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44th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 214

CONTENTS

Thursday, June 15, 2023




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 151
No. 214
1st SESSION
44th PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer



Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1000)  

[English]

Seniors

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to private member's Motion No. 45 adopted by the House on June 15, 2022, I have the pleasure to table, in both official languages, the report requested by the motion.

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 eight petitions. These returns will be tabled in an electronic format.

Interparliamentary Delegations

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, a report of the Canada-Japan Inter-Parliamentary Group respecting its participation at the Co-Chairs' Annual Visit in Osaka and Tokyo, Japan, from October 10 to 15, 2022; a report of the Canada-China Legislative Association and the Canada-Japan Inter-Parliamentary Group respecting their participation at the 30th Annual Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum in Bangkok, Thailand, from October 26 to 29, 2022; and a report of the Canada-China Legislative Association and the Canada-Japan Inter-Parliamentary Group respecting their participation at the 43rd General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, from November 20 to 25, 2022.
    I have made an error, so I will go back to the introduction of government bills.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, with all due respect, I believe we have moved further on in the rotation of Routine Proceedings. Would we not need unanimous consent to go back?
    The error was made by me and I am correcting it.

  (1005)  

    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, you just got advice from the Clerk. Perhaps if you want to elaborate on what happened, I will wait for that.
    I can do that. That is not a problem.
    What happened is that normally I am given the bill to read and it was not handed to me. When looking at it, I assumed the hon. minister had to stand, and I was waiting for someone to stand. No one stood, so I moved on.
    The error was made at this end, not necessarily on the floor. For that I apologize, for myself and my staff. Ultimately it falls on me. That is why I am going back. We discussed it, and according to the Clerk, I have the discretion to go back.
    I apologize to both sides for the error. Those things happen. You have a human Speaker, unfortunately. AI has not quite taken over my job yet.

Canadian Sustainable Jobs Act

Committees of the House

Government Operations and Estimates 

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the ninth report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, also known as the mighty OGGO, entitled “Supplementary Estimates (A), 2023-24”.

Science and Research  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Science and Research. This report is entitled “Revitalizing Research and Scientific Publication in French in Canada”. I give a special thanks to the member for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques for his motion, for his advocacy and, in fact, for all that he is doing to enhance French-language recognition within our studies.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.

Canada-Taiwan Relations Framework Act

    He said: Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise to introduce the Canada-Taiwan relations framework act. Recognizing the important bilateral relationship between Canada and Taiwan, this bill provides a framework for the strengthening of economic, legal and cultural relations. It would make it a policy of the Government of Canada to support Taiwan's participation in international fora as well as membership in international agreements, including the CPTPP. It would appropriately permit the Government of Taiwan's office in Ottawa to be referred to as the Taiwan representative office and would provide opportunities for the enhancement of diplomacy.
    This bill is an important step in recognizing the reality of Taiwan, a vibrant democracy, leading global economy and important ally to Canada. I urge its passage.

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

  (1010)  

Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act

    She said: Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to stand today to table my bill, an act to amend the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act, national strategy respecting abandoned vessels. I would like to thank my NDP colleague, the member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, for seconding it.
    Abandoned vessels in Canadian waters have been left to sink, polluting our oceans, harming wildlife and threatening food security. Canadians who live on our coasts know all too well the harms, seeing what locals call “vessel graveyards” lining the coasts. It is time that something is done about it.
    This bill includes the development and implementation of a much-needed strategy to address the ever-increasing number of vessels being abandoned along the west coast of Canada, working in partnership with indigenous governing bodies and the province. The measures include, among others, developing a system to promptly and effectively identify the owners of vessels, developing a mooring plan for vessels and developing innovative recycling initiatives for wrecked vessels and their components.
    Derelict and abandoned vessels cannot be allowed to continue to threaten our coasts. Our oceans, marine ecosystems and coastal communities deserve protecting.

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

Committees of the House

Justice and Human Rights  

    Mr. Speaker, I move that the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, presented on Wednesday, December 7, 2022, be concurred in.
    I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Brantford—Brant.
    The seventh report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights speaks to improving the response to victims of crime. I can honestly say, and I think all Canadians agree, if we believe what we are seeing in the news, that the response of the government to victims of crime has been woefully inadequate. I can go further. When we talk about victims of crime, we are also talking about the victims' families, and that came through loud and clear in our report. Once again, even today we are talking about the impact on victims of crime and their families of the government's soft-on-crime revolving door justice system.
    I will speak to some of the measures in our report.
    One of the things we heard loud and clear was the need to address the unfair situation of sentence discounts for multiple murders. What that means is that in Canada, someone who is convicted of first-degree murder receives a life sentence but is eligible for parole in only 25 years. What this has led to is a ludicrous situation. For example, in Moncton, New Brunswick, an individual killed three of our Mounties, three police officers, just trying to do their job, and that individual would have received a 25-year parole ineligibility, the same as if they had killed one person. We have seen situations of mass murder in this country where someone kills three, five or six people, and they would receive the exact same parole ineligibility as if they had killed one person.
    We believe, on this side of the House, that every life should count, every victim should be counted and every victim's family should be respected. That is why when we were in government, we brought in legislation for ending sentence discounts for multiple murders. This meant that an individual who committed multiple murders would receive multiple consecutive periods of parole ineligibility. It is why the individual who killed the three Mounties in Moncton received a 75-year parole ineligibility. Other mass murderers in Canada sentenced since that legislation have received similar sentences.
    Unfortunately, the Supreme Court struck down that provision. We all know that a charter dialogue takes place between the legislature, Parliament and the Supreme Court, and it is absolutely scandalous that the government has not responded to that Supreme Court decision. We have called on it for over a year to respond to this decision, to make it right and to listen to victims' families.
    When we were studying the response to victims of crime, that came up more often than not. One of our great witnesses was Sharlene Bosma. Many members will remember that name, as it was her husband who was killed by a mass murderer, someone who murdered at least three individuals. What Sharlene said left a lasting impact on me as well as on many members, certainly on this side of the House.
    She said that through the whole process of attending hearings every day, attending court and working to ensure a conviction of this individual who took the life of her husband, the one solace she took when he was sentenced is that her daughter would never have to attend parole hearings and face this monster. However, with one decision from the Supreme Court, that has been ripped away. Now this individual will be eligible for parole in what is left of his 25 years, and Sharlene Bosma, her daughter and other victims' families will have to face unnecessary parole eligibility hearings. Once again, the government throws up its hands.

  (1015)  

    Even in today's headlines it is reported that one of the worst killers in Canada, one of the most notorious, the Scarborough rapist, Paul Bernardo, has been moved, to the horror of the victims' families and all Canadians, from a maximum-security prison, where he should have spent the rest of his life, to a medium-security prison. We see, on the other, side feigned outrage. We see crocodile tears. We hear “How could this happen? We're going to look into this”, but now we are finding out every day that the Minister of Public Safety knew. Now we are finding out that the Prime Minister knew.
    Why did it happen in the first place? Part of the reason it happened is the government's own legislation. When the government brought in Bill C-83, which amended section 28 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, it meant that, when considering transfers from one institution to another, the litmus test brought in by the government is that offenders have to be held in the least restrictive environment. When the Liberals passed that legislation, and when they refused to act when they found out about this transfer, they made this an inevitability. This is on the Liberal government.
    I also want to address bail in this country. This came up again and again in our victims study. There are victims who are unnecessarily victimized. They are victims because our justice system has failed to protect them from repeat violent offenders. Just last week, we had a witness at justice committee, and what she said left an impression on me. She said that we do not have a justice system; we have a legal system, but many victims do not see justice in our system.
     Canadians fail to see justice when this government, through Bill C-75, put in a principle of restraint when it comes to bail. It has led to the outrageous situation of individuals who are repeat violent offenders, individuals who have been caught for firearms offences and are out on bail, committing another firearms offence. This is happening in Toronto, and the Toronto police helpfully provided us with the statistics. While out on bail for a firearms offence, offenders commit another firearms offence and get bail again. This is outrageous. The Liberals will say, “This is too bad. It is unfortunate that gun crime is taking place”, but it is taking place as a direct result of both their actions and their inaction, their failure to respond to a revolving-door justice system. I can tell members that Canadians are fed up with it.
    There is only one party that is committed to ending the revolving door, committed to ensuring that victims voices are heard, committed to appealing the measures in Bill C-75 that have led to this revolving door, committed to ending the outrageous situation in which individuals who commit gun crime are given no more than a slap on the wrist, and committed to ensuring that individuals who commit arson and burn down someone's home are not eligible to serve their sentence with a conditional sentence. What is a conditional sentence? It is house arrest. Under our Criminal Code, somebody could burn down a house and serve their so-called sentence playing video games from the comfort of their own home.
    When we were in government, we brought in legislation to change that, to end the revolving door, to have consequences for criminal actions and to protect the most vulnerable. We made sure that sex offenders were listed on the sex offender registry. We made sure that sex offenders served their sentence in prison and not in the community where they offended.
    However, under the current government, with both actions and failure to take action, we have a situation where communities are more and more in danger. Members do not have to take my word for it; this information is publicly available. Violent crime is up 32% in this country. Gang-related homicides are up almost 100% in this country. The approach of the revolving door, of allowing repeat offenders to continue to offend, is not working, and a Conservative government, led by Pierre Poilievre, will address—

  (1020)  

    We do not use names in the House.
    Questions and comments, the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.
    Madam Speaker, there is great anticipation about our debating Bill C-36, and the Conservatives continue to want to raise issues through concurrence motions in order to avoid government debate on important legislation. What we are talking about in this case is a national child care plan. It is something the Conservatives say they actually are in favour of.
     The question I have for the member is this: Why is it that the Conservatives continue to be a destructive force on the floor of the House of Commons by bringing in concurrence motion after concurrence motion to prevent debate on government bills, when they start crying that they do not have enough time to debate? Why is that?
    Madam Speaker, is the hon. member for real? Does he not ever get outside of the chamber and see what is happening in the real world? In the real world, where most of us live and where our constituents live, people are concerned about the fact that the government has allowed one of the most notorious sex offenders and murderers in Canada's history to be moved from a maximum-security prison to a medium-security prison. Canadians are outraged. They want answers. The more we peel back this onion, the more it stinks, and the more we realize how irresponsibly the government has acted. We realize it is their actions that have led to this consequence. Their inactions have led to this consequence.
    We make no apologies for standing up every day on behalf of victims of crime.
    Madam Speaker, I certainly am as disturbed, I think, as anyone in this country about Paul Bernardo's being moved to a medium-security prison, but I do think the hon. parliamentary secretary raises a good point. I am sure the hon. member for Fundy Royal was not the architect of this strategy, but when we have repeated concurrence debates in this place, we certainly do lose time to debate legislation that is consequential.
     I would also say that I do get outside of this place. I do talk to Canadians who are not in a bubble and Canadians would like to see Parliament work and actually debate legislation, pass legislation and have debates that are consequential. This concurrence motion on a committee report will inevitably pass without any change to our legislative framework, but we will have consumed a lot of time.
    I wonder if my hon. colleague has any thoughts on that.

  (1025)  

    Madam Speaker, I think that sometimes situations arise where we have to step up to the demands that Canadians have. I think it is appropriate on a day like today when we are here as parliamentarians, when Canadians are waking up to the news about the situation of Paul Bernardo having been moved to a medium-security prison and the fact that it happened because of the actions of the government.
     I think Canadians are entitled to hear the word “victims” in the chamber. I fear that if it were not our party speaking about these issues, they would be swept under the rug and would not be spoken of. Which party raises the issues of victims more than any other? It is our party. Honestly, on a day like today, I cannot make any apology for raising this issue and debating this issue. It is that important.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I think that we can all agree that it is important that the justice system fully recognize the rights of victims, that they do not feel victimized for the rest of their lives, and that they can thrive over time. Cases involving individuals such as Paul Bernardo are indeed troubling.
    There are other cases, however, that do not involve firearms. In those cases, we expect judges to use common sense and to keep things in perspective. Does my colleague believe that judges are able to keep things in perspective, especially when there is no previous criminal record, or does he think that the same rule should apply to everyone?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I would encourage the hon. member to read the recent Supreme Court decision on the sex offender registry, where judges themselves were calling out other judges on the misuse of the discretion for adding serious sex offenders to the sex offender registry. Many of our judges do a fantastic job, but we in Parliament are elected to do a job as well. It is time the government took defending the rights of victims seriously. We must take every action we can to make Canada as safe as it can be for victims, their families and our communities.
    Madam Speaker, it is always a privilege and honour to speak in the chamber, but, more importantly, to lend a voice to the fine residents of Brantford—Brant. On a topic such as this, with next to no notice, it is even more important that I lend an appropriate voice.
    I come at debates on criminal justice issues and victim issues from a place of significant experience. I know that several members have heard me explain my background, but for those who have not, it is important to remark that, prior to being elected in September 2021, I enjoyed a 30-year legal career. In those 30 years, I saw both sides of the equation. I defended the worst of the worst for 12 years. I defended individuals charged with shoplifting, mischief, paintball, tagging and spray-painting offences, all the way up to and including murder.
    I decided, after reflecting on my 12-year defence career, that it did not give me a sense of satisfaction, because, ultimately, when I cross-examined victims of crime from all walks of life, from young children all the way to senior citizens, it was heartbreaking to see how our criminal justice system works. It is extremely adversarial. Defence counsel have a job to do, and that job is to ensure that there is a fair trial, but, reflecting on the fairness of trials, sometimes one has to sacrifice one's personal beliefs and morals.
    After 12 years, I was at the point when I was about to get married and wanted to start a family, and I asked myself what type of husband and father I wanted to be. I was taking steps to ensure serious violent offenders were escaping justice and responsibility. Although it is ultimately the task of a defence lawyer not only to ensure not fairness but also, hopefully, win the case, it certainly creates havoc with respect to the victim's sense of what type of system we have. My colleague, the member for Fundy Royal, could not have said it better: in our role as a parliamentarians, the theme we hear over and over again is that this is definitely not a justice system but merely a legal system.
    When I joined the Crown's office in 2004, every single day that I was a public servant for the Province of Ontario left me with a gratifying feeling. Not only was I contributing to the fairness aspect of our legal system, our justice system, by holding offenders accountable, but also I was, in my small way, giving victims the voice they felt they had lost in being victimized, not being believed by police services, not being believed by legal professionals, or not being believed by judges. I took it as my personal mantra to dispel as many myths as possible when prosecuting, as I said, shoplifting, which has a societal impact, all the way to multiple murders. I have seen it all in my 18 years of Crown experience. I was left with a goal to ensure that, in my small way, I left victims whole again.

  (1030)  

    While offenders who do get punished usually end up in jail, depending on the nature of the crime, they will serve their sentence and move on with their lives. The same cannot be said for victims of crime. Some victims of crime live with the trauma of this experience for the rest of their natural lives. It was important for me as Crown counsel for the Province of Ontario to equip those victims who went through this horrific process and to give them the tools to put together their lives after this crime.
    It begs the question of why I chose to leave a very rewarding, satisfying career as a Crown attorney to enter these halls. The answer is simple. I was sick and tired of seeing the escalation of crime from coast to coast to coast, but particularly in my small riding of Brantford—Brant.
    I was born and raised in my riding. I remember growing up, all through high school, my university days, my law school days and ultimately my career as a lawyer and Crown attorney, it was a safe place to live and to raise a family. Literally, in the last 10 years of my practice as a Crown attorney, I was seeing a gradual increase in the prevalence of crime, but more so a prevalence of serious violent crime.
    Early on in my Crown days it would be common not to prosecute a homicide for several years. Fast-forward to 2020 and 2021, when I ultimately took a leave of absence to pursue politics, and we had 12 homicides on the books, with a small office of six Crown attorneys. It was overwhelming.
    It was not just the homicides. We had shootings, drug trafficking, fentanyl and all kinds of the nasty criminal activity this House speaks about literally on a daily basis and that we read about online or in the papers. That is what was happening. I felt my effective voice as a Crown attorney could only go so far. I wanted to be an instrument of change. I wanted to correct the wrongs with respect to our legal system.
    I must say it was completely frustrating for me to arrive in this House and hear the government touting how serious it is about our justice system, about holding offenders accountable and about victims' rights. Everything it does ultimately is the complete opposite.
    As my colleague has already indicated, Bill C-5 is a disaster. It is still a disaster, taking the most significant, serious, violent offences and opening up the possibility they can serve it in the comfort of their own homes. I am going to go further on conditional sentences, or house arrest. These individuals are entitled to work, spend some time in the community and go shopping.
    That is not holding an offender accountable, so it brings me full circle as to why we are here. We are here because the Minister of Public Safety has lost the trust of Canadians and of this House, and on that basis, I am asking that the motion be amended.
    I move:
    That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following:
the Seventh Report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, presented on Monday, April 17, 2023, be not now concurred in, but that it be recommitted to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights with instruction that it amend the same so as to recommend that the Minister of Public Safety immediately resign given his total lack of consideration for victims of crime in his mishandling of the transfer to more cozy arrangements of one of the worst serial killers in Canadian history, that this unacceptable move has shocked the public and created new trauma for the families of the victims and that the Minister of Public Safety's office knew about this for three months prior to Paul Bernardo's transfer and instead of halting it, the information was hidden from the families.

  (1035)  

    The motion is in order.
    The hon. member for Humber River—Black Creek.

  (1040)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his years of work on the issues of safety and improving safety throughout Canada.
    I can share with him the fact that when I came here, 23 years ago, one of my issues was very much the issue of crime and safety.
    I, too, lost a cousin who was an OPP officer in a terrible shooting. The results for the individual who performed the shooting were, I felt, very insignificant. I have talked a lot about these issues. I think they matter a lot to all of us as parliamentarians. At the same time, as we move forward, there is always the issue of being responsible and having to be responsible in how we bring in laws and how we enforce them and that we have to also make sure that we are considering everything, including the victims.
    I would like to say to the hon. member, as we move forward, that many of us share concerns about how we improve safety, whether we are talking about Bill C-21, guns and knives or all of the rest of it.
    Basic safety is critically important and I would like to look at how we can work better together to improve the judicial system and our laws and orders, and find answers.
    Madam Speaker, how do we work together? It is incumbent upon me to stress that collaboration on these issues ought to never be partisan. If we all come from a goal of protecting this community known as Canada, from coast to coast to coast, we have to put aside our ideological differences. We have to strive to not only talk about issues that are germane to the concerns of victims but actually implement them. It is listening to victims groups. It is not being dismissive of their concerns.
    The fact that so many victims rights groups now do not see this as a justice system but as a legal system should be an alarming call to my colleague and to members of this government.
    That narrative needs to change. It changes by not only talking the good game, that you are serious about holding offenders accountable and you are concerned about victims' rights, but walking the walk. When your minister who, in my opinion, has deliberately misled this House—
    May I remind the hon. member to speak through the Chair, please.
    The hon. member for Brantford—Brant.
    Madam Speaker, I remark upon the minister's commentary. That he had this information available to him for three months and chose not to share those details, not only with the House but with Canadians and, more importantly, with the families of the victims, is completely inexcusable.
    The government—
    We need to give a chance to someone else to ask a question.

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Berthier—Maskinongé.
    Madam Speaker, I listened very carefully to my colleague's speech. He has a wealth of experience in the justice system that commands respect, and I am confident that he knows exactly what he is talking about.
     I do not have that experience, obviously. That said, I have witnessed certain cases where mistakes or mistreatment resulted in individuals being released. Of course, that is part of the risk of a justice system. When we accept that there is a defence and a Crown, we obviously accept that the judge will rule one way or the other.
    My remarks generally concern resource allocation. My impression is that the Crown does not have enough resources and does not have the time to handle cases properly. That is what I believe happened in this case. I would like to hear my colleague's comments on that.
    How could this be improved? Perhaps it is because there is not enough money in the justice systems, including those in the provinces. Perhaps the government needs to transfer more.

  (1045)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, that is an excellent question. Judicial resources are at an all-time low. We have a total of almost 80 federal vacancies. We have vacancies provincially. We do not have enough Crown attorneys. We do not have enough detention centres. We do not have enough money going into police services.
    A multi-faceted approach is needed to deal with this crisis known as the criminal justice issue. It is the federal jurisdiction, the provincial jurisdiction and the municipal jurisdiction all working together to fill these gaps.
    Madam Speaker, maybe the best place to start off this discussion is that, at times, the role the Conservatives feel they need to play can be fairly upsetting. However, before I comment on that, I want to take the opportunity to think of the victims, Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy, and their families. It is incredibly difficult for any one of us to imagine the horror of what took place and the impact it has had, not only on the families of these two victims, but also on their friends, the people who got to know Kristen and Leslie.
    There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind of the horror caused by Bernardo, and many have talked about this horrific crime. At the time of the incidents, I was living in the Prairies, and I was an MLA. I can recall many nights watching what had taken place in the trial on the news broadcasts, and I recall the anger that was generated as a result of this horrific crime. I do not believe there is a member in the House, no matter what political party one represents, who would disagree in any fashion whatsoever that the actions taken by Bernardo at that time were nothing less than totally horrific. When we see something of that nature, we want to ensure there is a sense of justice that will be applied.
    There is no doubt in my mind that today, just as we saw yesterday, it will continue to be discussed in the chamber. I suspect there is a very good chance that it will come up in question period. I would encourage the Conservative Party, in particular, to consider this issue for an opposition day motion. I say that because there are so many issues out there that no doubt would be of interest to Canadians.
     I have a concern in dealing with the debate Conservatives have put on the floor this morning, and I had posed this in the form of a question to the member earlier, which is that the members opposite know there is a limited timeframe to deal with legislation. They continue to bring forward concurrence motions on reports. They know that by doing so, they are preventing debate on government legislation.
    They pull a report out of the pot to say it is an urgent issue, such as the most recent one with respect to housing and the housing crisis. We had a discussion on it. Before that, opposition members brought forward concurrence reports to prevent government from debating legislation. The Conservative Party continues to do that, whether it has been in this session or years past, yet I have never seen it bring a concurrence report on an opposition day, not once. I think it is important for Canadians to realize that the issue Conservatives are raising will be talked about later today, so they are not fooling anyone.

  (1050)  

    It is an important issue. People are genuinely concerned. As the Minister of Public Safety clearly indicated yesterday, and as indicated in communications from the Government of Canada, we are genuinely concerned about this issue. It is on the front burner. We are all appalled by the impact that this is having, not only on the family members, but also on our communities as a whole.
    I do not need to be told by Conservatives that I do not care about the issue because I do care. They try to give a false impression, as if only the Conservative Party of Canada wants to discuss an issue or have an issue addressed. It is a false impression.
    Last night I was here, I think it was around 9:30 in the evening, and I was speaking in my place. I was talking about child care. We can talk about inflation and the positive impact the child care program is having, and there is about 20 minutes of debate still left on that. Then we are going to pass through that legislation.
    If the Conservatives want to continue sitting for the month June, going into July, it would not bother me. Honestly, I would come back in July. I will sit as many days as the opposition would like to sit. I am open to it. I do not mind when the House sits until midnight.
    What I do mind is when the Conservatives continuously and consistently play that destructive force preventing government legislation from passing. We witnessed that when the Leader of the Conservative Party said he would stand up to speak until the government and the Prime Minister changed the budget implementation bill. A few hours later, the bill passed.
     It passed because there is a process, and the Conservatives could not bring in a concurrence motion there. Otherwise, who knows what concurrence motion they would have brought in.
    Canadians did elect a minority government back in 2021, but what they expected is not only a responsible, accountable government but also a responsible and accountable Conservative opposition. With the exception of some things that might have occurred during the pandemic in the previous Parliament, I have not witnessed that. Instead, I see the Conservatives amping things up whenever they get the opportunity to do so, even if the opportunity is not legitimate.
    Instead, the Conservatives will go on character assassinations and things of that nature. I do not say that lightly. I am not trying to belittle the issue in that report, but we saw that with the moving of the amendment. The members moved an amendment. We could ask how that amendment is directly related to the report itself. I would suggest the Conservatives are proposing a politically motivated amendment. They are more concerned about the politics than the issue, and it is not the first time.
    We have seen how the Conservatives always tend to favour fundraising and seem to favour the politics as opposed to the issue at hand. We have seen that not only with the introduction of a concurrence motion but also with the moving of the amendment. Was the amendment even called for? Was it even necessary?

  (1055)  

    We have standing committees of the House that meet to discuss a wide variety of issues. They come up with reports and a series of recommendations, and then the report comes to the House. The vast majority of reports never get called upon for concurrence motions, but it is a tool to be used on occasion. I even used it when I was in opposition years ago, but I like to think that I never abused that tool.
    Let us contrast with the Conservative Party of Canada's behaviour with the concurrence of reports. One only needs to look. Why did the Conservatives bring it in today and then move an amendment to the concurrence motion? If they were genuine in wanting to deal with the report, that is what the debate should have been about. Then we would all concur in the report, or if we wanted to vote against it, we would do that. However, that was not the purpose of moving concurrence of the report. This is the sensitive issue of the murder, and who knows what else, as I am not going to get into the graphic details, of both Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy. The Conservatives are taking that issue today and using it as a way, in part, to filibuster. That is shameful.
    They might be able to fool some, but for many the truth is known because we can see it in the amendment more than anything else. What does the report actually talk about? What are the recommendations of the report? I have a copy of the report and a series of recommendations. I was even provided some of the ministerial responses to the recommendations. I do not see any of that in the amendment proposed by the Conservative Party. I do not see that at all.
    What I see consistently on the issue of crime from the Conservative Party is a lot of talk. The Conservatives like to talk tough. They really do. The last time we had this kind of talk on an issue such as this was a few years back. It is not that often that I will quote myself, but I am going to do that. I am going back to February 4, 2020, when I am making reference to the Conservative Party in Hansard. I said:
    They tried to give the impression that it was the Government of Canada's fault, as if this government had ultimately allowed for the healing lodge placement of Ms. McClintic. I remind Conservatives that as we got more into the debate, we found out that it was actually Stephen Harper's regime that had her transferred to a medium-security facility, which made her eligible to be brought over to a healing lodge. We also found out that under Harper's regime, other child murderers were put into other medium-security facilities.
    It is a totally different, horrific crime, and the Conservatives were jumping out of their seats and giving graphic descriptions. That is how I could recall the speech I had given a few years back. There were graphic descriptions of the crime committed and how it was the Government of Canada's fault. Where was that passion for child murderers then? Was it somewhat misplaced when we found out that it was actually Stephen Harper's government that authorized transfers to medium-security institutions?
    Today, here we have a very high-profile incident, likely one of the worst and most horrific incidents in Canadian history, or definitely in the top two or three. It was amplified across the country, even though it is an incident that happened in a relatively small, loving community.

  (1100)  

    Everyone knew about the case; it was on the nightly news. The opposition members are taking that tragedy, trying to piggyback on top of a report from a standing committee that put forward 13 recommendations. There are many ways in which the opposition could be dealing with the issue. They are using this report as a mechanism to say they want to talk about the issue of crime for three hours, in order to prevent and ratchet up one issue. What are they actually preventing?
    If we had gone on to government business, we would have actually been debating Bill C-35, which had under a half-hour of debate left. That legislation will ensure, for the first time ever in the history of Canada, that we actually have a national child care program from coast to coast to coast. This program has already delivered $10-a-day day care in a number of provinces and, I understand, at least one territory. It is having a real impact on the lives of Canadians. More women are working today in the workforce in terms of a percentage than ever before. The program was modelled after what the federal government saw taking place in the province of Quebec. That is what we were supposed to be debating today. As on many other occasions, the Conservatives, as the leader of the Conservative Party has demonstrated, do whatever they can to prevent legislation from passing through the House of Commons.
    We will likely have a chance to go over those 13 recommendations in that report. What colleagues will find is that that report is being manipulated to the degree in which it has been amended to politicize it. This takes away the work that a good number of members on all sides of the House put into the report.
    I will just give one or two of the recommendations:
    That the Department of Justice establish a national working group with federal and provincial government officials, representatives from community organizations that work with victims, and victims’ representatives to agree on national best practices and minimum standards for victims of crime, particularly as regards the level of support and the services available to victims.
    The member was talking about victims. The government sees the value in terms of supporting victims. Enhanced funding was part of the recommendations, recognizing that our judicial system is a joint responsibility. We have to and we do work with provincial, territorial and indigenous communities. The member is criticizing us about the issue of victims. The government has not only recognized victims but also allocated funding to victims. This is a part of the response to the report from the minister: “Several of the Committee's recommendations speak to the need for enhanced funding for victim services and victim-focused activities. A key component of the FVS, a horizontal government initiative led by Justice Canada, is the Victims Fund. When it was established in 2000, the Victims Fund had $5 million available.... Since then, the funding available has grown to a little under $32 million in 2022-2023.”
    The government understands the importance of victims. We do not need to be told by the Conservative Party. We understand the harm that is caused by horrific incidents, and we will continue to be focused on Canadians.

  (1105)  

[Translation]

    I have some concerns this morning, Madam Speaker. I am listening to the debate and I am wondering whether this endless back and forth, filibustering, delaying debate, moving motions and tabling reports really benefits our democracy in any way. I do not know whether our democracy really benefits from the never-ending struggle between the Liberals and the Conservatives about who is going to win the procedural battle of the day and who is going to make the headlines by wasting the others' time.
    I do not know. I am rather fed up with hearing, seeing and witnessing all of this. I thought that we were here to debate bills. I thought that we were here to advance democracy. I find this really sad.
    It is not that I think the current motion is not important or worthwhile. However, it is giving rise to debates that are keeping us here until midnight every night until the House rises for the summer because so much time has been wasted on all this procedural wrangling over the past six months. I find that extremely unfortunate.
    I would like my colleague to comment on that.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I can honestly say that, when I came in this morning, I had no speech prepared whatsoever. I had full intentions of seeing Bill C-35 pass through the House. It was not only going to be a majority; my understanding is that every member in the House is going to be voting in favour of Bill C-35. I honestly believed that we were going to be debating that and then going on to the next item.
    I have been in opposition. Most of my political career has been in the opposition benches. Even when I was in opposition, and it can be found in a Hansard search, members will find that I have said in the past that something like time allocation is a necessary tool in order for governments to be able to pass legislation.
    Filibustering for no real purpose, other than to frustrate the system, does a disservice to the chamber. I think we need to put Parliament ahead of politics. I have given the odd partisan speech, I will admit that. Having said that—
    We will go to another question.
    The hon. member for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound.
    Madam Speaker, my question for the parliamentary secretary is around the amendment. It gets to the crux of the issue. I am going to give him a hypothetical.
    Maybe there is a chance in some future scenario that he is a minister. What would he do if he had staff who were hiding stuff from him, so that he was not aware of some serious allegations, especially when it comes to public safety and the importance of keeping Canadians safe?
    Madam Speaker, that is a good question. I suggest the member raise that question during question period. If he addresses it to me, I might even have the opportunity to answer that question directly.
    The debate that we are talking about today is about the concurrence report on 13 recommendations. Those recommendations, I would suggest, as in many other reports, would normally be looked at and responded to, as this report has been responded to. Then we would continue on.
    In this situation, the Conservatives wanted to bring it forward to the House this morning in order to pick up on a totally different issue. We saw that in the amendment they put forward, which politicizes the report. They are more interested in the politics than they are in the issue.
    Once again, we have seen a very clear demonstration by the far-right Conservative Party today on just how far they are prepared to go on the issue of playing partisan politics.

  (1110)  

    Madam Speaker, I have been in the House for 12 years, and I think I saw a first today when the hon. member for Winnipeg North read his own remarks into the record as part of his speech. I compliment him on his creativity.
    We have a concurrence report, which was unanimously supported by all the parties and made 13 very important recommendations about victims' rights and services.
    Today's debate has a danger of diverting us from those unanimous recommendations and making progress on them together, when this is one of the few times all the parties have come together on a report. Does the member share my concern about this?
    Madam Speaker, I will tie that into the issue of a healthier democracy. We underestimate the real value of what takes place in our standing committees. On occasion, we get reports that are unanimously supported. I do not get to spend very much time in committees myself, but I know about the passion I have seen from a number of colleagues who go to committee to deal with reports. I see the amount of energy, resources, time, passion and love of an issue. Reports come from those committees, and when they are unanimous, we do a disservice to the work committees have done on reports when we politicize them.
    I believe the amendment being proposed today does just that. It takes a partisan slant and poisons the well, in my opinion.
    Madam Speaker, I have to say I agree that this debate takes attention away. As my hon. friend from Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke just pointed out, we are debating a concurrence report with which we all agree. This means that we are not really debating the topic at all. We are not talking about victims' rights. The report focuses on specific recommendations, so the debate today, lest anyone be confused, is for no high-minded purpose. It is clearly a procedural tactic being used by the official opposition; therefore, it is dispiriting.
    The topic is not dispiriting. We need to protect victims' rights, and we need much more recognition throughout the system that the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights should have included the Marsy's law material out of the state of California, which would keep victims properly informed at every stage. I argued that at the time. These recommendations are important, but we are not talking about those. The victims in this case are being used as a political football, and I find that dispiriting.
    Madam Speaker, when I started my comments, I referred to the victims, their families, friends and our communities as a whole, because of the high profile of the Bernardo issue.
    That aside, the recommendations, in many ways, are focused on victims. I have not read the entire report. As I said, I did not come here expecting to debate this issue today. I have had the chance to look at a couple of the recommendations, of which I understand there are 13. I have had a chance to look at the response to it from the minister's office. The issue in itself in the report is a very good issue. I think that if Canadians go online, they would be fairly impressed by the work of parliamentarians. I suspect they can find it online.
    If Canadians could see a lot of the work that is done in committees, I think they would be quite pleased. At times, some of the things that take place on the floor of the chamber take away from reports, and that is what is sad to see today.

  (1115)  

    Madam Speaker, I am very disturbed, as a member who has served on a number of committees, that the work of committees is being used in this manner. Committees are an opportunity for members to contribute both expertise and thoughtful reflections from their constituents.
    What are the hon. member's thoughts about how using a thoughtful committee report in this manner, weaponizing it to name and shame, hurts the work of committees in general?
    Madam Speaker, the member is correct in her assessment, when she says that it is weaponizing a report that was supported unanimously by all parties in the House. Filibustering, and ultimately making it a very partisan issue, does not do a service to the work that the committee members have put in.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, first of all, I ask my colleagues' permission to share my time with my colleague from Berthier—Maskinongé.
    I am going to talk about the report that is the main focus of our debates today. With respect to the amendment proposed by the Conservatives, I will let the minister defend himself as he sees fit. Those of us in the Bloc Québécois are also outraged by this treatment—I would not say preferential treatment, but the treatment Mr. Bernardo received. It seems victims rights' have been ignored in this case. It is shocking to us too, but I will let the minister present the arguments he deems appropriate. We will see when the time comes.
    I was proud to sit on the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights when we studied these provisions. Of all the areas of federal jurisdiction, the Criminal Code is among the most important. I do not wish to diminish the importance of international relations, the environment or other matters, but the Criminal Code has an impact on the daily lives of many Canadians. The federal government's power over the Criminal Code and criminal activity is a very big deal. I was very proud to take part in those debates.
    The report contains a number of recommendations. They are all important, but I would particularly like to draw my colleagues' attention to the provisions set out in recommendations 7, 8, 9 and 10 regarding victim's participation in the process.
    I think this is essential. In a criminal trial, decisions are often made about the punishment that will or will not be imposed on the accused. Some consideration is also often given to the fate of the victims of the crimes in question, but perhaps not always enough. At least, victims may not get a chance to participate effectively in trials that involve them. We heard from many witnesses on this issue in committee. What came up quite frequently was the lack of information. Victims do not know what rights they have during their attacker's trial.
    We think it would be important to run education campaigns on this issue, while taking into account the different areas of jurisdiction, of course. My colleagues know how important that is to me. Raising awareness should not mean encroaching on the jurisdictions of Quebec and the provinces. We think there could be discussions on this, but public education campaigns have to be set up to properly inform citizens of their rights when they are victims of a crime.
    There is the whole issue of the ombudsman. The position was vacant for quite some time, but was finally filled last fall. A new ombudsman was appointed. However, the budget for the office of the ombudsman is rather meagre. I think this should be reconsidered to ensure that there is a full team of competent people working with the ombudsman, because the role of ombudsman is essential in the criminal trial process. The public education campaigns and the ombudsman are important elements that we will find in more detail in recommendations 7, 8, 9 and 10 of the report. That said, I do not want to minimize the importance of reading all 13 recommendations.
    I would also like to draw my colleagues' attention to recommendations 11 and 12. We talked about them recently. Important groups are calling for this. Motions to this effect have been moved in the House. We must absolutely ensure that the publication bans in criminal cases have the desired scope and effect.
    Publication bans are issued to protect the victims, not to protect the public. However, under the current system, most of the time publication bans are requested by the Crown prosecutor, sometimes almost automatically, often without the victims having been consulted.

  (1120)  

    Once the publication ban has been ordered, the victim does not have the authority to ask that it be lifted. However, victims often want to speak out publicly in the media about the crimes committed against them. They want to talk about how the crime affected their lives and their family's lives. They want to have some input on the punishment they consider appropriate in their case.
    In every case, the victim comes up against a publication ban that they do not have the right to breach. If they do, they could be prosecuted. This makes no sense to me. Victims testified at our committee about this issue. I do not even understand why this rule is in place. They are quite right. We need to allow publication bans, because they are essential in some cases. Some victims say they do not want the crime they were a victim of to be discussed. They do not want their family, neighbours or children to read about it in the media.
    However, other victims say that it is therapeutic for them to talk about it. The needs and rights of the victims must be considered. Publication bans are central to victims' rights and needs. I recommend that the House pay particular attention to this issue, which is addressed in recommendations 11 and 12 of the report. This strikes me as being essential.
    There is also recommendation 13, which deals with the issue of restitution orders. In a justice system that many say should be increasingly restorative, perhaps victims should be provided with better access to restitution. Any time a trial extends over several days or even several weeks, it might make sense to assume that the presiding judge has a good idea of the damages suffered by the victims. It might also seem appropriate for the judge to rule on some of those damages and ensure that the orders made are binding and that the victims have the opportunity to ensure that they are enforced. Access to restitution is important.
    Publication bans should be ordered or sought by the Crown only after the victim has consented to the ban. For example, the judge could seek or require the victim's consent before issuing a publication ban. If the victim does not consent, a discussion could take place with the judge and the Crown as to why a ban should or should not be imposed. A mechanism must be found to ensure that victims participate in these orders and are able to have them lifted when it is in their best interest.
    Again, I could never overstate the importance of supporting victims, as I discussed at the start of my speech. However, we need to invest funds in providing the necessary information to victims. At the moment, that information is meagre. Although I dislike using the same word twice, the adjective seems to fit the ombudsman's office and information services too. As things stand, a person who becomes a victim of crime is unaware of the services they are entitled to receive. The victim's level of involvement in the process will depend on the prosecutor assigned to the case. I think we need to inform victims, but we also need to inform Crown attorneys about what they must offer victims to have them participate, understand the process and exercise their rights along the way.

  (1125)  

    Madam Speaker, I enjoyed my colleague's speech a great deal. I can tell that he has worked really hard on this issue. In fact, he was on the committee that studied it. I would like his opinion on the fact that we are looking at an amendment that has nothing to do with the committee's report.
    Madam Speaker, I would not go so far as to say that the amendment has nothing to do with the adoption of the report, since we are talking about victims' rights and the case of Mr. Bernardo, who was transferred to a medium-security penitentiary without the victims being properly consulted or informed. Maybe there is a connection, but I agree with the member that it is certainly not a direct link.
    At the time we wrote our report, we certainly would not have been able to discuss Mr. Bernardo's case, because his transfer has only just taken place. There is a connection, but it is tenuous.
    I think we have to wait and see what the minister comes up with. I think the connection is too tenuous for us to be able to discuss it in a useful way at this point. I would rather have the minister explain this motion.
    Personally, I want the House to approve our report as written so we can move forward. Once again, this is too important. We need to strengthen victims' right to information, provide funding to the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime, launch an awareness campaign, and review the parole process and publication bans.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it has been a great pleasure working with the member on the justice committee. It is important to note that the justice committee has done an enormous amount of work unanimously in trying to move things forward for Canadians, despite sometimes being in a minority Parliament that is quite divisive.
    My question for the member has to do with recommendation 3, which talks about the establishment of national standards for minimum levels of support for victims of crime. It calls for the federal government and the provinces to work together to establish those standards. Right now there is no right to victims' assistance and there are no common standards among the provinces.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I agree with my colleague that it was a pleasure working together on the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. Despite the differences of opinion from one party to the other, I think we have always been able to work respectfully, and I value that.
    With regard to recommendation 3, it is indeed important to establish minimum standards for victim services. Again, I am proceeding very cautiously, because it seems to me that the foundation of this work is fragile.
    We are talking about respecting the jurisdiction of Quebec, each of the provinces and the three territories. This needs to play out the same way it did in committee, that is, with respect, and the provinces should be consulted. If the justice ministers of Quebec, Canada, Ontario and all the provinces agree to work together to establish something, I would be the happiest man alive. Even a sovereign Quebec wants to work with Canada and with other countries. That is the crux of the global political, economic, cultural and social reality. We must work together to ensure that the services offered to victims are effective and useful to everyone.

  (1130)  

    Madam Speaker, I would like to ask my dear colleague a very brief question.
    I gather that it was important that all the recommendations in the report be adopted and that the report be concurred in as is. I imagine that several of the witnesses that the committee heard from were victims. If there was one priority for victims, what was it?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Thérèse-De Blainville for her question and for the incredible work that she does in her riding and in the House.
    I will reiterate everything that I believe is essential: victims' participation in the justice system, restorative justice, publication bans, and victims' participation in parole hearings. However, the fact is that victims' right to information needs to be reinforced, so that is probably the priority.
    Madam Speaker, I thank and salute my colleague from Rivière-du-Nord for the fine work he does every day on the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. I have had the privilege of substituting for him on a number of occasions. His are big shoes to fill.
    I will begin by saying that I am disappointed we are once again dealing with a Conservative ploy to disrupt the agenda, to waste time, when we have important work to do. Today, the Conservatives are doing it by raising an extremely important, fundamental and serious issue that we must discuss, so we will discuss it.
    It is true that it is an important issue. I am not being critical because the issue is not important. Questioning the minister's authority or legitimacy is important, but when do we get to move forward?
    It is rather ironic that the week we are debating the hybrid Parliament so members can have a family life and spend some time at home, we are sitting every damn night until midnight.
    Mr. Gérard Deltell: Pardon me?
    Mr. Yves Perron: Am I not allowed to say “damn”?
    It is always a question of whether or not it offends another member. In this case, it struck a nerve.
    I recommend that the hon. member use other words.
    Madam Speaker, my colleague will surely agree with me that there is irony in this. I withdraw the word. We are then sitting every evening until midnight. That was my introduction.
    Now, we need to talk about this serious and very important subject of victims’ rights. This committee report seems fundamental to me. However, we need to be very vigilant on the issue of jurisdiction. The report’s first recommendation refers to creating a national working group to agree on consistent standards and practices—or at least as consistent as possible. I understand the merits of that proposal. My colleague from Rivière-du-Nord mentioned it earlier. However, we will have to be very vigilant when working with the governments of Quebec, the other provinces and the territories, because they are the ones responsible for the administration of justice, and therefore all these conditions.
    As indicated in the report’s second recommendation, the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights must be reviewed to include the right to support. This is fundamental.
    I will tell a sad story from last year. There was a traffic accident in my riding. It was an accident caused by someone who was intoxicated. It therefore became a criminal act. The body of a 17‑year‑old youth who was killed in the accident—I find it hard not to get emotional when I talk about it because I knew these people really well—became an exhibit in court. That is an example of victims’ rights. Members may look at me funny, but they will understand the connection. This young person's body became evidence. After three days, the mother called me in terrible distress because she was unable to retrieve the body of the child she had just lost.
    I understand the police investigation and everyone understands there are processes, but we can all see the hole in our system. During all that time, the parents were being told nothing; they were not there. They are the direct victims of the criminal act that was perpetrated, and they were not being looked after. The member for Quebec was contacted and this was then resolved. However, those people suffered for many hours.
    Maybe that could be fixed, and we could do better. People need to be informed because, in my example, no one was giving the parents any information or telling them when it would be over. I am sure we understand what I mean. It is very important that we take care of victims of criminal acts.
    The fourth recommendation of the committee’s report pertains to information for victims. This too is fundamental. This information should be provided automatically, and victims should not have to fight for it. That is not normal either. The person has already been victimized by a crime and their life is destabilized; we need to help them, not put new obstacles and new challenges in their way. This is fundamental. Again, it is clear that this victim will want information. To me, making the information available seems central to everything.
    Next, information should be provided to people who are victims. In the case of the mother I talked about earlier, no one gave her any information. We need to inform people about their remedies and their rights. Doing that will take money. That was mentioned earlier.
    Victims should also be allowed to participate in the process and be informed. Let us imagine a victim of an extremely violent crime. A release process is under way, but the victim was not informed; she is then faced with a done deal. Imagine this person’s anguish. The victim may wonder whether this person will come back to see them or whether there will be reprisals. It is important that victims be included in the judicial process, that they be respected and properly supported. That, too, is a question of resources.
    My colleague from Rivière-du-Nord also stressed the importance of the recommendations that deal with publication bans. Sometimes, people can act very quickly and these bans will be issued. If I believe the findings of the committee’s report, that is being done without the victim’s consent.

  (1135)  

    However, the first person that should be consulted in the entire process is the victim. It may be that the victim does not want the publication ban. That also carries a risk. For example, a person who was shaken, who communicated but made a mistake by conveying too much information, may be found in breach of the ban by the court. This is clearly not acceptable.
    Beyond all that, there is the issue of resource allocation. I approached one of my Conservative colleagues who gave a speech this morning to ask him whether we had the necessary resources in our justice system to properly represent, among others, the Crown. I have major doubts about this. Perhaps more money should be transferred to Quebec and the provinces. This is also very important.
    Let us talk about support resources. What we are seeing when we work in our ridings is that there are a lot of community organizations. These community organizations have extremely dedicated people who are there for the right reasons, to help people. When we inquire about these people's living conditions, we realize that they work an incredible number of hours for a scant wage. That requires moral fortitude. Those who deal with human suffering have a hard time shaking it off when they go home to have supper with their families. These people provide extraordinary services to the community. I dream of the day when there will be enough funding for these people, who I see as discounted government subcontractors because taking care of people is a collective responsibility.
    In the case of victims of crime, in particular, people need to be taken by the hand, accompanied and informed about what they can do. They need to be asked what they want and what they do not want. For instance, if they choose to allow a publication ban, they need to be told what that means. They need to be asked if they are ready to live with that. Often, things move quickly, and things are not explained because the resources are not there, because there is no time. People must have the time to take care of victims.
    In closing, let us talk about the amendment. We will not start defending the minister, who seems to be aware of very few things in his life. However, a bit like my colleague from Rivière-du-Nord, I question the relevance of tying that to this report, although there is indeed an indirect link. I think there are other ways of addressing that. The importance of the report must not be overlooked, and it must be adopted.

  (1140)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I am impressed with the speech of my colleague. I have heard clearly, in every word he has said, how he feels about this issue and how important it is that we move forward on the recommendations in this report. It covers many of the issues of victims' rights.
     A constituent of mine was the victim of a drive-by shooting that left her completely paralyzed. That is when I found out how little services and support we have, whether they are financial compensation, or the avenues that are recommended in the report, the avenues for people to talk to someone, and some sensitivity. Resources that are there are clearly not sufficient.
     I would like to hear more from my colleague on what more he thinks we need to do, over and above these great recommendations before us.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question and her kind words.
    What more should be done?
    At every level of bureaucracy, the people being served should be taken into consideration. Public servants should look beyond financial considerations and look after their needs. Certainly, if they have to deal with 18 cases in a single day, that becomes impossible. For example, some youth protection cases have been dragging on for a long time, so resources are needed.
    Beyond that, I think that the culture needs to be changed, hence the importance of launching awareness campaigns and setting standards. That is why we agree on the principle, with the usual caveat of respecting Quebec and the provinces.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I think the previous speaker raised a very important point, which is our dependence on volunteer organizations that deal with victims and the struggles they have to raise the necessary money not just to provide the services, which are sometimes done on a contract basis, but to keep the lights on and the doors open at those organizations. There is very little support for that core funding that is very necessary for those organizations.
    I would like to hear a bit more from the hon. member on his views on core funding for victim support organizations.

[Translation]

    What a nice softball from my colleague, Madam Speaker. I thank the member for this great question.
    Not only is it abnormal, it is revolting. These dedicated people who want to help others have to spend half their week, if not more, filling out damn paperwork.
    Keeping an organization on mission for six months or more takes funding, but once they do manage to get funding, after six months they have to account for how those funds were used, which involves filling out more than a couple of forms. They have a stack of papers to fill out. I imagine that that answers my Liberal colleague's first question.
    What more is there to be done? Let us look at how administration can be burdensome and tedious for those who want to help people.
    Madam Speaker, my colleague spoke emotionally about the need to provide and share information.
    My question is quite simple. What concrete steps can we take to improve these processes for both victims and the system?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my esteemed colleague for her question.
    What more can we do? It comes back to the same thing. We need to fund our resources properly. We need to provide them with permanent and adequate funding so that they do not have to wonder every year whether they will be able to continue operating. We need to make sure that we have quality resources.
    Earlier, I talked about something important, and that is a culture change in the justice system. The most important thing is to take care of victims. I think that is what it comes down to.

  (1145)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I am of two minds about this debate this morning, because a concurrence debate about a unanimous report, which is on a very important topic, is a good thing, but I am also concerned if the real intent behind this debate is a diversion from others business of Parliament rather than actually talking about the important recommendations of this report.
    Certainly, we heard from a wide range of people in the committee on this report. Many individual victims of crime came at a great personal cost and retold their stories of what had happened to them and the effects of being a victim of crime. We heard from many organizations that provide services to victims of crime. I want to pay particular thanks to the organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which has a very active victims' advocacy program.
    We heard from the victims ombudsman, and I want to pay respect at this point to both the previous victims ombudsman, Heidi Illingworth, and the current ombudsman, Benjamin Roebuck, for the important research and advocacy work they do on behalf of victims in this country.
    I hope what we can do in this debate is maintain the focus on what we heard from those victims and those victims' advocates and the recommendations that were unanimously approved in the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. An important function of this debate today could be to encourage the government, in the many different departments involved, to make progress on these recommendations.
    There are other mechanisms available in this House for holding government ministers to account. I know the hon. members of the Conservative Party know that, they have been using those, so again I will stress my concern that we are not actually doing this debate for some other purpose when there are other mechanisms available. No matter what one thinks about that issue, they are there, they have been used and they can continue to be used. I hope the impact of this is not going to focus on another issue, which is important, yes, but another issue rather than the issues that were raised in this report. Again, I am concerned we keep that focus on moving forward on the recommendations in this report.
    There are a number of chapters in this report, and it kind of amazed me that in the end, on a topic that has often been contentious in Parliament, we were able to reach a consensus on 13 recommendations. That is a bit of a miracle, especially in a minority Parliament and especially on an issue that has previously been so contentious.
    I bring attention to chapter 4, which talks about services for victims of crime, and I will come to that in just a minute. There is a whole chapter on the right to information about the legal process in this report. There are recommendations on the rights of victims to participate in the legal process and how we meet the challenges victims face when they try to participate in this legal process. There is a chapter on the right to protection of victims while they are participating in the process, and I will return to that one a little later on.
    There is an important chapter on the idea of restitution, on how often victims of crime cannot be made whole again in both financial and circumstantial areas. There is a final chapter on complaint mechanisms and remedies, so when the system goes wrong for victims what they have available to them to make that known to the system and to those who have the power to change that.
    If we talk about services, one of the important things I learned from this is that in the Victims Bill of Rights there is no right to access to services for victims of crime. I think that is an oversight, and this committee, in recommendation 2, says that we should fix that. We know it is going to be a challenge. The federal government shares the justice field with the provinces and administration of justice belongs to the provinces.
    That is why in recommendation 3 in this report it talks about working together to set some minimum standards of what is available to victims, in terms of support services and participation in the various parts of the legal process. I was very pleased to hear my hon. colleague from the Bloc Québécois agreeing we do need to work together to achieve some minimum standards. Again, that is part of the miracle of this report, which is that even on contentious federal-provincial issues we were able to reach agreement on how to better serve victims.
    What do victims really need? There is a whole range of things, but the thing we heard most often is they need support services that are tailored to their needs and that quite often those needs are different.

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    Victims from different backgrounds have different needs to support them participating in the process and also to recover as a victim of crime. Lots of times, the services that we have available do not actually take into account the different circumstances, especially of those who are most marginalized in our society and especially of indigenous people. Having culturally relevant and culturally appropriate services available to victims is something we often fall down on and we do not do such good job.
    When we are talking about services for victims of crime, we have tended to ignore mental health services. Again, my colleague from Comox has been a great advocate for mental health services. This report acknowledges that victims quite often need very specific kinds of therapy in order to get back to full participation in society, after having been victimized by criminal activity. I commend that chapter to everyone in the House. It is a very important chapter on the gaps in our approaches.
    I was surprised to learn that is legal aid is generally not available, in any form, to victims of crime. Even though I taught criminal justice for many years, I had not really thought about this from the perspective of victims. We provide legal aid to defendants, and of course we have prosecutors who are paid for by the public. However, when it comes to victims of crime participating, legal assistance is generally not available to them. We depend on advocacy organizations to provide that advice and that assistance to victims of crime.
    That brings me to the chapter on the right to information. Again, we did something peculiar when we established victims' rights and we said that the victims have rights to ask for information about the system. What we heard, again and again, from victims and their advocacy organizations is quite often victims do not even know what to ask. The system is so unfamiliar, so complex and so unforgiving. In particular for people who suffered trauma, it is so difficult to navigate that they do not even know what rights they have or to ask how to access those rights.
    An important recommendation in this report, recommendation 4, is that we change the onus of providing information to an automatic provision of information to victims. Some jurisdictions do a better job than others in making sure victims understand what their rights are and what services are available to them. Again, we largely depend on those volunteer organizations to inform victims of their rights. However, if someone is not in touch with one of those organizations, they are left in the dark about how this very complex legal system of ours actually works.
    Let us change this from saying that it is on victims to request information to it is on someone specific. We have not tried to solve that problem in this report, but we have indicated that it needs to be someone specific. We cannot just say there is right to information without saying who is actually going to deliver that information. It is up to the governments, again, because we have a justice system that is split over jurisdictions. It is up to those jurisdictions to work together to figure out who is going to make sure that victims actually do get the information.
    One of the things we could do is provide core funding to victim organizations that are actually already doing this work. If we provided better funding to those organizations, they could make sure that victims were getting the information that they need on how to participate in the legal system, how to make sure their voices are heard in our legal system, but also on the very services that might be available to them in the community.
    Now chapter 7 deals with the right to the protection of victims' identity and the right to privacy of victims. Again, this is probably one of the most surprising parts of the report. We heard very moving and effective testimony from victims of sexual assault, like Morrell Andrews, who talked about something we did many years ago in our legal system. We set up a system of publication bans so that the identity of victims of sexual assault would not become public.
    Over the years our understanding of sexual assault has changed, and many of those victims of sexual assault were surprised to learn that they were subject to a publication ban, that they were not allowed to talk about what had happened to them in any way. Many of those victims of sexual assault also felt the publication ban, by protecting their identity, ended up protecting the identity of the perpetrator.
    What we heard quite clearly in the testimony that was before us, and it was very eloquent, very difficult testimony for people to give on their personal assault experiences, was that the current arrangements take away agency from victims of sexual assault.

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    Therefore, in recommendation 11, the committee has recommended: first, that those who are subject to publication bans need to be informed and consulted before that publication ban is put in place; and second, that they need to have the right to opt out of that publication ban.
    Many members know that I have spoken several times in the House about being an adult victim of child sexual assault. The veil of secrecy that was put around me at that time was helpful, but it was most helpful to the perpetrator, who had eight other victims. It would have been quite important for me, though as a minor I probably could not make that decision, for someone to make the decision that it was information the public needed to have. We have heard quite clearly from adult victims of sexual assault that they want their agency back. They want the ability to talk about their experience, they want the ability to warn others and they do not want to be treated as if they are minor children when it comes to the issue of sexual assault.
     Those are just a few of the highlights in this report.
     When I talk about trying to keep our focus on those recommendations so we can move forward, I want to talk a bit about one step forward that the government has taken as a result of this report.
    We have Bill S-12 currently in the Senate. The last time I checked two days ago, the Senate justice committee was just about finished its consideration of Bill S-12. It would take recommendation 11 from this report and put it into law. When that recommendation is finished in the Senate, it will come back to the House and we will have the chance, in approving Bill S-12, to give that agency back to victims of sexual assault, to give them the right to know about publication bans before they are imposed and the right to have the ability to opt out of those publication bans.
    When I say that focusing on these recommendations is important to make progress, there is a very specific example of the many things that are in this report so that, if we keep the focus on the unanimous support for those recommendations, I believe we will be able to make progress on victims' rights and services for victims.
     Again, this is a minority Parliament and often fractious. However, in the justice committee, somehow, on very many issues we have been able to work together to achieve unanimity. The report on improving support for victims of crime is my best example of how Parliament can work, Parliament can be very functional and we can make recommendations that are important to the lives of everyday Canadians.
    Madam Speaker, I congratulate my colleague on a wonderful report. The recommendations cover so many different areas that I have concerns about when it comes to victims' rights.
     As I had mentioned earlier, a constituent was the victim of a drive-by shooting and left paralyzed. That is when I started asking questions about what kinds of supports there were, both financial and restorative as well as emotional supports. I found out that there was very little there.
    I congratulate my colleague for the excellent work the committee did on bringing this forward. I would like to hear him spend another minute or so speaking about other suggestions over and above the recommendations that are here today.
    Madam Speaker, I am going to stick to the member's question a bit more about what we heard from victims, because it is important to remember that this report is based on what we heard from victims of crime.
     There are two general themes in what we heard. One of those was that victims wanted to ensure that justice was done, absolutely.
     However, there is a second theme of victims that gets missed in some of the debates in the House of Commons. That second theme that was almost always there was that they wanted to ensure that no one else would become a victim of the same thing that happened to them. That compassion for others that almost all victims have displayed is how their trauma and terrible experience can be used to inform public policy so that this does not happen to any other family and does not happen to any other community. That is an important part of this debate and it is an important part of what is reflected in the report, which I hope we all respect.

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[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I very much appreciate the tone of the debate in the past hour. I find that the report contains good recommendations. The focus is clearly on the victims, and that is really important.
    The problem is that the report was brought up this morning when we were supposed to be talking about something else. That has been happening a lot in recent weeks and months in the House. We are behind in much of our work. There are always distractions. There are always attempts to obstruct our debates. For that reason, we will be working until midnight until June 23. Important bills were supposed to be passed, but may not be before we adjourn for the summer.
    I would like to hear what my colleague thinks about the partisan game that has been going on between the Conservatives and the Liberals since the beginning of the session.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, there are always issues of importance, issues of the day perhaps that are in the media, but there are many mechanisms in this Parliament to deal with those. The purpose of moving concurrence in this report seems to be to divert other business of Parliament and not focus on the recommendations of the report. That is why I have not been talking about those other issues. I hope we can remain focused on the recommendations of the report and let the parties in this Parliament use the other mechanisms available for dealing with other issues.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure serving with my colleague and southern neighbour from Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke in this caucus.
    I have been here long enough and have witnessed in the House of Commons that sometimes the crimes that are reported in the news can be sensationalized in this place and the statistics are torqued up to make political arguments. That is why I was glad to hear him underline the complexity of our justice system. I want to commend all members from all parties of the justice committee on the fact this report was adopted unanimously in a minority Parliament, and for putting that work in and arriving at a unanimous report.
    I want to direct my colleague's attention to recommendation 8, which asks the government to expand and promote restorative justice, and to ensure there is adequate funding. We often hear about the soft-on-crime or jail-not-bail approaches. Restorative justice is a very complex procedure and centring it on victim's rights is about asking the offender to take a measure of responsibility. It does not always involve incarceration but really a variety of different processes that allow victims and offenders to come to some kind of a conclusion, which can be different in whatever the case may be.
    I would ask my colleague to expand a bit on what was heard at committee and to put it into the victim context.
    Mr. Speaker, my friend raises a very important point, and I want to give a very specific example, because I think often restorative justice is not taken seriously, which is why it is not funded seriously.
    We had a very horrific incident of anti-Semitism in my riding, where some horrible graffiti was inscribed on The Chabad Centre for Jewish Life and Learning. It was done by two non-rocket scientists who were fairly young. It was done on camera, which they apparently did not notice, and they were fairly easily apprehended.
     The police worked with the Chabad Centre for Jewish Life and Learning to create a restorative solution to the problem, which was that these two young people, who had been influenced by online publications and who I think had no real idea of the harm they had done, sit down with the members of that congregation to understand the harm they had caused. I really commend that community for taking a very horrific incident and, as a whole, trying to turn it into something positive.

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    Mr. Speaker, I want to provide an opportunity for my hon. colleague and neighbour from Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke to explain more fully what we are debating today and why we would be better served to debate other issues that we have to resolve in the few days that are left before, we hope, a parliamentary recess will occur, and not because we want to be on vacation but because we need to get some bills passed in this place.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is really tempting me off what I am trying to do here, which is to say that, once this motion for concurrence has been moved, I would like us to focus on the recommendations in the report and the ability to move forward on those.
    However, she is absolutely right. I do not believe that the motion for concurrence was moved for those reasons. I think it was moved to displace other business of Parliament that is also quite important, which I hope we get through before we rise.
    We can really make progress on improving support for victims of crime if we all continue to work together as we did on this report.
    Mr. Speaker, one of themes in the report is the necessity to do a better job at consulting with victims before decisions are made, whether with respect to parole or within corrections services.
     Bringing it back to the amendment we are debating, I would like the member's take on the importance of ministerial accountability to consider the victims who need to be informed as a priority. When ministers do not take accountability and hide behind their staff, it reharms the victims. I would like the member's comments on that.
    Mr. Speaker, as I have said several times now, and I will say it again, when we are talking about ministerial accountability there are very good and robust measures in the House, question period being among them, where we can deal with questions of accountability. I do not think that a concurrence motion on a unanimous report is the place to do that.
    His question about victims is an important one, but I want to give a caution here. There is a difference between listening to the victims of crime about what will help them recover and about what is needed for them to participate fully in the system, and taking traumatic incidents in our society and exploiting them for political purposes. I worry that this is what we see happening today.
    Mr. Speaker, I came in here this morning expecting to be dealing with Bill C-35. I certainly agree with the recommendations in this report. As my hon. colleague indicated, we should stay very focused on these recommendations but move forward.
    The amendment that my colleague moved for in the concurrence report is just another effort to politicize another terrible issue that we are concerned about, injuring the very victims who we are talking about in the recommendations from the Standing Committee on Justice and its recommendations to be more sensitive to the victims. With the amendment that was moved earlier, it is exactly the opposite.
    I do want to speak today on this and talk about Bill S-12, which is the government's commitment to victims of crime. I will highlight different parts of Bill S-12, an act to amend the Criminal Code, the Sex Offender Information Registration Act and the International Transfer of Offenders Act.
     Bill S-12 has three main objectives: first, to respond to the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada last October in R. v. Ndhlovu, which struck down elements of the national sex offender registry; second, to strengthen the effectiveness of the registry; and, third, to empower survivors and victims of crime by changing the rules governing publication bans and a victim's right to information; all three very important.
    Today, I want to explain some of the proposed reforms that aim to ensure that the registry continues to be an effective and efficient tool for law enforcement. The RCMP and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police have lauded Bill S-12, and we are pleased that the legislation would ensure that the police agencies have what they need to do their jobs to better protect victims of crime and to prevent future crimes.
    Bill S-12 would add to the list of offences that qualify a convicted offender for registration. Of particular note, the bill would add the offence of non-consensual distribution of intimate images to the list. The bill would also target so-called “sextortion” by adding extortion to the list when shown that it has been committed with the intent to commit a sexual crime. This is an important step forward in helping the police identify perpetrators of offences, which are becoming far more prevalent in the digital age with which we are dealing.
    The bill also proposes a new arrest power in the Criminal Code to address the issue of non-compliance with registration obligations. Currently, it is estimated that up to 20% of individuals with obligations related to the national sex offender registry are non-compliant. This is not acceptable to any of us as parliamentarians and it is not acceptable to Canadians.
     The only legislative mechanism to facilitate compliance with the registry under the current law is to arrest an individual and lay a charge under the Criminal Code. However, laying a distinct charge does not necessarily result in compliance, which is the goal. The bill would create a compliance warrant to allow police to seek arrest warrants to bring non-compliant sex offenders to a registration centre to fulfill their obligations under SOIRA.
    Another important change is that the bill would newly require registered sex offenders to provide police with 14 days advance notice prior to travelling, as well as a list of the specific addresses where they will be staying during to course of their travels. This will allow police sufficient time to conduct a risk assessment and to notify appropriate law enforcement partners, if necessary, in accordance with their existing powers under the SOIRA.
    Next, I would like to discuss the publication ban and the victims information measures. These are critical steps to respond directly to victims' requests of our justice system, which is much of what the report that we have from the Standing Committee on Justice refers to, to ensure that we are listening to the victims.

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    Bill S-12 proposes publication ban reforms that respond directly to calls from survivors of sexual violence. Victims deserve more agency in the criminal justice process and the ability to tell their own stories if they so choose. They clearly are not being given enough priority and enough opportunities to share their stories.
    The various publication ban provisions in the Criminal Code are intended to shield witnesses and victims from further harm by concealing their identity. A publication ban can encourage the testimony of victims and witnesses who may otherwise be fearful of coming forward. As we have heard many times over the last several months about publication bans, people who agreed to them for various reasons actually want them removed. Some survivors and victims of crime have found that publication bans have had the effect of silencing or restricting them. Again, we heard that several times in the last week or so. In fact, I recently saw a news report saying that eight women who were all subject to these publication bans wanted them removed so they would be able to speak about the situation that affected them and use it as an opportunity to educate other people.
    Under the current system, we have seen victims convicted of violating a publication ban intended to be for their sole protection and benefit. This is clearly unacceptable. These survivors deserve to share their own stories if they so choose, and it is important that it be their choice and their choice alone, not a condition of some degree of settlement that will restrict them forever. One by one, many of the publication bans being removed are being removed at the request of the victims, at the request of the women who are still suffering as a result of some incident in their lives some years back.
    To address this issue, Bill S-12 proposes that judges must ask prosecutors to confirm if reasonable steps have been taken to ensure that a victim has been consulted on whether or not a publication ban should be imposed. This proposal is in line with recommendation 11 of the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, entitled “Improving Support for Victims of Crime”. In addition, Bill S-12 would clarify the process to modify or revoke a publication ban after one has been imposed by codifying the process that currently exists only in common law, which is to say through judicial decisions.
    The bill would also ensure that publication bans are applicable to online material, an area that is of extreme importance to us as we move forward. Our young people are exposed to a tremendous number of things on our Internet systems, and we are having to deal with more and more issues, as young people are seeing and participating in things that they should not be. However, much of this online material may have been published before a ban was imposed.
    Both of these measures recognize that victims and survivors should benefit from the right to change their minds. Choice to revoke or modify a publication ban should be dictated by the wishes of the victim or the survivor, not an employer or some other organization. However, the bill proposes that a residual discretion be given to the judge to refuse such a request if it would, for example, possibly identify a second victim involved who wishes to remain anonymous. It is expected that these types of scenarios would be extremely rare and that, for the overwhelming majority of cases, a publication ban would be lifted in cases where the victim clearly does not want it in place.
    There is no good or right way to be a victim. This legislation recognizes the choice of victims and survivors and provides them with decision-making power. Returning power to victims and survivors of sexual violence can be essential for the healing process and can prevent retraumatization in the criminal justice process. Recently at the standing committee on women, many individuals were talking about their experiences and how difficult it was, and how little support there was, for them to talk about the issues they were facing.

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    It is important that we get this right. I suspect that many members have already heard from survivors while working on this issue, as I have. I am sure that many of my colleagues from all sides of the House have listened to and heard from many people, men and women, who have been victims.
    Survivors are looking to us to fix the publication ban regime to better empower them and to treat them with dignity and respect. With a publication ban in place, they are not able to speak with anybody about the pain and suffering they went through. Removing the publication ban, which is what Bill S-12 is suggesting, would allow them to do that.
    I look forward to working with all of my colleagues to ensure that we get this delicate balance right. This is an area that we can review at committee to see if the language can be strengthened further.
    I want to take a moment to speak about a victim's right to information about the case of an offender who has harmed them. This right is enshrined in the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights in sections 6, 7 and 8. Bill S-12 would make it easier for victims to access information about their case after sentencing or after an accused is found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder.
    To achieve this goal, the bill proposes several measures. First, it would require that the judge ask the prosecutor whether they have taken reasonable steps to determine whether the victim wishes to obtain this information. Second, the bill would allow victims to express this interest through their victim impact statement. Finally, the bill would require the court to provide Correctional Service Canada with the victim's name and the information if they have expressed a desire to receive this type of information. It is an extremely important part of this bill to give victims the option if they want to receive this information. Not everyone would want it because very often it revictimizes the victims.
    Once again, this approach is respectful of the needs of victims and seeks to provide the flexibility required to obtain the information at a time of their choosing. I note that this proposal received particular attention and support from the federal ombudsperson for victims of crime.
    The changes contemplated by this bill would meet an urgent need to make the laws governing the national sex offender registry compliant with the charter. At the same time, it would make the registry better able to accomplish its vital purpose of providing police with current and reliable information to investigate and prevent crimes of a sexual nature. It would also take an opportunity to make the criminal justice system more responsive to survivors and victims of crime, including victims of sexual offences.
    These reforms are targeted, measured and sensible. They will make a tangible difference for victims of some of the most serious crimes under our law. They align with our government's firm support for victims of crime. We will never leave victims behind, and we are constantly working to improve our justice system to better accommodate victims.
    The report that was tabled this morning, on which concurrence has been moved, is from the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, and it has 13 excellent recommendations very focused on how we can make life better for the victims and how we can better respond to the needs of victims. I look forward to discussing those recommendations as we proceed with the hearing today.

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    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for highlighting recommendation 11 in this report. It is now in Bill S-12 in the Senate.
    I wonder if she shares the optimism that I feel. A lot of the matters dealt with in Bill S-12 have already been discussed multiple times in this chamber. When that bill eventually arrives here, does she believe that all parties can work together to get its provisions enacted quickly?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his work on the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
    I hope the bill is the kind of thing that has unanimous support from all parliamentarians in the House. It talks about how we can better support victims in Canada and what kinds of resources are needed as we move forward. I very much hope we will have unanimous support when it comes forward.
    Mr. Speaker, I am going to ask the member a similar question to one I asked earlier during this debate specifically around the amendment. It gets to the root cause of how victims are not being treated respectfully at times because of a lack of accountability within the minister's office, in this case the Minister of Public Safety.
    If the roles were reversed and she was a minister, would she accept staff members keeping her in the dark and not briefing her about something that is impacting victims in Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, on the amendment, we all have a responsibility as we move forward to try to ensure that proper changes are made and things are done in the most effective way. I believe all of us parliamentarians, and in particular ministers, have a huge responsibility to ensure that we are moving forward on and responding to issues of the day.
    The amendment put forward today was another opportunity to politicize a horrible issue, something that all of us are very concerned about. I am not even going to reference the individual we are talking about nor the families, because I think we are revictimizing families over and over again. Every time this is mentioned in the House, like yesterday and the day before, it is revictimizing the families, and that is not acceptable.

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    Mr. Speaker, while listening to the member's comments, I appreciated the fact that she highlighted a number of the recommendations. In those recommendations, I have found there is a great emphasis on victims. I am wondering if the member could provide her thoughts on why we should be putting more and more emphasis on victims. In the last budget, there was a commitment to additional funding for victims. I would like her general thoughts about victims of crime.
    Mr. Speaker, as I indicated earlier, I found out first-hand what is available to victims as far as support or anything else goes when one of my constituents was a victim of a drive-by shooting. I went to see what I could do to help and found out how little there was, whether it was financial support, emotional support or just being able to get before a committee and share what had happened. There was very little there.
    The report from the standing committee, which was a unanimous report, is wonderful work. It is really indicative of how members of Parliament can work together on difficult issues. The 13 recommendations were supported by all parliamentarians on that committee and were put together while doing exactly what I think we need to do more of: working together to do our job of advancing the issues that are going to better protect Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, I have great respect for the hon. member. I know her to be an MP who stands up very strongly for her constituents, and I thank her for that work.
    She mentioned the concern she has that the amendment today revictimizes, which I believe was the word she used, the victims of this horrific, vile killer and those who have been impacted by men like him. I would ask her to reflect on the fact that it was the minister's failure to do his job that led the families of those women to be revictimized in the way they were. He has made a number of excuses and has taken no accountability or responsibility for the fact that he did not know that the most vile killer and rapist of children in this country's history was being moved to a medium-security prison from a maximum-security prison.
    I feel the public trust in the Minister of Public Safety has been broken. It is certainly important to women that we have a minister who is competent in this regard, but he has failed in this regard. He needs to take ownership over this revictimization. I would ask for the member's thoughts on his failure to protect those families.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague has done admirable work on the files that she has had, on these ones and on the other ones before. We have worked together on a variety of different things. I have tremendous respect for my colleague, but I have to say that there are issues that are taking valuable time in the House. We are supposed to be talking about Bill C-35, which would entrench the issues of child care across Canada, to make sure that child care will continue to be available throughout the country and be affordable. I came in totally prepared to be dealing with Bill C-35.
    What we are doing is wasting time. That is the wrong wording. We are accepting these recommendations and applauding the recommendations, but we should really be moving on with trying to get the legislation of the government through. That is part of what our job is: to move legislation through. That was what my intention was when I came today, and I would hope that, as soon as this is finished, we will get on to doing that. Issues of what a minister did, should do, or whatever, are issues, I believe, that should not be on the table for our continued discussion. We should be putting our legislation through the House.
    Mr. Speaker, I would echo the comments of my colleague from Manitoba about the hon. member for Humber River—Black Creek, who, I will also note, is a strong member for her constituents on many issues, including this one.
    I just want to follow up on the question from my colleague from Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound with regard to the amendment.
    The hon. member for Humber River—Black Creek was a minister of the Crown, and I just want to ask what her reaction would be if, in a situation like this, staff had kept something from her.

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    Mr. Speaker, I expect that my reaction would be the exact same as my colleague's reaction.
    Today, we have important time to try to get legislation through. We all know that we expect the House will rise. I had hoped it was going to rise this week, but clearly it is going to rise next week.
    The minister is responsible, at the end of the day, for his actions, and that will follow. We should not be using House time to discuss something that, at the end of the day, we are not going to be able to take action on.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today with great disappointment that, yet again, in the last number of days, the Liberal Prime Minister and his cabinet have let Canadians down in quite a tremendous fashion. They have withheld the truth and they have misled the public. They have made egregious errors and taken no responsibility for them. They are making excuses and blaming everyone but themselves. There has been very little, if any, accountability taken, and meanwhile it is the Canadian people and, certainly, our most vulnerable, who suffer as a result.
    As such, the amendment the Conservatives moved today in the House is calling for the immediate resignation of the public safety minister, given his long track record of misleading the House and the Canadian people, and in particular his latest quite serious failure of leadership and responsibility in a cabinet position that really, beyond many others, needs the public trust, needs a responsible minister and needs to be beyond reproach in this regard, given the magnitude of the files they are responsible for.
    For those who have been paying attention, we are talking about the move of, I believe, certainly the most notorious child rapist and killer in Canadian history, Paul Bernardo. He was recently moved, under the public safety minister's watch, under the Liberal government's watch, from maximum security to medium security. A man who, I would assume almost all Canadians believe, and rightfully so in my opinion, should rot in prison for the rest of his life has now been moved to a medium-security prison with more privileges. The tale that has come out in the last few hours and days about what the minister knew and what the Prime Minister knew, or what they are saying their offices knew, and we will get into that, is just deeply concerning and shows that very little responsibility is being taken.
    It is now very unclear whether there is anyone in charge at Public Safety, because it does not seem like there is. Because this issue, what this vile killer did, is so sensitive and has really been burnt into the minds of Canadians, for me, it certainly evoked a very emotional response and a lot of anger at the failure of responsibility and leadership from the Prime Minister and certainly from the Minister of Public Safety, which is why we are calling for his resignation today.
    It was on June 1, just a few days ago, that Canadians learned that Correctional Service Canada was transferring this vile killer from a segregated section of a maximum-security prison, where he rightfully belongs until his dying days, to a medium-security prison, a more open, campus-style prison, and he certainly does not deserve that, from my perspective and from the perspective of most Canadians.
    Particularly women, but I think most of us, are hesitant to have his name glorified in Hansard or talked about. He does not deserve any of that, so from now on I will just be referring to him as the country's most vile serial rapist and killer of children. So that we really know what we are talking about, this is a man who, in the late eighties and early nineties, repeatedly kidnapped; raped; sodomized; tortured, often recording it on video camera; and murdered young women, as young as 14.
    I have a colleague who was of a similar age at the time and who lived in Ontario then. She was telling me that, in school, girls of her age were being told to watch out for a white van and to be careful when they were walking home from school. This is something that is burnt into the memory of women of that age, of women generally, and certainly of parents who had children, particularly young girls, at that time.
    He is a really horrific man, and obviously there has been tremendous public outrage at the idea, let alone the fact, that this man was moved to a medium-security prison.
    Of course, the minister denied knowing. He came out saying how shocked he was, and it is really frustrating on a number of levels, because we have found, in the last couple of days, that perhaps that is not true at all. It is very well a strong possibility that he did know and failed to act and that the Prime Minister knew and failed to act on this, that they both failed to stop it in any way that they could. The Globe and Mail really outlined this well. I will just quote an article:
     The Public Safety Minister invoked the wrath of Parliament and the anger of the families of the victims of Mr. Bernardo on Wednesday after CBC News reported that his office had been told that [this man] would be transferred to a lower-security prison in March. He told the House of Commons [just yesterday] that his office didn’t brief him before the prison transfer happened.

  (1235)  

    How convenient it is that it did not brief him. We also found out in that same Globe and Mail story, which, I believe, was by Robert Fife and Steven Chase, that the Prime Minister's Office was also alerted months prior to the transfer, and that was confirmed by a Prime Minister's Office spokesperson. They are not even denying it, so I will give them that tiny bit of credit for at least not denying it, though certainly they were not forthcoming in the last number of days that this had broken into public knowledge. As the Globe pointed out, this significantly widens the group of staff, and likely their bosses, the politicians, who knew about this and yet did nothing about it until, oops, the public found out. Now there is shock and disappointment from our elected officials who have been entrusted with public safety and with ensuring that justice is served with respect to the most vile killers in our history. It has not been.
    When all this was coming out, I really looked at it with disbelief. How many times are the Liberal ministers and the Prime Minister going to get away with saying, “Oh, I didn't know”, “I wasn't briefed”, “My staff didn't tell me” or saying that the agencies, CSIS and the RCMP, did not let them know and that the information did not quite get to the elected officials? How many times do we have to hear that, as Canadians or as opposition critics? How many times do we have to believe that and just move on like nothing happened?
    We have seen this time and time again. With election interference from Beijing, we heard that they just were not quite briefed or that no one picked up the phone and called the former minister of public safety to tell him that my colleague, the member for Haldimand—Norfolk, was being threatened by Beijing and that his family was at risk. They said that CSIS wanted to tell him but had not quite done so, or that his staff had not. It is just a bunch of baloney.
    Once, maybe, we would believe them, but two times, five times or 10 times, time and time again on issues of national security and public safety, are we expected to believe them? I do not think so. Enough is enough. We need to have the resignation of somebody in this place. There needs to be some accountability. There needs to be some responsibility taken for the absolute failure to govern.
    It is really embarrassing, honestly, to be represented by ministers who take no accountability and responsibility for some of the most critical issues in this country. I want to be clear about why people are so outraged. We have maximum security and medium security. I just want to make it clear why Liberals should have been outraged and moved mountains to stop it, and should certainly have brought forward legislation by now to stop this, but they have not, and I will get into that later.
    This individual, when he was in maximum-security prison, had very limited movement. He was heavily segregated. He had very little association with anyone. He had very, very few privileges, and rightfully so. He deserves to be punished for the rest of his life. Maximum-security prison is where he has been for almost 29 years, I believe. Now that he has been moved, under the watch of the public safety minister and the Prime Minister, who knew for three months, into a medium-security prison, he gets to talk to more people; he gets to walk around more and he has many fewer restrictions on him. He does not deserve that. I think everyone agrees, yet here we are; it happened and they could have stopped it. They knew it was coming for three months before it happened.
    If someone makes a mistake, that is fine, and if it is the first time, then maybe I would believe them. It is not the first time, but they did not know and were not informed; let us pretend we believe them for one moment. Why is it, then, that they have not brought forward concrete solutions so this never happens again? They have a working majority in the House with the NPD's support. They could have brought forward legislation to signal to Canadians that they will never allow this to happen under their watch, but they have not done so.
    Every effort by the Conservatives to move motions to stop this from happening again is shouted down by the Liberals. We have also introduced a bill, a private member's bill from the member for Niagara Falls, and I seconded that bill, that would make sure this never happens again. The Liberals say that it is out of their hands, that they cannot really do anything about it and that the minister is sort of tinkering around the edges now. However, is that really true? I looked at the legislation, and I am seeing a bit of pattern of a soft-on-crime, soft-on-criminals and forget-about-the-victims approach from the public safety minister, the Minister of Justice and the Prime Minister.
    If we look at, for example, the Liberals' Bill C-83, it was adopted in 2019 and created a standard in section 28 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, and this is important, that required prisoner selection to be made by the commissioner of corrections based on “the least restrictive environment for that person”. That was legislation they passed in 2019. Their bail reform, their soft-on-crime bail reform bill, was also passed that year.

  (1240)  

    There was a lot of damage done to Canadians in that short time, in favour of criminals at the expense of victims. This is just another one of those bills. In Bill C-83, the “least restrictive environment” for criminals in prison was the standard put forward.
    Now what do we have? We have the “least restrictive environment” for the country's most vile serial killer and rapist of children. This is happening, in part, through the legislation that the Liberals put forward. They have created an environment where this is the case. I will say “the least restrictive environment” over and over, because that was the exact intention of their legislation.
     In fact, the Liberals repealed a previous Conservative standard that was put in under former prime minister Stephen Harper's government, where it said “necessary restrictions” for criminals and vile killers. In 2019, these guys brought in bail reform and the “least restrictive environment” for those criminals in jail. Now we have that. The mission is fulfilled for the most vile killer in the country.
    When the Liberals say that they cannot really do anything about it and that it is an independent decision, they can do something about it. They could repeal this section or probably the entire bill, Bill C-83. If it is anything like this, the whole thing should go in the garbage, but certainly this section. They could have brought forward a bill already, so that it does not happen again. It has been weeks already.
    However, again, this was the objective, that the worst people who go to prison in this country get the “least restrictive environment”. When they say that they cannot do anything about it, people should not buy it. That is not true.
    Yesterday, my colleague, the member for Niagara Falls, brought forward a private member's bill, Bill C-342, that would keep dangerous offenders, like this individual, in maximum-security prisons. It would replace that legal standard that I just talked about, going from the “least restrictive environment” to “necessary and appropriate restrictions”. It is very measured, very responsible and certainly in line, I think, with Canadian values on things like this.
    Second, it also requires that inmates like this individual, who are designated by the courts as “dangerous offenders,” which this individual is, have their sentences made indeterminate, with no fixed length. Certainly, this would include people who have committed multiple personal injury offences and are considered so dangerous to the public, individuals like the one we have been talking about today or those who have been convicted of more than one first-degree murder resulting in a life sentence.
    It is very clear. Guys like this should always be in maximum security. That is what a Conservative government would do. I honestly think that the private member's bill is fair, measured and should be adopted unanimously by all parties, especially in light of what has recently happened.
    Let us now just really drill into the failure of the minister to take responsibility on this and to try to stop it before it ever happened. Again, this guy is in a medium-security prison, getting to walk around and getting rewarded. He should not be there. He should have been stopped, and yet the minister failed to do this.
    I am just going to read this, from the Correctional Service of Canada. The statement it put out said, “The March 2 e-mail contained information notifying them [the public safety minister's office] of the transfer, along with communications messaging to support this.”
    That was from Correctional Service of Canada spokesperson Kevin Antonucci in a statement made on Wednesday. He added that in March, three months ago, the final date for the transfer had not been determined. Therefore, the minister's office also received an email on May 25 with updated communications messaging, as well as the fact that the transfer would occur on Monday, May 29.
    If we read between the lines of what Kevin Antonucci said, the Correctional Service of Canada is really doing the lion's share of the work here, saying that it sent the message and notified the minister's office that the transfer could be stopped. They are not doing the minister any favours. They are saying that they told him and that they told him twice, and nothing.
    We also found out, just last night, as I mentioned, that the Prime Minister's Office was also informed. I will read from the Globe: “A separate statement from the minister's office late on Wednesday suggested that when [the Minister of Public Safety's] team found out about the transfer on March 2, the Prime Minister's Office was already aware of the matter.”
    It went on to say, “When a staff member in the Prime Minister's Office was alerted in March by the Privy Council Office about the possibility of the transfer, inquiries and requests for information were immediately made to the Public Safety Minister's Office”.
    When the PMO was told, it immediately reached out to the public safety minister's office and asked what was going on. The Minister of Public Safety still had no idea this was going on, and he had no idea the Prime Minister's office was reaching out to his office for information. It is a bit hard to believe. There are only a few options there. The minister is so hands-off that he has no idea what is going on in his file in any regard, he knowingly ignored this or he knew and he has been misleading the public and the House. That is very difficult to believe.

  (1245)  

    Given the minister's track record, which I am going to go into, I think it is the latter. What is really interesting in what we are seeing from the statements from the Prime Minister's Office and the public safety minister's office is that the blame game is starting. Fingers are being pointed at each other in public statements to The Globe and Mail. That is how desperate they are to deflect blame. No one wants to take responsibility here. It is very embarrassing.
    Therefore, I am just going to go through the pattern of behaviour that, unfortunately, the Minister of Public Safety has shown in recent months. This is just within the last year.
    In January 2022, and we all remember this, the minister said he relied on the advice of law enforcement to trigger the Emergencies Act. You remember that, Mr. Speaker. However, we later found out from both the RCMP commissioner and the chief of the Ottawa police, when they testified publicly, that they did not ask the government to invoke the act. That was a big one. The minister misled the public in a big way. We will say that it was a large falsehood in that regard of a never-before-invoked, in essence, war measures act that he misled the public about. It was very significant, and he should have resigned then.
    Then, on October 12, 2022, he was accused of misleading a federal judge after his office backdated government documents on trademark infringements. The minister said that the legislation concerning this came into effect two weeks earlier than it actually did, so he literally backdated legal documents. The minister said this was just human error. There is a pattern emerging here.
    On August 8, the minister admitted at a committee that the RCMP was using spyware to gain information on Canadians, but he promised that the technology was being used sparingly. I am making light of it, but it is just so utterly ridiculous at this point. I am only three points in; we have five to go.
    On January 15, the minister said that the safe third country agreement was working, despite enormous increases in irregular border crossers in comparison to the previous five years, and that really nothing could be done about it. Then, two months later, Biden and the Prime Minister of Canada came together in agreement to close Roxham Road. They were not telling the truth there.
    Again, on April 25 of this year, he claimed that his legislation would not impact hunting rifles. We know how that went. Of course it did, and so much so that he had to back down. He has permanently lost the trust of firearms owners and hunters in this country, and he will never get it back because of how much he misled the public.
    On May 5, the minister said he did not read the report into the People's Republic of China targeting an MP in our caucus. He later said that he was investigating why the report was not passed up to him. How many times are we going to have to believe that?
    On May 14, after saying that the PRC police stations operating in Canada were closed, we found out that this is not the case either.
    Finally, there is what we have been talking about today. The minister said he had no idea. Despite two contacts from Correctional Service Canada to his office and despite the Prime Minister's Office reaching out to him, the minister is saying he was never told about it. However, he has fired no one for that, which tells me that it is not true. If someone's staff members have failed them so badly, obviously, they cannot be trusted with the public safety file, and they have to go. The minister has fired no one. He is the one who should be fired. The buck stops with him.
    What we have been calling on is the following:
...that the Minister of Public Safety immediately resign given his total lack of consideration for victims of crime in his mishandling of the transfer to more cozy arrangements of one of the worst serial killers in Canadian history, that this unacceptable move has shocked the public and created new trauma for the families of the victims and that the Minister of Public Safety's office knew about this for three months prior to [this vile killer's] transfer and instead of halting it, the information was hidden from the families.
     That is what we moved today.
     I will just conclude that this is about ministerial accountability. We have not seen that in the current Liberal government, despite so many failures. So many times, the government has misled the public and failed to take responsibility. Ministerial accountability seems to be dead in this country under the Liberal government.
    Ultimately, I will say in conclusion that the Minister of Public Safety, more than most ministers, requires the public to trust him or her. The minister needs public trust; however, as I outlined today, in very real time, he has misled the public, let them down and broken that trust time and time again. This is the final straw. Unfortunately, it is time for him to resign.

  (1250)  

    Mr. Speaker, earlier this morning, I actually talked about why the Conservatives are behaving in the fashion that they are. The member opposite amplifies that. Here, the Conservatives bring forward a concurrence report with, just so the member is aware, 13 recommendations. I suspect she does not know that. Who knows whether the member actually participated in the committee? Had she participated, she would have recognized that there was a great deal of unanimous support for the concurrence motion.
     The Conservatives chose to do this for two reasons. One reason is to filibuster legislation to prevent us from being able to talk about government business. The second reason is to politicize something which the member herself no doubt will be standing up later today in question period to raise. It is about a filibuster. That is the primary reason.
    If the member is so concerned about what she is talking about, why was she not upset when Stephen Harper was prime minister and there was the transfer of child murderers from high-security to medium-security prisons?
    Mr. Speaker, the member asserts that we should not be talking about the fact that the Minister of Public Safety has repeatedly misled Canadians on issues of national security and public safety or that he is currently, right now, maintaining mistruths about what he knew about the worst child rapist and killer in history being transferred to a cozy medium-security prison when he should rightfully rot in a maximum-security prison.
    This is certainly about victims rights. The families of the victims who were murdered by this vile killer were caught completely off guard by this. They have been revictimized in having to relive this.
    It is our duty as an opposition to hold the government accountable. That is what we are doing today. The member calls it politicization. I call it accountability, which they have none of. If there were accountability, then there would be a minister resigning. We are not seeing that, because ministerial accountability is dead under the Liberal government.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I find it fascinating: We know exactly what my colleague thinks about the Minister of Public Safety, but we know almost nothing about what she thinks about the report we are looking at today.
    I would have liked to hear what she has to say about the report. She spoke for a long time, after all. We have here a dense and important report about victims of crime in Canada and how we can help them, but she barely mentioned it in her speech.
    I would like to hear my colleague elaborate on the content of the report we are studying today.
    Mr. Speaker, I think that the victims should have a minister of public safety who tells murderers like Paul Bernardo that they have to stay in maximum security prisons for the rest of their days. That is something the Liberal government can do today for victims, and it is the right thing to do.
    I think we need a new minister of public safety to be able to do that, because this Minister of Public Safety is not telling victims and the rest of Canadians the truth. That is not right.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I feel like I have wandered out of the wilderness into a strange country here today. When we are talking about victims, the justice committee heard from victims and victims advocacy organizations very strongly and came with a unanimous report with 13 recommendations. As I said earlier, there are procedures in the House to hold ministers accountable, and a concurrence report is not normally one of those.
    My question for the member is this: What action is she going to take to make sure that the tactic the Conservatives have adopted today does not harm the ability to make progress on the 13 recommendations coming from victims that are contained in this report?

  (1255)  

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate what the member is trying to say.
    I believe the report from the justice committee in favour of victims was unanimously supported, which is good to see. I think what we could do today, as a House, in favour of victims is to vote for the Minister of Public Safety to resign. If the member wants to put victims' rights first, then we cannot have a minister of public safety who misleads the public and lets down the families of the victims of the worst mass killer and child rapist in Canadian history. He has misled the public about knowing that he had every opportunity to do something about it for three months, but he did not. I cannot really think of a more pressing, current issue today that the public is more outraged about when it comes to victims and public safety than the failure of the government to stop this man from going to a medium-security prison.
     Again, this is a tool that we have at our disposal to hold the government accountable. If the government had ministerial responsibility, we would not need to do this. Rather than the member pointing his guns at us, why does he not point his guns at his coalition partner and call on the minister to resign?
    Mr. Speaker, the member brought up the issue that we are dealing with here, that Canadians have lost trust in the government. They have lost trust in the minister, and they have no confidence left.
    The minister's incompetency started when he was minister of immigration, and he ruined that file. The Prime Minister moved him to public safety, and he has completely botched that file as well. I thank the member very much for bringing this to light.
    The member articulated very well some of the issues, those we are aware of, where he has failed. Could she explain further what she thinks the next steps are for the minister and the Prime Minister to deal with this matter, so that the public could at least have some confidence in this place to deal with the incompetency of the government?
    Mr. Speaker, the member and I do great work together on the public safety committee on behalf of Canadians. His speech triggered something in my mind that I would like to share.
    This is something we know the Minister of Public Safety has misled us about. What do we not know? What has not been leaked to the media? What are the things he has not told us? I mean, he has not told us anything. He denies all of this. What do we not know?
    This is an individual who is responsible for our national police force, the RCMP; CSIS, our spy and intelligence agency; CBSA, our border security agency; and Correctional Service Canada. It is a big, important file, yet he is repeatedly misleading the public, and this is just what we have found out about.
    I think it is a good time for a brand new government that would be tough on crime and keep criminals where they rightfully belong. We would put victims of crime first, their needs and priorities first, and the safety of their communities first. We have repeatedly not seen that here.
    We have seen it with bail reform and the least restrictive environment there. We have seen it with correctional services changes and the least restrictive environment there. They are all in favour of criminals like the one I have been talking about today. I think it is time for a new public safety minister at the very least, and likely a new government altogether.
    Mr. Speaker, the member did not answer my question on Stephen Harper. Back in 2009, there was the horrific crime against Tori Stafford. Members can look it up to find out what took place. Stephen Harper's government ultimately transferred him over to a medium-security prison. He was not the first child murderer the Harper government did that with. The public safety minister at the time, Ralph Goodale, had the system reviewed.
    Does the member believe that Stephen Harper was doing something wrong by allowing the murderer of Tori Stafford to go to a medium-security prison?
    Mr. Speaker, I believe in 2018, with the minister he mentioned, the Conservatives had proposed an opposition day motion to overturn that decision directly. The Liberals claimed they lacked the power to do so and voted it down, along with the NDP and the Bloc Québécois.
    We know the Minister of Public Safety does have that ability to do so. They absolutely have the ability to do so. They have certain powers with the correctional commissioner.
    What is really interesting is the Liberals had the opportunity to impact the decision with that individual back in 2018, and they voted against our opposition motion to do so. Perhaps the member needs a summer break. He may have forgotten that.

  (1300)  

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague gave an excellent speech. In relation to the parliamentary secretary to the House leader's last question, this particular parliamentary secretary, in fact the entire Liberal government, love to compare and contrast themselves to former prime minister Stephen Harper.
    Could my learned colleague share how differently Stephen Harper would have dealt with these obvious conflicts of interest and the deliberate misleading of the House? How would he have handled ministers with this information versus how the government is presently doing it?
    Mr. Speaker, with former prime minister Stephen Harper, ministerial accountability was alive and well in many regards on a couple fronts. There was a principled approach, unlike what we have seen in the last eight years.
    Just to conclude on the justice file, Stephen Harper brought forward about 80 justice bills in favour of being tough on crime and in favour of victims. I mentioned one of the bills today, and all of the bills the Liberals have brought forward are for the least restrictive environments for criminals. That is the reason the most vile killer in Canadian history has been moved. It is because of legislation like this.
    We saw it with bail reform. It has never been worse in this country. That is directly related to Bill C-75, also a 2019 Liberal bill. I am getting pretty sick and tired of these soft on crime Liberals. It is time for a Conservative government to clean up our streets and keep Canadians safe.
    Mr. Speaker, I am disappointed to be speaking to the travesty of justice and human rights committed by our current Minister of Public Safety. I am disappointed, but to be honest, I am not surprised. This minister has a track record of mishandling files, which is ultimately a disservice to justice in this country and to victims. This is why we are debating the amendment put forward by the Conservative Party today, ultimately recommending that the minister resign.
    Just so it is clear and on the record once again, our amendment to the motion includes:
the Seventh Report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, presented on Monday, April 17, 2023, be not now concurred in, but that it be recommitted to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights with instruction that it amend the same so as to recommend that the Minister of Public Safety immediately resign given his total lack of consideration for victims of crime in his mishandling of the transfer to more cozy arrangements of one of the worst serial killers in Canadian history, that this unacceptable move has shocked the public and created new trauma for the families of the victims and that the Minister of Public Safety's office knew about this for three months prior to Paul Bernardo's transfer and instead of halting it, the information was hidden from the families.
    Obviously, I have made some very provocative statements, even in my opening couple of sentences, but I want to lay the groundwork for why I believe this. Let us go back to the minister's track record back in August 2021, when he was the minister of immigration. What happened then? We had the fall of Kabul. We had the fall of Afghanistan.
    Instead of the government dealing with that situation with the ministers of foreign affairs, immigration and national defence primarily focused on helping victims, the Afghans who had helped Canada, get to safety, what did they do? They called an election. It is unacceptable.
    This minister here was in that seat. He could have had a process in place, much like we have done in previous years, under the current and previous governments, so that, when we have a situation around the globe in which Canada could make a difference by allowing refugees and people at risk to get to Canada, we could do it.
    This is so fundamentally important and unfortunately something that the government is still not putting the adequate priority and focus on. It is allowing bureaucracy and staff to interfere with getting the job done. That is just one thing. That is the minister's background right off the get-go.
    He has now been the Minister of Public Safety since that last election. What did we see just in the last year alone on Bill C-21? Again, we saw a minister who is not focused on victims and justice but is instead focused on law-abiding hunters, sport shooters and farmers, despite him saying that, no, this was not what the bill was about. Lo and behold, there was a last-minute amendment put forth by the minister that exactly targeted the thousands and thousand of hunters, sport shooters and farmers across the country.
    That bill was not focused on addressing the root causes of the justice issues that allow for criminals, mass murderers, rapists, gangs, drug trafficking, etc. It was focused again on the wrong demographic.
    I am just using that to set the stage. We are now dealing with an amendment because we now have evidence that the minister and his office were aware three months prior to the general public becoming aware that Paul Bernardo, one of our most horrific serial killer and rapists, was being transferred out of a maximum security prison into a medium security prison.
    I want to set the stage because we are all victims of our life experiences. We live in a Westminster system of government that allows our democracy to work on a day-to-day basis because it is all about ministerial accountability. The buck stops with them.

  (1305)  

    As for my comments on life experiences, as many members know, I come from a military background. There is a misperception out there that the military is all about following orders. That is not the case at all and is not how the military functions. Forming a plan begins from the ground up, from the lowest levels all the way to the highest levels, enabling the decision-makers to make the best decisions possible.
    When I served at the higher levels, whether as a chief of staff or a director, and we were planning for stuff and doing things, there was one common theme, and that was the daily briefs. It did not matter if it was on operations overseas or here at our Canadian Joint Operations Command, there were daily briefs and the staff's primary role was to flag issues of concern directly to the decision-makers, the commanders and people who are ultimately responsible for making decisions and providing guidance and direction. This was not being blocked by the gatekeepers or the staff, and it was brought to the person in charge. That is key to the way our whole democracy works.
    Members do not have to take my word for it. There was a CBC report that basically broke this news. I am going to read a bit from a CBC article that was just released, which states:
     The demand for [the Minister of Public Safety’s] exit was prompted by the CBC's report that staff in the minister's office were aware of Paul Bernardo's pending transfer as far back as March 2. Subsequent reporting confirmed that the Prime Minister's Office was also made aware in March and [the Prime Minister] was himself briefed on the transfer on May 29.
    According to the version of events, the minister's staff obviously did not think it was necessary to tell him about the transfer of one of Canada's most notorious murderers until May 30, a day after the move was made, and a day after the Prime Minister himself was briefed. The fact that they neglected to alert the minister about this impending transfer is puzzling in and of itself, and obviously an apparent failure at keeping him informed. However, what is more interesting is that the minister himself described it as a shocking event. How could he be so shocked when this was something his staff should have informed him of three months prior?
    The minister initially said it was the Correctional Service of Canada that did it, but he has now admitted that the information flowed in, he was not briefed, and could not have really done anything about it. Lo and behold, what has he done now? He has issued a new directive stipulating that he must be informed, something he should have done immediately. That is just common practice.
    Therefore, the issue I come back to is this: The minister needs to surround himself with competent staff and people who understand what is truly an important issue under his responsibility because that is how we protect our justice system and victims in this country. Ultimately, the minister needs to do the honourable thing and resign because that is truly the only option left. If he will not resign, the Prime Minister should fire him.
     Another thing the government should do is immediately implement the private member's motion that was put forward by the Conservative member for Niagara Falls, which enshrines into legislation, and I am paraphrasing, that when our most notorious murderers and criminals are found guilty, they must remain in a maximum-security prison.

  (1310)  

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

Instruction to the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology  

    That it be an instruction to the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology that, during its consideration of Bill C-27, An Act to enact the Consumer Privacy Protection Act, the Personal Information and Data Protection Tribunal Act and the Artificial Intelligence and Data Act and to make consequential and related amendments to other Acts, the committee be granted the power to divide the bill into three pieces of legislation:
(a) Bill C-27A, An Act to enact the Consumer Privacy Protection Act, containing Part 1 and the schedule to section 2;
(b) Bill C-27B, An Act to enact the Personal Information and Data Protection Tribunal Act, containing Part 2; and
(c) Bill C-27C, An Act to enact the Artificial Intelligence and Data Act, containing Part 3.
    He said: Mr. Speaker, I am happy to be here today to speak on this motion. I will be splitting my time today with the member for South Shore—St. Margarets.
    Bill C-27 is a very important bill. We have talked about privacy legislation now for about eight or nine months. Our whole premise was that privacy always should be a fundamental right of Canadians. We talked about the limitations of this bill when the government announced it. That was missing from the bill. The bill was in three parts. The first part spoke to replacing the “PIP” in “PIPEDA”; the second part was announcing and debating the use of a tribunal; and the third part was about AI. This motion asks to split this bill into three parts so the committee can look at and vote on each part individually.
    If we talk about why that is needed at this point, it is very simple. The third part about AI part is the most flawed. When we look at the bill in its entirety and we have gone through debate, we certainly hope to have this bill go to the industry committee. The government delayed sending this to committee, but I am hoping it will be in committee in the early fall, and we want to debate, for the most part, the AI section.
    I stand today to shed light on a topic that has captured the imagination of many, and yet poses significant risk to our society: the dangers of artificial intelligence, or AI. While AI has the potential to revolutionize our world, we must also be aware of the dangers it presents and take proactive steps to mitigate them. For decades, AI and the imaginary and real threats it brings has been a subject of fascination in popular culture.
    I remember, as a child, watching a movie called WarGames. A teenager wanted to change his grades, he went into a computer to try to do that and the computer offered to play a game of nuclear annihilation. It ended up that the U.S.S.R., through this computer, was about to attack the U.S. NORAD thought it was happening, was ready to strike back and somehow the computer could not figure out what was right or wrong and the only way the student was able to figure it out was to play a game of tic-tac-toe that he found he could never win. At the end, after playing the nuclear game he could never win, he said he would play a nice game of chess because that is easier, someone wins, someone loses and it is safe. This was AI in 1984.
    My favourite movie with AI was The Matrix. In The Matrix, humans were batteries in the world, who were taken over and owned by machines until Neo saved them and gave them freedom. Another movie that I remember as a kid was Terminator 2, and we know how that one ended. It was pretty good. We are not sure if it has even ended yet. I think there is another one coming. Arnold Schwarzenegger is still alive.
    We find ourselves in a season of alarmism over artificial intelligence, with warnings from experts of the need to prioritize the mitigation of AI risks. One of the greatest concerns around AI is the potential loss of jobs as automation and intelligent machines rise. Has anyone ever heard of the Texas McDonald's that is run entirely without people? It is coming. They have figured out how to use robots and machines to eliminate staff positions.
    Even though it is not AI, all of us go to the grocery store now and can check out on our own. When we shop, we see lots of different ways, whether it is Amazon or others, that companies are using AI for robotics. We have heard of dark industrial storage where robots operate in the dark, moving products from exit to entrance, and people are not needed. It is a big problem for job losses.
    Another major risk of AI lies in the erosion of privacy and personal data security. As AI becomes more integrated in our lives, it gathers vast amounts of data about individuals, which can be used to manipulate behaviour, target individuals and our children with personalized advertisements, and infringe upon our civil liberties. The first part of Bill C-27 has to do with the third part, but is not the same.
    We must establish strong regulations and ethical guidelines to protect our privacy rights and prevent the misuse of personal data. Transparency and accountability should be at the forefront of AI development, ensuring that individuals have control over their own information. Moreover, the rapid advancement of AI brings with it the potential for unintended consequences.

  (1315)  

    AI systems, while designed to learn and improve, can also develop biases. We saw in the ethics committee, with facial recognition technology, when we had experts come into the committee that, alarmingly, Black females were misidentified 34% of the time by computers. It was called “digital racism”. White males were misidentified only 1% of the time.
    Again, this is technology that we have allowed, in some instances, to be used by the RCMP and to be used by the forces. All experts asked for a moratorium on that technology, much the same as we are seeing with AI, because without proper oversight and diverse representation in the development of AI logarithms and algorithms, we risk entrenching society biases within these systems. It is imperative that we prioritize diversity and inclusion in AI development to ensure fairness and to avoid exacerbating existing inequalities.
    The security implications of AI cannot be overlooked either. As AI becomes more sophisticated, it could be weaponized or manipulated by malicious actors. Cyber-attacks exploiting AI vulnerabilities could lead to significant disruptions in critical systems, such as health care, transportation and defence. They say the greatest risk of war right now is not by sticks and stones, but by computers and joysticks and that AI could infiltrate our systems.
    One thing I was reading about the other week is the risk of a solar storm that could knock out all the technology, but AI and cybersecurity could do the same. Can members imagine what our world would be like if we did not have Internet for a day, weeks or a month? We certainly saw that with the Rogers outage last summer, but we can imagine if it was malicious in intent.
    Last, we must address the ethical dilemmas posed by AI. As AI systems become more autonomous, they raise complex questions about accountability and decision-making. We have heard about Tesla having automobiles that have gone off course, and the computer is making the life-or-death decision about where that car is going.
    The other day I heard a report about vehicles in L.A. that are autonomous and running by Tesla or by taxi, and that fire trucks and ambulances could not get by the vehicles, because the vehicles were programmed to stop and put their four-way lights on, so these fire trucks could not get past them due to AI decisions. They had to smash the windshields in order to get the vehicles out of the way, and they lost precious minutes getting to the scene of a fire.
    While AI holds immense potential to improve our lives, we must remain vigilant to the danger it presents. We cannot afford to turn a blind eye to the risks of job displacement, privacy breaches, bias, security threats or ethical concerns. It is our responsibility to shape the future of AI in a way that benefits all of humanity while mitigating its potential harms. We need to work together to foster a world where AI is harnessed for the greater good, ensuring that progress is made with compassion, fairness and responsible stewardship.
    Let us shift for a moment to the positive aspects of AI, and AI actually does exist for good. We have AI working right now with health care diagnostics. Algorithms are being developed to analyze medical images, such as X-rays and MRls, to assist doctors in diagnosing diseases like cancer, enabling earlier detection and improved treatment outcomes.
    We have disease prevention and prediction. AI models can analyze large datasets of patient information and genetic data to identify patterns and predict the likelihood of individuals getting certain diseases.

  (1320)  

    There is environmental conservation. Al-powered systems are being used to monitor and analyze environmental data. I have heard of farmers who are using computer systems to monitor the nitrogen in soil, so they can monitor how much water and how much fertilizer they need to put in the soil, which is saving our environment.
    There is disaster response and management. AI is used to analyze social media posts and other data sources during natural disasters to provide real-time information, identify critical needs, and coordinate rescue and relief efforts.
    For education and personalized learning, AI is changing the way people are learning right now. The greatest thing we have is ChatGPT, and ChatGPT has revolutionized research. Of course we are looking at the possibility of jobs being lost. It has even helped me with my speech today.
    We have a lot of great things that are happening, and in the bill we certainly are going to be looking at how we change and monitor that. The bill should be split into three sections. We need to make sure we look at privacy as a fundamental human right for Bill C-27 as number one; the tribunal is number two; but AI is number three. We need to have as many witnesses as possible to make sure we get it right, and we need to work with our G7 partners to make sure we all look at AI and its benefits, its shortcomings and its benefits to society in Canada and the future.

  (1325)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is an interesting tactic. The Conservatives still do not want to talk about child care. I guess they have an objection to that. I think we could pass this historic legislation in about 25 minutes, but they are having an allergic reaction to yet another national program. It is somewhat unfortunate.
    The member wants to talk about AI and splitting a bill that is already in committee. I think the Speaker at one point made a ruling on it, but the Conservatives want to continue to kill time. I understand and appreciate that. This is how they feel they are being a good opposition party, though I might challenge that a bit.
    Does the member not recognize the legislation also talks about the protection of data? Data is so critically important. I am wondering to what degree the Conservative Party really recognizes that with technological changes, we need to modernize legislation.
    Bill C-27 deals with things like AI and other very important aspects of modernization through technology and data banks. We need to deal with that. When does the member believe the Conservatives will agree to see that sort of legislation pass? Is he and the Conservative regime thinking it should be happening sometime this year possibly, or will they want to continue to filibuster this into the months and years ahead? When would they like to see this type of legislation pass?
    Mr. Speaker, we do talk about child care. This bill actually looks at protecting the privacy of our children.
    It is disappointing to hear we are not interested in one or the other. We are interested in all of this for our children and in privacy specifically, because children who are using tablets and cellphones are having their data scraped from the Internet and sold to companies. Sometimes their location is shared and it puts them in harm's way. This legislation looks at that.
    What the government has not done is recognize that privacy is a fundamental human right. The Conservatives have recognized that that is the case for this bill and certainly for our children. This bill is as important as anything else for our children and their futures, and we are certainly going to focus on that.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my good friend and colleague from Bay of Quinte to expand a bit on ChatGPT and the AI risks associated with it. We do recognize there is some great potential for AI. It can maybe help and streamline things, especially with data management and the sheer information overload that governments deal with. However, in particular I note the importance of guardrails and protection, because it is sort of the Wild West out there when we start talking about artificial intelligence.
    Mr. Speaker, everyone knows ChatGPT. The member mentioned at one point that it helped write a question. It is phenomenal how quick it is and how it helps with research and advancement. I even had it help with my speech.
    However, there are certainly a lot of risks, and the technology falls short in several areas. Number one, it leaves the details for AI governance to future regulations, and the government has not even looked at them and studied them. We have a focus on addressing individual harm and excluding collective harms such as threats to democracy and the environment and the reinforcement of existing inequalities. Additionally, AIDA primarily applies to the private sector, leaving out high-impact government applications for AI.
    In short, we are really narrowly focused even in this bill. When we bring this bill to committee, we are going to bring in a massive number of witnesses to have great testimony. Certainly, when a Conservative government gets in power, we are going to table great legislation that not only maximizes AI for good but also protects Canadians from harms.
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague mentioned the whole thing about the screen scraping of information. Screen scraping of information is not free. There is a value transfer that happens every time that occurs. I would like him to elaborate on where the value comes from, which is usually individual Canadians who have no idea about it, and where that value gets transferred to. Of course, when something gets transferred, that process is worth something and people pay for it. Can he elaborate on who those people are and how they are earning value off the backs of Canadians?

  (1330)  

    Mr. Speaker, data is valuable. Right now we live in an economy based on a tangible old-style economy as well as in an intangible economy. That means data and intellectual property are very valuable to corporations. They are valuable to advertisers. I dare say they are valuable to the government. The government, of course, holds swaths of information.
    When we think about all the data out there, it is in every movement we make. Every time someone makes a sound, Siri asks, “What was that?” We see it every time we are doing something with our Apple watches. Our Apple watches even track our temperatures and track women who are going into a menstrual cycle in the U.S. It is very concerning. That data is worth something to everyone.
    It is a balance. We should look, first of all, at protecting people from harms, individuals, making sure we have fundamental human rights for individuals for privacy protection. Also, we should recognize that some companies need data for good, as I mentioned earlier regarding health research and development. We want to balance that. Data is valuable. Let us make sure we do it right and do it together.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Motion No. 426, which deals with Bill C-27. For those watching who do not know Bill C-27, it is the government's piece of legislation to update our privacy laws and introduce a new act on artificial intelligence.
    As to the purpose of this motion, even though the bill went through second reading and is now awaiting study at the industry committee, we are asking that the bill be split in three, because it really is three separate bills. The first bill, as my colleague from Bay of Quinte just mentioned, is the part of the legislation that deals with updating the Privacy Act, including all of the privacy terms for protecting an individual's privacy and protecting the rights of others to use someone's privacy, that is, how they can or cannot use it. The second piece of the legislation would create a new agency called the privacy tribunal. It is really a separate piece of legislation. In fact, it is classified as a separate piece of legislation, an act within this act. Then the third piece is the artificial intelligence and data act.
    It really is three pieces of legislation in one bill, and that is why we have moved this motion asking that the bill be split in three. It is a massive 120-page piece of legislative change impacting every person and every business in this country. It deserves to be studied as three separate pieces, and members of the House of Commons deserve to vote separately on those three separate pieces of information.
    I will start with the first piece, which is the privacy piece. We talked at second reading about the difference between our views on the purpose of this bill, this act, and the government's views. The government made the claim that this bill was making greater steps toward protecting the personal information of the individual, yet that is not what the bill does.
    Clause 5 is the purpose section, the most important section of any bill that sets out what the legal structure or purpose of legislation is. It says that it tries to balance the protection of personal privacy with the rights of businesses to use people's data. It puts business interests on a par with individual privacy interests. As my colleague from Bay of Quinte just said and as I said in my second reading speech, that is a fundamental flaw of this bill. The Privacy Commissioner has already spoken out about it.
    There has been discussion about whether privacy is a fundamental human right. There is language on this in the preamble, but the preamble of the bill has virtually no legal impact. It says that privacy is among the fundamental rights people have, but it is not in the purpose section. We have been seeking and will be seeking a broad discussion at committee on that issue and the legal implication of it. The purpose section of the bill, clause 5, should say that the protection of personal privacy is a fundamental right. It is not balanced between business needs and individual needs but is a fundamental right.
    That is important not only for the reasons that I just outlined, but because further down, clause 18 of the privacy part of the bill creates a concept called “legitimate interest” for a business. Clause 17, just prior to that, lays out that there has to be the express consent of an individual for a business to use privacy data, but clause 18 goes on to say that there is a legitimate interest for the business to not care about an individual's express consent. In fact, it lets a company say that if something is in its legitimate interest as a company, even if it causes individuals harm, it is okay for it to use their data for something that they did not give permission for. It says that right in the legislation.

  (1335)  

    This is a fundamental flaw of a bill that pretends to be protecting people's fundamental privacy rights. It in fact protects big corporate data and the right of big corporations to use our data however they wish. It does give additional power, which is needed, to the Privacy Commissioner in that, but the second part of the bill then takes it back with the creation of the privacy tribunal.
    Maybe the best explanations of the privacy tribunal is to compare it to and understand the way the Competition Act works. There are two aspects to how we decide competition issues and appeals. One is the Competition Bureau that looks at merges and acquisitions, and it says whether they are anti-competitive or not and will rule on that merger. Then there is a Competition Tribunal, like the privacy tribunal as proposed in the bill, which is the legal framework where the law gets done and the battle gets fought between the company that thinks it should do the merger and the Competition Bureau that thinks it should not.
     A classic example recently was the Rogers-Shaw takeover. Quite a bit of time was spent both through the Competition Bureau process and the Competition Tribunal process, which ruled whether that sale could happen and then whether an aspect of that sale, being the sale of Freedom Mobile to Vidéotron, could be done.
    The government wants to create that kind of process in the privacy law now. It is a separate act that creates this bureaucracy and this appeal mechanism, where six individuals will decide, as a privacy tribunal, whether a company has breached a person's privacy rights. However, out of the six individuals, only three of them need to any familiarity with privacy law. The others do not need any familiarity with privacy law, no familiarity with business, no familiarity with human rights, nothing. They do not need any other qualifications other than, perhaps in this case, they are a Liberal and are appointed to this board.
    I have discussed this with a number of law firms since the bill was tabled a year ago. These law firms have very different views about whether this speeds up or slows down the process of dealing with individual privacy law issues. We need to have a separate study within the committee on that aspect. In fact, I have been talking to the chair of the committee about that structure, trying to get the hearings to be set up in a way that looks at these three pieces separately.
     The third piece, which my colleague for Bay of Quinte spoke eloquently about, is on artificial intelligence.
    Remember, the first two parts of the bill are essentially a modest rewrite of a bill from the last Parliament, Bill C-11, when the government tried to amend these acts and then complained that the bill did not pass, because it called an early election. The Liberals could not figure out why it did not pass. However, the Liberals reintroduced the bill, but then they bolted on this other thing, which has absolutely nothing to do with the first two parts.
    The third part is called the “artificial intelligence act”, but it has nothing to do with the privacy of individuals and it has nothing to do with the appeal of a person's privacy. It is all about how to regulate this new industry, and it gets it wrong. The government is basically saying that its does not know what artificial intelligence is, which is not surprising for the Liberals, but it is going to regulate it. It is going to define it in regulation, and the minister is going to be in charge of defining it. The minister is going to be in charge of setting the rules on whether the law has been breached. The minister is also going to be in charge of fining someone who has breached the law of this thing the government cannot define. It is a total usurping of Parliament. The Liberals are saying that they do not know what it is, but we should trust them, that they will never have to come back to Parliament to deal with this again.
    We are asking the House to split the bill into three, because it really is three separate pieces of legislation. The government would have more success in its legislative agenda if it actually brought in these pieces properly, individually, rather than a mini-omnibus bill of different types of issues. Then they could be properly studied, properly amended, properly consulted on and properly dealt with by Parliament. The government is choosing not to do that, which is why it is having such poor legislative success in all of its efforts to date.

  (1340)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is somewhat comical to suggest that the government would have more success in its legislative process if we were to start breaking down our bills, putting in more pieces of legislation, when every opportunity the Conservatives get under the instruction of the current right-wing leader of the Conservative Party today is to filibuster and not let legislation pass.
    The member has to be kidding when he suggests that the government should be bringing in more legislation as opposed to focusing on the legislation we have before us today, which would have a profoundly positive impact on communities from every region of the country.
    Does the member not recognize that this is a modernization of legislation? How long will it take before the Conservatives understand that we need to pass legislation in order to better assist Canadians in everyday life?
    Mr. Speaker, it would help in passing that legislation if it were actually good legislation, as opposed to this legislation, which would put big corporate interests ahead of individual privacy.
    Why is the member for Winnipeg North so keen to make banks and big technology have the ability to use our individual data any way they want, even if it causes us harm?
    This is the legislation that the government put forward. The government is in the pocket of big, multinational companies, to give them access to our data to use it for things that we do not allow it to do. Why do the Liberals think that is good legislation? Maybe they are getting personal donations in their campaigns. I do not know.
    The issue is that this legislation is horribly flawed and it needs to be split into three pieces so it can be properly studied.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, once again, we are dealing with a stunt to delay the agenda. I will take this opportunity to add to the comments I made earlier this morning.
    When such schemes are used to delay the agenda, it is because the other side dropped the ball, as well. The government poorly managed its schedule and lacked respect for the opposition parties. There is a lack of dialogue.
    This morning, I asked the Conservatives to please ensure that we can work, and I take this opportunity to ask the same thing of the government. Can we get to work? I am calling for collaboration. Let us be serious. For how long will we have to deal with motions such as these? Of course, it is still an interesting topic. I understand my colleague's argument about dividing up the bill, but that is up to the committee, which is sovereign and can decide what it will do as part of its study.
    Does my colleague not believe that the Government Leader in the House of Commons should perhaps begin talking more often with Conservative and Bloc leaders so we can start moving forward and perhaps wrap things up at a reasonable time while getting real results for the ordinary people watching us?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is an excellent question. What the government thinks is manoeuvring is actually democracy in action, trying to prevent bad legislation from being put forward and passed.
    The member asked a great question about co-operation. The bill was introduced a year ago, and the government had eight months to put it on the floor. It chose not to put it up for second reading debate for about six months.
    The management of the calendar of the House of Commons is a responsibility, in co-operation and discussion with the opposition, but we cannot put government legislation on the floor. That is the job of the government House leader.
    The government House leader chose not to put the bill on the floor for discussion, chose never to talk about the bill in the House leaders meeting, and now the Liberals are surprised and shocked that somebody actually wants to have it discussed and split. Only Liberals would say that the last 10 days are when we should pass all the legislation that they could not bother putting on the agenda the rest of the year.

  (1345)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his arguments to divide the bill. I particularly dislike Bill C-27 for the artificial intelligence act that is included in it. It essentially would exempt the government from any kind of serious harms and any designated provincial government, while saying to business and innovation that it would hang this threat of a criminal offence over their heads, but not telling them what this means. It is going to push our industry and innovation down to the United States, where there is no legislation.
    Does he believe this bill needs to have a full vetting, because generative artificial intelligence can be something that we can innovate in Canada? It is powerful. I would not say dangerous, but this kind of bill would push that activity to areas that are not regulated.
    Mr. Speaker, I would agree. This is critical legislation. On artificial intelligence, the U.S. and Great Britain are going in different directions than this version. They are allowing the subject matter experts, like their transportation departments that manage the automotive industry, to regulate artificial intelligence, not a grand central agency under the industry department, which is what this is. This bill would drive this important development of money, jobs and industry out of our country.
    Mr. Speaker, I always welcome the opportunity to point out the hypocrisy of the Conservatives. Sometimes they just make it too easy.
    When I first walked in this morning, honest to God, I really thought we were going to be passing historic legislation. I really thought we were going to be talking about Bill C-22. After all, if anyone went on the Internet and looked at what is happening in Ottawa, what would be debated in the House of Commons, the first thing in government business was Bill C-22.
     I am sorry, Bill C-22 is another national program, that is the disability program. We do so much good stuff, there so much out there. We are supposed to be talking about Bill C-35, and it did not take a Conservative to point that out. They kind of get lost in the numbers.
     At the end of the day, we were supposed to be talking about Bill C-35 today. It is a national child care plan, from coast to coast to coast, and we are enshrining it into law. We had 20 minutes to go, and then it would go into law.
    However, no, the Conservatives had a different agenda. They have a partisan agenda. They have an agenda that says, “cause frustration, do not allow legislation to pass.” The previous speaker stood up and said that we needed to have more legislation, referring to Bill C-27. He wants to multiply Bill C-27 into three bills. He wants us to introduce three more pieces of legislation so that the Conservatives have more to filibuster.
     The member is criticizing the government, saying that it has been months since we last called this legislation. A lot of issues are happening on the floor of the House of Commons, even with the frustrations caused by the Conservatives, and they cause a lot of frustration. I will give them that much. They know how to play a destructive force. Never before have I seen an opposition, and I was in opposition for 20 years, so focused on playing a destructive force with respect to legislation.
    Earlier today, I reminded the opposition that it was a minority government, and I acknowledge that. We accept the fact that we were elected as a minority government, and we thank Canadians for recognizing us and allowing us to continue in government. We take that very seriously. I kind of wish the Conservative Party would recognize that as well.
    Do they not realize there is a sense of “responsibility” for opposition members as well. Providing endless filibusters and trying to prevent every piece of legislation from passing is the goal of the Conservative. Just last week, and I referenced it this morning, the Conservative leader made a strong statement, and it made the news. It was on Newswatch in fact, not to mention other news agencies. The Leader of the Conservative Party said that he was going to speak and speak and speak, and he might have said “speak” a few more times, to filibuster our budget implementation bill. Let us think about all the things in that the budget implementation bill, and there is not enough time to elaborate on that. That was his intention. He was going to speak until we changed it, and four hours later it passed.
    We have these mechanisms to ensure that at least, even with the destructive force of the Conservative Party, we can still get things done for Canadians.
     Let us fast forward things here. The Conservatives did not want to debate the child care bill this morning. Instead, they wanted to talk about an issue that now brings us to Bill C-27

  (1350)  

    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I have been sitting here for the last 10 minutes, and I still cannot figure out what the member is talking about in relevance to the debate today. I wish he would get to the topic at hand or at least explain what he is talking about.
    I think relevance was called.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Mr. Speaker, it is amazing. I had just finished saying “Bill C-27”, and the member then stood up. Bill C-27 is what the motion is actually all about. The Conservative Party has actually moved a motion to try to get the government to divide Bill C-27 into more bills so Conservatives would have more opportunity to cause more filibustering in order to deprive Canadians of good, sound legislation. That is what the Conservative Party is doing.
    What is Bill C-27? It would be an actual modernization. Believe it or not, and I say this for the Conservative colleagues across the way, technology has changed over the last 20 years. A lot of things have happened. Do members know the last time we actually had a modernization of this legislation? We are talking about over two decades ago, when iPhones and Facebook did not exist. One would think that the Conservatives would have, and be able to comprehend, the need to change the legislation. However, there has been no signal whatsoever coming from the opposition benches to recognize the value of modernizing this legislation.
     The Conservatives should be concerned about it. Do they know the amount of data that is collected in both government agencies and private companies? People must understand that, through technological change, we have seen the development of huge data banks. Canadians are concerned about privacy. They want to make sure that the information being collected is, in fact, protected. A flash disk can have literally millions of entries, and that can be very damaging to the population. Twenty years ago, we did not have flash disks. We might have had the five-inch round disks; I can remember having those about 20 years ago. I will use Tim Hortons as an example, and I could easily use the example of McDonald's too. We can look at those restaurants' apps. People should open up and find out how many apps are out there. When we download these apps, whether they are for a restaurant or any other sort of service like a retail store, and we start using them, we are providing information. People should take a look at the airline industry, hotels and the many different industries out there that are actually collecting the private information of Canadians.
    In the Government of Canada, we recognize that we have a responsibility to look at what is impacting Canadians today, and to bring forward not only budgetary measures, as we have done to protect the backs of Canadians, but also legislative measures. That is what Bill C-27 would do in this particular area; it would ensure that the privacy of Canadians would ultimately be respected and that these huge data banks that are being created would not be abused or exploited at the expense of Canadians.
    We have consulted extensively. Through private, government and non-profit organizations, the department has done its job in terms of bringing forward legislation that would, in fact, modernize the industry. Most important from my perspective is that it would protect the interests and the privacy of Canadians.
    I want to emphasize, at the end of the day, the amount of change that we have witnessed in 20 years, as I said somewhat lightly a few minutes ago. We should understand that when I was first elected to the Manitoba legislature, the Internet was something which people dialed into. The first thing we heard was the “ching-ching-ching-ching” and then the dial tone coming. Then we had to double-click and we were into the Internet, and, boy, was it slow compared to what happens today.

  (1355)  

    There were data banks at that time, and there was information being collected. That is why I would suggest that legislation of this nature is indeed warranted and needed. That is why we have standing committees. Earlier today, in the Conservatives' filibuster, they made a mockery of a standing committee and its efforts by moving an amendment even though the report was unanimously supported. They made a mockery of that.
    I will suggest to the members who participate in standing committees of Parliament that they can play a very important role in giving strength to legislation and to improving legislation. We have a minister who is following the debate, listening to what members have to say, and looking for ways we can improve and strengthen the legislation in the name of protecting Canadians, the data banks and our privacy rights.
    We want to see stability in the industry. Not only do consumers benefit from that stability, but businesses do as well. If we put more stability into place, also factoring in things like AI, it puts Canada in a better position to be able to continue to grow and expand our economy. This is an important aspect of that.
    We have a Prime Minister and a government that have consistently said we want an economy that works for all Canadians from coast to coast to coast, urban or rural. The impact of the Internet on rural communities has been significant in terms of economics, not to mention in many other ways. I will focus on the issue of economics.
    Retail stores can now be found within our computer, and the actual locations are often in rural communities. It can be a driving force for growth in rural communities. That is why it is important we get it right, that we have the confidence of consumers and Canadians in the information that is being gathered. We have to make sure that information is protected, whether it is names, financial information, health-related information and so much more.
    The legislation is good. It is sound. We would like to be able to encourage the Conservatives to see its value. By supporting the legislation, they are supporting Canadians. This legislation is a reflection of what Canadians want to see put into law.
    On that point, I know there is legislation the Conservatives say they support. Let us see if we can stop the filibustering here in the chamber so we can pass additional legislation so Canadians will be even better served by the House of Commons.

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]

  (1400)  

[Translation]

Education Staff

    Mr. Speaker, as you know, parliamentary business will be wrapping up in a few days. This is also a busy time in primary and secondary schools across the country, as the end of the school year is fast approaching for thousands of children and teens.
    I would like to take this opportunity to extend my heartfelt thanks to all the teachers, education professionals, support staff, administrators and principals for the work that they do every day. These are dedicated, hard-working people who spend countless hours educating and training our future plumbers, electricians, psychologists, doctors, entrepreneurs, educators, lawyers, managers and, in some cases, future politicians, to name but a few professions.
     I wish to thank them for everything that they do. Our children, our fine young people, and our future are in good hands. I wish them all a wonderful end to the school year and an energizing summer break, so they can come back next year in top form.

[English]

Sports Heroes from Kitchener

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to extend my heartfelt congratulations to Nicolas Hague and the Vegas Golden Knights on their remarkable triumph in winning the Stanley Cup.
    Nicolas, a Kitchener native, has achieved what many young Canadians dream of doing: hoisting the Stanley Cup. In this achievement, he will not only have his name etched among the greatest names in hockey, but will also inspire countless young athletes to dream big and strive for greatness. This triumph reminds us all of the indomitable spirit of hockey and the power it holds to unite communities. We look forward to Nicolas visiting Kitchener with Stanley.
    The citizens of Kitchener are truly having an incredible week, with two local sports heroes reaching the pinnacle of success by winning the national professional trophy in their chosen sports, first in the NBA, and now the Stanley Cup.
     On behalf of the House, I extend our warmest congratulations to Nicolas Hague and Jamal Murray on their amazing accomplishments. May these victories be a source of great pride and joy, and may they serve as a reminder of the immeasurable value of teamwork, determination and the pursuit of excellence.

Community Leader in Saskatoon

    Mr. Speaker, today I want to talk about a citizen of Saskatoon who has passed on but will never be forgotten. Syed Shah came here in 1982. For the next 40 years, this was his city; it was his home, and he worked tirelessly to make it a better place for everyone.
     He was a pillar of the Ahmadiyya community, played a key role in welcoming many newcomers throughout the years, and was known for his hospitality to new and old alike. He was involved in the construction of three mosques in the province. Building a mosque in Saskatoon was always a lifetime goal of his, and he built an amazing one. He encouraged people of different backgrounds and faiths to get to know each other in order to build a more peaceful society, and he centred the community around these values. He was a father figure for the Ahmadiyya community of Saskatoon, and an important pillar of the broader Saskatoon community, which was reflected in the many dignitaries who attended his funeral.
     I believe that he will live on in his legacy, and I hope we can continue to unite people around the morals of love and harmony preached by him and the Ahmadiyya community: love for all, hatred for none.
    May my friend rest in peace.

  (1405)  

Active Living

    Mr. Speaker, as summer approaches and the sun shines brighter, I am looking forward to the opportunities that lie ahead for active living in our communities.
    On the weekend, I joined the ninth annual Bike the Creek ride, a celebration of the joys of cycling and our environment.
    I want to recognize the team at BikeBrampton, including David and Dayle Laing; The Walnut Foundation and Linden King, who organized a walkathon for men’s health; EcoSikh Canada; Credit Valley Conservation; the Toronto conservation authorities that encourage people to plant trees; and the various seniors clubs that are keeping seniors active in Brampton. I am particularly excited about the upcoming Sun Life Walk to Cure Diabetes for JDRF in Peel.
    These events carry the very powerful message that the benefits of active living are vital for building a healthy and sustainable community. As we eagerly await the arrival of summer, let us seize the opportunity to embrace active living.

[Translation]

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

    Mr. Speaker, since today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, I would like to express my firm commitment to protecting and respecting the rights of the elderly.
    About one in six people over the age of 60 suffered some form of abuse in 2022. Elder abuse is a worrying reality that requires a collective response. There are many types of elder abuse, including ageism, one of the most common forms of discrimination.
    With Bill C‑319, which I introduced, we hope to break down this age barrier by increasing old age security for all seniors starting at 65.
    This is an important day in Quebec, which already has an action plan to fight elder abuse. Greater health transfers would help Quebec do more.
    We must work together to create a society that respects and protects seniors. Let us wear our purple ribbons today and commit to promoting the dignity and well-being of seniors.

Father's Day

    Mr. Speaker, this is a message to all the dads who are celebrating their first Father's Day or their 50th, to the new dads who gaze at their infant son's face and know that their priorities will never be the same, to the dads who work overtime so their kids can go to summer camp for the first time, to the dads who rushed home after a long day to tell their children bedtime stories.

[English]

    To the dads who just walked the daughter they used to carry on their shoulders down the aisle and are wondering where the time went; the dads who did not know if they would make it through the week and are still wondering if they will; the dads who walked into their first or their 100th AA or GA meeting, because they knew it was the only way; the dads who are not perfect but are trying to be better men, husbands and fathers, day in and day out; and all the dads, uncles, big brothers and mentors who know that fatherhood runs deeper than blood and who have opened their hearts and lives to children who no longer have a dad to call their own, I say happy Father’s Day.

Stanley Cup Winner

    Mr. Speaker, Saskatchewan did not have an NHL team. However, in 2017, two young men from Saskatchewan, Justin Reeves and Greg Moore, made a social media plea to adopt the Vegas Golden Knights as Saskatchewan's team.
    At the same time, a young man named Brett Howden was playing for the Moose Jaw Warriors as their captain. Brett was a hard-nosed centre on the ice, and he fought hard for his teammates. Off the ice, he would bring players from the team to play floor hockey with the Special Olympics athletes in Moose Jaw. How he and his teammates were able to walk away after getting roughed up by them, I will never know. Brett knew what it was to give to the community he lived and played in.
    There is a saying in the Special Olympics: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” On Tuesday night, Brett Howden got his due reward and became a Stanley Cup champion with the Vegas Golden Knights.
    On behalf of Moose Jaw, the Moose Jaw Special Olympics and every Saskatchewanian who adopted Vegas as our NHL team, I say congratulations to Brett. I would like to point out that I work with his brother-in-law.

Craig Bowman

    Mr. Speaker, we believe in our hearts that if our loved ones were ever in danger, we would do whatever was necessary to keep them safe. However, how far would we be willing to go to help someone we did not know?
    Would we charge through the front door of a burning house to search for someone caught in the flames? Would we be willing to breathe air loaded with soot and ash, knowing it could shorten our lives? How far would any of us go? What risk would we take?
    Welland firefighter Captain Craig “Opie” Bowman knew the answer to those questions. Because of his courage and the courage of firefighters like him, few of us will ever face those kinds of decisions.
    On May 21, Captain Bowman lost his life after a courageous battle with occupational illness. His wife, Alisen, and children, Alexis and Colin, have suffered an enormous loss, but so many others have been spared that pain because of the bravery of such firefighters as Craig Bowman.
    On behalf of the people of Canada, I thank my friend Captain Bowman for his service. May he rest in peace.

  (1410)  

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

    Mr. Speaker, we stand on the shoulders of giants as we inch towards progress. I stand today to recognize these giants, our seniors, who deserve to live with respect and dignity. Today, on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, it is crucial to raise awareness about the well-being of our seniors and to provide them with the quality supports they need.
    Elder abuse can take many forms; it may be physical or psychological, or it may occur through neglect. We all have a role to play in fostering a culture of dignity and watching for warning signs. This also includes supporting elders, as our government has done, through budget 2023 and our New Horizons for Seniors program to ensure that our seniors and our elders have proper access to opportunities to actively participate in our society.
    Today and every day, let us recognize the many contributions our elders have made to Canada; let us cherish their health and security.

Italian Heritage Month

     Signor Presidente, it is an honour to rise today to celebrate Italian Heritage Month.
    I am one of over 94,000 Italian Canadians living in King—Vaughan. Many Italian immigrants, including my grandparents, came to Canada with enthusiasm and a desire to achieve their goals. They went on to succeed in business, education, entrepreneurship and community leadership, establishing the groundwork for future generations while fostering a deep love for Canada.
     The Italian language, the language of love and passion, is spoken by many across Canada. This month, we honour Italians across Canada for their contribution to the development of this country.
    [Member spoke in Italian]
[English]

End of the School Year

    Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to welcome the next generation of leaders to Parliament.
    Two weeks ago, the Montessori Jewish Day School came to Parliament, and it was wonderful to engage with these young change-makers and answer their terrific questions. Today, I welcome the next generation of women leaders from the Eitz Chaim Girls school to Parliament. They come to see and learn how their House and the democratic institutions we all cherish work, as well as how they can engage with them.
    June marks graduation season for our students from coast to coast to coast, and the resumption of grad trips, which are the milestones of youth exploring our great country. Our students visit Ottawa to learn about our democratic institutions and nurture their curiosity.
    I would like to pay a special tribute to every teacher who has inspired our kids and prepared them for a bright future. I give my congratulations to all our graduates. We are proud of all they have accomplished. Yasher koach.

Conservative Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, it used to be that if somebody worked hard, they could live a good life here in Canada. They could own a home, drive a reliable vehicle, afford groceries and even save up to go on the occasional holiday. Those things are not luxuries and should not be items reserved for elites and trust fund beneficiaries; however, the reality is that these things are now out of reach for far too many Canadians.
    More and more Canadians are cancelling their vacations, going without the necessities or accessing food banks; many have totally given up on the dream of ever owning a home. One must ask why. The answer is simple: The Liberal-NDP policies are to blame. These are things like the carbon tax, attacks on Canada's most productive sectors, gatekeepers reducing productivity and inflationary spending that diminishes the purchasing power of Canadians. It is time for better, and the leader of Canada's Conservatives and his team from across the country are ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work to make sure we axe the tax, make work count again and bring home a Canada that works for all Canadians.

  (1415)  

[Translation]

Housing Crisis

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are already having a hard time making ends meet because of inflation caused by the Liberal government's economic policy; now they are also facing another problem.
    In Quebec, a lot of people move on July 1. This year, it is an even bigger deal than usual. Here is the story of a good man from Trois-Rivières who has to camp in the bush because of the accessible housing shortage. Seventy-four-year-old Richard Dufault cannot find housing. He told TVA Nouvelles that he had been to about 15 rentals but was unable to secure a lease. He said, “Every landlord I meet with takes my contact information, but they never call me back. When I call back, they tell me the place has been rented.”
    Here is an important statistic: At 0.9%, Trois-Rivières has one of the lowest rental vacancy rates in Quebec. According to the CMHC, a balanced housing market has a vacancy rate of around 3%. For this to be happening in Canada in 2023 is unacceptable. This government has been in power for eight years. Why is it abandoning—
    The hon. member for Hochelaga.

25th Anniversary of Vivre et vieillir à Rosemont

    Mr. Speaker, on June 6, the seniors round table, Vivre et vieillir à Rosemont, celebrated its 25th anniversary. This round table, a citizen-led initiative, brings together over 20 players representing the community, the three levels of local elected officials, and citizens who advocate for the well-being of seniors in my riding and that of my colleague from Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.
    On this June 15, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, I want to acknowledge everything that Vivre et vieillir à Rosemont does. Since 2010, the round table has been organizing events to raise the public's awareness about this issue that unfortunately still remains. It has been contributing to the quality of life of this segment of the population that is far too often forgotten, working to break the isolation of seniors and encouraging civic engagement.
    I thank all the members and volunteers at Vivre et vieillir à Rosemont.

[English]

Radioactive Waste

    Mr. Speaker, constituents from Elliot Lake are demanding action from Natural Resources Canada and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to clean up radioactive waste found at their homes in Elliot Lake.
    This waste, from closed uranium mines, was widely used as fill for constructions in the 1960s.

[Translation]

    Without their knowledge, these families were exposed to radiation exceeding allowable limits from mining waste buried under their properties.

[English]

    Yes, this radiation was found in their yards and driveways.
    There is a duty to ensure that all radioactive waste in Canada is managed, isolated from the public and safely stored for generations to come. This is the approach embraced by Natural Resources Canada's radioactive waste policy, yet these families' requests for action have been denied. It is imperative that this decades-long issue be permanently fixed. It should not be a family's responsibility to deal with radioactive waste, nor to bear the burden of health risks caused by the uranium mining industry.
    Jennifer, Lisa, Kathleen, Margaret and Pamela are asking that this radioactive waste be removed from their properties.

[Translation]

100th Anniversary of ACFAS

    Mr. Speaker, there is cause for celebration, as ACFAS is celebrating its 100th anniversary.
     ACFAS was established in 1923 by a generation of Quebec pioneers, including botanists Marie-Victorin and Jacques Rousseau and radiologist Léo Pariseau. In a powerful gesture of national affirmation, these visionaries wanted to give the Quebec nation a strong and united francophone scientific organization. They understood that the territorial, economic and national sovereignty of a people hinges on scientific sovereignty.
    One hundred years later, ACFAS proudly continues its mission to promote, disseminate and value science in French in Quebec and across the Francophonie. More than ever, its work is of crucial importance to Quebec's researchers.
    I invite all my colleagues to join me in saying long live French, long live science, long live ACFAS.

  (1420)  

[English]

Government Accountability

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians have come to learn that the Minister for Public Safety has a complicated relationship with the truth, and they are taking notice.
    He backdated documents to mislead a federal judge, but he dated one April 31, and he was found out. He said that law enforcement asked him to trigger the Emergencies Act. He said the Liberal gun grab did not target law-abiding gun owners. He said that CSIS did not share intelligence that Canadian lawmakers were being targeted by foreign dictatorships. He said that his government had shut down the Beijing-run police stations here in Canada. The things he said are not true, and Canadians have come to learn that they just cannot believe him.
    When he said he did not know that notorious serial killer and rapist Paul Bernardo was being transferred to less-restrictive conditions in medium security, the truth got in the way again.
    We know the minister was informed. We know the Prime Minister was informed. The minister needs to do what is right. He needs to be responsible and accountable.
    He needs to resign today.

Halifax International Fleet Week

    Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Armed Forces serve our country at home and abroad, promoting peace and security, responding to disasters and humanitarian crises and defending our interests.
    As MP for Halifax, home to CFB Halifax, Canada’s largest military base and home to our navy’s Atlantic fleet, I have seen up close the skill and dedication of our forces. Whether responding to hurricane Fiona or departing Halifax for operations around the world, CAF members always answer the call of duty. We owe them our most enthusiastic gratitude.
    That is why I am pleased to announce the inaugural Halifax international Fleet Week will be taking place this September 7 to 10. A partnership between the civilian community and the Canadian Armed Forces, Fleet Week will showcase Canada's proud maritime heritage with a wide array of activities, including ships parades and tours, interactive demonstrations and more. A number of our NATO allies will also participate, giving Fleet Week international significance as well.
    I invite everyone to join me in Halifax this September for the first-ever Halifax international Fleet Week.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, we now know why the Prime Minister did not fire his incompetent and deceitful Minister of Public Safety. It was because the Prime Minister himself accepted Paul Barnardo's transfer to a minimum-security prison offering more freedom and comfort.
    Considering that the Prime Minister is here in Ottawa today, does he have the courage to rise and explain to the victims of Paul Bernardo why he wanted to give this monster more freedom and comfort?
    Mr. Speaker, the crimes in question were atrocious. Crimes like that defy description.
    They affected people across the country. They traumatized not only the victims' family members, without question, but all Canadians.
    First of all, the correctional system is independent. Keeping our correctional system free from political interference is imperative.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we now know why the Prime Minister refuses to fire his incompetent and misleading public safety minister.
     It is that the Prime Minister himself was the one who accepted the transfer of Paul Bernardo from a maximum-security prison to a medium-security prison where he would have access to human interaction, more freedom and more comfort. His office knew three months beforehand, and his cabinet has the power to direct the correctional authorities to keep mass murderers in maximum-security prisons.
    Will the Prime Minister show the courage to stand on his feet and explain to victims of Paul Bernardo why he wanted to give this monster more freedom and comfort?

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, first of all, the idea that anybody in this House would have any sympathy for the monstrous acts that were committed is absolutely repugnant.
    The second thing I will say is that it is unfortunate that the Leader of the Opposition mis-characterizes what happened. He knows very well that the Correctional Service of Canada makes those decisions independently. He knows very well that we have a system where we are not supposed to interfere politically with that.
    It is true, in March, that staff were informed of the possibility. It was not until that possibility was confirmed that they informed the Prime Minister at the end of May.
    Mr. Speaker, based on that account, the Prime Minister knew the day of the transfer, and his office knew three months earlier.
    The government has, in the past, issued directives to the Correctional Service on what should be done with various classes of prisoners, like forcing those with contraband into dry prison cells, for example. In other words, the government does have the power to direct corrections on these issues.
    The Prime Minister and his office knew for three months. Given that he is here in Ottawa today, does he have the courage to explain his decision to let this monster go out of maximum-security penitentiary, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, I know the member opposite cares as deeply about the gravity as those crimes and the impact on the families as I do. I know he cares as deeply about what we are going to do for Canadians on that. I also know that he knows the independence of our correctional services system. I know that he also knows that we are not supposed to interfere politically.
    I would ask him to work collaboratively with us to find a way where we do not politicize Correctional Service of Canada, and we work together to make sure that the families who are impacted by crimes of this nature are taken care of.
    Mr. Speaker, I look across at the Prime Minister's seat. I know that he is in Ottawa today, and if he had the courage, he would be standing to answer these questions directly—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I just want to remind hon. members that we cannot do indirectly what we cannot do directly. I will let the member continue.
    Mr. Speaker, I take the government House leader up on his challenge to work with us.
    We have a bill that would make sure every mass murderer stays in a maximum-security penitentiary. It is before the House. Will the government pass it with unanimous consent today?
    Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would say that I am looking directly at the leader of the official opposition for a reason. I am looking at him for a reason because when we are dealing with something as serious and as brutal as the crimes that occurred in a community that was right next to mine, that I felt viscerally, the conversation that we have has to be measured. It has to be based on co-operation and, frankly, it needs to be based on the underlying premise that every member cares equally and deeply about this, about two things, about the victims absolutely but also about not politicizing our correctional services system.
    Mr. Speaker, I take the House leader at his word that he is equally horrified with this monster and that he wants to do something, but I take him at his word when he says he wants to work with us to reverse this transfer and put this monster back in a maximum-security penitentiary. The good news is that he can do that today. The Conservative member for Niagara Falls, who represents many of the family members and friends of the victims, has a bill that would ensure that every single mass murderer stays in a maximum-security penitentiary forever.
    Will the government commit to passing it with unanimous consent and send Paul Bernardo back to a maximum-security penitentiary?
    Mr. Speaker, we are, in all instances, ready to have a conversation about how we do not politicize our correctional services, about how we ensure that we take care of victims and their families. There is a review of the decision that was made by the Correctional Service. It is going to be completed in two weeks. I would suggest that we take a look at that.
    I would also suggest that, when we are dealing with something as major as changing our correctional services system, it deserves discussion and it deserves the ability for it to be examined by all parliamentarians and to make sure that we do not create unintended consequences.

  (1430)  

[Translation]

Democratic Institutions

    Mr. Speaker, an inquiry into Chinese interference must be launched before we rise for the summer. It takes a lot of time to investigate, and we have wasted too much time already. If we want to reassure the public, we need to shed light on the interference that occurred in the last election before another one is called. That is the only way to convince the public of the integrity of the next federal election. I am appealing to my colleagues' statesmanship. Time is of the essence.
    Will they announce an independent public inquiry before we rise for the summer?
    Mr. Speaker, I am very encouraged by the exchanges between my hon. colleague, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, and the Bloc and the NDP. I hope there will be other conversations with the Conservatives. Fighting foreign interference is not a partisan issue. If we work together, we can create new authorities, provide resources and strengthen them to fight foreign interference. That is the most important thing.
    Mr. Speaker, my colleagues must realize by now that the Bloc Québécois will not give up. Public trust in democracy is at stake. The people are calling for an independent public commission of inquiry. Its commissioner must be approved by the House. The commission will have to report on its work, not in five years, not in two years, but in the next few months. We realize that this is an immense task. That is why we are working with the government, and they know it. We have our work cut out for us. Will the government announce this commission?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her co-operation. Yes, a public inquiry is still an option. That is exactly what my hon. colleague the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities is negotiating with the opposition. The most important thing is that we are now working with Canadians to create new authorities in order to better protect not only our democratic institutions, but Canadians as well.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, what do the Minister of Public Safety, the President of the Privy Council, the former minister of foreign affairs and the Prime Minister have in common? Obviously, they are unable to check their email. That can be dangerous. Is this government aware that it is retraumatizing the families of the victims of one of the most fiendish murderers in Canadian history?
    Mr. Speaker, it is absolutely true that the crime in question probably comes close to being Canada's most serious crime. It is such a serious crime. I can also say with certainty that our correctional system is independent. As I explained earlier, staff were informed of the possibility that the individual in question might be transferred. Once all the details were confirmed, the Prime Minister was informed. It was—
    The hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we have seen fiasco after fiasco with the government. The level of disorganization and negligence from Liberal ministers is often appalling.
     After the public safety minister was failed to be informed of the transfer of one of the most brutal criminals in Canadian history, we now know that the Prime Minister's Office was informed three months ago. The Liberals could have used that time to ensure the victims' families were warned.
     How does this keep happening on such serious files? Why are the Liberals showing such clear incompetence? When will they fix this?
    Mr. Speaker, as I stated, in March, staff were informed of the possibility of a transfer. There were still many details that were not certain. It was not until the end of May, once the details were confirmed, that the Prime Minister was briefed.
     I would say for the member opposite, who knows that Correctional Services is independent and that decisions must not be made with political interference, is that we have to have a conversation, as a House, about how we do not interfere with Correctional Services but also ensure that a transfer of this nature does not occur. That needs to be a mature conversation that does not involve a lot of politics.

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, just when we think things cannot get any worse with the Liberal government, the Prime Minister says “hold my beer”, because it is a game to the Prime Minister. That is what this is.
     For three months, the public safety minister knew that child murderer and Scarborough rapist Paul Bernardo was being moved from maximum to medium-security prison and did nothing. Now we know the Prime Minister also knew for three months and also did nothing.
     This is not a game. Incompetence does not even begin to describe that leadership. Canadians deserve better and these victims' families deserve better. Therefore, will the public safety minister—
    The hon. government House leader.
    Mr. Speaker, I do not know the member for Peterborough—Kawartha well, but I do know that she is very sincere when she cares about these cases, and she would know that the Prime Minister would be deeply impacted as a father and as a Canadian by the horror of these crimes. Any assertion to the opposite is just frankly not constructive to the debate that we need to have.
     I said that Correctional Services operates independently and that it cannot be interfered with politically. I would also say that we have to be very careful, when dealing with the victims of crime, that we do not politicize that or attempt to use it in a way other than to ask how we stop—
    The hon. member for Peterborough—Kawartha.
    Mr. Speaker, if the Prime Minister is so upset, why will he not stand up and answer the question, and talk to the victims' families? If the Liberals care so much, then do it.
     I have said this before: The buck stops with the minister. Stop the blame game. This is people's lives. You are in the government, the Prime Minister, and there is no one below that.
     Again, there is duty here: Either fire the public safety minister or resign. That is it; those are the options.
    I want to remind the hon. members to place their questions through the Chair and not speak directly to each other.
    The hon. government House leader.
    Mr. Speaker, the duty that each of us share as hon. members in this chamber is, on behalf of the people whom we are fortunate enough to represent, to attempt to the best of our ability to keep them safe; to make sure that when they are harmed we do everything in our power to restore them; and to make sure, yes, that we have a corrections system that is free from interference. Why do we say that? Because we have one of the best correctional services systems in the world.
     If we are talking about the rightful outrage that we all have in this circumstance, we have to temper it in a mature conversation on how to balance those two priorities.
    Mr. Speaker, does the Minister of Public Safety expect us to believe that for three months his office withheld information from him that the most notorious murderer and serial rapist in Canada had been transferred to a medium-security prison?
     It is clear that the minister likely knew about the transfer in March and did nothing. The entire government likely knew and did nothing about it, including the Prime Minister's Office.
     When will the Prime Minister finally admit that he has lost total control of his cabinet and ask the minister to resign?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by taking a moment to express my support for the families of Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French, which have no doubt been traumatized time and time again by the decision that was taken under Correctional Service Canada. That is why, when I found out on May 30, I took immediate action to reach out to the commissioner to express those concerns.
     I want to work with all members to make sure that this does not happen again. The directions that I have put into motion will ensure that I am directly briefed and, most important, that victims are given advance notice before these decisions are taken in the future.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is in town, so why will he not stand and answer these questions?
    The minister has misled Canadians before. He has said at least 11 times that law enforcement requested the Emergencies Act; that was false. He said that Bill C-21 was not going to ban guns used by hunters and farmers; that was false. He said that Chinese police stations in Canada had been shut down; that was false.
     Canadians have lost confidence in the minister. Will he do the honourable thing and just resign?

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, on each and every one of those priorities, this government has defended public safety in the interests of all Canadians.
    When it comes to fighting against gun violence, we are banning AR-15s; the Conservatives want to make them legal again. Last year, when we faced an unprecedented national emergency, we invoked the Emergencies Act, a decision validated by Judge Rouleau independently. What did the Conservatives do—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I am sorry, I am going to interrupt. The noise level is starting to build up again and we are having a hard time hearing the answer. The hon. member for Haldimand—Norfolk asked a question; she would like to hear the answer. If there are people yelling behind her, it is very difficult for her to hear.
    Maybe the hon. member could start about 15 seconds from the end.
    The hon. minister.
    Mr. Speaker, when it comes to fighting gun violence, we are banning AR-15s. The Conservatives want to make them legal again. When it came to the decision to invoke the Emergencies Act, we defended that decision to restore public safety. The Conservatives were doubling down, encouraging illegal protesters to stay in the region they should have left. We will always—
    The hon. member for Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is in Ottawa but, strangely enough, he is not rising to answer questions.
    The Minister of Public Safety feigned surprise last week when the criminal Paul Bernardo was transferred from a maximum-security prison to a medium-security prison, yet he had known about it for three months. In fact, even the Prime Minister's Office knew about it.
    No one did anything. Everyone looked the other way. This is Liberal incompetence in all its glory.
    When will the Minister of Public Safety resign?
    Mr. Speaker, this is a very serious situation. Everyone was concerned about this tragedy.
    However, it is important to remember that our correctional system is independent. It is essential that the decision to transfer someone be made by the correctional service.
    Now, there are a lot of emotions, and I understand that. I feel the same way, but we have to talk—
    The hon. member for Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis.
    Mr. Speaker, he knew that this dangerous criminal was going to be placed in a prison with fewer restrictions. He must also have known that this decision would outrage and worry the victims' families.
    The Minister of Public Safety has a less than stellar record, with questionable decisions, backtracking, and untruthful statements.
    If there is anybody in charge in this government who sees things clearly and manages things in the interests of Canadians and of victims, have them stand up and throw this minister out.
    Mr. Speaker, I wish to begin by expressing our deepest sympathies to the families of Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French.
    When I was informed on May 30, I took the necessary steps to have a discussion with the board. An independent review is now under way. In addition, yesterday I issued new directives to the Correctional Service of Canada to ensure that victims are informed before such decisions are made in the future.
    Mr. Speaker, let us not ask the Minister of Public Safety for details about Paul Bernardo's transfer. He knows nothing about it, even if his staff did.
    Let us not ask the Prime Minister either, he too knows nothing, even if his staff knew, just like he knew nothing about Beijing's threats against a Conservative MP, although his staff did.
    Let us not talk about the threats with the Minister of Emergency Preparedness, who also knew nothing, even if his staff did.
    If we want to talk to someone who is aware, we need to speak to a staffer. Should we appoint the staffers as ministers?
    Mr. Speaker, I take this issue very seriously. That is why, when I was informed on May 30, I took the necessary steps. I had a frank conversation with the commissioner of Correctional Service Canada.
    That is why I will be putting in place new directives to protect the rights of victims. We need an approach that respects that. In addition, we will work with all members of the House to protect the rights of victims and to make decisions that make sense.

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, at this point, it is a pattern. The ministers are constantly telling us that they are not aware of the briefing notes that senior public servants nevertheless confirm to have sent directly to their staff.
    We can take their word for it once, maybe twice, that their staff did not see fit to inform them, but there comes a point where it is the political equivalent of saying that my dog ate my homework. These ministers lose a lot of homework.
    When are we going to see real responsibility on their part? We are starting to worry about their dog's health.
    Mr. Speaker, in the current context, as I have already explained, the staff was informed that this was a possibility, without any concrete details. As I have also already explained, the choice to transfer an incarcerated person is an independent choice. When the details were finalized at the end of May, at that time, staff informed the Prime Minister of the situation.
    Mr. Speaker, just because people laugh does not mean it is funny. Ministers have a responsibility to get informed and then in turn inform the public. This spring alone, if we had relied on the work of the ministers instead of the media, three members of the House would still be the target of threats from China without knowing it. Diplomat Zhao Wei would still be in office. A dozen or so ridings would still be the target of Chinese interference. That is what would have happened without the media if we had relied on the responsibility of ministers.
    When will they take their ministerial responsibility?
    Mr. Speaker, a minister has a responsibility to determine the problem and correct it. That is exactly what we did by giving directives to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and giving new directives to Correctional Service Canada. We did this to ensure that the information is shared effectively to protect the rights of the victims and ensure public safety for everyone.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government put convicted murderer, kidnapper and child rapist Paul Bernardo into a medium-security prison. Meanwhile, the PM is in Ottawa. Why will he not stand up and answer the questions?
    In 2013, the Conservative government took responsibility when it was faced with exactly the same issue. Paul Bernardo was to be transferred to a medium-security prison and the Conservative government of the day said no.
     The public safety minister, including the Prime Minister himself, has said yes.
    Will the minister resign for granting leniency to the most notorious child murderer and rapist—
    The hon. government House leader.
    Mr. Speaker, as I have said many times, as every Canadian knows, the crimes that are in question are among the most grievous this country has ever faced. There is not a person in the House who is not impacted by them. I trust that the member cares deeply about it, as do I.
    However, the assertion that this is a decision of the government is false and, in fact, it is dangerous. The decision to transfer inmates is a decision of Correctional Service Canada. The independence of our Correctional Services has been a foundation of our country for a very long time.
    Having a mature conversation about how we respect that and respect victims is what I think Canadians expect.
    I would point out for the hon. member for Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies that we have heard his comment. He does not have to repeat it over and over again. It is just not the right time. The member should talk to his whip about getting a speaking role.
    The hon. member for Calgary Nose Hill.
    Mr. Speaker, I think it is worth noting that the government has the authority to introduce legislation, such as bills the Conservative Party has just put forward, to ensure that offenders like Paul Bernardo, one of Canada's worst serial rapists, stay in maximum security. That is its job.
    The Prime Minister's Office and the Prime Minister knew about this for three months. He has a litany of highly paid staff to tell him about these things. It is preposterous to think they did not. His public itinerary today says that he is in the national capital region. How come he has not informed the House of the public safety minister's resignation?
    Mr. Speaker, the member across has made clear, not just now but for a long time, her desire for her party to be successful and for it to get on this side. They have to do that through an election.
    I will say, on this issue, that the decision made was independent. If we want to have a conversation about Correctional Services' decision, that is exactly what we are doing. There is a review taking place, which concludes in two weeks. We have asked it to review this decision, and I think understanding that these decisions are done independently is important. It has been an important foundation of corrections in this country.

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, the government has had eight years to consult, and it should not be a leap of logic to understand that revictimizing families by allowing the transfer of serial rapists out of maximum-security prison is something the government should have worked to avoid, just like it failed with the Terri-Lynne McClintic case.
    If the member looks behind to his caucus, he will see his caucus cringing. The public safety minister has the worst record of failure in the government outside of the Prime Minister. How come the Prime Minister, who is in the national capital region today, has not informed this House—
    The hon. government House leader.
    Mr. Speaker, I think we should choose what we talk about. If we want to talk about the circumstances that are involved in these horrific crimes and how we can responsibly deal with a corrections system that is one of the best and most envied in the world—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I am sorry, but I have to stop the hon. member.
    The hon. government House leader, from the top, please.
    Mr. Speaker, when we talk about these issues, I would suggest that they require enormous sensitivity. I am concerned that the Conservatives are peppering every question with partisan commentary and trying to extract political advantage from this situation.
    I have attempted, as I have talked about this, to talk about our responsibility. We have one of the greatest correctional services systems in the world. It is admired all over the world, and one of its principal tenets is to not interfere with it politically.
    We all rightly feel outrage about this transfer. We have great emotion about the crimes that occurred, but we need to deal with that emotion responsibly and make—
    The hon. member for Vancouver East.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, international students who were victims of unscrupulous immigration agents should not be punished. They have invested everything they have to study in Canada. They have contributed to the economic, cultural and social fabric of our community. Halting the deportation and removal orders is a good first step.
    The minister said that he is working on a long-term solution. However, what the students need is permanent residency status. Will the minister follow up to ensure that an alternate permanent residence pathway is made available to the victims of fraud?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her advocacy, along with members who come from all parties represented in the House of Commons, in finding a solution for innocent victims who were taken advantage of by fraudsters who allowed them to enter Canada on the basis of fraudulent letters of admission.
    Yesterday we announced a new path forward, including a task force, that would give an opportunity to students to demonstrate that they were not complicit in fraud but were in fact victims of fraud. They will be given temporary status in Canada to allow them to complete their studies or to continue to work. We have also advanced new measures to ensure they can apply for permanent residency or remain in Canada without prejudice. That is the right path forward—
    The hon. member for London—Fanshawe.

Grocery Industry

    Mr. Speaker, the London Food Bank is seeing its highest turnout ever. People cannot afford the cost of food right now, and major grocers are using inflation as a cover to jack up prices. The government is choosing to protect the profits and greed of major grocers while Canadians' bills skyrocket.
    The multipartisan committee released a report stressing how a windfall tax would incentivize large grocers to keep prices low. Will the government implement this windfall tax immediately so that Canadians can stop going to food banks and can actually afford their groceries?
    Mr. Speaker, we agree with the member, and we know that Canadians are paying far too much for their groceries right now. That is why, not long ago, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry wrote to the Competition Bureau to make sure that the bureau is using all the tools it has at its disposal to keep prices down and to prevent businesses from taking advantage of the high prices to profit off of Canadians. We have also asked the bureau to look immediately into these matters. We will continue to work to make life more affordable for Canadians in all matters.

  (1455)  

Diversity and Inclusion

    Mr. Speaker, around the world we are seeing the rights of 2SLGBTQIA+ people being restricted. Even within our own borders, we are seeing extremist groups callously using innocent trans and non-binary children as political targets.
    The Minister of Labour recently represented Canada at the UN International Labour Organization in Geneva, where he raised this issue. Would the minister share with the House what he said to this international forum?
    Mr. Speaker, a few days ago I stood before nations that have attempted to roll back 2SLGBTQI+ rights, and I reminded them that as a gay and married man, I would be jailed or even condemned to death if I happened to have been born in their countries.
    Nations make progress and they achieve rights in their own time and in their own way, as was the case with Canada, and we respect that, but once those rights are achieved, once they are named, we will not stand by and see them swept under the carpet, put back in the closet or taken away, not here, not there, not anywhere.

[Translation]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and cabinet have never taken responsibility for their many acts committed in bad faith.
    For example, the Minister of Public Safety alone has misled the House no less than seven times. He even misled a judge by backdating documents. He should have been fired for that, but he is still here. The Liberals have also never showed empathy or compassion for the victims of Paul Bernardo.
    The Prime Minister is in Ottawa. Can he rise today and tell us whether he is going to fire his public safety minister?
    Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, that is absolutely not true. I called the representatives of the families of Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French to express our government's solidarity and our full support.
    In addition, we will now work with CSC to prevent further cases like this from happening. Victims must be notified before such decisions are made. That is the commitment we are making for the future.
    Mr. Speaker, the Correctional Service of Canada took the trouble to inform the Prime Minister's Office three months ago that Paul Bernardo was being transferred to a medium-security prison.
    Did anyone in the Prime Minister's Office think to have the common sense to contact the families and warn them? No one seems to have thought about calling the victims' families, even though this should be standard procedure.
    The minister says that he did so two weeks ago. Why did his prime minister not do it three months ago?
    Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, my hon. colleague does not understand our current laws. These are issues that we need to address. We are prepared to work with all members of the House.
    In the meantime, I have issued a new directive to CSC to make sure of one very important thing: I will be briefed directly, and CSC will notify victims when making such decisions in the future.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, an unsealed justice department indictment in U.S. court revealed that a Canadian in Vancouver was coerced back to the PRC. It has been eight months since the first reports about Beijing's illegal police service stations. Beijing brazenly admitted to five of these stations, and another two have been identified. These stations are being used to coerce people back to the PRC.
    The minister has indicated these stations were shut down, but they have not been. When will they be?
    Mr. Speaker, with great respect to my colleague, he needs to listen carefully to the RCMP, which has consistently updated Canadians that it is taking action in regard to foreign interference associated with these so-called police stations.
    If the Conservatives are serious about fighting foreign interference, they will stop with the partisan attacks. They will support the government's agenda to tackle this issue and do so in a way that is unifying, because we must protect our democratic institutions, and most importantly Canadians, from this phenomenon.
    Mr. Speaker, that same indictment also revealed that in New York City last summer, PRC agents tried to coerce someone in New York City to come to Toronto for more intensive interrogations. The implication is that Beijing is comfortable using Canada as its foreign interference playground. Maybe that is because two months ago those same PRC agents were arrested, yet here north of the border there is nothing: no arrests, no new legislation.
    When will the Prime Minister replace the minister with someone who will get the job done?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, we are getting the job done by adding new authorities for our national security establishment, by adding $49 million for the RCMP to protect Canadians from foreign interference, by being on the cusp of introducing a new foreign agent registry—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I have to break for a second. We are starting to see the volume go up again, and we are hearing individual voices. It is getting a bit out of hand, so we are going to take a deep breath and pause a bit.
    I will ask the hon. minister to start from the top, please.
    Mr. Speaker, we are getting the job done by making sure that we equip our national security establishment with the tools that it needs to fight foreign interference, by adding resources for the RCMP, which we put into the budget, by raising the bar on transparency through the creation of NSICOP and NSIRA, and by continuing to engage Canadians on this.
    That is what we are doing. What the Conservatives are doing is continuing on with an agenda that focuses on partisan attacks. They should stop that and do the work with all members in the chamber so that we can fight against foreign interference and protect our democratic institutions.

[Translation]

News Media Industry

    Mr. Speaker, 1,300 people learned yesterday that they would be losing their jobs at Bell Media. Six radio stations are going to stop broadcasting. When even a giant like Bell can no longer protect its media and newsrooms, the situation is dire. The entire news industry and the people who work in it are all under threat.
    The Bloc Québécois is proud to have contributed to Bill C‑11 and Bill C‑18, two very important bills. However, I think the minister is beginning to realize, as I have, that this will probably not be enough.
    In light of these new job losses, does the minister have anything to suggest in order to better protect the diversity of information?
    Mr. Speaker, my thoughts are with all those who have lost their jobs, and with their families. It is always worrisome when radio stations shut down and journalists lose their jobs. That is why we have been there from the start. We worked with the Bloc Québécois and the NDP to study Bill C‑11 and Bill C‑18, but the Conservatives did everything they could to delay the passage of those bills.
    Do they finally understand that their actions have consequences?
    Mr. Speaker, layoffs at Bell Media are a sign of growing pessimism even among the telecom giants. We can only imagine how the smaller industry players feel.
    Will current federal programs and the compensation flowing from Bill C‑18 really be enough to ensure the survival of the news?
    The Bloc Québécois is proposing the creation of a dedicated fund, separate from existing programs, wholly dedicated to protecting news media and newsrooms. I think we are at that point.
    What does the minister think? Is he prepared to work with us to develop a fund like that?
    Mr. Speaker, our government will always be open to new solutions. We will always look at what more we can do and what we can do better.
    However, when we introduced the Canadian journalism labour tax credit, the Conservatives were against it. When we created the Canada Media Fund for the regions, the Conservatives were against it. When we introduced Bill C‑11, the Conservatives were against it. When we introduced Bill C‑18, the Conservatives, again, were against it.
    Do they understand that their actions have real consequences?

Financial Institutions

    Mr. Speaker, as a way to show the world his admiration for the basic dictatorship of the regime in Beijing, the Prime Minister wanted to personally contribute to its expansion in 2016 by proudly announcing an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. We warned the Prime Minister. The Conservatives saw the trap many times. We know from one of its executives that the AIIB was in fact run by the Chinese Communist Party. Canadians should not have to pay a quarter of a billion dollars to expand the Beijing regime.
    When will the Prime Minister get our money back?
    Mr. Speaker, as the Deputy Prime Minister said yesterday in answer to this question, the Government of Canada will immediately halt all government-led activity at the AIIB. Furthermore, she has instructed the Department of Finance to lead a review of the allegations regarding Canada's involvement in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. The Canadian government will also be discussing this issue with its allies. The review announced yesterday is to be undertaken expeditiously. No outcome is being ruled out following its completion.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal-appointed board member on the Asian infrastructure bank just resigned, calling it a cesspool and saying that it was controlled by “the Communist Party crowd who operate like a secret police.”
    Who could have seen this coming? Who could have predicted that a bank structured to give Beijing effective control would use the bank to expand the power and influence of the Communist regime in Beijing? Who could have possibly seen that coming? The Conservatives, that is who.
    We warned the Liberals not to put tax dollars into this scam of a bank. When are they getting our money back?

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, as the Deputy Prime Minister and I said in the House yesterday on this matter, the Government of Canada will immediately halt all government-led activity at the bank. She has instructed the Department of Finance to lead an immediate review of the allegations raised and of Canada's involvement in the AIIB.
    The Canadian government will also be discussing this issue with our allies and partners who are members of the bank.
    The review is to be undertaken expeditiously, and no outcome is being ruled out following this investigation.
    Mr. Speaker, nobody likes an “I told you so”, except for everyone who told them so.
    It was not only Conservatives, but also our major security partners, such as Japan and the United States, and foreign affairs experts, who said the same thing, that the Communist regime would use the bank to bully developing countries and expand its power and influence.
    This bank built railways and ports with taxpayer dollars while Canadians here at home are struggling just to pay the bills. Now that the con has been exposed, will the government do the right thing and get Canadians their tax dollars back?
    Mr. Speaker, to the same question, we say the same answer as we gave yesterday in the House.
    The Deputy Prime Minister has been very clear. We have ceased all government-led activities with the AIIB. We have asked the Department of Finance to conduct an immediate investigation into the activities of the bank. This investigation is to be undertaken expeditiously, and no outcome will be ruled out.

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, countries around the world are racing to seize the extraordinary economic opportunities that come with building a low-carbon economy, investing in clean energy, and scaling new technologies. We must ensure that Canadian workers are equipped with the right skills, in the right place, at the right time.
    Can the Minister of Natural Resources please share how this government is helping workers capitalize on this opportunity and ensure Canada is a leader in all things energy?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for the question, and for his advocacy on these important issues.
    The global race to build a low-carbon economy is the greatest job-creation opportunity of our time. We can either work to seize this opportunity or put our heads in the sand and let it pass us by.
    An hon. member: Oh, oh!
    Hon. Jonathan Wilkinson: Mr. Speaker, having a serious plan to address climate change is required to have a serious plan for Canada's economic future.
    Today, with the tabling of the sustainable jobs act, our government is choosing to seize the moment. This act will create and maintain jobs in communities across Canada by helping workers gain the necessary skills and training to fill the jobs of a low-carbon world. We are building an economy where Canadian workers and businesses will thrive.
    Before going to the next question, I would like to remind the hon. member for Calgary Midnapore that it is not polite to scream over the voice of someone else.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, the cost of the Prime Minister's Liberal government is driving up the cost of living. The more he spends, the more things cost.
    According to the latest National Rent Report, the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in King—Vaughan is $2,650, the fifth-highest in the GTA.
    Canadians are sick and tired of the government trying to convince them they have never had it so good. When will the Liberal Prime Minister show some compassion and stop the out-of-control inflationary spending so Canadians can stay in their homes?
    Mr. Speaker, what Canadians are sick and tired of is the Conservatives' hypocrisy that they care about affordability for Canadians. Right now in the House they are holding up BillC-35, an act respecting early learning and child care. There are only 19 minutes left in debate to get this bill passed through the House to go to the Senate.
    Conservatives keep saying they care about affordable child care, but all they have done is play partisan games to hold it up. When will they finally be honest with Canadians and tell them they do not care about it, instead of playing silly games?

  (1510)  

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, fuel companies throughout Atlantic Canada have sent letters to their customers telling them that on July 1 propane is going up 12¢ a litre. Gasoline is going up 17¢ a litre, and home heating and diesel are going up 20¢ a litre.
    Folks in Kentville, Antigonish, Sydney, Saint John, Fredericton, Edmundston, Corner Brook, Clarenville, Conception Bay South, Labrador City, and all over P.E.I. have sent me a copy of that letter. Will the evil genius who invented carbon tax 2 please stand up to tell us why he is persecuting Atlantic Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the hon. member that the Conservative Party of Canada campaigned on a platform to implement a clean fuel standard, except that party is all words while we are all action. We have worked with companies across the country to ensure we can have lower carbon-emitting fuels in Canada. We are creating investments across the country in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Newfoundland of more than $2 billion in the last year alone in clean fuel.
    We will continue ensuring that we can create good jobs, have a good economy and tackle climate change.
    Mr. Speaker, what a pile of baloney. Canadians know that all they have done is destroy jobs in Canada. The Prime Minister's childhood friend, who believes the same thing, Premier Furey said that when he asked the federal minister what impact the carbon tax 2 would have. He admitted that it will not be zero. No, it will not be zero, it will be $850 a year per household in Atlantic Canada.
    Will these Liberals finally admit that the carbon tax is not working, stop persecuting the people who elected them and end the carbon tax?
    Mr. Speaker, I really find it quite rich when I am listening to our colleagues on the other side of the House. I would like to give them a little history of lesson, especially from my part of the country.
    The first thing we did was reopen the veterans affairs office that the previous government had closed. The other thing we did, as a coastal community, was to build and open a new facility after they had closed down the Coast Guard search and rescue. Then we raised taxes on the wealthiest, lowered them for the middle class and lowered taxes for small businesses twice.
    We have been there to help people through the pandemic. We are there now helping with dental care, with child care benefits and with people turning off—
    The hon. member for St. John's East.

Seniors

    Mr. Speaker, we recognize that raising awareness is one of the most effective ways to combat elder abuse. With today, June 15, marking World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, could the Minister of Seniors provide an update to the House on the steps being taken by the government to increase awareness and prevent the mistreatment of senior citizens in Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, any form of elder abuse is a despicable crime that we take very seriously. Our government is taking action by supporting over 600 community organizations that help seniors recognize and identity fraud and abuse by finalizing a definition of elder abuse, establishing new offences and penalties under the Criminal Code related to elder abuse, and investing in better data collection.
    To ensure that tragedies like the ones we saw in long-term care will never happen again, we welcome the national long-term care standards and are working toward delivering a safe long-term care act.

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, Pacheedaht First Nation in my riding does not have a school for kids from grade 6 to 12. Every day, children as young as 11 have to take a bus 75 kilometres each way between home and school on a windy and narrow highway. That is three hours a day. Chief Jones came all the way to Ottawa to plead with Indigenous Services and Infrastructure Canada to help.
    Will the minister honour reconciliation and start working with the Pacheedaht to get this community the school they desperately need?

  (1515)  

    Mr. Speaker, since this government was elected, we have worked tirelessly to close the gaping infrastructure gap left by the previous Conservative government. It underinvested in indigenous children, underinvested in indigenous infrastructure and did nothing about boiled water advisories for a decade, which left a massive gap of infrastructure across the country, including children's schools. Our government has reversed that trend.
    Of course I will work tirelessly to make sure that every community has a school that children can be proud of and safe to learn in.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, on June 10, Canada seized a Russian aircraft at Pearson airport. Global Affairs Canada said it is working with Ukraine on “options to redistribute this asset to compensate victims of human rights abuses”.
     Why then is the government fighting the families of victims of flight PS752 from using an Ontario superior court ruling to allow them to seize assets and obtain compensation from Iran? Why is the government protecting a ruthless regime and its murderous IRGC terrorists? Why is the government standing with terrorists instead of grieving Canadian families?
    Mr. Speaker, it is an important question, and it gives me the opportunity to talk about two things.
    The first is what we are doing to make sure the Russian regime is held accountable. Canada is the first country in the world now able to seize and forfeit important assets of the Russian regime. Indeed, we seized the Antonov plane, which has been stranded at the Pearson airport.
    When it comes to Iran, we will continue to make sure that the regime itself is held accountable. We have sanctioned the IRGC. We have also sanctioned key leaders. We will make sure that the families of the victims of PS752, with whom I have had numerous contacts and numerous meetings, are compensated and well supported.
    That is all the time we have for question period today.
    Mr. Speaker, if you seek it, I believe you will find unanimous consent for the following motion.
    I move that notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of this House, Bill C-342, an act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act regarding maximum security offenders, be deemed read a second time and referred to a committee of the whole, deemed considered in committee of the whole, deemed reported without amendment, deemed concurred in at report stage and deemed read a third time and passed.
    All those opposed to the hon. member's moving the motion will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.

House of Commons

    I have the honour to lay upon the table the House of Commons' “Report to Canadians 2023”.

Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

[Translation]

Committees of the House

Justice  

    The House resumed consideration of the motion, and of the amendment.
    It being 3:18 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 amendment of Mr. Brock to the motion for concurrence in the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

[English]

    Call in the members.

  (1545)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 378)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 113


NAYS

Members

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

Total: -- 207


PAIRED

Members

Bergeron
Bibeau
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Savard-Tremblay

Total: -- 4


    I declare the amendment defeated.

[English]

    The next question is on the main 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.

  (1550)  

    Mr. Speaker, I request a recorded division.

  (1600)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 379)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 320


NAYS

Nil

PAIRED

Members

Bergeron
Bibeau
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Savard-Tremblay

Total: -- 4


    I declare the motion carried.

[English]

Business of the House

[Business of the House]
    Mr. Speaker, I know all members have been patiently waiting for the famous Thursday question.
    Could the government House leader please inform the House what business the government intends to bring before the House for the remainder of this week and into next week?
    Mr. Speaker, I am very glad to respond on behalf of the government.
    This afternoon we will continue debate on Government Business No. 26, concerning amendments to the Standing Orders. When debate concludes later this evening, we will consider Bill C-35, respecting early learning and child care, followed by Senate amendments to Bill C-9, concerning the Judges Act.
    Tomorrow we will consider Bill C-42, respecting the Canada Business Corporations Act, at report stage and third reading, and Bill S-8, respecting sanctions.
    The priorities for next week shall include Bill S-8, on sanctions; Senate amendments to Bill C-18, respecting online news; Bill C-40, concerning the miscarriage of justice review commission act, also known as David and Joyce Milgaard's Law; and Bill C-33, which strengthens the port system and railway safety.
    Thursday shall be an allotted day.
    Finally, I request that the ordinary hour of daily adjournment for the next sitting be 12 midnight, pursuant to order made Tuesday, November 15, 2022.
    Pursuant to order made on Tuesday, November 15, 2022, the government House leader's request to extend the said sitting is deemed adopted.

Privilege

Alleged Breach of Member's Right to Information  

[Privilege]
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege regarding evidence I have received through an ATIP request that demonstrates the government deliberately withheld information I sought from the Minister of Natural Resources through written Question No. 974. Question No. 974 was also the subject of a point of order I raised on January 31, 2023.
     As background context, on November 3, 1978, the member for Durham—Northumberland raised a question of privilege and charged that he had been deliberately misled by a former solicitor general. The member had written a letter in 1973 to the solicitor general, who assured him that, as a matter of policy, the RCMP did not intercept the private mail of Canadians.
    On November 1, 1978, during testimony before the McDonald commission, the former commissioner of the RCMP stated that they did indeed intercept mail on a very restricted basis, and that the practice was not one which had been concealed from ministers.
     The member claimed that the statement clearly conflicted with the information he had received from the then solicitor general some years earlier. The Speaker ruled, on December 6, 1978, that there was indeed a prima facie case of contempt.
    I am in the same position today. I received information from a written question, and I am now in possession of new information from an ATIP that establishes that an answer from the Minister of Natural Resources was a deliberate attempt to deny me an answer.
    Instead of providing the House with accurate information, which, in your own words, Mr. Speaker, “is a fundamental one and it is a central accountability mechanism”, the information was based on the communication needs of the minister. The quote I just gave is pulled from the ruling you made on my original point of order on this matter, which you made on February 2, 2023.
    My claim of breach of privilege in this matter stems also from a ruling the Speaker made on December 16, 1980, at page 5797 of Hansard. The Speaker ruled, “ While it is correct to say that the government is not required by our rules to answer written or oral questions, it would be bold to suggest that no circumstances could ever exist for a prima facie question of privilege to be made where there was a deliberate attempt to deny answers to an Hon. Member.” This is clearly one of those circumstances.
    In the ATI response regarding the government's preparation of the response to Question No. 974, there is a departmental note beside it that reads, “There is some communications risk resulting from the use of high-level limitation language that does not answer the written question from an MP who is an effective communicator and former Natural Resources critic.” The ATI file outlines correspondence between dozens of staff involved in a strategy on how to deny me information, instead of working to provide it to me. I encourage members to read this whole thing; it is quite something.
    An email from Paige Ladouceur includes this description on the strategy behind the government's approach to Question No. 974: “IADT worked with CPS and PAU to land on this response, which relies on approved media lines. [Response] does not answer question directly....PAU has confirmed that this approach is appropriate.” This email in itself shows that the government was deliberately attempting to deny me information related to my question. It may be appropriate for the government to craft a political communications response to the information provided in an Order Paper question, after that information is produced for the member, but it is a breach of my privilege for government employees to craft a strategy designed to deliberately withhold information which I am to be afforded by way of the Standing Orders of this place.
    Again, to re-emphasize, the emails in this ATI file, of which I will not read all into the record though I am happy to table this with the House, show that there were numerous meetings and discussions purposely designed to withhold information from me. I am referenced personally. The ATI file number is A-2022-00489 for anyone who is interested, and I encourage members to read it.
     The government's approach to providing information to members appears to be based on defensive communications, and not on providing accurate information to members, which, as you, Mr. Speaker, said in your ruling on February 2, is fundamental and is a central accountability mechanism. That, and as per the 1980 Speaker's Ruling I mentioned above, should constitute a breach of my privilege.
    Mr. Speaker, I encourage you to review the ATI response. It shows that there are dozens of federal public servants, likely collectively paid millions of dollars, engaged in an exercise to decide how best to withhold information from me, and then approving it.

  (1605)  

     However, there is another big problem that this ATI file outlines. The department's flippant views do not stop with me or other members of the House but are aimed at the Speaker's office. Allow me to explain. The Speaker's ruling of February 2, 2023 said:
    The right of members to seek information from the government is a fundamental one and it is a central accountability mechanism. Written questions are one of the means members possess to obtain the information that allows them to perform their parliamentary duties.
    Written question Q-974 was placed on the Order Paper on November 15, 2022. The government presented an answer on January 30, 2023, within the 45-day limit. The response provided appears in that day's Debates.
    The main point of contention raised by the member for Calgary Nose Hill regards the substance and completeness of the government’s response. In her view, the response fails to address many of the matters raised in her question.
    However, House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, at page 529, states, “There are no provisions in the rules for the Speaker to review government responses to questions.”
    Apparently, officials in the minister's office are well aware of this passage, and I have email communications within the minister's office that suggest they are using this as some sort of loophole to deny answers to a member of Parliament.
    In the ATI, the minister's regional adviser for Quebec asks in an email, “What is the jurisprudence on those [types] of Points of Order?” The minister's deputy chief of staff, Kyle Harrietha, responds, “Thanks, heard it after QP and did the inbox search of Q-974. Already in touch with GHLO. I'm expecting the Speaker to tut tut and then say it is not for him to judge the quality of a response”.
    Again, we have government staff who are depending on the office of the Speaker to say that the strategy of high-level withholding of information is appropriate to withholding information from me. They are using government resources to withhold information from me as opposed to providing it to me, and that is a breach of my privilege.
    Should the Speaker take issue with the government's using this loophole to withhold information from me, it would not be the first time that a Speaker has taken departments to task for their attitude towards Parliament. On November 6, 1997, the Speaker ruled:
...the Chair acknowledges that this is a matter of potential importance since it touches the role of members as legislators, a role which should not be trivialized. It is from this perspective that the actions of the Department of Finance are of some concern....
    This dismissive view of the legislative process, repeated often enough, makes a mockery of our parliamentary conventions and practices....
    I trust that today's decision at this early stage of the 36th Parliament will not be forgotten by the minister and his officials and that the departments and agencies will be guided by it.
    Again, as per my original point of order, the government purposely used, as revealed extensively and embarrassingly in this ATI, a strategy called “high-level limitation language that does not answer the written question” to deliberately withhold information from me.
     This ATI file also outlines several other MPs, and folks may want to look at this as there are several members who are mentioned in this ATI file, whose Order Paper questions were also subject to the strategy with a risk analysis based on the Speaker's assessment as to whether or not member are good communicators. I encourage you, Madam Speaker, to look at this part of the ATI file to see just how pervasive this strategy is.
    I find it atrocious that Canadian taxpayers are paying dozens of public servants to deliberately withhold information from members of Parliament. I also find it shameful that ministers are allowing this to happen.
    However, the bottom line, as per the 1980 Speaker's ruling I cited before, is that this ATI file squarely shows a deliberate attempt to withhold information I requested in an Order Paper question, and I argue that my privilege has been breached. If you, Madam Speaker, find this to be a prima facie question of privilege, I am prepared to move the appropriate motions.

  (1610)  

    The Chair will take it under advisement and return to the hon. member with an appropriate answer if and when necessary.
    The hon. leader of the government in the House.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Government Business No. 26—Amendments to the Standing Orders

Motion That Debate Be Not Further Adjourned  

[S. O. 57]
    Madam Speaker, in relation to the consideration of Government Business No. 26, I move:
    That debate be not further adjourned.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1, there will now be a 30-minute question period.

[Translation]

    I invite hon. members who wish to ask questions to rise in their places or use the “raise hand” function so the Chair has some idea of the number of members who wish to participate in question period.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, obviously, I feel profoundly disappointed again that we are here facing time allocation on a profoundly substantive change to the way Parliament functions. We have had just a few hours to discuss this. I am planning to speak to this issue later on.
    This is an issue that goes back to during the COVID pandemic. The government made its intentions very clear at that time that this is the direction it wanted to go. There are a lot of voices that want to speak on this issue because of the substantive nature of this change, and I cannot quite understand why the government is invoking time allocation on something that would have a profound impact on the way this place functions. Here we go again. I am not surprised that the government House leader has risen on this matter. Does he not understand how substantive this issue is and how many voices he is silencing in this place, the voices of members of Parliament in this place, who are representing millions of people across this country? It is just ridiculous.

  (1615)  

    Madam Speaker, I think the member recognizes well why we have to use time allocation. He can see that the Conservative Party has done everything from faking technical problems to raising point of order after point of order to try to disrupt the House from doing its business. In fact, last Friday, an entire day of Parliament was lost as a result of procedural tricks by the Conservatives, and the leader of the official opposition himself has said that they will do everything to block the ability of the House to do its job. Of course, one party that represents one-third of the seats does not have the opportunity or right to stand in the way of every other party from doing its business. That is most certainly not democratic.
    The other thing I would point out is that it is the Conservatives' right to make the same point again and again, which is that they are against the utilization of hybrid Parliament, which they have said they would never support under any conditions. They can keep making that same speech again and again, but it is not a restriction of democracy to hear that speech 10, 20, 30 or 40 times. At some point, when they say the same thing, the message is heard. They are against it.
    I am sorry, but the House is moving forward with this because it is the right thing to do.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I am at a loss for words to express my frustration with this government, especially its leader, and its methods. The rules of Parliament are being changed without a consensus or even the semblance of one in the House. The government is riding roughshod over the way we do things, in complete violation of the very spirit of the parliamentary system. It is a disgrace to democracy and a disgrace to the House. To add insult to injury, a gag order is being imposed after a few days of debate. I have never seen anything like it.
    As everyone knows, I sit on the Standing Committee on Finance. I had the pleasure of working with the committee's chair, former Liberal MP Wayne Easter, for several years. He agrees that attempting to make these changes is preposterous. These are fundamental changes that will have far-reaching implications. Whenever ministers are put on the spot, they can simply duck behind their screen or hide in their basement to avoid pressure from reporters or members of Parliament.
    Since this involves changing the way things work, consensus is needed. We need to take the time to debate this motion before adopting it. Right now, the government leader is acting like a bulldozer and is not seeking consensus. He is telling us that he does not care. What is more, he is moving a time allocation motion to limit debate on this motion. I cannot believe what is happening to democracy and to the history of this Parliament. This way of doing things is unprecedented. It is unacceptable. I am truly disappointed.
    Madam Speaker, context is really important. At the start of the pandemic, when we were in a very difficult situation and it was impossible to work in person, we had to use technology to be able to continue our work in Parliament. At that time, we unanimously passed a motion to operate in a hybrid format.
    When health conditions improved, we were able to return to the House to continue our work in person. Over the past three years, we have seen just how effective the system has been. Ministers have continued to be in the House when members on the other side stand up during question period, and this will continue to be the case. The concept of accountability is included in the change proposed today.
    However, this motion provides some flexibility. Every party, whether it is the Conservative Party or the Bloc Québécois, uses the hybrid format. Every day, the members use technology to vote. Just a few moments ago, we saw the Bloc using this technology. I find it strange that the Bloc is against this proposal when it makes use of all the options available in the hybrid format, such as electronic voting.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, this is a pretty complex debate and there are substantive arguments on both sides of it. However, it seems like the government has had some challenges in managing its legislative priorities over the course of this year. We are in this final stretch. If this was such a priority, why was it not introduced a bit earlier, which perhaps would have provided for a fullness of discussion and debate and might not have forced us into closure and would have allowed for all of these nuances and democratic principles to be fully fleshed out?

  (1620)  

    Madam Speaker, as the member knows, this matter was put before the procedure and House affairs committee. That committee did take an enormous amount of time to study the issue, and the member's party was part of those agreeing with the recommendations that were before this House. After that came forward, we worked with all parties, asking their opinions about the work PROC did. Of course, it takes a bit of time to hear from all parties, and now, after that consultation, we have a continuance of what we have done for the last three years.
     If we were to take longer than this session and had not adequately used that time in PROC and then the time immediately after PROC to have those discussions, the consequence would be that we would have missed this window and we would have had to reintroduce these provisions in the fall and have the same debate that we have had again and again.
     I want to thank the member opposite for their work at PROC and I want to thank the member for the work that they did after PROC to find a position that works. We have listened very carefully to how members are utilizing these provisions, and of course we are often hearing in hallways from every party about how much they love them. We see how they use them, evidently, and the rhetoric does not quite match what they are doing.
    Madam Speaker, I want to start by recognizing that we are in the midst of never-ending partisan procedural games right now, so I get why this motion is being introduced, but let us also recognize that this is pretty serious.
     We are in the midst of debating the very nature of how our Parliament functions. It is not legislation, so there is not even a chance to propose amendments. It is already a take-it-or-leave-it approach, and on top of that, we are now being limited in our debate. I believe it was just on Monday night that we began this conversation. I can speak for myself in saying that I am still researching, reading and listening to inform my own vote on this measure.
     Therefore, I have this question for the member, whom I respect deeply and who I know is thoughtfully considering how best to move this ahead: If the official opposition were in government and put forward what is being put forward right now, how would he respond?
    Madam Speaker, I would respond in the following way.
    The history is important. Let us remember that this system was created, with unanimity, in the depths of the pandemic. All parties agreed to how it would function and how it would work. Then those provisions started to live, and those provisions have lived for the last three years. In fact, the proposal that is on the table now is a continuance of an existing system that the member uses regularly, that I use regularly and that I think every member of this House has used. I see members rail against the utilization of these provisions, and then they turn on their application and vote electronically or they turn on their screen and use it.
    After this system was unanimously created and had existed for three years, the procedure and House affairs committee heard from witnesses and did very detailed work, exactly as the member is describing. What came out of it was that it became very clear that two parties were against this under all conditions. The parties were asked numerous times what it would take for them to support it and if there was any flexibility: The answer was “no”. They do not support it in any form and they do not support it in any function.
    As a result, we are at the point where continuing the debate means just listening to “no” a thousand times over. That does not make sense. At some point, we have to proceed to implement it, and that is what we are doing today.
    Madam Speaker, I have been listening to the debate that we have been having in the House on this issue. The one issue that I keep hearing from the Bloc members is that we need to have consensus. However, I reflect on the fact that on Monday of this week, there was not a single vote in which fewer than 50% of the Bloc members used their voting app. As a matter of fact, when we voted on Bill C-41, 80% of the Bloc members used their voting app. When we voted on their own motion about climate change, 50% of the Bloc members used it.
    Would the House leader not agree that consensus is pretty well established, given the participation in using the application?
    Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague is precisely right. If on the one hand members say they are against something and on the other hand 80% of them use it just in a single vote, it is a little hard to believe the rhetoric. We have to step back from that rhetoric and talk about the conversations that we have in hallways in this place. I have conversations with members from all parties who talk about how meaningful it is for them to be there for key moments in their families' lives or how they personally are dealing with incredibly difficult health issues or how someone in their family is, and they are able to be there for them.
    This measure provides a bit of flexibility and would change nothing. Our committees continue to work, the House continues to function and of course members from all parties, as the parliamentary secretary rightly pointed out, are using these provisions themselves. That hypocrisy is a little jarring.

  (1625)  

    Madam Speaker, I am surprised and shocked that the debate on something as fundamental as the way this House operates is now going to be cut off. If we are going to have a hybrid Parliament, we need to come to an agreement on how it is going to operate.
    I recall many years ago that Chuck Cadman, a member of Parliament for Surrey, in my area, came here to vote even though he was undergoing cancer treatment. That is how important it was for him. Nowadays we see people voting on the app just because it is more convenient for them. Often when there is a vote right after question period, a whole lot of Liberal members of Parliament dash out of here because they are going to vote on the app.
    This is worthy of a full debate, but debate is being cut off right now. I do not think that is appropriate.
    I would remind members that they cannot refer to the presence or the absence of members in the House.
    Madam Speaker, I have a couple of points.
    First of all, this has been debated at the start of every parliamentary session. We have had an enormous amount of debate on it. There was an enormous amount of debate that happened at PROC, and the position of the Conservatives was just “no”. I do not know how many times they think we need to hear “no” over three years to know that they are against it and that there is no point in continuing the debate.
    The more important point I would make, if we are talking about Chuck Cadman, is that I am not sure if the member opposite listened to Chuck's wife Dona, who talked about the use of these provisions and their importance. I do not know if the member heard my speech when I talked about watching Arnold Chan, who was dedicated to this House, having to drag himself away from cancer treatment in the last moments of his life to fulfill his obligations to be in this place to vote. That is not a choice any member should have to make.
    If members are in a position of losing their lives and are being forced to drag themselves across the country to exercise their vote on behalf of their constituents, that is unacceptable, with all due respect to the member opposite. If a member who is ill and is at the end of their life decides to come to this chamber, that is one thing, but I have to take great umbrage with the idea of not even giving them the choice at the end of their life to fulfill their functions remotely as they receive critical health treatment.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I hear my colleague. I feel he could at least have the intellectual honesty to correctly quote what the Bloc Québécois said. We are facing a rejection of custom and tradition, and he is acting like it means nothing.
    He is taking an exceptional pandemic situation, in which we all participated and co-operated, and setting an absolutely shameful precedent. He is talking about the voting app. He should have consulted us instead of unilaterally doing what he is doing today. I would like him to have this done to him when he is on this side of the House after the next election just to see how he likes it.
    If he had consulted with us and read our dissenting report, he would know that we were willing to make concessions on the voting app. There is nothing wrong with that. People may have obligations in their constituency on Fridays or Mondays. Rather than setting up a pairing system, we can vote remotely. It is something worthwhile.
    Why does his motion not comply with the report's sixth recommendation? Why the double standard? He is asking the opposition parties for quorums that he will not need to reach on the government side. It is despicable. Doing it with a closure motion is even more despicable.
    Madam Speaker, over the past three years, I have had several discussions with the Bloc Québécois. I asked them what changes they were proposing for a hybrid system and for voting. Unfortunately, they made it clear every time that a hybrid system was not acceptable.
    This is very odd, because the member opposite uses this system every day. I see this as providing an option. With the support of a majority of members, it would be possible to change the rules and, for example, cancel the hybrid system.
     I do wonder what would happen if we did not adopt the hybrid system, however. In the future, this way of doing things will continue to exist for one reason: It provides flexibility for important moments in a member's life. That is so important that we must continue using this system.

  (1630)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I think the procedural aspect is important. I heard my friend from the Bloc raise the concern that the Bloc was not consulted, yet the hon. member suggested that the Bloc was consulted after PROC. Perhaps he could refresh my memory as to when that was tabled and what the nature of the extra consultations was with the parties.
    If he is comfortable doing so, could he also provide his recollection as the House leader of what the outcome was, substantively, and what the various parties had as potential criticisms or support for the bill that we are debating here today?
    Madam Speaker, it was January 31 that PROC completed its report. Immediately after that, we were able to engage in discussions with the House leader from his party. Then we got the response from his party about, I believe, three or four weeks ago, when they let us know what their final position was and what their proposed changes were. It took a little while for them to get them. I do not criticize them. I know there are a lot of things happening in his party, but we certainly appreciated receiving those.
    What I heard from the Bloc Québécois was, “Well, maybe, maybe not; maybe we want to change some things; maybe we don't.” There was never any specificity. I still do not know what the position of the Bloc is. I heard, “Maybe we're for the voting application.” That would be great, as they use it. In one recent case, 80% of the Bloc members used it. Some Bloc members have told me that they love the voting app and the ability to speak at a distance, use the screen and participate virtually, while other members do not agree with that, so I do not know what their position is.
    That is over the past three years, by the way, which we have come back to again and again.
    The Conservatives have been very consistent, I have to say: They are against it in any and all circumstances. They say they want to debate it more, but the only thing they say when they debate it is that they are against it. I do not know how many speeches we have to listen to, year after year after year, as they say “No, we're against it. We don't support it.”
    We have heard them, but these provisions, which have been in place now for three years, allow the House to continue to do its work and the government to continue to be accountable. These provisions provide a little bit of flexibility, and, by the way, Conservatives and Bloc members use them every single day.
    Madam Speaker, I had the opportunity to speak on the amendments to the Standing Orders, and of course I am in support of them. We have heard in this 30 minutes of debate some of the hypocrisy in the fact that a couple of the opposition parties who are against this are readily using these tools.
    My question to the hon. House leader is this. We have moved through a continuum of making changes as this House sees fit, and I know that right now some members are going to ask that committee chairs be in the room physically when they are conducting meetings. Can the hon. House leader talk about the fact that, yes, we are adopting this, but perhaps ease some concern for those who are worried about this, in that we can adjust it as we go forward, as we have done all the way along?
    This is a good thing. It provides more tools to Parliament, but with the will of Parliament, we can adjust as necessary.
    Madam Speaker, I agree with my colleague.
    A number of changes have been recommended, in some instances by all parties. He mentions the change requesting that committee chairs be present. That is a change that was made. There was a request by opposition parties that all questions in question period be answered by the government in person. That change was made, and we have the opportunity to continue to evaluate how these provisions work.
    However, to his point, when members say they are against hybrid sitting and then use it, it is hard to find them credible in that. If we say that a change in the Standing Orders should come from a unanimity of opinion, I think we can look at the past three years, including out of health circumstances, when members had every opportunity to be here. They use it, and it shows that they want it.
    If the members from the Conservative Party and the Bloc were serious in their opposition to this, then we would see them here for every single one of the votes; we would see them here in person for every question and every speech, and of course that is not the case. The case is that they are using it, and in the hallways they are saying, “This is great; this is life-changing. There was an important event; something happened in my family; I had to be there for my child; I had to be there for my spouse; I was able to do it, because of hybrid; it changed everything for me; I am so glad it is there.”
    Then, they walk in the chamber and say they are against it and it is wrong and an affront, and how terrible it is. It stretches believability.

  (1635)  

    Madam Speaker, I would encourage the House leader to go listen to my speech from Monday night on this, because I do not accept his argument that, just because certain members of opposition parties have used hybrid, it is somehow hypocritical of us.
    It is the rules. It is like the analogy I used on Monday night. It is like playing hockey 100 years ago, when they could not pass the puck forward. It is like we are going to play with the same rules that were in place 100 years ago, although the rules have changed. We have to use the rules that are present, and it was decided that hybrid would be in place, but I just want to get to two quick points.
    One is that the Conservative Party was in agreement, with even the Bloc on board, if a sunset clause was put in. We could have gotten to unanimity. Hybrid would have remained here for the remainder of this Parliament and into one year of the next Parliament, and then whatever government would have to come back and approve of keeping it in place.
    My second thing, and I know the House leader has been around a heck of a lot longer than me, is that this place is partisan and divisive enough. The best way we can get things done in this chamber, especially for those of us in opposition, happens when we can talk face-to-face to ministers and parliamentary secretaries who ultimately have the privilege to be in government.
    Would he agree, even as another step forward, to not just having the ministers and the parliamentary secretaries present for question period, but that the only way they should be allowed to participate in the House in debate is to be here in person, because it is such a privilege to be in government?
    Madam Speaker, I will start with the hockey analogy, because I think it is an apt one. Members can imagine a circumstance where there was a change, where there was an option to play hockey outdoors or play hockey indoors, either option was available, and someone chose every single day to play hockey indoors, but then came and said that playing hockey indoors is evil, awful and terrible. It is the worst thing to do, yet they keep showing up to the indoor arena. That is the actual analogy here.
    There is an option. If one does not want to use hybrid, they do not have to use hybrid. They can show up and vote in person, and they can participate in person every single day, but that is not the choice the Conservatives make. The choice they make is to use the virtual functions when they do not have to. That is the point I am making.
    The consensus is found in the utilization of all of it.
    I certainly hope it is not the case, but if there is Conservative government one day, and that government decides with another party to get rid of these provisions, then it can. However, I am saying there are so many circumstances, such as what we talked about with Chuck Cadman. We talked about what his wife, Dona Cadman, said. We can talk about my good friend, Arnold Chan, one of the closest people in my life, whom I had to watch drag himself into this chamber with no option other than to be here, sick. We could talk about Mauril Bélanger. The list could go on and on. I have not even heard from the members how they would accommodate at least that.
    In the reverse, what we have seen is that when the opposition has had issues, like saying ministers should be present in question period, we agreed. When they said chairs of committees must be present for accountability and in order for committees to function and work, we said “yes”. When they made actual constructive suggestions, we listened to them, and we will continue to listen to them.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I am listening to what the government House leader is saying, and it is mind-boggling in its intellectual dishonesty. If he keeps talking about electronic voting and all the little things in the reform of the Standing Orders, it is for an obvious reason: He is embarrassed to talk about the way he works.
    We have before us a government that shows contempt for Parliament, for parliamentarians and for the work of the committee, as we saw with China. It also shows contempt for the electoral system. Today, the government shows contempt for tradition. Changing the Standing Orders without unanimous agreement happened once, and for a minor rule, under Pierre Elliott Trudeau, one of the prime ministers with the lowest moral standards in Canadian history.
    Today, what the Liberals are telling us is that we did not think fast enough for him and that he would have liked an answer sooner. He decided to trample on the traditions of this Parliament. After listening to all the arguments, the made-up facts and the leader's dishonesty, I have no questions for him, and I invite him, in the time remaining, to continue to spout nonsense.

  (1640)  

    Madam Speaker, speaking of honesty, what I find dishonest is members using all the options available with the hybrid system and then saying it is a terrible system that they hate. They use the system every day.
    We debated this for three years. We are free to use the hybrid Parliament every day. I love democracy here in Canada. I am so proud to say that, each day, I make sure that our democracy is as open as possible. When we have a system that provides a bit of flexibility, it helps more people become MPs. The hybrid system allows people to have a personal life while also fulfilling their responsibilities here in the House.
    The member opposite knows full well that being a member of Parliament is very hard work and that the hybrid Parliament gives us a little room for a personal life.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the report from the procedure and House affairs committee is dated January of this year. The motion we are discussing now that is under closure I believe we began a few days ago.
    What happened over those months? Why did we not start this conversation earlier when that report was received from committee, so all of February, March and April? Why is this conversation being started so late and, as result, we are at the place we are now?
    Madam Speaker, remember, these provisions have been in place exactly as they are for three years, and so we have had an opportunity to use these. At the beginning of every session of Parliament, we had a protracted debate for, in some cases, weeks about the use of the applications. We have had an opportunity House leader to House leader to have extensive conversations.
    As I said earlier, once the report from PROC was completed at the end of January, it was an opportunity to digest two and a half years of information and have conversations about how we could move forward. It became clear that one of the parties, the Conservatives, said that under no circumstances would they ever accept this. The only way it could go forward, despite the fact they were using it every day, was for us to proceed in this fashion.
    I tried to provide as much time as possible to find that bridge, to find some way to work together, to find some way to get to unanimity. Unfortunately, working with the Bloc and working with the Conservatives it became clear such consensus would never be possible. It would not only not be possible between January 31 and now, it would not be possible between January 31 and, if one listens to the Conservatives, the end of time. However, they still want to use these provisions, and that is the point—
    It is my duty to interrupt the proceedings at this time and put forthwith the question on the motion now before the House.

[Translation]

    The question is on the motion.

[English]

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

  (1725)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 380)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 168


NAYS

Members

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

Total: -- 140


PAIRED

Members

Bergeron
Bibeau
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Savard-Tremblay

Total: -- 4


    I declare the motion carried.

[English]

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

Bill S-8—Notice of Time Allocation Motion 

    Madam Speaker, an agreement could not be reached under the provisions of Standing Order 78(1) or 78(2) with respect to the report stage and third reading stage 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.
     Under the provisions of Standing Order 78(3), I give notice that a minister of the Crown will propose at the next sitting a motion to allot a specific number of days or hours for the consideration and disposal of proceedings at the respective stages of the said bill.

Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

  (1730)  

[English]

Health of Animals Act

    The House resumed from May 1 consideration of the motion that Bill C-275, An Act to amend the Health of Animals Act (biosecurity on farms) be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Madam Speaker, it is always great to rise to speak in this most honourable of House.
    I would like to first offer thanks to the member for Foothills for his work with regard to the agricultural sector in Canada. I know the hon. member is a champion for the agricultural sector in the area he represents. We all come here championing our causes and issues, and I would like to speak to the hon. member's private member's bill this evening.
    The government welcomes the opportunity to speak to the importance of supporting Canadian farmers. Now, more than ever, farmers face increasing hardships. These range from sustained supply chain issues to the rising costs of doing business.
    Moreover, the effects of climate change and the risk of harmful and deadly animal diseases are only compounding these difficulties. It feels like farmers cannot catch a break. It is crucial that we provide these hard-working Canadians and their families with the tools they need to do their jobs safely so that they can be competitive and ensure the safety of their animals or livestock.
    I would like to take a few minutes to speak to importance of the agri-food system in Canada and the actions that our government is taking to support Canadian farmers across the country.
    The agriculture and agri-food system is a key pillar of Canada's economy. In 2021, it employed 2.1 million people in Canada, representing one out of every nine jobs. In the same year, Canada exported nearly $82.2 billion in agriculture and food products, making us one of the top 10 exporters of agri-food and seafood in the world, something of which we can be quite proud.
     It is safe to say that agriculture touches every Canadian. In fact, the agriculture sector is very broad and encompasses federal, provincial and territorial governments, industry partners and farmers. Each of these groups plays a unique and indispensable role to keep Canadian livestock safe and healthy.
     I can proudly say that the Government of Canada takes its role seriously in supporting Canadian farmers and in supporting the Canadian agri-food sector. We have a long record of championing initiatives that protect and grow our agriculture and agri-food sector.
     Just recently, budget 2023 announced a number of initiatives to respond to the emerging needs of the Canadian agriculture industry. These included $333 million to establish a dairy innovation and investment fund to increase revenues for dairy farmers; $34 million to support farmers for diversifying away from certain fertilizers; and $13 million to increase the interest-free limit of loans under the advance payments program to provide additional cash flow to farmers in need.
    Budget 2023 also announced $57.5 million over five years to establish a vaccine bank for foot and mouth disease so that farmers can maintain market access for their livestock and protect their livelihood in the event of an outbreak.
     In addition, the government has a history of working closely with provinces and territories to support economic growth for the agriculture and agri-food sector.
    For example, the sustainable Canadian agricultural partnership was launched on April 1. The renewal of this important five-year policy framework will benefit farmers and processors from across all of Canada. The sustainable Canadian agricultural partnership has set aside $3.5 billion, up 25% from the previous 2018 to 2023 agreement, to strengthen the competitiveness, innovation and resiliency of the agriculture sector.
    This partnership agreement recognizes what we already know, that farming is a difficult job. That is why the government is also committed to supporting the mental health of Canadians, including farmers and their families. For instance, under the Canadian agricultural partnership, it provided $7 million for two multi-year mental health initiatives to support farmers.
    In addition, the government funds the Wellness Together Canada portal. This portal operates 24 hours a day and seven days a week. It provides free, credible information to individuals to help address their mental health and substance use issues. The Wellness Together Canada portal also provides information and self-assessment tools, peer support networks and access to psychologists and other professionals.
    This government recognizes that meaningful support to farmers must recognize both economic and psychological hardships.
    I understand that Bill C-275 tries to protect farmers by minimizing risks to on-farm biosecurity. Let me be clear that the government takes these risks seriously. Disease outbreaks can have major impacts on animal welfare and food supply, and result in economic losses. We also know that farmers are also focused on biosecurity as they too care about the health and well-being of their animals.

  (1735)  

    It is important to note that the health of animals and biosecurity measures are a shared responsibility among the federal government, the provinces and territories, industry associations and farmers.
    Recognizing the importance of biosecurity in preventing the spread of animal disease, the Government of Canada has championed efforts and has provided funding to strengthen on-farm biosecurity. For instance, federal funds helped support the development of 14 commodity-specific national biosecurity standards. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, industry, academic institutions, and provinces and territories developed these voluntary national biosecurity standards, protocols and strategies to protect animals from disease.
    Additionally, through the federal AgriAssurance program and its predecessors, the government has provided industry associations with funding to develop on-farm assurance programs that include biosecurity protocols. Several of these associations, such as the Dairy Farmers of Canada and the Chicken Farmers of Canada, have on-farm programs that include biosecurity requirements.
    In addition, under the Canadian agricultural partnership, federal, provincial and territorial governments have advanced a number of cost-shared investments that support biosecurity. Some recent examples include funding of up to $1.5 million for the poultry biosecurity preparedness initiative in Ontario, and up to $45.3 million to fund efforts that enhance Canada's African swine fever response, including actions to mitigate risks to biosecurity.
    These examples all highlight the important work and investment that farmers, industry associations, provinces and territories, and the Government of Canada have all made toward on-farm biosecurity. There is a collective recognition that on-farm biosecurity is an important measure to safeguard animal health and to minimize the risk of animal disease outbreaks in order to protect the livelihood of Canada's agri-food producers. To really help farmers, we should be championing the use of these on-farm biosecurity standards and protocols and encouraging their use.
    In conclusion, the government recognizes the hard work, day in and day out, of Canadian farmers, their families and agriculture producers along the complete agricultural continuum, and it is responding to the sector's needs. The government is interested in supporting legislation that builds on the investments that various partners, including farmers themselves, have already made to improve animal health on farms.
    We look forward to studying Bill C-275 at committee and discussing ways that it can be amended to recognize and build on the great work farmers, their families, the communities involved and others are doing to support biosecurity measures on farm.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, we are in the House this evening to study Bill C‑275, which amends the Health of Animals Act. This bill was introduced by the Conservative member for Foothills, in Alberta, and is now in the House at second reading.
    Briefly, Bill C‑275 proposes to “make it an offence to enter, without lawful authority or excuse, a place in which animals are kept if doing so could result in [their] exposure...to a disease or toxic substance that is capable of...contaminating them.” So it amends the Health of Animals Act, and it is under that amended act that penalties will be applied.
    The Bloc Québécois supports the principle of Bill C‑275, subject to a thorough study in committee. We are in favour of it because it is an important bill and subject. Fundamentally, it is about trespassing. These are criminal acts rooted in extremism. Of course, extremism has never solved anything.
    I would like to clarify a few things about this bill before I move on.
    First, it is not an indictment of veganism, but an indictment of extremist activism and certain antispeciesists.
    Second, this is not about freedom of speech. People absolutely have the right to protest and denounce practices they do not agree with. However, we cannot condone that being done through illegal acts that could also harm both farmers and animals. Obviously, one's personal freedom ends where another's begins.
    Third, this bill does not condone animal abuse. We all have a personal and collective responsibility to prevent animal suffering. Once again, that does not mean we are exempt from the law or our duty to go through the designated authorities. In Quebec, the ministry of agriculture, fisheries and food, or MAPAQ, is responsible for this.
    Fourth, it is about making people aware that there are biosecurity standards to be respected on farms in order to ensure the safety of animals and livestock.
    What is biosafety? MAPAQ defines it as the set of tools, measures and procedures for preventing and addressing the dangers associated with the transmission of pathogens through various pathways for contamination. Mad cow disease, H1N1 and H5N1 influenza, circovirus, scrapie and wasting disease of cervids are all examples of transmitted diseases with serious consequences for the entire agri-food complex, public health and the balance of biodiversity. When humans come into contact with animals or their habitat without taking the appropriate precautions to avoid contamination, the risk of disease increases tenfold. For a breeder, an outbreak can obviously lead to serious financial losses. In the case of a spread outside the farm, the consequences can be devastating.
    It is interesting to learn that this bill was drafted partly in response to a specific event that occurred on December 7, 2019, when 13 vegan and antispeciesist activists broke into a hog farm in Saint-Hyacinthe. The farm was named Les Porgreg. They were there to protest the breeding of animals for human consumption. They entered the hog barn, filmed and demonstrated for almost seven hours in front of the pig pens in an attempt to expose the pigs' quality of life.
    Several Sûreté du Québec officers had to enter the building to remove them. As a result, some 30 people who should not have been there contaminated the premises.
    According to the owners, the incident caused a rotavirus outbreak, which considerably increased the maternal mortality rate of the herd.

  (1740)  

    Moreover, the criminals were fully aware of what they were doing, and what they were doing was completely illegal.
    Events like those in Saint-Hyacinthe are unfortunately not isolated. What is interesting in this particular case is that it was discovered that MAPAQ followed up a year later. That helped move the issue forward and raise public awareness of the situation. The MAPAQ inspector noted that there were too many animals in certain pens at the Les Porgreg pig farm. The pens were soiled with manure, lacked proper ventilation, contained too many flies and so on. The good news is that on March 16, 2020, the farm followed the inspector's recommendations to the letter. Yes, the farm had committed a number of violations, but is this type of stunt allowed, or should it be allowed? The answer is, quite clearly, it absolutely should not.
    My brother Alain is a farmer and has been a goat farmer for a number of years. I can say that it is an extremely—

[English]

    Order. I want to remind members that the business of the House is continuing. There are a lot of conversations going on on both sides, which is really rude. I would ask members to please take their conversations out.
    The hon. member for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles.

  (1745)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I was saying that my very dear brother Alain is a farmer and raised goats. I can say that it is an incredibly difficult job that requires working seven days a week, 365 days a year. There is no vacation.
    Farmers and ranchers use equipment that costs a fortune. They have to tighten their belts. It is an extremely demanding job.
    I believe that ranchers and farmers have been forgotten by today's society. Society depends on them, but does not recognize the true value of everything they do for us.
    The Bloc Québécois will obviously vote in favour of this bill.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in debate today to talk about this bill and its objective of trying to maintain biosecurity on farms. As the member who was just speaking was talking about, we owe a lot to farmers. They do a lot of hard work. Farming can also be challenging financially, particularly in bad years; even in good years, there is a lot of upfront investment that folks need to make in order to be able to have a successful farm. When disease strikes the livestock population, it can be devastating for farmers, financially and otherwise. It stands to reason that there is a real concern about how to protect the biosecurity of farms.
    This is a bill we saw in the last Parliament as well. It went to committee. Ultimately, it did not pass. I do not know if it got through the House, but because of an early and untimely election call, it certainly did not get through Parliament. Therefore, here we are debating the same issue again.
    It is a legitimate goal to want to protect livestock operations from bacteria and other biological threats that would create problems in the livestock population, and this bill talks about that. Any time one is talking about food, many Canadians are going to have an interest. People want to know where their food comes from and how it is produced.
    There are folks who have expressed concern about this bill being more about trying to keep people off farms for the purpose of not talking about how things are produced, but it seems to me that there ought to be a balance that can be struck between these two legitimate concerns. I think, in the last Parliament, in a similar bill, some of that work was being done at committee; there had been some progress made on striking the right balance.
    I am optimistic that the right balance can be struck again. This is why it is important for this bill to go to committee, so that work can continue. As I said, this work is not starting from nothing. There are many members who sit around the committee table in this Parliament who were there in the last Parliament, just as my colleague from Cowichan—Malahat—Langford was our critic on that bill in the last Parliament and is now again. I am optimistic that the work can be undertaken in a good way and that they are not starting from scratch, even though it may seem like that on paper, here in this Parliament.
    I am pleased to rise to put some of those thoughts on the record and express my support once again for this bill going to committee. There, committee members can hear from folks in civil society, both those with experience running farming operations and others who are concerned about some of the, perhaps, unintended consequences of this legislation. I look forward to the conclusions of the committee after it has had an opportunity to do its work.
    Madam Speaker, I am happy to rise today to support the bill of my friend from Foothills, Bill C-275, an act to amend the Health of Animals Act, relating to biosecurity on farms.
    I just listened to my friend from the NDP talk about some of the things this act might do, but I would like to read into the record some of the comments by my friend from Foothills in response to the bill. He said that he wanted to make clear what this bill does not do: It does not limit an individual's right to protest on public property. I just want to make sure that we have an understanding of what this bill is meant to do and what it will not do even if some people have some concerns. It will not prevent whistle-blowers, and it will not prevent people from protesting on public property.
    What my friend from Foothills is trying to do is to ensure that animals are secure on private property, on farms. We know that there is a lot going on right now in the agriculture industry, and we have very real concerns about African swine fever and foot-and-mouth disease. There are a lot of diseases that can be contracted, and transferred from farm to farm, that have really devastating effects on the animals on a farm. I just want to make that very clear from the get-go.
    This bill is really close to my heart. I was born and raised on a dairy and beef farm in southwest Saskatchewan. That is where my roots are, and that is where I try to get back home to as much as possible. I think some people who, like my NDP friend would say, are concerned about the protesting aspect of animals being on farms, do not really know how to be around animals as much as actual farmers do.
    I have to put on the record that people who are raising animals take amazing care of the animals. When I was growing up on the dairy farm, we showed cattle all over North America. We were at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and the Madison World Dairy Expo. Those animals were our livelihood on our farm. I remember my dad going out to the barn every night to make sure all the animals were okay, checking to see if a calf was coming and just ensuring the animals were safe and had clean bedding, making sure they were taken care of, making sure there was feed in the alleyways. There were exciting times on the farm.
    What I would like to portray this evening, in talking about this bill, is what great care our agriculture producers, our farmers, take with their animals. That is what helps them to provide for their families. As a young boy, I learned this on our farm by watching my dad and my uncle look after—

  (1750)  

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Saint-Jean is reporting a problem with the interpretation.
    It seems to be working now. The hon. member for Regina—Lewvan may continue his speech.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I was saying that, as a young boy growing up on a farm, I watched the care that my dad and uncle took with the animals. I wanted to portray that and make sure people realize that our producers are second to none in the world in ensuring the security and safety of animals on their farms. That is why this bill is so important.
    There have been cases in B.C. and Alberta where people did not have the knowledge of how animals should be treated or of the possibility of spreading diseases from farm to farm by protesting, and I want to portray what kind of impact that has on family farms. It goes from distraught animals and the diseases that could be carried to farms to the mental health of the farmers who look after those animals. That is what it comes down to.
    Farmers' livelihoods depend on the safety of these animals. There is nothing more important to them than making sure the animals are secure. When people go to farms to protest, they have to realize the unintended consequence of their actions, and that is transferring diseases from farm to farm. Even if there are no diseases, unknown people on farms can cause animals to stampede, to trample each other and to get really upset. Being distraught can result in a lot of stress on animals. There are examples where they just drop dead; that has happened.
    I am glad to hear that my Liberal, NDP and Bloc colleagues will support this bill going forward. In the last Parliament, we did not quite get to the finish line, which is a shame. There was an election call that was probably unnecessary. It was really a $600-million cabinet shuffle. I want to ensure that people realize the intention of Bill C-275. As I said in my earlier comments, peaceful protests on public property would still be allowed. There would also still be opportunities for whistle-blowers to report wrongdoing on farms, but animals on farms need to be taken care of.
    Saskatchewan is an agricultural community, and agriculture is still the backbone of the province and drives its economy. I cannot be more clear in saying to people that our producers take amazing care of their animals, whether they are producing beef, dairy, pork or chicken. They have the best of intentions for their animals.
    The scary thing is that people, while possibly well intentioned, do not realize how quickly diseases can spread. That is really at the