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44th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 197

CONTENTS

Monday, May 15, 2023




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 151
No. 197
1st SESSION
44th PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Monday, May 15, 2023

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    The House met at 11 a.m.

Prayer



Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

  (1100)  

[Translation]

Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act

    The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-282, An Act to amend the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act (supply management), as reported (without amendment) from the committee.
    There being no motions at report stage, the House will now proceed, without debate, to the putting of the question on the motion to concur in the bill at report stage.
     moved that Bill C‑282 be read the third time and passed.
    He said: Mr. Speaker, on June 13, 2022, I introduced Bill C‑282. In a month, it will be one year. On November 16, 2022, I delivered my introductory speech at first reading. On February 7, 2023, I delivered my final reply to conclude the debate at second reading and on February 8, the result of the vote was the following: 293 for, 23 against. That is what we call a resounding majority.
    With that vote, parliamentarians in the House signalled to supply managed farmers that they would never again be sacrificed at the altar of free trade. The government was finally going to walk the talk. I felt confident that this bill would be passed by the end of the session. Was I being overly optimistic? Time will tell.
    There was just committee work left. When a party wants to hold up a bill, it can filibuster. That is what representatives from the Conservative Party quietly did in committee.
    The bill contains one clause. If we agree with the principle, the clause in question does nothing but implement its intention. Simple, accurate, concise, this bill gets straight to the point. It adds to the mandate of the Minister of Foreign Affairs the obligation to fully respect supply management by removing the minister’s ability to negotiate these principles in future international trade negotiations.
    The minister will therefore be unable to sign a treaty that would have the effect of increasing the tariff rate quota applicable to products subject to supply management or reducing the applicable tariff when imports exceed the applicable tariff rate quota.
    What impact will Bill C-282 have in concrete terms? The first commitment the government makes in negotiating a treaty is signing it. By signing the treaty, it indicates that it is satisfied with the text and commits, and I am using the word “commits” deliberately, to do what is necessary for it to be implemented.
    By preventing the government from signing, should there be any breaches of supply management, Bill C-282 prevents it from introducing an implementation bill allowing for the treaty’s ratification and entry into force. Unless the matter returns to Parliament during the negotiations and before the treaty is signed and Parliament is requested to amend the law, supply management is completely protected.
    Basically, with Bill C-282, supply management is taken off the bargaining table from the outset. It is a powerful tool to increase Canada’s bargaining power in trade negotiations. This bill does not disarm the government. On the contrary, it strengthens it.
    Let us keep in mind that Bill C-282 has become necessary because the loopholes that have been created are preventing the system from working effectively by undermining the integrity of its constituent principles, namely, price, production and border controls.
    For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, supply management is a key strategic tool for preserving our food self-sufficiency, regional development and land use. I will get back to this later. It is also a Canada-wide risk management tool designed to protect agricultural markets against price fluctuations.
    The system is based on three major principles, three pillars. I am convinced that my colleague from Berthier—Maskinongé will talk about his three-legged stool.

  (1105)  

    The first pillar is supply management through a production quota system derived from research on consumption, that is, consumer demand for dairy products. The Canadian Dairy Commission distributes quotas to each of the provinces, which, through their marketing boards or producer associations, sell these quotas to their own producers to ensure that production is aligned with domestic demand.
    The second pillar is price controls. A floor price and a ceiling price are set to ensure that each link in the supply chain gets its fair share.
    The third pillar is border control, and that is where fair trade agreements and the successive breaches that producers have had to deal with come in.
    Supply management is a model envied around the world, especially in countries that have abolished it. Dairy producers in countries that dropped supply management are lobbying to have it reinstated. Increasingly, American dairy producers are questioning their government's decision to abolish supply management for their sector in the early 1990s. Indeed, for almost a decade, the price of milk in the U.S. has been plummeting, and small U.S. farms are no longer able to cover their production costs. This price level is usually attributed to overproduction. Each year, millions of gallons of milk are dumped in ditches. In 2016, more than 100 million gallons were thrown away. In 2018, Wisconsin lost more than 500 farms a week.
    Of course, there is another argument that could be made against Bill C-282. Some people might think that since producers and processors have finally been compensated, sometimes after waiting more than four years, and are satisfied, concessions can be made from one agreement to another by compensating people afterwards.
    Of course, no amount of compensation, no temporary one-off cheque, will cover the permanent structural damage and losses caused by the breaches in the free trade agreements. Supply management is not perfect, but the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, especially in allowing all links in the chain to produce and to have fair and equitable incomes for everyone in the entire production chain. That is important.
     The question we need to ask ourselves is this: Do we want to protect certain segments of our agricultural industry from foreign competition while abiding by the rules of the WTO agreements?
    The answer is yes, especially since the supply management system follows those rules. Every country in the world protects its sensitive products. It is true for the U.S., with its sugar and cotton. It is true for Japanese rice. It is also true for Europe. It is not against the WTO’s rules, so let us do it.
    Bill C-282 is not partisan, and neither is my approach in defending and promoting it. We simply needed to enshrine in law the good intentions repeated in Parliament for years.
    During each trade negotiation, the House was unanimous in insisting that we keep the supply management system. It did so on November 22, 2005, in its negotiations with the WTO. It did so on September 26, 2017, in its renegotiation of NAFTA. It did so on February 7, 2018, this time for the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, the CPTPP. In every case, the House was unanimous, which means that government members, both Conservative and Liberal, agreed.
    After that, things went awry. In the case of the CPTPP, CUSMA, or the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement, and CETA, or the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, the government ended up portioning off parts of the marker. That is why we came up with Bill C-282 after Bill C-216 died on the Order Paper.
    Although the Bloc Québécois is introducing this bill, it is not ours alone. It expresses the will of most parliamentarians. It expresses the will of our farmers, especially Quebec's supply-managed farmers, but also those all across Canada who have adopted this system.

  (1110)  

    In fact, I know that they are listening to us, and I would like to say hello. This bill is theirs as much as it is ours.
    Along with my colleagues from Berthier—Maskinongé and Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, I went to meet our producers and consumers. We found an agriculture sector that was more mobilized and optimistic than ever, convinced that we would succeed, and determined to defend and promote supply management at all costs.
    We also met people who want to keep the supply management system because it has proven to be effective in terms of food autonomy and food security, especially so during the pandemic. Consumers see that they have access to sufficient, high-quality supplies at competitive prices. They want to shorten the distance between farm and table. They want farms run by people and not megafarms that run on overproduction and waste. I repeat that 100 million gallons are thrown out in the U.S. It is inconceivable.
    In fact, if U.S. producers want to return to a supply management system, it is because their model based on overproduction favours only megaproducers and they are losing farms run by actual people, meaning that quality goes out the window. Do we want milk full of hormones from megafarms?
    Consumers see the beneficial impact of supply management on sustainable agriculture, land use and the regional economy. Our producers deserve not to feel threatened every time a free trade agreement is negotiated. They want predictability. They want to be able to plan for the future, ensure their succession and maintain their quality standards. Is that too much to ask?
    In conclusion, Bloc Québécois members are team players. Protecting and promoting supply management and the result of the vote on third reading are not only the work of the member for Montcalm. I want to point out the remarkable work and dedication of my colleague and friend, the member for Berthier-Maskinongé. I would also like to point out the excellent work of my colleague from Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot. He did a remarkable job in committee as spokesperson for international trade. Let us say that he honed his patience at the Standing Committee on International Trade.
    I must also mention the unconditional support of the entire Bloc Québécois caucus, who not only stand behind me, but also and especially beside all supply-managed agricultural producers. At the end of this debate at third reading, I see that the member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford and the rest of the NDP support Bill C‑282. I thank the Minister of Agriculture for her unequivocal support and, by extension, that of her government. This type of support is invaluable. There is still some doubt among the 23 Conservatives who voted against Bill C‑282 in principle on second reading. I take nothing for granted, but time is of the essence.
    All we need is another election for Bill C‑282 to suffer the same fate as Bill C‑216. This bill needs to be studied by the Senate, and could be delayed by senators who want to imitate the Conservative members who delayed the clause-by-clause study of Bill C‑282 in committee. Let us remain optimistic and assume that, considering what a majority there is in the House, our wise Senate will make the right choice.
    The time has come to act. Every country protects the key sectors of its economy before engaging in free trade negotiations.
     After all the motions that have been unanimously adopted by the House and all the expressions of good faith, followed by all the broken promises by successive governments of all stripes, if we truly respect the farmers who feed us, we have to put our words into action and pass Bill C-282, to ensure that not one more government will take it upon itself to sacrifice, on the altar of free trade, supply management, our agricultural model and the men and women who feed us.

  (1115)  

[English]

     Madam Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for bringing forward this very important piece of legislation. All members on this side of the aisle firmly believe that the agriculture and agri-food sector is a critical component of the Canadian economy. My community of Windsor-Essex is an agricultural powerhouse. There are 4,500 acres of greenhouses across Windsor-Essex, producing vegetables and employing over 15,000 workers, so I have been following this bill very carefully. How will his bill contribute to strengthening Canada's food security?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, this has already been clearly demonstrated. During the pandemic, when supply chains were broken, did anyone hear about a shortage of dairy, poultry or eggs, for example?
    These sectors actually helped guarantee a reliable source of food for our citizens. That is one of the strengths of the model. These three pillars, which I am sure the member for Berthier—Maskinongé will talk about later, create a balance between production, fair and equitable prices, and the necessary border controls, so that is a plus.

  (1120)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, when this bill came to committee in the previous Parliament, government officials came and talked about their concerns with the bill.
    Mr. Forsyth said this:
    If we were to end up with this bill as it is written, I think very much that we would start with a much smaller scope of negotiations with various partners. It wouldn't be unusual for them to say “That's fine. Canada has taken these issues right out of play. We will take issues that are of interest to Canada right out of play.” Then you're talking about negotiating from a smaller pie, as it were.
    I wonder if the member would comment on how he sees Canada negotiating other free trade agreements “from a smaller pie” as a result of this being taken off and how that would affect the prosperity of Canada going forward.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, because I could not always be there in committee, I read all of the exchanges that took place as it conducted its work. I was a little surprised to see the Conservative members exclaiming that the public servants' arguments in defence of Bill C-216 were very good.
    I am somewhat experienced when it comes to politics, and I know that when a government is moving in one direction, it is very rare that the public servants who come to testify in committee say anything in opposition to the government.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Montcalm for the honourable mention. Of course, I look forward to offering my full support to this bill. I am really glad that during his remarks he talked about the three pillars of supply management. I was with him in the 42nd Parliament when we saw one of those pillars, import controls, systemically undermined by three successive trade deals. I would like my hon. colleague to expand on how, after all those promises to defend supply management, Bill C-282 is a legislative guarantee to really show that supply management is now being protected in law, because we can no longer trust the word of government as we have been let down three times in the past.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, all too often, parliamentarians on the government benches have told us, hand over heart, that they are in favour of promoting and defending supply management, yet they always want to keep an ace up their sleeve when they sit around the free trade negotiating table.
    Why are they always keeping supply-managed producers as that ace up their sleeve? Why sacrifice them? Why sacrifice this agricultural model that works?
    With this bill, no government could go back on its word between signing the agreement and implementing it.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity that the member for Montcalm has provided me to once again reaffirm the government's support for Canada's supply management system and for this important bill. I want to start by thanking the member for Humber River—Black Creek for reporting the bill back to the House following its review at the Standing Committee on International Trade.
    In conducting its review of the bill, the committee heard from over 40 witnesses and received 15 written briefs. The committee heard substantial evidence that Canada's supply management system is a model of stability. It provides a fair price for farmers, stability for processors and high-quality products for consumers, Canadians, and has done so for over 50 years. Numerous witnesses expressed how supply management is a pillar of rural prosperity. It sustains farming families and rural communities.
    The great contribution of supply-managed sectors to our economy is undeniable. In 2021, the dairy, poultry and egg sectors generated almost $13 billion in farm-gate sales and accounted for over 100,000 direct jobs in production and processing activities.
    This government has consistently reaffirmed our unwavering support for Canada's supply management system, including in the context of international trade agreements. This support was clearly demonstrated during the negotiation of the new NAFTA, the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement, or CUSMA. Canada faced significant pressure to dismantle the supply management system, and I cannot stress enough how hard we had to resist and defend it, and defend it we did. Despite this intense pressure, we succeeded in ensuring that all three pillars of the supply management system remain firmly in place: production controls, pricing mechanisms and import controls.
    More recently, we demonstrated our support for Canada's supply management system during the negotiation of the Canada-United Kingdom Trade Continuity Agreement, which did not include any new access for cheese or other supply-managed products, despite significant pressure from the United Kingdom.
    Moreover, the government has publicly committed, and I stress this, to not provide any new market access for supply-managed products in future trade agreements. This policy has been clearly and publicly stated by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
    Looking into the future, Bill C-282 makes our commitment to continue to preserve, protect and defend all three pillars of Canada's supply management system even stronger.
    Furthermore, the government believes that ensuring greater involvement of the public, stakeholders and parliamentarians in Canada's trade agenda strengthens the defence and promotion of our broader economic interests, including supply-managed sectors. As such, we have increased transparency in the conduct of trade negotiations and we have enhanced reporting obligations to Parliament for all new trade agreements. In November 2020, we updated the policy on the tabling of treaties in Parliament to provide additional opportunities for members of Parliament to review the objectives and economic merits of new trade agreements.
     Furthermore, our government will continue to preserve, protect and defend our supply management system in the context of any challenge by our trading partners. We are confident that we, Canada, are fully compliant in the implementation of our trade obligations, and we will vigorously defend our interests.

  (1125)  

     Let me reiterate the government's unequivocal commitment to maintain supply management as a pillar of strong and sustainable rural prosperity into the future. This matters. It matters to Canadian farmers. It matters to Canadian farmers in my region of Windsor—Essex.
    We have tens of thousands of workers who work to drive our agricultural sector. Whether it is greenhouses or on the farms, this is absolutely critical to my region and also to Canadian farmers from coast to coast to coast. It is also important to Canadians. This is the foundation, as we heard today, of Canada's food security.
    Bill C-282 is aligned with our commitment. For this reason, we support it. The government is fully committed to defending the integrity of supply management, while also continuing to pursue an ambitious trade agenda.
    Madam Speaker, I am happy to speak to Bill C-282. On the Conservative side, we absolutely support supply management. We always have been.
     In my riding of Dufferin—Caledon, there are many supply-managed farms, both in dairy and, of course, in eggs and poultry. I take the opportunity to visit those farms on a regular basis. The last break week, I visited dairy farms in my riding and I talked about the bill and the incredible contributions that they made not just to my riding of Dufferin—Caledon but all across Canada.
    That being said, I really do have concerns with respect to the bill and a big part of it is that the bill has turned into a gigantic wedge issue with all the rest of the folks in the agriculture sector. Every agricultural sector outside of supply management has said it does not support the bill. These people are concerned about what the repercussions will be to their sector in any future trade agreement.
     Why are they thinking that? When we take something off the table in a negotiation, then our negotiating partner will automatically take something off the table as well. If we are taking supply management off, and that is something our negotiating partner is interested in, it will take something off the table that Canada is interested in, and we end up with trade agreements that are less ambitious, less broad in scope and therefore have less economic prosperity for Canadians.
    This is an example of who came to the committee to say they supported supply management. There are agricultural colleagues, our friends and neighbours, who are against this bill, such as the Canola Council of Canada; the Canadian Canola Growers Association; the International Cheese Council of Canada; the National Cattle Feeders' Association; the Canadian Cattle Association; CAFTA, which is the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance; Cereals Canada; just to name a few. They have all said that they think this bill will damage their opportunities to export their products around the world. They spoke very forcefully against the bill at committee.
     What the bill has accomplished, to a large extent, is to pit one farmer against another, and that is truly unfortunate.
    Government officials have also spoken against the legislation. When the bill was before the previous parliament it was Bill C-216, and there were several questions that were asked with respect to it. I will quote one section.
    Mr. Doug Forsyth said:
    If we were to end up with this bill as it is written, I think very much that we would start with a much smaller scope of negotiations with various partners. It wouldn't be unusual for them to say “That's fine. Canada has taken these issues right out of play. We will take issues that are of interest to Canada right out of play.” Then you're talking about negotiating from a smaller pie...
    That is exactly the concern I have raised. Canada is a free-trading nation. We rely on free trade, as 60% to 70% of our GDP comes from trade. We are a trading and exporting nation, and agricultural products are a huge bedrock of our exports. When every other agricultural sector is saying that it is concerned about what this is going to do with respect to its ability to export its products around the world and in negotiations for other free trade agreements, we should listen.
    One of the things I tried to accomplish at committee was to have extra meetings to have trade experts come to say what they thought the impact of the bill would be with respect to negotiating future trade agreements, and the committee received letters from trade experts.
    This is a snippet from a letter from Robert de Valk, who said:
    Remember what Canada had to pay in 1989 to keep supply management off the table when the Canada-US Trade Agreement (CUSTA) was completed – increased access. Now all our trading partners can rightfully ask for compensation. The bill, unfortunately, may have the unintended consequence of putting the supply management sector in focus early in any future negotiations.

  (1130)  

    When we talk about future negotiations, our free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico, CUSMA, is under review at six years. We are three years away from that. With this bill passing, what happens if the United States says that it wants some additional access in supply managed industries? Under this bill it would be absolutely impossible. Then what happens? Are we going to blow up our entire free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico because of this legislation? These are the unintended potential consequences of the legislation.
    At committee, I also asked government officials if we would have been able to successfully renegotiate NAFTA, which became CUSMA, if supply management was off the table? This was the answer, “Madam Chair, I was not a part of the negotiating teams for either of those negotiations. However, the stated policy of the Canadian government during both of those negotiations was that” supply management was off the table and that they would “make no concessions. Therefore, having ultimately determined that such concessions were necessary, I can only conclude that failing to do so would have put the deal at jeopardy.”
    This is what we would be looking at if we pass legislation like this. We are potentially putting other trade deals at jeopardy with respect to one sector of the Canadian economy. I find this absolutely troubling.
    However, if we take away the challenges with future deals and if we take away the challenges with the review of CUSMA, or USMCA, whatever we want to call it, those are big, extraordinary challenges as a result of this.
    Let us look at it in a broader context. Our largest trading partner is the United States, with 70% of our trade going to the United States. We have two major trade irritants with the United States right now.
     First, on softwood lumber, $8 billion worth of duties have been collected as a result of the softwood lumber dispute. This has been going on for eight years, with no progress at all on resolving it.
    Second, country of origin labelling for beef is percolating in the United States again. It would have devastating impacts for Canadian cattle.
     If we go to the United States and say that we want to try to resolve these things, I think it will say, especially with beef, that we have just protected an entire swath of our agricultural sector and it will want to know why the United States can not go forward with its country of origin labelling.
    The bill would give the United States a hammer to hit us with in negotiations, to try to resolve the trade irritants that we have now. These are the unintended consequences of passing this legislation.
     We can support supply management without the legislation. Our country has done it. In all the free trade agreements we have around the world, there is only a couple where access has been granted on supply management. When that access was granted, Canadian producers were compensated financially.
     When we look at the statistics on farm gate proceeds, for example, with respect to dairy, actual production of milk has gone up despite access that has been granted. Therefore, farm gate receipts have gone up despite access being granted.
    If access is granted, we could compensate those who are affected. Also, because the Canadian population is growing, the Canadian economy is growing, so they still produce more, sell more and make more money. The system as it is exists very well. It is not, as we keep hearing, the first thing on the negotiating table in a free trade agreement. It is the absolute last thing. It is the only thing that would get done, because if we did not, we could not get a deal.
    Imagine, if this bill was in place when we were trying to renegotiate NAFTA with the United States and the United States demanded more access in supply management. It is very interested in it, because we have disputes under USMCA with respect to how it applies tariff-reduced quota in the dairy sector. We know it is important to the United States. We would not have a deal, and government officials very clearly said that.
    The intention of the bill is good. We should protect supply management. I understand why farmers are nervous and frustrated, because the government has not negotiated good deals, like CPTPP. The original TPP granted less access in supply management. The Liberal government came along and gave up so much more in CPTPP. However, the bill would have unintended consequences that would not be good for Canada and the Canadian economy.

  (1135)  

    Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise, not only as the NDP's agriculture critic but also as the member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford and for all of the supply-managed farms in my beautiful riding to offer my full-throated support of Bill C-282. Just as a quick review for people to catch up, this bill is seeking to amend the existing statute, the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act.
     A quick reminder is that the act, in one of its important sections, spells out the powers, duties and functions of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. For example, the act specifies that the minister conduct all diplomatic and consular relations on behalf of Canada and foster the expansion of Canada's international trade and commerce, etc. Bill C-282 would add a new clause into that act to specify that the minister must not make any commitment on behalf of the Government of Canada that would have the effect of increasing the tariff rate quota or reducing the tariff that is applicable to goods in that category, which are two very important aspects. I will lay out reasons why.
    First of all, I want to say that I am proud to be a member of a party that has long stood by our supply-managed farmers and continues to do so up to this day. We absolutely recognize that supply management as a system protects our family farms and our rural communities and protects and promotes hundreds of thousands of jobs. Its economic impact in communities like mine is huge. It rests on three pillars; I have heard the expression “the three-legged stool”. Of course, we know that with a three-legged stool, if one is to affect any one of the legs the whole system collapses and they are all necessary to stand up and maintain the system.
    Those three pillars are production control, pricing mechanisms and import control. Under supply management, we have a national marketing agency that determines the production amounts for each commodity and sets production quotas for each of our provinces. We also know that our supply-managed producers are guaranteed a minimum price for their products. Those provincial marketing boards allow them to negotiate the minimum farm gate prices with the processors of their products.
     The third pillar, which is the key theme of today's discussion, is import control. The way we regulate import control is through tariffs on foreign imports. Tariffs are applied whenever foreign imports in a supply-managed sector exceed the allowable quantity and then they are subject to a massive tariff that essentially makes them uncompetitive. For each of our main products, whether in dairy, eggs, poultry or turkey, successive trade deals have whittled away at that important pillar and now we do allow import of some foreign products in each of those categories up to a certain amount, after which they are subjected to a high tariff.
    The system has proven itself time and time again over decades of use. It offers important stability for producers, processors, service providers and retailers. It allows our federal and provincial governments to avoid subsidizing those sectors directly. That is in strict contrast to our competitors both in the United States and in the European Union.
     I need to underline this point: Supply management protects the taxpayer because we avoid subsidizing the industry. It allows farmers in those sectors to actually make a good income and to innovate and invest in their respective farms. That is in stark contrast to the wild price fluctuations we have seen south of the border in the United States, in particular, where overproduction has led to dire economic circumstances for many of the farms, particularly in the dairy sector. The same goes for the European Union. That is where taxpayer funds are used to directly subsidize those industries. That is in stark contrast to the system that we have here in Canada whereby supply management allows the system to survive without that direct intervention.
    I know some of the criticisms out there. We have heard it time and time again, particularly from the OECD, which has said that supply management stifles innovation. However, we know that is not true.

  (1140)  

    In many of the farms I have visited in my own riding, particularly the dairy operations, the technology in use in those operations is state of the art. It is that way because the farmers who operate those systems have had the guaranteed income and they know they can make the investment by betting against future incomes. They have been able to innovate, they have been able to invest; they have been able to make their operations world class and the envy of many nations around the world.
    I talked about the economic impacts. I referenced the economic impacts in my own riding. If we look country-wide, for example, in 2021, Canada had 9,403 dairy farms. Production and processing of dairy products contributes to 221,000 jobs and nearly $20 billion to Canada's GDP every single year. The same year for poultry and egg farms, we had 5,296 farms. Production and processing of poultry and eggs contributes more than 100,000 jobs and over $8.5 billion to Canada's GDP. Therefore, the economic impact of this sector is significant and it matters to many communities.
     Now, let us look at how Bill C-282 fared at the international trade committee. I do want to take time to recognize my fellow NDP colleague, the member for South Okanagan—West Kootenay, who helped shepherd that bill through committee on my behalf. That was some great work on his part to get the bill to this stage. That committee had six meetings. About 45 witnesses came forward and testified. As a result of that testimony there were a number of amendments proposed to the bill. None were successful, so ultimately the version of the bill that we see before us today is the same that the House gave voice to at second reading.
    I want to outline some of the testimony that we heard at committee because I have heard other members reference this.
    One of the important testimonies that we heard was from Mr. Tom Rosser, who is the assistant deputy minister of the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food. He said:
    The Government of Canada is working hard to ensure that the supply management system remains strong and that producers and processors operating in the system remain productive and sustainable.
     Bill C-282 would protect these sectors from additional market access concessions in the context of future trade negotiations, and as such is fully consistent with existing policy.
    We had Mr. Keith Currie, someone I have become very familiar with and worked with over the years. He is now, of course, the president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. He said:
    Canada's three most recent trade agreements have had a considerable impact on supply-managed farm families and the system that supports them. It's our hope this new legislation will encourage Canada's negotiators to look to other negotiating strategies that do not place one agriculture sector against another, and instead focus our energy on issues that unite us, such as reducing non-tariff trade barriers.
    The interesting thing about this bill as I wrap up here, is that the vote on sending the bill back to the House was an interesting one because both the Liberal and Conservative caucuses were split. We had the Liberal member for Nepean vote against sending this bill back to the House and we had a Conservative member from Oshawa and a Conservative member from Dufferin—Caledon also vote against sending this bill back to the House. It is interesting to see the splits that exist in both the Liberal and Conservative caucuses. I am very curious to see the final vote on this bill when we come to third reading.
    I understand, of course, that there were a number of objections raised to the bill about this being a non-tariff trade barrier, that it constrains Canada's ability to negotiate the best possible deal, but I will again say this. We have been let down successively three times back in the 42nd Parliament. I was there. Despite the government's promises that it was fully in support of supply management, threes successive trade deals undermined that important pillar of import control. I see this bill as just pretty much a legislative guarantee that, despite a government's best intentions and words, this bill is going to insert a legislative guarantee in an important act to ensure that our supply management sectors enjoy that solid protection.
    With that I will conclude and again reiterate that New Democrats will support this bill. I would like to thank the member for Montcalm for bringing it forward. I look forward to seeing its successful passage to the other place.

  (1145)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I am going to take a deep breath and start my speech at the end. I am sick and tired of hearing members claim that they support supply management and then telling us, in the same 10-minute speech, that no one supports this bill and that members should not vote in favour of it—

  (1150)  

    I will ask the member to start his speech again because his microphone was off.
    Madam Speaker, I was saying that I was going to take a deep breath before I spoke, to try to curb my emotions, and that I was going to start my speech from the end. I am sick and tired of hearing members claim that they support supply-managed farmers, that they think they are important, that they want to protect them and that they are committed to looking after them, but then refuse to actually protect them. They are talking out of both sides of their mouth. They cannot say they are going to protect farmers and not do it.
    Then they wonder why the public is cynical about politicians. I am so sick of this. Last time, the House voted overwhelmingly in favour of this bill. We cannot expect the same result this time because perhaps not as many members of a certain political party, by which I mean the Conservative Party, will vote for it. However, I know there are some Conservative members who believe in supply management, so I would ask them to stick with us and vote with us. I know they understand that this is a good bill.
    The government needs to stop sending farmers mixed messages by saying it will protect them and then not doing it. Neither farmers nor voters believe that anymore. I have some news for everyone: That strategy is not going to work anymore. It worked for decades, but not anymore. People want action. Supply management means the three pillars and a bunch of other things, but it is mostly about the vitality of our regions. This protects small businesses.
    I believe it was the member for Dufferin—Caledon who said in his speech that other farmers wanted to export and did not support supply management. We in the Bloc Québécois support all farmers, and we support their choice of marketing model. We do this out of respect for the people who get up every morning to feed us.
    The government cannot tell these people that it is spoiling them and that it respects them and at the same time say that it is afraid that if it has to renegotiate CUSMA and this bill has passed, it will not be able to give them any more. That is the pretext it uses for not voting in favour of the bill while still saying it will protect farmers. Come on. Does the government really think anyone is going to fall for that?
    Seriously, I do not know how those people opposite sleep at night. Maybe it is by ignoring others and repeating their own talking points over and over in their heads. This bill is essential. It is important and extremely simple. It will exclude agricultural products that are subject to supply management.
    I heard the member say that he was afraid that supply-managed agricultural products would be excluded during negotiations. That is exactly what this bill will do. He should not be afraid: That is the whole point of the bill.
    We will adopt this bill because we are in the majority, and I expect the same thing to happen in the Senate. We will collaborate with our colleagues in the Senate to explain the merits of this bill to the other members and explain how badly farmers need it.
    If the government continues to say that it is going to protect supply management and help farmers, but that it can hang onto them to use as a bargaining chip, that means that it is going to put them on the table during future negotiations. It already lopped an arm off our farmers, but next time, it will be a leg. How can they keep farming after that?
    A supply-managed market is a balanced market in which the quantity produced and the price are controlled. According to carefully targeted market studies, in order to obtain a stable, reasonable price and a high-quality product, it is essential to control what comes in from outside. That is the third pillar, the third leg of the stool that the member from Montcalm was talking about earlier. The government needs to stop cutting off this third leg, because the stool will fall over. It will not work anymore.
    What I am hearing from the Conservatives this morning is that they clearly intend to eliminate the supply management system, but little by little. They want to do it by lying to agricultural producers, saying that they love them and want to protect them, but they will lay them on the sacrificial altar as soon as they get the chance. I suspect the Conservatives' plan is to take away the system that our farmers put in place, to steal the value of their quotas. Do members know how much quotas are worth?
    What the member for Dufferin—Caledon told supply-managed farmers across Canada, including those in his riding, is not to worry because they will quietly disappear. They will become pro-free trade and pro-big businesses converts.

  (1155)  

    What he does not understand, so I will explain it to him, is that all the small family farms come together to form one big company. That big company is created through solidarity, through joint marketing. This way, small businesses are assured of a stable, recurring income that they can use to innovate and make constant investments.
    It is often falsely claimed that this encourages inefficiency, but that is not true in the least. Our farmers have lowered their greenhouse gas emissions in recent years. They have done amazingly well. They are still investing. However, by continuing to take market share away from them, the government is telling them that maybe they should stop making investments. It has the opposite effect. Basically, the government is telling them the same thing the member for Dufferin—Caledon was telling supply-managed farmers earlier. It is telling them to hurry up and sell their quotas while they are still worth something.
    I apologize for not being as calm and collected as usual this morning, but when I hear things like this, I am outraged. It is baloney, it is pure nonsense. Members say one true thing and the opposite. It is preposterous. Farmers and the public are fed up with all this bullshit. We need the truth.
    Oh, I cannot say that word. It just slipped out. I apologize.
    I would ask the member to be good enough to apologize.
    The hon. member for Berthier—Maskinongé.
    Madam Speaker, farmers and the public are sick and tired of getting messed around, to put it more politely and, I think, more acceptably.
    I have said it again and again, but promises have to be backed up by action. This has happened more than once. How many motions have been adopted here? How many motions have been adopted in Quebec's National Assembly? They were always unanimous. In subsequent negotiations, however, market share was lost.
    The member for Dufferin—Caledon talked about other agricultural sectors. This morning, I would like to speak to all farmers and let them know that I will protect all agricultural sectors. I hope they know it. If they are not convinced, they are welcome to contact me so that we can discuss the matter. As far as future negotiations and market developments go, I will respect their decision on export-oriented marketing. I believe in it.
    I recently went on a trade mission with the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food to two different places to talk about international trade. I was there to represent farmers who want to export. However, this does not mean I have to work against the interests of my supply-managed farmers. Quite the contrary. I think both realities can coexist. In fact, they have done so very well since the 1970s. The problem is that the existing system is under attack.
    It is time to get serious. I look forward to the vote. If anyone has an issue with my speech, I invite them to respond. I am willing to take feedback and even chat to anyone who wants to contact me. I would be glad to. It is vital to walk the talk. That is key. Some members are accusing us of being divisive, but nothing could be further from the truth. I just proved it. They are the ones who are being divisive by claiming that the bill will hurt other sectors. I do not believe that.
    The WTO rules allow each state to protect certain key sectors. The United States does it, and so does Japan. Many countries do it, and we have the right to do it.
    Some people have mentioned softwood lumber and things like that. Rolling over is not going to get us more respect. We need to stand up for ourselves.
    Speaking of softwood lumber, I would like to remind this House that Quebec changed its public forest management system and it should not be affected by its American partner. Maybe the rest of the country needs to follow suit. Maybe Canada needs to take a stand.
    I am asking members to support the bill. I am also asking members to stop using doublespeak. If they are against the bill, they should own that and say so.

  (1200)  

    The time provided for the consideration of Private Members' Business has now expired and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the Order Paper.

[English]

Business of Supply

    Madam Speaker, if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:
    That, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House, during the debate on business of supply pursuant to Standing Order 81(4) later today:
(a) the time provided for consideration of the Main Estimates in committee of the whole be extended beyond four hours, as needed, to include a minimum of 16 periods of 15 minutes each;
(b) members rising to speak during the debate may indicate to the Chair that they will be dividing their time with one or more other members; and
(c) no quorum calls, dilatory motions or requests for unanimous consent shall be received by the Chair.
    All those opposed to the hon. member's moving the motion will please say nay. Agreed.
    The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.
    Hearing none, the motion is carried.

    (Motion agreed to)


Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Strengthening Environmental Protection for a Healthier Canada Act

Bill S-5—Time Allocation Motion 

    That in relation to Bill S-5, An Act to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, to make related amendments to the Food and Drugs Act and to repeal the Perfluorooctane Sulfonate Virtual Elimination Act, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration of the report stage and not more than one sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration of the third reading stage of the said bill; and
    That fifteen minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at report stage and on the day allotted to the consideration at the third reading stage of the said bill, any proceedings before this House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the stage of the bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.

[Translation]

    Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1, there will now be a 30-minute question period. I invite hon. members who wish to ask questions to rise in their places or use the “raise hand” function so the Chair has some idea of the number of members who wish to participate in the question period.

[English]

    The hon. member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes.

  (1205)  

    Madam Speaker, we find ourselves in a situation, with increasing frequency, where the government seems completely unable to manage its agenda. While members of the House want to be able to debate legislation and bring their concerns to the floor of the House of Commons on behalf of Canadians, the government seems unwilling or unable to allow that debate to unfold. Here again, we have the government using the sledgehammer of time allocation. It does not matter if the official opposition agrees or does not agree with the bill; the government does not even want members to have their say.
    Why is it with this, just like with the government's failure to appoint an interim or permanent Ethics Commissioner, that Canadians always pay the price? Canadians want members to be able to debate, and Canadians want officers of Parliament to be appointed in a timely way. In this case, we find ourselves unable to do that. Why is this the case?
    Madam Speaker, I am very happy to speak about the extensive study and debate, and indeed, amendments that have been proposed and deliberated on, for this particular piece of legislation.
    There were 105 written briefs to the Senate committee, 50 hours of study of the bill, the oral testimony of 80 witnesses, over 306 amendments tabled between the Senate and the House committee, and 38 clauses amended as a result of this careful deliberation.
    This bill has had extensive and robust debate and study, and now it is time for us to move so we can protect the environment for generations to come.
    Madam Speaker, to hear the Conservatives complain about time allocation is incredibly rich given what we saw from the Harper government. When a government bill was being debated in the House for the very first time, the Harper government would give notice of time allocation on that same day. The Conservative Party has no leg to stand on when it comes to this particular issue.
    Ultimately, this bill started its journey in the Senate. We are now at third reading. We are at a stage where members have acquainted themselves quite well with this bill. I think it has some very important aspects, and I am proud of how our team was able to strengthen the bill.
    For this particular bill, with the ways the New Democrats strengthened it, it is important for the House to arrive at a decision so members can make their opinions known on it. Could the minister expand on some of the reasons for this?
    Madam Speaker, I want to thank the member opposite and the NDP for their very thoughtful collaboration on this piece of legislation. It has been extremely important to hear the perspectives of all members, but we appreciate the thoughtfulness of the proposed amendments and the collaborative way in which the party opposite has worked with the government to strengthen the approach.
    When we pass this legislation, the outcomes we are all hoping for are better protections and a healthy environment for all Canadians. There are many stories across the country where Canadians' environmental protection has not been considered. In fact, as Minister of Indigenous Services, I have many examples I can and will share through this time period.
    There are examples of communities with drinking water that has been irreversibly damaged and contaminated. There are long-standing health conditions relating to environmental contamination; this not only results in ongoing suffering and premature death but also millions, if not billions, of dollars spent to try to ameliorate that contamination.
    Madam Speaker, moments ago, the member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes was talking about things that Canadians want in terms of democracy and people having the ability to represent their constituents in debate.
    Something else that Canadians want is an opposition that actually does its job; they want an opposition that comes into the House of Commons and does not only criticize and attack individuals all day long, but instead, tries to improve legislation and policy. They want an opposition that respects the fact that once a debate has gone through its natural course, it should eventually be voted on and not used as a bargaining tool to try to move absolutely anything in this House along.
    Can the minister comment on the extensive work that has been done to this point? How much has taken place? Why is it important to move this piece of legislation forward now?

  (1210)  

    Madam Speaker, there was more debate on this bill than there was for the budget implementation act. As I mentioned earlier, we had 105 written briefs, 50 hours of study of the bill through the Senate committee, the oral testimony of 80 witnesses, over 200 amendments tabled through the Senate, an additional 106 amendments tabled through the House committee, and 38 clauses out of almost 70 clauses amended. This really does show the level of debate.
    The government was listening. There were reasonable and thoughtful amendments that were proposed by members opposite and supported by the government. Each day, Canadians across the country are having their environment degraded by the release of toxic chemicals. Extreme health hazards, which have very detrimental effects, are also being created in a number of other ways.
    Madam Speaker, it is kind of bizarre. We agree with this bill. We have indicated that we will support it. However, we are back at a place where the government cannot manage the proceedings of this place. If it could manage the clock and the calendar better, then we would not have the closure that we have here today. We talked about how this place should work. There is a belief I have and hold dear, which is that the more we can debate and ask questions about a piece of legislation coming through here, the better it is.
    How does the minister justify moving closure on a bill that could be improved even more if we had the debate that is prescribed in this place?
    Madam Speaker, first of all, let me say how happy I am to hear that the official opposition will support this bill. This is very important and should be celebrated, because this bill is about protecting the health of Canadians and it is about moving forward, as the member opposite mentioned, thoughtfully but also with a certain speed at which Canadians expect us to move.
    This bill was introduced in February 2022. Since that time, there have been extensive study, interventions, amendments proposed, amendments deliberated upon and amendments accepted. Canadians, of course, expect thoughtful debate, which all that I just mentioned demonstrates, I believe, but they also expect this place to act. They expect us to take that study and that debate and implement law that would protect the right to a healthy environment, an environment free from contamination.
    Madam Speaker, I want to ask specifically about the amendments at report stage. The David Suzuki Foundation, Ecojustice, Environmental Defence, Breast Cancer Action Quebec and the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment have all written to the government and urged members of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development to support these amendments at report stage. They are also urging us to pass this legislation, so I am glad we are moving forward and will have support from parties to pass it.
    I am wondering whether the member supports both the amendment I have tabled, to ensure “tailings ponds” is added back into the Environmental Protection Act, and also the amendments on genetically modified organisms. I would love to hear her thoughts.
    Madam Speaker, I know that this member has had a lot of input on this legislation, which is in a very robust form as a result of the many deliberations and studies, and the amendments proposed, including by the member opposite. For me, as Minister of Indigenous Services Canada, ensuring that people have the right to water and land that is uncontaminated is top of mind. I know this legislation would get us a long way in that direction.
    There is nothing more tragic than meeting with a community that has no access to the freshwater body right next to it. Let us take Tataskweyak Cree Nation, for example, where the lake the people have lived beside for generations is now poisoned, for lack of a better word, and in fact is causing a number of health concerns in the community. Children are no longer allowed to swim in the lake. They routinely find dead wildlife in that lake. We can do better, and this legislation would bring us a long way toward that goal.

  (1215)  

    Madam Speaker, I always find it interesting to hear the NDP chastising the opposition on how the opposition should function. Actually, it was the government saying that we should be doing something different, and then it was the NDP actually supporting the government. Some things are mixed up. The only party in the House that understands its role right now is the Conservative Party in opposition.
    I would just like to bring Canadians back to 2015 and the way the Prime Minister came to power. This minister was part of that government of sunny ways. Do members remember that saying? Everything was going to be different. These guys were going to be open, they were never going to invoke closure and they were going to have a whole different way of doing business in Parliament.
    I have a really simple question for the minister. What happened to the sunny ways?
    Madam Speaker, I thank the member opposite for reminding us of a great year, 2015, when the Liberals were elected and we saw a return to government that was really about the protection of people's environment. It was about making sure everybody has a fair chance to succeed. I am happy to say to the member that I believe this legislation and the process of getting to the place where we are today have been very collaborative.
    In fact, the NDP is right. Collaboration is what Canadians expect of us in this place. Of course it is a place for rigorous debate. Of course it is a place for us to air our thoughts about how we strengthen legislation to get to its goal, how we protect Canadians' right to a healthy environment and how we strengthen everybody's chance to have a healthy and fulfilling life and path. This bill and, I believe, this motion for closure actually demonstrate the robustness of that debate. February 2022 is when this legislation was introduced. There have been 105 written briefs, 50 hours of study, 80 witnesses' oral testimonies, over 306 amendments introduced and, indeed, 38 clauses out of 70 amended. This shows the level of debate and collaboration we have been able to achieve in this place.
    Madam Speaker, I want to highlight the fact, which I really appreciate, that the minister opposite said that the NDP is right. I love to hear that and I would love to hear it some more.
    Some of the report stage amendments in the bill are actually looking to require the government to engage in indigenous and public consultations in regard to the introduction of new living organisms, including those genetically engineered, which my colleague was asking about. I do not think the minister had a chance to answer, and I would really like her to respond to that as well.
    Madam Speaker, first of all, as it would happen, most of us are right at least once in a while, and I am always happy to give credit where credit is due.
    In terms of indigenous consultation, I want to reflect on Natan Obed's remarks at the Inuit-Crown partnership committee meeting, which I had the incredible, immense honour of attending over the past week in Nain, Labrador. Indeed, President Obed said that no government has done more for indigenous persons than this one has. This reflects the ongoing work and commitment of the Prime Minister, and indeed the government, to place reconciliation at the forefront of what we do, and to ensure that, as we proceed through the House, we are including indigenous voices, consulting indigenous peoples and strengthening law that makes it a requirement for indigenous voices to be consulted and indigenous rights to be respected. The UN declaration that was passed through the House last year is a testimony to that, and I look forward to the action plan that my colleague, the Minister of Justice, will be bringing forward.
    Madam Speaker, the minister has spoken quite a bit about water contamination in indigenous communities, including one in my riding, Grassy Narrows, which the minister knows quite well. The community has been advocating for a mercury treatment centre for decades. There was a lot of relief and excitement, shortly after 2019, when there was an agreement reached to see this treatment centre come to fruition, but we still have not seen action, all these years later. There are now concerns that there are delays because of rising construction costs and the bureaucracy of government.
     I would like to give the minister an opportunity to shed some light on the process that has played out in terms of the mercury treatment centre in Grassy Narrows, and to ask her if she can tell us definitively when the government will keep its promise and deliver that treatment centre for the people of Grassy Narrows.

  (1220)  

    Madam Speaker, it is great to hear the member opposite get up to advocate for an indigenous community in his riding, and I have spoken with him a number of times about communities in his riding. It is important that we advocate for the most vulnerable communities.
    Grassy Narrows is a perfect example of why we need speed in passing this legislation. We cannot have any more situations like the one in Grassy Narrows. We cannot have any more situations where people are being contaminated, often without their knowing. We can look at how, just recently, Imperial Oil is affecting the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and the Mikisew Cree First Nation. These are tragedies that are preventable, and that is what this legislation would attempt to get at, which is to protect the right to a healthy environment for all Canadians, no matter how remote.
    On the subject of the Grassy Narrows treatment centre, I am pleased to report to the member opposite that I met with Chief Turtle and his consulting group last week, and that we do have a path forward to address the ongoing need for the treatment centre.
    Madam Speaker, just so Canadians understand what we are debating right now, this is a matter of moving forward with legislation that everybody in the House, to my understanding, supports, including the Conservatives. We have had an incredible amount of debate, both here and in the Senate, in regard to this piece of legislation.
    To be completely honest, the outrage that we normally get from the Conservatives when it comes to a time allocation motion is extremely lacklustre with respect to this one. It is almost as though they are just coming out and doing what they always do, but they do not even have the energy or the passion for crying foul when it comes to an affront on democracy that we are used to seeing in these circumstances.
    Can the minister confirm whether she believes that the amount of debate to this point has been exhaustive and extensive, and that it is now time for the House to come to a vote on the matter?
    Madam Speaker, I could repeat the numbers that I have given over the last minutes, but I will just say that I do believe that we have had rigorous debate on this piece of legislation, which, by the way, Canadians are waiting for.
    We have heard a number of members raise different environmental disasters. In fact, the bill would attempt to prevent those, and it would recognize the right to a healthy environment. It would strengthen the foundation for the management of chemicals and other substances. There have been 38 clauses amended, out of nearly 70 clauses, and this is over a long time period.
    Canadians do expect rigorous debate in this place; I know that and I hear that from my constituents. However, they also expect us to act, and that is what today is about. Today is about taking that debate and putting it into motion so Canadians can have confidence that this place is doing the work they expect of it.
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate the minister's bringing up the idea of it being time to act.
    I have a simple question for the minister. Would the bill prevent the dumping of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River so we could have a clean water system at the St. Lawrence?
    Madam Speaker, I am happy to hear the member opposite talk about the many different ways environments can be degraded. As I said, in a nutshell, this act would recognize a right to a healthy environment and strengthen the foundation for the management of chemicals and other substances. It would impose a duty on the government to protect that right and to uphold related principles.
    I will just say that many of these tragedies we are talking about are decades old, yet people are still living with the environmental impacts to this day. I was speaking with people in Grassy Narrows last week about the ongoing contamination of water and about the life that many of the residents have, in living with mercury poisoning. These are conversations that should alarm us all and compel us to act quickly, and that is what today is about.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, today is a day of contradictions.
    I just heard the minister say that the public expects us to engage in debate, while at the same time, we are presented with a gag order.
    We support the bill. Our issue is not with the bill. Our issue is with the debate, with our ability to give bills deeper consideration and potentially enhance them.
    Once again, what is the rationale underlying this time allocation? Why is the opposition always being silenced? I would like the minister to give us a clearer explanation.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, on the contrary, this has been a robust debate with opportunities for all members of the House to have their say, whether through debate or through participation on committees. In fact, in the House, for example, 106 amendments were tabled and 38 clauses out of 70 were accepted. It shows the level of debate, that there were over 306 amendments in total between the Senate and the House of Commons and that so many of those amendments were accepted.
    This is an example of the House doing its due diligence in studying this legislation. Now it is time to act.

  (1225)  

    Madam Speaker, I want to thank the minister for talking about how there really is no time to waste on this. I wanted to raise my hands to the member for Victoria for wanting to do something more around labelling. Yesterday, the news in British Columbia was talking about breast cancer. One in eight women in this country will go through breast cancer, and it is coming earlier and earlier. Now, early in their 40s, more women are getting breast cancer. For years, the government has allowed corporations to hide which toxic substances are in the products we all use. We need mandatory labelling of hazardous substances.
    My question to the minister this. When will the Liberals stop siding with big corporations and start protecting human health?
    Madam Speaker, I want to thank the member opposite for talking about the need to have stringent requirements for corporations to not pollute the environment, which not just our generation but also the generations to follow will rely on. This is an important part of that. This legislation would recognize the right to a healthy environment and impose a duty on the government to protect that right and uphold related principles. It would require ministers to develop an implementation framework within two years and to conduct research to support the protection of the right. The legislation is expected to support strong environmental and health standards now and in the future, and there would be a ton of opportunity, through this legislation, to strengthen the rights to a healthy environment and to strengthen the foundation for the management of chemicals and other substances that have deleterious health effects for so many Canadians.
    Madam Speaker, the government has become well known for making a promise and then delivering something completely different from what it had promised. I think we could see the Prime Minister as the Harry Houdini prime minister, holding up something here, and then, poof, with some sleight of hand, delivering something completely different. I think there are many Canadians who are starting to see behind the veil and understand that those magic tricks are not really so magical after. In listening to the minister today, responding to some of the questions that she had been asked previously, I see that played out very clearly in front of our eyes.
     I would like to follow up, in two parts, on some of the things we have already heard about. The government is one that came in saying it would never implement closure, or time allocation. Just so Canadians understand what that means, it means cutting off debate and taking away the voice of a member of Parliament to be able to voice their constituents' concerns. That is what the government is doing, and it has done that dozens, in fact hundreds, of times. I wonder if the minister could actually answer that question.
    I also heard a member ask whether the bill would do anything to prevent the dumping of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence, and I did not hear an answer. I heard the minister talk about everything else, which is a very typical Liberal way to approach things: to talk about everything else in order to deflect from the fact that the Liberals are not doing things that Canadians expect of them. Maybe the minister could actually try answering the question. Would the bill prevent raw sewage from being dumped into the St. Lawrence?
    Madam Speaker, I will note that the member opposite's party is expected to support this bill. That is an indication of how important this is to all constituents across the country. Canadians, regardless of the party and the member of Parliament who represent them in their riding, want stronger protections for the environment. That is what the government has consistently delivered.
    In fact, we are the only government that, for example, has imposed a price on pollution, something that the member opposite's leader now opposes.
    Canadians know that the climate is changing. They know we have significant challenges ahead, and this is an important piece of legislation that will protect the rights of Canadians to a healthy environment. I think Canadians expect us to act quickly.
    Madam Speaker, I take note that this debate on a time allocation motion about an environmental protection act really has nothing to do with the issue the Conservatives keep raising.
    The only thing they can talk about, when it has to do with the environment, is Montreal and what it does with its sewage system. If they really wanted to help Montreal, perhaps they would talk about helping Montreal with infrastructure to upgrade the capacity, so it is no longer put in those types of situations.
    That seems to be the go-to when it is anything related to the environment. We are talking about a piece of legislation that will significantly overhaul the way we look at environmental protection in our country for generations to come. I am wondering if the minister can talk about, and I know that she already has, and highlight some of the specifics of what this legislation will do to improve the quality of life of Canadians for generations to come.

  (1230)  

    Madam Speaker, after travelling around the country visiting with indigenous communities over the past two years, the most heartbreaking aspect is visiting a community that has seen a significant degradation of its environment related to industrial activity.
    We do not have to look very far. These are communities in northern Ontario. I know some members have never been there, but when one visits the community, one sees environmental pollution, and one could say environmental racism. There are people living there, and they have a right to a healthy environment, just like everyone in Montreal, Toronto, Windsor and Thunder Bay does, for that matter.
    This legislation is important. It is important to make sure that we do not have an out-of-sight, out-of-mind perspective when it comes to environmental rights. This legislation helps to get us there.
    Madam Speaker, the minister spoke about the need for the government to listen to indigenous communities. The AFN wrote to the government and provided recommendations.
    The first recommendation was to include the words “future generations” in the protection of the right to a healthy environment. We heard the same recommendation from indigenous leaders at committee. Giving future generations a right to a healthy environment is not only a critical step forward to protect human health and the environment, but also an important way to listen and act on the recommendations from indigenous leaders.
    I tabled an amendment to reflect that request, but the government voted it down. I am wondering if the minister can speak to why.
    Madam Speaker, the record of the government on environmental law and protections for the future generations is something that all Canadians have noted. In fact, our environmental plan is about protecting the future generations.
    It is about our part as Canada to reduce emissions, transition to a clean economy make sure that everybody has an opportunity to benefit from that clean economy. We have to do so, even though those conversations are hard. That is what this debate has been. This has been hours and hours of debate, more than there were for the budget implementation act. This has been about extensive study, many written submissions and many oral submissions.
    I look forward to working with the member opposite and, indeed, all parties, to make sure that, as we implement this legislation, we breathe full life into it, so that every Canadian can see themselves reflected.
    Madam Speaker, as I have been listening, I have heard there “is no time to waste”, that we have a right to a clean environment and that this is “a duty”.
    We have to uphold the principles of a clean environment for Canadians and our indigenous people, for sure. I am confused that this legislation did not come until February 2022, and it has taken this long and multiple amendments to what clearly must have been a sorely lacking piece of legislation.
    It is important that we get to spend the time we need to make sure that it is done right. I would ask the member how it is that this has suddenly become a priority and, unfortunately, came in as such a weak bill in the first place.
    Madam Speaker, on a point of order, the member referred to “our indigenous people”.
    The member for Winnipeg Centre has raised this point a number of times in the House, requesting members to not use possessive language. Indigenous people do not belong to the members of the House, so I would ask the member to use different language.
    Madam Speaker, it is not possessive language. It is recognition of—

  (1235)  

    That is debate. This has been requested by an indigenous member of the House.
    The hon. minister has the floor.
    Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise to answer this question. There was, weirdly, an imposing premise in the question that, one, it took the government too long to get here and, two, the government was rushing through this legislation.
    Let me just address this. Unlike the previous Conservatives government under Stephen Harper, which introduced water legislation on a first nation without any consultation with first nations people, the Liberal government takes its time to ensure that it hears all perspectives before tabling important legislation like this.
    I am thrilled to support this legislation, and I know that many others in this House are. I am thankful for the time today.

[Translation]

    It is my duty to interrupt the proceedings at this time and put forthwith the question necessary to dispose of the motion now before the House.
    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.
    Madam Speaker, we request a recorded vote, please.

  (1320)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 321)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 168


NAYS

Members

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

Total: -- 142


PAIRED

Members

Aboultaif
Blois
Drouin
Duclos
Ehsassi
Falk (Provencher)
Généreux
Hoback
Jones
Liepert
McKay
Savard-Tremblay

Total: -- 12


    I declare the motion carried.

[English]

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

Report Stage  

     The House resumed from May 3 consideration of Bill S-5, An Act to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, to make related amendments to the Food and Drugs Act and to repeal the Perfluorooctane Sulfonate Virtual Elimination Act, as reported (with amendments) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise and support this legislation, Bill S-5. I understand, from what I have been told, that all members of the House recognize its value and are in favour of supporting it. As the House will know, it is a substantive piece of legislation.
     It has been a long time since we have seen substantial changes to our environmental laws, which is the essence of what Bill S-5 would do. In many ways, it would make substantive changes that would modernize the law and make a very powerful statement to all Canadians. They have a right to a healthy environment. The essence of Bill S-5 is about ensuring that Canadians recognize they have a right to a healthy environment.
    What is interesting is the process that has brought us to where we are today. The legislation has been thoroughly debated in different committees, both at the Senate and at the House of Commons, and it has already had a substantial number of amendments. During the years I was in opposition, it was rare to see amendments, unless of course they were government amendments, but when we think of—
    The hon. member for Laurentides—Labelle is rising on a point of order.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, there is a serious problem. The interpretation is not working. Perhaps some headsets are not working properly. Can that be checked?
    The interpretation seems to be working.

[English]

    However, there was a lot of noise in the House, so maybe we can try to keep the noise down so we can all listen to the proceedings.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Madam Speaker, I was referencing the fact that what we have today is very solid legislation. In good part, it is because of all the efforts that have been put into making this legislation what it is today. We could go back to the department and the consultations of hundreds, if not thousands, of Canadians and different stakeholders, all contributing to the original legislation, which went through the Senate. The idea was that by having it go through Senate we would get it passed in a more timely fashion.
    The Senate did a fantastic job, as did the House of Commons and colleagues who sit on the standing committee for the House. I referred to the numerous amendments that were proposed.
     The Prime Minister has indicated that when we bring in legislation and if there are things we can do to give strength to the legislation as a government, we are open to doing that. It does not have to be a government amendment, and Bill S-5 is a clear demonstration of that. Members from all political parties contributed to the debate and dialogue and listened to the presentations, and many amendments ultimately were accepted. When I started my comments, I was pleased to recognize that members on all sides of the House, like the Senate, would be passing the legislation.
    As a parliamentarian over the years, I have seen more people becoming concerned about our environment and what we are doing about it. It is a legitimate concern among Canadians, and it is a growing concern.
     When we think about the legislation, we can talk about the toxic substances in the environment. We can talk about how the legislation would set up a better regime for the management of chemicals, or how it would modernize that, or how it would put in place a system that would allow for the science of today to be applied in many different ways with regard to our environment and the types of policy decisions being made. We ultimately will be passing and environmental protection law. All of this will have a significant impact, but it is not just this legislation.
    For many years now, we have taken an approach to deal with the environment from both a legislative perspective and a budgetary perspective. Let me give some examples.
     When people think of our environment, they often think of plastics. How often do we see plastic grocery bags hanging from trees? It is quite a bit. We can talk about the banning of single-use plastics as an example of a government action that has been received quite well among the public. We can talk about how, through a budget, we were able to support and incentivize people to purchase hybrids or electric vehicles.
    We brought in other legislation that made a very powerful statement about net-zero emissions by 2050 and then have regulations to support that, not waiting a year for reports, much like in this legislation. There would be mechanisms put in place to ensure there is a higher sense of accountability. I like the fact that if individual Canadians have specific concerns, a procedure would be in place to allow them to elevate that concern to the government, with some expectation that at least it would be taken into consideration.

  (1325)  

    When we put everything together and talk about the types of things that we have seen, such as the expansion of land under conservation, the expansion of the number of national parks, bringing in legislation of this nature and supporting the environment through budgetary measures, it has been made very clear that the Prime Minister and the Liberal government have been genuine in ensuring that we pass on a healthier, cleaner environment to future generations by putting together a framework that would enable it to continue on.

  (1330)  

    Madam Speaker, I have a point of order, but I hope that you stop the clock so the member gets his entire round of questions and comments. We would not want to miss a moment of that.

[Translation]

    The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.

[English]

Business of the House

    Madam Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties and if you seek it, I believe you will find unanimous consent for the following motion:
    That, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House,
(a) Bill C-45, An Act to amend the First Nations Fiscal Management Act, to make consequential amendments to other Acts, and to make a clarification relating to another Act, be disposed of as follows:
(i) the bill be deemed concurred in at report stage, as amended, upon the adoption of this order;
(ii) the bill be ordered for consideration at the third reading stage later today after the taking of the deferred recorded divisions,
(iii) when the bill is take up at the third reading stage, one member of each recognized party be allowed to speak for not more than 10 minutes followed by five minutes for questions and comments,
(iv) at the conclusion of the time provided for this debate or when no member rises to speak, whichever is earlier, the bill shall be deemed read a third time and passed; and
(b) the order adopted earlier today under the provisions of Standing Order 78(3) still apply to the proceedings on Bill S-5, An Act to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, to make related amendments to the Food and Drugs Act and to repeal the Perfluorooctane Sulfonate Virtual Elimination Act, and that today's proceedings on the bill count as the further sitting day allotted for debate at report stage.
    All those opposed to the hon. parliamentary secretary's moving the motion will please say nay.

[Translation]

    It is agreed.
    The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.

    (Motion agreed to)

[English]

First Nations Fiscal Management Act

     (Bill C-45. On the Order: Government Orders:)

    May 12, 2023 — The Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations — On or after Tuesday, May 16, 2023 — Consideration at report stage of Bill C-45, An Act to amend the First Nations Fiscal Management Act, to make consequential amendments to other Acts, and to make a clarification relating to another Act, as reported by the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs with amendments.
    Accordingly, Bill C-45, an act to amend the First Nations Fiscal Management Act, to make consequential amendments to other acts, and to make a clarification relating to another act, as amended, is deemed concurred in at report stage.

    (Bill, as amended, concurred in)

Strengthening Environmental Protection for a Healthier Canada Act

     The House resumed consideration of Bill S-5, An Act to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, to make related amendments to the Food and Drugs Act and to repeal the Perfluorooctane Sulfonate Virtual Elimination Act, as reported (with amendments) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.
    Madam Speaker, several years ago, the environment committee made recommendations regarding national standards for clean air and clean water. Why have these two important elements in protecting the environment been ignored as Bill S-5?
    Madam Speaker, I do not know all the details in the legislation to the degree that I could actually give a specific answer to the member. However, when we talk about Canadians having that guarantee of environmental rights, I suspect there are ways to take into consideration a wide variety of environmental issues related to what the member has said.
    Again, maybe the member was at the committee or is going into details with which I am just not quite familiar enough.
    Madam Speaker, the member for Winnipeg North spoke about the committee process in his speech.
    He might know that our colleague, the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, proposed 24 amendments at committee, none of which were supported. The member spoke about the right to a healthy environment. Several of those amendments would have enhanced that right.
     Rather than simply considering the right to a healthy environment, one of the amendments would have ensured that the bill would protect the right to a healthy environment. It would have given the opportunity to ensure companies that did not adhere to that right would pay damages for doing so.
    What does the hon. member have to say to this?

  (1335)  

    Madam Speaker, it is important to recognize that when the Green Party moved the amendment, it was not like members voted against it; it was deemed out of scope. When an amendment is out of scope, we cannot expect it to pass.
    The member can be encouraged that many amendments were accepted at the Senate and House of Commons levels, and they were not just government amendments. The government was open to amendments, but there is an obligation when a member introduces an amendment that it be within the scope of the legislation. From what I understand, the chairs at that time did not think it was within the proper scope of the legislation.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to hear some more details, specifically about whether this bill does anything to guarantee a healthy environment.
    How does the member explain the fact that this bill is primarily technical, despite the seriousness of the climate crisis? It is really too bad that the bill's sponsor did not have the guts to consider what might happen after Bill S-5 passes.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I would be inclined to disagree with the member. If we look at the legislation, it would establish a framework that could ultimately be complemented by regulations, which could address some of the concerns she may express during the third reading of Bill S-5.
    I believe it enshrines the principles of Canadians to have a right to a healthy environment, and that is a strong and positive step forward.
    Madam Speaker, I was part of the committee that studied this. The environment committee spent hours looking at this technical legislation.
     The hon. member has zeroed in on one of the cruxes of the legislation, which is the right to a healthy environment. Something we discussed at length was toxicity and how to limit that on animals that could then become part of the food chain. There are also animals being tested in laboratories. We need to get away from the toxicity that harms animal health and therefore our health.
    Could the hon. member talk about why it is important to have a healthy environment?
    Madam Speaker, one cannot underestimate the importance of Canada in contributing to the world food chain in the future. That is why it is so critically important that we get this issue right. I appreciate the comments. I suspect it will be an area we will talk a great deal about into the future.
    Madam Speaker, the environment is on all our minds these days as we see images of more than 100 wildfires raging in my home province of Alberta. Thousands of people have had to flee their homes. The provincial government has declared a state of emergency.
    As I mentioned in my S.O. 31 last week, such situations as these remind us that the circumstances people endure may be uncontrollable, but we can definitely control our response to them. Canadians understand the need to work together. I am thankful to those across the country who have travelled to Alberta to assist the firefighting efforts.
    One of the biggest strengths of our nation is the willingness of Canadians to come together in a crisis. We support each other because that is the Canadian way of doing things. On behalf of everyone in Alberta, I want to thank those from other provinces and territories for standing up to fight the wildfires.
    With the environment on our minds, we turn to consider an environmental bill, Bill S-5, an act to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. What is the big rush with this bill? Suddenly, the government is in a hurry to pass this legislation; it has come to the point where the government has to limit debate. I find this somewhat amusing. It introduced pretty much the same bill during the last Parliament, but that one failed to pass because the Prime Minister thought an early election was more important.
    Protecting the environment is something Liberals talk about a lot. We have heard them talking about setting targets for carbon emissions. We do not hear them talk about how the government has never met a target that it set for itself. Talk is easy. Doing something seems to be more difficult.
    Bill S-5 is the first major overhaul of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act since the 1990s. Much has changed since then in our understanding of the environment and climate change. The bill is long overdue; however, given the lack of priority the Liberals have given this issue in recent years, I am surprised they feel it is important to limit debate.
    When one looks at the legislation, one cannot help but be disappointed. The bill is not really about environmental protection; it is about updating the rules. There is no doubt that many environmental rules need to be updated. Those on toxic substances come to mind. So much can change in 20 years, but there is nothing new here besides vague and undefined promises.
    Many pieces of legislation that have come before this House highlight the stark differences in the visions of Canada put forward by the Liberals and the Conservatives. Conservatives put people first, seeking to make the lives of ordinary Canadians better through sensible financial policies. We understand that the government is not supposed to magically create jobs; rather, it should create an environment where the private sector sees opportunities to create jobs.
    This bill recognizes that every Canadian has the right to a healthy environment. It would require the Government of Canada to protect this right, but it would leave it up to the minister to develop an implementation framework and tell us how the right to a healthy environment would be considered in the administration of CEPA.
    Several years ago, the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development made recommendations regarding national standards for clean air and clean water. I would have expected them to be included in this legislation. Maybe the minister will get around to including them in the implementation framework, but it would have been nice to have them included so that we could see what the government is planning and make some suggestions for improvement, if needed, in the House.
    With all due respect to the minister, I am curious as to what is considered a “healthy environment”. In many ways, the concept goes far beyond the scope of this legislation. Does it include the air we breathe? It most certainly does. What about access to clean drinking water? That goes without saying, although I suppose some communities under drinking water advisories would warn us that such a right has not been extended to all Canadians. Is a healthy environment access to affordable, healthy food? If so, where are the provisions to deal with the inflation the government has created? Yes, the bill would deal with toxic chemicals and with obvious environmental hazards, but there is so much more that needs to be done. I will admit to being a little concerned as to what the minister thinks a healthy environment is, and I hope that, when the definition finally comes, it will be science-based and not sprung out of ideological dogma.

  (1340)  

    As I have mentioned here before, the current government has a habit of making pronouncements highlighting its environmental plans, then not following through. I hope that, this time, its members really mean what they say. Certainly, the legislation is long overdue. We know so much more about the environment, climate change and the need for action than we did 20 years ago.
    It is certainly time to modernize Canada's chemicals management plan. I would suspect that, given rapid advances in industry, we may want to take another look at the plan in a few years. As a nation, we need to be proactive, making sure the environment is properly protected rather than waiting for an industrial accident that could cause harm to the environment and to the Canadian people. The risk-based approach to chemicals management proposed in Bill S-5 makes sense to me.
    Last week, I spoke in this chamber regarding Bill S-6, which is an attempt to reduce the mountain of governmental red tape that Canadians face. It seems that, everywhere we turn, there are more regulations. It is almost as if they were breeding.
    It is important to have regulations regarding the environment. We need to ensure that our air is fresh and our water pure, not just for today, but for future generations. We hold the environment in trust for our children and grandchildren. Sometimes, though, regulations are unnecessary; they add to the mountain of red tape without achieving what they are supposed to achieve. This is why I am please that Bill S-5 sets out to remove unnecessary red tape from our environmental regulations.
    We need protections, but they should be necessary ones. Given the limited scope of the bill, I would not be surprised to see more environmental regulations from the government. Chemicals management and toxic substances are not the only areas of environmental protection that are concerning Canadians.
    In this House, we are all committed to protecting our environment, although we sometimes differ as to what the best approach would be. Canada remains the envy of the world for our clean water and clean air, as well as the natural beauty of our country. Our responsibility as parliamentarians is to ensure that future generations can enjoy the same healthy environment that we have today. If we can leave our planet and its environment healthier than it was when our parents passed it on to us, then that will be a fitting legacy.
    Revisions to our environmental protection laws are long overdue. Perhaps the government has not acted quickly enough, but it is acting. Perhaps the provisions of the bill do not go as far as some would have liked, but the bill is a beginning. It is not the all-encompassing legislation that some would have hoped for. It is a modest beginning that addresses a need. At least it is a start.

  (1345)  

    Madam Speaker, one cannot help but ask a question of a Conservative when they stand up and talk about the environment. I am glad that the Conservatives are going to be supporting this particular piece of legislation, but there are many within the Conservative Party who are challenged when it comes to recognizing such things as climate change. There are some who are finding it challenging to review and look at what they told their constituents or voters back in the last federal election, when they said that they were in favour of a price on pollution.
    Given his current leader's position on the issue, could the member indicate what he would say to his constituents, having told them in the last election that he supports a price on pollution?
    Madam Speaker, I thought the hon. member did not want us to talk about the environment from this side. That is my first impression of his question. On the other hand, I thought we were talking about clean air, clean water, toxic substances and so forth; I also thought I was talking about red tape and regulations. Canadians need fewer regulations, less taxation, less red tape and more action. That makes sense; on this side of the House, that is what I believe we need to do in order to move forward with a very balanced and good plan to protect the environment.
    Madam Speaker, I am really confused as to what my colleague wants here. He talks about how important it is to have a clean and healthy environment, as well as how Canadians expect and want that. However, he says we need fewer regulations for that clean environment. How do the Conservatives expect us to maintain a clean and healthy environment without regulations in some form that will keep companies like Imperial Oil in check when they spill toxins into rivers? How are we supposed to do that without regulations to make sure that our children and our children's children will have a clean and healthy environment here in Canada?
    Madam Speaker, there is a different way of looking at things and dealing with things. We are very much more practical on this side of the House. This is a style of management that different parties have. We need less regulation. We have too many regulations, and we need to look at that; we need less ideology in terms of looking at everything, especially the environment.

  (1350)  

    Madam Speaker, I just want to get some things straightened out. The member talked about there being no definition of clean air or clean water in this legislation; it is sort of open to interpretation. Running with the track record of the government for the last eight years, the government has actually made more red tape and made things more confusing to anybody who really wanted to do something better for the environment. This is coming from a government that actually charged hospital administrators a carbon tax to heat their own hospitals during a pandemic. I wonder if the member across the way can comment on why he is looking for more clarification on this bill.
    Madam Speaker, first of all, there are no definitions in the bill; they are leaving it up to the minister. It is as though the government hopes that, within the framework, the minister is going to put together the proper definitions of clean water and clean air, as well as what other environmental protections look like.
     It seems that, so far, the government has only one gear, and that is carbon tax. It taxes Canadians more and hopes to change their behaviour. This is not working. This is just really adding levies on the shoulders of Canadians, taking money away from Canadian families at a time of inflation. By the way, the carbon tax is also contributing to inflation. We need to reduce it rather than adding fuel to the fire, as the government is doing.
    Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to join the debate today on Bill S-5, an act to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, after having had the pleasure of working on it for over 15 meetings on the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.
    The Canadian Environmental Protection Act, or CEPA, is Canada’s most important environmental law. CEPA is focused on preventing pollution, managing toxic substances, and protecting the environment and human health. The powers created by CEPA are firmly recognized as a valid exercise of the federal government’s criminal law power. It not only protects us from harmful chemicals, but is also the instrument that was utilized to ban certain single-use plastic items.
    CEPA also has a key function in the management of greenhouse gases. The regulation-making authority under CEPA allows the federal government to control the fuel efficiency standards for light duty vehicles and the methane emissions from oil and gas. It will also be the tool used for the forthcoming zero-emissions vehicle mandate, the clean electricity standard and, perhaps, the cap on emissions from oil and gas.
    Members can see why this is an important law, but it has not been updated for almost 24 years. The Harper government did not bother to review or update it over the course of the Conservatives' mandate, but it is obvious that much has changed over this period, and our knowledge of chemicals and the environment had greatly progressed. This much was affirmed through the extensive study that was done by the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development from 2016 to 2017. Many of the recommendations in this report were incorporated into legislation, which was first tabled before the 2021 election and now again in Bill S-5.
    I want to thank the members of that committee, including my former colleague, Will Amos, who did important work to get us where we are. I also want to thank the many individuals who have worked on this over the years, including organizations such as the David Suzuki Foundation, Ecojustice, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada, and Canada’s own UN special rapporteur on human rights and the environment, Dr. David Boyd. It is quite a marvel that both industry and environmental NGOs agreed on the overall framework of this bill and signed a letter to that effect before it was tabled last year.
    Bill S-5 is an extremely technical bill, and so I will not get into all of the intricacies of it, but I do want to mention a few highlights.
    Bill S-5 would make several major advancements, including, for the first time ever, recognizing a right to a healthy environment in Canadian law. Many of my own constituents, including Lisa Brasso, have been advocating for this right for some time through the Blue Dot campaign, where I was an early signatory during the 2019 election campaign. Since Bill S-5 was tabled, we strengthened this right at committee such that the right will no longer need to balanced against other factors, and it now incorporates the principles of environmental justice, non-regression and intergenerational equity.
    Through an amendment I introduced at committee, the act will now expand this right to include a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. This will bring Canada into alignment with internationally accepted definitions, which we voted for at the UN in July of last year. In this respect, “clean” refers to the fight against pollution; “healthy” refers to ecological balance; and “sustainable” refers to the nexus between the environment and development. This is critical in the act, which is most responsible for advancing sustainable development, so that we practice domestically what we preach internationally.
    Bill S-5 would also take major steps forward in advancing transparency and accountability so Canadians can have confidence in how chemicals are being managed. It would refocus departments on planning for assessing substances of highest risk first; provide dedicated timelines to reassess these priorities; provide an avenue for the public to request that a minister assess a substance when new data about a substance becomes available, which would require a response in 90 days; require that reasons be given if the final risk assessments of chemicals exceeds two years; require annual progress reporting and timeline reporting; and strengthen provisions around confidential business information.
    Bill S-5, for the first time, would assess the potential impacts of chemical substances on vulnerable populations and the cumulative effects that toxic substances may pose to vulnerable populations. It would ensure that we assess the relative vulnerability that individuals, such as pregnant mothers and children, may have to certain chemicals as well as populations that may be more persistently exposed to a substance.
    This will dovetail nicely with the legislation we have also recently passed through this chamber, which will require a national strategy on environmental racism and environmental justice. I want to thank my former seatmate, Lenore Zann, for tabling this, and the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands for reintroducing it after the last election. It is important that we make progress on this because environmental racism is not just a historical blight. We continue to see this today, with the most recent example of the Kearl project tailings leaks and their cumulative impacts on first nations downstream.

  (1355)  

    That is why I invited Imperial Oil and the Alberta Energy Regulator to appear at the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development to answer for what happened and why they kept the affected communities in the dark. Big oil and what affected communities widely pan as an industry captured regulator, or in the case of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, a “complete joke”, are convinced that they can pull the rug over Canadians' eyes and people will move on. However, the federal government is stepping in to investigate the company and has gathered all implicated parties to figure out long-term solutions to the entire monitoring and notification system.
    It also bears mentioning the related amendment the NDP has proposed. The NDP is trying to make the case that we need to specifically list tailings ponds to have the ability to get information on them under section 46, the information-gathering provisions of CEPA, but this flies in the face of the fact that we already have this ability through powers rooted in subsections (c), (e), (f), (h), (i), (k), (l), and a new proposed subsection we added in Bill S-5 to cover activities that may contribute to pollution.
    There is a related agreement with Alberta on oil sands monitoring that is rooted in these powers, but the problem in this case is that Alberta inexplicably violated its duty to notify the federal government. I do ask my NDP colleagues to read the full legislation first, to understand how it addresses information on tailings, rather than simply pressing Ctrl+F and typing “tailings” before providing misleading amendments that there is such a gap. To do otherwise, I believe, is an insult to Canadians' intelligence, and it takes time out from other measures that may actually make the legislation better.
    I want to take a few minutes to discuss how Bill S-5 could have been improved. For example, I am disappointed that the legislation will only require the that the right to a healthy environment be considered in the administration of the act, rather than require the protection of it. While I have confidence in our minister to bring in a robust system to protect this new right, there is a risk that future governments and future ministers may roll this back.
     Second, the committee also narrowly rejected an amendment I proposed that would have required the minister to take measures to protect the right to a healthy environment where ambient air quality standards are exceeded as part of the implementation framework. I think this is a major missed opportunity. Canada is one of the few developed nations that does not have mandatory ambient air quality standards. The federal government’s own 2016 assessment showed that poor air quality costs Canada at least $120 billion and 15,000 deaths per year, making this an obvious action for us to take to save lives and avoid major health costs. I was encouraged that the minister committed that the implementation framework will clarify how the right to a healthy environment lens will apply to the clean air agenda, but this could have been made explicit in the legislation.

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]

  (1400)  

[English]

Women in Science

    Madam Speaker, I rise to congratulate the students at our Canadian post-secondary institutions on their convocations, including those at Dalhousie in Halifax.
    In particular, I want to recognize my daughter, Monica, who is receiving her doctorate in philosophy, a Ph.D., in chemical engineering, specializing in fire dynamics. As a member of the Standing Committee on Science and Research, I know the importance of research and having strong women in science.
     Monica is the mother of two young children, aged two and a half years and two months. She is a skilled soccer player, a coach and a mentor to many. She earned her doctorate by working hard for many years, as well as continuing her lab research through COVID and while pregnant. I am so proud of her accomplishments. Monica's story is inspiring, and I proudly share it to encourage all girls to strive to achieve their dreams.

[Translation]

    I want every girl out there to keep her dreams alive and trust and believe in herself. We support our girls.
    Congratulations, Monica. We love you.

[English]

Food Allergy Awareness Month

    Mr. Speaker, May is Food Allergy Awareness Month.
    Food allergy is a medical condition directly affecting more than three million Canadians, including 600,000 kids. Living with food allergies is not a choice. It is not without significant challenges. This is a chronic medical condition defined by its unpredictability, life-threatening potential and absence of a cure.
    It is not without hope. Thanks to organizations such as Food Allergy Canada, great strides have been made to inform the public, 50% of whom will be touched by a food allergy in some way, and improve the life for families directly impacted. I want to acknowledge the parents, grandparents, caregivers, coaches, educators and non-profit organizations for their continued advocacy and support to improve the quality of life for those living with food allergies.

Indian Arrival Day

    Mr. Speaker, Indian Arrival Day is celebrated on various days in May in many countries, including Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Grenada, Fiji, Mauritius, Suriname, and many other countries commemorating the arrival of people from the Indian subcontinent to their respective nations as indentured labourers brought by European colonial past authorities.
    Last week, an international conference on indentureship was organized in Fiji by Global Girmit Institute. Canadians who have come to our wonderful land from all of these countries continue to mark this day. They have worked hard to preserve their history, their culture and their heritage, which also benefits future generations of Canadians.
    I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the contributions of these Canadians to the socio-economic development of our country and for strengthening our rich, multicultural fabric.

[Translation]

Jean‑Pierre Gélinas

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Jean-Pierre Gélinas of Louiseville, who recently received the Gaétan Blais award.
    This committed volunteer is involved with a whole slew of organizations, including the Louiseville Optimist Club, Noël du Pauvre, Knights of Columbus, the Centre d'action bénévole de la MRC de Maskinongé, minor baseball, the Louiseville buckwheat pancake festival, the Maison du commis-voyageur, the Comité ZIP du lac Saint‑Pierre, the Organisme de bassins versants des rivières du Loup et des Yamachiche, the Office municipal d'habitation de Louiseville, and many other causes. He is also the one who created volunteer appreciation night in the first place.
    Clearly, Mr. Gélinas knows what we are talking about when we say that volunteer work changes the world. I thank him for giving so generously of his time. I offer him my sincere congratulations on his strong sense of commitment. It is caring people like him who make the riding of Berthier—Maskinongé such a great place to live.

20th Anniversary of Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to mark the 20th anniversary of the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association, which I have the honour of co-chairing with Senator Amina Gerba.
    I want to take this opportunity to thank all those who, over the years, helped our association be active and present both here in Canada and on the international stage, including the association's founders, the late MP Mauril Bélanger and retired senator Raynell Andreychuk.
    The association's 20 years have been filled with meetings with African delegations visiting Canada, bilateral visits to 34 African countries and to the pan-African Parliament, 31 reports to the House and Senate, and many intercultural learning activities.

  (1405)  

[English]

    I invite all members to come celebrate 20 years of Canada-Africa and Africa Day this coming Thursday here on the Hill with the African community here in Canada.

Retirement Congratulations

    Mr. Speaker, the important work that we do as members of Parliament is only made possible with the support of dedicated staff. Today, it is an honour for me to pay tribute to Sonja Hansen ahead of her upcoming retirement.
    Starting her career on the Hill in 1979, she has remained a constant in these halls, outlasting MPs, leaders, prime ministers and even some political parties. Since I was first elected, I have been fortunate to benefit from her experience and expertise. Her work ethic, commitment to excellence, and the speed and care with which she tackles any task are only outmatched by her thoughtfulness and sense of humour.
    While she will be greatly missed, I wish her a happy and healthy retirement. I hope that all members in this place will join me in thanking Sonja Hansen for her decades of service and dedication to Parliament and all Canadians.

Portuguese Canadians

    Mr. Speaker, on May 13, 1953, 70 years ago, the first boatload of Portuguese migrants reached Pier 21 in Halifax. This marked the beginning of what would become large-scale immigration from Portugal to Canada.
    ln the ensuing years and decades, tens of thousands of Portuguese came to escape poverty, a dictatorship and the colonial wars they did not want to participate in. By this year, Portuguese Canadians are approximately 500,000 strong. There are Portuguese communities right across Canada and over 125 Portuguese social clubs. Their volunteers work tirelessly to promote the Portuguese language, culture and traditions.
    Portuguese Canadians are leaders in all sectors of our economic, political and social life. The Portuguese Canadian Walk of Fame highlights Portuguese Canadian leaders for outstanding achievements. This past weekend, the following four were added: Jack Oliveira, Jose Carlos Teixeira, Ema Dantas and Antonio De Sousa.
    They and all Portuguese leaders serve not only as an inspiration to the Portuguese community, but to all Canadians. Parabéns to the community. Here is to 70 more successful years.

Dave Kerwin

    Mr. Speaker, on February 6 of this year, Newmarket lost a true community builder. Dave Kerwin was deeply focused on his community. He led a life of giving back to the place he called home, punctuated by his 39 years on Newmarket council.
    His passion for the arts, support for the renovations to the old town hall and his support of Visual & Performing Arts Newmarket, are but a few of his remarkable contributions. Dave's smile and his genuine concern for the people who came into his life will be memories to cherish. Our town has benefited from his passion and commitment to everything that was Newmarket.
    While we will miss this remarkable man, we do not need to go far in our community to find memories of his contributions to the people and the town we love to call home. His legacy of community builder, friend and loving family man will live on in the history of Newmarket.

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, Canada is in a housing crisis and the government is unwilling to admit it. We are not building homes fast enough and the ones that do get built are more out of reach than they have ever been. It is leaving an entire generation of young people feeling like home ownership is no longer a possibility.
    Since 2015, mortgage payments have doubled, rent has doubled and the required down payment to buy one's first home has also doubled. In some places, like Orillia, prices have gone up almost 300%. We are now projected to build fewer homes this year than last year. In fact, Canada has the fewest homes per 1,000 residents than any G7 country. The government's approach has been heavy on communication and light on results.
    What is the government doing now? It has a fancy new account that will take five years to max out, and the government is now supporting banks to unilaterally extend amortization to well over 40 years. This is going to keep house prices high and out of reach for many young Canadians. We need a government that will admit we are in a housing crisis and focus on results.

  (1410)  

Taiwan

    Mr. Speaker, over the past two years, the world has suffered from the unprecedented crisis related to the COVID-19 pandemic. I am pleased to say Taiwan is one of the few places in the world that has successfully stemmed the spread of the coronavirus.
    Sadly, despite its efforts, Taiwan is still effectively locked out of full participation in the World Health Assembly. Taiwan, as a responsible member of the global community, has always been committed to promoting public health and has contributed significantly to the international efforts to control and prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Taiwan's experience and expertise in managing the pandemic could have been invaluable to other countries, especially those in the region.
    Taiwan's re-entry into the World Health Assembly would not only benefit its citizens, but also the global economy. It is time to focus on what is truly important: the health and well-being of all people, regardless of nationality or political affiliations, and allow Taiwan access to the WHO.

National Police Week

    Mr. Speaker, we enter National Police Week with the troubling reality that nine officers have been murdered in Canada since last September. With that backdrop, I cannot help but reflect on the deep meaning behind this year's theme: “Committed to Serve”. The oath officers proudly take is to do just that, to serve, despite the risks. The communities' expectations, hopes and trust are embodied in those three simple words.
    Recently, I came across my old badge and uniform and looked back on my 35 years as a police officer with a touch of nostalgia, realizing the privilege to serve my community, alongside an incredible group of fellow officers who were equally committed to serve well. The camaraderie, sense of purpose, unwavering dedication to duty and the tremendous responsibility and honour to have public trust are the memories that stay with me, but, more importantly, it is the knowledge that our work made a difference, that we were there when people needed us most.
    This week, let us honour these beacons of hope, these steady hands and guardians of justice, for they are the police committed to serve.

Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, it is time for solutions.
    The Conservative leader stands for the common sense of the common people united for our common home: Canada. How will he bring home a country that works for those who have done the work? He will bring home lower prices by ending inflationary deficits and scrapping the carbon tax on heat, gas and groceries; he will bring home powerful paycheques by lowering taxes and clawbacks to reward hard work; he will bring homes that workers can afford by firing the gatekeepers and freeing up land to build; he will bring home safety by ending catch-and-release of repeat violent offenders; he will bring home freedom from foreign interference and woke government censorship.
    It is time to bring home solutions.

Orléans

    Mr. Speaker, it was a busy weekend. I had the pleasure of attending the Mother's Day high tea event on Saturday, which was organized by my fellow Rotarian members of the Rotary Club of Orléans. The event was significant and symbolic, with the aim of honouring the women who have played important roles in our lives.

[Translation]

    I wish them a happy Mother's Day.

[English]

    Also, summer is among us and it means it is the time to garden, plant flowers, grow vegetables and much more. I had the pleasure to join the incredible team at Just Food in my community to officially open a new greenhouse and pavilion, thanks to funding from the Canada community revitalization fund. These much-needed spaces will become host to a weekly farmer’s market.

HIV/AIDS

    Mr. Speaker, as a gay man of a certain age, the fight against HIV/AIDS will always have a higher profile for me, even though this disease now equally affects intravenous drug users and indigenous people alongside gay men. The government adopted the UNAIDS strategy for eliminating HIV in 2016. We know what to do.
    Other countries are making rapid progress. In Australia, from 2020 to 2022, new cases dropped by 39% and it expects to successfully eradicate HIV by 2030. Instead, in Canada, new cases of HIV increased by 26%, the sixth year in a row of mounting new cases. The government made promises to do the right thing, but it has failed to make investments in community-based testing and treatment, investments costing less than $100 million annually, but investments that are crucial to make this goal a reality.
    Budget 2023 fails to make any new investments in the elimination of HIV and continues the stagnation of funding that began in 2008. What in the world is the government waiting for? The time to act is now. We can eradicate HIV and AIDS in Canada if we act.

  (1415)  

[Translation]

Jean‑Claude Beauchemin

    Mr. Speaker, I am extremely honoured today to speak about one of the great patriots of Abitibi—Témiscamingue, who will be honoured on National Patriots Day this weekend by the Société nationale des Québécois et des Québécoises de l'Abitibi‑Témiscamingue et du Nord‑du‑Québec. I am speaking of Jean‑Claude Beauchemin, mayor of Granada and later mayor of Rouyn‑Noranda. Jean‑Claude Beauchemin has always been driven by the desire to help the least fortunate.
    He founded La Maison, a rehabilitation centre that helps those living with physical disabilities or a pervasive development disorder. I would also like to highlight his work with youth, in particular the creation of La Soupape youth centre and the Rouyn‑Noranda municipal youth commission. I should also mention his commitment to culture, which has made Rouyn‑Noranda the cultural capital that it is today thanks to the many festivals created under his tenure.
    Mr. Beauchemin has spent his life laying the foundation for the nation of Quebec as a political adviser to premiers Jacques Parizeau and Bernard Landry.
    I would like to say to Jean‑Claude that Abitibi‑Témiscamingue, his homeland, will forever recognize him as one of its greatest patriots. I give him my word that I will continue for a long time, as I hope he will, to work towards establishing our future country, Quebec.

[English]

Passports

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians were shocked and disappointed yet again by the Liberals. The Minister of Immigration announced a new Canadian passport, and it was less than inspiring.
    The Liberals erased an iconic image of Vimy Ridge, which was truly a nation-building event in our history, and replaced it with a squirrel eating a nut.
     Instead of the grit, perseverance and journey of hope that inspired our country, which was represented by an image of Terry Fox, they replaced it with an image of a young boy with an uncanny likeness to the current Prime Minister jumping into Harrington Lake.
    To show the current government’s true commitment to feminism, it replaced feminist rights pioneer Nellie McClung with a picture of a man and a wheelbarrow.
    The pages of our passport should tell the story of Canada as it happened, not filled with woke Liberal virtue-signalling.
    I hope common sense will prevail within the NDP-Liberal coalition. The government must reverse course and return the symbolic moments that unite our country back into the pages of our passport.

Mayors' Council on Regional Transportation

    Mr. Speaker, we are joined today by mayors from metro Vancouver, who are here as members of the Mayors' Council on Regional Transportation, to discuss public transit, the support our government has provided and where there are still important gaps to fill.
    As the former director of communications for TransLink, metro Vancouver's transportation agency, I have seen the benefits of municipal planning and the planning function that TransLink provides for major roads and public transit.
    In our Fleetwood—Port Kells riding and across Surrey, the municipal, provincial and federal partnership is aligning land use and transportation planning with housing developments, especially along the new SkyTrain line being built through our riding with a significant federal contribution. This is all to ensure our citizens have access to high-quality transit close to where they live.
    Our discussions with the mayors will be important and, based on the quality of regional planning, will ensure convenience and livability will be supported as one of North America's best transit systems keeps pace with our future.
    Before we go to Oral Questions, I would like the attention of members.
    We just finished a session of Standing Order 31s, which allows individual members to give a story of something going on in their riding, sometimes joyous and sometimes sad. During the sad times, sometimes we hear laughter because someone is not paying attention. I am sure it is not being done intentionally to hurt the feelings of anyone. Sometimes we hear some talking while someone is giving some good news.
    I want everyone to pay attention and listen to the S.O. 31s. They really do mean a lot to each and every one of us and to the people back home. Therefore, for the rest of the session, when an S.O. 31 is being given, please listen and be thoughtful.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

  (1420)  

[English]

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, sometimes with the current government, we do not know whether to laugh or cry when it comes to the way it spends money. The minister said in her fall update that the budget would be balanced in 2028. In her budget, she said it would be balanced never. Weeks before that budget, the minister said that deficit spending fuels inflation and interest rate hikes; then she added $60 billion of that fuel to the inflationary fire, at a cost of $4,200 per family. Why will the minister not get off the backs of hard-working Canadians and get rid of the inflationary taxes and deficits that they have to pay?
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives continue to relentlessly talk down Canada and the Canadian economy, but on this side of the House, we believe in Canada and we know that Canada has the best economic performance of any country in the G7. Let me give some facts to back that up.
    After we tabled the budget, S&P reiterated our AAA credit rating. That makes Canada one of only three countries in the G7 with an AAA credit rating—
    The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the minister herself said in the fall that she would balance the budget in 2028, but in this budget, she said that it would never be balanced. Weeks before that budget, the minister said that deficit spending fuels inflation. Then, she added another $60 billion of deficit spending at a cost of $4,200 per Canadian family.
    Why do Canadians have to pay for the minister's flip-flopping and incompetence?
    Mr. Speaker, it is important to refer to the figures and to understand that Canada has the strongest economy in the G7. Let me provide some facts to back that up. For example, in the first quarter of this year, Canada's economic growth was 2.4%. Canada has now recovered 129% of the jobs that were lost during the pandemic, while the United States has recovered only about 115%.
    Mr. Speaker, we can see that the minister and the Prime Minister are totally disconnected from the daily reality of ordinary Canadians. We understand why the minister left the country and has avoided questions since the presentation of her highly unpopular budget. She goes to American universities instead of going to talk to real people here in Canada. In fact, she is the one who said that deficits would fuel inflation and that she would bring in a rule to save one dollar for every dollar spent.
    Where is that promise in their budget?
    Mr. Speaker, last week I was very proud to be in Japan at the G7 finance ministers meeting. It is important for Canadians to understand that Conservatives seem to think that Canada's Minister of Finance should not attend international meetings. If that is what the Conservatives think, they should tell Canadians the truth.
    As for the Canadian economy, we have the strongest economy in the G7 thanks to the hard work of Canadians and our government.

[English]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, it is really impressive that the Deputy Prime Minister and the Prime Minister are attending really important meetings in Japan and the United States with really important people around the world. We are talking to the common people right here in Canada who cannot pay their bills. One in five is skipping meals because they cannot afford the inflationary carbon tax on food; 1.5 million are eating at food banks, and some are asking for help with medical assistance in dying because they cannot afford to eat, heat or house themselves. The minister admits deficits caused this inflation, yet she added $60 billion more of them. Why does she keep boosting prices while she travels abroad?

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, let us be really clear on what the Conservatives are insinuating. The Conservatives are trying to insinuate today that there is something elitist, that there is something that goes against the interests of regular Canadians when Canadian leaders attend G7 meetings. I want to ask Canadians, do they think it is wrong for the Prime Minister to go to a meeting with the President of the United States, the Prime Minister of the U.K., the Prime Minister of Japan?
    Mr. Speaker, no, we just wish he would remember that the real people who pay the bills actually live right here in Canada, the common people here in this land. These are the people Liberals forget about when they are jet-setting around the world. When the Deputy Prime Minister is over in the States giving speeches at fancy American universities, she is forgetting about the people who are paying 12% more for food because of her carbon tax, forgetting that nine in 10 young people cannot afford a home because she has driven up interest rates so much with her deficits, and forgetting the seniors who cannot fill their fridges because food has become too expensive.
    Why will she and her Prime Minister not get back on the ground in Canada and stand up for the people who do the work here?
    Mr. Speaker, someone who lives in government-provided accommodation in a multiroom residence with a chef and a chauffeur and someone who has been on the public payroll his entire professional life should not suggest that our government is acting against the interests of Canadians when we attend meetings of the G7. We are proud to represent Canada at the top table in the world and we are going to continue to do that.

[Translation]

Democratic Institutions

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister keeps sinking further and further into the quagmire of Chinese interference.
    What concrete action has he taken? Did he launch the independent public commission of inquiry that everyone is calling for? No, he did not. Did he implement the Bloc Québécois's proposals, including a permanent investigative body? He did not do that either. What did he do? He announced byelections.
     Every day for months now, we have been talking about China interfering in our elections. Instead of taking concrete action to combat interference, he calls byelections. Is that a joke?
    Mr. Speaker, we take the issue of foreign interference very seriously.
    To protect our democratic institutions, we established independent panels that worked well in the last two elections. Now we very much look forward to receiving the recommendations from Mr. Johnston, a former governor general who was appointed by a Conservative prime minister.
    Those recommendations, along with all the other initiatives we have already put in place, will ensure that we continue to protect all our democratic institutions.
    Mr. Speaker, by choosing to call a byelection now when it very well could have been held in the fall, the Prime Minister is showing that the priority, for him, is not countering Chinese interference in our democracy, investigating the recent election, protecting the upcoming election or ensuring public confidence in our democracy. For him, the priority is measuring the political fallout from his much-publicized inaction on the issue of Chinese interference.
    Why is the Prime Minister once again unable to place the interests of democracy above those of the Liberal Party?
    Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what our government is going to do.
    We will ensure that the public interest is always protected. Our government has taken concrete action to counter foreign interference in our democratic institutions.
     I share my hon. colleague's concerns about the need to ensure that byelections will, like the 2019 and 2021 elections, be protected from foreign interference. We have put measures in place and we will continue to strictly enforce them.

  (1430)  

[English]

Automotive Industry

    Mr. Speaker, there are 2,500 jobs at stake in the Windsor region because the Liberal government has not followed through on commitments it made to ensure that the plant being built by Stellantis for the NextStar batteries goes to completion. We have already heard from the mayor of Windsor, who has raised alarm bells and written directly to the government. The unions are deeply concerned.
    All other levels of government have done their part, so when will the Liberal government follow through on commitments, get this plant built and ensure those jobs are protected?
    Mr. Speaker, our government believes in good-paying jobs in the auto sector, and we have shown that time and again. We showed that when we fought for and secured a NAFTA deal that protected our auto sector. We showed that when we fought for and secured Canada's being carved into the U.S. EV incentives, which protected our auto sector. We showed that with the historic VW investment, which creates an auto sector for the future, and we are showing that in Windsor, but we are going to fight for the best deal for Canada, and we are proud of that too.

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, that answer was little comfort to the workers in Windsor. We need a deal that actually goes through and builds that plant.

[Translation]

    The cost of rent has skyrocketed across the country. For example, in Laval, it now costs $2,000 to rent a two-bedroom apartment. That is a massive increase of 26% in one year. It is clear that the government does not understand the impact that this crisis is having on ordinary Canadians.
    Will the Liberals finally take action to address this crisis and help people with their rent?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we understand the importance of being there for vulnerable renters. That is why this government introduced the Canada housing benefit, a revolutionary measure that puts money directly in the pockets of renters and moves with them when they move from one unit to another. We topped up that Canada housing benefit with a top-up to the Canada housing benefit. We will be there for renters. We will keep building more affordable rental units across the country, and we will be there for vulnerable renters all the way.

Innovation, Science and Industry

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister was up huffing and puffing last week, less than a week ago, about the Stellantis project, and now we find, six days later, that construction on the $5-billion facility has halted because of his incompetence. We see the same thing with the Trans Mountain pipeline, which is now 300% over-budget, many years past due and still not complete.
    All the Prime Minister does is wrap our industry in red tape, weigh it down with taxes and engage in total incompetence. Why is it that he can never bring it home when it comes to jobs, paycheques and industry for our country?
    Mr. Speaker, coming from a leader and a party that are on record opposing the historic, transformational VW investment made by our government, that question is frankly ridiculous. I will tell the House who could not get TMX built: It was the members opposite. I will tell the House which government is going to get that pipeline built: Our government is going to get the job done, like we did on NAFTA, like we did with VW and like we will do with—
    The hon. member for Calgary Forest Lawn.

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, the most historic transformation is going to be when the Conservatives replace the current incompetent government.
    My question is for the finance minister, who refuses to show up at the finance committee for two hours to answer basic questions about her failed budget. She misled Canadians, blowing through all fiscal restraint she promised by driving struggling households $4,200 further into debt, because she threw $60 billion of inflationary fuel on the fire she started. She spent more airtime bragging about her budget at Fenway Park than she has at the finance committee.
    Will she end her inflationary spending and show up to work, or does she think budgets balance themselves?

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am really looking forward to appearing before the finance committee, as scheduled, tomorrow. Of course, it will require the Conservatives to end their frankly childish temper tantrum to give me the chance to appear, but I do really look forward to it, and the reason I look—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I am going to wait for silence on all sides. While someone is answering, I would ask everyone not to shout them down. That is almost like bullying in a schoolyard.
    The hon. Deputy Prime Minister.
    Mr. Speaker, one might say that shouting down a woman speaking in the House is a childish temper tantrum. One might say that, but I do look forward to appearing before the committee tomorrow as I have always been scheduled to do.
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are grateful that the finance minister has finally returned to Canada. She said, “inflation and higher interest rates are really challenging for a lot of people. This means that...one of my principal responsibilities...is not to pour fuel on the flames of inflation. So fiscal responsibility is really important.” Those were the words of the finance minister just nine weeks ago. She cannot bring herself to answer basic questions about why the budget is the exact opposite. She has gone into hiding, trying to distance herself from her own government.
    Canadians want to know if she is going to answer the question. If not, will she get out of the way so that Conservatives can just take over?
    Mr. Speaker, our government is not going to let Conservatives get away with ridiculous and transparent efforts to mislead Canadians. The fact is that the presence of Canadian ministers, and this week the presence of our Prime Minister, at a G7 meeting, is doing our job for Canadians, and Canadians know it.
    When it comes to the budget, do colleagues know whom I trust to rate our fiscal responsibility? The rating agencies and S&P reaffirmed our AAA rating.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, I will welcome the finance minister back to Canada again, but here are the actual facts. Every Canadian family will now pay $4,200 more per household for her spending spree. Housing prices have doubled. Food bank use is at record highs. Canada accumulated debt faster than almost every other advanced country, but our economy underperformed compared to nearly all its counterparts, and we have the lowest projected GDP-per-capita growth of any advanced economy for the next 30 years.
    Why does she continue to spread this falsehood? We cannot spend our way to prosperity, so will she keep running away from questions or will she just get out of the way?
    Mr. Speaker, we can tell, when the personal attacks are increasing, that it is proportional to the lack of ideas that actually help Canadians.
    When we look at housing supply, we are the party that has enabled more Canadians to access affordable housing, as well as to access the dream of Canadian home ownership through the first-time homebuyer tax-free savings account, a 1% tax on vacant, non-Canadian, non-residential real estate. We are also building more housing supply through the housing accelerator fund.
     Throughout all these measures, they vote against them and then come here and pretend that they care.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians want to know one thing. When will this government really understand the problems that directly affect them every day?
    When she was in Japan, Washington or elsewhere in the world, did the Minister of Finance think about the 1.5 million Canadians who are using food banks? Did she think about the fact that one in five families have to trim their budgets to put food on the table? We are talking about basic necessities. Did she think about the people who have been paying twice as much in rent or on their mortgage payments over the past eight years under this government? That is the daily reality for Canadians.
    When will the government finally get in touch with Canadians' reality?
    Mr. Speaker, once again, I have a question for the Conservatives.
    Are they considering an isolationist policy for Canada? Are they proposing that Canada not attend G7 meetings? With regard to Washington, are the Conservatives proposing that we not attend meetings at the White House? Is that the Conservatives' policy?
    On this side of the House, we understand that Canada exists in an interconnected global economy and we must—

  (1440)  

    The hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent.

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, perhaps the Minister of Finance has a short memory.
    Just a few short months ago, in November, she was very proud to table the economic update and said that she could see the light at the end of the tunnel and would have a target for balancing the budget. That was in November.
    Just one month ago, she tabled her budget, and there was nothing. There was nothing about balancing the budget. Even worse, two weeks ago her party gave her a slap in the face. Her party wants nothing to do with balancing the budget.
    The Minister of Finance, who was so proud in November to say that we were headed towards balancing the budget—
    The hon. Deputy Prime Minister.
    Mr. Speaker, there is a big difference between our government and the Conservatives. The difference is this. Yes, we are proud of Canada and we are proud of Canada's economy. On the fiscal front, I want to point out that S&P reaffirmed Canada's AAA credit rating after we tabled our budget.
    I believe that Canadians are intelligent enough to believe S&P rather than the Conservatives' anti-Canadian rhetoric.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has accused the Bloc Québécois of scaring people when it comes to the Century Initiative.
    It is this government, not the Bloc Québécois, that is scaring people. The government is calculating its immigration thresholds without taking into account the capacity of Quebec and the provinces to receive immigrants and provide them with housing, health care, child care, the school system and French language learning. Unilaterally increasing thresholds puts too much pressure on the provinces.
    Will the government recognize that a target of 500,000 newcomers per year is too high?
    Mr. Speaker, if the Bloc Québécois wants to know how to protect Quebec's demographic weight, I urge its members to read the Canada-Quebec accord, which has been working for three decades. If they want to know what our plan is to reverse the decline of French, I urge them to read the new action plan for official languages. If they want to know what our plan is to support francophone communities across Canada, they need to read the press release on how we reached the 4.4% target for francophone immigration.
    Anyone can look it up on Google.
    Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleague to come up with a new version. Immigration is a kind of wealth, not only economic, but human as well. It helps us redefine who we are and learn new ways to live side by side. It opens our minds to new ideas and new perspectives. However, immigration depends on integration to succeed.
    With its target of 500,000 immigrants by 2025, the federal government is overshooting even the mark set by the Century Initiative. At this rate, it will reach 100‑million population target sooner than 2100. Quebec will not be able to maintain its political weight or to integrate this many newcomers into French society.
    Will the minister consider lowering his immigration targets?
    Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois must think the government has some kind of crystal ball.
    Our immigration plans are based on the next three years, not the next 75 years.
    The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship has been very clear. His decision is based on what he believes to be the best immigration policy for Canada, based on the needs and capacity of Quebec and Canada.
    We will always be there to welcome immigrants.
    That may be, Mr. Speaker, but we need to do it properly. When it comes to immigration, the Liberals cloak themselves in virtue and lofty sentiments. They talk about a host society, about welcoming millions of newcomers, but the immigrants who are here are often forgotten and suffer intolerable delays.
    La Presse reported that a request for documents that should take 20 days took a year. La Presse also shared the story of a father who cannot travel to his sick son's bedside because he does not have a refugee travel document. It is tragic.
    Instead of dramatically increasing thresholds, what is the minister going to do to shorten the inhumane processing times in his own department?

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to answer that question. I want to be very clear. We have made significant progress in reducing backlogs and improving services for our clients. Let us look at the numbers. We have reduced the backlog by over half a million. We finalized 5.2 million applications last year, twice as many as in 2021.
    We set the bar very high when it comes to providing quality services in Canada.

[English]

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, a year ago, the finance minister said that she had a red line. She said, “our debt-to-GDP ratio must continue to decline...pandemic debt must be paid down.... This is a line we will not cross.” What happened to that red line? The government has increased the debt by $4,200 for each Canadian family. Our debt-to-GDP ratio will increase this year, and deficits now extend as far as the eye can see.
    Does the finance minister regret making this cast-in-stone, stone-cold promise to Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, when it comes to Canada's debt and debt-to-GDP ratio, let me quote someone whom all members of the House should trust, and that is the Parliamentary Budget Officer. At the finance committee a few weeks ago, he said, “When looking at G7 countries, Canada compares very favourably on net debt-to-GDP.” Furthermore, in his testimony, he described a conversation he had with someone from Moody's, who said that Canada's deficit should make us “quite happy because by European standards that's very low.” That is not me talking; that is the Parliamentary Budget Officer.
    Mr. Speaker, the finance minister and the government have quite a bad track record for making predictions. They told us interest rates would remain low, so we must spend. They told us that deflation was more likely than inflation. When inflation came, they said it would be here for just a little while. The minister assured us the economy would continue to grow, and now it has slowed to a halt. They are always playing catch-up, and Canadians are paying the price. We are now spending as much on interest on the debt as we are sending to provinces for health care.
    How can Canadians afford any more of the Liberal government?
    Mr. Speaker, let me tell members who pays the price for Conservative economic policies. The people who pay the price for Conservative so-called economics are the most vulnerable among us.
    Since we formed government, 2.7 million Canadians have been lifted out of poverty. The government introduced the CCB, which has lifted more than 400,000 children out of poverty, and the GIS has helped over 900,000 seniors. We believe in a balance between compassion and fiscal responsibility, and that is what—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    If I could just ask the front benches to maybe set the example for the backbenches, I think that would probably help things quite a bit.
    The hon. member for Peterborough—Kawartha.
    Mr. Speaker, the finance minister's inflationary budget is costing each Canadian family $4,200, yet she said, “We are absolutely determined that our debt-to-GDP ratio must continue to decline. Our deficits must continue to be reduced.... This is a line we will not cross.” The finance minister clearly understands that the government's deficits are driving up inflation, interest rates and unaffordability, yet she doubles down on them.
    I will give her one more chance today. Will the finance minister finally listen to her own advice and cut this inflationary spending?
    Mr. Speaker, here is the question the Conservatives have to answer. They have to tell Canadians what they would cut. Would they cut the $200 billion we have invested in the health care system? I sure hope not, because Canadians rely on our health care system and are proud of the federal government that is supporting it. Would the Conservatives cut the $300 billion we have invested in early learning and child care? Again, I think the Conservatives kind of want to cut that. I sure hope the Conservatives never form government, because Canadian families need the support that we are providing.

  (1450)  

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, a recent report has found that Halifax has become the third most expensive city in the country when it comes to rentals. It has experienced an increase in rental prices of 25% in one year. That is a massive increase in rent.
    It is clear that the Liberal government has failed renters. What is it going to do to bring down the cost of rent in our country?
    Mr. Speaker, we understand that more Canadians are facing challenges with respect to rental payments.
    Although the regulation and rent control issues are under provincial jurisdiction, we on this side of the House believe that we should do everything we can to have the backs of renters. That means building a more affordable rental supply over the life of the national housing strategy, putting money in the pockets of vulnerable renters through the Canada housing benefit, and making sure that we are always fighting hard for more supply and, particularly, a more affordable rental supply across the country, in all communities from coast to coast to coast.

Veterans Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, women veterans feel invisible. The Liberal government does not hear their experiences, stories or pain. Virtually no research is being funded about military women's health issues, including mental health. While New Democrats welcome the recently announced mood and anxiety treatment guidelines, the unique challenges of female veterans must be considered.
    Will the minister commit, today, to including women veterans in creating these guidelines so that women who bravely served our country could finally be seen?
    Mr. Speaker, our priority is to make sure our veterans have the support they need, and we are committed to a gender-based analysis in designing our policy. We take this very seriously, and that is why we created the Office of Women and LGBTQ2 Veterans. That is also why we hosted the first-ever Women Veterans Forum in 2019 and continue it on an annual basis. We will continue to make sure women veterans are treated properly.

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to highlight the great news we received last week that Bill C-46 received royal assent here in the House and a quick but thorough study in the Senate. Can the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance highlight how this bill will help Canadians in my riding of Mississauga—Malton?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Mississauga—Malton for his hard work for his constituents and for all Canadians.
     He is right: Last week, Bill C-46 received royal assent. This is good news for his constituents and for the constituents of every single member of this House. It is going to deliver the new grocery rebate to the most vulnerable Canadians who need that support that most and a $2-billion top-up to support our health care system. That is the Liberal government in action.
    Mr. Speaker, the finance minister is not answering questions. The OECD calculates that, on her watch, Canada will be the worst-performing advanced economy over 2020 to 2030, and it is on this path until 2060. This means that Canadians' living standards and quality of life relative to other countries have declined and will continue to do so. This is due to the finance minister's high-tax, high-debt, high-spend budgets. The Liberal budget right now would add $4,200 to every Canadian family. When will the finance minister reverse course on her made-in-Canada path to decline for Canadian families?
    Mr. Speaker, I am not a virtual reality creation here. I am standing up in this House and very glad to answer questions about economic policy, which is delivering results for Canadians and which has Canada as the strongest economy in the G7.
     Let me share some facts, rather than overheated, torqued Conservative rhetoric. Canada has a AAA credit rating, which was reaffirmed by S&P after we tabled our budget. Canada has the strongest economic growth and the lowest debt-to-GDP—
    The member for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley.
    Mr. Speaker, the finance minister plans to spend $490 billion in this budget but is refusing to show up at the finance committee for just two hours to answer questions. The budget would drive every Canadian family another $4,200 into debt. Canada has the fifth-highest increase in government spending and the third-largest increase in our debt-to-GDP ratio. Our debt has increased faster than that of almost every other advanced country. Just last November, the finance minister promised to balance the budget by 2028. In this budget, her deficits go on forever and ever. Why is she breaking that promise?

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have to get up and say it because it makes no sense. The finance minister has said she is there tomorrow, so I do not know why they have not revised their questions. However, I will ask, if they give me the chance—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I am going to ask the hon. government House leader to wait a second until everything calms down and we can hear his answer. The hon. member for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley wants to hear the answer.
    Start from the top, please.
    Mr. Speaker, as I said, the finance minister is appearing tomorrow, so it does seem ridiculous for her to keep standing and saying she is going to be there.
     However, I do want to come back to their questioning as to why the finance minister of a G7 country would participate in G7 meetings. It may be because we live in an interconnected economy. When the Conservatives were dealing with such issues as climate change, they went to world forums to attack action on climate change and to drag other countries out of doing the essential work of protecting our planet. We talk to other countries' leaders because we understand that we live in an interconnected world.
    Mr. Speaker, we welcome the finance minister back to the House. However, let us be clear in that what we are asking for is two hours of her time. That is a billion dollars a minute.
     We have real problems. According to a university report, we have the third-largest increase in total debt-to-GDP ratio, which has resulted in one of the lowest GDP growth ratios. In fact, going forward, we are projected to be at the bottom of the OECD. Will the minister finally come to the finance committee for two hours to explain why she has broken all her promises?
    Mr. Speaker, it is typical of the Conservatives that they will not take yes for an answer. The finance minister is going to committee tomorrow, as long as they do not filibuster it.
    Let us talk about our economic record. They were talking about the OECD—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I am sorry to interrupt again. It is starting to get a little noisy. I am having a hard time hearing the answer. I am sure the hon. member for Northumberland—Peterborough South is having a hard time hearing a response to his question.
    I am going to ask the hon. Minister of Families to start from the top.
    Mr. Speaker, as I was saying, it is typical of the Conservatives to not take yes for an answer, as the Minister of Finance is scheduled to go tomorrow. Of course, that will depend on the Conservatives' stopping their filibuster.
    Let us talk about our economic record. My hon. colleague was talking about the OECD, but when the Conservatives came into office back in 2006, they ranked 17th when it came to child poverty. By the time they left in 2015, Canada ranked 24th. They fell. I am not going to take any lessons from the Conservatives.
    Currently, Canada ranks second in the OECD when it comes to reducing child poverty.
    Mr. Speaker, that is great news. I look forward to having the finance minister for two hours, as she just said. That is terrific.
    What we do not look forward to is the Liberal budget bonanza that is going to drive Canadians $4,200 deeper into debt per family. What will they get for that? Higher energy costs, higher food costs and a lower standard of living.
    Will the finance minister finally come to the finance committee for two hours to explain why Canada's economic growth is predicted to be lower than the growth in Latvia, Chile and—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I am going to interrupt. I am now having a hard time hearing the question.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    The Speaker: Order. When I try to calm things down, it does not mean you get to throw rocks just because you think you do not live in glass houses anymore. Please, everybody, calm down.
    The hon. member for Northumberland—Peterborough South, from the top, please, so that we can hear the full question. Let us see if we can get through that.
    Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for the quieting of that childish temper tantrum.
    The Liberal budget bonanza is driving Canadians further and further into debt. Each Canadian family is being driven down, to the cost of $4,200 a month. What are Canadians getting for it? They are getting higher energy and food costs.
    I am going to repeat this question one more time. Will the minister appear for two hours to explain her failed economic record?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, we should not be too troubled by not hearing the question from the Conservatives. It is the same nonsensical question we have heard and answered repeatedly. Let me assure everyone that I am looking forward to appearing before the finance committee tomorrow, as I have enjoyed questions today.
    As to what Liberal economic policy is delivering for Canadians, I can say this: jobs, jobs, jobs. We have the strongest job market in Canadian history, and that is what matters to hard-working Canadians.

[Translation]

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, the Trans Mountain pipeline project continues to be a drain on public money. It is gobbling up money at an alarming rate. When the government bought the pipeline from Kinder Morgan, the estimated cost of expansion was $7.4 billion. In 2020, the estimated cost was $12.6 billion and in 2022, it was $21.4 billion. Today, the estimated cost is $30.9 billion and Trans Mountain continues to push for more.
    When will it end? How deep into debt will the federal government drag the public for the sake of dirty oil?
    Mr. Speaker, we understand how important it is to get a fair price for our resources on international markets. The government has no intention of owning the pipeline for the long term. A divestment process will be launched when the project is farther along.
    Mr. Speaker, not only is expanding Trans Mountain at our expense an economic failure, it is an environmental disaster. To recoup all the money thrown at this project, the Crown corporation is going to have to ship a lot of oil for a long time. Trans Mountain expects to have a capacity of 890,000 barrels of oil per day after the expansion.
    It is going to take a lot of oil days to pay back a $30.9-billion debt, but who will take care of our environmental debt?
    Mr. Speaker, our government is very proud of our green industrial plan. This plan is investing $120 billion into the green transition. It is an historic measure that will protect the climate globally and create good jobs for a generation of Canadians.
    We are very proud to be the government carrying out this plan.

[English]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Safety falsely stated that all Beijing-backed police stations had been shut down. He now confirms that new stations may still be operating on Canadian soil.
    Minister, words matter. The incompetent minister continues to mislead the House regarding this crucial issue. He has all the intelligence and security agencies at his disposal to get to the bottom of it.
    I am just looking for a number. Minister, my simple question is this: How many Beijing-backed police stations are still operating in this country?
    I want to remind hon. members to place their questions through the Chair and try to use parliamentary language as much as possible. Do not push it to the limit. Just try to be nice and play well together.
    The hon. Minister of Public Safety.
    Mr. Speaker, by now, I hope my Conservative colleague will have heard the answers, which have been consistent. The RCMP took decisive and concrete action to disrupt the foreign interference activities in relation to those so-called police stations. It will continue to do the same going forward.
    The bigger question is about what the Conservatives did on foreign interference when they last held the reins of government. The answer is that they did nothing. On this side of the House, we will continue to make the investments and put the authorities in place so that we can protect our democratic institutions.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Safety said on CTV news yesterday that there could be a number of Beijing-run police stations on Canadian soil, even though he told a parliamentary committee the opposite.
    The Canadian Security Intelligence Service has intelligence on this. Even the Spanish organization Safeguard Defenders has produced a report confirming the presence of Chinese police stations operating on Canadian soil.
    My question is simple. How many Beijing-run police stations are currently operating in Canada?

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, the opposition needs to listen to the government's responses, including my responses in committee.
    As I said, the RCMP is taking decisive action to disrupt the foreign interference activities associated with those so-called police stations. Now it is important to continue to put in place the authorities to protect our democratic institutions.
    The Conservatives are the only ones impeding progress on this important issue.
    Mr. Speaker, I do not see how the Conservatives have been impeding things. On the contrary, we are very proactive in the debate. However, the minister just gave us an answer. He said that the RCMP is responsible for this issue.
    This should have a simple answer: How many police stations run by Beijing are currently operating in Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, supported by federal government initiatives and investments, the RCMP is keeping a close eye not only on foreign interference, but also on all public safety priorities. The Conservatives are the only ones who continue to impede the government's national security priorities. We must work together to protect our democratic institutions.
    That is our government's priority.

Transportation

     Mr. Speaker, last week, the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec announced the largest procurement of electric buses in North America. This project will put over 1,229 electric buses, which will be assembled at the Nova Bus plant in Saint‑Eustache, on Quebec roads by 2027.
    Can the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs explain how these historic investments will improve the lives of Quebeckers and contribute to Canada's transition to a green economy?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Pontiac for her question.
    Canadians rely on public transit to get to where they need to be. That is why our government is investing $780 million to put 1,229 new electric buses on Quebec roads.
    This historic investment in partnership with the Government of Canada will, of course, reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, support good jobs in Quebec's manufacturing industry and give Quebeckers a modern and reliable means of transportation.

[English]

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, a few weeks ago, a mother and her child were fatally stabbed in a random attack outside of an Edmonton school. The suspected killer had been released on bail 18 days prior. He had a long history of violence and if he had not been released, this woman and her child would still be alive.
     The Edmonton Police Department and police departments across the country are demanding serious bail reform.
     Will the Liberal government finally listen and reverse all of its reckless catch-and-release bail policies?
    Mr. Speaker, our sympathies go out to the family in question here. Canadians deserve to feel safe, and we are taking measures, in concert with the provinces and territories, to do just that.
    The hon. member will notice that there is something on the Order Paper, and hopefully that bail reform will coming soon.
    We have listened and we have worked with our provinces and territories, our provincial and territorial counterparts. We have worked with police associations. We have listened to them, and we have a plan moving forward.
    Mr. Speaker, the challenging thing is this. How can Canadians trust the Liberal minister when it is his Liberal government that created the problem, and it is not just us saying this?
    If we look at last month, the Victoria Police Department warned the public that a man charged with 10 counts of sexual assault with a weapon had been released on bail. Why was this vile rapist released on bail, we may ask. The Victoria Police Department pointed to Bill C-75, a Liberal bill from 2019, that reformed the bail system.
    Again, I am asking if the Liberals will reverse all their reckless and dangerous catch-and-release bail policies and keep Canadians safe once and for all. Will they do that?

  (1510)  

    Mr. Speaker, I obviously share the hon. member's concern.
    Bill C-75 did not fundamentally change the law on bail in Canada. It codified a number of Canada's Supreme Court decisions, and in certain cases with respect to sexual assault made it harder to get bail by adding another reverse onus provision in that particular bill.
    We have heard the call with respect to repeat violent offenders. We have heard the call with respect to offences with weapons. We have promised to act. It is a complicated problem, but we are doing it together with the provinces and territories.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, we insist on the need for significant changes to be made to the legislation that allows dangerous criminals, even recidivists, out on bail, as my colleague mentioned. The result is that criminals end up on the street instead of in prison. This needs to change.
    Will the Prime Minister end the revolving door system that he created, keep criminals in prison and protect our communities for once and for all?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians deserve to be safe and to feel safe.
    That is exactly what we are doing. Since October, we have been working with the provinces and territories and with our counterparts in justice and public safety to see how we can improve the bail system, especially in cases of recidivism and violent crime. That is exactly what we are in the process of doing. My colleague can look at the Order Paper.

[English]

Disaster Assistance

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians across the country are watching as wildfires rage across central and northern Alberta. Frontline responders are courageously fighting the fires and evacuating communities. Tens of thousands of Albertans have been forced from their homes.
    Could the government update the House on what support it is offering the province in this trying time?
    Mr. Speaker, our thoughts are with all Albertans during this difficult time.
     The Canadian Armed Forces have deployed approximately 300 members to assist with fighting fires, as well as air lifts and engineering supports. We are also making sure to match Red Cross donations.
    The Prime Minister is in Alberta today, and we will continue to stand with Albertans during their time of need.

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, after ignoring 20 non-compliance orders from the Human Rights Tribunal and spending $10 million fighting first nations kids in court, the government has a new scheme. It is simply ignoring its obligation to pay the therapists who are providing first nations children services under Jordan's principle. The minister's policies are in direct defiance of the rights tribunal ruling and are threatening to put child therapists into bankruptcy. We are talking about the most fragile children in the country.
    Why is the government so determined to deny first nations children access to the Jordan's principle services to which they are entitled?
    Mr. Speaker, since July 1, 2016, the federal government has approved an estimated 2.56 million products under Jordan's principle. This means that indigenous children are getting the health services they need all across the country.
    As the member opposite knows, I am looking into this particular case. We will ensure that providers who provide services can get paid in an acceptable time frame to continue to deliver those services.

[Translation]

Climate Change

    Mr. Speaker, in the 2019 federal election campaign, the Liberal government promised to plant two billion trees to capture carbon. It also allocated $3.2 billion one year later for that purpose.
    However, the latest report by the commissioner of the environment and sustainable development indicates that, based on the audit of the first two years of planting and at the rate things are going, the program will not even reach 4% of its goal by 2030.
    Cities, provinces and Canadians have the right to know how the goal will be achieved. Where is the $3.2 billion and where is the plan to plant all these trees?

  (1515)  

    Mr. Speaker, we thank the commissioner for his report. When he presented his report, he acknowledged that we are taking this seriously.
    Between the time that he carried out his study and when he presented the report, we had negotiated or were in the process of negotiating six agreements for planting more than 260 million trees.
    In Vaudreuil, Quebec, the Minister of Environment announced just last week that 275,000 trees had been planted. We are on track to reaching our goal and we will get the job done.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[Translation]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Immigration Levels  

    The House resumed from May 11 consideration of the motion.
    It being 3:15 p.m., pursuant to order made Thursday, June 23, 2022, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion of the member for Beloeil—Chambly relating to the business of supply.

[English]

    Call in the members.
    And the bells having rung:

  (1520)  

    The question is on the motion. May I dispense?
    Some hon. members: No.
    [Chair read text of motion to House]

  (1530)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 322)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 138


NAYS

Members

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

Total: -- 170


PAIRED

Members

Aboultaif
Blois
Drouin
Duclos
Ehsassi
Falk (Provencher)
Généreux
Gladu
Hoback
Joly
Jones
Liepert
McKay
Savard-Tremblay

Total: -- 14


    I declare the motion lost.

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

    The House resumed from May 12 consideration of the motion that 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, be read the third time and passed.
    Pursuant to order made Thursday, June 23, 2022, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at third reading stage of Bill C‑13.

  (1540)  

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

(Division No. 323)

YEAS

Members

Albas
Aldag
Alghabra
Ali
Allison
Anand
Anandasangaree
Angus
Arnold
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Atwin
Bachrach
Badawey
Bains
Baker
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Barron
Barsalou-Duval
Battiste
Beaulieu
Beech
Bendayan
Bennett
Berthold
Bérubé
Bezan
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blanchette-Joncas
Blaney
Block
Boissonnault
Boulerice
Bradford
Bragdon
Brassard
Brière
Brock
Brunelle-Duceppe
Cannings
Caputo
Carrie
Casey
Chabot
Chagger
Chahal
Chambers
Champoux
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Chong
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Collins (Victoria)
Cooper
Cormier
Coteau
Dabrusin
Dalton
Damoff
Dancho
Davidson
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Deltell
d'Entremont
Desbiens
Desilets
Desjarlais
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Dubourg
Duguid
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Dzerowicz
El-Khoury
Ellis
Epp
Erskine-Smith
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Fast
Fergus
Ferreri
Fillmore
Findlay
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fortin
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Gaheer
Gallant
Garon
Garrison
Gaudreau
Gazan
Généreux
Genuis
Gerretsen
Gill
Godin
Goodridge
Gould
Gourde
Gray
Green
Guilbeault
Hajdu
Hallan
Hanley
Hardie
Hepfner
Holland
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Idlout
Ien
Jaczek
Jeneroux
Johns
Jowhari
Julian
Kayabaga
Kelloway
Kelly
Khalid
Khera
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)
Liepert
Lightbound
Lloyd
Lobb
Long
Longfield
Louis (Kitchener—Conestoga)
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacDonald (Malpeque)
MacGregor
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maguire
Maloney
Martel
Martinez Ferrada
Mathyssen
May (Cambridge)
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McDonald (Avalon)
McGuinty
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
Rodriguez
Rogers
Rood
Ruff
Sahota
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Scheer
Schiefke
Schmale
Seeback
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Shields
Shipley
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Simard
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
Vandenbeld
Vecchio
Vidal
Vien
Viersen
Vignola
Villemure
Virani
Vis
Vuong
Warkentin
Webber
Weiler
Wilkinson
Williams
Williamson
Yip
Zahid
Zarrillo
Zimmer
Zuberi

Total: -- 301


NAYS

Members

Housefather

Total: -- 1


PAIRED

Members

Aboultaif
Blois
Drouin
Duclos
Ehsassi
Falk (Provencher)
Gladu
Hoback
Joly
Jones
Liepert
McKay
Savard-Tremblay
Waugh

Total: -- 14


    I declare the motion carried.

    (Bill read the third time and passed)

[English]

    The Speaker: I wish to inform the House that, because of the deferred recorded divisions, Government Orders will be extended by 25 minutes.

First Nations Fiscal Management Act

    Pursuant to order made earlier today, the House will now proceed to the consideration of Bill C-45 at third reading stage.
    Before I begin, I would like to acknowledge that Canada's Parliament is located on the unceded traditional territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people.
    I am pleased to have the opportunity today to speak to the First Nations Fiscal Management Act. I would like to recognize the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations for his work on this piece of legislation. I would also like to thank my colleagues on INAN, the indigenous and northern affairs committee, for their careful consideration and study of the bill.
    The proposed amendments in Bill C-45 align with the April 2020 report of our committee entitled “Barriers to Economic Development in Indigenous Communities”. We worked collaboratively to achieve the recommendations in that report to champion the economic reconciliation and self-determination by unanimously supporting Bill C-45. Before I continue, I would like to acknowledge the members of that committee for the great work they did and the collaborative work we have done in making sure we passed it with urgency.
    Most of all, I would like to recognize the chairs of the first nations-led institutions that put forward the proposed changes to the act and co-developed Bill C-45 with our government. I thank Harold Calla, executive chair of the First Nations Financial Management Board; Manny Jules, chief commissioner of the First Nations Tax Commission; Ernie Daniels, president of the First Nations Finance Authority; as well as Allan Claxton and Jason Calla of the First Nations Infrastructure Institute development board.
    The First Nations Fiscal Management Act is an optional piece of legislation, with 348 signatories, and it is an alternative to the Indian Act regime. It is important to key in on the word “optional” because the stakeholders have told us that it is always important to give indigenous communities the choice. They deserve that choice when it comes to their affairs. It is consistent with what we have passed with the UNDRIP Act.
    With this act, first nations can assert their jurisdiction in the areas of financial management, taxation and access to capital markets. Bill C-45 was co-developed with the first nations institutions under the act, and responds to what first nations have called for, to improve and expand the current services available under the act, and to establish the First Nations Infrastructure Institute.
    Some of these proposed legislative amendments are as follows: modernize and expand the mandates of the tax commission and the financial management board respectively to better reflect the increasing needs for their services; allow the tax commission, the financial management board and the proposed infrastructure institute to collect and analyze data; and establish for the first time ever a First Nations Infrastructure Institute as a national indigenous-led organization that would support first nations scheduled to the act, as well as indigenous organizations and groups, to achieve better and more sustainable infrastructure outcomes. It would very much create a centre of excellence for indigenous infrastructure across Canada, whether dealing with wastewater or greening community buildings.
    I would like to provide members with an example of the type of great work the First Nations Financial Management Board can support.
    In my riding about 10 years ago, the Membertou first nation in Cape Breton received the board's first-ever financial systems certification, which provided the community with access to long-term, affordable capital to the first nations financial authority. I am not over-exaggerating when I say that this was a game changer for that community and the region of Cape Breton. It allowed the first nations to refinance, freeing up funds to reinvest in business developments. The results have been fantastic. They include an $8.2-million elementary school, a 90-lot housing development and a $9.5-million highway interchange that allows access to future commercial developments on land owned by the Membertou.
    From this—

  (1545)  

    There is a point of order from the hon. member for London West.
    Mr. Speaker, I had some technical difficulties with my voting app. I had my hand up while they were calling the votes, but the Speaker did not recognize me, so I would like to request unanimous consent to have my vote counted as yea for the last vote, which was for Bill C-13.
    All those opposed to the hon. member's moving the motion, please say nay.
    It is agreed.
     The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.
    The vote is recorded as yea.
    Thank you for that point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, I will continue. I do not know how my clip is going to go after that, but I hope you will afford me a little time to go back and get myself back to what I was talking about.

  (1550)  

    You have five minutes and 29 seconds left. I am sure you can get a great clip out of that one. I will back it up to an even six minutes.
    The hon. member.
    Mr. Speaker, as I said, the First Nations Finance Authority was a game-changer for the Membertou community. This allowed the first nations to refinance, freeing up funds to reinvest in business development, and the results have been fantastic. They include an $8.2-million elementary school, a 90-lot housing development, and a $9.5-million highway interchange that allowed access to future commercial development on land owned by Membertou. From this, members of the first nation went on to build the Membertou Sport and Wellness Centre, one of the largest sporting venues on Cape Breton Island, and the Lanes at Membertou, 16 lanes of bowling with state-of-the-art technology.
    Perhaps Membertou's greatest feat was the acquisition of the Clearwater fishery. If anyone had told me that the largest economic and commercial investment in Cape Breton would come during my first years of being an MP, I would have said they were joking with me. However, the $1-billion acquisition of Clearwater, with six other first nations, which were all part of the First Nations Finance Authority, was a game-changer for those communities.
    The Membertou Development Corporation is now home to 12 corporate entities. This is in keeping with the remarkable success the Membertou First Nation has had in recent years. Membertou received certification from the International Organization for Standardization, ISO, in 2002, becoming the first indigenous organization to do so in Canada and leading the way for others.
    With the support of first nations institutions under the First Nations Fiscal Management Act, incredible change is possible. I want to acknowledge the hard work, dedication and persistence of Membertou's chief, council and their staff.
    Moving back to Bill C-45, passing this proposed legislation would allow us to create those differences in other communities, create those successes in first nations communities across Canada, enhance the act and further support first nations communities as they rebuild their nations and advance self-determination.
     I encourage all members of this House to join me in supporting this bill and in supporting the first nations institutions under the act, which co-developed the amendments and which are creating such important change for so many indigenous communities across Canada by supporting self-determination and economic reconciliation.
    Wela'lioq.
    Mr. Speaker, I am asking for clarification. If my memory serves me correctly, Clearwater was a company or organization that the government just about bankrupted, with over 500 jobs of the people in Grand Banks, when the former fisheries minister took a surf clam quota away from that organization, giving it to a false corporation, one with which the fisheries minister had close family ties. A former Liberal MP and a sitting MP's brother got awarded this lucrative surf clam quota. We got the government to reverse its decision and shuffle that minister.
    It was before this hon. member of Parliament's time, but I am just asking if he is indeed referring to the same Clearwater that the government just about bankrupted.
    Mr. Speaker, the biggest part of my speech was talking about the enormous amount of success that communities are seeing while utilizing some of the legislation and the tools that our government has provided.
    However, now that we are on the subject of Clearwater, it was great to see, within the first year, a return of record profits. It seems that when first nations communities are able to take over and really show the world what indigenous peoples can do when given the opportunity, that is what we get to see. Chief Terry's words on the national media were legendary. He said, about this deal and this acquisition, “It made us look like geniuses”. I am really proud that my government was a little part of that.

  (1555)  

    Uqaqtittiji, I do enjoy working with the hon. member at the indigenous and northern affairs committee.
    Regarding Bill C-45, as first nations begin to move toward financial independence, it does not mean that governments are alleviated from their obligations to meet the needs of first nations communities. I wonder if the member agrees with me that while we move toward that, governments will always have obligations to meet the needs of first nations communities.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Nunavut sits with me on the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs and is a very important member of that committee.
    I agree with her fully that this does not release the government in terms of its fiduciary obligations to first nations communities. What this gives to communities are tools to get outside of the Indian Act. One of the shirts that I often see when I go to powwows with my son is a shirt that says, “Burn sage, sweetgrass and the Indian Act”.
    What our government is doing is pivoting from the Indian Act to giving communities options they can opt out of, fully with their own systems, fully with their own autonomy. Our eventual goal is to make sure that we focus on the valuable work that we need to do and the UNDRIP Act, and to make sure that all government departments are consistent with that.
    I would like to thank the member for her hard work in making sure that we got Bill C-45 where it is today.
    Mr. Speaker, I was very interested to hear the speech of my colleague, especially in the area of autonomy and first nations working toward a greater independence and partnerships. My riding neighbours Kahnawake, and in recent years I have been very energized to see a number of partnerships between organizations and companies in Kahnawake and other individuals and organizations. Can my colleague please comment on this approach?
    Mr. Speaker, I think we have heard, loud and clear, from indigenous communities at the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs, and across Canada, that processes work only if they are co-developing the process. The process works only if they are helping lead this process.
    With this legislation, we have four organizations in Canada that have been working really hard, for many years, to ensure that we move forward on this. The biggest thing that we have to ensure is that it is optional for communities, that we are not forcing anything on Indian Act communities, that this is part of it only if they choose to be a part of it. That is the biggest part of respecting another nation's self-determination.
     Mr. Speaker, as members know, I am running for Prime Minister to put Canadians back in charge of their lives, and nowhere is this more true than when it comes to our first nations, which have suffered for far too long under a paternalistic and overpowering federal government and a so-called “Indian Act”, which seems determined and designed to prevent first nations from making their own decisions and controlling their own lives. That is why Conservatives have long called for empowering first nations governments to take control of their land, resources, money and decisions.
    That is why we are so happy that the government has copycatted one of our central proposals to make that happen with regard to infrastructure. The Liberals have included it in their budget, and we are pleased that they have carved it off the budget and allowed it to pass through the House separately, expedited as we asked for, so that we can get it done.
    Let us talk about what this bill would do.
    I just got off the phone with the great Manny Jules. He is the head of the First Nations Tax Commission. He and his family were among the architects of allowing first nations to collect their own local property tax revenues. He has fought his entire life to allow first nations governments and decision-makers to take control of the money that would otherwise go to Ottawa and to allow the local first nations to decide for themselves, rather than relying on the incompetence of the bureaucracy and politicians in Ottawa.
    In other words, he told me that he is tired and first nations are tired of being the fastest turtles in the room, because that is how the system of infrastructure finance, he says, has worked, or failed to work, under the existing rules that we are about to change. In the past, a first nation that wanted to build something would have to apply for financing from Ottawa. Sometimes, it takes as long as 10 years for the bureaucrats to wrap their heads around the most basic infrastructure project that other communities would take for granted.
    Many of my constituents ask why it is that our first nations cannot have clean drinking water systems in their communities. The answer is that none of us would have clean drinking water if we had to live under the same impossible and incompetent rules that the federal government imposes on first nations. Having to apply to a government that is 2,000 miles away and to deal with bureaucrats they have never met and do not know, who have never been to their community, to sign off on every single detail of every infrastructure plan, of course, is going to prevent things from getting done.
    What we need to do is stop stopping and start starting, and to do that, we need to get Ottawa out of the way. The bill before us would do that.
    It is a common-sense proposal. Here is how it would work: If a first nation wants to build something, instead of just asking for permission from the bureaucrats in Ottawa, it can monetize its future revenues to build long-standing assets. Let us say they are building a bridge that will last 40 years; they would be able to amortize the cost over the 40-year period and use their annual revenue streams to pay that cost. Of course, they would issue debentures, or debt, like any other government would normally do, and they could pool their risk with other, similar first nations that have similarly high financial and infrastructure standards. This would allow them to make their own decisions about projects today using the future revenues that they will inevitably bring in, which they can guarantee and certify.
    That is how things get built. It would also allow public-private partnerships. This would, of course, send the New Democrats into a panic, because they do not want any private involvement in any aspect of our lives, but it would allow first nations to team up with the pension funds and other major investors to build projects that are both profitable to investors and also extremely effective for local communities. It would allow them to build schools, hospitals, water systems, bridges, roads and training centres. All manner of things that we take for granted in the rest of Canada could be built through this. It would also allow them to own the projects and use the assets for leverage for future investments.
    This is the kind of common-sense infrastructure finance that we would expect if we were living in any other part of the country, so we as Conservatives support this. We want it to happen as quickly as possible, but we also want to go further.

  (1600)  

    We believe that the government's paternalistic, anti-development laws, like Bill C-69, are a major attack on indigenous rights by blocking first nations from developing projects that they support, preventing paycheques and preventing revenues for programs that would lift people out of poverty. We would repeal Bill C-69 and allow first nations to build projects with their resources. We would work with them on a new model so they can keep more of the money that comes from those projects.
    This is an exciting time, when first nations entrepreneurs are leading the way. Let me give one example of this. Vancouver has become a city held back by government gatekeepers. It costs $650,000 in red tape for every new housing unit, because the city hall there is run by gatekeepers and the Prime Minister sends more money for gatekeeping. There is no wonder it is the third most expensive housing market on planet Earth. The Squamish people have their own land within the city of Vancouver but, luckily, they do not have to follow the zoning and permitting rules of city hall. They were able to approve, and are now building, 6,000 units of housing on 10 acres of land; that is 600 units per acre. If they were part of the city of Vancouver, they never would have gotten it done.
     We can also look at what the Tsuut'ina Nation is doing near Calgary, building incredible business plazas that would still have been tied up in Calgary city hall bureaucracy if it had had to follow the rules in that jurisdiction. What we are seeing across the country is that first nations communities are, increasingly, far better places to do business than the municipal jurisdictions next to them are. We can imagine what they could do if the federal government in Ottawa would get out of the way and let them get things done.
    This bill would do that for traditional infrastructure projects that governments normally run and regulate. Let us imagine allowing for the same with private sector and resource development projects. It would mean more business opportunities for first nations to generate revenues to provide Canada with lower-cost goods and more powerful paycheques for all our people. Now let us imagine further, that, instead of all of the revenue coming from those projects going to Ottawa to be gobbled up by bureaucracy, and forcing first nations to ask for it back, the money stayed in those communities in the first place and they could reinvest it to create a virtuous cycle of more and more opportunity. This is the vision we have: by getting rid of the gatekeepers and getting out of the way of first nations, allowing more local autonomy in decisions about resources, construction, jobs and financial management, we believe that, over the next century, first nations can lead the country in prosperity.
    That is the empowering vision that we have, but we have to get back to common sense. It is wonderful that we have one bill, just one bill, with some common sense in it from the government, which proves that even a broken clock is right twice a day. The government should listen to Manny Jules more often, listen to our first nations leaders more often and listen to the people on the ground, the people who know what has happened, the people who have the traditional wisdom. If it did that more often, we would get more bills like this, we would have more paycheques for our people, we would get more built for our country and we would all be better off. It is the common sense of the common people, united for our common home. Now, let us bring it home.

  (1605)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to start off by thanking the Leader of the Opposition for his critics, who did a wonderful job in terms of making sure that we got this, in a timely manner, in front of us to debate. I agree with you; this is quite good in terms of common-sense legislation.
     I would have to just kind of correct the member opposite. I know he does not often get up in the House to speak to indigenous issues, but when you use the term “our first nation” it comes across as possessive. Many first nations across Canada have said they do not want to be considered our possession or the possession of anyone.
    The question I have concerns Bill C-69, which you talked about as an important thing. I agree with you when you say that indigenous communities are becoming far better places to do business. A lot of the time, when they are doing that business, indigenous communities are prioritizing what the impacts are on the environment. A lot of the things that we heard during UNDRIP were about communities wanting free, prior and informed consent when it comes to development on their area. That does not mean that they are against development but that they are for sustainable development.
    Do you stand with indigenous communities and their free, prior and—
    I just need to interrupt the member to make sure that he is asking the question through the Chair and not directly to the member. Rather than using “you” when asking a question, just try to run it through the Chair.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Mr. Speaker, I will take that into consideration. I get so much time to speak to you, as a former Nova Scotia MP. Rarely do I get to speak to the Leader of the Opposition.
    The question was what your thoughts are around free, prior and informed consent for indigenous communities to be able to—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Again, I remind the hon. member.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary has the floor.
    Mr. Speaker, does the member opposite believe that the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous communities is important when it advances sustainable development?
    Mr. Speaker, first of all, I agree with the member when he says that the two shadow ministers, one of Crown-indigenous relations and the other of indigenous services, for the official opposition, the member for Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock and the member for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, have done a fantastic job in advancing and fighting for first nations across the country.
    With respect to the debate on free, prior and informed consent, the Prime Minister does not agree with that. He is against it. We know that because he has cancelled projects where there is unanimous support. Teck's Frontier Project mine, for example, had all 20 first nations around it agreeing with the project, and the Prime Minister walked in and cancelled it. What he likes to do is use first nations as an attempt to block things from going ahead, because that is what he really wanted to do in the first place. It is not because he cares about their well-being, but because it is a rhetorical tool for his ideological, anti-development agenda.
    I believe in listening to all first nations, including those that are in favour of projects. That is why we will work with those first nations to get things done and make sure they are the primary beneficiaries and the big winners when they do get done.

  (1610)  

    Uqaqtittiji, I would like to remind the member that first nations do not belong to the Conservative Party and to refrain from saying “our first nations”, because first nations are self-governing nations that were here before Canada. I ask him to please remind his party to stop saying “our first nations” or “our indigenous peoples” in its terminology.
    I do want to ask the member about first nations and what their priorities are. If first nations such as the Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs are rejecting mining projects, does that mean he supports all first nations, as he says, even if they reject mining projects?
    Mr. Speaker, she mentions the Wet'suwet'en. Twenty out of 20 Wet'suwet'en nations along the route of the Coastal GasLink pipeline are in favour. All of the elected first nations support the project, and the NDP goes against all of the elected first nations leaders and imposes the NPD's ideological agenda to try to block those opportunities. I disagree with the NDP when it takes away the land rights of first nations people in order to impose the extremist ideology of the NDP that prevents first nations from having opportunities and keeps them in poverty.
    We believe in these projects like LNG Canada, the Coastal GasLink, the Haisla Nation's development of liquefied natural gas, and projects of so many other first nations that want to develop resources but have NDP politicians standing in the way. We stand on the side of first nations that want to get things done, and we do not stand with the NDP and its obstructions.
    Uqaqtittiji, I am very pleased to rise to speak to Bill C-45, an act to amend the First Nations Fiscal Management Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts.
    As the indigenous critic for and on behalf of the New Democrats, I say that we are very pleased to show our support for the passing of Bill C-45. I share my gratitude with Harold Calla, executive chair at the First Nations Financial Management Board; Manny Jules, chief commissioner of the First Nations Tax Commission; Ernie Daniels, president and chief executive officer of the First Nations Finance Authority; and Grant Christoff, general counsel at the First Nations Infrastructure Institute. The leadership they have shown is very important for the advancement of first nations, and their acknowledgement is well deserved.
    We have heard from other parties that this is about economic freedom and about creating economic independence. That is not solely what it is for me. If there were true reconciliation and true economic independence, Inuit, first nations and Métis would be able to thrive off the land based on their expertise and knowledge of the land. If it were truly about reconciliation, indigenous peoples would have free, prior and informed consent right at the beginning of the free entry system, and indigenous peoples' questions would be appropriately responded to during consultations at the environmental assessment phases. Only if indigenous peoples' standards were met would any development on lands be allowed to happen, knowing that it would include benefiting indigenous peoples and not only the private sector. That is what economic reconciliation would look like.
    What Bill C-45 would do is open doors for first nations that wish to use the same powers that municipalities all over Canada do. It would open up ways for first nations, tribal councils, modern treaty nations and self-governing groups that have opted in to build their administrative, financial and governance capacity through the risk-managed support of the First Nations Financial Management Board. It is so that first nations can make decisions about and seek supports for infrastructure developments.
    Bill C-45 would create an indigenous-led first nations infrastructure institute. First nations opting in to the first nations infrastructure institute would see the doors open for them to make decisions about owning, building and maintaining infrastructure in their communities. Bill C-45 is sorely needed because of the years of Liberal and Conservative governments' failures to properly invest in first nations and their infrastructure needs. To date, it is reported that first nations now experience a staggering infrastructure gap of at least $30 billion.
    Since my election and since becoming the indigenous critic for the New Democrats, whenever I meet with first nations, Métis and Inuit, including and especially my constituents in Nunavut, I hear frequently what the infrastructure needs are. First nations have decades-long water advisories, mercury poisoning, few to no health and well-being treatment centres, and school and, especially, housing needs that fall well below the investments people see and hear about in the rest of Canada. Since the government continues to fail in meeting the most basic infrastructure needs, my hope is that the passage of Bill C-45 would make those improvements. First nations would see significant gains. If there were schools in first nations communities like Kluane First Nation in the Yukon, for which it has been asking for years, this bill would not be necessary.
    Bill C-45 would not absolve government's responsibilities to uphold treaty rights. It would not absolve government's responsibilities to ensure reconciliation.

  (1615)  

    Amendments to the current and other acts would include, among others, better supports for first nations seeking to create local revenue laws beyond real property taxation, strengthening the education and capacity supports available currently, supporting local revenue-based service agreements, and offering advice to self-governing first nations and other levels of government.
    Bill C-45 would expand and modernize the First Nations Financial Management Board's mandate by completing the 2018 expansion of services and certification standards for new client segments, including tribal councils, and treaty and self-governing groups. It would also provide monitoring and review services.
    It would create a full-time position on the First Nations Financial Management Board, establish a national indigenous-led organization under the First Nations Fiscal Management Act to achieve better and more sustainable infrastructure outcomes for first nations, expand law-making powers allowing first nations to make laws respecting the provision of services and to regulate, prohibit and impose requirements in respect of those services on reserve lands.
    First nations would be given more authority and enforcement powers to ensure compliance with their local revenue and service laws. The bill would combine the fund supported by other revenues with the fund supported by local revenues. It clarifies that only borrowing members with outstanding loans could be called upon to replenish the fund in circumstances that it has used.
    I repeat that this is not about economic reconciliation. First nations, Inuit and Métis were self-governing before colonialism. Through their self-governance, indigenous peoples had laws and management regimes that protected the wildlife and environment. Indigenous peoples respected important relationships with the land and with each other.
    While colonial and genocidal policies continue, Inuit, first nations and Métis continue on a path of reconciliation. That relationship with the government is not reciprocal, not to the extent that will advance indigenous peoples' health and well-being.
    Bill C-45 is a step to give powers to first nations to make choices and act without federal government assistance. As such, New Democrats support Bill C-45. New Democrats will continue to advocate for reconciliation that is meaningful to Inuit, first nations and Métis.

  (1620)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member opposite for her dedication and hard work on this file. I know she sits on the INAN committee with me. We have seen and heard of so many different indigenous communities from across Canada with some amazing ideas in terms of how to create economic wealth in a way that is sustainable. Within the powers of this act, we heard a lot about access to capital and indigenous communities needing access to capital to do all these great projects.
    When indigenous people have access to capital, what are some of the amazing things they are able to accomplish in her riding and across Canada?
    Uqaqtittiji, I have heard some examples shared in our committee like more culturally appropriate facilities, places to smudge, and schools developed to be more culturally appropriate to first nations, Métis and Inuit communities.
    It is important that we support this bill so that first nations communities can say what is important to them. If a first nations wants a school, then this bill would allow that to happen in a more expedited way than what we do with the federal government assistance.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Nunavut for her remarks. I had the opportunity to visit her riding back in 2018. I met with indigenous leaders and territorial leaders there, as well as the Northwest Territories, as part of a trip with the foreign affairs committee.
    One of the issues we discussed was the government announcing an offshore drilling ban. This was announced back in 2016. The Prime Minister announced it alongside President Obama. We heard that leaders in the territories got a phone call 45 minutes before that happened. It was a complete lack of consultation.
    The presumption seems to be on the part of the government that if it is blocking development, if it is saying no to something going forward, then somehow it does not need to consult. In reality, it should be consulting in either case. The government brought in a policy that has severely limited economic development in the north without proper consultation with indigenous or territorial leaders.
    Can the member share what the current conversation is around that issue? Does she think the government should have been consulting before implementing this kind of policy?
    Uqaqtittiji, I think that consultation is absolutely important, but what is more important is the proper implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which declares that there should be free, prior and informed consent before any kind of development is happening. I do hope that this party supports my bill, which would make changes to the Territorial Lands Act and would make sure that there is free, prior and informed consent, even at the beginning stages, so that we do not have to end up in these conversations questioning whether consultation was appropriate or not.
    Mr. Speaker, I have only ever heard the Conservatives talk about oil and gas whenever they talk about indigenous. However, the Liberals are telling us about all these great projects that are going to create capital.
    In Fort Albany right now, people are flying home today from weeks of being put up in hotels and community centres, because the dikes broke on the Albany River due to failed basic infrastructure, putting them at risk. We are working with the Mennonite Central Committee and True North Aid to get food hampers in. That is the reality on the ground in the communities I represent: underfunded infrastructure and having to beg to get food in, because the government has failed in its fundamental obligation to keep communities safe.
    I would ask my hon. colleague: How is it possible for these communities to take economic control of their lands when they have been left in such dire straits of infrastructure poverty and a lack of an ability to control their lives?
    Uqaqtittiji, this is very much a question about whether there can be true self-determination as indigenous peoples have been suppressed and oppressed for so long, which is why I made sure in my presentation that I talked about the genocidal policies still having an impact on first nations, Métis and Inuit communities. We have to start making sure that if we are going to talk about self-determination, if we are going to talk about reconciliation, there need to be continued investments, there need to be improved and increased investments, that allow first nations, Métis and Inuit to thrive and have a better well-being at the same level that other Canadians do here in Canada.

  (1625)  

    There being no further members rising, pursuant to an order made earlier today, Bill C-45, an act to amend the First Nations Fiscal Management Act, to make consequential amendments to other acts, and to make a clarification relating to another act is deemed read a third time and passed.

    (Bill read the third time and passed)


Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Government Response to Petitions

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8)(a), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 57 petitions. These returns will be tabled in an electronic format.

Petitions

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today, as the member for Calgary Centre, to present a petition from my constituents, particularly those who have relatives in Sudan.
    The petitioners are asking the government to commit more resources and expedite the arrival of Sudanese applicants who have applied for Canadian citizenship, Canadian permanent residence, who have family here. There are permanent residents in Canada who are looking to bring their family and loved ones over. This has to be expedited as quickly as possible. The petitioners are asking for the expedition of this and to be put to the top of the list. Forty months is too long to wait when people are in a conflict zone, and so they are asking the government to make that commitment and get these people processed through its department as quickly as possible.

Air Transportation  

    Mr. Speaker, with the tremendous growth of our Indo-Canadian community over the last number of years, members would know that there has been an increased demand for international flights, which is what this petition is dealing with.
    The petitioners are asking the government, international airlines and regional airport authorities to look at ways to enhance international flights, in particular. It would be wonderful to see something flying right from Winnipeg to Amritsar, India, which is an idea being proposed by many people who signed the petition today.

Justice  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of the people of Swan River, Manitoba, to present a petition on the rising rate of crime. The people of Swan River are demanding that the Liberal government repeal its soft-on-crime policies that have fuelled a surge in crime throughout the rural community.
    The crime severity index in the rural town of 4,000 has increased by over 50% from just five years ago. What was once a safe community has now turned into a place where people fear for their lives because the government's catch-and-release policies have allowed violent repeat offenders to be out on bail instead of in jail.
    The people of Swan River demand that the Liberal government repeal its soft-on-crime policies that directly threaten their livelihoods in their community, and I fully support the people of Swan River.

Points of Order

Presentation of Petitions  

[Points of Order]
     Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. As you know, presenting petitions is about presenting them based on what is written in the petitions. For a member to follow up the presentation by saying he or she fully supports it is definitely against the rules.
    In the interest of time, I will take that under advisement. I will look at it and come back with the rule that we are supposed to be following when it comes to the presenting of petitions.

  (1630)  

Petitions

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship  

[Routine Proceedings]
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table today a petition signed by many concerned Canadians about immigration from Hong Kong.
    The petitioners note the various circumstances that have unfortunately contributed to the decline of the rule of law in Hong Kong, as well as threats to previous promises that had been made about democracy. The petitioners describe some of those events. They also raise concerns about the impact on the ability of those involved in the democracy movement to come to Canada. The petitioners believe rightly that those who are involved in the democracy movement and have had unjust charges applied to them as a result of their democracy advocacy and involvement in protests should not be prevented from coming to Canada on that basis.
    There have been various prominent cases of well-known Hong Kongers like Phin Lao and Ray Wong who have experienced challenges coming to Canada as a result of an expectation that they present to police a certificate. There are many other cases from those who are not able to share their names. The petitioners of various backgrounds stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers and others who are concerned about how Canadian immigration needs to not discriminate against those who have been involved in the democracy movement.
    The petitioners call on the Government of Canada to recognize the politicization of the judiciary in Hong Kong and its impact on the legitimacy and validity of criminal convictions, to affirm its commitment to render all national security law charges and convictions irrelevant and invalid in relation to inadmissibility provisions, to create a mechanism by which Hong Kong people with pro-democracy-related convictions may provide an explanation for such convictions on the basis of which government officials can grant exemptions to Hong Kong people who would otherwise be deemed admissible and to work with other allies, such as the U.K., the U.S., France, Australia and New Zealand, to waive criminal inadmissibility of Hong Kong people who have been convicted for political purposes and who otherwise do not have a criminal record.

Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy  

    Mr. Speaker, the next petition that I am tabling expresses the opinion of petitioners that strong medical evidence exists that access to psychedelic-assisted therapy can effectively treat existential suffering in dying, depression, anxiety, addiction, PTSD and other mental health conditions and improve quality of life.
    The petitioners believe that psilocybin required for psilocybin-assisted therapy is currently only available in clinical trials and by special individual permission from Health Canada, despite its low potential for harm. Further, the petitioners argue that it is paradoxical and unethical to allow MAID in these cases while preventing the same physicians from using this kind of psychedelic-assisted therapy for those in this situation.
    The petitioners call on the government to allow Canadians to have timely, unrestricted access to therapeutic psilocybin in any form, as needed, to alleviate their suffering via section 56 exemptions.

Falun Gong  

    Mr. Speaker, the next petition that I am tabling is with regard to the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in the People's Republic of China. The petitioners highlight the history of that persecution, which has now been going on for decades, as well as the work of David Matas and the late great David Kilgour in exposing the issue of forced organ harvesting and trafficking targeting Falun Gong practitioners.
    The petitioners are calling on Canada's Parliament and the government to do everything they can to combat forced organ harvesting and trafficking and to call for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China.

Human Rights  

    Mr. Speaker, the next petition I am tabling is in support of Bill C-257. This is a private member's bill that I have put before the House. The petitioners highlight the importance of protecting Canadians from discrimination on the basis of their political beliefs. They recognize it is the fundamental right of all Canadians to be politically active and vocal, and that it is in the best interests of Canadian democracy to protect public debate and the exchange of differing ideas.
    Bill C-257 seeks to add protection against political discrimination to the Canadian Human Rights Act by adding political activity or belief as prohibited grounds of discrimination. The petitioners call on the House to support Bill C-257 and to defend the rights of Canadians to peacefully express their political opinions.

  (1635)  

Charitable Organizations  

    Mr. Speaker, the next petition I would like to table today deals with another issue of political discrimination.
    It notes that the Liberal Party of Canada, in its 2021 election platform, put forward a proposal to discriminate against organizations in the application of charitable status if those organizations have views that are different from those of the Liberal Party on the issue of abortion. Charitable status rules already prohibit dishonest conduct and do so on a neutral basis, but the Liberal Party proposal would be to apply another values test, effectively discriminating on the basis of opinions on other issues and preventing organizations such as hospitals, houses of worship, schools, homeless shelters and other charitable organizations from being able to access charitable status on an equal basis. This is opposed by the full charitable sector. A broad range of charitable organizations oppose this proposal from the Liberal Party.
    The petitioners call upon the House of Commons to protect and preserve the application of charitable status rules on a politically and ideologically neutral basis without discrimination on the basis of political and religious values and without the imposition of another values test, and to affirm the right of all Canadians to freedom of expression.

Human Rights