without influence from other countries is very important.
     I would note that the vote in question had to do with the recognition of the genocide of the Uyghur people in China. The Beijing government has been focused on repressing the Uyghurs through things such as forced abortion, forced sterilization, re-education camps and concentration camps. Members may have seen the photos of Uyghur folks lined up at the bus terminals and being loaded onto the trains. We have stated often in this place “never again”, and here we are watching “never again” happen again.
    That vote that took place in the House of Commons was historic. The Canadian Parliament was one of the first parliaments around the world that voted to recognize that. It was something many members had worked fairly hard on, and we had also felt pressure from various corners to ensure that we got that right.
    What is fascinating is that the member for Wellington—Halton Hills voted for that motion while the entire Canadian cabinet did not. That is telling, perhaps, as to the weight of that vote. However, it also raises the question of foreign influence happening here in Canada. What kind of influence is that having on the Canadian cabinet, given the fact that we have discovered now that the government knew for over two years that the member for Wellington—Halton Hills' family was being harassed because of this particular vote? What was happening to members of the cabinet in their personal lives and how was that being influenced? That is what this whole debate is about. It is about the privilege of members of Parliament to be able to do their job.
    Probably one of the most important things we do as members of Parliament is to vote from our seats in this place. That is what we are elected to do. We are elected to take our seats in this place to vote on things. Votes are a moment in time. Votes are a very binary thing. We vote for something; we vote against something.
    In many cases, when we have a vote, those are weighty moments. Members must consider all the ramifications and impacts of the position they take on that. There is nothing that brings more clarity into a situation than having a binary vote on a particular piece of legislation because that is when we get to find out about who is affected, what the ramifications are and all of these kinds of things. Particularly if people are upset about that vote, we get to hear about it after we cast that vote. Our ability to vote in this place is incredibly important.
    The member for Wellington—Halton Hills has been a stalwart defender of democracy. This may be due in part to his roots, as he comes from Hong Kong, so he has a firm understanding of the relationship with the Beijing government and the world. Just due to the nature of his heritage, the member has some fortitude when it comes to understanding how democracy works, and he has worked very hard in this place to ensure that democracy works better. He has a very good grasp of the history of this place and the history of our mother Parliament over in England. He worked on the Reform Act, which is an act that has empowered individual members of Parliament. That is something that the member has been passionate about.

  (1210)  

    He has argued for increased members' budgets. He has argued for more members of Parliament, so we have more representation for individual Canadians. His allegiance to democracy, parliamentary democracy and the House of Commons is unquestioned.
    I want to thank him for that. I know his passion and diligence on these democracy issues are so important. That is perhaps the great irony of this particular situation. Of all members of Parliament for this to fall upon, the member for Wellington—Halton Hills has impeccable credentials in the defence of democracy. That is why it is so frustrating to see that the government sat on this information for over two years, only for us, as individual members of Parliament, to find out about this through the press. That goes to show why the freedom of the press is so important.
    This is something the Liberal government has been undermining over the last number of years, just as we have seen with Bill C-11. We see how voices that may disagree with the government may be repressed online. We see that with the funding of journalism across the country. We see this with the subsidization of CBC, how that money influences the reporting that we get.
    This particular instance shows that the freedom of the press, the ability for the press to be unencumbered by owing the government a favour of any sort, is necessary. We see, with The Globe and Mail and Global News, that if it were not for the work they had done, we would never know about this. We would never know that, for over two years, the government and the Prime Minister sat on the information that a member of the House and his family were being threatened because of a vote that had taken place here.
    We have heard, over the last couple of days as we have been having this debate, over and over again how the Liberals are trying to spin this, and it is classic gaslighting. My working definition of “gaslighting” is that whatever someone is doing, they accuse their opponents of doing the same. I would like to address a couple of those things.
    One of the things they say is that the Conservatives did nothing when they were in power. The fact of the matter is that the Liberals have done nothing to stop this. They have allowed it. They have watched it grow. They have watched the foreign influence grow in Canada and have done nothing to prevent it over the last number of years.
    The other thing that is interesting is that, under Stephen Harper, there was a different leader in China. When Stephen Harper was the prime minister, there was a different leader. China had a different outlook on the world under the other leader. There has been a significant shift.
    If someone wants to look it up, they can google “wolf warrior”. The current leader of China, Xi Jinping, has openly stated that China is moving into a wolf warrior pose in the world. Instead of biding its time, which was the previous leader's line, it is looking at being a wolf warrior. They are looking to be dominant in the world. There is no doubt about that. They are much more aggressive.
    That is a completely different context. I know the member for Winnipeg North will probably stand up to talk about Stephen Harper and the great job Stephen Harper did when he was the prime minister. The point is that, when Stephen Harper was the leader, Canada was seen as a strong player on the international stage. We were convening meetings to take on ISIL. We were a valued partner of the Five Eyes. Australia, the United States and the U.K. looked to Canada to provide a leadership role in many of these discussions. Now we are ignored, sidelined and not trusted by the international community when it comes to dealing with things like China.
    The Beijing government worked much more carefully. It was much more concerned about what Canada had to say about what it was up to. Today, we have a completely different context.

  (1215)  

    Today, we see the Chinese run roughshod over Canadian values and institutions. They have set up police stations on Canadian sovereign soil. We have seen this over and over again. We just know that a lot of this is about posture. We know that, under Stephen Harper, Canada had a proud posture on the international stage. We had a posture that said we were open for business but that we had rules that everybody had to follow. Canadian sovereignty was something we were very concerned about.
    In fact, we spent a lot of time mapping the north. The entire search for the Franklin expedition was a mapping exercise to establish Canadian sovereignty in the north. This was a nation-building exercise. It was something that we told the Canadian people about. It was a source of pride for Canadians. However, we also said we needed to establish Canadian sovereignty in the north because of threats from China.
    Threats from China were something that the Harper government took very seriously. It was something that we went into with both eyes open. We dealt with China, but we said that we knew it was a Communist country and that Communism is not something that is equivocal. We cannot make equivalencies between Communism and democracy, and therefore, the rules of engagement that we deal with when dealing with France, Germany, Holland or the United States are going to be different from those we have when we are dealing with China.
    Because it operates on a different system, we need to ensure that we deal with China appropriately. To some degree, this comes back to ideas around humanity and whether people are basically good. Maybe it is postmodernism that the government really espouses, with ideas around equivalency, and we just have to basically trust that everybody is good. There are evil actors in the world. There are nefarious actors, and China is one of them. China has not been a force for good in the world over the last number of decades.
    That is a major difference between Conservatives and Liberals. Liberals have a naive view. They want to equivocate. They want to say that it is a different system, but it is just as good. I would argue that this is not the case and that there are threats and nefarious actors in the world. These are threats and actors that we must take seriously and challenge. We must stand up for democracy and make the arguments for why democracy is better and why the Western systems are better.
    Those are important things to do, and I do not think it is good enough to say, “You do it your way, and we will do it ours.” I think we should say, “This is the way we do it because it is better, because it is moral and because it is the right way to do things.” I see this postmodern idea that there is no truth, or that the truth is relative, as a failure of the current government. All of these kinds of things have really been worked into it.
    The other area of gaslighting I see happen through this debate, particularly in questions from the Liberals, is how this is the member's fault and how the member should have known about this. Of course—

  (1220)  

    The hon. member for Beauport—Limoilou is rising on a point of order.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I apologize to my hon. colleague for interrupting his riveting speech, but we have no French interpretation. We have to select the English channel to hear anything. The French channel is completely silent.
    We will look into it right away.

[English]

    Is it working now? Yes.

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Peace River—Westlock.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the other area where we are seeing some significant gaslighting is where the government says that it is the member's fault and the member should have known about this. This is an interesting thing about victim blaming. We see the government accuse others of doing this all the time, and here we are seeing that once again. The government's newest line is that it did not know; it only found out on Monday, just the other day. However, there seems to be a lot of evidence that it knew about this over two years ago. That does not include all the other troubles we have with foreign interference in this country. The Trudeau Foundation is embroiled in a whole host of scandals now around taking Chinese money.
    When the government was kind of embarrassed about its coziness with the Beijing government and Chinese influence in Canada, it appointed a special rapporteur. This position does not have any legal standing in Canada; nonetheless, it has appointed this person. One would think that if one were trying to allay Canadians' fears around this foreign interference issue, one would find somebody with no connections to the Beijing government and no relationship to the people who are being accused of not doing anything about it. However, here we are with the director of the Trudeau Foundation being appointed as the special rapporteur.
     That organization has taken money from the Beijing government or their emissaries. We have seen all kinds of confusion around who took the money and how it was organized. The Prime Minister's brother was the one who facilitated a donation. Then we see that this organization's annual report names the Prime Minister as a member. Now, he says he is unaffiliated and has not had contact with it for over 10 years, but his name is still in the annual report. He is still part of the Trudeau Foundation. That is the reality, whether the Prime Minister wants to admit it or not. He can say that he is currently uninvolved in the operations of the organization, but when he leaves this place, he will be able to be a part of its directorship. If he says that funds donated to that organization today could not be disbursed in the future, what does he take Canadians for?
    Today, donations are being made to the Trudeau Foundation; despite saying he is unaffiliated to it at the moment, the Prime Minister has connections to this organization. It is obvious that even if it were true that he is unaffiliated, which it is not, he will be reaffiliated in the future. He will be back on the governance board doing the same things, and he will have whatever kind of money has been donated to the Trudeau Foundation at his disposal once again.
    We have also seen over and over that the Liberals' claim to success is about how much money they spend. The Liberals accuse the past Conservative government of not doing anything and then go on to state how much they have increased funding for whatever the situation is. The Liberals accuse Conservatives of not having done something compared with how much more money they are spending on a particular thing.
    Again, this is another place where the Liberals will say that they have spent more money on this, which is an interesting way of ranking things. If we can get something and not have to spend money on it, that would seem to be a good win. We will not have to spend money on it if we can have national security because of our posture in the world and because we speak softly and carry a big stick. We will not have to spend money if we have no foreign interference because, rhetorically and by our posture, we signal to the world that Canada is not open to foreign interference.

  (1225)  

    These are things that will happen naturally and organically. We will prevent foreign interference by our posture and by our rhetoric, and we will not have to spend money. However, the Liberals will come and tell us how much money they are spending on initiative X, Y or Z as a point of proof that they are doing more. I just want to reject that whole premise outright. The amount of money that is spent dealing with a particular thing does not necessarily correlate to taking action on that thing.
    I just want to restate once again that Canada is not for sale. Canada is a sovereign nation. The Canadian government should do all that it can to prevent foreign influence in our democracy and ensure that Canadian democracy is upheld wherever it is under threat.
    Madam Speaker, just to pick up on the member's last points, people who are following the debate should be very much aware of the facts. The fact is that, whether the Conservatives want to agree or disagree, the Prime Minister first found out about this just last week. He took immediate action. Within a week, we now have a diplomat being expelled from Canada.
     Back on March 12, we talked about establishing a foreign influence transparency registry. On March 15, we put in a special rapporteur, who could well come back suggesting that we have a public inquiry. The Prime Minister says that if that is the recommendation, that is what we will accept. Would the member not acknowledge that the Prime Minister found out for the very first time last week, as he has indicated?

  (1230)  

    Madam Speaker, the member will have to forgive me for not believing a lot of what comes across from that side of the floor. There was the WE Charity scandal, the SNC-Lavalin scandal and the question of who stayed in a $6,000-a-night hotel room. We have seen over and over again that the government has not been forthcoming. It has been a distract-and-deflect kind of government. Therefore, we are not going to take the Prime Minister at his word. We are going to continue to investigate this and call for an independent inquiry. We are going to hold the government to account so that we can show Canadians that there is an ethical government-in-waiting ready to take a seat on that side of the House.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, the motion is important because it enables us to express our indignation and shine a light on what happened to my Conservative colleague and his family.
    Since day one, this government has been reacting instead of taking action. This has been going on for weeks. It is hard for us to believe that the Prime Minister just happened to find out last week that a member and his family were being threatened for the past two years. That is pretty hard to believe.
    There is only one way to shine a light on the situation as a whole, which is not pretty: an independent public inquiry. We have been calling for this for weeks, as my colleague just said.
    Instead of waiting for the special rapporteur, who is not independent in the least, will the Prime Minister stand up right now and launch an independent public inquiry?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, that is probably the crux of the situation. Canadians are looking to the government to provide stability, to provide clarity and to ensure that this kind of thing does not happen anymore. A public inquiry that is truly independent and has the ability to follow its nose and to look in the dark corners, if set up correctly, would actually have the opportunity to bring trust back to our Canadian institutions.
     The member is totally right in that this is bigger than just the individual member. I mentioned this off the top. For me, it is an interesting thing that the entire cabinet did not vote on that particular item, on the same vote that the member's family was threatened over. Therefore, was their vote being influenced? Were their families being threatened, or was there some other part of their personal life that was being used to extort a non-vote on that particular item? This is the one that we know about. What other actions have been happening in this place to—
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay.
    Madam Speaker, we have a responsibility in the House to protect democracy, and that means we have to be the adults in the room.
     When the allegations of electoral interference came up, the Prime Minister reasonably should have said that there would be a public investigation so that people would know that it was not so much just about China, but that there could be all manner of foreign interference. We know about Russian bot interference during the convoy. Let us do that and reassure people.
     We found out the shocking news about the member for Wellington—Halton Hills. I do not know that there is any evidence that the Prime Minister knew two years ago, but when he was made aware, he did not expel the diplomat, and that sent a very disturbing signal. In the midst of this debate, and I mean no offence to my Liberal colleagues, the fact that they put forward the member for Winnipeg North and the member for Kingston and the Islands is turning this into a gong show, and that is not helpful.
    However, I would ask my hon. colleague about his own leader, who is getting up and making outrageously juvenile claims that thousands of Chinese Canadians were intimidated into not voting, in order to benefit the Prime Minister. That kind of exploitation and falsehood is also dangerous to democracy.
    We need to take this thing in a focused manner. We need to be able to reassure people. However, to exploit it like the Conservative leader is doing is, to me, as concerning for democracy as the failure of the Liberals to take responsibility for their ship and what they should be doing right now to protect democracy.

  (1235)  

    Madam Speaker, building on the comments from my hon. colleague around the gaslighting that happens in this place, one of the other things that the Liberals bring up all the time is the perceived partisanship of this. Again, it is interesting that they accuse their opponents of doing what they are actually doing.
    One of the things that is fairly obvious is that the Liberals benefited from the Beijing influence in the previous election, and, therefore, were not interested in dealing with this. It is becoming increasingly obvious that one of the reasons the Prime Minister did not deal with the perceived foreign influence of Beijing is that the Liberals stood to benefit from the influence. Therefore, when they say it is partisan interest that is driving this, that is precisely why they did not do anything.
    Madam Speaker, it cannot be emphasized enough how important this debate is for the proper functioning of Canadian democracy. I know that the Liberals seem to be making light of the fact of what happens in this place.
    My question for the member for Peace River—Westlock is this: Is he concerned about what seems to be the increasing disconnect between the legislative and executive branches of government with respect to how Canadian democracy is supposed to function?
    Madam Speaker, 100% that is a concern for me. This is part of the Liberals' increased Americanization of this place.
    We get a lot of American politics that comes across the border in our media, so many people would not necessarily know, but, in the United States, the executive branch does not sit in the legislature like it does here in Canada. In Canada, the executive branch is just the Prime Minister and the cabinet, who sit right in our legislature. We have the opportunity to interact with them. We see, increasingly, that the government is less and less interested in participating in the chamber and ensuring that they can be held accountable to everyday Canadians and this place.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, foreign interference in nothing new. Let me provide a quick run-down. First there was the contract for embassy equipment awarded to Nuctech, a Chinese company. Next we have the telecommunications contract for border services and protections for the Prime Minister awarded to a company using products from Hytera, a Chinese company. Then we have the Trudeau Foundation, the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg and the illegal police stations. Let us not forget the delayed release of the two Michaels and the threats to an MP and his family.
    How many so-called coincidences will it take for this government to understand that Chinese interference is real, and that an independent public commission of inquiry is absolutely critical? When will this government finally take action to send a clear message to the Chinese government that Quebec and Canada are not for sale?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the coincidences are piling up, as the member points out, and that is probably not a coincidence. I remember that, way back before 2015, the Prime Minister, at an event, said that he admired the basic dictatorship of China. Little did we know how prophetic that would be.
    Madam Speaker, as always, it is an honour to stand to debate the things that are so important to Canadians in this place.
    Since it is the first opportunity I have had to speak since last Wednesday, I would like to take a moment to acknowledge that May 3 was Constitution Day in Poland. This takes on a special relevance in the midst of the debate taking place today, because it is a celebration in the midst of significant adversity that the Republic of Poland experienced throughout its history. In 1791, it brought about the first modern constitution on the European continent. For many years, though, while Poland was under Soviet control, people were not allowed to celebrate that milestone. It is certainly an honour for me, as someone of Polish heritage, and for many of the Polish diaspora across our country and so many around the world who look at that example of peace, freedom and democracy and acknowledge the importance of that. I wish the Polish diaspora here in Canada and around the world who celebrated on May 3 a happy Constitution Day.
    We have before us what is a very unique debate. It has been very troubling over the last couple of weeks and number of months, when we have seen highlighted in this place, and specifically in media across the country, how there have been attacks on Canadian democracy. It cannot be emphasized enough how important it is to ensure that the first priority of any prime minister, any member who sits in the chamber, and, I suggest, every Canadian should be to be aware of how important the preservation of our democracy is.
    When I was first elected, in 2019, and, more than that, as I have been engaged in politics in various capacities, from a volunteer to a political staffer and a number of other different ways throughout my life, I have seen that we need to emphasize how important the preservation of our democratic infrastructure is. However, over the last number of weeks, we have seen that it is under threat. It is one thing to see something under threat; what is worse is that we have seen that the current Prime Minister and what seems like a small group within the Liberal government that is apparently calling the shots have refused to take meaningful action to protect Canada's democratic infrastructure. We see that hitting a boiling point.
    We have before us a privilege motion, concerning the privileges of a member of Parliament that were seen to be violated, according to the Speaker's ruling that was made yesterday. We have what is, in its very nature, something that takes priority. For the many Canadians watching this debate, let me unpack a bit of the history as to why this debate is even taking place, because the word “privilege” is something that does not necessarily enter the lexicon of most people when they think about democracy.
    When we look back at the very origins of this place, the reason why there is green carpet in this place speaks back to the more than 800-year history of why we have the democratic institution called the House of Commons. We have what are called privileges as members of Parliament in this place, and they date back to when there was a tension with the executive government, which was the Crown in the United Kingdom about 800 years ago, that led to a large group of English noblemen who were not in agreement with the Crown at the time. It led to disagreements, and they came to a resolution, which resulted largely in, although not limited to, the Magna Carta, which created the ability for discourse to take place without fear of repercussions from the Crown.
    Many of the symbols that exist in this place today are in direct reference to that strong democratic history that we have. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is even to just have the honour and privilege of being able to stand here to represent the 110,000 or so people I represent in east central Alberta, in the constituency of Battle River—Crowfoot. That came from eight centuries of figuring out how that works. When it comes to a privilege motion or a privilege debate, as we have before us, what that means, for all those watching, is that somebody's ability to do their job in this place was hindered.

  (1240)  

    My colleague from Wellington—Halton Hills is someone I have come to know over the last couple of years and have followed significantly throughout his career in politics as I volunteered for the Conservative Party and monitored all things Canadian politics, including his run for leadership and his efforts to protect and build Canadian democratic infrastructure. What we see here is that, because of the actions of a hostile foreign regime, the Communist dictatorship in Beijing, the People's Republic of China, his ability to do his job in this place was put at risk.
    That is egregious, and I do not think there is any disagreement in this place that it is egregious, and it is good we are able to have debate and discussion about it here today. The context in which that has happened is astounding. Like I said to start, it is one thing for a threat to take place against our democratic infrastructure, but it is very much another thing for it to have taken place and not been responded to.
    Over the last number of months, we have had significant debate in this place about the idea of foreign interference. It is certainly not new. This is something that has been debated at length over different points in history over the last number of years, and certainly going back much further than that. However, we have seen that the Liberals did not seem to take it seriously. I would suggest today that this is the real crux of why what we are doing here today is so important and why their actions have been so disappointing.
    Again, I will come back to the idea of privilege. A member of Parliament has the right to speak and be unhindered in their ability to do their job in this place. That is very important. It is absolutely essential. We cannot have a hostile foreign regime, or anybody, keeping us from being able to represent our constituents. That is the idea of privilege.
    The lack of action on the part of the Prime Minister and the Liberal government is very concerning, and I will get into some of the timelines and specifics as to why, when we look at the facts, that certainly is the conclusion that I and so many have come to.
    The member for Wellington—Halton Hills has spoken very eloquently throughout the course of the debate over the last couple of weeks, even when members from the Liberal Party were accusing him of maybe being the one perpetrating falsehoods. There were a whole host of other peripheral discussions taking place.
    What the member for Wellington—Halton Hills has emphasized is that he, as a member of Parliament, has the opportunity to rise on a point of privilege to be able to make his case heard in Canada's democratic institution, the House of Commons, the people's House of Commons, yet many Canadians do not have that ability. How many Canadians are facing pressure from the Communist dictatorship in Beijing or other hostile foreign regimes, yet do not have the voice or ability to make their stand in a place like this?
    It is not simply about whether an MP was able to perform his duties. That is certainly part of it, but so significant is the fact that there are so many Canadians, whether of the Chinese diaspora, from other groups who may face pressure from different governments around the world, or any Canadian who would face that kind of pressure, who do not necessarily have the same voice that we do in this place. As we stand and debate our right to be able to protect Canadian democracy, we need to not only think about the 338 of us in this place, but also to think so seriously about every single Canadian who could face similar struggles.
    As we look at that, let us make sure we look at the regular, common person. Let us make sure we look at every single person, whether they escaped a hostile foreign regime to come to Canada for a free and better life, or whether they are a multi-generational Canadian. We need to take this seriously, because it is not only about MPs. This is often what the Liberals forget. They talk about what happens in Ottawa as if it were the pinnacle of all things that matter. Everything that happens in this place needs to be focused on the Canadian people, because they are who matter.

  (1245)  

    Let me unpack the timeline before us.
     Approximately two years ago, it was revealed that intelligence was sent up the chain, and we know for a fact it reached the Prime Minister's national security adviser, that there was an effort to influence the decisions of a member of this place by a hostile foreign regime, being the Communist dictatorship in Beijing. It is not simply media reports that have highlighted it. It has been corroborated through testimony and evidence.
    Let us look back two years ago at the context for which that pressure was placed on the member's family, which still lives in Hong Kong. It is important to know what the debate was that led to that.
    There were two motions, and this happened around the time of the second of two motions. One was a committee motion and the other an opposition day motion. Parliament was tasked with discussing and debating the idea that the Communist dictatorship in Beijing was perpetrating a genocide against a minority group, specifically the Uyghurs, in China.
    If we want to look at the context for that, we can look at the public record to see what those votes and debates were. For both of those motions, the Conservatives, the Bloc Québécois, I believe the NDP and in fact many Liberals were part of the group of MPs who voted to say that what the dictatorship in Beijing was doing was bad news, it was constituted genocide, from forced abortions to slave labour camps to other very serious things.
    I cannot help but recall one specific instance that left me deeply troubled about the state of our Canadian democracy and specifically about how flippantly the Liberals treated it. When faced with one of those votes, a member of the Liberal cabinet stood while the vote was taking place and said that he was abstaining from the vote on behalf of the Canadian government.
    As somebody who knows parliamentary procedure, and I know the table has followed closely all things that have happened in this place in its 800 or so years of tradition, that is not how things work in this place. MPs vote. Therefore, it was not only unprecedented for a member of the Liberal cabinet to stand and make that declaration, but it certainly left a bad taste in my mouth. For many observers who follow Canadian democracy closely, it was incredibly concerning that an effort was made by the government, the cabinet, ministers of the Crown led by the Prime Minister, to make a declaration like that. In fact, it was the chair occupant at the time who basically highlighted that it was not okay, that this was not how things worked around here. We saw two motions over a period of a number of months when the Liberal government, the cabinet, the ministers of the Crown, refused to take a stand on the issue.
    Two years later, because Conservatives took a stand, pressure was applied to a member. This is not just any member, although constitutionally all MPs are equal in this place, which is one of the cornerstones of what our Westminster system of democratic government means. This member is the shadow minister for foreign affairs, the person responsible for providing that critical oppositional perspective to the minister of the Crown. It is incredibly poignant that it was not the family of some random member of the House, but specifically the opposition critic, the shadow minister for foreign affairs, whose family had this pressure exerted upon it.

  (1250)  

    That is the context for what happened two years ago.
    We now fast-forward to about two weeks ago. On a Monday morning, I happened to be on Twitter while I was on my way to a meeting when all of a sudden I started to see these articles referencing that the family of the member for Wellington—Halton Hills had been pressured. This was a developing story. It was one of those days, as the Speaker and others in this place would know well when something like that develops, things changed rapidly.
    We started asking questions. We learned over the course of the last two weeks a very concerning trend of events. The Prime Minister's national security adviser was advised of this two years ago. I have before me the 2022 CSIS public report in which it talks about a lot of the efforts it undertakes. It talks about accountability, about people being first, outreach, briefings to elected officials and whatnot. This is all well and good, and important, but the fact is that the Prime Minister's national security adviser was advised two years ago, yet the Prime Minister was not informed.
    I am going to talk about the disconnect between the legislative branch and the executive branch of government in a moment. I want to highlight some testimony that we heard at committee.
     The Prime Minister's chief of staff, who acts as the gatekeeper, so to speak, talked at length about all the information and the process in which the Prime Minister received security information. When Ms. Telford testified before committee, she may not have realized the implication of the testimony when she referenced, and I am paraphrasing, that the Prime Minister read everything that was put before him. Quite frankly, I have my doubts as to whether that is the case, but that is my personal opinion.
    We have a great disconnect between what has been said and what seems to have happened. We have a great disconnect between the security apparatus in our country and the information that it is obviously trying to get to the decision-makers and the ability for the Crown, the government, being able to make decisions. That is deeply concerning.
    I have talked a lot about how it is so essential to safeguard our democratic infrastructure, to stand up for the abilities of Canadians to be involved and engaged in their democracy. One of the issues I would suggest should be highlighted as of primary importance is one of a technical matter, and it is somewhat unique to the Westminster system of Parliament and how it operates in Canada, and that is the growing disconnect between the legislative and the executive branch of government.
    It is inconvenient to the Liberal agenda to have a minority Parliament. We know that. The Prime Minister has referenced that on many occasions. Democracy is the reason why this place exists, the reason why a government operates on the idea of confidence from the people's House, notwithstanding the coalition agreement and some of those intricacies of the current circumstances, whether it is committees or actions of this place. In fact, it seems to be no accident that the government sued the Speaker when it did not want to follow through on actions of the House, and that puts Canadian democracy at risk.
    I would be remiss if I did not mention this. Everyone in this place has a mom, and as we come to the conclusion of this debate, I hope I will be given the latitude to simply say this. As Mother's Day is soon upon us, I wish Danielle, my beautiful wife, my mom, my two grandmas and my great-grandma, who is 100 years old, a happy Mother's Day. On behalf of myself and all my constituents, happy Mother's Day to every mom in Canada.

  (1255)  

    Madam Speaker, I applaud the member for his comments in recognizing the important role that mothers play in our society. I would echo those words.
    However, I am in disagreement with the member on virtually everything else he has said. I would classify it as spreading information that is factually not true. For example, we do know for a fact, and it is a fact, that the Prime Minister found out about this issue just last week. We know for a fact that the Prime Minister has taken a number of actions, and within a week, we have seen a diplomat asked to leave the country over the issue.
    Whether it was at the very beginning or where we are today, this government has taken the issue of foreign interference very seriously. Could the member explain to me why the former Conservative government chose to do nothing on the issue?

  (1300)  

    Madam Speaker, I find it that interesting, and I talked a lot about process and history and why this debate was important, that the member seems to disagree with virtually everything I said, other than my wish of a happy Mother's Day to all moms in Canada. This highlights the concern that exists with the growing disconnect between the executive government branch and the legislative branch.
    The Liberals say that they did a lot, yet the Prime Minister's chief of staff said that he saw everything. Now, all of a sudden, he did not know about it.
    This is not just me as a Conservative saying this. I am hearing this from many constituents and many Canadians across the country. It is either ignorance or incompetence. Either way, it is incredibly concerning and we have to do better as a country.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, obviously I am appalled by this whole situation. I am concerned about our parliamentary privilege. There is also the issue of security for us and for my family members.
    I would like my colleague to comment on the message that the Prime Minister's inaction is sending. How should we, as members of Parliament, interpret his inaction in relation to the fundamental public service that we perform and that serves democracy? What message does this send to any potential candidates who might decide to sacrifice part of their lives to go into politics, when that can have a dramatic impact on their safety and that of their families?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the hon. member is absolutely right. It is not serving our democracy well.
    More than that is the fact that it is not only members of Parliament who have been pressured in an effort to silence their voices when they stand up for human rights, let alone many other things that we stand up for on a regular basis.
    As the member for Wellington—Halton Hills has referenced repeatedly, it is not only the privileges of members of Parliament that we need to be concerned about, but rather the implication this has for all Canadians, whether that is because they swore their oath to the Crown today or because they are multi-generational Canadians.
    Democracy is put at risk when we allow hostile foreign states to take advantage of Canadians. The fact that the Liberals did nothing is so incredibly concerning and puts our democracy at risk.
    Madam Speaker, the member has talked a lot about the foreign interference that has taken place in our country beyond just my colleague who we are speaking of directly. He also raised the point that in committee the Prime Minister's chief of staff stated that nothing was ever withheld from him and that he read everything.
    Given that intelligence reports have been produced with regard to my hon. colleague and the harassing nature of Beijing toward him and his family, given that those reports have been released and given that the Prime Minister has access to everything and nothing is ever withheld, that he reads everything and never ignores a thing, I wonder what my hon. colleague might say to the Liberals' proclamation that the Prime Minister somehow did not see these documents.
    Madam Speaker, there was and old radio show, although I did not listen to it on the radio, as I am too young for that, in which detectives would say, “Just the facts.”
    What my friend from Lethbridge has referenced is where the facts dispute the official narrative that the Prime Minister and members of the Liberal Party have forwarded. The fact is that they obviously knew about it or they lied at committee in regard to another matter. That is a question; it is not an accusation. If my reading of the Standing Orders is accurate, it is my understanding that the question can be raised.
    Either way, we need to get to the bottom of this, because the facts are disputing the Liberals' narrative. Something does not add up and Canadians deserve answers.

  (1305)  

    I just want to remind the member that he might want to stay away from the word “lie”. We cannot say indirectly what we cannot say directly.
    Madam Speaker, maybe the member can explain why it is that the Conservatives intentionally choose to ignore the fact that the Prime Minister did find out last week and, as I indicated, a number of actions were taken virtually immediately, one of which led to a diplomat being expelled from Canada within a week. I would suggest that is action.
    Why do the Conservatives continue to want to make this a political issue by spreading misinformation?
    Madam Speaker, in relation to your previous ruling, accusing somebody of spreading misinformation, I would suggest, is doing indirectly what they are afraid to do directly.
    We are faced here with a pretty substantial dispute on what the Prime Minister has said, versus what everything else says. When it comes to the Prime Minister's record, his is a litany of broken election promises, of things he said or did not say, and of accusing people of experiencing things differently. Quite often we look at the integrity of somebody who is making a claim as to whether it can be backed up. Of the member for Wellington—Halton Hills, members of all political parties have emphasized how trustworthy he is. When it comes down to the claims that Prime Minister has made, I cannot find anybody who is willing to believe a word he says, other than those Liberals.
    Before I go to the other question, I just want to say that members are using the words “spreading misinformation”. Both sides have used it over and over again, and I would just say that, again, it is similar to saying that someone is lying.
    The hon. member for Barrie—Innisfil.
    Madam Speaker, we have been listening to this debate intently. There has been a lot of information that has come out over the last couple of weeks as a result of CSIS and The Globe and Mail. I am going to suggest that there is a disconnect between government, our security establishment and certainly the information that is being leaked to the media. There is only one option, and it is the only option that Parliament should be seized with, but also Canadians are showing a willingness and a desire for an open public inquiry into foreign interference, and I am wondering if my hon. colleague shares those sentiments.
    Madam Speaker, my friend from Barrie—Innisfil is right. A public, fair, free and open inquiry is absolutely essential. That is one small step that needs to be taken to help Canadians to restore their trust in our democratic institutions. Canadians cannot trust what happens here and Canadians, regardless of their political stripe, cannot trust what their Prime Minister says. We see increasingly this is the case, and that is not my opinion, that is increasingly what Canadians say when they are polled.
    It is so deeply concerning about the future of our democracy, so we need that full, transparent and open public inquiry on this issue, and we need to ensure we get to the bottom of it, so that we can do the tough work to restore trust in our institutions, but we have to do so.
    I would simply note that the member for Wellington—Halton Hills has referenced how this case is only the tip of the iceberg of foreign election interference is in Canada. That behooves each and every one of us to take seriously the fact that we have to get answers. We have to get to the bottom of this, so that we can preserve our democracy.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his great intervention.
    Things have gone badly over the last eight years, and they are going badly. Inflation is rampant. The economy is struggling. Canadians are not able to keep up and are not able to make ends meet.
    Members may ask themselves how are these connected to the intimidation campaign orchestrated by Wei Zhao against the member for Wellington—Halton Hills and other members. They are more connected than we may think.
    Governments work on many levels. We act locally with our neighbours, voters, Canadians who farm, Canadians who work in the energy sector and Canadians who care for our communities. As members of Parliament, we also have a role to play internationally.
    The things that we say publicly have consequences that are substantially larger than they may appear to be at first glance. The Prime Minister and his ministers know this. What is worse is that they knew this when they were in the third party position in this House and they were willing to do anything to return to power.
    In 2013, 10 years ago, the Prime Minister said, “There's a level of admiration I actually have for China,” because of its basic dictatorship. It seemed foolish, did it not? It seemed outlandish and bizarre.
    Inexplicably, Canadians who were too busy living their own lives, and not tuned in to the inner workings of politics, could not be faulted for missing that there was possibly something more behind it. Perhaps it was not spoken off the top of his head in an absent-minded moment. Perhaps it was an invitation.
    Other governments listen. They listen to what we say in this House and in committee. They listen even closer to what we say in the media. They listen especially carefully when we say their name, is that not right, China?
    Why should we care? We know they are listening. Here is why we should care: China will do what it always does. It acts in its own best interest. It will always look after its own best interest no matter the risk and no matter the cost, it will unabashedly do that until it gets caught, and even after it gets caught.
    Why should we care? We have something to lose. We have a delicately crafted democracy. It is not perfect—

  (1310)  

    We have a point of order.
    The hon. government House leader.

Business of the House

    Madam Speaker, I request that the ordinary hour of daily adjournment at the next sitting be 12 midnight pursuant to the order made Tuesday, November 15, 2022.

[Translation]

    Pursuant to order made Tuesday, November 15, 2022, the minister's request to extend the said sitting is deemed adopted.

[English]

    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner.

Privilege

Reference to Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs  

[Privilege]
    The House resumed consideration of the motion.
    Madam Speaker, the question was this: Why should we care? We should care because we have something to lose. We have a delicately crafted democracy. It is not perfect, but we are proud of it and it is a democracy that we built together and one that we are proud of as Canadians. However, it is fragile. Threats to our democracy are real and they need to be treated as such.
     We have heard stories over the last number of weeks about the intimidation tactics that Canadians from China and Canadians with family in China faced in the last election. We have had a member of the Liberal caucus leave the party among allegations that he was part of foreign interference by the Chinese Communist government. He stands accused of having a hand in delaying the return of Canadians held in China because it was politically valuable to the Liberal Party. Now, we have the Conservative MP for Wellington—Halton Hills reveal that he and his family were targets for the Chinese state interference in 2021.
    Why, though, did the Government of China want to ensure that the Liberals won the last election and, in fact, the last two elections? Here is why. The Conservative stance on the Chinese Communist government was too principles-based and the resolve of our party was too strong to be advantageous to foreign interference. The Conservative position was in line with 53% of what Canadians believe, which is that the government's response to China in recent years has not been strong enough and that more needs to be done. In fact, a recent poll from the Angus Reid Institute shows that 69% of Canadians believe that the government is scared of standing up to China, including 91% of past Conservative voters, 62% of past NDP voters and 46% of those who have mistakenly voted for the Liberal Party at some point in their life.
    Let us not overlook the recent activity with spy balloons that are in Canadian airspace and how our Prime Minister has little to say about the ongoing situation. We know that foreign interference can undermine the integrity of democratic processes, such as elections, by attempting to sway voters or influence political outcomes. We live in a country where corporations cannot legally provide any funding to political candidates. Individuals are limited to contributing $1,700 annually. The reason for this is to prevent our politicians from being bought off by the big money of special interest groups and wealthy individuals. Canadians themselves can only contribute $5,000 to their own campaigns and yet Liberals think that it is okay for the Trudeau Foundation to receive $200,000 from two businessmen identified as being linked to the Communist government in China. That is utter, absolute nonsense. For those listening at home, the House ethics committee is probing a $200,000 donation given to the charity by two men with links to the Chinese Communist government. The committee is deciding whether the donation was an attempt by Beijing to curry favour with the Prime Minister.
    If we can just for one minute cut through the political rhetoric and admit to ourselves, like all Canadians already have, that we know this money was intended to buy favour with the Prime Minister, ignoring the reality would be willful blindness on all of our parts. We are sent here to represent our constituents, Canadians, but also to defend our Canadian democracy. If the members opposite need to wonder why they are here or why they cannot stand in their places and say that, when a foreign government that the Prime Minister admires so openly donates a six-figure sum to a foundation in the name of his father and run by his brother, it is at best inappropriate and at worst foreign interference.

  (1315)  

    This is not just any country getting uncomfortably close with our Prime Minister. It is among the worst in the world for a government's treatment of ethnic minorities, shown by its treatment of Uyghurs, Tibetans and Falun Gong practitioners. If at any point we want to see how far the Prime Minister's admiration of the Beijing leadership goes, we can just ask him to stand up for Uyghurs, Tibetans and Falun Gong practitioners in a meaningful way when meeting with Chinese leadership. He will not. He is afraid. He is afraid that he will offend the country he so admires.
    The ruling of the Speaker of the House is an important first step, but now the committee needs to be allowed to do its job, which is a tall order with this government. It seems that whenever a committee is trying to do its duty for Canadians and thoroughly investigate or review bills, the Liberals and their NDP coalition partners find a way to strangle the committee and steamroll democracy.
    Here is an example of that: I sit on the public safety committee, and we are currently reviewing Bill C-21, the firearms legislation. It has been in front of us for quite some time. When Canadians hear that we have been at this for months, it may seem slow, but in fact, we are simply doing a job of government. The government put the bill forward as a handgun bill and then, in a move that can only be seen as averting democratic process, stuffed the bill full of other unrelated amendments, completely changing the scope.
    What happened when we brought this it up? It was steamrolled by the Chair in a unilateral decision that it was in order when, in fact, we know it was not. That was upheld again by the Liberal alliance when we challenged the Chair. The Liberals and the NDP are preparing to quash debate on that bill and limit the opposition on each of their amendments to five minutes per amendment and then force votes.
    Over in the PMO, there is—

  (1320)  

    The hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader is rising on a point of order.
    Madam Speaker, the member is proving, by the statements he is making, that more and more of his debate is not about the motion. The member is talking about other legislation. He is not talking about the motion at hand. He is either attacking the Prime Minister or talking about issues that are not relevant.
    Some hon. members: Debate.
    I am able to make my rulings.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary knows full well that there is some latitude during discussions in the House and that other matters get brought into the debates. I would say that this is what is happening, and the hon. parliamentary secretary has raised more a point of debate than a point of order.
    The hon. member for Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner has the floor.
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate your ruling on this.
    As I said before, the Liberals and the NDP are preparing to quash debate on Bill C-21, limit opposition to only five minutes per amendment and then force votes. As I said, over in the PMO, there is a Prime Minister proud of the basic dictatorship that he has created for himself.
    When the Speaker of the House made his ruling, and in that ruling supported a prima facie case of contempt concerning the intimidation campaign orchestrated by Wei Zhao against the member for Wellington—Halton Hills, it gave me hope and it ought to give Canadians hope.
    The Speaker of the House and I are no different. We are two MPs, elected by our constituents to represent them here in Ottawa. We are both doing our best with the skills and experiences we have. We know that we have to go back to our constituents, face them and account for the decisions that we make in this place.
    I speak here today with some hesitancy, as we are not immune to the intimidation that was faced by the MP for Wellington—Halton Hills and other members of the House. I know that speaking on this important topic opens the possibility of being put in the sight of the Communist government in Beijing, much in the same way that I can imagine the Speaker of the House had and was possibly thinking about when he drafted this decision.
    For me and those in law enforcement, we have faced these decisions before. Back in the years I was in policing, I faced threats and intimidation, but I always knew that my brothers in blue had my back. There was a sense of being protected from those who wished me harm because we were a team, a family.
    In this place we are a family too, but recently the trust that is needed to rely on each other as a family has been eroding. The Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs and its cross-party membership is now in a unique position to rebuild that trust. It will need to look past party differences, just as the Speaker of House did and has been able to do. It will need to take the required time, debate openly and review the situation. It will have a chance to send back a decision that shows support to the MP for Wellington-Halton Hills and other members of the House who have faced the intimidation campaign orchestrated by Wei Zhao on behalf of the Communist Government of China, as well as the others who could possibly could face that, moving forward.
    This committee can show Canadians and the Beijing Communist government that, although we disagree on a lot, and I mean a lot, when it comes to protecting Canadian democracy, we are all unwavering. That would send a clear message to Beijing to stay out of our politics, and a strong message to all members of the House that we have each others' backs. Will we admit that we are susceptible to foreign interference, or will the Prime Minister instruct his coalition to continue to cover this up, to steamroll the committee, as they seem eager to do when it comes to domestic policy such as the example I gave with Bill C-21? Will the committee show the world that we are fractionalized with a system of government that can be influenced from the outside? Will the Prime Minister utilize his control through the basic dictatorship he has been building in China's likeness?
    I hope that the members of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs have the same sense of honour and good conscious that the Speaker of this House showed in the prima facie decision he made.

  (1325)  

    Madam Speaker, I listened with great interest to my colleague, with whom I serve on the public safety committee. He reflected on his career in law enforcement and his profound shock and disappointment at the foreign interference and the intimidation of the member for Wellington—Halton Hills. We all share that concern.
    I also note that the member opposite spent a considerable amount of time talking about how much he supported the convoy that occupied Ottawa and how much time he spent with the organizers of that convoy. I would like to know if he is as concerned about the Russian foreign interference that took place during the support of the convoy—
    There is a point of order from the hon. member for Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies.
    Madam Speaker, it is certainly over the top for the member to impugn the integrity of another member on this side with that question. He should take back that comment. I think that would be appropriate in this case.
    This is another point of debate.
    The hon. member for Vancouver Granville has the floor.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. member opposite, having supported the convoy, and having met with the organizers of the convoy, if he is equally concerned about Russia's interference in amplifying the message of the convoy. If so, what does he propose to do about Russia's interference in that situation?
    Madam Speaker, I find the question odd. Distraction seems to be the common theme here.
    Those involved in the “freedom convoy” were disgusted with the current government and their ability to continue to earn a living based on its vaccine mandates. The statement that the member made about the Russian influence in the “freedom convoy” has no basis in truth, and the evidence is suspect at best, so I do not know where he is getting this information from.
    I will say that the foreign interference before the House, which we are seized with now with regard to the member of Parliament for Wellington—Halton Hills, is significant and needs to be given the full attention of this House. What I am disgusted with is the delay by the government. It knew for two years and did nothing about it.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I am glad to find out that the member has a seat on the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, because I have some questions. What would make a Prime Minister ignore recommendations and special security intelligence concerning Canada? It all seems very alarming. I mean, is it not essential to listen to what CSIS has to say? How are we supposed to perform our duties as members if the recommendations made by the agencies created to protect us and keep us safe are ignored?
    As a member of this committee, is my colleague not tempted to ask questions and make sure that the integrity of the role of member of Parliament is protected?

  (1330)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, “willful blindness” is the term I would use to describe this. I trust implicitly the skill and ability of our national security apparatus, CSIS and others, to ensure that it gathers the information in an appropriate way. There is no doubt in my mind that CSIS provided the information to the national security adviser, who has admitted that it did, and others, in a timely way with exactly what was going on as it was happening.
    For the Prime Minister and his office to suggest to Canadians that he did not know about it until Monday of last week, and I struggle with the right word to use so it is not unparliamentary, but I find it difficult to believe. The Prime Minister has a serious credibility problem, and this just amplifies what we have seen over the last seven and a half years with the Prime Minister.
    Madam Speaker, I am glad the convoy issue was raised because Americans came to my riding to be part of the illegal blockade along Huron Church Road at the Ambassador Bridge. There is certainly a record of those individuals.
    I am wondering whether the hon. member thinks those people should now be barred from coming into Canada. Similarly, and to our embarrassment, the Proud Boys went to Washington as part of the civil issue that is now quite public. Does the member think they should be banned from going into the United States, especially because our democracies are affected by the actions of those individuals?
    Madam Speaker, again the question is somewhat unrelated to our debate, but I will answer that any extremist group, left-wing or right-wing, that undermines our democracy needs to be dealt with and should have the full support of the House to deal with that in an appropriate way.
    Madam Speaker, there it is. We see members of the Liberal Party and the NDP focused on the freedom movement, which really stood up for freedom and what the current government was doing. My question for the member is related to this, because it shows the Liberals' level of disregard. Instead of looking at Chinese Communist foreign interference and dealing with that issue, they were attacking their own citizens at that time.
    I was just at PROC, where we had two witnesses who testified three times. Every time they attempted to testify and speak, there was a broadcast interruption. I talked to one of the witnesses, who said that when she said she was going to testify, her computer went down.
    If the current government would have taken foreign interference seriously, as the party across the way does, we would not be in this situation. Is the member confident that the current Prime Minister and the Liberal government have the backs of Canadians with respect to foreign interference?
    Madam Speaker, I will say this: It is a sad day when the fine ladies and gentlemen of our national security apparatus find it necessary to go contrary to their oath of secrecy to get matters before the public's attention. They do so because the current Prime Minister and the government refuse to deal with the matters that come before them that impact them, make them look bad or mean that they are seen as having the advantage they have. Therefore, no, I do not have confidence in the government to properly deal with some of the issues, because of its own thirst for power and its inability to do anything that is beyond its own self-interest.

  (1335)  

    Madam Speaker, a lot of the speeches we have heard in the House on this topic centre on the idea of a public inquiry, and the member mentioned that. If a public inquiry were held and it upheld what has been said by the members on this side with respect to who knew what, heard what or participated in what and when, would the members opposite accept that ruling or would they say that there was something wrong with the public inquiry?
    Madam Speaker, that is a unique question, and I thank the member for it.
    The issue is this: The evidence that has been presented is non-partisan, and it is pretty clear. Yes, I support a public inquiry. Therefore, my question back would be this: Would the current government actually act on the findings of a public inquiry to improve our country's ability to reduce, limit and stop foreign interference?
    Madam Speaker, I would like to draw this to the attention of my colleague: Was it not our government's decision to not allow the U.S. to open NEXUS stations in Canada because they would basically be American soil, yet we have allowed police stations from China to open up?
    Madam Speaker, on this side, as Conservatives, we have said that Canada is broken. The example my colleague mentioned is another example of Canada being broken under the lack of leadership of the current Prime Minister and the Liberal government. The fact that we can have foreign states operating with impunity on Canadian soil speaks to the depth and seriousness of where we find ourselves. Yes, it is disconcerting.
    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to be able to speak on the motion standing in the name of the hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills.
    Like most Canadians, I was appalled to hear of the treatment of my hon. colleague, and I immediately presumed that the government would be taking firm action by expelling the Chinese diplomat responsible. That is what any government should do, especially when facts are clear. It should act immediately.
    However, the Liberal government did not. It immediately went into its patented circle-the-wagons approach to try to obfuscate, deflect and then pay lip service. Promises were made to stand up to ensure the safety of all members of the House; however, such noncommittal platitudes for the cameras were not backed up by concrete action. The NATO-esque mantra that an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us wears just a little thin. Moreover, one certainly hopes that no member is counting on such whimsical offerings of invisible protection.
    Members deserve to know when a threat is made against them by anyone, whether foreign or domestic. They deserve to know who made the threat, when it was made and how the government will respond, hopefully in a timely fashion. This process clearly did not happen in the case of the hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills.
    When a member is the target of a threat, they should be advised. This should be carried out efficiently and in the most expeditious manner. The government, CSIS, the RCMP or any other of our security services should be involved. Yet, in this case, while the government indicated that it would stand up for the safety and security of a member, it then pawned it off on others to let the target know.
    Information on a threat to the hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills was known within CSIS and, at some point, within the PMO. The Prime Minister and his group of security ministers surely must have known. Why, then, did it take months for the member to be informed of this threat? Was it due to the government's ongoing reluctance to do anything that it thinks would upset the Chinese government? If the safety and security of members is said to be a primary focus of the Prime Minister and his government, one must question how much of a priority is really attached. Would this threat ever have come to light? Did the government adopt a wait-and-see approach? Perhaps it hoped that nothing would happen and that the matter would just go away.
    What message does this lackadaisical approach send to Beijing? What picture does it paint of the government's first and foremost role to protect Canadians? It seems that foreign operatives can threaten our citizens at will, and maybe, in a couple of months, our government just might get around to doing nothing.
    Perhaps some Liberal Party focus group finally indicated to the government that it should declare Wei Zhao to be persona non grata. However, the government was oblivious to supporting the opposition motion before the House calling for the exact same thing and a few other sensible measures to combat Chinese interference in our democracy.
    After the vote passed, with the support of all members of the House except the Liberals and one independent member, the government stood up and announced that Mr. Zhao would be sent packing. It is not a contest. All governments have an obligation to put people before foreign operatives and party polling. Why are we still debating the creation of a foreign agent registry, similar to what the United States and Australia have? Why is the government so opposed to creating a public inquiry on foreign interference? With so much smoke, Canadians know that a good fire is smouldering.
    Why is the government so reluctant to shut down Chinese police stations? The U.S. did not put up with this meddling in their internal affairs. The Chinese government would not put up with it for one moment if a few RCMP stations popped up in Shanghai. I do not know what is causing such a timid government response to confronting the issue of foreign interference. Is the government content to display to Beijing that our country is a doormat and will not stand up for MPs and Canadians across our country? Canadians deserve better. Hopefully they will get it, if Beijing allows.

  (1340)  

    I made reference to Australia. I want to do a Canada-Australia comparative analysis on fighting foreign interference. Both of our countries are resource-based economies. We are of similar size, population and land mass. Frankly, just like them, we have a lot of people spread out and dispersed outside of urban centres, and we share a lot of their multicultural characteristics. However, unlike Canada, Australia has created a foreign agent registry. The country has taken action, even at significant economic cost.
    In 2022, over a quarter of Australia's exports, 25.9%, to be exact, went to China. For Canada, it is only 3.7% of Canadian exports. I want to reiterate something that an expert on Chinese Communist Party influence stated. Vice-Admiral Paul Maddison, formerly a commander for the Royal Canadian Navy, now retired, as well as Canada's high commissioner to Australia, stated this: “Exposure to economic coercion [of Canada] is much less than in [Australia], yet Australia has stood up to the CCP, absorbed the costs, diversified trade, and made it clear that no foreign power will be permitted to undermine its democracy and values.”
    Is it the government's intention to send a clear signal to Beijing that Canada is a doormat? How difficult is it to create a registry? Did the PSAC strike set it back a few weeks? How has the government stood up and confronted Chinese interference in Canada head-on? I shudder when I think about what our allies must be thinking.
    The government recently expressed its desire to enter AUKUS, after the Prime Minister had initially dismissed the security partnership as just looking at nuclear subs. How could our allies trust us? What message does it send, when the Prime Minister seems more intent on communicating to NATO that we will not even bother with hitting 2%, although this is an international commitment that our nation has made?
    I also want to address the issue of racism, because it is often raised as a rebuttal to criticize action, whether it be on a foreign registry or otherwise. Right out of the Chinese Communist Party playbook, the issue of racism is used to deflect when there is any sort of real legitimate criticism, whether it be against the ongoing Uyghur genocide or attacking and dismantling the democratic institutions of Hong Kong. China continues its aggression toward Taiwan, threatening any country and trying to intimidate anyone who dares to support the rightful membership of Taiwan in the WHO. This deprived the world of the expertise, lessons learned and best practices that Taiwan could have contributed to help fight the pandemic. There is also ongoing Chinese aggression in the South China Sea, despite UNCLOS, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
    We must take action to address foreign interference, and we must take what the hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills has raised very seriously. If we do not, there is a real cloud of racism that is in play here. It hovers over any Canadian of Chinese heritage or anyone who might look like they are of Chinese heritage. We need the government to return to its sunny ways and shine a light into the shadows where foreign operatives hide.
    Because there are incredible Canadians of Chinese heritage, and because May is Asian Heritage Month, I want to take this occasion to speak about one of them. I want to highlight Lieutenant-Commander William King Lowd Lore. This hero had his application to join the Royal Canadian Navy rejected three times, in 1940, 1941 and 1942, until the chief of naval staff intervened.

  (1345)  

    Lieutenant-Commander Lore went on to become not only the first Chinese Canadian officer in the Royal Canadian Navy, but the first naval officer of Chinese heritage to serve in any of the Commonwealth royal navies. There are Canadians of proud Chinese heritage who loyally served this country and continue to do so today. Lieutenant-Commander Lore forged a path for others to be able to follow in his footsteps, including myself, to be able to proudly serve in His Majesty's Royal Canadian Navy.
    Speaking of brave leaders, I want to take the occasion to reiterate my support and admiration for the hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills. He is of Chinese heritage like me, but he has served in this House for much longer and has been a role model and a leader who has made it easier for someone like myself to be able to serve, because one cannot be what one cannot see. It is hard for kids growing up without seeing someone who looks like them in a particular role or job to be able to imagine themselves in that position. Whether it is Lieutenant-Commander Lore, whose descendants I had the honour of meeting, or the hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills, they are trailblazers and leaders who made it easier for everyone who came after them.
    I want to conclude. Yesterday we finally learned, after the government actually decided to finally do something, that the threshold to expel a diplomat is targeting an MP's family. This is a good first step, but I would argue that setting up illegal police stations in our country and intimidating our people on our soil also warrant action, not the least of which should include shutting down these police stations. Let us show these oppressive regimes that Canada is not a doormat.
    I hope the federal government listens to the majority of parliamentarians, who voted yesterday for the Conservative motion on foreign interference.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to reinforce the fact that it has been very clear that the Prime Minister first found out about this just last week. I know it upsets a number of people in this chamber, but the fact is that the Prime Minister found out about it just last week. Since then, he has taken a number of direct actions to deal with the issue. Other issues, such as the registry and the public inquiry, could be dealt with by David Johnston, who was a Conservative Stephen Harper appointment. We will wait for that report to come. There is no denying that this government has been proactive on the file.
    Does the member not believe, when he talks about the credibility and integrity of individuals, that all members in this chamber are honourable, and if the Prime Minister says he learned about it last week, that is a fact?

  (1350)  

    Madam Speaker, I remain skeptical that the Prime Minister only just found out, because I have trouble reconciling the fact that his chief of staff said that everything that is put in front of her gets put in front of him.
    Let us presume he really did just find out, and accept what my colleague just said. How is that a good excuse? An MP's family was targeted, and only recently, after two years, did he just find out. That is not a good excuse, so either he was willfully ignorant or he intentionally decided not to hear it, or he was incompetent. Those are not good rationales to try to explain this away, and I would encourage my colleague to please drop that talking point.
    Madam Speaker, recognizing the member's history and his role in the military, and understanding the processes that happen, if we were to assume that the Prime Minister actually just knew about these things a week ago, what does it say about the system that has been set up for the Prime Minister to even know that information?
    As the hon. member knows, as one follows through the ranking process and information is being shared, there is a process in place. I would like to hear his comments on this. If this is the case, what sort of denigrated structure is set?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for raising a really good point. If, indeed, the Prime Minister only just found out, clearly the system is not working. Clearly, the information that is being assessed is not being passed on to the people who need to know. I think any time a member of the House and their family are being targeted in any way, they must be informed.
    I truly hope that, when this government comes out and says, “We are going to change that”, it actually will, because for the duration of this government, for more than just two years, the Liberals have come out and made some great promises, which sound really great and make exceptionally awesome headlines, but there is no follow-through and no implementation, and the execution continues to be lacking.
    Madam Speaker, as we are dealing with China in general, I wonder what the member's thoughts are with regard to the overall policy.
    I remember this first being raised when I got here with China Minmetals. The government of the day, under Paul Martin, was selling our shares of Petro-Canada, and China Minmetals was buying up Canadian natural resources. I always thought it was odd that it was not okay for Canadians to own our own gas but it was okay for the Chinese to.
     Later on, we saw policies under the Harper administration, when we had the largest delegations that went to China for investment opportunities, and a series of things have come out of that. It was actually to strengthen and grow some of our universities and co-operative programs, which are now being questioned by a lot of individuals.
    I am curious as to whether we need to do something different in terms of how we approach this entire issue. I would conclude by saying that these are non-democratic governments, which is the context we have been raising it in, so I think it is larger than just China.
    Madam Speaker, I agree that whether it is academic partnerships, research and development or corporate investments and so on, all of those have to be examined with a critical eye.
     It is not just the Chinese Communist Party. Frankly, influence, potential interventions and other nefarious approaches are being used and deployed by many other regimes. The IRGC is one that comes to mind. I think it is vitally important that, while we start with directly attacking this issue right now of Chinese Communist Party interference, we also keep in mind the full scope that extends beyond that.

  (1355)  

    Madam Speaker, in responding to the question from the member for Winnipeg North, the member suggested that the chief of staff to the Prime Minister would have indicated that she forwards and shares all information with the Prime Minister. The only problem is that the member for Wellington—Halton Hills indicated recently in an interview that he was informed by the national security adviser to the Prime Minister that neither the Prime Minister nor his chief of staff, Ms. Telford, received any information with respect to this. To suggest that it was the chief of staff who just did not provide the information is not accurate, based on the facts that were stated by that member.
    I wonder if the member would like to rephrase what he previously said regarding the chief of staff and the Prime Minister.
    An hon. member: Oh, oh!
    I am not sure who is yelling, but I would just say that if they want to speak, then they should wait until questions and comments.
    The hon. member for Spadina—Fort York.
    Madam Speaker, speaking about rephrasing, I recall that, when this matter surfaced, the member for Kingston and the Islands had initially used the talking point to attack the member for Wellington—Halton Hills and his credibility. That is the thing that continues to stand out to me. I am glad he did end up rephrasing and apologizing for his comment, because I could not think of a more honourable and principled member than the member for Wellington—Halton Hills.
    Madam Speaker, I appreciated the member's speech, and I appreciate him as a member of Parliament. We have gotten to know each other during days at the range and different things.
    The one thing the Liberal government wants to do is say, “Hey, sorry, guys, it wasn't us. The Prime Minister needs to be trusted and, look, he didn't get the information.” I am going to ask the member a really simple question: Does he believe that the Prime Minister really did not get the information, straight up?
    Madam Speaker, as I said earlier, I remain skeptical and, frankly, the explanation that they did not know is not, in itself, a good excuse for not knowing something that is of the utmost importance, such as a member of the House and their family being targeted. Incompetence and ignorance are not an excuse.
    An hon. member: Oh, oh!
    I want to remind the member for Calgary Signal Hill that I can still hear him yelling. If he wants to raise his voice, he should wait until I ask for questions and comments.
    Madam Speaker, there have been a number of actions that the Prime Minister has actually taken.
    This is what I find incredibly offensive. The members in the House are honourable members. There is no member, either the member who has just spoken or another Conservative member, who has given any sort of evidence whatsoever that shows that the Prime Minister is not telling the truth, yet they continue to spread misinformation, which causes more damage than I think members realize.
    Would the member not acknowledge that the Prime Minister found out last week and that we have taken virtually immediate action, which ultimately led to a diplomat being expelled from the country?
    Mr. Speaker, I guess the dynamic Liberal duo is back.
    Speaking of offensive, there was nothing more offensive than attacking the credibility, as this member had tried to do, of the hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills. We cannot, on the one hand, try to say that everyone is super honourable, and then, at the same time, attack the honour of another member. This is rich.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Vesak

    Mr. Speaker, Vesak, also known as Buddha Jayanti or Buddha Purnima, the most important Buddhist festival, was celebrated on May 5 by Buddhists across the world. The festival commemorates the birth, enlightenment and death of Gautama Buddha. I had the honour to host Vesak day on Parliament Hill last Sunday with several hundred Buddhist Canadians. Buddhist temples in Ottawa and their followers participated with chanting of prayers, beating of drums and cultural performances.
     I am thankful to Fo Guang Shan Temple of Ottawa, Ottawa Amitabha Buddhist Society of Canada, Hilda Jayewardenaramaya Buddhist Monastery and Hieu Giang Vietnamese Buddhist Cultural Centre of Ottawa for their participation. In particular, I am thankful to June Sun of Fo Guang Shan Temple of Ottawa for her hard work to make this beautiful event a success.

  (1400)  

Afghan Refugees

    Mr. Speaker, almost two years ago, Conservatives saw the warning signs in Afghanistan. We asked the government to put aside partisan politics and rescue Afghans who risked their lives to aid our military. However, despite knowing lives were in jeopardy from Taliban retribution, the Liberals took weeks to act. Even then, their promise to expedite applications failed. Many Afghans who managed to escape to neighbouring countries did so only with the financial and organizational help of former colleagues. Too many of them continue to wait in limbo, essentially homeless. They have no money, no jobs and little hope.
    In February, we witnessed the desperate plea of an Afghan citizen in this gallery, begging the Prime Minister to help his family. Canada should prioritize those who bravely fought alongside our military. Instead, the government continues to break promises to the weak and the vulnerable, both at home and abroad.

Transportation Infrastructure in Newfoundland and Labrador

    Mr. Speaker, we are getting people to where they need to be in Newfoundland and Labrador, with significant investments in public infrastructure.
    We are twinning more of the Trans-Canada Highway between Whitbourne and Grand Falls-Windsor for safer, more reliable travel. We are developing a shared-use path that will connect St. John's like never before. We are investing in eight accessible hybrid transit buses for the city. We are supporting new trails and planning in Portugal Cove-St. Philip's and Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove.
    Our government is getting things done to ensure healthy, strong and vibrant communities, while also creating jobs along the way.

[Translation]

David Goudreault

    Mr. Speaker, today I want to highlight the extraordinary honour recently bestowed upon Quebec poet David Goudreault, who now has his own entry in the dictionary.
    The team at Petit Robert chose to add an entry about the slam poet from Sherbrooke in its literature and philosophy category, a commendable decision indeed. The dictionary will describe him as an ardent defender of the French language in his performances, poems and novels, adding that he is profoundly inspired by real life and unflinchingly describes marginalized people and the absurdity of society.
    Goudreault is not the only new entry from Quebec in the dictionary, which will now include some of our homegrown terms, such as “mégenrer”, to misgender, “complosphère”, the conspiracy community, and “infonuagique”, the cloud.
    Speaking of clouds, David Goudreault is currently on cloud nine at the news that he will be in the Petit Robert. He will feel right at home surrounded by the things he loves, plays with and uses to express himself: words.

Marc Lalonde

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honour the memory of the Hon. Marc Lalonde, a distinguished Canadian statesman, lawyer, dedicated politician and Order of Canada recipient, who passed away on Saturday in Notre‑Dame‑de‑l'Île‑Perrot, with his wife, Claire, by his side.
    Born in Île‑Perrot in 1929, Marc was a lifelong learner, earning degrees from the Université de Montréal, Oxford University and the University of Ottawa. After completing his studies, Marc worked as an adviser to prime ministers Lester B. Pearson and Pierre Elliott Trudeau. In 1972, he was elected as the Liberal member of Parliament for Outremont, and he would hold five different ministerial portfolios over the course of his 12 years in office.
    His work positively influenced the lives of millions of Canadians, and that work continued even after he left public life, as he remained actively involved in his community of Vaudreuil—Soulanges.
    We will remember the Hon. Marc Lalonde. We will celebrate his extraordinary life, his devout commitment to public service and his dedication to this country that he loved so much.
    May Mr. Lalonde rest in peace.

  (1405)  

[English]

Jewish Heritage Month

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today in celebration of Jewish Heritage Month, a time to celebrate and recognize Jewish culture, faith and history, and the community's immense contributions to the social and economic fabric of Canada.
    This Jewish Heritage Month, we also celebrate the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel. Against all odds, today Israel is a successful, prosperous and democratic state that honours the rule of law and fundamental freedoms. It has overcome wars, droughts and poverty with few natural endowments other than pure human grit.
    This past month, I had the pleasure of joining the Israeli ambassador to Canada, Ronen Hoffman, for the flag-raising ceremony at Ottawa City Hall in celebration of Yom Ha'atzmaut. The ambassador has done extraordinary work during his time in Canada, and I know all members are very sad to see him leave. As we celebrate Jewish Heritage Month, I want to thank the ambassador for his great contributions to Canada during his time here.

Retirement Congratulations

     Mr. Speaker, this week marks the end of an era for a business, and indeed an industry, in Kingston. Classic Video has been a landmark in Kingston for 35 years. This one-of-a-kind video rental store outlived all of its competitors and continued to thrive in the face of online streaming services.
    For decades, Classic Video offered a vast array of video rentals as the premium choice of home entertainment for so many of its loyal patrons. Upon hearing of his intentions this week to close his store, customers formed lineups outside of Tom lvison's quaint location on Clarence Street, just steps from City Hall. Hundreds of customers, new and old, paid one last visit to say goodbye, and often ended up purchasing their favourite film they had rented so many times before. It was indeed a testament to Tom's friendly customer service that was truly second to none.
    I want to thank Tom for his dedication to downtown Kingston and his passion for film, and wish him all the best in the next chapter of his life.

Taste of Manila

     Mr. Speaker, May is Asian Heritage Month and I would like to recognize the organizers of the Taste of Manila festival in Toronto.
    Spearheaded by Rolly Mangante and other leaders in the local Filipino community, the first Taste of Manila street festival to showcase Filipino culture and cuisine was held nearly nine years ago in 2014. It has grown from there in leaps and bounds, attracting more than 400,000 in 2019 to become one of the largest Filipino street festivals in North America. Held in the heart of Toronto's Little Manila, there is no better showcase of Filipino art, culture and, of course, food.
    During Asian Heritage Month, I wish to congratulate Rolly and all his team for their work to promote and showcase the best of Filipino culture, and I look forward to joining my Filipino friends for the next festival.
    Mabuhay, Taste of Manila.

Criminal Code

     Mr. Speaker, in April 2017, Arianna Goberdhan and her family were eagerly awaiting the birth of her first child, a baby girl named Asaara. She was due to arrive in 20 days, and Arianna's estranged husband knew she was pregnant with their child, but then tragedy struck. After a physically and emotionally abusive marriage, Arianna’s estranged husband stabbed his wife and unborn daughter 17 times, to death.
    Six years later, the murderer has found a way to retraumatize the Goberdhan family. While serving his sentence at a medium-security prison, he is also looking for love on a matchmaking pen pal website for lonely convicts. His featured photo is none other than one from their wedding day. While the Goberdhans live with their pain every day, their daughter’s killer seems to be moving on with his life as if nothing had happened.
    A requirement for the sentencing judge to consider pregnancy as an aggravating circumstance in Arianna’s murder should have been in place. The sentence should have matched the crime. It is time to pass the violence against pregnant women act.

Gordon Lightfoot

     Mr. Speaker, today, I rise to pay tribute to one of Canada's greatest artists, the late Gordon Lightfoot, who passed away recently.
    One of his most famous songs, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”, is about a ship that sank not far from my riding. Many of my constituents, and visitors from across North America, visit Pancake Bay and go to the Edmund Fitzgerald Lookout to pay tribute to the 29 lives that were lost. This year, the Mariners' Church of Detroit, which rings its bell 29 times for those lost lives, rang it 30 times to pay tribute to Gordon Lightfoot.
    Gordon Lightfoot was absolutely amazing. We all remember when the Edmund Fitzgerald went down, those of us who are of this age, and recall where we were when it went down and the severity of the storm. I thank Gordon Lightfoot. It is sundown and we hope he takes care.

  (1410)  

Wildfires in British Columbia

    Mr. Speaker, wildfires are already causing a lot of damage in my neighbouring communities of McBride, Red Creek, Doig River First Nation, Boundary Lake and many other areas in northeastern B.C., but thanks to local McBride resident, Mike Savarella, who reached out to me and phoned me the evening of the fire, I was quickly able to reach out to the local MLA, Shirley Bond, who was able to reach out to the BC Wildfire Service to get much-needed resources to the fire. I also want to thank Mayor Gene Runtz of McBride for keeping me informed and updated.
    Most of all, my thanks go to the BC Wildfire Service and the many people who stepped up to help their neighbours. This reminds me of when the member for Foothills and I were talking to farmers in the Upper Pine area, in my riding. At that particular time, a fire had broken out at a neighbouring farm. Quickly, neighbours responded and put the fire out, neighbours helping neighbours. I have heard similar stories around the riding of other neighbours helping others, and I just want to thank them for that.
    To those who are still fighting fires in their area, we are with them. Most of all, they should report any fires they see to BC Wildfire Service at 1-800-663-5555. I hope they will be safe out there.

Carbon Tax

    Mr. Speaker, Newfoundland and Labrador is feeling the pinch. Industries and transportation rely on fuel to support our very existence. Our fishery, mining, forestry, agriculture, tourism and offshore oil industries are heavily impacted by the cost of fuel.
    The Liberal government wants to drive up the cost to do business and the cost to put food on our table, with the ever-increasing carbon tax. A Conservative government would axe the carbon tax to bring home lower food prices and make it more affordable to drive on our roads. We would bring home lower operating costs in our fishing industry, our mining industry, our forestry industry, our agriculture industry, our tourism industry and our oil industry.
    It is time for common sense. Our Conservative leader stands for the common sense of the common people. A Conservative government would work for the common good of Newfoundland and Labrador. Let us bring it home.

Centre for Discovery and Innovation

    Mr. Speaker, our government believes that investments in education and investments in Canada's future are one and the same. That is why we are proud to have recently made a $20-million investment in Cape Breton University's new Centre for Discovery and lnnovation. This facility, in the heart of Cape Breton—Canso, will deliver on Canada's commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while welcoming and training the future workforce locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
     Investments like these will also provide folks from across Cape Breton—Canso with the comfort of knowing that the state of local education is in good hands. As a graduate of Cape Breton University, and as someone who has worked there for 10 years, I am excited to see what opportunities are waiting for tomorrow's students.
     I will also say to all members of the House that I am proud to be hosting, along with the member for Sydney—Victoria, Cape Breton University on Parliament Hill today. I hope to see all of the hon. members for a Cape Breton ceilidh later this evening.

[Translation]

Palestine

    Mr. Speaker, May 15 marks the 75th anniversary of the Nakba, the great Palestinian catastrophe, an event that is etched in the memories of Palestinian families around the world.
    From one day to the next, thousands of men, women and children were driven from their homes. The first refugee camps appeared. Many of those camps still exist and have transformed into small towns. Obviously, the situation deteriorated with the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. With the growing establishment of illegal settlements through violence, Palestinians are losing a little more of the land on which they live every day.
    At the turn of the century, one of the slogans of the Zionist movement was “A land without a people, for a people without a land”. There was, and still is, a people in the land of Palestine: Palestinians.
    The Liberal government needs to do a lot more, including enforcing the United Nations resolutions, voting in accordance with our own official positions at the UN and condemning the oppression, violence and discrimination that Palestinians experience every day.

  (1415)  

Nursing Week

    Mr. Speaker, their names are Isabelle, Mélanie, Arianne. They are joined by Bruno, Pierre, Claude and thousands of names with the same reassuring faces. It is the face of the Quebec body of nursing, the face of women and men who are there for us when we are scared, when we suffer, when we are worried about our loved ones.
    In emergency rooms, in operating rooms, in clinics, in obstetrics and at the end of life, from the first breath to the last breath, I have seen nurses hug those who are grieving, consoling and comforting them. I have seen them smile as they hand a new mother her newborn and share in her happiness. I have seen nurses work 16 hours in a row with the same energy, the same attentiveness and the same professionalism.
    We owe an immense debt to these women and men. During this Nursing Week, on behalf of the Bloc Québécois I simply want to thank them for being there.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years, this Prime Minister is more out of touch than ever, and Canadians have no money. He has accumulated more debt than all the other prime ministers before him, and yet everything seems to be broken.
    The government is increasingly taxing and clawing back the earnings of Canadians, making life more difficult. The dream of home ownership has never seemed more unattainable for most Canadians. The government has also driven up the cost of food with its ineffective policies like the carbon tax and the fertilizer tariff. Food banks, like Moisson Beauce in my riding, are experiencing unprecedented demand, and donations are running out.
    At a time when Canadians cannot even get a passport, the Prime Minister has already taken his fifth vacation of the year.
    Enough is enough. Canadians deserve better. That is why a Conservative government will fix what is broken and will again put Canadians first.

Marc Lalonde

    Mr. Speaker, I rise with a heavy heart to honour the passing of a great man, a great Canadian and a titan in federal politics.
    As the member for Outremont, Marc Lalonde dedicated himself to serving our community. During his time as principal secretary to Pierre Elliott Trudeau and later as a key member of his cabinet, Marc Lalonde played a pivotal role in shaping our society.
    His unfailing commitment to promoting national unity and social justice are woven into our history. As our Prime Minister so rightly said, it is impossible to overstate the impact that Marc Lalonde has had on Canada.
    As an aspiring member for Outremont and a lawyer practising international law, I had the pleasure of working alongside Marc Lalonde and getting to know him. I could never thank him enough for everything he did for me. He was a strong believer in helping young leaders, and he passed on to me, and to all of us, his vision of a just and united Canada.
    May Marc Lalonde rest in peace. His love for our peace will continue to inspire future generations.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Safety told the House that the RCMP took decisive action to shut down the so-called Chinese police stations, but the Chinese government representatives operating those two illegal Montreal-area police stations thumbed their noses at the minister when they said, “We have not received any closure requests from the RCMP. Our activities are proceeding normally.”
    Can the Prime Minister confirm that these illegal police stations are still open, and will he ask that they be closed?
    Mr. Speaker, the member is well aware that the RCMP is following up on the matter.
    I would like to share a little update on Alberta, though. The governments of Canada and Alberta are working together to ensure that all those affected get the help they need.

[English]

    The federal government will continue to work with provincial officials, municipalities and indigenous communities to support people across Alberta and across the country in any way we can. Of course, we encourage everyone to follow the advice of local authorities and stay safe, but know that all orders of government are working together to keep people safe through this difficult time.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal-NDP coalition is clearly starting to crumble, because yesterday in the House, all opposition parties voted together in favour of the Conservative Party motion calling for a national, independent public inquiry into foreign interference and the closure of the illegal police stations in Canada. The Liberals do not seem to be in a hurry, and we know that has helped them in the past.
    Can the Prime Minister tell us why no effort is being made to close the illegal police stations in the Montreal area?

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Party knows full well that the police in this country operate independently. They are expected to do their job to keep Canadians safe, and they will continue to do that.
    The member is suggesting that we have done nothing about foreign interference. We have appointed former governor general David Johnston as an independent special rapporteur to follow up. We are establishing a foreign influence registry. We are defending the proper functioning of the House by expelling a Chinese diplomat, and we will continue to work to protect Canadians.

[English]

Democratic Institutions

    Mr. Speaker, it has been eight days since we found out that a member of the House and his family were intimidated for a vote that he cast and two years since the government has known. The government finally expelled the guy who did it, and that is the very least it could have done.
     We know more MPs have been threatened. We can ensure the government does not let it happen again by bringing in a foreign agent registry. Yesterday, every Liberal on the other side voted against that.
    How can Canadians believe that the government is serious about national security when it ignored the problem for two years and then voted against fixing it?
    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is being disingenuous. She knows full well that we are moving forward on establishing a foreign agent registry. We are doing it properly so that it actually responds to the needs of Canadians.
    We will continue to ensure that we are standing up for our values, taking seriously these issues, which is why we did take the time to ensure, as we declared a Chinese diplomat persona non grata, that it was done appropriately.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is being disingenuous when he tells Canadians that he is taking this seriously.
    We need a foreign agent registry, like the ones that exist in Australia and the U.S. We need a national public inquiry into foreign interference. We need to shut down the illegal police stations operating in Canada that harass innocent civilians, which the Minister of Public Safety told Canadians were already shut. They are not.
     Once again, he has misled Canadians. When will he end this charade?
    Mr. Speaker, that foreign actors are attempting to monitor, intimidate or threaten Canadians is completely unacceptable. The RCMP has said that it is actively investigating these suspected stations. As it has done before, it will not hesitate to take action again.
    Everyone should feel safe in this country. We will exhaust all efforts to protect them from unacceptable behaviour by hostile authoritarian states.
    Mr. Speaker, it is no surprise that the Prime Minister told Canadians that the 2001 report from CSIS was never shared. We know that is false, because we know the national security adviser had said so. She informed the member for Wellington—Halton Hills of the truth.
    The Prime Minister is stalling on a foreign agent registry. He will not shut down illegal police stations. He does not have the courage to call a national public inquiry. Why would anyone believe that he takes national security seriously?
    Mr. Speaker, in 2015, when we took office, we committed to establish an oversight committee by parliamentarians to see and engage with our security intelligence agencies every step of the way. The Conservatives were totally opposed to that kind of oversight by parliamentarians, but we moved forward with NSICOP anyway. This is a powerful tool that we have to ensure Canadians are being kept safe.
    On top of that, we established a panel to oversee our elections in 2019 and 2021. That panel confirmed that the elections' integrity held despite attempts at interference.
    We have always taken this issue seriously and we will continue to.

[Translation]

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, let us talk about interference. What interference are we talking about specifically? Are we talking about China's interference in Canada or McKinsey's interference in Canada?
    McKinsey is behind the proposal to increase Canada's population to 100 million by the end of the century. The Prime Minister surely must have held consultations about such an extraordinarily important initiative. I would like to know what Quebec said when he consulted it about having a population of 100 million, or 500,000 more people a year, unless he did not talk to Quebec.

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, our country's linguistic duality is an asset that we must protect. In that regard, Quebec establishes its own immigration targets, and it has the exclusive power to select the majority of its immigrants.
    For our part, we firmly believe that we can grow our economy while protecting the French culture and language. We will continue to be there to defend Quebec's interests and to promote the importance of the French language across Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, I ask the Prime Minister a question and he replies by reading a Heritage Minute.
    Quebec would have to take in 110,000 more people per year, but it cannot afford to do that because of the cost of services. Of course, it cannot do it because of the need to integrate immigrants in French. McKinsey did not take into account the specific reality of Quebec or the French language. Dominic Barton said as much in committee.
    The Prime Minister is francophone himself. Why is he not taking Quebec's reality into account?
    Mr. Speaker, we will always take Quebec's specificity into account. I get it. That is why we were the first federal government to recognize that not only do we need to protect both official languages across the country, but we also need to pay particular attention to this issue in order to continue to protect French in Quebec.
    The decision on federal immigration levels was made independently. It is based on advice from departmental officials, organizations, stakeholders, provincial and territorial leaders and citizens from across Canada to determine the best immigration policy for Canada.

[English]

Democratic Institutions

    Mr. Speaker, foreign interference is a serious threat to our democracy. A member of Parliament and his family were targeted by a foreign government for his vote in the House. Imagine what it is like for thousands of families across our country that fled governments that were oppressive only to come to Canada and have those threats follow them.
    The Prime Minister will not even call a public inquiry. How can he keep the rest of Canadians facing serious threats safe?
    Mr. Speaker, from the very beginning, we have always taken threats to Canadians around foreign interference extremely seriously, which is why we have created new mechanisms and new tools to counter foreign interference. It is why we have actually appointed an independent expert to look at the foreign interference landscape and to ensure that we have all the tools we need and to create more, including a public inquiry if necessary.
    We will follow the advice of the independent expert. The expert is the one who is best placed to say how we move forward.
    Mr. Speaker, let me help the Prime Minister. It is necessary. We need it.

[Translation]

    Foreign interference has a real impact on people's lives. It has a real impact on the Chinese community and on several communities in Canada. Imagine what it must be like for families fleeing repressive governments. They come to Canada and the threats—

[English]

    I am going to interrupt for a moment. I believe the translation is not working.

[Translation]

    Is there interpretation now? Okay, it is working.

[English]

    The hon. member for Burnaby South, from the top, please.
    Mr. Speaker, we need a public inquiry. It is necessary.

[Translation]

    Foreign interference has a real impact on communities across the country. We saw the impact on the Chinese community, but there are several other communities that are also suffering the consequences.
    Imagine what it must be like for families fleeing repressive governments. They arrive in Canada and the threats continue. This government is turning its back on these people. It is radio silence. It is doing nothing to protect these families.
    Why is the Prime Minister not calling a public inquiry and why is he not protecting these families?
    Mr. Speaker, as my hon. colleague points out, the diasporas, whether the Chinese Canadian, the Iranian Canadian, Russian Canadian or Indo-Canadian communities, are often the first communities to be targeted by foreign interference.
    That is why we have brought in measures to protect them. We will continue to work with them, not just to protect them from interference, but also to protect them from the unfortunate racism and discrimination they face from the public when they are suspected of being foreign agents. It is a problem we will continue to address.

  (1430)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we would think the illegal operation of foreign agents in this country would serve as a good enough reason for the Liberals to appropriately intervene. Instead, the public safety minister chooses to mislead Canadians by claiming that the RCMP has shut down all Beijing-backed police stations, when in reality, two Montreal groups under investigation for hosting these stations have not received any closure requests.
    How much longer do Canadians need to wait before the government finally closes down these illegal Beijing-backed stations?
    Mr. Speaker, by now my colleague will know that the RCMP provided an update that it has taken action to disrupt the activities of these so-called police stations. As we heard the Prime Minister say, it is this government's expectation that, if any such foreign interference activities occur or pop up again, it will take the necessary action to keep our communities safe.
    More to the point, there is $49 million to assist the RCMP in budget 2023. Instead of tough talk and sabre-rattling, Conservatives should support that budget so we can protect our communities from foreign interference.
    Mr. Speaker, actions speak louder than words. Canadians deserve no less. The government's apathy concerning the threats of foreign interference continuously fails to protect Chinese Canadians across the country. We have had enough with the smoke and mirrors.
     Last week, on this very same topic, the minister stressed the importance of communication and transparency in the House. It is time for the minister to demonstrate it and finally answer the question: When will the government close down all of the Beijing-backed police stations in Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite knows full well that operational independence is a pillar of our democracy. We put our confidence in the RCMP and our national security apparatus to protect our communities from foreign interference.
    Instead of misguided statements like the one the member opposite just said, he should put the work into protecting our institutions, including the people in this chamber. All of that is built on the foundation of the work this government has been doing since we took the reins in 2015.
    Mr. Speaker, it took two years for the government to do the right thing and expel the diplomat who was directly involved in interfering in our democracy and intimidating the family of a member of the House of Commons for a vote of his in the House of Commons. Meanwhile, the dictatorship in Beijing continues to operate illegal police stations in Canada, which are used to intimidate members of the Chinese diaspora community.
    Are the Prime Minister and his public safety minister going to wait two years, or will they commit today to shutting down these foreign influence operations running out of these Beijing-backed police stations?
    Mr. Speaker, as long as we get the same questions, Conservatives will get the same answers.
    The RCMP has taken decisive action in the foreign interference relationship to these so-called police stations and, going forward, will take the necessary steps to protect our communities.
    Conservatives talk about apathy. They were apathetic for a decade when they held the reins of government, and they could have put in place the tools, measures and resources they are now asking the government to do. We are doing that work. They need to stop with the politicization, stop with the claims of political interference and get behind the work this government is doing.
    Mr. Speaker, what we would like is for the government to actually start doing the work. Yesterday, all members on that side, including the public safety minister and the Prime Minister, voted against a public inquiry. They voted against expelling a diplomat. They voted against a foreign agent registry. All of these tools can be used to protect members of the Chinese diaspora community from intimidation from the Communist dictatorship in Beijing. It is operating here on our soil, and the government has the ability to stop it.
    We have a very simple question. The minister says that, if we ask the same question, we will get the same answer. We would like some action to go with it. Will they implement a foreign agent registry and shut down these Beijing-backed police stations?
    Mr. Speaker, here is the record of action that this government has taken. We declared the foreign agent persona non grata. That person is now on his way out of Canada. We have put hundreds of millions of dollars into the national security apparatus to give it the tools it needs to protect our communities against foreign interference.
    Rather than continue to politicize this issue and make claims around apathy, Conservatives should take a look in the mirror at their own record, where for 10 years they did none of the work they are now asking the government to do. The difference is that we are doing it. We are protecting our institutions, and we are protecting the people in them.

  (1435)  

[Translation]

     Mr. Speaker, today, the Prime Minister said that he would launch a national public inquiry on foreign interference if necessary. Who will decide if it is necessary? The decision will be made by a former director of the Trudeau Foundation, which received an illegal donation from the regime in Beijing. I can already guess what the special rapporteur's response will be and how much credibility he has.
    Yesterday, we gave every member of the House a unique opportunity to vote in favour of an independent national inquiry on foreign interference. All members of the House, except the government members, voted in favour of that motion.
    Why does the government show so little respect for MPs?
    Mr. Speaker, Mr. Johnston is a former governor general of Canada. He is independent and will soon present his action plan to counter foreign interference. As an expert, he can look at all of the options, obviously.
    With regard to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, it is an independent foundation in which the Prime Minister has no personal interest.
    Mr. Speaker, the government is saying that it is taking action. Taking action gets results, but to date, the government's score on foreign interference is 25%. That would not be a very good mark to get on a report card. Why?
    The Liberals finally expelled a diplomat after two years, but they have done nothing to create a foreign agent registry, to conduct an independent national inquiry or to shut down the Chinese police stations.
    Every time we ask them questions, they fail miserably at protecting Canadians. Our question to them is, why?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I was the critic of public safety at the time of Stephen Harper's government, and when Justice Iacobucci and Justice O'Connor issued their recommendations saying that urgent action needed to be taken, and that an independent parliamentary committee of parliamentarians should oversee every aspect of national security, they did nothing.
    It was our government that brought in that body, which allows parliamentarians of every party to be able to see into every aspect of our national security. We acted on those and many other recommendations that the Conservatives opposite, when they were in government, sat on and did not act upon.

[Translation]

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, let us talk about the Century Initiative. Many Quebeckers and French Canadians are concerned about the federal government potentially tripling the population to 100 million by 2100 without any public debate. The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship says his plan has nothing to do with the Century Initiative and he makes his own choices. Coincidence or not, his 2023-25 immigration targets are remarkably similar to those proposed by the Century Initiative.
    Will he at least confirm the fact that his target, 500,000 newcomers in 2025, lines up with the proposal and actually goes a bit further?
    Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the federal government's immigration plan is to grow our economy. People need to recognize that it is possible to grow the economy while protecting the French language and francophones' demographic weight.
    We will continue to increase the number of francophone newcomers. That is good for official language minority communities and it is good for our economy too.
    Mr. Speaker, the minister brags about 4% of immigrants outside Quebec being francophone, but according to francophone and Acadian communities, they need 12% next year and 20% in the future just to slow the decline of French.
    Quebec's Minister of the French Language calls it the most hare-brained idea of the century. He says it is not good for Quebec or for the Canadian francophonie.
    Will the minister commit to not tripling the Canadian population to 100 million by 2100?
    Mr. Speaker, that is very interesting.
    It is clear that the hon. member has read the McKinsey plan and the Century Initiative plan. It is equally clear that he has not read the Government of Canada's plan. If he is interested in reading that plan, as I am and as our government is, I can easily send him an email with the chapter on francophone immigration after question period.
    I have one priority: to increase the number of francophone newcomers and support minority francophone communities while growing the economy.

  (1440)  

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, we are in the midst of a housing crisis.
    It is virtually impossible for people in Quebec to find affordable housing. Three weeks ago, the National Housing Council stated that, although the federal government has built 115,000 units, Canada has lost a jaw-dropping 550,000 affordable housing units over the past 10 years. We are moving backward, not forward. For every new affordable housing unit, we lose five.
    Before any talk about tripling the population, is there a single MP on the government side who has thought about where all those people are going to live?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question.

[English]

    It is very important to understand that immigration is actually one of the tools among a number of tools in our toolset that we use to address the skills and labour shortage within the construction and building trades sector to actually build housing for Canadians.
    I would invite my hon. colleague to look at our national housing strategy, the housing accelerator fund, the results we have delivered through programs like the rapid housing initiative and the Canada housing benefit to see the real effects on the ground to deliver more safe and affordable housing for Canadians.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, according to a constituent, he makes a decent living of around $70,000 and lives within his means with no credit card debt, yet he and his wife are struggling. He states that there are no extras for the family, so they cannot afford the Liberal way of living and shelling out more and more.
    This is a common cry from Canadians. However, the Prime Minister is too busy on vacations to listen to Canadians who are struggling. Will the Prime Minister land his plane and start doing his job?
    Mr. Speaker, as the minister for Alberta, I would like to take a moment to thank first responders across the country, and Canadians from coast to coast to coast, for working with Alberta and coming to support us as we face the crisis with the forest fires.
    On the substantive issue of affordability, our government has introduced targeted measures to make life more affordable. Today, I was at the Senate finance committee, where we asked the senators to pass Bill C-46. They have done so, and it is now in front of the Senate for third reading.
    Mr. Speaker, government policies have made life more unaffordable. They are not working for Canadians who are struggling or for seniors on fixed incomes.
    The Prime Minister does not understand that 41¢ per litre being added to heat, gas and food does drive up the cost of living. Seniors' budgets do not have that flexibility. Why is the Prime Minister making life harder for seniors who are already struggling?
    Mr. Speaker, since 2015, we have been there, supporting Canadians, including seniors, by lowering the age of retirement back to 65; strengthening the guaranteed income supplement, which has helped over hundreds of thousands of seniors and has lifted 45,000 seniors out of poverty; and enhancing the Canada pension plan. All these measures, by the way, were opposed by the party opposite.
     Budget 2023 continues to support seniors. Our new grocery rebate will put more money in their pockets. Our new dental care plan will give them the dental care they need. We are here, delivering for Canadians. The Conservatives can just say things that make no sense, but we are here, delivering.

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, my constituents are sick of the Prime Minister's hypocrisy. With Alberta's average monthly salary at $5,000 a month, many struggle to make ends meet while the Prime Minister spends more than that for a one-night hotel stay. It was $6,000 for one night. His poor decisions demonstrate just how out of touch he really is with the average Canadian.
    Why does the Prime Minister make Canadians pay for his lavish travel while they continue to struggle?
    Mr. Speaker, I greatly sympathize, obviously, as we all do, with Canadians. At a time of global uncertainty, with global inflation and the challenges it poses, they are expecting action. That is why they expect the facts to be presented to them, just as the action we are taking to help them should be fairly presented. The member opposite talked about the night the Prime Minister spent to commemorate the Queen's death and to be there. As I have iterated before, the fact is that there was security in that room. There was more than one room. They misrepresent facts, and unfortunately, they continue to be personally focused on the Prime Minister.

  (1445)  

[Translation]

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is more out of touch than ever.
    Canadians are struggling. Everything costs more: food, housing, heating. Meanwhile, he keeps going on luxury vacations and spending recklessly. He refuses to listen to anyone, not even his own party members, who tried in vain this weekend to convince him to balance the budget.
    Will the Prime Minister get his act together and put an end to his ill-advised policies that are poisoning Canadians' lives?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the Conservatives for underscoring just how wonderful our Liberal convention was. It was held here in Ottawa, and it was a great chance to gather together with Liberals from coast to coast to coast.
    The facts show that Canada has the lowest deficit and the strongest economy of any G7 country. Our government is there to support Canadians.
    The Conservatives oppose what we are doing, yet we are delivering results. This is our duty as Liberals.

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve is one of the neighbourhoods hardest hit by Montreal's housing crisis.
    However, the Liberal member for this riding, who is also the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Housing, refuses to meet with the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve housing committee. Not only that, but she has not provided the organization with any Canada summer jobs positions that would enable it to help renters in the parliamentary secretary's riding.
    The Liberals claim that solving the housing crisis is a priority, but their actions say otherwise. When will the Liberals address the housing crisis with the urgency it deserves?
    Mr. Speaker, to make housing more affordable for Canadians, we have to build more housing faster.
    That is why we are making unprecedented investments to quickly increase the supply of housing and put Canada on track to double the rate of housing construction over the next decade. That is what the federal government's housing plan looks like.

[English]

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the government announced some funding for indigenous shelters and transitional homes that it first promised two years ago. No shovels are in the ground yet, and it could take years before the money is spent. MPs declared the crisis of MMIWG2S an emergency, yet the Liberals have only spent 5% of the violence prevention strategy funding since 2020, plus they are cutting $150 million from women's shelters in September.
    Why are the Liberals not acting with the urgency this crisis deserves? Will they reverse the cut to women's shelters?
    Mr. Speaker, I am grateful for the opportunity to talk about the investments we are making and the announcement the government made just this week to fund 22 shelters, including shelters for women and for 2SLGBTQ people fleeing domestic violence and intimate partner violence. We have worked with communities to make sure these shelters will be appropriate and custom built. By the way, they will be supported with operational funding, so the communities will have the certainty that when there is trouble at home, there is a place to go.

Women and Gender Equality

    Mr. Speaker, I am a strong believer that the right to choose for women should not be politicized, and I think that many Canadians without a doubt can agree with that. However, here we are politicizing how women can access health care and debating choices they have to make. I believe all Canadians deserve to know what the government is doing to protect the right to choose and access to important health care, including abortion.
    Could the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth speak to how our government is increasing access to important health care services, including abortion?
    Mr. Speaker, access to abortion is simply health care. That is why, today, $4.2 million went to Action Canada and UBC to increase access to abortion.
    Women's rights are being attacked everywhere, even in this country. An attack on women's rights is an attack on human rights. We will always unequivocally defend a woman's dignity and right to choose her own future.

  (1450)  

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, the Parliamentary Budget Officer reports that the Prime Minister's carbon tax will cost families in Alberta an extra $2,800 per year. For a hard-working dad in Airdrie, that could be a month's pay. For a single mom from Cochrane, that might mean two months' rent. For a senior in Crossfield, that is four months of old age security payments.
    Because of the Liberal government, life costs more. Will the government finally show some compassion and axe the carbon tax?
    Mr. Speaker, in this document, the platform of the Conservative Party during the last election—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I am going to stop the hon. minister for a second.
    Order, please. I want to remind all members that if they are referring to something, it is a reference, but as soon as they hold it up and show something, I am afraid it is a prop.
    I will let the hon. minister put his document away and start from the top.
    Mr. Speaker, the document from “the man with the plan” states—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please. I think we have everything in order. The hon. minister will start from the top, and I am sure everyone will be very quiet and listen to what he has to say.
    The hon. minister.
    Mr. Speaker, one would think the Conservative Party of Canada would be in agreement with the platform of the Conservative Party of Canada's last election, but maybe not.
    Let me quote from said platform:
    Our plan will ensure that all Canadians can do their part to fight climate change, in the way that works best for them, and at a carbon price that is affordable: ...increasing to $50/tonne...
    The document further states, “We will assess progress...[so] carbon prices [can be] on a path to $170/tonne.” That is exactly what our government is doing.
    They said they were in favour of it in the last campaign. What is going on?
    Mr. Speaker, that sort of political answer is absolutely what makes Canadians lose faith in a government like that. The government is laughing at the discomfort Canadians are facing because they are struggling to pay their bills.
    If the member and his Prime Minister really believe in their carbon tax, why do they not at least show some solidarity with the one in five Canadians having to skip meals because they cannot afford groceries. Maybe they will show some solidarity and start skipping meals themselves, because those Canadians cannot afford to eat because of their carbon tax.
    Mr. Speaker, climate change is no laughing matter. As we are faced with forest fires in Alberta and as people in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia are faced with flooding, climate change is costing Canadians. According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, in 2021—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I am having a hard time hearing.
    The member for Niagara Falls is shouting in my ear, and I am going to ask him to maybe just keep it down. We will let the minister start over again.
    Mr. Speaker, climate change is no laughing matter. People in Edmonton and around Alberta are being evacuated because of forest fires at the beginning of May. People in Quebec, Ontario and B.C. are being evacuated because of flooding. The Parliamentary Budget Officer said that, in 2021, the cost to Canadians of climate change was $20 billion. Climate change is no laughing matter. On this side of the House, we take the issue seriously. It seems that on that side, they do not.
    Mr. Speaker, under the current government, it costs more to live. The Parliamentary Budget Officer confirmed that if the Prime Minister triples the scam carbon tax to 41¢ a litre on gas, with tax rising on heat and food, it would cost average Alberta families an extra $2,800. Food costs in 2023 are up an extra $1,000 compared with last year. More Canadians are visiting the food bank just to get by. Will the Prime Minister end his plan to triple the cost of gas, groceries and home heating and cancel the carbon tax?

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, as my hon. colleague, the Minister of Environment, pointed out just a few minutes ago, that member campaigned in the last federal election under a commitment to implement carbon pricing.
     The reality is that we have discovered a way to make sure that we put a price on pollution that makes it more expensive for polluters to damage our atmosphere at the same time as we put more money in the pockets of families. From the moment we formed government in 2015, we have been laser-focused on affordability. We stopped sending child care cheques to millionaires and put more money in the pockets of nine out of 10 families. We are putting forward a grocery rebate that is going to help 11 million Canadian households, and we are putting a price on pollution that will clean up our environment and leave families better off. I wish they would finally get on board.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, ever since this Prime Minister came to power, everything costs more. A family of four will have to hand over $1,065 more for food. One in five Canadians is skipping meals, and more and more people are turning to food banks. What is this Prime Minister doing? He is making things worse by increasing the carbon tax. Contrary to what he is saying, this increase has an impact across the country, even in Quebec.
    Will he finally get rid of these policies, which increase the price of everything we buy?
    Mr. Speaker, what Canadians know is that the country is currently grappling with forest fires, floods and the impact of climate change. What Canadians know is that a responsible government does several things at the same time, such as fighting the climate crisis and, with the measures in our budget, helping the people who need it most.
    That is what a responsible government does. Unfortunately, the Conservatives have already said that they will vote against our budget and, therefore, against helping Canadians.

Democratic Institutions

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday the government finally expelled the Chinese diplomat involved in intimidating the member for Wellington—Halton Hills and his family. The government did that yesterday, not in 2021, when it found out what was going on.
    In other words, the Chinese diplomat was not expelled for threatening the member in 2021. He was expelled because his threats have been making headlines for the past week. The Liberals' main concern is not that an MP was threatened; it is that the public knows they did nothing. That is one more reason they cannot be trusted to shed light on Chinese interference.
    When will there be an independent public inquiry?
    Mr. Speaker, the government is taking this matter very seriously. As soon as we received confirmation, I quickly took action.

[English]

    One does not get the attention of the Chinese government by yelling and screaming and by making noise on that side of the House. One gets the attention of the Chinese government by taking direct action, by expelling a diplomat and by doing it carefully and consciously. That is what we do on this side of the House. That is what—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I am going to interrupt the hon. parliamentary secretary. We missed the last 15 seconds of what he was saying; if he does not mind, I would ask him to repeat it.
    Mr. Speaker, this is a case in point. One gets the attention of the Chinese government to stop it from interfering in Canadians' lives by taking direct action and doing it carefully and prudently. That is exactly what the Minister of Foreign Affairs did this week when she declared a Chinese diplomat persona non grata. That is what we are doing on this side of the House. We do not yell. We do not scream. We get attention, and we are consistently effective in doing it.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it did take two years. The Liberals do nothing about Chinese interference until it makes headlines. They were fine with holding a $1,500-a-head cocktail party fundraiser with Beijing's buddies. They were fine with connections between a Toronto Liberal MP and the Chinese government. They ignored threats against an opposition member. That had to make headlines before the government started behaving like a government should.
    The Liberals have no interest in casting light on interference. They would rather keep it all hidden and hope the media does not try to ferret out the truth. When will there be an independent public inquiry?
    Mr. Speaker, we took concrete steps to address Chinese interference. My colleague, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, took concrete action. We are responding appropriately. All the opposition ever does is whine and complain.

  (1500)  

[English]

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has said that he is investing in Canadians. In my community, people are struggling to make ends meet because of the government's inflationary carbon tax.
     Adding to record deficits and national debt is not investing in Canadians. Everyone knows we cannot borrow our way out of debt. Life is simply getting more expensive under that government.
     When will the government axe the tax and do something to help struggling Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, last year, the Conservative member for New Brunswick Southwest said, “The backstop will kick in, the feds will take it over, and as part of that change-up … cheques will begin to roll out to New Brunswick families.”
    Well, dreams do come true, because the Conservative premier of New Brunswick said recently that they needed to make a choice that was “in the best interest of New Brunswickers”, when asking the federal government to apply its system of carbon pricing to New Brunswick. He went on to say, “What this does right now is provide relief” from inflation.
    Mr. Speaker, no one is buying what the Liberals are selling, but they certainly are paying for it. The carbon tax is not a price on pollution; it is a price on people.
    Canadians need a bailout, just like my colleague, the member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please. I do not know what it is today, but everybody knows what a prop is.
    The hon. member for Moose Jaw—Lake Centre—Lanigan, please continue.
    I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, I thought it was a very catching photo.
    Canadians are out of money. Therefore, I will ask this of the government that is out of touch. When will it axe the carbon tax and give reprieve to Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, it seems that the Conservatives have amnesia when it comes to investing in Canadians.
    In 2015, when the Liberals came into office, our country ranked 24th in the OECD in terms of child poverty. Since we have come into power, we have instituted the child benefit and we have instituted child care. We are making life more affordable for Canadian families. The Conservatives voted against this every single time. They do not invest in families. They do not invest in children. They do not invest in Canadians. They do not care.

[Translation]

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government is not doing anything to lower the cost of groceries for Canadians. On the contrary, it is continuing to implement policies that make food even more expensive.
    The carbon tax and the tariff on fertilizer have tied our farmers' hands and driven up the cost of producing all foods. There have never been so many people using food banks, and one in five Canadians is skipping meals to survive.
    When will the government put an end to these costly policies so that our farmers can do what they do best and feed our families?
    Mr. Speaker, as my hon. colleague knows, he lives in a province where there has been a price on pollution since 2007.
    As my hon. colleague knows, we implemented a food bank policy during the COVID-19 pandemic that gave food banks across Canada $30 million.
    Once again, we are investing an additional $10 million to help families put food on the table. I invite all food banks across Canada to apply by May 31.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act was introduced in the Senate on February 9, 2022. Between the two parliamentary committees, nearly 50 hours were devoted to the study of the bill, 80 witnesses were heard and 105 briefs were submitted for review in committee.
    Can the Minister of Environment and Climate Change update the House on Bill S‑5?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to start by thanking the member for Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill for her question and all of her work on Bill S‑5 as a member of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.
    I also want to thank all the members of the Senate and House of Commons environment committees, who contributed immensely to enhancing this bill.
    As my colleague said, 300 amendments were presented, 80 witnesses were heard, more than 100 briefs were submitted and the committees put in 50 hours of work.
    I invite every member of the House to work together to ensure that the bill receives royal assent in the coming weeks.

  (1505)  

[English]

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, while the Prime Minister is fangirling over celebrities in the Big Apple, it seems like this finance minister is auditioning for her next career. She showed up at Fenway Park to talk about her budget more times this year than she has to the finance committee. They are always out of the country and always out of touch, and Canadians are out of money.
    After delivering one of the worst budgets in Canadian history, pile-driving every household with $4,200 costs, she refuses to show up to the committee to answer basic questions about her failed budget.
    It is easier to find Nemo than it is to find this finance minister at the finance committee.
    Is she hiding because she is ashamed of her budget like the rest of us are?
    Mr. Speaker, our government is very proud of our budget and it is wonderful to hear the Conservatives talk about affordability. Guess what the Conservatives want to talk about at the finance committee—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I am going to have to interrupt the hon. minister.
    I just want to remind the hon. members that if they want to ask a question, they should talk to their whip and get on the roster and then they can ask a question. While somebody else is answering, it is not parliamentary to shout across with a question.
    The hon. minister, from the top, so we can all hear the answer, please.
    Mr. Speaker, we are very proud of budget 2023 and all of the support measures in place to grow the economy, to support Canadians and to stabilize the health care system for a generation.
    Here is what the Conservatives want to talk about at the finance committee: they want to talk about the crimson carpets, from the member for Abbotsford, and the benefits of a steady diet of eels, from the member for South Shore—St. Margarets.
    These people are not serious. They are reckless. They are stopping the progress of supports for Canadians.
    When will these people get serious?
    Mr. Speaker, I can tell us what we are talking about at the finance committee, the fact that the Minister of Finance has not shown up in six months and has had three invitations to attend and has blown them all off.
    Since the Liberal government plans to spend $3.1 trillion, answering a few questions in committee for two hours is the least she should do for her pay.
    Will the finance minister stop hiding and testify for two hours, not one, on her failed budget at the finance committee, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, the failure of the Conservatives is to dictate that they are going to vote against a budget before they even see it. That is just the most ridiculous thing that we have seen in a long time in the House.
    Let me make a pledge in the House to the Conservatives. Should the filibuster stop, the Minister of Finance is scheduled to appear at finance on Tuesday.
    End the filibuster and they will be able to hear directly from the Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister.
    Mr. Speaker, in most jobs, if one showed up only a handful of times in the first five months of work, one would be fired, but that is exactly what the Minister of Finance has done. Then she has the audacity to ask Canadians to cough up $490 billion but will not appear in front of their representatives for two hours. We know she has time, because she spent hours last weekend schmoozing with Liberal insiders and Liberal donors.
    When will these Liberals and this minister finally put Canadians ahead of Liberal insiders?
    Mr. Speaker, I am very glad to hear that the member opposite saw how successful a Liberal convention we had here in the nation's capital this last weekend. It was very energizing.
    On this substantive matter, we are working every day to get the supports to Canadians. The finance minister is scheduled to appear at finance committee on Tuesday.
    We hope the Conservatives stop the filibuster and listen to the minister.

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, every day in our communities, we see the urgent need for safe and culturally appropriate housing—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    The hon. member for Yukon. I do not think everyone heard me the first time.
    Mr. Speaker, every day in our communities, we see the urgent need for safe and culturally appropriate housing for indigenous women, children and 2SLGBTQI+ people fleeing family and gender-based violence.
    They need safe shelter and a stable environment wherever they are in the country.
    Can the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion please tell the House more about the important action we are taking to support survivors and ensure that they have the supports and services they need to recover from the trauma of their experiences?

  (1510)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Yukon for his strong advocacy on this important issue.
    No relationship is more important to Canada than the one with indigenous people. We know that far too many indigenous women, children and 2SLGBTQI+ people fleeing violence do not have the necessary supports. That is why yesterday I was pleased to join my colleagues to announce $103 million to support the creation of shelters and transitional housing in 21 communities across Canada. These projects will be indigenous-led and will offer culturally appropriate wraparound support. This is the national housing strategy at work.

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, in Timmins, Thunder Bay and communities across northern Ontario, the homeless crisis, coupled with the toxic drug disaster has created a social catastrophe. In Timmins, funding for the groundbreaking firekeeper patrol proposal is running out, even though it is keeping indigenous people alive on the streets. In Thunder Bay, the waiting list for housing is staggering.
    Social service boards of first nations across the north are doing everything they can. The question they ask is where is the federal government?
    Will the indigenous services minister commit to the firekeepers and meet with northern leaders to find a solution to the housing crisis?
    Mr. Speaker, first of all, let me just thank the member for his constant advocacy for support and safety of indigenous people in urban settings.
    This government has been a strong partner to provinces and territories to ensure that people, no matter where they live in Ontario; indeed, across the country, have access to supports and services that are culturally appropriate. I will commit to the member that I will meet with the firekeepers and we will look for a solution together. This must be work that the Province of Ontario and the federal government does together.

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, tenants on Webster Street in London were horrified to learn their apartment building was being sold to a corporate profiteering landlord. This month 20 people are being renovicted, including an 83-year-old woman on a fixed income. She will lose her home and simply cannot afford to move to a new place that will charge her double the rent.
    Will the government follow the NDP's plan to put a moratorium on renovictions to stop corporate profiteering on affordable housing stock and protect Canadians who desperately just want to stay in their home?
    Mr. Speaker, I share the hon. member's concern to make sure that we continue to protect vulnerable renters. That is why our government introduced the groundbreaking Canada housing benefit that is delivering rental supports to tens of thousands of vulnerable renters across the country. In addition to that, we introduced a top-up to the Canada housing benefit that has gone on to almost a million Canadians.
    We will continue to make sure that we are there for Canadian renters. We will do our part to prevent renovictions and the financialization of housing. Part of it is also building more rentals through the rental construction financing initiative through the national housing strategy.

[Translation]

    We have a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague, the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, misled the House, and I would like to set the record straight. With respect to the organization he was talking about in his question today, I have met with them twice since April 27. A meeting is scheduled for next week. The honourable—
    That is a matter of debate. It is not a point of order.

[English]

Privilege

Reference to Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs  

[Privilege]
    The House resumed consideration of the motion.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise on this issue. We are in incredibly challenging times. There is no doubt that, whether they are from Russia or China, foreign actors have the intent—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I just want to remind everyone that debate is taking place, so as members go out, please be very quiet.
    The hon. government House leader.
    Mr. Speaker, as I was saying, we live in an extraordinarily challenging time. I would say it is also a privileged time. We get an opportunity to defend democracy here and to join in camaraderie with other democratic nations in ensuring that democracies thrive in pressure as the shadow of autocracy attempts to do great damage to our democracies. When we go back in time, the issue of foreign interference is not new. It is something that has existed for a long time.
    As I referenced today in question period, when I was the critic for public safety, after Justice Iacobucci issued his report building on Justice O'Connor's report, there were essential recommendations, and both justices spoke at that time of the imperative nature of action and specifically the imperative nature of establishing a committee of parliamentarians that would have the opportunity to look into every aspect of security and intelligence.
    Unfortunately, for years, those recommendations were not acted upon, and not only those recommendations, but many others. I am not going to enumerate them all, but it is fair to say that upon getting the privilege of becoming Canada's government, we immediately acted to create that committee of parliamentarians to make sure that every member of Parliament, regardless of what party they are from, has the opportunity to look into every aspect of security and intelligence so that they can know that there is no aspect of our security and intelligence that is under any shield.
    On the important matter we are debating now, we respect the Speaker's ruling, and we are taking important action to deal with the foreign interference we are seeing. We saw the Minister of Foreign Affairs declare the diplomat in question a persona non grata. The Minister of Public Safety has made it clear on numerous occasions that we will not accept any form of foreign interference in our country and that any foreign interference would be met with strict action that is taken proportionately and deliberately. One of the things that are so important is that as events unfold, it is important for us to validate facts, to have conversations, to fully think out the consequences of actions, and then to act, as we have in this case.
    We have been debating this important motion already for 12 hours, and I do not need to remind members that the purpose is not to have a debate in this chamber, but to move it to the procedure and House affairs committee, which can do its important work and make recommendations. The longer we debate this matter, the more we simply do not have the opportunity to get what the members of the opposition in the Conservative Party are saying they want, which is recommendations, answers and actions. That is what we continue to focus on. The longer we are here and the more speeches we have, and we are already at 12 hours, not only do we not have an opportunity to act at PROC on that matter, but it stops this House from dealing with extremely important issues.
    One of the things that were displaced was Bill S-5 and the debate we are having on the amendments to CEPA, which are putting forward incredibly important improvements to our Environmental Protection Act to make sure we are there and taking action on the environment. This is also stopping us from being able to take action on firearms and ghost guns, which we are hearing, from across the country—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

  (1515)  

    I am going to ask members who are talking and are far apart to maybe sit next to each other and whisper, as opposed to talking loudly across four or five seats. That is just a reminder. I know we are all very friendly in here and we want to talk to each other, but we also want to hear what is being said.
    The hon. government House leader.
    Mr. Speaker, we hear near unanimity from those who are involved in keeping our streets safe that we have to act on ghost guns. That legislation is pending; it is waiting for action. The action to take on handguns is waiting; it is demanding action. Further, this House is set to try to deal with official languages in Bill C-13, making sure that we protect the French language and that we take important action there.
    I am proposing that we take a short break from this debate. I am proposing that we do come back, but after 12 hours, I think it is also important that this Parliament act on those other issues.
    If the House agrees, we can return to the question of privilege later on tonight, but for this moment, so that we can also do the other important work of Parliament, I move:
    That the debate be now adjourned.
    The question is on the motion.
     If a member of a recognized party present in the House wishes that the motion be carried on division or wishes to request a recorded division, I would invite them to rise and indicate it to the Chair.

  (1520)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would request a recorded division.
    Call in the members.

  (1600)  

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

(Division No. 312)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 175


NAYS

Members

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

Total: -- 144


PAIRED

Members

Bibeau
Duclos
Fortin
Freeland
Liepert
Perron

Total: -- 6


    I declare the motion carried.

Government Orders

[S. O. 57]

[English]

Government Business No. 25—Proceedings on Bill C-21

Motion That Debate Be Not Further Adjourned  

    Mr. Speaker, in relation to the consideration of Government Business No. 25, I move:
    That the debate be not further adjourned.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1, there will be now a 30-minute question period.
    I will invite hon. members who wish to ask questions to rise in their places or use the “raise hand” function so the Chair can have some idea of the number of members who wish to participate.
    The hon. member for Kildonan—St. Paul.
    Mr. Speaker, there are a number of things I would like the minister to address. I have many, many questions for him on his recent announcements, and his attack on law-abiding gun owners and the tools used by hunters.
     However, in particular, there is something of a personal nature I would like to ask the minister. He keeps alluding to the Conservatives, and I, of course, am the lead on this file for our party. In his recent press conference, the minister insinuated that it was our fault Liberal members are getting abuse from some online. He insinuated there was violence as a result of, presumably, what I have been doing.
     I would like to know if the minister would like to correct what he said because I take great offence to that, particularly when Conservative members have received significant abuse from folks who align with the Liberal side, yet I am not out here accusing the Liberal minister of his rhetoric being the reason that I have received death threats. It is obviously very personal in nature. I took great offence to that. The minister is taking this way too far, and I would like him to apologize.

  (1605)  

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague knows that I have respect for the work she does. She also knows that I am gravely concerned about any threats that have been made against her, as well as against any other member of Parliament in the chamber.
    I would also point out that my colleague and parliamentary secretary, who serves on the Standing Committee On Public Safety and National Security, is among many women in the chamber, and they are the disproportionate recipients of death threats. We need to condemn that kind of behaviour. It is absolutely unacceptable. I will never apologize for standing up for the rights of every member, of every woman, to participate in this debate.
    Mr. Speaker, I am, in principle, opposed to closure motions. I do recognize that Bill C-21 has been in front of the House for a long time, and I understand the difficulty that the larger parties have in sorting out how to work collaboratively in the interest of efficient handling of the legislation in this place.
    Does the minister not think it would be helpful if Parliament decided to obey the rules of Westminster parliamentary democracies around the world and not allow written speeches? It is my view that, if members had to speak based on their knowledge of the subject matter, it might narrow down the field of the number of speeches we hear.
    Mr. Speaker, I would want to go to great lengths to speak extemporaneously from my knowledge of this file. I will tell members, though, that, with regard to Bill C-21, there have been 15 meetings, 79 witnesses and approximately 40 hours spent, despite the fact that, at various junctures in this debate, we have seen the Conservatives filibuster in an effort to stop a responsible rigorous debate on gun control laws in this country.
    This is not the first time this has occurred. This is consistent with a pattern of obstruction and obfuscation by principally one party in the chamber, which is the Conservatives. We want to protect Canadians, and we believe that, by passing Bill C-21, we will promote responsible gun control and save lives.
    Mr. Speaker, recently in Surrey, the Minister of Public Safety announced that $4.5 million under the safe communities fund will go to the City of Surrey. He is well aware that in Surrey, guns and gangs are one of the top priorities for my constituents. I would ask him how this bill would help the people of Surrey.
    Mr. Speaker, I have worked very closely with my friend and colleague, the member for Surrey—Newton, when it comes to keeping our communities safe.
    As he knows, we recently made an announcement in his riding that will provide additional grassroots support to the organizations providing mental health services, educational supports and career supports, especially to those young people who are at the greatest risk of being exposed to gun violence.
     I want to emphasize that this is a government that is squarely focused on three priorities when it comes to reducing gun violence: strong borders, strong laws and enforcement, and strong prevention. Together, with the support of a number of other opposition parties, it is my sincere hope that we will pass Bill C-21 so we can put in place strong gun control laws to save lives.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like the minister to comment on how important it is that we listen to law enforcement when it comes to ghost guns in this country. How important is this legislation and that we pass it in a timely fashion and have a proper debate? The Conservatives are still prohibiting that proper dialogue from taking place.
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague from the NDP is correct. There has been obstruction from the Conservatives with respect to the debate on this bill, and on an array of priorities when it comes to delivering for Canadians. I would highlight that we have had 15 meetings, 79 witnesses and approximately 40 hours of debate, despite the obfuscation by the Conservatives.
    I thank my colleague from the NDP, as well as my colleagues from the Bloc, with whom we have had constructive discussions on the next steps we need to take to strengthen the national ban on the AR-15 assault-style firearms, which have no place in our communities. It is only the Conservatives who are advocating for policies that would repeal that ban and make those types of guns, which were designed for a battle field, legal again.

  (1610)  

    Mr. Speaker, one of the observations I have made during my time in this place is how much the Liberal government loves to hinder Canadians and their freedoms.
    We saw Bill C-11 get rammed through the House. We more recently saw how Beijing interfered in our elections in this country. An hon. colleague of mine, and his family in Hong Kong, were threatened and intimidated, and the government did nothing. We have seen the government move time allocation on bills over and over again to ram them through.
    Specifically, with Bill C-21, we see a government that wants to take away rifles from hunters, again wanting to thwart the freedom Canadians have, and not entrust them with the tools for a basic lifestyle. I am curious as to why the government is so distrusting of Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth. Contrary to the ongoing efforts by the Conservatives to stoke fear, we respect gun owners, farmers and the first nations communities who use firearms responsibly. I have engaged with all of them, and we have gone to great lengths to make sure we are weaving their experiences into our laws.
    Therefore, rather than stoke fear and disinformation among Canadians, it would be far more productive if Conservatives were prepared to have a debate based on facts, not fear. That is what we are doing with other parties in this chamber, including the NDP and the Bloc, and I want to thank them for their collaboration on Bill C-21.
    Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the minister could provide his thoughts on not only how important the legislation is, but also on bringing in closure, as we are doing right now.
     Conservatives have made it very clear that they have no intention of passing this legislation, so without bringing time allocation or closure there is no chance we would see it get passed. Indeed, the legislation is a reflection of what Canadians want to see of the government.
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague on this side of the government aisle is correct. The vast majority of Canadians, approximately 80% of Canadians, support a national ban against AR-15 style, assault-style firearms. They support a national freeze on handguns.
    Handguns have become the number one type of gun used in homicides. Canadians support and want to see action that will allow us to reverse the disturbing and alarming trends of domestic abuse and the presence of guns. Again, women are disproportionately victimized as a result of the presence of guns. We want to reverse those trends.
    We want to save lives, which is precisely why we need to move forward with Bill C-21. Were it not for the Conservatives who continue to obstruct and obfuscate, we would be able to do that more quickly. That is why we are taking the step that we are today, and we will continue to engage with all Canadians so we can keep them safe.
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have turned to their junior coalition partners to do their bidding at committee tonight. It is laughable that the NDP will call themselves the stewards of democracy and simultaneously support a motion like this.
     The rural NDP members of Parliament, who all know Grandpa Joe, and once spoke for him, have completely abandoned him. The rural NDP members will need to go back to their communities to answer for this motion and for helping ram through this legislation in such a draconian way. It is simply not true that we are in charge of the government's legislative agenda and that we could somehow forever stop this legislation.
    There are a lot of members who will have to go back to stand and explain why they did the Liberals' work for them by presenting this motion. They are the members for Churchill—Keewatinook Aski, Courtenay—Alberni, Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, North Island—Powell River, Skeena—Bulkley Valley, South Okanagan—West Kootenay, Timmins—James Bay and Nunavut.
    Can the Minister of Public Safety confirm that the NDP caucus, all of them, will be voting to support him and these Liberals in stripping law-abiding gun owners of their hunting rifles?

  (1615)  

    Mr. Speaker, that Conservative member knows full well that that is false. We are not at all targeting, with this legislation, law-abiding gun owners, and her repeated claims that it is true are simply misleading all Canadians.
    Frankly, it is the other parties with whom we have been working across the aisle, and thanks to the advocacy of the extraordinary members of the Liberal caucus I get to work with, we are putting forward legislation that will save lives by ensuring that we take the next steps to strengthen a national ban on assault-style firearms, as the Mass Casualty Commission from Nova Scotia recommended that we do, by implementing, permanently, a national freeze on handguns, which have become the number one type of gun used in homicides.
     Those are the types of responsible, evidence-based policies that will help to save lives. It is only the Conservatives who are out there in left field on their own on this issue, and they should be joining this debate to support these policies.
    Mr. Speaker, we heard the Conservatives name off a bunch of rural NDP ridings members who have brought to the attention of the government the need to ensure that indigenous peoples and rural hunters can keep their weapons.
    This motion will get us back to the discussion of the amendments that are needed to improve and strengthen the bill. However, Conservatives do not want to do that. They would drag the bill out until 2027, so it would never happen.
    We want to bring forward solutions so we can strengthen the bill to protect farmers and indigenous people, and ensure that we have a strong gun law. We could tackle ghost guns and support law enforcement so they are not on the frontline facing dangerous weapons.
    The law-and-order party abandons our first responders, the police, who are asking us to take action and move forward with the bill. Maybe the public safety minister could speak about those frontline officers who are asking us to make those amendments.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to respond to the question from my NDP colleague.
    In fact, just yesterday, I joined members from our caucus in Peel region to announce $390 million of support for the work of law enforcement, which they do each and every single day to keep our communities safe, including from gun violence.
    My colleague from the NDP also mentioned his concerns with ghost guns, and I share those concerns. As a result of the ongoing and constructive dialogue we are having with the Bloc and the NDP on this side of the House, we will be able to take additional action against ghost guns. In fact, we just had the Americans in town a little less than two weeks ago, and we were able to reach four memorandums of agreement. One of those will be the use of new technology to crack down on ghost guns.
     This is what Canadians want. They want parties to work together across partisan lines, and we are able to do that with the Bloc and the NDP. However, the Conservatives have only put forward simply stale and failed policies.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the minister why it is so urgent that we cannot have proper debate in the committee. It is not a proper process to program a committee to immediately begin a process where we may end up not even knowing what members are voting on.
    The question is as follows. Will the minister own up to the issue that he has created a mess at the committee with his leadership on his bill, or will he actually stop, step back and allow the process to go forward, ending in legislation that we may not agree with but that will be better because it will have been examined correctly?
    I would also point out that I agree with the whip from my party. There are many B.C. NDP members who should think twice about going along with this minister's plan. It is shameful for democracy, and it is shameful for the minister to be invoking closure on a bill that he has garbled so badly.

  (1620)  

    Mr. Speaker, it would be bad enough if all that the Conservatives wanted to do was just protract the debate on this so that they could obfuscate some more, but no, that is not all. They have openly campaigned, repeatedly, on a commitment to repeal the policies the government has put into place, including wanting to make AR-15 style firearms legal again. These are guns that were designed for the battlefield. It was the Nova Scotia Mass Casualty Commission, which I know you, Mr. Speaker, are very familiar with, that recommended we take additional steps to strengthen that ban so that we could protect communities from another tragedy like the one we saw in Portapique and Truro.
    We have been able to have those discussions with our colleagues in the NDP and the Bloc, and for that, I am grateful. It is only the Conservatives who are bending over backwards, doing everything they possibly can, to frustrate debate so they can prevent the passage of this bill into law. I think that is wrong. The Conservatives should reverse course so that we would be able to put this law into action and save lives.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a real privilege to talk about Bill C-21 and to really stand up against it.
    Getting an honest answer from the minister is difficult. We have tried. I remember being the one in SECU who actually got the witnesses to admit that law-abiding hunters' firearms were on the banned list. The Liberals have tipped their hand, and most firearms owners across the country know that. I have spoken with Liberal members of Parliament who do not necessarily like the way their own government is going on firearms.
    This is really a call-out to the NDP. I just heard members from the island. I have been to the Campbell River Gun Club, where people brought huge concerns forward around Bill C-21 and the freedom to access their legally obtained firearms. Again, these are citizens who are vetted on a daily basis. The stats support that people who have a firearms licence are far less likely to commit a crime than an average citizen is. These are impeccable citizens being shown complete disrespect by the Liberal minister.
    Again, my question for the New Democrat members is whether they will finally stand with their constituents and oppose this legislation.
    I know the hon. minister is not a member of the NDP, but he is the one answering the questions.
    The hon. minister.
    Mr. Speaker, everybody will be appreciative of that clarification.
    The Conservative colleague across the aisle talks about his experience. I have met with gun owners in the Eskasoni First Nation community in Nova Scotia. I have met with gun owners in the Yukon, in the Northwest Territories, in British Columbia, in Ontario and, in fact, right across the country, for the express purpose of making sure that we get this bill right.
    If the member opposite wants to talk about being honest and straight-up, then what he should do is be straight-up with the work that we are doing on this side of the House to make sure that we get this legislation—
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, when the member impugns my testimony, with respect to it not being straight-up, he is implying that I am lying to the House. I would expect that he would apologize for doing something indirectly that he is not supposed to do directly.
    Mr. Speaker, it is incredibly rich that that member would make that point of order, when he is basically doing the exact same thing by saying that the minister is not telling the truth. He cannot do indirectly what he cannot do directly, and he was certainly doing it indirectly.
    We are descending into the debate we are actually having. The hon. minister still had the floor, but I do not know if he was done. Okay.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Cypress Hills—Grasslands.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, there is still an issue on the table: asking for an apology for impugning another member of the House. I would ask that he respect that and apologize.
    When the minister stands, he can answer, or not, if he feels like it.
    The hon. member for Cypress Hills—Grasslands has the floor.
    Mr. Speaker, what we are seeing today is the Liberals admitting they have no idea how firearms regulation works in this country and what it takes to lawfully obtain and transport a firearm.
    When I was 12