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44th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 199

CONTENTS

Wednesday, May 17, 2023




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 151
No. 199
1st SESSION
44th PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    The House met at 2 p.m.

Prayer


[Statements by Members]

  (1405)  

[English]

    I understand the hon. member for Cypress Hills—Grasslands will lead us in the singing of the national anthem.
    [Members sang the national anthem]

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[English]

West Island Communities

    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise and welcome two groups to Parliament Hill today, the Pierrefonds—Dollard youth council and a mixed group of youth and seniors from the West Island Black Community Association, WIBCA.

[Translation]

     The Pierrefonds—Dollard youth council meets every month to discuss issues of importance to the riding. The council is a regular contributor to community activities.

[English]

    The presence of young people in our political system is crucial. It is these very people who will, before we know it, lead our country.
    A second group, WIBCA, is also here today. For over 40 years, WIBCA has contributed to promoting an accurate understanding of who Black Montrealers are. It also regularly brings together West Islanders.

[Translation]

    This is an important intergenerational visit.

[English]

    Seniors impart wisdom and life experience to youth. Seniors also help guide our future generations. I am eager to continue working with youth, seniors and diverse communities to strengthen the social ties within West Island and beyond.

Edmonton West Pastor

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this moment to recognize Father Francis Mariappa, a pastor in my riding of Edmonton West. Father Francis moved to Canada in 2007 and served for 11 years in Fort Saskatchewan before moving to the Annunciation Catholic Church in west Edmonton.
    Father Francis is a member of an order commonly known as the Pallottine Fathers, and he helped bring 25 of them from the Pallottine community abroad to Canada to serve the faithful here. Father Francis epitomizes St. Pallotti's motto, “The love of Christ compels”. In addition to his work at his own thriving church, Father Francis finds time to visit schools, senior homes and hospitals, such as Misericordia, to serve and celebrate mass. During COVID, despite being immunocompromised himself, he still went to the hospitals to serve and help the sick.
    We are blessed in Edmonton West with so many wonderful faith leaders, and Father Francis is certainly one of them. I thank Father Francis for everything he does for his community.

Asian Heritage Month

    Mr. Speaker, May is Asian Heritage Month, and as we celebrate Asian culture and heritage, we also recognize the incredible diversity and contributions of the Asian community to our great nation of Canada. The story of Canada has always been a story of immigration and, thanks to the many immigrants who have contributed to our economy, culture and social fabric, Asian Canadians have always played an important role in shaping Canada's history and identity.
     During this month, we celebrate the achievements and contributions of Asian Canadians across all aspects of Canadian life. Let us celebrate the diversity of our country and recognize the part that Asian Canadians play in making our nation the greatest on earth. Let us also continue our commitment to working together toward a brighter future for all Canadians, especially the Asian Canadians in my riding of Markham—Unionville.

  (1410)  

[Translation]

Panchen Lama

     Mr. Speaker, on May 17, 1995, a six-year-old Tibetan monk disappeared. He was recognized as the 11th Panchen Lama, one of the most revered leaders in Tibetan Buddhism after the Dalai Lama. The Panchen Lama is a symbol of tremendous importance to the Tibetan community, which is currently being denied its religious and cultural freedom. Most importantly, he was a child. The young Panchen Lama and his family were allegedly abducted 28 years ago by the Chinese government and have not been seen or heard from since.
    Six months later, the Chinese authorities selected a replacement, a Tibetan boy whose parents were said to be members of the Chinese Communist Party. The Chinese government's actions in this matter have raised serious concerns about interference in Tibetan traditions, cultural repression and human rights violations.
    Quebec's mutual affinity with the Tibetan people is unequivocal. Tibetans are a people who are striving to ensure the survival of their language, culture and traditions. Today, I just wanted to voice a few words of solidarity with the Tibetan people.

[English]

Brain Tumour Awareness Month

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to stand in this House today in recognition of May as Brain Tumour Awareness Month. Every day, 27 Canadians receive life-altering news that they have a brain tumour. Brain tumours impact people of all ages, incomes, social backgrounds and, of course, political affiliation.
    Just last year, our Liberal family tragically lost two young people who were in the prime of their lives and who are now survived by their spouses and children. I want to take a moment to recognize the courageous battles fought by both Andrew Boyle and Trevor Harrison, whose memories remain with us now and forever.
    This month, as we spend time with our families, friends and constituents, let us work together to raise awareness and break down stigma.

[Translation]

    Since we still do not know what causes brain tumours or how to cure them, it is essential that we promote testing and early treatment. Let us continue to work together for the good of those who have been diagnosed with a brain tumour and those who treat them.
    I encourage everyone to contribute what they can by visiting braintumour.ca and by participating in the annual walk here in Ottawa in a few weeks.

Brain Stem Glioma

    Mr. Speaker, I sincerely hope that today will be the last May 17 before this day officially becomes national diffuse midline glioma awareness day in Canada. Diffuse midline gliomas or brain stem gliomas are aggressive, incurable brain tumours that mainly affect children. There is no chance of survival.
    It is impossible to imagine the suffering that these sick children and their parents have to endure. I learned about the existence of this disease when I met Florence Gagné, a little warrior princess from Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier who lost her battle over a year ago. I became involved in this cause to support the families who courageously stand beside their children until the end.
    Thanks to the invaluable contribution of Senator Yonah Martin, a bill was introduced to make every May 17 a day to think about these children, a day to raise awareness of brain stem glioma, a national day to advocate for research and development, and a day to hope for a cure.
    This is for the little warrior Florence and all the others.

[English]

Keira’s Law

    Mr. Speaker, Keira Kagan was going to change the world, before her life was taken at the age of four.
    Her mom Dr. Jennifer Kagan and stepdad Philip Viater have been tireless advocates for Keira's law, which has sparked a national conversation regarding domestic violence, coercive control and the safety of our children.
    Bill C-233 will be Keira’s legacy of hope, and it is a huge step forward for survivors and victims at the forefront of judges' decisions in court. Keira’s law recently received royal assent, and it will provide judicial education about domestic violence and coercive control, thanks to the member for Dorval—Lachine—LaSalle, the member for York Centre, Senator Pierre Dalphond and so many others who ensured Keira will forever be a beacon of protection.
    Keira would have been turning eight years old on May 29. Please join me in wishing Keira a happy heavenly birthday later this month.

  (1415)  

Ukraine

    Mr. Speaker, along with international allies, Canada stands in solidarity with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people as they defend their sovereignty against tyranny. While Ukrainians are paying with their lives, no one can deny that through inflation Canadians are also paying for the illegal, genocidal war Putin has waged on Ukraine. I have no doubt that everyone in this House agrees that for justice to prevail, Putin and his regime must be stopped and must pay reparations to Ukraine for the crimes committed.
    The Peace Coalition Ukraine, in collaboration with the social innovation caucus, is proposing an innovative social finance tool called the peace bond, which uses the value of seized Russian assets to draw in private investment and ratchet up the sanctions regime to hold Russia accountable while financing the reconstruction efforts now.
    Today I want to ask all members of this House to join me in recognizing a remarkable Ukrainian Canadian by the name of Michael Cholod, founder of The Peace Coalition Ukraine. Michael is an inspiration, and Canadians and Ukrainians everywhere are grateful for his relentless pursuit to ensure Ukraine can realize a vision for its renewal.
    Slava Ukraini.

Passports

    Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians are once again shocked and disappointed by the Liberals. Nova Scotia’s only minister in the Liberal cabinet, the MP for Central Nova, stood by silently as the Liberals erased the fishing schooner Bluenose from our passport. He sat idly by as Nova Scotia’s sailing ambassador was erased, our iconic fishing schooner that never lost a race, until now. Only two years ago, Canada celebrated the 100th birthday of the Bluenose. Now Liberals are erasing it.
    He sat silently by as the Liberals removed the national immigration museum in Halifax from the passport, where over one million immigrants arrived to begin a new life in Canada. What is next? Will the MP for Central Nova remove the Bluenose from Canada’s dime and replace it with a blade of grass? It is time for the Liberal government to stop erasing Nova Scotia's history in favour of acorns.
    A common-sense Conservative government will bring back common-sense policies for the common people. We will bring home the Bluenose and Canada’s heroes and history.

Women's National Basketball Association

    Mr. Speaker, last weekend, in front of a sold-out crowd of over 19,000 in Toronto, women MPs from our Liberal caucus and I attended the historic first WNBA pre-season game ever played in Canada.
    On Saturday, Canada welcomed the Chicago Sky and the Minnesota Lynx, in what was a proud moment for Canadians and, particularly, women in sport. These talented professional athletes, including Canadian athlete Bridget Carleton of the Minnesota Lynx, are an inspiration to us all. This weekend was not only a milestone for the expansion of basketball but also a show of strength of the Canadian sport market for women.
    Our government strongly supports women in sport, which is why we have renewed funding of over $25 million over the next two years, to support gender equity in sport. When we break down barriers for women to participate in sport, while giving them strong role models to look up to, we are all the better for it.

Crimea

    Mr. Speaker, today, on the 79th commemoration of Sürgünlik, the genocide of Crimean Tatars, we look back with horror and sadness as we remember how Joseph Stalin and his Communist thugs forcibly deported over 200,000 Tatar men, women and children by packing them into cattle cars and shipping them off to the gulag.
    Nearly 10,000 people died during this brutal journey, and many more died under inhumane conditions when they were relocated. This genocide stands out among the many atrocities carried out by Stalin and his henchmen, and we remember all the victims.
    Although the Crimean Tatars heroically returned to their homeland by the thousands during the 1980s and 1990s, Vladimir Putin, just like dictator Joseph Stalin, is again waging a genocidal war against Ukraine and the Crimean Tatars. Since his illegal invasion in 2014, Putin has targeted the Tatars and shut down their mosques, their independent press and their legislative assembly, the Mejlis. Moreover, he is carrying out a slew of horrific human rights abuses against them.
    Putin and his barbarians must get out of Ukraine. Crimea is and will always be Ukraine, homeland of the Tatars.

  (1420)  

Vyshyvanka Day

    Mr. Speaker, every third Thursday in May, we celebrate Vyshyvanka Day, a day to honour Ukraine's rich culture and heritage. This year, with the unprovoked Russian war, the holiday plays a critical role as Ukrainians defend their independence and identity.
    For centuries, Moscow has consistently banned the Ukrainian language and made efforts to appropriate Ukraine's history. Generation after generation, Russian imperialists persecuted and executed Ukrainian cultural figures. Since the beginning of its most recent aggression, the Kremlin has committed over 1,200 crimes against Ukraine's cultural heritage. Hundreds of cultural sites have been destroyed by missile strikes. The Putin regime has persecuted Ukrainian creators and educators and recruited hundreds of Russian teachers to implement their curriculum in temporarily occupied territories. It is now deadly dangerous to speak Ukrainian or wear vyshyvankas there.
    On behalf of Canada's Conservatives, I wish to reinforce our pledge to stand with Ukraine until its victory. Let us all in the House, by wearing vyshyvankas and Ukrainian ribbons, show the world that Ukrainian culture is celebrated in Canada and can withstand any attacks.
    Slava Ukraini.

[Translation]

International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

    Mr. Speaker, May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
    In 2003, Fondation Émergence, a non-profit organization in Hochelaga, created the first-ever national day to fight homophobia. Today, it is celebrated in over 100 countries.
    I am pleased and proud to welcome a delegation to Ottawa today to highlight the theme of this year's campaign, “LGBTQphobias are Irrational Fears”.
    As Patrick Desmarais, president of Fondation Émergence, put it so well, “LGBTQphobias have a serious impact on the people who experience them. We erase them, we assault them, and we try to correct them. A quarter of the world’s population believes that being LGBTQ+ should be a crime, which is a troubling reality.”
    That is why recognizing May 17, both here and elsewhere, is still so important and relevant. We must continue to educate the public, inform them and raise awareness about the realities of those who identify as sexually and gender diverse in order to defuse these irrational fears.

[English]

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

    Mr. Speaker, today is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. It is a day that recognizes the tremendous contributions of the 2SLGBTQII+ community to freedom, equality and justice.
    However, thousands of gender-diverse Canadians are still denied access to the gender-affirming health care they deserve. They are denied access to the public spaces that make a community; many times, they are denied their very right to exist. Even worse, this is happening in broad daylight. Far-right extremism is organizing and propping up hatred. We are witnessing horrific levels of scapegoating, threats and violence targeting the queer community, particularly the trans community. This antifreedom hatred amounts to nothing less than a plan to eliminate the rights and freedoms of others.
    However, my friends, I know we can build a better and freer Canada, where no matter who someone is, where they live, how much they make or who they love, Canada is their home. We will not stop until everyone is free.

[Translation]

Frédéric Bastien

    Mr. Speaker, it is with great sadness that I learned, that we learned of the passing of historian Frédéric Bastien yesterday. He was just 53.
    An outspoken historian, a debunker of reheated myths that do not stand up to scrutiny, cool yet merciless before adversaries of the Quebec nation, Frédéric was keen to ask uncomfortable questions even at the risk of being the target of those who feared him for his reading of history.
    A harsh critic of hypocrisy, Frédéric ferreted out groups funded by Ottawa to denigrate Quebec, create and spread a false narrative to put us down. He shed light on the wavering impartiality of judges on Bill 21. He stood up against Toronto when it attempted to fund the legal challenge against Bill 21 before the Supreme Court.
    Frédéric Bastien also published works such as La bataille de Londres, in 2013, on the coup by the Supreme Court against Quebec during the patriation of the Constitution. The impact of that book earned him the title of patriot of the year from the Société Saint‑Jean‑Baptiste. In other circles people came to fear his truths and demonize him.
    His kindness will be missed by all those who knew him, and his intelligence, sternness and courage will be missed by all of us Quebeckers. His passing leaves a cruel void in the heart of his family. His discipline and powers of reflection now extinguished, it will be up to us to pull together and carry on his work.
    On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I offer my condolences to all those who loved and respected him.

  (1425)  

[English]

Transport

    Mr. Speaker, six times this year, the Prime Minister has been away on planes, trains and automobiles, while Canadians' actual planes, trains and automobiles are not working.
    To fix this problem, Picton Terminals, which would be the first Great Lakes shipping container entry, could be approved. This would alleviate supply chain shortages and drop inflation. This requires no money, just CBSA approval, but it has been sitting on the minister's desk for three years. VIA Rail train 651, which takes workers making powerful paycheques from Kingston, Belleville, Trenton, Napanee and Cobourg to Toronto each morning, could be reinstated. It has not been working for three years because the trains are broken. The carbon tax could be axed, which would add 41¢ a litre of fuel to Canadians who only want to get to work or, God forbid, take a vacation. We do not have to go as far as South Korea to fix these problems. We can find a way to fix them right here at home.
    A Conservative government would bring common sense to the common people, to my home, to everyone's home and to our home. Let us bring it home.

Crimea

     Mr. Speaker, the Crimean Tatars are the indigenous people of Crimea. On May 18, 1944, the Soviet Union began the “Sürgünlik”, which was the mass deportation of the Crimean Tatars. This was meant to destroy the Crimean Tatar people.
    The Sürgünlik led to hundreds of thousands of Crimean Tatars being deported and tens of thousands dying en route and afterward. It was a genocide.
    On May 18 last year, here in this House, I had the honour to introduce a motion that received unanimous consent to declare May 18 as a day of commemoration and to recognize that the Sürgünlik was a genocide. Today, on Parliament Hill, with leaders of the Crimean Tatar community, we commemorated this genocide.
    Unfortunately, as we speak, history is repeating itself. Russia invaded Crimea in 2014. Since then, Crimean Tatars have once again faced human rights abuses at the hands of the Russian regime, just as they did during the deportation and genocide.
    Today, let us honour the victims by ensuring that Crimea is liberated from Russia's oppression and becomes part of Ukraine again, so that Crimean Tatars and all Ukrainian people can live in freedom in their homeland once again.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

Finance

     Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said that doubling our national debt would not be a problem because interest rates were low, but his spending has increased inflation and interest rates.
    Yesterday, at the finance committee, the minister was unable to say how much interest we are paying on her national debt. If a mortgage broker could not tell someone the interest payment on a loan, they would be fired.
    Should we not fire the finance minister?
    Mr. Speaker, the person unable to answer a simple question is the leader of the Conservatives.
    My question is the following: What is his economic plan? Where will he make cuts? Will it be in health transfers? Will it be in the $200 billion that our government will invest in health care? Perhaps it will be in the $30 billion that we will be investing in a national day care system.
    [Disturbance in the gallery]

  (1430)  

[English]

    We will allow people to do their job and then we will proceed.
    The hon. Leader of the Opposition.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said there was no problem doubling our national debt, adding more debt than all previous prime ministers combined, because interest rates, he claimed, were low.
    His same spending has actually increased inflation and interest rates. Yesterday, the finance minister was unable to answer how much Canadians are paying for interest on the debt that she has racked up. If a mortgage broker could not tell someone the interest payment on a loan, he would be fired.
    Why is the finance minister not fired for her inability to answer that basic question?
    Mr. Speaker, there is someone whom we do not intend to have fired after the 2025 election, someone who I actually think should keep his job as leader of the Conservative opposition. One of the reasons he is going to keep his job is that he cannot answer a simple question for Canadians, and that is, what is his positive plan? What does he actually propose to do for the Canadian economy?
    The only thing we know is that he is going to cut. He is going to cut the $200 billion we are investing in our health care system. He is going to cut the $300 billion we are investing in—
    The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, one thing we are going to cut is the carbon tax.
    Speaking of that tax, we know that the Prime Minister plans to raise it to 41¢ per litre or $1,500 net, after rebates, per family. What most people do not know is that there is a second carbon tax he plans to stack on top of the first one, a sneaky tax he calls a “fuel standard”, which would hit home heating, gas and our factories, and create countless other higher costs.
    How much will Canadians pay in higher gas and diesel prices because of the second Liberal carbon tax?
    Mr. Speaker, I am glad to hear the Conservative leader actually talking about climate, because the reality is that the biggest challenge our planet faces and the biggest challenge our economy faces is building a clean economy.
    That is where the jobs are. That is where the jobs will be. We have invested $120 billion in our green industrial plan. It is creating jobs today. It will create jobs in the future. The Conservatives would wreck all of that.
    Mr. Speaker, the question was about carbon tax 2. We already know about carbon tax 1. The Prime Minister has put in place a 14¢-per-litre tax that will rise to 41¢ per litre. This raises gas, heat and grocery bills. Now the Liberals are sneaking in a second carbon tax called the “fuel standard”. It has no rebate whatsoever, but will apply in every province and territory across the country.
    If the minister is so proud of her second tax, why will she not tell us exactly how much it will cost in higher diesel, gas and household costs per family?

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative leader obviously does not understand that what every industrial economy needs is a plan to build the clean economy of the future. However, I will tell members who does understand that: an electrician named Jeff, whom I met in Mississauga in March. I was there to talk with him about the investments we were going to make in electrifying the Canadian economy. He knows that means, for him, jobs. He told me, “I have the skills to pay the bills.” Thanks to our plan, those skills will be put to work, and the Jeffs across the country will pay their bills.
    Mr. Speaker, what the minister wants is for Jeff to pay her bills. With a higher carbon tax, Jeff will have to pay more tax on his vehicle, more tax on his home heating and more tax on the food that the farmers and truckers, who are taxed by this scheme the Liberals are putting forward, bring to him. I have already said that the first carbon tax is 41¢ per litre and $1,500 net per family. Now the Liberals promise a second tax.
     Therefore, I will ask the question again. How much will carbon tax 2 add in extra diesel, gas and household costs per family?
    Mr. Speaker, what I want is for people like Jeff in Mississauga, people who have the skills, to be able to pay their bills today, tomorrow and 10 years from now. Jeff's wife, by the way, is an emergency room nurse, and our investments in health care are helping her pay the bills too. That means investing in a green industrial plan. Our focus is relentlessly on Canadians and jobs, and we have added 900,000 more jobs than we had before the pandemic.

[Translation]

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, the residents of Kanesatake and Oka and people living on the shores of Lac des Deux Montagnes are experiencing a major ecological crisis. Lac des Deux Montagnes, the water table and the soil are probably all contaminated.
    These are indigenous lands, but they belong to the federal government. My colleague from Mirabel has been sounding the alarm since he was elected in 2021. Nothing has been done.
    What is the government doing?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question.
    This is a very serious and difficult issue. As my colleague said yesterday in response to the same question, she is working closely with indigenous leaders.
    We know that we need to work with indigenous leaders to resolve this issue, which is very serious and critical.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, this is an ecological crisis as well as a safety crisis.
    The government is the only one that is unaware of the crime, the threats and the violence that prevented a legal solution. More than 2,000 indigenous people are living in fear, as are the non-indigenous people in the surrounding area.
    After years of turning a blind eye to the situation, when will the government act with the resolve this situation warrants?
    Mr. Speaker, I completely agree with the leader of the Bloc Québécois that this is a serious situation. It is a serious and difficult situation in terms of the environment and safety.
    I want to assure the House and all Canadians that my colleague, the minister responsible, and I are working closely with indigenous leaders to resolve the situation.

[English]

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government is acting like the skyrocketing cost of rent is not a crisis, when it is one of the biggest challenges faced by Canadians right now. For example, in London, Ontario, we have an increase, for a two-bedroom apartment, of 23%. For a single mom, that means an increase of $394 a month. Over a year, that is almost $5,000.
    How does the minister think a single mom will be able to afford that increase of $5,000 a year on her expenses?

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is a very important issue, and one way that single mother will be able to afford the cost of living more easily is through our investments in early learning and child care. Her fees across Canada have been reduced by 50% this year. So many moms across the country have told me that child care costs are like a second mortgage. We are bringing those costs down. That is real help for real people, and we are glad to be working with provinces and territories to deliver it.

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, that does not address the problem of high rent. We need action clearly on that, and we need it now.

[Translation]

    It is also clear that inflation is affecting more than just rent. It is also hitting families by increasing the cost of groceries. In April, grocery prices increased by 9%. That is a huge increase for families.
    At the same time, CEOs are earning huge salaries and the big grocery stores are raking in massive profits.
    When is this government finally going to fight inflation and tax these companies' excess profits?
    Mr. Speaker, we agree with the NDP leader that we must help the less well off and do more to make sure that the wealthy pay their fair share. This is exactly what our government is doing.
    We invested $2 billion in the one-time grocery rebate that is going to help 11 million Canadians by paying for their groceries, and we introduced a tax on certain luxury goods.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the finance minister has misled Canadians like Jeff for years. The latest time was when she gave false hope, saying she would show fiscal responsibility and balance the budget by 2028. It took her only 144 days after that statement until she did a massive flip-flop and proved her budget will never be balanced and will run massive deficits forever. It is these massive deficits that gave Canadians the highest inflation and bank interest rate hikes in a century. Even random Liberals like Mark Carney and John Manley agree with us.
    When will the finance minister stop misleading Canadians, get off Jeff's back and stop her inflationary spending?
    Mr. Speaker, Jeff is a real person, and he told me how glad he is that the government is investing in a green industrial policy and how glad his wife, Cheryl, is that we are investing in supporting our health care system.
    We are making those essential investments while maintaining the strongest fiscal position in the G7. Our AAA rating has been reiterated, and we have the lowest deficit in the G7. That is compassion and responsibility at the same time.

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, I am glad the minister did not tell Jeff that the solution was to cancel Disney+. Because of her high-tax-and-spend government, Canadians like Jeff cannot even afford Disney+, and are skipping meals. She is going to give Canadians like Jeff higher gas, grocery and home heating bills with her second carbon tax.
    Can she tell Jeff how much more it is going to cost him to heat his home and fill his tank?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind our hon. colleagues on the other side of the room that in their platform in 2021, the Conservative Party of Canada campaigned to put in place carbon pricing that would go up to $170 a tonne. That is exactly what our government is doing while investing in Canadians and building the economy of the future.
    Mr. Speaker, before tabling the budget, the finance minister said that “by exercising fiscal restraint” and by not pouring fuel on the inflationary fire, the Liberals would ensure they could responsibly invest in Canadians. However, we need to pay attention to what the government does and not what it says, and what the government did was increase spending by $60 billion, or $4,300 for every family in Canada.
    When will the government take its own advice and realize its spending is making life more unaffordable for Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, instead of believing partisan hacks reading their talking points, I think Canadians should listen to the Parliamentary Budget Officer.
    When the—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

  (1445)  

    I am going to interrupt the hon. Deputy Prime Minister. I am tired of getting too much noise from this side, so I am going to ask her to start from the top. I will also ask for the heckling to not happen.
    Mr. Speaker, instead of listening to partisan hacks reciting their canned talking points, I think Canadians tend to trust the Parliamentary Budget Officer.
    In testimony before the finance committee, the Parliamentary Budget Officer said, “When looking at G7 countries, Canada compares very favourably on net debt-to-GDP.” He also said that, having spoken—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    The noise is starting to rise again. I do not want the hon. member for Simcoe North to end up at the end of the list, so I am going to ask everyone to stop. Members know that the process is to take whatever side is causing the problem, and we switch those members with the ones at the end. Then hopefully—
    An hon. member: Mr. Speaker—
    The Speaker: I am talking.
    An hon. member: Oh, oh!
    The Speaker: Does the hon. member for Banff—Airdrie want to say something to me? No? Now keep it quiet or else you will suffer the consequences.
    I will ask the hon. Deputy Prime Minister to please continue.
    Mr. Speaker, I am glad to share with the House that, further on in his testimony before the finance committee, the Parliamentary Budget Officer described a conversation he had had with an individual from the credit rating agency Moody's, who had said that Canada's deficit should make us “quite happy because by European standards that's very low.”
    Canada's economy is strong, and our fiscal position is strong. No one should believe the Conservatives when they say otherwise.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, it takes a hack to know a hack.
    Last fall, the finance minister said that new spending needed to be matched with government savings. She said that the government needed to exercise restraint to not pour fuel on the fire. She also said that the debt-to-GDP ratio was the red line. That seems all pretty clear to me, except the government did not take the finance minister's advice.
    Only one thing can be true. Either the finance minister is being overruled by the Prime Minister or another leadership contestant, or Canadians cannot take the promises she makes seriously. Which one is it?
    Mr. Speaker, I wanted to rise because I think it is important to add some context here.
    We know the party opposite was in power for 10 years, and during that period of time, it was the worst growth record we had seen since R.B. Bennett. Do members know what is different—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I am sorry, I am having a hard time hearing the answer because of the shouting. I am going to ask everyone, including the opposition leader, to keep it down. Maybe to lead by example would be a very good thing.
    I will ask the hon. government House leader to please proceed, but not from the top.
    Mr. Speaker, I will tell members what is different: 2.7 million people who were in poverty when the Conservatives were in power are not in poverty today. There are two million more jobs since that party was in power.
     Yes, these times are difficult across the world right now, but we are leading, and we will continue to do so.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I think it is a real shame that the government House leader will not let the Minister of Finance answer a very simple question. My colleague from Simcoe North asked a very simple question yesterday. It is very simple. Anyone who is carrying debt knows what the interest on that debt is, and how much it is costing them. Unfortunately, the Minister of Finance, the Deputy Prime Minister, did not have the answer.
    I am offering the Deputy Prime Minister a chance to redeem herself. How much interest on the debt will Canadians have to pay every year?
    Mr. Speaker, once again, the Conservatives seem to believe that Canadians are devoid of intelligence. Canadians know that we have a strong economy.
    I would like to quote another expert, the former parliamentary budget officer, Kevin Page. He said that the 2023 budget has a credible fiscal strategy and that the government's fiscal anchor, the declining ratio, will be maintained.
    We are not the ones saying it.
    Mr. Speaker, once again, the Deputy Prime Minister refuses to answer a very simple question. Every Canadian with a mortgage has to know how much interest they are paying on their debt.
    Let us now consider how realistic her budget is, because it included $60 billion in new spending. That is a recipe for creating and fuelling inflation. However, just a few months ago, she said that we must not pour fuel on the fire of inflation.
    Does the Deputy Prime Minister agree with what she said last November, or, once again, does she not know the answer?

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am obviously interested in my colleagues' financial arguments.
    I find it astounding that they are blaming inflation on Canada's low- and middle-income taxpayers. The Canadian government is helping them, but blaming them for today's inflation is rather cruel.
    I would ask my colleague to tell us what he would say to the 400 children in his riding who received the dental benefit in recent months. Does he believe we should take it away from them?

Democratic Institutions

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Safety has issued a new directive to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, or CSIS, a directive that was so important that it had to be made public. It says, and I quote: “CSIS will seek, wherever possible...to ensure that parliamentarians are informed of threats...directed at them”.
    What does that mean? Should the directive not be telling CSIS that it always has to inform parliamentarians of any threat?
    What does “wherever possible” mean? Whose discretion is it up to? Are we talking about CSIS, the minister, or maybe my brother-in-law Luc? Who?
    Quite frankly, this directive is causing more confusion and concern than it is providing reassurance. Will the minister explain it clearly?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member's question because it is important that all MPs are aware of any threats that are made against any of us because a threat against one is a threat against us all.
    We know that the hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills was subjected to threats, and he was not aware of them. That is why the minister did give a directive to CSIS to ensure that all parliamentarians of the House are informed of any threats whatsoever.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, we have been calling for an independent commission of public inquiry for months. From threats against MPs to funding for the Trudeau Foundation, everything we are hearing justifies a serious inquiry. The government is telling us that it is taking action. How?
    With these new directives, CSIS will seek, whenever possible, to ensure, in a timely manner, that parliamentarians are perhaps informed of any threats, if necessary. Wow. I feel so reassured.
    Does the minister honestly believe that these directives are going to solve the problem of foreign interference?
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague knows full well that these directives are part of our government's ongoing efforts to counter foreign interference. We have said so publicly. The Prime Minister said so last week, and the Minister of Public Safety said it again this week. Threats or interference involving members or parliamentarians are completely unacceptable.
    We have taken the necessary measures to ensure that the professional intelligence agencies take the matter in hand, work with members and resolve the situation appropriately.

[English]

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, Conservatives warned that the costly coalition’s carbon tax would make everything more expensive, and today, Canadians cannot afford the basics. They have to choose between heating, eating and housing. Glen from Athabasca says that his heating bill was double what it was last year, and a quarter of it was carbon tax.
    The Liberal's April carbon tax hike has already added 14¢ a litre to gas and spiked inflation. After eight years, the truth is that the Liberals are out of touch and Canadians are out of money. Why will the costly coalition not axe the costly carbon tax?
    Mr. Speaker, we are in mid-May and already we are seeing record forest fires in northern Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. I have talked to people in Calgary who say that they cannot breathe because of the forest fires in northern Alberta.
    Our plan to fight climate change is working. We have reduced carbon pollution by 50 million tonnes. What is the answer of the Conservative Party? It is to make pollution free again, making climate change and forest fires worse. That is not how we will do it on this side of the House.
    Mr. Speaker, of course the carbon tax has not reduced emissions, and 80% of Canadians pay more than they will ever get back. However, the Liberals did admit that their carbon tax is meant to make driving more expensive. They plan to triple those costs. What are they going to do? They are going to kick Canadians while they are down and add a second carbon tax. Together, those taxes will cost struggling Canadians 60¢ a litre more at the pumps.
    Do the costly coalition partisan hacks even know or care how much more gas, groceries and home heating are going to cost struggling Canadians under their carbon tax? Do they really think Canadians can afford thousands more?

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, allow me to read from the Conservative platform in the last election.
    On page 79, in the section called “Low Carbon Fuel Standard”, it states, “We’ll finalize and improve the Clean Fuel Regulations to reduce carbon emissions from every litre of gasoline (and other liquid fuels) we burn, turning them into a true Low Carbon Fuel Standard.”
    The difference between the Conservative Party and us is that they are all talk and we are all about action.
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal-NDP carbon tax coalition is making life unaffordable for Canadians. What the Liberals do not understand is that there are very real and painful consequences when they hike the carbon tax. When they triple the carbon tax, the price of fuel per litre goes up 41¢, the cost of food goes up 34%, and the average a Canadian farm family pays in carbon taxes is $150,000 a year.
    If that sounds bad, we have not seen anything yet. The Prime Minister is going to add a second carbon tax on Canadians, this time with no rebate. How much is this new carbon tax scam going to cost Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, as the member for Foothills surely knows, Albertans are getting back more than $1,000. That goes directly into the pockets of Alberta families.
    I was in Edmonton and Calgary recently and met a great, young woman whose name is Kayla. She teaches people how to weld. She told me that we need a plan, an economic plan, for the green economy. She understands that is where her job is going to be and where the jobs of the apprentices she is training are going to be. Albertans get that. It is only the Conservatives who do not.
    Mr. Speaker, the NDP-Liberal carbon tax coalition is forcing Canadians to make a choice between food on the table or a roof over their head. The carbon tax punishes families, farmers and small businesses who are all struggling to make ends meet, and for what?
    The Liberals have not met a single emissions target they have set. Instead of admitting their carbon tax scam is a failure, they are doubling down with a second carbon tax, this time with no rebates. How much are gas and groceries going to cost Canadian families when they implement their new carbon tax scam?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, our farmers are the first to be affected by climate change. They are heavily involved in the fight against climate change and in reducing emissions.
    Our programs for helping them apply best practices and learn new technologies, and for investing in research and innovation, are oversubscribed. We are being flooded with applications. This demonstrates the level of interest.
    We will continue working hard to reduce our emissions and fight climate change.

[English]

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, the federal watchdog for housing rights has called for an investigation into the government's failure to prevent and eliminate homelessness among women and gender-diverse people across Canada. Those who are especially at risk are indigenous women and two-spirit people. Instead of addressing it, the Liberals refuse to reverse their cut of $150 million to women's shelters, while barely releasing any of the funds they first announced in 2020 for shelters and transitional housing.
    When will the government stop with the empty promises and deal with this housing crisis with the urgency it requires?
    Mr. Speaker, I disagree with the hon. member. We have gone from just over $2 billion in funding for Reaching Home, Canada's homelessness strategy, to almost $4 billion. That is a doubling of the funding going to over 5,000 different projects to help divert tens of thousands of Canadians from homelessness to permanent housing solutions, as well as transitional homes.
    We have also introduced the rapid housing initiative, which is having tremendous success on the ground.

  (1500)  

Labour

    Mr. Speaker, WestJet pilots could be on strike as soon as this Friday if they do not reach a deal with the airline. They are seeking fair pay, better conditions and more job security.
     In 2012, when Air Canada pilots voted to strike, the Conservative government of the day was quick to force them back to work. Will the minister stand today to commit to respecting the collective bargaining rights of these pilots, or does he intend to follow the example set by the Conservatives?
    Mr. Speaker, right now the Minister of Labour is on the ground in Toronto to make sure the parties reach a fair agreement, one that works for everyone. Our federal mediators are very good at what they do. Last year, they resolved 93% of federal disputes without any work stoppages. We are focused on the bargaining table because that is where the best deals are always reached.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, the rising cost of food affects Canadians, small businesses and families who are trying to put a nutritious meal on the table in my riding and across the country.
    Last week, with the passage of Bill C-46, came the creation of the new one-time grocery rebate that will deliver targeted inflation relief for over 11 million low- and moderate-income Canadians and families who need it most.
    Can the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance tell this House when Canadians can expect this timely grocery rebate?
    Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to do so, and I would like to start by thanking the hon. member for Guelph for his advocacy on behalf of his constituents and all Canadians.
    The one-time grocery rebate will deliver targeted inflation relief to 11 million low- and medium-income Canadians and families who need it most. That is going to be up to an extra $467 for eligible couples with two children, and people will get that support on July 5 of this year.

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, it has been a good start to seeding for the farmers in southwest Saskatchewan, and what do they get as a thanks from the Prime Minister this year for being the most sustainable and innovative farmers in the world? Carbon tax 2.0. The Liberals are bringing in fuel regulations that are going to gouge producers and consumers above and beyond the first carbon tax, which they are still going to triple.
    We already know the first carbon tax has caused the price of food to go up, so how much more are Canadians going to have to pay after the Prime Minister puts in the second carbon tax?
    Mr. Speaker, we have cleared up the fact that the Conservative Party of Canada had committed to put in place a low-carbon fuel standard during the last election campaign, but let us talk about what the farmers are saying.
    The Dairy Farmers of Canada has committed the dairy farms sector to reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The Egg Farmers of Canada has announced a commitment to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The farming sector knows very well how climate change is impacting them. It seems the only one who does not know about this is the Conservative Party of Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, it is incredible, he actually does not know how food ends up on his plate. The farmer pays a carbon tax, the truck that picks up the farmer's food pays a carbon tax to take it to the processor, the processor pays a carbon tax, the truck that picks it up from the processor to take it to the grocery store pays a carbon tax, the grocery store pays a carbon tax and then Canadians cannot pay for food.
    When will the partisan hack finance minister finally understand that the carbon tax causes inflation?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to take the opportunity, if I may, to answer this question by giving members an update on the situation that is going on across western Canada. There are currently 209 wildfires burning in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, 75 of which are out of control. Mostly hot, dry and windy conditions in the next week will continue to exacerbate things for those communities. There are close to—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I am going to interrupt for a second; it is getting rowdy and noisy again. I have the impression I am at a frat house party or something. Please keep it down, on both sides. Please.
    The hon. minister, from the top, please.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to take the opportunity to speak about the situation Canadians are facing particularly across western Canada, where there are 209 wildfires burning, 75 of which are burning out of control. Unfortunately, mostly hot, dry and windy conditions over the next week will exacerbate the situation, and shifting winds have pushed smoke across the country, impacting a number of urban communities, Calgary and Winnipeg in particular. Close to 30,000 Canadians have been evacuated from their communities.
    The Government of Canada is there for those Canadians. We have deployed Canadian Armed Forces resources, the Canadian Red Cross and additional police resources. Together we will be there for the people of Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan through this very difficult time.

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is incredibly disappointing to see the minister politicizing these disasters for his own gain. The fact of the matter is after eight years of the Prime Minister Canadians are struggling like never before as the cost of government is driving up the cost of living and people are struggling to afford gas, groceries and home heating. Now they are planning a 41¢-a-litre tax on gas as well as a second carbon tax, which people in northern Ontario cannot afford, though they have little choice but to pay.
    When will the finance minister finally scrap the failed carbon tax scam?
    Mr. Speaker, what is unfortunate is that the Conservative Party fails to see a link between climate change and the impact on the economy; that the Conservatives fail to see extreme weather events as being an existential threat to this planet; that they think they can bury their head in the sand and forget that climate change exists and think that there will be an economy for anybody. If we want to have a planet, we must take action on climate, and we are doing that while making sure that life is more affordable for Canadians and we will continue to do that.
    Mr. Speaker, these Liberals have missed every single environmental target that they have created; let alone these Liberals have increased the carbon tax. We know there is carbon tax 2.0. How high does the carbon tax have to go so that the current government can stop blaming—
    An hon. member: Triple it.
    Mrs. Rosemarie Falk: Mr. Speaker, they want to triple the carbon tax to prevent forest fires and hurricanes. How much does this carbon tax 2.0 have to go up?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, our farmers are the first to realize the price we are paying for climate change, whether it is because of a drought like the one in the west two years ago, a flood like the one in British Columbia two years ago or a hurricane like the one in the Atlantic provinces just over a year ago.
    They really are the first ones, and that is why we have created risk management programs to help them. There is the sustainable Canadian agricultural partnership. There are agri-environmental programs to help them be more resilient and deal with the situation they are facing.

Post-Secondary Education

    Mr. Speaker, when it comes to research and science, Canada has been racing to the bottom for the past 20 years. It is the only G7 country that has lost researchers since 2016 and the only one that has reduced its investments in R and D over the past 20 years. It has not indexed its graduate scholarships since 2003.
    While the minimum wage has doubled, our students' wages have not gone up one red cent. What message does this send to the next generation?
    All the students and their associations are watching us right now. When is this government going to wake up and increase the value of graduate scholarships?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, our government has been steadfast in its support of science, scientists and scientific research in Canada. That is why budget 2022 proposed $38.3 million over four years for the federal granting councils to add new and internationally recruited Canada excellence research chairs in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. We will continue to support a robust science and research ecosystem that reflects Canada's strengths and that advances Canadian interests.

[Translation]

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, when someone regularly attends the court of King Charles III, they could feel underdressed. That is surely why our last two governors general billed taxpayers—wait for it—more than $100,000 for clothing. That is $100,000 in clothing and shoes. It might be more because they have a clothing allowance of $130,000 per term.
    Governors general have the right to dress as they wish, but given how much money they make, could they not pay for their own clothing?
    Mr. Speaker, we know very well that many Canadians are having trouble making ends meet at this time.
    People expect us to manage their money with transparency. That obviously includes members and senators, the government and the Governor General.

  (1510)  

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, when he starts talking about his interest in improving public safety, the Prime Minister will say anything. His actions tell a different story, though.
    To start with, he passed Bill C-75, which makes it easier for violent criminals to obtain bail. After that, he passed Bill C‑5 to get rid of mandatory jail sentences for serious crimes. Now he has a bail reform bill, which was tabled yesterday, that is so weak that even the person charged with murdering police officer Greg Pierzchala would still have gotten bail.
    Can the Prime Minister admit to his mistakes and simply repeal the law arising from Bill C‑75?
    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to have tabled a bill in the House yesterday to strengthen our bail system. It targets repeat violent offenders and offences involving weapons. This is exactly what the provinces and police associations asked for.
    Police associations across Canada have publicly endorsed the steps we took yesterday. Several provinces will do likewise.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the only bail reform in Bill C-48 is in its name. Violent repeat offenders could still count on the Liberal government for its catch-and-release system to get them back out on the street, sometimes within hours of their arrest.
    This bill does not substantially improve public safety. In fact, the man who killed Constable Pierzchala would still have been out on release even if this legislation had been in place.
    When will the Liberals finally do what they have been asked and end catch-and-release?
    Mr. Speaker, allow me to quote the Canadian Police Association.
...we appreciate that [ministers] have worked collaboratively with stakeholders and introduced this common-sense legislation that responds to the concerns that our members have raised.
    Police, provinces and territories seem to agree about the common-sense nature of our approach. We have the support of police associations, we have the support of provinces. This would go a long way towards making our bail system not only stronger but fairer.
    Mr. Speaker, doing the bare minimum, tokenism is not enough.
     It is not enough in light of the challenges that our police face. It is not enough when 13 premiers unanimously call for fundamental change to Canada's broken bail system. Under this legislation, repeat violent criminals charged with weapons trafficking, attempted murder and robbery are all still eligible for bail under this Liberal catch-and-release program.
    When will the Liberal government do what has been asked of it, protect Canadians, make our streets safer, and end catch-and-release?
    Mr. Speaker, this bill did exactly what the premiers asked for in their letter to the Prime Minister and more. We went further by working with the provincial justice ministers and ministers of public safety.
    Here is what the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police have said:
     We are convinced that the legislative changes put forth in Bill C-48 will go a long way to help eliminate the preventable harm and senseless tragedies attributable to violent and repeat offenders across Canada.

[Translation]

Firearms

    Mr. Speaker, the people in my riding of Châteauguay—Lacolle are concerned. Gun violence is a scourge that continues to raise concerns for people. Firearms are used in far too many violent crimes. They make our communities less safe.
    I know that, like me, the Minister of Canadian Heritage shares these concerns. Can he tell us what message the Government of Canada has for Canadians who are worried about this situation?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question and for all of the work that she does in her community. Like the residents of Châteauguay—Lacolle, the people in my riding of Honoré-Mercier are too often faced with gun violence.
    I am proud to be able to tell them that we are taking action with Bill C-21. It is no secret that we would have liked to go even further, but even the strictest bill is no good if we cannot pass it. Bill C-21 may not be perfect, but it will make our communities a lot safer. What is clear is that the only way to keep assault weapons out of our communities is to have a Liberal government.

  (1515)  

[English]

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, on the same day we learned that the price of the average home shot up again, the Minister of Housing would not answer simple questions about the housing crisis.
     We asked why rent had doubled over the last eight years. We asked why home prices have doubled over the last eight years. We asked him why his own officials have said that they could see a 32% decline in housing starts this year. He told us we were playing games.
     How can the minister stand in this House and, continually, in the midst of a housing crisis, tell Canadians they have never had it so good?
    Mr. speaker, it is really hard to take the party opposite seriously on housing. In their previous election platform, Conservatives did not even have the words “affordable housing” in their platform.
    Now they have released a so-called plan that does not have the word “homelessness”. There is no plan for women's housing. There is no plan for northern housing. There is no plan for rapid housing. There is no plan for co-op housing. There is no plan for helping first-time homebuyers. There is no plan for helping renters. There is no plan for seniors' housing. There is no plan for accessible housing. There is absolutely no plan on that side of the house.

[Translation]

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, with this Prime Minister everything already costs more and now inflation is taking off again. Some experts are even saying that the Bank of Canada might increase interest rates yet again. It was in all the media. That is not reassuring for Canadians. This Prime Minister is at it again. He is proposing other inflationary policies like his carbon tax.
    When will he abandon his disastrous plans for Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, as I have already pointed out several times in the House, Quebec has a carbon pricing system called cap and trade and it is different than Canada's system.
    I would be pleased to explain to my colleague opposite how the Quebec system works. My office would gladly arrange a briefing on this issue.
    Mr. Speaker, the government has driven up the cost of food production by charging our farmers the carbon tax and the 35% tariff on fertilizer.
    Our family farms are stretched thin. The minister continues to suggest to farmers that they go further in debt and says that the carbon tax does not affect Quebec. I can also show the Minister of Environment and Climate Change bills that clearly show that is not true, not to mention the shipping of goods between the provinces. The government needs to understand the harm it is causing to farmers and Canadian families.
    When will it finally cut the carbon tax?
    Mr. Speaker, as my colleague the Minister of Environment and Climate Change said, Quebec has its own system. The price on pollution imposed by the federal government does not apply to Quebec.
    Unlike the Conservatives, who cut risk management and research and innovation programs when they were in power, we are making investments. We are supporting our farmers so that they can adopt good environmental practices and have access to new technologies. We have increased the sustainable Canadian agricultural partnership by 25%.

[English]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians across the country deserve to feel safe from gun violence and crime. In my riding of Mississauga—Lakeshore, I have heard from constituents who do worry about the safety of their loved ones. They worry about gang violence, carjacking and organized crime.
    Can the minister please update this House on the action this government is taking to make our neighbourhood safer for everyone?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Mississauga—Lakeshore for his hard work.
    We have promised Canadians we would crack down on gun violence. Assault-style firearms have no place in our communities. That is why we are pushing forward with smart policy to get these weapons off our streets, investing in our borders to stop illegal smuggling and investing nearly $400 million to support law enforcement and address guns and gangs.
    Yesterday, I introduced a bill that would make it harder to get bail after committing a crime involving a firearm.
    What do the Conservatives do? They vote against these measures and they filibuster. We have a plan. They have a record of slashing police budgets and stalling.

Women and Gender Equality

    Mr. Speaker, today is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, a day when we commit to fighting discrimination in all its forms.
    Sadly, queer communities across Turtle Island and the world are increasingly under threat. Lives are at stake here. The #Act4QueerSafety campaign and others have put forward concrete proposals for more funding to combat hate. Additionally, the Dignity Network has long called for a special rapporteur to ensure that 2SLGBTQ rights at home and abroad are protected.
    When will the government go beyond words, start acting and implement the calls to action?

  (1520)  

    Mr. Speaker, every Canadian deserves to feel safe and supported, no matter where they are or whom they love. Homophobia, transphobia, transmisogyny, biphobia and all forms of violence and racism have no place in Canada or in the world. We know that a disproportionate amount of hate is directed at 2SLGBTQI+ communities, and that is why 75% of the 2SLGBTQI+ action plan investments go directly to the critical lifelines supporting these communities. Our government will continue to support them and reaffirm their right to be true and—
    The hon. member for Spadina—Fort York.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, the public safety minister has reached the startling conclusion that there may be more Chinese police stations operating in Canada, not that he would inform the House, having decided to share this stunning revelation of the obvious with CTV last weekend.
    Does the government have a particular number of stations in mind before it takes the matter seriously? How much longer does the RCMP now need to complete an investigation into what is already known? In case they missed it on TV, do they even know about the other stations? Is there a threshold for the number of Chinese Canadians who must be intimidated before the government acts?
    Mr. Speaker, we take all threats from Russia, China and other foreign actors very seriously. As the hon. member knows, the investigation of these Chinese police stations is being conducted by the RCMP, and the RCMP will continue to conduct investigations as information comes forward.
    Canadians can be assured not only that we are taking this seriously, but that they are safe here in Canada.

Presence in Gallery

    I wish to draw the attention of members to the presence in the gallery of a parliamentary delegation from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, led by Lord Purvis of Tweed.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!

Points of Order

Oral Questions 

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, during question period, the hon. member for Fundy Royal was asking a question of the justice minister, and the member for York South—Weston said that is a lie. This, of course, is unacceptable and unparliamentary.
    I believe if you consult Hansard, you will find that they did in fact capture it being said and that if you give the member for York South—Weston the opportunity now, he will, of course, rise and apologize for this unacceptable and unparliamentary comment made to the hon. member for Fundy Royal.
    We will consult Hansard and come back to the House tomorrow.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

  (1525)  

[English]

Criminal Code

     The House resumed from May 16 consideration of Bill C-21, An Act to amend certain Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (firearms), as reported (with amendments) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.
    It being 3:24 p.m., pursuant to order made on Thursday, June 23, 2022, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded divisions on the motions at report stage of Bill C-21.

[Translation]

    Call in the members.
    The question is on Motion No. 1. A vote on this motion also applies to Motions Nos. 2 to 6, 9 and 12.

  (1535)  

[English]

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

(Division No. 327)

YEAS

Members

Aitchison
Albas
Allison
Arnold
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Berthold
Bezan
Block
Bragdon
Brassard
Brock
Calkins
Caputo
Carrie
Chambers
Chong
Cooper
Dalton
Dancho
Davidson
Deltell
d'Entremont
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Ellis
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Ferreri
Findlay
Gallant
Genuis
Godin
Goodridge
Gourde
Gray
Hallan
Jeneroux
Kelly
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Kusie
Lake
Lantsman
Lawrence
Lehoux
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Liepert
Lloyd
Lobb
Maguire
Martel
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLean
Melillo
Moore
Morantz
Morrison
Motz
Muys
Nater
O'Toole
Patzer
Paul-Hus
Perkins
Poilievre
Redekopp
Reid
Rempel Garner
Richards
Roberts
Rood
Ruff
Scheer
Schmale
Seeback
Shields
Shipley
Small
Soroka
Steinley
Stewart
Strahl
Stubbs
Thomas
Tochor
Tolmie
Uppal
Van Popta
Vecchio
Vidal
Vien
Viersen
Vis
Vuong
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Williamson

Total: -- 110


NAYS

Members

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

Total: -- 203


PAIRED

Members

Aboultaif
Drouin
Ehsassi
Généreux
Gladu
Joly
Jones
Savard-Tremblay

Total: -- 8


    I declare Motion No. 1 defeated. I therefore declare Motions Nos. 2 to 6, 9 and 12 defeated as well.
    The question is on Motion No. 10. A vote on this motion also applies to Motion No. 11.

  (1545)  

    (The House divided on Motion No. 10, which was agreed to on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 328)

YEAS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Ali
Anand
Anandasangaree
Angus
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Atwin
Bachrach
Badawey
Bains
Baker
Barron
Barsalou-Duval
Battiste
Beaulieu
Beech
Bendayan
Bennett
Bergeron
Bérubé
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Blaney
Blois
Boissonnault
Boulerice
Bradford
Brière
Brunelle-Duceppe
Cannings
Casey
Chabot
Chagger
Chahal
Champoux
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Collins (Victoria)
Cormier
Coteau
Dabrusin
Damoff
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Desbiens
Desilets
Desjarlais
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Dong
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Dzerowicz
El-Khoury
Erskine-Smith
Fergus
Fillmore
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fortin
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Gaheer
Garon
Garrison
Gaudreau
Gazan
Gerretsen
Gill
Gould
Green
Hajdu
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
Larouche
Lattanzio
Lauzon
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lemire
Lightbound
Long
Longfield
Louis (Kitchener—Conestoga)
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacDonald (Malpeque)
MacGregor
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maloney
Martinez Ferrada
Masse
Mathyssen
May (Cambridge)
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
McDonald (Avalon)
McGuinty
McKay
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McPherson
Mendès
Mendicino
Miao
Michaud
Miller
Morrice
Morrissey
Murray
Naqvi
Ng
Noormohamed
Normandin
O'Connell
Oliphant
O'Regan
Pauzé
Perron
Petitpas Taylor
Plamondon
Powlowski
Qualtrough
Rayes
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Sahota
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Simard
Sinclair-Desgagné
Singh
Sorbara
Sousa
Ste-Marie
St-Onge
Sudds
Tassi
Taylor Roy
Thériault
Therrien
Thompson
Trudel
Turnbull
Valdez
Van Bynen
van Koeverden
Vandenbeld
Vignola
Villemure
Virani
Weiler
Wilkinson
Yip
Zahid
Zarrillo

Total: -- 203


NAYS

Members

Aitchison
Albas
Allison
Arnold
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Berthold
Bezan
Block
Bragdon
Brassard
Brock
Calkins
Caputo
Carrie
Chambers
Chong
Cooper
Dalton
Dancho
Davidson
Deltell
d'Entremont
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Ellis
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Ferreri
Findlay
Gallant
Genuis
Godin
Goodridge
Gourde
Gray
Hallan
Jeneroux
Kelly
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Kusie
Lake
Lantsman
Lawrence
Lehoux
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Liepert
Lloyd
Lobb
Maguire
Martel
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLean
Melillo
Moore
Morantz
Morrison
Motz
Muys
Nater
O'Toole
Patzer
Paul-Hus
Perkins
Poilievre
Redekopp
Reid
Rempel Garner
Richards
Roberts
Rood
Ruff
Scheer
Schmale
Seeback
Shields
Shipley
Small
Soroka
Steinley
Stewart
Strahl
Stubbs
Thomas
Tochor
Tolmie
Uppal
Van Popta
Vecchio
Vidal
Vien
Viersen
Vis
Vuong
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Williams
Williamson

Total: -- 111


PAIRED

Members

Aboultaif
Drouin
Ehsassi
Généreux
Gladu
Joly
Jones
Savard-Tremblay

Total: -- 8


    I declare Motion No. 10 carried. I therefore declare Motion No. 11 carried.
    The question is on Motion No. 13.

  (1600)  

[Translation]

    (The House divided on Motion No. 13, which was agreed to on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 329)

YEAS

Members

Aitchison
Albas
Aldag
Alghabra
Ali
Allison
Anand
Anandasangaree
Angus
Arnold
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Atwin
Bachrach
Badawey
Bains
Baker
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Barron
Barsalou-Duval
Battiste
Beaulieu
Beech
Bendayan
Bennett
Bergeron
Berthold
Bérubé
Bezan
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Blaney
Block
Blois
Boissonnault
Boulerice
Bradford
Bragdon
Brassard
Brière
Brock
Brunelle-Duceppe
Calkins
Cannings
Caputo
Carrie
Casey
Chabot
Chagger
Chahal
Chambers
Champoux
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Chong
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Collins (Victoria)
Cooper
Cormier
Coteau
Dabrusin
Dalton
Damoff
Dancho
Davidson
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Deltell
d'Entremont
Desbiens
Desilets
Desjarlais
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Doherty
Dong
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Dzerowicz
El-Khoury
Ellis
Epp
Erskine-Smith
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Fergus
Ferreri
Fillmore
Findlay
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fortin
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Gaheer
Gallant
Garon
Garrison
Gaudreau
Gazan
Genuis
Gerretsen
Gill
Godin
Goodridge
Gould
Gourde
Gray
Green
Guilbeault
Hajdu
Hallan
Hardie
Hepfner
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Idlout
Ien
Jaczek
Jeneroux
Johns
Jowhari
Julian
Kayabaga
Kelloway
Kelly
Khalid
Khera
Kitchen
Kmiec
Koutrakis
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Kusie
Kusmierczyk
Kwan
Lake
Lalonde
Lambropoulos
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lantsman
Lapointe
Larouche
Lattanzio
Lauzon
Lawrence
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lehoux
Lemire
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Liepert
Lightbound
Lloyd
Lobb
Long
Longfield
Louis (Kitchener—Conestoga)
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacDonald (Malpeque)
MacGregor
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maguire
Maloney
Martel
Martinez Ferrada
Masse
Mathyssen
May (Cambridge)
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McDonald (Avalon)
McGuinty
McKay
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLean
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
Romanado
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
Sinclair-Desgagné
Singh
Small
Sorbara
Soroka
Sousa
Steinley
Ste-Marie
Stewart
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
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Weiler
Wilkinson
Williams
Williamson
Yip
Zahid
Zarrillo
Zuberi

Total: -- 316


NAYS

Nil

PAIRED

Members

Aboultaif
Drouin
Ehsassi
Généreux
Gladu
Joly
Jones
Savard-Tremblay

Total: -- 8


    I declare Motion No. 13 carried.

[English]

Hon. Kamal Khera (for the Minister of Public Safety)  
    moved that Bill C-21, An Act to amend certain Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (firearms), as amended, be concurred in at report stage with further amendments.

[Translation]

    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.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we request a recorded division.

  (1610)  

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

(Division No. 330)

YEAS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Ali
Anand
Anandasangaree
Angus
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Atwin
Bachrach
Badawey
Bains
Baker
Barron
Barsalou-Duval
Battiste
Beaulieu
Beech
Bendayan
Bennett
Bergeron
Bérubé
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Blaney
Blois
Boissonnault
Boulerice
Bradford
Brière
Brunelle-Duceppe
Cannings
Casey
Chabot
Chagger
Chahal
Champoux
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Collins (Victoria)
Cormier
Coteau
Dabrusin
Damoff
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Desbiens
Desilets
Desjarlais
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Dong
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Dzerowicz
El-Khoury
Erskine-Smith
Fergus
Fillmore
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fortin
Fragiskatos
Fraser
Freeland
Fry
Gaheer
Garon
Garrison
Gaudreau
Gazan
Gerretsen
Gill
Gould
Green
Guilbeault
Hajdu
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
Larouche
Lattanzio
Lauzon
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lemire
Lightbound
Long
Longfield
Louis (Kitchener—Conestoga)
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacDonald (Malpeque)
MacGregor
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maloney
Martinez Ferrada
Masse
Mathyssen
May (Cambridge)
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
McDonald (Avalon)
McGuinty
McKay
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McPherson
Mendès
Mendicino
Miao
Michaud
Miller
Morrice
Morrissey
Murray
Naqvi
Ng
Noormohamed
Normandin
O'Connell
Oliphant
O'Regan
Pauzé
Perron
Petitpas Taylor
Plamondon
Powlowski
Qualtrough
Rayes
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Sahota
Sajjan
Saks
Samson
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Simard
Sinclair-Desgagné
Singh
Sorbara
Sousa
Ste-Marie
St-Onge
Sudds
Tassi
Taylor Roy
Thériault
Therrien
Thompson
Trudel
Turnbull
Valdez
Van Bynen
van Koeverden
Vandenbeld
Vignola
Villemure
Virani
Weiler
Wilkinson
Yip
Zahid
Zarrillo
Zuberi

Total: -- 205


NAYS

Members

Aitchison
Albas
Allison
Arnold
Baldinelli
Barlow
Barrett
Berthold
Bezan
Block
Bragdon
Brassard
Brock
Calkins
Caputo
Carrie
Chambers
Chong
Cooper
Dalton
Dancho
Davidson
Deltell
d'Entremont
Doherty
Dowdall
Dreeshen
Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Ellis
Epp
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Ferreri
Findlay
Gallant
Genuis
Godin
Goodridge
Gourde
Gray
Hallan
Jeneroux
Kelly
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Kusie
Lake
Lantsman
Lawrence
Lehoux
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Liepert
Lloyd
Lobb
Maguire
Martel
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLean
Melillo
Moore
Morantz
Morrison
Motz
Muys
Nater
O'Toole
Patzer
Paul-Hus
Perkins
Poilievre
Redekopp
Reid
Rempel Garner
Richards
Roberts
Rood
Ruff
Scheer
Schmale
Seeback
Shields
Shipley
Small
Soroka
Steinley
Stewart
Strahl
Stubbs
Thomas
Tochor
Tolmie
Uppal
Van Popta
Vecchio
Vidal
Vien
Viersen
Vis
Vuong
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Williams
Williamson

Total: -- 111


PAIRED

Members

Aboultaif
Drouin
Ehsassi
Généreux
Gladu
Joly
Jones
Savard-Tremblay

Total: -- 8


    I declare the motion carried.

Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

  (1615)  

[Translation]

Financial Protection for Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Farmers Act

    The House resumed from May 16 consideration of the motion that Bill C-280, An Act to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (deemed trust – perishable fruits and vegetables), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Pursuant to order made on Thursday, June 23, 2022, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-280, under Private Members' Business.

  (1625)  

[English]

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

(Division No. 331)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 315


NAYS

Nil

PAIRED

Members

Aboultaif
Drouin
Ehsassi
Généreux
Gladu
Joly
Jones
Savard-Tremblay

Total: -- 8


    I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food.

    (Bill read the second time and referred to a committee)


Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Committees of the House

Procedure and House Affairs  

    Mr. Speaker, after five weeks here in Ottawa, I am excited that next week we will be back in our ridings. I am excited to get to the riding of Waterloo, and I know constituents have been waiting for these two reports.
    I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the following two reports of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs: the 39th report, entitled “Report on the Report of the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for the Province of Quebec, 2022”, and the 40th report, entitled “Report on the Report of the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for the Province of Alberta, 2022”.

[Translation]

    I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 41st report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.
    The committee advises that, pursuant to Standing Order 91.1(2), the Subcommittee on Private Members' Business met to consider orders for the second reading of private members' public bills originating in the Senate, and recommended that the items listed in the report, which it has determined should not be designated non-votable, be considered by the House.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 91.1(2), the 41st report is deemed adopted.

    (Motion agreed to)

  (1630)  

[English]

    As for the other PROC reports, there is a dissenting opinion from the hon. member for St. Albert—Edmonton.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of the Conservative members of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to table two dissenting reports in response to the main reports of the committee in respect of the reports of the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for the provinces of Quebec and Alberta.
    The Conservative members support the work of the commissions and appreciate their efforts to engage in significant consultations in reaching their final reports. However, we respectfully request that the committees respectively and favourably view the objections of the members for Yellowhead, Grande Prairie—Mackenzie and Peace River—Westlock, as well as the objections of the members for Mégantic—L'Érable and Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup.

Canada–People’s Republic of China Relationship  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third interim report of the Special Committee on the Canada-People's Republic of China Relationship, entitled “A Threat to Canadian Sovereignty: National Security Dimensions of the Canada-People’s Republic of China Relationship”.
    This reflects work that the committee has undertaken since 2020, and it strongly distinguishes between the Chinese Communist government and the Chinese people on the mainland, the diaspora here in Canada and ethnic Chinese residents in Canada. Our 34 recommendations should inform ongoing discussions on foreign interference.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
    There is a dissenting opinion from the hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills.
    Mr. Speaker, we support the report of the committee. We have submitted a supplementary report, along with the main report, that makes three supplementary additions that buttress and support the report. The three recommendations are in respect of Confucius Institutes, the critical election incident public protocol and the new federal beneficial ownership registry.

Natural Resources  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the ninth report of the Standing Committee on Natural Resources, entitled “Main Estimates 2023-24”.

Protecting Young Persons from Exposure to Pornography Act

    She said: I am here with my colleague from Peace River—Westlock putting forward this very important piece of legislation that focuses on protecting children and restricting them from access to pornography, recognizing the impact on women and other persons of exposing youth to sexually explicit material and violence and deterring the organizations that make this type of material available on the Internet.
    We must all work together to ensure that our children are safe. This is just one option for doing so.

    (Motion agreed to and bill read the first time)

Petitions

Agriculture and Agri-Food  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to present two petitions today.
    The first is on behalf of Canadian chicken farmers who have been affected by the Ukraine goods remission order that was implemented last June. When these farmers visited Parliament Hill last week, their request was that this order not be extended past its June 9, 2023, expiration date.
    While eliminating all tariffs on supply-managed goods coming from Ukraine was done in good faith, it has created major uncertainties for the poultry industry. Canadian chicken farmers are asking the government to allow the Ukraine goods remission order to expire on June 9, 2023, and not extend it.

  (1635)  

Taxation  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition I would like to present is on behalf of home builders across Canada.
    When the GST was first introduced in 1991, the GST new housing rebate was introduced alongside it. This rebate ensured that new home building would not be discouraged by the GST, and the Government of Canada committed to adjusting the qualification thresholds every two years to reflect changes in housing prices. Thirty-two years later, the thresholds have never been adjusted.
    Canadian home builders are calling on the government to finally adjust the GST new housing rebate thresholds to reflect the dramatic increase in the price of new homes. It is for the Speaker's home, my home and all our homes. Let us bring it home.

Firearms  

    Mr. Speaker, these petitioners are asking that Bill C-21 die on the Order Paper. It is an affront to private property rights. All it does is confiscate legal firearms from lawful citizens and does nothing to get illegal guns out of the hands of criminals.

Falun Gong  

    Mr. Speaker, I am once again rising to table a petition regarding the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China. The petitioners indicate that Falun Gong practitioners in China are being targeted, adding that victims face various forms of persecution, including forced organ harvesting and trafficking.
    The petitioners call on this Parliament to pass a resolution to establish measures to stop the Chinese Communist regime's crime of systematically murdering Falun Gong practitioners for their organs; to amend Canadian legislation to combat forced organ harvesting; and to publicly call for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong in China.

Climate Change  

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in this place to present a petition. The focus is on the health threats of the climate crisis. The petitioners point out that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on 1.5°C points to the reality that we are unlikely to be able to stay below 1.5°C without rapid and immediate reductions of emissions, that we are on a path to significantly overshoot our 2030 commitments under the Paris Agreement, and that oil and gas and transportation emissions continue to rise in Canada.
    The petitioners, who are physicians, point to the World Health Organization's reporting that “Climate change is the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century”.
    The petition is lengthy, so I will summarize that the conclusions and petition of the undersigned physicians and mothers of Canada call on the Government of Canada to outline measures that actually reach, not net-zero, but zero emissions and to prioritize the elimination of emissions and preservation of a healthy environment as part of every portfolio and every decision within the Government of Canada and of the provinces. They call on the governments of Canada to commit to the rapid elimination of fossil fuels from our economy, in addition to eliminating single-use plastics, among other measures.

Justice  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition and bring it to the attention of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. In its decision on R. v. Bissonnette, the Supreme Court struck down section 745.51 of the Criminal Code, which allowed parole ineligibility periods to be applied consecutively for mass murderers.
     What this ruling would actually do now is revictimize those family members who thought that people who are guilty of committing multiple mass murders would never get an opportunity for parole. The petitioners urge the government to reconsider, even to the point of using the notwithstanding clause, to protect victims and their families from having to go through the trauma of a parole hearing for a mass murderer.
    Mr. Speaker, I have a petition here signed by some fantastic Canadians. They are concerned that the Supreme Court of Canada struck down section 745.51 of the Criminal Code, which allowed parole ineligibility periods to be applied consecutively for mass murderers. As a result, some of Canada's most heinous mass murderers will have their parole ineligibility period reduced. They will now be eligible to apply for parole after only 25 years.
    Therefore, the signatories of the petition are looking for the government to use the notwithstanding clause to uphold the previous law that was in place and that the Supreme Court struck down.

  (1640)  

    Mr. Speaker, as always, it is an honour to be able to rise in this House to present the issues that are so pressing to Canadians.
     Today, I have a petition signed by many Canadians. They hope to draw it to the attention of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, so that the minister can take action related to the Supreme Court of Canada's ruling in R. v. Bissonnette. This ruling struck down section 745.51 of the Criminal Code, which allowed for parole ineligibility periods to be applied consecutively for mass murderers. As a result, some of Canada's most notorious and heinous mass murderers are able to apply for parole after serving only 25 years. It is an unjust decision, and it revictimizes the families of the victims of these terrible killers.
    The petitioners are asking the Minister of Justice to take action, including not ruling out the use of the notwithstanding clause to ensure that these heinous mass killers face justice.

Questions on the Order Paper

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

Motions for Papers

    Mr. Speaker, I would ask that all notices of motions for the production of papers also be allowed to stand.
    Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Criminal Code

Hon. Kamal Khera (for the Minister of Public Safety)  
     moved that Bill C-21, An Act to amend certain Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (firearms), be read the third time and passed.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by acknowledging that we are gathered on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people. I also want to acknowledge the impact colonial practices have had on indigenous peoples, from overincarceration to overrepresentation in foster care and missing and murdered indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people.
    Today, we begin third reading on Bill C-21, a bill that has been greatly improved through consultation with Canadians and indigenous peoples and in co-operation with the Bloc Québécois and the New Democratic Party. I wish more Canadians watched what happens at committee. It has been my experience throughout my time in this place that legislation has been improved at committee, and Bill C-21 is no exception. The bill we have before us today reflects that work.
    Before talking about the bill itself, I would like to talk about some of those changes. The member for Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia is an exceptional parliamentarian, and I have had the pleasure of working with her for three and a half years now. She introduced important amendments, including the requirement for a possession and acquisition licence, or PAL, to purchase, transport and export or import cartridge magazines. This was an ask made by a number of stakeholders, but none more loudly or more courageously than the Danforth Families for Safe Communities.
    Their story is tragic and well known, but we all know that the gun used that night on Danforth Avenue was a legally imported handgun that had later been stolen from a gun shop in Saskatchewan. The Danforth shooter then walked into a sporting goods store and legally bought seven magazines for his gun, with no questions asked, simply because a PAL was not required for him to buy them. That will no longer be possible now that these amendments have been adopted and once the bill becomes law. Let us think about that. Prior to these amendments, people did not have to prove that they had licences to purchase and own firearms in order to buy the thing that literally holds the bullets. That changes now.
    This major amendment was passed unanimously. To be clear, it will not affect those licensed to carry a firearm. It will ensure that those who are not licensed to possess a firearm cannot legally buy cartridge magazines. Requiring gun owners to show their licences to purchase magazines just makes sense. People do not need magazines if they do not have licences to own a gun.
    We also heard from the airsoft industry that the bill went too far and that the industry was willing to work with the government to regulate its sport. An amendment initiated by the member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford passed, so the clause deeming airsoft guns to be prohibited devices was removed from the bill. Thanks go to the airsoft community for working productively with our government to find a compromise that would ensure public safety is upheld while allowing the sport to be regulated.
    Gun control is a women’s issue. The Canadian Women's Foundation notes that the presence of firearms in Canadian households is the single greatest risk factor for the lethality of intimate partner violence. Access to a firearm increases the likelihood of femicide by 500%. The Ontario coroner's death review panel said that 26% of women who were killed by their partner were killed using a firearm.
    I have heard from such groups as the Lethbridge YWCA, which told me that every single woman who came to its shelter had been threatened by a partner with a firearm. They are among the nearly 2,500 women victimized in this way over the last five years. Intimate partner violence accounts for nearly 30% of all police-reported violent crime in Canada, and that number rose during the pandemic. In my riding and across the country, such local organizations as Halton Women's Place are helping to shine a brighter light on the dangers of gun violence.
    Over the last eight years, as a country, we have also become more aware of the role that coercive control plays in abusive relationships. When firearms are added to the mix, it is a recipe for continued physical, emotional and psychological abuse. In coercive control, a man might use a gun to control a woman without ever pulling the trigger. Such control is real, and it happens every day. An Oakville resident sent me a note that stated, “Let me just say that you can endure the physical and emotional abuse, but when he pulls out a double-barrelled shotgun, loads it and tells you he is going to kill you, then you know true terror. Thank you for looking out for the victims before they become statistics.”

  (1645)  

    Our government has been advocating for women and will continue to do so. Through Bill C-21, we are taking additional steps to support survivors of intimate partner violence who have been threatened with or who have been on the receiving end of violence with a firearm.
    The Bloc Québécois, New Democratic Party and Green Party all put forward amendments to strengthen the intimate partner violence provisions of Bill C-21. The National Association for Women and the Law tweeted on Monday that they were “pleased that virtually all the amendments [they] proposed were adopted, some unanimously!” These amendments will make women safer.
    During the clause-by-clause process, we included an amendment to further define a protection order. A protection order:
...is intended to include any binding order made by a court or other competent authority in the interest of the safety or security of a person; this includes but is not limited to orders that prohibit a person from:
(a) being in physical proximity to an identified person or following an identified person from place to place;
(b) communicating with an identified person, either directly or indirectly;
(c) being at a specified place or within a specified distance of that place;
(d) engaging in harassing or threatening conduct directed at an identified person;
(e) occupying a family home or a residence; or
(f) engaging in family violence.
    Protection orders are imperative to keep women safe. By setting minimum standards in the bill, people who have been subject to a protection order will now be ineligible to hold a firearms licence. We know that when a woman leaves an abusive partner, the first day is the most dangerous and violent. That is why there is an amendment to ensure that firearms are removed within 24 hours.
    I thank the National Association of Women and the Law for their leadership on these amendments. Because of these changes in the bill, we will save women’s lives.
    I am particularly pleased that the red-flag provision of the bill remains, ensuring that those concerned about a firearms owner being a danger to themselves or others can now apply to a judge for an order to immediately remove firearms from an individual who may present such a danger. Dr. Najma Ahmed from Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns stated this:
    We support the proposed “red flag” law. Family members, physicians and concerned individuals must have access to an efficient process to quickly have firearms removed from someone who may be at risk to themselves or others.
    In Canada, suicide accounts for about 75% of gun deaths. A gun in the home increases adolescent suicide rates by threefold to fourfold. Evidence from other jurisdictions shows that “red flag” laws are effective in reducing firearm suicides.
    Most people who survive a suicide attempt do not go on to die by suicide. This is why restricting access to lethal means saves lives. Suicide attempts with a gun are almost uniformly fatal.
    The provision will also ensure that women who cannot go to the police have another tool to remove the firearm from their home. To support these new red-flag provisions, Public Safety Canada will establish a program to help raise awareness among victims about how to use the new protections. A guide about how to submit an application to the courts and the protections available could be developed, and the program would fund services to support individuals’ applications throughout the court process. It would support the most vulnerable and marginalized groups, including women, people with mental health issues, indigenous groups and other racialized communities, to help make certain that the red-flag laws are accessible to all, particularly those who may need it most. The government would also make available $5 million through a contribution program to ensure support and equitable access.
    It is also important to state unequivocally that the fiduciary duty of peace officers under common law continues in force, notwithstanding the ability for any person to make an application for an emergency prohibition order. Simply put, police will still be required to do their job of removing guns from dangerous individuals. As I said, it just provides one additional tool for people to use, especially if calling the police is not an option.
    In addition, an important amendment introduced by the government is a non-derogation clause. It states Parliament's intent that:
    The provisions enacted by the Act [following Bill C-21] are to be construed as upholding the [aboriginal and treaty] rights of Indigenous peoples recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and not as abrogating or derogating from them.
    Nothing in Bill C-21 would take away from section 35 rights; the Constitution still remains the law of the land.

  (1650)  

     While I know that he opposes the bill itself, I appreciate the way the member for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound worked with all parties to include an amendment that further spells out what has already been allowed in practice. Namely, ensuring that anyone with a handgun is able to temporarily store their firearm with a business or individual who also possesses an RPAL for any reason. This includes if an individual recognizes that they are experiencing a mental health crisis and do not want to have access to their firearm.
     This example was one that was particularly important to the member for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound and to many of whom he spoke, including some veterans. I commend him for the way he conducted himself and the important addition he made to clarify the provisions related to the authorizations to transport in the Firearms Act. It is unfortunate that all members of the Conservative Party were not as constructive.
    In particular, the member for Red Deer—Lacombe chose to politicize the requirement for a PAL to buy a magazine and attacked me while I shared the Danforth Families for Safe Communities' story. The member proceeded to post our exchange on social media saying that I had compared every hunter in Canada to the Danforth shooter, and that every single hunter should take note of what I think about them.
    That is not what I said, but thanks to this member's misrepresentation, my direct messages have been filled with threats and misogynistic comments that use language I cannot repeat in the House. This kind of disinformation is typical of the Conservative Party throughout the debate.
    The Conservative public safety critic and others continue to spread the false claim that Bill C-21 is targeting hunters. This is fearmongering. I have noticed that the Conservative Party prefers this approach of spreading fear to make Canadians fearful of leaving their homes, using our parks or taking public transit, and fearful of each other.
     We are focusing on protecting Canadians and doing the hard work it takes to keep them safe. Conservative politicians prefer to fearmonger and speak in catchy slogans, rather than taking action to prevent crime, keep women safe and remove weapons designed for the battlefield from our streets.
    I would now like to turn to other provisions found in Bill C-21. Canadians have been calling upon successive governments for reform and stronger gun control, and in May 2020 we took additional action through an order in council to ban over 1,500 models of assault-style firearms, including the AR-15.
     As U.S. Major General Paul Eaton, retired, has said, “For all intents and purposes, the AR-15 and rifles like it are weapons of war.” These weapons, designed for the battlefield, have no place on Canadian streets. I have a question for the Conservative Party: Would it make the AR-15 legal again?
     Through Bill C-21, we are building on the work done in 2020 to offer a prospective technical definition to ensure that, in addition to the weapons banned in 2020, no future similar weapons will ever be able to enter the Canadian market. Furthermore, the Minister of Public Safety has committed to taking action through regulation to take the burden away from firearms owners to make manufacturers responsible for classifying firearms. This responds to recommendations of the Mass Casualty Commission. Doctors for Protection from Guns called the definition “A victory for science, public health, and Canadian values...to permanently ban future models of assault weapons.”
     In addition, we are implementing a national freeze on handguns to prevent individuals from bringing newly acquired handguns into Canada, and from buying, selling and transferring handguns within the country, a freeze which, through regulations, has been in effect since October 2022.
     It was actually Ken Price of the Danforth Families for Safe Communities who was one of the first proponents of implementing a national freeze on handguns. When Ken testified at committee he stated:
     In summary, there's clear evidence on the association between access to handguns and endemic gun violence, and access to semi-automatic weapons and large-capacity magazines and multiple mass shooting events. There is good evidence that the restriction of access to these weapons reduces endemic gun violence and reduces the number of victims of multiple mass shooting events.
    Ultimately, it's a choice society has to make. What guns are permissible? What should we allow access to? What level of gun violence are we willing to accept in our community?
    Our government is making that choice with Bill C-21. We cannot and will not tolerate gun violence in our communities, while we continue to respect those who hunt for sustenance, sport or tradition.

  (1655)  

    Bill C-21 would also address illegal smuggling and trafficking at the border by increasing criminal penalties, providing more tools for law enforcement to investigate firearms crimes and strengthening border security measures. Chief Evan Bray of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police testified at committee in support of these provisions, saying:
    “With regard to firearms smuggling and trafficking, we support the implementation of new firearms-related offences, intensified border controls and strengthened penalties to help deter criminal activities and to combat firearms smuggling and trafficking, thereby reducing the risk that illegal firearms find their way into Canadian communities and are used to commit criminal offences. The CACP welcomes changes that provide new police authorizations and tools to access information about licence-holders in the investigation of individuals who are suspected of conducting criminal activities, such as straw purchasing and weapons trafficking.”
    We need to remember that Bill C-21 would take a multipronged approach that addresses gun violence. This would include increasing penalties for illegal gun smugglers, freezing the sale of handguns, taking action to address the proliferation of ghost guns and introducing measures that make it safer for women to leave abusive relationships.
    I am very proud to be part of a government that has passed Bill C-71, and that now, hopefully, will pass Bill C-21. I have heard from Canadians who applaud what we are doing with this bill. They have thanked us for our work on this, saying that guns and ease of access will never be more important than human lives and public safety, and that the bill would protect thousands of people’s lives.
    Wendy Cukier of the Coalition for Gun Control, who has been working on this issue for over 30 years, said:
     No law is ever perfect but Bill C-21 is a game changer for Canada and should be implemented as soon as possible. The law responds to most of the recommendations of the Mass Casualty Commission and the demands of the Coalition for Gun Control...which, with more than 200 supporting organizations, has fought for stronger firearm laws for more than thirty years.
     I would be remiss if I did not also acknowledge the work that PolySeSouvient has done for over 30 years to make our country safer. Its advocacy work grew from the misogynistic slaughter of women at Polytechnique in 1989, and I have the utmost respect for their dedication to gun control.
    I want to close by giving special thanks to the Liberal, Bloc and NDP members of the public safety committee, who worked together, at times into the wee hours of the night, to ensure that the bill we have before us is better than when it started. I thank the New Democratic Party and the member for New Westminster—Burnaby, and the Bloc Québécois and the member for Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia. I also have to give a special shout-out to Sarah Thomas, Conor Lewis and all the staff, without whom we as members could not do our jobs. I thank the minister and his team for their herculean efforts on this bill, and the Prime Minister, for making gun control a central policy of our government.
    We will vote on this bill tomorrow. It will be a legacy for this government, one that I am incredibly proud of.

  (1700)  

    Mr. Speaker, I will say that, growing up, hunting was essential for our family. I am from a military home. My dad is Métis, and I know that the indigenous people do not just want amendments. They want the bill removed.
    I will quote Chief Jessica Lazare from the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake. She says, “the lack of in-depth and comprehensive consultation with indigenous communities is demonstrated in the incoherence and inconsistency of this bill”.
    I know that, of my constituents, there are many who are firearms owners. They know they are careful. They are law-abiding, and they feel they are personally being attacked because the Liberals want to point and show they are being really strong on crime, when it is a disaster. They have a terrible record, and it is going up.
    Will the Liberal member not recognize how this is essentially virtue signalling and how it would not make our streets safer?
    Mr. Speaker, there is so much to unpack in that. Perhaps the member needs to read the amendments that were done at committee, which include a clause that would ensure that indigenous people's section 35 rights are still in place. There is nothing virtue signalling in this bill, and I am sure the hon. member does not want to forget about the 75% of Canadian suicide victims who died by firearms.
    This bill would tackle suicides, intimate partner violence and gun crime. There are many aspects to firearms deaths in this country, and that is why I am proud of the work we are doing in this bill, which would actually save lives.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for her co-operation throughout the study of this bill. I really appreciated working with her and her team. I know that she has been working for better gun control in this country for a number of years.
    It was clearly the government's intention to ban assault weapons. The government's first attempt failed. The second attempt was somewhat watered down compared to the first. As we have discussed at length, the proposed definition is prospective, meaning that hundreds of assault-style weapons remain in circulation in the country.
    In response to that, the minister told us that he was going to re-establish the Canadian firearms advisory committee and ask for a recommendation on how it could classify firearms. Handing this over to experts is not a bad idea. However, of the 482 firearms, the government itself identified those that could potentially be used for hunting. It identified a dozen.
    Why not immediately ban the other 470 using an order in council? That is the proposal I made to the minister. I would like to know what she thinks.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague. I wish I could answer her question in French.

[English]

    However, with regard to the firearms in question, as the hon. member knows, a number of those were included in the order in council, which was done in May 2020, and we know that the technical definition in the bill will ensure that future firearms are caught. For the 482, there would be the reconstituted firearms advisory council that would look at those to provide advice to the government, moving forward, to determine which of those should be included.

  (1705)  

    Mr. Speaker, I represent an urban riding in a major municipality, and I think that there is a pretty broad consensus in my constituency that people are in favour of strong, fair and rational gun legislation and restrictions. I think they understand the connection between the proliferation of guns and associated violence that comes from it, but at the same time, we do have a healthy number of people in my riding who engage in sport shooting or hunting, even though they live in an urban setting.
     I wonder if my hon. colleague can tell us, as the first iteration of the bill did not draw a very good line in that regard, what improvements she would point to in the bill that would give assurance to people who do use firearms responsibly for hunting or sport purposes that they will be able to access the equipment they need to carry on with their legitimate activities.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member mentioned that a number of Canadians feel that we are taking strong action on guns. How many are in support? It is 84% of Canadians who are saying that we are on the right track, including a majority of rural Canadians.
    With regards to sport shooting, there is an exemption in the bill for those who participate in or are on a pathway to Olympic sports. As the hon. member likely knows, there will be regulations that will be developed around that, but the pathway is only for those who are on track to participate in the Olympics or the Paralympics. Nothing in the bill would impact those who are in the biathlon sport. That is what is in the bill, and that is what the member can tell his constituents.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. parliamentary secretary for all of her work on this.
    The member mentioned how difficult these discussions have been to get to the real crux of the matter. I am looking at a discussion I had with one of my constituents on December 2 of last year. He was talking about paintball cases, that 2,000 paintballs were $150 versus magfed at $30, and that the airsoft community had not been consulted at that time. He had served in the military. He knows that AR-15s should not be available anywhere in Canada, so he was approaching it from the recreational community saying that, at the time, we had not consulted them.
    Could the hon. member comment on how much work there has been to get to the right level of consultation with the right people?
    Mr. Speaker, airsoft industry representatives were extremely productive in their discussions with the government and with the committee. They were willing to work with the government to see their sport regulated. I had a number of conversations, as I know a number of members in this House did, with representatives of the airsoft industry. We will work with them. They are supportive of having a minimum age to purchase airsoft, and around transportation and storage.
    I commend the airsoft industry for the way it worked with the government. As members know, the bill before us removed the prohibition for airsoft guns thanks to the NDP members, who put forward an amendment that was passed at committee.
    Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, I had the displeasure of sitting through the public safety committee and listening to a lot of the rhetoric that came from the other side, both NDP and Liberal, on this bill. Contrary to public opinion, it does not improve public safety. Contrary to the rhetoric coming from the parliamentary secretary, it does not improve public safety.
    We did not hear from one group of individuals who supported red flag laws. In fact, PolySeSouvient, who were big fans of the Liberals up until the Liberals refused to listen to them, and 20 other national women's groups have asked to please not invoke red flag laws in Bill C-21, because they do not work. They put women victims at risk. I stood up and said that, from my experience, the current law works and it works well. Why are the Liberals so dogmatic and not listening to the Canadian public? We know the answer, because that is what they always do.
    What is the explanation for why the Liberals will not listen to Canadians? Women's groups that used to support the government are saying to please remove red flag laws from this bill. Why have the Liberals not done that?

  (1710)  

    Mr. Speaker, I will correct the hon. member. We did hear, at committee, from Doctors for Protection from Guns, which did support red flag laws.
    I would also remind the hon. member, when we are discussing red flags and other things to protect women, that he seems to ignore the fact that, in my riding of Oakville North—Burlington, at Halton Women's Place, the only women who go to the shelter when firearms are involved are married to police officers. The hon. member has claimed that individuals who were coming forward were actually making false claims with no evidence. He said his changes would have lowered the chance of those coming forward for nefarious reasons to make claims that are false.
    Women who come forward with claims of violence in the home because of firearms are not making malicious claims. To try to belittle them is offensive.
     Mr. Speaker, I cannot say that I am happy to be rising today to discuss this piece of legislation, but I am happy to be rising as a law-abiding firearms owner to defend my fellow law-abiding firearms owners.
    How did we get here? I will put things in context so the people who might be watching at home know whom they are listening to. I am a member of Parliament for an urban-rural split riding in central Alberta. Half of my constituents live in Red Deer, the third-largest city in Alberta, and the other half live on a first nation reserve, or in a rural setting in Red Deer County, Lacombe County or Ponoka County, or in a small town, city or village therein.
    I would consider the people I represent to be honest, hard-working, law-abiding folks who want their tax dollars spent wisely and want the freedom to pursue whatever they want to pursue in life. Many of them pursue various things that involve firearms, including hunting, farming on farms like the one I grew up on, where firearms are just a tool and an everyday part of life, or sport shooting. This is very popular in my constituency. There are numerous stores and vendors in central Alberta that supply firearms, ammunition and parts because of the demand that is there.
     I can tell members that we do not have the problems that my colleague who just spoke talked about in her large urban centre, because we respect the law. We put policies in place at the provincial level, and when we are the governing party, we put laws in place that actually crack down on criminals. That is where the actual issue lies.
    I can assure Canadians who might be watching at home that the firearms I own are doing nothing right now. They do not do anything until someone picks them up. The issue at hand is violent crime and who has access to firearms. There are numerous provisions in this bill, Bill C-21, that do not address, penalize or in any way affect the outcome of dealing with the wrong people getting a hold of firearms.
    How did we get here? Over the course of the preceding decades, Canada was a country that was a rugged place to settle, and it is still a rugged place for some who live in rural areas or adjacent to wild areas or who are farming, involved in forestry, or doing something as seemingly innocuous as keeping beehives. Anybody watching at home who grew up with cartoon books would know that Winnie-the-Pooh was addicted to honey. This is not by chance. Bears often frequent these places, and good, honest people have bought firearms to protect themselves, many of whom were caught up in the order in council that came out a number of years ago.
    It all started in the 1930s. If we go back that far, every single firearm and handgun in this country has been put in a registry, but that does not stop criminals from obtaining guns illegally. The government of the day, whenever it is Liberal or Liberal-leaning, seems to want to blame the law-abiding citizen, so, for decades, we have had a firearms registry and the government knows where all the lawfully owned handguns in this country are. Changes were brought in back when Jean Chrétien was the prime minister, including a long-gun registry, which was wasteful and ineffective. The government of the day said it would cost only $2 million, but it was actually closer to $2 billion. Of course, it did not do anything to address violent crime.
    We have seen the current government, in its first mandate, put in place Bill C-75, which basically codified in law bail provisions that would let people out in the shortest amount of time with the smallest number of restrictions, and now we see what has happened with that.
    What did Bill C-21 originally do? When the members of this House were invited to speak to the bill, it was simply the codification in law of an order in council to ban the transfer of handguns. Then, sneakily, the government decided to table-drop, back in November, a huge stack of amendments that had absolutely nothing to do with handguns. They were all about long guns, and of course the government bit off far more than it could chew.

  (1715)  

     The government managed to alienate almost all of its voting base when it comes to indigenous Canadians, who were offended by the fact that the firearms used by indigenous people were largely going to be caught up in amendment G-46, taking away their ability to use that firearm.
    There was also an evergreen clause in G-4, and I am sorry to report that there is a new evergreen clause put in place that does virtually the same thing, with a minor exception, which I will explain in a few minutes, when I get back to what the problem actually is with the government's notions going forward on its new evergreen clause.
    We all remember what happened. It was pretty obvious, because we heard the recordings from the Mass Casualty Commission. The government actually interfered. It took this mass casualty event in Nova Scotia and interfered in the investigation by demanding that the officers who were investigating at the time turn over information to advance a political agenda of the government of the day.
    We know it is not about evidence. It is not evidence-based policy-making; it is policy-based evidence-making and evidence-finding, even if it interferes with a police investigation. That is why there is very little trust by law-abiding firearms owners in the intentions of the Liberal government, which is supported by the NDP, and what it is doing.
    What is the problem? The problem is violent crime. In the last eight years, violent crime has risen because of the provisions that have been passed by the government when it had a majority and with the support of other left-leaning parties in this place. They passed numerous pieces of legislation, such as Bill C-75 and Bill C-5, that have basically eliminated any consequences whatsoever for people who commit crimes, so much so that violent crime in the last eight years is up 32% over what it was when the Prime Minister and his government inherited the government offices of this place.
    More astonishing is this number: 94% increase in gang-related homicides. One would think that an almost doubling of the number of homicides by gang members would trigger a response from the government to crack down on organized crime, but it actually has done the opposite. The passages and clauses in the Criminal Code that would deal with people who are repeat violent offenders have largely been removed, as well as any semblance of a minimum sentence. I am not even talking about mandatory minimum sentences put in place by Stephen Harper when he was prime minister, and by the way crime went down over those 10 years, but I am getting to the point of the fact that numerous basic minimum sentences were removed.
    These were put in place by people like Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Jean Chrétien. Of the 12 firearms-related clauses in that piece of legislation, 11 were actually put in place by previous Liberal governments, and the current version of the Liberal government has removed even the most basic minimum sentences for violent crime, including smuggling, firing a gun irresponsibly or even holding a gun to somebody's head for the purpose of extortion. It has removed any mandatory jail time whatsoever for those.
    That is the tone and the signal Liberals have sent to the country. Why would criminals not want to increase their activity? There are no consequences, and this is the problem.
    I will give an example of the illogic of what the government is doing right now. According to the RCMP's website, there are approximately 430 gangs in Canada with 7,000 members in those gangs. If we look at the average number of homicides committed by people associated with gangs over the last five or six years, it is about 50% of murders. Fifty per cent of murders are committed by gang members, or about 125 a year. There are 2.2 million licensed gun owners in this country. If we look over that same time period, we will see that they are charged for homicide about 12 times a year.

  (1720)  

    That is 12 out of 2.2 million people versus 125 out of 7,000 people. Who does the government go after? It goes after the 2.2 million. It does not make any sense whatsoever. If we do the math, a gang member is 3,300 times more likely to commit murder with a firearm than a law-abiding firearm owner is, yet the government focuses only on the law-abiding firearm owner.
    Gary Mauser, professor emeritus, did an analysis for Statistics Canada that shows that Canadians who are not licensed firearms owners are still three times more likely to commit a homicide than a vetted, licensed gun owner is. For the people who are watching at home, the safest people in Canada for them to be with are legally vetted, law-abiding firearm owners who, at any time, could have their firearms taken away with any complaint lodged against them. That means that every firearm owner meticulously follows the laws of storage, the laws of transportation and the laws of safe discharge. As a matter of fact, we jokingly quip sometimes that gun control meetings are about making sure one's muzzle is always pointed downrange. That is what gun control is to a law-abiding gun owner. We follow all the rules because we do not want to risk losing our privileges, because the fact is that every firearm in Canada is illegal unless it is in the possession of somebody with a licence who is authorized to have that firearm.
     We have to go through a renewal process every five years, during which our entire history, including our mental health history, our medical history and anything that might have happened before the courts is reviewed in detail. We wait months to get our licence renewed. Sometimes it is not renewed on time. This puts us in a situation, as law-abiding firearm owners, where we are now in possession of our firearms, which were legal one day, but of which, because of the incompetence of the government to process an application on time, we are now technically, according to the law, illegally in possession. We actually had a clause, when Stephen Harper was the prime minister, where people had a six-month grace period. I am very frustrated by the removal of that grace period, and I will get to that in a minute.
    In committee, Dr. Caillin Langmann from McMaster University basically laid it out for everybody to see. His brief states:
    The foregoing research papers are peer reviewed and conclude that Canadian legislation to regulate and control firearm possession and acquisition does not have a corresponding effect on homicide and suicide rates.
    It also states:
    I was asked to produce a review paper for the Journal of Preventive Medicine in 2021. This paper entitled, “Suicide, firearms, and legislation: A review of the Canadian evidence” reviewed 13 studies regarding suicide and legislative efforts and found an associated reduction in suicide by firearm in men aged 45 and older but demonstrated an equivalent increase in suicide by other methods such as hanging. Factors such as unemployment, low income, and indigenous populations were associated with suicide rates....
    My conclusions are based on sound statistical analysis and information specifically related to Canada. I am not aware of any other Canadian research which uses reliable statistical models to dispute or disagree with my conclusions.
    The brief also states:
    Bans of military-appearing firearms, semiautomatic rifles and handguns, short barrel handguns and Saturday night specials in the 1990s has resulted in no associated reduction in homicide rates.
    To summarize the results, no statistically significant beneficial associations were found between firearms legislation and homicide by firearm, as well as spousal homicide by firearms, and the criminal charge of “Discharge of a Firearm with Intent”....
    Other studies have demonstrated agreement with my studies that laws targeting restricted firearms such as handguns and certain semi-automatic and full automatic firearms in Canada also had no associated effect with homicide rates. Canadian studies by Leenaars and Lester 2001, Mauser and Holmes 1992, and McPhedran and Mauser 2013, are all in general agreement with my study.

  (1725)  

    The issue is violent crime. It is about controlling violent criminals, controlling those people. One can control inanimate objects all one wants, but it will not change anything. Therefore, the “who” is not the problem. It is not hunters. Over eight million people in this country hunt and fish, contributing $19 billion annually to the GDP, and the order in council has already banned rifles used for hunting, some that even conservation officers use. I was a conservation officer. I was a national park warden and I was issued firearms for my duties. I was a park ranger in charge of a park in the province of Alberta and I was issued firearms for those duties as well. Every person I dealt with as a conservation officer was at least a camper who had an axe, a fisherman who had a knife or a hunter who had either a rifle or a bow and arrow. I had no trouble with those good people, no trouble whatsoever.
    We are going to ban the very guns that conservation officers use, but they do not have those firearms. The Yukon government actually had to go around the order in council to buy firearms for its conservation officers, because those are the best firearms available to protect its officers from bears, mountain lions and all of the other issues that conservation officers face, because that is where the real issue lies.
    It is very clear to me as a hunter, that, with the changes the Liberals have made, they are weasel words, especially the evergreen clause that deals with magazines. I laid it out very clearly at committee that anybody who wants to interpret it that way can say that, as long as a firearm can take a magazine that holds more than five rounds, it shall be banned. After this becomes law, we would end up in a situation in which, with guns that are functionally identical, one from 10 years ago and a new firearm, one would be prohibited and the other would still be legal. This is because of the clear lack of knowledge and understanding, when it comes to firearms, of people who do not own guns, making laws that simply do not work. We are going to have that scenario again.
    However, if people think their gun is safe because they have an older gun that is not included in the new evergreen clause, they should think again, because the firearms committee that would be struck would still have the same authority to do a firearms reference table analysis and ban whatever guns it does not like.
    I have news for everybody in this room. If we look at all of the hunting regulations in all of the provinces and territories in this country, a hunting rifle is a rifle that is in the hands of a hunter, used for the purposes of the hunt. It does not matter what it looks like; it just matters what the calibre of the bullet is, so the animal can be safely dispatched.
    I could go on for literally a couple more hours and talk about the end of cowboy mounted shooting, cowboy action shooting, IPSC, all of these sports for all of these good people. They are mostly Filipinos there, by the way, when I go to an IPSC event. They are people who have moved here from a country that never allowed them to own firearms, but they have come here and taken up this sport and activity. They are frustrated because, when we take away the ability to transfer these handguns between law-abiding citizens, it will be the end of thousands of people's enjoyment of the sports that involve handguns. I look forward to answering some hopefully logical questions from around the room.
    Before I conclude, I move:
     That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: “Bill C-21, An Act to amend certain Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (firearms), be not now read a third time, but be referred back to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security for the purpose of reconsidering clauses 0.1, 1.1 and 17, with a view to ensure that the government cannot take away hunting rifles from law-abiding farmers, hunters and Indigenous peoples.”

  (1730)  

    The amendment is in order.
    It being 5:32 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of Private Members' Business as listed on today's Order Paper.

Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

[English]

Criminal Code

    moved that Bill C-314, an act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    He said: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to my private member's bill, Bill C-314, the mental health protection act.
    In its very essence, this bill is about reaffirming the dignity and worth of each and every human life. It is about recognizing that it is the most vulnerable among us, the disabled and the mentally ill, to whom we owe the greatest duty: to defend and protect their lives and to provide them with every possible opportunity to live life to the fullest.
    Medically assisted suicide was legalized in Canada in 2015 by the Supreme Court's Carter decision and later under the Liberal government's Bill C-14. Under this legislation, medical assistance in dying, or MAID, as it is commonly called, was strictly limited to those consenting adults who had an incurable disease that caused enduring, intolerable suffering that could not be alleviated, and where natural death was reasonably foreseeable, which they call the foreseeability test.
    At the time, the government and its supportive stakeholders assured Canadians that this was not a slippery slope, where the scope of MAID would continually be expanded to include more and more vulnerable Canadians. However, not surprisingly, in the intervening eight years since the Carter decision, the government has begun to expand Canada's MAID regime to include more and more defenceless Canadians, most particularly those living with disabilities.
    In late 2019, a Quebec lower court judge in the Truchon case ruled that the foreseeability test I just mentioned was unconstitutional, requiring Parliament to respond with additional legislation. Sadly, the Liberal government chose not to appeal the Truchon case to the Supreme Court of Canada, presumably because the decision lined up with the Prime Minister's intent to dramatically expand assisted suicide to other vulnerable Canadians. This leaves us with the perverse situation in which the Supreme Court of Canada, the highest court in the country, has never been allowed to opine on whether the reasonable foreseeability test is constitutional.
    In any event, the Liberal government responded to Truchon by tabling Bill C-7, which initially eliminated the foreseeability test but expressly excluded mentally ill persons from being caught up in its MAID regime. Here is what the justice minister said at the time:
    The fact that there would be risk of ending the life of a person whose symptoms would have improved...is, in part, why we are of the view that it is safest not to permit MAID on the sole basis of mental illness.... There is also ongoing uncertainty and disagreement as to the potential impact on suicide prevention if MAID were made available to this group.
    He went on to say:
...there is no consensus among experts on whether and how to proceed with MAID on the basis of mental illness alone. On a question of such importance and with so much uncertainty and expert disagreement, it is incumbent upon us to proceed with caution and prudence.
    Those were our justice minister’s views until the unelected Senate suddenly introduced an amendment that expanded MAID to those Canadians whose sole underlying condition is mental illness. Sadly, the justice minister and the government accepted the amendment without protest and, overnight, became zealous proponents of assisted death for the mentally ill. What happened to the caution and prudence the minister was preaching? What about the impact on suicide prevention the minister was so concerned about? What happened to his view that it was safest not to permit MAID on the sole basis of mental illness?
    I agree with the Minister of Justice on one thing, which is that, as he has said, this is indeed a complex issue and is deeply personal. It is deeply personal because it involves life, a precious human life.

  (1735)  

    I would remind the minister and his government that the issue is also profoundly simple; that is, the principle that all life, all human life is precious and worthy of defence and protection, especially for those who do not have the ability to speak for themselves and have no one to speak for them.
     One of the primary functions of government is to protect its citizens, to protect life. In fact, the right to life is expressly enshrined in section 7 of our Charter of Rights. Sadly, the government's Bill C-7 fails to protect the lives of our most vulnerable. It removes the critical safeguards that the original euthanasia legislation included in response to the Carter decision. Removing those safeguards will have irreversible consequences for those who suffer from mental illnesses like depression.
    What is equally disturbing is that the Liberal government has also signalled its intention to extend the so-called “treatment option” to minor children. That would arguably make Canada the most expansive, most liberal, assisted suicide jurisdiction in the world. Clearly we are on the slippery slope many of us warned about. Canadians have a right to conclude that the Liberal government has gone too far and too fast in its zeal to implement and expand the scope of assisted death.
    My bill will reverse this momentum and repeal the government's decision to extend MAID to the mentally ill. It will put a full stop to the expansion of assisted suicide to mentally disordered persons. Let me be clear. My bill does not in any way reverse the rest of Canada’s MAID regime. Assisted death will remain available for those suffering from irremediable, incurable and intolerable illnesses and diseases. My bill is simply focused on reversing the government’s actions in expanding assisted suicide to include the mentally ill. It would arrest Canada’s slide into normalizing assisted death as an alternative treatment option, something so many of us had predicted would happen.
     The evidence from mental health experts is very clear. Contrary to what our justice minister is now saying, there is absolutely no consensus in Canada that the mentally ill should be covered by Canada’s medically assisted death regime. In fact, here is what experts and other stakeholders in the mental health community are saying. John Maher, psychiatrist with Canadian Mental Health Association, states that:
    Inducement to suicide while simultaneously denying mental health care to two-thirds of Canadians who urgently need it is an unconscionable failing.
     Directly undermining suicide prevention efforts is an insidious and ablest perversion of our mental health care duty.
    Drs. Ramona Coelho and Catherine Ferrier, co-founders of Physicians Together with Vulnerable Canadian, penned a statement that was endorsed by over 1,000 physicians. This is part of what it said, “Given that there is no medical evidence to reliably predict which patients with a mental illness will not get better, MAID for mental illness will end the lives of patients who would have recovered…Medicine …would fail in its mission if it were to deliberately end the lives of patients living with mental illness… Legislators must work towards safeguarding the lives of the most vulnerable including those placed at a greater disadvantage because of mental illness.”
    Dr. Sonu Gaind, chief of the Department of Psychiatry at Sunnybrook Hospital, Toronto, stated, “The Ministers have provided false reassurances that we can somehow separate people who are suicidal from those who are seeking psychiatric euthanasia. That is simply not true. In my opinion, that is dangerous misinformation coming from our federal Minister of Justice and our federal Minister of Mental Health and Addictions providing a false sense of safety that does not exist.”

  (1740)  

    Trudo Lemmens, professor and chair in health law at the University of Toronto, said, “I urge Parliament to take very seriously how offering MAID for mental illness deprives disabled persons, particularly those with mental illness, from equal protection against premature death. Persons experiencing mental illness deserve to be protected against premature death by an unreserved focus on ensuring access to all required health care and social support services. Facilitating their death does exactly the opposite.”
    Finally, Sephora Tang, psychiatrist and assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at University of Ottawa, said, “One cannot prevent suicide while at the same time facilitating it. Placing expectations upon mental health professionals to do both undermines the effective delivery of recovery-oriented mental health care. Canadians deserve to live in a country that is committed to safeguarding the right to life and security of every person. Current MAID legislation fails to achieve this overarching social good.”
    Even Canada's justice minister has publicly acknowledged the fact that issues such as irremediability, competency and suicidality are not anywhere close to being resolved to justify such a major policy shift in favour of death. Furthermore, medically assisted death flies in the face of the government’s own promotion of suicide prevention programs, including the recent creation of a national 988 suicide hotline.
    It cannot be both ways. It cannot claim, as the Liberal government has, that it wants to prevent suicide deaths on the one hand, when it actively promotes assisted suicide for the mentally ill on the other. Over the last eight years, many of us have expressed our concern and expectation that the Carter decision and BillC-14 would be expanded by future court decisions, and that these decisions would leave more and more vulnerable populations exposed to the reach of medically assisted suicide.
    Our concerns were pooh-poohed. We were accused of fearmongering and of misrepresenting the intentions of this Liberal government. Yet, today, the Truchon decision and the travesty of Bill C-7 bear out our concerns. That is why more and more disability groups have set the alarm bells ringing and are vehemently opposing this legislation. They argue that this legislation amounts to a deadly form of discrimination, making it easier for persons with disabilities to die than to live.
    We are hearing more and more reports of the poor and homeless approaching food banks to ask for assisted death, not because they are suffering from a grievous illness but because they do not want to go hungry and homeless. The headline in the British magazine The Spectator asked last year, “Why is Canada euthanising the poor?”
     The response from some bioethicists appears to be, “Well, why not?” In fact, a new paper by two bioethicists at the University of Toronto makes the case that euthanizing the poor should be socially acceptable. That is indicative of the path on which our country finds itself. It is terrifying.
    We also have verified reports of veterans suffering from PTSD who are being counselled by the Liberal government to consider medical assistance in dying rather than being provided with the treatment and supports they need to recover.
    These are the vulnerable that the Liberal government promised to protect. Canadians have the right to ask whether this government is exercising the requisite caution and care to avoid unnecessary overreach and ensure that MAID is not abused or misapplied.
    Let me conclude. My private member's bill, Bill C-314 gives all of us parliamentarians an opportunity to take a deep breath and reconsider the perilous road we have embarked upon. As I mentioned, my bill simply reverses the expansion of Canada’s assisted death laws to the mentally ill. At the very least, I would ask my colleagues to allow my bill, at second reading, to go to committee where there could be more discussion.

  (1745)  

    Have we gone too far and too fast with Canada's assisted suicide program? Will we evolve into a culture of death as the preferred option for those who suffer from mental illness or will we choose life?
    I implore my colleagues to choose life. I wish them much wisdom as they make that choice.
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate what the member is saying. It is a heavy decision that ultimately does need to be made. There is no question about that.
    I look at how important it is that we continue to be in touch with the health care professionals, that we continue to be in touch with other jurisdictions and stakeholders, and that we make sure that we continue to move forward.
    This is very much an emotional issue that people have very strong convictions on. I do not think there is an easy answer to this. From my perspective, I think that we have to continue the dialogue and have more faith in the system.
    Can he provide his thoughts with respect to that?
    Madam Speaker, I want to thank the member for acknowledging that there is further discussion required on this. That is one of the things I have lamented. Medical assistance in dying has been pushed so far, so quickly, that there has not been the appropriate national discussion, or even the appropriate debate within this House, as to whether we should extend this life-or-death policy to the mentally ill.
    The stakeholders I quoted represent a very thin slice of the many stakeholders who have written to me. They have said, “Ed, we have not had this discussion. The mental health profession and the stakeholders within the mental health community have not had the debate required to go to this length and extend assisted suicide to the mentally ill.”

  (1750)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, as I often say in the House, everyone wants to do the right thing. Everyone has the best of intentions and wants to look out for people's best interests. However, being compassionate does not square with undermining human dignity or a person's capacity for self-determination in a decision as personal as deciding one's death.
    In his bill, my colleague is telling us that mental illnesses are not considered to be grievous and irremediable medical conditions. However, according to the DSM‑5 definition, a mental disorder is a syndrome characterized by clinically significant disturbance in an individual's cognition, emotion regulation, or behaviour that reflects a dysfunction in the psychological, biological, or development processes underlying mental functioning.
    Can we really say that is not serious?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his question. I do not quite understand it. He did say that everyone means well. “Everyone means well” is not the appropriate standard to apply here. We are talking about life and death for the most vulnerable in our society.
    We owe it to the mentally ill and those who have mental disorders to act justly and fairly toward them to give them every opportunity to recover. That has been one of the failures of Canada's MAID regime. We have not provided the social supports and mental health supports to help the Canadians who would consider MAID because they are not getting those supports.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Abbotsford for the introduction of his bill.
     I was a member of the Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying. For me, the struggle I had during all of those hearings was weighing up the respect for an individual's ability to make decisions respecting their autonomy and their capacity, versus the need for us to protect the vulnerable in our society with the understanding that the vulnerable in our society also have the ability to be autonomous and have the capacity to make decisions. That was the real struggle.
    How does my colleague view those two concepts? I would like to hear his views on the ability of an individual to make a decision that is best for themselves. We may not always agree with it, but how do we ultimately respect that?
    Madam Speaker, that is a great question.
    Autonomy is critically important. The problem when we are dealing with the mentally ill is that autonomy is often much diminished. That is just one of the problems. What we hear back from stakeholders within the mental health profession is that issues of autonomy, capacity and suicidality have not been addressed appropriately through a national debate. We have not had that discussion, so there is no national consensus on this. Before we ever move forward with something as critical as a life-and-death policy decision like this, we should have that debate and have a national consensus.
    Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Abbotsford for bringing forward Bill C-314, an act to amend the Criminal Code regarding medical assistance in dying.
    I acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional unceded lands of the Algonquin people.
    The bill before us proposes to indefinitely exclude persons whose sole underlying medical condition is a mental disorder from being eligible to receive medical assistance in dying, or MAID. I will be opposing the bill for reasons I will detail in my remarks. I want to start by providing a brief overview of MAID in Canada.
    MAID was legalized in 2016 for persons whose natural death is reasonably foreseeable, through former Bill C-14. Four years later, in 2021, former Bill C-7 expanded eligibility for receiving MAID to persons whose natural death is not reasonably foreseeable. Former Bill C-7 also temporarily excluded, until March 2023, eligibility for receiving MAID on the basis of a mental illness alone.
    Parliament decided that a temporary exclusion from eligibility for MAID where the sole underlying medical condition is a mental illness was necessary in recognition of the fact that such requests were complex and required additional study. This is why former Bill C-7 also required an independent expert review regarding recommended protocols, guidance and safeguards to apply to such requests. The expert panel on MAID and mental illness was created to undertake this review, and its final report was tabled in Parliament on May 13, 2022.
    Former Bill C-7 also required the establishment of a joint parliamentary committee to conduct a comprehensive review of the Criminal Code MAID provisions and other related issues, including MAID and mental illness. The Special Joint Committee on MAID, or AMAD, took this review and tabled its final report in Parliament on February 15, 2023.
    Our government extended the temporary exclusion to March 2024 through the enactment and coming into force of former Bill C-39. This was due to concerns about provincial and territorial readiness. It is important that we get this right.

  (1755)  

[Translation]

    I want to take a moment to point out that the intention has always been for the mental health exclusion to be temporary. This is a complex, sensitive and polarizing issue. Some very legitimate concerns have been raised.

[English]

    However, I believe that the health care system will be ready for the safe provision of MAID where the sole underlying medical condition is a mental illness by March 2024. Significant progress has been made by our government, in collaboration with the provinces and territories and other stakeholders and experts, to prepare for this deadline.
    We are not ignoring the concerns that have been raised. In fact, many of these concerns led to the one-year extension of the exclusion. We are moving in a prudent, measured way with the ultimate goal of ensuring that our MAID framework supports the autonomy of those who are eligible to receive MAID and protects those who may be vulnerable.
    I will now turn to Bill C-314 and outline some of the technical issues.
    As I stated previously, the bill proposes to indefinitely exclude eligibility for MAID based on a mental disorder alone. It would do this by replacing “mental illness” with “mental disorder” in subsection 241.2(2.1) of the Criminal Code.
    There are two main issues with this approach. First, such a change may result in the unintended exclusion of persons with some medical conditions that are not currently excluded from eligibility for MAID. This is because “mental disorder” is a clinically defined term that practitioners have explained would likely capture all mental disorders included in the American Psychiatric Association's “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders”, or DSM-5, whereas “mental illness”, as it relates to MAID, is meant to capture mental disorders that are primarily treated within the domain of psychiatry.
    “Mental illness” likely captures a smaller set of conditions than what would be captured by “mental disorder”. As such, making the switch in terminology without an accompanying definition may have the unintended consequence of excluding certain medical conditions that are not currently excluded from eligibility for MAID and that do not raise the same concerns as “mental illness” does in relation to MAID.
    The second issue is that the term “mental disorder” is already defined in section 2 of the Criminal Code as “a disease of the mind”, and there is extensive case law interpreting what this means in the context of the “not criminally responsible” regime. Therefore, a switch in terminology in the Criminal Code MAID provisions without an accompanying definition may unintentionally complicate legislative interpretation and may also result in the existing case law interpretation of “mental disorder” and the “not criminally responsible” regime context being applied to the MAID context.
    Although many experts and practitioners have noted a preference for the term “mental disorder” since it is a clinically defined term, this preference has already been expressed in the context of developing protocols, standards or guidance for MAID. It is important to remember that MAID is not just a health care issue. It is also a criminal law issue, and as I have just explained, things can get complicated in the legislative context given existing definitions and legal interpretations.

  (1800)  

[Translation]

    Finally, I simply want to point out that Bill C‑314 also restructures the exclusion set out in the Criminal Code but does not seem to change its application.

[English]

    Currently, in order to be eligible for MAID, a person must have “a grievous and irremediable medical condition”, which is present when a person has a serious and incurable disease or disability, is in an advanced state of irreversible decline and is experiencing enduring and intolerable suffering, as per subsection 241.2(2).

[Translation]

    Right now, a mental disorder is not considered an illness, disease or disability under the first part of the definition of a grievous and irremediable medical condition.

[English]

    As such, a mental illness cannot satisfy the definition and therefore cannot be grounds for a request for MAID.
    Under the proposed new exclusion, a mental disorder would not be considered a grievous and irremediable medical condition at all. In other words, it would exclude mental disorders from the whole of the definition, even though some of those aspects may well exist in the case of a mental disorder, namely intolerable suffering and an advanced state of decline. Although this new exclusion would operate slightly differently than the existing exclusion, it seems as though its effects would be the same.
    I want to reiterate that Parliament considered this two years ago during its consideration of former Bill C-7 and decided that a MAID mental illness exclusion should be temporary. The point was reinforced by Parliament's enactment of former Bill C-39 this past March.
    The expert panel on MAID and mental illness has tabled its final report, which notes that the existing MAID eligibility criteria and safeguards, supported by other key resources, provide an adequate framework for the provision of MAID where the sole underlying medical condition is a mental illness. Parliament considered the issues again via the Special Joint Committee on MAID, and the majority of members agreed with the expert panel's findings.
    I urge members to join me in opposing the bill and not reverse Parliament's decision by unintentionally complicating legislative interpretation in the criminal law.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I heard the member for Abbotsford say right out of the gate that his bill seeks to reaffirm the dignity and worth of each and every human life. Who could be against that?
    The dignity of every human life, as I was trying to say to him earlier, depends on autonomy and respect for a person's self-determination. We may have good intentions, but if we claim to know what is good for a so-called vulnerable person because we think we know better than they do about what is good for them, because we mistake sympathy for compassion, if we decide through some sort of state or medical paternalism what is supposedly good for them, without considering the person's suffering at all, if we take away a person's self-determination, then we undermine their dignity. That is what I wanted to say, but my colleague did not understand.
    That is the very foundation of our position. It is called ethical and political philosophy, not theology or any sort of religious ideology.
    The preamble to the bill sets out its intentions: “Whereas Parliament considers it a priority to ensure that adequate supports are in place for the mental health of Canadians”. Who could be against that?
    I see no problem with that, but it has nothing to do with the purpose of the bill. This can be done without saying that the mental disorder considered as a serious and irremediable medical condition is excluded. I will come back to that.
    The second paragraph of the preamble states, “Whereas Parliament considers that vulnerable Canadians should receive suicide prevention counselling rather than access medical assistance in dying”. This really shows a lack of rigour.
    All the experts spoke about this and we can even read it in the literature. It is a little twisted to associate suicide with medical assistance in dying. I heard the leader of the opposition make that link a few times during oral question period, but conceptually that is false. Medical assistance in dying is initiated when an individual expresses that that is what they want. It is not imposed. Above all, it is for situations where the person's condition is irreversible. As far as I know, no witness at committee told us that a suicidal state is not reversible. Furthermore, witnesses also told us that we should not conflate the two. This is not getting off to a good start.
    When a request for medical assistance in dying cites a mental disorder as the reason, the first step is to establish whether the person suffering has been struggling with the mental disorder for 10, 20 or 30 years of their life. In the experts' report, which I hope my colleague has read, it says that a person exhibiting suicidal ideation would not be eligible. It is one thing to want or to request medical assistance in dying, and another to meet the eligibility criteria. This is essential.
    A person who is depressed or in crisis will not necessarily receive medical assistance in dying. Moreover, the experts say that an assessor would never consider a request for medical assistance in dying from a person in a state of crisis. The patient would have to first exhaust all available treatments for alleviating their suffering, without refusing a single treatment capable of restoring their health.

  (1805)  

    As Dr. Black said, “One study estimated suicidal thinking as an 8% lifetime risk for adults in the Netherlands, yet 65 or 0.0004% of adults in the Netherlands have died of MAID in any given year due to psychiatric reasons.”
    Now we have members talking about a potential slippery slope, citing Bill C-14 and ignoring the obligation given to us by the courts to proceed with passing Bill C-7. Bill C‑14 was a bad bill that confused the public. Is it respectful of human dignity to force people to go on a hunger strike to reach the standard of likely and reasonably foreseeable natural death? I think there is something a bit inhumane about that.
    In order to reach a criterion that was unworkable for some, people had to actually go on a hunger strike. Others, like Ms. Gladu and Mr. Truchon, had to assert their rights in court. Members say they want to protect the vulnerable. They should start by not treating these people like children and not exploiting them for any purpose. They should instead think about their well-being.
    Who is more vulnerable than someone who is suffering intolerably and is close to their tolerance threshold? Who are we to decide for them what their tolerance threshold should be? That is essentially what this is all about.
    People want to live as long as possible. The court determined that these individuals' right to life was being infringed upon. I am sure the Conservatives have a lot to say about the right to life. The court found that by denying these individuals the right to medical assistance in dying, their ability to live as long as possible is being taken away. This prevents them from living until they reach their tolerance threshold. That is when we could provide care to them and proceed.
    Without this assurance, what do many of these individuals do? They commit suicide prematurely, and this infringes on their right to life. This is indisputable, and it could not be considered reasonable in a free and democratic society, even if it went to the Supreme Court.
    Some people always want to go to court. However, right now, people are suffering. While we are procrastinating, people are suffering. We have to put things into perspective.
    The committee that considered the issue of mental illness as the sole underlying medical condition made a recommendation. That is why I think that Bill C-314 is premature, at the very least, if not irrelevant at this time.
    I will read the committee's recommendation. It states, and I quote: “That, five months prior to the coming into force of eligibility for MAID where a mental disorder is the sole underlying medical condition, a Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying be re-established by the House of Commons and the Senate in order to verify the degree of preparedness attained for a safe and adequate application of MAID (in MD-SUMC situations). Following this assessment, the Special Joint Committee will make its final recommendation to the House of Commons and the Senate.”
    At the very least, I would have expected a debate to take place following the work of that committee. That is the least that could have been done. I invite my colleague from Abbotsford to read the report of the Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying and especially the expert panel's report. The recommendations set out in the expert panel's report include criteria and guidelines that do not exist for other forms of MAID practice. He should feel reassured after reading those recommendations, and I am sure he will never talk about a slippery slope again.

  (1810)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, today we are revisiting a subject that never seems to leave me in this place, which is medical assistance in dying. It has come up repeatedly: in the 42nd Parliament, in the 43rd Parliament and again in the 44th Parliament. I think it underlines the gravity of the nature of this subject matter.
    I want to thank the member for Abbotsford for bringing forward this bill and for giving us as parliamentarians an opportunity to discuss this incredibly important subject.
    What Bill C-314 is essentially going to do, for the constituents of Cowichan—Malahat—Langford who are watching this debate, is amend the Criminal Code to reverse what was done with Bill C-7 and specify that a mental disorder is not a grievous and irremediable medical condition for which a person could receive medical assistance in dying.
    It is important to mention Bill C-7, because it is an important part of why we are here today. Bill C-7 was originally introduced in the 43rd Parliament. The government is, of course, required by law to issue a charter statement with its main pieces of legislation. In that charter statement, the Minister of Justice went to lengths to make people understand why the government had specifically excluded in the first draft of the bill why a person with a mental disorder as a sole underlying medical condition could not be eligible to receive medical assistance in dying.
    The charter statement did say that the exclusion was not “based on a failure to appreciate the severity of the suffering that mental illness can produce”. Rather, as the statement took pains to say, it was “based on the inherent risks and complexity that the availability of MAID would present for individuals who suffer solely from mental illness.” It is important to understand we are not using the term “mental illness” anymore. Every text is now recommending that we use the term “mental disorder”.
    There were three primary reasons given in the charter statement at that time. First, the charter statement said, “evidence suggests that screening for decision-making capacity is particularly difficult, and subject to a high degree of error”.
    The charter statement went on to say, secondly, “mental illness is generally less predictable than physical illness in terms of the course the illness will take over time.” I think a lot of people can understand that. Someone may receive a diagnosis for a physical illness like cancer, which is particularly well known. We know a lot about cancer these days, and based on what part of the body it strikes, we can predict with a fairly certain amount of accuracy what a person's ability to survive it is based on how far it has progressed and so on. It is the same with other physical ailments. With mental disorders, on the other hand, there still are, indeed, a lot of unknowns.
    Finally, that same charter statement went on to explain that the recent experience in the few countries that do allow it, and it did mention Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg, “has raised concerns”.
    That was the charter statement at the time with the first draft of Bill C-7. Of course, When Bill C-7 went to the Senate, the Senate amended that part of the bill to allow a person with a mental disorder as a sole underlying medical condition to access MAID. There was some back-and-forth between the government and the Senate to establish a sunset clause so that it would not come into effect until March 17 of this year.
    At the time, the New Democrats decided to vote against the Senate amendment because the requirements of the earlier Bill C-14 had not yet been met. We had not yet had a parliamentary committee to delve into these issues, and we felt that, despite the government having gone to all those lengths through its charter statement to explain its position, accepting an eleventh-hour Senate amendment without having done that important work was very much akin to putting the cart before the horse.

  (1815)  

    There was also Bill C-39, which was introduced earlier this year because we found that more time was needed. Whatever anyone's feelings are in this House with regard to people with mental disorders being able to access MAID, there was agreement that more time was needed. Therefore, Bill C-39 was passed in very short order in both Houses, and that delayed the implementation of it until March 17, 2024. That is the timeline we are on now.
    I am rising to speak to this particular bill because of my experience with this file. Both in the 43rd Parliament and in this Parliament, I was the New Democratic member on the Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying.
    It was not an easy committee to be on. Let me just say that. For me personally, I constantly wrestled with two concepts: How do we as parliamentarians, with the power we have to change Canada's laws, find a way to honour the personal rights, capacity and autonomy of the individual versus the need of society to step up and protect the most vulnerable? Those were two great themes that were constantly a struggle for me personally when listening to all of the witnesses who came before the special joint committee on the five thematic areas we were charged with by this House and the Senate.
    I would encourage people, if they have not done so already, to look at the good work done by the special joint committee, both the interim report, which specifically focused on this area, and the final report, which was tabled earlier this year and completed the committee's mandate. I also want to draw people's attention to the executive summary of the final report of the expert panel on medical assistance in dying and mental illness because there was some incredibly good work done in that as well. We did recognize the authors of that report. The report states:
    That MAiD requests may mask profound unmet needs or conversely, that such requests may not be received with the seriousness they deserve, has been raised with respect to several historically marginalized populations (e.g., racialized groups, Indigenous peoples, persons living with disabilities, and sexual orientation and gender minorities). In the course of assessing a request for MAiD—regardless of the requester’s diagnoses—a clinician must carefully consider whether the person’s circumstances are a function of systemic inequality.
    That is the warning sign that I think much of the medical community is struggling with.
    People with mental disorders qualifying for MAID will be under track two of the MAID regime, because death is not a naturally foreseeable outcome. I would remind people that track two has safeguards in place:
request for MAID must be made in writing....
two independent doctors or nurse practitioners must provide an assessment and confirm that all of the eligibility requirements are met....
the person must be informed that they can withdraw their request at any time....
the person must be informed of available and appropriate means to relieve their suffering, including counselling services, mental health and disability support services, community services, and palliative care....
    I want to underline that last point. They have to be informed of the available and appropriate means, but we know that for a lot of marginalized populations, those are not always available.
    I want to recognize my colleague from Courtenay—Alberni, who has called on the government to urgently fulfill its promise to establish a Canada mental health transfer. This is a very great need in our country. We can see it from coast to coast to coast. I can see it in my community of Cowichan—Malahat—Langford.
    The question of Bill C-314 and the state of mental health care in Canada are two things weighing on me quite a bit. I am certainly going to take a lot of time to think about which way I want to go with this bill, but I appreciate the member for Abbotsford for bringing it forward and giving parliamentarians an opportunity to read the report and consider what this bill seeks to do.

  (1820)  

    Madam Speaker, as always, it is an honour and a great privilege to speak on behalf of my community of Peterborough—Kawartha.
    Tonight, I am speaking on my colleague from Abbotsford's private member's bill, Bill C-314. I have explained this before, but I will do so again. A private member's bill is something a member puts forward for the House to decide on. This is an important private member's bill, as they all are, really, because they come from a place of passion, but this is Bill C-314, an act to amend the Criminal Code, medical assistance in dying, which many of us know as MAID.
    The summary states, “This enactment amends the Criminal Code to provide that a mental disorder is not a grievous and irremediable medical condition for which a person could receive medical assistance in dying.”
    The preamble states:
    Whereas Parliament considers it a priority to ensure that adequate supports are in place for the mental health of Canadians;
    Whereas Parliament considers that vulnerable Canadians should receive suicide prevention counselling rather than access medical assistance in dying;
    Whereas Parliament considers that Canada’s medical assistance in dying regime risks normalizing assisted dying as a solution
    The fact that we need a private member's bill to say this feels outrageous. I have listened to other members in the House tonight, and I want to be very mindful of my tone. This is an interesting and emotional debate, but I really urge the members opposite who have said they are not going to support the bill to consider getting it to committee. There is so much more we need to study.
    My question is how this is not already in legislation. I will tell members why. In December of 2021, the Senate added an amendment to Bill C-7, without any consultation, study or discussion, to add people with mental illness as eligible for MAID. This private member's bill is currently the only way we can protect those suffering from mental illness. It is the only way for us as parliamentarians to say to those watching that we believe their lives matter and that it is our job to ensure we fight for them. Today might be awful, but none of us know what tomorrow will bring, as no one knows what is out there for them.
    The MAID committee was created after the amendment was added. How backward is that? It heard testimony from many experts, and I want everyone to listen to the following quote because it is the essence of this discussion.
    Dr. John Maher, clinical psychiatrist and medical ethicist, stated, “Psychiatrists don't know and can't know who will get better and live decades of good life. Brain diseases are not liver diseases.” Anyone who has dealt with somebody who has a mental illness or disorder knows that we have not even scratched the surface of what we know. We do not know.
    I want to read this letter from a constituent who has been following the slippery slope of the Liberal government's extension of MAID into the record. I have her permission.
     She writes:
    “Dear Michelle...,
    “My name is Kayla...I am going to be sending this letter to several MPs, but as you are [my] MP...I thought I should send this to you first. I am very troubled by something that is going to be happening very soon in this country, and I hope you will listen to what I have to say.
    “Overall, I am a very healthy individual. I have a mental health condition, but it is my sole medical condition. However, I was mortified to discover last month, that Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD...) will be available to people whose sole health condition is a mental health condition as of March 17, 2023.”
    We have since voted in the House and that date has been extended one year to March 17, 2024. However, this is still in place, and this letter is very pertinent. She goes on to say:
     “Persons who suffer from mental health conditions suffer horribly. I know that. I have suffered with mine for nearly 12 years. Perhaps the most appalling things of all are that 'The law no longer requires a person's natural death to be reasonably foreseeable as an eligibility criterion for MAID,' (Government of Canada, 2021) and 'There is no obligation for a person or their healthcare practitioners to inform family members if that person has requested or received MAiD.' (CAMH, 2022)...
    “I think you see this for what it is...I will be eligible to end my own life on the basis that I have an incurable mental illness.

  (1825)  

     “Let me give you a bit more background: I have 2 university degrees in Biology and Environmental Science. I have a job that I love and have held since a little while after I graduated. I have NEVER failed to pay taxes, nor have I ever taken extended leave or gone on El due to my mental illness, no matter how hard it gets. I have a family and friends that I love dearly, and they love me too. And yet now my own government has deemed my life not worth living. This isn't just unfair. This is monstrous.
    “But it gets worse. What about those people who are in the same boat that I am medically, but are much, much worse off. They cannot pay their taxes because they cannot work. They have a substance addiction. They are veterans with PTSD. They are homeless because they cannot seem to fight off their demons. These are some of the most vulnerable people in our society. To say nothing of the 'mature minors' (whatever on Earth that means) that will be able to access MAiD in the future if this doesn't stop. Make no mistake. This thing, that we dress up with the nice name MAiD, is euthanasia of our most vulnerable people because they cannot 'contribute to society' like others can. The fact that the government would offer to 'get them out of the way'...in this way, just because the systems that the government put in place are failing them is an unspeakable evil.”
    She put in brackets, “convince them that they should die”. These are her words.
    She continues, “I hope, Michelle, that you will do everything in your power as an MP as I will do everything in my power as a citizen, to abolish this law. I understand the federal government is seeking to push back the timing”, which it did, as I said. She says this is “likely because it has received so much criticism. I understand that it likely wasn't you that made any of the decisions for this law to go ahead. But I also understand that you are in more of a position to do something about it than many people are. I hope you will respond after reading this letter.
    “Sincerely,
    “Kayla.”
    I did respond to Kayla and we had a very powerful conversation. She gave me permission to share this letter.
    I think one letter like this is enough reasonable doubt that we need to take this private member's bill very seriously. It is everything we need to know to consider and urge everyone in the House. I have heard people say, on the Bloc side, that people should have the right to choose. The reality is that people who are in such a state of mental disorder do not have that capacity. We have to help them.
    I want to leave us with this. This woman's name is Elyse. She is a young university student. She said that she is so worried about this legislation to extend MAID to those with mental illness. She has struggled with mental illness, and she knows with certainty that, if someone had offered that to her during her times of illness, she would not be here today. She would not be getting her university degree. She would not be in a happy, healthy relationship, and she would not know that her life was worth living.
    If one is watching at home, if one has a loved one suffering, if one is suffering, one's life matters and it is worth living. It is our job to study this to the depths to determine whether we can do this. This private member's bill is the only thing that would protect those with mental illness and mental disorder from accessing MAID. I urge every member in the House to at least pass it to committee.

  (1830)  

    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.

Points of Order

Amendment to Bill C-281 at Committee Stage  

[Points of Order]
    Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order with respect to an amendment made in committee on Bill C-281, standing in the name of the member for Northumberland—Peterborough South. Without commenting on the merits of the amendment in question, I submit that it proposes a new concept that exceeds the scope of the bill as adopted at second reading.
    Specifically, the amendment to clause 2 of the bill would add a new obligation to the minister to “develop and maintain a government-wide international human rights strategy.” When the amendment was proposed, the chair of the committee ruled it as inadmissible. However, a majority of the members on the committee voted to overturn the ruling of the chair and then proceeded to adopt the amendment, which is now found in the bill as reprinted by the House on May 4.
    I submit that the ruling of the chair of the foreign affairs committee was correct and that our procedures must be respected. As a result, the proper course of action to address this matter is to order a reprint of the bill without the offending amendment.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[Translation]

Criminal Code

    The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C‑21, An Act to amend certain Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (firearms), be read a third time and passed, and of the amendment.
    Madam Speaker, we are finally at third reading stage of this bill that we have put so much work into. It may not seem like it, but we have been working on this for a year already. I have spoken to this bill in the House before, including last week, during consideration of Government Business No. 25, and yesterday, when I rose to give some background on the bill during our study at report stage.
    I have often mentioned how the study of this bill unfolded. On the government side, it was all a bit sloppy. For starters, the bill was definitely incomplete when it was introduced. Amendments were made without notice. These amendments were withdrawn while others were reintroduced later. Finally, time allocation was imposed, with two days of intensive study in committee. The bill then returned to the House for consideration at report stage, and here we are now, at third reading.
    This has been quite an adventure. I think people are not necessarily aware of all the work that goes into studying a bill. Whether on the government benches or in opposition, everyone has a job to do. Taking a position on a subject as sensitive as firearms gets people worked up, but regardless of the subject, we do not go about this any which way. Obviously, we work it out.
    The Bloc Québécois tries to take positions that are as reasonable as possible. We also do our best to know what we are talking about. However, that is one criticism that I have received a lot. I was told that I sounded like I did not know what I was talking about, that I was just a girl who does not know much about guns because I do not own one. That kind of comment came up a lot. People are watching us. They watch when I speak in the House and in committee, when I do an interview on the radio, in the press or on TV, when I post a message on social media. Those comments come up a lot and it is distressing because, at the end of the day, we are trying to do our job and make things better.
    This was my first experience studying a bill, and it was great. We get to see what a difference we can really make. My party whip recently reminded me that what I was doing was pretty amazing. She said that when I am old and in my rocking chair, I will be able to tell my grandchildren that I worked on legislation to improve gun control in Canada. The work we did was pretty amazing.
    We are not saying everything is perfect, but we have made some gains. I started to list them yesterday in my speech. I talked about the fact that the words “hunting rifle” were removed from the definition of prohibited weapons. I also talked about the list of weapons that the government was trying to add to the Criminal Code, but was removed as a result of conversations we had with the government. These gains are easily attributable to the Bloc Québécois's work.
    Sometimes it is easy to give ourselves credit when the government implements a policy or a bill is passed, because we know exactly what we worked on. Other times, we wonder whether our party really did its part. In this case, I am absolutely certain that we did. We worked hard to achieve those gains that I believe improved the bill. When this bill is passed, we will know that we at least tried to improve it.
    Yesterday, I ended my speech by talking about airsoft guns, the controversial toy guns that are used for paintball and other recreational activities. In the beginning, in the initial bill, the government wanted to ban them the same as other guns. The Fédération sportive d'airsoft du Québec and other federations from across the country came and testified before the committee. They said that they understood why the government wanted to ban airsoft guns. Many police organizations talked about the confusion that these guns can cause during a hold up, for example. A person may use this kind of fake weapon and put themselves and others in danger because the police think that it is a real gun.
    We heard these comments, and so did the people from the federations. They said that they did not want to see people who practise this hobby, this sport, be penalized and that there must be a way to do things differently. They said they had no problem with increased regulations for their sport. They said that regulations around transportation, storage, use and an age requirement, for example, being 18, could be added for someone to acquire an airsoft gun. We really saw that these federations were open to working with us. They did not want them to be banned, but they were prepared to accept increased regulation. Even the government agreed that they were taking a very reasonable approach. That is why we worked to ensure they were not banned, but regulated, as the federations suggested.

  (1835)  

    We worked hard on this. Usually, something has to be specifically mentioned in a bill for the government to then be able to regulate it. It was therefore difficult to only delete the clause because we would no longer be making reference to airsoft. How, then, would we regulate it?
    We agonized over this for days only to realize that it was possible. The officials told us that anything is possible. We realized that the government could regulate airsoft guns without us necessarily making reference to them in Bill C‑21. We simply decided to delete the clause of the bill, then the government abstained, which left room for the opposition parties to vote in favour of this. The federations were very pleased with this work. Yes, it is an NDP amendment that was accepted. However, the Bloc Québécois amendment was the same and it would have come next. It could have been the Bloc Québécois amendment. All that to say that we worked hard on this.
    Since that clause was adopted I have received email. I wanted to share them with the House today because they offer a nice little pat on the back. I received one from Guillaume Mailloux, who is the owner of SMPR Tactique et Plein-Air, a shop in Quebec City. Here is what Mr. Mailloux said:
    Hello
    I'm taking the time to write a few lines this morning because I want to thank you. This morning, for the first time in ages, I am sipping my coffee without stressing about my business, my employees and my family. Your collaboration with the airsoft community has been invaluable. You've quite likely saved me from stress-induced prostate cancer. All kidding aside, I've been fortunate enough to work with the FSAQ, and I know that your listening and understanding have been extremely important. It's not easy to navigate the turbulent waters between the waves of hunters, anti-gun lobbyists, sport shooters and people from various industries as you do.
    Thanks to you and your team, last night I was interviewed about this on the radio, and I asked the host (who plays airsoft) to mention your excellent work on air to make sure that the NDP doesn't get all the accolades.
    Thank you so much!
    I was very happy to get that email. I received a second one, from François Gauthier, the vice-president of the Fédération sportive d’airsoft du Québec. He said the following:
    On behalf of the Fédération Sportive d'airsoft du Québec and the Quebec airsoft community, we would like to thank the Bloc Québécois, especially [the member for Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia] and her team for listening to the issues and problems that Bill C-21 could have caused as it was introduced by the federal government.
    We would also like to thank the assistant to [the member for Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia], Ariane Francoeur, for her professionalism and for following up with us on the progress of the work, as well as for taking the time to explain to us the details of the bill's progress in the SECU committee.
    We remain open to continue working with the Bloc Québécois in the future if any regulations are being created that would affect our sport.
    Personally, and on behalf of the entire Quebec airsoft community, thank you for listening to our concerns.
    Cordially.
    It was also very nice to get that email. Yesterday, I highlighted the incredible work of my assistant, Ariane Francoeur. I am pleased to be able to recognize her again today, through Mr. Gauthier.
    It may not seem like much, but I think that every member of the Bloc Québécois caucus told me that they were getting positive comments about how airsoft guns were taken out of the bill. We will take it while we can. We are very pleased about that. I think it is unfortunate that Bill C‑21 got such bad press as a result of the government's controversial amendments because there are some good things about this bill. There was talk about domestic violence and ways of better protecting women who are victims of it. Despite the rhetoric that we have been hearing since yesterday from members of the Conservative Party, who are saying that there is nothing good about this bill, I would remind them that they voted in favour of most of the amendments that were proposed.
    The Bloc Québécois tabled a total of 17 amendments, and 16 were adopted. Most of them, such as the ones concerning magazines, were adopted unanimously. I talk about this a lot, and it is difficult to explain in just a few minutes during questions and comments. I will therefore take the time to explain it. Right now, we can go to a store and buy a magazine for a legal firearm without presenting a licence. That is what the Danforth killer did a few years ago. He stole a firearm. He did not have a licence and the firearm was not registered in his name. However, he went to a store and lawfully purchased a magazine. He put the magazine in the firearm and went on to kill two people and injure 13 others in Toronto.

  (1840)  

    We wondered why there was no requirement for a valid possession and acquisition licence for buying a magazine and ammunition. That is what is happening now with ammunition and firearms. It was Danforth Families for Safe Communities who brought this problem to our attention, saying that this should have been in place long ago and that it will prevent this type of situation from happening again.
    I had the opportunity, or took the initiative, to move these amendments. We were talking about roughly six amendments. The first is very important, but the ones that followed are consequential amendments because if something is changed in the legislation, then it needs to be changed several times where it is mentioned.
    I moved this amendment and I saw the wonderful unanimity in committee. Even the Conservative Party voted in favour of this. It is very gratifying to see that people want to improve things, that they want to move things forward. I thank the Conservative Party for voting in favour of these amendments, except for one. As I was saying, these are consequential amendments. It would be unreasonable not to adopt them all.
    The Conservatives' strategy, since there was a gag order, was to take turns. Every 15 minutes or so, new members would arrive at committee to fill the five minutes allotted to them. Members would repeatedly ask the same questions that had already been asked by a colleague. These were questions for public servants. Someone who had just arrived, a Conservative colleague, said that this amendment on magazines did not make sense, even though the Conservative Party had previously agreed to all the amendments on magazines. He said that it was unreasonable to put hunters in that position. He said that if someone wanted to go hunting for a particular rare bird and ran out of magazines, they were going to miss the hunt as a result, which is unfair. The officials respectfully pointed out to him that if the person could not go out and get the magazine because his licence had not been renewed or was not valid, he would not be able to go hunting or use his firearm either.
    His comments were not even relevant to the situation. It just goes to show that even though someone may try to look like they know what they are talking about, that is not always the case. The amendment on magazines was a win for all the groups that had been calling for it, such as PolyRemembers and many other gun control advocacy groups.
    We have heard a little bit about the yellow flag measure, which allows chief firearms officers to suspend or revoke a licence in cases of domestic violence. We wanted to improve certain passages where, in the initial bill, chief firearms officers were given a little too much discretion as to when the person had to surrender the licence or the guns and to whom. This was strengthened thanks to amendments from the Bloc Québécois that went on to be adopted. The government, the NDP and even the Green Party, which does not have the right to vote in committee, but had proposed the same amendments, were in favour. As I recall, the Conservatives also voted in favour of these amendments. It was another great example of unanimity to strengthen measures to combat domestic violence. These are the kinds of real gains that can be made in committee.
    When we were working on this file, we realized that it was easier to accomplish some things through legislation and others through regulation. I nevertheless consider it a win that the minister has made a public commitment to certain things. That was the case for the pre-authorization of firearms.
    As I already explained here in the House, a pharmaceutical company that wants to bring a new drug to market, for example, must have Health Canada's approval before being able to do so. This does not seem to happen with firearms. Sometimes, guns are put on the market and, at some point, the RCMP realizes that they were not classified properly. We wondered if the RCMP could be consulted before guns arrive on the market, and how to do that. We racked our brains. It was quite complicated, but the minister finally agreed to do it when he announced new amendments in early May.
    We are pleased about that. Obviously, a promise is a promise. We have seen the Liberal government breaking its promises on many occasions, so we hope that the minister will act quickly on this right after Bill C‑21 is passed. There is nothing stopping him from doing that.

  (1845)  

    We also need to update the regulations on large-capacity magazines. To be honest, it was PolyRemembers that made me aware of that issue.
    When I asked the minister or public servants whether I was mistaken or whether large-capacity magazines were still legal in Canada, I was told that they were no longer legal. However, when I visited the RCMP vault, I saw that some magazines can be blocked with the help of a small rivet. For example, a magazine with 30 rounds can be blocked and limited to five rounds. The magazine therefore becomes legal because it is technically considered a five-round magazine. However, it is very easy for a mass murderer to simply remove the rivet to create a high-capacity magazine. That has happened in Canada and it cost the lives of dozens of people. We then said that, since we were considering the matter of magazines, perhaps we could strengthen the regulations in that regard. That is what the minister committed to doing. I am also very pleased about that. Once again, he will have to keep his word on that.
    Then, there is the issue of the much-discussed prospective definition, which is something that I would not necessarily consider as a loss, but something we would have liked. It comes up often. It means that it applies only to future firearms. This means that, as we speak and even after Bill C‑21 passes, there will still be over 482 models of assault-style firearms in circulation in this country.
    We therefore suggested to the minister that they should be banned by decree. Amongst them, a few firearms had been identified as being reasonably used for hunting. Let us set them aside for now and ask the Canadian firearms advisory committee for a recommendation on how to classify them. Let us ban the others that are still in circulation right away.
    The minister can put an order into effect immediately, tomorrow morning, today or yesterday. He could have already done that. This easy solution is available to him, and I think it is a reasonable solution. I hope he will do that as well.
    I would like to go over a few things that happened in committee. As I mentioned before, this was my first real experience of a clause-by-clause review in committee, and it was extremely interesting. It is worth pointing out that the process happened late at night, when I imagine not too many reporters were watching. Some really interesting things happened that deserve to be highlighted, such as the moment the Bloc Québécois saved the government's handgun freeze.
    There was a clause in Bill C‑21 that exempted certain persons from the handgun freeze, such as sport shooters in an Olympic discipline. Everyone else was covered by the handgun freeze. The NDP usually supports just about everything the government does, but it disagreed on this specific point. Both the Conservative Party and the NDP proposed amendments that would have made the handgun freeze inoperative and completely irrelevant by including too many people in the exemption.
    Interestingly, at that point, just before the vote, the Liberal member for Kings—Hants logged on and spoke. His government tried to prevent him from speaking, but with committee giving unanimous consent, he was able to speak before voting on these amendments. He abstained, which made it a tie. The votes were equal on both sides, for and against. In a very rare occurrence, the committee chair himself had to cast a vote, and he voted with the government.
    It is fair to say that if the Bloc Québécois had also abstained or voted against these amendments, the government's handgun freeze would have simply fallen by the wayside. When we say that we want better gun control in this country, that is part of it. This is a measure that the government has proposed. The Bloc Québécois is true to its values on this issue, and it has remained true to its values on the handgun freeze as well.
    I see that my time is running out. I still have a lot to say, but what I want to discuss the most is ghost guns. When we went to visit the RCMP vault, we saw how easy it is to assemble an illegal weapon from gun parts ordered over the Internet. The police officers made us aware of it too. Organized crime and illegal firearms trafficking are all part of it.

  (1850)  

    The measure included in Bill C‑21 is a good one, and we are proud of it.
     I would be pleased to take questions from my colleagues.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, although I was not at committee, I have heard that the hon. member's interventions were well received and discussed in committee.
     She ended her speech tonight speaking about ghost guns, and that is something I have been discussing with our local chief of police. We have had a few walks to talk about this and the guns that look like they are real but are really just toy guns and how that really makes policing a lot more difficult in our communities when guns pop out of nowhere, such as ghost guns.
     Therefore, the impact on our police services could be very positive. They could then do a better job of helping with safety within our communities. Could the hon. member talk about how the police forces in her local community are receiving this legislation?

  (1855)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, that is a great question. I have been in contact with a number of police services in the course of studying this bill, and I can say that this is being very well received.
    I mentioned earlier about how people can order parts on the Internet. I think we also need to improve what happens at the border. I am not saying that the people working there are not doing a good job. They are doing a great job. Unfortunately, they are under-resourced.
    Bill C-21 is good. We looked closely at ghost guns, which will certainly improve police work. However, one more thing also needs to be done. We need to intercept trains and firearms passing through the Port of Montreal along with stolen cars. We need to inspect more packages that come through the mail. This is also part of the fight against firearms trafficking. I think more needs to be done.
    It is great that the measure on ghost guns was included in the bill. That said, the guns most commonly found on the streets of Montreal and in the hands of street gangs are those from the illegal firearms trade, so I think a lot of work needs to be done in that regard as well.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, my colleague mentioned the airsoft industry. There are about 320 businesses and 1,350 staff and employees in that industry. These rules that are coming could negate any of that sort of industry and business. I wonder if the member could just elaborate on her thoughts. I know she mentioned that this was a big concern. There is a lot of activity in that area and a lot of these are owned by visible minorities and immigrants, in the testimony that we heard. I wonder if the member could expand on that.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I referred to a specific company in Quebec City that sells airsoft guns. This will certainly help save many jobs in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada. That is a good thing.
    I would even go so far as to say that firearms vendors in general have nothing to fear. As I mentioned, Bill C‑21 will prohibit firearms that do not yet exist. It is not true that hunting rifles will be prohibited the instant Bill C‑21 is passed. People will be able to continue buying and using them. I believe that it is important to include that in the messaging, because that is how Bill C‑21 will be passed.
    I am not saying that it is great to still have so many firearms that are considered assault weapons in circulation. As I was saying, the minister could take action by introducing an order in council for these firearms. However, for firearms that are reasonably used for hunting, everyone can rest assured. People can continue to use these firearms.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I enjoyed working with my colleague when I was on the public safety committee and I absolutely share her joy in the victory that we were able to achieve for the airsoft community. I too have received many thanks from communities in my own riding and across British Columbia. That indeed is a good thing that the committee was able to achieve.
    The member was there on the committee with me back in November of last year when those 11th-hour, ill-advised amendments dropped in the committee's lap and caused all of this uproar. If she will remember correctly, in December, one of the leading voices against those amendments came from indigenous communities. It culminated when the Assembly of First Nations came out with a very rare unanimous emergency resolution that its members were against the amendments. I have heard from many people in indigenous communities who have explained why they have depended on semi-automatic rifles to protect themselves when they were out hunting wildlife.
    Can the member explain this for colleagues in the House? Is it her understanding that current makes and models of rifles and shotguns are not affected by Bill C-21? Can she also elaborate as to why it was important to insert an amendment in this bill that would recognize the rights that are upheld under section 35 of the Constitution Act?

  (1900)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, my colleague raises a very good point. I enjoyed working with him in committee and I hope he will come back after the study of Bill C‑21.
    The government's mistake in this whole story was to move these famous amendments without doing the necessary consultations ahead of time. Hunters and first nations communities apparently were not consulted before these amendments were tabled. I think that was the first mistake.
    Then, the Bloc Québécois proposed pressing pause on the study and inviting witnesses to committee who did not have the chance to be heard. That is when we heard from first nations communities, who told us exactly what the member just said.
    I think it was important to reiterate in the bill the fact that these rights are being respected. We do need to reassure people, because there are still all sorts of rumours circulating about Bill C‑21 that are not entirely true.
    One thing that is entirely true is that first nations communities are going to continue using firearms for hunting, for their subsistence. Bill C‑21, in its current form and as it will be passed, will have no impact on that. I think that it is important to reiterate that for the first nations communities. There are two in my riding, and I am sure they will be pleased with how things unfolded for Bill C‑21.
    Madam Speaker, I am feeling emotional as I rise today to thank and congratulate my colleague, the Bloc Québécois public safety critic.
    As she said herself, it was her first time taking part in the clause-by-clause consideration of such an important bill. One day, when she is a grandmother, she will look back and see that she built a better bill because she was able to make suggestions throughout the process, instead of simply criticizing and being partisan. It is a reflection of how the Bloc Québécois works. She was able to propose improvements for the common good.
    Tonight, I am proud to be seated beside her, and I am proud of her work. I am old. I have white hair. However, my colleague is quite young and has a great career ahead of her. This evening, I am proud to congratulate her on behalf of the Bloc Québécois for all the excellent work she has done.
    Now that we are nearing the end of the process, I would like to ask her a question. If she had one thing to say to the rookies who are going to join us, what would she say? She can speak from the heart. Where do we start with a clause-by-clause analysis?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my whip for her kind words. I am a bit emotional.
    Where do we start? That is a good question. I think that it is important to be well prepared, to know one's file, even if it is not easy. When I was first given the public safety file, I did not know what it was all about. Today, I am very comfortable with my files and talking about an issue as sensitive as firearms.
    Collaboration with other parties, with the government especially, and with groups that work on these issues is important. We talked about PolyRemembers, the National Association of Women and Law, and many women's groups and associations that reached out to us. We need to work with these people, trust them and trust ourselves when it comes time to propose amendments. I think that that would be a good place to start.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to know what my colleague thinks about the following. Should the government have started by dealing with the illegal weapons that are coming across Canada's borders? That is a public safety issue that has become a political issue. Would it have been easier to do things differently?
    Madam Speaker, I do not think that problems necessarily need to be ranked in order of priority.
    The one does not exclude the other. We worked on a bill to strengthen gun control in this country and, as I said, some of its measures will strengthen measures we can take to counter family violence. That is very good. At the same time, we can change things.
    The Minister of Public Safety can develop regulations, invest more at the borders and work to improve coordination among police forces. Work can also be done at the Canada Border Services Agency. All of this can occur while Bill C‑21 is being reviewed. These things are not mutually exclusive.
    I think that a lot remains to be accomplished, but this is definitely a positive step forward. Naturally, firearms trafficking needs to be addressed. I think that the government is beginning to understand that.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to be able to rise and offer my thoughts on Bill C-21 at third reading.
    I say that with a bit of amazement because I cannot believe we have actually made it to third reading. This bill received first reading in this House on May 30 of last year. We got through second reading in fairly short order, but at committee stage, things really got lost and all hell broke loose, so to speak.
    I remember participating as the NDP's public safety critic. We had scheduled eight witness meetings to look at the first version of this bill. Things were going along quite well. There were some disagreements around the table, but there was not any of the friction that suggested there would be a major catastrophe in the making.
    That all changed in November when we arrived at the clause-by-clause portion of the bill. Before that meeting started, every party was responsible for reviewing the witness testimony, reviewing the briefs that had been submitted, and working with legislative drafters to put together our amendments. Once those were submitted to the clerk, as is the normal course of things, the clerk then distributed them to all committee members.
    It was quite a surprise when we saw just how big the amendment package was and just how expanded the scope of the bill was going to be. Most of the amendments came from the government. There were a couple in particular that completely sent the committee off its rails.
    The amendments landed on our laps at the 11th hour. It was obvious that there had been no warning to committee members. The Liberal members of the committee were introducing those amendments on behalf of the government. They read them into the record, but I do not think they actually had a clue as to the monumental nature of the amendments.
    It was clear that the amendments were not backed by any witness testimony because of the significant nature of how they were changing the bill. We, as committee members, never had the opportunity to question witnesses on the bill taking shape.
    That completely derailed things. That started in November 2022, and it is only just recently that the committee stage of the bill was finally able to complete its job. That is an incredible amount of time for one committee to be occupied with a single bill.
    If we look at the mandate of the public safety and national security committee, it is one of the most important committees. It is responsible for reviewing the policies and legislation of multiple agencies, whether it is the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the Officer of the Correctional Investigator or the RCMP.
    There are two other bills. Bill C-20 is going to provide an important oversight body for the RCMP and the CBSA. Bill C-26 is going to seek to upgrade our cybersecurity infrastructure. Both of those bills have been held up because of the shenanigans going on with Bill C-21.
    I listened to the debate all day yesterday when this bill was going through report stage, and today when it was going through third reading. Unfortunately, because of some of the speeches in this House, there is a lot of misinformation out there and a lot of people have the wrong idea of what is included in this bill.
    My Conservative colleagues do make a big deal in their speeches about standing up for hunters, farmers and indigenous communities, and I take no fault with that. I proudly stand here and say the same thing. It is troubling because it is alluding to something that is actually not in the bill. That illusion for hunters, farmers and indigenous communities is that their rifle or shotgun, if it is semi-automatic, is going to be prohibited by this bill.
    Let me clearly say this for the record: That is not the case. Bill C-21 is not going to do that. If someone has a current make or model of a rifle or shotgun, they are licensed and legally own that firearm, after this bill receives royal assent, they will continue to be able to use it.

  (1905)  

    That is a fact. So far, when I have brought it up in questions, my Conservative colleagues have been unable to refute that. I have challenged multiple Conservative MPs to name one rifle or shotgun that is going to be prohibited by Bill C-21. In every single instance, they have deflected and swerved away to go back to comfortable talking points, because they cannot do it. I will tell colleagues why. It is because I am not reading Conservative talking points. I am going to actually read from the text of the bill.
    In the new section that is going to add to the definition of a prohibited firearm, it mentions that it is:
...a firearm that is not a handgun and that
(i) discharges centre-fire ammunition in a semi-automatic manner,
(ii) was originally designed with a detachable cartridge magazine with a capacity of six cartridges or more, and
(iii) is designed and manufactured on or after the day on which this paragraph comes into force...
    The last point is one that everyone seems to skip over, but it is the key part.
    Current makes and models are not going to be affected by Bill C-21. Future makes and models that come into the market after this bill receives royal assent will be affected. However, current owners will not be affected by Bill C-21.
    Conservatives will then seek to muddy the waters even further. I have heard a lot of reference to the firearms advisory committee. They say that the minister is going to bring this back and staff it with Liberal appointees, who are going to make suggestions about what firearms should be prohibited and then act on the suggestions. I have a news flash for my Conservative colleagues. This is a power that the government already has. It does not need a firearms advisory committee.
    I would direct my Conservative colleagues to the existing section 84(1) of the Criminal Code. It says right there that the government can change the definition of what a prohibited firearm is when it mentions “any firearm that is prescribed to be a prohibited firearm”. “Prescribed” is the key word there, because that means it can be done by cabinet decree. If they do not believe me, how did the government get the authority in May 2020 to issue an order in council? Here, 1,500 makes and models were done through the Canada Gazette under existing powers.
    All this ballyhoo over a firearms advisory council, as well as all the hoopla that we have heard in this House about the dangers of that council coming into being, is a complete red herring. It is smoke and mirrors. This is a power the government already has. In fact, I would rebut them on that argument by saying that if the minister currently has that power to do this unilaterally through an order in council cabinet decree, would it not be a good thing to have an advisory council to at least talk to the minister about how maybe that would not be a good idea?
    If we can ensure that the advisory council has indigenous representation, representation from the hunting community and representation from the sport shooting community, in my mind, that is a good thing. I will let them continue to say that, but they know they cannot argue with me on those facts. Again, I am reading from the bill and from existing provisions of the Criminal Code. If they are going to try to muddy the waters, they can try to argue their way out of it, but the facts cannot be changed.
    I want to turn to something more positive, with the airsoft community. Last summer, I had the pleasure of visiting the Victoria fish and game club. I do not know if colleagues have been to Vancouver Island, but in the middle of my riding is the Malahat Mountain. It is the big mountain that separates the Cowichan Valley from the city of Langford and the whole west shore. It is the traditional territory of the Malahat people, but on top of it is where the Victoria fish and game club is, on a beautiful property. Right beside it, there is an amazing forest setting for the club's airsoft games. I went out there with one of my constituency assistants on a weekend. They invited us to come and see a match. We got to don the referee uniforms, so that we could walk out in the middle of a pitched battle. I think one of my constituency assistants accidentally got shot.

  (1910)  

    It was so fun to see how much fun these players were having, to talk to them about how passionate they were about their sport and to really understand that this is more than a hobby for them. This is something that allows them to get out into the great outdoors with their family and friends.
    They were really worried about Bill C-21 because of a section in the bill that would basically turn their airsoft rifles into prohibited devices. I invited some of them, with other colleagues around the committee table, to come to committee, to submit briefs and to say their piece. I have to say that the representatives of the airsoft industry, the manufacturers and the players associations did themselves proud. They made a good argument, and they convinced those around the committee table. They did what is done in a democratic system. They fought for change, and they achieved it.
    The NDP amendment that was put forward to delete the offending sections from the bill was passed. That is a victory for the airsoft community. All they are asking for is not the sledgehammer approach of legislation that was in the original version of Bill C-21, but a regulatory approach. They are more than willing to work with government on the regulatory approach. That message was heard, and that is something that all parliamentarians can celebrate.
    Let me turn to the handgun freeze and the amendment that we put forward as an attempt to expand the exceptions of the handgun freeze to allow for other sport shooting disciplines. As the bill is currently written, at this third reading stage, the only exemptions that exist are limited to people who are at an extremely elite level. They are Olympic athletes and Paralympic athletes. I use the terms “exemptions” and “exceptions” interchangeably.
    After speaking to members of my community who participate in the International Practical Shooting Confederation and speaking to members who are in single-action shooting as well, I felt that these people are athletes. They train for what they do. They are passionate about their sport. They deserve to have exemptions as well. Therefore, I put forward an amendment to try to expand that. That amendment almost passed. There was a little bit of confusion on the Liberal side when that amendment came to a vote.
    When I tuned in to watch the committee hearing at that stage, I was pleasantly surprised to see the Liberal member for Kings—Hants speaking in support of our amendment. It was a wonderful surprise to see, except that when it came to a vote, unfortunately, he abstained. It resulted in a five-five tie; of course, this had to be broken by the Liberal Chair. We came really close.
    I have received a lot of flak from certain sectors of society for my stance on this. That is okay; I can take it. I am not going to apologize for standing here and making an attempt to fix the bill on behalf of my constituents who simply want to be able to practise their sport. To those who are arguing against that, I would simply point to the submission that was given to our committee by none other than the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. They said:
    We believe that a handgun freeze is one method of reducing access to these types of firearms, while allowing existing law-abiding handgun owners to practise their sport.
    That is what I was basing my amendment on, as well as the interventions made by my constituents. We tried our best at committee to make that change. Unfortunately, because of the votes falling the way they did with the Liberals and Bloc, it did not pass.
    I will give another reason. The top IPSC competitors were telling me that they shoot about 50,000 rounds of ammunition a year. That is an incredible amount. We have to understand that a handgun is essentially a mechanical device. If someone is shooting it 50,000 times a year, it will break down. Sometimes, handguns have to be replaced. In my mind, it was unfair, not allowing an exception for an athlete of that calibre to have the means to be able to replace a tool that they use to compete.
    We may have lost this particular battle, but what I would say to members of those sport shooting disciplines is that I will continue to pursue this issue. I will find other avenues to fight to make sure that their sport has an exemption.

  (1915)  

    We have completed the report stage part of the bill, but there has been some controversy from some women's groups who were unhappy with the red-flag provisions of the law, and I understand that. When I approached the committee hearings on this, I understood the controversy that existed around red-flag provisions. There were some women's groups that felt that adding this extra layer of bureaucracy through the court system did not serve women or other people who were in vulnerable situations where firearms might be present. They felt that we should have a properly equipped and responsive police force, and I agree with them.
    I will turn critics' attention to members of the National Association of Women and the Law, because when Bill C-21 was reported back to the House, they made some public tweets, which are all up there for people to read. They said that with all the amendments that were proposed, these are some of the ways that the bill would make women safer: “The provision on licence revocation when someone has committed violence is now strengthened and clarified. A licence must be revoked when there are reasonable grounds to suspect that an individual may have engaged in family violence.” They also said, “people who have been subject to a protection order will now be ineligible to hold a licence if they ‘could pose’ a threat or risk to the safety of another person. This way, safety comes first.” That is the onus test.
     They went on to say, “The Bill had no timelines for reacting to danger and domestic violence. Thanks to the adoption of our recommendations, there is now a statutory duty to act within 24 hours. This will protect women at the critical time of separation, when risk of violence is at its highest.”
    A lot about the bill has been subsumed by the debate over hunting rifles, shotguns, airsoft and the handgun freeze. However, it is important for us to realize that, in the heart of the bill, there are actually some very important measures, which have now been improved by the committee. I have worked with members of the National Association of Women and the Law, and I respect the submissions they have made. If they are willing to come out and publicly endorse the bill in this way, I am glad to have their support as a stakeholder, and I give it a lot of credence.
    I also want to talk about ghost guns, which relate to another “unsung hero” part of the bill. We heard from law enforcement, and I want to read into the record the testimony that came from Inspector Michael Rowe, who is a staff sergeant in the Vancouver Police Department. He said:
    In addition to what is already included in Bill C‑21, I would ask this committee to consider regulating the possession, sale and importation of firearms parts used to manufacture ghost guns, such as barrels, slides and trigger assemblies. These parts are currently lawful to purchase and possess without a licence, and they can be purchased online or imported from the United States. The emergence of privately made firearms has reduced the significance of the currently regulated receiver and increased the importance of currently unregulated gun parts that are needed to finish a 3-D-printed receiver and turn it into a functioning firearm.
    That is the request coming from law enforcement. We know that this is a growing problem, and they asked for a specific legislative fix to the problem. I am proud to see that the public safety committee delivered on that request from law enforcement.
    Much has been said about indigenous communities. They are, of course, the ones who led the way in opposition to the bill. I remember, back in December, when the Assembly of First Nations came out with a unanimous emergency resolution opposing those eleventh-hour amendments that were made by the Liberal government. They said that the amendments went against the spirit of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. They helped us to understand, as parliamentarians, that these are not toys or hobbies; rather, they are a way of life. In some indigenous communities, they are necessary for the protection of life. I am glad to see that the committee listened, and no current make or model of a rifle or shotgun that is currently in use in indigenous communities is touched by Bill C-21. The committee went further and added a clause, which now references section 35 of the Constitution Act to show that indigenous rights are upheld.

  (1920)  

    I will conclude by saying I can honestly go back to the hunters, farmers and indigenous communities in my riding of Cowichan—Malahat—Langford and tell them their currently owned firearms are safe. I am glad we were able to force the government's hand on this matter.

  (1925)  

    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for all his work on the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. Throughout this debate, I have been hearing a lot of misinformation and disinformation, especially from gun lobby groups, as well as the Conservative Party, but a lot of that NRA north style attacks and disinformation. I was wondering if he could comment on how he dealt with that on the committee and what he takes from the debates that have gone on for the last little while.
    Madam Speaker, to anyone who is thinking of joining the public safety committee, they better have a thick skin. I will say without a doubt that is probably the most-watched committee out of any parliamentary committee. One can probably see one's actions reflected in real time just by watching one's Twitter feed.
    On dealing with the gun lobby, I do not like using that term all the time. I know of the groups that exist like the CCFR, but a lot of my ordinary constituents are also logged in to the gun lobby. A lot of them came forward with some very legitimate concerns, and I am glad a lot of committee members took the time to listen to those.
    Yes, some of the vitriol I have seen on Twitter has been a little “out there”, and I have just tried to keep myself straight and narrow to my principles and I am glad we were able to do the work to make sure the bill is where it is at today.
    Madam Speaker, I am going to try to be positive with the member first before I am a bit more on the pointed side. Even though I am not a permanent member of the committee, I have been sitting in at public safety quite a bit. He is greatly missed. He is much preferred on that committee than his current NDP colleague, the member for New Westminster—Burnaby, because he does have a lot of common sense. I want to congratulate him on getting the airsoft exemption through.
    To get more on the pointed side, he talked about the necessary changes in the last-minute amendment. He talked about that at length. This was brought in by the Liberal government, going after hunters and sport shooters, their tools and rifles and shotguns. We challenged in that committee that it was out of scope. We had a chance to put it completely to bed, but that member voted in support to keep that in there.
    I would like to give the member the opportunity to maybe apologize to the hunters right across Canada for putting them through that unnecessary pain and putting the whole committee through the pain of months when this could have been shut down back in November.
    Madam Speaker, I thank the member for the kind words. He also has been a good person to work with. What a lot of people forget about in these heated debates is that we are all human beings. We may come from different political backgrounds, but a lot of us actually work in a very respectful way.
    In regard to the member's question, I will let my actions speak instead of my words. If the member will recall, in early February I put a motion on notice to refer those amendments to the Speaker. It was that threat of a motion that actually I think was the straw that broke the camel's back and forced the Liberals to withdraw the amendments.
    To the hunters, farmers and indigenous communities in my riding, my actions made up for that, and that is what forced the Liberals to withdraw the amendment.
    Mr. Speaker, the member was emphasizing that farmers, indigenous people and law-abiding gun owners did not need to fear this legislation, and I suspect he is doing that because he recognizes there is a great deal of misrepresentation of the reality surrounding Bill C-21.
    Many, including myself, would argue the primary motivating factor for the Conservative Party has more to do with fundraising and using Bill C-21 as a fundraising tool as opposed to seeing it as something good for increasing public safety in our communities. What does he believe the Conservatives' spreading of misinformation on the issue does to the public perception of what is taking place?

  (1930)  

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday I referred to Bill C-21 as the goose that lays the golden eggs for the Conservative Party because it certainly has enjoyed its financial windfalls.
    To his question more generally about misinformation, I took the time in my speech today to read from the bill. I systematically refuted Conservative talking points. Every time I have challenged Conservative MPs to name a rifle or shotgun, they have been unable to do so.
    I will leave it up to the Conservatives to explain themselves, but it certainly makes our job a lot harder in this place when we are trying our best to present the facts and what is actually in the bill and it gets collided with misinformation again and again. That makes our job very hard. It does not mean I am going to stop doing my job, but it does make it more difficult.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I hold my colleague in high regard. I had the opportunity to tell him that earlier. I think we worked well together on the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. It is too bad he was not there for the study of the bill.
    One thing I am having a hard time understanding—
    I must interrupt the hon. member because there is a problem with the interpretation.
    The problem has now been resolved.
    The hon. member for Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the interpreters, who do an incredible job every day.
    I was saying that my colleague and I work very well together on the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. It is too bad he was not there for the clause-by-clause consideration of the bill.
    Mr. Speaker, there still seems to be a problem with the interpretation.

Sitting Suspended  

    It starts and then it stops again. I will therefore suspend the proceedings while we find a solution.

    (The sitting of the House was suspended at 7:33 p.m.)

Sitting Resumed 

    (The House resumed at 7:34 p.m.)

    The problem has now been resolved, so the hon. member for Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia can continue.

  (1935)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the interpreters and technicians again. I think it is a plot to make me repeat for a third time that I really appreciate my NDP colleague. I really enjoyed working with him at the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. It is too bad he was not there for clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C‑21.
    There is one thing I am having a hard time understanding. It is the red-flag measure, which the government presented as a measure that could help protect women who are victims of intimate partner violence. Ultimately, what we heard from dozens of women's groups from across the country is that they fear this measure will shift the onus from law enforcement to victims. Even some lawyers testified that it could increase the workload of the courts, which are already busy enough at this time. Everyone agreed that it was not a good measure, and that it would not do anything more to help women who are victims of intimate partner violence.
    The NDP is usually in favour of such positions. Like the Bloc Québécois, they want to do more to protect women. However, while the Bloc Québécois and the Conservative Party voted against these government clauses, the NDP supported them.
    I would like to give my colleague the opportunity to explain why, because I still do not understand this.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I wish I had the ability to answer in a more fulsome way. I was not at the committee. All I can do is reiterate what I said in my speech, that if we look at the public statement that comes from the National Association of Women and the Law, it took the time to say that with the amendments that were adopted at committee, it feels that this bill would make it much safer for women who are in difficult and dangerous situations involving a firearm.
    The National Association of Women and the Law has a lot of credibility. I valued working with it. I take a public statement like that on the current version of Bill C-21 at face value and accept its ultimate judgment on this bill and what it would do for women in violent situations.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for his incredible work on this file. I have heard throughout my constituency of a great amount of respect for the work he has done, and the airsoft community has been very clear in its appreciation.
    I am just wondering if the member could answer a question. I have talked to a lot of gun owners and indigenous people across my riding, and one of the things I have actually found, for the most part, is that there is a common-sense reasonable discussion. I really respect the people who have talked to me, and we have had really good conversations about this issue, because it is complex and there are challenges to it.
     I am just wondering if the member could talk about how the government could do a better job of actually talking to the people who use these tools for very specific reasons that do not harm the larger community. How could that be better reflected in the government's legislation?
    Mr. Speaker, this allows me to give a shout-out to our dear colleague, the member for Nunavut, because she also helped educate me on the way of life in the north.
    It became very clear, after these amendments were dropped. We had indigenous witnesses come before our committee, and it was clear that consultation had not happened. Given that the government has attached so much importance to that relationship and the fact that it has passed legislation saying federal laws had to be in harmony with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, it was quite obvious that those amendments were dropped with no consultation, and through indigenous efforts and the pressure indigenous people put on government, they can take a bow, because they are the ones who forced the government to backtrack and respect their way of life.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity. I will be sharing my time with the member for Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam.
    I want to start by expressing my gratitude to the good people of Don Valley East for giving me the privilege to be in this House and to speak on this issue. All of us are fortunate to have the opportunity to come into this esteemed House and speak on behalf of our communities to bring their concerns and their voices here. I am honoured to be here and to listen to my colleagues, and I mean that, because it is a really important thing. I am honoured to be in this House and listen to so many different perspectives from across the country. It speaks to the uniqueness we all bring to this House. Canada is a vast country, with diverse regions and a multitude of different voices, opinions and political views, and we often do not see eye to eye, even within our own parties. That is the beautiful thing about this House, that it maintains our good democracy in this country.
    Many members know that I spent a lot of time in the Ontario legislature, and when I first arrived here, I was a bit taken aback. I thought this was even slower than the Ontario legislature. When things happen, it is a drawn-out process. We go to committees, go to caucus or sit in the House. However, there is a reason for that. It took me a couple of months to figure out why things work the way they work around here. It is because of those different opinions from across the country. We need to foster a mutual understanding of each other because we bring all these different perspectives. The more time I spend here, the better I understand the diversity of opinions of my colleagues, their passion and their motivations. The choice of words they use in this House makes a huge difference.
    I want to take the opportunity to share my experience with respect to this bill and talk a bit about my community, my experiences and what this bill means to me.
    I come from a community in the Don Mills corridor. It is an interesting neighbourhood because there are homes that are worth, in some cases, $7 million, and there are homes not too far away, a two- or three-minute drive, that are Toronto community housing. There is diversity in economics, but also a diversity in cultures.
    I grew up in a section of the community where there were some economic challenges. Like many neighbourhoods in the city of Toronto, my community experienced a lot of gun violence. Without a question, there is an association between poverty and gun violence. It is a fact in a city like mine. During my youth, growing up in my community, I probably knew several young men, the majority of whom were Black, who were murdered in my community as a result of gun violence. Many neighbourhoods in Toronto face this challenge, and there is no question that poverty is linked to that. If we go into any neighbourhood in Toronto experiencing challenges with respect to gun violence and ask people under the age of 21 if they know someone who has died because of gun violence, the answer is usually yes. That is a fact in the communities that are economically challenged in Toronto.
    In my community, growing up with this experience opened up a new perspective for me. I wanted to look for ways to balance the playing field and open up opportunities for young people. That is what made me get involved in politics as a young man. It drove me to become a youth worker in Scarborough for many years. It was what made me run for school board trustee and then go on to the Ontario legislature, where a lot of my work had to do with finding opportunities for young people who go through these challenges.
    I can remember when I was the minister of children and youth in Ontario and I went to a community called Mount Olive in Toronto. I was with a group of about 40 young people between the ages of maybe seven and 13. I remember asking this young girl who was walking with us if she liked her community. She said that she loved her community because there were fewer gunshots this year than the previous year. That shocked me, because that was her reality.

  (1940)  

    The fight against gun violence is nothing new in a city like Toronto, in many parts of our city. Again, I am sharing my perspective, a Toronto perspective from a community like mine. Gun violence usually impacts people who come from poorer communities and racialized Canadians.
    There is no question, and I have heard many times in this room, that the guns causing the crime are illegal guns. That is factual. The majority of these guns are illegal. I think there is something bigger here. By freezing the sale of handguns, we have the opportunity to send out such a strong message to Canadians that we are better off as a society when we do not have to resort to owning guns and using guns. It is such a simple concept to me.
    I have collaborated over the years with many communities that have been torn apart, literally, by gun violence. I have sat with mothers, a dozen mothers, who have all lost a child. I have sat with advocates who, for 20 or 30 years, have been looking for ways to find solutions to the problems that gun violence brings forward.
    I would like to take a moment to express my gratitude to those folks, because they make a difference in our city and they work, day and night, to look for ways to mitigate that violence. These are not people who are put up for the Order of Canada or the Order of Ontario. These are people who keep their head down. They work on the ground level, on the street, and they look for ways to find solutions.
    I will tell members this. For many years, in fact for decades, these advocates who witnessed the violence in their community would say that they agree with what this bill is doing. They agree that we should stop selling handguns in Canada, and they would agree that we have to have stricter rules in place for people who distribute guns in the community. It is not the kids, the young men and others in the community who are actually out there manufacturing these guns. These guns are being brought in from different jurisdictions and they are being used in the community to terrorize the community.
    I want to go back to my original point. I have skipped three or four pages; time goes by so quickly here when one is speaking. My original point was that we are here as MPs with probably one of the greatest privileges, to come and speak on behalf of our community, and just because we may have different opinions, that does not mean that another member is right or that I am right. What it means is that we are bringing forward opinions from our communities.
    Last year, I did a survey in Don Valley East. We send out a survey every year. We sent it out to the entire community, and just under 2,000 surveys came back. I want to share some of the numbers. Most questions were multiple-choice, but there was one question where I asked people if they support the freezing of handgun sales in Canada. I want to share the numbers. Remember, this is 2,000 people, so we know that, without question, there is a very low margin of error and it is good data. There were 82.2% of people in my community who said they do not support the sale of handguns; 8.7% were neutral and only 8.6% were opposed to this bill.
    To me, that is exactly the message that I am bringing here to the House. I understand that we all have different perspectives, but in a community like mine, the importation of guns, the sales of guns and the use of guns have no place. My community does not support it and, on top of that, we know that, over the years, it has been really difficult and really challenging for a community like Don Valley East and the city of Toronto when it comes to gun violence.

  (1945)  

    Mr. Speaker, one thing that stood out to me very strongly was the member's statement that he does not believe Canadians should own guns. That is a view that he says his constituents share.
    I represent a rural riding where people enjoy hunting and sport shooting. Generations of my constituents have passed down firearms to their relatives who enjoy hunting and sport shooting. They would take great issue with that. I would also point out to the hon. member that in Toronto, last year and so far this year, half of the individuals who have been charged with homicides have been individuals out on bail.
    Even though we differ on whether Canadians should own firearms, does he at least agree that we should be evidence-based and go after the real cause of what is happening with crime, which is individuals who are out on bail, repeat offenders, rather than going after the law-abiding firearms owners in my riding of Fundy Royal?
    Mr. Speaker, if we are going to be factual and we are going to resort to truths here, the member should read the bill. The bill is very clear about gun ownership. It says that if people have rifles, certain types of hunting rifles are still available. There is a clause in there that would allow people with handguns to continue to have their handguns; they just cannot be traded or resold. I would just suggest that the member read the bill for clarity and he would understand what the actual rules are. The farmers and the folks who hunt, who need those firearms, would still have the opportunity to use the appropriate gun for the work they do.

  (1950)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I often hear the government touting Bill C-21 as a bill that bans assault-style firearms. That is how it presented the bill to groups like PolyRemembers, by saying that this bill would finally ban assault-style firearms.
    Unfortunately, that is not the case. What we are seeing is that, in May 2020, the government issued an order in council banning 1,500 guns, including the AR‑15, which is quite popular and was used in a mass shooting in Canada.
    Today, even after the passage of Bill C‑21, the WK180‑C will still be in circulation. That is a gun that uses the same magazine and ammunition as the AR-15. It is a semi-automatic weapon that works almost the same way and that is also an assault-style firearm. That gun will still be in circulation even after Bill C‑21 is passed.
    I am wondering how the government can say that Bill C‑21 bans assault weapons when the definition of a prohibited weapon that is proposed in this bill is prospective, meaning that it will apply only to weapons that will come on the market in the future. I must have missed something. When we ask the minister to issue an order in council banning weapons similar to the AR-15, he does nothing.
    I would like my colleague to share his thoughts on that.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for the advocacy that she has taken on gun violence. In question period, I often hear her speak on the issues that are impacting communities in different parts of the country, and I just want to say thanks for her advocacy.
    Going back to my point, we all have different opinions on how we should do things around here. I think this bill is a well-balanced approach to looking for ways to mitigate gun violence in our country, and I am proud to support it today.
    Mr. Speaker, the member brings up some very important points. Our country is very diverse and there are different opinions. I would like to hear more from the member regarding what kind of impact this bill, coupled with many other measures, could end up having on a community like the one in his riding.
    Mr. Speaker, the part that I missed in my speech was about preventative programs. We know that just putting in place rules around guns and weapons is not enough. I think every single person in this House would agree that investing more into programs that prevent these crimes from happening is the right approach. Therefore, it has to be a multi-faceted approach to mitigating gun violence, and I am happy that the member asked that question.
    Mr. Speaker, I quite enjoyed the speech by the member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford. I might differ on a few quibbles, but by and large I really appreciate his treatment of the matter.
    It is an honour to join this discussion on strong, new federal firearms legislation and to join the voices of those supporting the progression of Bill C-21 through Parliament. The committee on public safety and national security has done the remarkable and arduous job of scrutinizing this bill. I would like to thank colleagues from both sides of the aisle for their constructive deliberations and collegiality. We would not have gotten this done without their invaluable co-operation, and every one of us has a stake in it.
    We have heard from members who described the impact of gun violence in their communities. We have heard from survivors. We have heard from those who work with the government on many matters of public safety. They all make the point that we cannot lose another life to gun violence in this country. That is why I am so proud to be part of a government that cares about moving forward.
    We know that, working with parliamentarians across the aisle and with Canadians at large, we can pass Bill C-21 as a package of reforms that would broadly enhance firearms safety throughout Canada. This would be the strongest firearms legislation we may ever see as parliamentarians. It would introduce stiffer sentencing for trafficking and new charges for illegal manufacturing of ghost guns and for altering the magazine or cartridge of a gun to exceed its lawful capacity. It would set out new wiretapping authorities for police to stop gun violence before it happens.
    Bill C-21 would introduce a national freeze on handguns, and that would mean that the vast majority of individuals would no longer be able to transfer, that is buy, sell or import handguns into Canada. This would end the growth of handguns in Canada. This bill is also significant in how it would address the role of guns in gender-based violence, a pernicious issue we simply cannot ignore. It would prevent handguns from falling into the wrong hands. Individuals with a restraining order against them, whether previous or current, would no longer be able to obtain a firearms licence.
    New red-flag laws would allow courts to order the immediate removal of firearms from individuals who may be a danger to themselves or anyone else. Additionally, yellow-flag laws would allow chief firearms officers to suspend an individual's firearms licence if the CFO receives information calling into question their licence eligibility.
    The identity of vulnerable people who provide information to the courts would be protected. Let me be clear that there would be no obligation for victims to use these laws. These provisions would not remove any current tools. They would be there to offer additional protection, additional tools in the tool box.
    The unwavering goal of this legislation is to protect Canadians, particularly those who are most at risk. Statistics show that victims of intimate partner violence are about five times more likely to be killed if a firearm is present in the home. I would like to share a few more important statistics with my colleagues. We know that the more available guns are, the higher the risk of homicides and suicides. Handguns are the most commonly used firearms in homicides, and suicides by firearm accounted for 73% of all firearm deaths in Canada between 2000 and 2020. Fifty-eight per cent of crime guns are traced to domestic sources that are predominantly from straw purchasing and theft.
    Reducing the number of guns in our communities would mean reducing the number of victims of gun violence. Making handguns unavailable for transfer and restricting their importation just makes sense. However, as we have said from the beginning, we are not targeting responsible handgun owners or those using firearms for purposes like hunting or sport shooting; this is about tackling violent crime and preventing senseless, tragic deaths.

  (1955)  

    We know that no single initiative will end the complex issue of gun violence. This bill is but one part of our comprehensive approach. We have seen far too many tragedies, including those recently in Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec. We have seen close to 16,000 incidents of violent crime involving firearms in Canada since 2010. We have been clear that firearms designed for war, capable of rapid reloading and discharge that can inflict catastrophic harm, have no place in our communities.
     We have also been clear that we fully respect and recognize the traditional and cultural importance of hunting for indigenous communities. The government recognizes the importance of consultation and co-operation with indigenous peoples to ensure consistency of federal laws with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This bill also includes a specific clause that clearly states that nothing in this definition is intended to derogate from the rights of indigenous people under section 35 of the Constitution.
     It must be emphasized that guns that have already been designed and manufactured when the bill would come into force would not be affected. Other than so-called ghost guns, no existing rifle or shotgun whatsoever would be affected by this bill.
    We would also be re-establishing the Canadian firearms advisory committee to independently review the classification of firearms on the current market with a diverse membership from across the country. This independent panel would be charged with making recommendations to the government about the classification of firearms and what constitutes reasonable use for hunting.
     It is our goal to keep communities safe. I am confident that Bill C-21 would get that balance right. As we have said from the beginning, no single program or initiative can end gun violence. That is why this is just one of the many initiatives we are deploying, alongside border measures, investments in community infrastructure and banning assault-style weapons to keep our communities safe.
    Since 2015, we have focused on the social causes of crime with programs like the $250-million building safer communities fund so that we can tackle gun crime and support community-led projects. We have also invested over $1 billion, since 2016, into the initiative to take action against gun and gang violence, which provides funding to provinces and territories to reduce gun and gang crime in our communities and enhances the capacity of the RCMP and CBSA to detect and disrupt gun smuggling. That is on top of the over $40 million provided annually through the national crime prevention strategy, which invests in community-based efforts that prevent youth involvement in crime and help address the risk factors that have been known to lead to criminal activity.
    Federal officials have met with our federal, provincial and territorial colleagues to talk about the ways in which we could all make certain modifications to the bail system so that we can address specifically the challenges around repeat violent offenders who have used either firearms or other weapons, and this is how we will keep our communities safe through collaboration, discussion and multipronged approaches. Bill C-21 is a key piece of this puzzle.
    I want to thank all members once again for their constructive input. I encourage all members to join me to today in making sure Bill C-21 moves forward.

  (2000)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Safety and the parliamentary secretary have stated numerous times that the majority of Canadians support the ban of hundreds of models that were previously unrestricted firearms, yet when the current government conducted consultations with 133,000 Canadians, 77% of those very Canadians stated that no further restrictions were required. Upon which data does the government rely when it makes the statement that the majority of Canadians support these additional bans?
    Mr. Speaker, I personally do not know which data it is using, but I know that the government has undertaken considerable effort to conduct consultations both recently and before Bill C-21 was initially launched in the 43rd Parliament. We have reached out to people at gun clubs, to gun afficionados, to sport shooters and so forth right across the country to ensure that we were approaching this matter in a correct way.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech and his work in committee. As chair, he did a very good job during the clause-by-clause study in committee.
    It is interesting to hear his opinion this evening. Usually, committee chairs have a duty to stay neutral. That being said, he had to take a position at some point during the clause-by-clause study. One of his colleagues abstained from voting on an extremely important amendment and there were as many votes in favour of the amendment as there were against the amendment. He had to take a position, that of his government, and vote to prevent making the handgun freeze completely useless as the Conservative Party and the NDP tried to do.
    While there was grumbling about the amendments the government tabled in November, and there was pressure from all the opposition parties and civil society in general, I know that there was pressure coming from within the Liberal caucus to withdraw these amendments.
    I would like the member to explain to us how this happened on the government side with the tabling and withdrawal of amendments on assault weapons, which were rather controversial.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is great to be working with the member on the committee, and I would like to assure her that clause-by-clause is not always this bad and does not always take six months.
    On the amendments we brought forward in the fall, it became clear, after much debate and much consultation on an ongoing basis, that they needed work, so they needed to be withdrawn and another approach taken. That is what we did. We responded to what people were saying. We listened and we took action so we could move this forward in a positive way.

  (2005)  

    Mr. Speaker, in the response to my previous question, the member stated that the government had consulted with many hunting clubs and gun aficionados. I believe those were the terms he used. There are six hunting clubs in my own riding. I personally am not a gun aficionado, but I did take my PAL and my RPAL before becoming elected, in order to understand this industry. What advice did the government hear from those consultations? It is apparently different from what I am hearing, so what did the gun clubs reveal to the government?
    Mr. Speaker, I know that, in the 42nd Parliament, I believe, the then-minister of public safety and emergency preparedness conducted quite extensive consultations right across the country. He spoke with gun clubs and many people involved in the gun community. I set up a meeting between him and members of my local gun club. In my riding, there is one of the largest outdoor ranges in the Lower Mainland, and I have actually been invited there to shoot on a couple of occasions and quite enjoyed it. I do not know how anybody can afford to do that, because it is pretty expensive. Regardless, I arranged a meeting between them and the former minister. This consultation resulted in the first iteration of Bill C-21, which did not survive that particular Parliament; it was a starting point, however, for this new version of Bill C-21.
    Mr. Speaker, I am always grateful to be here speaking in the House on behalf of the constituents of Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, but more importantly, for all the law-abiding firearms owners out there right across the country, particularly veterans, those in the military, those in law enforcement, sport shooters and even those in our parliamentary protective services.
    I am disappointed to be once again speaking here under time allocation. When I spoke to the bill at second reading last year, it was under the same time allocation restrictions.
    My speech will highlight three key factors: basing any dialogue or debate on the bill around data and facts, being open and transparent to Canadians and ultimately respecting our firearms owners. Underlying all of that, I will highlight the need for education to the general public and parliamentarians.
    For the sake of transparency and to help educate all MPs and all Canadians listening tonight, let us review the history of how we got here at third reading via the data and facts.
    First off, we have heard the terms, which have already been used a few times tonight, “assault weapon” and “military-style assault weapon”. I have been trying for three years to get an answer on that. The government's own commission report from Hill+Knowlton, which is on the Public Safety website, talks about the data that my fellow colleague spoke about: The vast majority of respondents, just shy of 200,000, do not support a handgun ban at all. In particular, the report talks about the need to define what is meant by “military-style assault rifle”. That is what the report says. When I asked the government to get that in writing, it said to look at this report, but the report says that the government better define it. Now here we are, umpteen years later, with no definition, and I have been trying with every tool at my disposal as a member of Parliament to get it.
    As to the data on gun crime, over 85% of gun crimes are committed with illegal guns. They are not done by law-abiding firearms owners. In fact, law-abiding firearms owners are three times less likely to commit any crime compared to the average Canadian. I find it very frustrating for us to be debating a bill that is targeting the wrong demographic. We should be focusing on criminals, not law-abiding firearms owners.
    In any case, the bill was brought forward last June as a handgun freeze, which ultimately the government did through regulation last October. There were a couple of other components to it. It talked about making airsoft or paintball guns illegal, and it talked about bringing in enhanced red and yellow flag laws.
    Unfortunately, once the bill was debated in the fall, it did not take long for the government to use time allocation again to get it through second reading and get it to committee. It was then studied at committee, where loads of time was taken up with testimony. Experts were brought in to refute and apparently support the government's legislation in some ways. However, in the end, funny enough, in all the testimony brought in around airsoft, we heard, “Whoa, why are you going after this community? They're not the problem.”
    On the red and yellow flag laws, I think initially there was a somewhat unanimous belief that the government's intention was correct, but we heard from the vast majority of women's groups that, in fact, they were going to make things worse and make it more difficult for them to get a response from law enforcement for their own safety. Members do not have to take my word for it. Ms. Rathjen from PolySeSouvient said, “there is not one women's group that asked for this measure.” Also, Louise Riendeau, from Regroupement, said, “we think these measures are unnecessary and may even be counterproductive for victims.... [W]e recommend that clauses...which introduce these “red flag” measures, be [removed from the bill].”
    When we got through that, it was getting pretty evident to the government that the whole purpose behind the bill and two of the elements did not even make sense. They likely were not going to survive, so what did we see happen next? At the last minute, the government table-dropped hundreds and hundreds of amendments, including the infamous G-4 and G-46, which went after the vast majority of hunters' and farmers' semi-automatic rifles and shotguns right across this country, which obviously created a great uproar.

  (2010)  

    Before I forget, I am splitting my time with the member for Lévis—Lotbinière.
    I know the chair of the committee was speaking before me. We automatically challenged the whole idea of going after law-abiding hunters' shotguns and rifles. It was out of the scope of the bill and was not what we debated. Unfortunately, the chair ruled that it was within the scope. Then we challenged it, but the member from the NDP supported that it was in scope, which created a great uproar because we could not kill this the minute it was tabled. The Assembly of First Nations, many indigenous groups, the vast majority of hunters and farmers and even sports icons came out in opposition to these last-minute amendments, and the backlash was great.
    Fortunately, the NDP saw the light. It changed tactics and ultimately the Liberals realized their mistake. However, when they realized they were in trouble, they started filibustering the committee. In fact, one Liberal member ate up two meetings alone talking about firearms 101 just to kill time as they tried to figure out how to back themselves out of the situation they put themselves in.
    We hit Christmas recess and came back in the new year. The committee then had to wait over six weeks for the Minister of Public Safety to show up and testify at committee, which he finally did a few weeks ago, in late April. Lo and behold, what did we see happen less than a week later? On May 1, the minister came out and said he was going to come forth with another new amendment to Bill C-21 that he would introduce at the last minute. It was a new definition of prohibited firearms. This was just a day prior to the clause-by-clause review recommencing at committee.
    Obviously, members of the committee were very concerned. If I had had a chance to ask the chair, I would have asked if he thought there was any filibustering going on. We ate up one two-hour meeting asking officials some legitimate questions to make sure this new definition of prohibited firearms was not going to impact hunters, sport shooters and law-abiding firearms owners right across this country. Remember, we already had the Prime Minister on the public record saying he was going after some of the hunting rifles from our law-abiding firearms owners.
    I was sitting at the committee that day, and I was quite surprised by the NDP House leader when he immediately started accusing the Conservative members of the committee of filibustering. In fact, at one meeting, 45 minutes into it, the Conservative members had talked for less than a minute and the member from the NDP had spoken for more time than anybody else in that 45 minutes while he was complaining about somebody filibustering.
    Unfortunately, we are here now at third reading. However, I have some good news to share with Canadians and with members here in the House. I got an amendment through, which basically passed unanimously at committee. It was an amendment to focus on providing the necessary resources and ability for a licensed firearm owner to temporarily store their firearms with another licensed individual or business while they are dealing with mental health issues. Once the handgun freeze was brought in, a lot of veterans, who are potentially dealing with PTSD and mental health issues, were afraid to do anything with their guns. They were not going to seek help because they did not want to lose them full time.
    Some bad news is that the red flag laws were supported by the NDP. They did not get cut from the bill. Even now, the Prime Minister and the government have come out and said they are going to use the Canadian firearms advisory committee, which they stopped using over four years ago, to continue to target the rifles and shotguns of law-abiding hunters and farmers.
    Let us just educate Canadians and focus support on the root causes of gun violence in this country: crime, drugs, gangs, illegal trafficking of firearms, no substantive bail reform and, most importantly, poverty. That is instead of going after our law-abiding firearms owners. I will be voting against Bill C-21, a basically useless bill.

  (2015)  

    Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the member for his amendment being passed. The committee worked very hard to do so. It was great to have him substituting in here and there on the committee. It was a good help.
    He mentioned that there is a problem with the definition of what an assault-style firearm is. I would agree that it needs work. That is, in fact, the purpose of the firearms advisory committee. It will consult with sports shooters, hunters, indigenous people and people across the country, from all walks of life, who will help it to formalize a correct and good definition of what an assault-style firearm is. I certainly hope that he will contribute to that discussion.
    Mr. Speaker, absolutely I will contribute. In fact, I will give a little history lesson for the member and for everybody here.
    Assault weapons have been banned in Canada since January 1, 1978. As somebody who has carried assault weapons in the theatre of war, I know there is not a single firearm out of the 1,500, now 2,000, firearms that have been prohibited through the May 1 OIC, and subsequently through an order in council and the firearms program, that I, as a military member, would have ever purchased, helped define or take on, with the exception of a couple of sniper rifles, which do not fit the definition that has been put forth.
    I will correct the member. The terms “military-style assault firearm” and “assault firearm” are not in the bill or anywhere in legislation that I am aware of, not a single spot. The definition that has been brought forward is a new definition of a prohibited firearm. The NPD member earlier even talked about how the government already had the capacity to redefine what a prohibited firearm is just through regulation. The minister has that power.
    Ultimately, I am confident that with a future Conservative government, we will properly define firearms in this country.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague ended his speech by stating that he will be voting against Bill C-21, because it is useless.
    However, I did appreciate my colleague's efforts to adopt an amendment that he proposed at the last minute. When he sat down beside me to discuss this amendment and to ask me if I would be voting in favour of it, he saw that I had noted on my sheet that I would be voting against it.
    He asked me why I wanted to vote against his amendment. He explained the intent behind it. He told me that people had confided in him that they had mental health issues they wanted to treat, but that they would not seek treatment because they were afraid their firearms would be confiscated immediately. The amendment he was presenting would allow them to entrust their firearms to someone else while waiting for help to address their mental health issues.
    Once he explained that to me and made me aware of the issue, I agreed to vote in favour of the amendment. The same thing happened with all our colleagues and it was unanimous. We voted in favour of his amendment that, I believe, will help many people. I think it is a shame to hear him say that the bill will not serve any purpose. I understand that he would have liked us to do more about firearms trafficking, to do more in other areas, but I would still like to hear him say that there is at least one good thing in this bill and that he directly contributed to that.

  (2020)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, look, I will not argue. My amendment is a very good amendment, and I do appreciate the support we got. In fact, as I said in my speech, the NDP amendment to remove the airsoft portion was a good amendment too. However, the best amendment would have been to get rid of the handgun freeze in the first place. Then I would not have needed my amendment, because that is what created the problem.
    The demographic that is three times less likely to commit a crime in Canada, the restricted firearms owners, is being penalized and targeted by the Liberal government, which is not allowing them to legally use their firearms. That is why I needed the amendment. I have a constituent who was going through a situation, and he transferred, not temporarily stored, his handguns to another person. The guy works with the local law enforcement back in my riding, but now he is stuck. He sorted out his mental health issue or whatever the problem was, and he cannot get his own handguns back.
    My point is that if that freeze had not come into place, I would not have needed to introduce my amendment. The fact that I introduced a necessary amendment to make the bill less worse does not make it a useful bill. It is still a useless bill.
    That is all the time we have for that one.
    Just as a reminder, I will ask members to keep comments and questions as short as possible so everybody can participate in tonight's debate.

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Lévis—Lotbinière.
    I want to speak today in solidarity with all the honest, law-abiding people in Lévis—Lotbinière who legally own guns for reasons other than committing violent crimes.
    My colleagues will no doubt understand that I have come here to defend honest hunters and shooters, farmers, and collectors who own guns passed down from one generation to another.
    The absurd thing about the Liberal government is that their bills miss their targets most of the time—that is probably a bad pun—as does their budget, for that matter.
    How will legalizing drugs prevent or reduce crime? That is utter nonsense. How can anyone believe that restricting the use of certain registered and legal weapons is going to reduce the same criminal activity that continues to rise because of bad Liberal decisions?
    The solution to the ever-increasing crime is quite simple, and it is the same for everything else that has not worked in our country since 2015. We are headed straight for a cliff because the Liberals are in power and they are making bad decisions.
    The goal of the new Liberal amendments to Bill C‑21 is not to protect us, but to score political points and instill a false sense of security in the population. The facts prove otherwise and nothing will change.
    I would like to talk about academic and government stakeholders, such as Dr. Caillin Langmann, assistant clinical professor at McMaster University. He stated that available research has demonstrated that the proposed ban on handguns and semi-automatic weapons would not reduce the rates of homicide and mass homicide.
    Someone who wants to inflict harm has the imagination and means to do so. What causes an individual to commit the irreparable quite often begins with the family violence that children witness. These children will become uncontrollable adults who abuse drugs that have become legal and who commit increasingly serious crimes.
    The rehabilitation system for these individuals is not working and the Liberal Party encourages this scourge through bad policies and complacency. As proof, the Liberal Party's catch-and-release policies are not working. After eight years of Liberal governance, violent crimes have increased by 32% and gang-related homicides have doubled.
    Rather than cracking down on the illegal guns used by criminals and street gangs, the Prime Minister is working to take hunting rifles away from law-abiding farmers, hunters and indigenous peoples.
    Let us be clear. The Liberals' new definition is the same as the old one. The commonly used hunting firearms targeted by the Liberals in the fall will likely be added to the ban by the new Liberal firearms advisory panel.
    Let there be no mistake. There is nothing new in the amendments proposed by the Liberals. They have just wrapped the initial amendments up in a new package. Hunters, farmers and indigenous peoples are not naive, and neither are the Conservatives. The Conservatives do not support taking guns away from law-abiding farmers, hunters and indigenous peoples. When the Liberals say that they are banning so-called assault-style firearms, they really mean that they are banning hunting rifles. The Prime Minister even admitted as much a few months ago.
    No one believes that the government is going to reduce violent crime across the country by going after hunters and legitimate hunting rifles. That is part of the Liberal government's plan to distract Canadians from the real issues our country is facing and to divide them.

  (2025)  

    For eight years now, have the Liberals been aware that they are making life easier for violent criminals by repealing mandatory minimum sentences for gun crimes with legislation stemming from Bill C‑5?
    Are the Liberals aware that they are making it easier for violent criminals to get bail with legislation stemming from Bill C‑75?
    Are the Liberals aware that they are making life easier for violent criminals by not stopping the flow of illegal guns across the U.S. border?
    Conservatives support common-sense gun policies, policies that will stop dangerous criminals from getting guns. That is why a Conservative government will invest in policing and securing our borders rather than spending billions of dollars confiscating guns from farmers, hunters, indigenous people and law-abiding Canadians.
    Let us not be fooled. The Liberals are the champions of wishful thinking. The Liberals are also the champions of empty gestures, empty words and wasting our hard-earned money.
    Quality of life has gone down considerably in Canada in the past eight years in every area of daily life and not just because of the increasing crime rate, which, again, jumped by 32%. When we look at the facts, the current situation and the numbers, we see that this is no longer working. One just needs to look at the number of available jobs, the backlog in immigration cases, the applications for temporary foreign workers that are blocked and have caused businesses back home such as Olymel to shut down.
    I am thinking about the Liberals' rejection of my Bill C‑215, which sought to promote life by allowing people with a serious disease such as cancer to be entitled to 52 weeks of employment insurance to get back on their feet. I am thinking about all these young people to whom the Liberal Party is offering addiction to dangerous substances as a life work; as we all know, using hard drugs brings more problems. That is obvious and it only makes sense to acknowledge it.
    I have a hard time seeing how Bill C‑21 will achieve the Liberal Party's murky goal of lowering the crime rate and making our streets safer.
    In closing, in Lévis—Lotbinière, the majority of us are responsible, law-abiding people. More than ever, we need a return to a Conservative government to restore order in our country and in our politics, and to put money back in our pockets.

  (2030)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite, during his speech, kept referring to the Liberal government attacking law-abiding hunters and law-abiding farmers who are trying to get rid of pest animals on their farms. Could the member please tell me which hunting rifle currently used by law-abiding hunters would be banned if this bill were passed?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, simply introducing this bill in the House, going after honest Canadians instead of going after criminals and those who bring illegal guns into Canada, shows how much the Liberals have chosen to politicize an issue tied to safety, one on which we could have worked together, just for political gains because they are truly afraid of losing the next election.
    Mr. Speaker, I am surprised. I have been following this debate for two days, and yesterday I heard the member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord say that the Conservative Party was the only party standing up for hunters. I heard that many times.
    It is clear, however, that the member for Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia has proven herself to be doing just that. No hunting weapons will be affected by Bill C-21.
    As public policy-makers, I think we have a duty to tell our constituents the truth. I would like to hear my colleague tell the truth once and for all about the fact that hunters will not be affected by Bill C‑21. If he is honest, I think he has to say that.
    Mr. Speaker, the truth is that an inordinate amount of time, nearly 14 months, has been spent on an issue that could have been tackled from a different angle in order to make Canada safer. The biggest part of the problem is the illegal guns that are coming across our borders and being bought by criminals and street gangs, who use them to commit violent crimes.
    I would like my friend to understand that the Bloc Québécois is currently defending criminals rather than honest citizens.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, hopefully the third time is a charm. I will ask my hon. colleague a third time: Can he stand in this place to name one rifle or shotgun that would be prohibited by Bill C-21? If he cannot, will he publicly state and acknowledge that this bill does not, in fact, go after farmers, hunters and indigenous communities and the models they are currently using?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I hope that my colleague can recognize the great collusion of the NDP and the Liberal Party in proposing policies that undermine public safety in Canada.
    At present, we are working on a bill that may not remain on the books. The government is not really tackling the issue of illegal weapons that cross the U.S. border into Canada and are purchased by street gangs that commit serious crimes.
    Mr. Speaker, I am curious. I may not have followed everything, but I do not believe that I heard the answer to an important question. What type of firearm used by hunters is banned by this bill?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like my esteemed colleague, who is a minister, to assure the hunting community that the advisory committee to be created and appointed by the Liberals will protect hunters' interests.
    To ask the question is to answer it.

  (2035)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I apologize to my hon. colleague that at this hour, my French is not up to putting this question.
    We have had discussions of the red-flag laws in this place on Bill C-21. I have read the Mass Casualty Commission report and find it deeply disturbing that, over a period of over a decade and a half, reports were made to the police that the man who ultimately killed 22 Nova Scotians had guns, and over the course of 15 years, reports were made to the police that he was violent and had done damage to his intimate partner. No action was taken in any of those cases.
    I would like to ask the member if he considers that it is worth it to bring in a law that could have saved 22 lives in Nova Scotia if it had been in place before the events of April 2020.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I think that is the most intelligent question I have been asked this evening.
    Of course, if a person who has been granted the right to own a firearm is negligent, engages in domestic violence or is found to be suffering from mental illness, then it would be appropriate for that person to lose that right. A red-flag measure could be considered in such cases.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Outremont.
    I am pleased today to speak to this legislation, Bill C-21, which speaks to the complexities of responding effectively to the escalating gun violence we are seeing in this country. There is surely no easy solution.
     In Canada, we continue to justifiably pride ourselves on being a place of peace, but there are fissures in that feeling of security. The debate on Bill C-21, in particular the now infamous amendments, is no exception. From what I have heard to date, whether from constituents at home in the Yukon or from any member of the House speaking to this subject, we all agree that more needs to be done to keep our communities safer, even as each party, perhaps each member of the House, may harbour different ideas as to how best to achieve the peace we are all seeking.
     Acts of violence have increased again in recent years. Despite the rhetoric of easy blame, there are likely multiple reasons for this increase. Organized crime, intimate partner violence, gang violence and random acts of violence are all contributors. From the horrific mass casualty event in Nova Scotia in early 2020, to the recent tragic stabbing of a 17-year-old in Vancouver, to the shooting of Sgt. Eric Mueller hardly a stone’s throw from the House just last week, we cannot ignore the rise in violent crime.
     Enter Bill C-21. When this bill was initially introduced, many of my constituents reached out to express concerns about some of the provisions. They were from both vigilant and law-abiding firearms owners and those without their own firearms who were concerned about the further pressure on an already tightly regulated activity. Thus began my own journey with this bill and its various iterations.
     When consulting with Yukoners, I found support for some of the provisions of the bill, such as bolstered law enforcement to address illegal sales and smuggling, stiffer penalties for transgressions, commitments to invest in early diversion program, and measures such as the red-flag and yellow-flag laws to make it easier for early intervention where risk was apparent. These all remain notable and worthy aspects of Bill C-21.
    However, I must highlight, before we address the amendments and their revisions, concerns remain from handgun owners. Some of them are collectors, and others use handguns on the trapline or when they are travelling in remote areas. In skilled hands, handguns provide protection against potential predators in the wilderness and are far less cumbersome than a rifle.
     There were also concerns about the ban on airsoft rifles, the limitations to be set restricting the pathways to elite sports shooting and the ability of indigenous peoples to access guns to pursue their livelihoods, rights recognized in the Constitution Act of 1982.
     I have been assured that pathways to sports shooting will be addressed in regulations, but the uncertainty of who will be included remains disconcerting for many. It is now no secret that, when the substantial G-4 amendments were introduced in committee, they arrived in short notice and were welcomed by few. The amendments, in addition, were confusing to interpret, and arrived without substantial prior consultation with indigenous peoples, hunters, sport shooters, or for that matter, rural MPs.
     I would not dwell on the angst that these original amendments aroused in my riding, as well as in other areas of the country. The lack of clarity confused and angered many. Law-abiding Canadians, indigenous communities with recognized rights and others were uncertain whether certain rights would be upheld or indeed, if and how they were going to be fairly compensated for firearms that would need to be handed over. Some collector pieces, whether handguns or rifles, are worth hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars. Regardless of prices, some of these pieces have heritage or sentimental value that cannot be matched by undefined promises of compensation. In short, it is no wonder that many reasonable Yukoners were upset.
    In speaking for Yukoners, as well as for other potentially affected people around the country, including first nations and other indigenous communities, I was pleased to see how much improvement to these amendments we were able to influence and achieve. Ultimately, the controversial amendments were withdrawn with ensuing consultations around the country, including in the Yukon, leading to the new amendments currently being considered in this debate.
    The Minister of Public Safety came to the Yukon to meet with hunters, outfitters and first nations, and his efforts were widely appreciate. The now revised amendments have, likewise, been recognized as a positive step forward from those initially proposed. No longer is there a massive and confusing list of banned guns. Firearm models presently on the market are to be exempt from the assault weapon definition, and current owners now have some room to breathe.
     A new advisory committee, which would include hunting and sport shooting experts, indigenous peoples and gun control advocates, would be launched to determine classifications on firearms newly on the market. The onus on classification would now shift from the owner to the manufacturer. Few would argue that we need urgent action to address ghost guns and their vast potential to make gun crime easier to commit and harder to detect.

  (2040)  

    I am encouraged by the proposed makeup of this advisory committee, and I hope that this committee will help bring together individuals with different perspectives to chart a course forward to make our communities safer, something that we need to do much more of to achieve effective and lasting solutions to gun violence.
    From the opportunities I have had to sit at the public safety committee from time to time and hear testimony from both gun control advocacy groups, such as PolySeSouvient, as well as from hunters and sport shooters, all agree that there is more we must do to keep our communities safe and there is space for these different perspectives to come together to find a way forward. Speaking of the public safety committee, I would like to thank the chair and all members of this committee. They have worked long hours of late to deliberate on the revised amendments on behalf of Canadians.
    I appeal to all parties to not get bogged down in what has become an unnecessarily polarizing debate: urban vs. rural; progressives against Conservatives. On this issue and, may I say, on many others, we all want the same outcome.
    Thus, I believe the proposed advisory committee could be a means to objectively, through expert and balanced eyes, take this assessment out of the hands of the politicians who have allowed it to become politicized through the oversimplification of the debates.
    The statistics and quotes colleagues on both sides of the aisle are applying can also oversimplify the situation. While the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police supports Bill C-21, particularly the intensified border controls and penalties, and have recognized that a national handgun ban is preferable to a provincial or municipal approach, it also, in the same statement, acknowledges that banning legally owned handguns will have a limited impact on one of the root causes of handgun-related crime, the illegal handguns obtained through the United States.
    We have seen an increase over the past few years in firearm-related homicides. For example, Statistics Canada reported an increase in firearm-related homicides by 91% between 2013 and 2020. One in three homicides in Canada are firearms-related, and about half of these are committed with handguns, yet 79% of solved homicides involving firearms have been committed by a perpetrator who did not hold a valid firearms license.
    In a more local level, and a wrenching example, in October of 2021, there was a double homicide and an additional individual injured in a shooting in Faro, Yukon, using an illegally obtained firearm. Statistics alone, though, risk overlooking the thousands of Canadians whose lives have been touched by firearm-related crimes. Lives lost needlessly will never be returned, and the families changed will never be the same.
    Setting Bill C-21 aside, we are continuing to work on making our communities safer. It is important to note that there is much more to this government’s response to gun violence than what is contained within the bill. Control of trafficking at the borders is essential. Our government has invested $312 million over the last few years to enhance the capacity of the RCMP and CBSA to halt the flow of illegal guns through our borders. We need to do more to clamp down on straw sales and the illegal movement of firearms.
    Earlier this year, I was honoured to be on hand when the City of Whitehorse received almost a million dollars through our building safer communities fund. This fund strives to divert at-risk youth away from gun and gang violence early and prevent devastating situations from arising.
    Just last week, the Minister of Public Safety