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Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 151
No. 212


Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    The House met at 10 a.m.


Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]



Information Commissioner

    It is my duty to lay upon the table, pursuant to subsection 40(1) of the Access to Information Act, the Information Commissioner's report for the fiscal year ended March 21, 2023.


    Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(h), this report is deemed permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics.


Government Response to Petitions

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

Committees of the House

Agriculture and Agri-Food 

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 10th report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, entitled “Grocery Affordability: Examining Rising Food Costs in Canada”.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to the report.
    Let me recognize the hon. member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford. He brought the motion to the committee, and we unanimously agreed to move forward. It was a great illustration of cross-partisan support. I would like to recognize him here in the House. I like having him sit on this side; maybe we should get him over here.
    While I have the opportunity, I want to note Nick Taylor, who won the Canadian Open. This is the first time a Canadian has won the Canadian Open in golf since 1954. I want to take this opportunity to congratulate him here in this place.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise to table the supplementary opinion of the Conservative Party of Canada for the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food's report on food price inflation.
    While we appreciate the work done by the committee and the study for this report, we believe more information must be made available to Canadians in terms of the Liberal government's policies and its contribution to food inflation in Canada. It was made abundantly clear throughout that the Liberal members of the committee purposely avoided discussion or inclusion of politically inconvenient facts and recommendations related to the carbon tax, out-of-control spending and inflationary deficits, which drive up the cost of goods we buy, including essentials like food and fuel.
    We understand that food loss and waste come at an enormous economic cost to businesses, society and the environment. The Conservatives recommend that the Government of Canada remove the carbon tax; complete a comprehensive study on the economic impact of the carbon tax and clean fuel regulations; study how increases affect the cost of food production, the price of food and the entire food supply chain; and immediately reverse its policy on front-of-package labelling.

Government Operations and Estimates  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, two reports from the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, also known as the mighty OGGO.
    I table the seventh report, in relation to Bill C-290, an act to amend the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act. The committee has studied the bill and, pursuant to Standing Order 97.1(1), requests a 30-day extension to consider it.
    I also table the eighth report, in relation to the motion adopted on Wednesday, May 17, 2023, regarding the consideration of Bill C-290, an act to amend the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 97.1(3)(a), a motion to concur in the report is deemed moved, the question deemed put and a recorded division deemed demanded and deferred.
    Pursuant to order made on Thursday, June 23, 2022, the recorded division stands deferred until Wednesday, June 14, at the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions.


    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 107(3), I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the sixth report of the Liaison Committee, entitled “Committee Activities and Expenditures: April 1, 2022 - March 31, 2023”. This report highlights the work and accomplishments of each committee, as well as detailing the budgets that fund the activities approved by the committee.
    It is a very thorough document outlining the work of the House and its committees for the last year. It is a very important document that I would encourage all members of the House to look at.


Canada Pharmacare Act

    He said: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to introduce the Canada pharmacare act, with thanks to the member for Burnaby South for seconding this legislation. He follows in a long line of great NDP leaders, from Tommy Douglas on, who have built and are building our great public health care system.
    No one should have to face the impossible choice of paying rent or filling a prescription, yet every year millions of Canadians go without their prescription medications because they cannot afford them. This legislation would establish a framework for universal, comprehensive and public pharmacare across Canada.
    It is modelled on the Canada Health Act and based on the recommendations of the Hoskins advisory council. Like the Canada Health Act, the Canada pharmacare act specifies the conditions and criteria for provincial and territorial prescription drug programs to receive federal funding. This includes the core principles of public administration, comprehensiveness, universality, portability and accessibility.
    After decades of delay, Canadians cannot afford to wait any longer. It is time to add medicine to medicare. I call on all parliamentarians to support this long overdue initiative.

    (Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)


Inquiries Act

    He said: Mr. Speaker, this is bigger than those in the spotlight at the moment. Current events are a good example of how frequently democratic institutions have come under attack during this Parliament and since the Liberal regime came to power.
    One of the most important elements of democracy is, of course, accountability. When accountability is lacking, there are statutory tools that task people with setting up commissions of inquiry. This latest situation is an extreme example, of course, and it could benefit from this act, but beyond that, institutions must be strengthened.
    Accordingly, the purpose of this bill is to ensure that, from now on, when a commission of inquiry is set up under the Inquiries Act, Parliament will determine who the commissioners of such an inquiry will be. I think getting this process under way now is essential, not only so it can help with the current conversation about a commission of inquiry into Chinese interference, but also so it can benefit democracy in the long term.

    (Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)


Committees of the House

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

    Mr. Speaker, I move that the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, presented to the House on Wednesday, October 19, 2022, be concurred in.
    I will be splitting my time with the member for Calgary Nose Hill.
    We have a housing crisis in this country. To restore affordability, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has reported that we need 5.8 million homes by 2030. That works out to 760,000 new homes per year until 2030 for us to restore affordability. The best we have ever done in Canada is to build about 260,000 units of housing a year.
    We are now faced with this massive undertaking and all the challenges that go with it to get these units built, whether it is the labour shortage, the skilled trades shortage or, of course, dealing with all the different levels of government involved in the housing space. Municipalities are on the front lines of the housing crisis, and the provinces are very much on the front lines as well.
    As for the federal government, some years ago, the Prime Minister, with great fanfare, launched this national housing strategy, describing it as a transformational housing plan and saying the federal government was back in the housing business. All we can see today is that rents have doubled, home prices have doubled and mortgage rates are skyrocketing. People's variable rate mortgages, and I happen to be one of them, have skyrocketed in a year. There are an awful lot of Canadians who do not have a variable rate mortgage who will be going to the bank maybe this summer or fall, and they are going to find out they cannot afford their house anymore. That is all in the midst of a housing crisis where we need to build 760,000 units a year to restore affordability.
    We have a government that is long on talking points and long on photo ops but very short on delivery. We do not see a lot of ribbon cutting for new housing. Frankly, we do not need to see any ribbon cutting to know that the situation is only getting worse. Members could ask a student in Toronto if they can find a place to live. Covenant House Toronto reports that a huge number of people living there are students at local universities and colleges. That is completely insane in a country like Canada.
    We have heard the Leader of the Opposition talk about young people being stuck in their parents' basements because they cannot find a place to live. They have done everything right, they have a good job and they cannot find a place to rent or maybe even buy one day. We need literally all levels of government working together to solve this crisis, and we need to hold those on the front lines accountable for what they are or, in most cases, are not doing to make housing more affordable.
    We have heard the Leader of the Opposition talk about holding municipalities to account. He talks about firing the gatekeepers. He is absolutely correct. As a former mayor, and before that the chair of the planning committee in Muskoka, I am quite used to dealing with vested interests on expensive waterfront properties, but also vested interests in the urban towns of Muskoka. Pushing for higher density in some of these smaller communities is not always easy. I talk a lot about the challenges we see in larger centres, but they also happen across the smaller communities in this country.
    As mayor and as chair of planning, I always fought the good fight and made sure that we had more density and more homes built. The Leader of the Opposition, and hopefully the soon-to-be prime minister, will challenge all municipalities and all cities in this country to make decisions to increase density, particularly when the federal government is on board and assisting larger centres with massive investments in transit infrastructure, for example. It is insane to me that the federal government is happy to support municipalities with transit infrastructure, with dollars for new SkyTrain stations and new subway stations, but it does not require the land around those stations, the land around the multi-billion dollars transit infrastructure, to be pre-emptively rezoned for high-density residential housing.
    This makes sense. It makes sense for the public investment of federal dollars. It makes sense for the public investment of municipal dollars as well. It is a green way to live, as higher density is better for the planet. Frankly, it is better for the municipalities as well.


    A lot of people do not realize that single-family detached residential homes do not actually pay enough tax to cover the cost of the services the families who live in those homes demand. Municipalities need higher density residential housing. It makes more sense fiscally. It is more sustainable. As the Conservative Party, we are calling on municipalities to get on board and for everybody get on the same page to work together to increase the density of our urban centres for the sake of the planet and for the sake of young people who are desperate to get started in their lives and maybe start a family one day.
    The housing spectrum is a continuum, and people move through that continuum as their needs change and adjust. Right now, the biggest gap or the biggest blockage in that continuum of housing is purpose-built rentals. We know that purpose-built rentals have not been constructed in a meaningful way since the late seventies. That is because the government of Pierre Elliott Trudeau had an ideological problem with the tax treatment for the construction of rental units, as it thought it was making landlords rich. As a result of that change in policy, purpose-built rentals stopped getting built. Members will notice, if they go around any of the larger centres such as Toronto or Vancouver, or even smaller cities such as Winnipeg and Halifax, those purpose-built rentals are starting to get pretty old. We need some major investment in those rentals because they are all over 50 years old now, and they are getting pretty tired.
    Therefore, along comes the condo construction business because the developer does not have to carry the capital costs of a rental building, so condo owners start buying up condos and they start renting those out. CMHC changed the rules so people can put 5% down, not just on their first home but maybe on their second and third as well. In many ways, we should be really grateful, frankly, that this happened because the vast majority of landlords in this country now are families who maybe bought a second property and tried to fill a gap. However, it is not enough. We need more purpose-built rentals in this country, and we need a federal government that is working with provincial governments and municipalities to make sure that the private sector is incentivized to build specifically what we need.


     With trillions of dollars of investment required in the housing space in this country, there is no way government can do it all on its own. Every nickel of government spending at this level should be focused on those most vulnerable in our society, and we should get the private sector on board to build everything else. The biggest gap is purpose-built rentals, so a federal government working with provincial governments and municipal governments could work with the private sector stakeholders to direct them to build those purpose-built rentals.
     Freeing up space in rentals would free up movement within the housing continuum to bring the market back into equilibrium. People could then move through. Adult children would not have to live in their parents' basement anymore. They could go through this transition more naturally into a rental property and then maybe buy their first home. Then folks who are aging and do not really want to stay in their big house anymore, as they need something smaller, would have something they could move to as well. The flow of people moving through housing in this country can happen again.
    However, it is not going to happen without federal leadership, which we are not seeing from the current federal government. We have a Minister of Housing who does not really believe that the situation is a crisis, and we have a Prime Minister who loves photo ops, announcements and speaking points, but none of them really seem to know how to get the job done.
    That is why Conservatives are focused very much not only on talking points, but also on real results, and on making sure that municipalities are working in lockstep with the provinces and the federal government to ensure that we close the gap with purpose-built rentals and make housing more affordable again. Once we fix housing in this country, we can literally fix everything. The absolute foundation of our society and our economy is housing, and we are failing right now. I am sorry, but the federal government is failing right now.
    Therefore, as Conservatives, we have proposed some very common-sense ideas. It is common sense for the common people to hold other levels of government to account to make sure that every nickel of public investment is creating results, not just photo opportunities.


    Mr. Speaker, housing affordability is a major problem in Canada. In my riding of Nepean, we have 98 affordable housing units built by the Multifaith Housing Initiative. We have another 47 units being built at the Christ Church in its Bells Corners location. We have Ottawa Community Housing, which will start building new units of affordable housing.
    Canada has grown in population. In 1980, it was around 24.5 million. In 2023, it is 38.8 million. However, the housing starts in 1980 were just 130,000, and in 2020 it was just 213,000. In fact, the ratio of housing starts to population growth has reduced from 0.55 in 1980 to 0.3 in 2023. The supply, in my view, is the major problem, and the biggest problem for the housing start supply is the regulations at the city and municipal levels.
    I would like to ask my hon. colleague for his comments on that.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague is quite correct. A big part of the problem is municipal regulation, and frankly, it is not so much even the regulations.
    When I was mayor, we made the rules a little tougher to develop in Muskoka and Huntsville particularly, and the development community was okay with that because, at the same time that we made the rules a little more restrictive, we also made them clear. We made the guidelines very clear, and then we applied them evenly. There is no shortage of examples of a municipal councillor getting a little scared because their neighbours showed up and were upset, so the councillor gets worried they might not win the next election, but I made it very clear to those councillors that we could not change the policies on the backs of an application, and that is because investment likes stability.
    As such, we applied the rules evenly, and then we made decisions. What is really wrong at the municipal level is that local politicians are afraid they might not get re-elected, and they delay and delay. It is criminal that someone can come in and ask for a rezoning application to rezone a piece of land to what is on either side of the property, and it can take three years. That is wrong, and it is making housing too expensive.


    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague, with whom I sit on the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, for moving concurrence in this report.
    At committee, we produced a few reports on housing. One is recent and could be submitted to the House. It deals with the financialization of housing. I would like to have my colleague’s opinion. I think there is a lot of emphasis in that report on the fact that it is important that the national housing strategy make every effort to support affordable housing. There is a housing crisis and it must be feasible to provide support.
    Does my colleague agree that the measures and programs under the national housing strategy need to be strengthened in order to prioritize the idea of affordable housing?


    Mr. Speaker, generally speaking, yes, I would agree with my hon colleague's comments that the national housing strategy needs to be strengthened, but the problem with the national housing strategy is that it is not really national. It is the Liberal plan. We need to be working with all levels of government to make sure we are all on the same page of the hymn book, and we are not right now. Efforts by the federal level can be easily wasted because a municipality just delays too much. We all need to be working from the same page.
    Mr. Speaker, there is no question that there is a housing crisis from coast to coast to coast. In my own riding, Vancouver East, we had one of the largest homeless encampments, and when the encampment came about, there was neither a plan nor housing available to put people in. Consequently we were just moving people from one homeless space to another homeless space, which does not solve the problem.
    Part of the issue of the unaffordability of housing is the fact that people are treating housing as a commodity. They use it as an investment tool instead of recognizing that it is a basic human right. Would the member support the call for what the housing advocate is recommending to the government, which is to treat housing as a basic human right and not a commodity?


    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for the question. Her record on the housing file is well known. However, where I fundamentally disagree with her is on the fact that, when the federal government of Pierre Elliott Trudeau got out of incentivizing the construction of purpose-built rentals, which I spoke about earlier, the private sector picked up the slack. Mom and Pop bought a second place, maybe because they had a little money to invest, so they did.
    If that is the financialization of housing, then yes, I guess it is, but without them doing that, there would be no rentals at all. Therefore, we need a federal government that is focused on what needs to be focused on so that we can get more rentals built, period.
    Mr. Speaker, for those who are watching this morning, we are seized with in Parliament the recommendations of a report that relate to building housing.
    My colleague for Parry Sound—Muskoka just outlined some of how we could potentially build more housing in Canada. What I would like to do this morning is hopefully, for everybody who is here, outline why, with stories from my community and a personal story
    If members look at CBC News this week, there is a story, which was posted on June 8, entitled “'Kind of dehumanizing': What it's like trying to find a decent place to rent in Calgary these days”. In January of this year, Calgary saw rents increase by 22%, which was the largest increase in the country. Now, if we look at my riding, there is virtually nothing to rent that is under $2,000, unless one is looking to rent a room.
    We can think about somebody, such as a single person, who is trying to find a room, but they cannot find it and then their rent is increased by 22%. It is pretty crazy. It is dehumanizing. When people talk about crime and that we need to address it, or that we need to address addiction, if we are not affording people the dignity of a safe place to live that they can afford, we are never going to address those problems.
    I want to speak today to my colleagues in the government to implore them that they have to use their jurisdictional power to lean on municipalities to make right and just decisions for building housing. I also want to implore to my colleagues in my own city that they also have a responsibility to look beyond pandering for NIMBY votes to do the right thing to change policies so we can build housing.
     I will start with a personal story. When I went through a divorce about a decade ago, so this was when rent was still reasonable in Canada, I had a hard time finding a place to live. I was going through an extremely emotional time. It was really hard, and I had to figure out how I was going to pay the bills. Right now, in every part of our country, there are women like me who are making choices of whether or not to stay in a relationships based on whether or not they can find a place to live. That is the reality of this situation. There are also people with families who are trying to figure out how they can come together in a very small living space because they cannot afford to live separately, and in those situations, nobody wants to rent to them.
    When we are talking about homelessness today, I think all of us have this sort of Hollywood notion of what homelessness means. However, we are now living in a country where homelessness is pervasive. It is across every demographic and every gender, and it is in every one of our backyards. When I hear colleagues or supporters say things like “Well, we just need to look at brownfield development”, I wonder of they are kidding. These are our neighbours. These are our fellow humans. There is also who say, “I think those townhomes would change the character of my community”. I live in a multi-family unit in Calgary, and I rent. I live surrounded by people from new Canadian communities, families from all different walks of life, and I live safely and happily. Do members know why? It is because we all have a place to live and a roof over our heads.
    Will housing change the character of a neighbourhood? Members can bet it will. It would make it more just, more equitable and give people a sustainable future. When I hear from municipalities, as my colleague for Parry Sound—Muskoka talked about, “Well, we need to consult for another three years on whether or not we could have an extra parking space here and there”, I think it is fundamentally the wrong approach. It is an inhumane approach that does not recognize the national crisis we are in and the hopelessness that our shared constituents feel. Again, it is reaching out to people. It is pandering for votes from people who only had the privilege of getting into the housing market at a time when housing was affordable, and that is rapidly changing.


    In Alberta, we do not have rent control. What that means is that people may be renting from people who have bought an investment property on spec, on a variable rate mortgage, and cannot afford to pay that mortgage with the rent they were charging. That is why we are seeing 23%, 24%, or 30% increases. Do members know what it means to have a 30% increase in someone's rent in a year? It means they are homeless; that is what it means.
    I am sorry, but at this point, when we cannot house our families, an esoteric debate about parking is ridiculous. I am saying this as a Conservative. Everybody needs to wake up. The federal government has its onus of responsibility to ensure that it is not funding the bad behaviour of municipalities that cannot figure this out, because when the federal government does that, it is actually incenting and empowering NIMBYs. I know that, for people in communities who have lived there for a long time, change is something that we have to bring them along with. I get that, but that is what we should be doing. We should be making the case that, if people are concerned about a stabbing that happened on the LRT yesterday or an increase in addiction, we have to find people places to live. How we change the character of our communities for the better and stop them from descending into crime, poverty and hopelessness is by building more houses, period.
    I know, and I believe firmly in my heart, the compassion and caring of the people in my community who, even though they may have concerns about building townhomes, will come along when leaders stand up and ask them to please come along with us because there is so much at stake for us not to do that. However, leaders have to stand up and do that first. I am standing up here and I am proudly saying we need to build more houses. We need to look at every idea.
     We have to work across different levels of government, but it has to start with the federal government's acknowledging that what it is doing is not good enough. When I see the Minister of Housing stand up in the House of Commons and I hear him use rote talking points, I see his colleagues cringe behind him. It is an acknowledgement that the course the government is on is not fast enough. It is not good enough and it is not leveraging that pressure and that incentive on municipalities. NIMBY cannot be how we build houses. NIMBY cannot be our housing policy anymore. That is what our party has been saying. This is at crisis-level proportions. Everybody in every place in the House has a story like the one I just read. This is not just one part of our country; it is every part of our country.
    I just want to emphasize the anxiety that people are feeling right now because they do not know whether their landlord is going to sell their townhome. That is the other thing; in a rent control situation where mortgage rates are super high but the housing prices are staying high and there is no more stock coming in, people are going to sell. The level of affordable housing stock is going to continue to decrease. Come on; we have to get our act together. This report has some recommendations, but it does not get to the heart of the matter, which is that, as leaders, we all need to wake up to the anxiety, the panic that people are feeling about where they are going to put their families. How can somebody go to work, go to school or do anything productive without a place to live? That is what we are dealing with here.
    From the bottom of my heart, I implore my colleagues in the federal government to talk to the Minister of Housing, to say, “Hey, bud, the talking point binder? Scrap it. My community, we have got to do better.” When we stand up in the House of Commons and say we are investing, if investing means that the housing stock is not getting to where it needs to be, then things have got to change. That is what we are arguing for here this morning.
    This is too important for us to screw up. We have to understand and be compassionate toward people who are making life decisions not out of want or desire but because they have to, because they do not have a place to live. That has got to change. I hope we can all work together in this place and do something that actually reduces this anxiety because the rent is too high.


    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite's speech was very personal and compelling. I cannot imagine there is a member of the House who does not feel the same way about this being a crisis and about the need to work on it. This applies to constituents in my area as well.
    However, attacking municipalities and saying it is all their fault is not the correct way to go either, in my opinion. We do, for the first time, have a national housing strategy. Part of that is a housing accelerator fund and a rapid housing initiative, working in concert with the municipalities. Often I hear across the way, and from many people, that this is about jurisdiction. Certainly in Alberta and Quebec, we are not to interfere with anything the provinces have jurisdiction over.
    I noted in your speech that you talked about your concern that Alberta does not have rent control. Are you advocating for the federal government to get involved in provincial jurisdiction in Alberta, for example, to ensure that there is rent control for people like yourself and others who are facing rental property rent increases?
    I remind members to run their questions through the Chair. Even though I would love to answer some of those questions, I cannot, so I will let the hon. member for Calgary Nose Hill answer.
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague is right; it is not all the municipalities' fault. It is her government's fault. It has had eight years and has spent hundreds of billions of dollars, and all it has to show for it are anxiety and panic among people who cannot afford rent. It is not just because of the lack of affordable housing, and that is a big part of it, but it is also because deficit inflationary spending has increased interest rates so much that people are selling off affordable housing stock because they cannot afford to pay the interest rates on their mortgages. This never used to be a problem under a lack of rent control.
    My colleague opposite stands there and is not being introspective. Yes, there is a fault of municipalities. I am going to be the first one to say it, and I dare her to have the courage to say the same thing. There are people on my city council who share my political persuasion and who need to hear this message, and I am going to stand up and say it. I have not heard a single Liberal do the same thing, and that is the problem here. The federal government is rewarding municipalities that are not building houses fast enough and are not changing regulations fast enough.
     Problem one and problem two are that Liberals have created this economic condition by spending out of control. People's lives are worse and interest rates have gone through the roof. Any backbencher in the Liberal Party who does not look at themselves and look at their cabinet has a big problem and is part of the problem too.


    Mr. Speaker, this debate is timely. Just this morning, at 9:45 a.m., I received a communiqué from the Abitibi—Témiscamingue CEGEP.
    It states that, in the midst of a housing crisis, applications for residence at the CEGEP have never been as high. The college is therefore calling on everyone to find additional apartments or rooms to rent to put a roof over the heads of the future Abitibi—Témiscamingue workforce. It also states that, as part of a short-term approach, several options have been proposed by the organization, including an internal call to members.
    We have reached that point. This has major repercussions on the development of all our communities, particularly when it affects the education of youth and access to housing. I would like to know what recommendations my colleague from Calgary Nose Hill is personally making and what recommendations are made in this report to ensure we can finally get our heads above water and make housing more accessible.


    Mr. Speaker, my colleague just described a situation that is endemic across the country. The housing crisis is affecting everyone. There have also been many stories in the news of universities and colleges across the country where students cannot go anymore because they cannot find a place to rent. There were stories in the news about the deplorable living conditions students were facing. This week, there were stories as well about how new Canadians, people who have moved to Canada from other jurisdictions around the world, have said they cannot stay here because it costs too much live. We are literally turning people away who should be part of our workforce, and they are suffering indignities because they cannot afford to live.
    My colleague from Parry Sound—Muskoka outlined recommendations. This is a systemic problem. It comes from the fact, within our scope here in the House of Commons, of a housing strategy led by a federal government that is not delivering. If it were delivering, we would not be having this debate. The proof is in the pudding here.
    The government has to, for solution one, acknowledge that there is a problem and that what it is doing is not working. Number two is that we need to make sure government programs are not rewarding municipalities that are putting in place regulatory processes that preclude housing from being built at the rate it needs to be built. Number three is that we need to have compassion in this place and understand we all have a responsibility to push the federal government and hold the federal government to account on its lack of success, and ask it to do better. That includes the backbench in the Liberal Party.


    Mr. Speaker, I would say it is a pleasure to be able to rise and speak today, but I was actually expecting that we would be debating Bill S-8. Bill S-8 deals with sanctions on foreign nationals.
    A member from the Conservative Party yells, “Surprise.” It is no surprise. This does not surprise me. What it does is really, once again, just demonstrate the Conservative Party of Canada's lack of respect in terms of what Canadians expect of legislators, which is to be able to deal with issues that are important.
    Today, the Conservative Party says, “Well, housing is an important issue.” Yes, we concur. There is no doubt that housing is an important issue. In fact, we have been dealing with this issue for years now, unlike the Conservative Party. The reality is that this is just an attempt at a filibuster coming from the Conservative Party. It is interesting that Conservatives say housing is an important issue, yet they had 10 opposition days when they could have decided on the kind of vote or question. They could have had the “whereases” explaining the issues. Out of the last 10 opposition days, what did they choose? They chose to talk about the price on pollution, opposition day after opposition day. Now they try to say, “Well, know what? We are concerned about housing.” Where was that concern on opposition days? It did not exist. That was the reality for the Conservative Party, but today it says it does not want to address the government legislation, so what it will do is bring in yet another concurrence report and will say it is about housing. This way, government members and other opposition members will say that housing is an important issue and that we should be debating it today. I would argue that we could have been debating from an opposition perspective on many of the other opportunities by which the Conservatives could have brought it forward.
    Let us talk about hypocrisy. I think most Canadians would be somewhat surprised that, during the 90s, we had the Charlottetown accord, and, within the Charlottetown accord, we had every political party in the House of Commons ultimately advocating that Ottawa should not be playing a role in housing, that it was provincial jurisdiction. I know that because I was in the north end of Winnipeg debating Bill Blaikie, advocating that we needed to have a presence in national housing. Only one political party has consistently, over the years, advocated that the federal government play virtually no role in housing, and that is the Conservative Party of Canada. That is the only party. Through the last eight years, as we have been bringing forward numerous housing policies, we have seen the Conservative Party continuously arguing or voting against them. Understanding jurisdictional responsibilities and understanding what role the federal government can actually play in housing is, I would suggest, relatively important. I have not witnessed that from the Conservative Party of Canada, and I do not say that lightly.
    I was first elected in 1988. My first responsibility was as the official opposition whip, along with having housing as my critic portfolio. Even through those years, every year I invested a great deal of my energy into the issue of housing. I have seen the rises and the falls of the industry. I understand what it is that the federal government can and cannot do. I also see the lack of interest from the Conservative Party.
    Now, Conservatives understand and they see the anxiety that is out there because of issues like interest, because of the demand there is for housing, and now they want to make it an issue and they want to blame everything on Ottawa, as if Ottawa were to blame for the housing crisis. I hate to think what issues and crises there would be if it were not for Canadians' kicking Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada out in 2015.


    Let us take a look at some of the things we have done in the last five to seven years. In the history of Canada, never before have we seen more money invested into the housing file than by the current Prime Minister and government. We have adopted the first national housing strategy, which not only establishes a framework but also invests billions of dollars into housing. Every region of our country has benefited from it.
    If we look at the province of Manitoba and the makeup of housing there, most people would be surprised. It has been a while, but I would guesstimate that we are probably talking somewhere in the neighbourhood of 20,000-plus units that the federal government directly subsidizes every month to ensure that housing is more affordable.
    These are the types of commitments that have been made over the years, even by previous governments, to support non-profit housing. This is complemented by the national housing strategy, which is there to support not only expanding the housing stock in Canada, but also to improve its quality.
    A good example is a program that I think we underestimate the true value of, which is the greener homes grant. There are homes that are in need of repair throughout our communities, whether urban or rural, in every area of the country. We have a program that provides encouragement for people to fix up their homes. Every time there is a grant issued, a home is being repaired, jobs are being created, the home is becoming more energy-efficient and the quality of Canada's housing stock is improving. This is something we should all be concerned about. At the very least, I can assure members that the government has demonstrated this by bringing forward the program.
    There are other aspects. I love the program that deals with the multi-generational home renovation tax credit. I look at the community I represent and the number of families that choose to support their parents, grandparents or children with disabilities as dependents. They are not forced to do it. We are providing them the opportunity of a tax credit to create a special space to accommodate them. Again, this is something that complements the housing stock in Canada. We do not hear about it much, but I think it is important for us to emphasize it. I would suggest that it is part of the solution.
    The Minister of Finance, who is working with the Minister of Housing, and is supported by members of this caucus, has recognized the true value of housing co-ops. Housing co-ops are a viable and healthy alternative to buying a home, because they are co-operatives.


    I am a big fan of housing co-ops. During the eighties, I played a role in the community of Weston in developing the Weston housing co-op. There is a difference between someone who lives in a housing co-op and someone who lives in an apartment. The biggest difference would likely be the word “profit”, but the real difference is that the person is not a tenant; they are a resident.
    Once again, under the Prime Minister, we have a government that is committed to looking at ways we can expand housing co-ops. By doing that, we are expanding the housing supply. We can encourage individuals and groups to look at ways in which housing co-ops can be established, so that individuals will be able to have that joint ownership. That is something we never heard about under Stephen Harper and the Conservatives.
    There is the idea of supporting infill housing in a non-traditional way, and that would factor in Habitat for Humanity. I have said this before. Habitat for Humanity has likely done more for infill housing in the city of Winnipeg than any government program has. I suggest that governments, at all different levels, need to support organizations like Habitat for Humanity. It has built hundreds of homes in the province of Manitoba alone, and it is a national organization.
    In advocating with other caucus colleagues, we have seen federal support go towards Habitat for Humanity. I do not recall seeing that under Stephen Harper. This is building homes and making homes available for people who would never really get the opportunity to own a home. They do it through sweat equity, as well as the work and efforts of the community as a whole.
    It is far better than the infill programs the government used to support during the nineties. I still think we could probably support municipalities in looking at ways of doing that. I think all sorts of opportunities are still there. For the first time in a generation, we have a government that is proactive and is looking to support the industry with things like infill houses.
    When listening to the Conservatives, we find they are now saying that they need to pass the blame on to Ottawa or the government, even though the current government and Prime Minister have done far more on the housing file than any other government in generations has. Of the ideas that come from the Conservatives, the only one that comes to mind is in the last election, when they said they would give tax breaks to our wealthiest landlords.
    The Conservatives stand up and say that wherever we subsidize or provide funds for public transit, where there are hubs, there should be residential housing, with a higher concentration and density of people. They have been saying this for a while. Of course that should be happening. In fact, it has been happening. It is working with municipalities.
    Someone does not have to be a genius to understand the concept of having a hub, where a subway, train or high-speed bus will stop, and the advantages of having towers or a higher density located there. It only makes sense to do that. This is the irony: How much money did the Conservatives and Stephen Harper invest in supporting public transit compared with the current government?


    Once again, where the Conservatives failed, the current government has risen to the occasion. We continue to invest hundreds of millions of dollars into public transit. We continue to work with municipalities, in particular, our bigger cities of Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Winnipeg, as well as the east coast, to support public transit. I suspect that we will continue to see higher-density housing where it makes sense.
    The Conservatives take an approach in which they have to be negative and hit hard on what they call the “gatekeepers”, which are the municipalities, mayors, reeves, city councillors and so forth, for not doing what they should be doing. I believe, as the government believes, that the federal government needs to demonstrate leadership, as we have, and work with provinces and municipalities, large and small, to ensure that we can build more homes and improve our current housing stock. That has been amplified, given the crisis situation we are in, through programs like the rapid housing initiative. I have seen the Minister of Housing stop into Winnipeg on several occasions. I have made announcements and dealt with press releases in Manitoba, both in urban and rural areas, dealing with things through the rapid housing initiative. We continue to work with the provinces and the municipalities on these types of programs, because they are making a difference.
    We need to be able to support municipalities and encourage areas that can be developed in a relatively quick fashion. We have indicated that it is our objective to see the number of new home constructions double over the next decade. In provinces like mine, in Manitoba, we want to see more immigration come into our province and an expanded economy. To succeed in this, it will take all three levels of government working together. That means that, on certain files, it is absolutely critical that there is a high sense of co-operation. I would suggest that housing is one of those files. I can say that we do not get that co-operation if all we are doing is consistently slamming another level of government. Yes, there will be disagreements at times, and there is a negotiating process in many different ways. However, on the housing file, I believe that what is expected of the national government is actually being delivered, especially if one compares us to any other government in the last generations over 50 years. We have shown that we are greatly concerned about this issue.
    My colleague asked about Alberta and the issue of rent control. We appreciate that rents are going up in many areas of the country. We are concerned about that, but, as has been very clearly demonstrated, that area is in the provincial jurisdiction. It is great that the member raises the issue here, but she should also be raising it with the Alberta government. As I said, we have a role; we are fulfilling that role, and we are constantly looking at ways in which we can enhance our leadership role, but all levels of government need to be working together in order to properly deal with this crisis. I am confident that we are doing all we can as a national government. However, we are always open to listening to what Canadians have to say on the issue.


    Mr. Speaker, the member finished by saying that the Liberals were doing all they could to get this under control. It seems to me that they are missing an essential element, and that is keeping the debt under control. This has led to a ballooning of the inflationary fire.
     The Bank of Canada has been forced to raise interest rates, which is having a tremendous impact on homeowners who are renting to other people. They are forced to raise how much rent they charge or else sell their properties.
    Does the member not recognize the impact of their policies on housing stocks?
    Mr. Speaker, that is just it. The Conservatives are more concerned about increasing the anxiety levels of Canadians, causing them to be upset, than they are in the reality of the everyday life we have to face.
     We understand that inflation and interest rates are challenging issues. We do what we can to support people, such as providing the first-time Canada housing benefit, a direct subsidy for rentals. The Conservative Party voted against that.
    What the member does not say is that we should take a look at inflation rates and interest rates outside of Canada. Comparably, Canada is doing exceptionally well, whether we are compared to our neighbouring countries or to some of our allies. However, that does not mean we cannot do things, and we are doing things. It is unfortunate that the Conservative Party does not support many of those initiatives.


    Mr. Speaker, I find that what we are seeing and what we are hearing today to be a bit ironic. On the one hand, a colleague is saying that the Conservative Party is never happy and we never do anything. On the other hand, his party also does nothing, and it never has. My colleague blames us for certain things and then blames others himself, even though everyone is in the same boat.
    Can we focus a bit on the report’s recommendations? How many recommendations are there? Did my colleague read the report? Which recommendations is the government keen on or interested in implementing? In fact, it is not the government that should be interested, it is the public that should be central to the government’s interests. There are certain recommendations that the government should follow.
    I wonder whether he knows how many recommendations are in the report and whether the government will follow them.


    Mr. Speaker, with respect to my comments, maybe I have somewhat neglected the Bloc members, but let me bring them into the debate.
    I suspect that the Bloc is supporting federal initiatives on the issue of housing, and that is a positive thing. I would applaud the Bloc's approach in recognizing that the federal government does have a role, as the member opposite waves the report. In that report, there are many suggestions on what the federal government should do on housing.
    I am now led to believe, through the Bloc member's question, that the Bloc supports the report, which supports the federal government involvement in housing in the province of Quebec, and that is a positive step forward. At the same time, I would remind the member that, as a government, we have continuously indicated very clearly that we will work with the provinces and municipalities, big and small, to deal with the housing crisis that we face today.


    Mr. Speaker, the seeds of this housing crisis were started by the Paul Martin government ending the national housing program. That has led to a shortfall every year of 25,000 affordable housing units, and over time we have reached this crisis point across the country, where people simply cannot afford to live.
    I recognize, as the member has pointed out, that the Conservatives were awful at this. During the Harper regime, we saw the housing crisis double, and we saw no initiatives to actually put affordable housing in place.
    However, the Liberal government has not moved quickly enough. The NDP has been pushing. There have been announcements about funding, but we are not getting the numbers of affordable housing units built that need to be built to end this crisis.
    Would the member admit that the government has not proceeded as quickly, on the scale and scope that is required, to meet this housing crisis?
    Mr. Speaker, I would not say that, and this is where I differ from the member in my perspective. Maybe I have been around a bit too long, but I was engaged in the Charlottetown accord, and to me that was a pivotal time in Canadian history. I was an MLA in the Manitoba legislature, representing the issue of housing as the housing critic. I was engaged in a town hall and Bill Blaikie was there as well. Bill Blaikie was arguing that the national government did not have a role to play in housing, that the provinces were responsible for it. From my point of view, I classify that as the greatest low point with respect to housing.
    Through time, we have seen significant change. We have seen that more and more federal politicians in particular are starting to recognize the value of the federal government not only playing a role in housing but demonstrating leadership on the file. The Prime Minister over the last number of years has demonstrated more leadership on the housing file than any previous prime minister.
    Mr. Speaker, I continue to be confused by the party opposite, the Conservative Party, as to what its members actually believe when it comes to housing. They voted against the housing benefit, the rapid housing initiative and the accelerator fund. They actually voted against the right to housing.
     Last week, the member for Calgary Centre actually supported his council's NIMBYism. He supported a council that did not want to increase density or eliminate things like parking requirements.
    The party opposite seems to be all over the map when it comes to housing. Therefore, I ask my colleague this. Has he sorted through what the Conservative position is on housing?
    Mr. Speaker, I think I have it nailed down; it is called a bumper sticker.
    The Conservatives want to be able to say that there is a housing crisis and blame Ottawa for that. Nothing could be further from reality. As I have tried to illustrate, this government has demonstrated very clearly a solid commitment, virtually from day one when we first came into government, and that it is concerned about housing issues. It has invested historic amounts of money to back up that sense of commitment. Interestingly enough, whenever it is time for a vote related to housing, the Conservatives consistently vote against it.
    Mr. Speaker, I found parts of the member for Winnipeg North's speech difficult to hear, particularly when he spoke about historic investments on housing. I will tell the House why.
     In my community, homelessness has tripled since 2018. This is a crisis, and in this year's budget there was no new money for housing. The only new commitment was a back-loaded investment in indigenous housing, which is important but way too slow.
    If any other level of government were to take a year off from investing in housing, what would the member think of that?


    Mr. Speaker, what I do know is that through the rapid housing initiative many projects have been recently announced to deal with shelters and so forth. As a government, we have invested in shelters. The homelessness issue is a very serious one. Maybe with the leave of the chamber, I could speak for another 15 or 20 minutes to try to more appropriately answer that question. However, we are there to support municipalities in particular in dealing with these issues, and obviously to support provinces too.


    Mr. Speaker, I would first like to point out that I will share my time with my charming colleague from Longueuil—Saint-Hubert.
    I thank my Conservative colleague for presenting this report to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, which proposes accelerating the construction of housing.
    Presenting this report to the House enables us to talk about a situation that is of great concern to us. This will not be the first or the last report to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities on the subject of the dire need for housing in Quebec and Canada.
    This report dates from October 2022 and is about the housing accelerator fund and the $4 billion that has been invested. Since then, we have tabled another report, which focused more specifically on the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, or CMHC. A motion was moved in committee because we wanted to get ideas to determine what the fund would be used to finance. We received around 40 witnesses, several briefs and 17 recommendations.
    The point of getting concurrence in this report is to take stock of the 17 recommendations that were made. In our view, the government is well behind in implementing some of these recommendations.
    The interesting thing is that, at the very start, the report provides context and cites the Scotiabank analysis that was published in May 2021. It reads as follows:
    Canada has the lowest number of housing units per 1,000 residents of any G7 country. The number of housing units per 1,000 Canadians has been falling since 2016 owing to the sharp rise in population growth. An extra 100 thousand dwellings would have been required to keep the ratio of housing units to population stable since 2016.
    Even if Canada managed to build them, we would not reach that ratio. That is troubling. The responsibility for building housing, including the affordable and social housing that we consider to be the most important, lies with Quebec and the provinces. The government brought in the national housing strategy, which has become an $80‑billion plan with several programs. It is incomprehensible. How can we make every effort to ensure that the right choices are being made in these housing creation programs administered by the CMHC? That was the question in this study, which included evidence from several witnesses.
    However, one question remains, that of the housing crisis, which is very real. We are not talking about supply and demand, or housing built by private companies; the current market is doing that quite well. The concern is how the public funds allocated to the national housing strategy are being used. That is our public money. Does this funding meet the real needs of Canadians, that is, prioritizing social and affordable housing and ensuring that affordable housing remains affordable?
    Sometimes, we hear that, thanks to the national housing strategy, some of the housing built by the real estate industry is affordable housing. However, the percentage of affordable housing they build is based on the average income of the population this housing is intended for.


    We are way off the mark. If affordable housing is calculated based on the income of a population rather than household income, we are completely off-track. These are all issues that have been discussed and are still relevant to determine whether our strategy is effective in meeting these glaring needs.
    This report contains several recommendations, including some that warrant being implemented very quickly. As there is a housing accelerator fund, the first recommendation asks that the government accelerate its implementation. That is self-evident. This first recommendation must have been a wise choice at the time. There are several measures aimed at ensuring that housing remains affordable.
    The report includes evidence that is still relevant today. The Conservatives and the Liberals keep passing the buck, but I must tell the Liberals that they are the ones being questioned in the report. Where are the Liberals with regard to the 17 recommendations in the report? Have there been any results? What are the targets? Is it possible to properly monitor all the investments made? Is that improving peoples’ lives?
    Several witnesses said that, if any administrative burden were added to construction projects on the market, they would not be completed. The government should prioritize solutions such as the construction and renovation of affordable rental housing. It should prioritize off-market housing and stimulate the supply of properties and housing for low- to modest-income households. There should be door-to-door incentives. The government should invest in partnerships with municipalities, the community housing sector and developers to increase the supply of off-market housing.
    In our communities, whether rural or urban, there are many co-operatives and not-for-profit organizations that are very familiar with the local situation and local needs. They had good things to say about the rapid housing initiative, saying it was efficient and fast, even though they sometimes did not have time to apply, since the market just keeps heating up.
    The government must speed up the process and consider each project individually. There are all sorts of recommendations, programs and funds, but are they getting the job done? How can they do better? The following are significant findings outlined both in this report and in an upcoming report about the CMHC that the government will receive. The Auditor General just said that we are spending funds, but we have no way of knowing who received them regarding homelessness. That is a serious problem. How do we house the homeless?
    With its new immigration policies, the government wants to increase Canada's population even more. It does not even realize that we already have problems finding enough affordable housing and that housing must remain affordable so that the entire population can benefit. Its preferred immigration policy totally fails to consider social services and associated social programs such as health, education, community services and housing.
    I asked the question myself: Now that the government has reached the mid-point of the national housing strategy, would CMHC and the government like to take stock and shift strategies to assess how, over the next five years, we can raise the bar and meet people's needs?
    The housing crisis is a reality, not some intellectual conceit. Social housing and affordable housing must be the priority.



    Mr. Speaker, one of things that has become very evident over the last number of years is the federal government's desire to work with provinces, municipalities and other organizations in order to support housing initiatives.
    I would ask the member to provide a very concise comment on the position of the Bloc. Is the Bloc today supporting the many federal initiatives that are there to support housing in provinces and territories across Canada? Is the member prepared to clearly indicate that she actually supports those initiatives and would ultimately like to see them expand?


    Mr. Speaker, as a member of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, and someone who has participated in a lot of studies, I can confirm that we are not at all opposed to the idea of a strategy to support and assist the provinces. To start, we need a collective effort at all levels of government to build and deploy affordable and social housing. While this is our priority, we also need the programs to be effective.
    We are entitled to ask the question when a major $80-billion investment is made in a policy that fails to produce concrete results. Instead of complicating things, we would even go so far as to say that we may have reached the point where the next step is to directly transfer a percentage of federal revenues to Quebec and the provinces, to let them handle these issues.


    Mr. Speaker, we have seen in the last two or three years here the Liberal government on a $400-billion spending spree. We have just seen the House pass a $60-billion deficit budget again. This reckless spending has created inflation, and inflation is creating higher interest rates. I am wondering if the member could respond to the House as to how that is impacting or exacerbating the situation.


    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. However, I do not agree with his analysis.
    Let me be clear: I believe that investments need to be made, even in the most difficult economic times. Investments must be made in the most critical sectors, including health. The current government is not doing enough. It is not meeting needs. It needs to invest in housing and support social and affordable housing. Housing is a fundamental right. Again, money is being spent, but is it delivering the right results? Not necessarily.
    We must not throw the baby out with the bathwater. I do not think it is a matter of investment. I believe that it is more a matter of determining whether the investments being made deliver value for money.



    Mr. Speaker, in listening to this debate today, it seems like there is not just one elephant in the room, but a whole herd of elephants in the room.
     Nobody really wants to talk about the fact that the private market will not produce affordable housing and affordable rental units. What we actually need, as I think everybody in this room is aware, is for alternatives for people that provide secure housing, through co-operative housing or other forms of non-profit housing. I wonder if the member would agree with me that this is the real elephant in the room that we are not talking about, which is the failure of the market system to produce affordable housing.


    Mr. Speaker, these are fundamental questions.
    Fortunately, they are questions that come up when we discuss these matters at the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities and here in the House, when someone dares to ask them, that is.
    Our communities are full of non-profit organizations, community co-operatives that do amazing work. We must leverage those groups with Quebec and the other provinces. Our goal can be achieved, as long as the appropriate means are used. My colleague is entirely right.
    Mr. Speaker, as the saying goes, “If at first you don't succeed, try, try again”.
    This morning, I am pleased to discuss housing, because it is a major problem of our time. It is not important how the topic came up this morning. An hour ago, I learned that I would be speaking for 10 minutes on housing and on the report that was tabled by the committee on which my colleague sits. I am very pleased to speak on this issue, as I believe it is fundamental.
    I often say that there are three fundamental issues in this country. They are important priorities.
    First, there is the language crisis. We have talked about that. Bill C-13 was introduced a little while ago. We will see if it works, but that is a major issue. French is disappearing across Canada and in Quebec. It is an important problem we will have to continue addressing. We must be vigilant, take action and face the problem.
    Second, there is climate change. I do not think I need to say anything about that. It is a global problem. We saw it recently with the wildfires. It is important. Even if we cannot directly link the current wildfires to the broader climate crisis, everyone knows that they are related. Unfortunately, we have a government across the aisle that has absolutely no idea how to deal with the problem. It continues to spend shamelessly and scandalously on the oil companies. I will say this again: Last year, the oil companies made $200 billion in profits. It is indecent that this government continues to send money to oil billionaires who will ensure that climate change continues and gets worse in the coming years. It is outrageous.
    Third, there is housing, the issue we are talking about today. All of these issues are related. The housing crisis is not an intellectual conceit. I will explain where we are now, what the issue is and what our goal should be. As my colleague mentioned, all other levels of government should also be working on the problem. I agree with him. Everyone should stop whatever they are doing and work on the housing crisis. It is one of the major crises of our time.
    According to the CMHC and Scotiabank, in the next 10 years, Canada will have to build 3.5 million housing units. That is astronomical. What we need to deal with the crisis is a Marshall Plan.
    In Quebec alone, 1.1 million housing units need to be built in the next 10 years. We know that the private sector will build 500,000 units. If we do nothing, 500,000 units will be built. Condos and houses are being built. There are developers with money who are building housing units. There are people with money who can purchase a $1-million or $2-million condo. There are such people, but when it comes to the housing crisis, those are not the ones we are talking about. People with money will always be able to buy things.
    We are talking about those most in need, disadvantaged people, indigenous people, women who are victims of domestic violence and single mothers. These are the people we are talking about. Canada has passed a motion stating that housing is a right. Canada admits that housing is a right and that should not be subject to speculation. If it is a right, we must act accordingly. We must take action.
    I was saying that in Quebec, the private sector will build 500,000 housing units. This means that in Quebec alone, over the next 10 years, 600,000 housing units will need to be built. We will need to build 60,000 housing units per year to address this problem. How many are we building? What is the result of this great national housing strategy that was launched five years ago?
    Let us look at the results of this strategy after five years. It was launched in 2018. Where are we after five years? The outcome is pathetic.


    They have renovated housing, according to the CMHC itself. I remember it, because I was in the House two or three weeks ago in committee of the whole. There was the Minister of Housing, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Housing, the head of the CMHC and senior officials. They came up with lots of figures. They tried to be specific, consistent and smart, and they tried to advance the file. It was moving along. How many figures were produced? No one among the housing geniuses across from me on the other side of the House has contradicted me. No one has challenged the figures that I will give now.
    Some $80 billion have been put into this strategy. What is the result after five years? That would be 100,000 housing units built and 100,000 renovated from coast to coast. I said it in English so that everyone would understand. We are talking about 200,000 housing units across the country. In Quebec alone, we need 60,000 housing units per year.
    How does that work? In the last budget, we would have expected people to wake up. They know it themselves. The Minister of Housing admitted it. He knows the figure of $3.5 million that I quoted, since he quoted it to me one Monday evening in the House. They therefore know it and are well aware of it. They cannot claim ignorance, because they know. What is being done? What action will be taken?
    Now, we know, the great strategy is a failure. Usually, in life, when we try something and it still does not work after three, four, five or eight years, we take action. Year after year, the builds are not there. The issues are not being addressed. The CMHC knows it. Their figures indicate that there will be fewer starts in the coming years. How will these issues be addressed?
    Since the Minister of Housing is aware of the situation, I would have expected this year’s budget to include significant measures and something coherent. I imagine the minister carries some weight in cabinet; at least, one would hope. At some point, when they were putting together the budget, he could have stood up and said that he wanted the $20 million being sent to the oil companies to be allocated for housing. He could have said that. In principle, a minister is supposed to defend his own, his less fortunate and his files. However, there is no plan.
    As I have already said in the House this year, it was outrageous to see what was done in the budget. Of the 300 or 400 pages of measures in every area, how many pages were there on housing? One would think there were eight, 12 or 24 pages. No, there was one single page on housing, the major issue of our time. Imagine the complete inaction on this issue, the utter failure to address the problem.
    There are solutions. Let us talk about them. There is one solution I prefer. I know that many people in the House know about it and know that it is important; even some of the people in government know about it. It is one of the solutions that almost all housing advocacy organizations across Canada are bringing forward. My colleague spoke about it earlier. It is one of the recommendations in the committee report. The Government of British Columbia has proposed it. It is a housing acquisition project.
    We know that it is difficult to build housing at this time. There is a labour shortage and construction costs have spiked. What can we do, then? Let us use existing housing. Let us buy housing and make it affordable over the long term, say over 10, 15 or 20 years. Let us give to our organizations and to people on the ground; let us give to the people who know what the needs are on the ground.
    I am currently touring Quebec to talk about housing. People know what the needs are and are passionate about this issue. If we give them the means, they will address this issue and will work on behalf of those most in need in our society. We have to fund our organizations, those that know the lay of the land, those that know the issue. We could do that with an acquisition fund.


    This is what they did in British Columbia. They created a $500‑million acquisition fund to enable organizations to acquire housing and get those units off the market. This is one of the major solutions proposed by all organizations across Canada. This is what needs to happen.


    Mr. Speaker, I must say there is hope for the Bloc, at least on the housing file, as its members are really encouraging the federal government to do more on housing and to deal with the situation, even though as a government we have been more proactive on that file than any other government in generations. I am encouraged by that.
    I want the member to expand on his comments. He says we should go out and buy houses. He might be telling us to go into Toronto or Montreal and spend a million dollars to get one unit. There might be 200 units in one high-density block, so one can imagine that we are talking about a quarter of a billion dollars. Then over a period of time, we are supposed to reduce that.
    How many housing units does he believe we would be able to buy directly? I ask the member to provide clarification. Is he suggesting that Ottawa go to the city of Montreal and start competing in the private sector and buying up private units? That is the impression he has given. I would like him to confirm that, and if it is not the case, he should expand on what he really meant to say.


    Mr. Speaker, the federal government is awash with cash. I do not want to go into that debate, but we have to do it. We are going to have that debate. The Bloc Québécois is trying to show, and it will do so over the coming weeks and months, that the fiscal imbalance is still very real. The federal government is using its surpluses to encroach on provincial jurisdictions.
    There is money over there. It just needs to be invested in the right place. I am not saying that the federal government should buy houses. I am saying that the federal government should create a program and free up some money so that the provinces can set up programs and take action on housing right away.


    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from the Bloc Québécois for a very impassioned speech.
    I want to refer to a comment made by the member for Winnipeg North. We have heard many times from the Liberal side that there has never been a government that has done more for housing than the current government. I have been around for a long time. I have never seen a crisis in housing like there is right now.
    I wonder if the member could comment on why, despite all the so-called efforts from the government, we are in such a bad housing crisis.


    Mr. Speaker, my colleague is right, this is a comedy show. Please tell me the members opposite are joking when they say that they have done the most for housing. Ask anyone who is serious about this issue and they will find that laughable. The crisis has never been so severe.
    Just this morning I was reading an article in the Journal de Montréal about a 63-year-old couple in Quebec who, for the first time, are going to sleep in their car with their two dogs. They have never experienced anything like this in their lives. There is no such thing as $1,300, $1,500 or $1,800 housing. If there were, it would be directly subsidized by our taxes. Programs are offering affordable housing for $2,000 a month in Montreal.
    To say things have never been better sounds like a tag line for the Just For Laughs Festival.



    Mr. Speaker, I thought the member's comment about the importance of treating housing as a basic human right was absolutely dead on. However, the government has allowed for the corporate sector especially to come in and treat housing as a commodity, renovicting people, kicking people out, jacking up rent to make a larger profit and displacing people. Should the federal government stop this practice, stop treating housing as a commodity and treat it as a basic human right?


    Mr. Speaker, that is a very good question. I did not have time to address it in my speech.
     Financialization of housing is a problem that is getting worse; we can see it. Just to put this into perspective, the federal government withdrew from housing in 1993. At that time, 30 years ago, 0% of the Canadian rental market was owned by private interests, either national or international. That phenomenon did not exist when the federal government was involved in housing prior to 1993. Now it is 23%. That means that 23% of Canada's rental housing stock is currently owned by national, private or international interests. When it comes to the right to housing, these people could not care less. All they want is to make money.
    This problem needs to be addressed.


    Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to enter this debate about housing, although, like my Bloc colleagues, I got notice that this would be up about 10 minutes before I walked into the House.
    I am always happy to talk about housing. What are we talking about here today? We are talking about the accelerator fund as it relates to the national housing strategy.
    The Conservatives will have people believe that the way to fix the problem is to say to local governments that we need to stop Nimbyism, as though that is the panacea to fixing the housing crisis. I agree we need to make sure communities do not engage in the not-in-my-backyard approach. I absolutely support that. I was a community legal advocate before I got to this place. For all those years, we were fighting for treating housing as a basic human right for people and calling on local governments to ensure that social housing, co-op housing, was built. When we build this kind of housing in a community, it does not make communities worse. In fact, it makes our communities better, as we are supporting each other and ensuring that people have a place to call home and a place they can afford.
    On the local government side, the Nimbyism issue that needs to be tackled is not the only issue. It is very interesting to me that the Conservatives are completely silent on an equally significant issue for local governments, that is, the issue of gentrification. What is gentrification? It is basically developers coming in who want to push out existing residents to get them out of a community. They buy up the stock and develop it into luxury condos, and as a result, people do not have safe, affordable homes to live in anymore. That has added to the housing crisis, no question.
    I was on the ground in the community watching that take place. In fact, that was one of the reasons that propelled me into electoral politics, along with the federal government in 1993 cancelling the national affordable housing program. What was the effect of that? Canada, after all those years, lost more than half a million units, which is an underestimation, of social housing or co-op housing that could otherwise have been built had the national affordable housing program not been cancelled by the federal Liberals.
    I should add this by way of context. Before the national housing program was cancelled in 1993 by the federal Liberals, the Conservatives were in government. What did they do? They gutted funding for the national affordable housing program significantly. The dip in the development of housing went down so deep that it was devastating to see on the ground. I was working as a legal advocate helping people find housing and have their basic rights honoured, and then in one fell swoop, the situation got so bad that people in our community were rendered homeless literally overnight. We were seeing that on the ground. Then we saw gentrification coming in and pushing people out so they could not stay in the housing they needed.
    What is happening today with that gentrification process? As it happens, we are now seeing corporations coming in, and not just on the development side. They are also sweeping up existing affordable housing stock. If we look at some of the websites for real estate investment trusts, for example, we see they explicitly say what their purpose is. Their purpose is to purchase up what they call “undervalued assets” or “undervalued properties”. That is the lower-cost housing in the private sector. They buy up this housing stock, and then what do they do? They renovict people. They push people out and they jack up the rent. We saw rents go up from what was affordable, like $750, for example, to $2,500. That is the trend we are seeing. We are seeing rental increases expand and increase exponentially.


    In the face of all of that, when the federal government walked away from housing, we started to see the private sector swoop in and purchase this affordable housing stock. We saw those numbers increase steadily. The federal government aided and abetted that process by giving the sector preferential tax treatment. These real estate investment trusts do not pay the corporate tax rate even though they operate as though they are corporations. When they do not pay the tax rate, it only encourages them to get into that market to displace people. Not only that, CMHC, the government's own agency, also helped them finance their projects with mortgage insurance, low-interest loans, and so on. It helped finance the corporate players in displacing tenants and jacking up their rents. That is what is happening. We saw this escalation in the crisis we are living in today in our communities, where people cannot access safe, secure and affordable housing.
    If we listen to the Liberals and Conservatives, they will barely talk about the fact that housing is being treated as a commodity. They will not even acknowledge the fact that this special tax treatment needs to stop. Why are real estate investment trusts getting this special tax treatment?
    Just for context, over the years the seven largest real estate investment trusts, as a result of this special tax treatment, did not pay taxes into the general revenues of the federal government to the tune of $1.5 billion. The Parliamentary Budget Officer just did another report to indicate that over the next four years taxpayers in Canada will lose another $300 million. That is a gift to the corporate sector to renovict people, displace people, jack up the rents and escalate the housing crisis. Why on earth would we do that? The Liberals and the Conservatives allowed that to happen and are all silent about it. They say that they cannot talk about it because the private sector has a role to play. Yes, it does. I will tell members what role it has to play: to stop displacing people, renovicting people, jacking up the rents and escalating the housing crisis that we are faced with today. If it does not come to the table willingly, the government has to take action. That is what the NDP has been calling for.
    I came from a municipal government, a provincial government, and I am now here at the federal level. When I was at the provincial level, the federal government had walked away. B.C. and Quebec were the only two provinces that continued to do housing on their own without the federal government. I will tell members what British Columbia did. We took our resources and leveraged money from the non-profit sector, some of which had land, and the faith communities, some of which had resources. We leveraged that. We went to the local governments and said that we the province would work in partnership with them to build social and co-op housing for the community if they gave us city land for free. We also said to the developers that if they wanted a rezoning done we wanted them to also provide a community return. In fact, city council could consider upzoning a project on the proviso that they also built social housing. We the province partnered with the private sector in doing some of that and instead of building one building, it built two. It paid for the construction, and then the province came in and provided the subsidies to operate those projects. Instead of the 700 units that we would have built with the federal government's funding, we moved that number to 1,200. Then we moved it to 1,900. Under the NDP, we leveraged and worked in partnership with the private and non-profit sectors and the local government when the federal government walked away.


    It is so important for the federal government to play a real leadership role. Yes, they did announce a national housing strategy is 2017, but that strategy has not worked in developing the necessary housing.
    It is not just me who is saying it. There is actually a full report from the Auditor General indicating that the federal government does not even know what kind of housing it builds. It has no idea what the level of affordability is for the units that were built.
    CMHC, at the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, came to the committee to answer some questions. It actually said that it does not track it. What exactly is it doing if it does not track the affordability of the housing units that it funds? It says, oh, it is not its job. It is infrastructure's job. It is someone else's job.
    I thought I heard the government say that it takes a whole-of-government approach to address the housing crisis. Why are they all asleep at the switch? Nobody is taking responsibility and all of them are saying, no, not me.
    In the meantime, what is happening? The sad reality is this: people are losing homes. People do not have access to housing. People are displaced. People are living in tents. Come to my community in Vancouver East, in the Downtown Eastside. The crisis is right there before our eyes.
    Do not tell me that they are getting to us, that it is going to take 10 years. The government's own homelessness targets are to reduce homelessness by 50% in 10 years. Yippee, that is going to work for the people who are sleeping on the streets right now.
    Not only that, it is not even going to meet that poor target. That has been established, not by the NDP but by the independent officer of the House. That is what is going on, as to the magnitude of the crisis.
    In the meantime, we have the private sector coming in, buying up low-cost rental apartments, sweeping them up and then pushing people out.
    Just to put this into context, for members to think about this number, for every one unit of social housing or co-op housing that is built, we lose 15.
    How can we make up for that loss? The only way one can do it is to stop the commodification of housing, the profiteering of housing. Put a moratorium in place for the financialization of housing. Create an acquisition fund for the non-profit sector in land trusts, so they could be the ones to go into the market to buy the private housing that is coming onto the market and to retain it, so that we can hold onto the stock for the community. Put people before profits. That is what we need to do.
    I would also add that there are other measures we need to put in place. There is zero justification whatsoever for CMHC and the government to help finance these corporate players who are coming in to displace people. If we are going to partner with them, and we can, as I am not saying we should not, there has to be a return tied to it.
    There has to be a no-displacement policy in place. There has to be affordability tied into it so that when they get something from the taxpayers, whether it be insuring their mortgage or any of the benefits that they get, they need to give a return back to the community. We also need to ensure that there is a level of affordability, so that the rent they charge the tenants needs to be below market.
    We have to make sure that this is held in perpetuity, so that it is not just a one-time thing. We need to put these measures and policies in place for a return.
    One does not get access to taxpayer funds and support doing harm to the community. There has to be a return to help the community, to support the community. In the case of housing, there have to be these measures of no displacement, of affordability in perpetuity, as an example.


    There is another thing that would help a lot. Do members know how many tenants I talk to who do not even know who their landlord is? These corporate players hide behind numbered companies because the truth is they cannot show their faces. They do not want people to know that they are the ones who are actually jacking up the rent and displacing people.
    We need to ensure that there is disclosure of all landlords. There should be information in public records so people know who their landlords are. People have the right to know who they are renting from. That is another measure that the federal government can take.
    We need to stop the preferential tax treatments, stop giving them a benefit, make them pay their fair share and invest that money in the development of true social and co-op housing. That is what the NDP would like to see.
    Mr. Speaker, my first speech in this House involved a compliment to the hon. member for the great work that she has done in the Downtown Eastside in representing a constituency that has a lot of challenges. I do not disagree with anything that she said, but I wanted to introduce two aspects and get a reaction to them.
    One is the zoning and the difficulties that people have getting cities to actually approve developments. Second is the reticence of municipal governments to increase property taxes on existing residents, which leads to the pilling on of development cost charges on new buildings that only serve to jack up the price for people who are buying those units.
    Can she comment on both of those?
    Before we go to the answer, can the hon. member make sure her cellphone is not near the microphones? The interpreters were saying there was a noise.
    The hon. member for Vancouver East.
    Mr. Speaker, my phone is not near the microphone.
    On the issue around local governments making decisions with rezoning and the question around nimbyism, that is a real problem. I think local politicians just need to take a deep breath and say to those communities, as I did when I was a municipal councillor, we need this housing done.
    Any time we had social housing development come forward, I voted for it and I spoke for it vociferously because it is the right thing to do. It is important for an election, for people to support politicians who will get the job done. The government can use incentives and disincentives to motivate that process as well.
    On the question of development cost charges, the development cost charges are fees that are necessary. Let us be clear that the developer will work out its pro forma and determine what it can and cannot do. Local governments can look at that issue as it ties to the zoning. Literally by the flick of a pen and by signing that signature, the government is giving money to the developers. What is the return? The return is also in community amenities, whether in green spaces, social housing or other community amenities that are necessary.
    Let us just remember this: Developers should not get a free pass. They should pay their fair share. Let us make sure local governments know the strength and power that they have in yielding that return to the community.



    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for her speech.
    Fundamentally, we agree. The housing crisis has reached catastrophic levels. We need to build 1.1 million housing units over the next 10 years. That is how many units it was determined we need. However, in the last five years, the federal government managed to build only 200,000. We agree that this is a disaster.
    I agree with my colleague, and I want to commend her. Her speech dovetailed with those of my colleagues. She spoke about how renoviction is bad and how certain landlords prioritize profit over tenants' well-being. She is totally right.
    Why then is she supporting a government in exchange for its support on another matter, dental care? Is dental care really worth abandoning the housing crisis for?


    Mr. Speaker, I am so glad the member asked the question. Dental care is absolutely essential, because it is part of our health care system. However, the NDP did not just ask for dental care; we absolutely asked for housing investments as well. The NDP is not in government, although I know people think we are. However, we are leveraging our power to push and to force the government to take action.
     With respect to the housing file, while we asked for the government to provide, for example, a permanent program for the rapid housing initiative, to inject funds into the co-development fund and a number of other measures, what we were able to get out of all our asks with respect to housing was the investment in an urban-rural northern housing strategy. In budget 2022, we were able to secure $300 million; in budget 2023, we secured $4 billion over seven years. Finally, for distinction-based funding for indigenous communities, we were able to secure $4 billion over seven years in budget 2022.
    Is it enough? No, it is not. Are we going to continue to fight for more? We absolutely are.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her passion for fighting on the issue of housing.
     In Timmins right now, a community of 45,000 people, we have almost 1,000 homeless people. This is creating a serious social crisis and a policing crisis, as well as exacerbating the opioid crisis. We have no place to get people into safe housing. We have no support for single moms. What we need is mixed housing and co-operative housing of the kind that built much of the community housing that we have in our region, which is sustainable for families. We see the Liberals making lots of promises with respect to housing, but we are not seeing it on the ground. What does my hon. colleague think about the need to guarantee that we have mixed co-operative housing in all our communities, whether it is in northern Ontario or in downtown Vancouver, so we can maintain sustainable communities and people can live humane, decent and hopeful lives?
    Mr. Speaker, there is no question that we need the federal government's leadership. The federal government used to develop social housing and co-op housing; it did so really well. We used to provide subsidies to ensure that rent was low. We would partner with the local governments, the provincial governments and the non-profit sector. That is what we need to get back to. Right now, the program that the federal government has in place is ineffective; if we truly hope to treat housing as a basic human right, the government needs to make more investments into housing to address the housing crisis.


    Mr. Speaker, I certainly respect and recognize the member opposite's passion on this file.
    Let us also talk about a lot of the good things we have done as a government, whether it is through the billions of dollars of national housing strategy investment, the rapid housing initiative, the coinvestment fund, the accelerator fund or the Canada housing benefit. These are programs that the NDP, the party opposite, has supported.
     Given the fact that the member was a former cabinet minister in a provincial government, though, could she speak about the provincial role in housing, the vital role the provinces play and how we need the provinces to step up to the plate to help us help them?
    Mr. Speaker, the provinces obviously have a role to play; they need to do so, although some provinces choose not to. However, of the provinces that do play a role, in the case of British Columbia, for example, the NDP B.C. government actually created an acquisition fund to buy up housing stock that came onto the market to house people who are homeless and do not have access to housing. We wanted the federal government to partner with us. Would the federal government do that? No, it would not.
    Right now, in my riding, there is a site, 105 Keefer Street, where a developer wants to build luxury condos in a low-income area in Chinatown. The community wants the federal government to partner with the provincial government and the city government to do a land swap. Then, we could take that site to develop social housing to meet the needs of the community, particularly for seniors living in Chinatown in deplorable housing conditions. That is what we need the federal government to do to be a true partner at the table.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to start by thanking the member for Vancouver East for matching, in her ferocity, the depth of the housing crisis that we are in across the country. I also appreciate that the member spoke specifically about the deep issues with respect to the financialization of housing and the work that we have both been doing when it comes to addressing that, through getting rid of the tax exemption for one specific type of corporate landlord: real estate investment trusts. As the member referenced, this is a pretty simple, reasonable measure to redirect $300 million over the next five years to build the affordable housing we need. That report came out months ago. The member has been here longer than I have. Could she reflect on why it is that, months later, such a reasonable measure still has not been followed through on?
    Mr. Speaker, if I were the minister of housing, we would have taken action long ago. In fact, I would not have eliminated the national affordable housing program back in 1993, which caused the escalating problems of the housing crisis that we are faced with today.
    I cannot speak for the Liberals on why they would not take these measures. The only reason that I could guess at is that it is because of those very insider friends that they have. Perhaps that is what is immobilizing the Liberals from taking action.
     The other possibility, of course, is that, here in the House of Commons, the Minister of Housing is using housing as an investment tool. Perhaps he has a blind spot in looking at the true situation as it is and making sure that housing is not treated as a commodity.


    Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege for me to rise in the House to speak to the report tabled by the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities. It is also a privilege to be the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Housing, because we know that the housing problem is a concern today and has also been a long-standing concern for many of us here in the House and for many Canadians across the country.
    It was certainly a concern for me, my family and my mother. For a long time, I lived with my disabled brother in a third-floor apartment. I often had to carry my brother on my back up three flights of stairs, set him down in the hallway of our small two-bedroom apartment, and then go back down for his wheelchair and carry it up to the third floor, in a building that was not designed for persons with disabilities who need accessible housing. I lived in low-rental housing, where the rent is set at 25% of the household income, because my working-class family could not afford to pay for housing at market prices.
    My story would be familiar to many Canadians, especially in my riding. The government recently invested in my riding, including in projects to help people experiencing homelessness. For example, the organization L'Anonyme has a unique and innovative program for making rooms available to people experiencing homelessness. Les Auberges du coeur is a shelter network that gets young adults off the street and into a suitable apartment, with the community support they need. There are numerous similar examples across the country, such as the project recently implemented by Sen̓áḵw in Vancouver, in the home province of my colleague who just addressed the House. It is a 6,000-unit project in which $1.7 billion was invested thanks to the national housing strategy.
    We have invested in recent years. Critics claim that we have not built enough housing units, but we have made sure to renovate many units to maintain affordability. We recently announced that 58,000 housing units in Vancouver would be renovated thanks to a $1.3‑billion investment. Just last year, we also announced that 4,000 units in Montreal would be renovated. These are units that are currently boarded up and inaccessible to families. To maintain affordability, it is just as important to renovate as to build.
    Many of us have mentioned that each order of government has a role to play in housing. It is a shared responsibility. I used to be a city councillor for one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Montreal, Saint‑Michel. The neighbourhood had one low-cost housing complex known as Habitations Saint‑Michel‑Nord. In our first two or three years in power, our government invested in the “Saint‑Michel plan” to remodel the entire complex in order to give these families a decent place to live.
    Responsibility for the project was shared with the municipality and the province. We cannot do it alone. The federal government does not have a magic wand. It takes leadership, and that is exactly what we provided with the national housing strategy. However, insulting the municipalities and calling them incompetent is certainly not going to get more housing built. We need to sit down with all stakeholders, including the different orders of government, community organizations and the private sector, to make sure that we are working not only on social and affordable housing, but also on the entire housing spectrum. We need to consider the most vulnerable, as well as those hoping to purchase a property.
    I have a 22-year-old daughter, and all I hear from her is that it is impossible for her to get on the property ladder. Right now, the generation gap between our children and the people who bought property years ago is immense. We need to make sure that people have shelter and do not have to live in the street, but also that young families can buy a home. Between the two ends of the spectrum, we must ensure that there is social and affordable housing for everyone. Offering funding to build and renovate housing is one thing, but this is the first time that a government has introduced legislation on the right to housing.


    We do believe that having a roof over one's head is a human right. We wrote that right into law though the act that created the position of federal housing advocate.
    Our government is ready to be held accountable for the actions it is taking through the national housing strategy. However, a federal housing advocate does not necessarily create a right in the provinces and municipalities. How can we work with the provinces and municipalities so that they also take measures that will protect Canadians, especially tenants?
    As I have said, we have put in place measures concerning the right to housing, including the federal housing advocate. However, we particularly want to work on the issue of renovictions. Speculation is making it all too easy to force people out of their homes to financialize housing.
    I should take this opportunity to say that I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Nepean. I want to thank my colleague for reminding me.
    No one should lose their home, and no one should lose an affordable home because of housing financialization. The measures we want to take and work on will require collaboration with the provinces. As we know, housing is a provincial jurisdiction.
    Several of my colleagues have spoken about the various programs under the national housing strategy. The committee report mentioned the housing accelerator fund for municipalities. This program aims to increase the housing supply by 100,000 new units across the country. We want to be sure to give to municipalities—which I hope will no longer be called “gate keepers,” “incompetent” and “woke”—the means to be real partners and work together with various levels of government to build more housing. What does that mean?
    That means that if the municipalities want to access this fund, they will need to increase housing density and ensure the sustainable development of units and their affordability. Through the CMHC, the government will give money and invest in these municipalities based on their performance. That is exactly what the opposition is asking us to do.
    We are already doing that. I do not understand why the opposition members are criticizing the program—actually, they are not criticizing it, they are just not voting for it—and are asking us to do things that we have already done. I would invite them to read the program information and, among other things, attend the webinar provided by the CMHC. I think that it may shed some light on the details of this program.
    I would also like to talk about the co-investment fund. We are talking about forcing the levels of government to work with us to build more housing. The co-investment fund does exactly that: It stimulates partnership. To access the co-investment fund, an organization must have partners from the municipal, provincial or other levels to carry out projects. At this time, the average rent for the co-investment fund is $718 in the country. The co-investment fund ensures that housing in this country is affordable.
    The committee report outlines several excellent recommendations. They are already part of the program that was announced. In addition, I invite all my colleagues in the House to talk with their municipalities so that they are prepared to work with the federal government and submit projects shortly.
    We recognize that there is a whole lot of work to be done. However, one thing is certain: Through all the programs under the national housing strategy, the federal government returned to the table with leadership that will stimulate partnership and collaboration. The government wants to ensure that, across the country, the supply of affordable housing will increase, that young families will get access to home ownership and that no one is left out on the street. The right to housing is a human right.



    Madam Speaker, my riding of Cowichan—Malahat—Langford has a mix of medium- to small-sized communities, and of course those communities have different resources based on their population. Langford is a big city. It has a well-staffed city council, but if I compare that with the City of Duncan or the Town of Lake Cowichan, they do not have similar resources.
    As such, I am pleased to see the recommendations that were in this report, and I know the housing accelerator fund is taking those in stride, but my colleague from Vancouver East raised an important point during the course of her speech. It was the fact that we have many large private corporations swooping in, buying up cheap housing stock and then forcing the residents out with a renoviction.
    I would just like to hear more from my colleague on how we tackle that problem because, in Canada's major cities, that is a huge problem, and the pace at which we are building affordable housing is not keeping up with how many people are being displaced by that practice.


    Madam Speaker, my colleague is absolutely correct. When we legislate on the right to housing, we will have to make sure that we protect tenants from renovictions. We will have to protect our housing stock to ensure that it belongs to Canadians. Actually, that is one of the reasons why we declared a moratorium on foreign investment.
    My colleague referred to municipalities of different sizes. That is exactly the point. The housing accelerator fund is designed to support municipalities at the level they are at, to enhance their capacity to be true partners in building more housing.


    Madam Speaker, I thank the parliamentary secretary. We know that she is sincere in her intent to do whatever it takes to meet needs.
    My colleague cited examples of organizations or groups in her community that are taking action and making a real difference for people experiencing homelessness, low-income individuals and people in the greatest housing need. There is a committee in my own riding that is working to implement this type of co-op housing to serve residents. However, we know that it can be slow going sometimes.
    This fund was promoted to our towns and municipalities, but we know that it is really for municipalities with a population of 10,000 or more. The Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities was concerned about that. In our opinion, the fund should be for both rural areas and big cities. Should the scope of the fund not have been expanded in terms of support for municipalities?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague and fellow member of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities. I also thank her for all her comments at committee that advance the cause of social and affordable housing.
    As for her question, I would like to reassure her by noting that a regional county municipality, for example, can apply to the housing accelerator fund. One of the concerns that we had was about serving the vast majority of municipalities, particularly here in Quebec. That is part of the program, and I would be pleased to discuss it with her personally as well.


    Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague, the parliamentary secretary, for her wonderful leadership on the housing file.
    We have come forth with many great programs and initiatives to help those looking for housing and to help solve the housing crisis we are in. Whether it is the rapid housing initiative, the co-investment fund, the housing accelerator or the housing benefit, we certainly know that the Conservative Party voted against each and every one of those initiatives.
    The one that puzzles me the most is the right to housing being entrenched in law, which the Conservative Party voted against. My question to the parliamentary secretary is this: Could she give some comments as to why the Conservative Party would vote against such an initiative?


    Madam Speaker, all I can say is that all I am hearing in the House from this opposition party is insults. They are saying that people are incompetent, particularly when they are talking about municipalities. As a former city councillor, I find that extremely disrespectful to those duly elected representatives.
    The members of that party often talk about buying a home. Yes, that is important. I spoke about it in my speech. However, why do they not recognize the issue of the right to housing? All they see in housing is an economic contribution. That is all.


    Madam Speaker, global inflation, the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and supply chain disruptions are some of the biggest issues of our times, and they are colluding to drive up the cost of living up in Canada, particularly the cost of housing. I am thankful for the opportunity to stand here today to discuss housing affordability, a crucial issue that affects everyone in this country.
    Our colleagues across the floor have the privilege of picking isolated issues and suggesting that solutions are simple. It is, of course, the role of the opposition in the House to find fault, question policy and hold government to account. Meanwhile, it is the role of the government to act, and we have done that.
    We have launched a suite of measures to address the problem of housing affordability on multiple fronts. It would take more than my allotted time to address them all, so I would like to draw the attention of members to two initiatives focused specifically on speeding up the creation of housing.
    One of the things that defines the problem of housing affordability is that it takes years to build a home, but the need is happening now, so we created the rapid housing initiative, which is designed to support affordable housing projects with the quickest possible turnaround times. We also developed the housing accelerator fund, which is launching this summer, to encourage systemic changes in how housing is built in this country.
    The rapid housing initiative is one of the most successful in our national housing strategy. It is designed to quickly yield new affordable homes for those who need them most and who need them soon. Through two rounds of funding, the rapid housing initiative has exceeded every target we set for it.
    Once the last bricks are laid, the two rounds are expected to produce more than 10,000 homes, which is 2,500 more than we had hoped for. That is why late last year we launched the third round of projects, which is backed by $1.5 billion in investments. It is expected to yield 4,500 additional affordable homes, bringing the total expected to 15,000.
    The rapid housing initiative was launched as part of our government's response to the pandemic. It continues because we recognize the urgent need for housing has not gone away.
    While that initiative is getting shovels in the ground now, we have also announced the housing accelerator fund to look to the future. The fund will help municipalities cut red tape and streamline their housing processes. The fund is backed by $4 billion in federal investments and will run until 2026-27. It will begin accepting applications this summer. The target is to create at least 100,000 net new homes over the course of the initiative.
    By partnering with local governments, we can create long-term systemic changes to how we build housing in Canada. These changes will continue making a tangible impact on our housing supply well beyond the timeline of the fund itself.
    I could spend all my time today telling members why I think these are great programs, but let me tell the story of Brenda Blanchard. Brenda was on a wait-list for seniors' housing and living with her daughter. She had been struggling with housing costs for a long time until she found a home in the Bechtel modular housing development in Cambridge, Ontario.
    Brenda's new home is part of an innovative project to turn shipping containers into affordable housing for seniors. It is funded by the rapid housing initiative, and the project was turned around in 15 months. Most importantly, it has transformed Brenda's life for the better. Its accessibility features mean she can get around easily, and most importantly, she says that it has given her back her independence.


    By teaming up with partners in municipal, provincial and territorial governments, indigenous communities and the private and non-for-profit sector, we are creating many success stories such as Brenda's across this country from coast to coast to coast.
    As I said, the rapid housing initiative and the housing accelerator fund are just two initiatives in our $82-billion national housing strategy. They are complemented by the strategy's other activities that, together, tackle this problem from every angle that will have an impact. It is a complex issue that needs a diverse set of responses.
    We have built on and enhanced this strategy repeatedly since its launch in 2017 in response to feedback from partners and the public, and to the changing needs of the people of Canada. This is a long way of saying that we have listened and we have acted. We will continue to do both because there is a lot more to do.
     Too many people in this country are still struggling to find and keep a roof overhead, to get a home that meets their family's needs and allows them to thrive. There are too many Brenda Blanchards out there, people who are underserved by the housing market and just need a little help getting a home. Our government has made housing a priority since day one of our mandate, and we will continue to do so.
     In my riding of Nepean, we have funded Multifaith Housing Initiative's 98 beautiful affordable homes, which are now occupied by families who are very happy. We are also funding a new affordable housing project in the Christ Church area of Bells Corners, with 47 new units coming up. We have also announced funding for Ottawa Community Housing, which is going to start building affordable housing projects and affordable homes in the Barrhaven area of Nepean.
    One of the key things in housing is the starts, the new housing buildups, which have become stagnant in the last almost 45 years. In 1980, when the population of Canada was 24.5 million, the housing starts were 130,000. In 2023, the population of Canada is 38.8 million, but the housing starts are just 213,000. The ratio of housing starts to population growth has come down from 0.55 in 1980 to just 0.3 in 2023.
    That is the key thing we are tackling, along with partnering with the provincial and municipal governments. The housing starts have to grow, and one of the major reasons developers say that they cannot build new homes is the regulations at the city level or municipal level. We are partnering, in the same way, with the municipal governments so they can act much more quickly and do the approvals faster to get new homes built as soon as possible.
    I look forward to any questions that my colleagues might have.



    Madam Speaker, I would like to talk about the recommendations set out in that report, which was actually produced in 2022. One of the recommendations indicates that the housing accelerator fund should be largely devoted to the acquisition, renovation, and construction of off-market affordable rental housing units.
    Could my colleague give us an idea of where the government is at in terms of that recommendation? How many units has that been done for to date?


    Madam Speaker, there are two things I touched upon. One is the rapid housing initiative, which is for a quick turnaround. It has already accomplished the objectives we had and is now generating up to 15,000 homes. Second, is the housing accelerator fund, which looks much more into the future and builds up a reward system.
    Making it exclusive to one particular need, in my view, is not the right approach. It also has different objectives, which are very defined and provide more answers to housing affordability needs in the medium to long term.
    Madam Speaker, as a federal government, it is important that we acknowledge that, yes, we have a lot of work to do and we need to make a difference in housing nationally. We have come forth with wonderful programs, whether it is the co-investment fund, the rapid housing initiative, the housing accelerator fund, the Canada housing benefit and the right to housing, which the Conservative Party voted against.
    My question for my colleague is this. Which one of those federal programs is having the most impact in his riding?


    Madam Speaker, the beauty of the various programs under our national housing strategy is that each one of them is making an impact. I am from Ottawa, as Nepean is part of Ottawa, and almost every single program of the federal government is making a major impact on providing affordable housing and affordable rental units to the people in Ottawa. As I said, we also have to focus on how we can improve housing starts.
    Madam Speaker, I always appreciate hearing my colleague speak. However, as he realizes, the seeds of this housing crisis started with Paul Martin's elimination of a national housing program. The fertilizer was the dismal decade of the Harper regime where there was simply no funding for affordable housing.
    The government has been pressed by the NDP, by members for Vancouver East and Burnaby South, to build more affordable housing, but it has chosen to prioritize things like a $750-billion liquidity support package for banks, $30 billion going every year to overseas tax havens, and it is a crisis.
     Would the member admit that the government has to act immediately and has to treat the crisis with the scale and scope required, which means immediate investments to build housing across the country?
    Madam Speaker, the fact of the matter is, without anybody suggesting it, that the moment we came to power in 2015, from day one, we have focused on housing.
     Our national housing strategy is a very defined strategy with various excellent programs. We have partnered with provincial authorities and governments, which have the major responsibility on housing, but we have not stopped telling them that it is their exclusive responsibility. We have stepped up with real money in the national housing strategy and various programs on the affordability crisis for Canadians.
    Madam Speaker, the member talks about the beauty of all the government programs, but it has a lot problems actually delivering on them. For example, on the incentive for new homebuyers, almost nobody has taken it up because it does not work. I think of the Canada Infrastructure Bank and all the money it says it has for projects, but nothing is happening.
    Will the member not recognize that it is fine to say the words, but things are not getting done on the ground?
    Madam Speaker, one thing I can agree with member on is that the funds are available. As I said, the problem is the supply, as the money is available for developers. The problem is that we are not seeing new houses getting built by developers. That core issue has to be dealt with first.
    Madam Speaker, I am always pleased to rise in the House of Commons and share, hopefully, some insightful words.
     Before I begin, yesterday you informed me, Madam Speaker, that you were born in Portugal. Yesterday was national day in Portugal. I know there are some celebrations going on in Ottawa, so to all Canadians of Portuguese descent, happy national day, even if I am a day late, and have a great time this evening.
    Turning to housing, this morning when I found out we were going to have a concurrence motion and debate on housing, I gave my mortgage broker in Fraser Valley a call.
     In April 2023, the average cost of a home in British Columbia was $995,000 and change. The average detached home in the Fraser Valley or Greater Vancouver region costs northward of $1.2 million. I talked to my mortgage broker, Vic, and asked him what it would take for a young person to get into housing today.
     We can go on the assumption that a very modest home in Abbotsford is probably northward of $1.2 or $1.3 million. The member from Langley is pointing his finger up, so it is probably $1.4 million in Langley. It is a bit cheaper in Abbotsford. For a $1.2-million single-detached home in Abbotsford, which would be the cheapest house on the market, one would need a down payment of $240,000.
    Before I go on any further, Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Wellington—Halton Hills.
    If people were to purchase that home, not only would they need that $240,000, they would also have to account for a property transfer tax bill of $22,000 and legal fees between $1,000 and $2,000 to complete the transaction. That does not even account for any real estate fees to be paid to the listing and selling agent. Therefore, to buy a home today, a starter home in the Fraser Valley, a person is looking at $275,000 and change needed to buy that home.
    The average condo in B.C. costs about $500,000. To buy a condo today, people would need approximately a down payment of $25,000. They would probably pay a transfer tax of $8,000 and similar legal fees of $1,000 to $2,000.
    Members may ask why someone cannot just start off with a condo. Why do they need a single-family detached home? When a home is valued or listed under $1 million, it is subject to the stress test. If it is over $1 million, people basically need a 20% down payment to purchase that home.
     At today's interest rate of approximately 5%, people would need to qualify at the CMHC level of 7.5% interest rate to buy that condo for $500,000. My mortgage broker, Vic, explained to me that in order to buy a condo in Abbotsford, people would need a household income of approximately $125,000 to qualify. I will note that the average income where I live is about $75,000 to $80,000.
    For people to get into the housing market today, they either need a really high-paying job, or they need to get help from their parents or receive some type of inheritance. Indeed, my mortgage broker has told me that he rarely, if ever, sees people doing it on their own today. That is a really important point to make. People cannot do it on their own today. Some people have parents who won the real estate lottery and they are able to help their children. Some people seeking to enter the housing market may have some inheritance from a grandparent, but a lot of people do not have those things. They have to do it themselves. The cost of doing it on one's own today is astronomical. In fact, it is such an astronomical amount of money that most people are giving up hope.


    Being Canadian, our entire financial well-being in our country, and this is what we are told by our educational institutions, from the Government of Canada and from financial advisers, is that to get ahead in Canadian society, we have to purchase property. That social contract we have had with the government and civil society is eroding before us at a very alarming rate.
    When young people graduating from university no longer see a pathway to home ownership, when that seems out of the reach of possibilities, they lose hope. What happens when we lose hope? People turn to extremism, on the left or the right. We are in a dangerous position in Canada where there is going to be an entire generation left out of the housing market. That is partially to do with the government's policies of today.
    In 2016, the Liberals promised Canadians that they were going to make housing more affordable, that they were going to put in billions of dollars to help people get ahead, to help them get a home. They have had program after program that was to solve the housing crisis. In fact, the only thing that has happened under any government policy is that things have become more expensive and more out of reach. It is simply not fair.
    During the pandemic, when we saw one of the biggest increases in housing prices across Canada, the government urged many Canadians to borrow more. The Prime Minister talked about lower interest rates, that they were here for the long term. In fact, the Liberals predicated the country's finances on the assumption that long-term, low interest rates were here to stay.
    As a result of that, Canada's household debt is now 170% of our GDP compared to 95% in 2010. It gets worse. Many of the people who did get into the housing market are now in a position to be subject to a variable rate mortgage. My mortgage broker, Vic, mentioned someone on his street, and this is anecdotal, in a Surrey neighbourhood, who had to foreclose on last week because the interest he was paying increased so much that he could not handle his monthly bills anymore.
    If we do not start building more homes, if we do not give young Canadians a form of hope and a pathway to home ownership, we are in for disastrous policy outcomes and a dangerous societal position where young people do not feel they will have a future in our country anymore. The message I am bringing forward today is that governments need to get out of the way.
    Before I finish up, I want to mention one policy that is really good. The NDP government in British Columbia is mandating 10 cities in the province to build houses at an accelerated rate. The premier of British Columbia, David Eby, recognizes, and has the same position as the Conservative Party of Canada, that the only way we will maybe tackle this crisis is to compel municipalities to push more housing starts at an incredible rate.
    That is one of the key things that we can do to give young people hope again. Under the interest rates today, under a government policy and under the stress test, let alone the incomes that do not match the ability to pay for a home and inability of young people to save, we will be in a very dangerous position in our country in the decades to come if people believe that the social contract they signed up for when they came to Canada, or were born here, is going to be taken away from them.


    Madam Speaker, my almost neighbour and I share a piece of territory that has many of the same concerns. That is why I would be very interested in his reflection on the issue I brought up with the NDP. I would like to hear the Conservatives' thoughts on it.
     It is about development cost charges, which are really heavily laden on new construction because municipal governments are scared to death of raising property taxes on existing homes. Obviously, that is distorting the price of new units.
    What are his thoughts on that?
    Madam Speaker, the member for Fleetwood—Port Kells raises an important point.
    Development cost charges by our municipalities increase the cost of new builds at an alarming rate. Second, to that point, I do not believe municipalities, irrespective of jurisdiction, have always been transparent about how those development cost charges are used. I know that in some cases they might charge a DCC on a rebuild in an existing neighbourhood. They do not use the money collected to improve that neighbourhood. A municipality might say that it is going to use it for one of its other priorities.
    I believe that development cost charges need to exist but that they need to be commensurate with the needs of young people in order to purchase housing, first and foremost.


    Madam Speaker, there is something rather ironic when we talk about the whole issue of access to housing. In my region, Abitibi—Témiscamingue, the vacancy rate is less than 1%. We cannot even house new workers, even those who would come to build the housing.
    How will we ultimately be able to implement a new housing strategy? That will take money and programs, but we will also need the temporary means to house people. The labour shortage is hurting our economy. The Abitibi—Témiscamingue CEGEP said publicly today that it needed housing for its students to train the workers of tomorrow. This is what we have come to. How did the situation get so out of hand over the past 15 years?
    I would like my colleague to comment on that.



    Madam Speaker, with respect to the labour shortage and housing for workers, including housing for people who build homes, the Canadian Home Builders' Association came forward with a very interesting proposal, and it is one I support: removing the GST on new home builds in Canada. Imagine the government did not collect $50,000 to $60,000 on new home construction through taxation. Imagine if we said that those who create purpose-built rental units would not be charged GST on those builds. That is one policy area we could look at a little more closely.
    Madam Speaker, my question to the hon. member has to do with the elephants in the room I talked about earlier.
    We have some members of the House who tend to blame immigrants for the shortage of housing, when we know that we need workers and that the immigrants themselves suffer from the lack of housing. We also have people who are blaming councils. As a former councillor, I know most councils have worked hard to try to get new housing built.
    Does the hon. member really believe that the private market will actually solve the affordable housing crisis in this country, when it has demonstrated that it would not?
    Madam Speaker, I actually do believe that the private sector has a much bigger role to play in solving the housing crisis we find ourselves in today. I do believe that the private sector could do much more. What we have seen in the last eight years is a government trying to replace the private sector, and all we have seen are disastrous results, higher housing costs, more homelessness and more debt.
    Madam Speaker, while I agree with the concern that the member for Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon shared, it is important to point out that this did not happen just overnight. This crisis was decades in the making, from multiple parties that formed government at that time.
    With respect to the member's talking about government getting out of the way, I would love to hear his reflections on the 80s and 90s when governments invested significantly in social and community housing. Did that not help?
    Madam Speaker, let me just say that, in the 1970s and 1980s, when we had the most purpose-built rentals constructed in our country, it was under a taxation plan that deferred capital gains. That is the only time we have seen the amount of rental construction that we actually need. That was a policy of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, I believe. Unfortunately, he quashed that policy. I think we need to look very carefully at bringing back some type of MURB policy to get more purpose-built rentals constructed in our country.
    Madam Speaker, I want to speak to the concurrence debate on this report on the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities because housing is an important topic to my constituents and also an important topic to all Canadians.
    I think it is safe to say that we have a housing crisis in Canada. The government, over the last eight years, has presided over this crisis. While provinces have a role to play, and so do municipalities, what I hope to make clear to the House in my short remarks is that the primary responsibility for this mess is with the Government of Canada. The Government of Canada has huge macroeconomic levers not available to the provinces. It regulates our banking system through the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions. It regulates the mortgage market through CMHC's mortgage insurance programs, and Finance Canada plays a big role in regulating our financial services sector. These are, far and away, the cause of the housing crisis in Canada. None of the initiatives that the government has announced as part of the plethora of programs on housing is going to offset the macroeconomic mistakes it has made over the last eight years.
    We truly have a crisis in two forms. It is a crisis in terms of housing prices. Let us be frank and candid here; Canada has a housing bubble. It is a bubble of epic proportions, which has gone on for so long that we do not even see it for what it is. How did we get this housing bubble? Quite simply, the government mismanaged a number of macroeconomic policies through Finance Canada, through CMHC and through OSFI. For example, it allowed mortgage credit to grow at an unbelievable annual compounded rate over the last eight years, far in excess of inflation, population growth and other measures like productivity growth. As a result, household debt in Canada has grown from 80% of GDP, some 15 years ago, to 107% of GDP today. That is a 27% jump in household debt in Canada. That is almost a 30% jump, in household debt in real terms, per household, in the country over the last 15 years. Most of it is under the government's watch, and all because the government failed to regulate the growth and mortgage credit through OSFI, through Finance Canada and through CMHC.
    I will give one example of its mismanagement. In the early days of the pandemic, OSFI relaxed the domestic stability buffer, allowing banks to loan out hundreds of billions in new money. OSFI put no restrictions on the money being loaned out. What happened? Almost all of it was loaned out for residential real estate. It poured fuel on the fire of housing, which is why housing prices during the pandemic skyrocketed. The government should have said, look, we are going to inject some liquidity into the system but we are not going to allow the financial sector to put all of its eggs in one basket, into residential mortgages, and to pour fuel on the fire of housing prices. That is one big reason why housing has skyrocketed over the last several years.
    There are so many other things the government did. It argued against the B-20 rule and it forced financial regulators to weaken the B-20 rule. What situation do we have today? We have a situation where one-fifth of all of CIBC mortgages are ones where the borrowers are not even paying the interest on their loan balances, and their principal is getting bigger. As a result, we are looking down the barrel of a financial crisis.
    In about two short years, many of the mortgages that were given out during the pandemic will come up for renewal. Most of these are five-year-term mortgages. Most of these mortgages are fixed monthly payment, variable rate. When those mortgage holders renew about a quarter of outstanding mortgages, they are going to be faced with a crisis, because renewal mandates that the mortgage renew at the original amortization track that the mortgage was supposed to be on when the term was originally negotiated. As a result, people are looking at a 20% to 40% jump in their mortgage payments in about two short years. Those figures come from Desjardins' research analysts. Those figures come from the Bank of Canada itself, and that is the best case scenario.


    That is if rates start to drop early next year, and it is not clear they will, because the bank continued to hike them this past month alone, and it may hike them further. It is predicated on our having a mild recession that we get out of fairly quickly, and it is predicated on rates dropping to two and a half per cent pretty quickly. This is all a Goldilocks scenario that may not come to pass, and even in that Goldilocks scenario, payments for these mortgages are still expected to jump 20% to 40%. If a worst-case scenario comes to pass, the payment jumps could be much higher. We are talking about a fifth to a quarter of all outstanding mortgages being in this situation, and that is a direct result of the government's mismanagement of the banking system.
    We have a second crisis in our system that the government is not addressing at all, and that is a lack of housing supply. What has happened over many years is that the supply of purpose-built apartment buildings has plummeted. Several decades ago, more than two-thirds of Canadians rented an apartment in a purpose-built apartment building, but I looked up the data for the number of apartment buildings that have been built in the last several decades, and it has plummeted to almost nothing. In fact, in the province of Ontario, 86% of all apartment building stock was built prior to 1980. Almost none of it was built after the 1980s, and as a result, only 60% of renters in Canada today rent an apartment in a purpose-built apartment building. The other 40% of renters are renting a house, a room in a house, a condo or some other non-purpose-built apartment. As a result, we have a government focused entirely on the wrong solution to the problem: building more houses and condos. What we need are more purpose-built apartment buildings, but the government is not thinking about these macroeconomic policies because it is focused on microeconomic policies that are not going to make a difference.
    The slowdown in apartment construction coincides with the introduction of capital gains taxes on apartment buildings that do not apply to primary residences. It coincides with negative changes to capital cost allowances that did not allow private developers to write off their investments in a way that made them financially viable. It is a result of GST rules that favour one type of housing over another. It is a result of CMHC introducing restrictions on underwriting of rental housing. It is a result of a range of other issues the government has failed to address, and until the government addresses these macroeconomic policies, whether it is the growth in mortgage credit that has led to a housing bubble, or the lack of rental housing in purpose-built apartment buildings, we are not going to be able to address this crisis.
    For all those reasons, I encourage members of the House to think about what the committee has found in this report and to consider the broader picture of how we got into this situation, which is not just a housing crisis but one that could really put the financial stability of our entire Canadian banking system at risk.


    Madam Speaker, the member opposite certainly has my respect.
    I do have a question for him. Why did he vote against the right to housing? Does he not believe in the right to housing?
    Madam Speaker, what I believe in are macroeconomic policies of the Government of Canada that are going to ensure that, in the long run, housing returns to 3.5 times a typical family's income. Today in this country, in many communities, it is more than triple that, and as a result, Canadians are struggling under record high levels of household indebtedness. The House can pass all the motions it wants about housing as a right, but the reality is that, in practice today in Canada, affordable housing has become a distant reality for many Canadians because of these ill-founded macroeconomic policies.


    Madam Speaker, we have reached a point at which even the middle class is having trouble finding housing. Imagine how bad it is for more disadvantaged or economically vulnerable households. People are on the verge of homelessness. This is a big deal.
    There is one recommendation that I find very interesting. I would like my colleague to tell us more about it. The 14th recommendation reads as follows: “That the Housing Accelerator Fund support public and non-profit acquisition of vacant land and existing buildings, including rental housing stock, for the purpose of creating net-new affordable housing units.” This is really for people who are in a very fragile economic situation. To me, this recommendation is huge.
    What are my colleague's thoughts on it?


    Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her question about the report's 14th recommendation.
    I agree that more affordable housing is needed across the country, including in my riding of Wellington—Halton Hills. At the same time, Canada is in a crisis situation.


    We cannot rely on only building affordable housing units. The only apartment units being built in Canada are being built with public subsidies. The private sector should be building much more than just affordable housing units that have been subsidized with public subsidies. They should be building apartment units for people to rent, but they are not because of some of the macroeconomic policies that I just highlighted as a problem at the federal level.
    While I support the construction of new affordable rental units, more than that, we need many more rental units to help drive down the cost of renting an apartment. That would be a far more powerful way to make housing more affordable for low-income Canadians than any single government program.
    Madam Speaker, now I have heard the second Conservative speaker calling for some kind of capital gains exemption for real estate investors as a way of solving the housing problem. In the 1990s, we understood that the most vulnerable in Canada, such as young families, seniors and low-income people, needed alternatives to ownership to get secure housing.
    I am going to ask the hon. member this again: Do any of the Conservatives support returning to a strong co-op movement in this country that provides people with security of housing, which they pay for themselves but which requires some public subsidy to get going?
    Madam Speaker, we support all sorts of housing, whether it be co-op, not-for-profit, for profit or affordable housing. To be clear, the source of our problem with the lack of apartment supply in Canada is not solely capital gains taxes. There is a range of problems.
    One other problem, which I did not mention in my remarks, is property taxes. I was talking to Jack Mintz, an economist who has done some research on this, and he told me something astounding. In most Canadian cities and provinces, property taxes on apartment buildings are way higher than property taxes on single detached homes in the suburbs. That is because over decades, municipal councils have decided they can increase the mill rate, the tax rate, per hundred thousand dollars of assessment on apartment owners in a way they cannot on homeowners of single detached homes. That is a problem that needs to be addressed, because many people who rent are of much lower income than those who own a home.
    Madam Speaker, I am going to close off this debate with the couple of minutes we have left. It is surprising to see, after a government that has been here for eight years, that the price of a house has doubled and the price of an average mortgage payment has doubled. For those who cannot afford a house, the price of rent has also doubled. This is right across the board, not only in the GTA, which has one of the largest problems in the country.
    This is bigger than just a crisis, which I understand the government does not want to admit we are in. This is more than just an affordability crisis. It is a crisis of our communities. It is a crisis of our social cohesion. People cannot afford to buy a home in the GTA where they grew up. They cannot even afford to get close to one. As a result, our community institutions get weaker. People stop going to rotary clubs, churches, mosques and synagogues, all of the things that make a community a community.
    When people move far away from their families, maybe it is grandkids who do not see grandparents or kids who do not see parents anymore if they live far away from each other. That has real effects beyond just being able to afford a house. That is why I am surprised the government will not call this a crisis. It is a crisis of affordability and a crisis of our communities, despite the vast quantities of cash being thrown at the problem. The government has spent more than all other governments combined.
    I understand that my time is over, but I was just getting started.


    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 that the motion be carried or carried on division or wishes to request a recorded division, I would invite them to rise and indicate it to the Chair.


    Madam Speaker, I request a recorded vote.
    Pursuant to order made on Thursday, June 23, 2022, the division stands deferred until later this day at the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions.


Medical Assistance in Dying  

    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to present two petitions.
    The first petition is from a group of Canadians who are concerned that Louis Roy, of the Collège des médecins du Québec, recommended expanding euthanasia to babies from birth to one year of age who come into this world with severe deformities and very serious syndromes.
    This proposal for legalizing the killing of infants is deeply disturbing to many Canadians. The petitioners want us in the House to know that infanticide is always wrong, and they call on the government to block any attempt to allow the killing of children.

Human Rights  

    Madam Speaker, the second petition is from a group of Canadians who believe it is important that Canadians have the right to be protected against discrimination, in particular political discrimination. They believe it is a fundamental Canadian right to be politically active and vocal, and that it is in the best interests of Canadian democracy to protect public debate and the exchange of differing ideas.
    Bill C-257 seeks to add protection against political discrimination to the Canadian Human Rights Act. The petitioners call upon the House to support Bill C-257 and defend the rights of Canadians to peacefully express their political opinions.
    Madam Speaker, the first petition I have is from citizens and residents of Canada who draw the attention of the House of Commons to the following.
    Whereas Canadians have the right to be protected against discrimination, Canadians can and do face political discrimination. It is a fundamental Canadian right to be politically active and vocal, so it is in the best interests of Canadian democracy to protect public debate and the exchange of differing ideas.
    Bill C-257 seeks to add protection against political discrimination to the Canadian Human Rights Act. The undersigned citizens and residents of Canada call upon the House of Commons to support Bill C-257, which bans discrimination on the basis of political belief or activity, and defend the rights of Canadians to peacefully express their political opinions.

Medical Assistance in Dying  

    Madam Speaker, the next petition is from citizens and residents of Canada who draw the attention of the House of Commons to the following. Louis Roy, of the Collège des médecins du Québec, recommended expanding euthanasia to babies from birth to one year of age who come into the world with severe deformities and very serious syndromes. This proposal for legalizing the killing of infants is deeply disturbing to many Canadians. Infanticide is always wrong. The undersigned citizens and residents of Canada call on the Government of Canada to block any attempt to allow the killing of children.

Human Rights  

    Madam Speaker, I am presenting a petition on behalf of residents from across Canada in support of Bill C-257, which seeks to add protection against political discrimination to the Canadian Human Rights Act.
    Canadians have a right to be protected against discrimination, which includes political discrimination. The petitioners call on the need to defend the rights of Canadians to peacefully express their political opinions.


Medical Assistance in Dying  

    Madam Speaker, I have two petitions.
    The first is from 30 Canadians who are expressing extreme concern that Louis Roy, of the Collège des médecins du Québec, recommended expanding euthanasia to babies from birth to one year of age who come into the world with severe deformities and very serious syndromes. The petitioners are asking that the Government of Canada block any attempt to allow the killing of these children.

Human Rights  

    Madam Speaker, the second petition is from 50 Canadians expressing support for Bill C-257, which would add protection against political discrimination to the Canadian Human Rights Act. The petitioners believe that it is a fundamental Canadian right to be politically active and to vote.
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to table a number of petitions in the House today.
    The first petition is from Canadians who are concerned about the increasing phenomenon of people being bullied in corporate environments over their political views and having pressure put on them to express or not express political opinions that may go against their conscience. The petitioners are in support of a private member's bill I put forward that seeks to protect people from corporate bullying and efforts, in a work environment or other kinds of environments under federal regulation, to discriminate or pressure people on the basis of their political views.
    Bill C-257 would add political belief and activity as prohibited grounds of discrimination to the Canadian Human Rights Act. The petitioners want the government and the House to support Bill C-257 and to defend the rights of all Canadians to peacefully express their political opinions.

Medical Assistance in Dying  

    Madam Speaker, the next petition I am tabling highlights concerns about the dramatic expansion of euthanasia under the government, and in particular a recommendation to allow euthanasia for infants. The proposal to legalize the euthanasia of infants is a matter of grave concern for these petitioners, and they call on the Government of Canada to block any attempt to legalize the killing of children in Canada.

Charitable Organizations  

    Madam Speaker, the next petition deals with a proposal in the Liberal Party's platform in the last election to effectively politicize charitable status determinations, which is again dealing with an issue of political discrimination and discrimination on the basis of political views. The petitioners are opposed to the government applying values tests or political position-based determinations for making decisions about charitable status. They call on the House to protect and preserve the application of charitable status rules on a political and ideologically neutral basis without discrimination, and to affirm the right of all Canadians to freedom of expression.

Human Rights  

    Madam Speaker, the next petition draws attention to the ongoing detention of Huseyin Celil. The petitioners note that although Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were released after 1,000 days of unjust detention, there are other Canadians detained in China, including Mr. Celil, who has been detained for well over 5,000 days.
    Mr. Celil is a Canadian citizen and a Uyghur human rights activist who has been detained for supporting the rights of Uyghurs. The Chinese government has, sadly, refused to recognize Mr. Celil's Canadian citizenship and has denied him access to lawyers, family and Canadian officials. He was coerced into signing a forced confession, and he underwent an unlawful and unfair trial. The petitioners further note that evidence makes it increasingly clear that Uyghurs are being subjected to an ongoing genocide and that Canada has an obligation to act to respond to this genocide.
    The petitioners want the Government of Canada to demand that the Chinese government recognize Mr. Celil's Canadian citizenship and provide him with consular and legal service in accordance with international law, and to formally state that securing the release of Mr. Celil is a priority of the Canadian government of equal concern as the unjust detention of the two Michaels was. The petitioners want the government to appoint a special envoy to work on Mr. Celil's case and to seek the assistance of the Biden administration and other allies in obtaining the release of Mr. Celil, actions that were taken in the previous cases referenced.

Hong Kong  

    Madam Speaker, next I am tabling a petition that deals with the situation of Hong Kongers who are seeking immigration to Canada.
    The petitioners note that the judicial system in Hong Kong has been compromised through various measures, including through the passage of the national security law. They note that peaceful protesters charged in Hong Kong have not received fair or impartial treatment and that they have been subject to politically motivated convictions for their democracy activism under the national security law but also under other laws. The petitioners want the government to ensure that for people who have faced these kinds of unjust charges and convictions, those convictions will not be barriers to their potential immigration to Canada.
    The petitioners call on the government to recognize the politicization of the judiciary in Hong Kong and its impacts on the legitimacy and validity of criminal convictions; to affirm its commitment to rendering all national security law charges and convictions irrelevant and invalid in relation to paragraph 36(1)(c) of the IRPA; and to create a mechanism by which Hong Kong people with pro-democracy movement-related convictions may provide an explanation of such convictions on the basis of which government officials can grant exemptions to Hong Kong people who are deemed inadmissible under paragraphs 36(1)(b), 36(2)(b) and 36(2)(c) upon an examination of circumstances and a determination that the applicant's criminal record is political in nature.
    Finally, the petitioners want to see the Government of Canada work with other like-minded allies, especially the Five Eyes countries, and other democracies to waive criminal inadmissibility of Hong Kong people convicted for political purposes, provided they do not otherwise have a criminal record.


Military Chaplaincy  

    Madam Speaker, the final petition that I am presenting today deals with recommendations of the Minister of National Defence's advisory panel on systemic racism. In its final report in 2022, this panel paradoxically recommended discrimination on the basis of religious affiliation in determinations about chaplaincy and discrimination against religious communities holding views that are not consistent with the Government of Canada's positions on, for instance, various sexuality issues.
    Petitioners believe that Canadian Armed Forces chaplains serve all members of the armed forces without discrimination, and they should not be facing discrimination. This proposed discrimination would affect the Muslim community, the Christian community, the Jewish community and other religious communities in Canada. They call on the Government of Canada to reject the recommendations on chaplaincy in the Canadian Armed Forces in the final report of the Minister of National Defence's advisory panel on systemic racism and discrimination, as well as to affirm the right of all Canadians, including Canadian Armed Forces chaplains, to freedom of religion.
    I commend all these petitions to the consideration of my colleagues.

Medical Assistance in Dying  

    Madam Speaker, I am presenting a petition signed by a number of Canadian citizens, including those in my riding. They call on the Government of Canada to publicly and unequivocally support a private member's bill, Bill C-314. This bill is sponsored by my colleague from Abbotsford; it would clarify that MAID, medical assistance in dying, should not be available to those whose only underlying health condition is a mental illness.
    The petitioners point out that there is no consensus among health experts regarding what constitutes the irremediability of mental illness. They also point to section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, on the right to life, liberty and the security of the person, in support of a petition that mental health supports should be made available, particularly to vulnerable Canadians, to counsel against medical assistance in dying for those who are suffering with a mental illness.

Questions on the Order Paper

    Madam Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 1446, 1453, 1455 and 1456.


Question No. 1446—
Mr. Eric Melillo:
    With regard to government subsidies for Volkswagen (VW) and the announcement in St. Thomas: (a) when was the timeline of decisions related to VW made and when were the offers sent or received; (b) did the government consider alternative companies to receive subsidies, and, if so, what (i) expressions of interest were received from other companies in this regard, (ii) monetary and non-monetary demands were received in each expression of interest; (c) what were the decision-making factors that the government weighed when making the VW commitment; (d) what additional non-monetary commitments were made to VW; and (e) has the government imposed any conditions on VW in relation to the sourcing of critical minerals and other raw materials from within Canada, and, if so, what are the conditions?
Hon. François-Philippe Champagne (Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to parts (a) through (e), the government cannot release commercially sensitive details of the Volkswagen, PowerCo., project, including details concerning the negotiations, beyond what has already been made public. Additional information in response to the various parts of the question can be found below.
    With regard to part (a), generally speaking, the government must complete several steps before it can fund a project. First, it conducts technical, financial and market due diligence of all projects for which applications were submitted. Once a project passes the due diligence assessment, officials engage with applicants to determine the conditions of agreed-on funding and create two key documents: a term sheet and a contribution agreement. Through these discussions, the government and the applicant agree upon a description of a project’s fundamental characteristics and identify expected commitments and benefits resulting from the project, such as job creation, research and development, R&D, and capital investments, greenhouse gas emissions reductions, IP preservation and employment targets related to gender, diversity and equity.
    With respect to key milestones for PowerCo., Volkswagen announced on March 13, that it had chosen Canada as the location for its first overseas Gigafactory of its battery company PowerCo, SE. This news was shared on the Government of Canada’s web page: Canada and Ontario welcome historic investment from Volkswagen.
    Following this announcement, on April 21, Volkswagen, PowerCo., Canada and the Province of Ontario released additional information about the project and the level of support agreed to secure this investment. More information on the PowerCo. project can be found on the web page: Volkswagen’s new electric vehicle battery plant will create thousands of new jobs.
    With regard to part (b), before moving ahead with a project, the government conducts a project assessment covering key areas of consideration, such as the benefits the project can deliver in relation to the growth of Canadian firms, clusters and supply chains, while also evaluating the financial and market risk of proponents and their potential to meet demonstrable market demand.
    To date, Canada has attracted 110 projects with $62.6 billion in total project expenditures. Of these 110 projects, 24 are in the auto and batteries sectors, and 21 are in the advanced manufacturing sectors. This information is publicly available on the web page: Projects: Strategic Innovation Fund.
    With regard to part (c), decision-making factors are specific to agreements with PowerCo. They are subject to cabinet confidence, and the release of this information would negatively impact future negotiations. Overall, each project is assessed based on the Government of Canada’s priorities and the potential for the project to benefit the Canadian economy and Canadians at large. For example, under its business innovation and growth project segment, the strategic innovation fund, SIF, focuses on funding innovation projects that involve activities related to R&D and commercialization of innovative products, processes or services; support the expansion or material improvement of existing industrial or technological facilities; and support the establishment of new facilities or bring new ventures and production capabilities to Canada.
    As indicated above, Canada also seeks commitments with respect to economic, public and innovation benefits when entering into a funding agreement with a company, such as job creation in Canada, R&D, capital investments, reduction of greenhouse gas, GHG, emissions, gender, diversity and equity targets, and preservation of intellectual property, IP, in Canada. Additional information can be found on the web page: Program Guide – Strategic Innovation Fund – D) What are eligible supported costs?
    With respect to PowerCo., the decision to support both capital expenditures and production follows the government’s public commitment to facilitate the industrial transformation of the automotive sector to a net-zero future and take the actions needed to remain competitive.
    With regard to part (e), as indicated, the government does stipulate expected commitments and benefits when negotiating funding agreements, including but not limited to job creation, R&D and capital investments, greenhouse gas emissions reductions, if applicable, IP preservation and targets related to gender, diversity and equity.
Question No. 1453—
Mrs. Stephanie Kusie:
    With regard to Employment Insurance sickness benefits, broken down by month since April 2020, and by province and territory: (a) how many claims have been received from individuals impacted by the long term effects of COVID-19; and (b) how many of the claims in (a) were granted?
Mr. Irek Kusmierczyk (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, there is no requirement under the Employment Insurance Act to provide the nature of an illness in order to receive sickness benefits and Service Canada does not request this information. As such, this information/data is not available.
Question No. 1455—
Mr. Michael Barrett:
    With regard to the statement by the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development on April 25, 2023, in the House that "The law dictates what is an essential service, and passports are not considered essential under the law.": what is the specific law and subsection which dictates that passports are not considered essential?
Ms. Ya’ara Saks (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act defines an essential service as follows: “Definitions 4 (1) The following definitions apply in this Part:
    Essential service means a service, facility or activity of the Government of Canada that is or will be, at any time, necessary for the safety or security of the public or a segment of the public.
    Essential services agreement means an agreement between the employer and the bargaining agent for a bargaining unit that identifies: (a) the types of positions in the bargaining unit that are necessary for the employer to provide essential services; (b) the number of those positions that are necessary for that purpose; and (c) the specific positions that are necessary for that purpose.”
    As such, essential services were identified, and an essential service agreement reached, with the applicable bargaining agents using the above noted Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act definition.
    Essential services remain available for clients in the U.S. and abroad and domestic clients experiencing humanitarian and/or emergency situations defined as: passport clients at risk of financial hardship; passport clients who rely on travel as a source of employment, and their income security will be jeopardized; passport clients who must travel for medical reasons, or have had a death or illness in the family; and passport clients whose situation is deemed urgent on compassionate grounds.
    Requests that do not meet the definition of humanitarian and/or emergency situations are not considered essential as they are not necessary for the safety or security of the public or a segment of the public.
Question No. 1456—
Mr. Adam Chambers:
    With regard to claims made by the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development in the House related to child care: (a) what specific data and information was used to make the claim on November 16, 2022, that "Ontario has had 92 percent of licensed child care providers sign on"; (b) what specific data and information was used to make the claim on January 30, 2023, that "almost all of them have reduced fees by 50 percent" in reference to the provinces and territories; (c) what specific data and information was used to make the claim on February 6, 2023, that "an additional 20,000 child care spaces, which are going to be created in Alberta. That is in addition to the 42,500 that were already announced"; and (d) what is the list of providers that (i) have, (ii) have not, signed on in Ontario to support the claim in (a)?
Ms. Ya’ara Saks (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a), in budget 2021, the Government of Canada committed to providing provinces and territories with over $27 billion over five years to build a Canada-wide early learning and child care, ELCC, system. As part of this system, the Government of Canada negotiated a series of Canada-wide ELCC agreements with each of the provinces and territories, including an asymmetrical agreement with Quebec, that would provide federal funding to help provinces and territories work toward achieving the goals of the multilateral framework on ELCC within their jurisdictions.
    The specific implementation of these ELCC agreements falls within the legislative authorities of the provinces and territories, in accordance with their own unique ELCC systems. In the case of Ontario, the provincial government offered licensed child care operators the choice to opt in to a series of provincially developed regulations in order to qualify for funding under Ontario’s Canada-wide system. The deadline for licensed child care operators in Ontario to opt in to this provincial system was originally September 1, 2022, later extended by the province to November 1, 2022.
    Subsequent to the November 1 deadline, in the course of regular discussions between officials, Ontario’s Ministry of Education informed the Federal Secretariat on ELCC that an estimated 92% of licensed child care providers within the province had opted in to the provincial Canada-wide program. While it was this direct communication from the Government of Ontario that formed the basis of the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development’s knowledge, it is worth noting that this 92% figure was also reported publicly by the Canadian Press on November 7, 2022, more than a week in advance of the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development’s statement in the House. Since then, Ontario has also published its Early Years and Child Care Annual Report for 2022, which confirms that as of November 1, 2022, 92% of licensed providers had opted into the Canada-wide program.
    With regard to part (b), as of January 30, 2023, four provinces and territories were delivering regulated child care for $10 a day or less within their jurisdictions. This included Nunavut, which achieved the milestone on December 1, 2022, Newfoundland and Labrador, which achieved the milestone on January 1, 2023, as well as Yukon and Quebec, both of which were already providing $10-a-day or less regulated child care prior to the signing of their Canada-wide agreements.
    Of the remaining provinces and territories, only one had not achieved an average fee reduction of at least 50% by January 30, 2023. A list of fee reduction averages and their public announcement date as of January 30, 2023, is as follows: Manitoba: 30% reduction on average, February 3, 2022; Nova Scotia: 50% reduction on average, November 28, 2022; Prince Edward Island: 50% reduction on average, December 16, 2022; New Brunswick: 50% reduction on average, April 25, 2022; Ontario: 50% reduction on average, December 19, 2022; Alberta: 50% reduction on average, November 26, 2021; British Columbia: 50% reduction on average, December 2, 2022; Northwest Territories: 50% reduction on average, March 3, 2022; and Saskatchewan: 70% reduction on average, August 11, 2022.
    While the methods used to achieve these fee reductions vary based on the unique characteristics of each province and territory’s ELCC system, such as fee caps, direct subsidies to parents or a combination of methods, the determination of reduction level is based on a comparison to fee levels in 2019, or 2020 for Ontario, in accordance with its agreement. In each case, provinces and territories provide data to the Federal Secretariat on ELCC in advance of each announcement.
    With regard to part (c), on January 31, 2023, a week prior to the February 6 date cited in the written question, the governments of Canada and Alberta publicly announced the successful completion of a cost control framework and for-profit expansion plan for child care within the province of Alberta. The information can be found at the following web page
    This framework was designed to build upon the province’s existing, successful approach to working with the private sector to guide how federal funds would be used to support the development of an additional 22,500 new child care spaces among Alberta’s for-profit child care providers over the remainder of the Canada-wide ELCC agreement. In total, Alberta has now committed to the creation of a total of 68,700 new licensed child care spaces by the end of March 2026, which will greatly enhance the availability of affordable, high-quality child care spaces in the province. The framework was formalized as an amendment to the Canada-wide ELCC agreement with Alberta, and can be found at the following web page:
    With regard to part (d), as ELCC is a matter of provincial and territorial jurisdiction, the Federal Secretariat on ELCC does not track data below the provincial or territorial level. A list denoting which of Ontario’s more than 5,500 child care centres and 139 licensed home child care agencies have opted in to the Canada-wide system would fall within the constitutional authority of Ontario’s Ministry of Education. Some of this information could also be available at the municipal level, for example, the City of Toronto provides on its website a list of licensed child care centres participating in the Canada-wide system, at the following web page: This is likewise a matter of provincial and territorial jurisdiction.


Questions Passed as Orders for Returns

    Madam Speaker, if the government's response to Questions Nos. 1447 to 1452, 1454 and 1457 could be made orders for return, these returns would be tabled immediately.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès): Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.


Question No. 1447—
Mrs. Kelly Block:
    With regard to the COVID-19 vaccine doses procured by the government: (a) how many doses purchased are known to have (i) been lost or stolen, (ii) expired, broken down by manufacturer; and (b) what are the details of each instance where doses were lost or stolen, including, for each, the (i) date, (ii) number of doses, (iii) manufacturer, (iv) location, (v) incident summary?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1448—
Mr. Colin Carrie:
    With regard to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and Health Canada (HC): (a) did PHAC or HC receive or become aware of documents related to Pfizer-BioNTech which were the subject of a court order requiring their release to the public starting around January 6, 2022; (b) if the answer to (a) is affirmative, (i) when did the government receive them, (ii) which department or agency reviewed them, (iii) what conclusions and recommendations were arrived at, (iv) was a risk versus benefit analysis conducted after the review, and, if so, what were the findings, (v) when did the review commence and finish; (c) did PHAC or HC receive or become aware of the document titled: “5.3.6 CUMULATIVE ANALYSIS OF POST-AUTHORIZATION ADVERSE EVENT REPORTS OF PF-07302048 (BNT162B2) RECEIVED THROUGH 28-FEB-2021”, and, if so, (i) on what date did PHAC or HC review the document, (ii) what were the conclusions and recommendations that resulted from the review of the document, (iii) when did the review commence and finish, (iv) which Canadian federal health agency was assigned to review this document and when; (d) what are PHAC’s and HC’s latest warnings or instructions to health care professionals who advise Canadians about the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine; (e) do the warnings or instructions in (d) consider the adverse events of special interest identified in the Pfizer study; and (f) will the government notify Canadians about the events in (d)?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1449—
Mr. Dan Mazier:
    With regard to the Centre for Rural Economic Development: (a) where is the Centre for Rural Economic Development headquartered; (b) how many full time equivalents are employed by the Centre for Rural Economic Development; (c) what are the classifications and job titles of each employee in (b); (d) how many rural communities have contacted the Centre for Rural Economic Development, broken down by community and fiscal year; (e) how many issues raised with the Centre for Rural Economic Development were deemed (i) resolved, (ii) unresolved; (f) what was the total annual budget and the forecasted budget for each fiscal year between 2019-20 and 2025-26; (g) what is the annual spending, broken down by year and by standard object, from 2019-20 to 2022-23; (h) what is the amount of spending on internal services or overhead, broken down by year, between 2019-20 and 2022-23; and (i) what are the latest performance indicators and results?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1450—
Mr. Dan Mazier:
    With regard to the connectivity (i.e. internet, cellular, broadband, etc.) funding announced by the government since November 4, 2015, broken down by company: (a) what is the total amount of money announced to date for Bell Canada, Telus Communications Inc., Rogers Communications Inc., and their subsidiaries, for connectivity under the (i) CRTC Broadband Fund, (ii) Strategic Innovation Fund, (iii) Universal Broadband Fund, (iv) Connect to Innovate program, (v) First Nation Infrastructure Fund, (vi) Canada Infrastructure Bank, (vii) Investing in Canada Plan; and (b) of the amounts in each subsection in (a), how much has been transferred?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1451—
Mr. Dan Mazier:
    With regard to government funding for satellite internet service companies, since November 4, 2015: (a) what is the total amount of money that has been (i) announced for, (ii) transferred to, Kepler Communications Inc. or its subsidiaries, broken down by program; (b) what are the details of each funding announcement or transfer in (a), including the (i) date of the announcement, (ii) amount announced, (iii) project description, including the location, (iv) program, (v) date the funding was transferred, (vi) amount of the transfer; (c) what is the total amount of money that has been (i) announced for, (ii) transferred to, Starlink and its parent company Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX), or any subsidiaries, broken down by program; and (d) what are the details of each funding announcement or transfer in (c), including the (i) date of the announcement, (ii) amount announced, (iii) project description, including the location, (iv) program, (v) date the funding was transferred, (vi) amount of the transfer?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1452—
Mr. Damien C. Kurek:
    With regard to the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA): (a) how many businesses received loans under CEBA and were later deemed ineligible for the loans, broken down by province or territory; and (b) what mechanisms are available for businesses to (i) appeal or challenge a decision of ineligibility, (ii) provide information to demonstrate that a decision of ineligibility was made in error?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1454—
Mr. Michael Barrett:
    With regard to the special rapporteur tasked with assessing the extent and impact of foreign interference in Canada's electoral processes: what are the details of all meetings the rapporteur has had related to foreign interference since March 15, 2023, including, for each, the (i) date, (ii) names and titles of each attendee, (iii) location?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1457—
Mrs. Rachael Thomas:
    With regard to requests made by the government to Google since January 1, 2016, broken down by department, agency, or other government entity: what are the details of all requests, including, for each, the (i) date, (ii) title of who made the request, (iii) reason for the request, (iv) summary of the request, (v) title of who received the request, (vi) resulting action (request granted, denied, etc.)?
    (Return tabled)


    Madam Speaker, I ask that all remaining questions be allowed to stand.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès): Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act


Speaker's Ruling  

    There is one motion in amendment standing on the Notice Paper for the report stage of Bill S-8. Motion No. 1 will be debated and voted upon.


    I will now put Motion No. 1 to the House.

Motion in Amendment  

     That Bill S‑8 be amended by deleting the long title.



     He said: Madam Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to address Bill S-8 today. This is important legislation that Conservatives have been supportive of. It is also an opportunity to discuss the significant problems with the sanctions regime that we have seen under the government, including the failure to move quickly enough to sanction perpetrators of violence around the world, the failure to be consistent and the failure to apply sanctions in some critical cases where that is required.
    I want to focus my remarks today on expressing support for the modifications, as we supported them at committee, around inadmissibility to Canada being tied in with sanctioning. I also want to highlight the gaps, in terms of the government's responses when it has come to sanctioning.
    The trend we are seeing overall, in terms of sanctioning, is to try to be as precise and as targeted as possible. This is done to minimize the harm to a civilian population in association with sanctioning and to have sharp sanctions against perpetrators of violence to hold them accountable for their own actions, as well as to sanction those institutions that are involved in violence and the flow of resources that allows violent regimes to hurt their own people and people in other countries.
    More and more precise sanctions, broadly speaking, are a positive development. However, as we move in this direction, we need to ensure precision and enforcement, as well as that we are not missing things or allowing holes in the process that render the sanctions that have been put in place ineffective. We also need to ensure that enforcement is in place as required and that it is effective.
    Another trend we have seen is the adoption throughout the world of Magnitsky sanctions legislation, which is part of that trend of narrowing in precision and targeting those responsible for violence. In particular, it aims sanctions at those involved in gross violations of human rights.
    In the past, those involved in violations of human rights in other parts of the world would generally have stayed in their own countries. However, in the globalized world we live in today, it is much more common for oppressors, oligarchs and maybe their family members to take their ill-gotten gains and try to use them to vacation, attend school and do other things in various other parts of the world, including the United States, Canada, Europe, etc. Magnitsky sanctions provide us with a unique opportunity to try to deter human rights abuses by saying to those who are involved in gross violations of human rights that they are not going to be able to engage in this kind of travel, move their money or spend time in Canada or other parts of the world if they cross certain thresholds in terms of violations of human rights.
    Another reason these types of sanctions are very effective is that, when people are part of violent autocratic regimes, they often realize that these regimes can turn on those within them. As the saying goes, “Sometimes the show trial comes for you.” These corrupt officials who have been involved in violence are often thinking in the back of their minds, “What is the escape hatch that I could have if I need to leave my country at some point? Can I move my money? Can I create a kind of golden parachute that would allow me to leave the regime I am a part of, if I need to?”
    Magnitsky sanctions, by sanctioning individuals who are involved in human rights abuses, are a way of saying that if individuals cross a certain threshold in terms of violation of fundamental human rights or if individuals are identified as being involved in violence against civilians, human rights violations or threats to international peace and security, they could be sanctioned and therefore prevented from finding that escape hatch. One corollary to the point of people maybe wanting to escape at some point but being told that they would not be able to escape and using that as a way of deterring human rights abuses is that, in order for these sanctions to be effective, they have to be imposed in coordination.
    If Canada, the U.S. and our partners in Europe are sanctioning different people, then those who may be sanctioned in one place but not another would still have that escape option available to them. However, if like-minded countries are coordinated, then it shuts off the potential options of escape for those involved in human rights abuses. Therefore, it puts pressure on them to stop or at least to limit their violations of fundamental human rights.


    They know there will be significant consequences for them if they persist in this direction. I think we have a big problem with impunity right now. People who are involved in human rights violations believe they will get away with it, because we do not have effective systems to hold people accountable. Magnitsky sanctions are a key tool for countering that.
    It is in that spirit that Senator Andreychuk and, in this place, my colleague from Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman put forward the Magnitsky sanctions bill. It initially received a cold response from the government, but eventually, it was passed unanimously. With Bill S-8, if an individual is subject to sanctions, including under the Magnitsky act, they are also considered inadmissible to Canada. It lines up inadmissibility provisions with sanctions provisions. This is positive.
    The problem is that the Magnitsky act and other sanctions tools give the government tools to use for sanctioning individuals, but unfortunately, the government has been reluctant to use them. For a number of years now, the government has not used the Magnitsky sanctions tool. When it was passed, the Magnitsky act provided the government with tools for sanctioning human rights abusers under the Special Economic Measures Act, and some of that has been done.
    However, the absence of the use of the Magnitsky act is troubling, especially because the act is an important mechanism of coordination among allies. Multiple countries have a Magnitsky act, and if we are able to use our Magnitsky act and coordinate with other countries' use of their Magnitsky acts, we can send a stronger, clearer message of deterrence to human rights abusers.
    The government has been very reluctant to use a tool that it has been given by Parliament and encouraged by Parliament to use. Recognizing the failure of the government to use the Magnitsky act sufficiently, we have actually put forward a new private member's bill. It just passed this place, and it is on its way to the Senate.
    Bill C-281 would create a parliamentary trigger mechanism that would allow a committee, in the House or in the Senate, to pass a motion calling on the government to list an individual under the Magnitsky act. The government would then have to provide a response to that committee within a time frame consistent with the time frame for responses to committee reports in the Standing Orders. It would have to provide that response regardless of, for instance, whether there is a prorogation.
    We recognize the value of the coordination that we are seeing in Bill S-8, but like any other sanctions tools, it is only as good as its use. If the government is failing to use that tool, then we are still going to have a significant problem.
    I want to use this opportunity to call on the government to use more sanctions and more effective targeted sanctions against the military junta in Burma. I have met with various communities from Burma recently. There is an urgent need to support pro-democracy and opposition movements in Burma, as well as to apply tighter, more rigorous and more effective sanctions against the Burmese regime.
    That is the case for a number of reasons. One is that the Burmese regime is supporting and co-operating with the Putin regime. We see increasing collaboration among countries that are seeking to violently upset the international rules-based order, as well as a sharing of weapons and technology among them. If we want to effectively sanction the Putin regime and deter further violence by that regime, then we also have to be sanctioning the partners that are supplying them with military technology; that includes the government of Burma.
    The government of Burma has also been involved in horrific violence against civilians. It is undertaking a campaign of air strikes targeting civilians that is horrific in its proportions. It follows, of course, the Rohingya genocide that we spoke extensively about in the House a number of years ago. It has been positive to see an increasing collaboration or reconciliation among various ethnic minority communities and the pro-democracy movement, including Rohingya in that process, of course.
    More work needs to be done there, and Canada needs to stand with opposition groups. That includes sanctioning the Burmese regime. In particular, the government should be applying tough sanctions to prevent aviation fuel from getting into Burma. Aviation fuel is what is allowing the military junta in Burma to undertake these horrific air strikes against civilians. Sadly, until now, this has been a gap in terms of government sanctions, but I hope it will step up and improve in that respect.
    Overall, we are supportive of Bill S-8, but we are very concerned about the government's failure to use the tools that are available to it on sanctions. We call on it to apply those tools more effectively.


    Madam Speaker, it is nice that we finally got to the debate on what it is that we were supposed to be debating a few hours back.
    Let us put behind us the fact that Stephen Harper and his government did nothing in regard to the sanctions. It took this government to ultimately ensure that there would be sanctions. The violation of human rights is something that Canadians as a whole take very seriously, as we know.
    This legislation, in essence, would apply additional sanctions by not allowing individuals who have been sanctioned to be admitted to Canada going forward. Does the Conservative Party clearly support this legislation?
    Madam Speaker, I think I have been very clear about that already, but I do want to pick up on the first comment he made about the Harper government and sanctions.
    What he said is obviously nonsense. In fact, under the Conservative government, Canada led the world following the invasion of Ukraine and we were able to drive a consensus in the G7 that led to a tough response. It was likely not tough enough, but we were able to bring our allies along for a response that removed Russia from what was then the G8 and sanction Russia for the invasion of Ukraine that began at that time in 2014.
    Of course, there have been changes in the world. There have been further developments since then, and I am very pleased about the passage of the Magnitsky act. It was a Conservative private member's bill that was passed following the 2015 election. I will also mention boycotting the Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka.
    After the Liberal government took office, the Liberals actually wanted to warm things up with Russia. They wanted to have good, warm, cozy relations with Russia again. That was what the then foreign affairs minister Stéphane Dion was pursuing, and the Liberals cut off sharing radar satellite images with Ukraine.
    Conservatives have been steadfast with Ukraine, opposing the Putin regime from the beginning.
    Madam Speaker, I will refrain from commenting on the misinformation the member just presented and ask him something very clearly.
    Canada is a part of the Five Eyes community. In that community, countries like the United States and England and Australia do have similar legislation. Can the member give a specific example of what those countries have done that Canada has not done if he is saying we have not put in enough sanctions? What country among the Five Eyes trusted allies has put in more sanctions?
    Madam Speaker, everything that I said in my previous response is on the public record and is easily verifiable as accurate.
    The member asked if there are instances of other countries that have imposed sanctions that Canada should have imposed. Yes, absolutely, and I will pick one present topical example.
    Five years ago, the House listed the IRGC, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iran, as a terrorist organization. The House voted five years ago. That member, if he was present, voted for it. I know the Prime Minister was present but he did not vote for that listing.
    In five years, they have done nothing. It has been five years of inaction in terms of recognizing the IRGC as a terrorist organization. The United States has recognized the IRGC as a terrorist organization.
    We just had hearings at the foreign affairs committee on the Wagner Group. We have been calling for the listing of the Wagner Group as a terrorist organization. The United States has listed it as a transnational criminal organization, which is slightly different, but they have applied tough sanctions against the Wagner Group that we have not applied at an equivalent level.
    There have been various instances. For instance, there are officials associated with the Sri Lankan military to whom we did eventually apply some sanctions this year, but we were way behind the Americans, who had applied those sanctions years before. There are many examples, actually, of allies being far ahead of us on sanctions.
     We need to do better. We should be leading, by the way, not just catching up. We should be leading in terms of taking a stand against violations of fundamental human rights.


    Madam Speaker, I want to follow up on the comment about the Five Eyes.
    It seems to me that we are losing our position in the world. The Five Eyes are not inviting us to meetings, NATO is losing confidence and we have not been included in the new relationship between the U.K., the U.S. and Australia.
    Would the member comment on that?
    Madam Speaker, I think my colleague is referring to AUKUS and the fact that Five Eyes is supposed to be, and is, this critical vehicle for collaboration among five Anglo-sphere nations for sharing of intelligence, yet the U.S., Australia and the U.K., three of the Five Eyes, are creating a separate alliance that covers many of the areas that are supposed to be covered by the Five Eyes.
    Recently there have been statements out of the White House saying that there are no plans to invite Canada to participate, so we should be very concerned about what is behind those developments.
    Madam Speaker, the government will use every tool at its disposal to punish all those responsible for violations of international law, such as human rights abuses.
    As members know, sanctions have proven to be effective foreign policy instruments to hold bad actor regimes accountable for their blatant disregard for the rules-based international order. The government may choose to use sanctions in situations relating to a grave breach of international peace and security, gross and systematic violations of human rights and significant acts of corruption. Russia’s continued war of aggression against Ukraine is just one example.
    In reaction to the Russian annexation of Crimea and the most recent developments in Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, Canada has imposed a series of individual and economic sanctions. Sanctions may be enacted through a number of instruments, including the United Nations Act; the Special Economic Measures Act, or SEMA; and the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act, the Sergei Magnitsky law.
    The government may choose to use sanctions in situations relating to a grave breach of international peace and security, gross and systematic violations of human rights, and significant acts of corruption. Under our autonomous sanctions legislation, sanctions against individuals and entities can include a dealings ban, which is effectively an asset freeze, and restrictions or prohibitions on trade, financial transactions or other economic activity. Canadians are also prohibited from dealing with sanctioned individuals, effectively freezing their Canadian assets.
    Canada’s well-managed immigration system has a strong global reputation, in part due to its well-balanced enforcement system. For nearly 20 years, Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, IRPA, has worked in tandem with our sanctions legislation to ensure bad actors are found inadmissible to Canada. The IRPA defines the applicable criteria for all foreign nationals seeking to enter or remain in Canada, including grounds of inadmissibility that would lead to an application by a foreign national for a visa or entry to Canada to be refused.
    In the case of the inadmissibility provisions of the IRPA as they relate to sanctions, decisions are relatively straightforward: If an individual is explicitly identified under one of the sanctions' triggers, they will be found inadmissible to Canada under the IRPA on that basis alone.
    However, inadmissibility provisions of the IRPA as currently written do not fully align with all grounds for imposing sanctions under the SEMA.
    In 2017, two new sanctions-related inadmissibility criteria were brought into force by the Senate bill, Bill S-226. Bill S-226 ensured that foreign nationals sanctioned under the SEMA were inadmissible to Canada, but only in circumstances of gross and systematic human rights violations and systematic acts of corruption. This approach meant that foreign nationals sanctioned under other provisions, such as “a grave breach of international peace and security”, which has been frequently used in sanctions imposed in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, were not inadmissible to Canada.
    In other words, this means that Russian individuals sanctioned under the SEMA may nevertheless continue to have unfettered access to travel to, enter or remain in Canada, unless they are inadmissible for other reasons.
    This is unacceptable and runs in direct opposition to the government’s responsibility to protect our country’s residents. It also contradicts the very essence and purpose of these sanctions against foreign entities.


    Parliament previously identified this as a legislative gap in Canada’s sanctions regime. In 2017, the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, or FAAE, recommended that the IRPA, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, be amended to designate all individuals sanctioned under the SEMA, the Special Economic Measures Act, as inadmissible to Canada.
    The legislative amendments we are discussing today under Bill S-8 respond to these recommendations and would help to further bolster Canada’s sanctions against bad actor regimes. Among other important amendments, Bill S-8 would help to ensure that all foreign nationals subject to sanctions under the SEMA are inadmissible to Canada. If passed, the current inadmissibility ground relating to sanctions would be expanded to ensure foreign nationals subject to sanctions for any reason under the SEMA would be inadmissible to Canada.
    These important amendments would ensure sanctions have meaningful consequences, both from an economic perspective and in terms of immigration and access to Canada. In adopting these measures, Canada would be sending a very strong message to the world that those who violate human rights are not welcome in our country.
    The Government of Canada will continue to stand firmly against human rights abuses abroad, and we will hold both Russia and all other bad actor regimes accountable for their actions. At the same time, the government remains firmly committed to protecting the safety and security of all residents here on Canadian soil.
    Fully aligning the inadmissibility provisions with grounds found under Canada’s autonomous sanctions legislation will result in a significant increase in the number of sanctioned nationals being rendered inadmissible to Canada. These include individuals sanctioned as a result of their roles in grave breaches of international peace and security, resulting in serious international crises, as well as individuals sanctioned as a result of calls from international organizations. This includes sanctioned individuals from Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Iran, Myanmar, Syria, South Sudan, Venezuela, Zimbabwe and North Korea.
    Without these proposed amendments, many of those who are sanctioned in these states may continue to access Canada and threaten the safety of all those who live in our peaceful country. Bill S-8 is urgently needed to address this gap in our current legislation. For this reason, I implore all hon. members in this house to support this important and timely legislation.


    Madam Speaker, I am a little surprised that there were no questions and comments. My colleague gave an excellent speech, after all.
    I happen to have the best speaking time, right before question period. I am pretty happy to have this time slot.
    Since the war in Ukraine began, more than 7 million Ukrainians have had to leave their country, often leaving everything behind in the hopes of finding refuge elsewhere. In the host countries, most of the newly arrived refugees come from areas that have been seriously affected by the conflict. They often arrive in a state of distress and anxiety, worried about what lies ahead for their family members, whom they reluctantly left behind.
    To help these families, Canada set up the Canada-Ukraine authorization for emergency travel. This program allows refugees to obtain a visitor's visa to come to Canada temporarily. Applicants can then obtain a work or study visa if they wish to remain in the country. However, the administrative delays seemed endless for families. I have often mentioned this in the House when asking questions of the hon. Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. These delays were preventing Ukrainian refugees from entering the country. The minister and I had some pretty heated exchanges in the House, despite the fact that he ultimately intended to be collaborative.
    More than a month after the war began, thousands of Ukrainians were still waiting for authorization for emergency travel to Canada. Once again, Canadian bureaucracy was slowing down the process. As I have often said, in my opinion, it was not because the minister lacked the will. I think the minister's will was definitely there.
    Unfortunately, the problem at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, or IRCC, is not the captain. The issue is with the boat, the vehicle. There is water in the gas tank and sand in the gears. We have all had to deal with cases like this in our constituencies. It is never the minister's will that is lacking, it is the actual structure of IRCC that needs to be reviewed on a number of levels.
    Since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine, the Bloc Québécois has made many suggestions to quickly improve the plight of claimants, given the state of emergency. Fortunately, the government implemented some of them to more quickly welcome Ukrainian families to Canada. For example, the government lifted the requirement to collect biometric data for some population groups and it chartered flights. Unfortunately, it only chartered three flights. The provinces chartered more flights than the federal government. Once again, we can see the disconnect between the minister's will and the action that his department is taking.
    It would have taken too long, because, let us be honest, when such a large military invasion occurs, it is not the time to fool around with paperwork. People need to get here as quickly as possible, without compromising their safety. Even if good measures were put in place, this once again shows that the government's response time is still much too slow in times of crisis.
    The Bloc Québécois has suggested many times that the government create an emergency division at Citizenship and Immigration, a permanent emergency mechanism that would be triggered in the event of an international crisis, whether an armed conflict or a natural disaster. Having such an emergency mechanism would allow the government to intervene quickly as soon as a crisis leads to a flood of refugees, such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Taliban's return to power in Afghanistan or the earthquake in Haiti. This mechanism would allow refugees to get help as soon as possible.
    The Bloc Québécois's emergency division proposal included the implementation of a special emergency visa, the expansion of the sponsorship program and the partial lifting of biometric data collection requirements. Depending on the nature of the crisis, some levers would be automatically triggered. Depending on the context, others would not be used.
    Again, it is too little, too late. The minister told me in committee that, after we made our proposal, he asked his officials to implement such a mechanism. That was in the fall and I have not heard any more about it since. I am quite curious to know where things stand.
    What I notice about the government's management of humanitarian crises is how painfully slow it is. I am not alone in making this observation. Most of the people directly concerned, by which I mean the victims of this crisis, also think it is too slow.


    However, Quebeckers, like Canadians, want Quebec and Canada to remain a land of refuge for people fleeing war, corruption—


    I must interrupt the hon. member for a few seconds.


    I would ask colleagues to please remain somewhat silent so that we can hear the speech by the hon. member for Lac-Saint-Jean.


    The hon. member for Lac-Saint-Jean.
    Madam Speaker, as I said, the best time to speak is just before oral question period.
    What I was saying is that Quebeckers and Canadians want our country to continue welcoming people fleeing repression or intolerable humanitarian crises. I would like to think that this is the context for Bill S‑8, an act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, to make consequential amendments to other acts and to amend the immigration and refugee protection regulations.
    Bill S‑8 is currently at third reading and has been studied and amended by the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs. I had the opportunity to replace my Bloc Québécois colleague from Montarville on that committee and to work with my colleagues from other parties.
    Members know that I am among those who believe that, despite differing ideas and political visions, most of the time collaboration helps parliamentary work. We witnessed that recently once again with Bill C‑41. It also demonstrates that despite sometimes having different, and even diametrically opposed, positions, we can work together and get things done. Our work is to find common ground. Everyone knows that politics is the art of compromise.
    In short, it is this teamwork that will have helped improve the bill currently before us. I must recognize the remarkable work done by the committee and all the parties that came together to amend Bill S‑8 so that it would not undermine attempts by people who want to escape the war. That was the main objective. Let us not forget that one of the concerns of the organizations was that some people from a sanctioned country might not be able to seek refuge because of the new provisions in this bill.
    Bill S‑8 also ensures that Canada meets its international obligations when it comes to welcoming refugees. This means that individuals targeted by a sanctions regime could claim asylum. However, they would not be able to receive permanent resident status as long as they remain targeted by a sanctions regime. Bill S‑8 therefore fixes the problems that were introduced by the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act, which prohibited individuals targeted by a sanctions regime to file a claim for refugee protection. It also allows border officers to turn away individuals who would be targeted by a sanctions regime as soon as they arrive.
    That correction is in line with the UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, which states that only convictions “by a final judgement of a particularly serious crime [or a crime which] constitutes a danger to the community of that country” are sufficient grounds to remove a refugee from the country or deny them entry. I sense that people are interested in what I am saying.
    The bill also now includes a provision that requires it to be reviewed after three years to determine its effectiveness, which is excellent news. That is a fine amendment that will enable us to make changes to the bill, if ever it were to have undesirable effects on certain refugee groups.
    In short, it is a good bill that was improved by my colleagues from all parties in order to remedy the situation for certain asylum seekers. This bill will assure those who are fleeing war, corruption and oppression that it is indeed they that we intend to protect from armed conflicts, not those who instigate such conflicts. Those who violate human rights are not welcome in Quebec and Canada. In solidarity with our allies and out of aversion for warmongering regimes and organizations, the Bloc Québécois invites all parties to unanimously vote in favour of this bill so that Quebec and Canada are and remain welcoming nations for asylum seekers, and not safe havens for criminals.
    In closing, I will repeat that we are here to do a job. When parties collaborate and move a bill in the right direction by working together, we, the parliamentarians, are judged by the people we represent. Our constituents must be thinking that, for once, parliamentarians are getting along and working together to improve bills for the well-being of the people of Canada, but also for the well-being of people coming from other countries who would like Canada and Quebec to become their new home.
    I congratulate my colleagues once again. I want to highlight their work, and I believe that it should become a good example for other committees. It was a pleasure to rise today just before oral question period.


    There will be five minutes for questions and comments for the hon. member when the House resumes consideration of this matter.


[Statements by Members]


Basketball Excellence

    Mr. Speaker, today we celebrate someone who has made our city so proud: Jamal Murray. From the Stanley Park Community Centre and Grand River Collegiate Institute to the seventh overall pick and helping lead the Denver Nuggets to an NBA championship last night, it does not get much bigger than this.
    Jamal is just the ninth Canadian to win an NBA title, and his 26.1 points per game are now the most by a Canadian in an NBA playoff run ever. He also has the most points scored by a Canadian player in a playoff run, and in second place is Jamal again from the 2020 playoffs.
    It is not just the accolades. Since he was three years old, Jamal has been building up to a moment like this with determination, mental strength and unwavering commitment.
     I send my congratulations to Jamal, Sylvia, Roger and the rest of their family. Our whole city and country are proud of Jamal, and we cannot wait to welcome him home this summer.

Central York Fire Services

    Mr. Speaker, as provinces across Canada continue to battle wildfires, it has never been more important to recognize the vital role firefighters and fire services play in our communities.
     I am proud to congratulate the entire graduating class of 2023 from Central York Fire Services, whose graduation I attended this past week. I congratulate Taylor Dallas, Lindsay Hoffman, Chris Sargent, Bailey Van Praet, Jacob Watson and Trevor Fulcher.
    I want to give a special shout-out to Lindsay Hoffman, the only woman in her graduating class. While all six graduates went through an intense nine-week training program, I know that, as a woman, Lindsay overcame even more barriers to get there. I thank Lindsay for being a positive role model for other women.
     Central York Fire Services is the backbone of emergency services in Aurora and Newmarket. I am particularly grateful to it as its quick and professional response to an emergency at my home saved my husband's life not once, not twice, but on three separate occasions in 2022, the last time bringing him back from complete cardiac arrest.
    I would say to all Canadian firefighters that we will always have their backs, as they have ours. It was heartening that Bill C-224, a national strategy on cancers related to PFAS chemicals in firefighting equipment, introduced by my colleague, the member for Longueuil—Charles-LeMoyne, was passed unanimously.
     In closing, I thank fire chief Ian Laing and deputy chief Rocco Volpe for their outstanding leadership and hard work, which has made Central York Fire Services one of the best in the country.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, according to the Liberal government, everything is fine. Why is it that one in five Canadians are visiting a food bank? Why is it that deficits continue to pile up? Why is it that students are being forced to choose between education and accommodation? Why is it we have more debt, more inflation, more taxes and higher costs? It is because the Liberal government has added over $60 billion in inflationary spending.
    There is more bad news. Not only do we have carbon tax 1, but carbon tax 2 is coming, which is going to cost Saskatchewan families over $2,800.
    Common-sense Conservatives understand the hardships caused by the Liberal government's failed policies. Canadians from coast to coast to coast cannot wait to boot this tax-and-spend government off to the sidelines.

Automotive Industry

    Mr. Speaker, in the summer of 2021, I joined the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association back home at the Invest Windsor Essex Automobility and Innovation Centre to announce a federal investment of $5 million to support the development of Project Arrow, the first Canadian-made zero-emissions concept vehicle.
    Tomorrow, less than two years later, thanks to the contributions of more than 58 Canadian suppliers, including several in my riding of Windsor—Tecumseh, Project Arrow will make its amazing debut on Parliament Hill.
    On behalf of president Flavio Volpe, APMA and all its members, I invite all members of the House to come and check out Project Arrow tomorrow, from 12:30 to 4:30 in front of West Block, and take pride in this tremendous team Canada effort.
    Thanks to APMA members, manufacturing communities such as Windsor Essex and St. Thomas are leading the world in electric vehicle and battery manufacturing and innovation. I send my congratulations to Flavio Volpe and the APMA team. I thank them for leading the charge.



Lisette Falker

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize a dedicated citizen, Lisette Falker. She recently won the Francine Ruest-Jutras award, a distinction bestowed by the Union des municipalités du Québec to recognize women who demonstrate exceptional leadership in municipal politics and in the governance of Quebec communities.
    Ms. Falker was the first city councillor to receive the award. As just one example of her many accomplishments, she wrote a book called Histoires d'élues, which tells the stories of 25 elected women from Lanaudière, in a bid to increase women's political participation. The book was published in collaboration with the Réseau des femmes élues de Lanaudière, where Ms. Falker is a project manager and mentor.
    Ms. Falker is also the executive director of Action famille Lavaltrie, which provides support to the families and newcomers with whom we have the pleasure of working.
    Ms. Falker is a role model in terms of support for and dedication to women. She is an inspiration for the people of Berthier—Maskinongé and Quebec. Well done.


Events in Orléans

    Mr. Speaker, it has been a busy week in Orléans and our surrounding communities. Last Sunday, I had the honour of attending the Balaji Kalyanam, an important spiritual celebration for the Hindu community in Orléans and in our national capital.
    June 3 was also a busy day. I started with Blackburn Hamlet's annual Blackburn Funfair parade, which was themed to honour our health care heroes.


    I then took part in the first-ever business expo for female immigrants organized by Franco Impact Canada, where I met some amazing female entrepreneurs who have immigrated to Canada.
    I also attended a family fun day organized by Point d'accueil francophone. This event brought together organizations that offer services to Ottawa's francophone immigrant community.


    I ended my day by joining my colleague MPP Stephen Blais at his 10th annual ladies tea, an incredible tradition recognizing the women leaders in our community.

Community 150th Anniversary Celebrations

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to celebrate the 150th anniversaries of two amazing communities that I have the privilege of representing: Inwood and Watford.
    Inwood and Watford are both rooted in agriculture and have contributed to the growth and development of our region. They have also nurtured a strong sense of community and a culture among their residents and visitors. The people of Inwood and Watford are hard-working, generous and proud. They value their history and heritage, and they look forward to the future with optimism and hope.
    To mark this milestone anniversary, both communities are hosting a variety of activities from June 23 to June 25 that showcase their spirit and achievements. Inwood is holding a two-day celebration with fun activities for all. Watford is organizing a three-day celebration, with entertainment and surprises for everyone. I am proud to represent these two remarkable communities and to join with them in celebrating their 150 years of legacy, history and people. I wish a happy anniversary to both Inwood and Watford.

BAPS Canada

    Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to extend a warm welcome to His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj as he graces our country with his presence. He is one of the most respected Hindu leaders in the world today and the current spiritual leader of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha. He is the successor of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, who gifted Canada with the magnificent BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Toronto.
    The presence of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj marks the commencement of celebrations for BAPS Canada's 50 years of dedication to community service. This auspicious event will ignite a year-long festivity, allowing us to reflect upon and commemorate the remarkable achievements and invaluable contributions of BAPS to our great nation. Over the past five decades, BAPS, guided by His Holiness's vision, has emerged as a nationally recognized organization. Its spiritual and humanitarian endeavours span across 154 towns and cities throughout Canada.
    Let us extend our heartfelt gratitude to His Holiness for his visit and for the impact BAPS has made and continues to make in fostering spiritual enrichment and for its significant support during the pandemic and its dedication to diversity and inclusion.


Charitable Giving

    Mr. Speaker, this month, Telus is helping Canadian youth and families get ready for back-to-school season with its 18th annual kits for kids program. The annual Telus Days of Giving movement continues to grow, now bringing together over 75,000 Telus team members and retirees across the globe.
    We know that for many families getting ready for back to school is a stressful time, so as part of its annual Telus Days of Giving, Telus has proudly donated more than 200,000 kits for kids across Canada since 2006. Members of Parliament from all parties attended our event today and helped pack these backpacks full of school supplies. Telus will be distributing over 19,000 kits to youth in need in partnership with governments and community groups. I would like to thank all MPs from all parties who attended today. Here is to another year of successful volunteering.

Agriculture and Agri-Food

    Mr. Speaker, on the farm there is an expression: When it rains, it pours. While the weather at home is dry right now, farmers are experiencing a metaphorical rainstorm as a result of this government’s continued indifference toward fiscal responsibility. This storm consists of labour shortages; ever-rising interest rates as a result of inflation, which is a result of government deficits; fertilizer tariffs; a lack of homegrown fertilizer, but not from this chamber; and not one but two carbon taxes.
    Instead of driving winds onto our fields, this storm is driving food prices up to record levels from coast to coast to coast. The entire food value chain has been impacted, from fuel to move our farm products, through to our input suppliers, retailers, and food packaging, which has seen dramatic cost increases.
     Canadian farmers provide us with food security in an insecure world. The least we can do is stop drowning them in a sea of government incompetence.

Yukon 125th Anniversary

    Mr. Speaker, today the Yukon-led territorial legislature meets in a special session in Dawson City to mark the 125th birthday of the Yukon territory.
    On this day, 125 years ago, just over a year after the discovery of gold in the Klondike, the House passed the Yukon Act, creating a distinct territory out of the Northwest Territories, a vast region from which many other provinces and territories would emerge.


    Since then, Yukon's story has been intertwined with the story of gold, from the discovery of Bonanza Creek to the modern-day industrial operation of Victoria Gold.


    However, there is more than gold in them there mines, as the Yukon is a source of many of the vital critical minerals poised to jump-start Canada into the new green economy. In the years since June 13, 1898, we have also belatedly come to embrace the vital history and heritage of Yukon first nations. Today's Yukon territory is one with self-governing first nations, a progressive and outward-looking people, and an economy and population growth that is the envy of the nation.
    I ask my colleagues to please join me in wishing the Yukon a happy 125th anniversary.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, inflationary spending is driving up the cost of living. Food, housing and fuel are all hitting record highs. Canadians are stretched thin. According to the International Monetary Fund, Canada has the highest risk of mortgage defaults because of the high levels of household debt compared to similar economies.
    This government said that interest rates would be low for a long time and debt had no consequences. Now, in a span of a year, interest rates have gone up by 4.5%. Canadians who believed this government and took on a large mortgage to afford the inflated price of homes now do not know how they are going to pay the bills.
    Canadians are already experiencing $600 increases in mortgage payments. According to the Bank of Canada, over the next three years, a large share of Canadian households will see their payments go up by 40%.
    It is time to restore stability, restore hope and bring the back common sense of the common people.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, it has been 40 years since the Trudeau government caused such pain for Canadians with inflationary spending and skyrocketing interest rates. I remember when that Trudeau came through my hometown while on vacation and gave his famous Salmon Arm salute from his private rail car to a group of protesters calling for restraint on government spending. Interest rates would reach record levels and people could not afford to keep up with the soaring cost of living.
    Now, 40 years later, it is the same out-of-control spending. Sixty billion dollars' worth of fuel poured on the inflationary fire is causing the interest rates to rise 19-fold higher than they were a year ago, and the Prime Minister wants to go on another vacation. While the PM goes on vacation, Conservative members will work through the summer to make things right so that Canadians can afford groceries, the cost of living and homes. For their home, my home, our home, let us bring it home.



Pierre Elliott Trudeau School

    Mr. Speaker, loyalty and continuity of service are becoming very rare qualities these days. That is why I would like to commend the six teachers and educators who have dedicated 25 years of service to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau School. The school's warm, family-like atmosphere helps our youth develop and grow.


    The dedication and perseverance towards our children from Ms. Sara, Ms. Daniela, Ms. Jennifer, Ms. Alexandra, Ms. Angie and Ms. Mara are remarkable, and they make school a home away from home for them. Their contributions over the years to the well-being and learning of children will have an everlasting effect on their lives. I congratulate them and wish to express my profound gratitude for their 25 years of service.
    Our entire community is thankful for their hard work, dedication and commitment towards the students and families of the English Montreal School Board. Cheers to many more.


    Mr. Speaker, today, the member for Vancouver Kingsway, seconded by the member for Burnaby South, retabled the Canada pharmacare act.
    Two years ago, I was the sponsor of that bill, and the Conservatives and Liberals shamefully voted against it. Now, under confidence and supply, the Liberals have committed to voting for pharmacare this time.
    Tommy Douglas always believed in health care that covered people from the top of their heads to the soles of their feet, and Canada remains the only country with universal public health care that does not have universal pharmacare.
    Pharmacare will save Canadians over $4 billion a year according to the PBO. It will save money for our health care system and it will save money for businesses. Most of all, it will save lives. Hundreds of Canadians die every year because they cannot afford medication that sometimes costs more than $1,000 a month.
    The NDP will continue to fight until universal pharmacare becomes a reality. Let us get the Canada pharmacare act passed.


Mange ton Saint‑Laurent!

    Mr. Speaker, in Quebec, we do not wait for anyone. The Mange ton Saint‑Laurent! collective gets that.
    Made up of scientists, such as Mélanie Lemire and Yv Bonnier Viger, renowned chefs and mentors, such as Colombe St‑Pierre, and artists, filmmakers and entrepreneurs, the group hopes that Quebeckers will take ownership of the St. Lawrence River's edible bounty.
    To make that happen, it is running a campaign called “I am St. Lawrence” to support our fisheries and encourage us to buy Quebec seafood products. Fully 85% of our high-end seafood products are exported abroad, while we sometimes end up with lower-quality imports.
    We vote with our dollars. Let us eat local. Like the thousands of fans of the St. Lawrence River, let us proudly add the “I am St. Lawrence” slogan to all of our communications and demand seafood products labelled as being from the St. Lawrence River.
    On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I want to say a thank you as big as the St. Lawrence River to the collective, which is promoting our food sovereignty. Like all of us, “I am St. Lawrence”.



    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government continues to borrow money and borrow money, and then borrow some more, which means higher deficits, which means higher inflation. That inflation is resulting in interest rate hikes by the Bank of Canada, and that is making everything more expensive, especially housing and mortgages.
    Too many Canadians are struggling to pay their mortgages now and with these rate hikes, many are at risk of losing their homes altogether. They only have the Liberal government to thank for that.
    Some are saying that the housing crisis is past the point of no return. However, I actually disagree. When Canadians finally have a government that is willing to fight for the housing people need, when Canadians finally have a housing minister who acts with the urgency this crisis demands and when the member for Carleton is finally the Prime Minister, then we will bring it home.


Member for Labrador

    Mr. Speaker, I thank everybody for the warm welcome. I am excited to be back in the House of Commons, back to work as the member of Parliament for Labrador and the Parliamentary Secretary to two amazing, the Ministers of Natural Resources and Northern Affairs.
    I thank my colleagues, constituents, staff, family and friends for all their support and encouragement and patience as I successfully battled breast cancer for the second time.
     Those who sent messages and prayers lifted me up, and their positive spirit was felt on every step of this journey.
    I want to express my deep gratitude to the Newfoundland and Labrador health care teams. They never relent in their quest for a cure and they never relent in their service and commitment to their patients. The health care system in our province of Newfoundland and Labrador remains strong, despite challenges, because of the dedicated people who work in our health care system.
    I remind all Canadians of the significant progress that has been made in cancer research in our country and how important it is to support the cause for a cure. I encourage women to get regular mammography testing and wellness screening. I am proof that early detection can save lives but we must all do our part.
    During this journey to good health, Labradorians were always in my heart. On June 24, at the Cancer Society's Relay for Life in Labrador, I will be ringing the bell of hope to celebrate this huge victory over cancer. I hope that all other Canadians will have the opportunity to ring that bell of hope.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]


Democratic Institutions

    Mr. Speaker, today we learned that there are roughly 100 ongoing police investigations into foreign interference, including an investigation into Beijing's targeted intimidation of a member of the House.
    We also learned that this Prime Minister's national security adviser knew about this intimidation for a long time. The rapporteur has already had to step down due to a conflict of interest.
    Will the Prime Minister launch a real independent public inquiry?
    Mr. Speaker, I have asked the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs to work with the various parties and experts to develop a plan to move forward and continue the fine work started by Mr. Johnston, which now needs to shift to another phase.
    We will continue to be there to work collaboratively with all those who are willing to take this issue seriously, set partisanship and toxicity aside, and work constructively to truly address foreign interference.


The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, all the experts now agree that deficits are causing inflation. These include Liberal experts.
     The former Liberal premier of Nova Scotia, Stephen McNeil, says that deficits are causing inflation. The former Liberal finance minister and deputy prime minister, John Manley, says that the Prime Minister's deficits are like putting his foot on the inflationary gas pedal. Even the present Deputy Prime Minister has said that inflation is caused by deficits.
    Will the Prime Minister finally table a plan to balance the budget, so we can bring down inflation and interest rates?


    Mr. Speaker, we know how much the Leader of the Opposition has asked us to trust independent experts and not Liberals on various issues of importance. We disagree. We think Liberals have important things to say.
     However, if he is looking for a strong independent voice, he can look no further than the Governor of the Bank of Canada, who recently confirmed that government spending was not “contributing to the slowing” of the economy. Nor was it “standing in the way of getting inflation back to target.”
    We continue to invest in supporting Canadians in targeted ways, while the Conservatives continue to talk about cuts to programs and services.
    Mr. Speaker, if he does not trust Liberals on the economy, why should anybody else?
    It was, in fact, his own finance minister who, just weeks before she introduced her budget, said that deficits were like pouring gas on the inflationary fire. Then weeks later she introduced $60 billion, or $4,200 per family, of brand-new gas on that fire.
    Our children are screaming because of the debt they are going to inherit from the government. Will the Prime Minister act responsibly and introduce a plan to balance the budget to bring down inflation and interest rates?
    Mr. Speaker, the finance minister said that, and then she brought in a responsible and fiscally sound budget that continues to contribute.
     I know the Conservatives do not like it because it gets in the way of a good political argument, but if we look at the facts, we have the lowest deficit in the G7 and the best debt-to-GDP ratio, and we have preserved our AAA credit rating, while being there to support Canadians who need it in targeted non-inflationary ways.
    While the Conservatives continue to propose cuts in programs, cuts in help for Canadians and cuts to services, we will continue to be there in a way that continues to fight inflation and support Canadians.


    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's inflationary spending binge caused the price of everything to go up. All that spending and all that money he flooded into the financial system bid up housing prices, which doubled, leading to the most expensive housing prices in the G7. It now takes 25 years for the average family in Toronto to save for a down payment. They used to be able to pay off an entire mortgage in that time period. It takes roughly 90% of a Vancouver family's monthly income to pay the average monthly mortgage.
    Will the Prime Minister balance the budget to bring down inflation and interest rates so that Canadians do not lose their homes?
    Mr. Speaker, if the Leader of the Opposition were serious about housing, he would have supported our housing investments. Instead, he is focused on cutting services, picking fights with municipalities and protecting wealthy landlords.
     On this side, our plan includes collaborating with municipalities, including investing $4 billion to fast-track new housing approvals to create 100,000 new homes; tying infrastructure investments to housing; helping Canadians save up for their first homes; providing support for low-income renters; and converting surplus federal lands into affordable housing.


    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has had eight years to deliver on those promises. The only thing he has done is double the average rent, double the average mortgage payment and double the down payment on the average house. He has made Vancouver and Toronto two of the 10 most expensive cities in the world. It now takes 25 years to save enough money for a down payment.
    Will the Prime Minister finally put an end to his inflationary deficits so as to reduce interest rates and enable Canadians to keep their homes?
    Mr. Speaker, over the past few years, we have helped Canadians save for their first home through measures like the first-time homebuyer incentive and the tax-free first home savings account. We are investing in building and repairing more housing, including by helping municipalities accelerate the construction of 100,000 new units. We are making sure housing units are used as homes by putting an end to unfair practices that drive up prices. For example, we are prohibiting foreign actors from buying a home, and we are introducing a federal rule to discourage flipping.


Democratic Institutions

    Mr. Speaker, the resignation of the special rapporteur appointed by the Prime Minister could turn out to be a turning point in the crisis surrounding the independent public inquiry. The Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities showed signs of openness that I welcome with a mixture of enthusiasm and caution.
    I would like the Prime Minister to tell me if he would agree that the first thing that needs to be done, before any further action can be taken to bring this matter to a positive conclusion, is to put in place an independent public inquiry.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Bloc Québécois leader for suggesting some credible and reasonable names. We are quite willing to look at them and to continue working with the Bloc to establish a process that has the confidence of the House and of Canadians. The importance of the foreign interference issue far transcends partisan rhetoric or personal attacks.
    We will work constructively, as we always have, to take this issue seriously, to continue the work we started and to restore Canadians' confidence in our electoral system and in our democracy.
    Mr. Speaker, I have to come back to this. We have to first agree on one fundamental principle: A commission of inquiry and the one or more commission chairs who are appointed must be completely independent from the government in order to do their job properly.
    If we agree on that principle, then and only then can we move forward and look at potential candidates. If the minister or the Prime Minister wants to talk to me about it, I can be reached at any time.
    However, I do have a question for the Prime Minister. Can we agree that all of this should be clearly and formally resolved before we rise for the summer?
    Mr. Speaker, we agree that we need to move forward quickly and appropriately. I am very open to such discussions with the opposition parties. Unfortunately, over the past few months, we have seen a lot of partisanship, toxicity and personal attacks, which is shameful, but I am pleased that people are now open to taking the matter of foreign interference seriously.
    We are here to work in good faith and to continue our work on foreign interference in order to protect our democracy, our institutions and our electoral system.


    Mr. Speaker, when I was at university, my brother had to live with me and I had to work three jobs. It was a tough time, but things are even harder these days for students, who have to cram together into apartments that are too small, too expensive and substandard, just to make ends meet.
    It is a matter of dignity. When will this government stop wasting time and start taking action to lower rent for students?
    Mr. Speaker, for years, we have been investing in housing, in various programs to help students and low-income families and to encourage housing construction. We will continue to do that.
    We know we have to be there for our students, because support for them in the short term will contribute to society in the long term. That is why we eliminated interest on federal student loans in the last budget. We will continue to be there with more help for students, which includes continuing to look at ways to help them with rent.


    Mr. Speaker, I want the Prime Minister to imagine what it is like for students trying to find a place to rent in this country right now. Take for example a student in Windsor. The CBC reports that a 24-year-old student living in an apartment in Windsor with his sister is on the verge of homelessness because the cost of rent has gone up by so much. Sadly, this is the story of so many students who cannot find a place to rent that is within their budget. The reality is that the government has been a failure when it comes to housing.
    When will the government take this issue seriously and take concrete steps to bring down the cost of rent for students?
    Mr. Speaker, we took this issue seriously back in 2017 when we put forward a $40-billion national housing strategy that the Conservatives opposed, even though they had not engaged in housing for 10 years and then got up to about $70 billion in the national housing strategy.
    More recently, we put $4 billion on the table directly to invest with municipalities instead of fighting with them like the Conservatives wanted to do; to work with them, to accelerate investments, to accelerate zoning processes, to accelerate permitting, to build more supply of housing and to take the pressure off so many Canadians around the housing market.


Democratic Institutions

    Mr. Speaker, for months now the Prime Minister has tried to cover up Beijing's interference in our democracy. He has denied, he has changed his story and he has hired as many members of the Trudeau Foundation as will accept the job to try and help him with that cover-up.
    Now that David Johnston has done what this House called on him to do and resigned from the made-up position that the Prime Minister gave him for $1,500 a day, will the Prime Minister do what this House has called on him to do three times and call a public inquiry?
    Mr. Speaker, I think the Prime Minister was clear in his response to a previous question today. Our government is looking to collaborate in a constructive way with opposition parties, to hear from experts and other professionals in this space, to design precisely those next steps forward since Mr. Johnston has decided to leave his position as special rapporteur.
     We think that Canadians would benefit from a collaborative conversation, one that we have always been inclined to have. We found it difficult on the other side to find a willing partner, but we are more encouraged this week than we were a week ago.
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians have not been encouraged by the inaction of the government. We heard today at committee that the deputy minister for foreign affairs knew for two years that members of this House were being targeted for intimidation by foreign state actors like the dictatorship in Beijing. What did the government do? Absolutely nothing. It is not a comedy of errors, it is a tragedy of errors with the government. Opposition parties have three times called for the government to have a public inquiry and have been ready to collaborate the entire time.
    Will the government now make up for lost time and the wasted months on this issue and finally call a transparent public inquiry?
    Mr. Speaker, I was surprised to hear a Conservative member speak about inaction on this file because that is exactly what the Leader of the Opposition did for two years when he was the minister responsible for democratic institutions.
    Our government is the first government to take concrete steps to counter foreign interference in democratic institutions. We have strengthened these measures time and time again, and now we are looking forward again to hearing constructive suggestions from the opposition about how we can work together to further strengthen these measures. That has always been our approach and we will continue to do that.
    Mr. Speaker, here we are. The government has wasted three months deflecting and dodging on this issue. Canadians have not been duped; no public inquiry, no truth and no responsibility has been shown by this government. Now, with David Johnston's resignation, the government has only one option, an open and independent inquiry. Canadians support it, the majority of this House supports it and even their very own Liberal minister declared that it was never off the table.
    When will this government call a public inquiry?
    Mr. Speaker, there is one thing that the hon. member said across the way that I do agree with, which is that we continue to look at all options including a public process to shine a light on the way in which we are fighting foreign interference. What is important now is that the Conservatives stop with the partisan attacks, roll up their sleeves and get down to work so that we can better protect our democratic institutions. That is work that the government has been committed to doing since day one.
    This is not a partisan issue. We need to work together to overcome the challenges of foreign interference.
    Mr. Speaker, the whole government is about partisanship. From day one, the Prime Minister has had zero interest in letting Canadians learn the truth. He refused to tell us what he knew and why he did nothing about it. He selfishly used David Johnston to delay the process and cool the air around the issue.
    Now that Mr. Johnston has resigned, it is time for the Prime Minister to do what Canadians are demanding. While he laughs at me, I will ask him this question. Will he call a public inquiry right here, right now?
    Mr. Speaker, when I was in opposition, I was a critic for public safety. We asked for information on national security. We asked to be able to see into every corner of government. The minister at that time, who is now the Leader of the Opposition, said no. He said no to an independent group of parliamentarians who could look into every aspect of national security.
    We said yes. The members opposite had an opportunity using NSICOP. They then had an opportunity offered by the Prime Minister for the Leader of the Opposition to get a briefing. They also said no. They have another opportunity now to collaborate, to stop being so partisan, to put the national interests first and to participate.



    Mr. Speaker, we learned this morning that the RCMP has opened more than 100 investigations into foreign interference. The RCMP is conducting investigations involving more than 100 Canadians who were influenced by a foreign state.
    A real leader makes real decisions. A real leader takes responsibility for his decisions. The Prime Minister does neither. He has no backbone. He is incapable of making important decisions. That is why he chose a special rapporteur and gave his friend, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, the option of trying to waltz around the issue and not have an independent public inquiry.
    Will he stop waltzing around and finally launch an independent public inquiry?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to express my gratitude to the commissioner of the RCMP for the update on RCMP investigations he provided to the committee earlier today. It is proof of the concrete action that the RCMP is taking to fight foreign interference.
    Now the Conservatives must stop their squabbling and partisan games and do the work that will better protect our democratic institutions.
    Mr. Speaker, the special rapporteur announced his resignation four days ago, but he will remain on the payroll long enough to produce a final report that has already lost all credibility.
    The Prime Minister is the one who chose partisanship by ignoring the three calls by the majority of members of the House to launch an independent public inquiry. As everyone knows, he selected a friend, a member of the Trudeau Foundation, whom he literally threw under the bus to protect himself and prevent Canadians from learning the whole truth.
    I am giving him another chance to call an independent public inquiry to uncover the truth about any interference by the Beijing regime in our democracy.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a bit rich for the Conservatives to talk about partisanship in their question. It was the Conservatives who decided to turn an issue as important as protecting our democratic institutions from foreign interference into a partisan issue. Moreover, when they were in government, they did nothing to counter the interference threatening our institutions at the time.
    We have taken action, we will continue to do so, and we hope to have their co-operation.
    Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois is collaborating to ensure that a public inquiry into Chinese interference will finally be launched.
    We have submitted names of potential commissioners in order to foster a consensus and make sure that the government will finally launch this public inquiry before we rise for the summer. That said, the ball is in the government's court. Of course, no one will blindly accept this role after the way the government set up David Johnston. That is why the government needs to announce two things: First, that it is launching an independent public inquiry and, second, that the commissioner can specify their own mandate.
    When will the government finally tell us what it intends to do?
    Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister said a few minutes ago, we very much appreciate the suggestions we have received from the Bloc Québécois. They put forward strong names of credible people. I think it is a good start to a meaningful conversation.
    We also share the Bloc Québécois' concerns about acting quickly enough so as not to delay a public process. We look forward to working with the Bloc and, I hope, the other political parties to identify the person or persons who can lead this process and have an appropriate mandate. His letter is a very good start.
    Mr. Speaker, nobody in their right mind would accept that kind of position without making sure that they were independent from the government. That is why the government needs to announce a real commission of inquiry and give the commissioner the latitude they need concerning their mandate. At this point, the government's failure to disclose key details is the main thing holding up the inquiry. The government has been avoiding a public inquiry for almost four months now, while foreign interference continues, so it would be easy to believe that it is still trying to hold up the process.
    What is the government waiting for? When will it give the public all the facts?
    Mr. Speaker, we are not trying to hold up the process. We are trying to collaborate. For us, the letter we received from the leader of the Bloc Québécois is an important step in a constructive conversation.
    What is more, the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians and the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency are continuing their work. My colleague, the Minister of Public Safety will be introducing legislative measures soon, or so I hope. We are continuing the work, and we look forward to working with the opposition parties.


    Mr. Speaker, commissions of inquiry are not held to deal with simple issues. They are held to deal with sensitive issues where the information is not accessible, because those with the information are afraid or do not want to collaborate. Cleary, it is a delicate matter. Clearly, there will be times when proceedings are in camera. Commissions of inquiry provide for that. If it were not a sensitive matter, we would not need an independent public commission of inquiry, but that is where we are today.
    When will the government announce this independent public commission of inquiry?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to start by thanking our Bloc Québécois colleagues for their remarks. My colleague highlighted certain issues that must be addressed. For example, we can protect our national security institutions, despite the challenges, by having a very open and transparent conversation.
    In the meantime, the government is also taking other measures. For example, budget 2023 provides $49 million for the RCMP. That is another way to better protect Canadians.



    Mr. Speaker, in Oshawa, the dream of home ownership, historically, has been within reach of young people who work hard, save for a down payment and feel confident in their choice to be successful.
    This is not the case anymore. The Liberal government has killed that dream. The Prime Minister's record deficits feed inflation, cause interest rates to approach highs not seen in years, and have killed that dream. With starter homes around a million dollars, young people are giving up hope.
    Will the government, today, state the date it will balance the budget, or will it continue to kill the dream of Canada's youngest and brightest?
    Mr. Speaker, the number one thing the Conservative Party of Canada could do to help with the affordability of housing for Canadians from coast to coast to coast is to stop grandstanding in this place and to actually support a budget that helps Canadians, with $4 billion for the housing accelerator fund and $4 billion for indigenous housing, money to make sure the cities can actually put up housing where it is needed.
    This is all bluff and bluster. We are here acting for Canadians from coast to coast to coast.


    Mr. Speaker, this Prime Minister's inflationary policies are causing terrible harm and immense sadness. For instance, the exponential rise in the cost of rent, which has doubled in recent years, is forcing people onto the streets or into debt. A woman with a disability in the Montreal area has no choice but to live in a motel and put the cost on her credit card because she cannot find suitable housing at a reasonable price.
    What does the Prime Minister have to say to this woman who is suffering?
    Mr. Speaker, I would respond to this woman that our government has helped get thousands of units built. Over half a million units have been renovated and built. When we talk about access to housing, we are also talking about the right to housing, and the Conservative Party has opposed the right to housing up until now.
    Mr. Speaker, young adults are living in basements. Students are living in shelters or slums, even. Another heartbreaking example is the couple in Montreal who have to sleep in their car because they cannot find affordable housing.
    The government is spending lavishly and fuelling inflation. It needs to take action today, now.
    What is the target date for balancing the budget?
    Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that my opposition colleagues talk among themselves to agree on what they want to say to Canadians.
    Do they want us to invest in housing? That is exactly what we are doing.
    Do they want us to withdraw from the national housing strategy?
    The Conservatives should talk to each other first before talking to Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, the rising cost of rent is hurting thousands of Canadians of all ages who are seeing their rent increase by up to 55%. It is completely immoral, just like this Prime Minister, who is more concerned about returning favours than finding solutions to inflation.
    Does this tired government understand that rent hikes are getting out of control and that it needs to find solutions to really help Canadians?


    Mr. Speaker, if the Conservatives are so sensitive to the difficulties Canadians are currently experiencing, they should prove it when they are in the House and vote in favour of the measures we are putting in place to help people who need it most, such as measures to lower the cost of child care and provide help to families to send their children and seniors to the dentist.
    The Conservatives are not proposing any solutions, yet they keep voting against our measures for helping people who really need it. They are being inconsistent.



    Mr. Speaker, today New Democrats introduced our plan to deliver prescription medicines for all. Our push comes after the health minister blocked reforms meant to save Canadians billions on drug costs. Too often we have seen the current government put the interest of big pharma ahead of patients, and it is now clear that only public pharmacare will save our health care system billions and help millions of people.
    Will the health minister assure Canadians that he will put their health ahead of pharmaceutical industry profits and implement the NDP pharmacare plan?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank our colleague for his collaboration and support towards building and tabling a bill on pharmacare in the next few months. That is going to lead to greater accessibility, greater affordability and greater appropriateness of the use of drugs in this country. We look forward to reviewing his bill and to working with all members of the House toward a better drug system for all Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, people are struggling to pay their rent, buy groceries and afford their medication. I have met seniors who are taking their pills every other day or cutting them in half to make them last longer.
    Today, New Democrats introduced a plan to help Canadians afford their prescription drugs. The Liberals have been promising pharmacare for 25 years, without acting. People are counting on the current government to make life more affordable, but it is letting them down.
    Will the Liberals finally support the NDP's plan for universal pharmacare to help Canadians make ends meet?
    Mr. Speaker, the member is correct. People are counting on the government to make life more affordable for seniors and for families with children, including the 300,000 children who have received the Canada dental benefit since December of last year. These are children who can now go see a dentist or hygienist and have access to proper and affordable oral health care, which we all know is essential for global health in this particular country.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, in my riding of Davenport, we have been watching in horror as Russia continues to strike civilian targets in its unprovoked, unjustified and illegal invasion of Ukraine. Canada stands shoulder to shoulder with the people of Ukraine and will do so for as long as it takes.
    Could the Minister of National Defence please provide an update on the additional support we are providing to Ukrainians in the face of Russia’s brutal invasion?
    Mr. Speaker, since day one, Canada has stood steadfast with Ukraine in its fight for sovereignty, security and territorial integrity. On the weekend, the Prime Minister announced another $500 million for Ukraine. That is going to go to extending Operation UNIFIER. It is going to go to 10,000 rounds of ammunition as well as almost 300 air defence missiles to protect Ukraine's skies.
    We will always stand with Ukraine in the short term and the long term. Our support will not waiver.
    Slava Ukraini.


    Mr. Speaker, Friedman once said that inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon, a problem of printing too much money. The Liberals have been printing money for eight years. Now they have doubled our debt, and everyday inflation is out of control. One can drive up and down any country road or visit any small town, and one will see the effects of inflation and high interest rates.
    When will the Liberals get off the backs of Canadians and out of their back pockets?


    Mr. Speaker, I understand the challenges that Canadians are facing right now, and so does the government.
    We heard it right there, once again: the Conservative austerity caucus on overdrive. What would they cut, the Canada child benefit, which actually provides thousands of families in my riding of Edmonton Centre with support every month? Would they cut the new dental program, which is providing supports to 11 million Canadians from coast to coast to coast? Maybe they just do not care about Canadian workers and would cut their benefits. There is austerity there.
    There are supports here. That is our job, and we are going to keep doing it.
    Mr. Speaker, the cabinet minister needs to get out of his ivory tower and wake up to the everyday common problems Canadians face.
    Canadians will be going to renew their mortgages in 2024 and 2025, and they are going to face a grim reality with the interest rates. In addition, businesses are trying to make investments to improve productivity, which would actually reduce inflation, if we can imagine that.
    When are the out-of-control-spending Liberals going to get their spending under control, reduce inflation and get interest rates under control?
    Mr. Speaker, it is fascinating to hear my colleague make a case for classic neo-liberal economics, which tends to favour the wealthy and does not do much for the working-class people living in communities like mine. The reality is that the Conservatives' argument, their plan to deal with the rising cost of living, is to make sure families receive less money from the government to help them with the cost of living.
    We believe something fundamentally different. We believe in supporting students through generous Canada student grants. We believe in supporting families with the Canada child benefit. We believe in supporting seniors with a more generous old age security benefit. We are going to continue to support workers with the Canada workers benefit. Every step of the way, we are here for the working class. The Conservatives are here for the wealthy.
    Mr. Speaker, it was a little puzzling last week that, on the same day the Bank of Canada raised interest rates, the finance minister said, “We are very close to the end of this difficult time, and to a return to low, stable inflation and strong, steady growth.” Now, experts are saying the risk is that inflation will not come down, which means interest rates and mortgage rates will be higher.
    Is it not time the government cut inflationary deficits, or inflationary taxes like the carbon tax, so interest rates and mortgage rates can come down for Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, I respect the hon. colleague a great deal. He knows, like we do, that the inflationary cycle taking place in Canada is not a Canada-only phenomenon. Inflation is taking place across the world.
    Let us listen to the Governor of the Bank of Canada, Tiff Macklem, who said that government spending patterns are not standing in the way of inflation getting back to target. In our projections, which incorporate those measures, we have inflation coming back to target.
    Mr. Speaker, it was a previous Bank of Canada governor who said that government deficits made interest rates go higher this year.
    However, let us talk about the government's predictions. It said interest rates would remain low forever. They have not. It said inflation would not come. It has. It said once inflation came, it would be here just a short time. It is still here.
    Now the government is telling everybody that inflation is coming down and the economic uncertainty is over. Do all the ministers agree with the finance minister? How many predictions does someone need to get wrong before they are held accountable?
    Mr. Speaker, I suspect that many people on that side were predicting that Stephen Harper would win the 2015 election. How did they get those predictions?
    On this side of the House, we are focusing on Canadians. We are making sure that health care is stabilized for a generation. We are making sure that we are growing the economy. We are helping those Canadians who need it most.
    The Conservatives will not tell Canadians where they would cut, so the question is, where would they cut? Let us hope we never find out. We are going to keep delivering for Canadians.


Employment Insurance

    Mr. Speaker, there are workers who are missing out on weeks of work because of the wildfires. For some, returning to work in the short term is not in the cards. They include seasonal workers employed in forestry, tourism, outfitting, parks and many other sectors.
    The federal government says it will—
    I must interrupt the hon. member for a second. The member has done nothing wrong, but I would like her to start over.
    Before she starts over, however, I would like the conversations on both sides of the aisle to stop. They are getting quite loud.



    I am going to say to members that if they want to talk to each other, it is fine, but maybe they could either whisper to somebody close, or if they are far apart, not yell across the floor but maybe just go outside and come back; that is allowed.


    The hon. member for Thérèse-De Blainville may begin again.
    Mr. Speaker, there are workers who are missing out on weeks of work because of the wildfires. For some, returning to work in the short term is not in the cards. They include seasonal workers employed in forestry, tourism, outfitting, parks and many other sectors.
    The federal government says it will fast-track their EI claims. For some, that is good. For all the workers who do not qualify for EI because of the excessively high 700-hour threshold, it is useless.
    Is the minister going to ease the requirements to ensure that no worker affected by the wildfires is left behind?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for this important question.
    As I mentioned a week ago, Service Canada will accept claims from those affected by the wildfires. They can apply even if they do not have a record of employment. They can access employment insurance.
    We will do everything we can to ensure that these workers receive EI.
    Mr. Speaker, at the rate the government is going, the trees will grow back before workers get help.
    Nothing changes. Every time there is a crisis, six out of 10 workers are abandoned by employment insurance. Somehow, the federal government is surprised every time.
    We would not urgently need more flexible measures today if the government had reformed EI as promised. History is repeating itself because of its broken promises.
    When will it announce emergency measures for all workers affected by the fires, including those who fall through the cracks?


    Mr. Speaker, we understand the seriousness of the challenges that many Canadian workers, including those in Quebec, are facing right now. We are with them on the ground. We encourage all workers impacted by wildfires to apply for EI as soon as possible, even without a record of employment. We are on top of this and we will be there for Canadian workers.


    Mr. Speaker, due to the government's overreach, overspending and overtaxation, the financial pressure on Canadians has become overwhelming.
    In my region and across Canada, Canadians are struggling. Our Atlantic premiers have been clear: They need relief and they need it now. Meanwhile, the government is busy doing its dastardly dance of disorder with the Davos wonder class, amassing wealth and jet-setting around the world, all the while taxing the little guy for simply driving to work.
    When will the government stop fanning the flames of inflation and provide the much-needed relief that Canadians are desperate for?
    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is talking about things like the Canada child benefit, the Canada workers benefit or the climate action incentive, which are actually providing thousands of dollars into the pockets of Canadians.
    The real question that Canadians want to know about is what the Conservatives are planning to cut. What services and what benefits are they planning to cut that Canadians will no longer have access to? We saw under Harper's decade of darkness, if my colleague wants to continue with the alliteration, that they cut services and benefits to Canadians. On this side of the House, we believe in supporting Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are tired the government's tepid tiptoeing through the tulips of political expediency with clear non-answers displayed just like that. Canadians are financially battered, beaten and broken, and they are tired of being belittled.
    When will the government end the delays, the denials and the deflection, and finally address the escalating dismay of being overlooked, overwhelmed and overtaxed?
    Canadians are desperate for relief. When is it coming?
    Mr. Speaker, I will grant the member that he is good at alliteration, but what he clearly cannot do is see the policies that are actually helping Canadians. What Canadians need to know is what the Conservatives plan on cutting, because they are talking about services and supports for Canadians.
    We are there for the lowest-income, most vulnerable Canadians. We have cut poverty for children in this country in half since 2015. Poverty under the Conservatives flatlined. They did nothing to help low-income Canadians. We do not believe that this is the right process and we are going to continue to support Canadians.


    Mr. Speaker, after eight years, this Prime Minister is out of touch and Canadians are out of money. The Liberals' out-of-control spending has caused inflation to reach record levels.
    That is not all that is reaching record levels: More Canadians are using food banks than ever before. In fact, just last month, the food bank in Saskatoon held a food drive, as food bank usage has reached a new record of 24,000 people monthly.
    Will the Prime Minister reverse his inflationary policies so that Canadians can afford to put food on the table?
    Mr. Speaker, certainly affordability is a critically important concern for this government. We have made enormous efforts to work with Canadians to try to ensure that affordability applies to everyone in this country. Certainly we agree with the opposition that it is an important issue that needs to be addressed.
    However, to talk about out of touch, we are seeing forest fires across this country that are the product of climate change. We are facing a party that has no policy on climate change; in fact, it is not even clear that Conservatives believe in climate change and the scientific reality of climate change. That is being out of touch.


Families, Children and Social Development

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, was in Montreal yesterday to announce a significant contribution to social finance, not only for Quebec, but also for the rest of Canada.
    Can the minister tell us more about how the social finance fund will help increase the positive impact that social purpose organizations have on our society?
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday we celebrated the launch of the social finance fund, a $755‑million initiative to advance the growth of the social finance market.
    Social finance plays a crucial role in tackling issues such as access to affordable housing, food insecurity and poverty. By increasing access to flexible financing opportunities, the social finance fund will help social purpose organizations grow, innovate and enhance their social, economic and environmental impacts.


Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, the carbon tax could cost each farmer $150,000 per year, and that is before the second carbon tax comes next month. This tax on tax on tax drives up the cost of food production. It is simple math: If it costs the farmer more to grow food, it is going to cost Canadians more to feed their families, and it is going to put the future of our Canadian farms at risk. No farms, no food.
    Will this government give Canadians a break and axe its carbon taxes?
    Mr. Speaker, in this country, rage farming is not an agricultural policy.
     On this side of the House, we believe in investing in farmers. We have invested $500 million to support our agricultural sector. We have invested almost $1 billion to support farmers' transition as they buy new equipment to lower their carbon footprint.
    Climate change is real. In 2021, 30% of the grains did not make it to market. On that side of the House, they still do not have a climate plan.
    Mr. Speaker, we cannot fight fires with inflation—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    The hon. member for Lambton—Kent—Middlesex can begin from the top, please.
    Mr. Speaker, we cannot fight fires with inflation. The government's inflation is causing the cost of food and groceries to skyrocket.
    Farmers pay carbon tax to get their crops from the field to their warehouse and from their warehouse to the grocer's warehouse. Then the grocer pays carbon tax to get the food to the grocery store, and then families pay carbon tax to drive to the grocery store to buy their food. This tax on tax on tax never ends, and it is increasing the cost of our food.
    There is no common sense in this, so when will the government axe the carbon tax?
    Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, farm fuel is exempt from any price on pollution. I would encourage her to speak to canola farmers, as she would know then that the clean fuel standard is great for farmers—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    We were doing so well. I am going to ask everybody to take a deep breath.
    Now, let us all listen to each other, not while we are shouting, but just while one person is speaking. Then, one person will ask a question and one person will answer. That is the way it is supposed to work.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary can take it from the top, please.


    Mr. Speaker, a noisy plan is not a climate plan.
    We believe on this side of the House that farm fuels should be exempted on farms, and they are. We also believe that the clean fuel standard will bring great opportunities for farmers and especially canola farmers.
    I would encourage the members on the other side, especially from out west, to have a conversation with the canola growers and see if they are supportive of this particular policy, because they are.


    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are at it again, trying to silence those who disagree. Because I clapped in support of a public inquiry, the Attorney General sent an email from his official account. The email outlined that he was the Minister of Justice and Attorney General. It clearly threatened my legal reputation and my professional future.
    However, we as Conservatives will not be silenced. Does the Attorney General think it is acceptable to intimidate an MP and threaten his reputation because the MP supports an inquiry?
    Mr. Speaker, I did nothing of the sort. I was deeply disappointed all week to hear Conservatives attacking the reputation of Frank Iacobucci, who is a former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and was a deputy minister of—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I am trying to hear what the hon. minister has to say, but the shouting is getting louder and louder. The hon. member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo asked a question; I think he deserves an answer.
    The hon. minister.
    Mr. Speaker, I was merely reacting to the fact that all week the Conservatives have been attacking Mr. Justice Frank Iacobucci, a former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and a former deputy minister of justice under the Conservatives under Brian Mulroney.
    The hon. member clapped loudly when Mr. Justice Iacobucci's name was—
    The hon. member for Don Valley East.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, Bill C-21 was designed to be part of a larger solution to mitigating gun violence here in Canada. We know that banning handguns was one part of the solution, but we also know that preventive measures can have a major impact on gun violence.
     Our government is investing resources into supporting programs and working with young people to prevent them from getting involved in crime at a young age. Can the minister please share with this House some of the steps we are taking to invest in preventive programs and services directly aimed at young people?
    Mr. Speaker, to eradicate gun violence, we need strong laws and strong borders and strong prevention. We are rolling out a $250-million “building safer communities” fund to address the root causes that my colleague talks about.
     However, I also want to call on the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada to free his Conservative senators and free the bill. Bill C-21 is in the Senate right now. We need to read it, debate it and pass it into law so that we can save lives. It is only the Conservatives who continue to stand in the way of this legislation. All other four parties in this House passed it. Let us save lives.


    Mr. Speaker, if the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 port expansion is fully automated, it could cause a ripple effect across other Canadian ports that could cost thousands of jobs.
    Mr. Speaker, I am going to start again, if you do not mind. Members could pipe down a bit in their rage farming.
    I am sorry. I was distracted. I could not hear the noise that was going on because we were trying to look at what is going on.
    I am going to ask the hon. member to start from the top so that we can hear his question. I am going to ask everyone to take a deep breath and not heckle each other. Just try to be nice.
    The hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley.
    Mr. Speaker, if the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 port expansion is fully automated, it could cause a ripple effect across other Canadian ports that could cost this country thousands of jobs.
    At the same time, there are very serious environmental concerns. The federal government's own review process called the environmental damage from this project permanent and irreversible.
    The ILWU has reached out to the minister and expressed strong concerns on both of these fronts, yet the minister approved the project without even reaching out to them. How can this minister say that he is on the side of working people when he ignores the concerns of Canada's largest port workers union—


    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Mr. Speaker, our government respects and has faith in the collective bargaining process. We believe the best deals are the ones that are made and reached at the bargaining table.
    The parties are negotiating with the help of a federal mediator right now. We have confidence in the parties' ability to work together to reach a deal as quickly as possible.

Persons with Disabilities

    Mr. Speaker, my office has been flooded with calls. Canadians expected to see the Canada disability bill arrive today because that is what the government said last week, but the Liberals are still stalling. They did not keep their promise. This benefit will bring relief to those who need it the most, the thousands of Canadians living in poverty with a disability.
    Will the Liberals finally keep their promise and adopt this new benefit before we rise for the summer to ensure Canadians get the urgent help they need?
    Mr. Speaker, in Canada, no person with a disability should live in poverty. That is why we are creating the Canada disability benefit and income supplement, which has the potential to seriously reduce poverty and increase financial security for hundreds of thousands of working-age persons with disabilities.
    In February, this House unanimously adopted Bill C-22, and Bill C-22 is now on the calendar for debate tomorrow. We are looking forward to getting this legislation past the finish line.


    The hon. member for Rivière-du-Nord on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations among the parties and I believe that if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent for the following motion: Whereas French is one of Canada's two official languages and the Constitution Act, 1982, enshrines the equality of both official languages within the Parliament of Canada; whereas documents tabled in the House of Commons and in committees must be made available to the members of those parliamentary bodies; the House therefore calls on the Special Joint Committee on the Declaration of Emergency to suspend all business until the documents produced by the Public Order Emergency Commission chaired by the Hon. Paul Rouleau are translated and made available in both official languages to the members of the committee.
    All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.
    An hon. member: Nay.


    The hon. member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo is rising on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, the member for Kingston and the Islands just said something unparliamentary to me about having a thin skin and about being offended given what the Minister of Justice did, which was to threaten my professional future and threaten my legal reputation. This is not funny. He should be apologizing and withdrawing that comment forthwith.
    The hon. member for Kingston and the Islands.
    Mr. Speaker, I apologize for reflecting on the fact that the member has a thin skin.


    That is not an apology.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    The Speaker: Order.
    That is more of a mockery than an apology. I am going to ask the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands to apologize like he means it.
    Mr. Speaker, I apologize.

Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]


Committees of the House

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

    The House resumed consideration of the motion.
    It being 3:20 p.m., 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 to concur in the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.


    Call in the members.



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

(Division No. 372)



Collins (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Collins (Victoria)
Louis (Kitchener—Conestoga)
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacDonald (Malpeque)
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Martinez Ferrada
May (Cambridge)
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
McDonald (Avalon)
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
Petitpas Taylor
Sidhu (Brampton East)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Taylor Roy
Van Bynen
van Koeverden

Total: -- 207



Duncan (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Lewis (Essex)
Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk)
McCauley (Edmonton West)
Rempel Garner
Van Popta

Total: -- 115



Duncan (Etobicoke North)

Total: -- 6

    I declare the motion carried.


    The hon. member for Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, I honestly had an issue with my phone, which is defective. I am waiting for a replacement one. I was unable to vote remotely. I would like to ask for unanimous consent to apply my vote.
    Does the House agree with the member's proposal?
    It is agreed.
    The hon. member is therefore voting in favour of the motion.




Alleged Breach of Government Obligation to Appoint Officer of Parliament—Speaker's Ruling  

[Speaker's Ruling]
    I am now ready to rule on the question of privilege raised on June 5 by the member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes concerning the vacancy in the position of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.
    In his intervention, the member alleged that the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner had been hampered in conducting investigations by the government’s failure to appoint a new commissioner. By extension, the member contended that the ongoing vacancy impeded him and the House in the performance of their parliamentary duties.
    To support this assertion, he referenced proceedings in the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, where officials from the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner indicated that they are limited in their ability to initiate or conclude investigations, until the position of commissioner is filled.


     As described at pages 239 to 241 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner is appointed by the Governor in Council, after consultations with the leaders of all recognized parties in the House. This appointment process is clearly defined in the Parliament of Canada Act.
    The House and its committees do play a role in the ratification process in accordance with Standing Order 111.1, but not in the initiation of the appointment process. This authority clearly belongs to the government by statute. The commissioner is an officer of this House who plays an important role in the administration of the conflict of interest regime prescribed by law and by our Standing Orders. It would, of course, serve the interests of all members to have the position filled promptly.


    As to whether the ongoing vacancy constitutes a prima facie question of privilege, it is a well-established practice that the Chair needs to be satisfied that the matter is raised in the House at the earliest opportunity, while clearly illustrating what breaches of privilege or contempts have occurred.
    House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, states at page 145:
    The matter of privilege to be raised in the House must have recently occurred and must call for the immediate action of the House. Therefore, the Member must satisfy the Speaker that he or she is bringing the matter to the attention of the House as soon as practicable after becoming aware of the situation. When a Member has not fulfilled this important requirement, the Speaker has ruled that the matter is not a prima facie question of privilege.
    The Chair did not hear an explanation as to why this matter should take priority of debate now. The vacancy referenced has been an ongoing matter for some time. Therefore, I cannot find a prima facie question of privilege at this time.
    I thank members for their attention.

Alleged Intimidation of Member  

    Mr. Speaker, I am rising to respond to the question of privilege raised yesterday by the member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo respecting the message that was sent to him by the Minister of Justice.
    I would start off by providing some context. The members across the aisle have had no qualms at all about casting aspersions to attempt to destroy the integrity of any member or private citizen who may not agree with their stance on any given issue. They do this virtually on a daily basis in this place. The member rose to applaud an attack on the integrity and the impartiality of the Hon. Justice Iacobucci. Not only is the justice a former member of our highest court and an eminent Canadian, but he is also a respected member of the Italian Canadian community who serves as a role model for many aspiring lawyers but specifically Italian Canadians.
    When the member rose to applaud disparaging remarks concerning Justice Iacobucci during Italian Heritage Month, the Minister of Justice sent a message to the member to tell him that this disrespect would be shared with members of the Italian Canadian community. What happens in question period is public and viewable by all Canadians. The minister has stated publicly that his message was in respect of telling Italian communities about this flagrant example of disrespect for an eminent Canadian.
    Members must be taken at their word in this place. What the member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo believes about the motives of the Minister of Justice is pure speculation and is easily dismissed by the public statement about these events in public. Speculation does not amount to a prima facie question of privilege. The facts are indeed clear.
    A member opposite directly attacked the integrity of the Hon. Justice Iacobucci, who is not here to defend himself. That member's colleague, the member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, rose to applaud his abhorrent attack. Instead of reflecting on his actions, the member jumped to conclusions without any facts in his possession. That is not something lawyers normally do. Lawyers seek out the facts. A simple conversation with the minister would have cleared this matter and the intentions of the minister.
    A public display of disrespect is public. A member may share this with members of his cultural community. This is yet one more example of the thin skin of the members across the aisle and of their attempts to impute motives to other hon. members designed for the sole purpose of weaponizing questions of privilege to delay the government's legislative agenda. This allegation has no basis in fact and is pure speculation.
    Members must be taken at their word. Any unsubstantiated allegation has been refuted by the minister.


    I thank the hon. member for his information and will certainly take it into consideration with the other information that was previously provided.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]


Immigration and Refugee Act

     The House resumed consideration of Bill S-8, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, to make consequential amendments to other Acts and to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, as reported (with amendments) from the committee, and of Motion No. 1.
    I want to remind members that if they want to have a debate, they do not have the floor. If they want to have a conversation—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): Order on both sides of the House.
    It is not helpful when members are trying to have debates on issues that are not currently before the House. If they want to have discussions on that, they should take them out.
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Vancouver East.
    Madam Speaker, I am happy to rise to enter into debate with respect to Bill S-8. People may ask what Bill S-8 would do. The bill would make changes to sanctions related to immigration enforcement by bringing the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act into line with the SEMA. It would make sanctioned individuals, including previously sanctioned individuals, inadmissible to Canada.
    Ukraine has also asked Canada to take this step with regard to Russians on our sanctions list. At present, the great breach of international peace and security is the primary mechanism that Canada is sanctioning Russian individuals under, and that does not currently trigger the inadmissibility provisions. That is why we have Bill S-8 before us, which is meant to fix this.
    I should note, though, that what Bill S-8 would not do is address the absence of parliamentary oversight of our sanctions regime or enforcement in areas that are not immigration related; that is, the seizing of assets. Therefore, a lot of work needs to be done to fix our sanctions regime if Bill S-8 is to pass.
    The bill would not fix the challenge of clarity either, for example, why the government adds some names but not others and for what reasons. Further, public communication and access to sanction lists is still subpar. We need a comprehensive review of Canada's sanctions regime. The NDP has proposed a study at the foreign affairs committee on Canada's sanctions regime, and we hope that study will take place this winter.
    Canada's foremost expert on sanctions policy, Andrea Charron, has said:
    While there is nothing wrong with highlighting in the Immigration and Refugee Act that inadmissibility due to sanctions is possible, this repeats a pattern whereby Canada tinkers on the margins of legislation without addressing core policy and process issues. If we are to continue to sanction autonomously with allies, we need to fix fundamental issues of policy and process.
    This has been put on the public record by experts, so the bill is a step in the right direction, to be sure.
    We are debating a bill that is supported by all the parties in the House, but what is happening is the Conservatives are trying to use parliamentary tools to delay progress of the work in the House. Not only are we debating this bill that everybody supports and wants to get done, but the Conservatives have moved an amendment to change the title of the bill. This is a tactic. In fact, at this moment, what we are technically debating is a motion to change the title of the bill. I have seen this play over and over again in this Parliament.
    Last week, we had debate on the child care bill. What did the Conservatives want to do? We were debating the child care bill until midnight, a bill that we wanted to move forward to ensure that child care provisions were made available to Canadians. Instead of doing that, we were debating a motion to change the title of the bill. That is what we are doing again.
     I find it distressing that those are the tactics on which the Conservatives repeatedly rely. The sole purpose of that is not to talk about the substance of the issues and the importance of the issue and how we can improve the legislation or how we can improve the situation for the people who need the changes, but, rather, it is a tactic that is deployed by the Conservatives to upset progress in the House, all for partisan politics. It is all for the Conservatives' own political motivation. It has nothing to do with the work that is really important for the people.


    With respect to the issue around sanctions, why is this so important? We need to ensure that inadmissibility is in place. We are talking about Russians who have waged this illegal war against Ukrainians. We are also talking about other countries that are faced with sanctions as well.
    However, the ineffectiveness of our sanction regime has been highlighted over and over again. In addition to the inadmissibility piece, we need to also look at the issue around sanctioning that applies to assets as well. So far, what we have seen with respect to that arena is that very little effort has been made. It has not been effective.
    We are now talking about foreign interference as it relates to China. For members of Parliament, including myself, who have been targeted by the Communist Chinese Party, there is a question about sanctions applying to China as well that needs to be in play. There are a number of different countries for which we need an effective sanctioning regime.
    I would urge the members of the House, the Conservatives included, to stop playing games. Let us get on with the work. We are here to do this work and move forward. It is important to pass this bill and bring forward accountability measures for sanctioning regimes.
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate a number of the member's comments. For me, it is very much about human rights and the role that Canada can play in regard to that.
     What I have witnessed over the years is that Canada far exceeds, based on the population, the type of influence we have on the international scene. That is one of the reasons why it is important we support legislation of this nature and provide the sanctions.
    Could the member provide her thoughts on that issue?
    Madam Speaker, as I mentioned, we need to actually get the proper sanction regime and one that is effective. Bill S-8 is a step in the right direction. Canada plays an important role, not just in the situation with Russia but for other countries as well, such as addressing, for example, Iran, the Iranian regime and the atrocious human rights violations. We need to bring those measures in place for other countries, such as South Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, and I could go on with a list. It is very important for Canada to get our sanctions regime in order.


    Madam Speaker, my question related to Bill S-8 is on my private member's bill, Bill C-281. The NDP, supported by the Conservatives, introduced the idea in the amendment to have an international human rights strategy. Unfortunately, the Liberals decided to shoot that idea down. I still think it is a great one. Does the member agree with me?
    Madam Speaker, there is much work to be done. Of course, my colleague, the member for Edmonton Strathcona, is the foreign affairs critic. She has been doing this important work at committee. She intends to bring forward additional work through the committee. I hope that the motions she will be bringing forward, the ideas that she has proposed on the floor there, are followed up on and studies are completed, so we can move forward in completing this important work.
    It does not matter what party we are talking about. We are talking about human rights and it is above partisan politics. Let us put our minds and hearts together to do the right thing.


    Madam Speaker, I commend my colleague for her speech on the important bill we are debating, Bill S-8.
    Of course, I agree with her that we must try to raise the level of debate and move away from partisanship, particularly when it comes to important bills.
    Where I tend to disagree with her is on the moralizing we hear from the New Democratic Party. Today they are telling us that we should stop playing games. I would remind people and parliamentarians present in the House that the NDP helped the Liberals pass 26 time allocation motions to shorten the debates.
    This shows a lack of consideration and respect for democracy and for the parliamentarians who are elected to do that work. Our job is to come and talk and debate bills.
    My question for my colleague is simple: Does she think democracy is a game?


    Madam Speaker, that is precisely it. Some parties in the House are filibustering debate.
    What we are talking about here is a motion to change the title, adding time to the debate so that we are taking away important time to deal with other issues. This is repeated ad nauseam, over and again, to the point where we have to move forward on things, for example, the budget bill, to ensure that people get the dental care supports they need and the various other supports included in the budget. That is the reality.
    We do not like to cut off debate, but in the face of some parties wanting to play partisan games and delaying the passage of important bills, we have no other choice. We have to get the job done. Therefore, I urge all members of the House to stop playing games. Let us get on with the job we are supposed to be here to do and get the bills passed.
    If members have legitimate questions to ask, they should ask them and debate them, not play games to delay the passage of bills for the purpose of partisan politics.
    Madam Speaker, there is the odd occasion in which I agree wholeheartedly with what the member opposite says inside the chamber. I really appreciated her comments on why it is so incredibly important that we recognize legislation for what it is and, yes, have some debate on it. However, to intentionally prevent the passage of legislation does not do a service to Canadians.
    Bill S-8 is a good example. My understanding is that we are going to get fairly good support for Bill S-8, whether that is from the Conservatives, Bloc members or New Democrats. I am not too sure about the Greens on Bill S-8, but I assume they are supporting it. I get a thumbs-up from the leader of the Green Party. I believe there is fairly wide support for the initiative.
    Even on legislation the Conservatives support, they want to push the envelope in preventing the legislation from passing. The Conservative Party members are familiar with that particular tactic. When they were in government, the Conservative majority government instituted time allocation all the time.
    An hon. member: And boy did you complain.
    Mr. Kevin Lamoureux: Madam Speaker, the member opposite said I complained. In fact, the record will clearly show that I stood up, even when I was in opposition, and said that time allocation is a necessary tool in order to get legislation passed. It is unfortunate that, at times, some opposition parties feel that it does not matter whether they support the legislation or how timely the legislation might be; it is more important to use legislation in virtually all situations as a mechanism to prevent the government from passing legislation.
    Bill S-8 is legislation that should be, relatively speaking, non-controversial. If we take a look at the issue of human rights violations and canvass our constituents about it, a vast majority would be very upset at the notion of the human rights violations taking place anywhere in the world. I would suggest that over 95% of them would be upset.
    I am very proud of the fact that, a few years back, we established a human rights museum in my home city of Winnipeg. For many residents, this amplifies the issue of human rights.
    We have had members of Parliament, both today and in the past, who have been strong advocates in fighting against those who inflict human rights violations, whether it is an individual, a state or any other organization taking away basic human rights. I think of such individuals as Irwin Cotler and David Matas, whom I had the honour and privilege to know, at least in part, and whose passion I was able to see. I heard them articulate why it is so important that, no matter which political party one belongs to, we get behind it as legislators and do what we can. Ideally, we should do so collectively.
    I think of the Magnitsky act and the push to ultimately get that into law. As members will know, one can come up with an idea, but it can sometimes be a challenge to put it into law. Fortunately, through the support of all parties inside the House, through a private member's bill, we were ultimately able to make that happen. The desire was there, and justifiably so.


    Take a look at Canada and the world. I will direct this point to the speaker before me. Canada's population is about 38 million people, yet look at the positioning that Canada has around the world among the 150-plus countries and states. Canada carries a great deal of influence throughout the world. We are a country in very high demand, in terms of people wanting to come to Canada. We constantly get people coming on visits to Ottawa to meet with parliamentarians, civil society and different organizations. We have organizations scattered throughout the country that provide all forms of humanitarian aid for countries around the world.
    I believe that Canada is a leader in many different areas, including the area of human rights. It is something that we can all take a sense of pride and ownership in, I would suggest, no matter what political party we are part of. We see that in some of the legislative debates that we have had. I have always appreciated having debate and the take-note debate, for example, in regard to what is taking place in Ukraine. When we talk about the sanctions in Bill S-8, the bill would ensure that there is a direct consequence to individuals who have been sanctioned by the government, so that they will never be able to enter Canada. If members look at past emergency debates or the take-note debate on the issue of Ukraine alone, members would find that there have been many hours spent debating it over the years.
    I was in opposition in 2014, when there was the uprising that was taking place in the Maidan, or Independence Square, in Kyiv. I had the opportunity to go over there on a visit and witness some of the things first-hand, as I know many of my colleagues have done.
    I have heard the horror stories about the human rights violations that are taking place, whether by the Russian regime or the Iranian regime. It is terrifying. The discrimination based on gender is disgusting, not to mention the atrocities with regard to issues of torture, such as a war that is ongoing and unjustified.
    That is why we have this legislation. From my perspective, it is a complement to the Magnitsky Act. We are saying we want to ensure that there are sanctions against these people who are causing all these issues of a horrific nature, but not only that, Bill S-8 says that we do not want them in Canada. I think that is a powerful statement. I think it adds value to what I suggest is Canada's place in the world, where we are reflecting true Canadian values, which are there to protect human rights. That is why, when I look at this particular piece of legislation, unless the Conservative Party or another party is opposing it, I do not necessarily see why we would cause a delay like the one we witnessed this morning.



    Madam Speaker, my colleague seems awfully pleased with how Canada is dealing with the human rights issue. We know that this is documented in Canada. Take, for example, the crisis in Iran. We know that there are Iranian nationals who are here and who are friends of the regime in Iran, a regime that is currently violating women's rights. I do not think that I need to paint a picture. There are some pretty horrific images making the rounds on social media.
    With regard to China, the government is still tolerating Chinese police stations here in Canada. The RCMP's reports on that are contradictory. Recently, the mayor of Brossard told the media that a city councillor had been elected with the help of the Chinese regime on social media. The Brossard city council is extremely uncomfortable with that situation. The mayor talked about it in the paper. She was trying to find out from the RCMP what to do with one of her city councillors, who, as we know, was elected with the help of the Chinese government.
    Could my colleague enlighten us on what is happening on that issue?



    Madam Speaker, I have absolute confidence in the system we have here in Canada. That includes our national police service and the security agencies that we have.
    I believe it is up to those agencies and those law enforcement officers to do the work that is necessary; where they find violations, there would be charges, and offices would be shut down. I do not ever want to see Canada take a position where, for example, a few members stand up and say, “Well, that is this. Now we want the police to go and shut it down.”
    We have to have confidence in our security agencies to ensure that our interests are best served.
    Madam Speaker, one of the things I have been very concerned about is whether our sanction regime is actually being enforced. The easy part of sanctions is to put people on the list. The hard part is to actually enforce those sanctions and to make sure that they are transparent and enforced, as well as that we are following through with action.
    We know, because we heard testimony from the RCMP at the foreign affairs committee, that there are very few resources allocated to our sanction enforcement in this country.
    Would the member agree that if the government is just putting names on a list and does not actually enforce those sanctions, it is just committing political theatre?
    Madam Speaker, let me add a different perspective.
    When the government puts legislation in place, we cannot necessarily expect that, virtually overnight, everything will work the way in which people envisioned. We have to allow for other protocols to be put into place. At the end of the day, we hope those protocols ensure that it is meeting the objectives that were put in place, or believed to be there, when the legislation was enacted.
    In other words, I think it might take time in order to put Canadians' desires into effect. It might take more than one or two years. We cannot just pass legislation and think that it is going to happen overnight.
    Madam Speaker, I want to follow up on the point made by the hon. member for Edmonton Strathcona. We should recognize that, when we talk about refugee protections in this place, we are normally talking about protecting people who need to come to Canada.
    There is an option in this legislation, which is good for humanitarian exceptions, if somebody is otherwise inadmissible but has a profound case for why they should come to Canada.
    This very significant legislation, which is important, would recognize that certain people, for human rights or criminal reasons, are not welcome in this country, are inadmissible and are under sanction. We need to follow up on making sure that if they are sanctioned, they do not come here.
    Madam Speaker, I believe, ultimately, that we do not want anyone who has been sanctioned coming to Canada. That is the primary purpose and the objective of this legislation, or at least one of them.
    To that end, I would expect that those who are responsible for the administration would understand what is being brought forward and passed by parliamentarians, which reflects the will of Canadians. Those responsible are our law enforcement agencies, our border control officers and our civil service, which is second to no other in the world.
    Madam Speaker, I want to get my remarks on Bill S-8 in Hansard today.
    We know this bill is about sanctions and the sanction regime of this country. Sanctions are an important tool the government can use to deal with bad actors in the world.
    One thing to note about recognizing the sovereignty of nations, as we want our sovereignty to be recognized, is the reality that we cannot enforce our laws in other countries. What we can do, though, is deal with other countries as entire entities or with individuals if they choose to come to Canada.
    There is a whole host of reasons we would use sanctions. Most often, as we have seen lately, countries that violate human rights are subject to Canadian sanctions. Countries that do not respect the borders of other countries also get sanctions. Countries that are threatening to Canada, although maybe not directly, would be sanctioned too. We also sanction individuals. We may sanction folks who have committed heinous crimes in other countries that our courts have no jurisdiction over.
    This tool has been used for many years, and in my time here in Parliament, we have improved, enhanced and worked to increase the sanctioning abilities of Canada. I am talking about the Magnitsky act. When I first came here, the Magnitsky law was passed, and more recently the name was changed to the Magnitsky act to better reflect what we are talking about here.
    Putting sanctions on particular countries is something the government has the power to do, and it does do that from time to time. One is banning folks from coming here. I do not know if members know this, but I am living under a sanction. I am one of the Canadians who have been banned from Russia. I do not think it was an overly effective sanction, as I was not planning to go to Russia anytime soon, but nonetheless, I am being sanctioned by Russia. In the same way, through sanctions, Canada will ban people coming from particular parts of the world from participating in Canadian society or visiting their family members who live in Canada. That is something Bill S-8 attempts to achieve. It would prevent folks on a sanctions list who are from a country being sanctioned from coming to and visiting Canada.
    What is interesting about all of this is that it does not seem to be a problem. When folks came to the Senate committee, they noted that there did not appear to be any attempts by people who are sanctioned to try to come to Canada. In the same way, with me being sanctioned and made a persona non grata in Russia, there is no major threat of me breaking the sanction due to the fact that I am not planning to go to Russia anytime soon. Folks who are sanctioned by Canada often are not travelling to Canada. It was therefore noted at committee that this appears to be a solution in search of a problem. It appears the government is attempting to look like it is doing something when in fact there is no issue to be seen here.
    This bill does theoretically ensure that folks who are under a sanction do not come to Canada, but at the same time, it gives dramatic leeway to the minister. Once again, this is where we run into trouble with the idea of the rule of law. The law should be written down so that folks are able to read it, and there should not be ambiguity in how it is enforced. When ministerial discretion is given to a minister, one case may be judged and ruled on differently than another, which is the challenge that folks have brought forward. This bill introduces some ambiguity as to who will be allowed into Canada and who will not be allowed into Canada.


    I understand that there are times when we are challenged by the rule of law given that it is written rigidly. We can see that what is legal and what is right and just sometimes come into conflict. In that case, I imagine we could allow for ministerial discretion, but it will be a challenge for folks to bring this to the minister in a uniform way. Folks who are facing the same situation will depend on their connections and will depend on who they know in order to get an audience with the minister and get the minister's discretion to come into force, either to prevent folks from coming into Canada or to get around a particular sanction in a particular country.
    There is some cause for concern that, once again, perhaps this is another piece of legislation where the rule of law is being undermined by ministerial discretion. We have seen this before with the Liberals. They do not necessarily do their homework when they are designing laws. They will put together a piece of legislation that says something nice at the very top and then turns out to be basically a blank piece of paper underneath. We have seen this before. Then they will say, “Trust us. We will write it in the regulations when we get to the regulations.”
    We have seen this with their child care bill. We have seen this with their dental care program. We have also seen this with their disability benefit. The disability benefit regime is, in my opinion, probably the best case, or the worst case depending on how we look at it, to show how the government does not do the hard work of governing with legislation. Rather, it says, “We want to put this program in place, but trust us; we will get it right once we get there.”
    We do not have any criteria on eligibility. We do not know who is going to get it. We do not know how this new program that is yet to be designed will impact the average Canadian. To some degree, that is what we see with Bill S-8 as well. It is governing by ministerial edict. It is governing without regard for what the law has written down.
    All of that is a concern, but I want to bring this back to the point from folks at committee. They mentioned that there has not been, as far as they can tell, any attempt by somebody under Canadian sanctions to try to flout and get around those sanctions to come to Canada. That in particular is, I think, interesting since the government spent time on this bill.
    The government will often accuse us, the Conservatives, of wasting time in this place. We are the official opposition. It is our job to scrutinize bills. It is our job to ensure that time is spent debating them, listening to Canadians from across the country with different perspectives and outlining problems that may be in legislation and problems that may be concerning to Canadians.
    This is an interesting piece of legislation, as there has not been a case the government can point to, or a story, where somebody who has been under sanction has gained access to Canada through some of these measures. What I can say is that the government has let folks into Canada who have not been under sanction but who probably should not have come to Canada. I am thinking of one of the generals of the Sri Lankan army, who is responsible for a significant number of deaths in the Tamil community. The Tamil community was very upset that he was allowed in.
    These are some of the things I am concerned about with this bill. I am looking forward to the discussion.



    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Peace River—Westlock. We both care deeply about this important issue that affects human rights.
    To me, this bill is more important than ever.
    On Saturday, I participated in a demonstration in support of women and girls in Iran. People told me that there should be sanctions against this religious regime, which keeps women in a state of subservience and inferiority.
    This morning, I attended a meeting of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, standing in for my colleague, the foreign affairs critic. The topic was the conflict in Ukraine, with a focus on terrorist groups like the Wagner Group and the horrible crimes being committed. Witnesses talked about women being used as sexual weapons in this conflict between Ukraine and Russia.
    It is important to take action and send a clear message. The sanctions need to work. Canada must not be a haven for these criminals.



    Madam Speaker, I think the member is talking about the use of sanctions. The use of sanctions is very important, but I do not think this bill affects the use of sanctions whatsoever.
    We need to ensure that sanctions are put in place on the correct individuals and are then enforced. I am sanctioned by Russia in that I am not allowed to visit Russia, but that sanction is not necessarily of concern to me because I am not visiting Russia. In the same way, we sanction folks and say they are not welcome in Canada, but there do not seem to be many cases of folks who are banned from Canada attempting to access Canada.


    Madam Speaker, we have been very welcoming to the Ukrainian refugees fleeing the brutal invasion by Vladimir Putin's dictatorial regime. However, compared to many European countries, Canada is not taking in that many refugees.
    The NDP believes we could be doing more in some very specific situations, including taking in LGBTQ refugees from Iran, Saudi Arabia or, more recently, Sudan, where certain sexual orientations, including gay and lesbian, have been criminalized in an extremely violent way.
    Does my colleague think that we should be taking in more refugees from the LGBTQ community?


    Madam Speaker, just this morning, I was on a call with members of the foreign affairs committee of Latvia. They were congratulating Canada on our refugee settlement efforts. They noted that Canada was one of the best countries in the world for refugee resettlement.
    I take issue with the whole premise of the member's question. I think Canada does a great job of accommodating refugee claimants and settling refugees here in Canada, and I am very proud of the efforts that Canada has made.


    Madam Speaker, it is an honour to speak at third reading of Bill S-8, an act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, to make consequential amendments to other acts and to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.
    I am very interested in this subject because, early on in my career, when I was a student and a community worker, I worked with refugees a lot and I also worked in human rights. It was very hard sometimes. Our work was impacted by cases of people entering Canada under dubious or fraudulent pretexts. It was very disheartening to see these people, who had committed human rights violations and other serious offences in their own country, find refuge here in Canada. I think it is very important for Canada to use every tool at its disposal to punish all those responsible for violations of international law, such as human rights abuses.
     As members know, sanctions have proven to be effective foreign policy instruments to hold bad actor regimes accountable for their blatant disregard for the rules-based international order. The government may choose to use sanctions in situations relating to a grave breach of international peace and security, gross and systematic violations of human rights, and significant acts of corruption. In reaction to the Russian annexation of Crimea and the most recent developments in Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, Canada has imposed a series of individual and economic sanctions.
    Sanctions may be enacted through a number of instruments, including the United Nations Act, the Special Economic Measures Act and the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act.
     Under our legislation, sanctions against individuals and entities can include a dealings ban, which is effectively an asset freeze, and restrictions or prohibitions on trade, financial transactions or other economic activity. Canadians are also prohibited from dealing with sanctioned individuals, effectively freezing their Canadian assets. This tool to freeze the assets of those who have committed acts that violate human rights is really effective. It is incredible. Freezing their assets really gets their attention.
     Canada's immigration system has a strong global reputation, in part due to its well-balanced enforcement system. For nearly 20 years, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, or IRPA, has worked in tandem with our sanctions legislation to ensure that bad actors are found inadmissible to Canada.
    The IRPA defines the applicable criteria for all foreign nationals seeking to enter or remain in Canada, including grounds of inadmissibility that would lead an application by a foreign national for a visa or entry to Canada to be refused. In the case of the inadmissibility provisions of the IRPA as they relate to sanctions, decisions are relatively straightforward. If an individual is explicitly identified under one of the sanctions' triggers, then they will be found inadmissible to Canada under the IRPA on that basis alone.


    However, inadmissibility provisions of the IRPA as currently written do not fully align with all grounds for imposing sanctions under the Special Economic Measures Act, or SEMA.
    In 2017, two new sanctions-related inadmissibility criteria were brought into force by the Senate bill, Bill S-226. Bill S‑226 ensured that foreign nationals sanctioned under the SEMA were inadmissible to Canada, but only in circumstances of gross and systematic human rights violations and systematic acts of corruption.
    This approach meant that foreign nationals sanctioned under other provisions, such as “a grave breach of international peace and security”, which has been frequently used in sanctions imposed in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, were not inadmissible to Canada. In other words, this means that Russian individuals sanctioned under the SEMA may nevertheless continue to have unfettered access to travel to, enter or remain in Canada, unless they are inadmissible for other reasons. This is unacceptable.
    As we know, Parliament previously identified this as a legislative gap in Canada's sanctions regime. In April 2017, the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development released a report that recommended that the IRPA be amended. The objective was to designate all persons sanctioned under the SEMA as inadmissible to Canada.
    That is what is proposed in Bill S-8. The proposed amendments would ensure that all inadmissibility ground relating to sanctions are applied in a cohesive and coherent manner. Bill S‑8 will align the sanctions regime with inadmissibility to Canada so that Russian individuals and entities, which were recently sanctioned because of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and Iranian individuals and entities, which were sanctioned for supporting terrorism and their systematic and blatant human rights violations, are inadmissible to Canada.
    These amendments are very important because they would enable the Canada Border Service Agency and officials at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to refuse to issue visas.
     These important amendments would ensure sanctions have meaningful consequences from both an economic perspective and in terms of immigration and access to Canada. In adopting these measures, Canada would be sending a very strong message to the world that those who violate human rights are not welcome in our country. The Government of Canada will continue to stand firmly against human rights abuses abroad, and we will hold both Russia and all other bad actor regimes accountable for their actions. At the same time, the government remains firmly committed to protecting the safety and security of all residents here on Canadian soil.
    I know I am almost out of time, but I want to say that this is a very important bill for all political parties in the House of Commons as well as for my constituents in Châteauguay—Lacolle. We believe in justice, and we want justice. For that reason, I implore all hon. members of this House to support this important and timely bill.



    Madam Speaker, the member talked a lot about the bill being clear about making people inadmissible on the basis of their being sanctioned, or an entity that they belonged to being sanctioned, or a country being sanctioned, but the bill also includes some ministerial overrides.
    Could she talk a little bit about the breadth of those overrides and the ministerial powers for overriding what would normally be a sanction that would make someone inadmissible? How much latitude and how much power would the bill give to the minister?
    Madam Speaker, it is important in Bill S-8 that we have the ability to have coordination among the different legislative pieces that are there to ensure that undesirables are not able to stay in Canada.
    Once in a while there will be a need to proceed on a case-by-case basis, and I think that in that regard, ministerial oversight would still be required. However, what I like very much about this bill is that it brings together all of these pieces of legislation to deliver a clear message of what we will not accept here in Canada.


    Madam Speaker, my colleague seems to think Canada is tough and imposes sanctions on regimes and individuals that violate human rights around the world.
    We recently passed a motion recognizing the genocide against the Uyghur community in Xinjiang, China. However, we continue to import products from that region. The United States dealt with the problem differently: It assumes that any product manufactured in that region is associated with human rights violations.
    Does my colleague think Canada should adopt the same policy? We give no one any chances, and we no longer buy products from that region?


    Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague's suggestion is very interesting.
    In this case, these individuals have been identified as the perpetrators of certain reprehensible acts that are contrary to our laws. As for a general policy of some kind, I think this is more of an economic policy issue. It is very interesting. I know Canadians and Quebeckers already pay close attention to the origin of the products they buy at the dollar store.


    Madam Speaker, my problem continues to be on the implementation of our sanction regime. Of course, there should be no one in this House who wants people who have been sanctioned to be able to come to Canada, such as people who have committed human rights abuses or perhaps taken part in the illegal war in Ukraine and the genocide against the Ukrainian people. However, the problem is that the bill would do very little to fix the sanction regime, which provides no clarity to parliamentarians and provides no transparency.
    We have asked time and time again about the seized assets, and I have brought a question forward through the Order Paper on this aspect. The government has made quite a big show out of saying it is going to be using those assets to help Ukraine rebuild. However, we have not been able to get any information from the government on what those seized assets are.
    Why does that member believe the government is finding it so difficult to share that information, and why is the number of assets seized so incredibly low?
    Madam Speaker, I certainly respect the work of my hon. colleague in this area as well.
    What I like about this bill is that it comes out of a study that was done in the foreign affairs committee in 2017. We know that things happened between 2017 and now, but it was a very comprehensive way to bring forth this kind of legislation. I am glad to see that it does have the support of, I believe, most members in this House, and certainly there is more work to be done.


    It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Edmonton Griesbach, Disaster Assistance; the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, The Environment; the hon. member for Kitchener Centre, Persons with Disabilities.


    Madam Speaker, it is my privilege to rise in the House today and offer my thoughts with respect to Bill S-8, a bill aimed primarily at amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and other acts, including the Emergencies Act, to ensure that those whom Canada has sanctioned as a result of the war in Ukraine, and others, cannot claim sanctuary in Canada.
    I would like to begin by addressing three areas of my remarks this afternoon. I will start by addressing some of the weaknesses in this legislation. This will be followed by thoughts that China poses a much stronger and more relevant case for this legislation. Finally I will say why, despite the obvious flaws, I will be supporting this bill, albeit with reservations.
    When this legislation was brought before the Senate last year, the senators heard from Dr. Andrea Charron. Dr. Charron is the director of the Centre for Defence and Security Studies at the University of Manitoba. She noted what many of us in this chamber and the other place have noted over the past seven and a half years, which is that the Liberals really struggle to bring coherent legislation. Whether here or in the Senate, there is a pattern of bringing forward legislation that sounds good, sounds comprehensive and sounds tough but ultimately achieves nothing. That really is the legislative legacy of the current Liberals: symbolism and sanctimony over substance, and virtue signalling rather than leading with virtue. It is legislation that is far more concerned with looking and sounding good rather than with doing good. It is legislation that is ultimately aimed at pleasing certain core constituencies of the Liberal establishment and international entities rather than at achieving real change for Canadians.
    As Dr. Charron put it, this bill “repeats a pattern whereby Canada tinkers on the margins of legislation without addressing core policy and process issues.” As Senator MacDonald noted in his critique, “[Dr. Charron's] critique of government bills is becoming all too commonplace of late. Many of the bills that the government is introducing are increasingly reactive measures, usually quick responses to external events. They are hasty measures designed to be symbolic, and it shows.”
    Despite the Liberals' claim that they are listening to the experts, which is a claim that experts whose testimony has been systematically blocked or ignored by the Liberals in committee would dispute, their actions are not based on reality, unless they mean experts in how to keep the government from collapsing under the weight of its own self-righteousness and its own ineptness. The scandal-plagued government and Prime Minister consistently bring forward legislation, when in reality, as noted by expert witnesses at committee, changes to departmental processes and policies would likely be more efficient and ultimately more effective.
    This virtue-signalling, reactive approach to legislation is often coupled with creating a straw man. Rather than dealing with the real issue or causes, the current government creates a false narrative with false bogeymen and false spectres of impending disaster, and then it attacks anyone who attempts to take a critical approach to its disingenuous actions. Dr. Charron asked the Senate committee a simple question: Is this actually a problem that needs to be addressed? Has this actually happened? Are there thousands of pro-war, pro-regime Russians whom we have sanctioned breaking down the door to get into Canada? Dr. Charron was unaware of such an occurrence.
    The Senate heard from Richard St. Marseille, the director general of immigration and external review policy at the CBSA. Mr. St. Marseille informed the committee that no sanctioned individual from any country is known to have entered Canada in the past five years. There have been refusals abroad, including five under the Special Economic Measures Act and 10 under the Magnitsky law, but even those refusals are out of 1,858 individuals sanctioned under SEMA and roughly 2,200 individuals listed under various sanction grounds. To put it another way, none of these individuals have entered Canada, and fewer than 1% have even attempted to do so.
     We have a lot of problems with our immigration and border security systems right now, but the simple facts and figures show that this is not one of them, nor is it likely to become one of them, because, despite the Prime Minister's belief that he has created a progressive utopia where everyone wants to live, many people in other parts of the world, including Russia, do not see it that way. Many Russians look at similar so-called progressive policies by the Zelenskyy government in Ukraine as a degradation of traditional values and, by extension, as part of their justification for invading in the first place: in order to rescue Ukrainians from what they view as western decadence and widespread immorality. A vast majority of Russians are appalled by the decline of traditional family values and what they see as the failures and weaknesses of western culture.


    A growing number of Russians may be opposed to the war, even to President Putin, but let us not mistake that for a seismic culture shift that will suddenly embrace progressive policies and values. The notion that we are going to have a flood of Russians, especially those who have been sanctioned by Canada for supporting the regime, and who have had their assets seized, suddenly wanting and trying to come here is, frankly, ridiculous. They know they are not wanted here, and that is fine with them because they do not want to live here. There is no evidence or even indication this has been, is currently, or will become a problem.
    We do have a pressing public safety and immigration problem, and that is with the Chinese Communist government. We have the Chinese ambassador and an untold number of agents of Beijing working to actively undermine our democracy; to intimidate and harm expats and family members, even members of the House; and to engage in espionage and cyber-attacks.
    The government has consistently refused to address the actions of Beijing; better put, it has actively covered up for China's government. There are our National Microbiology Laboratory, the Chinese police stations that continue to operate despite the government's claim they do not, and the government's continuing to fund them through the Liberals' Canada summer jobs program. In fact, if one substituted China for Russia as the impetus for this legislation, it would be a lot easier to see this as a genuine effort rather than as just more virtue signalling. The opposition has been demanding, for months, the removal of the Chinese ambassador, the shutting down of these police stations, a stop to the government's covering up for its friends in Beijing, and its coming clean about what happened at the National Microbiology Laboratory and with election interference.
    Instead, the government seeks to keep Canadians in the dark and distracted by creating a straw man so they will not pay attention to what the actual problem is. I really think the MO of the PMO has become to address something that has not been a problem, that is not a problem and is unlikely to become a problem, in order to distract Canadians from the myriad problems the government has created. Rather than address the illegal guns that the government has allowed to flood across the border, as used by the violent criminals it has kept out of jail, it goes after law-abiding firearm owners. Rather than go after its wealthy friends, it labels small business owners as tax cheats and goes after them. Now, rather than deal with the pressing and proven problem of Beijing, it raises the unsubstantiated spectre of an influx of sanctioned Russians.
    I am not denying that Russia presents a threat to our Arctic sovereignty or to our digital infrastructure, or that the invasion of Ukraine is not a problem. It is a big problem, and Canada has gone above and beyond in our efforts to help Ukraine. However, this is Canada's Parliament, and those who poses an immediate domestic threat and should not be coming here are not the Russians; they are those from Beijing. This is really my main point here today. If we are going to pass this legislation, let us make sure we do so for the right reasons and use it against the right people. Let us use it to finally deal with Beijing, to finally deal comprehensively with the IRGC and those who are already here and pose a direct threat to Canadians and to our democracy.
    With that said, as I noted at the top of my speech, despite these reservations, I will be voting in favour of this legislation. First, it would address a gap in the existing legislation that would allow IRCC to deny an individual based on international sanctions. Second, it would grant new powers to the Minister of Public Safety that would allow the minister to make a determination and issue a removal order. While any additional ministerial power, especially with the current government and its track record of shunning accountability at every turn, is a cause for concern, the opposition hopes that by removing the disingenuous excuse of so-called departmental dependence, the minister would now act in accordance with the will of the House to remove bad actors. Third, Conservatives have always been strong supporters of sanctions and the Magnitsky law, and have been critical of cases where individuals with ties to certain organizations but who are not necessarily on the terrorism list, like members of the IRGC, have been allowed to enter and remain in Canada. The legislation would remove the government's chief excuse for failing to deal judiciously with such individuals, so there is a chance it would become useful down the road, especially once a new Conservative government cleans up the legislation.
    Despite the obvious flaws, there is sufficient merit to this legislation, and I will be supporting it.