Skip to main content
Start of content

House Publications

The Debates are the report—transcribed, edited, and corrected—of what is said in the House. The Journals are the official record of the decisions and other transactions of the House. The Order Paper and Notice Paper contains the listing of all items that may be brought forward on a particular sitting day, and notices for upcoming items.

For an advanced search, use Publication Search tool.

If you have any questions or comments regarding the accessibility of this publication, please contact us at accessible@parl.gc.ca.

Previous day publication Next day publication
Skip to Document Navigation Skip to Document Content

44th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 195

CONTENTS

Thursday, May 11, 2023




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 151
No. 195
1st SESSION
44th PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer



Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1000)  

[English]

Government Response to Petitions

     Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8)(a), I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the government's response to 12 petitions. These returns will be tabled in an electronic format.

Criminal Code

    She said: Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to move this bill, seconded by my hon. colleague, the member for Elgin—Middlesex—London.
    Ultimately, this bill would save lives, particularly those of women fleeing abuse and life-threatening situations. It would ensure that dangerous abusers of women wear ankle bracelets during important times throughout the criminal justice process. This would ensure that women at risk of abuse or murder by their abusers are immediately alerted if their abusers come near them. This is supported by the provincial governments of Quebec, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick, and it would align the federal government with the good work already accomplished by the Province of Quebec.
    I want to give sincere thanks to the creator of this critically important bill, Conservative Senator Boisvenu, who has dedicated his life to protecting women. I am honoured to be on this journey with him for greater justice for women.

     (Motion agreed to and bill read the first time)

Radiocommunication Act

    He said: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank Senator Patterson for all his hard work in getting this bill passed through the other place, the Senate. I am looking forward to getting it passed through this chamber.
    Canadians currently pay the highest cellphone rates in the world and some of the highest Internet rates. As it currently stands, with spectrum auctions, companies pay by spectrum for a “20 years with no conditions” policy. They actually have to use that spectrum to provide service. Many companies buy the spectrum with no current plans or intentions of using it. We have seen this across Canada multiple times, where a spectrum is held for real estate purposes and sold for millions of dollars.
    Canadians, especially in rural and remote areas, suffer from poor or non-existent cellphone services because of spectrum speculation. The bill would correct this by introducing a “use it or lose it” provision to all wireless sold at auction. It would require the licence holder to provide service to at least 50% of the geographic area covered by the licence within three years of that licence being issued or lose the licence.
    This is a great bill, and I am happy to sponsor it. I want to thank the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa for seconding it.

     (Motion agreed to and bill read the first time)

  (1005)  

Petitions

Lets'emot Regional Aquatic Centre 

    Mr. Speaker, petitioners in my riding are calling on the Government of Canada to provide additional funds to support the construction of the Lets'emot regional aquatic centre in Agassiz, which has seen its projected costs skyrocket because of inflation. The name “Lets'emot” means “one heart, one mind” in the Halq’eméylem language.
    Last spring, the provincial and federal governments both announced funding for the project. The provincial government contribution totalled $9.5 million, whereas the federal contribution was just $454,000.
    Residents of the District of Kent; Harrison Hot Springs; the Seabird Island, Cheam, Stó:lo, Sts’ailes, Sq’éwlets, Skawahlook, Popkum and Peters first nations; and the Fraser Valley Regional District electoral areas C and D all support this project. It is one of the first infrastructure projects in Canada where all local indigenous communities are collaborating with municipalities.
     I humbly ask the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and other members of the government to support this project, which all my constituents, particularly indigenous youth on reserve, are calling for. All they are asking for is a regional aquatic facility, a pool like every other Canadian has in their community.

[Translation]

Corporate Accountability  

    Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the petitioning Canadian citizens and residents, I am presenting a petition asking the House of Commons to pass human rights and environmental due diligence legislation.
    The reasons for this are legion, since many Canadian companies contribute to human rights violations abroad, as well as to environmental damage. Furthermore, those who report these abuses often face retaliation, and Canada is not strict enough with companies that are based in Canada and their supply chains.
    Therefore, the petitioners demand that the companies at fault stop violating human rights and stop destroying the environment; that the burden of proof rest on the companies in this regard; that the companies at fault face the consequences of their actions; that people who have been affected be able to apply to Canadians courts when harms occur and that a statutory right be established for them.

[English]

Opioids  

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise to present a petition on behalf of Canadians concerned about the opioid crisis. The overdose crisis, as it is often referred to, is probably better understood as a poisoning crisis. The petitioners note that it is a public health emergency, as has already been declared by British Columbia's provincial health officer. There is a disproportionate representation of indigenous people who have been impacted by this crisis.
     The Canadian Public Health Association, the Global Commission on Drug Policy and the World Health Organization have all recommended drug decriminalization, as supported by these petitioners. It should also be noted that there is an increased need for funding for harm reduction strategies to beat and prevent the risk of hepatitis C cases; hepatitis C is particularly related to unsafe use of drug supply. The petitioners point out that this public health emergency results in thousands of deaths in Canada, and poisoning hospitalizations have been occurring. In fact, there have been over 17,000 opioid-related poisonings since 2016, as well as 14,000 deaths.
    The citizens and residents of Canada call on the House of Commons to declare a public health emergency; to reframe this crisis as a health issue rather than a criminal issue; to listen to the recommendations made by social workers, frontline workers, nurses and doctors; and to decriminalize drugs in Canada.

  (1010)  

Firearms  

    Mr. Speaker, I have four petitions here. First of all, the petitioners wish to convey their sorrow for the fellow officers, the friends and the families of those involved in the tragic event earlier this morning.
    These petitioners want Bill C-21 stopped in its tracks. It would do nothing to stop the real problem of gun-running and leaves a gaping hole that would remain as long as it is in force. The petitioners therefore call to either end the bill now or revoke the law if it gets that far.

Questions on the Order Paper

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

Government Orders

[Business of Supply]

[Translation]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Immigration Levels  

    That, given that,
(i) the Century Initiative aims to increase Canada’s population to 100 million by 2100,
(ii) the federal government’s new intake targets are consistent with the Century Initiative objectives,
(iii) tripling Canada’s population has real impacts on the future of the French language, Quebec’s political weight, the place of First Peoples, access to housing, and health and education infrastructure,
(iv) these impacts were not taken into account in the development of the Century Initiative and that Quebec was not considered,
the House reject the Century Initiative objectives and ask the government not to use them as a basis for developing its future immigration levels.
    He said: Mr. Speaker, once upon a time, there was a company called McKinsey and a scheme known as the Century Initiative. I am deeply averse to speaking English in the course of my official duties, but I believe in calling a thing by its right name. An initiative that will sabotage French in Quebec and Canada over the long term cannot be called by a French name or by a name that can even be translated to French. I feel it is only right to continue to use the name Century Initiative when speaking French, not its amorphous French name, “Initiative du Siècle”.
    It outlines a vision of an economy serving capitalism, a vision of people's labour serving the economy. The Bloc Québécois, however, thinks it should be the other way around, that the economy should serve the people.
    The idea is to increase the population of Canada, should it survive in its present form until then, to 100 million inhabitants by the end of the century. Truth be told, that is rabble-rousing lunacy. It is a delusional vision of the future whose true purpose is more immediate.
    They say they want Canada to be a global superpower. What are Canada's greatest resources? They are: brains, institutions and democracy, of course, but also natural resources, such as oil, which some of us are still mulishly dependent on, forestry, ever the poor cousin, mines, which could be Quebec's ticket to leading the transportation electrification charge, a role some would rather see Ontario take on using polluting western Canadian natural gas, and water, which will be on the table sooner or later.
    Add to that cheap labour, the labour market imbalance, and the struggle for collective representation that is increasingly coming under fire, the struggle for unions and the labour movement that are so readily demonized. Backed by the NDP, which claims close ties to unions, this pro-scab government rejects the importance of prohibiting strikebreakers, proof positive that it is not a pro-worker government.
    I find it hard to understand, moreover, how the labour movement can still identify with a Prime Minister who repeatedly said yesterday that he had spoken to businesses or with an NDP that supports big business against workers. It is like trusting this government to protect jobs in the forestry sector. We have no such trust.
    McKinsey has a terrible reputation in human resources. One does not have to get to the end of the book When McKinsey Comes to Town to realize that the same story keeps repeating itself. We see the same manoeuvres: breaking workers, degrading working conditions.
    The Century Initiative is a vision that has blindly, or complacently, been adopted by Ottawa with, moreover, an outsourcing of certain immigration services. Ottawa either has a hostile bias or is indifferent to a normal Quebec desire to make, at least in some respects, its own way in Canada, or not.
    Mr. Barton acknowledged in committee, in response to a question I put to him, that he had not considered Quebec at all in the development of the Century Initiative. For them, passively or actively, Quebec was simply a community created by earlier immigration and it had to fit in the anglicized mosaic of Canada.
    At least Mr. Barton admitted in his testimony that they were making recommendations and that the Prime Minister was the one responsible for deciding on the implementation of a policy whose known effect—which we can assume was at least partly intended—was a direct threat to the continued existence of a Quebec people.

  (1015)  

    There are many benefits to immigration. Are labour issues part of that? Certainly, subject to how we treat people who choose to come to make their life in Canada or in Quebec. Is it the solution to the labour shortage? It is certainly one of the possible solutions, but it is not the solution. Here again, it falls under the slogan that a former colleague called the kinglets of chambers of commerce.
    Immigration comes with humanitarian and intake responsibilities. It comes with the responsibility of an unavoidable fact: With climate change, in which Canada is a central player with its insistence on toxically exploiting hydrocarbons that directly heat the climate, tens of millions of people around the world will need to move. Those are climate migrations. It would be very irresponsible to not welcome at least some of them, but on what terms? That is another part of the debate, but they will have to be welcomed. Accepting responsibility in sharing the weight of the misery inflicted on those who are less fortunate than us is itself fundamental to a sound immigration policy.
    There is also the inevitable desire of people to immigrate and make a better life for themselves. That comes with uncertainties. It has been said and repeated. Without protecting a political lever, those who said it were not heard, here in Ottawa.
    There will be an enormous impact on the costs of an educational system, which increase much faster than the economic or fiscal contribution of newcomers. The same reasoning applies to a health system that is severely underfunded due to willful ignorance, an ignorance some might argue the Prime Minister cultivates. So there are issues and demands for health transfers.
    There will also be pressure on child care services. The housing crisis will not be addressed by welcoming 500,000 people a year in Canada, 110,000 of which would be destined for Quebec. The same is true for income support for these people who are arriving and who are sometimes helpless and, of course, for francization and the development of a sense of belonging to this people, this nation that is welcoming them. There is a risk of different kinds of social problems. There is the issue of the coherence of a cultural body that allows everyone to function within the same society, with a big neighbour trying to ensure its dislocation. There is also the appearance or increase of pockets of poverty for those that the system will be unable to integrate harmoniously and the appearance of cultural-linguistic ghettos of people who will not integrate and for whom it will quickly become too late, because the correct action was not taken or action was not taken at the right time or, in Ottawa's case, action was not taken with the right intention.
    There is also the issue of the indigenous peoples. I cannot speak for them, but the numbers speak for themselves. The natural growth of the indigenous populations cannot keep up with the immigration of 500,000 people per year, which, hypothetically, would mean 100 million people in Canada by the end of the year. This great scam requires associating, integrating and amalgamating first nations as if they were immigrant populations. In the eyes of the first nations, I am an immigrant. We are the immigrants. Unlike this potentially infinite influx of people who are welcomed through immigration, no one can immigrate and say they are indigenous. One is indigenous or one is not. A person is born indigenous or is not born indigenous.

  (1020)  

    There is a threat strictly in terms of demographic weight. Maybe this is an opportunity for the first peoples to realize that Ottawa is not working for them.
    There is a risk, as a nation, of losing part of our soul, most of our weight, and of failing to bring forward a different and unique culture in which and to which the contribution of immigrant communities is essential; it transforms who we are. Do we want to say in a very healthy way that we have a common language, that we have common values, that all equalities are eminently valid, that the state, to be progressive, must be secular? These are fundamental elements that define us. Besides that, there will always be a cultural and artistic contribution that enriches us, as long as it is done harmoniously. We must not fail.
    We therefore have three choices. The first is to shrug our shoulders, increase immigration levels and lose our language. The second would be to obtain a guaranteed percentage of seats in the House, which we were refused outright. The government knew very well what they were doing. They knew very well that, by refusing a predetermined percentage of seats for Quebec and by implementing an immigration policy involving an extremely large number, they were condemning Quebec to being reduced and diminished within the federation.
    However, there is a third way: The appropriation of all attributes of sovereignty for the Quebec people. Sovereignty is not a fictional intellectual concept or a bargain-basement anglophone bogeyman. It is the normal appropriation of all the means we have to choose, even if some are then freely and consensually shared.
    Let us not fool ourselves, the NDP and the Conservatives agree with this idea of 100 million Canadians and 500,000 immigrants per year. Maybe the means could be debated? Maybe this issue could be reviewed? Maybe there is an opening, particularly among the Conservatives, that I would welcome with great enthusiasm? However, care must be taken to not create consensus that will isolate Quebec. I will come back to that.
    There is a concept that exists in the intelligence community, that of useful idiots. That is the second English term in my speech. When someone, without realizing it, serves the interests of someone else, such as systematically supporting policies that benefit big money and disadvantage Quebec, while imagining that they are doing good, they may be a useful idiot. They are people who do not realize that, if they conducted themselves differently, Canada and Quebec would be better off.
    Immigration is not simply good or bad. We need to make sure that integration is effective and that the people who choose us have the tools they need for a new successful life. First, there is language and then adjusting to employment, where language is the primary factor. There is also the recognition of diplomas and full training or supplementary training for a diploma to be recognized. There are many issues.
    Is immigration really a numbers issue? I would say that anything is possible. I have always been very resistant to debates about numbers. A number like 110,000 looks high for Quebec, anyway. I would say that if Quebec chose to increase the number of immigrants it receives, the levels should be increased gradually. We would need tools to measure the success of everything put in place to promote sound and successful integration. There needs to be a common melting pot of a changing national culture.

  (1025)  

    We are told that sovereignty would change nothing. That is also what I heard yesterday on television. In fact, sovereignty would allow for clear integration policies, a clear message about places where people would arrive and full political weight to make decisions on our soil. Above all, sovereignty would end Ottawa's usual practice of undoing what Quebec has done through heavy-handed legislation, gobs of money and court decisions.
    Because of the fiscal imbalance, and according to the government’s own figures, in 30 to 40 years the total debt of the federal government would be eliminated, while at the same time, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, most provinces would technically be bankrupt. This is known as the fiscal imbalance. This is essentially Ottawa grabbing fiscal resources that it does not need at the expense of the provinces and Quebec, which do not have what they need. This is how to dismantle the provinces and the Quebec nation.
    The naive, high up in their ivory tower in Toronto, believe that the fiscal imbalance, the Supreme Court biases, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms—designed against the Quebec nation—and the activism that replaces collective rights with individual privileges will save Canada. God Save The King. Some of these naive people are francophones from Quebec, but I am not looking at anyone. They are wrong. Quebeckers are patient, generous and welcoming, but there are many who realize that the immigration policy advised by McKinsey, which is laughing all the way to the bank, threatens the very existence of the Quebec people. They will want to act.
    Sooner or later, this will be known as Quebec’s sovereignty. In the meantime, someone here has to stand up and denounce this vision that is harming Quebec, and that someone is the Bloc Québécois. We will not wait long. We will get ourselves a country.

  (1030)  

    Mr. Speaker, in my opinion, immigration is essential to grow the economy and meet the demographic challenge posed by the aging population. I completely agree with the principle that it is important to make the necessary investments to ensure a good quality of life for newcomers. It is up to Quebec to decide how many newcomers will settle in Quebec under the Canada-Quebec accord.
    However, if the member thinks that Canada should reduce the number of newcomers for the entire country because Quebec wants to make sure that it is able to integrate newcomers in its province, then that is another story. Does the member think that Canada should reduce the number of newcomers for the entire country?
    Mr. Speaker, I am not sure we talked about reducing that number.
    I will jump right to the logical conclusion. In my opinion, Canada will do whatever it wants. If Canada wants to divest itself of an entity that is already weakened by its proximity to a cultural giant that swallows up all its differences, then that is Canada's business. If Canada wants to give up anything else that is Canadian, such as the Crown, the flag, the name of the country and a multiculturalism that dilutes everything, then that is Canada's business. The question has an easy answer. Canada can do its own thing and Quebec will too.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the Bloc leader a question about his motion.
    He spoke a bit about the workers we need. I would like him to think on the following question. In Quebec and across Canada, we need skilled trades workers. The government's most recent numbers show that in 2019, we had to wait 12 months to bring in a skilled trade worker to work in Canada and Quebec.
    In March 2023, the wait time for a worker to come to Canada was 73 months. We have desperate business owners who need these workers to be able to keep their businesses going. I would like the member to address this question about the number of workers we need in Canada. After eight years, the government is still completely incapable of providing our businesses with the skilled workers they need.
    Mr. Speaker, that is a completely different but extremely interesting question.
    The Bloc Québécois believes in generous immigration, which is not to be confused with opportunistic immigration. We are not here to provide cheap labour to businesses, but rather quality jobs to people who choose to come live in Quebec or Canada.
    In order to have a significant economic impact, this must be done with a certain degree of efficiency. Few governments remember the meaning of the word “efficiency” after seven or eight years in office. Frankly, I think that the people opposite never knew it. The process right now is long and costly, involving a great deal of paperwork, and often has to be started over. We made suggestions for streamlining the process that were completely non-partisan and that the government could have claimed as its own, such as extending the length of permits, eliminating the requirement to renew them, and making it easier for workers to come work here, some of them on a seasonal basis, to ease the path for people who want to come live in Quebec or Canada. The issue is not how many, but how. Our suggestions would have had a huge impact on our economy.
    The government says that it is the nicest and most generous government in the world, but in practice, it is the most bureaucratic and least efficient in the world.
    Mr. Speaker, there is one thing we both agree on, and that is that Quebeckers are generous and welcoming. I know that first-hand, having lived there for two years. We do agree on that.
    The NDP is not taking any lessons from the Bloc Québécois when it comes to strikebreakers. Pierre Karl Péladeau is the biggest strikebreaker in Quebec and in Canada, as we well know.
    As the Bloc Québécois knows very well, the NDP has forced the government to table anti-scab legislation, which it will do in the coming months. We will see if the Bloc Québécois is willing to accept this legislation.
    My colleague talked about risks and ghettos. Sadly, this is an echo of the discourse used by the French far right. However, he did not mention the increase in the global francophone population.
    A generation from now, the global francophone population will reach 500 million, or half a billion. We need these people here, too. They are nurses and doctors. They are people from the Senegalese, Cameroonian, Congolese, Algerian and Moroccan communities. These are people we want to welcome here.
    The problem is not what the leader of the Bloc Québécois says it is. The problem is that we have a federal government that has failed at meeting the francophone immigration targets. An NDP government will do that. It is important.
    Can we at least agree on the fact that the francophone immigration targets should be met?

  (1035)  

    Mr. Speaker, that was a wild speech with a lot of hot air, to put it as politely as I can.
    Anyone who goes to the trouble of the putting the words “French”, “extreme right”, “Bloc Québécois” and “Pierre Karl Péladeau” in the same sentence deserves nothing short of my contempt.
    As for taking lessons from the Bloc Québécois, the NDP did not take them from the Bloc Québécois. It took them from Quebec. There is one lesson left.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my leader for that excellent speech.
    This week in the House, when we questioned the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship he said that he was not using the Century Initiative targets but was choosing his own targets for Canada, without relying on what was established by that same Century Initiative.
    However, from 2023 to 2025, the federal government's targets are directly in line with the targets set by Century Initiative in that detailed 88‑page plan for 2023 to 2025.
    My question for my leader is simple: Does he really think that the federal government is not using the targets set by Century Initiative? Is it using its own targets?
    Mr. Speaker, the same federal government has outsourced core government responsibilities to that same McKinsey, which is the intellectual soul behind the Century Initiative. The basic idea is to put things off until long after our kids have retired and imagine how wonderful it will be. In the meantime, starting tomorrow, we need to bring in plenty of cheap labour. It is very efficient.
    For starters, the subcontracting is questionable. Consider the burden of proof. They say they did not take their numbers from the Century Initiative, but they used the same numbers. What a coincidence. The fact is, it is the same malarkey, and Quebeckers will know how to deal with it.

[English]

     Mr. Speaker, it saddens me that the leader of the Bloc party is manipulating the immigration issue, which has built this country from coast to coast to coast, as a way to advance his cause.
    Does the leader of the Bloc party not recognize that we have seen population growth in the province of Manitoba? Without immigration, our population would have decreased.
    If we look at the French factor in the province of Quebec and in the country, there are more people speaking the French language today in Manitoba than there ever have been. The French factor in the province of Manitoba has been enhanced through immigration. For example, we see people of Filipino heritage and Punjabi heritage also speaking the French language. I believe that Manitoba is a strong advocate for the French language.
    Why is the Bloc trying to use immigration in a mischievous way in order to achieve its own personal political objectives?

  (1040)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I have always had a soft spot for people who know it all.
    Our political agenda is not exactly a secret. All we have to do is explain it, and the rest kind of takes care of itself.
    I feel like asking my relatively esteemed colleague this question: Why is he using immigration as a tool to entirely wipe out Quebec's desire to assert itself as a people, as a nation and as a country?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my dear colleagues for giving me the opportunity to take part in the important debate we are having here in the House of Commons today.
    I would also like to thank my colleagues for their support as I attempt to improve the quality of my French. Members from every party have helped me learn this new language. When I arrived in Ottawa after the 2015 election, I did not speak French. In fact, all I could say was, “bonjour, je m'appelle Sean”. Before, when my colleagues asked how I was doing, I sometimes forgot how to answer that question in French. Thanks to my colleagues' support, I am now able to convey simple ideas in French.
    Today, I would like to share an idea that is simple, yet important for Canada's future. It is the idea that we can welcome newcomers to areas across the country and still protect the French language and francophone culture. Not only can we do it, we actually are doing it.
    During the debate, I will make several points.
    First, immigration is essential for growing our economy and offsetting the demographic decline caused by population aging. It is very important to continue to welcome new immigrants, while protecting the demographic weight of francophone individuals and communities.
    Before getting to the crux of my speech, let me be very clear: The Century Initiative does not dictate federal government policy. I am the one who tabled the immigration levels in the House, I am the one who made a commitment to organizations that represent francophone communities, and I am the one who signed the agreements.
    I will now address the importance of immigration for Canada's economy.
    It is essential that Canada welcome new immigrants, and the current situation in this country is very interesting. To understand why Canada needs to favour people with skills that are useful to the economy, it is essential to understand the current economic context.
    Like other countries, after the COVID-19 pandemic, that is, following the reopening of the borders and the economic recovery, Canada entered a major recovery period. There have never been as many workers in Canada as there are now. Many people have good jobs. The GDP is higher today than it was before the pandemic. Despite this success, there are currently more than 700,000 vacant positions in our economy. Employers are seeking workers to help them grow their businesses.
    Without immigration, Canada cannot maximize its economic potential. Immigration is extremely important because there are not enough Canadian workers to fill the vacant positions, either today or in the future. It is important not only for the economy, but for society as a whole. It is especially important that Canada offset the demographic decline caused by population aging.
    Fifty years ago in Canada, there were seven workers for every retiree. Today, that number is close to three workers, and when I am ready to retire, I think it will be only two.

  (1045)  

    Immigration is essential for us to welcome people who have the skills we need and face demographic challenges. If we do not change our approach to immigration, it will not be possible to make the investments needed to ensure the delivery of public services.
    Immigration is very important, as it allows us to welcome the people who have the skills we need. The people who are currently participating in our economy have skills, and it is essential that we find other people who have the same skills. Given our aging population, we need more employees to ensure the delivery of health care. There are many reasons for welcoming new immigrants. They make an enormous and essential contribution to the vitality of our communities.
    I can give an example of a situation that happened in my riding. Right after the 2015 elections, we lost a school because many families were leaving the community.
    Mr. Speaker, I think you know what I am talking about, because you are from Nova Scotia. Young people were leaving Nova Scotia to find work in other provinces and countries. I am familiar with the situation. I myself worked in Alberta for five years because I was looking for a good job.
    Right after the 2015 elections, my community also lost a mental health professional. My community lost mental health services. It was very difficult for the community to lose the school and health care services. However, the people in my community can find another school and another doctor. It will not be easy, but it is possible.
    That said, consider the consequences for francophone communities facing the same problems. When I visited with francophone communities, I saw that finding a doctor who speaks French is not just difficult; it is impossible. When schools close, people cannot simply decide to attend school in a neighbouring community. If the neighbouring community is anglophone, it is impossible for these families to live in French or have access to day cares where people speak French. Students cannot study in French. Customers cannot be served in French at the store. For these communities, this is a matter of identity.
    It is extremely important to continue ensuring that people who live in francophone communities can live their lives in French. We know that the French language is in decline in North America. It is very important that we continue to ensure the sustainability of francophone communities and to put in place conditions conducive for these people to speak and live in French.
    It is not just a matter of ensuring the sustainability of francophone communities. It is a reality now. I am very proud to be the minister who welcomed the greatest number of newcomers to Canada, in general, but I am also very proud to be the minister who achieved the 4.4% target for the first time in 20 years.
    We are working closely with stakeholders to ensure that francophone communities have the capacity to accommodate people who have essential skills and language skills. The fact that we have achieved these targets is not an accident or a coincidence. It is the clear result of the decisions our government made last year. Our government put in place a plan to welcome francophones. We introduced an action plan for official languages with the necessary investments to ensure its success. We also continue to make investments in organizations that provide settlement services. We are making sure that these people not only come to Canada, but also integrate into their communities.
    We continue to hold events to recruit and promote Canada as a destination to people who are looking for opportunities in another country.

  (1050)  

    We continue to propose essential solutions for protecting the demographic weight of francophones across Canada. We are making changes to the express entry program so that francophone and bilingual applicants get more points.
    The next changes include new paths in the express entry program exclusively for francophones. This initiative is very important to me because, if we want to increase the number of workers in this country, we absolutely need to support French speakers to protect their demographic weight as well. It is essential for the future of francophone communities in Canada. All this is possible thanks to our government's immigration policies and decisions. We are already seeing the results.
    Of course, the situation in Quebec is different. The federal government has an agreement with the province of Quebec. Under this immigration agreement, Quebec is responsible for establishing immigration thresholds and the number of new immigrants arriving in the province each year. It is also up to Quebec to choose the immigrants it welcomes for economic reasons. That decision is not under the federal government's jurisdiction. All this is set out in the agreement with the Quebec government.
    The federal government's role is to process applications, verify admissibility and ensure safety, but it is up to the province of Quebec to determine the number of immigrants, assess their language skills and choose which immigrants will be welcomed based on their skills and how they impact the economy. These decisions are made by Quebec.
    In order to support the integration and francization of new immigrants to Quebec, the federal government gives Quebec almost $700 million a year. That is a good thing. When I meet with Quebec entrepreneurs, they ask me to continue welcoming workers. It is essential to protect jobs in their companies.
    There is currently a labour shortage within and outside of Quebec. One does not have to listen to me or look up what Statistics Canada has to say to understand that there is a labour shortage. One only has to walk down main street in every community in Canada to see the extent of the situation. Employers need workers to help the economy recover after the COVID‑19 pandemic. It is very beneficial for Canada to welcome people into our communities.
    I have spoken with my international counterparts. It is not right that Canada is the only country that is having such a hard time processing applications more quickly to meet the needs of communities. It would be a good idea to seize this opportunity and to have the courage to welcome people with essential skills so we can ensure a bright future for Canada's economy and communities.
    It is important for me to explain the many reasons why I will be voting against this motion. First, I am being accused of following the Century Initiative. Once again, I want to be very clear. The Century Initiative did not establish the Government of Canada's plan. My plan includes many other policies like the Century Initiative. For example, there is a whole chapter on francophone immigration, which is very important. There is a plan to welcome the most vulnerable people. I also think that it is very important to ensure that the smaller provinces are able to welcome newcomers. Normally, newcomers prefer to settle in Canada's bigger cities.

  (1055)  

    Whoever looks at the details of my plan, including its immigration thresholds, can see that we are protecting the accommodation capacity of the Atlantic and northern regions, and that we are allowing the francophone community to benefit from immigration while also protecting its accommodation capacity.
    It is not right for the Bloc Québécois to hide behind the Century Initiative and say that Canada needs to reduce the number of new immigrants. In my opinion, that is not right. If they think that Canada should reduce the number of immigrants, let them just say so. The House is the best place to hold that debate, but today's debate is a red herring, because the plan is the government's, not the Century Initiative's. The signature on the dotted line is mine.
    I began learning French after the 2015 elections. I learned a lot of things. I am not perfectly bilingual, but I can hold a conversation. It turns out that I did not only learn a new language. I also learned the importance of protecting the francophone community's continued ability to exist. I learned the importance of protecting francophones' ability to live their lives in French, to live with their children in their francophone communities.
    People who vote in favour of the motion are voting against Canada's ability to welcome the most vulnerable and the people with essential skills for our economy.
    I have a message for Acadians, Quebeckers, Franco-Ontarians, people who live in francophone communities in western and northern Canada: I work every day to protect their ability to speak French, to ensure the sustainability of their communities and to protect their ability to live their lives in French. I worked on it today, I will work on it tomorrow, and I will continue to work on it in the future.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague. I will never be able to congratulate him enough on the fact that his French is improving every day. It is a praiseworthy achievement. I think that it is the first time my colleague has spoken in French for 20 minutes, and I congratulate him.
    My leader took the floor earlier and explained that there were three options before us. One of them is that they have their thresholds in Canada, we have ours in Quebec, and they are different. Looking at the thresholds as they are now, there is a difference between the demographics of Quebec and the demographics of the rest of Canada.
    On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, the hon. member for Drummond tabled Bill C‑246, in which we asked the government to guarantee that Quebec's number of seats in the House never drop below 25%. The bill was rejected, however.
    Prince Edward Island, for example, has four members, and apparently the rest of Canada is fine with that. When Quebec asks for 25% of the seats in the House because it believes it deserves them, the government says no.
    Would that not have been a solution? We might not be having the same debate today.

  (1100)  

    Mr. Speaker, I just want to clarify something. There is a reason why Prince Edward Island has four seats in the House of Commons. We have an obligation, under the Constitution, to maintain that number of seats in the House, and so does the other place.
    Any immigration policy will have more profound implications than that. The policy affects more than just the number of seats in the House of Commons. There are consequences for the people who settle in our communities. In smaller communities, they might have to deal with schools and businesses closing. In that case, people who want to go about their lives in a francophone or anglophone community might have to leave that community forever.
    The solution, in my view, is to continue to adjust the immigration plan and take the living conditions in our communities into account. I will continue welcoming more immigrants because right now it is a good thing. The plan can be revised if and when conditions change in our communities. For now, this is a good plan for Canada.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, let me begin by stating that, as a resident of British Columbia, a province that is under-represented in this federation, it pains me to see the government has removed Terry Fox's image from Canadian passports.
    To the motion and the debate today, I would like to point out that in 2019, it took nine months to get a federally skilled worker in Canada. In 2023, that increased threefold to 27 months. Businesses across Canada are wondering when the minister will take concrete steps to lower the number of months it takes to approve a federally skilled worker to come and work for a small business in Canada. Can the minister provide us with a timeline for how he is going to reduce that critical number?
    Mr. Speaker, I have a clear answer because, today, a new applicant coming through the federal express entry system is expected to take six months. The posted timelines reflect applications that may have been approved recently but that may have been in the system for a significant period of time.
    There is presently an anomaly because we have gotten through the majority of the cases that have been in our inventory, having now processed the cases for people who were seeking to come to Canada when the borders were closed. There is, if not quite a false statistic on the website, a statistic that does not necessarily do a good job of explaining the anomaly. We are going to be moving toward projecting forward-looking processing times so people will better understand how long it will take for an applicant to get here.
    I am pleased to share that our family reunification system, our family economic streams, our study permits and work permits are more or less all back to the standard of service that we enjoyed before the pandemic. I would be pleased to continue this conversation, should the member wish to understand the timelines under different immigration streams, after we finish the debate today.
    Mr. Speaker, many people may not know this, but prior to doing this job, I spent over eight years working with newcomers to Canada in the region I represent. I remember being very overwhelmed by their generosity, kindness and gratitude, and what it meant to be Canadian. I went to a lot of citizenship ceremonies, and I have to say that those were some of the most amazing parts of my life. They also really made me appreciate in a new way how important it is to be a Canadian.
    I am sad that we are having this discussion today. I think immigration brings a richness and a profound deepness to our communities. I do not believe we have to lose our identities while we welcome other identities. They create a much more diverse and dynamic community. I am wondering if the minister could talk about why it is important to bring more French-speaking immigrants to Canada and how that would add to the beauty of our country.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her service before politics to support newcomers in the community that she calls home.
    There are a number of different reasons why I think we need to embrace immigration if we are going to benefit from what diversity can offer our communities. In particular, there is a reason we need to continue to bring more French-speaking newcomers to communities across Canada.
    In general terms, I reflect on the experience of my own community. Thankfully, though things have changed since 2015, we still have not seen the schools return, and we still have not seen mental health services return, but we have seen more people move into communities, including newcomers, as a lot more people have moved home. We are not talking about more schools closing. We are talking about building houses to welcome all the people who would like to come join our communities.

  (1105)  

[Translation]

    For francophone communities, supporting people who speak French is critically important. Without immigration, when businesses shut down, when schools are closed, it will be impossible for francophones to continue living their lives in French. They will be forced to leave the community to seek employment in other communities.

[English]

    It is extremely important that we take into account the impact on different communities, including linguistic minority communities. If we continue to support the ability for francophone communities to attract newcomers, it will allow them to raise their families in French, in the language of their choice, in their community. This is the kind of thing that will keep people on board with our immigration policy if they see a future for themselves in it. By living in a community that embraces newcomers and diversity, I can say from personal experience that it has made my community a more vibrant and dynamic place to call home.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, my questions are about the economic benefits of welcoming immigrants.
    At the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food we discussed the closing of the Olymel plant in Vallée‑Jonction, Quebec. One reason for the closure is the shortage of workers. I think that is also a big problem for Quebec.
    Could the minister explain the importance of immigrants to Quebec's economy?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my esteemed colleague for her question.
    This is a challenge not just for Quebec businesses, but also for francophone communities across the country, where it is a big problem. When touring the community of Saint‑Quentin in northern New Brunswick, we introduced a new pilot program for essential workers. When I visited the plants that were using this immigration program, I saw with my own eyes how much the arrival of these newcomers benefited both the businesses and the community.
    That is just as true in Quebec. When people arrive in a community, especially in a rural area, the community can continue to have positive experiences, to live in French and to give children the opportunity to do so as well.
    It is very hard when a plant closes for good, because families leave the community. Often, immigrants are then forced to go to an anglophone community and thus lose the possibility of having the next generation continue speaking French.
    Mr. Speaker, I am very proud and, especially, very grateful for having been born here in Canada. It is a major victory to be born here in Canada, because it is a country full of opportunity. I was born to a single mother and adopted by two teachers who always taught me that here in Canada, no matter where you come from, you can achieve whatever you want as long as you work hard. This is the same country where my wife arrived as a refugee and it is the country we want for our children.
    Unfortunately, it is not the country we are seeing today. Everything is broken in Canada, after eight years under this Prime Minister. He does not like it when I say that, so I will say it again: everything is broken after eight years under this Prime Minister. This includes the immigration system. Our country had a reputation for its immigration system, which is one of the best in the world. It was based on common sense. People were invited to come work here, people like the Italians who built our infrastructure. Workers from around the world have come here to build hospitals, houses and our economy, and to enrich everyone's lives.
    What do people see when they come here now? They see no houses. Nine out of 10 young Canadians are convinced they will never be able to buy a house. We lack health care services. Why? It is because our immigrants are being blocked from working as doctors and nurses. Over a million immigrants who are interested in coming here, to Canada, have had to wait longer than the government's prescribed waiting period.
    Even when they do manage to get here, immigrants have a hard time getting work permits. People want to work, but this Prime Minister and his utterly incompetent government stand in their way. Not only that, but the strike that the Prime Minister caused led to even longer wait times for families living apart, potential workers who cannot start their jobs, and refugees seeking safety and security here in Canada. The Prime Minister's utter incompetence is the cause of these problems.
    Instead of focusing on the job, which can be boring, and repairing the damage he has done, the Prime Minister and his multinational executive friends, like Dominic Barton, want to create grand utopias for us. Instead of building our country on the basis of common sense, which has worked for over 100 years, the Prime Minister wants to create a great revolution and paint a utopia that will never exist. He should focus on the backbone of our system, in other words, reduce the time it takes for a small or medium-sized business or a farmer to hire a foreign worker when no Canadian is available to do the job. He should unite families, especially in the case of grandparents, so that they can take care of their grandchildren when the parents are at work. Finally, he should allow more non-profit organizations to sponsor refugees and provide them with care, opportunities to learn English or French, and access to a job and housing.
    He should do the common-sense work. Instead, the Prime Minister wants to focus on the priorities of large multinationals, such as McKinsey, and its former CEO, Dominic Barton. That company has received over $100 million in contracts from this government and dreams of turning the country into a utopia.

  (1110)  

    I will never listen to those people. I am going to listen to the common sense of ordinary Canadians, the people who do the work. That is how the common-sense Conservative government I will be leading will repair the damage.
     That is why I will be voting for this motion. Because I want to reject Dominic Barton and the Century Initiative and to base our immigration system once again on the common sense of ordinary Canadians.

[English]

    Speaking of common sense, I will be splitting my time with the common-sense Conservative member of Parliament for Calgary Shepard, Mr. Speaker.
     I am so proud and grateful that I won the lottery of life to be born here in Canada. I was born of a teenage unwed mother, who put me up for adoption to two school teachers. They taught me that it did not matter where I came from; it mattered where I was going. It did not matter who I knew; it mattered what I could do.
     That is the country my wife came to as a refugee. That is the country that a lot of her family, her brother to be a soldier, her other brother to be a carpenter, her sister to be a nurse and for her family to work hard and achieve great things. That is the country I want all our kids to inherit, but that is not the country we see today.
    Canada, after eight years of the Prime Minister, the out-of-touch Prime Minister, is broken. What is especially broken is the immigration system that leaves a million immigrants waiting longer than the acceptable wait time to get into Canada.
    We see international students abused and exploited by human traffickers, shady consultants, some of them losing their lives and being sent back to places like India in body bags because the Prime Minister and his government have failed to protect them from the predators and the scam artists who are destroying their lives.
     We see 20,000 brilliant immigrant doctors blocked from working in their professions by government gatekeepers. We see 32,000 immigrant nurses blocked from their jobs. It boils my blood to sit in a hospital waiting room for five hours with my daughter who has a migraine headache because there are not enough doctors and nurses, while gatekeepers block brilliant immigrant doctors and nurses from doing their jobs.
    Meanwhile, the Prime Minister gleefully tells us about all the wonderful meetings he is having with mayors about housing and infrastructure. I do not really care about their meetings, because the gatekeepers at municipal governments, the governments that the Prime Minister is funding with billions of dollars, are blocking housing construction, so our immigrants, working class and youth cannot get homes.
    After eight years of the Prime Minister everything is broken. However, instead of fixing the basics, he is focused on another grand utopian project, that of his friend, Dominic Barton, the multinational CEO, former ambassador to Communist China, who helped bring about the opioid crisis that is savaging our working-class families. He has come up with a bright, new idea that he is going to triple our national population to 100 million. We do not need anymore utopian schemes from globe-trotting millionaires and multinational insiders. We need common sense for a change.
    Here is our common-sense plan to get back to the basics. The first is to clear the backlog so immigrant families can be reunited, so our farmers and small businesses can fill jobs for which there is no Canadian available; allow our churches, mosques, synagogues and other non-profit organizations to sponsor more legitimate refugees; get them language training so they can learn how to speak French or English, get a job, get working and get contributing; speed up work permits for those people who already here waiting for their cases to be heard. They might as well be out earning a wage, contributing to the economy. They want to work. Let them work. It is common sense, for God's sake.
    Speaking of work, let us bring in a blue seal national standard for all our professions. We have a Red Seal standard that allows tradespeople to take a test, prove they are qualified, get to work and move across the country to fill needed vacancies in the job market. Why do we not have a blue seal standard that would allow foreign-trained nurses, doctors, engineers and other professionals to prove they are qualified and within 60 days of applying to work in their field, get a yes or no based on their tested ability, not based on where they come from? We would have more doctors, more nurses, more common sense.
    What I am saying is let us get back to the basics. Our immigration system was the best in the world eight years ago, but now we have immigrants who come here and then say they want to go back because this is not what was promised.

  (1115)  

    I have said that everything is broken, but what is broken most of all is the promise, the promise of Canada; the promise that we will reinstill a promise that in Canada it does not matter where people come from, but where they go. It does not matter if their name is Martin or Mohamed, or Singh or Smith, or Chong or Charles, or Patel or Poilievre, if they work hard, they can achieve anything they want in the greatest and freest country in the world. This is the common sense of the common people united for our common home. It is their home, my home, our home. Let us bring it home.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the Conservative Party leader. He always makes me laugh. Actually, I want to congratulate him. Not only will he vote in favour of the motion, but, by doing so, he will be taking a stand against the position adopted by the former Conservative Party leader, Brian Mulroney, who supports the Century Initiative. I congratulate him on taking a stand against Brian Mulroney. I have to say that takes courage.
    Throughout his speech, he talked a lot about common sense. I get it. He talked to us about approaches that should be different. I think the government is making the immigration department the most dysfunctional of all departments in the machinery of Canadian government.
    He did not answer one of my questions though. What does common sense mean to him when it comes to yearly immigration targets for 2023 to 2025? Is it 500,000 people? Is it 400,000 people? Is it 300,000 people? Has the Conservative Party, which has lots of researchers and plenty of resources, come up with an appropriate number for immigration targets? What are the Conservative Party's numbers?

  (1120)  

    Mr. Speaker, what interests me are the figures for small- and medium-sized businesses in the Saguenay—Lac‑Saint‑Jean region that are looking for workers but facing a labour shortage. During a labour shortage, immigration numbers will be higher than average. When jobs are more scarce, the numbers drop.
    Immigration numbers should be based first and foremost on Canada's needs. When companies and farmers need more workers because there are no Canadians to fill the vacancies, the process has to be fast-tracked to allow them to sponsor the workers they need. When the economy slows, there will obviously be fewer.
    We have to base our numbers on common sense, not on the hopes and dreams of the CEOs of multinationals, like Dominic Barton. That is what common sense is all about.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I used to work in a non-profit organization that served newcomers to Canada. In that role, and in this role, one of the saddest yet most meaningful work I have done is to help members of the LGBT community leave their country of origin, where they are unsafe or their lives are at risk, and bring them home to Canada where they can be safe and experience all the freedoms they deserve.
    I wonder what the member's thoughts are on ensuring that those targeted communities are safer and how we as a country can welcome and fast-track them to our country so they can be safe.
    Mr. Speaker, I do support allowing people from the gay and lesbian community who are being persecuted around the world to come and seek refuge in Canada. In fact, I think our previous Conservative government was the first one to allow that as a grounds for seeking asylum from countries where dictators, like in Iran, persecute people based on their sexuality, on who they are and who they love. They should be allowed to come here and enjoy the wonderful freedom and blessings of this land.
    Our freedom is what brings people here; it is not our warm weather. Why do they come here? Because we are a free country. They want to enjoy freedom. Therefore, not only should we welcome people like the ones the member just mentioned; we should remember why they came here in the first place. They came here for the freedom that our forebearers defended on battle fields around the world. That is why we must work every day, in every way, to make Canada the freest nation on Earth.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his speech.
    I can say that the worst thing that could happen to Canadians is a Conservative government. I would like to ask my hon. colleague, who attacked this government, why he and his party vote against every bill that is good for Canadians.
    Take help for seniors, for example, or reducing the retirement age from 67 to 65. Then there was the Canada child benefit and supports for the middle class. We have lifted 300,000 children out of poverty. We have helped build a good reputation for all Canadians so they can be proud abroad. The United Nations considers Canada's refugee system to be one of the best in the world.
    What can the Leader of the Opposition tell us? What can he tell Canadians about these issues?

  (1125)  

    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has again demonstrated just how out of touch this Prime Minister's Liberals are. Two‑thirds of Canadians believe that Canada is broken after eight years of this Prime Minister. Housing costs have doubled. One in five Canadians is skipping meals because they cannot afford groceries, and 1.5 million Canadians have to use a food bank if they want to eat. Violent crime has increased by 32%. Nearly 30,000 Canadians have died of an opioid overdose since this Prime Minister, who is now legalizing heroine, cocaine, crack and all sorts of other drugs, took office.
    Everything is broken after eight years of this Prime Minister. However, the good thing is that we will replace the pain he has caused with the hope that Canadians need. We are going to use good old common sense. We are going to bring back common sense.
    Mr. Speaker, one of the hardest parts of being in politics is having to speak right after the leader of the Conservative Party. He just delivered a powerful speech that was full of compassion for newcomers who choose to settle in Canada.
    As many members know, I was myself a newcomer several years ago. I immigrated to Canada from Communist Poland. That country is no longer communist. That era is behind us. It is now a democratic country, and I am proud of my ethnic background.
    My leader was right. Everything in Canada is broken. All federal government programs are broken, but immigration programs are even more broken.
    As the immigration critic for the Conservative Party, I follow this file closely. I would also like to point out that one can become francophone as an immigrant. As I have often mentioned in the House, I am a child of Bill 101. It really is possible to learn how to be a francophone as an immigrant.
    I know that the leader of the Bloc Québécois often mentions, with a hint of despair in his voice, that protecting Quebec culture is impossible. From my personal experience, I think culture can be preserved.
    I am a Calgary MP, as my family is in Calgary now, and I am a proud Albertan. I still follow the day-to-day happenings in Quebec, but I also follow the work of great comedians. I want to mention one in particular who, to me, is one of the best in Quebec: Sugar Sammy. He is a great comedian. Many allophones and immigrants who have lived in Quebec, or who are still living there, follow Sugar Sammy.
    I was in Quebec a few weeks ago, and I saw several announcements about an upcoming Sugar Sammy tour in Quebec. I know he may not be the comedian the Bloc would have preferred me to name, but I want to mention him, because I think he is a great Quebecker. He makes me laugh.
    I want to come back to the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. There are backlogs in nearly every program. There are over 2,000 immigration applications from newcomers to Canada that are behind schedule. These people are waiting to come to Canada or to be allowed to stay in Canada.
    I want to mention a few programs because I do like numbers. Let us talk about the government-assisted refugees program. I know that many Liberal members are going to talk about this program. One Liberal member already has. In 2019, it took 15 months to process applications. Today, it takes 33 months. That is a three-year wait.
    There are also privately sponsored refugees. I am talking here about charities, churches, mosques or temples that decide they want to sponsor a refugee, usually from their community, and bring them to Canada. These refugees are desperate people who need help, and Canada gives them that opportunity. Private community groups cover all of the costs associated with that refugee coming to Canada. In 2019, it took 23 months for the federal government to process that type of application while today it takes 38 months. That is nearly a four-year wait.
    Let us now talk about the federal skilled trades program. As another member mentioned, in 2019, it took 12 months to process applications under that program. Now it takes 20 months. For skilled workers in Quebec it used to take 22 months to process their applications and now it takes 73 months. As for business people in Quebec, it used to take 54 months to process applications, and now it takes 67 months.
    I am not pulling these numbers out of thin air. These numbers can be found on the government's website. The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship came to the House to tell us that these numbers were not up to date and that this would take only six months from now on. If it is a six-month wait time for people applying today, then that is great. However, those who submitted their application one, two, three or four years ago are waiting their turn and will continue to wait. They will wait four, five, six or seven years. Sometimes no one knows how long it will take.
    What is more, 90 to 95% of the files that are sent to Conservative MPs at their riding offices have to do with immigration. An error was made, the wait times are too long, the questions are not clear, etc. No one answers the phone. No one answers the email. The responses provided by the employees at immigration are sometimes confusing and contradictory and no one knows where we are headed.

  (1130)  

    We should be focusing on what could be done to help newcomers and people in our communities in the next 75 days, not the next 75 years. The Liberals have caused the challenges people are facing today.
    In 2015, there were no backlogs in processing applications. The Canadian immigration system was the best in the world, and countries everywhere were trying to copy it. It was based on a points system, which gave everyone the chance to come to Canada. I want to be clear that it was a neutral system. If the person was young and well educated, they had a better chance of coming to Canada as an economic immigrant. Our immigration system treated everyone equally. Other countries wanted to copy it, but no one wants to copy our current system, which was created by the Liberals eight years ago. The backlog in the current system is over two million applications. After the pandemic, the backlog reached 2.9 million.
    The Liberals claim that the backlog was caused by the pandemic, but that is not true: it was caused by them. The backlog had reached two million files before the pandemic. The pandemic made matters worse.
    As my leader said, the things that newcomers go through and the services they receive from the federal government do not meet our expectations.
    I myself am an immigrant, and I know that the people in our communities have a hard time finding a job, a place to live or people who share their mother tongue. In Canada, we can learn French and English. I, for one, learned French from Passe-Partout; I know all Quebeckers are familiar with that show. English is my third language, and I learned it by watching Sesame Street.

[English]

    This is a good opportunity for me to switch to English. There are a lot of opportunities for immigrants who come to this country, including those like me. I grew up in Montreal and am a child of the Bill 101 education system. It does work; I am proof, I think. There are many of us who are proof that it does work, that they can take up the language.
    However, we have unrealistic plans. The false utopias that are being proposed by the Century Initiative are completely ridiculous. We have McKinsey executives, big business executives, including one from BlackRock and others, who do not spend the time visiting communities, smaller towns and rural regions, which are desperate for workers. Newcomers are coming to Canada, and there have been so many waves of immigration to Canada that have vitalized entire regions and communities. I know that, for example, in northern Alberta, there is a huge Ukrainian community, of Ukrainian Catholic and Ukrainian Orthodox people, which is now accepting another wave of people fleeing the war in Ukraine. They are finding an opportunity to speak their mother tongue while also brushing up on their English or their French.
    There are also communities in northern Alberta that are French communities and that have a historic French connection. I remember that, my first time in Alberta, when I first moved out there, I went into a rural area for, I think, a birthday party. There were two nuns there. They spoke to me in French. I could not believe it; it was immaculate, perfect French. They came from a French convent. We had a long discussion in that language, because that was their experience of being in Alberta: They had been brought up with both languages.
    My leader was right. The Liberals have had eight years and have completely broken the immigration system. What we should be looking at is services. The newcomer experience to Canada is awful. That is why so many of them are talking about returning to their country of origin; it is because they cannot find the opportunities that they were promised here.
    There is so much we can do to make sure foreign credentials are recognized. My father was not able to practise here as an engineer because he could not pass a language exam. He passed all of the technical exams. That is the experience of so many immigrants who come here and are discriminated against just because they have credentials from overseas. We have heard the numbers: 32,000 nurses and over 20,000 doctors. There are engineers in my riding who cannot practise here easily, because they are being discriminated against because of where they got their years of experience or where they got their credentials and education.
    The provincial colleges need to be told to stop gatekeeping and allow people to practise their professions, to do the thing that they love here in Canada, to add to our communities, build a family and provide for themselves. That is the Canadian dream. That is what we have to restore.

  (1135)  

    Mr. Speaker, I do not know whether it is the leader of the Conservative Party or the member who just spoke. They seem to be in some sort of a dream world. They are trying to give the impression that the Conservatives did a good job on immigration. They need to get serious.
    If we look at the sponsoring of parents and grandparents, the backlog was over seven years long. It was so bad, the Conservatives actually cancelled the program. They would not allow someone to sponsor a parent or grandparent. In one area, the program got so bad, in terms of sponsoring immigrants, that they actually deleted hundreds of thousands of people who were already in the process and had been waiting years. It was an absolute disaster, including the backlogs to sponsor a loved one. I do not know where they are coming from. They obviously are in some other form of reality.
    When can we anticipate the Conservative Party to enter into the reality zone when it comes to immigration?
    Mr. Speaker, let us talk numbers. I remember it was a previous Liberal government that left behind a backlog of six to eight million applications for the Conservative government.
    They did not shut down the program. They returned money to everybody and restarted the program from zero because they botched it so badly. There was no choice but to do that, and they are doing that again. The people who are going to suffer are newcomers and immigrants to Canada who are being given false hopes and dreams while they are processing these applications.
    Let us talk numbers because the member raised them. I see here for the family class that every single one of the lines is longer than it used to be. Every single one now takes longer than they did in 2019. I am not even going back all the way to 2015, I am just talking 2019.
    Every single one, parents or grandparents, spouses, partners and children, family relations, humanitarian and compassionate consideration, or H&C as we call it, is longer today than they used to be. The Liberals have a backlog that is two million applications, not the Conservatives. They created this problem.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. I appreciate the quality of his French, which he uses regularly.
    Today, we are hearing many speeches that say it is easy and it is important. Yes, French is spoken in some parts of Alberta. We are hearing stories about how French is found here and there, but the reality is that the Government of Quebec is having a hard time welcoming the immigrants it is already receiving. Why? It is because we lack the resources for our social and health services and for services to newcomers, and, in the meantime, the federal government hangs onto the money. Not only does it hang onto the money and prevent us from properly welcoming these people, but it tells us that even more people will be coming to Quebec. That is what does not make sense. We are being reasonable in the arguments we are making today.
    Does the member not believe that the Government of Quebec should set its own thresholds without the federal government dictating them?
    Furthermore, could we please get our money back so we can take care of our people?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question, which I think is very reasonable. Quebec has an agreement with Canada regarding the establishment of criteria for immigrants who want to settle in Quebec. My family settled in Quebec. In the 1980s, my father worked at the shipyard in Sorel, which no longer exists.
    It is not the government that welcomes immigrants. It is the communities in the cities and regions. Cultural communities and groups are the ones that welcome them. I think that there is tremendous potential if we ask for help from existing community groups that can get money from the private sector and from various religious communities that would be willing to help newcomers settle in Quebec and Canada.

  (1140)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as someone who is an immigrant to Canada myself, having come here 50 years ago, and as an MP who has attended citizenship ceremonies where I have seen the pride when newcomers become part of the fabric of Canada, and I have seen the many contributions they make in my riding, I am a bit confused by the Conservatives' speeches today.
    I have seen the Bloc members congratulating the Conservative leader, I guess, in supporting this motion. What we have before us is a motion that styles immigrants as a threat to some Canadians and blames immigrants for housing shortages and for delays in the health care system.
    I am really unclear, having heard the speeches that sound like they support immigration, about what the Conservatives are doing with the motion before us today.
    Mr. Speaker, I completely disagree with the member's characterization.
    I read the motion, both in French and then in English, and it sounds exactly the same to me. This motion basically rejects the Century Initiative, which is big business executives with these pie-in-the-sky dreams, these utopias that were talking about 75 years from now.
    I want to talk about the immigrant experience today, right now. What they are experiencing on the ground is long wait times, families broken up and people divorcing. Spousal sponsorships for Iran are completely blocked at the visa processing offices during a revolution led by women in Iran. Spousal sponsorships are not being processed. There are people who have waited years, sometimes up to five years. There are people getting divorced because they cannot even bring in their partner from a place like Iran, where there is an autocratic regime. They are persecuting women and men on the streets right now.
     We should be doing so much more. I do not see any of that in this motion right here. This is simply rejecting a ridiculous pie-in-the-sky utopian dream that these big business executives put together for McKinsey.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I would like to say that I have the honour and pleasure of sharing my time with my colleague, the member for Vancouver East.
    Today we are seized with a motion that opens up a debate, which is clearly necessary and could very well be done for any public policy. A discussion of immigration, immigration levels, integration capacity, language, living together and living in harmony is always welcome, just as we would talk about public policies on health, the environment, international trade, and so on.
    However, as La Presse columnist Rima Elkouri says, approach is everything. That is the point I want to make. Beyond the specific language it contains, this opposition motion is part of a wider political context where the issues of immigration and integration are being used as political tools.
    Before I go into those details, however, I would like to read my colleagues a poem. I do not do this sort of thing every day, but I would like to read a short poem by Gérald Godin, one of Quebec's great poets. I really enjoy his work. This poem was transformed into urban art near the Mont‑Royal metro station, not far from my riding and my home. I would like everyone to keep these words in mind:
    

at 7:30 a.m. the Montreal Metro
is full of immigrants
those people
are up early

are they the reason
the city's aging heart
still beats?

the city's worn and aging heart
spasmodic
occluded
murmuring
flawed

it has every reason in the world
to stop
to give up

    I see this tribute to immigrants, who get up early to go to work, every day and every week in the Montreal Metro in my riding, Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.
    Last weekend, I had the honour of participating in a graduation ceremony for a social integration enterprise called PROPRET. The graduates, 90% of them immigrants, most of them women, went through housekeeping training and follow-up. Many of the people in the program also get French training. Diplomas were awarded to 67 people who have been through tough times but who work very, very hard and often struggle. However, they were proud of what they accomplished and of their successful integration into the labour market in French. It was wonderful to see.
    I think we need to highlight these successes and this reality on the ground. This is what is really happening. The disaster that had been predicted by some news media has not happened. They like to light fires to get attention and clicks and thus make a profit.
    It also reminds me of a documentary called Essentiels, by Sonia Djelidi and journalist Sarah Champagne, about temporary foreign workers. There are several beautiful stories in that documentary, but also some painful ones, because we really need these temporary foreign workers, which the Premier of Quebec seems to have just realized.
    Edyn, a Latin American man, said that he worked 10 hours a day, had to take care of his two children who were going to school and cook for them, and that his wife had remained in their country of origin, with children as well. He said he did not know when he would have time to take French classes. He had tried to fit them into his schedule, but it had been difficult and he had failed several times.
    Edyn eventually graduated, but the reality on the ground is that people have two or three jobs and work 60 or 70 hours a week to be able to make ends meet. They are told they just have to learn French, but it is not that easy. It makes for a good slogan on a leaflet or a button but, in the real world, these people are just trying to survive.
    I also want to talk about Mamadou. People called him a guardian angel while he worked in long-term care facilities during the pandemic. He caught COVID‑19. Despite all his work and his knowledge of French, he is now threatened with deportation. That is the kind of case we see in our offices. That is the reality on the ground.
    That is why the debate on immigration levels to Quebec has become a bit toxic and unhealthy, because there is a lot of vocabulary being used to divide people, namely, us, the old-stock Quebeckers, the historical majority, versus them, the newcomers who are being singled out. That is really unfortunate. There is not a lot of that kind of rhetoric in today's motion, but that is why I am saying that we need to pay attention to the context, which has been ongoing for many years.

  (1145)  

    We have had reasonable accommodation, the charter of values, very closed-off and discriminatory secularism, and negative language that has led to all kinds of problems. These are not just empty words.
    In the most recent Quebec election campaign, candidate and minister Jean Boulet claimed that 80% of immigrants do not work and do not speak French. He said that during the election campaign, when he was minister. However, it is completely false. According to statistics from the Institut de la statistique du Québec, in 2021, close to 75% of immigrants spoke French.
    I have said it before in the House, but we need to stop talking about how a mother tongue is such an important indicator of the health of French in Quebec. The purpose of Bill 101 was and still is to ensure that the mother tongue indicator no longer makes any difference. The idea behind Bill 101 is to ensure that, even if first-generation immigrants do not speak French and are unable to learn it, their children will learn it and integrate into our Quebec society. That has been a success. There are a lot of children of Bill 101 in my circle, and one of them lives with me.
    We also have to be serious when we talk about whether Quebec is receiving the funds it needs to integrate immigrants into French-speaking society. Once again, the reality in the field contradicts what some, like Coalition Avenir Québec, are saying. In an article published last year in La Presse, journalist Joël‑Denis Bellavance wrote that, of the $697 million that the federal government sends to Quebec for teaching immigrants French, 75% was used for purposes other than French courses.
    Instead of complaining and saying that its integration capacity is stretched to the limit and that the federal government is not doing its fair share, maybe the Quebec government should do some soul-searching and consider spending this $700 million on French courses for immigrants who want to learn French but are being forced to wait a long time.
    Minister Boulet was not the only one to speak this way. Premier Legault calls immigration an existential threat. He warns that Quebec will become the Louisiana of the north and says that recklessly raising the number of immigrants would be suicidal. Those are weighty words. They taint the whole debate around integration capacity, immigration rates and Quebec's levels. I would point specifically to the front page of last Saturday's Journal de Montréal, with a headline that translates to “Quebec is caught in a trap”, followed by subheadings such as “French forced into decline”, “They want to assimilate us” and “Two worst-case scenarios”. One columnist, Mathieu Bock-Côté, talks about “demographic drowning”, echoing certain satirical cartoons that show a massive wave of immigration. That is tantamount to saying that we are being invaded.
    I do not know the semantic difference between demographic drowning and replacement theory, but we hear about a lot it from figures on France's far right, including Marine Le Pen and Éric Zemmour. They evoke the spectre of the disappearance of the Quebec people under the threat of immigration, when we should be using more positive language to refer to newcomers, in the spirit of dialogue and openness. Instead, they play on insecurities and fear, including the fear of the other. Fear of the other leads to insular attitudes and close‑mindedness, division in our society between the original population, a concept that leaves out indigenous peoples, and our capacity for integration.
    I do think we need to be vigilant. French is a minority in North America and always will be. We need to make an effort to protect and promote French. We need to pay attention to social cohesion and our capacity for integration. However, social cohesion comes with open arms, openness, support, not demeaning attitudes, finger-pointing and viewing immigrants as a threat to the Quebec people or the French language.
    I am rather dismayed that, after all these years, we are having a debate that is extremely toxic and negative. Quebec is fully capable of working with the municipalities and the federal government to welcome people properly, make them future Quebeckers and stop seeing them as threats to Quebec culture and identity that need to be rejected out of hand. It is an extremely dangerous slippery slope. With this type of motion, at this time, in the current political context, I think we need to cross our t's and dot our i's.

  (1150)  

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Rosemont—La Petite‑Patrie began by reciting a poem by Gérald Godin. I am not convinced that Gérald Godin would have agreed entirely with what my colleague said after that, though.
    I can respond by quoting Gaston Miron. In Compagnon des Amériques, Gaston Miron said:
    

…reach out to everyone, country
you who appear...

    It is about reaching out to others, but Gaston Miron also has this to say in Compagnon des Amériques:
    

...before all the compromises cloaked in mink pelts
before the champions of conscience soothing
the scrawny emancipated
the well-mannered insects
before all the commanders that exploit you
and your cobblestone flesh...

    When Gaston Miron talks about “well-mannered insects", he is referring to those who accuse us of being intolerant when we claim our identity.
    I have to say this, because it is a known fact: Quebec's future as a nation is in peril. Acknowledging this does not mean that we are closed to immigration. Anyone who says the opposite are the ones who are themselves closed, in my opinion.
    I have a rather simple question for my colleague from Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie. The Quebec National Assembly passed a unanimous motion to reject the Century Initiative. There is even a motion adopted unanimously by his colleagues from Québec Solidaire.
    Does my colleague realize that the future of the Quebec nation is in peril? Is he prepared to admit today that the future of the Quebec nation is in jeopardy?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his incisive question. I, too, can provide a quote.
    I really enjoy Gilles Vigneault's music, and a line from one of his songs goes, “and these people are of my people”. I think this is important in the debate we are currently having. We are dealing with real people and we have to treat them as such. This is not about good Quebeckers versus evil immigrants.
    It is appropriate to have a discussion about how many people we can accept and the integration rate, but members should know that the Quebec government selects 100% of its economic immigrants. Even Mr. Legault acknowledged that 80% of these economic immigrants speak French.
    Do we need to do more for the immigrants who arrive under the family reunification stream, or as temporary foreign workers or refugees? Perhaps we do.
    With respect to refugees, it is a little more complicated because their circumstances are different, but I believe we should have a rational debate about that. I have to say that at this time, I believe some columnists are using this topic to make political hay.

  (1155)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the member could provide his thoughts in regard to how Canada's rich diversity has actually seen expansion in many ways. I have used the example of Manitoba, where more French is being spoken than there ever has been in its history. With respect to the diversity, I have reflected upon people of Filipino and Indian heritage, in particular from the Punjab. I often meet with youngsters and they are actually speaking French or learning to speak French. I believe this is healthy in the long term for the French language.
    Could the member provide his thoughts in regard to the way many immigrants see learning and understanding French as a wonderful thing?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, first of all, I am not an expert on Manitoban history, but we do need to be somewhat careful. I think there was a time when the majority of people in Manitoba spoke French, before French was banned from being taught in schools. We have to put things in perspective, from a historical point of view.
    Today, it is true that there is an interest in French and immersion classes. It has even reached the point where, in many parts of the country, there is not enough capacity in French or immersion schools to offer spots to newcomers and children.
    That being said, is French under threat? Yes. Will it always be threatened? Yes. Do we need to do more in Quebec and on the federal government side? Yes, absolutely.
    I think that significant steps will be taken this afternoon when we pass Bill C-13. The same can be said of the agreement that was reached between Ottawa and the Government of Quebec regarding this bill and the place of French in federally regulated companies.
    Yes, we applaud diversity, but we have to give ourselves the means to properly integrate people into Quebec's culture and history and into the beautiful French language. I think we all need to work towards that, but without pointing fingers at immigrants, without portraying them as a threat.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, first of all, I want to say that I am heartened to hear my colleague's words, to say that, when we engage in this debate, it is about the importance of it and what it means for all of us, but at the same time not to take an approach that vilifies and points fingers at others.
    I look around this chamber and there are very few of us, truth be told, who are not immigrants, either ourselves or our ancestors. For those of us who are not indigenous, we came to this land as newcomers. Over the years, we have seen changes made. As always, when newcomers come to a country, to a new place, there are feelings of threat and fear, I guess, because of the unfamiliarity of these individuals.
    For indigenous peoples and their history, and we already know Canada's colonial history, it is sad to say that those fears are very real and have done tremendous harm to indigenous peoples, to which Canada is still trying to reconcile, to reconcile in a real effort, in a meaningful way, and we have a long way to go. There is no question about that.
    Now, with respect to other communities that are newcomers, there are those of us who came to Canada as immigrants. In my case, back in the seventies, when my family immigrated here, we were new in this country as well, but over the years we have worked hard to integrate into Canadian society. We learned the language, learned the Canadian culture and Canadian values, and actively participated in our communities. Some of us achieved different things, and I would say without hesitation that the immigrant community has contributed to Canada in every aspect and is engaged in Canadian society in every way. The contributions are significant economically, socially, culturally and environmentally, to be sure.
    On the situation of what we are talking about here, we are now saying we have too many immigrants and we fear that, with more immigrants coming, it would take away from what we have. I think we need to think about what some of the concerns are that have been brought up.
    First is the issue around ensuring that Quebec and the French language and culture are protected. I absolutely agree that Quebec is a very unique province and that it has a distinction with its language and culture, which we need to do everything we can to protect. Part of that work rests with the federal government, with its immigration measures, particularly as it pertains to ensuring that the immigration target for francophonie immigrants is achieved. Sadly, that is not the reality.
    The Liberal government has failed to meet the target year after year after year. In fact, the FCFA made a recommendation at the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration calling on the government to adopt a new francophone immigration target of 12% in 2024 and to gradually increase it to 20% in 2036. I think that should be done. I think it needs to be done. We need to be aggressively pursuing those targets to realize that. We also need to do a lot of work to ensure that francophonie targets outside of Quebec are also met. In addition to that, the work we need to do across the country is to ensure that languages, French classes, are made available to students.

  (1200)  

    I can say from personal experience that I desperately wanted my two children to have access to French immersion. What did I do? After they were born, I enrolled them in the lottery. That is the system that we have. I had to enrol them in a lottery to see if they would get picked to get into French immersion. Sadly, for my family, neither one of them won that lottery. That is the reality.
    To fix and address the question of preserving the French language, we need to make sure those kinds of programs are not done through a lottery, but rather, are made available for people. That is not the reality, and that is what we need to fix. That is not an immigrant problem. It is a Canadian problem that we need to face up to and ensure resources are provided and those programs are in place.
    When I think about the contributions of the immigrant community, especially now in this period of dire need for health care workers, during the pandemic it became very clear that the immigrant community helped Canada in significant ways, sometimes by taking on jobs that put them in danger. We saw that in the aquaculture industry. Some migrant workers actually died while working to put food on our tables. That is the reality, and that continues to be a challenge for migrant workers who are taken advantage of because they do not have full status. They should be given full status and be regularized, by the way.
    On the health care piece, let me put some important information on the table. Immigrants account for 36% of physicians, 33% of business owners with paid staff and 41% of engineers. What that tells me is that immigrants are engaged in all walks of life, in every profession in our communities, and they contribute significantly to our communities.
    More specifically in the health care sector, 23% of registered nurses are immigrants; 35% of nursing aides and related occupations are immigrants; and 37% of pharmacists, 36% of physicians, 39% of dentists and 54% of dental technologists and related occupations are immigrants. At a time when we have a major need for health care workers, the immigrant community has shown, and I believe they will continue to show, their important contributions to the caring economy and the service economy, which we all depend upon to keep us healthy in our communities.
    Part of the problem for the immigrant community in getting into these professions, which we have all talked about and needs to be addressed, would be for the government to ensure that credential recognition is made easier. Some provinces have embarked on that, which I am glad to see, and the numbers are astounding. The interest that has been shown is astounding. In Nova Scotia, as an example, almost 1,500 people showed interest in a new program that was put in place to start May 1. British Columbia is embarking in this process as well.
    That is what we need to do. We need to eliminate the barriers for the immigrant community so they can fully participate in Canadian society. This will also ensure that the talents they bring are recognized so they can practise their professions. This will help all of Canada and most certainly help Quebec as well. In fact, Quebec specifically, during the pandemic period, wanted an immigration measure for health care workers to regularize those in Quebec in the health care profession. There is no question that the value of the immigrant community is significant. We need to make sure we also facilitate the process to support them in their contributions and successes here in Canada.

  (1205)  

    There are many aspects, when we are looked at as individuals, as human beings, that we have—
    The hon. member's time is up. I am sure she will be able to add more during the period for questions and comments.
    The hon. member for Lac-Saint-Jean.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I recognize how much work my colleague has done on the immigration file. Indeed, I congratulate her because I agree with much of what she said in her speech, including the parts about francophone immigration.
    Now I would like us all to look at the motion before us. I kind of have a hard time believing the NDP could vote against this motion. My colleague mentioned first nations in her speech. The motion reads, “That...the House reject the Century Initiative objectives and ask the government not to use them as a basis for developing its future immigration levels.” One reason is that first peoples, not to mention Quebec, were never consulted with respect to the Century Initiative targets, which are determined purely on the basis of economics.
    Based solely on the motion, I have a hard time seeing how a progressive party could vote against it. Essentially, it is an attack on McKinsey, a right-wing firm that considers only the economic aspects of immigration. No social factors came into play at all. Linguistic and cultural minorities were not taken into account.
    I just want to understand why the NDP is going to vote against this motion.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, part of the motion says, “tripling Canada’s population has real impacts on the future of the French language, Quebec’s political weight, the place of First Peoples, access to housing, and health and education infrastructure”:
    I want to address this issue. I appreciate the member's work at the immigration committee. I have come to know him and respect a lot of the work that he does.
    However, I think we are embarking on a very dangerous path, where we could signal that we are going to be vilifying and blaming the immigrant community for the health care crisis we are facing, the housing crisis we are facing and the problems that we have seen as a result of colonization of Canada for indigenous peoples.
    It is not the immigrant community that should be carrying that weight, but rather, it is the governments that should be carrying that weight.

  (1210)  

    Madam Speaker, the member mentioned medically trained people who are here in this country and ready to go to work.
    Would the member not agree that that is more of a provincial issue to solve, with the individual medical associations and health authorities in each province? That seems to be a bit of a thorn in everybody's side, when the federal government tells the provinces what to do with their hospitals and who gets employed there.
    It is an answer to some of our immigration issues. Would the member agree that we should do everything we can to work with the provinces to make it much easier?
    Madam Speaker, there is no question that the provinces and territories need to step up and address that issue, but the federal government also needs to do the same.
    Because the federal government, with its immigration measures, only allows migrant workers to come to work in Canada with the identified employer, they are not able to work elsewhere. Those with the talents to work in other sectors are unable to do so because of immigration restrictions, even though they meet the criteria and have the credentials. The federal government has a role to play to fix that problem.
    At the end of the day, I hope we can all recognize the value of those in the immigrant community. Instead of vilifying them, blaming them and turning our guns on them, we should say that we are one community and we welcome immigrant communities. It does not have to be one or the other.
    Madam Speaker, in my long years of working with the newcomer population, one of the hardest parts was receiving numerous calls where Canadians were often confused and blamed immigrants for taking up too many resources.
    I am just wondering if the member could talk about how important it is that we do not create that dialogue and that we, in fact, do all that we can to bring people together to build that sense of community.
    Madam Speaker, that is precisely what I fear with this motion. That is why the NDP is not going to support it, as it ties housing to the immigrant community.
    The housing crisis exists because successive Liberal and Conservative governments failed on housing. They cancelled the national affordable housing program, they cut funding, and then they were developing initiatives that do not meet the needs. They are not tackling the core of the issue, which is corporate landlords. Instead, they continue to give them special tax treatment.
    The issue here is not the immigrant community. It is the lack of action from successive Liberal and Conservative governments that has caused the housing crisis, and I would argue, also the health challenges that we face today.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I want to note that I will be sharing my time with the excellent member for Saint‑Hyacinthe—Bagot.
    I will start by saying this: I am pro-immigration, much to the chagrin of my detractors on social media and probably the member for Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie, who pride themselves on knowing my own thoughts better than I do. As I was saying, I am pro-immigration. The organizations I work with are aware of that. Together, we try to ensure the well-being of families in Quebec, including some families who entered the country through Roxham Road but would have deserved a proper welcome with dignity. These people should have entered Quebec through the front door. I repeat: I am pro-immigration.
    Quebec is also pro-immigration. Quebeckers want to welcome newcomers with respect and dignity by offering them the resources and tools they need to make their immigration project a success so that they stay in Quebec. With the Century Initiative, it is impossible to do so.
    People have heard me say many times what I am about to repeat, but I will do so once more. Newcomers are men, women, children and whole families who are looking for a better life. They are parents who want the best for their children. That is what we all want, in the end: to give the best to our children.
    Many have decided to come to study and work in Quebec, charmed by the quality of life, the wide open spaces, the Quebec winter, of course, and Quebec culture. Others are attracted by better career prospects, a higher standard of living or educational opportunities. Their plans for the future contribute to Quebec society as a whole. From the bottom of our hearts, we wish them success. We hope they do well. Under no circumstances should their dreams be shattered by federal interests or lobby groups.
    I will say it again: I am pro-immigration and so is Quebec, but not just any how and certainly not at any cost. As a small nation that speaks a minority language within North America, Quebec has a different capacity for integrating immigrants. Quebec's immigration policy has to take this integration capacity into account, as does Canada's. That is why Quebec's National Assembly unanimously condemned the Century Initiative targets. Just yesterday, the Bloc Québécois leader reminded us of a lesson from history when he said that those they intend to harm do not get consulted.
    The Bloc Québécois strongly condemns the federal government's failure to consult the Quebec government, or the first peoples, for that matter, before increasing its new immigration level to 500,000 per year. The Bloc Québécois also condemns the thrust of the Liberal government's immigration policy, which includes targets that match those suggested by the Century Initiative lobby group to boost Canada's population to more than 100 million by 2100. The Bloc Québécois considers it imperative for the House to reject these targets and to ask the government to not use them as the basis for developing its own future levels.
    That is why we are calling on parliamentarians of all parties to firmly reject this irresponsible and unrealistic option. This project would seek to increase Canada's population to 100 million by 2100. Oddly enough, the federal government's new immigration targets directly correspond to the objectives of the Century Initiative.
    I will say it again: Neither Quebec nor the first peoples were consulted. Still, tripling Canada's population has real repercussions. There are repercussions for the future of the French language in Quebec and in Canada, Quebec's political weight, the place of first peoples, access to housing, and health and education infrastructure. None of these were considered when developing this project.
    Moreover, as stated by those who thought of and developed this initiative, social issues and demographic and language considerations were removed in their entirety from the assessment criteria. It is no secret that I enjoy debates. It is normal and healthy in a democracy, especially for important issues that shape the future. This discussion about the future of our nation is a democratic discussion that concerns all citizens of Quebec and Canada.
    Unfortunately, because it is a part of Canada, Quebec is all too often faced with choices that are not its own. Too often, federal choices and priorities involve interests that have nothing to do with the interests of the Quebec nation, as it is the case with the Century Initiative. It is generally the case with the Liberal approach to immigration.
    Let us talk about Liberal interests. In 2016, Dominic Barton, who still headed McKinsey, was appointed chair of the advisory council on economic growth set up by the Government of Canada, the Liberal government. Dominic Barton and his colleagues recommended substantial increases to immigration thresholds to increase Canada's population to 100 million people by 2100.

  (1215)  

    By Mr. Barton's own admission, some members of the committee felt that these levels were too high. Judging by the current immigration targets, however, the Government of Canada ended up following Dominic Barton's recommendation.
    The former CEO of McKinsey is also the co-founder of Century Initiative, which is recommending gradually increasing immigration to more than one million permanent immigrants a year for a certain number of years, a calculation that is included in the detailed plan.
    This lobby group is financially backed by many Toronto banks and corporations. Let us talk about lobbyists. The group is registered as a lobbyist. They are on the list of members of the board of directors. Some are Liberal Party donors and Conservative Party donors. I am not making that up, it is a matter of public record. Not surprisingly, the lobby group also wants Canada to continue oil and gas exploration and development. A lot of deposits are on first nations land. As far as we know, the lobby thinks that Ottawa should find a way forward. This is the lobby the motion is referring to, that we are talking about today. History tells us that we rarely consult those we might harm.
    To sum it all up, the Liberal government decided, of its own accord, to exponentially increase immigration targets without any consultation with Quebec or the first nations and without any consideration for the particularities of the Quebec nation or Quebeckers' desire to appropriately welcome newcomers by providing them with access to decent housing, health care and a quality education.
    Either I do not understand or the government does not understand anything. Either way, one thing is certain, and that is that we do not agree on the targets. It seems as though we will never agree. However, let us remember one thing. If the federal government does not want to hear what Quebec has to say, then perhaps it is because Quebec no longer has a place in the Canadian federation. The day when we can no longer agree with the federal government on anything at all, we can always become independent.
    That would be a really great societal undertaking that I am sure people from all over Quebec would want to participate in because we love Quebec and we want to take care of the people who live there. Taking care of our people cannot be done any which way and especially not at any price. Taking care of our people involves letting them in through the front door, with dignity and respect, knowing that we have room for them and that they will be happy here. That is what the Bloc Québécois is saying.

  (1220)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the member opposite keeps referring to the fact that he does not agree with what Canada is trying to do when it comes to immigration levels. I would ask him to either correct me if I am wrong or agree with me that Quebec sets its own immigration levels as a province within this Confederation. Is that still the case today, or is it changing?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, no, that is still the case. People in this party are always telling us the same thing: Quebec and Canada each set their own levels. If Quebec maintains its current levels and Canada increases its levels, Quebec will clearly lose demographic weight, and therefore political weight, within the Canadian federation. I am sure we agree on that. It is simple math.
    The federal government voted down the bill brought forward by my colleague from Drummond, which asked that Quebec maintain 25% of the seats in the House. The Liberal government voted against it. We cannot seem to agree on anything.
    However, one thing needs to be made clear: Every political party in the Quebec National Assembly voted against Century Initiative's immigration targets, which are now the federal government's targets.
    There is a consensus in Quebec, and everyone is against it. We imagine that the Liberal government will vote for this motion since it always says it will work hand in hand with the Quebec government.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, in my area in rural Ontario, we see a lack of people to fill jobs, whether in the agriculture sector, in restaurants or food services, or in the hospitality and tourism areas. We also have people looking to fill jobs in health care in some of our rural hospitals, whether with doctors or nurses, but there are so many people in this country who do not have the credentials to fill those key positions.
    I know the member opposite and his party in Quebec are seeing a shortage of workers as well. When McKinsey or consultants from these cities make decisions in this country, they seem to be leaving out the rural areas. Could the member comment on how he sees this and the shortage of workers in Quebec?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her excellent question.
    We have to face facts. Right now, greater regional immigration to remote areas would be welcome. My riding has wonderful immigration stories to tell. I was in Saint‑Thomas‑Didyme two weeks ago and took part in a Moroccan night. Saint‑Thomas‑Didyme is a long way from Ottawa. It is a small village with a population of about 600. Temporary foreign workers are currently working at the village sawmill and at another sawmill in the nearby village of Girardville. As I was saying, we had a Moroccan night. I am telling this story to show how welcoming and how open Quebec is to newcomers. We really need them to keep our small villages alive.
    Unfortunately, the government is ridiculously dysfunctional when it comes to immigration. All the opposition parties agree that we have immigration problems everywhere. The issue is a concern for employers, but also for small communities.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I am a bit perplexed by the Bloc motion today. I understand that there is a feeling that the French language and Quebec's weight in Canada are the real concerns. There are two ways, I guess, that such concerns could be approached. One is the defensive and negative way, which I see in this motion. The other is to tap into the great source of immigration abroad in the francophonie. There are more than 450 million French speakers around the world; they have some of the largest and fastest-growing populations and some of the youngest French-speaking populations. They could be a source of those immigrants.
    Would an alternative approach not be to try to make sure that we raise those rates of immigration to help replace the aging population here and to help bring the diversity of francophones into Canada?

  (1225)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would have a lot to say about that. I thank the member for his good question.
    We first have to understand one thing. When we talk to certain African ambassadors to Canada, they say we must ensure that we do not drain their countries of all their talented people, because they need nurses, doctors and teachers. I have had discussions with certain groups. We need to be careful that we do not take all those fine people from Africa because that would cause problems for those countries.
    I would really like to continue this discussion with my colleague, but I do not have enough time. It is a good question. Let it be known that we are not negative, we are positive. I support immigration.
    Madam Speaker, Ottawa appears to want a post-national update to Canada 3.0.
    The feds have given a multinational firm, a state within a state, the sprawling McKinsey firm, the lucrative mandate to set immigration thresholds, an incredibly important aspect of public policy. The matter is settled and the PR campaign is implacable. The only way to avoid accusations of racism, the only way to continue to shine in Toronto's salons, is to increase Canada's total population by 100 million by 2100.
    In cobbling together this announcement, tailor-made for the big bosses, Ottawa combined its ignorance of what is needed and its desire to distinguish itself culturally from Quebec and the first nations with utter scorn for realistic immigration capacities. Ottawa does not even have the decency to provide services to these future newcomers and or even ensure that sufficient housing is built for them.
    Let there be no doubt that the Century Initiative is not the idea of the century, despite the empty rhetoric that seems to be second nature to this Prime Minister.
    Quebec, as a nation, has had a history marked by periods of survival and moments of affirmation, and its constant concern has been its cultural and linguistic continuity. In 1978, René Lévesque's Parti Québécois government adopted Quebec's policy for cultural development. It was written by two of the greatest thinkers in our history, Guy Rocher and Fernand Dumont, who worked for the brilliant minister, Camille Laurin.
    I want to point out in passing that Camille Laurin was the true architect of the integration of newcomers to Quebec, more so than Gérald Godin, for whom I have a great deal of respect, but who is used as argumentative support so frequently that I find it somewhat annoying.
    Everything was clear. What could be called traditional French culture must be a focus for cultural convergence. The reason is quite simple. In a democratic state, citizens must be able to agree on a common place of exchange. We will patiently repeat what we have said before. It is not a question of Quebec culture abolishing other cultures on our land, but rather about establishing a concrete and sensitive meeting place necessary for creating a common feeling of belonging, a shared vision of the common good. Quebec can be as much the nation of Gilles Vigneault as that of Dany Laferrière.
    In 2023, that was reflected in the unanimous, all-party vote against the Century Initiative by the National Assembly, who, let us not forget, was never consulted about it.
    To some extent, Quebec, a welcoming and generous nation, is ready to welcome as many immigrants as possible, but the word “possible” is key here. The numbers are important. If our state has the capacity to set the number of newcomers per year, it is legitimate to discuss, debate and reflect on it. Unfortunately, this debate is too often shut down or restricted through name-calling, such name-calling serving ostensibly to demonize the miscreants who, in reality, are only calling for a more harmonious integration.
    We often hear the tap metaphor when talking about immigration. Let us reflect on that. What is a tap? For a sink not to overflow, it needs to be filled mindfully and responsibly. Applying orange and red ideologies to this issue is quite simply wrongheaded, just as the will to exclude dissenting opinions from the debate is repugnant. These opinions are sometimes rigorous demonstrations by experts who point out the enormous danger to the very survival of the Quebec nation in the face of increases that would be too brutal, not harmonious enough and poorly thought out.
    Canada, on the other hand, is infected to the core by a utopia, that of multiculturalism, the idea that all newcomers have to do is to huddle in inward-looking communities based on the old ways of belonging. The Canadian regime is oblivious to the existence of a nation with a common core where citizens have equal rights and duties. Instead, it sees a big pile of minority communities that can spend their entire existence without even needing to speak to each other.

  (1230)  

    This radical utopia became institutionalized in the Canadian Constitution, a Constitution that is impossible to reform, that is set in stone, imposed unilaterally by Pierre Elliott Trudeau and to which Quebec is still not a signatory today. The government of unelected judges is in charge of dismantling Quebec laws such as the Charter of the French Language, which is a shadow of its former self, such as Bill 21 whose future could be no brighter than Bill 101. The powers that be pride themselves in neutralizing Quebec democracy, suppressing its affirmation as a nation and stifling its political institutions.
    It is hardly surprising in that perspective that junior now wants to fulfill daddy's dream. It is hardly surprising, not in terms of the drastic increase proposed today nor in terms of the depoliticization of such an important decision, that all of this is to the benefit—in every sense of the word—of the stateless clique at McKinsey, that is wreaking havoc and causing scandals everywhere it goes. Enough is enough.
    Dominic Barton led the McKinsey firm, a state within a state, from 2009 to 2018. In 2016, Barton, who was still leading the McKinsey firm, was appointed to head the Advisory Council on Economic Growth, formed by the Canadian government. In addition to being led by this McKinsey executive, the group was supported by McKinsey Canada employees.
    Dominic Barton is also a co-founder of the Century Initiative lobby, financially backed by big business in Toronto, which aims to gradually increase immigration to more than one million permanent immigrants per year. It should be noted that the Century Initiative also stands out for its aggressive stance on pushing oil and gas projects, notably in indigenous territory, regardless of indigenous support.
    Could it be, in this case, that the wokeism of the great Canadian stateless capitalists—these two qualifiers may seem contradictory but very often go together—is simply artful posturing, self-righteous posturing that applies on a sliding scale? In this case, it presents itself as a lack of respect for the will of indigenous communities, who are shackled by the racist regime of the Indian Act, regardless of the sorrowful speeches we often hear in the House that are meant to make the speakers look good in high society.
    When Dominic Barton appeared before the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates as part of the study on McKinsey, he admitted, in response to a question from the member for Beauport—Limoilou, that the pressure group never took into account the impact that its proposal to increase immigration could have on the French fact. Forget about that. It was never even considered. There is no report on the group's website that mentions the impact that this massive increase in immigration levels would have. No one in the red and orange troops seems to be upset or concerned about that.
    It is important that the Century Initiative's dangerous project be immediately shut down. However, if we want to get away from constantly begging, from forcing the Quebec National Assembly to repeatedly adopt unanimous motions that will not receive even the slightest bit of attention from the House of Commons, and from the trend where Quebec's weight in this House is permanently shrinking, which will only serve to make Quebeckers a minority that will no longer warrant any attention whatsoever from the government, and if we want to make it clear to any individual who wants to settle in Quebec that they will belong to a homeland called Quebec and be one of us, then let us choose freedom.
    The choice is clear: freedom or collective powerlessness and mediocrity; independence or folklorization and marginalization until we completely disappear. We will have our free, independent and resolutely French Quebec, and it will be one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

  (1235)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the hon. member closed off, close to what I was hearing, I think, and it will probably be in his answer as well.
    Is the fear for the member opposite, regarding where the current immigration levels are expected to go, that Quebec would lose its power here in the House because the numbers would increase in other areas of the country, whether it be in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario or the Atlantic provinces? If they saw an island start to grow its populations much higher than they are, it would mean more seats in the House for those places versus what would happen in his home province of Quebec.

[Translation]

    That is not quite right, Madam Speaker. My aim is simply that full authority be given to the parliament where 100% of the seats belong to us. To my mind, that would settle the matter. Canada could certainly set its own thresholds.
    The fear we have is about the French fact in Quebec. We have a capacity for integration, and when we say “capacity”, we mean “capability”. We do not have an unlimited capacity. We cannot do that.
    We are talking about a target of one million. If the capacity is so unlimited, then why are we not talking about two, three or four million? Will such numbers be reached at some point? To go back to the tap metaphor, the sink still has to be filled mindfully and responsibly. It has to be done properly. That is all I want to say.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague and neighbour from Saint‑Hyacinthe—Bagot on his excellent speech, and at the same time wish him a happy birthday.
    There was a lot of passion in his speech, and a lot of facts too. There is one thing that concerns me greatly about the erosion of the political weight of Quebec within Canada. Laws are being passed in Canada to protect certain aspects of culture, including French, culture itself and the people who shape our cultural sector, which is always under threat, always at risk. In fact, it is often in danger, and we often have to come to its rescue.
    With the Century Initiative, Quebec risks losing its political weight. What does my colleague think Quebec will have to do to protect itself from this increased risk of Quebec culture withering away?
    Madam Speaker, since my colleague worked on the broadcasting file, I think he would know how hard it is to get the message across that we need policies that support our cultural community and give them some leverage.
    I think that the history of Quebec shows it. Just look at the Charter of the French Language. A very ill-advised former Liberal government minister named Stéphane Dion, whom we hardly miss in the House, once said that Bill 101 was a great Canadian law. What he meant was that it proved that we are perfectly equipped to defend the French fact in the current system. It is true that it has become a great Canadian law: there is nothing left of it. It is just a skeleton and a shadow of its former self. Of course, it has become “Canadianized” to the extreme.
    Naturally, the only choice we have is to make all our own decisions without being at the mercy of the Constitution and the government of judges in Ottawa.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, one of the issues that has been raised in the speeches is about the fear of the dwindling impact or representation for Quebeckers. Part of the issue is the immigration targets that the federal government has failed to achieve in ensuring new francophone immigration targets are actually met. The government adopted its targets and it has not met them. The FCFA has recommended the government adopt a new francophone immigration target of 12% in 2024 and gradually increase that to 20% in 2036.
    Does the member think this is what the government should do?

  (1240)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I believe that my colleague is talking about francophone immigration targets outside Quebec. Obviously, they have not been met. It is a major problem and I hope that the NDP MPs will bend the ear of their government friends more often.
    Nonetheless, today we are talking about targets that dilute the French fact in Quebec. That is what makes them dangerous.
    Madam Speaker, I will share my time with the member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell.
     I am very pleased to rise today to discuss a topic of deep concern to my community and my constituency of Lac-Saint-Louis.
    Canada is confronting demographic issues and a serious labour shortage. Every time I am on the ground meeting with business owners, whether they come from the tourism, restaurant, farming or manufacturing sectors, they all tell me about the daily effects and challenges they face because of the labour shortage. For SMEs, the consequences are painful. They mean excessive workloads for employees and delayed or lost contracts, not to mention the economic losses that result nationwide.
    Canada's current unemployment rate stands at an all-time low of 5% nationally, and 4.1% in Quebec. Although Canada's economy regained 129% of the jobs lost during the pandemic, this excellent news comes with its own set of problems.
    Fifty years ago, there were seven workers for every retiree. Today, there are three for every retiree, and in less than 15 years there will be two. These figures speak for themselves. Canada's economy is growing faster than the ability of some employers to fill positions, and this has been the case for several years.
    As I was saying, whether in the fishery, agriculture, forestry, mining, tourism or processing industry, and in every other industry for that matter, there is a significant labour shortage in our country. It is a problem that our government takes very seriously and is tackling with a multi-pronged approach. One way to address the labour shortage is through immigration, because 100% of the increase in labour currently comes from immigration. That is a direct solution to the labour shortage in addition to being the historical foundation of our beautiful and great country. However, in recent days, misinformation has been circulating, and I believe it is important to clearly point that out.
    The Century Initiative is not a government policy. I again want to be clear. The government does not subscribe to the findings of this independent group and does not have as an objective increasing Canada's population to 100 million.
    In November 2022, our government announced our immigration targets for the next three years. These targets were set based on Canada's needs, recognizing that immigration is essential to help businesses find the workers they need and to continue to grow our economy. It is important to remember that before we announce our targets every year, we consult with the provinces. Last November's targets were a reflection of current labour shortages, regionalization of immigration and francophone immigration.
    I want to reassure the House. Increasing francophone immigration to halt the decline of French is a priority for our government and is even included in Bill C-13, which we will vote on at report stage this afternoon. Last year, we met our target of 4.4% of francophone immigrants outside Quebec, which is obviously good news.
    We will not stop there. More recently, we announced our new action plan for official languages, which is more ambitious than ever. One entire pillar of that plan focuses on francophone immigration with an investment of $137 million. This is a historic first. The plan includes seven new measures to support francophone immigration, including additional support for employers to recruit francophone foreign workers and for newcomers to learn French.
    Through Bill C‑13, we are also developing a new francophone immigration policy with clear objectives, targets and indicators to guide our action.

  (1245)  

    These examples show the importance of pursuing ambitious targets while trying to tackle current challenges too. On this side of the House, we believe in taking responsible action to address these urgent needs, which is exactly what we are doing.
    Immigration levels are reviewed and revised every three years based on Canada's needs and capacities.
     In conclusion, I would say once again that the Century Initiative is not a government policy and that our immigration targets are not based on its targets. Furthermore, immigration is a tool that will help us address the labour shortage. For a member from a region like mine, immigration is an essential part of regional economic growth.
    Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his speech, which was very interesting.
    I myself come from the business world, and I know that when an employee is happy, he becomes actively involved in the business.
    I would like the member to explain to me how, if we open the floodgates of immigration, businesses will be able to integrate workers and make them happy. If businesses are unable to integrate workers, if they cannot teach them French or if they cannot make them happy in Quebec because they are overcome by all sorts of variables, the workers will leave. That costs businesses dearly. It must be taken into consideration.
    Madam Speaker, that is indeed a challenge, especially for a company's human resources department, which devotes a lot of time to ensuring that the company is welcoming and that the employees are happy with the programs the company has in place for them. This is a challenge for every company, no matter what region they are in.
    We need to encourage people to learn French. I think that any newcomer in Quebec who can see the magnificent culture and quality of life that we have to offer will be happy to live here.
    Madam Speaker, I think that today's motion raises another question: Over the next few years, there will be a significant increase in the number of refugees who are displaced by climate change and the resulting crises.
    I think we need to change the definition of refugee to reflect this real likelihood of an increased number of people determined to come live in Canada because their islands are being submerged or because they live in regions that have become too arid for agriculture.
    I would like to know what my colleague thinks of that possibility.
    Madam Speaker, as usual, my colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands is asking a pointed and well-thought-out question. I do not have a clear opinion on the need to change the definition of refugee, but she is not wrong in saying that, in the future, there will be more climate migration, which will cause a whole host of other problems, such as peoples being repressed.
    My colleague's question is very interesting, and I am going to give it some more thought. I thank the hon. member.

  (1250)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank my dear friend and colleague for his eloquent speech.
    We agree that Quebec is the master of its own destiny when it comes to selecting immigrants. They could all be francophones, for example. Quebec can exercise its right to welcome up to one-quarter of all the immigrants who come to Canada. There are agreements between Canada and Quebec to protect the demographic weight of francophones in Canada.
    Can the hon. member tell us more about that?
    Madam Speaker, that is an interesting question.
    We need to attract newcomers to Quebec who speak French or who are open to learning it. However, we need a strong economy to attract them. To have a strong economy, we need to address the labour shortage, so it is a bit of a vicious circle.
    A weak economy will not help Quebec. If the economy is weak, then people will look for work elsewhere. That happened in the 19th century when there was an exodus from Quebec because there were no jobs there. We therefore need a strong economy. That is essential to having a strong Quebec within a united Canada.
    Madam Speaker, before addressing the Bloc Québécois motion, I would like to extend my most sincere condolences to the family of Sergeant Eric Mueller and the two police officers who, unfortunately, were injured in Bourget, which is in my riding. I want to salute their courage and thank the community, including the police officers and first responders who responded to this tragedy.
    I want to thank you, Madam Speaker, and the distinguished members of the House of Commons for giving me the opportunity to speak to the Bloc Québécois opposition motion concerning our government's immigration policy. It is important to point out that many considered efforts have been made by people across the country to support immigration, and that many different groups and think tanks have provided suggestions, comments and advice. The perspectives, including those of the Century Initiative report, are part of a national dialogue on immigration and are accessible by any member or Canadian. The only thing they do not represent is a government policy.
    As a Franco-Ontarian, I would like to focus my remarks on one important aspect of the reform of Canada's language regime, specifically francophone immigration. Francophone immigration is one of the cornerstones of the Government of Canada's vision for official languages reform, which was announced in February 2021 in the document entitled “English and French: Towards a substantive equality of official languages in Canada”.
    Francophone immigration has been the subject of numerous studies, reports and parliamentary debates, and often makes headlines in the Canadian media. There is no doubt that francophone immigration is one of the factors that will contribute to slowing the decline of French and increasing the demographic weight of official language minority communities.
    Overall, our reform of Canada's language regime is based on two complementary components that include important measures on francophone immigration. First, legislative measures on francophone immigration are included in Bill C‑13 to strengthen and modernize the Official Languages Act. Second, seven new or enhanced initiatives for francophone immigration have been included in the action plan for official languages 2023-2028, with an investment of more than $137 million over five years.
    Now let us talk about Bill C-13, which gives concrete expression to our desire to halt the decline in the demographic weight of francophone minorities, specifically by ensuring that the demographic weight is restored and increased. In addition to adopting a strengthened francophone immigration policy, the bill reiterates the importance of sectors that are essential to the development of official language minority communities, such as culture, education, health, justice, employment and immigration.
    In addition, by strengthening part VII of the act and specifying the obligations of federal institutions to take positive measures and to evaluate their effects, federal institutions are encouraged to take positive measures in all of these key areas, for all of their policies, programs and major decisions.
    I would now like to speak in more detail about our official languages action plan, entitled “Action Plan for Official Languages 2023-2028: Protection-Promotion-Collaboration”, which was unveiled to Canadians on April 26 at the Cité collégiale, where I had the pleasure of being a student, once. We are very proud of this plan, which includes a historic investment of more than $4 billion over five years.
    Francophone immigration is one of the four pillars that define and guide our five-year official languages strategy. This pillar confirms our government's commitment to fostering the vitality of francophone communities by addressing economic and demographic challenges through francophone immigration. As I mentioned, this pillar represents new investments of more than $137 million over five years, divided among seven initiatives in support of francophone immigration.
    The first initiative is the implementation of a new francophone immigration policy, similar to what is provided for in our bill to modernize the Official Languages Act, Bill C‑13. This new policy will include objectives, targets and indicators to guide the development and implementation of policies and programs across the entire continuum of francophone immigration, from promotion to selection and integration of French-speaking newcomers to Canada.

  (1255)  

     The second initiative focuses on targeted expansion and increased promotion and recruitment support in order to raise potential immigrants' awareness of francophone communities and the services and programs available in French.
    The third initiative provides a corridor for the selection and retention of French teachers in Canada through interconnected initiatives that aim to boost foreign recruitment and retention of French and French-speaking teachers.
    The fourth initiative involves establishing a strengthened francophone integration pathway to facilitate the settlement and integration of newcomers to Canada and bolster the reception capacity of francophone minority communities.
    The fifth initiative focuses on creating a centre for innovation in francophone immigration that will enable francophone communities to take part in activities to promote, identify, support and recruit French-speaking and bilingual candidates.
    The sixth initiative relates to developing a francophone lens that is integrated into the economic immigration program so as to improve the selection of francophone and bilingual immigrants.
    Finally, the last initiative aims to provide and develop measures to help newcomers learn French or English by increasing grants and contributions therefore expanding the geographic coverage and improving the quality of language training for newcomers.
    I would also like to add that, alongside these initiatives, which will be developed and deployed by my colleague, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Canadian Heritage backs the initiative to recruit and retain French and French as a second language teachers in Canada, which aims to recruit and retain teachers who are recent immigrants. Canadian Heritage also provides contributions to provincial and territorial governments for minority language services. Our agreements enable these governments to focus on enhancing services in priority sectors, such as francophone immigration.
    Lastly, I also want to point out that, in the action plan for official languages 2023-2028, our government committed to promoting diversity, inclusion and equity through new initiatives designed to support more vulnerable clienteles. That is what we will do.
    In conclusion, immigration is absolutely a pillar of our Canadian language reform agenda. We hope opposition party members in the House can see that we kept our promises with historic investments in excess of $4 billion over five years for official languages. We hope they will support Bill C‑13.

  (1300)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his defence of Bill C-13. We will have ample opportunity to debate it in the House.
    I want to remind the House that, in regard to this bill, Quebec once again claimed its full rights with respect to French integration. Only Quebec laws should govern what happens in Quebec. That claim was also denied. The answer is always no when Quebec asks to be treated as nothing short of a French-language Quebec nation.
    I would like to know what the member thinks of the motion our party introduced today. Basically, what we are saying is not just about simple mathematics, it is about our accommodation capacity and our capacity to preserve what is most fundamental to us: our common language, which is French.
    Madam Speaker, actually, it is a matter of mathematics.
    Right now, there is an average of 1.7 children per household in Canada and Quebec. What is more, our population is aging. If we do not have a strong francophone immigration policy in Canada, including the Franco-Ontarian community, then we are going to disappear in the near future. Francophone immigration contributes to the francization of our communities across Quebec and Canada.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his outstanding speech.
    To address the labour shortage, we need a responsible, professional, robust and ambitious immigration system.
    Without such a system, how can we make Canada a prosperous country with a steadily growing economy to create jobs for Canadians? How can we make this beautiful country one of the great nations of the world?
    Madam Speaker, I want to commend my colleague, with whom I have many discussions. Whether it be in Montreal, Laval or anywhere in Canada, we are all hearing employers say that there is a labour shortage in our economy. Obviously, one of the solutions to that problem is immigration, which can help counter that labour shortage.
    For my francophone colleagues, in Bill C-13, we established a threshold of recovery to 1971 levels. We are looking back and we want to ensure that the demographic weight of francophones across Canada returns to what it was when it was first calculated in 1971.
    Madam Speaker, several studies over the past few months and years have shown that francophones outside Quebec rely heavily on the strength of French in Quebec and on the support for French in Quebec to protect them in their official language minority community.
    Why does my colleague think it is a good idea to improve and strengthen French outside Quebec but let it get weaker within Quebec? Does he not think that francophone communities outside Quebec are ultimately at risk of suffering the consequences and getting weaker themselves?
    Madam Speaker, as my colleague knows, the Government of Quebec alone determines its immigration policy. It has the power to choose all the immigrants it wants. It is up to the Government of Quebec to pull up its socks and roll up its sleeves to ensure that it has a strong francophone immigration policy in Quebec.
    As far as the rest of Canada is concerned, I am working with the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship and the Minister of Official Languages on having a strong immigration policy in Canada for francophones, and I am sure that we will meet our targets. We already did last year, and we will do it again year after year.

  (1305)  

    Madam Speaker, I will take it upon myself to deliver to the Government of Quebec the message given by my colleague, who just finished his speech, that it should pull up its socks on the immigration file. I think it might appreciate the message, but I am not sure.
    I will begin by saying that I will be sharing my time with my colleague, the member for Terrebonne.
    Our motion today is very simple. I think it has been a few minutes since we repeated it. It states:
     That, given that,
(i) the Century Initiative aims to increase Canada's population to 100 million by 2100,
(ii) the federal government's new intake targets are consistent with the Century Initiative objectives,
(iii) tripling Canada's population has real impacts on the future of the French language, Quebec's political weight, the place of First Peoples, access to housing, and health and education infrastructure,
(iv) these impacts were not taken into account in the development of the Century Initiative and that Quebec was not considered,
the House reject the Century Initiative objectives and ask the government not to use them as a basis for developing its future immigration levels.
    It is not a very complicated request. It only makes sense. It is a question of understanding each other.
    This objective of increasing Canada's population to 100 million by the end of the century is something that worries me. I must say that I am finding the ruse to be less and less subtle. It is difficult to believe that the hidden agenda is not basically to put an end once and for all to Quebec's never-ending demands, which certain self-righteous federalist thinkers see as a fly constantly buzzing around their heads.
    There are two ways of looking at this. The first is to see bad intentions. The government and its policy-makers know full well what they are doing to Quebec by setting immigration targets that are much too high for the province to absorb. They know that by doing this, they are ensuring that Quebec's francophone culture, the Québécois culture, will be completely snuffed out.
    How will that happen? It will be because of the massive influx of newcomers who, even if they speak French, will not be welcomed as Quebec likes to welcome its immigrants. They will not be able to integrate into Quebec society properly because the infrastructure and services are insufficient and ill-equipped to receive such an influx. What happens when a host society is unable to welcome and integrate its newcomers? This leads to ghettoization. Newcomers gather where they feel safe, where they feel a sense of familiarity, and this creates ghettos. This leads to what we have already seen around the world, including in some Canadian cities. This is not what Quebec wants.
    Quebec wants large numbers of francophone immigrants so that the common language, the language of work, the language of everyday life, is French. Quebec wants to welcome and integrate its newcomers based on a model that is not one of multiculturalism. Quebec's specificity is precisely that it has a language to protect, a language that is constantly at risk of disappearing in an ocean of some 300 million anglophones in North America.
    There is also the issue of Quebec's political weight, which is mentioned in today's Bloc Québécois motion and is fuelling this discussion and debate. If Quebec loses political weight within the Canadian federation, it means that the various laws that protect the specificity of the Quebec nation will be open to more vigorous attacks, and Quebec will be even less able to defend itself. Consequently, Quebec will continue to dwindle gradually, little by little. It is a bit like putting a frog in a pot of cold water and then turning on the heat, letting the frog slowly get used to the heat as the temperature rises until, well, we know the rest of the story. I am not sure that has been scientifically proven, but everyone gets the picture.
    In short, Quebec will fade away and accept its fate, telling itself that a known misfortune is probably more comfortable than an uncertain happiness. We will then find ourselves in the ocean of multiculturalism that Trudeau senior dreamed of all those years ago. I will not be fooled into believing that protecting the French language was part of that particular dream.

  (1310)  

    That widespread lack of sensitivity is disappointing, but it also makes me realize that this is one of multiculturalism's adverse effects on French.
    We know that Quebec culture is gradually drowning in the Canadian and North American cultural maelstrom. Those who champion French are increasingly viewed by many in the rest of Canada as old grey-haired reactionaries straight out of what they wish was a bygone era. I have to acknowledge that I myself might be an old grey-haired reactionary not unlike my colleague from Berthier—Maskinongé. No doubt he approves.
    If we allow things to carry on as they are, speaking French will eventually become a mere curiosity. A comparison comes to mind that deeply saddens me. It will be a bit like the first nations we hear about, where the language is still spoken by some elders but has disappeared from everyday use. Young people are trying to resurrect those languages. I recently talked to an Abenaki woman who told me she was trying to relearn her grandparents' language, which is no longer being spoken. Maybe one day my great-grandchildren will ask their grandfather, “Grandpa, say a few words in French.” It will be cute and quaint, but also pathetic and sad.
    That is what we are trying to protect. We are not trying to sow division or stir up trouble, as our friends on the other side like to say. We are trying to protect something that is dear to us, namely our culture, our language, our specificity.
    We talk about political weight. Sometimes people say that Quebec's political weight boils down to the number of seats it has in the House of Commons. It seems that some people do not appreciate the importance of that. What is the effect of Quebec having less political weight? In future elections, if we do not correctly adjust the number of seats that go to Quebec, if we do not give Quebec a minimum number of seats, as is the case for other Canadian provinces, we will once again lose the influence we can have here in the House of Commons. We will lose the number of seats held by Quebec members of Parliament. I am not even considering the political affiliation, because the Quebec seats lost will not just be the ones held by the Bloc Québécois, but also those of Conservative and Liberal members of Parliament. There will be fewer of them because there will be fewer seats available for Quebec.
    Would it have been possible to protect supply management, for example, if there had been fewer members of Parliament from Quebec? The work of my colleague from Berthier-Maskinongé and the Bloc Québécois on this file should be noted.
    Bill C‑10 also comes to mind. It was tabled in November 2020 as a modernized Broadcasting Act and was later rebranded as Bill C‑11 in the next Parliament. It contained nothing for Quebec culture. Without a strong Quebec caucus and the Bloc Québécois's unwavering determination to add measures to the bill to protect the French language and content created by our artists, I am not sure if the new Broadcasting Act would have provided any protection for Quebec's francophone culture. Quebec's political weight made all the difference.
    The more influence that Quebec loses within the Canadian federation, the more Ottawa can push its centralizing agenda and keep sticking its big fat nose where it does not belong. On February 8, 2022, the House had a great chance to show Quebec that it believes in the need for Quebec to preserve its culture and acquire tools to protect the French language. On February 8, 2022, I had the honour of tabling, on behalf of the Bloc Québécois, a bill to amend the Constitution Act. Yes, while awaiting independence, a Bloc member is trying to amend the Constitution Act.
    We simply wanted to add a provision that would guarantee Quebec 25% of the seats in the House of Commons. That would have been a game-changer because, with a threshold of at least 25% of the seats, we would no longer have to worry about the political weight of Quebec being at risk and the consequences that would bring, regardless of any demographic changes that might occur in the coming years.
    That is why the Bloc Québécois is moving a motion today to reject the immigration levels proposed by the Century Initiative, which the government seems to be following very closely. This is a good opportunity to debate that, but it is also a good opportunity to understand why the Bloc Québécois wants to reject those objectives.

  (1315)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the member underestimates the impact of the growth of the French language within the province of Manitoba, my home province, and I do not think this is unique to Manitoba.
    Through immigration policies, and I made reference to this earlier, more people than ever are speaking French in the province of Manitoba. I attribute it to communities, whether they be Portuguese, Filipino or Indian communities. We can hear people speak French, Tagalog and English. There is a growing admiration for the French language, and we hear more and more people speaking it.
    Would the member not recognize that, as opposed to trying to paint immigration in a negative light, we can see the benefits of the diversity of people from around the world who come to Canada, learn the French language and pass it on?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    First, I take issue with one of the premises of his question. We are not painting immigration in a negative light. On the contrary, we are in favour of immigration. We are in favour of immigration policies that will ensure that French is able to thrive and that get people interested in speaking French, as he said about people in his province of Manitoba.
    I think it is great news that francophone immigration is on the rise, that francophones are being welcomed, that French is being seen in a positive light and that people in Manitoba and other provinces are interested in learning to speak it.
    However, the situation in Quebec is different than in the rest of Canada because French is the common and official language in Quebec. It is in danger in the English-speaking ocean of North America and Canada. The reality is not the same in Quebec. We need to protect French because it is at risk. We are not trying to help a minority grow. It is a majority language in an ocean where it is a minority and at risk. That is the difference.
    That being said, we are all in favour of immigration.
    Madam Speaker, I congratulate my colleague from Drummond on his excellent speech.
    I would like to hear him tell us more about why Quebec should decide for itself how many immigrants it should take in. Yes, we are pro-immigration and want to welcome people from other countries, but we want to welcome them with dignity, to allow them to integrate. From the moment they set foot on our soil, we want them to become full-fledged Quebeckers. To do this, we need resources. I would therefore like my colleague to talk about the resources we currently have to welcome these people and why the government that is in charge of welcoming immigrants should be the one deciding how many it will accept.
    Madam Speaker, that is a good question, and it fits in with what I said at the beginning of my speech.
    We want to welcome and integrate immigrants. We do not want them to end up in ghettos in the areas where they will settle. In just about every Quebec municipality I know of, there are organizations dedicated to supporting and integrating newcomers. Who generally manages and sponsors these organizations? It is either the municipalities or the Quebec government.
    Once again, there is a clear desire on the part of Quebec to make sure that we have the capacity and infrastructure to allow immigrants and newcomers to integrate, to take advantage of services, to send their children to school and to participate in society upon their arrival. Newcomers who integrate into Quebec communities in French are not a burden. They benefit society.
    It is important to make sure we have the infrastructure, and for that, we must take into account our capacity to integrate immigrants. Otherwise, we would simply be doing a poor job, and we do not want to do that with immigration.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Drummond for his speech. He addressed a number of things.
    As previously mentioned, I am a prime example of a successful and integrated immigration. I do not have an accent when I speak French.
    I would like my colleague's thoughts on the fact that Quebec is the only province in Canada that has an agreement with the federal government on immigration. Quebec has everything it needs to proceed with integrating francophone immigrants and it has the means, since the money is paid directly to Quebec. What more could the Government of Quebec do to welcome francophone immigration?

  (1320)  

    Madam Speaker, the Government of Quebec is already doing a lot of good things to manage immigration and to welcome francophone immigrants.
    It is true that as far as my colleague from Hochelaga is concerned, other than a slight Hochelaga accent, we can say this is a perfect integration in French. She is a colleague that I hold in high regard.
    Quebec often has its hands tied because of Ottawa, which manages immigration for the most part. The fact that Ottawa is looking to set immigration levels at 500,000 people a year is a big problem. The crux of the problem is the fact that this will create a huge imbalance in the demographic weight and in the political weight of Quebec.
    I think that we could debate this at length, my colleague and I, but, essentially, we agree on the fact that there are a lot of fine examples of immigrants who were welcomed and integrated successfully.
    Madam Speaker, Canada is a concept, one that has changed greatly over time. At first, Canada was the heart of New France. The conquest brutally changed its identity and turned it into a British colony.
    Modern Canada arose from another change that took place with the betrayal of the night of the long knives, when the country's DNA was changed in secret, behind closed doors and without Quebec or the first nations.
    We are on the eve of another great change. We can rest assured that the very essence of Canada respects the strong tradition of ignoring democracy when it comes to major issues. I am of course referring to the Century Initiative. I am saying this in French in the House, because French was never considered by this initiative, as admitted by one of its authors.
    Economists, and I am well positioned to talk about them, do not always think about identity. It is not necessarily the first thing they think of when developing a public policy. French, democracy, political balance, political weight are not necessarily their priorities. They think about GDP, productivity and the cost of labour. It is up to us in the House to reflect on these issues.
    However, even in terms of economic issues, the Century Initiative project is poorly designed, poorly thought-out and impossible to implement. I say that the project is poorly designed because this Liberal government sets its economic targets based on false and simplistic economic parameters. If we want to solve the labour shortage, says the government, let us bring people from all over the world to work here.
    Although immigration has a role to play in filling specific gaps in the labour market, it is far from being a magic bullet to fix this problem.
    As economist Pierre Fortin explained in the report he presented last year to Quebec's ministry of immigration, francization and integration, a sustained increase in immigration creates a bigger workforce, but also increases demand for goods and services. He believes that in taking into consideration the further increase in demand for health services and education, the increase in employment opportunities would be negligible.
    Other public policies can be put in place at the same time to address the labour shortage, as the Bloc Québécois has proposed on numerous occasions and in a constructive manner. For instance, tax credits should be granted to people who have reached retirement age but may want to remain in the workforce. Let us think about it. These individuals are trained and want to work. However, ridiculous tax policies prevent them from staying in the workforce. This could be fixed quickly. This is not a long-term solution like immigration.
    Rodrigue Tremblay, professor emeritus of economics and a minister in the René Lévesque government, also explained the situation like this:
    A rapidly growing population requires additional infrastructure (housing, hospitals, schools, universities and infrastructure of all kinds). Savings and capital are therefore needed to build that infrastructure.
    He goes on to say the following:
    When a population grows too quickly, this can sometimes lead to a general decline in the standard of living.
    Ultimately, the countries that perform the best in terms of standard of living and quality of life are not the most populous countries in the world. They are countries like Norway, Ireland and Switzerland, whose population size is more similar to that of Quebec than Canada.
    What makes Quebec unique, in addition to its language and culture, is the quality of its social safety net and its public policy, which are recognized as progressive. I am extremely proud of them. Quebec's low-cost child care system sets the bar. In fact, the federal government is trying to set up something similar, the kind of system we have had for decades. Quebec's affordable education system, its universal health care system and all its other social policies also set the standard.
    Here is another example I am very familiar with: Quebec's parental insurance plan, copied by other jurisdictions around the world and head and shoulders above other such programs in Canada. To maintain and even improve that level of service, the Government of Quebec has to make wise economic and demographic decisions that ensure the long-term sustainability of its social services. The National Assembly provides all those social services, so it is up to it to determine Quebec's optimal population level.

  (1325)  

    It will be up to Quebec to offer and use its own budget to pay for the services and infrastructure that will be specifically offered to the newcomers we welcome with open arms, as everyone knows.
    This project is poorly thought-out. Indeed, one has to be extremely out of touch with reality to think that a country like Canada, with such a delicate political balance, could work with this type of immigration policy without even consulting Quebec and the provinces. I really wonder why the Bloc Québécois has to keep reminding the House of this, but Canada is not a unitary country. The onus will be on Quebec and the provinces to deal with this immigration flow. The federal government is not a character in a video game seeking to make Canada an empire. It cannot continue to impose the whims of its preferred consultants on the democratically elected governments throughout Canada.
    I have said that the project is poorly crafted and poorly thought-out, and I would like to add that it is impossible to implement. How does the federal government think it can pull off something this big when it is not even able to adequately deliver on any of its missions?
    The Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship has a chronic inability to process claims in a timely manner. I will give some brief examples. After the pandemic, there were over 2 million files in the department's backlog. We are talking about the labour shortage, and 25,000 applications for skilled workers in Quebec were on hold on the federal government's desk. Skilled workers wanting to work in Quebec had to wait over 24 months—if they were lucky—while the service standard is 11 months, which itself could be considered to be quite long.
    As we can see, the Century Initiative is a bad project. It is politically problematic, economically ill-conceived, and administratively impossible to implement. It has only one great advantage: It forces the people of Quebec to choose between turning into quaint folklore and becoming independent. My choice is obviously independence. I do not think that is news to anyone in the House.
     I am an immigrant myself. I was born abroad. The language we speak at home is Spanish, and that is the language I use when I speak to my son. My mother came to Quebec at the age of 37 and passed the bar in her third language. We grew up in a house where the first language was not French, and yet we all chose independence. This is our project. We will build this country together, newcomers to Quebec with old stock Quebeckers, as well as with our brothers and sisters from the first peoples—because anyone who wants to be a Quebecker is a Quebecker.
     Canada wants to reach a population of 100 million people and invite immigrants to come and contribute to its economic growth. All my Bloc Québécois colleagues and I can do better. What we can offer immigrants, whom we will always welcome with open arms, is an invitation to the founding of a new country. That is the idea that drives us, and it is the idea of the century.
    Madam Speaker, I was born in Lebanon and I came to this country at the age of 20.
    I met many people, including some who came to Canada with me and did not speak a word of French. After a few months and a great deal of work and effort, they learned French. Like me, they graduated from a French-language university. Now they contribute, in every sense of the word, to our Quebec and Canadian society. These people work, for example, in the fields of medicine, engineering and accounting.
    Should we not encourage these people to come to Quebec? Are they not an added value for Quebec and Canada? Should we not avoid putting up barriers in their way and allow them to come and contribute to life in Canada?

  (1330)  

    Madam Speaker, I want to congratulate all those like him who were born abroad and want to contribute to Quebec society, if that is what they wish to do. I congratulate everyone who is learning French and helping make Quebec a better society.
    I will be very clear: We do not want to put up barriers in their way, quite the opposite. We are for immigration. As we have said, this issue cannot simply be boiled down to being either for or against immigration. We are here to talk about “better”, not “more”. That is very different from wanting less immigration, which is not what we want. That is not our line of thinking at all. We are in favour of immigration like the member described, that is, immigration made up of people who want to contribute to Quebec society. That is what we represent.
    Madam Speaker, historically, Quebec and Canada were built through immigration and with the presence of the first nations, who are too often forgotten.
    Historically, people have settled in what is known as the Quebec-Windsor corridor, which accounts for about 60% to 70% of the Canadian population. If Canada reaches 100 million people in 2100, this corridor would be home to between 60 million and 70 million people. One of the largest watersheds in Canada, the one that provides water to all of these people, is located in this corridor. Many cities are already having problems with water supply.
    What would be the environmental consequences if the 60 million to 70 million Quebeckers and Canadians settled on this piece of land?
    Madam Speaker, there will indeed be major environmental consequences. Take, for example, water consumption. Water consumption is one of the environmental concerns, but there is also water pollution. Waste water has to be treated. There is also waste management. Waste has to be handled properly and safely stored. There is also atmospheric pollution, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. There are tons of different forms of pollution and repercussions associated with the presence of humans that will be felt if we increase the population more quickly than what nature can handle.
    Madam Speaker, I congratulate my esteemed colleague from Terrebonne for her excellent speech.
    I read an article recently that said that Quebec was caught in the Canadian trap. Canada is increasing its population too rapidly. The article said that Quebec has the choice of increasing its population or of seeing its political weight drop. Meanwhile, members are refusing to support the bill that we introduced to ensure decent political representation here.
    I would like to know what my colleague thinks about that.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to point out that the Bloc Québécois did indeed introduce a bill to try to save Quebec's political weight, and yet those who are now claiming to be the defenders of French in Canada and the defenders of Quebec voted against that bill.
    Madam Speaker, I wish to inform you that I will be sharing my time, if there is any left, with the member for Winnipeg North.
    As the member for Gaspésie—Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, immigration is so important to me and to the survival of my region that it was out of the question for me to participate in today's debate without discussing the realities of rural regions, and in particular the realities of the Gaspé and the Magdalen Islands.
    The newcomers and temporary foreign workers in my riding have helped my region get through various crises. Without the temporary foreign worker program, the fish processing plants in my region would have closed their doors many years ago, as there would be no one to work there. For many years, immigrants and temporary foreign workers have enabled our communities to survive and thrive. Our newcomers learn French. When they arrive in our region, every spring, people are happy to see them.
    With respect to renewable energy, in my riding, in the Gaspé, there is the largest wind turbine manufacturing plant in North America. Securing the development of this plant required welcoming a Filipino community. Expansion announcements were made and the plant practically doubled its production. More than 200 new Filipino workers were brought in, because the region does not have enough people for this kind of development. This goes to show how much businesses need immigrants. We need people who have received training, but we also need workers.
    During my election campaigns, I went door-knocking. My colleagues from the Bloc may not realize what people in the regions are going through. They need to talk to entrepreneurs in the tourism or hospitality sector, among others. Every entrepreneur we met wanted to grow their business in the region, and they were prepared to invest in expanding their operations.
    Some entrepreneurs cried as they were talking to me, because they were unable to develop their business, even though they had the ambition to do it. What was the hold-up? It was the labour shortage. During the election campaigns, they kept telling me that they could not go on for much longer, that they needed people to grow their business and take their place.
    I know this scares the Bloc Québécois, but you cannot build on fear. In reality, we are all immigrants. Jacques Cartier arrived in the Gaspé and it was there that he met the indigenous communities.
    When I was young, there were six elementary schools in my small village that served 700 children. Only one school remains, and it does not even have 70 students now. Will we ask 70 children to provide for an ageing population? The regions need immigrants.

  (1335)  

    When I was young, there were seven schools and now there is one. I do not see any reason why we could not build schools if we brought in immigrants.
    The people who will come will work and ensure that our communities are vibrant. We will be able to populate and use our land. We talk about old-stock Quebeckers and I am one of them. Newcomers have never prevented us from continuing to speak French. I have never been afraid of that. I have not lost my culture. That is what the Bloc Québécois is trying to make us believe.
    When we are proud of our culture, we promote it, we talk about it and we welcome newcomers and immigrants. We share our culture with them because we are strong enough to preserve that culture.
     I will cede the remainder of my time to my colleague from Winnipeg North.

  (1340)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her passionate remarks on Quebec's regions.
    The Bloc Québécois will take no lessons from her on our regions. Nearly all of us in the Bloc come from rural regions. I myself am extremely concerned about the labour shortage in the regions, particularly in Charlevoix, which is a tourist area. I am also our party's critic for fisheries and oceans, where there are also labour issues.
    Can my colleague, who is the Minister of National Revenue, explain how, with a really large influx of immigrants to the regions, we are supposed to provide housing for all these newcomers? What hospital can care for them? Where will they go for child care and where will their children go to school?
    Madam Speaker, if my colleague had listened carefully to what I said, not so long ago—I may be of a certain age, but that is not to say that I am old—when I was young, we had schools in my town. There were six elementary schools. Now there is one.
    Immigration is productive for a region. It can bring a region to life. These are people who work, who will get involved in the community. They will be good citizens and will pay their taxes, and that money can be used to build schools. They will get training. This can only be good for our regions.
    Madam Speaker, I have two questions for my colleague.
    This morning, I was saddened to hear the leader of the Bloc Québécois using the same kind of language that the French far right uses when discussing this topic. I thought that was extremely inappropriate. I would like to hear my colleague's thoughts on that.
    The other aspect is the government's failure to meet its francophone immigration targets. We know that the world's francophone population is surging. There will be half a billion francophones on the planet by 2050.
    That population represents our opportunity to get professionals here, the people we need to come fuel our economy and allow Quebec to remain a strong francophone society, and for francophone communities across the country to grow as well, like in my home province of British Columbia. Francophone immigrant communities enrich British Columbian society in an extraordinary way, with schools that are—
    I will let the hon. minister answer.
    The hon. minister.
    Madam Speaker, I have met with business owners in my riding and all over Quebec, and I have also worked in the health care sector. I can say that businesses will do the work and take care of teaching people French. We know that. They are ready to do it. The business community is ready to co-operate, be it the Quebec Employers Council or the chambers of commerce.
    In the health care sector, back home, the physicians who are coming to work in our emergency rooms are travelling doctors. They are doctors who come from abroad. They speak other languages, but they also speak French. They are able to come help out in our communities. This is a plus for the region.
    I also want to point out that Quebec sets its own targets for immigration.

  (1345)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I heard the response to the first question and I assure the member that she is still quite young.
    More importantly, as I listened to her speech today, I really appreciated when she said that unless we are of indigenous descent we are all immigrants to this country.
    This is a young country. It is only 175 years old. We have all come from different parts of the world. My parents did the same thing. I wonder if she would talk to the importance of continuing that to grow our population.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, in order to grow the population, we need people from all over. Quebec was created from immigrant populations.
    I encourage my colleagues to visit Grosse‑Île and the Irish Memorial National Historic Site, which is truly an extraordinary example of what immigration has brought to Quebec and to Canada as a whole.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to be able to follow the Minister of National Revenue. If only I could speak as passionately as she does in French. What I really appreciated about the minister's speech is the fact that she talked about how immigration has been of such benefit for the province of Quebec, as it has been for the entire country.
    That is why I am a bit disappointed in the leader of the Bloc party. In essence, what he is doing is taking the very important issue of immigration and the impact that immigration has had from coast to coast to coast here in Canada in such a wonderful way. We are a country of immigrants. Immigration helps Canada grow into the future. All one needs to do is talk about where the needs are in many different ways in many different sectors of our country and one will quickly come to the conclusion that for Canada to continue to prosper in the future, immigration policy is so critically important.
    Today, we have the leader of the Bloc party trying to use this as an issue for the party's own personal cause, which is not in the best interest of Canada or Quebec. When I think of the French language and I think of my home province of Manitoba, today there are more people in Manitoba who speak French than there ever have been. If it were not for immigration, Manitoba's population would have been decreasing; it is because of immigration that our province has been growing. It is because of immigration that the French language today is spoken more in Manitoba.
    With respect to our communities, we should be looking at how our diversity enriches our society not only economically but also socially. Therefore, in terms of the French language, bilingual schools and so forth, it is fantastic when I see someone who is young of Filipino heritage or Indian heritage or someone who speaks Tagalog, English and French; or Punjabi, English and French. Even in terms of the caucus, we just heard from the Minister of National Revenue. We also have a member in the Quebec caucus of Sikh heritage who is francophone. We have had other members speak of the importance of immigration not only to Quebec but, I would suggest, to our entire country. That is the issue that I have with the Bloc: Why would the members try to use this issue and try to portray immigration in any way as a negative issue when it comes to our heritage and the very social fabric of our society?
    Then we have the Conservative leader, who responded to the resolution. It was hard to stay seated as he espoused the issues regarding immigration. It was hard to sit because I was the immigration critic in part during the Harper era when the leader of the Conservative Party was sitting around the cabinet table and Stephen Harper and that government decided to cut the parents and grandparents program completely. The leader of the Conservative Party is criticizing us on backlogs. The backlog for sponsoring a parent when Stephen Harper was the prime minister and the member was around the cabinet table was eight years. It got so bad that they actually said to the people of Canada that they were cancelling the program, so if someone wanted their mom and dad to come to Canada, they could forget it because they would not be able to come as landed immigrants.

  (1350)  

    That is something the Conservative government did when he was sitting around the cabinet table, and he is talking about backlogs. I still remember the issue when—
    The hon. member for Timmins—James Bay is rising on a point of order.
    Madam Speaker, I would not normally say this, but I am not feeling all that well today. Could the member just keep it down a little bit and just talk to us, as opposed to shouting at us? It is really hurting my ears.
    The hon. member for Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon is rising on a point of order.
    Madam Speaker, he is almost as loud as I am when I get agitated about something, so it is very loud—
    That is a point of debate. I do want to remind members that we have microphones, and we also want to make sure that the interpreters are not being impacted.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Madam Speaker, we will find that members, at times, might raise their voices a little bit when they feel passionate about an issue. Members are always welcome to leave the chamber or turn down the volume if they so choose. I hope that point of order did not take any of my time away.
    At the end of the day, when the leader of the Conservative Party tries to give the amazing impression that, somehow, the Conservatives understood immigration, it seems they really need to get a reality check when it comes to immigration.
    I made reference to the cancellation of the parents and grandparents program. One day, they have this other area on immigration. Imagine that someone is in line and has been waiting for years. They want to come as an independent and to be able to do some good things in Canada. They have been waiting for years under the Conservatives. The Conservatives have an idea: Here is how—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I am getting a lot of heckling on the official opposition side, so I would ask members to hold on, because there will be an opportunity to ask questions and comments for five minutes. I would just ask members to hold off.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Madam Speaker, let us imagine this. We have thousands of people in waiting lines, being processed. The Conservatives say they do not want to deal with this particular stream, so what they are going to do is just delete them all. Imagine being in queue, waiting for years, and the Harper government decides that the waiting lines are so long and that one of the ways they can deal with them is just to delete them, to pretend they did not even exist. A lot of people had a difficult time with that one.
    One can imagine why the Conservatives say that things are broken. We are still fixing the broken system that we inherited from Stephen Harper. That was truly broken.
    The leader of the Conservative Party says he wants people to feel good, to feel as if they can make a difference. Do members know what he talks about? He talks about immigrant credentials. That is a very important issue. There is no doubt that it is an important issue. In fact, the government has spent literally hundreds of millions of dollars to assist provinces in getting immigrant credentials recognized, far more money than Stephen Harper.
    What does the Conservative leader say today? He says that they are going to have a blue seal program, and that a person would come to Canada, write an exam and be a doctor anywhere they want in Canada. That is balderdash. That is absolute, underlined, “cannot say the word”. At the end of the day, the Conservatives do not know what they are talking about. They have no idea what all is involved. One cannot just say, “Here, write an exam and then we will allow you, as a doctor, to practise anywhere you want in Canada.”
    An hon. member: That is how it works.
    Mr. Kevin Lamoureux: No, that is not the way it works, Madam Speaker—

  (1355)  

    There is a cross-debate again, and there are some people who seem to be repetitive in not respecting the silence that I have asked of them during the hon. member's speech. I would just ask members, again, to stop heckling and to stop trying to engage in conversation while someone else has the floor.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): Order.
    I am now getting it on the government side as well.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): Order.
    Madam Speaker, I should start from the top.
    That would be a good punishment, maybe. I just meant that, because of the conversations I keep having, I should maybe get the member to start from the top, but I will not.
    I would just remind members that we are getting close to question period and I am sure that they have a lot of questions that they want to ask the hon. member once he is done, for questions and comments.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Madam Speaker, the point is—
    Madam Speaker, on a point of order, I would like to offer a way of bringing some order back to the decorum. It always seems that it is the member for Winnipeg North who is causing this. Could you take some of this last five minutes—
    That is not a point of order. Again, I would ask members to please be respectful.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Madam Speaker, what I was trying to clearly demonstrate is the fact that the Conservative leader has absolutely no idea, in terms of immigration policy or the types of things that would really make a difference, and we see that. I really wish I had the time and wish we were allowed to ask the Conservative leader questions based on the speech he delivered. Not only was he wrong on so many fronts when he tried to say that our system is broken, when in fact we inherited a broken system, but he also used the opportunity of the Bloc's motion to talk about the immigration policy of the Conservative Party. There is no Conservative policy on immigration.
     I think he understands, to a certain degree, some of those hot issues, but he has no idea how to deal with them. If we want to talk about immigrant credentials, we have to work with the provinces and different stakeholders. By telling people who are here today, or would-be immigrants, that they just have to write an exam and they will get the so-called blue seal, trying to make a comparison to the Red Seal, the Conservative leader is doing a huge disservice. He is trying to give the impression that the Conservatives would do a better job on immigration, when their record is the absolute opposite. That is the reality of the situation.
    That is why I found it very difficult to be in my seat while the leader of the Conservative Party tried to explain a Conservative policy on immigration. The Conservative leader needs to go back to the drawing board. He really and truly needs to look at ways to contribute to the debate on immigration, because he failed on all accounts coming into this particular debate.
    Questions and comments will come after question period.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Farming on Prince Edward Island

    Madam Speaker, island farmers are at the leading edge of climate adaptation. They are strong stewards of the environment and they know first-hand the impacts a warming climate has on the future of their industry. Recently, island farmers have been working with the potato board researchers and the living lab in their studying of cover crops.
    Cover crops assist in retaining nitrogen and nutrients, build soil organic matter, reduce erosion and create better resilience against increasingly frequent extreme weather events. Research has also shown they can produce up to a 10% yield improvement, and some varieties of cover crops can produce additional income for farmers. They are now utilized in nearly 50% of fields where potatoes were planted the year prior.
    I would like to commend the leadership of research and agronomy specialist Ryan Barrett and island producers on their innovative efforts to adapt to changing climate while still ensuring they produce some of the finest foods in the world.

  (1400)  

Moose Hide Campaign

    Madam Speaker, with Red Dress Day having just passed, it is important to continue our commitment to end violence against all women and children.
    The Moose Hide Campaign is an indigenous-led, nationwide movement started along Canada's infamous Highway of Tears. It calls on men, boys and all Canadians to stand up against gender-based violence. The co-founders, Paul and his daughter Raven, started this campaign to honour women and children and to challenge men and boys to stand with women and children, to speak out against gender-based violence, to support each other, to hold each other accountable, and to be positive role models for one another.
    By wearing a moose hide pin and participating in Moose Hide Campaign Day, Canadians are making measurable and meaningful progress towards reconciliation and the creation of a country where violence against women and children can no longer flourish in the shadows. I encourage all members of the House to show their support by wearing and sharing a moose hide pin today.

Mothers

    Madam Speaker, “mother” is a simple word, yet it has many deep meanings. Mother is birth, mother is love, mother is warmth, mother is hope and mother is a walking miracle. A mother comprehends what the child does not speak. A mother’s hug lasts long after she lets go.
    “Mother” is a simple word, but being a mother is no simple job. Indeed, the mothers of our nation and those of others, such as Iran, are the embodiment of strength and resilience. They take these traits with them everywhere they go, from home to their community and society. A feminist economic policy that puts equality and providing opportunities for our nation’s mothers at its core is essential, and it works. It is not easy being a mother. If it were, fathers would do it.
    I say to my wife, Homeira, that to the world she is a mother, but to our family she is the world.

[Translation]

Luc Noël

    Madam Speaker, when I was newly elected, I met a great man from Minganie who inspired me. His name is Luc Noël and, in fact, he has made a mark on the entire north shore. Today, as he steps down from his duties as an elected reeve, a position he held for more than 10 years, I want to ensure he understands just how grateful I and the people of the north shore are.
    His Anticostian, Acadian and Innu roots combined to give rise to a man with a loyal head and heart, a man dedicated to the area and those who shaped it. That is because he is a Cayen. My colleagues may not know what a Cayen is. That is what the people back home call those from Havre‑Saint‑Pierre.
    Imagine an ocean wind, filled with raw strength, that can fill every bit of space and can move, transform, change and create anything and everything through movement or speech. Imagine something that is energetic, with a benevolent yet unbreakable will. That is but a tiny part of who this man is.
    I thank Luc. He is one of the people building our country within a country. That is why there will never be enough Cayens, particularly Cayens of his calibre.

National Nursing Week

    Madam Speaker, this is National Nursing Week, and I want to express my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for the incredible work that nurses do every day. They are unsung heroes who work tirelessly to care for, comfort and support those who need it.
    Our lives are vastly improved by the dedication, compassion and expertise of Michelle, Nicole, Johanne, Kathy, Jay, Hassan, Karim, Frantz and all nurses, particularly those at the Cité-de-la-Santé hospital in Laval. They hold our hand, listen to our concerns and provide essential care when we need it most. They are incredibly strong and brave, and their efforts do not go unnoticed. They are the backbone of our health care system, and we are all grateful to them.
    I want to thank them on behalf of all Canadians.

[English]

Trans-Canada Highway

    Mr. Speaker, there have been far too many closures, far too many accidents and far too many lives lost along the Trans-Canada Highway through northwestern Ontario. That is why we have been calling for the twinning of this stretch for years. This project was supported by the former Conservative government, and it is supported by the provinces of Ontario and Manitoba, but the only missing piece is support from the federal Liberal government. We are thankful that construction of phase one has begun, with the support of the province, but we need federal involvement to be able to get it over the finish line.
    That is why I rise today, to once again renew my calls for the federal Liberals to step up, stop stalling and support this key infrastructure project so that people can travel safely throughout northwestern Ontario. If they cannot bring it home, I can assure Canadians that Canada's Conservatives will.

  (1405)  

Williams Syndrome

    Mr. Speaker, do colleagues know that Williams syndrome occurs in about one in every 10,000 births? Williams syndrome is a genetic condition that is caused by a random genetic deletion. Medical, developmental and learning challenges typically occur alongside unique abilities. It occurs equally in males and females, in all cultures, and to birth parents of all ages. Those with Williams syndrome have medical and developmental issues, but at the same time they exhibit striking verbal abilities, highly social personalities and an affinity for music.
    I would like to highlight the accomplishments of Karina Scali, who lives with Williams syndrome. Karina has taken the stage at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, travelled to the United Nations with the Minister of Disability Inclusion and recently graduated from Sheridan College with her ECE. We can never say that Williams syndrome has held Karina back, because she is accomplishing more than most people do in their lifetime.
    I ask members to join me in raising awareness for Williams syndrome.

Portuguese Canadians

    Mr. Speaker, 70 years ago, a group of 85 young men set sail to Canada from Portugal to start a new life. May 13 marks the anniversary of the first official labour migration of Portuguese arriving at Pier 21 aboard Saturnia in 1953. The community referred to them as pioneers. I would like to take this moment to recognize them and my father, Antonio Sousa, who made that inaugural journey in search of opportunity. Many were sent to work in farms and forestry. My dad went to work in the camps in Goose Bay, Labrador. His determination paid off, in making Toronto's Kensington Market my family's new home. Soon others followed, including my mother and brother a year later.
    This is but one story of the courage and resilience that define the Portuguese Canadian experience. Through hard work and perseverance, they and their descendants have contributed greatly to Canada's social, cultural and economic fabric. As the community celebrates this milestone, we recognize the legacy of those pioneers who opened doors. We thank them and many more Portuguese Canadians, men and women, who, to this day, continue to lead the way in building a strong and vibrant Canada.
     Parabéns e obrigado.

Journalists' Sources

    Mr. Speaker, as if censoring what Canadians can see, say or hear online was not bad enough, the Liberals had to go even a step further. That was this past weekend at their convention. They decided to put forward a policy that would require journalists to give up their sources in order to be published online. It was not enough to censor Canadians at large; they had to target journalists.
    Imagine this for a moment. Imagine what would happen if journalists had to be vetted by the government in order to release a story on, say, donations given by the Beijing government to the Trudeau Foundation, or foreign interference in our elections, or the many, many ethical breaches of the government. I wonder what would happen if journalists had to be vetted in order to release those stories. They probably would not go public, which begs the question, is the government simply acting pre-emptively in order to get ahead of future stories they know will be coming? Why is the government so hell-bent on censoring the media?

[Translation]

Shooting in Bourget

    Mr. Speaker, it is with sadness that I rise in the House. This morning, we were horrified to learn about the tragic events that had unfolded in the community of Bourget, in my riding. Every time there is a shooting, we always say to ourselves that such a thing would never happen in our own community, that these things only happen somewhere else. Sadly, this morning, one police officer lost his life and two others were injured.

[English]

    I cannot stop thinking about Sergeant Mueller's family. I cannot stop thinking about those officers who had to deliver the news to Sergeant Mueller's family. I cannot stop thinking about those officers who were injured, and I cannot stop thinking about the OPP officers who lost a colleague. The next few days, weeks, months and years will be hard on our community, but especially on our local police officers.
    My deepest condolences go to Sergeant Mueller's family, and I wish a speedy recovery to the injured officers.
    Let us never forget that every day police officers are putting their lives in danger to protect our communities.

  (1410)  

[Translation]

    I want to thank all the police officers and the first responders who assisted with this morning's tragic events.
    Thank you to our police officers from the bottom of my heart.

[English]

Carbon Tax

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years, the Prime Minister is completely out of touch. His government is driving up farmers' costs, and now he plans a 41¢-a-litre tax on gas, heat and food.
    Canada's largest megaproject, spring seeding, is now in progress. Farmers are planting their crops and they tell me this is the most expensive year ever. Farm cash expenses exceeded $11.5 billion in 2022, 11% higher than in 2020, and this year they will be even higher. His deficits have driven up borrowing rates, making it more expensive for farmers to finance their crop inputs. Thanks to the Prime Minister's carbon tax, farmers continue to have expenses that their global competitors do not have.
    Our farmers want a change. They are tired of the Prime Minister's out-of-touch policies. They want a government that does not punish them for growing food. They want a government that is committed to letting them do what they do best: feeding Canadians and feeding the world.

Conservative Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, instead of implementing a plan to fight inflation, the Liberals are determined to repeat their failed inflationary approach, and people are paying the price. Canadians are out of money and the Liberal government is out of touch.
    The good news is, Conservatives have a plan to clean up the Liberal mess. Our Conservative leader stands for the common sense of the common people, united for our common home: Canada.
    We will lower prices by ending inflationary deficits and scrapping the carbon tax on heat, gas and groceries. We will bring home powerful paycheques for workers by lowering taxes and clawbacks to reward their hard work. We will ensure people can find a place to call home, by firing the gatekeepers and freeing up land to build. We will protect communities by ending the catch-and-release of repeat violent criminals.
    Our Conservative team will keep working to turn hurt into hope, and under the leadership of our Conservative leader, we will bring back the common sense of the common people.

Mother's Day

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak about Mother's Day. Mothers are the foundation of our families and the backbone of our communities. We must also remember that Mother's Day is a celebration for mothers across this country and for those who play a motherly role in our lives, who provide us with love, care and guidance. They all deserve our gratitude and appreciation.

[Translation]

    Our mothers nourish us, support us and play a defining role in our identity. Through thick and thin, they give us comfort, courage and wisdom when we need it most. Let us pay tribute to the mothers who showed us the way.

[English]

    I express my deepest gratitude to all mothers, including the members in this House, for their love, strength and resilience. Let us come together to express our heartfelt appreciation to all mothers for their selfless love, unwavering dedication and boundless sacrifice.
    To my mother, Norma, and my mother-in-law, Lerma, I love them so much.

[Translation]

    Happy Mother's Day.

[English]

Rural Post Offices

    Mr. Speaker, postal workers play vital roles in our small communities, but Canada Post's model for rural communities is just not working. In many small towns, the postmasters themselves are responsible for providing a facility for the post office, something that Canada Post only pays them a couple of hundred dollars a month for, much less than market rates. The starting wage for these positions, which lie at the heart of community life, is less than $20 per hour.
    The community of Southbank was without its post office for almost a year. Local residents and the regional director, Clint Lambert, had to renovate a community building in order to restore postal services. In Atlin, where I am heading tomorrow, the community still has not received a permanent post office location from Canada Post, nor a postmaster.
    Rural places deserve reliable service delivery from the government, and Canada Post's model for rural post offices needs a lot of work. I hope the minister will improve the model for rural Canada and its postmasters.

  (1415)  

[Translation]

Women's Rights

    Mr. Speaker, the pathetic circus has returned to the Hill. With their fake smiles and their fake compassion, these anti-choice, anti-women demonstrators have returned. We see once again the generous Conservative donors eagerly waiting to applaud the few members of the official opposition who will come out to encourage them and sing the praises of their holy crusade against women's rights.
    They are there, en masse, with their signs, showing their sweetest, most inoffensive faces. However, these are the same people who intimidate doctors in front of abortion clinics, try to make young women feel guilty and threaten staff. They call themselves pro-life, but they have no problem wrecking anyone's life. They are incapable of recognizing that a woman's body belongs to her at all times. They are incapable of recognizing that women do not have to justify the decisions we make about our bodies to anyone.
    I am proud to belong to a party that defends women's right to abortion and even more proud to be a member of a nation that has already listened to the cause.
    These people have the right to protest, and that is truly their right. However, they should not expect our respect and they shall not have it.

[English]

Shooting in Bourget

     Mr. Speaker, today, I stand to honour our brave police officers, after the country received devastating news that, yet again, one of our police officers has fallen. Early this morning, in the small town of Bourget, Ontario, Sergeant Eric Mueller was killed and two more officers were injured on the job.
    Conservatives join with the OPP and police officers across the country in praying for the two officers still in hospital, for the family of Sergeant Mueller and for the safety of our brave police officers across Canada.
    This terrible tragedy follows nine months that have been the worst in recent memory for Canadian police. We have lost and we honour Constable Andrew Hong, Constable Morgan Russell, Constable Devon Northrup, Constable Shaelyn Yang, Constable Grzegorz Pierzchala, Constable Travis Jordan, Constable Brett Ryan, Sergeant Maureen Breau, Constable Harvinder Singh Dhami, and now, Sergeant Eric Mueller.
    To all our police, I say that we mourn with them and we stand with them today and every day.

Abortion Rights

    Mr. Speaker, as I speak, just outside this House, a protest is under way spouting anti-choice chants with the goal of tearing away a woman's access to abortion.
    Countless women have fought for years for our right to an abortion, a hard-earned freedom, to privacy, to autonomy and to choice. As the foundation that they built comes under threat from the rhetoric spewed by the Conservatives, we have a responsibility to not let up the fight. We cannot go back. We will not go back.
    As we fight tooth and nail to protect abortion as the safe health care practice that it is, we are relentless. I am proud to be part of a government that is committed to protecting my freedom and every woman's freedom to choose. I am proud of each and every woman and man on this side of the House who is committed to ensuring these rights are upheld indefinitely.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

Passports

    Mr. Speaker, with his woke, egotistical, liberal ideology, the Prime Minister is trying to delete our history by erasing Terry Fox, who fought cancer, by erasing Quebec City and by erasing the soldiers at Vimy, only to replace them with a colouring book that includes a picture of the Prime Minister swimming at Harrington Lake.
    I am announcing today that a common-sense Conservative government will restore our history and our passport, which includes Vimy, Quebec City, Terry Fox, and all of the history that makes us proud.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is important that we commemorate Canada's history, but let us not pretend that the only place we are able to do that is inside the pages of our passport.
    I know about Vimy Ridge because I have read books about it, researched it independently and talked to veterans who served in the military. I know that Brigadier-General A. E. Ross said, “in those few minutes I witnessed the birth of a nation”, but it is not because a picture was included in a passport.
    We are going to continue to take opportunities to commemorate our nation's heroes. Whether that includes statues on Parliament Hill or Viola Desmond on the $10 bill, or whether we seek other opportunities to commemorate our history, we will continue to engage Canadians along the way and make decisions that celebrate our nation's heroes.

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, the current Prime Minister's woke and out-of-touch ideology is so egotistical that he cannot imagine there are any Canadian stories bigger than him. That is why he deleted Terry Fox, the soldiers who died at Vimy, the city of Quebec and the RCMP from our passport to replace them with a colouring book that includes an image of him swimming at Harrington Lake when he was a boy.
    I announce that a common-sense Conservative government would bring back Vimy, our memory of Terry Fox and pride in our country, and it would restore a passport that all of us can be proud of.
    Mr. Speaker, I would caution the opposition leader against claiming that he somehow has a monopoly on caring about Terry Fox. He should talk to the member for Oakville about her advocacy for Terry Fox and the money she has helped secure for cancer research.
    Terry Fox lives on in the memories of Canadians because of the courage he demonstrated during the Marathon of Hope and in—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I am going to have to interrupt the minister.
    The hon. Leader of the Opposition wants to hear the answer to the question he asked. I am going to let the minister start from the top so that the hon. Leader of the Opposition can hear the whole thing.
    The hon. minister.
    Mr. Speaker, I would caution all members of this House against claiming some sort of a monopoly on caring about our nation's heroes.
    Terry Fox is loved by Canadians, not because his picture was in the passport but because of the courage he demonstrated during the Marathon of Hope, and the research funding that has come to help advance care for cancer patients. My family has been affected by cancer, and I still celebrate Terry Fox's contributions to our national discourse. Let us look at the advocacy of the member for Oakville on Terry Fox's behalf to help secure funding to perpetuate his legacy and continue to improve cancer research.
    We can commemorate our heroes in a number of ways, and we are committed to doing that.

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is out of touch and in hiding. Yesterday, as he left the House, he challenged me to have more of these debates, and now he will not even get out of his seat and answer my questions.
    We know why. He is afraid. He is afraid to defend not only his first carbon tax, which he admits will increase the price of gas by 41¢ a litre, at thousands of dollars of net costs per family, but he now has carbon tax 2, a second tax with no rebate, that will increase food, heat and gas prices even further.
    How much will the second carbon tax increase the cost of gas for hard-working Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, we now have the Conservative premier of New Brunswick, at the request of one of the Conservative members, asking the federal government to put in place our carbon pricing system. We have a number of Conservative members who have argued in favour of carbon pricing. All the provinces and territories in Canada have put in place carbon pricing. While we have done that, we have increased jobs and economic development in Canada, and we have reduced our pollution by more than 50 million tonnes.
    Mr. Speaker, the question that the Prime Minister was too afraid to stand up to answer and debate me on was about the cost of the second carbon tax.
    We know that the Prime Minister's first carbon tax will cost 41¢ a litre, at a net cost to average families of over $1,500. However, that is not enough for him. He wants a second carbon tax, which will add even more costs without any rebate at all.
    We know that he told falsehoods about the first tax. Will he finally have the guts to stand up and tell us how much his second tax will cost Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, if allowed, I will read from the Conservative Party of Canada's election platform from the last election, the platform that this party stood and spoke to Canadians about. I am quoting from page 78, where it says, “Our plan will ensure that all Canadians can do their part—”
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
     I am sorry. I am starting to hear chatter again. I am having a hard time hearing the answer, and it is coming from a certain point. I am sure they do not want the next question to be swapped with the last one and have someone very special to them—
    Mrs. Rachael Thomas: It was coming equally from that side and from this side.
    The Speaker: The hon. member for Lethbridge will apologize to the Chair for interrupting.
    Mrs. Rachael Thomas: Mr. Speaker, I apologize for interrupting.
    The Speaker: Very good.
    Now, I want to remind all members to have some respect for this chamber. That includes the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay. I hear his chattering throughout. I just want to ask him to keep it down and stop, please.
    Now, we will go back to the minister, from the top, and I want to see everything calm down.
    The hon. minister.

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition and many members across the way have called me “woke” before, and if “woke” means standing up for the future of my children and grandchildren so that they have access to clean air and clean water, then so be it. If “woke” means standing up to create jobs for generations of Canadians by investing in the clean economy, then so be it. If “woke” means standing up for the rights of women to choose, then so be it.
    Mr. Speaker, he is woke, and so Canadians are broke. I will say what “woke” means in practice. His government approved dumping millions of litres of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River; that is what “woke” means. “Woke” means charging a single mom higher costs to drive to work and feed her kids while the Prime Minister jets around using Canadian tax dollars and pumping emissions into our atmosphere. That is the woke hypocrisy across the way. If he has the guts to tell the truth, he will tell us this: How much will carbon tax 2 cost Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, what is exceptionally disappointing from the Leader of the Opposition is that at a time when families in Alberta are experiencing some of the worst wildfires in their history, he is railing against policies that are helping to fight climate change. When he talks about that single mom, unfortunately, he has opposed sending her the Canada child benefit, which has put thousands of dollars into her pocket. He has also opposed the child care agreements that are supporting families across this country and saving them thousands of dollars. When it comes to the environment and supporting families, we know where the Leader of the Opposition—
     The hon. member for La Prairie.

[Translation]

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, they want to bring in 100 million people by 2100. Everyone in Quebec can see that the so-called Century Initiative is nothing of the kind.
    Quebec's premier even declared it a threat to our nation. Quebec's National Assembly adopted not one, not two, but three unanimous motions against these targets. Every elected representative in Quebec is against them. These people are not big bad nationalists. They simply are not willing to see Quebec transformed in such a radical way without debate and without their input.
    Will the government commit to not increasing immigration to reach 100 million citizens by 2100?
    Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear: the Century Initiative plan is not our government's policy. It is very important to welcome people who work in our communities and make an essential contribution to improving Canadians' quality of life. It is possible, important and essential to welcome newcomers while protecting francophones' demographic weight. Not only is it possible, it is this government's policy right now.
    Mr. Speaker, all parties in the House have recognized the Quebec nation, yet today they are unable to respect the Quebec nation.
    The Liberals are adopting immigration targets that are unanimously opposed by the Quebec National Assembly. The Conservatives, meanwhile, say they will determine their targets based on business demands, not the will of Quebeckers. The NDP says, “Quebec? Who cares?”
    Will Quebeckers from the other parties stand with their nation and say no to these targets of 500,000-plus people a year?
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague knows full well that Quebec has several tools to control immigration into Quebec. We also know that there are posters all over Quebec saying, “we are hiring”.
    On Monday, I was in Saint‑Eustache with ministers from the Quebec government. On the way from Saint‑Eustache to Ottawa, there were companies everywhere, in industrial parks, that need workers.
    We will work with the Quebec government and Quebec businesses to ensure that businesses have access to this workforce—

  (1430)  

    The hon. member for Burnaby South.

Women and Gender Equality

    Mr. Speaker, once again, the Conservatives will try to reopen the debate on the right to abortion. Once again, the Liberals will place their hands on their hearts and declare their outrage, without doing anything to guarantee the right to abortion.
    When will the government stop with the empty words? When will they guarantee access to abortion?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we know, on this side of the House, that health care and abortion go hand in hand. We will always protect a woman's right to an abortion.
    We have seen, on the other side of the House, an attempt to attack a woman's right to an abortion. To be clear, that will not stand on this side of the House.
    Mr. Speaker, the reality is, with the Liberal government, it is often all talk and no action, particularly when it comes to something as important as reproductive rights.
    The Liberals promised to ensure that all regions of this country would have access to abortion services. Did they deliver? No, they failed. The Liberals promised to ensure that anti-abortion groups spreading misinformation would not receive charitable status. Did they deliver? No, they failed.
    Again and again, the Liberals continue to say one thing and do another. Will they stop with the empty words and deliver concrete steps to defend, not just the right but the absolute right—
    The hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House, our policy is clear. We are a feminist government. That includes defending women's rights, including a woman's right to choose and a woman's right to access abortion.
    We will always be there to fund clinics, but also to fight the radical right that models itself on everything that comes out of the United States, south of our border, which certainly has repercussions for our colleagues opposite.

[English]

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, $3,000 is the price that Canadians could soon be paying to rent a one-bedroom unit in Toronto. That is according to a piece from BNN Bloomberg this week. The report says that limited supply, which of course gives us higher prices, is the reason for this.
    Under the Prime Minister, new units are not being built fast enough, housing prices have doubled and the dream of home ownership is slipping away. When will the Liberals get out of the way and actually get shovels into the ground?
    Mr. Speaker, it is really amazing to listen to the Conservatives finally come around to actually proposing some half-baked ideas about housing.
    We have been doing everything that the hon. member is talking about for the last two years. We have been tying infrastructure to housing. We have been investing in municipalities to make sure that we have more housing supply. We have been building more affordable housing. We have been putting measures in place to help first-time homebuyers. We have been building rapid housing for the most vulnerable.
    We have been doing it all, and the Conservatives have voted against every single measure we have brought to this House.
    Mr. Speaker, that is because none of it is working.
    The housing minister is spending $89 billion to double the price of a home, double rent and double mortgage payments. He is about to build 50,000 fewer houses this year than he did last year. In eight years, we have also lost 20,000 affordable housing units. The Liberals are spending more money to get higher prices and worse results. It is a failure by any measure.
    Will the housing minister bring home places to live for our people that they could actually afford?
    Mr. Speaker, maybe the hon. member needs to talk to her leader, because he stood up in this House and insulted and denigrated three of the leading mayors of Canada's largest cities, calling them “woke.”
    He also stood in this House and pledged to cut housing funding. He hopes that, somehow, all of that would result in some magical solution to the housing issue. It is the same magical thinking that underpinned his advice to Canadians to go with cryptocurrency to opt out of inflation.

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government has created a cost of living crisis. Housing prices have doubled under the Liberals. Many Canadians are skipping meals just to keep up with their bills. Now the Liberals plan a 41¢ per litre tax increase on heat, gas and food.
     When will the Liberal government come to its senses and cancel its harmful tax increases?

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives talk a big game when it comes to energy in Canada, but here are the facts.
     Under the Conservative government, foreign oil imports were double what they are today. It is a fact that imports from non-U.S. sources have declined 80% under our government. These facts speak for themselves.
     Under our government, more Canadians are using Canadian energy. The member opposite may not like it, but a fact is a fact.
    Mr. Speaker, the fact is that the Liberals have not met one single climate target.
     Liberal taxes are breaking the backs of Canadians. Liberal policies are discouraging workers by clawing back more and more of what Canadians earn. The Liberals are making it impossible to get ahead. So many Canadians are discouraged and concerned about buying their first home, starting a family or working toward financial independence.
     Will the Prime Minister cancel his plan to raise taxes on food, heat and gas, and give Canadians some hope?
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to let the hon. member know that from the very time we formed government we have been laser-focused on making life more affordable for Canadians. I note that at every step along the way when we have cut taxes for the middle class or delivered benefits directly to families, the Conservatives have reliably been there to vote against the measures we put forward.
    With respect to some of the comments that are coming from the Conservative Party right now about money that is being earned by Canadians is so-called being taken away, the reality is that those are the funds that go toward ensuring Canadians have access to the Canada pension plan. Those are the funds that go toward making sure Canadians have access to employment insurance if they fall upon hard times.
     We will defend the social programs that keep my neighbours well during difficult—
    The hon. member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes.

Democratic Institutions

    Mr. Speaker, The Globe and Mail reported that the Trudeau Foundation was used as part of an influence operation to get access to the Prime Minister. We heard from the CEO this week that with the donation there was no oversight and no due diligence or audit.
     Within five weeks of the Prime Minister's brother signing this $200,000 donation agreement with two Beijing-backed donors, they both had direct access to the Prime Minister.
     The question is very simple. Does the Prime Minister still believe the allegations in The Globe and Mail are false?
    Mr. Speaker, what has been said time and time again in the House is that the Prime Minister has not had a connection, direct or indirect, with the foundation for more than 10 years. It is an independent foundation that is responsible for giving scholarships to young leaders, who are going to have tremendous futures in our country. If members have questions about that organization that gives those scholarships, they should ask the foundation directly.
     However, what we have seen from the testimony is that whether it is attacking the CBC or independent organizations, those members have no care for whom they attack with their partisan attacks or what damages it does. They are just seeking partisan—
    The hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, what we saw is that the president of the Trudeau Foundation, a long-time Liberal and good friend of the Trudeau family, Edward Johnson, was a good student. Like the Prime Minister, he wilfully chose to turn a blind eye to Beijing's attempted interference in the foundation to influence the current Prime Minister. The foundation manages $125 million in taxpayer money and Mr. Johnson, a good soldier, put a freeze on all internal investigations into this $140,000 donation from the regime in Beijing.
    Why will the Prime Minister not acknowledge that he too wilfully turned a blind eye because his party benefited?
    Mr. Speaker, the foundation in question is independent. The Prime Minister has no direct or indirect involvement in the foundation. That is clear.
    The foundation is responsible for scholarships. The foundation is independent and ensures that future generations of leaders receive support for their education. If the member across the way has any questions, it is important to address them to the foundation directly.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, the government can go ahead and say that it is not following the Century Initiative, but it is using the same targets. I said, “the same”, but that is not accurate. The Century Initiative is recommending that Canada welcome 475,000 newcomers in 2025, but the government chose to go with 500,000. It is moving even faster, despite the unanimous opposition of the Quebec National Assembly, and without even consulting Quebec or holding a public debate.
    The Bloc Québécois is calling on all parties, especially the Liberals, to listen to my question. If they want to copy the Century Initiative or even increase the level of immigration even faster, will they at least be honest enough to tell Quebeckers about it?

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, that is interesting. It is obvious that my friend across the way did not read the federal government's plan for immigration levels. If he had read the chapter on francophone immigration, then he would know that it is possible to create a system that will welcome the largest number of francophone newcomers in the history of Canada. That is the government's plan right now.
    However, the situation in Quebec is very different. Quebec now has the power to set the level of newcomers to Quebec. Quebec has the power to choose every person who comes to Quebec through the economic class.
    Now—
    The hon. member for Lac‑Saint‑Jean.
    Mr. Speaker, they reached their francophone immigration target once in 20 years and they are boasting about it. That is ridiculous.
    Immigration thresholds are not an abstract concept or just a number in a notebook. They are not statistics that are just thrown around. Behind the numbers there are people with needs. These people need housing, they need health care, day care and schools for their children. They also need to integrate into their new society, learn its language and its culture. We cannot look at immigration from a strictly economic point of view. We are talking about human beings.
    Will the government commit to rejecting this bad initiative and finally consider the ability to integrate these people when establishing these thresholds?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his intervention.
    When I think about immigration, I think about the labour shortage. What we need to make clear to all Quebeckers watching today is that Quebec has the authority to select immigrants.
    What we are hearing across Quebec and in the regions is that there is a need for workers. When we make investments, for example in the GM plant that will be built in Bécancour, the mayors and officials of the RCMs tell us that they need skilled people.
    That is how we will build Quebec and Canada.

Health

    Mr. Speaker, let us talk about health transfers.
    The provinces said they needed $28 billion a year. The federal government gave them only one-sixth of that amount. That was insulting enough, but that was only to provide care for the current population. That did not take into account the Century Initiative.
    The Liberal target is a minimum of 500,000 people per year. What studies have they looked at to determine that Quebec and the provinces can provide health care to at least 500,000 more people every year with one-sixth of the money we already need?
    Mr. Speaker, first of all, as the Bloc Québécois is well aware, because the minister has already said so, the initiative mentioned is not a policy of this government. That is the first point.
    My second point is that, to my knowledge, there were no Bloc Québécois members present with the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and the Minister of Health when they were negotiating an additional $8 billion in health transfers to Quebec.
    That is what Quebeckers wanted from our government and that is what we delivered.

[English]

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, the finance minister refuses to appear at the finance committee for two hours to answer basic questions about her failed budget. She spent more time in a round-trip flight between Toronto and—

[Translation]

    I have to interrupt the member for a moment. I would like to remind all hon. members that, when they speak among themselves, other people can hear them.

[English]

    We have great acoustics, but it echoes all over. I want members to be mindful so we can hear the questions and the answers. I know that some of it is not done on purpose and that members are talking among themselves, like being at work and talking to the next person maybe four or five benches over, but it really does echo and it interferes. I just want everybody to be conscious of that.
    The hon. member for Calgary Forest Lawn, from the top, please.
    Mr. Speaker, the finance minister refuses to appear at the finance committee to answer basic questions for two hours about her failed budget. She spent more time in a round-trip flight between Toronto and Ottawa than she did in the finance committee in the last year.
    Her failed budget added an extra $4,200 cost on struggling households with the $43-billion Liberal budget bonanza.
    Why is she hiding from answering for two hours at the committee? Is she as embarrassed by this budget as much as Canadians are?
    Mr. Speaker, I have been very clear on this issue. The finance minister is very ready and is scheduled to appear at the finance committee. Guess what is happening.
     This morning, once again, the Liberals showed up to work to listen to testimony on the budget implement act, but what did the Conservative MP for South Shore—St. Margarets want to talk about? It was the Taxman from the Beatles. I have nothing against the Beatles, but I do want supports getting out to Canadians.
     Therefore, my appeal to every member in the House is this. Let us come together, right now, and pass the bill.

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, if I were the finance minister, I would be embarrassed to answer for two hours as well. She misled Canadians and said that she did not want to add fuel to inflation. She then threw a $43-billion inflationary jerry can on the inflationary fire that she created in the first place.
     The Liberals gaslit Canadians for years about their failed carbon tax scam, while Canadians watched them jet-set around the world trying to up their phony celebrity status. Now it seems like the finance minister is auditioning for her next career.
    When will the finance minister realize that this is not a part-time job? When will she get to work, appear at the committee for two hours and answer basic questions about her failed budget?
    Mr. Speaker, it is very clear that the Conservatives are not happy about the fact that Canada has maintained its AAA credit rating, that Canada has made sure in this last budget that inflation has not gone up. In fact, it has been going down for nine consecutive months in a row. We have the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio in the G7 and the fastest-growing economy.
    What is the Conservative filibuster stopping? It is stopping faster payments for the Canada workers benefit, supports to parents to help with their kids' education, tax reductions for tradespeople. The Conservatives are filibustering. When are they going to stop and deliver for Canadians?

[Translation]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are stretched to the limit. They are struggling to get by. They are at the end of their rope, they are fed up and they cannot take any more.
    Meanwhile, this government is digging in its heels and taking even more money out of their pockets and off their paycheques. It is continuing with its plan to increase the price of gas, groceries and housing. The people in my riding talk to me about it every day.
    The Prime Minister should stop taking luxury vacations all over the world and listen to Canadians, who also talk to him every day.
    Will he finally put an end to his policies that are driving up the cost of consumer goods?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    Listening to Canadians is exactly what we did. It is something that the Conservatives should do. Canadians told us three things.
    First, they told us that they need help with the cost of groceries. That is why we proposed a grocery rebate that will help 11 million Canadians across the country. Second, Canadians told us that they want a family doctor. That is why we took action in health. Third, Canadians told us that they need help getting ready to succeed in the 21st-century economy. That is exactly what we are doing. We are positioning Canada for the 21st-century economy.

[English]

Women and Gender Equality

    Mr. Speaker, I am a mother and if my daughter ever needed an abortion, I would do everything possible to make sure she had access to the full range of reproductive health care, yet the government has done nothing to ensure equal access for Canadians. Only one in six hospitals in the country provide abortion services.
     The Liberals are all talk, but women in rural communities are suffering. Abortion care is not a campaign slogan. We need more providers, more funding and more action from the government.
    How long are Canadians going to have to wait?
    Mr. Speaker, the right to an abortion and access to abortion undoubtedly go hand in hand. In Canada, universal access to abortion is guaranteed under the Canada Health Act. Through the $45-million sexual reproductive health fund, we are making sure that Canadians facing obstacles to accessing abortions are supported financially and that organizations providing these services have capacity to do so.

Government Programs

    Mr. Speaker, Priests for Life is this militant political action group fighting against women's reproductive freedom and its behaviour is so extreme that Pope Francis himself had to kick its leader out of the Roman Catholic Church.
     How is it possible that this group of anti-women extremists keeps getting approval for Canada summer jobs? It is unconscionable. Canadian youth are being encouraged to get trained by this extremist political network while taxpayers foot the bill.
    Will the minister explain why Canada summer jobs continues to offer funding to anti-choice extremists?
    Mr. Speaker, we all know in the House how much we value Canada's summer jobs in our community. It provides incredible opportunities for youth and for employers throughout.
    Throughout this process, we know MP input is critical. We value that input, and I encourage all MPs to bring forward their suggestions, their concerns, their ideas. We are always happy to hear from them.

  (1450)  

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, gun violence and violent crime have prevented Canadians in B.C. from feeling safe in their communities.
    Since 2015, our government has prioritized prevention, intervention and enforcement as ways to keep guns off the street and give resources to our neighbourhoods. Could the Minister of Public Safety tell the House what the Government of Canada is doing to eliminate violent crime in British Columbia?
    Mr. Speaker, I first want to thank my colleague from Surrey for his advocacy and hard work. I would also be remiss if I did not take a moment to express our condolences to OPP officer Sergeant Mueller's family. He died in a tragic incident last night. Our hearts and our thoughts go out to them.
    We want to be sure that these sacrifices are not in vain. That is why we made an announcement earlier this week on providing $390 million for law enforcement across the country, which will help ensure we can prevent another tragedy like that from occurring again and keep Canadians safe from gun violence.

Passports

    Mr. Speaker, I do not know if the Prime Minister could be more out of touch with the reality of Canadians.
    It really was not too long ago that people literally lined up and stayed the night, camping out, to get their passport renewed or a new one altogether. People missed out on being able to go see a dying loved one before they passed away. They missed out on weddings. They missed out on funerals. They missed out on family celebrations. Why was that?
    Well, it turns out that it was because this government was more concerned with erasing history by removing Terry Fox, Quebec City and Vimy Ridge from our passports, rather than getting passports expedited to Canadians. Why is the government so hellbent on erasing Canada's history?
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to share with members of the House that my hon. colleague is deeply mistaken.
    With regard to the ability of Canadians to get their passports in a timely way, I want to credit the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development for her work to eliminate the backlogs so Canadians can get passports for travel where and when they were needed. With respect to the changes to the passport, the designs were approved a number of years ago, before there were any considerations of backlogs and passport applications.
    It is very important that no party in the House claims a monopoly over owning Canada's history. Every member of the House cares deeply about our nation's history and is proud of the country. We will continue to commemorate it in the years ahead.
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are erasing Terry Fox's picture from Canadian passports. Terry Fox came from Coquitlam, B.C., and was Métis. After his leg was amputated for cancer, he began his cross-country Marathon of Hope to raise funds for research.
    Terry did not live to finish the race to the Pacific, but now millions participate in the annual Terry Fox Run to continue his race. Terry Fox is an international hero. Why would the Prime Minister rip this great Canadian's picture from our passports?
    Mr. Speaker, it breaks my heart to hear anyone in the House politicize a Canadian hero such as Terry Fox. That is something that the Fox family has prided itself on since Terry passed away in 1980.
    Not only that, but during the convoy, Terry's statue was defaced here in Ottawa, and the members opposite were supportive of that convoy—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order.
    On both sides I am hearing a lot of talking among members, which makes it hard to hear the questions and the answers. This then elevates, and the chatter starts back and forth.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary has the floor.
    Mr. Speaker, the members opposite are saying that we are erasing Terry Fox from history. Terry Fox will never, ever be erased from history, not here in Canada, and not around the world.
    Mr. Speaker, the mayor of Terry Fox's hometown said, “Whoever made the decision to remove Terry Fox from Canadian passports needs to give their head a shake. Our country needs more Terry Fox, not less.”

  (1455)  

[Translation]

    The members across the way have the nerve to say that we are politicizing the history of the Canadian passport. More than ever, the government is showing that it is totally out of touch with reality. It is despicable to erase the history of our country from Canadian passports.
    Will they ever figure that out?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to be a Terry Foxer. I am proud every member in the House is probably a Terry Foxer. There is no Canadian who people relate to more than Terry Fox. He will never be erased from history.
    I want to remind the members opposite, who seem to stand here wanting to politicize one of the greatest Canadians ever, that they said nothing when Terry's statue was defaced on Wellington Street during the convoy.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I invite the parliamentary secretary and everyone over there to repeat what they said to the mayor of the city Terry Fox was born in. Good luck!
    That is not all. The passport is the most important document Canadians carry when they are abroad, but it is also important for what it contains. Quebec City is referenced in it four times: The Quebec conference, Quebec City itself, Samuel de Champlain, and Captain Bernier, who discovered the Canadian north with his boat, are illustrated within its pages.
    Once again, why is the government erasing our national history, which we can be proud of, from the Canadian passport?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is very important that nobody in the House claims a monopoly over caring for our national heroes, such as Terry Fox, or claims a monopoly over caring about our nation's history.
    The reality is that over the past 10 years, an exercise to consult Canadians was taken on to understand what people wanted reflected in their travel document. We have themes recognizing the different regions of Canada, our natural environment, the contributions of indigenous Canadians and of course improved security features.
    The Canadian passport is one of the most powerful travel documents. It allows one access to almost every country in the world. It is something we should be proud of. We can protect the security of our passport and celebrate our history at the same time.

[Translation]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister meets with CSIS once a week. If we do not include his vacations and his many foreign missions, we can presume that the Prime Minister was given at least 50 briefings since 2021, when CSIS was informed of the threats against the member for Wellington—Halton Hills. In all those briefing sessions, no one apparently addressed an issue as important as threats against one or more MPs. Come on, that is unbelievable.
    Of the fifty or so weekly meetings with CSIS, how many of them addressed the threats made against one or more elected officials?
    Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister already stated earlier this week, CSIS decides what information it shares with departments and with the Prime Minister. The 2023 budget provides funding for the establishment of a national counter-foreign interference coordinator and for the RCMP. That is how to protect not only democratic institutions, but also all Canadians
    Mr. Speaker, when the Prime Minister was notified by CSIS that candidates in his party might be getting support from Chinese authorities, he did nothing and said nothing. When he was notified by CSIS that members of Parliament and their families were victims of threats and intimidation, he did nothing and said nothing.
    Can the Prime Minister tell the House with a straight face that if the threats against the member for Wellington—Halton Hills had not been made public, he still would have expelled the Chinese diplomat?
    Mr. Speaker, we have said many times that we are a government that takes the threat of foreign interference extremely seriously. We have been announcing measures since we formed government, and we have enhanced them. As far as threats against members, senators or parliamentarians are concerned, obviously this is completely unacceptable. We gave a clear directive to the authorities and intelligence agencies to share this intelligence, and we will always follow up as needed.

  (1500)  

[English]

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years of the Liberals, this is where housing is at in Canada: Housing prices, rent and mortgage payments have all doubled. At a time when we need more housing built, the Liberals' own statistics show they are down 32% in housing starts.
    The Liberal response has been that they are spending record amounts of money, and now we know where that money is going. The housing minister signed off on $51 million in performance bonuses for gatekeepers at the CMHC. Can the Liberals explain why they are giving bonuses to housing gatekeepers who are failing by every possible measure?
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows that independent Crown corporations are responsible for the compensation of their staff.
    When it comes to the housing supply, we are supporting Canadians struggling with the cost of housing and protecting the dream of home ownership by including things such as a $4-billion housing accelerator fund to speed up the construction of new housing, a federal top-up to the Canada housing benefit to help millions of Canadians, our $40,000 first-time homebuyer tax-free savings account and new guidelines to protect Canadians who already have mortgages.
    All of these measures are helping Canadians, and what did the Conservatives do? They voted against each one of them.
    Mr. Speaker, we already know that the Liberals' $80-billion housing plan has only made the crisis worse. In fact, as of a few weeks ago, the CMHC has raised government fees on new rental construction. Countless housing providers have abandoned new projects because of the red tape and endless delays at the CMHC.
    We have now learned that every single executive at the CMHC got a fat bonus. Why do the Liberals reward executives who are actively making the crisis worse?
    Mr. Speaker, intergovernmental affairs allows me to work with the mayors of Canada's cities and towns. One thing I can say is that they want a partner who will help them with the housing crises in their communities. That is exactly what our government has done.
    I will tell members what we have not done. We have not decided that it would be a successful housing strategy to insult the mayor of Montreal, the mayor of Toronto and the mayor of Vancouver. They want a government that will work with them on the housing crisis. That is what my colleague, the Minister of Housing, is doing, and that is what our government will continue to do.
    Mr. Speaker, maybe the minister should come with me as I criss-cross the country talking to community groups whose members have given up. They come to me in tears because of the disastrous housing policy the government has presented.
    They have handed out $26 million in bonuses. How many homes could we build with an extra $26 million?
    Mr. Speaker, as we explained our housing plan to the leader of the official opposition, we could see from his face that it was the first time he had heard of the plan. When we launched the housing accelerator fund, that same afternoon, the Conservatives launched a half-baked plan that basically mimicked our plan.
    For the last two years, we have been connecting infrastructure to housing. We are working with municipalities to speed up housing supply. We have been helping first-time homebuyers, and we are investing in affordable housing.
    The problem is that the Conservatives keep voting against all these measures, and then they get up to talk about how they are talking to communities and want to do something about housing, but when it comes time to take action, they fail every time.

[Translation]

Women and Gender Equality

    Mr. Speaker, abortion is health care. A woman's right to choose is hers and hers alone.
    However, as we speak, anti-choice activists are gathering on Parliament Hill in hopes of rolling back our basic rights. Their goal is very clear. They want to impose abortion restrictions on Canadian women.
    Can the minister inform the House of what the government is doing to protect a woman's right to choose?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Dorval—Lachine—LaSalle for her important question.
    We know what happens when right-wing activists team up with anti-choice politicians to try and take away our basic rights. The only possible outcome is restricting women's rights.
    Our mothers and grandmothers fought hard for us to have these rights. All women should have freedom of choice and should have access to services.
    I have a bit of news for the Conservatives: There is no going back.

  (1505)  

[English]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are out of money, while the Prime Minister is out of touch, and soon he will be out of a job. Why is that? It is because the Liberal government is driving up the cost of living through its inflationary spending and higher taxes.
    It used to be that Canadians who worked hard and made the right decisions would get ahead in this country. Unfortunately, more and more Canadians are falling behind. Many low- and middle-income families and Canadians are paying marginal tax rates in excess of 50%, 60% and 70%. As if that was not enough, the Prime Minister is going to add another tax, a new carbon tax, on top of a 41¢-per-litre tax, raising the cost of home heating and food.
    Will the Prime Minister finally give Canadians a break and axe both the taxes?
    Mr. Speaker, we have just gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. Why does the hon. member not add 80%, 90% or 100% tax in this fictitious world he lives in?
    For heaven's sake, that is absurd in the extreme. I have seen commedia dell’arte in my life, but I have never seen such a farce in the House of Commons.
    I just want to remind the hon. members, only one question at a time. Members cannot come up with a supplementary while their question is being answered.
    The hon. minister has 15 seconds left, if he wants to continue.
    Mr. Speaker, I have nothing to add.

Passports

    Mr. Speaker, the Battle of Vimy Ridge united Canada as a nation through the service and sacrifice of 3,598 Canadian soldiers. Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope leaves a legacy that lives to this very day for our nation. Nellie McClung pushed our nation forward with more equality and human rights as a suffragette leader.
    Instead of honouring the great moments in our country's history, these Liberals are instead focused on man with wheelbarrow and squirrel with nuts.
    Why is the Liberal government so intent on erasing Canadian history from our passport?
    Mr. Speaker, this is emblematic of how the Conservatives acted when they were in government. They spent more time on symbols than on action.
    When it comes to our veterans, what did they do? They closed nine veterans offices across the country. When it came to cancer, what did they do? They did not make any investments.
    What did we do? We invested in the Terry Fox Foundation. When the Terry Fox statue was being desecrated, what did they do? They cheered on the convoy. When it comes to women's rights, what did they do? They campaigned on the Hill and they introduced legislation to make it harder for a woman's right to choose. Give me a break.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

[Translation]

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, there are two worlds, two realities.
    On the one hand, we have a princely Prime Minister indulging in luxury holidays at the expense of Canadian taxpayers. On the other hand, we have overtaxed Canadians being forced to tighten their belts in order to pay their rent and bills.
    Can the Prime Minister stop having his rich whims paid for by all hard-working Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, once again, the Liberals showed up at the Standing Committee on Finance to work hard and move forward with support for Canadians.
    The Conservatives continue with their misguided plan to filibuster. If the Conservatives are genuinely worried about the cost of living, they can stop the filibuster and work with us to pass the budget implementation bill.

[English]

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, I have heard concerns from many constituents and members of the Pakistani community in Canada about processing times for temporary resident visas for Pakistani applicants. Currently the IRCC website gives a wait time of 802 days, compared to a few weeks for nearby countries.
    I know the Minister of Immigration is personally engaged on this issue. Could he please explain why this number is misleading, and what is really happening with processing times for Pakistan?

  (1510)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for her advocacy on behalf of the Canadian Pakistani community, as well as my other caucus colleagues who recently approached me to discuss this issue.
    I have good news. Today an application for a TRV from a Pakistani applicant is expected to take 60 days. We anticipate, very soon, returning to the 30-day standard we enjoyed before the pandemic.
    The website shows an extended period because we have gotten through such a significant volume, about 80,000 cases in recent months, that we are now tackling applications that were submitted during the pandemic when travel was not allowed. That is why we see an inflated wait time on the website, but the truth is things have improved dramatically and people should expect timely resolutions to their immigration decisions.

Women and Gender Equality

    Mr. Speaker, reproductive health rights are at risk. Generations of women are exhausted by their continued fight to protect and improve access to reproductive health care.
    The Liberals claim they are feminists but they have not invested to deliver the health care services women and diverse genders need. In B.C., the NDP government has taken the important step of making prescription contraceptives free. Why will the Liberals not do the work and make this a reality for all Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, I am glad my colleague across the way mentioned B.C. because earlier this week we are able to announce a $4.2-million investment to SCI Action Canada Lab and UBC so that they can continue to serve women with vital, reproductive health care and access to abortion. On this side of the House, we will continue to do everything possible to ensure access to reproductive health care.

Democratic Institutions

    Mr. Speaker, as the government shudders in fear over what China may do to punish it for expelling a diplomat, Canada should look at reining in China’s ability to waltz in and buy numerous mining land claims. Canadian prospecting companies have no chance of getting claims approved in China, which are rejected without reason, but the welcome mat is often put out for Chinese companies that are often thinly veiled arms of the Chinese Communist Party. Canada’s indigenous groups are not even consulted as they see Chinese land claims spring up on territorial lands.
     Will the government send a clear signal to Beijing that Canada is not their personal plaything and that we too will strongly stand up for our national security and sovereignty?
    Mr. Speaker, I think my colleague well knows that we have a very important Indo-Pacific strategy that includes our China strategy. In there it is clear that we will put a national security lens on foreign investments. Therefore, of course we have the security of Canadians in mind, at stake, as a priority.
    Meanwhile, as my colleague mentioned in his question, we will never accept any form of foreign interference. We will never accept any form of meddling in our democracy. That is why we declared the diplomat in question persona non grata.
    That is all the time we have for question period today.
    The hon. member for Northumberland—Peterborough South.
    Mr. Speaker, I am rising on a point of order. There was some surprise when I told the Liberals that in fact some Canadians are facing 50% to 60%. Therefore, I would like to table a document from the C.D. Howe Institute that demonstrates that many low- and middle-income Canadians—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I do not think we have unanimous consent. I am hearing no already. It was a good attempt at debate, though.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

An Act for the Substantive Equality of Canada's Official Languages

     The House resumed from May 10 consideration of Bill C-13, An Act to amend the Official Languages Act, to enact the Use of French in Federally Regulated Private Businesses Act and to make related amendments to other Acts, as reported (with amendments) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.
    Pursuant to order made on Thursday, June 23, 2022, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded divisions on the motions at report stage of Bill C-13.

[Translation]

    Call in the members.
    And the bells having rung:

  (1525)  

[English]

    The question is on Motion No. 1. A vote on this motion also applies to Motions Nos. 2, 3, 5 and 8 to 10. May I dispense?
    Some hon. members: No.
    [Chair read text of motion to House]

  (1540)  

    (The House divided on Motion No. 1, which was agreed to on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 317)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 316


NAYS

Nil

PAIRED

Members

Duclos
Fortin
Freeland
Liepert

Total: -- 4


    I declare Motion No. 1 carried. I therefore declare Motions Nos. 2, 3, 5 and 8 to 10 also carried.
    The question is on Motion No. 4.

[Translation]

    A vote on this motion also applies to Motion No. 6.

  (1550)  

[English]

    (The House divided on Motion No. 4, which was agreed to on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 318)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 318


NAYS

Nil

PAIRED

Members

Duclos
Fortin
Freeland
Liepert

Total: -- 4


    I declare Motion No. 4 carried. I therefore declare Motion No. 6 carried.

[Translation]

    A vote on this motion also applies to Motion No. 7. A vote on this motion also applies to Motion No. 15.
     Shall I dispense?
    Some hon. members: No.
    [Chair read text of motion to House]

  (1605)  

[English]

    (The House divided on Motion No. 7, which was agreed to on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 319)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 319


NAYS

Nil

PAIRED

Members

Duclos
Fortin
Freeland
Liepert

Total: -- 4


    I declare Motion No. 7 carried. I therefore declare Motion No. 15 carried.

[Translation]

     moved that the bill be concurred in at report stage with further amendments.
    The vote is on the motion.

[English]

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

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I request a recorded division.

  (1620)  

[English]

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

(Division No. 320)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 311


NAYS

Members

Housefather

Total: -- 1


PAIRED

Members

Duclos
Fortin
Freeland
Liepert

Total: -- 4


    I declare the motion carried.
    I wish to inform the House that, because of the deferred recorded divisions, Government Orders will be extended by 50 minutes.

[Translation]

Business of the House

[Business of the House]
    Mr. Speaker, it has been a big week in the House. I would like the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons to tell the House what we will be working on at the end of this week and into next week, the week before constituency week.
    Would the government House leader kindly share his plans with us?
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question, which is an important one. This is such a busy time for the House of Commons.

[English]

    Tomorrow, we will deal with third reading of Bill C-13, an act for the substantive equality of Canada's official languages.
    On Monday, we will resume report stage debate of Bill S-5, which would amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.
    On Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, we will be dealing with report stage and third reading of Bill C-21, which, as we know, is the firearms legislation.
    Thursday, May 18, will be an allotted day.
    Finally, pursuant to Standing Order 81(4), I would like to designate Monday, May 15, for the consideration in a committee of the whole for all votes under the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Royal Assent

[Royal Assent]

[English]

     Order, please. I have the honour to inform the House that a communication has been received as follows:
    Rideau Hall
    Ottawa
    May 10, 2023
    Mr. Speaker,
    I have the honour to inform you that the Right Honourable Mary May Simon, Governor General of Canada, signified royal assent by written declaration to the bills listed in the schedule to this letter on the 10th day of May, 2023, at 4:59 p.m.
    Yours sincerely,
    Maia Welbourne
    Assistant Secretary to the Governor General
    The schedule indicates that the bills assented to on Wednesday, May 10, 2023, were Bill S-211, An Act to enact the Fighting Against Forced Labour and Child Labour in Supply Chains Act and to amend the Customs Tariff—Chapter No. 9, 2023; Bill S-227, An Act to establish Food Day in Canada—Chapter No. 10, 2023; and Bill C-46, An Act to amend the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act and the Income Tax Act—Chapter No. 11, 2023.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Similarities Between Bill C-243 and Bill S-211

     The Chair would like to make a statement regarding the status of Bill C-243, an act respecting the elimination of the use of forced labour and child labour in supply chains, standing in the name of the member for Thunder Bay—Rainy River.
    On June 6, 2022, the Chair advised the House of similarities between Bill C-243 and Bill S-211, an act to enact the fighting against forced labour and child labour in supply chains act and to amend the Customs Tariff.

[Translation]

     Both bills have the same objective. They seek to require certain entities to report on measures they take to prevent, and reduce, the risk of using forced labour and child labour in the production of goods and in supply chains.

  (1625)  

[English]

    A long-standing practice prohibits the House from deciding the same question twice during a session. As a result, the Chair ordered that the status of Bill C-243 remain pending pursuant to Standing Order 94(1) and that it not be considered until proceedings on Bill S-211 have concluded.
    Bill S-211 was adopted by this House on May 3, 2023. The bill subsequently received royal assent yesterday, May 10, 2023.
    Accordingly, the Chair is ordering that Bill C-243 be dropped from the Order Paper.
    I thank all members for their attention.

[Translation]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Immigration Levels  

[Business of Supply]
    The House resumed consideration of the motion.
    Mr. Speaker, I think we were at questions and comments.
    The member for Winnipeg North has made several interventions in the House in today's debate. One of the things he said was how proud he is of certain francophone communities in Manitoba and the vitality of French in Manitoba.
    I would like to remind him that in 1870, when Manitoba joined the Canadian Confederation, the population was 50% francophone. Today, he would have to give us the numbers, but I think it is below 50%.
    My question is the following. The member for Winnipeg North has a French-sounding last name, but as far as I know, he does not speak French. Maybe there is no connection, but should Quebec learn from what was done in Manitoba when it comes to protecting the French language?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the member is being a little mischievous. If we were to take a look at the population of Manitoba back in the era in which he was talking about, our population was not that big. In fact, we looked like a little postage stamp.
    The reality is that there are more people speaking French in the province of Manitoba today than there ever has been.
    Because of Pierre Elliott Trudeau's multicultural policy and commitment to the French language, today we are seeing a multitude of different ethnic groups that are learning to speak French. French is a language that is loved and cherished in the province of Manitoba today because the national government has played a very important role in its promotion.
    I personally come from an era where, sadly, French was discouraged. Today, that is not the case. Today, we have people of all different ethnic—
    Madam Speaker, the text of the motion before us today includes a connection between immigration and housing. It is a connection that we hear of often in my home province in Ontario as well.
    I did not hear the member for Winnipeg North speak about housing in his speech. Can he speak to how important it is for governments at all levels, including the federal level, to invest more in housing across the board?
    Madam Speaker, I take a look at the province of Manitoba, where our numbers of immigrants, on average, are probably about 3,000 a year. We more than tripled that number, and the way in which housing, at least, in part, is being dealt with, we need to recognize that it is not just Ottawa.
    Ottawa needs to step up and show leadership, and we have done that through the national housing strategy, which has hundreds of millions, going into billions, of dollars supporting municipalities and the provincial governments. The provincial governments, municipalities and the other stakeholders, all of us, have to step up to the plate to work together to deal with this. All of us want to see an increase in immigration numbers because we see the benefits of a progressive immigration policy. It adds so much value to our economy and to our Canadian heritage.
    Madam Speaker, I quite enjoyed the member's speech. I know the member works very hard in his riding to work with different ethnic groups and work on case work when it comes to immigration. Immigration is so important to so many of our communities and to Canada as a whole. It is important to our economy.
    The other day, I met with the Metropolitan Plumbing and Heating Contractors Association. It was startling and surprising to hear how many of our current tradespeople will be retiring in the next few years. There will be a huge gap we will need to fill in order to keep up with housing and infrastructure in our country. I would love to hear the member's views on that.

  (1630)  

    Madam Speaker, it is important to recognize the importance of the contributions that immigrants make to our communities. In Manitoba, if it were not for immigration, our population would have declined. If it were not for immigration, many of the industries we have would not be there.
    If someone takes a walk through any of our hospitals or care facilities, they will find people of Punjabi heritage, Filipino heritage and others, who make up the bulk of the workforce today. Whether it is in health care, the trucking industry or the trades, we will see it is often the immigration community fuelling the labour supply and ultimately contributing to our economy.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I will share my time with my colleague from Montcalm, the always classy member I am so very fond of.
    I am a little hoarse. I wish I could say it is because I am angry, but it is just a cold. Actually, I am kind of angry because of what I have been hearing all day. That brings me to one pretty simple question. Is it possible, in the House of Commons, to think critically about immigration levels without being immediately labelled a xenophobe, intolerant, a great replacement theory adherent or a far-right extremist? I heard that today, and it made me feel a little dubious.
    Everyone knows that people often have extreme and ideologically entrenched views on immigration. That happens a lot, so I think we need to rise above that.
    I listened to the member for Rosemont—La Petite‑Patrie this morning who told us that, essentially, the Bloc Québécois is using this issue to weaponize the debate on immigration. I found this rather amusing because, in his speech, my colleague referred to Gérald Godin. We are very familiar with the poems of Gérald Godin, a sovereignist if ever there was one. I would remind the House that he was Pauline Julien's husband. Anyone who has ever heard Pauline Julien's songs and read Gérald Godin's poems knows that they are part of the culture that gave the sovereignist movement its soul.
    I shot back with a little quip, quoting a poem by Gaston Miron, and I might very well pick up on that again later. The member for Rosemont—La Petite‑Patrie shot right back at me by quoting Gilles Vigneault, quoting the phrase at the end of the song Mon pays: “And these people are of my people”. Now that is what I would call weaponizing, especially since the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie left out the first few lines from Vigneault's song, where he sings:
    

My father had a house built
And I'm going to be true
To his ways, to his example

    Gilles Vigneault tells us that Quebec society is a welcoming society, with its own cultural identity. What Gilles Vigneault, Gérald Godin and all the people who built Quebec culture have in common is that they want us to cherish that culture, to be a part of it and, above all, to try to stand up for it. That is why I find it so rich to be told that I am weaponizing the debate, when someone keeps taking all the work of the people who created Quebec culture and hijacking for ideological purposes. I have seen that a lot from the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.
    During the Bill 21 debate, he kept pointing me to a quote from Albert Camus, taken from Notebooks, a book that is not very important in light of Camus's overall body of work. It is the famous quote about democracy that goes like this: “Democracy is not the law of the majority, but the protection of the minority.” Camus did write that, but it is shameful to apply this quote to the debate on Bill 21. Anyone who does that must be ignorant of Camus's point of view on religion. With all due respect, I would recommend that my colleague from Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie read The Rebel, especially the part about the metaphysical development of rebellion, in order to understand Camus' point of view, as long as he does not want to just hijack it for his own purposes, of course.
    I am being accused of weaponizing the immigration issue. Meanwhile, members are taking positions rather lightly, quoting ideas left and right that they do not understand.
    What I propose is perhaps to take the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie at his word and to go back to what Rima Elkouri wrote: If we want to talk about immigration, approach is everything.
    I think that the right way to discuss immigration is, of course, to have thoughtful discourse and especially to refuse to fall into the trap of conflating different issues. I bring this up because that happens all too often here in the House. Whenever we present legitimate demands in order to protect the Quebec identity, it is seen as a manifestation of intolerance and insularity.
    It goes without saying that putting the words “Quebec” and “identity” side by side in the House seems to really annoy some of my colleagues. I have always wondered why.

  (1635)  

    We know that members of the Bloc Québécois are immediately suspect because we defend Bill 21 on secularism and Bill 96 on language, and today, because we are criticizing an immigration strategy that Gérard Bouchard, one of the greatest intellectuals in Quebec, described as imperialist and aggressive.
    I would submit that no one should be ashamed to use their history to give meaning to their culture and condition. No one objects when indigenous national minorities demand recognition. No one has the audacity to tell them that they are doing it to the detriment of ethnic minorities. We just have to deal with it.
    That makes certain thing clear. The first thing we need to state and make all of the members here understand is that Quebec is a national minority. I get the impression that the hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie and some Liberal members never understood the very basic principle that Quebec is a national minority.
    The main crux of the immigration issue is that we cannot cut corners when examining two opposing identities. On the one hand, there is the Quebec identity, and on the other, there is the Canadian identity. There has been an opposition between the two since Confederation. It is rather simple. When we talk about identity, what the federal government usually does is refuse to recognize the Quebec people, the Quebec nation, in a way that would enable them to grow.
    It is fairly simple. I am going to go back to the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, the Laurendeau-Dunton commission, which gave rise to the Canadian model of integration. The commission's starting point was to offer recognition to French Canadians, one of the founding peoples, the Quebec people. That was the starting point, but what would we end up with? The commission would say that Canada would be a bilingual country, but never a bicultural one. Canada opted for multiculturalism instead. The reason for this is simple: Recognizing all cultures means recognizing none. The commission left Quebec to drown in an ocean of Canadian diversity that would express itself in English anyway. It was the best way to ensure that, in the future, Quebec's demands would be moot.
    However, multiculturalism is not only an institutional policy that was developed in Canada, it is also a liberal theory. That is the problem. I would like to borrow the words of Gaston Miron, who wrote about “emancipated milksops and well-mannered insects” who are unaware of what multiculturalism really means. They blithely conflate pluralism and multiculturalism. Multiculturalism, as a theory—a liberal theory that is very well developed in both Canada and Quebec—suggests that there are two kinds of minorities.
    There are ethnocultural minorities, whose rights must be defended. We have an obligation to recognize them. Will Kymlicka, a specialist in multicultural policy, says that we must also recognize national minorities. However, never in this chamber have I seen a representative of the NDP, the Liberal Party or the Conservative Party stand up and say that there is a national minority in this country. There are many national minorities, but there is one in particular: Quebec. Most people here pride themselves on defending multiculturalism without necessarily understanding it.
    It is clear from the debate that the government wants to drown Quebec in an ocean of newcomers without allowing us to use our own unique system to integrate them. The government thinks that by using multiculturalism and welcoming 500,000 immigrants a year, it can meet employers' needs. What it is not thinking about, however, is the survival and vitality of the Quebec nation. That is why, today, my colleagues have moved this motion that is critical to Quebec. The Century Initiative has been condemned by all members of the Quebec National Assembly.

  (1640)  

    I will not be called a xenophobe for defending my nation.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, we have witnessed a very ugly rise of xenophobia in Europe, which is the targeting of immigrants as though they were a threat to national identities. I heard my colleague talk about how Canada was going to be “swamped” with people coming in. I believe that was the term he used.
    I think Canada has proven that we are different because, unlike Europe and the extremist fights happening there, we understand the importance of the different identities in this country. The fact that Quebec has the power to decide its own immigration policy is a reasonable thing. However, I would also say that in northern Ontario, we are more than willing to welcome the 450 million francophones out there who want to come and participate to build a just society. We are not going to say that they are outsiders, that they are a threat or that they are swamping our nation. Instead, we are going to say that our nation is built on the good will of people who come here with a desire to build a better country.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, that just proves my point about what I would call arrogant and predatory federalism. My colleague did not make any effort to understand the explanations I gave about what multiculturalism is. He did not make any effort to understand the specificity of the Quebec nation.
    Based on the preconceived ideas that he has about what it means to be a Quebecker and the type of nationalism that we assert in the House every day, he sees Quebec as a small, closed society. I have seen that before. We read about it in the 1960s. Members need only read some of Hubert Aquin's writings.
    My colleague believes that Quebec would be fine in a very strong Canada that minimizes Quebec's identity. That is his objective, but we do not support it. We will continue to annoy him.
    Madam Speaker, I will be quick because I really want to hear my colleague's response to my question.
    I think he knows that Quebec has an agreement with Canada and that a rather significant amount of financial compensation is transferred from Canada to Quebec, which is the only province to receive this type of compensation. There is also the idea that French integration in Quebec is tied to financial compensation.
    I would like to know if my colleague is aware that Quebec does not spend all the money it is transferred. Could he say a few words about that?
    Madam Speaker, I think it is a mistake to reduce immigration to a monetary issue. It goes beyond that.
    What I was trying to explain to my colleague earlier is that Quebec has a unique integration system. What the House is trying to do is put an end to that integration system.
    It is going to challenge Bill 21 on secularism. A majority of parliamentarians here are against Bill 96. These are two pillars of Quebec's integration system. Quebec is a French-speaking state and a state where religion is relegated to private life; that is what secularism means.
    That is what I wish my colleague had taken away from my speech. That is what I wish she had focused on in the presentation we made today, not on the matter of money and making a connection between migrants and money, between migrants and workers. There is another important dimension, which is the collective Quebec identity. Unfortunately, people here do not seem to fully understand it.

  (1645)  

    Madam Speaker, just to expand on what my colleague was saying earlier, we hear a lot of members talking nonsense. We heard the member for Winnipeg North say that there are more francophones than ever in Manitoba.
    I have the numbers right here. In 1971, there were 60,500 Manitobans or 6.1%, whose mother tongue was French. In 2021, there were 39,600, which represented 4% of the population. These are the same numbers for the language spoken at home. The numbers are declining, as is knowledge of French.
    In the words of Gérald Godin, the federal policy on French in Canada can generally be summarized as follows: strengthen French where it is on its last legs—