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44th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 211

CONTENTS

Monday, June 12, 2023




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 151
No. 211
1st SESSION
44th PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Monday, June 12, 2023

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    The House met at 11 a.m.

Prayer



Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

  (1105)  

[Translation]

Child Health Protection Act

    The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C‑252, An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act (prohibition of food and beverage marketing directed at children), as reported (with amendments) from the committee.
    There being no motions at report stage, the House will now proceed, without debate, to the putting of the question on the motion to concur in the bill at report stage.
     moved that the bill be concurred in.

[English]

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

    (Motion agreed to)

     moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.
    She said: Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to rise today to discuss my bill, Bill C-252. I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank my colleagues for all their support and hard work in advancing the bill.
     Bill C-252 essentially seeks to prohibit the marketing of foods that contain excessive amounts of sugar, sodium and saturated fats to children below the age of 13.
    Additionally, the bill contains a provision that would mandate Health Canada to monitor the impact of the bill on the marketing of foods and beverages to teenagers between ages 13 and 18. This is done in an effort to ensure that food companies and advertisers will not simply turn around and amp up their marketing to teenagers to compensate for these new limits. Hence, the bill would provide an opportunity to verify the impact of this legislation and make adjustments if necessary.
    One of the most concerning health issues for Canadians today is childhood obesity. To date, one in three children in Canada is either overweight or obese. We know that obesity leads to higher lifetime risk of developing severe health conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and other chronic diseases.
    Obesity increases the risk of at least 11 different cancers, and evidence has shown that diet-related diseases now kill more Canadians than smoking. In 2019, dietary risk factors contributed to an estimated 36,000 deaths, and the burden of chronic diseases, impacted mainly by diet and other modifiable risk factors, has been estimated to cost $13.8 billion in Canada.
    Despite these dire consequences, the proportion of obese children has nearly tripled in the last 25 years. Our government has recognized these issues, and that was why it launched, in 2016, the healthy eating strategy to help make the healthier choice the easier choice for Canadians.
    In 2019, the revised Canada's food guide provided Canadians with relevant, consistent and credible dietary guidance. In 2020, sodium reduction targets were published to encourage sodium reduction in food supply. However, there is still more work to be done.
    It is a well-established fact that one of the major explanations for obesity is attributed to food marketing to children. The World Health Organization recognized the marketing of foods and beverages to children to be problematic as early as 2010. In fact, in a recent policy brief, it went as far as to call the evidence that food marketing altered food preferences, choices and purchases as unequivocal. Furthermore, the World Health Organization stated that food marketing not only affected children's physical health, but it also “threatens their emotional, mental and spiritual well-being”.
    Children in Canada are currently being exposed to hundreds of ads every day. Whether it is through TV, online, video games or other forms of marketing, children are a highly targeted market. This is worrisome, because we know that children are especially vulnerable and susceptible to marketing. They are less able to understand or question the purpose or essence of the marketing and, as such, become easy targets of influence as they absorb and accept the messages.
    A 2017 report on the health of Canadians has shown that well over 90% of food and beverage product advertisements viewed by children online or on TV have been for products that are high in sugars, sodium and saturated fats. It is not surprising then to learn that kids aged nine through 13 get more calories, almost 60%, from ultra-processed foods than any other age group.
    This is especially problematic, because childhood is the period during which children learn and develop lifelong eating habits, and we know just how impactful food marketing is on the eating habits of our children.
    We currently have a situation where corporations that produce foods and beverages with excessive amounts of sugar, sodium and saturated fats are allowed to market and target them to the most vulnerable members of our society, who then adopt problematic eating habits.
    Furthermore, a 2018 UNICEF report argued that unhealthy food marketing to children constituted a violation of a number of children's rights as recognized in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which includes children's right “to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health.”
    Bill C-252 would give us the tools to end the marketing of foods that contain the three excessive ingredients to kids and would enable them to make better and healthier food choices for themselves.
    There have been some critiques of the bill. Some have said that it is not needed, because the Association of Canadian Advertisers has developed a code, “Code for the Responsible Advertising of Food and Beverage Products to Children”, which sets some limits on what is considered reasonable advertising of foods and beverages to children. They have argued that the code is enough and therefore any further legislative efforts is superfluous. To that I would say absolutely not.
     A significant amount of research has shown time and again that self-regulatory codes do not work, as they are voluntary in nature and make it too easy for industry players to amp up or simply opt out. On the other hand, the development of a code clearly demonstrates that the industry players recognize the existence of a problem with marketing to kids. While this recognition is welcomed, ultimately their efforts simply do not suffice.
    Dr. Warshawski, chair of the board of directors at the Childhood Obesity Foundation, during his appearance at the Standing Committee on Health, stated, “The fox should not...guard the henhouse”. We only have to look at the United Kingdom and Spain. They are respectively developing regulations to prohibit the marketing of foods to children after having witnessed first-hand that there were no positive outcomes from their existing self-regulatory industry codes.
    Others have expressed concern that Bill C-252 could capture and prohibit the marketing of foods that are pantry stables, such as bread or milk. Let me be clear that is not the aim of this bill. The way the bill is framed it specifically directs Health Canada to develop regulations with the necessary nuances.
    As Dr. Sharma from Health Canada repeatedly explained during her appearance at the health standing committee that the phrasing of this bill allowed for the creation of categories rather than the targeting of specific foods, which in turn would allow for a nuanced implementation and application.
     In other words, foods that contain high levels of one of the targeted nutrients, but which are generally considered to be beneficial to children’s diets, such as fruits that contain high levels of sugars, would easily be exempted from the legislation. This process would be entirely based on an extensive regulatory process that would not only include consultations with a variety of actors, but also be based on strong scientific evidence regarding the nutritional needs of our children.
    Some have also attempted to deform the bill and make it into something that it is not, which is an attempt to tell parents what they can and cannot buy for their children. This is simply and unequivocally false. Having raised three children myself, I strongly believe that parents have all the freedom in deciding and choosing how they want to raise and feed their children.
     Bill C-252 does not target parents and adults, but strictly children. It is about removing the possibility of a billion dollar industry to reach our vulnerable children and manipulate them through the marketing techniques that will lure them into desiring products that we know could be detrimental to their health. Parents are and remain fully responsible for the food choices they make for their kids. The bill is simply about evening out the playing field and ensuring that parents can make decisions about the nutrition of their children without having to push back against powerful outside influences.
    Finally, some have tried to argue that the bill should not be adopted because it would preclude other aspects of health from being addressed. For example, some people have said that the bill should not be adopted because they perceive it as a risk to the continuation of sports sponsorship and community sports. I would invite them to look at Quebec, as it serves as a model whereby sports sponsorship aimed at children has been restricted for over 40 years, yet community sports are still very much alive and well in the province. My bill’s focus on specific nutrients leaves plenty of space for a modified approach to sports sponsorship.

  (1110)  

    Similarly, critiques have advanced that, instead of passing this bill, we should focus on encouraging children to be more active. This view represents a very limited and ultimately insufficient approach to health. There is no doubt whatsoever that sports and physical activity play an important role in protecting the health of our children. However, health is a multifactorial element, and diet is just as important as physical activity. As such, our government has committed to significant investments to encourage children to move and to participate in team sports, notably with a $10-million investment in the recent 2023 budget. The supposed opposition between my bill and an approach more focused on active living is simply uncalled for. Both healthy eating and physical activity can, and in fact should, coexist. Ultimately, this is not a magic bullet that could fix childhood obesity all on its own. It is, however, an absolutely needed and key component of a broader, comprehensive strategy that needs to address this important issue.
     It is also worth reminding everyone that this bill has been a long time coming. As many members may know, there have been previous attempts to advance similar legislation, which suffered from significant push-back. Most notable is former senator Nancy Greene Raine’s efforts with Bill S-228, which unfortunately got stalled in the Senate and died on the Order Paper. Similarly, we witnessed efforts by the opposition to stall this bill at the committee stage. Some members have even tried to represent the bill as lacking in consultation with stakeholders, when in fact we have heard, time and time again, the same arguments from the food and advertising industries, which have deployed extensive resources in trying to block this legislation. Industries have had plenty of opportunities to express their concerns regarding this bill, which have been heard and have been taken into account in my version of Bill C-252. Industries would continue to have opportunities to express themselves throughout the regulatory process.
    In Canada, we have the chance to have a remarkable consensus across party lines regarding our approach to health. We all believe in the importance of working to ensure the healthiest possible life for every single Canadian, no matter their age or their means. Ultimately, I believe that every member of Parliament has good reasons to support this bill. That is why I would like to say to my colleagues that we should make sure we act as quickly as possible to get this bill passed. It is long overdue, and our children deserve it.

  (1115)  

    Mr. Speaker, I look forward to speaking to this bill after questions and comments, but I have one question for the member opposite. She has said that this has been in legislation in Quebec for the last 40 years. How much lower is the obesity rate in children in Quebec since the act was legislated in that province?
    Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned, Quebec has served as a model in terms of not targeting marketing to kids.
    However, this bill goes a lot further and is much broader. We want to put more measures in place to ensure that foods that are unhealthy for kids are not marketed to them. Obviously, there have been industries that have tried, in various forms and through various attempts, to still market to young children.
    Having a law across the land would make this equal for everyone and would ensure that Quebec would abide by the same restrictions as all other provinces across the land.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to hear that Quebec is serving as a model once again.
    My question for my colleague is quite simple. Can she guarantee that there will be no encroachment on Quebec's jurisdiction in civil matters? That is my real concern and it will set the tone in terms of how we vote.
    Mr. Speaker, the goal is not to encroach on areas of provincial jurisdiction. The goal is to protect the well-being of our children and to ensure that children are not targeted by advertising campaigns that promote unhealthy eating. Health Canada looks after its areas of jurisdiction and the provinces have theirs.

  (1120)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I have been listening intently, and this is a conversation that constituents in the riding of Waterloo often have. Negotiating with a three-year-old child, a five-year-old child or even an older one is sometimes very difficult when it comes to marketing.
    The member spoke about raising her children, so I would like to hear from her about what would have changed if legislation like this had existed while the member was raising her children and what the impacts would be for kids and families today, including those in Waterloo.
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague has an excellent question. If such a law had been adopted a few years back, when Senator Greene Raine brought it before the Senate, we probably would have decreased the number of deaths that I have reported since then. More important, we know this is putting a strain on our health care system and is costing, in Canada, $13.8 billion a year. Therefore, it is monetary, in ensuring that our health system does not get negatively impacted. Of course, an impact is also that our kids would have a better and healthier jump-start to their lives.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my hon. colleague for this bill, which we will be supporting.
    My question concerns the age. My colleague referred to Senator Greene Raine's bill from 2016, which would have prohibited marketing to children under 17 years of age. At that time, the Liberals, her colleagues, at the health committee amended that bill to reduce the target age from 17 to 13. According to UNICEF, the proposed cut-off of 17 was more likely than a younger age threshold to protect the most vulnerable from the harmful impacts of marketing. We know that teens are exposed to more ads than younger children and that they remember them better.
    Is my colleague interested in watching to see if the food manufacturers target more ads at 14-year-olds to 17-year-olds, and does she agree with the NDP that we have to be very vigilant to protect those children as well from this kind of marketing?
    Mr. Speaker, that is an excellent question. In fact, the bill contains a provision that would mandate Health Canada to monitor impacts of this bill on the marketing of foods and beverages to teenagers aged between 13 and 18. This would be done specifically in an effort to ensure that food companies and advertisers would not simply, as I mentioned, turn around and ramp up their marketing to teenagers to compensate for these new limits. Therefore, the bill would give this opportunity to verify, once Bill C-252 becomes law, and to see the impacts of this legislation.
    Mr. Speaker, I am happy to rise today to speak to Bill C-252. I will not be supporting it, for various reasons, and I am going to walk through those reasons now. A lot of people in this place are parents, and I am a parent of three young children. Jameson is six. Clare is turning eight in July, and my son Nickson is 10, and we do talk a lot about nutrition in our family. I think a very important role of a parent is to begin healthy eating habits early in life.
    With respect to kids being marketed to and Health Canada wanting to pull back some marketing, it seems like Health Canada always wants to bring in more and more bans. I remember that last year we were fighting Health Canada when it was trying to make amendments to front-of-package labelling to label whole beef and whole pork as unhealthy. It did that labelling for before the whole beef or whole pork was actually cooked. Once it is cooked, it loses a lot of its trans fats; the oil drips off, and then we actually have a healthier meal. That is another example of the banning that the government, seemingly continuously, wants to do, taking more and more control over the lives of Canadians. They are just expected to listen to exactly what the government says, and I think that is a dangerous road to go down.
    One thing the government was doing was talking about marketing. It struck me as funny that, as I was driving down a road in Ottawa, I saw a candy store frontage, but it was not actually a candy store; it was a cannabis store. When we talk about taking on some marketing and some advertising, maybe we should start with not allowing certain companies to actually make cannabis look like candy. It would be a really good start in this country to actually tackle some of that marketing.
    When we were looking at other aspects of Bill C-252, my colleague from Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies came over and talked about why we were trying to fight against the bill in its previous iteration with Senator Greene Raine. The unintended consequence of the bill is that it would take away opportunities for sponsorship in youth sports. Timbits hockey actually sponsors 300,000 kids to play sports in Canada. When we want to have these opportunities for kids who cannot play, because sometimes sports are becoming expensive, we need sponsorship like this. Why would we take a bill that would bring forward government regulations to, and I disagree with my colleague opposite, tell parents what to feed their kids, what is healthy and what is not?
    Do members know how much access we are able to have to information on ingredients in the grocery store? My wife takes our kids grocery shopping all the time, and she actually shows them the ingredients that are in the stuff they want her to buy. They look at the first ingredient, and it is sugar. She says, “Why would we buy this? It is full of sugar and it is not going to make us healthy or give us energy.” That is what parents should do; they should create healthy eating habits. The member who spoke previously, the sponsor of the bill, did say that we have to have a multi-faceted approach to kids when it comes to treating obesity and bringing obesity rates down. That approach does involve physical activity.
    We have been talking about all the marketing kids are seeing, but my kids do not see a lot of marketing. They are on an iPad or a cell phone one hour a week; on Saturdays they get to play a game. The rest of the time, we go outside and play. We are very active. This weekend I was at home, and I watched six flag football games because our kids were outside. When they were not playing flag football in the league, they were practising with other kids in the park. That fights obesity. Something we should be more focused on is getting our kids outside and playing, and that is something my wife and I have, as parents, taken to heart.

  (1125)  

    Also, parents should show a healthy lifestyle to their kids. We should be role models for our kids. We do not need the government to tell us how to feed our kids and what they should and should not be doing. Parents need to be better role models across this country for their children, and I think that is something we really need to focus on. I see it time and time again when intermingling with some other parents, where the first thing their kid does is to grab their iPhone from their pocket and sit with it for an hour. We need to be more involved. That is not government's job; that is our job as parents, and it is our job as to what we should be teaching our children. This is why, when legislation like this is brought forward, I am actually quite disappointed.
    This legislation is not new; it has been done in Quebec. For 40 years, this legislation has been in place in Quebec. I asked the member very directly how much the obesity rates have gone down in Quebec with this legislation. Members probably noticed that she would not give a number. She would not answer, because government legislation does not have that much of an affect on what kids are going to eat; parents do, and that is what we should be focusing on.
    The member talked about $10 million in the 2023 budget for keeping kids active. When that is spread across the country, it is not a lot of money to keep Canadian youth active. However, legislation such as this has actually been done in Canada and proven not to be as helpful as some members like to say. This seems to me to be the definition of insanity: doing the same things over and over again and expecting different outcomes. I see that a lot with the government.
    The government talks about marketing to children and trying to make sure that children are not affected by it, because they might respond negatively. However, we also have to teach our kids that they are going to see things in their lives, but they have to learn and be able to look at it, say that it is not for them and move on. We should actually teach our children to see marketing, look at the package on the label when grocery shopping and make the decision not to eat it and put it in their body. The government does not have to do that for parents and kids.
    There are a lot of roles where I know there is not a big difference between the Liberals and the NDP members, who think that government can do nothing wrong. Over here, we think government should be less and less involved in the everyday lives of Canadians; this legislation is a perfect example of that. I do not want the government to look after me or my children from cradle to grave. I want us to be able to make our own decisions.
    Kids might make mistakes. We work hard, but we are not perfect. Our kids do get the odd stomach ache from eating too much candy or too many chips, but the kids actually learn a lesson from that as well. They realize that they cannot put all this artificial food in their system, because it actually makes them feel unwell; that is a learning experience.
    However, to say that the government can control what kids are going to see and control marketing is an issue. In an earlier part of my speech, I brought forward a very valid point, which is that if we want to talk about marketing to children, we need to talk about the fact that people are trying to market cannabis to children and call it a “candy shop”. We should look at tackling some of those issues, which are actually dangerous to kids, and let the parents tackle issues of healthy dietary habits, healthy habits when it comes to staying active and making sure that we are more involved in our kids' lives, day in and day out.
    The government is not going to solve those problems; the government of the day definitely will not solve many problems. However, as an engaged parent and a member of society who actually wants to help out and make sure that kids are making healthier choices, I think we have to have more education system involvement when kids have phys. ed. class. Kids can quite often opt out of phys. ed. class. We have to stay active, and we have to stay motivated to make sure that we are making healthy lifestyle choices; that can be a part of it.
    My Liberal colleagues have said that we need a multi-faceted approach, but maybe they can take all the effort that has been put into the bill before us into keeping kids more active. In that way, when they get older and have to make choices by themselves, they are going to stay active. They will have a healthy lifestyle, and they will have a healthier diet. This is how we are trying to train our kids so that they can make their own choices. They can read what is on the label and decide that if the first ingredients are sugar and carbonated water, it is not going to be healthy for them. However, we need to train the next generation to actually make decisions on their own, because the government cannot make every decision for them.

  (1130)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to acknowledge the initiative of the member for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, who tabled Bill C-252. The purpose of the bill is to amend the Food and Drugs Act to prohibit food and beverage marketing directed at persons under the age of 13.
    Young people have a very difficult relationship with images. I am the mother of two young adults, so I talk to teens a lot. I can see that their relationship with images is difficult, because youth are exposed to a lot of images. On apps like Instagram, TikTok and BeReal, our youth are constantly exposed to marketing images or influencers showing them what kind of looks are acceptable in our societies.
    That is the main source of anxiety for many youth, because they are comparing themselves to filtered and altered images. They are seeing people use unhealthy weight loss methods. Youth are comparing themselves to something that cannot be real. These apps, which our youth use extensively, also contain marketing aimed at them. There are ads for unhealthy foods that are portrayed as very healthy. Youth are being manipulated through social media, which is at their fingertips all day.
    It is time for the House of Commons to take action to regulate the big industry groups that are unfortunately more interested in their profits than in the public health of youth, who are our future. We were all young once. We all know what it feels like to want to be cool. We still want that today. We have all wanted to copy everyone else. That is normal, and that is not what I want to question today. The issue is how big food companies that manufacture junk food use marketing. They know which buttons to press to make young people feel guilty about not having tried the latest sugary cereal. It may taste good, but it is not healthy.
    Just because there is a cute little rabbit in a field on the box does not mean that the product is healthy or that it is part of a healthy diet. If we can prohibit that kind of advertising from being directed at youth under the age of 13, we could save an entire generation from marketing. Let me give some figures.
    Obesity is a well-documented problem. Unfortunately, it is a problem that is on the rise in Quebec and around the world. According to a 2016 report from the Institut national de santé publique du Québec, the INSPQ, 52% of Quebeckers are overweight, meaning they have a body mass index, or BMI, of 25 or slightly more.
    Fully 18% of those people are obese, which corresponds to a BMI of 30 or more. That is a lot. According to the INSPQ’s most optimistic projections, those numbers could rise even more to 54% and 21%, respectively, by 2030. That is very worrisome. The increase in overweight and obesity among children has not stopped. It has been ongoing for the last few decades.
    Between 1978 and 2004, the combined prevalence of overweight and obesity among children between the ages of 2 and 17 rose from 15% to 26%. That is almost double. This increase was particularly marked among youth aged 12 to 17, with overweight and obesity again doubling for this age group, from 14% to 29%. It was precisely at this time that there was a significant explosion of processed foods on grocery store shelves.

  (1135)  

    It was the time of convenience. It was the era of frozen pizzas, Jell-O boxes and tasty fish sticks.
    I know many families for whom, in the 1980s and 1990s, frozen, overly processed foods with too much fat and too much salt were a magic solution. Indeed, they were easy meals. I do not blame the families, quite the opposite. I have two daughters and at 5:30 I used to run to go pick up my kids from school. Supper was not ready. Those evenings, my partner was working late at night, homework had to be done, and we hoped the kids were in bed by 8:00 p.m. or 9:00 p.m. The solution was a frozen meal. It was easy for me and it was what we had those evenings.
    As I said, we must take action for our young people, as we did with tobacco products. However, I am not burying my head in the sand. I know that this is not a problem that can be entirely resolved, but we certainly can help. We can do better, but we have to start.
    Young people spend a lot of time on screens. As parents, we have to control what they see, especially during childhood. It is not easy to control, but we have to plug the holes in the law. I am sure members know where I am going with this, because earlier I was explaining how proud we are that legislation has been passed in Quebec. The jurisdictions of Quebec and the provinces must be respected. I would remind members that it is Quebec that has full control over health care within its territory, delivers services and promotes healthy lifestyles. While the Bloc Québécois supports Bill C‑252, I want to point out that that it did not help develop the federal, provincial and territorial framework for action to promote healthy weights and that it does not support a pan-Canadian strategy in this area. Quebec intends to remain solely responsible for developing and implementing programs to promote healthy living within its territory, while obviously continuing to exchange information and expertise with the Government of Canada.
    The Bloc Québécois is going to examine whether the proposed strategy fits in with the approach Quebec has decided to take, with laws like its Consumer Protection Act. It will be important to ensure that Bill C-252 does not encroach on jurisdictions. This is a sine qua non because, as I seem to find myself saying quite often these days, respect must be maintained. Jurisdictions must be protected. Of course, it is important to safeguard the health of young people and do what we can to quickly bring down childhood obesity rates and tackle diabetes, which is a silent but ever-present evil.
    I would like to stress that health and well-being are critically important to me. I am an athletic person, in winter and summer alike. I have done triathlons, I ski and I have participated in figure skating, even competitively. I still pursue these activities. I still swim, surf and stay active. It is important to encourage our young people to adopt these healthy lifestyles. This goes hand in hand with nutrition.
     Parents have full discretion over how they raise their children, but they also need tools to help them. It is very important to be aware of these issues, as we in the Bloc Québécois are.
    We will therefore be voting for Bill C‑252, because children have the right to not be treated like merchandise and have the right to a childhood without little tigers, bunnies or any other characters trying to influence them at every corner. These are very appealing characters that are solely used to sell sugar.

  (1140)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak in support of Bill C-252, which has the laudable goal of prohibiting food and beverage marketing directed at children of materials that are unhealthy and damaging to their health. This legislation is long overdue.
    By way of a background, Canada's New Democrats have been advocating for a ban on unhealthy food and beverage marketing to children for many years. In 2012, over 10 years ago, the NDP member of Parliament for New Westminster—Burnaby introduced legislation to expressly prohibit advertising and promotion for commercial purposes of products, food, drugs, cosmetics or devices directly to children under 13 years of age. One can tell already from that short list that the bill was more ambitious than the one we are discussing today, which deals only with unhealthy food and beverages, but it dealt and engaged with the very same concepts before the House today.
    In 2016, as has already been heard in the House, Senator Nancy Greene Raine introduced the child health protection act. It was called Bill S-228, and that legislation would have banned the marketing of unhealthy food and beverages primarily directed at children under 17 years of age. A bit later I will touch on how this bill has reduced that age to 13, and of course, under 17 would have been more ambitious. As I will advocate in my remarks today, it would have been preferable.
    Health Canada held an online consultation in 2017 to seek feedback on restricting the marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to children. That was over six years ago. That consultation was open to the public, health organizations, industry and any interested stakeholders.
    At the House Standing Committee on Health at that time, the Liberals unfortunately amended Bill S-228 to reduce the age limit from under 17 years to under 13 years old. They also added a five-year legislative review, which is a prudent measure.
    According to UNICEF Canada, the proposed age cut-off of 17 was more likely than a younger age threshold to protect the most vulnerable from the harmful impacts of marketing. While there are different interpretations of children's evolving cognitive capacities, research suggests very strongly that not only are teens exposed to more ads than younger children and remember them better, but also that they have more means. Teenagers who are 15 and 16 years of age often have more expendable or disposable income, act in a more unsupervised manner and are more likely to purchase unhealthy foods than children under 13, yet I think, due to pressure from the industry, that threshold was reduced to 13.
    Although Bill S-228 did pass third reading in both the House and the Senate, unfortunately that bill died on the Order Paper due to a Conservative filibuster in the Senate prior to the 2019 federal election. That has left us where we are at today.
    I would also comment that the Liberal government has made a number of commitments since it was elected in 2015 that remain unfulfilled on this issue. The former Liberal health minister, in her 2019 mandate letter, was directed to “introduce new restrictions on the commercial marketing of food and beverages to children”. That was never followed through with.
    The current health minister's 2021 mandate letter instructed him to support “restrictions on the commercial marketing of food and beverages to children.” I suppose it can be said he is supporting that, in the sense that the government side is supporting this legislation, but we must remember there has been no action from the government. This is a private member's bill we are dealing with here, not a government bill.
    What is the result of the inaction? It is not benign. Each year, the Canadian food and beverage industry spends over $1.1 billion on marketing to children. This marketing appeals to children through product design, the use of cartoon or other characters, as well as fantasy and adventure themes, humour and other marketing techniques. Clearly these techniques work, with there being children as young as three years old who are brand aware and can recognize or name food and beverage brands.
    This marketing to children means that over 50 million food and beverage ads per year are shown on children's top 10 websites alone. Their personal identifying information is collected from websites and apps for the purposes of further targeting online marketing. Children in Canada are observing an estimated 1,500 advertisements annually, just on social media sites alone, and nearly 90% of food and beverages marketed on television and online are high in salt, sugars and saturated fat. That is what we as policy-makers are faced with in the current situation.

  (1145)  

    Let us look at the facts. Poor nutrition and unhealthy food and beverage are key contributors to poor health in children. Good eating habits and avoidance of unhealthy food are key preventative elements of health policy. There is strong agreement among leading Canadian pediatric and allied health organizations that the impact of food and beverage marketing is real, significant and harmful to children's development.
    Marketing to children has changed dramatically in the last 10 to 15 years. Today it is a seamless, sophisticated and often interactive process. The line between ads and children's entertainment has blurred with marketing messages being inserted into places that children play and learn. Marketing of food and beverages to children in Canada is largely self-regulated by the same industries that profit from the practice. Research reveals that these voluntary measures are not working. Numerous studies have found strong associations between increases in advertising of non-nutritious foods and rates of childhood obesity. One study by Yale University found that children exposed to junk food advertising ate 45% more junk food than children not exposed to such advertisements. In Canada, as much as 90% of the food marketed to children and youth on TV and online is unhealthy.
    Three-quarters of children are exposed to food marketing while using their favourite social media applications. Again, the majority of those ads is for unhealthy foods that are ultraprocessed and beverages that are high in saturated fats, salt and sugar. This does not just affect children. Canadians are the second-largest buyers of ultraprocessed foods and drinks in the world, second only to the Americans. The result is that nearly one in three Canadian children is overweight or obese. The rise in childhood obesity in recent decades is linked to changes in our eating habits. Overweight children are more likely to develop health problems later in life, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
    Children are uniquely vulnerable to marketing manipulation until the point that they achieve two specific information-processing skills. The first is the ability to perceive the difference between commercial and non-commercial content, and the second is the ability to understand the persuasive intent behind advertising. Before the age of five, most children cannot distinguish ads from unbiased programming. Children under eight do not understand the intent of marketing messages, and they believe what they see. By age 10 to 12, children do understand that ads are designed to sell products, but they are not always able to be critical of these ads.
    Canada needs to get in step with other countries in the world. Other jurisdictions have since adopted similar legislation, including Norway, the United Kingdom and Ireland. By the way, my Conservative colleague was questioned about Quebec earlier and the impact of their legislation, which has restrictions on advertising to children.
     Here are the facts: Quebec's restrictions on advertising to children have been shown to have a positive impact on nutrition by reducing fast food consumption by 13%. That translates to 17 million fewer fast food meals sold in the province and an estimated 13.4 million fewer fast food calories consumed per year. Quebec has the lowest rates of obesity among five- to 17-year-olds in the country, as well as the highest rates of vegetable and fruit consumption in Canada. That is relative to every other province. Now, it is true that childhood obesity rates are rising everywhere, but I think the effect of this marketing is quite clear, which is that it has slowed the rising obesity and unhealthy consumption of food marketing in Quebec, partially at least because of their early and, I think, progressive adoption of legislation before the House now.
    I would also point out that Quebec has prohibited all commercial advertising targeting children under the age of 13 since 1980, so it is very clear that it is the time for the rest of the country to get in step with this. I think most of us in here are parents, have siblings who are parents, or maybe intend to be parents at some point. Certainly, we were all once children. It should be non-controversial to say that marketing of unhealthy products to our children in this country should be something that we are vigilant on and that we should act to prohibit. I urge all my colleagues to support this legislation before the House today.

  (1150)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have appreciated listening to the discussion and debate this morning. I want to thank my colleague and friend for bringing forward such important legislation.
    A good percentage of us are provided the opportunity to introduce private members' legislation. My colleague has picked a substantive issue that impacts children from coast to coast to coast. I listened to the member speak to the legislation, and she emphasized that this bill is not about what food choices parents make. That is a very important part to emphasize.
    I start off by saying that because, when I was listening to the Conservative Party's member talk about the legislation, they said, in essence, that the legislation is not good and they will not be supporting it. I assume that will be the position the Conservative Party might take on this as a whole. It is somewhat discouraging, and I will tell members why. When we think of sugar, salt and saturated fats, and the health consequences of the over-consumption of those products, one needs to realize that there is a substantive cost that goes beyond the health condition of the individual consuming the products.
    I was a provincial MLA for just under 20 years. If we look at the greatest single expenditure that a province has, it is health care. Trying to marginalize, in any fashion, the impact that diets have on the health condition of our citizens is a disservice.
    I thought it was interesting when the member opposite from the Conservative Party said that all children have to do is get out and play football, or get out of the house more. They said that the government needs to get less involved in issues such as this. The members have missed out on a wonderful opportunity. I would ask the member to review what he said and look at what the legislation would actually do.
    This is substantive legislation. As the previous speaker from the New Democratic Party made reference to, we have to consider in the mentality of a child and the impact advertising has on them. The member from the Conservative Party is really out of tune.
    In the areas I represent, it is not like someone can run outside to their front yard to play flag football in the traditional north end of Winnipeg. There are fields maybe down the block or around the corner, but there are all sorts of other things that factor into it. Some people have different opportunities than others do.
    If we apply the very same principle that the government needs to be less involved to the issue of labelling, would the Conservative Party then reverse its course and its thinking on the importance of labelling to say the government should not be involved in it? I would argue that this is very much about consumer education. It is about the government providing assistance to consumers.
    The member said that this is about advertising. For children under the age of 13, we would put in prohibitions to prevent excessive amounts of sugar, salt and saturated fats. We can look at the targeting that takes place in advertising today. It is significantly different than what it was 10 or 15 years ago. I will use Facebook as an example. I can target, through Facebook, genders and ages. I can break it down into communities where I want to advertise. We can take a look at what children are engaged in today on the Internet and social media and how much more they are susceptible to advertising and promotions of unhealthy food.

  (1155)  

    I agree with the parenting factor. I am not going to tell members across the way what they have to feed their children, but I believe that at the same time, there is an obligation on government to look at ways it can promote and encourage healthy eating habits. Where there is a window for some form of exploitation that could ultimately lead to problems in our collective health, I think there is a responsibility for government. We know there are other governments around the world doing this, and it has already been highlighted that the Province of Quebec has been dealing, at least in part, with what this legislation is talking about for the last number of decades.
    I would emphasize that things have changed. We have seen, through that change, a great deal more obesity within our younger population. It is not just because of computer games or being in front of the Nintendo, Atari or whatever else one wants to call it. Yes, it would be wonderful to see more children out in our communities playing and participating in physical activities. There are things we can do to encourage and support that. As a government, we have done that by working with municipalities and working with the provinces. However, here, within Bill C-252, we have something very specific that will in fact make a difference.
    Take a look at what our children are viewing and watching and how advertisers can focus in. It is not just putting one ad on a TV network or one ad that goes in a particular book. Today, we can focus in on individual children under the age of 13 in promoting a product that we know is unhealthy.
    At the end of the day, it is not about saying to a parent, “No, you can't give your child this.” It is to ensure that a parent has more say, as opposed to child X seeing something on blog Y, because blog Y is about some game and is encouraging and promoting a particular product that is loaded with saturated fats, salt or sugar content.
    All sorts of chronic health conditions are a direct result of the obesity taking place in our communities. This legislation would make a positive difference for our young people. I hope that members, in particular of the Conservative Party, understand and appreciate that they can contribute to healthier children by supporting this legislation.

  (1200)  

[Translation]

    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.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Strengthening the Port System and Railway Safety in Canada Act

Bill C-33—Time Allocation Motion 

    That, in relation to Bill C-33, An Act to amend the Customs Act, the Railway Safety Act, the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992, the Marine Transportation Security Act, the Canada Transportation Act and the Canada Marine Act and to make a consequential amendment to another Act, not more than five further hours shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the said bill; and
    That, at the expiry of the five hours provided consideration at second reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.

  (1205)  

    Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1, there will now be a 30-minute question period. I invite hon. members who wish to ask questions to rise in their places or use the “raise hand” function so the Chair has some idea of the number of members who wish to participate in question period.
    Mr. Speaker, here we go again. This is the 37th time allocation motion that the NDP has supported thus far, showing that it is yet again a willing partner to the Liberals, aiding and abetting them in pushing time allocation.
    I did a little research comparing this NDP to the more historically principled NDP, from Tommy Douglas to Thomas Mulcair, and over the span of 17 Parliaments, it only supported time allocation and closure 14 times, averaging 1.2 times per Parliament. Here we are, for the 37th time, with the NDP supporting time allocation. Tommy Douglas must be rolling over in his grave.
    Five hours of debate is all we have had on this consequential piece of legislation. Why?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to remind the hon. member that each and every member of the House is elected by their constituents, and when the majority of the House of Commons is trying to advance bills that are in the best interests of Canadians, it is unfortunate that only the Conservative Party is standing in the way of this progress. Had the Conservative Party been more co-operative and willing to work together on advancing the public interests of Canadians, we would have seen the smoother passing and studying of bills.
    Today we are advancing an important bill for improving our supply chains and enhancing transparency for port management and port congestion, and I encourage all colleagues to work together on making sure that we pass a good bill for Canadians.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to express my disappointment with the closure motion on Bill C‑33.
    It is disappointing because I believe that this bill has some potential and could improve things to some extent. In the past, I have had discussions with the minister that seemed very encouraging. I hope that we can continue to work in that spirit. I particularly hoped that we, as parliamentarians, would have the opportunity to debate the bill before sending it directly to committee.
    I have a simple question for the minister. Why did the Liberals think it was necessary to invoke closure for Bill C‑33? Regardless of whether the bill is good or not, I hope that we will eventually have the opportunity to debate it.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his work on the transport committee and his co-operative attitude in making sure that we work together collaboratively to ensure that all laws passed in the House of Commons, including Bill C-33, are intended to serve Canadians.
    To his question, the answer is obvious if we follow the words of the leader of the official opposition. He publicly said that he is going to use all tools, tactics and tricks to delay our agenda, which is necessary to serve Canadians, from passing through the House of Commons. If the leader of the Conservative Party were following a co-operative and positive attitude to vigorously debate bills but ensure that we pass them for the service of all Canadians, we would not be here.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a bit rich hearing these protestations from the Conservatives regarding time allocation. If memory serves, the former Conservative government used time allocation 115 times. The Conservatives even had a cake in the lobby to mark the 100th time they invoked time allocation.
    I understand that the Conservatives have already decided they are going to vote against this bill at second reading. Has the minister had any conversations with the Conservatives that convey an intention to work in good faith to improve this bill on behalf of all Canadians?

  (1210)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for his work and diligence at the transport committee. As he is the transport critic for the NDP, we have been working together on advancing the public interests of all Canadians, including on safety in the rail network.
    I had conversations, including here in the House of Commons, in the chamber, during the first debate on Bill C-33 with my hon. colleague, the transport critic for the Conservatives. I encouraged him to work together on making sure that we pass a good bill for Canadians. Unfortunately, as my colleague said, I have seen no sign of their willingness to work together on a bill that is of paramount importance to Canadians and our supply chains.
    Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the minister could expand. When we look at the importance of the legislation to our ports and our rail yards, which are important to our whole supply chain, this is a critical updating of legislation that would make things that much more safe for Canadians from coast to coast to coast, quite frankly.
    The fear was that, if we did no bring in time allocation, this legislation would never pass. At least, at the very minimum, it would not get through until sometime in 2024 or 2025, and only if the Conservatives were prepared to do so. That is the reason we had to bring in time allocation.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for bringing this issue back into focus.
    Canadians know that over the last couple of years, because of COVID, extreme weather events, labour shortages and the illegal war in Ukraine, we have seen tremendous disruption in our supply chain. Our government established a supply chain task force last year, and it came back with a solid number of recommendations, 21 to be exact. Some of them were focused on port congestion. This bill would enhance the ability for ports to manage and ease congestion. In fact, it would enable ports to create inland terminals. Ports were not previously encouraged to do so. We are now empowering ports to manage vessel traffic in their jurisdictions.
    Those who live on the west coast know about the issue of traffic jams along the west coast, where for a long time no one has had the responsibility of managing traffic. This bill would create that ability. It would also enhance rail safety. This is an important bill for the safety of Canadians and for the resilience of our supply chain.
    Mr. Speaker, leave it to this minister to be the one to tell Canadians that they have never had it so good when it comes to our ports, air travel and rail.
    Our airlines are still a disaster under the minister's watch. He is going to blame that on COVID. Our ports over on the west side of the country are the third worst and ninth worst in the world under his watch. That is his track record.
    This bill is about 109 pages of nothing. All it would essentially do is establish a couple of committees that would not accomplish anything. It has nothing to do with setting up production. It is only about setting up more committees that would have more Liberal insiders to give more recommendations that are never going to be acted upon.
    Why will the minister not do the right thing, scrap this bill, start again, actually listen to Parliament and give us time to debate it? Time allocation after five hours is brutal. This is a minority Parliament, and the Liberals think they still have a majority. It is time to get back to democracy. What does the minister think?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians would take that member seriously if he knew what he was talking about.
    Canadians do not believe the Conservatives when they say the government is responsible for all of the problems happening around the world. I would take the member seriously if he could provide some common sense in his questions.
    Having said that, this bill has been tabled in the House of Commons for months. We continue to want to work with our colleagues across the aisle from all parties to make sure that the bill, when it is ready to pass in the House of Commons, has been fully debated. The committee would have the chance to welcome witnesses and experts to debate the bill.
    I am looking forward to having a constructive discussion not only with members of the NDP, the Bloc and the Green Party, but also with the Conservative Party. That is what Canadians expect of all of us.

  (1215)  

    Mr. Speaker, one of the benefits of having been in the House for a while is I do have recollection of previous Conservative governments. I watched the Harper government bring in time allocation time and time again. Therefore, it is quite rich to see Conservatives stand up in this House and complain about the use of time allocation. I would point out as well that the Conservatives are correct that time allocation can be an abused process by a government if it is using it to limit debate. However, of course, it is not abusive if it is doing it when the opposition is trying to filibuster and is trying to frustrate the legitimate business of the House, which is what Conservatives are doing in this House. Canadians need to know that.
     I was in the House the other night when the Conservatives put up 15 speakers to debate their motion to strip the short title of a bill on child care. That was the entire debate. Therefore, when the opposition is using that kind of process to frustrate the will of the democratically elected majority in the House, which is what is happening in this place, that certainly justifies the use of time allocation. I wonder if my hon. colleague would agree.
    Mr. Speaker, I agree. Do not take it from me; it is the leader of the Conservative Party who has publicly been telling Canadians that he is going to filibuster and delay and cause havoc here in the House of Commons, instead of focusing on the country's business and on what Canadians need and deserve.
     This is an important bill for our supply chain. If hon. colleagues have any objection to some provisions of the bill, that is great; that is what the House of Commons debates are for and that is what committees debates are for. However, this is just to delay for the sake of delaying and just to filibuster for the sake of being unhappy about the fact that members of different parties are working together. What is wrong with that? When we see members from different parties working to advance the interests of Canadians, that is what Canadians expect.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I have heard the arguments from the government, the members of the Conservative Party and the NDP. I find them all interesting.
    The government says that the Conservatives have been filibustering the whole time for a while now. That is true. I can say that I have seen the Conservatives filibuster a lot and try to slow down procedures over the past few weeks.
    The NDP members are telling us that the Conservatives were worse than the Liberals and they too kept using closure motions. That is also true. The Conservatives used to impose closure motions all the time. The question is, what type of Parliament and environment do we want to work in?
    I wonder if, given that the Conservatives abused closure motions in the past, the government really needs to do the same. We can also talk about what is happening now and wonder whether we should short-circuit procedure and the functioning of Parliament because the Conservatives are abusing procedure to slow down the work of parliamentarians.
    Those are questions I have. The government may have some good answers for me because I am not convinced that the best way to deal with this is to respond with “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” and do the very thing they criticize.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I agree that this is not the idea of an eye for an eye at all. We continued to exhaust all options, including sitting until midnight. We have been providing members of Parliament here ample opportunities to debate, to express their opinion and express the opinion of their constituents on many occasions. MPs are working hard around the clock. We are also here in a minority Parliament; we need to work with other parties to advance the agenda of Canadians. That is why we have provided members of Parliament all opportunities to debate, to engage in a healthy and rigorous discussion. We are also working with our colleagues from other parties to advance and improve bills that go through the House to ensure that we address the pressing interests of Canadians today.

  (1220)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, all of this is quite interesting. Historically speaking, since the time of Tommy Douglas right up to Thomas Mulcair, the NDP has supported time allocation motions only 14 times in 17 Parliaments. If we multiply 17 Parliaments by four years each, that is a lot of years. It averages out to 1.2 times per Parliament, which is very reasonable.
    Today marks the 37th time that the NDP has supported a Liberal time allocation motion in Parliament. I do not know what kind of bug bit the NDP, but, honestly, it was big and it bit hard.
    A total of 37 times. That is pretty incredible considering that this political party used to have a very different sense of autonomy and political awareness than what we are seeing now. Can the minister tell us how it is that the NDP, an independent political party that very much leans to the left politically, can support the government in this kind of procedure so often and so consistently?
    For years, the Liberals have said that the Conservatives abused this procedure. Now, they use it more often than we ever did.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we would expect Conservatives to at least use some humility when they talk about time allocation, because we know what the Conservative Party did when it was in power. How many times did it use or misuse time allocation? Now it is upset to see different parties within this chamber working together on a plan to improve the lives of Canadians.
    If the Conservatives are serious about advancing the interests of Canadians, we would think that instead of filibustering for days on end they would focus on the agenda of Canadians. We would think they would work together with other MPs on making sure that the bills that come through the House of Commons are focused on what is best for Canada and Canadians.
    Therefore, while I understand they are the official opposition, I would ask them to show a little humility.
    Mr. Speaker, in his speech on Bill C-33 on March 10 of this year, the member for Chilliwack—Hope remarked:
    There is nothing in this bill about what would happen to our supply chains and our international reputation when there are labour disputes that impact the supply chain either at the ports or on our railways.
    It sure sounds as if he wants the government to interfere in the collective bargaining process, which often happened when the Conservatives were in power.
     Can you comment on this and, in general, on how they treated workers at our ports and railway systems compared to our government's approach?
    I cannot comment on it, but I am sure the Minister of Transport could.
    The hon. Minister of Transport.
    Mr. Speaker, it is really important to remind Canadians of what the Conservative Party stands for. The Conservative leader claims to speak on behalf of the working people. He claims to employ common sense. That could not be further from the truth.
    The Conservatives are trying to undermine the role of unions in protecting the interests of Canadian workers. As my hon. colleague commented in his quote, it is clear they support the idea of limiting the ability of unions to negotiate their own collective bargaining agreements.
    Our government has said before and will continue to say that we believe in the power of collective bargaining agreements. We believe that when the parties reach an agreement at the negotiating table it will last longer and be fairer for workers and our economy.
    That is our position. However, the Conservatives have revealed that they do not believe in the power of collective bargaining agreements.

  (1225)  

    Mr. Speaker, I was in the Port of Vancouver this weekend, which is very concerned about the pending strike and what the government is going to do.
    In light of this time allocation legislation, with only five hours to talk about the legislation, its impact on possible labour disputes going forward and whether that has even been talked about, could the minister bring us up to speed on what his plans are to date to make sure that a collective agreement is put in place so we do not face the charges in the supply chain that the parliamentary secretary talked about or a situation where people cannot get the goods they need for the summer?
    As we know, not only could there possibly be a strike at the Port of Vancouver, there is a strike in Long Beach. That basically means that all of North America on the west coast would be shut down. Does the government have a plan, or is it just going to sit and watch and let its NDP partners sit and watch with it?
    Mr. Speaker, I deeply respect my colleague. I know he, as the former critic of supply chain, worked hard on the fluidity and health of our supply chains.
    I am also concerned about the ongoing negotiations on the west coast with unions and the B.C. Maritime Employers Association. The last thing Canadians want is another disruption to our supply chain, but I believe the best way to avoid that disruption is to let the parties negotiate an agreement at the negotiating table, and we are not standing idly by. We are there. We will offer mediators at the table; in fact, federal mediators are helping, and we are reminding both sides of their obligations toward Canada, the Canadian economy and Canadians, but we believe it is best that the parties reach an agreement at the negotiating table on their own.
    Mr. Speaker, to the substance of the bill, one of the changes proposed is to increase the local government representation on the boards of directors of Canadian port authorities. I think this is welcomed by the local governments I have spoken with. However, another group that deserves representation is the workers of Canada's ports. These folks are integral to the operation of our ports. They have specific knowledge, expertise and experience that can benefit the operation and management of ports. We would like to see a seat at the table for the workers of Canada's ports.
    I wonder if the minister could respond to this proposal, which we strongly support.
    Mr. Speaker, I agree with my colleague. Those who work in the labour sector and represent workers have a unique perspective that can benefit the operations of our institutions, including ports. I want to express to my colleague my willingness and our government's willingness to work with him on advancing this principle he talked about. I am looking forward to sending this bill to committee, where we will get a chance to have a fulsome debate and look for opportunities to improve it, to ensure we address the point he is raising.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I understand that Bill C-33 is the minister's baby. When ministers introduce bills that fall under their department's jurisdiction, they are usually very eager to see the bill in question take effect. In a way, I think it is to the minister's credit that he is pushing to advance his files and that he is excited at the idea of seeing his bill passed.
    However, it is important for the House to have the opportunity to properly debate the bill, propose amendments and thoroughly examine it. Personally, I do not think that five hours of debate was sufficient. There are all sorts of issues on which we might have liked to make adjustments or changes.
    Take, for example, small ports. The minister can comment on that. There are new obligations for ports that may be a good way to increase accountability. However, not all ports have the same resources as the Port of Montreal or the Port of Vancouver. Other ports are a lot smaller, and it could make things difficult for them if the government imposes a lot more obligations on them than they had to meet in the past.
    I would like to know whether the minister is open to making accommodations for these ports that have different realities.

  (1230)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, let me make this point: I am enthusiastic about this bill, not because it is my baby, but because it would improve the lives of Canadians.
    It would get things done; it would improve the congestion at ports; it would improve accountability and transparency; and it would address the climate issue. To my hon. colleague's point, I certainly have had a discussion with him and other colleagues about whether there is a way for this, because some of the provisions of this bill are intended to add accountability and transparency to ensure the ports are doing their job in consultation with local communities. However, I accept the fact that there are different circumstances for smaller ports, and we need to find a way to ensure that we uphold the principle but do not overburden these smaller ports. I am willing to work with my hon. colleague and other members of Parliament to ensure we find that balance.
    Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that the former party that used to represent labour, the NDP, no longer does. There is some laughter over there, but all the members need to do is talk to people in Skeena—Bulkley Valley, on the island and in the ridings they represent. I guess they are in for a rude awakening next election.
    It is interesting that the workers at the Ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert have been without a contract for so long under the Liberal government. As these guys have been working together for the last number of years, we would think everything would be grand, but it certainly is not.
    Meanwhile, we are trying to work out some those issues out in Parliament so that a good agreement can be made, and good legislation for workers is done. However, the minister insults the opposition by ramming it through anyway, even though the democratic process is part of what we do in this place. The minister is going to get up and talk about all the closure motions we did before, but he needs to get to the bottom of what we are asking him for, and that is the democratic process for a very important issue at our ports, especially at Vancouver and Prince Rupert. I wish he would talk specifically about that issue.
    Mr. Speaker, the democratic process will take its course in the House of Commons, but I wish the Conservatives were not filibustering. I wish the Conservatives were not putting obstacles against the interests of Canadians, against ensuring that ports are working better.
    Every party in this chamber claims to represent the interests of workers, but Canadians are smart and they know what people are saying. If we listen to the words of the Conservatives, they are the ones who want to ram agreements through the negotiating table instead of allowing unions to stand up for their rights. Instead of allowing unions to have a full process of negotiating a contract with their employers, they want to force it upon workers.
    Mr. Speaker, on the earlier intervention from my Conservative colleague, the Conservatives are happy to stand up for workers as long as they are not fighting for better wages and better working conditions. Otherwise they are okay.
    I heard the Minister of Transport talk earlier about port congestion, and that issue is very near and dear to my riding of Cowichan—Malahat—Langford. For years, we have been dealing with the fact that the Port of Vancouver has been using our precious coastal waters as an overflow industrial parking lot. Transport Canada and the Port of Vancouver have treated my constituents, the first nations in my riding, with total indifference on this matter, despite repeated attempts to get it resolved.
    I would like to hear this from the minister. What would happen in the bill that would allow this problem to be dealt with, and if it is not satisfactory, what action can he commit to so that my constituents can have peace of mind?
    Mr. Speaker, I often remind ports, including the Port of Vancouver, that they are public institutions. They are there to serve the public and they are there to ensure that they pay attention to their constituents and their stakeholders.
    This bill would do several things, but let me address a couple of points the bill proposes that could help with the matter that my hon. colleague has raised.
    First, the bill would require ports to establish advisory groups to ensure that local stakeholders are consulted formally and efficiently, instead of the ad hoc, insufficient ways that may have happened in the past. Second, the bill proposes that ports could create inland terminals. They would no longer have to build all their infrastructure on the coastline and would be able to look for other options.

  (1235)  

    It is my duty to interrupt the proceedings at this time and put forthwith the question on the motion now before the House.
    The question is on the motion. If a member of a recognized party present in the House wishes the motion be carried or carried on division or wishes to request a recorded division, I would invite them to rise and indicate it to the Chair.
    Mr. Speaker, I would request a recorded division.
    Call in the members.

  (1320)  

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

(Division No. 367)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 174


NAYS

Members

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

Total: -- 147


PAIRED

Members

Bergeron
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Liepert
Sajjan

Total: -- 4


    I declare the motion carried.

Miscarriage of Justice Review Commission Act (David and Joyce Milgaard's Law)

     He said: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to stand in this place today and speak to Bill C-40. The title of this bill, the miscarriage of justice review commission act, or David and Joyce Milgaard's law, says a great deal about what the bill intends and why it is so important.

[Translation]

    Canada’s justice system is one of the best in the world. However, it is not perfect; mistakes can be made. When that happens, the consequences are enormous, for the accused, the victims and the community in general.
    The creation of an independent commission tasked with reviewing applications made on the grounds of miscarriage of justice was included in my mandate letters in 2019 and 2021. This is one of my major priorities as minister, and it is a priority for our government. It is also important to me personally. My mentor, former Supreme Court justice Peter Cory believed that changes needed to be made after reviewing the miscarriage of justice that led to the conviction of Thomas Sophonow in 2001.
    In recent years, I have worked hard to develop a new approach that will improve the process for people who claim to have been wrongfully convicted. I have been working a long time to establish an independent miscarriage of justice review commission, as did the two individuals for whom Bill C-40 is named. I sincerely wish they could see us today.

[English]

    David Milgaard spent 23 years in jail for a murder he did not commit. He maintained his innocence throughout his life, even after exhausting all his appeals. David's mother, Joyce, also believed in David's innocence. She made it her life's work to convince the justice system as well. Joyce advocated tirelessly for David's release, assembling a team of family friends and lawyers, many working for free. Together, they fought to have people listen and to look at David's case again. Through her persistence, she won her son's freedom. When David got out of prison, he became an advocate for the wrongfully convicted, helping others to seek justice. His mother did the same. They were extraordinary people. This bill, Bill C-40, is named the David and Joyce Milgaard act in their honour.
    Canada has one of the best justice systems in the world, but David Milgaard's experience reminds us that it is not perfect. While mistakes are rare, they happen. The consequences for the accused, for victims and for the community are enormous. The reality is that, unfortunately, David Milgaard is not the only victim of a miscarriage of justice in Canada. There are several other well-known cases that resulted in commissions of inquiries being held following the discovery of their wrongful convictions. The commission of inquiry reports in the cases of Donald Marshall, Jr. in 1989, Guy Paul Morin in 1998, Thomas Sophonow in 2001, James Driskell in 2007 and David Milgaard in 2008 all recommended the creation of an independent commission to review miscarriage of justice applications in Canada.
    Before I describe the proposed reforms, I want to provide a bit of background on this issue and why we need to modernize the existing process. The term “miscarriage of justice” is, perhaps, not well understood, and some may be more familiar with the term “wrongful conviction”. A miscarriage of justice can encompass a broad spectrum of circumstances that call into question the reliability of a conviction or the process that led to it. A miscarriage of justice is one of the grounds of appeal in the Criminal Code.
    Miscarriages of justice are often identified and corrected while a case is still making its way through the criminal justice system. However, sometimes, new information or evidence that calls into question the reliability of a conviction only comes to light after an individual has exhausted their rights to appeal. Since the Criminal Code was first enacted in Canada, the Minister of Justice has been empowered to review applications on the grounds of a miscarriage of justice and determine whether a matter should be referred back to the courts for a new trial or an appeal.
    It is important to note that the miscarriage of justice review process is not an alternative to the judicial system, nor is it another level of appeal. Rather, it provides a post-appeal mechanism to review and investigate new information or evidence that was not previously considered by the courts.

  (1325)  

[Translation]

    As Minister of Justice, my priority is to ensure that the justice system is accessible, effective and equitable. Our criminal justice system processes hundreds of thousands of applications every year, resulting in approximately 250,000 convictions.
    Considering this huge number, it is important to consider the possibility of wrongful convictions. Its consequences, as I mentioned, are enormous. A person can spend long years in prison before the mistake is found.
    Many countries have independent criminal case review commissions, including England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Norway and, more recently, New Zealand in 2020. In these countries, the creation of an independent miscarriage of justice review commission led to a significant increase in the number of wrongful convictions identified. Also, since the commissioners appointed to make these decisions focus solely on this task, applications are processed far more efficiently, which means that people who believe they have been wrongfully convicted can have their file reviewed sooner. It is also essential to mention that the commissions take the decision-making process out of the hands of politicians.

[English]

    There are likely many more wrongful convictions in Canada than those that are submitted for a ministerial review under the current process. No studies to date have identified an accurate proportion, in large part because it entails measuring the unknown. Some studies conducted in the United States have estimated that it may fall in the range of 3% to 6% in that country. An error rate in Canada of only 0.05% of people sentenced to custody would result in approximately 450 wrongful convictions per year. Since 2003, after the last reforms to this part of the Criminal Code were made, only 187 applications for review have been submitted. That is 187 total, not per year. This tell us that there are many more cases out there.
     Given the disproportionate representation of certain populations in the criminal justice system, including Black, indigenous and racialized people, the impact of wrongful convictions is very likely more widespread in these groups. The consequences for the wrongfully convicted are huge: a loss of liberty, including years of incarceration and separation from family and friends, and negative impacts on reputation and employment prospects, just to name a few. Addressing miscarriages of justice more quickly would help mitigate the devastating impact they have not only on the convicted person and their family but also on victims and the justice system as a whole.

  (1330)  

[Translation]

    I would now like to describe the content of Bill C-40.
    First, the new part XXI.2, which the bill proposes adding to the Criminal Code, groups together all of the provisions concerning the creation of the new commission, namely its mandate, its composition, the commissioner appointment process, the duration of a commissioner’s term of office, and the qualifications required for a commissioner, as well as the commission’s powers, duties and functions.
    The new commission, called the miscarriage of justice review commission, would be a fully independent administrative body. It would not be part of the Department of Justice. It would completely take over the role I currently play in reviews, investigations and the identification of cases to be referred to the justice system on the grounds of miscarriage of justice.

[English]

    The commission would be headed by a full-time chief commissioner who would be its chief executive officer. In addition, there would be between four and eight commissioners appointed on a full-time or part-time basis. The legislation would require that appointment recommendations reflect the diversity of Canadian society and take into account gender equality and the overrepresentation of certain groups in the criminal justice system, including indigenous peoples and Black persons. This is the first time in Canadian history that a requirement of this nature would be legislated. The commissioners would have to have knowledge and experience related to the commission's mandate, and, in order to ensure the diversity of lived experience, at least one-third, including the chief commissioner, but no more than half would have to be lawyers with at least 10 years of experience in the practice of criminal law. Others could be experts in various other disciplines, such as criminology or wrongful convictions.

[Translation]

    The commission would also have a victim services coordinator to support it and make sure that the process complies with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
    Victims of the original crime are also significantly affected by miscarriages of justice. The review of a conviction can lead to shock and feelings of guilt, and prevent victims from moving on with their lives. Victims can therefore choose how they are notified and supported during the process.
    Several measures in the bill would make the miscarriage of justice review process more accessible, transparent and open. Bill C‑40 requires that applicants be able to contact the commission from anywhere in Canada. The commission will also have to inform the public about its mission and about miscarriages of justice in general on its website. It will have to make its decisions public while ensuring confidentiality and making sure not to interfere with the administration of justice. Obviously, it is essential that the commission process applications as efficiently as possible and that it provide applicants with regular updates.

[English]

    When I was in Prince Edward Island a few weeks ago, I met with Ron Dalton, the co-founder of Innocence Canada. I was with my colleague, the MP for Egmont. In 2000, Mr. Dalton was found to have been wrongfully convicted. He told me how important the support of his sister and brother-in-law had been as he fought to have his name cleared for a crime he did not commit.
    Not everyone is able to receive this kind of support, and Bill C-40 recognizes this. The commission would be required to adopt a user-friendly and supportive approach when dealing with applicants, in particular those who are vulnerable and face particular needs. Commission staff would provide individuals with information and guidance on applications at each stage of review. The commission would also have the ability to provide supports to applicants in need by directing them to services in the community, assisting them in relation to necessities such as food and housing, and by providing translation and interpretation services. If applicants are without means, the commission could also assist applicants with obtaining legal assistance, with making an application or with responding to the commission's investigation report before a final decision is made.

[Translation]

    In addition to the provisions regarding the creation of the new commission per se, Bill C‑40 proposes a complete overhaul of part XXI.1 of the Criminal Code, which contains the substantive provisions governing the miscarriage of justice review process.
    In this part of my speech, I will focus on the elements that reflect a policy change.
    With respect to the types of applications the commission might review, such as the current provision respecting admissibility in the Criminal Code, it will be able to review any convictions under a federal law or regulation. The text was slightly revised to clarify that this includes guilty pleas, conditional and absolute discharges, as well as convictions under the Youth Criminal Justice Act or the former Young Offenders Act. Verdicts of not criminally responsible on account of a mental disorder would also be added.

  (1335)  

[English]

    Investigative powers are an integral part of the postappeal miscarriage-of-justice review process. This aspect of the current scheme has generated a certain amount of confusion as to when the investigative powers may be used. Bill C-40 seeks to address what has sometimes been described as a catch-22 problem: In some instances, an application may appear to have merit but lacks the new evidence to support that a miscarriage of justice may have occurred, which is the existing basis to invoke the investigative powers. Bill C-40 seeks to resolve this problem by adding that the commission may conduct an investigation if it is in the interests of justice to do so. This would include considering the specific personal factors of the applicant as well as the distinct challenges that applicants who belong to certain populations face in obtaining a remedy for a miscarriage of justice, with particular attention paid to the circumstances of indigenous and Black applicants. This approach is used elsewhere: in Scotland, for example. This approach also dovetails with a new legal test for making referrals back to the courts. The existing test requires that the minister be satisfied a miscarriage of justice likely occurred, before referring the matter back for a new trial or a new appeal.
    With Bill C-40, we are proposing to adjust the legal test for a referral, making it a two-prong test. Instead of requiring that the decision-maker be satisfied a miscarriage of justice likely occurred, the government proposes that the commission be able to refer a matter back to the courts if it has reasonable grounds to conclude that a miscarriage of justice may have occurred and that it is in the interests of justice to do so. Again, this is the test used by the commission in Scotland, and we think it strikes the right balance to allow the courts to consider and correct miscarriages of justice when they occur.
    The existing factors to support decision-making would be retained and expanded in Bill C-40. Legislation would require that, in making decisions, the commission take into account any relevant factor, including whether there is a new matter of significance not previously considered; the reliability of the information presented; the fact that an application is not intended to serve as a further appeal and that any remedy is extraordinary; the “interests of justice” factors I noted previously, including the personal circumstances of the applicants; and finally, the distinct challenges applicants from certain populations face, again with particular attention to the circumstances of indigenous or Black applicants.

[Translation]

    I sincerely hope that the commission will play a legal role, but I also hope that it will play a social role by raising awareness among Canadians. I have asked my parliamentary secretary, the superb member for Scarborough—Rouge Park, to talk in more detail about the educational programs we will be rolling out, because I wanted my speech to focus on the social impact of what we are proposing. We cannot claim that miscarriages of justice never happen. The toll they take on the wrongfully convicted, their loved ones, the community and society in general is far too high.

[English]

    It is my sincere hope that members will hear directly from several people who have been wrongfully convicted in Canada. Their stories are tragic and troubling. They illustrate why it is so important we have a better understanding of the causes and consequences of wrongful convictions, how the justice system needs to be improved in order to address miscarriages of justice more efficiently and effectively, and, most importantly, how to prevent them from happening in the first place.

[Translation]

    I think we can all agree that innocent people do not belong in prison. That is why I hope to have the support of all of my colleagues across party lines in both the House and the Senate so that Bill C-40 is quickly passed. Let us seize this opportunity to show Canadians what we can accomplish by working together.

  (1340)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the Minister of Justice a question specifically about those people in prison who are accessing medical assistance in dying. This is a concern, obviously. Those who are wrongfully convicted, and others, may, sadly, be in a situation where they are pursuing this. Reports indicate that concerns have been raised by various experts about this, that Canada is a leading provider of euthanasia to people in prison and that a very large proportion of those in prison have mental health challenges. With the government's proposed expansion, this is a further risk that would see more of this phenomenon going on.
    Does the Minister of Justice think it is appropriate that people in prison are going in this direction? What safeguards does he believe need to be put in place given the high numbers in Canada relative to other cases?
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that this question is on another file.
    First of all, Canada does not have a euthanasia regime; we have an assisted dying regime. It is people deciding for themselves whether or not to seek medical assistance in dying according to the criteria elaborated on in the law. These criteria applies whether one is in prison or not, and one has to fall within the parameters of those criteria in order to be able to seek medical assistance in dying. It is not a euthanasia regime.
    With respect to mental disorders, it is misleading, on the part of the hon. member or anyone else, to say that this is about mental health generally. This is about mental disorders that have been under the long-standing treatment of doctors and for which everything has been tried and nothing has worked. This is not about the case of being able to escape depression or other serious conditions that do not meet that standard.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the minister for bringing this forward. It is something that we, in the NDP, have been pushing for for some time.
     This issue brings to mind, for those of us in northwest B.C., the case of Phillip Tallio, a Bella Coola man who was convicted 40 years ago and whose case has been taken up by the Innocence Project at UBC. His appeal was recently rejected by the Supreme Court of Canada, but I know many people have been pushing for that case to be reheard in light of the inconsistencies during trial.
    Given that only a handful of cases make it through the existing ministerial review process each year, do the Liberals share our sense of urgency about getting a better, more independent process for dealing with miscarriages of justice in place as quickly as possible?
    Mr. Speaker, yes, we share that concern. We want this bill through the House of Commons as quickly as possible. I have mentioned my personal dedication to this cause. We are 30 years overdue. The commission has existed in England for 25 years and is working very well, and it exists in a number of other common-law jurisdictions.
    I will not comment on the specific case the hon. member mentioned, but I will take this opportunity to say that there is a transition provision built into this piece of legislation, such that a person who has gone through the process would be able to ask that their file be looked at again by the commission. This is a deliberate transition measure, because we know that miscarriages of justice exist.
    Mr. Speaker, within in the riding of Waterloo, constituents provide me a wide range of perspectives and experiences.
     When it comes to our judicial system, it is something that we always want to have confidence in. We know we could always improve our systems, because they are not perfect.
    My question kind of builds upon the last answer. I know we have been looking at other countries and I know that a lot has been gained, but what have we learned from the international experience? Who are we looking towards? What have we gained from them so that we could actually advance, because we know this is long overdue?
    Mr. Speaker, we have a great deal to learn from other jurisdictions. Again, we are looking at other common-law jurisdictions in particular, where these kinds of commissions exist and have worked very well.
    First, wrongful convictions exist in a far greater number in the U.K. experience than we are currently seeing in Canada. That tells us that there is something amiss with our current process, in terms of accessibility to people who believe they have been wrongfully convicted.
    The second thing I would point out is there has been a great deal of learning from the standard that has been used in other jurisdictions. What we have found in studying the standard is that the current Canadian standard likely to have caused a miscarriage of justice is too high. The U.K. and Scotland have a lower standard. In some places it is simply in the interest of justice.
     It is something that was outlined very carefully by two former justices that we asked to write a report. Justice Harry LeForme and Justice Juanita Westmoreland-Traoré prepared an exhaustive report. They travelled to these jurisdictions, did the work and came up with proposals that inspired much of what we have done in this report. I want to thank them while I am here.
    We have taken learnings from other jurisdictions. It is critical to do so.

  (1345)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that we are talking miscarriages of justice, because the fact that the Attorney General of Canada has not appointed enough judges, and violent rapists and murderers are going to go free because their time has been exceeded, is a miscarriage of justice. Would the minister agree?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her question, which allows me to clarify a number of things.
    I have appointed judges since my time as justice minister at a rate unparalleled in the last 20 years. We have created over an extra 100 positions. I agree that it is important. I will continue to appoint judges at a rate that continues to fill those vacant posts. We will continue to take that task very seriously.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. Minister of Justice for tackling the issue of wrongful convictions at long last.
    The name David Milgaard is one of many. Donald Marshall is another. Unfortunately, systems of justice that put the innocent in jail, despite the moment when they are released and celebrated, and apologies are made, can never make things right again.
    I appreciate the focus on this. However, I wonder if the minister believes that a commission that looks at wrongful convictions would be faster and more open to change than having the traditional method of appeals to the Minister of Justice himself or herself?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her passion for this issue, which I share.
    Let me give another statistic. Since I have been Minister of Justice, I have seen roughly one case and a bit per year. That is not the experience in the U.K. or any other jurisdiction that has set up one of these commissions. The kinds of cases I see tend to be homicide cases.
    From all indications, particularly in other jurisdictions, there simply have to be other wrongful convictions that need to be addressed, where there has been an impediment, where it has not attracted the support of the Innocence projects, the very good support of those projects I might add.
     This should be faster. With the investigative powers and the support powers that we are giving to the commission, it should be able to be done more equitably and fairly, with fewer barriers. I think this is an important aspect of this piece of law.
    Mr. Speaker, the minister talked about the two-step procedure under the new regime. Would he be open to having the lower standard, where miscarriage of justice may have occurred, for the first step, but the higher standard, where it was likely to have occurred, for the second step, before the commissioner sends it back into the judicial system?
    Mr. Speaker, I know the hon. member's question comes from a good place. The experience we have seen is that “likely” is too high a standard and has been identified by justices Westmoreland-Traoré and LaForme as one of the likely factors of why we get so few cases in our system. Our cognate jurisdictions, England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, have systems that are not unknown to us. We are in the same family of criminal law systems, and I think we should be comforted using the standards they are using, because they have had such a positive impact.
    Having the word “likely” in there is not something I would like to continue with.

  (1350)  

    Mr. Speaker, the police needed a conviction. There had been four widely reported sexual assault cases already in the city, and now a fifth one that ended with the murder of a young woman on her way to work on a cold January morning in 1969. She had been stabbed in the chest and her throat had been slashed with a knife that a city resident many years later reported as having gone missing from her kitchen. Mrs. Fisher suspected it was her husband who was the killer. She did not report that to the police. Although he was known to police officers to be a violent man, they did not pursue that investigation because they had another theory of what happened on that cold winter morning. That theory was based on evidence, which was confusing and contradictory, from a group of confused, impressionable and irresponsible young teenagers prone to doing stupid things like stealing cars, stealing gas for cars and committing petty theft to fuel their drug habits, but rape and murder was not a part of that.
    At first these confused teenagers told the police officers that their friend David had been with them the whole time and he could not possibly have been the murderer. They did not believe them. They did not like that story or this alibi because it did not fit their theory of what happened that morning, so they brought these witnesses in again. This time they locked them up for 48 hours to sober them up. Then they started questioning them relentlessly, time and again. Finally, these confused, impressionable, irresponsible teenagers changed their story. They just wanted to get out of there. They decided to tell the officers what they wanted to hear so they would get out of there. The figured that David could stand on his own two feet, which would all probably work out in the end anyway, so they changed their story. David Milgaard was charged with murder and went up for trial.
    Many years later, these witnesses changed their story again. They recanted. They apologized. Their excuse was that they were going through withdrawal symptoms, they just wanted to get out of there and felt the best way to do that was to tell the police officers what they wanted to hear to get out of there and move on. At the trial they did not even give that evidence. However, the police, thinking ahead of time, had already taken their written statements, which were put before the jury. The jury accepted them and David Milgaard was convicted and spent 23 years in jail. He was 17 years old at the time and he spent 23 years in jail for a murder he did not commit while the real murderer continued terrorizing the neighbourhood.
    Years later, it all seemed so obvious that this was a serious miscarriage of justice, but it did not seem that obvious at the time.
    I do not have a policing background and have never had to look at the evidence of a crime scene, but I can imagine it must be very frustrating for the police authorities and investigators, particularly under a lot of pressure from the public and politicians to do something about it, to find a person to convict. It is like putting a jigsaw puzzle together. I am not very good at them, but there is always a piece that looks like it is going to fit and I just want to take my fist and pound it in to make it work. That is exactly what happened in the David Milgaard case. The piece did not quite fit, so the police used pressure until it finally did, which was a serious miscarriage of justice. David was convicted of the murder of Gail Miller by the jury on January 31, 1970. He appealed to the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, which was denied a year later. He went to the Supreme Court of Canada, which refused leave to appeal. It did not even want to hear the case, and David Milgaard spent many years in jail.
    Thankfully, he did not give up and finally there was a breakthrough. The law eventually caught up with Larry Fisher and he pleaded guilty to several sexual assault charges, and one of attempted murder. Some of these charges were around the events that took place at the same time as the murder of Gail Miller and in the same neighbourhood. This was the breakthrough that David Milgaard and his very determined mother Joyce were looking for and they pursued it. They had a lot of help from a lot of people, such as not-for-profit groups and lawyers who were willing to work pro bono, and they kept digging.

  (1355)  

    The evidence was so clear that David Milgaard had not commit the murder, but he had run out of appeals. There was nothing left that he could do but go the political route, and that is exactly what he did.
     He went to the minister of justice, under section 690 of the Criminal Code, and he asked for a review. That was in 1988 after this evidence started becoming available. The minister of justice turned him down, but he and his mother Joyce were determined. The credit goes particularly to Mrs. Milgaard for her persistence.
    One day in September 1991, Mrs. Milgaard held a vigil in front of a hotel in Winnipeg where the prime minister of the day, Brian Mulroney, was about to give a speech. She did not expect to speak with the prime minister; she was expected to maybe shout out at him and be recognized. However, Brian Mulroney walked over to her and asked her what her story was.
    This is what Prime Minister Mulroney said years later, which was quoted in the Winnipeg Free Press, “There was just something so forlorn about this woman standing alone on a very cold evening on behalf of her son, but in that brief meeting, I got a sense of Mrs. Milgaard and her genuineness and her courage. We all have mothers, but even the most devoted and loving mothers wouldn't continue the crusade for 22 years if there had been any doubt in her mind. So, I went back to Ottawa and had a much closer look at it. I told the appropriate people that I thought a review of this particular case was warranted and I wanted appropriate action taken to bring this about.”
    It finally landed back on the desk of the minister of justice, and this time, with the evidence that was available then, she was convinced that a miscarriage of justice likely occurred. She referred it to the Supreme Court of Canada, which this time had to look at it and was convinced as well by the new evidence that a new trial should be ordered.
     It went back to Saskatchewan, but the Saskatchewan attorney general decided that, with the intervening 22 years and witnesses maybe disappearing, evidence maybe disappearing, maybe it would not bother pursuing it, and it dropped the case. David was then a free man, but that was not the same as a finding of innocence or a finding of not guilty. It was just a suspension of further proceedings, and the cloud of suspicion continued to hang over David Milgaard.

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Anti-India and Anti-Hindu Groups

    Mr. Speaker, I wish to speak about a despicable float in a recent Brampton parade.
     Anti-India Khalistan supporters in Canada have reached a new low by celebrating the assassination of Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi with her cutout in a white sari splattered in blood and the cutouts of her bodyguards, turned killers, brandishing and pointing guns.
     Tolerating the glorification of terrorist acts goes against everything our country, Canada, believes in. Anti-India and anti-Hindu groups in Canada, with their recent attacks on Hindu temples and their mounting a campaign against public display of flags with the Hindu religious sacred symbol Aum, are sending a dreaded message to Hindu Canadians.
    I again call on authorities at all levels of government to take notice and initiate action before this hatred escalates to real and deadly physical violence.

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, last week, I introduced my first private member's bill, called “Noah's Law”, named after 16-month-old Noah McConnell, who was murdered alongside his mother, Mchale Busch, by a registered, repeat sex offender who targets women and children.
     Cody McConnell, husband and father, along with Noah's law organizers, have been calling for legislative change because of these tragic murders, hoping that no other family will suffer like this again.
     Mchale Busch and Noah McConnell will never be forgotten. Their murders should lead to meaningful change to strengthen the criminal justice system through Noah's law.
    Once implemented, Noah's law will help empower the most vulnerable, especially women and children, by protecting them from violent offenders who live in our communities. Hopefully, Noah's law quickly passes to help strengthen our justice system and prevent this from happening again.

  (1400)  

Big Day of Giving

    Mr. Speaker, on May 24, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Foundation held its second annual Big Day of Giving in Prince Edward Island.
     The Big Day of Giving is a fundraiser for critical health care equipment and an opportunity to share stories from health care workers and patients across the island. This year's fundraising focus was on cancer care, mental health and addictions, and neonatal care.
     I am honoured to inform the House that this year's Big Day of Giving produced a whopping $861,000, over $210,000 more than last year. This will help to pay for 14% of this year's equipment needs at the hospital. This resounding success speaks to the remarkable generosity of islanders and their dedication to our community.
    I offer my heartfelt thanks and warm congratulations to all who helped to organize and deliver such a memorable event. I also offer much gratitude to each and every selfless donor. This is yet another example of what makes P.E.I. great and what makes me so very proud to serve them in this place.

[Translation]

CKRL Community Radio

    Mr. Speaker, there was a time when just about every town had its own community radio station. Back then, people had access to more diversity in terms of music and news. One by one, community radio stations were replaced by commercial radio stations. It has now become virtually unheard of to have the opportunity, the good luck, dare I say, to have access to a community radio station.
    Limoilou is lucky enough to have a community radio station called CKRL, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. It also happens to be the oldest French-language community radio station in Quebec and Canada. It has been able to survive thanks to the dedication of its staff and volunteers, as well as the involvement of local business owners and the general public.
    CKRL has given us 50 years of music of every genre and from every corner of the world. It has also given us 50 years of news, shared moments and pure joy for the ears and the soul. CKRL is the beating heart of our community. I would like to thank the whole team and wish them a happy 50th anniversary.

Lebanese Heritage Month in Canada

    Mr. Speaker, last week I was supposed to lead off in the debate on Bill S-246, which seeks to designate November as Lebanese heritage month in Canada. Unfortunately, that did not happen.
    I would like to point out the importance of this bill for Quebec in particular, because I am giving my speech today in French. According to Statistics Canada, Quebec's Lebanese community accounts for more than a third of all Lebanese Canadians. They chose Quebec because of the close relationship between the Lebanese people, the French language and the global Francophonie. Lebanon is a prime source of new immigrants, which is important because we need to offset the labour shortage and strengthen the vitality of francophone communities. Also, the first edition of the Lebanese Film Festival in Canada took place in Montreal, which is also home to the Saint-Maron eparchial seat.
    I am eager to continue working with all of my colleagues so that we can all celebrate Lebanese heritage month in November.

[English]

Gulf War Veterans

    Mr. Speaker, the world watched with dread in 1990 as Saddam Hussein launched an unprovoked invasion of Kuwait. Thousands of Canadians were part of the international coalition that resisted that lawless invasion, fighting to drive out enemy forces and to restore Kuwaiti sovereignty.
    The evil of a tyrant was opposed by the valour of those who fought in the Persian Gulf, and because of it, Kuwait remains an independent country to this day, yet also to this day, unlike most of our allies, the Canadian government refuses to recognize Gulf War veterans as having provided wartime service.
     It certainly was war, and any of our Gulf veterans who stood on the front line, putting life and limb in jeopardy to defend freedom, can provide their first-hand testimony to that fact.
    These heroes deserve our heartfelt gratitude and our recognition of their service in defence of liberty and Canadian values. I thank all those who served in the Persian Gulf War, and to all of our courageous Canadian veterans.

  (1405)  

Canada Summer Jobs Program

    Mr. Speaker, the Canada summer jobs program, or CSJ as it is known, is a vital initiative that serves as a stepping stone for youth, especially those facing employment barriers, and allows employers to expand their workforce. This program provides opportunities for young Canadians to equip them with skills, experience and confidence for their future endeavours.
    In Oakville North—Burlington, businesses and non-profits have benefited enormously from this program, with young people bringing fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to the workplace. I have heard from employers like Haltech that they use CSJ to build their talent in the organization. Students have said that they never expected to work in their field, but because of CSJ, they had the best work experience they have ever had.
    The Canada summer jobs program is a catalyst for social change, promoting employment equity and youth empowerment. As youth begin their summer placements, I wish them well and cannot wait to visit them this summer.

Portuguese Heritage Month

    Mr. Speaker, in June, we come together to celebrate Portuguese Heritage Month, a significant occasion when we acknowledge the remarkable contributions made by Canadians of Portuguese descent.
    Saturday, June 10, was Portugal Day, observed both in Portugal and around the globe. As Portuguese Canadians, this day holds a deep sense of pride for us and a great, deep joy.
     This year also marks a significant milestone as we commemorate and pay tribute to 70 years of Canada-Portugal relations. As a testament of our friendship and strong ties, Portugal has contributed 120 Portuguese firefighters to join their Canadian counterparts' efforts to put out our wildfires.
    Today, let us take this opportunity to celebrate and honour the accomplishments, rich heritage and seamless integration of our Luso community into Canada.
    [Member spoke in Portuguese]
[English]

Canadian Open

    Mr. Speaker, “Good pace. Are you serious? Oh my goodness! Glorious and free!” That was the call by PGA announcer Jim Nantz as Abbotsford’s Nick Taylor made history yesterday by becoming the first Canadian in 69 years to win the Canadian Open golf championship, and he did it in spectacular fashion.
    First shooting a course record 63 on Saturday, Nick then survived four sudden-death playoff holes and drained a 72-foot eagle putt to win his third PGA tournament. He joins Mike Weir, Brooke Henderson, George Knudson and others in the pantheon of Canada’s great golfers.
    Nick and his wife Andie call Abbotsford home. In fact, he is proud of having honed his golf skills at our own Ledgeview Golf Club.
     Other notable Canadian players in this year’s Canadian Open were Corey Conners, Mike Weir and Abbotsford’s Adam Hadwin.
    I thank Nick Taylor for inspiring us. Oh, Canada, glorious and free, indeed.

Sam Ibrahim Centre

    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to celebrate a $25-million investment for the creation of the Sam Ibrahim Centre for inclusive excellence in entrepreneurship, innovation and leadership at the University of Toronto, Scarborough campus. The centre will help young people pursue their dreams, while anchoring local start-ups to scale, grow, flourish and ultimately stay in Scarborough.
     In addition to the new centre, the Sam Ibrahim Awards, the Gabriel Fanous Awards and the Shaemin Ukani Awards will provide supports so that young entrepreneurs can realize their potential.
    Sam Ibrahim, an Egyptian Canadian, grew up in Scarborough and attended UTSC. He, along with his partners, started Arrow Group of Companies, one of the largest homegrown businesses in Scarborough with a global footprint.
     I am so excited to welcome Sam and his partners, along with principal Wisdom Tettey, Andrew Arifuzzaman, Lisa Lemon and Neel Joshi from UTSC, to Parliament Hill today.
    I thank Sam for believing in Scarborough. We know that this is only the beginning.

  (1410)  

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, the consequences of eight years of a Liberal government are painfully evident. The costs of food, housing and fuel have hit historic highs. Canadians are visiting food banks at record levels. Household debt in Canada has reached an all-time high, and now, amongst advanced economies, Canadians are the most at risk of missing mortgage payments. Last week's Bank of Canada rate hike will only make it more difficult for homeowners.
     Canadians simply cannot afford the Liberal-NDP government's inflationary deficits, yet these NDP-Liberals do not care. They have added 60 billion dollars' worth of fuel to the inflationary fire while turning a blind eye to the pain and anxiety they are causing Canadian families. It is time to end inflationary deficits to bring down inflation and interest rates. It is painfully clear that only Conservatives have a common-sense plan to end the cost of living crisis and make life affordable.

The Economy

     Mr. Speaker, under the government, Canadian families are in more debt than any other country in the G7. Last week, with the passage of budget 2023, the costly coalition poured another 60 billion dollars' worth of fuel onto the inflationary fire, sparking another interest rate hike from the Bank of Canada. Families with variable-rate mortgages, those who the Prime Minister encouraged to borrow, promising rates would be low for a long time, are seeing their monthly payments going up again. Even before last week's hike, rate increases had already added $1,000 a month to the average $500,000 mortgage. In my province of B.C., the average cost of a home is $995,000. We can think about how this rate hike will impact British Columbians.
     Thanks to the government, families are worried about how they are going to pay for their groceries, day care, summer camps and everything else. Conservatives would put a stop to deficit spending, get inflation under control, create powerful paycheques and get homes built that Canadians can afford. For their home, my home, our home, Conservatives are going to bring it home.

[Translation]

Agri-tourism in Glengarry—Prescott—Russell

    Mr. Speaker, summer is almost here, and I invite everyone to visit our region. Beer drinkers can hit the microbrewery circuit by visiting Brauwerk Hoffman, the Broken Stick, Tuque de Broue, the Wood Brothers and Beau's.
    For those who do not like beer, that is not a problem. We also have wine. They can visit wineries such as the Domaine Perrault, Clos du Vully, Vergers Villeneuve, Stonehouse and Vankleek Hill vineyards.
    Those who do not like grapes can try some apple cider at Domaine Cléroux.
    Agri-tourism is at the heart of our region. I encourage everyone to do the Popsilos circuit, which combines art and agriculture, and end the day with a culinary experience at one of our great restaurants, such as the Riverest, L'Orignal or Maker Feed.

[English]

    That is not all. We have many fairs this summer, from Maxville to Riceville and Vankleek Hill to Russell. If one does them all, one can truly say, “I've been everywhere, man.” Of course, let us not forget the Glengarry Highland Games.

[Translation]

    It is likely going to be hot this summer. Cool off at the Calypso Waterpark, then enjoy a poutine in Saint-Albert and finish it all off with a gelato at Café sur la rive. Let us make the most of summer.

[English]

Community Trail

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the volunteers of the Cycle 16 Trail Society. On Saturday, its members gathered with about 100 other Bulkley Valley residents to celebrate the completion of the first phase of a new off-highway bike trail between Smithers and Telkwa. These folks have a vision. It is a vision of local families coming together for healthy, active lifestyles; of clean, sustainable transportation; and of people building good projects together in the proud tradition of small communities everywhere.
     I want to congratulate the society's executive, Allan Cormier, Jeremy Shriber, Mary Brise, Janet Harris, Dan Boissevain, Teresa Monkman, Sue Harrison, Alison Watson and Don Morgan. i also have a special tip of the bike helmet to my friend Tony Harris, who has been pushing on the pedals of this project since the very beginning.
    I rode the bike trail with my daughter two weeks ago, and it is beautiful. I send my congratulations to all.
    Before going to the next member for his statement, I want to remind everyone that statements are taking place. I am sure everybody wants to hear what is being said, so if they are talking to other members, I ask them to please whisper. Do not talk very loudly.
    The hon. member for Drummond.

  (1415)  

[Translation]

60th Anniversary of Éditions du Boréal

    Mr. Speaker, for 60 years now, the Éditions du Boréal publishing house has been magnificently showcasing Quebec authors, writers and historians.
    Gilles Boulet, Pierre Gravel, Jacques Lacoursière, Denis Vaugeois and Bishop Albert Tessier founded the Boréal Express in 1963. It would go on to publish an impressive collection of historical works from the front row of the Quiet Revolution and the social changes that were the driving force in Quebec in the 1960s and 1970s.
    Boréal has a very rich history. It has published some Quebec's greatest literary giants, including Marie-Claire Blais, Anne Hébert, Gabrielle Roy, Robert Lalonde, Marie Laberge and Dany Laferrière. It has also published some prominent figures in English Canadian literature, including Margaret Atwood, Neil Bissoondath and Michael Ondaatje.
    It is a long list, and one that will certainly continue to grow, because thanks to Boréal, our stories are being heard around the world. This also showcases the people telling these stories with their hearts, their souls and their words, words in the language we speak here, without which the stories would be less authentic.
    Boréal, thank you and happy 60th.

[English]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are out of touch and Canadians are out of money. These inflationary deficits are causing Canadians to miss meals and use food banks, and young people are abandoning the hope of owning a home.
    In a couple more weeks, a second carbon tax will kick in, further driving up the price of gas to add 61¢ a litre, pouring more gas on the inflationary fire.
    Mortgages and rents have doubled. The combined carbon taxes will cost families $4,000 extra per year. With all of the wildfires raging in Canada, there will be stiff penalties for the arsonists responsible, but what will the punishment be for the Prime Minister and the finance minister, who are deliberately setting the inflationary fire?
    I reiterate my party's call for the Liberals to work throughout the summer to draft a budget that will combat inflation, reduce interest rates, axe the carbon tax and make it possible to build more homes.
    For one's home, my home, our home, let us bring it home.

The Budget

    Mr. Speaker, one week ago today, the Leader of the Opposition vowed to use all procedural tools to block the budget from passing, including 900 amendments and lengthy speeches.
    Despite his nearly four-hour-long speech last Wednesday evening, during which he talked about Winston Churchill, Henry VIII, favourite podcaster Jordan Peterson, the stonework in Parliament and why the floors here are green, never once did he mention how the budget will support Canadians through expanding dental care, creating the new first home savings account and investing in the clean economy, which will create thousands of jobs for Canadians.
    Nonetheless, the very next day, the House passed the budget 2023 BIA, which will provide much needed supports for Canadians right across the country. While the Conservative Party continues to play procedural games, the government will continue to do the hard work to deliver results for Canadians.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

Democratic Institutions

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has wasted eight months since Canadians learned of the extent of Beijing's interference, which helped the Liberals in both elections.
    He appointed his ski buddy and member of the Trudeau Foundation as the special rapporteur to try to cover up this interference. Now that his rapporteur has resigned, we need a public inquiry. The Conservative Party is ready to work with all parties, including the government, to get the ball rolling.
    Will the government announce a public inquiry so we can know every detail of Beijing's interference?
    Mr. Speaker, I very much appreciate the collaborative tone of the Leader of the Opposition.
    From the start, we have always said that a public inquiry was a possibility. Mr. Johnston did not recommend a public inquiry and explained why. It is a difficult decision to make in the circumstances for national security reasons.
    However, we look forward to working with the opposition parties to discuss the next steps of a public process, such as the type of potential inquiries, the mandate, the people who could lead this inquiry. We look forward to having these conversations.

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, ever since this Prime Minister came to power, rent has doubled. Mortgages have also doubled since this Prime Minister came to power.
    He spent half a billion dollars, which drove up interest rates and inflation. He is also giving money to local governments that are preventing affordable housing from being built.
    Will the Prime Minister finally reverse his inflationary policies, balance the budget and get rid of the red tape so that we can finally build affordable housing?

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, last week, we saw very dangerous forest fires across Canada. We saw the importance of climate action.
    What did the Conservatives do? Did they work with us to support Canadians at such a critical and dangerous moment? Did they support our industrial plan to build a green economy? No, they played partisan games. It is irresponsible.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, doubling housing costs is not going to stop forest fires.
    The Prime Minister has doubled housing costs with half a trillion dollars of inflationary deficits and by giving billions of dollars to local gatekeepers who block housing construction with the second-slowest housing permits of any country in the entire OECD. Now the deficits the Prime Minister is running risk increasing interest rates further and causing people to lose their homes to higher mortgage prices.
    Will the government introduce a balanced budget to bring down inflation and interest rates so Canadians do not lose their homes?
    Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the OECD, what the Leader of the Opposition should know and should be sharing with Canadians is that last week the OECD forecasted Canada would have the strongest economic growth in the G7 over 2023-24.
    What is truly appalling, and frankly really disappointing, is that these Conservatives, at a time when forest fires have been raging across our country, would prefer to play partisan games rather than support our sensible measures to build the clean economy we desperately need.
    Mr. Speaker, the question was about the doubling of housing costs. The Prime Minister has brought in half a trillion dollars of inflationary spending, which has doubled rent costs, mortgage payments and the down payment needed for the average house, and now the IMF says that Canada is the country most at risk of a massive mortgage default as our households have the most debt as a share of GDP of any country in the G7. That debt is about to collide with soaring interest rates, driven by the government's deficits.
    Will they eliminate the deficits and balance the budgets to bring down inflation and interest rates before Canadians lose their homes?
    Mr. Speaker, I am glad to hear the Leader of the Opposition cite the IMF, and I hope that means he is aware that it is the IMF that confirms Canada has the lowest deficit in the G7 and the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio in the G7 by some measure.
    I really have to point out to the Canadians listening the appalling behaviour of this reckless and irresponsible opposition, which has been blocking sensible, important measures to support Canadians at a critical time.
    Mr. Speaker, it is not just homeowners. Because the government has been giving billions to local gatekeepers who block affordable housing construction and because its inflationary policies have doubled rent, students are now living in squalor. One used to be able to get a full apartment for $840 before the Prime Minister. Now CBC is reporting that a student from Guelph has had to pay $840 just for a room in an apartment she shares with six other students that is mould- and insect-infested and does not even have running water.
    Will the Liberals reverse their inflationary policies so Canadians do not—
    The hon. Deputy Prime Minister.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to point out to Canadians the utterly irresponsible behaviour of the Conservative Party in the House last week, which was blocking our budget legislation. The Prime Minister, over the weekend, made a very important trip to Ukraine to show Canada's support for Ukraine at this crucial moment. Meanwhile, do members know what the Conservatives were doing? They were blocking our legislation, which would indefinitely deny most favoured nation trading status to Russia and Belarus. Whose side are they on?

  (1425)  

[Translation]

Democratic Institutions

    Mr. Speaker, David Johnston made a dignified decision to resign in order to protect the public's confidence in democracy. However, he should never have been put in that situation.
    Starting in February, the public and the majority of the House began calling for an independent public commission of inquiry into Chinese interference, to be led by a commissioner chosen by the House of Commons to examine both electoral interference and financing issues, threats of espionage and intimidation of the diaspora. It was the right choice. It is still the right choice.
    Will the government launch this inquiry before we rise for the summer? Time is of the essence.
    Mr. Speaker, we look forward to working with our colleague from La Prairie, his leader and the other party leaders to strengthen Canadians' confidence in our democratic institutions.
    Mr. Johnston's departure gives us all an opportunity to bring down the partisan temperature and discuss how we can work together on the next steps in a public process. We look forward to talking with the opposition parties to determine how we can do this in a responsible and serious way.
    Mr. Speaker, as far as the Bloc Québécois can see, Mr. Johnston's departure is not restoring public trust in democracy. The problem is his botched report. His suggestion to hold public hearings is nothing but a ploy to avoid a serious inquiry. This report proves that an independent public inquiry is essential.
    Today, the government is finally showing some openness to the idea, and that is good news for democracy. However, the government needs to state its intentions first.
    Does it want to relaunch David Johnston's hearings under a different name, or is it making a clear commitment to a genuine, independent public inquiry?
    Mr. Speaker, as I said at the start of question period, that has always been an option.
    I know that the Bloc Québécois will never form the government, but the Conservative Party is well aware that a public inquiry involving the most heavily protected national security information cannot proceed irresponsibly.
    I think that everyone would benefit from a substantive discussion on how to approach the next steps in the public process and, if a public inquiry is the option chosen, how it will proceed, what its terms of reference will be and what the timeline will look like.

[English]

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, interest rates have shot up so quickly that families are struggling to pay their mortgages. We can give an example of someone in Toronto. An average family that bought an average home a year and a half ago would have to find over an additional $27,000 by the end of this year. That is a shocking amount.
    What advice would the Prime Minister give to these families that are struggling with the cost of a mortgage for how they can come up with this additional amount of money?
    Mr. Speaker, we are absolutely aware that housing is a significant challenge for far too many Canadians. That is why I am really glad that we have now put in place something we promised to do, which is the tax-free first home savings account. That is going to help a lot of first-time homebuyers save for that crucial home. I am also really glad that we have now put in place a $4-billion housing accelerator plan.
    Mr. Speaker, none of that helps a family that is struggling with the cost of a mortgage right now.

[Translation]

    Here is a similar example. In Montreal, a family has to come up with an additional $13,000 a year. That is crazy. Families are already struggling to make ends meet.
    What advice does this government have for these families when it comes to paying their bills and their mortgage?
    Mr. Speaker, our government absolutely agrees that housing may be the biggest challenge facing Canadians and Canadian families.
    That is why we have already put in place a tax-free first home savings account. This will be important, especially for young Canadians.
    We have also put in place a housing accelerator fund to help municipalities create more of the housing that Canada really needs.

  (1430)  

[English]

Democratic Institutions

    Mr. Speaker, it has been eight months of denials, foot-dragging and cover-ups from the Liberals when it comes to foreign interference in our election. Here are the numbers: countless promises of protecting our democracy, hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Trudeau Foundation, one special rapporteur, zero answers and zero results. The Prime Minister now gets to go back to the drawing board, where he can keep delaying this investigation, continue his cover-up and find someone else to do his bidding.
    The opposition has agreed to the new request. When will he give up the charade and finally commit to a public inquiry?
    Mr. Speaker, we think that a discussion about issues as important as protecting Canadian democratic institutions from unacceptable foreign interference would benefit from all of us lowering the partisan temperature. That is why we believe the decision of Mr. Johnston to leave the special rapporteur role gives all of us an opportunity to discuss what the next steps are in a public process.
    The opposition says it wants a public inquiry. What would be the terms of reference of that inquiry? How would they protect necessary national security information in the interests of Canada? What would be the timeline? Those are the conversations we are anxious to have.
    Mr. Speaker, let us be clear: Canadians want a public inquiry, and this is the kind of thing we have been seeing for eight months. The party that unequivocally rejected a public inquiry and ignored the will of this Parliament just weeks ago now says one has always been on the table. It should have been the first resort, not the last resort.
    It is very clear the Liberals have no plan and never intended to investigate foreign interference in our elections. When will they stop delaying this with their games and just call a public inquiry?
    Mr. Speaker, it will not surprise members that I do not share some of the exaggerated premises of our hon. colleague's questions.
    What we have said, and members of the Conservative Party know this well, including the leader of the Conservative Party, who sat in government, is that this was designed and decided to protect national security information from public release. The Conservatives know that. Saying they want a public inquiry right now is not, in fact, a responsible suggestion. They should tell us what the terms of reference would be, how they would protect the national security interests of Canada and who might lead this process—
    The hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills.
    Mr. Speaker, it has been 31 weeks, more than seven months, since the news that the government knew about the PRC's interference in our democracy came to light. Since then, we have asked hundreds of questions in this House and in its committees, but we have gotten very few answers. The only thing we have gotten are a few answers here and there, heavily redacted documents and a mountain of process with NSICOP, NSIRA and a special rapporteur.
    Will the Prime Minister commit to a public inquiry with the full powers of a public inquiry so we can get answers to exactly what happened?
    Mr. Speaker, the colleague across the way highlights the mechanisms that shine a light on how we are protecting our democratic institutions from foreign interference, including through the creation of NSICOP, a multipartisan endeavour; through the creation of NSIRA; and yes, through Mr. Johnston, who has now determined that he will not be carrying on and has charted out a course.
    What is important is that we work together to address the concerns that have been raised with regard to foreign interference, but doing so in a way that is responsible to protect our national security. That remains the commitment of this government, and we look forward to taking the next concrete steps with all members in this chamber.
    Mr. Speaker, on a related national security matter concerning the Winnipeg lab breaches, it was two and a half years ago that the House of Commons ordered the production of documents. The government refused to comply with the order. Then it hid behind NSICOP. Now, finally, two and a half years later, the committee that is looking at these documents has just been stood up.
    We cannot wait two and a half years for more process to unfold to get the answers we need about interference in our democracy that affects all members and all parties of this House. Will the government commit today to a public inquiry so this democracy and Canadians across the country can get the answers they deserve about the PRC interference?

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, when Justice Iacobucci and Justice O'Connor made recommendations about critical changes that needed to happen to make sure that parliamentarians could see into every corner of government, the Leader of the Opposition, as minister at the time, ignored that request. In fact, if the Leader of the Opposition had his way, there would be no way to look at any national security documents.
    What we did with the Winnipeg lab is offer all of the documents to be seen at NSICOP. When the Conservatives refused, we created an alternate process with a panel of independent arbiters who could look at every redaction to make sure they were legitimate. It took them nearly a year to agree to that process. They finally have. They took a long time to appoint their members. I am glad they finally have.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, why has the Prime Minister not already announced an independent public inquiry into Beijing's interference?
    The Prime Minister wanted to sweep under the rug the fact that the Beijing regime helped him in the 2019 and 2021 elections, so he created a special rapporteur position and appointed his friend, a member of the Trudeau Foundation, to fill it. David Johnston resigned on Friday after failing to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the appearance of a conflict of interest between him and the Prime Minister was unsubstantiated.
    Will the Prime Minister do the right thing, launch an independent inquiry today and finally work with the opposition to ensure that Canadians know the whole truth?
    Mr. Speaker, the government is always ready to work with the opposition, including the Conservatives. However, it was the Conservatives who refused to receive a briefing from the intelligence services. I hope that now, with a renewed spirit and this new opportunity for collaboration, we will be able to work with the opposition, because this is an extremely important issue. It is critical that we address the threats posed by foreign interference, and we need to work together to do that.
    Mr. Speaker, rather than making a decision immediately after David Johnston's resignation, as he could have done, why did the Prime Minister not announce an independent public inquiry? Instead, he sent another friend, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, to make political statements to the media.
    When will the Prime Minister realize that he cannot take help from a foreign country to win elections and decide on the inquiry process? His plan to lie low and buy himself time has failed. When will he stop the cover-up and immediately announce an independent public inquiry?
    Mr. Speaker, it is telling is that our colleague opposite believes that it is petty politics for a government minister to say that he wants to consult the opposition parties and collaborate on such a crucial issue as protecting our democratic institutions.
    On the contrary, there has frankly been too much petty politics on this issue, including on the part of the Conservatives. We want to work together to find the best way to move forward, and we look forward to substantive discussions with the opposition.
    Mr. Speaker, David Johnston was trapped. From day one, the mandate he received from the Prime Minister went against the will of the public and the House. Now that he has honourably stepped down, the government is signalling openness and is asking us to suggest candidates to lead an inquiry. The Bloc will collaborate, but first the government needs to clarify what kind of inquiry it is talking about.
    Is it talking about a public and independent commission of inquiry, or is it talking about restricted hearings with no power or independence? In other words, does the government want the names of potential commissioners, or does it want the names of people it can trap like Mr. Johnston?
    Mr. Speaker, from the outset, we have always been willing to work with the Bloc. We invited the Bloc, and all members of Parliament, in fact, to receive a briefing from the intelligence services so that we could make fact-based decisions. Yes, another opportunity is now presenting itself to work together. All the options are on the table. We must do this work together to better protect our democratic institutions.
    Mr. Speaker, now that David Johnston has stepped down, we are back at square one. The government has been trying to avoid an inquiry for almost four months now. The Bloc Québécois salutes the fact that the government is showing signs of openness today, but after four months, the government really needs to get its act together.
    We need an independent public commission of inquiry. The commissioner must be selected by the House and must have enough leeway in setting the terms of reference to answer all of the public's questions.
    Is the government prepared to launch such an inquiry before the House rises, yes or no?

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, we are not back at square one. A lot of work has been done and a lot of meaningful action has been taken by this government, including the creation of a new national coordinator's office, public consultations on the creation of a registry, and investments in budget 2023 to add resources to the RCMP to protect Canadians. There are plenty of examples to show that we are in a very good position.
    Now, we need to ask some serious questions and consider this matter very seriously and attentively. We are always willing to work with the opposition.
    Mr. Speaker, we have been talking about this every day since February. Everyone is calling for an independent public inquiry.
    That includes Canada's former chief electoral officer, former intelligence officials and senior officials, not to mention the public, minorities threatened by the Chinese regime and the House of Commons. Of course there will be in camera meetings, as is the case with any inquiry that involves sensitive content.
    It is not the means to responsibly investigate that is lacking; it is the will of the government.
    Will there be an independent public inquiry, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, I am encouraged by our colleague's comments about the kind of public inquiry that will have to be considered by the government and by the House of Commons.
    She specifically identified one of the challenges when it comes to top secret information, which is so classified in order to protect the safety of Canadians and those who work for our security agencies.
    Rather than simply repeating the call for an independent public inquiry, it would be helpful to hear exact terms and conditions, specific suggestions on how to protect top secret information, the ideal person to conduct that kind of discussion or public inquiry, and the timelines.

[English]

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, in the last eight years, the Prime Minister has racked up more debt than all other prime ministers combined. That is not just a shocking fact; the real-life consequence is that massive Liberal deficits raise the inflation rate. This forces the Bank of Canada to raise the interest rates, forcing Canadians to default on their mortgages.
    Canadians are going bankrupt because the Liberals cannot control the government's spending. When will they get their spending under control?
    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite has the privilege of representing Edmonton Mill Woods, a riding in a fabulous city that is lucky to have a large Ukrainian Canadian community. I hope that the member opposite is embarrassed by and ashamed of the childish filibustering of the Conservative Party, which blocked crucial support from our country to Ukraine. That party also blocked the denial of most-favoured-nation trading status to Russia. Those members should be ashamed of themselves.

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, almost half of Canadians say that they are having a difficult time now managing their mortgage payments. More and more Canadians are taking on credit card debt just to pay for basic necessities, such as groceries.
    Will the Liberals work with us to draft a new budget that will stop the deficits and inflation, stop rates from going up and stop the mortgage default? Will the Liberals cancel their vacation, work with us and help Canadians to save their homes?
    Mr. Speaker, despite the childish, immature and irresponsible games of the Conservatives, the House actually passed the budget last week. It is a good thing we did that, because there is real help for Canadians in the budget.
     Let us talk about the grocery rebate that is going to reach 11 million Canadians as of July 5. The first home savings account is also part of the budget and the investments in clean technology, which are going to help us not only fight climate change but also build the economy of the 21st century. This side of the House passed that—
    The hon. member for Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis.

[Translation]

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, as everyone knows, the government's reckless spending is causing serious problems across the country.
    A few days ago, the Bank of Canada had to react to this Prime Minister's inflationary spending by raising interest rates for the ninth time. Canadians are struggling to stay warm, to buy food and to pay their mortgages, which, I would remind members, have doubled. Some Canadians are even in default.
    Will the Prime Minister immediately put a stop to his inflation-causing deficit spending and table a plan to balance the budget as soon as possible?

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, I know that the Conservatives would rather forget about the past few years and all that Canadians have been through in recent months and years, like the pandemic.
    I know they would love to overlook the fact that the government decided to be there for Canadians in their hour of need with the necessary assistance to avert business bankruptcies and prevent people from losing their homes when they could not work.
    How ironic to hear them admit today that Canadians are still struggling. Instead of helping Canadians in practical ways, they are trying to block the budget and prevent help from reaching Canadians. That is irresponsible.

[English]

Indigenous Affairs

    Uqaqtittiji, today I stood with the Indigenous Police Chiefs of Ontario, which is trying to negotiate to keep its communities safe. The government is trying to enforce policies that were found to be discriminatory by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. It is fine with letting funding for first nations policing run out. This would never happen in major cities.
    Why is the government forcing the Indigenous Police Chiefs of Ontario to accept a contract that goes against reconciliation?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for her advocacy in the space of first nations policing. I want to assure her that I have had constructive discussions with Chief Kai Liu over the course of the weekend, and I want to assure all members in this chamber that we are committed to resolving this situation as quickly and as respectfully as we can.
    The statements made by the community earlier today have merit. It is a reminder that we have a long way to go when it comes to reconciliation; that is why the government remains committed to doing that work in partnership based on respect for the community.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, international students who have been defrauded by crooked consultants should not be punished with deportation and inadmissibility based on misrepresentation. They have invested everything they have for a better future. They work hard and study hard, and they do so under very difficult conditions. They are under enormous strain, and their lives are in limbo. The Liberals can eliminate this uncertainty by allowing them to stay in Canada and build the lives they dream of.
    Will the minister do the right thing, the compassionate thing, and grant these international students a pathway to permanent residency?
    Mr. Speaker, I agree with much of my hon. colleague's question. I am glad to share that we have been working very hard, as we discussed in a recent meeting just a little more than a week ago.
    We are working to develop a process to ensure that those innocent students, who are the victims of fraud, will have an opportunity to remain in Canada. However, to the extent that people committed fraud, or were complicit in a fraudulent scheme, they will bear the consequences of choosing not to follow Canada's laws. I am hearing stories of students who are dealing with serious mental health concerns because of the uncertainty they are struggling with. We will put a process in place to allow them to prove that they were taken advantage of and provide an appropriate remedy for them.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, this past weekend, as Ukrainians continued to fight valiantly for their freedom and for ours, our Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister made another visit to Kyiv to meet with President Zelenskyy and Prime Minister Shmyhal.
    For more than a year, Canada has remained a steadfast ally of Ukraine, with significant military aid, financial aid, sanctions on Russia, supports for Ukrainians fleeing the war and much more.
     In light of the Prime Minister's visit, can the Minister of Foreign Affairs share with Canadians some of the latest measures the Government of Canada has announced to support the Ukrainian people and hold Russia to account?
    Mr. Speaker, that was a great question. While in Kyiv, the Prime Minister announced $500 million more in military support, including that Canada will help train Ukrainian fighter pilots. We also announced the seizure of the Russian Antonov plane stranded at Pearson Airport. This is the first physical asset. With our new seizure powers, we will be the first of our allies to make sure that we are using these powers into the future.
    We know that we have to do more, and we will do more. There will be nowhere to hide for those who profit from the illegal—
    The hon. member for Calgary Forest Lawn.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, the finance minister said that she would end her inflationary deficits and balance the budget by 2027. Just months after that, she admitted that she will run deficits forever and balance the budget in the year never.
    Eight years of massive Liberal deficits have given Canadians the highest bank interest rate hikes seen in the last 20 years. Now, the International Monetary Fund is reporting that Canada is at the highest risk of a mortgage default crisis.
    When will the finance minister end her inflationary spending and give us a date for when she will balance the budget so that Canadians will not lose their homes?

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative finance critic is a serious adult. That is why it has been so embarrassing, frankly, to watch juvenile staffers from the Conservative leader's office bully him and other Conservative members of the finance committee, forcing them to play juvenile partisan games and filibuster on legislation that will provide Canadians with the supports they need right now. It was embarrassing to watch, and it shows how irresponsible these Conservatives are.
    Mr. Speaker, what is embarrassing is that, while Canadians are suffering, the finance minister dumped a $60-billion jerry can of fuel on the inflationary fire she started.
    Liberals do not understand that reducing the deficits would reduce inflation, bank interest rates and the risk of a mortgage default crisis. The interest rate hikes will cost an extra $1,300 a month for Canadians, who are already struggling to pay mortgages that cost $3,000 on average.
    If the Liberals do not have any plans to reduce this deficit, will they at least get out of the way, so Conservatives can save Canadians' homes?
    Mr. Speaker, it is really astonishing that the Conservatives would have the temerity to talk about fires burning in Canada.
    The fact is that fires have been burning in Canada. They have been burning in Quebec, Atlantic Canada and the finance critic's home province of Alberta.
    What have Conservatives done in response? They have fought a price on pollution, which is the best way to fight climate change. They have fought our budget, which has a clear plan to fight climate change and create great jobs for Canadians. It is appalling—
    The hon. member for New Brunswick Southwest.
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government has run massive deficits for eight long years, and, as predicted, inflation has soared, leading to unaffordable mortgage rates for households across this country.
    Canadians have the highest household debt in the G7, and today, we now have the highest risk of mortgage default in the OECD nations. The solution is obvious: It is to end deficit spending, stop inflation and help Canadian families.
    Will the Prime Minister and his government commit to ending his inflationary spending to prevent a fiscal crisis?
    Mr. Speaker, to be absolutely clear, in the hon. member's question, when he refers to deficit spending, he is largely referring to the supports that kept families fed during the pandemic.
    The programs that we put forward helped keep a roof over the heads of kids in my community. They helped small businesses keep the lights on and the doors open.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Hon. Sean Fraser: They can jeer during my response as they may, but Conservatives know this is true. In fact, they knew that—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I am going to interrupt the hon. minister.
    We were doing so well. I am not sure what is going on, but the volume seems to be going up. So that the member for New Brunswick Southwest can hear the answer to his question, I am going to ask the Minister of Immigration to go ahead.
    The hon. Minister of Immigration.
    Mr. Speaker, the deficit spending Conservatives are talking about included the pandemic supports that made sure that families in my community could keep food on the table and a roof over their kids' heads. Those supports helped small businesses keep the lights on and the doors open. Now they are blaming the Canadians who availed themselves of those pandemic benefits for the deficit spending they now are attributing inflation to.
    The reality is they do not support this spending now, and, at the time, their leader held a press conference in which he said that, as a Conservative, he did not support those big, fat government programs. However, I support them, because they kept my neighbours fed when they needed it.
    Mr. Speaker, that is absurd. During the pandemic, $200 billion was spent that had nothing to do with helping Canadians. The current government just added another $60 billion to its inflationary bonfire, and it now has deficits for as far as the eye can see.
    Canadians are struggling to put food on their tables. They are cancelling their summer vacations because of the Liberal-caused inflation. On our side of the House, we are willing to work all summer to fix and pass a budget that will bring down inflation, bring down deficits, and make home ownership and hard work affordable again.
    Will the Prime Minister cancel his summer vacation? Will he get to work, or are surfboard—

  (1455)  

    The hon. Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.
    Mr. Speaker, what the member opposite is saying is absolutely false. What we did during the pandemic was support Canadians. When he is talking about that additional funding, he is talking about things like child care, $30 billion that is helping Canadians access child care.
    We do not know how the Conservatives are going to vote on it, but what we heard during their speeches in the House is that they are pretty against affordable child care. They are pretty against Canadians having access to thousands of dollars in their pockets at the end of the year, that is helping them pay for the high cost of groceries, that is helping them with their mortgages, that is helping them take, maybe, a family vacation.
    Let us see what they do. Let us see if they truly care about—
    The hon. member for Berthier—Maskinongé.

[Translation]

Agriculture and Agri-Food

    Mr. Speaker, when our farmers used the emergency account during the pandemic, they could not have anticipated all the other misfortunes that would follow.
    The war in Ukraine has driven up input costs. The inflation rate is more than three times higher than in other industries. There is $8 of debt for every dollar of income, and the policy rate continues to rise. I could go on all day. As a result, one in 10 farm businesses are worried about having to shut down within a year.
    Will the Minister of Finance allow farmers to defer their emergency account repayments without them losing the subsidy portion?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question.
    We are working with the agricultural sector to ensure that farms can make a fair and equitable profit. We have increased the advance payment interest-free limit from $250,000 to $350,000. This will help our farm families across Quebec and Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, the question about the emergency account was for the Minister of Finance. It would be nice to get some answers. At a minimum, could repayment of the emergency account be extended?
    Agriculture has been hit harder than other sectors, especially the next generation of farmers. That is why other groups are taking action. Other governments are also taking action. The Americans have invested $22 billion in agriculture. Quebec has provided emergency assistance through Financière agricole. It is now Ottawa's turn to collaborate. Current programs do not provide assistance for this exceptional crisis, which requires exceptional assistance.
    When will the government finally support our farmers?
    Mr. Speaker, as the daughter of a farmer, I understand very well the importance of our agricultural sector.
    I agree with my hon. colleague that our farmers are exceptional. They are very important for our communities and our economy. That is why our government was there during the pandemic. Yes, there was significant spending, but it was essential to support our farmers.
    We will continue to support them.

[English]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, it is no secret that the government's record deficit spending has shot inflation through the roof. As a result, Canadians are spending more on food than ever before. This is particularly marked in rural communities like my own, where higher shipping costs add on to the cost of the end product and will only continue to get more expensive with this government's carbon taxes.
    Will the government finally acknowledge the damage its lavish and out-of-control spending is having on the kitchen table?
    Canadians are needing help. It needs to end its inflation-inducing monetary policy. Will it do it?
    Mr. Speaker, we know that Canadians will not receive any help from the Conservatives, because their plan is austerity, austerity, austerity. In opposition, our government is committed to supporting Canadians.
    In fact, inflation is a global phenomenon. A recent report noted that Canada actually has the second-lowest food inflation in the world. It does not mean that Canadians are not hurting. That is why we brought forward the grocery rebate that, as of July 5, 11 million Canadians are going to receive.
    That is in addition to the Canada child benefit, early learning and child care, the rental benefit. We have been there for Canadians—
    The hon. member for Hastings—Lennox and Addington.
    Mr. Speaker, unlike the federal government, struggling Canadians cannot simply print more money. They need to manage their budgets and spend within their means. They cannot impose a series of punitive taxes on their neighbours to balance their books. They need to manage their finances with the added hurdle of reduced spending power.
    When will the government stop spending, reduce inflation and lower massive grocery bills?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, as I have said many times in this House, I think we can all agree that affordability is an important issue. That is why there is a rebate with respect to the price on pollution to ensure that we are actually addressing this in a thoughtful way. As we are seeing the evacuations of people across this country, it is time that the Conservatives start to think about climate change. I do not know whether they do not believe it is real or they just do not think it is important, but Canadians certainly do.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, after eight years under this government, many families across the country are struggling to put food on the table. Now, mortgages, car payments and credit card interest are rising again. The cost of everything is going up under this Prime Minister. The Liberal government's deficits are to blame, but the government refuses to take responsibility. Food prices will continue to skyrocket if no one takes action.
    When will the Prime Minister wake up and propose a real solution to this crisis?
    Mr. Speaker, I think that more and more people who are watching at home are totally mystified at the fact that the Conservatives have nothing to say about the climate crisis. Over the past year, we have experienced the worst tropical storm on the east coast of Canada and the most severe flooding in the history of our country, and now we are dealing with the largest wildfires in Canadian history.
    What do the Conservatives say about climate change? They say that they do not believe in it or that we can make it all go away with a wave of some magic wand.
    That is not how it works. On this side of the House, we believe that the climate crisis is real and we are working—
    The hon. member for Madawaska—Restigouche.

Public Service of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, this week marks the 31st National Public Service Week, which reminds us of the valuable work that our federal public servants across the country do year after year. Can the President of the Treasury Board tell us more about the important role that the public service plays in Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Madawaska—Restigouche for his important question and especially for the hard work that he does for the community.
    As President of the Treasury Board, every day, I see the dedication of federal public servants, who ensure that the government acts in the interests of Canadians. I thank them for that. Canadians are well served by our professional, committed and hard-working public servants, whether they are issuing benefit payments to seniors or protecting our borders. I hope that everyone will have a wonderful National Public Service Week.

[English]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, this is a very serious problem. Massive Liberal deficits are fuelling inflation. Inflation causes interest rates to go up. Higher interest rates lead to higher mortgage payments and more mortgage defaults. To stop mortgage defaults, we need to balance the budget, end the big deficits and reduce interest rates.
    Will the Prime Minister end his inflationary deficit spending so Canadians can afford to live?
    Mr. Speaker, it is time for Conservatives to be honest and transparent with Canadians. They have to tell us what they would cut.
    Would they cut the $200 billion that we are investing in health care? I sure hope not because Canadians need a health care system they can rely on.
    Would they cut the $30 billion we are investing in early learning and child care? I sure hope not because that is making a real difference for families across our country and helping our labour market to boot.
    Would they cut dental care? Would they cut removing interest on federal student loans?

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, that is certainly not a very serious answer.
    The bank governor is working to rein in inflation by increasing interest rates. At the same time, the Prime Minister's massive $60-billion spending spree is fuelling inflation and has caused yet another interest rate hike just last week. While the Liberals are making the Bank of Canada's job even harder, it is ordinary Canadians who will be dropping their keys off at their banks and saying goodbye to their homes.
    Will the Prime Minister put an end to his inflationary deficit spending and let Canadians keep their homes?
    Mr. Speaker, earlier in question period, I reminded the Conservatives that their leader, at the beginning of the pandemic, held a press conference where he decried our pandemic benefits as big, fat government programs. If members watch that video on the Internet, the member who posed the question is standing behind him.
    The reality is the spending we put in place has supported people through the pandemic. The Conservative solution to the cause of inflation is to spend less money on supporting the households that need it.
    We are going to continue to be there for Canadians to support health care, to help protect our environment and to make life more affordable. It is a shame the Conservatives will not join us.

  (1505)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, this Prime Minister is running deficits like there is no tomorrow and that has driven up inflation.
    Inflation prompted the Bank of Canada to raise interest rates nine times over the past year. Homeowners who are making mortgage payments know all about it. The International Monetary Fund has warned Canada: The country is at risk of defaulting on its payments. That is where we are. It is very unfortunate, but that is how it is.
    Will the Prime Minister stop with his inflationary deficits?
    Mr. Speaker, a few minutes ago, the Minister of Finance was talking about a juvenile attitude on the part of the official opposition leader when he refused to work on passing the budget last week.
    The good news is that our colleague has a juvenile population as well. In his riding, he has roughly 12,000 children who receive the Canada child benefit, which will go up in a few weeks, and nearly 600 children who have been receiving the Canada dental benefit since December.
    Does he think that the children in his riding do not deserve help from the Canadian government?

[English]

Health

     Mr. Speaker, tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of disease and continues, sadly, to kill 48,000 Canadians each year.
    Marginalized and underserved populations, such as people with low income, racialized people, indigenous people or those with a mental health diagnosis, experience even higher rates of tobacco use and greater tobacco-related health gaps.
    Could the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions update this House on how our government is using every evidence-based tool at our disposal to help protect the health of Canadians, especially young people?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her tireless advocacy.
    It is essential that we take bold action to help people stop smoking, and to help young people live healthy, tobacco-free lives. Canada has recently made cigarette health warnings unavoidable by becoming the first country in the world to require they be printed directly on individual cigarettes.
    This, along with updated and periodic rotation of health messages on tobacco packaging, will ensure that we reach our target of less than 5% by 2035.

Families, Children and Social Development

    Mr. Speaker, families have been struggling to keep up with growing food prices, forcing kids to turn to school lunch programs.
    The Breakfast Club of Canada now provides breakfast for more than 600,000 students. Two years ago it was just over 250,000. Canadian nutrition programs cannot keep up with the demand or the cost to feed students as grocery prices soar.
    The Liberal government needs to stop dragging its heels. Will the Liberals make sure our students are fed by immediately setting up the national school food program?
    Mr. Speaker, I look forward to working with my hon. colleague on this important issue.
    We know that because of high food prices right now many school food programs are struggling to keep up with the cost. We know how essential school food programs are to children right across this country. That is why, over the past year, I have been engaging in consultations with schools, school food providers, stakeholders and children, to gain input into how we could bring forward a national school food policy.
    I look forward to sharing the results of those consultation with this chamber shortly.

Emergency Preparedness

    Mr. Speaker, the climate crisis demands of us action that is twofold, first, to end our addiction to fossil fuels so we could avoid the worst and, second, to prepare for what we can no longer avoid.
    We had an excellent non-partisan briefing from the Minister of Emergency Preparedness for all parties. Today, as I read that California's insurers are no longer prepared to insure for fires and floods, we know what is coming. Yet, we are not prepared.
    My question is for the Prime Minister. Can we prepare, as we would in wartime, the equivalent of a war cabinet of all parties together, taking this seriously, to protect Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, as we see an increase in the severity and frequency of weather-related disasters, we recognize the importance of ensuring that Canadians have access to affordable and accessible home insurance.
    It is why we have been working with the insurance industry, first of all, to develop a national flood insurance plan, but also to ensure that Canadians have all of the tools that they need to manage risks, including home insurance.

  (1510)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, if you seek it, I hope you will find unanimous consent of the House to adopt the following motion:
     That the House: (a) stand in solidarity with and express its support for all those affected by the current forest fires; (b) acknowledge that climate change is having a direct impact on people's quality of life, and that it is exacerbating the frequency and scale of extreme weather and climate events, such as floods, tornadoes, forest fires and heat waves; (c) recognize that the federal government must do more to combat climate change, prevent its impacts and support communities affected by natural disasters; (d) call on the federal government to take concrete action in the fight against climate change, which is at risk of becoming increasingly expensive for both the public and the environment.
    All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. If you seek it, I believe you will find unanimous consent for the following motion.
    I move that the House call for the immediate return of vile serial killer and rapist Paul Bernardo to a maximum security prison, that all court-ordered dangerous offenders and mass murderers be permanently assigned a maximum security classification, that the least-restrictive-environment standard be repealed and that the language of necessary restrictions that the previous Conservative government put in place be restored.
    All those opposed to the hon. member's moving the motion will please say nay.
    An hon. member: Nay.

Government Orders

[Business of Supply]

[English]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Climate Change  

    The House resumed from June 8 consideration of the motion.
     It being 3:12 p.m., pursuant to order made Thursday, June 23, 2022, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion of the member for Beloeil—Chambly relating to the business of supply.

[Translation]

    Call in the members.

  (1540)  

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

(Division No. 368)

YEAS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Ali
Anand
Anandasangaree
Angus
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Atwin
Bachrach
Badawey
Bains
Baker
Barron
Barsalou-Duval
Battiste
Beaulieu
Beech
Bendayan
Bennett
Bérubé
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blanchette-Joncas
Blaney
Blois
Boissonnault
Boulerice
Bradford
Brière
Brunelle-Duceppe
Cannings
Casey
Chabot
Chagger
Chahal
Champagne
Champoux
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Collins (Victoria)
Cormier
Coteau
Dabrusin
Damoff
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Desbiens
Desilets
Desjarlais
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Dong
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Dzerowicz
Ehsassi
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
Hanley
Hardie
Hepfner
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Idlout
Ien
Jaczek
Johns
Joly
Jowhari
Julian
Kayabaga
Kelloway
Khalid
Khera
Koutrakis
Kusmierczyk
Kwan
Lalonde
Lambropoulos
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
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)
McLeod
McPherson
Mendès
Mendicino
Miao
Michaud
Miller
Morrice
Morrissey
Murray
Naqvi
Ng
Noormohamed
Normandin
O'Connell
Oliphant
O'Regan
Pauzé
Perron
Petitpas Taylor
Plamondon
Powlowski
Rayes
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Sahota
Saks
Samson
Sarai
Savard-Tremblay
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
Trudeau
Trudel
Turnbull
Valdez
Van Bynen
van Koeverden
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vignola
Villemure
Virani
Weiler
Wilkinson
Yip
Zahid
Zarrillo
Zuberi

Total: -- 210


NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
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
Généreux
Genuis
Gladu
Godin
Goodridge
Gourde
Gray
Hallan
Hoback
Jeneroux
Kelly
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Kusie
Lake
Lantsman
Lawrence
Lehoux
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
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
Zimmer

Total: -- 115


PAIRED

Members

Bergeron
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Liepert
Sajjan

Total: -- 4


    I declare the motion carried.

[English]

Canada Early Learning and Child Care Act

[Government Orders]
     The House resumed from June 8 consideration of Bill C-35, An Act respecting early learning and child care in Canada, as reported (with amendments) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.
    Pursuant to order made on Thursday, June 23, 2022, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at the report stage of Bill C-35.

[Translation]

    The question is on Motion No. 1.

  (1550)  

[English]

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

(Division No. 369)

YEAS

Members

Aboultaif
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
Généreux
Gladu
Godin
Goodridge
Gourde
Gray
Hallan
Hoback
Jeneroux
Kelly
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kram
Kramp-Neuman
Kurek
Kusie
Lake
Lantsman
Lawrence
Lehoux
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Lloyd
Lobb
Maguire
Martel
Mazier
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLean
Melillo
Moore
Morantz
Morrice
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
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Williams
Williamson
Zimmer

Total: -- 114


NAYS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Ali
Anand
Anandasangaree
Angus
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Atwin
Bachrach
Badawey
Bains
Baker
Barron
Barsalou-Duval
Battiste
Beaulieu
Beech
Bendayan
Bennett
Bérubé
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blanchet
Blanchette-Joncas
Blaney
Blois
Boissonnault
Boulerice
Bradford
Brière
Brunelle-Duceppe
Cannings
Casey
Chabot
Chagger
Chahal
Champagne
Champoux
Chatel
Chen
Chiang
Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Collins (Victoria)
Cormier
Coteau
Dabrusin
Damoff
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Desbiens
Desilets
Desjarlais
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diab
Dong
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Dzerowicz
Ehsassi
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
Hanley
Hardie
Hepfner
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Idlout
Ien
Jaczek
Johns
Joly
Jones
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)
McLeod
McPherson
Mendès
Mendicino
Miao
Michaud
Miller
Morrissey
Murray
Naqvi
Ng
Noormohamed
Normandin
O'Connell
Oliphant
O'Regan
Pauzé
Perron
Petitpas Taylor
Plamondon
Powlowski
Rayes
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Sahota
Saks
Samson
Sarai
Savard-Tremblay
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
Trudeau
Trudel
Turnbull
Valdez
Van Bynen
van Koeverden
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vignola
Villemure
Virani
Weiler
Wilkinson
Yip
Zahid
Zarrillo
Zuberi

Total: -- 211


PAIRED

Members

Bergeron
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Liepert
Sajjan

Total: -- 4


    I declare Motion No. 1 defeated.

  (1555)  

    moved that the bill, as amended, be concurred in at report stage.

[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 vote, please.

  (1605)  

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

(Division No. 370)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 325


NAYS

Nil

PAIRED

Members

Bergeron
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Liepert
Sajjan

Total: -- 4


    I declare the motion carried.

[Translation]

Criminal Code

    The House resumed from June 9 consideration of the motion that Bill C-41, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the third time and passed.
    Pursuant to order made Thursday, June 23, 2022, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at third reading stage of Bill C-41.

  (1615)  

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

(Division No. 371)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 299


NAYS

Members

Angus
Ashton
Bachrach
Barron
Blaikie
Blaney
Boulerice
Cannings
Collins (Victoria)
Davies
Desjarlais
Garrison
Gazan
Green
Hughes
Idlout
Johns
Julian
Kwan
MacGregor
Masse
Mathyssen
McPherson
Singh
Zarrillo

Total: -- 25


PAIRED

Members

Bergeron
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Liepert
Sajjan

Total: -- 4


    I declare the motion carried.

    (Bill read the third time and passed)


Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1620)  

[English]

Resignation of Member

    Mr. Speaker, today I rise for the last time in this chamber.
    It has been the honour of a lifetime for me to serve Durham in Parliament, my hometowns of Bowmanville and Port Perry, Oshawa and dozens of small towns and hamlets. However, these are just names on signposts. The real honour has been working with and learning from Durham's people—the volunteers, the young people, the civic leaders, the business leaders, indigenous leaders and first responders. It has been a joy to work with them.
    I want to start my remarks by thanking my incredibly supportive and patient wife Rebecca. You are my true partner in all things, my rock and my biggest supporter. We dedicated our family to public service, and I think we made a real difference. Thank you; I love you.
    I am also incredibly proud of our two children and will retain special memories of my time with them, like running in Stanley Park with Mollie and fishing for crabs on Vancouver Island with Jack. Thank you for serving Canada, and I love you too.
    They are here today with my parents and one of my siblings. I want to thank all of my family for your love and support.
     I want to thank my political family, my friends and family here in the Conservative caucus, my best friends from the military, from law and from the corporate world. You were with me throughout this journey. How many first-time candidates can say they had Wayne Gretzky show up at their first fundraiser? How many candidates have little platoons of veterans knocking on doors with them in every election? My success is due to you; you know who you are. Thank you very much.
    I give a special thanks to my incredibly dedicated staff. The compassion from the number of people who have worked with me over the years in Durham has helped hundreds of families in our community. The incredibly bright women and men who came to work with me in Ottawa in my office as Minister of Veterans Affairs and as the leader of the official opposition often left good jobs in the private sector or elsewhere to take a chance and face immense challenge. You did this because you believed in me and in this country. Thank you. I will never forget your efforts.
     I am also incredibly proud of the accomplishments we made together, both in government and in opposition. The last full sitting day of 2012 was when I first entered this chamber. Actually, it was not this chamber, but the real one up the way. I had the pleasure and honour of being escorted in as a by-election winner by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the late Jim Flaherty. Jim Flaherty was a political mentor to me and a colleague of my father's from Queen's Park, and to have my family in the audience that day as I was taking my seat for the first time is a memory I will never forget.
    A few months later I had the honour to then work with my friend the hon. member for Abbotsford as his parliamentary secretary for trade, at a time when Canada had its most ambitious trade agenda in history, helping to finalize our free trade agreement with the European Union, travelling to Seoul, South Korea, to help drive home a final deal for our first free trade agreement with Asia, and while in Seoul taking the time to lay a wreath for the hundreds of Canadians who died helping that great country earn its freedom, as well as working with our friends, the United States of America and other countries in the Americas. What an exciting time for a brand new MP.
    I will never forget the day I was sworn into cabinet. The memory of Mollie explaining to her three-year-old brother Jack that we were going to Rideau Hall, that it was kind of like the home of the Queen's friend in Canada, and then an hour later seeing Jack, knowing it was the Queen's friend, standing on the couch in his shoes is a memory Rebecca and I will always keep.

  (1625)  

    What an honour for a Canadian Armed Forces veteran to be able to expand mental health treatments for our veterans, to reduce wait times, to start to win trust back from a generation of Afghanistan war veterans who were already feeling forgotten.
    I travelled to more Legions than anyone in Canada at that time, and I can tell the House that I was yelled at in more Legions than anyone in Canada at that time, but sometimes listening, tough talk and humility are ways to start to earn back trust.
    From restoring the memory of World War I soldier and MP Sam Sharpe to expanding benefits for veterans and their families to forging friendships with the Equitas veterans who had been suing our government, I gave it my best in the time we had, and I truly believe that we made a real difference.
    Getting the chance to serve as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, the party of Confederation, the party of the bill of rights, of leading the global fight against apartheid, of calling out, at an early time, the aggression of Vladimir Putin—this was the zenith of my time in politics. Given the pandemic, polarization and uncertain prospects at the time, I took that responsibility very seriously, and I do believe that we made a real difference.

[Translation]

    I am proud of my team and the work we did for the country on the economy and on innovation, mental health and reconciliation, and I am proud of our values and our interests on the international scene. We have proposed intelligent policies for our future.
    It was an honour for me, an anglophone member from Ontario, to honour the Quebec nation and participate in debates on its culture, language and identity. These debates are important to Quebec.
    When I was leader, I often said that we must preserve the only francophone nation in North America. There are seven million francophones in Quebec and across the country living in an ocean of nearly 400 million people in North America. We must recognize that that is very special, and we must protect it. It is a patriotic project. It is a truly Canadian project.

[English]

    I now end my time in this chamber as it began: as the member of Parliament for Durham, as a husband, as a father, as someone who believes deeply in Canada. This is why, in my final moments, in my last time in the chamber, I want to share my thoughts with my fellow parliamentarians
     Over a century ago, as war raged in Europe, Prime Minister Borden said this about a Canada coming together to meet the challenges of its age: “In the awful conditions which confront the world today, why should the political future of any individual or the political fortunes of any party stand for one moment across the path of a great national purpose?”
    War is again touching Europe and democracy is being strained in many parts of the world. With this in mind, all of us in this chamber must ask ourselves this question: What is our great national purpose at this critical moment in history?
    There will be an important counteroffensive from Ukraine in the war this spring, and Canadian soldiers have helped train our friends in the Ukrainian army, but just last week we learned that Canadian soldiers in Latvia were forced to buy their own helmets.
    This news came mere weeks after learning that the Prime Minister had told other world leaders that Canada had no intention of paying its fair share in NATO. The country that in Borden’s time secured victory at Vimy Ridge now has its soldiers buying their own kit. The country that helped draft the NATO charter is now saying it is not willing to pay and support it.

  (1630)  

    This chamber should always ensure that the men and women have the equipment they need to do the job we ask them to do and that our country never wavers from its commitment to peace, security and living up to our word. That should be our national purpose.
    There are indigenous youth in Canada who voted for the first time for people here in this chamber, yet some of these Canadians have never been able to drink the water in their communities. It is our job to ensure that every child has access to clean drinking water and a fair chance to succeed in life. That should be part of our national purpose.
    It takes a decade to get a pipeline built to tidewater in this country, and two decades to get a mine into operation. Canada has been slowing down at a time when the world is asking us to speed up. Getting Canadian resources to global markets, both for our economy and for our environment, should be our shared national purpose.
    There are many challenges facing Canada at this time, but there are also incredible opportunities waiting to be seized. However, that is not happening today. Instead of leading, instead of debating our national purpose in this chamber, too many of us are often chasing algorithms down a sinkhole of diversion and division. We are becoming elected officials who judge our self-worth by how many likes we get on social media, but not how many lives we change in the real world. Performance politics is fuelling polarization, virtue signalling is replacing discussion, and far too often we are just using this chamber to generate clips, not to start national debates.
    Social media did not build this great country, but it is starting to tear its democracy down. If we are not careful, there will soon be a generation of young voters who have never even heard a point of view different from their own. I fear that ignorance of the views of others will slowly transform into a dislike of others, and we can see that starting to happen.
    Canada is a frontier country. We were built on the strength of the fur trade, a country where going hunting with our grandfather or an elder is as quintessentially Canadian as the backyard hockey rink, but today hunters are often demonized as a threat to society by politicians who know that this is not true. Whole rural swaths of our country are being held up as the problem, just to secure a few political points in the suburbs.
    We are a country that sent our citizens far from our shores several times to fight for liberty alongside other countries in multilateral efforts. Canadian diplomats, including a future prime minister, helped draft the agreements built on that sacrifice to give us decades of peace and security, creating NATO, the United Nations and the Commonwealth, but today, too often, we are allowing conspiracy theories about the UN or the World Economic Forum to go unchallenged, or we attribute sinister motives to these organizations or people in a way that is simply not true or not fair. If we do this more, we are allowing others to define the debate for us and we risk allowing others to set the course for this country, because too many members on all sides of this chamber—and from time to time I have been guilty of it myself—are becoming followers of our followers when we should be leaders.
    One member from the other side of the House told me that they no longer speak to their brother because of the divisive nature of the vaccine debates in the last election. Canadian families are, in some cases, finding it difficult to talk to each other about important issues. If we ever want to change this and begin to have respectful and serious discussions again, that change needs to start right here in Canada's House of Commons.

  (1635)  

    Why should the political future of any single member of the chamber or the electoral success of any one party stand in the way of our unity and of the prosperity we want to give to our children? Preserving these things and rising to meet the unique challenges facing Canada and the world today needs to be our national purpose.
     As members of Parliament, we must always put the country first. We must lead and not just follow. We must strive to inspire and be careful not to incite. We must debate with insightful reason and not just tweet out of frustration. If we do not, decades in the future, Canadians will point to the current Parliament as the time when our national decline first began. However, I say to my colleagues that I do not think that will happen. I am an optimist, and I hope all members reflect on some of these things over the summer, because I believe that Canada’s best days are actually ahead of us. I believe in this great country and its people, and I believe in each of my friends. It has been an honour to serve with them.
    I want to thank my good friend from Durham. I believe there are a few other comments to be had.
    Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to rise today to speak about a neighbour and long-time colleague, a friend who, while we disagree vociferously on many different issues, always had the interests of Durham and his country in his heart. I want to start by thanking the member for Durham for his service to Durham, to our community and to our country.
    We do not often enough rise in our place to recognize the contribution that people who have different opinions from us make. When the member for Durham talks about the darkness that is casting a shadow over this world right now, it is remarkable that we live in a country where, when we say goodbye to one another and thank one another for our service, we can recognize that which is good in the other person. We can recognize that the debate we have, the differences we have and the ways we exchange those differences in this place, is what makes Canada so very special and is at the core of much of what the member talked about.
    I had the opportunity to meet the member for Durham in a way that is most fitting: out giving back to the community. This was well before he was in elected office. He was giving to charity, active in his community, involved in the legion and involved in any important cause. He was somebody who, like John, his father before him, served our community admirably. I knew I could go to him and have a conversation about what mattered for our community and where we needed to put aside partisan differences. The member for Durham did not just serve the House or serve his community as a volunteer; he also served in the military, where he went as far as becoming a captain. He put his life on the line for our country, which is something we are profoundly grateful for.
    He was also a lawyer and, as mentioned, a minister of the Crown, which is a remarkable accomplishment. It is one that I know he holds deep in his heart. I want to talk about that and what he did, partnering with Senator Roméo Dallaire, to raise awareness for Samuel Sharpe, not only with the memorial here, but also with the memorial in Uxbridge, really bringing attention to the issue of mental health in our armed services generally. That was something he took from his time serving in the military and attacked with great passion in his time as a cabinet minister. It is something I am deeply appreciative of, and it is a conversation we have to continue.
    He also had a real sense of fun and was somebody who was up for the challenge of doing something different. I was just talking to the Minister of Families. When she was the minister of democratic institutions, there was an event most of us attend called Politics and the Pen. He was asked to dance publicly, which is something he had never done before. He was there doing a 1940s-style swing dance. He did it because he wanted to help out. I do not know that I am big enough to put myself on display like that and dance publicly, but he did, for something he cared about.
    Most of all, as members heard in the member for Durham's speech, he is first and foremost a father to Mollie and Jack, a husband to Rebecca, and a son to John, whom I know well so I mention him specifically. He is somebody who has really had family at the centre of his life. As somebody who knows deeply the sacrifice of public life, I want to say to the member's family that I thank them for their sacrifice so he could be shared in this place and so he could share his voice and his service. I cannot imagine the level of sacrifice needed and the level of scrutiny one goes through when one is the leader of a party. I do think we have to pay particular respect to those who would step forward into the space of leadership, particularly in this time. The member talked about the destructive power of social media and the nastiness that is going around. There is not a member of the House who is not subject to it. There is not one of us who has not had to look at something and have it strike us in our heart as being deeply cruel and mean. To have his family subjected to that as well is incredibly difficult.
    He stood and fought for what he believed in. We have a democracy that we can thank for that. Perhaps, that is something we can be called to in this moment when we talk about former prime minister Robert Borden's call to a greater purpose.

  (1640)  

    That greater purpose is our democracy. It is the respect we show for one another, that, as we have debates and differences, we recognize that those differences are so small compared to the love we have for this country and the love we have for serving our community. In our words and in our differences of policy, the member for Durham and I had very vigorous debates and disagreements, but in one another's eyes we see a love for our community, a love for our country and a desire to serve.
    I thank the member for Durham for his service to this place and to our country. I wish him every success in the days ahead.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today in praise of a life of service to Canada. The member for Durham is a Canadian first, and a Canadian servant above all.
    He started his adult life at military college. He went through law school and had a successful career in law, but then, instead of turning that success simply into personal riches for himself, he turned it into generosity towards others. He became known for his commitment to philanthropy and volunteer work, sitting on the board of True Patriot Love Foundation, where he raised countless dollars to help wounded veterans. This was something already close to his heart because, of course, he himself had served in the armed forces. It was in the forces that he learned about loyalty, discipline, planning and strategy, which are all qualities that he would put to successful use in his service toward others.
    He would go on to follow in his father's footsteps, with his father, John, having been a very respected member of provincial Parliament, acting as a great mentor to his son. The member for Durham would present himself in a by-election, and I think we can all agree he was someone who was elected locally not on a party brand but on his personal notoriety around the community. People of places, streets, community halls and coffee shops he had frequented since childhood came out in droves to elect him to be their servant in this place. After being elected, he would make great sacrifices, for which I not only thank him but also want to thank his wife, Rebecca; his daughter, Mollie; and his son, Jack, who had to spend weekends and often evenings without him as he was travelling on the road.
     He was very quickly elevated to minister of the Crown. In fact, he was in cabinet with lightning speed as then prime minister Harper recognized his ability, his knowledge and his prior experience, making him minister of veterans affairs. This was a difficult time in that portfolio because Canada was grappling with a new generation of veterans. We had, prior to then, all known of the great veterans of the Second World War, of the Korean War and of peacekeeping and other missions throughout the latter half of the 20th century. However, for the first time in a very long time, we were dealing with the new challenges of young men and women who had served on the battlefield in an extremely dangerous and violent place, southern Afghanistan, and who were coming home with new problems with which we were not yet equipped to deal. The member's role was to transform and modernize programs so they could serve those veterans who had suffered so greatly and whose needs were so grand.
     I remember the time when he was minister and he would be on the road, up until late at night and sitting in a legion hall, hearing the concerns and sometimes even the complaints of military veterans who were feeling strangled by a bureaucratic program or that they were not getting a prompt response to their concern, and to deal with others who were there to say thanks for the excellent service that the member had managed to turn around in his, at that time, very short time as the veterans affairs minister. I remember the stories of him being up late at night on those famous Facebook chat groups, which he described as the virtual legion hall. He would sit in front of his computer until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning. Veterans who were up late as well could ping questions and comments, complaints and suggestions off him, and he would respond personally, not through staff, and in real time, sitting, I imagine, in his family living room in darkness but for that screen glowing on his face. In these moments, we saw a true public servant.
    The member would go on to run two very impressive leadership campaigns, one of them successful and by which he became leader of, at that time, Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition and of the Conservative Party of Canada. He ran a spirited election campaign in very difficult circumstances, constrained by a pandemic that prevented the normal human interaction that typifies election campaigns. However, he came through it and remains a statesman in our party.

  (1645)  

    He has loyally served the people in his community and the people of Canada. We know that wherever he goes, whatever chapter he decides to write in his life, one thing is for sure, and that is that it will be consistent with the life of service that has personified everything he has done to date. I look forward to watching that service and learning from his wisdom and experience.
    On behalf of His Majesty's loyal opposition, all Conservatives, and I think I could say all Canadians, we thank the member for his incredible service. If I could be allowed, I will break the Standing Orders to say, “Thank you, Erin O'Toole.” I thank the entire O'Toole family. The nation is deeply grateful, and we will always be in their debt.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to honour the member for Durham. I had the pleasure of getting to know him more personally during a mission to Washington in May 2022. We had a great time chatting over glasses of wine and beer during an embassy reception and later at a wonderful restaurant, the Old Ebbitt Grill, which is an institution in Washington. I highly recommend it to all members heading to Washington.
    Before that, I only knew him politically. I must admit that he annoyed me during the 2021 election campaign because he came to visit my riding often. He wanted to win it, so he kept visiting to show support for his candidate. At one point, he promised $7 million to create an agri-food research and development centre. I am sure members can imagine how well this idea went over in Saint‑Hyacinthe. I did not feel much affection for the member for Durham when he proposed that. Democracy is democracy, of course.
    I am forced to admit that the departure of the member for Durham clearly marks the end of an era. For him, it is the end of a decade as a member serving his constituents, first and foremost, and as minister of veterans affairs, the position he held under the former Harper government.
    However, it is probably not the end of his public service or his service to people in general. I recently ran into him on the outside, and he told me what field he would be working in. I will no doubt have to work with him again. As he lives in Ottawa, we will be able to go back to our old habit of chatting over a beer. We may not be able to change the world that way, but we might make progress on some issues.
    As everyone knows, he previously served in the armed forces. Let us be honest, the member seems both too young to retire and maybe too old to change his deep-rooted nature. People are saying that he has not left public service and never will. I am convinced that public service will catch up with him at some point, no matter what field he goes into.
    His departure marks the end of a certain era for the Conservative Party. He was elected leader in 2020 ahead of a general election that would take place on September 20, 2021. I was listening to his speech earlier and that reminded me of another speech, his first in the House as opposition leader in September 2020. As we say back home, it was long but good.
    I remember that even though his vision for Canada's future was obviously incompatible with our vision for Quebec's future, and even though we disagreed with some of his public policies, I recognized those he was speaking to. He was talking to the people. We all remember the famous contract with Quebec he proposed during the 2021 campaign—he is giving me a thumbs-up. That famous contract did not get signed in the end, but not for a lack of understanding of the differences that characterize Quebeckers nor for highlighting commonalities that could have proved promising. He even repeated that in his speech just now.
    Although his choice of themes did not necessarily align with the Bloc Québécois's priorities, we must admit that on some issues, such as the need to stand up to China, he was ahead of many people here in the House. I congratulate the member for Durham for that.
    Let us look back at his first speech as leader of the opposition in 2020. We realized right away that we were in for some really great debates and that the bar was being set pretty high, because we were dealing with such a fine political opponent.
    A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, perhaps even a torrent, the hon. member might say. Through it all, the member for Durham has remained unchanged, as he demonstrated just a few days ago in his speech on Chinese interference, which targeted him directly. He spoke eloquently and had the decency and the statesmanship that he was obviously proud to uphold.
    Indeed, many Hill commentators have commended his speech and how he managed to rise above the fray. Some even called it the best plea for an independent public inquiry. Ultimately, what we will remember about this member's time in politics is that he was able to put his country before his party, that he was concerned about the future of all his fellow Canadians, and that he was as humble about the importance of the elected role as he was uncompromising when it came to protecting democracy. Simply put, he is a good and decent man.

  (1650)  

    On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I would like to thank the member for Durham for his years of service in the House of Commons. His party will miss him. For some people, it may take a little longer to miss him, but they will eventually miss him, too.
    He will be missed in the House and certainly by his constituents, although we know he will not be too far away. We wish him all the best in his future challenges. I say to him thank you and congratulations.

[English]

    It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the question to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment is as follows: the hon. member for Calgary Centre, Taxation.

  (1655)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise to pay some words of tribute to the member of Parliament for Durham, who I first encountered when I was a newly minted MP. The member for Durham was his party's critic at the time for Bill C-7, which had to do with RCMP collective bargaining.
    It was my first assignment on a bill. I sat in on the public safety committee, and I have to say that debating that bill with the member for Durham gave me an unrealistic expectation about debate in this place because it was principled, sophisticated and well executed. Even though we did not agree on all of the points of that bill and, in fact, disagreed on many of them, he carried out parliamentary debate in the style I thought was appropriate. Things got so downright collegial that it earned him a quote in one of my very first householders. It was not an authorized quote, but it was on the public record, so it was fair game. Now that he is leaving public life, I feel it is time to reciprocate, so I may have a few nice things to say.
    That relationship further developed later in the 42nd Parliament when I had the honour of sitting in on a study of Canadian sovereignty in the north. We were able to travel to northern Canada together. That was a great trip in its own right and I learned a lot, but one of the things I really enjoyed about that trip was the opportunity to get to know the member for Durham better and to discuss some of the issues of the day in a less public forum. That was certainly a pleasure.
    One of the lessons of that experience for me, and for the folks who looked at that report or the joint all-party press conference we did at the end of that study, was that it was a fine example of when parliamentarians, who come from different political movements with different ideas about where the country should head, roll up their sleeves and immerse themselves in the study of an important issue together, they can find ways to find common ground instead of just finding ways to wedge and divide. That report showed nicely how the priorities of maintaining Canada's sovereignty in the north and some of the military components of that can dovetail nicely, with an emphasis on investing in the people of the north and making sure that their needs are met. I was very proud of the work that we all did together to make that case to Parliament and, more widely, to Canadians.
    As I say, one of the great contributions, which was demonstrated later when the member for Durham became leader of the Conservative Party, was his ability to state differences of opinion in a principled way and in a way that promoted the kind of debate that Canadians want from their politicians. They do not need to see us agree on everything all the time or to cover over important differences, but to explore them in ways that are far more constructive than we sometimes explore those differences in this place.
    He talked earlier about the tendency toward division that we are witnessing in politics right now and the dangers of performance politics. I think we can say with hindsight that the member for Durham exhibited a refreshing lack of demagoguery in the way that he presented the Conservative position, and for that I am grateful, as I know many Canadians are. There are a lot of lessons for all of us to learn in how we carry ourselves in public debate.
    I know that can be a difficult thing to do, not just for members themselves but especially their families, so I too want to add my voice to the chorus of thanks to Rebecca, Mollie and Jack, who supported their husband and father through this journey. I thank, on behalf of New Democrats, the member for Durham for his service in this place, and I offer my well wishes for what awaits him as he exits public life.
    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in this place to add the voice of the Green caucus in saying farewell to the hon. member for Durham, and he exemplifies the term an honourable member.
    There are a lot of my colleagues in this place. If I were asked when I first met, for example, the hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona, who just spoke, I cannot remember the first time we met. We have known each other forever. When was the first time? How would we know? The same thing applies to many friends around this place.
    However, I remember, and the hon. member for Durham knows this, with crystal-clear clarity, the moment we met. It was right after his election in the 2012 by-election, and he won me over forever. He came up to me and said, “I want to say hi. I went to Dal law school too.”
    Those of us who went to Dalhousie law school hold that in common, although, not that I need to mention it, the member for Durham did graduate 20 years after me. Therefore, we were not classmates, although we would have had fun if we had been.
    I also want to add my thanks to Rebecca, Mollie and Jack. They will probably remember a candid and fun moment we all had together at the Billy Bishop Airport. There is nothing like making friends across party lines and truly meaning it.
    The hon. member for Durham has stood for what I think is the best about this place and the best of being Canadian, which is to be able to disagree without being disagreeable. He has conducted himself in this place with the gravitas that comes with being a party leader and with speaking across party lines, while, again, having differences but not descending into what he mentioned in his speech, and I appreciated it, which is the business of manipulating algorithms. No one could accuse the hon. member for Durham of being interested in rage farming.
    I will end here, because we have had a lot of speeches and I think the whole family is probably keen to get going and do something more fun. I hope the rest of their lives together will be more fun, that they have time to be together as family. I hope he can continue to contribute to our country and the life of it, as he has done in the military and as he has done in this place. The country and those of us appreciate the way in which he has conducted himself in politics. We will all be able to reflect that the time together as family, and the good times, is well deserved and well received.
    God bless you and thank you.

  (1700)  

    Before we close, I will use a bit of the Speaker's prerogative as well.
    Knowing the member for Durham and Rebecca for probably close to 20-some years now, I have been honoured to work with him and alongside him. I thank him for his service on behalf of the House of Commons. I hope he does not go too far; Canada still needs him. We do hope he comes to visit us on occasion and keeps us up to date on what is going on, because his friendship is always very important to many of us. This is for Mollie, Jack and Rebecca as well.
    I thank you very much.

  (1705)  

Privilege

Alleged Intimidation of Member  

[Privilege]
     Mr. Speaker, ordinarily I often start my speeches with it is a pleasure to rise on behalf of the people for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo. However, I am not going to say that today, because this is not something I relish, frankly, having to rise on a question of privilege.
    I am rising on a question of privilege concerning an effort by the Attorney General of Canada to retaliate against me, in my eyes, or in the lexicon of parliamentary privilege, to intimidate me for sharing and supporting my party's position that the toxic mix of overlapping conflicts of interest involving the former special rapporteur required the calling of a public inquiry and his dismissal, as was voted on by our House.
    During Thursday afternoon's question period, my colleague, the hon. member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, asked this question at 2:46 p.m.:
     Mr. Speaker, it seems to be a comprehension issue for the minister. The question is about levels of conflict of interest with the government. We have the Prime Minister, who hired his friend, paying him $1,500 a day. That friend then hired Liberals. He hired Frank Iacobucci, from the Trudeau Foundation. He hired Liberal insiders, such as Sheila Block, and now we have this rapporteur, who is taking the same communications advice as the member for Don Valley North is getting. It is conflict of interest after conflict of interest.
    Fire the rapporteur. Call a public inquiry. Will the Liberals do it today?
    I pause here to note that the member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes asked another question but it was not related to Justice Iacobucci in any way.
    I stood along with many of my colleagues to applaud that question, as I agreed that there should be a public inquiry called. It zeroed in on a genuine issue of foreign interference that our nation was currently dealing with. Of course, since Thursday things have changed now with Mr. Johnston's resignation.
     I now return to the events of Thursday. The Attorney General sent me an email stamped at 2:49 p.m., and I note that my recollection is that the member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes spoke at 2:46 p.m., so it was three minutes later. It said, “See you clapping on attacks on Frank Iacobucci's Integrity. I will let the community know.” This was not a situation wherein the hon. Attorney General spoke to me privately after question period or sent me a note asking to chat. It was not a casual text or even a note signed with his initials or his first name. It was simply a signature block that said this was from the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. Typically, obviously in the House, I will speak with anybody at any time when appropriate.
     The message might sound innocuous enough, but I worry and I do not take it that way. I reacted to a question put forward by one of my colleagues. The Attorney General said that he would take action by letting the community know. Therefore, the question I have is: What action and to whom? The community in question is presumably the legal community. We are obviously both from legal backgrounds. It does not matter whether he was referring to the legal community, the Italian community or my home community of Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo.
    I have two law degrees. I was trained as a lawyer and I currently have a non-practising status with the Law Society of British Columbia. I served and was proud to serve the people of British Columbia as a former Crown prosecutor, and, like the Attorney General, I taught at a law school. I tried to teach students to weave ethics into their everyday decision-making as a lawyer. I believe that this is our role as lawyers. I know that the House of Commons is different and sometimes we will do things differently here, but it was something I really did strive to do, and that was the feedback I did receive from my students. I hope and presume that the Attorney General did the same when he taught students in his prior career.
    What is this about? I take this to be about reputation. The Attorney General did not like that I clapped in response to a question. He said that he would let the community know, presumably the legal community.

  (1710)  

    I pause here to note that a lawyer's reputation is really everything. I may go back to the practice of law. I am still a non-practising member. I am less than 44 years old. There is a lot of time left in my career.
    I have therefore concluded that the Attorney General communicated that my reputation would be damaged and that he would be the communicator of the information to do so.
    This is problematic on two levels. First, there is an issue of parliamentary privilege, which I am raising now to you, Mr. Speaker. Second, in my view, the Attorney General got this wrong. The question did not question or impugn the reputation of Justice Iacobucci. I will be very clear. It called on him as a member of the Trudeau Foundation, which I understand to be a fact. I do not know Justice Iacobucci. I have never met Justice Iacobucci. I have always respected Justice Iacobucci.
    We cannot forget the dynamic here. The Attorney General is a third-term parliamentarian. He has been a minister of the Crown for longer than I have been elected. He decides serious justice matters. He makes all federal judicial appointments. He is senior to me at the bar by nearly two decades. This is my first mandate. My party is not in government.
    To be direct, this is the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and he is telling a non-governmental MP that he will take action to diminish another member's reputation in the community. Surely he is aware, or should be aware, that his word as Attorney General will have significant weight. That is a problem on many levels. This behaviour, I respectfully put forward to you, Mr. Speaker, is a misuse of his office as the country's top lawyer.
    House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, states, at page 107:
    In order to fulfill their parliamentary duties, Members should be able to go about their parliamentary business undisturbed.... Any form of intimidation of a Member with respect to the Member’s actions during a proceeding in Parliament could amount to contempt.
    This is a long-standing and well-established principle in the law of parliamentary privilege, tracing its roots back to an April 12, 1733 resolution in the British House of Commons:
    That the assaulting, or insulting, or menacing any Member of this House in his coming to, or going from the House, or upon the account of his behaviour in Parliament, is a high infringement of the Privileges of this House, a most outrageous and dangerous violation of the rights of Parliament, and a high crime and misdemeanour.
    Bosc and Gagnon observed, at page 109:
    In order to find a prima facie breach of privilege, the Speaker must be satisfied that there is evidence to support the Member’s claim that he or she has been impeded in the performance of his or her parliamentary functions and that the matter is directly related to a proceeding in Parliament.
    Here are the words endorsed by the Speaker in a landmark ruling on May 8, 2023. He endorsed, as I understand it, the words of Speaker Lamoureux at page 6709 of Debates on September 19, 1973, who said:
    I have no hesitation in reaffirming the principle that parliamentary privilege includes the right of a member to discharge his responsibilities as a member of the House free from threats or attempts at intimidation.
    Meanwhile, on May 1, 1986, Speaker Bosley held, at page 12847 of Debates:
    If an Hon. Member is impeded or obstructed in the performance of his or her parliamentary duties through threats, intimidation, bribery attempts or other improper behaviour, such a case would fall within the limits of parliamentary privilege.
    Bosc and Gagnon explain at pages 81 and 82:
    The House of Commons enjoys very wide latitude in maintaining its dignity and authority through the exercise of its contempt power. In other words, the House may consider any misconduct to be contempt and may deal with it accordingly.... This area of parliamentary law is therefore extremely fluid and most valuable for the Commons to be able to meet novel situations.
    Throughout the Commonwealth most procedural authorities hold that contempts, as opposed to privileges, cannot be enumerated or categorized.... The United Kingdom Joint Committee on Parliamentary Privilege attempted to provide a list of some types of contempt in its 1999 report....
assaulting, threatening, obstructing or intimidating a Member or officer of the House in the discharge of their duties....
assaulting, threatening or disadvantaging a Member, or a former Member, on account of the Member's conduct in Parliament....

  (1715)  

    While I hope to enjoy my electors' confidence for many years to come, I am also young enough that I could find myself practising law before I retire, or even by choice after retirement from the House or after any election that could come. That is the case for anybody here in this place. Remaining in good standing within the legal community is central to that potential path. An attack on my integrity impedes me as a parliamentarian, as a future practising lawyer and as a non-practising lawyer at this time.
    It is my view that the House must take a firm stance against actions like this, and as the defender of the House's rights and privileges, it falls to you, Mr. Speaker, to signal that this kind of conduct among hon. members or by the hon. Attorney General will never be tolerated.
    I do not relish this one bit. I never thought I would have to rise on a point of privilege. I certainly do not enjoy doing this, but this email struck me and I felt it was inappropriate.
    If you agree with me, I am prepared to move an appropriate motion.

  (1720)  

    We have a couple comments on this.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.
    Mr. Speaker, right offhand, I categorically deny what the member is trying to imply with his statement. However, I will take note of what the member has said and then come back to the House.
    If we are going to continue to have this discussion, members should be better focused on what the privilege is.
    Mr. Speaker, there is no implication here. It is very clear what happened. I happened to be sitting beside the member when he received that text, in real time, from the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.
    He is a member of the Law Society of British Columbia, as am I, and we both had legal careers before being in this place and may after. As the member mentioned, there was a time when I was not re-elected to this place, in 2015, and returned to my profession. I then came back again in the subsequent 2019 election.
    If a member of the law society or a member of the legal profession does not have their integrity and reputation, they have very little. These things, for a member of Parliament, are extremely important. They are also extremely important for a member of the legal profession and for members of their respective law societies.
    In my case, I am a King's Counsel. I have also been a minister of the Crown. I understand the duties of a minister of the Crown, and I very much understand the duties of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, having been a parliamentary secretary of justice myself and understanding that the Attorney General of Canada is the most prominent position that a lawyer can hold in this country.
    To uphold the integrity of that office must also be about treating other members of the House as honourable members. To even contemplate that the Attorney General of Canada would threaten the reputation of an hon. member of this place, knowing that it would not just reach this place but could reach into the outer profession and into his life following his time in this place and during his time in this place, is egregious.
    The member opposite suggests that this is not what the message says. I have read it and have read the email in real time when sitting next to the member. My reaction was exactly his: The Attorney General of Canada is threatening to harm the reputation of a sitting member of the House because he stood in his place and clapped for a member of his caucus during question period.
    This is a fettering of his privilege. This is a fettering of his ability to vote and express himself in this place as a member of Parliament. It is not implied. It is explicit and is beneath the dignity of the Attorney General of Canada. It should be sanctioned.
    Mr. Speaker, I just want to add a few brief comments to my colleague's intervention, because it is very important to underscore the way this message was transmitted to my colleague.
    We have all been in the House when people say things after emotions get the better of them, and we might chalk something like that up to a heat-of-the-moment exchange. However, what the Minister of Justice did was write a message intimating a threat to my colleague's reputation and his standing in the legal community and then sign his full signature block to it. In other words, it was not just a message from one colleague to another or from one opposing side to another. This was a message delivered by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. That was at the bottom of the email. The minister was exercising an action with his Attorney General hat on. That was him in his office as Attorney General, the highest legal office in the land, and as Minister of Justice.
    That is the context in which it was sent. It was an official communication from the member, acting in his capacity as Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. However, do not take my word for it. We will table the email so the Chair can see what was said and understand the point we are making.
    I want to make a comparison, if I could. Imagine a similar scenario. We have members of this House who, before they were elected, were in the armed forces. Some of them may have intentions to go back to the armed forces. We have a colleague who is a reservist. Imagine the Minister of National Defence writing, in the capacity of Minister of National Defence, a similar message to a member saying they saw their actions in QP or they noticed something and are going to make sure the rest of the member's fellow servicemen and servicewomen know what they just did, or saying that based on what was done, they are going to make sure the member's regiment understands what just happened, doing so as Minister of National Defence. It is egregious. That is the context in which we are raising this point.
    I also want to make the point that in Canada, these threats of disciplinary action are increasingly becoming the fashionable way of imposing political uniformity and enforcing political viewpoints within the country's self-governing professions. Members of the Ontario bar have, over the past half-decade, been having a back-and-forth battle about whether to oblige lawyers to adopt statements of principles, whereby they must profess to hold certain beliefs, whether or not they actually do, the failure of which would lead to disciplinary hearings. We all know what is happening to well-known commentator Jordan Peterson, who is defending against disciplinary proceedings with the College of Psychologists of Ontario for, among other things, re-tweeting the words of the Leader of the Opposition and posting criticism of the Prime Minister's former principal secretary, Gerald Butts.
    However, let us not mistake the power and gravity of an attorney general's efforts to stir up a disciplinary complaint from within the legal community. An attorney general is not just some random person, a random lawyer or even a random Liberal off the street who might muse about such things. Any lawyer who aspires to a judicial appointment to a superior court, the Federal Court, a court of appeal or even the Supreme Court of Canada must have the favourable recommendation of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada to advance through the cabinet appointment process.
    I just want to add a couple of points. Paragraph 15.14 of Erskine May, 25th edition, says:
    To molest Members on account of their conduct in Parliament is also a contempt.... [T]hreatening a Member with the possibility of a trial at some future time for a question asked in the House...or proposing to visit a pecuniary loss on them on account of conduct in Parliament have all been considered contempts....
    To attempt to intimidate a Member in their parliamentary conduct by threats is also a contempt, cognate to those mentioned above. Actions of this character which have been proceeded against include impugning the conduct of Members and threatening them with further exposure if they took part in debates... [and] summoning a Member to a disciplinary hearing of their trade union in consequence of a vote given in the House....
    It is a well-established principle that witnesses appearing before parliamentary committees largely enjoy the same privileges as members. The jurisprudence concerning witnesses threatened for their participation at committees would also be relevant to consider in the circumstance. Indeed, in our own House, Mr. Speaker Fraser, on December 4, 1992, at page 14631 of the Debates, found a prima facie case of privilege after the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation threatened a witness with a lawsuit concerning the evidence she gave to a subcommittee.
    Erskine May, 25th edition, meanwhile, explains at paragraph 15.21:
    On the same principle, molestation of or threats against those who have previously given evidence before either House or a committee will be treated by the House concerned as a contempt.... Such actions have included...censure, punishment or dismissal by an employer.

  (1725)  

    In relation to that latter proposition, I would refer the Chair to paragraph 40 of the fifth report, in the 2003-04 session, of the U.K. House of Commons Committee of Privileges, which states:
     We do not accept Mr Hewson's evidence that Ms Weleminsky's evidence to the Constitutional Affairs Committee was not ‘the final straw’. Mr Hewson, with the active encouragement of the majority of his Board, sought to initiate the formal disciplinary process against Ms Weleminsky after the 17 June Board meeting as a result of the evidence she gave to the Constitutional Affairs Committee. We do not believe that a code of conduct or Board rules can override the rights and obligations of witnesses to select committees, a view in which we understand the Attorney General concurs. Mr Hewson’s attempt to ‘call Ms Weleminsky to account’ for the evidence she gave was, in our view, a contempt of the House.
    I would argue that the justice minister's intention is patently clear. Disciplinary proceedings will be encouraged to be brought against my colleague because he dared to speak out about or show support for the Conservative Party's position that the Liberal government's special rapporteur process was a monstrosity of compounding conflicts of interest.
    The House must take a firm stance against egregious actions like this. As the defender of the House's rights and privileges, it falls to you, Mr. Speaker, to signal that this kind of conduct will never be tolerated here among hon. members.
    I thank you very much for considering the opposition's points on this.

  (1730)  

    I thank hon. members for bringing this issue forward. We will be reviewing it closely and getting back to the House as soon as possible on the findings of our review.
    Also, as a quick reminder, when presenting a question of privilege, members should stick to the facts as much as possible to keep it as short as possible.

Government Response to Petitions

[Routine Proceedings]
    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8)(a), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 32 petitions. These will be tabled in an electronic format.

[Translation]

Committees of the House

Citizenship and Immigration  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 17th report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration relating to Bill S-245, an act to amend the Citizenship Act (granting citizenship to certain Canadians). The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House with amendments.

[English]

Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 11th report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, entitled “National Housing Strategy”.
    I would like at this time to acknowledge and thank the clerk and the analysts of the committee for preparing the report and attached copies.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of the Conservative members of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities to table a dissenting report to the main report of the committee with respect to the national housing strategy.
    We all know that when the national housing strategy was presented by the government some years ago, it was described as a transformational plan. Of course, we all know that despite that and the work of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, rents have doubled and mortgages have doubled. This has driven Canada to a high risk of mortgage defaults and has allowed the number of persons experiencing homelessness to grow significantly.
    Conservative members also wish to highlight that the person ultimately responsible for these failures of the CMHC is the Minister of Housing, along with the government. He is responsible for the massive increase in the government fees the CMHC has just introduced on multi-unit residential housing. He is responsible for the complex paperwork that stalls so many applications. He is responsible for the crisis that is unfolding today.

Justice and Human Rights  

    Madam Speaker, I move that the 12th report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, presented to the House on Monday, June 5, 2023, be concurred in.
    It is a pleasure for me to rise to be able to speak to this important committee report, which deals with the House's ongoing condemnation of the Taliban for its horrific violence against the Afghan people. While I am moving this concurrence motion, I want to say that I am going to be sharing my time with the member for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound. I am very much looking forward to his comments, as he is someone who has served this country in uniform.
    So many Canadians served in uniform in Afghanistan: 158 Canadians gave their lives, and more than 40,000 members of the Canadian Armed Forces served. The blood, treasure and time Canada invested in Afghanistan has established a special bond and commitment that we have with that country. It is felt particularly deeply by those who served, but it is felt in some sense by all of us who have seen the sacrifices and known people who have participated in those sacrifices.
    This House has rightly just passed Bill C-41, a bill that will enable development assistance to get into Afghanistan and create an authorization regime whereby that can happen. I think passing that bill was the right decision to create that framework whereby this development assistance can be delivered. However, at the same time, we should be clear in our denunciation of any normalization of the Taliban or any recognition of legitimacy of its control over Afghanistan, and we should be firm and clear in our commitment to the fact that the Afghan people deserve freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. This is the birthright of all people. Canada has been particularly engaged with, and it has sacrificed for, the people of Afghanistan. We need to hold on to, and be steadfast in committing to, the principle that Afghans, in particular, deserve the protection of these fundamental rights. Therefore, we reject any kind of normalization or recognition of the Taliban, and we believe that it is important to engage with pro-democracy opposition groups, with the goal of restoring freedom, democracy and fundamental human rights to the people of Afghanistan.
    The motion that Conservatives brought to the committee and that was unanimously adopted by the committee says:
    That the committee report to the House that it firmly denounces the Taliban and rejects any recognition or legitimization of their control over Afghan territory. In particular, the committee denounces the Taliban system of gender discrimination, systemic violence targeting minority communities, reprisals against former members of the Afghan National Security and Defence Forces, attacks on freedom of the press, and other violations of fundamental human rights. The committee believes that the Taliban must remain a listed terrorist organization.
    Parenthetically, I want to mention to the House that there are a number of cases of terrorist listings that the government has been behind on. We are at about the five-year anniversary of the House adopting my motion calling on the government to list the IRGC as a terrorist organization. At the time, the government actually voted for that motion. That was five years ago; the government said it was being studied and considered, but it still has not listed the IRGC as a terrorist organization, in spite of the escalation in horrific violence from the Iranian regime.
    Conservatives have also called for the listing of the Wagner Group as a terrorist organization. There was a unanimous consent motion in the House a number of months ago. It has not been five years, as it has been with the IRGC, but it has still been a number of months. The Wagner Group is involved in the genocidal invasion of Ukraine by the Putin regime. It is also active in parts of Africa. It has been active in Syria, using horrifically violent tactics with complete disregard for civilian life and acting as an agent of the Putin regime's foreign policy.
    We have called for the listing of the IRGC and the Wagner Group, and the House has called for the listing of the IRGC and the Wagner Group. These are two terrorist groups that have not been listed as terrorist entities under the Criminal Code. The Taliban is listed, and, through this motion, we are highlighting the importance of the Taliban remaining listed.
    When we list an organization under the Criminal Code, it is not merely symbolic; of course, it is very significant. It is a way of most clearly denouncing these groups and shutting down any possibility for them to operate in Canada. It means that, when an organization is a terrorist group, it cannot recruit, be present or fundraise here. In the absence of a terrorist listing, groups have more room to manoeuvre. This is why we think it is important to shut down these groups in Canada.

  (1735)  

    I will return now to talk specifically about the Taliban and Afghanistan. After the September 11 attacks in the United States, there was a global coalition that came together recognizing that Afghanistan had become a haven from which terrorist attacks could be organized, as well as that the Afghan people were victims of horrific, ongoing violence.
    We could detail those violations of human rights then and now. We have seen the horrific targeting of ethnic and religious minorities, such as Christians and the Shia Muslim community. The Hazara community has faced multiple ongoing genocides, as have the Sikh and Hindu communities in Afghanistan, which I and other members have advocated for. There has also been targeting of other minorities and all Afghans, particularly in terms of the situation of women in Afghanistan. I think it is quite correct to say that there is a system of “gender apartheid” in place in Afghanistan, and that is part of the system of human rights violations that we are seeing.
    The motion highlights the system of gender apartheid, as well as the violence against minorities, attacks on freedom of the press, the targeting of those who have been involved in Afghan national security and defence forces and those who were involved in supporting Canada. They are all victims of Taliban violence. Many of these groups were victims of Taliban violence during the initial period of Taliban control of Afghanistan, and it is with this in mind, as well as the threats to our own security, that Canada stepped up and joined our allies in fighting to rid Afghanistan of the Taliban and support the Afghan people in realizing their desire for freedom, democracy, human rights and rule of law. Many Canadians participated heroically in that effort.
    I believe that the pullout from Afghanistan was a big mistake. It would have been better for western troops to be able to continue to play a supportive role as Afghans were heroically fighting the Taliban. The pullout was poorly managed and poorly executed, and it was really done in a way that gave the Taliban the greatest opportunity to be able to take over the country. The sad reality is that the Taliban has taken over Afghanistan. However, I think it is crucial for the House, for us here and for the Canadian people to remain engaged with events in Afghanistan. We must honour the sacrifices that have been made and the ongoing desire of the Afghan people to have change in their country.
    There are many Afghan civil society groups, opposition groups, pro-democracy groups and diaspora groups in Canada that are working to envision and to plan for a brighter future for Afghanistan. The foreign affairs committee recently heard testimony from a representative of the National Resistance Front, who said that the Taliban rule in Afghanistan is clearly not working. It is causing all sorts of problems, including a humanitarian crisis, and, in his view, it is realistic to hope for a collapse of the Taliban administration that would open the door, again, for a new alternative Afghan government that aligns more with the hopes and values of the people of that country, which is what we would hope for here in Canada.
     We should be continuing to engage, to support the opposition and to tighten sanctions against the Taliban oppressors of the Afghan people. It is not a lost cause; far from it. There are many reasons to hope that a brighter future is ahead, but Afghanistan's friends around the world must continue to be engaged in that hope. That means firmly holding the line against the Taliban, preserving its terrorist listing and looking for opportunity, if anything, to tighten the sanctions that apply to the Taliban. That is our position, and I hope this is a position that is shared by the House.

  (1740)  

    Finally, on immigration measures, Canada had and continues to have an obligation to support those who stood with Canada and fought with Canada, as well as the most vulnerable minority communities, and to support their ability to make application to come to Canada. Sadly, the government was far behind on making that happen. We had been calling for measures in the lead-up to the fall of Kabul. In fact, on the day Kabul fell, the Prime Minister should have been at his desk; instead, he was at the Governor General's, calling an election.
    It is a shame that the government was not more focused on responding to events in Afghanistan. Instead, it was making calculations about its own political future. Conservatives believe that this whole House should stand with the people of Afghanistan and seek that brighter democratic future.

  (1745)  

    Madam Speaker, I note that Bill C-41 passed in this place this afternoon. It is a very important piece of legislation ensuring that aid goes from Canadian sources and agencies to Afghanistan. I want to acknowledge the work of the member opposite on this file.
    I also want to question something. Today, when we have the passage of Bill C-41, when I think we are all quite united in condemning the Taliban and all that it stands for, why are we taking valuable House resources away from Bill C-40, an act to amend the Criminal Code with respect to the miscarriage of justice? It is an act that has been sought by many victims, who have come forward to ask the justice system to respond to their needs.
    Why are we spending so much time on something that we all agree on?
    Madam Speaker, as it relates to the government's management of its legislative calendar, I think that is more a question the member can direct to his House leader. The government can call any bills that it wants at any time during Government Orders.
    I understand that the House is going to be sitting until midnight to consider Government Orders. However, we are now in the rubric of motions, where members are able to move motions that are important to them. Clearly, it is important to use that time to move concurrence on committee reports that are important and deserve consideration in the House.
    The committee, with the exception of NDP members, agreed on the importance of Bill C-41. It also, in that context, felt it was important to send this message condemning the Taliban, condemning the ongoing violence and emphasizing the need to continue to list it as a terrorist organization.
    Therefore, it is important that the House make these two statements: It should state the importance of allowing in humanitarian and other forms of assistance, and it should also recognize that we should not, in any way, legitimize the Taliban's position in Afghanistan.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, as the critic for status of women, I am obviously looking at this file from that perspective. In that capacity, I have been often approached about this report and the situation in Afghanistan.
    The situation of women in Afghanistan remains very uncertain and extremely worrisome. I think we need to be extremely vigilant and monitor the situation on the ground very closely. There is humanitarian aid and ministerial authorization. In short, the international community is asking us to allow rights organizations to continue operating on the ground in Afghanistan so that they can monitor the situation of women closely and help advance their rights. Right now, it seems as though Afghanistan is back in the middle ages, where women are seen as being worth less than nothing. Their rights are seriously threatened. Personally, I have met people in my riding who are very worried about that.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I share the member's concerns about the situation of women in Afghanistan. I have appreciated having the opportunity to meet with Afghan women's organizations here in Canada and hear them share first-hand some of the things they are hearing. I salute the organizations in Canada that are working hard on behalf of women who are victims of gender apartheid.
    We should be doing all we can to support democracy, women's rights and other groups working for the advancement of freedom. I think we also need to explore ways that we might be able to make educational resources available to women who still want to be able to access those resources in spite of the repression that exists. We may also explore other ways people can access those materials, while avoiding detection, in Afghanistan.
    There is a lot of work that we need to do to support women in this situation. I want to encourage the House to remain seized with these events, to honour the commitments made in the past to Afghanistan and continue to be seized with these events going forward.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for providing me the opportunity today to do something that I have no problem doing, and that is bashing the Taliban. I have zero time for the Taliban regime. For those who may not be aware and might be listening today, I had the privilege to serve this country in uniform and spent 14 months of my life in Afghanistan.
    I will offer what I have offered before. The Afghan people are no different from any other people around this world. They are no different from Canadians. They are people who just want to live in peace and have a chance to provide their families, relatives and friends with a better life. Unfortunately, under the Taliban, people, especially women and girls, do not have the same opportunity as those of us in the west and in Canada, in particular.
    I want to share a bit history of Canada's involvement, my personal experiences and where we got things right and where we got things wrong. I honestly believe when Canada first got involved in Afghanistan shortly after 9/11, it was much needed. We needed to do something in a country that was harbouring terrorist organizations like al Qaeda that helped perpetrate the attack on 9/11. Canadians were, right from the get-go, in the Kandahar region, but, more importantly, there were Canadians involved in Kabul, the capital city, right from the beginning, trying to make fundamental changes to the way that country worked, by a mentoring and strategic advisory team that was in Kabul.
    The focus was on that training for quite some time, until about the 2006 time frame, when the Canadian Armed Forces were then deployed and the Liberal government of the day decided it was time for Canada to step up and engage in the fighting that was going on in the south and, in particular, in the Kandahar region. Our Canadian Armed Forces soldiers did themselves and this country proud with the incredible service and sacrifices they made.
    Around the 2011 time frame, we transitioned from the south, back up to Kabul, and focused our efforts and the Canadian contribution as part of the NATO training mission to again try to build institutional capacity. This was all while we were still fighting the Taliban and trying to create a situation of long-term success for the country and the people of Afghanistan. Canada then decided in 2014 to withdraw our Canadian soldiers on the ground, with the exception of a minor detachment that was still supporting our embassy. Ultimately, what we saw happen was the fall of Kabul and Afghanistan back to the Taliban in 2021.
    Before I get into the specifics of that, though, I want to highlight the incredible sacrifices 158 Canadian soldiers and seven Canadian civilians made in that country. Some of them I knew very well and personally. I lost six of my own soldiers while I was there, and it was the crappiest day of my life. The only day that was tougher was when we were communicating news to family members after the fact. Unfortunately, we are still losing Canadians to this day because of that mission, due to post-traumatic stress and suicide, which are things we should be doing our darnedest to prevent.
    I want to explain a little about who the Taliban are and why I have so much, dare I say, hatred for them and why Canada needs to do more in opposing that regime. As I mentioned already, cattle and sheep get better treatment than the women and girls in Afghanistan.
    I moved my combat team in 2007 up to Ghorak to escort an Afghan army company up there to reinforce an Afghan national police outpost. We got there about 24 hours too late because a young, seven- or eight-year-old boy and his father were beheaded and hanged 24 hours earlier because they dared to provide local food and bread to those Afghan police forces.

  (1750)  

    This is a Taliban regime and if girls try to go to school, they get acid thrown in their face in the streets. They do not respect human rights. This is why I have no problem speaking out against them. This is why the motion is so pertinent today.
    The member for Shefford identified the issue of Afghanistan going backwards. I could not agree more. This is why this motion is pertinent to be brought forward and debated today in the House, and why I thank the committee for actually moving this motion. It does allow us to continue to bring attention to the horrific issues that are going on in Afghanistan.
    What happened in 2021 is where, again, we saw the fall of Kabul. Instead of us, as a country, focusing all efforts to get those Afghans out, especially those Afghans who helped Canada, in a timely fashion, unfortunately, the government of the day was more focused on calling an election and campaigning, and was not focused on putting all our assets forward.
    What really irritates me even more is the signals, the intelligence that was publicly available months and months ahead of what happened in August 2021. As soon as the U.S. government signalled they were going to withdraw their support, there were indications that this was likely going to happen. There are a lot of experts out there who predicted that maybe it was not going to happen as quickly as it did, however, the signs were there and we needed to do more, sooner.
     I am frustrated even to this day. I have the privilege to work with members across all parties. We have been working since last October to get former Afghan women members of Parliament out of that country. We started that initiative last October. Unfortunately, we needed to go public in January of this year, because one of those women, a former MP, was killed, just because she represents everything that the Taliban detests. Again, this is why it is so important that we continue to do more.
    I have had frank and honest conversations with the Minister of Immigration and I believe his heart is in the right place, but we are not doing enough. Canada is committed to bringing 40,000 Afghans to Canada. I think we are at around the 30,000 mark now. I am still critical that the efforts are in the wrong place, they are on Afghans who have already gotten out of Afghanistan. They are not focused on those who are still stuck in that country, and their situation is getting worse by the day.
    We have former Afghans, who have helped Canada and who are here in Canada, who are literally protesting out in the streets this past week and in weeks past, because they cannot get their family out. The bureaucracy behind it drives me nuts.
    I just want to say that Canada continues to need to do more. It cannot just be about keeping the Taliban listed as a terrorist organization. As the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, who spoke before me, mentioned, we have a government that refuses to list some organizations as terrorist organizations. However, in the end, that is not enough.
    We need to do more to put pressure on the Taliban regime to respect human rights, to respect women and girls. If we do not do that, things will continue to slide in the opposite direction.
    I will conclude. I do have hope. I have hope that, thanks to the better parts of almost two decades of Afghan women and girls getting educated and seeing that they have a better hope for the future, one of them, one day, would be back in Afghanistan, leading that country. Maybe we will see a day in the not-too-distant future where Afghanistan is a democracy.

  (1755)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, my colleague gave an interesting overview of the issue. He talked about post-traumatic stress disorder, an issue I have been interested in since the early 2000s. He also talked about the Canadian government's commitment to Afghan interpreters.
     In the summer of 2021, I discovered a large Afghan community in Shefford. Afghan men came to my office asking me to do something because their wives and daughters were being threatened. They feared for their sisters and aunts left behind in Afghanistan.
    Women who practise certain professions related to image or appearance, such as cosmetics, are receiving outright death threats. Anything that contributes to portraying women as having greater freedom is condemned. All the previously won rights in Afghanistan are being rolled back.
    I would like my colleague to comment on the Canadian government's commitment to these interpreters and the consequences for the women and girls left behind in Afghanistan.

  (1800)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I talked about that at length. That is the challenge. The Afghans do not treat women and girls to the same level as everybody else. They literally will put controls in place. We have seen in the last year alone, that they took away the right for elementary-school-aged girls to go to school and, as we just saw the last six months, all university education opportunities for women to be educated in the least.
    The good news is that there are still women getting educated. I am well aware of this, through contacts at education, training and opposition and protests going on.
    I have a final, quick comment. I do not know if it was the member or maybe the translator, but afghani is the currency in Afghanistan, not the people. It is always “Afghan”. Use the term “Afghan”, not “afghani”.
    Madam Speaker, as the member indicated, one of the issues that I certainly have a lot of problems with, in terms of the government's inaction, is Afghans who served Canada, who helped Canada to fulfill its missions, now have been left behind. Particularly, their family members and their loved ones have been left behind.
    The government put in an arbitrary quota for the number of Afghans who can be brought to Canada, to safety.
    Would the member support the NDP's call for the government to lift the cap?
    Madam Speaker, the short answer is: absolutely. I do not think it should be about numbers. I spoke about how we are focused on the wrong things. What I am scared of is that the government turns around, hits that cap, that quota of 40,000 Afghans, and then it shuts it off.
    In the end, we need to get those Afghans who are at the greatest risk, those who helped Canada, who helped the west and who are still stuck in Afghanistan, out. We have got to be committed to that.
    As a nation, if we want to be able to leverage local populations, and to have interpreters, cultural workers, people who will help us when we deploy either our military, our diplomats or our non-government organizations around the globe, they need to trust that, by them stepping forward and helping us, when they are in trouble, we are going to be willing to help them.
    Madam Speaker, the hon. member knows that this motion was passed at the justice committee, right after we passed Bill C-41, and today we were able to pass that bill here in the House.
    I wonder if the hon. member could talk about the importance of getting aid into Afghanistan, because not everybody can leave, and how important it is for that bill to get passed.
    Madam Speaker, I totally agree. That is the challenge. To be frank, and I have said this in the House before, I was split on Bill C-41, because I know that some of the money is going to end up in the Taliban's hands. It is the nature of the beast. The world is a complicated place and that is why I actually have concerns with it. I know I disagree with some of my colleagues who have been working on these efforts behind the scenes, who do not think that the bill goes far enough in providing safeguards that the government has put in place.
    Ultimately, we do need to do it. That is why I voted in support of it but we need to get that aid in. At the same time, it cannot be getting overly abused and misused. That is the challenge here. It is a messy situation. I really feel we could have done more sooner and I really wish the west had never pulled out completely, because, ultimately, this is an example of where we, as the west, failed. We need to do more in the future.
    For those who might be tuning in, we are now on a concurrence motion that falls under Routine Proceedings in the House. Conservatives have chosen to put forward a motion that will basically consume about three hours' worth of the debate time today on this particular committee report.
    Normally when these come forward, they are for reports that perhaps were contentious or perhaps had a lot of committee disagreement on how to proceed. Usually those end up on the floor of the House and consume about three hours' worth of debate. Then a question is put on the motion.
    However, with this particular motion, I do not think that there will be much debate because my understanding is that everybody within the committee agreed to this motion. It is certainly something that seems extremely reasonable. It is something that has come out of the committee. In the interests of those who might be watching, it is the 12th report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, specifically on the study of the Taliban regime and human rights. As it is just one or two sentences, I will read the committee report to the House in its entirety. It reads:
     That the committee report to the House that it firmly denounces the Taliban and rejects any recognition or legitimization of their control over Afghan territory. In particular, the committee denounces the Taliban system of gender discrimination, systemic violence targeting minority communities, reprisals against former members of the Afghan National Security and Defence Forces, attacks on freedom of the press, and other violations of fundamental human rights. The committee believes that the Taliban must remain a listed terrorist organization.
    As I indicated moments ago, my understanding is that the entire committee voted in favour of this. Now that this has been brought forward as a motion, I anticipate that all members of the House will likely be voting in favour of it. It is even more perplexing, I guess I could say, coming on the heels of the fact that we just voted on Bill C-41, and Bill C-41 is an act to specifically empower the Minister of Public Safety, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and the Minister of International Development to have the ability to allow funds to flow into Afghanistan, in particular those that are aimed at supporting humanitarian needs and the people who really need those funds.
    That is something that passed in the House. We heard the member for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound say a few moments ago that he thought at times it might go too far, whereas others in the House thought that it did not go far enough. However, it sounds like it was a very collegial discussion and debate, and that a genuine consensus was formed at committee where they could adopt the report but still have this important caveat added to it so it came through as a report from a committee to the House.
    I genuinely think that the democratic process was served very well in how this report got to the House. I am a little bit more concerned or confused that we have this motion to concur it in right now, given that we know there was very little disagreement over it, notwithstanding the fact that it is a very important issue. It is also an issue that is very well identified within the report that is being concurred in now.
    As we heard a number of discussions about the supports going to the Afghan people, we did just pass Bill C-41. This report basically came to the House at the same time. Bill C-41 is a bill that:
amends the Criminal Code in order to create a regime under which the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness may authorize an eligible person to carry out, in a geographic area that is controlled by a terrorist group and for certain purposes, activities that otherwise would be prohibited under paragraph 83.‍03(b) of that Act (which becomes subsection 83.‍03(2)). It also makes consequential amendments

  (1805)  

    To put it in context, there is, for obvious good reasons, limits to where public money can flow. In particular, we have very stringent rules around it getting into the hands of those terrorist organizations. We certainly do not ever want to see that happen, but we also respect the fact that there are a number of organizations that are providing humanitarian needs in certain parts of the world that might need to have access to money to support the work they are doing, which genuinely drives that humanitarian effort. This is what Bill C-41 would do, and it was the genesis behind Bill C-41.
    I am very pleased to see that the bill passed through the House earlier today. I think it gives us an opportunity to reflect, perhaps, but I hope this does not have to go on for the entire three hours. I will keep my comments short, but I genuinely do believe that we need to move forward with some of the other very important pieces of legislation that we have before the House today. Therefore, I hope that we can come to a conclusion on this particular concurrence motion relatively quickly so that we can move along.

  (1810)  

    Madam Speaker, the issue around Afghans and bringing them to safety is something that is top of mind for many of us. In fact, just outside of West Block, there is an individual whose family members are being left behind. He was someone who served Canada, but is still not able to bring his loved ones here.
    The government put a cap on the number of Afghans, who had helped serve Canada to complete our missions. As a result, many people have not been able to bring their loved ones to safety. Would the member support the call that the government should lift that arbitrary cap that it put in place?
    Madam Speaker, I heard this question being asked of my Conservative colleague before me.
     I recognize that my NDP colleague refers to it as an “arbitrary cap”. However, I do not know that to be a fact. I do not believe that the government would just arbitrarily pick a number out of a hat. I imagine that there is some logic to it and some thought that went into it.
    Having said that, I certainly support doing as much as we absolutely can in getting as many people out as we absolutely can. If there is the availability to do more than what we have been able to do at this point, then I would certainly support that. I do respect that the government makes decisions based on various reasons and, notwithstanding that I have not heard all of the reasons, I will prevent myself from commenting too much on exactly where I believe that number should be without having heard all of the arguments.
    Madam Speaker, I want to ask the member a procedural question because I know that he is quite active in the legislative process.
    We were supposed to debate Bill C-40, which is an important bill. We call it David and Joyce Milgaard's law as it is meant to review convictions for those who were wrongly convicted. I am wondering what kind of an impact a motion like this, at this late hour, would have on this bill.
    Madam Speaker, I guess my biggest concern is what other tactics the Conservative have lined up. We know from last week that they said they would do whatever they could to prevent the budget from going through. Typically speaking, and I really hope this is not the case with such a sensitive and important issue like this, when the opposition puts forward a concurrence motion, it is done under the guise of trying to delay the House and the work that the House has to do.
    I really hope that is not the case, and I take it at face value that it is not the reason the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan brought it forward. However, knowing that we all agree with it, I also really hope that we can vote on it quickly and then get back to the regular business of the House.
    Madam Speaker, this motion deals with the listing of a terrorist organization, the Taliban, and highlights that, in the context of recognizing the need for special provisions to bring in humanitarian assistance, we also need to be firm in denouncing the Taliban. It is saying that, while we want to find ways of getting humanitarian assistance in, the Taliban needs to continue to be a listed terrorist organization.
     At the same time, there are other organizations that the House has called on the government to list that it has not listed, and I am thinking particularly of the IRGC. It has been five years since the House voted to list the IRGC. The passage of Bill C-41 may, from the perspective of the government, remove a potential impediment. Is the government open to now moving forward with listing the IRGC as a terrorist organization, as it voted to do five years ago?

  (1815)  

    Madam Speaker, I read out the entire motion in my speech. I am not sure if the member heard it.
    I am fully aware of what it is. It is a report that really only contains two sentences. I support it, and I understand that all committee members support it. I understand that this was one of the ways that Conservatives were able to come around to supporting the bill. That is important. The committee did its work and worked collaboratively together to find common ground where everybody could accept what the committee was doing and report it back.
    The member wants me to comment on some hypotheticals he is proposing. I will wait for the government and those who are following up on this and who are responsible to make the various recommendations. We will then make our decisions at that point.
    Madam Speaker, I am here to speak on the concurrence report with respect to the Taliban.
    This afternoon I was very pleased to see Bill C-41 pass in this House. It is a very important bill, one that many people have been working on for several months. Most notably, it is something that the justice committee has been working on for the last several weeks.
    I believe Bill C-41 is a very important step toward ensuring that those in Afghanistan are supported through the many incredible aid agencies that work in the region, including organizations that have an international span as well as those that are regional. I think it is an important step toward supporting Afghanistan in this moment.
    With respect to the Taliban, I think it is very clear that it is an organization that offends many aspects of human rights. I can enumerate the various challenges the Taliban poses, not just to the people of Afghanistan but also to the world. It is an organization that is brutal in its force. It is one that has summarily killed so many people. It is one that limits access to education for women. It certainly limits dissent of any sort, and by no means is it democratic. For it to form government in Afghanistan is deeply troubling and deeply problematic.
    The reasons that the Taliban are there today are historical. In part, it is because the west just left overnight. I think history will judge that as a failure of the western world. In many ways, we can go back in history and say that the region of Afghanistan is one that has been impacted by colonialism over the centuries. In the last 50 or 60 years, it has been impacted by the Cold War. In this particular case, the departure of the United States in August 2021 certainly enabled the Taliban to take hold of Afghanistan and cause it to regress back into an autocratic state that violates the human rights of its citizens.
    Canada's response, it is fair to say, has been quite challenging, in part because of the complexity of the government structure in Afghanistan, which limited our ability to bring people out, but I am very pleased to see that the number of Afghans who have been resettled in Canada over time is in excess of 35,000 people. I think it is a remarkable number, given that this is probably the second-highest number of resettlements we have ever done, the first one being the Syrians right after we formed government in 2015.
    I would say Canada is among the top countries in the world to resettle so many Afghans. Of course, there are good reasons for that. Apart from the presence of many family members here and the needs of those Afghans who were directly supporting the Government of Canada, there is a humanitarian reason that this type of resettlement is so critical. Resettling 35,000 within a period of under two years is a remarkable achievement. It may not seem fair to those who may be languishing in different parts of the world or those who are struggling to get out and rightfully should be able to come to Canada. It may seem frustrating that we took two years to do that.
    I can give some examples. This morning, I had a call with my office. We do a weekly meeting at 9:00 a.m. every Monday to talk about casework. One of the cases approved today was a resettlement of a group of five Tamil refugees. They had been in India for the last 13 years. This application took 13 years to process. That is the nature of many cases in the resettlement process, although Canada is the number one resettlement country in the world for refugees.

  (1820)  

    Notwithstanding that, it was a 13-year process, and we can understand how difficult it is for people like that to resettle, especially those who are fleeing conflict. While the two-year mark may seem long, in the broader sense, it is important for Canada and our government to achieve. There is no doubt that we will achieve the 40,000 mark as set out by the Minister of Immigration, as he enumerated a number of different times. We have seen people arrive at our airports and planes full of Afghan refugees who have come here and are settled. I have met many over the last two years and I have met family members of my friends who have come here as part of the resettlement. It is fair to say that Canada is doing its part and is doing its part disproportionate to our involvement in Afghanistan. It is the right thing to do, and I certainly support the government's efforts. I want to reiterate that I am deeply offended by the Taliban and all that it stands for.
    Having said all of this, this is a concurrence motion that forms part of a report from the justice and human rights committee, one that is five lines and is quite simple. It basically denounces the Taliban regime, the Taliban administration and the Taliban itself. As such, we generally have unanimous consent from all parties on this language that was passed by committee. I certainly hope it does not take us a full four hours to have the debate here. I would suggest at this point that we go on to what was in the Order Paper and debate Bill C-40.
    If I may, I will highlight why it is so important that Bill C-40 be debated and passed. It is a priority bill for the government. Over the past 30 years or so, it is an issue that has offended Canadians, which is that those who may be wrongfully convicted are spending time in jail and unfortunately have no recourse, or the recourse that is available through the process of ministerial relief is quite arduous. We know the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada has outlined the frustration he has faced during his tenure as minister in reviewing those cases.
    It is important that we debate this bill and ensure the justice and fairness for which Canada is known and ought to be known. One of the reasons that people of all backgrounds come to Canada would be reiterated through the passage of this bill and would ensure that there is an outlet available for people to seek redress when they are wrongfully convicted. This is not about opening the doors—

  (1825)  

    The hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot is rising on a point of order.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
    The interpretation is not working.
    It is working now. The hon. parliamentary secretary.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, let me conclude by saying that it is quite important for this House to debate Bill C-40. I know the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada started the debate today. We would have preferred constructive debate from the Conservatives, which we saw at the outset. I know that both the Bloc and the NDP would also constructively contribute to this very important discussion. It is one I believe we have consensus on and can build on to better the bill as we move it forward. It is paramount that those who are languishing in prisons right now who may be wrongfully convicted have the possibility of a review process that would enable them to have an independent arbiter who can speak to the original case itself.
    With that, with the disappointment I expressed for the delay, I want to reiterate my support for this motion and also ask that we move to other business at some point, as soon as possible.
    Madam Speaker, I thank the parliamentary secretary for his comments, but I do think this is an important debate. Of course, the House will be continuing debate until midnight, so the government will have an opportunity to bring forward Government Orders. This is a motion that is important to discuss.
    I want to ask the member about testimony we heard from representatives of the National Resistance Front. There are various opposition groups and pro-democracy groups that are organizing right now and are looking for support. They are also hoping and expecting that the Taliban may collapse sooner than people expect.
    I wonder if the parliamentary secretary could share the government's position on engaging with and supporting these various opposition groups.
    Madam Speaker, I can assure the member that our government will always support democratic movements and will always support democracies around the world and those that are emerging as democracies.
    I think Canada is known for this over the modern history of Canadian foreign diplomacy. It has been a paramount component of our foreign policy. I know that in many countries, as we speak, we are supporting the voices of dissent and the voices of democracy that continue to inspire us and that continue to inspire the world. We know that democracy is the way towards the future and we will continue to support those voices.
    Madam Speaker, I have enjoyed working with my hon. colleague on a number of different things and I want to echo his concerns. I was prepared to debate Bill C-40 today. I think it is very important legislation and something that we really should be discussing at this point.
    I also want to go back to some of the discussions the member brought forward with regard to Bill C-41. The member would know that I did not vote in support of this bill for the simple reason that I find that there are some real challenges to this legislation. As much as we were able to work together with members of his party and members of other parties to fix parts of this bill, there are still some really outstanding challenges within the bill that I think make it difficult for civil society organizations and non-profit organizations to work within. It is overly bureaucratic, of course, and has some big challenges on definitions.
    One of my big concerns is around the potential for politicization, knowing that a fut